Mormon boy denied priesthood ordination because his mom is living with a woman

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Same-sex marriage

11/14/15 Update: Yesterday, the LDS Church released a clarification that directly affects the family described in this story. Read here for information on the November 13 First Presidency letter, more details on the Church’s policy toward same-sex families, and Alyssa Paquette’s reaction.


This time last week, Alyssa Paquette’s twelve-year-old stepson was preparing to be ordained to the priesthood in the LDS Church.

Now that has all changed. On November 5, the Church confirmed a new policy that forbids baby blessings, baptisms, and priesthood ordinations for minor children who reside at least part of the time in a home where a parent is in a same-sex marriage.

The sadness has been palpable. After a crushing weekend spent trying to understand what the Church’s new policy means for him, the boy* is crestfallen.

“Usually he is so positive and easygoing, but ever since these policies hit and we learned he would not be ordained, he has been depressed and anxious,” says Paquette, 35, a Mormon mother living in Oregon.

He’s not the only one. Their whole blended family has been suffering since the news hit last Thursday. Their family configuration is complicated but loving: The twelve-year-old is Paquette’s husband’s son from a prior relationship. The boy’s mother subsequently began cohabiting with a woman. The father joined the LDS Church, married Paquette, and had three more children with her, now ages 8, 6, and 2.

The boy’s two families share equal custody and his biological mother has been accepting of the decision to raise him as a Mormon, despite her reservations about its teachings on LGBT issues. “All of his parents were there” at his baptism four years ago, says Paquette. “It was a great experience because we all came together to support our son during an important time.”

Now Paquette expresses shock and grief that on the eve of their son’s ordination, he’s being rejected. “It feels like a mourning process, like someone has actually died. The church is such a huge part of our lives, and to have that suddenly taken away from him is really challenging,” she says.

Paquette notes that her family has been deluged with “an outpouring of love and support” from their local ward, and that the bishop reached out to them immediately. “He was very sympathetic and full of love, and struggling to find the right words for us.”

But, she says, “He was also at a loss for how the new policies would apply in our situation. It sounds like he hasn’t been given much guidance other than what’s in the handbook.” At first, the family hoped that an exception might be made because their son is already a baptized member of the church, and so close in age to his planned ordination.

However, that was impossible since he is legally required to live part-time in his biological mother’s home according to the terms of their joint custody agreement. Under the new policy, this makes him ineligible for most of the church’s rites until he becomes an adult—and even then only if he disavows his mother’s same-sex marriage.

“That is just not an option for us,” Paquette says. “My husband and I feel that it would be wrong to have him disavow half of his family.”

The shock wave of this policy change doesn’t just affect her son, though.

Her eight-year-old daughter was scheduled to be baptized next week, and now that will not be happening.

“Even though our three other children aren’t precluded from being baptized, we feel like we can’t continue to participate in church with the policy as it stands,” she says. “We have a strong conviction that it’s wrong.”

The Paquettes have decided that they will either attend church together as a family, with all of their children treated equally, or they will find somewhere that is a “safe place” for the six of them.

Paquette breaks down in tears at the thought of not being Mormon, which is “a huge part” of her identity. She does not want to have the family’s names removed from the rolls—“that would be really drastic, and would close a door”—but she won’t choose the church over keeping her family whole.

“When you’re raised in the church, you’re raised to sustain your leaders. You’re taught that anything that comes from the church is from God, and to not sustain them is to not sustain God,” she says.

“But I don’t know how we’re supposed to sustain something that tears our family apart.”


 RELATED STORIES OF FAMILIES AFFECTED BY THE POLICY CHANGE:


 

* Children’s names have been omitted from this story at the request of the family.

  • anon

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but my reading of the policy is that it doesn’t actually matter whether the son lives with his biological mother part time or even at all. The way it’s worded, if she’s his mother and *she* lives with or is married to another woman, he is barred. Am I misreading that?

    Also, I’m hoping to not derail any discussion of your larger point with my question. This thing is horrible. It’s almost hard to believe that they actually did this.

  • This is one big Mormon nightmare. We’ve been sucker punched by Salt Lake and for some there will be no recovery.

  • Jonathan

    anon, you are correct; the application of this policy applies to all children of “a parent who has lived or is living in a same-gender relationship,” with no limitations for custody or residential status (and no expiration date or other provision for repentance, either). Here is the full text of the handbook section on KSL: http://www.ksl.com/?sid=37248288.

  • Porter

    There is only one word for this: Abuse. These children are the victims of an abusive policy, there’s no other way to describe it. This policy is not of God.

  • Anon

    I am in the exact same situation, sharing custody with an ex-spouse in a same-sex marriage, but my stake president called the Office of the First Presidency and was told the policy does not apply to shared custody like this. Did they get a different answer in this case? The article is unclear about that. I can’t imagine the church wants to wade into the legal arena of interfering with custody and visitation..

