Mormon apostle stands by new policy barring children of same-sex marriages

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Elder D Todd ChristoffersonLast night, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles sat down with Church Public Affairs director Mike Otterson in an interview designed to “help Church members, the media and the public better understand the context and purpose of the changes, which have been discussed extensively in the news media, on social media and elsewhere.”

What I wanted Elder Christofferson to say:

“The media has blown all of this out of proportion, and misunderstood what we intended. No children are going to be denied baby blessings or baptisms just because their parents are in same-sex marriages! That would be inconsistent with the ‘all are welcome’ sign on the ward meetinghouse’s front door, not to mention D&C 20:70, which instructs all members of the church to bring their children forward to be blessed in the name of Jesus Christ.”

The essence of what he actually said:

  • Everything the media has been writing about the Church denying baptism to children of same-sex marriages is true. Such children will not be blessed as infants or baptized as eight-year-olds. One helpful clarification he did make was that such children will not be denied other priesthood blessings that are available to all people, and not just members of the Church, such as anointings for the sick.
  • When these children reach adulthood and may wish to serve a mission, they will have to denounce their parents’ same-sex marriage before being approved for missionary service.
  • Same-sex marriage is “a particularly grievous” sin that will require mandatory church discipline for any couples who live it. When called, those disciplinary councils may not always result in excommunication, but the handbook now requires them to be convened nonetheless.
  • The Brethren feel that all these policy changes are pastoral and make sense. They are denying baptism to some children because they believe it is what Jesus Christ himself would want. Elder Christofferson said that first and foremost, LDS leaders see their role as a ministry and are primarily concerned with Jesus’ commandment to “feed my sheep.”

I’m not sure which is more devastating: seeing the policy written in black and white, as I did yesterday, or hearing the gentle and avuncular Elder Christofferson, whom I admire, equate “no baptism” to “feed my sheep.”

The latter, I think. I cried. Something in my heart shriveled when this kind man defended this policy on forbidding baptism as being what Christ would want.

Elder Christofferson expressed compassion “and a desire to protect children in their innocence and in their minority years.” A baby blessing has been removed entirely as a possibility for these kids, for example, because it is a “trigger” for other things to happen in the Church: a membership record to be created, a home teacher to be assigned, an expectation that the child will eventually attend Primary.

“And that,” he said, “is likely not going to be an appropriate thing in the home setting, in the family setting, where they’re living as children where their parents are a same-sex couple.”

I am wondering about a few implications the Church seems to be suggesting in defense of these changes.

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

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

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

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

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

Third, what is this sudden claim that we have long had a similar policy in place for children who grow up in polygamous circumstances? Elder Christofferson said they too have been denied baptism while living in their parents’ homes, and this has been the case “over many generations.”

He explained that the situation between same-sex marriage families and polygamous families “really has a parallel.” I don’t see it that way. Same-sex marriage was never once taught as church doctrine; the highest leaders of the church have never practiced it; it has never been linked to exaltation. Plural marriage used to be associated with all of those things.

So while I can understand why the current church needs to distance itself from polygamy in order to create a boundary between today’s teachings and those of the past, no such case can be made for the history of Mormonism and same-sex marriage. The church has always opposed it.

I’d also point out that up through the 2006 handbook, the stated policy toward children of polygamous marriages was not nearly as draconian as the new 2015 policy for children of same-sex marriages. Here is the 2006 policy:

2006 LDS policy about children of polygamyThis 2006 policy never stated that such children had to wait until they were adults who were no longer living in their parents’ home, or that they couldn’t be blessed as infants.

Some of this was changed in the 2010 handbook, which more closely resembles today’s new restrictions on children of same-sex marriage. It still says nothing about these children having to wait until adulthood for baptism (though it stipulates that they must no longer be living in their parents’ home, which might imply adulthood), and it does not address infant blessings:

2010 LDS policy about children of polygamySo, if by “over many generations” Elder Christofferson means “for the last five years,” then there is a very rough correspondence.

I am still feeling stunned and saddened that the Church has chosen to circle its wagons in this particular way, which hurts children, drives wedges in families, and further alienates LGBT members.

