The Mormon church recently announced a new policy that essentially bans gays and any of their family members from attending the church or, in the case of children, from even being baptized. Should any family member of these gay Mormons wish to be welcomed back into the fold, they would have to disavow their ties to their gay family member.
The policy came as a blow to many gay Mormons, especially after the church seemed to have softened their anti-gay stance following backlash for their public support of Proposition 8. However, the formal declaration against any and all LGBT Mormons is about to backfire, as thousands of Mormons are preparing to formally quit the church this weekend.
Considering that the LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance recently passed in Utah had the outspoken support of the church, many LGBT Mormons consider the new update a slap in the face. New Civil Rights Movement reported that following the declaration, there was a spike in calls being placed to suicide prevention hotlines, and one member, mother of a transgender teen, stated that she is personally aware of several suicides that had taken place.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints anti-gay declaration states that any of the church’s members that are in same-sex relationships would be considered “apostates,” and any children they had would be barred from participating in any Mormon religious life activities. The new policy appeared Friday in an online update to the Mormon Church’s leadership manual and declares that “a natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabitating, may not receive a name and a blessing.”
Considering Mormons believe baptism is essential for salvation, the church is, in essence, condemning children to a life without salvation because of their parents’ love, and many Mormons are outraged at the aggressive move. As it stands, these children would not be allowed to be baptized until they turn 18 and formally denounce their parents relationship. The internet has also taken the time to express their disgust, and several people have created memes.
when I heard the Mormon church was banning children with gay parents pic.twitter.com/DTQjT30x83— Think Atheist (@ThinkAtheist) November 7, 2015
Any person who marries someone of the same sex will also be listed as “apostasy,” which means they shall be excommunicated as they have rejected church teachings.
LGBT Mormons advocates are stating that the uproar they are seeing is unprecedented. Thousands have made their desire to leave the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Mormon faith very public and have a Facebook event page established. Leaving the church is slightly more complicated than most and actually has certain legal requirements that must be fulfilled. One Utah attorney, Mark Naugle, is set to undertake the monumental task and says that over 1,400 Mormons have already contacted him about filing resignations from the church. The Facebook page has over 1,000 other confirmed attendees. The process of quitting the Mormon church involves filing formal letters of resignation in order to remove a member’s name from the church rolls, which lists all members worldwide.
Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, declared on Tuesday that she would be leaving her childhood church because of their despicable move.
“It is impossible for me to be a part of a religion that would attack its own members and punish them by denying their children involvement in the church. The move is as clever as it is draconian. Members seeking to live lives of integrity as openly LGBT people must not only leave the church, but take their children with them. It requires a particular streak of evil genius to manufacture such a ‘Sophie’s choice.’”
Naugle and other notary publics (to notarize the letters of resignation) will also be in attendance at the event, dubbed “Mass Resignation from Mormonism Event,” to assist anyone who wants to file their resignation letter. According to the Facebook page, the gathering at City Creek Park in Salt Lake City is “for anyone ready to resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and those who wish to support them.” After they finalize and sign the paperwork to quit the church, it is the group’s intent to march en masse to Salt Lake’s Temple Square near the Church’s international headquarters and deposit the letters.
The Washington Post states that church leaders may already be planning to review and clarify the anti-gay ordinance in the face of such mass plans to quit the church. The report states that a memo was sent out to regional leaders by a major church governing group saying that “there will be additional clarification on these changes from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve [Apostles] in the coming days.”
[Photo by David McNew / Getty Images]