LDS Church updates policy on same-sex couples, their children

Temple Square consists of the Salt Lake Temple, the Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall and two visitors' centers, Salt Lake City, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints confirmed to various media outlets Thursday that changes had been made to church policy regarding same-sex relationships and the children of parents living in such relationships.

According to parts of the LDS Church’s “Handbook 1,” which is used by church leaders such as bishops and stake presidents, individuals who are involved in a same-sex relationship or marriage are considered to be in a state of apostasy and are subject to potential excommunications.

As well, the children of parents living in same-sex marriages cannot be baptized into the church, ordained to the priesthood or be recommended for missionary service until they are 18. At that point, a stake president or mission president must ask for approval from the First Presidency (the church president and his two counselors) on a case-by-case basis.

Those who are of “legal age” must agree to live the teachings of the church and disavow the practice of same-sex marriage/cohabitation, as well as remove themselves from the home of their same-sex parents.

In response to media inquiries about the new policies, the following statement was given by LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins:

Church handbooks are policy and procedural guides for lay leaders who must administer the Church in many varied circumstances throughout the world. The Church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages. While it respects the law of the land, and acknowledges the right of others to think and act differently, it does not perform or accept same-sex marriage within its membership.

The additions to the handbook were posted on a PDF Thursday on the Scribd website, by Mormon blogger John Dehlin, founder of the Mormon Stories Podcast, who was excommunicated from the church earlier this year for “apostasy.”

Dehlin made the policy additions available for view via his Facebook page. In subsequent posts on Dehlin’s page he cited media reports on the policy additions; “Outrageous,” he posted.

Equality Utah’s executive director, Troy Williams, also issued a statement regarding the new policies:

In America all churches have the religious liberty to welcome or exclude whomever they desire. But we know that children of same-sex parents are treasures of infinite worth. In our universe, all God’s children have a place in the choir.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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20 Comments

  • radioviking November 6, 2015 at 11:35 am

    So the Mormons’ God is now saying children are going to be punished for their parents’ sons??? They’ll need to change their article of faith which states that they believe “…that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.” (A of F 2).

    .
    Wow, this is a doctrinal shift isn’t it?
    Do you really think Jesus Christ would not let a child join His kingdom or serve because of the child’s parents lifestyle?

    .
    Hmmmmm

    • radioviking November 6, 2015 at 11:36 am

      Correction: “sins” not “sons” – sorry

  • sagemoon November 6, 2015 at 11:55 am

    The worst part of this new policy is that an innocent infant can not be blessed. Does anyone know if blessings can be given to sick children of gay parents? For example, a kid is in the hospital and a Mormon grandfather wants to give a blessing, can he?

    • anybody home November 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      Yes, he can, Sagemoon…No genuine, loving God would deny this.

  • anybody home November 6, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    How do the Mormons live with themselves? These people who theoretically love families and children more than anything else (except money) are now discriminating against innocent children. The Mormons welcome drunks, drug addicts, perverts, wife beaters and any other motley members of society but not these children. I’m glad I was ex-communicated – by choice – years ago. Let’s see how they do with the new gay may or Salt Lake City…

    The upside of this new nonsense is that it will save a lot of kids from becoming Mormons and by the time they’re 18, they’ll know why they wouldn’t want to be one. I wish I’d known when I was eight and dunked by grown men in suits.

    Utah should just secede from the union.

  • Pheo November 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Embarrassing and despicable.

  • Terry November 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Oh My, more Mormon Fallout

    • 42214 November 6, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      I agree with Terry, nobody should be surprised with this. It’s business as usual.

  • wilbur November 6, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    it sure is good to be an atheist in this state, and watch all this panty-wadding take place

  • Rainbow Dash November 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Utah: The only state in the nation where baking your baby in a hot car or taking a 12 year old as a “spiritual wife” is A-OKAY but being an adult who just happens to be in love with another adult of the same gender is a mortal sin.

    • GrandmaB November 8, 2015 at 8:40 am

      Don’t forget that all of the Prophets in the Old Testament did pretty much what they wanted to where women, and girl children, were concerned. The Church was modeled after that particular idea. Don’t forget that.

