Sunday, October 4, 2009

Conference report

The Salt Lake Tribune reports on continuing advice to parents of gay adult children by LDS Apostle Dallin H. Oaks in the October 2009 General Conference. According to the paper, Elder Oaks said:
Following the example of an all-wise and loving God who has given commandments for the benefit of his children, wise parents condition some parental gifts on obedience. If an adult child is living in cohabitation, does the seriousness of sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage require that this child feel the full weight of family disapproval by being excluded from any family contacts, or does parental love require that the fact of cohabitation be ignored?

The Trib comments:
The apostle said he had seen both responses, neither of which is appropriate. Indeed, gay activists recently have criticized Mormon parents who cut off communication with their gay children.

Elder Oaks's world view scares the pants off me. (Apparently, being a gay couple is all about sex, sex, sex all the time, even if the "cohabitors" have kids, joint dental insurance and a mortgage.) For the record, I would never relate to either of my two adult children in the manipulative way he proposes. It wouldn't matter what the nature of the disagreement was.

Incidentally, in denouncing child abandonment, Elder Oaks uses the weakest language imaginable. He thinks that severing parental bonds, the ultimate act of emotional violence if there ever was one, is "inappropriate" but on par in terms of fault with parents who love and accept their children without strings attached. Unbelievable.

This reminds me of the tragic story of Spencer W. Kimball's "conditional-love" relationship with his brainy, overachieving but (unforgivably) nonbelieving son Spencer LeVan Kimball. As a son, SLK was no slacker-- he won a Rhodes Scholarship (!), became a distinguished law professor and devoted himself to a life of teaching and service. Yet, his father SWK chose to severely damage the relationship over religious differences.

All I can say is that I'm glad that I don't happen to be Elder Oaks's gay child. Can you even imagine?

When I came out over 20 years ago, my kindhearted LDS parents treated me with nothing but love. They listened to me as I struggled to tell them the part of my life that had been hidden from them. They cried with me as I worked through the issues (including a painful divorce). It is not an overstatement to say that their loving response made all the difference in my life.


Grant Haws said...

I agree, Dallin H. Oaks scares me.

Craig said...

Can't wait to see how this fuels my family's homophobic attitudes and condescending self-righteousness.

TGD said...

Yeah, this one is generating a bit of discussion in my neck of the woods. But what can you expect from a former Judge. It's all about the law!