RSS

Protecting the most vulnerable: Why aren’t you angry?

“The question isn’t why people are angry, the question is why you aren’t.”

there-may-be-times-when-we-are-powerless-to-prevent-injustice-but-there-must-never-be-a-time-when-quote-1

I’ve been thinking about the unintended consequences of this “policy change.” Who is the most likely to be most hurt by the policies and the messages being sent by how the church has decided to deal with members of the LGBTQ community. Not that there isn’t enough hurt to go around but, is it adults in stable, loving relationships who are hurt the most? Is it their children?

I read this story posted on Facebook and realized that there is an entire subset of people we’ve (or at least I’ve) overlooked.

The straight, married couples who stay in the church, have a bunch of babies, go to church every Sunday, pay their tithing, love the prophet, don’t drink coffee and go to the temple weekly. Those people? They’re the perfect mormon couples who has a gay child and doesn’t even know it. That child should be our top concern.

“The first time I tried to commit suicide I was 14 years old.

The second time I was 15.

The third I was 20 and on my mission.”

That gay mormon child who will keep attending church. Those mormon kids who hear (through these actions) they are so unwanted that even their unborn children won’t be accepted.

These gay children who haven’t come out yet, who are already in a dangerous environment that was just made even more dangerous.

The results are tragic. The result is too often death.

Excluding anyone based on sexual orientation sends a message, it doesn’t matter how much you proclaim your message is love if it’s heard as exclusion, fear and hate.

saying

Now what if that gay mormon child is yours? Or your niece or nephew? Or your granddaughter or grandson?  What then? Is your church worth more than their life? Because if it is then maybe you need to re-evaluate your priorities.

From Fox 13 in SLC: 

SALT LAKE CITY– Professionals working on the front lines of suicide prevention say they’re handling a higher volume of calls since last Thursday.

Studies show LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers — that’s why advocates are urging teens to speak up and for parents to listen.

If you know someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts, they can call or text Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386. For more information, visit www.thetrevorproject.org.

Help is available 24/7.

For parents who are looking for some guidance, there is a community forum being held Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Rowland Hall, located at 843 Lincoln St. in Salt Lake City. It is an opportunity to connect with advocates and learn more about resources available.

As always, if you need someone to talk to, send me a note. ❤

suicide rainbow

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 11, 2015 in homosexuality, LDS church, mormons

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Nine myths about the Mormon baptism change: Digging a little deeper

Nine myths about the Mormon baptism change: Digging a little deeper

notallfamilies

The LDS church’s policy changes regarding children of LGBTQ parents has exploded in the news across the nation and world. There have been many responses, but as I read this particular blog post from LDS.net I could hear my former self trying to make this logic (term used loosely) work.

In 2000 I had a sign in my yard supporting Nevada’s question 2- their version of California’s Prop 8 (NV will only recognize marriage between a man and a woman). By 2008 I was against that position, but on a political basis not a theological or personal one. By October 2010, hearing whom I considered to be speaking for God speaking ill of the LGBTQ community, was what threw me down the rabbit hole. By February 2011 I was no longer a believer in the LDS church and stopped attending.

During this decade I didn’t have a close relationship with anyone who fell into the LGBTQ “category” (that I knew of). I just knew it wasn’t okay or right. It was a feeling of innate humanity that guided me to change my position and beliefs. I want to preface this post with this information because I have empathy for your position if you are an active, believing member of the LDS church. I have been there. The inch deep “logic” in the author’s post is something I’m familiar with and used to believe.

However, I also trust that you can change your position. It’s not easy, but the world is a beautiful place when you can love without conditions or caveats. When you can trust your innate humanity and goodness rather than the words of men who claim to speak for God. Trust your gut. Listen to yourself. 

#justalittlebad

So, point by point, let’s discuss (original post in pink, my comments are in black):

The 9 Facebook Myths About the Church’s New LGBT Policy
Written by (INSERT AUTHOR)
Originally posted on LDS.Net, copied to post on Saturday November 7, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.