  • Sharee
  • Very sad story.

    I’ve been collecting similar stories, for those who may want to read them — or to post their own story.

    http://bit.ly/SufferTheChildren

  • Lindsey

    Why does this article keep referring to the mother as the biological mother? Unless the child was adopted by his stepmom it seems inappropriate to refer to his mother as a biological mother.

  • Elder Elder

    To the extent this helps anyone, an old mission companion and I did this as a song for people to vent along to: https://soundcloud.com/user-955772405/cause-your-daddy-loves-your-daddy

  • Erin

    I’m sure there are thousands of kids affected by this policy and tens of thousands of people if you just count immediate families. I am so happy that I’ve detached from the church and so sad for people who are fully invested.

  • maddy

    “the policy does not apply to shared custody?”

    If this is true, one would think those who wrote the policy would’ve made it clear it does not apply to shared custody situations. I have to question how carefully and thoughtfully this policy was put in writing when overlooking such obvious situations as shared custody.

    As it is the policy states:
    “”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….”

  • Tim

    Anon–it sounds like there’s been a miscommunication somewhere, or else the policy doesn’t actually mean what it says it means. I hope it’s the latter. If that’s the case, though, one would think that the church would have publicly clarified that by now.

    But honestly, it’s bad policy. If your stake presidency is planning on ignoring it (innocently or not) don’t press the matter.

    I imagine a lot of divorced people will now be keeping their ex’s sexual orientation a secret…

  • Wanda

    Some translation is necessary:

    “The church is such a huge part of our lives”, except for the fact that we don’t actively live the teachings of the Church…
    “My husband and I feel that it would be wrong to have him disavow half of his family.”, which, I might add, is NOT a part of the new policy… I’m just saying this to garner sympathy for my violating Church doctrine in my same-sex relationship and shift blame towards the Church, instead of take responsibility for how MY behavior is Negatively Affecting my son.
    “We have a strong conviction that it’s wrong.”, because we would rather continue to violate Church doctrine, instead of reconciling to the Doctrine and ending a sinful relationship.
    “But I don’t know how we’re supposed to sustain something that tears our family apart.”, because I’m sure not going to give up my sinful relationship and follow the Doctrine, so we need to blame the Church…

  • Logan Hone

    Wanda,
    Did you even read the article?
    Nothing you said related to the person whose quotes you just used.
    Maybe you should read it again 😉

  • Jeremy

    I don’t get it. From the words of the handbook in the KSL link the stake president can request approval from the Office of the First Presidency 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.” They’re not disavowing their parents, their disavowing the sinful lifestyle. To be worthy for ordinances, haven’t we always been required to make a firm commitment to obey God’s laws? Hasn’t the Church always taught that living a homosexual lifestyle is wrong and that we should not agree with such? What has changed here? From what I can see, all the child has to do is commit to live the gospel, including recognizing that God does not approve of his mother’s actions. I really don’t see what the big deal is or how doing so tears a family apart. I have family members that know I feel God doesn’t approve of the way they live their lives. We go on living and loving each…

  • HeavenHelpUs

    Wanda,
    Let me introduce you to the point of this piece. *It’s not the child’s fault.*

    The church is enacting policies which punish the people they can reach in lieu of the people they want to punish but can’t reach.

    If you read the article, which is in serious question given your tirade, the gay parent isn’t and has never been LDS. Dad converted after his divorce. The woman you demand obey church standards *isn’t even a member of the church*.

    Do you routinely enter Starbucks to call the Frappuccino drinkers to repentance, too? Do you meet the investigators that show up with the missionaries, sniff them for cigarette smoke and then chase them away with a cat of nine tails if you smell their tobacco habit?

    This is an LDS kid in a supportive LDS family, with one never-LDS parent who you are blaming for a policy of a church she has never attended (other than to support her child’s baptism).

    Good Lord, the non-thinking conformists without a cause will be the end…

  • Andrew Davis

    I have never raised my hand in opposition of sustaining the leaders, but, for as long as this insidious policy remains on the books, that’s exactly what I’ll do. Choose The Right, and let the consequences follow. If it gets me run out of the church, so be it. I wonder, if we were transported back to 1940, or heck, even 1975, how many people who are talking about this policy today, on either side of the discussion, would defend the racist policies and doctrines dealing with blacks ? Would you sustain your leaders and support their institutional racism? This isn’t a joke question. Seriously think about what you’d do if you were in that situation. If so, you should be ashamed of yourself. And if you genuinely believe this to be WRONG, you’re a hypocrite if you continue to sustain the leaders, period. All it takes for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.

  • jojo

    Ok, the article never specifically states that they got confirmation from their Bishop that the boy will not be ordained. They seem to be only going on what they have heard from the policy and are assuming it applies to him. Did I miss something or are they waiting for a final answer?

  • Tim

    Perhaps they’ve done what far too many others have not–perhaps they’ve actually read the policy. As written, it applies to him.

