583: Changes to LDS Policy Regarding Same-Gender Relationships and Children

GagDadsIn this episode we discuss the recent changes to LDS Handbook 1 regarding LGBT members who enter into same-gender relationships, and their children.  Panelists include Natasha Helfer Parker, Dr. Kristy Money, Dr. J. Nelson Seawright, and Dr. John Dehlin.

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92 comments for “583: Changes to LDS Policy Regarding Same-Gender Relationships and Children

  1. Kevin
    November 6, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    A young kid goes to church without his or her parents because they are inactive. The kid learns that pornography is bad and don’t trust the “lies” on the Internet when it comes to the Church. The kid believes in the church and wants to be baptized. After church he goes home and one parent is watching porn while the other is on mormonthink.com. The parents have no opposition to the kid being baptized but aren’t interested themselves.

    The bishop believes the kid is sincere in their desire to join the church and allows it after parental concern despite the parents engaging in activity that is contrary to church teachings.

    How is this not the same concept?

    I do buy into the theory that the church might be starting a purge of its members. Oh well. All I can say is “adieu.”

    • Steve Peterson
      November 7, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Wow! I am not active, but I have always been appreciative of the great people who provided me a direction when I was growing up.

      However, I would have thought the church would have learned from the negative reaction to their hateful California Prop 8 funding or the negative reaction to the bigotry of pre 1978 anti black policies.

      Perhaps the policies would change if the apostles were forced to retire at a younger age.

      In any case, I am very disappointed. The policy just seems mean and very uncharitable. I hope more of the apostle’s children and grandchildren come out of the closet and get married to their same sex partners in very public ceremonies.

    • Mb
      November 9, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      I am absolutely shocked, horrified and annoyed by this new policy. While I believe in living and letting live, I understand that some Christians believe the bible specifically says homosexuality etc is bad. I believe this is their honest interpretation of gods word (whether or not I agree with the interpretation in a literal sense). As such they are free to teach this if they are so convicted to do so. For arguments sake let’s say the bible does say it’s wrong (in a literal sense) then I think many Christians who are within the church(es) who believe this have taken a stand on this issue in direct conflict with many of Christs other teachings, to not persecute or judge, to love and accept. I often say it is hypocritical and absurd that any Christian church thinks that other denominations of Christian churches are wrong as they are in no position to judge others, however specifically LDS believe they are the only “true” church and the only ones acting under the direct authority of God through the profit. This new policy of the LDS church has clearly made me realize that specifically they ARE WRONG. Why? Everything in the bible tells us that God would not turn away any sinner (all of us) seeking salvation, and certainly not a child. Therefore the claim they act under the authority of God is clearly false. This policy is obviously the work of a man (who might do well to remember he is also a sinner) who feels that they are losing the battle and wants to personally punish homosexuals for their choices by holding their children’s salvation/baptism hostage. Absolutely disgusting HUMAN abuse of power that clearly does not come from God. It’s almost laughable that they chose to do this without realizing that it is not different than saying because they are sinners their own children cannot be baptized. Again the argument of the bibles take on homosexuality is an argument for another day. However even assuming that were true, this policy is absurd and against everything Christ teaches. If the LDS church was the “true” church then God would have struck down these false prophets prior to them making these changes. Therefore despite my argument that none of us has a right to say that any other Christian church is wrong or claiming I don’t believe any one church is the only one that has it right, I have to amend that by saying the LDS church specifically has it WRONG. Perhaps the Prophet needs to reread the bible and remind himself what it means to live like Christ. If you believe in Satan then this policy change definitely makes me wonder if Satan has infiltrated the LDS church as no man of God and certainly not God himself would deny a willing soul salvation regardless of their own sins, much less their parents choices. Listening to this video made me cringe. Where in the bible does it say that it’s mans job to discipline other sinners for their sins!!!!! How dare you justify your policy change saying it is because it would not be appropriate for home visits to such sinners homes. We are all sinners. If you actually believe what you preach then by that standard you are not worthy to have a home teacher in your home. Lest we not forget you are a sinner. Wow. Just wow. You have gone beyond any sin of “this magnitude” as you say it. You have sinned above all claiming to receive direction from God when in fact you are directly acting against all that he is by trying to be a judge and above all by holding another’s salvation/baptism from them by judging as a man that a “sin” by a parent is worthy of such “discipline” for a child. Shame on you. I pray you free yourself from satans influence and find the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Ps. Please discard my membership in this church so obviously taken over by sinners no longer influenced by God but rather by Satan.
      Other members are taking a less daunting view of this new policy saying although it is very mis-guided it was intended to not put those children in an awkward position. However tell me then why you allow a child with atheist parents to get baptized, or perhaps a child who’s parents are living out of wedlock to be baptized is that not the Christian affliction to be conflicted and to choose right. This is nothing more than a way to punish homosexuals and justify acting against all Christ teaches. This policy is so misguided it is ridiculous. Tell me a child is not going to be in a worse position not being allowed to be baptized because of their parents choices rather than being baptized and perhaps being a little conflicted that their parents choose to live a Certain way. Now you have put them in a position to reject a parent, to run away or to try and feel the responsibility to change their parents if they want to be baptized. I will shout from rooftops if I have to but it is clear to me that the prophet who chose rather than being guided by God to implement this policy is false and acting under the influence of Satan. Ps. I am not Gay nor do I know anyone within the church who is but this absolutely has shaken any belief I had that there is a living prophet. I’ll keep my own personal relationship with Christ and tell anyone who will listen how wrong this policy is and what it means to the legitimacy that the leadership of this church is acting under any more authority than any other church. Churches are full of sinners seeking salvation and those sinners make mistakes. The implication that those things the prophet puts forward are direct from God are shattered as it is so glaringly obvious that this is a flawed man made policy, that beyond a flaw is going to hurt people and the church. Either the leadership is not listening to God or not asking as this is a terrible terrible mistake. I hope and pray you pray on it and quickly fix this before anyone gets hurt by the policy.

    • Corey
      November 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      The difference is that the family in your example will still exist if the young kid eventually convinces his parents to get off of mormonthink, and avoid porn. The teachings of the church will not directly require the family to break up. That is the difference.

      I understand that it sounds unfair at first, but this new policy is actually to protect the gay parents of the child. The church does not want to teach a child that their family must be broken apart. I believe they have the same policy for polygamy, because the solution to fixing that sin is to break up the family.

      In the case of a child of unmarried hetero-sexual parents, living in sin, they would baptize the child. That is because his parents sin could be fixed by marriage, without breaking up the family.

      • Galen Cole
        November 10, 2015 at 6:03 am

        I continue to hear the argument that the new policy protects children. This logic indicates that not receiving a blessing at birth, baptism, priesthood ordinances is actually in the best interest of some people. This was similar to the argument I heard when I baptized a black friend of mine in 1974. I/he was told that withholding the full blessings of the gospel was actually a blessing to him. Please help me understand how withholding the holy ghost and priesthood is a blessing — if yes, why should anybody want these things. The “strongest” and most popular argument I have heard so far along these lines is that this will preserve and protect the child and his family from division, etc. Since when did the LDS church start worrying about not breaking up families. I have baptized many individuals who did not have LDS family members. We celebrated these occasions. Am I now supposed to celebrate children not getting the ordinances of the gospel. I’m confused, can you help?

        • Corey
          November 10, 2015 at 10:25 am

          Galen,
          That’s a major extrapolation from what I said. As I see it, the church has very few options here for what to do with children of gay couples or children of polygamy:

          1) Not to ask them their opinion on this topic or any topic. If they do this for example with polygamy, then they will have openly polygamous families openly members of the church. It makes it look like the church is OK with it. As a convert to the church, I can tell you that I wish I had more tough discussions before my baptism vs. finding out later some of the history and beliefs of the church. So I don’t think it’s a good idea to not talk about it, especially if the child will later find out that the church thinks their parents are living in sin and should break up. This is the kind of thing I think you’d like to find out before baptism.

          2) Baptize the child the child at 8, but make sure they reject their parents’ marriage, their family, and way of life. I know this is somewhat true for any of your parent’s sins, but there is no way to repent and turn from the sins of polygamy and gay marriage without destroying the family. So this option would give the child the chance to be baptized, but hurt their family, and continue to teach that thier family should not even exist as they grow up in the church. An 8 year old is WAY too young to be put into this position to reject their own family’s existance.

