A faith-based organization that specializes in helping LGBTQ youth, the Faithful Counseling Center, has issued a statement calling on people of faith to embrace diversity and inclusion in their lives.
“For those of us who believe that God created us in His image and made us worthy of love, we need to be able to see that there are many LGBTQ people who are happy, fulfilled, and just, and that they don’t need to hide or marginalize them,” the statement reads.
“It is important for those of you who do not believe in the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to embrace the many different perspectives and perspectives of the LGBTQ community.”
The statement goes on to list the challenges that face LGBTQ youth as a result of the church’s stance on same-sex marriage, and also stresses the need for LGBTQ youth to be open and honest with each other.
“We need to show love and support to each other, especially as LGBTQ people, and especially as the LGBTQ people in our lives, and not to put our faith in the love and acceptance of the people in the Church,” the Faithfull Counseling center’s executive director, Beth Johnson, said in a statement.
The statement comes as the church continues to face criticism over its stance on LGBTQ issues.
The church issued a series of new guidelines earlier this year, including prohibiting gay and bisexual members from becoming leaders and apostles, and limiting the ordination of same-gender couples to single, heterosexual men.
In an interview with The Advocate earlier this month, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, the Church’s second-highest ranking apostle, said that “some things need to change in the church.”
The church has faced scrutiny over the past week after a recent essay penned by a Mormon author, Thomas S. Monson, was published by the Salt Lake Tribune.
In the essay, Monson said that the LDS Church was not “the only faith, and we are not the only people.”
“It’s okay to be LGBT in this church,” he wrote, according to the Salt Park Tribune.
“But, as a church, we cannot deny the love we have for everyone.”
The Utah Tribune later reported that the church had rescinded Monson’s endorsement, and in a later statement said it would be working to “continue to be inclusive and welcoming of all members of the LDS faith.”
On Monday, the LDS church released a statement saying it would no longer take action against anyone who violates the church policy.
“The LDS Church does not and has never taken a position on same sex marriage,” the church said in the statement.
“Mormons believe marriage is between one man and one woman.
“As members of this faith, we all are called to seek the truth, and truth is the best medicine.””
As members of this faith, we all are called to seek the truth, and truth is the best medicine.”