35 Comments

Suffer little children, and forbid them not

Matthew 19:13-14

13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

History is repeating itself.  The LDS Church surreptitiously released some changes to the Church Handbook of Instructions Book 1 in clear violation of scripture.  I do think that church leaders, just as in the days of Jesus, are acting in good faith, just as in the days of Jesus, they have committed a grave error.  “Suffer little children, and forbid them not” Jesus said.  Yet Elder Christofferson, just as the unnamed disciples in scripture, are preventing children from being blessed by Jesus.  This policy must change!  It is unscriptural, and clearly rebuked by Jesus.

On November 5, 2015, the church made the following changes in the Handbook of Instructions, available only to bishops or higher in authority.  The following changes were leaked to John Dehlin.

  • A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service only as follows:

A mission president or a stake president may request approval from the Office of the First Presidency to baptize and confirm, ordain, or recommend missionary service for a child of a parent who has lived or is living in a same-gender relationship when he is satisfied by personal interviews that both of the following requirements are met:

  1. The child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.

  2. The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.

Elder Todd Christofferson, an apostle, did clarify what “disavow” means.  According to the LDS Newsroom

Michael Otterson: There is also provisional requirement for a person who has reached the age of maturity who maybe wants to serve a mission in the Church, but who has come from a same-sex marriage relationship, family. There is a requirement for them to disavow the idea of same-sex marriage. Not disavow their parents, but same-sex marriage. What was the thinking behind that? 

Elder Christofferson: Well again, this is a parallel with polygamy. Anyone coming out of a polygamous setting who wants to serve a mission, it has to be clear that they understand that is wrong and is sin and cannot be followed. They disavow the practice of plural marriage. And that would be the same case here. They would disavow, or assent I guess would be a better way to say it, to the doctrines and practices of the Church with regards to same-sex marriage. So they would be saying, as you said, not disavowing their parents, but disavowing the practice.

I wasn’t aware of the policy about children of polygamists until a month ago when Kevin Barney at By Common Consent posted the case of Madison Brown, a polygamist child of Kody and his second wife Janelle.  Maddie has publicly proclaimed “I will not be a polygamist” (this from July 2014) but apparently a recorded statement with witness affadivits wasn’t good enough for the First Presidency.

Watch the video.  (Fast forward to the 2:10 mark to hear a very firm statement “I am not going to be a polygamist.”)  Is she not assenting?

I haven’t watched the episode referenced by Barney, but she is also quoted on Hollywood Life.  {I’ve tried to only pull our her quotes without their editorial remarks, though I couldn’t remove everything and maintain readability.}

“I got a phone call and they aren’t letting me get baptized — it’s too contradictory and they hope I reconsider [joining the Mormon church] when we’re not such a public family,” Maddie reveals to her stunned moms Janelle, Robyn and Meri. “Because I won’t publicly disown my family or publicly disassociate with them, it’s too controversial for the Mormon Church so they asked me not to get baptized…they said they hope ‘I’m not bitter’,” adds Maddie…

“This is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Jesus Christ wouldn’t be doing this,” she insists. “I don’t know if I want to [join the Mormon Church] now, because if they want me to publicly denounce my family, why would I want to be a part of your church?”…..

“It shocks me. From day one I’ve said, I don’t want to be a polygamist, but I love my family. I love my parents, but it’s their choices. I will continue to love and support and endorse their choices if it makes them happy,” vows Madison. “[The Mormon Church elders] didn’t like that.”

In my mind, Madison has met Christofferson’s criteria, and I disagree with the First Presidency’s decision to reject her baptism.  It may well have been policy of the Church to avoid having polygamists join, but I didn’t know about this policy until last month (although Ardis Parshall claims this has been around since the 1920s), still I don’t think this is a good policy either.  Madison should not be punished and denied saving ordinances because of her parents sins.

As for “protecting the children”, I don’t buy what has been bandied about, and was surprised that Christofferson justified this.

