"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," an LDS Church ad on social media states.
A recent ad on YouTube and Facebook has caught the attention of many Church members and those outside our faith. It features a video clip addressing LGBT issues and suicide within the Church—a small portion of a larger question and answer session President M. Russell Ballard, then Elder Ballard, held at BYU in November 2017. (See the full video below. The ad shared a clip from this video starting at the 10-minute mark).
“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," Elder Ballard said in the ad.
LDS Church Spokesperson Eric Hawkins told KUTV, “The ads are part of a larger effort to promote messages from Church leaders. These ads appear on social media, including YouTube, and address a variety of topics. This excerpt is from a speech delivered by President M. Russell Ballard at BYU in November 2017."
The ad on YouTube links to the full BYU Speech, during which President Ballard says, "It's important to remember I am a general authority, but that doesn't make me an authority in general." He then goes on to say that Church leaders can answer certain types of questions but acknowledges, "There are other types of questions that require an expert in a specific subject matter."
Before giving answers to difficult questions many Church members have today, President Ballard says, "I worry sometimes that Church members expect too much from Church leaders and teachers, expecting them to be experts in subjects well beyond their duties and responsibilities. The Lord called the apostles and prophets to invite others to come unto Christ, not to obtain degrees in ancient history, biblical studies, and other fields that may be useful in answering all the questions we may have."
Here is a transcript of the messages covered in the ad:
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.
Watch the full video below. He begins speaking about LGBT members at the 10-minute mark.