As a Relief Society president in a small unit outside of Utah I have watched with interest the roll-out of the Church’s policy on gay marriage, cohabitation, and the children of gay parents who live or have lived in stable relationships. I would like to ask one question and make one request. My question is this:
Were the three of you consulted about these policies?
By this, I do not wish to know that you are routinely consulted on all items of interest to LDS women and children, but whether or not you were consulted specifically on these matters, with enough time to go through the process of discernment that I use as part of the PEC when we deliberate on the far less significant matters that concern us. Did you have time to fast, to pray meaningfully and repeatedly for guidance, to attend the temple, and so forth? And did you have the opportunity to provide detailed, perhaps even written comments, to the Twelve or the First Presidency in such a way that you feel your input made a difference in either the policy itself or its implementation?
Note, please, that I have not asked what input you provided, because such matters should be confidential. My question regards only the degree to which you participated in the process of especially representing the spiritual interests and needs of LDS women and children to male leaders, as you have counseled us to do.
My request is somewhat more complicated. As an RS president, I am sure that I will have the opportunity to work with our sisters as they learn to faithfully live within the bounds of this policy. So I am wondering if the three of you would produce another of those training videos, to give us a hand with learning what we might say or do when these policies are implemented. We have used these in the past to great effect, as you know, so this will be quite helpful.
What I have in mind is a role-playing video. Perhaps you could demonstrate how you would explain to a close friend that her youngest can’t be baptized because the child’s father is now co-habitating with another male? Or that her pre-teen son, who was looking forward to being ordained, must now forego the ordinance and sit with his mother as his peers prepare, pass, and bless the sacrament? Finally, please do not neglect the situation in which a sister might have remarried, to a gentleman with his own children, creating a situation in which some of the children will enjoy a traditional spiritual maturation while others will lack the relationship with God that we teach comes only through the companionship of the Spirit.
As you make these videos, please remember that for us this is not a one-and-done experience. We will not speak once, by appointment only, with these sisters, nor will we be able to pat them on the hand, offer a Kleenex, and usher them out of the Church Office Building. We cannot fulfill our leadership obligations by making a reference to the situation in the next Women’s Broadcast. We will live, love and serve with these sisters over our entire lives, indeed, as their sisters in Christ we will surely and gladly suffer daily with them. Therefore, the spiritual and intellectual superficiality of most LDS women’s events must be avoided in favor of an engagement that matches the gravity of the issues – the spiritual welfare of faithful LDS families, women and their children, to which we have all committed ourselves.
I look forward to hearing your voices and benefiting from the wisdom of your insights as you show us how to make the implementation of this policy the act of Christ-like love we all wish it to be. Thanks in advance,