The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has joined with other major religions in filing a brief on the transgender case Glouchester County School Board vs. G.G. and Dierdre Grimm (full text may be found here). The major religions joining the Church in filing this brief include:
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
National Association of Evangelicals
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Christian Legal Society
Summary of the Argument
- Interpreting “sex” to mean gender identity would generate conflicts with religious persons and institutions across a range of fronts. Major religious traditions—including those represented by amici—share the belief that a person’s identity as male or female is created by God and immutable. That belief is contradicted by the U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)
- Our core beliefs and practical experience hold that gender is a given, consisting of attributes intrinsically connected with one’s birth sex—not an individual choice. We and other major religions agree that human beings are the creation of God; that He created them male and female; that to be male or female is an immutable characteristic; and that this characteristic carries certain attributes and responsibilities.
One thing is perfectly clear: sacred writings and official statements from several major religions—including those of amici—demonstrate remarkable unanimity on the origin and purpose of gender as immutable and divinely ordained.
Full Statement by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The following is the complete statement included in the brief:
Gender as a divinely ordained characteristic is central to the doctrine and beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Bible records that God created human beings in His image—“male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27 (KJV). Jesus Christ recalled the creation account when instructing his disciples about the nature and purpose of marriage. “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; [a]nd they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain but one flesh.” Mark 10:6–9.
Modern scripture confirms the biblical doctrines that human life is a product of divine creation and that each person is a son or daughter of God. “[W]e know that there is a God in heaven . . . [a]nd that he created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them.”44 All members of the human family “are begotten sons and daughters unto God.”45
In 1995, the Church’s apostolic leadership issued The Family: A Proclamation to the World, which reaffirms the Church’s long-standing doctrinal position on marriage, family, gender, and sexuality.46 It teaches, “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.”47 The Proclamation then under-scores the profound religious significance of gender: “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual pre-mortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”48 Drawing on ancient and modern scriptures, the Proclamation explains that “[i]n the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.”49 And the Proclamation teaches that men and women serve equal and complementary purposes.50
Latter-day Saints believe that birth as a male or female carries spiritual meaning. Gender identity “in large measure defines who we are, why we are here upon the earth, and what we are to do and become.”51 From an LDS perspective, “[t]he unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females were needed to implement [God’s] plan of happiness.”52 Men and women are not interchangeable. A person’s gender is to be embraced, along with the complementary but distinct paths that God ordains for men and women.
While gender is an essential and eternal attribute of personal identity, the Church acknowledges the reality of gender dysphoria and related conditions.53They impose heavy burdens, and those who bear them deserve compassion and respect. The Church welcomes efforts by responsible officials to seek mutually respectful solutions that reasonably accommodate transgender concerns while fully preserving religious liberty.54
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