Beliefs Institutions Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

Mormon policy excludes children of same-sex marriages. And I am livid.

Keep outIn the LDS Church, children born out of wedlock can be blessed, baptized, and approved to serve a mission.

Children born to rapists can be blessed, baptized, and approved to serve a mission.

Even children born to murderers can be blessed, baptized, and approved to serve a mission.

But children born to faithful, loving, monogamous couples in a same-sex marriage or other committed relationship will henceforth be excluded from all three of those things.

Last night it was revealed that the new LDS administrative handbook has revised some of its policies, including ones on same-sex marriages and relationships.

Same-sex couples who are married or cohabit together are now defined as living in “apostasy,” and same-sex marriage is listed as one of several conditions that mandate a church disciplinary council. Whereas in the past, bishops and stake presidents had some leeway about whether to impose church discipline, now they will be required to discipline any LGBT church member who is married to or living with a partner of the same sex.

It’s heartbreaking for me to see my church drawing this line in the sand, which leaves faithful LGBT members with an impossible choice: they can either be excluded from lifelong love and companionship, or excluded from the blessings of the Church.

But I can’t say I’m terribly surprised that the Church is adopting that hard line.

What is surprising is to see it violating one of Mormonism’s most cherished and beautiful doctrines: the Second Article of Faith.

“We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.”

Such freeing words. They tell us that we are only responsible for the sins we commit ourselves, not those of our parents or anyone who came before us. The sins we will be punished for will be ours and ours alone; they begin with us and they end with us.

Except, apparently, if you are a child who happens to be born to gay parents.

Such a child can never, now, receive a name and a blessing in the ceremony that Mormons perform for infants in the weeks or months following birth.

And if such a child wishes to be baptized at age eight or ordained to the priesthood at twelve, well, it’s not going to happen.

Such children can only be baptized if they:

  1. wait until they are “of legal age,” which, depending on the country they live in, would be between 18 and 21;
  2. move out of the home they were raised in; and
  3. “specifically disavow the practice of same-gender cohabitation or marriage” to an ecclesiastical leader.

And then, their request has to go all the way to the office of the First Presidency before being approved. The decision is out of the hands of local leaders or people who actually know the family in question.

This policy change does not just make me heartbroken and sad, which is how I feel about the Church forcing its adult gay members to choose between the happiness they can have with a family and the happiness they can have in the Church.

No, this policy change makes me furious. It is a betrayal of what we say we believe.

What this means is that a church that says it is all about strengthening the family is demanding that children turn against their parents.

And a church whose core doctrine is that children will not be punished for their parents’ sins is willing to make an exception if those parents happen to be gay.



About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (Random House/Convergent, 2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church" (Oxford University Press, 2019). She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.


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  • One can be upset about the policy but the second article of faith has nothing to do with it. That is about original sin and to broaden it to apply to a general policy that we are punished only for our own sins and not those of our parents (or more broadly, anyone else) is historically inaccurate. Further, that view contradicts scripture.

    The Bible references several times that the sins of the parents will fall on the children. One can disagree with the justice of such, but the Bible is quute clear that it can happen.

  • You shouldn’t be surprised that the Church is violating its own scripture (the Articles of Faith) by punishing children for the sins of the parents. It violated scripture (1 Cor. 10:29 & D&C 134:4, which condemn the idea of people using their religious opinions to justify infringing upon the rights and liberties of others) by supporting Prop. 8 in California. Gays had the right/liberty to marry there, yet we used our religious opinions regarding marriage in justify infringing upon that right/liberty.

    The children of unrepentant murderers, child molesters and rapists can be baptized, but not the kids of practicing gays? No hypocrisy there!! This is anti-family and will push innocent children away from the Church. Sure, homosexual behavior is a sin and those engaged therein should face Church discipline, but it isn’t apostasy unless they claim that it isn’t a sin.

    This seems to be the Church retaliating against gays for the Prop. 8 and recent Supreme Court decision. How…

  • Sifting the wheat from the tares my friends.
    Choose you this Day whom ye will
    For when men are learned they think they are wise, and harken not into the counsels of God.
    I believe His plan is big and broad enough to cover any previewed injustice his His children.
    ” 40 Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.

    41 Fear not, little bchildren, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;

    42 And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.”

  • They have made this policy to scare mainstream members from sympathizing and accepting gay people into the institution of marriage.

    If gay marriage is now some kind of purity test, it should be applied equally across the board, included in baptismal and temple recommend questions, resulting in disciplinary measures and foregone baptisms around the world.

    However, this is not a purity test. It is a base cost-benefit analysis scheme, targeting a vulnerable minority group as an example to others they view as more desirable to keep in the fold.

  • As a faithful but often frustrated member of the Church, I always wonder if there will be a last straw for me – and if so, what that last straw will be. This isn’t it, to be sure, but I’m deeply saddened by this new policy; I feel a heavy sorrow for our members who are now burdened with such an impossible choice. But above that, I’m just angry – about the violation of the Second Article of Faith, about alienating & excluding those whom we are called to love, about the dragon of hate currently blowing its fire all over my FB newsfeed. I’m angry and tired.

