And Their Questions Were Pure

And Their Questions Were Pure

And Their Questions Were Pure

I was overcome with emotion this morning as I read through dozens of heartfelt pleas for help. On November 19th, youth from around the world will have the opportunity to hear from leaders at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints regarding the realities we all face. I am deeply impressed by church leadership bringing this level of access and openness to the youth. For far too long, youth have struggled in silence with questions that racked their souls. There is healing from having a venue to openly discuss questions, and to learn they are not alone in their struggles. I applaud this amazing effort to truly minister to youth in a format that I know strengthens bonds, and testimonies.

The following questions submitted for the upcoming event illustrate that people, even those born with gender irregularities, are pouring out their souls in their quests for Divine guidance. It is clear to me these are valiant souls who just want to know they belong. I’m a little fuzzy on if I can actually publish the questions here, but here they are… I did not type these, and I have not made any corrections for grammar/spelling. I’m sure more will be asked, so visit the event website to see more.

Q: What is the church’s stance on gender dysphoria? How can we support those who are experiencing this while struggling to find their place in the church, where the divine role of gender is so important?

Q: What gender are hermaphrodites (people born with both male and female sex organs)? What about other gender disorders, such as males without the Y chromosome? How should parents react in these situations? If I have a child with both sex organs, do I raise them male or female? Should surgery be performed?

Q: Elder Oaks and Elder Ballard: I am a faithful, active member of the LDS church, and I am also transgender. I plan to restart the process to physically transitioning to living as the gender I identify as (man). I have a strong desire to remain a true disciple of Jesus Christ, what would you say to others who think those who have different circumstance are not capable of having testimonies? I know there is a lack of apostolic-revelation for this issue, but I am confident through self-revelation that this is the path God wants for me.

Q: I feel that I have a fairly solid understanding of the Church’s stance/teachings on homosexuality, but I am less confident when it comes to questions/concerns about the Church’s stance/teachings regarding transgender issues. Any help would be greatly appreciated, especially since I have multiple transgender friends.

Q: How can a member of the Church who experiences gender dysphoria receive revelation as for how they should address the distress caused by it?

Q: What are we to make of the confusion over gender identity? As the issue becomes more and more politically relevant, how do we stay respectful while maintaining our standards and beliefs? For example, do we refer to someone by their preferred gender pronouns or a changed name to be polite?

Q: If someone goes through a gender transition and lives happily that way for the rest of their lives do they become resurrected to their original biological gender?

Q: The Mormon and Gay website is an inspired spiritually uplifting source for those who face same-sex attraction. What additional spiritually uplifting sources are available for faithful members of this trial? Similarly, are there sources for the faithful who may encounter gender dysphoria?

Q: Hey Elder Ballard and Elder Oaks! I hope youbwere both well — it seemed like it from the good humour in your video. My question is this: what answer can I give to those who believe gender is fluid when explaining about gender being an essential characteristic of our premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose? Thank you for your love and service!

Q: What is the church’s stance on transgender individuals? If they aren’t able to transition back to their original gender, will they ever be able to go to the temple? Can they be members?

Q: 1. What advice do you have about interacting with friends and family who have strong views contrary to the Lord’s standards regarding LGBTQ and transgender issues? 2. Have you heard of any exceptional stories of YSA member missionaries throughout the church? How did they find success in their missionary efforts?

Q: Elder Ballard and Elder Oaks, Many of us struggle with a transgender identity that falls outside the concept of gender endorsed by the church’s teachings. While the proclamation of the family and church doctrine states that transgender feelings and emotions are outside what God would have for us, many of us still struggle to find peace of mind, and are often unable to find peace without undergoing physical changes. After undergoing certain physical changes transgender members are barred from the blessings of the temple. How much use, then, is continuing church membership and gospel practice if we are unable to receive the fullness of the gospel and fulfill our covenants with the Lord? In addition, why would God’s children be confronted with such struggles? In short: what do transgender church members have to look forward to in continuing our participation within the church? Considering the hindrance to our eternal progress, what should our focus instead be?

Q: For the past eight, soon to be nine years, I have dealt with the problem of feeling I was born the wrong gender. I don’t doubt any aspects of the gospel, I have a firm testimony in Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon, but efforts and attempts at smothering feelings over the course of nearly a decade have not worked, even with the help of counselling, prayer, and scripture studying. I know God doesn’t make any mistakes, but how can I live my life as a faithful member of the church while harboring these feelings? I just don’t know what I should do anymore.

Q: I believe in the Family Proclamation, and I support the church and it’s policies because I believe the gospel has been restored to the earth and our church is lead by inspired leaders. However I sometimes feel discourage because I experience same sex attraction. I read that gender is an eternal characteristic and I sometimes wonder what that really means. There are various people like myself who struggle with issues around the topic of sexuality and gender. There is also so much cultural influence surrounding gender deffinitions and roles and I wonder how much is eternal and how much is simply cultural. My question then I suppose is what is gods deffinition of gender? Does this differ from biological sex? As the church begins to defend the truths of the family proc more, please don’t forget about us struggling with this. We believe, we just are trying to figure out how we fit into the earthly picture. Thanks for all you do for us, and the Lord.

Q: Are we ever going to receive more knowledge about transgender people? I’m a transgender man planning my transition, but I’m afraid that I won’t receive support from my family and member friends because of the lack of policy or doctrine. I know this is the right thing for me, but church members don’t know much about it. I’m not looking forward to having to explain myself constantly to other people, and since so many people seem to think that anything to do with LGBTQ people is horrible and to be avoided, I’m afraid of being rejected by ward members. I wish people would show more of the love that we try to preach.

