Mormons in outer space

News today that the Mormon church in Utah has made a pronouncement about the children of same-sex couples. Apparently, they must remain unbaptised until they are 18, have renounced same-sex unions and have left their parental home. (The dead, on the other hand, are enthusiastically baptised by Mormons- whether they know about the faith or not. In this practice, incidentally, the Mormons follow the Marcionites)

The result is a mass exodus from the Church in protest, “the first mass resignation in LDS history in response to a specific policy”, said John Larsen. The backlash has been so huge that some of the senior figures from the church have now been wheeled out to “explain” the message…

elder christofferson

I have no real problem with a backwater heretical sect making sweeping pronouncements about morals as long as it is about the morality of one particular so-called sinner. It is their church after all. But I find it abhorrent to read that the children of such a person must equally suffer effective excommunication and to be accepted at all, after their childhood, they must spurn their parents. This is Moronic, and we cannot be silent when children are attacked like this. This takes us back to the Mediaeval period, a period incidentally that the Church of the Latter Day Saints has missed as it was only founded by Joseph Smith in about 1823. Would we still be silent today, would twitter be mute if the innocent were burnt as witches, if illegitimate children were abandoned or chastised for their parents’ behaviour?

If you want a proper history of the Mormon Church, it is available through “south park” or indeed is summed up nicely in the musical currently in the West End called “the Book of Mormon”, (Parker, Lopez and Stone) without a doubt, one of the best shows playing at the moment.

This is how the Guardian summed it up:

Hundreds of members of the Church of Latter Day Saints mailed or handed in letters quitting the Mormon church on Saturday to protest against a new policy barring children of married same-sex couples from being baptized until they are adults.

Leaders of the church approved the policy last week. It added same-sex marriage to acts considered to be a renunciation of the Mormon faith and thus subject to church discipline, including excommunication.

“This is about compassion and supporting our community,” A protest in a Salt Lake City park one organiser, Brooke Swallow, said: “No longer are we going to keep our mouths shut.”

About 1,000 people showed up at the park across the street from the headquarters of the Utah-based church. Long lines of Mormons handed resignation letters to Mark Naugle, an attorney who made sure the forms were complete and promised to mail them the next day.

Others joined a procession to a downtown mailbox and then twice circled Temple Square, home of the faith’s flagship temple.

“I resigned today,” said Paul Pratt, one of the protesters. “I haven’t been active for 17 years. It’s time to separate. I don’t need a bunch of [church leaders] telling me what to do.”

The church has more than 15 million adherents and 85,000 missionaries around the world. A church spokesperson was not available for comment on Saturday.

I have always had a fairly soft spot for Mormons, and was friends with some very hard-working and much abused lads in Athens who were regularly marched into police custody for attempting to Proselytize, something forbidden in modern Greek law. One of them, an ex-catholic from a good Italian family, showed signs of strain. While the theology is based on cod-KJV english and anticipates some of the madder fantasies of the Scientology people, there is little doubt that most Mormons I have met are committed and good people. That is what makes this pronouncement so frustrating – because suddenly, it exposes the whole cult as vicious and mean, a nasty savage, spiteful dictatorship that punishes the young and the innocent. It is one thing to condemn gay people. It is quite another to condemn their children. And it is wrong.

I made a video about the theology that underpins the strict Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish point of view about Homosexuality, and I think there are some serious flaws in the stricter interpretation. However, it is also clear that, in practice, there has been tolerance as well as condemnation in all these religions, and often today, spokespeople err in favour of compassion. Even in Islam, for all the hellfire quoted (or mis-quoted) by fanatics and the barely literate, there are today a number of “gay Mosques” and a growing number of wise scholars and imams who recognise that compassion and culture both play a vital role in this debate. Not so the Latter Day Saints! Not now.

And yet surely, last year or the year before, Donny Osmond (“lollipops, lips and lipstick”, “love me for a reason”, “Puppy Love”) was on the Graham Norton show? In that interview, incidentally, Donny explains that it was Walt Disney, not Andy Williams who discovered the Osmonds. It was I recall an interview of great charm -what else can one ever expect?

Here is something more ad rem that Donny said a while ago – he was very careful,

There are many gay individuals that are members of our church. I know many of them. In fact, some of my best friends are gay. I am grateful for my associations with them, and enjoy working with many of them.

We all determine for ourselves what is right and what is not right for our own lives and how we live God’s commandments. I am not a judge and I will never judge anyone for the decisions they make unless they are causing harm to another individual. I love my friends, including my gay friends. We are all God’s children. It is their choice, not mine on how they conduct their lives and choose to live the commandments according to the dictates of their own conscience.

But can this same loveable Donny Osmond really now support the pronouncement of unadulterated hate coming from the mouth of Utah that children must be punished for their parents’ lifestyle? This simply revives the smear of illegitimacy. The call of “Stand up for bastards!” rings through the theatre once again…of course in King Lear it is the nasty one, Edmund, who has that line…but does it matter? We should no longer distance ourselves from a bastard, or from the children of a single-sexed marriage.

These mormons have lost it. No doubt we need to go into space to find out what the scientologists think.

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