  • I am glad you are livid. We all should be. Livid and heartbroken. Somehow having cohabiting homosexual partners is a far worse sin than have cohabiting heterosexual partners? How dare this church, that claims that little children are innocent and pure, limit and restrict yhem from saving ordinances. My husband has baptised and confirmed nieces and nephews from siblings who are heterosexually cohabitating and others who have been unfaithful to their spouses. In my ward, numerous grandpas and uncles gave blessed and baptised children whose parents are in prison, on drugs, or prostituting themselves. Regardless of the Church’s stance and belief of homosexuality, this shunning of children is not Christlike, and utterly, despicably wrong.

  • “The task of any religion is to teach us whom we’re required to love, not whom we’re entitled to hate.”

    Some religions are kinda falling down on the job, apparently.

  • I just read the W.Post article. This is my initial thought: I think it’s a wise policy to have children wait to join the Church.

    Jana wrote: “What this means is that a church that says it is all about strengthening the family is demanding that children turn against their parents.”

    I don’t see it that way. I see it as the Church saying, in effect, children living with a parent in a same-gender relationship should not feel like they have to choose between loving their parent(s) or being obedient to God’s laws. That can lead to severe confusion or feeling like they’re serving two masters. However, as adults with more clarity and a bit of distance, they can see that their parent(s) are yes, breaking God’s laws, they can disavow such actions but still love their parent(s). Adults won’t necessarily feel as torn between two competing loves as children may.

    I think the parable of man can’t serve two masters may be applicable here. I hope my point of view comes across…

  • It’s also breaks a very simple command from Christ… “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:14KJV)… one of the most unChristlike moves I’ve seen done by the Church.

  • I can see why those who believe (or hope) that some day the church will change its policy to on gay marriages would take issue with this policy. But for those that understand that marriage as recognized only between man and woman is not just a current policy but an eternal doctrine, this policy makes sense. We do recognize that children are only accountable for their own sins. Thus when they are no longer living within the home where their parents are living in apostasy, they have the individual choice to decide if they want to follow God and be baptized and recognize the apostacy of their parents (this is very different than any requirement to abandon, shun, or stop loving parents). There is a very real danger that being reared by gay parents the child would have a view of marriage that is opposed to the eternal doctrine of marriage and for a person holding those views baptism would do more harm than good, as they would be supporting apostacy in violation of baptismal covenants.

  • To those above who justify this policy, nice mental gymanstics. It’s sad that people have to justify hateful and harmful behavior, for the most part, because they feel that he brethren are infallible.
    I wonder if they still tell their African American friends that their skin is a curse because they were less valiant in the preexistence. Make sure you tell them how you like your bed made and how your eggs should be cooked in the am since, you know, they will be your servant in the celestial kingdom.
    To Tort, so you are telling me God will punish you for the actions of your parents? Only refers to Adam? Sorry, but your god is an ass and not the one I believe in.

  • I have no doubt church leaders thought long and hard about this. I think most every decision in the Church is calculated on A. How it brings an individual closer to Christ, and B. How it keeps a family unit together (even if that unit doesn’t always meet gospel standards). I think this is one of those rare instances where the two come into conflict.

    I too see it as more of a relief of conflict within the family rather than a denial of blessings. Better to have those blessings delayed than close relationships strained.

    Many say this shows a lack of love. I think the Church thinks of love in the long-term. The watchmen on the tower will always be able to see things we can’t, and maybe even some things we can’t even imagine. I have no doubt this will make a lot more sense some day.

  • Thank you for this. I agree- long term all the blessing any of us can enjoy will be provided for Everyone. It is.
    It for us to judge God and His timing.

  • I think this makes it pretty clear that the word marriage can be used by the state in the public domain to mean whatever ok t wants but within the church walls the Prophet is the final determiner of the definition of marriage.

    The real question is: Does the Prophet speak the will of the Lord? Yes.

    Our salvation depends on how we respond to the Prophet.

  • I’m a little puzzled at the apparent outrage for a newly instituted policy that is identical to the Church’s policy for children born in plural marriage households that has been in place for decades. Where was all the outrage for that policy? It suggests to me the faux outrage is not as much over concern about who can be baptized as it is about pushing a popular political agenda. In the end LDS believe everyone will be baptized, but its a sociological issue. To say this gives an LGBT member an “impossible choice” is not correct. We all face difficult choices. God requires so much from each one of us. But they are not impossible choices. Sometimes we just have to cut off our hand, or remove our eye (to paraphrase Jesus) to fit his standards.

  • I like this new policy and think it should be more widely applied.

    No child should be baptized until she or he is of full legal age. Thus, they are making a fully informed, well considered and mature decision.

    What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  • I love many things about the Mormon church, but I left two years ago due to issues surrounding policies and “doctrines” about women and homosexuals, primarily. I still feel anger and sadness when crap like this happens, though.

