Saturday, November 7, 2015

Suffer little children, and forbid them not.

"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:14

These past couple of days have been a whirlwind of emotion. After hearing the new church policies, I lost the ability to function in my daily life. I had to leave work the day that I found out because my emotions were interfering with my work productivity. I called my mom and between tears I talked about how I could be given a trial that so blatantly contradicts the gospel. Unfortunately, because of this, I wasn't able to get all the homework done that I needed and I wasn't able to focus in my classes the next day because it took all of my energy to keep from falling apart. Yet, that didn't work because I broke into tears between my classes. The only thing that has kept me going are my loving family and friends, who are struggling to understand just as much as I am.

The church believes that if they don't allow children of same-sex couples to be baptized that they are solving the issue of them having to decide whether they support their parent's lifestyle or the LDS faith and the cognitive dissonance and angst that comes with that. To an extent, I agree with this. To those same-sex couples who don't intend to raise their kids in the church anymore, that solves a massive issue.

But that still leaves huge issues to be solved. What about the same-sex couples that still wish to instill the LDS values in their children? This will not protect them. What about a divorced parent that wants their children to be baptized into the church but can't because their divorced spouse now has a same-sex partner/spouse and has partial custody?

I know people that are currently faced with this issue. I can't even imagine how it would feel for the children in those situations. I can't imagine the pain that the children would feel by being excluded from passing the sacrament, preparing the sacrament, or going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. I can't imagine the pain that a parent (straight or gay) must feel when their child asks them why they can't be baptized, why they can't do temple baptisms, or why they can't receive the priesthood. Why they can't do all the things their friends are doing. This isn't only the children of same-sex couples that this is affecting, it's affecting the children of divorcees' too. This new policy is further marginalizing many children who would already felt different because of their family situation.

Now I think it's important to clarify some things. Church doctrine and some church policies are received through revelation and both are discussed among the quorum of the twelve, but there still is a difference between church doctrine and church policy. Church doctrines are the immutable truths of the gospel. Examples of these are temple ordinances for the dead, the Atonement, the Plan of Salvation, and many of the commandments. Church policies are temporary rules that change as necessary. Examples of these are Moses being told to take his people into the wilderness, Brigham young being told the same, Blacks not being able to receive the priesthood or sealing blessings, and the mission age. When these policies are no longer necessary, they can change. Examples of these are that Blacks can now have the priesthood and sealing blessings, interracial couples can now be married, meeting schedules are now different than they were, and the mission age changes. These differences are important to emphasize. Just because this has been agreed upon by the quorum of the twelve, does not mean that it is permanent doctrine that isn't subject to change, or even that it is right. The church out rightly admits that the policy that Blacks not being able to receive the priesthood or sealing blessings was influenced by the prejudices of the times. That didn't make it right.

Now, I'm not saying that this isn't a "right" policy (though, that is my opinion) or that the quorum of the twelve are "influenced by the prejudices of the times," but I am recognizing that it is a possibility. I believe there is a reason that God is letting this happen that made be obscured from our earthly vision. People are leaving the church in droves because of this. The church is forcing people to become more black and white in what they support. The only thing that can reveal the will of God is time, and we need to remain faithful that there is a light at the end. Christ's arms are always open to us, and he will refuse no one.