Last Thursday (5th November 2015) someone leaked the fact that the LDS church were making changes to the Handbook of Instructions 1, he shared it with John Dehlin who then let the world know about it.
In summary, the church has made the following main changes
- Being in a same-sex relationship is now one of the 5 definitions of apostasy that a disciplinary council is mandatory
- Any children who have any parent that it in a same-sex relationship will now not be eligible for blessing and naming, baptism, priesthood, mission.
This policy change is so wrong on so many levels, its hard to know where to start, apologies if this is a bit of a ramble.
The one that hits closest to home for me is the children one. In the interview that was released on Friday the rationalle that Mr Christoferson gave for the child related one, was it was protecting the children, they didn’t want to place the burden of mixed messages on children who are in a home with a same-gender couple. Why should a same-gender couple be any worse than being in the home of other things that are not deemed ‘good’ – For example a child could be in the home of a domestic abuser, or someone who is an arms dealer, or a rapist. Yet according to this policy those children would still be eligible for the ordinances while the one who has same-gender parents is not.
My home is what you could call a mixed faith home, while I mostly attend church with my wife and children, I am pretty open (though not often vocal) that I do not believe the truth claims of the church. I have been called anti-mormon by some people, yet my children are OK to be baptised if we wished it.
I am struggling to see what the children need protecting from, I would say there are bunch of other, much worse things that a child should be protecting from over and above a couple that are in a monogamous loving relationship. If you are looking for some worse situations have a look at the list of things that *may* need a disciplinary council (as opposed to the mandatory one for same-sex couples),
I have also been told ‘well its not going to impact many people anyway‘ to that I call bollocks!
First of all, because of the advice that had been historically given to people who came out as gay to their LDS leaders, they were often told to marry into a mixed-gender marriage anyway, with not great results, quoting from that article ‘Between 51 percent and 69 percent of mixed-orientation Mormon marriages end in divorce, well above the roughly 25 percent of Mormon couples who split up’. There will be quite a decent amount of kids with gay parents in new
Second, you don’t have to be directly affected to be impacted. Speaking for me personally, while I am not directly affected by this I am deeply offended and that impacts me, it further lowers my view of the compassion, and sanity of those leading the church. Like most normal people if you see someone acting like a bully you want to stand up and say STOP! I see this the same way, this policy is hurtful and damaging and the church needs to be called out.
Over the weekend there has been a huge backlash to this, I am not sure the church was expecting that, but I guess thats obvious, as they tried to sneak it out of the back door. And this is my other big concern.
The church used an update to a document only available to LDS leaders to implement this policy, which I think has wide implications. opposed to a statement in last months General Conference. To me this signals cowardice and lack of morals, if you have something that is going to have a huge impact on people, at least have the balls to be up front about it. They only reason the church has had to release newsroom articles and the interview with Christoferson is because they were caught out.
It’s also worth noting that in the past the church has been very protective over Handbook 1, it will be interesting to see if they have the same appetite for a legal wrangle after this PR disaster.