I'm not one to speak out on the LDS church... But this has gone too far!
November 6, 2015 8:33 AM   Subscribe

 
Can someone explain this to me? Is this backlash from SLC electing a lesbian mayor? Like, does this church want to run itself into the ground?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:38 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


They've already lost the debate here, and they're doubling down. And this is after they already lost the Boy Scouts.

Dumb.

There was a great comment here (that I can't find) arguing that these tone-deaf reactions from LDS come from the fact that the current President is really old (88), and not providing a lot of direction from the top. When that kind of power vacuum happens in an organization, the hardliners will usually grow in influence.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:39 AM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Prop 8. Talk about a poison pill.
posted by gwint at 8:39 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I posted about this on Facebook last night... and have not seen a single peep about it from my Mormon friends, who pride themselves on being so open and accepting of their LGBT friends and relatives. I wonder how those friends of theirs are feeling today.
posted by palomar at 8:43 AM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


From the SLT link:
The policy also bars children from being baptized, confirmed, ordained to the church priesthood or recommended for missionary service without the permission of the faith's highest leaders — the governing First Presidency.

To get that permission, the policy states that a request must be made through a mission president or a regional church leader, and only after certain requirements are met. Those requirements are that a child is committed to living church doctrine and "specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage," is 18 "and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage."
How cruel to these children and their parents. How cruel.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:45 AM on November 6, 2015 [62 favorites]


This seems strange even from the viewpoint of "homosexuality is wrong." On what theological justification are you to base this refusal of a blessing and baptism on an individual for the actions of their parents?

I posted about this on Facebook last night... and have not seen a single peep about it from my Mormon friends, who pride themselves on being so open and accepting of their LGBT friends and relatives.

All of my Mormon friends (who happen to be very active in the Mormon Feminist movement) are incredibly upset by this move.
posted by Dalby at 8:45 AM on November 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


On what theological justification are you to base this refusal of a blessing and baptism on an individual for the actions of their parents?

The justification is forcing parents to conform out of fear for their children.

It's horseshit.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:48 AM on November 6, 2015 [17 favorites]


I just cannot believe the Mormon church just did this. My Facebook feed has just blown up. I was born Mormon, have a huge Mormon family, and lived in Utah for most of my adult life. I have gay family members.

The new policy requires that children denounce their gay, married family members to participate in the Mormon rituals that all Mormons do. Denounce! I am floored.

I am also royally worried and pissed off because I am getting married at the end of this month and all of my uber-Mormon siblings have said they are coming! It was unexpected that they would all show up, but really exciting!

Now, what is going to happen? Jesus, Mormons; why?
posted by djinn dandy at 8:49 AM on November 6, 2015 [51 favorites]


All of my Mormon friends (who happen to be very active in the Mormon Feminist movement) are incredibly upset by this move.


Ditto; my friend has been arguing with more conservative relatives, posting info to suicide hotlines/the Trevor Hotline/the trans advocacy hotline in case this decision ends up driving people to self harm, and just now, posting links to Bible verses about love and acceptance.

As far as I can tell, there's a small, but very vocal and definitely growing, part of the LDS Church trying to fight.
posted by damayanti at 8:50 AM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


On what theological justification are you to base this refusal of a blessing and baptism on an individual for the actions of their parents?

I think the real test here is whether they have an identical policy for children born into polygamous families.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 8:51 AM on November 6, 2015 [26 favorites]


On what theological justification are you to base this refusal of a blessing and baptism on an individual for the actions of their parents?

My guess is that if they are trying to make a theological justification it is somehow related to sealing. I hope a Mormon can come in and clarify this, but Mormon children are sealed to their parents, like married couples are sealed to one another, right? Is something that happens at the baptism or blessing? If so, it might be about not wanting to seal a child to the non-bio partner / not wanting to recognize that person as parent.

This disavow your parents thing is also being applied to the children of polygamists, btw. One of the Sister Wives kids wanted to convert to LDS (she does not wish to be polygamous herself), but the LDS church won't baptize her unless she condemns her parents and the rest of her family for being polygamous.

[yes, my knowledge of religious faiths other than my own is based almost entirely on reality TV and reading that I do around my reality tv interests. I believe this was established in the duggars' threads.]
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:51 AM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


As long as they have the mixed-orientation marriage on offer, the LDS church seems unlikely to budge in favor of marrying the person you actually love and want to have sex with.

And, to be fair, a same-sex marriage does throw a wrench into the rigid system they've set up for who gets into heaven and how. I kind of get where they're coming from, for only purely logistical reasons*.

*if one can apply logic to the idea of Celestial Family and getting your own planet, etc.
posted by witchen at 8:54 AM on November 6, 2015


Mod note: A couple comments removed. Critical commentary about this is fine, but let's skip the low-hanging-lulz stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:55 AM on November 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


And to think we nearly elected one of these guys four years ago, whose religion treats people in this way. America dodged a bullet.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 8:56 AM on November 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


I wonder what the theological justification is for the deception and lies around their actions:
..100,000 Church members working on election day, created several slick "Yes on Prop 8" web sites, produced at least nine commercials, created four video broadcasts and conducted at two satellite simulcasts over five Western states. It claimed it did all this for only $2078 which it reported as an "in-kind" contribution to the Yes on 8 committee.
It's generally a warning sign when you are lying about your actions and covering them up that they are probably not ethical actions to begin with.
posted by el io at 8:56 AM on November 6, 2015 [21 favorites]


The part about "specifically disavowing the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage" is bad enough, but what really gets me is that the (adult) child is forbidden from living with a gay parent, even if that parent is no longer in a relationship.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 8:58 AM on November 6, 2015


Lets say a child of muslim parents wanted to become Mormon; would they have to denounce their parents? (Not rhetorical, I'm curious how consistent this policy is with the religion overall)
posted by Bovine Love at 8:59 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to rehash what I've said earlier about this. Having grown up in the religion, it's sort of a trigger issue with me. I think this is proof that things are not getting better.
posted by Catblack at 8:59 AM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know I am skipping over some very important issues here, but I just want to say (especially after the Jehovah's choose-to-die thread): I really like the idea of being required to wait until you are an adult to be baptized/allowed to join a religion. At age 0 I had no say in being baptized. At age 13 my thoughts didn't count and my questions were dismissed with scripture. At age 18 I would have had some choice words to say to the elders/preachers/priests, etc.
posted by zyxwvut at 9:01 AM on November 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


All our liberal atheist readers get very upset by such things but in defense of the Mormon church: look at just about any church in the world that is fairly orthodox and you will see similar prohibitions of one sort or another. The Reform Jewish board approves of trans rabbis, but that is merely a suggestion for the Reform branches. Conservative and Orthodox strictly against such things.
Mormon church used to strictly opposed to members being Black but seemingly has put that aside.
Now such beliefs may strike some of us as mean spirited, or stupid, or in fact self defeating, but then it works for true believers or otherwise it would not be in place and in the future might not be.
The good news? Our nation at last is moving to a more non-religious population among the young/
posted by Postroad at 9:03 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


There is no defending bigoted, homophobic actions. There's especially no defending them on the basis of "well other people suck too."

The leadership of the LDS sucks. There is no defence for that. None whatsoever.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:06 AM on November 6, 2015 [46 favorites]


nd to think we nearly elected one of these guys four years ago, whose religion treats people in this way. America dodged a bullet.

I am about as much of fan of ol' Mittens as any agnostic bleeding-heart feminist fan of big government would be, but this is unfair and reminiscent of the old attacks against Catholic candidates. The President can separate his or her personal faith from the office.
posted by sallybrown at 9:08 AM on November 6, 2015 [45 favorites]


It is indefensible and unquestionably evil, and goes against everything I have ever stood for as a Christian and a Mormon. I am disgusted.
posted by The World Famous at 9:10 AM on November 6, 2015 [61 favorites]


Can? Yes. Will, if a Republican? Nope--GWB is the most recent example, and looking at how the current clown car falls all over themselves to prove their religiosity it seems even less likely that they would.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:10 AM on November 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm a secular humanist myself, but I think snarking hard at LDS people here is a bit like finger wagging at people who live in flood zones who then suffer flood damage. That is, I wouldn't say you are entirely wrong if you say "What did you expect?" but you are entirely being a dick.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:11 AM on November 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


I expect a church not to treat a segment of its population like lepers.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:13 AM on November 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

From the LDS Articles of Faith.

I'm not a Mormon, but I've always understood that to mean children were not guilty of anything other then their own sins. They're not guilty for what Adam did or their parents. There's beliefs which state children under the age of 8 are sinless. 8 is the usual age to be baptized into the church. From the Book of Mormon, Moroni 8:8 - "...wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them..."

So this decision is puzzling. If the children are sinless up until 8, and they're not supposed to be guilty for their parents "mistakes", then why deny them? Not to mention, the church is being self-defeating. I can't imagine why any same-sex couple would try to raise their kids in the church but if they did, then the church has the potential of a new lifelong member.

It's also puzzling in other ways. This is going to be a nightmare for a shrinking church which has made every effort to look mainstream. It's also going to be incredibly divisive in the rank-and-file membership, even the ones who are very homophobic, because most church members put a high value on childhood and ensuring children get raised in the church.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:14 AM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Really we need a 21st century Dissolution of the Monasteries, more or less.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:14 AM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


When news of this broke yesterday, the response of every orthodox Mormon I know was to accuse those breaking the news of spreading an anti-Mormon lie. Once the church confirmed through its PR department that it is true (no church leader has yet uttered a word about it), it's been mostly crickets and disgusted shock from even my most fierce defender of the faith friends.
posted by The World Famous at 9:15 AM on November 6, 2015 [35 favorites]


So this decision is puzzling. If the children are sinless up until 8, and they're not supposed to be guilty for their parents "mistakes", then why deny them?

It's not puzzling at all; this is about controlling adults through their children, and indoctrinating those children.

This is going to be a nightmare for a shrinking church which has made every effort to look mainstream.

Every effort? Hardly. And for hardliners it's better to be pure than it is to do the right thing. This is true in all sorts of areas.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:16 AM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was born in Utah to a Mormon family, and I still live in the state, but I've never had a religious bone in my body (thank god). The county I was born in is about 90% LDS last I checked. Every time the church pulls a boneheaded move such as this, a handful of new people confess to me that they suspect that the magical bearded sky man may not actually exist. They confess to me because I am safe--confessing to spouses, parents, or friends is the short-road to extreme-intervention-and-ostracization town. Sadly, almost without exception, said person continues to attend church and go through the motions, just to avoid the conflict and maintain relations with family and friends.

I say let those 12 old white men bungle their way to irrelevance.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 9:17 AM on November 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


it's been mostly crickets and disgusted shock from even my most fierce defender of the faith friends.

I don't know how anyone of any decency or goodwill can stay in the Mormon church after this. How many queer mormon youth have to end up homeless or attempt suicide before it's too much?
posted by andoatnp at 9:18 AM on November 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hot Pastrami!: "the magical bearded sky man may not actually exist."

Speaking as a secular humanist: use your adult words.
posted by boo_radley at 9:18 AM on November 6, 2015 [63 favorites]


The only word that comes to mind: cowardly.
posted by area.man at 9:19 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Mormons in my Facebook feed are upset about the decision to treat children of gay parents like the children of polygamists. The distinction seems to be that the polygamists represent a rival Book of Mormon sect, but "gay" is not a rival sect.
posted by zennie at 9:20 AM on November 6, 2015


Honestly it is bullshit that they do it to the children of polygamists as well.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:21 AM on November 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


This year the church had all its adult members read the writings of Ezra Taft Benson. He was a John Bircher, and its seemed to me the church was hoping for a step back in time. I had wondered if the church were paving the way for recoonciliation with the fundamentalist sects who kept the practice of polygamy. I don't mean the Hilldale people, but the AUB folks wbo keep up a more suburban appearance. Those offshoot churches are rich, but typically from child labor and sequestering the economic benefits of women's labor. In fairness also these churches started when land in the west was for the having, including water and mineral resources.

The church has to be up against it with regard to LGBT issues. Because of the historic discrimination against LGBT Utahans, they migrated into Salt Lake from the more conservative areas of the state. Salt Lake then became a very gay friendly city. I think its ranking just came up. The church has to be threatened, and mystified. The statistical history is obvious to all but the church.

There is a political backlash to the liberalism of Salt Lake County, in statewide education policy, and politics in general. The frustration of the sub rosa state government is nowhere more evident than the attempt to appropriate federally protected lands for population expansion by creating profit.

The end time thinking plays into the tightening of social guidelines as well. The algorithms we all talk about play out for the church's planners and they face these certain numbers and try to craft protective policies. With the reality of Salt Lake County's real word profile, taking a step back in time has an appeal based on protection of their future and identity.

Some other factors not commonly known; the military foots the bills in this state, and as such there is a strong, supported lean to the right. The defense industry is also a major financial player, and a host of other highly technical enterprises who require legions of dedicated, loyal, unquestioning workers. The collective bread of Utah is buttered by this.

Without the clever and other reality based folks of the Salt Lake Valley, Utah would be even more sorely out of balance. On one hand recently this church has made some very civil statements about tolerance, but the core of this church, the idealogues, (rather than the money guys,) are protecting core values. These core values do not reflect well in the mirror of reality.
posted by Oyéah at 9:22 AM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Oh yeah polygamists are bad but at least they're not gay." Ugh.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:22 AM on November 6, 2015


Some quotes I've seen from my Mormon Facebook feed:

"All children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation. For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity. Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy." (Moroni 8:17-19)

"Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them." (Moroni 8:8)
posted by Dalby at 9:23 AM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm just a dabbler in history, but offhand... I can't think of one single instance where unilaterally declaring part of your membership apostate has ended well for any religion.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 9:23 AM on November 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


> I'm a secular humanist myself, but I think snarking hard at LDS people here is a bit
> like finger wagging at people who live in flood zones who then suffer flood damage.
> That is, I wouldn't say you are entirely wrong if you say "What did you expect?" but
> you are entirely being a dick.

Speaking strictly for myself, I am strangely OK with being "entirely a dick" to bigots, racists, people who think superstition trumps reason, and especially those who use the aforementioned things as an excuse to harm others.
posted by sourcequench at 9:25 AM on November 6, 2015 [24 favorites]


I'm just a dabbler in history, but offhand... I can't think of one single instance where unilaterally declaring part of your membership apostate has ended well for any religion.

It happens.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:27 AM on November 6, 2015


I'm with sourcequench on that one, and will extend it to anyone who gives cover to bigots.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:27 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


For an idea of what thoughtful, faithful, and left-leaning Mormons are thinking and feeling today (or any other day), let me recommend By Common Consent, which, it should be noted, is a community blog of primarily committed, faithful Mormons that does not shrink from thoughtful criticism but has had (and continues to have) a close relationship of trust with the church.
posted by The World Famous at 9:28 AM on November 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


I'm a secular humanist myself, but I think snarking hard at LDS people here is a bit like finger wagging at people who live in flood zones who then suffer flood damage. That is, I wouldn't say you are entirely wrong if you say "What did you expect?" but you are entirely being a dick.

Speaking strictly for myself, I am strangely OK with being "entirely a dick" to bigots, racists, people who think superstition trumps reason, and especially those who use the aforementioned things as an excuse to harm others.

