The 9 Facebook Myths About the Church’s New LGBT Policy

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LDS Meetinghouse sunny day
Opinion

There is a good chance that you’ve recently learned about the Church’s new policies regarding same-sex couples, and read much about it on social media. Mormons and gays has long driven web traffic, so news outlets can be expected to jump on the news, but they should be expected to at least report on the issue accurately and respectfully.

The two changes took place in the Church’s administrative handbook, also called handbook 1, which contains instructions for bishops and stake presidents.

The first change edits the definition of apostasy. The new definition adds that entering a same-sex marriage constitutes apostasy.

The second change requires that for children of same-sex couples to be baptized they must be adults, and specifically reaffirm their testimony of eternal marriage.

Even though these are procedural changes that reaffirm a core doctrine of the Church, the Church’s opponents have wasted little time in beginning their attack. The news, unsurprisingly, was first broken by John Dehlin who makes his living by antagonizing the Church.

There have been many responses to this news, most based on inaccurate headlines, incorrect understandings, or hate mongering of the Church’s opponents.

Myth #1 These Changes Punish Children

The most pervasive myth you’ll hear about these changes is that they punish children. All people can receive all the ordinances of salvation and exaltation. And all children can attend all church activities and events. There is no degree of punishment that exists in these new changes.

Children must simply wait until they can legally make their own decision to join the Church, rather than relying on their parent’s approval. While a parent in a same-sex relationship could theoretically approve of their child’s baptism, questioning their motivation to do so would be prudent since they have so prominently rejected the teachings of the Church.

These changes could also help protect children. While some same-sex couples adopt, many children of same-sex couples come from divorce. In these situations, custody battles can be fierce. In most places in the United States, if one parent tries to destroy the relationship of their child with the other parent it is considered “custodial interference” which is grounds to change the custodial agreement.

Because the Church continues to affirm that heterosexual marriage is the ideal, there could potentially be judges in the United States—perhaps, even, very many judges—who would categorize a child joining a church that rejects their parent’s new relationship as custodial interference. This could take that child away from the parent who belongs to the Church or rearrange their custodial arrangements significantly in ways that would harm the child.

All children, of course, continue to be welcome at all church activities, including primary, and Sacrament meeting. And in following the example of the Savior, all children are entitled to blessings of comfort and healing.

Myth #2 Treats LGBT People Worse Than Other Sinners

There are others who insist that these new changes set sins of homosexuality as more serious than other sins. Again this is not true. Adultery and fornication are both grounds for excommunication. Up until the legalization of same-sex marriage, those who participated in same-sex relationships could receive church discipline under either of these other grounds.

The Church respects the law, and now recognizes same-sex marriages as legal, even if still sinful. Because of this, same-sex relationships could no longer be penalized as fornication requiring their addition to the definition of apostasy. But this change has no effect on how the Church responds to homosexual sins, only how it categorizes them.

As the Church’s website “Mormons and Gays” points out there is much misunderstanding of LDS doctrine on this issue. But the Church continues to affirm that homosexual sex is a sin.

Some have also suggested that requiring the children of LGBT couples to wait until they are adults to be baptized treats those parents worse than parents who are engaging in other types of sins. But this policy is the same that exists for children of polygamous couples, or children of parents opposed to the Church.

So this policy does not carve out special punishments for LGBT parents, but rather extends existing policies to cover their newly legal marriages.

Myth #3 Violates the Church’s 2nd Article of Faith

This myth is a common one shared by sofa philosophers critical of the Church’s new decision. The second article of faith reads, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.”

This myth relies on the first myth that the Church is somehow punishing children of gay Mormons. But it also fundamentally misunderstands the second article of faith. Most other Christian denominations believe that all people are born inherently evil and fallen because of Adam’s sin of eating the forbidden fruit. Latter-day Saints reject this doctrine and believe people are only responsible before God for the sins they themselves commit.

The new policy does not change this doctrine in any way. First it has nothing to do with the idea of original sin. Second it has nothing to do with the inherent nature of the individual. Third it has nothing to do with the final judgment. This policy protects children in specific family situations from a variety of repercussions by requiring they wait until they are an adult before joining the Church.

Myth #4 Requires Children to Reject Parents

Some opponents of the Church continue to spout this claim even though it is patently false. In order for children of gay Mormon couples to be baptized, they must simply affirm the Church’s teachings about sexuality and marriage. To quote the new handbook change, “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.”

They do not need to say anything about their parents. This is the same standard expected of every convert who has a parent that still smokes when to be baptized they must specifically agree to the word of wisdom. Children in this situation must simply recognize the Church’s teachings on sin.

There are those who believe that identifying a behavior as sinful is equivalent to rejecting the people who engage in that behavior. But those people fundamentally misunderstand Latter-day Saint doctrine about the atonement and identity. Those who perpetuate this myth are often those who believe sexuality is the primary factor in personal identity.

Myth #5 Places Newborn Children in State of Apostasy

This is a sad myth to have to refute. Unfortunately, “The Salt Lake Tribune” in their irresponsible coverage of this topic repeated this myth in their headline of this story, “New Mormon Policy Makes Apostates of Children from Same-Sex Unions.”

Latter-day Saints strongly believe in the innocence of children, as outlined in Moroni Chapter 8. The new policy recategorizes same-sex marriage as apostasy instead of fornication.

The LDS Church has a very long-standing policy of not allowing children to be baptized without both parents permission. This policy existed, presumably, to prevent families from being destroyed by contention over the issue. The Church in its focus on family would rather children grow up in a stable home environment than be baptized under any circumstances.

This policy is a way of putting the stability of these children’s families first. A goal that presumably most detractors of this policy would laud.

Children from same-sex unions are asked to wait until adulthood to join the Church. This is far different than categorizing those children as sinners or apostates. If somehow children from same-sex families were apostate or inferior the Church would not be so welcoming to them as soon as they become adults.

Those responsible for disseminating this myth including the editorial board at “The Salt Lake Tribune” should take steps to fix the damage from their errors.

Myth #6 Church is Depriving Itself of LGBT Members

This myth was started by John Dehlin in his initial post on the matter. He wrote, “it is sad for the LDS church and its devout members — who continue to deprive themselves of the wonderful talents and association with so many beautiful and gifted LGBT members.”

This myth comes from those who essentially do not believe in sin. They believe that our behavior should be dictated by our innermost self and not by God. To these individuals, rejecting a behavior is the same as rejecting an individual. This twisted sense of reality leads to this myth.

God has always had behavioral standards including those for sexual conduct. God’s church would consequently support those standards. Saying that the Church is depriving itself of LGBT members is as foolhardy as saying the Church is depriving itself of cohabitating members, polygamous members, or alcoholic members. Individuals can deprive themselves of the blessings of the Church by refusing to follow the commandments, not the other way around.

Myth #7 This Hurts Me Personally

This comment is most pervasive because it is the most difficult to unravel. This rhetorical approach has become crucial in the campaign to normalize and then legalize same-sex marriage, because we are not accustomed to telling other people their feelings don’t matter.

As a result this myth has become a bludgeon to silence those who believe in right and wrong.

If someone talks about how this hurts them, they may sincerely think that, but it is also political theater, a learned response from mimicking the rhetorical style of those who’ve had so much political success on this issue.

Now let’s be clear, many people are feeling pain because of this decision, especially those whom the policy directly affects or who have family members this affects. The myth is that our personal emotional response should change Church policy.

Sharing feelings on this issue as though they affect the rightness or wrongness of the policy is a logical fallacy. This comes under the category of argumentum ad passiones. While you may feel whatever you want about this policy change, your feelings do not affect whether or not this change was correct. When people talk about their pain as a way of ending a conversation it is little more than emotional manipulation.

Myth #8 The Church Lost and Should Move On

This myth comes from those who are still focussed on the recent Supreme Court ruling Obergefell v. Hodges. They argue that gay marriage is now legal, so the Church should stop fighting it. This myth doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The Supreme Court decision does not dictate how churches should behave.

This myth also relies on the idea that the Church should base its decisions on popular trends.  If anything, this action is a response to protect the Church from the recent Supreme Court ruling. By categorizing same-sex relationships as apostasy, the Church puts itself in a strong legal position should a same-sex couple sue in order to be married by a bishop or in the temple.

Myth #9 These Changes are Eternal Doctrine

Some who have tried to defend the Church have fallen to a different myth. They try to look at these changes as part of the eternal doctrine of the family that will never change.

These changes are to policy, not doctrine. Policy changes in the Church on a regular basis to best protect the Church and respond to ongoing revelation. This policy may be long-lasting or it may be short-term. These changes are only to be administered by church leadership, so direction on these matters can change and often do.

Eternal families are essential Latter-day Saint doctrine, and same-sex couples frustrate that plan in a way that few other things can, but how baptism policy responds to that reality is not so nearly set in stone.

There’s also one bonus comment that you may read a lot. This very well could be true, or not, there’s no way to know, but in the end it doesn’t matter.

This Could Lead to a Great Exodus

Facebook Myths PinterestThere should be nothing surprising to Latter-day Saints about people threatening to leave. Paul prophesied clearly that this would happen: “In the latter times some shall depart from the faith.” Latter-day Saints do not need to intellectually understand every policy change Church leaders make to know that there is spiritual safety in following their leadership and counsel.

Could this change really be enough for some people to reject all the blessings of Church membership? Maybe, Paul certainly foresaw that something would draw people away. But we can have comfort in following Jesus Christ and His Latter-day Church.

[Editor’s Note: The text of myth 7 has been slightly altered to better reflect the author’s original intent]

 

497 COMMENTS

  1. “”To quote the new handbook change, 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.”
    They do not need to say anything about their parents. This is the same standard expected of every convert who has a parent that still smokes when to be baptized they must specifically agree to the word of wisdom. Children in this situation must simply recognize the Church’s teachings on sin.””
    you ‘forgot’ to mention the second half of the quote– 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.
    YES they do need to talk bout there parents. the child needs to say whether or not he/she lives with a gay parent or parents.
    u shouldnt leave important things out just so it sounds “nicer’.

    • Your comment is duplicitous. Children do not need to say anything about their parents. Many have complained that children must “renounce” their parents under the new policy, this is absolutely incorrect. Equating reporting a living situation to making a moral judgment about their parents is quite a stretch. I understand you need to stretch the truth that way to maintain your narrative about this policy change, but please do not accuse me of dishonesty for you to do it.

  2. This article is well written and speaks the plain truth of the matter. The myths are debunked. There is no need to argue since there are no talking points. Accept it or don’t. We have our free agency to do so.

  3. I know a lot of people feel that they have no choice but to be Gay. This is false doctrine and is crafted by Satan to limit ourselves and rob us of power. Yes, some people are born with same-sex attraction, but people like me are also born with obsessive compulsive disorder, some people are born with bad tempers, some people are born with sociopathic disorders. I was born with a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, and I used to think that I had no control over it, that it was simply “who I am”. However, I have learned that simply because I was born with this trial, does not make it who I am. I am who I choose to be. That is the center of the Gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. In the end, that’s what the Atonement gives us the power to do, choose who we become.

    If you are Gay and don’t believe you can live the standards of the church and be truly happy, let me share the experience of a good friend of mine. She was a sister missionary in my mission who served an honorable full-time mission, and she called down miracles! When she came home, she married an elder from our mission who had also faithfully completed his full-time mission (he was in fact my Zone leader for about six months, and I know he was a faithful, powerful missionary). They have been sealed together for time and all eternity. They have a celestial marriage, and I can see their genuine love for each other in their eyes, I can feel the power of the Holy Ghost when I am around them, they are truly happy. And she is gay. She has shared her experience of how she was able to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ to live the standards of the church and become truly happy despite whatever same-sex attraction she was born with. She has decided to live a life of power, she’s chosen to be a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ in every aspect of her life, and she has been richly blessed for it. Our Mission President knows her and her husband very well, and he is very proud of both of them. Yes, she’s been offended by insensitive comments made by other church members, but she has risen above them. They have no power over her, because she chooses to be a follower of Christ.

    This policy change is an invitation to live a life of Christ’s power. As a missionary I came across quite a few children who had to wait until they were 18 before they were baptized. Was it hard for them? Yes! But, God didn’t abandon them! Their experience of faithfully waiting for baptism STRENGTHENED their testimony and their faith. An experience which many would have considered bitter became sweet to them. How is this possible? It’s because this IS the true church of Jesus Christ, and IS led by God, and He NEVER abandons those who choose to follow His commandments faithfully. You can say whatever you want about the church, its policies, etc., but your words will have no power over those who choose to live like Christ. And if you choose to live like Christ, then you don’t need to fear what others say to you, whether you have same-gender attraction or not, because if you choose to follow God’s commandments, no one else has any power over you.

    • just because you know of one person who was able to “overcome” her gayness does not make being gay a choice. Get your head out of the sand and realize everyone is different and God loves us all, no matter what. Don’t judge lest you be judged.

  4. To be perfectly fair, all children shouldn’t be allowed to be baptized until they reach adulthood, to where they can make their decisions by themselves. To say one bunch of children can make that decision when they’re eight years old and other children cannot is simply unreasonable. Pesonally, I don’t think an eight-year-old is mature enough to make that kind of decision. They have been taught certain things, then they parrot them back to the bishop, and they are baptized. Baptism, in these instances, has become more rote than meaningful to the child. This is no myth. This is reality. It’s a numbers game, in some respects. Every year we’re told of the marvelous growth of the Church, about half or more of which come from these non-mature eight-year-olds who remain just as childish after their baptism as before it. Reading the Book of Mormon, and early Church history, we find that baptism was a much more serious event. Are eight-year-olds capable of making the kinds of covenants required by the scriptures? I seriously doubt it. It’s like I heard one mother say, when I asked her why she’s feeding their baby the sacrament, “It’s to get him in the habit of taking it.” That’s just it: The Church has become more habit than covenant-keeping these days. What are missionaries often asked when they come home: How many people did you baptize? Not how many people were actually converted to Christ, as in Mosiah 4:1-3 or Alma 36 or 5 entire chapters. Don’t get me wrong: I love the Church. But putting restrictions on one class of children while not putting restrictions on other classes of children smack of bigotry, and I am no LGBT fan, by any means. If you’re going to treat one group of children one way, treat them all the same way. That is the only right way.

    • You are missing one very, very important point. Although their understanding may indeed be immature, children at the age of accountability are able to understanding how to choose between right and wrong and to repent. Baptism enables them to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which guides them through all their years thereafter. Would you cut them loose to encounter the slings and arrows of the world without the Holy Ghost, and only allow them His constant companionship after age 18? As far as the children of married gay couples are concerned, this will be on a case by case basis, according to how much support the parents are able and willing to give, in order to maintain peace at home.

      • “Although their understanding may indeed be immature, children at the age of accountability are able to understanding how to choose between right and wrong and to repent. ” Children have a very basic and limited understanding of right and wrong. They know it’s wrong to take something that doesn’t belong to them or to hurt someone else’s feelings. They have literally no concept of what the Law of Chastity even is, let alone the ability to covenant to keep it. Additionally, it seems a little disingenuous to think that a child who still believes in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy has the emotional/intellectual/spiritual capacity to make a real commitment to God.

        “Baptism enables them to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which guides them through all their years thereafter.” They still have the influence of the Holy Ghost before baptism, right?

        “As far as the children of married gay couples are concerned, this will be on a case by case basis, according to how much support the parents are able and willing to give, in order to maintain peace at home.” No, it’s not a case by case basis at all. It is a blanket law that keeps children from joining until they are 18 and no longer living in their gay parent(s)’ household.

  5. Little children begin to become accountable for their sins at age eight. Little children of legally married gay couples, who desire to be baptized are denied the cleansing ordinance of baptism of water and denied the gift of the Holy Ghost. As they move into their teen years, they are faced with temptations. Without the cleansing power of baptism of water and of fire (the Holy Ghost) these children are subject to full brunt of the sins they experience as teenagers.

    The teen years are fraught with challenged for Mormon youth. Teens suffer from sexual temptations and yet children of legally married gay couples are denied any opportunity to be cleansed of their sins and to be protected by the companionship of the Holy Ghost. If they die in their sins as teens, under Mormon doctrine they must suffer in hell for 1000 years and will enter the Telestial Kingdom, unable to join those who have the fullness of the blessings of the gospel that permits them to be covenant children of the Lord with the right to the cleansing of the fire of the Holy Ghost.

    As they approach adulthood, they are filled with sin that they cannot repent of or be forgiven of, for they are subject to the laws of the Mormon gospel that will leave them in hell. There is no righteousness in denying the blessings that should be available to every child who enters the years of accountability and temptation. There is no righteousness in letting them die in their sins in their teen years, should their life be taken.

    This is a horrible doctrine that is grounded on a claimed revelation by Thomas S. Monson. He is not acting in any kind of righteous manner by sending these children to hell when they did in their supposed sins. This is a horrible discrimination against little children. This is a horrible discrimination against legally married human beings. This is horrible.

  6. Either you will accept revelation or not. Either you will be obedient with exactness or not. I dont get why half of you think you can have one foot in with the good and the other with the bad. If you want an answer or peace go pray.. if you disagree with any of these new policies go to your bishop.. remember isa 55:9….. obviously dont walk blindfolded like many members do and some do have faith and do understand these policies and principles. But behind every principle is a promise.. And if i understand correctly no one on this page can receive revelation for the world and the church. So stop being negative.. start being positive. We waste to much time being angry as humans.

    • “Either you will be obedient with exactness or not.”

      You have to draw a line in the sand somewhere, don’t you? Would you “be obedient with exactness” if a General Authority told you to join him in killing a bunch of innocent men, women, and children passing through your county on their way to the west coast?

  7. I’m confused on the very first myth. They say till legal age to make a decision because baptism at 8 have to be approved of by parents. The reasoning it excludes the LBGT couples is it brings in to question the intent of their consent. That’s ok if you do that as long as you apply it to child under the legal ages parent that doesn’t belong within the religion that practices a lifestyle contrary to the teachings. I looked into the guidelines and as far as I know my prostitue mother working at a brothel in Vegas own by my father is ok. As long as they sign I can get baptized. If I’m not mistaken there are similar guidelines to
    Muslim children but pretty of other non Christian Faith’s are ok. I’m confused on this because it seems to target a specific group and by their own reasoning they should be doing this with anyone who’s parents live a lifestyle contrary to the teaches of the church not just a couple specific groups. The reasoning don’t make sense and seems illogical to me.

    • What you fundamentally misunderstand is the nature of homosexual marriage as a violation of God’s commandments.

      Homosexual marriage is distinctly different than homosexual sex. The church never had a policy about children of those in homosexual relationships, because there was no lifelong commitment to maintaining the sin. Your mother and father are not following the commandments, but they have not made a lifelong commitment to continuing that practice.

      To say that homosexual marriage must be treated the same as other sins means you misunderstand that important distinction. In fact, plural marriage, in which someone makes a lifelong commitment to disobeying the commandments is really the only clear parallel. Interestingly, the Church does treat that sin the same.

      Once you understand the unique nature of a commitment to a marriage fundamentally opposed to the laws of God, then the policy becomes obvious.

  8. Remember that they always be those who will attack the chourch, those that call good eveil, and eveil good, but we need to know of the gospel is true and live by it, pray and read the scriptures to learn the words of good, and live by them. Just because we sin dosent make it ok no matter how we say or thank about it, God has a law and we all have to live by it , some sins aour harder to over come then othwra, but still we need to try and live the teachers of Christ.

  9. I was excommunicated for apostasy. I am not gay, but apostasy was determined for other reasons. My children, however, if they choose to become members of the church, will be permitted to do so. How is my form of apostasy any different than that referred to here in this article and clarified by the LDS church. Apostasy is apostasy, right? Then why are children of gay parents treated differently than children of any other “apostate”?

    • You say you are an apostate. Is the other parent of your children also an apostate? If not, that explains the difference. If so, I suspect the change would also affect your children.

  10. The author needs to consider further revision to Myth #7. It is not so much that many of us want to end this discussion simply because it hurts us, it is because, week-after-week the condemnation of my family by my friends became relentless pain. The church has spoken, allow me to absorb it, to ponder it and to find a level of acceptance I can live with. But for two years this topic, and subsequent condemnation of my family, has been the number one topic in my Relief Society (there are five women in my ward who won’t attend it anymore because of this issue but I am the only one who has spoken up). It isn’t just that it hurts my feelings to hear these unkind comments (and it does), it’s that it has reached the level that it has impacted my health. I can no longer handle the stress from these relentless attacks. These were not my choices, but I love my family. The church’s position is not necessarily what is being pronounced by some members who simply see this policy as an opportunity to exploit their own agenda of bigotry. Yet by asking for relief from this issue, by asking if we could just concentrate on finding a spirit of peace and concentrate on learning the Gospel, I was scolded and told that I should not be offended. After I was told I am wrong to ask for peace on this topic, I further told by three different members that I never had faith to begin with if I questioned this decision. Given that the church had to issue immediate and subsequent clarifications, I suspect that I am the not the only person who failed to understand the church’s intent Like a horse with a burr under it’s saddle, what was a minor annoyance has become a big gaping wound which has literally driven me away from my friends and my Ward. Further, it became life- threatening to attend church when my previously controlled blood pressure shot up to 205/107 after a particularly nasty meeting. The church issued one or two sentences early about how members should have compassion for families in this situation, then promptly got carried away in the argumentation and refutation leaving us behind to suffer the slings and arrows. The attacks have come from so many directions that we are going under. Please find a way not to continue to condemn our position in arguments like number seven, but instead try to understand how you would feel if it were your family being attacked by your friends. Can you understand how being told that your position that bringing up that the subject is hurtful is nothing might serve to make the downtrodden eel further assailed? Is it truly necessary to scold members more than 9o times in two years on this one issue? Isn’t there anything positive or uplifting we could have given that time to. It is not the church that is driving us away. We want our family to bring all there sins to God’s church to learn to overcome them. This article was awesome and helped immensely but it is six weeks late and it fails to re-address the church’s original request for compassion for the families struggling with this issue. Instead, arguments like number seven, just feels like the newest, latest and greatest condemnation in a long line of persecutions.

  11. December 1, 2015

    I just don’t get it.

    Two loving, god-fearing, good people who are in a legal marriage, bound to each other by love, commitment, and now the law, are now apostates in the eyes of the Church. No exceptions. They must now be actively sought after and excommunicated. Their children cannot be baptized.

    Take yourself out of trying to justify this policy and just ponder this:

    WHY ARE WE SHUTTING PEOPLE OUT OF OUR CHURCHES, WHEN THEY ARE THE ONES THAT HELPED BUILD THEM?

    People who are LGBT no more chose their sexuality than I did. The sciences have proven over and over that IT. IS. NOT. A. CHOICE. The American Psychological Association has asserted this very clearly in 1967; the year I was born. There are MOUNTAINS of research to support this. And hey, SCIENCE and REASON aside, simply ASK a gay person. It is not a choice.

    The LDS Church has even accepted this (mormonsandgays.com). Very few years ago we were teaching that homosexuality was an abomination (SWK, Miracle of Forgiveness). Thankfully, now, we know better (What? The prophets are fallible?) And (heaven help us), we will continue to know better.

    But for today; with this policy and current thinking…LDS congregations and people in 2015….Now we are saying “It’s ok to be gay, just don’t BE gay.” That’s like telling me to not be a woman. “We accept you as a woman, but just don’t ever BE a woman. Either act like a man, (because that’s how God says it’s supposed to be, I mean, after all, He is a dude), or be a woman who is alone all of your life.” This means that our LGBT brothers and sisters have to remain celibate all of their lives if they wish to remain a member in good standing in our Church.

    And hey, let’s not even bring up the fact that a whoooooole bunch of people who DONT have to be celibate are touting the truthfulness of LGBT celibacy (“Don’t worry, somehow you won’t be gay in the next life”).

    Let’s forget that heterosexual men (not God, sorry, this doesn’t feel like God at all) made these decisions for our faithful LGBT people who just want to be like the rest of us: validated, recognized as human beings, and given the privilege of worshipping according to the dictates of their consciences, love someone, build a life, have a family, etc.

    Let’s forget about the taking away of agency.

    Let’s not mention the hundreds and hundreds of years of bigotry and prejudice LGBT people have to STILL endure from our “faithful” members for the rest of their lives (especially if they wish to remain a member in good standing).

    And now we are saying that for the “privilege” of being a member of the one and only true church, (I mean, who wouldn’t want that), LGBT can never have intimate human relationships, or have ANY of the things we’ve been taught all of our lives to be right and proper.

    We are saying “you will never be one of us” when we excommunicate them.
    We are saying “And your children too.”

    We are saying “You may or may not be excommunicated if you are a serial murderer, child molester, or abuser, but JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE GAY (which we now realize is not a choice, sorry, our bad) and LEGALLY MARRIED, you WILL be excommunicated.

    Oh, but we “love” our LGBT brothers and sisters. HOW CAN WE while shutting them out and closing the Church doors on them? That’s not love at ALL. That is not the Gospel at all.

    Shame on all of us for not making a bigger stink a lot earlier.

    Shame on us.

    It is time for us do be agents of action and stand up for truth and righteousness.

    • So, the church has declared a doctrine “that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” which was unanimously agreed upon, through revelation, by 15 people that the vast majority of members of the church have sustained as being ordained as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.

      Then the church makes a policy change saying: “Yeah, we still assert that doctrine, regardless of what the laws of the land” and says “If you don’t believe and follow our doctrines, then we’ll remove you from our membership”.

      The Church has every right to determine the criteria for who can and cannot represent them as a member or enter their temples. The same way a vegetarian group has the right to kick out members when they find them frequenting steak houses and eating steak. The Church has every right to be a gatekeeper for who gets to belong to their society.

      You can find references to this in Mosiah 26:36, Alma 1:24, Alma 5:57, Moroni 6:7.

      The same way that serial murders are excommunicated, child molesters are excommunicated, and people on probation cannot be baptized. The situations where these things don’t happen are anomalies.

      I find it interesting that you declare that we need to “stand up for truth and righteousness”, and I completely agree. However, our approach to this differs. Reading what you wrote, it appears that your core issue with the policy change is “we are excluding our LGBT brothers and sisters”. I agree with this statement, but not in the same way you are making it.

      Members of this church (at least in Utah) have a tendency to exclude, and even ostracize, individuals who are not members of the faith or who live lifestyles contrary to the principles of the faith. This practice needs to change, it is neither truth nor is it righteousness. We need to be their friends, welcome them into our community and homes, invite them to our activities, mow their lawns, garden with them, share our extra chicken eggs with them, share food storage in times of want, and let them feel our true and genuine love for them. We need to teach our children to do likewise. Our love for the people around us should be about the people and not about their religious affiliations. Not being a member of the church (or being excommunicated from it) need not (and should not) affect these things.

      The church, rightly so, has standards of who can and cannot be among the membership. But Christ’s Atonement applies to all mankind and is not predicated upon church membership in this life. Membership in the church should not affect membership in the community.

      It is time for us to be agents of action and stand up for truth and righteousness.

    • I have been a convert to this religion for 39 years. I have been happy in it and become deeply entrenched in it. What I don’t understand is the number of people who don’t realize that the apostasy that is being mentioned here is the fact that the same sex couples who have married have actually renounced their support of the Prophet, Church Doctrine and everything we said we would not do. It’s like trying to over throw the U.S. Government. Don’t you understand that?
      Once you do, everything else will fall into place. Do you not grieve against the churches that believe all children are born with Adam’s sin? Why not, if your church says it is so. And if you do, why do you fight the LDS church for its doctrines drawn from Jesus’ time and His own church.
      Stop listening to media sensationalism and get your answers from a Bishop, Stake President or someone in the Church who knows how to answer your questions. Stop stirring the pot of rumors and lies and make it your goal to tell everyone you know what the real truth is.

    • Actually, serial murderers, child molesters and abusers are also excommunicated. I know and love some LGBT’s, but belonging to a Church should mean that you want to live by their precepts and if you don’t abide them, why would you want to be a member of that Church? I don’t believe the precepts of the Catholic Church, so I choose not to be a member. I don’t understand why LGBTs want special treatment, when the Church is just trying to put them on equal footing with anyone else who does not want to live by their teachings.

      • Because there are LGBT children in the church who have no choice but to belong. You make it so simple. You think that those of us raised in the church will suffer no consequences if we leave. We lose friends. We are ostracized by our families. Many teenage LGBT Mormon children are taking their own lives at an alarming rare. They see no hope and apologist articles like this one only give them more reason not to.

    • Please read Matthew 10:34-37. He came not to bring peace but a sword and will set people at variance against each other. This is a fallen world; things are pitted against each other. Jesus was not here to make a big happy love nest of people. He knew people would be divided by His teachings which are sharper than a two-edged sword. I accept that. We can’t all agree. We won’t all agree. We can’t all be convinced to believe the same things. There will be division. Some may not like where the division occurs, but it will occur in this fallen world – pitted against each other. John 18:36-37 explains that His mission was to bear witness of the truth not unite every person on earth together in happiness, love and peace in this fallen world. I honestly wish you the best.

    • Thank you for saying so clearly exactly what needed to be said! I hope people will read your response and realize the hypocrisy of this article and the policies it promotes. I know I was horrified by what I read in the article. The more the author tried to dispel the “myths” the more I realized they weren’t myths at all! Being the mother of an LGBT daughter who is still in middle school, I see a very long and hard road ahead for her. She already knows her church won’t accept her the way she is and is struggling with the benevolent teachings of the savior as opposed to the intolerance of mainstream Christianity. She has a lot of questions for me that I don’t know how to answer honestly without completely turning her away from the church. This article angered and saddened me and made me wonder if there was any reason for me to defend the church at all. She has already faced enough bullying at school. I don’t want to see it happen at church, but I fear it would be foolish to think otherwise. Up until this point I had been telling her that our church was more accepting and tolerant. I guess I’ve been unintentionally lying to her. Does the church know that it will be losing children as well as adults to this policy? You don’t just wake up at 18 and realize you’re LGBT. I guess a church that thinks having 2 parents that are LGBT will somehow cause a child to be that way too (why else would those children have to wait until they are adults and formally proclaim their intentions to be heterosexual before they can be baptized?) would probably not have that figured out yet.

      • That is not the purpose of waiting until the age of majority. Rather, it is so the child can legally make the decision to join the church without need for parental endorsement. Baptism – or infant blessing- also creates a membership record, triggering things like home teaching visits. Delaying this until legal age of majority means there won’t be official visitors coming into the home every month with messages that may cause confusion and conflict because they are at odds with parental teachings.

      • Your daughter has a choice to follow the commandments of Heavenly Father and not have sexy with same sex. She may have a attraction to females, nut God forbids her from sleeping with a another female, its really that simple, she either obeys or she doesn’t.

    • Truly if they were God fearing they wouldn’t be having homosexual sex, because God does not approve of it, no matter if man made it legal, it’s still wrong!

    • You are heavily confused about facts my friend, and use this forum to exploit your own ignorance! Maybe you should talk to someone that is in the church has knowledge, and gain clarification about what you don’t get! Because, your confusion is not Truth!

    • Harper, no serious research scientist believes that sexuality is entirely hereditary and static over the course of a lifespan. I don’t know where you got that idea, but it’s not the well established fact you seem to believe.

  12. The LDS Church proudly proclaims itself to be a Worldwide Church, yet 11 of the 15 GAs were born and raised in UT. The backgrounds of its leadership say it all. The GAs had an opportunity at Conference time to include 3 new GAs with worldwide perspectives, but the GAs CHOSE not to. The Church truly NEEDS a worldwide perspective, as evidenced by its narrow-minded and vindictive new policies against gays and their children. These New Policies are Not Inspired by God. They’re hateful, petty, and divisive. They suggest a Dr Seus stars on thars attitude that is not acceptable, especially in a church that professes that we are NOT held responsible for the sins of others. We Are All Children of God. God Loves us ALL. Members need to Find the One, led astray. The Church is the one who has led us ALL astray. This New Policy is offensive on so many levels and in so many ways. Listen to yourselves- Sheeple, Please!!

    • Perhaps you should research a little deeper into the backgrounds of the general authorities. Many came here from out of Utah or even out of the United States because of a church calling. The LDS Church is in Utah, so it should not be a surprise.
      And you just had to add the dreaded “Sheeple”.

    • Apparently, you didn’t read the article. It was direct, incisive, and clear. Your assertion that the policy is hateful is laughable; and your claim of narrow-mindedness and vindictive behavior sounds like psychological projection to me. It appears that you are the hateful, vondictive one and if you don’t see yourself as an apostate, you probably should. As to the inane babble about worldwide perspective, their decisions as to whom to call to the work are based on revelation from God, (Heb. 5:4) not on your idea (or anyone else’s) of who should be called. What on earth does that have to do with the issue anyway–just another unjustified criticism to cloud the issue. You need to take a real hard look at yourself and see if you want to offend God over this issue. It is worth it to you?

