Yesterday the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made a heavy update to its policy regarding same-sex couples. But the hardest part of it all had to deal with children of same-sex couples.
“A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabitation, may not receive a name and a blessing. A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship whether the couple is married or cohabitation, may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service only as follows:
“A mission president or stake president may request approval from the Office of the First Presidency to baptize and confirm, ordain, or recommend missionary service for a child of a parent who has lived or is living in a same-gender relationship when he is satisfied by personal interviews that both of the following requirements are met:
1. 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.
2. 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.”
This update should come as no surprise. The Church has been very clear on its position regarding marriage.
“We, The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”
“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between a man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” –The Family: A Proclamation to the World
The majority of a child’s growth in the Church happens at home. Children who are raised by couples who are engaged in a same-gender relationship are being raised in a environment contrary to Church doctrine. Should the Church allow membership to children living with same-gender couples, these children would likely grow up with different views and opinions, and thus not be educated in pure gospel principles.
Let’s not forget, too, that in no way does this prevent anyone from attending Church meetings.
I’ve mentioned these as updates to policy rather than changes. These measures for children are very similar to those taken for children who belong to polygamous families. In fact, any underaged individual who desires membership in the Church needs to have a parent/guardians permission prior to baptism.
This update in policy has no affect on my membership or testimony of the Church and its teachings. If anything, it reinforces my faith.
The Church is pro-family. Make no mistake about it. But, also understand, the Church also enforces its doctrine and will continue to advocate for traditional marriage. Rather than jumping to conclusions, or relying wholly upon the opinions of others, seek to understand the reasoning behind the matter from proper sources, including prayer. And above all, trust in God.
4 thoughts on “What About the Children?”
“Let’s not forget, too, that in no way does this permit anyone from attending Church meetings.” I think you meant to say “prevent” or “forbid.”
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have made the change.
I’ve always been a fan of your writing, especially for your ability to boil down a meaty topic to a concise view, simplifying the complicated. That’s what you’ve done here, as well.
Just a thought to add. I think we need to be careful making statements like “these children would likely grow up with different views and opinions, and thus not be educated in pure gospel principles.” I know many, many gay members (and former members) of the Church. Some of them are in same-sex relationships, and some are raising children in the Church despite the fact that they (the adults) can not participate themselves. They know the doctrine, they have testimonies of the Restoration, and teach those principles in their home (at a great personal sacrifice). While they cannot participate in the sacrament, hold the priesthood, or even attend the temple, they still attend church faithfully, they go about serving ward members quietly however they can, and they defend the Lord’s gospel. Likewise, there are many families who, by definition, ARE in full-fellowship who do NOT have a firm grasp on doctrines and, therefore, there are many children in the Church who are not being taught correct and pure principles in the home.
I have found that no members are more aware of the Church’s teaching on the family contained in the Proclamation than someone who experiences same-sex attraction. Imagine having a testimony and defending traditional family but not having those blessings in their reach due to natural feelings. I honor those who cling to the Church despite judgments, real or perceived, and strive to find way to reconcile their faith and their feelings. We need them in the Church. They need our love, especially now. Elder Cook said it best, “”As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”
Thanks for letting me share.
Great article thanks for sharing. This is not a new policy it is the same one for polygamy. My husband worked with them a lot on his mission and I talk about it in one of my blog posts about the new policy. But I love how you explained it so simply and helped explain what we can do. It really touched me. Thanks!