“Clergy can most effectively minister to LGBTQ Christians by understanding their unique life situations and concerns ”
LGBTQ Christians face unique challenges because of the intersection of their sexual/gender and religious identities. Although many LGBTQ Christians leave their natal faith, most continue to affiliate religiously, including with theologically conservative churches. Clergy in theologically conservative churches in North America have struggled to know how to support LGBTQ individuals while remaining authentic to conservative theological values.
This project investigates, “How can clergy in theologically conservative congregations effectively and authentically support their LGBTQ congregants?” and “What is the impact of so doing?” Qualitative interviews with 25 LGBTQ Christians from a theologically conservative denomination (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) will help elucidate a) the circumstances under which LGBTQ Christians tend to seek pastoral care, b) the typical concerns of individuals who seek such care, c) how helpful individuals find pastoral care, and d) what kinds of care are perceived as most helpful/harmful. Quantitative surveys from over 500 LGBTQ Christians from a theologically conservative denomination (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) will examine a) the frequency with which clergy employ helpful/harmful practices, b) the relationship between clergy’s approaches to counseling LGBTQ individuals and LGBTQ health, and c) whether support from fellow congregants or clergy moderates the relationship between service attendance and health