Thank you, Ken Jennings, for speaking out against new Mormon policies on same-sex families

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Ken Jennings

Ken Jennings

I’m late to this party, but last week on Dan Savage’s “Savage Love” podcast, Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings lambasted the LDS Church’s recent policy changes regarding LGBT persons—that

1) any Mormons who are in a same-sex marriage are now considered to be in apostasy, and

2) any children who live primarily in a home with same-sex parents are not eligible for baptism.

Jennings, who is a Mormon Sunday School teacher, related how disappointed he was in the changes, which he called “shocking” because he had understood there to be room in Mormonism for a wide diversity of opinion on same-sex marriage.

He said the new policy means that such diversity does not apply, apparently, to children of same-sex parents, who have to disavow their parents’ relationships before they can qualify for any major rites of the faith. They are not permitted to condone same-sex marriage in any way. To Jennings, that “just seems crazy.”


He also cogently pointed out one of the bitter ironies of the policy:

Jennings: And think about this. It’s only the ones who are actually in some kind of partnership, you know, the ones who are cohabitating or married. So as long as your gay dad is off catting around and being as promiscuous as he wants, you can still get baptized. But the second he moves in with Uncle Larry . . .

Savage: And makes a commitment . . .

Jennings: . . . that’s apparently more problematic for the Church. Which is sort of a crazy side effect of this kind of culture war.

I was surprised to see such an unequivocal denunciation from the mild-mannered Jennings, but also thrilled, frankly. Open and candid disagreement from stalwart, active members of the Church is exactly what we need.

Moreover, I appreciated the way Jennings disagreed with love. He said that it is his tendency to always give church leaders the benefit of the doubt, and believe that their intentions were good. “They’re well-meaning and experienced men, but of a certain age and cultural background, obviously,” he said. “Which is going to inform this. But they’re not scheming supervillains.”

I was grateful he said that. In these past weeks, I’ve been caught in the crossfire of having to defend marriage equality to conservative Latter-day Saints while also defending the basic integrity of the Church to many people on the left—including, most painfully, an old and dear friend who just cannot understand why I would continue to align myself with an institution that in her mind is led by creaky white men who have a history of oppressing blacks, women, and gay people. That one side of history is all she can see.

The middle is a tough place to be sometimes as wars are waged in faith and culture. As Jennings put it, Mormonism has brought him closer to God and made him a better person. It is the foundation of his religious experience, which is why this policy is particularly “heartbreaking and bewildering.”

But he does believe it will change:

Jennings: Obviously, God is not speaking with them [church leaders] as directly as many Mormons like to think. He’s letting people make mistakes . . . He lets us make mistakes for reasons of his own.

Savage: So you think this is a mistake.

Jennings: I think this [policy] is not going to be around. I mean, this is a generational change that’s happening and you just can’t stop a tidal wave. . . . Jesus is on the record about how he treats children, and that’s not usually it. He suffers them to come unto him. He says if anybody is mean to a child you might as well put a millstone around his neck and dump him in the sea. Jesus takes a pretty hard line on mistreating kids. And I think even for Mormons who are normally culturally conservative, this kind of policy really makes you take a long look.

Jennings finished up the interview (as excerpted here) by saying he has no “fundamental urge” to leave the church. I wish Savage would have stopped yammering at this point and let Jennings speak, but here were Jennings’s last words:

I don’t want to see a version of the Mormon Church where everybody like me who has qualms about this has left. That would scare me more.

Amen, Brother Jennings. I’m glad you are sticking around. Please keep speaking the truth in love.


  • A Happy Hubby

    I was “MEH” on Ken’s amazing feats as I seemed to see some treat it as “see, proof we are GOOD!” I am not big on “look who is a Mormon” craze that many enjoy. I am sure Ken’s brilliance on the game show started when he memorized scripture mastery-NOT! He was blessed with a sharp mind & worked hard to get where he is. Once I listened to Ken’s thoughtful verbal disagreement, my opinion of Ken has skyrocketed. I appreciate the risk & bravery in addition to arguments and love he expresses. A great use of the goodwill he has built up.
    We do need more people to state if they don’t agree. The more that are vocal, the sooner this is undone. I told my bishop & I want that to be shared with above. I told him I will continue to pray & be open if the Lord needs to tell me I am wrong. I will do so in church meetings also.
    Even my missionary son wrote “this can’t be right, but even Prophets can make a mistake.” I was glad to hear that as I think he won’t have a problem with a faith…

  • HarryStamper

    Jana, you say you’re “thrilled” by the “unequivocal denunciation from the mild-mannered Jennings”…..then you say….” Open and candid disagreement from stalwart, active members of the Church is exactly what we need.” Sheesh…where does one go after those comments? What defines apostasy?…..if not open and candid unequivocal denunciation of the leadership of the church? Also, seems ironic you describe Jennings as “stalwart and active”… should qualify it with “allegedly”….a basic definition of stalwart and active would be not to engage in public denouncing of church leaders. By doing what he did…he just removed himself from the stalwart list.

  • Joel Hardy

    Can someone please explain to me why anyone would care what Ken Jenning’s opinion is about this subject, simply because he was a game show winner?

  • Robin DeSpain

    “Sometimes I think we don’t create a very hospitable climate for questions in our Sunday (worship). Sometimes we give people the very clear message that there’s something wrong with them if they don’t know something already, or if they don’t see it the same way as the teacher or understand it to the same degree as the rest of the class… So people lie. They say they understand when they really don’t. Or they say they agree when they really don’t. Or they find one point they can agree on and swallow the four points they disagree on. Or they suppress the perfectly wonderful questions they have, because they’re afraid that the questions may sound accusatory or faithless. As a result, no miracles happen. . . . If we don’t have questions, there won’t be any miracles for us. I don’t know about you, but I need miracles in my life…. So I think I’d better ask questions—questions from the heart, questions that hurt, questions with answers that I’m afraid will hurt.” Chieko Okazaki.

  • W

    “What defines apostasy?…..if not open and candid unequivocal denunciation of the leadership of the church?”

    I didn’t hear a denunciation of the leadership of the church from Jennings. In fact, Jennings took pains to say that he thought they were essentially good and thoughtful people.

    What he actually said was that he thought the recent policy was wrong — particularly the part about requiring children of same-sex couples to meet a different standard than almost anyone else for full fellowship in the church — and that the policy was more informed by personal backgrounds than by revelation, which is pretty reasonable, given that the policy wasn’t presented as a revelation.

    That’s disagreement, not denunciation. It’s specific rather than general. It’s consistent with an acknowledgement that we make in the church that leadership can make mistakes.

  • HarryStamper

    W….those were Jana’s words in describing Jennings’s comments….my comments were in response to her comments and her thrilling support of them. As she wrote….here it is….”I was surprised to see such an unequivocal denunciation from the mild-mannered Jennings, but also thrilled, frankly. Open and candid disagreement from stalwart, active members of the Church is exactly what we need.”

  • Dave P.

    Well, Ken, it was nice knowing you. How long until this gets him excommunicated?

  • Richard Pecjak

    What qualifies Monson to be a prophet, simply because he’s old white and rich? Why should anyone care what a senile old man has to say? Especially if we aren’t sure if he is speaking as a mere mortal.

  • HarryStamper

    W….you wrote….”and that the policy was more informed by personal backgrounds than by revelation, which is pretty reasonable, given that the policy wasn’t presented as a revelation.”
    The 1st Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 unitedly affirmed the policy change to the handbook, this was noted in 1st Presidency letter dated Nov13th. As a church we accept the united decision of these brethren as scripture….mind, will, voice of the Lord, their voice is the same as the Lord, etc. D&C 1:38, 68:4.
    Also you wrote….”It’s consistent with an acknowledgement that we make in the church that leadership can make mistakes.” Not at all. We’re promised the President of the Church will not lead us astray. He signed the letter affirming the policy.