There is a good chance that you’ve recently learned about the Church’s new policies regarding same-sex couples, and read much about it on social media. Yes, on social media and in news outlets. This is because the LDS church did not make an announcement of this policy change. It appears the intent was simply to change the policy without informing membership. Mormons and gays has long driven web traffic, so news outlets can be expected to jump on the news, but they should be expected to at least report on the issue accurately and respectfully. Let’s be clear for a minute. When Mormon’s use the word “respectfully” when regarding how reporting is done it is to determine which stories are trustworthy and which aren’t. Any reporting on a topic that does not regard The Church as the ultimate good guy and authority is not being respectful. This is not objective journalism. Objective journalism should be impartial, however, The Church views impartial journalism as “disrespectful”.

you keep using that word

The two changes took place in the Church’s administrative handbook, also called handbook 1, which contains instructions for bishops and stake presidents.

The first change edits the definition of apostasy. The new definition adds that entering a same-sex marriage constitutes apostasy. Same sex marriage now also requires church disciplinary council, as do other forms of apostasy, including members who:  

  • Repeatedly act in in clear open, and deliberate public opposition to the church or its leaders
  • Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine, after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
  • Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
  • Are in a same-gender marriage
  • Formally join another church and advocate its teachings.

Note: Serious transgressions that aren’t apostasy and don’t require a mandatory disciplinary council include (but are not limited to):

  • Attempted murder
  • Forcible rape (to be clear, all rape is forcible, but this is the language from the church)
  • Sexual abuse
  • Spouse abuse
  • Intentional serious physical injury of others
  • Adulterer
  • Fornication
  • Homosexual relations (especially sexual cohabitation)
  • Deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities
From the handbook

From the handbook

The second change requires that for children of same-sex couples to be baptized they must be adults, and specifically reaffirm their testimony of eternal marriage. Additionally, they must DISAVOW homosexuality. An inherent part of who their parent’s are.

To be clear:
Disavow: deny any responsibility or support for.
Synonyms: deny, disclaim, disown, wash one’s hands of, repudiate, reject, renounce

two mommies

Hypothetical scenario:
A Mormon kid decides that they want to attend Notre Dame. Their Mormon parents would rather that they didn’t; in fact, they would have preferred the kid wanted to attend BYU. But, an important part of parenting is to allow your children to make decisions, even decisions you don’t agree with. The Mormon parents discover that in order to attend Notre Dame their child has to DISAVOW the Mormon Church.

Is that painful to the child and/or parents? What does that say about how Notre Dame ulimately feels about Mormons? 

Even though these are procedural changes that reaffirm a core doctrine of the Church, the Church’s opponents have wasted little time in beginning their attack. People aren’t upset because they hate the church, they are upset because they love the LGBTQ community and want the pain to stop. This twisting of who the “victim” is in this scenario is troubling, however typical it is.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 9.32.08 PM

The news, unsurprisingly, was first broken by John Dehlin who makes his living by antagonizing the Church. For factual accuracy, that is not how John Dehlin makes his living. It also doesn’t change the nature of the news. 

There have been many responses to this news, most based on inaccurate headlines, incorrect understandings, or hate mongering of the Church’s opponents. The term “hate mongering” is an interesting choice. Framing this issue as “anti-Mormon” is a good way to shut down discussion and cause believers to ignore the actual news. The church makes decisions that are wrong, people react when that is done. There are many “policies” that have been rolled back after the fact- See: Polygamy, Racist teachings/policies regarding the 1978 Official Declaration.

Myth #1 These Changes Punish Children
A point of clarity, I don’t see withholding baptism as a punishment in and of itself. Personally I don’t believe that participation in LDS church ordinances make a difference in this life or after you die. However, when you are being raised in an LDS cultural location or in a family who are attending believers, participating in events as a social norm, withholding the ability to participate effects your status in the community and among your peers, which is detrimental.

#notallkids

#notallkids

The most pervasive myth you’ll hear about these changes is that they punish children. All people can receive all the ordinances of salvation and exaltation. And all children can attend all church activities and events. There is no degree of punishment that exists in these new changes.
I taught the children’s primary class (Sunday School) for the children who were turning eight within the year. Eight is the age when Mormon kids are typically baptized. Every lesson that year is focused on baptism preparation, building excitement for the ordinance and enthusiasm for the event. The lessons are framed about how this is an important step in your life and how proud Heavenly Father and Jesus are of you.

