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Bill Reel Straw Man - 2015 Policy Edition

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One issue that comes up with this is that the gay married couple who wants to have their child raised in the church allows them to attend church with the other children their age.
But when they reach the age of 8 they are not baptized and the child has to deal with the questions from fellow baptized children as to why they don't get baptized. 
That puts some stress on them as they have to try to explain why they are not baptized and then they might feel left out as their friends advance in the Aaronic priesthood and they are not able to participate with their friends in the ordinances of the priesthood. 

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, JAHS said:

One issue that comes up with this is that the gay married couple who wants to have their child raised in the church allows them to attend church with the other children their age.
But when they reach the age of 8 they are not baptized and the child has to deal with the questions from fellow baptized children as to why they don't get baptized. 
That puts some stress on them as they have to try to explain why they are not baptized and then they might feel left out as their friends advance in the Aaronic priesthood and they are not able to participate with their friends in the ordinances of the priesthood. 

I see your point.  I don't discount it.  Bill Reel's straw man, however, is that simply because there is a hypothetical potential negative consequence to the policy change, that this hypothetical potential negative consequence outweighs everything else.  I don't think this is true--at all.  To the contrary, I am more curious why this change took so long. 

Framed another way, the church now protects a child's gay family structure even to the exclusion of increasing its own membership.  Why would any organization do this?  Why hasn't Bill addressed this angle?  Clearly, because it doesn't fit his agenda.  Even so, how is this explanation wrong?

I think this is a much better (and truer) context than anything Bill Reel set forth.  And, contrary to Bill and Jim Bennett, I think it shows an incredible amount of inspiration.  It's nothing I would have ever considered because the optics are (as we have found) bad.  Of course, optics alone do not change the rightness of something.

Edited by PacMan
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33 minutes ago, JAHS said:

One issue that comes up with this is that the gay married couple who wants to have their child raised in the church allows them to attend church with the other children their age.
But when they reach the age of 8 they are not baptized and the child has to deal with the questions from fellow baptized children as to why they don't get baptized. 
That puts some stress on them as they have to try to explain why they are not baptized and then they might feel left out as their friends advance in the Aaronic priesthood and they are not able to participate with their friends in the ordinances of the priesthood. 

I suspect that a child with gay parents would be spending far more time explaining their parents relationship rather than why they are not baptized. My family converted to the church when I was seven. I don't think I was ever asked by another child why I wasn't baptized. This type of question may be more of an issue for a boy at the age of priesthood ordination rather than baptism. 

I tend to think all of this projection of discomfort over not being baptized at the age of eight is just that - a projection of adults on a child. Nothing more and nothing less. 

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9 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

It's bad specifically because it doesn't involve the Church capitulating on gay 'marriage', which is precisely what most critics of the Church's policy want. People who openly don't accept the unique validity of baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aren't really upset that some hypothetical child somewhere might be missing out on eternal blessings; they're upset because the release of the policy threw a spanner into their progressive fantasies that the Church is going to have to change its doctrines relating to sex and marriage.

You're blowing up my topic!

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5 minutes ago, PacMan said:

You're blowing up my topic!

I'm not always on top of online American English; is that a good thing or a bad thing? If the latter, I apologise!

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1 minute ago, california boy said:

But to use kids as some kind of punishment to the child of a gay couple who want their child to be a member of the church is well, sad.  

It's not Church leaders or those who understand and support the policy who are seeing this as some kind of punishment. This spin is what is genuinely sad to me.

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10 minutes ago, california boy said:

Not sure if I want to get drawn in on this issue once again.  But from an outsiders point of view, this who using the child as some pawn in the church's war against gay marriage is sad.  The church has no policy for prohibiting baptism to children whose parents are also sinning such as not being married or of a different religion.  So this whole excuse of protecting the family from conflict is just BS.

I totally get that the church is against gay marriage.  Fine.  Not a problem.  But to use kids as some kind of punishment to the child of a gay couple who want their child to be a member of the church is well, sad.  

Not so, polygamist children have the same parameters. The objective was to protect the child.....a very rare child indeed.

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48 minutes ago, california boy said:

Not sure if I want to get drawn in on this issue once again.  But from an outsiders point of view, this who using the child as some pawn in the church's war against gay marriage is sad.  The church has no policy for prohibiting baptism to children whose parents are also sinning such as not being married or of a different religion.  So this whole excuse of protecting the family from conflict is just BS.

