Why the Mormons Targeted Children


By guest blogger Joseph A. Hollenbaugh

The leaked news of a new LDS Church policy denying church affiliation to the children of same-sex couples brought widespread reactions of shock, disbelief, and consternation.

The news spread quickly after a Church spokesman verified the authenticity of documents posted by activist blogger John Dehlin. The leaked documents instruct LDS Church leaders to generally disallow children of same-sex couples from formal affiliation with the Church.

Social media exploded with outrage and confusion at this policy, which apparently punishes children for the legal (but church-condemned) actions of their parents, in contradiction of basic church doctrine.

The most common question seems to be, “why?”

Why go after the children?

Is it simple hatred or gross prejudice? Is it some kind of legal game? What rationale can there be for targeting children?

I confess, my own first reaction was complete confusion. I have been associated in various ways with the LDS Church for more than fifty years, working in many roles with access to restricted information. I earned degrees in journalism and in law from BYU, and contributed to a text on Utah juvenile law. This new policy initially struck me as utterly out of character for the Church, and as a completely idiotic move. Unfortunately, I finally realized that it is neither; it is, rather, quite characteristic, and deviously clever from the perspective of Church leaders.

From its early days, the Church has never shied away from identifying itself with power. It proclaims itself a kingdom, the Kingdom of God on earth. Church founder Joseph Smith declared himself the mouthpiece of God, and stated that he alone possessed the power to bind the heavens. Church doctrine explicitly considers the Church as the exclusive repository of the authority required to reconcile mankind to God (see Articles of Faith 4 & 5).

The Church itself holds the ultimate power of determining who may, and who may not, obtain the most important of God’s gifts and rewards.

For believers, there can be no greater desire than to maintain “good standing” within the Church, which is tantamount to acceptance by God himself. To lose one’s place in the faith (or never to gain it) is to lose one’s place with God. It is the ultimate rejection, the ultimate failure, and the ultimate loss. Is it any surprise that Church leaders exercise that power fervently and jealously? And this late move against same-sex couples is simply that; a raw exercise of power.

You might say that is obvious, but to what end? Why this? But power needs no motive; it is its own motive. Yet the power to punish innocent children, or withhold “blessings” from them, seems entirely gratuitous on the surface. This policy, however, is not about punishing children. It is about exploiting children. Yes, exploiting. As in, using children as a means to an end. As in, using children as leverage to control the parents, and extended families, and the courts of the Intermountain West of the United States.

The use of Church affiliation as a means of control and coercion by Church leaders is nothing new, but the recent policy is a calculated and ingenious mutation of the practice. The Church has long used political and economic power to control its environment and membership. Yet political and economic power are trivial compared to the power over eternal reward or punishment for individuals and their families. The new policy brings all of these powers to bear and makes children the pawns in a devilishly intricate chess match.

How does that play out?

First, the policy is a pressure tactic.
By separating children of same-sex couples from the Church, the leadership places a burden on gay parents to remain in inauthentic traditional marriages. The social pressure to do so is already a heavy restraint on gay parents. Now, a gay parent who believes in the religion faces a new hellish choice – be controlled by the Church, or make your children suffer.

Keep in mind that for a believing parent, the imperative to have children receive baptism is a matter of eternal life and death. That parent can no longer decide for himself or herself alone; but also risks the eternal welfare of the child.

This is similar to the common criminal tactic of threatening a loved one in order to coerce somebody. The pressure expands outward to straight co-parents and to extended family. Those people can no longer adopt a tolerant stance toward the gay parent. For the sake of the children, co-parents, birth parents, grandparents, and other family members will be induced to exert tremendous pressure on gay parents. The message will be, either comply with the Church’s dictates, or if not, then yield your parental role and rights to the “traditional” parent.

The only way to truly understand such pressure is either by experiencing it firsthand, or by observing the pain and heartache it induces, leading even to suicide.

Second, the policy is a legal tactic.
It exploits the hyper-conservative legal culture in Mormon-dominated communities and states. In matters of divorce, the custodial arrangements for children are governed by the “best interests of the child.” With same-sex marriage now legal and endorsed as such by the US Supreme Court, local courts would be hard-pressed to accept an argument that a same-sex parent’s household, per se, weighs against the best interests of the child.

So the Church has provided a new argument, i.e., the same-sex household will harm the best interests of the child by interfering with the child’s religious affiliation and training. It is even conceivable that an interested party might argue that the child’s (or other parent’s) constitutionally-protected interest in free exercise of religion is being infringed by allowing the child to live with a same-sex parent.

Add in the pressure from extended family and the community, all arguing that the best interests of the child are being harmed by the same-sex parent, and judges will have a handy rationale for defying the legal acceptance of same sex marriage.

Can anyone doubt that a Church with a former state supreme court justice as a senior leader, is capable of such legal maneuvering? And especially when that leader, Dallin Oaks, has been at the forefront of the Church’s ongoing war against same-sex marriage rights?

The new, seemingly bizarre LDS policy targeting children of gay parents, when placed in this perspective, no longer seems gratuitous or simply hateful. Rather, it falls into place within the Church’s never-ending quest to control, coerce, and dominate individuals.

Exploitation of children, families, and the law in order to maintain its hegemony seems to be standard operating procedure for the religion that claims Jesus as its head.

Bio of Joseph Hollenbaugh:

Joseph has been involved with the LDS church for more than fifty years, having followed the church-prescribed path of baptism at age eight, priesthood ordination at age twelve, seminary graduation, mission at age 19, temple marriage, and a large, church-active family. His church service included serving in most ward and stake positions. He earned his degree in Journalism (B.A.) and Doctorate in Law (J.D.) at BYU. Joseph resigned from the church in 2005 when he felt unable to accept the doctrine of exclusivity and also church attitudes toward gender, race, and gay rights issues. He now works as a self-employed consultant and enjoys his quest to free himself and others from the burden of false beliefs.


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163 Responses to Why the Mormons Targeted Children

  1. Brilliant piece well done

  2. Brilliant. The exact same reason – children as pawns – to control adults, came to my thoughts also, but I had not thought of the suggested legal motive.

  3. Hope says:

    Firstly, what does it matter what the LDS church preaches, teaches or thinks? If you were to ask me I’d sat if you want to stop being a Mormon, get out of their bed. Quit “sleeping” with them. Every time you get bent over something they do or say you are sleeping with them again. Giving them relevance in your life. If they contact you it doesn’t matter, you’re not who you were when you embraced them, right?
    Secondly, and this is a matter of civics and how our nation was designed to run, Supreme Court don’t make law. That’s not their jurisdiction. Supreme Court justices DON’T make laws. It’s not a law. If gay couples find someone who will declare them married and they are willing to be married, that’s that. But it’s not a law. If you’re interested in being angry with me for saying this that’s your choice. But if you care to understand why I say this, please do some looking into it for yourself.
    In the grand scale of this universe, the Mormon church is irrelevant.

    • John Cragon says:

      Well stated… I’m not a Mormon and I could therefore give a care in the world to what they believe or prescribe/proscribe. Just like I’m not a Jehovah Witness, Catholic, Democrat, or Republican… whatever the group, their relevance means nothing in the history of the universe. All that matters to me is how I treat others. Joe Hollenbaugh, think how much more productive you could be spreading your own personal love rather then worrying about what other’s “believe.”

      • SteveBloor says:

        Some Church’s “beliefs” hurt those most vulnerable, and those who cannot speak up for themselves. It is upto others to raise awareness and help to change the world for the better.

        Human flourishing for all, should be our goal. For the betterment of all of society, including those least able to speak up for themselves.

      • Jill Kuraitis says:

        John, I find your comment globally selfish and lacking in compassion. We care because it is affecting children. We are a people who have social agreements of all kinds, including legal ones, to protect children. If we don’t reach beyond ourselves and our own families, then who are we? I say we would be unfeeling, discompassionate, and again, selfish. Reach out, not in.

      • John, consider this please. Part of my expression of love for others is to help them see through false beliefs that limit their happiness and progress. Sharing my personal experiences and viewpoints has been valuable to some people.

      • Claudia says:

        Thank you John. You can feel the hate this person has for his former church..

    • Kamis says:

      It’s not irrelevant to those of us who grew up Mormon, whose families are Mormon, who are being shunned and persecuted by our own brothers, sisters, parents, children, and spouses for leaving the organization. You have no idea what it’s like to live in a cult. It takes over your life. It is your life. It’s isolating. It exerts a lot of control over your mind. You can’t just walk away. It results in significant trauma.