  • hmmm

    I wonder the same thing. Were they officially told the son could not be ordained or are they jumping the gun?

  • Nomomo55

    Absolutely shameful for the LDS Church…..I have a feeling that this is going to haunt (and hurt) The Church for a long, long time. Can you imagine being someone investigating The Church right now? (Or being a Missionary for that matter?) People will be running away from this organization! What a nightmare!

  • Philomytha

    I hope there’s a local Community of Christ congregation who can reach out to this family.

  • Steve

    There are others who will baptize and ordain.

  • jojo

    TIM – “Perhaps they’ve done what far too many others have not–perhaps they’ve actually read the policy. As written, it applies to him.”

    I have read it too and it does not specifically say anything about joint custody situations. There may be exceptions based on how iinvolved the boy is with the gay parent.

  • alison

    Matthew 19:14: But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

  • noahth

    Jeremy, to disavow the union that nurtured and guided your path to adulthood is to disavow your parents themselves.

  • Glen

    L-d$,inc is relying on members believing “support your leaders even when they are wrong” and “don’t criticize your leaders even when they are wrong”.
    The leadership is a sick bunch of cowards to come up with this type of decision.

  • Ben Christensen

    Commenting here because I don’t know how else to reach the Paquette family. Perhaps you can pass the message along, Ms. Riess?

    The article doesn’t say whether the bishop took the question to the stake president and on up the chain to Salt Lake. If that hasn’t happened, I recommend urging the bishop to do so. I say this because I’m in a similar situation–my husband and I both have children that attend church with their mothers–and my husband’s ex asked her bishop, who asked the stake president, who called the office of the First Presidency and was told the policy doesn’t apply to our children since they don’t live full-time with two gay parents (or some such reasoning). I can’t guarantee you’ll get the same answer, in fact I’m worried the answer we got won’t stick, but there’s value in asking. If nothing else, with enough bishops pestering them for clarification, the church might eventually release a statement clarifying the situation for all.

  • jojo

    Ben- That’s the point I was making and I have also heard similar explanations, that the policy only applies with children who are living full-time with gay parents. I hope Jana will follow-up and see what actually happens.

  • Carl

    So sad. On the flip side…what an amazing example of family solidarity on this issue. The fact that the other siblings could move on through church advancement unfettered by the policy and yet they have decided on a united front to stick together with the son who can’t. THAT is circling the wagons. That is pulling together. That is family in its most solid, reverent, worthy form. That is the type of family that should be in this church. That is the type of family that should be in God’s kingdom. What a lucky boy to belong to such a loving family. I can only pray that thing will change soon for my own kids who soon will be in a position to choose between the church they love and their own father. As if being a kid wasn’t hard enough. So angry and distraught over this.

  • Papa Rich

    First of all, thanks for the support and for the article. I am Alyssa’s Father – which makes me the Grandpa of the 12 year old referenced in the article. Understand that no one in our family is being critical of the Church or it’s members. We criticize this misguided policy. The members have stepped up in a way we could never have have imagined, their love is phenomenal. I left the Church long ago – by choice. My heart hurt when my daughter told said “Dad, you left the Church by choice…in our case, the Church just left us.” That is incredibly sad and I’m pretty sure if Christ were here today, he’d have a strong comment on this nonsensical attack on children.

  • jojo

    Papa Rich –
    So have you received confirmation from the Bishop that this new policy applies to your grandson’s situation? Other people in similar situations have said it doesn’t.

  • CNutt

    The exact reason this policy was put into place was so that children won’t have to “sustain something that tears (their) family apart,” or contradicts their family life. Also, with a clear understanding of God as our Heavenly Father and the eternal nature of His plan, comes an understanding that the timing of ordinances won’t matter… Only the way a life was lived.

  • hello

    Here’s a link to the response for the change by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He explains some of the reasoning behind it:
    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/handbook-changes-same-sex-marriages-elder-christofferson
    I also liked the article referenced by Jeremy above: http://www.flirtingwithcuriosity.org/?p=208
    Especially interesting was the comment in the notes section at the end by the boy who grew up in a polygamist family. I didn’t know until now that these same Church rules have been in effect for a long time for children in polygamist families. Kendall Wilcox comments on how these rules affected him. Very enlightening to the true effects of these rules based Kendall’s post.

  • Dave

    “He who loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me.” I don’t mean to be harsh, but it seems to me that many are forgetting to search the scriptures in all of this.

  • Kudzu

    Jana, I don’t always agree with you, but I usually find your writings well thought out and fair. In this particular instance, however, I think you’ve jumped the gun and may be letting your emotional response to this issue outrun your reason and provoke unnecessary conflict and consternation.
    The guideline provides for escalation to the Stake President and the First Presidency. Even before the guideline was published, it was being practiced unofficially for some time. I am aware of two children (siblings) in a shared custody situation where one parent was in a same-sex marriage and both parents were found sufficiently supportive as to lead the stake president with First Presidency counsel to approve the baptism of the children. I expect this will be the outcome in many similar situations.
    I am disappointed that you published this story when it’s end is plainly unwritten. I hope you will publish a followup with a report of the final outcome.

