Sexuality has a prominent role within the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which teaches that gender is defined in the premortal existence, and that part of the purpose of mortal life is for men and women to be sealed together, forming bonds that allow them to progress eternally together in the afterlife. It also teaches that sexual relations within the framework of opposite-sex marriage is healthy, necessary, and ordained of God. In contrast with some orthodox Christian movements, sexuality in the Church's theology is neither a product of original sin nor a "necessary evil". In accordance with the law of chastity, LDS Church doctrine bars sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage.
The LDS Church teaches its members to obey the law of chastity, which is a code of morality and modesty. Under this code, all members are taught to be "morally clean in their thoughts, words, and actions" and to abstain from pornography.Violations of this code include "adultery, being without natural affection, lustfulness, infidelity, incontinence, filthy communications, impurity, inordinate affection, fornication. They included all sexual relations outside marriage—petting, sex perversion, and preoccupation with sex in one’s thoughts and talking."
Though celestial marriage is the only form of marriage recognized as a sacrament, the church permits sex within government-recognized marital unions, the notable exceptions being same-sex marriage, common law marriage, civil unions (in jurisdictions where marriage is available), and polygamy. The church is sensitive about its historical relationship with polygamy, and entry into a polygamous marriage, even where legal, will result in mandatory consideration of church discipline and possible excommunication.Today, the church's teachings allow married couples to decide what is appropriate sexual behavior between themselves. The law of chastity has also been interpreted to include various standards of modesty, which have varied according to cultural norms of the time. Serious offenses of the law of chastity may result in church discipline, including the possibility of excommunication.
LGBT members of the church are expected to keep the law of chastity.The church characterizes its church discipline policy as neutral regarding sexual orientation. If gay or lesbian members desire to enter into a heterosexual marriage, they are advised that they should first learn to deal with their homosexual feelings; otherwise, they must remain celibate. Gay or lesbian sex, in any form, whether the participants are married or not, is grounds for church discipline. Participation in "repeated homosexual activities (by adults)" results in the First Presidency making a permanent special annotation to a person's membership record. In most cases, gay or lesbian sex bars a person, permanently, from serving as a church missionary.
On many occasions church leaders have taught that members should not masturbate as part of obedience to the law of chastity.Salient examples of this include a church guide to stop masturbating produced in the 1970s. Another is the 1990 edition of the church's youth guidelines pamphlet which stated that the "Lord specifically forbids ... masturbation" with the next two editions (including the most current one) alluding to it with statements forbidding anything that "arouses" any sexual feelings or emotions in one's "own body". Apostle Spencer W. Kimball, who later served as church president, warned of the "possible damages" and "dangers" of this "common indescretion" on various occasions calling it a "reprehensible sin" that grows "with every exercise". The apostle Boyd K. Packer gave a 1976 general conference address "To Young Men Only" warning young men not to tamper with their little factory (a euphemism for their reproductive system) lest it speed up and become a guilt- and depression-inducing habit that is not easy to resist. He gave vigorous exercise as a method to help control thoughts and break the habit of masturbation since it is a "transgression" that is "not pleasing to the Lord". The talk was printed as a pamphlet and widely distributed by the church from 1980 to 2016. Since 1985 the church has provided a manual for parents to use in discussing sexuality with their children. The manual includes statements that "prophets have condemned [masturbation] as a sin" and "perversion of the body's passions" that causes one to "become carnal". The most recent explicit mention of masturbation by top leaders in public discourse was by Tad R. Callister who stated in a 2013 speech at BYU-Idaho that God "condemns self-abuse" (a euphemism for masturbation).
Church leaders have stated that outside of marriage "passionate kisses", defined as "more intense and last[ing] longer than a brief kiss",and "prolonged kisses that involve the tongue and excite the passions" are "off limits". For example, church president Spencer W. Kimball, called the "soul kiss" an "abomination" that leads to necking, petting, and "illegitimate babies". He further stated that even when dating for a time a kiss should be a "clean, decent, sexless one like the kiss between a mother and son". He also stated that kissing during casual dating is "asking for trouble" and that kisses should not be "handed out like pretzels". Apostle Richard G. Scott advised that physical expressions of romantic feelings between unmarried individuals should be kept to "those that are comfortable in the presence of your parents".
