LDS Church says children of same-sex couples cannot be members

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A file photo of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is confirming new policies affecting members in same-sex relationships and their children, and the changes mean that children of same-sex couples cannot become members of the LDS Church unless they are of legal age, are no longer living with their parents, and have disavowed the practice of same-sex relationships.

The LDS Church has made changes to its handbook for Bishops and Stake Presidents, known as Handbook 1, reflecting those new policies. The changes prompted responses from the group Equality Utah and a prominent former Mormon who was excommunicated on grounds of apostasy.

The LDS Church will not permit children of parents in a same-sex marriage, “natural or adopted”, to receive a name and a blessing, which is a ceremony performed by members of the faith’s priesthood.

In addition, children of same-sex parents would have to wait until they are of legal age and are no longer living with their parents in order to be baptized, confirmed, ordained and/or recommended for missionary service. The child would also have to commit to living the teachings of the LDS Church and disavow the practice of same-sex relationships and marriage.

The LDS Church says the concern is that the expectations of church attendance, baptism, priesthood ordination and other ordinances would put the child in a very difficult position, considering the parents could not be church members. And, the teachings in the home most likely would not be consistent with LDS Church doctrine.

The three new policies also include a clarification of what constitutes apostasy, including a new criteria of members who, “Are in a same-gender marriage.”

A statement from an LDS Church spokesman released Thursday states:

“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.”

As before, the list of criteria for apostasy also includes repeated public opposition to LDS Church leaders, persistent teaching of false doctrine, persistently following the teachings of apostate sects–such as those that advocate plural marriage–and formally joining another church and advocating its teachings.

The new policies appear in a new edition of Handbook 1, which is used by LDS Bishops, Stake Presidents and other priesthood leaders to govern the church. Handbook 1 is not available to the public.

Troy Williams, executive director for the group Equality Utah, released a statement in response to the changes.

“In America all churches have the religious liberty to welcome or exclude whomever they desire. 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.”

John Dehlin, the man behind the Mormon Stories podcast who was excommunicated from the LDS Church for apostasy, also reacted to the policy change, calling it a “sad day for Mormonism.”

In a post on Facebook, Dehlin said the changes are “sad” for many people. He stated: “We are all diminished by this unfortunate action. As the LDS church continues to paint itself into a corner, it risks becoming increasingly irrelevant to the developed world. Perhaps this is for the best. We shall see.”

The full post from Dehlin is embedded below:

75 comments

    • Revoir

      I hear ‘True Colors’ playing in my head when I read this and I think it’s wonderful.

      Many will be saved from the LDS machine.

      How can you be homosexual and LDS anyway? Probably the only way you could was to be raised LDS, witch would put the blinders on to make you oblivious to the fact your not welcome in their revised daily cult.

      Please post more of this garbage and discredit yourself so badly that your flock my wake up to the business you call church and save themselves.

      • Leo

        Speaking of discredit….

        *machination
        *which
        *you’re

        I am part of the church and I do not agree with this new law myself. However the church isn’t making anyone agree to anything. Everything is a choice.

  • anotherbob

    This is actually a blessing in disguise for the children! Any religion which would prevent membership just because of who your “parents” are is not a religion worth becoming a member of in the first place. These children will thank the church later on when they realize the bullet they dodged.

  • Larry

    Think a bit beyond the headline hype. All they are doing is helping children not be in conflict with their parents because of what they hear I in church. When they are adults they are welcome to join.

    Same gender marriages have always been against the doctrine so that part shouldn’t be a newsflash.

    Not asking you to agree with their stance but think about their intent. It is not so villainous as the headlines want it to be. Sure would be nice if we could get to meaningful discussion instead of text comment bickering. Guessing LDS church will provide more explanation soon. Maybe they have already but I haven’t seen it.

    • Michelle

      From The Family: A Proclamation to the world, “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”
      Parents are responsible and held accountable for the way they raise their children. If the parents make the choice, it’s on them, and not the kids in the end, and like it’s been said many times, they can become members as adults.
      There’s such a riot going on about this I don’t really understand.

