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Guest mormonmusic

Yet another priesthood poser

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Guest mormonmusic

This happened to me a long time ago.

You're a counselor in the Elder's Quorum, and you've been asked to visit a new move-in.

The list has the person listed as a male adult. You and your companion knock on the door of his apartment, and a woman answers. You ask if so and so on your list lives there; you would like to welcome him to the Ward. The woman invites you to come in and you sit down in the livingroom.

She says "thanks, I just moved in a few months ago and I was planning to get active again". After an initial period of confusion and questions on your part, you realize the man you came to see is actually the woman in front of you.

S/he has a few issues. One, s/he wants to get active in the Church again. S/he was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood in his/her early twenties shortly after conversion many years ago, but became less active before being eligible for the Melchizedek Priesthood.

S/he also explains that she is a hermaphrodite and has been saving for a gender-change operation, because s/he believes his/her true identity is that of a woman, not a man.

Also complicating matters is that s/he lost her job recently, and hasn't known where to turn. S/he will be evicted from the apartment in three days if s/he doesn't get her rent paid. Also, she's behind on the utility bill.

a) How would you respond to this situation as the counselor in the EQ? What further information would you want to know, if any?

b) How would you deal with this if you were the Bishop of the Ward, if the new move-in member subsequently sets up an appointment with you?

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I would deal with this situation with love and understanding.

Hermaphrodism, or being born "Gender Non-Specific" is quite common (approximately 5 in every 1,000 births), so who is to say what is the true gender of the person.

BE kind, gentle, and loving. Look for housing alternatives such as transitional living homes or the like, and if there is nothing available, pray about using fast offerings.

My $.02

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I have a friend who is a hermaphrodite. She was born into what seemed to be a male body, but later in life went in for some medical procedure and was told that they had found ovaries and a uterus. This was after he had tried to get married twice and had broken off both engagements. Now he is a she and is engaged to get married. Leading up to deciding to become a woman he did a lot of soul searching and when he made the choice he went to the church and discussed it all with them. They told him that he had to have a genetics test to see what his chromosomes were showing. If they showed an xxy then he would be able to have the sex change and stay a member of the church in good standing. As she is now about to get married and is still a member of the church in good standing I am guessing that her genetics test came back with an xxy. As far as I know she is planning on getting married in the temple.

In this case I think like Mr. T said you really have to approach it with love and understanding. They might be lying about it all. But what if they are not? The Bishop is the care taker of all those in his ward, this includes non members as well. Thus when someone comes to him seeking help he should be willing to sit them down and discuss how the church can help them.

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...The Bishop is the care taker of all those in his ward, this includes non members as well. Thus when someone comes to him seeking help he should be willing to sit them down and discuss how the church can help them.

I just thought that point needed to be stressed. The Bishop is the Bishop of an area, and not just the members in it, but every single soul. Hence why he works with the missionaries so closely.

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Guest mormonmusic

Yes, being sensitive and kind is important -- agreed.

If you were the Bishop, though, what about the welfare/unpaid rent/unpaid utility bill issue?

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As the home teacher, you ignore everything and treat the person with all the humanity you would treat any other 'normal' person. It isn't for you to judge.

As the bishop, if the person is in need of welfare assistance, he should offer it, along with all the stipulations of learning self sufficiency that anyone else gets offered.

The gender issues are dealt with by the bishop privately and discretely. There's really no priesthood conundrum here because a person's gender/genders/gender confusion doesn't matter. We are still to serve them with love and compassion.

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Guest mormonmusic

The issue of disbursing funds is always a priesthood poser in my view. In this case, I think the home teacher needs to share the need with the EQ President. In consultation with the Bishop, the EQ president may well do a needs analysis and determine if the person can rely on personal funds, savings that may well exist, or help from family. If the need is long-term, also determine if if government agencies can help. Depending on whether there is enough time to implement a full-blown analysis.

If these avenues are dead-ends, then the decision becomes whether to counsel the person to find ways of extending the eviction period until they can use their own funds. Or, the decision might be made to give assistance, a food order, or money paid to the landlord or utility company.

