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Same Sex Marriage and the New Church Policies

Mormon Momma has 1,565 published posts and 347 drafts—most of them mine. Last night my Facebook feed filled up with references to yesterday’s two changes in church policy. Soon after I began getting private messages and emails, asking my take on the new church policies. If I wanted to write today, this wouldn’t be the topic. It would, instead, come from one of the other 340-ish posts I’ve already started. But this issue is exploding, so I’ll do my best.

Same Sex Marriage and the New Church Policies

I reserve the right (as always) to change my mind or reconsider. At the top I will ask readers to consider the many factors in play before giving a reactionary response. (That’s just about all I’ve seen on social media on either side.)

Homosexuality and Consistency

One of the overriding principles in my life is consistency. I try to make sense of the world and of my positions and values. Almost never do I take a hard stance based on my feelings without some rational basis included. When I do make a position, I try very hard to make it fit coherently with the others. That’s not always possible, but I believe one day a grand, unifying theory will emerge. 

Homosexuality is a topic I’ve mostly avoided. It’s complex; I’m undecided. I have lots of friends who are gay and my kids have more (that’s generational but also a result of being professional performers (stereotypes usually exist because of real patterns)).  I have written related posts, trying to make sense of what I see and hear. (Examples include: Can God Proscribe Behavior and Transgenderism, Caitlyn Jenner, and Why Feelings Rule.) Given the plethora of complex moral issues, I’ve had plenty to think, read, and write about without spending time on issues related to homosexuality, but it’s come to the forefront once again.

Right up front, yes, I do think God can actually say that some behaviors are good and some are bad. I also think he can say that some behaviors are preferable and others are not. Really. Truly. And given that even every atheist (although atheism is devoid of reason) has a value set, let’s just agree that everyone categorizes behaviors along some values spectrum, including you.

My general—still unrefined—position about homosexuality (as in homosexual behavior) is that it is morally wrong. In my worldview it falls in with fornication, adultery, and, yes, polygamy—three other sexual practices that I also believe are morally wrong. (And, no, I do not give a conditional acceptance to polygamy.)

This makes sense to me for another, perhaps unorthodox, reason. I believe we have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother. (No, that’s not the unorthodox part and, no, there is absolutely no compunction against speaking about her openly. Stop spreading that nonsense. Just stop.) I believe that “God” is both of them—Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father— together, working as one. (Check out the Daughters of our Heavenly Parents event!)

I don’t believe Heavenly Mother is in a back room scrapbooking or attending to her latest case of the vapors. I believe she was actively involved in the creation and has always been actively involved in our lives. I believe that the two of them—male and female, two complementary parts—are necessary to form a complete God and that, thusly, those who choose to reject that model (just as with other eternal principles) are choosing to limit their eternal progress.

I don’t believe there is one Heavenly Father and a harem of Heavenly Mothers. I believe in an actual one-to-one eternal relationship.

I realize that brings up questions about the ultimate pairings. (And, no, as much as I love my Julie Flinders, I don’t believe Saturday’s Warrior is a doctrinal essay.) Such issues don’t seem terribly complex to me. In short, I actually believe all the eternal spouse hype without all the baggage.

Now I’ll try to make sense of these new policies in that context and without the benefit of an official church statement. (I understand the church is going to make a statement within the hour, so there may be an addendum coming sooner rather than later.)

Public Relations

To the best of my understanding, yesterday the church made two significant changes in the handbook without making a public statement. This isn’t particularly unusual, except that the topic is so politically charged that it was probably unwise. When the policies hit social media, the excrement hit the fan. The church confirmed the policies, but did not comment further. Of course, few others refrained thusly.

In the cacophony, I’ve heard a lot of misrepresentations (that the church “makes” children living in SSM households “apostate,” that adults who lived as children in SSM households must “renounce their parents,” etc.) If you’re going to disagree with the church, at least don’t build a straw man to do it.

Perhaps the church administrators thought the new policies would fly under the radar. Perhaps they thought it wouldn’t be such a big deal. The church essays were also initially published without comments or even links from the newsroom.

