My Facebook news feed is full of people talking about the new changes to the LDS church policy, especially in regards to children of same sex couples.
I have some thoughts about this that I feel prompted to share. I pray that my intentions come across as pure and that you will read this post with an open mind. I have many friends who are in same gender relationships and I love them very much. So often our minds are made up about issues before we really look into what they are about, and I’d just like to share my perspective on this particular issue.
For reference, this is the policy change I’m talking about. It has been added to a handbook for leaders of the church:
Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship
A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, 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 cohabiting, may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service only as follows:
A mission president or a 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:
- 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.
- 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.
On first glance, it seems like this policy restricts blessings to children born into families with two mothers or two fathers. Not allowing them the blessings of baptism seems like a “curse because of their parent’s sins” kind of a thing.
But if you take a second to understand what an LDS baptism entails, you’ll understand the reason for this change, and why it truly is out of love.
In the LDS church, we believe that with blessings, comes responsibility. Baptism isn’t just an ordinance needed for eternal salvation, but it is a sign of our commitment to living a different sort of life than the world sees as normal. When we are baptized, we are entering into a covenant with God. A covenant is a two way promise. We promise specific things to God, and He makes promises in return. God is bound to do what He promises. So if we live up to our end of the promises, we are guaranteed certain blessings.
The covenant we make with God when we are baptized is that we will take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, always remember Him, keep His commandments, and serve Him to the end. In return, He promises that all the sins we have made prior to being baptized are forgiven, and that if we live up to our end of the promises, we will have eternal life. This article is a really good one if you want more information on the promises of baptism. Each week in church, we take the sacrament and renew that covenant. We have the opportunity every day to repent and each week we take the sacrament and recommit ourselves to those covenants we made at baptism.
When we talk about “His Commandments” we are talking about the commandments in the scriptures, and those given by latter day prophets. Yes, the LDS church believes we still have a living prophet on the earth today. And why wouldn’t we? Why would God send prophets in the biblical days and not now, when the world is so chaotic?
There are many commandments that have been given. It’s not expected that anyone is perfect, but that they do their best to live up to the commandments. I know, through my own experiences and the experiences of others, that the commandments have been given to us to make us happy, not to make us miserable. I’ve lived both lives, one following the commandments and one going against them as much as I possibly could, and I promise, life is better when I am following them.
One of the most important teachings and commandments of the LDS church is the focus on the family and the commandment that marriage is only between a man and a woman. God cannot change the laws based on popular opinion. He cannot say it is okay to do something that goes contrary to the plan of happiness.
So when children and teenagers are baptized into this church, they are promising to keep the commandments. That promise is hard enough with support at home, even more so if the family is living a life contrary to the commandments that the child has promised to keep. Inevitably, there will be contention in the family, something the church never wants to be responsible for. By getting baptized when they live in an environment that isn’t conducive to the church teachings, we are setting them up for failure.
Children who have same sex parents are more than welcomed in the building, and so are their parents. They can come to the meetings, they can participate in activities, and be loved by the members. EVERYONE is welcomed into our buildings. But they cannot make promises that they aren’t willing to keep. Yes, this means they cannot receive the blessings that come with those promises, but it also means they aren’t responsible for the responsibilities that come with making those promises. They aren’t required to live a life contrary to the lives of their parents. Once they are able to live a life that coincides with the teachings of the church, they are able to be baptized. At that point, all of their previous sins will be forgiven and they will be more likely to be able to keep their baptismal covenants.
I hope I’ve been able to adequately explain how I feel about this and why I really do think it is a good thing. You don’t have to take my word for it. Pray about it. I promise that God will give you the answers you’re seeking for.
Feel free to disagree with me, but please keep comments civil. I’m grateful we live in a country where everyone has the freedom to belong (or not belong) to what ever church they want.