- How did Christ respond when asked about the cause of a disability?
- What are the guidelines as to whether or not a child with an intellectual disability may be baptized?
- Is it appropriate to bring a service animal into Church buildings?
- I have a child in Primary with a developmental disability. Should we have him stay in a class closer to his level of understanding or should he stay with his age-group?
- Under what conditions can a young woman with a disability attend Young Women camp? Under what conditions can a young man with a disability attend Scout camp?
Q: Are there any gospel teachings about disabilities?
A: During His mortal ministry, the Savior and His disciples passed by a blind man. The disciples asked, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:1–3).
President Boyd K. Packer noted: “There is little room for feelings of guilt in connection with handicaps. Some handicaps may result from carelessness or abuse, and some through addiction of parents. But most of them do not. Afflictions come to the innocent” (“The Moving of the Water,” Ensign, May 1991, 8).
- First Presidency Statement on Disabilities
- Boyd K. Packer, “The Moving of the Water,” Ensign, May 1991, 7–9
- W. Craig Zwick, “Encircled in the Savior’s Love,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 13–14
- Alexander B. Morrison, “Myths about Mental Illness,” Ensign, Oct. 2005, 31–35
- Elaine L. Jack, “Grounded, Settled, and Full of Hope,” Ensign, Mar. 1996, 19–21
Q: What are the guidelines as to whether or not a child with an intellectual disability may be baptized?
A: This is a matter between parents, the child, and local priesthood leaders. If the child has a basic understanding of gospel principles and wishes to be baptized, then baptism may be possible.
Q: Is it appropriate to bring a service animal into Church buildings?
A: Although the Church is under no legal obligation to admit individuals with service animals into houses of worship because it is exempt from Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Church policy generally allows the use of service dogs in Church buildings. Other types of service animals or comfort pets are not permitted. The only places where service dogs are not allowed are in the temple and in venues where meetings/events are being broadcasted or recorded. In the temple, ordinance workers will gladly assist you. In other venues, ushers will direct you to overflow viewing rooms where your service dog is allowed. Please be aware that local laws concerning service animals and other assistance for those with disabilities may vary.
Q: I have a child in Primary with a developmental disability. Should we have him stay in a class closer to his level of understanding, or should he stay with his age-group?
A: A child with a disability of any kind ought to be encouraged to stay with his age-group. Those are the youth with whom he will grow up. In addition, it is a good opportunity for his peers to learn compassion and service and to gain understanding.
Q: Under what conditions can a young woman with a disability attend Young Women camp? Under what conditions can a young man with a disability attend Scout camp?
A: Often youth can participate successfully in camp with minor program modifications. Individual needs and safety issues should be taken into account. A ward or stake may temporarily call an adult to be a companion to the youth during the camp.