There seems to be an enormous blindspot in church administration that renders them unable to better anticipate these reactions. I’m shocked anyone in PR could have thought this would go by unnoticed, but I can’t explain it otherwise. Sometimes I wonder if the department is filled with old guys and gals who haven’t yet connected in the online space. Or something.

Note to the LDS Public Relations Department: I have absolutely no expertise in PR, and yet it still seems I’m about 2000% better at anticipating social media response. Shout out to me next time and I’ll give you some advice!

Same Sex Marriage and Membership Rules

Handbook Changes

Handbook 1, number 6.7.2 now reads (change highlighted):

When a Disciplinary Council May Be Necessary

Serious Transgression

… It includes (but is not limited to) attempted murder, forcible rape, sexual abuse, spouse abuse, intentional serious physical injury of others, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations (especially sexual cohabitation), deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities, …

Handbook 1, number 6.7.3 now reads (change highlighted):

When a Disciplinary Council is Mandatory


As used here, apostasy refers to members who:

  1. Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.

  2. Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.

  3. Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.

  4. Are in a same-gender marriage.

  5. Formally join another church and advocate its teachings.

Practical Application

The church—which has always held that homosexual behavior is sinful—has now further codified the always existing position that those who actively engage in homosexual behavior are living contrary to gospel principles and there may be consequences. This now specifically includes living together as a homosexual couple and being legally married as a homosexual couple (something that, as we all know, has only recently become an issue in the US).

Same sex marriage has now, specifically, been identified as apostasy. In the eyes of the church, it is not the same as merely engaging in behavior that is contrary to church doctrine, but as an active repudiation of the gospel plan.

This doesn’t seem particularly controversial or surprising to me given my beliefs about couples and eternal unions and godhood. Does it to you?

Children of SSM Couples and Membership Rules

Handbook Changes

Handbook 1, number 16.3 has been added:

Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship

A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing.

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.

Practical Application

This is the policy that is causing the most ruckus, anger, outrage. It seems to have been modeled after the policy for (not) baptizing children of polygamous parents. Given the similarities between the new and the long-standing policy, I find the current public weeping and wailing to be overwrought. I’m sure it’s sincere, but I have never, once, ever, in all my years seen anyone rent their garments over the baptismal exclusion of poly-marriage children. I asked one such friend and she explained her new outspokenness now this way:

Yes, we feel sad when someone is hurt, but the pain is that much greater the closer you are to that person.

So at least some of this new concern is because of personal relationships. I suspect it also comes because of personal support for same-sex unions and the hope that the church would eventually reverse its position rather than retrench.

If someone can’t be baptized until they are an adult, they do miss out on the blessings of being a member for that decade. I do think that is significant (more for boys than girls, given that they are excluded from more activities). Just as I was sad that I could not be a Boy Scout and could not pass the sacrament or participate in priesthood ordinances as a youth (or now…), it is sad that some will be precluded from participation in many blessings of membership that they would otherwise choose for the ten-year period until they are adults. I’m sorry for pain this may cause. Some of the policy is problematic enough and sweeping enough, that I suspect (and hope) it will be changed and refined, much as I hope other church policies are changed and refined.

Even if you don’t like the policy change, there are obvious problems with children who are members of record in a church in which their parents don’t fully participate and/or whose behavior is at odds with central church teachings. There can be a great deal of familial discord when someone is taught disparate things in various places and lives a life specifically contrary to those teachings.

That said, I do not think this decision was made primarily to protect the children or families. I think God does a fine job of that. Whether they get baptized now or later is no real issue in the grand scheme of things. God doesn’t condemn us for things beyond our control. Rather, I think the policy change is mostly a logistical and practical one.

When my husband served a mission to Samoa the members and missionaries were dealing with a rash of former “aisakulimi baptisms.” Translate that to “ice cream baptisms.” It happened when some overly-enthusiastic and ethically-challenged missionaries promised ice cream to anyone who got baptized. The result of having masses of children on record, but lost to the system was chaotic, time-consuming, and confusing.

Similarly, in Boca Raton, we had a number of girls in our Young Women program who were baptized without much in the way of testimony, but lots in the way of thinking the missionaries were cute and giving them lots of attention. These girls had full parental support—because many of their parents were thrilled to have someone take them off their hands for many hours per week—but their memberships without conversion were an administrative difficulty.