  • Mike

    I had the same feelings and thoughts as Jana when I watched the interview.

  • Thank you, Jana, for the voice you provide to this discussion.

  • Memba

    I am out of the US on a business trip in Asia with a couple of colleagues and was having lunch with a supplier and her lesbian partner today. She is a great person to work with and has been completely trustworthy, intelligent and dependable.

    All day long I have been trading texts with two of my children who are in total shock and are terribly upset by these new policies. We have taught our children to love our neighbors and to respect and be kind to all–including those with different beliefs, ethnicity, cultural traditions, etc. We have taught them to leave the judging of others to God, and instead treat them with the judgment we, ourselves want–one of kindness, love and great mercy.

    These policy changes are a reversion to a law of Moses approach. Where is the Christ in it? If Elder C wants to defend this as Christian, where is the doctrinal and scriptural support that trumps the mandate to love God and His children, our neighbors?

    Cognitive dissonance defined!!

  • DrRon

    Thank you Jana. I love your comments and insight. I wonder what the response will be when people start believing the science that clearly shows that people born with same sex attractions have lost their ability to make a choice. Why do some Mormons cheer on people born with physical problems but shun those with with a dysfunctional brain?

  • TS

    To me, the handbook addition is more about boundary maintenance for our stance on gays and less about “protecting children.” If the Brethren were really worried about putting kids in stressful situations, then I think they should also amend the handbook to prohibit kids of mixed faith marriages (where one or more parents is apostate and has negative feelings towards the church) from being baptized and participating in church. In my opinion, the level of trauma that mixed faith / apostate kids experience is far more intense than what a child of same sex parents (who want their kids to be practicing LDS) would experience and affects many more children. So if the Brethren want to protect the kids, I think they should prohibit kids in mixed faith / apostate homes from being blessed / baptized, etc. that would be the fair and equitable thing to do, right?

  • Bobbie

    Another upsetting change–and somewhat related–is the difference between the Old Testament seminary teacher’s manual from 2014 to 2015 regarding the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The 2014 manual barely even alludes to homosexuality. The 2015 manual focuses on it almost exclusively. Just when you think the church is taking a gentler stance . . .

  • ron

    Take the sacrament on sunday. Feel pain. Bash the priesthood throughout the week. Take the sacrament on sunday. Feel pain. Bash the priesthood throughout the week. Repeat until you learn a better way.

    The pain you feel is the holy ghost telling you that you need to repent and surrender your will. The awesome thing is that the lord will let it be your decision when your ready.

  • Danny S

    Rion, the holy ghost is causing pain? This is the same being that flees at the hint of anything negative. The spirit of god like a fire is burning… Uh oh, Billy touched himself. I’m gone.

    The pain thinking members feel is more like what the wife feels when the husband caught in bed with another woman exclaims, “who are you going to believe, me?, or your lying eyes”? Dear Ron, this is what is known as cognitive dissonance.

  • Jacob H.

    Children in polygamous families are often part of a larger community that teach some form of mormonism, so it seems somewhat easier for them to transition into the LDS faith when they are older. Children of same-sex parents don’t seem to have an alternative community they could be raised in and not stigmatized as “outsiders”. So parents are left with the difficult choice of either not being active in the church and sparing their kids the shame of not being full participants for 18 years, or being active and watching their children suffer. Good job, new policy.

  • Allan West

    It is the church effectively washing its hands of its responsibility to aid in the salvation of these children.

  • I love the Mormon people, and I love so much of Mormonism. But I’ll be taking a break from the church.

    I’ll be fine. It’s peaceful at home and I have gratitude. I have Jesus too.

    But the institution is making me feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall. I’ll be taking a sabbatical.

    Not going to divorce the church, but I will be separating from it until it’s a good and safe place for ALL families. I love my family, and I think this is for the best.

