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'Gay' not an option in Mormon survey on sexual orientation

Published April 28, 2014 7:56 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

During the past week, the LDS Church has been surveying Mormon "millennials" (those born between 1980 and 2000) on their attitudes about marriage and same-sex attraction — without ever mentioning the words "homosexual," "gay," "bisexual" or "transgender.

The survey was emailed to students at Brigham Young University and to members who attend a Young Single Adult Mormon congregation in Utah. Responders were told that, based on their answers, they might be contacted to participate in a larger study of the issue.

The original survey included the following question:

"What is your sexual orientation?"

Here were the only choices:

• "I am heterosexual, but I struggle with same-sex attraction."

• "I am heterosexual and do not struggle with same-sex attraction."

• "Other, please specify."

On Monday, that exchange was reworded, according to LDS Church spokeswoman Jessica Moody, "to better convey the intent of the question."

It now reads: "Do you experience same-sex attraction?" — with possible answers being: yes, no or other (the latter being an open question with space for a written response).

The survey is part of the Utah-based faith's "broader research," Moody said in a statement, "to understand the attitudes and opinions of millennials."

Not surprisingly, gay-rights activists were incensed.

"In the minds of the Mormon church's top leadership, either someone is heterosexual, or they are heterosexual and 'struggle' with a problem," writes The New Civil Rights Movement. "Actually being gay, lesbian, bisexual or any other orientation is not within the realm of possibility — as if the entire concept of homosexuality just does not exist."

Peggy Fletcher Stack