Except that's missing the point. The issue is that the set of LDS people != the set of bigots, and it's a dick move to make that assumption. What's more, you're alienating your allies.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:29 AM on November 6, 2015 [20 favorites]


I'm a secular humanist myself, but I think snarking hard at LDS people here is a bit like finger wagging at people who live in flood zones who then suffer flood damage. That is, I wouldn't say you are entirely wrong if you say "What did you expect?" but you are entirely being a dick.

A decision by the human leadership of an organization is not a natural disaster.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:30 AM on November 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


i'm a queer ex-mormon. being queer is one of the things that drove me out of the church in the late 90s.

some background...the mormons have something called the 13 articles of faith. the second one - right behind "we believe in god the eternal father, and in his son jesus christ, and in the holy ghost" is "man will be punished for his own sins and not for adam's transgressions." to say that not punishing children for the sins of their parents is a cornerstone of the faith is understating things. they have already ignored that for children of polygamous families (which honestly maybe more fucked up on a smaller scale because they internally created the issue of polygamous mormon families), but i don't believe the prohibitions are as strict as what they just rolled out.


All our liberal atheist readers get very upset by such things but in defense of the Mormon church

i vehemently disagree with this comment because of the doctrine of the mormon church. just because other faiths have similar prohibitions doesn't excuse the mormons. from an inside baseball sort of way, this is as big as if the mormons suddenly started believing in the trinity, or stopped believing in immersion baptism, or rescinded the requirement for baptisms of the dead. this is a big, big deal as far as doctrine is concerned.


beyond the doctrine - i've talked with a fair number of queer ex-mormons over the last 12 hours and every single one i've talked to is really seriously hurt by this. it's hard to unpack in a secular/general space, but, speaking only for myself - if i were still a 10 year old kid in the church and this new rule came down? i wouldn't have made it out of mormonism alive. so yeah, maybe in the long run this is good because people will leave, people won't join, people will question the teachings and the leaders - but i also am positive this is going to lead to suicides -suicides the parents will cover up the true cause of, and might even celebrate because they think it'll be better for their kids to meet their maker before they commit the "sin on par with murder."


Speaking strictly for myself, I am strangely OK with being "entirely a dick" to bigots, racists, people who think superstition trumps reason, and especially those who use the aforementioned things as an excuse to harm others.

except some of those people are the people who will be hurt the most by this. it's like yelling about how stupid all of kentucky is because of who they elected, ignoring that the victims have little choice. be mad at the leadership, be mad at those who agree with this policy, but maybe make a tiny space to feel some compassion for the victims who do believe in the church.
posted by nadawi at 9:31 AM on November 6, 2015 [92 favorites]


When you're the people who are having the bigotry thrown at you, it's not an unfair assumption to go "if you're not screaming about this and/or leaving your nasty bigoted organization, you are part of the problem."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:33 AM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Postroad: The Reform Jewish board approves of trans rabbis, but that is merely a suggestion for the Reform branches. Conservative and Orthodox strictly against such things.

Not exactly.

Jewish governing bodies like the Union for Reform Judaism set guidelines for their synagogues to follow. That's how they operate. They're not like the Vatican is for the Catholic Church and can't rule by fiat.

That is in keeping with how the religion functions as well. Jews' relationship with Judaism is individual as well as congregational. A Conservative rabbi (for example) can say, "a Jew should keep kosher' but can't force you or anyone else to do so in your own home. Jews get to decide their level of observance and acceptance of various rituals and laws without having them imposed by a religious authority.

So yes, they've established a guideline. It's more than just a suggestion. It's a statement of the standards they believe a Jewish Reform synagogue should set, and it's based on Reform halacha -- Jewish laws and traditions.

Since 2006, the American Conservative movement has permitted each congregational rabbi and rabbinical school to determine their own policies regarding gender and sexual orientation. The first openly trans rabbi was hired as an Education Director at a Conservative shul in Pasadena last year.
posted by zarq at 9:33 AM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


When you're the people who are having the bigotry thrown at you, it's not an unfair assumption to go

except you're saying that to the people who are directly having that bigotry thrown at them. i know it stretches the brain to think of active mormons who are openly queer - but they exist and they're hurting more over this than you are, i promise you.
posted by nadawi at 9:34 AM on November 6, 2015 [49 favorites]


Another Mormon here. I think the policy is a mistake, and runs deeply counter to some other important LDS tenets (as has been pointed out, article of faith 2 comes to mind). And my first reaction was that this seemed to be driven by a deep fear on the part of conservative church leaders that not only have they lost the social battle over SSM, they already fear losing it internally.

But some acquaintances have pointed out to me this appears to be an extension of an existing policy regarding children of polygamous families, and may be driven by the desire to avoid putting kids in a position with tension between church and family until they're older. Others have pointed out the church is similarly skittish about converting Muslims in some contexts. So there's a precedent for this kind of caution that goes well beyond homophobia and may actually be centered in concern for the well-being of potential converts.

I'm not convinced that means the policy is a good idea, but I do think it's possible it's not motivated by hate. People can be wrong without being driven by darkness.
posted by weston at 9:35 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Stephen Harper being Prime Minister did not give me permission to yell "Fuck You" at every Canadian I met. FFFM, you're doing the same thing with Mormons. Lots of people are angry about this, and many of them are Mormons. Please stop yelling "Fuck You" at them.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:35 AM on November 6, 2015 [42 favorites]


When you're the people who are having the bigotry thrown at you, it's not an unfair assumption to go "if you're not screaming about this and/or leaving your nasty bigoted organization, you are part of the problem."

It's sure as hell not very compassionate. People have LDS so integrated into their business, personal, and social lives and communities, asking them to toss it all because of a decision in which they had no say is asking for hell of a lot.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:35 AM on November 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


When you're the people who are having the bigotry thrown at you, it's not an unfair assumption to go "if you're not screaming about this and/or leaving your nasty bigoted organization, you are part of the problem."

Yes, but those obviously aren't the victims that nadawi is talking about. They love their church, but they're deeply hurt by this move. See for instance this article:

On a friend’s Facebook this morning, and in light of yesterday’s policy change forbidding the minor children of gay couples from being blessed or baptized, a friend of a friend asked why anyone would stay in the church.

For me, the answer is complicated and messy, but it has a couple parts. The selfish reason is, it has been a force for good in my life. It has helped me become the person I am, it has helped me develop a relationship with the divine, it has helped me establish my moral compass.

The unselfish reason is, I’ve seen the church work wonders in others’ lives. The lives of people who aren’t as fortunate as me, who financial or familial situations would impede the best of us. I’ve seen members reach out to those in pain, to lift those who have struggled. I’ve personally been on both ends of that comfort and that lifting.

So I’m deeply loyal to the church.

Seriously. I’ve accepted every calling I’ve received, I’ve given time and money toward building the church and the Kingdom. I’ve studied, I’ve prayed. I attend church. I attend a lot of church. Like, when my family is on vacation, we go to the full three-hour block, even where nobody knows us and nobody would care.

Which makes the church’s policy announcement all the more jarring. Jarring because it is both unnecessary and wrong. It hurts children, children that we believe (with strong scriptural justification) are innocent, in fact cannot sin. It closes the door on people whom we could love, people whom we could help and who could help us. It feels pointedly un-Mormon and un-Christian.

I’m typing this slower than I usually type, because this is hard to write. But I don’t have any choice. I’m loyal to the church. And that loyalty demands that I do what is in my power to help the church move forward, and to help it correct course when it falters.

And yesterday it faltered. And yet, in spite of the misstep, the core of the church is good, the core is loving and salvific and beautiful. And I want, I hope, that the church realizes this was a mistake, jettisons it, and corrects its course.

posted by Dalby at 9:36 AM on November 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


But some acquaintances have pointed out to me this appears to be an extension of an existing policy regarding children of polygamous families, and may be driven by the desire to avoid putting kids in a position with tension between church and family until they're older.

If you're essentially ex-communicated by a church at birth, though, it's pretty unlikely you're going to discover Mormonism as an adult.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:36 AM on November 6, 2015


boo_radley: "Speaking as a secular humanist: use your adult words."

I reserve the right to speak dismissively of extraordinary claims which lack extraordinary evidence. Regardless, I was paraphrasing a sentiment common among freshly minted ex-Mormons.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 9:38 AM on November 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


i have heard a number of queer ex and current mormons worry that this is the first step with the next step being that families of gay people have to denounce and disown them to stay in good standing. i know queer people who are still living with their parents who are worried that this will lead to them being kicked out of their house, where previously an uneasy peace was found. if a strong family bond is why they're doing this, they're working against their own goal. this will tear families apart, not bring them together.
posted by nadawi at 9:40 AM on November 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


Even still, I think it's better for conversation to say things like, "I'm an atheist."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:40 AM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


When you're the people who are having the bigotry thrown at you, it's not an unfair assumption to go "if you're not screaming about this and/or leaving your nasty bigoted organization, you are part of the problem."

This line of thinking is a lot like the Islamophobia that says "Where are all the moderate Muslims who denounce violence? How come they're not screaming and leaving the faith over 9/11 etc etc.?"

And you can't underestimate the degree to which a church (LDS in particular) can literally be a person's entire community, social network, and family, for their entire lives. It's not so easy to say Screw You Nasty Bigots if they are your grandparents, neighbors, children, kids' friends' parents, teachers, doctors, siblings, everyone you know. I feel compassion for believers in these positions, because there's no good way out. Everyone loses.
posted by witchen at 9:41 AM on November 6, 2015 [63 favorites]


When I was a kid in the 70s, I had a friend whose parents were forced to leave the Mormon church (I don't know whether they were formally excommunicated or pushed out and "resigned") because she worked and he was a stay-at-home dad. It was one of the things that put me off religion at a young age, as part of a series of incidents that left me feeling that church was about controlling people and not about all the things that adults kept telling me religion was supposed to be about, like God's love.

I'm an atheist, but I'm sad for the Mormons who are hurting because of this. It's got to be hard to be torn between your faith and your family and/or your own self.
posted by immlass at 9:41 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


leotrotsky and nadawi read my intent pretty well. But to clarify: of course it makes sense to criticize the LDS leadership for this decision as well as any/all Mormons who support it. Of course it does. But it's fairly crapulent to seize on this to snark at LDS people in general--including and maybe even particularly the ones who strongly oppose this move--on the grounds that, LOL, of course this happened, your religion sucks and is stupid, what did you expect, etc.

It got deleted fast, but there were definitely people going that route.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:42 AM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well spake, witchen.
posted by Bob Regular at 9:42 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Stephen Harper being Prime Minister did not give me permission to yell "Fuck You" at every Canadian I met. FFFM, you're doing the same thing with Mormons.

I'm not, I said the leadership sucks.

It's sure as hell not very compassionate. People have LDS so integrated into their business, personal, and social lives and communities, asking them to toss it all because of a decision in which they had no say is asking for hell of a lot.

I don't need to be compassionate to people who see me as less than human. And if your religious belief is more important than the harm you are actively causing, I sure as hell don't need to be compassionate.

I fully understand that there are queer Mormons. What queer Mormons do about their own queerness is their concern. What straight Mormons do is subject to a pretty clear divide: are you supporting or condoning bigotry, y/n?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:42 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


And you can't underestimate the degree to which a church (LDS in particular) can literally be a person's entire community,

yeah - leaving is so tough. i have been out for longer than i was in and i still ache about the familial bonds that have never been repaired. i don't begrudge people who can't leave. if you've never been in it, you likely can't understand the full magnitude.
posted by nadawi at 9:43 AM on November 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


I believe the Mormon church is stricter/harsher than many other faiths about the degree to which someone who leaves the Church should be isolated from their still-in-the-faith family (both on Earth and in their beliefs of the afterlife). This serves as a stronger than usual incentive to stay and try to change the Church from within. (Apologies if I have that wrong.)
posted by sallybrown at 9:44 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


What troubles me most about religion is the abdication of moral authority that so often goes along with it, so it pleases me greatly to see people of faith taking this personally and thoughtfully questioning the dogma and beliefs of their church instead of just blindly accepting the bad with the good.
posted by thedward at 9:44 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


And to think we nearly elected one of these guys four years ago, whose religion treats people in this way. America dodged a bullet.

Um. Well, we elect persons "like this" every year to all kinds of elected office, including city councils and state legislatures, which have way more power in a lot of everyday aspects of people's lives than the POTUS would ever dream of having. In my state, Tennessee, the legislature is packed to the rafters with them -- not LDS per se, but fundies whose religion treats people "in this way" and far worse.

So, no, we have dodged no bullets, nor will we anytime soon. People's and families' lives are ruined, demolished, and ended every day in the US because of politicians who use their religion and insert religion into law as a basis of discriminating against other people, and that shows no signs of doing anything but doubling down.
posted by blucevalo at 9:46 AM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


But it's fairly crapulent to seize on this to snark at LDS people in general--including and maybe even particularly the ones who strongly oppose this move--on the grounds that, LOL, of course this happened, your religion sucks and is stupid, what did you expect, etc.

But the religion is the problem. It always is.

The leaders aren't some aliens who have descended upon the rest of the Mormons, they have power because their organization and members give them power. It's incredibly frustrating to witness the endless parade of bigotry and abuse perpetrated by religious organization and religious organization, and then be told we need to hold our tongues and show deference. This is the kind of thinking that leads to the kind of abuse chronicled in the new movie Spotlight.

This is fucking Stasi shit: denounce your parents or be yourself condemned. Leave this evil organization, don't give it your money, don't give it your support. Let it die, help kill it, and any other religious organization that does this shit.

I hate that this is all dismissed as "LOL religion" when it's crystal clear that religion is the problem. Yet I know in a few weeks or months I'll be reading about how some group has perpetrated some new horror but we can't criticize them too harshly because it's their faith.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:47 AM on November 6, 2015 [52 favorites]



as someone who is queer, who grew up in the church, and who has family still in it, it's a difficult space to practice radical hospitality. I think that though it might not seem to be intended as a penalty, it functions as one. Tbere has been some discussion among orthodox mormons about the differences b/w policy and doctorine, an that this is doctorine and not policy. But, the LDS historically have had a fairly loose line between what was policy and what was doctorine--and for some of us we reflect that looseness by treating policy as doctorine. This might not be fair, but it is not without precedent. The consquence of this policy is that it precludes queer folks from being part of the full life of the church. Being the child of a single parent, there have been a lot of ways that the church (sometimes accidentally) does that precluding, and so for some queer folk or queer friendly folk, it seems to be an ongoing pattern of behaviour where children are being told because of their parents, they will never be part of the life of the church. Because the church emphasizes so much a singular family unit, this also allow for a kind of class stratifaction of family, where some families are considered dmore morally valid or morally present than others. For me, this policy is part of that positoning. I am having trouble finding reaons where it might not be, that might be disrespectful to say outloud. I acknowledge that if the church did try to baptize them, then it would cause some kerfuffle, but I wonder if the kerfuffle comes from a culture of mutual disrespect.

Lastly. I know that she will never do this, but I wonder what it wil ltake my liberal, radicall open, hard femminist, deeply loving mother, to finally say fuck it and leave.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:47 AM on November 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


Maybe THIS religion is a problem, but there are plenty of religious folks who are not only not a problem, but really awesome.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:48 AM on November 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


My first experiences with the Mormon Church were as a teenager where they had all these great TV commercials about Love and Family and Understanding and I thought, "Wow, these guys seem like a nice bunch of people".