  • Bruce O

    I’ve been wishing for years that the Church would put its considerable efforts towards combating a truly grievous sin, specifically child abuse or sexual abuse, rather than letting us know that only certain people will be righteous enough to attain the Celestial Kingdom. We already know that most of us just aren’t going to be found worthy enough and will have to settle for a lower reward. And truly most of will end up living with our gay equals in the lowest kingdom.
    Also, what about the promise given to those who have lost a child, or baby, or even a baby before earthly birth? Are we not told that we’ll be given a chance to raise that child in the hereafter? What happens if that child is gay? How will that work in Heaven? Will they have to remain single in the Celestial Kingdom, assuming they don’t act on their grievous feelings? I thought that single people will not be able to live in the Celestial Kingdom.

  • Jennifer

    I think Elder C. revealed the real reason behind this new policy (around the 2:50 mark):

    “It’s a matter of a firm policy that doesn’t allow for question or doubt.”

    He later stated, “The Church, of course, doesn’t attempt to practice mind control.” (around 9 minute mark).

    I can’t reconcile ‘no allowance for question or doubt’ with ‘church doesn’t attempt mind control.’

  • Marni

    In my heart I know this decision is wrong. After much prayer I’ve determined this isn’t a decision Christ would agree with, which makes me question so much about the church. So many of the things I’ve put in the back of my mind but can no longer ignore. It’s going to be painful and difficult, but I’m going to begin my search for a new church to join. As someone above said, I’ll be fine as I still have Jesus. I’m determined to do the right thing. I can’t monetarily or spiritually support this church any longer.

  • AJ

    We need to stop thinking that it is just the church. The brethren would not have done this without the approval of the Lord. If it is the will of our Savior that this is done then why do we question? “Whether by my voice or the voice of my servants it is the same”

  • Emma S.

    It seems to me that this kind of decision is totally predictable in an organization led by 12 old white men who are trying desperately to freeze their world where it originated in the 19th century. How about seeing the world as it is, fellas? Diverse, young, multicultural, multiracial and embracing of those who love people of the same gender? Try not to be afraid. Reach out your hands to your grandchildren and, yes, great grandchildren. They will teach you what you didn’t learn in the ancient world you grew up in.

  • L

    I believe that we are supposed to ask God and find out truth for ourselves. I’ve been praying about this since Thursday night, asking if this policy is from God. The answer is not yes. I recognize that I do not receive revelation for the church and that setting policy is not my job. But I have to live according to what I believe God is telling me, my experience with God from the scriptures, years of church attendance, and lessons I have learned through my life. I think that is our responsibility as members.

  • Tiani

    Thank you, Jana, for your courage in saying some important things. I thought this policy went further than the polygamy policy, but I hadn’t been able to track it down. Well done.

  • Danny S

    L, with great empathy I ask you, what does your answer imply? I mean, unless you believe the brethren did not seek inspiration, you must admit your answer is inconsistent with their answer. Does that not suggest that “seeking the spirit” is an unreliable way to seek truth? Of course the church being what it is, some member will imply that YOU have the problem and some imperfection or sin on YOUR part caused you to receive an inconsistent answer. This is an insidious mind rape that the church does over and over to its members. It’s not OUR error, it’s YOUR error. Yeah, right.

  • maddy

    I’m just wondering where LDS youth who are LGBT fit in now. If the leadership is being so “careful” about children who have LGBT parents–what does that say to 16 year old LDS youth who are LGBT? Should they wait to be baptized as well, to when they are mature enough to make an informed decision for themselves?

    I would think LDS parents of youth who are LGBT must be doing some deep soul-searching as to whether the church is an emotionally healthy and safe environment for their children.

  • Jack

    The Mormon church known as LDS (Latter Day Saints) is a cult. Just like its little sister, the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints). I am sure most have heard about Warren Jeffs, the prophet and leader of the FLDS. He is in prison for marrying and having sex with girls as young as twelve years old. It is a sick practice. Although the LDS stopped this horrible practice in order for Utah to be admitted to the U.S. as a state, it is still part of the D&C and they believe that it will reinstituted in the future. The LDS and FLDS use the same cannon of scripture. Warren Jeffs has complete control over his followers. Even though from the outside it looks absolutely ridiculous, to those inside, it does not register just how wrong their beliefs really are. The same is true for LDS. It is a cult and it is as hard as hell to get out of it. If you are LDS, you are in a cult and you need to get out. It is not leading you to salvation. It is leading you straight to hell.