    • Hope, thanks for your comment. For the record, the US Supreme Court, while not the branch that passes new laws, does in fact “make” law through its role in interpreting laws relative to the Constitution. As to my interest in the LDS church, I have many friends and family members who are still part of that faith, and I am interested in giving them my perspective. I am also interested in supporting people who are in the process of breaking out of their indoctrination. I know firsthand how difficult and painful that process can be.

      • Claudia says:

        Joseph, exactly, that is your opinion, and it clearly shows the hatred you have for the Mormon church. I was baptized as an adult, didn’t have a baby blessing or a baptism at 8. That didn’t stopped me from finding Christ through His true church and gaining a strong testimony. “…the Church’s never ending quest to control, coerce and control individuals.” You’re implying the church is a cult. It clearly shows your views, and we all have a free will. You did, you left. Now you attack. I’m sorry, I don’t share your opinion.

      • Cody says:

        Dido Claudia

      • Claudia, thanks for your response. I do not regard the LDS Church as a cult. I do not have hatred for it. I do not regard measured criticism as an “attack.” If I hate anything at all, it would be something the Church itself calls “unrighteous dominion.”

    • snowowl says:

      but individual people aren’t ‘grand scale’ and the universe is made up of tiny, insignificant and by themselves irrelevant pieces.
      If someone no longer believes all that the LDS church says then, yes, this new ruling doesn’t (on the face of things) harm them. It does harm those who do still believe that the LDS church is all that it says. There are LGBTQ members, this hurts them. They have yet to reach the point where they don’t believe and neither you nor I have the right to make them stop believing so yes, this hurts them and that is valid.
      Then there are those who are thinking about coming out to their TBM families and this is really, really going to hurt them because they may be some of the lucky ones whose parents love them more than church doctrine but if they’re TBM there’s going to be a lot of heart ache over the resulting chaos of not being allowed into the temple, not being sealed and losing their grandchildren in the eternal family scheme. Whether you believe that to be true or not is irrelevant because it’s not your heart ache…and if those considering coming out have parents who love church doctrine more, they’re faced with either living a lie or being exiled from their families.
      As to law…… if the child is in SLC and the divorce goes to court and the judge is deciding on custody……who do you think a TBM judge is going to assign custody to, the homosexual parent who is in a relationship or may be in a relationship with someone of the same sex or the TBM parent… one course damns the child’s eternal soul, the other doesn’t. As someone who wasn’t allowed a temple divorce because I didn’t have someone else they could reseal me too…. I can tell you, they decide based on the longterm eternal result and given reactions by the church when faced with incest rapes by high ranking priesthood holders… they’re going to place the child with someone who has that record over a same sex relationship because eternal salvation is all that counts.
      So maybe it’s irrelevant to you, but it’s highly relevant to many,many others.

      • Jordan Anjewierden says:

        This perspective seems unlikely. Why would a gay couple care for their children to join a church that does not reflect their own beliefs? Why would any mormon assume they could “trick” a gay couple into separation based on the idea that the couple would rather choose to be unmarried than temporarily prevent the formal association of their child with the church. While I know many thoughtful gay people, a few of whom have children, I cannot see this as a plausible reaction. While the policy could lead to hurt feelings and heartache, as most things can, I cannot see it as a manipulative strategy for controlling the will of a population of people who have no formal association with the mormon church. Especially when this assumption is contrary to the church’s doctrine regarding the divine nature of family and children.

      • Mark says:

        High ranking priesthood committing rape, and having incestuous relationships, wow, talk about totally brain washed. I think you’ve got the wrong religion, The Catholic priest are the ones with sexual misconduct issue!!! That’s pretty rotten to spread untruths, I’m sure those things have happened. But when you say high ranking priesthood leadership people think your talking about the quorum of the 12 and the first presidency. And that’s wrong, knowingly misleading people is what that is. I don’t know what your beef is with the church, that’s your deal. But don’t perpetuate myths and lies, most of us lds folks are pretty smart and have a built in BS detector.

      • Thanks Snow. You’ve brought out some good extensions of the argument about how this will play out.

    • Joseph says:

      What a waste of a comment.

      1. I imagine that what the church does is HIGHLY relevant to someone who lived in it for decades (I can testify) and who probably still has member relatives.

      But no, kicking up dirt about the child-abusive policy does not give them power. Not sure why that’s needing to be said.

      2. For Mormons, or those wishing to be, yes, lds policy is law concerning their goal of becoming Mormon.

      In the grand scheme of things, EVERYTHING is irrelevant. So why’d you comment?

    • Connie says:

      Try telling that to a young child whose schools contain the majority of MORMON children? Be left out? Not get invited to birthday parties, dates, etc? Easy for an adult, try being a child who has to go to school and hear about all the other “good” kids who are getting baptized, but you can’t. Suicide rates will go up! Two steps backwards with the LDS church this time.

    • litebkt says:

      As an ex-communicated Mormon, I know just how far the power of the Church extends into everyday life when you are now on the outside. It influences business and therefor jobs and related discrimination. It influences the courts and therefor family law (divorces, child custody, and the like) No, you can’t just leave because if you do, you leave everything behind. And then they hound you relentlessly for the next 20 years to come back into the fold in total humiliation.

    • Dolores Nelson says:

      Joseph, this is quite heartbreaking and I see it as EVIL. It’s easy enough for others to say the LDS Church can be made irrelevant. I have tried for a long time to make that true for me. My husband and I moved to Utah in 1975 after he retired from the Air Force. Had I known then what I know now, I would not have agreed to that. He was LDS mostly in name only but could never reconcile himself to the lack of honesty about church history at that time. I tried but couldn’t. My first two years trying to get a teaching job in xxxxx County were fruitless, even with an MS and glowing recommendations. After two years in xxxxx County and two years teaching at college level, xxxxx County began to be somewhat less ‘closed.’ I taught there four years, was appointed a principal on my first application, and served with distinction for 15 years. But the religious pressure was always there and it was hard to watch it applied to ‘gentile’ children both in a school setting and personally. Daughter 2 had married into a controlling LDS family, and the results of that are ongoing.
      Yes, and many of my best friends are (or more likely were) church members.

    • Tyler says:

      It is the job of the SCOTUS in *interpret* law. Which they did. So gay folks can marry now like anyone else.

  4. Brent Groesbeck says:

    Thanks for the remarks and in testing views. Confirms what I have long time felt but you put into words.

  5. Jane says:

    This was a wonderful article. I shared it with all my friends, LDS and otherwise. I’m a BYU grad class of 1991. I haven’t been active in about 30 years but officially resigned just yesterday over this ruling. I was going to do it over prop 8 but never quite got around to it, and honestly, kind of liked seeing the Relief Society sisters show up once in awhile. It brought back memories of places and people I loved that no longer welcome me as one of their own. This is an important perspective, showing just how cynical and cruel a ploy this was. Thank you so much for writing this!

  6. Tineke says:

    This is exactly what it’s about.

  7. Polly Crookston says:

    Thank you for putting into words what I have been struggling to formulate as a complete thought. Thank you.

  8. Julie says:

    I grew up in an LDS environment. Unless you have experienced their control and cruelty first hand, this move seems unbelievable. Well, believe it. When I was 15 I met a nice young man that happened to be Catholic. His family invited me to church and when I went I found it very interesting. At this time I was enrolled in Seminary (as was everyone). I asked some questions and was refused answers. I asked some more questions and then my world came to an end. I was told – in no uncertain terms – that if I didn’t stop all contact with this family – and STOP asking questions, I would ‘go to hell’. Well, I told them ‘NO’ and from that point I had no friends. No one would talk to me – literally. I was completely shunned by my piers. Everyone went out of their way to ignore me. This went on all the way through school. I am now 65. This Church is really smart and manipulative. They have no problem hurting children as long as they get what they want. Point made!

    • marsally67 says:

      I didn’t think mormons believed in hell. Yes? No?

      • BK Rodgers says:

        Not as other churches believe in hell. There are three tiers of heaven and outer darkness. and that is pretty much reserved for those such as Satan. You have to be beyond a human level of bad to be there. So no real “Hell.”

