Polygamy and Baptism Policy

MaddieBrown

So I’m watching Sister Wives as I type this. One of the daughters is named Madison; she has only intermittently appeared on the show recently because she’s away attending school at Utah State. She has been very clear that she is not going to live polygamy. A recent tangential story arc in the show was that she had decided to be baptized LDS. That was the plan. (Good for her, I thought.) She just reported to her moms that she got two phone calls, including from the mission president, that they’re not going to let her get baptized. Apparently they had wanted her to publicly denounce her family, and of course she wouldn’t do that. She can keep attending church if she wants to but she can’t get baptized. They told her they hope she’ll “reconsider” the Church “when her family isn’t so much in the public eye.” They hope she’s not “bitter” about it.

Of course this show reflects events that actually occurred some months ago. She and her fiance, Caleb Brush, had planned on getting baptized together, but now that isn’t going to happen. She describes Caleb as a “devout Christian,” but i don’t get the impression that she would join any church other than the LDS Church.

I had several thoughts about this. First, if it’s the MP’s call and not above his pay grade, I can absolutely guarantee that my MP would have approved of this baptism. So the reticence here to greenlight it was surprising to me.

Second, I understand the Church’s reticence about being associated in the public eye with polygamy in any  way. That’s an association it’s been trying to ditch for a century now, with almost no discernible progress toward that end. I get that aspect of this.

To me, however, the deep insecurity over this issue in this case does not do the Church credit or reflect well on it. Maddie’s absolute commitment to live a monogamous lifestyle has been a part of the story line of the show. Yes, she’s something of a public figure because of the program, but very specifically as a monogamist.

In my view from a PR perspective asking her to denounce her family publicly as the price for baptism was a misguided approach to the issue. The Church is now a part of the story line anyway, in what I perceive as a negative light. She is not her family; why would we require this of her as a condition precedent to baptism? I thought we were The Family (Trademark) Church? Maddie getting baptized would have been positive publicity for the Church; the Church trying to get her to turn on her family and then denying her baptism when she refuses is not a good story for them. And this PR result was entirely predictable in my view.

But maybe I’m not seeing this issue clearly. What do you think about this? What should the Church do in this case? Is it wise to require children of polygamists to publicly denounce their families as a condition of baptism? Should the public nature of the potential candidate in this case change the policy result? Should we be quite so skittish about giving the public an opportunity to connect us even in a tangential way to the practice of polygamy? Your thoughts appreciated.

Comments

  1. A good friend’s brother left the church, entered into polygamy as a young man (post-mission), and in his sixties has tried to come back. He has to get approval from the first presidency and it has taken YEARS. I don’t know that he will be allowed to be re-baptized. They just really really really want to make sure he doesn’t go back. I don’t know why this is a worse, harder thing than adultery or addiction or anything that I know people have been able to repent and be re-baptized for. Maybe the joining of a new church is it? But for a girl with no covenants to break? Let her in. This is dumb. Let her in.

  2. It sounds like her family being in the public eye was a integral part of the decision. If her family was an inconspicuous polygamist family would the same decision have been made?

    I think it is lousy that they are prioritizing PR over ordinances that are purportedly essential for eternal salvation.

  3. Kevin Barney says:

    Jennifer, yes, it was quite clear that the public nature of her family was the primary driver of the no-baptism decision in this case, since that was the reason the MP himself gave to her.

  4. We were involved with a young man who’s family was still living polygamy. He was 16 but his parents gave permission. He still had to meet with a 70 to make sure he’d abandoned the practice. It sounds like its the publicity element (especially with reality TV). The Church hasn’t had great publicity from Reality TV.

  5. My husband comes from a polygamous background, and those in his family that wanted to join the LDS church had to get clearance from apostles just to get baptized (even though they personally had nothing to do with polygamy), a process that took many many long months. Why do they have to be treated differently just because of what their family was once a part of? This is an idiotic policy, that they need to rethink.

  6. The only thing I’d say is to be cautious about ANYTHING we interpret from a reality TV show. I’ve worked as a producer on shows like this and have a dear friend very much in the business still, and it’s amazing how ridiculously curated, scripted, coached, and edited they are. I didn’t watch the show nor directly hear her take, but I’d take it with a HUGE grain of salt.

  7. I can understand as a public figure being asked to publicly denounce polygamy or any intent on entering into it (I’m not familiar with this story, but it sounds like she has already done this?), but publicly denouncing her family? What does that even entail? Sounds totally unnecessary. If anything, I would imagine encouraging a person to hold strong to loving family ties. Something seems off to me, maybe I’m missing part of the story or perhaps a mistake was made.

