Mormon church targets gay members with ‘devastating’ new policy

The Mormon Church is doubling down on exclusionary policies, including taking measures to prevent the children of same-sex couples from joining the church.

The Mormon Church has made a policy change that is affecting the children of same-sex couples by purposefully excluding them from religious rites and ceremonies. According to a report from CNN, the new policy prohibits children who live in a same-sex household from being baptized and becoming members of the church until they personally disavow unions between two people of the same sex.

The policy is outlined in a volume called Handbook 1, and some of the most controversial sections were posted online by John Dehlin, a notable Mormon podcaster who was banned from the church earlier this year. His public dismissal of the church’s exclusionary policies got him banned, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints claimed that he was driving members away.

Mormon church spokesman Eric Hawkins stated that the document is a “policy and procedural guide” that simply reaffirmed the church’s long-standing position on same-sex marriage. “While it respects the law of the land, and acknowledges the rights of others to think and act differently, it does not perform or accept same-sex marriage within its membership,” Hawkins said.
Dehlin posted about the policy changes on his Facebook page on Thursday, warning that legally married LGBT Mormons could face persecution under the church’s disciplinary outlines. Dehlin warned that the church risked bringing greater obscurity upon itself in a world that increasingly accepts same-sex marriage.

The rule changes stand to affect a large number of people in the LGBT community, including Scott Faussett, who is the father of three children, including one involved in the LDS priesthood. “It is one thing if the LDS Church doesn’t want me being a gay person in their church – now to exclude children of a gay person just makes no sense to me,” Fausset said.

The new policy will forbid the children of gay parents, whether “narual or adopted,” from receiving a Mormon name and a blessing performed by the priesthood. If children of same-sex couples wish to enter the church as a member on their own, they will have to wait until they are 18 years old and no longer living in the same-sex household. Only then, and after they renounce the practice of same-sex cohabitation, would they be baptized, confirmed, and ordained in the church.

A press release from the Mormon Church, including an interview with Elder D. Todd Christofferson, can be found here.

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