      • Damon says:

        They have the teirs, which works right into their desire to dominate individuals, because it sets their lemmings up to compete with racist to reach the highest kingdom where it’s said they can create their own worlds to dominate and live in the presence of god singing kumbaya for eternity while all the other weaklings get to dwell for eternity wishing they paid a full 10% and didn’t smoke that cigarette.

      • Damon says:

        Eachother* not racist.

  9. metwrite says:

    No… yours is not a balanced perspective…

    The rules are kind, and much kinder then your effort to be devisive.


    • SteveBloor says:

      What is divisive about standing up for those who are vulnerable and cannot speak up for themselves?

      Christlike compassion, I believe, means speaking truth to power, it means helping the oppressed and those who are discriminated against.

      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.

      Article of Faith 2:  We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

      2 Nephi 26:33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

      • Mark says:

        This is as typical tactic used by anti Mormon ministries, it’s not about the children, it’s about parents who are not living to the standards of the church! Quote all the scriptures you wish, does not make you right. I don’t see what the deal is here, if your married to a same sex partner, I guarantee your not attending sacrament meetings, and are not sending your children somewhere they believe and teach the way your living is wrong. This article is an ad hominen argument a med at defaming the Lds Faith, this guy and you don’t give a hoot about the kids, it’s about him and you obviously similar agendas

      • Vegas Girl says:

        Thank you so much for your comments & the quotes you provided. I am in the process of writing my letter asking for my membership to be removed. This helped me a lot in defining my views.
        I have family members who are in the LBFT community. I believe it is God who will judge them & decide if they have sinned. It is not up to me or the Church to do that.

      • In the article and in your comments you refer to the new policy as ‘punishment’ for children. But what is the real punishment? Having children wait until they are adults to choose baptism? Or allowing them to baptized at 8 years, and have to reconcile their parents’ lifetstyle that goes completely against the teachings of the church they just entered? Far from a punishment, this new policy saves children in LGBT homes much heartache and pain that would come if they were to be baptized. Livin as a baptized member of the LDS church in a home with LGBT parents and being forced to reconcile those 2 things in my mind would be real punishment.

      • SteveBloor says:

        Sir Walter Scott words of warning should have been heeded by the Church leadership before choosing to put in place this discriminatory policy, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.”

        The members are “duty bound to reject it”.


    • Please explain how the “rules” are kind.

      • Jethro's girl says:

        This policy is designed to protect families and to protect minor children from the confusion, and mental tug of war they might experience while they are young and living in an environment that is antithetical to the teachings of the gospel.

        It merely requires minors to wait until they reach 18 and are not legally under their parents’ rule to make a major life decision. If they then want to join the church, they are required to state that while they may love and respect their parents, they do not accept that gay marriage is in keeping with God’s law.
        That’s it. No denunciation of parents or family. Just the institution of gay marriage.

        These kids (and even their gay parents) can attend church, participate in activities, receive priesthood blessings when they are sick or troubled.

        Exactly how is any of this unkind?

      • It’s “kind” to not allow an innocent baby a Blessing? What part of the requirement of stating that your parents are basically sinners in order to join the church is kind and loving? This is serious…… It flies directly in the face of the Ten Commandments!

      • Biz says:

        Why not just make it a blanket policy that no one gets baptized unless hey are age 18 or older? Then The Church can be assured that all members are voluntarily and knowingly able to make that decision for themselves. And leave the status of their families out of it all! It shouldn’t matter if indeed, The Church REALLY believes that “all men will be punished for their OWN sins”.

  10. Petra Hall says:

    I’m curious about if another aspect of it could be to lower the “risk” of growing a more positive attitude towards same sex relationships within the church if more members would have been growing up in s same sex household. Not saying this is the case, but I’m curious if it could influence too?

    • Petra, I think you’re right. I suspect this is the purpose of requiring those affected by this policy to disavow their upbringing.

    • Cathy S. says:

      Petra, that is my belief as well, its all about keeping them as outsiders or “others”. Homosexual relationships will be normalized, and will be perceived as less “icky” by church members, thus lessening the “sinful nature” of homosexual relationships. They are just drawing a big line in the wet sand, unfortunately for them the high tide is lapping at the line. Honestly, they are just spitting in the wind. Already most kids under 20 do not have any kind of anti-guy bigotry, they just don’t care about sexual orientation. 25% of Mormons believe homosexual marriage is okay according to the latest Pew survey.

  11. Thank you for a very insightful explanation. I am not LDS but attended high school in Utah and was exposed to the Mormon church. My interest/concern is with transgender Mormons and I have studied, where it comes from. The LDS church follows all the characteristics of a cult including manipulation in some of the most subtle and excruciatingly nasty ways, this is one of the worst I have seen.

    • Thanks Sandra. The Church has acknowledged some very disturbing manipulation all the way back to its founding days. Interestingly, the very facts that they now publish themselves were once completely denied, and speaking of them was considered apostasy.

  12. Teancum says:

    Do you recognize that you’re only fulfilling prophecy that you were once taught by feeling the need to voice your opinion or in other words speak out against the church? Check that, the eternal laws of God? Im sure there were times in your life when you “knew” the prophesied wolves in sheeps clothing would rear their ugly head and you’d be ready for them. And yet here you are….

    Tell me, honestly, what does the church have to gain by marginalizing it’s members? You’ve stated this clearly in this post and yet it’s empty. So try again.

    Would it be money? Surely you know the clergy is not paid but maybe you fell victim to your natural man and engaged in the conspiracy theories of a network that funnels money to their posterity and yet, just like the “illumanti” where is the evidence? You’d think the disgruntled members of this posterity would have outed this by now. People with greed sooner or later show their true colors and yet could you say any of the brethren, in your lifetime, have showed signs of this greed?

    So if it isn’t money, well it must be this power you speak of. But who wants power just for powers sake? If the goal were to brainwash, well I guess it’s to create better human beings who donate millions of hours of their free time to further brainwash others to be Christ-like human beings. I mean the humanitarianism alone is frightening. This is the perfect front!

    Or maybe it is what it really is and you just wanted to take your ball and go home.

    Im not God and or prophet, but my man, speaking out against God, having a knowledge of the truth like this is of the gravest of sins. You could be right in your “crusade” that I guarantee is a bottomless pit of peace seeking. Or you could be wrong. What comes next? You’re already well aware.

    It’s time to repent. All of you.

    • SteveBloor says:


      Do you realise your words could be applied to any Christian group, or even an Islamic or Islamist group.

      What does any religious leader get out of it?

      What do the leaders of the Watchtower Organisation get out of it? Or the leadership of the Seventh Day Adventists?

      What does Warren Jeffs get out of his position of influence in the other Mormon group, the FLDS?

      You are naively deluded if you cannot see the stark similarities between Mormon leaders and other religious leaders.

      Of course the General Authorities are paid! Only the naively gullible lay clergy, like I was, serve for free.

      The Church is a big business and it needs feeding.

      • Todd says:

        First The prophet and general authorities do not receive a dime from the church of Jesus christ of latter day saints nor does any go to their posterity. Many leaders are retired doctors, lawyers etc. Church business trips are funded through the church. Personal
        purchases are not or trips. 10% of all income by a single working household pay tithes. That means if they prophet made income at his job not his elected calling as prophet or apostles or a bishop or stake president they still pay tithes out their Personal income. As their called position they earn not one cent on church time. It is all given freely without money received. I was a missionary for two years. I paid to go, the church of j.c. of lds did not pay me on cent. I have had many callings never received a penny for their time.
        Secondly regarded this new information coming out from the church has nothing to do with the gay community or their children. It has to do with following our Heavenly Father and his teachings. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed why in the bible because they chose to unfollow gods commandments about marriage and sex between a man and woman that are married.
        Children are covered by the atonement of Jesus Christ tell the age of conscience thought. We adults are covered by the atonement as we strive to follow Heavenly Father’s commandments. Only one person was perfect on this earth and that is Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father did not let his son, our brother Jesus Christ suffer in the garden of Gethsemane for naught. He formed a path to go back to our Heavenly Father. That does not give us a free pass to do whatever we want and still go to heaven. We cannot trample H.F. commandments under our feet and still expect a free pass. Our H.F. loves us too much as he gave his only son for our sins and the chance to return to heaven. An immortal body was a free gift from rising from the dead as christ did but not a free pass to heaven.