  • Robert Slaven

    I was already very impressed by Ken (him being so much better than I am in our shared love of trivia). But hearing his thoughts about the policy last week made me even more impressed by his sense AND his sensitivity. He said exactly what is bothering so many of us about this policy change, but did so in a way that was full of nothing but love and respect for our Church leaders. I can’t praise him enough.

  • I was very pleased to hear Jenning’s remarks. Gave me hope for the remaining active/participating LDS members. As for me, this was the last straw:

    “Why I Love the LDS Church Enough to Both Criticize It AND Step Away From It”

  • Fred M

    But what does it mean that he will not lead us astray? Does it perhaps mean that in spite of the fact that he’s human and can make mistakes, that we can only lead ourselves astray? Brigham Young taught that black skin was a curse–a teaching which even made it into an Official Statement of the First Presidency. This official teaching which was believed by thousands of church members has now been officially disavowed by our current leadership. So did he not lead thousands of church members astray? Or does that promise mean something else? I think it means something else. Because it’s not doctrinal to deny our prophet his agency.

  • Mike

    I am impressed with Ken. It is great to see other active members who are bothered by this policy.

  • Joel

    What does that have to do with the subject at hand? Monson certainly qualifies to speak on Mormonism and marriage and families in the Mormon church since he is the head Mormon. To other Mormons it is an important opinion.
    How does being a game show winner qualify Jennings on this subject?

  • Neon Genesis

    I’m not sure why anyone is really shocked by this horrific decision of the Mormon church. Has everyone already forgotten so quickly the awful and ugly demonization of gay people the Mormon church engaged in during the Prop 8 debacle? Did the Mormon church ever apologize for that by the way? Even just earlier in the year, the Mormon church has already excommunicated prominent activists who committed the terrible (sarcasm) crime of believing women and gays should be equal. But apparently some people are easily bought over by some mealy mouthed words and a heavily watered down equal rights bill with overly broad religious exemptions.

  • HarryStamper

    Fred M…Brigham Young did not lead the church astray. The priesthood restriction of the past was from the Lord. Brigham Young said it, every prophet in between said it, President Kimball who received the revelation to lift the restriction said it was from the Lord. The press release from the church 2 years ago disavowed the theories and speculation as to why the Lord imposed the restriction or as to black skin. Not the restriction itself. The restriction began in ancient times…as recorded in the Book of Abraham 1:27 “ Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood…..

  • Fred M

    Harry–I wasn’t talking about the restriction. I was talking about the fact that Brigham Young taught the church that black skin was a curse. And that teaching was in an official statement from the First Presidency to the church. And it has now been disavowed as untrue. We can call it a theory or speculation now, but back then it wasn’t presented or received as anything less than the word of God’s chosen prophet. But clearly it did not come from God, because God wouldn’t teach untruth to His people. If teaching a falsehood (especially one as harmful as that) to the members of the church isn’t leading them astray, I’m not sure what is…

  • HarryStamper

    Fred..your right my apology…black skin in the case of African Americans not a curse, but not receiving the priesthood was generally referred to as a curse. Also, Brigham Young was well aware of the book of Mormon teaching where the Lamanites were cursed with black skin due to their iniquities. Perhaps he assumed the same. 2 Nephi 5:21

  • Fred M

    Very possibly. I’m sure he believed what he taught the church was true. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Even prophets make mistakes. And those mistakes can–as they did in that case–lead the members of the church to believe false teachings. It happens (although not often). And as members we need to admit that and accept it. And not be led astray!

  • Scott Watkins

    Only God can see perfectly the end from the beginning. Have you thought that perhaps baptizing these children would do them more harm than good? I’m not talking about the social difficulties that, yes, they may experience in their younger years, I’m taking about when they are adults and they fall away from the church because they are unable to reconcile the conflicting teachings they receive between home and church. How many children in the past have been baptized and made eternal covenants without the support of parents and have shortly thereafter fallen away? That practice of baptizing children without parent support has since been discouraged. How is this new policy any different? It would have been better had they not known the gospel than to make covenants and fall away.

  • Griff428

    You are a fool if you really think that more people voicing their dissenting opinions will change the Church leaders minds’ on this decision! Seriously?!

  • Les Cairns

    As I see it, there is too much focus on perceived prejudice, homophobia and cruelty to children. This policy as I understand it is intended to protect the doctrine of eternal marriage as taught and practised by the church. By assuming the covenant of baptism, the child of a same gender marriage is committed to pursue a path (the Primary programme refers to it as “the covenant path”) that is going nowhere. He / she cannot be sealed to his “parents” and they cannot be sealed to each other. So the child cannot realise the doctrine he/she is being taught. The only option for the child is for his “parents” to divorce. In every other situation, repentance (or death) can ‘fix’ the situation and the child is able to move ahead. This issue is not about fair, or unfair. It is not about disadvantaging children. Say what you may about apostles and prophets, they are the guardians of our doctrine and this is a brave and loving position to adopt. And likely not to be the…

  • Richard Rush

    Hopefully, those children now being rejected because they have gay parents will someday realize that they were actually fortunate to have been rejected. And if the parents have any self-respect at all, they will reject the LDS Church.

  • Had I known that the Church wasn’t baptizing children of polygamist families, I would have been saying something about that years ago. The Book of Mormon is clear on what we need to do to be baptized (3 Nephi 11), after that keep people out of the temple if they don’t follow man made policies, but don’t excommunicate them. Without new revelation there are too many questions on things like homosexualty and women and the priesthood. And, the LDS Church has admitted that they went in a direction with women and the priesthood opposite of that Smith was doing. I know these men hold the keys, yet they are walking when they could drive. They are sleeping outside when they could unlock the door and come in. Where is the revelation? Why won’t they speak to the Lord?

  • ben in oakland

    I’m only hitting you because I love you. Stop making me hit you.

    so the parents divorce and continue to live together. Voila, are they no longer apostates?

    So the parents divorce, don’t live together, but continue their relationship. Voila! are they no longer apostates?

  • Danny S

    Ben, on a slightly different angle, this sends the message that children of gays who are promiscuous receive the benefits of church membership while those children whose parent(s) are in a committed relationship receive none. But hey, the brethren just lubs up these chiles. /s

  • quitamedeaquiya

    The belief that the 1st presidency letters and the CHI are “scripture” (= to standard works) is dangerous. “Scripture” needs to be canonized/approved by common consent (D&C 26:2; 28:13; Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 29) and included in the standard works. The scriptures you cited are not relevant to this topic (Church policy). Policy is not doctrine binding on the membership and necessary for their salvation. The letter and policy change were not presented as new doctrine, were not canonized by common consent of the members, and therefore not scripture. It is therefore entirely possible that this was “more informed by personal backgrounds than by revelation” as W wrote. I invite anyone interested in this new policy to make it a matter of prayer to determine for themselves if this policy is the will of the Lord or not. “Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a Bishop, an apostle or a president…but…lean on God.” George Cannon (DW 43:322 Mar 7, 1981)

  • Eddy

    If I’ve got this right, prophets, popes, and whatever other titles they appreciate…are in their particular office because they are especially attuned to a god. So, how does any follower know when and when not they speak said gods wishes with any accuracy? When, where does it start/end? If the prophet thinks he wants spaghetti for dinner, but at the last moment decides on fish and chips…is that divine intervention?

  • Brandon Reed

    Well apparently you didn’t read the revision, or “clarification”, that the brethren made shortly after the uproar. It made concessions for those who had be attending church and had been baptized but not received their priesthood ordinances. It also stated that co-habitating gay parent had to have primary custody of the child in order for the ban to be enforced.You should check it out on the website. It’s not a total reversal of the policy but it shows that voices are being heard.

