It’s not bigotry – it’s a moral issue

Apostles and prophets don’t need me to defend them. But I want to explore how I feel when I read others describe them as racist bigots. Those are two very hateful terms, yet they seem to be used freely these days in the ongoing dialog about the First Presidency letter of 29 June 2008.

In my simple mind, I define a racist to be someone who feels, believes or acts as if being born into a particular race provides an individual with inherent superiority over others not of that race. Racial discrimination is the act of denying basic rights to individuals based solely on their race.

A bigot, of course, is defined as a person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles, or identities differing from his or her own. A bigot is also defined as one who regards or treats the members of a group – racial, ethnic or any other kind of group or class – with hatred and intolerance.

Proposition 8 is a moral issue

Some in the dialog about the letter of June 29th have defined the current opposition to same-sex marriage as bigotry. They have further argued that Prop 8 support is very similar to the policy of the church that excluded blacks from participating in the priesthood prior to the 1978 revelation.

While I have not yet written my own essay about the blacks and the priesthood, I have tried to make it clear that these two issues are not related. The exclusion of blacks from the priesthood was based on a policy. Our stand against same-sex marriage is based on morality, not policy.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a religious obligation to raise its voice on issues that affect the moral fabric of society such as same sex marriage. To quote Lee Benson of the Deseret News, “Every third-grader knows that. It’s what churches do.” It’s a moral issue.

It is not bigotry – we do not hate

I don’t know why some have backed away from facing this issue head-on. Sure, Proposition 8 is about restoring or making clear the definition of marriage as originally intended, but let’s face it – we are involved as a church because we believe that homosexual behavior is wrong and a sin.

I believe that it’s way too late to attempt to persuade anyone reading this essay why we should support the First Presidency in what they have asked us to do here in California. Most members made up their mind long ago and have been participating to ensure the passage of the initiative.

I just want to be clear that this is not bigotry. There is no hatred involved. We are simply trying to defend what the Lord put into place long ago. I have written previously about the definition of tolerance. The Lord does not condone homosexual behavior. Tolerance does not mean condone.

Same-sex marriage is not a right

Some have commented on previous essays I have written on this subject by claiming that by supporting proposition 8, we are trying to take away the right to marry. I don’t see marriage as a right. To me, it is a privilege granted first by God and then recognized by society through laws.

True, the Supreme Court of the State of California in effect granted this right by overturning the law that the people voted into place in 2000 with Proposition 22. The vote on proposition 8 will ensure that it is the voice of the people that grant this right, not through a judicial review process.

As I have commented to others on this blog while dialoging about the subject, this vote will give us a clear indication how the people of the State of California really feel about homosexuality. If proposition 8 fails then it will be clear that the majority of society embraces same-sex marriage.

Honor and sustain the First Presidency

I hope that no matter what the outcome of the vote that we will be very careful about the way we write about the Lord’s anointed. Calling apostles and prophets bigots is just not something that a faithful member of the church would want to do, especially if we have covenanted not to do so.

These are men who epitomize the pure and unselfish love of the Savior to me. I was so very impressed with the recent conference address of Elder Robert D. Hales on Christian courage. We do not retaliate. We do not give in to hatred. We see opportunity in the midst of opposition.

The Lord knows the hearts of our accusers and how we can most effectively respond to them. As true disciples seek guidance from the Spirit, they receive inspiration tailored to each encounter. And in every encounter, true disciples respond in ways that invite the Spirit of the Lord.

Summary and conclusion

I know some who read this will disagree with what I have written. You may feel strongly that I am denying what you see as black and white. As one visitor wrote on a previous essay, “I don’t care what you call it. To me it is hate when you try to take away my rights. That’s bigotry.”

Try to see the bigger picture. We are a society of millions of people who see homosexuality and same-sex marriage in varying degrees of acceptance. Isn’t it wonderful that we live in a society in which we agree to be governed by laws and by a constitution that we have all voted on?

I honor and sustain the First Presidency as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. I appreciate their courage in speaking out on this issue. I am so amazed at the results from one single letter. Their example in restraint is amazing when they are called evil for encouraging that which is good.


