585: Eric Reeves, Son of LDS Relief Society General Presidency 2nd Counselor Linda S. Reeves, Encourages Open Opposition to LDS Church SGA Policy Changes

IMG_3999Eric Reeves is the son of LDS Relief Society General Presidency Member Linda S. Reeves and former LDS mission president Melvyn Reeves.

In this episode Eric discusses:

  1. His early years in the church, his loss of faith in the LDS church,
    and how he handled this process with his very faithful family,
  2. His analysis of the recent changes to the LDS policy for “same-gender marriage” and children of same-sex couples,
  3. Why he vehemently opposes the parallels made between same-sex marriage and polygamy,
  4. Why he is speaking out publicly against the new LGBT policies, and
  5. Why he is encouraging church members to openly oppose these policies.

Finally, Eric requested that we post the following open questions for the Church regarding the new policies:

  1. Why is same-sex marriage considered “apostasy” but same-sex cohabitating is only a “transgression”?
  2. Why does the Handbook of Instruction distinguish between same-sex cohabitation and marriage but refer to polygamous relationships as “marriages”?  Was this intentional or negligence?
  3. Why can an infant with a parent who has practiced polygamy be named on church records and receive a blessing but an infant with a parent who has practiced same-sex cohabitation or marriage cannot?
  4. Why can minors with a parent who has practiced polygamy receive approval to be baptized and become church members but there is no such exception for minors with a parent who has practiced same-sex cohabitation or marriage?
  5. In short, why is the Church coming down harder on same-sex families than on polygamist families? What is the social or doctrinal motivation?

Comments

comments

84 comments for “585: Eric Reeves, Son of LDS Relief Society General Presidency 2nd Counselor Linda S. Reeves, Encourages Open Opposition to LDS Church SGA Policy Changes

  1. Andrew
    November 13, 2015 at 8:33 am

    My questions:

    1) The prohibition of children of polygamist relationships to be baptized only applies in areas where polygamy is against the law of the land. Yet the opposite is the case for same-sex marriage, why? Also, the church did not care about same-sex marriages outside the united states or before this SCOTUS ruling, why, what has changed?

    2) Whatever the rationale is regarding same-sex couples, why does the the same rationale and rule not equally apply to opposite-sex couples “living in sin,” mixed-faith scenarios, scenarios where one or both parents have been excommunicated, or any other scenario involving opposite-sex parents that might be considered “apostate” or in any way less than the ideal?

    • Robin
      November 16, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      All intelligent and fair questions I ask myself.

  2. JO
    November 13, 2015 at 8:51 am

    As I’m watching this, it’s painful to see how hesitant he is in the beginning. Incredibly careful with his words. And this makes me sad. How did we get here? Or were we always here and I just never noticed it?

  3. Matt McCain
    November 13, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Thanks John and Eric. This is one of the best Mormon Stories podcasts ever, and I have listened to them all … every single one of them.

  4. Nik
    November 13, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Thank you for this episode. This was an excellent discussion. I look forward to what else Eric has to say.

  5. Sher
    November 13, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Thank you Eric so much for this, for your kindness, compassion and courage. I was one who was fooled once by the church. I accepted the idea that people of African descent were cursed or less valiant in the pre-existence, and I promoted those ideas at the time even though they were troubling. Now they are called “folklore.” I will not be fooled again by the church, and will stay true to my conscience this time. Thank you again for what you are doing.

  6. WendyPerry
    November 13, 2015 at 10:12 am

    The best articulation and call to action by a Mormon so far. Eric’s courage is inspiring and will not fall on deaf ears. i had made the decision to speak up this morning and this podcast gives me even more hope and courage to do so. I agree so strongly with Eric regarding resignation. This is my church and I have a right and a responsibility to stand and fight. The prophet cannot lead us astray if we won’t allow it. We are always the hand of God made manifest in community.

    • B0yd
      November 13, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      Best podcast, certainly top 5. Alongside Tom Phillips in significance and timelines

      I understand your comment about it being “my church”. As much as I am very definitively resigned, and believe it is a benevolent lie, that owing to the nature of those leading it, is a malevolent lie, I am still culturally Mormon. I have given it 42 of my 44 years. But even those with just one month membership are equally culturally Mormon. The experience, or scars, are very deep

      As much as I want it to fall, and participate in helping that fall even, and rejoice that the world and members are seeing a repulsiveness we experienced and understand, there is no joy in what this is.

      Yes it has been the gift that keeps on giving, but it betrays those who work for the good the gospel is meant to represent.

      Absolutely none of us have won in this.

      The LDS Community needs leaders to speak for the voiceless.

      Thank you Eric. It IS worth it.

  7. Happily Ex
    November 13, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Thank you so much for this podcast.

    I do want to comment on the discussion beginning at 1:00:20, where the comparison between the priesthood/temple ban and this new policy occurs.

    The question is asked what the the doctrinal impetus behind the new policy could possibly be. To me it is obvious:

    As long as there are man/wife or man/multiple wife families, the doctrine of eternal marriage and the pattern of God/wives; gods-in-training/wi(ves) holds up. With families headed by same-sex parents, this internal logic does not apply, and the theology of marriage and sealings falls flat.

    The church is simply trying to hold on to its unique selling point: super VIP heaven for familes headed by a man and wife, on earth as it is in heaven. Until the church figures out how families headed by gay families work in heaven (until they make it up), this ban will stand.

    • epistememe
      November 13, 2015 at 9:14 pm

      I think you have diagnosed the underlying reasoning perfectly.

      “The church is simply trying to hold on to its unique selling point: super VIP heaven for families headed by a man and wife, on earth as it is in heaven.”

    • Caroline Udall
      November 13, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      “. . . super VIP heaven for families headed by a MAN and [accompanied by a] wife, on earth as it is in heaven. Until the church figures out how families headed by gay families work in heaven (until they make it up), this ban will stand.”

      Indeed. This is why gay marriage won’t pass muster ever (there’s no hierarchy at all if they both have the priesthood) and there won’t be any priesthood ordination that is an equal one – it’ll always be something secondary and “auxiliary” (because there’s no male dominated hierarchy if the woman has equal priesthood authority.

      It’s hard-core patriarchy.

    • Karetha
      December 6, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      OK, so not really an LOL, but…yes…LOL. Until Revelation and newly written books (discredited by authorities) can demonstrate why this is as ironically (and painfully) funny as it is…well, LOL.

  8. Martine
    November 13, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Great podcast. After everything that’s been written up in the past week I didn’t think anyone could bring up new insights but Eric does.

    I just want to add something about the argument made by James Ord regarding legal reasons why the church might have done this.
    Everyone draws the conclusion that it’s about custody. That is not Ord’s argument. His argument is that if a child is a member, the Church could be sued because its teachings disparaging the gay parent and such has been proven to be physiologically damaging. It is on that basis the gay parent would sue the church–and I’m not sure what kind of ruling one would be looking for, maybe James Ord could weigh in on that. If the child is never a member and the non-gay parent takes the child to church, that parent could be sued, but it removes the church’s liability. Custody is a separate issue.

    But yeah, great insights.

  9. Martine
    November 13, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Great podcast. After everything that’s been written this week I didn’t think any new insights could be brought out but Eric brings out several not before covered points.

    I just want to add something about the argument made by James Ord in the Thoughtful Faith interview regarding the legal aspect of this policy. Everyone seems to draw the conclusion that it’s about custody. That is not James’ argument. His argument is that if a child is baptized and exposed to teachings that disparage their gay parent, something that has been proven to be psychologically detrimental to a child, the church could be seen as liable and sued for parental interference. If the child is never a member but the non-gay parent takes them to church and exposes them to the same teaching, the church’s liability is removed, it uniquely on that parent.

    Custody is a completely separate issue from that and Eric rightly points out that a fair judge might actually be biased in favor of the gay parent if the other parent takes the child to a church that teaches them discrimination.

    But, yeah, great insights Eric. And thanks for the rallying call.

  10. Deborah Aronson
    November 13, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Finally! I have waited and waited for courage and hopefully This will break the dam. Thank you and may the Force be with us as we go forward. Thanks, John and Eric, you are JUST the son to be achingly proud of.

