“Protect the Good Name of the Church.” -Satan

PhariseesI’m starting to think, that as a church, we don’t believe in following the core teachings of Christ nor his example.  Follow the prophet…sure.  But, follow Jesus?

Minister to the “Least

I love the Savior’s parable about the preeminent importance of reaching out to “the least of these.”  Over the past 3 years, I have become associated with more and more members who are on the margins.  Rather than minister, we reject them.  We ignore them.  We silence them.  We force them to pursue their journey in pain and loneliness.  We bury our heads in the sand.  According to this beautiful parable, Christ would say to us,  “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.  Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Protect the Good Name of the Church

As a church leader, I heard this phrase many times.  I heard it again yesterday.

No way is this the embodiment of Christ’s example.  The babe was born in a lowly manger.  On a starry night.  Filled with peace and light.  But…he didn’t remain a helpless babe.  He grew into the wise, powerful and OUTSPOKEN adult, whose life and teachings we worship.  At least, we say we worship.

Where did He ever command, suggest or intimate that protecting the good name of the church was even a thing?  Never.  Instead, he called out the very top leaders of His church in unequivocal and embarrassing terms.  Here is a sampling of Christ’s words spoken directly to the church leaders of his time:   Fools.  Hypocrites.  Blind guides.  Whited sepulchers.  Murderers.  Generation of vipers.  In one chapter alone, he called the leaders hypocrites seven times.  Openly expressing disdain for these men, their traditions and their policies was a glaring hallmark of His ministry.

Suppose Jesus lived among us today.  If he were to openly criticize the church leaders in the same manner, He’d be excommunicated from His own restored church.  Much like He was 2,000 years ago.  Excommunicated by crucifixion, at the instigation of the highest leaders of the very church that He had founded through Moses.

Satan?

Christ did not author the sentiment, “Protect the Good Name of the Church.”  He exemplified the exact opposite.  So, who is the author?  Where is it found in scripture?  Where is it found in doctrine?  If our doctrine does endorse it, then our doctrine condemns the very Babe from Bethlehem whom we claim to follow.  I’m pretty sure Satan condemns the Babe from Bethlehem, too.

I have been told not speak out about the wrongs in our church.  I have been told to shut up and sustain the leaders.  I have been told not to criticize church policies.  Finally, many have said that if I continue on my current path, I’ll be excommunicated.

The next time any of these sentiments are expressed, this will be my response:

“I love you, my friend.  Apparently you and I worship a different Jesus Christ.” 

Do I Really EXPECT the Mormon Church to Change?

followjesus

Short Answer:  Absolutely YES!!!

If you have followed my blog at all, you know that I have started to live the Law of Common Consent.  The church as a whole has not.  At least not as it is mandated by Jesus is the D&C, or declared as doctrine on the LDS website, or witnessed by a prophet of God before the U.S. Congress.

Over the past 6 months, I have now heard similar discouraging statements from by both those who are true-blue-believing Mormons and by members who are disillusioned.  They go something like this:

    • The Church will never implement Common Consent (CC).
    • The Church is too big to use CC.
    • The leaders will not give up their power by implementing CC.
    • We are a worldwide church and CC is not feasible.
    • CC is antiquated.

Until recently, this is how my response normally went:

 “I don’t know if the church will ever embrace common consent.  If they ever do, it may not be in my lifetime.  What I do know is that by voting in disapproval, something beautiful has already happened.  MARGINALIZED MEMBERS have taken notice.  There are people in our pews struggling in silence.  Just the act of witnessing an opposing vote has brought them hope & encouragement.  They recognize that there are members who love and care about them. There are people willing to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.  Those who struggle in silence fit in several marginalized categories.  Certainly our LGBT children are at risk.  If one gay person postpones suicide, my vote will have accomplished more than I could have ever hoped for.”

Epiphany

This weekend, an epiphany struck me with encouraging enlightenment.  A local leader posed this question, “Sam, do you really expect the Mormon Church to change regarding Common Consent?   I proceeded to give my standard response.

But, as I drove home, his phrasing rattled around my brain, “Do You really expect?”  Expect???  Well….the expressions of my expectations have been pretty low.  Was I being cynical?  Was my approach hypocritical?  Cynic?  Hypocrite?  I don’t like or want either title.

Cynical?

Webster:  “Believing that people are generally selfish and dishonest.”

