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Handbook Update, Gay Marriage, Apostasy, Resignations... (Merged Thread)


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I'm familiar with the September Ensign article.

 

From Elder Christofferson:

 

"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."

 

Right there he said it... we don't want the expectation that they will be in Primary or other church organizations.  It would not be an appropriate thing.

 

Message:  If you have a gay parent in a relationship -- don't come here.

You seem to be missing a couple of facts.

 

It is the membership record which results from the naming and blessing ordinance that triggers the expectation for eventual Church membership through the child’s covenant-making and the attendant cascade of covenant shepherding that assists his parents in leading him along the same covenant path as theirs (D& 68:25). No record, no expectation. The expectation Elder Cristofferson describes is not about an individual’s misunderstanding of the organizations’ and programs’ purposes. The expectation is a community prospect or responsibility, one that is based in the covenant made by each member as well as the responsibility the parents establish for the child of record.

 

Social participation does not trigger any of that, and there is nothing in the message that tells people to not be friendly or enjoy what good they are able to.

 

Same-gender couples cannot lead the way for their children into the covenants, so social participation is all that family has. They do not lead the child by example. They do not teach the child chastity and temple marriage with authority or conviction. So it is inappropriate for them to invite the Church and a countering influence to what is going in the home. It is appropriate to participate on a social basis and supportively help the child figure things out to eventually make a responsible decision when he is of age.

 

This is a very different relationship than homes where the parents struggle with membership, covenants and commandments and yet invite the Church to help them teach and serve their children with the good-faith expectation that they will come along as well.

Edited by CV75
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That's the rub, rockpond: if the Church policy decision were to hinge on the impact of the child's custodial parents, and if them being a same-sex couple would trigger the policy, then it makes sense to consider the NON-custodial parents. Why?  Because they can become the custodial parents overnight for a number of reasons.  Thus, it's possible that with this policy, they are obliged to consider the parents as the baseline because the custody of the child could easily transition between them.

 

Furthermore, for the adult children, I do believe there is wisdom in requiring the child to be independent of parental help, by way of them not living in a parental home, as a condition of baptism.  That way, there won't be the risk of the child's opposing religious commitments getting them kicked out.

The bigger issue in family law seems to be the liability of one parent who poisons the well against the other. My understanding is that recent court cases have found parents liable and sometimes the church also holds liability if they know the church teachings are being used to poison the well. So by refusing to allow minors with a gay parent to be baptized the church can say they have done everything possible not to contribute to the poisoning of the well against one parent. Thus they avoid liability.

 

From a liability standpoint the church is being wise in protecting the institution but they seem to accept the collateral damage of these children as an acceptable loss. Don't get me wrong. I don't think they want to lose these kids. I'm sure they'd love for them all to come into the church when they turn 18 but realistically they have to know that won't happen. So they are playing the odds. This is an example of a time when "what's good for the church" is not necessarily "what's best for the people." At least some people.

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It's fun to see how the church has stimulated such christlike conversations with such a loving policy.

 

We had similar discussions at church yesterday ( I didn't participate) where everyone assumes the worst of everyone else.

 

We must see this policy for what it is. A good policy to mitigate church liability while accepting the collateral damage of losing these children.

Edited by HappyJackWagon
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I happened to come across this interview with Tom Christofferson regarding the policy change and thought you might be interested.  In this interview, Tom happens to express how I feel better than anyone else has.

 

http://www.wheatandtares.org/19470/tom-christofferson-transcript/

I think that article misses the mark on a number of points:

 

Feeling welcome is a two-way street. Self-consciousness is a one-way street.

 

We are Zion – a group of individuals that have covenanted with the Lord to be of one heart and one mind. Our relationship with the Lord is individual (salvation) but also familial (exaltation) and communal (Firstborn). Successful ministering must occur on all those levels.

 

Zion can only help the individual, family and community be what each in its heart of hearts truly want to be. This has nothing to do with the false expectation of making the strait and narrow way any easier except through Christ and in His way.

 

The reason the policy isn’t clear is because it is being looked at by the unauthorized (no matter how well-meaning) and without consideration of the principles the September 2015 article teaches.