    I know you joined the LDS Church after spending years in seminary training to be an Episcopal priest. I would simply proffer that the Episcopal Church probably could still use a good person like you. I’ve been attending TEC for a few years now, and am above all impressed by its message of welcome and sanctuary extended to all people.


  • I, too, think every decision the church makes is well calculated and based on: A- How many and what type of members will we lose? B- Will that loss and the media attention affect our bottom line?

  • I’m livid and I’m not even LDS. Even as an adult when I’m having a bad day and my adult kids are struggling, I wonder if God is punishing them for something I have done. To punish children because their parents are “living in sin” (I know people will debate that premise) is not what God desires. “Suffer the little children to come unto me, for such is the Kingdom of God.” – Jesus

  • I’m gay, and I grew up LDS. I was 8 years-old when I was told I had enough knowledge and understanding of right and wrong to make the decision to be baptized. That decision, as an LDS person, is offered to 8 year-olds pretty much across the board in all other circumstances.

    Telling any child, 8 or 17, who is raised by gay parents that she couldn’t possibly have that knowledge or understanding–and then only at 18, and with the approval of a council of strangers–is precisely a comment on her parents ability to teach right and wrong. They’re saying gay families can’t. According to this, to the LDS church, they are bereft, their children without knowledge or understanding.

    Which goes against every scientifically-vetted research on the subject of the fitness of queer families and their children: research shows no difference between straight and queer families, occasionally even areas where queer families do better.

    This isn’t wise policy. It’s factually incorrect and…

  • Exodus 20:5 is specifically talking about idolatry and worshiping other Gods. If you believe that homosexuality is a form of idolatry I suppose you can through mental gymnastics and justify the use of this scripture to justify the new policy. Otherwise it is just another movement towards main stream Christianity that is more concerned about cultural wars and less concerned with pure Christlike ideals and charity.

  • These new policies ought to give any LDS member raising children pause.
    For example, if I suspect my 8 year old might be LGBT, shouldn’t I weigh whether it is in his/her best interest to be baptized at such a young age? Would it not be better for them to wait until adulthood to make that decision–decide if they are able and willing to live a celibate life–rather than be baptized at 8 only to be excommunicated later?

    My heart goes out to our LGBT brothers and sisters. Another boulder on the “shelf” for me, for now.

  • Thank you, Jana.

    Does anyone else see the handwriting on the wall for everyone now? (gay family member or no?)

    Earlier this year, an apostle went on record with, “There hasn’t been any litmus test or standard imposed that you couldn’t support that [gay marriage] if you want to support it, if that’s your belief and you think it’s right… Any Mormon can have a belief on either side of this issue.” (Elder Christofferson — see, Salt Lake Tribune, Peggy Fletcher Stack, 3/27/15)

    But now the handbook claims children must “specifically disavow the practice of same-gender cohabitation or marriage” to an ecclesiastical leader.

    This is a litmus test for all of us.

    I am heartsick.

  • I just feel so sad. So upset. This goes against what I feel Christ would want. I’m devastated and I don’t know what to do as I try to raise my two very young sons in the church. Their father is not LDS but has always been supportive of me, even though his amazing mom is gay and married to an equally amazing woman. This policy will bring conflict into my home.

  • The benefit of this new policy is that it will truly separate the wheat from the tares. Those who are able to suppress their conscience and justify and rationalize the change will stay, and the rest of us will distance ourselves from the church, fade into inactivity or resign. It is happening already.

    The church may be much smaller after people of conscience leave and others start to question whether God is truly behind such policy decisions, but perhaps that is for the best. Win win.

  • This policy saddens me. It’s exclusionary and will drive away those children long before they reach legal age. I come from a not-entirely-functional family (and, yes, both of my parents were hetero), and was one of those youth who was brought up at least in part by a ward family. I’m sorry we’re taking that opportunity from a group of young people who might benefit from it. And, yes, I understand that they can come to church and participate without having been baptized, but I still think they’ll be taking away a message that they don’t belong.

  • It never says children of same sex couples can’t go on missions, and it never says that bishops or stake presidents will be required to discipline someone. There are aspects to the policy that are upsetting, but let’s not make up additional stuff that’s not actually there. That’s not helpful to anyone. (Note that I’m not saying whether I agree with the policy or not, just that you’re making things up.)

  • Ok, everybody relax and think this through. . . .(and you just might get a clue). The entire issue is about keeping the child from being a target in their own household, along with dealing with some cultural issues OUTSIDE of North America. This is not a new concept. For instance, children of actively practicing polygamists aren’t allowed baptism, as well as children of open/public Satanists. Also, the notice says “legal age.” Therefore, in some countries, some children can get baptized earlier. And all this talk of “leaving,” well you were just looking for another reason to play the victim card anyway. . . . . . .so. . . . . .bye.