The children who will be banned from baptism at 8 because of their parent’s sexuality, will hear these lessons as they attend church services. These children, who are already outside of the accepted cultural norm based on their parent’s sexuality, will have their second-class status reinforced, every week, as they attend church.

At the age of 12 children begin to attend youth activities, including temple work in the form of baptism for the dead, children who are not baptized will not be permitted to participate in temple events.

At the age of 12, boys receive the priesthood and many of their youth activities center around priesthood duties. Unbaptized boys can’t be ordained and can’t participate in priesthood duties. 

Are children who aren’t members permitted to earn awards within the youth programs?

The shunning, even if not intentional, will begin very, very early simply by how the church programs are structured.

Children must simply wait until they can legally make their own decision to join the Church, rather than relying on their parent’s approval. This is true… to a point. They must also receive first presidency permission to be baptized, after reaching adulthood (and don’t forget, disavowing). For those who have any experience with receiving first presidency approval for dissolving a temple marriage or other procedures, this is not an easy task. Additionally they can no longer be living with the parent who is gay. Which makes me wonder, if at 18 the child moves out, get’s baptized but at 22 has some money problems and moves back in, are they then disciplined? 

While a parent in a same-sex relationship could theoretically approve of their child’s baptism, questioning their motivation to do so would be prudent since they have so prominently rejected the teachings of the Church. This should be the same policy for parents of interfaith marriages, divorced parents, parents who are non-members… hey, parents who sin at all. If your parent is an adulterer, but a heterosexual adulterer, then that doesn’t affect your ability to be baptized.

#everybodysins, #everybodypoops

Tangent: I wonder how far the sins of the father’s extend, what if your parent’s are active, believing, attending Mormons, but you have two grandpas (that are married to each other). Does this policy extend to you?

However, I don’t disagree that children shouldn’t be baptized, but I would extend that policy to all children. The teachings in the LDS church preach infant baptism as a ridiculous concept, because babies can’t sin. Somehow, eight years later, it is no longer ridiculous. Anyone who has spent any time with an eight-year-old knows how ill equipped they are to make life decisions. At eight most kids still believe in Santa, they should not be choosing a religion until they have more life experience and a fully formed frontal lobe.

These changes could also help protect children. While some same-sex couples adopt, many children of same-sex couples come from divorce. In these situations, custody battles can be fierce. In most places in the United States, if one parent tries to destroy the relationship of their child with the other parent it is considered “custodial interference” which is grounds to change the custodial agreement.

Because the Church continues to affirm that heterosexual marriage is the ideal, there could potentially be judges in the United States—perhaps, even, very many judges—who would categorize a child joining a church that rejects their parent’s new relationship as custodial interference. I would like to see any proof of this happening anywhere in the U.S.- this red herring lacks proof. This could take that child away from the parent who belongs to the Church or rearrange their custodial arrangements significantly in ways that would harm the child. This is ridiculous conjecture, a fear tactic and logical fallacy to drive an emotional response. Shame on the author. (see: appeal to emotion)

All children, of course, continue to be welcome at all church activities, including primary, and Sacrament meeting. And in following the example of the Savior, all children are entitled to blessings of comfort and healing. Welcome to attend and being treated as part of the community are two different things. Inclusive participation vs. exclusion, when you can attend to a point, but are not welcome in full fellowship and participation, then you are not part of the in-group. This is the very definition of exclusion.

#notgay

#notgay

Tangent scenario: A boy of a gay parent (other parent is an active member) is raised in the church. He attends church when in custody of the Mormon parent, is raised in a ward with other boys that he grows up with and is peers with. He is not baptized, not ordained to the priesthood, but remains a faithful believer. He turns 18, and submits paperwork for baptism to the first presidency. Meanwhile, his peers are all leaving on missions. Let’s be generous and assume it takes three months* for the paperwork to be processed and approved. He is then baptized. As a convert he has to wait a year before he can attend the temple, which is necessary to serve a mission. A year and three months after his friends have left on missions, he may be able to submit his mission papers and also go on a mission.

*The examples of friends who have had to get first presidency permission for church purposes show that the first presidency approval process is a bureaucratic and long one. Three months is extremely generous, typically it takes closer to a year, if ever, to get a response, and if the response is “no” the no is not explained.