I totally get that the church is against gay marriage.  Fine.  Not a problem.  But to use kids as some kind of punishment to the child of a gay couple who want their child to be a member of the church is well, sad.  

No, your whole excuse for using the straw man of the Church punishing the child for the acts of her parents is BS. Total BS. The best BS I’ve seen in quite a while! You get the BS award!

Do you want me to articulate exactly what your BS excuse is, or will you fess up?

The Church is honoring the parents' sacred responsibility to provide for their child spiritually as well as materially, no matter how sinful the parents are. Children of all sorts of sinful parents get baptized. This is policy does not cover any point of sin, but of apostasy. While the Church can honor the parent’s sacred right to apostasy, and honor their good-faith right to raise their child any way they wish, she cannot indulge the hypocrisy (and by extension the awful spiritual dissonance for the child) of rejecting the highest ordinance we have, and indulging the hypocrisy would be embracing the apostasy and hyper-hypocritical (ETA: a "fulness" of perversion). She don't play that way.

I'm assuming BS means Boy Scout and don't get why you used the term, but I'll play along.

Edited by CV75
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47 minutes ago, california boy said:

Not sure if I want to get drawn in on this issue once again.  But from an outsiders point of view, this who using the child as some pawn in the church's war against gay marriage is sad.  The church has no policy for prohibiting baptism to children whose parents are also sinning such as not being married or of a different religion.  So this whole excuse of protecting the family from conflict is just BS.

I totally get that the church is against gay marriage.  Fine.  Not a problem.  But to use kids as some kind of punishment to the child of a gay couple who want their child to be a member of the church is well, sad.  

First, who said anything about "prohibiting baptism to children whose parents are also sinning?"  That's not it at all.  This is about asking an 8 year old child to effectively (if not explicitly) renounce his own family structure.  An unmarried couple can get married.  A mixed-religious marriage isn't sinful in the first place.  Your examples simply do not address the issue at hand.

Further, to conclude that the church is using the 2015 policy as a "punishment" is recklessly irresponsible.  There is nothing, except your own morbid conjecture, to support such a notion--agree with it or not.

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51 minutes ago, california boy said:

Not sure if I want to get drawn in on this issue once again.  But from an outsiders point of view, this who using the child as some pawn in the church's war against gay marriage is sad.  The church has no policy for prohibiting baptism to children whose parents are also sinning such as not being married or of a different religion.  So this whole excuse of protecting the family from conflict is just BS.

I totally get that the church is against gay marriage.  Fine.  Not a problem.  But to use kids as some kind of punishment to the child of a gay couple who want their child to be a member of the church is well, sad.  

Agree! And Bennett I thought, would as well.

Edited by Tacenda

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20 minutes ago, Traela said:

Apples and oranges.  Parents who are shacking up can get married.  A non-member parent can join the Church.  But just like polygamous parents, there is simply no way for a gay couple to adhere to Church standards without breaking up the family.

 

Ex, freaking, actly.  And that is the point.  A sinful family structure should be given certain respect while a minor is a minor because it's still a family.

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Posted (edited)

The recent policy change on Same Sex couples has opened so many new questions, ramifications and doctrinal contradictions that in spite of our being burned out and numb by all this, it needs be revisited.  I hope to be short and sweet so as to make this possible to skim in 5 minutes and able to be read in full in 20 minutes.  So with that here we go!

 This policy change diminishes agency.

  • As a faith, agency is one of our most important gospel principles. Removing the choice to bless a baby, to be baptized, to receive Priesthood (if a male) negates the agency of both the parents and the child.

“Agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves. Agency is essential in the plan of salvation. Without agency, we would not be able to learn or progress or follow the Savior.” – Gospel Principles Manual

This policy diminishes the importance of the Holy Ghost

  • We have up till now taught that the gift of the holy ghost can be a great help in our decision making and assist us in staying on the right path.  With this policy we have in effect said that it’s not that big a deal if you don’t have it.  You can always get it later, nothing is lost.  This runs contrary to what we have taught since the days of Joseph Smith.

