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SALT LAKE CITY — Children of parents who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender may now be blessed as infants and later baptized as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to updates announced Thursday to November 2015 church policies intended at the time to maintain family harmony but perceived as painful among some supporters of the LGBT community.
The church also will update its handbook of instructions for leaders to remove the label of apostasy for homosexual behavior that also was applied in November 2015, said President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, who announced the changes on behalf of the First Presidency on Thursday morning during the leadership session of the church’s 189th Annual General Conference.
"The very positive policies announced this morning should help affected families,” President Oaks said. "In addition, our members' efforts to show more understanding, compassion and love should increase respect and understanding among all people of good will. We want to reduce the hate and contention so common today. We are optimistic that a majority of people — whatever their beliefs and orientations — long for better understanding and less contentious communications. That is surely our desire, and we seek the help of our members and others to attain it."
Church leaders make clear distinctions between church doctrine and church policies and said Thursday's changes are limited to policies, according to a news release on the church's official website.