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Parents React to the New Handbook

The leadership of Affirmation is united in communicating a message of love to all those who have been so deeply affected by the announcement of the changes to the LDS Church Handbook of Instructions that will exclude the children of gay couples from membership in the Church. We know that God loves all of us, and we mourn with those who mourn because of this new policy.

LGBT Mormons and their family and friends throughout the world have expressed grief, shock, disbelief and spiritual confusion. Parents and family of LGBTQ Mormons have responded with messages of comfort and love:

Jill Rowe: “My heart is hurting tonight as the church I love has taken a stand about my LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

Four years ago one of my six children told me he was gay. It’s been quite a journey since then of prayers and tears. I have received many answers but the most profound is just to love. Love. It’s not as simple as we think. We need to open our heart and minds to each other. We need to be the love.

My family has become stronger through the last four years. I feel like now we are a family forever because we know how to love a little bit more. As our family grows so will our love.

I love my son. I know he was created by God just like I was. I know God is aware of him and loves him. This is the religion I choose to follow. Christ loved all.

To know his fate breaks my heart. He knows he does not have a place in the church and it’s been made clear that his future spouse and children don’t either.

I will continue to stand for my convictions. I believe all should be welcome in Christ’s church.”

Gretchen and Chuck Terry: “My husband and I will support our two gay sons and their partners in all areas of their lives- including marriage and children ! Paramount for us is that all of our children are healthy and happy and free to choose the path that brings them peace and joy!”

Yvette:  “Romans 8:38-39 (KJV): ‘For I am persuaded , that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present , nor things to come ,nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

As I Thought about the church’s recent additions to the church handbook that impact lgbt families, this scripture popped into my mind. It seemed to express the feelings I believe our savior has for his LGBT children – that absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of God and the love of your Savior! It also expresses the solid unchanging love that I have for my son. Nothing will ever come between the love that I have for him …just as the scripture says. My relationship with God is the first and foremost compass that I use to guide my life.”

An anonymous parent: “Here’s the thing: nothing can keep you from the love of Christ. No organization, no person. Know that you are loved, and Christ stands with you, not with an organization who would try to separate you from him.”

Neca Allgood: “Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” My heart is breaking that a church policy could be used to deny some children the opportunity to embrace the Gospel.

An anonymous parent: “My knee-jerk reaction was anger. But then these scriptures came to mind: John 3:17 ‘For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.’ John 14:27 ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ I also thought of the scripture in Samuel that talks of how the world looks at our outward appearance, but the Lord looks at our hearts. He knows us. Each one of us personally. He knows our loved ones and children. He suffered our pains. He is perfect, but his church is not. Because it is lead by imperfect people. His message was and still is LOVE. Not shame, not condemnation, not exclusion, but pure LOVE. One more Psalm 54:6 ‘In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.'”

Shauna Malia Ikahihifo: “This new policy change has left me heartbroken and confused. But, as I lay weeping in my bed, the words of a primary hymn came into my mind:

“You don’t have to push a handcart
or leave your family dear
Or walk a thousand miles or more
To be a Pioneer
You do have to have great courage
Faith to conquer fear
And work with might
For a cause that’s right
To be a Pioneer”

I will be a Pioneer! Holding onto the faith I have in a merciful, loving, compassionate God and in the atoning sacrifice of His precious son! I will hang onto the faith I have that my sister is made in the image of our Heavenly Parents, just as I am. And that God has a plan for her and everyone of my LGBT brothers and sisters! And I will work with might for this righteous cause, until all members of my Church have gained such a testimony!

Come what may, you have an ally in me, forever and always.”

An anonymous parent: Rabbi Kushmer taught-“The task of any religion is to teach us whom we’re required to love, not whom we are entitled to hate.” Sister Chieko Okazaki said – ” A family with a gay child is not a failed family. It is a family with a member who needs special love and understanding and who has love and understanding to give back.” These quotes express so eloquently the feelings that are in my heart. I express my love to all my LGBTQ friends and loved ones who are reeling – there are many Moms who want to run out and give you hugs and tell you that you are wonderful just the way you are.”

Susan Mikesell: “I don’t have an LGBT+ child. But I have two children. I cannot imagine not loving them any way God put them here on this earth. For this reason, and for the love of others that God puts in our heart if we just open ourselves to it, for those who have been blessed with LGBTQ+ children, I stand with you and them. I love you. You are all in my heart as I weep and feel it break inside. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so simple: Love one another as I have loved you. I cannot understand those–especially those who lead–choosing to complicate it. And I will never understand this latest. I choose Christ. And because I do, I choose to walk with you and talk with you.”