  • Doug

    If the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was made by a man. Then many of the complains and comments would be justified. If it is not and it is as it claims, made and ordain by God then personal opinion is useless.

    If Christ is who he says he is and did suffer as only a God could, why should we expect that he would not ask people to sacrifice or suffer, as he did. He commanded us to be as he is.

    I think God is able to help this young man. I think God is able to work with the new rules. I have found in my life that my blessing have been my cursing and my cursing have been my blessings.

    I choose to believe that this young man has the ability to over come the obstacle and gain so much more from it.

  • Faithful LDS sufferer

    Until this past week, I had never fully gauged the cruelty and recklessness of LDS leadership.

    To target those who have been painfully suffering because they cannot fit the heteronormative culture is bad enough: I have experienced the tragedy of Mormon gay suicide.

    But to target children who desire nothing but to be fully faithful…this is the height of ignominity and morally reprehensible.

    I have donated upwards of half a million dollars to the LDS church over my lifetime, and dedicated much of my time in fulfilling leadership callings and temple service. That ends now. I have covenanted my time, limited talents, and everything the lord has blessed me for the building up of the kingdom of God and establishing Zion. You have just proven that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the antithesis of Christ’s teachings.

    To LDS leaders everywhere, who either conceived this abortion of a policy or now must implement it:

    Have you left no sense of decency?

  • The comments of several people relating First Presidency exceptions surprised me. If there is clarification to the policy, why hasn’t it been made public yet? Perhaps the Church, caught flat-footed by last week’s Handbook leak, is doing more due diligence before responding with specific guidance on how to apply the policy. If so, I applaud the effort, but question what clarification could make this bad policy tenable. Even if it “only” applies in situations where the child lives full-time within the same-sex married home, does that suddenly make it an OK policy?

  • Michael

    Sin never leads to happiness. You can blame the Church all you want but this policy is protecting the children from a lot of confusion and heart ache, caused by their parents living in sin.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    Michael wrote: “Sin never leads to happiness … caused by their parents living in sin.”

    Being Gay isn’t a sin, Michael. Being Mormon might be a sin, but being Gay isn’t.

  • Daniel Kempton

    I really am not sure what to say about this. There are so many layers to the “new” policy, and really only one that I can sustain fully. If you are a member of the church, and engage in a same-sex relationship by definition you are living in apostasy. That change or clarification Okay.

    If you are an individual, under the age of 18 *living* in the house where the parents are living in apostasy I can see how that would cause an issue and reluctantly can see the logic. However, this current situation just tears my heart. Here you have a father that moved on with his life and joined the church but because the mother chooses to live in a same sex relationship and the boy spends some time in that home, he is denied the blessings.

    I am really having a crisis of faith over this.

  • Vickie

    I expect such lies, distortions, and hyperventilating idiocy of the media in general, but I foolishly hoped that Jana Riess, being at least nominally a member of the Church, might be counted on to get the facts right.

    For the record: The Church does not require adult children of homosexuals to disavow their families. They are not expected to quit talking to them or associating with them or tell them they think they smell bad. The Church simply expects such people to disavow sympathy for the sinful lifestyle. Sad that Jana either cannot comprehend or refuses to acknowledge such an obvious difference in expectation.

  • GTO

    Bishops and Stake Presidents and their counselors are always supposed to counsel together by use of the Holy Spirit in every individual circumstance, mitigating the policy according to each circumstance. That is totally left out, not only by this article, but by many who have reacted to this update to Handbook 1 without much thought or prayer.

  • Larry

    @Vickie, you are splitting hairs in a patently dishonest fashion. Much like how one pretends to “hate the sin and love the sinner” through ostracism and discriminatory behavior.

    In what way would “disavow sympathy for the sinful lifestyle” not be a repudiation of one’s parents and the way they were raised their entire lives? The kinds of excuses people are making for such a patently morally repugnant and malicious policy are ridiculous. Driving wedges between people and their families is not “protecting children”, serves no moral purpose and strikes at the heart of LDS doctrine which is to treat gays as less than people.

    Its amazing how far Mormons will go to back their church elders and support treating people like crap in service of them. One last note, claiming the policy is somehow divinely inspired does not make it free from criticism. In fact such attitudes invite further criticism. What kind of moral high ground is possibly supported by coercion and ostracism?