Note: For the story on the picture, visit Messenger and Advocate

33 thoughts on “It’s not bigotry – it’s a moral issue”

  1. “Sure, Proposition 8 is about restoring or making clear the definition of marriage as originally intended, but let’s face it – we are involved as a church because we believe that homosexual behavior is wrong and a sin.”Tim, I am not sure I completely agree with your statement above. I think that if Prop 8 did not have the potential to infringe upon the religious liberties of others, that there is a good possibility that the Church would not have gotten involved.See my post Proposition 8 – U.K.’s Civil Partnership Act Video and David A. Bednar on Proposition 8 for more information.I really do appreciate your comments about the importance of defusing the debate. This issue affects many LDS families, but it is unfortunate that differences are often being expressed in prejudicial language.

  2. Tim, My mother at age 79 has been going door to door for this Proposition #8. She was mad at me the other day for not knowing more about it. One thing for sure is that people in California are fired up.I am saddened by pictures, such as the one you posted with this essay. The statement “Bigots live here,” is ironic since the phrase is itself a statement of bigotry. I pray for the harmony of this Country, but more than that, I pray for the harmony of our beloved Church.

  3. Thanks for the visit and the comments, Greg. To clarify, I probably should not have made such a blanket statement. I do not speak for the church. Perhaps it would have been better worded to address my personal involvement in responding to the invitation of the First Presidency to ensure the passage of proposition 8. I personally feel that homosexual behavior is wrong and a sin. I do not want to see society condone that through legalizing same-sex marriage in California.

  4. Very well written. It was interesting yesterday to hear testimonies borne about how obedience brings us happiness and disobedience brings us sorrow and regret. Although we may not always understand (“I know not save the Lord commanded me…”), it is better to err on the side of obedience (“whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants it is the same…”). I understand that we all have agency but sometimes I think it gets in the way of obedience. At first I had a really hard time supporting Prop 8. But my obedience and small efforts in its behalf have shown me miracles I will not soon forget.:)

  5. I know what a heated issue this is, and there’s been quite a conversation going on–even in my own mind. One thing I know for certain is that this proposition is not about hate and bigotry. I don’t think it’s accurate to say it’s about discrimination either. There are extremists everywhere who say things like that and do everyone a disservice. Immorality plays a role, for sure, as we cannot condone immorality, or allow society to force us to condone it. I really like what you said, “tolerance does not mean condone”. Having said that, I’ll never force my views on anyone. I think persuasion is completely appropriate, but like Joseph Smith said: “I want liberty of thinking and believing as I please”. Some of my views are under evaluation and not set in stone, so it wouldn’t do much good to force them on anyone anyway.With all the diversity of opinions, even within the Church, I’m curious how you would respond to the question I just posed here today on my blog: “How do you interpret or reconcile the issue of “thinking for yourself” and being “obedient” by “following the Prophet”?

  6. Quick clarification about what I mean when I said I’ll never force my views on anyone–it goes both ways! That is precisely why I favor Proposition 8. I don’t feel that we should be forced to condone immorality as if it’s the new, acceptable “normal”. If it passes, I fear that the shouts of “bigotry!” will just get louder and louder.I favor Proposition 8 because I fear that immorality will become mistaken with a “new morality” that says there is no essential difference between a heterosexual marriage and a homosexual union. There are differences! That doesn’t mean I am against equality or that I can’t love people who are gay, it just means I recognize the difference. My wife and I are equal, but we’re still very different.

  7. The Faithful Dissident

    I personally have problems with Prop 8, even though I think that the definition of marriage should be kept the way it is. I just have trouble with the way that the Church has gone about it. It’s one thing to preach against homosexuality and encourage members to uphold traditional marriage in church. It’s another thing to tell members explicitly how to vote, while still claiming to be politically neutral, and actively campaigning politically by calling people and knocking on doors regarding a political issue.That being said, I do not think that those of us who uphold traditional marriage and want to see the definition of marriage unchanged are bigots. However, I have seen some very harsh, narrow-minded, and hurtful comments from Mormons which, in my view, display bigotry. And on the other side of it, those who would deface someone’s property like in the photo of your post are simply displaying the same trait that they assume that they are innocent of. So both sides are guilty of intolerance and bigotry.I think what I would most like see to happen is that even if gay marriage becomes legal, we will not make a mountain out of a molehill and that we will extend the same love, tolerance to them as we would expect from them. I hope that we will concentrate on strengthening our own families and quit worrying so much about what our neighbour is up to. I also hope that we will be open-minded enough to accept of the rights that the law of the land may see fit to give them, even if that means marriage equality. We claim to be subject to and uphold the laws of the land that we live in. This may include homosexual marriage, so let’s please just all focus on compassion, charity, understanding, and tolerance. If that is our priority for ourselves and our families, then we can’t lose — regardless of whether gays get married or not.