Michael Otterson: Why are the children of these same-sex partners an issue here?

Elder Christofferson: Well, in answering or responding to your question, let me say I speak not only as an apostle in the Church, but as a husband, as a father and as a grandfather. And like others in those more enduring callings, I have a sense of compassion and sympathy and tender feelings that they do. So this policy originates out of that compassion. It originates from a desire to protect children in their innocence and in their minority years. When, for example, there is the formal blessing and naming of a child in the Church, which happens when a child has parents who are members of the Church, it triggers a lot of things. First, a membership record for them. It triggers the assignment of visiting and home teachers. It triggers an expectation that they will be in Primary and the other Church organizations. And that is likely not going to be an appropriate thing in the home setting, in the family setting where they’re living as children where their parents are a same-sex couple. We don’t want there to be the conflicts that that would engender. We don’t want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the Church are very different. And so with the other ordinances on through baptism and so on, there’s time for that if, when a child reaches majority, he or she feels like that’s what they want and they can make an informed and conscious decision about that. Nothing is lost to them in the end if that’s the direction they want to go. In the meantime, they’re not placed in a position where there will be difficulties, challenges, conflicts that can injure their development in very tender years.

This reasoning boggles my mind.  Jana Reiss at said,

First, Elder Christofferson said that no one, upon reaching the age of majority, will ever be denied the blessings of baptism and the gospel if they denounce same-sex marriage. “Nothing is lost to them in the end if that’s the direction they want to go.”

This idea that “nothing is lost” is curious, since where I serve in Primary we spend an awful lot of time telling kids that being baptized and having the companionship of the Holy Ghost are crucial for them right now, in their childhoods. Church curriculum suggests there is a great deal at stake for them when they are still youth.

So, an honest question: Do we believe the presence of the Holy Ghost is a vital strength for kids to carry throughout their early lives, as we constantly say we do—perhaps especially during adolescence—or do we now profess a casual certainty that all of those lost years will be compensated for in adulthood?

I mean if nothing is lost, why not require all children to wait until age 18 to get baptized?  Zelph on the Shelf noted

YOU TELL 8-YEAR OLDS TO MAKE ETERNAL COVENANTS. THEY STILL BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS.

Also, the church thought a 14-year-old (well, several) was old enough to get married to a 36-year-old man, which certainly caused her distress and conflict. Why can’t a 14-year-old be old enough to get baptized into a church most people join at 8?

Jana continues,

A second point. Do we imagine that children born in same-sex marriage are the only ones for whom church membership or baptism can be contested questions?

We suddenly are evincing all this pastoral concern for children who might be forced to choose between the gospel and the way their parents are living. Meanwhile, thousands of kids in other situations learn to negotiate such circumstances all the time, including children with one parent who is LDS and another who is not (as in my own family). Yet we baptize those kids if that’s their desire and if both parents give permission.

Zelph on the shelf agrees.

My parents let me drink alcohol from the age of like… 12. They were not religious at all. They regularly told me reasons the church was bad. They also encouraged “having sex with enough people to figure out who you’re compatible with”, and only one of them gave me permission to get baptized. That was good enough for the church, who are absolutely fine with kids leaving the majority of their parents’ religions, lifestyles, and beliefs in order to join the church. There are endless other scenarios where a child is taught differently at home than at church.

There is even a blog post from Mormon Women Stand (I can’t believe I am actually sending people to that website) titled I Am the Daughter of Lesbians, and I Am a Mormon.  Isn’t this proof that lesbianism doesn’t rub off on children?  I mean Brandi Walton was able to live in an unprotected lesbian family, and still chose the church.  She joined the church despite the lack of this policy, and is living proof that she didn’t need this policy to protect her.  (The article notes “She, and her wonderful husband Matt, have four children, with a fifth on the way, and an old, lazy dog.“)

Furthermore, lots of children get mixed messages between home and church.  I mean we let inactive dads baptize their children if they quit smoking for a week.  We let cohabiting couples remain in sin and don’t deny their children baptism.   We don’t kick children of single parents out of the church. We don’t kick children of smokers or alcoholics out of the church. Why aren’t we protecting them with a similar policy?  This is just bad reasoning, and the policy doesn’t hold up to Jesus’ actions in scripture.

