Rescinding Policy without Apology is Bad Leadership

Rescinding Policy without Apology is Bad Leadership May 3, 2019

Mette Harrison put effort in gathering names to support this important position statement she drafted which is posted on Medium. I have her permission to share here as well. If you would like to add your name to the list please email Mette at ironmomm@gmail.com.

Today’s guest post is written by Mette Ivie Harrison. Opinions shared on guest posts may not completely reflect the positions of the blog’s author. 

 Mette Ivie Harrison writes The Bishop’s Wife mystery series for SoHo Press and was a frequent blogger for Huffington and RNS about Mormonism.  She also publishes the Vampires and Mormons series and The Book of Laman series for By Common Consent Press.  She is an All-American triathlete, Princeton PhD and mother of 5.

 

 

Rescinding Mormon Gay Policy Without Apology is Bad Leadership

April 4, 2019 leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints walked back much of the November 5, 2015 policy that called for excommunication of same-sex married couples and the exclusion of their children from the saving ordinance of baptism and full inclusion in the church. D. Todd Christofferson, member of the Quorum of the Twelve, claimed the policy was meant to be “loving” and to help avoid situations where children were taught differing messages at home and at church., Following the policy rollout, the current church president, then apostle Russell M. Nelson, declared the policy to be direct revelation from God.

In the time since the policy was released, youth suicides in Utah have reached an all-time high that some residents believe is directly related to this policy, and many, many members have resigned in protest over what appeared to be a deliberate move to punish parents through their children, marking these families as different from others in the church. In particular, to those LGBTQ Mormons who had tried desperately to follow church counsel in previous years, to enter into mixed-orientation marriages that produced children but ultimately ended in divorce, the policy seemed designed to further hurt those who were trying to build healthy relationships based on their true sexuality and gender identity. It also caused enormous collateral damage that could be expounded on in depth if we had time to tell individual stories.

We are all pleased that this policy has been changed. We are also pleased that there are many allies working from within the church who are trying to explain to church leaders why more needs to be done. We need to help reduce youth and adult suicides in Utah. We need to be more inclusive and Christlike in our teachings and culture. We need to think of heaven as God more inclusively, and to show this in our iconography, our temples, and our songs and stories.

We hope that church leaders will start acting more inclusively with regard to transgender, intersex, non-binary, and asexual individuals. But we must call out the rescinding of this policy out as the hypocrisy that it is. To say only three and a half years ago that President Nelson and the other church leaders were inspired by God to institute this policy, and now to take it away without a hint of admission that it was wrong, is bad doctrine and bad policy. To rescind this policy without acknowledging that it caused terrible harm and hopelessness, to point the finger at God rather than at themselves as the people who made this decision and got this wrong, is poor leadership.

We call on the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to admit past mistakes and to stop hiding behind the idea that God wanted things done this way. We call on members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to look to their own conscience and stop following church policies that are harmful. We know that doing so often leads to exclusion, social discrimination, and possible excommunication. But if Mormons want to be thought of as Christians within the full community of the body of Christ, we must all do this.

Mette Ivie Harrison

Sam Harrison

Joanna J. Smith

Chloe Patton

Morgen Nadine

Joanna Brooks

Erin Olds

Chris Wei

Birgitta Mattson

Dixie Tiffany Pierce

Kim Sandberg Turner

Mike Hansen

Zina Peterson

Leah Lewis Young

Samantha McKenzie Ellsworth

Sue Bergin

Allison Henriksen

Allan Mount

Heidi Moses

Karin Josefina Berg

Twila Newey

Jennifer Harker Limones

Shandi Hill

Dayna Kidd Patterson

Terina Maldonado

Rebecca Killpack

Cherie Pedersen

JoAnn Tyndall Larsen

Jessica Smith Jackson

Glenda Crump

Jody England Hansen

Conor Hilton

Jimmy Bridges

Holly Welker

Ben Hopkin

Mary Gwynn Longorio

Gary Longorio

Kennon Smith

Susan Van Patten Snider

Sara Vranes

Natasha Helfer Parker

Anthony D. Miller

Courtney Hill Edwards

Lori Bolland Embree

Kerri Harris-Bigler

Natalie Lewis Driggs

David G. Pace

Jessica Tatum

Max Cox

Ryan Tatum

Kelly McAffee

Lesley Butterfield Harrop

Boyd Jay Peterson

Nancy Ross

Sara Hughes-Zabawa

Lisa Warburton-Glad

Betsy Schow

Walt Eddy

Lisa Ward Linton

Sonia Groesbeck

Mary Lynn Hutchinson

Yvette Barus Zobell

Maya Kimberly Collinwood

Summer Spence

Blaire Ostler

Janna Fox

Jolene Perry

Bryce Cook

Heather Harris-Bergevin

Shauna Croft

Taylor Mefford

Lauren Neaves

Evelyn Horbarger

Jennifer Earl

Jack Waters

Tresa Brown-Edmunds

Colin S. Smith

Crew Ostler

Lori Anderson Leetham

Steve Florman

Rick and Elisa Stoneman

Rosalyn Collings Eves

Eric Canfield

Lisa Kaiser

Ashley Thalman

Amber Sorensen

Peter Brownstein

Ellie Brownstein

Matthew Peterson

Rebecca Sachiko Burton

Jessie Jo Lundell

Ronald C. Benson

Diane Holindrake Benson

Michael Austin

Laura Dickey

Kris A. Irvin

Lara Machin Canen

Sara Burlingame

Amanda Elizabeth

Kimberly Anderson

Kathy Carlston

Kelly Lake

Eric Morley

Rachel Ellsworth

Kerry Clift Spencer

Kelly Whited Jones

Kate Lloyd Martell

Heather Moore-Farley

Margaret Jones Tonks

Malena Crockett

Eric Lacey

Dynette Reynolds

Amy M. Hughes

Alisa Jane Taylor Hancock

Justin Brian Carter

Judith Dushku

Jill Templeton

Emily Davis Harris

Monica Peterson

Josh Weed

Brad Kramer

Cindi Christensen James

Carolyn Homer

Suzy Benson Gillies

Crystal Escobar

Mary Harrison

Keli Byers Money

Wagner R. Ferreira

Julie Hawkins Smith

Bill Shunn

Ana Leyendo

Amy Benson Hirano

 

Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST can be reached at natashaparker.org and runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She hosts the Mormon Mental Health and Mormon Sex Info Podcasts, is the current past-president of the Mormon Mental Health Association and runs a sex education program, Sex Talk with Natasha. She has over 20 years of experience working with primarily an LDS/Mormon clientele.

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