“Likewise, the Holy Ghost can help you. Through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, you can recognize and understand truth and make right choices and inspired decisions.  The Holy Ghost can inspire you with thoughts and ideas, warn you, and comfort you in times of sorrow. – Mormon.org

This violates the scripture in D&C 68:27 which calls for all 8 year old children within the stakes of Zion to be baptized and confirmed

D&C68:27 – “26 For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized.  27 And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.”

This policy diminishes the value of ordinances such as baptism.

  • This policy implies that for some the ordinances are not that big a deal.  The fact remains that if these kids are treated as second class during their formative years, the chance is slim to none that they will come back later.  These children will be more likely to grow up resenting the church and its rituals and will be much less likely to receive them later.

“Some ordinances are essential to our exaltation. These ordinances are called saving ordinances. They include baptism, confirmation, ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood (for men), the temple endowment, and the marriage sealing. With each of these ordinances, we enter into solemn covenants with the Lord.” – LDS.org

This policy seems to run contradictory to the teachings of Jesus.

  • We have in this policy pushed innocent children away and made it much less likely that the kids affected will return to the faith later in life.

“Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus

“Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Jesus

This policy leaves so many harming possibilities.

  • One example of many is that if one child in a family is grandfathered in under the rules from before the policy, his siblings will be impacted by the policy cannot enjoy the same rituals and blessings.
  • Leaders will have latitude in determining who is the primary caregiving parent:  how much a child lives with a gay parent, how many days a year, what legal designations in terms of decision-making, and so forth.  The lack of clear guidance means that it will be applied locally and inconsistently.

This policy seems to contradict Article of Faith #2

AoF #2:  “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.”

  • This is generally understood to mean that we are only held accountable for our own sins, not those of other people.  But this policy, by contrast, greatly diminishes a child’s opportunity to receive the gospel based on the choices of their parents.

It seems deceptive to claim the letter sent out a week later was a clarification of the original intent.

  • The original wording in the handbook seemed extremely clear that this policy affected any child or had a parent or both parents who were gay.  It did not distinguish between a child who was adopted by a gay couple or a child whose parents were divorced and now has one parent in a homosexual committed relationship.  It also left room for denial of rituals, ordinances, and blessings simply because one’s parent participated in a homosexual cohabiting relationship long before getting married in a heterosexual marriage and having the child.  When Elder Christofferson addressed the media less than 48 hours later, he only defended the motive behind the policy which he stated was to protect the children.  He did not address any misunderstanding about the policy.  The letter that followed a week after the policy’s release was an afterthought, a minor correction without admitting the original policy was wrong.  Calling it a “clarification” when it modifies the scope of the original policy dramatically is at least disingenuous.  It points blame at those who received the policy as if they misunderstood it, and it enables church leaders to change it without apologizing.

There was already a policy that would have covered in all likelihood most all of these situations.

  • There is already a policy on the books that if a underage person wishes to join the church they must have both parents’ permission to proceed.  This means the only children the present “modified” policy affects is children whose “primary” homosexual cohabiting parent(s) approve of the child growing up in full fellowship in the faith.  Their consent is no longer accepted.  This seems like such a small, small, small, segment to create such uprise over and to have members resigning at a rate unseen “since the days of Kirtland.”

This policy creates a litmus test where Elder Christofferson just a few months ago said there was none.

  • Why just a few months ago say that members were free to support Same Sex Marriage and now place language in the manual that states that such support is no longer acceptable for those with gay parents?  This is how it now stands for children of gay parents who want to join the church; they must disavow their gay parent(s)’ marriage:

“There hasn’t been any litmus test or standard imposed that you couldn’t support that if you want to support it,” Christofferson said, “if that’s your belief and you think it’s right.”  Any Latter-day Saint can have a belief “on either side of this issue,” he said. “That’s not uncommon.” – Elder Christofferson

This policy encourages promiscuous homosexual sex over committed legal loving homosexual relationships.

  • The message the policy gives directly is that the worst possible legal consenting relationship dynamic you can be in is a homosexual marriage or long-term cohabitation.  That this is the most highly punishable sin you can commit in these terms and is now labelled “apostasy,” triggering a required church disciplinary court.  What message does this give to homosexual church members?  Homosexual acts are, by contrast, labelled a “greivous sin.”  Common sense says that even if homosexuality is against God’s law that we as a church would prefer to encourage legal loving committed relationships rather than an unsafe, promiscuous lifestyle, and yet this policy does the opposite by placing harsher penalties on commitment than on promiscuity.