Myth #2 Treats LGBT People Worse Than Other Sinners

There are others who insist that these new changes set sins of homosexuality as more serious than other sins. Again this is not true. Adultery and fornication are both grounds for excommunication. Up until the legalization of same-sex marriage, those who participated in same-sex relationships could receive church discipline under either of these other grounds.

As pointed out at the beginning of this article, adultery and fornication MAY be grounds for church discipline, while church discipline is MANDATORY in the case of a same-gender marriage. Additionally, the children of adulterers and fornicators are not removed from fellowship along with their sinning parents.

The Church respects the law, and now recognizes same-sex marriages as legal, even if still sinful. Because of this, same-sex relationships could no longer be penalized as fornication requiring their addition to the definition of apostasy. Fornicators are not considered to be in apostasy. But this change has no effect on how the Church responds to homosexual sins, only how it categorizes them.

As the Church’s website “Mormons and Gays” points out there is much misunderstanding of LDS doctrine on this issue. But the Church continues to affirm that homosexual sex is a sin. There isn’t a misunderstanding of LDS doctrine, only recognition that it is harmful and bigoted. I hesitate to use that term, knowing that it will get people up in arms, but it is what it is.

bigotry

Some have also suggested that requiring the children of LGBT couples to wait until they are adults to be baptized treats those parents worse than parents who are engaging in other types of sins. But this policy is the same that exists for children of polygamous couples, or children of parents opposed to the Church. I am actively and vocally opposed to the church. My bishop knew this when my third child was baptized. I was never asked for permission or my feelings on the event. Had I made a stink and refused to let her be baptized it would have damaged my already tenuous marriage further, yet it was more important for her to be baptized then to consider my feelings.

So this policy does not carve out special punishments for LGBT parents, but rather extends existing policies to cover their newly legal marriages.
It is not a punishment for the parents, but for the innocent children. That is who will be even further harmed. Additionally, if parents who have divorced have made arrangements and agreements to allow those children to be baptized, when they aren’t in agreement about religion, are likely already in a tenuous spot. The Church, by inserting themselves in these situations, is likely to make these situations more painful and difficult for all involved, regardless of sexuality.

adam and steve

Myth #3 Violates the Church’s 2nd Article of Faith

This myth is a common one shared by sofa philosophers critical of the Church’s new decision. The second article of faith reads, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.”

This myth relies on the first myth that the Church is somehow punishing children of gay Mormons. But it also fundamentally misunderstands the second article of faith. Most other Christian denominations believe that all people are born inherently evil and fallen because of Adam’s sin of eating the forbidden fruit. Latter-day Saints reject this doctrine and believe people are only responsible before God for the sins they themselves commit. This is exactly how I understand this article of faith. That if someone sins, regardless of my relationship with that person, I am not responsible for that sin, nor will I be held accountable for it, the sin lies on the head of the sinner.

The new policy does not change this doctrine in any way. First it has nothing to do with the idea of original sin. The idea of original sin is being culpable for another’s sins, which as stated above, Mormons clearly don’t doctrinally believe. Second it has nothing to do with the inherent nature of the individual. Except the inherent nature of being born to a gay parent is exactly where the problem lies. Third it has nothing to do with the final judgment. This policy protects children in specific family situations from a variety of repercussions by requiring they wait until they are an adult before joining the Church. If it is okay to wait until adulthood to be baptized, why not extend that as the policy to all children. The problem people have with this policy is not an eternal one, but a current one. In this life, right now, it causes problems (as outlined above) for children who are already in difficult situations.

Myth #4 Requires Children to Reject Parents

Some opponents of the Church continue to spout this claim even though it is patently false. In order for children of gay Mormon couples to be baptized, they must simply affirm the Church’s teachings DISAVOW their parent’s life and relationship- likely with a partner whom the child regards as a parental figure, about sexuality and marriage. (fixed it) To quote the new handbook change, “The child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.”

Again:
Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 12.47.21 AM

They do not need to say anything about their parents. This is the same standard expected of every convert who has a parent that still smokes when to be baptized they must specifically agree to the word of wisdom. Children in this situation must simply recognize the Church’s teachings on sin.

When I discuss my disagreement with the church, it’s teachings, and practices, even without specifically discussing my family members; my family members are upset and hurt. I don’t have to specifically reference them without offense being taken, even when none is intended. How is this any different than how a parent would feel when their child “disavows” their sexuality?

