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Katzpur and DeepShadow on Recent LDS Policies

Discussion in 'One-on-One Debate Discussion' started by DeepShadow, May 22, 2016.

  1. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    You say the Church "MUST grapple with it," but I'm not convinced that this is the case. I'm not convinced that the Church couldn't make its position known -- that the parents' union is not considered to be binding in God's eyes and is sinful, without implementing a policy which would prevent a minor child from receiving all of the blessings of Church membership.

    I agree. It's not just a piece of paper. It's a legal document which represents a commitment between two consenting adults -- to love one another and to remain faithful to one another. It's a commitment which, unfortunately, many heterosexual couples are unwilling to make. And yet their illegitimate children are treated the same as the children of heterosexual couples who are married. We commit to have sexual relations only with the person to whom we are "legally and lawfully married." Gay married couples have at least taken the step towards legalizing their union, whereas many straight couples would rather just play it by ear, and swear to be faithful to their partner only until someone better comes along. I'm afraid my own two grown children have chosen this path. I'm not suggesting that the Church say, "Oh, well if the laws of the land say LGBT couples can marry, that settles the matter. What God has to say is of no consequence. Still, I have to admire a couple -- gay or straight -- who is willing to make their union "legal" instead of just shacking up. In that regard, a gay married couple is setting a better example for their children than a straight couple who don't see marriage as something they need to bother with.

    If the Church has gone to the great lengths you speak of to educate its members, then why is it that LGBT people still feel so marginalized in the Church? Go to No More Strangers and read their stories for yourself. I don't dare mention in Relief Society that I am a member of Mormons Building Bridges for fear of how people will judge me. And I'm not even the one who's sinning. I'm the one who's trying to follow the Savior's example. You have described a Utopian group of Mormons. Unfortunately, people are still doing such hateful things as refusing to even take the Sacrament from a gay deacon who has never even acted on his same-sex attraction. It appears to me that the great lengths the Church has gone to to educate its members is more in theory than in practice.

    But they apparently are flawed due to the fact that they come from a flawed family unit.

    Thank you.

    I probably would, but I know that in doing so, I would become a target myself.

    I'd say that the fault lies entirely with the party who has forbidden the child to be baptized.

    I'm not going to lie and tell you that I have. On the other hand, I have felt the Holy Ghost's confirming witness that God understands precisely with how I feel and is okay with my position.

    We need you. And Truth_Faith is asking some questions on this thread that you could provide some valuable input on.
     
  2. DeepShadow

    DeepShadow White Crow

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    This would also be grappling with it, of course. My point is that they church must make a blanket statement about all such marriages, as they now constitute an official category.

    Huh... that's the most persuasive argument in favor of gay marriage that I've heard yet. And I have no counterargument, except to say that it appears that the church only makes categorical decisions about partnerships with a categorical label.

    For the same reason the church body at large remains under condemnation for failing to follow Ezra Taft Benson's injunction about the Book of Mormon. Because no matter how many times the Church leadership say something, not everyone listens.

    I have describe the people our leaders have asked us to be, because I believe it is important to distinguish between inspired church pronouncements and the uninspired people who fail to carry them out. Many times in our history, God has given our leaders commandments that the people have failed to execute properly, and this does not make the revelations the works of men. Are we to conclude that Zion's Camp was uninspired revelation because the church members utterly failed to carry out the Lord's intentions? That the directive to give the higher priesthood at Mount Sinai was the work of men, because it was replaced with a lesser priesthood?

    Exactly. As Joseph said, we teach correct principles, and they govern themselves. Or fail to do so, and reap the condemnation.

    So, if Howard W. Hunter's mother had begged the church leaders to baptize her son, and the church leadership stuck to their guns that the child's father needed to consent...they are forbidding the child to be baptized, no?

    I was very troubled about this pronouncement when I first heard about it. I prayed on and off for a week before my heart was at peace. I don't know anything else that will really help you get peace on this, Katz.
     
  3. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Hello there, my friend.

    I probably ought to preface my remarks by saying that I didn't realize it until after I posted this message that it was the second time I'd responded to the same post (your post #20). Rather than delete it, I have gone back in and removed the places where I have quoted you. So, you may just want to read these comments as additional thoughts that came to mind today.

    I guess I'm just not understanding why "the Church must grapple with it." I don't understand why it has to be an issue at all. Understand, please, that I'm referring here to the membership of the child, and not to the membership of his parents. If you get right down to it, I actually wish the child's parents could be members of the Church, too (and just not be eligible for a temple recommend), but that's another issue entirely. But with respect to the child himself, I'm afraid I still fail to understand why he could not be baptized if his parents were in favor of it. Their union -- even if it is considered "official" by the state and "sinful" by the Church -- will have no direct bearing on their child's salvation. If we believe the power of the Holy Ghost is as great as we are always claiming it is, then it ought to be sufficient to provide the child with the "spiritual stability" he needs, if his parents are in favor of his baptism. It should not only be "sufficient," but "essential." I would imagine that a child raised in a family with two loving parents who supported the child's growth and development in the Church would be more likely to remain faithful into adulthood than one who was forbidden to receive baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    It may take these social and legal constructs seriously, but at the same time, it's rejecting them as having no real validity. That, of course, is its prerogative. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the Church seems to want to have its cake and eat it, too. Under U.S. law, two men or two women who married are "legally and lawfully married" to the same extent as a heterosexual couple is. The Church has to accept that verbiage because it has committed to a belief in "being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." But that acceptance is really only lip-service. Why should we even claim to be subject the laws of the land when we have to grapple with their implications?

