Behold Our Little Ones

The church has had a longstanding policy that children may not be baptized without parental consent. Therefore, most of the people that this new policy directly affects are worthy, believing children whose righteous desire for baptism has the full support of their gay parent(s). Of that group of individuals, the few that this policy doesn’t manage to drive away will continue to attend church and hear messages contradictory to their home life. Yes, they will often feel dissonance. Their hearts will ache at times. In that regard, they will be in the company of many others who, for a whole host of reasons, do not experience The Ideal at home. Except that these children, these precious, worthy souls, will have to navigate those waters without the Gift of the Holy Ghost to comfort and guide them.

What is our strategy to not lose these children forever?

Comments

  1. I fear that the zealous promotion of “The Family” is just a gospel of acceptable casualties. Breaks my heart.

  2. I don’t know. Do you think that question was posed to the General Primary or YW Presidency as the policy was being developed?

  3. Karen: I fear you are right, but I desperately pray you are wrong.
    Swisster: Honestly…no. I don’t.

  4. This this this. It all comes back to this. If it is not essential for the Holy Ghost to be with these children, then why do ANY of us have it? Is the Holy Ghost to be filled in for a la “faithful prayer of a mother?” We can’t keep doing this.

  5. I was not raised in the Church, but I still had the Holy Ghost as I grew up. I just did not have the “gift” of the Holy Ghost. I recall one experience when I was about 9 or 10, during a Bible School activity called “Our Brothers In Christ”, having the Holy Ghost bear witness to me that the scripture one of the pastors was reading to us about baptism by immersion was true. I did not know at the time that was what was happening, but I was fascinated by the concept & read those scriptures over & over again, every night, just before bedtime, because I liked the way I felt when I read them. They were comforting to me. I had been sprinkled as an infant & it wasn’t until after I was taught by the missionaries in my late teens, & had a few experiences with the Holy Ghost that I understood that He had testified to me as a child. Not having the “gift” of the Holy Ghost does not mean the child will not have the Holy Ghost to help & comfort them. It just means the child has to seek the help. I know, because I did.

  6. There is no such strategy of inclusion or bringing souls to Christ. We are now in the business of leaving the 99 to go after the 1, so that we can hunt it down and sacrifice it on the altar we’ve built to our God, “the Family.”

    I don’t know how we get right and turn our focus as a church back to Christ, but I sincerely hope we do.

  7. Rob Perkins says:

    I think if we operate in terms of essentials like who has or doesn’t have the Holy Ghost, basing it on a moment of ceremony post-baptism, we risk regarding God as smaller than He is. To imagine He won’t send the influence of the Spirit to a minor child who asks for it is not congruent with the way I understand Him or the scripture I’ve read.

    Even those with that ordinance behind them still have to seek the help. For practical purposes I think this means God will give the kids what they need, especially kids you’re talking about, who persevere in fellowship with us in the face of their circumstance.

  8. Then we need to stop teaching this: “In teaching our six-year-old son, Ben, I thought it important to differentiate between what he was feeling, which was the influence of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, which he would receive after baptism. Before baptism, all honest and sincere seekers of truth can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost from time to time. However, the opportunity to receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and the fulness of all the associated blessings is available only to worthy, baptized members who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands through those holding the priesthood authority of God.

    Through the gift of the Holy Ghost, we receive added capacity and spiritual gifts, increased revelation and protection, steady guidance and direction, and the promised blessings of sanctification and exaltation in the celestial kingdom. All of these blessings are given as a result of our personal desire to receive them and come as we align our lives with the will of God and seek His constant direction.”

  9. Deborah Christensen says:

    Marivene – agreed. Just because someone isn’t baptized doesn’t mean they are lost and have no connection to Heavenly Father. How else does someone know they should be baptized? Or what church to join?
    I know a woman who couldn’t join until she was 18 because her parents threatened to kick her out of the house. She was still active. The only part of church she couldn’t participate in was the yearly temple visit. It was tough but she felt like she was part of the church.

  10. The thing that bothers me in all this, is that everyone defending this policy automatically assumes that everyone who can’t be baptized (until after denouncing their family’s core relationships and moving out of course) somehow gets this extra-special…protection? Help? Gift? while they’re waiting so everything’s totes OK! Like what? Is it the Holy Ghost Jr? Does baptism even MATTER anymore? Are we just making up doctrine now to make ourselves feel better? Look, I KNOW that God knows and looks after all of his children, but how does that justify denying worthy children ordinances? Why are we making God’s job harder?

