It is interesting how everyone seems to refer to the Exclusion Policy in the past tense. Media headlines have proclaimed the “reversal” of the policy, or report that the policy was “rescinded”. The truth is, the Exclusion Policy is neither reversed or rescinded. The wording of the policy in the Handbook has been slightly modified, but the hateful, bigoted policy is still there.
The only difference for the children is that First Presidency approval is no longer necessary, but the children still have to go through an additional process before the bishop can approve their baptism or other ordinance. This basically allows the highest Church leaders to blame the bishops for implementing the Exclusion Policy and maintain their own plausible deniability.
The only difference for the gay parents is that they are no longer automatically considered apostates, and that “homosexual immorality would be treated in the eyes of the Church in the same manner as heterosexual immorality.”
But that really doesn’t change anything. The policy still calls same-sex marriage a serious transgression, which has always been grounds for discipline. The problem with the immorality statement is that it is carefully worded in order to be misleading. It sounds positive, like they are saying that same-sex married couples are no longer going to be disciplined for immorality simply because they are married. However, upon closer examination, this is not what this statement says.
The Church has been very clear over the last two or three decades that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and that any sexual relations outside of a marriage between a man and a woman is immorality. Hence, ALL homosexual relations are considered immorality, even when it is within a monogamous, legal, and lawful marriage. This is how President Nelson can use a play on words to give the impression they are reversing the policy, but not really changing anything.
So nothing has really changed.
Leaving the Church is one valid way to respond to this deception and bigotry from Church leaders. However, there is another approach — to be a part of the movement that holds our Church leaders accountable to be honest and to not hide their bigotry behind the mantra of saying it is God’s law. In doing this they are throwing God under the bus and gaslighting the rest of us. This is a perfect example of “unrighteous dominion”.
For me, instead of leaving the Church that I have loved my whole life, I am standing up and fighting to restore the Church from the clear abuse of power and authority that President Nelson has demonstrated. I don’t want him to resign, but he does need to repent of his bigotry and make it right.
God has told us all what his laws are — to love God and love our neighbor. Any doctrine, teaching, or policy that is not based in love (or that only feigns love to justify bigotry) is clearly not of God. Church leaders are not allowed to cover their hateful bigotry by saying it was only God’s law. They appear to be trying to preserve their own authority and power, and doing everything they can to procrastinate having to repent of their own intolerance.
I am not giving the leaders of the Church a pass. I will continue to sustain them and pray for their success in doing good. However, for as long as they continue to deceive and resist repenting of their bigotry, I will continue to hold them accountable. The only truth that is worth anything is the full truth, not carefully phrased statements intended to deceive, that throw God under the bus, and that attempt to hide bigotry.