Later on in life I was literally (yes literally) run out of a small Arizona city, controlled by Mormons (city council, HR departments, local lawyers) and blacklisted from any jobs there because I was trans so my views on those ... people... changed considerably.
posted by AGameOfMoans at 9:48 AM on November 6, 2015 [19 favorites]


I am about as much of fan of ol' Mittens as any agnostic bleeding-heart feminist fan of big government would be, but this is unfair and reminiscent of the old attacks against Catholic candidates.

Romney was a church bishop and stake president, and also threatened to excommunicate another church member:

In that moment, she also felt intimidated. Here was Romney, who held great power as her church leader and was the head of a wealthy, prominent Belmont family, sitting in her gritty apartment making grave demands. “And then he says, ‘Well, this is what the church wants you to do, and if you don’t, then you could be excommunicated for failing to follow the leadership of the church,’ ” Hayes recalled. It was a serious threat. At that point Hayes still valued her place within the Mormon Church. “This is not playing around,” she said. “This is not like ‘You don’t get to take Communion.’ This is like ‘You will not be saved. You will never see the face of God.’ ” Romney would later deny that he had threatened Hayes with excommunication, but Hayes said his message was crystal clear: “Give up your son or give up your God.”

This seems to be a larger pattern of broader behavior, but I'm thankful an outright bully, someone who used his status and power within his religion to bully another human being, was not promoted to a job where he would have access to our nuclear codes.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:48 AM on November 6, 2015 [14 favorites]


Stephen Harper being Prime Minister did not give me permission to yell "Fuck You" at every Canadian I met. FFFM, you're doing the same thing with Mormons. Lots of people are angry about this, and many of them are Mormons. Please stop yelling "Fuck You" at them.

I can't speak for other Canadians but I spent a lot of time being ashamed and apologizing for him even though as an expat I personally never had the chance to vote in an election that involved him.

There is a level of community responsibility that one must accept if one chooses to identify with that community.
posted by srboisvert at 9:50 AM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Maybe THIS religion is a problem, but there are plenty of religious folks who are not only not a problem, but really awesome.

Then I'm sure they'd be really awesome without it too, and then they wouldn't be giving evil asshole money and power to enact their evil assholery.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:50 AM on November 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


oh my god can we fucking not turn this into another "religions are bad!" "some religions are good!" fight?
posted by nadawi at 9:51 AM on November 6, 2015 [80 favorites]


But the religion is the problem. It always is.

I hope I'm misreading you, but this seems patently false.
posted by Dalby at 9:52 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mods, please enable a multi-favorite function for nawawi's comment.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:52 AM on November 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


If you are a Mormon and you think it's OK to require children to denounce their parents then you need to rethink your idea of morality. And I do get to condemn you.
posted by djinn dandy at 9:53 AM on November 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


When you're the people who are having the bigotry thrown at you, it's not an unfair assumption to go "if you're not screaming about this and/or leaving your nasty bigoted organization, you are part of the problem."

This is not very compassionate or understanding of the many Mormons whose personal faith includes a belief that they need to remain in good standing in their own community of family and friends. Nevertheless, as a faithful Mormon and former bishop who is 100% active in the church, I agree with you, FFFM. Right now, I'm screaming about this. Am I leaving the nasty bigoted organization? I don't think so, and I'm sure I deserve criticism for that. But I consider every Mormon I know who is not openly and fiercely opposed to this to be part of the problem, even though I do have compassion for them.

Let's think of some of the implications of this policy - again, a policy which no LDS church leader stands behind strongly enough to have said a single word about it.

I have a faithful, church-active LDS friend whose closeted gay husband came out, divorced her, and is now living with his male significant other. They have two children together, who live with the mother and are active in the church. The oldest is already baptized, but the youngest is now prohibited from being baptized. Neither of them will be allowed to go on a mission under this policy.

From now on, when Mormon missionaries invite someone to be baptized, their pre-baptism interview will have to include in inquiry as to whether the individual - no matter their age - has a parent who has ever been in a same-sex relationship that included cohabitation for any period of time, at any time in their parent's life. If the answer is yes, the baptism will have to be approved by the First Presidency of the church.

I could go on, but I don't want to.

I believe that the cadre of bigoted lawyers the church hired and turned into its pit bulls starting in the 80s and continuing through Prop 8 and the fight in the courts has spent 30 years having their minds and ability to reason warped, along with their consciences, and that now that they have run out of litigation to keep them busy, they have turned on the hand that has fed them and turned them into the monsters they are. This is a policy that was written by bigoted, evil, incompetent lawyers who have been grinding an ax that they never got to use, and now they're using it. I am not at all surprised that the people I think drafted it drafted it and advocated for it. But I am shocked that the Q15 approved this, and I cannot believe that every single one of them actually agrees with it, even though they apparently voted to approve it. Honestly, I would break my keyboard if I tried to express fully how I feel about this. When the Q15 break silence on this, the only acceptable thing they can do, in my view, is reverse it.
posted by The World Famous at 9:53 AM on November 6, 2015 [56 favorites]


Mormons baptize the dead, including their ancestors, as well as people unlikely to have any interest in being a baptized Mormon. But they won't baptize children because of certain circumstances of their birth. This is all kinds of fucked up, judgmental, assholery.
posted by theora55 at 9:55 AM on November 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


And I know this won't happen, but I think the best possible response to this would be if same-sex married couples and their children attended Mormon church services starting this Sunday and every Sunday in droves until the policy changed, fully participating in church activities, etc. I think the church recognizes that the greatest threat to holding the line on this bigotry is that church members will actually get to know and love gay couples and their children, and this is a desperate attempt to stop that from happening.
posted by The World Famous at 9:57 AM on November 6, 2015 [26 favorites]


If you are a Mormon and you think it's OK to require children to denounce their parents then you need to rethink your idea of morality. And I do get to condemn you.

Literally no one here has disagreed with this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:58 AM on November 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


Mod note: A couple comments removed. fffm, please cool it a bit, this is turning into the same sort of hyperengagement thing that's been a problem a bunch of times previously.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:03 AM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Another queer ex mormon here. I'm not out to my family (they have their suspicions) for various reasons. This shit is making me feel like I need to sacrifice my own self care, because my brother's kids are being raised in this. They are going to go to school with queer kids. I was not the most charitable in such situations, because of my indoctrination. I didn't figure out that I was queer and trans until almost 30 because it was just not something I allowed myself mental bandwidth to consider, because I learned at an early age not to reveal that I had any questions/doubts about the church.

Do I continue to keep my family at arm's length and maintain my ban on discussing the church? Do I send an email with just the second article of faith and a link to the church's pr statement? Do I abandon my efforts to protect my emotional well being and shaky relationship with my parents (they don't understand why I don't tell them much about my life...) by coming out? I have no idea where to go from here with them.

As asked above: Will this policy lead to members needing to denounce their other family members in same-sex cohabitation? Does not coming out and telling them about my over-a-year of doing just that protect them? My parents will never leave the church. It is their entire social community, most of their identity. My brother maybe, but his wife and her family are very mormon as well, so it's very doubtful.

In conclusion: this is evil, cruel, directly against their own articles of faith, and is going to divide a lot more families than it will protect (both families containing queer people and ones that contain people unwilling to stay in the church any longer (leaving the church makes one apostate as well, so I guess I'm already good there)).
posted by HermitDog at 10:06 AM on November 6, 2015 [36 favorites]


I spent many years questioning and speaking out against not only the horrible policies of the LDS church, but also against the culturally embedded lifestyles that prescribe members' actions. If you fit their restrictive mold of what it means to be a man/father or a woman/mother, then the church might seem kind and loving. But if you step anywhere outside that mold--and for me, it was as little as not wanting to be a mother when I was a teen, or wanting to go camping like the boys got to instead of make-up classes, or being opposed to church money and time being used for gun-related activities, or later speaking out against the much larger amount of funding granted to the programs for boys and young men vs. that given to girls and young women, or the times I was ask to sit down and shut up for expressing feminist ideas--then the church teaches you how to be self-loathing, how to lose your compassion, how to feel of little worth (all while preaching the worth of the members--but only the ones who fit that damn mold). I never hated myself as much as when I was part of the LDS church, and I never realized how beautiful freedom was when I finally left it for good. There is no god worth loving in any religion who would treat their children (true children and adults, alike) with such hatred. I have the freedom to be more loving and compassionate now, and while I want to have little patience for those who espouse progressive ideas but remain in the church, I have a hard time with that because I know how the church makes you hate yourself, how it makes you truly, truly afraid to leave, how in some places it is such a part of the community that you would be estranged not only from your faith, but from schools, jobs, etc. Still, I hope someday the strong progressives of the church make a real stand. Talking and blogging doesn't help. The leadership weeds those folks out easily enough. This new doctrine is truly disgusting. There are a few things about the church that I still think/thought were beautiful, and the perfection of children was one of those. Well, I'll keep believing in the perfection of children--as well as the right and beauty of all people to be and love who they choose--and this policy can go to hell.
posted by weeyin at 10:11 AM on November 6, 2015 [48 favorites]


If there is a hell, I'm certain there's a special place set aside for those who use fear and hatred to lead their flocks astray. I'm not sure I can even get my head around the extent to which a Mormon would feel the rug's been pulled from under them.

I hope this gets fixed.
posted by Mooski at 10:13 AM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


our research showed that the Mormon Church had; conducted massive phone banks from Utah and Idaho, bused in thousands of Church members, sent campaign mailers to millions of voters, had 25,000 Church members walking door-to-door over nine weekends throughout the state ... It claimed it did all this for only $2078 which it reported as an "in-kind" contribution to the Yes on 8 committee.

Of all the things I see conservative churches do, stuff like this is the most absolutely mystifying to me. Just how completely over-the-top broken do you have to be as a Christian to think that you should be, in a completely literal sense, bearing false witness? To judges?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:17 AM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


“In some minds there seems to be an idea that there should be a different form of blessing for children born of non-members and for those who are identified with the Church; and it is from such sources that in the case of children belonging to members of the Church ‘the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ and all the attendant favors are frequently conferred upon the child. This is all wrong. If we take the example of our Lord and Redeemer, who is our pattern and whose example we cannot too closely follow, we find that He blessed all who were brought to Him. We have no hint that He asked whose children they were, or the standing or faith of their parents. His remark was, ‘Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven;’ and He laid His hands upon them and blessed them. All little children, no matter what their parentage may be, are innocent in the sight of heaven, and they should be received as such and blessed as such.”

The Editor [George Q. Cannon], “Topics of the Times,” Juvenile Instructor 34 (March 1, 1899): 137-138. Reprinted in Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star 61 (March 30, 1899), 198-199; Latter-day Satins Southern Star 1 (April 29, 1899): 170.
posted by The World Famous at 10:22 AM on November 6, 2015 [19 favorites]


We're well past the "writing is on the wall" stage and well into the "welcome to the new normal" stage. So anyone who is still this active about opposing same-sex marriage might as well just hang a "I am a bigot" sign around their neck and start going to support groups with the neo nazis and KKK.

I don't even try to engage with people like that anymore. They go from being human beings (which includes a basic level of respect and human decency) to simply being obstacles that I have to overcome. If I have to interact with that kind of person, I just lose all empathy towards them. I'm not a member of any church so I say this knowing that I don't have the same relationship with the LDS church that it's member do but I would leave that church in a heartbeat and I'd tell them exactly why. I think every member of the LDS church should do the same whether they have kids or not and no matter what their sexual preferences are.

And, for religions in general, if your message is so weak that you need to threaten people into compliance, it's probably the wrong message.
posted by VTX at 10:24 AM on November 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


My still, small voice tells me this church is false.
posted by Catblack at 10:25 AM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm an atheist, ex-Mormon, and I haven't talked to my mom in a while. I wonder just how Mormon my mom is nowadays. I personally don't care if I'm excommunicated &c, but I wonder if she'll care about her impending grandchild (I'm 7 months pregnant).

I love sudden questions like this. Really makes my day.
posted by XtinaS at 10:25 AM on November 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


There was a great comment here (that I can't find) arguing that these tone-deaf reactions from LDS come from the fact that the current President is really old (88), and not providing a lot of direction from the top. When that kind of power vacuum happens in an organization, the hardliners will usually grow in influence.

That was a comment I made on a thread about LDS excommunications last February. On re-read, it is a pretty nice summary of how power dynamics in the LDS Church work, for anyone interested in that particular topic. And thanks for your kind words about it!

The gist of that (rather lengthy) comment (not an exact quote, but a summary):
When the LDS prophet/president becomes old and enfeebled (as he is right now), there may be a wide range of opinion among the remaining top LDS leadership on any particular topic but because of the system, culture, and leadership vacuum, extremists win.

If there were a vote or consensus-based process among leadership to make the decision, the majority would carry it and moderate viewpoints will be far more likely to win the day. This is what typically happens when the President is actively leading and actively developing that consensus.

But in the leadership vacuum, the extreme and action-oriented minority will 'win' every time, because there is scope for them to take action and no process in place to stop them.

There is a strong incentive for the hardliners to take this course when they can, because once a position has been publicly articulated by the leadership, by whatever method, the rest of the top leadership is certain to fall in line behind it. So anything they win this way becomes de facto Church policy.
This decision about the children of gay parents has all the hallmarks of this dynamic. If it had been a top-down decision by the prophet/president, it would most likely have been publicly announced in the form of a letter read to all LDS wards or some such.

Making such a major announcement as part of a routine update to the Handbook has all the fingerprints of one or two powerful members of the Handbook Committee flexing their muscles as part of the routine revision process.

Handbook 1, as it is now called, is not even available to regular members of the Church. This is the polar opposite of a public announcement, and is exactly the way you would expect change such as this to originate, if the driving force is a few powerful hardline extremists among top leadership.
posted by flug at 10:28 AM on November 6, 2015 [21 favorites]


Do children of murderers, rapists, etc. in the Mormon faith have to denounce the sins of their parents? Or is homosexuality being designated as a special kind of sin?
posted by almostmanda at 10:29 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not a member of any church so I say this knowing that I don't have the same relationship with the LDS church that it's member do but I would leave that church in a heartbeat and I'd tell them exactly why

this is right up there with pontificating to abused people about how you're too strong to stand for it. it's useless. it's tought guy antics. it's cruel.
posted by nadawi at 10:30 AM on November 6, 2015 [49 favorites]


The LDS is so backwards! Still bleeding? What's next, leeches?
posted by clvrmnky at 10:33 AM on November 6, 2015


Here on Metafilter we're fond of telling people to listen to those who've actually lived the experience and held the stakes we're tossing about, and this also might be a really good time for that.
posted by selfnoise at 10:43 AM on November 6, 2015 [46 favorites]


Mod note: Couple comments removed, let's ease off a little.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:48 AM on November 6, 2015


Despite my own problematic experiences with faith, I have a deep respect for people who consciously choose to live lives centered around their faith. That's not an easy path but it can be a worthwhile one. If you are one of these people, I salute you and wish nothing but the best for you.

That said, though: please consider that any religion that encourages its adherents to deny the essential humanity of any other person, on any basis, may not be worthy of your faith and in fact may actively be making you a lesser person.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 10:52 AM on November 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think the church recognizes that the greatest threat to holding the line on this bigotry is that church members will actually get to know and love gay couples and their children, and this is a desperate attempt to stop that from happening.