  • Lauri

    I honestly do not see why people would be upset about this rule or application of principle. The LDS Church is founded on families. It is founded on marriage. Marriage is so sacred and central to God’s plan. I believe we may not even understand how central and how sacred. We will not accept or support a counterfeit situation…man with man or woman with woman. It is sin. That might seem politically incorrect or insensitive. But it is true. It is sin just as 2 teens having sex in the car..or a single mom having men sleep over …or paying for sex…or watching others have sex. Marriage, fidelity, proper use of the gift of sex, and chastity are eternal values with significance.of course the Apostles will teach these truths. We must leave the sins of our families behind when we accept Christ. We surely have different views from them. We must love them, serve them, be an example if the believers at all times. Prophets see things we do not. We should remember that.

  • Neon Genesis

    So why not just ban baptism for all children, whether gay or straight? It seems hypocritical to me that you’re claiming this is about being concerned about the kids falling away yet only focusing this on kids of gay parents.

  • Jacob

    I don’t necessarily agree that the clarification constitutes a revision. It defined areas that were not clearly explained by the original press release. People raised questions, and the Church responded. That doesn’t mean that the Church is bending to social pressure.

    Anyway, I am of the opinion that a policy is just that: a policy. It is not doctrine, which is immutable. Clearly there is a reason the policy is needed, and it likely (in my opinion) has to deal with the legal ramifications of same-sex marriage being legalized in the United States and many other nations abroad.

    There is one other commonly overlooked fact regarding this policy: baptism requires parental consent to begin with, preferably from both parents. Not many gay couples are begging to be baptized, nor are they usually enthralled with the idea of their children being baptized. The group affected by this policy is rather small.

  • Scott Watkins

    I agree with Jacob. The church leaders were clarifying the policy, not conceding to dissenting opinions.

  • Scott Watkins

    Fair question Eddy. When the prophet receives a revelation from God, it is sustained by his counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve. Official statements are signed by the entire First Presidency, which means the church has more than one witness that they come from God. This follows what is stated in 2 Corinthians 13:1 which says “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”

    Since the prophet’s job is to guide the church, he generally only counsels on matters that are of importance to the entire church. I think the prophet prefers fish and chips myself.

  • A Happy Hubby

    I would not frame it as “clarifying”. The CHI wording is usually fairly clear. In fact I understand that they have not put the “clarification” into the handbook.
    Another interpretation is, “this really blew up in our face and we didn’t expect it at all” and then they changed the policy very slightly to just reduce how many kids this affects without appearing to backpedal.

  • Is scripture is only that which is approved by common consent, where is the scriptural justification/mandate for the temple endowment?

  • Richard Rush


    “The LDS Church is founded on families.”

    Wrong. The LDS Church is founded on fraud, and is a great lesson in how religions are invented. The fact that LDS is a modern era example of a new religion makes it easy to scrutinize, and then arrive at the obvious conclusion that Joseph Smith’s preposterous tale of the gold plates is a fraud. And without that tale, there would be no LDS Church.

    Another part of the LDS lesson is to observe how multitudes of people have been indoctrinated with the gold plates tale since childhood, and as adults, apparently believe it is true! And, even more astonishing, is how Mormon missionaries go out and manage to convert adults into becoming Mormons!!

    I have come to believe that the brains of some people are wired in such a way that the more preposterous a story is, the more likely they are to believe it.

  • quitamedeaquiya

    Jayman, there was not a reply button under your comment, so I’m replying to my own comment in the hopes you’ll see it. The temple endowment is by definition done with the consent of the members who wish to receive it since recipients voluntarily consent to take upon them ” sacred obligations…of [ they’re] own free will and choice.” Additionally, the covenants made during the endowment are to follow commandments contained in the “Holy Scriptures.” The wording of the endowment has obviously not been canonized, and has undergone numerous changes since introduced. I think that it is therefore entirely possible that the endowment ceremony is imperfect, however I don’t think that this would invalidate the covenants made. Additionally, if you do not agree with the scriptures/sources that I cited, I have an open mind to correction; please cite sources that contradict what I stated, not only for my benefit but for others that might be reading. Thanks!

  • Amonhi

    My contacts who work in the church office building around the apostles said that the policy was supposed to go in quietly but got leaked. When it hit the press and blew up, they were shocked. They had no idea it would be received with such disdain and alarm. From the time it was released to the time the clarification came out, they met constantly to discuss what to do and how to save face and soften the blow. This was no small thing at Church HQ.

  • Amonhi

    Even when it is signed by the First Presidency, it isn’t from the Lord. Look at the 1949 “Negro Question” Declaration by the First Presidency which was as official as our current “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”. –
    Regarding it and other “prophetic” statements: “Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.” –
    In 30 years, the church will denounce the “The Family Proclamation” and say we (meaning our leaders) weren’t ready to accept gays and their children.

  • Danny S

    Scott, I think there is agreement when the choices are at extreme ends, that is, fish and chips vs a signed first presidency statement. But what about the muddled middle? For instance, how about quasi-authoritative talks such as Packer’s “The Mantle is Far, Far, Greater Than the Intellect”, or Benson’s “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet”, for which Benson was asked by Spencer Kimball to apologize to the Q12? Such talks are assimilated into the culture and take on a doctrinal status. While your comment provided a framework for analyzing that which is doctrine vs that which isn’t, I don’t believe the institutional focus on obedience to leaders allows this. I think a member posits that a GA’s opinion is only that, at the member’s own risk.

  • Ben in oakland

    Funny how you have no problem accepting the sin of not believing the Mormon narrative. You can live in peace with those people, work with them, be friends with them, allow them to participate in society, allow them to be married outside of your temple, outside of your faith, or with no faith at all..

    But you can’t seem to do that with gay people.

    One would almost question whether it has the slightest thing to do with religious belief at all.

  • Ben in oakland

    So, in other words, it’s all about PR?

    Or, we we non Mormons like to call it– PRophecy, PRotection and PRimacy?

  • James from Phoenix

    Engaging in a polygamous relationship has long been considered apostasy(100+ years) by the LDS Church. Same Sex marriage, is also contrary to the doctrines of the Church. Why is treating individuals that enter a same-sex marriage as apostates any different? With respect to the baptism of children: anyone who’s parents practice polygamy, which is legal in some parts of the world, need special permission to be baptized. Why should SSM be treated any differently? Just a reminder, children who are already members of the church when the custodial parent enters into SSM have no church level restrictions on their church activity.

  • Mike

    This policy really is for the good of children. After all, baptism is not necessary(Oh wait it is). Ok, even if they die before 18, then easy, we just go to the temple and baptize them there because it will be ok, because in the spirit world they will not be living with their gay parents. Second, they will not need to get the gift of the Holy Ghost because we teach all out primary children, the Spirit does not have importance until they are an adult anyway. Third, this policy must be inspired, I mean it just has to be because the brethren are never wrong. They even tell us so themselves, so there is that. Why would anyone disagree with this wonderful policy that helps families. I wish all families had this policy!

  • DrExCathedra

    I am neither a Mormon nor a churchgoer, but I have learned a few things about institutional and cultural identity in a world where the norm is to flatten out everything into the shape that our elite Masters desire.

    Gays r only the most recent sacred official victim minority group whose feelings must never be offended and whose agenda must be embraced regardless of the consequences.

    Marriage is the fundamental sacrament of Mormonism. If that starts to fray, then everything falls apart. The Mormon leadership must certainly have looked at the demise of the mainline Protestant churches in giving up everything to the demands of tolerance. Why would they ever want to travel that route?

    You don’t make policy that affects the survival of an entire religion because a tiny minority of people have their feelings hurt. Recent history shows that religious bodies try to placate The juggernaut of their secular competitors –Who despise them, by the way –lose their souls and their…

  • Steve

    “Parents?” You put the word in quotes, to say that they aren’t real parents?

    Most gay people with children are the biological mother or father of that child. They had the child in a previous heterosexual marriage, relationship or encounter. Do you think that coming out as gay, or being gay, negates their previously held status as a mother or father?

    And the child can still be sealed. If their heterosexual parent has remarried then they can be sealed to their mother and stepfather or father and stepmother.