  11. Me
    November 13, 2015 at 11:28 am

    First off, I want to thank you guys for speaking so openly about this subject. John Dehlin, I cannot tell you how much your warmth, kindness, not to mention your prolific abilities in podcasting and disseminating honest information have touched my life. Thank you for being who you are. You have helped me so much. Thank you Eric for speaking so candidly and from your heart. I know 1 million Mormon Mom’s just as awesome as you describe your Mom, and that makes me happy that you all can be very close and see things very differently.
    Secondly, I am an “inactive” member with a TBM husband and not one, but 2 gay children. I am a stay at home Mom as well. Maybe you can imagine the agony I have felt as I have longed to leave this Church, but have stayed on the fringes for the sake of my husband and children and to give our family cohesion. I no longer believe in the Church, but for me, in my life, there is never going to be a way to escape it fully.
    I absolutely love the members and have been willing to subject myself to the constant reminders, spoken and unspoken, that I am not quite where I should be or doing what I should be doing, That somehow, some way, I need to make improvements to myself and that they will secretly try to help me do that. This inadvertent and well meaning insult to my dignity is a small price to pay for the well being of my family My husband is the most wonderful man that I know, some how, some way, through many candid and painful talks we miraculously have been able to find a middle way.

    When the news first broke about this new policy, that felt like the nail in the coffin for me. ‘ I’m done! I’m done! I’m done!’ is all I could think. i have never officially resigned because I know how much that would hurt my husband. I also have not wanted to cause my children unnecessary pain. My husband supports whatever the brethren say, and I for the first time absolutely and unequivocally cannot. As I have been processing this new policy I have wondered if my marriage could survive this. How can I, in good conscience, allow my children to attend, even for a nano second ,a church that would instruct it’s leaders in this way? How could I be married to a man who could support this? How in the hell am I supposed to protect my gay mormon children from this? I have never been in a more impossible situation.

    As I have searched my soul, some ideas opened up to my mind that gave me great comfort and hopefully might be able to help someone else.

    What I realized was that I am their primary teacher, or first teacher I should say, the church is secondary. I teach them that being gay is more than okay, it is beautiful and that God made our DNA in such a way that every human being is a unique, exquisite expression of wonder that science is only beginning to scratch the surface of. What an incredible, incredible thing! What an amazing time to be a human and be able to understand ourselves in such a way.

    No matter what I do, I cannot protect them from bigotry and ignorance. There is no way they are going to be able to escape that message entirely in this life, but I can plant a seed in their heart. In little ways, I can show them positive messages about gay families, I can introduce them to one. I can share spirituality and science, and psychology with them that reaffirm who they are. I can show them by my example and by my attitude, another way to think. This brought me a lot of comfort.

    Another story that came to mind happened In Rhwanda. If you can remember, there was a terrible genocide in 1994. Members of the Hutu majority spent 100 days slaughtering between 500,000 and 1 million Tutsi minorities. When it was all over ( and the US did nothing to help, but that is another story) and people had to go back to their daily lives, these Tutsi had to find a way to live with the Hutu. Which blew my mind. Can you imagine having to figure out how to live next door to someone who murdered your family? But they did it. I don’t know if this will help anyone else, but this story reminded me that we cannot escape each other no matter how much agony we cause each other. We need to find ways to live with each other and I want to have compassion for active believing member who are baring the weight of this decision as well. That doesn’t mean be silent about injustice, but to me it does mean remember that no matter what, the person next to you is made up of the same thing you are,

    Love to all my earthly brothers and sisters. Thanks again John and Eric. I appreciate you more than you know.

    • Jolie Moyes
      November 17, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      ERIC you have a beautiful soul; a Christ-like soul. Thank you for your comments!

  12. Lissa Hadley
    November 13, 2015 at 11:41 am

    I believe the reason the handbook targets same-sex families more than polygamous families, as Eric references in this episode, is because polygamy is still a major part of the LDS heaven. It’s a little harder to discriminate someone for living in a family situation that mirrors that of an LDS prophet regardless of how long ago the prophet lived on the earth. I’m not saying it’s impossible. I just think the history of polygamy vs. the history of homosexuality in the church makes polygamy more complicated for the leadership to root out.

    I see these policy updates as the beginning of more strict and intolerant policies to come. I can understand and relate to those that see this as a turning point in their decisions regarding their church membership.

    Thank you Eric for being honest and true to yourself. Your passion gives hope for those of us in the shadows of living a double-Mormon life, to stand up for our own truths. I think many are ready to leave fear and doubt behind and move into the light.

  13. Neela
    November 13, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Just yesterday there was a thread on the Mormon Hub about getting up at testimony meeting and bearing witness to the awfulness of The Policy. I am now galvanized. Also, while I admire those who are resigning from the church I am galvanized in the notion that the only way I’m going is if they push me out.

  14. Mike
    November 13, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    My paranoid untrusting side keeps wondering aloud in my head if this fight against homosexuals isn’t a dual strategic objective by the church to either on the one hand root out LGBT’s in the church once and for all (as is being said), or to conversely cause such a pointed public outcry that it forces them to accept LGBT’s in the church, which they would eventually have to do anyway . Either of these outcomes seem desirable for the church in each respect. On the one hand to rid itself of difficult theological questions about homosexuals from within it’s ranks, or on the other to provide an excuse for itself why it had to embrace LGBT without having to provide a theological justification for it.

    I just can’t help but thinking that the blatant position against innocent children can have no other purpose but to indirectly force an equal or greater inevitable reaction of change upon the church itself.

    What if this is just wagging the tail? I get a suspicious feeling that this has nothing to do with Homosexuality, it has to do with the truth claims of the church. The church cannot fix it’s past, so it picks a hot topic like Homosexuality that it can use to polarize people and take attention away from it’s history. Ultimately there are alot of issues with the church. In order to make great changes within the church, there must be a great revolution. The church isn’t running away from this fight, their instigating it to remain relevant, it needs this revolution just as much as anyone else wants it. This change will begin with a leadership change in the church, perhaps including letting a few apostles go. When the current pres. passes on, the next guy in line will “take it to the Lord” and approve all sorts of things like ordain women, and gay marriage. The revelation has probably already been written. The conservative half of the church can still defend the church as having no choice because of the public outcry, or they can believe in the revelation.

    Then when the church changes it’s positions, all the people who have had an issue with the church will come back to the church to defend it because “hallelujah the church changed!”. They’ll have no choice but to return if the church changes in their favor.

    The church will protect the money at all costs, everything else, EVERYTHING, is on the table. If you don’t think the church is devious enough to orchestrate something like this, just look at the current position they say God is taking against children.

    No offense, but Eric Reeves (like alot of people) is falling right into the trap. The church wants this outcry, it needs it, no different than a child seeks discipline with bad behavior. And the church needs to be controversial in doing so, because to just change would cause people to disbelieve, and we see where that has gotten the COC.

    My prediction is this: The church will change leadership, it’s positions on female ordination and gay marriage, they’ll ask for the return of all affected and intellectual members, and it’ll be the biggest membership boon since the dawn of Mormonism. Institutions like the COC will just be sitting there scratching their heads saying “we’ve been doing this all along and can’t attract new members”. Even Miley Cyrus knows that to stay relevant you have to create controversy to incite awareness about yourself. Time will surely tell.

    • Robin
      November 16, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      I think you just may be correct.

      • November 16, 2015 at 10:57 pm

        Robin,

        Like yeah! Doesn’t it cause pause, to think that such a profoundly stupid policy could be put forth? In the end, it will galvanize the progressives, and it will push the mushy middle of church members to become thinking beings who need to take a stand?

        The notion that these aging geezers think that they are whipping the millennials into a more disciplined and believing generation — NOT! They are a thinking generation with integrity, thanks to the world wide web. They all have gay friends in their circles. No Church is going to tell them that they can’t be accepting and inclusive. If 1000 years of peace are going to be ushered in, it will be with a generation who wants love, peace and acceptance. Not a generation who marginalizes, and refuses to cross aisle lines.

        The church leaders have it wrong on this one. How would you like to be working for the church public relations department right now? How miserable. It would be like herding cats., trying to keep up with the policy and back tracking announcements of these men who are ‘leaders’. It causes pause to think that 15 of them would all agree to this. They are men who come from business, retail, finance and academia. I can’t help but believe there isn’t a schism going on internally over this. A few senior members of the council, driving the pubic policy and statements. Crazy!

    • Lilli
      November 17, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Mike,

      I also believe the church is probably creating this firestorm purposely, for like Eric pointed out, it is one of the hottest buttons they could have pushed right now and they have to know that.

      I highly doubt they think they can just get rid of all the LGBT’s in the Church, or that the problem will just go away. I believe they know very well that soon most members will support SSM because they will have LGBT family or friends, which causes most people to finally accept it.

      Support for LGBT’s is like a growing tital wave coming quickly into shore and if the Church want’s to keep the lights on, then I believe it knows it will have to fully accept SSM and LGBT’s sooner rather then later.

