A website launched by current and former Mormons has petitioned leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to show “understanding” and “forgiveness” towards the gay and lesbian community.

The petition, at ldsapology.org, states: “We the undersigned, in the spirit of love and peace, earnestly seek to create a climate for reconciliation between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and gays and lesbians who have been affected by the policies, practices and politics of the Church.”

As well as the petition, the website also includes personal testimonies from those who “have experienced the pain that comes from endeavoring to change their sexual orientation in order to comply with the church teachings and policy”. The site also hosts a pamphlet on theology and homosexuality and a list of gay Mormons who have committed suicide.

Those who have signed the petition have asked for the Mormon church and the LGB community to “strive for open hearts and minds so that we might live together in peace and mutual respect,” adding: “It is long past time for those on both sides to begin treating one another with greater dignity, respect and understanding.”

The Mormon church considers marriage to be a sacred institution and homosexuality to be a ‘sin’ against God.

In an email to Associated Press, Janeen Thompson, one of the site organisers, said that the petition is a direct reaction to Mormon involvement with the coalition to pass Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California in 2008.

At the time of writing, the petition had been signed by 491 people. Organisers plan to present the petition to the Church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City on November 4th, which is the anniversary of the Propostition 8 vote.

Cheryl Nunn, who owns the site domain, said: “Most likely that may not happen, but any reduction in aggressive Mormon Church fund raising, sermons to campaign and block vote or to promote anti-gay legislation, would mean the petition message had been heard.”