To be clear, yes, the salvation of a soul is worth the bother. But the rest of us are just fallible humans, too, and we can be overwhelmed with responsibility.

The church does allow children in many circumstances to join without participating parents as long as those parents give full approval. This is true although there are a lot more precautions in place than many people seem to realize. Still, let’s not get into a haystack fallacy here and refuse to recognize that some familial situations are more likely to be problematic than others.

In the cases of both polygamy and same-sex marriage, the only way for a marital unit (for want of a better word) to conform to church policy would be for them to split up. It seems to be the church’s positions that polygamy, same-sex marriage, and some other circumstances are far enough outside the manageable norm that it is best to delay membership until the child is an adult and able to understand and deal better with a possibly complex situation.

I’m not asking you to agree with the decision or to ignore the pain this may cause to some. (I’m haven’t done so myself.) Rather, I’m asking you to reasonably acknowledge that there are many factors in play and many ramifications to a policy on either end.

What are your thoughts on the issue?

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • GaytoStay November 6, 2015, 4:16 pm

    I saw your link on fb and came looking for a fight. But . . . I admit I think this is reasonable and fair. (Your article, not the policy.) Thanks for a chill and rational look.

  • Alice November 6, 2015, 4:22 pm

    I appreciate much of what you’ve written here. I hope the church can clarify some things because the implications of this new policy as it stands could be mighty messy to implement otherwise.
    Alice recently posted…Calling Good Evil and Evil GoodMy Profile

  • Debbi Edmonds November 6, 2015, 4:35 pm

    This clears up a lot for me. I was really bothered by this announcement, but now I can see why this may be needed.

  • jc November 6, 2015, 4:43 pm

    The part about moving out of the home at 18 is the part that think is questionable. Why not scrutinize all families for severe “deviant” behavior and treat all the same. Very unworkable, I know, but seems like a more even handed approach. There will be homes where far more damaging behavior is occurring and they will get a free pass.

  • IdRatherNotSay November 6, 2015, 4:44 pm

    I am curled up in a ball of confusion.

    I called and told my uber orthodox family members about this and they couldn’t believe their ears. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense and I am looking forward to clarification.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a believer myself but I am slightly less stringent than they are. I am with you; I do not believe that homosexuality is sanctioned by the lord, however, I do believe that people can be born gay. Regardless, it seems contrary to our faith to disallow baby blessings and baptisms for children who are innocent.

    Since I am not super close to this, what bothers me is that it’s making all of us look bad. How do I explain this to my non-member friends? How do my friends and family members answer their coworkers? How do we stave off persecution over policies with which we do not necessarily agree?

    Again, reeeeeeally looking forward to that clarification!

  • Martin November 6, 2015, 5:28 pm

    Many are hurting. We mourn with those who mourn. Thank you for a cautious response.

  • Katie November 6, 2015, 6:48 pm

    As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I could write for pages on this. I sobbed my face off this morning and wrote pages-long emails and messages to a couple friends about it. I’ll just respond to a few points:

    “I have never, once, ever, in all my years seen anyone rent their garments over the baptismal exclusion of poly-marriage children.”

    Uh, did you miss the outrage over Maddie Brown being denied baptism? This was less than a month ago. Here’s one post about it. There were many, and this was all over the news. bycommonconsent (dot) com /2015/10/11/polygamy-and-baptism-policy/ (sorry, your form won’t let me put in a URL).
    Many of us were horrified and upset about it. I don’t think anyone should be denied baptism in a case like hers. Of course if they’re actively planning to live polygamy, I think they should be denied baptism, but other than that, no way.

    My second point — I don’t think anyone is upset about this policy being applied in households where the parents don’t support the kids’ religious decisions. That is supposed to be the policy for ALL kids (though I assume most bishops don’t apply it — mine didn’t even ask if my kids’ dad was OK with their baptism/ordinations). But there are MANY children of LDS divorced mixed-orientation marriages where the lesbian or gay parent is now living in a same-sex relationship. In many of these cases, both biological parents deeply love the church. The lesbian/gay parent was drowning trying to live an inauthentic life and couldn’t do it any more. Many of these parents WANT their children to be fully active members. Now those children can’t progress at all. Today, many of these parents are wondering if the church is going to excommunicate their 11-year olds. This is not a rare situation, at least not in my circles.