      • bob

        This policy is all about children being held responsible for the choices of their parents.

        I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain that.

      • DAN GRAY

        @Bob
        You realize of course that children can’t be baptized into the LDS Church without written permission from both parents. Only about 16% of homosexuals are raising children Bob, so this probably won’t affect you.

    • bob

      Larry: Nice try, but the Church doesn’t baptize children without parental permission anyway. This new policy makes such permission irrelevant. The children are not welcome regardless of permission.

  • Hyrum_Justice

    Not a general news story. Who cares what the mormons want? Put your religious storys under a new tab labeled ‘Religion’ so those of us it does not effect have to look at how bigoted your church is. Children don’t have fault. How can a religion be so biased against children?

    • Sean muldoon

      I so agree with you. Have Mormons forgotten when they were chased out of states and cities, shot, hanged and murdered because of their beliefs and how they lived?? Do they forget that, even today, they are considered a cult, and not a religion?? Aww…its so sad.

      • Sean muldoon

        All children are innocent, a gift from God, and should be loved unconditionally…not, shamed for something that is natural to them, as multiple wives are to Mormons.

      • HYRUM_JUSTICE

        All children are loved, but why would those who are not taught the principles of morality want to be baptized?

    • HYRUM_JUSTICE

      The same people who hung Jesus on a cross wouldn’t recognize him or accept his teaching today Dan if he appeared in a suit and tie. You’d be one of them.

      • Erik Hill

        How about you study that scripture and it’s interpretation before you decide to throw it out like a firework.

      • Paul

        Let’s see. That scripture talks about the children coming to him to hang out. Not be given a name and blessing nor being baptized. What the church just talked about is giving the child a name and a blessing and baptism. Two things they have to get permission for anyway even if the parents are not the same gender. Remind me again how your scripture quote relates to these two blessings…Oh yea. It doesn’t.

      • bob

        Exactly. Parents can give that permission no matter what “sins” they commit…..except this particular “sin.” Why single it out? Explain, please.

        This ONLY affects children. The kids are singled out for exclusion based on the actions of others. It cannot be reconciled with scripture.

        What kind of lunatic would suggest that the scripture only means “come hang out with Jesus and play Nintendo”?

  • Bob the Wiser

    This is another terrible but apt example of how the mormon church divides families. They are now demanding children abandon their parents to join their cult. Disavow them? Disgusting. Younger generations are fleeing religion in droves, and I hope this policy change drives more conscientious, aware young people from the fold and into reason. Which it will. This policy change is nothing more than the impotent foot stompings of a spoiled child who wasted all of its time and money trying to theocracy-build, and to no avail. I encourage family members of LGBT folks to leave this cult and deny it your 10% in protest.

    • HYRUM_JUSTICE

      So how many children do you and your wife have Bob? I assume your married, and I assume you teach your children the same principles of morality that Jesus taught.

  • Just Bob

    this is too funny.. all in the same week Salt Lake elects a lesbian mayor and in the same breath bans innocent children from their dominant religion..

  • Bob the Wiser

    I think that if this is the hardcore stance the church is going to take against LGBT’s, someone needs to step in and remove LGBT youth from the psychological abuse of being raised in mormon households. Now the parents of of LGBT mormon youth are going to treat them even worse, harass them because “their grandchildren can’t be blessed or baptized, can’t be sealed until they are at least 18.” This is a step to further isolate and torture LGBT citizens in the mormon stronghold of Utah. Perhaps an underhanded method of getting them to leave the hostility of the state so they can’t vote against the theocracy-building attempts of the mormon leadership? Stand strong Utah LGBT’s. Salt Lake County just elected an openly lesbian mayor, the church lost it’s Prop 8 bid, it couldn’t even keep same-gender marriage out of Utah. It’s running scared and all it has left in its arsenal is hate and fear-mongering. Be stronger than hate, keep your kids out of and away from this cult, encourage your LGBT friends to relocate from Cali to Happy Valley to ensure your interests are represented their, too. #lovewins

    • HYRUM_JUSTICE

      How many pansexuals in the LGBTQQIP2SAA community do you know who have children Bob? That isn’t what they are about.