          3) Wait until the child is 18 and out of the house, and then make sure they reject their parents’ marriage, their family, and way of life. This isn’t great either. It makes them wait, makes them 2nd class members of the church if they attend as they grow up, and still hurts the family, but does it later. The difference is that they are now adults, and they are in a much better position to not be “brainwashed” into rejecting their family. They are old enough to understand more about the world, and respect how much love they’ve recieved from their parents.

          Now, all of these are bad choices. There is no easy way for a child of gay marriage to be a member of a church that rejects gay marriage. I may be very wrong, but I believe it would be better for that child to choose another church. These two worlds don’t mix without a lot of pain.

          Is it a blessing to have ordinances kept from you? No. But if I had to choose between keeping my family together, and receiving those ordinances, I would choose my family without a second thought. Those ordinances can come later, even if it’s after I’ve died.

          And I cannot accept option 1, because the church is already too secretive. We need to be more open about what the church teaches and has taught, not less open.

          So, I think out of a bunch of bad options, I think option 3 makes sense for this church. But let’s not blame the church leaders. They’ve been setup for this failure by God. God taught them the plan of salvation which was very specific about gender roles. God made our procreation heterosexual to reinforce this. And then, for some unknown reason, he made some of his children same-sex attracted. I have no idea why. I have no idea what LGBT people are supposed to learn from that. But the LDS church is probably not an emotionally safe place for them.

          Certainly a person can easily say that the LDS church’s version of the plan of salvation is simply wrong. But many have prayed and recieved confirmation it is correct. What are they to do? I don’t know, but there is one person to blame for that, Heavenly Father. I just hope he has a good reason.

          What would I do with all of this if I were a bishop, an apostle, etc? I would not accept those callings without a significant conversation with a celestial being that explains a lot of this stuff that doesn’t make sense to me. I hope our current leaders have waited for such a conversation.

          • Galen Cole
            November 10, 2015 at 12:06 pm

            Thanks Corey…I appreciate all the thought you have put in this. The bottom line is that this is very complicated on many levels. I do understand the need to establish and protect boundaries. At the same time, I am concerned about what Jesus said about small children…”Suffer them to come unto me and forbid them not…” Again, thanks for your time and God bless!

  2. G-
    November 6, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Sober day…

    I wonder how this will affect the church ‘tax exempt’ status?

  3. Alf
    November 6, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    how will this be implemented?
    will missionaries have to ask new people off the street have your parents ever lived in same sex relationship before teaching them?

  4. A. R. Vapor
    November 6, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I wanted to say two things. I don’t really remember who said what, but it was mentioned that in this other country, it is often the norm for children to be living with their parents until they get marriage. In other countries, however, it is the norm for children to be living with their parents until the parents die…obligation to take care of their parents. What about the people in those countries? The country I’m thinking about is specifically Taiwan, and probably many other Asian countries as well. My uncle is in his forties, is the breadwinner of the family, married with two children, and he and his family live with his father.

    Second, the comments about the obscure statement–that the policy applies to children one of whose parents USED to cohabitate with a same-sex partner–reminds me of Michel Foucault in his book “History of Sexuality.” In here, he explains how homosexuality was once just a group of actions that a human being performed, but it eventually became a species. That is, it becomes *who* and *what* the individual is and sticks with them their whole life.

    This policy is disgusting, although I do understand not wanting to create friction between the child and the parents. But if both parents agree, why the hell not? And why make the child stand up in court and testify against their parents in order to be saved? I think this policy, if implemented, would bring more harm than good, and this is one of the best reasons I can think of to leave.

  5. xtina
    November 6, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    one thing that i don’t remember you guys bringing up, but i think is a salient point about what is driving this extreme reaction, especially as it relates to the children…

    it has been proven in just about every way possible that we learn to accept gay people and even homosexuality as a concept by knowing people who are gay and seeing them form families. this is especially true with younger generations, i think. one reason to make such a strong prohibition for the children of gay people to not participate in the most important parts of the faith is so that the children of good upstanding mormons never learn to accept the children of gay people or to see them as equals. the church doesn’t want to raise kids who think being gay is ok and one way to do that is to not let the kids of straight marriages and gay marriages mingle. by setting them apart, the church is making sure other parents know to ostracize these kids as well.

    • RJ
      November 7, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Well said, the conservative Mormon agenda can protect their children from knowing and possibly accepting LGBT people in all aspects of their lives. This just breeds more discrimination in future generations. Unfortunately, the current LDS leadership is becoming more out of touch with reality and their entrenchment is unhealthy for the Churchs’ future. This looks more like a purge of the unwanted elements in our society which will mean worldwide membership will certainly continue to shrink.

  6. A-
    November 6, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    I for one welcome a purge of members. Then I’ll finally have a good excuse to leave that my spouse’s family will understand.

  7. Joe
    November 6, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    Kevin, what does that have to do with anything? If a child chooses to live a certain way different than their parents, why forcibly preclude it?

    Extending your example; an active LDS man, who follows the word of wisdom strictly, marries a Jewish woman, who follows the Jewish dietary laws, which allow her to drink alcohol, which she does. They have a child who later wants to be baptized. Yet, by your reasoning, because the mother drinks alcohol, the baptism should be forbidden.

    But, let’s flip it around. The child decides to go the Jewish route. Should the Rabbi and synagogue shun the child because the child’s father eats pork?

    • Kevin
      November 7, 2015 at 10:31 am

      I think you misunderstood my tone. I’m against what the church is doing. I was showing their double standards and hypocrisy. When I said adieu, I meant for myself. I’m on my way out now.

  8. November 7, 2015 at 12:51 am

    We need to remember, guys, that the Mormon church was made for the Brethren, not for the members. Or their wives or mothers or sisters or even the Lord. The LDS church is an old boy’s club with a very exclusive membership. This is their church, not yours. You participate at their pleasure and discretion.

    I’ve said this many times (“. . . and no one heard at all not even the chair . . .”): WE give these guys ALL the power they have. Their power over us is NOT from God. It wasn’t back in Joe’s day and it’s certainly not now. We can completely neuter these guys by simply ignoring them. There’s no need to plead or lash out or cry, “Foul!” Take your spouse and kids by their hands and walk away. Ignored, these guys will melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. Try it and see.

    • Katie Did What?
      November 7, 2015 at 10:26 am

      Very well said, Phonin’ it in From Kolob. These are all things I have been thinking myself.

    • Peggy
      November 7, 2015 at 11:04 am

      I think I knew that but thanks for spelling it out so clearly and reminding me. I’m out but still in.

    • Itsme
      November 8, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Wow. You nailed it, phonin it in. Thank you for putting into coherent speech whats been rattling around amorphously in my brain!

    • lila
      November 22, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      outstanding comment! How many times have I thought this over the years but have conveyed this thought to NOT ONE PERSON!

  9. J. Crown
    November 7, 2015 at 1:38 am

    This was a great podcast. Thanks to John and the panel for providing insight on these changes that have cut so many of us to the core. I’d be interested in what, if any, follow up opinions your panelists may have to Cristofferson’s “contextualization”. In Cristofferson’s remarks, I heard a thinly-veiled suggestion that supporting same-sex marriage may now be viewed as sympathizing with apostates (something to the effect that there’s no longer room for “questioning or doubts” on this issue). In the Deseret News article announcing the Cristofferson interview, it was clarified that members may continue to have a political disagreement with the Church over same-sex issues and still remain members. However, it was unclear from both the interview and the Des News article whether supporting same sex marriage may put at risk one’s temple worthiness (rather than mere membership). That’s an important distinction. I’d like to hear the opinions of the panelists and other commenters here about whether they think the policy change is likely to result in loss of temple recommends for those who support our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in their same-sex relationships.

    • Plastraa
      November 7, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      When they’ve taken the stand that the child of a gay married person has to disavow their own parents, then it’s going to be difficult to pretend like other ‘regular’ members can still have their own opinions and support marriage equality. It would make even less sense than this does so far.

