Jump to content

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


JAHS

Recommended Posts

But we have only singled out children of gay parents for this "protection" from our teachings.

 

This is an oft repeated but false statement.

 

We (the church) have policies in place where the parents of minor children must give approval for their baptism.  We have policies in place that restrict the children of polygamists from joining until they disavow the practice.  We have policies in place to not even proselytize in certain countries and even restricting speaking to children and women of believers of other religions (Islam in particular).

 

I am still waiting for a single example of someone who was baptized as a minor child, from a family where parents were actively in apostasy.  Until that appears then the whole quibble is over how the new administrative instructions are worded. 

Link to comment

I have come to the conclusion that the church is purposely including the active youth who attends with the non-gay parent on purpose. Why? Because the church doesn't want to be liable in family court for contributing to the poisoning of one child against the gay parent. So while it seems crazy that they would restrict an active child with an active parent, I think they are calculating that the risk of losing that child is of less harm to the church than the possibility of multiple lawsuits.

Any lawsuit for a child's sake is going to involve a child.  Can the Church also not want to avoid lawsuits for the purpose of not putting the child through that experience?

 

I have read some comments from children, now adults, involved in famous lawsuits...the two I remember the best were atheist parents suing the state on behalf of their child.  Their adult children said it was a horrible experience for them.  Not saying all feel that way, just that those struck me hard given the idea the parent was doing it for the child's sake...which is probably why I remember them.  It is not unexpected for a child to be gung ho if his parent is doing something for him.

 

Having had a nasty divorce in the family and seeing the long term effect on my wonderful nieces, I am hyperaware of possible harm from this direction for children.  

 

I would not be surprised to find there were leaders who felt the same way given how often those who have been bishops or youth leaders are called on to support families going through this and these leaders may move on to more global leadership positions taking their experience and sharpening it on reports of troubled local leaders dealing with the same thing and wondering how best to serve the children.

Edited by Calm
Link to comment

I don't think it's disingenuous at all to say that local leaders are required to follow the policies as written. The exception is granted by the first presidency, not the local leaders. This really comes into play is when the policy feels so restrictive or the appeal for the exception so cumbersome that the local leaders just ignore it or at least turn a blind eye and claim ignorance.

 

If a local leader doesn't enforce the policy then he is also signalling disagreement with the policy.

 

It's granted by the first presidency, but it's actually accomplished by local leaders and implemented by local leaders.  Your point seems to be a distinction without any actual difference.

 

When someone says 'This policy must be followed exactly how it's written and that's why it's so damaging' when they know that such policies are often modified from the way they are written, that's a disingenuous argument to put forth.

Link to comment

Has anyone mentioned that some of the children that will be affected by this, are the very children that come from a gay parent that was at one time encouraged to marry a heterosexual and have a family despite being gay?  Who's to blame for that?  This is another thought from the recent podcast I'm listening to right now on Mormon Matters with Mitch Mayne and Carol Lynn Pearson that I never thought about really.

Great point Tacenda.

 

I hadn't considered the angle that the church created this problem by counseling for these reparative marriages and now the blow up is requiring an awful policy.

Link to comment

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.

 

Thought I might quibble with some of the phrasing here, there is no doubt that children without committed family support groups are going to struggle in the church.

Link to comment

I don't hold any delusions of institutional perfection or leadership infallibility. That means there will alway be mistakes. As long as I see that the good outweighs the bad I'm very happy in the church. If the bad outweighs the good then I'll have to reevaluate.

 

Thanks for clarifying.  I think we just have fundamentally different ways that we view the church, even though we both believe in the fallibility of the leadership, and that's why I have trouble relating with your point of view (and i'm sure you with mine) sometimes.

Link to comment

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.

 

The "bad judgement" they are guilty of seems to be whatever you disagree with.

 

If you have the attitude that the brethren view children only as "collateral damage", I would say that the bad judgement is in your court - not theirs.

Link to comment

This is an oft repeated but false statement.

 

We (the church) have policies in place where the parents of minor children must give approval for their baptism.  We have policies in place that restrict the children of polygamists from joining until they disavow the practice.  We have policies in place to not even proselytize in certain countries and even restricting speaking to children and women of believers of other religions (Islam in particular).

 

I am still waiting for a single example of someone who was baptized as a minor child, from a family where parents were actively in apostasy.  Until that appears then the whole quibble is over how the new administrative instructions are worded. 

 

I gave an example.  My ward.  One month ago.

 

And my statement is not false.  There is no other policy that prohibits a child from being baptized if s/he not living in the situation and disavows the practice.  Even children of a polygamist can be baptized.  Children of a parent in a gay relationship cannot be baptized.