      They probably even have the ‘revelation’ already prepared that says God has once again changed his doctrine, just in the nic of time. (like so many times in the past, just when society was demanding it).

  15. Marisa
    November 13, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    This is a wonderful podcast and I am spreading it around! I left the church in my teens though I have not had my name officially withdrawn. My entire family eventually left the church and my dad and I in particular love these podcasts and are concerned with what is currently happening within the church. I just wanted to thank you John and you Eric for speaking about this issue. It breaks my heart that people can think that policies like this don’t have a big effect and that they’re not hurtful. I’ve even heard members insist this is a policy from God. I think it is a travesty that people are afraid to speak up and question church authorities. As you mentioned, the church is full of wonderful kind people and they are taking part in something heinous by being afraid to speak out. We absolutely cannot allow for this discrimination to carry on and it really touched my heart to see how you clearly care deeply for your fellow human beings, Eric. I hope to see more podcasts with you both and I will continue to raise my voice and try to inspire others to raise theirs.
    -Marisa

  16. Happily Ex
    November 13, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    At approximately the 1 hour mark, the podcast discussion deals with parallels between the Priesthood/Temple Ban and the new Gay Parentage ban. Mr. Reeves wonders why this new ban could cause members to question the plan of salvation.

    To me it’s clear: the discriminatory policies held by the church in the past were based on how the leaders envisioned heaven, or how they wanted the membership to view their after-life blessings and earthly church/temple experiences. When blacks were said by past prophets to only be eligible as servants forever, the man/woman model wasn’t threatened even though that idea was still discriminatory. Earth life simply mirrored the afterlife.

    Lifting the priesthood/temple ban just meant that now there would be black and mixed-race (black/white) couples in the Celestial Kingdom. As on earth, so in heaven.

    Similarly, forbidding polygamy on earth where spouses exist contemporaneously while allowing multiple sealings just means happy polygamous couples will live in heaven. There’s precedent for that. Dallin Oaks and his two wives will be a polygamous group in the Celestial Kingdom.

    Unfortunately, the church hasn’t been nimble or creative enough to come up with a scenario on earth or in heaven where gay couples can fit theologically. From notating the parents on a blessing form to adding them on temple cards, these clerical issues have correlating theological implications. The church doesn’t want to come up with new or expanded ideas for how families headed by gay couples have eternal increase in the afterlife, so they’d rather exclude them on earth and throw them under the bus.

    There just hasn’t been a precedent for families headed

  17. Janice
    November 13, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Eric Thank you for your thoughtful and tender heartfelt comments. It is apparent in watching the podcast how heavily the LGBT issue is weighing on you,. I appreciate that you spoke from a place of respect for your loved ones yet had the courage to speak your own truth and insights. Anyone who has lived within the “active” reality of the Church understands without explanation the backlash in questioning and or speaking a reasonable position that does not lockstep with the ever changing “doctrinal” spin. Have courage and stand in your own truth.
    The Church has historically, instituted by Joseph Smith, applied a policy of duplicitous doctrine both within its membership as well as the public. What is curious is the FEAR and CONTROL that almost every guest acknowledges they experience if they chose to speak no matter how heinous the doctrine. It gives pause that such an environment fosters the pure love and teachings of Jesus Christ even with all the very fine and kind people.
    A few thoughts:
    1. To speak out will not change the Church. i am not suggesting not to do it but it will have little impact except on your own life and those you love who have Church affiliation. The Church will only change or modify its policies because of direct public pressure that threatens the Church politically or economically.
    2. Most people in the 60’s were not as much silent but “tossed a bone” and entrenched in the repeated message that it just was not the time and not that the Blacks were in any way inferior. Yet still there were people who left the Church when the Blacks were given the Priesthood. So it goes both ways.
    3. I think the leaders do understand how difficult it is to change; That is how people are controlled.
    4. I appreciate your bringing attention to the fact that truth is not being spoken. This policy is NOT the same as the children of polygamous unions in the ordinances that a child can receive. Yet it is as bad.
    Please do not overlook or forget the fact that when Polygamy was introduced into the Church as eternal doctrine it was shocking to members and society at large. It identified women as inherently inferior.. If you did not accept it or participate the result was eternal limitation, excommunication, economic devastation, character assassination and for some even death. The initial shock of this doctrine has just been integrated and softened over the years. Where the LGBT policy is right in front of us.
    5. True to the Church double talk its fundamental doctrine is based on polygamy. LGBT people do not fit.
    6. It is unrealistic to have Bishops handle LGBT individually. A Church wide policy is acceptable. It is just tragic that when given the opportunity such a discriminatory policy is the Church’s solution. For such bigotry I hope the Church will not longer teach of being the recipient of persecution.
    7. I have not been active in the Church for many years so I am not going to stand up in a meeting. But I also offer apology to all LGBT people for this discriminatory and painful policy. Some church members may applaud and sanction it but I do not believe it speaks for the majority. How the majority handles it is yet to be seen. I think there is major damage control concurrently being directed at members. “Don’t doubt”, ” Follow the Brethren” and stay away from unauthorized Church sources, etc. There is a lot of fear and pressure for members to maneuver.
    I understand the loss of belonging and being a part of your cultural and religious community but such policies are so un-Christlike how can they represent God’s truth?

  18. Lisa
    November 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Eric, You are so brave, your story and words moved me. These are hard times emotionally for all us. Sending you LOVE! Thank you John for all your work on Mormon Stories, love too you too.

  19. Kristin
    November 13, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Eric, thank you for your tremendous courage and your eloquence in expressing this as a human rights issue. The LDS church continues to fall on the wrong side of history. Is there any organized, public effort (via petition or other method) whereby people of conscience (I personally fall into the deadly categories of “intellectual” and “feminist”) can show support, in writing, for LGBT members, by requesting the church abolish the new policy?

  20. Hector
    November 13, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    This interview may be a pivotal moment in the next phase of action against the Church’s harsh LGBT policy. Eric’s conversation begins at a simmer and gradually rises in information and emotion until a tear boils over. It is a very courageous thing Eric Reeves is doing in sounding the alarm, and literally calling out the relatives of General Authorities who oppose this policy and urging them to stand up and be counted in opposition. I watch with interest, now, to see who will answer his call and step forward.

    • B0yd
      November 13, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Do they have the courage?

  21. Atticus
    November 13, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    November 13, 2015

    Dear Bishop

    Have you seen and read the changes to the LDS Handbook 1 released November 3, 2015 and effective immediately? This was in the NY Times, Washington Post and CNN news and international news.

    I understand why same gender marriage is not allowed in our faith, theologically this cannot change, but why is this reaching children of same gender marriages – preventing infants from receiving a name and a blessing, preventing children from being baptized until 18, and may prevent them from serving missions? The child must disavow a parent they probably love. While the child can acknowledge our Church considers same gender relationships a sin, this will put the child in an uncomfortable and harmful situation made from the Church. How is this going to effect the psyche of these children, or members that have gay family members? How is this going to spill over to the regular attending members that want fairness and love for all? What about our 2nd Article of Faith?

    The amendment change is retroactive up until 18 years and effects 18+ members that desire to serve a mission. What happens if a regular couple are married for many years and had children. One of the spouses has struggled with gay tendencies and realize they cannot change. The couple divorces. The straight spouse continues to remain active and raise the children in the church while the other spouse cohabitates with their gay partner, might marry which is now a legal right. The children of the active parent is now going to be effected if the handbook is followed exactly because they have a gay parent. What if the grandparents raise the children? There are other scenarios to consider… This amendment was put into effect to protect the children that have a gay same gender relationship parent as stated by Elder Christofferson. We as a Church are telling these kids we do not want you to be baptized as our other children. Instead of protecting a child, it can and probably will cause mental collateral damage.

    How can I as a member be expected to support this amendment? You as a Bishop and our Stake President are required to follow this handbook amendments invoked by the 12 and First Presidency. Is this not singling out the child that is trying to find their way in the world and may seek protection and growth in our Church? Childhood is difficult already. Add on having a gay parent, now add the fact they are being denied the blessings of the Church!

    What did Christ say in Matthew 19:14….”Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Is our church not the kingdom of heaven? Do we not want to look into the children’s eyes with love? The most important question is what would Christ say to all of this?

    A child born from a parent with other grievous sins can have all the blessings of the church, but children of a gay same gender marriage are excluded? What does this mean? Do we not state our Church is the only true Church? How can this be allowed to happen to children? What purpose is this really serving?

    Taking shots at the innocent is drawing the line. I will not accept this policy, nor support the Church’s decision. Tithing settlement is near and I was expecting to settle to become a member of good standing acceptable of a temple recommend. I will argue and defend the equality of any child or person in or out of the Church.

