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But after seeing another prominent sex therapist she considers a close friend and colleague recently kicked out of the church, Butterworth is worried fewer church members will seek help in fear of being reprimanded.
Helfer was excommunicated and lost her appeal last month to remain in the faith known widely as the Mormon church — a move critics say reflects the church doubling down on some of its more conservative views on sexuality. The Salt Lake City-based church has cited comments she made in support of removing the stigma around pornography, masturbation and same-sex marriage, saying that contradicts church teachings.
Such an ouster is rare and is the harshest punishment available for a member of the faith like Helfer, who had cultivated a national reputation of pushing for mental health advocacy among church members. The majority of her patients come from a Latter-day Saint background, and many are mixed-faith couples in which one person belongs to the church and another has left.
Lauren Rogers, who was raised in the church, started a petition urging the church to reverse the decision and organized a protest outside its Salt Lake City headquarters. She said she wanted to fight for Helfer after her brother was excommunicated in for sharing his experience as a gay church member online. Helfer said she fears her case could set a precedent for removing other professionals and result in devastating consequences for church members who may no longer feel safe seeking treatment.
Church officials declined to comment on Helfer losing her appeal or the criticism against them.
Gay sex also is forbidden. What the content is is almost irrelevant. Kate Kelly, founder of a group pushing for women to be allowed in the lay clergy, was excommunicated in Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
A decision by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to kick out Helfer, a sex therapist who had publicly challenged the faith's policies on sexuality, has triggered concerns from mental health professionals. They fear the move will further embolden a culture of shame that stops church members from seeking help. Connect with the definitive source for global and local news. The Associated Press. All rights reserved.Women looking sex Mormon Lake
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