Suffer the Children
Article of Faith #2 has always been my favorite. Even with my recurring doubts that “men” really means “human beings” in this case. The obvious inequity in the reproductive zone aside, I clung to the comfort of not being responsible for anyone else’s sins. As a scrupulous Mormon teen, I was so glad that I wouldn’t be punished for my parent’s many sins. Personal accountability is a key principle, second on the list, and one of the young women’s values. Children have so many consequences from the choices of others and the vagaries of mortality, the harms of society and biology, and imperfect people trying to raise them. We are all products of both the nature and nurture that our parents provided. The adults of the world should be working to make life better for all children, instead of penalizing them for circumstances outside their control.
Maybe that is why I still feel heartbroken by the November 2015 Policy on Ordinances for Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship. Excluding children from baptism if either of their parents is living in a same gender relationship is misguided. The justification that it is just an extension of the same policy for children born into polygamy is not a good excuse. The justification that it protects families from conflict is not a good excuse. We just can’t have it both ways. Baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost can’t be BOTH so important that we direct money and time to the effort of baptising our kindred dead AND so unimportant that we don’t mind denying children that blessing because of choices that their parents made. We are more worried about dead people than living, breathing, children. We make such a big deal about baptism at 8, the age of accountability, and then deny children that opportunity if their parents make two very specific decisions that aren’t compatible with our current church policies. Wouldn’t it make much more sense to give those living in less than ideal circumstances all the help and support that we can, including the gift of the Holy Ghost? We don’t deprive the children of adulterers or robbers or single gay people or tax collectors or sex offenders or child abusers or cussers or non-tithers or Democrats the blessings of baptism and the Holy Ghost. Remember Article of Faith 2?
I think this policy is a part of why I find the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) issue so disturbing. Children brought illegally to the USA by their parents to pursue a better, safer life are being punished for the “sins” of their parents. The Trump administration has cancelled that program, throwing 800,000 people and their families into turmoil. Both DACA and the November 2015 policy are rules imposed upon children because of their parents’ actions. Both policies are being imposed by old, privileged, white men. Men that have no experience with being a person of color. A person in danger. A person whose parents are gay. A person whose parents live Mormon fundamentalism. Actually, they should be able to relate to that one since many in church leadership have polygamy in their family trees.
After our history of being persecuted, why are we now persecuting? Do we not have faith in the second Article of Faith anymore?