I have placed my faith in the teachings and example of Jesus.  Am I being cynical by assuming his commandments would not be followed in His own Church?  Am I being cynical by not giving the apostles the benefit of the doubt; that they would be honest in following Christ’s system of governance; that they would be unselfish in acquiescing to accountability?  My reasoned conclusion was ‘Yes,’ it IS cynical to put my faith in Christ, and then not trust His leaders to start leading with His Law of Common Consent.

Hypocritical?

Webster: “A person who claims to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs.”

Well, I’m certainly not acting hypocritically.  At least not by this definition.  I believe in Common Consent and behave in agreement with those beliefs.  But…I might be hypocritical to press forward, feasting on the word of Christ, yet having little confidence that the feast will be fulfilled.

A New Answer, A New Attitude

Do I really expect the church to change and live by Common Consent?

“ABSOLUTELY!!!  This is Christ’s church.  Of course, I expect HIS church to obey HIS law. Anything else would be cynical & hypocritical on my part.

This is Christ’s church.  Of course, I expect His laws to respected.

This is Christ’s church.  Of course, I expect its leaders to acquiesce to God’s law.  They are good men.  I trust that they WILL follow Jesus.”

No longer am I alone in my expectations.  There are now 311 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have decided to openly and actively live the divine law of church governance.  To all who have put their honor and good names on the line…THANK YOU!  What you are doing is not in vain.  You have already made a difference in the lives of many.  I fully EXPECT that your courage will bring the changes to the church which the Savior desires.

If you are a member. If you disapprove of policies, major decisions and other important matters that have never been ratified by the general membership, consider embracing the Law of Common Consent. Here’s a place to start:  The Common Consent Register.

Christ is the Way.  Consent…IS…His way.

We….CAN….Change….the Church. 

 

Other Resources:

  • Information on LDS.ORG regarding Common Consent, click HERE.  Please take note of this paragraph:  “Not only are Church officers sustained by common consent, but this same principle operates for policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints.”
  • Scriptural information about Common Consent, click HERE.
  • Disturbing membership Trends, click HERE.
  • Do We Love Jesus Enough?, click HERE.
  • The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.
  • My personal sadness over my friends and family leaving, click HERE
  • Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove click, HERE.

Marginalized Mormons in “Extreme Slavery”

slavery

At the age of 63, I have finally selected a path that is built on a rock solid foundation.  I’ve decided to place my faith in Jesus Christ, specifically in His teachings and example.  Furthermore, I have also chosen to follow Christ as a member of the Mormon Church.

The Least

One of His most beautiful instructions is that we are to be vitally concerned with “the least of these.”  The marginalized.  The vulnerable.  The undefended, the unguarded, and the unprotected.  Not just concerned.  Rather, Jesus made it clear that entry into heaven will ONLY be granted to those who actively take care of “the least.”

Frequently, we pass them by.  Often, we don’t even see them. Never-the-less, “the least of these” are all around us in society.  For the purpose of this article, they also surround us in our very own LDS Church.

 Who Are the Marginalized Mormons?

To follow Christ’s mandate, it’s certainly appropriate that we start with our own ‘fellow citizens in the household of God.’  We, as Saints, should minister to marginalized members.  Various categories of ‘the least’ are listed below.  Of course, this is not a comprehensive compilation.  It includes those who many of us are concerned about at present.

  1. Those in Extreme Slavery. Details below.
  1. Our LGBT brothers and sisters.
  1. Children of LGBT married couples.
  1. Families headed by single parents, especially by single mothers.
  1. Members with questions, doubts and transitioned faith.

Are LDS Men Marginalized?

Let me ask 2 questions.

Would you consider those in SLAVERY to be marginalized?

Would you consider those in EXTREME SLAVERY to be marginalized?

Hopefully, most would answer YES to both queries.

SLAVERY?  I don’t know anyone in this condition.  But, I would put them squarely in the category of “the least of these.”

SLAVERY in the EXTREME?  What is that?  Who are they?  It turns out that I know many, many men in this unfortunate state.  Today, I view them as marginalized in the EXTREME.

So, who among us are bound by the fetters of EXTREME SLAVERY?

Consider this citation from an early and official church publication—The Millennial Star.  Many ascribe this quote directly to Joseph Smith.

“We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them — even if they knew it was wrong.  But such obedience as this is worse than folly to us.  It is slavery in the extreme.  The man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings until he turns from his folly.  A man of God would despise this idea.”

Do you know anyone in Extreme Slavery?  Members who would do anything their leaders tell them to do—even if they knew it was wrong?

