Results of an eight-year "action research" project indicate that when people can talk about their own sexuality they can deal more easily with other issues and feelings, according to a report made by the American Lutheran Church.
The report, issued by the ALC's Division for Service and Mission in America encourages widespread invovlement of congregrations and agencies with issues related to sexuality.
The project focuses primarily on the divisions' association with the Program on Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
More than 8,000 doctors, members of the clergy, social workers and students participated in the program, which has been criticized because of its use of sexuality explicit films.
The report cites research indicating that more persons with sexual problems visit their ministers before their physicians.
The findings, it says, should encourage the church to "decade and unmask the traditional theological assumptions and biblical interpretations about human sexuality" in order to promote sexually responsible attitudes and behavior.
While admitting that such action "raises the knotty question and debate of biblical interpretation," the report states there is "the possibility of much greater clarity."
The report says that before the helping professional can assist others to achieve sexual wholeness, the professional must be comfortable with his or her own sexuality. It adds that the church and the medical profession can help people overcome "the alienation of sexual anxieties, fear, misinformation and myth."