    • This new policy is because of new rubbish that people are pushing on us. We didn’t change. They did. Matthew 10:34-37

    • There are far more than 15 General Authorities. You are overlooking the multiple Quorums of the Seventy, which are rich in their cultural diversity and global representation. Your comments also reveal a fundamental misunderstanding about apostolic selection; they are called by the Lord Jesus Christ, not other men.

  13. We have family members who were married, had two sons, and then got divorced. Mom decided she’s gay and now lives with her partner and her two sons. The oldest son is a deacon. Does his progress in the priesthood STOP now that the new policy has been instituted?? It’s a question of limbo. Seems further clarification is needed on this part of the policy for all members, bishops, & stake presidents, as this topic is not addressed in the original policy.

    • Clarifications have been released.

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

      The full text is here: https://www.lds.org/pages/church-handbook-changes?lang=eng

  14. Leviticus 19:18 Says it all- Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. Our kid found it during Seminary last week. Hypocrites….

    • I’m going to reference Mosiah 26:36, Alma 1:24, Alma 5:57, and Moroni 6:7. You can take almost any scripture you want and interpret it out of context however you want, then turn that around to be hateful and accuse other of being so.

      Loving neighbors, etc, has nothing to do with whether they are members of the LDS church or not. An unfortunate amount of people seem to correlate the two.

      But, hey, God loves everyone, right? It’s not like God ever destroyed cities for wickedness, or sent poisonous snakes among them for unrighteousness, etc, etc.

  15. I got tired of reading the comments. Some are very insightful, others are very biased. So let me tell you from my point of view. I am gay, I grew up in the church during the 70’s and 80’s and the usual response at that time is that you were to get married and God would make things right with you being gay. How many children ended up in broken homes because of a gay parent? This policy was true even into the 90’s.

    I did not leave the church because of this policy, I left because I did not feel safe or welcomed. It all happened one Sunday in Priesthood meeting in 2006. A member of the Elder’s quorum stated that if he met a gay person around his family, that he would physically attack that person. No leadership stepped and said that was wrong. It was then that I no longer felt welcomed or safe.

    This new policy does not make children or gay’s feel welcome to church. This does push them aside as unwanted fodder that Satan can have.

    LET ME BE CLEAR ON THIS: I WOULD NEVER MAKE THIS CHOICE TO BE GAY! Why would I choose to be ostracized, kicked out of the family (and yes I was), and to be treated as either a sinner or a second class citizen? Why for the longest time was I classified as unwanted in the military but yet I served with distinction and in combat? I did my duty, I asked for no special actions. Why am I any different that the millions of other members of the church? Also, please answer me this, are you worthy enough to judge me for who I am without knowing who I am?

    • That really stinks. I’m sorry about that. Sounds like an issue with yet another thoughtless and imperfect member’s remark (which happen plenty often), and then with any leaders present who either weren’t mentally present at the time or just didn’t know what to do. I certainly don’t judge you, and I doubt most members of the Church would. Again, we’re all imperfect people, each at different levels of spirituality, slowly learning to be better. I hope you can find forgiveness in your heart. No, I’m not worthy to judge you. Like most of us, I have plenty of hidden struggles of my own I’m trying to work through.

      • Thoughtless and imperfect people are common, it is true. Can we quit using it to excuse abhorrent behavior? Can we also acknowledge that this is behavior driven be belief…or in this case, “policy? ”

        Because that’s what this is.

  16. Not to mention that citing the logical fallacy of appeal to emotion by a MORMON/RELIGIOUS person is absolutely absurd. So wait, are you telling me that your testimonies or your faith or your ‘feelings’ mean absolutely nothing? What is your decision to be Mormon based on, then? Concrete and solid historical evidence regarding the BoM and Joseph Smith, I assume. That was sarcasm.

  17. Nine Lies being told by the above post about the Church’s new LGBT policy.
    Lie #1 – These changes don’t punish children. In fact, they will have the effect of doing just that, even if such was not their intent. They will force the child to choose between living part-time with both parents (in the case where one parent is in cohabiting or married same-sex relationship and the other is not. Yes, not the ideal situation, but better than living with only one parent) or living only with the LDS Church approved or at least condoned heterosexual cohabiting or married parent and being allowed to be baptized, hold the priesthood (if male and otherwise found worthy), attend the temple to perform proxy ordinances for the dead, etc. etc. It punishes children for choosing to live with their gay parent by denying them the opportunity to join the Church and attend as a full participating member, and it punishes them for choosing to live with their non-gay parent.
    Lie #2 – It doesn’t treat LGBT people any different than other sinners. Except that it does. The only people it doesn’t treat them differently from is some Muslims coming from certain family and cultural situations, and from Polygamists who are likewise living in a non-LDS approved marriage relationship. It actually treats them worse than children living in a home where the parents are in an open marriage, or where the parents are not married to each other, or perhaps a single parent with a long string of cohabiting boyfriends or girlfriends (heterosexual of course), or where parents are highly abusive to each other, or physically or even sexually abusive to the children, or substance abusers, or even merely responsible consumers of substances forbidden by the Word or Wisdom, or those who don’t pay tithes or offerings, or those who habitually lie, cheat, or steal, or racists, or (name your favorite sin that doesn’t involve an unapproved form of marriage). Children coming from these homes are not forbidden from Church membership until they have reached the age of 18 and are able to repudiate the aforementioned sins of their parents that don’t involve a non-LDS-sanctioned form of marriage. So yes, it does treate LGBT people differently from most “sinners”.
    Falsehood #3 – It doesn’t violate the 2nd Article of Faith. This one can be reasonably argued both ways. On the one hand, the child is not condemned to be punished spiritually for the sins of their gay parent(s), they are nevertheless punished temporally. The Scriptures are replete with examples where entire generations are punished temporally or afflicted as a whole, even though individuals may not be guilty of the transgressions of their generation and not held to account for them in the hereafter.
    Falsehood #4 – It does not require children to reject their parents. As mentioned previously, if a child wishes to join the Church, they must not live in the same household as their parent who is in a same-sex relationship. While the policy does not require the children to completely disown their parents as some parents have been known to do upon learning their child is gay; it does require the child to reject their parent’s day-to-day influence in their lives as a live-at-home parent if they desire to become a member of the Church, this regardless of age. As many children are now living at home for several years past the age of majority due to financial reasons, it means being compelled to reject their gay parents influence in their daily lives to a large degree, even if they do not agree with their parent’s decision to choose emotional, physical, and sexual intimacy with someone they are mutually attracted to instead of living a life of celibacy as the Church would have them do.
    Falsehood #5 – The Church does not treat children born into same-sex households as apostates. This is really a half-truth. It actually treats them like children of apostates. It puts them in the same category as children of apostate polygamists, or children of parents who have apostatized for some other reason.
    Falsehood #6 – This doesn’t hurt anyone personally. Okay, while it is true that the vast majority of people in the Church, and quite possibly the majority of people commenting on the policy aren’t hurt directly in one way or another, there are many who are. They are hurt because they may be forced to make the difficult decision of no longer sharing joint custody with their spouse so their child may be baptized in the LDS Church as one or even both spouses believe should happen when the child reaches the age of accountability or at some point thereafter. It may also harm a child who, on the verge of baptism now finds that opportunity denied them for years to come, or if they are of age, force them to find other living accommodations rather than continue living under their same-sex parent(‘s/s’) roof. This could be a significant financial burden. There are many people this policy could potentially be harming.

    The greatest problem with this policy change is that it is not necessary for the official reasons that have been given by the LDS Church about “protecting the Children”, at least, not the children they are referring to. It may very well be the children they are wishing to protect are not those of LGBT parents living in cohabiting households, but LDS children who would be exposed to such children. Another problem might be the necessity for members assigned to home-teach or visiting-teach minor children to learn how to be kind and considerate of parents who don’t share their religious or moral views; but then, this is something they’d have to do anyway for children living in households where one or more parents are non-believers who are monogamous heterosexuals.

    On the face of it, the policy is merely self-serving, and the idea that it might protect the very, very small number of children whose parents might unwittingly allow their minor children to join the Church, only to find that such a decision has resulted in greater conflict at home is merely the red-herring the leadership is selling to their own members and the press. After all, how many parents living in a same-sex relationship would allow their child to join the LDS Church without knowing how their child’s membership and attendance might affect their relationship? I dare say one could probably count the number on one hand considering the Church’s quite public pronouncements against same-sex marriage.

    If you believe most of what the author of the above article wrote, you might want to rethink just how objective you’re really being.

    • I don’t see the big deal in treating gay families the same as polygamist families. No uproar from folks like you about polygamists. Why now gays?

      Reason is simpler than the 9 myths. Why force a child to have to deal with being taught one thing in church and taught and watching a lifestyle that totally contradicts church teachings. Why put a young child in that predicament. It seems you’re only worried about the gay couple who chose their path rather than being more concerned about the children

      • Well, the reason for this is very simple; polygamy, especially church motivated, is an extremely toxic thing. It commonly leads to highly abusive situations.

        Further, the lds church itself is personally responsible for most polygamists, but not just because of the flds- rather, because they keep spawning new polygamists. And there is a very clear reason for that; all doctrine supporting and governing polygamy was never actually rejected. the teachings are still there; the church simply stopped the practice in a very childish way.

        Further, polygamy is quite often a religious affair, especially in the west. So, a child of polygamy is in a very high pressure situation; one of the few with more power than the lds church.

        I personally think any child spools be able to join any faith or neither.

        But, gay marriage is a different beast altogether.

        First, the church never caused gay marriage nor does it contain doctrines which preach it quite so clearly as they do polygamy. Polygamy is still the law of heaven, after all. Gay marriage is not.

        Second, gay marriage is not something that almost requires a religion to exist in modern society (unlike gay marriage) because homosexuality is a very natural phenomena.

        Third, and most importantly, gay marriage itself is not intrinsically harmful to children raised in that situation. Evidence exists which indicates it might actually be healthier than hetero marriage.

        Why? Because it is very much the choice of the parents to have the child (as a rule). On the other hand, heterosexual couples quite often end up pregnant unexpectedly or in a bad situation, and religions like Mormonism and Christianity very often put high pressure to keep the accidental child- even going as far as to threaten divine punishment for abortion. (An issue moot to this point, lest there be any tempted to pull a red herring)

        Gay couples, as a rule, only have children because they genuinely want children. You don’t see gay parents complaining about accidentally producing a child.

        I should also add; a polygamist child growing up in the church would be taught their parents were doing the right thing at the wrong time; a far less problematic teaching than “your parents are doing something SO wrong that it is given a harsher punishment than rape, murder, or torture.”

        It is also, finally, important to note that if this were to be executed for the benign reasons given in its defense (ie, to protect the child from being in a situation that taught how evil it’s parent was) then logically, they should say the same about parents who are rapists, murderers, or child molesters.

        But they are not. That fact alone means the church has put gay marriage in a worse category than literally every sin but the unpardonable one; and I’m sure plenty of people are going to start thinking, saying, and teaching that within the church.

        Not even polygamy faces this much hostility from the church.

        After all, polygamy is illegal. Gay marriage is legal; from a purely legal stance, and especially given that it is a matter of fact the church acted in violation of the Lara regarding polygamy for years if not generations after the fact, it’s kinda nessecary for the church to ban everyone; polygamy in the west was very much an illegal activity that was the FAULT of the church.

        Gay marriage was not.

        If you personally agree with everything I said or not is entirely irrelevant to this reply and post; because simply being able to create a solid case the two are distinctly different in nature (indeed, the fact alone one is fully legal and the other is not does this) invalidates your assertion that the church is simply being consistent it’s approach.

        • While I agree polygamy and same sex unions are distinctly different (same sex being worse in my opinion) your arguments used to support your thesis are bogus.

        • “Well, the reason for this is very simple; polygamy, especially church motivated, is an extremely toxic thing. It commonly leads to highly abusive situations.”

          Isn’t it nice when you can broadly paint another group with a stereotype to back up your position and why your group is not as “bad” as theirs. I wonder if Kody Brown’s family would be personally offended by your remark characterizing their family as “extremely toxic”. I have personally met non-abusive polygamous families other than Kody’s that would also be offended by your “extremely toxic” label.

          I’m sure you’ll find some reason why it is morally acceptable for you to characterize them based on Warren Jeffs or a few other newsworthy deviants.

        • Gay parents often have a child from a previous relationship, aka born after the two people involved had (gasp!) heterosexual relations. After divorces or split-ups, gays then have something called ‘custody and visitation’ agreements. Regardless, in order for that child to exist, a mother and a father had to be involved. The new policy provides a way to keep one side from undermining the other, concerning Church matters.

      • Uh isn’t polygamy illegal?
        And if I remember correctly there was a huge uproar when polygamy was discontinued. Leading to the formation of many different groups who still continued to practice it.

      • Why put children through this? It forces the child to choose which parent to live with.
        Your argument is that why surround the kids with teachings contrary to what the church says instead or teaching them the ways of the church, why make them choose the church instead at such a young age, why not let the children grow up with both so they can make an informed and valid opinion instead of trying to force the church on them? Aren’t we all supposed to gain our own testimony not have it handed to us?

    • As stated in the article, children must have permission from both parents to be baptized. I have personally known many children who had to wait to be baptized because one parent did not allow it. None of the parents were gay.

    • The Lies are in you! The gospel is clear! Gods laws are clear! Trying to persuade men otherwise is evil at its core! Professing to be wise, they became fools!

  18. Somebody in this thread suggested that we all belong to one of four (or five camps). Trying to convince campers to relocate isn’t working very well; we all seem to be mad at each other. Christopher, perhaps you’re guilty of the same but you set-up a camp in the first place–and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. My little, old brain wants to try something different. Never mind logical fallacies; university was too long ago and studying via Google is too much work. So, here’s my logic. Every logical argument starts with a premise. Mine starts with, “There is a God.” I’ll take you along the journey to my camp; at some point, many of you will disagree with my route and destination but at least you’ll know how I go there. I digress. Seems to me that if you believe in a Christian God, you accept the Bible (in your own way and on your own terms of course). I do. In it, I see a man and a woman—Adam and Eve–commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. There’s an obvious, “perpetuate the species” element to this but in the grander scheme of things, Latter-day Saints believe marriage and children are part of God’s plan of happiness. By the time we move along from Adam and Eve and get to Jesus in the New Testament, we see that he had compassion for people but he didn’t seem to undermine certain principles and values. The woman taken in adultery, for example, was forgiven but told to go and sin no more. The logic in my head suggests Jesus acknowledged that there were such things as sins and we shouldn’t commit them. So, suggesting that He loved and accepted everyone is true but clearly there were reasons why people needed to repent and that there were standards/commandments to be followed. If it’s sinful for a man to lust after a woman, I’m pretty sure Jesus would frown on any kind of sex outside of marriage. And I’m pretty sure He interpreted marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. I know many of you are starting to boil inside but if we take the Bible at face value, what I just said makes sense—to me anyway. All that said, what makes gay marriage so egregious to the LDS church then is not just that sexual relations outside of marriage is sinful but that it’s a disregard for, and impediment to, that original plan of happiness, which is really all about traditional families. That gay parents can do as good a job at parenting–as today’s secular society defines good parenting– may be true but it’s not part of, “The Plan.” The Family: A Proclamation to the World tells us that children should have a right to be raised by a mother and a father. I’m intrigued (and saddened quite frankly) by stories of children who miss out on that and end up craving the parent they didn’t have: gay or straight. Despite all our moralizing, there seems to be a pretty universal human craving to have a family. Nature suggests–okay, makes clear–that biologically, we need men and women. It doesn’t matter to me that there are gay big horn sheep or that gay people are, “born that way;” egg and sperm are a biological need to perpetuate our species and traditional families are essential to our happiness. What’s truly difficult for children of gay parents–obviously–is being caught in a political and philosophical football match between opposing views. It makes sense, then, that the Church finds such a frustration of The Plan very serious, with appropriate consequences. I happen to agree that the church’s attempt to avoid conflict is reasonable. If there is heartache, it stems, in my opinion, from, gay “parents” that put children in such a position in the first place. Of course there are single parents in the church—and all kinds of variations of the traditional family. But the church sees this as temporary—and certainly not the ideal. But to DELIBERATELY mock traditional family in the first place through gay marriage is what is offensive and harmful. As has been said many times, Latter-day Saints should love all people—gay or straight—but deliberate attempts to contradict and thwart the plan of happiness is what leads to unhappiness. Having views contrary to the church is harmful to families when children are pawns in a political and philosophical or religious game. I have no doubt that the polemics will continue as we try to persuade others to switch camps but I hope we’ll take more time to understand each other’s journey to whatever camp we choose—and to be compassionate in the process.

  19. If your in doubt, Pray to Heavenly Father and listen to the Holy Ghost….. I’m sure you’ll get an answer and you’ll know & feel what is right.

    • Actually this is pretty much a big part of my personal disaffection. I can’t ever recall a prayer being answered.

  20. The new LDS Church policy has taken all meaning from the church ordinances. The link trying to justify why the LDS LGBT policy is ok has been floating around. I read the first myth “Myth #1 These Changes Punish Children” and I find that if this is a Myth then my baby blessing, baptism and holding of the priesthood have been totally devalued. The church establishes the importance of a baby blessing to get the name on the roles of the church and to receive a blessing that can follow you and influence your life. They build up the importance of baptism and having the Holy Ghost as a constant companion. They establish the importance of a patriarchal blessing and how holding the priesthood at age 12 can bless my life and other lives. How taking the sacrament each Sunday helps renew my covenants. How I can bless my life and others as a youth doing Baptisms for the Dead. So taking all these things away from children due to the lifestyle of their parents either 1) punishes these children or 2) if it does not punish these children then the items listed above are totally devalued as to the blessings received and the impact it has on our lives. If the items listed above are seen as blessings that these children cannot receive, and these items have any value at all in the church, then yes, these changes punish children.

    • I think the policy still is not meant to punish children from a same-sex household, but rather direct families to the lesser of two consequences. Those being a member of the church but causing a divide with their parents vs. focusing on family unity until the child is an adult and the consequences of their choice would be less likely.

  21. Reverent to the causes of “Blurring” of the difference (lines of distinction) of male toward female distinctions, is the ever increasing bombardment of the fetal testicle with actual estrogens or zenoestrogens (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17008464). Which can begin with the innocent taking of a birth control methods that increases these estrogenic leveis artificially to above the level of pregnancy, causing the potential mothers body to reject the sperm. This works until she forgets a pill or because of some GI disturbance & then, the level fluctuates & she unknowingly conceives, it might be several months before she notices that she is pregnant & then, stops the high level of estrogen. And or just as innocently she comes in contact with or consumes any of the multiple environmental toxins, zenoestrogens (found in & on many plants – soy, yams, etc. or our increasing additives to processed foods* or even the plastics* they come in. Many of our environmental pollutants (pesticides, herbicides, etc.) are loaded with zenoestrogen effects. And they are now adding a additional hormonal effect from GMO’s that have these herbicides & pesticides “bred” into the plant product itself (so it can’t be washed off, (see recent studies in France on the 2 yr life span of rats fed GMO corn). Then, of course, there is the artificial estrogen hormone they inject in their dairy cows to get 10+ gallons of milk/cow/day. Or the zenoestogen-like effect of the antibiotics & hormonal feeds give to feed lot cattle.
    One can always identify & stop taking these feminizing zenoestrogens & there are herbs that re signal the genes to reverse some of these feminizing processes.
    Just stating, if one can recognize the causes one can better begin a prevention or a reversal.

  22. What about the straight Mormon parents of gay children? What do they tell their children. It is a significant change and your point by point analysis completely ignores and devalues these children that are already members. They did not choose to be gay. They were born gay. If you don’t believe that, you really don’t understand anything.

    There are millions and million of gay people on the earth. Far more than there are Mormons. There more gay Americans than there are American Mormons. Why is that? Why are so many people born gay?

    I expect more from the only true Church on the earth. I expect the Church to minister to its gay members. To have answers for the parents of gay children. But oddly enough the Church has no answers other than condemnation. It should have a realistic and helpful policy of support and help. Instead it promotes hate.

    I have a friend coming to town. Married in the temple, raised 5 children. His wife was unfaithful and they divorced. It happens. He told me that he feels like a misfit at Church because he is now single. I remember that myself. I did not find the right person right away and you do feel like a misfit at Church. It is so unwelcoming to anyone that does not fit exactly in that little tiny mold. Now take those petty grievances and magnify that by 100 times and you have what a gay child feels like at church or in his devote Mormon family. It is awful. The Church’s answer is simply to discard these people. You will say that is not case, but that would be lie. You are discarding them as defective.

    Well you might accept it and list pious retorts to the media and feel good about yourself. But I feel awful for all of our gay brothers and sisters and for the parents of gay children. You have done nothing but knife them in back with the policy. And surely you could have left gay marriage as fornication. Listing it as apostasy is just mean and nasty. Just more hate.

    • First, let me say that this article was written by an everyday member of the Church and is in no way doctrine. While I understand what he was trying to do, much of it comes off very unkindly and unChristlike. That being said, I would like to respectfully address your comment, as I think it is a very important comment.

      It is important to note that the Church did not classify homosexuality, in and of itself, as an apostate sin – it only classified same-sex marriage. Even within that statement, however, the policy does not automatically excommunicate individuals in a same-sex marriage, but simply makes discipline of some level mandatory. Elder Christofferson said this directly in an interview regarding the policy, “We regard same-sex marriage as a particularly grievous or significant, serious kind of sin that requires Church discipline. It means the discipline is mandatory — doesn’t dictate outcomes but it dictates that discipline is needed in those cases.” There are several levels of Church discipline: I believe they are probation, disfellowship, and excommunication. Should an individual enter into a same-sex marriage, they will be brought in for Church discipline, but the level of discipline will be based on the individual circumstances and may not lead to excommunication. This same policy is true for most (if not all) heterosexual sins as well.

      More importantly, there is a HUGE difference between same-sex attraction and same-sex marriage or physical same-sex relationships. As with any sin, there is no sin in feeling or being tempted, only in acting upon temptation.

      For the easiest comparison, I will use heterosexual attraction. It is not a sin for a heterosexual person to be tempted to have sex before marriage – it is a temptation, and one that is incredibly strong. But having the temptation to have sex does not make you a sinner and does not subject you to any kind of Church discipline. Similarly, experiencing the temptation of same-sex attraction does not make you a sinner and does not subject you to any kind of Church discipline. Same-sex attraction is a temptation – not a sin.

      If, however, a heterosexual person acts on their desires and has pre-marital sex, THEN they commit a sin and will need to go through the repentance process. The sin is not in the temptation to have pre-marital (or extramarital) sex, but in the acting upon that temptation. Sexual transgression being a serious sin, as spoken of scripture, the repentance process for a person engaging in heterosexual pre-marital sex will likely include a Priesthood holder and, I believe, mandates some level of Church discipline. It does not, however, mean the transgressor will automatically be excommunicated from the Church.

      Similarly, an individual who engages in a physical homosexual relationship has committed a sin by acting on the temptation of same-sex attraction and will need to go through the repentance process. Again, the sin is not in the temptation of same-sex attraction, but in the acting upon that temptation. Sexual transgression being a serious sin, the repentance process will likely include a Priesthood holder and may lead to Church discipline.

      As with heterosexual relationships outside of marriage, physical homosexual relationships may result in Church discipline. Also as with heterosexuality, the temptation of homosexual relationships is not sinful in and of itself. It is only when we act upon our temptations that we sin – thinking about a glass of wine doesn’t mean we broke the Word of Wisdom…

      The only difference between heterosexuality and homosexuality, is that in the case of heterosexual attraction, such physical intimacy is sanctioned within the relationship of marriage, while in the case of homosexual attraction, it is not. Unfortunately, this may mean that, in order to live in accordance with the commandments of God, an individual who has inescapable feelings of same-sex attraction may be faced with the prospect of going through mortality without a life partner. And that sucks.

      I agree that many people who experience feelings of same-sex attraction were born that way. Why that is, is beyond me. Life is not fair. As a woman without the ability to have children, believe me when I tell you that I am fully aware of the cruelties of life. Sadly, just because something is excruciatingly difficult, does not mean it isn’t reality. The brutal truth is that some of us were given trials in this life that are impossible to overcome in mortality. We just have to hope – and again, I know how difficult that is – that in the end, all will be made right. In the meantime, we should be compassionate and empathetic to all those around us who are suffering or struggling in any way. Which brings me to your next point.

      As for feeling like an a “misfit” at Church because of divorce, or same-sex attraction, or having a gay child, or being a childless couple, I want to share with you an experience I had with an Apostle. My husband and I had the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with Elder Bednar when he visited his son’s ward a few years ago. A woman asked this question: “I feel overwhelmed with all of the things I am supposed to teach my children. What is the most important thing I can teach them?” He told her, “I will give you two most important things. The first is the Atonement of Jesus Christ – nothing you teach your children will be more important than teaching them about the life and divine mission of their Savior, and helping them foster a testimony of Him. The second is that the doctrine of the Church and the culture of the Church are often two very different things, and they need to learn how to tell the difference.” I almost jumped for joy and shouted “Amen!’ when he said this, because I have been saying it for years and years – the doctrine and the culture of the Church are NOT the same; in fact, they are often in direct opposition to each other. To hear an Apostle of the Lord say it while standing 4 feet in front of me was music to my ears. This “misfit” feeling that you speak of is 100% real, I have felt it myself. But it has nothing to do with the doctrine of the gospel, and everything to do with the fact that our congregations are made up of imperfect people (me and you included) who live a perfect gospel incredibly imperfectly. No one – NO ONE – should feel like a misfit at church. Sadly, just because it shouldn’t be that way doesn’t mean it is… The only thing I can say to that is: know that it is not the way we are to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Know that it is not the way the scriptures, the prophets, the Apostles, or any of the doctrine of the Church teaches us to live. It is a sad, pathetic, shameful part of Mormon culture, that is felt more in some places than in others. The only way to battle that culture is to be a welcoming voice that drowns out the others.

      Individuals experiencing same-sex attraction, as well as families of those individuals, should ALWAYS feel welcome in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That it is not always so is sad, indeed. That feeling of unwelcome, however, is NOT a doctrine of this Church.

      • This is a really great, thought out comment. I agree with the words that the culture of the church is not the doctrine. As difficult as unwelcome is (I wonder if we all feel it in some form or another) I have always felt that they are two very different things. Thank you for your comment.

        • I am so grateful for your comment. Finally someone says something worth of reading. I really thought I have been wasting my precious time reading all the comments before yours. I do pray more people reads your remarks. Thank you again Rachel. Very well said. I totally agree with you.

  23. Suppose a divorced man is living with his fiance and an eight-year-old child, both of whose parents want the child to be baptized. Would this be allowed? If so, there is a double standard that punishes children living with same-sex couples.

    • In the situation you describe, a single father living with a fiancé and his daughter, the daughter would not be eligible for baptism until the fiancé moved out or they married.

    • Your still missing the point of the plan of happiness that stems from a man and woman! Not man and man woman and woman! That is the conflict! Which would create conflict of interest in that home from simple core values being taught and shown! To maintain the peace, due to the iniquities being perpetuated and professed in that environment, the spirit as proclaimed through the GA’s, that this is what is best! The eternal salvation of all individuals will be determined by God! Notwithstanding, the knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel that we obtain here! Not all children will return to our Father in Heavens presence!

  24. “Latter-day Saints do not need to intellectually understand every policy change Church leaders make to know that there is spiritual safety in following their leadership and counsel.” I am a little unsettled by this comment. Are we really not called to understand our own beliefs?

    • Blind faith is wreck less, even President Hinkley said to question every doctrine to understand more clearly your own faith. Not quoting exact text, just my recollection from when he was still living.

      • Meh, they still want you to follow it, and not really raise too much of a fuss about it, though. If you start to ask questions, you’re quickly reminded who is both smarter/wiser than you and in charge. So, by all means, ponder it, but remember that you should still do it anyway.

    • LOL! Have you ever read the new testament? WWJD? He just did, and he followed the same pattern he did when he was here on the earth.

  25. I am confused by Myth 7. Isn’t our belief in the church based on argumentum ad passiones? Aren’t all of our testimonies built on feelings and personal experiences that we have had? It seems dangerous to dismiss emotion so quickly, when so many of our testimonies in the church and the prophets are similarly based upon our personal feelings.

      • How is it that emotion is good if it is furthering my testimony; but it is bad if it pushes those away from the church?

        • I am sorry, that was poorly worded to try to get my question across. I mean to say, how is it that emotion that be relied on, and is reliable, to form my testimony. But it cannot be relied on to make the argument that this policy will have negative consequences?

          • Emotion isn’t the Spirit. The Spirit can cause emotion, like love, peace, etc. But emotion isn’t the Spirit. Can you have emotions that don’t come from the Spirit? Certainly. Too many people think that if it gives you goosebumps or raises the hair on your neck that it’s the Spirit.

          • I think you are confusing two different kinds of feelings, which is very common. Our testimonies come through impressions or feelings from the Holy Ghost when we encounter truth. The Holy Ghost testifies to our hearts and minds when we search the scriptures, listen to General Conference talks, hear sacred music, etc. This experience might create an emotional response, which is why many of us shed tears when we feel the spirit, but the two feelings are not the same. We can feel the Spirit without being emotional. Unfortunately, emotions are less reliable than spiritual impressions. They can be manipulated in various ways, so are less trustworthy than genuine spiritual feelings.

    • Feeling can also refer to physical sensation as well as emotion. The “burning in the bosom,” “swelling of the breast,” or “stupor of thought” aren’t emotional feelings, they are physical sensations. Peace to the mind is not an emotional state, it’s a calming of an agitated thought process. Dreams, visions, the voice of God, etc. are not emotional feelings, they are sensory experiences.

      So while spiritual experiences may elicit an emotional response, my spiritual experiences and corresponding testimony are not emotionally based.

    • Very good piece, as we come to an understanding of new church policy. I do know that the Lord has always worked through prophets, and it is very much the same in our day. I saw one of the remarks state. “WWJD? Not this” Actually this is very much what Jesus would do. In the old and new testament, the Lords doctrine, prophets, and the Lord himself were rejected by the masses. So even though His doctrine is full of compassion, He was never shy about calling sin what it is. The Lord and many of his prophets were murdered for such unpopular teachings.

  26. Outstanding post! Special thanks to the author for articulating many of my thoughts on the subject and providing me with even more thoughts to consider if the topic ever comes up in conversation. Interesting note here: I work in a pool of extremely well-informed academicians (NOT an in an LDS institution) who know I am LDS. They seem to think that I belong to a quaint religious organization that tends to have many upstanding members and possibly some quirky (but harmless) viewpoints. In general, other than superficial conversation, the church never comes up in conversation. Many of these colleagues likely have no problem with folks living an LGBT life-style. They frankly just don’t care much one way or another. They also don’t care much one way or another that I have my own religious views on the subject. My point is that most of the real world doesn’t really seem to have much active concern about the church viewpoint on this subject (especially those that do more with their life than constantly rant on the internet). Therefore, I tend to not have much concern myself about the extremely small (but loud) minority that does (unless they try to take away my religious freedom).

    • It is a big deal to Mormon parents that have gay children. It is a really big deal. I am sure you are nice person. But you seem to lack empathy for others. I call that self-centered.

      • If your child identifies him or herself as gay, I would recommend a heartfelt discussion with that child on what his or her true identity is. Hint: It is his or her relationship to God, not his or her physical appetites.

        • Have you had many conversations with gay children where you have lectured them on their true identity is? How’s that working out for you?

        • Being gay has nothing to do with sexual appetite? It’s about attraction. Not sex. I get so tired of people fixating on the genitalia.

          • Attraction to the same sex is in us all! But sex with genitalia is absolutely the topic being talked about here! And in all cases of homosexual behavior! So, trying to make a version of same sex attraction that is a watered down to warm people to the fact that same sex attraction is exactly what it is! Sex attraction, with included genitalia!

  27. I disagree with most of these justifications. This policy change felt like a legal maneuver done without input from the PR department. Are we the Church of Jesus Christ or the Church of Kirton & McConkie?

    • Asserting that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles should consult with the Church’s PR department before making a policy change demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of the role of prophets, seers, and revelators, as well as priesthood authority/keys, and most importantly, whom is at the head of the Church.

      • That’s a gross misunderstanding of what I said, and they have not said this came from the Lord. This is not a revelation. This is a policy change, and they have not said this comes from the Lord. The FP/Q12 do not walk into the Church Office Building every morning to meet Jesus Christ in a boardroom. They almost always work things out the same way we do, as they’ve reiterated many times. They pray, they study it out in their minds. That doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes, and alienating children like this from the church feels like a mistake.