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The bigger issue in family law seems to be the liability of one parent who poisons the well against the other. My understanding is that recent court cases have found parents liable and sometimes the church also holds liability if they know the church teachings are being used to poison the well. So by refusing to allow minors with a gay parent to be baptized the church can say they have done everything possible not to contribute to the poisoning of the well against one parent. Thus they avoid liability.

 

From a liability standpoint the church is being wise in protecting the institution but they seem to accept the collateral damage of these children as an acceptable loss. Don't get me wrong. I don't think they want to lose these kids. I'm sure they'd love for them all to come into the church when they turn 18 but realistically they have to know that won't happen. So they are playing the odds. This is an example of a time when "what's good for the church" is not necessarily "what's best for the people." At least some people.

 

Except there are also reasons why the policy is good for the children, too: 

 

Would it be good for children is the church makes it easier for one parent to separate them from the other?  Thus, the liability issue is still concerned with the child's well-being at its core.  It cannot be seen as liability only, if there is a genuine liability there, there is also concerns about the welfare of the child.

 

Then the act of committing to something that puts one at odds with a parent and possibly with one's entire family, without any hope that doesn't break up the family....that is understandably too much to expect a child to bear.

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It's fun to see how the church has stimulated such christlike conversations with such a loving policy.

We had similar discussions at church yesterday ( I didn't participate) where everyone assumes the worst of everyone else.

We must see this policy for what it is. A good policy to mitigate church liability while accepting the collateral damage of these children.

I've seen sone good conversations, actually.

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No.  Because the CHI regulations are NOT commandments from God and should not be treated as such.

 

The Law of Moses were temporal commandments from God to a people who couldn't handle the spiritual commandments Christ gave to teach the same principles.

 

The CHI is neither.  It is administrative based on commandments.  An organization of 15 million people and great complexity requires operating instructions to ensure consistency.  But they can be altered (unlike God's laws).

I agree but I wish my ward would get that memo. We had it taught in Sacrament Meeting and HPG that these are based on unchanging doctrines and that the policy itself is a doctrine and that if anyone agrees with or supports those in SSM or speak against the new policy then that person is also an apostate.

 

Elder Christofferson reiterated that people can hold different views about SSM as long as they don't vocalize opposition to the church or leaders. So again, I can think whatever you want, but if I dare speak out against the policy then it would seem I'm an apostate.

 

The church has chosen to exascerbate this wedge within the church with this new policy because they need the legal cover of the policy. Everyone who opposes on moral grounds is just collateral damage.

It was warm and fuzzy. Very sweet. I'm so glad I went.

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It seems to me that this policy is a good thing--especially for the children directly effected.

 

I happened to grow up in a part-member family where my parents had agreed I'd be raised in the Church.  It was an experience that ranged from embarrassing to painful.  My dad wasn't a righteous valiant priesthood holder like everybody else's dad--rather, he was a guy of the world who selfishly refused to have faith, repent, and follow the spirit.  So I went to Church every week, and in one way or another just about every lesson had implications about my dad and my family being 2nd class because he refused to see and follow the light.  When fathers day came around and all of the teenagers in my class had to bear our testimonies about our fathers, everybody talked about how thankful they were to have a righteous priesthood holder as a father who raised them in the church.  When it was my turn to bear my testimony, there was nothing to say.

 

Kids from families who don't fit the mold shouldn't join the LDS Church--it isn't good for them.  What typically happens is that the non-member parents (gay or not) try to be tolerant, supportive, and see the good in everything, and thus tend to be fine letting the member parent raise the kids in the Church.  But let's be honest here--most kids really don't want to go to church.  They will often say they do or think they do because of sociological pressure, but they really don't.  The people who are most hurt by the new policy are the parents who think their children should grow up in the indoctrination process, but are now forbidden from raising their kids that way.  It's insulting to them as parents.  But the big winners from the new policy are the kids who are now excluded--despite their parents' best intentions, the kids will be better off not tied to the church.

Edited by Analytics
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The bigger issue in family law seems to be the liability of one parent who poisons the well against the other. My understanding is that recent court cases have found parents liable and sometimes the church also holds liability if they know the church teachings are being used to poison the well. So by refusing to allow minors with a gay parent to be baptized the church can say they have done everything possible not to contribute to the poisoning of the well against one parent. Thus they avoid liability.

