LDS Gender

For those seeking understanding of gender identity issues from an LDS perspective

Important Update on Another Documented Case of Approved LDS Sex Change

To follow up on Another Documented Case of Approved LDS Sex Change, the person who is the subject of that article left a comment which further elucidates what actually happened. Here is the comment, re-posted with permission and with minor edits for clarity:

“As the person involved in the above: when I joined the church I was forbidden to go to the Temple. On reading Alma 11:43-44 I was shocked; I wanted to stay female for eternity. I prayed fervently and tearfully for many many weeks before I “felt the answer” I needed to ask. Prayerfully I wrote a letter to my Bishop asking about my eternal status and others with gender or physical abnormalities. I also requested my Patriarch[al] blessing. The letter ended up with President Kimball. During my Blessing I was told, among other things, that the Lord wanted me to be a savior for my ancestors, and [that] I would [go] to the Temple and receive my endowment. About 3 months later my Bishop called me into his office and read a section [from] a letter from [the] First Presidency via Elder Hugh W. Pinnock that I was granted full Temple [rights] as a woman. During Stake Conference I met with Elder Pinnock. He asked me several personal questions [pertaining to] the possibility of future marriage. He also stated that President Kimball had received revelation in my specific case. And that when he checked the [term] ‘transsexual woman’ had been changed to ‘woman’ on a sealed record. I met my husband-to-be while working on assignment in Connecticut, and was led to the chapel by the Holy Ghost. My husband-to-be was waiting. We were married in the Washington DC Temple in 1980 by Elder Hugh W. Pinnock. As we were [going] from the Celestial room to the sealing room we met my Patriarch who shook our hands and told me some blessings (marriage) were given and not spoken.

“We are still married today. The Lord has been with me through my life, alerted me to stomach cancer and other maladies. I know I am his spirit daughter and this life experience was to make me stronger. It seems also that all transsexuals have a brain opposite to our biological sex. I also may have had some internal female organs that were removed on the [pretext] of removing my appendix. Shortly thereafter I became chronically sick; diarrhea and vomiting lasted for over 23 years until I started taking estrogen at age 33. I was always feminine in behavior and changed roles at work [while] keeping the same job position. The only comments from co-workers being, “What took you so long?” The 5 woman friends who I have told in my present Ward consider me a girly girl.

“I know the church to be true and when I wrote to my Bishop I knew it would end up with President Kimball. I believe trusting in the Lord and his servants gave the blessing in my life. I recently wrote to President Monson as he is the last surviving member who was in the quorum when I sent my original letter to President Kimball.”

It seems like things were handled sensibly in her case, with the prophet and a member of the Seventy allowing themselves to be open to revelation on the matter. One wonders why people in the same situation nowadays are met with such a different reaction.

Another Documented Case of Approved LDS Sex Change

Over at the By Common Consent blog there is a recent article talking about a sealing that was performed in a temple between a woman of transsexual history and a man. The sealing was approved (and performed) by someone at the general authority level (possibly a Seventy). Here is an excerpt from that blog entry:

In the late 1970s, while serving as an Elders Quorum president, I witnessed what may have been the only same-sex wedding (same-sex in the sense that both partners had Y-chromosomes) ever to be performed in a Latter-day Saint temple. A year earlier, a woman who had undergone transsexual surgery was baptized in our ward. Leaders in the mission and the ward were fully aware of her status—indeed, the baptism recommend (which the bishop later showed me, since the subsequent wedding involved a member of my quorum) bore the words, “She is a transsexual.” Several months later an elder moved into the ward, the two of them fell in love, and they announced their engagement. They expressed to the bishop a desire to be married in the temple, and after he and the stake president interviewed the couple, the stake president wrote a detailed letter to the General Authority who supervised that area of the country, explicitly stating that the bride-to-be had undergone transsexual surgery.
A short time later, that General Authority wrote back to the stake president, authorizing their temple marriage. (The bishop also allowed me to see that letter.) My wife and I were invited to attend the wedding, and when we got there we were surprised to see that the ceremony was performed by the same General Authority who wrote the letter.

Very interesting case. It should be noted that the admin behind the LDS Gender blog believes the sealing to not be a same-sex one but a sealing between a man and a woman, with the woman involved unfortunately having a body at the beginning of her mortal life that improperly conveyed that she was eternally a female. Also worthy of note is that it doesn’t clarify if the transsexual woman in the story was truly shown to have a Y-chromosome or if it was just assumed that she did. It has been shown elsewhere that people can have an XX DNA karyotype but appear outwardly to be male. Further, and along those same lines, nobody really knows if a person’s DNA is truly an indicator of what their gender is. The more science learns on this topic the more it gets confused, and modern-day revelation has never stated DNA to be the final determinant of someone’s gender.