  28. Considering the Church’s position on same sex relationships it had no choice but to take the stand it did, otherwise it would have been in the difficult position of homosexual couples who want their marriage, and children, shown on church records as a family unit considering that such marriage was legal. It appears to me that the church took it’s position to protect itself and it’s leaders and all the subsequent talk, explanations, and back and forth are just an attempt to either justify or take issue with the change and some of those just lead to obvious conflicts with other aspects of the church’s polices, such as baptizing youth of heterosexual marriages, with parental approval, while knowing that this may lead to family conflict and confusion.

  29. When I first read the report of these changes in policy, I did so through the filters of an understanding that church doctrines are eternal, and policies are imperative at times when the church must help to guide members through difficult situations. A can already see that a number of commenters here have not rejected the idea of trying to understand the LGBT conundrum without thinking in terms of political decisions and the social norms of the day. The church has made its position clear since the first over numerous questions. the priesthood restriction was a policy of Brigham Young during the time that the church was much ,ore rigorously persecuted and during which Young was treading lightly in political contentions over slavery while trying to make Utah a state. The policy took hold with such force, as America generally remained, and still remains a racist nation. Thus a “revelation” was required to change the policy. I believe it happened when it did because earlier, the church, with such small numbers, would likely have imploded.
    The polygamy period was shameful for government intervention. This was the only time in US history that a church had its property confiscated and that marriages already in existence were nullified and fathers sent to prison and laws made against a principle of the religion. Obviously, polygamy was a policy too, because it was not a doctrine for all in the same way as others.
    What worries me is the distinction made for children of parents in gay marriage and those in other situations, i.e. non-member parents, parents in other types of apostasy, etc. I know from personal experience as a mission leader, and of friends in the situations, that children under the legal age of emancipation can be baptized with the permission of their parents. It has happened over and over again. While I also understand the church’s concern over “custodial intervention,” this issue could be remedied, as well, when both parents gave consent for baptism. Many such families have LDS parents who, even though they cannot participate fully in the church, want their children baptized at the age of consent, rather than waiting for 10 years. Even though those who engage in same-gender marriage are in official “apostasy,” a number still cling to their testimonies of gospel truth, though too weak to adhere to every principle. for whatever the reason. For this, I think children should have the protection that baptism affords them. This is my sole concern. Obviously there would be no question of either parent or both parents objected to the baptism, but with an accord from parents, I see the policy change only as an impediment. Why? Well, the Lord has not changed the age o consent, and for children not baptized, there is always the special rejection at church,.where many ordinary members can be terribly cruel to people whose situations are different. Sadly, many adults do not give support to these kids to protect them from the scorn of other adults and children alike.

    • Hence the policy as it is! Protecting the children and the family! God’s judgements are his and he will have the final say!

  30. Oh for the love of God please! First of all if you are a member of the LGBT community why would you want your child to join a church organization who is against with what you are doing??? Why would you want your child to go to a church who teaches that same sex marriage is a sin??? Why??? I dont get it!

    • This is the problem when one parent “discovers” they are gay after having children. The other parent want their child to be a member and live in the church. The now gay parent wants everyone to accept them and their new life choices. The law of the land now demands everyone accept their lifestyle choices or be under penalty of punishment. Churches and their members are saying those choices are sins even though the government no longer sees them as illegal. The poor children are caught in the middle no fault of their own. The church is only updating the policy to recognize the new laws. Nothing has changed really except now it is written in the handbook.

    • It might help you to understand this if you took a few minutes and looked on the websites for LDS kids and adults (for that matter). It will give you much more insight and hopefully not such a judgmental attitude, one thing- my dad cheated on my mom their entire marriage. Entire! Except for the years that he was excommunicated, re-baptized and then he would start all over again. This is against the church. Would you be shouting this same statement? I know I do. But the church it doesn’t matter. In all honesty, he is a more worthy member of the church than a gay couple that is married that is faithful. and I find that disturbingly sad.

    • I agree with you but it is a lot more complicated than this. Relationships are dynamic and complicated. Policies like this just make relationships more difficult. There was no reason to clarify. It was already policy. The Church just wanted to make damn sure that faithful members continue and step up their hate for gay people. That is pretty much what this policies does. And the faithful are stepping it up. Talk about hateful speech. I have seen posts both ways on the subject and the sweet Mormons can really lay on the hate when encouraged by the leadership.

      You have to keep it in perspective. We are talking about a cult. Nobody should really care what they have to say.

  31. Just a thought: If the church was to change the baptism age for all children to 18 what would the new members numbers look like then? I wish I would’ve had a choice being raised Mormon. Now I know every devout Mormon will say I did but there was no choice it was do or be different and being different is dangerous at church for a child. The churches policies are looking more and more like good business practices with changing the age of missionaries so as to not lose so many young men and women to the world. Which I am positive someone will correct me on that one……oh the corporate Mormon machine you give a business student much to think about.

    • I agree 100%!! You tell me how many 8 year olds can tell their parent’s they don’t want to get baptized? They will be told to go pray about it- you’re going to be baptized. There is no way that LDS parent is going to be embarrassed by their 8 year old child. 8 year old want to please their parent’s. They will do what they are told. They might know the difference between right and wrong but they have no idea what baptism really means.

      • I agree that is probably the case most of the time, but I actually know quite a few children in my ward who are over 8 years old, who have not decided to get baptized. There are 3 in my primary class alone, and they are not treated any differently…but I’m not in Utah, so I don’t know if that’s what makes the difference.

        • I’m curious if these kids are children of converts or BIC? I can imagine in Utah that there might be a few kids here and there that didn’t get baptized at 8 and perhaps they did when they were older but only a child of a convert- not BIC. I would be shocked. But I’m interested to hear if it has happened..

          • Tina my oldest daughter wasn’t ready to get baptized at 8, and she waited until 10 or 11, I don’t recall exactly, because it wasn’t that critical. I am sure some parents “strongly encourage” or “push” their children into it, but those are parent’s that don’t understand the gospel fully. Baptism is a covenant that we make with Heavenly Father, and you don’t want to push someone into a covenant that they are not ready and willing to keep. We don’t force choices, a big part of the journey “here” is free agency. We also don’t force our kids to fast, or pray or keep their covenants. We talk to them about them, and try to set a good example. But forcing a child into a relationship with Heavenly Father would not be what “He” wants. I think more Mormons are sensitive to this than you realize. However, the truth is a child raised in a loving home, where the gospel is taught properly and with the free agency allowed, those children are typically excited and eager to take each step to serve their Heavenly Father, including baptism. It is a bit ironic that the church gets bashed on for this, when most religions baptize infants that have no say in the matter… ??

          • Hi STaylor,
            I can’t respond directly to your comment for some reason… So, I’m responding to my own..

            I actually do know all about the church- I am a member.
            I do think that every household is different. Where one family is more open another family is more forceful, so to speak… It would not be fair to say that EVERY SINGLE LDS family runs their home the same way.

            And yes, I do agree with you as far as the LDS church and 8 yr olds vs infant children.. Kind of an odd argument..

            Thank you, I appreciate your comment.

      • You are naive Tina if that’s what you think. My daughter has been raised to go to the LDS church but when she turned 8 the decision to be baptized was left entirely up to her. We talk to her about her beliefs and ask about her testimony and she’ll tell us when she wants to be baptized. Its been months since her 8th birthday and we’re patiently waiting for her to make up her own mind about what she wants. Baptism is a covenant we make with God. We promise God and he promises us. This isn’t a decision to be taken lightly or push a child into.
        With respect to your comment, you’re wrong.

      • With respect, you’re wrong. My daughter turned 8 a few months ago. She’s been raised to by 2 active LDS parents, but baptism is a covenant we make with God. It isn’t something to be taken lightly or to be forced into. Its my daughter’s choice and she’ll make it when she’s ready.

  32. I consider myself a member of the church with a very strong testimony who was initially shocked by the announcement made by the church. I am very sad about this article; this is the first article I have read since this announcement came out that has made me feel angered and frustrated. Everything else I have read has lead me to greater understanding, lifted me, and opened my heart to seek greater understanding. I am afraid that those who are really troubled and seeking understanding, if they run across this article would find themselves angry and more determined than ever to close their hearts to any help from God. I couldn’t read it all, because it didn’t help me find any peace.

  33. For all of you who researched in the scriptures finding contradictions of what the LDS members are to believe……..it is fruitless. Read this quote from the article “Latter-day Saints do not need to intellectually understand every policy change Church leaders make to know that there is spiritual safety in following their leadership and counsel.” As a Mormon, this scares me that my church does not want me to use my brain, but just to do what I am told! Scary! We are starting to sound like the Scientologist! Something to ponder!

    • You forget that the primary difference between Scientology and the LDS church is that we believe we have a prophet. A prophet who speaks with God.

      • No what you have is 13 old men who claim to talk to god, and only get the ansears they want when they want and care nothing as to how it effects others.

    • I think that John made a good point. If you believe that God has called modern prophets and apostles, and that they have been given the authority that Christ and the original apostles had, then we don’t need to intellectually understand everything that they do. But the key is knowing that they have been called of God. The key is praying to God, not taking anyone else’s word for it, to find if they are. The key is reading the Book of Mormon and applying Moroni 10. That has always been the claim. With that, I still don’t know of anyone that says we can’t pray to know if policies or doctrines are correct. Nothing says we still can’t question, even with those questions not being answered right away. I know a lot of people, myself included, that had questions for a LONG time. For me, the issue still wasn’t actually resolved, but after a while I just felt like I didn’t need to worry about it anymore. That is how I feel about it now. I would encourage you to think about how you got your testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught by the LDS Church, and then look at all the good or bad that has come to your life since then. See the places following the teaching of the church has made you better, and the things that have made you worse. It is about the best test to know if this is where you should be than anything else I know of. I hope this helps.

    • Thomas Paine once famously said(actually wrote), that all revelation is in the first person.(I wish I could quote him exactly, but I can’t). That is, My Revelation. When revelation is in the third person(His Revelation), it’s hearsay. Let me suggest that he is correct. If this new policy is a revelation(I believe I recall hearing President Nelson say that it was, but I’m not sure enough to make a stand on it), then his saying so is hearsay(Third Person Revelation). If you want it to be a Revelation, it must be in the First Person(for you, that is where you can say, “It is my Revelation.”) You do not necessarily need to “intellectually understand” the policy to receive your own revelation. For myself, if I could only have one, I would rather have the revelation for myself than the intellectual understanding. I hope I haven’t made a mess of my attempt at an explanation.

  34. So, while I agree that the Church has every right imaginable to decide who can and cannot be baptized, and at what age, and under what circumstances, you are wrong if you feel that this new policy is not hurtful. It is hurtful to children who are being singled out because of who their parents are. It is hurtful to parents, of any sexual orientation, who will see those children hurt, bullied by other children and marginalized. Anyone who has raised non-LDS children in Utah knows that reality. And it is hurtful to the extended families, who many, after years of finding ways to accept thier gay children, love them and support them, and now…watch them marry and build legal relationships with the people they love. Surprisingly, I do agree with the policy, but I think it falls short of true fairness. Let all children wait until 18. No one knows what kind of family life goes on behind closed doors, so lets just let all children wait until they are old enough to decide. Would that fix it? Who knows, but at least it would be fair across the board.

  35. I just got baptized lat December. I gave my first talk a few months back about witnessing as a child a relative of mine join the church. His mother was a lesbian, and encouraged her son to go with his friend to the LDS church every sunday. As any mother would want, she wanted her son to get married to a nice girl and give her grandchildren. She knew that she could not give him the family values he needed to do this, so she sent her son to the only place she knew could do that for him, the LDS church. He would go to church with his friends family every sunday. He was baptized at 15 served on a mission to Italy, got married in the Temple and now has 4 young boys. He has dedicated his life to his family and his church, if he would have been rejected in the beginning he would not be where he is today. This has been one of the biggest reasons i made the decision to join this church. I saw how a LDS family spiritually adopted him to give him those values. This inspired me to go to the LDS church when I needed to turn my life around. I was baptized and am working on going to the temple now. This policy change has made me question my whole decision on joining the LDS church.

    Confused

    • Hi Jodi,

      I’m really sorry you’re struggling with the recent policy change. I think it’s pretty clear you’re not alone. I’ve been a member my whole life and even I feel I need to work through it in my heart and my heart and process all this. That said, I urge you to hold on to those things you know are true. Remember and hold on to those parts of your testimony that you know you can’t deny. If you need to talk through your feelings, I’m here as a resource. Seriously. I would be happy to chat on the phone, talk via Skype, or communicate via email. Hang in there.

    • Dear Jodi:

      A child still will be able to receive all this support from the church. He or she still will be welcomed into the meetings; will still be able to enjoy all the youth activities; will still be supported by good friends and neighbors; will still be able to be “spiritually adopted” by a good LDS family who loves him or her; his or her parents will still be able to feel the love and support. And in fact, if this child grows to love the teachings of the gospel as taught in our church, he or she will still be able to be baptized (at an age when he will have had the opportunity to consider his parents’ lifestyle and that promoted by the church and to choose as an adult), and enjoy every blessing offered to every other child of God.

  36. One True Non-Myth about the church’s new policy: it was totally unnecessary, it accomplishes nothing good or worthwhile, and it’s hurtful and harmful, and the explanation offered is not trustworthy. Period.

    The church –– without compromising anything at all –– could have announced a more honest, loving, concerned, wise, enlightened, inspired and inclusive policy, and the exact same Mormons who are now defending this new policy of exclusion would have followed their leaders and accepted that policy also. And they would be defending and explaining that policy using some of the exact same words and concepts they use to defend the opposite.

    Pious, faithful apologists will accept and defend whatever it is their leaders give them, regardless. They would see no inconsistency in supporting either of two diametrically opposed policy options –– as long as it came from the leader. Never mind that the leaders in their last general conference admitted to being fallible. (Well… duh!)

    • What the heck is wrong with following our leaders, and by extension, God, no matter what? The prophets are inspired of God, and if they felt they needed to make this change, then it was divine revelation and relevant to the Church and how its views conflict with the world today. It’s not our job to tell God what to do, and if you believe otherwise, then this lifestyle isn’t for you. It’s that simple.

      • A mindless goat. You need to think for yourself. If you agree that is fine. But if you are just going along, you are missing the point of the gospel. God wants you to seek knowledge, not just blindly follow.

        This was a clarification to handbook. It is not revelation. The Church wanted to clarify its hate for gay people and wanted to make sure that the general members hate them as well. It is tough when you are a parent of a gay child. It takes on a whole new perspective.

        The only true Church should have a better answer for gay people. There are millions and millions of them. In fact there are far more people in the world than Mormons. Why? The only true Church would minister to their gay members. But the Mormon church has decided to go a different direction. I find it hard to believe that a child that is born into the Church and also is born gay has no value in the eyes of God or the Church.

        There is something wrong here. And goats will just go along for the ride.

    • Our Savior, Jesus Christ was (is) perfect. Other human children of our Father in Heaven are fallible. Any who claim to be infallible are lying. Can’t we find comfort that through our repentance and keeping the commandments as best we can, forgiveness is possible? Let us try to emulate Him and let His love for us end all divisive discussions.

  37. Only five facts remain:

    1. This policy is ALREADY hurting children;
    2. This policy is ALREADY hurting families;
    3. The policy may not be ETERNAL doctrine (it is entirely man-made, as is the church itself) but it is hurting families NOW and is clearly a ploy on the part of the church to backtrack on its previous statements about tolerance;
    4. The policy forces a child to choose between the LDS church and his/her family, and
    5. The church simply DOES NOT CARE as long as it thinks it is right.

    The teachings of men, not God.
    -Coz

  38. Your Myth #1 is incorrect could you please make the following correction to make it accurate and honest?

    You write, “Children must simply wait until they can legally make their own decision to join the Church…”

    Not only do they have to wait they also cannot be living with their parents even if they are legal age.

    • This is not how I understand it. If the child and all parents accept that the parents are living in sin and still accept and agree to support the child that accepts and agrees to live all of the gospel principles to the best of their abilities they can be baptized. A child is not being punished for their parents sins. They are being protected from family problems caused by apostate parents that could now use their sin legally in court cases. The sin has been made legal but that does not make it no longer a sin. The child is not being punished the church is just removing one more possible leagel problem from their life. If all the parents and the child sign off and agree the child can be Baptized. The chances are low this could happen unless all of the parents truly love the child more than their sins.
      I moved away from home at 16 and had my Grandparents sign off before I could join the church and that was 42 years ago. Policy has change to account for the new law not doctrine on sin. If my parents had agreed I could have lived at home and joined the church but that was never going to happen.

  39. There are a couple issues I take with your post. I am in no way am pointing these out as an attack against you or the LDS community as most of my family including my parents are LDS and I love them very much. I am simply intending to point out the arguments that I don’t believe are fully formed, and why I personally take an issue with the new policy change.

    Myth #1:
    The problem I have with your argument here is how you’re arguing that “there is no degree of punishment that exists in these new changes.” Now, I don’t believe the church set out to punish children of same-sex couples on purpose. However, you cannot argue that there’s no way this could harm children. Any child who attends church but cannot become a member, can only take sacrament partially as the symbolism is gone when its not renewing any vows, who cannot attend temple trips with their peers can be harmed by this exclusion. Not being allowed to do something that your peers can do, regardless if it is as a punishment or not, will still feel like a punishment. You could argue that the church does not intend to harm children with this policy, but you cannot argue that it will never do so.

    Myth #2:
    Here you argue that the LDS church is treating the children of LGBT couples the same as they would treat those of polygamous couples, or children of those that oppose the church. I would agree that this is true. However, you’re equating being LGBT with being polygamous or being opposed to the church without providing any evidence as to why these sins are equal. The argument that the church regards them as equal is not a good enough argument, and is in fact a logical fallacy, specifically Argumentum ad Verecundiam. The major difference between these 3, even if you regard all of them as sins, is that being LGBT isn’t a choice any more than being heterosexual is a choice, and yet choosing to be polygamous or to not endorse the church are in fact choices.

    Myth #3:
    On this myth I can agree with your logic that the 2nd article of faith does claim that men will not be punished for Adam’s transgressions, just their own. However, while this correction of interpretation of the 2nd Article of Faith does counter the idea that children of same-sex couples are being punished for their parents sins, it doesn’t counter the fact that they are being punished for something that is not their fault. That is still punishing someone for something they did not personally do, which is contrary to the idea that “people are only responsible…for the sins they themselves commit.” You may respond to this and point out that this belief is talking about punishment before God not here on earth, however since the church already punishes people for sins on earth the burden of proof would be on you to prove how this is different.

    Myth #4:
    The issue I take with your argument here is that you are arguing that because the church already does this in regards to children of parents who smoke it somehow means they aren’t rejecting their parents in either situation. You do not prove how a child of a parent who smokes isn’t being made to reject their parent, so equating it with the new policy does not counter the initial claim. You do attempt to explain why by saying that sexuality, like smoking, is not a “primary factor in personal identity” which you interpret means that children aren’t rejecting their parents. This is true if you take “Requires Children to Reject Parents” to mean rejecting their parents completely as a person, to reject their whole personal identity. However, you make no claims as to the completeness of the rejection. Rejecting just a part of a parent, like their sexuality (even if it wasn’t a primary factor of their personal identity) is still a rejection.

    Myth #5:
    I agree with your argument here, as it is the parents not the children who apostates. However, if the only two categories are apostates or non-apostates, the church certainly isn’t giving children of same-sex couples full rights as any other non-apostate either. These children are made to wait until they are 18 and allowed to choose, which may not be apostasy but is certainly placing them in a state of limbo.

    Myth #6:
    In this argument you once again equate those that are LGBT with those that engage in cohabitation, are polygamous, or are an alcoholic. You are stating that being LGBT is a behavior, which means it is a choice. If being LGBT is a choice, than there needs to be proof of such a thing. Which would mean that you would either need to prove how being homosexual is inherently different than being heterosexual. Not just because of the difference in the two or more people that engage in it which is mainly based in the idea of procreation, if a person argues that a man and a man or women and women can’t have a natural born child which makes homosexuality different. They would than have to somehow justify couples where one or both of the partners are infertile, as they do not have the ability to have a child either which would make it just as wrong as homosexuality. If you can’t argue that homosexuality and heterosexuality are different, than that means that just like homosexuality you believe heterosexuality is a choice. This would mean that you believe no one is born either gay or bi or straight but instead with no gender preference.

    Myth #7:
    The problem with this argument is that you are dismissing it completely. If you claim that this policy doesn’t hurt children, and a child says “this hurts me personally” this this is a perfectly valid comment to make as it shows in at least one instance you are wrong. Now, for those that are not a child being affected, than yes, personal opinion is not an argument and as such not a valid response to the new policy changes. This does not mean people cannot say it hurts them, they just cannot use it as a reason the policy is wrong.

    Myth #8:
    I agree with you completely on this response, a law change is not a good enough reason to change your beliefs. It is simply the reason that the law was changed, and the reasons you have your beliefs, that should be analyzed.

    Myth #9:
    I agree with you also on this point a policy change isn’t the same as an eternal doctrine change. If same-sex couples in any way change the eternal doctrine on family, than it existed before the policy change as well as after, and thus wasn’t caused by it.

    Finally, I do not condone anyone simply attacking the church. Like I said I have family that are LDS, they are wonderful people and I know they wouldn’t intentionally set out to hurt children in any way. However, this doesn’t change the fact that while this might not be the goal of the policy it is a side effect. An unintended consequence doesn’t suddenly become okay because it wasn’t intentional. This policy really does change very little in the reality of the workings of the church and its practices, however it does clearly outline what those policies and practices are so now people are more aware of it. Outlining this clear as day though does harm the children of same-sex couples, even those not wanting to be a member of the church or possibly those that don’t even know what the LDS church is. It’s a form of discrimination to treat these children differently based on something they cannot choose or change.

    A lot of the reasoning from the church is based on the idea that a child raised in a same-sex environment is being raised in a sinful household, and thus letting them join the church at a young age is setting them up for failure. This idea relies on environmental theories to argue that a child in a same-sex household will be more likely be in a same-sex relationship itself. If this was true than there wouldn’t be children from heterosexual relationships that grow up to be gay. Environmental factors wouldn’t only apply to same-sex couples, it would apply to every parent couple.

    • Even if you believe that being homosexual isn’t a choice, the choice is in living with and marrying a person of the same gender. THAT is the same as choosing a polygamous marriage.

      • I am a lover of women if I had not accepted the Lord’s gospel I would be trying to have sex with all of them. This is what is known as the natural man and natural man is an enemy of GOD’s plan. as a Christian I chose to live a higher plan that Jesus Christ has provided us. I put off my natural man proclivities and abstain from sex or marry only one person of the opposite sex and live monogamously with her no matter what my natural man self would chose to do. Sexual proclivities are not the sin and they provide the struggle for me that drug abuse, pedafielia, homosexualalty or other sins provide for others. Overcoming sin is the goal not making life easy. Children learn and struggle with many things that is what shapes them and strengthens them. Support them in making good choices when they can. I have faith they will.

        • ***Edit*** Being homosexual is not a choice. Or a sin either..

          However, one can fully chose to cheat or not. A person does not cheat if they haven’t accepted the lords gospel. What a load of crap..

          • **Correction** Having homo-sexual feelings isn’t a sin. Acting out in any way of a homo-sexual nature is a sin. Living in a homo-sexual household/relationship is a sin, just as thinking about stealing isn’t a sin, but actually stealing is, just as having thoughts of killing someone isn’t a sin, but actually murdering someone is. You can scale it any way you like but the act of behaving against God’s law (in any regard) is a sin.

  40. I find it interesting that none of my fellow LDS members, including the author of this piece, have responded to the similarities drawn between blacks being discriminated against and this foolishness.

    Looking back now, the church looks REALLY bad for waiting until 1978 to change a completely racist policy. And yet we still have fellow church members hiding their own bigotry behind “religious policies” and scripture. The bible says lots of things, quit selectively deciding which ones are the most sinful.

    Church members: was the church right to allow racist practices until 1978?

    • I find it interesting that you can’t engage the issue at hand; why is it so important that children with a parent in a same-sex marriage join the Church between the ages of 8-18, or do so without having to disavow the practice of same-sex marriage? Could it be that this policy frustrates activists’ attempts to exert long term influence on Church membership, and that is the source of the indignation? Or is this just another left-wing outrage du jour?

      • How is it not important that children between the ages of 8-18 of same-sex parents cannot join the church? Is the fundamental principal of the church not to spread the word and gather as many members as possible to be saved? When I joined this church I mistakenly thought it was built upon unconditional love. Your comment lacks in any empathy and your views are archaic just like the church.

        • What know-one here wants to see or understand here is that our sins have consequences to others! To say otherwise is foolishness! Being LGBT is straight up, without a doubt and abomination to God! You can’t justify that!! People are still looking for the justification! There is none! It is not something that you are born with! It is an social inheritance, a personal decision! For the wages of sin is death and separation from God! Those decisions will affect those that are around them! Just the same as having pornography, alcohol, smoking, and less than Godly standards in any household, regardless of how we try to justify it! Sin is sin! Period! The stance of the church I sure came with much tribulation from those that prayerfully sought the answers from God! Just as we can all do! All I hear is justify, justify on both sides! People making excuses for Gods word and those that would call their lawyers, because they keep breaking the laws over and over again! There is no justification for sin! There is no justification for God’s word!

    • I joined the church in 1975 and rejoiced in 1978 with all worthy men. This is one of the issues I had with the church policy at the time I joined the church. I believe I studied this issue more than most. I also believe I am not racist, so why do you think I still joined the church? I have family and friend of all races and creeds. I knew the Gospel was true and even though I did not understand fully the issue with blacks and the priesthood, I knew GOD was no racist either. This is very much like this issue in my mind. GOD has a church of order there is a time and places for all things to come to pass. His children that search for the truth will find it in his church when the time is right. It was not the Church that denigned the priesthood to blacks until 1978 it was the Lord.
      Blacks were allowed the Priesthood in the early church and at the proper time in the next life. A patriarch was given the troubling impression that blacks should not be given the priesthood yet and inquired of the prophet as to what that was about so the prophet took the issue to the Lord and received the revelation that it was not the right time yet. Just as the Lord said it was not the time for gentiles to be taught until after his death on earth.

      It was a priesthood issue that involved race, but it was not a racist practice it was a priesthood practice that has now been fulfilled and restored to all worthy males. Now you can claim make it a sexesit issue in your mind, but it is not that either.

  41. Hi Nobody Important,
    I think you have picked up the wrong end of the stick. I am LDS, I do believe acting on homosexual feelings is a sin, but I also believe in the right of agency. My wife lost her faith, and has same gender attraction, and has decided to divorce and live that lifestyle. I hope that answers/clarifies your second question.
    As to the first question, before baptism an individual is entitled to be influenced by the power of th Holy Ghost. After baptism, an individual is entitled to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, if they live worthy of this gift.
    Church doctrine teaches that this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. There have been statements made by church leaders that we can make more/quicker spiritual progress in this life while in our bodies than in the next. This could be just opinion, rather than doctrine, but if this is true, then they are missing out on the opportunity for 10yrs of spiritual progress and enjoyment through this gift.
    I can accept that this is the policy, but anyone who teaches that it is good for an individual not to have the gift of the Holy Ghost for ten years of their accountable life, better back it up with sound doctrine that explains why it is good, and why it is a blessing. The New Testament teaches that faith comes by hearing the word of God, so if anyone wants to increase my faith, and help me with this, please share the word of God, not your amazement at how easy you are accepting this policy, and how amazed you are that this is difficult for others.

    • I think you answered your own question. It is not the laying on of hands that enables the promptings of the spirit. Rather, a loving Heavenly Father who will communicate with a child acting in righteousness to the commandments. If a child is instructed that they must wait until the legal environment makes it possible for them to act on the principles they hold, I am certain that God will keep the channel open.

      It is not the priesthood that determines whom God can speak to by the Spirit. The Priesthood only administers ordinances at the appropriate time. As a tenant of the LDS faith, the priesthood does not act in violation of the law of the land and in this case church policy is established to avoid children becoming tools wedges for personal agendas as outlined in myth 1.

  42. I see four main camps developing here:

    Camp 1) If you firmly believe that Christ is the head of the LDS church, then this moment is a minor bump in the road. If you do, then, even though you may be confused as to the reason behind it, or if you question the administrative necessity of such a change, you will feel settled because you can accept it with faith. Your biggest challenge may be to patient and understanding with those in the second camp who are wrestling with a crisis of faith.

    Camp 2) If you are uncertain, or as Mormons would put it, struggling with your testimony, then you will likely have the most turmoil. This may make you question more. In this case you are presented with a choice: either decide that this is further evidence that god doesn’t lead the LDS church, or dive deeper into the process of finding a testimony, and strengthen it. But either way, a moment like this causes you to have to move one direction or another, and this is likely painful.

    Camp 3) If you believe the LDS church to be a church of men and not led by God, then you have an understandable position of being confused and upset. You may be even deeply offended. Yet, if you believe in religious freedom, you’ll only be upset from the outside looking in. You don’t believe in the validity of the Mormon church’s beliefs anyway, so your reaction will be to shake your head in the foolishness of others. You’ll make fun of them a bit, then move on with your life.

    Camp 4) If you don’t believe that churches should have the freedom and right to operate on their own and/or that people should be actively discouraged from becoming Mormon, then you will become even more aggressive and take whatever action is necessary to tear the Mormons down. You will view then as an enemy combatant, and this is an opportunity to try to remove them from power. You will use this additional error on their part as a weapon to erode their religious liberty and/or lose membership, which they should not have anyway, because it is harmful to society.

    The most important question in all of this is: which of the four groups do you identify with the most?

      • This four camp model has been helpful to me, because it helps sift through all the voices begging for attention right now. It’s usually fairly obvious based on the types of comments that are being made:

        1) faith
        2) confusion
        3) ridicule/frustration or
        4) attack

        And candidly, I’m in camp 2, but this event has surprisingly helped me move closer to camp 1.

    • You forget a group between 1 and 2. Those who have an absolute firm testimony and do not believe this is a minor bump or that this policy was inspired by God. Those who do not feel “confused”. I remember Elder Mark E. Peterson coming to my stake and telling us that “blacks will NEVER inherit exaltation.” I felt immediately that wasn’t true. But when I expressed this to my friends and family, I was reprimanded with “follow the prophet” or “God speaks to them and the debate is ended.” It was not, and I was actually right about this. Just because a policy happens doesn’t require even the most faithful to believe it must have come from God.

    • I fall into Camp 5) I am a member of the LDS church but am appalled at the callousness of this directive because it not only hurts children but it is literally KILLING young, gay Mormon men and women. You seem to want to simplify this whole fiasco but it is much more insidious than you have postulated. The message to the young people of the church is this: Being GAY is worse than murder, rape, incest. Please don’t try and minimize this because it is a cold, hard fact. Kids are killing themselves because the future they have been given contains no hope, no chance for salvation, nothing. I want the leadership of the church to repent, educate themselves and correct this heinous situation. It was not inspired by God but was completely done for the sake of politically posturing. Just note the aside by the leadership: “its ok to support gay marriage on social media” HUH?

  43. Please, please , please Stop trying to add those of us who are Trans and Intersexed into this issue. It has been focused upon those who are Gay, Lesbian and their children. I can’t stress enough of the flaws of the issue here. Christ states let the children come unto me (but not him cause he is purple?), this point cannot be defended. Nor can you defend the issues of the Trans and Intersexed communities. We did not choose our paths. Do you think that it is a choice to wake and not be able to look in the mirror?

    Point in case I am Trans. as to the logic of the issues at hand I can’t even join the church without First Presidency permission. I could have been Excommunicated if I transitioned. But staying the way I was, might have killed me. So I left.
    Now, I can’t marry a woman cause I am a woman, I can’t marry a man cause I was born a man. So by this doctrine a person who has committed a murder possibly up for discipline. But if I was to marry and be a member I would be excommunicated (not possible, would be). Do you see the flaw? I did not take any ones rights away, but I am worse than a murder who gets the (might clause).

    Now look at the Intersexed Community, they had no choice they were born that way but they have the same issue as a Trans person. Doomed to live alone, just so the homophobic views don’t punish.

    You can state that this is not about punishment but it is, in every aspect of the underlying tones of the writing. The Trans and Intersexed are not Gay or Lesbian but we are trapped by the punishment of those who are. Therefore we support their views on the issues at hand and I stand with them on this issue. It is bad policy, poorly written, misdirected, targeted at the helpless, using children as pawns I am shocked that you have taken some of your defense of it out of context. It allows extremist the right to abuse others as some have already started to do on your site.

    How many people will commit suicide? How many will lose faith? How will you stand before god with blood on your hands, if it is one child it is one to many.

