According to a new edition of the Mormon Handbook, as of November 6, 2015, a policy against same-sex marriage is enforced that hurts not only same-sex couples, but their children as well. The children of same-sex couples in the Mormon Church will be barred from baptism and church membership until the said marriage is disavowed, or the child has turned 18. This, as one can imagine, is quite devastating for individuals in the LGBTQ community identifying as Mormon.
John Dehlin, an excommunicated Mormon spokesman, described the inevitable result of the policy in vivid detail during an interview with CNN reporter Ray Shanchez. To quote from the article, “‘Legally married LGBTQ Mormons’ will most likely be ‘hunted down and threatened with the inhumane and barbaric’ church disciplinary procedures.”
This policy will not only forbid baptism and membership, but also prohibit the gift of a name and blessing in ceremony under the church. As any individual under the reverence of their religious god and the blessing of their said higher power, this development is cruel and an unjust punishment for something one cannot control.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, stated his opinion on the matter in an interview with Michael Otterson, the managing director under the church’s public affairs. Christofferson is a Mormon Church leader, and naturally spoke in favor of the policy.
An excerpt of the interview goes as follows: It’s a “serious kind of sin that requires Church discipline. It means the discipline is mandatory — doesn’t dictate outcomes but it dictates that discipline is needed in those cases … We recognize that same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States and some other countries and that people have the right, if they choose, to enter into those, and we understand that. But that is not a right that exists in the Church. That’s the clarification,” Christofferson said.
Under the church, they state that this addition to their handbook is not their choice – it’s simply fact and law under their religion. They recognize that there is now legal marriage of same-sex couples, however it is not under their jurisdiction to change the law of the church.
Unfortunately, there is nothing any government law or power can do to change this rule within the Mormon Church, however cruel it is to block the baptism and religious rights of a Mormon believer. Under the first amendment this action is allowed as one’s religious freedom in the United States.
This impacts families on a personal basis, punishing devotees of the Mormon faith. Wendy Montgomery, a Mormon mother of a 17-year-old homosexual son, replied in anguish to this policy during an interview with the Journal Gazette: “It feels like they are extending an olive branch and hitting you with it. It’s like this emotional whiplash.”
No individual, no community and no religious followers deserve punishment directly inflicted upon themselves and/or their children, and it is therefore solemnly this news is relayed.
All LGBTQ news is important to the Shorewood community, as such an accepting and open school district and small community. This is an unfortunate development in what is an inevitable and timeless struggle for the rights of lesbian, transgender, gay, bisexual and all queer individuals.
By Sibs Says (Michael Sibila)