Church leaders have also condemned erotic touching outside of heterosexual marriage using terms like "necking" for general kissing and stroking of areas outside of the breasts, buttocks, or groin region, and "petting"for "fondling a member of the opposite sex in areas that are private, personal, and sacred" whether under or over clothing. Necking (passionate kissing with intimate touching) has been called an "insidious practice" while petting was called "sinful" and "an abomination before God". Despite the policies on extramarital sex and making out, a 2007 survey of over 1,000 BYU students showed that 4% of single women and 3% of single men had participated in oral sex or intercourse while dating. Additionally, 54% of men and 46% of women BYU students reported "making out and intense kissing" while dating.
In the early 1980s, the church explicitly banned oral sex even for married couplesas it was considered an "unnatural, impure, or unholy practice", which reflected verbiage for sexual misconduct in the church's General Handbook . In a January 5, 1982, First Presidency letter to bishops and other local leaders, it was explicitly stated that members who participated in any oral sex were barred from the temple unless they "repented and discontinued" this practice. A follow-up letter nine months later on October 15, 1982, stated that the First Presidency had received numerous complaints of church leaders inappropriately "delving into private, sensitive matters" and directed leaders to never inquire with "explicit questions" about "intimate matters involving marital relations". The oral sex ban, however, was not removed, modified, or clarified, and the only additional directive to leaders was that "if the member has enough anxiety about the propriety of the conduct to ask about it, the best course would be to discontinue it".
Subsequent discussion of marital sex warned against behaviors that the church considered unnatural, impure, and unholy, including general authority Spencer J. Condie's warning that when couples "participate in unholy practices" during their physical intimacy it can become a "disruptive force" in their marriage.When discussing physical intimacy, a 2003 church manual on marriage quotes church president Spencer W. Kimball, who stated that the idea that "behind the bedroom doors anything goes" is not true nor condoned by the Lord and "if it is unnatural, you just don't do it". In a private letter dated May 17, 1973, church president Harold B. Lee called "oral lovemaking" a "degrading" "perversion" that was "abhorrent in the sight of the Lord". In a popular book sold by the church's bookstore and cowritten by a BYU professor, the authors state that oral sex is unworthy and impure for married couples. An LDS magazine published a bishop's teaching in 2013 that oral sex was forbidden before marriage. Two BYU graduate Mormon sex therapists, however, publicly stated in 2013 that oral sex was okay for married couples as did another LDS therapist in 2014.
LDS church leaders have repeatedly condemned the use of sexually arousing literatureand visual material for decades. They have compared pornography to a plague or epidemic that is overpoweringly addictive like hard drugs such as cocaine on multiple occasions. They've also stated that viewing erotic material can become a habit that's "almost impossible to break" which can metaphorically "blast a crater" in the brain. The church hosts meetings and has a website to assist members who wish to curb their consumption of pornographic material, and has asked church members to attend an anti-pornography rally. Church leaders have also stated that women who dress immodestly become pornography to men around them.
The Church Handbook states that the three bishopric members should ensure that members from ages 12 to 17 are interviewed twice a year during which they are to discuss the "importance of obeying the commandments, particularly ... refraining from any kind of sexual activity, and refraining from viewing, reading, or listening to pornographic material."It also states that disciplinary council should not be called for members "who are struggling with pornography or self-abuse."
Sociological research into pornography and LDS individuals has included one BYU study that showed of 192 male BYU students ages 18–27, 100% of the sample considered viewing pornography "unacceptable". However, 35% reported having used pornography in the past 12 months, with 9.2% of the entire sample reporting viewing pornography at least once in the last month.No data was collected on female students. A nationwide study of paid porn subscriptions showed that the predominantly LDS state of Utah had the highest subscription rate of any state. The state's LDS governor Gary Herbert officially declared pornography to be a public health crisis in Utah in 2016. In 2017 the church school BYU released a study using data gathered online from nearly 700 unmarried English-speaking adults on the effects of religiosity on perceptions of porn addictiveness and relationship anxiety. The results showed that seeing oneself as addicted to pornography generated far more anxiety- and shame-related negative outcomes individually and in romantic relationships than any potential negative effects of consuming sexually explicit material. Additionally, individuals reporting higher religiosity were more likely to consider themselves addicted to porn regardless of their comparative usage rate.
Currently and in the past LDS Church leaders have looked down on dancing that includes full-body contact or is suggestive of sexual behavior.One youth guide stated that these unapproved movements deemed vulgar included shoulder or hip shaking, body jerking, crouching, slumping over, and backbending.