  • I’m actually thrilled by this announcement on behalf of my LGBT friends who are legally married and lovingly raising their children. Why? Because it will now be very easy for them to stop the LDS missionaries and/or LDS members with whom they have contact from hassling themselves and their children to get involved with the LDS church. (AKA, “Fellowshipping”) It’s like a Get-out-of-Jail-Free Card! No more, “Wouldn’t your child like to come to church with us?” And then having to find a way to politely decline the invitation to send your child to Primary, the hotbed of weird, scary, early indoctrination. P.S. Yes, I’m an ex-Mormon. P.P.S. Families forever! (heavy sarcasm) P.P.S. Good move, Bretheren. It won’t be long before there aren’t any active LDS members under the age of 70.

  • Don,
    Church discipline councils “must be held” (not up to discretion) for certain issues.
    Elder Ballard speaking in 1990:
    “Members sometimes ask why Church disciplinary councils are held. The purpose is threefold: to save the soul of the transgressor, to protect the innocent, and to safeguard the Church’s purity, integrity, and good name.
    The First Presidency has instructed that disciplinary councils must be held in cases of murder, incest, or apostasy.”

    It is clear this policy is putting same-sex marriage in the category of “must be held.”

  • The mental gymnastics required to accept this were almost doable until…let me see…yes…an entirely “worthy” 19 year old member of the church, who is otherwise fully qualified to serve a mission, cannot return from a year of college and reside with his gay married parents before leaving for his/her mission. Oh wait, scratch that, I’ve found a way…it will truly be a blessing (perhaps even a “tender mercy”) for the soon to be Elder/Sister to live with a stranger, or by themselves, as a way to better prepare them for their mission and teach them how to overcome difficulties in their life. Whew, didn’t know if I would make it, but a mere piked Arabian double front flip got me there.

  • Boy, aren’t you out to lunch, Jana. Children born to these sinners are usually separated from those sinners (ie jail). Never seen a child born out of wedlock still living with out of wedlock parent get baptized and blessed. I think you are saying things that aren’t exactly correct.

    Also, no one is punished for the sins of their parents. That doctrine, along with all doctrine, refers to life here-after.

    BTW, this is a brilliant move by the Church and I hope to see more of it with regards to apostates that co-habitate.

  • So if you become a member of the LDS church you can never live with your parents again? Like when you’re hard on your luck and need your parents support or when your parents are old and you need to repay the favor of a lifetime of love and support by taking care of them allowing them to live with you and your family. Do you get excommunicated for receiving support or giving support to your parents by way of a place to live? I guess you’re supposed to be content with your new ward “family” and forget about those “apostate sinners” who offered you unconditional love your whole life. Sorry MORmONS I will never turn my back on those beautiful souls who have offered nothing but love and support. How could I? You can have my membership back I choose my family.

  • There are things in the church that are inspired. One example is the concept we have of the atonement of Christ. There are also a lot of man made policies and doctrines. This happens to fall into the latter category. It is some elderly men sitting around a room in Salt Lake who decided on this or it was some correlation committee with an approval of the first presideny and it is a sad day for truth and mercy. The church is violating the second article of faith. I guess we can throw the others out as well.

  • It has been suggested by one commenter that we should review the fairmormon’s article in an effort to “seek to understand first.” Strange, that article fails to even address perhaps the most offensive policy in all of this. Specifically, that the 18+ year old must no longer reside with his/her parents in order to receive any ordinances or serve a mission. Odd they would fail to mention that given it is right there in the handbook in the clearest terms. My suggestion…read the handbook and seek to understand. It’s as simple as that as it’s right there in black and white, in the simplest most carefully worded language in less than 2 pages. I do commend the church. If it was seeking uniformity amongst the congregations, mission accomplished. Get in line and keep marching my friends.

  • Here is the scenario that I think is most likely to cause pain. A young married couple has a child, then the father comes out as gay. The couple is divorced, and the mother gets custody. The father marries a man. The child, living with the mother, cannot be baptized until they become an adult. I don’t think this is acceptable, but I don’t hold any keys.

  • What you are all missing is that the purpose of this policy is to allow for special exceptions. Basically, if you want to be a member of the Church, you live with same-sex parents, and you affirm the doctrines and teachings of the Church, your Church leaders can request permission for you. That’s it. It’s a system of approvals that has been put into place, not a ban. The media is totally spinning this the wrong way.

  • Based on the new instructions will stake leadership be required to conduct disciplinary councils against ALL members who are in support of SS marriage? According to the poll in Utah around 36% are in favor of supporting at least civil lgbt marriages which are protected by the laws. The church is very anxious to discipline, sever, cut-off and remove from its ranks “agitators” who believe “in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

  • No, the new rules only apply to natural or adopted children living in a same-sex household. Since in your example the child is living with the mother, these new rules don’t apply.

  • I agree with the comments that are outraged over adult children who will not be able to live with their gay parents. If their parents are murders, that ok. No problem. Murders are not apostates I suppose. I do not see the civil liability issue that some have mentioned.

  • 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 sense at all, they will reject the LDS Church.