 

This policy is different and more restrictive than any other policy.  If you disagree, show me where there is one that is equally or more restrictive.

Link to comment

So I have come to peace about this new policy and here is how I did it. I had to take a look at the bigger picture. We have no need to fear because in the end *** Spoiler Alert *** - God wins the Chess match. In the end all pieces are set back up (resurrected) and the game is reset to be played again. No piece is truly ever lost, but it wasn't spared from its roll in the battle either.

 

In the Game of Chess (The war against Good and Evil) some times it is necessary to perform a sacrifice.  You some times have give up a few pieces of lesser strength to gain a maneuverability advantage over the adversary. That's how I see this current move now. Yes it does seem like children are being used as leverage against gay parents and we tend to look at this as being unfair, and just maybe it is. However, this new policy does draw a very distinct line in the sand and lets Gay parents know that their choices do indeed have a profound effect on others. It teaches that they can't live sinfully and expect to have the blessings of heaven on they and their families too. In the end its the parents bad choices that are holding back the blessings from their children, not the Church.

 

The Lord has made this kind of move before.  The Gospel was held back from being preached to the Gentiles for quite a few Generations, before it was finally given to them. Was that unfair that they didn't have the blessings of the Church over those many long generations?

Edited by Zakuska
Link to comment

The Law of Moses was more exacting and specifc but was actually less restrictive as to our actions and even our feelings. Which is more restrictive? The command to not commit adultery or the command to abstain from lust? The gospel law is harder to live. Anyone can follow a set of rote rules but it is harder to be given a general command to aid the poor or teach the gospel and figure out where to go from there.

Admittedly those who seem to thrive on nuance and rationalization also prefer the gospel because they can try to dodge anything they disagree with. You can find many like that who assent to the gospel but live almost none of it. Ironically they often only follow the rote commandments and chafe at those.

Link to comment

I gave an example.  My ward.  One month ago.

 

And my statement is not false.  There is no other policy that prohibits a child from being baptized if s/he not living in the situation and disavows the practice.  Even children of a polygamist can be baptized.  Children of a parent in a gay relationship cannot be baptized.

 

This policy is different and more restrictive than any other policy.  If you disagree, show me where there is one that is equally or more restrictive.

 

1. Thanks- I didn't see your example.  It will be interesting to see how that plays out for that child.

 

2. The policy being marginally more restrictive is different from "singl[ing] out children of gay parents".

 

That hyperbole is my quibble with the arguments being proffered against the new policy.

 

I don't see organized movements to mainstream other forms of apostasy either.

Edited by KevinG
Link to comment

Listening to Mormon Matters with Mitch Mayne and Carol Lynn Pearson.  Carol Lynne mentions a recent story of a sister missionary being sent home after the changes.  I don't have a reference but one can listen to the podcast.  Apparently this could be the cusp.  Mitch mentions another missionary sister that was halted in going to the MTC.  Isn't this going to explode with so many instances of bishops trying to follow this new hand book change?  It's going to affect so many innocent victims.

Why on earth would a missionary be sent home for a policy change that affects minors?

Link to comment

Interestingly, no mention of gay marriage or anything remotely related appears in the D&C, BOM or POGP.  If the law was irrevocably decreed in heaven, it seems like a big oversight not to mention anything about it in restoration scripture.

Considering the concept barely came into existence a few years ago it's a bit ridiculous to expect otherwise. Or to reject the authorized servants of the Lord they do speak on a new concept

Link to comment

1. Thanks- I didn't see your example.  It will be interesting to see how that plays out for that child.

 

2. The policy being marginally more restrictive is different from "singl[ing] out children of gay parents".

 

That hyperbole is my quibble with the arguments being proffered against the new policy.

 

I don't see organized movements to mainstream other forms of apostasy either.

 

I see that as more than a marginal difference.  I've already read quite a few accounts of families affected by it.

 

If you see my statement as hyperbole and that's your quibble, are you willing to denounce those who are stating that the policy "is the same" as the policy for children of polygamists?  (Since it isn't.)  

 

Your comment on "organized movements" implies the opposite of what you've just said... You're indicating that maybe there is a reason to single out children of gay parents.

Link to comment

But they won't make every mistake and some intentional actions will not come from good men, they may have been good once but being able to make certain choices will require a change of heart.  In bluebell's list, I see at least one action that a good man by my definition would not be able to engage in and that is ignoring the welfare of the innocent when that is a part of their calling, their reason to exist.  And not seeking Christ's will when they are apostles...that more or less invalidates their calling.  