Early church doctrine designated such obedience as degrading.  IT IS!!!

“A man of God would despise this idea.”  I don’t qualify as a ‘man of God.’  But, I do despise the idea of doing anything I am told, even if it’s wrong.  Thus, I claim my rank among intelligent beings.

Based on this early church definition of “slavery in the extreme” there are myriad members who are marginalized by being in this ‘degraded’ condition.

Good Samaritan

Ministering to the Marginalized

The list of “the least of these” within the church continues to grow.  Many of us have been actively speaking and looking out for those in categories 2-5.  Now, I add category #1—those in EXTREME slavery.  Likely the biggest marginalized group that surrounds us at church.  One more parcel of people to stand up for with our votes of disapproval.

If I Don’t Dissent…I Consent

image

In 1967, I graduated from Central Davis Jr High School.  Life’s next great adventure began 3 months later.  My memorable high school years were about to begin as a proud Layton Lancer.  Like most kids, I was a bit intimidated.  Nervous and super excited.  Of course, I would be reunited with my school friends again.  However, the real draw of those high school years were the girls. I was shy and wouldn’t start dating for good while.  But, that’s a happy story for another time and place.

Gym Class

I have one BIG regret that has dogged me all these years. Perhaps, with this post I will finally shake some of my shame.

The unfortunate event, that still brings tears to my eyes, occurred during my 9th grade gym class…in the locker room.  My locker was located in the same row as Rulon’s. There are very few individuals in this world who ALWAYS have a smile lighting up their face.  I don’t recall ever seeing Rulon without his amazing smile brightly beaming.

Rulon was “retarded.”

Today, that’s not a proper way to refer to the mentally disadvantaged.  That’s just the word we used back then.  All of his classes were special education, except for gym. Kids will be kids, boys will be boys and that means constant teasing. Rulon was a constant and convenient target.  A target of pure innocence.  Perhaps he didn’t understand.  I’m afraid he did.  But, somehow his smile remained immutable.

Rulon, I’m So Sorry

Then, one day……..I struggle putting this in writing.  My eyes fill with tears.  I choke back my sobs.

One day……..Oh why did that day have to happen?

One day……..it happened, just a few lockers away.  Two of my friends were teasing, then taunting, then harassing the innocently smiling boy.  They threw him up against the locker wall. I can still hear the dull thudding clank of his body against the metal. My friends roughed him up pretty well.  The evergreen smile disappeared.  Confused and distraught, he couldn’t understand what he had done to deserve such a beating.  A beating……..by friends……..among friends……..witnessed by friends.  At least, he had considered us his friends.

As for me, and several others.  No…I’ll just focus on me.  I sat there and watched. Uncomfortable and frozen.  Repulsed, and passive.  Damnit.

Rulon’s whipping concluded.  He slumped.  Gazed at the floor.  Forlorn and smileless. I sat there.  Then I turned away.  Then I left.

I raised no objection.  I offered no dissent.  I stayed silent and watched.  An innocent happy soul was hurt and harmed.  After the damage was done, couldn’t I have apologized?  Couldn’t I have reached out with words of comfort and love?  I had four years to do it.  I didn’t.

My high school career came and went.  Once in a while, I would see Rulon in the halls. I don’t recall any conversations after that fateful day.  This pure and radiant boy was never the same.  That gym class had changed him.  Skittish.  Jumpy.  Confidence and trust in friends tarnished and tattered.

Many times, I’ve thought of my locker room failure.  I’d like to personally tell him I’m sorry.  But that chance is long gone.  The boy with the ceaseless shining smile is no more.  He died young….decades ago.

Today, I realize that I was complicit with my silence. By not standing for my friend, I gave my consent. By not speaking for my friend, I offered my consent. By just staring at my friend, I granted my consent.

The meek and lowly Rulon was among the “least of these,” of whom Jesus taught us to be mindful.  Failing one of the least, has taught me a mighty lesson. If I don’t dissent…I’m giving my consent.

Today, Rulon, I Stand For You

I’m no longer in high school.  I’m a man, fully grown.  No more consent with silence. Which only gives harm license.  Not in anger or haste.  This time I’ll think & take action.  Not live in disgrace.

I DISSENT, my friend Rulon, I DISSENT.

Where and how am I dissenting?  The answer’s HERE.  267 of us standing together.