  • They support the rule of law … but they disagree with you. Respect their honest expression of faith.
    I’m gay. Partnered for 20 year. I thank the Mormon elders for standing up for the rule of law; and thank you for the expression of your faith.

  • I basically agree with the person who said that this is about keeping members from sympathizing with or accepting gay families.

    I saw this news on Facebook last night and hoped it was a mistake. Now that I know it is not, I am very disturbed. It makes it harder to stay in the church.

    I’ve been struggling with the church recently. Every time I am close to making peace with the organization and find a way to stay, something happens to push me away again.

  • Actually, the change to the handbook does not say children “living with” a parent in a same sex relationship. The handbook says, “A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting…”

    The word “living” applies not to the child, but to the couple. So, the prohibition applies to a child living with a mother with a father living in a same sex relationship apart from the mother and child.

    There appears that there is no way that the child can escape this situation as long as the cohabitating/married same-sex parent is still alive – no matter where they live.

    Of course, in many situations, I would assume that there will be a lot of bishops who will take a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy towards this. If both parents are willing to ok the blessing or baptism, why delve any deeper?

  • That’s not the understanding I’m getting from a number of the articles. From the FairMormon blog:

    “Minor children in same-sex households are not to be baptized into the Church until they reach adulthood.”

    And from the website:

    “Natural or adopted children living in a same-sex household will only be allowed to be baptized once they are 18, disavow the practice of same-sex cohabitation or marriage, and stop living within the household, according to the policy.”

    Apparently this brings same-sex marriages in line with how the Church handles polygamous marriages, so you could use how the Church handles children with one or both parents practicing polygamy as a guide. Unfortunately, I can’t find anything on how that’s worked in the past.

  • DougH:

    I know that that’s the understanding of many news sites and others, but read the handbook. The news sources are not entirely correct.

    Here’s what it says:

    Policies on Ordinances for Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship
    The following additions to
    Handbook 1
    have been approved by the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for immediate implementation.

    A new section in
    Handbook 1
    , 16.13 will be added as follows: Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship
    A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing. A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service only as follows: A mission president or a stake president may request…

  • I’m sorry that the above is so messy and difficult to read, but it was giving me a hard time with cut and paste!

    But it states “natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship.”

    It doesn’t say “child living with a parent in a same-gender relationship.”

  • Maybe we could just baptize kids right when they are born, before their parents turn gay? #infantbaptismforthewin ? Silly silly church

  • Here’s a FB postt I really appreciated from a friend of mine. Maybe this will help others understand too. I quote:
    “I understand the struggle many are having with the news articles regarding the LDS Church’s policy of not admitting children of gay parents until the children reach 18, but I think people are responding from their own biases versus an understanding of child psychology.
    As I commented on another post, folks are really missing the point. Ask a child psychologist about the cognitive dissonance inflicted on a child that goes to church hearing about eternal families and seeing pictures of heterosexual families in their church classes and then going home to parents that can’t fit that mold. This has NOTHING to do with children not being worthy of God’s love and everything to do with not placing vulnerable children in a position to judge their parents or feel that their families are less valuable. Children don’t develop the neurological ability to manage ambiguity…

  • The Mormon Newsroom has an interview with Elder Christofferson.

    He explains that the policy is designed to protect children from the difficulty of attending a church that condemns their parents’ marriage, just as a commenter here just said.

    This seems a little backwards. Rather than showing love towards all people, we say, “Don’t come here. You will be hurt.”

    He briefly talks about the requirement for children to disavow their parents’ marriage, but just says it is the same policy as for children from polygamous families. This is a very different standard than the one he sets up for the rest of us, who, as he repeats in this interview, can believe as we want to.

    I still think the church is trying to protect its members, and particularly its children, from exposure to families led by same-sex parents.

  • The new policy prevents kids from being blessed, being baptized, being ordained to the priesthood, and being a missionary. What is the probability that the list will be expanded to prevent Young Adults from getting a temple recommend or, if already endowed, prevented from being sealed to a spouse?

    We know that the Church holds a temple wedding over couples’ heads by using the one year sealing probation penalty to discourage kids from having a wedding outside of the temple. The Church can use the new policy to likewise “encourage” or “persuade” couples to denounce a parent’s SSM and civil SSM in general. How conveeeeeenient.

  • This 2nd Article of Mormon Faith – that we are punished for our sins seems to miss the point of God’s forgiveness in Christ. This is offered without qualification – so whether you are gay or straight is immaterial. Somehow the Mormon religion doesn’t get who Jesus is – in him we are perfect – even though we all fall short of the glory of God. The gift of God’s goodness to all who recieve him (regardless of sexual orientation) is indeed Good News.

