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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended October 13, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 11Oct00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Parents of Gays Challenge Church Pamphlets

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- In a press conference scheduled to coincide with the LDS Church's General Conference, three LDS couples, including former LDS Bishop David Hardy and his wife, questioned the LDS Church's continuing use of four pamphlets that they said were hurtful to the parents of homosexuals and their children. All three couples have children that struggled with homosexuality, and the struggle led the Hardy's son to attempt suicide.

Hardy claimed that the pamphlets, "To Young Men Only," "To the One," "Letter to a Friend" and "For the Strength of Youth," cause "parents to condemn and turn against their gay children, destroying real families, and drive our gay children to self-loathing, despair and suicide," according to Hardy. He criticized Elder Boyd K. Packer's "To Young Men Only" for its portrayal of a young man hitting his missionary companion and knocking him to the ground to "defend" himself against homosexual advances. "It is difficult for us to understand," said Hardy. He questioned the distribution of the pamphlet in the wake of the murder of Matthew Shepherd, a Wyoming student who was beaten to death because he was homosexual. Shepherd's grandmother is an LDS Church member and raised him as a young boy.

In a statement to the media on Friday following the press conference, Harold C. Brown, Director of LDS Church Welfare Services did not deny that the pamphlets are still being distributed. "These are individuals who are children of God. We love them; we respect them," he said. "This church is a church of inclusion, not exclusion, and we welcome them and want them to be a part of the church."

But another of the couples calling attention to the problem, Gary Watts and his wife of Provo, Utah, told reporters at the press conference that conciliatory statements by LDS leaders, including President Gordon B. Hinckley, only heighten the problems with the pamphlets. He said President Hinckley's statements were markedly different than "these pamphlets which characterize our children and other gay and lesbian youth as selfish, perverted, abominable and under the control of Lucifer . . . . "

The three couples say they have had multiple contacts with LDS General Authorities and have written many letters seeking a response to their concerns, only to be met by "at best, kindly indifference." Hardy says he realizes what might be at stake because of the way he handled this complaint, "We realize that many will think it is improper or confrontational for us to resort to a public statement on this issue," said David Hardy. His wife Carlie added, "If we get excommunicated for loving our son, then so be it."


Parents of Gay Children Call LDS Pamphlets 'Insensitive'
Salt Lake Tribune 7Oct00 N1
By Bob Mims and Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune


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