Wherein we see proof that Mormons aren’t Christian

Frances_Hook_Jesus_with_Little_ChildrenApparently the Church has recently issued an update to the leadership handbook that equates same-sex marriage with apostasy and bars children from same-sex households from receiving baby blessings, baptism, and priesthood ordination until they are 18 and no longer living with their parents. Want more details? See the Salt Lake Tribune article.

(I’m going to spare you the several chapters I could write about how I believe that the Church’s doctrines and policies on homosexuality are harmful, divisive, misguided, uninspired, and actually at odds with Christ’s teachings. We’re just not having that debate today, all right?)

Because this is the least Christian thing I’ve ever seen come from the LDS Church. Did Jesus not say, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven“?

Do we not teach our Primary children to say, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression”?

Do we not believe that the Lord “inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God”?

Do we not teach the commandment to “honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee”?

And didn’t I spend my mission quoting Moroni 8, where we learn that Jesus said, “all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation”?

Our leaders must–must–do better. We cannot call ourselves Christian–in fact, we cannot call ourselves Mormon–if we forbid Church participation and ordinances to children.

Libby

On prolonged sabbatical from her career in arts administration, Libby is a seamstress, editor, entrepreneur, and community volunteer. She has a husband and three children.

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44 Responses

  1. Cruelest Month says:

    “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” I see. I witness. I taste. I know. This fruit is bitter to me.

  2. Rob Osborn says:

    With the firestorm the church is taking from the LGBT community I see it as a precautionary measure to limit fringe Mormons from infiltrating and disrupting the church and its members.

    • Mjd73 says:

      So we should throw eight year olds under the bus? Deny them Saving Ordinances because they might grow up thinking same sex marriage is ok? I cannot believe that Jesus would be ok with this.

      • Clark says:

        Postpone ordinances, not deny. There are plenty of examples in the Church for the postponement of ordinances until certain conditions are met. Should the child die before reaching legal age it is my guess that a baptism by proxy could be allowed. However, they would not be eligible to be sealed to their parents.

      • Hillary says:

        I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of a postponed-until-age-18 baby blessing. This policy is cruel and callous, no way around it. Instead of the beautiful opportunity to keep our LGBT brothers and sisters in our tent, and both forge and maintain our bonds with them, we are forcing them out and locking all the doors. It is disgusting and I am heartbroken.

      • Owen says:

        Baby blessings are not saving ordinances. No one misses anything by not receiving one. Making people wait until 18 in order to receive baptism is common when parents object. What exactly is the scenario here we are envisioning in which gay parents are going to want their kids baptized into a church that teaches they are apostates ineligible for the saving ordinances?

      • Owen, this is what I wrote after one of my son’s baby blessings. It was a moving, spiritual experience for our family. As I reflected on it, I thought about what baby blessings mean, as an optional ordinance. I do not believe that God would deny showering blessings down on a child because her parents didn’t happen to choose to have the blessing performed, but I thought that the blessing was an opportunity for God to tell us, the baby’s family and community, who this special spirit was that God had sent to us. It is like a testimony from God to us, the baby’s community. It is a reminder of our sacred stewardship for a beloved child of God here on earth. To deny certain babies a baby blessing is like saying, “This child is different. This child is not a beloved child of God. This child is tainted.” These babies aren’t adult converts, who didn’t happen to receive Mormon baby blessings because they weren’t part of our community at that time of their lives. These babies our part of our congregations. By discriminating against them, we are failing in the stewardship we have for them right now. http://aprilreigns.blogspot.com/2010/05/blessing-baby.html

        Your assumption that all gay parents do not want their children to participate in church is simply wrong. The church already had a policy refusing baptism to children without parental consent. This policy is a new way to deny ordinances to children against the will of their parents.

        I would encourage you to read this essay: A New Kind of Pioneer by Kelly Montgomery, a lesbian woman, who along with her partner, are active Mormons raising four children in the church. http://www.exponentii.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Exponent-II-Magazine_Summer-2012-Edition_without-marks-corrected.indd-2.pdf

        Another woman wrote this comment here: http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2015/11/the-handbook-changes-from-the-institutional-perspective/

        My husband and I split up and he soon remarried a wonderful LDS woman with her own children. With the best interests of my children at heart, I agreed in the divorce settlement that they could be baptized into the LDS church, even though a reason for the divorce in the first place was that I wanted to leave the Church and my then husband requested that we divorce so our children could be raised LDS (there were other reasons for the divorce as well).

        But now, despite our agreement, our biological children will not be allowed to be baptized because of my current relationship. We share joint custody and my children live with us half the time. I find it incredibly sad that my children will not be allowed to be baptized along with their step siblings – who all attend church together on alternating Sunday’s. I have been supportive of my children’s participation in the LDS church thus far because I do not want to introduce more conflict into an already difficult situation.

        For those of you defending this policy because it protects children and families – this is just not true in my situation. It is putting my children in a horrible position of choosing one parent over another. My ex and I have worked so well together to shield our children from this kind of conflict and I am very concerned about how this is going to play out. Please pray for all of us.