  8. I see that the hateful ones at the Church of Latter Gay Hate have carried the day with their 50 million dollars in donations to spread lies about Gay people. Then the Mormons ask for civility. After my people have full civil rights, you’ll get civility. Not one second before. You guys just THOUGHT that the there was pr blowback from the ERA debacle. And insofar that the Mormon authorities say they don’t oppose civil unions, I accuse them all of being liars. Otherwise, Utah and Idaho would have GAY civil unions.

  9. Hi anonymous,Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your comment. I’m sure you know that the money contributed to proposition 8 came from citizens all over the state of California, as well as some from out of state. If I’m not mistaken, there were no funds contributed by the Church, only from individual members. Of course, it was not just Mormons that contributed to Yes on 8.The total dollar amount that was contributed came to only $40 million. Even by stretching the estimates of how much came from members of the LDS church to 47% (see Mormons for 8) that’s less than $20 million. So it’s a bit of a stretch to say that the LDS Church spent $50 million on the campaign. It’s just not true.I hope that LDS people are not spreading lies about gay people. I know there are some who are not very well educated and yes, bigoted, but for the most part, what I have read from LDS bloggers has been very civil and a legitimate attempt to reach out in an understanding dialog. We all need to practice greater restraint and compassion in our comments.To quote the LDS Newsroom: “Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians. Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.”The ERA thing was a little before my time. It’s probably worthy of a historical visit for a future essay. Thanks for bringing it up. By the way, Mormon Feminism is alive and well. Just go visit Feminist Mormon Housewives, a very popular blog amount LDS women. Probably the best place to read about the church’s involvement in this moral issue is in the March 1980 Ensign.I am grateful that the LDS church continues to get involved in moral issues when when some do not agree and do not think the church should do so. A careful reading of the explanation should convince anyone that all religious organizations need to be vocal and adamant in standing up for what is right. Let us be clear that we need leaders like those the Lord has placed at the head of the church today to encourage us in these matters. And hey, it doesn’t hurt that several are darn good lawyers.

  10. The Faithful Dissident

    ERA was before my time, but based on what I’ve read about it, I probably wouldn’t have agreed with it — even though I consider myself to be a very liberal Mormon and believe in equal rights for women under the law. The ERA had too many flaws in it and parts of it probably couldn’t have been realistically and fairly implemented if it had come to law.

  11. Tim,If the Mormons don’t oppose civil unions, I would expect the Mormons to publically endorse and push California style civil unions laws in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and Idaho. Nah, They won’t do so…why? Because the general authorities are lying when they say they don’t oppose civil unions. While some Christians voted against Gay people and their families in California, it was Mormons who were almost singlehandedly responsible for funding this attack on Gay people. And it will be called the “Mormon Law”. You people paid for it – you bought this law.We will put a repeal of Latter Gay Hate – Prop 8 on the next ballot in California.

  12. And another thing…you say that you don’t support employment discrimination..But the Mormon Church supports and encourages Mormon owned businesses to PAY Gay people less in total compensation than straight people.

  13. You’re the second person who has left me a comment about the General Authorities lying when they say they don’t oppose civil unions of gay people. Do you guys get together and come up with the comments you are going to leave on people’s blogs?Didn’t you read my comment above about the money? There is no way that 47% – even as calculated by the deceitful “Mormons for 8″ website – could be construed to be almost single-handed opposition. The contributions came from all over the state and from all kinds of god people – not just Mormons. We just happen to be better organized and recognizable.”The Mormon law?” I don’t think so. Proposition 8 was proposed by a coalition of churches and other organizations. It was placed on the ballot long before the First Presidency asked us to get involved. Of course Mormons contributed heavily and yes, we were the most visible in walking the precincts and calling on the phone banks. We stand up at the encouragement of our leaders for what we feel is a moral issue.Twice the people of the State of California have voted on this issue and twice the majority have decided that it is better for our society to keep the definition of marriage as it was originally intended in our constitution. Good luck with your repeal efforts.

  14. What? I never said anything about employment discrimination one way or the other on any of my essays. Facts, my friend, where are the facts to back up your claims? I can promise you that there is no encouragement from LDS Church leaders to pay gay people less than straight people. Have you got something you can point us to where we read more about this claim?