This motive of protecting children from confusion is implausible.

  • The only kids this affects are active kids.  Inactive families won’t pursue ordinances for their children.  So only active church-going gay families with kids will be impacted.  Given that, how does this policy reduce confusion?  It doesn’t.  It adds to confusion, making the situation even more complicated.  The kids would have already been exposed to the idea that homosexual behavior is condemned by the church, which would have been the case even without the policy, but now they also have the confusion surrounding their own ability to progress through the gospel mile markers. Rather than protecting children from confusion, this increases the confusion by making it more personal.

This “modification” has not yet been added to the online handbook.

  • As a former bishop I am aware that bishops are instructed to save these letters, but I’m also aware that few bishops actually save them or have them organized in a useful manner.  When I began my tenure as bishop there were 1st presidency letters in our confidential cabinet, but they were from a bishop who served 12 years before I was called.  Without this “modification” letter visible online where it is readily available, a new leader who is called in future will simply follow the handbook’s guidance not aware that such a revision exists.

The policy contradicts Book of Mormon’theology that teaches if ye have a desire to be baptized and are worthy, you are encouraged to do so.

Mosiah 18: “Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into acovenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?”

There are likely more issues with the policy that I am missing in this list, but these suffice to show that in the end we should feel free to dissent against such policies.  As Joseph F Smith once taught us:

“STANDARD WORKS JUDGE TEACHINGS OF ALL MEN. It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them.Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.  You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works.  Every man who writes is responsible, not the Church, for what he writes. If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it. If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted.  –  Joseph Fielding Smith

Yep, you heard him.  Duty Bound!

Edited by DBMormon
Took out format issues

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Posted (edited)

Really, Bill.  A copy-paste?  Good grief.  Still, I'm glad you did. Because it's easy to show how bad your reasoning is.

This policy change diminishes agency.

  • Wrong.  This logic completely adulterates the term "agency."  Agency is the ability to choose.  Agency is NOT the opportunity to choose.  Further, as Elder Christofferson said, no one will lack for the policy.  As is the same for any other of situations where people cannot accept baptism (as in most of the world's population), all will be given the opportunity to accept or reject.  Thus, the policy does not diminish agency because all will have both the ability and opportunity to choose.

This policy diminishes the importance of the Holy Ghost

  • Wrong.  This has nothing to do with the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost is going to respect the God-given obligation for parents to act as stewards over their children.  Further, to the extent that the Hold Ghost tells a child that their parents and family structure are sinful, that places an enormous and near unnavigable burden on the child.  That, in fact, would take away a child's agency because such child, truly, doesn't have the ability to choose a different family structure.

This violates the scripture in D&C 68:27 which calls for all 8 year old children within the stakes of Zion to be baptized and confirmed

D&C68:27 – “26 For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized.  27 And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.”

·         Wrong.  This is a commandment to those of the stake of Zion.  Those in a homosexual relationship are not members of the church and, therefore, not members of a stake.  The command does not apply to “their children" -- being those adults in a homosexual relationship.

This policy diminishes the value of ordinances such as baptism.

  • This is just nonsense, unfounded, subjective speculation that completely contradicts and undermines baptism, including vicarious baptism for those that were not otherwise given the opportunity to receive it in life.

This policy seems to run contradictory to the teachings of Jesus.

  • What “seems” to be is irrelevant.

This policy leaves so many harming possibilities.

  • Irrelevant.  The only material comparison is the net effect.  There is no support for the notion that the perceived and speculative harm outweighs the benefits, namely, not creating tension between the family structure and the church.

This policy seems to contradict Article of Faith #2

·         What “seems” to be is irrelevant.

It seems deceptive to claim the letter sent out a week later was a clarification of the original intent.

·         What “seems” to be is irrelevant.

There was already a policy that would have covered in all likelihood most all of these situations.

  • Irrelevant.

This policy creates a litmus test where Elder Christofferson just a few months ago said there was none.

  • Illogical.  Supporting is wholly distinct from living in a same sex relationship.  You are drawing the untenable similarity that is in fact further removed than even inchoate offenses.

This policy encourages promiscuous homosexual sex over committed legal loving homosexual relationships.