    Of course, lots of people can’t be sealed to their parents. If you are a convert, whose parents have never been Mormon, then you cannot be sealed to them. The LDS Church has an enormous missionary program that, if successful at converting an investigator, will bring about exactly that type of situation.

  • SanAntonioRob

    “Truly you have a dizzying intellect” – the Great Pirate Roberts

    1) You said this is to “protect the doctrine of eternal marriage”, but the rest of your piece is basically about the pointlessness of children of gay parents trying to achieve salvation. So… how is eternal marriage protected?

    2) You said this is a “loving position to adopt”. Your view is children of gay parents cannot be saved, so they shouldn’t start on a path they cannot finish. You might then call the position pragmatic, but loving? Please. Actually the position in it’s entirety is not even pragmatic since they can still be baptized at 18. If they can’t be saved anyway, what’s the point of the age requirement?

    I am a faithful, active member of the Church who has asked other faithful, active members of the Church how this policy makes sense. So far, I have heard zero justifications that hold up to logic and doctrinal-based scrutiny.

  • SanAntonioRob

    “Why should SSM be treated any differently?”

    This argument is popular, but completely misleading. We ARE treating SSM differently. We are treating it differently than cohabitation. We are treating it different than infidelity, or “open” marriages. We are treating it different than abusive marriages. We are even treating it different than gay promiscuity. So you can abuse the law of chastity in countless ways. But we’ll punish your children if you abuse it in a certain way.

    So, why should SSM be treated any differently? Why indeed!

    I think you might have more understanding, not agreement but understanding, if SSM wasn’t given worse punishment in the Handbook than abuse, than rape, than attempted murder, etc.

  • Elder Anderson

    @DrX: “demise of the mainline Protestant churches”

    You realize that Mormonism is insignificantly tiny compared to what you call “mainline Protestant churches”, right? Despite all the preaching and moralizing in many of the comments here, it’s clear that a significant number of Mormons disagree with this latest policy addition to the Handbook. Perhaps the LDS Church could learn a thing or two from more successful denominations to keep its tiny minority from getting even tinier.

  • BWB

    It’s very disappointing that Mr. Jennings cannot see the wisdom in the Church’s policy. An alcoholic parent is fixable through change and repentance. An unwed heterosexual couple is fixable through change and repentance. Other problematic behavior and choices are mostly fixable through change and repentance. But a gay marriage is not fixable w/o tearing the family apart. It can never be eternal. That is the difference. And a child who is placed in this situation by the actions of the parents, needs to not be torn between his/her church and his/her family. Therefore, let them love and honor their family while they grow up and when they are adults, they will have the choice to hopefully honor the covenants of baptism while still, and always, loving their family. If Mr. Jennings has a better solution that stays w/in the doctrine of eternal marriage, I’d love to hear it.

  • Mark Giroux

    Elder Anderson,
    At 15+ million members of record worldwide (perhaps now minus a few thousand), the LDS Church is relatively indeed “tiny” as of now, but I would suggest that DrExCathedra is actually correct on two counts:
    1) The LDS Church is still among the faster growing Christian denominations while many Protestant churches are actually declining, and
    2) His main point is that the actual size of a Church is immaterial. I believe that he may be referring to the quote from Jesus as recorded in Mark 8:36 (KJV)
    “For what shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

  • Elder Anderson


    1) I would suggest his point was that the LDS Church is inherently right on this new policy and need not listen to what the rest of the world says. My response is that the LDS Church might benefit by listening to what other denominations and its own members have to teach.

    2) In my view, Mark 8:36 applies to this situation in reverse, so to speak. It does the LDS Church little good to attempt to grow in influence if the basis for growth is a policy that the world and many members view as morally bankrupt.

    I do think that, if nothing else, the debate around this issue is a good thing. I, for one, believe that healthy give and take only leads to deeper understanding and ultimately benefits and strengthens the LDS Church.

  • Mark Giroux

    So the upshot of this article is that the smartest living person (a Mormon !?) agrees with Jana that the collective leadership of their (beloved) Church does not understand the mind and will of God quite so well as they do. This of course, begs the question: WWWD? (What would Watson Do?).
    Apparently, these (kindly) men are a bit too old and too homogenous to fully understand some of the diverse aspects of modern social life. I would suggest that God is pretty old Himself. Maybe this is the real problem?
    But seriously, it is probably not possible for any earthly organization to have a policy that would seem fair to everyone. Nor is it possible for any earthly organization to completely isolate children from the actions of their parents. The best that we can hope for is that Church policy be consistent with Church doctrine to the greatest extent possible. I would suggest that, love it or not, the revised Church policy is reasonably consistent with Church doctrine. Regards, MGx

  • trytoseeitmyway

    It’s because Jana Riess doesn’t want to drop this subject. The reasons are hard to understand. I completely get that the first blush reaction – a month ago now? – would be adverse; when I first heard about this, I had the same reaction. But serious people, Jana, get past the first blush reaction when they begin to consider the sound and compelling reasons why the policies are necessary and appropriate. Serious people, at the very minimum, will at least ACKNOWLEDGE what those reasons might be, and why they would be regarded as necessary. But does this apply to Jana Riess? Sadly, it does not.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    You use the phrase, “children of same sex couples.” There are no such things. Please try to be more precise.

  • Mark Giroux

    Elder Anderson:
    I agree that honest debate is a good thing, but I would not hold my breath for a significant change in LDS Church policy regarding this particular issue. Deeply baked into Mormon doctrine is the concept of eternal heterosexual families, including procreation. This doctrine precludes eternal homosexual family relationships in heaven. The being said, we yet believe that God loves all people, including those who have homosexual desires (as well as the rest of us sinners). We also believe that regardless of our weaknesses, God can save us from our sins though the atonement of Jesus Christ. We believe that all people (i.e. sinners) who have ever lived will ultimately have a fair chance to overcome their sins, be sanctified, and be saved, based on the choices that they alone make. For those who for whatever reason do not have fair opportunities in this life, these opportunities are to be provided in the hereafter. All sexual orientations are included. Regards, MGx

  • SanAntonioRob

    While I agree with the concept of eternal heterosexual families is “deeply baked” in our doctrine, I don’t see that the heterosexual nature of it is exclusive. Our scripture and historic teachings of Prophets and Apostles has racial superiority at least as deeply embedded as the importance of gender and heterosexual relationships. Yet blacks being excluded from the Priesthood (Priesthood being at least as important a core doctrine as eternal marriage) was temporary and the justifications abandoned today.

    Eternal marriage is essential to attain the highest of the 3 levels of the Celestial Kingdom. Yet, those who are not married at all can reach the Celestial Kingdom. I don’t know of any official teachings of what the middle level is for. And I don’t see official doctrine of any higher importance that what was previously used to justify the exclusion of blacks from the Priesthood, that precludes the inclusion of homosexual relationships in eternal marriage.

  • Elder Anderson


    I am sure Mr. Jennings doesn’t consider himself the smartest man on the planet, nor is Watson a particularly smart computer. Both Mr. Jennings and Watson are just good at trivia. Neither are the Bretheren the smartest men on the planet. They, like the rest of us, are poor sinners and subject to error.

    My understanding is that the recent change is an administrative policy, not a doctrinal revelation. I cannot say whether this policy might be modified or even revoked in the future. It seems logical to me that if things can be added to the Handbook that things can be removed. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

  • quitamedeaquiya

    SanAntonioRob: The priesthood ban for black Africans was not doctrinal nor was it scriptural. It was based on folklore and racism and finally overturned by a prophet open minded enough to ask the Lord if it was right, then campaign the 12 for unanimous approval to lift it. To compare that to the doctrine (yes, DOCTRINE) of heterosexual marriage is strange to say the least. SSM and the black African priesthood ban are not comparable in the slightest. Do a search in the online version of the scriptures for the marriage topic and you’ll see just how founded in scripture heterosexual marriage is. That being said, the current policy for children of same sex parent families actually IS comparable to the priesthood ban since both are policy and not scriptural. Whether the current policy is the will of the Lord or not is up to each individual member to prayerfully consider.