I agree. When the policies you reflexively endorse visibly affect people you know and like, that's when you start to think about and question them. Isolating the problematic and driving them out of the community is a great way to ensure that the remaining faithful don't see the consequences of what they're really consenting to.

For those of you still in the Church of Latter-Day Saints: I am sorry this is something your leaders have chosen to do. My heart goes out to those of you who will be struggling to reconcile your church's policies with your understanding of what your creed is.
posted by sobell at 10:53 AM on November 6, 2015 [14 favorites]


When you're taught to hate yourself, and then taught that the only way to gain love from your creator and earn eternal salvation is through adhering to the doctrines, yeah, it's hard. And it's not just that. The further along you get in the church, the more temple ordinances you take out, the bigger the punishment for leaving. It took years for me to battle the fear, and even after I'd left, I'd get these flashes of fear that I'd done something so, so horrible and I was going to suffer for it. One of the beautiful promises of the church is spending eternity with your family. But leaving the church means leaving that promise behind. And the church is very cohort-based/tightly knit community style, so leaving the church can also mean leaving every support network you have. For me, though, I have a great non-church network, and even friends who are still in the church are relatively progressive, so I was lucky in that sense. It was all those personal fears that went away slowly. Comparable to the way the abused go back again and again to their abusers.
posted by weeyin at 10:54 AM on November 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


On the upside, my husband and I are apparently now apostates, so that's … liberating?

I've been an atheist for decades, but (gloriously heathen siblings aside) my family is still deeply LDS, so I still have an uncomfortably close relationship with Mormonism. It's not like I can refuse to attend funerals held in Mormon churches or ask faithful people to renounce the bedrock of their lives. I mean, asking somebody to renounce one of the most important things in their life … religion, parents … would be absurd and cruel, right? The best I can do is stay off Facebook so I don't know what the worst of my extended family really thinks.

I feel like the detente we've reached is about to be ruined, and that's the impact on the adult child (who left home and all voluntary participation in the religion twenty years ago) of faithful parents. I can't imagine how I'd feel as a gay kid at home, or - worse - the faithful kid of a parent in a same-sex relationship.

Those of you on the outside of the religion looking in, delightfully free of encumbrances and entanglements, can think you know what you would feel and what you would do, but you really don't have a clue.
posted by verschollen at 10:55 AM on November 6, 2015 [33 favorites]


hey all exmos and members. i love you all. this is going to be a hard day, in a hard week, with maybe not a lot of end in sight. please take care of yourselves when you need to. my memail is always open. <3
posted by nadawi at 10:59 AM on November 6, 2015 [24 favorites]


I just cannot believe the Mormon church just did this.

Then you haven't been paying much attention. The leadership of the church is consistently hateful and anti-gay. There's been a tiny crack or two in the past few years and some mild hints that the LDS might catch up to, oh, a 1980s understanding of gender. But the doctrine of the church is still hateful. It won't change without another revelation like 1978.

To any of you who are gay and Mormon, I'm sorry for the pain your leadership has just inflicted on you. Please remember that while you can't really choose not to be gay, you can choose not to be Mormon.
posted by Nelson at 11:01 AM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


What you walk past is the standard you accept, even if the path you're walking is between two pews.
posted by turntraitor at 11:08 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Please remember that while you can't really choose not to be gay, you can choose not to be Mormon.

You can also choose to be a gay Mormon.

The leadership of the church is consistently hateful and anti-gay.

Which doesn't at all begin to explain this new policy and attitude towards children.
posted by Dalby at 11:25 AM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm not much surprised, because the LDS rode the racism horse to foundering as well; it wasn't until 1978 that they decided that black people were fully human and could be real members of the church.
posted by tavella at 11:28 AM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I hate to say this about the Mormon church, because I have sympathy for their struggle to enter the religious mainstream in America, and the last thing I want to sound like is an evangelical with an armful of anti-Mormon bible tracts. I also have LDS friends who I know are hurt by today's news. But I have to say that forbidding children from receiving the blessing of God is not what Christian churches do. But requiring sons and daughters to denounce their fathers and mothers is something that cults do quite frequently. I hope the LDS reverses this policy soon, and apologizes for the pain it's caused to children, to parents, to gays, to straights, and to Jesus.
posted by hhc5 at 11:29 AM on November 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Love to everyone who is suffering as a result of this cruel decision. Here's hoping that compassion and courage ends up ultimately winning this battle in the LDS.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:29 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Stephen Harper being Prime Minister did not give me permission to yell "Fuck You" at every Canadian I met

Card-carrying members of the Conservative Party, on the other hand...
posted by Space Coyote at 11:30 AM on November 6, 2015


maintaining an outdated policy is different than creating a new one. i can see people not being surprised, and i'm not surprised at the leadership finding new and horrible ways to shit on queer people and the people who loved them, but i am shocked at the specific way this one is going down because of how it contradicts a big huge pillar of the religion.
posted by nadawi at 11:31 AM on November 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


I just want to encourage everyone to re-read flug's comment above, because it provides great context for what just happened and the likely reason why.

Then, jump to the 12 minute mark of the video here to get a sense of the current health of the LDS President.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:33 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


from r/exmormon : Whoa! My mother is resigning at 84
posted by nadawi at 11:34 AM on November 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think the people saying "just leave" are focusing way too much on the church's actions and paying very little attention to the faith of actual church members. We don't expect every Catholic to leave Catholicism because of their positions and we shouldn't expect Mormons to leave for their church's. If you're already a non-believer and aren't getting anything out of the church, then, yes, it is easier to leave. But there are a lot of faithful believing members of the church who disagree with these actions but are still getting something out of being in the church.
posted by downtohisturtles at 11:49 AM on November 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Mod note: Comment removed; doubling down on a straight-up KKK comparison does not seem like a good direction to take this discussion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:49 AM on November 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Wait until they find out life goes on (and Sundays free up) without church.
posted by prepmonkey at 11:57 AM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Couple of interesting ramifications of this, pointed out by friends in my Facebook feed.

By this new policy, people who are in gay marriages are declared to be apostate. Apostates are not allowed to speak in LDS churches or chapels. Funerals are typically held in LDS churches. Family members--especially close family members like children or parents--normally speak and play a prominent part during these funeral services.

So you have fun little situations like this:

- Mother of a person in a gay marriage is LDS, she dies, son is not allowed to speak at her funeral.

- Couple have a child and divorce, the mother and child remain active LDS while the father moves on to become part of a gay marriage. Child dies; father is not allowed to speak at own child's funeral.

Of course, you can always choose to have the funeral in a different location, but that let's say the mother has been an active member of her LDS ward for 50 years. Now the family has the choice of holding her funeral at the Chapel she has attended for decades with all her friends, or moving it elsewhere to accommodate Son.

And . . . if the family is mostly active LDS, they are not going to want to move it elsewhere. People belong to a church specifically because they want to participate in things like birth, marriage, and death rituals with their fellow church members and in the prescribed way.

Also, I'll just point out that this is yet another attempt by the LDS Church, which advertises itself as all about family-family-family, to use exactly those strong family ties to put leverage on its members to knuckle under on specific areas of doctrine and practice that it deems important.

This is the polar opposite of the way a truly family-friendly organization would act, and the primary reason I personally have stopped participating in and supporting the LDS Church.
posted by flug at 12:01 PM on November 6, 2015 [44 favorites]


The fact that this policy seems specifically designed to put pressure on gay parents by making their children's lives that much harder, by making them more outcast and outsiders and other than they already might be, is sickening, and frankly any sort of hyperbole about the LDS leadership isn't hyperbolic enough. Fuck 'em.
posted by signal at 12:09 PM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am an atheist, as mentioned, and I'm finding all of the "just leave!" "life's better without it!" horseshit incredibly dismissive and annoying. It's been laid out several times why it's hard, why people can't "just" leave, and so forth. If you can't accept that, then maybe the problem lies elsewhere.
posted by XtinaS at 12:11 PM on November 6, 2015 [27 favorites]


It's no different and just as harmful as similar comments in threads about domestic abuse.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:22 PM on November 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


I mean, asking somebody to renounce one of the most important things in their life … religion, parents … would be absurd and cruel, right? The best I can do is stay off Facebook so I don't know what the worst of my extended family really thinks.

I had guy friends who were hotly sought-after by the many Mormon girls in our high school; there was a big imbalance in our age group between girls and boys born to Mormon families. When it came down to it, and in every single case it was brought out only when the guys proposed marriage (and they were very serious), my guy friends were asked to renounce their then-current religions, families, and friends for Mormonism. They had not been told they'd need to do that beforehand; they'd been welcomed into the church as guests and assured they wouldn't have to convert. None of them did, thank goodness, but their hearts were good and broken for many years.

I still have a lot of Mormon friends, as I do evangelical Christian friends. Comes with the territory of where I grew up. One of my friends sounds like he could be The World Famous' friend – gay, but married a woman, had two children, raised them Mormon. Realized he couldn't live the lie any more. Divorced, fell in love with a man. Is still very close to his ex-wife and their children. This is devastating.

Indeed, asking people to renounce those they love is inhumane. "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."
posted by fraula at 12:34 PM on November 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


- Mother of a person in a gay marriage is LDS, she dies, son is not allowed to speak at her funeral.

- Couple have a child and divorce, the mother and child remain active LDS while the father moves on to become part of a gay marriage. Child dies; father is not allowed to speak at own child's funeral.


That's disgusting.
posted by zarq at 12:36 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


> I'm finding all of the "just leave!" "life's better without it!" horseshit incredibly dismissive and annoying

Right, exactly. It's hard for people who have no context, but leaving is not as simple as it sounds.

I'm not Mormon and won't presume to understand their experience or to speak for them (especially since I think we have folks here who are more than capable of speaking for themselves). For what it's worth, though, I can say that growing up as one of Jehovah's Witnesses and walking away from it in my 20s was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. You're giving up nearly everything and everyone you've ever known -- friends, family, traditions, all of it except for whatever tenuous connections you might have to people and institutions outside the faith. That's not an easy thing to contemplate and not something you can ever understand if you haven't been in that kind of situation, not at all.

My heart goes out to the people who are being hurt here, both those whose humanity the church doesn't want to acknowledge and those of the faithful who don't understand and can't accept this position and don't know what to do about it. If I can do anything to help, please memail me.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:40 PM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Is the pain the liberal members of LDS feel about this in some way similar to the pain gay members of LDS have felt all along? Maybe.

I just have a hard time summoning up the level of sympathy I feel for people targeted by institutional bigotry for the people who are members of the church and don't feel this bigotry represents them, when they know damn well their tithes, despite their wishes, go to support it.

Finding out your dad is a bigot is by no means even within the same neighborhood as being the target of the man's bigotry, and I find the immense concern and worry for the feelings of the privileged liberal members of the church, when held up alongside the ostracism and bigotry suffered by the people targeted by that church, to be a little off-putting.

I get that it's hard to leave your entire culture behind, but at least it's a choice available to them. The people the bigotry is pointed at never had that choice.
posted by turntraitor at 12:41 PM on November 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


I just have a hard time summoning up the level of sympathy I feel for people targeted by institutional bigotry for the people who are members of the church and don't feel this bigotry represents them, when they know damn well their tithes, despite their wishes, go to support it.

It would be terrible to have the same level of sympathy for someone like me that you have for someone who is actually the target of the church's institutional bigotry.

I find the immense concern and worry for the feelings of the privileged liberal members of the church, when held up alongside the ostracism and bigotry suffered by the people targeted by that church, to be a little off-putting.

I'm really not seeing immense concern and worry for my feelings here, tbh. And that's fine. I don't expect or deserve it.
posted by The World Famous at 12:45 PM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Finding out your dad is a bigot is by no means even within the same neighborhood as being the target of the man's bigotry, and I find the immense concern and worry for the feelings of the privileged liberal members of the church, when held up alongside the ostracism and bigotry suffered by the people targeted by that church, to be a little off-putting.

But that's not what's happening. Instead, a few people are saying that if you find out your dad is a bigot and don't respond by moving out of the family home then you are also a bigot. Others responded by saying that was too harsh and explained why it can be tough to move out.
posted by Area Man at 12:48 PM on November 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


But that's not what's happening. Instead, a few people are saying that if you find out your dad is a bigot and don't respond by moving out of the family home then you are also a bigot.

OK, but how much rent are you paying in that home? And how much of that money do you know your dad is actually using to print up hate tracts in the basement?

How much complicity is too much, before we just say, "Nah, you're over the line."?
posted by turntraitor at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Of all the things I see conservative churches do, stuff like this is the most absolutely mystifying to me. Just how completely over-the-top broken do you have to be as a Christian to think that you should be, in a completely literal sense, bearing false witness? To judges?

In their minds, though, they're not bearing false witness. They're doing God's work.
posted by xedrik at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2015


OK, but how much rent are you paying in that home?

i dream often about the financial records of the church being leaked so people can see what their money is paying for. much of the congregation thinks it's for churches, temples, missionary work, but i don't think that's true at all.

my guy friends were asked to renounce their then-current religions, families, and friends for Mormonism.

horrifically i realize now, "date 'em, dunk 'em, drop 'em"/"flirt to convert" has long been a (true) joke within the church.
posted by nadawi at 12:56 PM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


nth-ing the sentiment that "just leave" is not furthering the discussion.

Also, I would like to thank the several current- and ex-Mormon contributors to this thread who have taken the time to explain some of the political and social context for this to those of us who understand very little about the inner workings of the LDS community. I have a couple of friends/neighbors who were married this summer after Obergefell. My friends are non-religious but from Mormon backgrounds. I appreciate the opportunity for greater understanding of how this will affect my friends' relationships with important people in their lives.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:57 PM on November 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


It just occurred to me that in the last 15 years, I have broken down at work only a handful of times, but EVERY SINGLE TIME has been when I found out about some heinous thing the Church just pulled. today I get to add another tally. You'd think after a while I'd just get inured to it, but nope.

well. It was always gonna take something like this for me to finally revoke my membership. Not looking forward to that phonecall with my folks.
posted by floweringjudas at 12:58 PM on November 6, 2015 [39 favorites]


You know what I understand least of all? This requirement that to be admitted into the Church, a child of gay parents must "specifically disavow[] the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage." Leaving aside (as if we can) the utter cruelty of forcing a child to disavow the love that brought his parents together to raise him, what purpose does it serve to have a child renounce the apostasy of a prior generation? It only makes sense if the LDS leadership believes the bigoted lie, born of ignorance and propagated by hate, that gay parents are flawed because they are more likely to raise gay children, and so this disavowal requirement serves to screen out children thus "harmed" by their gay parents.
posted by hhc5 at 1:00 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


yeah - i think i'm also going to actually revoke over this. i've been at an uneasy peace with my extended family, and i get no contact from the church so just keeping my name on the rolls didn't seem like a big deal - but it feels like a big deal today...
posted by nadawi at 1:00 PM on November 6, 2015 [17 favorites]


I honestly can't remember if I've been formally excommunicated or not! I should contact... someone... and find out.
posted by XtinaS at 1:03 PM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


eh, the disavow thing is one of those things that i think sounds way uglier outside than inside (i am in no way condoning it and i think it's obvious how horrified i am by this change). in every meeting for a temple recommend you're asked to affirm certain beliefs and declare that you aren't maintaining close relationships with, say, satanists/pagans, etc. this is likely how the denouncing would go down as well - in an interview with the bishop where you affirm that gays are totally gross. it's one of those inside baseball things that is hard to explain unless you've sat through a bunch of super dull meetings with the leaders.
posted by nadawi at 1:03 PM on November 6, 2015


well, that would be a sin, but many people lie about many things in temple recommend interviews. i was naive enough to not know this as a teenager and paid the price dearly.

it's an emotional tool used to control, so the extent is vast, but it's also a fairly normal part of the whole shebang.
posted by nadawi at 1:11 PM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


OK, but how much rent are you paying in that home? And how much of that money do you know your dad is actually using to print up hate tracts in the basement?
How much complicity is too much, before we just say, "Nah, you're over the line."?


