The authors and editors of Understanding Same-Sex Attraction, include scholars, therapists, religious leaders, and people who have dealt with same-sex attraction in their personal lives; all witness that hope, healing, and help are available. True science and true religion — never at odds with each other — come together again on this important subject.
In reviewing this groundbreaking book, the Commissioner of LDS Family Services said:
"Understanding Same-Sex Attraction is a treasure chest of five hundred pages filled with 'gems of wisdom, pure and bright.'* The editors blend together information, inspiration, and instruction by engaging what they call the three pillars of religion, science, and human experience. Whether used as an introduction to the subject for anyone, a reference book for religious leaders, a study guide for someone in counseling, or for the friends and family members of those who struggle, this book has something enlightening and helpful to offer everyone . . . [This book] will become a necessary addition to the libraries of individuals, families, Church leaders, mental health providers, and institutions of learning. Anyone seeking 'gems of wisdom' will find them 'pure and bright' within the pages of this book." (*“Oh Holy Words of Truth and Love,” Text by Townsend, Music by Parry, LDS Hymns, 1985 p.271)
— Larry D. Crenshaw, L.C.S.W., D.C.S.W., Commissioner, LDS Family Services (excerpt from book review)
The authors clearly care deeply about the issue and those suffering under it, which is huge, but one of their most fundamental assertions is NOT in sync with Church teachings..
The authors strongly believe that shifts in orientation are not only possible in all cases, but claim that this view is rooted in both gospel and scientific truth.. This sentence is a good example of that: "The false belief of inborn sexual orientation denies to repentant souls the opportunity to change and will ultimately lead to discouragement, disappointment, and despair."
Science tends to believe the opposite, But much more importantly, characterizing the reality of the Atonement as a guarantee of change is not only inaccurate, but potentially damaging to a person’s faith if it is not the Lord’s will that they change in this life. Some can and do change to one degree or another, but not everyone. What He HAS promised is that all of the faithful will have the opportunity for an Eternal Marriage. That does not mean this blessing will come during this life, no matter how desperately we might want it to.
As with many of life’s most difficult crosses, the way He often helps is by giving us the strength to cary them, even carrying us in His arms when necessary, but not removing them now. He loves us more than we can imagine; He IS love. Because of that, He works in His own way, according to His own timing. It is not for us to say otherwise, no matter how well-intentioned we might be. Doing so can undermine the faith of those whom one is trying to help.
As alternatives for learning about this trial, how to continue in faith under it, and how to support those who do, I recommend:
- That We My Be One: A Gay Mormon's Perspective on Faith and Family, by Tom Christofferson (Elder Christofferson's brother),
- Voices of Hope: Latter-day Saint Perspectives on Same-Gender Attraction - An Anthology of Gospel Teachings and Personal Essays, by Ty Mansfield
- In Quiet Desperation: Understanding The Challenge Of Same-gender Attraction, by Fred & Marilyn Matis and Ty Mansfield
As a final thought, I wanted to add that this is a 2008 book (published 1/1/09). Views in LDS Family Services have progressed since then as the Brethren have spoken more on the subject. I have no doubt that the ringing endorsement that is quoted on the cover would NOT be given today.
The most vital thing is to remember that He IS faithful, now and forever, and weeps with us all.
I have experienced same-sex attractions since I was very young. It has been a battle for me throughout my life. From Bishops not understanding me and offering less than helpful counsel to my parents not understanding me...this book has been a valuable resource for me and others. I have close friends who experience these attractions as well. This book has given insight and understanding that I have hoped for for years. It hasn't given me that "magic bullet" cure, but it has given me tools and knowledge. Thank you for writing such an amazing book. It has helped me through my single life in college and now that I'm married. I hope others find the value in it.
I agree with the reviews that stated it's too bad this book didn't come out earlier. I also agree that it's a great thing it actually did come out. It is comprehensive, thorough, and rings true to Eternal Truth concerning same sex attraction. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
“Understanding Same-Sex Attraction” is a landmark publication on the subject of gay issues. The book has just the right amount of science, religion, and most importantly a foundation of love. I appreciate the work that the “Foundation for Attraction Research” is doing. They are tackling difficult issues that are so important and they are doing it in a spirit of research and kindness. Thank you, and keep up the good work!