 

From a liability standpoint the church is being wise in protecting the institution but they seem to accept the collateral damage of these children as an acceptable loss. Don't get me wrong. I don't think they want to lose these kids. I'm sure they'd love for them all to come into the church when they turn 18 but realistically they have to know that won't happen. So they are playing the odds. This is an example of a time when "what's good for the church" is not necessarily "what's best for the people." At least some people.

It's protecting the child and the custodial parent as well. Say the custodial parent has decided to become a Mormon. I would think that even a liberal judge would be more inclined to continue the custody when the parent can say, "yes, I'm Mormon and I'm taking my kid to church. But there is absolutely no way she can be baptized until she is an adult. She doesn't have to make a choice until then."

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Except there are also reasons why the policy is good for the children, too: 

 

Would it be good for children is the church makes it easier for one parent to separate them from the other?  Thus, the liability issue is still concerned with the child's well-being at its core.  It cannot be seen as liability only, if there is a genuine liability there, there is also concerns about the welfare of the child.

 

Then the act of committing to something that puts one at odds with a parent and possibly with one's entire family, without any hope that doesn't break up the family....that is understandably too much to expect a child to bear.

I agree that it is damaging for a child to continually be told their parent is an awful sinner who will go to hell. So to protect that child the answer is to disallow them from joining the church whereas the church could simply not teach damaging things about a very specific group of people.

 

We're taught continually about the effects of sin. Kids have always been able to see those sins in their parents yet we don't prevent those children from joining. The church is acknowledging that their teachings about gays is more harmful than regular teachings about other sins. Interesting.

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It's fun to see how the church has stimulated such christlike conversations with such a loving policy.

We had similar discussions at church yesterday ( I didn't participate) where everyone assumes the worst of everyone else.

We must see this policy for what it is. A good policy to mitigate church liability while accepting the collateral damage of losing these children.

Do you really think so poorly of the prophet and apostles? Why would you belong to a church led by such unchristian and evil men?

I'm sincerely asking because I don't understand the mindset.

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It's protecting the child and the custodial parent as well. Say the custodial parent has decided to become a Mormon. I would think that even a liberal judge would be more inclined to continue the custody when the parent can say, "yes, I'm Mormon and I'm taking my kid to church. But there is absolutely no way she can be baptized until she is an adult. She doesn't have to make a choice until then."

This does not protect the custodial parent. In fact it places the full liability back on the parent. By disallowing the baptism of these children the church can say "see, we're not poisoning the well against the gay parent". That means that any liability for poisoning of the well rests only with the parent.

 

When you say the child doesn't "have to" make a choice until then, what you're really saying is "the church won't allow the child to make a choice until then." The church has removed the choice because the church knows best. The church knows that the child will do better without having the gift of the holy ghost. Oh...wait.

 

The church is controlling the choices of others and thus limiting their liability. Children and their parents in this situation don't have the agency to choose the church and it's saving ordinances.

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It seems to me that this policy is a good thing--especially for the children directly effected.

 

I happened to grow up in a part-member family where my parents had agreed I'd be raised in the Church.  It was an experience that ranged from embarrassing to painful.  My dad wasn't a righteous valiant priesthood holder like everybody else's dad--rather, he was a guy of the world who selfishly refused to have faith, repent, and follow the spirit.  So I went to Church every week, and in one way or another just about every lesson had implications about my dad and my family being 2nd class because he refused to see and follow the light.  When fathers day came around and all of the teenagers in my class had to bear our testimonies about our fathers, everybody talked about how thankful they were to have a righteous priesthood holder as a father who raised them in the church.  When it was my turn to bear my testimony, there was nothing to say.

 

Kids from families who don't fit the mold shouldn't join the LDS Church--it isn't good for them.  What typically happens is that the non-member parents (gay or not) try to be tolerant, supportive, and see the good in everything, and thus tend to be fine letting the member parent raise the kids in the Church.  But let's be honest here--most kids really don't want to go to church.  They will often say they do or think they do because of sociological pressure, but they really don't.  The people who are most hurt by the new policy are the parents who think their children should grow up in the indoctrination process, but are now forbidden from raising their kids that way.  It's insulting to them as parents.  But the big winners from the new policy are the kids who are now excluded--despite their parents' best intentions, the kids will be better off not tied to the church.

That's a decision that should be left to the children and their families. This life is about making choices, not having the church take those choices away because they "know whats best."