    Obviously, the doors are not open to everyone. This is open hunting and archaic discrimination. Worse than 1978 and prior for people of Black color. It cannot be compared to the amendment of polygamous born children. How sad this is. A disgusting discriminatory policy!

    Sincerely,

    • Lewis McCorvey
      November 13, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      Its not the only true church , following Jesus and his teachings from the Bible is sound and solid , following what Joseph Smith said and did is not and still is not , it never will be . The root of this LDS tree is corrupt and bad and has been about policy changes brought on by pressure , not prophecy . Totally man made from top to bottom from the start to the present day .

      Elijah Abel , black being ordained to a Elder by Joseph Smith in 1836 in Kirkland Ohio, yet Joseph said we should send the blacks back to Africa and sell the land they live on .

      Abraham Lincoln said about Brigham Young ” he is the old wet oak tree that i cant cut down , but have to go around him ” Young was for the slavery and bringing them to Utah but allowed Elder Abel be grandfathered in to serve 3 missions .

      And having a long and strong anti black doctrine which was taught , until it was called theories to be disavowed , as is the young child who now will do the same when he reaches 18 .

      Still sound like something Jesus would do ?

  22. Brett Neuberger
    November 13, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Thanks Eric and John. What an inspirational message, Eric. I too learned about the policy late last Thursday night and was up until 2 am writing my first public Facebook post about my views on the church and my objections to this hate-filled policy. Ive stayed quiet for a number of years for fear of hurting my sweet mom, but like you, I can no longer stay silent. Thank you for speaking out!

  23. Atticus
    November 13, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Please read what the 1st presidency said today regarding this issue. Apparently there have been many calls and concern. Reading the article it is not a retroactive to any child, but only those currently living in same gender relationships not having any priesthood blessings. It is only half as bad as thought. Yes there is discrimination to those children under age currently in these relationships. But at least it is only half as bad and I previously thought. I think the more members speak out again this discrimination the more clarity will be given.

    • G-
      November 13, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Atticus….”but at least it is only half as bad that I previously thought”.

      I quoted you and yes, it is NOT the same, but ‘half’ the poison being poured out of the bottle, is still poison.

  24. Atticus
    November 13, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Dear Brethren and Sisters:

    The Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles provides the following guidance in applying provisions on same-gender marriage recently added to Handbook 1:

    Revealed doctrine is clear that families are eternal in nature and purpose. We are obligated to act with that perspective for the welfare of both adults and children. The newly added Handbook provisions affirm that adults who choose to enter into a same-gender marriage or similar relationship commit sin that warrants a Church disciplinary council.

    Our concern with respect to children is their current and future well-being and the harmony of their home environment. The provisions of Handbook 1, Section 16.13, that restrict priesthood ordinances for minors, apply only to those children whose primary residence is with a couple living in a same-gender marriage or similar relationship. As always, local leaders may request further guidance in particular instances when they have questions.

    When a child living with such a same-gender couple has already been baptized and is actively participating in the Church, provisions of Section 16.13 do not require that his or her membership activities or priesthood privileges be curtailed or that further ordinances be withheld. Decisions about any future ordinances for such children should be made by local leaders with their prime consideration being the preparation and best interests of the child.

    All children are to be treated with utmost respect and love. They are welcome to attend Church meetings and participate in Church activities. All children may receive priesthood blessings of healing and spiritual guidance.

  25. Heather Leigh Cameron
    November 13, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    In response to the recent policy change by the LDS Church, I have this to say:
    God is not asking people to stop loving each other, as loving the Lord thy God with all your energies and loving others as you love yourself are the two great commandments and they will never change. God is simply asking people to stop engaging in behavior that He will never condone and that all beings are very sacred to Him, as everyone has a divine purpose. We are all children of God, but people tend to forget that and pursue paths that eventually turn them against the Lord, thereby causing them to lose the Spirit of God and desire to do be a child of God. When people stop desiring to be a child of God, they make shaky choices that sometimes involves attempts to destroy others for their belief in God and His teachings. This is a response to those who try to destroy what God holds sacred. We all have things that we hold sacred and would be very offended if anyone tried to mess with them. This is God’s way of saying, “Don’t mess with my sacred stuff.”

    Lehonti felt it was safe to come down the hill a little at a time and give a little at a time, but it killed him in the end. We can have tolerance, but we shouldn’t allow the tolerance to inhibit the rights that we do have and should cherish. I can see this being put in place to prevent or perhaps respond to a plea that same-gender couples might have to be sealed in the temple to their families.

    One isn’t forbidden from entering the temple if they can meet all the requirements for a temple recommend; it has nothing to do with anti-homosexuality, it’s about meeting the requirements to get a recommend so that the temple can be entered. There is nothing in the new entries about children having to stop loving their parents, as God would never stop anyone or ask anyone to stop loving their families for being different.
    There are man-made laws to protect same-sex couples, so why can’t God provide ways for those who follow Him to have a little protection for the commandments and other sacred teachings? We are asked to be tolerant of others’ beliefs, so why can’t tolerance be both given and received? Let’s not curse God and give up over THIS, as how will that help us? God has His laws and they don’t include withholding love over petty differences even if beliefs aren’t the same. We can continue to love others whether they be loved ones or friends even if we don’t agree with their beliefs. This is to prevent parents of a same-gender relationship from trying to use the same argument over being allowed enter the temple if baptism is allowed. It is about protecting what is SACRED.

    At eight years old, kids are not threats and are mostly innocent, but those in a same-gender relationship that are parenting said child may demand to be sealed in the temple to each other and to their child and ask why they cannot have that right if their child has a right to be baptized? Not all parents would react that way, but some could and would easily manipulate a child that age into trying to assist in making a same-gender sealing possible in the temple. I have read about parents in fundamentalist religions manipulating their kids into doing things that aren’t necessarily good, but they do it because they will be seen as bad if they don’t.

    Christ would protect what is sacred and He gave us the Atonement so that we could help protect what is sacred after we sacred beings were protected by His love. It says nothing about having to stop loving others just because of their beliefs. People can love each other and not necessarily believe the same things. This is a ‘love the people, not necessarily what they do’ sort of thing. It’s possible to love people without condoning their actions.

    I wonder if this has something to do with the push on re-legalizing polygamy that the whole ‘Sister Wives’ phenomena has been pulsating ALONG the whole fiasco with Kim Davis over the marriage licenses. Anyone who reads the news knows about Kim Davis and the fiasco there, but not so many know about the ‘Sister Wives’ fiasco. It’s like this: a daughter of Kody Brown, the star of TLC’s ‘Sister Wives’, tried to join the Mormon Church and refused to denounce polygamy and was swiftly refused membership for her refusal to denounce polygamy. The same daughter went on Twitter and bashed the Church for some sympathy points. This has nothing to do with anti-homosexuality; it is about protecting the rights that people have within their religion and the fact Kim Davis made such a fiasco over the license thing when she could have simply quit if she wanted to protect her religious beliefs. The Kim Davis fiasco and the push on re-legalizing polygamy are creating such negative opinions that those with different beliefs need to find ways to protect themselves through peaceful means.
    I believe the Church receives revelation from God. God never asked anyone to stop loving each other, but to stop messing with practices that He does not condone.
    It also mentioned that children of such marriages may be baptized when they are of age, able to live on their own or separate from the household where the same gender relationship is, and willing to make such a commitment on their own instead of having their decision made for them. It does not say that love has to stop being given, as God would never ask that. God never said we had to stop loving others over the different beliefs we have.

    God did not ask us to stop loving others because they are gay or engage in other behaviors He does not agree with. God merely asked us to stop engaging in behaviors that will impede our ability to hear and heed spiritual counsel He has for us. Those who already have the ordinances and blessings will not lose them and be able to progress as they are while others are given the opportunity to preserve the unity in their family by having to wait until they are old enough to make decisions on their own. God is protecting the love that a family should have for one another, as families and the love that should be within them is very, very sacred to Him and Christ!

    • B0yd
      November 13, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      Dear Lord. This is a troll. Surely.

      I could draw attention to the irony, hypocrisy and newspeak of most every line.

      Suffice this speaks enough

      >”…One isn’t forbidden from entering the temple if they can meet all the requirements for a temple recommend; it has nothing to do with anti-homosexuality, it’s about meeting the requirements to get a recommend so that the temple can be entered…..”

      Unless they are a teenager caught in Mormon Jesus 16:13, right?