    To me this sounds more like apostasy than even gay marriage. We are denying the foundational importance of our core principles of baptism and the gift of the holy ghost as a means of coming unto Christ, in order to appease a policy that is not even considered revelation or doctrine. (and as I mentioned we’re pretty much making up stuff to justify it) The D&C not only stresses baptism, but specifically says at what age children are to be accountable and baptized. This is doctrine, yet we are usurping it in order to justify a policy. And since we aren’t forbidding children from actually attending church even if they have gay parents, they’re still able to hear the “confusing messages” even if they’re not getting baptized, so no one is protecting them there either. This is so wrong on so many accounts, not just from a “it’s mean” (which it is), but it actually goes against my core Mormon-ness that believes in the divinity and power and importance of saving ordinances. These are either of such importance that we should be trying to find every way around real-life circumstances to bless our children with them, or we actually don’t think they’re that important. Clearly, there is no concern about certain people receiving saving ordinances. Since certain children aren’t even allowed on church records, there will be no YM/YW leaders helping them to get baptized once they turn 18 since no one will even know who they are unless they’ve chosen to attend church on their own.

  11. pieface, you nailed it perfectly.

  12. “Does baptism even MATTER anymore?”

    Pieface, I’ve asked the same question but from the other point of view. I don’t understand how some cannot see the difference between a child participating socially in Church versus doing so while promising in baptism. That promise means something more.

    Most of us have our bias, and mine is to defend the Church. My first impression when I heard of the policy was quite clear, that is was a clear rebuttal of any growing assumptions or hopes that the Church would soften of same-sex marriage. Beyond that, as the internet storm boiled over it, I didn’t understand how so quickly anyone could reasonably assign ill intent to the policy, or how quickly anyone could reasonably say the Church was trying to “punish” children.

    I think, in this case, accusations and counter-accusations that have arisen so quickly from a leaked policy have given rise to unnecessary pain and strife.

    As things calm down, those who remain will see that the Church has always had plans in place for those interested but not yet members, it has policy and doctrine and even classes. Children are included in Primary and regular Sunday School, adults are offered classes with the missionaries during the Sunday School hour. In the these places, the Spirit of God can be felt by anyone, especially those seeking Him.

    On another note, I’ve seen that, due to the very structured nature of the Plan of Salvation as we know it, it might be easy for some to interpret anyone with access to the Church but who doesn’t get baptized as “lost.” Yet, that seems to ignore that Church membership accounts for a currently negligible number compared to the world’s 7 billion! Certainly our hearts should extend to all of them and we are comforted that every soul on earth will have a chance.

    I’ve had my own wrestle, for instance, the understanding of our chances. After certain events, it took years for me to find a peace in it concerning the states of those who were perhaps “born in the Church” but did not stay. I concluded that even those who baptized into the Church are not accountable for the knowledge “on paper” that they are supposed to know, but rather for what they actually know. I think it is easy to confuse the two as equivalent in our very human tendency to simplify.

    Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost can increase our understanding and help prepare us for more covenants and work in this life. D&C 130:20-21 states,

    “20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

    21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”

    There are blessings in attending the Church, in seeking God, and in heeding the Spirit that is felt there. There are also additional blessings available through baptism but contingent on obedience after baptism. I think that it is possible for a mature adult who has invested in the spiritual work to love their same-sex parents whole-heartedly, without accepted their marriage as God’s will. Yet, I think that such a task is much harder for a child to do.

    By acknowledging the schism that would exist between the child’s promises at baptism and parents, when the family structure is diametrically opposed to the Church, we are acknowledging that baptism matters. Very much so.

  13. Rebecca-
    In Elder Christifferson’s interview, he said he thought it would be inappropriate for children to be learning these things at church. This clearly implies of would be inappropriate for them to BE at church, because whether they can get baptized or not, they’re going to hear things that apparently will automatically cause discord.

    I know gay families and individuals who still participate in the church in one way or another and they KNOW it’s hard. You seem to imply that children of gay parents would only want to be baptized for social reasons. Why do we not make sure everyone is not just being baptized for social reasons? Why is there an implicit assumption on one life-condition that violates our doctrine that the age of accountability is 8?

