The Policy of Exclusion is often abbreviated as POX on the bloggernacle to describe the exclusion of children of gays from blessings, baptism, and ordination.  I sat down with Greg Prince when he visited Salt Lake in September, and we discussed both his upcoming book, as well as his feelings about “the policy.”

Greg:  I think this policy has done a lot of damage, and that’s not just a supposition.  You can put real numbers behind that.  I don’t like to be in the position of explaining to the president of the seminary[1] why my church is whacking infants.  But I didn’t explain that.  I said, “David, I don’t understand this anymore than you do.”  Because there is nothing in LDS theology that I know of that justifies whacking infants; they are pure and sin-free. We are punishing them with this policy.

 

In discussing gay marriage, the history of marriage in the LDS Church for heterosexual couples came up, and I think Greg has an interesting point right at the outset that you may find interesting.

Greg:  Up until 1960s within the United States you could have a civil wedding ceremony and go to the temple the next day to be sealed.

GT:  Until the ‘60s.

Greg:  Yeah, late ‘60s.

GT:  Wow.

Why did that change?

We’ll also discussed the common questions:  will the LDS Church be forced to marry gay members in the LDS Temples?  What does Greg Prince think about that?

Greg:  I’m telling you it’s an empty justification.  It’s scare talk.  It has no basis in reality…. it’s a bankrupt argument.

Greg is currently writing a book about the history of LDS policy towards gays.   He notes that there is both good and bad moves by the LDS Church toward gays.

Greg:  In [2015][2] the [Utah] Legislature with a big public push from the church (otherwise it couldn’t have happened), passed Senate Bill 296 which forbade by law discrimination against LGBT people in the areas employment and housing.  That was a big step forward because Utah still is the only state whose legislature and gubernatorial chair are occupied by Republicans that has passed that kind of legislation.

GT:  Oh really?

Greg:  Yeah, but then later that year, the Church came out with “the Policy” and so it was another low point.  We just seem to be in this cycle of a step forward and a step back, and the LGBT population in particular, since they are the ones who are most affected by these things is wondering, are we really moving forward, or are we just kind of being batted back and forth?

GT:  What do you think the answer is to that?

Greg:  I don’t know yet.

GT:  I know that November Policy was hard for a lot of people. Why do you think that the policy came out in the first place?

Greg:  Oh I know why it came out because I talked to a couple of the Brethren who very clearly said it was a response to the Supreme Court decision in June of that year.  In March of that year you had SB 296.  That was a high water mark.  That was good news.

Check out part 1 and part 2.  What are your thoughts about the POX?  Is it against LDS theology?  Are children being punished for their parents sins when they aren’t blessed, baptized, or ordained?  Do you agree with Greg’s point that the church has both good and bad moves towards gay members?

[1] Greg is on the board of directors for Methodist Church Seminary.  It is the largest Methodist seminary in the nation.