Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Another Perspective on Policy

I found the following post by a friend-of-a-friend on Facebook:

"Hey all you beautiful uninformed people who are making a big deal out of nothing but I love you anyway. READ THIS and then Shut up. 

There have been a lot of posts about the recent LDS news regarding children of same sex marriages and also same sex marriages being viewed as apostasy. I'm sorry to add to those posts filling up your newsfeed but as a gay man who does not feel victimized by this decision I feel the need to share my side. I'm confused by a few things. First off, why is everyone so surprised! The church has never pretended to be anything other than exactly what it is. Their stance on same sex marriages has never changed. I also don't understand how this affects about half of the people posting about it. Over half the people posting about it are not members of the church or don't believe in the LDS church to begin with. How does this decision in anyway affect you. If you are a gay couple, were you really going to send your child to an LDS church to begin with? If you are an active LDS member posting, again, why are you so surprised!!! If you truly believe in your church, then you believe that the prophet is a prophet of God who speaks directly to him. If this is you... then have some faith and then be quiet. If you disagree with this view on same sex marriage, then by all means just choose another church. No one is forcing you to stay. I guess being from South Carolina I get confused when people act like the Mormon church is the only religion that exists, or the only religion that does not believe in same sex marriage for that matter. In South Carolina it was just another church, there to seek shelter from the storm if need be. It wasn't a cultural thing. In the LDS church, whether your parents are gay or not, you still have to have permission to be baptized either way. I'm sorry, but I don't disagree with the church when they say that it might not be in the child's best interest to be baptized into a church that does not support their parents marriage, seeing as this could cause issues in the home and could even result in the child being kicked out of the home. This is something that often happens with gay children who come out to straight parents, which is not something the church supports doing by the way. In my opinion, the church is not shunning these children but rather asking them to wait till they are 18 and can move out in hopes to prevent them from having issues at home. I'd also like to pose the question: do these children of same sex marriages really want to join a church that doesn't support their parents marriage? If they do, well then the church is not asking the children wanting to join the church to disown their parents. They just want them to understand that the church does not support same sex marriages and wants to make sure this is something they support as well before being baptized into a church that believes this. AGAIN, not something you HAVE to do! You do not have to join a church you disagree with! I don't feel children of same sex marriages are being outcast. They are still welcome to attend. But it has always been the churches policy that whether your parents are gay or straight, if your parents disagree with the beliefs of the church, you need to wait until you are of legal age to be baptized in an effort to keep the peace at home. Let's all stop victimizing people who are not being victimized.

If you still disagree. That's ok. We will have to agree to disagree."

Just food for thought. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Policy Change

Life has been utterly crazy as always, and this week was no exception.  I wound up with a $475 car bill, lost my $100 sunglasses, bombed a test, and found out I'll probably need to choose between student debt or no life insurance (long, unrelated story).  I went to a much-needed session at the temple and exited to a beautiful fall sunset.

Then facebook exploded.

When I read the headlines, I'll admit, I was taken aback.  I decided to wait until I heard from the Church itself before posting my views on my wall.

There are essentially two policies that have been updated and which really shouldn't come as any surprise.  The first being that members who enter into same-sex marriages will be excommunicated. (well, duh!) The second is a little more complicated.  It stipulates that children of same-sex couples cannot be baptized as members of the Church until they are of legal age, and at that point they need to accept that their parents' marriage is against the commandments of God.  I found the following post more articulate than I could have presented, so I shared it on my wall:

"If your child wanted to join an organization that taught your lifestyle was immoral and wrong, and that organization wouldn't let your child join till they were 18, because they believe keeping harmony and avoiding conflict in your home is more important than another member on it's roster, would you hate that organization for trying to help your family be united despite different opinions of your lifestyle? Or would you say thank you for trying to protect my family from a source of complicated contention until my child is older and can make a more informed objective decision to join your group?"

Almost immediately, four of my friends (one of which is less-active, the other three have left the Church) started railing on me.  My lanta!  They scorned my post as "sugar-coating" "bull[$#!@]" and a host of other not-so-flattering adjectives.  I tried to explain that the same principle applies in policy to the children of polygamists, but that didn't satisfy them (of course).

If the Church were truly as cruel as they described it, would the missionaries target the children of gay couples and attempt to turn them against their parents?  Wouldn't the Church publicly condemn homosexuals to Hell?  But unfortunately, in today's victimization society, people will take things too personally and attempt to reap the benefits of being a victim or a sympathizer of such.

My friend posted the following as his status:

"It's one thing to say you disagree with your parents religion and to join another religion. It's another thing entirely to say you disagree that your parents should even be together. What the new policy says is that children have to be of legal age, and to disavow homosexuality. I was a missionary once, and I never had to deal with the situation, but can you imagine two missionaries asking a minor to disavow their parents marriage? That's a tough thing, unethical even, and I would agree that such situations require a little more than just bishop or mission president approval, and that kids are probably better holding off their baptism in that situation until they are old enough to fully understand the implications of disavowing all homosexuality.

The church is not salvation. No one is being damned here. No one is claiming these children are sinners. If you disagree with the church, this policy should be a comfort to you, the church will not allow minors to disavow their parents marriage. Instead, these children must wait till they understand the implications of their actions and be of legal age before they join the church.

I'm sorry that so many feel hurt by this policy change. I sympathize with your pain and anger even though I support this policy, and consider it a necessary step to prevent abuse from both inside and outside the church."

(Again, I found that this individual worded things much better than I could)

I just hope that everyone approaches this change with the Spirit.  I know that we are in fact led by a prophet of God.  Following the prophet without hesitation is not blind obedience.  When we know that the Prophet cannot lead us astray, that he is a mouthpiece of God, we need not doubt.  We should treat treat all of God's children with civility and respect, but we also need to defend the Gospel of Christ.  He loved all, but He was unafraid to call sin sin.  Standing for truth does not require hatred; it requires guts.