        Important part I follow H.F. through his prophet and apostles, I still have my free agency to follow ornot, but have to accept the conquiensce of disobeying. I know H.F. loves us to give his only son. I know he still uses prophets and apostles that our righteous men. I know the holy priesthood of H.F. is still on this earth in the keys of righteousness. I know the atonement is real and that we all can return to heaven if we chose H.F. will. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    • selphish says:

      If you were really being Christ-like, you’d accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation. Jesus never turned anyone away, but you apparently don’t take issue with your church doing so.

      • Jethro's Girl says:

        Jesus turned a LOT of people away and made a LOT of people angry. He called some people vipers and referred to one person as a fox.
        He loved everyone, but he did not ever accept sin. He would tell people to “go and sin no more.” Or he said that anyone who caused harm to a child would be better off being weighed down with a millstone and thrown into the deep.
        One man sought to follow Christ and asked only for time to bury his dead father. Christ basically said, “it’s him or me” and the man would not follow.

        Christ loved, but he was often harsh, judgmental, contentious, divisive and never, EVER changed his commandments based on public opinion.

    • Who was it that was “tossed” out of Heaven for wanting to control and not allow free agency???

    • Teancum, thanks for your comment. If you like, I will parse it for you to show you how judgmental, condescending, and high-handed you have been here. This is the type of thought pattern that has been driven into your mind by those you defend. I’m sorry you are still laboring under this kind of indoctrination.

    • Cathy S. says:

      Teancum, its about control, at any cost. And I think they (Mormon leadership) are really confused about this backlash.
      I grew up in Mormon church, married a very nice non-Mormon, we raised our 3 children in the Mormon faith. He took the kids to church when I was out of town. I never pressured him to join, the missionaries got frustrated with me more than once about that. Long story short, my oldest daughter started getting disturbing lessons in YW and seminary. 5 years ago next month we stopped attending the Mormon church and started attending our current church. And I learned what Christianity should really be about. No sermons on sexual sins, obedience, or following ecclesiastical leaders. Our new church was part of the reformation movement that swept the country right around the birth of Mormonism. I’ve had to look up the movement’s founders names because there are no songs or sermons about them. No separating based on male or female. No care about sexual orientation. Open financials. Suddenly my physical and mental health improved 100%. My husband was no longer that non-member guy, we were a complete family unit. To see my husband passing communion with his daughters, well there are just no words to describe how right and beautiful it is. True, true Christianity. Respectfully Teancum, I don’t think you have experienced true Christianity. We are all sinners, it is hypocritical to call others to repentance. I am truly happy that Mormonism works for you, but it is a dangerous and harmful religion to many, especially if you don’t fit the Mormon norm.

      • Rachel says:

        This path of your family is lovely. While I choose no religion as it is my path that makes me happy, I love that you and your family have found a path that you love. I imagine if all people could live truly from their hearts as you show. My heart goes out to those who are feeling so much pain and anxiety right now.
        When I left the LDS church when I was 18, it was very challenging. Most of my peers pushed me out of their lives, I was kicked out of my family unit for the next seven years, and went through some very lonely times. But I will never take my decision back. It is amazing to believe that leaving that church would set me free to live and find happiness.

    • Damon says:

      Teancum, first, prove all that you say…show me evidence of the gravity of speaking out against god…

      Second, answer me this, how can a finite action result in an infinite consequence? If you truly believe the tenets of our earthly actions will forever punish us, then you must also believe that a child should forever be punished for one of their actions. It truly makes no sense and us not a loving and caring belief system but rather one that espouses hate, rigidity, and selfish desires for utter control over others…that’s not a good I desire to follow nor believe in.

  13. Is it just me…… Or doesn’t this sound more like Satan ( controlling and not allowing free agency..)?

  14. Todd says:

    I don’t get where you get “leaked news” from. It was publicly and officially announced.

    • Todd, can you cite your source for that? The history I have is that Mr. Dehlin was given the documents, and posted them. That is the account as I saw it firsthand, and as reported in national news. The documents were printed and distributed as an addendum to the Handbook, to be seen only by specific authorized LDS leaders. The church did acknowledge later that the documents are authentic.

    • Sue Emmett says:

      Only after it had been leaked and made public many hours before they acknowledged it. Do your homework before you make a statement you are “sure” is “true”.

  15. dustontodd says:

    correction…His Kingdom.

    Hey Steve.
    virtual high-fives for fun times .
    honestly, i’m exhausted by the onslaught of anger that has been expressed the past few days. and i know i speak from a very limited point of few, as any individual does. it is impossible for any one person to know all that sits within another. can i have compassion, empathy, and respect for another? of course. and i do. and my heart sank when i see such events turn the way they do in these times. do i see anger fueled deeply by pain from those outside the church? absolutely. do i stop to consider that most of this is fueled by long roads of pain and suffering? yes i do. therefore, i’m not quick to throw words, i’m not quick to make stands, but rather i try to extend my arm of love and unity. sadly, i feel that those outside the church don’t. in current culture it is okay to poke at the LDS faith. we’re the Ned Flanders, the geeks, the goody-goodys. we’re the boring class that doesn’t drink, wears weird underwear, and has big families. so it’s okay to jab away. it gets tiresome. it’s persecution at it’s core. it existed before, it drove members in the 1800’s across the country, and it burns bright today. and no it’s not okay. it is generalizing, stereotyping, and prejudice, and very much a double standard. but we swallow it. we’re in the beehive state, and we’re busily buzzing trying to live a life like any other. and many of the bees who were once part of the hive, for one reason or another have left. with even more anger and vengeance they return to kick. and perhaps are fueled to prove their new position and place. there’s so much more piss and vinegar in a person who has left the church, then one who never was part of it. it’s odd and sad. and it’s here in the capitol of where the hive was built. yeah, it gets exhausting. and i don’t see other cultures, kicking the hive at the Vatican, complaining that there’s too many popes or nuns on the streets within a city of a city that they built (Rome). i don’t see others complaining that they can’t enter whatever rooms, on whatever days. they don’t complain because there’s a level of respect… but not SLC. it’s fun to jab at Ned and his neighbors. did i mention i’m tired?
    so.. for beginners, that’s my take.
    i read the article. and i remained open minded. and yes, the Church has a worldwide influence and with such can and does spread it’s influence. yes it takes care of it’s own and builds temples for it’s members, it builds houses to worship on Sundays, it builds schools and places of employment…so it builds it’s kingdom. but little did the article also bring to light the humanitarian acts that this kingdom feeds those that suffer, the poor, the inflicted, the needy. millions of dollars are rushed into disasters, the church being the first to respond. little does the article show that unlike worldly kingdoms such as the castles found in France which were paid by forced peasants that never got to eat their cake, those kings soaked in their own fats and earthly dominion. the Kingdom the church speaks of is paid by the people. i guess it’s paid by the people, for the people. for all people. those who wish to worship, and those who need help.
    and most of the article is written in this tone, yes another angry and one-sided, and very limited point of view. (it really doesn’t matter how much schooling was done at BYU. i never went to BYU and i’m glad i didn’t..haha).

    the words that struck me in this article as i read it were: power, control, dominion, deviously clever, and exploitation of a child.
    none of which i have ever felt as i have sat on a pew at church.
    let me ask you. have you ever sat in a meeting at a church? (rhetorical) the experience is not exotic. it wouldn’t inspire the visual senses. many buildings are built out of center block and painted over, that’s the adorning walls. the pulpit isn’t robed in golden silk, and the windows are just glass. yet.. we come. we come and sit in cheerios smashed into a the bench from a snotty nosed kid. why? because it’s the spirit that has reveled in each of the hearts of the members. it is the spirit that drives the people to come. no, this kingdom of center block is not gaudy. but the riches we find are in the spiritual form. and it is far from seeking power and manipulation. and we the members do it freely. no… actually we serve without pay AND pay a tithe. and this becomes the major difference of spirituality and religion. where spirituality only serves the individual, we serve and support and build and love others, we are organized, therefore we are religion. that is the kingdom we try to build. it is very much the opposite of what the article states. and yet we are attacked, and kicked, and jabbed, repeatedly. and by and large it’s okay for the opposition to do so. (it’s really not).
    do these members make these rules? nope.
    do these leaders elect themselves? nope.
    did prophets of old shy away from God calling them to step forth in their “power”? yes. think Moses. think Jonah (he’d rather slip into the mouth of a whale)…. and so too do the prophets and leaders of the gospel feel today. i would imagine it’s a very humbling feeling with a mountain of inadequacy. but they do it nonetheless, just as Moses of old.
    do all the members agree with all the rules? nope.
    do they have a right to choose? absolutely.
    is it hard to consider at times? absolutely.
    do we understand all matters? not even a smidgen.
    is there a difference to us of the laws of God and the laws of the earth? yes.
    does that mean things may come to conflict? yes.
    is this any different from times of old? not in the slightest. they crucified Christ because they didn’t agree. he stated “My kingdom is not of this world..” John 18:36 and it’s hard for many, including members, to fully understand.
    and this is exactly why i have felt this matter, our current matter on the table of the children, is very difficult. and it’s met with conflict. and what are Gods laws and earthly laws may clash. and anyone can argue and say “who’s to stay what is God’s laws on earth, these are just men making these laws”… and so we circle back to my urges to pray and ask for myself. do i agree with this current statement? do i have the right to choose? do i continue in my faith? do i support? do i fully understand? do i hurt for my family and friends? do i try to love all as He would have me do?
    and i pray.
    and i pray.
    and i pray.

