Much like the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church has long said that gay people can remain in good standing within the club, as long as they refrain from acting on their sexual desires.
Now, they’re taking it much, much further. Not only are gay people in same-sex relationships now considered “apostates,” their children will also be punished.
Because there’s nothing Mormons fear more than Gay Cooties.
Under the new church policy, people in “same-gender” marriage have been added to the list of those acts that are considered apostasy and would be subject to disciplinary action.
Historically, the church has excommunicated some members who have acted on their same-sex attractions.
However, “before today it’s never been defined in the handbook as apostasy,” [Church watchdog John] Dehlin said.
As for children, a separate section of the handbook says that natural or adopted kids of same-sex parents, whether married or just living together, may not receive a naming blessing.
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 First Presidency.
It’s hardly surprising to see religious leaders make life as difficult as possible for members who may be gay or lesbian, but it’s disgraceful that they would go after children for the non-existent “crimes” of their parents. You don’t have to believe in Mormon Magic to understand how appalling that is.
Under the new rules, children of gay parents can only be received into the church after they’ve turned 18 and only if they “[disavow] the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.” So they’d have to trash their parents’ relationship to get entry into the Church.
Most religious people talk about how anyone can be “saved” as long as they believe; this is the first time I’ve heard church leaders say, “you’re irrevocably screwed because of who your parents are.”
Oh, and the same list of “serious transgressions” that includes “homosexual relations” also includes “attempted murder, forcible rape, sexual abuse, spouse abuse, intentional serious physical injury of others, adultery, [and] fornication.” Because they’re all equivalent to Mormon leadership.
Maybe the LDS Church just has too many members and they need to find a way to get some of them to leave…
Intentionally or not, that’ll be the likely result.
I asked John Dehlin what he thought would come of this action and he told me this:
This is a very sad day for Mormonism.
It is sad for the many legally married LGBT Mormons will now likely be hunted down and threatened with the inhumane and barbaric LDS disciplinary council process — for the sole act of legally entering into a loving, committed relationship with a person of their choosing.
It is sad for single LGBT Mormons who continue to receive an onslaught of invalidating religious messages (supposedly from God/Christ), leading to continued hopelessness, depression and despair — and that they are forced to choose between their faith, and a life of committed and loving companionship. No one should be forced to choose between their faith and loving companionship.
And finally, it is sad for the LDS church and its devout members — who continue to deprive themselves of the wonderful talents and association with so many beautiful and gifted LGBT members.
We are all diminished by this unfortunate action. As the LDS church continues to paint itself into a corner, it risks becoming increasingly irrelevant to the developed world. Perhaps this is for the best. We shall see.
Let’s hope that’s true. It makes no sense for decent people to remain in the Mormon Church when this is what its leadership wants. You have to wonder if there’s anything the Church can do at this point to push them away. If treating gay people as apostates for falling in love and creating a family doesn’t do it, what will?
By the way, this isn’t just bad policy on secular terms. It goes against what Mormons are supposed to believe. Their own Articles of Faith make clear:
We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
And the Book of Mormon also says in 2 Nephi 26:33:
For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.
He denies nobody… except the sons and daughters of gay couples, unless they denounce their parents. Because that’s how God knows you’re good.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Robyn for the link)