Addidionally, when a convert has a parent who smokes and wants to be baptized, they agree to personally follow the word of widsom. They aren’t required to be 18, move out, disavow their parent’s smoking and then recieve first presidency approval before baptism.  In other words, they are only held accountable for themselves and their choices. 

There are those who believe that identifying a behavior as sinful is equivalent to rejecting the people who engage in that behavior. But those people fundamentally misunderstand Latter-day Saint doctrine about the atonement and identity. It’s not about how LDS people feel about identity and if the atonement was a real thing- Mormons are missing the point completely. Personally, although I think it’s a mistake on the church’s part, not baptizing or marrying same sex couples is their own prerogative. However, when you start excluding children, what is being heard (even if it’s not what the church is saying) is that the “sin” of having a parent with a sexual identity that the church disagrees with is enough to reject them as well.

Those who perpetuate this myth are often those who believe sexuality is the primary factor in personal identity. I would argue that the Mormons are the ones considering sexuality as the primary factor in personal identity. It is the only factor being considered in this case. When a blanketed approach is used, which states if your only “sin” is homosexuality, regardless of who you are as a person (kind, honest, charitable etc.), you are not permitted to engage with the LDS church, and that “sin” is so pervasive that it also extends to your children. The leadership who wrote these policy changes can’t see past a person’s sexuality to consider other factors. Therein lies the problem, the Church’s belief that a person’s sexuality (if that sexuality is anything other than heterosexual) is the primary factor in their personal identity.

turn it off

Myth #5 Places Newborn Children in State of Apostasy

This is a sad myth to have to refute. Unfortunately, “The Salt Lake Tribune” in their irresponsible coverage of this topic repeated this myth in their headline of this story, “New Mormon Policy Makes Apostates of Children from Same-Sex Unions.”

I agree, the headline is factually incorrect. In order to be an apostate you have to first be a member.

A better headline would be:
“New Mormon policy rejects children who have a homosexual parent”

The LDS church has carved out a new space for children of parents in same-sex unions. They aren’t really non-members, because if they are being raised in the church they will essentially have the same teachings and trainings as children born in the covenant/raised in the church. They aren’t members either, because they can’t participate in full fellowship. They need a special designation, something that designates their second-class status.

I propose they be designated as “mudbloods.”

Only purebloods have full access to God.

Only purebloods have full access to God.

Being tainted by parentage and not quite as good as the rest of the pure bloods, seems legit, and not at all discriminatory. Right?

Latter-day Saints strongly believe in the innocence of children (until the wise old age of eight), as outlined in Moroni Chapter 8. The new policy re-categorizes same-sex marriage as apostasy instead of fornication. This is however, the first policy change that (formally) extends disfellowshipping of an apostate’s children, based on the actions of the apostate.

The LDS Church has a very long-standing policy of not allowing children to be baptized without both parents permission. This policy existed, presumably, to prevent families from being destroyed by contention over the issue. The Church in its focus on family would rather children grow up in a stable home environment than be baptized under any circumstances. Again- when my third child was baptized I was (I’ve since toned it down… surprisingly) a vocal opponent of the church. The bishop was very aware of this fact, since we had had several discussions about it and having threatened me with disciplinary actions for apostasy. He never asked my permission to move forward with the baptism. Not once.

This policy is a way of putting the stability of these children’s families first. A goal that presumably most detractors of this policy would laud. Except that it doesn’t, at all. The purpose of this policy is to protect the church and their interests. Listen to what they mean, not what they say.

Children from same-sex unions are asked required to wait until adulthood to join the Church. This is far different than categorizing those children as sinners or apostates, (mudbloods.) If somehow children from same-sex families were apostate or inferior the Church would not be so welcoming to them as soon as they become adults. As outlined above, they aren’t- they still have to receive first presidency approval. It isn’t a matter of simply turning 18 and meeting with your bishop.

Those responsible for disseminating this myth including the editorial board at “The Salt Lake Tribune” should take steps to fix the damage from their errors. Headline correction? Sure. However, the actual coverage of the topic? I’m sure the only way you (and the church) would be satisfied is if they printed an op-ed explanation from the Church.