An anonymous parent: “You and others before you have brought beauty to this world. Let who you are shine bright cancel out the actions of those that are too frightened to see beauty.”

Jenny Gile: We are so very proud of our son, who has been a shining example to others of what true Christ-like unconditional love. His heart is big and warm and he selflessly serves others, not even completely understanding that he is serving. I see no greater example than him. This new policy tears at the core of our family. A church administration now says that he is false, a sinner and unworthy of God, which we know to be completely false. When I move on to the next realm of existence, I would rather have to answer to the Savior for my actions against this policy than to have to try and explain why I didn’t emulate his example to “Let the children come unto me”.

Denee Tyler: There is nothing that man can do that will affect my deep and abiding love for my children. I carried them for nine months inside my body, my blood is their blood, my heart is their heart. I am not afraid to rise up and say that this new “policy” is terribly, terribly wrong. I’m not afraid to call it what it is: hate, intolerance, discrimination, bigotry, and homophobia. Love WILL win. It may just not be in this church.

An anonymous parent: “I hope all the same things for all of my children. I hope they all find a life path that leads them to joy, happiness, love, and fulfillment. I hope they find opportunities that allow them to reach their full potential. I hope they know God loves them. And I hope they know I love them and will never, no never, forsake or reject them. My arms are now, and will always be open and ready to embrace them.”

 

Gay parents have reacted too:

An anonymous gay dad: “This is a terrible thing for divorced gay fathers in sharing the raising of their children. My 17 year-old could not come live with me under the current guidelines without possibly giving up his priesthood ordinations or mission. This puts more undue pressure on children when they try to remain close to both parents and forces them into a choice they never had to make before. This totally breaks my heart!!! How could the Church we love do something like this. You know I’ve been a member all my life…when I came out, I was dropped like a hot potato and there was no outreach or communication…they didn’t know how to deal with me except to keep me excluded. I could live with that and still follow the gospel but this is starting to cross the line for me.”

Troy & Ryan Mitchell-Hales: “We have always maintained our faith in Jesus Christ. We have worked hard to support our two children on missions and with their temple marriages. We love our grandchildren with all our hearts. Leaders of the Church have once again placed another barrier between us and our family. Should children be forced to choose between loving their parents and the Church? The answer is a resounding NO! Jesus Christ would not make this kind of judgement. He loves all mankind.”

An anonymous gay dad: “There is no church on earth that is worth the loss of a precious life or sacrifice of the loving relationship of a parent with a child. I refuse to let any religious dogma destroy my union with my children, even if they don’t yet comprehend the same. There is a very distinct difference between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the man-made and politically managed institution we refer to as the Church.”

Nathan Kitchen: “This change in church policy squarely affects my family. To force a child to disavow and repudiate their parents’ relationship in order to be included in the church is very abusive to children. It is spiritual violence to withhold blessings, service and even salvation unless they turn on their same sex parents. The church now has firmly placed herself between me and my children forcing an either/or decision using the threat of damnation to pressure my children. My children are not lesser than any child of a heterosexual relationship. Even if I am excommunicated if I ever marry and am no longer a member of the church. My children will still suffer the consequences of a father in a legal and loving same sex union by being treated differently and suspect until cleared at the highest levels of church leadership. This demeaning social stigma is exactly what Justice Stevens wrote about when he said: “Excluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry. Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same- sex couples.” These changes are a harmful and humiliating edict for me and my children and will only be seen in the immediate future by typical members of both society and then church as animus towards legal same sex couples every where. Dear Brethren, have you any decency?

As a loving believing member who loves and believes in the church despite her flaws, I am in tears for my family. My sexual orientation effectively places a “Star of David” on their Sunday clothes. I am in tears.”

 

10 thoughts on “Parents React to the New Handbook

  1. Extremely sad today! The Church that I love, that I served for many years before coming out, even as a worthy missionary in Japan, doesn’t let my child get the blessings of the gospel in its fullness because I live with my partner. I took them after they were abandoned by their mothers and now that they have a place to call home they have to deny it or live without the gospel.