  • munchie November 6, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    What kind of church puts out a handbook with instructions to discriminate against children? What happens at age 18 to make them suddenly worthy enough to join? They will still have the same parents. That’s right, the church can start getting money from them. I don’t understand how anyone could join this cult of their own free will.

    • Rainbow Dash November 7, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      Churches don’t. Cults do.

  • Kathi November 6, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    “America is a country that is comprised of a multitude of races, nationalities, religions, creeds and lifestyles. As long as there is mutual respect and tolerance, American citizens can live and prosper in peace. When religious intolerance begins to seep into our social lives, schools and business communities, the result could very well lead to discrimination and bullying. There is a fine line between proclaiming your religious faith and trying to impose that faith on others who do not share your views.”

    The LDS Church has opened a HUGE can of worms that, I believe, will cause more conflict and bullying among our children. This policy is not about consenting adults, it is about children attending a church that is not welcoming because of their genetic orientation or their parent(s) lifestyle. How sad for this church and its members. And how truly distressing it is for those of us who have to watch and listen to this debacle as it plays out in this state.

    Seems the “brethren” have forgotten some important verses in the Bible:
    Matthew 18: 1-6
    At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
    And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
    And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become
    as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
    And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
    But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
    Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
    Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
    And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
    Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

  • Terry November 7, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Makes a guy wonder if this new change was a revelation from an unchangeable God? And to whom? A Prophet?

  • GrandmaB November 7, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Several years ago Utah, S. Idaho and parts of Nevada had the highest incidence of child sexual abuse, incest and wife abuse of any other place in the country. I don’t know if that statistic has changed or not, but not much action on the church regarding any of those issues, certainly not then and I haven’t heard anything lately regarding the issues.

    But two people getting together and wanting to raise a family in a loving and caring environment is “apostasy?” WOW.

  • .... November 7, 2015 at 8:03 am

    LOL ! We went to the new Sandwich shop in town and they serve coffee and beer and 3 people sitting there drinking beer are Mormon. I can’t wait till Monday morning to get to work…..and I took a picture of them sitting there drinking their beer. I sure hope they enjoy the attention they are going to get come Monday morning…LOL !

  • GrandmaB November 7, 2015 at 8:11 am

    After thinking about this for several minutes, it has occurred to me that this is going to cause chaos. All of those “good” Mormons out there, the ones teaching, health care (lots of LDS hospitals), social services – especially the schools. How are they going to treat these kids? These are the same people who resent the fact that Utah isn’t exclusively Momon, the ones that have to share their roads, housing and wonderful S. Utah scenery with the damned. Like the state employee who told me not to bother applying for a federally funded job a couple of years back. I wasn’t a member of the church. I called the HR office and told them what she had said, which put all of the federal funding at risk for that agency. They really didn’t care. So now, what is going to happen to these kids?????

    • GrandmaB November 8, 2015 at 8:37 am

      I have to ask myself if this is a Prophet thing or just a policy of the Church. Did God tell this man to change the churches policy? Another revelation similar to the one that finally started recognizing blacks as human beings?

  • GrandmaB November 7, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Again, some more thought….I recently met a man, a return missionary. He was providing a reference for a man and his entire family for an apartment. The family were converts from a S. American country. This LDS man was so proud of himself. His Mormon family were giving this S. American father a job. This S. American had a temporary visitors visa. I know, I saw it. He is now an illegal immigrant and the white LDS family are breaking the law. A member of the Church, a tithe payer. How many of the good members out there started refusing to pay tithe because of same sex marriage and wanted the church to do something? They are willing to break the law. What else will they be willing to do. This whole thing makes no sense to me. It is so stupid. Next thing you know they will be practicing polygamy again. After all, Joseph Smith had 33 wives, the youngest was only 14. The church was vilified and ran out of every town they settled in back east, not because they were the “true church,” but because they were converting women for their polygamous male church members, wives and daughters, it didn’t matter which. Smith never recanted on polygamy, the church only did when it was refused state status.

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