God Doesn’t Do Adoption: “Is you is or is you ain’t?” (Or in other words: A question for Fred Riley of LDS Family Services)

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

So, in an effort to help me understand, clarify, and hopefully reconcile my feelings as an LDS mother seeking spiritual harmony in a post-adoption kool-aid life, I came across an article recently in the Ensign.  Really, I am trying to be a good Mormon, I honestly am. I am trying to study this thing out on my own and to take my concerns to the Lord in prayer. However, in my efforts to sincerely seek peace, I keep getting smacked upside the head by articles like this one. In a section titled “Latter-day Saint Theology and Adoption” found in the article “Why Adoption?” (Ensign, Jan 2008), Fred Riley of LDS Family Services is quoted as saying,

“From the time of Adam, adoption has been a priesthood ordinance,” says Brother Riley. “It’s a principle of the gospel that probably all of us will experience at some point as we’re literally adopted into our Heavenly Father’s kingdom.”

Uh…am I the only one who sees a fundamental flaw in this statement?   Doesn’t this idea fly in the face of some of the most clearly dileneated LDS doctrine?

Is it just me Ms. Feverfew, or are we not taught from the time we are small children that we are the literal off-spring of God, created in His image – not adopted into his household? Remember that Primary Song, I Am a Child of God? It clearly states the doctrinal point on this issue : “I am a child of God, and He has sent me here…” Or how about the Young Women theme which says, “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us…” According to the LDS.org website, this theme “helps each young woman understand her identity, purpose, and destiny as a daughter of God”  (emphasis mine). Not the adopted daughter, but the literal daughter of the King of Heaven.

Or what of Joseph B. Wirthlin’s statement, “It is essential that you know and understand that our Heavenly Father loves you like a son or daughter, because He is the Father of your spirit. That makes you His literal child, spiritually begotten of Him.”

Or the article titled “You Are a Child of God” in which Russel M. Nelson reminds us of the importance of “knowing that we are literally children of God.”

Or what of our prophet, Thomas S. Monson who also reminds us  “that each of us is literally a child of God.”

Then there is “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” which states with undeniable clarity, “Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.”

I could go on and on with the quotes, but I won’t bore you to death. I think you get the idea.  (A simple search of the LDS Gospel Library using terms such as “literal child of God” or  “made in His image” will reveal hundreds of more of these kinds of quotes if you really want to knock yourself out).

But here are the things I have come to know in the past several years, Ms. Feverfew: I have a Father in Heaven who is crazy gaga head over heels in love with me simply because I am His daughter, created in His image. I am the literal daughter of The King.  With this knowledge firmly in place, I am left the nagging question for Brother Riley: Which is it – is you is or is you ain’t a literal child of God? You can’t have it both ways – you can’t be adopted and be a literal child of God.

Much love,


P.S. I guess I have more questions for Brother Riley, such as where is it taught (either in scripture or official church publications) that adoption is a “priesthood ordinance“? Did I miss something somewhere in my study of the scriptures or in my temple worship?  Maybe I wasn’t listening carefully enough in Relief Society or missed the memo while I was busy serving in Primary (you know how that can be – we tend to miss a lot of announcements while we serve the children in the church, teaching them that they are the literal children of God).  Or maybe perhaps this is something they teach in priesthood quorums and forgot to mention to us women folk? I say those things mostly tongue-in-cheek, but really, I am perplexed. Where is the scriptural and doctrinal basis for that kind of statement? But I digress…

2 thoughts on “God Doesn’t Do Adoption: “Is you is or is you ain’t?” (Or in other words: A question for Fred Riley of LDS Family Services)

  1. Pingback: Arrrrrggggghhhh!!!! « Letters to Ms. Feverfew

  2. ooo oooo ooo i know i know!!
    imagine hermione granger from HP. lol

    anywhoo, its the Abrahamic covenant, i do believe- i never really paid attn in sunday school and havent gone to church in 10+ yrs….

    but yes, we are literally children of god. spiritual beings in a temporary body blah blah.

    we are adopted into his kingdom, if we so choose, so that we can eternally live in his presence, christ included. part of why were supposed to do temple work for EVERYone, even the peeps from the bible era.

    having never gone thru the endowment or sealing ceremony myself i cant speak from experience, but have been told by various ‘sources’ that all that is somewhere in the midst of the standing and sitting and chanting and hankie waving and masonic handshake.

    i did attend an institute class once briefly a few years ago, to obtain a free parking permit at university, and we talked about the whole adoption thing a lot, it was a D & C class.

    but yes, that particular ordinance is spun a bazillion ways for it to sound good at the right time to the appropriate audience.

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