    You still haven’t explained how this policy trumps actual doctrine, but have listed all the hypothetical reasons someone MIGHT not fulfill their covenant. This is the church stepping in and taking over someone’s agency to say “we know better than you if you can keep this covenant.” I mean sure the kid won’t be held accountable but the church absolutely will as they were the thing that prevented a child who very well may has wanted to covenant with their Redeemer from doing so.

    Christ is interested in individuals, the church seems interested in protecting itself at the cost of their covenants.

    Also, why weren’t African-American children protected from lessons about the priesthood at church? No one said they couldn’t be baptized because it was going to be so hard to stay active without the priesthood.

  14. rebeccadalmas says:

    Pieface, Elder Christofferson said “When, for example, there is the formal blessing and naming of a child in the Church, which happens when a child has parents who are members of the Church, it triggers a lot of things. First, a membership record for them. It triggers the assignment of visiting and home teachers. It triggers an expectation that they will be in Primary and the other Church organizations. And that is likely not going to be an appropriate thing in the home setting, in the family setting where they’re living as children where their parents are a same-sex couple. We don’t want there to be the conflicts that that would engender. We don’t want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the Church are very different.”

    I think the repeated word “expectation” is important here. Expectations are something which go along with commitment and baptism. Participating according to a non-obligatory sense of discretion gives space for the child and parents.

    I’m not sure I understand the request to explain policy trumping doctrine. I didn’t claim that, although I did imply that the policy, at least in a general sense, doesn’t seem to me to be inconsistent with doctrine. My main idea was that it underscores the importance of baptism rather than minimizes. I do think that as the policy starts being applied there will be feedback from local leaders and members going back up and clarifications and corrections made if needed. And of course I do think the FP will listen to voices that have gone up since the leak, too.

  15. Pie –

    First, lets be absolutely clear who is affecting whose agency. Parents in same-sex marriages are the culprit in this case. This policy is a direct result of THEIR actions and decisions. Did you honestly think that the legal and social acceptance of same-sex relationships would have no consequences. We have husbands and wives leaving their partners and children to pursue homosexual relationships, in the case of those who’ve been to the temple, they are shattering serious covenants. Of course there will be consequences, even consequences that affect their children. You are ill-informed if for one moment you believe that the Second Article of Faith grants some type of immunity to humanity (even children) for the wicked decisions of others.

    We are all subject to the agency of others, even Adam’s, His and Eve’s decisions brought death, pain, misery, sickness, and remorse into the world. We are subject to all of those. We are even subject to the agency of complete strangers, people whom we’ve never met, or the agency of those far in the past. Do not conflate the consequences of agency with responsibility for our own actions. Same-sex couples whose children will be affected by this policy will ultimately bear the burden of sin for the wicked use of their agency. They will be responsible for the harm inflicted on their children.

    Second, the children of same-sex parents are not being punished for their parent’s decisions. It boggles my mind to hear so many members of the church accuse other members and the GA’s of purposefully pursuing deleterious policies against children. There are few organizations that exist in the world who seek to protect families and children from the detritus of the world with more ambition than the LDS Church and its members. This policy is not the 180-degree turn some have claimed, abandoning doctrine and precedent. The LDS Church leadership and members still care deeply for both same-sex couples and their children, despite the internet’s turbid cries.

    Again, this policy does not trump doctrine, but works in merciful harmony with doctrine. Children will not be held accountable by God for the sins of their parents. They will be held accountable only for their own use of agency. Consider for a moment what it actually means to be the child in this situation. Imagine that you’ve learned about repentance, and about the sin of practicing homosexuality. As you consider your parents, you realize that the only path to repentance is the dissolution of their marriage. How does that compute in the mind of a child, or even an adult. Christ requires the destruction of a family unit in order for that child’s parents to find a remission of their sins. Shame on the parents for placing their child in such an impossible position. The Church cannot shield that child completely from the realization that their parents have chosen a path of destruction, either spiritually or familial. It can however, avoid the contention of bringing that child into a position of having to decide between the two whether as a child or an adult after having already been baptized. It removes a lot of potential for great hostility towards the church, by allowing that child greater access to agency as well informed adults, rather than as a child without the capacity to fully understand the implications of Church membership.

    Church doctrine corroborates this policy. Children are not accountable for the sins of their parents, but are subject to the consequences of their parents decisions. As we all are. Second, baptism at age eight is not a requirement when parents have not taught their children the gospel.