If you are a member of the LDS church.  If you oppose policies that have never been approved by the membership.  Consider standing up for those who can’t fight for themselves.

Dear Bishop and Stake President…


imageFor those Voting Opposed In LDS General, Stake & Ward Conferences

Policies, major decisions, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints, are MANDATED to be presented for a vote at conferences.  Today, this law is not being followed.  As a result, I have decided to vote in disapproval (opposed) to the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.  They are solely responsible, both for the church policies and for the mismanagement of not putting crucial matters up for a vote.

If you are disposed to vote disapproval, I recommend an email communication be sent to your local leaders informing them of your vote.  This should be sent around the time of the conference in question.  Personally, I think it’s best to vote with our HAND during the conference and then to send the email.  However, sending the letter without attending the session, is a perfectly fine and honorable choice.

I also recommend that you sign the Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove.

Email Examples

Following are examples of e-mail communications that can be sent to your local leaders.  Feel free to use for ideas, templates or outright copying.

Simple

Dear Bishop_____ & President_______,

At General Conference today, I voted opposed when the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles were presented.  I’m not necessarily opposed to these men serving in their respective callings.  However, they have introduced polices of which I  firmly disapprove.

I would be happy to discuss details of my concerns with you.

Please register my disapproving vote through whatever channel the church uses with respect to the law of common consent.

The church does much good.  I believe it can be much better.  Jesus has commanded the church leaders to ask for my opinion 4 times a year.  I have prayed, searched and pondered . . .  a lot!!  For many reasons, I believe and feel that it’s important to my Savior that I give a true and honest opinion when asked.

Thank you for your unselfish service to the Lord and the members in our area.  I know that you spend countless hours in your calling.

All My Best to You and Your Family,

Detailed

Dear Bishop_____ & President_______,

At General Conference today, I voted opposed when the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles were presented.  I’m not necessarily opposed to these men serving in their respective callings.  However, they have introduced polices of which firmly I disapprove.

In the recent past, a new policy was announced regarding children of married same-sex couples.  I disapprove of excluding these children from the blessings of the gospel.  Inside my heart, here’s how I’m feeling.  The policy damages families, traditional and non.  Families have been driven out of the church, both traditional and non.  Our gay children have been hurt.   There are now reports that the message this policy sends is so hurtful that suicides have resulted.  Jesus said that we will be judged on how we treat “the least of these.”  Punishing “the least of these” is wrong.  We are denying baby blessings, baptism, the Holy Ghost, the priesthood, and the temple to the “the least of these.”  That doesn’t square with the teachings and example of the Savior.  I don’t believe this is what Jesus would want done in His church.

I would be happy to discuss details of my concerns with you further, if you’d like.

Please register my disapproving vote through whatever channel the church uses with respect to the law of common consent.

Our church does much good.  I believe it can be much better.  Jesus has commanded the church leaders to ask for my opinion 4 times a year.  I have prayed, searched and pondered . . .  a lot!!  For many reasons, I believe and feel that it’s important to my Savior that I give a true and honest opinion when asked.

Thank you for your unselfish service to the Lord and the members in our area.  I know that you spend countless hours in your calling.

All My Best to You and Your Family,

Here’s The Letter I Sent

I didn’t go into detail of the policies I disapprove of, as we have already discussed them at length:

Hi _____ & ______,

Just wanted to let you know that I voted in disapproval during conference this weekend.

I am not actually opposed to the first presidency or the apostles. Since they are not putting up major policies for common consent, my opposition to those polices is expressed when sustaining those who control the process.

My two issues are common consent and the exclusion policy for children of gay couples.

I loved many of the messages at this conference. It’s the best that I can recall. President Monson may be frail, but what a powerful communication he delivered!

I haven’t made a tally, but it seemed like concern over people leaving the church was a common thread. I would prefer that this wasn’t happening. But, it gave me super validation for the path that I’m on.

The work I’m doing can be and frequently is misunderstood. Sharp criticism from both active members and those who have left the church. My entire objective is to help both those in and out.

To those in and are questioning or about to leave?  We explore options of finding ways to stay. The problem here is that most people that I talk to have already made the decision to leave. Somehow, we need to find a forum where members can discuss before they’ve already reached their conclusions.

To those who have left?  Well, here’s the problem.  We are creating an army or enemies. Enemies who know and exploit our many, and uneccessary, weaknesses. Those who have left should be our friends, not our enemies. They seek validation, connection, and healing. These are good people.