A Thoughtful Faith has a podcast that talks about possible legal issues that may have led the lawyers Oaks and Christofferson to embrace this policy to avoid liability issues.  There may be liability issues, but surely the First Presidency and Q12 could come up with a more pastoral policy rather than a legal one.

Not only does the policy violate ancient scripture, it violates modern scripture.  Jana Reiss is hitting home runs.  In another post, she writes

In the LDS Church, children born out of wedlock can be blessed, baptized, and approved to serve a mission.

Children born to rapists can be blessed, baptized, and approved to serve a mission.

Even children born to murderers can be blessed, baptized, and approved to serve a mission.

But children born to faithful, loving, monogamous couples in a same-sex marriage or other committed relationship will henceforth be excluded from all three of those things.

Last night it was revealed that the new LDS administrative handbook has revised some of its policies, including ones on same-sex marriages and relationships.

Same-sex couples who are married or cohabit together are now defined as living in “apostasy,” and same-sex marriage is listed as one of several conditions that mandate a church disciplinary council. Whereas in the past, bishops and stake presidents had some leeway about whether to impose church discipline, now they will be required to discipline any LGBT church member who is married to or living with a partner of the same sex.

Now let’s talk about church discipline.  In case you can’t read the graphic, Gay Marriage is considered “Mandatory” Discipline, apparently worse than the following sins which “may” require church discipline:

  • attempted murder
  • forcible rape
  • sexual abuse
  • spousal abuse
  • intentional serious physical injury of others
  • adultery
  • fornication,
  • homosexual relations (especially sexual cohabitation)
  • deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities

So Gay Marriage, something legal in the land is deemed worse than attempted murder and forcible rape?  Come on!  This is not a policy of inspiration, and to quote Matthew 18 “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”  And Woe to those who created these policies!

1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

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.

¶Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

 So here’s a challenge for you.  Please tell me where the scriptures support a policy restricting children of sinful parents to be denied baptism until age 18.  Also tell me why gay marriage is worse than attempted murder or forcible rape.  I expect crickets on these two challenges, but I’d love to hear someone attempt to defend these indefensible policies.

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35 comments on “Suffer little children, and forbid them not

  1. “Please tell me where the scriptures support a policy restricting children of sinful parents to be denied baptism until age 18.”

    “51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

    52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

    53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” (Luke 12:51-53)

    The Savior has never shied away from asking hard things of His would-be followers. Those children of SSM families who are told to wait (not denied) certainly have a very hard thing to go through, especially at the age of 8. But when they are baptized at 18, they will certainly be stronger and more faithful because of it.

    Any ward that has children in this situation now has a very serious responsibility to make sure they embrace those children and surround them with love.

  2. That’s a pretty vague reference, so it is not at all convincing to me. Regarding what you wrote “children of SSM families who are told to wait (not denied)”, in some cases it is denied. When I was about 10 years old, one of our neighbors contracted a serious illness about a month before her 8th birthday. She was in a coma for her birthday, and died. While I am sure that this girl is in the Celestial Kingdom, not everyone will live to age 18.

    “Any ward that has children in this situation now has a very serious responsibility to make sure they embrace those children and surround them with love.” While those sentiments are nice, and I am quite positive that the LDS students in Logan did just what you mentioned, Maddie says above, “I don’t know if I want to [join the Mormon Church] now, because if they want me to publicly denounce my family, why would I want to be a part of your church?” I am sure this will be the case with many children who feel shunned. It takes a special person to overcome the shunning this policy creates, and it turns people like Maddie away from God and His church. It is certainly not in line with Jesus saying “Suffer little children, and forbid them not” and I think Jesus would take exception to attempting to utilize Luke 12:51-53 to justify this policy. It seems like wresting the scriptures to me.