      I think there will be new questions for temple recommend holders. They keep making it harder for people who want to find reasons to stay.

  10. Plastraa
    November 7, 2015 at 1:38 am

    The church somehow always manages to exceed expectation with regards to disappointing me with it’s actions. Just when I think I can’t be shocked or bewildered by them anymore they just take it up a notch.

    This has created a wedge in my family between my true believing parents and 4 of their 5 daughters. My sister is gay and yet my parents have somehow managed to spin this in their heads to being a positive and loving move by the church. I got in a altercation on facebook with my father over it, and I’m not sure we are talking to each other anymore. :-\

    The Mormon Church, dividing families since the 1800’s.

    • Cory
      November 8, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Amen brother!

  11. G.R.
    November 7, 2015 at 1:51 am

    ALL people are equal and the worth each is so great it cannot be measured. Unfortunately historucal events signal that some people have NOT held this same belief and showed it by designing inhuman repulsive policies in order to destroy or kill other people or person’s.

    Hard questions:
    (A)In historical terms who were some of these radical and volatile individuals that designed and formed similiar repulsive dark policies?

    We can spot them by the policies they design and put forth.

    Usually good people start to take a particular notice when organizations put forth extremely repulsive policies.
    WWII is a relevant example of good individuals whow were compelled to remove the bombastic repulsive policies dark radicals designed and put forth. So the good people stood up to the dark designs of radical volatile Men.

    (B)How many steps is this policy away from physical implementation?

    (C) What would that look like?

    (D)What would the Mormon leaders do if they were not restrained and restricted by the existing laws in the United States and the constitution?

    (E)How will this effect people in other countries?

    (F)What would his look like if they had enough power over society to eradicate or “DEAL” with homosexuality?

    (G) Doesn’t this policy in the “Mormon context” effectualy demand for the Spiritual termination of babies and children by postponing salvation.

    (H) Isn’t it true, The Mormon organization openly claimes they have restored the literal church governing body of leadership who murdered the man named Jesus?

    (I) what’s the difference In policy between the following organization and the Mormon organization?
    Wikipedia
    HITLER AND NAZI GERMANY
    Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals, of whom some 50,000 were officially sentenced. Most of these men served time in regular prisons, and an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 of those sentenced were incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. It is unclear how many of the 5,000 to 15,000 eventually perished in the camps, but leading scholar Rüdiger Lautmann believes that the death rate of homosexuals in concentration camps may have been as high as 60%. Homosexuals in the camps were treated in an unusually cruel manner by their captors.
    On May 10, 1933, Nazis in Berlin burned works of Jewish authors, the library of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, and other works considered “un-German”.
    In late February 1933, as the moderating influence of Ernst Röhm weakened, the Nazi Party launched its purge of homosexual (gay, lesbian, and bisexual; then known as homophile) clubs in Berlin, outlawed sex publications, and banned organized gay groups. As a consequence, many fled Germany (e.g., Erika Mann, Richard Plant).

    In March 1933, Kurt Hiller, the main organizer of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute of Sex Research, was sent to a concentration camp. On May 6, 1933, Nazi Youth of the Deutsche Studentenschaft made an organized attack on the Institute of Sex Research. A few days later the Institute’s library and archives were publicly hauled out and burned in the streets of the opernplatz. Around 20,000 books and journals, and 5,000 images, were destroyed. Also seized were the Institute’s extensive lists of names and addresses of homosexuals. In the midst of the burning, Joseph Goebbels gave a political speech to a crowd of around 40,000 people.

    Hitler initially protected Röhm from other elements of the Nazi Party which held his homosexuality to be a violation of the party’s strong anti-gay policy. However, Hitler later changed course when he perceived Röhm to be a potential threat to his power. During the Night of the Long Knives in 1934, a purge of those whom Hitler deemed threats to his power took place, he had Röhm murdered and used Röhm’s homosexuality as a justification to suppress outrage within the ranks of the SA. After solidifying his power, Hitler would include gay men among those sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust.

    Heinrich Himmler had initially been a supporter of Röhm, arguing that the charges of homosexuality against him were manufactured by Jews. But after the purge, Hitler elevated Himmler’s status and he became very active in the suppression of homosexuality. He exclaimed, “We must exterminate these people root and branch… the homosexual must be eliminated.”[4]

    Shortly after the purge in 1934, a special division of the Gestapo was instituted to compile lists of gay individuals. In 1936, Himmler created the Reichszentrale zur Bekämpfung der Homosexualität und Abtreibung (Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion).

    Nazi Germany thought of German gay men as against the plan of creating a “master race” and sought to force them into sexual and social conformity. Gay men who would not change or feign a change in their sexual orientation were sent to concentration camps under the “Extermination Through Work” campaign.[5]

    More than one million gay Germans were targeted, of whom at least 100,000 were arrested and 50,000 were serving prison terms as “convicted homosexuals”.[1] Hundreds of European gay men living under Nazi occupation were castrated under court order.[6]

    Some persecuted under these laws would not have identified themselves as gay. Such “anti-homosexual” laws were widespread throughout the western world until the 1960s and 1970s, so many gay men did not feel safe to come forward with their stories until the 1970s when many so-called “sodomy laws” were repealed.

    Lesbians were not widely persecuted under Nazi anti-gay laws, as it was considered easier to persuade or force them to comply with accepted heterosexual behavior. However, they were viewed as a threat to state values.

  12. Matt
    November 7, 2015 at 2:13 am

    I would have liked to hear more about what if a kid did get baptized who has gay parents. What kind of cognitive dissonance happens in that situation? Either way the kid is stuck.

    • November 7, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Good question. You hear all of these stories about Mormon baptism mills in third-world countries where sometimes the kids getting baptized think they’re being baptized into a baseball or soccer team and aren’t even aware that it’s a church thing. Where the missionaries use neighbors as references to establish the age of some kids because the kids aren’t exactly sure how old they are. And you’re going to base baptism on the behavior of the parents? Right.

      There needs to be very clear policy on what happens if a parent comes out AFTER a kid is named or baptized. Or after a kid’s kids are baptized. A grandparent coming out as gay and marrying a same-sex partner could wipe fifty or sixty people off the roles if they’re not very careful to explain the lineage of sin.

      • Mike A
        November 8, 2015 at 7:38 am

        Since I am gay and living in a same-sex relationship, does that invalidate all of the proxy baptisms that have ever been done in the name of dead people I am descended from or related to? Or, is it just those proxy baptisms done during my life time (since I have been gay for as long as I can remember). Could anyone still attending check with your Bishop and let us know.

        • Phonin' It In From Kolob
          November 8, 2015 at 7:38 pm

          Boy, that would open up a can of worms, wouldn’t it?

  13. TR
    November 7, 2015 at 2:21 am

    I am absolutely upset and angry that the Church would take such a stance with its own members. I guess because I was born with absolutely not attraction for a woman, I am to just be celibate and watch other people enjoy the earthly blessing of a family. How is it God can reveal policy on children, but still cannot explain why we are the way we are. No, policy changes like this do not reflect God’s hand in it. It shows me more that an aging leadership is fearful of a younger, liberal leaning generation and are taking steps to “paint the church into a corner” from whence no succeeding generation will be able to leave.

  14. J. Crown
    November 7, 2015 at 2:35 am

    Upon further consideration, this is how I think this new policy plays out for those of us who support same-sex relationships. I start from the assumption that most of us who have long disagreed with the Church’s position on same-sex marriage find this new policy abhorrent. Before this policy, the Church to my knowledge did not regularly discipline or withhold temple recommends from members based solely on a difference of opinion over the legal right to same-sex marriage. Why? Because the marriage equality issue is too entangled with politics. Although it touches on Church teachings as well, it invokes capital “P” Politics too much and taking adverse action on that basis would make for bad optics and doesn’t feel like the ‘Merican thing to do.

    So enter this new Church policy, which I believe is, among other things, a pretextual makeweight for the marriage equality issue. We’ll lose our temple recommends not over the politics of marriage equality, but rather for our sympathizing with apostates over a strictly doctrinal/ecclesiastical issue. Perhaps that’s a cynical view, but tonight I’m feeling that this policy will make temple recommend interviews a standing invitation for progressives to find the exits.

