I would not have been surprised by a change in the LDS Church's General Handbook of Instructions that required Church discipline for individuals in same-sex marriages. Many of us have actually been waiting for that shoe to drop.
I guess I was a bit surprised to see being in a same-sex marriage labeled as apostasy.
What really made my heart sink was to learn that the child of a gay couple cannot receive a name and a blessing in the Church. A child of a gay couple cannot be baptized or confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service unless they are of legal age and do not live with their parents, and unless, in an interview with a Church leader they disavow the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.
It is almost as if same-sex marriage has now been officially labeled an infection that must be cut from the body at all costs. If the children can't be separated from the infected tissue, then they are cut off too.
A dear friend of mine messaged me minutes after the news hit the queer Mormon social media. "Talk me down," she pleaded, "Lots of angry tears right now."
For the first time, it was hard to see even a glimmer of a silver lining anywhere.
What really upset me was the children.
Surely the Church would never prioritize boundary maintenance over ministry to children.
I hear Jesus upbraiding his apostles, "Forbid them not to come unto me."
That to me was the sign that there must be something wrong with this. This can't be the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a culture of fear. It is cultural war.
Shock and the hurt... I was on the phone with my husband. Verbally, he shrugged his shoulders. What should I expect? I ache right now at the thought of a husband and a son permanently alienated from the Church that I love. I am shocked that because of our love, they might be forbidden to come unto Christ.
And yet, I can't feel hopeless or despondent about this. A lot of people I know were hoping to see the Church's stance on homosexuality change gradually toward greater openness, with a first step being bishops simply welcoming same-sex couples to worship without excommunicating them. I have always known, deep down inside, that progress would not occur in this way.
There has been deep and dramatic change in the LDS Church in relation to this issue: not in terms of policy or doctrine, but in terms of attitudes. Mormons have crossed a threshold that is making it increasingly impossible for them to think of their gay family members, neighbors and friends as "other," as "apostate." A critical mass of Mormons know first hand that our love doesn't look that much different from theirs, that our families are as much a shelter from the storm for us as theirs are for them. They've seen our hopes and dreams, and our faith, our love for Jesus Christ intertwined with our love for our families. They've only just started to come to grips with the cognitive dissonance that realization is creating.
The cognitive dissonance just got a lot worse.