I Weep: Church Education System Doubles Down on LGBTQ Issues
“Does this member have a testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and of its doctrine, including its teachings on marriage, family, and gender?”
This is one of the new questions to be used in the unit leader (CES) employee endorsement interview.
It represents a significant doubling down around the topic of the current teachings of the church’s leaders on LGBTQ issues.
Although presently limited to Church Education employees, it is easy to imagine that it might be extended by the same logic to all church employees in time.
For that matter, it is no stretch by any means now that the language has been formulated to see this very question become part of the temple recommend process for all members.
It is hard to stop a reformation once it begins.
This truly represents a sea change.
Frequently in the past, Q15 had responded that holding personal views with regard to marriage equality and similar issues like the necessity of social and medical transition for those who experience gender incongruity would not be cause for loss of or withholding the member’s temple recommend.
Now with the bright red line drawn defining “worthiness” as fully accepting, by way of testimony, all current church leader teachings on LGBTQ issues, even when such teachings have been constantly changing and even reversing (think PoX), I fear that many Queer persons trying to remain in the church, especially transgender members, will become even more marginalized lower-caste souls.
It is for example impossible to reconcile most transgender persons’ lived experience with the current church teaching that gender is equal to biological sex assigned at birth.
It is impossible to have a “testimony” of a teaching that is patently false based upon one’s own knowledge. Through this question, all such persons would be rendered irrevocably unworthy.
That is strictly untenable.
The problem lies in the entirely incomplete and incorrect church teaching regarding gender.
To restate: the current church teaching is that gender equals biological sex assigned at birth.
I have written about this previously, but I will try to be even more explicit here for emphasis:
NOT ALL PERSONS CAN BE CORRECTLY ASSIGNED A BIOLOGICAL SEX AT BIRTH.
Some people based strictly on their physical presentation are Intersex. Others on further internal examination are Intersex. These facts alone render the current church teaching at least incomplete.
It is widely understood and accepted science that gender identity is not immutably consistent with any or all biological traits, whether physical or chromosomal, etc.
I will share my own experience by way of what I can testify.
My own mild Intersex physical condition was overlooked at birth and I was assigned male.
I have a clear memory of being brought into the family bathroom at age five by my mother to be shown that my genitalia allowed me to stand to pee into the toilet.
I have now accepted that this interview took place directly following my insistence to my mom that I was a girl.
At age five (1966), well before the “age of accountability” or temptation, I insisted that I was a girl.
Before any influence of liberal teachings on gender in the public square or on social media that could have reached my young mind, well before the science of gender was established, I insisted that I was a girl.
Two years later, perhaps with my earlier insistence on her mind, my mom revealed to me what name my parents had chosen for me had I “been born a girl”. I accepted that name as my identity from then on. It has always been who I am. I now am legally known by that name.
My gender identity has consistently and persistently been female from my earliest memories. It has never varied even after several decades attempting to live and present otherwise.
It would never have been possible for me to accept, let alone obtain a testimony, of the current church teaching on gender. Not because of any unworthiness, but from sixty years of experience of really trying to live a life that for me was a fallacy.
I know literally scores of friends who have the same lived experience who have attempted to remain close to the church prior to now. Multiply that by the hundreds more of family members, friends, and allies who are negatively impacted by the current teaching on gender.
And so very many more who will be hurt by the same line of teaching regarding marriage and family.