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Monday, October 31, 2011

Official Church Halloween Policy: Moral Decision Making in Mormondom #8

(This is an occasional series that discusses normative questions. Too often we do not consider the inferences and implications of what we do. In short, we fail to realize when a moral decision is necessary. This occasional series will do so. Readers are encouraged to pose their own questions and views in the comment forum.)


The newswires are abuzz with the latest outrage supposedly perpetrated by Mormons. The following story, eloquently stated in The Salt Lake Tribune, was also distributed by numerous papers and wire services including the Associated Press.  From the Tribune:
Any little girl who wanted to dress up as Harry Potter or boy who chose to be Lady Liberty would not have been welcome at a recent Mormon Halloween party in Sandy.
The invitation, circulated in the neighborhood, specifically barred "cross-gender" costumes.
The local Bishop of the offending congregation explained the flyer thus:
LDS Bishop Dennis Toone — leader of the Crescent 16th Ward, which hosted the party — did not write the flier, but he defended the prohibition against cross-gender costumes, saying "it’s church policy."
It isn't Church policy:
"The flier," LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter said Friday, "does not represent church policy."
The local Bishop justified the action with:
"we thought it was a church policy,"
I consider this whole cross-gender dressing issue secondary to the more important question: WHY DIDN'T ANYBODY CHECK CHURCH POLICY?


Church policy is not obscure, complicated or obtuse. In fact, it is available and clear. It IS online for heaven's sake -- exactly, for heaven's sake.


Not all are critical however. Homosexuals are coming to our defense:
The Mormon party organizers likely did not intend to hurt any nonconforming or transgender kids, said Jude McNeil, who directs research and training at Salt Lake City’s Pride Center. They were just unaware of the potential consequences of such guidelines.
"[U]naware of the potential consequences of such guidelines." Moral decision making requires taking into consideration the potential consequences of any action, that's what makes it moral decision making.


Cavalier references to Church policy are unworthy of ANY Mormon! Toone should have approved that flyer before it went out. The person(s) responsible for the activity should have submitted it to Toone and other leaders before it went out. Everybody involved should have checked Church policy.


Instead, we have a major public relations disaster compliments of local leaders not paying attention to their responsibilities.


Great, just what we don't need . . .

1 comment:

  1. Somewhat in their defense, the only official statement on cross-dressing is BYU's Honor Code, which does prohibit it.

    Beards face the same issue; the only prohibitions against facial hair are at BYU or on missions (recently confirmed from Headquarters to my father, a Stake President, re: a bearded bishopric member).

    Still no excuse for not checking the handbook (except that Bishops don't get training on how to handle the press).

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