SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – November 5, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – Children in same-sex households will have to choose between living with their families and their membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to a new policy announced by the LDS Church Thursday.
Eric Hawkins, Church spokesperson, confirmed the announcement, which stands to impact families in same-sex households worldwide.
The policy notification, which was released by way of a handbook distributed to LDS Church leaders, including bishops and stake presidents, reads as follows:
A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether a natural or adopted child, whether the couple is married or cohabitating, may not receive a name and a blessing.
A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabitating, may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service only as follows:
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 or is 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.
Natural or adopted children living in a same-sex household will only be allowed to be baptized once they are 18, disavow the practice of same-sex cohabitation or marriage, and stop living within the household, according to the policy. Such baptism would still require the approval of the church’s governing First Presidency.
The policy notice came on the same day the Church declared participation in a same-sex marriage constituted an act of apostasy.
In a statement released to Gephardt Daily Thursday night, Hawkins said the policy statements were consistent with the Church’s longtime stance on gay marriage.
“Church handbooks are policy and procedural for lay leaders who must administer the Church in many varied circumstances throughout the world. The Church has long been on the record as opposing same-sex marriages,” Hawkins wrote. “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 marriages within its membership.”
The policy guide changes were originally published online by LDS dissident John Dehlin.