It's something that concerns me for a couple of reasons. For one, when people talk about the differences between men and women, and boys and girls, according to these descriptions, my mom is more like a man, my husband like a woman, and my little girl acts like a little boy. This is a further concern for me because two of my immediate family members are gay and two of my friends are lesbians (and one of them self identifies as a male). All four of these people suffered from depression during their young adulthood, and even contemplated suicide. Also, all four of them used to be members of the church, were raised by active Latter Day Saint parents, but have since left the church because of their sexual orientation.
I don't know how or when I should address these kinds of things with my child. I don't want her to suffer from depression if she also struggles with same sex attraction, but I also want her to stay close to God and the church, even as she sees that close family members live lifestyles contrary to the teachings of the gospel. I also don't want her to be a bully to others that are gay or different. How would you address this?
I think that the important question is to ask what would our Father in Heaven want us to teach. The key doctrine here is the Doctrine of the Family. This is the foundation of the Great Plan of Happiness. We were sent here to earth to get bodies and to be formed into families. The Life Here After will be made up of families. These families have mothers and fathers and are sealed by the Holy priesthood in the temples of the Lord. We need to start teaching this doctrine when our children are very young. They should know this is the Lord's plan just as plainly as they know we should not smoke or drink.
It is not enough to teach the "what" and "how" of morality we must teach the "why". It is the testimony in the "why" that empowers them to resist temptation and brings joy to their hearts in anticipation of what lies ahead for them. They need to have faith in this sure foundation while they are young. When they get older and start to ask questions about the life style of others, it is easy to refer back to the foundation that has already been laid. We need to be more concerned about not offending God than we are about not offending man. That does not mean that we should not teach love for one another, but we need to be very careful that in teaching to love others we are not teaching to be accepting of the sin.
There was a recent talk given in conference on "The Doctrine of the Family". We need to be more serious about teaching this doctrine when our children are young. If we teach this so it is not just knowledge but it is understood, then it will be natural for our children to want to keep their bodies clean and prepare of their own future families.
President Packer said that " True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior."
Joseph Smith said "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." We need to teach from the positive, the glory of eternal families rather than just focus on the rules of moral conduct. The key is to teach the correct principle (not just rules) while they are young and if we do that so they can understand and gain a testimony then they will govern themselves.