For someone already in the midst of a faith crisis, one of the hardest parts in all of this has been the Church’s response to all this.
- The fact that it quietly inserted such a drastic policy change into the handbook without any discussion…
- The fact that they claim their letter was just a clarification and contained nothing new (“there has been no doctrinal change with regard to LGBT issues”). Rather, we’d all just misunderstood the clear wording of the original, or taken it without context (i.e. “has ever lived”).
- The fact that the earlier video response from Elder Christofferson did nothing to “clarify” the policy, but rather just defended it. If it was only intended to apply to a tiny subset of those affected by the original wording, why didn’t he “clarify” then?
- Finally, the fact that this has been represented as simply an effort to protect the children in these households. This is the most outrageous of all. (see #1 below)
Personally, I feel like the entire policy contains nothing but harmful and hurtful language, and sadly I feel like that was intentional. In the last week, I have come to an understanding that does make sense as to why the church would move to change the definition of apostasy to include entering a SSM. The parallel to polygamy initially felt to forced, but now I can see that there is one strong link: Both of these to forms of marriage represent a rather explicit repudiation of the authority of the Brethren over issues of marriage. That may be due to seeing them as fallen prophets or as stodgy, out-of-touch old men, but the result is the same. Both acts do represent a deliberate defiance against the leaders in a way that most other sins (fornication, murder, abuse) don’t. These other sins of passion are seen as “serious transgressions” and may warrant discipline, but these two forms of marriage are somewhat unique. (I’d be curious if anyone ever made the same arguments about inter-racial marriage in the past, when such marriages also flew in the face of counsel from the brethren – see #3,4) (more…)