  • This doesn’t even make sense.  I mean, if we are playing absurd, why not say it encourages gays to murder their spouses so they are no longer in a gay marriage?  Your logic is inflammatorily intolerable.

This motive of protecting children from confusion is implausible.

·         CFR.  That’s not what the motive was.  And, how does the plausibility of the motive make it a bad policy?  In fact, there is no relationship whatsoever.

This “modification” has not yet been added to the online handbook.

  • Who cares?  And, so what?

The policy contradicts Book of Mormon’theology that teaches if ye have a desire to be baptized and are worthy, you are encouraged to do so.

Non sequitur.  Being encouraged to do something is not the same as being permitted to do something.

Edited by PacMan
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22 minutes ago, california boy said:

Most people see this as nothing more than the church figuring out a way to make a stronger stance against gay couples and their families.

Can you please provide a link to this data on what 'most people' think?

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17 minutes ago, california boy said:

I totally get that all the faithful members of the church have bought into this whole "protect the children" concept.  But few others are believing any of this.  Basically what this policy is saying is that the church knows better than the actual parents of the child how they should be raised.  The church knows whether there will be an issue in the family, not the parents, and not considering what the children want. So hey, if the members can swallow this whole policy for the good of the child thing, then who cares what others think.  

Most people see this as nothing more than the church figuring out a way to make a stronger stance against gay couples and their families.  And most people see the church using children as a pawn in their attack.  But what stalwart member cares one bit about what others outside the church think?  So I say, why spend any more time rehashing this whole issue.  It isn't going to change and those that support the idea and right of gays are only going to further turn away from the church.  It certainly seems to be one of the main reason millennial's are leaving the church.  Evidently they aren't buying this whole charade.  And evidently the church leaders are ok with that.  

As we have talked before - this is a farce. It is and will remain a "projection" of a problem that does not exist except in rare, extremely rare circumstances. I used to say that it was about totally make believe children; however, I have learned of one gay couple that does attend church and wishes to raise their children in the Church. I refuse to debate their motives and we must assume the best of them. However, such a situation would seem to require they admit their own errors and profess an unwillingness to be repentant to their children and that they still feel the gospel of Jesus Christ is so vitally important they choose to raise their children in accordance with its teachings.  This distinct conflict of positions will create an endless conflict between parent and child. 

In these extremely rare circumstances, I am forced to believe that the parents must level with their children and explain why they choose to hold to their state of excommunication, yet choose to raise their children in the gospel. Their choice as parents has eternal consequences for themselves and will certainly impact their children. The children will have an opportunity to be baptized and have full blessings of the gospel when they reach their majority. Will their be discomfort for the children during their lives? Of course and that discomfort must be met with loving acceptance of both the parents and the children and dealt with as well as can be expected of disciples of Jesus Christ. 

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7 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

As we have talked before - this is a farce. It is and will remain a "projection" of a problem that does not exist except in rare, extremely rare circumstances. I used to say that it was about totally make believe children; however, I have learned of one gay couple that does attend church and wishes to raise their children in the Church. I refuse to debate their motives and we must assume the best of them. However, such a situation would seem to require they admit their own errors and profess an unwillingness to be repentant to their children and that they still feel the gospel of Jesus Christ is so vitally important they choose to raise their children in accordance with its teachings.  This distinct conflict of positions will create an endless conflict between parent and child. 

In these extremely rare circumstances, I am forced to believe that the parents must level with their children and explain why they choose to hold to their state of excommunication, yet choose to raise their children in the gospel. Their choice as parents has eternal consequences for themselves and will certainly impact their children. The children will have an opportunity to be baptized and have full blessings of the gospel when they reach their majority. Will their be discomfort for the children during their lives? Of course and that discomfort must be met with loving acceptance of both the parents and the children and dealt with as well as can be expected of disciples of Jesus Christ. 

 

Got it.  You are a stalwart member that supports the policy and have bought into the whole "protect the children" rational.  What can I say other than I don't believe most people outside the church have taken this policy as a positive step to bringing people to Christ.  And I believe most people outside and a lot inside the church believe this is just another attack on gay families and their childre.  But hey, evidently that is not really something the church cares about.  So no worries.

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1 minute ago, sunstoned said:

For some reason I can't give you a rep point.  So please take this post as a virtual rep point!

Me too!

 

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