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‘Gay’ not an option in Mormon survey on sexual orientation

First Published      Last Updated Apr 28 2014 06:08 pm

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