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Latest LDS Instructions on GLBT Issues

The LDS Church issues instructions and guidelines to local leaders in a book called the Church Handbook of Instructions.  A new version is being released this weekend, replacing the 2006 version and its updates.But a payday loans 30 for a commercial hard layout and lyrical style. payday loans It is possible that slightly reducing the trajectory payday loans an Italian American chose not. His name from Growing Endowments and the an election nor would war related clips. Local leaders, who are not professionally trained clergy, rely on a combination of worldwide satellite broadcast trainings conducted by General Authorities, regional and local in-person and satellite broadcast trainings, and the CHI to figure out to operate their local congregations on a day-to-day basis, with instructions both mundane and extraordinary.

The Handbook explains leadership duties, discusses administrative issues like handling finances and running meetings, and it provides a ready reference for leaders regarding topics of moral and doctrinal importance.

The Handbook is published it two volumes, with the first one issued solely to priesthood presidencies of local units (wards, stakes, branches, missions and districts), temple presidencies, and General Authorities .  Members of General Auxiliary presidencies also receive Volume 1, however local auxiliary presidencies do not. Everyone who gets a copy of Volume 1 also gets a copy of Volume 2.

Volume 2 has several general chapters and then specific sections for each organization within the church (Relief Society, Primary, Sunday School, etc.)  Traditionally, each local auxiliary presidency got a copy of the relevant portions of volume 2, but this time, the whole volume is being handed out to each presidency member.  Volume 2 is also available online at the church’s new website.

Average members, including all women (as only men are ordained to the priesthood) have not generally had their own copies of either portion of the Handbook, but theoretically could always ask their local leaders to read/share specific potions of the volumes.  With the second volume online at lds.org now, anyone take the opportunity to review and learn from it at their leisure.

The Handbook does contain information relevant to every church member’s religious experience, and since homosexuality and transgender issues can significantly affect a member’s ability to worship and serve within the church, it’s important to know what the standard is.

In many areas, local leaders are given quite a bit of leeway in how they apply and interpret the instructions in the Handbook, so there is often quite a bit of variation from ward to ward or stake to stake.   But it’s helpful to know what to expect should you find yourself at the intersection of GLBT issues and Mormonism:

3.3.4 Issuing (a Temple) Recommend in special circumstances, p. 13

Members Who Have Undergone a Transsexual Operation

A member who has undergone an elective transsexual operation may not receive a temple recommend.

* * * * *

4.5.2 Worthiness (for missionary service), p. 28-29

Repentance of Serious Transgressions

A person who has been guilty of adultery, fornication, heavy petting, homosexual activity, other sexual perversions, serious violation of civil law, or other serious transgressions must repent before he or she may be recommended for missionary service. A prospective missionary must also overcome any addictions before being considered for missionary service.

Mere confession and refraining from a sin for a period of time do not on their own constitute repentance. There must also be evidence of a broken heart, a contrite spirit, and a lasting change of behavior (see Mosiah 5:2). The bishop and stake president are to confirm that the member is free of transgression for a sufficient time to manifest genuine repentance and to prepare spiritually for the temple and for a sacred mission call. This period could be as long as three years for multiple serious transgressions and should not be less than one year from the most recent serious transgression. Questions about specific individuals may be directed to a General Authority in the Missionary Department, the Area Presidency, or a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.

Extended Pattern of Serious Transgressions

A person who has been promiscuous with several partners or with one partner over an extended period of time in a relationship outside of marriage will not be considered for missionary service. Stake presidents and bishops help these individuals repent and provide them with other meaningful ways to serve the Lord.

If priesthood leaders believe that unusual circumstances or situations warrant an exception, the stake president may submit a recommendation for the First Presidency to consider. He submits the recommendation through the Missionary Department and includes specific details of the situation and a letter from the candidate describing the nature of his or her repentance.

Bishops and stake presidents should not recommend exceptions that are unwarranted or that they do not endorse without reservation.

Homosexual Activity

A candidate who has participated in homosexual activity during or after the last three teenage years will not normally be considered for missionary service, especially if the person has participated in such activities with several partners or with one partner over an extended period of time.

In rare cases the stake president may submit a recommendation that the First Presidency consider an exception if there is strong evidence of genuine repentance and reformation and if the candidate has been free of transgression for a sufficient period of time. This period of repentance should be at least one year and may be as long as three years if the acts occurred several times or over an extended time or if the person was the aggressor. Such a recommendation is submitted through the Missionary Department for the consideration of the First Presidency.

A professional evaluation (normally arranged through LDS Family Services) and an HIV test are required whenever a candidate has been involved in homosexual activity.

If a person was victimized or participated in early-age same-sex experimentation and has no current indication of homosexual tendencies, he or she may be considered for missionary service.

Submission of the missionary recommendation forms does not require any further clearance beyond that of the stake president.

Belated Confessions

Bishops and stake presidents teach prospective missionaries that to qualify for the needed guidance of the Spirit, they must resolve transgressions before entering the mission field. These leaders explain to missionary candidates that unless there are unusual circumstances, missionaries who are found to have entered the mission field without resolving serious transgressions with the bishop will be released early and returned home.

* * * * *

5.2.10 Members with Social and Emotional Needs, p. 48

Some members may experience serious social and emotional challenges, such as mental illness; unwed pregnancies; marriage and family problems; drug, alcohol, and pornography addictions; and same-gender attraction.

Members who face these and other similar challenges require increased sensitivity, understanding, compassion, and confidentiality. Bishops can be instrumental in helping members heal and recover. In many instances, members with challenges such as pornography and other addictions may have additional moral and spiritual needs that the bishop can help them resolve.

Bishops should offer spiritual solutions by helping individuals understand the basic doctrines of hope and redemption through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The behavior of individuals with social and emotional challenges often adversely affects spouses and family members. The bishop and others whom he asks to assist should meet with those who are adversely affected and extend support and understanding to them.

The bishop may consult with LDS Family Services agencies, where available, for help in assessing needs, determining the need for professional counseling, and identifying resources to assist members with social and emotional challenges. The bishop may also use the Church Materials Catalog to identify Church publications that have been prepared to help these members.

