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Mormon church reaches out to LGBT community online

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PHOENIX -

In the last few years, the Mormon church has had an active media campaign on the internet and on billboards in cities across the country.

Now they're reaching out to the LGBT community with a new web site that encourages members to show love towards gays and lesbians.

It's no secret that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been outspoken in its opposition to same-sex marriage, so it may come as a surprise this week when the Salt Lake City-based faith launched a new web site aimed at those in the LGBT community called "Love One Another: A discussion on same-sex attraction."

"It sort of sounds good as sort of like, oh they're finally coming toward and showing what they should have been showing all this time of non judgement of love for all in their community," said One in Ten's Michael Weakley.

One in Ten is a local LGBT support group for teens.  Weakley says as a gesture of fellowship, it's better than nothing while he questions the motives of the Mormon leadership.

"I think the message you're sending to young people is it's okay, but they're still going to go to hell, but be nice to them," he said.

The web page states that this does not represent a departure from church doctrine that marriage is defined as only between a man and a woman.

There are testimonials from gay and lesbian Latter-Day Saints and their families who share experiences and challenges.

By acknowledging members of their church who are gay, does that build any kind of bridge?

Weakley says, "If they're trying to be loving and genuinely accepting and teaching the people in their community to be genuinely loving and accepting, then great."

So they're calling it baby steps, if not a change in doctrine or theology -- obviously the Mormon church sticking by its opposition to gay marriage, but some say it could be a step towards love and fellowship in a community that has not felt that from the Mormon church previously.

Online:

www.mormonsandgays.org
www.oneinten.org

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