SALT LAKE CITY – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent a letter to congregation leaders across the United States Friday reaffirming the church’s stance on same-sex marriage. The letter also instructed church officials to neither conduct same-sex marriages nor use meetinghouses for activities related to those unions.
“As we face this and other issues of our time, we encourage all to bear in mind our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as his children,” the church stated in the letter. “Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to his plan for his children and for the well-being of society.”
Church members are encouraged to review “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” a statement made by the church in the mid-1990s relating to families and its standard on sexuality morality.
“Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established,” the church said.
However, while the church maintains its long-held position, it also asks that advocates of same-sex marriage be treated civilly by church member, and ask that church members be treated the same in return.
The letter stated: “Just as those who promote same-sex marriage are entitled to civility, the same is true for those who oppose it. The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ constitutionally protected right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution.”
Church leadership stated it would not allow meetinghouses to be used for same-sex marriage ceremonies, and also instructed its clergy not to take part in such ceremonies.
“Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages.”
Despite this, visitors to meetinghouses are welcome as long as they respect the church’s standards therein.
The letter closes with a plea to church members to pray for the those individuals who “are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.”
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