Last week there was a policy announcement from church leadership. I wasn’t aware of it until Sunday, when after church meetings, Daur1 said it was mentioned in young women’s lesson and there is loads of comments on the Internet about it. So, back home I looked up lds.org to see what it was about, for myself.
In my words, it’s that children of / within a same sex marriage couple can not be baptised until they are 18 years old.
This seems perfectly reasonable to me – no point having a child baptised (we don’t believe in infant baptism, a child must be at least 8 years old) when their parents are in a situation which opposes those beliefs. Regardless of how stable and how supportive those parents may be of the child’s decision, at some point there will be conflict. Either for the child or for one or both of the parents. And, I’m certain, for the child, it will be confusing at some point, even if eventually that child manages to mentally resolve it. I can refer to my own situation, which some of you may feel is not the same, but for me, it feels relevant.
My dear parents were never married, and, as far as I can tell, never lived together. I don’t know why – I’ve never asked, and I probably never will. My Dad has a wife and children and a home. He visited my Mum and us once a week. For the bulk of my childhood I said nothing more than “Hello Daddy” and “Goodbye Daddy” at the start and end of an uncomfortable 20 minute visit where he money to my Mum and pocket money to us. I am the oldest of his children. My younger brother is younger than my oldest half sister, so you can work that out! My relationship with my dear Father deserves a post of it’s own, so back to the point of this post.
I was in the clear minority at school, not only for my skin colour, for growing up in a single parent family, for “having no Dad” as my peers described, and I felt that as a ‘stigma’. I knew I was loved and was very matter of fact with friends that asked, “do you have a Dad?” Response “yes!! Everyone does. He just doesn’t live with us.”
By the time I reached my teens, although I knew what was right in terms of civic society – not hurting, stealing, killing, lying – when it came to what was right in terms of my own personal welfare, well, I was in a state of confusion, particularly in terms of relationships, questions like what is the real, true position, God’s point of view, on premarital sex? I was in search of personal peace, personal answers, as I was becoming an adult. I never felt able to ask my mother since I was fully aware that she had all of us out of wedlock. And although my mother was firm, provided a Christian upbringing (Mum not affiliated with any particular church though I went to a pentecostal Sunday school) and and told us not to ‘drink from the governor’s cup’ (or some strange phrase where the governor and his cup was an innuendo for sexual activities), it was a struggle, at least for me to reconcile this with her own actions. (You may judge me as weak because of that). Once I had the opportunity to learn more, I made a choice, to make and keep covenants with God, and I found peace.
So, what am I saying? I’m saying when it comes to eternal matters, our choice matters. And most of us, when we reach adulthood, will have the ability to choose things in this life. And quite simply I believe that our Father is fair and that 18 years in any loving home where respect is taught for parents, with one, two, male, female, black, white, parents, is beneficial for our eternal welfare – family love can be learned and that is fundamental. There will be time, and I feel, time to make and keep sacred covenants once we individually make that choice…
I’m probably not explaining this very well. It may be difficult enough to grow up in a minority-type family, so why would our Father want to make it worse for his children in such a situation. So I totally accept this policy statement as Father’s will. And I fail to understand why others feel this shows intolerance or a degree of being unfair. I expect the reason it wasn’t explicit before is because same sex marriage is a new situation. Thankfully, revelation is always relevant and for the times in which we live.