    “And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.” (D&C 68:25)

    And who can say that a same-sex couple has truly taught their kids to understand the doctrine of repentance or faith in Christ. When truly teaching that doctrine would result in the destruction of that family.

    Third, the churches policy, not in opposition to its history, but in an attempt to continue a tradition of preserving families and protecting children, has stated that it prefers to allow a child to become fully aware of their situation, imposed by their parent/s, before asking for a membership decision. This is in complete agreement with doctrine, as their parents have failed to teach their children to “walk uprightly before the Lord.”

    Stop blaming the Church for putting children in this difficult positions. The Church has been fighting desperately for decades to stem the tide of the sinful behavior which has led to the current situation. How easily some people forget. In the name of tolerance, in the name of brotherly love, we’ve forgotten the innocence of children and placed them into an impossible situation. Forgive me if I find your pallid support of the Church so vexing, but it is difficult to continually watch supposed members publicly disparage the church while claiming they only need time and support. If that is all you need, go to your room, find a quiet place you can commune with the Lord, find a confidant with whom you can share your feelings. Otherwise, your public displays of troubled faith simply come of as cries for pity.

  16. “Parents in same-sex marriages are the culprit in this case. This policy is a direct result of THEIR actions and decisions. Did you honestly think that the legal and social acceptance of same-sex relationships would have no consequences.”

    Yes! Stop hitting yourselves, gays. This is all your fault for wanting to get married. See what you made the church do??

  17. As has been pointed out by others, elsewhere, between 2007 and 2014 the proportion of LDS respondents “saying that homosexuality should be accepted by society” has increased from 24% to 36%. While both figures are woeful, the trend is clear.

    IMO that is primarily (and perhaps, solely) what the Church is reacting to. “They” are making (woeful) attempts to spin and defend this purposeful stigmatization. The “policy” is simply meant to build a deeper moat around attitudes among members. If fewer of these “people” and their children attend church, there are fewer instances of discussions, tolerance and understanding…acceptance seeds planted, thus slowing this trend toward acceptance.

    Their only valid defense is that “they” have decided (as they see it, that) the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Now, if God would just weigh in.

  18. Eve of Destruction says:

    “First, lets be absolutely clear who is affecting whose agency. Parents in same-sex marriages are the culprit in this case. This policy is a direct result of THEIR actions and decisions. …

    Second, the children of same-sex parents are not being punished for their parent’s decisions.”

    Oh dear.

    How much understanding and capacity for accountability does a baby need to have before it is blessed?

  19. I honestly think that the general primary board is fine with the new policy – whether they were consulted in advance or not. In March 2014 I attended a meeting for stake leaders of RS and Primary in the SF bay area. (The YW leaders met the next day) Sister Wixom was there to speak to us primary leaders. That year the new program song was The Family is of God and she spoke about how inspired they were to pick “families are forever” for the primary theme and choose this new song for the children to learn because 4 years before when this all was being decided “gay marriage wasn’t even an issue”. I knew then that her experience with the big wide world was very narrow and sheltered indeed. I was pretty shocked that she was saying this in our area where the our Church had been very involved not only in Prop 8 but also Prop 22 in 2000 much more than 4 years previous. She was concerned with the member children and what they are being taught out in the world and how teachings in primary could combat that. And when this policy came out it only reinforced to me my idea of how unaware some leaders are. The concern is that we circle the wagons around the children we have from families that are or can become eternal. We don’t open and widen our circle to draw all others in.

    My struggle is what I as an individual can do to combat this, and frankly it feels like not much at all.

  20. CD
    I am not a supposed member. I am a member of Christ’s church. I know it must vex you that He gets the last say in that and not you, but it is because of the love I have for His teachings and His Gospel and the power of ordinances that this policy is vexing to the very spirit that tells me to come to my Savior.
    You seem to assume that it’s impossible for faithful members to come to a different conclusion than you. But I have sat quietly with this and prayed and cried and pondered and fasted. I have never had such a strong spiritual confirmation that something was not of God in this church as I have this policy. The rest of the reasoning is not to justify my own desires, but to explain why the spirit has witnessed something to my soul.

  21. Reading the new handbook pages last night, I realized the language of the new rule excludes my youngest son from baptism. My husband and I are sealed in the temple, and my two oldest kids are baptized– but the language of the new rule says a child whose parent “lives or has lived in” a same-sex relationship cannot be baptized unless all three conditions are met (disavowing, moving out and being over 18, and first presidency approval). I had relationships of that description prior to my baptism, so even though I’m sealed to my husband and my son was born in the covenant, he can’t be baptized. I find this completely insane, and I never would have started bringing him to Primary again after several years of inactivity if I’d known they would make him a second-class citizen. He’s asked for baptism several times on his own, and now that’s not possible.