    Also, the church has NO problem telling my kids loudly that divorce is not good, alcoholism is not OK, living with a woman out of wedlock is not OK, or that the mom being the provider is not ideal, and those are all things that their dad or I am involved in. I don’t even know if their leaders know/care that these things might be hard to hear for my kids. There aren’t any sanctions on my kids because of their parents. There aren’t any sanctions on the kids of murderers, rapists, abusers, porn addicts, substance abusers, and so on. So it makes no sense to single out kids of parents living in homosexual relationships. Also, even worse, the policy says that if the parent has EVER lived in a same-sex relationship, the child is ineligible for ordinances. It says *EVER*. Technically, a mom could be in a 3-month same-sex relationship, break up with her, and live celibate for the next 15 years, but the kid would still be barred from ordinances until they’re an adult. I assume the vast majority of bishops would ignore the policy in these cases, but still, the policy allows for it.

    I see that the policy toward polygamous kids is parallel to this policy, but in my mind, there’s no comparison whatsoever. Homosexuality is not taught as a religion. Homosexual parents do not influence straight kids to become gay or live in homosexual relationships. On the other hand, polygamy is taught as a religion, and polygamous parents generally do influence their kids to live in polygamous relationships.

  • Bro. Jones November 7, 2015, 7:48 am

    First off, thanks for this post and your thoughts, and the calm way you have presented them.

    Second: What Katie said, basically. I can live with declaring same sex marriage to be apostasy, and it’s not surprising at all given current church teachings and policy. (I say “current” because anything can change. We’ve heard “this will never change” before.) What shocks me is the breadth of proscription for children.

    There is much talk about how the church won’t baptize spouses without the other spouse’s permission, or minors without parental consent, or Muslims in certain areas, and all I can wonder is; when did this happen? I know converts in all those categories who received no pushback. I joined as a minor and the parental consent was questionable–but on my assurance that one parent was agreeable (the other was not) the mission president gave the go ahead. And it did indeed create a huge amount of family tension. My mother passed away never accepting my choice. My father came around after around 18 years when it was clear I wasn’t dropping it. But all I heard from missionaries at the time were scriptures about “turning father against son” and warnings about allowing my family to halt or even just delay my baptism.

    I’m with Allison in thinking that this is not strictly about “protecting” the children or family.

  • Alison Moore Smith November 7, 2015, 10:01 am

    GaytoStay, thanks for the kind words. 🙂
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…An Open Letter to BYU Fans: 3-Step 12th Man PrimerMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith November 7, 2015, 10:10 am

    Alice, I agree. While I do not see rafts of homosexual couples lining up, begging to have their children baptized into a church that teaches their behavior is sinful and aberrant—and I don’t believe parental desires should be the only criteria upon which baptism occurs—the most likely of the problematic scenarios I anticipate is when one of a child’s parents leaves the church to engage in a homosexual relationship and the other parent remains in the church.

    The new wording is ambiguous. Neither explanation removes all problems, but one encompasses more situations than the other.

    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:

    1. A natural or adopted child who is living with a parent in a same-gender relationship…
    2. A natural or adopted child with a parent who is living in a same-gender relationship…

    Does anyone know which reading is the intended one?
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  • Alison Moore Smith November 7, 2015, 10:15 am

    jc, there is never going to be an approach that satisfies all, that is seen as fair, etc. Per the post, I think the reasoning is that there are a few situations where the deviant behavior is severe enough that it is considered apostate and becomes a serious management problem for the local leadership and has become prevelant enough to warrant a general rule to help manage it.

    Like it or not, the church (and most societies in general) has always classified homosexual behavior as sinful and deviant. In other words, fornication and adultery are inappropriate uses of an appropriate behavior. Homosexual behavior is an inappropriate behavior at any time.
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  • Alison Moore Smith November 7, 2015, 11:09 am

    Uh, did you miss the outrage over Maddie Brown being denied baptism?…There were many, and this was all over the news.

    Uh, yes. I’m not a regular reader at BCC. I would guess that my sum total of comments there would fit on two hands. (And their theme gives me a freaking headache. Have you never heard of white space, people!)

