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Church policy change on same sex marriage

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10 minutes ago, Vort said:

Somehow, it doesn't seem the same as any other sexual sin.

Agreed, although I think it's a matter of degree rather than the sin being exactly the same, just as pornography abuse is treated differently from a husband sleeping with someone other than his wife.

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37 minutes ago, MarginOfError said:

The Church already has established policies for dealing with baptism of children in split-custody situtations. The LGBTQ component adds no more complexity to this.

Do you have a handbook reference for that? I have a friend with little children who is in this situation. I assumed she would still be able to have her kids baptized because they are active in the church and live with her,  but I haven't asked her. ( We live on opposite sides of the country and I haven't seen any social media announcements of her kids being baptized. )

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39 minutes ago, JohnsonJones said:

It made it a very black and white policy.

There still is not enough guidance on this new one to determine what is going to be done.

I can see MULTIPLE problems that could arise already just from what they've written.  A Bishop could have a no win situation where if they refuse to have the child baptized now, they can be sued and held personally liable by parents who point to this policy and say the Bishop was acting without the support of church policy.  On the otherhand, if the Bishop does have the child baptized, an individual could sue both the Church AND the Bishop (for personal injury or other) for baptizing a child they did not want baptized, even if one parent wanted that child baptized and the child also wanted to be baptized.

It's going to put some Bishops in a BAD situation.

HOWEVER...and this is where it gets VERY weird...this is the first step that the LGBTQ have been pushing for and predicting is the first step to SSM being sealed in the temple in a few decades.  Whether it is or isn't...I do not know. 

On the otherhand, I DO agree that we should love all children and those children that are willing to live the commandments of the Lord should be allowed to be baptized.  Men are not punished for Adam's transgression, and children should not be forced to remain outside of the church because they had parents that did not conform to the commandments.

I suspect part of the reason for the change was the amount of requests of this type that were coming up to the First Presidency.  In that, the Presidency prayed about it and a way to deal with how many requests were coming up to them, and this was the answer they received.  That does not mean it is revelation on the scale of Blacks receiving the priesthood, but it could be that it is revelation on how to handle this small matter of policy.

This could easily be the case in any divorce situation, whether one parent is homosexual or not. If this happens, the parents have to just  work out their differences. How could any bishops be held accountable? 

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1 minute ago, carlimac said:

Do you have a handbook reference for that? I have a friend with little children who is in this situation. I assumed she would still be able to have her kids baptized because they are active in the church and live with her,  but I haven't asked her. ( We live on opposite sides of the country and I haven't seen any social media announcements of her kids being baptized. )

Handbook 1, section 16.3.6 and 16.3.7

If she has joint custody, it's a tough situation because you need to have consent from both parents.

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2 minutes ago, carlimac said:

Define "apostacy". 

In larger Christianity, "apostasy" refers to the state of disbelieving, renouncing, and rejecting religious tenets. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses the term in this same sense, and also to indicate what other religions would call "heresy", which is beliefs and teachings that are contrary to the standard ("orthodox" is the word usually used) teachings.

So if a person publicly renounces the Church and demands that his name be removed from the rolls, that is apostasy. If a person instead claims his "Mormon" heritage and says he values his Church membership and wishes to remain a member of the Church in good standing, but nevertheless he publicly preaches against the divinity of Christ or the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon or the existence of life after death or the sinfulness of homosexual relations or any other thing that defies the teachings of the Latter-day Saints, then in LDS-speak, he is also in apostasy.

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Just for context, here’s a link to the original November 2015 letter:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/288685756/Changes-to-LDS-Handbook-1-Document-2-Revised-11-3-15-28003-29

Apostasy is a mandatory council.  Sexual sin is a “serious sin” meriting a discretionary council.  But per my bootleg copy of CHI-1 (which, per forum rules, I won’t be citing here), a “pattern of serious sin” is also a mandatory council.  So procedurally there doesn’t seem to be much change; except that as I mention above, a gay-married person in a council might try to argue against excommunication by alleging that his or her marriage was sexless.  And then everyone would laugh and laugh, and they’d all go out together to get some Postum from the nearest Starbucks, or something.