    • It’s your choice to be a tranny, as is being gay. All about choice! Religion aside, being gay goes against nature’s own plan. You make the choice to be who you are. Obviously you are born with certain organs, defining who you are. Again, you choose to change that. Your choices are the issue, and the fact that people from the LGBT community love to force acceptance upon everyone else is absolutely ridiculous. Be what you want, who cares! Don’t make a big deal out of it. You want sympathy and attention for your “discriminated” life, bottom line. You crave the attention and controversy. Get over yourself! It is all a choice!

      • You to i point as being an extremist. With your flawed logic, one can assume that the Jews were “craving attention” when they were being killed. With you flawed logic one can say that when the early Mormons moved from state to state to go in hand carts they were “carving attention”. “discriminated” you have never been, your a white male who most likely is a baby boomer who was given so much of what you have and you scream when we demand basic human rights. Your never thought just once outside of your own little privileged life, that choices that others make hurt beyond the reaches of you narrow views. You might want to take some of you privileged life and return to school and read the DSM V. Being Transgender is not a choice nor is Gender Dysphoria. But you did not know that the poor use of the word “Tranny” shows your privileged education only goes as far as your narrow views.
        You were even incapable of addressing other facts in what I wrote, only pointing to the issue of “be a Tranny” For your information I am a hard working Parent, I was a member of the church, I left due the the fact that Women cannot hold the priesthood and I honored that by leaving. So before you state your “force acceptance” the blacks in America had to fight as well, and are still fighting.
        Once again i’m not gay…. I just look like it

      • fedupwithit, your post is very poorly informed. Are you aware of the following:

        1. Humans are not the only specie that practices homosexuality. There are many many species of animals that do. Did you know that the most homosexual specie in the animal kingdom are sheep, Rams to be precise. Rams have a high preponderance of homosexuality. Two male rams will bond and with stay together and engage in sexual acts even if fertile breeding females are available to them. They ignore these.

        Can you explain what made Rams gay? Did they choose that lifestyle? Were they influenced by liberal TV or Press?

        The obvious reality is, homosexual animals are like that because homosexuality is in the genes. The real question is why and what affect does it have on society?

        Did you know that recent research has proven that geneticists can identify homosexual men and women from their DNA alone with a 70% accuracy rate. This rate is very significant, it means that their are genetic markers for homosexuality.

        I believe that SOME gay people may choose that lifestyle because they feel comfortable with it. But i will assert based on the data coming out that most do not. Most are genetically gay.

        So here is the problem for you. If God created people and animals that are homosexual, why would he do that?

        Now let me flip that issue over for you and see how you like it. Imagine a world where God commands all people to be gay, that includes you. To be faithful you must find another man or woman depending on your gender, and try to fall in love with them. You must kiss them and have sex with them.

        Just consider this problem for a moment and how repulsive you might find that proposition to be. Now imagine trying to live in accordance with that for the rest of your life, knowing that every time you see the opposite sex you are far more aroused by them sexual and have zero sexual attraction to the same gender person you married.

        That is the dilemma gay people face. So please, think careful about it before you charge in so aggressively. There but for the grace of God go you (literally).

      • Being gay is not a choice. There are many LDS children born in strong LDS families that were also born gay. It may be a choice on how you deal with it, but it is not a choice whether you are gay or straight. You either are or your not. Even the Church concedes that same sex attraction is not a choice. The Church though believes that a gay person must choice a life of celibacy to stay in good standing with the Church. And that is a choice, but not a good one.

      • fedupwithit -You lack so much empathy for someone who has gone through so much more than you or I will ever know. You must have CHOSEN to be a mean and cruel person.

    • Its sad that people still think people just wake up one morning and say I’m going to become gay this morning no I trully honestly believe no I know that they are born that way I know many that have tried to fight it but you are who you are and born with who you so these children that are being segregated in the church are going to have to live with even more bulling within the church because the church is making such a big deal about this. I grew up in. Mormon foster homes rapped by a Mormon but he still holds a temple recommend holds the priesthood I guess that’s alright see I bet they won’t let this be Posted you don’t have the freedom to say what you want in the church

    • I feel for you, Alean. I am not LGBT, but I have always firmly believed that for so many, it is NOT a choice, it is in your DNA.

      Just like ALL people are made with certain ‘tendencies’ if you will – some are naturally more prone to addictions of various sorts; some have cancer ‘markers’, some are born to be introverts vs. extroverts, some even have a streak of evil in them that cannot be attributed to anything, etc. etc. Every single one of us has tendencies to do things that are considered in the Bible (and the BOM) to be sins. I find it interesting that people assign a higher level of ‘sin-ness’ to some things, as if God created a sin continuum (consinuum?) :-] And many of these sins are very clearly conscious CHOICES. Others are things we struggle to overcome. God hates hypocrites, liars and gossips as much as any other sin.

      It seems to me the LDS church is taking on this stance of assigning a value to different ‘sins’. What if the church did this for every sin listed in the scriptures? If your parents are hypocrites or liars, their children may not be baptized until they are 18, move out and get special permission. Just because some sins are more easily identifiable than others should not make them subject to special rules. I am uncomfortable even calling homosexuality a ‘sin’ because of the stigma already surrounding it, which I find completely unfair. However it IS stated in the Bible as a sin along with so many others we all struggle with.

      I am now an active member of the Evangelical Free church where everyone is made to feel welcome, and nobody is assigned different rules as a condition of membership or acceptance. Kind of like Jesus did.

  44. Wow. I am sorry that so many of you are in pain because of these policies. Truly I am, but this doesn’t have to determine what most people know. God is God. I am a current member. We know of pain. Our child wanted to be baptized when he was 8 thru 14 but his nonmember mother would not allow it. No one was mean or unkind to him, but he still felt hurt that he didn’t get to participate in youth activities that required membership, like attending the temple. But he did go to the other activities. He often felt like an outsider and left our whether real or imagined. Now at age 20 he has no interest in being a member. We are very sad. His Dad especially experiences a lot of pain wishing he could participate in many activities with his son that he can not. We wish he had the Holy Ghost to help guide him as a teenager, etc. But he is not treated as a lost cause by us or church friends. He is still included and accepted, although not always agreed with. But for us our hope is not gone. We feel the Lord is in charge. We wish he could have been baptized. We realize maybe he will never join now, or maybe he will some day. But the Lord is very aware of him and he will fix the scale how ever it needs to be fixed. He knows this child and what he needs in spite of how he was brought up or allowed to do and he will lead and guide him now as an adult and it is between the child and God how his life progresses from here. We are not mad at the church for their policy nor at the mother for her choice, although it did make us sad. The Lord is in charge of everyone. He knows how it feels to be gay, lesbian, to have both genders, to be a drunk or alcoholic, to be an abused child or adult, to feel depressed or crazy, lonely, suicidal, etc. etc., etc. Policy is what the leaders pray about to protect the church as a whole. But that does not mean that the Lord stops loving individuals or reaching out to them and trying to help them. with their lives. We are literally his children. He sent us to mortal parents who do good and fail all the time. No matter what church we are born into, or circumstance in life we are privileged or forced into, he still knows every one of us and knows our name and every hair on our head. He loves all of us. He will help us. Sometimes out of the kindness of his heart, BUT he also asks us to come unto him and believe. Any doctrine of the church, in the scriptures, etc. can be prayed about and God can help us come to find peace with the doctrine, even if we never truly understand. He will help us if we really want to know and our sincere and reach out with our spirit, not just our intellect or emotions. I testify He is there. The world keeps changing its beliefs and standards. God does not….but lets not forget his number one standard is that he loves all of us and we are his children. I also believe that the church is true. Most of it I do not follow blindly. For several years I tried different paths and they did not make me happy. Being in the church does not always make me happy either. But I feel peace of mind and spirit here. I feel good that I “try” to keep the commandments of God. And the standards of my church. I do not always succeed and have to repent a lot. I should do it more than I do. Most of the time I believe in what our leaders have to say. Sometimes I do not understand and I pray and I always feel that he tells me he will not let them lead us astray. I should follow. Usually later on I come to an understanding of the particular item I did not understand. I walk into the darkness not knowing where I was, but knowing that he had a light above and can see all and that someday he will open the door for me and I too will see the light. And I do. God loves all children. He wants us all to have the chance to be baptized someday. But it doesn’t have to be done at 8. Children and parents experience pain all the time. Not fitting in. Trials. Cancer disease, loss, etc. All of those things we go through give us experience and help us grow. Cancer teaches patience, dependence on God and service. Yet it is painful, hurts family members mentally and can drive people to insane ideas, promotes many questions. All trials teach us things bad and good. We are asked to endure, grow, repent, reach out to others and find out for yourself if there is a God and how we should follow him. Not everyone agrees what church. We all have the right to choose for ourselves but there will always be others who do not see things the way you do. No matter what side you are on. But there is one person who is always on your side, if you want him there. Be willing to be taught and he will teach you what you need to do. Which way you should go. But if you aren’t teachable, there is not much he can do but wait. Wait for you to need him and hear him and what he is trying to say to you. But I testify he is there, listening to everyone’s prayers and pain. He is steadfast. His ways may not be your ways, but he is willing to meet you 1/2 way and teach you as you go. Please quit worrying about what the church says. I believe they are praying about it and trying to help. But even if it doesn’t help your situation, like it didn’t help ours, that doesn’t mean my church isn’t true. It doesn’t mean your God doesn’t still love you. He does. He will be there for those children who have to go through this pain regarding membership, just like he is there for those children being abused by parents or caregivers, just like those who are in war torn countries, or those kids who just don’t have many friends or feel different. He is there for the drug addict, the Mormon who is stalwart, the one who is struggling, the one who is constantly making mistakes, the one who is doing the best they can with the knowledge they have.. Those of other faiths and world religions, born in 3rd world countries and those born in traumatic circumstances. Children who are raised in satanic environments. He knows our circumstances. He know where he wants us to go, he knows how to get us there, but we have to make the choices to follow him and ask for his guidance. We all are born with the light of Christ. And in the end. HE will be our judge and decide how we fared in life with our individual, particular circumstances. I am so glad he is the one making those decisions and not me or some other flawed human. But even if a policy comes out in the church that I don’t agree with….my testimony is not based on policies. It is based on being told, personally, that my church is true. It is not filled with perfect people, but it is his church on the earth and he is in charge of it. I’ve got enough to worry about when it comes to improving myself, learning to be more charitable, following commandments to the best of my ability, repenting, trying again, enduring to the end, trying to help others and understand my own afflictions. I count myself lucky that I have this truth that he loves me. The day will come when everyone will know that He is there and what he wants. Some people will be very sad. I pray I will not be one of those. But nothing is guaranteed. We can all only do our best.

    Oh and by the way. I was in love with a bi-sexual man for many years. It brought me much pain and joy and we helped each other grow up. It didn’t work out between us, but I will always love him and care for him. He has children and a wife now. I could tell you so many stories. I have many friends who struggle and suffer with their love of God and their feelings regarding sexual preference. So I am not unfamiliar with their trials. I have many friends and family who have suffered from sexual abuse and I could list pages of things I’ve had to go through in my life. But it doesn’t matter. He is in charge of me. He is guiding me. Sometimes he reprimands me and I still have to suffer the consequences of my actions, good or bad. But he is always there helping me. I know this to be true and I know he loves you. Trust that it is okay. He is in charge no matter how the world looks to you today. Stay close to him and you will find your path that HE wants you on. But like I said, you have to let him teach you. Pride, anger, fear, jealousy, etc. are emotions that will get in your way and stop your progression. Believe me I know. I fight these things out of me on a regular basis. But when I get them out, he starts leading me again. Don’t let little things like policy opinion lead you away from what you once knew to be true. Or what you could know to be true. Or down a path he has planned out for you. He sees the big picture and we do not.

    • Thank you, Mormonforlife, for your excellent observation and experiences. Your comments speak softly and with love.

      • Thanks back. I hope it helps someone with their pain. No one listens to anger and nothing gets accomplished with anger but more anger. God must find us very interesting 🙂

  45. A one sided article written with a heavy bias. You should see if Fox News is hiring because, based off of this article you are fair and balanced…….

  46. Random Thoughts:

    1.) I hear a lot of LGBT supports comment on how many gay youth are kicked out of the house for being gay, but did you ever stop to consider that that street might be two ways? Has it ever entered your mind that a gay parent might kick out a straight kid from home for rejecting the gay lifestyle, or at least a liberal acceptance of it? How many children thrust into a same-sex family will now how have warm place to sleep at night and three square meals a day because of this policy change?

    2.) I hear a lot of LGBT supporters comment on the mental well being of the child and how this policy change will “damage” them somehow. Forgive me if this comes off as frank, but if you really cared about the mental welling being of the child, you’d support them being raised by their mother AND father. You also wouldn’t support policy that would place them in the line of fire of sexual abuse at school by letting whoever feels like going to whatever bathroom or locker room they want. If in ten years the number of rapes and sexual abuse cases at schools go up, please try to not look so surprised. I realize that one might come off as mean spirited to some, but it is what it is. Children NEED their mother AND father, period! Children (and adults for that matter) NEED personal privacy that comes with with either being alone when unclothed or under dressed, or at the very least alone with others of their same physical gender.

    It seems to me in this whole so-called gay right debate, it’s always been about the feelings of the gay adult and at best, children have just been along for the ride. Like they are more about political theater and props then that they might be people with real human emotions. Why pretend this is about something it’s never really been about now?

    OK, that’s all for now. You can go back to tearing into a religious community you don’t understand and trying to shame it into fitting into your fixed and unmovable world view.

    • I am sure a gay parent has kicked out their straight child, however there is a massive amount of evidence that you can study and educate yourself in regards to Utah and gay kids.

      One other thing- your babbling on about bathrooms and kids being raised by a mother and father- no evidence supports this hogwash. Really, people truly need to educate themselves. You won’t wake up gay if you do.

  47. Chris, your argument suggests that logic is important to you. There have been some blindly supportive arguments of what you have said. There have been some poorly argued criticisms. But there have also been some extremely balanced and well founded arguments against key points of your defence of this policy. You gloss over these again and again. The issue of withholding of ordinances not being a punishment for example. Clearly argued, but always cast as a “compromise” against family disunity potential. The fallacy of that argument has also been more than adequately dealt with. The more you gloss, the more your logical authority diminishes. So, if logic is not as important as you make out, what is your agenda?
    My bigger concern is that what people don’t realise is that policy changes aren’t necessarily meant to be logical. The Jehovah’s Witnesses switched their policy regarding blood transfusions time and time again. First it wasn’t allowed, then it was. Around and around it went. People allowed loved ones to die only to find out on the next policy change that it was reversed. What this highlights is the purpose of policy changes like this. You are testing the membership to see how much they will back you, against their own better judgement. This is a well confirmed tactic of ideological leadership throughout history. As some have pointed out, some faithful members were gobsmacked when they first heard it, then, when it was confirmed, they manipulated their own reasoning in order to be supportive. Allegiance to the herd is reinforced. Religious ideology is what predators use to keep the herd together and slow moving, for ease of predation.

    • nail on the head, you hit it….he will remove your comment as he does anyone that challenges his “intelligence” or reasoning. Condescending and arrogant, I hope he doesn’t consider himself a journalist “they manipulated their own reasoning in order to be supportive. Allegiance to the herd is reinforced. Religious ideology is what predators use to keep the herd together and slow moving, for ease of predation.” yes, my mormon friend was over the top upset and posted so on facebook then fortunately the person who thinks for the members was able to spin up a good answer to her questions, she removed her concern!!!! lol relief, I can keep blindly following….

  48. Articles like this do little good. Your rhetorical approach is condescending at best. You could have used more empathy.

      • The article is exhaustively fact-checked. If you have a more specific complaint I might be able to address it.

  49. Christopher D. Cunningham: “It is being delayed until people are in a living situation where they can take advantage of those blessings.”
    The way the new policy is written, the children do not need to be living with or being raise by their gay parent. The policy states: “A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship…” The word living refers to who the parent is living with, not the child. I keep seeing this same confusion over and over on different sites.

  50. There are many errors in your apologetics to excuse this church policy, the most egregious are for the first two “myths”.
    1. The policy is aimed specifically at the children being raised by gay parents, irregardless of whether those children are from a “divorced family” or not. Nor is there a policy aimed at children of divorced parents – if they’re of the opposite sex. So, to excuse the policy with “divorce is messy and troublesome” is disingenuous.
    2. What other “parental sins” require a delay until 18? Not adultery, or prostitution, or gambling, or a long list of felonies. In fact, you could only find two: polygamy and apostasy – but those two “parental sins” do not require the 18 year old to leave home or reject their “sinful” parents. Only the children of gay parents are so singled out.

  51. “God has always had behavioral standards including those for sexual conduct. ”

    I am relieved that God has informed Mr. Cunningham about his (G*d’s) behavioral standards just as I am grateful to be on receiving end of these revelations.

    The more cynical and unenlightened side of me, however, sees this as a rather artless rationalization and exercise in damage control. Children cannot join the Church because the Apostles want to protect them from custody battles sounds kind of quaint and …queer. I am shocked there is so little in these LDS communiques about Love, Compassion, Grace and the ineffability of God. Yep, Cunningham knows exactly what God is about, and it is not Love.

  52. To be honest and upfront, I am not a LDS member, however, my youngest daughter is. She also has a gay sister, therefore I am a mother of a gay daughter. For me to become a member of the LDS church I would have to say my oldest daughter was a sinner. Hum, think I will rethink the LDS standing views about putting sisters at odds with each other. I love both my girls, I am proud of them and how they have became beautiful young women. If I have to choose between LDS and my child. sorry child wins and we can all walk away. The only trouble with that is I have a younger daughter that is torn between family and church, this is something she prays about often. I have been watching, learning and listening to all this mucky much jargon and think I will try teaching what I believe to be the truth at home, and that god loves us all and made us the way he wanted us to be, not the way others want us to conform into. There are many other things way more important out there to worry about other than the rejection of LDS and gay rights. Will put my faith in god and let him guide the way and just drop LDS at the door step. Just my opinion.

    • Matt. 10:37 “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

      The reason for this scripture is not to say we should not love our families, but that we should not let the focus on our families dictate our choices (about religion, about commandments, etc) because family members are more flawed than God. It would actually be harmful to individuals to put their faith in family has a higher priority than God. Hope that makes sense.

      That said, the policy here is not asking people to disavow the PERSON, but the BEHAVIOR. I have gay family members, I reject their choices, but it changes nothing for me and my love for them as a person.

    • This is another myth. You would not have to choose at all. Your gay daughter would be welcomed at church and loved and could even be a member if she liked. I know many gay and lesbian members. It is a matter of choice, do they wish to live Gods plan or their own? The Church and God loves them either way. To be a member of the Church, one must attest to live Gods standards. You can do that by loving your family and teaching gospel principals. Both your daughters can take part in those blessings and you don’t have to nor should you choose one over the other. Both daughters can have all the blessings of the Church if they choose God’s path for them.

    • But your gay child is not a sinner, why would you say that? Being gay is not a sin. Sexual relations outside of a male-female marriage is what is contrary to the gospel.

  53. So many of my FB friends posted this today and each time they did, it made me weep. It’s not just the tenor of the entire article that bothers me, but especially the last paragraph which equates leaving the Church with leaving the faith.

    I’m still digesting this weekend’s news. I fear this one I’ll have to chew on for some time. But if I choose to leave the Church over this (and even if I don’t leave completely reduced activity is a very real possibility right now) it would be very presumptuous of anyone to look at my decision and assume I’ve left the faith.

    • Well said MTodd. Many assume that LBGTQ people have dropped their faith because the have left the church. Thus the very stupid assumption that they would never want their children to be members of the church. They assume that all morals, beliefs, love of Jesus and God were left on the steps of the local church. Sadly this comes from the “you accept it all or you get none of it” mentality. I, like you, have cried at all of the rationalizing that has been posted. Not to comfort others who have been wounded by this action, but to make themselves feel better for backing the wounders. To rationalize and justify.

  54. By denying children between the ages of 8 and 18 salvation through bapitizm, you are indeed punishing them for their parent’s supposed apostasy. If a child passes away at the age of 17, unbaptized, though perhaps they did wish to be baptized, what then? An 8 year old is old enough to be held responsible for his or her sins, but the Church has denied them the right to salvation and blame it on apostate parents.

    Its blackmail. Its blacklisting. Its religiously mandated discrimination. And your rationalization is absolutely in defiance of logic. And yes this will cost the church membership.

  55. These children will be able to commit any sins they want because they know that baptism erases all sin. They can sow their wild oats, lie, steal, swear, etc. Children who are baptized at eight have to confess to their bishops when they commit fornication. But if a child has not been baptized and commits fornication, he/she does not have to confess to his/her bishop because he/she has not committed any sin! So will these children still be required to “confess” to their bishops? They shouldn’t be. Children who were baptized at 8 and are struggling with sexual temptation will envy children who have not been baptized yet, since those children will be allowed to give in to sexual temptation and there will be no punishment whatever by the Church. If the Church tries to punish “sexual sin” among unbaptized children, this will be very hypocritical. Basically, children of gay parents will be given a free pass on everything, and adults will have their hands tied and will not be able to punish any kind of behavior, except the kind that is punished by the law of the land.

    • These children can’t commit sin if they want, that is incorrect. It isn’t the saving ordinance of baptism that cleanses a person of sin. These children can still learn and exercise the principles of faith in Christ and repentance. It is receipt of the Holy Ghost that washes and cleanses and sanctifies, not baptism itself, and this through the grace of Christ. Faith and repentance precede this, and these children will still have the light of Christ, their conscience to guide them. Baptism is an outward display of inner commitment and the entering into a covenent, but does not in and of itself cleanse.

      I am quite offended by the suggestion in other statements, that a child in this situation will have difficulty keeping their covenents. That somehow being a child in a household of a gay parents means that the children will be less able to follow Christ and become good Christians. This is also incorrect, and their is no doctrinal basis for this point. Only supposition based on prejudice.

      For example, to gay woman bringing up children, both woman living exemplary Christian lives, doing anything for anyone, keeping all the LDS standards other than being in a straight relationship, versus a straight couple, where the parents break the sabbath, drink alcohol, go to church occasionally, speak unkindly of others, never look to serve anyone other than themselves.

      As for this free pass thing. Doctrinally speaking, no one has a free pass. We have free agency, and in the circumstance where baptism is denied we are still expected to live according to the light we have received. The difficulty with this policy is in the situation where the gay parents teach the children the LDS doctrine, accepting that they themselves have decided they are not able to perfectly keep this one point, but still teach the children Christ according to the LDS faith, even disavowing the practice to the children, but these children are unable to live according to these teachings and be baptised until later. However, I will teach my children that they will not be held accountable with the inability to be baptised, but they will be accountable for all their actions otherwise.

      Oh, another point. Let’s dispel another myth. Years ago on my mission, another church declared that those of the LDS faith were of the devil and the missionaries should not be spoken to. We of the LDS faith need to be careful we dont fall into the same error. We need to be careful that we don’t demonfy those who decide for themselves under the dictates of their own conscience to live their life another way. Just because someone is gay, just because someone drinks alcohol, or doesn’t go to our church, these things do not make them a bad individual. I fully believe that when Jesus comes there will be many of these who will be found on the right hand of Christ. Why, because they fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick, and learned to be selfless and Christian.

    • My friend. I do not agree with what you said about children who were not born in the gospel would be free to sin and not have to confess. I assure you as a man who did not get baptized at 8 years old, (17 and actually a senior in High School) I was taught by the missionaries. I was taught about the doctrine of repentance. It was a very important part in me joining the church because their standard for baptism excelled anything I had ever witnessed previously and have since seen in another denomination. (I was a catholic) The missionaries taught with love, they testified of truth and they spoke by the power of the Holy Ghost and it touched my spirit.
      I then understood the message because it sunk deep into my soul. This made me realize that I had a Heavenly being who wanted me to change. It was possible to be forgiven for all my sins. Only if I put in the effort to show my willingness to follow the teachings of the Savior through repentance. I knew I had done wrong in the sight of God as they taught. The Holy Ghost has a way of prompting you to do things before baptism which is part of that process. So, you can be assured that those who have had a prodigal son’s past, if you will, had to confess to the Mission Presidents. They are set apart to help the work of the minister and have the keys to help those who have committed grievous sins. They are oversee that the converts are prepared to be baptized in the Church.
      They are then introduced to the bishop. It does not have to happen after baptism. You can meet the bishop before baptism. It is better to know who the Church leader is (in this case the Bishop) in your local area who will help you after baptism. Which is why the missionaries will introduce you to him. Once you are baptized, He will guide you through the process of repentance after baptism. It is simple and not complicated. Mission President Before baptism, Bishops after baptism. Why? Because once we are baptized and washed clean, we sin again, that mission president will get released from that calling at a future date and one will be appointed in his stead. So when he leaves after baptism, The Bishop is there to help. He will also be released from his ministry at a future time, but while he is called, He knows we make mistakes (hopefully not grievous mistakes or a repeat of major past sin) because you have put your hand to the ploy and you cannot look back. But if you do, you can correct yourself with the assistance of the Bishop.
      You will see the hand of God Guiding him as you go through that journey. Everything is confidential so it will be you and your Bishop. I can see you are not familiar with the way the church is able to give an individual every chance they need to repent and prepare for baptism. I am not mad at you. It is very difficult for converts who here this kind of thing and accept it because the road to baptism was not easy. It never is. Not for anyone. It was not for a person like me. It was not for each and every single person who made the decision to be baptized.
      There was opposition from the Devil. I promise you my friend that the Gospel is real. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ restored Church on the earth. There are Prophets and Apostles like it said there would be in the latter days. It also said Church members would fall away in the latter days but that the church would never again be removed from the earth. It is in the bible. Ask the missionaries they showed me. You too can know and if you knew that, how would you live your life? If you already know this truth, it can be confirmed to you over and over again by the Holy Ghost because it testifies of truth. I apologize for the long response. You may pick out all the grammatical errors, but English was the hardest language I had to learn to write and I still don’t understand all the rules. If you would like, I can explain to you in a private email how that all works. The reason i say that is because your comment and feelings are a little different than the rest and your concern does not apply to the whole group.

    • The literal existence of Adam and Eve is a well known tenet of this church’s faith. If you find it difficult to believe basic doctrines like that, you may find it difficult to accept the basic church doctrines behind this policy, like how living with a same sex spouse (not just being gay) is a sin, or the nature of agency.

  56. As a person who left the church a few years ago and avoided the impulse to spend my free time criticizing every statement that has come out of the church, I’ll admit that this has been interesting to observe from afar. I still have lots of Mormon friends and several LDS connections on Facebook and it seems like I can put my member friends into two groups. One group is rushing to find any semi-reasonable way to justify these new policies (and strangely try to reframe them as an act of kindness) and the other seems to be a large group of members that already have one foot out the door and are desperately trying to justify reasons to stay affiliated with a church that largely doesn’t represent their world view any longer. I feel badly for both. The LDS church has the right to create any rules it sees fit for membership into it’s organization. I would suggest that both groups stop justifying. Those who feel that the church is God’s vehicle for truth should stick around and continue to live according to whatever policies come out of Salt Lake as they’ve been taught since Primary. Those who feel like the church is off track should stop trying to manipulate an organization that really doesn’t want them and work towards finding a new community that does. I think it’s clear that the church has made the choice over the past decade that it would rather have a smaller membership of people who do whatever they’re told than a larger membership with too many free thinkers that occasionally stir things up.

  57. Reading all the responses here I am wondering one thing. What about the children that are born with both genitalia How are they handled within the church? Are their children forced to wait until they are 18 to “make the decision” !!! I don’t know. But it begs a question here. Why did God make this child or person? Does this person have to groom themselves to be male or female? And if so how is the determination made? What is the churches (LDS) stance on them? Who makes the decision for the child to which gender they are groomed to? What if that decision is found out to be incorrect.? What happens then? These children of God do exist. How is this different from being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transvestite? It has been proven that in these people they were born to feel a specific way. They were then taught to be a different person. Now you want to deny them the right to choose a church or religion? How is that nonjudgmental.?

    What I am trying to say is that God is not 100% perfect. He is 99% perfect. The 1% is everything that has gone wrong. One of those things is persons being born thinking one way and living another. A child being born a male and loving to play with dolls and comes out as gay. The same for a child being born female and loving all things manly. Our society has recognized this condition. We have not dealt with it correctly and its time we did. When Jesus died on the cross he died for ALL of us. Not for a select few but for everyone. He accepted that fact and took all of our sins with him, thus dying for all our sins. This is simply put and is the norm in every religion.

    Now some of you may say that I am wrong about God. But lets look at the facts. How or why does he allow children to be born Siamese. Why does he take a life before it is born. Why does he allow Terrorism to even exist. Why does he allow a child to be born with both genitalia. Why does he allow a child to be born male and think female. Why does he allow a female to be born to think male? You can say what you want about the reasoning why he allows these things to happen. But I know that he is not without his faults. It just so happens that he is so close to perfection we do not know how to recognize the 1% of him that is not.

    • Agency, if God were to step in and stop every terrible thing someone was going to do he would be taking away that persons agency.

      Everything goes back to our free agency… we do not know nor can we fully grasp the effects of all of our choices. It could be due to choices people made in the past or even the choices made by our parents or anscestors (dumping drugs/chemicals/radioactive materials illegally, not abiding by the word of wisdom, pollution, not living the law of chastity) we could spend years discussing it the point is…

      When we chose not to follow the guidance God has given us to protect us there are consequences. Its akin to a parent telling a child not to touch or play with fire. When your young you dont understand why, its only later on you obtain an understanding that it causes injury and pain. In Gods eyes we are all children we do not see what the effects will be.

      Using our agency now and choosing to do wrong could effect the lives of our children and our childrens children and on and on. However our view on the world and the effects our choices make on it is so narrow we fail to realize it…

  58. It is kind of amusing that the article accuses the Salt Lake Tribune of irresponsible reporting. Here is a quote directly from the article. Note that in the line categorizing the myth, the word “newborn” was used. Do you see anything about newborns in the quoted headline of the article?
    *******************************
    QUOTED FROM ARTICLE:

    “Myth #5 Places Newborn Children in State of Apostasy

    This is a sad myth to have to refute. Unfortunately, “The Salt Lake Tribune” in their irresponsible coverage of this topic repeated this myth in their headline of this story, “New Mormon Policy Makes Apostates of Children from Same-Sex Unions.”

  59. The biggest disappointment I have when I read Mormon blogs is the common lack of heart or compassion in the intellectual dissection of an issue or the emotional and moral outrage without critical thinking. There are usually two diabolically opposed sides: one side is legalistic and expounding of their position with many intellectual facts and evidences without emotional connection the other side is morally outraged and offended without looking at the whole picture. One side is all head and no heart the other side all heart without any understanding.

    It is hard to know why this particular decision was made but one thing is for sure, the message could have been delivered better. There are real people hurting and with the legal implications of the recent Supreme Court decision who knows how the children could be used to attack the temple ordinances. But no matter what, they are beautiful little people and many are hurting right now.

    To the intellectual Mormons…the author of this article included, would you be willing to stop defending so fast and have some compassion?

    To those who are morally offended and filled with outrage, would you be willing to think about this critically?

    There is a huge disconnect on both sides of this discussion. Jesus is the balm of Gilead, He has healing in His wings. He is the perfect balance of mind and heart. What would it be like if He were invited into the conversation?

  60. The fact that someone wrote anything about so called Myth 7 is akin to support for brainwashing. Is it saying that if you feel bad about something you are wrong…??? Shame on you. That line of thinking could justify anything like sexually assaulting children,violence in marriage…anything. That is singularly the worst argument I have ever heard to justify any position. Shame on you lds.net. Shame on you.

    • I’m sorry you responded so negatively to that point. Often on social media during particularly emotional arguments someone will present how they feel in order to end discussion. This approach often works because we can’t argue about what someone else feels. Because this approach is so effective in ending arguments, I think we mistakenly believe that this approach is effective in winning arguments. But how we feel about the policy has no impact on the morality of the policy. Someone could make an argument against sexually assaulting children, violence in marriage, etc. with logic and without having to rely on the emotion logical fallacy.

      People are of course entitled to their emotional responses, a point I tried to make clear in my revision of the section. But I don’t believe that encouraging people to rely on logic in their thinking instead is akin to brainwashing.

      • I don’t understand how you can argue that morality is grounded by logic, unless you’re Kant. It’s rooted in faith.

      • The emotional response to the policy is likely to be grounded in an individual’s own sense of morality- a morality that is no less rooted in logic than your own.

      • “I’m sorry you responded so negatively”…. I REALLY hope that wasn’t intended as an actual apology. “encouraging people to rely on logic” in this context is probably one of the funniest things I’ve read all weekend.

