It is at least 34 now.
The LDS Church recently instituted a policy saying that children of parents (who have primary custody) in a homosexual relationship cannot be baptized. The LDS Church also changed the policy about what constitutes apostasy, and included being in a same-gender marriage.
81 days ago was when the policy came out.
Here is the new LDS Official Handbook statement about apostasy:
When I wrote the last blog post, I was just beginning to realize the pain the baptism policy was causing. I am writing this post to let people know who may not know that people are suffering because of these new policies, people are dying. This is a matter of life and death.
It is clear from what I have written here and in the last blog post that I do not like the new policies. I do not believe they were revelation. I believe they go against scripture. But what I think about that doesn’t really matter. This is what matters:
Whatever you believe about the policy, even if you believe it was a revelation and is totally right, children are dying! And we all have to do whatever we can to help those children, and adults too, by letting the Lord and Christ-like love guide our actions towards them.
I am sure that each circumstance is different, but we can all be guided by the Lord and by love. And since God is love, that would seem to be the same thing, so if you don’t feel guided by the Spirit, then maybe think “What would pure Christ-like love do in this circumstance?” We have to be aware that many of our brothers and sisters are in agony, and some feel so alone and awful that they are thinking of taking their lives. I doubt there is a Ward in the LDS Church where there is not someone in pain over this. You may not be aware of it, because they may be afraid to tell anyone. So, even our rhetoric when we think there is no one listening who could be hurt, could still hurt.
I have a Facebook friend who is an active Mama Dragon. Their family is LDS and their teenage son is gay. If you haven’t heard of the Mama Dragons, here is an article about them: http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/2438383-155/mama-dragons-lead-the-fight-for?page=1
I admire these Mama Dragons, even though all I know about them is what I have learned by being Facebook friends with one of them. They protect and fight for their children. They protect and fight for the children of others who for whatever reasons were not able to. I believe they save lives.
To give you all a real life picture of what is happening because of this policy, I am going to quote this Mama Dragon Facebook friend’s husband, Thomas Montgomery. She gave me permission to post this here on my blog:
“I have no doubt that the policy, which is an extension of Proclamation Doctrine, is completely not of God. This week Elder Neil Anderson and Elder Whitney Clayton came and ‘trained’ the local leaders. In a nutshell, they are not to tolerate ‘distractions’ to their wards and to reinforce the Proclamation as the only acceptable path at every turn.
Last night, I got a call from a terrified, young trans man that his Bishop has called him in for a 9 pm meeting. This is on the heels of the ‘training’ this Bishop just received. (The Bishop is aware that this youth had attempted suicide as recent as October.)
The spirit told me to jump in my car and get there as fast as I could. I found that young trans man collapsed in the gutter in front of the Bishops house just afterward.
Dragon Dads – we have a mandate from God above to minister to these kids. There will be multiple generations of these kids being born in the Church and it is going to take 20-40 years before the Church comes around. Until then, we are the safety net. We are the ones listening and hearing God’s promptings – because the TBM members have chosen to close their ears and hearts to the matter. It is inconceivable that they could be wrong and causing harm.
We can beat our hands bloody in vain trying to change the Church, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. But we can reach these kids. Whether you decide to minister to these kids by staying or going, find a way to make a different in the lives of these LGBT Mormon kids. It is life and death (We are aware of 34 deaths via suicide of LGBT Mormon youth since Nov. 5th. Ages 14-20.)”
So, I am writing this blog for the purpose of making everyone who reads it aware of the danger to LGBT Mormons right now, especially the youth. I am sure everyone who is LDS knows someone who is LGBT or whose family member is, and who is in distress. There is someone in your Ward or Stake who is suffering, who needs love and care and to not feel alone, to not feel judged.
I also plead with any LDS leaders who might read this post: please, please be guided by the Lord in your dealings with the members you serve. Be aware that your position of authority is a heavy burden, and that you are looked up to by the youth, and what you say or do to them can affect them in often terrible ways. Lives are literally at stake.
When I first wrote this blog post, I put a lot in the beginning about what I thought about the new policies, etc. I am going to leave that stuff in mostly, but now I am putting it here at the bottom, because although I think it is important to understand what the policies are, and for everyone to go to the Lord, without preconceived ideas that it has to be right because the leaders said it, and ask the Lord if it is truly His policy or not, the immediate dire need is for people to help save these children’s lives.
The last post I wrote was about the new LDS Church policy about not allowing the children of gay and lesbian parents to be baptized. I did not even address the other new policy change that happened at the same time (I am not sure I was really aware of it yet), which was that now people in a same-gender marriage are considered apostate. It is now apostasy to be in a same-gender marriage. And disciplinary action is mandated for apostasy “to protect Church members.”
It is not considered apostasy to commit adultery. It is not considered apostasy to be a pedophile. It is not considered apostasy to be a thief, or a rapist, or a murderer. (And you can be a child of all those people and be baptized.)
Apostasy is a very charged word in the LDS Church. It is very painful to be called an apostate (I know). Apostates are feared. That is why disciplinary action for apostates is mandated, to protect Church members. If you must be protected from something, that thing must be dangerous and therefore feared.
Fear is the opposite of love. God is love.
When I wrote the last blog post, I was totally consumed with the thought that many innocent children could not be baptized. I also talked about how the policy was just a policy and not a revelation. But Elder Nelson has implied recently that it is a revelation, and I know that has caused renewed waves of anguish for many people. I am still shocked that the Church I loved for so many years, full of such glorious and wonderful people, would bar innocent children from baptism and the blessings associated with it. I very much believe that if any other church had announced such a policy, that my wonderful Mormon friends would have thought it was terrible. But because it is so ingrained in the LDS culture to follow the leaders, and to assume they do things like this only with direction from God, many of the members think that somehow it must be right. But it is hard to keep the cognitive dissonance from making you crazy.
I need to mention something else here as an aside. It is something I said in my last post that I wish I hadn’t. But I am going to leave it in that post and let my blindness in saying it remain for people to see, because although the Lord has opened my eyes to many things, I realize I am still blind to so many things. Here is what I said: “I prayed for something like this. That probably sounds awful to many, I think, but I did. I didn’t want people to be hurt, but I prayed that something would happen that would wake people up to our awful situation . . . .” I did pray for something to wake people up to the problems now, to help people see that the Book of Mormon warnings are for us, are about us, not other people who will never read the book. I hoped that things would happen to wake people up BEFORE the destructions and devastations prophesied in scripture come upon us. But I NEVER wanted something to happen that would harm people in the way this is harming people. I never even imagined something like this! But my rhetoric, of saying I prayed for something like this may have been very hurtful, and I deeply apologize for it.
Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
I am adding a link here to a site that can give people some ideas of how to help: http://mormonsbuildingbridges.org/lgbtqissa-health-and-wellness/