Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

President Nelson Shares Some Background Information for Recent Policy Adjustments

While some within and without the Church will disagree with the Church's position regarding same-sex marriage, President Nelson's comments this week at BYU help give some insight into the motivations behind some recent policy adjustments. For those who have been patient with this process, the perspective and transparency President Nelson offers may be especially appreciated. It also may be helpful for those wondering why the Church would make an adjustment that seems like a retreat. Below is an excerpt from his talk, "The Love and Laws of God," given at a BYU devotional on Sept. 17, 2019. The video and text are available at BYU.edu.
Though we of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles cannot change the laws of God, we do have the charge to “build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations.” Thus, we can adjust policy when the Lord directs us to do so. You have recently seen such examples. Because the Restoration is ongoing, policy changes will surely continue.

Perhaps I can illustrate this through policy adjustments regarding those who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) and their children. (I realize that other initials could be added to this acronym, but LGBT should suffice for the purposes of this message.)

Consider the policy announced in November 2015 related to the advisability of baptism for the children of LGBT parents. Our concern then, and one we discussed at length and prayed about fervently over a long period of time, was to find a way to reduce friction between gay or lesbian parents and their children.

Because parents are the primary exemplars for their children, we did not want to put young children in the position of having to choose between beliefs and behavior they learned at home and what they were taught at Church. We wanted to facilitate harmony in the home and avoid pitting children and parents against each other. Thus in 2015, the policy was made to assist children and their parents in this circumstance, namely that children being raised by LGBT parents would not automatically be eligible for baptism at age eight. Exceptions to this policy would require First Presidency approval.

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have continued to seek the Lord’s guidance and to plead with Him in behalf of His children who were affected by the 2015 policy. We knew that this policy created concern and confusion for some and heartache for others. That grieved us. Whenever the sons and daughters of God weep—for whatever reasons—we weep. So, our supplications to the Lord continued.

We also took note of LGBT parents who sought permission from the First Presidency for their children to be baptized. In nearly every case where the LGBT parents agreed to teach their children about—and be supportive of—the covenant of baptism, the requested exception was granted.

As a result of our continued supplication, we recently felt directed to adjust the policy such that the baptism of children of LGBT parents may be authorized by bishops without First Presidency approval, if the custodial parents request the baptism and understand that a child will be taught about sacred covenants to be made at baptism.

We also determined that LGBT parents may request that a baby be named and blessed by one who worthily holds the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is important that these parents understand that ward members will contact them periodically, and that when a child who has been blessed reaches eight years of age, local leaders will recommend that the child be baptized.

Finally, we also clarified that homosexual immorality would be treated in the eyes of the Church in the same manner as heterosexual immorality.

Though it may not have looked this way to some, the 2015 and 2019 policy adjustments on this matter were both motivated by love—the love of our Heavenly Father for His children and the love of the Brethren for those whom we serve.

Because we feel the depth of God’s love for His children, we care deeply about every child of God, regardless of age, personal circumstances, gender, sexual orientation, or other unique challenges.
This may be welcome information on a sensitive issue that many of members of the Church care about. Even for those who object to the original policy from 2015, understanding the motives behind it as well as the reasons for the more recent adjustment may be helpful. 

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this is proof that church leaders are just trying to figure things out like everyone else does. It’s just that most other people don’t claim to speak for God.

Citizen said...

You’re ignorant. Everybody has the right to choose and they cannot blame a suicide on the Mormon religion that is one’s own guilty conscience and something we have to deal with in life we all have issues and obstacles quit blaming somebody else

Anonymous said...

I know. Suicides happen. It's just that UT's suicide rate is astronomical and the rise coincides with all the homophobic blather from the GAs. But you could be right, Citizen. It could be a coincidence. ...only the First Presidency isn't taking that chance anymore. They've chosen a strategy of going from pole-to-pole and covering all bases in the middle instead.

I mean the altitude thing wasn't explaining the increase in suicides. The POX didn't help at all. Reversing the POX just made people wonder who was driving the van and why it was swerving all over the road. So maybe administering all this "love" in the form of we-love-you-but-not-the-way-God-created-you will make a difference. It didn't when it was love-the-sinner-but-not-the-sin thing. But maybe this time. Who knows?