      • Let’s clarify, being homosexual or having same sex attraction isn’t a sin. Acting on these feelings is. However, unless you know someone with this affliction, or have an answer for what they are to do in life, please don’t judge them. Let’s reverse the situation. What would you do if you had same gender attraction? I don’t believe anyone can answer that honestly, because I know what you want to say, that you would have a straight marriage, but if you are straight and Gods law changed, (I know this is hypothetical, but go with me on this), the law changed to say gay marriages was in, and straight was sin, would you be able to do it? Would you be able to go against your nature and love someone of the same sex with all your heart, might, mind and strength according to the commandment. We are taught that in the garden of Eden Adam was given a conflicting commandment. Don’t partake of the fruit, but go and multiply and replenish the earth. Haven’t recently had need to seriously consider the plight of those with same gender attraction, I have considered that here is a group of people who have been given conflicting commandments. We are commanded to marry straight. We are commanded to love our spouse with all our heart, might, mind and strength. They deserve our utmost empathy and love, and understanding whatever they decide, and may God forgive us if we fail the test, and don’t live up to the Christian standard of love and compassion required.

    • By who’s standard? There is an unwritten, yet important caveat here: that it’s your belief that it’s a sin. That you walk away from the conversation after making such an ineffective statement, indicates just how narrow-minded you and your ilk are.

    • Biblical Abominations:
      Proverbs 28:9 ESV If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

      Proverbs 16:5 ESV Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

      Proverbs 11:20 ESV Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord, but those of blameless ways are his delight.

      Proverbs 20:10 ESV Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord.

      Proverbs 26:25 ESV When he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart;

    • *mic drops into the hands of someone who has actually done research on both sides rather than just stuck with the opinion their conservative and bigoted parents shoved down their throat as a child, for example; me*
      Wasn’t it Jesus who said “judge not lest ye be judged”? I’m not a member anymore, so I can judge you without worry or care for what Jesus thinks about it, but you on the other hand, you’re directly contradicting what he said? Isn’t what he said supposed to be the most important thing? Okay let’s do a little scripture study. How about we start on your side with exactly what Jesus said about homosexuality. (Flips through bible. Brow furrows. Flips through it again. Checks index. Bites tongue. Triple checks. Rereads new testament…) yeah as it turns out he actually never said a single thing about it… oh wait, this must be it! It’s that riches in heaven parable where it tells you not to horde your wealth and to give freely…oh wait… conservatism isn’t much fot giving freely huh…I’d say that one isn’t so important anymore, right? Right, okay. Oh! This is totally it, see there’s a naked man in it! Oh wait it’s that good Samaritan one…ya know the helping people in need? Ya know what, I bet this guy who was beat up wasn’t lazy like all those struggling people you see nowadays. Right? Of course right. How about, “feed my sheep”? Oh no wait that’s what their refusing to do isn’t it? Okay, definitely, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not-” …oh. Yeah Jesus isn’t giving you much ammunition here… (Flips through again) Hey, unforgiving servant is forgiven his debts but refuses to forgive his brother’s debts so he’s punished more, that’s a good one! Oh wait, we’re still looking for good ammo for you aren’t we? (Flips through again…)

  61. “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, Num. 38, pp.593-595)

  62. So, the finger-pointing starts in the title. “The nine facebook myths…” is a clickbait title. Without ever offering a fact (I agree with you about facts), they have already dismissed the discussion of others by labeling them as “facebook myths.”

    Then, early on, they say this:

    “The news, unsurprisingly, was first broken by John Dehlin who makes his living by antagonizing the Church.”

    Why does it matter who broke the story? The identity of a person who says something has zero bearing on the truth or falsehood of what they say. If a liar says that two plus two equals four, then two plus two still equals four. Vilifying John Dehlin is pure fingerpointing and the practice is so ancient the Romans had a word for it: argumentum ad hominem, or arguing about the person instead of discussing the matter at hand.

    Now ordinarily I never throw around latin terms for fallacies, even though the presence of a fallacy is a good sign you are being more manipulated than informed. The truth is it sounds too eggheaded and most people don’t wanna hear it.

    I did that on purpose, though, because they have committed two so far. Dismissing what other people say before presenting any facts is a tactic to “get the reader on your side” regardless of what the facts are, and that’s another fallacy.

    I am on about these because they then turn around at the end of their article and call out – by name, eggheadedness and all – supposed fallacies of others. They expect others not to commit errors in logic but their own writing is full of them.

    This article is badly written and ignores fundamental points of doctrine such as the “gift of the Holy Ghost.”

    Why do we have to shield children from the complexities of the issue if they can have the gift of the Holy Ghost? Do we not believe in that anymore? I was told when I was eight that I had reached the age of accountability and that the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit would guide me and save me from the evil I may see.

    So…what’s up with that?

    • You are of course right that who presented the information is irrelevant to the logic of the issue. No matter how the information first came out is irrelevant logically. It does appeal to Aristotelian rhetoric which is why I included it. It’s an effective approach, even if it’s not logical. Fortunately, I then included ten sections addressing the issue logically. Dismissing my argument because I included an irrelevant logical detail at the beginning is [Warning Eggheadedness coming up] an argumentum ad logicam, or an argument from fallacy. You’re arguing that because illogical details exist in my article that the logical parts of my article must also be wrong. This is itself a fallacy.

      Also your conclusion that my title is a logical fallacy because it succinctly summarizes my point seems to be a stretch.

  63. Thank you for actually doing your research and presenting this in a professional manner. Often I see many attacks from both sides done in an unprofessional and demeaning manner. Most times people see something and think that what they are seeing is everything on a subject. I’ve come to know that most misunderstandings of policy come from not understanding what is and isn’t doctrine, and what the doctrines and policies really are.

  64. The fist law of heaven is obidience. If we study the law of of obidience we find the flip side to the coin is blessings. Scripture clearly states that if someone is obidient to the commandments that they are entitled to the blessings. One of the blessings of obidience is the gift of the Holy Ghost which can only be obtained through baptism.

    So to deny someone who is perfectly worthy baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost is to deny them blessings that they are eligible for.

    This violates the law of obidience.

  65. I have been very conflicted with this new LDS policy. I have been reading up on reasons why the church would do this. I’m sorry, but the reasons DO NOT add up. If it’s truly to help lessen the conflicts the children are being taught, then they shouldn’t be allowed to come to church at all. If the child of SS parents is attending church, he/she is still being indoctrinated and will STILL BE CONFLICTED even if they aren’t baptized. Wouldn’t it be in the CHILD’s best interest to be baptized so he/she would have the Holy Spirit to guide him or her thru the most important developmental period of their lives???? Won’t 18 be too late? I know the church says it’s being thoughtful with the child/parent relationship, but AGAIN if the child is there learning, it’s inevitable. If the child wants to be baptized to have the gift of Holy Ghost and parents are consenting. WHY NOT??? The church has come out saying that the curse of Cain is not doctrine, and I was taught that it was. I’m sorry, but I truly feel down the road the church will say this wasn’t doctrine. Where in the scriptures does it say “let the little ones come unto me, EXCEPT for those whose parents are SS, polygamists, polyamorous, murderers, adulterers, etc????? And sorry, I no longer accept “there are some things we don’t know why, but we just have to believe because a prophet said so.” Apparently some of the things I taught on my mission were considered doctrine, and now they are just mistakes as prophets are also just human. DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. This is so frustrating!!!

    • when one is baptized they promise to uphold the things the church believes in. that is where the conflict comes in. and that is where the church is stepping up and saying we will not allow our church to be a catalyst in creating a conflict that could feasibly turn a child against their parents lifestyle. it is hurtful and unneccesary.
      this isn’t doctrine. this is a change to the leadership handbook. there are similar things in place for the children of polygamous and muslim families – where conflicting thought is in their homes as well. there are sepcial permissions that must be met to obtain baptism. and this is a church that accepts the idea of eternal progression. that means it must be 1. eternal and 2. progression. we are progressing as a church in our understanding of His principles and we don’t get it 100% yet (obviously or we would not be on this earth), so keep working towards expanded knowledge and love.
      doctrine is the word of God. talks and other publications may referrence and even contain doctrine without being doctrine. it is how we teach. but each teacher also colors doctrine with their own experiences and knowledge. sometimes they incorrectly present that as doctrine because that is what they unhderstand about it.
      the HG can be accessed before baptism as well. these kids are gonna be fine. and why not trust in God that HE can guide and protect His children?

      • I love the excuses.. We don’t care if they come to church and are taught that their parent’s relationship is wrong but once they’re baptized, well, that’s when conflict begins.. Ok… Sure… You go ahead and keep repeating telling yourself this.

        • Baptism is an actual, physical commitment that you will follow God’s commandments and Christ’s example. You become an official member and as such are held to the standards that other members are held at. It’s a covenant between you and God. On the other hand, anyone can come and attend a church congregation, no matter who they are, no matter what beliefs they have, as long as they are outwardly respectful of the Church and its members. You kind of ignored the entire comment and then replied to it…?

          • If you read phrog’s entire comment you will see that his first paragraph speaks about baptism. Now, I could care less if you like or appreciate my comment. But I’m not too sure why a person has to speak about every single thing a person wrote about in a reply. If I only want to comment on one single thing, I can do that. Just like, if you want to complain about what a person wrote about, you can do that.

    • 1 Nephi 2:16 You have the right to personal revelation. It is your birth rite. Seek His counsel with faith and He will manifest truth and peace unto you.

  66. I am a straight, active, temple worthy(through the grace of Christ) man. I am on the road to divorce, and this policy may have a direct impact on my children.

    I am grateful for this forum. It has given me a chance to reflect and wrestle with what this all means. I have felt the light of Christ speak peace to me on the matter. Churches need to make policies, because they cannot expect all local leaders to be converted and governed by the light of Christ, so as to do and say what he would do and say in every instance. My hope is that the policy will change to allow special circumstance for individual cases to be reviewed under the light and inspiration given to the first presidency.

    You see Mr Cunningham, the difficulty I had is that the reasons you and others have given to justify why this policy is good, does not apply to my situation. Perhaps this may help you understand, and others on here, why this policy may hurt someone, and why there is a need for those who don’t understand to pray for understanding, for those innocent ex spouses and children of ex marriage and others who may feel they are affected by this policy.

  67. Hello people… Read myth #1 paragraphs 3 & 4 …. Apart from clarifying the position that the church is not going to bend to be “politically correct” they are trying to ensure that they don’t end up in the courts being sued as so many people are today if they try to adhere to their religious convictions. Also the church is concerned for the children that they might suffer more. As regards being ostracized by others who notice they are not taking the sacrament, I know of no policy in the church that forbids anyone to partake of the sacrament if they desire. You don’t have to be baptized and I know of non-members who participate.

  68. Myth 1: These Changes Punish Children
    How many times in primary are children taught that at age 8 they will get the “gift” of the Holy Ghost to guide them and direct them through life. So if you withdraw that gift from a child because of a behavior of their parent, then I believe that is rightfully classified as a punishment. Every Sunday that punishment is reinforced through teachings on the blessings of church membership. Withholding something deemed valuable by a person because of their family situation is rightly viewed as punishment by the victim, regardless of whether that punishment is at some time in the future removed.
    I believe this policy does punish children.

    Myth 2: Treats LGBT People Worse Than Other Sinners
    The policy treats LGBT people worse than it treats those co-habitating in a heterosexual relationship. For the latter, there is no restriction on the children of such a couple. There are also no restrictions for children of drug addicts, rapists, murders, etc. For these reasons I believe the policy does treat LGBT people worse than other sinners.

    Myth 3: Violates the Church’s 2nd Article of Faith
    I get that the 2nd AoF is in reference to the Fall of Adam, even if it does not explicitly say so. However, the concept of punishment for someone else’s behavior still applies to this policy. Children are prohibited from ordinances because of the behavior of someone else. The fact that punishment may one day be lifted does not make it a punishment. I believe this policy does violate the “spirit” of the 2nd AoF.

    Myth 4: Requires Children to Reject Parents
    The policy states that upon the age of 18, children may receive previously withheld ordnances if “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.”

    What was left out of the article is second condition: “The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationshipor marriage.”

    So the child turned adult has to actually move out of their parent’s home in order to receive the ordnances and renounce their parent’s relationship. That sounds like rejection to me.

    Myth #5 Places Newborn Children in State of Apostasy
    This Myth is based on the Salt Lake Tribune headline “New Mormon Policy Makes Apostates of Children from Same-Sex Unions”. I agree that the new policy does not make apostates of these children. Ostracized from their fellow church classmates, yes. But apostates themselves they are not. They are however, the children of an apostate and consequently limited in their church membership. I do argue against the statement in the article that the LDS church is acting benevolently in its policy of not allowing children to be baptized without both parents permission.” Last I checked, Handbook 1 allows for baptism if the custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s) gives approval. Depending on the divorce agreement, it may therefore only be necessary for the one parent to give permission. So I’ll call the headline as busted, but the article gives inaccurate information regarding parental approval requirements.

    Myth #6 Church is Depriving Itself of LGBT Members
    The church will now excommunicate LGBT members who are in a same gender marriage or cohabitate. This means they push those people outside of the church or in other words, deprive the church of their membership. The reasons for that deprivation are irrelevant to the fact that they are deprived of their membership. I believe this policy will drive more LGBT people out of the church. Personally I believe the church is a toxic place anyway for the LGBT community and I hope they find peace elsewhere.

    Myth #7 This Hurts Me Personally
    This is just bizarre. The title of this paragraph implies that my feelings are a myth which is ridiculous. He attempts to clarify his viewpoint by expanding the myth as “The myth is that our personal emotional response should change Church policy.”
    Okay, so is it not reasonable to speak up when we feel a wrong has been committed? I personally don’t think the church will change their policy. But that doesn’t mean I won’t share my feelings regarding the issue. For me, this policy does hurt me personally although I have no illusions that the church will change it.

    Myth #8 The Church Lost and Should Move On
    I don’t believe the church will change significantly on it’s viewpoint toward homosexuality. The church’s plan of salvation does not allow for a loving and committed homosexual relationship at any point. I believe the church will deepen the trenches and therefore become ever more irrelevant to modern society which is becoming ever more accepting of homosexual relationships.

    Myth #9 These Changes are Eternal Doctrine
    I think the author hits the nail on the head when he states “same-sex couples frustrate that plan in a way that few other things can”. Homosexuality is in conflict with the plan of salvation as taught in the church. To think that a God would create a homosexual person and leave them on earth without the means to a healthy and loving relationship is hard to imagine. In my opinion, this is just one of the many flaws of that doctrine.

    In conclusion, I don’t agree with most of the author’s claims. While there has been an unfortunate headline (Salt Lake Tribune), I find the rest of the issues brought up by this article to be valid concerns. I hope that all members of the LDS church will stop to seriously consider the consequences of such policy changes by their leadership.

    • Kyle, I appreciate your logical response to this. So many people use emotional responses which are not helpful in having a discussion.

      As for what you wrote about Myth #1:

      “So if you withdraw that gift from a child because of a behavior of their parent, then I believe that is rightfully classified as a punishment. Every Sunday that punishment is reinforced through teachings on the blessings of church membership.”

      Kyle, this all comes down to choice. The parents have a choice to follow the commandments or not. If parents have chosen to disavow the church through openly living against church policy (same sex marriage, polygamy, hating the church and refusing to consent their child to be baptized), they are choosing to not be members of the church.

      So how does this relate to punishment? What is truly a punishment to a child is to live one way at home and then go to a church that teaches you to live a completely different way.

      Parents choose how to raise their children. If they choose to live one way, but teach them another way to live by sending them to church, that is their choice. But that would be very confusing to the child, and yes even a punishment.

      But is the church enacting that punishment? No. The parents are.

    • I copied your response to the article. It sums things up quite nicely in my opinion. You addressed things very well and I thank you for putting into words what I couldn’t.

    • Kyle thank you for the thoughtful feedback. I feel like I’ve addressed most of your points in other places, though I understand you still disagree. One point you bring up that I don’t feel like has been addressed is that this policy does constitute punishment because it withholds the gift of the Holy Ghost from ages 8-18.

      Like you, I believe the blessings from the Gift of the Holy Ghost are immense and I feel like they should be enjoyed by all people. I also believe children are entitled to a stable and peaceful home environment. I feel like I’ve outlined well that the church used this opportunity to take a contention away from the families of these children. This change may also help stabilize custodial arrangements for the majority of children this affects from divorced families.

      Balancing these two issues is surely very difficult, but these children are in very difficult circumstances. One could theoretically call either decision a punishment for the child since there will be some negative outcome. But I feel like the Church has chosen the path that will result in the least negative outcome while still maintaining that same-sex relationships are inappropriate. I feel like this is the least negative (and therefore not appropriately called a punishment) because these children will not be denied the Holy Ghost, they will eventually receive it, as soon as they can simultaneously have a stable family situation. Also, as these children live righteously they can also be influenced by the power of the Holy Ghost.

      I understand that’s not a perfect solution, but I feel it is a reasonable conclusion that it is the best solution in a bad situation.

      • To me it seems quite apparent that the church chose the worst possible solution. A devout believer would clearly have very negative feelings towards their same-sex parents if their marriage was what disallowed them to fully practice their belief.

    • Kyle, thank you so much for taking the time to write this well thought out and very logical response. Many members are struggling with this and are hurting because they either are LBGT+ themselves, or have family who are LGBT+, and this new policy now formally presents many questions and challenges with regard to their own good standing with the church.

      Others, like me, are affected indirectly as we watch and try to comfort those affected directly — the friend who says, do I ask my LGBT child to move out at 18 so that I am “not” supporting his “lifestyle” and thereby damaging my own good standing, or the good standing of our other children? The other gay friend who has 3 children with the heterosexual and now ex-husband she was counselled to marry by the church in order to “cure” her same-sex attraction, and who takes their children to church, the older two already baptised, the youngest (7) now denied the same ordinance and that really special big day that his sisters had. This poor child is also now caught in a new argument that never existed between his parents before, the fact that her “lifestyle” is preventing their son from baptism, new arguments over custody, new tension that did not exist in this blended family before.

      Singling out a child from its peers is indeed a punishment that can have long term deeply damaging effects. Shouldn’t we all be focused on these children and their mental and emotional well being and not what makes the adults more comfortable? The mental and emotional well being of these children is already under stress due to them even attending a church that makes such a point of condemning their parents. What is gained by slapping an even greater stigma on their foreheads?

      I am just so very very sad right now.

      • Totally agree. Also agree that gay parents will not want this extra stigma on their children. My wife, soon to be ex would do anything for her children, and really wants them to have the church in their life, and this policy is damaging her, not helping.

  69. To 1:
    The Parents reject the church because they ARE GAY. If the Child is straight it can be a member and also Promise not to go fo samesex marraige. The parents didn’t choose to leave the church they just can’t as they are gay. And the Children will be hurt as they will grow up and not join in Priesthood duties, Temple trips, Sacrament and many other Activities…. and all we can say is,… its because our parents are gay! How will a Kid feel about that? The Children are confronted with the Conflict by teaching not by ordinances.

    To 2:
    Gay marriage is categorised as Must receive disciplinary counsel, Murder, fronication and Rape asr only in may be necessary…. category. So we can fairly say that a gay marriage is more sinning than murder someone. Well its good i am far away. Also Apostasy is called only in 5 circumstances. One is Gay marriage and since the marriage is not the problem it must be the gay part! The marriage is still 1+1 but the gender is the problem.

    To 3:
    Children of gay Couples and Polygamist are required very special circumstances to enter church. They are withhold from the baptism and blessing because of gay parents. Nothing in the Child’s actions has provoked that sanctions. So YES it applies. In the Bible we have a further example with the disabled man that was born that way. Jesus was asked whether the man has sinned or the parents. Jesus then explains that the sin of parents will never affect children and that the disability has no sin reason.

    To 4:
    Well simply walk to your parents an tell them that you believe that their marriage is wrong and of the devil. Lets see what it does to you relationship to your parents. Of course most children of gay couples will have no problem in doing so as they are mostly straight and would not enter gay marriage anyway. But to disavow the marriage of their parents will affect the relationship. Again just try to tell your parents that you still respect them but you believe that they are not married and that you are no child of them!

    Hate the sin but not the sinner does not work here. The marriage is in itself is correct its just the orientation that the church does not accept. So the church is not against the marriage of the couple but them being gay. In the Church’s view a gay person only can live a single life. All other options are just lies in one or an other way.

    To 6:
    Well here you are right mostly. Children are not Apostates but they are punished for their parents. Why do their baptism, mission,… have to be aproofed of by the First presidency? Why do he have to move out his parents… sorry people how just happend to raise him home? No no other Child of sinning parents is asked such thing (only polygamist too)

    To 7:
    Well the Church do not need to change but people will leave church and in the end the church tells clearly that their is no Room nor love for gay people and their families. My family is torn by this some do leave the church in the upcoming weeks some are prochurch and want to stay so how lovely will this family reunions will be? Befor this Bishops and other leader could act on their good and (hopefully) inspired judging. So done in my ward, now they are forced to exclude members and create a feeling of “not welcome” in the church for all those families, by stripping them of privileges and cancel baptisms that already have been planed. Telling children they have to wait,…. and if they ask why they need to wait, while all their friends receive baptism, all we can say its because of your gay “parents”.

    To 8:
    Here is a very big Blunder of yours. Here in Europe we differ between state and church! Church marriage is performed in the temple and with authority of priesthood. Governmental Marriage is performed by state officials with governmental authority. In many countries you have to perform first the governmental marriage and than can go to any church you like and get a church marriage. To God the governmental marriage doesn’t mean a thing and to government the church marriage doesn’t mean a thing. In some countries like the US government grants authority to church leaders so they hold both authorities, nevertheless it is still to acts!
    According to the church there is no such thing as a gay marriage. it simply doesn’t exist, as no gay wedding is performed with priesthood authority. So why even mentioning it in its handbooks? To the Church there is no such thing and therefore no difference whether a gay couple is ” married” or just living together or changing partners every day. To the church that is all the same wrong. So doctrinally there is no gay marriage so why even mentioning it? In my opinion there is no base in Doctrine to different between this cases. US simple has the Problem that it mix up this two things.

    To 9:
    Yes it is only Policy, but Policy will also be present teaching and doctrine. Because all Policies must root in some Doctrinal fact or are otherwise not to be understandable to others. How can you keep a good stand without knowing how to do so? And you only learn doctrine and not policies.

    Clouser. It all comes to this: Gay people and their families are not welcome in church anymore. If you still want to be in church you can’t associate with gay people or risk losing your temple recommendation. Because you can be called Associated to Apostasy if you stay in sympathetic contact. What for example if your family joins in a gay wedding of their son? It is about stripping the church from gay people and it is the right of the Church to do so, but please do it openly, don’t pretend to be loving and except that people are having difficulties seeing this as Christlike Acting, as our Lord himself acted so differently.

    • I am just flabbergasted at the shallow roots of so many (what I assume to be) members. So many of you would’ve thrown Paul to the Lions, driven the nails in the hands of the Savior, and happily sat back with Laman and Lemuel complaining about your upstart little brother and his desire to “rule” over you.

      The majority of comments are nothing more than emotional reaction and hyperbole. Period. Most appalling though is the sad caricature of Jesus as someone who loved everyone and let everyone be and just didn’t care about people’s actions or hearts because He just “loves everyone.” What Bible are you reading?

      Sin is real. The Savior cleansed the temple 2x by throwing out the money changers. He told the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more.” He didn’t say “I love you. All is well.” Any other description of the Lord’s ministry is pure falsehood.

      It seems to me that what the doubters are looking for is a church that refuses to draw a line in the sand and call good, good and evil, evil. There are plenty that will accommodate your preference. Everyone has to make their decision. If your roots are so shallow as to fall for the duplicity that is being spread on this issue then I truly feel sorry for you because your testimony is incomplete w/o sustaining the brethren.

      • Jack, you obviously don’t get it. Martin is not saying that gay marriage should be accepted in the LDS faith. However, there are those who are active in the LDS faith who may have family members who are not of our faith, or have left our faith, and have now decided to live in a gay relationship. Martin is highlighting very real consequences this policy may have on the active members in this situation.
        Jesus did love everyone, but he also respects our agency. He often dinned with the sinners and publicans, and exhorted them to repentance, he taught them the truths of the kingdom, but continued to love them in their imperfections and the misuse of their agency.
        Having been married to someone who has now recently come out as being gay, I can say two things about my journey. First, I have been filled with the love of Christ for her, and the difficult hand in life she has been given, and second I have felt Christ sustain me as, through circumstances out of my control, I am heading for divorce.
        I would respectively suggest that those who don’t know someone who is gay, or who don’t understand what challenge it is to have same sex attraction, won’t get it. Also, I would request that those who are struggling to understand why this policy is a challenge for a fully active, faithful LDS, that you pray for charity, that you may not be easily provoked by our struggle and that you may be kind with those who are struggling, as defined in Moroni 7:45.

      • I’m interested in the Bible that you’re reading. It sounds a lot more like the Old Testament than the New Testament to me. I find it very interesting that you group the woman taken in adultery together with Christ’s treatment of the money changers. If you look at the words that he actually says and the actions that he takes, you will find a very clear difference. Christ’s contempt, condemnation, and wrath is spared for the corrupt leaders of the church, the accusers, and those who made a profit from the temple. Even with the money changers, he cleared them out with a whip, but he didn’t follow them home and beat the crap out of their kids. I’m not saying that he permitted or encouraged sin, but he dined with the publican, and had compassion on the woman at whom, by his own words, he alone could have cast the first stone. He healed those who were cast out, and urged us all to reach out to everyone as our neighbor, even our supposed enemies. You seem to have a very different picture of Jesus. He did love everyone, or at least that’s what I was taught in Primary as the son of heterosexual, caucasian parents.

        What he had to say on the topic of the children is in sharp contrast to what I am hearing from the church leadership: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” This policy sets up every other child in primary and the young women’s/young men’s programs to be one of those who offends an innocent. It is beyond me how it is somehow not harmful to a child to put a big scarlet letter on him for no act committed on his own part, when he would otherwise be the same, thereby separating him and setting him apart from his peers AND FROM GOD by denying ordinances. Did you attend church as a black man, woman or child before 1978, or have you been excommunicated or disfellowshipped? Then you cannot possibly understand what it would be like to be welcome to attend, but not to partake. Baptism was not withheld from Black members, but every other saving ordinance was, and through no fault of their own.

        It’s been fun to read some of the other the posts here discounting the importance of the ordinances themselves, as some sort of justification for their denial. Do children really need to be baptized at the age of accountability or not? Is the gift of the Holy Ghost really any better than the occasional prompting? Did any of you actually attend any Sunday School or Seminary lessons before saying that it doesn’t matter, or making up some “God will provide” explanation? The real question is whether the sins of the children who are denied baptism will be on the heads of those whose policy prevents them from being baptized, though they are worthy and willing, or whether God has some other magical place for those sins to go.

        To put the burden of this pain on a “parent’s choice” is a complete cop-out. Last week there was a group of kids for which there was no such problem here. Now there is a problem, and nothing about the situation changed between then and now except for a policy in a secret handbook which, because it is secret and not accepted by the voice of the membership, is not even church doctrine “For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.” The policy even contradicts doctrine on a number of points. Logic points pretty clearly at the policy as the root of the new problems. We could play the Sesame Street game of “One of these things is not like the other” all day long, and name all of the inconsistencies and differences in the treatment of these kids as contrasted with children of cohabiting heterosexuals, drug addicts, domestic abusers, non-believers, believers of other faiths, and the list goes on. All of the arguments which rest on the prioritization of family over church fall apart because they could equally apply to any of these situations, but they are not being applied in this way.

        Drawing a line in the sand is something that you do when you are picking a fight. Here’s the important bit: that line could have stopped with the church’s declaration that same-sex marriage is an offense which warrants a mandatory disciplinary council. That seems to be what you are pushing: Don’t allow sin. Fine. But it didn’t stop there. The church dragged the kids out to the sandbox as well. This move is, by any objective assessment, totally unnecessary unless you ascribe the worst possible motives to the leadership. It’s the kind of thing you would expect from a drug dealer or a terrorist, not from the kingdom of heaven on earth.

        I invite you to name one other sin (other than polygamy, which is a technically still a commandment, lived by Elder Oaks and every other man currently sealed to more than one woman) where the sinner is compelled to obey or risk church discipline ON HIS OFFSPRING. Even accepting that the act in question is sin, is it righteous to compel compliance in this way, threatening the salvation of innocent children, and potentially breaking up families?

        What I’m flabbergasted at is people with roots so deep that they can’t turn their heads to see around them what pain is being caused here, unnecessarily, by the change of a few words in a book that few will ever see. I suspect that one of the motives was to separate these “counterfeit” families out, to have them “self-deport” (in the words of a famous member) so that fewer mainstream members will ever know them and begin to feel any compassion or empathy for them. As long as the church can maintain these families as the “them”, it can protect the “us” from thinking too hard about the issue.

  70. As an inactive, you may say, ex-member, I found this quote by the author to be an oxymoron when dealing with Myth #7:

    ” a learned response from mimicking the rhetorical style of those who’ve had so much political success on this issue.”

    Is this not the same thing as a child getting up to “bear their testimony that they know the church is true”?
    While it is cute and Matt and Molly McMormon can beam with pride from the pew they are sitting in, is it not the same rhetoric? A 4 year old child does not know that the church is true, Mommy and Daddy believe that it is true and therefore little Maddy McMormon says that it is. I believe in FREE choice. My children are free to choose what religion they chose. I will support my children, even though I may not believe what they believe.
    As for bunking Myth #1: If you think that parents and children alike will not pick up on Gabby McGay’s lack of being able to take sacrament and make the child an outcast, you walk through the world with blinders on. I know that it happens in every religion, but I have never experienced the cold condescension of being an outcast, as I did when I attended the LDS church. (Hence ex-member.)

    • The goal was to become Christlike which the Church allows you or I or anyone to facilitate by our membership in it. Many, as you saw first-hand, fail at this.

      However, it also included you (ex member). Central to the entire pile of doctrines of Christ is the doctrine to forgive your enemies. It is paramount to the entire quest to be be changed from a carnal being into a spiritual or Christlike being.

      Seems that you as an Ex Member missed that. You obviously hate the Church and anyone who defends it, but why? There’s so much toxic crap that gets dredged up inside of us when we won’t let go of hurts and continually re-hash them.

      But, it doesn’t take the LDS Church to know this is true. Even New Age philosophies and modern-day psychology advocate moving on and taking full responsibility for our circumstances.

      Move on with your life. Let go. You have permission to do so. Otherwise your toxic feelings hurt you more than they hurt the people you seek to malign–and right now that is less about Mormon doctrine than about the doctrine of a good life available to anyone who wants one.

  71. If you really mean that than may God have mercy on YOU. We Mormons follow God’s laws and respect the worldly ones. God forbade same-sex relationships. How is it that you say we hate gay people while we are following the commandment?

    • Mormons follow the commandments? Please tell me this is a joke. “We Mormons follow Gods laws and respect the worldly ones.” That is some sanctimonious crap if I ever heard any. Bibles were interpreted according to the rules that a kind placed on them. So who is to say what God’s wishes are? Now, the LDS church can practice what ever they wish but no one knows what Gods wishes are. Not one living soul.

      • Tina, the LDS Church as far as I know is the only Church (I am not including cults) that is founded on revelation. Yes, we do know what Gods wishes are or can find out. All of us are entitled to personal revelation. Whether or not we follow the prophets is up to us and so are the consequences.

        • LDS members really need to study religion… In general. Not to see if other religions are true vs the LDS church, but so they sound educated in their responses. Several religions have been found through revelations. Even Buddhism was even found through revelation/trance..

          • I agree that a lot of studying needs to be done in many places, but please refrain from applying that to all ‘LDS members.’

          • Fairly certain that I did not say “all LDS members”. If you read this and felt it applied to you, well, I can’t control that.
            And really, “please refrain” from telling people how they should comment on a blog.

  72. Comment: The children will be hurted, thats true. BUT also they would be told exactly why and if they choose to disown the church then thats that, afterall one thing gives us(LDS) peace and thats AGENCY. All members, investigators, past-members know that Agency exist SO if the gay parents allowed the kid to be baptised than it should happen. AND also if the kid wants to be baptised but the parents refuse than the church CANNOT baptise that child. BOTTOM LINE IF YOU BELIEVE I. JESUS CHRIST YOU WILL FOLLOW HIM NOMATTER THE CONDITIONS YOU LIVE IN OR GROW UP IN. Thats for all those kids who live with non-members. Amen.

  73. Wow, I hope they “disavow” this policy asap, otherwise there may need to be a new version of the LDS Scriptures that says: “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not — unless they are related to our gay brothers and sisters.”

    • The same book also says “Honor thy mother and thy father.” I guess that commandment doesn’t apply with gay families too.