    • Plastraa
      November 7, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      My sisters and I were talking about this last night, sort of conjecturing that there were going to be new temple recommend questions coming down the pike after this announcement.

      In which case my tbm parents with a gay daughter are going to have some more hard decisions to make with regards to the cognitive dissonance of how to why it’s ok to choose a religion over a child.

      The rest of us love our sister more and this is the final nail in the coffin. One of my sisters said that it’s not only the nail it’s gasoline and lit match over the coffin. She’s done, her name is being removed from the records. As this thing plays out I’m leaning that way as well.

  15. G-
    November 7, 2015 at 6:11 am

    New on the church official site as of 11/7/2015.

    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/handbook-changes-same-sex-marriages-elder-christofferson?HP_FR_11-6-2015_dPAD_fCNWS_xLIDyL1-A_

    The whole interview is one HUGE contradictory statement after another. Apparently, this policy is to show the ‘Lord’s love to all of us’!?!?!?!?!?!

  16. De Wilhelmsen
    November 7, 2015 at 6:21 am

    The Mormon Church’s attempt to ostracize gay people is one more example of Un-Christ-like behavior. The old saying “What would Jesus say….” certainly applies here. I hope that gay people who are connected to the church, especially those connect through their families will see this for what it is, one more false teaching that will eventually be over turned just as polygamy and other church policies that demeaned people, especially people of color African and Native Americans , were eventually abandoned and are now disavowed. I hope Mormon families with gay relatives will think twice about what the church is doing and reach out to their gay relatives. Let them know that they are still loved and supported.

  17. CL
    November 7, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Thanks for your podcast and work on getting this in front of the world. I recently watched Elder Christofferson’s interview. If protection of children and family harmony were of such high concern, the policy could instead have been written so as to be non-facially discriminatory—e.g., children will not be permitted to be baptized until they are 18 unless they reside with a parent/guardian who is both in good standing and has regularly attended sacrament meeting for two of the prior three years. I haven’t been to church in nearly ten years and would welcome such a change. Then my unbaptized children over the age of 8 would not look like missionary bait and would also cease to be a source of hope/guilt for extended family members who worry that they should be doing more to bring my children into the fold. But such a change would mean losing what I would guess is a statistically significant path for new baptisms and activations. When I was a missionary, we routinely looked at which less active families had unbaptized children over the age of eight when prioritizing visits, and as a result we had a “convert” baptism of a nine-year old girl added to our stats. As a younger member, I was also asked to reach out to youth of my own age who were unbaptized—whether from less active or non-member families. In the ward where I grew up, there was at least one such baptism. I would guess both practices are still common occurrences today.

    The analogy to polygamy suggests the real concerns are in protecting LDS theology and in preventing infiltration. How long could the LDS church continue to argue that same-sex marriage is bad for families if more LDS people actually knew children with good outcomes who had been raised in same-sex marriages? And, of course, there is likely lingering paranoia/fear over the ability/desire of LGBTQ individuals to recruit, convert, etc. If this is how the LDS church and people want to exercise their First Amendment rights, then it’s time for me to make a formal exit.

  18. Marcus
    November 7, 2015 at 9:13 am

    John, very interesting interview. One aspect of the announcement that did not come up involved it’s doctrinal implications. Ostensibly, a child past the age of accountable at 8 is then fit for damnation of hell because even repented sins are not washed in the blood of the atonement until acceptance of the ordinance of baptism. The youths affected by this policy are therefore shielded from obtaining the “key” to salvation or “gift of the Holy Ghost” during their formative years. Consequently if they die in this period, they miss the celestial kingdom entirely, unless, according to Mormon doctrine, they receive baptism for the dead. It would seem that this policy demonstrates little regard for the eternal state of those souls in preference to making absolute a political knee jerk.

  19. Mike A
    November 7, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I really needed to hear this podcast today. Thank you all. Enjoyed it very much.

    My partner and I have two amazing, beautiful children (via surrogacy). I no more believe the LDS church speaks for God then I believe Quakers live on the moon. However, I do have family that I love and who believe it. They are good people, temple-going, full tithe payers and it is real to them. Christ is directing all of this and baptism (by correct LDS authority) is essential for salvation. I am hurt that believing this, they would support the exclusion of their own grandchildren, niece/nephew, cousin, let alone any child on any condition at all. I see this as a clear case of putting the church before my children.

    I get that they blame me for creating the situation by choosing to have children in the first place. But, like it or not, they are here. So are they less valuable, worthy and precious then any other child?

    I get that (in LDS minds) this puts the responsibility on me to make my children “worthy” for this essential ordinance. I could 1)live my life but drop my children off at LDS Social Services to be adopted by an acceptable (LDS) family; or 2)kick out my partner of 20 years, bar the kids from overnight visits with him and get them to foresake that he is their legitimate father. Either of these choices would inflict such a lifetime of devestation and suffering on the four of us – yet that is acceptable to them?

    I was raised LDS, RM, BYU, etc. and in no way want my children a part of this toxic mentality – so I have no problem with the policy, personally. I don’t expect my family to resign or forsake Mormonism over this. However, I do want them to be human-beings, speak up to defend their grandchildren and voice their objection. I want them to reach out to us and reassure us that they are not okay with it and that my children are precious to them. I won’t hold my breath.

    I do want my children to have a loving extended family. I won’t let this change the relationships we have, but I also won’t let my children feel less than, in any way.

    • Laura Carroll
      November 9, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      even worse, the language in the policy says that even if you began living a solitary life, if you have “ever lived” in a same-gender relationship, they cannot receive ordinances until age 18…

  20. Celeste
    November 7, 2015 at 9:40 am

    An astonishing conversation, John, one that brought out the expertise and passion for justice and well-being among all of the guests. Nothing said it more poignantly than Natasha’s “I’m vomiting in my mouth over this.”

    This policy change flies in the face of Christ’s prime directive of “love above all else.” It feels typical of the acidic, telestial world in which we live. It feeds my simmering cognitive dissonance in a remarkable way. Regardless of what Elder Christofferson says, this change in policy feels more politically expedient than divinely inspired. Natasha, I believe your call for repentance was prompted by the Holy Ghost who leads us to light and truth, who leads us to Christ. Thank you all.

    • November 23, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      Thank you Celeste. Very kind and affirming words. I definitely feel led to advocate for our LGBTQ members and call out abusive rhetoric when I see it.

  21. Charlie
    November 7, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Finnally some real balls!..

    After adding these lines, people like John Dehlin will face a disciplinary councils for teaching and advocating doctrine which goes against the laws of God…

    It actually isn´t about the sex here…It`s about the teaching, the supporting or pushing the gay agenda. We used to have that temple interview question of associating with groups that teach practices which go against the church, but it was open to wide interpretations. Some would consider membership in a socialist party as violating that test, others point toward supporting Prop8. Now if you are openly pro-gay-lobby person, well then you will be disciplined for apostasy, even if like most members, they don´t engage in any sex!

    Let`s go clean the vineyard now!!

  22. Joy
    November 7, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Jay speculated that many leaders won’t enforce this policy, slipping children in for baptism that are technically ineligible out of compassion. Jay also speculated that there won’t be a focused searching for these kind of issues in one’s ward, again with the result of many slipping through under the radar. These things won’t happen if they read the scriptures carefully. For a transgressor to be “found,” as it says below, there needs to be a searching.

    5 For I, the Lord, have decreed in my heart, that inasmuch as any man belonging to the order shall be found a transgressor, or, in other words, shall break the covenant with which ye are bound, he shall be cursed in his life, and shall be trodden down by whom I will;

    6 For I, the Lord, am not to be mocked in these things—

    7 And all this that the innocent among you may not be condemned with the unjust; and that the guilty among you may not escape; because I, the Lord, have promised unto you a crown of glory at my right hand.

    8 Therefore, inasmuch as you are found transgressors, you cannot escape my wrath in your lives.

    9 Inasmuch as ye are cut off for transgression, ye cannot escape the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.

    10 And I now give unto you power from this very hour, that if any man among you, of the order, is found a transgressor and repenteth not of the evil, that ye shall deliver him over unto the buffetings of Satan; and he shall not have power to bring evil upon you.