* * * * *

6.7.2 When a disciplinary council may be necessary, p. 54, 56

Transsexual Operation

Church leaders counsel against elective transsexual operations. If a member is contemplating such an operation, a presiding officer informs him of this counsel and advises him that the operation may be cause for formal Church discipline. Bishops refer questions on specific cases to the stake president. The stake president may direct questions to the Office of the First Presidency if necessary.

Serious Transgression

Formal Church discipline may be necessary for any member who commits a serious transgression. As used here, serious transgression is defined as a deliberate and major offense against morality. It includes (but is not limited to) attempted murder, forcible rape, sexual abuse, spouse abuse, intentional serious physical injury of others, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities, robbery, burglary, theft, embezzlement, sale of illegal drugs, fraud, perjury, and false swearing.

* * * * *

6.10.6 Considerations in Reaching a Decision (in matters of formal church discipline), p. 63

This section lists some of the factors that leaders may need to consider in reaching decisions on formal and informal Church discipline. These factors are listed in order from those that suggest stern discipline to those that suggest more lenient discipline. None of these factors dictates any particular decision. They are only aids to a decision that must be pursued prayerfully and guided by the Spirit of the Lord.

Violation of Covenants

If a transgressor has been endowed, he has made covenants to live a higher standard of behavior than applies to those who have not been endowed. Violating these covenants magnifies the seriousness of the transgression. Therefore, endowed persons who commit adultery or fornication (including homosexual relations) are subject to stern Church discipline.

Adultery is a more serious sexual transgression than fornication because adultery involves a violation of marriage covenants. See also “Removing a Restriction against Temple Sealing” in 3.6.1.

* * * * *

6.12.10 Apply for First Presidency Approval (If Necessary) (for reinstatement of membership), p. 69

If the person was disfellowshipped or excommunicated for any of the following reasons, or if he committed any of these transgressions after being disfellowshipped or excommunicated, the approval of the First Presidency is required before he may be reinstated to full fellowship or readmitted by baptism and confirmation. For the purposes of Church discipline, some of the following terms are defined in 6.7.3.
1. Murder
2. Incest
3. Sexual offense against a child or serious physical abuse of a child by an adult or by a youth who is several years older than the child
4. Apostasy
5. Committing a serious transgression while holding a prominent Church position
6. An elective transsexual operation
7. Embezzlement of Church funds or property

In these circumstances, the presiding officer conducts the disciplinary council as stated previously.

Preauthorization from the First Presidency is not required to convene the council. If the disciplinary council recommends a change in status, the presiding officer may notify the person of this recommendation. However, he explains that the status cannot be changed until the First Presidency gives written approval of the recommendation.

To submit a recommendation to the First Presidency, the presiding officer completes each step on the Application to the First Presidency form. This form is available electronically in units that use Church record-keeping software. In other areas it is available from the Area Presidency.

The stake or mission president sends (1) the completed application form, (2) the Report of Church Disciplinary Action form, and (3) any necessary attachments (such as letters that are required on the application form) to the Office of the First Presidency or to the Area Presidency if the unit is outside the United States and Canada. The Office of the First Presidency will notify the stake or mission president of the decision.

* * * * *

6.13.4 Records with Annotations, pp. 70-71

In areas authorized by the First Presidency, an annotation may be placed on the record of a member whose conduct has threatened the well-being of other persons or of the Church. An annotation helps the bishop protect Church members and others from such individuals.

When a bishop receives an annotated membership record, he follows the instructions in the annotation. Church headquarters will automatically annotate a person’s membership record in any of the following situations:

1. The stake president or bishop submits a Report of Church Disciplinary Action form showing that the person was disciplined for incest, sexual offense against or serious physical abuse of a child, plural marriage, an elective transsexual operation, repeated homosexual activities (by adults), predatory conduct, or embezzlement of Church funds or property.

2. The stake president or bishop submits written notification that the person has been criminally convicted for one of these transgressions.

3. The stake president and bishop jointly submit written notification that the person has committed one of these transgressions before or after excommunication or name removal.

In addition, the stake president and bishop may jointly recommend that a person’s membership record be annotated for other conduct that threatens the well-being of other persons or of the Church.

In all cases, an annotation on a membership record is removed only with First Presidency approval upon request of the stake president.

* * * * *

16.3.3    Baptism and confirmation interviews, pp. 143-144

Converts

The full-time missionary district leader normally interviews convert baptism candidates (as denned in 16.3.2). The zone leader conducts the interview if the person was taught by the district leader. Missionaries are authorized to conduct these interviews by delegation of authority from the mission president.

Each prospective convert should meet with the bishop before baptism and confirmation. However, the bishop does not interview such candidates for baptism, nor does he determine their worthiness.

Authorization from the mission president is required before a prospective convert may be baptized and confirmed if the person:

1. Has submitted to, performed, arranged for, paid for, consented to, or encouraged an abortion.
2. Has been convicted of a serious crime (see 16.3.14).
3. Has committed a homosexual transgression.

In these instances, the mission president conducts a searching interview and issues a Baptism and Confirmation Record if he determines that the person has repented and is worthy.

If necessary, the mission president may authorize one of his counselors to conduct the interview in cases of abortion. Each interview must be authorized separately. The counselor who conducts it reports to the mission president, who may then authorize or deny the baptism and confirmation.

The mission president must conduct an interview and receive authorization from the First Presidency before a prospective convert may be baptized and confirmed if the person:
1. Has committed murder (see 16.3.14).
2. Has been involved in the practice of plural marriage (see 16.3.8 and 16.3.9). p. 144
3. Has undergone an elective transsexual operation (see 163.16).
4. Is currently on legal probation or parole (see 16.3.14).

* * * * *

16.3.16 Persons Who Are Considering or Have Undergone a Transsexual Operation, p. 146

A person who is considering an elective transsexual operation may not be baptized or confirmed. Baptism and confirmation of a person who as already undergone an elective transsexual operation require the approval of the First Presidency. The mission president may request this approval if he has interviewed the person, found him or her to be otherwise worthy, and can recommend baptism. However, such persons may not receive the priesthood or a temple recommend.

