In my conversation this week with Anne Wilde, we discussed how the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) were formed following the Third Manifesto. Kody Brown’s family of the tv show Sister Wives is probably the most famous family of this group. Kody’s daughter Madison, despite wanting to join the LDS Church was prevented from baptism. The Nov 2015 policy excluding children of gays is modeled after a similar exclusion that has long been in existence regarding polygamists. Regarding polygamists, Anne went on to explain that the exclusion policies aren’t evenly applied.
GT: Ok, I know his daughter, I want to say Madison, I can’t remember, was going to Utah State I believe and she actually wanted to join the LDS Church.
Anne: And they wouldn’t let her.
GT: And they wouldn’t let her, and she said, “I don’t want to be a polygamist. I don’t want to do anything.” But they still wouldn’t let her. Essentially the church policy is that they want to—you have to basically disown your parents, or I don’t know if that’s the right terminology.
Anne: I think that varies. Without mentioning a name, there is a family whose son—I don’t want to say anything that’s going to get anybody in trouble. Let’s just say that he joined the church, the LDS Church, had friends that were LDS, went on a mission for the Church. He didn’t have to deny his parents, but he had to deny his intent to live it. He now is back from his mission, performed an honorable mission. He was not prevented from joining the church, even though they knew what family he came from. So that’s what I say, it’s going to vary.
I asked Anne what she thought about the policy excluding children of gays.
Anne: I was very disappointed in that decision for many reasons. I’ll just give you one example. I work at a bookstore. The day after that decision was made, somebody came into the bookstore and said, “There’s a young girl, 8 years old, in our ward. She is living in a home with gay parents, and she is scheduled to be baptized Saturday, and they will not let her be baptized.”
That breaks my heart. It does because all her friends in the Primary class, they are all going to be baptized. How do you explain to her that she can’t be baptized? I mean that’s just one of many situations that came up. I just felt bad about it. You’re punishing the children for what I don’t even think is a civil sin of the parents. The parents wanted her to be a member of the church. They wanted her to go to Primary. They took her to church.
I’m disappointed too, but I think that’s an understatement.
I have heard unsubstantiated claims that some stakes are refusing to enforce the exclusion Policy for gays, so it seems that there is uneven application of this exclusion policy for both children of gays and polygamists. I also asked Anne what polygamists thought about legalized gay marriage.
Anne: I cannot speak for a group as a whole, but the fundamentalists that I know, I don’t think have any problem with legal gay marriage. That’s not a religious sealing. That’s a personal choice, and if we expect to have the country to look at our marriages as, at least decriminalize them, then we have to be willing to grant others their free agency in forming a family and who they marry. It’s never been a big issue with us.
The ones that I associate with the most don’t think there’s anything wrong with a legal gay marriage, because like I say it’s not a religious thing. They think they should have that legal right. We’re talking about a civil rights level. They should have their civil rights just like we would like our civil rights.
We went on to talk about court decisions legalizing polygamy and gay marriage. Are you surprised that polygamists are open to legalized gay marriage? Do you think children are punished for the sins of the parents when they can’t get baptized, ordained, or blessed in church? Is this policy theologically justified, given the 2nd Article of Faith? If so, how do you justify it?