SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church confirmed Thursday that children living with same-sex parents or guardians will not be allowed membership in the church until reaching "legal age" and the individual "disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage."
The new instructions are included in a revision to Handbook 1, the guide for stake presidents and bishops.
The criteria for membership also requires an individual to no longer be living with a parent "who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage." A mission president or a stake president must now request approval from the Office of the First Presidency to baptize and confirm, ordain, or recommend missionary service for an individual in these circumstances.
Church spokesman Erik Hawkins released the following statement:
"Church handbooks are policy and procedural guides for lay leaders who must administer the Church in many varied circumstances throughout the world. The Church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages. 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."
Handbook 1, number 6.7.2 has been updated as follows (addition is highlighted):
When a Disciplinary Council May Be Necessary
. . . It includes (but is not limited to) attempted murder, forcible rape, sexual abuse, spouse abuse, intentional serious physical injury of others, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations (especially sexual cohabitation), deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities, . . .
Handbook 1, number 6.7.3 has been updated as follows (addition is highlighted):
When a Disciplinary Council is Mandatory
As used here, apostasy refers to members who:
- Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.
- Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
- Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
- Are in a same-gender marriage.
- Formally join another church and advocate its teachings.
A new section in Handbook 1, 16.13 has been added as follows:
Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship
A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, 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 cohabiting, 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:
- 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.
- 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.
Equality Utah released the following statement:
"In America all churches have the religious liberty to welcome or exclude whomever they desire," said executive director Troy Williams. "But we know that children of same-sex parents are treasures of infinite worth. In our universe, all God's children have a place in the choir."