  3. “That’s a pretty vague reference, so it is not at all convincing to me.”

    I don’t see it as vague. He made the point that His doctrine will divide families and pit the children against the parents. And that this would be part of the refining process (see vs. 49-50).

    And I’ll admit, it’s super easy for me to say the Savior expects me to choose Him over everything else when I haven’t had to make as severe a choice as these children will. But the fact remains, it’s a choice we will all have to make.

    As Elder Holland said in “The Will of the Father” (https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/jeffrey-r-holland_will-father/):

    “The path to a complete Christian education passes through the Garden of Gethsemane, and we will learn there if we haven’t learned it before that our Father will have no other gods before him—even (or especially) if that would-be god is our self [NB: or our parents, or our beliefs about marriage, etc]. I assume you are all far enough along in life to be learning that great discipline already. It will be required of each of us to kneel when we may not want to kneel, to bow when we may not want to bow, to confess when we may not want to confess—perhaps a confession born of painful experience that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his ways our ways, saith the Lord (see Isaiah 55:8).”

    I cannot recommend that talk highly enough for everybody on this planet.

  4. “What a pity it would be if we were lead by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are lead by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purpose of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders did they know for themselves by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know by the whispering of the spirit of God to themselves whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates or not. This has been my exhortation continually.” (Brigham Young, “Remarks,” Deseret News, 12 February 1862, p. 257).

    (Copied word for word from W Paul Reeve)

    I appreciate your comments, but are we not supposed to study it out in our minds and ask if it is right?

    I just think that when we so easily turn off our brains and “follow the prophet” we will be led to acts like the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Do you know that they prayed before killing the Fancher Party? I blogged about it back in 2010. I don’t see how following this advice uncritically doesn’t lead to these kinds of disasters or Joshua’s Unholy War.

  5. You’ve made quite a judgment there. I’m not sure why you think I haven’t studied it out. Or that I’ve turned my brain off. I fear we’re quickly descending into ad-hominem attacks instead of discussion.

    I’m aware that the members in the MMM prayed before executing those innocent people. Are you aware that Brigham Young ordered them to let the people go but the communication didn’t arrive until it was too late?

    That’s a great example of people following their own thoughts instead of the prophet.

    p.s. My browser wants to autocorrect “hominem” to “Eminem”. I love the idea of a logical fallacy called ad-Eminem. Using Eminem’s lyrics to support all your points. I may start doing this now.

  6. MJ,

    I appreciate your comments. Certainly I am emotional on this issue because I feel strongly that it is a clear violation of scripture, and an offense against children. Jesus clearly condemned those who offend children: “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.”

    7 ¶Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”.

    For those defending the policy so far, I haven’t seen anything that sounds like they have studied it out in their minds. I should not lump you in that category. To this point this seems to be your argument.

    Sometimes God asks us to do hard things that we don’t understand. Sometimes God divides families.

    Ok, fair point, but this is not really an answer to the challenge “Please tell me where the scriptures support a policy restricting children of sinful parents to be denied baptism until age 18.” Telling me that God asks hard things that sometimes divide families isn’t really an answer to that challenge. Certainly God has reasons. What are they?

    Nor have you told me why gay marriage is worse than attempted murder or forcible rape.

    So, since you’ve studied it out in your mind, (1) where is there scriptural support for restricting children of sinful parents from baptism? (I don’t deny that sometimes God divides families, but I’ve not seen him refuse baptism to those who diligently seek him.) (2) Why is gay marriage a more serious sin than attempted murder or forcible rape (according to the Handbook)?

  7. First, Madison Brown was unwilling to denounce her parents practices and said instead she would continue to support them in their decisions. That is not denouncing polygamy.