If you pay taxes to a government that sometimes passes terrible laws and starts wars in other countries why not just emigrate?

I've been reading this thread with interest and I appreciate the insights of current and ex Mormons. The courage it takes to leave any system into which you have been born and indoctrinated, and to which so much of your family, social and cultural life is tied, can't be overstated.
posted by billiebee at 1:13 PM on November 6, 2015 [20 favorites]


Aside from all the good arguments that people have made for why "just leave" doesn't really further discussion - Quite frankly, I'm glad to see gay Christians and their allies choosing to remain in anti-gay churches, assuming that they speak up against these destructive attitudes and policies. They are the ones working to change their denomination's culture from inside out in the hopes that their church will one day leave all that hatred behind. While revoking one's membership also has its part to play, there needs to be people to push back against the bigots. And we've seen that change can happen. I mean, I grant that it's highly unlikely that certain denominations like the Mormons and Southern Baptists will become majority affirming anytime soon, especially taking into consideration this latest development, but we've still seen relatively significant change in terms of positive attitudes toward homosexuality from the younger generation. And these will be the people who will be in charge once the old guard eventually dies off.

If all those gay Christians and allies leave, where does that leave the vulnerable gay kid who simply doesn't have that option? Gay Christian kids need role models; they need people who can tell them that it's okay if they're both Christian and gay. I don't have the emotional fortitude to stay in a congregation where my sexuality is considered a perversion, but I am exceedingly grateful for those who do. If I had still been a Christian at the time, I can't imagine how meaningful it would have been to see someone like Vicky Beeching come out.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 1:15 PM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


More productively, given that it's not fair to ask most Mormons who oppose these kinds of teachings to leave the LDS church, what kind of action (if any) is it fair to ask them to take?

I understand that many people within the church find these policies saddening, but the message I'm taking away is that opposition to them in any real way is futile. For all the political harm the Catholic Church's stance on birth control may do, I've met very few Catholics in real life who obey it, let alone many who would shame another person for failing to obey them. Is this another case where the official theology clashes with actual practice? If not, is it possible to undermine these policies on a local level?

Again, I sympathize with people who find their values clashing with current official policy. But I think part of the hostility and frustration here comes from the impression I get that the only possible way to undermine LDS policy is to vote with your feet.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 1:16 PM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


>If you pay taxes to a government that sometimes passes terrible laws and starts wars in other countries why not just emigrate?

Because I feel like I actually have a voice in changing my government.

Can any Mormon tell me how many years this is cool to live with before it changes? How many families broken up over this, how many kids ostracized, how many parents not allowed to speak at a child's funeral, how much suffering is acceptable before the (possibly never going to happen) change happens?

Change is built into our political system. Can anybody honestly say there's a decent prospect of this changing in the church, and that the suffering that it causes until that change happens will be worth it?
posted by turntraitor at 1:18 PM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


That is one thing I'm proud of: I officially, on paper, jumped through all of the (incredibly frustrating) hoops to leave the church. It was a huge step toward my own self-care, and a vast improvement in my quality of life, to not have any remote bit of that hanging over my head, not worrying about people showing up at my door to try to re-activate me, etc.

Not only did I have to have church officials come to my home, they delayed and delayed putting it through and tried to tell me that they needed to come back and make sure I was really sure (even though I knew more about the process than the fairly new bishop). I refused and told them that there was zero reason to meet again and I was incredibly clear about my intent the first time, and I was not going to have some old man tell me (a young afab person) that his judgement was more accurate than mine about whether I was sure about it.

When I told my parents, they were reasonably ok about it ("disappointed" but still want to have a relationship), and my dad (who was clerk for their ward) said something about it taking >6 months for someone in their ward, and maybe hadn't even completed the process, because "it's a huge decision and they want to make sure the person is sure". I told him "pretty certain they wouldn't have initiated the process if they weren't sure, and the church is holding that person hostage until you deem them sure enough to make a decision about their own life" He seemed to not have even considered that it might feel like that to the person trying to leave.

After all of the hoop jumping, and refusing to give my new address (they delayed it long enough that I was moving before they completed it, I told them to just send to old address, as it'd get forwarded), the official confirmation came addressed to me at my new address. Thanks skip tracers for Jesus! Very glad I got out when I did.

For those considering the process, there are some great resources online. Good luck, and my memail is open for anyone who needs an ear (or...eyes I guess).
posted by HermitDog at 1:18 PM on November 6, 2015 [29 favorites]


This has a very Humanae Vitae feel to it. Defending the family against the world. Very important work. Except it's coming out at a time that the membership's already conflicted about it, and society is already moving on. I wonder if in fifty years the Mormon population in the US will be thinking about this the way a lot of people I know who think of themselves as Catholic think about birth control. You just take it as some kind of vague metaphor for family being important, despite the institution itself still insisting THEY TOTALLY MEAN IT, GUYS. But the pace of that change is glacial, compared to the rest of the world. It starts to feel like rules created just for the purpose of establishing that you're still the ones who make the rules, and if that's gone over poorly before, I have at least some hopes that the membership is making progress where the leadership is not. Not progress at the pace I'd like to see, but it's something.

I mean, even thing about not baptizing kids? Well, if you're going to kick the parents out, there's a weird sort of concession in saying that you're not so committed to this that you're going to be trying to get those disavowals from the kids when they're still young. Which should be something that goes without saying, but certain Protestants I've known have absolutely thought that evangelizing to elementary-school-aged kids (especially those with non-Christian or non-religious parents) was totally appropriate. It's not good, mind, but it's weirdly considerate that they aren't going to ask you to do that disavowal while you're still living under the roof of your two moms.

But then, this attitude to the Catholic practice of birth control also still hasn't changed the official line, fifty years later. But I think the point to tell people that they need to threaten to leave or they're actively helping the institution do evil... is maybe not yet, at least, for Latter Day Saints.
posted by Sequence at 1:22 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


that "just leave" is not furthering the discussion.

When I say "you can choose not to be Mormon", in no way do I mean to suggest that decision is easy. But it's a lot easier than choosing not to be gay. And it may be better than trying to be gay in a church that repeatedly tells you gay people are inferior. Leaving has been good for the gay ex-Mormons I know. When you're in an abusive relationship sometimes you have to leave, however hard that is.

I'm not qualified to counsel people on how to leave. Maybe some others are? Would that further the discussion usefully?
posted by Nelson at 1:30 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


the urge to type into facebook "hey family, just so you know, i'm queer! just wanted to make sure you had all the info you needed to properly denounce me next time you sit down with the bishop!" is growing...

but i won't. even long after i left the church, i still feel it spidering through me in my familial relationships (plus the matriarch of the non-mormon side got some really awful medical news today and even though it shouldn't, a message like that would really hurt her).
posted by nadawi at 1:32 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


might the LDS split into reform and orthodox wings? (like other 'mature' religions have...)
posted by kliuless at 1:32 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


the mormons have actually splintered a bunch, but i don't think any of the splinters are more liberal than the main church.
posted by nadawi at 1:33 PM on November 6, 2015


Change is built into our political system. Can anybody honestly say there's a decent prospect of this changing in the church, and that the suffering that it causes until that change happens will be worth it?

Yes, I can honestly say there's a decent prospect of this changing. But it will take too long.

might the LDS split into reform and orthodox wings? (like other 'mature' religions have...)

LDS Mormonism is already extremely heterodox in practice. But it is also extremely organized in an authoritarian hierarchy, such that a "split" isn't really possible, no.
posted by The World Famous at 1:38 PM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


oh, i guess there was the united order family of christ and the restoration church of jesus christ. both for queer mormons, both tiny, both disbanded.
posted by nadawi at 1:38 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Community of Christ, formerly the RLDS, gave their blessing to gay marriage and gay clergy. There's one splinter which is quite liberal by comparison.

Though, their splintering dates back to the fallout after Joseph Smith's death so I'm not sure how much of the original LDS faith remains with them.
posted by honestcoyote at 1:39 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


the rest of you Utah-born in this thread are probably all my cousins somewhere back in the line of my multiple great great great grandfathers that had 40+ kids (hug). I've been out for almost 20 years, but I'm worried about my liberal mormon friends, and also (as The World Famous mentioned) all the families with kids that share custody between super-duper mormon households and the other gay parent's den of apostasy and sin...i'm sure that part is going to impact even more people that i know. It is certainly going to impact mine.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:41 PM on November 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Community of Christ, formerly the RLDS, gave their blessing to gay marriage and gay clergy

and that blessing, along with giving the priesthood to women caused their own splits and splinters.

wikipedia has a surprisingly lengthy page on sects of the lds movement.
posted by nadawi at 1:43 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to quote the Barbara Weinstein, the Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism:

“The fundamental grounding we always go back to is that every human being has the spark of the divine in them, and that every human being is worthy of the dignity and respect that infers,” Weinstein said. “There are trans people in our congregations, trans kids in our summer camps…Every person, no matter what their gender identity, should be celebrated for having that divine spark within them.” Link.
posted by signal at 1:43 PM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]




With a narrow victory, it was clear that Prop 8 would not have passed in California had the Mormon Church not pulled out all the stops. The Mormon Church had single-handedly taken away gay marriage from millions of lesbian and gay Californians.

No argument that the influence of the Mormon Church was huge here. That said, this statement kinda lets a bunch of other people off the hook. Whether or not the Mormon Church was the single biggest mover involved, they were by no means alone on this.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:14 PM on November 6, 2015


As a gay Utahan (grew up Lutheran, my entire extended family is Mormon) this is going to shatter a lot of homes. I have friends who have been married, had kids, and come out. They're now wondering if they get to see their children again or if they'll pick faith over family.

Those people just saying "y'all should just leave the church" absolutely don't get it. Church isn't something you go to on Sunday and then get on with your life here. The LDS Church pervades your community and daily life like electricity. Imagine everywhere you see power, that's how much the LDS Church shows up in their lives. Family relationships, community relationships, nightly activities, yours and your kids friendships. Every. Single. Thing. passes by the hands and lens of church life. So many of my member friends see this hate and definitely don't agree with it (they are friends with me after all). Some are resigning. Some are staying within to fight for their faith to be more accepting. A lawyer has offered on Reddit to draft records removal requests on their letterhead for free.

Also, since I haven't seen it mentioned here, for anyone having dark thoughts about their worth in this world, there is help. Call the suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255. Call the Trevor Project 866-488-7386. Memail me. Reach out and remember you are loved, even if the message your faith is sending you is causing you to doubt that.
posted by msbutah at 2:20 PM on November 6, 2015 [24 favorites]


I'm not qualified to counsel people on how to leave. Maybe some others are? Would that further the discussion usefully?

Respectfully - I think what would further the discussion would be for some of us to recognize that we're probably not in a position to make suggestions about whether or not Mormons should be leaving the church right now.
posted by teponaztli at 2:30 PM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


The LDS Church pervades your community and daily life like electricity.

That close of a relationship to an abusive institution is intensely unhealthy. Particularly for gay members of a church that repeatedly acts hatefully to them.

Respectfully - I feel absolutely in a position to suggest to gay people that life can get better. You can leave an abusive anti-gay environment, and find people and community who will love you without abusive judgement. You can have a freer, happier, healthier life.
posted by Nelson at 2:47 PM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Mod note: I feel like to the extent that people have really varied experiences both within and outside of organized religion, it makes sense that folks have expressed a fair amount of disagreement in here so far on what is at stake and what is accomplishable in terms of leaving vs. coping with a crappy situation. But probably at this point, with folks having acknowledged in multiple cases that "just leave" is (a) not so simple and (b) something that can be a really problematic thing to drop on people, it'd be better to let that line of argument be and focus more on the nature and context of what the LDS Church is specifically doing here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:54 PM on November 6, 2015 [17 favorites]


qcubed: Out of curiosity, what exactly does "denouncing" entail?

I was born to a Mormon household in Utah, and forced to attend church services until I was big enough to comprehensively refuse. Therefore until recently I was a Mormon on paper. I didn't feel motivated to do anything about that until the Proposition 8 nonsense.

I did a bunch of homework to figure out the most direct route to having my name removed from their records, and this letter was my final result (it contains some snark I considered removing here, but that felt vaguely dishonest). It essentially sidesteps all of the interventions by rejecting them in advance. It worked perfectly, no one came to my door or called me about it. I just received a form letter acknowledging the removal about 3 weeks later.

One warning to anyone considering renouncing: The bishops have an indirect way of informing your family. Every year they show some sort of tithing balance sheet thing to heads of households, laid out like a tree with all immediate family members as branches. Once you renounce your membership, your corresponding limb will conspicuously disappear.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 3:06 PM on November 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


One can only hope that this is the beginning of the end of this organization. Born of a liar and cheater, and grown to be an abusive, destructive force engaged in actively harming children and families, it is time for it to end. The more people who leave this terrible cult, the better.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:26 PM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


qcubed, Tithing Settlement is like going to the DMV. Get your papers in order and audited so you can maintain your temple recommend.
posted by msbutah at 3:29 PM on November 6, 2015


one interesting part of this that is being brought up over at the various exmormon and not quite exmormon subs on reddit - and maybe they're wrong about this? - but this wasn't supposed to common knowledge. the handbook is one that is for leadership to know how to handle situations. it's not something that is announced, or posted online for anyone, or passed out to the congregation. i believe the story is that a bishop gave it to a friend and that friend passed it on to john dehlin (mormon stories, previously) and he posted it.

i continue to consider john dehlin a hero.
posted by nadawi at 3:29 PM on November 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


As a newly declared apostate, I'm curious as to what that means in practical terms. Growing up in the LDS church, apostates were a sort of mythical creature or affliction - talked about, but never seen, and exceedingly rare in any event.

I can't participate in any of the sacraments and rituals (not that I want to), but I guess it also means I can't speak at a family member or friend's funeral. Are my LDS friends and family now obligated to mention me in their interviews for temple recommends? Is my marriage such a contaminant that they have to disassociate themselves from me or affirm they don't believe my relationship is at all legitimate?

For those of you in the know, what should I be aware of?
posted by verschollen at 3:32 PM on November 6, 2015


kate kelly (previously) tweeted this today. they say a picture is worth a 1000 words and boy howdy is it ever.
posted by nadawi at 3:48 PM on November 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


Are my LDS friends and family now obligated to mention me in their interviews for temple recommends?

No.

Is my marriage such a contaminant that they have to disassociate themselves from me or affirm they don't believe my relationship is at all legitimate?