Regarding the gender issue -- definitely a sensitive one. The EQ President can't handle that one. As a Bishop, I think this is one of those issues that require consultaton with the Stake President if no direction is available in the general handbook.

There are a number of questions that I don't think can necessarily be answered here without turning this into uninformed discussion. But questions are raised such as: If the person can have the gender change operation, thus becoming a woman, and still be a member in good standing, what about their priesthood that has been conferred upon them? Only males can hold the priesthood, so if a male becomes female, continuing to hold the priesthood would not be an option.

Also, one has to respect this person's desire for activity and to give the person the opportunity, in ways that are consistent with the gospel.

Edited by mormonmusic

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There are a number of questions that I don't think can necessarily be answered here without turning this into uninformed discussion. But questions are raised such as: If the person can have the gender change operation, thus becoming a woman, and still be a member in good standing, what about their priesthood that has been conferred upon them? Only males can hold the priesthood, so if a male becomes female, continuing to hold the priesthood would not be an option.

If the person is truly hermaphroditic, then it would not be a gender change operation, but a gender deciding one. One cannot change that which is ambiguous.

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This happened to me a long time ago.

You're a counselor in the Elder's Quorum, and you've been asked to visit a new move-in.

The list has the person listed as a male adult. You and your companion knock on the door of his apartment, and a woman answers. You ask if so and so on your list lives there; you would like to welcome him to the Ward. The woman invites you to come in and you sit down in the livingroom.

She says "thanks, I just moved in a few months ago and I was planning to get active again". After an initial period of confusion and questions on your part, you realize the man you came to see is actually the woman in front of you.

S/he has a few issues. One, s/he wants to get active in the Church again. S/he was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood in his/her early twenties shortly after conversion many years ago, but became less active before being eligible for the Melchizedek Priesthood.

S/he also explains that she is a hermaphrodite and has been saving for a gender-change operation, because s/he believes his/her true identity is that of a woman, not a man.

Also complicating matters is that s/he lost her job recently, and hasn't known where to turn. S/he will be evicted from the apartment in three days if s/he doesn't get her rent paid. Also, she's behind on the utility bill.

a) How would you respond to this situation as the counselor in the EQ? What further information would you want to know, if any?

b) How would you deal with this if you were the Bishop of the Ward, if the new move-in member subsequently sets up an appointment with you?

Be polite and refer them to the local Bishop. He has the mantel of discernment on what to do.

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The issue of disbursing funds is always a priesthood poser in my view. In this case, I think the home teacher needs to share the need with the EQ President. In consultation with the Bishop, the EQ president may well do a needs analysis and determine if the person can rely on personal funds, savings that may well exist, or help from family. If the need is long-term, also determine if if government agencies can help. Depending on whether there is enough time to implement a full-blown analysis.

I don't believe this falls into the duties of the EQP. The bishop meets with the individual and makes those decisions, but may possibly delegate some things to the EQP. I would imagine that in a situation that could be as sticky as you describe, the bishop would want to be directly involved in the decision process in determining the appropriate welfare needs of the individual in question.

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How weird.

I guess it doesnt matter what sex a person is or whether or not they are a member. If they need help, then the Bishop will need to decide to help them.

I was in a Branch a few years ago and the town's grossest lady (no running toilets in their home, over 25 dogs, fleas all over the place, super nasty) came to church on sunday and was asking the Branch President for some money. I saw them give her some. I, of course, have no idea what it was for but honestly I believed she probably ran right over to the gas station and bough cigarettes.

Its probably not for us to judge. They will be judged for their actions and what they do with the money. The Lord doesnt NEED money so the acutal money isnt the issue. We are the ones that need money and use it as a tool. Im sure if this person whom you spoke with continues to ask for money and it apprears they are abusing the help, then the Bishop may choose to no longer help. And that will be the end of that.

Regarding this person's sex, If he/she comes back to church they will have to decide if they are going to attend priesthood or relief society. What a strange strange predicament.

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