Friday, November 6, 2015

The LDS church won't allow children of same sex parents to become members...

Not that I'm surprised by the news.  It's a well known fact that Mormons don't approve of homosexuality and they firmly believe that marriage is to be between men and women.  I suppose what did surprise me is that I read about this on the Web site for a church owned television station.

I was curious to see what the reaction was from people actually affected by the policy.  Many commenters seemed to be disgusted by the blatantly exclusionary policy, which reads that children of gay parents have to wait until they are eighteen years old before they become members.  And they have to disavow the homosexual lifestyle.  One apologist had this to say:

This policy, like the same policy that has long applied to children of polygamous families is a blessing and protection for the children.

Baptism, ordination, and other sacraments/ordinances of the LDS Church are not merely about membership in a club or rights of passage. Rather, they are generally sacred covenant between the person and the Lord.

What are the odds that a child living in a home headed by parents/guardians living in direct contradiction of church teachings on an issue of such seriousness as the nature of marriage (ie polygamists or homosexual couples) is going to be supported in honoring baptismal or other covenants?

Once he is an adult and living on his own, the child may make his own choices, but will need to specifically disavow lifestyles such as polygamy or homosexual conduct. He does not disavow his parents, only the conduct.

"He does not disavow the parents, only the conduct."  That is an interesting statement, especially given how many children struggling with "same sex attraction" end up being disowned by their Mormon parents.  Suicide is also a big problem among homosexual Mormons.  I found an article from last December about queer advocacy in the LDS church.  Activist Wendy Williams Montgomery explains her efforts to change the church's policies to be more accepting of homosexuals.  But change requires a unanimous vote from twelve men, many of whom are elderly and have very "old school" ways of thinking.  

Meanwhile, Montgomery gets letters from parents asking if they should kick their gay son or daughter out of the house to "protect" the other children from perversion.  According to the article I linked, there's an average of one gay suicide in Utah per week.  Utah hospitals are treating two or three people per day for suicide attempts.  While not every suicide attempt is related to homosexuality and Mormonism, there is evidence that it's a big problem in heavily Mormon populated areas. 

Hang out on RfM and you will read about people who have struggled with homosexuality within the LDS church as well as people who have lost family members to suicide.  In fact, a few years ago, a talented and much beloved gay member of the RfM community committed suicide.  The poster, who went by the nicknames FlattopSF and XYZ, was a kind and intelligent man.  Many people had never met him in person, but still loved him for what he wrote and the wonderful art he created.  He was disowned by his family and their absence from his life was palpable on the page set up for his obituary.  He got many expressions of sympathy from strangers who knew him on the Internet, but nothing from the people who created and raised him.  Follow this link to read Flattop's thoughts on homosexuality within the LDS church.  

While it may seem like homosexual people would not be interested in Mormonism, there are homosexual people in the world who were raised Mormon and love the church.  They would like to be a part of it, but feel very unwelcome.  Many of them leave the religion and, if they are lucky, find happiness outside of it.  Others continue to struggle with their feelings and the way they were raised.  Some of them stay in the church, but hide their homosexuality.  Being Mormon and gay can mean being shut off from family and friends, though fortunately it does seem like more LDS families are becoming more accepting of homosexuality, even if the church itself doesn't accept it.  On the other hand, when a homosexual marries a straight person in an attempt to live a straight life, he or she is not the only one who suffers.  I have read accounts by the LDS poet Carol Lynn Pearson and her daughter, Emily Pearson.  Both women married amazing homosexual men who happened to be LDS.  Both dealt with the aftermath and eventually divorced when the men found they couldn't live a lie.

Personally, I think the children of homosexuals should avoid the Mormon church.  But then, I think all children should avoid it.  That's just my opinion.  I think the church is toxic.  However, I do have empathy for people who embrace Mormonism.  No, this policy against the children of same sex parents doesn't surprise me at all.  I don't see it as "protective"or a "blessing", particularly since under normal circumstances, children aged eight are considered old enough for accountability.  A child aged eight could be baptized if he or she has straight parents who are criminals.  But a child who has gay parents can't be baptized because being gay is such a "terrible sin".  He or she must wait until aged eighteen to join.  Well... good.  I think everyone who wants to be in a church should wait until age eighteen.  At least then, there might be a prayer that the person will know what he or she signing up for in the ensuing years.  At least then, the person will be a legal adult who can legally make such life altering decisions.

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