    First, I just googled Maddie Brown. “Sister wives star.” I’m really supposed to follow Sister Wives??? And your news sources must be far different from mine. Looking at the top hits, they are people.com, inquisitir.com, radaronline.com, and hollywoodlife.com. None of which, I’m sorry, I frequent.

    Second, if a BCC blog post (that begins with the line, “So I’m watching Sister Wives as I type this.”) is equivalent to a social media blowout and stories on the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, LA Times, etc., that occurred with the policy change, well—I guess we’ll disagree on that point. 🙂

    Third, the post you refer to says this:

    Apparently they had wanted her to publicly denounce her family, and of course she wouldn’t do that.

    Well, hello. I’m guessing that the clarifying point here—and perhaps one of the reasons for the general church policy change—is that Maddie was asked to denounce not the family in general, in some sweeping screed (“My entire family is evil incarnate!”), but the family’s polygamous lifestyle. And she refused. (And, of course, according to BCC, she should not have done so, because it’s mean and makes the church look bad and, plus, it’s just mean!)

    I don’t think anyone should be denied baptism in a case like hers. Of course if they’re actively planning to live polygamy, I think they should be denied baptism, but other than that, no way.

    OK. So you’re line in the sand is if they are “actively planning to live polygamy.” For others it might be “thinking about planning to live polygamy.” Still others might say, “considering later thinking about planning to live polygamy.” Your haystack-fallacy-susceptible line (one that punishes someone for something they haven’t even done!) is different. But you are still willing to deny baptism to some people. (Have you no heart? Why are you a hater? Jesus said love everyone! Even those actively planning to live polygamy!)

    The church’s (currently ambiguous) line, now, is that a minor child either living with a homosexual couple of who has parent cohabiting as a homosexual couple must wait until they are an adult to be baptized.

    My second point — I don’t think anyone is upset about this policy being applied in households where the parents don’t support the kids’ religious decisions.

    I didn’t say that people wanted children baptized against the will of their parents. Did you think I did?

    The lesbian/gay parent was drowning trying to live an inauthentic life and couldn’t do it any more.

    I’d like to let the “inauthentic” phrase pass at this time—as one of those half written posts is titled “On Authenticity and Being True to Oneself and Other Hogwash”—but I can’t. I have no self-discipline today. I’m sorry.

    First, everyone lives authentically all the time. Fakers are authentic fakers. Posers are authentic posers. Gay people living in straight marriages are genuine gay people living in straight marriages. Second, the desire to live in a particular way—even a really, really strong desire—isn’t an excuse for sinful behavior. The church has always placed homosexual behavior squarely in the sin column and a desire to engage in sin doesn’t make it not sin.

    Now those children can’t progress at all.

    Are you really going to claim that a ten-year delay—until adulthood—of an ordinance prohibits progression?

    Today, many of these parents are wondering if the church is going to excommunicate their 11-year olds. This is not a rare situation, at least not in my circles.

    This isn’t a church problem; it’s a circle problem. It’s not rare because marginally Mormon (if at all) people are positing it. The church obviously did not make that statement. The church obviously never mentioned excommunication. The only people wondering if the church will run out and excommunicate already baptized children whose parents are living in homosexual relationships are people who actively choose to be stupid and subversive. Mostly because they already don’t like the church, like to complain about the church, like to seem cool and progressive, like to seem “loving” and “caring,” like to wear their bleeding hearts on their sleeves to prove how awesome and accepting and tolerating and understanding they are.

    There are real difficulties associated with this (and every) policy—difficulties that deserve discussion and consideration—but that isn’t one of them. That’s hysteria.

    So it makes no sense to single out kids of parents living in homosexual relationships.

    You’re making a haystack fallacy argument. I already specifically forbid that in the OP. 🙂 I call foul.

    Also, even worse, the policy says that if the parent has EVER lived in a same-sex relationship, the child is ineligible for ordinances. It says *EVER*.

    Where are you getting that? I have the new policies posted above. The word “ever” doesn’t appear at all. And neither reading I can see indicates that.

    Homosexuality is not taught as a religion.

