Insight into new LDS Church policies on same-sex couples and their children

A guest post by Michael Terence Worley in response to recent news reports that, according to new LDS Church policy children within a same-sex marriage (or household) may not be baptized (or blessed). I expect to hear more from the Church on the matter as clearly this is being blown out of proportion by those critical of the Church. Note: Church Spokesman, Eric Hawkins, has confirmed that this is the policy of the Church.


Update 11/6/15: The Mormon Newsroom has released a video interview with Elder D. Todd Christopherson clarifying the new policy in regard to the children of same-sex couples.

Update 11/13/15: The Church has made further clarifications by providing commentary on the Mormon Newsroom
, including a letter from the First Presidency.



Cue "Bill Nye" voice...

Did you know that, in the LDS Faith, a child cannot get baptized without their parents' approval? A spouse cannot be baptized without their husband's or wife's consent? And, in addition, if the parents practice polygamy, the child cannot get baptized? The church does a TON to protect children and spouses from being taught one thing at home and another thing at church.


Sorry, "Bill Nye" voice again...

Did you know that the LDS Faith is very careful in how it proselytizes Muslims? Even in countries that protect the religious freedom of both Christians and Muslims, there are cultural differences that make it dangerous for Muslims to convert to Christianity.

Each of these boundaries provides protections for the church, the prospective member, and the family.

For the church, it allows them to clearly teach God's plan of Salvation (centered on Jesus Christ and marriage between a man and a woman) without worrying that those they teach will face conflict at home. For the family members of those involved, it allows family autonomy and reduces conflict and secrecy. For the prospective member, it helps them not have to lose vital family relationships (and, if they are under 18, food and shelter).

While Christ does ask us to be prepared to give up family to follow him, (Matthew 10:37), he never teaches that one should attempt to be both a good family member and a good church member if those two are at odds.

Let me explain one more thing before I address the reason I wrote this post, if you'll bear with me. It is not a small matter to become a member of the LDS Church. As I explained above, if an adult Muslim wants to become a member of the church, the church may still decline to baptize the candidate simply because of cultural conflicts. Those who were raised in polygamous households also have extra requirements asked of them if they wish to be baptized. This policy is not a sign of a lack of love, but rather, in the context of the plan of salvation, a recognition that the doctrines and ordinances of Christ are for all in His time, not ours. See Isaiah 55:8-9, Proverbs 3:5-6; Alma 40:8; Moroni 8; Doctrine and Covenants 88:73.

In this context, two policies accurately leaked to the media today-- and, in at least one case, reported sensationally-- make more sense. I (and the media) say two policies, but I will split them into three policies.

The first policy is that choosing to be married to a same-gender partner is incompatible with church membership ("apostasy"). As I mentioned above, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is centered on the value of Christ's atonement to the bond between a husband and a wife and their children. While individuals may experience and act on same-sex attraction without being apostate, the church considers the step of being a party to a same-gender marriage as a sufficient repudiation of the doctrine of the plan of salvation to constitute apostasy.

The second policy, like the ones I began the post with, has the effect of not putting children at the center of a conflict between their household and the teachings of their church. The policy is that any child who is being raised by a same-sex couple may not receive baptism or be blessed as a baby. Like with the policies I mentioned above, it protects not just the child, but the church and the household who is raising the child. Conflicts are inevitable if a child is taught that those the child's legal guardians are sinners-- and the only way for them to stop being sinners is by ending their relationship.

The final policy is that those who are adults and were raised by same-sex couples must meet extra standards before becoming baptized. This, like the policies regarding adults who are/were Muslims and adult children of polygamous parents, serves to protect the candidate. In the context of the plan of salvation, this policy will aim to help people come closer to Christ by helping them be baptized in an environment where they can spiritually grow.

I sustain these policies. Some of my friends may well disagree with these policies. However, I plea with them to not lessen their commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nothing that happens in this church-- however hard it may seem to be-- changes the fact that God spoke to a 14-year-old boy in 1820. As that boy wrote later in his life:

Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad.

Even if you disagree wholeheartedly with my church's stance on a few issues, please read the Book of Mormon and pray until the peace and mercy and grace that you need to "go on in so great a cause" comes.


Updates 5/6:

This post is intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine or policy.

Due to the amount of comments moderating will take some time. Please be patient -- I have a life. If you choose to leave a comment using words such as; hate, hurtful, uninspired, etc., or in anyway derogatory toward the Church and/or its leaders your comment will not be approved.

Update 4:15 pm PDT: Comments are now closed. My apologies to those of you who I have not had the opportunity to moderate your comments. There are simply too many but I do feel we have a fairly good representation of general thought in those that have been posted to the article. Thanks! 

Here's another good post I'd like to recommend: http://www.keepapitchinin.org/2015/11/05/the-children-of-marriedcohabiting-gay-parents/

275 comments:

  1. Excellent analysis. I am glad to know the church will not allow/encourage/support any expectation or requirement for a child to disavow his/her beloved parents choices and lifestyle. No one is being denied any blessings, they are simply being given the opportunity to be raised without internal or external conflicts about their family. After the age of 18, they are a lot more equipped to be able to separate their love for their parents from approval of the parents' lifestyle if they choose to pursue another path. I support this whole heartedly.

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    1. How can it be up to the church to turn someone away from being saved? "For Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved" Romans 10:13 that's pretty simple. It doesn't say, "you must be born into a perfect household and be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Just some food for thought. We are free to believe what we want, just my opinion. God bless :)

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    2. "No one is being denied any blessings."

      Except being BLESSED as a baby. And the ability to hold the Arronic Priesthood. And take the sacrament. And hold a calling. And go to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead.

      But those are all minor blessings, right?

      And baptism itself isn't a blessing, anyway.

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    3. Not denied, just postponed. I think the article was really well written and explained it well. Our core belief is that family is the foundation of God's plan. We are not in the business of tearing families apart. To let a child get baptized and then preach to him that the only way his parents can come unto Christ fully is to forsake their sins, which is asked of all of us, except in his parents' case that would mean getting a divorce. A breaking up of a family. How would that play out in a kid's mind. That's some kind of inner conflict, don't you think?

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    4. There are always consequences to our actions. Callings, The Priesthood are all privledges when we are worthy. We are not entitled to them. We can't serve two masters.

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    5. Yes, there are consequences for our actions- but these children are be denied (or delayed) blessings because of their parents' actions.

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    6. Anyone who converts to the gospel skips being blessed as a baby. It is not a saving ordinance. I can appreciate people being sad or disappointed by this news, but a "baby blessing" is not meant to suggest that Heavenly Father hates or deprives unblessed babies.

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    7. One is always capable of receiving baptism up to and including after their death. And, as the parable of the laborers in the field goes, all those who labor will receive the same pay no matter when they start to work. Whether these children wait until they are eighteen or eighty, they will have the opportunity to receive baptism that they desire upon following the prerequisites and and they too will have a place in the mansion of the Lord and will receive not one diminished portion. We seem to look at all these decisions as what we can receive in the here and now, whereas in the gospel it is for in heaven and for eternity. Any time before that is irrelevant.

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    8. The Church is really not denying anyone blessings. The policy does not say, "A child born or adopted into a same-sex marriage family is never allowed to be baptized." It does say that they have to wait until they're 18 under legal rights, but if they're not 18, a bishop can request permission for a child to be baptized before 18 if they have consent from their parents and they claim faith in ALL of the teachings of the Church. Going against the words of the prophets is going against the teachings of God. He makes these policies to protect us. They are in line with His commandments. If you have true belief and conviction in the Church, then you have real trust in God and you trust in the things that He commands His prophets and leaders to do. It is difficult to agree with some of the teachings and policies of the Church, because of the way the world has conditioned us. But I believe Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and restored the Church. I have no reason to doubt why God gives us the commandments and policies that He does.

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    9. None of those blessings are denied, they are delayed. All of those things may be done later in life, if the child chooses to do so.

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    10. No one is being denied blessings, they are being protected from unnecessary conflict. We all know that every life does not follow the perfect timeline and that things happen differently for any individual and at different times. But that is where faith comes and that blessings come in the timing of the Lord. This life is not the end. It is only the second act of a three act play and is very small when you think of Eternity. God loves all of his children and wants to give them the best chance, so he will not give any of us unjust expectations. This is a blessing not a punishment for all involved. Very well written article.

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    11. those blessings are delayed, not denied.

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    12. In the LDS church, we are not taught the concept of Original Sin thereby making it necessary to be baptized as infants or Christened. Being given a name and a blessing puts a child's name on the records of the church but does not "save" the child as you would see it. In the LDS church, children are not baptized until the age of 8 and only with the permission of both parents.

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    13. robinlynn - the way we see it, salvation comes through Jesus Christ and is independent of joining and participating in the church, so we're not "turning away" anyone from being saved. Even the word church as multiple meanings - in one sense, to the degree you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and do good to others, you belong to the "church of Jesus Christ" (lower-case "c").

      So what this boils down to, as the article stated, is that the Church is stating that the church will neither stop teaching the importance of the eternal union of a man and a woman and God's commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, but will also not create the divisiveness that would come from teaching that doctrine to those who belong to a family with parents committed to living a lifestyle at odds with God's plan of happiness for his children.

      In other words, you can't be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if you don't agree with its most fundamental doctrines and teachings. With this announcement, the church is protecting the integrity of the individual, the family, and the Church.

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    14. the church does not save anyone nor can turn someone away from being saved...

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    15. The church isn't turning someone away from being saved. The type of salvation you refer to is free to all because our Savior atoned for us. :) Hope that helps, Robinlynn

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    16. The church is not denying them from being saved. It's just not allowing baptism until 18 for these cases when the children are more capable of forming their own ideas.

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    17. The church is not saying you can't get baptized, rather having them wait until the child can separate doctrine from lifestyle. When something is against a doctrine, great care must be taken to make sure that the individual knows what they are committing to. You can't expect a child to understand that commitment.

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    18. See, we (LDS) believe that being saved doesn't automatically come from being baptized. It comes from continuing to keep the commandments and progressing spiritually throughout the rest of your life. Once you are baptized you will be held to a higher standard because of the promises you make when being baptized. The church isn't turning anyone away, they are protecting the child from making a commitment that isn't fully supported in their home, which would make it difficult for that child to continue to keep the commandments, progress, and earn their salvation.

