I'll start by saying this: These are just my opinions and not of anyone else, and not of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Those of you who know me know I had a very long and hard struggle with how the Church defines widows as singles. After all, why would a religion whose basic tenants include eternal marriage suddenly ditch the recognition of a sealed marriage after one of the spouses dies?
It took a lot of years and a lot of heart to heart talks with the Lord to find out it doesn't define me, it doesn't define my eternal marriage. This change is made to protect the widowed who find someone else to marry from being considered guilty of adultery from the Church. Sometimes the harsh rules are there to protect us.
My take is that this is the same. For years the Church has already had rules regarding excommunication of people living alternative lifestyles. Those who have been members of the Church for a while should know this. The change, for me at least, was with the status of children who are being raised in a home where homosexuality is practiced.
Again, to me, these rules of making the child wait until they are 18 to determine how that child wishes to live their life is also a protection.
It's not about punishment, it's about covenants. Not only to make them, but the ability to keep covenants that have been made. It's about getting serious about taking the Lord's name upon us, not just in outward appearance, but in inward belief.
It was hard for me to wait three years and eight months to be baptised, as my parents were opposed to the Church. I have some experience in knowing you are an outsider. There are times, even though I've been baptised for over 35 years and married in the Temple, when I still feel like an outsider, mostly because my responsibilites are not the norm for most women in my faith.
The Church, the gospel in my life, the blessings, the peace, the loved ones whom I hope will be awaiting me on the other side of the veil, all of it has been worth the wait, worth the struggles, worth the tears, even worth the betrayal I have experienced from time to time in this Church.
To be able to fully live my religious beliefs without the disdain and temptations of family members who do not understand the covenants I have made with the Lord, it has been worth the wait.
Again, just my opinion.