      • Libby says:

        Owen, I didn’t think anything could possibly make me sadder today, but realizing that there are people like you who believe that LGBT people hate the Church as much as you hate them did the trick.

        I know several gay parents who nonetheless are believers and want their children to grow up in the Church. It makes me sad beyond description to know that this church, which claims to be of Jesus Christ, can so effortlessly deny His love, compassion, and freely-offered salvation to innocent children.

    • nrc42 says:

      Are children really just acceptable collateral damage to you?

      • Cranky Day says:

        Are you LDS? Do you have even the tiniest imagination? Imagine what attending church as an LDS boy/man would be like from ages 8-18 without any hope of progression, priesthood, participation or social clout. None. You’re the outcast. Your family, whether you live with them full-time or not, is considered (by some, but shrugged as “policy” by everyone else) unacceptable. You are fodder for righteous bullies. Your leaders don’t invest in you. How enjoyable is your new LDS youth experience? How much of the Spirit are you feeling now? Are you willing to disown your family to continue here? To prove your faithfulness to a policy? What of your stalwart LDS grandparents? Your cousins, who all do things you’re not allowed to do. You don’t think kids feel, keenly, these kinds of differences? C’mon. It’s not postponing an ordinance, as if we are merely making a deceased relative wait a few extra years before doing their temple work. This is a social death knell. It is kicking people to the curb – people who should NOT be kicked to the curb. I’m shocked you’re writing it off as no big deal. It’s a HUGE deal. We are going to lose a lot of kids, parents and break the hearts of grandparents the world over, not to mention empathetic Christ-like members who feel to their core that this is a BAD move for the church. Please, tell me one good thing that could possibly come from this besides making someone in Utah sleep better knowing they showed their hatred for gay people to the point of hurting children.

      • nrc42 says:

        Is this response intended for me or for Clark?

      • Libby says:

        Clearly for Clark, I think.

  3. I am in shock. We are now in the business of denying blessings to infants? Why would anyone refuse a blessing for a baby? Is it a way of identifying the baby as somehow dirty at birth? Isn’t that against everything we believe in?

    Is this a way of punishing the parents? Then why only married, homosexual parents but not unmarried heterosexual parents?

    And a young adult cannot be called on a mission if she lives with her gay parent? Do we make other people move away from their families as a prerequisite to a mission call? You can live with your parent who is a felon and get called on a mission, but not your gay parent?

    It sounds like the church is saying, we hate gay people so much, we are willing to hurt their children. It is not Christian and I feel ashamed to be Mormon right now.

    • Rob Osborn says:

      The church is in defensive mode. The firestorm will get worse. Our enemies are within the church mistly.

      • We have met the enemy, and they are us. We need to look deep into our own souls to see how we, as a faith community, could go so far astray from Christ’s message that we would harm children. We need to diagnose the kind of hatred and fear that would fuel such policymaking and cast it out, instead of casting out people with their children.

      • Steve says:

        No. The enemy is the current church leadership. They are so blinded by their bigotry that they are willing to hurt children. The backlash over this will be massive and well deserved. They need to get on their needs and ask for repentance on this one. This was not of God. It is of men.

      • Mike H. says:

        The many problems with Blacks & the Priesthood were self inflicted by the Church. Joseph Smith had ordained several Black African descent men, read the new heading to OD 2, as well as the Church’s essay on it. But, that went away, with no citing of an Revelation on it. In the same way, I’m concerned this latest announcement will also be a self inflicted problem for the Church.

    • jantaylorriley says:

      Actually, for those who have an understanding of the doctrine of the holy covenant of baptism, this inspired revelation from God to his prophets and apostles and now thankfully today to those who are his true followers, this will protect babies from a mockery of a blessing. And it will protect children from making a baptismal covenant with the Lord while they have little, if any, chance to be taught correct principles that would edify them on how to honor that sacred covenant. Tender and inspired mercies having them wait until they can think and discern as an adult. Heavenly Father is so consistently wise and loving!

      • A mockery of a blessing? I don’t even know what that would be. A baby is blessed by the power of the priesthood. I am aware that blessings might be denied by unworthiness–but the child cannot be unworthy. All babies are innocent.

      • CMGC says:

        They had absolutely no problem, and actually pushed, baptism on me at the tender age of 8 — with smoking, drinking, non-Mormon parents, who would never possibly teache me the “correct principles .. to honor that sacred covenant.” I literally NEVER went to church BEFORE or AFTER my baptism.
        They also allowed the blessing of my daughter, because my Mormon in-laws asked for it. And, *gasp*, her father and I very much nonmembers, or “inactive” as they like to say. What a “mockery of a blessing” her grandfather gave her.
        So, Jan, you saying they are doing this out of love and mercy is a total joke to me. I guess no one had “mercy” for poor me.
        This whole thing reeks of hate and fear mongering.

      • Libby says:

        You’re meeting most of our “troll” definition here. Please think about the people you may be hurting before you say such self-righteous bigotry. And re-read Moroni 8, for goodness’ sake.