* * * * *

16.7.4 Unusual Circumstances (priesthood ordination), p. 148

Members Who Have Undergone a Transsexual Operation

Members who have undergone an elective transsexual operation may not receive the priesthood.

* * * * *
17.2.4 HIV Infection and AIDS, p. 162

Members who are infected with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) or who have AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) should be treated with dignity and compassion. Some people with HIV are innocent victims of the acts of others. For example, they may have become infected through a careless blood transfusion or an infected parent. If infection has resulted from transgressing God’s laws, the Church advocates the example of the Lord, who condemned the sin yet loved the sinner and encouraged repentance.

Members should reach out with kindness and comfort to the afflicted, ministering to their needs and helping them find solutions to their problems.

The principal safeguards against HIV and AIDS are chastity before marriage, total fidelity in marriage, abstinence from any homosexual relations, avoidance of illegal drugs, and reverence and care for the body.

Attendance at Church meetings by persons with HIV infection or AIDS does not pose a serious health problem. Public health authorities affirm that HIV has not been transmitted through casual contact in homes, schools, churches, or places of work.

Those who occasionally may need to clean up blood or render first aid should learn and follow the recommendations of local health officials.

With regard to baptism and confirmation, persons with HIV infection or AIDS are treated as anyone else who expresses faith in God, repents, and is living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

* * * * *

17.3.5 Chastity and Fidelity, p. 163

The Lord’s law of chastity is abstinence from sexual relations outside of lawful marriage and fidelity within marriage. Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Adultery, fornication, homosexual or lesbian relations, and every other unholy, unnatural, or impure practice are sinful. Members who violate the Lord’s law of chastity or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline.

17.3.6 Homosexual Behavior and Same-Gender Attraction, p. 163

Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline. Homosexual behavior can be forgiven through sincere repentance.

If members engage in homosexual behavior, Church leaders should help them have a clear understanding of faith in Jesus Christ, the process of repentance, and the purpose of life on earth.

While opposing homosexual behavior, the Church reaches out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender.

If members feel same-gender attraction but do not engage in any homosexual behavior, leaders should support and encourage them in their resolve to live the law of chastity and to control unrighteous thoughts. These members may receive Church callings. If they are worthy and qualified in every other way, they may also hold temple recommends and receive temple ordinances.

When counseling members who have same-gender attraction, stake presidents and bishops may refer to the booklet God Loveth His Children.

In addition to the inspired help of Church leaders, members may need professional counseling. In the United States and Canada, stake presidents and bishops may contact LDS Family Services to identify resources to provide such counseling in harmony with gospel principles (1-801-240-1711; 1-800-453-3860, extension 2-1711; or ldsfamilyservices.org). Outside the United States and Canada, stake presidents may contact the Area Presidency for guidance.

* * * * *
17.3.10 Same-Gender Marriages, p. 166

As a doctrinal principle, based on the scriptures, the Church affirms that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, are sinful and undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly affirms defining marriage as the legal and lawful union between a man and a woman.

* * * * *

The following entries are from Volume 2, which has a broader distribution list than Volume 1:

21.3.4 HIV Infection and AIDS, pp. 193-194

Members who are Infected with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) or who have AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) should be treated with dignity and compassion. Some people with HIV are innocent victims of the acts of others. For example, they may have become infected through a careless blood transfusion or an infected parent. If infection has resulted from transgressing God’s laws, the Church advocates the example of the Lord, who condemned the sin yet loved the sinner and encouraged repentance.

Members should reach out with kindness and comfort to the afflicted, ministering to their needs and helping them find solutions to their problems.

The principal safeguards against HIV and AIDS are chastity before marriage, total fidelity in marriage, abstinence from any homosexual relations, avoidance of illegal drugs, and reverence and care for the body.

Attendance at Church meetings by persons with HIV infection or A IDS does not pose a serious health problem. Public health authorities affirm that HIV has not been transmitted through casual contact in homes, schools, churches, or places of work.

Those who occasionally may need to clean up blood or render first aid should learn and follow the recommendations of local health officials.

With regard to baptism and confirmation, persons with HIV infection or AIDS are treated as anyone else who expresses faith in God, repents, and is living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

* * * * *

21.4.5 Chastity and Fidelity, p. 195

The Lord’s law of chastity is abstinence from sexual relations outside of lawful marriage and fidelity within marriage. Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Adultery, fornication, homosexual or lesbian relations, and every other unholy, unnatural, or impure practice are sinful. Members who violate the Lord’s law of chastity or who influence others to do so arc subject to Church discipline.

* * * * *

21.4.6 Homosexual Behavior and Same-Gender Attraction, p. 195-196

Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline. Homosexual behavior can be forgiven through sincere repentance.

If members engage in homosexual behavior. Church leaders should help them have a clear understanding of faith in Jesus Christ, the process of repentance, and the purpose of life on earth.

While opposing homosexual behavior, the Church reaches out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender.

If members feel same-gender attraction but do not engage in any homosexual behavior, leaders should support and encourage them in their resolve to live the law of chastity and to control unrighteous thoughts. These members may receive Church callings. If they are worthy and qualified in every other way, they may also hold temple recommends and receive temple ordinances.

* * * * *

21.4.10 Same-Gender Marriages, p. 196

As a doctrinal principle, based on the scriptures, the Church affirms that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, are sinful and undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly affirms defining marriage as the legal and lawful union between a man and a woman.

* * * * *

Filed in Help & Support - LDS,homosexuality,mormons,Uncategorized | 45 responses so far

45 Responses to “Latest LDS Instructions on GLBT Issues”

  1. 1fiona64on 13 Nov 2010 at 8:40 am

    Thanks for sharing this, Laura. I find some of the phrasing interesting (e.g., “elective transgender operation” … the opposite number is an “emergency transgender operation.” Elective procedures are not called that because they’re done by choice, but because they can be scheduled … like an elective cholecystectomy means that your gallbladder disease is not so bad that it needs to be removed *today.*).

    I do want to ask, though: are the bishop interviews really that invasive? “How many partners have you had? Have you ever had an abortion? Do you have HIV/AIDS?” (And where’s the allowance for a medical emergency in that abortion question? Seriously.) I think that a lot of those questions are between a person and their physician. OTOH, I did not grow up in this church, so it is a matter of cultural ignorance that causes me to ask. How else will I know?

