LDS Rhetoric on Homosexuality
New Horizons for Homosexuals
See the pamphlet
by Hugo Salinas & Connell O'Donovan
In 1970 Spencer W. Kimball, with the assistance of Mark E. Petersen,
wrote a pamphlet called Hope for Transgressors that was distributed
only to branch presidents, bishops, and stake presidents in the church
who had the "privilege and responsibility to assist [homosexual Mormons]
to effect a cure and bring their lives back into total normalcy" (p. 1). This
extremely homophobic, nine page pamphlet was then greatly expanded in
1971 to become the 34 page pamphlet, New Horizons for Homosexuals.
This pamphlet was addressed directly to homosexual Mormons, rather than
to Church leaders. In 1978 New Horizons was reprinted as the
more innocuous sounding A Letter to a Friend.
Through all these changing titles, one thing remains the same: Elder
Kimball was getting his information about homosexuality from popular
magazines, rather than from prayer, revelation, or inspiration. In
New Horizons, Kimball quotes a June 11, 1965 Life story
and a January 1965 issue of Psychiatric Spectator. Elder Kimball's
views are today as obsolete as his sources.
Affirmation does not endorse the contents of Elder Kimball's pamphlet.
This is, however, an important document in showing the emergence of
anti-gay rhetoric in the LDS Church. Science no longer holds that homosexuality
is a mental illness, but the LDS Church, following Elder Kimball's views, continues to endorse so-called "therapy " to "cure" and "heal" gays and lesbians.
In the 1978 version of the pamphlet, one of the most offensive paragraphs
in the section "Dens of Vice" was removed (see page 21). The paragraph
shows how deeply misinformed Elder Kimball
was about the nature of homosexuality. It also shows his reliance on Life magazine for his information:
...Says LIFE magazine:
We can only hope the day will come when the LDS Church will stop disseminating
stereotypes, prejudices, and misinformation regarding the true nature
"In New York City, swarms of young college-age homosexuals wearing
tight pants, baggy sweaters and sneakers cluster in ragged phalanx..."
San Francisco known as the "Gay Capital" is said to have
more than thirty bars for "homos." Inspector Fish is reputed by LIFE
Magazine to have said that the 3069 arrests for homosexual offenses
in Los Angeles last year represent merely a "token number" of those
that should have been arrested. (p. 21)