  15. Tim,Does Beneficial pay Gay people the same in benefits (including health insurance for the partner of the employees choice?) as they do for straight employees?I didn’t think so. Benefits are a part of pay. And the Mormons definately do not pay Gay people the same in total compensation as they do straight employees. Period.Furthermore, 99.99999999% of Gays (like 99.999999% of straight people – noncelebate) cannot attend BYU. Therefore, any company that recruits there is discriminating unless they set aside an equal number of interview slots for gays. Get ready..We’re going after your MONEY. Starting with the University named after a polygamist. Seriously, why not celebrate someone other than Brigham Young if you want to celebrate traditional marriage. We’ll be contacting every company recruiting there to ensure that they aren’t recruiting at BYU specifically to exclude Gay people.And while were on the subject of marriage….Can you Mormons please stop marrying your dead grandparents and calling it marriage if you refuse to recognize Gay marriage?

  16. If the General Authorities aren't a pack of LIARS on the issue of civil unions…1) They wouldn't have campaigned for initiatives (such as Arizona 2006) that ban civil unions2) They would publically support CA style civil unions in Utah and Idaho.Otherwise the General Authorities are liars. Feel free to prove me wrong.Tim, its all gonna come out. The D&C covenents encouraging violence against Gays, the fact that Matt Shepard was lynched by a Mormon, the electroshock torture of Mormons, the expulsions of CELEBATE Gays from BYU. All of it.

  17. Hey Tim,Thanks for fighting the good fight. (no, that last comment was not endorsing violence against anyone…)The comments on your blog are certainly more spirited than what was generated on mine. I do find it a bit ironic that those most loudly screaming for tolerance are so frequently intolerant. I love Boyd K. Packer’s talk on this subject. He said in part:Some work through political, social, and legal channels to redefine morality and marriage into something unrestrained, unnatural, and forbidden. But they never can change the design which has governed human life and happiness from the beginning…We do not set the standards, but we are commanded to teach them and maintain them. The standard remains abstinence before marriage and total fidelity in marriage. However out of step we may seem, however much the standards are belittled, however much others yield, we will not yield, we cannot yield…Now words can be used as weapons against you. If they throw the word diversity at you, grab hold of it and say, “I am already diverse, and I intend to stay diverse.” If the word is tolerance, grab that one, too, saying, “I expect you to be tolerant of my lifestyle—obedience, integrity, abstinence, repentance.” If the word is choice, tell them you choose good, old-fashioned morality. You choose to be a worthy husband or wife, a worthy parent.The whole Church may stand alone in defense of these standards. But we are not the first. Moroni, the last of his people, said: “I even remain alone. … I fulfil the commandment of my father.”

  18. We’re not screaming for tolerance. We are demanding our EQUAL RIGHTS in public policy. And we’ll get them too. And we promise you we will get our way. This isn’t about tolerance. Its about the law.By the way, the Mormons should pass civil union laws in Utah. Did the Mormon leadership lie when they said they supported civil unions? You Mormons deserve every bit of bad press that you are just starting to see on this. And it isn’t because you are persecuted. It is because you persecute others.This latter day Plessy v. Ferguson will not stand.

  19. First of all, you are going to see a lot of sour grapes from those who lost. So we need to take that into account, it’s hard to lose. As a spectator to all of this, living in Utah, I was cheering on the Yes on 8 supporters. All I could do was send money and blog about the campaign. I appreciated all the efforts of those in California who were on the front lines. I think it is a mistake for the No on 8 supporters to bring attention to the Church and its role in the victory. Most people I have met love a winner and want to know what made the difference. Name calling really doesn’t change behavior in others. It just makes people want to avoid you and hang out with someone a little more civilized and grown up.

  20. Sour Grapes. Why don’t we pass a law requiring all children to be taught about Mountain Meadows, Joe Smith’s 14 year old bride, and Brigham Youngs plural marriages? Lets have a voter initiative? And if my side wins…oh yea, you guys wouldn’t see it as an attack on your ‘church’. Whatever. You haters bought this Latter Gay hate law. You can deal with the consequences. We have to deal with them too. By the way, this is just starting. And it is going to get a LOT bigger. Our goal. Within 3 months..when someone says Mormon to a person on the street in Wichita or Peoria, the first thing that pops into their head is Anti-Gay.