The current church stance is that "decisions about birth control and the consequences of those decisions rest solely with each married couple" and that they should consider "the physical and mental health of the mother and father and their capacity to provide the basic necessities of life for their children" when planning a family.The church "strongly discourages" surgical sterilization like vasectomies and tubal ligation and encourages members to only turn to it for serious medical conditions after discussing it with a bishop. The LDS Church opposes elective abortion "for personal or social convenience" but states that abortion could be an acceptable option in cases of rape, incest, danger to the health or life of the mother, or where the fetus has been diagnosed with "severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth."
In the past the use of birth control methods including artificial contraception was explicitly condemned by LDS Church leaders. Beginning in July 1916, apostles were quoted stating that birth control was a "pernicious doctrine" and that "limiting the number of children in a family...is sinful". 12 The BYU Honor Code in 1968 stated that "the Church does not approve of any form of birth control." In 1969 the first and only First Presidency statement on birth control was released; it reemphasized that it was "contrary to the teachings of the Church artificially to curtail or prevent the birth of children", though, for the first time there was a clarification that men should be considerate to "conserve" the "health and strength" of their wives when planning families since they carry the "greater responsibility" for bearing and rearing children.The first time that any approval of a non-abstinence fertility control method was publicly expressed occurred in a 1942 Improvement Era article in which apostle John A. Widtsoe mentioned the rhythm method as an acceptable means of spacing children. In his influential 1956 treatise Doctrines of Salvation, then apostle Joseph Fielding Smith called birth control a wickedness which leads to damnation and caused the downfall of nations. He further stated that an LDS couple that deliberately prevents themselves from having more children after their second or third child is guilty of iniquity which must be punished. The 1958 edition of Bruce R. McConkie's popular book Mormon Doctrine stated that all those using condoms or other artificial contraception are "in rebellion against God and are guilty of gross wickedness." :
Other discussions of the topic include those by Ezra Taft Benson, who became a church president. He stated that those that advocate for birth control perpetuate types of government that cause famine, 540 that couples should not prevent births for selfish reasons, :543 and that a sterilization operation could "jeapordiz[e] your exaltation." :541 As recently as 2003 a church manual was published containing a quote from the late church president Spencer W. Kimball stating that the church does not "condone nor approve of" measures of contraception which greatly "limit the family".:
The church's insurance company Deseret Mutual Benefits Administrators which provides coverage for its employees does not cover any form of birth control and will only cover sterilization by vasectomy or tubal ligation for a couple if the woman has already had five children or is over forty.
From the 1830s, marriage has been a central and distinctive component of Mormon theology. Mormon teachings on marriage begins with the belief that, if performed by a person who has the requisite priesthood authority, a marriage may continue in the afterlife. Such a marriage is called a "celestial marriage"or a "temple marriage", and is a particular instance of a "sealing" which binds people together in the afterlife. Celestial marriage is considered to be a requirement for entry into the highest "degree" of the celestial kingdom (the highest degree of heaven in Latter Day Saint theology), and is thought to allow the participants to continue to have spirit children in the afterlife and become gods. According to Mormon belief, the continuance of a celestial marriage in the afterlife is contingent upon the couple remaining righteous.
In the 1800s, the practice of celestial marriage included plural marriage, a form of polygamy. According to a consensus of historians, the practice of plural marriage was taught by Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and after Smith's death was formally acknowledged in 1852 by Brigham Young, leader of the LDS Church. The practice became famous during the 19th century when it was opposed and outlawed by the United States federal government, resulting in an intense legal conflict, which culminated in LDS Church president Wilford Woodruff issuing the 1890 Manifesto, which officially discontinued the creation of new plural marriages in church temples.Nevertheless, unofficial plural marriages continued within the LDS Church after 1890 for some years, often in Mexico. In 1904, the church issued a Second Manifesto, which discontinued the official practice worldwide and established excommunication as a possible penalty for violators. These manifestos did not automatically divorce existing plural unions, however, and some couples in the LDS Church continued to live together as plural families well into the 20th century, with the final polygamous marriage in the LDS Church ending in 1954 when one of Edward Eyring's two wives died.
The LDS Church now embraces monogamy and the nuclear family. Members who are found entering into or solemnizing polygamous marriages or associating with polygamous groups are now subject to church discipline and possible excommunication.Beginning in the late-20th century, the LDS Church began supporting political and legal measures to limit legal marriage to a union of one man and one woman.
