Friday, November 6, 2015

Disavowing Family: The LDS Church, Gay Marriage and the Sins of the Fathers

My definition and appreciation of what a family truly is has changed immeasurably since I formally resigned my membership in the LDS Church four years ago. For the better. 

I now enjoy far richer relationships with my children than I ever thought possible when I was an active Mormon. The bonds that we share are not based on rituals and rote teachings but on genuine relationships characterized by unconditional love, acceptance and respect.

Unfortunately, the Mormon Church persists in insisting that was is genuine is artificial and that what is artificial is authentic. Yesterday, news broke that the Church is instituting a new policy that denies its rites and rituals to children of same-sex parents. 

I was immediately reminded of how I felt upon learning that my former stake president had told my daughter, in the middle of a temple recommend interview in advance of her upcoming marriage, that she could love me (even though I am gay), but she could not act on that love by supporting me in any way. In other words, she had been told something similar to what the Church tells gay people: "It's okay that you're gay. But you cannot act upon *it*." And what is "it"? Love.

My children are directly effected by this new policy. Though half of them have already left the LDS Church, our four younger children are still taken to church by their mother, and I have an adult son who remains active in the Church. If that son decides to go on a mission, he will now - in the language of the new policy - need to "specifically disavow the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage," and his request to serve will then have to be approved by the First Presidency of the Church. In other words, he will have to denounce me and my husband Mark and will be stigmatized, not because of his own actions, but because of mine. 

In Biblical terms, the sins of the father will be visited upon the children.

The same will be true of my younger children should they remain in the Church and wish in the future to receive what faithful LDS believe are ordinances necessary for salvation.

How sad is it that children be forced to pay the consequences of what the Church deems to be a parent's sin? I am past anger. I am even past disillusionment. I am just sad for what the Church continues to do to families. I am sad that it continues to disavow and turn its back on love. I am sad for my son, and I am sad for the pain that this new policy has already caused my other adult children (and you, too, Nathan). To them I say, carry on in love. Follow your path. Live your truth. Be proud of who you are. I love you.

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