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?
does this also mean that a child born out of wedlock cannot be baptized either?
Or indeed a child of nomo parents? There was a time when 16 year old girls were the natural market of the missionaries.
It would seem inconsistent to champion freedom of marriage without gay marriage being part of the deal.
I’m really pleased to hear there are some in the church with common sense and compassion, there would be few in our ward who would countenance such discriminatory behaviour and I think we’d find our way around it. Most here are teachers,social workers, and other educated and public sector workers, in the UK public or educational or even business sectors discriminatory behaviour has become disallowed.
EQP recently shared a story about his wife during the lesson., who had made a point of being sufficiently christian to befriend a transgender parent at the school gates who had been shunned by the other mothers. Both as mormon as you like, second generation and RMs. Maybe we should all just quietly get on with good behaviour like this good woman.
I have to say I was a bit surprised to see how accepting polygamists are regarding gay marriage, but their position is consistent. If they want others to respect their marriage practices, they should be open to gay marriages as well.
I think the policy prohibiting children of gays and polygamists is not rooted in theology. It feels much to me like the ancient Jews treated lepers, calling them unclean. Yet Jesus embraced lepers and others considered unclean. I think this is a great lesson, and while there is plenty of outrage regarding “the Policy” for gays, the Policy for children of polygamists was unknown to me until 2 years ago. This policy should be changed, and be replaced with a Christlike policy that embraces children no matter who their parents are, or what their parents did.
I fat-fingeredly tapped the thumbs down button on the previous comment., with which I wholeheartedly agree.