The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declared same-sex couples and Mormon children of same sex couples to be apostates. They decree went so far as telling adult children of married same sex couples that they would have to denounce their sinful lifestyles before being given baptism. The statement, which comes from the Church Handbook of Instructions, does not indicate doctrine or theology, but it is telling about how the brethren think. The children of these parents, adopted or otherwise, have committed no sin and cannot help how they were born. The leaders did not even point to some crime, such as sitting on the fence in the war between God and Satan, in the pre-existence to justify the doctrine. It just came down as official fiat. The declaration from the Brethren did not surprise this former Mormon, but punishing the Children for the sins of the parents does contradict one of the articles of faith.
The second article of Faith, according to Mormon.org is, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.”
Growing up as a young Mormon, I was told that children who died before the age of eight automatically went to the Highest Degree of Glory in the Mormon afterlife. Because they had not reached the Age of Accountability, they could not be held accountable for their sins. This new doctrine, however, suggests that the children of same-sex couples have the mark of the parent's sin upon them. Are these children condemned to Outer Darkness simply because their parents went against the will of the church?
Declaring these children to be apostates, even if they are not Mormon, is even more problematic from a theological point of view. Becoming an apostate according to the beliefs held by most Mormons means one has to at least have been a Mormon. They have to have accepted the gospel into their very hearts and then have chosen to deny it. A young child, especially a young child who has not had the misfortune to hear of Joseph Smith and his uniquely American religion has never had the opportunity to accept, believe and reject the gospel.
Leaders of the Church will counter with that these children still have a chance to accept the Gospel and accept the highest degree of glory. They may even get the chance to hear of the gospel in spirit prison before the second resurrection, but what happens to them if they refuse to follow the official policy of the temporal church? Should the spirit of the child be forced to condemn the sins of their parents just to escape an eternity of torment? Does the child have to watch as they leave their parents behind knowing what awaits them in Outer Darkness?
I can imagine the response of the leaders. It will probably mirror the language used in The Church and the Negro, a book the current Mormon church would like to pretend doesn't exist. The leaders will say they offer more than any other religion because they can offer the Celestial Kingdom. They will say from their secure position, knowing that their calling and election is made sure. Never will it dawn on these leaders that they are performing the spiritual equivalent of holding a gun to the heads of these children. They will deny having anything in common with the least benevolent dictators of the 20th century because they are doing it out of love rather than out of political ideology.
I left the church of my own volition. If I fail to come back to it and end up in Outer Darkness, I can accept that, but what did the children of same-sex parents do other than go through some ceremony that men claiming to represent God did not like? I'll be a bold on this one. With this announcement, the church has gone apostate and separated itself from its published doctrine. I don't even want to worship a God that is as petty as I am. Why are so many other people willing to do this?