      • Lynda says:

        Excellent comment! Thanks for sharing the spirit of the Lord’s meaning of this policy. It is not new, it is only updated.

  4. Rob Osborn says:

    The enemy is within the church- those fringe Mormons who fight against the prophets and complain, bash and rebuke the church but still want full fellowship in the church, unwilling to leave, living, loving in their sins.

    Its very clear to me that the church is taking the LGBT threat seriously and are taking measures to protect the church and morality.

    • nrc42 says:

      Rob, why do you comment here?

      • Rob Osborn says:

        To have a voice. Thats all. Its important that we voice our faith so that perhaps others can hold onto their faith also.

      • We are supposed to be unwilling to leave, Rob. We are taught to honor our covenants, to endure to the end, to gather and worship. We are explicitly taught not to leave. And you criticize members of our faith community for staying? We are also taught not to cast stones at sinners.

    • Anarene Holt Yim says:

      Maybe Rob’s right. I do kind of feel like an enemy to the church at the moment. But only because I believe with all my heart that children should be loved and protected. There are some things I love about the church, but this decision is not one of them. I’m a Christian first and Mormon second. So at the risk of being an enemy to the adults of the church corporation, I stand with the children, and with Jesus who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not.”

    • Mike H. says:

      Funny, I had some Church members, before June 1978, tell I was wrong to think that Blacks should be equal to others in all things but the Priesthood. My feelings flew in the face of some Church Leaders who felt Civil Rights were just just Socialism, and, that Blacks were trying to destroy whites. Oops! Now, the Church is having trouble shaking racism in some circles.

    • william wiltfong says:

      Rob Osborn: There is no LGBT ‘threat’ and it’s absurd to suggest such. You have your plan. God and I (and many others) have their plan. How, please is suggesting godly people may be in error? I’m not aware of any infallibility doctrine held by the Church.

  5. Carolyn Nielsen says:

    My relationship with the Church has been 45 years of joy mixed with agony since my baptism when I was a Senior in college. I have unhappily moved from one trial to the next over that time, beginning with racists practices and moving through social challenges that frighten the leadership. I always wonder what will be next. Now I know and I am appalled. I cannot believe that anyone who understands the teachings of Jeses Christ would push away any child. Jesus said, “Come unto me.” How can the Church turn its back? Why? The Christ I follow would never send a child or anyone who embraces him away.

  6. Joni says:

    I’m still holding out hope that this is some sort of false rumor or hope. The only source is a leak from the super secret Handbook 1 that everyday members like me don’t have access to, yes? So maybe it’s not true. I can’t believe that the Church would be THIS stupid.

  7. Mortimer says:

    I want to know whether the Primary General Presidency, and YM/YW presidencies were included in the new inclusive councils where this decision was made. The primary has always asserted their role in touching capable and individual hearts-impacting the future. The Primary has always claimed to be a place if love and refuge for children.

  8. nemo says:

    Have we just ‘protected the Church’ out of the gospel?

  9. Joni says:

    I don’t have any proof, of course, but I have a sneaking suspicion that these punitive and un-Christlike measures towards children actually represent a compromise. I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that there were some members of the handbook committee who wanted to state that children of SSM unions can NEVER be baptized, even well past the age of eighteen. After all, someone who is LEGALLY the child of two fathers is going to have those fathers listed as his parents on his membership records, not a father and a mother. Even just the thought of someone’s membership records acknowledging that gay people exist and have children must be terrifying for some.

    • Libby says:

      Joni, that’s a really interesting thought! Thanks for bringing it into the conversation. I wonder how long this policy can possibly last. If it isn’t repealed immediately, it will be hopelessly outdated within the next 15 years.

      • Joni says:

        To be honest, I give it less than a year. The Church is going to get a HUGE amount of bad press, and though we insist that we don’t care what the world thinks of us, when it affects publicity/missionary work/tithing receipts, we do.

  10. Bets says:

    I went to church in Denver years ago (in about 1969) and saw a young black male, probably 12 or 13, with an old black man, sitting on the pew with everybody else while other young men passed the Sacrament. It was . . . well, i felt unwell! . . . but i have thought of those two over and over during the many ensuing years . . . of what humility they would have had to have had . . . unlike anything i personally know about! I guess some people get one slap in the face in life and some people get another . . . . It seemed like a tough one, to me. I don’t know how it seemed to them. And i don’t know what compensation God and life offered them after those years. I can only hope . . .
    b

  11. Rachel says:

    So, can we do something about it?

    Seriously. Anything. After the blogging and gnashing of teeth, can we organize and do something? Because I’m in. Let’s organize.

    • Eliza says:

      Amen, Rachel. I can’t think of anything productive- all I’ve got right now are visions of storming the COB and doing a great deal of shouting- if anyone can think of something less likely to get me arrested and more likely to be effective I am all in. All in.

  12. Toni Kroos says:

    Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard [this], said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?

    • Libby says:

      “Wo unto them; because they have offended my little ones they shall be severed from the ordinances of mine house…. It had been better for them that a millstone had been hanged about their necks, and they drowned in the depth of the sea.”

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