By Robert Stitt
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) recently went public with their decision to declare all homos*xual marriages illegal within the bounds of church law. This means that while gay marriage may be accepted by the federal government, and must be accepted by all 50 states, the church will not honor the marriages. Not only will the church not accept the marriages, but any person who engages in gay marriage will be deemed an apostate and lose all privileges they may have had in the church. This can include their positions (though it is unlikely that gay people currently hold positions in the Mormon church), as well as their access to church ceremonies. Most surprising to many is that the children raised in gay households will also lose these privileges. Children of gay parents will not be allowed to receive blessings, be baptized, or participate in church-only activities. Once they turn 18, the children have the option to move out of the house, renounce their parents and their parents’ lifestyle, and appeal to the church president for acceptance back into the fold.
While most Mormons are very conservative in their views and find this declaration unsurprising, there are a few who were not happy with the announcement. The Huffington Post recently printed an article from one liberal-minded Mormon named Mica McGriggs.
Griggs said the thing that upset her the most was that she was not surprised by the move. She wanted to believe that the church was not moving in this direction when all signs pointed to the fact that they were. “My church has continued to move further and further from its theology in order to preserve more political and systematic agendas.”
Griggs admits that all churches walk the line between a spiritual entity and a corporate and economic force, but the Mormon church has always toed that particular line very gingerly as economics and politics have always been a very large part of the Mormon’s corporate structure. The problem Griggs sees is that a church is supposed to bring people to Christ and not exclude them. “It’s the church’s job to drive us to our destination, not to dictate who is allowed to take the ride,” she says. Griggs then equates the church’s decision to the disciples trying to keep the little children from coming to Jesus, an act they were rebuked for. She says that only God should have the authority to exclude, and not the church. “The church is the disciple of Christ, a mere servant, who must be corrected when he oversteps his position. I am saddened to see the church losing sight once again of its position as a minister.”
Many may wonder what led Griggs to question the church’s authority to make such decisions. After all, isn’t it the church that has the responsibility to keep apostasy out? Are the elders not the ones tasked with enforcing the rules of scripture even when they are not popular. Certainly that is the popular view in the conservative church. Griggs comes from a different lived perspective: Griggs is a black woman who once was viewed in the same light as the gay men and women are now.
“I see you,” she tells them. “As a Black woman who was once denied my salvation by this church, I mourn…Your soul is of great worth, and your blessing will be made sure.”