This book has changed my life. This book does not provide a simplistic solution or quick fix to anyone struggling with same sex attractions or those trying to understand it. However, it does provided insight and a broad understanding into an extremely sensitive and difficult subject. This book answered a long list of my questions such as: How could someone possibly be attracted sexually to their own gender? Can someone just wake up one morning and realize they are gay? Is it possible to be gay and be an active member of the LDS church? Can someone be gay and/or have same sex attraction and live God’s commandments? Is there a difference between “gay” and “same sex attraction?” Besides forbidding it, what has God said through his prophets, about those who are gay or have same sex attraction? Is their scientific proof that people are born gay? Once you have lived a homosexual lifestyle, is it possible to change and successfully leave it? I have friends who have same sex attractions and live a gay lifestyle. Their kindness and caring towards others is as Christ like as anything I have ever seen. I care about my friends and yet I am repulsed by their actions because I couldn't understand how they could possibly be attracted to someone of their own gender. I have struggled with groups advocating this lifestyle and the media’s acceptance of the simple claim that people are born gay and there is scientific proof, which would infer the removal of agency or choice. I have always believed God forbids a gay lifestyle so how could he create his child to be born without an option or choices to live his law. This book provided me answers and resources to understand the issue at the individual level and its impact on our society.
I thought the information provided in this book was excellent and well rounded to address all of the most important issues of this immportant and timely subject.
This is the most complete and helpful book available to the LDS market on the subject of homosexuality. The book address the complex issues without sugar coating or saying, “pray and it will all go away.” The chapters are well balanced, with a mix of doctrinal/ecclesiastical advice, up-to-date therapeutic research, and heart-felt life stories of those who live with the issue and still stay true to the Church. I highly recommend the book to those who struggle with same-sex feelings, their parents, families, and friends, or any one else with interest in the topic.
This is a marvelous and professionally written book that has something for everyone. LDS Church members can find an increased understaning of the atonement. By reading the first part of the book, people of all faiths can become more prepared to react with sensitivity and show forth love if someone (family or friend) confides his/her challenges to them. Church leaders have a great resource for helping those they serve. It should be read by all leaders before the need arises. It would have been very useful for me when I was serving as a Bishop. Persons struggling with challenges can receive much needed help. While it is directed to those with same sex attraction, it can be helpful with sex addictions.
This book is a great gift to individuals and families that are seeking to understand SSA. It is also an accurate resource for understanding the current scientific debate that is muddled by the media's politics. Surely it is a timely book that will assist readers to be grounded religiously, professionally, and individually on a sensitive subject. Thank you!
This book combining compassion and information is an important addition to our family library and will aid us as parents, siblings, leaders and teachers in the church and community.
No book I have read to date has the clarity and insight to the challendges faced by those with same-sex attraction as this book. But it also shows that there is very good evidence for hope and recovery. May the Lord bless you for your sacrifice in bringing this book into being.
This book is inspired. The need is great. When I was a young Bishop 20 years ago, I had no resources even close to this. It is truly an inspired handbook into knowing the why and how of dealing with this issue. It is a must read for ecclesiastical leaders as well as those struggling personally to understand how to deal with the inner conflicts and ultimately realize the infinite love our Father in Heaven has for them. Finally there is gospel centered hope and help.
Where was this book 20 years ago?! It was then, as a bishop, I longed for more understanding of the scientific, clinical, social and gospel perspectives regarding same sex attraction as I counseled with members and families. Later, again as a bishop and then as a stake president I needed the background, the extensive research, the heart and compassion this volume provides for those not knowing "Where to turn for help" in an ecclesiastical role. Wish this book had been available then, but so thankful it is here now. It will bless the lives of leaders, family members and those dealing with same sex attraction. A five star rating is an understatement to be sure.....