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Author Topic: LDS church declares SSM couples apostates and their children banned from attending
scifibum
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By the way, how are you simultaneously mocking the idea that there was an intent behind the policy and still advocating for a constructive reading? Whose intent are they supposed to construe?
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seekingprometheus
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While I can understand why a lawyer might try to appeal to the rules of construction in this case, I'm not convinced it fully applies.

Here's a couple of excerpts from the legal-dictionary definition that seems relevant:
quote:
The judge examines the circumstances surrounding the provision, laws, other writings, verbal agreements dealing with the same subject matter, and the probable purpose of the unclear phrase in order to conclude the proper meaning of such words...

...If a statute is so ambiguous that a judge cannot make a reasonable construction of its disputed provisions, and a reasonable person could not determine from reading it what the law orders or prohibits, it is void for vagueness because it violates the guarantee of Due Process of Law.

First, the principle itself doesn't really apply to church policy, as the issue of whether it violates Due Process of Law--and can thus be voided for for vagueness for due process reasoning--doesn't apply to church policy.

Like you said, it's probably not a lawyer drawing up church policy--precisely because church policy isn't subject to the same standards as are legislature or legally binding contracts.

Secondly, the wording of the policy doesn't seem so ambiguous that a reasonable person can't see the plain English meaning:
quote:
A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not (yada yada)...

...until...

...The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.

In other words, even if the policy were subject to Due Process stipulations, and even if you were able to take (hypothetically legally binding text) before the court and convince the Judge that there might be some ambiguity in the question of whether a child living with a parent in a SSM (etc) is constructively identical to a child living part time with a parent in a SSM, the Judge would read through the rest of the initial policy and note the plain English where it says the child can't (yada yada) until they are "not living with a parent in a same sex marriage," and rule against voiding the plain English meaning based on your constructively ambiguous reasoning argument.

It's not really ambiguous in the first clause: "living with A parent," is pretty plain English, and the exception clause clears up any potential ambiguity. It's not "until they're living less than 50% of the time with a parent in a SSM" or somesuch, it's "until they're not living with A parent in a SSM."

It's still the tack a good lawyer is gonna take, but it's a losing tack...

It's not really a "clarification." It's a change.

[ November 17, 2015, 11:56 PM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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Pete at Home
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I am not mocking the idea that there was an intent behind the policy.

I am (as a former tech writer who ghost wrote policy stuff for 4,different tech companies in the 1990s) mocking the ludicrous assumption that the first published writing issued to leaders only represented the consensus or even the tentative agreement of the leaders.

The reason that RULES OF CONSTRUCTION even exist in the first place is precisely because organizational writing tends to screw up in precisely this way.

Like I said, if you care to actually get it in detail, you have my phone, or you can search the archives for when I explained rules of construction in a non church context.

I don't assume all or even most church leaders know the rules of construction. As already addressed in this post and twice before on this thread.

I have labored to avoid becoming the church apologist for this forum. The fact that active Mormons in good standing don't frequent this site anymore is not my doing and I cannot and will not fill that gap. Please don't push me into a position / which I neither belong nor aspire to. Even when I was a good Mormon I never did the or thing.

[ November 17, 2015, 11:56 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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As for "good lawyer" -- cheap shot. Saying my opponent is a better lawyer and therefore not to be trusted is literally the oldest cheapest dirty lawyer trick in the book. See Korax v Tisias, circa 500 BCE, the oldest known court record.
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seekingprometheus
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quote:
As for "good lawyer" -- cheap shot. Saying my opponent is a better lawyer and therefore not to be trusted
[LOL]

I didn't say you weren't to be trusted--I just implied that you're a good lawyer. As in, someone capable of finding the strongest argument to try to advocate for a client, even if it's a losing case.

It was intended as a sincere compliment.

[Smile]

And nobody (except maybe you) is putting you in the role of church apologist, bud. People are criticizing the church, and you seem to be jumping in to defend the church against such criticisms. If it stresses you out, or you feel thrust into such a position when people respond to your posts on the topic, I suggest you avoid posting on the issue.

I certainly don't expect you to have to adopt such a position, and wouldn't judge you whatsoever for not involving yourself in the matter.

I'm pretty sure scifi would feel the same.

[ November 18, 2015, 12:10 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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Pete at Home
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It's a change from less clear to more clear. On that reasonable and informed persons cannot disagree.

From my experience writing for groups, I will also state my informed opinion (happy to discuss my basis verbally) that it is also a change from a writing reviewed by no leaders or few leaders, to a writing reviewed by a greater number of leaders.

I doubt that any significant organization, religious or non, would respond more openly. Organizations that are more open with their internal workings generally don't issue written policies and press statements.

Please try not to confuse public relations and "lawyering" again in my company. LaWyering has a checkered history but at least it isn't PR.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Feel free to respond from a library or after your thumbs heal, Pete, if you need my permission.

Thanks. I will. Please remember I have been shamed and harassed for writing imperfectly from my phone, though not by you.

..let's see if the voice on this thinglet's see if the voice on this thing works.

Naw. Al would have another fit.

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Pete at Home
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I appreciate that,so

if you haven't noticed, I tend towards defense wherever I perceive a potentially unfair accusation. The Ornery archive will show this was my disposition on this forum even before I conceived of going to law school.

Just yesterday I took to defending Sa'eed (with whom I had just strongly disagreed, then defended you from some of Sa'eed's attacks. As the thread continued I played defense to multiple sides of a thread that evolved into a Mexican standoff. Neither you nor Sa'eed nor anyone else on that thread solicited encouraged or to my knowledge appreciated my selective defense and you are right that it is stressful, but this is my reflexive response to scrutinize accusations, and not only those against the church.

Apologies to you and sci-fi if I confused attribution above. This is partly cell phone and partly low testosterone-induced short term memory farts.

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
Please try not to confuse public relations and "lawyering" again in my company. LaWyering has a checkered history but at least it isn't PR.
[LOL]

I'm not sure that I did this (I first claimed constructive reasoning didn't apply to church policy, and then I presented an argument about how I thought the argument might go in a hypothetically legal setting, mostly out of interest) but in any case, I can't say that I disagree with one part of your value system:

Shysters > Flacks.

But I'd be careful bandying about your writing creds, because, in my book (writes a writer):

Flacks > Hacks.

[Wink]

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Pete at Home
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SciFi can I answer how it "squares" without being read as agreeing with the policy?

Need I remind you I am myself banned from all ordinances and church leadership while still welcomed to come to church? Do you really need me to explain why I regard being welcomed there as a positive?

Can you consider the possibility that I interpret these church utterances and evolving policy through the lens of my own experience as an XMo who wants to come back while you see it through the lens of your personal experience?

As for nothing but rotten fruit, do you know something I don't know about the gay rights legislation the church supported in all, or the new policy including gay scouts but not scout leaders, where the church support was supportive? Did the doc legislation somehow "rot"?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
By the way, how are you simultaneously mocking the idea that there was an intent behind the policy and still advocating for a constructive reading? Whose intent are they supposed to construe?

Rules of construction are based on the assumption that we follow the clear unambiguous and reasonable intent of the writers.

Any divorced parent who sees his kids less than half of the week knows that whether he "lives",with his kids is not a yes/no question. Or is answered differently in different contexts.

The policy writer here was specific enough to say natural or adopted parent. The policy should have dealt separately with kids with primary custody s visitation. Why didn't it? Because the policy was probably hastily ported over from plug families where visitation is not an issue, and because the writer probably is not divorced.

Most kids who have a parent in a same sex relationship probably have some sort of custody arrangement. So it seems obvious to me that failure to specifically dress that issue was an oversight by the writer. So yes, the change can probably accurately be called a clarification. It may have been a clarification of an original group intent, or it may have been a more specific policy decided on when leaders had it clarified to them what the situation was that their rules applied to. I doubt very much that anyone ever intended to apply the restriction to kids who lived with mom and only visited on the weekend with dad and dad's husband.

As for restriction in ordinances, the affected kids can take the sacrament, participate in scouts and say prayers in church, so they are less excluded from church than I am as an exec member. And please believe me when I say the crappiest thing about my situation is going to church and having to say no when the deacon brings me the sacrament tray. At least the kids are spared that.

How does it fit that they can go to church but don't have as much of a conflict with church teachings s what they see at home? Because listening to those talks as a nonmember without callings feels different in my experience. Feels more like what AA says, take what you need and leave the rest. Without the underlying baptismal covenant there is no sense of obligation to agree. That's my experience with attending church as a nonmember. I do see some validity to the reasoning that there would be less conflict with how they are being raised.

[ November 19, 2015, 12:23 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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scifibum
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Pete, after cooling off, I would say that you're right that the clarifications are a sideshow and not that important. Because the clarified policy is still almost as harmful as it was before, and if anything the pressure to limit the presence and influence of gay parents on their own children is in sharper relief.

quote:
How does it fit that they can go to church but don't have as much of a conflict with church teachings s what they see at home? Because listening to those talks as a nonmember without callings feels different in my experience. Feels more like what AA says, take what you need and leave the rest. Without the underlying baptismal covenant there is no sense of obligation to agree. That's my experience with attending church as a nonmember. I do see some validity to the reasoning that there would be less conflict with how they are being raised.
Well, that's a pretty good effort at an explanation of how it might square, but I respectfully submit that a child or adolescent is usually incapable of a nuanced relationship to the kinds of monumental but simplified truth claims and associated consequences that are taught to children at church. It's possible the brightest ones will pick up more nuance listening in general meetings, but most won't. I was a bright kid, and I got the simplified messages.

In reality, the more likely effect is that such children will either:

1) Reject all of it, because the way the church guides children is heavily dependent on rehearsing what should happen and then offering praise when it does happen. Children sing about getting baptized and going on a mission from an early age, and from the examples I've seen, each milestone from baptism on is met with enormous helpings of beaming approbation. This cycle of rehearsal and approval may be key for some (I'd guess most) kids, so being on the outside of that dynamic will cause it to lose its appeal to some of them. This is the more likely situation if the kids have a support system that remains mostly intact if they reject the church, in my opinion. I think this is a small group: without a motivated LDS support system they likely wouldn't be there in the first place.*

2) Accept what they hear at church, and feel ashamed that they aren't allowed to do the same things as their peers, feel fear at their lack of the benefits of the ordinances that they hear about (not saved, no Holy Ghost to protect them). And that difficult experience you mentioned about not being allowed to partake of the sacrament? It will be similar for the boys whose friends (who they mostly know to be not really all that upstanding) are allowed to pass it, and praised for it, and get assigned home teaching partners, etc. If they endure all that shame for long enough, they will eventually get to play catch up, but only if they promise that they think their parents are terrible sinners. [Frown] This is the bigger group, because either their gay parents want them to be there**, or they have an extended family that makes it happen. Opting out as a child in this kind of family is not a realistic option.

[*I'm not sure how it will shake out with my step son. Our household will be supportive if he rejects the church, and our side of the extended family is already tolerant and steady with the non-participation of my kids. But there will likely be consequences from his bio-dad's family.]

[**Being a gay Mormon is tough, and I've heard from them various attitudes toward the church. Some believe it's the one true church but wrong about homosexuality - these people vary from romantically isolated to technically celibate to married, but all are waiting for things to change. Some of them have always been immersed in Utah LDS culture and whether it's true or not, it's the only pattern and system they know for raising children. Some of them would prefer to keep their kids away but give in to pressure from extended family. I can relate to this. Long after I stopped believing, I let my infant children receive the name&blessing thing, not because I thought it was important but because I hadn't figured out how to tell the extended family that I was against it. Perhaps that indicates a lack of courage, but the culture is overwhelming and I forgive myself for taking a long time to figure out my relationship to it. ]

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Feel free to respond from a library or after your thumbs heal, Pete, if you need my permission.

Thanks. I will. Please remember I have been shamed and harassed for writing imperfectly from my phone, though not by you.

..let's see if the voice on this thinglet's see if the voice on this thing works.

Naw. Al would have another fit.

Well, I'm certain I've at least teased you about that kind of thing. I've been on the edge of objecting to your recent instances of wanting to participate in the discussion but only if others bring you the facts you request; the constraints on your participation really shouldn't be anyone else's problem.

But:

quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
And nobody (except maybe you) is putting you in the role of church apologist, bud. People are criticizing the church, and you seem to be jumping in to defend the church against such criticisms. If it stresses you out, or you feel thrust into such a position when people respond to your posts on the topic, I suggest you avoid posting on the issue.

I certainly don't expect you to have to adopt such a position, and wouldn't judge you whatsoever for not involving yourself in the matter.

I'm pretty sure scifi would feel the same.

Yes, I feel the same. There's certainly more to discuss if you want to take that side, but if you don't feel like it, feel free to drop out.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:

As for nothing but rotten fruit, do you know something I don't know about the gay rights legislation the church supported in all, or the new policy including gay scouts but not scout leaders, where the church support was supportive? Did the doc legislation somehow "rot"?

This is a good question and I have praised the church in the past for taking the correct side on certain non-discrimination ordinances. They've moved in the right direction in the past couple of decades on their attitude toward what sexual orientation is, as well. And less frequently recommend damaging ideas like "marry the opposite sex anyway, it'll be fine."

I still think they do more harm than good to gay people, but it's not ALL bad, or as bad as it can be.

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Pete at Home
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"How does it fit that they can go to church but don't have as much of a conflict with church teachings s what they see at home? Because listening to those talks as a nonmember without callings feels different in my experience. Feels more like what AA says, take what you need and leave the rest. Without the underlying baptismal covenant there is no sense of obligation to agree. That's my experience with attending church as a nonmember. I do see some validity to the reasoning that there would be less conflict with how they are being raised"

I don't think either of us can speak for less intelligent kids since neither of us has ever been one, Scifi. I can say that as a kid I did attend other churches and experienced their messages much more critically than I processed those I heard in the church I was baptised into. I submit that being offended by what is said in a church is, from my own experience, less painful than feeling judged and condemned by a group one felt like they belonged to.

The issue is really whether the church is to remain true to its core beliefs re spiritual identity and eternity (beliefs that were NOT formed with intent to exclude gays!) or change these core beliefs to avoid hurting feelings. I applaud what I see as their good faith effort to take a middle course, and hope God will inspire a better policy when we have ears to hear.

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Pete at Home
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"This is a good question and I have praised the church in the past for taking the correct side on certain non-discrimination ordinances. They've moved in the right direction in the past couple of decades on their attitude toward what sexual orientation is, as well. And less frequently recommend damaging ideas like "marry the opposite sex anyway, it'll be fine."

I appreciate the restraint in your assessment. I will take it a step further: my LDS General Conference Search shows that it has been four decades since any church leader used the hateful and spiritually erroneous phrase "sin of Sodom",to reference consensual homosexuality.

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Pete at Home
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"There's certainly more to discuss if you want to take that side, but if you don't feel like it, feel free to drop out. "

I defend the LDS church against unfair unreasonable and demonstrably false accusations for the same reason I defend anyone, including folks on this forum I don't even like, against the same sort of accusations.

Some accusations against the church I actually agree with. Some (like when you said the church does gays more harm than good) I disagree with but don't find them "unfair unreasonable and domonsrably false." So I don't argue the point. So not dropping out, but rather I am only taking up certain arguments in the first place.

Once I actually take up an argument I very rarely set it down unless someone persuades me or threaten to kill a hostage unless I shut up [Smile]

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Pete at Home
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"
Well, I'm certain I've at least teased you about that kind of thing. "

I have enough of a sense of humor to distinguish teasing from shaming.

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