New LDS Restrictions on Children of Gay Parents Make Perfect Sense

Since the new LDS restrictions on children of gay parents were made public yesterday, there have been many angry denunciations against a church that punishes children for the sins of their parents. That will change, I think, when people think through the issue more carefully. I’ll try to help with that process.

Let’s start with the premise that same-sex marriages are unnatural and thus evil and with the fact that what we know to be evil is now legal and increasingly natural in the United States. That makes it harder and harder for us to make people understand that gay marriage is evil.

We have a special problem with children  being raised by gay parents. A child whose parents love and support it — and feed and care for and challenge and correct and nurse  and weep with and celebrate it — will, unfortunately, understand the goodness of those parents. Their family life may even seem natural to those children. They may love their parents. That puts them in a position of inevitable opposition to the principles of the gospel we are trying to teach, namely, that their parents are engaged in evil and unnatural lifestyles. Were we to allow them to be blessed and baptized and to enjoy full fellowship with the rest of us, they might attend church and express their admiration for their parents in ways that would undermine our valiant efforts.

Some of the anger being expressed today is aimed at the fact that while these children can’t be baptized, children of murderers and rapists can be baptized and welcomed into the church. That is good logic, if you think about it for a minute. Children of murders and rapists will easily recognize those acts as illegal and evil and will not be inclined to defend them in church. But children whose gay parents love them are more problematic.

The only way, then, to protect the delicate faith and true belief of the members of the church is to discipline and punish people in same-sex marriages and to keep their sympathetic children away from our meetings and out of our fellowship.

That makes perfect sense. The LDS leaders who have announced the new policy understand the problem well and have taken appropriate action.

They haven’t, however, thought this through to the end. In coming months, as the fruits of their actions are manifest in more fully correlated and homogenized congregations, inspired leaders will realize that additional restrictions are called for. Heterosexual parents of gay children often sympathize with their children and are grateful when they find a supportive and loving partner. And when they marry the parents are no longer out-laws but in-laws. That can’t be good for anyone. The church will be better off once all parents of gay children are disfellowshipped for the good of the congregation.

Additionally, siblings of gays and lesbians often know from long and intimate experience that their brothers and sisters are good people. Better disfellowship all of them too. And while we are thinking in that direction, friends of gays and lesbians cannot be trusted.

In short, while the new restrictions on the children of parents in same-sex families are a good start, parents and siblings and friends and acquaintances must be excluded as well. Appropriate signs can be posted at all entrances to our chapels: gays and lesbians, children of gay parents, parents of gay children, siblings… LDS public relations will come up with something inoffensive and still effective, I’m sure.

As this retrenchment is enacted, new policy will have to be drafted concerning the words “congregation” and “ward” and “fellow citizens” and “fellowship” and “community” and “saints.” None of those old words fit what will be the new reality: henceforth Sunday meetings will be attended by a few bitter and fearful white guys, unless, of course, there is an important football game on TV.

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at
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8 Responses to New LDS Restrictions on Children of Gay Parents Make Perfect Sense

  1. Chuck says:

    They’ve officially degenerated into a cult.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. chuck says:

    Let’s start a form letter the kid can use to disown parents. No more Christmas or thanksgiving visits. no more birthday wishes, no summer breaks at home. and a loving scold for people living in apostasy. But then ask for continued financial support for college (probably not recommended but practical for an 18 year old.) we could have “boilerplate” acceptable language for the formal renouncement, plus some practical things not necessarily approved like would you continue paying for my car? or my tuition? or my food.


  3. Chuck says:

    . What will the surgeons do or say or the first responders or lawyers and judges when their church condemns and excludes? Will they act differently ? ? I see lots on line about impact on gay families and siblings and children regarding the church as organization in a U.S. context, but not much on the larger body of the church, faithful members who it seems to me to have received a green light for prejudice. I had a Dr. recently perform a minor surgical procedure. Neither he nor the waiting room staff notified me or my spouse who was waiting for word( after they were introduced to him) that 1. the surgery was successful, nor 2. notified my spouse when it was over and he could come see me. Oversight or prejudice?
    The flip of acceptance –has the church opened the door of institutionalized shunning for common everyday concerns. What’s Utah law about denying personal services? Will the OR staff or the electrician, be empowered to say, I don’t serve you because of my church teaching me to shun and reject??? I know many people in Utah will not do this, but the church is worldwide and there are some very difficult countries where persecution is alive. Is there a church voice just as loudly proclaiming no one should be rejected from basic legal and civil services because of personal beliefs.
    The message is “no room for gays in Kenya” what is the church message in Kenya??? They have MORE responsibility in areas of the world where active harm is being done to individuals. As it is, this message just sounds like official government backed propaganda used do discriminate and harm in many parts of the world.

    Please don’t post if you think this is too far afield or too offensive.


  4. CC says:

    Big talk from a white professor who lives in a city that’s not only 97% white but also has the highest median income of any community in the state of Utah.

    There’s more racial diversity in the LDS General Authorities than in Woodland Hills, hypocrite.

    “I came to understand that one of the deepest purposes of intellectual sophistication is to provide distance between us and our most disturbing personal truths and gnawing fears.” ~~ Richard Russo, Straight Man


  5. Chuck says:

    Non sequitur from CC. Nothing (except for my reference perhaps to Kenya) (not Dr. Abbott’s comments) could be interpreted as racist if you are stretching for an argument, but in fact its just pure hell visited on Kenyan gays inspired by white American fundamentalist preachers. Dominionists for the most part. Take a look at what Ted Cruz wants to do to the US!
    Are Mormons preaching imprisonment and worse for gays in Kenya? I could just have easily referenced Putin in Russia for persecution of gays, where also I am not aware the church takes a stand against persecution. It looks like they are just pouring salt on wounds from others. It’s hard to tell from this what point having to do with anything in the postings you are actually complaining about. Perhaps football games trumping Sunday meetings? Or children disowning parents?


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