Recently an article was published in a periodical (New Era), the audience are LDS youth. The title of the Article is, "How to Survive in Enemy Territory" by Boyd K. Packer
I have included a few references to the article to share in the struggle that I am faced with. This is not to slight and point out how wrong these statements are, but bringing the reader into my experience.
I do have the advantage of age, maturity and experience that helps me attempt to look at these things objectively. But for those that are tender in years, limited life experiences and conflicted, confused and torn....these words may seem hurtful and hopeless. I understand that the leadership of the church has every right to defend their beliefs and have laws to uphold those doctrines and practices. Yet on an individual level, when a son or daughter of God reads this text they may internalize more shame, guilt, and reduced self-worth. The highlighted areas are those of concern and I will address why they are of concern from my perspective.
President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the following in general conference: “People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves . . . gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have [temptations] of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are.
“We want to help . . . strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families.” President Hinckley was speaking for the Church
"You have that same agency. Use it wisely to deny acting on any impure impulse or unholy temptation that may come into your mind. Just do not go there, and if you are already there, come back out of it. “Deny yourselves of all ungodliness.” The key word is discipline —self-discipline. The word discipline comes from the word disciple or follower. Be a disciple/follower of the Savior, and you will be safe. One or two of you may be thinking, “I am already guilty of this or that serious mistake. It is too late for me.” It is never too late.
You have been taught at home and in seminary about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement is like an eraser. It can wipe away guilt and the effect of whatever it is that is causing you to feel guilty. Guilt is spiritual pain. Do not suffer from chronic pain. Get rid of it. Be done with it. Repent, and, if necessary, repent again and again and again and again until you—not the enemy—are in charge of you." Boyd K. Packer
A reader that has same-sex attraction will read this and feel that they are immoral (even if they do not act out on the "sin"). These individuals may also feel increased guilt, impurity, unholy and ungodliness. The only answer would be to internally destroy themselves to attempt to find peace. I tried this path for 40 years and came to a point where I could no longer self-loath, self-depreciate, self-destruct.....there was no peace in this. Considering that I have a few more tools in my kit to use to work around these type of emotions....it is no wonder that the LDS church is losing youth to suicide. This becomes the answer to escape from this dissonance! I almost arrived at this conclusion myself, but knew that change was a viable 2nd option. I sought help, found people to confide in, and had an amazing counselor. Not everyone has this type of support system in place.
There needs to be more conversation and assistance to individuals that are struggling with these feelings. Local leaders in the church need to listen with compassion, love and concern.......not meting out judgement. I do know there are many that offer the kindness and love....it is just unfortunate to see suicide in the news so often for the youth in the LDS church. It is hard to encourage the compassionate local attitude when on the general level things can be perceived by the individual as hurtful. Even the title of this article places individuals in the offensive or defense without even reading the script......
Here is hoping for more compassion!