    to my family and friends who are struggling in this current event… for whatever it’s worth. i am sorry for your pain. i sincerely empathize with you. i feel. i’m an artist and a tormented soul and i’m blessed with the burden of feeling deeply. and trust me, i feel. i love my friends, my cousins, my family that are gay. just as i love others who are hetero.
    we all suffer. we all hurt. we are all sick. i am an only child, raised in a home with a mentally ill (manic) mother who chose drugs and alcohol, who died a decade long death of alcoholism. tragedy. i lost her when i was 16. i just lost my father to ALS. he was a man who i couldn’t really speak with my whole life. in my youth my parents have been taken from me. my wife has a disease called takayasu arteritis that forced her to have an emergent heart valve replacement at the age of 24. i suffer from depression. this year has been absolute hell as many wounds have been awoken. these are hard times, and this life though it be a blink on an eternal timeline… is hella hard. and i’m not making these rules, and i don’t fully understand them. but what i have felt in my heart, on every single sunday that i go to worship, is that this gospel speaks truth. on the sabbath i rest from the world and it’s chaos. i feel peace. and that’s my heart and spirit speaking, not a man’s fist at the pulpit telling me to believe such.
    and so i continue to go, thirsting for that light and love, wrestling with God to find truth and answers. and learning, and growing, and becoming. it’s crazy exciting and His kingdom is crazy exotic and worth all the fight and persecution i face.
    …and i’m tired. 😉

    • dustontodd says:

      *or Joseph. whomever.
      and reading your bio i now see you too were once a member, now kicking.
      all is well. all is well.

    • Be well, sir, and I hope you do find peace. If your faith brings you peace, I am happy for you.

      • Wolf says:

        Now THIS, Joseph Hollenbaugh, was a truly compassionate response (to Dustontodd). And thanks for your article, I really appreciate your analysis.

      • Michael W says:

        Joseph, thanks for not trying to tear down a system of support for dusontodd in your response. I know that examining and questioning the policy and governance of an organization does not have to be personal, but sometimes in the course of discourse it frequently happens that attempts at being constructively critical can become deathly destructive, making casualties out of people who once had an edifying balance of belief.

        It seems to me that dustontodd would be perfectly capable of maintaining whatever course he was already pursuing whatever your reply, so maybe you had little chance to influence him, but I’m glad that your wishes for him didn’t sound enraged at his disagreeing with you.

    • Susan Berryhill says:

      Your comments are well put and appreciated. I lost my alcoholic father who drowned in his own blood, and lay dead in a hotel room for 3 days and I learned about it on the news. He used to tell my mother before they divorced that he knew the Mormons had something he did not have, but he was not willing to do what it took to gain it either. Each of us carry a burden of some kind of pain no one else is aware of. I know the Church is true and is a Gospel of love. I know this is a decision that was done after much pondering, discussing and praying. I don’t see it as being against children. If they want to join the Church when they are older nothing is stopping them. I think the reality is that gay couples first off would not be taking their children to Primary and getting them ready for baptism. They and their children are welcome at Church. The gay couples I know are more comfortable worshipping in a church that has no tenants about homosexuality. There is more to this than meets the eye. To those who want to find fault with the Church, they will use this as ammunition. To those who are faithful members, we will take this as a doctrine that we don’t fully understand, but we trust our Priesthood leaders. Eventually it will all come out in the wash!

      • Michael W says:

        Susan, I agree that there is more to this than just it being a policy that’s meant to ostracize. I firmly believe that heavenly Father works through the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon church, or, the Church) and so I don’t see the evil intent in the leaders of the Church that has been talked about here. Beyond just thinking what the leaders of the Church are trying to achieve, it’s rewarding to also ask yourself what God would want to achieve.

        It seems to me that a reason that God would allow minors who have same-sex or BT parents wait until they are legal adults to join the Church has roots in what baptism is. Article of Faith 4 says that we are baptized for the remission of sins. And who can sin? Well, only people who are wholly accountable. We often see 8-year-old children as being considered accountable enough to sin and therefore need forgiveness. But why at 8 years old? Why not 11, or 14 or, well, even 18? After all, in the vast majority of trials put on by the US government where US citizens under the age of 18 are convicted, minors are withheld from receiving the same punishment that adults would receive, meaning the US Courts and Law does not see minors as being fully accountable for their actions.

        Why can’t accountability work similarly in the Church for its members?

        Mormon taught his son, Moroni, about accountability and baptism by quoting Jesus, “‘Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them” (Moroni 8:8). According to Mormon, “little children need no repentance, neither baptism” because “little children are alive in Christ” (Moro. 8:11-12).

        It seems to me that God may be taking responsibility for the children of same-sex families as well. Besides, you can find several stories in these comments of Mormons who weren’t acting in a Christ-like manner, so maybe this is heavenly Father’s way of saying, “I’ve got this.” And if a 13-year-old child of same-sex parents dies in a car wreck, maybe their future isn’t so different from that of a 3 year old also dies suddenly.

        Destroying or corrupting a family unit is gravely sensitive, so I can see situations where the policy would prevent a child from being pitted against her parents and primary guardians as the result of another ward or branch member’s off-handed comment. After all, an 18 year old is more able to take responsibility for how her own feelings and perspectives toward her parents measure up to what Jesus Christ feels for them than an 8 year old.

        Well, that’s what I’m thinking about it right now, at least.

      • Biz says:

        The Church should not baptize anyone under the age of 18 if they really cared about children and people making free and responsible choices for themselves. This really is all about controlling the membership by manipulating their emotions.

      • Susan, thanks for your heartfelt and relevant comment. I imagine your are paying attention, and if so you will see the many personal stories of people who are being affected by this. A lot of gay people believe in the Church.

      • Michael, you make a fair point. Why not handle it the same way as an interfaith family?

    • Jess says:

      Dustontodd. Thanks, your words are inspired and I feel the love. Something coherent among all this nonsesnse.

  16. Mark says:

    Do you really this is about the children, does this guy have some hidden agenda?? Well maybe not so hidden. Smells of your typical Anti-Mormon rhetoric, deflecting from the true nature of the policy change. Who really thinks that this is really going to affect any significant amount of people? If you’re living in a same sex marriage or partnership I strongly doubt you’re sending the kids off to the Lds church. This article is intended to be inflammatory and separative and has no other purpose than to create an issue where none exist.

    • Mark, thanks for your comment. I differ with you that an issue does not exist. The response to this policy shows that for many, many people, there is an issue.

      I can say honestly that my only “agenda” is to share my point of view to those who may find it useful.

      • Jordan Anjewierden says:

        But who of those who have posted regarding the issue are actually affected by the policy? I would like to hear them, rather than everyone else who thinks they understand their situation or perspective without listening first.

  17. To those I haven’t replied to personally, thank you for your thoughts.

  18. Nancy says:

    In a word, it’s blackmail.

  19. Vivienne Davies says:

    Hallelujah! This is exactly what I have been saying. They are using the children as a pawn to combat the gay parents and dictate their family dynamics!

    I love the honesty here, and especially with the long history with the church!
    I’m born and raised LDS but last year reported to a non denominational place of worship.

    God and Christ would never prompt such a horrible act against a child or their gay parents. After all, God created them. They were meant to be gay. They were chosen to bear this cross, and a heavy cross it is.

  20. Monte says:

    Hope, please stop regurgitating the same sad pablum you hear on your Hate-filled Talk Radio. The Supreme Court doesn’t make laws, they just call BS on laws that aren’t constitutional. That is ALL they did on same-sex marriage, state that laws could not prohibit same sex marriage, Please stop fearing the world and learn what is true and what is not. I’m sorry your Hate was not codified but don’t blame the Supreme Court for making a non-existent law that scares you.

  21. Kristine says:

    Great piece thanks for your thoughts. It is consistent with the Church’s love of money and power. Everything in this church from its beginnings appears to be a con for money and power. From the money digging con man always looking for “golden plates” and new young brides. To the real estate holding company that pretends to be a christian church that would give it’s right arm for more money and power, that simply has nothing to do with love.

  22. Jeremy says:

    I believe there’s one more aspect that is not explicitly covered in this article: it keeps the children of gay people from “poisoning the well” with their happiness in a lifestyle that is condemned by the church. By making them an unprivileged class, it discourages other faithful members from having empathy for them and seeing them as people.

  23. The natural extension of this decision by the church is to place pressure on members to disassociate themselves from family who are LGBT, disassociate themselves from friends who are LGBT, to fire co-workers who are LGBT, and the list goes on. The word disavow is incredibly incendiary and shows members the gravity of how important it is for them and children to not be connected to LGBT.

  24. CC says:

    On the legal issue–this new policy may end up biting the Church members. I’m aware of a Mormon divorce that happened in 2004 in Tennessee–he left the Church to lead a gay lifestyle and she wanted to move with the kids to Utah to have family support and because she’d been accepted to law school in Utah. Tennessee law prohibited ex-spouses from moving children across state lines for “vindictive reasons”, and his lawyer argued that Mormons were vindictive towards gay people and that she should therefore not be allowed to move with the kids. This was before Prop 8, so she was able to persuade the judge her reasons for moving back to Utah were not vindictive–she even had to testify about the Church’s stance on homosexuals.
    If the same thing happened today, I’m afraid she’d lose.

  25. Belinda Hutchings says:

    I confess, I was puzzled…a child over 8 has agency over his or her own salvation, but by doing this, the Church is putting the responsiblity of the child’s salvation directly on the shoulders of their ‘apostate’ parents. Do they do the same for others who were excommunicated or declared apostate or is this action reserved only for members in same sex marriages? It seems to me that by this new mandate, the church itself it taking the agency from the children.

    Yes, it is blackmail and hideously manipulative. While I’m no longer active, my family is and when I read the news yesterday, I felt sick. Members were commenting on articles saying no…it couldn’t be true. Dang.

    On Monday I’ll be calling SLC and having them removed my name from the membership rolls.

  26. Sarah Fuller says:

    Great article Joseph.

    In addition I have been considering the implications of this new policy on all who are associated in any way with anyone LGBT+. Bishops will be able to use this policy to assert authority and discipline on families who support their LGBT children by allowing them to live in their homes beyond age 18, elderly members who are being cared for in the homes of their LGBT+ children, siblings sharing a home when one is LGBT+. The result will be an increase in family relationship breakdowns, mental health issues, homelessness, self harm and suicide … the hearts of children will be turned AGAINST their fathers and the fathers hearts AGAINST their children, while Jesus will only suffer the children of heterosexuals to come unto him and claim the kingdom of heaven, while children of LGBT+ will be hindered from doing the same.

    All from a church who claims to be “Christ centred” and “family focused” yet who second guesses and redefines the words of the Jesus in whom their church is named.

  27. ChoppedLiver says:

    It’s all about peer pressure. I have a grand-niece who is: (1) fourteen; (2) coming out as gay; and (3) biracial. (She is, in fact, dark and delightsome!) I can’t help but wonder how long it will take her TBM cousins to start telling her she’s going to hell. The church purposely creates a brick wall between believers and Gentiles. It’s good for “families” only as long as every member of the family is a member of the church.

  28. Tom Edwards says:

    I really like Steve’s original post. I think he is really on to something. I have some personal experience in this area. I recently left my wife and we are now divorced. In the process of leaving her I found out that her Bishop actually advised her not to let me see our children. I learned this from several reliable sources, including my ex-wife and my parents who are all still a faithful members of the LDS church. I was told that he wanted her to deny me any access to our children in an effort to get me to come back to her and to return to church. So in a way that is not unlike Steve’s assessment of what the church is doing now with gay couples. They are using the children as leverage to deter people from leaving. Now in the mind of my wife’s Bishop, I am sure he believed he was perfectly justified in his actions. In his mind he was doing me a favor and he would do whatever it took to convince me of my error and to get me back into the fold. But this kind of thinking is very dangerous. This is how people justified burning witches at the stake and torturing people into confessing heresy during the Spanish Inquisition. In this way of thinking the ends justify the means. However, in my judgment any organization that would use children as leverage to keep people from exercising their free will pursuing their own personal happiness is an organization that makes me nervous and I applaud Steve and others for having the courage to point out these flaws.

  29. Duke of Earl Grey says:

    Those are both very interesting points. As to the pressure tactic for gay members still in a heterosexual marriage, I fully agree, this may keep many people from divorcing or remarrying who otherwise would consider it.

    On the second point, I’m still confused as to how the policy is supposed to play out vis a vis custody. The plain language of the handbook update suggests that custody is irrelevant. If the child has at least one parent in a same-sex relationship, ordinances are off the table, doesn’t matter who they live with. But then, I did hear anecdotal evidence suggesting someone’s bishop heard from higher up that the policy would apply only to children in cases where gay parents have full custody, not split custody. If that were the case, indeed, we would see some courtroom drama concerning children’s souls.

  30. crazyjoe says:

    I find this entertaining. This Joseph dude must be seeking publicity for self gratification. If this policy is truth then all is well because truth comes from God correct? If this policy is false and of the devil, well then is it not great that they are denying these youth membership??? What is the beef here, what are you looking for Joseph? Sounds like you should be more concerned if they open the gates wide and set no standards and try to sucks everyone they can in – would not that fit the financial gains argument you mentioned better? Sounds to me like you need to decide who you are before you try to sell your points of view. You have a whole lot of self contradiction going on.
    Is there really someone out there that thinks homosexualality is fine yet still would choose to have there children join a religion that believes it a sin? If so those children face alot bigger issues than whether or not they can be baptized as a minor. I hope most of society can see you are seeking something other than good for others, as that is obviously not your motivation.

    • Anders L Höglund says:

      Should victims of a scam keep quiet and not warn others?!

    • Sarah Fuller says:

      CrazyJoe, are you really that crazy that you have no knowledge of the many many MANY LGBT members who entered into a mixed orientation at the counsel of the church? Really? I’m just amazed at how many members are making comments such as yours. These families produce children. Statistically they also invariably end in divorce, leaving one often inactive gay parent, and one active heterosexual parent. Right in the middle of all this you find the kids who might live with one parent and their same-sex partner, and spend weekends attending church with their heterosexual parent.

      WAKE UP! This policy is not about you and your beliefs, it is not (or shouldn’t be) about the parents and their beliefs. It is about the children who have absolutely no choice in the matter but who are bandied about as pawns by the adults running this church who should know better.

  31. Andy says:

    Interesting and illuminating. Than you
    I presume the policy change will be applied worldwide.
    But how successfully can it be administered in the UK?
    There are strong equality and anti discriminatory laws in the UK that greatly protect lgbt rights and freedoms.
    I would imagine that this blatant targeting and manipulation of young children belonging to lgbt families within the church organisation may be viewed as harmful to the child’s development within that closed community.
    Can the church, which is open for public worship, so easily apply this heinous policy here in the UK?

    • Sarah Fuller says:

      Interesting question. It will be interesting to see if any government anywhere would be willing to take this on. Netherlands maybe. It’s encouraging to know that the brits at least stood up against the church with regards to their avoidance of paying property tax, so fingers crossed they will step up again.

  32. Anders L Höglund says:

    Should victims of a scam keep quiet and not warn others?!

  33. Dcollins@landsberg.com says:

    I don’t subscribe to the idea that this eminated from power. There is something else going on here. I hear that it stems from the church finding itself in this exact situation which created internal family issues of both parents and the children. I believe it was reactionary and will be changed. Whether it is or isn’t changed though, I will not break my covenants with God simply because I don’t agree with the policies of men. That would be much too shortsighted of me.

    • SteveBloor says:

      How are you so sure you made covenants with God and not men?

    • Pat says:

      But if the leaders of the church are the prophets who speak for God, and they in turn made the policy, would that not then mean the policy is what the church sees as the word of God? Even if it is a case of them misinterpreting, if the prophets made this ruling, and it’s not the word of God, or shown fallible in their interpretation did they not then show that the leaders of the church are not acting in accordance to his wishes? Or at the very least were incapable of interpreting his wishes? Which then brings question to the policies of the church? Which in turn proves that the church is fallible, in which case all of its policies are now questionable.

  34. Pingback: So, You Heard Mormons Don't Like Gay Couples and Their Kids? (or, The New Policy Sucks) - Nearing Kolob Nearing Kolob

  35. B says:

    wow. 😦 So very sad.

  36. cbcarpenter says:

    Your bitterness toward the LDS church is apparent. Move on. If you choose not to believe in it, so be it. There are many religions that I don’t agree with, but I don’t spend my time trying to tear them down. Beliefs are very personal and should be treated with respect. “As I have loved you, love one another.”

    • Love one another……that’s funny you should quote that…….. None of this resembles “love one another”!

    • Jill Kuraitis says:

      It is not just the anti-gay beliefs of the LDS church to which we are objecting; it is also the BEHAVIOR of the church in singling out children to use to illustrate those beliefs. No amount of “mind your own business” will make me back off from wanting to protect children from hurt, or prevent their being ostracized, or to keep them from having to feel excluded, inferior, or “the other.” I don’t care a bit that you feel intruded upon by non-Mormons. I am intruding because my instincts as a mother and a human are telling me your church is hurting children, and I won’t stand by quietly.

    • CB, I am not addressing private belief. I am addressing the policy of a major religion and how that policy is likely to affect people. I respect religious freedom and I respect that which is held sacred by individuals. Respect is not equal to unquestioning acceptance of harmful ideas.

  37. mvmcentire says:

    Thank you for your insight, Joseph. It seems that the LDS organization is doing exactly that. It dovetails nicely with their manipulative: “Do you really want to disappoint your parents by leaving?”

    The inclusion of the word choice “disavow” seems over the top, but perhaps it was done purposefully to encourage their members to come to the defense of their organization, thereby strengthening their testimony in the same way that it does for missionaries. I suspect that the purpose of missionaries isn’t to recruit more members, but that the act of testifying 500+ times to strangers is supposed to cement their relationship with the organization.

    What’s extremely clear by this new policy is that the organization does not have a place for LGBTQ people. Now if the members would go ahead and stop giving birth to new ones, they could leave this issue behind and continue on with the business of building their kingdom.

  38. Catherine Callow-Heusser says:

    Thank you. Very well said. The potential harm seems enormous. I hope the LDS church feels justified in adding confusion and potentially increasing the termination of lives because people feel hopeless. Sadly, I’m sure they don’t care. That just means they can “reclaim” those lives “on the other side.”

  39. art pritchard says:

    In these latter times, the social considerstions of children; used as a ploy because of emotion; and the masses having fallen for that trick, pushing the idea, that thinking children as any different then teenagers and adults to be subject to the horrors of life because of their helplessness, has
    reduced the masses to mindless creatures. The plan has been all along to reduce the adults to emotion much mor e then logic, rational thinking and reason. The planers stated as much in their writing. Emotion has taken their place and tolorance is the key word along with “raciest.” The devil is winning the battle this time where in the first one he lost.

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  41. hermite2000 says:

    I believe that Joseph, though knowledgeable about the Church, has some animosity that is clouding his understanding of this policy. This is a clarification policy and is nothing new. We don’t baptize children under the age of 18 without he permission of their parents. It is that simple, this is a policy of love that keeps families together. And yes, it puts the burden on the “head of household’ to either accept the basic precepts of the Church or not. If the Church started baptizing children without their parents permission and basic acceptance of the Church’s doctrine, then we would be doing them a disservice. This is about love and nothing more, and again this policy is not new, just clarified for this modern era. Peace.

    • Sarah Fuller says:

      You cannot present this as a “clarification”. To clarify there would have had to be a policy in place that directly addresses the issue of children living in same sex households in the first place. No such policy existed therefore it cannot be clarified. Similar policies existed that addressed children from polygamist or muslim households. If those policies need clarifying then they can be clarified. This is the introduction of a new policy.

      Also, with regards to this new policy, perhaps you misunderstand it. Parental consent does not come into it. In the past gay parents have consented to their child’s baptism, often out of respect for a former heterosexual spouse who is active and takes their children to church. No, there can be no parental consent.

      When you place a child in this position, not only does it single out the child among its peers as different from them, but it also creates new (often previously resolved) arguments in a family that often includes one gay and one heterosexual parent. Will the gay parent be as supportive of the heterosexual parent taking their child to church knowing now that their child is now singled out in this way? Will the heterosexual parent blame the gay one for standing in the way of their child’s saving ordinances “hindering them” as Jesus would say, from coming to him? This can in no way be justified as an act of love. What about the feelings of grandparents and other family members who may already be at loggerheads with the gay person in their midst? Now they have even more to throw at that gay person as the family continues to break down rather than build up.

      The church is willing to accept the child into the church environment where it will be constantly reminded of its conflicting position, the position that is of no fault of its own. The policy is completely divisive and works towards ultimately damaging the relationship between a child and its parent. If it were a policy of love then the child would be either fully accepted by the church, or fully rejected, but not slapped right in the middle.

  42. johnrpack says:

    The church isn’t targeting children. Can you imagine a policy where the children of apostates are retained on the membership roles of the church? Now THAT would be controversial. This isn’t.

    • Are you being facetious?

    • Vegas Girl says:

      They are not talking about “retaining” memberships of children of apostates. They are talking about denying the blessings & teachings to children even when their same-sex parents want them to be blessed & baptized. They want their children to grow up in the church.
      My father was inactive & my mother was not a member when I was a child. Good neighbors took my siblings & me to church, Primary, etc. I was baptized by my grandfather. Children can be members & grow up in the church no matter what or who their parents are. I have a son who is transgender. I have an ex-husband who is gay. I will not denounce either. I will denounce my membership first.

  43. Cody Long says:

    Interesting article. But I would submit that that the policy is harsher than you believe. If you read the closely, if one parent in a traditional LDS household leaves the marriage and enters a same-gender marriage, the children are barred from joining the church even if the children do not live at all with the gay parent and live 100% of the time with the parent who goes to church faithfully. The rule is black and white. There are no exceptions. If there were exceptions, the rule would have been written to say something like “a child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship may only be baptized, etc. if (1) the child lives full time with the other parent and that other parent is not living in a same-gender relationship. (2)….”

  44. Adam Z says:

    I see four main camps developing here:

    Camp 1) If you firmly believe that Christ is the head of the LDS church, then this moment is a minor bump in the road. If you do, then, even though you may be confused as to the reason behind it, or if you question the administrative necessity of such a change, you will feel settled because you can accept it with faith. Your biggest challenge may be to patient and understanding with those in the second camp who are wrestling with a crisis of faith.

    Camp 2) If you are uncertain, or as Mormons would put it, struggling with your testimony, then you will likely have the most turmoil. This may make you question more. In this case you are presented with a choice: either decide that this is further evidence that god doesn’t lead the LDS church, or dive deeper into the process of finding a testimony, and strengthen it. But either way, a moment like this causes you to have to move one direction or another, and this is likely painful.

    Camp 3) If you believe the LDS church to be a church of men and not led by God, then you have an understandable position of being confused and upset. You may be even deeply offended. Yet, if you believe in religious freedom, you’ll only be upset from the outside looking in. You don’t believe in the validity of the Mormon church’s beliefs anyway, so your reaction will be to shake your head in the foolishness of others. You’ll make fun of them a bit, then move on with your life.

    Camp 4) If you don’t believe that churches should have the freedom and right to operate on their own and/or that people should be actively discouraged from becoming Mormon, then you will become even more aggressive and take whatever action is necessary to tear the Mormons down. You will view then as an enemy combatant, and this is an opportunity to try to remove them from power. You will use this additional error on their part as a weapon to erode their religious liberty and/or lose membership, which they should not have anyway, because it is harmful to society.

    The most important question in all of this is: which of the four groups do you identify with the most?

    • Adam, I’m not sure how to respond, except that I am a staunch defender of free exercise of religion, and freedom of conscience. I don’t see how free exercise inoculates a religion from all criticism. I also don’t understand why people who have a strong connection to a religion should remain indifferent to its activities. Any thoughts on that?

  45. Suzette says:

    Throughout my 62 years here in SLC, I’ve seen the hatred and control from this church. I was fortunate to grow up in the Millcreek area and had abundant friends in my neighborhood of all different faiths. One particularly troublesome event I clearly remember as a young child of about 9, my LDS friends (there were only two on the street) had coloring books they had been given at primary. The books showed black people standing far off in a corner and talked about them being the evil ones. Everyone should stay clear of them.
    Then there is the problem of teaching their daughters that they are less because they have a vagina rather than a penis. Females cannot enter the celestial kingdom without a man to call them there. They are worthless unless tied to a man. The horrific stories of Brigham Young’s carrying on with a multitude of women, and Joseph Smith’s as well make my skin crawl. They would even send men off on “missions” and marry their wives and take their property in their absence. Texts actually brag about how they brought men from all around the country to join in Zion, while leaving their current wives and children behind. Unbelievably heinous. And of course, who doesn’t know about the Mountain Meadow Massacre of innocent men, women and children on the orders of Brigham Young.
    I have questioned the sanity of seemingly brilliant people who believe the vitriol spewed by this so-called religion. Someone who is black, female, and exceptionally intelligent – such as Mia Love – being a member just boggles my mind. I’m disgusted that these families actively teach their daughters that they are less. If one dares to ask to be treated equally, she is excommunicated and publically condemned.
    Now we have this most recent assault on basic decent humanity. What kind of infected mind comes up with this kind of policy?
    So, I will continue to wonder why on Earth any thinking, rationale human being would be sucked up in such a hateful, ridiculous institution.

    • Suzette, sadly, some of us were indoctrinated before we were able to think for ourselves, and the indoctrination does interfere with one’s ability to objectively evaluate the religion. Thanks for your thoughts.

  46. amanda says:

    I break up with the Church in Italy 8 years ago for the same reason: racism. I couldn’t believe some bad behaviour. Joseph Hollenbaugh you are the Guy! Congrats.

  47. Amanda says:

    I’ve read through some of the comments after reading this article and I have to agree that this is a very selfish article. Also grossly twisted… I’m sure as you have heard you have a very bad case of leaving the church but not being able to leave it alone. If you don’t agree with the teachings and it sounds from your bio that you were expecting a fairytale and did everything to get your “happily ever after” and then along the way you experienced life… Things got hard and you didn’t get things the way you wanted them so now you are not on a quest or journey of love. Yours is a journey of hate. Of fighting what disappointed you or didn’t justify something you wanted to be okay. This whole blog post was about hate… It is seething with hate for the church you left for whatever reason.

    I just can’t help but think I too have followed the “prescribed path” including a mission, and yet I have yielded different results. Why is that? Maybe because I knew the church wasn’t going to make everything perfect. Life would still happen, disappointments, grief, back stabbing people, leaders who I didn’t get along with or would have opinions differing from mine, divorce, lying and cheating still happen! I knew that, but I also knew how to distinguish between people and the gospel. I knew leaders weren’t perfect… I am not perfect. I have no room to judge.

    Maybe you’d think its because I’m buying into a lie? I doubt that, I’ve searched and asked questions all over. So brainwashing can’t be your argument.

    This post seriously reminds me of an ex that just can’t get over the person they broke up with or that broke up with them… Like they expected the world for the person to stop because the ended and then it doesn’t. So they can’t fully move on to find their happiness because they are so bent that the person didn’t break when they left. Yeah I’m sure many were sad to see you go… Heartbroken in fact, but we respect your freedom to choose how you will, can we not receive the same respect?

    They aren’t trying to do this for power, they’re just sticking to what God has said about marriage and yes they are using the kids to protect them not exploit them because my parents tried to do that in divorce and I’ve seen it in other divorces and it doesn’t work and it’s not loving. The only messages I’ve heard during my life are that of love. Love despite and BECAUSE of the differences. They are in fact what make life beautiful.

    I’m sorry you are still filled with hate… That’s a sad way to live and will slowly kill you. You need to let go and let yourself be free to feel love if that is in fact what you want to preach.

    • Amanda, I find it interesting that people who want to defend their faith often engage in speculative personal attacks rather than addressing the merits of the point being made. I can only assume this is for a lack of persuasive relevant arguments or facts to the contrary.

  48. All right, everyone! Now that you’ve seen all the commentary, read what LDS Church policy really says.
    Then, make up your own mind.

    • It says the same ole same ole……. Basically children with same sex parents are to be ignored….. Offered no blessings, and cast out until they reach adulthood and will openly cast out their parents. They can’t be living with them……nor recognize the marriage or lifestyle as acceptable and state their parents are grave sinners. Then they “might” be accepted as a Mormon if there is APPROVAL of them. That’s it in a nutshell……..

      • Skyline79 says:

        Although these “outcasts” are still welcome to contribute 10% of their allowance, babysitting earnings etc……..

  49. Debbie says:

    May I share this address on my fb page?

  50. GenX says:

    1. To be consistent with its policy of protecting a minor child from potential conflicts between parents and church, the church should have a policy that there are no minor baptisms unless both parents are active mormons who consent to the baptism.
    2. There is merit to this blog post. It would be no surprise to me for the church to use its latest policy as a way to pressure control over a LGBT parent and its child under the “best interests” standard.
    3. The best interests of the child standard is unconstitutional under the Utah and U.S. Constitutions for “fit” parents. Parenting is a fundamental right under these constitutions, and it will not be long before that “standard” is struck down under pending legal challenges. The fundamental parental right includes: equal parenting-time; equal recognition of legal custody; and the right to determine the level of financial support above minimum needs. Usually that means no child support.
    Generally, “best interests” and “child support” is unconstitutional. See this legal memo!:

    • Thanks Genx. Custody consists of two elements. Legal custody is presumed to be joint, a rebuttable presumption. Physical custody, when disputed, continues under the BIC standard. The policy, interestingly, seems to concentrate on physical custody. Thoughts?

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  53. Shane Johnson says:

    I think any religion that singles out or condemns a group of people like this should lose their tax exempt status. Preach anything you want, I don’t have a problem with it but do the taxpayers have to support a hate group?

  54. Sharon Midgley says:

    Steve I just had a client of mine tell me that these provisions were always in the handbook. That her son is in the presidency and privy to the handbook back many years and that there is nothing new here. Nothing to see and he is astonished that the media is making such a big thing about it. The only thing new being the provision for excommunication. How do you reply to someone who claims to be in the know????

  55. Wesley Smith says:

    I appreciate your guest speaker’s thoughts. While I don’t disagree with Joseph’s contention about the use of power within the Church to maintain control, I think there is a more fundamental reason driving policy in this situation. I think it has to do with the Church’s attempt to control a certain type of social interaction that would almost certainly undermine Church dogma and doctrine concerning homosexuality. I’m writing a blog post about this, and I’ll send you a link once its posted as I’d like your thoughts, and those from your readers.

  56. Pingback: New Mormon LGBT Policy Promotes Child Abuse in God’s Name » Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control

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  59. Tyler says:

    This is an absolutely biased article. I would encourage people to view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEEMyc6aZms&feature=youtu.be. Maybe instead of taking an ex-member’s word on the matter, people should actually ask one of the people who had a hand in the policy changes. Those who leave the Church will always tell more from their biased opinions than the truth.

    • SteveBloor says:


      So, obviously in your opinion the Church cannot possibly be unbiased!?

      When buying a new car, do you only ever consider the opinions of the car manufacturer, or do you listen to the opinions of previous customers before you make a purchase?

      “The impulse to obscure dark facts, we have seen, comes from the need to preserve the integrity of the self, whether individual or shared. A group may implicitly demand of its members that they sacrifice the truth to preserve an illusion. Thus the stranger stands as a potential threat to the members of the group, even though he may threaten them only with the truth. For if that truth is of the sort that undermines shared illusions, then to speak of it is to betray the group.

      “Still, the the truth-teller may fill the quintessential modern need. We live in an age when information has taken on an import unparalleled in history; sound information has become the most prized of commodities. In the realm of information, truth is the best of goods. Illusions, on the other hand, are a tarnished coin of sorts.”

      ~ Daniel Goleman in Vital Lies, Simple Truths

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