  • Bro David

    On a Facebook page in a conversation about this new policy, a woman reported that the students at BYU, known to have same gender parents, were contacted yesterday and told they will need to renounce their same gender parents or leave BYU. I hope that isn’t true and if it is that they can at least finish out the quarter.

    I don’t think that the LDS General Authorities realize how many GLBT there are associated with the LDS Church. When you have such a high birthrate, there will be a high percentage who are GLBT.

  • Tim

    At this point, according to a close reading of the language, this deeply impacts not only children of homosexual parents, but also children who have divorced parents if one of those parents happens to be living in a homosexual relationship. Which means that children who live, for example, with their temple worthy mother and hardly ever see their homosexual father will still be denied baptism and other blessings.

  • Bro David

    You bring up the mean extreme, there are similar situations with joint/shared custody and the children are affected.

    On the KUTV (SLC) website there is an interview with a guy acting as a spokesman for GLBT parents and he reported that a child in a shared custody situation (gay dad + partner, remarried mother) was to be baptized today and the family was notified yesterday that the baptism was cancelled.

  • Ben in oakland

    Jana, I’m surprised that you’re surprised.

    We gay people who have been watching antigay Christians wiggle and squirm in order to use God to justify what cannot be justified by any other means– we know there is really only one sin in the world, or at least only one that requires extra special treatment. Just as we have watched people twist and pervert scripture to make being gay the worst possible sin, the only sin that merits political campaigns to keep “those people” in their place. Just as we have watched your precious church, in their present statement, define five different “states” of apostasy– and guess who is on that list. Just as we have watched the church pat itself on the back for promoting antidiscrimination laws that allow the people most likely to do so to discriminate– small businesses and landlords. Just as are are completely unable to distinguish between the love they profess as ‘christians’ and the hate they disclaim.

    Nothing new here.

  • Ben in oakland

    So tHe family values crowd is trying to drive a wedge between children and their parents. Why, quelles surprises!!!!

    And they are trying to use the faith that proclaims it is love as a hammer to drive that wedge between parents and their children. Why, quelles surprises again!!!!

    Why, one would almost think that what we gay people have been saying for decades: the moral majority is neither, the Christian Right is neither, and the family values crowd has little interest in either families or values.

    What I say is at anyone who attempts to drive such a wedge between parents and children is nothing but a purveyor of pure evil.

  • m

    The polygamy policy goes back to 1925 or 1935, I forget which.

    I’m sorry this policy causes some people pain. I think greater pain, eternally, is caused by people who teach that living contrary to God’s commandments as taught by His prophets will somehow lead to eternal happiness, as alluded to by Elder Christofferson.

  • Sue

    I sort of understand that the leaders are redefining homosexual behavior as apostasy, in that it is willful disobedience to the Church’s laws of morality. I think in the minds of the leaders, this is simply a clarification of their position. I guess that it makes sense, in some universe, that they need to make this clear to the bishops and stake presidents.
    The problem that I have with this policy is that it assumes that homosexuality is a choice. I firmly believe that it’s not a choice but is their nature. I also know that the church says that as long as people don’t act on their feelings, there is no consequence to simply being gay. But that’s not a reasonable expectation. I don’t see how gay people marrying and adopting or having biological children is anymore “wilfull” breaking of the church’s laws than adultery but adulterers aren’t considered apostates.
    It’s so disappointing that men who I thought were kind and loving are endorsing such harsh policies.

  • Bro David

    “I also know that the church says that as long as people don’t act on their feelings, there is no consequence to simply being gay.”

    Ask the celibate, gay members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir how that went down when they were expelled when Boyd K Packer was in a position of control of the choir! in 2008. It’s the rumored reason Craig Jessop abruptly left the choir, because he was not in favor of the purge.

