The Church has a Trolley Problem (1). For a quick refresher, the Trolley Problem is a thought experiment in ethics where you are given a runaway trolley heading to a group of five people. You can throw a switch to change the path of the trolley to another track where only one person is located. Sometimes the experiment puts somebody you know as the single person you can change direction to. Sometimes that person is your child (kill your child to save many more).

As I explored in my post on the Grandmothers Living in Sanpete, the Church has a problem on making changes that could save a few, but could potentially drive many more out of the Church. Let’s take the LGBTQ problem. The single person on the tracks is the LGBTQ member, that has really no place in the church and its theology. The five other people are the active, orthodox members of the church. The church could make way for the LGBTQ, finding a way for them to marry and have all the rights and privileges (priesthood, holding office) as the heteronormative member that enjoys full fellowship.  But that might cause some casualties on the other track, with more members leaving the church than the few saved by the LGBTQ changes.

I believe the Q15 are now weighing these exact same choices. Elder Gong has a child that is gay. One day if he ever gets the the position that he has his hand on the lever, will he pull it to save his child, even though the church might lose the grandmas in Sanpete?

Where this analogy falls apart is that the LGBTQ member of the church (single person on the track) is in true danger, both psychologically and physically (from self-harm) if the trolley is allowed to hit them.  If the church accepts LGBTQ people into full fellowship (lets the trolley hit the five people but saves the one), nobody gets injured. Sure, there will be a lot of members that are butt hurt, and lots will leave because the church is surely in apostasy, but there is no real danger to them, unless you decide they are losing their eternal salvation for leaving the church.

What other “trolley problems” has the Church faced? I think ending polygamy and giving the priesthood to all worthy males would count. What about the future? Women and the priesthood?  

(1) The idea for this post comes from a podcast called Rameumptom Ruminations by Scott C. If you enjoyed this post, please listen to Scott and he goes much more in-depth on this subject.