    As for the policy change, we are not a church that caters to Satan and his desires. The policy change is to ensure the best possible outcome for souls without giving in to immorality views which would undermine the Kingdom of God. A child growing up in a home where the parent is in an active homosexual relationship is not in a very good position to be coming to church and coming of age learning that their parent is living in gross sin. It creates a conflict. The child isn’t damped because of this policy. It’s entirely the fault of the parent sinner here. If they want their child to be baptized then it is their own duty to repent.

  8. Rob, Elder Christofferson requires children of gays (and it is modeled after polygamists) “they would disavow, or assent I guess would be a better way to say it, to the doctrines and practices of the Church with regards to same-sex marriage.” In the context of polygamy, I would think a similar standard applies: “[Madison] would disavow, or assent I guess would be a better way to say it, to the doctrines and practices of the Church with regards to [polyamy].”

    Madison assented. She said (and has said this several times on the show) “I am not going to be a polygamist.” This isn’t good enough? You want her to condemn her parents too? I thought Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” But I guess those of us here in the Lords True Church can judge unrighteous judgment all day long because we have the priesthood, right?

    “A child growing up in a home where the parent is in an active homosexual relationship is not in a very good position to be coming to church and coming of age learning that their parent is living in gross sin.”

    This is so hypocritical. Did you read my post where I noted the double standard? Let me state it again.

    lots of children get mixed messages between home and church. I mean we let inactive dads baptize their children if they quit smoking for a week. We let cohabiting couples remain in sin and don’t deny their children baptism. We don’t kick children of single parents out of the church. We don’t kick children of smokers or alcoholics out of the church. Why aren’t we protecting them with a similar policy? This is just bad reasoning, and the policy doesn’t hold up to Jesus’ actions in scripture.

    Furthermore, Zelph noted,

    My parents let me drink alcohol from the age of like… 12. They were not religious at all. They regularly told me reasons the church was bad. They also encouraged “having sex with enough people to figure out who you’re compatible with”, and only one of them gave me permission to get baptized. That was good enough for the church, who are absolutely fine with kids leaving the majority of their parents’ religions, lifestyles, and beliefs in order to join the church. There are endless other scenarios where a child is taught differently at home than at church.

    There is even a blog post from Mormon Women Stand (I can’t believe I am actually sending people to that website) titled I Am the Daughter of Lesbians, and I Am a Mormon. Isn’t this proof that lesbianism doesn’t rub off on children? I mean Brandi Walton was able to live in an unprotected lesbian family, and still chose the church. She joined the church despite the lack of this policy, and is living proof that she didn’t need this policy to protect her. (The article notes “She, and her wonderful husband Matt, have four children, with a fifth on the way, and an old, lazy dog.“)

    “The child isn’t damped because of this policy.”

    Oh really, so how do you explain Madison’s reaction?

    “I don’t know if I want to [join the Mormon Church] now, because if they want me to publicly denounce my family, why would I want to be a part of your church?”

    She sounds damped (or did you mean damaged?) to me.

  9. MH,
    Madison doesnt wsnt to be a polygamyst, that much is true. However, Madison isnt willing to disavow polygamy-publicly state it is wrong. That is exactly why the church leaders said no. Its sad that no one gets that fact right when reporting the story which changes everything.

    I believe the church wants to make a statement here that ssm has no place in the church and looks down upon homosexuality as a very grevious sin especially when it involves those couples marrying and raising children which is exactly opposite of Gods plan of happiness. All the “fringe Mormons” who are bashing this policy and questioning church authority need to humble their hearts and repent and come to realize the truth of this policy as given from the Lord. Why would we bash our Lord and Savior on this issue? Are we followers of Christ or followers of Satan?

  10. Rob, I am QUOTING, not bashing the Savior. That’s my point completely.

    If you want to go with false dichotomies, I’m quoting Christ, I’m following Christ here. If you and I disagree, then I guess I have to conclude that you’re following Satan, just as John D. Lee blindly followed his leaders at MMM. Here’s further proof that blind obedience is wrong, and it comes from our founder, Joseph Smith.

