People who experience same-sex attraction often feel intense shame, worthlessness, and fear of rejection. They may feel conflicted about how to reconcile their experience with the principles of the gospel. Acknowledge the person’s faith and courage in disclosing his or her same-sex attraction and help relieve the shame he or she may feel. Reassure the individual that God loves him or her and express your love and willingness to provide emotional and spiritual support. Let the individual know that there is hope and that people who feel attracted to the same sex can live a life in harmony with the gospel.
Seek to understand the person’s situation using questions such as the following:
- What has been your experience with same-sex attraction?
- What effect has this had on your life and on your family?
- How have you responded to these attractions?
- What has helped you spiritually as you address same-sex attraction?
- How would you describe your personal connection with God?
- What would you like to see happen in your future?
- How can we utilize your strengths and talents in the church?
Determine how to best minister to those with same-sex attraction.
- Discuss the topic of same-sex attraction in various settings in the church.
- Seek to remove shame and combat stereotypes and myths.
- Avoid offering simplified solutions, such as the idea that increased faith, prayer, fasting, or marriage will eliminate same-sex attraction.
- Help the person develop a support network and life plan.
- Create an environment and culture for all members of the congregation to feel welcomed and loved.
Help the individual with the following:
- Understand your identity as a child of God and your individual strengths, talents, and abilities.
- Understand that unworthy actions do not diminish your individual worth.
- Focus on developing or maintaining healthy spiritual patterns of living. Seek to measure success by coming to Christ and strengthening emotional connections with others.
- Recognize the spiritual strengths you have already developed in facing this difficulty.
- Seek out spiritual experiences and consistently structure them into your life. Develop healthy, nonsexual, relationships with trusted individuals of the same sex.
- Identify healthy relationships you have had in the past and understand what made those positive experiences.
- Seek to strengthen relationships with family and close friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Recognize the priorities of others who may be helping you and be willing to understand that they also have shortcomings.
- Find opportunities to serve and work with others through service, fellowship, recreation, and acts of kindness.
- Utilize professional help if you need to address addictive behaviors, emotional health challenges, abuse, or other related issues.
Also see Counseling Resources at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.