LGBT parent speaks out on LDS policy involving children of same-sex couples
(KUTV) A policy change that bans children of same-sex couples from membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sparked questions by LGBT families about what their futures, if any, will be within the church.
Scott K. Fausett was a member of the LDS church, married with three kids. He is now divorced, openly gay and shares custody of his youngest son. His two other children are now adults.
All of his children are active members of the LDS church, and his youngest son, he said, received the priesthood just last week.
Fausett sat down with 2News to talk about what the LDS church's new guidelines mean for his family.
"[I'm] surprised, shocked, dumbfounded, upset and hurt," he said. The information is still sinking in, but most of all, he said, he feels "betrayed."
Fausett will now live with the title of "apostate" as an openly gay member of the church. What he can't live with, he said, is the idea that his children may have to disavow him to continue in their own faith.
"It is one thing if the LDS church doesn't want me being a gay person in their church," he said. "But now to exclude children of a gay person makes no sense to me."
Fausett was raised in the LDS church believing his actions were his own. He refers to the 2nd Article of Faith considered to be scripture in the LDS church, which reads: "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam's transgression."
"After today, there is a semi colon: unless your dad is gay," Fausett said of the scripture.
He worries, he said, of what's to come. The church's guidelines say children of gay parents can't be baptized, blessed, receive the priesthood or serve missions until they are 18 years old and are asked to disavow the actions of their gay parents. They are also banned from living with an actively-gay parent if they want to become members of the LDS church.
"If they want to be part of the LDS church, they can no longer spend weekends with their dad?" Faussett said.
It's a real question, and he doesn't know yet how it will play out. He believes it will "further alienate children from their gay parent" and is a serious step back "to how the church used to be, [saying] that being gay is a sin."
The concept of having his son disavow him is a tough pill to swallow. He said he knows it could happen, and his son may have to choose to distance himself.
It is a move that seems counter-intuitive with the LDS church teachings that are centered around family. He said he feels this will tear families apart, making parenting for divorced parents even more difficult and, in the end, making kids choose between their faith and in his case, their father..
Utah-based LGBT advocacy group Equality Utah says the new policy's impact is wide reaching.
"In America, all churches have the religious liberty to welcome or exclude whomever they desire, but we know that children of same-sex parents are treasures of infinite worth," executive director Troy Williams said. "In our universe, all God's children have a place in the choir."
Members of the LDS church believe the same, hanging photos in their homes of Jesus Christ gathering children at his feet. Bible scripture Matthew 19:14 is its foundation and reads, "But Jesus said, 'Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'"
Online, members and non-members alike are saying that Jesus welcomes all children, not just children of straight parents.
The LDS church has not yet commented to give clarity to the new guidelines printed in manuals for church leadership.