    • You are taking this out of context. The church has this same policy concerning polygamists, and children of parents that don’t want their children to be a part of the church. If a parent does not want their child to be baptized, they have to wait until they are 18.

      So… really to answer your question, this scripture is not addressing the church but parents. It’s asking parents to change their lives. Follow the commandments of God. Teach their children to follow the commandments of God. Bring their children to Christ.

      Who is forbidding who? Parents are forbidding their children. Everyone has a choice. Unfortunately, until a child is 18, that choice is given to their parents to make for them.

      • Even an adult child that is still living at home has to move out and disavow homosexual relationship. So flip this around-your 18 yr old child that is still living at home comes to you and tells you that they have decided to join this church but this church believes that your relationship with your husband is a sin. Since it’s a sin Child must move out and adhere to the church standards.. What? You have to move out? What church tells you that you have to move out in order to be baptized? Well, this church thinks that your heterosexual relationship is a sin. So, I have to move out and disavow our relationship(and candy, ice cream, soda pop, everything at Fizz) Kind of crazy, but I’ve decided to chose this church over you.. Peace out parents.. But somehow it’s the parent’s fault because they were, unfortunately born, you guessed it, heterosexual. Darn it..

  74. I had a shower thought: the church is treating the children of gays and lesbians worse than it treated black people prior to 1978. At least black people could get baptized. This isn’t allowed for the children of gays and lesbians in legal same-sex marriages!

  75. I just want to make a comment about the comments about the child being forced to disavow their parents if they want to be baptized at 18. My granddaughter has a Catholic father and a Mormon mother. She was allowed to take part in all activities of the church when she chose to do so, but was not allowed to be baptized until she was 18 years old and could make her own decision. I think this is exactly what the Church is saying about Gay couples. Since they do not believe in the Mormon faith, and obviously do not agree with nor follow the Prophet, they are apostates if they ever were members at all. According to the Church the child must follow the wishes of the parents until they are of age to make their own decisions. The LDS Church treats gays exactly as they would any non member family, they simply respect the wishes of the parents over the possible wishes of the underage child. It is a matter of respect. My Catholic son-in-law does not feel the Church disrespected him in any way and appreciates the fact that he had 18 years to teach her Catholicism, and she chose to follow the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have six mixed marriage or relationship children and they are all respected by the Church and their children have all made the choice to join or not to join when they were of age. It does not matter if you are same sex or opposite sex living together without marriage. It is always and always has been that the children must decide at age 18 for themselves.

    • My mom had to wait until she was 18 as well, for the exact reasons that you stated. It was out of respect for her parents. Even if the parents are “okay” with it, it will still put the child at odds with the parents. We’re worried about contention within the church because of this decision, but no one seems worried about contention within the child’s home.

      The church just does not want to be putting children in a position where they are constantly having to make that choice.

        • Her mom kicked her out. The church did not say that in order for her to be baptized she must leave her home. Huge difference. Which you probably don’t see or will try to justify.

    • It has not always been that the children must decide at age 18 for themselves. I have friends who joined the church as minors. My daughter, at age 8, had the missionary lessons, and the missionaries asked her if she wanted to be baptized. This, in spite of the fact that her father and I are unmarried, and that her father was living on another continent at the time. My daughter, even at that age, had the presence of mind to tell the missionaries that that was a big decision, and that she would never get baptized without her father being there. At 8, she was able to recognize some gaping holes in logic, or fallacious arguments of persuasion.

      So, I’m wondering if the children of parents (other than LGBT couples) “living in sin” such as my partner and myself, would be allowed to be blessed and baptized.

    • What in the world are you talking about? Minors (under 18) have always been able to join/be baptized into the LDS church if they have written permission from both parents. That is how I joined the church, having been raised Catholic. But now that policy is changed in that even if both parents/guardians want to give permission, the minor child still can’t get baptized (or even blessed?!) if the parents/guardians are LGBT. My parents weren’t LDS and didn’t agree with everything the church teaches/believes, but they could give me permission to join the church, if that was my decision/desire, before I was 18. So, obviously, the only difference in the situations is that the 8- to 17-year-old child that can get permission from their non-LDS parents to be baptized and join the church are those whose parents are not LGBT. “Respect”? Hogwash.

    • Betty J you say that Gay and Lesbians do not believe the church/gospel. I beg to differ, one’s sexual orientation does not instinctively null and void ones possible religious beliefs. If what you say is true, then why are their congregations all around the world with Members on Record and in Spirit aka Gay and Lesbian? If you are Facebook, look up Mitch Mayne, an Openly Gay man, living in San Francisco who actually holds a position in his Ward/Stake. As one who was raised in convert, part member family, where my father was not a member, a man who liked a can of beer from time to time and a cigarette, a man who encouraged me to attend BYU, who was not opposed my serving a mission, (so long as it was in the United States). I did not join the Church until i was 12 years of age, mostly because I wanted to be “Included”. If i had not joined the Church, I would most likely have not been included in activities, events, etc, partially because I was not a member and also because my father was not a member. I see young men, who are excluded from the Right of Baptism to be put in the position of Second Class Citizen,,,,,,Betty, what if the child is supported by its parents in participating in the Church, wants to be baptized before the age of 18, why should a male be denied the right to be a Deacon, pass the Sacrament, etc? I was raised in a home with a mother who joined the Church when I was 5, I was not ready to be baptized at 8, (I knew i was different, special in a way you will probably never understand) and joined at the age of 12, with my non-member father’s consent. Did I have a strong testimony then,,, not really BUT over the years, after attending BYU, after serving a Mission that I am proud of, I did obtain one, through prayer, faith, education and the example of others.

  76. Your thoughts are very good and it was easy reading. I look at things like this from another side- I try to look at this as if I was not LDS and what I would think about the policy. Does it make it easier for missionaries to meet and baptize folks- or does it increase the dislike about the church. In a poll a few years back the most hated religion in the United States is the muslims followed by the Mormons. Does this increase that hatred? 1. A boy in this situation will not have a name or blessing. 2.
    This boy will not be baptized and will therefore not be taking the sacrament. 3. When this boy becomes twelve years old he will not have the priesthood. 4. If he attends a Deacon’s quorum he will be a complete outsider because he can’t pass the sacrament- increasing the chance of being made fun of. I put great importance in my life in taking the sacrament- It is the most important thing i will do this Sunday. AND I don’t understand by keeping the sacrament and Priesthood from these children how it will be a benefit. A gay couple has a 7 year old girl- the grandparents want this girl to experience the church every Sunday so they pick her up and take her to church and witness the girl being baptized – WITH the gay couples blessing. BY keeping even ONE little child from receiving the full blessings of the Church with full fellowship seems odd to me. Jay Nielsen Sandy, Utah I love this church with all my heart- and this policy will not effect me- BUT I just don’t get it ???????????

    • THANK YOU!!! That is our point EXACTLY as ex-LDS members of the LGBT community!! THIS policy drives a wedge between us and our families still practicing the LDS faith. My parents, now, will NEVER be allowed to take MY child (should I choose to have any) and fully participate WITH THEM (with my blessing) in ANY church activites. VERY sad day for the LDS faith!!

  77. I recall Gordon B. Hinkley stating in general conference towards an individuals or groups actions “If it requires justification, you probably shouldn’t do it.” All I read in this article is justification, not clarification.

  78. Here are a couple of questions for Mr Cunningham. I have read with interest a number of articles where the policy is being celebrated and justified. I would ask whether you have an answer to the following:
    What is the churches advice to those who suffer with same gender attraction, concerning straight marriage?
    It is accepted that many with same gender attraction are ashamed of this, as it isn’t the norm, and many marry without disclosing this, and feel that they are living a lie. What is the churches advice to a spouse that finds themselves many years into marriage, married to someone with same gender attraction?

  79. Can I have a reference, or is it just an opinion?
    Let’s dispel a few myths about being gay.
    Being gay is not a choice. To live the lifestyle is.
    Just because two parents are in a gay relationship, this does not mean that the children will grow up gay.
    Being a child to two gay parents is not the ideal, however, being a child in this situation, without the gospel blessings is less than ideal.
    Just because a Mormon gay has decided that they can’t reach the expectation of living in an unnatural relationship anymore, (straight marriage), this does not mean that they won’t yearn for the blessings of the gospel to be given to their straight children.
    The doctrine and covenents states that with every law kept there is a blessing, can you please refer to which celestial law is being kept by the child, which is bringing this blessing?

    • The question at the end of this reply was for Bruce who stated that the policy is a blessing for the children.

    • What?
      “Being a child to two gay parents is not the ideal, however, being a child in this situation, without the gospel blessings is less than ideal.”

      What an offensive sentence.. Children with gay parents are happy. Children with heterosexual parents are happy. Children with gay parents are unhappy. Children with heterosexual parents are unhappy. “being a child in this situation, without the gospel blessings, is less than ideal.” Wow. No. No. Unless if a child happens to have a parent that was raised LDS- no one wants their kid raised in a religion that has such a lack of tolerance.

      • Hi Tina, thank you for clarifying my statement. If you look at all my posts, then you will see the context you have added is correct. ‘Unless a child happens to have a parent that was raised LDS.’ And yes, I see the lack of Christian tolerance among the members being an issue for these children, and it being more of an issue for not being allowed to fully participate, as you can see I have made reference to Pres Hincklys acknowledgement of the prevelance of the sin of self righteousness from members to non members in Utah, and in effect the bullying that goes on. You can also see from the posts that I have made that this is a personal issue for me, as it will be having a direct impact on my children, and my soon to be ex wife is mortified by what is happening, as she was set to be completely supportive of their continued attendance and participation at church.

        • Hi LDS Man! I made this reply when I first read this blog and was reading posts. After reading them until late in the night and reading personal stories I’m sure my reply would have not been of shock and horror knowing that this does affect you personally. If I could edit this, I would.. I’m sorry for the knee jerk reaction.

          • No problem Tina. I can see how many of my brief posts can be taken out of context, without looking at the whole. I can also understand why LDS who don’t have gay family or know anyone who is gay just don’t get it. A year ago I wouldn’t have got it, it’s only my experience recently that has enabled me to have compassion and empathy, and opened my eyes to what it means to be gay.

  80. That disconnects the action from the very real consequence. It does withhold ordinance from children. Which does have the very real effect that they are and will be treated differently, and aren’t allowed to have the gift of the holy ghost till later. That sounds rather punishment like.

    You can’t assume a kid being raised by gay people is an automatic sinner, or that they don’t think for themselves.

    This is just apologetics. Trying to rationalize the changes as something less than entirely punitive to children. MANY kids are kids of sinning member parents. Many kids learn very bad things from even active parents! Do we now just raise the age of accountability to 18 for ALL kids? Or is it just THAT sins of the parents that warrants special treatment.

    THINK for a second, how many kids past 8 will even be able to relate to lessons on sacrament being a renewal of your covenants? Not to mention removing accountability for all their own choices for another full decade! How long past 8 till a kid realizes taking the sacrament for them is meaningless, because it renews nothing for them. How long till they realize Jesus must not love them as much, and that the atonement doesn’t include them. How many you male children will get to priesthood age, but not qualify to learn or prepare? It isn’t something you just study allot for, it is something you experience from having it. This is an experience they will be robbed of.

    Seriously, article is just propaganda trying to explain away a very real and long list of negative consequences this has, punitive consequence that does hold accountable in mortality children, for what their parents do.

  81. For those who think that many will leave the Church over this, the bottom line is either you believe the Church is true and that it is directed by God & Jesus Christ, or you do not. If you do not believe these things are inspired by God, why would you want to stay in a church you do not believe in?

    • You hit the nail on the head! No one is forcing anyone to stay in the church. If people want to misunderstand this, or choose to be offended, then why stay around griping about it? Just go! If you don’t believe the prophet is guided by God, you will sooner or later find another excuse if not this one. God will always provide stumbling blocks for those who don’t want to be in the church, as excuses for them to leave. He will force no man to heaven.

      To all those hanging around in the comment sections of church articles, wringing their hands and whining about this policy or that – why not just go start your own church? You can have all the inconsistency and immorality you want, and everyone will be happy. Just don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

  82. Absolutely stunned and disgusted by this policy. One of my family members was protected by the church and returned from his mission before he could be prosecuted for child molestation. He held many position within the church for numerous years while molesting his daughter, me and my sister. He was finally caught in his own church molesting a 5 year old girl and this time the church couldn’t protect him. This molester, known to the church was the person who performed my baptism when i was eight years old. But yes, lets make sure that children who have gay parents are excluded from the church and singled out and stigmatized because the church things their parents are sinners.

    • I am so sorry that happened to you, happens all the time in the church, my mother used to be a psychologist and bishops wanted to send victims to her without reporting the crime rather saying they weren’t sure it happened- constant denial

    • You are obviously insinuating that it was the church’s fault that you were molested by this man. Interesting logic. How many times did you call the police? If my house is on fire, or I am being robbed, do I call the bishop, and then blame him if I am injured? Um, I call the cops dude. Dialing 911 is much easier than looking up the bishop’s phone number. But it makes for a great story and a great way to blame a church that, I hope from your attitude, you left many years ago. (by the way, why are you still hovering around comment sections of church articles if you have been gone so long? can’t leave it alone?)

      I attended a public high school where it was common knowledge that our history teacher was having sex with and molesting his young female students. This went on for years. He later became principal of the school (?!), and only after 20 years was “caught”. He served no jail time, but was merely fired. So, because of this, do I spend the rest of my life going around tearing down public education and telling people school is bad because of a person’s bad actions? Do I really think that public education promotes child molestation? Do you really think the church, who in every training meeting for leaders teaches against child molestation, actually promotes it?

      • You need to go study victims and molesting.. Especially when it’s done by a family member. It amazes me how incredibly uneducated people are with sex crimes.

  83. I found this to be an interesting and well-written article. I am a former member of the Church who was excommunicated and have chosen not to return.

    The only issue I have with this policy change is requiring children to wait until they are adults to be baptized. I was raised with the understanding that accepting Jesus as my Saviour and being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost was the key to being able to enter the kingdom of God and have eternal life.

    if you visit this link: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2000/10/the-covenant-of-baptism-to-be-in-the-kingdom-and-of-the-kingdom?lang=eng

    You will read:
    Born of a mortal mother, Jesus was baptized to fulfill His Father’s commandment that sons and daughters of God should be baptized. He set the example for all of us to humble ourselves before our Heavenly Father. We are all welcome to come into the waters of baptism. He was baptized to witness to His Father that He would be obedient in keeping His commandments. He was baptized to show us that we should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (see 2 Ne. 31:4–9).

    As we follow the example of Jesus, we, too, demonstrate that we will repent and be obedient in keeping the commandments of our Father in Heaven. We humble ourselves with a broken heart and a contrite spirit as we recognize our sins and seek forgiveness of our trespasses (see 3 Ne. 9:20). We covenant that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ and always remember Him.

    “For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

    “And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life” (2 Ne. 31:17–18).

    So the problem of simply waiting is not so simple. By denying a person baptism, who is old enough (according to Church doctrine) to be accountable for themselves, the Church is also denying the right to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, the right to partake of the Sacrament, and the key to the kingdom of God. This is a very heavy penalty to place on someone who has no control over who their parent marries, or with whom they live.

    What if a person is baptized into the Church, then their parents divorce and the custodial parent enters into a same-sex marriage? Does that child’s baptism get revoked?

    This policy (denying baptism for children in same-sex families) complicates other Church doctrine way more than it could be perceived as “custodial interference”.

    In your article you state: “The most pervasive myth you’ll hear about these changes is that they punish children. All people can receive all the ordinances of salvation and exaltation. ” The Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon make it very clear that only through repentance, forgiveness and baptism, can a person receive salvation. I don’t think a policy change is going to override the authority of God.

    Even though I am not a member, I still love the Church. However, I strongly believe that denying any child over the age of 8, that understands the covenant and has the permission of their legal guardian(s), should not be denied that right.

  84. Thank you for your careful analysis. As the separated wife of the father of 4 non-member adult children, one of which now says he is gay, I just have a couple of hypothetical questions: #1). Suppose a person was baptized as a child, but is now living in a stable home with a same-sex couple. What is that child’s status within the church now? #2). What rights do the faithful grandma have? If she has legal custody, can the child be baptized?

    • I don’t have the answers for specific applications of the policy. These changes have been distributed to Bishops and Branch Presidents, they have the information and ecclesiastical authority to answer a question of this nature.

      • Why not: Policy 1: LDS members entering a marriage other than 1 man and 1 woman, will constitute apostasy. Policy 2: The LDS church does not baptize under-aged children (according to the country laws in which the child lives) whose parents are not LDS baptized following all LDS policies. This would include a variety of marital situations including poly, concubines, harems , under-age, etc.

  85. When people commit sin, it does affect and unjustly affect those around them. God doesn’t punish the innocent, but he lets them be hurt by others so as to not take away their agency. The Church is trying to provide legal and social protection for kids whose parent(s) have sinned. It is the parents who openly oppose Church doctrine who are taking away blessings, only on this earth, from their children.

  86. Oh MY, all these poor little people being upset by these additions to The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints doctrinal policies, which by the way, require amendments as time progresses. These amendments are carried out by the First Presidency after they receive the necessary promptings from the Holy Ghost.

    The LORD directs His church not the First Presidency.

    So, too everyone up in arms, deal with your little “hissy fits” in the quiet of your home and leave the LORD’s church alone.

    • Similar to African Americans not being able to hold the priesthood from 1852ish to 1978. I’m sure you know that the church was around before then- because JSmith didn’t care if they held the priesthood.. But he was killed. And that racist Brigham Young, well, conveniently god “spoke” directly to him and told him to take the priesthood away! for years to come.. And years.. and years.. Not one church leader had any revelation that AA should be able to hold the priesthood before ’78? Seems kind of odd.. Doesn’t sound very Christlike. I would think that Christ wouldn’t care about the color of ones skin.. Pretty sure it wasn’t divinely inspired to take the priesthood away from them or keep it from them or years and years..

      But, it’s probably a good thing the internet wasn’t around then, so all the hissy fits
      would be in the privacy of ones home..

    • May I say that this is exactly one of the reasons this whole thing bothers me, that the MEMBERS of the Church are rude and critical, saying cruel and unfeeling things to others who may have questions, misgivings or even misunderstandings of this new information…. We ALL have the God given right to ask questions, to wonder allowed ad to find the answers and our own understandings in our own time and in our own way, and as a member you should know that!!

      I am alarmed at some of what I have read here by so-called faithful LDS members towards others who may question! Yes this is the Lord’s Church but I know for a fact that he would treat everyone of the people who have written something here with LOVE and COMPASSION!! He would NEVER approve of the hatred that I seeing being bred here by the members of HIS church!!! Show some compassion people, allow others their feelings, give them room to learn what they will, and how they will, some will pray diligently others will have to be angry and seethe a while, and others will leave the Church, it happens, and most of it is due to misunderstandings and the way that the PEOPLE of the Church treat them!!!
      I am an LDS woman who loves the Gospel, I have a firm Testimony, but this whole thing has left me with questions also! And like it or not I get to have those questions, I get to take the time to research the information we are given, I get to pray about it and have conversations about it and try to see it from both sides! Then when I have the answers and the peace that I need, I get to be kind, loving and compassionate to those that this affects, and try to be a Christ like woman and learn to help heal their hearts, and leave the rest up to God and His Son Jesus Christ!!
      This is not the first controversial matter the Church has had to deal with, and it certainly won’t be the last, but as MEMBERS it is our job to love, support, be compassionate and try to heal the hurt and pain that this already has caused and will probably continue to cause many people in their lives!
      My question to those of you who are members and being so unkind and cruel in your remarks, in the end who do you believe will be punished most harshly, those who are questioning and trying to understand, who are feeling with their hearts for others that they may not even know, or those of you who are showing no love and compassion for God’s children, by being so hurtful in your comments?? As members, I think often we need to look in the mirror and remove the beam from out own eyes!!!

      • you are absolutely correct in the way LDS members are talking, I filled out my resignation letter yesterday and sent, I can no longer follow such teachings. Many of my friends are struggling and questioning, two of my other friend also sent theirs, one was a missionary, he said his family left as well. My mother is planning to send hers, she is very upset, having worked in the temple for years, she held tightly to her faith. Not anymore finally the scales have tipped. If people are this mean on here, just think, they are teaching their children how to treat others. And it is mean, kids are going to be picked on in school, a few decades and the gays will be eradicated, as it is not a church supportive of them. Too Bad. I used to like it, I am straight, I don’t tolerate gays I embrace them as any other person I would. I grew up and can see the forest for the trees. All those mean people now have a Policy that they can use to back the bigotry. Nice job LDS. I am actually going to meet with my bishop with my mother, we want to be fair and explain why we are leaving. I feel that is important. Some of these comments are just veiled bigotry, “oh they can still come to church…” sheesh really ? that sounds like a welcome wagon, no no, no, kids will judge their peers harshly – growing up we had a Jehovah’s witness she was looked on as weird because she didn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, all through school she was an outcast. The teacher politely explained to the class her differences regarding her religion, it was on! Kids were mean. I was one of her few friends- she was different, now little primary kids will be denied the blessings of baptism and confirmation until 18- Y’all look down on people MY church is true, heck don’t you think others think theirs is too? Pedestals everywhere. They can be toppled. I thank Heavenly Father that he gave me a brain and wants me to use it

  87. Policies like this and justifications like this are why I left the church. Both doctrine and its application can hurt people. The first commandant is love, as is the second. If wickedness never was happiness, than hate in any form can never be love. I and my family are happily gone from the church.

    • Good for you. However, the willingness of the LDS church to take a stand on and deal with difficult issues of sin are part of the reason that I remain a member. Many churches of the day are happy to roll with the times. But the LDS church really does stand firm and is willing to take the hits for it. Thanks for your comment.

      • Don’t worry. Society and humanity will drag all the churches along with it, even if you folks keep kicking and screaming.

        We did it with interracial marriage, we did it with women’s rights, we did it with slavery, we will do it again with gay rights, and in the future, we will do it for those who demand equality and you’ll watch as society progresses forward while you stay far far backwards.

        Only in religion can one group’s equality be considered oppression and restriction.

        Eventually, you guys will realize you are on the wrong side of history. Consistently. Every time.

        • I sincerely doubt you had anything to do with interracial marriage, ending the practice of slavery or women’s rights. Don’t throw them around like some badge of honor that you can somehow lay claim to and wrap yourself in to make your quest to normalize sinful behavior seem noble.

        • “Society and Humanity”? That is a little vague. Can you be more specific? Who is “we” and who is on the “right side”? Are you talking about communism. In fact, communism would seem to blow your “Only in religion….” argument completely out of the water.

    • No, you’re not. If you were happy to leave the church, then why haven’t you actually left the church? Sure, you say you did. Sure, you have your name removed. Sure, you have spent the last few years being against it and everything it does. You haven’t attended meetings. You haven’t gone to the temple. You haven’t visited with the missionaries. But left? That you haven’t done.

      That’s because you can’t. No one who has ever left the church can do the vital thing necessary to actually leave something: Leave it alone.

      Yell at me if you want. But I speak truth.

  88. This is simply b.s. The church IS punishing these children. Simple as that.
    I can’t believe that the recent instructions in any way are aimed at ‘protecting’ the child. Do these rules also apply to children born to unmarried mothers? What about the child who is born through adultery? Are these children denied in the same way that a child of a same sex relationship are to be denied? Does the want to be missionary have to disavow an adulterous parent in the same way that the child related to a homosexual person appears to have to disavow that parent? Where does this finish? What about the parent who refuses to pay tithing? Will this stop their child from being blessed, baptised, given the priesthood or going on a mission? This really does skate on the same thin ice that the anti-Black policy skated for decades.
    A very sad day for a church that claims to have the Love of Christ at it’s heart. Would Christ treat the little children in this way? I think not.

    • Well is tithing a politically polarized issue right now? I don’t think so. And what are they exactly being denied? I do read anywhere anything about anyone being denied baptism. Do you? If you do, you need to learn to read a little better.

      What is being asked is that they wait until 18. That’s it. The only thing that’s being denied to the child is being put in a situation where they have to constantly choose between their parents and the church. For a church that’s all about love, that makes perfect sense.

      • That’s it? They’re not losing anything by having to wait until they’re 18?

        For boys: what about the Aaronic Priesthood, and the ability to bless and pass the sacrament? The ability to go on a mission when you’re 18, rather than having to wait a year after your baptism and throwing your gay parent(s) under the bus?

        For every kid with a gay parent: What about the gift of the Holy Ghost, only available to baptized members? What about baptisms for the dead? Patriarchal blessings? The ability to date Mormon kids whose standards align with yours otherwise, but who themselves aren’t allowed (or choose not) to date nonmembers?

        Last I checked, all of the above are only available to baptized Church members. Are those suddenly not blessings? Do they not matter to teenagers, or did they just not matter to you?

        • Are you suggesting that if they don’t get the gift of the Holy Ghost at 8, the priesthood at 12, don’t attend baptisms for the dead at 12, don’t go on a mission at 19 (or whatever) that they haven’t had a fullness of gospel living? They absolutely have to have those blessings right at that time?

          I think you need to read the scriptures again, because I never knew the Lord’s time table ever being that straight forward.

          Wow, then every single convert to the church is a second class citizen by your standards. There were a lot of people on my mission who were baptized at 18, 19, 20 who still went on missions. So I’m not entirely sure what Mormon church you’re talking about, but it sure isn’t mine.

          • you just don’t understand his logic because you have to twist and spin to not look like a bigot for drinking the Kool-Aid your argument doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

          • I’m pretty sure it’s same Mormon Church that I remember from before 1978 – this new apartheid policy looks awfully familiar.

            At least converts can get baptized almost immediately (maybe wait a few weeks) after getting a witness from the Holy Ghost. Males can get the Aaronic Priesthood almost immediately (maybe a few more weeks) after being baptized. That’s what membership in the top tier of a two-tier citizenry lets you do.

            Are you suggesting that nobody needs the gift of the Holy Ghost until they’re 18, or the Aaronic priesthood, or a social life, since they’ll all get those things eventually anyway? Then why waste any effort on kids? By your logic, I’m sure they’ll all turn out just fine after 10 years of benign neglect and exclusion. Just like the kids from gay families.

            If I want to read the scriptures, there are a couple that come to mind. When I think about the Church’s latest policy change, I think of this:

            “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in” (Matt. 23:13).

            And then I can skip one verse and read this:

            “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matt. 23:15).

            I think of that verse when I read responses like yours, in which you prove that no matter how awful, demeaning, or cruel Church policy gets, you’ll find a way to defend the indefensible and minimize any concern that isn’t one of yours.

            It’s a perfect summary of what Church leaders have done to the membership. Including you.

      • “The only thing that’s being denied to the child is being put in a situation where they have to constantly choose between their parents and the church. For a church that’s all about love, that makes perfect sense.” Oh really? Having been raised Catholic, I was under the age of 18 when I wanted to be baptized and join the LDS church. As has always been church policy, I could be baptized if both my parents gave written permission for me to do so…which they did, and I was. This did NOT make me have to “constantly choose between my parents and the church” in any way. If my parents had felt that were even a possibility, they wouldn’t have given me permission to join, and then I would’ve had to wait until I was 18. So…why is baptism for a minor child denied only if that child’s parents/legal guardians are LGBT…even if those parents are willing to give their written permission for it? Ridiculous…and in no way is it “all about love.”

  89. A couple of comments on #7: It is not fair to characterize those who are hurt by this policy as not believing in right and wrong. That would be a straw man fallacy.
    People who express emotional pain over the issue are not generally saying that the church should change its policy because of their feelings. That would be a fallacy, but that is probably not what they are saying. They probably feel that the policy is wrong for ethical reasons, and expressing their own pain should not be construed as fallacious, but an attempt to reach out to others to connect.

    • I had the same thought while reading as well, but you put it better than I could have. I feel like the author ignores the fact that LGBTQ individuals have a legitimate right to question why many institutions (like churches) are singling out this very specific “sin” as warranting penalties that other “sins” don’t. That is an ethical issue.

    • So you’re basically admitting that they expressing their own pain is intentionally misleading and manipulative.

    • You’re correct: anyone who says they are hurt by this is not necessarily throwing it up as a point to end the argument. However, I think the author’s point was directed at times when that IS the intention behind saying you’ve been hurt.

  90. I appreciate the original posting. I see the policy as appropriate and necessary. I also see it as kind, with the interests of the children at heart. I am saddened by the loud and shrill voices.

  91. Hi I liked your article, however I would like to make a point. Regarding your point 8. The church’s name is “the church of Jesus Christ of the latter days saints ” not the ” The church of Jesus Christ of the American saints ” So why would the US Supreme courts decisions have anything to do with church doctrine. the church is also in Saudi Arabia, so should the Saudi high courts also have a say? I think that most people would lough at that idea. So why do Americans think that the US supreme court has any special jurisdiction? Please remember that MOST Mormons do NOT live in the US!

  92. If your purpose was to rally, unify, and invite faith for members divided over the recent policy changes re: children of SS relationships, calling them “sofa philosophers” and performers in a political theater is dismissive of the very real challenges that many members encounter when the institution of the church does something that can appear to undermine the doctrines of agency and grace. Your tone is disrespectful, arrogant, and only reinforces the division between members who simply accept Handbook 1 and all other church policy as divine revelation and those who push for doctrinal justification whenever new policies are instituted that deal with the already-marginalized in the church. If you’re going to churchsplain to everyone hurting over this, at least take a page from Elder Christofferson’s book (and interview he gave) and try empathizing.

  93. Mr. Cunningham
    Your article is wrong. ThIs LDS policy harms everyone. As a child my father smoked and drank beer. I was cast an outsider. When I was 8 all of my peers were baptized by their Fathers. I was not. To not be baptized at all would have been far worse. The church has already lost members due to this policy and they will lose more in the next few weeks and months. They will also lose all of the kids of LGBT parents. For most of us this is a very sad and traumatic day. Your article adds pain to an already very open wound. It was insensitive and inappropriate for you to write it. Shame on you.

    • Actually, the church will probably gain members over this matter. That does not necessarily make the policies correct but history has shown that the church’s willingness to take a stand on issues has worked in its favor regarding membership. I would also guess that it has rid the church of marginal members. I suggest that you read Paul’s comments about homosexuality in the New Testament. He was not LDS but he might agree with the policy.

    • Now, was that the church’s fault that you weren’t baptized by your father or was that your father’s choice not do what was required to practice the priesthood? And are you suggesting that losing members should be a bigger fear than losing God?

      To not be baptized at all is far worse? Are you sure about that? Are you really sure that’s worse than taking on covenants you have to spend the rest of your life questioning? From what I see, it’s far worse for the church to put a child in a position to where they might feel they are constantly choosing between their parents and their God. With smoking and drinking, culture inherently sees that as wrong and we have the scientific evidence to prove it. Even people who smoke, don’t do so because they consider it healthy.

      Homosexuality is largely a cultural experiment. We don’t know the overall effects versus a traditional family. Sure, the media says it knows. They don’t really.

        • The idea that one is born homo- or heterosexual is a myth. Doug Fabrizio in his very liberal radio show Radio West on August 25, 2015 interviewed Clifford Rosky 9legal scholar) and LIsa Diamond (psychologist.) They reviewed the science on gender orientation and say that the idea of “born that way” is too simplistic and applies to a very small percentage of the LGBTQ population. They say that gender should be viewed as fluid, perhaps changing many times during a person’s lifetime and that many factors–biological, cultural, environmental, etc.–contribute to a person’s feelings of being one gender or another. The issue is much more complicated than the simple nature/nurture dichotomy. Diamond makes no apology for the past misrepresentation of gays/lesbians being “born that way,” but she solidly debunks it. You can listen to the radio show here: http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/nature-nurture-sexuality-gender

          • One person debunks thousands and thousands of tests? And that’s the one you’re going to go by? Now, you realize by her theory, at some point you’ll be hooking up with a chic? Come on. One can have a “liberal” show and have any number of quacks come on. It does not mean they have any validity at all. Now, so that you know, your church has openly admitted to people being born gay since 2007. Move on…

        • How long has homosexuality been acceptable under the United States? If it’s under 50 years, it’s a social experiment.

          • So it only counts if it’s in the US? Because that country is where the LDS church is based? That’s all that counts? Even though homosexuality has been around since the beginning of humanity. May you be blessed with a 100 gay grand babies.. So that your hard, judgmental heart will soften.

      • Ok, you completely lost the entire point. Entire point lost on you!! LDS Grandmother.

        And wow. Just wow. One of the dumbest comments ever. Being gay is not a choice. Even your church has admitted since 2007 that one is born gay. “A social experiment”… Wow..

