SALT LAKE CITY — A series of documents posted by the website MormonLeaks claims The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seen a decrease in convert baptisms and offers counsel to leaders in the aftermath of a controversial policy on the children of same-sex couples.
The documents were posted on the same day the LDS Church was beginning its semi-annual General Conference at Temple Square. A church spokesman declined to comment on the documents, or their authenticity.
The LDS Church’s policy in 2015 labeling married same-sex couples as “apostates” and refusing to baptize their children into the Mormon faith triggered protests and public resignations. In a document posted by MormonLeaks that purports to be from a “Utah Area Seventies Correlation Meeting” it says “remain calm and await further instructions.”
“Church discipline for same-gender marriages is mandatory,” the document states, later adding: “There is no hurry to quickly take this disciplinary action. Use prudence and judgment in the normal course. These members may request to have their names be removed.”
The document reiterates the LDS Church’s stance that it believes marriage is between a man and a woman and notes that its position on baptisms of the children of same-sex couples is no different than how it treats the children of polygamous families.
“Those who advocate for tolerance should think about where the ‘line’ should be drawn. The Lord has drawn the line here,” the document counsels its leaders. “Help members understand how this effects them.”
It also adds: “Church in Utah is not the same as everywhere else.”
In recent days, MormonLeaks has posted a number of documents it claims are internal communications and policy notes about same-sex marriage in Utah and across the United States. The site regularly posts what it says are internal documents as part of its push for transparency in the Mormon Church.
In another 2015 document purporting to be from a meeting of Utah area mission presidents, it claimed “convert baptisms have decreased all around the world as well as baptisms per missionary.” The document said Elder Ronald Rasband asked if it was a result of the LDS Church’s “new wave” of missionaries when the age to serve was lowered, or if the world was a more difficult place?
Elders Michael Ringwood and Larry Wilson asked if the LDS Church should emphasize baptism or reactivation of lapse members in their presentation, according to the document.
“In Utah 1/3rd of the population are active members, 1/3rd less active members, and 1/3rd are nonmembers,” the document stated.