  • First, on a biological level, sex orientation & gender are very complicated things. It’s not as clear, as many make it out to be. Second, all people are fallible & we unfortunately, live in a world that we don’t have all the answers. Every day, science is answering questions about sex orientation & gender, and bringing clearity. Taking what few scriptual references there are on the subjects, into proper context & looking at Joseph Smith’s lack of denunciation, (and possible support) of such relations, I personally see the church’s historical progression & currently held idealogy as falling into the “fallible” category. I remember the fiasco in the early ’80 when Spencer W. Kimball sent a letter out to local church leadership condemning oral sex. That policy was rejected by the church membership and the issue was subsequently reframed & appropriately dropped. What people are forgetting (or they’re unaware) is that the membership has to approve & ratify new doctrine. SOME…

  • EB

    So, what about Mommy who is divorced from Daddy who ran off to live with his boyfriend a few years ago. Mommy is active in the Church, takes the kids every week, prays with them morning and night, has FHE and reads scriptures with them.

    What should she do? Leave them home on Sundays because they might not be able to “manage ambiguity?” Of course, at Church, all the kids will be looking forward to their baptisms or ordinations as boys, but this family will be left out. So the best solution is to just not attend?

    Of course, they will be taught about perfect, eternal families. Maybe if members just loved them, everything would be ok.

    I don’t ever remember Jesus telling us how important it is that we “manage ambiguity” and if we can’t, we shouldn’t show up at church.

  • (Continued)

  • It is only a matter of time before the leadership of the church turns its attention to those who, before this policy, merely supported “marriage equality”, but now are effectively supporting “Apostasy”. That will be parents or family members as well as friends of LGBTQ who will now be expected to “Disavow” or else… This will continue feed the cycle of Christian “tough love” which sends youth to the streets to be subjected to homelessness, sexual abuse, drugs, suicide, etc….

  • Reread Jesus’s parable of the sheep and the goats, or the wheat and the tares. Yes, Jesus was eager to forgive the sins of the sincerely repentant, but he never extended that forgiveness to those that hadn’t yet repented — in the story of the woman taken in adultery and hauled before him for judgment, that phrase “your sins are forgiven” was conspicuously absent. Unless you are claiming that the Final Judgment will be a pointless exercise because there will be no consequences, the 2nd Article of Faith assertion that there will be a punishment is fully in keeping with Jesus’s teachings.

  • “What this means is that a church that says it is all about strengthening the family is demanding that children turn against their parents.”

    Um, yes. Is that a problem?

    Christ made this rule, not the church. Please consult Matthew 10:37-38, and Luke 14:26-27

    The real question is whether LGBT relationships are sinful or not. If they are, then “children turning against their parents” is simple obedience to Christ. Is that painful? Yes. Doesn’t obedience to Christ involve pain? Yes.

  • When the church goes out-of-its-way to press their steel-toes boot in the neck of innocent children – who they already have forced to the ground – members HAVE to react, because their(!) names are on that rough sole.

  • “Children born to rapists can be blessed, baptized, and approved to serve a mission.
    Even children born to murderers can be blessed, baptized, and approved to serve a mission.”

    I am sure someone has already pointed this out but those same children were not raised to accept such behaviors as being appropriate. i was never taught by my parents, school, church, or society that those behaviors were acceptable. However, children raised in a home with gay parents will have been taught that such a lifestyle is normal and acceptble. That’s the difference. And young children can’t make commitments to a church that completely contradicts what they have accepted and were taught their whole life.

  • Ok all you TBM’s help me understand. In a practical matter how does this help anyone? 1) In order for this to even matter you have to have a child of a same-sex couple that has custody and wants their child to attend church. (If any parent doesn’t want their child to attend, be blessed, or baptized etc. the church respects that wish) 2) Therefore the same-sex couple who wish their child to be blessed, attend and be baptized etc. clearly wants the child to be raised with the churches standards even though they themselves are unable or unwilling to keep those commandments themselves. (Like those who are not temple worthy, ie tithing or perhaps are in “apostacy” i.e. have joined another church”)
    3) So why in that circumstance, where a parent is not living worthy themselves, or has joined another church, but still wants the child to be raised and attend the LDS church should the child be denied those blessings? Isn’t it better that the child learn the doctrine than be denied it?

  • monkeyking
    Those children are still welcome to come to church and learn the teachings and associate with other children there, the same as any other non-member child whose parents have not given them permission to be baptized. Despite what others have said, those children will not be ostracized by others; they will be welcome.

  • Jojo, the children are being asked to denounce their parents. That was the sort of thing people asked Hitler Youth and Komsomol to do in order to show their allegiance to the “greater power”.

    Wait until they officially tell parents of gay children to renounce them. As if teen homelessness and suicide is not high enough in LDS enclaves.

    There is nothing in the policy other than malice towards gay families. Much like everything else they do when it comes to gays in general. It was not just a mistake that millions of dollars in LDS tithes and resources went towards attacking marriage equality in California and other states. They made half-hearted attempts to repudiate such actions, pretended to act in favor of anti-discrimination laws (while still enabling discrimination) and even denounced Kim Davis.

    But the truth is, the LDS church hates gays and wants to do them harm.