 

So if someone agrees this is what they've done in the way that bluebell states it, I have a hard time thinking that those who believe this can accept them as still good men...maybe not evil, but at best mediocre ones.  If someone says they do, I will accept it but then really wonder how different (not better or worse, just different) their standard of good must be from mine.

 

Hey Cal -- but isn't this part of the calling of an Apostle according to Elder Oaks?  Remember how the Church treated the authors of "Mormon Enigma" for publishing what is essentially now all part of the essay on Joseph's polygamy.  They were completely marginalized and Elder Oaks made it clear that they had done nothing more than present a factual and historically accurate report.  They hadn't done anything wrong or said anything untruthful but that it was his job to protect the reputation of Joseph Smith first and foremost.  If the Newell's had to suffer social stigma etc... as a result .. oh well.  That's the price of maintaining the Joseph's reputation.

 

 

 

“My duty as a member of the Council of the Twelve is to protect what is most unique about the LDS Church, namely the authority of priesthood, testimony regarding the restoration of the gospel, and the divine mission of the Saviour. Everything may be sacrificed in order to maintain the integrity of those essential facts. Thus, if Mormon Enigma reveals information that is detrimental to the reputation of Joseph Smith, then it is necessary to try to limit its influence and that of its authors” 

 

Notice he says nothing about serving the needs of members and in fact, Elder Oaks actively worked against "innocent" members because -- in his mind -- they were threatening. 

 

Reminds me of an incident recalled by Boyd Kirkland who, in the early 80's, wrote to Church HQ about the Adam-God doctrine.  His entire letter is worth the read but I'll quote a bit here:

 

http://www.mormonstudies.com/lds-thinkers/boyd-kirkland/building-the-kingdom-with-total-honesty/

 

 

My letter received no response, and in that fall’s general conference both brothers Petersen and McConkie again spoke out strongly against the Adam-God doctrine in their usual forceful manner (see Ensign, Nov. 1980, 16-18, 50-52). Dismayed, I phoned the First Presidency’s office and spoke with their secretary, Michael Watson, about my letter, asking why I hadn’t received a response. He indicated that the brethren had intended to write to me, with the recommendation that I read Mark E. Petersen’s book Adam: Who Is He?, but when it was pointed out that I had already read the book, and felt it to be part of the problem, they felt they had nothing else they could say to me. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I felt I had somehow failed to properly communicate the problem. At Michael Watson’s prompting, I met with an informal committee answering to Mark E. Petersen, which had been set up to help members confronted with issues raised by fundamentalist Mormons (the Adam-God doctrine being one of the chief of these). I’ll spare you the details here, but the net result of my meetings with these people began to make me realize that Brother Petersen wasn’t acting out of ignorance of the facts regarding the Adam-God problem, and neither was Bro. McConkie. I still wondered about the extent of President Kimball’s knowledge of the subject, however. I suspected that my letter had never reached him.

 

In February 1981 I again phoned Michael Watson, and urged him to grant me a personal interview, which he did. He was surprisingly candid with me, revealing that my letter to President Kimball had been forwarded to Mark E. Petersen. Brother Watson showed me a memo written by Brother Petersen to the First Presidency with his recommendations as to how to respond to me. He informed them that the issues I had raised were real, that Brigham Young had indeed taught these things, but that they could not acknowledge this lest I would “trap them” into saying this therefore meant Brigham was a false prophet (which, of course, they did not believe). He therefore recommended that I be given a very circuitous response, evading the issue, which he volunteered to write. I asked Brother Watson, as well as members of the committee I had previously met with, how this approach would help people like myself who knew better? Wasn’t there concern that some might be dismayed and disillusioned by their church leaders’ lack of candor? Their response was very similar to President Hinckley’s statement mentioned earlier about losing a few through excommunication: they said, in essence, “If a few people lose their testimonies over this, so be it; it’s better than letting the true facts be known, and dealing with the probable wider negative consequences to the mission of the church.” I said, “What about Jesus’ parable where the shepherd leaves the ninety and nine of his flock to pursue the one who has gone astray?” Again the response was that the brethren had to be more concerned for the majority of the flock.

 

 
So we can argue over whether or not Elder Oaks or BRM or Elder Petersen are "good men" or "bad men."  Clearly they have acted in ways that that they felt served the best interest of the Church.  Elder Packer was also very clear on this that the GAs serve the Church, not the member of the Church.  And as other's have stated on this thread -- this course of action is OK because it will all get sorted out in the eternities.
 
I think this policy is a continuation of what has been done in the past.  
Edited by sethpayne
Link to comment

It's granted by the first presidency, but it's actually accomplished by local leaders and implemented by local leaders.  Your point seems to be a distinction without any actual difference.

