“I Just Wanted Support”: Examining How LDS Clergy May Effectively Minister to Sexual and Gender Minority Congregants

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Review of Religious Research


Springer New York LLC

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This study explored why members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) who identify as sexual or gender minorities (SGM) speak with clergy regarding their SGM identities, as well as what LDS SGMs find helpful and unhelpful in these conversations. A sample of 25 current or former LDS SGMs participated in semi-structured interviews, which were analyzed using thematic analysis. Participants reported six overarching reasons for talking with clergy, including church procedures, seeking guidance, seeking emotional comfort, seeking repentance, seeking openness, and other people’s initiation. Participants reported several ways clergy were helpful, including empathic listening, openness, and affirmative spiritual care. Participants further reported several ways clergy were unhelpful, including punishing, lacking empathic listening, having a limited worldview, and pathologizing. Clergy may benefit from understanding why LDS SGMs are speaking with them, and from utilizing helpful approaches such as empathic listening skills in their ministering efforts.

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