The LDS Church does, however, continue to recognize some theological aspects of its polygamy doctrine. Although both men and women may enter a celestial marriage with only one partner at a time, a man may be sealed to more than one woman. If his first wife dies, he may enter another celestial marriage, and be sealed to both his living wife and deceased wife or wives. A woman, however, may only be sealed to one man during her lifetime.In the 1950s, one influential church leader opined that plural marriage would "obviously" be reinstituted after the Second Coming of Jesus.
While not accorded the theological significance of a celestial marriage, the LDS Church does recognize civil marriages or marriages performed within other religious traditions. In the 1870s, a prominent Mormon writer wrote that Mormons considered such a marriage to be "no marriage at all."Today, however, non-celestial marriages are respected and recognized as valid by the church, but such marriages must be legal according to the government where the marriage is performed, and must not be a same-sex marriage, polygamous marriage, common law marriage, or other type of non-ceremonial marriages in non–common law countries. Moreover, such marriages are thought to last only for the mortal life, and not into the next. In countries where the church's celestial marriages are not recognized by the government, the church requires that it be preceded by a civil marriage.
In the United States, the LDS Church has expressed support for a constitutional ban on same-sex and polygamous marriage and has stated that it "favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship."The church's position is that government recognition of such rights will "undermine the divinely created institution of the family".
The church recognizes and officially welcomes gays and lesbians as membersunder condition that they attempt to live the church's moral code. The church teaches that homosexual feelings, as distinct from behavior, may sometimes seem to be inborn, and that although these feelings are sometimes unwanted, they can and should be controlled. The church's law of chastity forbids homosexual sex in all contexts. Consistently breaking the law of chastity may result in excommunication. Nevertheless, Latter-day Saints who identify themselves as gay or lesbian may remain in good standing in the church, without ramification, if they abstain from homosexual relations.
In addition to opposing gay and lesbian sex, the LDS Church also opposes and campaigns against the extension of marital rights to gay and lesbian families that would, in its opinion, undermine the tradition of heterosexual monogamous marriage.Since the 1990s, the issue of same-sex marriage has been one of the church's foremost political concerns.
In 2008, the church participated in a campaign in support of California Proposition 8, which proposed limiting the definition of marriage to a union of one man and one woman. This mobilized many of its members to donate time and money towards the initiative. The political organization ProtectMarriage.com, the official proponents of Proposition 8, estimate that about half the donations they received came from Mormon sources, and that "eighty to ninety percent" of the early volunteers going door-to-door were members of the LDS Church.The church was criticized for its involvement by non-members and by some of its members, and in 2010, general authority Marlin K. Jensen personally apologized to church members in California for the church's role. In December 2012 a landmark website "Mormons and Gays" was launched dedicated to the topic of homosexuality.
Gender identity and roles play an important part in Mormon theology which teaches a strict binary of spiritual gender as literal offspring of divine parents. 410,413–414 Expressions and identities for sexuality and gender are "separate, but related" aspects of a person and stem from similar biological origins. As far as gender minorities, Church leaders have stated that they have unfinished business in teaching on the difficult and sensitive topic of transgender individuals. In the past, church president Joseph Fielding Smith, stated that he believed that those who did not reach the celestial kingdom in the afterlife would be "neither man nor woman, merely immortal beings".Part of Sunday Church meetings are currently divided by biological sex, and for most of the 1800s church presidents Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had men, women, and children sit separately for all Sunday meetings. :
Within the church, there have also been a number of unofficial statements regarding gender. For example, "Strengthening Our Families: An In-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family"(a book compiled by the School of Family Life at the church-owned Brigham Young University) states, "Although we do not fully understand the eternal nature of gender, we should acknowledge its meaning and purpose, and humbly seek to understand and appreciate the nature of divine gender distinctions in God's plan for His children." The book also states:
God created us male and female. This is not a mistake or a variety of genetic or hormonal chance. What we call gender is an essential characteristic of our existence prior to our birth. Gender is part of our eternal identity and essential to our eternal progression. Although we may not know all the reasons why this is so, we do know some of the reasons why gender is essential to our eternal progression. To achieve our exaltation, an eternal marriage between a man and a woman is necessary. ...The sexual union between a married man and woman is, among other things, the means God has ordained to bring His spirit children into mortality, which is an essential step in the plan of salvation.
