“So Mom, I forgot. Am I allowed to marry a boy or a girl?” my then 7 year old asked me with genuine curiosity.
“When you’re a grown up, you can marry anyone you want to, sweetie,” I told her without hesitation.
“Thanks, I just always forget that,” she replied flippantly and the conversation could have been done.
I paused and wondered whether I should let that be the end of the conversation. It satisfied her. It satisfied me. I mainly want her to know that her sexuality is not something she should ever worry about. I’ll support her with whatever she learns about herself as she grows.
But then I worried she might have the shock of her life when she starts Young Women’s and learns the Church doesn’t approve of what I’d said.
I hesitated, then said, “The only thing is that if you marry a girl, you’re not allowed to get married in the temple.”
Immediately she replied, “Oh, that’s fine – there’s lots of pretty places to get married. Like, I could get married in the rhododendron garden.”
OK, all true. But I paused again. This time wondering whether I’d done enough over her life to share with her my beliefs about eternal families. She clearly did not value the temple – a place where I believe I’ve made covenants with God to have an eternal family. On the other hand, I was glad that she knows that I’ll be there for her wherever she chooses to get married.
Delicately, I said, “True, you can get married in lots of beautiful places. Dad and I chose to get married in the temple because we made a promise with God to be together forever there.”
“Yeah, but I think God would let us be together forever anyway.”
And then she was satisfied and on her way. And…she’s probably right.
So now the question for readers – for those who do believe that they’ve made covenants with God, but also believe that there are real problems with the way the mortal-led church implements practices – How do you teach your kids? What’s the balancing act you play?