  • My wife teaches Seminary as well (and did 8 years ago when to topic of study was also OT). This change bothered her as we have many gay friends, some who have stayed in our home. (One stays with us for a week almost every year.) She took this manual change a little bit personal. Luckily she went to an in-service where the local CES leader said, “Contrary to what the manual says, the story of Sodom’s destruction is not about homosexuality.” Then he added, “I wish the term Sodomize had come to mean ‘overpower with rampant materialism’.” After that, she was totally OK teaching the lesson.

  • Erieo

    My heart goes out to all of you who have been affected by this revision/addition of church policy. I will admit that I don’t entirely understand the ‘why’ behind this addition, but then again, I don’t understand all of God’s mysterious ways, or reason for doing things. But I trust that He knows best. Reading this article and your comments, I can only imagine how torn you must feel, and I feel for you and your families. To those of you who are dealing with same sex attraction/openly gay and still fervently go to church, I admire your courage and determination to live righteously amidst the… judgements. I have no doubt that the apostles have fasted and prayed and probably have had plenty of sleepless nights because of this (who knows, their family might even be affected!). But at the end of the day, they love us, and though these are not pioneer times, we all need to ask ourselves what the price we are willing to pay to “become acquainted with God” is. He loves you, He truly…

  • Sue

    I didn’t know that. Yet another reason to not be a fan of Elder Packer.

  • Erieo

    Not sure if my last comment got published or not… but the gist of it is that this updated policy will only help me get my “clean break” if I were a child of gay parents (that I’d love very much). My faith, desire and testimony to be converted to the gospel will be mine alone and this will only help my faith and spiritual growth. People wouldn’t have much reason to question so much/doubt my faith with every decision I make. In contrast, if I had grown up in a church where my parents’ marriage was not in accordance with its doctrine and if on one hand parents in church whisper in my presence (people tend to be imperfect) and hurt my feelings because of the things they say about my parents, or me (though not intentional) and on the other hand my parents are nudging me to get baptized and gain a testimony, I would only be very confused. I would much rather make an informed decision once I’m able to “know for myself” and to know what might entail if I did decide to get baptized.

  • Memba

    Does anyone besides me wonder if some of the more strident, combative voices on this topic have wrestled with their own sexuality? Sociologists would argue that there has to be at least a few who have repressed themselves into a tight closet.
    Not that this really matters, but ever since I heard the first bizarrely hateful “devotional” on this topic at BYU 30+ years ago, the attitudes on this topic have seemed a little odd. I have known gay people since I was a teenager and I have had gay friends and a gay boss. I can’t say that I have always been 100% kind and compassionate about this topic. But I have never understood the weird attitude that gays were somehow predators that you might have to beat up to keep from getting molested. Of the many gay people I have known over the years, I have never, ever felt threatened.

    I have never understood strong homophobia? Why do we LDS feel a need to attack them as if they were the devil himself?…With love, of course.

  • Maddy

    I find it interesting how some unequivocally attribute these policies to God when God apparently allows His annointed to make mistakes in administering church affairs. We’ve seen enough “evolution” and increasing knowledge/understanding/awareness lead to significant changes in church policies and practices. Time will tell–not until we get to the other side–will we know how we erred.
    As for me, my strongest spiritual experience was a clear message to love our neighbors–and our enemies–and treat them as we would want to be treated. Same-sex marriage provides a way for our gay brothers and sisters to follow the law of chastity and monogamy, as marriage does for heterosexuals.

    I had hoped that our gay brothers and sisters, believers in Christ, married or not, would be welcomed into the fold. Sadly, we erected a fence.

  • Jacob H.

    Jana, what exactly is your policy on comments? The commenter “TS” from earlier was being ironic when he said “I think they should also amend the handbook to prohibit kids of mixed faith marriages”. Did you worry that people wouldn’t get that, or did you not get it yourself? Likewise, when I said “Good job, new policy”, it was with an ironic tone. I was pointing out that, despite how harsh our policies are toward polygamous families, this new policy is much more painful. I don’t see how that is out of line with what others have been saying that has remained up, but then again I also don’t see why you’re erasing pretty much every comment that goes against your position. Is it because this topic is sensitive, you are being extra careful here?

