I've been saddened, again, by current events. Facebook is a great place to stay in touch, but in my case, it's also the place where I learn about things going on in the LDS faith, as I would otherwise have no other contact to keep me informed, if it weren't for my handful of Mormon friends.
Normally I'm okay with not knowing who the current "Prophet" is, or what the latest news is on scouting or missionary work, etc. I have two very good friends who have children on missions, and if I have the desire to know about that world, I can check in with them. But seeing the memes mocking the latest handbook entry for LDS leaders led me to investigate things a little more closely.
Facebook and anti-LDS are screaming from the top of the nearest building that the "Mormons are ostracizing the children of gay couples in the church, and not allowing them to be baptised unless they renounce gay marriage."
I've read the actual entries from the LDS church on this, and the news is actually old news.
Children of non-members aren't allowed to be baptised until age 18 either, because the church's stance is that they don't want to create division within the home, having parents who are non-members be in conflict with an underage child who might be living differently than the people who pay their rent and cook their food. I can see the logic in this. The church is taking that same stance, albeit newly spelled out, for the children of same sex couples and calling it "protection."
The actual wording in the handbook states that in order to be baptised, the children of same sex parents "must simply affirm the Church’s teachings about sexuality and marriage. To quote the new handbook change, “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.”
So, lets talk about that wording. According to the Webster's Dictionary, to 'disavow' is to:
Full Definition of DISAVOW:
1: to deny responsibility for: REPUDIATE
2: to refuse to acknosledge or accept: DISCLAIM
Now while the children of gay parents are not responsible for their parent's behaviours, they are, in fact, part of a family. Most likely a loving family where the parents just happen to be the same gender. Simply committing to live the teachings of the church and denying that their family is a good, loving, nurturing, healthy family, is asking them to deny and disown the very core of who they are. And many of my friends say they "just have to take this on faith?"
How, can I ask you, could you ever ask anyone to do this? How could you tear apart your family for a religion who says the act of loving each other is a sin? No gay person, who cohabitates or who is married, can be a fully participatory member of the church. ONLY if you put aside your nature, give up the essence of who you are on a genetic level, and choose a life of celibacy, can you be allowed to participate in full church membership.
So forget about the dusty remnants of years gone by, that horrifically edited collection of stories put together by a group of men, designed to scare the shit out of anyone left living who reads it (aka: THE BIBLE) for a minute. Let's talk about science. Let's talk about life. Every gay person I know has known in their soul, from a very young age, exactly who and what they were. This is not learned behaviour, as my nephew will tell you. Born of goodly parents, and supplied with a pious mother who lived the gospel to the letter despite an inactive husband, she raised him up to be a missionary man, and a loving father. She got a beautifully androgynous, incredibly talented dancer and gay man for a son instead. This is something that takes place on a genetic level people! It is not a choice.
I have another friend who is openly gay, openly married to a woman, who is the father of four children, and who is so in love with Mormon doctrine that he has forsaken his own PERSON to live the faith. A hard choice to be sure. But doable, if only on paper. He will gladly tell you that he struggles with same sex attraction on a daily basis. And yet he loves his god and will not go against the doctrine of the church. But what if one of his daughters decided she was gay? How would that change him when it came down to letting her live life true to her own person? Would he encourage her to take his path? Or would he want her to be happy? Because as the mother of five kids, I just want them to be happy; bottom line.
So, do I agree with this latest edict from my once-assigned (I didn't choose, so I call myself a Mormon, assigned from birth to live in a religion that didn't suit me) church? No. Oh, HELL NO. I think it's horrible. It's tantamount to abuse. And it infuriates me and at the same time saddens me that so many of the people I respect and love, who are still members, think they just have to "take this one on faith." Faith in WHAT? What about faith in the brain you were given? The brain that lets you know when something is wrong. If you feel in your gut this is wrong, what else is wrong? There are choices out there, and support of this atrocity doesn't have to be part of who you are or what you believe. Can you not support this and still be a member? I don't know. But the question is this: why would you want to?