  2. It’s with much prayerful consideration that I’ve decided I can’t continue to spiritually or monetarily support this church. This latest decision proves to me what I’ve feared. I do not believe our apostles are divinely guided. The church has been my community and my life, so I don’t come to this decision lightly. I know it will be hard and I may need to make new friends, but it’s what I know I must do. Heavenly Father wouldn’t want us to deny any children, and I won’t by supporting the church. I’ll find a new Christian church to join. One that doesn’t feel like it’s been deceiving us.

  3. All these judgmental condemnations are of a very simple and “pure” position taken by the Church. Without trying to sound holier-than-thou, before I read Elder Christofferson’s explanation I contemplated the basis for the position and the reason he gave very clearly came to me (making children confront the fact their parents are committing very serious sins). How can anyone argue this would be cruel to children? If one would, rather than quickly pass judgment, in the spirit of prayer, consider his explanation, I believe it would be difficult not to agree with the decision. And again, the children and parents are still welcome to attend meetings and activities and receive priesthood blessings.

  4. I truly feel for you all and I pray those people that are truly seeking answers get them. The bottom line for me is this President Monson is a prophet of God. You either believe that or you don’t. The gospel is true or it’s not. I believe we are going to go through a lot more than this people. We will be tried and tested. We are taught over and over again to study the scriptures don’t just read them study them. Pray fervently to receive the answers you seek. Faith, Hope and Love. I love my family members and friends that live with same sex attraction. I don’t understand it but I love them. My heart aches for those struggling with this issue but I believe with every fiber that by complaining and threating is only making things worse. Satan will win. We need to have faith in the bigger picture. We all have agency to choose. Individuals will have to decide what they choose and live with the consequences. Again President Monson is either a prophet of God or he is not. It’s your choice!!! I will continue to pray for everyone who needs comfort. May God Bless us all.

  5. I am 70 years old. I have endured and been protected by a loving Heavenly Father to live through the era when being gays was considered to be a mental sickness, to hear of reparation treatments given to my fellow LDS friends at BYU when I was blessed to be attending a Utah State run school and did not have to endure that treatment, was told by church leaders that if I got married that my homosexuality would go away…it didn’t, became a widower at age 34, alone with two daughters ages 3 and 5. Endured a second marriage ending with my daughters being mistreated, but then, discovered that the church no longer taught that gay people should get married, but they should remain celibate. It was at that time that I could not accept anything that the church taught on this subject, because they changed 180 degrees. I decided to look for a same sex spouse. By this time my two daughters were grown, both had gone through the temple and one in a temple marriage. I basically raised them myself. Until this time I was a closeted gay. When I came out to my Stake President I was immediately excommunicated. I had served in four bishoprics, was a ward mission leader, and a young mans president when I pretended to be a person that I never had been. I tried going to church but did not have the force to endure the hardships. Instead, I tried going to other faiths including the Community of Christ where I was welcomed with open arms, but soon realized… I was, if nothing more… a cultural Mormon. Soon I met companion, my wonderful spouse and we were legally married in Canada where we live, almost 12 years ago. Although my spouse has never been a member of the church, he encouraged me to return to the church. He knew it would make me happy, and I wanted to be an example for my 8 grandchildren, including my oldest grandson, who is presently serving a mission. I have been so proud of him. News of the change in the new handbook has devastated me. I could not attend church this morning. My home ward has been kind to me, allowing me to offer my testimony in church and sending me home teachers. As a gay ex LDS I accept the concept of eternal marriage for heterosexuals and not for same sex marriages, but I had hoped that one day the church would allow us to be members with our same sex spouses in this life and leave the unknown to a loving Heavenly Father in the next one. Is acceptance of LDS temple marriage and the first presidency being an apostate? No one should be forced to live a life of celibacy. Jesus never interviewed or rejected those who requested baptism and he loved children. I can not imagine Him punishing little children because they have two loving parents of the same sex and requesting those children to choose between their love of church, or love of their parents at age 18… never to be able to live with them at an age when they may need the support of loving family to obtain an education. I raised my children alone, successfully, and know many members of the church who are heterosexuals that have many of their children inactive. I can only see this addition to the handbook as a way to insure that gay family’s will not integrate into the church and show that they can be just as successful raising their children in the church or even better, than heterosexuals. By making this new ruling, they hope to purge the church of all LDS gay families so any success in our families will never be seen. Is this a rather cowardly way to face the reality of their failure through numerous mistakes over the past 50 years? I am now faced with the decision of continuing to attend church, or to stop attending… which seems to be the present goal of the church. If I stop attending I become a part of the vat majority of LDS gays who are not seen. If I keep attending… I am a constant reminder of to all of those in my ward… I am gay… I am a good person… make a place for me. I am thankful my two girls are grown and did not have to make the choice that children of LDS gays must make at 18… to leave their family… or leave their faith. At 70 years old, and having spent my lifetime trying to find a place within the church… I am not certain I have enough strength to endure more. I am still in deep remorse over the new rulings which seem to place me and my children as worse than murderers, rapists, and pedophiles.. all of whom can have their children be blessed, baptized and remain with their families… apparently, it would have been better if me and my family had never been, There is no placefar enough away for us to hide and grieve