  8. This is very disappointing. I realize that this is a reality show, but it appeared that her intentions were not motivated by the show, as Madison usually seems disintrested in “the show” as much as she seems disinterested in living polygamy for herself. I think the Church now has to make a statement about this.

    I also agree that my mission president would have approved her baptism also. This public renunciation thing feels so archaic and punitive.

    It’s a bad look for the Church.

  9. I’d agree, Kevin, that the MP choosing brand maintenance for the Church over the happiness and welfare of souls isn’t likely to win much applause or new converts. It also reminds me of D&C 10:67-68 where Jesus Christ himself defines his gospel and church and cautions those who mistakenly claim it to be more or less.

  10. 1 – far too often we hear of families denouncing those who do join our church…certainly not the other way around. How unChristlike.
    2 – if we are now allowed to love and accept our gay friends and show public support for gay marriage rights (remember the letter read in SM a few months ago?), why in the world can’t we support a person’s “right” to marry however many spouses they want? What if it was a case of polyandry? Not that I’m a fan of polygamy, but if consenting adults choose to have an open marriage like that, who cares?
    3 – for those who had to “wait” until they were baptized to make sure they didn’t fall back into the practice of having multiple commitment partners, so what if they did go back to their old ways? I mean, we would simply show them the door. So…we all sin…so what’s the big deal if someone has sex with another person? We simply follow protocol – ex them, make them wait for readmission and then make them wait some more.
    4 – Poor Maddie – she grew up living in fear of not being accepted. The one place she felt sure she wanted to be (our church) was yet another place that did not accept her. I think the men in charge will have a lot of explaining to do.

  11. Bishop Smith says:

    Handbook 1 section 16.3.9 requires First Presidency Approval for baptism of children whosr parents have practiced or are practicing polygamy. They must accept the teachings of the church and repudiate the teachings upon which their parents based their practice of plural marriage.

    Many comments about how someones mp would have baptize the young lady

  12. Bishop Smith says:

    I see several comments like “my mp would have done it” not true the handbook is very clear.

    I can’t speak for the brethren but I’m sure the Lord has his reasons for this policy.

  13. My quasi-inside information days are well in the past (last century!) but back then this would have been above the mission president’s pay grade. It would make sense for the MP to carry the message, but the decision wasn’t his, or so I understood. Polygamy was a special case. In the same kind of not quotable insider stories, I heard that notwithstanding President Packer’s concern about threats from homosexuals, feminists and intellectuals, in fact the Church found it more difficult to manage the ultra-conservative crowd, among whom I would include post-manifesto polygamists. This would make for a fascinating discussion, if only I had something more than a casual story or two to go on.

  14. Reality TV or not, the Church is pretty consistent in this regard.

  15. The Church is often (and, in my view, rightly) criticized for how much emphasis it puts on PR. But I must say, for a supposedly PR-savvy Church, it is remarkably adept at making itself look bad.

    I realize this may have solely been the doing of a Mission President, without any involvement from Salt Lake City. Perhaps. But we have public affairs personnel (both paid and volunteer) at virtually every level of the Church hierarchy. If the MP stepped in to block a high-profile baptism like this without first consulting public affairs, he is an idiot. If the Church’s public affairs people were involved, they are inept.

    Either way, the Church comes out looking bad here. When Maddie announced to her family that she intended to join the LDS Church, her father and mother(s) gave her their blessing. They supported her in her spiritual journey, even though it led her to a church that both of her biological parents had left (Kodie served a full-time mission for the Church; Janelle was raised LDS). To have the Church turn around and demand that she denounce her family as a condition of baptism strikes me as incredibly petty.

  16. According to Maddie (on Twitter), her rejection came from the First Presidency.

  17. I also have some recent first-hand knowledge of someone who came from a polygamist family and was baptized. It is virtually certain that while the mission president might have delivered the message, he did not make the decision. And let’s please not take anything we see on a reality show at face value. I think there are some interesting questions here, including the reasons for the Church’s policy on baptizing people with a polygamous background, and how the Church might best respond in this particular situation. But no one should assume that the facts are as they were presented in a “reality” show.