  • Atheist

    Memba

    “Where is the Christ in it?”

    Elder Todd Christofferson
    is following the preachments of the first author of Christianity:

    “Let him who has done this be removed from among you.” (1 Corinthians 1:13)
    “have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thessalonians 3:14)

    Does Jesus not agree? Look for yourself:

    “Don’t waste….on those people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!” – JESUS (Matthew 7:6)

    If this comment gets deleted remember the offensive advice came not from me but these two: Jesus and Paul.

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  • Joanne

    There is a mistake here. The first thing, according to the handbook, is to hold immediate disciplinary counsel on those who are SSM. The church does not consider them members. If they are not members, then how can their children be blessed if they are not the children of members. It’s like 2 Catholics coming in and asking for their child to be blessed.
    So FIRST, you have to understand those who are SSM are not now or will ever be considered members of the church.

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    Interesting turn of phrase here: “Do we imagine that children born in same-sex marriage are the only ones for whom church membership or baptism can be contested questions?” Please explain how a child is born in a same sex marriage. I am pretty sure that you can’t, on account of it’s an impossible thing.

    A lot of this argument is equally suspect logic, and reasoning from false analogies. It’s surprising that you (Jana) and others here are unwilling even to try to understand the dilemmas and moral incoherence that would result from any other policy. But I guess it’s easier just to criticize. Too bad.

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  • Sue

    Dear Try, the ban includes adopted children, children whose biological parents have split because one was gay, and children born using a surrogate. There is more than one way to have children. Glad for you that you’ve not needed to use any of the alternate ways to have children. Try to see it their way,

  • Leigh

    I’ll stick with Jesus’ position. Matthew 18. Identify in this dilemma the vics and the perps. Children getting excluded = Victims. – Adults judging and excluding the children = Perpetrators. Pretty clear cut. Jesus’ gospel=love God, love others, don’t judge. Love and serve others. Keep the greatest two commandments and the rest follow. Period. Prophesies are being fulfilled right before our eyes. Those who should know better are being deceived. Men’s hearts shall fail them and they will be past feeling. We must follow God, not people. The Holy Spirit will guide. It’s a lonely and rocky road, but at least you’ll sleep at night with a clear conscience. Do no harm.

  • Leigh

    “Love one another.” Our only hope. All of us.

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  • EH

    Interesting perspective. Here is an additional perspective from a fellow American religious history Ph.D. student. Lots of different takes.

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=469288793258340&id=100005316706731

    Be sure to read comments of this post if interested in additional commentary by post’s author

  • Waking up to a barren landscape, the pioneer closes up camp and moves on in search of something better. My Mormon ancestors somehow managed to settle colonies in Mexico and Arizona. Pretty sure the Georgia dirt farmer who set us on that path made plenty of mistakes along the way. Also pretty sure the LDS church is done with pioneering. Probably for the best. If life’s taught me anything, it’s that people who are either too cocksure or too afraid to admit their own fallibility make for risky traveling companions in open country.

    Nothing on offer here honors our Mormon heritage, never mind the permission it grants the membership to continue sneering at the years and lives spent on the project of building a country safe for all families.

  • Kristen

    Thank you Jana. I could not agree with you more. This has been devastating on so many levels. I am left with feeling like, I can’t stand for this! So what to do? Something needs to be done. This just can’t be. But no one even talked about it in my ward yesterday, it was like nothing had happened. I feel like I’m in the twilight zone. It feels surreal. This is NOT the church I thought I knew!

  • Richard W

    I hope Non- Mormons and those who still consider themselves Mormon first thought deeply and carefully before criticizing loudly and publicly. There is a good deal of evidence most writing here have not because of their tortured logic. It is easy to detect many logical fallacies and contradictory reasoning. It is not surprising that non-Momons and antagonists to use argumentum ad hominem. Appeal to emotion based on appeal to what one considers Jesus would do is the basis of most of the argument here. Most perhaps do not know that appeal to authority, is a logical fallacy. It is all the more a fallacy if Mormons writing stridently here appeal to authority based upon our own personal view of what Jesus would do without considering for a moment what the scriptures or His Apostles say, Those who consider themselves members of Christ’s Church indulge in fallacious not to say faithlessness when they speak loudly and publicly without praying and pondering the scriptures first.