  • Dennis

    I think it’s funny that a church who’s founding members were polygamists,perverts and con-men have any right to judge people. I’ve never seen a more self-righteous group of people.

  • Anon

    I want members and non- members to understand what this new decree from the Morman church means. I have diligently read my scriptures from the time I was eight years old at least a verse a day from the Bible to the Book of Morman and Doctrine of Covenants. I have tried to watch and read as many conference talks as I can. I am 45 years old and in the 37 years of reading, studying, pondering, trying to apply to my life, and hours of praying; it is my understanding ( I can be wrong) that a baby receives a name and a blessing to be put on the rolls of the Morman church. It does not mean they are members; that occurs at baptism, but it does mean they are counted with their family. I don’t understand why the Morman church has decided to heap the sins of the fathers/ mothers ( which I believe that sometimes people revert to their roots) on the very innocent children. Has the Morman church given up on these children who will need family and a safe ” normal ” ( sorry, I have nothing against alternate lifestyles) environment to attend not to mention those first blessings. I think if the other family members are of good standing with the Morman church that baby should be able to receive a name and a blessing . Why punish the loving family who is in good standing and that divine spirit that just left Gods presence?

    • Lucky

      Keep searching! You are asking hard (but relevant) questions. I was born in SLC as a TBM in a pioneer-family. BYU grad, LDS mission (’90-’92), SLC Temple marriage, Stake High Council, etc (you get the picture). I am now very happily out of the LDS church and not, as they are wont to say, due to “sin, being offended, etc” but by slowly and painfully discovering that its not true. Not one bit. But that discovery was a slow and methodical process and is unique to each person. I commend you for your inquisitive mind and wish you every success discovering for yourself what is true and false. Much respect!

  • RJ

    Maybe one can defend the right of any people or organization to believe what they want, but try to imagine faithful LGBT Mormons who are given an impossible choice. Abandon their Church or loved ones. And if this is not enough, their children will be excluded from God’s blessings as well unless they denounce their parents and their personal beliefs. These kids don’t deserve this kind of treatment and they will be ostracized by their friends and neighbors as well.Sometimes, I just don’t think the LDS hierarchy really think things through before making this kind of statement. They talk about the love and acceptance of all people to the outside world, but they don’t walk the talk. They are really are just bigots and hypocrites which is not “Christ like”. Unless they can begin be truly more charitable and caring, the divisions they are creating now even within the family, the LDS membership will continue to bleed followers.

  • Ball is Life

    Did the leaders of the Mormon church get crossed so bad that they changed their rules smh. This is what getting crossed over does to you hahaha #nodefense #watchyoankles #Gaykidcrossedyouover #Butthurt #

  • Samuel Alan

    Fox News…. why do you claim in your headline to be announcing the official LDS Church stance and then end it with apostate quotes that spread misunderstanding and confusion rather than deeper understanding of what has happened???

  • Anthony

    I don’t agree with this at all. It puts the children between a rock and a hard place. Do they abandon their familes or do they abandon their religion? That’s not the kind of decision a child should be forced to make. Childrem have enough to contend with now a day without having this decison by the church hanging over thier heads.

  • Haylee E

    Although I am sadden by this decision I can understand why the church took this stance. About how it wouldn’t be right to have a child in a home environment that the church deems unacceptable and have that conflict between family and church. My only major issue with this is, why are children in single family households allowed to be baptized or households of divorce and children who were born out of wedlock? None of these children are excluded from baptism even though the church’s standards would say these family households don’t abide by their teachings. Therefore, these children would still be in conflict with their family environment and religion. All said children in these circumstances are given the opportunity to be baptized, even though their parents made choices that went against church doctrine. Basically, at this point I don’t even see it being a matter of child safety, I just see it as fear. As an inactive LDS member I cannot grasp this doctrine as being something of God’s will. When our transgressions will only be our own to be accountable for.

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