Apostle David A. Bednar stated: "[Gender] in large measure defines who we are, why we are here upon the earth, and what we are to do and become. For divine purposes, male and female spirits are different, distinctive, and complementary. ...The unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females were needed to implement the plan of happiness".Apostle M. Russell Ballard taught, "The premortal and mortal natures of men and women were specified by God Himself. ...[Sometimes women] ask: 'Is a woman's value dependent exclusively upon her role as a wife and mother?' The answer is simple and obvious: No. ...Every righteous man and woman has a significant role to play in the onward march of the kingdom of God."
Hinckley: “Now we have gays in the church. Good people. We take no action against such people – provided they don’t become involved in transgression, sexual transgression. If they do, we do with them exactly what we’d do with heterosexuals who transgress.
First Presidency letter; Dates: 1982 January 5; Photocopy of a typewritten letter signed by Spencer W. Kimball and other members of the First Presidency of the Mormon Church. ... Includes instructions for local leaders to avoid indelicate inquiries into marital relations, as well as an interpretation of oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice.
LDS President Harold B. Lee: I was shocked to have you raise the question about 'oral lovemaking in the genital area among married couples.' Heaven forbid any such degrading activities which would be abhorrent in the sight of the Lord. For any Latter-day Saint, and particularly those who have been taught in the sacred ordinances of the temple, to engage in any kind of perversions of this sacred God-given gift of procreation, would be sure to bring down the condemnation of the Lord whom we would offend were we to engage in any such practice.
The index is not so coy. 'Oral sex, 163-71' it says. That is the chapter 'Drawing the Line.' 'We wrestled with that,' Brinley says. The authors evidently decided to take their cue from President Boyd K. Packer who told BYU students 'If something unworthy has become part of your relationship, don't ever do it again! Now what exactly do I mean by that? You know what I mean by that.'
Then there’s a topic so sensitive it dare not speak its name, except to those curious enough to look it up in the index. ... Discussion of oral sex requires a definition of oral sex, a duty Brinley was loath to navigate. Most Mormons already consider the practice impure anyway, because it’s practiced by gays, lesbians and prostitutes. Besides, Brinley's confident that readers know what the chapter’s discussing by its tone alone. 'When we talk about sexual acts that are unworthy and unnatural, people know what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about biting your wife’s ear,' he says. “[Oral sex] is something you just don’t talk about. It’s like getting a hole-in-one on Sunday. You’re not supposed to be on the golf course anyway, so how can you tell anyone?'
I have counseled too many of the brethren who are currently in a lustful relationship doing things they know are wrong including improper touching and oral sex. ... So that there is no misunderstanding about what I am saying, let me be both blunt and indelicate: ... 3. No oral sex.
Is oral sex forbidden by the LDS Church? Kristin Hodson: No, except in myths and urban legends. Alisha Worthington: And there could be some bishops who you go in and ask who are like, "Oh, no." Again, it’s who you get. KH: There’s only "don’t do anything unnatural," or abusive or coercive. It’s pretty neutral. [Oral] is just part of marital bonding, part of the buffet of sexual experiences.
I have the same question about oral sex: I've heard one camp say that it’s not spiritually uplifting and therefore wrong, while the other says that once you’re married anything is game. So which is it? ... It is my opinion that any sexual experience between spouses can be spiritually uplifting, as long as both are comfortable and enjoying one another. ... Let’s not give other fallible humans the authority to make decisions regarding our most private, personal pleasure.
The bishop of Salt Lake's Catholic Diocese and the First Presiency of the Mormon church have joined in a call for church members to attend an anti-pornography rally Nov. 12. ... 'We encourage members of the church to attend (the rally) and to invite their friends and neighbors to also attend.'CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
Failure to Comply with Some Church Standards: A disciplinary council should not be held to discipline or threaten members who do not comply with the Word of Wisdom, who are struggling with pornography or self-abuse, or whose transgressions consist of omissions, such as failure to pay tithing, inactivity in the Church, or inattention to Church duties.