        • Over the period I have been married to my wife, I have seen someone who will do anything for anyone, someone who excelled in church service, a very good, decent person. So when she lost her faith in the LDS church, (not her belief in being a good decent person), and then told me that she was gay, and could no longer live a lie, and that she had suffered with same gender attraction since childhood, I knew that she was telling me the truth.
          Plus, looking back over the years of marriage, everything made sense, and when given the context, which I had never suspected, I can now retrospectively see plenty of evidence that she is telling the truth.
          So, I agree, having same gender attraction is not a choice.

  94. The problem with the policy of waiting till you are 18 to be baptized and or called on a mission is this. The way that the policy is worded, if a 25 year old person living at home with one or both of his gay parents working and going to college wanted to get baptized and go on a mission they couldn’t do it because the wording makes it so they can’t get baptized or go on a mission if they still live at home with a gay parent. Even though they are legaly 18. So even if a 40 year old woman moved back in with a gay parent to take care of them in their old age they couldn’t get baptized because the way this policy is worded a child can’t live with a gay parent and be baptized.

    • Incorrect. A child cannot live with a parent who is part of a same-sex marriage or same-sex cohabitation. and in the instances you are referring to, I believe it would be something the First Presidency could give permission to do, if prompted to give such permission.

      • Actually Melenie, I fear Zak is correct. The new policy says, stake or mission presidents can ask permission to baptize 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.”

        Nothing in the new wording allows for the exception you believe permissible.

  95. This was an excellent article, thank you so much for these thoughts!

    It does make me sad seeing how many people I know personally who have decided that this is the time to turn their backs on the Mormon church. That much is definitely a reality. But at the same time, those people were probably just about done with the church anyway, were one change away from hopping off the fence and choosing a side. This isn’t a time for fence-sitting. It’s breaks my heart to see so many people leaving, but we’ve long known from prophetic revelations that people would leave, would release the Iron Rod and be lost. We can pray they return someday. It is once again a time of separation of wheat and tares. And it’s going to be painful and gut-wrenching. The Last Days were never going to be pretty.

  96. All of this makes sense. It just seems that a church with a prophet at the helm might have had the foresight to make these change to the handbook in 1993 when same-sex marriage first became legal in Hawaii. Instead, they fought to change the laws of the land, most notably in 1998 in Hawaii and in 2008 in California, to match their own, in defiance of D&C 134:9 (“We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government”). Both hurt their standing in the public eye, just as this change to the Handbook does. No one would have blinked had they made this change 22 years ago, and the church would have been prepared for the inevitable changes to civil law.

    • You should quote all of D&C 134:9. “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.”

  97. I am trying to understand how this new policy will effect already baptized active children who live with same sex parents. If this stops their advancement in the church as long as they are living in this relationship isn’t it a punishment to the children and breaking up a family?

  98. It’s sad to see that so many take offense to this. Nobody can change God’s plan for us and I mean nobody. “His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.” Some people don’t like this and if so PRAY ABOUT IT. God is the only one who can confirm this truth within your hearts. And believe it or not just because you may not understand doesn’t means it’s truth is negated. This will stand as long as God sees fit. That is why we have the principle know as Faith. It is not a perfect knowledge of things that are true, but a belief in those things which are not seen (or understood) which are true. Now if you take offense to this I am sorry your feelings are hurt but that being said your feelings being hurt will change nothing other than yourself. The truth does hurt when we are in denial of ourselves. I know I struggle and I’m a sinner just like everyone else on this earth. The truth hurts when heard. Oh, also as spoken in the bible it is proclaimed many a time that things of this nature and that are similar are abominations before God. For he told us from the very beginning that marriage was between a man and a women. This is something that is very important and I know many will agree with me through their own personal experiences how not having a loving father AND mother can take a major toll on one’s life. Sorry for the rant but these are my thoughts.

  99. John Parkinson Dehlin isn’t out to antagonize the church. He’s saving lives. He had dedicated his life to helping Mormons dealing with faith crises, by popular demand and at great personal cost to himself. He spent years trying to work within the church but in the end they just wouldn’t have him because he insisted on promoting and facilitating open dialogue. So this article’s mention of him as “making his living antagonizing the church” is really unfair.

  100. Interesting that you set out to correct the “inaccurate headlines, incorrect understandings, or hate mongering of the Church’s opponents” and engage in the very same inaccuracies and hate mongering, for example by saying that John Dehlin “makes his living by antagonizing the church.” You should try to set the example, not copy the alleged tactics of those you wish to denounce.

  101. Active church-going fellow here – I would like to disagree with your argument about myth #4. I think the smoking example is a little too simplistic. If I grew up in a same-sex household with parents who loved and cared for each other, how would I feel about “disavowing” their same-sex marriage? What about the boy that lives with a father who is addicted to porn? Is he asked specifically in the baptism interview about his feelings about porn, just because his father is addicted? What about the young girl whose mother abuses prescription drugs? Is that pointed out to her, and asked if she “disavows” that activity? That request is mean-spirited and over-reaching. It’s going too far.

  102. I think it is very easy for you to make the assumption that delaying the ability to recieve the Holy Ghost until you’re 18 because you received it weigh no issue. I appreciate your thoughtfulness in this article and your insight – but I’m afraid that you truly don’t understand what it’s like until you experience it. Your opinion stems from pure observation and in defense of the church. Regardless of what the church says about doctrine, no matter how extreme or out of the blue it may be, you will find a way to justify it. Truth is: children will be affected. They will ‘be able to attend all church meetings and activities’ yet when their fellow friends become of age for the priesthood, they will be left out. When all of their friends are passing or blessing the sacrament, they will be left out. They will have to choose to stay with the church at 18 and literally disown their parents in order to be apart of the church. Please, you cannot relate to this on a realistic level and unfortunately, a lot of other LDS people will read this and piggy back on it like they always do because it creates a justification for something that they are uncomfortable with but know they have to believe in it all!

    • Yes, children will be affected. But children in several other family situations have previously been affected in the same way. This is not a new policy, just an expansion of it to include the children of gay, married couples.

      Of course it’s hard for a young man or woman to not be able to “fully” participate in all aspects of the church if having to wait to until 18 to be baptized. However, if they are treated with love, compassion, empathy, and kindness during these times by their peers, and youth, ward, and stake leaders, I believe they will find comfort and be able to find the strength needed to endure the waiting period, as well as an understanding as to the necessity of such a policy to ensure less contention in their own family and home while growing up. Disavowing is not the same as disowning. The church leadership has never said that children must cut off all contact from parents, or any other gay family members, and stop loving them. Disavowing is stating that they do not agree with the choices of their parents and that they believe, and agree with, ALL doctrine of the church related to marriage and family and willing to make and live by the covenants of baptism. The Doctrine of the church, and that of the leadership of the church has always been that we are to show love and kindness to ALL people regardless of their choices. Elder Christofferson himself, is a great example of this very principal when he discussed his own personal family and his gay brother in his conference talk. There is a great difference between loving someone and accepting their beliefs and choices. Christ loves everyone, and atoned for them, but that does not mean that he accepted or did not look at some of their choices and behaviors as sin.

    • It’s interesting to see split here regarding accountability. Some people honestly think it is the church’s fault when a child is negatively affected by a parent’s actions, while others see it as the parent’s fault. This is a huge philosophical division that runs through society in many ways. My guess is that people who prefer blaming institutions for problems are not at all comfortable with a church that calls for personal accountability.

        • It’s similar to where some try to make it the obligation of the United States to care for the children of parents who come to this country illegally. Gay people have known the position of the church on homosexual marriages for a long time. Yet, they are “surprised” when the church stands firmly on its principles. Who put the children in these situations, the church, the United States, or the parents?

          • What a lovely racist comparison to complement your earlier homophobia.

            I think people are “surprised” when the Church changes its policy to single out a particular class of innocent kids. Children of single parents, Catholic parents, alcoholic parents, abusive parents, and atheist parents are all welcome, no matter how much their parents’ beliefs, choices, and lifestyles create conflict at home and undermine the Church’s message. A signed permission slip and a kid who’s past their 8th birthday are the Church’s only requirements.

            But for children of gay parents, the Church has carved them into a special exclusion zone, and spelled out very publicly all the ways those kids are “different”, and must be “protected”.

            I would argue that it’s ENTIRELY the Church that put these families in this position: wasn’t that long ago that young adults with same-sex attraction were told that marriage and children and faith in Jesus would cure “the gay”. So trusting in the revelation and wisdom of their leaders, they married and had kids and exercised faith.

            When some of them realized that the Church had lied to them, they left, but now they have kids whom the Church told them to have, and who have been raised as Mormons, and who still believe.

            Some of these same gay parents are trying to support their kids’ misplaced faith in the Church, but it’s the Church that isn’t having it.

            I seem to recall one of the apostles, not very long ago at all, saying that the Church “doesn’t apologize, and doesn’t explain.” So, back to your original question: where IS the accountability?

        • The “racist” and “homophobia” name-calling assaults are so “yesterday”. Please, please try something new to make a point about a complex issue.

  103. “If someone talks about how this hurts them, they may sincerely think that, but it is also political theater, a learned response from mimicking the rhetorical style of those who’ve had so much political success on this issue.”

    Yeah, those black people that were told they couldn’t be sealed to families or partake in temple covenants didn’t really feel pain, it was theatrics.

  104. As someone with one LDS parent, I was raised in the church and not allowed (by my parents) to be baptized until age 18. I can say that while my Young Women’s leadership tried very hard to make me feel included and welcome, it was very hard to pretend that I didn’t have a seperate and lower status from the other girls. I can only imagine how much harder it would have been if I were a boy and denied the power of the priesthood that my peers had. This was exacerbated by bullying by the other girls (which I don’t really fault them for; they were in their early teens) because my father was a non-member and I wasn’t allowed in the temple. It was the natural move when, in my teens, I tearfully left my ward and started trying other churches. I can’t imagine how much harder that status would have been if it had been church-sanctioned and because I had homosexual parents. Telling a 14 year old who has to stay home when her young women’s group is doing Baptisms for the Dead because of something entirely outside her control is not a punishment is folly. Telling her that she is just as welcome but “simply needs to wait” for valid status is going to make her feel alienated, and I can assure you the church will lose the children of GLBT couples.

    • Did you approach the parent who objected? Fast for that parents change of heart? You’re asking the church to do as the world does and blaming the church rather than the parent. Religions that do that will fall as the bible and Book Of Mormon are very clear about. We may lose some but will gain unhappy members of other religions who will not go against Gods law. You could have held on and been baptized at 18. Your circumstance was not deny only delay. Bulling happens all over the world. Again not the churches fault but the girls. You may not understand now but you will one day. It was not to hurt you but help you. Living in a contentious family is worse than delay. Been there and done that. You still had the power of the priesthood through your Bishop and Home Teachers to bless your life and help you. I’m sad you did not understand that. Hope you reconsider one day.

    • I went to Young Womens. I hated it. I hated Young Womens. I was constantly excluded. Constantly struggling to make friends. Constantly trying to fit in. I remember going home in tears during a retreat because of bullying. It was the natural thing to just leave. And I did.

      I was baptized at 8. My parents were members of the church.

      The idea that this feeling of a “lower status” is exclusive to only those who were not baptized, is just plain wrong. If people are determined to exclude you, they will exclude you, just to exclude you.

      I’m back in the church because they all don’t matter.

  105. “The Church in its focus on family would rather children grow up in a stable home environment than be baptized under any circumstances.”

    I’m not sure that’s what you meant to put. Did you mean “The Church in its focus on family would rather children grow up in a stable home environment than be baptized and threaten that stability.”?

  106. Not allowing children who have a parent in same sex marriage get a Name & a Blessing is puzzling, for Naming & Blessing is not a saving ordinance. Baptism is.

    1. What happens to those children & teens that have already been Baptized, who have a parent in a same sex marriage (SSM to save writing)? There’s been a problem of some local Leaders in the Church reading too much into such statements.

    2. Can children & teen with a parent in a SSM still advance in Primary, YM, & YW?

    3. What if a Bishop felt those children & teens previously Baptized with a parent in a SSM should be Excommunicated to support this Policy, & such children & teens should rejoin when they were aged 18?

    I also remember there was a Policy that forbid women from giving prayers in Sacrament Meeting in the late 1960’s. That was later rescinded, with Pres. Kimball mentioning there was no scriptural basis for that.

  107. Taking gay rights out of the equation lets look at this closely.
    The child did not choose to be adopted or born into a certain family, obviously according to doctrine you find homosexuality a sin. There is no rule stating children of unmarried parents, adulterous parents or abusive parents are unable to become baptized. So yes it is punitive, yes it is cruel and discriminatory. We already know that Jesus does not agree with this, Please reflect on this piece of scripture. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

  108. There is a common thread among those who understand and support the church in this policy issue and those who don’t – it is simply the degree of testimony. Those who condemn it or think it is wrong fall into fairly clearly defined categories. There are apostates, detractors and members with weak testimonies or little real understanding of the Church and who leads it. The apostates and detractors need no introduction and their comments are without weight and demand no rebuttal. Their complete ignorance of the Church and its doctrine and their motive for rebellion is evident in their discourse as well as their action. On the other hand, those of weak testimonies or misunderstanding of church organization can be brought to know the truth if they will think on it. If they belong then they must have some amount of testimony of the Restoration. If the Restoration is true, then the one who leads the Church is the Lord, and this policy reflects the Church adhering to His doctrine.

    • I spent half the morning writing the feelings that are swirling in my head. When I pushed to post the comment, the entire thing was deleted. This change in the Church Handbook is devastating to the millions of children in the world who need to know their Savior from a young age to get through the last days.

      So I will leave with this from King Benjamin:
      Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in a good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.

    • You are wrong. If someone questions a policy it does not mean that they have a weak testimony. The stupidity of your comment doesn’t surprise me. It is popular thinking that if anyone questions the leaders of the church they have a weak testimony. You couldn’t be further from the truth. Someone that follows blindly certainly doesn’t have a strong testimony. You can keep your blinders and narrow mind. This effects people. Maybe no one you know. But it does.

  109. So it’s ok then to abstain from the necessary ordinances of the gospel after the age of accountability? Christ was aware that following the Gospel would create discord in the home.

    Matthew 10:34-37

    34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

    35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

    36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

    37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    Choose you this day whom ye will serve. As for me and my house we will serve ……

  110. Christopher,

    Your ad hominem (sofa philosophers) notwithstanding, Argument 3 remains intact as far as your reasoning is concerned. The second article of faith is indeed an argument against the doctrine of “original sin” as understood by other faiths. However, to suggest that the principle hasn’t been co-opted to instruct LDS Church members about personal accountability is disingenuous. Here is some clarification from the February 2011 issue of the The Friend explaining this teaching to children:

    All of Heavenly Father’s children are given the agency to choose right or wrong. He has promised us blessings when we choose the right. Heavenly Father wants us to return to live with Him again. If we make bad choices, we need to repent and do better. But Heavenly Father does not make us repent for the bad choices that others make. We are responsible for our own actions.

    So let’s stop derisively labeling accepted teachings as “myths” and come clean about the fact that in this case the policy change is violating the spirit of the second Article of Faith.

  111. I have been reading both sides of this issue. I truly wish I had not been allowed to join the LDS church until I was 18. If I had been forced to wait, I would not have become a member. I think the church should make ALL children wait. At 8 years old you really don’t know what you want. At 18 you know at least a little bit more. Maybe we should be thanking them instead of being upset about it. After all, the church is just being kind and thoughtful to all these poor children.

  112. These are some pretty weak challenges to real issues and question this article haphazardly calls “myths”. Aside from suggesting that the author look up the definition of a myth, rewriting the article as “misunderstandings” would be more appropriate.

    If denying children the blessings of baptism and the gift of the holly ghost based on the living arrangements and sexual practices of their parents isn’t a punishment then I don’t know what is. To suggest that all children of same sex couples must be denied these blessings based on the hypothetical troubles that SOME children may experience if they were allowed full membership is ignorant of the fact that the possible struggles these children MAY face are no different from the struggles children of straight unwed nonmember parents may face. And yet those children are afforded the blessings of full membership if their parents allow.

    Also, to suggest that gay parents may allow their children to be baptized for nefarious reasons is unfounded in fact and history, is a minimal risk if anything, and is not restricted as a possibility to just same sex parents. It almost suggests that even devout LDS members who happen to be gay have some sort of increased inclination to be more wicked than straight people just because of their sexual attractions.

    To claim that saying “this affects me” is a myth discounts the real feeling and situations of real people who this decesion really affects. It’s an explanation as cold hearted as this new church “policy”. Speaking of which, at least the church is willing to admit that this is “policy” and not rooted in any sort of doctrinal truth.

    Having studied the scriptures I find it interesting that nowhere does Christ proclaim that baptism is dependent on any affiliation with any specific or exclusive group or church, or that one must be righteous and come from a righteous family in order to enter into baptism. On the contrary, baptism is intended as a way for the sinner to become clean and one need only to commit to following Christ in order to enter into the waters of baptism. To deny a child that opportunity until they reach an arbitrary age because of the sins of their parents not only goes against church and biblical doctrine, it’s down right symptomatic of wickedness.

  113. Pertaining to #7, it strains credulity to believe that so many persons are committing suicide over imagined pain and for “political theater”. I volunteer at a crisis line, If it feels real enough to die over, then may I suggest the pain us more real than your reductive simplification claims. And if you’re naive enough to believe that the suicide of someone I love doesn’t hurt me personally, then you lack the ability to feel any empathy.

    And pertaining to your entire essay, read up on the theory of Ockham’s Razor and try again. (Unless you’re deliberately trying to prove its opposite. If so, bravo).

  114. Also, would you not say that being Mormon is your identity rather than just a set of behaviours and beliefs? I don’t know any Mormon who doesn’t feel like being Mormon is WHO THEY ARE. That they cannot just suddenly stop being Mormon (and yet we know that thousands per year do). To gay people, it’s not their behaviour or marriage that the child is disavowing, it’s their IDENTITY. So, the INTENTION of the church can be whatever but it doesn’t matter because the IMPACT is that this divides families with a sharp knife. If your child, to join the Catholic church, had to say that they believed that being Mormon was evil, how would that impact you? You’d still have a great relationship?

  115. No, it CREATES custodial interference.

    1. Children are already members of the church with gay parents.
    2. Mormon parents will continue to take their kids to church, whether or not those kids are prevented from being baptized because of the other gay parent.
    3. The kids go to church with their Mormon parent and alllllllllll these people are there to say, “Hey, isn’t your Mormon parent so great! How lovely that you’re able to come here and learn God’s true plan for your happiness! This is how you know your parent loves you.” And all sorts of passive aggressive manipulative garbage. The child goes to be with their gay parent and feels uncomfortable. But no direct consequence had befallen them yet.
    4. Now the kids can’t receive the priesthood. Or if they aren’t yet baptized, they can’t be. Now consequence directly befalls them. They experience social shame and stigma. They’re embarrassed that they have a gay parent.
    5. They ask their Mormon parent if they can live with them full-time because they’re embarrassed by and upset by their gay parent and they’re confused about it.

    THIS IS MY LIFE. I am the authority on this topic, not you.

    It used to be that you could privately support gay marriage. Now, the church won’t even let you have those thoughts to yourself if you want to be a member and your parents or parent and step-parent are married. You have to take a knife and stab it into your parent’s heart before you can join. And some kids who have been brainwashed and manipulated, like my own, will do this.

    There wasn’t a real problem to be solved. This policy feigns at solving a problem with children. It’s really only trying to keep people from supporting gay marriage, so that the church doesn’t have to change and lose members. If the church started accepting gay marriage for life only, still maintaining that this is not the way of heaven—SUPER easy policy it could make/doctrine it could be “inspired” to create—a lot of Conservative members would leave. And a new church might form, as historically happened with the church over other major social issues. And the church would lose money and power. THAT is the issue they are trying to solve.

    • Only if you mistakenly assume I have some kind of hatred for gay wizards (or gay humans for that matter)

  116. The new policy does, however, require that the adult child, in order to finally be baptized, NOT be living with his or her gay parents. If that example of coerced ‘shunning’ is not also effectively requiring an adult child to de facto denounce his or her gay parents, then I must not understand the finer nuances of the English language

    • I’ve noticed this theme later in the comments. Those who wish to continue hold on to the myth that children must denounce their parents to be baptized now point to the requirement that they cannot live together at home as though this was synonymous with denouncing parents. But this idea simply doesn’t stand up to any reasonable scrutiny.

      Most children stop living with their parents, usually sometime after they turn 18. Obviously leaving that living situation is not tantamount to disavowal. Loving children stop living with their parents all the time. And children who move out can also visit their parents regularly so as to avoid the appearance they are shunning them. This policy clearly addresses living situations of children, so it makes intuitive sense that the policy would change for those adults who no longer have that living situation. To be perfectly clear, in order to be baptized no one has to ever say anything about their parents ever. This policy does not change that. Anyone who says otherwise is being misleading.

      • How old are your kids? This is not true. Kids do not leave when they turn 18. This is a lie. Your kids lie. They lie and say they will.. But they won’t.. It will be some time after that…

      • One other thing about “kids living with their parents”.. One never knows what life throws at you. You can move out of the home then just as quickly return back home- because life didn’t go quite as planned.. You just don’t know. Now, maybe the church says that polygamous, muslim and gay kids all can not live at home. Well, great, if that is the case. But if it singles out only the children with gay parents that is pretty pathetic. But not only pathetic, it’s wrong.

        • Can I have your reference on what age most children stop living at home. In my country it is mid to late 20s. If you are from Utah I would think it probably 18-19yrs. Isn’t that the missionary age…lol. So here’s the difficulty, if these children want to serve a mission or marry in the temple, they have to leave home for a period, get baptised, then wait a year for the temple, then be in a position to do either of these., because of this policy.

  117. Rebuttals

    “Myth #1” There is also a disvowal clause in the policy, where a child would need to say that their parents have lived abominable lives in order to be baptized, even though they are adult age (18);
    “Myth #2” Yes, because not even restoration scripture says anything about homosexuality;
    “Myth #3” The Second Article of Faith is about more than just addressing the inherent evilness of man;
    “Myth #4” I don’t know who is saying that the policy asks for children to reject parents, but it does ask them to say that their parents’ lifestyle is abominable;
    “Myth #5” LDS.net lied. It claimed that the headline was “New Mormon Policy Makes Apostates of Children from Same-Sex Unions.” It was actually “New Mormon policy makes apostates of married same-sex couples, bars children from rites”;
    “Myth #6” Again, restoration scripture says nothing about homosexuality and, yes, the church is marginalizing gay and gay-friendly Mormons given 1) the timing of the policy’s release, coming just a few days after the Pew study found that 50 percent more Mormons accepted homosexuality than in 2007 and other factors; and 2) that everyone must figure that the LGBT Mormon community will feel less welcome in the church after this;
    “Myth #7” Yes, it did hurt me personally, and now doubly personally given LDS.net’s post. How could I look in the eyes of my many gay friends and say that I truly do care for them while being true to the institutional church?
    “Myth #8” Well, leaders did preach to oppose gay marriage politically and the Supreme Court ruling went the other way, and even this faithful site is admitting that legal purposes were behind the decision;
    “Myth #9” I actually agree — these changes are not official doctrine; they are policy. But that’s just it — since policies can change, this means that this one could easily be proven wrong. And other policies have been proven wrong in the past, the biggest being blacks and the priesthood, which the church admitted was a mistake: https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng “This Could Lead to a Great Exodus” The context of Paul’s scripture indicates that Paul was actually talking about his day. And I don’t get the “spiritual safety” of following leadership on a mere policy, let alone one that is so hateful and problematic for all parties.

    • I’m glad to see the Salt Lake Tribune changed their headline. But the headline as reported in the article was accurate as of 6 November afternoon.

  118. I don’t even know where to begin. When will everyone in this faith understand that the “sin” (homosexuality) is a fundamental part of who these people are? We keep preaching “love the sinner, hate the sin” but fail to understand that a person’s sexual orientation is a major part of their identity. Myth #4 is absolutely correct. The child has to denounce homosexuality and gay marriage before being allowed baptism. Yet, being homosexual is someones identity (who they ). These children can’t denounce homosexuality without denouncing their parent’s character. This is heartbreaking. If you have any bit of humanity in you, try to think outside of the parameters set by a handful of men and see homosexuals as human beings. This bigotry will be the end of our church.

    • Sexuality does not need to be the defining attribute of a person’s identity. All human beings regardless of their sexuality are children of God, with eternal potential, I prefer to see them that way rather than through the narrow political lens of sexuality.

    • And that’s precisely the position that the church does not want to put these children in. And you’re going to criticize them for that? Good luck.

  119. A friend of mine shared this and I tend to agree:
    Allowing the kids of gay people to be baptized would expose members to the (shock, horror!) kids of gay parents, and would probably highlight the fact that gay people can raise very healthy, happy children.
    Allowing the kids of gay people to baptized would force the church to record their parents as their parents. But they’re gay. So they can’t really be married or considered parents or a family in the eyes of the church.
    Not allowing the kids of gay people to be baptized further shames gay people/creates negativity surrounding gay issues, which is exactly what the church needs to do in order to cling on to its fraying and ever-changing doctrines.

    • Who cares if the gay parents aren’t “really married” in the eyes of the church? How incredibly disgusting and dismissive. If they are legally married then they are married in the eyes of the state. And that is the one legal document that the parent needs. Gay kids getting baptized “shames gay people/creates negativity surrounding gay issues…” People are really giving the church and baptism too much credit. If a gay couple’s kid is baptized with their approval the parent won’t feel ashamed. Come on. Do you really believe this?

    • I will say that these last few days have been a bit of a journey for me. If you read my other posts you will get the context. I have come to a point of peace on the matter, and that has been through feeling the spirit of Christ tell me that I should trust him on this. I have felt this before in my life and have never known it to be wrong.

      I will say this, there are those LDS who feel they have passed the test, because their roots are so deep, but I do wonder whether the real test is how the LDS respond toward those who struggle, those who are affected by this policy, and those poor children who in a very real way will be open to being ostracised and bullied at church.

      The real test with this policy may not be for the gay community, but may be for the self congratulating deep rooted quick to sustain LDS who when they see or hear things being said about their gay brothers or sisters, when they see these children alone, or feeling different, will they open their arms and hearts toward these and feed them and clothe them in love and acceptance and do and say that which Christ would do were he here. Will they reach out in love, friendship and understanding toward those who leave the church because they can’t reconcile their feelings with this policy.

  120. In response to someone in the comments that said putting SSM in the category of apostasy seems to make it a worse sin than adultery or word of wisdom struggles:

    Unrepentant sin is always looked on more harshly in church discipline than a “one time mistake” that they never want to do again. Committing adultery is of course very serious, but it is worse (and is apostasy) when the person does not break off the relationship, esp. if they separate from their spouse to be with the other person. SSM is absolutely unrepentant – they have gone past cohabitation and made it “legal.” If it seems more serious than adultery or word of wisdom struggles, it’s because it is.

  121. In myth #5 you said The new policy recategorizes sins by adults related to homosexuality as apostasy instead of fornication” which is not true. Only entering into a same sex marriage is apostasy. All other sins related to homosexuality are still considered fornication and still have the same consequences as heterosexual sins.

  122. As a practicing divorce lawyer I can say that the idea that a judge would change custody by finding that a child’s membership in the LDS church constitutes “custodial interference” is very very far-fetched. You should probably research it if you are interested in writing a fair and honest opinion piece.

    Also, I just plain do not get the idea that same-sex marriage had to be re-identified as apostasy because it is now legal. The church has always been free to define apostasy and its doctrine independent of what is legal or illegal.

  123. Most of the negative responses towards the church on this issue are not out of hate mongering, they are out of sympathy towards those who have been bullied because their sexual orientation happens to be different from what’s considered normal. Those with same sex attraction are simply trying to find happiness with a partner and family just like everyone else. Many of them have been bullied most of their lives or at the least treated as a subordinate class. To add to this injustice is wrong and un-Christlike.

    Christ’s teachings are not complicated; do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Was Christ being followed when Brigham Young marginalized black members by denying them the priesthood? No, it was not a Christ-like action, Brigham Young was influenced by worldly misconceptions of race and segregation practices of that day, the church has stated as much here: https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng. Unfortunately the error was not corrected until many generations later because we, the Latter Day Saints, lacked the fortitude to stand up for what was right.

    The church has already gone from teaching that same sex attraction is in itself a sin and should be treated for and cured, to acknowledging that it’s not practical or advisable to try to ‘cure’. These changes have been made because scientific understanding of these issues has progressed. I have no doubt the church will continue to make changes in regards to its beliefs in same sex attraction and gay families as more members gain scientific understanding of these issues and begin to speak up. This recent policy change in the opposite direction won’t last long.

  124. Re your comment “I don’t mean to suggest that only the Church’s opponents have these ideas, but that these ideas have originated from them, and have unfortunately taken hold among some of the membership.”

    Do you think the only reason someone would have a negative reaction to the policy is if they didn’t think or feel for themselves, but instead absorbed anti-Mormon sentiments from the internet?

    Consider the place of a teenage youth with a parent or both parents in a same sex marriage — let’s say a 16 year old boy with a burning testimony of the restoration and a love for the Book of Mormon who desires to participate fully in Church and has parental support to do so.

    How can it be helpful for him to participate in Church during his teenage years without the gift of the Holy Ghost? The ability to bless or pass the sacrament? Attend the temple to do baptisms? Without a patriarchal blessing? How is that not punitive to tell this youth that he can’t participate fully in the Church during his teenage years because of the actions of his parents?

    My heart hurts. Not because I’m channeling the anti-Mormon sentiments from a politically-driven crowd, but because when I think of this boy – and others who have gay family members – I know I would be weeping if I were in their shoes.

    My head hurts, because there are scriptural contradictions: “Suffer the children to come unto Him,” being a big one.

    • Amen! This blatent discrimination will be the end of the LDS church. This has to end. Homosexuals are Human Beings. What have they done to anyone to merit such disdain?

    • If you are sincere in your pain and are truly seeking to understand without criticism, I have your answer. I have had first-hand experience with being deprived of nearly all the opportunities you state above (for many years and partially due to circumstances beyond my control). I can state unequivocally that God can and does compensate us not merely when we are baptized, pass the sacrament, attend the temple or participate in any other church-related activity. The greatest force for change in our lives (and consequently the thing that gives us true peace, happiness and a sense of meaning) has been and continues to be personal prayer to the Almighty, study of the scriptures, obedience, and where necessary, repentance of our sins. These recent changes have no impact on these fundamental Gospel tenets, things that ultimately make a true difference in our lives. My love to you.

      • I have been been reading comments all day. You understand my heart. I believe in compensation. I would never choose to relive my childhood but I would never trade what I was given to help me through it. God loves His children. He will not leave them alone. Thank you for you comment.

    • Nor have you considered the affect on the children at church when they can’t go to the temple for baptisms, or be full members like their peers. How about the self righteous attitude that may come their way from their peers? We know it exists in Utah from members toward non members, Pres Hunckly addressed this back in the day. I’m afraid it will lead to bullying and emotional/psychological difficulty and , these poor kids already have the ideal family option taken away from them through no choice of their own, and now they are being placed in a position of further disadvantage.

      • I was baptised and very active at 8 parents were converts, at 14 I moved to the bizarre city of Salt Lake. The bishop called me to meet me, welcome me to the ward I had thought. He asked if I was morally chaste, I paused feeling a little awkward, we barely had met, he thought I didn’t understand the question so he asked if I masturbated…..do you? I did not go back. I did however go to seminary as I wanted to fit in with kids. Didn’t work they were very self-righteous cliquee….it was an awful four years. Salt Lake is a strange bubble…they ran me off, the kids, I can only imagine how it would be in this situation. To think kids will not be ostracized is just blatant denial and lies.

  125. I find it amusingly strange that you have taken two+ pages of change from handbook one and shortened them to less than 4 lines in the above comments.
    I shall leave only one comment about the change in ((serious transgressions)) that whole paragraph …..including but not limited to……….contains sins bishops around the world are ‘working with’ upright temple recommend holders to ‘fix’ the problem areas of the lives of those affected, not judging or excommunicate them. Since cohabitation is a more visible sin than ///lets say/// spouse abuse, will bishops “work” with these members.
    The way I see it. This has all the makings of a witch hunt. I will withhold any knee jerk reaction until I see how this plays out in real life and real numbers.

  126. I’m curiously (genuinely, not facetious) what your authority is to be declaring things truth or myth. Do you have sources you could link?

    • Information about this issue is widely available. This is simply my interpretation of the most common refrains on social media. Might I suggest the full text of the changes which have been published by KUTV, and most recently Elder Christofferson’s comment on the issue.

      • Me or him? Mine translates to: what authority do you have to be declaring truth vs. myth? Maybe some sources would help me believe you know what you are talking about or give me the information to decide for myself.

        It’s interesting that the typos I went to correct are still there, but the post that was corrected didn’t make it into the comments. The second draft was a bit kinder with less of a “who do you thin you are” tone.

