Sexual orientation is unlikely to change.
For the past several decades, a wide variety of therapies have attempted to change sexual orientation in individuals, but as cited below, Church leaders recognize there is no proven method to bring about such change.
The church has also stopped promoting marriage to an opposite-sex partner as a cure for homosexuality. Although this was encouraged by Church leaders in the past, they have now clearly stated that it should not be encouraged as a cure. Those who are able to maintain a healthy heterosexual marriage often fall in the bisexual range on the Kinsey spectrum and are able to focus on their heterosexual feelings and manage their homosexual ones enough to make a marriage feasible. Their orientation has not really changed. Such a focus on heterosexual feelings is not really an option for someone who has only homosexual attractions.
Quotes from Church Leaders
Elder Holland in 2007 says this to parents, family or friends,
“…recognize that marriage is not an all purpose solution.” He goes on, “Same gender attractions run deep, and trying to force a heterosexual relationship is not likely to change them. We are all thrilled when some who struggle with these feelings are able to marry, raise children, and achieve family happiness. But other attempts have resulted in broken hearts and broken homes. ”
Elder Oaks, in 2006, addressed the issue with clarity by suggesting five steps that might allow someone with homosexual feelings to marry. He said this,
“We are sometimes asked about whether marriage is a remedy for these feelings that we have been talking about. President Hinckley, faced with the fact that apparently some had believed it to be a remedy, and perhaps that some Church leaders had even counseled marriage as the remedy for these feelings, made this statement: ‘Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices.’ ” Elder Oaks goes on, “To me that means that we are not going to stand still to put at risk daughters of God who would enter into such marriages under false pretenses or under a cloud unknown to them. Persons who have this kind of challenge that they cannot control could not enter marriage in good faith. On the other hand, persons who have cleansed themselves of any transgression and who have shown their ability to deal with these feelings or inclinations and put them in the background, and feel a great attraction for a daughter of God and therefore desire to enter marriage and have children and enjoy the blessings of eternity — that’s a situation when marriage would be appropriate.”
Elders Oaks and Wickman took a very neutral position on therapy (question 7). Elder Wickman says, “Case studies I believe have shown that in some cases there has been progress made in helping someone to change that orientation; in other cases not.”
God Loveth His Children (p. 12) says,“It is helpful to visit with your bishop and other priesthood leaders who hold the keys of inspired counsel for the members of your local Church unit. If you approach them humbly and honestly, they will extend themselves in compassion and love as they counsel with you. The First Presidency stated: “We encourage Church leaders and members to reach out with love and understanding to those struggling with these issues. Many will respond to Christlike love and inspired counsel” (letter, Nov. 14, 1991). It is also often helpful to seek guidance from professional counselors who are experienced in working with same-gender attraction issues and whose counsel is consistent with gospel teachings.
“As you seek the help of others, be careful not to become dependent on them alone for your spiritual strength. Your bishop and other leaders can counsel you and teach the true principles of God’s plan for His children, but ultimately the sustained strength you need must come from the Lord as you submit to the influence of the Holy Ghost and exercise faith in Jesus Christ.”
Move on to Question 4: Are Gay Mormons Welcome at Church?
Go back to: What does the Church say? for a list of all the questions