Mormon dad with lesbian daughter launches scathing attack on his church’s homophobic teachings

The Mormon church had faced mass resignations over the 2015 anti-LGBT policy

A lifelong member of the Mormon church has written a heartfelt piece about his lesbian daughter, and how the anti-LGBT teachings of the church “damage precious spirits and destroy faith”.

David Winslow describes himself as “a 60-plus, returned missionary, temple married, father of eight, lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”, otherwise known as the Mormon or LDS church.

He wrote the opinion piece for the Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Lake City, Utah, is home to the LDS church headquarters.

He said that after his daughter came out as gay, he studied teachings on homosexuality by Mormon leaders like former and current church presidents Spencer W Kimball to Russell M Nelson.

Kimball, who was president of the church from 1973 until 1985, wrote in 1980 that the church would “excommunicate [gay people] as readily any unrepentant addict”.

He continued: “The fact that some governments and some churches and numerous corrupted individuals have tried to reduce such behavior from criminal offense to personal privilege does not change the nature nor the seriousness of the practice… This heinous homosexual sin is of the ages. Many cities and civilizations have gone out of existence because of it.”

Nelson was made president of the LDS church in 2018 after the death of former president Thomas S Monson.

In 2015, the church brought in an anti-LGBT+ policy stating that all children of same-sex parents were barred from being baptised or becoming Church members for the entirety of their childhood and until they “disavowed” their parents’ relationship.

Nelson strongly supported the policy, and said that it was “God’s will”. In 2019, the church ditched the policy after widespread protests. 

Winslow said: “The uninspired and ungodly teachings on homosexuality of these leaders were in opposition to what I know about my daughter.

“She is a beloved daughter of heavenly parents who was born without sin and homosexual.

“This absolute knowledge created cognitive dissonance and led me to question whether church leaders are truly inspired.”

Winslow added that Dallin H Oaks, the current first counselor in the first presidency of the church, has “led the church’s anti-LGBTQ efforts with unscientific and un-Christlike rhetoric for decades”.

Oaks previously said, in 2006: “In the eternal perspective, same-gender activity will only bring sorrow and grief and the loss of eternal opportunities… We urge persons with same-gender attractions to control those and to refrain from acting upon them, which is a sin.”

Winslow continued: “These teachings damage precious spirits and destroy faith.

“Is the resultant spiritual harm to members just collateral damage; and the membership resignations and LGBTQ suicides acceptable losses in the church’s battle?”

He said that Mormon presidents are seen “as prophets, seers and revelators”, but added: “Church teachings state these leaders will never lead us astray. However, if church leaders cannot distinguish revelation from confirmation bias or personal opinion, can we trust their teachings and pronouncements?

“I again implore the leaders of the church to emulate the Savior’s love to seek true revelation with empathy, strength and humility regarding God’s plan of salvation for the LGBTQ.”