    “We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them [even] if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without any questions. When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves.” –Joseph Smith Jr., Millennial Star, vol. 14, no 38, pp. 593-595

    I am a man of God and I despise the idea. Let me reiterate: “When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves.”

  11. To quote someone on facebook,

    As Patrick Mason has recently observed, I can–in entirely good conscience–say that I sustain my church leaders while saying at the same time that I cannot support that particular policy in good conscience. It says nothing about how one views Joseph Smith as a Prophet, nothing about our belief in the Book of Mormon, or even nothing in how we view our sexuality. It certainly does not undermine our proclaimed faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The sustaining of leaders has always been a far more beautiful act than merely following lockstep. To sustain means in its most literal of senses “to feed,” to support, to uphold. I can’t tell you how many men and women whom I have worked with and for to help promote the betterment of a beautiful community even as I have made clear my feelings about a particular policy.

    In this case, one can accept and celebrate a heteronormative Mormon theology while harboring serious and abiding concerns about the correctness of this policy. Forcing a dichotomy (and it is forced, make no mistake) mobilizes people more than it ever will illuminate or inspire.

  12. For those of you who don’t understand how this affects straight parents, please watch the following video and tell me your heart doesn’t weep with this poor mother and her 5 year old child.

  13. MH,

    The road to apostacy almost always starts by questioning the living prophets. There are too many of these questioning Mormons who find themselves on the fringe not able to hearken to the council of our leaders and too quick to side with the immorality of the world. Its far too easy to slip into apostacy in todays world. I am reninded of folks like John Dehlin (already excommunicated)and Bill Reel (on the fast track to excommunication).

  14. Rob you truly are a despicable sub-human.

  15. MH,
    Why? Because I do not question the prophets?

  16. Yes, see my comment quoting Joseph Smith above, as well as my quote from Brigham Young in comment 4. “The road to apostacy almost always starts by questioning the living prophets.”

    Yet the living prophet Joseph Smith said, “such obedience as this is worse than folly to us….A man of God would despise the idea.”

    You are despised by Joseph Smith himself.

    You are guilty of what Brigham Young (who was living when he said this) “settl[ing] down in a state of blind self-security trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purpose of God in their salvation.”

    Quit thwarting the purposes of God. Quit being despicable. Such blind obedience is worse than folly.

    See http://www.wheatandtares.org/19492/pull-your-heads-out-nutters/

  17. MH,

    Wow, really? So you are saying we should not take counsel from prophets because to do so makes one despicable. That sounds like an apostate philosophy.Are you going apostate?

  18. I’m willing to be called an apostate if you are willing to be called a child of the devil. Really I’m done with the conversation. If you can’t say anything without the ad hominems (and I’m fully aware I’m lobbing them back), then this conversation is past the point of anything useful. I’m tired of talking to you. You can have the last word if you choose. Adieu.

  19. Heartbreaking Stories coming in already. Twelve year old boy won’t be ordained because of gay mom. Eight year old sister’s baptism canceled last week for same reason, with 6 and 2 year old siblings unable to become members like their oldest brother. See http://janariess.religionnews.com/2015/11/10/mormon-boy-denied-priesthood-ordination-because-his-mom-is-living-with-a-woman/

    In the comments is this gem: “I am in the exact same situation, sharing custody with an ex-spouse in a same-sex marriage, but my stake president called the Office of the First Presidency and was told the policy does not apply to shared custody like this.”

    So glad the handbook makes these forever families happy!

  20. MH,

    Kind of hard to discuss a topic with your rashness. Good luck in finding your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

  21. Yes I agree. It is hard to discuss when you accuse people who disagree with you as apostate. Good luck riding your unicorn.

