Monday, October 8, 2012

North Star Offers Hope For Gay Latter-day Saints Who Want To Remain Faithful Mormons

Quite by accident, I discovered this resource from a link to the YouTube video of Elder Dallin H. Oaks' General Conference address. North Star is a resource to help members of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints who are dealing with same-sex attraction to gain control over it without compromising their membership or standing in the Church.

Their mission statement:

The mission of North Star is to provide a place of community for Latter-day Saints who experience homosexual attraction, as well as their family, friends, and ecclesiastical leaders. North Star serves those who desire the spiritual and social support that strengthens faith, builds character, and empowers men and women to live in joy and harmony within their covenants, values, and beliefs as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As you can see, North Star fully supports the LDS Church's official position on same-sex attraction and holds that the power and grace of Christ enables each individual to renounce behavior and manage thoughts that will prevent him or her from returning into His presence. North Star takes no official position on the origin or mutability of homosexual feelings and attractions, but supports all efforts consistent with the gospel that help individuals live in more full harmony with their covenants and attain greater peace, fulfillment, and sense of individual worth, while affirming that the most essential and eternal growth and progress come through the power of the Savior and adherence to the teachings of His prophets. Thus North Star fulfills the same mission as Evergreen International.

Although North Star has no official connection with the LDS Church, LDS officials have participated in their seminars. On August 25th, 2012, there was a ten-stake training seminar held at the North Ogden Coldwater Stake Building on Same-Gender Attraction (SGA). In attendance were 400 invited Priesthood and auxiliary leaders, including stake presidencies, bishoprics, Relief Society presidencies, and young men and young women’s presidencies. This training evolved out of a proposal presented to the North Ogden Coldwater Stake President by a member of North Star. Conducting the two-hour seminar was Elder Lynn Summerhays, an Area Authority Seventy. Area Authorities are at the first level below General Authorities, but above stake presidents, so this implies some degree of official Church sanction. The purpose of the training was not to discuss how or why SGA develops, but to embrace and communicate the church’s position on relevant issues. Many attendees stated as they departed, that this was the most spiritual meeting they had ever attended.

North Star also offers help in dealing with pornography and sexual addiction recovery, sexual abuse healing, suicide prevention and education, and HIV/AIDS education and prevention. Of possible concern is how the recent law passed in California banning reparative therapy for gays under the age of 18 could affect North Star, but the law does not take effect until January 1st, 2013, and a Christian legal group has since filed a lawsuit challenging the law. Reparative therapy is only one of the strategies employed by North Star.

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