No.
posted by The World Famous at 3:57 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would like to extend my best wishes and heartfelt sympathy to every LDS and ex-LDS person who is negatively affected by this. This policy is cruel and unwarranted, and I very much hope that it is possible to persuade the church leadership to change it. For LGBT youth especially, you are valued and loved and this policy is wrong. I agree with others that John Dehlin is a hero for publicizing what was supposed to be a secret policy change in a confidential manual (and a hero generally for being willing to undergo excommunication because he chose to stand up against hate). I think that those of us who were not raised in a pervasive, controlling religion that is intertwined with every aspect of your life cannot fully appreciate the courage it takes to break away and dissent.
posted by Mallenroh at 5:20 PM on November 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I can understand how leaving - or even speaking out - can be difficult in light of the fact that this particular Church specifically makes it difficult by targeting your friends and family and turning them all against you. I can understand that because decades ago, when I came out, some of the most loved members of my family and friends renounced me and shunned me. I decided to go with my heart rather than my fears and it was a decision that, although painful, was the absolute correct thing to do. I decided that those who would shun me were never my family or friends to begin with - but it was painful and took years to get over.

Still though Mormonism relies on tithing to survive and it will only be when members walk away and they lose that income stream that I believe that Church will seriously consider and adopt change. A difficult thing to do when you have been conditioned from childhood to be a victim and your friends and family to be potential abusers - all in the name of god.

It was choices like this - having to decide between a loved one who is hurting nothing save a Church tenant and the continued grace of God for ones self that turned me away from religion and a belief in god altogether.
posted by AGameOfMoans at 7:10 PM on November 6, 2015


You keep referring to "rolls," is there actually a master list of Mormons where names get added and crossed out. Who can see it?

Also, Hot Pastrami, that was a great letter!
posted by bendy at 7:24 PM on November 6, 2015


well, that would be a sin, but many people lie about many things in temple recommend interviews. i was naive enough to not know this as a teenager and paid the price dearly.

Quoted for truth . . .
posted by flug at 7:33 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not a Mormon, and the majority of my exposure to them has been missionaries, who bless their hearts, just seem to get younger every year they try to convert me, and while I find no solace in the faith, I realize that it is/has been terribly important to a lot of people I know, if only online.

I am so sorry for what you are going through. I am so sorry about the devastating impact this will have on families and children, and especially the closeted youth. I have no context to understand living in a faith that is also your community, and thus don't really understand the loss that would come from separating from it, but I'm sorry that so many are now facing that loss, and I just wanted to offer a sympathetic ear to any of our mefi tribe who feels that they might need one. My memail is always open.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:41 PM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


bendy - AFAIK the rolls are available to members in positions of authority who might have need of them. Bishops have rolls for everyone inside their particular congregation boundaries who was ever baptized, stake presidents (like my dad) have rolls for everyone inside of their district, and up the ladder it goes. So, like, even though I'm still technically a member of the Church, I can't waltz up into the offices in Salt Lake and be like SUP ELDERS GIVE ME THOSE NAMES.

insert bitter baptism-by-proxy joke here
posted by floweringjudas at 7:41 PM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


yeah, totally a membership list that has all sorts of information, up to and including rites performed, callings held, and tithes paid. i know the bishop (and i assume his counselors) can see most or all of it for everyone in their congregation, on up the chain. i think it also contains active or inactive status. i mean, this is the same religion that has a storage facility in a mountain for genealogy records - they're nothing if not bureaucratic.

we moved a lot when i was a kid, and this was before everything was on computers, and i remember we'd do an interview as a family with the bishop - hey how are you doing, etc, and he'd also jot down our basic information while he waited for the rolls from our last congregation.

it also used to be (still is?) that the best way to get removed from the records as a member (basically renounce every rite you had participated in), you would contact the people you thought had your info last to get the process started. this just gets referred to as being removed from the rolls. in fact if you google 'mormon remove rolls' it's basically just a list of talking about renouncing the faith - how tos, repercussions, personal stories, etc.
posted by nadawi at 7:47 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]






An aspect that comes out from Christofferson's statement is that this will affect gay adult children of members. If the official policy is that same-sex marriage is absoutely a serious sin, they can't be supportive of that person getting married. It's not explicitly stated, but it is the logical (ha) conclusion from this policy. If the parent supports their adult child's same-sex marriage, it's very possible that they'd be subject to "discipline". If a child of same-sex married people needs to disavow the practice, why wouldn't the parents of same-sex married people?

It is a common practice for mormon people to want to "avoid the appearance of evil" and go above and beyond the stated rule. I fully expect a minimum of social chastisement, if not official in those situations.
posted by HermitDog at 9:35 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


well guys, he says it's to protect the children, so i guess we overreacted (you should read the strongest possible eye roll right here).

as to the rest of that bullshit statement, the john dehlin/mormon stories podcast i posted a couple comments up goes into depth about why the connection between polygamy and same sex marriage is a fallacious one. it also has some great insights from people who work with gay mormons and have done studies on the gay mormon population. i
posted by nadawi at 9:43 PM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Uggggggh, the part where Cristofferson begins an answer with, "It's about love. It's about family" is now in my top 10 list of most disingenuous things I have heard church leaders say, and I was forced to watch General Conference twice a year for 18 years of my childhood so that's a pretty tough ceiling to break.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:13 PM on November 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


The more I think this through, the more obvious it becomes that this policy is LDS Church bureaucrats shoehorning the gay marriage/children issue into the exact same pigeonholes and policies that they have put polygamous marriage and families into.

That's why there is this whole thing where children of these marriages can't participate in Church, can't be baptized without special permission, must renounce the 'lifestyle' before they can participate in the Church, and why they are pigeonholing people who participate in gay marriage as 'apostates' specifically.

All that is a bit strange, too, when applied to polygamous families (what in the world are one month old babies of polygamous families guilty of?) but there is some historical background that at least gives some context.

In the mid to late 1800s, the LDS Church preached and practiced polygamy. They believed it was a vitally important piece of the restored church that Joseph Smith had revealed and an important part of the order of heaven that they were obligated to live out here on earth. Point is, they were really, really invested in it.

Part of the deal that was struck to end the impasse over polygamy that came to a head in the 1880s--when the federal government seized all LDS Church property and was catching and imprisoning LDS members and leaders right and left for participating in polygamous marriages--was that the Church would stop practicing polygamy. The idea was that the Church would stop performing NEW plural marriages, and everyone would sort of just look the other way in respect to existing plural marriages. So in 1890 the LDS prophet issued a manifesto declaring that the practice of plural marriage was ended.

Well, you can imagine how this went--not well. The exact dynamic I outlined upthread WRT LDS Church power dynamics came into play in spades. While the official line was "polygamy is ended, that's it" at the same time several apostles and other high Church leaders were talking behind the scenes and telling trusted allies in secret that "No more polygamy" is what they had to say publicly, but here is the real deal: It is actually vital to the foundations of Heaven, it's been revealed by God, we've got to keep it going, but secretly with a select few of the elect.

You get the gist.

So on the one hand, public statements that polygamy is ended, on the other, widespread secret continuation and a number of new polygamous marriages.

Soon the national press gets wind, Congress investigates (polygamy is very, very illegal by this point in time, and vigorously prosecuted when then possible), pressure builds, the LDS Church leadership is forced to issue another statement (the so-called Second Manifesto of 1904), they pursue an internal crackdown on the leaders who have been secretly preaching the continuation of polygamy, etc.

So the repudiation of polygamy becomes a little more firmly the official and widely accepted position of the LDS Church. Meanwhile polygamists--who still firmly believe they are carrying on the One True and Revealed Way, and that Mormon officialdom is bound to publicly repudiate them but actually secretly support them--go a bit deeper underground.

Several more rounds of this dynamic continued all throughout the 20th Century, even until today, with the LDS Church and these fringe polygamous groups locked in a strange embrace of mutual need, support, opposition, wariness, and secrecy.

A few particular characteristics gave the whole relationship some unusual twists:

- The LDS Church owned and operated the temples and had the priesthood, which the polygamous groups recognized and wanted access to. Polygamous groups (especially early in the 20th Century) saw the LDS priesthood and temples as the legitimate ones; they saw themselves as a small remnant of that true Church secretly living a higher law, and they still wanted to participate in those LDS temple ceremonies and other priesthood ordinances, which they saw as essential to salvation.

- Meanwhile, the LDS Church was more and more interested in keeping the polygamists out--both from the temples and general church activities/positions--as they worked to get the government off its back on the polygamy issue and, generally, fit in with overall American culture. Particularly as the 20th Century progressed, mainstream LDS culture wanted polygamy to just go away--especially from the public eye.

So you get this kind of dynamic where, let's say in the early to mid 1900s, a polygamous man and one of his wives/one set of children would move into an LDS ward, establish themselves as a regular old churchgoing family, participate in all the programs--baby blessings, priesthood offices, temple rites, etc--because those are the things they want out of the Church. After a while they have gotten what they need and move back to the Short Creek--or whatever their particular polygamist community is.

And--you can imagine the scandal that erupts when that happens, and it comes out the Brother and Sister X and their family have actually been polygamists the whole time . . .

So you end up in sort a mini arms race, polygamists are participating in various ways in the LDS Church and communities, the Mormons are trying out various tactics to try to root out polygamists, polygamists figure out various ways to subvert them, each group raises the ante a bit, and so on.

And I should also mention that this is very likely all playing out in some small southern Utah communities, where everyone is related to everyone else, everyone knows or suspects a lot of what is going on, and everyone is descended from--or more likely, even grew up in--the LDS polygamous families that were common there up through the turn of the century and beyond. (All four of my own grandparents, who were born in the early 1900s, grew up in huge, complex polygamous families. Various of their descendants have been involved in all sides of this as it has played out over the past century or so.)

All that that is why we end up 125 years later with policies like:

- Believing in or practicing polygamy is not just evil/wrong/sinful/illegal/discouraged/whatever. It's not just a sin, it's full-fledged 'apostasy'.

- Polygamous families, even including children, aren't allowed to participate in the various rites--because there is this history of 'apostate' polygamists trying to 'sneak' their way in to participate in Church activities and receive the various priesthood ordinances, and the LDS Church is highly motivated for various reasons to try to stop that.

- People who participate in polygamous groups and/or families are considered particularly suspect and require special clearance before being baptized or otherwise allowed to participate in regular Church activities. The LDS Church treats and thinks of these groups as particularly dangerous, for various reasons. (And let's face it--most of the polygamous groups operate as secret cults. They do have some dangerous characteristics. If you think the LDS Church is bad, now imagine an ultra-fundamentalist, ultra-secretive, ultra-fanatical, ultra-authoritarian, ultra-controlling version of the same--that is your basic polygamist cult.)

- People who have been participating in polygamist groups might go 'undercover' for a while, participating on regular LDS Church activities like a mission and/or marriage, while still secretly remaining as a polygamist believer the whole time. Again, the LDS Church wants to stop this.

- Special procedures to identify, root out, and prevent polygamists from doing all these things have been developed and steadily tweaked for effectiveness. Just for example, there is a special question that is still a standard part of the LDS temple recommend interview that is specifically designed to root out polygamists (Question #7 here, for the curious.) LDS believers who don't know this history are often quite confused by this type of question, and come up with some rather fantastical explanations for what it's all about. It's about catching undercover polygamists--nothing more, nothing less.

Anyway, the end result of all this is not necessarily a good solution, but it is the one that has been worked out over 125 years of trial and error and is in some senses at least understandable.

And now they have just gone and dropped 'gay marriage' in there in place of polygamy--it's apostate, it 'taints' the entire family including children, no one participating in such an 'apostate' family in any way will be allowed to participate in any church activities or rites, it's a stain that--if you participate in it in anyway--affects you for life and that you will be required to formally renounce, and all the rest.

All this, though, gives me some hope that there is a way to walk back at least some of this as the ramifications start to sink in. Polygamist cults were a serious rival and existential threat to the LDS church at a certain point in its history, and (for better or worse) they had to be dealt with accordingly.

Gay marriage is a completely different thing, coming from a completely different place. It's just possible that as the operational problems of treating two completely different things in exactly the same way becomes apparent, there will be some practical change for the better.

(FWIW I would put any hope for short to medium term change in the policies down far more to practical considerations than any sort of philosophical change of heart. If it hurts their revenue, baptismal rate, or retention rate, then we might start seeing some changes. Or if local leaders just can't practically implement it for a host of reasons mentioned upthread.)
posted by flug at 10:49 PM on November 6, 2015 [39 favorites]


How will this affect LDS missionary activity? Won't recruiters have to ask people at an early stage "by the way, you're not gay or transgender or the child of gay or transgender parents, right?" And won't it also mean that if someone wants LDS recruiters to go away, making those claims would be instantly effective?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:37 AM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is there a transcript of Christofferson's statement?
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:11 AM on November 7, 2015


not talking about the kids part - the new apostasy stuff is about gay partnering, not being gay. i believe the mormon church still believes that being gay and celibate is what god is asking of you. i know many gay people who have gone on missions with the full backing of their leaders. now, the fact that requiring a life time of celibacy is just about as cruel as you can get, well...
posted by nadawi at 8:13 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


NM, found an unofficial transcript here (I know nothing about this site, and can't vouch for the transcript, but here it is):

Transcript begins:

Q: How would you describe your role as a church leader?

A: Well, the responsibilities of course include administrative matters, but first and foremost it's a ministry. We, my colleagues and I, travel across the world, in many places, in many circumstances, doing what the Lord commanded Peter to do, and feed his sheep. And these questions that have arisen, we are sympathetic to. They are difficult, they are sensitive, they tug at the heartstrings. They are very real. This is about family. This is about love, and especially the love of the Savior and how He wants people to be helped and fed and lifted. That's the whole motivation that underlies our effort.

Q: On November the 5th, the church made some changes to its handbook in relation to same sex marriage and its policy towards the children of same sex marriage partners. Could you explain why that was necessary?

A: We regard same sex marriage as a particularly grievous or significant serious kind of sin that requires church discipline. It means the discipline is mandatory. It doesn't dictate outcomes, but it dictates that discipline is needed in those cases. It's a statement to remove any question or doubt that may exist. We recognize that same sex marriages are now legal in the United States and some other countries and that people have the right if they choose to enter into those. We understand that. But that's not a right that exists in the church. That's the clarification.

Q: In the last couple of years there's been a tone from the church of understanding and acceptance of those people who experience same sex attraction and this policy seemed to be rather abrupt. What actually prompted this kind of change?

A: To some degree it came from questions that surfaced in different parts of the world and the United States. With the Supreme Court's decision in the United States there was a need for a distinction to be made between what may be legal and what may be the law of the church and the law of the Lord and how we respond to that. It's a matter of being clear, it's a matter of understanding right and wrong, it's a matter of a firm policy that doesn't allow for question or doubt. We think it's possible and mandatory, incumbent on 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 and doing all we can for anybody. At the same time maintaining the standards he maintained. That was the Savior's pattern. He always was firm in what was right or wrong. He never excused or winked at sin. He never redefined it, he never changed his mind. It was what it was, it is what it is. That's where we are. His compassion, of course, was unexcelled. 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 are not going to stop that. We are not going to yield our efforts to help people find what brings happiness. But we know that sin does not. So we are going to stand firm there because we don't' want to mislead people. There is no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true, what is right, what is wrong, what leads to Christ and what leads away from Christ.

Q: So Elder Christofferson, why are the children of these same sex partners an issue here?