  • JA

    There is NO DOUBT this is a hard policy to hear! It affect the children & the families but, so does not living the principals of the gospel. All of these precious children have already been victimized by their parent’s choices. It is not ok to have a “same-sex” relationship, according to the bible, let alone the LDS Church. If we choose to do that, there will be consequences & unfortunately, again, the children bear the burden of their parent’s choices. We have the blessing of choice and we need to live our life as we see fit. But, we cannot ask God to change the “rules” so it makes it easier for us to make our choices. When I sin, I know God isn’t happy w/ me; it is that simple. Does He still love me, yes? God is the same today, we cannot ask him to be more tolerant of our iniquities because we don’t want to live a certain way. I am grateful for my great-grandparents for having faith to follow God through a living prophet even if it meant loosing their families. HAVE FAITH!

  • Just a thought ghtt

    Thanks for the links to related stories at the bottom. The links that point to Patheos really should becredited to Natasha, not just simply “Patheos”. Given Patheos also houses notables like Dan Peterson, clarity would be helpful and only fair to the original author.

  • … O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths. 2 Nephi 13:12. Please see the website

  • LDS-awakening.info

  • Elder Anderson

    I’m trying to imagine “disavowing” my parents or anything my parents do. What would I do or say? What would I tell them? How might they react? How would my actions affect our relationship. I just cannot picture such a thing. My parents gave me life and my humanity. I love and honor them unconditionally. Nothing can compel me to disavow my parents, their beliefs, or their actions. If this is the choice, I fear many will leave the LDS church over it, that this policy is not from God, and that the fallible Church leadership is in error and must reverse it.

  • Daniel Kempton

    You know I have been reading the comments about this article, and I am simply amazed at some of the attitudes, and total lack of sympathy for the child I have seen expressed in this situation.

    Facts:

    1. The bio-mother is not a member of the church. Therefore, the mother is not living in apostasy, because she has not made any covenants to live a certain way

    2 The child is only staying part-time with his biological mother, as required by the custody agreement.

    3. The mother, while she doesn’t believe in the church doctrine, is 100% behind her child being raised as a member of the Church.

    4. The Father, who has primary custody married and joined the church.

    5. The child **feels** punished, because one of his parents has chosen a lifestyle that contradicts the teachings of the church.

    As a life long member of the church, this article saddens me deeply. I pray for clarification from the church leaders, and understanding from everyone.

  • Daniel Kempton

    @Lindsey –

    The article refers to the biological mother to differentiate his birth mother, who is in a same-sex relationship, and his step-mom, who married his dad and is a member of the church.

  • Ned’s Dustbin

    This article seems to omit some important factors, it sounds like they have assumed this boy was denied ordination and that their Bishop was unable to console them. There is a possibility there is more than one bishop involved in this boy’s life and his records can only reside in one ward/branch so the bishop mentioned could simply be the non-custodial one?

    I know this policy is hard for many. However the immediate list of stories arising from those being denied baptism, ordination etc… seem to exceed even the speed with which any discovery by a church leader could have uncovered these issues and pulled approval on previously approved ones.

    My inner skeptic questions the rapidity of these stories emerging and being told in full. It sounds almost like something has happened but reads like they are only anticipating bad news. Notice how there is no mention of an actual denial of ordination but an implied one as they try and figure out how this affects him…subtle no?

  • Bryan

    Funny, I am not seeing any comments decrying the “abuse” & “mistreatment” of the children of polygamists which are under the same policy rules as children of SGA couples. I wonder why? Isn’t it just as bad to tear apart a polygamist family as a family of an SGA couple? Seems like SGA couples are the “oppressed group of the hour” and the Church’s clarification of its policies is just an opportunity for the chronic malcontents and perpetual victims to moan and complain how unfair the Church is. This isn’t a religious issue for them, it is a political one. They obviously do not understand God’s Plan for us, they just want special treatment (ignoring God’s commandments) to accommodate their “lifestyle”. This is feigned outrage covering for a chronic need for attention. Move on. Maybe some day polygamists will enjoy the same “oppressed group” status as SGA couples and the polygamists will receive the same feigned outrage on their behalf. (btw I am not a polygamist)

  • PA

    “Elder Christofferson: Well again, this is a parallel with polygamy. Anyone coming out of a polygamous setting who wants to serve a mission, it has to be clear that they understand that is wrong and is sin and cannot be followed. They disavow the practice of plural marriage. And that would be the same case here. They would disavow, or assent I guess would be a better way to say it, to the doctrines and practices of the Church with regards to same-sex marriage. So they would be saying, as you said, not disavowing their parents, but disavowing the practice.
    -“NOT DISAVOWING THEIR PARENTS, BUT DISAVOWING THE PRACTICE”……Big difference! I am grateful for a living prophet who has the direction and the courage to not change as the world changes.

  • Kathy

    Time to find a new religion that is loving and respectful of ALL of God’s children! There is too much hate in this world and not enough of living to help and respect all especially the underserved!

