When Church Teachings are Weaponized for Shaming Others

There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it. They are just “that way” and can only yield to those desires. That is a malicious and destructive lie. While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life. From our premortal life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits. Boys are to become men –masculine, manly men –ultimately to become husbands and fathers. No one is predestined to a perverted use of these powers.

– Apostle Boyd K. Packer, “Message to Young Men,” General Conference 1976

There appears to be a consensus in the world that it (homosexuality) is natural, to one degree or another, for a percentage of the population. Therefore, we must accept it as all right. However, when you put a moral instrument on it, the needle immediately flips to the side labeled “wrong.” It may even register “dangerous.” If there has been heavy indulgence, it registers clear over to “spiritually destructive.”

The answer: It is not all right. It is wrong! It is not desirable; it is unnatural; it is abnormal; it is an affliction. When practiced, it is immoral. It is a transgression… Do not be misled by those who whisper that it is part of your nature and therefore right for you. That is false doctrine!

– Apostle Boyd K. Packer, 1978 BYU Fireside, “To the One”

Homosexuality is an ugly sin, repugnant to those who find no temptation in it, as well as to many past offenders who are seeking a way out of its clutches. It is embarrassing and unpleasant as a subject for discussion but because of its prevalence, the need to warn the uninitiated, and the desire to help those who may already be involved in it, it is discussed in this chapter.

– Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 78

Note that the Autumn Ridge neighborhood is in Sandy, Utah. The person or persons who wrote the above letter were too cowardly to sign their names.


Reply from the recipient:

Dear Autumn Ridge Neighbors:
I received a letter today addressed to all our Autumn Ridge neighbors that was full of misinformation and self-righteous pretension concerning the pride flags recently flown by some neighbors in their front yards. Besides its inaccuracies, the letter was cowardly in that it was sent anonymously. Those who expressed the opinions contained in the letter did not have the courage to own their viewpoints.

In response to that letter, I wish to state the following:

First, the Pride Flag is most generally understood to be a symbol of peace and inclusion – and a reminder of the LGBTQAI+ movements that seek to ensure equal rights and non-discrimination for these often marginalized groups of people. Additionally, the flag has come to be seen as a symbol of individuality and social equality.

Second, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has repeatedly produced public statements that acknowledge the following:

Same-Sex attraction is a sensitive issue that requires kindness, compassion, and understanding;

The website mormonandgay.lds.org reinforces the reality that God “loveth his children” (1 Nephi 11:17) and “seeks to help everyone better understand same-sex attraction from a gospel perspective.” It also reflects the reality that a person doesn’t need to choose between the two identities of “Mormon” and “Gay.”

“The Church does not take a position on the cause of same-sex attraction (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, 2006).”

“Feelings of same-sex attraction are not a sin.”

“The parent of a child who experiences same-sex attraction or identifies as gay should choose to love and embrace that child. As a community of Church members, Latter-day Saints should create a welcoming community.”

Please note the LDS Church’s official resources and statements at Same Sex Attraction: Kindness, Inclusion, and Respect for All of God’s Children.

Third, it is highly inappropriate for anyone but my Bishop to make a judgment on my temple worthiness or on my position on the covenant path based on whether or not I choose to demonstrate my civic and moral support for the LGBQA+ community’s right for equal protection of laws and non-discrimination.

Fourth, if as a kind and interested neighbor, you wish to invite me to conduct a prayerful search to review my values, my understanding of the teachings, practices, and doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the way that I am exercising my moral agency, please do so to my face.

Finally, you may be interested to know that my father, the Honorable Dale A. Kimball, a Federal judge in the District of Utah and a faithful, lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the judge who confirmed the same-sex marriages of individuals whose marriages occurred between the ruling of Judge Robert Shelby and the stay imposed by the State of Utah until the appeal on Judge Shelby’s ruling could be heard before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Shortly, thereafter, both rulings were upheld. His reasons for doing so were consistent with statute, equal protection of the laws, and non-discrimination. I have always been proud of the way in which my father has refused to legislate from the bench, has exercised fairness and temperance in his judgments, and has always resisted the temptation to impose his own personal moral beliefs on others.

Please note the observations that I have made in this letter as your concerned neighbor to which I have put my name; and also these unequivocal, public statements for which I wish to be remembered.

Cynthia K. Phillips


See also: Flying of pride flags in Sandy neighborhood draws criticism in anonymous letter

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