“I want anyone who is a member of the Church who is gay or lesbian to know I believe you have a place in the kingdom and I recognize that sometimes it may be difficult for you to see where you fit in the Lord’s Church, but you do,” explained President M. Russell Ballard at a speech at BYU in November 2017.
In that speech, President Ballard offered timely and loving answers to tough questions about topics such as perfectionism, education, pornography, and the needs of LGBTQ saints. Recently, the Church began to feature clips from that talk on social media. The first segments were about LGBT issues and suicide.
Elder Ballard continues: “We need to listen to and understand what our LGBT brothers and sisters are feeling and experiencing. Certainly, we must do better than we have done in the past so that all members feel they have a spiritual home.”
The segments that were recently featured on social media begin at 10 minutes into the video.
Below is a transcript of the featured messages:
Question: What message do you have for LGBT young single adults?
I want anyone who is a member of the Church who is gay or lesbian to know I believe you have a place in the kingdom and I recognize that sometimes it may be difficult for you to see where you fit in the Lord’s Church, but you do.
We need to listen to and understand what our LGBT brothers and sisters are feeling and experiencing. Certainly, we must do better than we have done in the past so that all members feel they have a spiritual home where their brothers and sisters love them and where they have a place to worship and serve the Lord.
When we love God, we make and strive to keep our sacred covenants. I testify that living gospel commandments brings anyone untold blessings, allowing us to become our very best selves—exactly who God wants us to be.
Question: Where does the Church stand on LGBT civil rights?
We believe that the core rights of citizenship should be protected for all people—for LGBT people, for people of all faiths, and for everyone else. In essence, this means fairness for all.
The Church believes the best approach to balancing these rights is to protect the core rights of all groups and then to find reasonable compromises in other areas when rights conflict. This is the approach the Church endorsed as part of the recent Utah nondiscrimination legislation. We condemn, in the strongest terms, bullying or harassment of any kind. Every person is a child of God. Everyone is entitled to love and respect.
The reason that the Church supported the LoveLoud festival here in Utah County was to send a strong message that LGBT youth or anyone else should never be mistreated, and if any were troubled, they should seek help from friends, family members, and trained professionals.
I am aware of the problem of suicide. I have had close family and friends who have taken their own lives. I have studied this matter, and I wrote an article for the Ensign magazine entitled “Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not.” Suicide is a very complicated subject. Experts point out that there are multiple causes—including anxiety, depression, and chemical imbalance—that can lead to despair and loss of self-control.
Be careful in what you say about suicide and recognize that we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide. The Lord alone has all the facts, and only He would know the intent of one’s heart. We should not judge those who do take their own lives, and we should support and comfort those who are left behind after such a death of a loved one.
Finally, always remember that every life is precious—a gift from a loving Heavenly Father.
Read or watch President Ballard’s full speech.
Additional Resources About LGBT
- Church website MormonandGay.lds.org with information about same-sex attraction in the context of the gospel, including personal stories and videos
- Attend the North Star Conference, March 15-17, 2018
- LDS Resources for Same-Sex Attraction
- Gospel Topics entry on Same-Sex Attraction
- Articles on LDS365.com about LGBT issues
- Church resources about same-sex attraction available in 38 languages
Additional Resources About Suicide
- Church website Suicide Prevention and Ministering at suicide.lds.org
- Magazine articles about suicide and depression in the September 2017 issues of the Ensign, Liahona, and New Era and articles in September 2016 magazines
- Counseling and ministering helps for leaders and ward council members at MinisteringResources.lds.org
- Note that information for LGBT individuals, who may be at greater risk of suicide, and their families can be found at MormonandGay.lds.org in the Understanding section
- Articles on LDS365.com about suicide