(NOTE: The temple sealing mentioned here has not been substantiated, but at LDS Gender we take in and review all pertinent potential information on our topic as we await further light and knowledge.)

Trib Talk: With Elders Oaks and Christofferson

Here’s a brand new video of Jennifer Napier-Pearce from The Salt Lake Tribune speaking with Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. When the apostles are asked directly about the transgender issue Elder Oaks replied that, “being acquainted with the unique problems of a transgender situation is something we have not had experience with, and we have some unfinished business in teaching on that.”

Documented Case of Approved LDS Sex Change

This is a case I’d heard about over 20 years ago, but I recently found the actual reference for it:

The arbitrariness of gender-based privilege in exercising priesthood is illustrated in one example from the late 1980s. A former missionary elder underwent medical tests and was discovered to possess the complete reproductive and sexual organs of a female beneath a superficial, non-functional male organ. She had surgery to restore femaleness. Her temple marriage was annulled. It was decided that her priesthood would not be revoked, but she was told she could not exercise it. It was also decided that the priesthood ordinances she performed on her mission, including several baptisms, confirmations, and blessings, would stand as valid ordinances. When she was presumed to be male, she was allowed to exercise priesthood. People accepted her authority, felt the spirit of God, and considered her administration of saving ordinances to be valid. Yet she had the reproductive organs of a woman, not a man.

From: http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=981

One wonders if the Church at that period of time considered this to be a non-elective sex reassignment/gender confirmation surgery.

TransMormon Video

Found at Upworthy is this video of Eri Hayward, a male-to-female Mormon transgender girl in Utah:

I believe this video is a couple months old so I asked Eri’s father, Ed, if he had any updates and just received the following from him via e-mail:

The documentary reached 1 million views today. Also, Eri, Keiko (my wife) and I went to a screening by Sunstone and sat on a Q&A panel afterwards. Last week we were interviewed by Natasha Parker of Mormon Mental Health association and the podcast was released today. The response we’ve gotten from the documentary has far exceeded any expectation we had.

This has been really good for Eri. I don’t think she’ll mind me sharing this since she talked about it today during the panel discussion. The amazing thing is that, from what I can tell, our Stake President doesn’t seem concerned that she is transgender, just that she keep all of the commandments as a sister in the church.

There’s also a followup podcast at the Mormon Mental Health Association website.

Survey of Mormons who have LGBT/SGA family or friends

Take the Survey Here

The purpose of this survey is to assess how members of the LDS church feel about and relate to their LGBT* or SGA** family members and friends and how they feel about various LGBT religious and social issues.

If you are (or at one time were) LDS and have LGBT/SGA family members or friends, you are invited to take this survey.

Norman Spack on transgender teens

A third example of an active, transsexual Mormon

Looks like the dam is beginning to burst. This is not only the third example I know of of an LDS person who is transsexual and also active. It’s just the third one mentioned here on this website. At the No More Strangers blog an Ann Karvalos writes about, “Lessons Learned: Going Back To Church After Transition.” The whole thing is worth reading (not that every point made there is agreed upon by the writers of this blog), but here’s a couple good quotes:

For months, I had let fear and doubt keep me from attending. For a brief period, I had lost my testimony of the church. I still believed in the restoration, the Book of Mormon and in the gospel generally, but I made some common mistakes that keep many trans* people away. In this article, I want to discuss the lessons I learned in hopes that others will not have to go through this soul-wrenching experience.…

If you are a trans* member who has either transitioned or is considering transition, don’t believe the internet hype about the church. You can still be active in the church. You can still keep your testimony and sustain our (imperfect) leaders. Just like our pioneer forebears, the walk will not be very easy but is worth every step.

Another example of an active, transsexual Mormon

Over at KRCL.org there is a new podcast about Sara who is transgender and Mormon. The podcast is just about 4 minutes and she reports being positively received by the ward(s) and stake(s) she’s been attending, even when they know her trans status. The likelihood is that we will start seeing more acceptance like this.

Transgender Awareness Month 2013

Over at the North Star website they have recently concluded their first annual Transgender Awareness Month. This looks to be observed every November to coincide with the yearly Transgender Day of Remembrance. Most, if not all, of the entries posted for this year’s Transgender Awareness Month come from members of the North Star Gender group and represent a number of people affected by gender identity issues talking about their experiences with this topic.

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