Q: It hasn’t been talked about by the church that much, but I really want to know how the church stands with people who are transgender. I’m currently transitioning, and there are just so many things that haven’t been answered concerning what is going to happen to me once I have surgery, or even now while I’m on hormones. What happens to the priesthood power I currently hold? How will I still be able to be a faithful member if I’m unable to serve a calling, or go to the Temple? The strongest I’ve ever felt the spirit was when I was listening to my bishop, and I was worrying so much about my future and if I should ever transition. I don’t remember the words that he said at all, but an almost unbearable amount of love and comfort filled my heart, and ever since then, I know I’ve needed to transition. If the spirit has confirmed it with me personally, then am I going down the right path, even if there isn’t anything confirming or denying it from the church? I know that its what I need to do.

Q: Hello! I’m a transgender man who’s trying my best to follow Christ’s teachings but when I pray and go to church, I’m never sure that I’m doing the right thing. Will a policy for trans members ever be released? How can a transgender member of the church do their best to live the gospel?

Q: How do I treat my transgender or genderqueer friends with love and support and still support the teachings of the Family Proclamation?

Q: We live in a time where Satan is trying his hardest to blur the lines between genders. As I observe current media trends, I feel I am taught to think that gender is a construct and that our god-given sexual assignment of male or female is simply a loose guideline to follow, and that you can associate with whatever mixture of genders you want. This confusion is leading young people to turn to bisexual lifestyles, cross-dressing, and seeking gender reassignment surgery. So I have 2 questions: My first question is this. If someone undergoes such a surgery and then discovers the gospel, will they have to return to their original gender and associate with the sex they were born with as part of the repentance process to be eligible for baptism? What would that process be like? And my second question is this. How can I show love and tolerance to people that have been led astray to live such a life? How do I balance tolerance of with a desire for them to repent?

Q: Is it wrong for church members to refer to their transgender friends and family members by their preferred pronouns?

Q: This question has cross my mind over and over as I come to know a friend who has both male and female organ, it keep me wondering, if her gender was part of the great plan of salvation, if she/he will have to do something about it or just accept who she/he is?

Q: I have several friends who are transgender or gay. I know that, as a temple recommend holder, I cannot support anything that goes against the doctrines of the Gospel. But I cannot help but feel happy for my trans friends as they begin their journey to finally becoming comfortable with who they are, and for my gay friends when they find love. I have a deep and strong testimony in the doctrines of gender and sexuality, but I also feel charity for all of Heavenly Father’s children and feel very deeply that these issues of gender identity and sexuality are real, poignant, and cannot be ignored. I feel deeply torn between my testimony and my desires to support loved ones who do not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth or are not straight. I often think to myself, “How can the Lord expect us to stop having joy for our loved ones whose gender identity or sexuality are not within His plan how can he expect those of His children to go against who they are remain in His church?”

Q: I would like to know how I can find a balance between advocating for religious freedom, and not imposing my beliefs and values on others. In my chosen profession, I will lose my license if it looks like I referred a client because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I am taught in school that it is harmful to my clients if I impose my values on them, yet, I know that living the gospel brings happiness. How do I balance these two “truths”?

Q: How can I help the homosexual members of the church have hope for a temple marriage? (With the opposite gender.) I’m at a loss of how to tell these souls to keep having hope when it seems to hopeless for them,in terms of finding appropriate spouses. Because, well let’s face it, the opposite sex isn’t exactly their type. What about church members who identify as trans-gendered?

Q: I have been dealing with feelings of transgenderism and bisexuality my whole life. I trying to have a meaningful relationship with someone of the opposite of my god-given gender. I have been able to accept with time that I was born with my correct gender. But it doesn’t nor will it make these feelings go away. I want to have a meaningful relationship with this person but those feelings creep in and begin to distort the relationship. With them being bi as well it is making things difficult. I really love them with all the energy of my soul. But I feel the relationship cannot progress until I can get this sorted out. What should I do to help reconcile these feelings and be able to move forward with our relationship?

Q: I have a question about the LGBTQ community. In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” it says that gender is very important for people. A Transgender person is one who’s gender identity does not align with the biological sex they were born with. Does the Proclamation then ask for us to follow the gender that we feel we are as was said, or is this line refering to only follow the biological sex that we were born with? Although I am not Transgender, this is a question I have been pondering for a while and I wish to understand it more.

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  • Jami November 9, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    When and where is this being broadcast/recorded/streamed, etc? Is it going out live or will it be edited for public (read church) consumption?

    • corinnevotaw Author November 9, 2017 at 10:53 pm

      The info is available on the event website. It’s a livestream I believe on the 19th of November. I’m fairly positive none of these questions will be directly addressed. These are just the ones focused on gender variance. There are thousands of other questions that are probably more applicable to the day-to-day struggles the youth of the faith face.

  • Rachel Wheeler November 9, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Corinne, are you going to take a stab at answering these questions?

    • corinnevotaw Author November 9, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      Hey Rachel. Thanks for the idea. I definitely answered these questions in my head when I read them, but it’s really not my place to speak for the church. There’s only one question that kind of through me off… talking about how gender blurring is the work of Satan (or something like that, haha…) God created animals that change gender as part of a normal life cycle. Technically, we all started as female in the womb and half of us received the right signal to turn gonads destined to be ovaries into testes. God creates intersex people. Whenever I hear somebody saying that blurring gender is immoral, I chuckle to myself and think: God does a pretty good job of blurring gender without our help 😉

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