A: Well, in answering/responding to your question, let me say I speak not only as an apostle in the church but as a , as a husband, as a father and as a grandfather and like others in those more enduring callings, I have a sense of compassion and sympathy and tender feelings that they do. This policy originates out of that compassion, it originates from a desire to protect children in their innocence and in their minority years. 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, that triggers the assignment of visiting or home teachers. It triggers an expectation that they will be in Primary and other church organizations. And that is likely not going to be an appropriate thing in the home setting, in the family setting, where they are 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, and so with the other ordinances on through baptism and so on. There is time for that if when that child reaches majority he or she feels like that is what they want and they can make an informed and conscious decision about that. Nothing is lost to them in the end if that's the direction they want to go. In the meantime, they're not placed in a position where there will be difficulties, challenges, conflicts that can delay their development in very tender years. The situation with polygamous families, for example, and same sex marriage couples and families really has a parallel. For generations we've had these same kinds of policies that relate to children in polygamous families that we wouldn't go forward with these ordinances while they are in that circumstance and before they reach the majority. And that's the same sort of situation we're dealing with here. So it's something we have had a history with, it's a practice that really is analogous, it's been the case over many generations.

Q: There is also a provision or requirement for a person who has reached the age of majority, who maybe wants to serve a mission in the church, but who's come from a same sex marriage relationship. There's a requirement for them to disavow the idea of same sex marriage. Not disavow their parents, but same sex marriage. What was the thinking behind that?

A: Again, this is a parallel with polygamy. Anybody coming out of a polygamous setting who wants to serve a mission has to be clear that they understand that it is wrong, it's a sin and cannot be followed. They disavow the practice of plural marriage. That would be the same case here. They would disavow or assent, I guess, is maybe a better way to say it, to the doctrines and practices of the church as regards to same sex marriage. So they would be saying, as you said, not disavowing their parents, but disavowing the practice.

Q: Elder Christofferson, a lot of attention has been given over the last year or so to the church's very prominent outreach and message of being fair to everyone. The idea of fairness for all, that phrase has been used a lot. How does the fairness for all approach particularly in relation to same gender attraction, fit in this particular conversation?

A: Very consistently. This is really two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, we have worked with those and will continue to do so to protect rights sand employment and housing for all. On the other hand, there needs to be respect and acknowledgment of the rights of the religious community to set its standards and to live according to them and to teach and abide by its own doctrines such as regards marriage in this case. The church, of course, doesn't attempt to practice mind control and people have their own opinions. It's only a problem if there's advocacy and people lobbying and advocating against the standard of the clear and express position of the church as it has been stated repeatedly and again now.

Q: There are other ordinances like the blessing of the sick, when the child-baby is sick. Does this policy also exclude that kind of blessing or is it only the formal membership?

A: When we're talking about blessings, Priesthood blessings given to those who are ill, or who want a blessing of comfort or guidance. That is open to all. We would expect that to be done throughout their lifetime from infancy as long as that is the desire of the parents and of the child. That's something we are anxious to provide.

Q: So if there was a grandfather, for example, who with the permission of the parents wanted to bless the grandchild, that would be permissible in terms of a healing blessing or a blessing for sickness?

A: Certainly. Certainly. Where there's any kind of need for a blessing, for counsel, for help, whatever kind that can be offered, we want to do that.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:26 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


If anyone could offer insight on mandatory discipline, or the ins and outs of disavowal, I'd be grateful. I *think* there's a lot of inside baseball here, but I am not in a position to understand it. What happens, for example, formally and informally to the Mama Dragons? What's the message going out here about how the faithful are to treat friends and relatives in same-sex marriages, and the children of those unions?
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:33 AM on November 7, 2015


something said in the discussion MonkeyToes linked reminds me that i want to make a point about that bs interview...

when he says "we don't practice mind control" there should be a big ole asterisk as byu did run programs to try to turn gay people straight through things like shock therapy and the church heavily encouraged conversion therapy until very recently. they "don't practice mind control" because it didn't work, not because they're against it.
posted by nadawi at 8:34 AM on November 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


the new apostasy stuff is about gay partnering, not being gay. i believe the mormon church still believes that being gay and celibate is what god is asking of you. i know many gay people who have gone on missions with the full backing of their leaders. now, the fact that requiring a life time of celibacy is just about as cruel as you can get, well...

This + the repeated use of the term "same gender attraction" seems to suggest a huge, huge, willful misunderstanding of what it means to not be a straight cis person. They speak as if being gay is a preference not much different from "I prefer brown eyes" or "I prefer someone who is this tall." The existence of mixed-orientation marriages suggests that an LDS view of sexuality is a "ho hum, I could take it or leave it, it's nbd if I never get to fall in love or sleep with someone I'm actually interested in." I am completely fascinated by the idea of a mixed-orientation marriage (linked above) as a solution to this issue. I'd love to read more about it from people who've experienced it or come from those families.
posted by witchen at 8:47 AM on November 7, 2015


I was curious what the Utah newspapers were saying, so here's a roundup of links on the second day articles covering Christofferson's remarks. Also lots of quotes from locals. I appreciate all the insiders explaining the logic and history of this particular policy statement by LDS. I am so grateful I did not grow up in a religion and culture that would do this to me. Texas was conservative enough, but at least there was enough diversity where I lived that I had plenty of support when I figured out I was gay. I can't imagine growing up in a city run by Texas Baptists looking for new awful ways to make me feel inferior.
posted by Nelson at 9:24 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thanks to HermitDog for reminding me that I am, according to their rolls, still a member of their church, and for inspiring me to get off my ass and jump through the hoops of getting off their list ~20 years after leaving.

This policy is a whole new level of disgusting.
posted by moira at 10:31 AM on November 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


oh man, mixed orientation marriages as practiced through the lds church could be a whole new fpp (maybe not right this second). it has such a long and ugly history in the church that i think i am straight up unable to discuss the somewhat less horrible way it's approached now. the cliffs notes version is that it used to be that if a guy* confessed having "same sex attraction" to his bishop, he'd be shipped off on his mission and then the leaders would find a naive woman (girl, really) who was "beautiful in spirit" (aka "she has a great personality!") to set him up with. most times the woman would never be told about his "struggles" and because of the law of chastity she wouldn't find out until they were sealed for all eternity. those marriages would produce kids, often times many of them, and then 10-20 years down the line after unimaginable pain and turmoil for everyone the marriages would end in divorce.

this is part of why this new policy is so terrible. the church heavily encouraged these marriages, and now they are damning the kids who were produced in them since many of the husbands after divorce didn't keep trying to be straight.


*i say guy because as with most things having to do with women, the church didn't/doesn't really care if a woman is gay because they are generally of the opinion that women don't have sexual urges outside of the desire for procreation that aren't deviant**. they're also of the opinion that women who express same sex attraction haven't repented hard enough for the sexual abuse they were victims of and the church covered up. or at least - that's my experience and the experience of many queer women in the church i've discussed it with.

**and yes, i realize this is a generalization and some congregations, say out in california, are more liberal and understanding on these things but i can only discuss my experiences and the experiences of people i've talked about this with.
posted by nadawi at 11:23 AM on November 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


I will always have trouble with a belief system, any belief system, which legislates love.
posted by kinnakeet at 12:35 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I realize there may not be an exact answer to this yet, but doctrinally, what is supposed to happen to, say, a 16 year old child of gay parents who dies without being baptized? Or for that matter, a 21-year-old child of gay parents who wants to become a Mormon, but can't afford to move out of the house yet, and then dies? Is the church, within its own belief system, withholding salvation from people based on the perceived sins of their parents?
posted by decathecting at 1:10 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Researching something nadawi led me to the story of Joseph Fielding Smith (1899–1964), who was a presiding patriarch of LDS before being run out for being homosexual. He took his wife and seven children with him to Hawai'i.

Also interesting reading, a Revised History of Homosexuality and Mormonism. It's a a few years old now but has a whole lot of interesting detailed stuff. For example the time in 1965 when Spencer Kimball "counselled" some gay BYU students. Five ended up committing suicide. (Kimball was later the head of LDS when the church had the revelation from God that blacks could be full church members. In 1978.)
posted by Nelson at 1:25 PM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is time for that if when that child reaches majority he or she feels like that is what they want and they can make an informed and conscious decision about that. Nothing is lost to them in the end if that's the direction they want to go.

That's awesome! I wish all religions had the same approach to all children.
posted by CaseyB at 1:38 PM on November 7, 2015


Is the church, within its own belief system, withholding salvation from people based on the perceived sins of their parents?

no, that's where baptisms for the dead come in. even hitler will get a chance to be redeemed in the afterlife.
posted by nadawi at 1:39 PM on November 7, 2015


er, not everyone, some can end up in outer darkness (hell) with no chance of redemption. someone more up on scripture would have to speak to that, but it's my impression it's a very small group who are eligible.
posted by nadawi at 2:03 PM on November 7, 2015


My spouse's family is Mormon. I'm not Mormon, and neither is my spouse, but over the past 15 years I've learned a lot about LDS through him and his family, and through blogs like Times and Seasons. The church's decision is just awful and my heart goes out to everyone hurt by it. Thanks so much to the Saints and ex-members giving their perspectives and links -- I'll have to check out By Common Consent and have already found a snort-worthy comment (by Sundayzwarrior) on the ex-mo Reddit.
posted by brainwane at 2:04 PM on November 7, 2015


It never ceases to amaze me how many religions that purport to follow the teachings of Christ so regularly do things that are obviously anti-Christ. The entire new testament, aside from the acid trip at the end, was about using love and acceptance to get along with others, in the hope of eventually changing their mind. The goal was still a bit creepy, but it was all about using kindness and nonjudgmental attitudes to get there.

I'm not sure why religious leaders feel so threatened by that, given that they constantly preach it. (and then turn around and do something entirely the opposite)
posted by wierdo at 5:23 PM on November 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


There is time for that if when that child reaches majority he or she feels like that is what they want and they can make an informed and conscious decision about that. Nothing is lost to them in the end if that's the direction they want to go.

18 years you've been exiling a kid for his parent's "sins", and you want to say nothing is lost?
posted by effugas at 5:29 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's important to note that just because a child is not baptized doesn't mean that they are exiled.

In fact, you could say the reality could be worse. Suppose you have a mixed orientation marriage (one partner is straight, the other is gay, but for #reasons, they decided to marry anyway), and they have kids. Suppose after some time, the marriage doesn't work out, and the gay partner gets into a gay relationship. But suppose that the two parents reach a joint custody arrangement.

That straight partner may still be very involved in church (the gay partner could too, but that's probably not going to be as popular.) They will want to take their kid to church regardless, and the church isn't going to do anything about it. Just because the kid can't be baptized (because they do live with the gay parent some of the time) doesn't mean the kid is exiled.

So, it's quite a bit messier.
posted by subversiveasset at 5:50 PM on November 7, 2015


not exiled, but ostracized. it becomes very obvious very quickly which kids are going through the rites and which ones aren't, especially for the boys. if a 12 year old kid has gone to church every sunday and then doesn't get the priesthood there is a whole host of things his peers will be participating in that he'll have to watch from the sidelines.

a point made in the mormon stories podcast by a mormon counselor and sex therapist is that because of how the mormons pushed mixed orientation marriages (very unethically imo) the current demographics of the church have a lot of the situation you describe. the leadership has to know this. they made this policy knowing they are in a lot of ways culpable for the situation those couples find themselves in.
posted by nadawi at 6:02 PM on November 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


If a 12 year old boy that regularly attends church does not get the priesthood he is shamed. The general thought will be that he committed some sin (probably masturbation) that made him unworthy to take this next step towards exultation.

You see, 12 year olds are interrogated by the Bishop (the lay-leader of a geographical area -- a ward) about all sorts of issues including his sexuality and sexual doings to determine worthiness. Ergo, no priesthood means that he has been a very bad boy.

It is a big freakin' deal.
posted by djinn dandy at 6:48 PM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


yep. i went through something similar, but honestly no where near as bad i don't think, when at 13 i couldn't take the sacrament for a year. after the second week the rumors were all over church - among kids, teens, and adults. now, to not be able to pass the sacrament? that would have been even worse (although the assumptions are different - boys are thought to have been masturbating and girls are thought to have "let a boy get too far" even though there are a wide range of things that cause that sort of discipline).

lets just pause for a second and think about teens having one on one interviews with someone in a position of great power who asks them to confess every sin behind closed doors. i want to stress that some bishops are great, but some need every detail of the type of panties we own or how turgid the boys dicks were when passing by a mall advertisement (then there are the third kind where when you try to describe abuse you've suffered say, "don't tell me too many details so you don't transfer the sin to my heart" which then stalls the church investigation against the priesthood holding abuser). and it never occurs to most of us to complain about being uncomfortable because absolute obedience to our leaders is something that was drilled into us long before.
posted by nadawi at 7:16 PM on November 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


even before you get to weird sexual sins assumptions, there's the thing where the whole primary class one by one gets baptized but one doesn't. there's this dance where the church pretends like kids accept their baptisms, so for one to not go through - for being unworthy (this is usually assumed to be stealing, fighting, etc) or actively denying it - either way, you're not getting invited to the birthday parties.
posted by nadawi at 7:27 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's important to note that just because a child is not baptized doesn't mean that they are exiled.

Again:

The policy also bars children from being baptized, confirmed, ordained to the church priesthood or recommended for missionary service without the permission of the faith's highest leaders — the governing First Presidency.

I've known some Mormons. Some of the most upstanding and honorable people I've met. I know exactly how important their missions were to them, and suggesting that because of their parents they might be excluded from this and other transformative events, irrespective of their personal beliefs?

That is deep, fundamental rejection. That is exile, particularly in such an all-enveloping culture. And on the grounds of the sins of the father?

It's what was asked of the polygamists, and perhaps this is turnabout seeming "fair play". Who knows. No question there was an attempt to exile them, you know.
posted by effugas at 7:39 PM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


i read that comment as saying the result can be worse than exile.
posted by nadawi at 7:53 PM on November 7, 2015


Yeah, it's one thing if these kids never are involved in Mormonism at all. I mean, yeah, living in Utah or any heavily-Mormon area, that will be rough on its own. But if I had been "exiled" from Mormonism early on, then that would have saved a lot of heartache for me (and I had a comparatively mild upbringing.)

It's another thing if there's a real possibility that they will be involved in Mormonism as a second-class citizen.

I get that in some way, these outcomes cannot be compared. Bad outcomes are bad and don't need to be compared or contrasted. But the word "exile" just doesn't seem to capture what it would look and feel like.
posted by subversiveasset at 9:47 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


By equating this with the same policies that are used for children of polygamists the church is effectively stating that its position on the issues of homosexuality and same-sex marriage is not up for negotiation. They are digging in and they want the world to know that there's no room for misinterpretation or latitude here.

Never mind the fact that there is ZERO doctrinal or scriptural support for this move. It is completely and utterly counter to the core theological pillars that the church claims to support.

Also note that the church is willing put this policy down in ink but the president and prophet and OFFICIAL MOUTHPIECE OF GOD REMAINS TOTALLY SILENT on the topic. No actual revelations have taken place. It's just so, so gross.

I feel sick and sad for my loved ones who will try to make sense of this without "speaking ill" of their leaders. I feel utterly heartbroken for the countless folks who will, believing that they must submit to the will of the Lord as explained through men they have never met personally, try to find ways to be ok with a policy and an attitude that promotes only the most narrow and arbitrary definitions of family as acceptable.