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    19. The church is not deciding who is saved. Our loving Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, will determine that. The church works as a structure that aids us in our journey to eternal life. I trust the details of salvation will be worked out fairly for everyone, regardless of church policies.

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    20. The definition of the word saved as you use it is out of context as it relates .
      You may not be ready for the upgraded understanding of the gospel because despite its simplicity it is very complex to most people.

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    21. Robinlynn....why do you think that the church saves you? Baptism into the church doesn't save you. Being 'blessed' as a baby doesn't. Baptism is a vital step in the process, yes, but that is a step that can be taken later. I am absolutely for this idea that children raised in a same sex married household should not be baptized until they are adults and make a free and deliberate choice. The thing is, their parents have the right to NOT have their children taught, when they are young, that they (the parents) are sinners and apostate. They are already facing problems. They don't need more.

      The children are not harmed by the delay, in any way at all. No blessings are denied them.

      But their lives are considerably more consistent if they hold to family until they can, themselves, make choices such as this one.

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    22. No one is being turned away from being saved. They will be held accountable for the knowledge of wright and wrong, their desires, choices, and actions just like everyone else. They will also have the chance to participate in the ordinances of salvation if they desire them and are prepared to do so at a later time, even if that is in the millennium.

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    23. No one is being turned away from being saved. They will be held accountable for their knowledge of right and wrong, their desires, choices, and actions just like everyone else. They will have the opportunity to participate in the ordinances of salvation at a later time if they desire to and are prepared to do so, even if that is in the millennium.

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    24. In the context of believing in living prophets and in the scriptures, this is reflected in ancient prohibitions to intermarry with gentiles, and in Noah's determination to only save his own family from the impending flood. God's will is reflected in a true prophet's proclamations. See Amos 3:7.

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    25. You have to meet the requirements. If they wanted to be saved, they would follow the commandments. You cannot serve two masters. They cannot have it both ways; if they are participating in a gay marriage, they do not meet the requirements, by their own choice and have refused the saving grace.

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    26. The church has not prevented anyone from being saved. Many have died without the opportunity for baptism. A just and merciful God has a plan and accommodation for each individual. The doctrine on the issue is beautifully robust.

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    27. Just because they aren't able to be baptized immediately doesn't mean they are ultimately denied that privilege. If they don't have the chance now, the Lord will provide that chance later. Everyone is able to have that chance. Perhaps not immediately in some cases, but they will ultimately be able to. They are not being cast out or denied their salvation.

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    28. No one says that can't accept the saving ordinances when they are of legal age. Also, doesn't say that can't be baptized period, but they would have to get special permission from a higher authority than is now granted the average convert.

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    29. Being baptized isn't what saves you, though. Did the thief on cross have time to get baptized before he died? No, but yet Jesus told him that he would see him in paradise. Baptism isn't a requirement, merely an outward expression of an inward change once you've already been saved, which is why it makes no sense to "baptize" babies since they have no conscious ability to recognize that they are sinners and repent.

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    30. Actually Jesus himself in His ministry excluded all other people from the blessings of salvation and the Gospel save the House of Israel (Matthew 15:24 (22-26)) and instructed his Apostles -and thus the church- to do the same (Matthew 10:5-6). Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans after God told Peter to change the policy on who gets to be a part of the Church. If God did such a thing with his Church in the 1st century then it's not a very good argument to say that He's doing a similar thing in His Latter-day Church. It's pretty simple. Just some food for thought. :)

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    31. While we are free to believe and choose what we want, we are not able to choose the consequences of those choices.

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    32. Actually Jesus himself in His ministry excluded all other people from the blessings of salvation and the Gospel save the House of Israel (Matthew 15:24 (22-26)) and instructed his Apostles -and thus the church- to do the same (Matthew 10:5-6). Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans after God told Peter to change the policy on who gets to be a part of the Church. If God did such a thing with his Church in the 1st century then it's not a very good argument to say that He's doing a similar thing in His Latter-day Church. It's pretty simple. Just some food for thought. :)

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    33. Look at this from God's perspective. He isn't telling the children of a gay couple that they can't be saved until they are 18. He is, as the article explains, granting them a tender mercy so that they can be raised without this conflict in their lives until they are of age. Let's say that one of these children dies before the age of 18; no one in the church believes that our God is such that would say "Too bad, you are out of luck." anymore than he condemns children who die before the age of 8 without baptism. He has set the rules, and he will make the exception for those who are faithful enough to live by His rules, but whose circumstances are less than perfect.

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    34. A baby blessing, ordination and baptism are all covenants. Reread the blog post. The church recognizes that teaching in a home and at church will obviously be in contrast in these situation. Contention is not a harboring conduit of the spirit.

      With a baby blessing... who is listed as the father and mother? No doubt contention will arise from this simple declaration on the blessing certificate. The argument then becomes that of the adults' and less of a blessing to the child. A father's blessing will always be acceptable by a worth priesthood holder.

      Baptism also requires the consent of the parents when a minor is involved. I would assume a couple, in same sex relationship who live together, probably aren't supportive of their child entering into a covenant which prohibits their very relationship. Again, contention within the family would result.

      The new declaration also leaves room for exceptions. There will be those circumstances in which baptism will be allowed. The handbook isn't all inclusive in its "line in the sand."

      On the surface it could be considered that a child might miss out on those blessings, but the Lord will fully recognize the sacrifice and commitment of those who choose to enter into those covenants when they are able to at 18 years old. My 10 year old often wants to go and do baptisms for the dead when his older brothers go. I don't think the Lord withholds any blessings for this young man because of his righteous desire. The same would be for those who are converts after the age of 8. They too receive all the blessings entitled to those who were baptized at 8. Otherwise why would we send missionaries out to teach the gospel to adults.

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    35. Robinlynn, it is not up to the Church to turn people away from being saved. Salvation is very personal between the individual and the Lord. However, the Lord set up His church and these are His policies. If an individual chooses not to follow His laws, why should He allow them to be in His church?

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    36. No one is turning anyone away from being saved. Christ's Atonement covers completely anyone who, through no fault of their own, cannot be baptized. If they do not live long enough to accept baptism as an adult, then they can receive it by proxy in the Holy Temple of God as they wait in the spirit world for resurrection. God is working here from love, to protect that tender child from conflict he is not yet ready to face. If you trust God and have a testimony of the restoration of His authority and Priesthood in this day, then you can see that this is for the child's benefit.

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    37. This does not limit a childs ability to believe what they want. It seems the intent of the Stated policy is to not put the child into a covenant that would put them at odds with the life style in their home. That family can continue to go to church and be involved. The church cannot turn away any one from salvation because the church doesn't save, only Christ.

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    38. A baby blessing isn't a saving ordinance.

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    39. Unknown - You state that you are glad to know the church will not allow/encourage/support any expectation or requirement for a child to disavow his/her beloved parents choices and lifestyle but that is EXACTLY what they are asked to do if they want to join when they are 18. Being the age of an adult does not mean you love your parents any less. I can't imagine being told that to be saved through the ordinances I believe in means I need to disavow my parents. The word disavow carries heavy connotations of shunning and repudiating. Those go against the Gospel I have been taught and know to be true. I am very saddened by this policy. At least I am able to separate the Gospel from the policies... so far anyway.

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  2. Your article gives a lot of context to the new changes and brought a lot of peace to my heart. I didn't know what to think when I saw the news articles but to trust in the Lord and his church and seeing the patterns of Muslims, polygamous parents,etc. brings a lot of light and understanding for me. Thank you.

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    1. The key most are missing is that: even KSL flubbed the headline AND almost ALL other media and commenters totally missed the point and emphasized their point of view, apparently without actually reading the press release or knowing the context of the gospel.

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  3. The argument falls apart, however, when you consider that children of heterosexual parents in similar cohabitation situations do not have such restrictions imposed on them. As an 11-year-old, was I aware that my father was living in sin with sequential girlfriends? Absolutely. But did I have to disavow his choices and practices to serve a mission? No. We are ALL raised by sinful parents to some degree or other.

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    1. I think perhaps it is because same-sex couples cannot be sealed in the temple, even after they are deceased, whereas, traditional opposite sex couples could have all the ordinances performed for them by proxy after they are deceased. Yes, we are all sinners, however, that is no justification for changing the ordinances to fit the "crime."

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    2. True, but there's a major difference between cohabiting parents and homosexual parents. In the former case, the sin can be remedied by having them get married, bringing the family together. In the latter, the sin can ONLY be remedied if the parents end their relationship (as Michael stated in the article). There's a big difference between a child praying that his parents will recognize their sin and get married, and a child praying that his parents will recognize their sin and get divorced!!

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    3. Except that by electing to serve a mission and teach the doctrines, you inherently and implicitly DID disavow his choices and practices.

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    4. But your father could have married his girl friend and not been living in sin. What needs to happen in a same sex relationship to not be living in sin? I think it's a lot more complicated. They can't just go get married

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    5. Is adultery an easily provable sin? Not really. Even if close family know, it's not usually something that the whole ward is privy to, and it's not something easily recognized by a bishop unless he is explicitly told. It's not the bishop's job to be a private investigator and go find out all of the deep, dark secrets that so many of us keep. Being married to someone of the same gender? Not a secret. Not under the rug. It's out in the open, it's publicly acknowledged, and, often, the married couple is usually very proud and outspoken about it. So there's that difference.
      Also, you DID have to disavow what your father did to serve a mission. You committed to living the law of chastity, which is a lifestyle choice that your father did not follow. I may be wrong, but I don't think there needs to be an official statement from a same-gender-family child where the child says "My parents are wrong and I officially disavow them!" I think it is likely more of a process and discussion with local leaders, as well as an unspoken commitment to DO good things, not just to denounce and NOT DO bad things.
      There's my two cents.

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    6. The difference is in the steps to repentance. A homosexual couple must dissolve their relationship to repent. A heterosexual couple actually strengthens their relationship by repenting.

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    7. Ya, but living as a man and a wife unmarried is not all over the news with people full of hate towards the church because they don't approve it. People aren't going to the law to try and change it and forcing people who are against it out of a job or charging them if they preach if it's wrong. There are large groups of people who HATE anyone, not just Mormons, who do not approve same sex marriage. I can see why this is different than yourself who had a father living with a women outside of marriage.

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    8. I think it may hinge on the difference that, if they chose to, a boyfriend and girlfriend could build their relationship into an eternal one whereas a same-sex couple could not.

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    9. You are just highlighting the difference between sin and apostasy.

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    10. But you are forgetting that by simply marrying one of those ladies, your dad would no longer be living in sin. With a child of homosexual parents....that is never an option and would always be in conflict with church teachings. Regardless, thank you for being a valiant soul to get around what you saw your father doing.

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    11. Yes, you had to disavow his choices and practices. To serve a mission, you accepted that adultery is a sin.

      It's a different situation. I imagine your father and mother didn't raise you teaching you that his actions were honorable.

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    12. Yes, but your Father was living in sin, whereas same sex couples are living in opposition to natural laws, rejecting God's purpose for family.

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    13. Children growing up in a home like that are being taught that homosexuality is acceptable and that marriage is something other than what God says it is. While a hetro couple living in sin are doing wrong it isn't at the same level as that.

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    14. The goal of missionaries should always be to baptize whole families, not just children. With unwed heterosexual families, the parents can still get married then be baptized. With same sex parents, the only way for them to progress eternally is by separating. It would be unfair to those families and to the missionaries to put them in a position where the missionaries would come into their home and encourage them to divorce.

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    15. You are not the first to bring up this obvious fact and it has given me pause, because you are very correct. I think the big and important difference between cohabitating heterosexuals and same sex couples is that in our belief, in our doctrine, there is no way for the same sex couples to make their relationship right. They would have to divorce or break up., if they aren't married. With heterosexuals to make their relationships right in the sight of the church they could simply get married. A blessed event. A good thing. A family strengthening event. I think that's a very big and real difference.

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    16. What? Your argument has similar fallacies. Didnt the very act of you going on a mission disavow your fathers behavior? I mean, you were out preaching and teaching people to obey a law of chastity that youre father was not following. I am guessing by entering the temple and serving a mission you believed that he was sinning and therefore you did disavow his behavior altogether. Doesnt mean you disavow your dad, just that you dont agree with his way of living or thinking. This is not all that complex.

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    17. Even children of same sex couples can serve missions. It's only while they are underage and in that home that they can't be baptized. If they are willing to commit to the church and it's teachings when they are of age, of course they can serve a mission.

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    18. Actually, there are the same restrictions on cohabiting parents. So your premise is incorrect.

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    19. It really has nothing to do with the sin just the likelihood of a child getting baptized causing contention within the family. A gay parent is more likely to be opposed to the church than a father that has numerous live in girlfriends.

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    20. I feel the argument 'your dad could just marry the girlfriend and not live in sin' just perpetuates the problem.

      Mocking marriage, cheating on your spouse, etc I believe is much more damaging than a same sex couple devout in their relationship.

      This trail of argument simply says straight people can sin greater, but we have an out whenever we see fit.

      As for his having to disavow his fathers' choices, that is false that many of you are saying he did because he went on a mission. He was not asked about his father's relationships in order to go.

      All questions should be the same, no matter who you are in the church, or what your parents do.

      I appreciate this article, but I still have trouble with our 60% divorce rate mocking the sanctity of marriage, while saying another type of marriage is evil.

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  4. Hearth song: we are all sinners, true! I guess this statement shows the gravity the Lord places on the sin of homosexuality... even beyond that of mere cohabitation and fornication. Some sins are much more egregious than others, but only God can level those. Apparently, he has, through his chosen prophet.

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    1. Well Spoken. What it really comes down to is if we believe in and stand with our prophet. I'm going to choose to stand with President Monson.

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  5. It is true your father was living in sin, and it probably hurt you growing up. He was breaking the same law as the people living in same-sex marriages, namely the law of chastity. The difference here is that for your father to repent and come into full fellowship he could have gotten married. That was his decision and he never made that decision. For a couple in a homosexual relationship to come into full fellowship in the church a family would be divided

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  6. The guilty take the truth to be hard.....

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  7. Through their personal actions, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rahab, Nephi, etc, got particular benefits for their offspring. It looks like the opposite is possible.

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  8. What is this ton that the church does to ensure that people teach church doctrine at home? I've never seen this or heard of this or anything of the like.

    They don't check on me, and I attend church every week.

    I ask, because we recently had a child baptized into our branch. I was not thrilled. He hadn't been to church for 2 of the 3 week before his baptism. Yes the branch president's wife was his champion and went to his house every week to pick him up. BUT frequently he's just not ready. He doesn't do the laundry. He doesn't decide if the family is going somewhere. He doesn't chose much. He hasn't been to church for the last four weeks. I want this young man to have the gift of the holy ghost as he enters his teen years...but his parents behavior is not in keeping with the standards of the church.

    The church requires permission, not a philosophical shift, from the parents.

    There is not a parental interview requiring beliefs taught before a child's baptism. It's not policy. To fulfill the policy, all that need happen is one question, do you give permission? I don't think that's the spirit of the law. but that's the law.

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    1. I agree.. This is not about being denied blessings as much as preventing those from further condemnation for not being able to keep the promises one makes to God at baptism. No one is denied anything about salvation. This is to give that child the opprutunity to choose to make those covenants at a time and place where they do not have to choose between family and the Gospel. When we are baptized we promise to keep the commandments and endure to the end. This includes following the Prophet and our Preisthood leaders even when we don't understand or agree. When we fail to keep those promises we are under greater condemnation had we not made those covenants. To me this is out of compassion not hate. Heavenly Father and Christ want all his children back and he will always make that possible for all who are willing to take all necessary steps. Think of those children who were baptized and then their parents never got them to church again because of their issues. All parents need to think about the importance of help their children make and keep those promise through there life.

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    2. I agree.. This is not about being denied blessings as much as preventing those from further condemnation for not being able to keep the promises one makes to God at baptism. No one is denied anything about salvation. This is to give that child the opprutunity to choose to make those covenants at a time and place where they do not have to choose between family and the Gospel. When we are baptized we promise to keep the commandments and endure to the end. This includes following the Prophet and our Preisthood leaders even when we don't understand or agree. When we fail to keep those promises we are under greater condemnation had we not made those covenants. To me this is out of compassion not hate. Heavenly Father and Christ want all his children back and he will always make that possible for all who are willing to take all necessary steps. Think of those children who were baptized and then their parents never got them to church again because of their issues. All parents need to think about the importance of help their children make and keep those promise through there life.

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  9. There is a big difference, too, in a homosexual marriage and a heterosexual cohabitation. To "fix" the sin of a homosexual marriage, the people would have to divorce and no longer be married, dissolve their relationship and then abstain completely from that relationship. In a heterosexual cohabitation, they just need to get married and then they can be a whole family. While one ends up changing a family structure so completely as to not be a family at all, the other creates a family. This is why I've been saying all along that homosexual marriage is wrong and will never be accepted in LDS doctrine. It does not create a family the way a family is supposed to be under God's direction. These children cannot ever be sealed to their parents, who can never be sealed to one another. It distorts God's plan and creates only heartbreak.

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  10. I don't buy that heterosexual cohabitation is less serious than homosexual cohabitation in the eyes of the Lord. It IS easier to repent of without tearing your family apart though, since a 15 minute ceremony with the bishop validates one and not the other.

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    1. Well in a way all sins are equal in that if we aren't actively seeking to repent they will disqualify us from eternal life. The only real way that a sin is worse than another sin is how easy it is to repent. Murder is so serious because it's impossible to fully repent. Fornication is also super serious because you can't return a child. If heterosexual cohabitation is easier to repent of than homosexual cohabitation, then it is definitely less serious of a sin.

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  11. Thanks for the insightful article. It articulated many thoughts I've had since becoming aware of the issue. Hearth Song: the counterargument that children of heterosexual parents in similar cohabitation situations do not have the same restrictions is extremely valid. I think that the main difference is that a couple living in cohabitiation needs but marry for the relationship to be in line with the commandments of God. The child thus, can urge his parents to get married. In the case of homesexual relationships, for the child to encourage is parents to live God's laws, he would have to encourage them to split up, thus splitting apart the family. Because of this, homosexuality is treated a different way. The same is true for plural marriage. I don't think it because homosexuality is more serious, although it may be. Why should the severity of the parents' sin have affect on the children? It shouldn't. It is the nature of the sin, which requires these restrictions, not the severity. As I mentioned, the counterargument is extremely valid, but this is one way to resolve that ambiguity.

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  12. Hearth Song,

    Comparing same-sex couples to unmarried male-female couples is a false comparison. If an unmarried male-female couple is having sex before marriage, the remedy to their sin is to get married, at which point the action that was once a sin (premarital sex) is no longer a sin. That couple has a potential moral future. Same-sex couples, however, do not have that option. Same-sex marriage is a moral nullity. Same-sex sexuality is morally wrong whether within a same-sex marriage or out of one. If a same-sex couple wish to progress according to the doctrines of the LDS church, they must split up. Therefore, it's not the act of same-sex sexuality that is worse, it's the remedy required to repent of it that is worse. This new church policy reflects that the LDS church doesn't want minors navigating those emotionally charged waters.

    Michael Worley, thanks for the thoughts you shared in your guest post, and for sharing them in such a calm and clear manner. Your comment about the potential conflict within a household was an excellent point.

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  13. Thank you. I was entirely up-in-arms about the whole thing. Feeling much better now thanks to your post. I think the problem is that the information was disseminated by anti-mormons and the church didn't have the opportunity to make the announcement in the proper fashion with tact and supportive information.

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  14. Thank you. I was entirely up-in-arms about the whole thing. Feeling much better now thanks to your post. I think the problem is that the information was disseminated by anti-mormons and the church didn't have the opportunity to make the announcement in the proper fashion with tact and supportive information.

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  15. I am a child born out of wedlock to a single mother. We weren't active until after my grandmother passed away and the missionaries came knocking on the door when I was 11 Yeats old. My mom wanted me baptized and I took the discussions. When it was time to be baptized, the bishop told my mother he would not baptized me unless she was willing to fully return to the church as well. What good would it do to commit me to the gospel but not have the support and example at home to keep me active and learning? It was a wise decision if you ask me. It also helps me understand this announcement. Why commit these children to the gospel when many of the teachings will conflict with their situation at home? That will only bring contention and conflict and bitterness towards the church and possibly the inactivity of the child. That is not what the church wants to see happen. To anyone.

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  16. Also if a paren't has ever lived in a same sex relationship, even before the kids were born, even after full repentance, the kids cannot be baptized.

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    1. Where did you read that? I don't remember seeing it in the policy that was shared.

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  17. Hi I have a question. I was baptized at the age of 15 and although my parents reluctantly allowed me to be baptized, there was a lot of conflict surrounding it and there still is. I am struggling to understand how the conflict in my family is so different from that of a child of a gay couple. My brother is gay so my parents feel that the church is rejecting him and they dislike the church for that reason. I am not trying to tear apart your article in any way, I want to understand the reason behind all this just as much as you do. A response would be greatly appreciated :)

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    1. This is not about being denied blessings as much as preventing those from further condemnation for not being able to keep the promises one makes to God at baptism. No one is denied anything about salvation. This is to give that child the opprutunity to choose to make those covenants at a time and place where they do not have to choose between family and the Gospel. When we are baptized we promise to keep the commandments and endure to the end. This includes following the Prophet and our Preisthood leaders even when we don't understand or agree. When we fail to keep those promises we are under greater condemnation had we not made those covenants. To me this is out of compassion not hate. Heavenly Father and Christ want all his children back and he will always make that possible for all who are willing to take all necessary steps. Think of those children who were baptized and then their parents never got them to church again because of their issues. All parents need to think about the importance of help their children make and keep those promise through there life.

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    2. Unknown: I don't know if this will help, but sometimes the reasons behind church policy are because we are a church lead by people who have to make tough decisions (bishops, mission presidents, etc). And in an imperfect world, the solutions are not always perfect, but they are sufficient for the needs of the time. I hope that you can find peace in the fact that this policy was added after much prayer and counsel together by our prophets and apostles in response to their concerns for the welfare of families and children. We know that this life is not the final say, we have eternity, and God will make everything right as it should be in the end, we just have to be patient and do our best individually and as a church until that time. I am sorry for the conflict in your own family. That is hard I am sure. Perhaps a bishop should have denied your baptism then too? but what a hard decision for him to make, he cannot look into the future, and you and your parents have their free agency. If your parents gave permission, they gave permission. There was no other reason to stop the baptism...but a legally married homosexual couple, even if they give permission, is an outward sign that they are against the teachings of the church and that presents conflict to the child. I hope that gave some help...I wish you well.

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    3. This desision is one that is made on a case by case basis. I know of a few people who couldn't get babtized but thoroughly had a testimony but the parent would not give permission. She was finally able to make the desision and was able to go on a mission and get married to a wonderful guy in the temple. I'm sure she still loves her parents but they have different views.

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    4. This is just an opinion, so take it with a grain of salt. I have seen many instances where church leaders or missionaries are so excited with the individual in a family who seems ready to commit to baptism that they ignore the big picture of the family situation. As a teenager making a decision that you knew your parents didn't agree with put your world into constant conflict. Misionaries, and bishop's make mistakes, and in your case hey probably did make a mistake in not addressing your family circumstances more closely. I sorrow for the pain and conflict you have and are still enduring. Christ knows your heart.

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    5. One of the main purposes of the church is to strengthen families through the teachings of Christ. Had your family embraced the doctrines and teachings of the church it would have strengthened your family. If a child in a home with SS parents is baptized and the family embraces the gospel, it must tear apart that family relationship. I think that is why the policy is the way it is.

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    6. I feel like it's important to understand that this change protects the children. It's not done to reject gay people. The Lord commands us to abstain from same sex relations because he knows of the heartbreak that it brings. Because he loves us he doesn't want us to suffer that and won't condone the action itself. Now, as an added measure of protection, the church has come out with this policy. I feel that it prevents conflict and confusion in the home. Once they are 18 and are no longer living in the same home, their environment is very different. If people live in an environment that constantly encourages behavior that causes such heartbreak, it makes it very difficult for them to keep all the commandments. The Lord knows that we would be worse off if we were under covenant to keep that commandments and we were not able to do so (Alma 32:19).

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    7. I gather from your post that you're feeling it's unfair that the Church let you be baptized in circumstances where it wouldn't let the child of gay parents be baptized. Am I reading that right? If so, I get that, but would suggest you think about it from another perspective too. Your family happens to be one where the heterosexual parents feel pretty much the same as you would expect gay parents to feel. That is, you could expect that all gay parents would have the same problem with the Church that your parents do. So you could similarly expect that the conflicts you feel at home would be felt in every home with gay parents, and therefore it might be wise for the Church to be cautious of such circumstances when they can easily foresee the problems.

      They could fix the "fairness" issue, I guess, by asking about parental views on gay marriage for every underage potential convert, but can you imagine the reaction (fascism! invasion of privacy! etc.) that would bring?

      So why not let at least the 18-yr-olds be baptized without disavowing gay marriage? Because a common tactic of people trying to make institutions change is to try to force change from within, and having a new generation of same-sex-marriage-supporter converts would be a recipe for that. At that point, if one believes that the doctrine of heterosexual eternal families comes from God, it's very heartening to see that Church leaders are taking steps to try to protect that teaching for coming generations, against the swell of popular opinion. If you don't believe it comes from God, one might be frustrated at the unwillingness of Church leaders to get with the program, and think it's a wonderful idea to have young gay-marriage supporters join the Church to help speed the change in attitude.

      We know what Church leaders believe about the doctrine. I hope you can see, therefore, how they might be concerned about young converts raised in gay households, and where the sympathies of those converts might be expected to lie.

      Good luck sorting it out and good luck with your family! And as you learned when you first joined the Church, you should always go to straight to God in prayer when you need answers.

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    8. The conflict in both situations is not so different. What you have experienced is what this policy is geared to avoid. Do you think it may have been better in your situation if you had waited until you were 18 and living on your own to get baptized? Imagine a child, 8 years old, struggling through what you experienced. Hard enough to navigate at 15. Painful at best.
      Does this family conflict happen universally for every child who gets reluctant permission at 15? Maybe not. Is it likely to always be a problem or conflict for a child of a gay couple? Maybe so. Therein lies a difference.

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  18. Hearth Song: Great point! And Michael Worley: I had no idea people once raised in the religion of Islam had special requirements to be baptized into Mormonism. Wow. Thanks for that tidbit of info. Can't see this is inspired or "protection" just plain old prejudice. Glad I left the church years ago.

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    1. My daughter taught a Muslim man who was ready to be baptised, but he wasn't allowed to do so until he had spoken to his family about it. I'm not sure if all Muslims who want to convert have to go through this particular step, but that's one of the requirements he faced.

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    2. It's pretty straightforward really. There is a high price in Islam for converting to Christianity. Everything from being ostrasized by friends, family and society, to being beaten, imprisoned or killed. This is Islam doctrine as I was taught by a devout muslim. The point is, the church values the home and the institution of the family unit so highly that the leaders feel it's better as a matter of policy to retain the harmony of the home than it is to grow it's numbers.
      This policy isn't about excluding people from being saved. The grace of God extends to all people whether members of the LDS church or not. The policy is about removing structural conflicts within families.

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    3. There is a good reason for that. On my mission there was an elder who had to be transferred overnight because he was of Muslim descent and some muslim's in the area threatened to kill him for leaving Islam. Even though he had been born into the church and never known Islam. It can be dangerous, so they are very careful about that. Just look at what's happening to Christians in Syria.

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  19. Excellent perspective. This post should be all over social media.

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  20. "Unknown" poster before me: That is one possible explanation, and it could be correct.

    However another possibility is that there is a greater level of conflict present for the children of a homosexual couple and that Hearth Song's example isn't a fair comparison. I can think of two reasons that might be the case: 1) for Hearth Song's father to stop living in sin he would have had to commit to one of his relationships and marry the person, cementing the home, whereas for the homosexual couple to stop living in sin they would have to split up, breaking apart the home. 2) In the case of the homosexual couple it is very likely that each party would be actively teaching the child that the other is BAD. They'd use different adjectives, of course. The church would teach the child that practicing homosexuality is "seriously sinful", while the couple would teach that disapproving of homosexuality is "bigoted" or "hateful".

    As to your assertion that the prophet has clarified that homosexuality is more egregious than fornication, as far as I know that has never been said. We've been taught that it is a very serious sin, as are all sexual sins. My guess (I don't know, or have the authority to know for sure) is that the Lord probably considers active homosexuality as a much lesser than adultery as there are sacred vows, and sometimes celestial covenants broken in the later. Note that the children of adulterers are not required to wait till 18 to get baptized, so I'm not sold that the reason for the policy is the one you surmised.

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  21. Thank you so much. It really helped me to read this. All I could think of were all the broken hearts out there, but this helps a lot.

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  22. My wife and I, upon hearing the news this morning thought " well that's not right. Why should a child be punished for their parent's actions." Then I said to her "how is a homosexual relationship any worse than a heterosexual living in sin and fornication any different?" Reading this article made sense and we both feel much better after reading it, but Heart Song's post about "heterosexuals couples in similar cohabitation" is worth bringing up and conversing about. We also don't believe the Church thinks homosexual sin is worse than heterosexual sin as Unknown alluded to. We will be looking forward to more clarity.

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  23. My major objections to this new policy are #1: IF the reasons for this policy change are in line with what you have posted above, why is that not being communicated from church leaders? #2: Once 18, these now adults, would have to denounce same sex marriage in order to be baptized. Why would new/prospective members be held to a different starndard than I, as an already baptized member, who does not have to do that (look to the KUTV interview with Elder Cristofferson for reference) in order to be in good standing with the church?

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  24. I am deeply uncomfortable with the assumption that we can read God's will through our interpretation of church policies. However well-intentioned and supposedly faith-promoting, at the highest level it leads to the apologetics that are responsible for the promulgation of all sorts of false doctrine which the church later has to retract (e.g. all 'explanations' surrounding blacks and the priesthood). I have seen so many blog posts that, while in all sincerity trying to be faithful, see no irony in telling people not to rely on blog posts! I will await further clarification from the church and from personal revelation, but no, I will not assume that God has now ranked the severity of sins via church policy.

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    1. I must make a point regarding blacks and the priesthood. Consider what was happening in the culture back then. In the 60's and earlier, what would have happened to someone who put "black" and "priest" in the same sentence? What would have happened to a church who ordained black men? It was necessary, a matter of survival for individuals and the whole church, to delay that blessing for these faithful saints until a later time. The culture absolutely must be considered as far as church policies go, and that's why policies change.

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  25. These policies have to be actually confirmed by the church. I know that different media sources have said they confirmed it with Eric Hawkins, but neither the LDS Newsroom nor the LDS Leader Resources show any communication from the church on these policy changes. (I'd guess the LDS Leader Resource would show something about it in their official communications - as a side note Handbook 1 has not been updated yet, and I do have access to it online as a leader.)

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  26. It seems like a decent argument at first glance, until you consider, the child of a murderer can get baptized, the child of an embezzler, the child of an adulterous parent, the child of a rapist, the child of a war criminal, they all can get baptized. Regardless of the fact that their parent(s) live contrary to the teachings of the church.

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    1. Except for the fact that with what your saying the parents in these cases are not openly doing it. And everyone in your situations most children would go against what their parent are doing. They might still love their parent but they're going to know what they did was wrong . If you grow up in a family with two dads or two mothers it will be harder to differentiate the difference between right or wrong in this situation cause you're going to love your parents cause neither or them are doing any of the above mentioned by you, and what they grow up with as a family unit they will be more accepting of the sin Someone opening living in a gay family is openly doing so talking about being gay or seen in a gay relationship each day. In everything that you gave as an example these kids or the church don't necessarily know what these parents are doing. An Adulterer is usually hiding their secret and if they aren't hiding it then it usually ruins relationships with family, and most children will resent the parent that is doing that.The whole point of what I think they're trying to get across is that they are open and living in that situation being told its right and they go to church and are told its against what the Church believes that's not fair to they parents or the church, They're giving them the option until they're adults to make a choice for themselves. I believe that's the point whether you agree with it or not it's up to you.

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    2. Except for the fact that with what your saying the parents in these cases are not openly doing it. And everyone in your situations most children would go against what their parent are doing. They might still love their parent but they're going to know what they did was wrong . If you grow up in a family with two dads or two mothers it will be harder to differentiate the difference between right or wrong in this situation cause you're going to love your parents cause neither or them are doing any of the above mentioned by you, and what they grow up with as a family unit they will be more accepting of the sin Someone opening living in a gay family is openly doing so talking about being gay or seen in a gay relationship each day. In everything that you gave as an example these kids or the church don't necessarily know what these parents are doing. An Adulterer is usually hiding their secret and if they aren't hiding it then it usually ruins relationships with family, and most children will resent the parent that is doing that.The whole point of what I think they're trying to get across is that they are open and living in that situation being told its right and they go to church and are told its against what the Church believes that's not fair to they parents or the church, They're giving them the option until they're adults to make a choice for themselves. I believe that's the point whether you agree with it or not it's up to you.

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  27. I don't agree that homosexuality is a more grave sin than fornication. Any sexual immorality is a serious sin. I think the difference is that cohabitation isn't a commitment--marriage is. We are all raised by sinful parents yes, but if a child grows up in an environment that reverences marriage and family, but defines it in opposition to the doctrines of the church, it's a more serious issue to the child than one or both parents making bad choices about chastity. Children of Islamic families are different, of course, but there is equally strong cultural opposition that could tear the family apart.

    This is a wonderful explanation of a church policy that I never knew about before. I am so glad that the church reverences family enough to protect children that might be torn between the two.

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    1. This is not about being denied blessings as much as preventing those from further condemnation for not being able to keep the promises one makes to God at baptism. No one is denied anything about salvation. This is to give that child the opprutunity to choose to make those covenants at a time and place where they do not have to choose between family and the Gospel. When we are baptized we promise to keep the commandments and endure to the end. This includes following the Prophet and our Preisthood leaders even when we don't understand or agree. When we fail to keep those promises we are under greater condemnation had we not made those covenants. To me this is out of compassion not hate. Heavenly Father and Christ want all his children back and he will always make that possible for all who are willing to take all necessary steps. Think of those children who were baptized and then their parents never got them to church again because of their issues. All parents need to think about the importance of help their children make and keep those promise through there life.

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  28. I thought this too, but I believe that it's because right now the world is trying to tell us it's okay to have same sex marriages. That community is SO strong and loud about what they believe. I think it's simply because they're trying so hard to make it the norm and are saying that its not even Biblical that it's wrong

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  29. You are making a good point that all sin and in the case of your father,an equal grievous sin as homosexualalilty however at some point your parent or parents had to have been in good standing of the church to have had the privilege of blessing you or babtizing you . So there is a difference. I'm certain you did not baptise any individual still not repented of their sins but I'm also certain you at least know of someone who was baptized that later fell away. So be careful not to confuse losing a testimony vs not having a testimony of all the commandments that have been given to us to follow.

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  30. Very well written

    14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

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  31. The policy does not specify that it affects children *living* in a same-sex household. It affects all children with a parent in a same-sex relationship. That is, if Johnny lives with mom but Johnny's dad (in a different househild) is living with a man, then Johnny cannot be baptized or ordained a deacon.

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    1. I don't think this has been made clear, and I'm curious to see how it works out once we get more information. If a child of divorce lives with an active LDS parent but visits their other parent (in a same-gender relationship) on weekends, does this apply? From the Deseret News article it isn't clear, as the first paragraph says "living with" and the second doesn't:

      "The handbook also clarifies that the ordinance of naming and blessing a child may not be performed for children living with a parent in a same-gender relationship.

      The new section of the handbook is listed under the heading "Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship." It states that "a natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing."

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  33. Hearth Song, I believe the difference is that a child living with parent(s) in a non-marital, hetero-sexual relationship is taught that in order to follow the Gospel the family actually needs to be united in marriage, and hopefully with an eventual temple sealing. A child living with parent(s) in a homo-sexual relationship would be taught principles that would conclude the only acceptable correction to that relationship is parental separation. In one instance the family is united, in the other it is divided.

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  34. While this policy may seem harsh I understand it. A man or woman cohabiting with the opposite sex is clearly living in a sinful situation but one that can be rectified either through ending the relationship or by marrying. The same sex relationship cannot be rectified by marriage. This relieves the child of having to reject a loving parent with whom they may be living . Baptism delayed is sad but not the end of the world. I seriously doubt that a gay couple will return to the straight life and seriously doubt their commitment to the church. It's a smoke screen for acceptance of their life style.

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  35. Well articulated explanation. I agree that the policy is likely more out of respect for the parents' role in teaching morality to their children (i.e. not to be in competition with parents teaching their children) than anything else. I can see a lot of scenarios in which parents might attack the church for trying to "indoctrinate" their children against their wishes and/or lifestyles.

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  36. Although I am also having a difficult time with the new policy and agree with much of what you said, I would like to point out that you did need to disavow his choices and practices. Getting a temple recommend, being ordained as an Elder, being recommended for missionary service, and making covenants in the temple all require disavowing sexual sins in all its forms (adultery, fornication, pornography, etc.)

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  37. A. You were an adult. B. I'm willing to bet you're father wasn't your primary guardian. C. You're father's shacking up isn't in the same league as possible murder retaliation for conversion.

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  38. Thanks for the great insights. It's similar to the reasons why slaves in the early church couldn't be baptized until they were freed and had complete autonomy to not be at odds with their living situation and be able to fully participate in the ordinances and covenants of the gospel.

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  39. We believe in agency, choice and accountability. People who choose to live the homosexual lifestyle or enter into/stay in a homosexual relationship and then adopt a child (or create one via surrogacy) remove either a mother or a father from the child's life. Raising them without a mother or a father is indeed a specific choice they have made as adults. Unfortunately, it is one that has dramatic consequences that negatively impact the child for the rest of their life. With those in same sex relationships being in apostasy, those children would do better to join the church when they are 18 and of legal age, and can determine what they want for their life.

    The confusion that would ensue in not only the child's life when they hear one thing at home (not in support of church doctrine) and then eternal truths and doctrine church, would cause much contention and great division in not only the home but in the ward.

    The same sex couple have made the decision---and yes, their decision negatively impacts the child they either adopt or create via surrogacy. The burden and severity of this lies with the couple in the same sex relationship.

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    1. It sounds like you are saying the couple adopting is going around removing kids from happy homes. Two mothers or two fathers does not rob a child of experiences. I am single mother, no father in the picture since he chose to abuse them. That doesn't rob them of a father, it protects them. People who adopt do so lovingly and WANT that child.

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  40. I'm so glad there are others better at articulation than I. I hope you don't mind me sharing your post in response to some who are overly concerned with the updates.

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  41. Hearth Song, I think the difference is that your dad could at any time repent and change and enjoy full membership in the Gospel. For someone in a same gender relationship, yes, they too can repent and change, but the changes would be much more drastic such as divorce and committing to living a chaste life. Again, I realize that every person sins and needs to repent, but a heterosexual couple has the agency to repent and have a temple marriage with all the blessings. A same gender couple does not have the possibility of temple marriage.

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  42. You missed one. Even once they reach the age of 18, one must move out from living with his/her parents AND disavow them. That's a tough pill for even we faithful members of the church to swallow. When my 14 year old daughter's friends were baptized and her parents weren't, our bishop gave them very wise council. "Your family comes first--if there is a young women activity and your parents want to go to dinner, you go with your family. If it's a Sunday, and your parents want to go ride motorcycles, you miss church and you go ride motorcycles. Your family comes first no matter what." So how does family come first if we are telling these children to disavow their parents and move out before they can be baptized?

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    1. From how I read the guideline, they disavow the act of homosexual marriage, not their parents as people.

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    2. Not disavow the parents- just the practice of same-sex marriage

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    3. The phrase if "disavow the practice" not disavow the parent(s). There is a HUGE difference in the way it is presented. We are taught to love the sinner but hate the sin. If they feel strong enough to joint this church, they should disavow this practice.

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  43. And what about families like mine? My children are split between two households. Their father and I (both members) divorced after he came out of the closet. He now lives with his partner. The kids (also members) are there half the time. Should their membership be rescinded? What if I die tomorrow and they are then raised full time by their father and his partner? And what about being told that we as members were free to support same-sex marriage as a legal institution, just not one within the church? Are we all apostates now, too?

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    1. Those are very good questions and I will be very interested to hear what the Church releases on this, as there hasn't been anything official on LDS.org or the newsroom.
      As for supporting same sex marriage, that's different. The church hasn't ex-communicated all of the members of Ordain Women, even though it has done so for it's leader. There is a difference between supporting and participating in. I can say "I think that gays should be able to get married just like straight couples, even though what I personally believe about marriage is different" (though I don't know how someone could do that, I have seen people who do believe that way). But I can't go out and actually be in a same-sec relationship without some sort of repercussions, because I am living in direct contradiction to the gospel. Just like I can say that people should be able to drink alcohol if they want, but I can't go out and drink alcohol without some sort of punishment from the church. Ex-communication isn't just because you broke the rules, but because you consistently break the rules and refuse to repent. Living in a same-sec relationship is choosing every day to break the law of chastity and refusing to repent of it. That would get your excommunicated just like refusing to repent of having had sex before marriage, even with a member of the opposite sex. Refusing to repent and turn from the sin is what gets you excommunicated, not just committing the sin.
      So, to sum up, you can support it as a legal institution while not participating in it. Supporting and participating are two different things that have different results and consequences.

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  44. Thank you for such a well thought out post. I was a bit surprised and thought there was someone had pulled off the greatest hoax of all time when I read the first article. Reading this brings it into perspective. Knowing the gospel is true and the leadera are true men of God I was fully prepared to accept the change as revelation. Hearing why gives me the power to better explain to those with questions.

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  45. Thank u for this. I hope more can read this an get more understanding

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  46. It sounds that children are not able to be baptized until they are 18 if one or both parents is practicing homosexuality even if the child is not living with the parent. Is this not the case?

    The candidate has to meet BOTH conditions:

    Accept the doctrines of the gospel and

    Be of "legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage."

    I just wanted help interpreting if that truly means that children of an apostate parent have to wait until adulthood for church membership? Any light you could shed or direct me to would be appreciated.

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  47. Thank you for taking the time to write this! I was also confused when I first heard the newstory, but knew that if it was church policy, it had to come from God. I also really appreciate the way you've dispassionately explained the policy and addressed the issues at hand. This helps clarify what I was already thinking.

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  48. Thank you this helped me feel better!

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  49. I respectfully disagree. This policy does not show any benevolence to children but simply anchors them with the same prejudice as their parents. There is nothing loving or Christlike about this policy.

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  50. I'd like to quickly address an argument defending this recent decision regarding the LDS church and children under gay marriage.

    The argument goes: The church is protecting the child from conflict at home.

    Does the church prohibit children getting baptized who's parents watch pornography? Smoke pot? Aren't members?

    On my mission kids under 18 got baptized all the time. I don't seem to remember their parents getting interviewed for baptism to see if they were following a life in line with the church...

    Did Jesus tell his followers to lay low because the Romans might persecute them? Did the early church shield members from joining because they might get driven out by mobs? What happened to "do what is right, let the consequence follow"?

    Ah, "but these are children" you might argue. So at 8 their old enough to choose to get baptized and make a major commitment to joining an organized religion and making a covenant with God under straight parents, but under gay parents they are suddenly too young to make such a call? Raise the baptism age to 18 for everyone if you want to be consistent with that argument.

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    1. I think the church has made a determination that polygamy is more like same-sex marriage than smoking pot is. Also, there are more structural entrenchments to prevent the changing of family policies, such as, polygamy and same-sex marriage then stopping a parent from smoking pot or viewing pornography. And parental consent from both guardians is always required before baptism.

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    2. The church is making a distinction between parents who are sinful and parents who teach that sinful behavior is good. Often the underlying message of members who co-habit in a gay lifestyle and maintain their membership in the church is that "The church is a wonderful institution and we really want to be part of it but it would be even better if its leaders would listen to us and change some things." Now imagine the spiritual conflict a young child would have to try to reconcile in that environment when they are being taught something very different by the church. That is, the church is truly the restored kingdom of God on the earth and is led by Jesus Christ himself who directs his prophets and apostles.

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  51. Thanks you for your insight and the context you put things in! It was great to read it. I agreed with most of what you had to say, but a few things didn't hold up for me:

    Saying "this policy will aim to help people come closer to Christ by helping them be baptized in an environment where they can spiritually grow" suggests that someone living in a household with two same-gender parents who love them is unable to grow spiritually? This makes me think you have some strong biases against same-sex couples to assume that being around them is so caustic that it would not be an environment where spiritual growth could happen.

    The other argument I wasn't super into was this: "While Christ does ask us to be prepared to give up family to follow him, (Matthew 10:37), he never teaches that one should attempt to be both a good family member and a good church member if those two are at odds." I think you just contradicted the scripture right after saying it. I'd be interested if you were to be aware of any doctrine (not policy) to back up the idea that one should be a good family member first before being a good church member.

    Thanks again for your thoughts! Besides those two points I thought this was a great article!

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  52. Thank you for writing this. While this information was initially surprising and a bit upsetting to me, I appreciate the background information you're bringing to this discussion. I agree that even though we might not understand some church policies, that doesn't negate the fact that I've received a witness of the truthfulness of thr gospel.

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  53. Why does the child have to move out of the house of the homosexual parent even after he is 18? And why does he have to do so, even if the homosexual parent is NO LONGER living in such a relationship?

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  54. Very well stated. Almost exactly what I posted on my fb page. Now can of worms comments and surprising comments from member friends.

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  55. Policy ≠ doctrine. It is church policy that a legal concealed carry permit holder cannot bring his or her gun on church property. Just because there is justification for the policy does not mean it is either good or bad. I taught several Muslims who genuinely eoshed to join the church but were refused because of the policy named. They knew the risks and were willing to take the risk for the sake of their faith. For their love of the savior. I repeat, policy ≠ doctrine.

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    1. First, sorry for the typo. It's wish, not eoshed. Second, please don't get me wrong, I am not saying it is good or bad. I am just saying viewing policy as doctrine very dangerous. It leads to its own form of apostasy.

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  56. I cannot find peace in this explanation. Unwed straight couples can have their child blessed and baptized....explain to me how that is different?

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    1. Straight couples can repent and eventually get married while still keeping their family intact. Same gender couples must end their relationship and separate in order to repent.

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    2. Lauren - with straight unwed couples, there is still "hope" that they can become an eternal family with God's plan. With same sex couples, there is no hope or possibility that they will ever become an eternal family. We are all sinners and should never judge, but with what we know of Gods plan about eternal families and that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, the new policy is there to protect the children in those same sex situations.

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    3. I was totally thinking about this exact thing last night- I think the difference here may be that a child of unwed parents still has the hope of one day seeing their parents reconciled and married- whereas a child of homosexual parents does not have that hope and would be taught that their parents relationship is impossible in the eyes of God. That seems like a huge burden and heartbreak for the child and the parents to bear. Let the kid have a few more years to grow and mature before commiting to something that could be pretty devastating for everyone. And this all still sounds pretty crappy huh? As far as a blessing goes- I'm not sure why a homosexual couple would want their child blessed in a church that teaches them that their lifestyle is unacceptable to God.

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    4. Allowing a child to be baptized whose parents are in a same-gender union may introduce to the child the doctrine that the parents are living in sin, thus giving the child conflict and inner turmoil which would likely cause more harm than good.
      In other words, the child would be conflicted from two sides, each pulling at him / her.
      This policy change is meant to protect the bond children have for their parents.

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  57. Thank you for your words. They brought be peace and understanding.

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  58. While I'm sure few of the same-sex marriage activists will see it this way, I believe that this move is actually a public acknowledgement by the church that an intact family unit, whatever its orientation, is better than a dysfunctional family unit, and that they are trying to avoid disrupting an intact family unit, even if the makeup of that family unit is not in compliance with their doctrine.

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  59. I'm really not into the whole, "this policy will aim to help people come closer to Christ by helping them be baptized in an environment where they can spiritually grow." I think that shows some pretty strong bias against same-sex couples if you assume that someone couldn't spiritually grow while living with two loving same-sex parents.

    Besides that I thought this added great context, thanks!

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  60. Hearth Strong, if your father had these girlfriends from the time you were born, I feel like it would be harder to decipher that as sin because that's all you know in life as normal.

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  61. I can appreciate your own opinion, but it does fall apart. For example: "While Christ does ask us to be prepared to give up family to follow him, (Matthew 10:37), he never teaches that one should attempt to be both a good family member and a good church member if those two are at odds" doesn't hold up because you're talking about logic vs. scriptural doctrine. Scriptural doctrine always wins if you believe the Church to be true, in which case, regardless of conflict, we should hide nothing under a bushel and follow Christ, always. Id like to preface that I'm active if that helps support my stance at all, but this one causes some head scratching for me. Having served a mission, I encountered scenarios where a minor chose to be baptised, but couldnt without consent of an audult. This is an example that "protects the church." If the parents say, "no" they would be the ones held accountable by God for the child's inability to follow Christ and be baptised. IMO this new change means regardless of the minor's worthiness and intent to follow Christ, they are punished for their parent's transgression. Keeping the recent messaging in sync (I'm paraphrasing) "we don't agree with or necessarily support gay marriage, but they have their own agency to choose and we don't judge" would also mean, "if their minor expressed interest in pursuing baptism and membership, it would come at the permitted approval of the parents." That way still allows agency and accountability, which would be logical. As it stands now, as simply put as possible, cause this really isn't that difficult - "If your parents are participating in a homosexual relationship, you cannot be baptised, receive the Holy Ghost, embark in other covenants, and therefore cannot enter heaven." This way removes all agency as the decision is made for them. Logical?

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  62. Great article, thank you. If people seek to understand this, without the Holy Ghost as the teacher, they won't get it. As soon as the Spirit of contention enters, the Holy Spirit leaves and there will not be any teaching that goes on. We must discuss these types of issues in the Spirit of love and kindness with a desire to learn, not to be right.

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  63. It's interesting that you say that acting on same-sex attraction is not considered apostasy, but same-sex marriage is. I believe the only reason the church must specifically designate same-sex marriage as apostate is because a person could "technically" adhere to their covenants of chastity since they are legally married. Thus, the church would have no basis for disciplining them. Now that it is defined as apostasy, the church can discipline homosexuals whether they are married (apostate) or not (breaking law or chastity).

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  64. There are always consequences to our actions. Those are privliges given if we are worthy. Not entitlements. You can't serve two masters.

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  65. Thank you for this article. I read the news last night and was deeply troubled. I have been able to accept a lot of policies and doctrines that the world balks at but this one bothered me. In my head I was comparing it to a man and woman who live together but never get married. Their kids are allowed to be baptized, so why should this be any different? But now I see that there is a big difference. The solution to fornication in that instance is fairly easy, costing as little as a marriage license. But the cost of reconciling a same-sex marriage is the break-up of the family.

    I have been praying for understanding. Your insight is an answer to prayer.

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  66. "clearly this is being blown out of proportion by those critical of the Church"

    What a myopic thing to say. I'm a member of the church and I find this policy troubling. That I'm critical of some church *policy* doesn't mean I'm critical of "The Church," and it certainly doesn't mean I'm critical of its actual doctrine. What concerns me is when church policy appears in direct conflict with its doctrine - a doctrine I wholeheartedly accept, study, and do my very best to adhere to.

    "For the church, it allows them to clearly teach God's plan of Salvation (centered on Jesus Christ and marriage between a man and a woman) without worrying that those they teach will face conflict at home."

    Assuming the same-sex parents both consented to "their child" joining the church, does it not follow that they considered the church's very vocal position on their relationsihp prior to granting consent? I'm not sure denying that child full participation in the church and the associated blessings is the course of action Christ would take for His church. While Mr. Worley may be correct in the church's intentions, I have a hard time accepting it, nevertheless.

    "While Christ does ask us to be prepared to give up family to follow him, (Matthew 10:37), he never teaches that one should attempt to be both a good family member and a good church member if those two are at odds."

    He doesn't teach us we shouldn't attempt to be both, either. Christ also taught that everyone - adult or child - is eligible for His blessings (Matt 10:32,41).

    "This policy is not a sign of a lack of love, but rather, in the context of the plan of salvation, a recognition that the *doctrines and ordinances* of Christ are for all in His time, not ours." (emphasis added)

    YES. This is the precise reason I'm one who is concerned about this policy and others like it. As I illustrated above, church *policy* is not the same as *doctrine.* Christ would allow *all* children to come unto him. There are no provisos in Matthew 19:14, Luke 18:16, Mark 10:14 that says, "unless their parents are gay or polygamists. Those children are ineligible to take the sacrament, hold the aaronic priesthood, or be baptized for the dead. And I'm certainly not going to bless those babies."

    We have the same church today as existed in His time. I'm not seeing anywhere in the scriptures where it supports policy like this.

    "Some of my friends may well disagree with these policies. However, I plea with them to not lessen their commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

    I don't, and neither do many others.

    "Nothing that happens in this church-- however hard it may seem to be-- changes the fact that God spoke to a 14-year-old boy in 1820"

    True. Including that time when Brigham Young came up with a racist policy (NOT DOCTRINE) that denied blacks the priesthood for 100+ years - and that time when the church admitted it was wrong, and that policy was not founded on doctrine. That is a valuable lesson to us believers not to lose faith when an institution led by men, who are fallible, creates misguided policy that apparently conflicts with its doctrine.

    --CONTINUED IN NEXT POST--

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  67. Lauren - with straight unwed couples, there is still "hope" that they can become an eternal family with God's plan. With same sex couples, there is no hope or possibility that they will ever become an eternal family. We are all sinners and should never judge, but with what we know of Gods plan about eternal families and that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, the new policy is there to protect the children in those same sex situations.

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  68. There's literally no reason why these policy "changes" ought to affect anyone's testimony. If one has a problem with the Church's policies on these matters one probably doesn't have much of a testimony to begin with. Liberal Mormons want the Church to abandon the Law of Chastity to accommodate secular progressive mores and that's simply not ever going to happen. If it did, we would become just as corrupt and apostate as the Episcopal Church, or the Methodist Church, or even as the Catholic Church is becoming under Pope Francis. At that point, *I* and many other would have a crisis of faith, knowing that the Church was not true and had fallen into apostasy, and be forced to leave.

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  69. We have our agency in thought also, so study and pray for your own knowledge. The holy spirit guides if we are in tune in the right way.

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  70. "Conflicts are inevitable if a child is taught that those the child's legal guardians are sinners-- and the only way for them to stop being sinners is by ending their relationship." isn't entirely true. The only element of that relationship that is sinful is the sexual one. People of the same gender can love each other, and be at peace with God. People of the same gender can have relationships and still be obeying the commandments. It is the element of acting on sexual dysfunction and replacing an eternal partner with a temporal one that is the problem.

    Conflicts are inevitable if a child is taught that those the child's legal guardians are sinners-- and the only way for them to stop being sinners is by ending their relationship.

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  71. As we grow the spirit acts as a comforter! Therefore having a desire to learn, grow even being lead in direction were as the teacher bears witness and the spirit confirms.

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  72. I was recently baptised lds, and I am still trying to wrap my head around this, I am faulty new to the doctrines. Now I understand why homosexual relationships are not allowed... But I do not understand why the children are being punished for the sins of their parents? In Matthew 19:14 it says, and I quote "but Jesus said ' suffer little children and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven" so can someone please explain? I thought the lds church was about family?

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    1. Hang in there Jessica. I 've been a member for over 50 years and am trying to wrap my head around this as well. I am praying and listening to understand this new policy. Realize policies do change, doctrine and true principles never do.

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    2. Jessica- I truly believe this policy is about protecting families. Children will never be excluded from the love of God. But I don't believe any 8-year-old is truly ready to make a decision that will ultimately separate them from their family. Let them have some years behind them before
      making such a huge decision. To be taught in church that homosexuality will never be acceptable to God and then to go home to your homosexual parents...that seems too much for a child to commit to- let them wait for more understanding to come with time and maturity.

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  73. To understand all of this, we need to understand that God calls and speaks with his prophets. A decision that a prophet makes comes strait from God. And we can talk about how much of a monster the LDS church is for "denying the blessings" of children raised in same-sex households, but it all comes down to just that. Do we believe that God calls prophets? Does God run his church or does man run it? Although it may be hard to accept some of the decisions of the church, we need to have faith that God indeed calls his prophets and speaks with them. Do you think it was hard for the Israelites to follow Moses in the desert for so many years? To give up their worshipping of false idols and fornication? To follow their leader? Like the author stated, if you have any doubts on the subject you can always ask God directly if that's what he wants. And if you do that you with recieve the peace and comfort you need to settle this.

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  74. Your article is great, if you don't mind I'm translating to Portuguese so i can post it to my friends in Brazil.
    Thank you!!

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  75. I think the church sees the high probability of law suits against its policies of repudiation of same sex marriage which is now a stupid law of the land thanks to a bunch of degenerate justices. I can totally see same sex couples suing the church for teaching their kids that same sex is a sin. How dare they?

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  76. Important to remember that this is A policy that is identical to the Church’s policy for children born in plural marriage households that has been in place for decades.

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  77. The biggest issue I have with this, even despite your articulate and thoughtful analysis, is that even once the children are adults, they are require to "disavow" the practice of their parents. How will this ever strengthen family relationships when, in order to join the
    Church, one must view his/her parent(s) continually as sinners unwilling to repent.

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    1. Because the hope is that as an adult, a person is able to distinguish loving a person and hating the sin. It's hard for children, even teenagers sometimes, to understand that. IDK what the magical age of 18 is, besides being the legal age of adultness in the land, but I think the idea is that an adult can say "I still love my parents even though I don't believe that their lifestyle is right or what God wants." Also, they can legally move out and be independent. Just like when Elder Oaks spoke about how parents should properly handle having a child that decides to be gay. A parent, as an adult, is able to say "I still love you but don't agree with your lifestyle". Yes, there will be conflict, as there usually is when a person becomes a member of a church that specifically teaches that someone the love is living in sin. But as adults, that conflict might not cause as many problems. Hopefully.

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  78. Closeted gay man marries in temple. Couple has children. Father decides to be openly gay and the couple divorces. Father marries a man and is excommunicated as an apostate. Mother remains active in the church and re-marries. Can their 7 year old daughter live with her father in a split-custody arrangement and still get baptised?

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  79. To me, it sounds like it's not an absolute no in every case. But that there needs to be special consideration and permission granted from the Presidency. So that baptism is delayed but not always denied. And being given a name and a blessing is not an ordinance necessary to salvation.

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  80. I agree with the commenter above me who said, "Feeling much better now thanks to your post. I think the problem is that the information was disseminated by anti-mormons and the church didn't have the opportunity to make the announcement in the proper fashion with tact and supportive information." Absolutely!

    Thank you for these words. They are spot on.

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  81. almost, but I still have a couple of questions, such as: what if the parents really want their child to be blessed? Or baptized? (Then there really isn't any "conflict" with the family.)

    Or....what if a same sex couple gets married--but they never have sex? What if the marriage is for all the legal protections and nothing to do with sex? There's more. So, I'll just shut up now and let what is be.

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  82. Does noone else find a problem with the statement: "While Christ does ask us to be prepared to give up family to follow him, (Matthew 10:37), he never teaches that one should attempt to be both a good family member and a good church member if those two are at odds."?

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  83. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  84. Thank you for this post. As i read the various news outlets and their spin on this, I too felt inner conflict, confusion and yes, even some doubt. How could the church punish the children, I thought. And then I found the actual policy quoted directly from the manual.

    The handbook addition also states that "a natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting," can only be baptized, confirmed, ordained to the priesthood or serve a full-time mission with approval from the Office of the First Presidency. A mission or stake president may request approval and determine that: "the child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage"; and "the child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage."

    So the truth is, like in everything else the church does, that each situation will be treated (as it should be) with the understanding, love, personal revelation by one who holds keys, and specificity that it should be! This is not a blanket policy to apply to everyone everywhere. But each situation will be treated on its own!! The children are not being punished, they are being protected! Each unique situation will be reviewed, discussed, prayed upon, and the will of God for HIS son or daughter (that is caught, through no fault of their own, in what is undoubtedly a very difficult situation) will be revealed! Our Heavenly Father still leads and guides HIS church, and will continue to do so. And this policy ensures it.