    I know it’s possible the bishop could parse the rules in such a way that it would be allowed, but I can see perfectly well what the handbook says. I don’t want my child baptized using a loophole or some creative way of thinking around what is plainly written there. If they have to make a special fib-based exception for my child based on behavior that had nothing to do with him, then I want no part in that.

  22. I just pray with that no parents or church leaders thinks that the inverse is true: whose child “lives or has lived in a same sex relationship” for justification for denying them a home for fear it would jeopardize their membership.

  23. The post asks, “What is our strategy to not lose these children forever?”
    The answer is clear: doing their temple work after they have died.
    And the answer is tragic in its effects in the here and now.

  24. ouch

  25. Rob Perkins says:

    Emjen, re “Then we need to stop teaching this”, perhaps you’re right. It’s going to require an adjustment to how we teach about the Holy Ghost. It’s a breathtaking dissonance when seen in terms of this policy, and it goes against the things I’ve observed over the last 30 years in and out of the Church.

    I’ve also long thought that every General Conference contains one or two tone deaf talks which teach Mormon culture at the expense of the more fundamental doctrines of Christ. Elder Pearson’s April pulpit-pound was particularly dissonant for me, for one example. Thing is, I also think I could be wrong about which ones those are each time.

    Governing a multinational church of 14 million variously dedicated people in a council of 15 people where action can only take place if the vote is unanimous has got to be one of the most difficult jobs ever conceived of in this world. I don’t envy them their positions.

  26. The cynical part of me (which is rapidly completely taking over) says that with regard to the 10-year postponement of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, perhaps the thinking was, countless billions on this planet live without it, what’s a few more?

  27. “The thing that bothers me in all this, is that everyone defending this policy automatically assumes that everyone who can’t be baptized (until after denouncing their family’s core relationships and moving out of course) somehow gets this extra-special…protection? Help? Gift? while they’re waiting so everything’s totes OK! Like what? Is it the Holy Ghost Jr? Does baptism even MATTER anymore? Are we just making up doctrine now to make ourselves feel better?”

    Pieface, If you are referring to my post about not growing up in the church & still having access to the Holy Ghost, that is not “making up doctrine”. Any adult convert can tell stories of the Holy Ghost helping to lead them to the Church, just as I can.Everyone on the planet has access to the Holy Ghost, but only AS LONG AS their behavior allows Him to remain with them. For me as a mortal child, that was a pretty much come-testify-leave type of a visit, from time to time, when I happened to be in tune with the side of me that enjoyed the spiritual. The Spirit did not “strive” with me until after I was baptized & received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Emjen, I don’t understand why you think we need to stop teaching “this”. It is still all true. With reference to the last sentence (All of these blessings are given as a result of our personal desire to receive them and come as we align our lives with the will of God and seek His constant direction.”), I had a great personal desire to be baptized as a 15 year old, but because my parents would not give permission, I had to wait for my 18th birthday. I see that now as “aligning my life with the will of the Lord.” My timeline & that of the Lord have often not been in sync. I had 6 miscarriages out of 10 pregnancies & did not understand why I could not carry most of my pregnancies to term. Now as a grandmother, I understand that the timing of a pregnancy has far more to do with when THAT child is supposed to be on earth, than with my wishes to have another baby, right now.

    Incidentally, waiting until I was 18 was not a bad thing for me, even tho I did not appreciate it at the time. I was asked to leave my father’s house the night of my baptism, 4 days after my 18th birthday, in the middle of my senior year of high school. He told me I could not live in his house and continue to defy him. The logistics of leaving would have been far more difficult had I not been of legal age.

  28. Steve Evans –

    The sin of participating in homosexual relationships is in some regard like every other sin – self-inflicted – as are the consequences. Being gay doesn’t simply grant you immunity to the consequences of your actions. Sin in a very real sense is just like hitting yourself, only much harder than most of us would ever do physically. But what do you care really, you’ve already convinced yourself tolerance is the same as love. Good luck.