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2 minutes ago, Vort said:

In larger Christianity, "apostasy" refers to the state of disbelieving, renouncing, and rejecting religious tenets. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses the term in this same sense, and also to indicate what other religions would call "heresy", which is beliefs and teachings that are contrary to the standard ("orthodox" is the word usually used) teachings.

So if a person publicly renounces the Church and demands that his name be removed from the rolls, that is apostasy. If a person instead claims his "Mormon" heritage and says he values his Church membership and wishes to remain a member of the Church in good standing, but nevertheless he publicly preaches against the divinity of Christ or the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon or the existence of life after death or the sinfulness of homosexual relations or any other thing that defies the teachings of the Latter-day Saints, then in LDS-speak, he is also in apostasy.

Which, accordingly, ever having defined living in a gay marriage as "apostasy" didn't make sense from a certain point of view.

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5 minutes ago, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

And Goldilocks Latter-day Saints will think it is just right.

Just for the record, I'm not saying I have a problem with the policy changes. I just don't like what I'm seeing. I'm afraid that this will increase divisions in the church. 

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My facebook arguing buddies are weighing in.  

Anarchist atheist buddy likes it, says it "should lead to more understanding, compassion, and love".  (He also believes it's just old rich white guys bowing to undeniable cultural shifts in what's moral, but whatever.  We're now fighting about the history of LDS and slavery.)

My ex-LDS childhood friend in a marriage to a transgender individual, asked a question and is silent right now.

 

 

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57 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Just for the record, I'm not saying I have a problem with the policy changes. I just don't like what I'm seeing. I'm afraid that this will increase divisions in the church. 

we have been told that there will be a sifting in the church.

Heber C. Kimball warned:

Quote

Yes, we think we are secure here in the chambers of these everlasting hills, where we can close the doors of the canyons against mobs and persecutors, the wicked and the vile, who have always beset us with violence and robbery, but I want to say to you, my brethren, that the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy against the people of God.

Then is the time to look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great shifting time, and many will fall. For I say unto you there is a test, a Test, a TEST coming.

Perhaps the test is not what we expected. We will now see what true Latter-day Saints will do regarding this topic.

Edited by Emmanuel Goldstein

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This is the section which is the most confusing of all of it.  It probably just came out the wrong way...I think.

Quote

Previously, our Handbook characterized same-gender marriage by a member as apostasy. While we still consider such a marriage to be a serious transgression, it will not be treated as apostasy for purposes of Church discipline. Instead, the immoral conduct in heterosexual or homosexual relationships will be treated in the same way.

So, if they are married, is SSM and Heterosexual marriage treated the same way?

The wording is vague on that account.

I expect that what they mean is that it is no longer considered an automatic apostasy situation.  it is still a serious transgression. 

SO, does that mean if someone is SSM but practices no intimate relations...they are good?  Are they bad?  In marriage relationships, if they are seen the same way, they would not be sinful unless enacting intimate relations with one of the same gender I would think, at least in this context.

The Handbooks are being updated I think, and I think there will be further updates within the next week.  Not just in relation to this, but other items as well.  I saw a draft of something (which, as per the forum, I will not state here) that indicates that there are some drafted changes in the waiting room ready to go...but we'll see.

My feeling on the matter is that SSM is considered a serious transgression, and is NOT excluded.  However, instead of being considered automatically in apostasy, the individual will be seen simply as having some serious sins they need to take care of, similarly to if someone who may be committing other sins that violated the law of chastity.  Thus, just like we would handle someone committing the sin of adultery, or fornication, or myriads of other such sins, they will be dealt with in that manner.  It means that such situations could merit a church court or it could merit disfellowship or, depending on the situation, nothing at all (though, unlikely, not absolutely out of the question).

I could be mistaken and absolutely wrong though (the wording IS exceptionally vague).  I have been wrong before, but that's what I think was intended to be stated (though maybe my own statement is too vague and people will misunderstand what I said as well.  I was more brief in my explanation this time which may make my idea less clear).

Edited by JohnsonJones

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2 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

My facebook arguing buddies are weighing in.  

Anarchist atheist buddy likes it, says it "should lead to more understanding, compassion, and love".  (He also believes it's just old rich white guys bowing to undeniable cultural shifts in what's moral, but whatever.  We're now fighting about the history of LDS and slavery.)

