“Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled”

On the Mormons and Gays website, Elder Cook is quoted as saying this:

“As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”

That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, talk is cheap. Especially when you make policies like excommunicating gay members for getting married, and barring their children from being blessed or baptized. Then that kind of stamps baloney on all the nice and conciliatory things you might have said.

I really do have high hopes for the Church. I always expect that leaders will do better than they have done before and progress toward accepting a wider and wider circle of people as fully people. (Perhaps one day, even women.) But changes like this are just tremendously discouraging. Church members married to a spouse of the same sex were already excluded from the temple. By not being able to get a temple recommend, they were already excluded from many callings. They already faced plenty of stigma in the Church. And of course this goes double for their kids, who get to go to primary and hear over and over that there’s an approved version of family, and theirs isn’t it. But all this was not good enough! No. It appears that the Q15 decided that they had to take a few extra steps just to be sure that gay people know how much we hate them. Now we’re going to bar them–and their kids!–from even being members. I guess maybe Church leaders were concerned that members in gay marriages who still braved all the exclusion and stigma to make a go of it in the Church were just having too easy a time of it.

Really it’s the part about the kids that gets me the most. Excommunicating gay members who want nothing more than a marriage relationship–the very thing we trumpet over and over in the Church as the most wonderful thing in life–is bad enough. But at least it’s not surprisingly in that it’s consistent with all the Church’s political work opposing gay marriage. But in what world does it make sense to borrow this absurdly draconian policy aimed at the children of polygamists and hit the children of gay people with it? Children don’t catch “the gay” from their gay parents. Why exclude them? Why require them to reach adulthood, move out, and renounce their parents’ relationship to join the Church? Does this just reveal that there’s some ridiculous belief about gay contagion among the Q15?

I think there are two ways forward for the Church in a world that is rapidly moving toward accepting gay people as people. One is to begin to walk back harmful and absurd policies like this. The other is to just accept that we’re going to become like the Westboro Baptist Church. I’m afraid we just took a big step in the direction of Westboro Baptist.



  1. The policy with respect to children boggles my mind. I cannot fathom how anyone considers it justifiable. You’re telling, for example, an active seven-year-old of a single mother and a father with a husband, who have joint custody, that as of yesterday she has to choose between the church with its promise of salvation (and intense social pressures) and ever spending the night at Daddy’s house again!? You’re asking even little kids to choose between relationships with loving parents and the possibilities of full membership!?

    I’m not understanding who benefits even slightly in this scenario.

  2. I’ve been crying off and on all day about this. Because how dare they. How dare they. When I was 9 years old God testified to me that this was His church and that this was the place I should be. That testimony, that light has sustained me through all of my life. And now the leaders of this church that I have given so much to have, once again, proclaimed that there is not a place for me or people like me in God’s Kingdom.

    Christ said “Come unto me.” Full stop. He didn’t say to come unto Him only if we looked, acted, or believed a certain way. His invitation was, and should still be, open to all. How dare these modern Pharisees attempt to rescind that invitation, not only to those who believe are acting in the “wrong” way, but to their children as well.

    How dare they.

  3. I had a thought about a way to express disagreement without harming families but actually supporting the creation of families: substitute temple weddings with civil weddings. One logical extension of this new policy is that saving/required ordinances do not carry a sense of urgency about them, even when a person is individually ready. The saving ordinance can be put off until other pre-requisites can be met or the person better prepared. Why not apply the same logic to temple weddings? If the Church is going to punitively delay baptism for innocent kids of gay people, why not just delay getting sealed but go ahead with a civil wedding instead? Have the couple simply replace a currently planned temple wedding with a civil wedding. The family unit will still be created. The new family can become better prepared for an eventual sealing. If a baptism can be delayed for the reasons (awful reasons, imo) expressed in the revised policy, then a sealing can also be delayed for convenient, prepartory reasons as well.

    Weddings are stressful events to begin with. Think about the added drama and angst and exclusionary effect of current temple sealings: unendowed siblings and friends are excluded; previously endowed but currently unworthy family members and friends are excluded; and non-members are categorically excluded from a sealing. The pool of people to participate in such a seminal event is restricted through divisive and restrictive policies (all of which I support to maintain the spirit of the temple). But, according to the recent change it appears required ordinances can be delayed for the flimisiest of reasons and lack of logic, so let’s lump sealings in with the required ordinances that should be delayed until the participants are “better prepared” to understand and the impact to the parents will be minimized.

    If enough people opt to replace currently scheduled sealings with civil ceremonies that will send a message. By going through with the civil ceremony and getting married, the couple is showing their committment to creating a family. By waiting to get sealed they are showing respect for the awesome responsibility a sealing entails and the effect a sealing will have on a relationship with a parent-kind of like the justification I’m reading for the policy change of forcing kids of gay parent(s) to wait to be baptized and then swear a loyalty oath against the gay parent. Civil ceremomies can reduce the drama and angst caused by the exclusionary pressures of the temple (particularly with convert families) and exponentially increase the number of people who can participate and enjoy the marriage ceremony. (In or out of the temple, weddings are dramatic events, so I am not for a moment suggesting civil ceremonies are drama free.) When it’s convenient or the spouses are “better prepared” or the impact on the relationship with the parents of the bride and groom will be minimized, the couple can go off and get sealed. It’s a win-win and perfectly consistent with the logic of the defenders of the recent policy change. Families are still being created and nobody is being denied the blessings of the temple, according to the logic of the defenders of the revised policy. Under this system of protest, temple blessings are only being delayed to minimize negative impact of a sealing on an unprepared bride and groom (virtually every young person sealed ever) and the impact of that sealing on their extended family. If it works for baptisms, why not temple marriage? After all, you can’t have one (sealings) without the other (baptism).

    Just a suggestion. Full disclosure. I have been married for 20+ years and have absolutely no skin in this potential protest. I do have a child who is engaged and planning to marry in a temple. If this child opted for this route, I would fully support it. That would allow siblings on both sides to fully participate. And, I get to particpate in two wedding ceremonies. Definitely a win-win for me.

  4. I am an active, card-carrying member and I will keep my tithing in trust until the leaders revise this unfortunate policy to bring it in line with Christ’s teachings and deny not the little ones to come unto Him.

    I have heard that this change is consistent with the policy toward children in polygamous families. Of course, the right thing would have been to correct that policy and allow all babies to be blessed, instead of creating a second class of babies who will be denied.

    Shame on our leaders for failing to follow the Lord in this matter. I hope they are swiftly reproved with sharpness and repent so we can all move forward with an increase of love after this horrible episode.

  5. I think Ron has the right idea.

    I notice no one is claiming revelation for this change.

    I have a TR interview with Stake coming up, and will be asking the SP to convey to SLC my disgust, with this indication of their agressive bigotry.

  6. For such a long time, I’ve had loosely the John Dehlin view of the church and its future, that it’s slow and cautious and run by people who came of age when segregation was still legal, but they do care about fairness and justice as they view it, and so they’ll move incrementally toward a more accepting position on issues like this one.

    I’m suddenly finding myself launched into a more John Larson view of the church, that they’re going to choose a hill to die on, it’s going to be gay rights, and they’re going to retrench themselves into irrelevance making sure everyone knows how gross gay people really are.

  7. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

    Take from that what you will.


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