  29. Let’s not confuse the eternal consequences of sin with a Church policy that was instituted last week.

  30. Let’s not confuse acts that became legal about 10 years ago with the new normal.

  31. Pieface –

    Your hubris is noted. Claiming a spiritual confirmation in opposition to a Church policy SHOULD cause you great concern, just not about the policy, but rather the source of your confirmation.

    To think that the General Authorities didn’t also seek spiritual guidance on this policy is ill conceived. Moreover, to believe that God has confirmed a different course for the Church to YOU is temerarious. Even if this policy is not revelation directly from God, he wouldn’t rebuke it through a personal witness to contentious lay members.

    If anyone reading this has doubts about what exactly to think about this issue, they really should seek safety in those ordained and set-apart to receive revelation for the Church, and not the spiritual affirmations of anonymous internet users. To think that you called into question the doctrine of this policy while spewing forth treachery in the same breath. Good luck.

  32. There are consequences enough in the here and now for every form of lechery.

  33. CD Alan, your spiritual boldness is noted. Good luck.

  34. Britain Morris says:

    I’ve brought this point up before but thus far no one has responded to it seriously. Maybe someone can help me understand why:

    Aren’t the children going to be protected by the same “Lamanite Insurance Policy” that all children have who are denied baptism because of the actions & teachings of their parents?

  35. “I’m still surprised that some don’t see any problem with holding the children responsible to answer for their parent’s sins as a condition to being baptized. Strange times”

    I do not see it as “holding the children responsible to answer for their parent’s sins as a condition to being baptized” – – I see it as fully informed consent, insuring that the child is sufficiently mature to understand that the Lord considers same sex marriage to be sinful, before the child makes covenants to be obedient to the Lord. Being of legal age allows the “child” to function outside of the parental home. The child is not answering for the parental sin, but the effect of the teaching by example within the parental home is acknowledged, & allowance is made for the understanding of the applicant for baptism to be mature enough to choose.

  36. Ariake, I feel for you. The new policy is badly drafted, but I think the best reading is that your children can be baptized under the new policy so long as they do not have a parent currently living an SSR and that the language about “has lived” is extra language that doesn’t matter.

  37. By the way, one good article about the drafting error that’s creating confusion for Ariake and others is available here http://mormonmomma.com/logical-fail-new-handbook-rules-writing-policy-bad-code/.

    I have a semi long post on FB that deals at least partially with this issue:

    The policy also seems to delay baptism in a situation where a couple is married in the temple, a divorce occurs in connection with one the parties leaving for an SSR relationship, and the terms of the divorce involve some type of joint custody and a stipulation that the child be raised LDS. Let’s just say that a completely righteous LDS YW (Mary) marries in the temple, has a child, and then her husband (Joseph) leaves here to pursue an SSR (in much the same way the Elder C’s brother Tom did, see his thoughts here http://www.wheatandtares.org/…/tom-christofferson-transcri…/). Joseph supports the Church in all areas except this one and wants his child to be baptized. Mary re-marries an active LDS brother, who, just for fun, is the current President of the Church (prophet). Mary’s child lives with Mary and the prophet and is legally adopted by the prophet.

    Under the new policy, Mary’s child cannot be baptized before age 18. I do hope that the policy does not mean what it actually says.

    This now gets trickier, because one problem with the policy is that it seems to at first talk only about a situation in which the parent is still in an SSR, but there is then some language down below which picks up situations in which the parent used to live an SSR. This poor drafting is explained well here: http://mormonmomma.com/logical-fail-new-handbook-rules-wri…/.

    To continue on with my prior example, let’s say that Joseph does what Elder C’s brother Tom did and comes back to the Church. I think the technically way to read the new policy is to say that it no longer applies since Joseph is no longer living in an SSR. I fear that it won’t (perhaps shouldn’t) be read that way, because it then goes on to talk about a child of a parent who “has lived or is living” in an SSR. Since Joseph did live in an SSR, I don’t know what the status is for his children. For now, let’s just assume that “has lived” was the intended rule and also just for fun, let’s say that Joseph (who is now back in the Church) is serving as the 1st counselor to in the FP to the prophet (Mary introduced them). The child turns 18, moves out of the home of Mary and the prophet, and moves in with Joseph (who lives closer to his school).

    The policy as written seems to say that the child will need to move out of Joseph’s home before he can be baptized or serve a mission. And that brings me back to Elder C’s talk, which in part (and I know I’m quoting out of context but the principle seems to apply): “And that is likely not going to be an appropriate thing in the home setting, in the family setting where they’re living as children where their parents are a same-sex couple. We don’t want there to be the conflicts that that would engender. We don’t want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the Church are very different.”