Myth #6 Church is Depriving Itself of LGBT Members

This myth was started by John Dehlin in his initial post on the matter. He wrote, “it is sad for the LDS church and its devout members — who continue to deprive themselves of the wonderful talents and association with so many beautiful and gifted LGBT members.” I agree with John Dehlin, but I can think of a thousand better places for LGBTQ people to join. Unfortunately it’s not that easy to leave the church and culture that you were raised in. 

This myth comes from those who essentially do not believe in sin. They believe that our behavior should be dictated by our innermost self and not by God. Correct, I do not believe in sin. I do believe in right and wrong and my innermost self is more reliable for choosing goodness than the men who claim to speak for God. I choose love, everytime I do, I win.

To these individuals, rejecting a behavior is the same as rejecting an individual. This twisted sense of reality leads to this myth.
I don’t reject my LDS friends and family, I just reject their LDS behavior. Go ahead and try to tease out what part of your life is LDS behavior vs. your individual person.

God has always had behavioral standards including those for sexual conduct. God’s church would consequently support those standards. God sure worries about sex a lot. The rules surrounding sex, which to be clear, move as humans evolve and morality evolves, seem to be more important to God than a lot of other more important points of morality. Brigham Young declared sex between races as follows:
BY racist

Saying that the Church is depriving itself of LGBT members is as foolhardy as saying the Church is depriving itself of cohabitating members, polygamous members, or alcoholic members.

Again, the issue isn’t with the adults in this scenario, it’s with their children. However, the Church is missing out on the fantastic people who are part of the LGBTQ community, people who are too good for an antiquated institution, which refuses to see them for who they are and allow them to be members.

But cohabitating members, polygamous members (at least in the eternal sense), and alcoholic members aren’t the issue- it’s their children. While the policy is consistent with the treatment of polygamous members (at least when the church is aware of the situation) it is not consistent with barring the children of cohabitating and alcoholic members.

Individuals can deprive themselves of the blessings of the Church by refusing to follow the commandments, not the other way around.

If the child of a gay parent follows all the commandments, the church IS depriving them of essential ordinances and blessings- according to the church itself. If baptism and temple work aren’t essential for blessings why have anyone get baptized? Saying that denial of these ordinances and full participation isn’t inherently bad, then why require them at all? You can’t simultaneously say something is essential and say that not allowing someone access (who wants it and is meeting the personal critera) isn’t a problem.

Myth #7 This Hurts Me Personally

This comment is most pervasive because it is the most difficult to unravel. This rhetorical approach has become crucial in the campaign to normalize and then legalize same-sex marriage, because we are not accustomed to telling other people their feelings don’t matter.

Because people’s feelings DO matter.

As a result this myth has become a bludgeon to silence those who believe in right and wrong.

You’ve set up a false pretense, by saying those that don’t accept your version of morality, don’t believe in morality, therefore their opinions and feelings can be disregarded.

Additionally, you can have your opinions, you can have your beliefs, the problem comes when you attempt to enforce your beliefs on people with different beliefs than yours.

If someone talks about how this hurts them, they may sincerely think that, but it is also political theater, a learned response from mimicking the rhetorical style of those who’ve had so much political success on this issue.

Or here’s an idea, it really hurts them. Being dismissive doesn’t make it cease to be truth.Louis ck

Now let’s be clear, many people are feeling pain because of this decision, especially those whom the policy directly affects or who have family members this affects. The myth is that our personal emotional response should change Church policy.

Why? Policy isn’t doctrine. Isn’t there a way to make the policy (guidelines set by men) adhere to the doctrine (essential rules from God)? Policy changes within the LDS church all the time. The church issues public opinion polls within the membership prior to these changes to gauge how to better accommodate the membership. The church absolutely changes policy based on people’s emotion responses. (See:1990 changes in the temple ceremony, the switch in position on oral sex, the changes in the doctrine of race for a good start).

Sharing feelings on this issue as though they affect the rightness or wrongness of the policy is a logical fallacy. This comes under the category of argumentum ad passiones. While you may feel whatever you want about this policy change, your feelings do not affect whether or not this change was correct. Agreed. Of course I would agree in the sense that the author’s feelings on the subject based on who declared it to be so and his feelings about them, do not make the change correct. Additionally- this is an appeal to authority. When people talk about their pain as a way of ending a conversation it is little more than emotional manipulation. When people talk about their religion as the ultimate authority as a way to end a conversation is it also emotional manipulation.