    • Nancy
      November 16, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      No but it’s very condescending, the kind of love gays are grudgingly shown. We love our pets dearly but in no way do we see them as equals. Such is the case of an LGBT person in the LDS church.

      • November 16, 2015 at 10:12 pm

        Nancy, you’re right. People’s pets are thought of better than some think of LGBT people. Gratefully, those folks are few —- I believe.

        Thinking of a great comedy club joke-

        A Mormon turns to a gay guy and says: “Almost thou persuades me to be a Christian!”

        Funny how tables have turned.

    • DeAnn Morris
      November 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      The premise that the church receives revelation from God is absurd. This premise negates the entire comment.

  26. Nathan
    November 13, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    So brave. Thank you for being willing to share your story. I hope it inspires others.

  27. Mark Hudson
    November 13, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    I just read on LDS.org that children of LGBT couples that have already been blessed or baptized or whatever can retain that status, but the restrictions apply to new cases. Please explain how that makes any sense. I think they realize how bad it would look if they started to excommunicate children.

    • Robin
      November 16, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      None of this makes any sense at all. I’m a lifetime member and my twin sons are gay. I feel betrayed and don’t know if I can remain even an inactive member. My name on the membership records imply I endorse this policy. And I do not.

      • November 16, 2015 at 10:43 pm

        Robin, very poignantly said. Your thoughts really touched me. I can’t imagine the journey you’ve had with your sons. And it isn’t over. Follow your heart and do what it tells you. Family over institution is what always matters. Have courage.

        As Eric Reeves says, “speak up!” If they usher you out, you can go out kicking for truth!

        I was axed 10 years ago and have been very respectful of the institution’s rights. No more. The line has been crossed. Your sons do not deserve to be put on a list with felons, pedophiles, and other criminals — then posted in the town square for all neighbors to further marginalize their neighbor. Really?!?

        Have courage, you’re a good mom. You have permission to go out kicking! XO

  28. McGyver
    November 13, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    In all of this I have a couple questions? Does anyone truly believe God endorses intimate same sex relations? What other sins would a child be taught in their homes are acceptable to God? Did not Christ love the sinner while disavowing the sin?

  29. Kevin
    November 13, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Another question I’ve got tired of asking, mainly because I’ve asked it so many times and no one can answer it, is why can a child be baptized when a straight parent is co-habitating with someone and having pre marital sex. A serious offense in the church and a mixed message it sends to the kid from what they learn in the church and what they see at home. I mean after all we have to protect the children, am I right apologists?

    • Candy
      November 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Love is the answer to everything. All are welcomed to the children and it is not taught to turn anyone away who wants to embrace the gospel. I empathize for the LGBT community but I do not support the decision to baptize children knowing full well that they are not taught at home the standards the child agrees to keep at baptism. Children should be baptized when parents want to show their children by example how to live the gospel of Jesus Christ as set forth by the LDS church. Why baptize children when parents are cohabiting or in a same-gender marriage? That is not okay because it will confuse the child. The child will struggle between two worlds. The one she sees at home and the one in the church. That will be a difficult task for any child to decide what side to take. The child will have some adverse affect going to the church and hearing the standards of the church and then going home to parents who are not embracing those standards. Only children should be brought to the church when the parents believe and practice the religion. I didn’t allow my little sister to be baptized until she was of age because our mom was non LDS when I joined the church at almost 18. Wisdom was on my 8 yr old sister’s side because she herself decided against baptism after being taught by the missionaries. She was promptly baptized at 18 when she could live the standards of baptism and drive herself to church. She is still active to this day nearly a decade later. So many child baptisms in non lds homes do not survive in the church so we need to be careful about placing such a huge responsibility on the shoulders of children to carry by themselves. So yes I support the decision of not baptizing vulnerable children. Adults not kids should come to the church to request baptism if they want regardless of how their parents live.

      • wilburson
        November 16, 2015 at 9:25 pm

        After this policy change I can’t imagine why any LGBT person would even want their child to be a part of the church – and that is exactly what the church is banking on. They don’t wan’t this “element” in their “kingdom”. If God is really in charge of the LDS church, don’t you think He is big enough to walk along every single child through any difficulty? Unfortunately the Mormon god has a small mind and a small heart. That is the lesson all of these kids are going to learn from this and I fear they will throw the real and loving God – full of grace and mercy – out with this filthy bath water. These so called leaders of the church are going to have some serious stuff to answer for before that God!

        “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

        • November 16, 2015 at 11:12 pm

          Michael, Wilbur’s son, very well said. I couldn’t have said it better. I’ve pondered the assumption that a gay or lesbian couple would want to worship with the “saints” after this is mind boggling — in the one and only true church of Christ. Nutzo!

          A true story:

          Twenty years ago, I had been invited to dinner with others, at a gay friend’s house. He had adopted a baby girl who was now two years old. She sat at the table with us and we did the usual fawning over how cute she was, as she threw her food everywhere. Dad announced that it was bedtime. He got up, took the sweet little girl in for a bath and bedtime.

          A few minutes later, I quietly got up from the table and went upstairs to the bedrooms. As I walked pas the little girl’s room, I looked in to see a young dad kneeling beside his sweet little daughter teaching her how to pray, the same way he had been taught. It was sweet and overwhelming to see the sincerity of this young dad. A gay guy. I was touched deeply.

          For those who think that being straight gives them a supreme space in God’s universe for being good parents, think again. I’ve seen so many beautiful examples of LGBT parents who have planned for and anticipated the new, wondrous life of a child communing into their home. As I’ve witnessed, these homes have love, discipline, normalcy and all of the normal things that people who worship The Declaration of The Family have in their homes. The exact same things.

          For those who don’t understand, I would urge you to try to get to know some gay or lesbian folks who are parenting. Your heart will change.

          Michael, well said my friend.

  30. Jean Bodie
    November 13, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Eric, if I hadn’t already resigned, your impassioned plea for people to speak up would have pushed me to do so. I resigned before the church was ready to come clean with its history.
    Sadly, I was of the generation that joined the church while the ban on priesthood and ‘believed’ it came from god. Let’s face it the ban had much further reaching implications than ‘just’ black men not being ordained (women and children – second class members as with the new policies).

    I spoke out when you were going door to door in California regarding prop 8 and I have not stopped speaking out since on various issues, such as the one year ‘penalty’ for those who marry civilly and not inside the temple. My friend Michelle and I had a petition for the church to make changes to that policy and she went door to door in Canada even. John did a podcast on that issue and I SPOKE OUT.

    We must speak out against these injustices or we stand in danger of being complicit. Thank you Eric. I hope the fallout for you is less than it was for me.

  31. B0yd
    November 13, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I Applaud the courage. Articulate, intelligent, integrity. The Church has lost the best and brightest. Is it Amy surprise it has regressed into such insensitivity and bigotry

    Well done Eric. May others also say enough! And stand against marginalisation, humiliation and bigotry

    (False) doctrine aside, active, New order, cafeteria, big tent, exmo, TBM…This is not who we are.

  32. Phonin' It In From Kolob
    November 13, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks to you both for a great discussion and exposition of the actual significance of this situation. John, I don’t think you could have found a more articulate, thoughtful voice than Eric’s to explain what’s at stake here.

    The point that had the most impact for me was Eric’s exhortation to sympathetic members not to remain silent and, most importantly, not to leave silently either. My suggestion has always been to simply ignore the Brethren and their toxic policies and practices; turn around, walk away and get a life. But I think Eric is absolutely right in that the most effective protest, maybe the only effective protest, that can be made is to force the authorities to hold a disciplinary council on every last “violator” of the policy AND every last sympathizer. I couldn’t agree more that what the Church wants is for people to shut up or resign—for all of the “undesirables” to simply leave. Now I hope that people who were going to leave anyway stick around and force the leadership to deal with them. That’s a much better idea.

    • Mark Emmett
      November 13, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      “turn around, walk away and get a life.”

      Here’s betting you will NOT.

      I was a founding member of the Mormon Women’s Forum in 1993 (?), and, every 4-9 months or so, I check in just out of curiousity about WFT is going on about stuff.

      I’ll be happy to bet $$ that you will NOT “walk away and get a life” about this issue (and will patiently wait for the electrons to show such).

      • Phonin' It In From Kolob
        November 14, 2015 at 3:31 am

        Already did. Decades ago. This has been my advice to others. It’s simply my opinion. I’m aware of how hard this must be for people because so few do it. And there’s that old adage, “You can leave the church, but you can’t leave it alone,” which makes me wonder if anyone ever really leaves. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m addicted to EXMO podcasts.

