Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Renee V. Galliher


Renee V. Galliher


Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez


Scott C. Bates


Carolyn Barcus


Amy Bailey


Both religiosity and sexuality are acknowledged by the American Psychological Association as important considerations for overall psychosocial well-being. Consequently, the denunciation of same-sex sexuality as sinful by many religious organizations leads many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals to experience significant identity conflict. Historically, conservative religious institutions such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have offered
developmental (i.e., nonbiological) explanations as to the origins of same sexuality, along with various nonaffirming approaches including: (a) sexual orientation change efforts, (b) increased religious devotion, (c) celibacy, and (d) mixed-orientation (heterosexual) marriage. However, relatively little research has been conducted as to the actual prevalence, effectiveness, and benefits/harms of these approaches.

The present study surveyed 1,612 same-sex attracted current and former members of the Mormon Church to better understand their experiences navigating conflict between their religiosity and their sexuality. Participants reported on the prevalence, effectiveness, benefits, and harm of various approaches to navigating this conflict, including attempts to change versus accept their sexual orientation and identity, increased versus decreased religiosity, celibacy versus sexual activity, and staying single versus pursuing committed relationships (whether same-sex or heterosexual). It is hoped that these results will help religious or formerly religious lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals make informed decisions about their health and well-being. It is also hoped that these findings will help to guide the policy and recommendations offered by religious leaders, family members, friends, and mental health professionals to religious LGBT individuals.



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Psychology Commons