        It should have read “I’m curious (not teasing/trolling you, I’m really curious) what is your authority to declare things myth or truth. Do you have some sources?”

        Noticed I used little words this time, just for you, Scott, because you are teasing/trolling.

      • Christopher, I’ve read it all, listened to it all. I still am not sure that you have the authority to be declaring things myth or truth. Perhaps you are a stake president or a general authority given an assignment from the prophet. If so, I’m sorry to have doubted your intent.

        So far the only people who have had any right at all to discuss it are the people it affects, the church newsroom, and Elder Christofferson. Everyone else defending a policy they have know nothing about and will not feel the effects of are overstepping. This is between God, the church and us.

        • I have no authority to declare official doctrine. I hope that is perfectly clear. I’ve simply taken what is publicly available and analyzed it to the best of my ability. Whether you find my thought process compelling is entirely up to you.

  127. Ummmm Myth 4 is not a myth the church requires as part of the process a denouncing of their parents. It is in the handbook. Somehow that got omitted here… oops? I guess it is hard to spin that

    • That is inaccurate. You can read the full text of the changes online, and you will see that what I have written above is quite accurate.

      • #4 doesn’t make sense to me… The child “specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.”

        Disavow: to disclaim knowledge of, connection with

        Synonyms: disown (to refuse to acknowledge as belonging/pertaining to oneself); repudiate (to reject with disapproval or condemnation)

        How is disavowing not requiring the child to reject the parents?

      • Actually Christopher, Ben has a point. For readers who don’t see this 100% the same way you do, your tone is coming across fairly condescending and unwilling to respectfully consider anyone’s perspective but your own. The fact of the matter is that you *have* missed something in your analysis.

        Quoting directly from the actual document:
        ————————-
        “…both of the following requirements [must be] 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.”
        ————————-

        Okay, so for an 18 year old young man or woman who wants to be a member of the church, THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO LIVE IN THE SAME HOME AS THEIR PARENTS ANYMORE.

        I sincerely invite you to explain how this *requirement* cannot rationally be viewed as forcing a young person to disavow not only the practice, but disavow their parents on a *personal* level as well. I mean, seriously… in order to get baptized the child has to LEAVE HOME for good?!

        The assertion that this specific facet of the decree supports the premise that the church is putting FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS and the emotional health of that young person above all else, is simply not 100% cogent.

        • Chuck, thank you. I apologize if I’m come across as condescending. But the initial responder insisted that the new policy requires children to disavow their parents. As your quote so clearly illustrates this is not the case. You can argue that disavowing same-gender cohabitation and marriage is equivalent to disavowing parents, but I find that claim to be quite overreaching and discussed it at length in the article

      • No, you have to say it’s wrong and they your parents r sinning. Do your homework. That’s what elder c said anyways.

    • I do not agree with what the church is doing but you are wrong. It is disavow. The child would have to disavow. They would have to disavow drinking, smoking and their parent’s love.

  128. I’m trying really hard to be respectful of the many different opinions this new policy has created. I’m only going to respond to one of the things you said, “Children must simply wait until they can legally make their own decision to join the Church, rather than relying on their parent’s approval.” I grew up in a gay home and found the church as a teenager. You can say “simply wait” because to you that must seem like such a simple, simple thing. Did you grow up in a gay home? Did you go through years of darkness and sadness? Did you then find something that brought you so much light, joy and happiness? This is not a situation you’ve lived first hand, so you don’t have the right to say that children of gay couples just have to simply wait to be baptized. It’s not simple at all. I’m a very active member of the church. I love the Book of Mormon. This is a very sad day for me though and for children all over the work who have been in the same situation as I have. So please refrain from making this seem like it’s not a big deal to because we can just simply wait.

    • So, having been baptized as a teenager growing up in a home with gay parents, how did your parents deal with your belief that their lifestyle was sinful? Was that discussed in your home?

    • I actually understand where you are coming from and I am sorry to hear that you are saddened by the news. However this policy does not mean that those kids can’t go to church, feel the spirit and participate in youth youth activities. I myself am a convert and I learned that whole baptism is in fact a saving ordinance, you don’t necessarily need to be baptized to receive the light that you were referring to. I can promise you that they very well can and still will receive that light in their dark lives. The feeling I had when I got baptized was amazing and 8 will always remember it, however I didn’t need baptism in order to be converted.

    • No one else (apart from children of polygamists–which was unaffected by this change) has to wait. Even children of constantly sinning parents, parents involved in sexual sins like fornication, adultery, non-temple marriage, pornography addiction, etc… those children are not required to wait. Which means the change is not about sinning at all, but about one sin and one sin only. That;s what makes this discrimination. It’s not a blanket statement at all, and it certainly is a big deal. I’m sorry about your struggle, I can’t imagine it was easy or simple at all. I imagine this rule would have made it even more difficult, though.

      • I agree with you fully. Plus the idea that if you question the policy you are not a true member goes against what I was taught and what missionaries preach. Question what you hear and pray to see if it is true. And if we don’t feel its true after prayer should we leave the church? Can Mormons get different answers? Yes. I discovered that when working in a presidency. If your prayers come up different than the local leader you are sent back to pray more. So many children and their families have to move back home when things are bad. But with the policy they can’t even go back and live with their parents if their parents are gay and their children would be denied things because their parents and they are living with gay family members. From the Bible “Ezekiel 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” and “But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

    • This is an interesting comment to me.. Kids that grow up with hetero-sexual parents have just as dark days.. Having gay parents does not mean that a child has darkness and sadness.. But having parents that are bit unpredictable and might not be able to co-parent if they are separated, well, this most certainly will hurt the child. But the parents sex life doesn’t create this mess..

  129. You are wrong. The Obergefell ruling which instituted same-sex marriage in the United States does not require the LDS Church to consider same-sex marriages as legal marriages. The LDS Church is still free to look upon same-sex couples as cohabiting fornicators. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches still openly consider same-sex couples to be cohabiting fornicators, and don’t feel that the Obergefell ruling changes Church dogma. And no, for the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, we do not fear what may befall us.

    Lord Jesus only indirectly mentioned homosexuality, and declared it deficient when he declared heterosexual marriage as normative, but it is also clear from the New Testament that Lord Jesus is far more concerned about heterosexual adultery than He is about homosexual behavior by the frequent condemnations that the Lord made against adultery, and Lord Jesus even declared remarriage after divorce to be adultery (and by fiat also declared polygamous relationships to be adulterous and hence gravely sinful).

    If the LDS Church can still consider parents who are heterosexual adulterers (subject to excommunication) to have full competency to allow their children to be baptized, then gay/lesbian parents also have the same competency. Conversely, if gay parents do not have the competency to allow their children to be baptized, then neither do adulterous heterosexual parents.

    To say that children are not being punished for the sins of their parents is utter rubbish; they are too and you know that they are. Why does the LDS Church feel that homosexual behavior is worse than heterosexual adultery, despite what Lord Jesus so plainly taught? There is no right to act in open defiance of what Lord Jesus taught; it is the LDS Church that is in apostasy.

    It is my testimony that the new College of the 12 Apostles is NOT from God, and do NOT have any right to exercise the Office of the Keys. It is my testimony that the Keys and the power to act in the name of God has never left the Earth, and today the legitimate holders of the Keys are Pope Francis I of Rome, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and all Holy Russia, among the other canonical Orthodox patriarchs, and the legitimate holders of the Keys have no problem with baptizing children of parents in same-sex relationships.

    • The church’s policy is that individuals can be excommunicated for adultery and homosexual sin. They are still viewed in the same light even though same-sex relationships have been categorized as apostasy.

      In addition, these children are not being punished. You continue to try and compare the seriousness of sins, when the policy has more to do with living situations, which is why the policy echoes similar policies to children living in polygamous relationships. The policy has been designed to protect families from discord and custody issues. I agree that baptism into the Church is of utmost importance. But the Church at this time has prioritized the well-being of young children’s families.

  130. Quick question Christopher. Not sure if this is a myth, or actually true. Does this change effect children who have a parent in a same-sex relationship if the child does not currently live with that parent?
    My husband’s parents, for example, went through a divorce when he was a child, and his mother entered into a same-sex, cohabiting relationship, and my husband continued to live with his Father and eventually his Step-Mother.
    Would my husband have been barred from baptism and ordination until he was eighteen if that policy had been enacted then? Because I see nothing in the policy that specifies whether the child has to live with the parent or not, only that this effects children who have a parent in a same-sex, cohabiting relationship.

    • I have no more insight into the application of the changes than you do. I would suggest speaking to your Bishop or Branch President who should shortly receive the new changes in their administrative handbook and should be able to answer questions about them.

  131. Myth 21: Mormons love gay people. If this is the best you can do to justify your hate then may God have mercy on you.

    • I’ve noticed many refuse to engage with the substance of the issue and continue to repeat that this policy is punishment, hateful, and that any other interpretation is only spin, as though simply repeating this interpretation over and over will make it more true. Opponents of this policy seem content that it seems bad in a headline. The fact is this interpretation falls apart at thoughtful review, which is why they continue to repeat the soundbite rather than meaningfully engage.

      • Would you agree, though, that some of the language you have used here is contentious and judgemental?

        “When people talk about their pain as a way of ending a conversation it is little more than emotional manipulation.”

        “Spouted forth”, etcetera.

        I can’t deny my misgivings about Church policy generally concerning same-sex attraction, and I wish that the Church could just refrain from talking about it at all; but if you are representing in any way the Church’s stance is it unreasonable for me to find your rhetoric at times defensive in a way the Church wouldn’t want to be, to a level that tends towards the accusatory and shrill?

        I have a strong testimony of the Holy Spirit, and of Heavenly Fathers blessings in my life. I continue to serve as a ward mission leader in spite of the fact that such policies as those under discussion embarrass me greatly, (to a point where it shames me to be inviting investigators to be baptized into a faith that defines itself along such terms), but little in what you have written, nor in what the Church says about same-sex attraction, has anything to do with my testimony.

      • I called what you said spin and I think you do it well. The opinion you give is not worth the time to argue when Nate the primary teacher already did a sufficient job of smacking your misguided rhetoric down. Even your comment I am responding to is spin. I do not refuse to engage when the the points being made have substance. Have a nice day.

    • We are seeing with this issue, as we have seen before, that “hate” is simply any perspective which is different from that of the “Politically correct” community. It is the “go to” soundbite response when a church, group, or anyone else, advocates a moral perspective which is different from theirs.

  132. Brilliant opinion piece. There’s one significant issue here that I’d love for you to incorporate into the article, or a future piece, because many are missing it. It relates to the myth argument about “why can someone have their children baptized when they are doing X or Y [fill in the blank with a sin]” but gays can’t. This is false. It’s not true that gays can’t; rather, that legally married-to-each-other gays cannot. Why? What is the difference?

    It is simple. Gay marriage is a public declaration, signed and executed on a governmental level, that one openly rejects the teachings of the church. This takes a person out of the realm of struggling with a personal issue, and puts them in public opposition to church teachings.

    Set homosexuality aside for a moment and imagine this example: suppose I openly make a declaration, and publish an opinion piece, that even though I’m LDS, I believe pornography is good and helpful to marriages. I publicly announce that I’m investing in several porn companies, too.

    Wouldn’t the church take swift disciplinary action, even though this is LEGAL for me to say and do so? Absolutely. Why? Because I’m not longer personally working on the issue, I’m embracing the sin, publicly. And what if, heaven forbid, my wife should do the same thing? We would both be apostates and excommunicated. Not, but for our PUBLIC DECLARATION of our support of the sin.

    Similarly, if we were making such public declarations, and our 9 year old daughter approached the missionaries and wanted to take discussions and be baptized, she would be loved, welcomed, and encouraged to participate in church activities, but missionaries would not be allowed by the church to continue until she became a legal adult. No missionary can teach a minor without direct consent of the parents, which clearly she would not have, seeing as we are acting in open opposition to the church.

    That is why this policy clarification was ultimately necessary. It’s not about the sin, it’s about the declaration of the sin.

    • > No missionary can teach a minor without direct consent of the parents, which clearly she would not have, seeing as we are acting in open opposition to the church.

      This makes no sense. You say that people who are acting in open opposition to the church (which you say includes parents in same-sex marriages) would never give consent for their children to be baptized. If that were true, this whole issue would be moot and no policy change would have been needed. The church obviously feels that it’s possible or even likely for some children of same-sex parents to want to join the church, and obviously, the church entertains the possibility of them having parental consent or else we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    • I could not disagree more. I served a mission in Portugal where many individuals lived as a couple (heterosexual) or cohabitated, if you will and were not married. With the parent or one parent’s consent, we baptized many adolescents and children as young as 8. This was totally cool with the MP
      .

    • If in your example the porn-supporting parents gave the ok to teach or baptize the child, it would be allowed. That’s the problem. According to this policy, the parent’s desires for the child in the church are irrelevant, because they are gay. My nephews were baptized because permission was given by their father – from prison.

    • Nope. Sorry. I served a mission in Portugal where there are many couples (heterosexual) cohabiting and not married. MANY. However, we baptized adolescents and children as young as 8. Their parents gave consent and they were baptized.

    • This is incorrect. The policy applies to children of at least one parent “who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage”. It is not limited to the children of married homosexuals. It also would seem to apply to children of a parent who at one time lived together in a same-gender relationship, but are currently in a heterosexual relationship. This would seem to set the Atonement at naught.

      Before anyone chimes in and claims that special dispensation can be made, the instruction seems quite clear that the Stake or Mission president can’t request consideration for the child until they are of legal age (18) and no longer living with said parent(s).

    • You must have it wrong, though, because you can declare your support for gay marriage without being labeled an apostate, but as soon as you participate in gay marriage, you are an apostate. And interestingly, I officially apostatized from the church a few years ago, and since that time two of my children have been baptized. Nobody said a word about any problems with the baptism of children of a person acting in open opposition to the church. So much for that theory.

    • False. It says relationship, not marriage. It even goes so far as to include parents formerly in a same-sex relationship, or parents pursuing same-sex relationships.

  133. i am affected by this decision. i raised my greatgrandson from birth to seven years and 7 months. he was looking foreward to being baptized when his mom took me to court to have her rights restored. she was very angry with me ,for making her spend the money to take me to court. so for the first year she did not let me see him but a couple of times . i suffered a great deal, went into a deep state of depression. prayed almost constently when i wasn’t praying to die.God promised me he would soften her heart if i would foregive her.(i was very angry) i had been trying to forgive but the anger and pain got in the way i had even fooled myself once into believing i had forgiven her .Which was pointed out to me thru prayer. after many many months i was delivered from the angrer and pain. be cause i did truely forgive her .it was such a wonderful feeling. as told her heart did soften. she now lets me see him a couple times a months. and he is happy to return to church. at the thought of the posibility that he might be able to be baptized soon my spirits soared ,now this.i am desolate.

    • You can finally see your grandson and you are desolate? Lady, you need to get your priorities set straight. You. Can. See. Your. Grandson. How amazing is that! Who cares if he is able to be baptized or not?

  134. “Children must simply wait until they can legally make their own decision to join the Church, rather than relying on their parent’s approval.”

    This should apply to all children and not just the children of same-sex couples.

    • It does apply to all children. If parents of any child are opposed to that child being baptized – then the child has to wait till they are of legal age.

      But if the legal guardians of a child agree to the baptism then it can go forward.

      What you – and it seems everyone – are missing is that the Church never wants a person to make sacred covenants if they are in a position where they are unlikely to live up to those covenants. Not because of how it affects the church – but how it affects the person who made the covenants. A child in a home with apostate parents has little chance of keeping the baptismal covenant. Thus, they are far better off waiting a few years to receive the baptismal covenant.

      Conversely – children of faithful LDS parents are far more likely to continue faithful in their lives, and thus benefit greatly from learning the responsibility of covenants.

      In other words, what blesses a child in a faithful home would be a curse to a child in an apostate home.

      • WHAT?!?! Why are you comparing the situation to a child who grows up in an LDS home with faithful parents? You should be comparing it to a child who grows up in a home that believes in/practices another religion (or even an agnostic or atheist home) and wants to join the LDS church. As has always been church policy, an 8- to 17-yr-old who wants to convert and be baptized can do so if both parents give written permission. That’s how I joined the church before I was 18…as I’m sure many, many other converts did as well. And I’d dare say there are as many of us, if not more, that have continued to be faithful in our lives and greatly benefiting from the responsibility of covenants than those who were baptized at 8 (or whenever) who grew up in an LDS family. So the only difference here is that the child/adolescent who wants to get baptized and has permission from their parents still cannot be baptized if either of their parents is LGBT (but it’s OK if their permission-giving parents are Catholic, Jewish, Episcopalians, Southern Baptists, KKK, agnostic, heathens, witches/warlocks, adulterers, felons, rapists, unfit parents, atheists…). And to say “A child in a home with apostate parents has little chance of keeping the baptismal covenant. Thus, they are far better off waiting a few years to receive the baptismal covenant.” is patronizing, condescending, and judgmental…who are you (or anyone) to say/decide that any child has little chance of keeping a covenant?! Or that they are “better off” waiting?!

    • yes, the author like to just gloss over that….simply tell that to a child whose friends are all being baptised, and the inevitable cruelty of children will certainly have a negative effect.

  135. This post is spot on and deserves a standing ovation. I don’t understand why anyone in the church is whining and bellyaching over the church’s new doctrine. If you’re a member in the church who believes that the Lord directs His church through his living prophet, why then would you complain when the prophet tells the people what the Lord has commanded him to say? We already know that in the last days many of the saints will lead the church. I think this is one of the avenues to sift the wheat from the tares. It’s up to each of us to decide if we want to be the wheat or the tare.

    • Quick correction, Linda, this is a new POLICY, it is not DOCTRINE. There is a difference. It stems from long-standing doctrine — that of marriage as well as its opposite, sexual sin — but it is a policy only and should not be confused with its doctrinal origins. (The doctrine behind this policy is, of course, not new in the slightest. It is, in fact, one of the oldest doctrines we have.) I agree with the policy, but it could technically be changed, whereas the doctrine won’t.

      • Nothing needs to be changed. It was inspired by God. It’s up to each of us to choose to accept it or not, exactly how it is.

    • After reading many of the comments posted, I am shocked at how many people believe that the brethren always speak for God. Go give the “race and the priesthood” essay (https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng) a read on LDS.org and try to recognize that Brigham Young’s prophetic and doctrinal (at the time) teachings have been disavowed by the current church. I would think that this would help rational people to understand that the current church leadership could be speaking as a group of men and not necessarily for Christ himself.
      Remember, don’t trust in the arm of flesh! Go pray about the policy change that you are believing is a revelation and let your confirmation bias confirm what you already “know”. Don’t confuse that with the spirit though…it feels exactly the same.
      By the way, no one was commanded to say these things. The new information was leaked from a church handbook.

  136. Chris,
    I appreciate your effort to parse and offer commentary on some of the messages floating around about the changes to church policy. However, I don’t think your characterization of these messages as coming from the “Church’s opponents” is fair.

    I am a primary teacher (CTR 5) and an every-Sunday-front-pew kind of church member. Most of the concerns I’ve read about the change in policy have come from others in my social networks who are similarly grounded in the church and its doctrine.

    May I offer my perspective in relation to a few of your myths?

    #1. Not allowing children to be baptized does seem to put children at a disadvantage relative to others who receive baptism and the gift of the holy ghost. I imagine that the social challenges in being a child of same-sex parents would elevate the need for personal spiritual guidance, especially in high school years. Sadly, suicide rates for LGBT teens is much higher than straight kids. The new policy would deprive some children/teens of the Holy Ghost and set them in a separate class of churchgoer relative to their YM/YW peers. If we believe that blessings come from baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost (as I teach in my CTR 5 class), then it may be fair to regard the withholding of those blessings as a disadvantage.

    #2. The policy change puts same-sex marriage in the category of apostasy. So, by definition, it makes it worse than other sins that fall short of apostasy. (i.e. some fornication, word of wisdom challenges etc..).

    #3. This is related to #1. If you believe that the new policy puts children of gay parents at a spiritual disadvantage, then the policy raises an important question about fairness under our understanding of the 2nd article of faith.

    #4. In a technical sense, I agree with you here. If same sex marriage is considered a sin, then rejecting the sin isn’t necessarily the same as rejecting the sinner. In practice, however, disavowing the relationship of the two people who raised you will be easy when the marriage wasn’t good, and harder when it was. This introduces adverse selection as an unfortunate externality of the policy where children of broken same-sex marriage homes are more likely to join the church after age 18.

    #5. I don’t know enough here to comment. My question here would be about children aged 8 and up. E.g. if a 9 year old died, would she require a vicarious baptism? A worst case scenario – a believing 9 year old with terminal illness and supportive parents- would truly be heartbreaking. Looking forward to more insight from the Church here.

    #6. I believe the more realistic expectation is that the church will deprive itself of the children of LGBT members.

    #7. A policy doesn’t need to directly affect me as a church member in order for me to feel an emotional response to it. As we are all children of the same Heavenly Father, the treatment of any one of my brothers or sisters is meaningful.

    Furthermore, as a Latter-Day Saint, I believe that I am entitled to feel the direction of the Holy Ghost as a means of finding truth. When I ask to feel the truth of a matter, I believe in the authenticity of the feelings that ensue. Sometimes they are personal and not shared. At times when I feel to share them, I hope they will not be received as “political theater” or “emotional manipulation.”

    #8. I haven’t seen this one before but agree that the Church should not base doctrine on social trends.

    #9. I agree, these changes seem wholly related to policy. They are subject to change and revision, just as the policy on blacks receiving the priesthood was changed in 1978.

    Again, it would be wrong to characterize the concerns that some have voiced as coming from “Church opponents.” While that may be true of some, my thoughts as an active, believing member of the Church is evidence that not all Latter-Day Saints share the perspective you outlined above.

    Thanks for reading.

    • I appreciate your thoughtful commentary. I agree, unfortunately, that many otherwise faithful members of the Church believe these issues. I don’t mean to suggest that only the Church’s opponents have these ideas, but that these ideas have originated from them, and have unfortunately taken hold among some of the membership.

      A couple of responses. Certainly baptism and receipt of the Holy Ghost is a great blessing, but it’s not being deprived of anyone. It is being delayed until people are in a living situation where they can take advantage of those blessings. If baptism were available to these children, it could result in deep family discord and potentially take these children’s custody away from Latter-day Saint parents.

      Latter-day Saints are unique in believing that baptism will be available to all God’s children who have ever lived. Some are born into situations where they will need to wait until long after their lives have ended to receive baptism. Others will be born into situations where they will need to wait until adulthood to receive baptism. Characterizing the church’s attempts to preserve family unity for these children as some kind of punishment seems deeply unfortunate.

      • Yeah… all those ideas originated from outside sources. None of us members have brains and can think for ourselves… I read one singular article that was objective and printed the handbook section word for word. I read it and said, “This must be a joke.” Then I read some more and thought, “This is really gross,” because I have a brain and I can think logically.

      • Hi Christopher,
        Why is it important to consistently reiterate “these ideas were formulated by outsiders and have taken hold of some church members?” This implies that us church members are not, nay cannot, formulate ideas for ourselves. Further, it continues to propagate an us vs them mindset, which is divisive. Although, the church has a legacy of the U.S. vs them mindset, which I suppose could be seen as either protective or exclusionary.

        • The purpose of the article was to rebut some of the most common and fallacious arguments against the new policy. Faithful members of the Church who have struggled with this principle tend to have had more complex reactions than these simple knee jerk reactions. Church members can formulate their own ideas, in fact they tend to do so much better than reactionary opponents of the Church which is why they were the target of the article.

          • now there is the self-righteous attitude we can expect from LDS….lol Wow you nailed it! 10

      • Nate & Chris,
        I think Nate’s question about whether children who must wait until they are 18 to be baptized are put at a spiritual disadvantage is a critical one and is worth addressing further. If true, it would be deeply troubling to me as well. However, I do not believe that to be the case.
        Quite some time ago, partly related to personal experiences, I began thinking about the fact that a great majority of God’s children have lived on earth without the opportunity for baptism and consequently, the “Gift of the Holy Ghost.” Were they put at a significant disadvantage because of circumstances beyond their control? I do not think so.
        My answer came while reading in Moroni 7:36 from the Book of Mormon: “..have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he [God] withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?”
        It’s worth adding to my writing the very scripture that sparked the restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith, James 1:5 – “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to ALL men (and women 🙂 liberally.” The only condition for this is asking in faith, something born of obedience to God’s commandments.
        So there you have it… I firmly believe that God has been and continues to be willing (“so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand”) to reach out to all of His children, at any time, the moment they repent of their sins and turn to him for guidance and direction. Sure, baptism, church membership and it’s associated privileges matter, but they do not matter NEARLY so much as the inspiration we can receive from the God who is Father to us all. In that critical sense, he is no respecter of persons and gives liberally to all his children only on condition of obedience and where necessary, repentance.

      • “If baptism were available to these children, it could result in deep family discord and potentially take these children’s custody away from Latter-day Saint parents.” ????????? and you know this because? My mother is a psychologist, and a former member of the LDS church, worked in the temple and all, you are completely making an assumption and rolling with it as if your opinion is obvious. Simply have to wait. So when everyone is getting baptised and is excited about it the one child should just simply be patient and wait. You are talking in circles, that’s the spin the church needs to get people to follow.

        • You’re correct that this won’t always be the case, but if you follow the link in the article it explains the legal precedents I’m describing here in much greater detail.

    • Thank you for the excellent post.

      We need to be baptized to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. That does not mean non-members cannot feel or be influenced by the Holy Ghost. The Book of Mormon tells us that if we pray with a sincere heart the Holy Ghost can testify truth to us. The Savior is in charge of His church and is well aware of the policy change His church has made. He has the ability to allow any child trying to do what’s right to feel the Holy Ghost. I’m sure He will help any child affected by this policy in the manner which He sees is best for them. I trust Him and his prophets.

    • Agree 100% with your view on number 6. Especially when it comes to converts. I think this will prove difficult. Kids with gay parents and parents with gay children will likely not convert.. Can’t say I blame them. What I’m curious about is, LDS parents with young gay children.. How this effects them. I know I will always chose my child over any religion..

    • The myth is that people’s personal feelings dictate whether the new policy is right or wrong. The myth is not whether or not people have those feelings. I apologize for the confusion, and have edited that section to better reflect my intentions.

  137. You are wrong on #2. The policy for children of polygamists is that they must receive first presidency approval (along with disavowal and not living in the polygamist home). But they CAN be baptized. In contrast, the new policy for children of a parent in a same-sex relationship is that they cannot be baptized until they reach age 18 (along with disavowal and not living in the household with the same-sex relationship.

    You need to strike the last two paragraphs of myth #2.

      • So no editing your post to reflect the actual differences between the two policies where you have FALSELY claimed they are the same? “Similar” and “the same” are different, sir. And you claim to debunk “myths” and say other have made false claims while here both acknowledging and refusing to fix a lie of your own? You misspoke, own up to it and correct it or you’re no better than those you call liars. If you expect the SL Tribune to “take steps to amend the damage from their errors” you should do the same.

        Also, I respectfully disagree with your assertion that people’s feelings are merely emotional manipulation and political theater. If people “sincerely think that” they are hurt by something, they are hurt by it. That’s how feelings and emotions work. Sympathy and empathy and human emotion are real things. While you may not feel hurt by this revision discounting other people’s emotional reactions as “manipulation” or “rhetoric” is ignorant and irresponsible. It’s an asinine way to address a “myth”. People feel, and you are not an expert on any individual emotion but your own.

    • Thank you Brett. That is what I suspected. And no Chris Cuminham, these are not at all similar. In one case the child has the ability to be baptized before the age of 18 and in the other the child does not. What planet do you live on where you think these are similar enough to be considered analogous.

    • Actually – the First Presidency can approve a baptism at any age. In fact they can set aside any policy if they wish. Bishops and Stake Presidents are limited by the “legal age” requirement.

    • The move is punitive on the children and halts their progression and agency to enter into the ordinances of salvation. The idea that there may be questionable motives for same sex couples allowing their children to choose for themselves, and that this may cause conflict in the family is illogical. Joseph Smith taught that we should teach correct principles and let these principles govern us. If the correct principle is as you say above, then no child should be baptised when their parents are in sin. The principle of apostasy applies to anyone who opposes Gods laws, anyone who does not walk in the spirit and who is dead to God in sin, and therefore, if this is the correct principle, then it should apply to many other situations. If you base this as your logical reason, then logic also dictates that this is discriminatory, as there are others who are living in sin and in an apostate condition, but whose children are permitted to join the church and enter into those covenents.

      • Actually, it is a blessing to the children. It prevents them from making covenants that they have almost no chance of keeping.

        • “A woman I love very much does not get to have her child baptized, who was set to be baptized this Saturday. Her and her husband got a divorce because he could no longer pretend he wasn’t gay and is now happily married to a man. They are all happily coparenting together. The gay father was in complete support of the child getting baptized and had given his consent, even bought scriptures with the child’s name on them as a gift and was planning on attending the baptism. Because of this new rule, this child is not allowed to be baptized. The child is staying home from school today because the child was up all night sobbing. This child does not understand why he cannot be baptized when a week ago he would have been able to. Everyone else in his class will be getting baptized, everyone else in his extended family will be getting baptized. He is not allowed, despite going to church every Sunday, even with his father on the weekends he spends there. Despite paying tithing faithfully. Despite looking forward to this for as long as he understood was baptism was. Hurting children is wrong.”

          A friend of a friend posted this on Facebook. Jesus said, he who is without sin cast the first stone. In a similar line of thought I would suggest, he who does not understand what being gay is, or does not have a friend who is gay, do not make suggestions to how those who genuinely are hurting should feel, because you are really just showing your ignorance and lack of empathy..

          • I don’t think church is trying to hurt anyone, but I know this is not easy. I don’t think it was easy for the Brethren to make this decision either, but it isn’t fair to say the policy is meant to hurt children.

            On the other hand, I don’t understand how members of the church take sides in opposition to the church, or how this policy is, for many, a reason to leave the church or to justify that they had already left it. I understand sadness on those who have family and aqcuaintances affected by this policy, but not all of the “offended” are even reached by the policy. What’s the deal in here?

          • Hi Mariano,
            Can I clarify. I am certain that the intent of the policy in its development was not to hurt children. However, I am being realistic in my thought that it will hurt children.
            I think it is easy for those who are not directly affected to raise their arm to the square, and say I sustain. However, there are those of us whose children will be affected. (For context, see my other posts).
            Have you got children? (Please, no need to answer on the forum). If you do, how would you feel if, through no fault of your own, or your children, the church brought out a policy, that singled out your children, and stipulated that they could not be baptised until they were 18yrs old.
            Let’s also be clear that many members have been hurt by a policy of the church, not a revelation. Policies in the church have been known to change, and be revised. It may well be that the aim of the policy was toward same sex couples, who bring their own children into the world, or adopt. They may not have considered the rise in divorce in the church, where one of the individuals enters into a same saved relationship, while the other continues as an active member of the church, and the impact on the children of this relationship. This is my situation. I can only hope that there will be a review, but if there isn’t, then I and my children will have to do the best we can, and I will trust that Christ will recompense my children, whether in this life or the next.

          • Please have this woman you love and her ex-husband make an appeal of what you have shared with the First Presidency. They can make an exception for this young man to get baptized.

      • How does this halt children’s progression and agency? They are still able to attend church and church activities unless their gay parents prevent them from doing so. The opportunity to be baptized has not been denied to them. They will still be able to do so starting at the age of 18 when they legally do not have the interference from their gay parents.

        You are LDS. Do you believe homosexuality is a sin? If not, please explain why you do not follow the council of Thomas S. Monson and leaders of this church who have said repeatedly homosexuality is a sin when acted upon.

        • I don’t disagree but I want to ask you this. If they can go to all of the activities and participate clearly their parents are accepting this. IF they are already attending church, and the churches activities and their parents don’t object to them becoming a member why should they be denied the opportunity to be baptized and receive the gift of the holy ghost? If they are already an active member there really isn’t a big difference in them being baptized or not… This should clearly be a decision the parents have to make. if the parents are ok with their child being a member and they are of age to know wrong from right (8) then I just don’t get why the church would say no. Because Christ would not say no.

        • Is masturbation a sin? Is drinking an occasional beer or martini a sin? Is not paying a full tithing sin? For him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, is it a sin unto him?

          Are are the exclusionary policies for these people and their children?

          Lets be honest… the real issue is that the heterosexual penis is a first priesthood principle and a pillar of Mormon theology. And a pre-occupation of both Mormon leaders and the pious followers.

        • My reply was mid posted, please search for it among the posts. It is addressed to you, and does answer your questions.

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