Actually, the part of the pamphlet that bugged me the most has nothing to do with same sex attraction. On p.8 it states:
Someone wisely said that if we plant a garden with good seed, there will not be much need of the hoe.
Personally, I think it should read "Someone dumbly said ...". As a gardener, I've learned that the amount of cultivation needed in a garden has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the seed you planted. Cultivation is controlled more by the quality of the soil in which you planted your seed and the amount of soil enrichment you do (both before and after you plant your seed). What's odd is that the rest of the page talks about the need of spiritual nourishment and filling our lives with positive influences - which is analogous garden cultivation. It would have been better to just leave out that first sentence entirely. The rest of the paragraph stands on its own quite well.
I do understand the reservations that some have with a few of the statements. For example, on p.9 it states:
It is not helpful to flaunt homosexual tendencies or make them the subject of unnecessary observation or discussion.
The way I interpret this is that I shouldn't go around wearing a rainbow tie and calling everybody 'sweety'. But, it is, unfortunately, ambiguous and could be subject to a wide range of interpretations. I do have some stereotypical gay traits; for example, I do not like sports. I make no apologies for my disdain of sports and have subtle (and some not so subtle) ways of letting people know that I'm not interesting in talking about sports. Could someone construe this as 'flaunting my homosexual tendencies'? Perhaps.
I'm also curious about the following statement on p.3-4
... many Latter-day Saints, through individual effort, the exercise of faith, and reliance upon the enabling power of the Atonement, overcome same-gender attraction in mortality.
What exactly does it mean to 'overcome same-gender attraction'? Are they saying that these people are no longer attracted to those of the same gender? Or are they simply saying that they have it under control? And they say many have achieved this, where's the proof? I served my mission in Missouri, so 'show me'! Personally, I believe that anyone who claims to have overcome homosexuality probably started out somewhere in the middle of the Kinsey scale and have only managed to emphasize their heterosexual tendencies enough to overshadow their homosexual tendencies. Some of us don't have enough heterosexual tendencies to accomplish this regardless of how much we pray, fast, read the scriptures, etc.
I think it is worthwhile pointing out some things that the pamphlet left out (thankfully). For example, there is no mention as to the cause of homosexuality (unlike some earlier writings suggesting that homosexuality is caused by a father's inattentiveness with his children and/or masturbation during teenage years).
I'm also thankful they left out any discussion on how we should identify ourselves. Personally, I feel that how I choose to identify my sexual orientation is my own business. The church should not dictate to me how I should identify my sexual orientation any more than they should dictate how I should identify my ethnicity or my hair color. If someone chooses to associate negative connotations with words like 'gay' or 'homosexual' then that is their problem, not my problem.
I was encouraged with the following statement
Many questions, however, including some related to same-gender attracts, must await a future answer
It goes on to say
... even in the next life
however, it still leaves open the possibility that some of our questions will, eventually, be answered in this life.
For our single gay brothers and sisters, I was also encouraged by the following statement on p.4
As we follow Heavenly father's plan, our bodies, feelings, and desires will be perfected in the next life so that every one of God's children may find join in a family consisting of a husband, a wife, and children.
Although, I would like to know the scriptural basis for such a belief. Just because it's published by the church doesn't mean that this pamphlet has the same weight as scripture. I am disappointed that there is virtually nothing to comfort those of us in mixed orientation marriages. After reading this pamphlet, I feel like I'm not supposed to exist.
I'm also a little bothered by the statement on p.9 which says:
Neglecting these positive influences and withdrawing from the Church because of discouragement, perceived rejection, or a sense that you do not belong can only hurt your spirituality and your desire to control your actions.
It goes on to say:
Some people with same-gender attraction have felt rejected because members of the Church did not always show love. No member of the church should ever be intolerant.
It seems to me that they acknowledge the rejection that some have felt is very real - there is nothing perceived about it. Also, what is being done to communicate to the membership at large that intolerance towards people with same-gender attraction is not becoming of a good latter-day saint? On p.12 it states "It is helpful to visit with your bishop and other priesthood leaders ..."; but, for me personally, that ain't gonna happen until I feel more assurance that I'm not going to be judged and/or rejected simply because of unwanted attractions. And, hearing the youth say "that's so gay" and other members blaming homosexuals and same sex marriage for all of our social ills isn't giving me that assurance.
Bottom line, I feel this pamphlet is a positive step forward. It is a good tool for a Bishop to use when counseling someone with same gender attraction (certainly a lot more positive than telling them to go read "The Miracle of Forgiveness").
Anyway, this is just my $0.02 on the topic. My opinion and 50¢ will buy you a newspaper.