LDS guidelines misunderstood on same sex families
I love the fact that we live in a free country and we are able to worship how, where and what we may or not worship if that is your decision. Religion does not always define us as who we are although many times it plays a big part of who we are, how we act and how we treat others. Church should cause a positive change in our lives.
A recent announcement has caused quite a bit of emotion and concern.
On November 5, 2015 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints made some changes to handbook 1 which is the guidelines for Bishops, Branch Presidents and Stake Presidents of the Church.
The update affirmed one of the church’s fundamental doctrines that God recognizes marriages between a man and a woman. It also clarified that entering a same-sex marriage is considered apostasy and requires a church disciplinary council. The update states that homosexual relations, especially sexual cohabitation, are serious transgressions for which a disciplinary council may be necessary.
The Church recognizes that recently the law has been changed to allow same sex marriages in the US and many other countries throughout the world. The changes to the handbook make it very clear that this is not a rite that exists in the church nor will it be reconciled with church doctrine. Elder Christofferson one of the Apostles released a video which explains this in a very clear and loving way.
He explains that members of the church should be loving, understanding and accepting of everyone although we take a very clear stance on what is right and wrong. Just because the world begins to accept a certain behavior does not make it right. The savior Jesus Christ was very loving although he did not redefine sin or excuse it although he taught forgiveness and love when people wished to repent. Sin does not bring happiness and there is no kindness in misdirecting people as to what is right and wrong. This clarification allows for no question or doubt.
(Link to the video, you can copy and paste it to your browser if the link is not active)
Elder Christofferson said the new policy restricting children of same-sex couples from baptism until they are 18 originated from “a desire to protect children in their innocence and in their minority years”.
“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.” This is about respecting families and parents. This policy comes from a desire to protect children.
The same applies to blessing a baby because that makes them a child a record and that child will be assigned home teachers and be on the roles of the church and this may not be in the best interest of the child for many reasons. The blessing triggers many expectations and conflicts that the child should not have to deal with, including the differences in the family and church for those living in same sex relationship families. The Church has had the same practice with polygamist families and children.
The release of this clarification came about to help families not to exclude them. Some people say there will be many unintended circumstances from the clarification. The church has considered the implications of the policy and there will be exceptions made depending on specific circumstances. The pressure that can be placed on a child can be great and the church does not want to have children deal with issues that could place them between choosing their parents or the church.
Some people are quoting the second article of faith from the church where it states “we believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression” Some feel that this new policy is punishing children for the actions of their parents and feel that this is anything but loving. Once again the Church does not want to pit children against their parents so this is not a punishment but a policy to help families.
Children can become informed and make their own decisions when they become of age to do so. To allow these ordinances before 18 could cause many problems for the child and the family hence the church is choosing a prudent course of action based on the welfare of the children and the families of same sex cohabitation families or marriages.
If you believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true and you believe the scripture that says that once the Gospel was restored in the latter days it would never again be taken off the earth then you believe that the Prophet and the Apostles receive revelation and guidance from God hence we need to trust in God, that He knows what he is doing. If you don’t believe that the Church is true why would you want to be a part of it? Why would you want your children blessed or baptized in such a church? Some people do it because it is part of their culture and it has become part of them and it is hard to leave your culture.
A co-worker of mine told me that her daughter is gay and she is not an active member of the church although after the release of this policy she intends on writing a letter to take her name off the church records. She said maybe this is the churches way of getting rid of all the black sheep. The negative spin the press put on this new information upset many people and most people won’t take time to watch Elder Christofferson’s video to understand the reasons the church is doing what it is doing.
Many say that perception is reality or becomes your reality and if you just read the new articles and comments that were negative your perception will be negative and if you have read both sides then you can decide how you feel and where you want to stand on this matter. Many comments have compared this information to the Church not giving Black men the priesthood and how that ended up changing.
The church said they do not want to mislead anyone into thinking that the Lord will change his mind that sexual relations between two men or two woman is a sin and will not be accepted. When the news first released the information and I read the article I said to myself that I wanted to wait and read and hear the official statements from the apostles and Prophet before making any judgement or opinions. There are people that I love that will be affected and this is a sensitive matter.
I am one of those 29,621 Branch Presidents and Bishops that will receive these updates and I firmly believe that the Apostles and Prophets are inspired of God to help administrate the church and minister and bear witness of God and Christ.
Before anyone coming out of a polygamist family or a same sex marriage family can serve a mission they would need to disavow the idea of polygamy or same sex marriage. They would not have to disavow their family. A representative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints needs to have a clear belief in all the doctrines of the church and this policy is not put in place to divide families but to no mislead people on the stance of the church and to respect families.
The church avoids baptism of Muslims in many instances because of the problems that could occur within their families and respecting and acknowledging these issues is very important.
The church still feels that human rights are very important, protecting rights of all to not be discriminated against and recently the church supported these laws and will continue to do so.
Elder Christofferson said that the church does not practice mind control and that people are free to have their own opinions although he said it can become a problem if a member of the church begins to advocate and lobby against the accepted standards and doctrines of the church. When members write books or begin to influence people against the church standards and doctrines that is when the Church takes disciplinary action because belonging to the church means that you support the standards and doctrines and when you get to a point where you do not accept and support the standards of the church then the question is asked if you really should continue to be a member of such church.
So to some it up, the church is not seeking to keep blessings away from people that want to be associated with the church nor is the church trying to exclude people, they are trying to protect innocent children from conflicts they should not have to deal with at such an early age. Having an church teach your children something completely opposite to what they see at home will cause conflict in the family, conflict within the child and is not be in the best interest of the child or the family.
Some comments I found interesting:
I'm so sad. I have to say something though. I believe that the LDS church's new policy about denying baptism to children of same sex couples is about respect for family. It is about respect for that family and it invites all would be converters, (grandparents, neighbors, worriers in Zion,) to step back and respect the choices of that family to live an out and proud LGBT lifestyle, complete with children they love who will explore and want to learn about faith. How can you ask a child to be baptized into a faith that says that the marriage they were born into is not right? That's so much confusion. And so for those might try to rip families apart by saving the children, the mandate is clear. Leave the children alone. Honor the parents by establishing a firm policy so that children will not be asked to make these choices that pit them against their parents. Having said that, the most confusing part is finding my own reconciliation between the faith that I love and my knowledge that being LGBT is not a choice and love is always the answer. Still working through things. Still praying for understanding. Eve Speer Garcia – Another posting of a friend from facebook 110515
If there ever are exceptions, they can be approved through the First Presidency. My parents were polygamous and I couldn't be baptized without meeting the same criteria. I wrote to the First Presidency, met with an apostle and was approved for baptism. It took me six months but so worth it! The Church is true. It is worth waiting for. Abby Wheelwright (One of my good friends) Facebook 110615