LDS Church releases new clarification about children in families with same-sex parents

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement Friday to clarify recent changes in the Church Handbook regarding children in families with same-sex parents.

"The provisions of Handbook 1, Section 16.13 , that restrict priesthood ordinances for minors, apply only to those children whose primary residence is with couple living in a same-gender marriage or similar relationship. As always, local leaders may request further guidance in particular instances when they have questions.

When a child living with such a same-gender couple has already been baptized and is actively participating in the Church, provisions of 16.13 do not require that his or her membership activities or priesthood privileges be curtailed or that further ordinances be withheld. Decisions about any future ordinances for such children should be made by local leaders with their prime consideration being the preparation and best interests of the child.

All children are to be treated with utmost respect and love. They are welcome to attend Church meetings and participate in Church activities. All children may receive priesthood blessings of healing and spiritual guidance."

The handbook changes, revealed last week, say natural or adopted children of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabitating, may not receive a name and a blessing. The child may be baptized and confirmed, ordained or recommended for missionary service if:

"A mission president or a stake president may request approval from the Office of the First Presidency to baptize and confirm, ordain, or recommend missionary service for a child of a parent who has lived oris living in a same-gender relationship when he is satisfied by personal interviews that both of the following requirements are met:

1.The child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.

2. The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage."

While the church has come out twice now in defense of their policy, some members are choosing to leave and are turning to Attorney Mark Naugle.

“Once this policy came out, people have said to me this is the last straw, I can`t have my name associated with an organization that does this to children,” said Naugle.

Naugle, an ex-Mormon, says he’s helping hundreds of people from all over the world fill out resignation papers, free of charge. People don’t need an attorney to leave the church, but Naugle says without one, people can wait months for an answer and they don’t want to feel any added pressure from leaders.

“Because they know that when they try to resign they`re going to have to meet with their bishop, they`re going to have their relief society coming over, the visiting teachers, possibly be pulled into church court,” said Naugle.

Naugle plans on helping people at a so called, “Mass Resignation Event” at City Creek Park Saturday at 1 p.m. Some question whether these resignations are actually from current members of the LDS Church in response to the controversial policy. Naugle admits the majority of people from Utah he’s talked to, are inactive.

“Most of the time these people just disagree with the church policies and church doctrine and they just want to move on with their lives,” said Naugle.

It’s important to note that a poll found on the event’s Facebook page shows that about 4% of people who are resigning are active members of the church. Some people argue that calling the event a “mass resignation” may not be completely accurate.

LGBT advocacy group Equality Utah issued the following statement in response to the clarification Friday:

Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams said, “The past week has been difficult for both the Mormon and LGBT communities. There has been particular pain amongst families with both LDS and LGBT members. The new clarification from the Church helps children who are being raised by both gay and heterosexual parents. However, we are disappointed that children born of same-sex parents must still ‘disavow’ their parent’s marriage. This is a hurtful requirement for any child. We are grateful for the outpouring of love from many members in the LDS Church who have reached out with compassion toward our community. We have felt your love. We are also grateful to the many open and affirming faith congregations throughout Utah who welcome LGBT families without exception.”

Read the entire statement issued Friday by the LDS Church:
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22 comments

  • bob

    Explain to them “with respect and love” that they aren’t welcome, and then see how many show up on their 18th birthday.

    This is the first of a series of “clarifications” that will result in the policy being abandoned.

  • nobody

    Why do I always have to “tolerate and accept” others lifestyle when they don’t tolerate my belief that homosexuality is a sin?

    • Travis

      Since your name is nobody, you obviously feel some sort of shame for your religion doing this. You judge them for something they can not control. You can choose your own religion. You claim that your religion, and god honors everyone, where are the honors for people loving someone they care for. Let’s be real though, you thinking homosexuality is a sin has reserved you a special spot in hell, and I also hope I meet you there. Remember the name you made this comment with, because you are truly nobody, even in the eyes of god.

      • TRISH RAMIREZ

        God has never condoned sexually deviate behavior and He never will Travis. Likewise He has never asked His followers to turn a blind eye to immorality. What He did to Sodom and Gomorrah as a result of their evil is an example.

      • The Real Trish Ramirez

        The bible is a book of fables written by con men to control other humans. The fact that the one you read says “version” on the cover ought to tip you off that it’s not what it’s marketed to be. This aside, the real reason S&G were destroyed (according to biblical myth) was always traditionally described as being due to greed and apathy. The whole connotation with $ex got added to the mix when the clergy (right hand of the rulers) realized people were easier to control if they felt bad about their every action, even the most natural in all of humanity; i.e., achieving physical pleasure with another human being.

        “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty…”

        Consider this, mormons, when you’re advocating border-wall building Trump for pres or stockpiling apocalypse food for you and yours while silently gloating that the non-mormons didn’t prepare. Or when you’re so smug in your ideas of superiority that you’re encouraging the very children of LGBT couples to disavow them.

      • C'MON TRISH

        @Trish
        It is no secret that the choice you’ve made regarding your alternate lifestyle has left you bitter and full of hate. Your choice, your lifestyle, your bitter heart. The perfect receipt for true and lasting happiness ….. not.

  • Dan Gray

    And since there are millions of members of the LDS church, who cares if a couple hundred resign? Not even a bug bite on an elephants worth of worry. THEY joined the church, the church didnt join them and it should not have to change its teachings just to make a few happy.

  • ajc

    Im sorry but the the supreme court forced the lds hand
    we have to put a stand some where, we don’t need to change to the world belief ‘s .
    we live in the world but not of the world
    this is all i have to say.

  • Bob the Wiser

    Telling children it’s okay to disavow loving parents because the church disagrees with their orientation is terrible, this statement is just more of the same hate that this quasi-religion can’t seem to stop perpetuating. Label it properly as the hate group that it is and treat it like the Taliban is treated when it tries to theocracy-build. https://www.change.org/p/barack-obama-classify-the-mormon-church-as-a-hate-group?recruiter=25708978&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_twitter_responsive

  • Andy

    Apparently I am missing something obvious here. Why is it that a parent who chose to go against multi-millenia tradition and the doctrines and teachings of their own church to adopt an alternate lifestyle, which results in their being excommunicated from their church, even want to allow their children be associated with, let alone part of that church?

    Also, out of the millions of members of the church, what percentage of the church members are directly affected by this policy “change”? With all the attention that this is getting, one would expect that it is affecting at least 10% of the membership. I think that this issue is being blown waaaaay out of proportion. Also, that it is being touted as something “hateful”, rather than the harmonious family policy that it really is.

    • MelroseFred

      It’s irrelevant how many are affected, it’s a stand against an alternative lifestyle so people are going to complain the church is being “intolerant”. In reality, the policy is to remove the child from having to make a decision between his/her parent and the church until he is of the age to make an informed decision.

      Now, the church does have a problem as it relates to the Boy Scouts of America. This new policy is in direct opposition to the recent BSA policy change. For reasons that I can not explain, the church chose to continue with the BSA even after the new policy was put in place. It’s a contradiction in policy that really needs to be corrected.

  • SMB1128

    Religion should just really be banned, it does way more harm than good. We shouldn’t coddle religious people a second more. I just wonder how many more real people need to die over such fantasies.

  • THE REAL TRISH RAMIREZ

    I’m not happy about where life has taken me after I decided to rebel and chose an alternate lifestyle. I only have two choices:
    1) I can blame myself for my unhappiness.
    2) I can blame the Mormons and religion in general for my unhappiness.

    Option #2 is easier and less painful so that’s the one I’ve chosen.

Comments are closed.