Today, there are 12.5 million inactive and former members. Our 5 million active members are vastly outnumbered. 70% of Mormons are either resigned or inactive. And…we keep creating more disaffected, disappointed and disillusioned people for the other side. Not to mention the anger that often accompanies faith transitions.

Yet, I have now witnessed these good, formerly active members respond to love, friendship and understanding. A few weeks ago, a Relief Society president and High Priest group secretary came to the Talkeria. They were looking for suggestions on how they could reach out to those who are questioning or have left. Wow! Also in attendance were 4 resigned or about to resign members. One of the “about to resigns” had been his ward’s HP group leader as recently as last March. Hidden history, doctrine, and current policies pushed him, his wife and his 4 children out. What an amazing discussion we had!!! Our “enemies” helping local leaders of the church in which they no longer believe.

Things have got to change. Our leaders in SLC know it. They are working on it. They’re in a really tough spot. Things actually boil down to what is being done in the trenches. I’m digging trenches as fast as I can.

Thanks for all that both of you are doing in service of the Savior and especially for my friends.

All My Best, Sam

Other Resources

The Only True Hope for the Only True Church

Jesus Pleads His Case for Common Consent

Do We Love Jesus Enough to…

A Resister for Disapproval (Opposition)

LDS Website on Common Consent

Final Note

I know this takes great courage.  Every step of the way can be scary.  Raising your hand alone, all by yourself?  I know it’s scary.  I’ve now done it at each conference level this year.  Big fat butterflies every time.

Sending an email to the stake president…yeah that can be real scary.  But, how scared do you think the gay children are who are still hiding in the pews?

Putting your name on a public register of disapproval…scary?   You bet.  It scared me, too, when I hit the submit button two days ago.

There are many in our midst who are at risk and cannot speak up.  We are standing up, voting out, putting our name on the line for those who cannot fight for themselves.

“May we maintain the courage to defy the consensus.  May we ever chose the harder right.”  And that’s just what we are doing here.  Standing up for the marginalized, for the “least of these,” IS a noble and just cause.

Godspeed. Godspeed.  Godspeed.

 

 

A Transgender Human Being Makes Her Appearance

Good Samaritan2

Sometimes I struggle with the current path I’ve chosen.  I’ve taken shots from both inside and outside of the church.  Sometimes I feel like quitting.  Giving up my hopeless crappy quest.

Then a strike of lightning!  Thundering directly into my heart.  Raining tears from my eyes.

I have many gay friends and family.  But, that I know of, I have never met a transgender person.  After reading the Church’s apology “You’re not Broken–I’m Sorry,” she sought me out and sent this touching message.

“Thank you so much for the heartfelt apology. I’m very moved. You’ve hit on a heavy part of my heart. I was so confused for so long. I believed in the gospel so deeply, and it caused my self hate and shame to go even deeper. I pushed so hard against the bloom within me. I’m so thankful there are members like you, sharing and standing up for right. I hope your words will mend hearts and save lives.
Thank you.”

A transgender woman.  Lifting my heart.  Encouraging my path.  Giving me hope.

All I feel right now is this:  I love Jesus Christ. I love His teachings. I love His example.

Did Jesus really say that I can only go to HIS heaven if I love the least-of-these?  I want to go to HIS heaven.

Nude Sailing

imageChildhood Sailing

As a boy, my dad taught me to sail.  I loved it.  We sailed often.  When I married and started raising a family, our first recreational purchase was a 16′ catamaran.  My children will recall many, many exciting memories of sailing through the surf in the Gulf of Mexico.  With crashing waves and strong wind, catamaran sailing is more thrilling & exhilarating than the most extreme roller coaster.  I still have a 19′ Nacra sitting in the garage.

At the not so advanced age of 63, my days at sea are no longer frequent.  But…..with whispers of nude sailing, my windy, watery sport may be winging its way to new life.

Hearing Restored With Nudity

A few days ago, I was outfitted with hearing aids for the first time.  My doctor is an attractive woman, somewhere in her thirties. She applied the miniature devices to my ears.  A round disc shaped object was hung from my neck.  I was seated in front of another and larger disc.  Wires were strung from both these devices, connecting them to a computer.  Testing, programming and fine tuning began.  The doctor: “Sally sells sea shells on the sea shore. How did that sound?” And so it went.