  • A saddened member

    Just for the record, I have been a member all my life. When the church I have grown up in and love, has provided many wonderful opportunities and experiences, makes changes that I don’t agree with, it creates dissonance. Is this dissonance less or more than the dissonance they are trying to avoid? What about all the troubled people now, the broken hearted? This new political decision is to prevent a minor number of situations and instead of dealing with them on an individual basis, they change policy and create bigger problems.
    This is a very divisive decision. They have created dissonance within our own membership. Many will not agree and therefore question their continuation of membership. Many will judge others for their stance or lack of in this situation.
    It is all just heart breaking.

  • Elder Anderson

    “I love you guys, and I am grateful that you raised and nurtured me to the threshold of adulthood. Now, in order to go on my mission, I am required to tell you, Church leaders, and all of our friends and relatives that I disaprove of your marriage and how you live your lives. You are both sinners.”

    Nope. I can’t see any child saying this. Not gonna happen. The Church must remove all policies requiring children to dishonor their parents like this. It’s ill-conceived and immoral.

  • Don’t know about that…

    Unless there are crucial details the author failed to mention, the headline “Mormon boy denied priesthood ordination because his mom is living with a woman” is extremely deceptive as it appears this young man was not denied anything by the Church. Details?

  • hoffbegone

    Before I was allowed to be baptized into the Church I had to disavowed most things my parents were doing like smoking, drinking, being dishonest, not keeping the Sabbath holy, etc.

    No problem with the changes in the Handbook. Anyone looking for new revelation needs to kneel down in prayer and ask for it.

  • Bryan

    “Jesus, I am so grateful that you suffered, bled and died for me so that I could repent and return to my Heavenly Father. Now in order to come back into the presence my God I have to support His commandments many of which I find outdated and silly. This is 2015 and we are very enlightened, much more than the Son of God when he gave us these Commandments to follow. I just can’t disapprove of what you say is sin when society says it’s really OK. So Jesus your Sacrifice just isn’t that important to me, I would rather follow what is popular than what is right. I would rather be accepted by my fellow man than my God.”

    No I don’t see that happening, there is nothing ill-conceived or immoral about supporting the Laws of God. Anyone who outraged by this clarification of Church Policy, which also includes the children of polygamists just can’t see the forest for the trees.

  • JA

    TRY THIS: “I love you guys, & I am grateful that you raised & nurtured me to the threshold of adulthood. You raised me with the LDS beliefs & encouraged me to pray to find my own testimony. Now I’m 18, I have chosen to serve a mission & to teach others the teachings of Jesus Christ. I have found my own beliefs in regards to same-sex relationships. I don’t believe the Lord condones it & as for me in my life, I will choose to have a relationship with the opposite sex. This does not in any way change my love for you. During my bishop’s interview, I stated that I love you but don’t condone/agree with same-sex relationships. You are my family & I don’t judge you; I have just chosen a different life style. I don’t love you less because you have chosen your own path”. You can love someone respectfully & disagree with their choices at the same time. A child would be in conflict. An adult can love someone respectfully & not live/agree w/ their life style. That’s what family does!

  • Jane Trask

    The policy will cause hate crimes,suicides, family feuds, and lies to church leaders. What do families do that have gay children?

    If the intent of the policy is to keep children from confusion or difficult choices wouldn’t it be better to welcome all families? It accomplishes the same purpose. If all children and families are welcome they are not confused. If they are not gay they will choose companionship of the opposite sex. The church already has so many built-in punishments for people that don’t keep the latest policies. To label some apostates and exclude their children is nothing more than a desire to win a battle in a war they will eventually loose. Call it what it is – unrighteous dominion and pride by our church leaders.

    Think about the choices gay people have. They get to live lives of solitary confinement and self condemnation in the church or they can choose love, companionship and to pursue happiness outside the church. Being gay is not a choice.

  • Elder Anderson

    Being gay is not “catching”, it’s not a choice, and it’s not a “lifestyle”. A child raised by gay parents is no more likely than any other child to be gay. It doesn’t work that way. A child raised by gay parents will, statistically speaking, most likely enter a heterosexual marriage. The entire idea of a child “disavowing” gay marriage is based on ignorant ideas and perpetuates that ignorance. It is my hope that Church leaders will recognize their error and correct it soon.

  • Steve

    I just wanted to clarify something that appears to be misunderstood by some posters.

    The child’s mother has joint custody. The mother and father share parenting responsibilities equally. He lives half the time with his mother, half the time with his father.

    And the child’s mother is in no way, shape or form his “bio-mother.” There has been no adoption and at no point was there a relinquishment. The use of the term bio-mother is completely erroneous and does not accurately reflect the nature of the mother’s relationship with her son.

  • HarryStamper

    The article by Jana and the subsequent stories contained in the comments section are the same issues since New Testament times when Christ himself taught the gospel. Christ taught to be a disciple you must deny yourself and take up the cross of Christ daily and those who fail to do so “cannot be my disciples.” Luke 9:23 and Luke 14:27. Christ taught, for His namesake, you must be willing to foresake houses, brethern, sisters, PARENTS, spouse and children to inherit everlasting life. Matthew 19:29. Christ himself taught hard doctrine offensive to his followers and upon hearing the doctrine “From that [time] many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” John 6:66.

