Mormon leadership elaborates on policies regarding same-sex couples, their children

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has responded to the extensive discussion surrounding a recent policy change affecting same-sex couples and their children, and the response was posted in video form Friday night.

According to a post on Mormonnewsroom.org, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church reaffirmed the faith's position on marriage and children of same-sex couples, which was outlined in recent changes to a handbook for lay leaders.

The changes mean members in same-sex relationships meet the criteria for apostasy, and children of same-sex couples cannot become members of the LDS Church while living with their parents.

Christofferson specifically addressed the reasons they are prohibiting children of same-sex couples from becoming members while still living with their parents.

"We don't want there to be the conflicts that that would engender," he said. "We don't want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the church are very different. And so, with the other ordinances on through baptism and so on, there's time for that, if, when that child reaches [legal age], he or she feels like that's what they want."

While children of same-sex parents will not be able to receive a name and a blessing from the LDS Church, Christofferson said not all blessings are prohibited.

"When we are talking about blessings--priesthood blessings that are given to those who are ill, or who want a blessing of comfort, or guidance--that's open to all," he said. "And we would expect that to be done throughout their lifetime, through infancy on, as long as that's the desire of the parents and of the child. That's something we are anxious to provide."

He added: "Where there is any kind of need for blessing, for counsel, for help, whatever kind that can be offered: We want to do that."

As for members of the LDS Church who are in same-sex relationships, Christofferson said they regard same-sex marriage as a, "particularly grievous or significant, serious kind of sin that requires church discipline."

He said the outcome of that discipline is not going to be the same in all cases, but he said those members who are in same-sex relationships must go through that church discipline process. Excommunication is one possible outcome of that process, as is a decision from the individual to move their actions into line with LDS Church doctrine.

Christofferson said the handbook changes were made to remove, "any question or doubt that may exist," and he added that, in some degree, the handbook changes result from questions that have arisen recently from those within the Mormon faith.

He also cited the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage and the need to differentiate between what is legal and what is church doctrine.

"It's a matter of being clear," he said. "It's a matter of understanding right and wrong. It's a matter of a firm policy that doesn't allow for question or doubt."

Christofferson also addressed the issue of religious liberty during the interview, saying there needs to be respect on all sides.

"This is really two sides of the same coin," he said. "On the one hand, we worked with others and will continue to do so to protect rights in employment and housing and that sort of thing for all. On the other hand, there needs to be respect and acknowledgment of the rights of a religious community to set its standards and live according to them, and to teach and abide by its own doctrine such--as in regards to marriage in this case."

The response from the LDS Church comes after news of the policy change was shared widely on social media and the story was covered by media outlets nationwide.

Jackie Biskupski, poised to be Salt Lake City's first openly gay mayor, released a statement in response, click here for the full text. 

She said in part, "As a mother of a young son—who will grow up in this community—I want him to feel welcome wherever he goes and judged based on the content of his character, not on his mother’s sexual orientation."

Troy Williams, executive director of the advocacy group Equality Utah, said in their "universe all of God's children have a place in the choir."

John Dehlin, the man behind the Mormon Stories podcast who was excommunicated for apostasy, called the move a, "sad day for Mormonism."

Click here for more on the reactions from Dehlin and Williams.

The day after the changes were reported, some families affected by the ruling spoke to FOX 13 News about their take on the issue.

"As a parent, I don't want any doors closed for my kid, even if it is becoming a member of the LDS Church," said Weston Clark, who lives with his husband in Salt Lake City.

22 comments

  • bob

    But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Unless their parents are g a y.

    • Romans 1:27

      Read Romans 1:27-32. Paul says Homosexual relations are grevious and those who practice are worthy of death. Couldn’t be more clear…but these are wicked times we live in.

    • CAREY BURGESS

      So do you and your boyfriend have an 8 year old who wants to get baptized? No? Now how did I ver guess.

  • Len Nebeker

    THE BIBLE SAYS:” Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity?’ When the son has practiced justice and righteousness and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. 20″The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. 21″But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die.… Ezekiel 18:20-21

  • Mtaylor

    How about we change the age of baptism for everyone? How about the age of a person who can consent to marrying a prophet? …… Almost 15?

    • confused reader

      Ummmmm. . . I think you’re confused here. Girls don’t marry their prophet in the LDS church. You’re thinking of some small cults. . Not the same thing.

      • Henry Lions

        HE is talking about the fact that Joseph Smith first prophet of the LDS married a 14 year old girl, see the Gospel topics essay on LDS.org

  • DARWIN BARFUSS

    I THINK ITS ABOUT TIME SOMEONE CAME OUT AND STOOD FOR THE TRANDITIONAL FAMILY AS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE BETWEEN MAN AND WOJMAN WHAT A BEAUTIFUL THING ITS BECAUSE OF THE APOSTATES MEN ON MEN WOMEN ON WOMEN THAT SOCIETY IS DYING AND IT WILL BE THE DOWNFALL OF THE GREATEST GOD LOVING COUNTRY IN THE WORLD AS YOU ALREADY KNOW BENEFITS FOR RETIRED OR RETIRING PEOPLE WILL BE AFFECTED IN THE NEAR FUTURE OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WILL HAVE BENEFITS CUT BECAUSE NOT AS MANY PEOPLE ARE WORKING TODAY BECAUSE THER AREN’T AS MANY PEOPLE ALIVE TO DO SO HEAVENLY FATHER COMMANDED US TO MULTIPLY AND REPLENISH THE EARTH HOW CAN WE WITH MAN ON MAN WOMAN ON WOMAN IT’S IMMORALLY WRONG THESE PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY BREAKING EVERYONE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS THEN SELFISH WEAK MINDED PEOPL SAY THIS IS EXIT FROM THE CHURCH IN CRIMINAL LAW YOU WOULD BE PROSECUTED FOR AIDING AND ABETTING A CRIME THIS IS A CRIME AGAINST GOD OUR HEAVENLY AND IF ANYONE SIDES WITH THEM IN ANY FORM THEY TOO ARE SINNING AGAINST GOD THE ETERNAL FATHER WHICH IS CRYING ALL THE TIME FOR THE CRIMES AGAINST HIM AND SOCIETY WELL I THINK BECAUSE THE POLICY IS FINALLY OUT ALL RELIGIONS KNOW WHAT THEY NEED TO DO AND FOLLOW SUIT IT IS IN THE BIBLE AND ALL THE GOOD BOOKS IT’S NOT IF YOU WANT IT’S WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE SON, THE HOLY GHOST AMEN AND THANK YOU

  • ebulating@gmail.com

    “The Lord had cursed Cain’s seed with blackness and prohibited them the Priesthood.”
    Brigham Young
    February 13, 1849

  • bobby

    The child does not bear the iniquity of the parent (Ezekiel 18:20). Human beings go astray; they are not born that way (cf. Isaiah 53:6).

  • Lenny

    It’s sad because this religion is based on children,specifically young girls,Brigham and Joe Smiths favorite sister wives.Joe lost his life luring other mens wives and young daughters to himself and plural marriage.So sad that now they are banned.

  • Thomas Wills

    I attempt never to support businesses like Marriott, and othe LDS-identified businesses. Mormons are in link-step with the corrupt, child-molesting, sanctimonious Catholic Church on these issues, which in a country built on separation of church and state, is completely inappropriate.
    Research the Mountain Meadow Murders, for LDS hypocrasy.

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