So it comes as no surprise to hear the heartbreaking story of Tom Clark, who became a Mormon missionary in 1974 and went to Italy where he fell in love with a Communist man named Gianni.
The beautiful and heartbreaking documentary about their love affair, much of which is made up of Super 8 film shot by Clark himself, brings a tenderness and a perspective to the plight of those driven into shame and sadness by the Mormon church.
One of the more prominent instances of homosexual activity by a Mormon man in the early 20th century was presiding patriarch Joseph Fielding Smith. Petersen focus their assignment on curing gay members.
He served in the position only four years before being released by church president George Albert Smith for reasons of "ill health." In 1959, in response to a rash of arrests of gay men in Utah and Idaho, church president David O. At the time, the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classified homosexuality as a mental illness, and Kimball was adamant that it could be cured.
On several occasions spanning the 70's to the early 2000's while discussing homosexuality, church leaders have alluded to their belief that the homosexual feeling may stem from a confusion over one's gender identity or gender roles. Michael Quinn has suggested that early church leaders had a more tolerant view of homosexuality given that during the 19th century, the Church (like American society as a whole) was relatively tolerant of same-sex intimate relationships.
However, at the time, many such relationships had no sexual component, and among those that did, the evidence is usually circumstantial.
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These included Evan Stephens, who had been director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir until 1916 and is the author of numerous standard church hymns, who remained single but had intimate relationships and shared the same bed with a series of male domestic partners and traveling companions. Felt and May Anderson, the church's first two general presidents of the Primary, who lived together in the same bedroom for decades and were referred to by Primary leaders as the "David and Jonathan" of Primary.
Members of the church who experience homosexual attractions, including those who self-identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, may remain in good standing in the church if they abstain from sexual relations (outside opposite-sex marriage).
acquiring and maintaining membership in the church and receiving a temple recommend is dependent upon observing the law of chastity's prohibition of sexual relationships outside a marital relationship between husband and wife.
(His marriage to a Mormon woman ended in divorce, after which he came out.) Tom now lives in Salt Lake City with his partner.
Although their romance has ended, he and Gianni still consider themselves deeply connected and close friends.
It appears that by the 1940s church leaders had a greater awareness of homosexual behavior in Utah since apostle Charles Callis had been assigned to cases of church members involved in homosexuality sometime before 1947 Since the first recorded mentions of homosexuality by general church leaders, teachings and policies around the topics of the nature, etiology, mutability, and identity around same-sex romantic and physical attractions have seen many changes through the decades, In reference to the harsh rhetoric on homosexuality of the past, the apostle Todd Christofferson stated in a 2015 interview, "I think we can express things better." Regarding this subject, apostle Dallin Oaks said, "I know that the history of the church is not to seek apologies or to give them.