On Monday, I shared a quote from Elder Marlin K. Jensen on homosexuality from his interview with PBS as it appears in the documentary, and as it was reported by the New York Times. Only small portions of each of the myriad of interviews made it into the film, but PBS has posted larger portions of those interviews online.
Over the next few days, as part of a ?series,? per se, I?m going to post portions of the handful of various interviews that relate to homosexuality and the Church — from Genenal Authorities, faithful members, critics, and commentators. You can also read them yourself on the PBS site.
Since I already shared a brief portion of Elder Jensen?s interview, I?ll come back to his comments in full context later. Here are Elder Holland?s comments on the issue, following Helen Whitney?s questions (in bold):
Another anguishing issue that faces you and every church: homosexuality. On a personal level, how do you counsel people dealing with that?
… The emotion and the pain and the challenge of [dealing with homosexuality] has to rank among the most taxing, most visceral of any of the issues that any religious group wrestles with. As others of my colleagues and brethren have, I have counseled hundreds — I don’t know how many hundreds — of these young people. I say young people because often that’s the group that come to us most, but there are people of every age struggling. … The counsel I have given is that God loves them every bit as much as he loves me; the church loves them. We do have doctrine; we do have borders; we do have foundational pieces on which we stand. And moral chastity — heterosexual … and homosexual — are areas where God has spoken and where the church has a position. …
I spoke earlier about the price everyone has to pay for the blessing of the covenant, to be counted within the institutional circle of the blessings of the church. … I have spent a significant portion of the last few years of my ministry pleading to give help to those who don’t practice [homosexuality] but who are struggling with the impressions and the feelings and the attractions and the gender confusion. Or if they do practice or are trying to deal with it, that group I have spent scores of hours with, if nothing else, just saying: “Hang on, hope on, try on. … Get through the night; get to the light.” …
I believe in that light, and I believe in that hope, and I believe in that peace. So I offer it without apology, but I know sometimes that’s thin to people who would want more. Any more than I can see it compromising on its heterosexual position of chastity before marriage and fidelity afterward, I don’t anticipate it that [the church] would change on homosexual behavior. But none of that has anything to do with my belief in the value of that soul and the love that God has for that person.
But it’s just that … there is a quid pro quo in terms of wanting the church’s blessing on our lives. If someone chooses behavior that goes in a different direction, people choose that every day. And while that may make me weep, … people are free to do that. …
I believe with all my heart that it’s divine language; it’s a divine commandment. There really are “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots” in life. And in this world, in some contemporary life, thou shalts and thou shalt nots are not popular on the face of it; it wouldn’t matter what subject. But we’ll always have some, and we’ll try to help each other master that and embrace it and see it through and be exalted on the other end.
It’s tough being gay anyplace in society, in any church, but especially here in yours.
Absolutely. I don’t think there’s any question about that. And it’s true of so many other things about the church. We’re so defined by marriage and family. … So it’s got that added component of pain in a church where we do advocate and expect and encourage marriage — traditional marriage, man to a woman, woman to a man — and family and children. And for anyone in whatever gay or lesbian inclination may exist, … the marriage I have and the marriage I’ve seen my children have and I pray for my grandchildren to have, they say, “For me it’s an experience I’ll never have.” And true to the Holland tradition, I burst into tears, and I say, “Hope on, and wait and let me walk with you, and we’ll be faithful, be clean, and we’ll get to the end of this.”
I do know that this will not be a post-mortal condition. It will not be a post-mortal difficulty. I have a niece who cannot bear children. That is the sorrow and the tragedy of her life. She who was born to give birth will never give birth, and I cry with her. … I just say to her what I say to people struggling with gender identity: “Hang on, and hope on, and pray on, and this will be resolved in eternity.” These conditions will not exist post-mortality. I want that to be of some hope to some. …
Feel free to comment on the documentary in general, as well, if you watched either or both of the two segments.