The LDS Church (The Mormons) & homosexuality
2015-NOV-07: Part 2 of 8 parts:
Some reactions to the Church's policies
same-sex couples and their
Does the LDS Church's new policy violate
the Church's own Articles of Faith,
by scapegoating innocent children?
Some reactions toward the new Church policy change about same-sex marriage:
As noted in the previous essay, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is often referred to as the LDS Church, or the Mormon Chuirch.
The church has changed their Church Handbook of Instructions. It contains written policy about numerous topics, two sections of which now deal with same-sex parents and their children.
Church spokesperson, Eric Hawkins, issued a statement saying:
"Church handbooks are policy and procedural guides for lay leaders who must administer the church in many varied circumstances throughout the world. ... The church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages. ... While it respects the law of the land, and acknowledges the right of others to think and act differently, it does not perform or accept same-sex marriage within its membership."
John Dehlin is a former Mormon, a podcaster of "Mormon Stories." and an advocate for marriage equality and equal rights for the LGBT community. He was excommunicated by the LDS church earlier in 2015. He responded to the Handbook amendments, saying:
"It is astounding and deeply disturbing for me to see the LDS church list legal same-sex marriage ... as a sin comparable to murder, rape, sexual abuse, spouse abuse. ..." 1
CNN News reported that he also posted on his Facebook page:
"... legally married LGBT Mormons ... [will likely be] hunted down and threatened with the inhumane and barbaric [church disciplinary procedures]. 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." 2
The LDS Church's policy changes now affect children of same-sex parents:
To this point, the actions of the LDS Church were not particularly unexpected. All or essentially all of the other conservative Christian Churches in North America also refuse to marry engaged and committed same-sex couples; many exclude them from membership.
But the LDS Church has gone much further. The church leaders decided that to merely discipline adults who are in loving committed same-sex relationsips, including marriage, was insufficient. They decided to restrict the options of the children of these couples as well.
Is the new LDS policy towards children a form of scapegoating? Does that violate a foundational Mormon Article of Faith?
"Scapegoating" involves the transfer of sin and punishment from guilty person(s) to one or more innocent person(s).
Most conservative Christian denominations teach the doctrine of Original Sin. It is one of many events in the Bible that involves scapegoating.
That doctrine is based on the first book in the Bible. Genesis describes how Adam and Eve sinned when they disobeyed God and ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God punished them by expelling them from the Garden of Eden and added many difficulties to their lives. Original Sin is the belief that the consequences of this sin were transferred from Adam and Eve to their children, their grand children, great-grand children, and all the way down to the present day. This is about 225 generations later, according to age of the Earth being about 6,000 years. This is the age is believed by many conservative Christian faith groups, although the LDS has not taken an official stand on the matter. The doctrine implies that every human on Earth today is a victim of scapegoating and shares in the Original Sin committed by Adam and Eve thousands of years ago millenia, long before anyone living today was born.
However, the LDS Church rejects the doctrine of Original Sin. Their Second Article of Faith states:
"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression."
Across the United States, since the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on 2015-JUN-26, same-sex couples who are in a loving committed relationships and who are ready to state their intent to support each other until they are separated by death, are now able to marry. The lone exception is the territory of American Samoa. With the change in policy added to the LDS' Church Handbook of Instructions during 2015-NOV, the church has defined marriage by same-sex couples as a form of apostasy against Church teachings -- a profoundly serious sin that necessitates a trial in a church court when it is detected in any couple in which one or both partners are Mormon. This would probably result in their excommunication.
However, the LDS Church has gone much farther. Many commentators suggest that the Church has engaged in scapegoating: The Church decided to extend punishment to all children who are being brought up in families led by LGBT couples. The children will no longer be allowed to receive a Church blessing, be baptized, be confirmed, be admitted to the Mormon priesthood, or be eligible to be considered for missionary service.
Some critics believe that the decision by the LDS Church scapegoats children and violates the Church's Second Article of Faith which forbids punishment of the innocent because of what the Church considers sinful behavior by others. In a nutshell, everyone is responsible for their own sin.
- Others say that scapegoating is not involved here. Rather, it the Church has taken a positive, protective move to help the children. They view the new church policy as simply preserving the possibility that when the children reach adulthood, they might be willing to formally repudiate their parent's or parents' relationship, and commit themselves to conforming to all the teachings of the Church for the rest of their life. According to Church teaching, this would greatly improve the children's lives, their adult lives, and their eternal destiny after death.
Has the LDS Church taken the expression "suffer the little children" to new heights?:
The Church regards same-sex, sexually active Mormon couples who informally live together, or enter into a committed common law relationship, or register their relationship as a civil union, or whose relationship is solemnized in a marriage ceremony to be apostates engaging in totally unacceptable behavior. The Church has decided take additional actions against such couples. They will now extend their policies to affect their children.
To implement this change, the LDS church has added a new section of the same Church Handbook of Instructions. It will deprive children of a parent who is "... living in a same-gender relationship" of many benefits, including membership in the church. They have added a new section -- Handbook 1, 16.13 -- which states:
This topic continues in the next essay.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Alex Johnson & Tracy Connor, "Mormon Church Bars Children of Same-Sex Couples From Baptism, Blessings,"NBC News, 2015-NOV-06, at: http://www.nbcnews.com/
Ray Sanchez, Video from KUTV on Mormon Church Policy, CNN News, 2015-NOV-07, at: http://www.cnn.com/
Billy Hallowell, "Mormon Church Just Codified Two Major Policies Involving People ‘In Same-Gender Marriage’ and Their Children," The Blaze, 2015-NOV-06, at: http://www.theblaze.com/
Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on
Original posting: 2015-NOV-07
Latest update: 2015-NOV-09
Author: B.A. Robinson.