For some reason some of history is not being taught and understood.  I am a direct descendant of a white slave.  Blacks were not the only slaves in the Americas.  Economically slavery was failing in the Americas until the era of the cotton industry boom in the Americas.  One thing we have learned from history and that is that the order and power of law to guarantee liberty and freedom comes from the "Western" culture that is dominated by old rich white guys that sacrificed their wealth for the cause.  But the cause of freedom and liberty transcends race and cannot persist in a racist society - regardless of what color is in charge. 

 

The Traveler

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32 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

(He also believes it's just old rich white guys bowing to undeniable cultural shifts in what's moral, but whatever.  We're now fighting about the history of LDS and slavery.)

I've asked you several times to not bring our Facebook discussions into the forum. 

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I confess that I don't see how living in a homosexual "marriage" does not constitute apostasy.

You could argue that, by such a definition, living in any sexual relationship outside of marriage constitutes "apostasy" for Latter-day Saints. I would agree with you. I have a sister-in-law who, as a young (20s) woman, was excommunicated for exactly this, living with her boyfriend (later husband). But I gather that's not how things are usually done these days. The mere fact of living in a sinful (heterosexual) relationship is apparently no longer taken as a de facto proclamation of apostasy. Is the Church policy now that living in an extended homosexual cohabitation relationship, including a legal "marriage", is no longer a de facto proclamation of apostasy, but merely people living sinfully in a fallen world?

As long as I'm confessing, I will also confess that bothers me. If such is the case with homosexual relationships, why not with polyamorous relationships? Where do we say, "Enough is enough"? At what point is a lifestyle choice considered an unambiguous refutation of LDS teachings? If not homosexuality, then what, exactly? Can a man leave his wife and take up with his (female) coworker without being considered effectively in apostasy?

It's not that I don't understand the other side. I do. Any sinful habit we have is effectively a potential apostasy. And if we justify ourselves in our sins in the least degree, then to that degree we are in apostasy. So the policy will just be a line, perhaps arbitrary but (we assume) drawn with guidance of the Spirit of the Lord, that says, "This much is open rebellion". I'm just rather shocked that open homosexual relationships are apparently now not considered to be quite at that line. I sustain the First Presidency, and if they say homosexual relationships are no longer to be considered prima facie evidence of apostasy, I accept that. But I do not understand it, and I am not comfortable with it.

Edited by Vort

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Just now, Vort said:

I confess that I don't see how living in a homosexual "marriage" does not constitute apostasy.

My early guess is that the term 'apostasy' implies claims that doctrine is wrong, or that some other doctrine beside what is taught in the Gospel is correct.  If a same-sex couple is willing to commit to allowing the child to be taught the Gospel as a condition of baptism, then that isn't actively working against Church doctrine per se.  In a sense, by allowing the child to be taught the true Gospel, they're sustaining it even if they aren't living it themselves. 

I imagine this will be exceedingly rare, but it allows a sense of flexibility rather than there being an inflexible, black and white policy.

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8 minutes ago, Vort said:

I confess that I don't see how living in a homosexual "marriage" does not constitute apostasy.

You could argue that, by such a definition, living in any sexual relationship outside of marriage constitutes "apostasy" for Latter-day Saints. I would agree with you. I have a sister-in-law who, as a young (20s) woman, was excommunicated for exactly this, living with her boyfriend (later husband). But I gather that's not how things are usually done these days. The mere fact of living in a sinful (heterosexual) relationship is apparently no longer taken as a de facto proclamation of apostasy. Is the Church policy now that living in an extended homosexual cohabitation relationship, including a legal "marriage", is no longer a de facto proclamation of apostasy, but merely people living sinfully in a fallen world?

As long as I'm confessing, I will also confess that bothers me. If such is the case with homosexual relationships, why not with polyamorous relationships? Where do we say, "Enough is enough"? At what point is a lifestyle choice considered an unambiguous refutation of LDS teachings? If not homosexuality, then what, exactly? Can a man leave his wife and take up with his (female) coworker without being considered effectively in apostasy?