  • Tim

    And yet the LDS Church continues to grow. I’ve yet to see a mass exodus from the Church over this kerfuffle. I always chuckle when folks, particularly non-Mormons paint the Church as some monolitic organization that seeks to exert absolute control over its members. It is even funnier when members of the church are painted as being some sort of zombies with no ability to think or act on their own. Downtown Dave you are clearly not LDS and I appreciate your desire to save my soul, and tell me how all the scriptures I beleive in except that Bible are false. But who gave you the authority to start your Church? Who called you to your ministry? How is Joseph Smith any more of a false prophet then you? You say God called you to your ministry? Prove it.

  • Danny S

    Hiya Try, I had thought the comments to this post were reasonably civil. Then I noticed who we were missing. See if you can respond to the comments instead of reverting to the ad hominem stuff. If Boyd and Spencer have such a beef with me, they can come down from their polygynous mormon VIP section of heaven and give me a piece of their minds. Nothing I have ever said contributed to the suicide or deep mental anguish of others that lasted for years. My belief is they cannot make the same claim. Stay focused on the issues, guy.

  • AM

    Adoptive parent of all stripes are lining up to voice their disagreement. Try to think about what you are saying.

  • Steve

    HarryStamper, I think it is really sad that you see the priesthood ban as coming from God. You are essentially saying that God is, or was, a racist.

    And please spare me the justification that God sometimes calls a certain group, like the Levites in Ancient Israel. There is a big difference between singling out one group among all peoples for a particular responsibility, and singling out one group among all peoples and saying “you alone will be excluded.”

    Tell me…if a Black Mormon publicly states that the priesthood ban was not doctrinal and not from God do you think that they should be subject to church discipline for apostasy and rebellion against the prophet? Should they be denied callings, like teaching?

  • SanAntonioRob

    quitamedeaquiya: Though you and I recognize it as folly today, Prophets and Apostles of the past most certainly based the Priesthood ban on scriptures and many would have scoffed at the idea of it being policy vs. doctrine. Several scriptures talk about the “curse of Cain”, including the JST translations Moses 7:22, which identifies the curse as being black and those cursed as having “no place” among the other seed of Adam. There is as much scriptural support for the ban being doctrine as exclusively heterosexual marriage being doctrine. If we can dismiss scriptures regarding race as out-of-touch and non-doctrinal, there’s no reason we can’t do the same regarding heterosexuality vs. homosexuality.

  • HarryStamper

    Steve…my previous comments are not my own, I simply quoted church leadership, in an attempt to show the restriction came from God…not man. Most interestingly, President Kimball himself said the restriction came from God. Don’t feel sad or sorry for me. I also showed it was consistent with history and other scriptures in the Pearl of Great Price, this lightens the burden of people saying it came from Brigham Young’s racist attitude…..the Pearl of Great price came from Joseph Smith…and if true the restriction dates back many thousands of years. Additionally, I pointed out a Book of Mormon scripture 2 Nephi 5:21…again written by Joseph Smith …that refers to this topic. I gave that scripture in defense of Brigham Young and his previous comments.
    Regarding church discipline today…their race is not relevant….any member subject to discipline is under the jurisdiction of their local leaders. My opinion does not matter. Callings are under the discretion of the ward and stake leaders.

  • Mark Giroux

    OK, so I was being a bit snarky with the WWWD?, but my take on this particular article was that Jana was using Ken as a celebrity endorsement to put a halo on her opinion regarding the revised Church policy. I do not really know Jana’s intentions. You seem to be saying that Ken, Jana, and you are not invulnerable to error and would claim no special insight into the mind and will of God. “The Brethren” actually do claim special insight into the mind and will of God.
    My take on their reasoning behind the revised Church policy is this: We believe that covenants with God are necessary for salvation. Baptism is a covenant by us to try our best to keep God’s commandments. The Sacrament is a weekly ordinance that reconfirms the Baptismal covenant. Marriage is also a covenant. Homosexual relationships are sinful. Homosexual marriages (only recently possible) are then a covenant to commit sin, thus in direct conflict with the Baptismal covenant. Apostasy, not weakness. Regards,…

  • HarryStamper

    SanAntonioRob, your comment about the “curse of Cain” conflated with Moses 7:22 is incorrect. The type of comment the church disavowed in its statement of 2 years ago. The church never official taught what you surmise. Let me explain, Cain killed Abel, his punishment was a “cursing” of the ground, and Cain was a “tiller” of the ground. He was a farmer. Because his livelihood was taken away, Cain declared he would be a “fugitive and vagabond” in the earth and he was afraid his brethren would kill him. The Lord in His compassion set a ‘mark” upon Cain….to keep him alive. Genesis 4:10-15. The Lord or the scriptures do not reveal what the mark was. The curse of Cain was the ground would not bear fruit…his mark was something different…they’ve been conflated. Moses 7:22 simply says the “seed” of Cain were black. Does not say Cain was black. In regards to the restriction, no reason was given for it. Anyone’s guess to why is simply that…a guess.

  • Sherilynn

    What kind of nonsense is this? Are you seriously saying that unless adults are chromosome-contributors to their children, they aren’t parents to their kids? You’ve managed to be dismissive of not only same-sex parents, but also adoptive parents, stepparents, and foster parents to name a few…there are a lot of excellent moms and dads out there who don’t share DNA with the kids they lovingly parent.

  • Sherilynn

    “It is sin just as 2 teens having sex in the car..or a single mom having men sleep over …or paying for sex…or watching others have sex.”

    But your hypothetical teens, the single mother, those who consume porn, and supporters of the sex trade are not labeled apostates, nor are their children barred from blessings, baptism, and other official church opportunities.

  • quitamedeaquiya

    SanAntonioRob: you said “There is as much scriptural support for the ban being doctrine as exclusively heterosexual marriage being doctrine.” This simply isn’t true. There is NO scripture banning people with black skin from the priesthood. Additionally, no revelation or prophetic explanation was ever given for the ban. Conversely, here are just a few scriptures about exclusively heterosexual marriage: Mark 10: 6-8 “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife.” D&C 49: 15-16: “…for marriage is ordained of God unto MAN. Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one WIFE…” I could go on. I would also clarify that God’s law should not be applied to government law. Marriage licensing is forced exclusion and therefore against God’s will, for God gave us our agency to choose whom we will serve, and to have a relationship with whomever we choose, w/o threat of force by our…

  • Steve

    Harry, just because church presidents said it came from God, that doesn’t mean that it was true.

    And while I agree that the LDS Church today has not formally repudiated it as a one-time doctrine, they also tend to be deliberately vague. Mormon leaders are very careful to neither say that the ban came from God, nor that the ban was not truly from God. You can’t fault a person for taking a position that the Church effectively allows them to take, by virtue of staying silent when they could very easily issue a statement clarifying that the priesthood ban was from God, as you claim. It is hard to argue that this is some kind of oversight, rather than a conscious and deliberate choice.

    Sure your opinion matters, Harry. How would you feel if a member of your ward, black or white (you’re right, the race of the member doesn’t matter), was disfellowshipped or disciplined in some way for publicly stating that the priesthood ban was not from God?

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Right. Typically a child living in the home of a same-sex couple is the biological child of just one of them. The other parent – that is the exact, precise term: parent – is somewhere else. Usually divorced because the so-called “gay” parent decided after parenting a child in the normal way that he or she wasn’t into that kind of thing anymore, and it would be so much cooler to be faux married to someone who could satisfy them better sexually. Right? Tell me that this statement is factually wrong in the majority of cases, but you won’t because it isn’t. There are no such things as same-sex parents. It doesn’t happen because it can’t happen. I thought you knew this.

