Carrie Laudie | Editor in Chief
Policy changes for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints listed in Handbook 1, a resource used for lay clergy in the church, were leaked on Thursday, Nov. 5. The document was posted on the Facebook page of John Dehlin, a former member of the LDS church and creator of the popular podcast Mormon Stories.
The most controversial of the new policies was in regard to children who have a parent “living in a same-gender relationship.” The LDS handbook states that these children cannot receive a name and a blessing and can only be baptized after the child turns 18, disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage and does not live with the parent who is either currently in a same-gender relationship or has been in a same-gender relationship previously.
“Church handbooks are policy and procedural guides for lay leaders who must administer the church in many varied circumstances throughout the world,” said LDS church spokesman in a written statement. “The Church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriage. 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.”
Another change in the handbook is that the LDS church now considers being in a same-sex marriage as apostasy, this circumstance now instructs local leaders to convene a disciplinary council.
At press time the LDS church had not released a formal press release on the matter.
If anyone at school has questions or would like to talk to someone contact Karen Deysher, program manager of LGBT Student Services, (801) 863-8885, or visit her office located at LA 118A.
Updated Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, 10:24 p.m.
Late Friday night the LDS church released a 10-minute interview with D. Todd Christofferson to clarify and reaffirm the churches position on same-sex marriage and also the policy changes to the handbook.
“It’s a statement to remove any questions or doubt that may exist,” said Christofferson. “We recognize that same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States, and some other countries, and that people have the right if the choose to enter in to those and we understand that. But it is not a right that exists in the church, that is the clarification.”
Christofferson goes on to explain that the reasoning behind the change in policy toward children who are being raised by a parent in a same-sex relationship is concern for the child. He also cites the historical policy of the church that is the same for children who are being raised in a polygamous relationship.
Updated Friday, Nov. 13, 11:00 a.m.
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a letter on today addressing concerns surrounding the policy change in the handbook.
The letter can be viewed here.
Carrie is the Editor in Chief for the 2015-2016 school year.