  • Larry
    The children (over 18 yrs) are asked to denounce gay marriage; not their parents. I have had to denounce some pretty bad things my children have done but I do not denounce them nor do I love them less.
    The religion is what it is and will not change on this subject. The church does not hate gays but will also not change doctrine to please them. Only God can do that.

  • I often find myself compelled to defend the church, its perspectives, and choices. At times I’ve done that in this very venue in response to some of Jana’s critical posts.

    I can’t defend this policy in any way. The criticisms are on point. It’s a mistake.

  • That little bit of hair splitting doesn’t make it less repugnant. There is nothing moral, sane or justifiable about forcing children to renounce parents and visa versa. Your church values adherence to its leadership over families. Like a cult or an autocrat.

    The church very much hates gays and actively works to deny them even the slightest scintilla of human dignity. Please stop insulting the intelligence of anyone outside of the LDS echo chamber with such blatant mendacity.

    Calling it “doctrine” and claiming it is unchanging just means you are OK with such behavior. You stand behind clearly bigoted and malicious acts in service of your church. Labeling bad acts as “church doctrine” does not make it better or morally justifiable.

    Morals don’t mean just following a religious leader or doctrine, it means seeing how one’s actions impact on others. Your willingness to treat gays and their families badly in service of your faith show how immoral the LDS can be.

  • Larry
    Thanks. I will take that as a compliment. 😉
    I have a couple of gay LDS members in my own family and I’m pretty sure I don’t hate them. Nor do I treat them badly. They are fully active church members and even hold temple recommends. They understand and accept the doctrines of the church. While I understand how difficult it is for some to understand our motives I still have to go with what I think is right.

  • “I have a couple of gay LDS members in my own family and I’m pretty sure I don’t hate them. ”

    But your church most certainly does. Your reference to them is like the proverbial “black friend” racists bring up when they want to deflect obvious criticism for their views.

    The LDS church certainly has never felt the need to treat gays with any measure of dignity and respect. In fact, they have actively campaigned politically to attack the civil liberties of gays. Going far beyond mere church doctrine to set themselves up as the enemy of all gays.

    Should your gay LDS relatives decide to pursue sane adult human relations, they will certainly see how their church feels about them. I can see gay people continue to associate with such a church is the fear of being shunned by family and acquaintances. Coercion is a fairly common tactic of the church

    What you think is right in this instance, is morally reprehensible and malicious. There are no good motives here. Just excuses

  • Comparing children of same-sex couples to children of rapists and murders is disingenuous. These scenarios would only be comparable if children of rapists or murders were being raised in a home where the parents not only raped and murdered, but believed that such actions were just and commendable and openly lived out such actions, proudly declared themselves a rapist or murderer with a commitment to continue such behaviors for the rest of their lives and, whether by words or by such actions, were teaching their children that such actions were just and commendable. When a homosexual person marries a same-sex partner they are making a very open and resolute lifelong commitment to a relationship and actions that are in direct violation of commandments of God and, whether by words or by such actions, are teaching their children that such relationships and actions are just and commendable.

  • By small things are great things brought to pass.

    This is a small thing which will result in many giving up their faith, and probably going out of their way to help others do the same. As with the Church’s stand on abortion, this is a decision that does the least amount of damage in the face of no better options (read: the incest / rape exception).

    May I remind us all that this is the same Church that instituted polygamy? How about the policy banning men of color from holding the Priesthood, until it was abruptly rescinded? Need we revisit the entire westward migration?

    My point is that membership in the LDS church has always been, eventually, hard. Being a Mormon may have its fleeting moments of widespread acceptance, however a pattern always emerges where Christ’s church becomes suddenly at odds with prevailing, popular thought.

    Until we’ve suffered (even on the crucible of our own doubt) for HIs church, can we truly be counted as Saints?

  • Read these: : I am a Proud Mormon Woman Raised by Lesbians : New Church Policy

    Both address the new church policy.

    There is a bisexual professor who was raised by Lesbians and had a horrible childhood. He is against gay marriage and gays adopting children because of his experience. Many other children raised by gays share his experience. This professor lost his job for exercising his First Amendment right….to speak freely about his experience, to express his views. So where are the Social Justice Warriors in support of this professor? The SJW’s (Hypocrites), the PC Nazi’s, are the ones silencing him and they made sure he lost his job.

    We are in the last days….good is called evil and evil called good. The wheat and tares are being sifted.

  • Please help me understand why is there a different standard for children in a same-sex parented household, as opposed to a household with unwed heterosexual parents.
    To protect a child from having to choose between family and a church that teaches that sexual relations are acceptable only between a man and a woman, legally and lawfully married.