    Neither is polygamy. There is no (to my knowledge, I could be wrong) Unitarian Universalist Many Spouses of the Holy Order church, is there? Rather, polygamy is taught as part of a value set.

    Likewise, absolutely homosexuality is taught as part of many value sets. Parsing out “religion” to mean a specific organization rather than a set of values/beliefs is nonsensical. Most of the progressive Bloggernacle blogs (and many perms in “neutral” Bloggernacle blogs) espouse the idea that homosexual behavior is OK and the church is just behind the times. They accept is as part of their normed value set. We all know that is true. That is “religion” for all intents and purposes. And the preach it from the rooftops.

    Homosexual parents do not influence straight kids to become gay or live in homosexual relationships.

    Of course some do, just as many heterosexual parents and polygamous parents influence their children to live heterosexual and polygamous lives. I realize that the “born that way” mantra often requires a certain behavior, but you can’t claim it’s universal.

    Perhaps more significantly, of course a family situation that normalizes what the church deems deviant behavior influences a child to normalize it as well. Can there really be debate on that topic?
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  • Amphigory November 7, 2015, 2:55 pm

    I too was surprised church PR people were so unprepared for this; in fact, I am amazed (is it OK to use the word ‘incompetent?’). Church PR folks should understand by now that if they publicly state the the sky appears to be blue in color, outrage will swell on the interwebs at their audacity/arrogance/prudishness/intolerance!

    This issue is a direct result of the success of the same-sex marriage activists and their recent legal victories. They have accomplished exactly what they wanted, but they are not done: their work is just beginning. Ten years ago I heard an interview with a lawyer who claimed to represent thousands of lawyers around the country. His point was that their goal was not just same-sex marriage, but ultimately the destruction of modern Christianity and organized religion. When the interviewer asked about the fallout in terms of possible legalization of polygamy, bestiality, or NAMBLA goals, he treated it as though those were natural results but didn’t matter.

    Make no mistake. The church is under very real and very sophisticated legal attack. We won’t read or hear of it for some time, as these battles are fought quietly until something big happens. Clearly there is a plan to force same-sex marriage on the church through legal means. We’ve already seen policy changes designed to protect the church on that account. The SSM issue is a cudgel for the larger plan to hurt the church, devalue eternal marriage, assault the temple, and in every way hinder the Lord’s plan for us.

    Sad to say, the true victims in this are LDS people struggling with sexual issues and their loved ones. Suddenly, they have become the unwilling face of a great wave of evil–an evil that is being perpetrated in their name.

    Although the Adversary is sophisticated and clever, all we need to do is to remain vigilant, and firm in our understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That and keep ourselves open to further revelation for our specific issues today. This is not an easy task. It requires us to choose first who we will serve, then actively seek constant spiritual nourishment. The days of casual gospel observance/church allegiance are over.

  • Amphigory November 7, 2015, 3:25 pm

    One other point: the most vulnerable people in this issue are not the children of same-sex relationships. The most vulnerable people are our own good church members–many under 35– who have a shallow understanding of the gospel. The world has been teaching them that feelings trump all. If their feelings can be manipulated, they stop thinking and surrender control. This Facebook issue is a perfect case in point. It’s not true compassion: it’s an orchestrated response to a carefully crafted manipulation. It’s easy to make the gospel or the church look bad if you can manipulate feelings and bypass rational thoughtful examination.

    Younger people have not witnessed our popular media take an issue–same-sex marriage, which was overwhelmingly defeated in California in the 1990s, and completely change society in a very short period of time. Those of us who are old enough for perspective watched as the Adversary, through the use of popular media, movies, TV, and news, has taken public perception and completely turned it around. TV doesn’t matter?

    It hit me when I sat in a room full of new BYU students discussing these issues. So many had only the most rudimentary knowledge of the whys of the law of chastity. Youth are fed a constant diet of misinformation straight from the playbook of the Adversary. And it’s not just ‘other people.’ In spite of my own efforts, my child is among those in need of better teaching. I think a teaching point can be made of the difference between the witness of the Spirit and having ‘good feelings.’