  23. Charlie
    November 7, 2015 at 10:26 am

    “you don´t have to know” “only if someone comes to your office and confeses”

    That is simply incorrect. We, all church officers, have a duty and oath to defend and keep the church clean and pure. Sometimes for the smaller sins we don´t bother, but for the bigger sins, like adultery or gay sex(not homosexuality like Pt Nelson`s) well yes , we will try and weed out the rotten apples!

    “listen to your conscience” .. well they do that all the time! its all about one´s conscience

  24. Shelama
    November 7, 2015 at 11:09 am

    When the penis is a central pillar of your theology, and when Mr&Mrs God both have functioning genitalia, a policy like this should not come as a surprise.

  25. jpv
    November 7, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Honest question:

    If the KKK had a policy prohibiting your kids to join, would you be upset that they weren’t allowed to?

    Opposition the policy begs the question that the church is true and desirable to join, and that the only reason to be outraged is if the church were not a bigoted organization like the KKK.

  26. Lgaj
    November 7, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I am a heterosexual married with six kids and 12 grandkids none of which are gay that we know of. This announcement just turned my stomach and makes me ashamed of our church. I will no longer support financially or attend. This is going to push so many out of the big tent. I have no confidence the 15 get revelation. There is no way they can justify this to me. This was the straw that broke my testimony.

  27. Joe Doe
    November 7, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    So only children who hail from a married heterosexual couple are allowed to be baptized when 8? Are they somehow more informed and able to responsibly see that baptism is a step they should follow to attain salvation and children of homosexual couples are not? Very confusing.

  28. Angie
    November 7, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    The LDS church was founded on the premise of Joseph Smith bypassing the Christian status quo of the time and going directly to the bible which inspired his quest to find answers from a higher authority. Since when do the policies of the ‘Brethren’ trump the very plain and simple words of Christ???. ….indeed, was he not correcting his apostles when he instructed, ‘ suffer the children to come unto me?’

    And I don’t appreciate the brethren attacking and threatening its thoughtful, questioning members with discipline, as a way of avoiding the issues at hand. It’s a cowardly and dirty tactic based on coersion and fear….and all because their actions are indifensible. I believe that if an anonymous poll could be taken of the members of the church that the majority would not stand behind this outrage.

    I am not a fan of Joseph Smith for various reasons, but I dare say that if he were a member of the church today, the ‘Brethren’ would excommunicate him!

    Welcome to another evidence of the big dysfunctional family of the church where the ‘no talk’ rule is equated with faithfulness, instead of toxicity. We must be willing to go against the status quo and follow conscience in standing up for those who are the weakest and most vulnerable. Isn’t that what a ‘pioneer’ is after all??

    The ‘Brethren are making it harder and harder for informed, caring, righteous Latter-day Saints to stay in the church. This will be the final nail in many a coffin!

  29. November 7, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I woke this morning to this news in the Los Angeles times. 10 years ago, one of my second grade students lost his mother (no father in picture) and was orphaned. He was an inner-city kid with language and behavior issues. I took him in and raised him as my son. Today he is a well adjusted student in college studying physics. I am gay and he is straight.

    Today I have sent in my resignation to the church. I haven’t been an active member since I graduated from BYU, but I can no longer idly stand by with my name attached to this awful institution. I have enjoyed the podcast over the last year of so, but even the tone is now grating. We just don’t have to be polite about standing up to this bully pulpit and fraudulent organization. Just because some members are happy in it, does not justify the damage it does daily.

    I look forward to the day when the Mormon church is seen as an oddity and relic of the past, much like we view the Amish today.

  30. Lynn
    November 7, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    How dare the leaders of church sit up in their Coporate Ivory Tower across from the ‘Mall’ while they set off a huge bomb in the laps of the grassroots members of the church!, with no warning or preparations for the catastrophic fallout that we are left to grapple with!! We, on the front lines are left alone to defend the enslaught of critism and outrage that must and should surely ensue such an offensive attack on the family, while they remain insulated from the very real tragic consequences.

    We will only hear from them as they shuttle between the church headquarters and their luxury high rise in limousines, if they disapprove with our handling of the hot potato and we better do a good job of it or they will have their councils of discipline ready and waiting for us as well!

    Quick! Jump out of the boat as quickly as you can, and take your precious gay friends and their children with you and swim like mad for the shore. It’s our only hope as the church insists on this truly new low!

    I for one, will no longer suffer the humiliation and disgrace this places on myself as a member of the church. As the very plain and precious dictates of my conscience and the words of Christ are trampled under foot by those who have given themselves the charge of representing Him. I’m so done!

  31. Kathleen Jensen
    November 7, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks to all of you for this very thoughtful podcast. Natasha, I didn’t know I could love you anymore than I already do. You were fierce. Brava!

    • November 23, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      Thank you! I’ve definitely been feeling very brava these days. 🙂

  32. Jim G
    November 7, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Dueling Prophets (plinkety plink plunk plink plink plunk):

    “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”* – Jesus

    “We think it’s…incumbent on us…to yield no ground in the matter of love…”**
    Elder Christifferson (his apostle)

    (*Matthew 19:14 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/19?lang=eng)

    (**https://youtu.be/iEEMyc6aZms at 2m 52s)

  33. Jim G
    November 7, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Dueling Prophets (plinkety plink plunk plink plink plunk):

    “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”* – Jesus

    “We think it’s…incumbent on us…to yield no ground in the matter of love…”**
    Elder Christofferson (his apostle)

    (*Matthew 19:14 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/19?lang=eng)

    (**https://youtu.be/iEEMyc6aZms at 2m 52s)

  34. Sharon
    November 7, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    As I think of the children who will suffer and be affected by all this, I think of my own childhood. I was raised by part member,totally inactive Parents in a very mormon community in Orem, Utah in the 1960’s. I desperately wanted to go to church and to be part of the group and so did my older sister. She and
    I attended church faithfully, only problem was, my parents didn’t obey the word of wisdom. All I can remember learning about in Sunday school and primary was about the WoW and how that people who smoked and drank coffee were bad. I knew I loved my parents and that they were good. I have had trouble with feelings of guilt, shame and unacceptance
    my entire adult life. There have been many times in my life when an escape route from the church opened up and two years ago I took it. I have never been so glad to be rid of something in all my life. I believe it is incumbent on all of us to reassure all of these children and all others who are affected when their parents leave the church, that they are loved,valuable, accepted and most of all that they are going to be alright.

  35. ChrisWir
    November 8, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Here are three sample letters for RESIGNING: http://www.mormonresignation.c
    I used letter #2. 🙂 Enjoy!

    Great episode – important topic!
    When the church goes out-of-its-way to press their steel-toes boot in the neck of innocent children – who they already have forced to the ground – members HAVE to react, because their(!) names are on that rough sole!
    Grrrrr!

  36. November 8, 2015 at 6:57 am

    As soon as the scriptures are changed to say “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not — unless they are somehow related to a gay person,” I will follow my leaders. Jesus criticized His leaders when they got it wrong. Surely we can do the same thing. I criticized them in 1975 when they wouldn’t let the black man I baptized a year earlier attend my wedding because of his skin color. They eventually “disavowed” their stance against black people. I predict some prophet along the way will disavow the policy to punish innocent children because of something their parents say or do or believe. As a therapist I am aware of gay men who were convinced by church leaders to marry women and have kids. Eventually these marriages tend to fall apart. Should the children be punished in such cases? Because of this policy there will be children across the church who have been preparing for baptism who are told they can’t go through with their righteous desire…not because of anything they did, but because a new church policy. How crazy is this? What’s the scriptural precedent? Members, please don’t follow our leaders blindly. Doing so can result in all kinds of crazy like Mountain Meadow Massacre, blood atonement, innocent children being punished because of something someone else does or says, and middle aged men marrying teenagers and having sex with other living men’s wives in the name of God.

  37. MaxSATX
    November 8, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Two more questions…

    1. How will the local leaders manage this? Will their immediate superiors (stake presidents) allow them to overlook all but the most blatant infractions? This has long been the case with the question in the temple recommend interview which asks, “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?” Of course we all literally do, but we either say “no” or we state “yes” with an explanation that we work for a hotel chain that has beer in their bar. The interviewer then laughs it off saying, “Of course, that’s not what that question means.” Will this new policy be regarded the same way? My guess/hope is that if the church doesn’t want to implode that the answer is yes.