  • We may not realize it yet, but a fortunate inflection point is upon us. We are in the middle of a fire storm over direction the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ recently gave to lay Mormon leaders. In this emotional firestorm, a few Mormons have charged these special witnesses of Christ with unchristian behavior. This firestorm has fortunately released seeds as from the firm grip of pine cones. if these seeds, are nurtured and not cast away they may spring up into a stronger more resilient understanding of Christ.
    Well meaning and honorable members who loudly or in their hearts ascribed Un-Christian action to the Apostles must test for themselves if what they said in haste or felt is really true or is itself Un-Christian. It is incumbent that they find out for themselves what Christian behavior really is by finding the Christ who reveals himself in scriptures and through the Holy Spirit.
    In this task, it is not fruitful to simply consult current public mores which naturally call…

  • For those who say God is behind this policy change. It was written by a law firm that the church pays big bucks and even blessed their office.(That seems a little strange to me). No one says the Lord came down and gave a new revelation. It is a policy based on fear of potential lawsuits(Is that how we act as pastorial managers?). It also put fear into active members telling us to watch ourselves and not get to liberal in our views. It goes against many scriptures such as “suffer the children to come unto me” and common consent, since there was no common consent.

  • Mind blown yet again at how many seemingly intelligent people freak out over church actions without thinking it through. This is for the benefit of those children whose parent(s) CHOSE to live the gay lifestyle, KNOWING that LDS doctrine is against it. The parent(s) set this up, not the Church. Now these minor children will not be split between doctrine and the choices of their loved ones. They are free and welcome to join the Church as adults after they have the maturity and understanding that they can both love and honor their parent(s) while not agreeing with their lifestyle. Chill, people. It makes sense.

  • >We are in the middle of a fire storm over direction the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ recently gave to lay Mormon leaders.

    Look, Richard, I hear your concern but let’s temper it some. At one time, the early church was in the “middle of a firestorm” regarding whether Gentiles converting to Christ needed to be follow the cleanliness laws, including circumcision. There was a huge controversy over this. At first, Peter took the view that they did. Paul strenuously disagreed (just as some early apostles of the LDS Church disagreed with the Prophet on banning blacks from the priesthood).

    Bottom line is that these are men making policy decisions and sometimes they get it wrong. That doesn’t mean that people are not following Christ by failing to fall in line and give accolades (or fail to question) the recent policy decisions.

    Men aren’t perfect. Prophets aren’t perfect. This policy could very well change 12 months from now and it doesn’t mean that the Gospel is not true.

  • “understanding that they can both love and honor their parent(s) while not agreeing with their lifestyle”

    How the hell can you do that?

    Its not “lifestyle” or “activity” or “behavior”, its their being. What went into raising the children was the contributions of the parents living together. There is no way to come up with a way to do such a thing you suggested without attacking one’s own parents.

    It makes sense…only to those who despise gays and want to treat them as less than people in a holier than thou attitude. The policy is malicious and meant to attack people who sympathize with marriage equality. Just like the furtive attacks on those Mormons who opposed Proposition 8, who supported marriage equality lawsuits, and criticized the discriminatory “Utah Compromise” legislation.

  • Brenda, the mother in question is NOT LDS. She never was. Do you really expect her to change her lifestyle or beliefs in order to accommodate your religion? Would you also like her to stop drinking coffee? Refrain from having a beer at a baseball game? What exactly do you think this non-Mormon woman owes you?

    She wasn’t defying your prophet….she never gave him a second thought. She never considered his opinion for a single day in her life. Just like all non-Mormons have never considered what the LDS policy is on this or any other issue.

    The children are free to attend church now, and to be split over doctrine now. They just can’t get baptized or hold the priesthood. In other words, they can be part of the church as a second-class citizen. When they turn 18 they get to chose between staying a second-class citizen and publicly denouncing their parents as lacking in morality.

  • Brenda, I am reprinting this here, in case you missed my reply below.

    The mother in question is NOT LDS. She never was. Do you really expect her to change her lifestyle or beliefs in order to accommodate your religion? Would you also like her to stop drinking coffee? Refrain from having a beer at a baseball game? What exactly do you think this non-Mormon woman owes you?

    She wasn’t defying your prophet….she never gave him a second thought. She never considered his opinion for a single day in her life. Just like all non-Mormons have never considered what the LDS policy is on this or any other issue.

    The children are free to attend church now, and to be split over doctrine now. They just can’t get baptized or hold the priesthood. In other words, they can be part of the church as a second-class citizen. When they turn 18 they get to chose between staying a second-class citizen and publicly denouncing their parents as lacking in morality.

  • My children were abducted by the Mormon Church a number of years ago and still retain them. Having been able to see them a few times a year by traveling long distances at great expense I have watched as my children have become indoctrinated and turned slowly from loving me and excitement each time I would arrive to a disregard and even alienation of me.
    The whole thing started some years after I got married to a Mormon, we had a good marriage and I supported and provided home and income, nobody is perfect but I was a good father. I never fully accepted Mormonism, wanted to know more and went on a scholarly quest of discovery. Slowly I would discover for myself that the church was not true. I have been alienated and treated in a manner that is certainly not Christian for not being Mormon by Mormons. I assure anyone that alienation by Mormons is very real, they think they are the chosen ones. They have a God complex and are seriously self riteous. Beware all who enter…

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