JOEL - I'm not sure what you mean by "intellectual disabilities". It sounds like something that would include me. :-) Only God can make the judgement on who gets a "free ticket" back to Heaven. Therefore even if a person's mental maturity has not advanced past that of an eight year old we don't just give up on them. We are told to be as perfect as we can be while we live this life, no matter who we are or what our mental capabilities are. Therefore everyone is taught and encouraged to live the gospel the best they can.
There are close to 200,000 members of the LDS Church who have severe mental disabilities. The LDS Church, like other religious organizations, supports a network of agencies through an arm of the Church, called LDS Social Services, that provides short-term care as needed and offers referral services when more extensive treatment is required.
The Church has extensive involvement with organizations like The National Barrier Awareness Foundation, which is an organization dedicated to raising public awareness about the attitudinal, architectural and communication barriers that are encountered by people with physical and mental disabilities. A regional vice president of this foundation is a member of the LDS Church and also serves on the Church committee for members with disabilities.
In 1989 The First Presidency of the LDS church issued the following statement:
"In keeping with the spirit of National Barrier Awareness Day, we call attention to the significant role of religious leaders and individual citizens in contributing to a more barrier-free environment for those who have disabilities. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is working to provide easier access to its buildings and facilities for people with disabilities. We also are seeking more creative ways of providing religious training for those with physical, mental and emotional impairments. But there is an even greater need to reduce the barriers imposed by a lack of understanding and acceptance of those who have disabilities. We urge leaders, teachers, neighbors, friends and families to:
* Help increase awareness and understanding of disabilities.
* Accept those with disabilities as children of God and help them to feel respected, loved and understood.
* Provide opportunities for members with disabilities to learn about the Savior and pattern their lives after Him.
* Assist in the successful Church participation of people with disabilities and the appreciation of their unique gifts.
* Provide meaningful opportunities for members with disabilities to serve, teach and lead others.
It is our opportunity and our responsibility to follow the example of Jesus in loving our neighbors, and that includes those with disabilities."
For our church Sunday services, special Primary programs have been established in some areas of the church to focus specifically on mentally handicapped children to help them grow in the Gospel as much as they can. In individual congregations the Bishop is authorized to set up special classes for those with mental disabilities and call on members who may have experience to provide instruction for them.