We are facing one of the most complex challenges of our generation: How do we stay firm and grounded in the doctrine and standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while simultaneously loving family members who are living lifestyles that include serious sexual sin? How do we lead with love and compassion while being loyal to the commandments, warning against sin and not condoning actions? How do we teach children and youth who are finding it increasingly difficult to discern sin and sinful behavior when their peers and the media say it is acceptable and in fact, very good? And, using Elder Holland’s words, “How do we distinguish between the sin and the sinner?” These concerns and questions are in the hearts and minds of many members of the Church right now. They are ones that prophets and apostles have answered time and again, but are so often misunderstood that they are in need of frequent repetition. Continue reading
A couple weeks after the Christmas break, a friend asked me if I had heard about a policy that was being reviewed for our school district with regards to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression. It was an addition to our Welcoming, Caring, Respectful and Safe Learning Environments Policy. She also asked if I had seen or read a new document that had also come out from the province (i.e. state) that would affect this Policy, upcoming curriculum changes, my children’s rights and ultimately parental rights within the schools. I had heard murmurings but hadn’t read anything.
For the last two years, I have gone to the United Nations with a group of mothers dedicated to promoting motherhood and defending the traditional family. By attending panels and events at the UN, I have become more educated on the various different agendas in politics relating to the family and some of the threats that the traditional family will face down the road.
Both times I came home from the United Nations, I held meetings at my house and shared the information I learned with other concerned moms so that they might know how to get more involved in standing for the traditional family. I prayed to know how I might do Heavenly Father’s work with the information and experiences I had been given.
After the second trip to the UN, my niece in High School had a few incidents in the girls’ bathroom with a male student who was transgender which involved using the bathroom stall next to her. This person insisted on using the girls’ bathroom despite having male genitalia, which was against the district’s policy, even though accommodations had been made with access to a private bathroom in the nurse’s office. My niece knew this student well and was kind to him, the students and administration felt compassion for his condition. However, in those moments in the stall, my young niece followed her conscience that it was not right to have a male in the stall next to her and privately called her mom to tell her how unsafe she felt to have any male in there with her, regardless of whether they felt they were transgender or not. My sister knew I had studied the topic so she and I discussed the proper course of action to take to protect the rights of both students. Continue reading
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has joined with other major religions in filing a brief on the transgender case Glouchester County School Board vs. G.G. and Dierdre Grimm (full text may be found here). The major religions joining the Church in filing this brief include:
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
National Association of Evangelicals
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Christian Legal Society
Summary of the Argument
- Interpreting “sex” to mean gender identity would generate conflicts with religious persons and institutions across a range of fronts. Major religious traditions—including those represented by amici—share the belief that a person’s identity as male or female is created by God and immutable. That belief is contradicted by the U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)
- Our core beliefs and practical experience hold that gender is a given, consisting of attributes intrinsically connected with one’s birth sex—not an individual choice. We and other major religions agree that human beings are the creation of God; that He created them male and female; that to be male or female is an immutable characteristic; and that this characteristic carries certain attributes and responsibilities.
One thing is perfectly clear: sacred writings and official statements from several major religions—including those of amici—demonstrate remarkable unanimity on the origin and purpose of gender as immutable and divinely ordained.