  6. So….each man will be judged for his own sins and not for Adam’s transgressions, but a baby born into this world is being judged by his parents “transgressions”. What a load of illogical doctrine! It doesn’t matter what the parents supposed “sins” are, a baby should not be held accountable for the “sins” of a parent, just as all men are not held accountable to God for Adam’s sin. Each person is to be judged by his or her own actions. At age 8, if a child is not afforded the blessing of being held accountable for their own sins, does this mean that from age 8 – 18, that child will not be held accountable for his or her own sins and instead be free and clear until 18? This just makes no sense on any doctrinal level as well as every other level.

    Joseph Smith used to preach against all of the other religions that condemned baby’s to hell if they were not baptized. He viewed this thinking as most archaic and cruel and declared that all children were totally innocent until the age of accountability (8). I wonder what he would think of this policy to refuse to allow children the blessings of baptism based on the supposed sins of a parent. Wow. Just crazy stuff.

  7. All of this – the new policy, the stance on homosexuality, the dividing of families – makes a lot more sense when you just accept that the church isn’t ‘true’. If the church was true, that would actually mean that it was right about gays and lesbians, and you know that it isn’t. The reason you feel so deeply that God would not treat his children this way is because these men do not speak for God. I know that some people feel strongly that they need to stay and try to change the church from within, but it’s like sucking the poison from a neverending snake bite: eventually you will be affected by all that venom, even if you spit it out quickly each time you taste it. The church isn’t worth saving, but you and your wonderful children are.

  8. In this last month, our Nation, led by a fear driven political party, took a stance, even suggesting the Constitution of the United States be “disavowed”, as they slam the doors on refugees fleeing for their lives….they are children of God and their children….also children of God, claiming they’d be better left outside our boundaries…..with their own kind and almost certain death. Even as they reach out and cry out for our doors, our borders to allow them in so they can live and love without fear or persecution for not “disavowing” their values or faith. it sickens me that some of our Nation’s political fear mongers “disavowed” these refugees. And in the same month, my church, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a church we claim to be the true church, “disavowed” our church’s LGBT families and also have “disavowed” blessings from babies and children, delaying all blessings promised from God until they agree to go against the 10 Commandments and “disavow” their parents or loved one. When fear sets in……fear is not of God because we know it is of the Devil….it spreads like poison ivy. With a world filled with so much demanded “disavowing”, one has to wonder who is behind it? My testimony of the church is not in finding the book of Mormon to be true first, but, He led me to prove the people of the book of Mormon, which I did as He brought me to my knees in my discovery (ok I was brought all the way down, face down on the floor for he knew my knees are bad). I know the people of the book of Mormon lived, for when I proved the people to be true, the book of Mormon had to be true. He set up His church, He is perfect so to is His church and He still lives in me AND in all those who accept Him; because as He lives forever, so does His heart. His church is Perfect as He was and is. Earthly man, has a natural inability to be perfect. I pray everyday, for the Power of God, which is stronger and more powerful than any earthly man, no matter his station or calling in life. I know my heavenly Parents, Father and Mother, have the same unconditional Love for all Their children, as any loving parent of a LGBT child, any LGBT parent of a child just as much as any of Their children, black, white, yellow and yes rainbow. I feel strong in my heart this will change for the betterment of His children who only want be loved in His church. I feel strong He is allowing all these demands for a “disavow” is a sign, He will step in. It may get worse before it gets better. But Love concurs all. When we pray in numbers, prayers are answered, please everyone, pray together daily even three times a day and more. He will do something. He will make away. This too will pass, I feel it. In His Holy Name I leave this, words given by the Holy Spirit…..AMEN and blessed be

  9. The policy has broken my heart to a point that I have not only lost trust in you (members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12) I have also started seeing cracks in many other places. I have not lost my faith in our father in Heaven and his son. But you have lost someone who believed in you.

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