    Yes, I get that there are adoptive faux parents. That’s the whole point. It would be better for the child to be raised by the real parents. This is not always possible but most of the time it is.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    “If you are a convert, whose parents have never been Mormon, then you cannot be sealed to them.”

    That’s wrong. I know very directly and personally that your statement is wrong. Gee.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Danny S, thanks for addressing me (“Hiya Try”) and acknowledging your unmitigated hatred. I thought it was appalling when you said that you wanted to dig up graves of Church leaders and spit on their corpses. I don’t know why you find that uncivil? It’s what you said, I am just reminding you of it. How would that be uncivil? Didn’t you mean those things when you said them? When you attacked me for being “unhinged,” was that civil? Maybe you’re one of these people who feels that what THEY say must be OK but what others say is not.

    I have every intention of being civil. I just think that you should not have said that you wanted to dig up graves and spit on corpses because I find that uncivilized and despicable. Fair enough?

  • HarryStamper

    Steve…you say…just because a church president says it doesn’t mean it’s true. Well that’s tough….I believe the opposite…so we come from two different directions.

    My opinion.?..people are not disciplined for having contrary opinion or doubts. Its the open opposition that gets them in trouble. Regarding the restriction…it’s old news…as Bruce R. McConkie said…it doesn’t matter what Brigham Young, George Q. Cannon or even Bruce R…said or says…God spoke with clarity to President Kimball…all are alike unto God.

  • Sherilynn

    So yes, you do believe that anyone who is not biologically related to the child isn’t a real parent. This tells me all I need to know about your understanding of human relationships to choose not to engage with you further.

    I don’t know who has these kinds of statistics on the children of same-sex couples, but those couples I know personally either adopted from foster care or used artificial insemination to conceive (just like another temple-going heterosexual couple of my acquaintance–oh, but I forgot–they aren’t “real” parents either in your eyes).

  • Steve

    OK, thanks for that info. I was unaware of that. I am not LDS.

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    Just a few observations for you. One, sarcasm doesn’t count as analysis, nor is it courteous. I realize you don’t care about fairness or courtesy, but I thought I’d mention it anyway. Two, I guess we agree that biological parenthood is exclusively heterosexual. I was pretty sure you knew that, but some of your comments seemed confused, so I’m glad that’s straightened out. Three, you claim ignorance about whether the children in same sex households are predominantly the biological child of one of the same sex partners, but seem willing to concede the point while citing counter examples. I think you’re fudging there because most same sex couples, by far, don’t adopt unrelated children let alone involve artificial means to conceive via sperm donor or host mother. It does happen, though; I agree. Four, even those children are not “children of” the same sex couple, for the biological reasons already mentioned. “Children with,” but not “of,” if you see the distinction…

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    Five, I completely get that same sex couples do many times (not most, but many) have children in their household, as a result of any of the above possibilities. And I do sincerely hope that they are taking good and loving care of those children. I’m sure that’s generally true. The context, here, deals with cases in which a same sex couple brings a child to church for baptism or other ordinances. I think the conversation tends wrongly to ignore that typically there is a third, biological parent of that child who was abandoned by the other parent to take up the same sex relationship, something I consider blameworthy. I think our society has a lot to answer for when we say that the abandonment is really ok and just part of a process of sexual self-discovery.

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    Happy to help. Just to avoid misleading you, the sealing can occur after the non-Mormon parents are deceased. In my case, I’m a Mormon convert – the only LDS member in my family. One of the choicest experiences in my life has been the opportunity my wife and I have had to perform temple ordinances for my now deceased mom and dad, and then to be sealed to them for eternity.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    It’s hard to give operative meaning to “usually fairly clear.” Almost any codified set of rules requires interpretive guidance; ask any lawyer. But I think that there is something to be said for the effect of public debate as a reason to provide the interpretive guidance in this circumstance, even assuming (as I believe) that the clarified matters were implicit all along. The reason is that I doubt the Brethren anticipated the public disclosure of what is supposed to be a confidential, internal policy manual. That disclosure was utterly unethical, and even hypocritical considering that the publishers are folks who all the time commend themselves for their ethics. Following the wrongful disclosures, deliberate or mistaken misinterpretations went viral, justifying a clarifying statement.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Zero justifications? Really? Wow. OK, let me help. First of all, literally NO ONE IS SAYING that “children of gay parents cannot be saved,” That’s a terrible thing to say.

    Nest, with respect to doctrine, we know that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” (Right? This is doctrine, isn’t it?) “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” “[T]he sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”

    Applying this doctrine, the Church cannot and should not treat so-called gay marriages as ecclesiastically valid. See my next reply for elaboration.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    (part 2.) Yet that (i.e., treating the so-called gay marriage as ecclesiastically valid) is exactly what would happen if the so-called gay parents (a misnomer, since 100% of children are conceived by and with a genetic father and a mother) bring, say, an eight year-old child (who is in their sole or primary custody) to church for baptism. They will insist, won’t they, that both “parents” be treated as parents on Church records? Why would they not? They would object, wouldn’t they, to teaching in Primary of YM/YW classes to the effect of the doctrinal statements quoted above? Why would they not?

    You should be able to see – I am amazed that you deny this – that the child in those cases is being used as a pawn to compel recognition of the same sex relationship as though equivalent to that of a father and a mother. The Church can’t and shouldn’t do that. I pray for the child who is being abused by the so-called parents to score political points like that.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    I’m a convert to the Church, having been raised as an evangelical and then having slid into atheism of the scientific/materialistic kind. I am in a position to tell you that you’re wrong. I realize that you won’t accept that from me, but someone should say it to you anyway.

  • Ben in oakland

    But those things are heterosexual sins, so they simply don’t matter as much as uppity gays insisting that we have a right to live our lives authentically, as we are made, as we see fit, and with full participation in society.

    If antigay so-called Christians actually treated heterosexual sinners the way they treat gay people, instead of the usual, resounding “tsk-tsk”, why that might seriously inconvenience heterosexuals, and impact collections and dominion.

  • SanAntonioRob

    My reply is to Les Cairns, and salvation not being available for children of gay parents is EXACTLY what he is saying. He says they shouldn’t start on a path (i.e. be baptized) they can’t finish. Since we believe baptism is the ordinance that starts you on the path to salvation, what is he saying if not what I refuted? Try reading the thread before posting. It helps keep everyone on point.

    Second, your argument is against gay marriage being valid. There is NOT justification for it being given the same treatment as murder and worse treatment than abuse and attempted murder. And there is NOT justification for prohibiting children, whom we believe to be punishable only for their own sins, to be denied saving ordinances and the gift of the Holy Ghost until ten years after the age of accountability. THAT is the policy we are discussing. THAT is what no one has so far been able to justify.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    No, it is more about ethics. Leaking internal documents is not OK. Exaggerating or misstating the intent or effect of the leaked material is also not OK.

  • SanAntonioRob

    Nice story that I am assuming you could not back up by even anecdotal evidence, but only hypotheticals. There are several holes in your post:

    1) It is gay marriage – legally – not “so called” anything. If you didn’t want someone to be, let’s say, a Senator, but legally they are, that doesn’t make them a “so called” Senator. Let’s get past that childishness.

    2) There are several instances where childrens’ parent have nothing to do with genetics. I have an adopted son. My wife and I are his parents, even though neither of us are tied to him genetically. No misnomer there.

    3) I would doubt anyone would see the Church as listing the legal (yes it is legal and binding, no what matter your personal opinion is) parents as the legal parents on Church recorda as a win. And isn’t it a bigger “recognition” by the Church to do something as drastic as deny saving ordinances than to (gasp) list legal parents as legal parents. Sorry your “justification” falls waaaay…

  • SanAntonioRob


  • trytoseeitmyway

    The justification for gay marriage being treated as apostasy by definition is that while any sin (other than the unpardonable one, which is not being discussed here) can be forgiven, such forgiveness comes only after repentance and the active participation in a formalized homosexual “marriage” is, by definition, unrepentant. That explains why active, ongoing participation in a formalized homosexual marriage is apostasy per se, as opposed to potentially inconsistent with church membership, depending on whether repentance is present. See? it’s really not difficult, Brother Rob.