  • HarryStamper

    Christ went back to his hometown of Nazareth and taught in the synagogue, his old neighbors got so upset they proclaimed “is this not Joseph’s son?” They got so mad at His teachings; they formed a mob and took Christ out of town and up to a cliff to throw him off!!! Luke 4:22-30
    What is the price of discipleship? It’s different for each of us but it’s worth paying the price. Don’t let a procedural change, this is not a doctrinal change…..cause you a bad day, let alone affect your entire membership.

  • Steve

    Below is the doctrine of Christ from 3 Nephi 11:. It states that we are to be baptized and only requires us to believe in Christ and repent.

    If any are interested in baptism, see bornofwater.org

  • Steve

    31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.

    32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.

    33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.

    35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

    36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the…

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  • Larry

    The excuses for the policy have run into several patterns such as:

    1. “I fully support treating gay families badly, but I will say its just the will of God, because it eases my conscience on the matter”

    2. “They aren’t forcing children to disavow their parents….just the people and conditions which they were raised in and made them the upstanding people they are today” (Seriously how does one “disavow the practice of marriage equality” to gay parents without being offensive?)

    3. “Its for their own protection…to protect them from our bigoted actions”.

    4. Just plain old “God hates gays and anyone who might have “gay cooties” so who cares?

    5. Bad analogy with polygamy (which unlike marriage equality has never been legal but was an integral part of the church)

    6. “The Elders have said so……and I have no opinion or moral conscience beyond what they tell me”

  • I am sorry your son at this time cannot be confirmed at this point and I pray clarification will soon come.So that you know many in the church support you. This personally does not affect be, but that should not matter as I feel for you and your family.As for the others to disavow in this case just means that you yourself will not practice homosexuality. It does not mean that you cannot associate with homosexuals or that you have to give up your family.I have a strange feeling that even if the church tomorrow reversed this policy and said OK we support gay marriage the LGBT community would still not be happy. They would say ,’See we knew it was a bunch of hog wash that the prophets are inspired. They are only changing their policies because we force them too. Does anyone think that Joseph Smith has come out almost 200 years ago and said we should love everyone and homosexuality it OK that he would have been able to establish the church. He would have been lynched in 5 seconds,

  • In finishing with what I just wrote. Same sex marriage has only been legal for a couple of months. The church believes that sex should be only between married couples. To have asked homosexuals to stay strong in the faith and not have sex until it was legal would still have driven many away. Most would like to blame the church, but why don’t they look at the greater of society that still tortures homosexuals every day. Mormons don’t have a corner on that market. Not saying it is right, but that is the reality.

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  • Wayne Dequer

    I believe we have two great responsibilities and opportunities as church members. First we have covenanted to morn with those who morn, comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and help each other, and All of humanity, to bear the burdens of those who are carrying heavy loads at this time. We must do all we can to reach out to those directly and indirectly effected. Secondly, we have promised to sustain our leaders who are called through inspiration and revelation. We should Not expect them to be inerrant, infallible, and/or perfect. We should pray for them trusting their basic goodness enough to take time to contextualize our feelings and pray for understanding about this policy change. It is tempting to jump to one pole or the other, but we can, and should, do both.

  • Donna Dexter

    I am waiting for my knee jerk reaction to subside.
    But one reason given was so the children would not go against their parents.
    But let me ask this.
    Denying the children membership because of their family doesn’t do that exact same thing?
    The church is within their rights to make those changes.
    But its really hard to want to be with an organization of any kind where all members of the family are not equally welcome. I u derdtand their feelings as I am struggling with this as well.

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  • Alex

    https://www.lds.org/pages/church-handbook-changes?cid=HP_WE_11-11-2015_dPFD_fCNWS_xLIDyL1-A_&lang=eng

    The first presidency of the church sent out this to leaders in the church. Obviously everyone’s feelings are real and valid, and I can’t feel what they’re feeling without actually experiencing it, but my feelings do not change about the new policy. To add my comments on this story, The Lord isn’t stupid and neither are most church leaders. If someone is fully prepared to receive the priesthood, they will have that opportunity. This family actually can have the desired ordinances, they will deal with that with their local leader. Perhaps the leader did not know that he can have special permission and he was just doing his job. The purpose of this change is not to exclude anybody, it’s to protect families. Although his situation may not seem ideal, there are more children who are not in such a situation and who will face serious difficulty joining the church while their parents are…

  • Alex

    so against it. To me, it is similar to Muslims in the Philippines. I’m not sure about other parts of the world, but in The Philippines we weren’t supposed to baptize a Muslim person unless we got permission. Why? Because so many of them would be in very bad family situations. The Lord is just trying to protect his children, and where there’s a completely obvious situation where a person should receive the priesthood, like this boy, or baptism, it will be dealt with that family and the local church leader.
    Side note, that boy would have to disavow the practice of same-sex marriage, not “disavow half of his family”. But to be honest, if that is how this family sees disavowing same-sex marriage, that proves the point as to why this will be an issue in the first place.