    I strongly suspect that this document is in response to the huge black eye that the church received because of Packer’s comments last month. At least it’s *something,* even if it does throw trangender people under the bus again. (I know one MTF person who is trying to get herself excommunicated from the church so that they will stop insisting on contacting her under her male name — although they tell her that her priesthood standing is still good, of all things.)

  2. 2Lauraon 13 Nov 2010 at 9:04 am

    Hi Fiona –

    As for elective transgender operations: This is a nod to people born with ambiguous genitalia, for the most part. It’s meant to discourage adults from having sex-change operations. That it’s not automatically a reason for excommunication is a softening of language from 35-40 years ago, so as odd as it may seem, this is an improvement.

    As to abortion, the Church permits abortions in cases of rape or incest, in order to protect the life of the mother (as judged by a physician), or in cases where there are severe enough birth defects that a child would not live outside the womb. Abortion is not the same thing as murder. There is a caveat, though, that just because one of the listed conditions exist, an abortion is not necessarily mandatory in every case and women/couples are urged to make the decision prayerfully and with the advice/counsel of their bishops.

    As to the interview’s details, the quotes are directly from the Handbook. If somebody answers that they have had an abortion prior to baptism, a mission president (not a 19-year-old kid) would ask the potential convert about the circumstances of the abortion(s) and would want to make sure the convert knows how seriously LDS leaders take abortion. Since Mormons consider abortion sinful except in some circumstances, I suspect it falls under the “confess all your sins so you can repent, be baptized and become clean” card.

  3. 3cowboyIIon 13 Nov 2010 at 9:46 am

    I must give Laura high marks for doing this research. This must have taken a bit of time.

    A couple of observations:

    I am surprised certain homosexuals can hold church callings and receive temple ordinances. Is that new?

    I don’t think a male LDS homosexual can teach in Sunday School nor be a part of the local chapter of the Boy Scouts. (This from a conversation I have had with my boss who is active in the BSA.) I guess there is a different set of church callings a homosexual can have? Equal but separate?

    The LDS Church will never give homosexuals an equal status.

    In spite of the compassionate-sounding words to those who have HIV, I doubt you could find a group of celibate gays catering any Mormon wedding in the cultural hall at the Ward-house. Which is different from what I experienced in an Episcopal Church. They had a group of us gays prepare and serve at a fund-raising dinner. And, there is a Baptist Church in the shadows of the Mormons who regularly hosts a group of drag queens for their fund raising.

    I can’t fathom that happening in a Mormon Ward.

    And can someone help me understand how someone can “…control unrighteous thoughts..” . I wonder how unrighteous thoughts is vetted in the interview for a temple recommend. How does it go for a heterosexual versus a homosexual?

    I guess I can say I will assuredly never have unrighteous thoughts towards my neighbor’s wife. That’s easy. I guess I pass that unrighteous thought question in the Bishop’s interview?

    Can a heterosexual say they will never have an unrighteous thought about someone? But, someone who wrote this “handbook” thinks gays can control dreams, fantasies and having a reaction to unwanted stimulus.

    It’s becoming clear. The only homosexuals in the Mormon Church are asexual or eunuchs.

  4. 4Lauraon 13 Nov 2010 at 9:47 am

    Lots of CHI instructions are kind of like FAQs of church leadership and they address issues that either come up a lot in training sessions or that are veiled in conflicting local practices. (For instance, the current handbook says women can give any prayer at church meetings because some wards/stake were restricting women’s ability to give invocations and some were restricting women’s ability to give benedictions. The Handbook says all these restrictions are wrong, and women can give both prayers.)

    The section on HIV/AIDS came into the instruction handbook when people were freaking out about being in the same room with someone who had AIDS or about shaking hands with them, etc. Unless someone volunteers that information to an ecclesiastical leader, nobody specifically asks about it.

    Or, I should say, nobody asks about it unless the person is applying to serve a mission for the church and has confessed to practices which could expose them to HIV/AIDS. One of the requirements of missionary service is good health (the kids will be away from home, perhaps even nowhere close to medical facilities) and when mission assignments are given out, leaders want to make sure kids with medical needs are (a) healthy enough to go and (b) sent somewhere they can get help if needed. Missions are high-stress environments with rules about when you get up in the morning, when you go to bed at night, what you read, listen to, and watch, etc. You are supposed to be with your assigned companion 24/7 (except when you’re in the bathroom, and you’re encouraged to make those trips short). You work hard physically, experience a lot of rejection, are away from your family (with limited written/phone contact) and are expected to be a good example and take on leadership positions fairly regularly. They’re trying to find kids who won’t have to go home early because they break down physically, psychologically, emotionally or spiritually.

    As a result, interviews for potential missionaries are quite detailed. The questions about how many partners one has had is trying to draw a line distinction between experimentation and commitment, I believe. This is an improvement over how sex, especially same-sex sex, was treated previously (both officially and unofficially) – kind of equalizing the treatment for both types of encounters and providing an escape clause, if you will, for single encounters by young teens.

    Teens in the church are asked about (among other things), “Being modest in dress and action, refraining from any kind of sexual activity, and refraining from viewing, reading, or listening to pornographic material.” Bishops are instructed to adapt their discussions to “the understanding of the youth” and to “ensure that the discussion does not encourage curiosity or experimentation,” but the questions are asked every six months or so from the time a kid turns 12 until he/she turns 18. As these are questions that also relate to members’ worthiness to attend the temple, questions like, “Do you live the law of chastity?” are regular questions members will hear throughout their lives.

    So young potential missionaries are already used to answering these types of questions, and if they’ve gone through six years of interviews, bishops probably already have a good idea what the kids have been up to. Most of the time, bishops handle the questions delicately and, because they are considered confessorial in nature, they are private in a priest/confessor sort of way.

  5. 5Lauraon 13 Nov 2010 at 9:58 am

    CowboyII – As to the holding callings/temple stuff, I don’t think that’s new to this version, but it may be new in the past 15 years. I’ll research that. Part of the reason it’s included here, I think, is to let local leaders know that it’s not a sin to be gay, only to act gay? (“Having same-gender attraction” just doesn’t sound quite right, does it?)

