Mormon Church Declares Gay Couples Apostates, Gay Mormons Deem Policy ‘Devastating’

The Mormon Church has declared gay couples are apostates. The Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) has recently updated its policy handbook, announcing the church’s view on same-sex marriages and stating that children from same-sex marriages will not be allowed to receive blessings or be baptized until they are 18.

The policy change change by the Mormon Church was announced by LDS spokesman Eric Hawkins on Thursday, the Washington Post reported. The LDS policy defined an apostate as an individual who “repeatedly [acts] in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the church or its leaders.”

After the LDS Church policy change garnered national attention, vocal supporters and opponents took to social media to share their thoughts on the matter. Both the hashtags, #MormonChurch and #MormonHate quickly went viral.

“Church handbooks are policy and procedural guides for lay leaders who must administer the church in many varied circumstances throughout the world,” Hawkins said in a media release. “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.”

The Jesus Christ Church of Latter-Day Saints has long taught that marriage is an institution, created by God, reserved for one man and one woman. The one man and one woman portion of the LDS Church policy has angered fundamentalists who believe in plural marriage (polygamy) and staunchly believe the ministry’s founder, Brigham Young, had at least 40 wives.

Before the Mormon Church policy change on Thursday, the LDS guidelines noted that gay marriage may require discipline. Now that gay individuals can legally marry throughout the United States, the church has chosen to identify same-sex marriage participants as apostates, or people who’ve renounced their faith or do not adhere to its dictates, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports.

Typically, Mormon children are blessed when they are babies and are immediately entered into the church records. Most children in the LDS church are baptized when they are around eight years old. The baptisms are said to evidence a covenant with God that leads to eternal salvation and is essential tenet of their faith.

The new gay marriage Mormon Church policy extends to both naturally-born and adopted children of same-sex couples within a household. When the children of these households reach the age of 18, they could disavow the practice of gay marriage or cohabitation, move out of the home, and then fully realize the religious benefits of church membership.

The children of gay couples must adhere to those two actions before a request to be baptized would be confirmed and ordained by a Mormon Church priesthood holder. The adult child would also have to be recommended for missionary service via a letter of permission of the LDS leadership, the First Presidency.

The Jesus Christ Church of Latter-Day Saints has been politically active on matters related to both religious freedom and gay marriage. Mormon Church leaders, and advocates who share its views, completed a compromise on the gay rights issue in Utah earlier this year.

The LDS Church had vocalized concerns that gay rights could ultimately trump religious liberty in America. The Mormon Church faced severe backlash during its fight against same-sex marriage in California in 2008.

An excerpt from the Mormon Church gay marriage apostates policy change reads as follows.

“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.”

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