    There is no absolute prohibition; rather there is a process for requesting First Presidency approval. If the child is truly on his or her own seeking baptism, and if there is no issue of explicit or implicit validation of the invalid so-called marriage, then I assume the permission can be routinely granted. Other such applications typically are. Hope that helps.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    It’s legitimate to say “so-called” in this context because the context is ecclesiastical, not civilly legal.

    I commend your wife and you for adopting your son. You son is the child of his birth parents; you are his adoptive parents. if you wrote of the relationship in a way that would conflate birth parenthood and adoptive parenthood, that would be a misnomer. I explained above why it is important to make the distinction in this context – somehow you ignore all of that. Your choice, but scarcely my fault.

    Your point 3 is just way off. I read Internet comments boards, same as you. There is no doubt in my mind that there are homosexual couples who will do anything possible to force ecclesiastical recognition of their so- called marriage.

    See my other response with respect to “denying” saving ordinances. Children should not be kept from the Savior – but neither should they be objectified as pawns in the adults’ crusade to undermine revealed doctrine.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    I think the point is, the so-called parents have indeed done so but they seek to use the child to force the Church to conform to a political attitude, such as the one you express. Hope that helps.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    You made this point above, and I answered it above. I think the Church will do everything it can to rescue or protect children from households characterized by abuse or infidelity. The case of formalized same-sex marriage is different because the so-called parents can be expected to react strongly negatively to attempts to rescue the children in that situation; their whole point is that their so-called marriage is every bit as valid as anyone else’s. This sets up a clear, unavoidable conflict that can only be detrimental to a child. The Church wants to protect that child by not playing that game.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Thanks for this viewpoint.

  • SanAntonioRob

    You can “assume” anything you want, but as the policy is written there is an absolute prohibition.

    There are a whole host of other things we regard as sin that someone could legally bind themselves to. Someone can own a bar or a casino or a strip club. They could be an abortion doctor who provide the procedure for what the Church would consider unjustified reasons. None of those are listed and given the same treatment as murder.

    Also, as written the policy applies even to kids whose parent(s) has been in a gay marriage or committed relationship in the past. So the parent could be “repentant” and still have their kids denied saving ordinances. See, it’s easy to see how your points are mute and still don’t justify the policy.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    P.S. I also don’t think you should trivialize ecclesiastical record-keeping (Matt. 16:18-19; Matt. 18:18) or fail to think through the temple and other implications of treating same sex civil marriages as having equal ecclesiastical dignity as genuine marriages. And I object to your suggestion that the civil law has to be given preference over revealed doctrine for ecclesiastical purposes. That’s just wrong.

  • SanAntonioRob

    As I alluded to previously, the Church recognizes parenthood in a drastic manner by denying saving ordinances to kids whose parent or parents are in a committed gay relationship. You can’t stop ordinances based on who someone’s parents are, then say you are not ecclesiastically recognizing who someone’s parents are. So please!, get over the childish “so-called” that doesn’t match up with any form of non-convoluted reality.

    By allowing children to attend Church and hear their parents’ lifestyle condemned, but not fully become part of our group because of nothing they did wrong IS using the children as pawns. And by the Church, not the parents. To act like it prevents them from being used as pawns would be laughable, but we are talking about saving ordinances. That makes it disturbing, not laughable.

  • ben in oakland

    “I read Internet comments boards, same as you. There is no doubt in my mind that there are homosexual couples who will do anything possible to force ecclesiastical recognition of their so- called marriage.”

    I’m sure that in your mind, this is true. But not in reality. and there is that pesky first Amendment thing, which anyone with half a brain knows is paramount.But hey, if you read it on some internet comment board, it must be true.

    your postings just drip contempt for gay people.

  • ben in oakland

    That must be it. always that insidious gay agenda to force the TBM’s and the Good Christians into accepting their unholy, ungodly agenda. It couldn’t possibly be that they are not using the children for any nefarious purpose, but simply want their children to have the benefits of the Mormon Church.

    but hey! some anonymous person on the internet, who might or might not be gay or Mormon, might have said something that could be interpreted as forcing the churches to change their doctrine, especially if that is what you’re looking to prove.

  • Mike

    The other problem with this policy that is getting little notice is the other end of the spectrum. If active parents have a gay child, what should they do? To be consistent with this policy, they should denounce their child and kick them out of the home. Horrible policy.

  • quitamedeaquiya

    To be accurate, technically the other end of the spectrum would be if parents had a child that MARRIED a person of the SAME SEX living in their house, the parents would need to kick them out and disavow their lifestyle choice before getting baptized. The policy says nothing about simply being gay, because in Mormon theology, being gay is not a sin. Breaking the law of chastity is a sin.

  • Mike

    quitamediaquiya, that is correct except the church already had a policy for that and instead decided to double down on it and expand it to include their children. Utah has long had a problem with some members turning against their own children for being gay. This new policy does not help in that regard. It makes it easier for them to justify their behavior turning against their gay children

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    Ben, you’re wrong about contempt for gay people. You and your ilk appall me, but not because you’re homosexual. What I hate is militant political correctness, identity politics and the idea that anyone has o apologize for religious values. The idea that those values are somehow inconsistent with U.S. Constitutional democracy is likewise offensive. The Church should have every right to define, and enforce, it’s understanding of chastity, and I’ll disagree with you, Jana Riess and anyone else, with equal vigor, who disagrees. Hope that helps.

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    OK, you’re so smart. Explain why proudly married homosexual so-called parents are bringing their so-called children to Mormon church for baptism and priesthood ordination. Seriously. Just explain that thinking to me. The Church is going to want those kids to understand that the so-called parents’ marriage is a repudiation of the Law of Chastity, and will expect the child to understand that as well as other doctrinal principles as a condition to baptism or ordination to the priesthood, patriarchal blessings and the like. So the thinking of the gay couple in setting up that conflict is … what? You tell me. I can only suspect that there are ulterior motives.

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    Rob, you can set up a false equivalence if you want, but don’t tell me there isn’t a doctrinal and prudential justification, because I’ve given it to you. You can put your fingers in your ears and shout la-la-la to avoid engaging with it, but it’s still there.

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    Good point. More people have dropped their subscriptions to the NY Times than have resigned their Church membership, despite that Church membership is much larger than Times subscribership.

  • Sam I Am

    Mormon Newsroom, which is the official news department of the church, apparently disagrees with you:

    “There is new information in the Handbook that addresses a narrow range of situations involving the children of same-sex couples.”

    (Article published November 13, 2015; Understanding the Handbook, written by Michael Otterson, Managing Director, Church Public Affairs)

  • A Happy Hubby

    “Explain why proudly married homosexual so-called parents are bringing their so-called children to Mormon church for baptism and priesthood ordination. Seriously. Just explain that thinking to me.”

    The same as cohabiting parents that still believe in the gospel &think it is a great way for a child to be raised. It happens out in the mission field quite often.

    The only big difference here is that there are a larger # of gay’s that were told by the church “just get married & the gay will go away”, only to realize after a decade & a few kids that they are 100% gay. So they part & even if they have some testimony, they can’t go without companionship & marry someone of the same sex even if they are excommunicated. But they still want their children to grow up in the gospel.

    Granted, this isn’t an everyday thing, but it is the deeper level of what the policy is saying.

    You must be reading “how to give a GA talk” & the chapter on deprecation of others by the labeling…

  • Mike

    I always love these “the church continues to grow” comments, as if that has anything to do with the topic. We send young men and women out to be missionaries! Of course we continue to grow. I mean really! That has nothing to do with a bad uninspired policy that was even changed due to public out cry!

  • Danny S

    “More people have dropped their subscriptions to the NY Times than have resigned their Church membership…”


  • SanAntonioRob

    quitamedeaquiya: The scriptures you gave don’t make heterosexuality the exclusive acceptable standard any more than they make monogamy the exclusive acceptable standard (note “wife” not “wives”, and even more blatantly stated in D&C 49 “ONE wife”). So unless you are going to proclaim polygamy as inherently wrong based on the exclusive use of the singular, it’s silly to proclaim homosexuality as being inherently wrong based on the exclusive use of wife. Can these scriptures be construed as precluding homosexuality? Sure. Just like other scriptures can be construed to suggest racial superiority.

    Harry: You are correct that GOD gave no reasons. But then, I don’t believe it was HE who instituted the ban either. But there were plenty, including Apostles, who used scriptures not about Priesthood bans to justify the Priesthood ban. That’s my point. We’re doing the same with homosexuality.

  • Danny S

    Try, you never cease to astound. First, the gem, “sarcasm doesn’t count as analysis”. That was like Big bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper chiding Leonard for having no social skills. Except Sheldon is funny. I swear I nearly snorted my coffee through my nostrils on that one. Then comes your godlike insight into Sherilynn’s lack of desire for politeness and fairness. So you really know all that about her? From a brief set of posts? And finally you set up a straw man implying gay people are the ones who “abandon” the so-called marriage. Are you certain that’s the only way that happens? Because you seem to allow for no other possibility. Persecution complex, sanctimony, and delusions of grandeur. You’ve mastered the TBM trifecta of righteousness.

  • quitamedeaquiya

    SanAntonioRob: I’m going to make this my last reply. Feel free to have the last word.

    I said that there are NO scriptures prohibiting the priesthood to all black males (you’ve not refuted this). It should go without saying that the lack of a scriptural ban on the priesthood is not in any way equivalent to people mingling the philosophies of men with the scriptures to justify racial superiority. I can’t argue with a moving target.

    I really wish you would look up the scriptures for yourself. I gave you a SAMPLE. Polygamy is also scriptural (D&C 132). Scriptural polygamy is heterosexual. Based on the scriptures, God condones both heterosexual monogamy and heterosexual polygamy. Again, there is NO scriptural standing for SSM.

    Also, the scriptures do not “preclude” (prevent from happening) homosexuality. The scriptures simply acknowledge and prohibit all forms of extramarital sexual intercourse. As explained, scriptural marriage is exclusively heterosexual.

  • quitamedeaquiya


    In conclusion, this discussion has really gotten way out into the weeds. The OP is in regards to a policy of the Church. Not doctrine, not commandments, not whether SSM is supported by scripture. It is about policy.

    In its simplest definition, the Church is a voluntary association of like-minded individuals. This policy simply defines additional parameters regarding who may join and who may not. Nothing more, nothing less. Nobody’s rights are infringed upon if they cannot join such a voluntary association. This should be none of anyone’s business who is not a member of the Church, and within the membership, we need to ask ourselves: how much does this really matter, in an eternal perspective? Some will say it matters quite a bit, and others say not at all, some are somewhere in the middle. There’s nothing wrong with any of those perspectives.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Danny S, your comment to me looks like an example of being uncivil and “ad hominem.” (Quotation marks because the phrase is frequently misused, but that explanation would be a digression.) Since you purported to lecture me about that – wrongly – I thought I would point out a genuine example here. But to respond to you directly, I never ever substitute sarcasm for analysis. My analysis is always right there for everyone to read. So there you go: missing the mark yet again. Of course, you’re the guy who said he wanted to dig up the graves of deceased apostles so you could “spit on their corpses.” (Your phrase,) That was disgusting and uncivilized. I did in fact infer a disinterest by the commenter in “fairness and courtesy,” since her words demonstrated neither. It is scarcely a straw man to say that most children in the households of same sex couples are the biological children of one of the partners. The abandoned spouse isn’t to blame in that setting.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Rob, you wrote: “You can’t stop ordinances based on who someone’s parents are, then say you are not ecclesiastically recognizing who someone’s parents are.”

    Gee. You either haven’t read or haven’t understood anything that has been explained to you. So let’s be clear: that’s your failure, not the failure of those offering the explanations. Proof: show me where the Church treats same sex civil marriage as ecclesiastically valid. No? Your statement above claims that such recognition can be found in Church policy, yet you can’t show anyone where.

    My friend, the problem here is that you WANT to rail against Church policy, and so cognitive dissonance prevents you from trying to appreciate why it makes sense. That’s too bad.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Hubby, isn’t there a logical problem with saying after getting married and having children the parent realizes that he or she is “100%” homosexual? And show me where anyone said, “the gay will go away.” I think in many cases (Laura Duhlin writes about this, among others) it is entirely possible to experience strong feelings of same sex attraction and yet participate fully and faithfully in marriage, parenting and Church.

    But let me make sure I understand your response to me about motives. You’re saying it is common (is this right?) that civilly married homosexuals will decide to bring a child of their home (sole or primary custody) to LDS church, to be taught the law of chastity among other spiritual principles, because they “think it is a great way for a child to be raised.” You’re standing by that? It strikes me as so counterintuitive as to defy common sense.

  • SanAntonioRob

    Yes, this is policy not doctrine. That is what my argument has been – that exclusively heterosexual marriage is not something “deeply baked into our doctrine”.

    I have not refuted there being no scriptures refusing Priesthood to blacks. You have not produced scriptures refusing homosexuals eternal marriage. There is no moving target. When you come at things from a different angle, I must address them from a different angle. The end argument is the same. There are no scriptures specifically prohibiting blacks from receiving the Priesthood. But Church leaders and members did use scriptures to justify refusing blacks the Priesthood. Similarly, there are no scriptures prohibiting homosexuals from marrying. But Church leaders and members do use scriptures to not only prohibit temple marriage, but punish those who are civilly married.

    No moving target. Same argument I have been making. I also am done with posts to this page – we are going in circles.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Source? You mean I need a source? 🙂

    Well, I suppose I do need one. Truthfully, I read that observation somewhere and just repeated it. But I’m disdainful when others do that, so I should be more careful myself. And in this instance , I needed to be clearer too: I meant to say, “have resigned their Church membership over this issue …” The so-called mass resignations were reported to be about 1,000 – 1,500.

    But even as unmodified, I’m pretty sure my statement holds up. My reference to subscriptions to the NY Times concerned print circulation, which is declining rapidly. Using M-F print subscription numbers for comparison, they lost over 5,000 readers *every month* on average for the four year period from 2011 – 2014. Undoubtedly that eclipses membership resignations over the same period, probably by an order or two of magnitude. I just think the comparison helps.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    So glad you asked. Seriously. It’s good that you asked so you could be given a forthright answer: Nothing Brother Jennings said there would come even close to getting him excommunicated.

    So, now that we have that answer, let’s stop to think about the fact that you were at least prepared to speculate that what he said WOULD result in excommunication. (Or, I suppose, you could have been exaggerating for effect but the problem with exaggeration is that if it takes exaggeration to make the point, then the point is per se invalid.) It is worth asking yourself, what is it that you misunderstand so significantly that you would make such a wrong guess?

  • SanAntonioRob


    I said I was done posting, but saw your pathetic reply.

    Most important – exactly zero people that know me well would agree I just “want to rail against the Church”. I am – and have always been – a tithe-paying, call accepting, church attending, truth seeking member. If all you have to resort to is ignorant dispersions when your argument is dead, stop posting.

    If by “ecclesiastically valid” you mean the Church is putting its stamp of approval, I don’t need to show proof because that’s not my argument. Listing a child’s parents isn’t an approval of homosexual marriage any more than listing someone’s parents is an approval of a drunken night in Vegas at a chapel on the Strip. But the Handbook changes mean the Church is officially recognizing the reality of who parents are and that they entered into a legal marriage. Notice the changes, clarification, and official statements don’t use “so-called”. Because its childish.

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