  22. This isn’t new its just been under the surface for many years,my mission was 20 years ago. I taught a girl whose mum was a Lesbian. She had to talk to the mission president and then the area president before getting baptised. her mothers lifestyle she was asked to disaow As she wouldnt disavow her mothers life style. so she chose not to get baptised. I remember the tears and anguish that were in the last discussion that we had with her. she knew the church was true and the spirit had witnessed it too her. but she was unwilling to abandon here mother. Her mother had been in an abusive relationship for many years and had found happiness with another women. in her case the relationship was more about companionship than sex.

    I have never understood the church’s stand on this issue. we allow all the other sin to go on in the world and don’t make as big as fuss about it as SSM.
    let the world do what they want to do and we can just keep living the gospel the way we should.
    I”m so glad that i don’t live in Utah I probably would have branded apostate along time ago. But we seem to be more laid back here in OZ.

  23. Where did you serve your mission?

    “we seem to be more laid back here in OZ.” It’s funny that you say that. There is an Australian blogger over at Wheat and Tares that complains about the conservative Utah culture permeating Australia.

  24. The thing about Madison’s story that really gets me is that her personal commitment means nothing. She has to believe that everyone who is practicing polygamy now is morally wrong (which I think is confusing, since the church still believes in polygamy doctrinally, if not in practice). Legally wrong, I could get behind, because of the law of the land, but Mormon doctrine is (was?) that polygamy is morally okay for some people. And if “God’s law never changes” as I hear spouted by so many in response to my advocacy for acceptance of LGBTQ folk, then it should still be morally okay now. What they’re asking her to do is not only cruel (seriously, how can you expect anyone to publicly condemn their own family, unless said family is rotten and horrible?) but hypocritical. The church is asking Madison to be more intolerant if polygamy than the church itself is!

    The other thing about all this that gets me is that I support lots of things for other people that “wouldn’t work for me” like Madison said. I’m not going to publically denounce people of other religions, or people who drink coffee, or people who don’t pay tithing, even though all of those things are contrary to what the church says. I’m perfectly willing to explain to non-members why I continue to participate in Mormonism, or why I don’t drink coffee or why I pay tithing, but I’m not willing to condemn those who don’t do things the same.

    The real sting is this: If I were the child of a homosexual parent in a cohabiting/marriage relationship I wouldn’t be allowed in. But because I have two straight parents, I suddenly have a pass to believe that others can do whatever the heck they believe is right and isn’t hurting anyone. I don’t have to denounce anyone or anything, just make a personal commitment to follow Christ and the church (the latter of which is rather easy for me, since I’m straight). Ummm… double standard much?

    I do worry though that soon that double standard won’t be in place. “Associating with ‘apostate groups'” might come to mean, “speaking to same-sex-married homosexuals without immediately calling them out for living in sin.” If that ever happens, my integrity would demand that I leave the church. But for now I’m staying, if only because it’s clear now that my opinions aren’t welcome, and I’m a reverse psychology kind of person. 😉

  25. Please read this story. It is extremely poignant and needs to be shared widely. https://invisiblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/its-different-this-time/

  26. In Adelaide Australia in the mid 1990’s. I live in the outback in a small branch. But my Dad who lives in the city, has noticed that in the city wards the Utah conservative mindset is growing. in Oz at least the Union and working class are being sidelined from positions of authority in favour of the business and professional class.

  27. One of the commenters at Wheat and Tares offered an opinion that a “Mandatory” court and “optional” court may not indicate seriousness of the sin. This was in response to my challenge: ” tell me why gay marriage is worse than attempted murder or forcible rape.”

    Here’s what I wrote there, but wanted to include it here.