  18. S. Emmett says:

    The first thing the church needs to do is get some PR people who are under the age of 50!! This is one of the most ignorant decisions that the church has made lately. In fact, it boggles the mind:that a young person who has REJECTED the doctrine of polygamy (which 150 years ago, Mormons were willing to break the law and die for), and has committed no unforgiveable sin apparently, would be deprived of baptism for the “sins” of her family? (And even the sin part is debatable — even though I have ZERO tolerance for polygamy). THEY certainly believe it’s a commandment. Would baptism be denied an Amish or Mennonite person unless she promised to forsake her family (notwithstanding that the Amish and Mennonite families would probably already be shunning her). Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place! This is a fear-based policy — the fear that somehow the public does not have the intelligence to separate a grown person’s moral principles from those taught to them by their family of origin. If THAT were the case, the Mormons should deny baptism to just about anyone who has been raised in any number of “suspect” religions. To the Mormon church, that is ALL other religions. You see where I’m going, right?

  19. Wait a second – why are believing the part about denouncing her family? At least according to the OP, that information (actually, all of the information) is based on someone’s retelling of a phone call, as relayed through a reality show (and, I guess, twitter). The odds of that information being acurate seem insanely low to me.

    It sounds like she isn’t getting baptized, but the reasons, unless outlined in a letter on church letterhead, are a mystery.

  20. And, FWIW, I taught and baptized a woman who was raised in a polygamous house. We did have to get FP approval.

    At the time, I was informed that at least part of the reason for that vetting process was because of some fear that some of the polygamous groups had, and were continuing to, send out “scouts” to infliltrate the LDS church – get baptized and then do temple work, etc… I think I believed that when I was a young missionary. I’m sure now whether there was/is any legitimate basis for believing it.

  21. UM Jay…it was Maddie, the girl in the show retailing HER phone call. She wasn’t telling what happened to someone else. Now, if she happens to be lying, we’ll soon find out.

  22. Deborah Christensen says:

    I just finished watching the episode. (BTW I’ve watched this show since day one) The perspective I have on this issue hasn’t been mentioned yet so here it is.
    The situation sounds like the church is aware that she is in the public eye as her parents are on a reality show. Her decision to join to church is very important. It is true that Maddie has not been very involved in the show and is very vocal about her decision to practice monogamy. The FP want her to wait until there are no cameras to make her decision. In the mean time, keep learning and attending. The fact that she has to wait until her parents are no longer public is not important because “time is measured only unto man” (Alma 40). A person baptized later in life isn’t better or worse than someone baptized at the age of 8. If Maddie has a testimony that the LDS church is the true and living church then it will still be true a couple years down the road after her family is not public. While watching the show it sounded like some of this was Maddie’s or someone else’s interpretation of why she has to wait. “Oh the church is embarrassed about polygamy” or “this is motivated by fear” Maybe not.

  23. My question is, are we deigning her baptism because her family is publicly shown of another faith, because it is another faith, similar in many ideas but a whole nother church. So if Billy Gramm’s son wanted to be baptized they would be told no, his family is in the public eye. We teach that the only true church is the LDS so we are refusing to allow this young woman, who has denounced the concept of her family’s religion on many occasions , the saving graces of that faith? Or that to receive those blessing, a faith that speaks of strong family bonds this young woman must cut all ties with her family. I set down with my extended family at Thanksgiving, my mother is Presbyterian, my aunt Methodist, my brother Catholic, our family friend Jewish, Am I no longer allowed to do that for fear I can not keep my faith if associating with my family…. I was baptized 47 yrs ago, have I been doing it “wrong” all these years.

  24. Isn’t the Church’s strict stance because some of the polygamous groups acknowledge the priesthood ordinances performed by LDS church and thus may stay in the LDS church until they receive their endowments? At least I’ve met a family, where the parents were excommunicated for polygamy, but the son remained LDS. While in the LDS church he pretended to reject polygamy. After he had his endowment he moved to Utah in order to better be part of a polygamous group.

  25. Biship Smith your comment “I can’t speak for the brethren but I’m sure the Lord has his reasons for this policy.: was as ignorant as the church,s reason for not allowing Maddie to be baptized. If you believe the Lord had anything to do with this policy then you are in serious trouble. when Jesus approached John the Baptized to be baptized, John didn’t ask Jesus to denounce anyone. does the LDS church judge a person by the sins of their parents?

  26. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks for all the comments.

    1. Yes, this is being filtered through a reality TV show, so things have to be taken with a grain of salt. Maddie was reporting the substance of a telephone call she directly had, but it’s possible that some nuance got lost in the game of telephone.

