On the Record | A Chronology of LGBTQ+ Messaging


On the Record, an interactive PDF document, is intended to establish a historical accounting of the official statements provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the Church’s education, policy, disclosure, and messaging regarding LGBTQ+ topics.


“I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his course.”

Gordon B. Hinckley | Ensign, April 1986


If we are to understand the direction we’re headed as a community, we must acknowledge the places we’ve been, as a church.

This document has been designed to guide the reader through the chronology of Latter-day Saint and LGBTQ+ history. It serves as a resource to better understand the intersection of LGBTQ Avenue and LDS Street.

This file has been produced as an interactive PDF which allows the reader to examine the original source from which the story, quote, video, or periodical was obtained.

We invite you to study and share.

Comments (18)
  1. Chantel Rhodes (reply)

    January 8, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    This was an interesting read that prompts a lot of internal questions for me. I am not LGBTQ+, but I have a teen who identifies as nonbinary. The historical treatment of sexuality is something I find troubling for myself, as a heterosexual cisgender woman. The body is a gift from God, according to doctrine, created in God’s own image. Should we not then, learn about its functions and how to enjoy them all in healthy ways? This encompasses everything from nutrition and healthcare to mental health and sexuality. Yet we have had cultural issues being open to all of that over the years. Recent progress in positive acknowledgment and acceptance of gays and lesbians is encouraging, but the climb ahead looks challenging still.

  2. Jeff Sheffield (reply)

    July 14, 2020 at 1:32 am

    “ But how, then, is one to deal with the quotes provided in the video? Because they are stated by a few Mormon leaders, doesn’t that make them Mormon doctrine? Quite frankly, no it doesn’t. Mormons, as a group, fall into two general schools of thought when it comes to the idea of “better dead than unchaste.”

    Some people—both in and out of the Church—feel that there are things more precious than life itself. It is up to the individual to determine what those things are. Some people would gladly die protecting their country. Some would gladly die protecting their families. Some would gladly die protecting their property. Some would gladly die protecting the rights of another. Some would gladly die to protect their own sense of honor. For example, a common phrase among some groups in the military is “death before dishonor.” (It is interesting that I can find no video by the critical producer asserting that the military is a cult because they promote the idea of “death before dishonor.” http://Www.fairmormon.org

  3. Grace (reply)

    June 9, 2020 at 7:56 am

    I think a conclusion ANYONE can walk away with is that the Church DOES NOT KNOW.

    It is obvious how inconsistent the messages have been. Blame for homosexuality passes through everybody. Ideas to fight it passes through options of psychological torture to repression and suffering. God is allowed to have truths, but it’s obvious the Church does not know them, on this issue, as evidenced by the inconsistencies and lack of love.

    Personally, the reason I couldn’t finish yesterday was because this made me examine my own life. I have not always been willing to disagree with the Church as I am now. I insisted with a dear gay friend of 10+ years that the sin of Sodom was homosexuality. I told another gay friend that he was leaving God when he chose to leave BYU and stop hating who he was. I didn’t attend a friend of 20+ year’s wedding because of Elder Oak’s words and advice to parents of homosexuals: “”Don’t expect to stay overnight. Don’t expect to be a lengthy house guest. Don’t expect us to take you out and introduce you to our friends, or to deal with you in a public situation that would imply our approval of your ‘partnership.’””

    I didn’t support my friend in her happy marriage, because that’s what I thought God asked of me. Instead, I left her with fewer supports, a very unchristian thing to do. I am glad that I have changed, over the last several years. But it was appalling and heart-wrenching to see what I was once capable of believing and saying – and makes me terribly sad that the organization I would like to associate with will never offer that apology for the years of misleading its members into self-hatred and destruction of friendships and families.

  4. Melissa (reply)

    May 14, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    This weighs heavy on my heart. I am, however, grateful for any movement toward inclusion and love without conditions. I think that is what Jesus wants. I’m choosing to be on the right side of history and offer my support and unconditional love to the community.

  5. Bryce (reply)

    May 14, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    I’ve processed a lot of this personally, but what struck me most while reading through is how much parents are “blamed” for homosexuality. I feel even more empathy now for my parents who were taught these things, and the process they went/are going through to unlearn such wrong teachings. I could not have more wonderful, loving parents, and I am so sad that they were taught that homosexuality is wrong and that they were the cause of it in their child.

    • Ole Sjurdal (reply)

      January 5, 2022 at 8:41 am

      With an old bleach White ultra conservative male president of the church i don’t think anyone should hold their breth waiting for change to Come quickly.

  6. Vickie (reply)

    May 14, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    “On The Record” was meticulously compiled. Every comment, quote, talk, pamphlet and video is referenced and crossed referenced from current church information as well as church history/archives.

    This document has no agenda. It is called, “On The Record”, because it is just that, on the record.

    I know some of my friends may not fully understand the pain our kids have experienced, while quietly staying closeted as they sorted through their internal struggles with being LGBTQ+ and the words from their beloved leaders. This is compliation of the messaging they grew up with and interalized.

    I have heard over and over again from my friends, “If I was the best missionary, I believed this would be taken away”, “If I served a mission, this would go away”, “If I prayed hard enough, this would go away”, “I thought about suicide because then I would not have to deal with being gay”……

    To truly understand, try listening to conference, church talks or comments in class as a parent who has an LGBTQ+ child, or is LGBTQ+ or is not “out” yet. Words that normally would not affect you, now feel like messaging “whiplash” (Ballard versus Oaks). It can be hard, it can be heart wrenching. It can be emotionally devastating.

    I want you to know, I love my Heavenly Father and Mother and my Savior. This has not changed for me, especially since my journey with my own kids and my friends. I am commited to my LGBTQ+ family and friends. You are perfect. You were divinely created. It is a privledge to see you, to know you and to love you, unconditionally. My life is so much richer and happier because of you. xoxo

  7. Wendy (reply)

    May 14, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    This document is an historical compilation of LGBTQ+ messaging from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, beginning from the first time gays were ever mentioned by the leadership, to the present day. This document has no agenda, it is strictly a record.

    I, on the other hand, have an agenda in posting this.

    If you’ve known me in real life for longer than a few years, you’ll know that I have been a faithful and obedient member of my church all my life. I was “all in”. I had every intention of raising my kids the way I was raised. My goal was to be married in the temple and have my kids married in the temple and their kids, and so on, culminating in one of those giant “legacy” family portraits with a heavy thick wooden frame hanging over the living room mantel with all of our kids and grandkids barefoot in a field of grass smiling with their coordinating colors – proof that we were living the “Mormon (I know we don’t use that term anymore but it works best here) Dream”. (If you’re LDS, you know what I’m talking about)

    And then, after years of wrestling it out in his soul and his heart, and after years of internal struggle, Erik came out as gay. That was never in my plans. Nevertheless, ever the optimist with that legacy portrait in mind, I thought that he could still attend church with us because, well, the people were all really nice and it was pleasant to sit together on Sunday because it was our tradition. After all, it was just an hour out of the week, no big deal. I told him he didn’t have to believe everything. He could just pick out the good parts of the talks/sermons.

    That lasted for a few months, after which, we supported Erik in no longer attending. Why would we, not only agree to, but support him leaving?

    Once you know you have a gay child, you hear things through a different filter. What you never noticed before, becomes glaringly obvious. The messaging you never picked up on when you had the privilege of not HAVING to know, is now offensive to you. It’s why I can’t sit through a lesson on the Family Proclamation. It’s why I often left church (back when we attended in person) in tears. As a kid growing up in our church in the 80s, I believed being gay was a sin and an abomination and a choice. I knew the leaders of our church were homophobic. But I didn’t realize just HOW much destructive and hateful messaging was going on – because I never HAD to know.

    Now I do. I no longer have the privilege of pushing this to the side.

    Now that I know I’m the mother of a gay son, it’s my responsibility to understand how years and years of messaging, statements, comments, articles, lessons, and talks have affected how he feels about himself, the self-loathing those words have caused, the harm done to his gentle soul. I now understand that staying at church, EVEN when the people were so nice, EVEN when it was our tradition, EVEN for just an hour a week, was not healthy for him. It’s one thing for an LGBTQ adult to make the choice to participate, knowing all the facts and understanding the history and the expectations. It’s a completely different thing for a youth, who hasn’t come to terms with who he/she/they are, to sit through messaging that’s destructive to their developing heart and soul.

    So for anyone who has ever thought, “The Church doesn’t hate gay people”, please read through this document so you understand what has been said over the years and why LGBTQ folks might be bitter toward the leaders of the Church and have no interest in participating.

    And if you’re a parent of an LGBTQ child and you’ve said, “Well, we love you anyway, and church attendance is mandatory until you’re an adult.” please read through this document and understand the messaging that has been consistent over the years and that, although more subtle, still exists by leadership today. Believe me, it’s heard much louder by your LGBTQ kid(s).

    And if you’re a church leader who isn’t aware of this history, please read this document. It may give you a better understanding of how to leave the ninety and nine and go after the one, or at least understand what drove the one away in the first place.