  21. I get the feeling “anonymous” is the same person throughout the comments. I also sense a lot of hatred…yikes!It’s interesting to see the dichotomy of people for and against certain “heated” political issues. For example, can you imagine what would have happened if Obama had lost the race? It’s no wonder several cities around the country were gearing up for riots. The same can be said of the class of individuals that are so upset about the Prop 8 passage. I highly doubt those in favor of Prop 8 would have reacted nearly as nasty if things didn’t go their way.

  22. This is like Christmas for those who dislike the Church of Latter Day Saints. You guys should really hire some better PR staff because this was entirely predictable. whether or not its fair Mormon is quickly becoming synonymous with bigot. And add in the division this is causing within your church… Aim for the foot and Ready… Set… Fire!!!!

  23. You’re right, cogger, we did put ourselves on the line, didn’t we? It was a big risk. And the funny thing is, I’m not so sure that we were the ones who really got it passed. The exit-polls show that it was the blacks who came to vote for Obama who voted 70-30% in favor of the proposition.There are less than 800,000 Mormons in the state and half of those are less than faithful members. The interesting thing is that most of those who come out to church each week were the ones walking the precincts and making the phone calls. We are the ones who feel strongly about following a prophet. The division was already in place, only now it is more evident – sheep and goats.The church newsroom is doing an admirable job of dealing with this. They are very proactive and responsive to journalistic requests for statements on the protests. You can read more about the Newsroom in a two-part series of articles on Times and Seasons here and here. We rely on honest and ethical people in the news industry to report factually – most do.

  24. Tim,I appreciate you putting your self in the middle of this issue from the beginning, writing about it, considering and commenting on opinions from every side and doing it way that I believe our HF would be pleased with.I wish I could have shown the restraint that you have at times. This issue has sapped me. I have lived it up close and personal with one of my best friends (gay) getting married. I did not attend but I have spoken to him and he is thrilled with his decision. Despite my beliefs I am thrilled for him. He has been an incredible friend throught thick and thin. I will always love him no matter if his feelings toward me change (I doubt they will). Anon – I am sad to see your bitterness but I think I understand it as much as I can. What I would say to you is what everyone (mormon) knows and that is your day will come in California. Personally I believe it will be a sad day but I will not begrudge you your happiness when that day arrives.From the beginning of all this drama my mind took me back to my freshman year in seminary (1977) and what our teacher conveyed to us in a very sober manner. He said that in my life I would witness the world change in ways that I would not believe could happen. He said we would become a castigated people because we would not support things such as abortion, ever increasing loose attitudes about sexuality but I do not believe that even he could have seen SSM becoming an issue. We have been desensitized by all the forms of media that we have. We are bombarded with meaningless drivel and grotesque violence daily. There seems to be nothing sacred about sexuality any longer and it is debased constantly. Tim your piece about the Folsom Street Fair is a perfect example. I think I knew things had taken a turn for the worse when I heard on the radio about a British survey of 12 – 14 year old girls who were asked what career aspirations they had and over 60% surveyed said that they wanted to be porn stars. Nice! One of the great downfalls of civilized society will be women who lose their sense of femininity.So Anon do not be bitter. We will continue to work towards maintaining what we believe is a civil and moral society but soon enough you and those aligned with you will have your day. As for me I will go say a little prayer to see if I can stave that day off just a bit.

  25. So, If I understand you right, you voted “Yes” on 8 not because you hate gay people, but because you believe they are eeeeevvvviiiilllll. That’s what all that “moral” talk distills to, methinks. This is the very definition of a bigot, as conveniently defined by you. I really didn’t think the Mormon church would do something like this.

  26. Oh, and traditional marriage as defined by native americans, who have been here quite a bit longer than the current US gov’t, includes gay marriage; the Berdache, also known as two-spirits were men married to other men. So, time-wise, here in the US, traditional marriage has certainly included gay marriage.