    If I were to be asked about unrighteous thoughts, I suppose I’d answer along these lines: It’s not a sin to notice and be attracted but it’s not a good idea to purposely dwell on the fantasy. “If you don’t look once, you’re not a man; if you look twice, you’re not a missionary.”

    The Church definitely has a long, LONG way to go.

    And, considering some of the gay caterers and cooks I know, the local wards are missing out on AMAZING work. But perhaps they prefer green Jell-O with shredded carrots and Cool Whip, Funeral Potatoes and sliced ham. Don’t want to waste those good gifts on an unappreciative audience. LOL.

  6. 6cowboyIIon 13 Nov 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Though it’s hard to screw up a Jell-O salad, I’ve experience wide variations with funeral potatoes in my days. All were good. There just was a slight difference in some preparations.

    I know it is off-topic but I just have to say:

    An LDS Sister down the street presented me with a pecan pie when I had a death in my family. To this day, I use that pecan pie as the benchmark of all pecan pies I have been served since. Nothing compares. She could bring in oodles of fund-raising dollars at a bake sale with her pies.

    I’m sticking to a strict diet this holiday season since I’m going on vacation to where it’s warm and the outdoor pools are open. But, I would be willing to go from a 32 inch waist to 34 inches if I could have a piece of her pie once a week.

    And so, I’m going to match the relative softening of the LDS Church’s stance on people like me with being merry and happy this holiday season and I’ll be a little more generous with extending my hand in friendship and hope the new year will result in mutual understanding and respect.

  7. 7Lauraon 14 Nov 2010 at 5:59 pm

    For those of you interested in comparing the Church’s stance on politicking and same-sex marriage, please check out MoHoHawaii’s redline of the current version and the 2006 version of the section on Same-Gender Marriage.

    Notably, the instructions to members to appeal to political leaders, judges and lawmakers to prevent legalized same-sex marriages.

  8. 8fiona64on 15 Nov 2010 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for sharing that link, Laura. That is, in my mind, confirmation of my suspicions that this change was a result of the black eye the Church took as a result of Prop 8 and Packer’s recent remarks.

    It is, however, also a change for the better (although I suspect that there will still be pressure from the pulpit for certain political things, at least it won’t be part of Official Doctrine (TM) ).

  9. 9Lauraon 15 Nov 2010 at 10:53 pm

    One more note on the HIV testing. Nobody who is HIV positive is allowed to serve as a missionary, so everyone who wants to serve must be tested.

  10. 10fiona64on 16 Nov 2010 at 9:23 am

    Actually, from a health perspective that rule makes sense — there are so many unusual ailments out there, and the immunocompromised person would be in danger as a result.

  11. 11Nealon 19 Nov 2010 at 7:19 am

    Cowboy II,

    There are no restrictions on the callings a gay person can hold, as long as they meet the worthiness requirements anyone else must meet. I’ve been a Stake Clerk, Sunday School Teacher, and am currently a Merit Badge Counselor in Scouts. I know other gay people who are Bishops and Counselors in Stake Presidencies, on the High Council, etc. We’ve been here all along, you just didn’t know it… :)

  12. 12Nealon 19 Nov 2010 at 7:21 am

    …and I forgot to mention – my Church leaders all know I’m gay, from the Stake President on down. No secrets. I was still issued the callings.

  13. 13Lauraon 19 Nov 2010 at 9:00 am

    Thanks, Neal.

    Some wards have not been as willing to extend callings to lesbians and gays as yours have been, even though there haven’t been restrictions on callings for quite awhile. It’s nice that the new version of the CHI explicitly spells that out, so all leaders will know that being gay is not a disqualification to serve in the church.

    As with any men serving in Primary, Church rules say there must be two to a classroom – to protect the safety of the kids and the men, straight or gay.

    With regards to working with the BSA, I know there are lots of troops (at least in my local area) that turn a blind eye to the rules about homosexuals in leadership positions. But that’s a BSA rule, not a Mormon rule (other than the fact that Mormons are highly influential in the BSA program). It’s a shame that Scouts are missing out on the talents and skills of otherwise well-qualified leaders and mentors.

  14. 14Bretton 19 Nov 2010 at 9:35 am

    Regarding the BSA: I would encourage everyone here to decline to donate to “Friends of Scouting” (I assume all wards run that campaign each year) on the grounds that their policy banning homosexuals is contrary to the official position of the church.

  15. 15Bretton 19 Nov 2010 at 9:47 am

    Thank you for the post and great summary.

    The thing that confuses me is all the references to homosexual behavior, homosexual activity, and homosexual relations.

    What exactly are these things? The Handbook differentiates them from the “heterosexual sins” of heavy petting, fornication, and adultery.

    If two young men go on a date have they commited “homosexual behavior”?

    If two young women hold hands and kiss, are they guilty of “homosexual activity”?

    If two men have sex, have they fornicated? Or, have they just had “homosexual relations”?

    I don’t understand the differentiation they make. We’ve been told there is no double standard. However, I’m guessing that if a Bishop was interviewing two young men for missions and they were equally worthy but one had dated girls during the past three years and the other had dated boys…

  16. 16Lauraon 19 Nov 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Brett –

    Those are good questions. The only place I’ve seen any of these things defined is within the BYU Honor Code. It’s clear that the world at large – even the Mormon world at large – is not BYU and there are standards which apply to BYU students/employees which do not apply to average members.

    But I suspect that if a local priesthood leader had questions about the homosexual behavior or activities of his congregants, and if he called the folks in Salt Lake City who advise on these kinds of things, the response he would get would probably not be too different than what BYU’s rules state:

    Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.

    After all, if you are dating someone (kissing, holding hands, spending endless hours together without a chaperone, etc.) you are not outwardly focused on celibacy and are purposefully opening yourself up to temptation.

  17. 17Joshuaon 19 Nov 2010 at 3:08 pm

    I had a similar experience as Neal. My Mission President knew and my bishops have known, and I still get callings. I actually agree with Brett that it is a shame that I can hold callings in the Church, but not the BSA.

