Mormon sex therapist faces excommunication for supporting LGBT+ community

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04/18/2021

Natasha Helfer is a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist, who is also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, otherwise known as the LDS church or Mormon church. Helfer is one of very few sex therapists within the Mormon church and, making her even more rare in the religion, is an “advocate for sexual health in marginalised populations”, including LGBT+ people, religious minorities and women. Although she grew up in the church, and has more than two decades of experience as a sex therapist, she has now been summoned to a Mormon membership council. A membership council is a disciplinary meeting between a church member perceived to have done something wrong, and can result in complete excommunication from the church. Stephen Daley, the president of Helfer’s former stake (a group of congregations) in Kansas, told her in a letter that the church had specifically taken issue with her support for same-sex marriage, her scientific view that masturbation is a “normal part of sexual development” rather than a “sin”, and her belief that viewing porn automatically constitutes an “addiction”.

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