    2. Thank you to several who confirmed this was not the MP’s decision. That actually makes more sense to me.

    3. I believe the family is affiliated with the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), and it’s true that members of the AUB used to join the Church to get ordinances. My understanding is that they don’t do that anymore and do their own ordinances, but I suspect some of this is left over from that older dynamic. (For some info on this, see my notes on the polygamy session at the recent John Whitmer Historical Association Conference, in which an LDS convert from the AUB goes over the history of those interactions).

  27. Kevin Barney says:

    For notes on the history of interactions between the LDS Church and AUB, see the below post beginning at September 25 9:38:

    https://bycommonconsent.com/2015/09/24/jwha-independence-2015/

  28. Bishop Smith says:

    Lawrence I don’t think its ignorant to belive that the FP is called and inspired of God. The handbook doesn’t say she has to cut ties with her family only that she has to repudiate the teachings that her family bases their polygamist lifestyle on. She can still have Thanksgiving dinner with them Crystal.

  29. jasonford818 says:

    I saw the episode. I don’t have to be an inspired leader to see she was not judged based upon what is in her heart but on who her parents are.

  30. John Harrison says:

    This is not entirely surprising. The church is very concerned that polygamists will pose as mainstream Mormons in order to get access to temple ordinances and then later return to polygamy.

    There are even scriptures that people in the temple department will cite supporting this policy.

    That said, perhaps we should be more understanding in such cases.

  31. Reality TV being what it is, I’m guessing, the biggest factor. What if her joining is a publicity stunt for the show, and the MP is just avoiding a possible fiasco later on? Publically renouncing the family, and therefore the show, would at least show something on her part that she’s not just going to turn around and make the baptism and her whole new mormon life part of the program. I don’t know… just trying to think as the MP would think.

  32. jasonford818 says:

    If what Bishop Smith says is true then it was a FP policy used to judge her and not the Holy Ghost.

    @ APC quick! Get out your tin foil hat. =)

  33. Deborah Christensen says:

    Ditto to APC. In my mind there is a difference between being on a reality show vs just being famous or related to famous people….. Of course some famous people see their life as one big reality show.

  34. Does she receive payment for appearing on the show? If so, she is benefiting financially from polygamy, and I can definitely see asking her to stop participating in order to be baptized.

  35. Isn’t the scriptural commandment to baptize anyone that wants it, whether or not they, for instance, come from a polygamist family, pay tithing first, attend church, etc.?

  36. “Does she receive payment for appearing on the show? If so, she is benefiting financially from polygamy,”

    Huh? I mean, indirectly, I guess. So what?

  37. Dang. All those LDS local farmers who sell their barley to the local Budweiser plant are in BIG trouble….

  38. To condemn or cause a person to suffer because of the sins of their family seems harsh, judgmental, and even unfair. My mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and because of her meanness, manipulations, and wrongdoings over the years my whole family has suffered. I know how it feels to be treated as if I were the one who did something wrong. It is wrong to cause children to suffer for the sins of their parents.

  39. Kathlene, I don’t think she (or anyone else) has to be lying to be incorrect. Maddie very well may have misunderstood the message given to her or simply miscommunicated the message during her re-telling. As Kevin Barney said, “it’s possible that some nuance got lost in the game of telephone.”

    FWIW, I think it’s far more than possible, and is, instead, amost guaranteed. In light of the policies which others have articulated, it seems likely that she was told to denounce the “practice” and she either understood that to mean, or simply miscommunicated that to mean, that she was to denounce her “family.”

  40. Also, it sounds like I’m not the only one who heard that this policy was in place to keep polygamous family members from “sneaking” in to do temple work. I assumed that that was unverified missionary lore, but now it’s sounding like it might be rooted in some real history. If that’s the case, then the FP’s hesitation in these cases makes more sense.

  41. I don’t know which is less surprising–someone taking at face value the words someone said on a “reality” TV show, or a blog commenter using “disinterested” when he meant “uninterested.”

  42. Kevin Barney says:

    1. Yes, it makes sense for these cases to go to the FP. Your average MP or SP isn’t going to have the background to deal with them, and dealing with them centrally allows for some consistency of application. I’m fine with that.

    2. I think Jay may be on to a nuance that may have gotten elided in the show. I think he’s probably right that the requirement was to denounce the *practice,* which she understood or interpreted as a requirement to denounce her *family.*

    3. Yes, there is definitely a history there of AUB members getting baptized to get access to the temple. My impression is that that is historical and not really a thing anymore, but it seems fine to me for the Church to do some due diligence to avoid that kind of scenario.