  33. November 13, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    So many good adjectives could be mentioned about this podcast. What comes to mind though is loving. That we should all care so much about each other in tearing down the walls of discrimination and the heartbreak of our brothers and sisters on this planet. There is no religious reason for such condemnation. People, we are in essence all the same. Let the children be the same,
    I am of the generation right after 1978. I wish that I had used my voice way before then. I would love to join the choir of voices now and hope that there will be a song of change.

    Thank you John and Eric

  34. November 13, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    John and Eric, I appreciate this heartfelt and thought provoking podcast. Eric, thanks for this call to action. I am a gay, former Mormon, dad of 5, grandad of 10, former bishop, widowed.

    I keep asking myself, “why do I care? I’m gay but not a member of the church anymore?” I guess it is because I never lost my faith in the basic principles of Christ’s gospel. I trusted that the organization that claims to be the dispensary of that gospel and love, somehow broke a trust with so many. We could banter on and on about how wrong this policy is on so many scriptural, rational and humane levels. The Mormon Mental Health Association is beside themselves about the damage that has been done, and will be done to human souls over this. I’ve been deeply touched at the outpouring of love and reaching across the divide, by good hearted people on both sides. It has been remarkable. Many people really get it, that the first two commandments are all that matter.

    I was one of the little foot soldier missionaries during the 70’s in Brazil. We had to carry a sheet of paper in our back pocket, which had 21 points about how you can tell if someone had the blood of Cain. It was a dark time in church history. As I sat in a rickety wood and tin shack in a slum there, God spoke to me. I was sitting on the only piece of furniture, (a filthy wooden fruit crate) owned by an impoverished single mother of 6 children. Her warped floorboards rested in muck. The smell of sewage invaded the air. She was a humble, toothless, squatter in hellish conditions; trying to raise a family. At age 38, she looked weathered and old. Yet, she was cheerful. As I sat there, a voice from God came to me clearly, saying “this policy is NOT of God. God would not hold this woman responsible for the sins of an ancient ancestor.” In 1978 when this policy was lifted without so much as an apology to so many who had been hurt and wronged; ( families divided and denied) I went into a storage room at our office and knelt in prayer, crying and thanking God. It was because I literally saw faces of people who had been wronged, but who now were free; that I cried. Souls with faces. This period of life deeply affected me. I continually try to get over it. I’m embarrassed by it. I’m resentful that I was expected to be a foot soldier for it. But new and similar episodes that marginalize a new group, pop up. It’s like a pet scab that the church is addicted to picking!

    I contrast this with a simple scene near the sea of Galilee. Pastoral care was unconditionally offered by The Shepherd there. Seeing others as having faces and souls — and feelings, faith, hopes for happiness and and love, informs our behavior. We must shine light in spite of pain and wrongs. Thanks for your kind work in helping us to listen to our inner voice and in walking with peace and love, yet not tolerating discrimination. Bless you.

  35. J. Crown
    November 14, 2015 at 12:33 am

    One of my favorite podcasts ever. I found myself tearing up along with Eric towards the end. So powerful. Thanks so much Eric for your immense courage in making your voice heard. I hope your act of courage will prompt other members to step forward.

    This week I came across Seth Anderson’s post from 2013 at Rational Faiths setting forth the timeline on Mormon thinking about homosexuality. Post can be found here:

    http://rationalfaiths.com/timeline-of-mormon-thinking-about-homosexuality/

    I think it’s so important that people both in and out of the Church understand the ideological pedigree of this current policy. It will help to show how misguided and abhorrent these policies are. I think once people understand just how pernicious the Church’s teachings and behavior towards homosexuals has been, then it will be harder for those both in and out of the Church to give them a pass on this damaging new policy. Here are a few snippets copied from Seth Anderson’s excellent post:

    1. April General Conference, 1879– Apostle George Q. Cannon says that monogamy is “a false tradition” that leads to the crime against nature. He argued that allowing men to have multiple wives would decrease temptation to engage in sexual acts with other men.

    2. 13 November 1965– Ernest L. Wilkinson, President of BYU says in a talk that BYU did not intend to admit any homosexuals to campus. He continued, “if any of you have this tendency and have not completely abandoned it, may I suggest that you leave the university immediately after this assembly…we do not want others on this campus to be contaminated by your presence.”

    3. 1965– 5 BYU students commit suicide. All had been interviewed “by the counselor to homosexual problems at that time Spencer W. Kimball…”

    4. October General Conference 1976– Apostle Boyd K. Packer gives his now infamous talk entitled “To Young Men Only.” He said some young men are “tempted to handle one another, to have contact with one another in unusual ways.” He commented that “such practices are perversion….Physical mischief with another man is forbidden.” Packer also essentially advocated anti-gay violence in his speech when he recounted the story of a male missionary who had “hit” and “floored” his mission companion, apparently for simply revealing his sexual orientation. Because Packer does not specify the reason for the violent response, the talk leaves interpretation open. Packer told the missionary, “Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it and it wouldn’t be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way.” Packer told his audience, “I am not recommending that course [of violence] to you but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself.” The talk was published and is distributed today.

    (Again, all credit for pulling these quotes together goes to Seth Anderson. His post is well worth checking out and includes citations to sources.)

  36. Rebecca Chilton
    November 14, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Incredible podcast. In 8 years since my shift in beliefs, this is the first time I have felt it might be time to speak up. I have a lot of thinking to do…

  37. David Dehlin
    November 14, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    THANK YOU, Eric, for your brave, enlightening, powerful story!

  38. A Daughter
    November 14, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing this powerful and touching conversation. I am the daughter of a gay man and was raised in the church by my very faithful and loving mother. I have always felt my “otherness” at Church even though very few people knew the real story behind my parent’s divorce. Since Prop 8, I have felt that difference grow and now it seems to be a vast chasm. I still live the principles of the gospel – but have not attended church for nearly 2 years. I don’t feel that I have left the church – I fell that it has left me. I believe that we are all sons and daughters of God and that he does not make mistakes in our creation. As a group we make mistakes in accepting and loving others. My heart is broken.

  39. Vase
    November 15, 2015 at 12:39 am

    Oh heather!

    Jesus says that anyone who speaks in the name of the lord and proclaims truth and that truth even once does not come to pass, then they are a false prophet. Joseph smith fits that category. Don’t speak about gods proclamations and keeping his word sacred when the church has skipped over the very first that started it all.

    Mormons aren’t familiar with the bible as much as they should. Jesus says to not just trust everything but to study it against his word. If more Mormons read the bible you would know that is all you need. God would never give us something that could be proven wrong time and time again historically or scientifically. There is nothing that says homosexuals is wrong only that God was basically telling people to stop sleeping with one another in their many ways. No matter what sexual prefrance you are. Sleeping with everyone anytime is what’s wrong not the act itself.

    Go gay Mormons! And I do think Mike is right.

  40. November 15, 2015 at 7:52 am

    John, I’ve been a recipient of your work over the past 3 years. I have been in awe of your drive and desire to help Mormons-at-large, and the LGBT community. You have demonstrated courage in the face of opposition. You have with balance, tried to shine light on so many important issues; bringing the viewpoints of many to light. Your sacrifices are noted by so many of us that are found tossed to the fringes of the mainstream church to which we once belonged. So many of your podcasts have given me a spiritual uplift, courage and calm; to face daily life with dignity. They have helped me understand that I too have a place at the table of society and in God’s Kingdom. You’ve helped me learn that no ‘saint’ can deny me that. Continued thanks and deep gratitude I offer to you.

    Eric, I was very moved by your sincerity, intellect and courage to speak out at this time. You are a wonderful example of a younger generation. You helped me walk with a lighter heart yesterday. lI applaud your desire for knowledge. You are well versed in historical knowledge and historical perspective. I appreciate the view that you put forth on how above all, the love that we exemplify to one another is tantamount. As a gay man, I am moved by someone has the courage to stand up for a fellow traveller who is marginalized on the road of life. I have been deeply touched by your words. I appreciate more than you can know, your call to action by other thinking Mormons, to stand up and speak out. Your goodness shined in this podcast as you respectfully discussed your love for family and humanity. You remind us that what is good for the one, is good for all. The bridge that you build toward equality and love, is a bridge that you may one day need. ( sound familiar?) I’m deeply grateful for your demonstration of decency and pure brotherly love.

    Last night, I attended a private gathering of ‘saints’ in Logan, Utah to hear Terryl and Fiona Givens talk about the God Who Weeps, their wonderful tome on a loving and personal God. I had driven some 240 miles to attend. The gathering was held in a neutral space (an airplane hangar) that was generously donated by two individuals who cared that all would be welcome. The discussion about a God who is personal, caring, feeling, and who weeps with us personally and finds joy in our joys, was very moving and healing at this time of of bewilderment within the LDS church. There was a beautiful fellowship at this gathering, with much acceptance, love and inclusion. I was reminded of how odd it was that this gathering of ‘saints’ and interlopers could not be held in an LDS chapel. These were good hearted people who were simply in need of some mutual real time contact and discussion. They were wanting to be fed in more ways that the god of Facebook could give them. It was a beautiful thing. I went away feeling loved and included.

    I question why at this time are leaders who should be offering pastoral care to the fold, be the cause of so much rancor and bewilderment??? This among their own flock. I question why they would set forth a policy that binds the hands of local clergy who know the needs of their flock so well? It flies in the face of reason.

    As a gay man, I note that while I was asked to leave the Church some 12 years ago. I never gave up on my core beliefs and faith in the basic gospel of Christ. It has been so odd to me that some church members feel that LGBT people can have no spiritual thoughts, feelings, or inclinations. Some believe gays would rather be on a barstool, than on a church pew. We find ourselves at a pivotal time in history, now that the laws of our land ( in the U.S.) allow equal protections and opportunity for the same privileges and a path toward happiness and personal fulfillment. So many gay people simply want the same things in life that others do. We actually have very boring lives, like the rest of you all. We have homes, we have family, we doing normal things like house chores, vocational work, and community service hours. We help children, elderly and the poor. We’re not so different as some would imagine. Evil is not a part of the core of most gay folks I know or meet, anymore than evil that can also be found in some corners of the straight world.

    I have spent the last week, since the leak of this pernicious church policy on the treatment of LGBT individuals, deep in thought. I did not initially react with anger, just bewilderment and disbelief, at a time when I thought a beautiful and peaceful co-existence was settling in with our neighbors. I found myself in sporadic moments of tears throughout the week —- not for gay people so much, as for the many straight LDS friends and neighbors who kept reaching out saying, ” I am so sorry for this. This is not what we are about. We love you!” I wept for so many who felt their institution of faith had knocked the legs out from underneath the table where they thought all were welcome — God’s table.

    I wept thinking about new lives that would be taken over this. Both the young and older, who had lost their last shred of hope for understanding and acceptance of something that they simply don’t understand within their own being. After fighting the inner voices and demons of being inherently different; just wanting to feel like they could be part of a normal existence, like anyone else. Then to be pounded on yet again by a Faith that we theoretically believed was a dispensary of God’s true church and love; was shocking. To see the really good hearted, thinking, decent Mormons like you Eric, come out of the woodwork and rally over this thing has been remarkable.

    I believe that this is a pivotal moment in LDS history, where the soft mushy middle will need to get off dead-center and realize that living the tenants of the Faith that you profess, requires a commitment to rubbing shoulders with and caring for the ‘lepers’ around you. The progressive Mormons already get it. They understand that creating classes of people who are marginalized speaks volumes about those who marginalize. This coming from a Faith that was marginalized in the 1800’s for being peculiar. A Faith that so desperately wanted and needed acceptance of society and of a loving God.

    I wept at the notion of the ‘sifting’ of the saints to become a super class of holy individuals — really? It sounds like a precarious position to live in. Instead of a light on a hill, it sounds more like being a sepulcher full of dead men’s bones. Most Mormon neighbors of mine are kind hearted, average, workaday people who are trying to move through life, trying to avoid being peculiar, weird or exclusionary. Most are looking for meaning in life, like everyone else. I appreciate them.

    You hit the nail on the head, that this policy is a flagrant legitimization of bigotry and prejudice — outright and open. It is such an appalling statement of what is in the hearts of a few. My hope is that it will start a dialogue among average Mormons about what they are NOT! And what they will not tolerate. Thank you for being a leaven in the bread, towards this end.

  41. Lyn
    November 15, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Thank you for setting this example of speaking up.

  42. Xposit
    November 15, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks Eric for having the courage to speak up and call other members to do so. I hope many members will also follow your lead and choose not to go quietly but rather make church authorities stand up and drive you out if that’s what is truly in their hearts, and stomachs, to do. Those who continue to sit quietly in the pews hiding behind the often used, but ultimately dishonest premise, that even though they don’t understand everything ‘all will be made known in the end’ are implicit supporters of this misguided bigotry and carry every bit as much guilt and shame as any of the GAs. If ever there was a time for Mormons to stand up and “choose the right” now would certainly be it. Thanks again for speaking up buddy; you have already made a difference.

  43. wilburson
    November 16, 2015 at 2:42 am

    Dear “Moved To Action”,

    If you are who I think it is (and I am sure you are, based on the introduction in your comments) I just want to express my love and appreciation for you and the impact you had on me as a youth. You were my Young Men’s President in the late 70’s and of all the
    leaders I had in the church, it was under your leadership that I not only have the fondest memories, but the most Christ honoring. I find that to be very ironic in light of all of this. I left the church about 10 years ago precisely because I came to the conclusion – after much prayer, suffering and searching – that the church was not dispensing the true gospel of Christ. That does not change the fact, however, that I have very fond memories of my years in the church (especially my early years) with great leaders and people such as yourself. I am sorry for the pain this has caused and will cause so many precious souls. This policy is anything but Christ honoring! BTW – Our family moved to the Northwest in August of 2014 and are all happy and healthy.

    Blessings and Peace to you!

  44. Doubting Thomas
    November 16, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Eric comes across as a very decent man who is passionate about what is right. Clearly this “policy” is wrong. Wrong for children. Wrong for LGBT parents. Wrong for LDS Members. The MOST disturbing fact about this policy is the attempt to hide it from members of the church. Without John and others exposing the change only leaders would know about it.

    Eric’s plea to speak up needs to be embraced by people like Steve and Barb Young. A Huntsman. A Romney. ANYONE who can help members affect change in current leadership. Put doctrine and history aside, current leaders are making the same mistakes leaders were making in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s regarding race.

  45. Amy
    November 16, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Eric and John,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful podcast and for your genuine thoughts and opinions. To be honest, I have avoided looking into this issue all together mainly because it has just caused a lot of fear and confusion in my mind. I think people who feel uneasy about this (which I believe includes a LOT of TMBs) need to acknowledge there is a legitimate a reason for those feelings. It’s funny because the brethren are always saying when we receive uneasy feelings, that it is the Spirit trying to tell us a situation might not be safe or of God. However, if we are receiving those feelings as a result from what they are preaching, it is thoughts from the adversary trying to lead us away from the truth. We’ll how the HELL are we supposed to tell the difference? Being a Mormon essentially taught me to not trust in my own heart and mind and I am sick of it. This podcast is helping me to work up the courage to not only stand up for others but also myself. Regardless of whether we are gay or straight, this issue is about all of us!

  46. Herlinda B. Bowen
    November 16, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I benefited greatly for having listened to this podcast. I have many doubts about the church, but I also have received many blessings and privileges because of having been baptized LDS. I am learning. That’s the important thing for me. Thanks so much John and Eric.

  47. Carlene
    November 17, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Thank you so much for your voices.

    Although I don’t agree with him, I spoke with my TBM dad tonight about this, and he said that the crux is that same sex marriage is a threat to the family as is defined by the church. Families where parents are not married, or commit any other “sin”, there is still the potential for a “family” with a husband and wife. With same sex parents there is not. That is the why behind it, he said. Also he added that we cannot see the whole picture and therefore need a prophet to deliver God’s will and word.

    • November 18, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Carlene,

      I’m afraid your dad is going to be waiting a long time for a door-to-door personalized revelation to reach him. The current ‘mouthpiece for God’ is mostly homebound now with dementia. It probably won’t happen anytime soon.

    • Lilli
      November 18, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      Carlene,

      Actually, unless the Church also doesn’t allow children of divorced & remarried couples or polygamists to be baptized too, then it is being totally unfair, for remarried couples can’t be an eternal ‘family’ either according to God. For Christ condemned all divorce and polygamy as adultery. So that proves the Church is just picking on gays and their excuses don’t make sense.

  48. Steven Lester
    November 18, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Eric;

    One thing you possibly haven’t considered is the fact that The Church is a Corporation Sole, created in 1923 for President Grant, on the model of the Pope, wherein EVERYTHING that the Corporation owns is legally owned by The President of The Church of LDS, meaning every dollar and every stick and every square foot of land. Even the name of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is nothing but the intellectual property of the President, and the legal name of the Church hasn’t the name of Jesus anywhere in it.

    The Church is wealthy beyond measure, meaning that the President is wealthy beyond measure, but it also harbors a great weakness: what the State can create, It can also dissolve, and It has done it before to The Church, as you know. This is how President Carter was able to convince President Kimble to come up with the Revelation. He merely quietly threatened to dissolve the Corporation because of Its following certain illegal Civil Rights clauses, and that’s all it took.

    President Monson is well aware that this could happen again, especially since same-sex marriage is now the law of the land. So, he got with his lawyers and asked for a policy that could preclude this. And this is what they came up with. The Church was vulnerable because the Blacks were already members of the Church while the discrimination was taking place, hence a law was being broken continually. But what if membership was not an issue? Would this not make the argument of discrimination moot? Well, sure it would.

    Which is why all gay people and their children, in spite of the Scriptural prohibition of keeping the children away from the Savior, are being thrust out completely. President Monson doesn’t care about the kids. Or what the Savior said. Obviously!

    Why would he? He already owns everything completely. He remains absolutely safe.

  49. Steven Lester
    November 18, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Eric;

    One thing you possibly haven’t considered is the fact that The Church is a Corporation Sole, created in 1923 for President Grant, on the model of the Pope, wherein EVERYTHING that the Corporation owns is legally owned by The President of The Church of LDS, every dollar and every stick. Even the name of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is nothing but the intellectual property of the President, and the legal name of the Church hasn’t the name of Jesus anywhere in it.

    The Church is wealthy beyond measure, meaning that the President is wealthy beyond measure, but it also harbors a great weakness: what the State can create, It can also dissolve, and It has done it before to The Church as you know. This is how President Carter was able to convince President Kimble to come up with the Revelation. He merely quietly threatened to dissolve the Corporation because of Its breaking of certain legal Civil Rights clauses, and that’s all it took.

    President Monson is well aware that this could happen again, especially now that same-sex marriage is now the law of the land. So, he got with his lawyers and asked for a policy that could preclude this. And this is what they came up with. The Church was vulnerable because the Blacks were already members of the Church while the discrimination was taking place, hence a law was being broken continually. But what if membership was not an issue? Would this not make the argument of discrimination moot? Well, sure it would.

    Which is why all gay people and their children, in spite of the Scriptural prohibition of keeping the children away from the Savior, are being thrust out completely. President Monson doesn’t care about the kids. Or what the Savior said. Obviously!

    Why would he? He already owns everything completely. He remains completely safe.

    I wish that I could speak as well as you do.

    • November 18, 2015 at 7:16 am

      Steven,

      You are absolutely correct in your description of The Corporation of The President.

      I remember the institute director at USC during the 70’s telling me that the reason the Church was losing it’s on-campus institute properties, was because any institution that denied total equality on a campus where federal funds were given, could no longer operate there. The Church lost a beautiful chapel and a huge building of dental labs where students could study and practice.

      It was shortly after that, that an amazing ‘revelation’ came out, changing the Church’s open policy of discrimination toward blacks. Sadly, I had recently returned from Brazil as a missionary, being a little foot soldier that perpetuated this discrimination. At the time I was overjoyed at the reversal of this ‘policy’. Now I am embarrassed about that period and my involvement in it. In recent years, I was enraged that a small leak by Church public relations, simply stated online, that in any research that had been done, nothing could be found that it was ever a revelation to deny blacks full rights. I was angry and hurt that no one ever offered an explanation or apology about it to tens of thousands of people who were affected by it. Will this be the same thing regarding this bigoted policy toward this new second class of citizens in God’s kingdom: LGBT people?

      As Dallin Oaks so aptly put it, “we do not apologize……”

  50. Marlo
    November 18, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Eric. I related with your “paradigm shift”, and I relate with your views on this important topic. Especially interesting were your spot-on, informed comparisons with the SGA policy changes and the church`s handling of polygamy and racism in light of public dissent. Loved your comment about how embarrassing it would have been if the church had been at forefront of opposition for civil rights. Also how proud we might have been if church members had spoken out in favor of civil rights and equal rights within the church. Your comment about how we talk about Blacks and the Priesthood is misleading for those outside the church is definitely worth noting, too.
    Before my paradigm shift my husband and others I knew would compare the church policy on SGA to earlier racism in the church, predicting that it would eventually end up the same. I couldn`t quite accept that because to me it meant the church would not be true, since prophets would not be prophets. It seems to me they`ve made it so clear over the years that heterosexuality is part of the Lord`s eternal law and it will never change, that to back down would be problematic for many. That said, I`m beginning to think John might be right in predicting that this is the hill the church will die on. (I think he said that 🙂

  51. Marlo
    November 18, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Inspiring! Thank you, Eric.

  52. Steven Dunn
    November 20, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Eric and John, thank you. Eric, you left me weeping at the end of this incredibly important and powerful podcast. I’m a victim of the Mormon Church’s attack and open discrimination against its LGBT members. When I read the new policy by the church, I felt the same impact emotional impact as my own excommunication. In its excommunication letter to me in 1995, the stake presidency wrote, ‘In order to protect the church from people like you. . .” I was stunned, I felt brushed aside, dismissed, and totally demeaned. I couldn’t imagine the men, who were friends, neighbors, and colleagues, could so easily and callously toss me aside without any compassion for the gut-wrenching pain I was going through. I couldn’t believe that after I had served the church faithfully all of my life that I meant nothing more to the institution than that. I continue to agonize over the young gay children and adolescents who will have to survive in an even uglier hostile environment than I experienced. And the pain the church is causing gay Mormon parents as a result of this policy is truly unforgiveable. If the members and church leaders realized the depth of the damage I don’t know how they could continue. And if they do know but don’t care that they are causing harm to children and families, then there is no hope for the future of the church as a loving institution. The church runs the risk of being viewed as a nothing more than a mercenary institution more interested in money and power than in following the loving example of Christ.

    • November 20, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Steven,

      Thank you for the honest post. It harrowed up many of the same feelings in me, when this policy was announced. It was like having wounds from 20 years ago, hacked open. I am resentful that my family and married children are finding themselves in a position of defending our family unit, among their ‘loving’ LDS church members. I thought this had all passed many years ago. You are very correct in your assessment of the Church as an institution that has over $30 billion dollars in assists, and runs a global business interest.

      I sat in a cottage meeting of about 60 progressive, active Mormons of all age, in Salt Lake, last night. In a discussion about this policy. About 80% of the people in the room were straight couples, many of which were grieving and heartbroken that the Church would ask them to choose between their children and the Church. Their faith limits have been tested to the limit. A conclusion that was reached, was that this policy will eventually go away, just like so many of the Church’s ill conceived policies of the past — but not without causing a lot of pain and damage among the members.

      It was concluded by one faithful woman, that the toll that it will also take, is that members will no longer trust leaders. Many will no longer believe in their leaders as being inspired.

      In our discussion, it was concluded that in the machine of an organization like this, so many policy matters are reviewed by the legal department, committees, public relations, and then rubber stamped by quorums. It’s all business and risk protection. So much for any of it being about Christ’s church of love and pastoral care.

      We concluded that no institution can come between you and God or the Savior. You own your own relationship with a loving God and Savior. No institution can come between you and your family or friends.

      We all have an inner voice. The reason this policy is causing so much distress among average, straight Mormons is that their inner voice is telling them that this is not of Christ. It’s been crazy that the old and young are not buying into it. Ultimately, it is causing people to become more galvanized in their love and acceptance of LGBT people. This is the exact opposite of what the Church wanted. It’s becoming laughable.

      I sat last night

    • B0yd
      November 20, 2015 at 11:29 pm

      >>>‘In order to protect the church from people like you.

      Just horrible. Why are people so cruel.

      The irony is that there are no “people like you”, But there **are** people like **them**

  53. Chamaigne Montana
    November 26, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Loved this interview so much!!

  54. MH
    December 6, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    I just noticed on the lds.org website, the “talk of the week” is from Sister Reeves’ October 2015 General Women’s Session talk entitled “Worthy of Your Promised Blessings.”

    In it she quotes Pres. Packer:
    “Through the righteous exercise of this [creative] power, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy, even godhood. The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan; it is the plan.”

    Do you think this is a coincidence or a result of this podcast?

  55. Kellie park
    December 20, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Great interview ! You guys nailed it 🙂

  56. John Newell
    January 8, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    I just finished listening to this interview and was immensely impressed with this young man. People with this level of passion, commitment and leadership are very rare. Obviously he takes these things personally. I am not a Mormon (just a garden-variety Episcopalian) and I cannot understand the LDS Church or its teachings at all. But if I were, I’d hope I could demonstrate his kind of courage in trying to make it better.

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