To whom it may concern,
I am submitting this letter of appeal as a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a mother, and a child of God. No doubt you have received countless other messages from concerned Latter-day Saints and members of the community since the announcement of new policies regarding the children of same-gender unions. I imagine not all of them are kind and supportive. It is my prayer, however, that this one will leave a good impression because it comes from the heart and it is filled with hope.
To paraphrase Nephi, I know God loves his children, but I don’t know the meaning of all things (1Nephi 11:17). Such were my thoughts on November 5th 2015, when I learned of changes to the Church Handbook of Instructions that would bar certain children from receiving a name and a blessing, and prevent them receiving the ordinances of salvation without additional approval. My heart ached for those children. The image of an innocent baby being turned away from a circle of love brought tears to my eyes. Since then I have pondered much and wrestled with the Spirit. I also did my research. My mind now understands, or at least supposes, that these changes came about as a response to the recent expansion of legal marriage to same-gender couples in the United States of America, with the goal to prevent official recognition of gay unions on record, and to make clear our stance that marriage between man and woman is God’s unchanging standard. The timing and method used to reach those goals, I don’t expect to understand, nor is that important to me at this moment.
What is critical, and the reason I felt compelled to write this letter, is to address an unintended offense created in the new policies. Namely, the turning away of babies from the naming and blessing ordinance. As I have just stated that I understand the likely purpose of the new changes to the Handbook, perhaps my returning to this issue is puzzling at this point. To clarify, I should start by explaining that this is the one restriction I suspect is unnecessary, especially as it is not an ordinance of salvation and does not demand the prior existence of the parents’ membership. In fact, by clearly stating those in same-gender relationships are apostate –thereby valid membership is removed– this would mean that their child would require parental consent prior to the giving of a name and blessing in the Church, thus negating the concern that following up on this child of record would be awkward or cause tension in the family as it has already been addressed.
With all that in mind, I can proceed to discuss something that is most sacred to me. As a daughter of God, I have taken to heart the knowledge that I came to earth with gifts not found in common with men, even pre-mortal endowments. I have returned to the temple regularly to lift the veil of my remembrance of these experiences and have had many profound moments, but none as sobering as when a pre-mortal token was violated. I regret to inform you that this is what I experienced when I envisioned the child being turned away from the blessing circle. Though not intended, such imagery mocks divine motherhood, which centers on cloistering the children of men. And I know I’m not alone in that sentiment. Each woman I’ve spoken to, when first learning how the aforementioned policies affect the children, has described a heaviness in her heart. Even those not of our faith can feel it, and I believe that is explained by our shared instruction prior to this existence. We know, at least inherently, that turning away the newborn child is contrary to the emblem of the hen gathering the chicks beneath her wings. To expand that description further would be to go beyond the limits of this medium. But I can tell you that to uphold the barring of babies from a blessing in the Church, whatever their life circumstances may be, would put me at odds with holy covenants I made as a woman prior to coming to this earth. I simply cannot bear to be in this position. Please reconsider this aspect of the new policies so as to free me and my sisters from this predicament.
I add that, moving forward, proclamations and declarations regarding the family unit on earth would gather more strength and power if brought to light through the unity of both men and women. I am by no means vying for ordination of the sisters in the church, but rather a cooperative paradigm at moments like this, which echoes the truth that it is not good for man to act alone (Gen 2:18). The Church is edified and Satan rebuked when the daughters of Eve and the sons of Adam proceed together in the world. In the future, could not the brethren making these expansive changes consult with righteous women for the greatest outcome? (If I’m mistaken in concluding that this decision-making was without female input, then please forgive me.)
Finally, I leave you my testimony that I know this Church is true, it is led by a living prophet, and was restored in these days to bless the earth and bring His children unto Christ. It is because I care that I have expounded this things in appeal, as a wife does for her husband (and vice versa), in love and with concern. Please consider the things I have shared. Pray and ponder them for yourself, knowing that I have written this in charity.
Yours in Christ,
Sister Monique _____