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  85. Living with someone of the opposite gender is closer to a transgression. They haven't taken the step (marriage) to get permission to live together but with that step living together is fine and even ordained of God. Homosexuality is a flat out sin. There is no remedy other than ending the relationship. There is no situation where that relationship is found to be ordained by God. Huge difference!

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  86. The post above describes the reasoning behind the new policy pretty well I think, but I would note too that no where does the new policy say to ostracize them from coming to church and learning about the Savior (just as the church doesn't reject investigators or little children from coming to church). If the church really were just an organization *solely* run by several men who said they got to decide who was saved and equated not being baptized with damnation, yes I can see how people are outraged by this policy.
    But the church is headed by our Savior who is the ultimate gatekeeper of salvation, and it is solely Him who decides who is saved (2 Nephi 9:41). And by that I'm not saying that He has decided not to save gay children. What I mean is that the principles of the gospel lead me to believe His Atonement covers them. Just as little children are covered (Mosiah 3:16-18, 21) and "all they that are without the law" (Moroni 8:22). It is my opinion that this new policy is rooted in that understanding.

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  87. Let's remember that to "disavow" is not to "disown."

    No one is asking anyone to sever any relationships. In fact, the policy is in place (in part) to safeguard the family -- no matter the dynamic. The policy implies that even membership can wait. This seems quite loving and quite tolerant, actually. This policy asks members to disavow unrighteous attitudes and behaviors; it does not ask them to disown anyone.

    The requirements to love one another, honor thy father(s) and thy mother(s), and keep the commandments are possible in symphony.

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  88. One thing that critics of the church seem to never mention is that all these people who have added restrictions placed on them before they can be baptized, are still welcome to come attend worship meetings. No one is kicking them out. No one is telling them to "go away and don't come back until you are 18."

    The only thing being postponed for them is the priesthood ordinances of baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, but those things only really matter if the priesthood power is real. Critics of the church don't believe the priesthood is actually God's power on the earth. People who genuinely don't believe our priesthood is real shouldn't really care how we choose to exercise it.

    Meanwhile those with a true testimony of the priesthood already know that it is being exercised under the proper direction of God's chosen prophets. The living prophet cannot and will not lead us astray.

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  89. S.A. MachLachlan - having previously been married to a Muslim, I can assure you that the Church leadership is very aware of the special situation regarding possible converts from Islam. Islam is a religion for LIFE, from the moment you are born. My ex-husband committed our son to ISLAM on his birth. Our divorce changed that and, believe me, when my son, on his mission, ran into some people from that part of the world who recognized his name as Iranian, I was worried he would be targeted as an infidel. There are many fatwahs already pronounced by the mullahs in the Islamic world, not to mention Mohammed, requiring all true believers to destroy(kill) any who would stray away from Islam by conversion. My son would be considered one of those. Also, a dear friend whose Iranian husband did join the LDS Church begged me not to let anyone know as he had had to hide it from his family and friends for his own protection and theirs. He knew his parents would be endangered simply because of his conversion. Do not doubt that the Church knows this. This is NOT prejudice. It is a very real danger to those who are from those families. The Brethren in SLC are very mindful of those situations and would not dream of putting a child in danger or in a very difficult situation at home. That goes for ISLAM, polygamy and same-sex marriage. It may be the law of the land, but it is not practiced within the Church as an ordinance and therefore, would cause great conflict for a minor child. Would you put your child in that situation?

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  90. please let me translate this in to spanish for all my friends :)

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  91. First, I would like to hear actual church leaders come out with this news as actual doctrine, and have a more detailed description of this info.
    My view: I think a lot of people do not know that a child that is in the care of others I.e. A foster child, also can not be baptized without permission from the parents. The protection they are speaking of here refers to the protection of the parents of these children. Those parents have the choice and responsibility to govern over the decisions that their children make.
    For example: Would you want one of you child's Muslim, Polygamist, Atheist, Scientologist, Catholic, Baptist etc.....friends taking them to church and baptizing them into a religion, which may directly conflict with your own beliefs at home?
    The church is saying if a homosexual couple doesn't support the beliefs of our church they also will not support their child's choice to become baptized into that church.....
    This would cause extreme contention within any home. The church recognizes that homosexuals, polygamists, Muslims, and fostered children, all have families that need to be cherished and respected, and not split apart. They recognize that you are a family unit and want to respect that and not divide the homes of these individuals with an unsupportive baptism or blessings for their children.
    I can tell you that I am a convert to this great church and there is no way my parents would have agreed to letting me be baptized into a religion they do not fully understand and therefore did not support. I would have had to wait until I was an adult to make this important decision. I am fine with that. I would have never wanted to be the cause of contention in my home, nor would any child!
    Our church is unlike others in the respect that no one will ever be rejected the opportunity for baptism or eternal covenants because once they pass on we believe we can do that work for them in proxy and that is what our temples are for. Once we have done those works we believe they still have the opportunity to either accept those blessings or turn them away.
    Therefore it is not the intention to condem these children to hell if they can not get baptized before their departure from this earth. It is to respect their home life and existing individual family units until they are at an age to where there parents are no longer responsible for their life decisions.
    My two cents:)

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  92. Excellent post and perspective. Thank you.

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  93. Well said.

    "The second policy, like the ones I began the post with, has the effect of not putting children at the center of a conflict between their household and the teachings of their church. The policy is that any child who is being raised by a same-sex couple may not receive baptism or be blessed as a baby. Like with the policies I mentioned above, it protects not just the child, but the church and the household who is raising the child. Conflicts are inevitable if a child is taught that those the child's legal guardians are sinners-- and the only way for them to stop being sinners is by ending their relationship."

    I am supportive of the policy, of course. But perhaps the policy does not go far enough. What about the baptized child whose custodial parent same-sex marries after the baptism? What policy could be implemented to protect the child, household, and church in such a scenario?

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  94. If the purpose of the church is to strengthen families and unite them for eternity (which is the primary reason Christ established His church on the earth) through the teachings of Christ, then this policy does exactly that. Take a child who hears the gospel and wants to join the church. If parents are a co-habitating or married heterosexual couple and they decide to join the church as well, their family will be strengthened. If parents are a homosexual couple they must break up their family to embrace the gospel because their lifestyle is a sin. So for that child, the gospel then becomes the tool that destroyed their family. What is best for the child? The answer is, "it depends" and those types of rules are really tricky. For a loving Heavenly Father, there are infinite shades of grey and only He can fairly determine the right balance of justice and mercy. There is a way for all to come unto Christ. Sometimes it is just not the timing we would all like.

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  95. Wow Globe Trecker - you must have spent an awful lot of time doing an awful lot of academic research to be able to make such a claim .....
    "Raising them without a mother or a father is indeed a specific choice they have made as adults. Unfortunately, it is one that has dramatic consequences that negatively impact the child for the rest of their life". Please direct me to your research - I would really like to read it.

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  96. From a Plan of Salvation perspective a same sex relationship will always be a dead end. Biologically they cannot have children; natural law prohibits it, and the line ends. A heterosexual couple, even if unmarried, can continue the line thus allowing the linking of generations.
    Ultimately, God is fair; no one will be denied the opportunity to hear the gospel and accept it. Whether it happens here or after this life is irrelevant.

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  97. You may want to look up the definition of the word "fact" in the dictionary.

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  98. This shocked me when I first read it but then I got to thinking about the reasons why. First off before I say more, think about any policy change regarding the church, though they aren't perfect and human mistakes have been made in the past, especially regarding blacks and the Priesthood, you best believe and as members of the church we should know that these things aren't without going to the Lord in prayer in seeking guidance about these and any changes by the prophet and our leaders. Do we not say in our temple recommend interviews that we support our leaders both at the head of the church and our local leaders?
    In my last temple recommend interview I voiced my concerns to my stake president because though I don't believe in same sex marriage, my friends who are in same sex marriages, I love them, they are and will always remain my friends, and I can see that they're happy. I struggle because if I ever would start to preach to them against their relationship I would lose valued friendships. I was worried it meant that my lack of telling them I feel it's wrong was wrong of me. He told me that all we can do as with anyone is love them and it was OK to not preach to them about their "sins". My friends know I'm Mormon and by knowing that, they probably know our policy against same sex cohabitation and/or marriage. But, they love me and do not harp on me about what I believe.
    Cont...

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  99. Cont...Back to the policy change. So, knowing that the Prophet and his councilors and apostles make these critical changes only through thoughtful prayer and discussion, why would I do any different? So I did, I went to Heavenly Father in prayer and the reasons came clear to me. The answer was similar to some of what is in this article and other comments being said. The one thing not pointed out is the same sex couple who married, and if they are church members, disciplinary actions would happen and unless they divorced and stopped living together would most likely be excommunicated, which means they would no longer be able to go to church until they did go through that process and repent. So would then the child even be taken to church or be allowed to by the same-sex parent after that happened? Let's say the child is allowed to attend church and while there is being taught that marriage should be between a man and a woman, along with other church beliefs and policies. But at home what he/she sees is a different family setting of same sex parents, and just by them being together is teaching the the child conflicting beliefs. Just like with a child in a polygamous home, the policy protects the child from conflicting beliefs that cannot really be resolved unless the same sex parents divorce and repent, or until the child becomes an adult, and then if wanting to join the church, denounces the belief in same sex marriage.
    As for a baby blessing, think for a minute the things that our normally said in a baby's blessing. That he/she was blessed with a father and mother who love them, and to heed to their council. And that they (if a boy) will find a wife whom they can marry in the temple, and visa-versa, and other things which are concerning being from a family of a father and a mother. Since they are just babies, they will not retain or remember the words said in their blessings, however, the words are still heard by and important to the congregation and family members attending the blessing. Remember as converts to the church (myself included) we were never given baby blessings. Remember it as it is. It is only a blessing, like a blessing of the sick, or a father's blessing, etc. which would not be allowed to be given by same sex male parents because they would not be allowed to hold the Priesthood and would probably be excommunicated anyways, and possibly not be allowed to attend the church during their baby's blessing.
    Remember that God does not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance (Alma 45:16). As leaders of the church, our Prophet and Apostles are the mouthpieces of the Lord and they have to invoke or change policy as the Lord would want, and for the betterment of the church and it's members. They are human and mistakes have and possibly will be made. But as the spirit whispered to me, this is of the Lord. If those members would do the same, the same affirmation would come to you as will.

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