The worldwide leader and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints passed away earlier this week at the age of 97. Gordon B Hinckley had been the 15th President of the Church, popularly known as the Mormons, since 1995.
In 1999, Hinckley said the following at the General Conference of the Church:
Our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married.
While clearly falling short of affirming homosexuality, it was welcomed by gay- and lesbian-oriented Saints as a long-overdue acknowledgement of their existence.
Interestingly, while the Church’s official position appears to favor celibacy for gays and lesbians, remaining non-committal on the effectiveness of reparative therapy, unofficial LDS ex-gay ministry Evergreen International seems more at home with the hardline positions of NARTH and Paul Cameron.