    • Brett (reply)

      August 6, 2020 at 11:12 am

      Wendy,

      Thank you for taking the time to articulate this. I have tried unsuccessfully to explain to someone close to me–a very smart and open-minded person–the huge difference it makes to have skin in the game. I’ve tried to explain why for me, a gay man, it’s not possible to set the church leaders’ pronouncements about homosexuality aside, why this is an issue that forces me to question my faith, why I can’t simply “choose” to continue to believe. I *will* continue to try to make myself understood, and I’ll use your experience and words in that effort.

    • Debbie Allen (reply)

      June 4, 2021 at 6:41 pm

      Wendy, I’m in awe. You tell the truth, so well. Thank you.

    • Gary (reply)

      June 17, 2021 at 2:51 pm

      thank you Wendy…..amen amen ,I sat for 50 years listening and reading all the venom, hating myself to the point of breaking …. these ” general authorities ” are the worst kind of evil !! they claim to speak on behalf of God .. shame on them

  8. Bishop Carlson (reply)

    May 13, 2020 at 11:31 am

    “Your ‘?? ??? ??????’ document was forwarded to me from a member of my ward. I’m currently serving as the bishop of what I consider “a traditional Utah ward”. Over the last few years I have learned of a surprising number of LGBTQ Saints within my ward boundaries. Many of them share the pain they experience as a result of the harmful messages they hear from our Church leaders. That pain eventually leads to inactivity.

    I regret to admit that I discounted their testimonies and experiences because I could never recall any disparaging teachings from any of our church leaders on this subject. ? Admittedly, I never researched this topic. And how could our prophets and apostles ACTUALLY say the things these members were claiming they said? It didn’t seem possible.

    Reading and studying ‘?? ??? ??????’ opened my eyes!!! I had no idea how extensive the Church’s history is on this subject. My heart weeps for the LGBTQ community.

    As Latter Day Saints we MUST do better to minister and LOVE the LGBTQ community. Thank you for providing this resource. I have shared it and I encourage every member of the Church to read it and study it.”

    • Carl (reply)

      August 8, 2020 at 6:36 am

      Why are people perpetuating the lie that the 2015 policy precipitated an increase in suicides? This has been debunked statistically. Utah did not have a significant increase in suicides following the policy, and what little increase there was corresponded with an increase in the United States as a whole.

      Every life lost to suicide is precious, and the loss is tragic. But finding solutions means accurately addressing the causes.

      • LatterGayStories (reply)

        August 10, 2020 at 6:45 am

        It actually hasn’t been “proven”. Even Oaks admitted that he couldn’t be certain that the policy didn’t influence suicides. He said that we would have to wait until judgement day to make that final determination.

        That being said, I personally KNOW families who were directly impacted by suicide as a result of the November 2015 policy. Directly.

        So, your claim that it’s been debunked is a perfect example of “hoping” that the Church is blameless in this situation, but the reality is different.

      • Tina (reply)

        January 8, 2021 at 12:22 pm

        No change in the numbers doesn’t mean that the ones that did commit suicide weren’t because of the change in policy. Every death is tragic, and we should look at the reasons why they happen, not just accept them because it is in the “normal range”. The change absolutely caused several people to commit/attempt suicide. You can’t look at stats for this. They are people. You listen to their stories.

    • E (reply)

      August 31, 2020 at 8:57 pm

      Kudos to you Bishop!

  9. Jon Gardunia (reply)

    April 23, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    This is beautifully compiled. It is interesting to note that the church did respond to the increase in suicide rates in 2018. They avoided the clear fact that their policies and practices were a contributing factor. Instead of acknowledging their culpability he stated, “There’s an old sectarian notion that suicide is a sin and that someone who commits suicide is banished to hell forever. That is totally false, I believe the vast majority of cases will find that these individuals have lived heroic lives and that that suicide will not be a defining characteristic of their eternities.”

    So in essence what I hear is that he is reaffirming the rhetoric of McConkie from his book Mormon Doctrine (1958 edition) you sourced that death is preferred over being considered unchaste.

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About the host:
Kyle Ashworth
Kyle Ashworth

He’s the voice behind the Latter Gay Stories Podcast, but more importantly, he cares about helping the LGBTQ community find honesty and authenticity in their journey.
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Feel good, knowing you helped!

About the host:
Kyle Ashworth
Kyle Ashworth

He’s the voice behind Latter Gay Stories Podcast, but more importantly, he cares about LGBT people finding honesty and authenticity in their journey.
Read More