I Won’t Go to Church Unless Everyone is Welcome

I Won’t Go to Church Unless Everyone is Welcome November 7, 2015

Charles Lock Eastlake, "Christ Blessing Little Children," (Wikimedia commons).
Charles Lock Eastlake, “Christ Blessing Little Children,” (Wikimedia commons).

There is a lot yet to be said about the Church’s recent policy changes to Handbook 1 regarding the children of LGBT parents. A few writers here at Peculiar People are still processing this, and our perspectives and opinions are as varied as the church membership itself. This policy doesn’t directly affect me, but it does people I know and love. I don’t want to distract from their stories, but I thought this was as good a time as any to air out my issues with the Church’s position.

When it comes down to it, this policy is about exclusion. I don’t want to be part of a church that practices exclusion.

A lot of the defenses of this policy are, in my opinion, indefensible. But if someone finds comfort in patiently and prayerfully waiting for an ease to pain, I think that is perfectly reasonable. I was a little surprised that Elder Christofferson’s statements confirmed the Orwellian logic behind “protecting” these children by essentially shunning them. Here’s the thing about his reasoning: he says we can’t give these children a name and a blessing, because it would then trigger a membership record and those children would have to be ministered to and served. We couldn’t possibly have that.

That’s very telling, and frankly why it surprises me when people seem to accept this answer as a legitimate reason. I suppose it is, but it also just confirms the very worst motives behind this policy change. The church is confirming that they simply don’t want families with same-sex parents involved whatsoever. This is why it coincides with the automatic apostate status of gay couples. Which is also why it doesn’t square with the fundamental founding doctrine of Mormonism, that the sins of our parents do not influence our standing with God. There is a reason Joseph Smith made the second Article of Faith, second only to a belief in God and Christ. It was a major theological issue that likely drove him to pray in the grove in the first place. And we’ve turned our back on it.

This is a moment where I am forced again to assess my position with this church. This would be the thing that breaks me, if I wasn’t already so broken. Two years ago, I made a resolve to stay as an example and as a source of comfort for people who are continually marginalized by harmful policies like these and careless rhetoric. That resolve didn’t last, and last year I decided I would no longer attend. Whenever I think I could come back, something happens to remind that that’s probably not a great idea.

When I heard Elder Christofferson say that same sex marriage is such a grievous sin, it was hard to take anything he said seriously after that. Because I just don’t understand how that works. I can’t accept that loving another person enough to commit to them in a healthy, meaningful way is ever a sin. I thought we were past this. Instead, we’re doubling down.

I know a lot of faithful members who are using this as a time to hold fast to their beliefs, and I admire that. I am also holding fast to mine. If it’s true that the last days will be a time when obedience is challenged, and the faithful are rewarded for never wavering, than so be it. If God is real, and I make my way to judgment, I will confess that I couldn’t stand with the bullies any more, even if they spoke for God.

I want Zion to be real. But, to me, it’s not an ideal worth striving for if everyone isn’t invited.

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