  • Steve November 7, 2015, 5:59 pm

    The Church is not the victim here. They blew their own head off. They weren’t satisfied with declaring those in same sex marriages as apostates. They had to go after the kids of those so involved. The rationalizations that are now be trotted out now are silly. This is not about protecting the children or their family relationships. It is about driving these children from the Church permanently so as not to “infect” it. But, there is no way in hell that this came from God. This came from a group of old, bigoted men who are so disconnected that they couldn’t anticipate the long term damage that they have done to the Church’s reputation. The LDS Church for the next 50 years will be known as the organization that punished the children of gay parents. Way to go . .

  • Katie November 7, 2015, 6:13 pm

    (I keep getting a “Page Not Found” after I submit my comments. This is a test to see if it’s because they’re too long.)

  • Katie November 7, 2015, 6:14 pm

    I guess God just doesn’t want me to comment right now. Maybe I’ll try again later.

  • Alison Moore Smith November 7, 2015, 8:06 pm

    Steve, this is an idiotic response. You (often) do better.

    If the “rationalizations” in my post are “silly” perhaps you could at least give a cogent run at explaining why. And if you really can’t imagine any reasons why some unifying policy to deal with this issue might have been needed, you’re not nearly as thoughtful as I imagined.
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  • Steve November 7, 2015, 8:24 pm

    I wasn’t responding to your post (I assume your are not “Amphigory”).

  • Alison Moore Smith November 7, 2015, 10:30 pm

    This is my post, Steve. I realize your comment was in response to Amphigory, but you didn’t specify what “rationalizations” you were referring to and you didn’t refute anything. You just vented.

    Man up and make a decent argument to support your position rather than just calling names.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…An Open Letter to BYU Fans: 3-Step 12th Man PrimerMy Profile

  • BL November 7, 2015, 10:42 pm

    While it making us look bad is a problem. I’m more concerned that it makes us actually bad.

  • Steve November 7, 2015, 10:52 pm

    I was referring directly to Elder Christofferson’s nonsensical justifications. He claimed that the policy was designed to protect children in same sex families. Yet, the requirements to be baptized are 1) Be 18, 2) Disclaim your parent(s) form of family and 3) Move out of that parent(s) house. Fundamentally, he (and his co-conspirators) hate these families and could care less if they are disrupted.

  • Alison Moore Smith November 8, 2015, 10:44 am

    Thank you for clarifying your position.

    You already know that I think there is an enormous logistical/administrative component to this. No, the church didn’t talk about it and I didn’t think they would. Why? No one cares.

    It’s not that complicated, but when it comes to how people feel about something they (and, yes, it is particularly progressives for whom feelings are often the primary value) don’t care about how the situation actually impacts people in the church day after day after day. In fact, they care about other’s feelings only very selectively—within the bounds of the thing they already care about. So, the church tries to address it within that context.

    I’m writing another post about that, so I’m not going to elaborate a lot, but the “mourning” is very selective and, actually, elitist. More on that later.

    Fundamentally, he (and his co-conspirators) hate these families and could care less if they are disrupted.

    On the one hand you claim that the church requires draconian, unnecessary measures that will fundamentally disrupt these families and on the other you want them to engage in them with eight-year-olds? You seem to be trying to prove Christofferson’s point. 🙂
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Same Sex Marriage and the New Church PoliciesMy Profile

  • Amphigory November 9, 2015, 1:50 pm

    Steve, the church is not a victim, nor was I trying to portray them as such. I was only trying to illuminate the external factors and offer perspective on the whys. I’m not totally secure in the way the policy is written nor in the way application is currently indicated. I do, however, hold faith that it will be according to the Lord’s will once the rough spots are smoothed either through clarification or practice. One key to all this is that latitude is always given to Bishops and Stake Presidents as to actual application. It allows for inspiration and judgment.
    Because we live thousands of miles from Utah, I was a bit slow on the uptake. This began for me with an impassioned inquiry from a former ward member, a lesbian, who is worried about what it may mean to her future (same-sex)family/child. However, she is not active nor did she ever indicate she wants to return to church. She stayed active when she was at BYU for the cheap tuition. I see some crocodile tears– another reason to justify staying away from church. The church’s failings aside, and there are plenty, these things are opportunities for people to rationalize their own sins. Find fault with the church, and you can lessen your own sense of guilt. “Twas ever thus.

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