Myth #8 The Church Lost and Should Move On

This myth comes from those who are still focussed on the recent Supreme Court ruling Obergefell v. Hodges. They argue that gay marriage is now legal, so the Church should stop fighting it. This myth doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The Supreme Court decision does not dictate how churches should behave. You are correct. The Supreme Court does not dictate the behavior of religions or the ability for them to discriminate as they see fit, religions and the religious have great priviledge in this area. That does not mean that people can’t form negative opinions based on a church’s behavior and use their right to speech to proclaim those opinions. See also: Churches with whom the LDS church agrees on gays.

This myth also relies on the idea that the Church should base its decisions on popular trends. Because it does- just 40 years too late. If anything, this action is a response to protect the Church from the recent Supreme Court ruling. By categorizing same-sex relationships as apostasy, the Church puts itself in a strong legal position should a same-sex couple sue in order to be married by a bishop or in the temple. Again, show me a case where this has happened. Show me a case where the church has been sued by a coffee drinker, non-tithe payer, or a fornicator for the right to be married in the temple. In our country religions have the upper hand in pretty much ever legal situation. To present religion as being persecuted when they can’t enforce their beliefs on others is simply an appeal to fear.

Myth #9 These Changes are Eternal Doctrine

Some who have tried to defend the Church have fallen to a different myth. They try to look at these changes as part of the eternal doctrine of the family that will never change.

These changes are to policy, not doctrine. Policy changes in the Church on a regular basis to best protect the Church and respond to ongoing revelation. This policy may be long-lasting or it may be short-term. I predict very short term. These changes are only to be administered by church leadership, so direction on these matters can change and often do.

Eternal families are essential Latter-day Saint doctrine, and same-sex couples frustrate that plan in a way that few other things can, Things that ruin eternal families: any member of the family who doesn’t follow every single church rule- because the moment one person doesn’t participate exactly how outlined there are empty chairs in heaven- but, no pressure.. but how baptism policy responds to that reality is not so nearly set in stone.

chairs

Way to cover your ass- because this will be reversed- and in short order- unless the reason for the change is deeper than most LDS members think. (See, retrenchment below).

#jesuslovesyou

There’s also one bonus comment that you may read a lot. This very well could be true, or not, there’s no way to know, but in the end it doesn’t matter.

This Could Lead to a Great Exodus

There should be nothing surprising to Latter-day Saints about people threatening to leave. Paul prophesied clearly that this would happen: “In the latter times some shall depart from the faith.” Latter-day Saints do not need to intellectually understand every policy change Church leaders make to know that there is spiritual safety in following their leadership and counsel. When someone tells you stop thinking about something in order to feel better about it, you should begin to question the motives of the person or organization.

Could this change really be enough for some people to reject all the blessings of Church membership? Maybe, Paul certainly foresaw that something would draw people away. But we can have comfort in following Jesus Christ and His Latter-day Church.

[Editor’s Note: The text of myth 7 has been slightly altered to better reflect the author’s original intent]

This is where the actual reasoning for the change becomes a little clearer. Stay with me for a minute.

chafe

If the change were actually about protecting children then the policy would extend to the children of all sinners (ahem). If the policy were about the law there would be legal precedent. There is neither. There are other ways to completely reinforce where the church stands on homosexuality (although sending an apostle to be a keynote speaker for an anti-gay conference is one way).

The fringy members are causing all sorts of heartache for the church. Let’s be clear, the LDS church isn’t about salvation for its members, it’s about power and control. You know whom you can’t control? People who don’t listen to everything that you say without thinking about it, the pesky fence sitters who are spreading critical thinking throughout the membership by staying in the “in-group” and still communicating with the members.

This is a sifting. Culling the herd. Getting rid of the weak to shore up the organization. The results of this policy that I discussed and how it affects families and children aren’t a concern for the leadership of the church. Those that are sympathetic to the “gays” will leave, those who are willing to accept without thinking will stay and retrench. The church will become more fundamentalist and further from society.

Unfortunately, the real results of this sifting is broken families, damaged children and relationships and in some tragic cases suicide. The rejection by family and the church cause real harm and death.  That’s why people are outraged. The pain is preventable. You can choose to support an organization causing pain based on fear, or you can choose love. 

