I received permission from both Devon & Ashley Gibby and Kate (who I’m leaving last name off for confidentiality reasons for the adolescents) to include their personal posts regarding how they are reacting to the news about the new LDS policy and how it will affect their family. This is a good, yet tragic, example of why so many of us are sharing the type of dismay and concern about this last week’s announcement. These policies will do nothing but harm families. There is no protective element. It is not a loving approach. And it is unnecessary for the church to still hold on to its already harmful position about same-sex marriages and relationships.
If the leaders of the church feel it is important for children to decide for themselves when they reach adulthood as to whether or not they are prepared to developmentally understand and accept membership into our church – then this should be applied to all children. If the leaders feel it is important to protect children from the confusion of watching parents doing things that are contrary to teachings they may hear at church – then this should be applied to all children (from those that have parents who watch the Superbowl on Sunday to parents who are incarcerated for criminal behavior). But singling out a certain “sin” like these policies have done is ‘particularly grievous’ and cruel.
May we all be willing to engage with the cognitive dissonance we are feeling. May we all be willing to take a stand and advocate for those who are hurt by this. May we all embrace Mormon doctrine that allows for the fallibility of its leaders while still sustaining them. May we all prioritize personal and familial safety. May we all find comfort in the beautiful messages found within the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we wrestle with our own positions and respectfully with one another.
These stories are very personal and can be emotionally and psychologically triggering.
Written by Devon Gibby
I’ve hesitated to post this because I don’t want to turn my family into a political statement. However, the LDS Church with its recent policy change regarding children of same-sex couples has turned my family into something political, and I cannot remain silent about this.
I have been living with Rob for the past 5 months. My kids live with us part of the time, and their mother most of the time. I have left the LDS church, although not officially. My boys have a wonderful mother who is still Mormon. Although we don’t agree on spiritual matters, we have come to the conclusion that our kids will be raised in the church, and I honor that decision because I value my relationship with them and their mother. On weekends that they stay with me and Rob, I’ll take them to church. When my sons speak in primary or in the primary program, Rob and I are there to support them and their involvement in the church. I have done all that I can to ensure that my kids will never have to choose between having a relationship with their father and his partner whom they both love, and being involved in the church that their mother loves.
Now, because my boys live with me part time, they are excluded from membership in the church unless they receive approval from the First Presidency. Children of felons and rapists don’t even have such a harsh punishment. I’m really hurting. Just when I thought that I had found a way to live with tolerance toward the church they’ve come out and attacked my family in a very personal way.
This will likely be the only statement I make about this subject, seeing as it has been talked about excessively the last few days. My ex husband, Devon, wrote a post that has been wide spread and subsequently I have received a lot of outreach because of the church’s new policy. I am a believing, active, straight member of the LDS church and my children and I attend church regularly. Upon hearing this policy I thought surely this wouldn’t apply to my kids, but after reading and listening to clarification I believe it does. I understand that many people believe that this policy protects children, but what if it were YOUR kids. It changes everything. My kids live with me most of the time, but they do also live with their dad and his partner 30% of the time. We pray, read scriptures and sing primary songs together. My kids love the church and they love their dad. If people are struggling, as I am, please don’t jump to the conclusion that their faith in the first presidency or continued revelation isn’t strong enough. I have faith that God knows me and my family and through him all things will be made right. However, as a mother I want my children to have the same experience in the church that I have had. I want them to get baptised when everyone else in their primary class does, be ordained to the priesthood and enjoy the blessings of full fellowship. So for now, I am trying to understand and take comfort that God loves and is aware of me and my children.
Written by Kate
Today I finally sat down with my two active, Mormon children to explain the new policy to them. My son is 12 and is supposed to be ordained next week. My daughter is 14 and last week I received a call to give my permission for her to receive a calling. She was previously a Beehive President. I am gay and inactive but still have a strong testimony of many of the Church’s teachings. I fully support all five of my children’s faith choices–those who joined the Church and those who chose not to. My son’s first question was “will I still be ordained?” My daughter’s first question was “do I have to move out?” Neither feels like they can sit in the Bishop’s office and agree that homosexuality is a sin. My daughter just cried and cried. I feel lost and unequipped to help them. Both shook their heads and said, “it’s not fair. We didn’t do anything wrong”. I feel like the policy is aimed at making me feel like so horrible of a mother that I will leave my partner and live a straight life just so my kids won’t suffer.
Please contact me at natashaparker.org if you are interested in sharing your story on this blog. Other spaces where you can share or read these important accounts include: Feminist Mormon Housewives and the Suffer the Little Children.
Trigger Warning: If you identify as LGBTQ – please be careful in reading the comments people post on this site. I allow all comments (that don’t personally berate another person) because I want there to be a witness to the many opinions on this topic – but some are triggering, harmful and often give inaccurate information.