    4. What gave me particular pause about this is that for a period of years Maddie has been very firm in a very public forum (the TV show) that she has zero intention of ever practicing polygamy. And reality show or not, I believe her. She is thoroughly committed to monogamy. So it seems likely to me that in her case the concern wasn’t with the possibility of her going throught the temple and then returning to the AUB and practicing polygamy; I’m satisfied that ain’t gonna happen. Rather in this case the calculus for rejecting her request for baptism seems to have been grounded in PR concerns. And that’s the aspect of this that gives me pause. First, because it seems to me that the ordinance of baptism is important and if she’s deserving of baptism we should baptize her, PR be damned. And second because to me this isn’t even an effective PR strategy; it seems likely to me to backfire to some extent and give the Church negative publicity anyway.

  43. Bishop Smith says:

    Mark, Thanks for the grammar lesson. Learn something new everyday.

    Disinterested means impartial.
    Uninterested means not interested.

  44. Clark Goble says:

    Don’t know about the show, but I know his son is serving a mission after getting permission from the first presidency.

  45. Kevin Barney says:

    Clark, I think you’re thinking of Josh Williams, oldest son of Brady Williams of the show My Five Wives. But that’s an interesting point; why is it ok for him to go on a mission but not for Maddie to be baptized? (One difference may be that although the family still practices polygamy, they have formally left the AUB.)

  46. Clark Goble says:

    Kevin (9:16) I can ask him if you like. I’ve never discussed religion with him. I’ll fully admit that polygamy gets my whole squeamishness part of my brain going so I probably would end up saying something offensive to him. Which I wouldn’t want to do since from my experience he’s a really thoughtful nice guy. (I’ve never seen the reality show and having had some experience in reality shows would assume everything is distorted somewhat on it) My understanding is that he’s not associated with any group anymore, but I don’t know for sure. It sounds like a lot of his kids have returned to the church but I don’t know the details. (He has a lot of kids) Interestingly he’s at UVU getting a philosophy degree right now and knows Dennis Potter quite well – whom I think many of us also know.

    As I mentioned, his son is on a mission now after first presidency approval. I know that took quite a few meetings to allow. Whether that affected his daughter I couldn’t say. Presumably the shows were filmed quite some time ago.

    I was actually quite curious on the issue given your notes from a few weeks ago on events up in Montana. I’ll admit to being quite ignorant of all this sort of stuff. My bias, as I said, is fairly negative towards such groups on both theological but also practical social grounds. But Brady seems like a pretty good guy trying to do his best.

  47. Clark Goble says:

    Oh, I didn’t know there were two different shows Kevin. Tells you how ignorant I am. I just know Brady.

  48. Kevin Barney says:

    Yeah, Clark, Brady seems like a great guy. I’m pretty sure they’re not involved in any church anymore, but I think you’re right that some of the kids are going LDS. Joe Jessop, who grew up AUB but is now LDS (and presented at JWHA; many of my notes on the topic are from him) is a very close friend of Brady’s.

  49. Clark Goble says:

    If this woman in question has her parents still in the AUB then that does seem like a big difference. I suspect the 1st Presidency wants to be sure she’s really broken off and renounced such groups. From what Brady told me it took quite a few meetings with the bishop and stake president to get permission for Josh. If she then goes on the reality show about this, that doesn’t exactly come off as good faith, if you know what I mean. But I’m not privy to the details and wouldn’t feel good speculating too much.

    If they’re letting others get baptized and even go on missions I’m not sure we can ascribe this to church PR or an unwillingness to let people get baptized. It’s something related to the particulars of this case.

  50. I wonder what kind of public statement she was actually asked to give.

    Perhaps “I accept the LDS church’s prohibition on polygamy” on Twitter?

    If so, I can see why something like that might be hard to write (and for her parents to read).

  51. jasonford818 says:

    If her baptism or rather non-baptism has any thing to do with the AUB then that is politics and should have nothing to do with an individuals path to salvation. What ever happened to looking at the inward vessel of a person? What happened to looking at the individual?

  52. jasonford818 says:

    Just a quick question to those reading comments. How many here had to vocally denounce polygamy to be baptized?

  53. There is some amazing apologetics in this thread. I adore how the Priesthood holders have declared that they KNOW she just really really didn’t understand the phone call/s she got. WOW! Stunning the power of revelation you two have!