I chose love. Every time. I hope you will as well. 

Choose Love

Choose Love

P.S. Many memes and photos in this post- many came from the brilliant Jerilyn Pool and her new page, Apostamemes, check it out.

 

Tags: , , , ,

Why Mormon General Conference is nothing like TED Talks

This blog post is being posted and re-posted.  I felt it needed some response.  (Don’t be easily offended when you read this mormon friends). 

Image

Did a friend invite you to watch Mormon General Conference this weekend? Did you feel a little confused or slightly awkward about it? Cool. Let’s break it down.

The only thing awkward/confusing about being invited to participate in another religion’s eight hour weekend is how excited you are to passively invite me and pretend like it’ll teach me everything I need to know about your church.  Because you think I care.  I don’t.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Knowledge vs. Orthodoxy Sunstone Presentation

Welcome! If you’re here looking for more information on the Knowledge vs. Orthodoxy study and presentation from Sunstone it will be up in the next day or two.  Thanks for dropping by.

To listen: Knowledge vs. Orthodoxy Sunstone Presentation

Some links you may have heard me reference during the presentation:

John Dehlin’s study: Why Mormons Question (Study done with 3,000 people who left the LDS church and their reasons). Video Link

Haans Mattson and Swedish Rescue story:
New York Times Article
Mormon Stories interview
Transcript of meeting with doubters in Sweden

Another helpful link about questions that doubting members have.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Missionary work- you’re doing it wrong

A few weeks ago there was a large, “historic” missionary meeting held.  It was broadcast and members were encouraged to attend.

From LDS.org
Where necessary, local leaders should adjust scheduled worship services so that members are able to participate in the live broadcast of this historic event.

The meeting largely centered on the “new” ways of conducting missionary work.  Tracting is largely unproductive so now missionaries will be using social media (largely Facebook) to contact people who are recommended to them through local members, chatrooms via mormon.org and will use Facebook to build relationships with people before trying to go to their house and talk to them in their living rooms about religion.  Also they’ll be doing this with brand new Ipads! Also your local missionaries will be giving tours of the local meeting house to interested parties since now they’ll be hanging out there to access the meetinghouse wifi (hint: password usually Pioneer47).

Yay missionaries!

missionaries rock on

Except now it looks more like this:
missionaries-online2

So…  why were so many members invited to attend this meeting of “historic” proportions?  Well it was also a pep rally to the fabulousness (yes I just made that word up) of the church and a guiltfest (made that one up too) for members to do their part.  The missionaries have better luck teaching people (and let’s keep our eye on the prize- baptizing people they teach) when they are able to utilize the members to find people to teach.  So members need to be excited about missionary work and participate in it.  But they should be nice even if people aren’t interested in their message… right?  Right. Because that’s the the right thing to do.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Those with nothing to hide, hide nothing

Those with nothing to hide, hide nothing

truth-and-respect-quote

The LDS church has recently (July 13, 2013) unveiled a new search engine powered by Google and censored by LDS inc.

The Church has revamped the search function and features to include Google’s powerful search technology, harnessing its signature ability to find relevant information.

Relevant information?  What does that mean?

That means:  Official, Safe Content

Official? Safe?

The new search provides a more safe and Church-specific search experience than Google, said Brother Ward. When you search from Google’s website, the results you get back may or may not be official content, he explained. Some results might be links to members’ personal blogs or even anti-Church sites.

The LDS.org search, however, only returns links to official Church-approved content that is currently available on LDS.org and other Church websites. And even though Google’s technology is used, no user information is provided back to Google. “It provides a safe, private, shock-free environment to search for approved gospel resources,” said Brother Ward.

So you can search only church approved sources and get only church approved answers to all your gospel questions.

Why is that needed?   Read the rest of this entry »

 
9 Comments

Posted by on July 23, 2013 in doubt, LDS church, mormons, polyandry, polygamy

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Han Fei Story Three: The age of religions and gods

nian

About Christmas time Han Fei told us the story surrounding Chinese New Year in preparation to teach some aspects of Chinese culture to the Elementary kids she worked with.  The story had some interesting points that led to an interesting statement that I mulled over for a while. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , , , ,