Salt Lake City, UT—The church has generously donated $5 million to support Syrian refugees, and the First Presidency has also encouraged members to assist those fleeing violence throughout the world. At the same time, the church has quietly updated the Handbook, stipulating that humanitarian donations not be used for children of gay refugee couples. In a hastily organized interview, Elder Christofferson explained that the policy will prevent conflicts between gay parents and their children. “What we really want to avoid,” clarified Elder Christofferson, “would be conflicts between children and their same-sex attracted parents who have committed such a grievous sin.” He elaborated that “such children might get the wrong idea about their parent’s relationship if they got food or shelter from the church.” Elder Christofferson was quick to add that “those children who are of age and who denounce their parents’ sinful lifestyles can apply to the First Presidency for aid, thus making this assistance freely available to all and without any detrimental long-term consequences.” Workers from the Red Cross and other agencies were at first perplexed by the stipulations. Many had felt that Mormons were trying to protect the rights of all people, include gay people. Said one worker, “well, we didn’t know what to do with those donations, since some of the kids might have one gay parent and one straight parent.” The worker continued that “we thought maybe (the children) would get half of what they needed, you know, since one parent was not, as Mormons put it, ‘an apostate perpetuating in a terrible, terrible sin.’” Workers tried to get clarification about how the aid should be used, but the further directions were still ambiguous. “Much to everyone’s ones great relief, especially the Mormons, what finally fixed the whole situation,” said a volunteer from Doctors Without Borders, “is that we realized that ISIS hates gays even more than Mormons, so they had pretty much killed most of them before they could even flee Syria.”...

read more



Posted by in Featured, Homosexuality, Policy

A few weeks ago, I remember hearing the news about the church’s new policy which targets the children of parents in same sex relationships. Like many, I was overcome with anger and hurt for the families that would be affected. However, I cannot say I was surprised. I have been an LGBT+ advocate for too long, heard too many stories, and felt them all too deeply, to be surprised anymore by news of this nature. Even so, it has been simultaneously painful and empowering to see the response to this issue. On the one hand, I have seen a massive strain on families in the past week, both those with and without LGBT+ members. I have seen loved ones attacking one another and relationships severed as a result. On the other hand, it fills me with hope to see so many LDS members taking a stand against the discriminatory practices of the church. Questioning your beliefs is not easy. Standing up for those beliefs against the majority is even harder. Though it may not be my place to do so, I would like to address individuals on both sides of this issue. I would challenge those who stand against the policy to remember how difficult it was to take that stand. I would also challenge those who stand by the policy to ask the difficult question, “Why?” To be clear, I am not a member of the LDS church, nor have I ever been. Until I met my husband four years ago, I had never even spoken to a Mormon. And to be completely honest, I am not even religious. Though I was raised Evangelical for most of my life, I left the church in my late teens and now identify as agnostic. Regardless, I also do not believe it is my place to judge members of any religion. Religion has done beautiful things for many people, from offering individuals a healthy support network to even saving lives. My goal is not to degrade, but...

read more

Late Night Thoughts on the LDS Church’s Policy on Gay Parents &Their Children

Nov 29, 15 Late Night Thoughts on the LDS Church’s Policy  on Gay Parents &Their Children

Posted by in Family, Featured, Homosexuality, Policy, Theology

NOTE: For the past several weeks I have considered how best to respond to the LDS Church’s policy changes on gay and lesbian parents and their children. I resisted a quick response because I feel this is a complicated matter that deserves careful, thoughtful consideration. Upon first hearing the news of the policy change, I was both disturbed and distraught. At a time when it seemed the Church was moving in a progressive or at least positive direction on issues relating to its LGBT members, this policy seems a sudden lurch backward and out of harmony with other recent statements and sentiments by Church leaders on LGBT issues. When friends began calling or writing asking my thoughts, I simply said that it didn’t make sense to me spiritually, culturally, socially, politically or, especially, emotionally. It still doesn’t—nor do I expect it will. Nevertheless, I have an impulse to try and respond. I’ve divided my response into sections that might help readers zero in on particular issues, concerns or hopes. Personal Perspective I came of age in a homophobic world, a world in which my family, friends, church leaders, fellow members, teachers and almost everyone I knew saw homosexuality as an evil perversion. “Queer” and “pervert” were common terms used in my home, and I was taught to avoid and fear gay men and even abuse them physically. My friends in Long Beach talked seriously about “rolling some queers down at the Pike” (an arcade). When I saw men showing romantic affection for one another, I was repulsed and even felt my fists tighten in anger. Everything in my culture reinforced such feelings. At BYU I often heard disparaging remarks about students rumored to be gay, and as a young missionary I remember speaking disparagingly behind the backs of missionaries reported to be gay as “sisters.” As a leader of the Honor Society at BYU I was aware of the fact that being homosexual was against the honor code and heard of gays being called...

read more

An Open Letter to the Office of the First Presidency

Nov 29, 15 An Open Letter to the Office of the First Presidency

Posted by in Featured, Homosexuality, Mormonism

An Open Letter To: The Office of the First Presidency The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints After much prayer, I am writing to implore you to reconsider the Church’s new policy on the treatment of same-gender families and to address this matter more clearly and lovingly and within the context of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I appreciate your desire to protect the doctrine. These policies do not do so. Many LDS families, including mine, are troubled by the new policy guidelines of the Church regarding the treatment of same-gender families. This policy requires direct and frank responses from the First Presidency so that Church members may make educated decisions for and with our families. Simply directing members to pray and talk with local ecclesiastic leaders are insufficient for this highly charged yet extremely sensitive discussion. Elder Christofferson’s interview, while appreciated, addressed the policy only superficially. The recent communication with additional guidance was inadequate. I have reviewed these matters with my Stake Presidency.  They do not have the answers.  As these are policy matters, only the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles can address them. As the Church has now opened this door, it is time an open and interactive dialogue on matters of sexuality and the role of the Church in this very intimate activity. Many of the troubling matters are noted below. In some cases, these comments are, of necessity, rather blunt: The Church’s policy appears to be a new McCarthyism. The Church position will encourage its members to report each other’s actions to ecclesiastical leaders for unnecessary and harsh disciplinary action. This will be the practical outcome of the Church’s new policy among some of our members who are more concerned with the salvation of their neighbors than their personal salvation. How will the Church handle such “witch” hunts? President Boyd K. Packer stated with respect to the Church’s LGB members, “We do not reject you. … We cannot reject you. … We will not reject...

read more

Why are you Cozying up to Gay Mormons Now?

Nov 29, 15 Why are you Cozying up to Gay Mormons Now?

Posted by in Featured, Homosexuality

A Critique of Recent Posts by Believing Gay Mormons and the Mormons who are Now Using Those Posts as Proof that the Church’s SSM Policy Changes are Helpful In the days following the policy change to Handbook 1 and as a result of my public critique of those changes, I experienced social media ‘silence.’ Only a few family members engaged in (fairly) polite discussions about my frustration with the changes to Handbook 1. Others were not so polite. For example, a former mission companion accused me of being an apostate by quoting the writings of Brigham Young who warned of ‘false teachers’ and ‘false prophets.’ Brigham’s accusations will never hurt me (I have no respect for him). How can I respect a man who ‘lied for the Lord’ and supported Joseph Smith’s marriages to teenage girls and the wives of some of the men he had sent away on missions? One friend expressed her love for me and gave me a Facebook hug ((hugs!)). That made my day since I know that she had likely spent a lot of time contemplating and grappling with the Church’s policy change (perhaps even weeping, I don’t know, but I feel for her and her family since it directly impacts their lives). Suddenly, out of the silence of my friends and family Facebook feeds, I began to see a common trend. My True Blue Mormon [TBM] Facebook friends began sharing blogs and articles written by believing LGBT Mormons or believing children of LGBT relationships intended to show that the Church’s change in policy was legitimate and helpful. Some of these friends were the same who have shown disregard and in some cases, hate and contempt, toward LGBT Mormons (believing or unbelieving) and those that support the fight for gender and LGBT equality in the LDS Church. However, when their purposes were best served, they were more than willing to use the words of those they have marginalized to their advantage. I want to address two problems I see with this trend. First, I want to engage...

read more

History Repeats Itself, Especially When you Ignore It! – Considering the LDS Church’s Past Racial Restriction Policies in Light of Current LGBT Policies

Nov 29, 15 History Repeats Itself, Especially When you Ignore It! – Considering the LDS Church’s Past Racial Restriction Policies in Light of Current LGBT Policies

Posted by in Featured, Homosexuality, Racism

It has been said that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it – the first as tragedy, the second as farce. The current faith crises of sanctions on homosexuals, their families, and other members of the gay community within the LDS faith, is a challenge that rings familiar to those LDS who lived through the faith’s racial restriction policies of the past that endured up until 1978. The scars of the exclusion of those of African descent, still not completely healed, have again been wounded as the ghost of this past has been conjured again with these new, painful policies. There are many striking similarities between how the gay community is being treated as the LDS church enters this new era of segregation wherein recent policies have been enacted to ban blessings, membership and numerous ordinances and opportunities to children of gay parents, in addition to the pre-existing restrictions placed upon those parents. BLACK- Under the past racial restriction policies of the Church that lasted from the presidency of Brigham Young until 1978, blacks of African descent were somewhat welcomed into the Church, but not with open arms. Under the racial restrictions, persons with any black African ancestry could not hold the priesthood and could not participate in most temple ordinances, including the endowment and celestial marriage. The racial restriction policy was applied to black Africans, persons of black African descent, and anyone with mixed race that included any black African ancestry. While the Church had on open membership policy for all races, blacks were the only group subject to these sanctions as leaders of the time claimed this was due to a godly-imposed “curse”, and therefore their hands were tied. Church leaders tried promoting these institutionalized foundations of segregation as creating a “separate but equal” class structure within the Church, however, this was not viewed as being such by those affected. ________________________________________ GAY- Under the current homosexual restriction policies of the Church, those who self-identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual,...

read more

5 Ways the Church’s LGBTQ Approach is Morally and Spiritually Bankrupt

The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.  If there was one positive thing to come out of the recent policy kerfluffle, it was the opportunity for the LDS Church to show to the world how it has run out of spiritual and moral capital when it comes to its dealings with the LGBTQ community. Simply put, the Church is bankrupt on this issue. We knew this coming out of the Prop 8 fiasco, but it has been six long years since then, with a few token gestures by the Church thrown in, and the policy incident was a needed reminder that the leaders of the Church have much work to do. “Know thy enemy,” as the saying goes. And the enemy here is bigotry. Like the naked emperor, the Church stands in the waning light of the now-fading Mormon moment, exposed for all the world to see it for what it is – an organization led by aging, straight white men born in a different era and sheltered to the point where they still believe gay families are a threat to the world. What’s most troubling to me personally is not just the open hostility, but the utter lack of moral and spiritual foundation on which to rest their argument as it relates to same-sex marriage. I’ve compiled a short list of the ways the Church’s current stance on gay marriage and its views toward the LGBTQ community fall short of even basic scrutiny: 1) The Celibacy Policy – The Church espouses the familiar Biblical refrain that “It is not good for man to be alone.” It still actively encourages young single adults to marry as soon as possible and start families. It believes families are essential to God’s plan. It believes and teaches that our eternal destiny lies in forming everlasting bonds...

read more


First, let me start this blog post by saying that I am an active LDS man who is in full fellowship with the Church and I have concerns. On November 5, 2015 many Mormons  found out about recent changes to Book 1 of the LDS Church’s Handbook of Instructions regarding homosexuals that are in same-sex cohabitational relationships and their children.  The changes were largely condemned by progressive Mormons and also raised concern for more traditionally conservative Mormons.1  Handbook 1 is used by bishops and stake presidents to help lead their congregations.  It is not usually publicly available, but upon request, a local bishop will show you the handbook.  On more than one occasion I have asked my bishop if I could view something in Handbook 1 and he had no problem showing me the handbook.  I did this again after I learned about the new policy changes and he immediately showed me what the online version of the Handbook said; I wanted to make sure that the pdf versions I was reading online were correct.  With that background, I will state that I don’t believe these changes were done clandestinely.  It is an instructional document for the world-wide LDS leadership. On November 6, 2015, Elder Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was interviewed by Michael Otterson of the LDS Church’s Public Relations Department. Per Brother Ottersson: “The Church quickly responded to many of those concerns with a video interview with Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. By the end of the weekend, that interview had been viewed by millions.” (click here to read Otterson’s complete statement) The interview offered no clarifications. It made matters worse. It seemed rather that Elder Christ0fferson had  taken notes from the FAIR blog and from the blog Well-Behaved Mormon Woman, on how to defend this egregious policy change. Today I learned of a letter, from the First Presidency, that is meant to clarify the new policy change. Word had been buzzing around the Mormon internet...

read more

Apparently 18 Is the New Age of Accountability

Premise: Nothing can stand in the way of Jesus’s saving power. If a physical ordinance is needed to connect a person with this saving power, it must be available to anyone who needs it: which is everyone past the age of accountability. Since the Church will not baptize children of same-sex married couples until those children reach the age of majority, move out of their parents’ household, and disavow same-sex marriage, one of two things must be true: Either getting baptized into the Mormon Church at age 8 is not necessary to salvation (or even important to it), or the LDS Church is not the only institution that has the power to bestow ordinances that connect one with the saving power of Christ. Assuming that the LDS Church is the only authorized institution to perform baptism, it seems that nothing spiritually important is gained from baptism until the age of majority. Otherwise, the LDS Church could not be the only purveyor of this saving ordinance since it must be available to everyone who needs it. Using the same line of reasoning, since the Church also denies these children confirmation and the gift of the Holy Ghost, the light of Christ must be perfectly well suited to guiding a person through the first 18 years of life. Therefore, 18 must now be the age of accountability, at least in the United States, because that is when the Church is willing to offer baptism to everyone....

read more

Why Should I Trust the Church?

So, how about this new policy? Haha. So today Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm drew my attention to a heated battle of words that was being waged over all this. I’m sure we’re all witnessing the same spectacle. The following comments in particular caught my attention: There is a lot to unpack here.  I notice that many tend to conflate disagreement with this monstrous policy as support for homosexuality or same sex marriage, which I would caution against.  But the aspect of the comment that really concerns me is the statement, “And eventually they will realize…they were dead wrong.” I have seen a lot of doomsday comments along these lines coming from those defending the policy. Many seem to relish in this idea of people supportive of gay marriage or otherwise treating gays with decency being proven wrong. What is the basis for this attitude? The comments continued along these lines, invoking the classic call to follow the prophet: This is the classic circular argument. You’re wrong. Why? Because follow the prophets. They can do no wrong it seems, except, as Bill Reel points out, all those times they got it wrong. If we were in the 1940’s would all the people who are defending this policy also be saying the same things to defend the racist priesthood ban that the church now disavows? Or would they have the courage to stand up and oppose the leaders, like Lowry Nelson? Here’s my basic question: Why should I trust the leaders on this issue? Why should I trust their judgement when it comes to anything that has to do with homosexuality or LGBT issues? Thus far the church has been proven wrong on every single position it has taken with respect to homosexuality and gay marriage. What has it gotten right? Seriously, can somebody name something for me? I started out trusting the church on this issue until time after time, after I started meeting and knowing gay people both in and out of the church, I...

read more