Between adjustments and repeated tests, we small talked.  Until….she said something about sailing.  Rarely, do you run into a fellow sailor.  Once she knew of our mutual hobby, the fitting stopped and she began regaling me of her maritime adventures. They had begun at age 9 on the Chesapeake Bay.  She recounted her sailing history; the lessons, the boats, the storms, the fun, the excitement.  Right up to this past weekend.

Then this: “Last week I was in a NUDE sailing competition with my daughter.” I had been listening with great interest.  Now my attention was riveted.  NUDE SAILING?  What the heck!  She said it so casually that it wasn’t appropriate to drop my jaw.  But, mentally, my jaw dropped completely open.  NUDE SAILING?  A BARE NAKED COMPETITION?

Suddenly, visions were dancing in my head. Not of sugar plums, something else instead.  Naked on a small sailboat?  With others all about?  How do you do that?  What does it look like?  Pulling the rudder, trimming the sails, holding the sheets.  Bending and twisting in the waves and the wind.  Sunscreen?  Tan lines?  Coed?  What??  NUDE SAILING???  And, a competition, to boot?

But, wait, maybe the new devices weren’t working well.  Maybe I just misheard.  Could it have been crude, or prude, or lewd?  Wait a minute.  Now, I’m just thinking of things that might be connected with NUDE.

Not missing a beat, she kept talking.  Then, my thoughts went back 30 years.  My dad, my 3 brothers and I rented a large sailboat in the Caribbean.  For 7 days we sailed from one island to the next.  The little French isle of St. Bart’s held an eye-popping surprise.  We anchored in a small uninhabited cove.  Beautiful water, beach, vegetation.  Another boat pulled into the same protected harbor.  Maybe 50 yards away.

Before long, everybody on our boat had detected something intriguing about their boat. We were clad in swimsuits. They were clad in none. Necked they were.  I didn’t want to stare, with my dad and brothers there.  But….I wanted to stare….just like my dad and brothers, who were there.  So, we all stole furtive glances until sunset.

Finally, my curiosity couldn’t be contained. Timidly, I queried, “The hearing aids might need more adjustment.  I’m sure this can’t be right, but did you say NUDE sailing?”

Her response was a mischievous giggle.  Uh…oh….what now?  I’m just getting hearing aids, right?  I hope?

Chuckling, she replied, “I did say nude sailing. But, that’s N…O…O…D.  It stands for National Offshore One-Design.” We got a good laugh out of the misunderstanding. Now, we both knew that my hearing was crystal clear.

New, but Not NUDE, Couple in the Hood

A few years ago, my wife and I sponsored a get-together for National Night Out.  We distributed flyers, set out chairs & tables, ice cream & treats. Two men walked up our driveway and politely introduced themselves.  They had recently moved into the neighborhood and hadn’t met many neighbors, yet.  They were a delightful COUPLE. That’s right. They were a gay couple. The first one that I’d ever met. And….they had 2 adopted children. Within a few short months they had moved away.

This encounter got me thinking about the Mormon church’s stance on gay people. Would accommodations ever be made to allow room for them in our religion?  My wife and I discussed it.  I don’t know why I spent time considering the issue.  I just did.  Finally, I came to the conclusion that somehow changes would have to be made.  Somehow gay couples would have to be included.  Because….there are children involved!  Jesus made a point to point out that he loves all children. Without the parents, these children would likely remain unreachable.  Children are treasured much more by the Savior than any policy.

Little did I know that the church would soon move in the polar opposite direction.

The New, and NUDE, November Policy

November 2015 held a shocking surprise. A church wide policy was announced.  Gay couples, who have the audacity to engage in legal and lawful marriage, would be declared apostate.  Children of gay parents were to be stripped of their right to baby blessings, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and temple attendance.

A friend of mine is married to the love of her life.  Two women with five children between them.  Their darling family of 7 were active believing members.  In faith, this couple had managed to cope with the church’s stance on being gay.  How much faith does THAT require?  I can only imagine the difficulty.  Never-the-less, their righteous desire was to see their children raised in the church.

November changed all that.  The edict from Salt Lake City crushed their faith. This precious family of 7 no longer attends.  A few days ago, the bishop contacted my friend to schedule their disciplinary council.  Insult added to injury.

This new policy has been dressed up as a pronouncement of love & protection for the little ones with gay parents.  But, when all the rhetoric is stripped away, it’s a just a NAKED program of rejection, exclusion and stigma.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus gently counseled that the pathway to heaven was traveled by reaching out to the “least of these.”  Two thousand years later, we have resorted to casting them out.