    I'm afraid I don't agree that the Church has gone to great lengths to educate their members on how we ought to treat homosexuals and their children. To me it seems as if the subject is kind of an elephant in the room. It's extremely awkward for people to talk about, as I learned firsthand while teaching a Relief Society lesson in which I alluded to it. The level of discomfort in the room was palpable. I would appreciate it if you could provide some examples of where our "[leaders] have made it clear we are not supposed to treat the children of homosexuals like they are flawed"?

    I would say that the responsibility for the suffering of a child who wants to be baptized but is not allowed to be falls on whoever made the decision forbidding him. And since withholding Church membership from the innocent child is a policy decision on the part of the Church leadership, it is the Church leadership who is responsible for the suffering. You may say that homosexual parents have made a choice and their child has to live with it, but a heterosexual couple living together outside of marriage have also made a choice, and their child is treated the same as the heterosexual married couple's child.

    You asked me if I've prayed about this. Well, I finally have -- two or three times now. It's hard, though, because as hard as I am trying to keep an open mind, I feel like I'm saying, "God, please help me to be able to ignore my conscience on this particular issue. Please tell me that it really is thy will that these children be treated differently from other children. I feel as if the Holy Ghost has told me something that I am now being asked to disregard. Help me to come to the conclusion that I'm wrong and that what appears to me to be a hurtful and insensitive policy is really in these children's best interest." It's kind of like what I tell people who say, "Well, I read the Book of Mormon and I prayed to know if it was true and I didn't get an answer. So I guess the matter is settled." I explain that they are not going to be able to get an answer that the Church is true if they go into their prayer convinced that it isn't. I really am trying, but I have to get past feeling that the Holy Ghost has spoken to me, and that's hard.

    I'm now going to go answer your last post, which -- if I'd gone to page 2 of the thread instead of page 1 -- I'd have already done.
     
    #23 Katzpur, Nov 27, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  4. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    You mean the category called "legally and lawfully married, but not married in the eyes of God"?

    Wow! I'm going to pat myself on the back for that one!

    Okay, point taken. I agree. No one can force the members of the Church to be Christlike any more than they can force them to read the Book of Mormon, to pray, to tithe or anything else. I guess I just don't get the feeling that the Church leadership really cares about these kids. It's kind of like they're saying, "Since there is no potential for these children to be sealed to their parents for eternity, it's best we just pretend they don't exist. Meanwhile, without encouraging them to be a part of us, we should all be nice to them if they choose to attend church anyway."

    I really don't know. Must both parents agree to the baptism or is the decision solely up to the child's father? If it was the mother who objected to the baptism and the father who agreed to it, what would happen? I'm afraid I don't know the rule.
     
  5. DeepShadow

    DeepShadow White Crow

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    Okay, I'm trying to make one answer to both posts again, so if you think I'm ignoring something important, let me know.

    What expression of compassion or caring would you accept as genuine, besides changing the policy? Because there's been many conference talks where it seems they are addressing this. Dedicated websites, interviews, announcements. How much more should they do? Perhaps changing the policy the only expression of caring that matters, IF the policy is the work of men and not of God. But that's begging the original question.

    I tried to look it up, but can't find it.

    I still see this fostering a potential conflict between the child and the parents, as the child is now committed to a church that is opposed to the child's family union. Children should not have to make that kind of commitment. They need to have the option to side with their parents against the church without the spiritual repercussions of violating a baptismal covenant to stand as a witness of God--and the gospel--in all things.

    Thank you for your struggles. I think we're really focusing in on the critical issue here, of prayer and inspiration, because I cannot change your mind, and I'm not here to try. Katz, I feel the Spirit when you speak about the pangs of your conscience. I am convinced that you have received a personal witness about this. But the question is, what has the Spirit told you? Has it told you that these children are suffering spiritually, and that we should reach out to them? Because that's the truth. Has it told you that this policy is going to cause a lot of pain to a lot of innocent people, shake a lot of testimonies, and make it harder for us to do God's work? Because that's what I feel too. But all that can still be true whether the policy is of God or of men.

    The gospel is full of paradoxes--things that appear to contradict, but do not--from the Garden of Eden to the Restoration. You should not have to pray for a witness that contradicts your conscience. Pray about the other end of the paradox: ask if this policy is God's will, or if it is necessary, or if the leaders of the church are leading us correctly with it (Note those are three separate questions, and the answers may not always agree). And then compare the answer(s) you get with what the Spirit has moved within you, and see if they really contradict. Because it's possible for a policy to be inspired of God and still have deeply tragic consequences.
     