Inaccurate blather said...

Anon 127p gives us inadequate, biased, and ultimately inaccurate information about recent suicide rates in Utah. Ideologically driven. There's a lot better, more complete, up to date comparative statistical information out there on the subject.

Alma Allred said...

I am absolutely fascinated at the anonymous personalities who leave insulting, bigoted, and demeaning comments such as the one above. Clearly, the poster has no intent to engage anyone in dialogue (or perhaps has no capacity to do so), yet like countless others seems to find some sense of satisfaction in such puerile behavior. What is the point? Does he retire at night thinking, "I sure showed those morons a thing or two!" Aside from showing the marked distinction between Christian and unchristian behavior, I don't see any ROI on the time he spent drafting such a vacuous comment. Perhaps he could return and explain himself?

Anonymous said...

If you choose to treat suicide as vacuous or puerile that's on you. And if your paradigm for Christian behavior is bullying and demeaning vulnerable people because of their sexuality thus increasing the likelihood of depression and suicide then I guess you can take your prophet seriously.

The rest of us have to witness it and ask how you achieve the arrogance to look at old men who are so out of touch with reality and their own congregations and decide to call them "prophets". I, OTOH, can't take that seriously enough to enter into dialogue about it. But maybe, because you're so intellectually superior, you can point to one genuinely prophetic act or statement one of your leaders has issued in your lifetime.

Anonymous said...

I would to see a textual analysis of the frequency transition of "complete gospel" restored, "fulness of the restored gospel", "restoration of ALL things", to the "ongoing", incomplete Restoration. My preliminary google searches of lds.org are interesting ...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

You're wrong about your conclusion about the suicide rates in Utah. Colorado has similar suicide rates but the Church is very much a minority in this state (less than 3%).

What does your crack analysis have to conclude about suicide in Colorado?

Steve

Anonymous said...

Interesting, Steve, and the relationship between altitude and suicide, as evidenced by higher suicide rates in Intermountain states, has been discussed here before. But, while CO's suicide rate has held pretty steady rising only slightly in more recent years, UT's has had a steady and alarming rise. The Salt Lake Tribune ran an article last year with the headline "Utah’s suicide rate has shot up 46.5% since 1999."

What makes that especially interesting is that the church's opposition to marriage equality dates from HI's '94 legislation enabling full marriage equality. The church did its best to quietly but aggressively prevent it. But they continued to do their level best to prevent marriage equality and demean homosexuality from ward houses and state houses through the '08 CA Prop 8 debacle and the '15 POX that took aim on the children of gay couples. Over the years they drummed the theme more regularly and vehemently. And the suicide rate responded to their venom so that even The Fifteen had to respond. If not by admitting the consequence of their mistakes, then by reversing the POX. And now by trying to excuse themselves by confusing the issue.

Anonymous said...


Nelson says the policy was "announced" in November 2015. That is not true. It was slipped quietly into the handbook. When the policy was leaked by the exmormon crowd, only then did the LDS leaders start to speak publicly about it.

Nelson also said in his BYU address the following, "Thus in 2015, the policy was made to assist children and their parents in this circumstance, namely that children being raised by LGBT parents would not automatically be eligible for baptism at age eight. Exceptions to this policy would require First Presidency approval."

But the policy in the handbook never stated that exceptions could be granted with First Presidency approval! The policy stated that when the child was of legal age, it would then require First Presidency approval for this person to get baptized! And only if that person disavowed the relationship of his/her parents.


Nelson is still not being honest. And he is passing the blame for this policy, which he claims caused him to "weep" onto God. And he is taking the glory for supplicating God for three and a half years to get the policy changed.

EBU

Anonymous said...

Steve 4:30 - So what you are saying Steve, is that despite claiming to have returned a special something to Earth that had be missing for 2000 years, the LDS possesses no statistically discernible quality, other than may be lower smoking rates, than the Calvinism that preceded it. Makes sense, most people agree with you.