I just...I can't even finish my thoughts anymore.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:14 PM on November 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Knowing some Mormons and ex-Mormons and knowing some things about Mormon theology, it seems to me like this is really the LDS leadership doubling down on the idea of the heterosexual family as the center of the religion at all costs. You have to consider that they were forced to give up on polygamy, which was important for theological reasons. Heterosexual marriage with children is literally the cornerstone of Mormon theology, with the whole concept of eternal sealing; so if the institution of marriage is changing (and it is), I can see why they would pick this as the hill to die on.

But even though the theological reasoning makes a certain amount of sense, it remains a horrible thing to do to actual people. I mean, theology lost in the case of polygamy and in the case of Black people being priests, so it's not impossible for a person who claims to be a Prophet to have a revelation and say that gay marriages can be sealed. It's certainly better than to lash out at people's children in this awful way.

I've seen a number of people talking about formally leaving the LDS church over this, even though they haven't been active in it for decades. It seems to me like there was a sort of "neutral" position that had been reached where people could leave without being outcast from every family activity over it. And this move seems to be the burning of that bridge. Which is chilling, because there was a certain mainstreaming to Mormonism that it had allowed, and you have to worry that this is going to hurt that and push Mormonism back into an "us against the world" position that is going to hurt people born into it as children. I'd like to know if that's the experience and what the thinking is among ex-Mormons here of the broader fallout.
posted by graymouser at 5:12 AM on November 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


In their own words,
"It's a matter of a firm policy that doesn't allow for question and doubt."

Montgomery said news of the new rules left her son sobbing and forced her and her husband to consider leaving a religion they've been desperately trying to stay in, despite a harsh reception to their son coming out.

Montgomery echoed a response shared by many on social media: She can somewhat understand the hard stance on same-sex marriage, but she can't comprehend singling out gay couples' children.

"We just put a scarlet letter on these kids," Montgomery said. "This isn't my church. I don't see God in it. I don't see divinity it. It just feels evil."
------------------------

I suspect that the Facebook of Mitch Mayne -- an openly gay ward executive secretary for the Mormon Church who led a Mormon march in the most recent S.F. Pride Parade -- might get pretty interesting on this subject.
posted by markkraft at 9:32 AM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've learned a lot about LDS through him and his family, and through blogs like Times and Seasons.

Speaking of Times and Seasons, this article from yesterday on the topic is worth reading.

The content is good, if something of a retread of ground perhaps better covered by flug's excellent comment, and also attending to the theory that the policy is driven by concern from conservative leadership that the church is already losing its struggle against gay marriage internally as it has socially.

What I find noteworthy besides the articulation is *who* is saying this. The author writes for reflective LDS audiences and is frequently a defender of the church and its positions, if a moderate and thoughtful one. As a bellwether, if she is not on board with this policy (and she doesn't seem to be), it's a pretty good bet that there are a lot of faithful Mormons who are not on board either, despite some reflexive defenses of the church's moral authority that are on display in the wild. This is not just causing distress to people at the margins.

And with good reason. If you squint, these policies kindof make sense in the context of the church's near-existential (if self-inflicted) conflicts over polygamy. But in this context it just looks like making children collateral damage. And even assuming one buys into the church's internal perspective on same-sex relationships, individual choice when it comes to standing with either church or God should matter more than this.
posted by weston at 10:50 AM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Mormon leadership are trying to isolate and surgically remove Christian tolerance and compassion within the church that has apparently metastasized, due to the unfortunate teachings of Jesus.
posted by markkraft at 11:21 AM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I've hesitated to post this because I don't want to turn my family into a political statement. However, the LDS Church with its recent policy change regarding children of same-sex couples has turned my family into something political, and I cannot remain silent about this.

I have been living with Rob for the past 5 months. My kids live with us part of the time, and their mother most of the time. I have left the LDS church, although not officially. My boys have a wonderful mother who is still Mormon. Although we don't agree on spiritual matters, we have come to the conclusion that our kids will be raised in the church, and I honor that decision because I value my relationship with them and their mother. On weekends that they stay with me and Rob, I'll take them to church. When my sons speak in primary or in the primary program, Rob and I are there to support them and their involvement in the church. I have done all that I can to ensure that my kids will never have to choose between having a relationship with their father and his partner whom they both love, and being involved in the church that their mother loves.

Now, because my boys live with me part time, they are excluded from membership in the church unless they receive approval from the First Presidency. Children of felons and rapists don't even have such a harsh punishment. I'm really hurting. Just when I thought that I had found a way to live with tolerance toward the church they've come out and attacked my family in a very personal way."

posted by markkraft at 11:25 AM on November 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Ouch.
--------------------------------------

"For a study with data on what happens when LGBT people leave the church, see here:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19359705.2014.912970

The answer: when LGBT people leave the church they have higher levels of quality of life and self esteem, and lower levels of depression and sexual identity distress. Conversely, when they stay in the church (e.g., celibacy, mixed-orientation marriage), they have quality of life ratings lower than people who have lupus (a debilitating illness), and significantly higher levels of depression and sexual identity distress.

My guess is that this outcome holds true for many progressive/liberal Mormons (e.g., intellectuals, feminists, people of color) who continue to feel highly distressed by the church's teachings and policies.

My message for LDS people today is -- sometimes the chains are of your own making. There is a big, bright, beautiful world outside of the LDS church. It's not always easy. Sometimes things are difficult (e.g., thorns, thistles, and noxious weeds). You certainly have to replace the "holes" that develop when you leave Mormonism - and you certainly can make a HUGE mess of your life.

But joy outside of Mormonism is absolutely doable -- and for tens of thousands, it is absolutely worth it."

posted by markkraft at 11:39 AM on November 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Utah ranks 5th in the nation in terms of teen suicide., with LGBT Mormons making up approximately 30% of that total. More than 5,000 youth are estimated to be homeless in Utah per year. Of these, at least 40 percent are LGBT, with 60 percent of these from Mormon homes.
posted by markkraft at 6:38 PM on November 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


In case you're wondering how the LDS believers are weighing on on this, here are a couple of articles that popped up on my Facebook feed from various LDS relatives & friends:

* The 9 Facebook Myths About the Church’s New LGBT Policy

* Am The Daughter of Lesbians, And I Am A Mormon
posted by flug at 9:42 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sweet Jesus he says with irony, how can we allow a group to do this much damage to its members? How can it be legal to abuse people so badly that they suicide? To split families? To hurt children?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:31 PM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]




Thank you for sharing that, nadawi. There are a lot of good Mormons out there who are really committed to compassionate service in their communities and it really sucks when the corporate masters in Salt Lake City trample on that. Thus was it ever, I suppose.

Even though I'm an openly agnostic/cultural Mormon at this point, the great majority of my family is not. As much as I'm bothered by this, they're struggling a lot more than me.

It's tempting to say "just leave" or even "burn it to the ground" but of course never as easy in real life to follow through with such notions.
posted by Doleful Creature at 7:29 AM on November 11, 2015


Over on the exmormon Reddit an attorney is offering help for people who want to officially leave LDS in protest. Form letters and an offer to help file the paperwork for free. He's had 1500+ takers so far.
posted by Nelson at 8:50 AM on November 11, 2015


Thousands of Mormons Are Leaving the Church Over New Gay “Apostate” Policy
As David Badash reports over in The New Civil Rights Movement, thousands of souls are set to leave the church on Saturday as part of a mass resignation in Salt Lake City. Because leaving the LDS requires certain legal proceedings, Utah attorney Mark Naugle has volunteered to help with the paperwork; notary publics will also be in attendance. In an interview with local outlet KIVI-TV, Naugle said he has 1,400 resignations already in the works, and the Facebook event for Saturday has almost 1,000 confirmed attendees. In addition to submitting letters of resignation to the church, participants are scheduled to march around Temple Square to protest the policy.
posted by andoatnp at 4:27 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


meanwhile - byu is holding a (what appears to be last minute and 7 weeks late) celebration conference for the 20th anniversary of the family : a proclamation to the world.
posted by nadawi at 4:55 PM on November 11, 2015


and then this happened happened yesterday...just unbelievably egregious and sad
posted by freejinn at 7:00 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


the fuck (from freejinn's link):
A married Carbon County couple says they plan to fight a judge's order that would force them to give up their infant foster daughter simply because they are lesbians.
...
"He said he has research to back that children do better in heterosexual homes," Hoagland said.

Johansen did not provide specifics of that research in court despite questions from attorneys for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services and the Guardian Ad Litem Office assigned to represent the child, Hoagland and Peirce said.
...
"We have a lot of support," Peirce said. "DCFS wants us to have the child, the Guardian Ad Litem wants us to have the child, the mother wants us to have the child, so the only thing standing in the way is the judge."
...
"If we feel like [Johansen's] decision is not best for the child," he said, "and we have a recourse to appeal or change it, we're going to do that."
...
Johansen was also criticized in 2014 for ordering a woman to lop off her 13-year-old daughter's ponytail as punishment for the teen cutting the hair off a 3-year-old girl at a restaurant. The judge offered to shave off 150 hours of community service from the sentence if she cut her daughter's hair in court.
i included that last bit because clearly this guy has issues even outside of the homophobia. terrible human. also, SEKRIT RESEARCH is telling.
posted by twist my arm at 8:45 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The First Presidency has now broken silence on the issue, with a "clarification" of the policy that contradicts/amends it in significant ways. I still hate the policy and think it's terrible, but this development lends additional insight into the trainwreck of a process that led to this.
posted by The World Famous at 10:19 AM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's not that significant, and it still leaves a lot in the hands of local leaders, so there's likely to be wildly inconsistent application. I generally never encourage anyone to look at Reddit, but the conversation there has some pertinent observations.
posted by HermitDog at 10:25 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


if they weren't so secretive i would love some long form journalism about all this in a year. that "clarification" does seem to contradict quite a bit of the worst parts of the issue - so how'd that happen? did they not realize they had caused a giant group of mixed orientation divorced parents where the kids stayed in the church? did they not realize how many kids they were putting in limbo who had already gotten their name/been baptized? i know they never intended to publicly speak on it because they aren't used to this handbook getting outside attention (although i feel like under previous leaders the church was better at understanding how media works), but what did they intend privately? are they walking this back to save face or was this the intention all along? it's fascinating. still evil and still goes against the second article of faith, i think - but fascinating.

i'll still be resigning.
posted by nadawi at 10:37 AM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


and yeah, the inconsistent application has always been a big issue in the church. they act as if you can walk into any chapel in any location and get the same gospel, and that's mostly true, but all the stuff around the edges that actually make up the lion's share of living in the faith can be very different depending on who is leading.
posted by nadawi at 10:39 AM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's not that significant

I mean, other than it directly reversing a substantial part of the plain language of the written policy, sure.
posted by The World Famous at 10:45 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Unless they actually re-update the handbook, that handbook is what a lot of leadership will hold up as THE RULE.

And while it says that kids can continue their path, that is at the discretion of local leaders. Also the primary custody thing doesn't address the existing "ever has been" part, so if the parent they currently live with isn't in a same-sex marriage, but WAS at some point...???

It is not reversing, it's massaging and obfuscating and making it even more likely to be inconsistently applied than it already would have been.
posted by HermitDog at 12:13 PM on November 13, 2015


The text of the policy clarification is still hateful and anti-gay. Gay married couples are still anathema and children living primarily with gay parents are still outcast. In no way is this policy consistent with treating gay people with dignity and respect.
posted by Nelson at 3:03 PM on November 13, 2015


i don't think anyone is arguing that the clarification or the policy is good.
posted by nadawi at 3:09 PM on November 13, 2015








The Mormon Church Decides to Treat Gay Marriage as Rebellion on a Par with Polygamy - "My grandfather, Spencer Woolley Kimball, was the head of the Mormon Church from 1973-1985... As a nonsupernaturalist outsider to the Mormon Church, with much affection for the Church and its members given my Mormon past–including the gay members who will suffer pain because of this tightening of policy–let me freely give my own advice to Mormon Church leaders–or if God exists and speaks to Mormon Church leaders, let me plead with God as Abraham and Moses pleaded with God on many occasions."
To have enough vigor to attract new converts and grow fast, a religion needs some sacrifice or stigma to set apart those within the religion from those outside. So if not hardcore opposition to gay marriage, what can the sacrifice be (beyond avoidance of alcohol and coffee and volunteer church service) to create a big difference between Mormons and non-Mormons? Sadly, the answer is easy: a reemphasis on strict and full honesty in all one’s speech and actions can set Mormons apart.

Such a reemphasis on full and complete honesty by the Mormon Church could fulfill the prophecy that Mormon elders will save the Constitution of the United States when it is hanging by a thread (see 1 and 2). I worry that the fabric of our republic is being frayed by those who twist facts for partisan advantage of one kind or another. If no one can be trusted to tell the truth, how can we make things work? Mormons wouldn’t be the only ones who would tell the truth, but things may come to such a pass that if the Mormon Church reemphasizes total and full honesty in all circumstances, Mormons might at some point represent a shockingly high fraction of those who can be trusted to tell the truth, regardless of partisan advantage or disadvantage.
Christian Kimball: Anger [1], Marriage [2], and the Mormon Church [3] - "I remain angry. So when I saw some of what my brother Chris had written about the Mormon Church’s harsh new policy, I asked if he would write a guest post about it, so that I could ride the coattails of his anger."*

The People of Deseret - "Mormons are compulsive organizers... The beehive is a fitting symbol, especially of the early Mormon experience, which in the early Utah period was one of extreme hardship leavened only by thorough social organization and communal support. (How ironic, however, that beehives have a queen as their president, who has mated with multiple husbands.) To some, this degree of togetherness can seem rather creepy, and there is a dark side of extreme patriarchy and conformity. Plural marriage, for instance, was not just an odd and occasional peculiarity, but a reward and sign of church leadership, reserved for top officials. It was Old-Testament patriarchy, and natural selection, in action, Mormon style. But there are also positive lessons for our national economic questions, which largely turn today (in the right-left spectrum) on how together we feel, and how high we wish to set the dial of brutal competitiveness and laissez faire, versus a more compassionate egalitarianism. Mormons are typically Republicans due to their social conservatism. Yet their social organization was at the outset virtually communistic, with high social mobility with the possibility of high office (for men), and thoroughly organized social support. This organization was highly effective, not only socially, but economically, taming an extremely forbidding wilderness and creating a strong state out of nothing. Mormons teach us yet again that it takes management and cooperation to run a successful society, not just competition..."
posted by kliuless at 6:55 PM on November 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of the first orders of business for Jackie Biskupski, who is expected to become [Salt Lake City's] first openly gay mayor, is meeting with leaders of the Mormon church to sketch out their relationship going forward, including a discussion of the recent exclusionary policy on families of same-sex couples.

"I'm trying to get in for a meeting now," she said Tuesday on Trib Talk. "I definitely want to meet as soon as possible after Nov. 17 [when the vote is finalized] to talk about direction and issues, policies and different things."

She earlier had issued a statement expressing concern for a newly announced church policy that categorizes same-sex couples as apostates and excludes their minor children from Mormon rites, including blessings, baptisms and mission calls. She called the policy one that is "targeting children."

Biskupski said the "timing is peculiar" and suggested it was reaction not only to the recent legalization of same-sex marriage, which the church acknowledged, but also "potentially to my election."

posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:17 PM on November 24, 2015


« Older "I don't know what that is." "You know... Gabagool...   |   “Solar-wind erosion is an important mechanism for... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments