Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The gay-pedophile connection and the Church

With the final sentencing of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach and convicted pedophile, a terrible chapter in American sports comes to a close. While the damage Sandusky wreaked on the lives of innocents is immeasurable, America’s gay community has also suffered at his hands. (See Jerry Sandusky Cover-Up: How the 'Gay Factor' May Have Played a Role.)

Jerry Sandusky’s despicable behavior has again reinforced the ugly myth that gay men are pedophiles, a myth that particularly impacts those of us who are gay and Mormon.

To "protect" the membership of the church, the 2010 Handbook of Instruction (Vol. 1) requires members' records to be annotated for "repeated homosexual activities", as well as pedophilia, polygamy, and incest or serious abuse of a child. This annotation can only be removed by the First Presidency after a recommendation to do so by the individual's stake president.

The effect is that an individual with an annotation will not generally be called to work with children or youth.

The implication is that individuals who engage in "repeated homosexual activities" are in fact believed by the Church to be predators (along with pedophiles and polygamists), who, because of their unholy compulsion, attempt to convert young people to a homosexual lifestyle or use children or young people to indulge their carnal desires.

This implication honestly sickens me.

The great fable that all too often impacts our relationship with members of the LDS community is this unspoken, but generally accepted belief that gay men can entice impressionable boys into homosexuality and that gay men are by nature pedophiles. This lie is so insidious that it even creeps into ally conversation and is given undeserved credence by individuals who should know better.

Let me say this clearly and unequivocally: There is no evidence that homosexual men are more inclined to pedophilia than the general population. (See this link.)

Dr. A. Nicholas Groth, a leading researcher in the field, wrote: "Are homosexual adults in general sexually attracted to children and are preadolescent children at greater risk of molestation from homosexual adults than from heterosexual adults? There is no reason to believe so. The research to date all points to there being no significant relationship between a homosexual lifestyle and child molestation."

Dr. Nathaniel McConaghy similarly cautioned against confusing homosexuality with pedophilia. He noted, "The man who offends against prepubertal or immediately postpubertal boys is typically not sexually interested in older men or in women."

As long as the Church perpetuates myths and stereotypes that fail to reflect the truth about our community, members of the Church will continue to fear us and treat us as outcasts. 

It's time for the Church to wake up to the implications of its policies and make changes where changes are required.


  1. Wholeheartedly agree, Clive. This is a horrific injustice.

  2. Thanks for writing and posting this, Clive.