In what many outside of the Mormon Church faithful see as groundbreaking, the ruling council of the Church of Latter Day Saints announced Thursday that it was reversing a policy, enacted in November of 2015, that forbade the children of Same-Sex parents from joining the church or being baptized.
The announcement came from the LDS Church newsroom website stating; “Effective immediately, children of parents who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender may be baptized without [governing] First Presidency approval,” […] “if the custodial parents give permission for the baptism and understand both the doctrine that a baptized child will be taught and the covenants he or she will be expected to make.”
The announcement also noted church leadership was changing its stance on those married couples no longer seeing them as ‘apostates.’
“Previously, our Handbook characterized same-gender marriage by a member as apostasy. While we still consider such a marriage to be a serious transgression, it will not be treated as apostasy for purposes of church discipline. Instead, the immoral conduct in heterosexual or homosexual relationships will be treated in the same way.”
“As the former president of PFLAG Salt Lake City, I saw firsthand the damage done to our families by this and other church doctrine, so I’m glad to see the LDS Church take a baby step in the right direction.” Kathy Godwin, President, Board of Directors of PFLAG National told the Los Angeles Blade in an email. “As a faith with professed strong family values, I would ask church leaders to be mindful of the messages they are sending from the pulpit and elsewhere.”
“Youth are always listening to you, and it is especially harmful to them to hear comments which disparage or demean them and the people they love,” Godwin wrote adding; “PFLAGers try never to close the door on conversation when there exists the possibility of hearts and minds changing, and people and doctrine evolving. We will continue to have the conversations and share our stories to push for further steps forward.”
Dallin H. Oaks, the First Counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS church and a member of the church’s ruling council known as the ‘Quorum of the Twelve Apostles’ stressed that while making these allowances, the Mormon faith’s position on ‘homosexuality’ (that having same-sex attraction is not a sin, but acting on it is.) was unchanged.
“These changes do not represent a shift in church doctrine related to marriage or the commandments of God in regard to chastity and morality,” Oaks said. “The doctrine of the plan of salvation and the importance of chastity will not change.”
Fred Karger, a longtime political opponent of the Mormon Church in regards to its stance on LGBTQ issues and a former Republican candidate for president as an openly gay man, spoke Thursday to the Los Angeles Blade.
“In what appears to be a stunning reversal of its disastrous 2015 policy, Mormon Church leaders may soon find themselves welcoming LGBTQ Mormons and their children back into the church,” Karger said.
“This was one of the benchmarks that we set when we began applying pressure on the Church 11 years after discovering all its leaders did to harm the greater LGBTQ community. Lots of tears of joy today.”