The Worst Reason to Adopt Ever

This morning I heard the absolute stupidest reason to want to adopt a step-child, something that would never have occurred to me in a million years: temple sealing.

For context, I heard this on the radio on my way to work.  The man in question has been married around a year and is still trying to find ways to connect with his stepson.  The man is Mormon and was married in a LDS temple, and sealed to his wife.  The son is older and does not wish to be adopted; he has been very clear in expressing a no when asked.  The man by his own admission wishes to adopt the child because of LDS church policy rather than any other concern.

But before I go any further, I’ll have to talk about what I mean by sealing and how it pertains to marriage and kids.  It is vital to their conception of a good afterlife, or more specifically, to their best model of heaven.  Mormons are often criticized as secretly non-Christian because they are quietly polytheistic.  The believe that mormon men who are really, really good are given their own planet just like the current “heavenly father” they pray to.  (Oh, and there is a heavenly mother, but she’s so sacred that god just doesn’t want us bothering her with little things like prayer or reverence.)  Per their dogma, humans are very literally the spirit children of god, and men who are very lucky will someday get to do the same thing.

Sadly, the women don’t get to be this important, because we’re just not made to make decisions or hold positions of authority.  Turns out that all we really want is to get pregnant and have children for all time (who knew?).  Sealing allows women to stay with their husbands forever and grants them entry with him into the best heaven, where they get to populate a planet with spirit babies forever.  Score, right?  Normally if a woman stays married to her husband, their real living children are born under that covenant, and so it carries over into the afterlife.

But if a woman (previously sealed to a spouse) is widowed or divorced, she has to get official church dispensation to release the former sealing to allow her to be sealed to her new husband.  (Men do not have this requirement, since polygyny is actually divine, but can only be practiced after death.)  But any previous children will not carry over to her afterlife without some administrative tidying up, namely that children need to be adopted legally and then sealed to their stepfather so that they aren’t cut off from their mother for all time.

So what is going on with the case I mentioned is that the man is recently married, and is still building a strong rapport with his step-son.  But it sounds like the mother is anguishing over being separated from her son after death, and so the religious guilt kicks in.  It doesn’t seem to matter that the son wants to call his dad his legal father, or that the stepfather is still building a relationship.  “Look at what you’re doing to your poor mother?!”

Setting aside the convenient fact that their religious beliefs aren’t true, and therefore some future pie-in-the-sky idea of an afterlife doesn’t give you the right to fuck with a minor’s legal parents.

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