  • Sue Baker

    Thanks, Jana, for an important perspective!

  • Larry

    The policy is objectively a clear demonstration of the bigotry and maliciousness of the LDS leadership. Its supporters clearly demonstrate fecklessness in their efforts to make excuses for the policy.

    The LDS church wants to attack gays and their families, so be it. Just don’t be crying “persecution” when called out on such bad behavior and the nonsense used to justify it. Own up to your own bigotry and what you do to defend it in public. No need to blame God or scripture for one’s maliciousness.

  • ThomasT

    We seem to have a lot of “prophets” on the web who have a feeling that they know God’s will much better than the men actually called and sustained as prophets. Of course LDS leaders feel compassion for the children being impacted by the actions of parents who defy the Lord’s teachings on children and marriage. The LDS Church, by the guidance of these prophets, does an amazing job with children, overall. The stats on LDS kids raised in traditional families actually living prophetic teachings are positive. I feel children have a right to parents who rear them to honor the laws of God, and also to a peaceful home. Children have been endowed by their Creator with the inalienable right to both a father and a mother and to a family made in the image of the family of God. These LDS prophets have a prophetic feeling that this action will help protect these kids while also protecting the flock from marriage practices contrary to the highest laws and rights bestowed by God on His children.

  • Mike

    The change in policy is clearly misguided. I do not for one second think this policy change came about as something to “protect” the children. That borders on absurdity. In fact, if that were true, why did it take the prophet and apostles until 2015 to protect children of gay people? That does not seem like prophetic insight to me. Why didn’t this policy happen in 1830 so we could be protecting these children all along. I think the church is run on 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration. This policy came form the perspiration part. Sorry but that is true!

  • Larry

    @ThomasT

    “Children have been endowed by their Creator with the inalienable right to both a father and a mother and to a family made in the image of the family of God. ”

    But if they don’t, they deserve to have no parents at all and live in institutionalized settings/foster care system, or not to ever have existed. That is what you are saying when you use such a boneheaded remark in defense of attacking gay couples raising children.

    The LDS is doing them a favor by being purposefully keeping them out.
    These children are being protected from having to be exposed to holier than thou nonsense which attacks their parents and demonstrates how malicious bigots can be.

    The claim, “its not me, its God saying these people deserve to be attacked” is pure spinelessness. You are trying to pretend bigotry should be excused as religious belief. If you think God’s will is to attack people in such a manner, it speaks badly of what your religion considers moral.

  • Danny S

    My strong feeling is this policy change is less about protecting children than it is in preserving “correct-think” amongst the faithful. The church is well aware that children raised by loving same-sex couples will challenge its teachings about homosexuality in one form or another. The church is unwilling to have such non-conformist views in its ranks. At least in any outspoken form. Instead, it seeks to shield its member children from any competing views during this more malleable stage. More singing of Follow the Prophet and less thinking independently.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    “Same-sex marriage is “a particularly grievous” sin …”

    No, Mr. Christofferson. Your ethics and morality are upside down.

    Voting for a man who lied us into war is a grievous sin.

    Defending torture is a grievous sin.

    Locking non-Mormons out of the temple weddings of their loving relatives is a grievous sin.

    Collecting tithes while refusing to make a full accounting of how they are spent is a grievous sin.

    Suppressing voting rights is a grievous sin.

    Calling black skin a curse from god is a grievous sin.

    Failing to protect the environment is a grievous sin.

    Opposing civil rights is a grievous sin.

    Venerating a “prophet” who married little children is a grievous sin.

    Opposing equal rights for women is a grievous sin.

    Harming Gay families is a grievous sin.

    Using *children* to coerce obedience to your church is a grievous sin.

    But a loving and committed marriage between to gay people is *not* a grievous sin.