  54. “vocally denounce polygamy” (11:07 am)? — I believe (and I believe it is commonly understood) that the “affiliate or sympathize” question in the temple recommend interview is asking you to do just this. Maybe more, but at least this.

  55. jasonford818 says:

    @ christiankimball that very well be how you interpret that question. I personally do not agree with your interpretation and do not believe your interpretation is the commonly held understanding among every one. Also, that is a temple recommend question. Not one of the questions the missionary asks when interviewing some one for baptism.

  56. Clark Goble says:

    Kathleen, if you reread I don’t think that’s what they said. Saying one is skeptical of what is portrayed within a reality TV show seems quite fair. Reality shows are infamously scripted and participants are often told to exaggerate events or pose to make the episode narrative better. Further the producer then further edit things to fit an narrative that is interesting to viewers. There simply seems a big divide between reality shows and news documentaries. I’m not sure it’s unfair to exercise some skepticism due to not having all the facts.

    Christian, I’m with you. But that question has always seemed ridiculously ambiguous and confusing to me. For one, in a work situation there are federal laws on religious freedom that might be broken depending upon how one speaks in those settings. I always took it more as a kind of intentionally vague statement to gauge our own life when getting a new recommend.

  57. @Mark B, that is what disinterested means. Google before you tease! ;) http://www.learnersdictionary.com/qa/disinterested-vs-uninterested

  58. I’m with the many people who believe that this was a selfish and pointless decision by the First Presidency, and that it did the Mormon church no favors.

  59. Also, she’s denounced the practice publicly and presumably privately since her early teen years. Clips of the show easily reveal that to be true. She shouldn’t have to go any farther than that. Any farther and she WOULD be having to publicly denounce her family. Plus, look at things like homosexuality–in your baptismal interview you’re asked if you’ve ever had a homosexual relationship, not to go on and on about how against homosexuality you are. It’s presumed that if you are joining the church and agreeing to follow its tenets, you will follow them in all respects. Her family’s public lifestyle shouldn’t make a difference. If someone comes from a family of addicts but still loves them and won’t denounce them though they don’t personally take drugs, are they required to say anything in their interview other than statements about their personal practices? Nope.

  60. Regarding the “affiliate or sympathize” temple recommend question, I am reasonably confident about the history and original intent. The wording has changed over the years, has become increasingly broad and ambiguous. I guess I don’t know what people hear today, if they read or hear afresh and without the burden of history.

  61. @Bishop, disinterested means both impartial and uninterested. It has two definitions.

  62. And since it has two definitions it means nothing. Thanks to all the sloppy folks who think it’s a cool way to say they don’t give a damn.

  63. hamandlegs says:

    I belong to the mainstream Mormon church and this episode broke my heart. I felt it was wrong of the mp to reject her request to be baptized. And I was so happy for her when she had made that decision to join the church. Rejecting her because her parents are on a reality tv show is so disappointing. I doubt he has seen it. If he had, his decision wouldn’t have been the same IMO. I’m guessing someone told him what they had heard it was about.

    My heart sank as I watched this. It’s still broken. How can this happen? It’s hard to see the benefit for her or for the church in this decision. Everyone loses because of a poor decision on behalf of the mp. Let me be clear, it was a very poor decision.

    I DO NOT think this decision went any higher than him.
    Unbelievably heart breaking to watch and know that’s my church that hurt someone like that. That’s not what the church is about. AT ALL.

    This is really bad. There are a lot of things/sins that cause someone to not be able to be baptized but this is just not one of those things. I love the leaders of my church and I stand by their words, but I sincerely doubt that they were aware of this decision. She needs to be apologized to and welcomed with both arms. Unless there is more to this story than what we know, she deserves a huge apology.

    As to the temple question, I think it is referring more to anti-Mormon type groups not polygamists. Not only are the Browns not anti-Mormon, but they are living the exact same principals as the mainstream Mormons are, just with a bigger family. WooptyDoo.

    I wish there wasn’t such a divide between us. I have no wish to be a polygamist but I see ZERO problem with how they live their lives. NO ONE SHOULD. And I have several Mormon friends & family that feel the exact same way as I do. The denial for Maddie to be baptized has just put another large wedge in where there doesn’t need to be between fellow followers of Christ and his restored gospel.

  64. Lol, ok, argue with the dictionary instead of just admitting you didn’t know or bother to look it up first. Many words have multiple shades of meaning and definitions.