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I'm sincerely asking because I don't understand the mindset.

 

Well, I can't speak for HJW.  And I don't think he said that the Bretheren were evil or anything like that.  It seems to me that many simply place the words of Jesus above those found in a Church handbook.

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Well, I can't speak for HJW.  And I don't think he said that the Bretheren were evil or anything like that.  It seems to me that many simply place the words of Jesus above those found in a Church handbook.

 

That is up to them, but the clerks would be upset if I ran into their office and tipped over the table every time they started to count fast offerings.

 

(Yes I know they aren't money changers- that was a joke folks)

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Second, the scriptures says that no man can serve two masters. By baptizing a child of gay parents we are placing him in that situation. They will go to church and hear one thing and then go home and see their parents behave differently. It’s not fair to do to the children or the parents. 
 

 

Hey Jude (don't make it bad, take a sad song and make it better) -- can you cite a scriptures that says baptism should refused to a young person if baptism were to put him in this type of situation?

 

The reason I ask is that I know several Church members (one a very very close friend) who was baptized as a youth coming out of a home very much opposed to the Church.  It was a challenge.  But she did it because of her faith.

 

So any reference you have on this additional baptismal requirement would be awesome.  Thanks.

Edited by sethpayne
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Rongo, since the policy applies to children of gay parents who cohabit, I am not sure what your point 2 comments are arguing for, would you clarify please.

I was simply observing that the number of actual gay marriages involving Mormons is very, very small. The number of actual gay marriages involving Mormons and children is even smaller than that. Some of the uproar over this policy is that it defines gay marriage as prima facea apostasy. Some of the uproar is that it places an ordinance restriction on children living in gay marriage households.

 

The trickier issue, as you point out, and one with more people that it applies to than SSM (though still not very many), is cases involving cohabiting but not married gay couples. I personally feel that bishops and stake presidents in general are much too lenient with cohabiting male/female couples (adultery, fornication, etc.), and I think observations about the disparity between hetero/homo fornication/adultery make a good point. This is something I would like to see clarified and addressed by the Church.

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Someone mentioned their bishop is going to talk about the new policy for the fifth week lesson this month.

So is ours, but it is going to be on the third Sunday next week. He debated doing it this week, but decided to wait to see if anything else pops up.

You (as in everyone) might want to call your bishop and see if that can happen for your ward. Then don't forget to tell your bishop to email the leaders and teachers they can put off their lesson planning for a week. :)

I find it interesting that many who are oppenly opposing this policy are being called apostate, yet everytime a bishop or stake president make an exception and don't follow the policy they will essentially be admitting that they also don't support it as uniformly as it is written.

 

I don't want to hear my bishop's thoughts on this. He will follow it or he won't but by speaking about the specific policy he will paint himself into a corner that will most likely require him to take a hard, unwavering stance.

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This policy is antithetical to the principle of agency and the acceptance of the good news of Christ. The church is putting limitations on individuals receiving saving ordinances in favor of limiting their own legal liability in family court lawsuits where a gay parent might claim the church contributed to the poisoning of the relationship between parent and child.

 

The bigger question is whether it is acceptable for the church to work towards it's organizational goals at the expense of it's members.

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What is the limitation of human perspective?

Do you have some inhuman perspective available? God is a human in our beliefs

Where does one find inhuman perspective?

Exactly my point. How could a human have a non human perspective? i guess that is the limitation: that we can't get outside ourselves, and it seems this is often taken for granted. We fail to see the network of assumptions that bring us to a certain belief, thinking that our view is based on the bedrock of some absolute and universal law. We all seem to do it. People scream at the church for being "wrong," but they can't explain what "wrong" is without some appeal to personal preference and/or subjective personal experience. Same goes for the defenders.

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Do you really think so poorly of the prophet and apostles? Why would you belong to a church led by such unchristian and evil men?

I'm sincerely asking because I don't understand the mindset.

I don't think the brethren are evil. Not even close. I don't even think poorly of the men. But they are men which means they are capable of bad judgement. I think they value protection of the institutional church (which is a good thing) over a few children who may be unfortunate collateral damage. I think they are looking at it from the perspective of "which is the greater good".

 

It's up to each of us to decide whether or not we think that "greater good" is worth the loss.

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