  • Wayne Dequer

    I certainly believe that all have the right to express their concerns and even criticisms, especially on the internet. I try Not minimize sincere concerns. However, I’d encourage us to remember that Elder Christofferson has a loving and supportive family relationship with his brother who is gay (see http://kutv.com/news/local/lds-leader-uses-family-as-example-of-harmony-between-church-gays ) as we dissect his comments and ascribe motivations.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    It is not difficult to imagine children being used as pawns. The Church does not want to be party to that. I don’t blame it.

  • Lew Craig

    I was surprised when this announcement came out. Then I recalled my own situation over 50 years ago. I had a remarkable spiritual experience that lead me into the Church. I wanted to be baptized at the time. I was 19. The age of emancipation at the time was 21. My father refused permission for me to be baptized. I had to wait. It was a rough road.

    As such, I see this policy as actually being compassionate. Had my parents been gay and I had been 8, 12, 15 or 17, the situation would be heart wrenching, more than a child or the parents should have to deal with. It sounds cruel to say the person has to renounce the parent’s lifestyle when reaching childhood, but I renounced my parent’s lifestyle by qualifying for baptism. I did NOT renounce my parents.

    I had great confidence this policy came about as a result of a number of sad experiences. Maybe the PR wasn’t the greatest on this one, but I think it is a wise decision.

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  • DG

    I’m very sad for those of you so quick to throw stones at the leaders of the church and ascribe hate and bigotry to their motives. Could it be that there is something more and your opinions aren’t the end all be all, let alone the ones that count? So many of you claim the prophets don’t know the mind of the Lord, but I ask- do you?
    http://blog.fairmormon.org/2015/11/09/the-brethren-are-not-bigots/
    http://gaymormonguy.blogspot.com/2015/11/waiting-on-lord-same-sex-adoption.html

  • larry

    Give us all a break. The attitude of LDS leadership towards gays is guided entirely by bigotry. By a desire to treat gays as less than people. To attack their civil liberties and find ways to treat them in demeaning ways.

    Claiming the leaders are inspired by the Lord, therefore their policy is OK is pure cowardice. A way to act badly and pretend it is above criticism. A perfect example of the lack of morality religious belief can inspire. Any bad act can be justified if one claims it is done in the name of God. Any harm can be justified to others if one claims a righteous purpose. What a load of nonsense!

    Go ahead, let your church treat others badly, Just don’t expect to be considered as moral examples for others. Don’t expect people to treat your views with any kind of respect. It is not deserved.

  • Leigh

    Thank you. Let the witchhunt begin. Scary.

  • Mike W.

    I didn’t read all the other comments. But, I’m curious if there has been any discussion on the church’s future tax exempt status now that they’ve jumped into the steam of what could be considered civil rights violations.

  • Mike W.

    Has there been any discussion on the church’s future tax exempt status now that they’ve jumped into the river of what could be considered civil rights violations?

  • Richard W

    Mike W a special law to tax a religion for its doctrine is a mongrle dog that will not hunt. It would break several article and amendments of the constitution beginning with the First Amendment.

  • Sue

    I wondered the same thing.

  • DG

    Well, just in case you all haven’t already made up your minds about how tolerant, loving, and high and mighty you are compared to all the rest of us, who are just troglodytes or sheep…http://ldsmag.com/my-question-for-people-more-and-more-convinced-of-inherent-mormon-bigotry/

  • Larry

    “Has there been any discussion on the church’s future tax exempt status now that they’ve jumped into the river of what could be considered civil rights violations?”

    Imagine that they have to pay property taxes and income taxes on the billions of dollars they have invested in real estate and commercial ventures? All paid for with coercive tithing policies.

    Imagine if the members who contributed financially to such things had a fractional share of them like public corporations?

    Imagine the church had transparent finances to ensure and protect its funds from corrupt management?

  • Okay, this may be a little off topic. I’ve been giving blessings to nonmembers when they are sick – oil and all – for about 2 decades now. Sense when was that wrong???

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  • celestial angel

    The souls of gay children who commit suicide will haunt these misled false apostles. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

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