 

When someone says 'This policy must be followed exactly how it's written and that's why it's so damaging' when they know that such policies are often modified from the way they are written, that's a disingenuous argument to put forth.

Bluebell, I respect you so I'm trying to be patient . But please stop calling my approach disingenuous.

 

Getting exceptions is not a rubber stamp. Local leaders can request but it doesn't guarantee a result. The local leaders must follow the policy exactly. Part of that policy allows for first presidency approval so the act of requesting that is in compliance with the policy.

Link to comment

Gay marriage was not something the 19th century populace was clamoring for.  

 

Use of Meth or Marijuana was not mentioned in the Word of Wisdom either.

 

Certainly homosexuality existed, and no mention of that either.

 

Of course I don't personally believe that even the most spiritually attuned prophets can predict the future, but presumably most orthodox members do. 

Link to comment

Bluebell, I respect you so I'm trying to be patient . But please stop calling my approach disingenuous.

 

Getting exceptions is not a rubber stamp. Local leaders can request but it doesn't guarantee a result. The local leaders must follow the policy exactly. Part of that policy allows for first presidency approval so the act of requesting that is in compliance with the policy.

 

I don't know a leader that ignores the Spirit in favor of written policy.  That is the exact opposite of how leaders are trained and taught.  CFR that a local bishop has no option to follow the Spirit.

Link to comment

Considering the concept barely came into existence a few years ago it's a bit ridiculous to expect otherwise. Or to reject the authorized servants of the Lord they do speak on a new concept

 

No scripture addresses gay marriage, of course. But the restoration texts don't even address homosexuality, which is older than humanity itself. 

Link to comment

Can you understand why I might have concerns with an apostle saying that we don't want to be responsible or shepherding people who desire to enter the fold?

Yes, but I think the concern arises from not paying attention to what he is saying. As one who had to wait several years before baptism (due to Church policy) through no fault of my own, I understand and agree fully with a policy such as this, and with everything he said in the interview after its reveal. And in my case, I was barely fellowshipped at all; the Lord had to tend to me. And I do not consider myself an “exceptional case.”

Visiting church still creates the conflict that this policy is designed to avoid.  So attending church as a visitor is a not desired (per Elder Christofferson).

CFR that he says that attending Church as a visitor is not desired. On the other hand, I do think the following statement does allow for receiving them both as visitors and friends: “We think it’s possible and mandatory, incumbent upon us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, to yield no ground in the matter of love and sympathy and help and brotherhood and serving in doing all we can for anybody; at the same time maintaining the standards He maintained. That was the Savior’s pattern. …His compassion, of course, was unexcelled and His desire and willingness and proactive efforts to minister, to heal, to bless, to lift and to bring people toward the path that leads to happiness never ceased. That’s where we are. We’re not going to stop that.”

As for your definitions of social participation/engagement... Would you agree that generally speaking LDS look at social participation as the gateway to full participation?  Our exclusively "social" activities are fairly limited.  The goal is usually to use purely social activities as a means of encouraging potential investigators to come to church.  Is your thought that we would involve these kids in cub scouts, activity days, and youth sports will discouraging them from attending church with the hope that when they move out of the home they will still desire to join the church?

Of course casual and social participation is a gateway to something greater. Participation is developmental. My thought is that we would involve these kids in cub scouts, activity days, youth sports, and meeting attendance as the responsible couples see fit. Given Elder Cristofferson’s quote above, when they move out of the home we are still there to continue to welcome and involve them if they desire, including joining the church.

The policy is about excluding children who have a parent in a gay relationship.  It expressly excludes them baptism and ordination.  And Elder Christofferson said the desire is that they not attend church due to conflicting messages from our teachings.

You keep asserting that, and what the policy is about (to you), but that is not what Elder Cristofferson is saying it is about. I already replied to this with post #497. CFR that Elder Christofferson said the desire is that they not attend church due to conflicting messages from our teachings.

I have no clue what you are trying to communicate with your other statements about the article (Ensign or Interview with Tom Christofferson).

These remarks are about the Tom Cristofferson article you posted, which doesn’t reflect the same insight as the Elder Cristofferson interview. I described how the interview with Tom comes across, and why.

 

Either people without authorization leaked the policy or leaked it without authorization to disseminate it as it has been. They would not have done this had they been applying the principles of the Sep 2015 Ensign article about Handbooks. Likewise, any who are criticizing the policy (whether they are authorized to have a copy or not) would not be doing so if applying those principles.

Link to comment
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...