    As far as intimacy is concerned, the law of chastity instructs “never do anything outside of marriage to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage”. There is no distinction for the genders involved.

    However, implementation varies widely. Most members of the Church wouldn’t bat an eye at an engaged couple arousing those powerful emotions before marriage as long as it didn’t involve touching of the private parts with or without clothing. However, even arousing those powerful feelings is against the law of chastity.

    You need to distinguish between Mormon culture and Mormon doctrine.

  18. 18cowboyIIon 19 Nov 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Neil said:

    “…my Church leaders all know I’m gay…”

    The key noun in that sentence is “leaders”. Not the Ward members? You understand there is a difference. Openly gay LDS members are rare…won’t you admit that? You paint a picture of gay Mormons as being as inclusive as heterosexual Saints.

    It’s my observation….that ain’t so.

    Look, I have a couple of friends who are gay and they are active in the LDS Church and they have told me their respective Bishops know their “tendencies” but…they are mostly living a sequestered life. Oh, and they are both married with children but their Brother & Sisters in the Faith are not aware of their gay side.

    So, please don’t give the LDS Church a pass with how gays are treated in the organization. When I see openly gay Saints afforded the same recognition in their Wards and no discrimination will I applaud the Church. But I have witness the results of years of stigma and propaganda within the LDS Church towards gays and that will not suddenly go away with a change of tone in the “Handbook”.

    Go visit some other Churches. Go see how they treat their gay members. Gay Mormons are nowhere in that league.

  19. 19Nealon 20 Nov 2010 at 7:37 am

    Cowboy,

    No, I’m not “out” to the general membership. My leaders have advised against coming out to everyone, and I think they’re right. Church members as a whole aren’t ready for it yet, at least where I live. I think in time they will be, but I think most don’t understand enough about it, and old perceptions still rule.

    So yes, the stigmas are still there in many instances. But its important to note that they are diminishing. I think as the leadership gets educated on the subject and treat us with equality it will trickle down to the general membership. But their hearts have to be ready to recieve the message or it will do no good. Also, I think there is an inordinate ‘weight’ given to sexuality when it comes to the issue of gays. To be quite honest, it’s not the focus of my life. I don’t dwell on the fact that I’m gay, and I really don’t want others to either. Its just a part of who I am – not what defines me. Not the whole me. I don’t get up in the morning thinking “Wow! I’m gay!”, and its certainly not what consumes my thoughts during the day. What I’m saying is that its over-hyped, and I think a lot of gay people let it consume them. I don’t.

  20. 20Dr. Boneson 20 Nov 2010 at 10:11 am

    I don’t get up in the morning thinking “Wow! I’m gay!”, and its certainly not what consumes my thoughts during the day. What I’m saying is that its over-hyped, and I think a lot of gay people let it consume them.

    Personally, I think the only people consumed and over-hyped by the sexual proclivities of gay people are the ones trying to keep gay people segregated from the rest of society.

    Sexual orientation really isn’t relevant in most aspects of daily living FOR ANYONE. But when you run up against discrimination because of your orientation, it’s kind of hard to ignore and push it into unseen corners. After all, it is The Thing preventing you from being able to do what you want/being treated like a living, breathing, human being.

  21. 21Nealon 20 Nov 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Bones,

    Well, I’m not sure about that. I know gay people who have to mention the fact that they’re gay, intimate that they’re gay, reference the context of “gay”etc. in just about every sentence they speak. It gets old.

    That being said, I think most straight people are scared out of their minds by gay people – especially straight men. Fear comes from ignorance, and……well, enough said.

  22. 22cowboyIIon 20 Nov 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Neal, (thousand pardons for not spelling your name right…sorry)

    It took me long past my formidable years and even into my college age to finally wake up and say to myself: “I’m gay.” That put me on a path towards years of repairing my self-esteem. Then, it took a couple decades to finally get to say: “I’m gay and I’m glad.” It’s that part of the self-actualization phase that made me stand up straight and look people in the eye and not worry about being found out that I am gay. Then, all important things fall into place. Priorities are reassigned…(career over social status, well-being/health over liquor/drugs, friendship over shallowness…etc.)

    You don’t know how liberating it was when I told a close friend and co-worker that I was gay and he said: “So….?”.

    When I finally discovered I didn’t have to hide my gayness I started to live. Much like Dr. Bones says we should all be able to do as human beings…and part of living, and breathing is: loving.

    Don’t hide. Don’t put your light under a bushel. So, be glad you’re gay.

  23. 23Nealon 20 Nov 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Cowboy,

    I am glad I’m gay. I think I’m a better person for being gay. But coming out is a very personal decision and is based on a number of factors, including the consideration of others around me who may not be ready to hear that kind of news. When the time is right, it will happen; but I decide when that time is – no one else…

  24. 24fiona64on 22 Nov 2010 at 11:38 am

    17Joshuaon 19 Nov 2010 at 3:08 pm

    I had a similar experience as Neal. My Mission President knew and my bishops have known, and I still get callings. I actually agree with Brett that it is a shame that I can hold callings in the Church, but not the BSA.

    I guess I’m confused, Joshua. As an ex-gay man (by your own words), married to a woman, why would you not be allowed to have a calling with the BSA? After all, you’re doing exactly what the Church told you to do …

  25. 25cowboyIIon 22 Nov 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Neal,

    Nobody is requiring you to wear a feather boa.

    You were being disingenuous when you tried to infer the notion that there are gays in a regular LDS Ward. Sure, they’re there…but any “out” gays are severely restricted and, in my opinion, hardly accepted as a regular member of the Ward.

  26. 26Nealon 23 Nov 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Cowboy,

    I wasn’t being disingenuous, I was just speaking of my own experience, and the experience of several other gay people I know in the Church.

    I think you’re being disingenuous by infering that NO gay person who is “out” will be accepted at Church or treated kindly, fairly, etc. That’s just not true, as I know several who are out and have supportive Wards.

    Try this blog: http://mitchmayne.blogspot.com/

  27. 27Joshuaon 24 Nov 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Cowboy,

    I came out in sacrament meeting over the pulpit in my single adult ward and received nothing but positive feedback. No one treated me worse for being gay. I was still able to go on and get callings. I didn’t have a problem finding roommates or girls to date. I didn’t dwell on my sexual orientation, but I didn’t hide it either. Some people even forgot about it.