    And that’s a lot of where my concerns come from. If we are going to read the new policy to really only apply in circumstances described by Elder C and where the Church is engendering conflict in that home, I can probably get comfortable with that. I can probably get comfortable wit the idea that we are not really doing a good job of getting informed parental consent prior to a baptism and that we need some type of “no exceptions” rule because the cases that should qualify as exceptions are outweighed by the number of “bad” exceptions granted (I won’t like it, but you’ll find that I don’t like most rules where we tolerate a number of bad results because that is the lesser of the evils available to us; my favorite rules are one with lots of flexibility that are applied perfectly by really wise and experienced people, but those rules are few and far between).

    Even in that case, it seems nonsensical to me that an 18 year old living in the home with a fully active and temple worthy parent (someone like Tom Christofferson, click the link above and read his thoughts if you haven’t already) who in the distant past lived in an SSR would have to move out of the home before being baptized. It seems to me to be equally silly that a child adopted and raised by LDS parents cannot be baptized if one of the child’s natural parents is in an SSR (or conceivably is now dead but was in an SSR).

  38. One good article about the drafting issue affecting Ariake and others is here: http://mormonmomma.com/logical-fail-new-handbook-rules-writing-policy-bad-code/

  39. “…and that the language about ‘has lived’ is extra language that doesn’t matter.”

    See I’d love to just say that that whole policy “is extra language that doesn’t matter.”

  40. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    “I see it as fully informed consent”

    Another attempt at a defense that doesn’t quite work for me. The problem is that it doesn’t hold other children who are exposed to ballet teachers, music teachers, coaches, school teachers, prinicipals, aunts, or uncles in same sex marriages to the same standard. They are given baptism and ordination without questioning whether they are sufficiently mature to understand their views toward same sex marriage. They can accept a mission call while quietly believing in same sex marriage while those who feel the same way about their gay parents are required to make a disavowal…whatever that includes.

  41. Britain Morris says:

    “They can accept a mission call while quietly believing in same sex marriage…” Okay, so essentially you’re saying that everyone should be asked to disavow same sex marriage in their baptism / temple / mission interviews, right? Because then it will be fair.

    And aren’t we all essentially asked that anyway when asked if we sustain the prophet as such?

  42. Britain Morris says:

    Don’t the children need to disavow the lifestyle and the marriage, not the parents themselves?

  43. Eve of Destruction says:

    Britain, it’s difficult to respond seriously to something you’re calling a “Lamanite Insurance Policy.” That doesn’t sound serious. Maybe it would help if you cite the verses you’re referring to.

    “denied baptism because of the actions & teachings of their parents”
    That does seem to be a point that not everyone agrees on. Because as of last week, these children weren’t being denied baptism. But as of now, they are. It wasn’t the actions & teachings of their parents that changed between last week and now.

  44. I don’t know where else to put this…I really appreciate the articles immediately following the announcement that didn’t allow for comments. I think listening to those people who are in pain because of this announcement…without comment…just listening is a good place to start. I think the conversations back and forth when people are still in pain..don’t always help. I have seen some people in pain from the way the announcement was presented and the initial backlash.

    with both groups of people in pain..conversation is hard. people are setting up defenses and hunkering down instead of recognizing a group of people in need and considering… there is an additional need for support.

  45. Britain Morris says:

    I’m referring to Lehi assuring his Lamanite grandkids that they will be protected and that their sins will be upon the heads of their parents.

    You can’t be saved in ignorance, but you can be temporarily pardoned until you have the opportunity to be adequately taught the gospel and an opportunity to adequately live it.

    If the Lord is saying that these children of same-sex couples are being denied (through the actions and teachings of their parents) an adequate opportunity to live the gospel then they will be protected until they can.

  46. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    That is not what I was saying.

  47. christiankimball says:

    I agree with the logic, although the Church quite obviously does not require consistency of itself. More to the point, I think and fear that right now the stated practices communicate that gay people are dangerous or tainted or something (impersonal is intentional) to avoid. The translation into parents’ treatment of gay children is very easy to predict.

  48. “I see it as fully informed consent”
    “Another attempt at a defense that doesn’t quite work for me.”