  6. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Well, I guess that changing the policy would be the only thing that would truly satisfy me, but if it ever happens, I don't expect it to be in my lifetime. It seems the wheels of change turn very slowly in the Church.

    I hear them talk around it ("Be kind to everyone," etc.) but it's all done in a very vague sort of way. If LGBT Mormons could feel the love and concern, I'd say we're doing enough, but since they still feel marginalized, I don't think we are. I may be repeating myself here, and I apologize if I am, but I'm too lazy to go back and read through our entire discussion. I taught a lesson in Relief Society a year or so ago that was taken from a Conference talk called, "Loving others and living with differences." I asked the sisters to think about how they would welcome four new families moving in on their street, and I held up four pictures, one by one. The first was of a White, middle-class, LDS family -- a mother, a father and two wholesome looking children. The second was of a single Black mother and her son. They were from the deep South and were Baptists. The third was of a young, clearly Middle-eastern, Muslim couple, the woman wearing a veil. The fourth was of two 30-something professional men and a little boy. As I went from one picture to another, the feeling of discomfort in the room was palpable. Usually, I get a number of compliments on my lessons. Nobody said much after this one. I think they were all just relieved when it was over. We can speak in generalities about being kind and accepting, but when we start trying to imagine welcoming an obviously gay couple and their son to the neighborhood, we seem to find all kinds of reasons to justify our feelings of distaste by telling ourselves, "Well, I wouldn't go out of my way to be mean to them." I think that more does need to be done. We're talking about individuals here, people with feelings. We're not just talking about a group of faceless people who are infringing on our comfortable little lives.

    I can sort of see that, but I think the conflict has to be weighed against the value that full fellowship in the gospel (including baptism) would mean for the child. And even if the parents are living in a union the Church can't support, if they actually wanted their child to be raised with LDS values, who is better qualified than the Church to help them out. After all, gospel message encompasses much more than just the idea of eternal families. All of the other values we try to teach our children are also taught in Primary, Young Women and Young Men. If the child gained a true testimony of the Church during his formative years, it would be much easier for him to retain that testimony as an adult than it would be for him to obtain a testimony of the gospel when he was always treated differently than his friends. How do you explain to a child why he can't be baptized and confirmed when he has done virtually everything his friends have done to prepare himself to receive this great blessing? I can't even imagine such a child wanting to be baptized at the age of eighteen when he'd been denied this blessing for ten years because of something that was completely beyond his control.

    I'm afraid the Spirit has told me that all of God's children are alike in His sight and that every child who is worthy of baptism, who desires baptism, and whose parents desire baptism for him should be allowed to be baptized. Sooner or later, that child will have to come to grips with his parents relationship, but he's going to need all of the support the Church can conceivably give him in order to resolve the issues in his own mind.

    What I have been doing is praying that I will not have negative feelings towards the Brethren and will be able to come to see that they are doing what they sincerely believe to be the right thing -- even if I can't bring myself to agree with them that it is. I also pray that I will be a strong ally to any LGBT person and his children who needs to know that, if they were to move into my neighborhood, I'd accept them as fully as I'd accept anyone else.

    I do take comfort in one kind of silly thing. I know that the policy was never supposed to have been made public. Had it been known only by the individuals who are in positions to act in accordance with it, I wouldn't even need to be struggling. If the Lord wanted the policy to exist, it is quite possible that He didn't want people like me to be burdened by it at all. It not up to me to deny baptism to anyone, so I won't have to account to Him for doing so. I can only live my own life, and I have to let the Church's leadership do what they've been called to do -- and that is making decisions that are sometimes going to be hard for me to accept. I just wish this new policy had never been leaked. It would have saved me a lot of pain.
     
  7. DeepShadow

    DeepShadow White Crow

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    I agree that we don't express that love and concern the right way, but I'm not sure that's the best yardstick to measure it by. I've heard folks talk as if they will not stop feeling marginalized until the LDS are performing same-sex temple marriages.

    I think THAT is an excellent yardstick to measure our love and concern by. Thank you for pricking their consciences. As has been said in conference recently, the best talks aren't supposed to make you feel "happy."

    I completely agree that more needs to be done. And it will be. I expect to see a lot more on the subject over coming years.

    I'm not sure why you are "afraid" the Spirit has told you this. What you describe is the way things ought to be. What we have instead is the way things have to be for now. Vincenzo de Francesca was an adult who wanted to be baptized, and he had to wait decades. There have been thousands throughout history who have been denied baptism because of circumstances beyond their control.

    That's wonderful. I hope you can include some other questions about this paradox in there as well.

    I feel the Spirit confirm that this is something God has called you to do. Thank you for being a witness of God in one of the most difficult circumstances--among His own followers.

    I'm sorry you have been forced to deal with this pain, but I think you are bearing it well. I'm not sure what else we need to say here--the Spirit will direct us both as we stay close to Heavenly Father. I'm not trying to stifle conversation--if there's anything I've said here you would like to comment on further, please don't hesitate. Otherwise, thank you for your patience as I rebuilt a habit of posting here. I will see you around the forums. :)
     
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