Birth control is wickedness. The abuse of this holy covenant [to be fruitful and multiply] has been the primary cause for the downfall of nations. ... When a man and a woman are married and they agree, or covenant, to limit their offspring to two or three, and practice devices to accomplish this purpose, they are guilty of iniquity which eventually must be punished. Unfortunately this evil doctrine is being taught as a virtue by many people who consider themselves cultured and highly educated. It has even crept in among members of the Church and has been advocated in some of the classes within the Church. It should be understood definitely that this kind of doctrine is not only not advocated by the authorities of the Church, but also is condemned by them as wickedness in the sight of the Lord. ... Possibly no greater sin could be committed by the people who have embraced this gospel than to prevent or to destroy life in the manner indicated. ... Birth control leads to damnation.
The world teaches birth control. Tragically, many of our sisters subscribe to its pills and practices when they could easily provide earthly tabernacles for more of our Father's children. ... True to form, many of the people who desire to frustrate God's purposes of giving mortal tabernacles to his spirit children through worldwide birth control are the very same people who support the kinds of government that perpetuate famine.
Do not curtail the number of children for personal or selfish reasons. Material possessions, social convenience, and so-called professional advantages are nothing compared to a righteous posterity.
DMBA does not cover any form of contraceptives for BYU students or employees, according to its plan summary, and has not done so historically. The Church's website says its stance on birth control is that 'the decision of how many children to have and when to have them is a private matter for the husband and wife.' The summary from DMBA does not cite an official reason why DMBA doesn’t cover birth control.
45. Telephone Interview with David Call, supra note 7. The Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators HMO (DMBA) does not cover sterilizations until a woman has had five children or reached the age of forty. While the DMBA policy does not directly refer to LDS church doctrine, the policy is set by the DMBA Ethical Advisory Committee, which has issued guidelines stating that the DMBA will provide benefits consistent with LDS church teachings.
Our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church.
I take it that men and women will, in [the terrestrial and telestial] kingdoms, be just what the so-called Christian world expects us all to be—neither man nor woman, merely immortal beings having received the resurrection.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian, Christian restorationist church that considers itself to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in the United States in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has established congregations and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has over 16 million members and 65,000 full-time volunteer missionaries. In 2012, the National Council of Churches ranked the church as the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States, with over 6.5 million members there as of January 2018. It is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith during the early 19th century period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.
In orthodox Mormonism, the term God generally refers to the biblical God the Father, whom Latter Day Saints sometimes call Elohim, and the term Godhead refers to a council of three distinct divine persons consisting of God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. Latter Day Saints believe that the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct beings, and that the Father and Jesus have perfected, glorified, physical bodies, while the Holy Ghost is a spirit without a physical body. Latter Day Saints also believe that there are other gods and goddesses outside the Godhead, such as a Heavenly Mother—who is the wife of God the Father—and that faithful Latter-day Saints may attain godhood in the afterlife. Joseph Smith taught that God was once a man on another planet before being exalted to Godhood.
The status of women in Mormonism has been a source of public debate since before the death of Joseph Smith in 1844. Various denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement have taken different paths on the subject of women and their role in the church and in society. Views range from the full equal status and ordination of women to the priesthood, as practiced by the Community of Christ, to a patriarchal system practiced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to the ultra-patriarchal plural marriage system practiced by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and other Mormon fundamentalist groups.
The law of chastity is a moral code defined by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. According to the church, chastity means that "sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife." Therefore, abstinence from sexual relations before marriage, and complete fidelity to one's spouse during marriage, are required. As part of the law of chastity, the church teaches its members to abstain from adultery and fornication.
Affirmation: LGBTQ Mormons, Families, & Friends is an international organization for individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, queer, intersex, or same-sex attracted, and their family members, friends, and church leaders who are members or former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Eldred Gee Smith was the patriarch emeritus of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1979 to his death and held the calling of Patriarch to the Church from 1947 to 1979, the last to hold the office. He was the oldest and longest-serving general authority of the church at his death, although he had not been active in that capacity for many years.
The law of chastity of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states that "sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife." In principle, this commandment forbids all same-sex sexual behavior. Homosexuality-related violations of the law of chastity may result in church discipline.
The Church Educational System (CES) Honor Code is a set of standards by which students and faculty attending a school owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are required to live. The most widely known university that is part of the Church Educational System (CES) that has adopted the honor code is Brigham Young University (BYU), located in Provo, Utah. The standards are largely derived from codes of conduct of the LDS Church, and were not put into written form until the 1940s. Since then, they have undergone several changes. The CES Honor Code also applies for students attending BYU's sister schools Brigham Young University–Idaho, Brigham Young University–Hawaii, and LDS Business College.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes no official position on whether or not biological evolution has occurred, nor on the validity of the modern evolutionary synthesis as a scientific theory. In the 20th century, the First Presidency of the LDS Church published doctrinal statements on the origin of man and creation. In addition, individual leaders of the church have expressed a variety of personal opinions on evolution, many of which have affected the beliefs and perceptions of Latter-day Saints.
Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, privately taught and practiced polygamy. After Smith's death in 1844, the church he established splintered into several competing groups. Disagreement over Smith's doctrine of "plural marriage" has been among the primary reasons for multiple church schisms.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a temple is a building dedicated to be a House of the Lord. Temples are considered by church members to be the most sacred structures on earth.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, marriage between a man and a woman is considered to be "ordained of God". Marriage is thought to consist of a covenant between the man, the woman, and God. The church teaches that in addition to civil marriage, which ends at death, a man and woman can undergo a celestial marriage in a temple performed by priesthood authority, whereby the marriage and parent–child relationships resulting from the marriage will last forever in the afterlife.
"To Young Men Only" is a sermon delivered by Latter-day Saint apostle Boyd K. Packer on October 2, 1976, at the priesthood session of the 146th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The sermon is addressed to young men of the Aaronic priesthood and discusses issues of human sexuality, puberty, and morality. From 1980 to 2016, the sermon was published as a pamphlet by the LDS Church. It has been criticized in several publications for allegedly encouraging violence against homosexuals. In 2016, the church discontinued the pamphlet.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and a topical guide to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mormon abuse cases are cases of confirmed and alleged abuse by churches in the Latter Day Saint movement and its agents, including child sexual abuse.
Students identifying as LGBTQIA+ have a long, documented history at Brigham Young University (BYU), and have experienced a range of treatment by other students and school administrators over the decades. BYU is the largest religious university in North America and is the flagship institution of the educational system of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Historically, experiences for BYU students identifying as LGBTQIA+ have included being banned from enrolling due to their romantic attractions in the 60s, being required by school administration to undergo electroshock and vomit aversion therapies in the 1970s, having nearly 80% of BYU students refusing to live with an openly homosexual person in a poll in the 1990s, and a ban on coming out into the 2000s. In the contemporary environment there is a continued lack of LGBTQIA+ - specific resources on campus as of 2018, BYU students are at risk of discipline and expulsion by the Honor Code Office for expressions of same-sex romantic feelings that go against the school's code of conduct such as same-sex dating, hugging, and kissing, for gender non-conforming dress, and students and faculty are banned from meeting together in a queer-straight alliance group on campus.
On many occasions spanning over a century, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have taught that adherents should not masturbate as part of obedience to the code of conduct known as the law of chastity. The LDS Church places great emphasis on the law of chastity. Commitment to live the law of chastity is required for baptism, and adherence is required to receive a temple recommend, and is part of the temple endowment ceremony covenants devout participants promise by oath to keep. While serving as church president, Spencer W. Kimball taught that the law of chastity includes "masturbation ... and every hidden and secret sin and all unholy and impure thoughts and practices." Before serving full-time missions, young adults are required to abandon the practice as it is believed to be a gateway sin that dulls sensitivity to the guidance of the Holy Ghost. The first recorded public mention of masturbation by a general church leader to a broad audience was in 1952 by apostle J. Reuben Clark, and recent notable mentions include ones in 2013, 2016, and a 2019 update to the Missionary Handbook.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always taught gender roles as an important part of their theology, however, leaders have only recently begun directly addressing gender diversity and the experiences of transgender, non-binary, intersex, and other individuals whose gender identity and expression differ from the norm.
This is a timeline of LGBT Mormon history in the 20th century, part of a series of timelines consisting of events, publications, and speeches about LGBTQ+ individuals, topics around sexual orientation and gender minorities, and the community of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although the historical record is often scarce, evidence points to queer individuals having existed in the Mormon community since its beginnings. However, top LDS leaders only started regularly addressing queer topics in public in the late 1950s. Since 1970, the LDS Church has had at least one official publication or speech from a high-ranking leader referencing LGBT topics every year, and a greater number of LGBT Mormon and former Mormon individuals have received media coverage.
This is a timeline of LGBT Mormon history in the 21st century, part of a series of timelines consisting of events, publications, and speeches about LGBTQ+ individuals, topics around sexual orientation and gender minorities, and the community of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.