    Rigel Hawthorne @ 2:56 pm , My statement is not “an attempt at a defense”. It is an explanation of how I view the policy, based on MY life experiences. I see the church policy as fully informed consent, the same way I see the policy to delay baptism of children without parental consent until the age of majority, which in the US is age 18. In parts of Europe, the age of majority is 21. I do not feel the Church needs me to “defend” policy, altho I am willing share my viewpoint in the discussion.

    “ballet teachers, music teachers, coaches, school teachers, prinicipals, aunts, or uncles in same sex marriages”

    Again, Rigel, none of those individuals hold the authority over a child that a parent holds. Influence perhaps, but not the same level of authority. When a person holding ecclesiastical authority over another leads them astray, as happened in France during the Church of the Firstborn, in France. Those holding authority over others (bishops, home teachers, visiting teachers, senior companions) who led them astray, were excommunicated for apostasy. Those who were led astray were disfellowshipped. All missionaries involved were sent home. (I typed the papers ( 5 copies each) for part of the cleanup of the records while I was on my mission). A parent holds authority over a child in their home. If the parents “lead them astray”, by example, then the applicant for baptism has to be old enough to 1) understand the doctrine taught by the Church 2) understand the dissonance between that doctrine & their home life, and 3) be mature enough to be able to make a fully informed choice as to their own action. My parents were Protestants, but when I joined the Church, they felt mightily insulted that I had rejected the faith in which I was raised & their best efforts to lead me to the Lord. As a result, my father told me I was no longer welcome to live in his home. My parents were not evil people, They were very principled individuals.

  49. I think that “best reading” is a best reading indeed, but it isn’t what the policy says. And I would like to believe the “has lived” language doesn’t matter, but they specifically included past relationships– so they must have done that intentionally.

    The problem for me is that, having read this policy, I can see it includes me. And that if I ask for my son to be baptized, I’ll know I’m actually violating the policy. I’m not willing to fudge those things when it comes to a saving ordinance. If the church thinks my son is unworthy of baptism because of my actions prior to my own baptism, then it is clearly not a valid baptism anyway. Jesus didn’t teach that.

  50. Rigel-
    “Another attempt at a defense that doesn’t quite work for me. The problem is that it doesn’t hold other children who are exposed to ballet teachers, music teachers, coaches, school teachers, prinicipals, aunts, or uncles in same sex marriages to the same standard. They are given baptism and ordination without questioning whether they are sufficiently mature to understand their views toward same sex marriage. They can accept a mission call while quietly believing in same sex marriage while those who feel the same way about their gay parents are required to make a disavowal…whatever that includes.”

    The immediate family unit(s) of the child are central to growth and development. More distant relations and associations are not quite comparable.

  51. Eve of Destruction says:

    Some youth being allowed to serve missions while quietly supporting same-sex marriage while other youth are required to vocally denounce same-sex marriage before serving missions is the comparison.

    Rebecca Dalmas is absolutely right a parent’s marriage and a coach’s marriage are not quite comparable. That’s why asking a youth to disavow his or her parent’s marriage is far more devastating. The youths whose teachers and neighbors are in such marriages are the ones being allowed to quietly support such marriages.

  52. I have never seen such an evil, vial, disgusting, hateful, un-Christlike and hypocritical policy from a church in a long time. You want to help the children, get the policy changed. If Jesus were here today, he would turn his back and say get behind me you workers of lawlessness, because you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus accepted all kinds of sinners, to say nothing of the children. Suffer the little children to come unto me. And yet in their twisted, bigoted minds they find a way to ignore it.

    I have been increasingly interacting with Mormons, have engaging some local missionaries, and had been thinking of visiting a temple. I am so glad I have seen how far removed this church is from God before I did. I will never associate myself with an organization that lets personal hatred cloud their judgment to the point where they go directly contrary to God. The policy needs to be immediately reversed and the people who instituted it removed from office. By their fruits you can tell the tree, and this tree is pure evil, inflicting harm on innocent children. They will answer to God for their blasphemy.

  53. Without a doubt the lowest a human can stoop. The church spends millions of the faithful’s money trying to play Caesar, instead of heading the words of the Lord and having no part of this World. It ultimately loses. Then in a hissy-fit of vindictiveness decides to try to get back by punishing the children of couples, insisting they disown their parents. Sowing such dissension will incur the wrath of God. Tearing families apart to save face is beyond the pale. It shows that the enemy of true spirituality and godliness is religion.