  27. Djinn,Thanks for stopping by. I voted yes on 8 for several reasons. First, because I think that same-sex marriage is a bad idea for the future of our society. Second, I think that homosexual behavior is a sin. Note that I did not say that same-sex attraction was a sin. Third, I voted Yes on 8 because a man that I revere as a prophet asked that I give of my time and means to ensure the passage of this measure.Call it bigoted if you like, just about everyone who voted no does. I call it standing up for what God says is right. The LDS Church didn’t do this. We are indeed a very small minority in California. This was done by good people all over the state who feel the same as we do – that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. I’m sure you know that Blacks and Latinos voted in high numbers to support the amendment.That’s an interesting statement you make about traditional marriage. When I think and write of traditional marriage, it is simply the tradition that has existed in the United States of America. I didn’t know about the Berdache. I had to look it up. Thanks for the heads-up. It looks like it was a word invented by contemporary GLBT native Americans. It is frequently rejected as offensive and inappropriate by native Americans.Source: Wikipedia

  28. Not so, speaking about the Berdache; contemporary Native Americans may reject the term, but speaking anthropoligically, they were around, and have been documented in about 130 tribes. So, you think homosexuality is evil because of your religious beliefs, and therefore you get to change the lives of those people who don’t share those religious beliefs? By popular vote? You succeeded, but don’t you understand how problematic this is for a small, not particularly well-liked group? Your rights could also be taken away, as we have historical precedent for.

  29. Not to mention, you stance — I am going to discriminate against a certain class of people because I think they are evil — could not be more classic bigotry. You’ve bought the label, you should wear it proudly. Should coffee be outlawed? Tea? Tank tops? How else should the government be forced to conform to LDS standards?

  30. The woman in the “bigots live here” car is not trying to take away any rights from the people in the house that they already posess based on characteristics they possess that she may personally not like. Those people had donated. THis is why the person in the “bigots live here car” is not, in that action, at least, being a bigot herself. If she were to actively discriminate against random LDS merely because of their religious beliefs, but not knowing anything else about them, then, yes, I would call that bigoted.

  31. Djinn,I have resigned myself to the fact that people are going to call us bigots no matter what we say to try to explain our actions in supporting proposition 8. But I do want to make clear that I have not and never will call people evil because they participate in homosexual behavior. I have always separated the sin from the sinner. I know this statement is hated by some, but to me it makes perfect sense – love the sinner, and not the sin. We are all sinners to some degree or another.

  32. Tim, to quote you in this thread: “Second, I think that homosexual behavior is a sin.”To quote you again in this very same thread: “But I do want to make clear that I have not and never will call people evil because they participate in homosexual behavior.” I’m assuming sin does not quite, but almost equals evil? This delicate parsing is too much for me.Please in clear english. Gay people. Sinners? Yes, no.Gay people. Evil? Yes, no.Difference between sinners and those that are evil? Please take all the pixels you find necessary.

  33. What a very thoughtful question, djinn. Thank you for raising it. What’s the difference between sin and evil? I like it. Let’s dig in. I’m sure you know that I’m not the first to tackle this question. I’ll not appeal to any authorities or quote any scripture. This comes from my heart – what I understand and believe from many years of studying and observation.In as simple a form as I know how to state it, evil is external and sin is internal. Evil comes from outside sources of temptation. Sin comes from choices we make. Gay people are not sinners because they are gay. They become sinners by participation in homosexual behavior, specifically gay sex. They are not inherently evil. I do not believe any mortal is evil.I too am a sinner, not because I participate in homosexual behavior, but for other sins I commit. But I am not evil, and have never thought of myself as such. Likewise, gay people are not evil and as I stated earlier in this thread, I have never thought of them as such. Being gay does not make one either evil or a sinner. It is only when one participates in homosexual behavior that one commits sin.Even those gay people who engage in homosexual activity are not evil. Evil is not something we are. Sin is something we do when we choose to act a certain way, especially when we know it is wrong. Who has the right to say what is good and what is evil or what is sin and what is acceptable human behavior? That is the battle we have been fighting. I believe we can, do and should legislate morality.Maybe its semantics, but this is how I have categorized it in my own mind. To summarize: gay people are neither sinners nor evil by nature. Gay sex is a sin and participating in it makes one a sinner. But that does not make someone evil. I know others disagree with me, including many who are LDS. I reserve my usage of the word evil for those who are not mortal. As long as we are living mortal beings, we can repent and thus cannot be given the somewhat permanent label of being evil. That title belongs to those who tempt us – evil spirits.I could go on but I think that should answer your question. Let me know if I have not stated by beliefs clearly. I also reiterate that what I have shared may not be according to official LDS doctrine. I am confident that you or someone else can provide me with quotes from general authorities that clearly state that those who participate in homosexual behavior are evil. Today, I don’t see it that way. I only see it as sinful behavior.

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