    Alma 39:5 tells us that sexual transgressions (adultery and fornication) are “next to murder” in seriousness. To me this implies that murder is more serious. I’ve heard justifications that the reason why adultery is so bad is because it creates life, while murder takes life. From that point of view, creating life is usually a wonderful thing, but even in the case of adultery, wonderful people are created: Solomon was the (2nd) product of David’s original sin of adultery with Bathsheba (and Uriah’s Murder), and by extension, so even if adultery is bad, it can result in good. Of course Christ runs through the line of Solomon. Murder has to be the worse sin.

    Now with the case of gay sex, it is physically impossible for life to be created. So I would put it “next to” adultery/fornication in seriousness. If a person is married, we don’t call sex adultery or fornication, because it is the sign of a fidelity–fidelity is something we covenant to do when endowed/sealed in the temple.

    I get what you’re saying that “May/Must” may not be a sign of seriousness of sin, but it seems a bit strange to make a sin that can’t create life requires Mandatory discipline while a sin that takes life (or in the case of rape creates life) as simply “optional discipline.” I realize that sure, someone could say “hey I was falsely accused of rape/murder” but isn’t that what the Disciplinary Court is supposed to find out? Instead, church leaders let the world decide if a person is guilty instead of finding out themselves. While there may be some wisdom in not rushing to judgment, it just seems hypocritical to have a mandatory court for gay marriage, while an optional one for murder/rape. (I also think many–but not all–church courts are kangaroo courts with a pre-determined outcome especially when the charge is apostasy, but that’s another subject altogether.) Clearly murder and rape are the worst sins a person can commit.

    Furthermore, if a couple has sex out of wedlock, thereby being guilty of fornication/adultery, and a baby is clear evidence of this sin, why in the world is this not a mandatory disciplinary court? (Because if we did that we’d have to ex a lot of members and the 14 million members would dwindle to a whole lot less.) If creating life outside of marriage is a sin next to murder as Alma tells us, then clearly this also should be a Mandatory court.

    So there is a bit of hypocrisy regarding homo vs hetero-sexual transgressions. And it frankly seems rather odd that marriage–a pledge of fidelity between 2 adults–is seen as more sinful than causal gay sex or casual fornication between unmarried adults.

    So yes, the priorities concerning sexual sins are screwed up and unfair.

    But to me that’s more of a side issue. Here’s where I get outraged. Children should not be used as collateral damage in the fight against acceptance of gay marriage (or any other issue.) It is unChristlike, evil, and wrong, and this policy about children should be immediately repealed as an uninspired, wrong-headed, unscriptural mistake.

  28. Saw this on Facebook.

    “When we realize that the leadership has suggested that some people have no need for the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are all diminished. When discrimination is normalized by the institution, we are all diminished.”

  29. […] the LDS CHurch without First Presidency approval.  This is also an unrighteous policy.  In my previous post I talked about Madison Brown‘s reaction to being denied baptism even though she has said multiple times that she will not […]

  30. […] the LDS CHurch without First Presidency approval.  This is also an unrighteous policy.  In my previous post I talked about Madison Brown‘s reaction to being denied baptism even though she has said multiple times that she will not […]

  31. […] vocal about the ban on gays as being a wrong-headed move.  Three days after the ban was announced, I wrote a post excoriating the ban.  A few weeks later, I compared the gay ban to the black ban.  I believe the gay ban is a […]

  32. […] vocal about the ban on gays as being a wrong-headed move.  Three days after the ban was announced, I wrote a post excoriating the ban.  A few weeks later, I compared the gay ban to the black ban.  I believe the gay ban is a […]

  33. […] policy, always defending church leaders.  I was outspoken in some of these meetings.  I’ve written about the gay policy here on my blog, and I think it is one of the most unchristian policies our church has ever […]

  34. […] policy, always defending church leaders.  I was outspoken in some of these meetings.  I’ve written about the gay policy here on my blog, and I think it is one of the most unchristian policies our church has ever […]

  35. […] family of this group.  Kody’s daughter Madison, despite wanting to join the LDS Church was prevented from baptism.  The Nov 2015 policy excluding children of gays is modeled after a similar exclusion that has […]

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