It's not that I don't understand the other side. I do. Any sinful habit we have is effectively an apostasy. And if we justify ourselves in our sins in the least degree, then to that degree we are in apostasy. So the policy will just be a line, perhaps arbitrary but (we assume) drawn with guidance of the Spirit of the Lord, that says, "This much is open rebellion". I'm just rather shocked that open homosexual relationships are apparently now not considered to be quite at that line. I sustain the First Presidency, and if they say homosexual relationships are no longer to be considered prima facie evidence of apostasy, I accept that. But I do not understand it.

“Apostasy” as a moral/theological concept is very broad; but as a grounds for excommunication pursuant to the CHI, it has a very narrow definition.  It seems to me that it is the legal definition, not the moral/theological one, that has changed (remember, we hoi polloi aren’t even supposed to be able to read the CHI in the first place).  

Even from a legalistic standpoint, notwithstanding the technical change, the grounds are still there to convene a mandatory disciplinary hearing for a person in a gay (or heterosexual shack-up) sexual relationship *IF* the local leadership is inclined to move in that direction.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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2 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

It seems to me that it is the legal definition, not the moral/theological one, that has changed (remember, we hoi polloi aren’t even supposed to be able to read the CHI in the first place).

True enough. But the policy change was publicly announced, not simply implemented in the background as a legalistic change in administration.

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1 minute ago, MormonGator said:

@Vort/ @Just_A_Guy-If I was a single man living with my girlfriend out of wedlock, would I be excommunicated? Honest question, not a challenge. 

It depends on the circumstances, but I believe the answer is most probably that it would be unlikely.

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7 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

@Vort/ @Just_A_Guy-If I was a single man living with my girlfriend out of wedlock, would I be excommunicated? Honest question, not a challenge. 

Ultimately the final decision is supposed to be made subject to the whisperings of the Spirit; so obviously I’m in no position to weigh in on something like that.

As to whether a council should be convened:  I’m both predisposed to textualism, and something of a hard-nose. As someone who is not in a bishopric, stake presidency, or high council (and unlikely ever to become so):  I think a council should be strongly considered when priesthood leaders have repeatedly warned a member about their cohabitation and the situation persists nonetheless.  I think that’s the plain meaning of the text as I understand it to be.  But as I said above: whether that council leads to excommunication is an entirely different issue.  And a nicer person than me might say that there’s no point in an SP convening a council when he already is pretty sure, via the Spirit, that excommunication or disfellowship is off the table ab initio.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Just now, Just_A_Guy said:

Ultimately the final decision is supposed to be made subject to the whisperings of the Spirit; so obviously I’m in no position to weigh in on something like that.

As to whether a council should be convened:  I’m both predisposed to textualism, and something of a hard-nose. As someone who is not in a bishopric, stake presidency, or high council (and unlikely ever to become so):  I think a council should be strongly considered when priesthood leaders have repeatedly warned a member about their cohabitation and the situation persists nonetheless.  I think that’s the plain meaning of the text as I understand it to be.  But as I said above: whether that council leads to excommunication is an entirely different issue.  And a nicer person than me might say that there’s no point in an SP convening a council when he already is pretty sure, via the Spirit, that excommunication or disfellowship is off the table ab initio.

Thanks to you too! 

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A couple of thoughts:

Is this an example of "accommodationism"? It is a concept we have brought up with other difficult scriptural/revealed topics -- that God "adapts" His revelations/teachings to accommodate our sensibilities when we are unable to support His "higher" teachings. "I see a lot of people unwilling to follow the policy as is, that means My children are not, yet, fully ready for this policy, so I will take it back until they are." How do we feel about this kind of accommodationism?

Could this be an example of how common consent works in the modern church? Rather than formally voting on something, something is imposed from the top down, and the rank and file "vote"/express common consent by choosing to follow or not. MoE mentioned several lower level leadership who refused (or were just disinclined) to enforce the old policy. When enough rank and file and lower leadership are unwilling to "follow" a top down policy like this, is the retraction an expression of "the Church body is not unified in accepting this policy, so we need to retract it." I know we are not fond of this kind of "grass-roots" bottom up influences, but maybe they legitimately exist?

I don't think they are necessarily mutually exclusive either. Anyway, just a couple of thoughts that might subversive, might be interesting, might be worthy of infractions, might be worthy of likes, might be worthy of moderator intervention, might be much ado about nothing, I don't know (but this is the internet so all kinds of meaningful and/or meaningless things get said).

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