  65. Kathleen – I claim no revelation, and I also never claimed to be a priesthood holder (not that that status would matter). I do claim to be a lawyer, however, and as such, am skeptical of hearsay. There’s a good reason hearsay statements are generally inadmissible in court — because they are unreliable. People misconstrue, misunderstand, and misrepresent the statements of others all the time. It doesn’t mean we’re bad people. It just means we’re people, and so we get stuff wrong a lot.

    I’m not making any conclusions about this woman, at all. In fact, maybe she’s 100% right! I don’t know. But the initial discussion on this thread all seemed premised on the assumption that her recitation of the facts was accurate, which I think is an unsafe assumption. I think that what others have put forward about the FP’s generally-followed practice and policy supports that skepticism — what she’s describing, if true, would be a pretty significant departure from normal policy, suggesting that she might have misunderstood.

    (Not the mention the fact that this all through the filter of a reality show – not exactly well-known vehicles for truth.)

  66. Bishop Smith says:

    @lo216 I had to Google it because I’m from the deeeeep south and such words are not used in everyday conversation in these parts. The definitions came from Grammar-Monster.com Below is what I found…..

    There is often confusion over the words disinterested and uninterested.
    Disinterested
    Disinterested means not taking sides or impartial. It denotes that there is no personal interest or benefit at stake.
    We are struggling to identify twelve disinterested people for the jury.
    (twelve impartial people, i.e., with no personal interest)
    An investigation into the penalty decision has reportedly uncovered that the referee was not disinterested in the outcome of the match.
    (the referee had a personal interest in one particular side winning)
    Most of the spectators at the football match were disinterested. (possibly )
    (This is only correct provided the writer means that most the spectators did not support one side or the other. The match may have been very interesting.)
    Uninterested
    Uninterested means not interested. It is the consequence of something being uninteresting (i.e., boring, uneventful or arousing no interest).
    Paul, I am quickly becoming uninterested in your ideas.
    (Paul’s ideas arouse no interest.)
    I used to collect stamps, but I am uninterested these days.
    (not interested / find it boring)

  67. I can’t believe that’s where this thread has taken us.

  68. Clark Goble says:

    Never underestimate the power of tangents.

  69. I’m nonplussed.

  70. jasonford818 says:

    I think we resort to frivolous tangents when we really don’t want to face the real issues at hand. Frivolous: not having any serious purpose or value =)

  71. Moe Mormon says:

    The AUB hasn’t encouraged people to obtain ordinances in the corporate church for over 30 years. I’m sure the Browns have received every ordinance that any endowed LDS member has received, and perhaps more. They would have no reason to infiltrate the LDS
    church.

    It’s too bad the LDS leadership have
    apostatized from the commandment given in D&C 20:37. I always thought the Lord’s requirements were adequate.

    I do wonder if a Muslim girl with polygamists parents would be held to the same standard as Madison. If Kody Brown followed the teachings of Muhammad, instead of Joseph Smith, would Madison have been denied baptism?

  72. Bishop Smith says:

    D&C 20:37 “all those who humble themselves” pride and fear of offending her parents could be what keeps her from repudiating her parents lifestyle. Which is all that is required. Earlier comments imply church policy requires her to cut ties with her family and that is not the case. I hope that someday she does become a member.

    After all modern polygamy is basically a form of disobedience to church leaders. Public repudiation of polygamy would demonstrate a willingness to sustain the leadership of the church which is critical for spiritual growth and eventual temple worship.

  73. @ Bishop “After all modern polygamy is basically a form of disobedience to church leaders. Public repudiation of polygamy would demonstrate a willingness to sustain the leadership of the church which is critical for spiritual growth and eventual temple worship.”

    And yet, several of your Apostles are Polygamist now. Many are married to their second wife. The doctrine has never been repudiated. It is still done in the Temple for the Eternities, to this day. You people, crack me up!

  74. Moe Mormon says:

    What other parental activities must be repudiated by children in order to prove their humility before God?

  75. Oh good.

    Hey, visitors! May I recommend, very subtly, that this is not the place to try and defend polygamist Mormon beliefs? I’m sure there are many great people among such groups.

  76. @Bishop, I trust Merriam-Webster more than Grammar-Monster. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disinterested

  77. @Bishop Smith, so if one’s parents are gay, to become Mormon, he/she should have to publicly denounce them? Maddie HAS denounced the practice of polygamy. Multiple times. Publicly. On camera. On a mainstream TV show. The only thing left to do would be to denounce her parents. That is not appropriate to require of anyone.

  78. Bishop Smith says:

    Lo2162, I will now use this word with confidence when I speak in church next Sunday, and if the ward grammar police show up I will send them to your link.