    2. If the leaders genuinely don’t want gays’ children in the church, why not be honest about the reason? We’ve all read the logical fallacies about it being because they are “protecting the children”. (They protect no other children from intra-familial discord.) If they don’t want gays’ children at church, and that’s the policy, just come out and say it. Say, we want OUR children to remain unspotted and not influenced or whatever the reason is, regardless of how offensive it may sound. I’m confused why the church is creating such an offensive policy yet still trying to come-off as politically correct. Why show two faces? The only reason I can think of is because they know they’ve made a mistake and they’re trying to back-track, or they didn’t think that it would hit the public like it did, or they wanted to have a policy on paper that they would enforce only 0.01% of the time when it was absolutely necessary (i.e. John Dehlin & Kate Kelly); for all the other 99.99% of cases that are “on the fence”, they’d just look the other way: one gay parent, one straight parent; quiet gay parents; non-political gay parents; gay parents that don’t flaunt it; etc. That’s my guess. Only time will tell. Anyone disagree with this?

  38. Ed
    November 8, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    IT seems to me that these policies create a culture of suspicion among the membership. If being in a Same-Sex relationship is Apostasy, and if a member can be charged with Apostasy by offering support to an Apostate, will parents who join PFLAG be Apostates? Will young children shun and harass gay people and children of gay people because they must be Apostates.

    These policies are touted as expressions of love, they seem to be HATE Speech.

  39. Alison Udall
    November 8, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I’ve been so swamped with everything else keeping up and work that I just got to listen to this today. Having you guys work your way through this was great and also depressing because when you break this thing down it just honestly sucks and is horrible.

    To claim that this is actually an act of love, kindness and protection and will protect families/children from conflict/mixed messages??? Where the hell are they living? How in the world is not allowing babies to be blessed doing that? How is not allowing children to fully participate in the church growing up doing that? When you actually think about what this means it’s mind boggling that we are reading blogs and listening to Elder C claim the things they are. That they have no choice because of sin….that this is the tough decisions the church just has to make.

    I’m mad as hell. I have never in my life witnessed the bizarre, disappointing, discouraging and honestly frightening path that members are taking through this. From initial shock/distrust/dismay/surprise to buying the blogs/church’s justifications and supporting/advocating/openly saying yep this is a good thing! WTH has happened? Jason said he believed the church is going to become more rigid/conservative…..holy hell it’s certainly happening because if you are nuanced/progressive/unorthodox this is a pretty huge hurdle to overcome! We’ve got across the board sadness in those groups and concern that they can still make the church work. In the past 3 days the church has managed to isolate all those groups! They have catered to the far right/conservative/orthodox crowd regarding LGBT issues with a very hard rigid line. They have taken away local leadership ability to remain progressive/big-tent in this area. They have drawn the circle a helluva lot tighter.

    And I’m sorry but the nuanced/progressives that accept this without speaking up, saying nope I don’t agree, quietly remaining and handling those disciplinary councils will lose some of my respect. Sure you can still make the church work, sure you can continue to focus on the good and you can certainly remain hoping and working toward change. BUT DON’T DO THAT SILENTLY. DON’T SIT IN CHURCH AND REMAIN QUIET. DON’T FOLLOW THOSE ORDERS AND HURT PEOPLE. You don’t have to do that and remain. There is a time/place in life when we are given the chance to stand up and say enough is enough. When we stand up, even when it’s hard, to say this is wrong and I disagree and won’t condone/support this.

    To see this and know that I have children/grandchildren/parents/extended family in this makes me feel just so damn discouraged. Especially because some of those that I love will accept this. Some of them will fall in line and buy these arguments. Here I am jumping up and down trying desperately and respectfully say hey this is gonna hurt people…this is wrong! But who am I ….the apostate….obviously I don’t have the spirit bearing witness to me about this new policy.

    I am so discouraged, mad as hell, hurt and frustrated.

  40. Joel
    November 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    This new policy regarding children being blessed or baptized is identical to the policy on polygamous families. The Church is not in the business of breaking up families and that is why they will not interfere with SS families raising their children the way they want. With that said, polygamous families are not eligible for baptism no matter the situation. Same for SS marriages. The have made themselves ineligible in this life for baptism or re-baptism. SS couples might be able to could divorce and repent however.

    • 801expat
      November 9, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Except that the church has just put itself very much in the business of breaking up families…once the kids turn 18.

      Also, what about children of parents who are true apostates (rejecting the teachings of the church, or children of folks who have done truly despicable things like rape or murder or child abuse? Somehow none of them need this “protection” from the church. They single out same-sex families (and polygs).

      One more thing — the new policy says it applies to parents who have EVER been SS married or co-habiting, so presumably even if a person decided to leave their SS spouse, “repent”, get rebaptised, their kids would still get punished!

  41. Steven John
    November 8, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Terrific discussion of a deeply sad event,

    I think the LDS leadership is following the example of the Catholic Church. When confronted with our decidedly complicated modern world, John Paul II and the conservatives declared war on the liberal/progressive wing and demonized dissent. Gays, divorced members, nuns, theologians, social activists and academics were literally shown the door. Driven by their fear of change, they can only envision a smaller and more submissive, manageable church membership.

    The LDS Church recently experienced the biggest departure of members in its history which has resulted in the consolidation of stakes and caused widespread concern among the hierarchy. This tone-deaf, grotesquely timed announcement seems designed to increase that exodus.

    LGBT individuals are clearly not welcome but it raises an important question: why would anyone with LGBT family members, friends and colleagues want to join the church?

    • Don wilson
      November 8, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      Unfortunately, there are many of us LGBT individuals who belong to families deeply entrenched in the Mormon world and they cannot see their way around their beliefs to allow for a space for their LGBT family members other than as second class citizens, who participate in the sin next to murder, and will be afforded a place in the telestial kingdom with rapist, murderers, prostitutes, adulteress, etc.

  42. Sky
    November 8, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    John,

    You and Dr. Money mentioned that you aren’t aware of any type of rape besides forcible rape. As it is quite likely Handbook 1 was written by lawyers, allow me to enlighten you as a licensed attorney. In many jurisdictions, one of the legal definitions of rape is sexual intercourse with a person who doesn’t have the legal capacity to give consent, such as a minor. So if, as a totally hypothetical example, a 38 year old male convinces a 14 year old female to engage in sexual conduct through techniques of mental duress and coercion and promises of eternal exaltation to her family, the girl may give her actual consent to the sexual conduct but it is still legally rape despite the fact that the conduct occurred without any physical force.

    • Daniel
      November 9, 2015 at 10:03 am

      I was going to post this same thing. Statutory rape isn’t forcible, and the definition of it in different jurisdictions leaves some gray area as to which of it would be considered instant apostasy.

    • Jim G
      November 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      I think they were reacting to the fact that the Brethren saw any need to narrow the term “rape” with any qualifier. Said another way, the brethren denoted that forcible rape is a serious transgression suggesting they may think nonforcible rape is not a serious transgression. Of course, that might be entirely consistent with the thinking of prior prophets.

  43. Eric
    November 9, 2015 at 7:25 am

    Statutory rape is not considered forcible rape. A minor cannot legally consent, but that does not mean that he or she were forced into sex.

  44. Dogma
    November 9, 2015 at 7:44 am

    I read this new policy and had one clear thought. This is all about “cleaning” the ranks. The Church doesn’t want homosexuals in it and doesn’t want anyone (i.e., children of homosexual couples) with homosexual sympathies in the Church. They are circling the wagons and likely believe this will help insulate the firm believers in the future. The Church never disappoints. What makes me laugh is the Church has no problem baptizing 8 year olds from non-members or inactive families who really have no idea what they are joining. It’s a cult people. Plain and simple.

