By Ali Schultz
In the Christian community it is arguable that there may be no greater taboo word than “apostasy.” Apostasy, by definition, means to fall away from the truth of God and religion as an entirety.
In recent news, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints enacted a new policy that would inhibit children of same-sex parents to become baptized and practice the Mormon religion. It would not be until the child enters the legal age of adulthood in which the individual must move out and disavow support for same-sex marriage in order to proceed with religious practices. For members who engage in same-sex marriages, their choice of who to spend their lives with is now defined as an apostasy, along with rape and murder.
The LDS church is forcing children to go before their clergy members and announce that they are A-OK with the excommunication of their parents from the church as well as casually state in more or less words they do not condone their own parents’ marriage. The Mormon religion is not only rejecting societal progression but pegging children against their parents, which is absurd to say the absolute least.
Progression in religion is an absolute must. There have been countless occurrences in history where religion has had it wrong. Let’s not all forget there was a point in time where Christians condoned practices such as human sacrifices. Was that ever OK? Absolutely not. However, I am a firm believer in the fact that as time progresses, there must be changes made as we become more knowledgeable in different departments in order for religion to stay relevant. Being a part of the LGBT community is not a choice by any means. That is a fact that has been swept under the rug by religious groups for far too long.
The Mormon church is failing to realize its new policy is doing nothing but driving a wedge between families. It is presenting children with an option: Either you choose your family or your faith, a choice no one should ever have to make. Other religions of course are not necessarily where they should be either; however no other Christian branch of religion is enacting new policies that would push children away from their parents in order to continue practicing their religion.
This past Saturday, an influx of LDS members sent in resignation letters to the church. Over 1,000 members decided to leave the church in the wake of the recent implementations. Salt Lake City Fox news received a statement from the LDS church stating, “We do not want to see anyone leave the church, especially people who have been struggling with any aspect of their life. The church exists to build people and help them heal. We hope that today’s guidance from Church leaders and the additional commentary will help provide understanding and context to some who may be considering resigning their membership.”
Understanding? Context? I apologize, but it is very hard for me to find understanding in a policy that was made up by men that only furthers intolerance of the LGBT community. It is the 21st century. I have respect for the faith of the Mormon people; but, I stand strong in my belief that in order to keep something reputable and understandable it must possess components of modern ideals. And in modern times, we understand being gay isn’t a choice. The choice is religious groups such as the LDS church rejecting fellow children of God.
Despite the backlash the church has received, there has not been any further discussions on revoking the new policy despite the mass exodus.
Collin Haire, a member of both the LGBT community and the LDS church, articulates how he feels regarding the policy change.
“The pain comes in all forms. It is damaging and is very real, said Haire. I strongly believe it [the policy change] is not from God, but just from man to demand to lead like this.”
Haire goes on to say that “Being gay is not a myth. I cannot stress enough how important this really is. It’s not something you can just ‘turn off’ and it is definitely not something to be repressed.”
The LDS community should take time to acknowledge progression is an absolute must in order to continue a strong follower base. There should never be a time where religions force children to make a decision between faith and family.
If the LDS church wants to continue to claim that it holds family values and love for God’s children in such high regard, then it must do away with a policy that tears families apart and condones nothing more than discrimination.
Ali Schultz studies journalism. Ali can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AliSchultzzz.