    To your other point, as I stated earlier, I have never seen the show or heard of this lady until I read this post. I just looked in handbook 1 and read the requirements for baptism of children whose parents are practicing polygamist. I don’t know exactly why or how the requirements came about. We can speculate but I trust there’s a good reason for the requirement. Despite watching the show you can’t know her heart or what transpired. You obviously think the church is wrong but I am one who believes that right or wrong if she is truly sincere and was denied membership then God will see to that she is given a just inheritance. I also believe church leaders make mistakes. I am one and I make mistakes all the time. For some every case like this is an opportunity to attack the church leadership and to reason with those folks is never productive. My advice is consider that we only have one side of the story and our thoughts may be very different if we had both.

  79. @Mark B started the thread about the definition of the word; I was simply responding.

    No, I can’t know her heart or what transpired. I also cannot know what transpired among the 1st Presidency and I look forward to their statement on this issue if what she is saying is untrue. I do know that she publicly did what the handbook states she must do–that is, denounce the principle of plural marriage–many times, and that this externally seems like a PR move that backfired badly. Saying that it appears that church leadership made a poor decision is not an ‘attack,’ it is criticism and questioning, which is perfectly reasonable. If they come forward with the other side, they can easily solve this issue.

  80. Bishop Smith says:

    I guess I should clarify what I meant by modern polygamy. As practiced by apostate groups. We know that polygamy or plural marriage has been commanded by God as far back as old testiment times but it is forbidden now. Which is why it all comes down to following the prophet who leads God’s church and receives revelation on these issues. I don’t believe that the church is on trial here. We are. Will we humbly seek to know if this is his church through prayer and scripture study or dismiss it outright based on popular culture and the philosophies of men?

  81. @Bishop, I’m not sure what this has to do with praying if this, or anything, is God’s church. This has to do with a political decision handed down by the higher-ups, who are human and thus flawed, and whether that decision is appropriate or acceptable or not. I refuse to equate any human being with God. You are deflecting. Stating that any policy the church may have is straight from God is both dangerous and inaccurate. The church has also had racist policies in the past that it has now denounced. God does not change; human interpretations, policies, sins, laws, and attitudes do.

  82. Smith, lo2162, you’re talking past each other at this point. I recommend moving along.

  83. Bishop Smith says:

    I forgot to put my last post was responding to Kathleen.

    Lo2162
    I agree but to assume the role of one who decides which policy is flawed or inspired is also dangerous. At some point you find yourself so at odds with the church it could become difficult to stay active…..

  84. @Steve, you’re right. I’m LDS, but this is why they call us a cult.

  85. SOmething tells me our “Bishop” isn’t actually one. Or at least not one anymore. Just has his hands on the Handbook. You are wrong Bishop. Ward next to you would have done a completely different scenario. Baptized her and never gone to The First Presidency (which is a joke, since Monson doesn’t actually have input on anything anymore, but whatevs). ((I got inside peep’s)).

    p.s. still nauseated that he thinks he knows that Maddie got her telephone conversations all wrong as if she didn’t have them herself, just had them relayed to her. Creepy.

  86. @Bishop, I saw far more pushback than acceptance of the policy in this thread (and in the original post). We clearly don’t agree, but I was far from the only one questioning! Actually, you were one of the only ones in favor of the decision. Social change has caused the church to shift in the past many times; hopefully it will again. Good luck!

  87. Another man, another day, (fake power holder, LOL who thinks he actually has magical skills) who believes he knows what happened to the “little lady” more than she does.

  88. Kathleen, I get that you’re skeptical of the Church, but insulting the president of the Church and making fun of the religion in general is not ok.

  89. @Bishop, this wasn’t a statement at General Conference and it’s not a Scripture. It’s a two-line policy in an outdated handbook which has changed many times and is interpreted differently by different people all the time…enough that the Mission President and the 1st presidency disagreed even this time. I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘the Lord has His reasons’ about this one tiny policy.

  90. Bishop Smith says:

    Whywait, you could be right. They could change the policy tomorrow and I would support it. Im not against her becoming a member.

    Kath, I’m sorry I offended you. I think that for the most part MPs are really good people. So thats why I say two sides to every story. Its easy to come online and fill in the gaps and calll people pathetic. I also seriously doubt that the ward next to me would violate the handbook and baptise her but it could happen.

  91. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks all for commenting. I think the discussion is played out so am going to close comments at this time.