  45. RJ
    November 9, 2015 at 9:50 am

    The Church may be well meaning as to the preservation of families, but this new policy directed toward “same gender” relationships or now legal marriages of same is both disruptive and damaging especially where minor children are also present. The parents are now considered “apostates” and their innocent children denied fundamental rights that other LDS children take for granted. Most LDS members I have spoken to are appalled that their leaders could be so misguided and punitive towards its own people. To the outside world Mormons are conceived more as bigoted and unforgiving.. However, I believe the opposite is true that the vast majority of LDS members are loving and kind, but their
    leaders currently are in the dark and unfortunately leading their flock into troubled waters.

  46. Milt Haws
    November 9, 2015 at 10:28 am

    I am so hurt by this announcement. I sincerely worry about the health and safety of close families members as result of this.

  47. DAVID GILGEN
    November 9, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    What is the policy if a temple attending couple choose to live in their adult son’s home with him and his male partner? Are they likewise tainted by association and subject to ecclesiastical scrutiny? Just asking.

  48. ChrisWir
    November 9, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Change their wording from “same-gender” to “intellectual” and then you know what’s coming next. 😉

  49. alamogal
    November 9, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Well, now that we’ve all had a little time to pick our jaws up off the floor regarding this latest bit of ‘inspiration’ from the Boys: These moves are nothing more than a way of making the church environment so hostile and uninviting to someone who falls outside the ‘ideal candidate qualifications’ that they would have to be NUTS to want to have anything to do with LDSInc. I can just see them, sitting around a rosewood conference table and figuring out the ‘best’ way to alienate and discourage the ‘Undesirables’ from entering our buildings. As with other bone-headed moves, the Boys are counting on the members’ pattern of doubting themselves first and then feverishly justifying the 15’s actions -a process that typically results in collective amnesia within a few weeks and a restoration of ‘All is Well’. I think THIS one’s gonna come back to bite them, though, as Christ has nothing but disdain for those who would set themselves up as arbiters of who can -or can not- enter into relationship with Him. Every baby that’s left un-blessed, every willing child that’s told ‘Not you’ will result in a stripe on the 15’s souls by-and-by.

  50. Janice
    November 9, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Although cruel and abusive, these statements should not be such a surprise. With the loss of political support via Prop 8 the Church has adjusted its focus to at least control the issue within its membership. This is a form of “cleansing” via the backdoor, in the dark. Just more of the same. No question the Church did not want this to be high profile. The tragic reality of wicked men is that they have always consciously abused children to control behavior of the adults.

  51. Brenda
    November 10, 2015 at 2:59 am

    I was an active life member of the LDS church at 27 with a husband who I had went through the Salt lake temple with and a 3 year old daughter with chronic depression I had been battling since I was at least 13 years old. When I came to realize that the source of my mental state was that I repressing my sexuality as a lesbian. I was trying so hard to live the gospel I was taught at church. I was a member of the primary presidency. I found great joy that day and was lifted up out of my depression only to live in secret. Trying to continue on searching for answers on the internet late at night because I knew what my friends, family, husband, Bishop would say to me. I was fear that if anyone knew I would lose my calling and never serve in the primary again. I fell back to depression my last day at church it was my turn to teach sharing time on the Proclamation of the family. As I prepared the lesson I wonder how I would be able to go and teach it to those kids. Sunday morning came and I wanted to call in sick and not do it I felt sick, but I somehow force myself to do it. As I taught I felt pain. I felt that I was teaching these young children lies that would harm them. I have had experience like this before occasional over the last 10 years of teaching primary. Have I pretty much taught almost every primary class age and in every ward I have been in since I was 18. Every calling I have had has been in the primary since I was 18. Every single one of those lessons are from the church manual with church approve doctrine. After the sharing time I went home and I felt as though I had had I knife stab in my chest. I had to make a choice accept the church teachings about homosexuality was wrong and leave it or commit suicide because I could not continue on in my life living as the LDS Church tells people who are LBGT to live. I never went back. I eventually told my husband who was supportive and finally found the understanding he needed to make sense of the confusion and self-blame he had been dealing with from our marriage. He was also very relieved because he told me his greatest fear was that I would commit suicide, and he would have to raise our daughter alone. We told our family and got a divorce earlier this year.
    My daughter is turning 7 soon and goes to church every other Sunday with her dad. I was asked during the divorce by the mediator if I was ok with my daughter attending the LDS church or getting baptized at 8. I said that she has been going since she was born she likes going and if that is what makes her happy and that is what she chooses then I will not be the one to take it from her. If she chose that then I would even go to her baptism and support her decision. I may not want that for her but it is her life and her happiness not mine.
    I am not in a relationship now I and I might not be ready or find someone by the time she turns 8, but I do not plan to live my life celibate if I did or could I was still be going to church. I do not believe homosexuality is unnatural or wrong. Being married to a man or living my life alone and celibate is what is unnatural and wrong for me. I am happy not depressed now. I no longer obsessively and impulsively engage in self destructive behavior. No longer is my biggest fear that my bishop will find out that I am gay but now as of last week is that he will teach or say something to my daughter that will damage and harm her. That the teaching and policy’s, and community of the LDS church will inflict the same damage and hurt that it did upon me.
    They claim this to protect children that are specifically like my daughter and other in this situation from harm by sparing them from the conflict of the church doctrine, and having an LBGT parent that they love teaching them something else. That is either flawed thinking or a lie, because my daughter has to deal with that conflict every day. It started that day I told my family who I really was. Her dad does not give her a choice every other Sunday if she wants to go to church. I can do nothing to stop him from taking her other than asking him too. She has already 7 years of church doctrine under her belt. She is already conflicted. I overheard her playing with her dolls as her dolls had played out a very interesting primary scenario last month. I believe this policy was created for children and people who are in the exact situation that my daughter, my family, ex-husband and I are in. This policy will not protect her it will only cause her harm and emotional damage. If she is not baptized at 8 my LDS family will place the shame and blame on me for the loss of my daughters eternal salvation, and if she dies before she ever joins the church there will be some relative waiting to do her temple work to save her from the sins of her apostate mother.

  52. Cory
    November 10, 2015 at 11:45 am

    And just when I thought nothing the church did could shock me…Great episode! I am curious about the pamphlet Jay mentioned that “encourages people to beat up gays.”

    • don wilson
      November 11, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Cory,

      Not sure if I left that info about advocating violence against gays, because I did mention that to a few people the other day. That information was included in a pamphlet we handed out as missionaries called “To the One” it was by Boyde K Packard and related a story that that if your companion showed interest in you, that you should beat him up or punch him… something like that. Of course, there was also the story of the mormon prophet of apostle saying he would rather have his son come home in a coffin rather than break the law of chastity. It is just par for the course from a very legalistic church that is far more interested in control than loving growth of the human spirit.

  53. Mark Hudson
    November 10, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I really think that the church leaders are worried about being forced to allow same gender marriages into the temple, and this is just an attempt to make sure that doesn’t happen at least for now.

  54. Alma the Latter
    November 11, 2015 at 7:04 am

    What about LDS children that currently live with gay parents ? Are they going to be excommunicated ?

  55. Lgaj
    November 11, 2015 at 9:51 am

    No, they will be executed. I can’t wait for the Bishops to read about that rule in their handbook.

  56. Emma
    November 12, 2015 at 9:13 am

    A comment above just hit me like a ton of bricks– John please address this

    Isn’t it logical to assume that anyone living with a Gay couple (or a person who has been in a gay relationship)
    Would not be allowed to be a member or remain in good standing in the church
    What happens when you go for a temple recommend interview and they find you are living with a Gay couple (or someone who has been in a gay relationship ) ??
    Now an 18-year-old , no longer a child, cannot become a member if he is living with his gay parents
    What about aging parents who move in with their gay son and his partner
    What about a sister who moves in with her brother and his partner
    What about a girl who moves in with her gay friend and his partner???

    What happens when you’re gay son who has been in relationships and may still be needs to move back home is your membership in jeopardy

    All of these would then be grounds for withholding of church membership — but what if all these people ( non-day ) are already devoted members in good standing —- ?? Would their membership be in jeopardy ?? would their temple recommends be withheld ?? Would they be passed over for a church, especially in ??? be in jeopardy ?? would their temple recommends be withheld ?? Would they be passed over for a church, especially in his ???

    What if you’re gay daughter and partner are having hard times and they really need to move in with you how does that affect your membership

    And horrors of horrors what if Todd christopherson had unfortunate circumstances and needed ( or even wanted to ) live with his gay brother ??would he then become excommunicated
    And no longer an apostle ????

    This policy obviously goes beyond children when they are including 18-year-olds and above— it is obviously based mostly on who you live with —

    The policy has no bounds !!!!!!we can no longer live with who we want to !!
    despite our righteous actions and devotion to the church

    It is really scary

  57. Emma
    November 12, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Reading these comments it hit me like a ton of bricks! John please help me figure this out
    The church is not only rejecting children of gay parents but also 18 year olds who live with them
    Just thinking about that one requirement leaves a whole bunch of questions unanswered

    What about Active devoted Mormons who Live with gay couples ( or a gay person who has had partners in the past ) will these people either be prevented from joining the church or have disciplinary action like losing their temple recommend or not being able to hold leadership positions in the ward
    Or will they be excommunicated

    *aging parents who live with their gay daughter and her partner ??
    * A sister/ brother who lives with a gay brother and his partner
    *A girl who lives with her friend who is gay and has a partner

    What about situations where an 18 Year old ( or older ) needs to live with a gay parent and partner for a variety of reasons — perhaps they need each other’s help ? it could be financial, emotional, a disabilitiy,or just wanting to be together
    If I was gay my 18-year-old son would not be able to ever join the church because he has disabilities and will probably live with me until I die

    And who knows there may come -a time-horror of horrors –when Todd Kristofferson needs to live with his gay brother Will he be disfellowshipped excommunicated Or be released as an apostle

    If we go by The churches requirement of not living with a gay person and his partner that can logically be applied to all people –children and adults –who live with a gay couple– some kind of church action will result

    There are so many circumstances where people need to live with a Gay family member

    If family members are encouraged to judge and reject gay Family members …….who is left to love and support them in their times of trial and difficulty?

    We are ignoring Christ greatest teachings to love one another especially the sinner. When are people going to realize That we may not agree with a person’s choices but we can still love them and be their in their lives

    It is really scary how far this policy can go

  58. Lgaj
    November 13, 2015 at 5:30 am

    This policy was the straw that broke my back. I no longer believe the GA’s are men of God nor is the church’s truth claim valid. I’m now outside the line they drew in the sand.

  59. November 13, 2015 at 6:07 am

    I am a former Mormon who went on a mission for two years, married a woman in the Salt Lake Temple by an Apostle, LeGrand Richards, had two children and served in a Bishopric. I also served in the SL Temple as a Scheduled Veil Worker. That was then and now I am happily excommunicated and married to my same gender partner of 27 years. I am from the original Mormons dating back to the origins of 1830s and up to 1844 in Nauvoo. I am the 5th generation Mormon who came through one of five wives of Edwin Whiting. So I know what I am talking about.

    As a Public school teacher in SLC for many years, I saw how the church’s stand against homosexuality destroyed lives. Many of my former students committed suicide, many of my co workers lived a gay lifestyle while hiding behind a straight marriage, many still do. It is not a very tolerant religion.

    I have often received the blank and insincere passive aggressive judgment stare from Mormons who presented to care about me and my status as a happily gay married man. It does not take a genius to see that their well intentioned phony smiles are really hidden hatred and that they really can not stand me nor my truth of who I am.

    Finally, please know that being gay is something you are, not what you choose. God created LGBT humans and He is very proud of his creation. Grow up! It is 2015 and time to forgive and become better and to stop judging others. Gay couples with children who want a Mormon life is impossible. These Mormon men of the church will never allow it and they will continue their hatred of the LGBT community. Stop thinking they will change. If not, then you will remain frustrated and sad.

    Yours truly,

    John E Whiting
    Former Member of the LDS Church

  60. Wack Job
    November 13, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Bishops don’t have to pay attention to this if they have any stones. I’ve seen many bishops / stake presidents here in the midwest that don’t excommunicate anyone. Not for infidelity, homosexual relations, etc. Not near as ‘anal’ as in Utah.

    • Gary
      November 13, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      Well then, I wonder if we’ll see any Bishops or Stake Presidents excommunicated for insubordination if they refuse to enforce The Brethren’s codified homophobia.

      • Phonin' It In From Kolob
        November 13, 2015 at 3:37 pm

        That would/will be very interesting. If you read all of the stuff on-line surrounding relatively high-profile excommunications in recent memory (Kelly, Dehlin, The September 6 and others), which I have at one point or another, it’s very obvious that these matters that are nominally “handled at the local level” are actually orchestrated from above, and sometimes from FAR above. If one bishop comes out and says, “I will not abide by this policy,” it’s easy enough to release and replace him. But if all kinds of bishops from all over don’t make a big vocal deal of it, but just never get around to really complying with it, then what?

  61. chris d
    November 15, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    I am saddened to say this. The LDS church will soon have something in common with Iran…. They will be able to say there are no homosexual people in our church ( Iran claims in their country ) The only difference is in Iran homosexuals are beheaded and put to death whereas in the LDS church they will be expelled as apostates and even their children are not welcome to worship with them.

    In my opinion it is very unchristian. I am compelled in my belief to love everyone <3

  62. Outsider
    November 17, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Too much focus is being placed on how the children will affected by the church’s policy when the focus should be placed on the couple who unnaturally acquired a child. I’m not an active member. . . so not defending the church. It is flawed and imperfect, just as the leadership is. However, I totally understand and agree with their position. The church views couplehood as between a man and woman because two men cannot produce offspring in this life or the next. Therefore, their union is a dead end, eternally speaking. I believe God is not gay. He couldn’t be. If He were, we wouldn’t be sitting here. It isn’t hate speech, it’s just a matter of fact. Nor is God in a threesome, having a wife and a gay lover.
    Two loving gay people bringing up a child may be a better life for the child than not having decent adult figures but the dynamic is spiritually unnatural, in my opinion. So back to the point, gay couples are creating a difficult life for “their children” by the very act of adopting an unsuspecting child. Don’t blame the church for something the gay couple has done. It’s like blaming gravity for falling down.

    • Gary
      November 17, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Outsider wrote:

      “Two loving gay people bringing up a child may be a better life for the child than not having decent adult figures but the dynamic is spiritually unnatural, in my opinion.”

      God forbid the child should have a better life. That would be unnatural?

    • November 17, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Well… where do you start to answer this silliness. Maybe you shouldn’t, but I just can’t help myself. Dear Outsider, you make many a leap of faith in your arguments. First, most of the civilized world, who still believe in a God, with the exception of Mormons do not believe that God is gay, straight, bi, transgendered, or otherwise configured with sexual organs. Most people, again I’m speaking of believers, fathom God to be something much larger than the glorified evolution of a natural world process. Unbelievably, you refer to this sexualized God as “a fact” and not hate speech. Well… Perhaps a quick review of what fact and fiction is would be a good first step in your post 6th grade education. If your attitudes weren’t so harmful to so many, I would just chalk this letter up to “stupid does and stupid is.” In this case, however, stupid kills. Your attitudes are directly and indirectly contributing to teen suicide and that is a very serious aggression indeed.

      Further, I am the gay father of an adopted son. My son was actually my student when I taught 2nd grade in urban and poor Los Angeles (gasp, a gay teacher working with children!). In the spring of that year, his mother died and he was orphaned. He had four uncles, one Mormon, one Jehovah Witness, one Evangelical, and one Catholic. All four fought to not take him in. Finally, the least likely candidate was forced to take him… the 60 year old Mormon. Long story short, after my student started arriving to school with bruises and bloodies (by both the Mormon and the Catholic), he was destined to go to foster care. Through a series of events, I was able to take him in and raise him as my own son. Today, 10 years later he is studying physics and engineering at college, has a beautiful girl friend, and enjoys the love of an adoring father and all the extended family that comes with that of Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, etc.

      So, Outsider, I’m eternally grateful that my son didn’t end up with someone like you. I know hundreds of gay and lesbian parents that are raising great kids. I also know thousands (remember I’ve been in education for 25 years) of straight parents that are doing an awful job and creating more problems for our society. And that, Outsider, is a fact.

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