It’s been a week. We’re all calm now, right?
The LDS church sent a letter on Nov. 13 to leaders that it said “clarifies church handbook changes” that ban children from rites that the church says, ironically, are necessary for salvation. And also, puts those in a same-sex marriage squarely on grounds for apostasy.
Everyone should still be outraged. Here’s why:
- It was a double-down.
The letter stated what the policy already said: that the church was “obligated” to forbid children from what it says are rites necessary for salvation. And that adults who “choose” to enter into a same-sex marriage “or similar relationship” are on grounds for excommunication. (So if you are a drug abuser, you’re good, apparently.)
2. It was reactionary.
The biggest complaint following the leak of the policy was about the children and the theme of the letter is about children.
3. It was made public. (The other? Nope.)
Did the church try to be sneaky about it the first time but went public when it needed to respond to the concerns even of faithful church members, who were divided about it? (The first notice was sent overnight to leaders and leaked to John Dehlin. KUTV2 picked it up when a producer viewed Dehlin’s page, the station told me.)
4. It made the resigned look stupid.
The letter was sent (and thus, reported on) just a day before a mass resignation in Salt Lake City, where 1,500 people resigned their church membership. That opened a timeline door for church and its believers to say, ‘how selfish were these apostates to resign even though the church went to the effort to make a clarification.’
5. Actually, “revealed doctrine” says nothing about homosexuality.
The LDS church’s scripture that was for the purpose of restoring corrupted doctrines says nothing about homosexuality. Yet, the letter read that doctrine “is clear” about families.
6. Good thing your sacred ordinance came before Nov. 5!
With the children, it’s a matter of a date of mere administration.
If you received any of the rites the church says are necessary for salvation before the gay policy took effect, then none of those will be removed — and you can even get future rites. But otherwise, you’re screwed, according to the new provision. But of course, ordinances in the future even for the pre-Nov. 5 kids may or may not happen. It depends upon the bishop or stake president.
7. The actual nice thing was tucked in at the end.
The final sentence: “All children may receive priesthood blessings of healing and spiritual guidance.”
How nice. Too bad it was all-to-stuffed in a final paragraph of an already-lengthy letter.
8. Even faithful church members thought it sucked.
The letter was written after outcry even from the faithful about the new gay policy. That was because it was un-Christian, hypocritical and marginalizing.
Un-Christian, because Jesus Himself said “suffer the children… to come unto me.” Because Jesus Himself said that at the judgment, we will account for how we treated “the least of these.” Children must count; those who are gay must count.
Hypocritical, because the church’s own scripture, an “Article of Faith,” says “men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” Also, “restoration scripture” — scripture, in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, that is supposed to clarify the meaning of God’s plan — doesn’t say anything about homosexuality. Also, D&C 68:25-27 says that children should be baptized at eight years old. (So much for canonized scripture…)
Marginalizing, due to timing and reaction.
Timing: The policy was announced just days after a study by the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life learned that Mormon acceptance of homosexuality increased 50 percent in just eight years.
Reaction: Persons in a same-sex marriage, also in the policy, are now on grounds for excommunication. How many children are going to want to be part of the church (when, by the way, they’ve already missed a blessing given to babies) via baptism after their parents have been ostracized? How many are going to call their parents’ lifestyles abominable, as the policy also asks? How many are going to want to go to church in the meantime? How many are going to want to join when they have more critical thinking skills and probably haven’t been groomed in the faith by then?
The church is run by smart people. They know this isn’t the case.
Reactionary. Self-contradicting. A double-down. Senseless. Spin-heavy. Pandering.
Yep — the gay policy letter, like its handbook partner, sucks.