"A little background: He said that he got the email about the policy this week which said basically, here is the updated policy for the Handbook, there will be training on it later. The Church did not have time to train its leaders before someone leaked it... As of Sunday, they still have NOT BEEN TRAINED on the reasons, motives, and nuances of the policy, so it has been left up to local leaders to interpret this new policy according to their limited understanding.
"So, here's what my bishop thought the policy said:
"He thought that the policy to restrict baptism would only apply to children of gay parents who are living with them full time and have full custody. I let him understand that it does NOT say that and the lack of clarification from headquarters is extremely painful to mixed-orientation divorced and separated families like mine.
"We talked about my son, who is 8, but is not ready for baptism yet. Even though he would qualify for baptism today under current policy because he lives with me most of the time and his gay dad is not married/living with a same-sex partner, I told him that in the future, it is a distinct possibility that he will live with his father who at that time may be married or have a partner he lives with. Would my child be able to be baptized if that were the case? He had no answer.... He said he would inquire about it.
"I told him the pain that I had about not allowing a child to participate in passing the sacrament, attending temple trips, and participating in the priesthood as a youth in the church if he were not to be baptized. I told him that my son, who already will feel singled out because his father is gay and his parents are divorced, will be subject to even more isolation if he isn't able to be baptized and participate in his religion as his peers do THROUGH NO FAULT OF HIS OWN.
"The bishop emphasized that under the new policy, there IS a pathway to baptism available to children of gay parents through the First Presidency. I told him I felt is wrong that in order to be baptized, my child would have to have "special exception" when almost every other child does not.
"He THOUGHT that the requirements for baptism for a child of a gay parent was an either/or situation, not BOTH, namely that a child of a gay parent would have to:
1) Accepts and commits to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage...
2) The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.
"He didn't think that my son would have to be 18 to be baptized. We read the sentence preceding that paragraph and I could tell he was confused that I was right.
"We also talked about my concern about gay marriage. He knows that I support gay marriage and he had specifically asked in previous bishop's training whether or not someone who was seeking a temple recommend should be denied that if they feel that way. The answer he received was, no, that person should not be denied a temple recommend.
"So, here's the question. Why would a child (well, an adult at that point) be required to disavow that practice if a temple-recommend-holding member is not held to the same requirement?
He said that Elder Christofferson's video to the press (which I corrected him on and told him it was to the church's PR dept.), clarified many of the questions, but I when we reviewed some of them, it didn't.
"For example, why is having a child who grows up in a gay household unable to choose to be baptized even if his parents fully support that child? In our case, my son's dad would fully support him if he chose to be baptized. I would too.
"Why does the church assume that those gay parent(s) would be antagonistic to the church and wouldn't be open to receiving home teachers and visiting teachers if the child were to receive a name and a blessing? Once again, the church is assuming an us vs. them mentality about LGBT families. That simply is not the truth.
He mentioned that this policy is not new, that Elder Christofferson compared it to the way we treat children of polygamists, at which point I burst into tears. We treat polygamists even more harshly than LGBT people. Our policy towards them is equally as painful, if not more so because polygamy was officially sanctioned by the church in our history and is still such in our scripture.
"The Bishop had great compassion for me and I felt loved and listened to. That is a true gift in a time of panic. Once the panic subsides, I have every hope that these policies will be clarified. "I love my Mormon community AND my mixed-orientation family."