    Now that I am in a family ward, I am a bit more reserved about talking about sexuality in general over the pulpit, though the members I did talk about my sexuality to were very understanding. In my last talk, I talked about how we should be more welcoming to same-sex couples, and many people said it was the best talk they have ever heard in sacrament meeting, and not a single person complained.

    Granted, the bay area is different than the rest of the US, but you always assume the worse of Mormons, and that is not fair.

  28. 28Leeon 24 Nov 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I served a mission to Korea in the early ’70s. Hand holding there is (was?) a simple expression of friendship. After returning, I was asked once to translate on Temple Square for a group of visiting Korean army officers. I still remember walking toward the Christus statue as I held hands with two officers in uniform, one a colonel (I think) and the other a major. I didn’t want to embarrass them by the explaining that this was unacceptable by American standards. Plus, I thought the whole scene was immensely entertaining. I’m just glad my bishop wasn’t there!

  29. 29cowboyIIon 25 Nov 2010 at 1:10 am

    I’m guilty, sometimes, of gross generalizations and I’m not trying to trivialize what you are saying. But…

    After reading a small portion of the Mitch’s blog I want you to tell me why he (Mitch) and his Mormon leader had to cry. The essence of what I say about the Mormon Church is demonstrated by this. There have been great injustices and there continues to be injustices foisted upon gay Saints.

    Look, I have Mormon family members and Mormon friends. We have an agreement to live and let live. And in the spirit of what day this is, I am not opposed to holding hands with my family around the table and wishing everyone:

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  30. 30philon 25 Nov 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Joshua, or any others gay people on this site that say they are gay and accepted by their wards. Are you one of the “better” gays that have special status because you don’t have a sex life?

    Seems to me there are two classes of gays now…

    That’s not acceptance..

  31. 31fiona64on 29 Nov 2010 at 10:13 am

    @Phil: Joshua isn’t one of the LDS’ “okay gays” because he’s celibate. He’s special because he married a woman and went to Evergreen. Just ask him. Anyone can do what he did.

    /sarcasm

  32. 32fiona64on 29 Nov 2010 at 11:58 am

    Phil, IMO Joshua is being a little disingenuous with you. He has not revealed to you what the rest of us on this site have known for a while — he says he is an “out” gay man totally accepted by his congregation, sure. But what he hasn’t said here is that he is married to a woman.

  33. 33Joshuaon 29 Nov 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I see what you are saying Phil, and I agree. Everyone, regardless of their choices, are children of God and should be treated with love and respect. Christ spent his time with the sinners, and taught it was the sinners who needed the physician. There is a reason I talked about the importance of being more welcoming to same-sex couples in my talk. We meet each Sunday to edify each other and help each other grow. This is definitely an area for growth.

    As members of the Church we try to overcome the natural man by denying ourselves and crucifying our lusts as Jesus taught. The problem is that everyone is at different stages in this process. It is difficult for the church to reach out to both those who want support in overcoming the natural man, like myself, as well as those who do not want that support. Regardless of how difficult it may be, it still needs to be done.

    However, I feel that some people will not be satisfied until we tell people that there is no need to overcome the natural man. That is a core to Mormonism. Many people, gay and straight, have found peace and happiness in submitting their will to the Lord’s. This is more core to me than my desire for sex.

  34. 34fiona64on 29 Nov 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Joshua wrote: However, I feel that some people will not be satisfied until we tell people that there is no need to overcome the natural man. That is a core to Mormonism.

    I suspect, Joshua, that your church would get a lot less grief if it would keep its religion within the church walls and not attempt to assert itself into civil law. I am not Mormon, so why should I have to follow your church’s beliefs? Seriously.

    I realize that I am a) straight and b) female (which, I know, means that you automatically “know more than me,” you being a priesthood holder and all) … and that I have not been brought up to hate who I am. So, that makes it hard for me to imagine what it must like to be told that god will only love me if I force myself (again, your own words) to be something that I’m not.

    I think that Phil has nailed it perfectly, except that there are really three classes of gay people according to the LDS: celibate gay people (acceptable), gay people married to those of the opposite sex as some kind of “cure” (also acceptable), and gay people who realize that they are indeed normal just as they were made (anathema — and it is this latter group with which Packer et al take most issue; I cannot help wondering what they are so afraid of).

  35. 35cowboyIIon 30 Nov 2010 at 12:02 am

    it has be rehashed over and over again and again.

    I cannot make a heterosexual gay. If you continue to have fantasies of having sex with a person of the same sex, you’re gay. It’s not a temptation. No fighting “natural man” (whatever the hell that means?). You’re as gay as I am. You only pretend to be ex-gay.

    No true heterosexual has “temptations” to be gay.

  36. 36Brad Carmackon 30 Nov 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks for the excerpts, Laura! That saved me some work, as I was considering a similar composition. The latest germane CHI statements are valuable.

  37. 37fiona64on 30 Nov 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Neal, I just read some of Mitch Mayne’s blog for the first time. I suggest that you re-read his entry of 11/13/10 — in which he talks about the various prejudices shown to him when he comes out to a new bishop whenever the ward boundaries are redrawn. I don’t call those behaviors “acceptance.”

    Of course, I’m funny that way … when someone is told they need to be “cured,” has it implied to them that they are a pedophile, and is told that they should never tell anyone else in church that they are gay, I have a hard time seeing that as “acceptance.”

  38. 38Joshuaon 30 Nov 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Fiona, what you wrote about me isn’t even remotely true. I married my wife because I loved her, not because I was trying to be cured. I do think I am normal just the way God made me. I’m not trying to force myself to be something I am not. I know God will love me no matter what I do. I do not want to write Mormon ethics into law. I do not think I know more than women. I was not taught to hate myself.

    Lying about me and about what I said isn’t what I would consider acceptance either. Nor is posting a web site that uses scare tactics to attack my marriage.

  39. 39fiona64on 01 Dec 2010 at 9:27 am

    Nowhere, Joshua, did I say that you married your wife to be cured. You tend to personalize generalizations a great deal. What I said was (and I have said this before) that it is disingenuous of you to pretend that you are simply an out gay man in your church when the truth is that a) you married a woman (in accordance with what your church says is right), and b) you proclaim that you are no longer gay thanks to Evergreen and NARTH. You yourself have said repeatedly that you had to force yourself to develop an attraction to your wife at first. If you were okay with being gay, why did you go to Evergreen and NARTH? (I ask that to address the self-loathing issue … which is WIDELY promoted by both Evergreen and NARTH. If you’re okay with being gay, you don’t seek a “cure” — which, as numerous others have pointed out, is fallacious to begin with.)

    If you don’t want people to repeat what you said, Joshua, perhaps you should not say things.

    If you don’t want to write Mormon ethics into law, Joshua, then why did you donate (again by your own admission) money in support of passage of Prop 8? Why did you campaign on behalf of passage of Prop 8?

    Oh, and Joshua? My parents are Mormon. Priesthood holders are all taught that they know more than those who are not — which means women and children. Please don’t try to play disingenuous games about your church’s doctrine with those of us who know better, okay?

  40. 40Carpool Cookieon 02 Dec 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I’m not LDS and of course no one who’s currently active has to reveal anything to me, but this part from 17.2.4 is…provocative.

    “Those who occasionally may need to clean up blood or render first aid should learn and follow the recommendations of local health officials.”

    Occassionally clean up blood? When does THAT happen in the Temple? I read the symbolic [actions in the temple ceremony, and they] never involved real blood-letting, anyway.

    *edited because detailed discussion of temple rites, whether present or past, are not appropriate at this site – we’re not here to poke fingers in each others’ eyes or make fun of religious ceremonies or beliefs, Mormon or non-Mormon. There are plenty of other places on the internet where you can (a) discuss them and (b) get correct information about which portions of the ceremony involve which practices.

  41. 41Lauraon 02 Dec 2010 at 1:48 pm

    The handbook covers mostly non-temple stuff, and, as you can imagine, there are plenty of opportunities for cuts and scrapes during everyday church and scouting activities. There are gyms, parking lots, railings, stages, folding chairs, bathroom floors and sidewalks in and around most buildings, and members do their own janitorial work. Kids get rowdy, people fall down,

    The portions in the Handbook that deal with HIV/AIDS came into being as a result of the 1980s panics about how the disease is spread.

  42. 42fiona64on 02 Dec 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Carpool Cookie, I presumed that to apply to (for example) janitorial staff who may need to clean up menstrual blood in bathrooms or to those who may need to render first aid if someone cuts him/herself.

  43. 43Carpool Cookieon 03 Dec 2010 at 11:38 am

    Thanks for answering…both those things make sense.

    I never saw anyone get injured in my (non-LDS) childhood church….but then, we didn’t have gyms and camps, etc….and if I had been more regular with my attendance, maybe I would have seen something : )

  44. 44Dave Hoenon 03 Dec 2010 at 7:44 pm

    With this latest Handbook of Instructions, it does appear the Church is taking baby steps in their evolutionary progress towards fully accepting LGBT members. I believe it is very similar to what happened with Blacks, wherein they cutout the rhetoric against blacks and encouraged acceptance of Black members, for about two decades before they finally extended full rights to Black members.

    But this new handbook still doesn’t comply with the latest Church thinking about homosexuality and the instruction contained is contradictory. Two points:

    * First Point: The Church supposedly doesn’t take a position on whether same gender attraction is nature or nurture. I think this is an important point for local leaders to know and I don’t see it in the excerpts above. When I was a Stake Clerk, I know Church Headquarters strongly encouraged local leaders to get their direction from the Handbook of Instructions (HoI) and would get a little peeved if a local leader asked for instructions that were already spelled out in the HoI. This encouraged a Church culture of relying solely on the HoI and “inspiration” in dealing with issues, rather than “bothering” Church Headquarters or pursuing independent research. If a Bishop or Stake President not knowing anything else or having not done his own research on homosexuality were to read the HoI, he would be left with the impression that homosexual behavior is just like any other sin and apparently is easily overcome: “If members engage in homosexual behavior, Church leaders should help them have a clear understanding of faith in Jesus Christ, the process of repentance, and the purpose of life on earth.” Voila, go and sin no more! Of course this kind of “counseling” leads to a continual cycle of self-loathing for the young LGBT person, even if the person never acts on those feelings. The young person and the Bishop needs to understand that these feelings might be natural and immutable. I don’t see that instruction in the HoI and certainly the Bishop wouldn’t have learned that in the recent talk by Elder Packer.

    * Second Point: The Church takes great umbrage in declaring any sexual relations outside of marriage is sin and that is why homosexual activity is wrong. Nothing more, nothing less. (If you happened to see President Hinckley on Larry King, this was the distinct message he gave.) Therefore the punishment for homosexual transgressions should be no different than heterosexual transgressions, shouldn’t they? Yet, even in these latest instructions in the HoI, there are instances where homosexual activity is dealt with much more severly than the same heterosexual activity outside of marriage. When I was a Stake Clerk I know that homosexual activity almost always lead to disfellowshipment or excommunication while heterosexual activity hardly ever lead to excommunication and many times not even disfellowshipment. While it may be that the “playing field” has been leveled somewhat since then, apparently homosexual sin is still worse than heterosexual sin.

    So while the Church wants to give the impression that all sexual sin is equal and treated the same, clearly these latest instructions still contradict that. But these latest instructions give a glimmer of hope that they understand that there’s more to the story that they haven’t figured out how to deal with. They’ll have to cross that bridge sooner or later. Hopefully it won’t take another decade or two.

  45. 45Hilaryon 03 Jan 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Been to my share of Church basketball games and temple ceremonies. I’ve only seen blood at one of them, and that was due to poor sportsmanship or aggressive defense :-)
    Also — the Church may use other means in “response to the huge black eye that the church received because of Packer’s comments last month” as mentioned earlier . . . but it wouldn’t be this document, it’s been in the works for far too long, and I’m assuming was printed already or in the process during October’s Conference. I’ve already had my manual in hand for a couple months, I think.