  • Chris

    It appears that this blog post has been abrogated by the following clarification:

    https://www.lds.org/pages/church-handbook-changes?cid=HP_WE_11-11-2015_dPFD_fCNWS_xLIDyL1-A_&lang=eng

    Given that the boy in question does not reside “primarily” with the same-sex couple (joint custody), and ALSO given that he has already been baptized, everyone involved will be happy to know that he can receive his ordination as planned.

    Move along. Nothing to see here, people.

  • Shelley

    The church clarified today that children of same sex couples who are already baptized will not have the ordinance revoked and boys can be ordained to offices in the priesthood at the appropriate ages. And the policy only effects children living with same sex couples. https://www.lds.org/pages/church-handbook-changes?lang=eng&cid=facebook-shared

  • David

    When you criticize a policy put out by the first presidency who the church holds as inspired by God in how they administer the church you actually are being critical of the church.

  • David

    Faithful LDS sufferer? Where’s the faithfulness? Are the leaders of the church men of God or not? If as a Faithful LDS member you believe this is God’s true church why would God allow this if it were so evil and cruel? Maybe as a faithful LDS member you would seek for understanding from God to see why this policy was enacted.
    And by the way Christ himself in the New Testament said following his doctrine would tear apart families. So not quite the antithesis you think it is.

  • David

    What Bible do you read? Acts of homosexuality are most definitely listed in the things not to do list.

  • Anon5

    I agree! Did anyone in their family actually talk to their leaders in the church about their situation? Or did someone just assume that what they read in the media meant no ordination or baptism?

  • Anon5

    It’s not that there is a widespread lack of sympathy. The overwhelmingly vast majority of members i know are thoughtful and genuinely concerned about others, especially children! The problem with this article (and the way it is being used in social media) is that there is no confirmation that the boy was actually denied the priesthood officially. Did someone in the family ask the bishop if this applied in his case?? Or was it just assumed that he wasnt allowed to recieve the priesthood?

  • Anon5

    If this article was writen before anyone in the family asked the leaders about their specific case, then the author is misleading probably many thousands of people… Painting a completely inacurate picture for others about our church. Its sad to read all the comments not only here but all over social media about this. And i was curious what all the fuss was about and the article doesnt even say he was actually officially denied the priesthood!!!

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  • Bob

    With the clarification that you hardly mention with a link, you know this headline is not true. Shame on you for lying with the truth. This is irresponsible journalism and I’m sure you must not know it.

  • Brad

    It saddens me to read the critical comments. First, I’m appalled that his came out—it is Handbook 1, after all, only issued and meant for Bishopric leadership on up. So who was the irresponsible leader to “leak” this to the press? And got it all wrong to boot. Nothing about this “new” policy is new. It has been in place for other similar situations for decades. And it is about the children and about respecting the rights of the parents to raise their children as they choose.

    You members who are hasty to come to conclusions and quick to criticize before understanding—it’s sad, just sad.

  • Nomomo55

    Brad:

    What’s truly sad is that you’re so wrong…in your comments and observations. I know it’s painful to finally see what’s going on within The Church. But, you’re just wrong….

  • Steve

    Brad,

    1. Why should you and I be dealt with using a handbook which we cannot see and never voted to accept? What are the scriptures not sufficient?
    2. This policy has been around regarding children of polygamous families for a while. Does that make it right in that case or in the case of a child of a same sex family? Of course, we never knew it because it was in the secret handbook?
    3. There is already a policy in place to respect the wishes of the parents, that is we don’t baptize children of parents who object. This policy takes away the rights of the parents and the child in forbidding baptism to children even if both they and their parents wish it.

    Somewhere I’ve read that the evil one works in secret but the Lord does not. We would be well to emulate our Lord and do away with secret documents. It would also be wise to not place more restrictions on baptism than He did: Repent and come unto Him.

  • Nomomo55

    Beautiful, beautiful response. My compliments and sentiments exactly. Way too much secrecy in The “latter day” LDS Church.

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  • David Mohr

    As a ward missionary I am in a position to some of the controversial policies being questioned by investigators. The funny thing is that we don’t many asking the questions. We recently had a case of where baptism was almost denied. It was a 87 year old man who did not tell his wife he was taking the discussions. Per church policy he was refused baptism without permission from his wife. She gave her consent but then demanded he not attend church. Of what use was being baptised and then to become inactive immediately? Another case where the church tried to maintain the sanctity of the family instead of increasing membership. It is far better to disallow baptism so that the person is not put in the position of having to go against their parent before the person is old enough to truly make their own decision. I feel for those persons but it hurts more to see good people be put in a position of conflict or possible conflict with their family before they are old enough to truly decide.