In a recent meeting caught on camera, Mormon Elder David A. Bednar claimed there are “no homosexual members of the church.”
Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, went on to explain his reasoning, arguing that, “Simply being attracted to someone of the same gender is not a sin…It is when we act on the inclination or the attraction, that’s when it becomes a sin...We do not discriminate and we are not bigots.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) is now the fourth largest Christian denomination in the United States and counts over 13 million members worldwide. The Church includes many LGBT people, including one percent of LGB people who identified as Mormon in a recent Pew Research poll.
The comments come at a time when LGBT-affirming Mormons and allies are highly concerned about large number of suicides of LGBT youth. A group of mothers of faith who are supportive of LGBT youth have been tracking the suicides of more than 30 LDS young people since the Church passed a new policy in November that includes a ban on the baptism of children of same-sex couples and labels the couples "apostates." Late last year, thousands of members of the Church resigned in protest of the policy.
A recent report released by Pew Research shows growing acceptance of the LGBT community by members of the Mormon church. In the new report, 36 percent of Mormons said they agree with the statement, “homosexuality should be accepted by society,” a 12 percent increase from 2007.
LGBT Mormons and allies are using the hashtag #Iexist in response to Elder Bednar's claims.
To learn more about the Church’s stance on LGBT issues, click here.