LDS First Presidency Clarifies Church Handbook Changes

Below is a link along with the text to a clarification regarding the recent policy regarding children of same-gender marriages.

lds.org/pages/church-handbook-changes?cid=HP_WE_11-11-2015_dPFD_fCNWS_xLIDyL1-A_&lang=eng

First Presidency Clarifies Church Handbook Changes

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
OFFICE OF THE FIRST PRESIDENCY
47 EAST SOUTH TEMPLE STREET, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH 84150-1200

November 13, 2015

To: General Authorities; Area Seventies; General Auxiliary Presidencies; Stake, District, Mission, and Temple Presidents; Bishops and Branch Presidents

Dear Brethren and Sisters:

The Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles provides the following guidance in applying provisions on same-gender marriage recently added to Handbook 1:

Revealed doctrine is clear that families are eternal in nature and purpose. We are obligated to act with that perspective for the welfare of both adults and children. The newly added Handbook provisions affirm that adults who choose to enter into a same-gender marriage or similar relationship commit sin that warrants a Church disciplinary council.

Our concern with respect to children is their current and future well-being and the harmony of their home environment. The provisions of Handbook 1, Section 16.13, that restrict priesthood ordinances for minors, apply only to those children whose primary residence is with a couple living in a same-gender marriage or similar relationship. As always, local leaders may request further guidance in particular instances when they have questions.

When a child living with such a same-gender couple has already been baptized and is actively participating in the Church, provisions of Section 16.13 do not require that his or her membership activities or priesthood privileges be curtailed or that further ordinances be withheld. Decisions about any future ordinances for such children should be made by local leaders with their prime consideration being the preparation and best interests of the child.

All children are to be treated with utmost respect and love. They are welcome to attend Church meetings and participate in Church activities. All children may receive priesthood blessings of healing and spiritual guidance.

May the Lord continue to bless you in your ministry.

Sincerely yours,
The First Presidency

The LDS has my sympathies in attempting to stand for family and marriage. It won’t be easy, and I’m afraid that all religions that espouse natural law will have to become comfortable with being maligned.

They are very family oriented. Sad part though I’m this state, foster parents can be SS couples.

It seems there are a couple of changes. If a child has a parent in a SS relationship, but they are not living with that parent, they can be baptized? They can still be an active member?

Danced around that one. I guess that’s what happens when a church is led by public opinion.

What I don’t understand about the policy is this: why are children of same-sex couples excluded? If baptism is a voluntary decision by the person wishing to join the LDS Church, then why should a child who is say, 13, be denied baptism if he wants to join the LDS Church? It doesn’t really make sense to me; I’d like to see some clarification on that.

If you’re seeking clarity, the LDS church isn’t the place to find it.

In all seriousness, IMHO the LDS leadership made a rash decision regarding a touchy issue and now are backing off the original revision of the handbook. I do not support SSM in any way, but to come out with a ruling that affects the innocent is just wrong.

Perhaps this had something to do with it:

Group Holds Mass Resignation from LDS Church

kutv.com/news/local/group-holds-mass-resignation-from-lds-church-in-slc-saturday

Especially if the parents do not disapprove.

I would imagine that if the parents disapproved that it would become a moot issue anyways, because they probably wouldn’t have the access to be baptized into the LDS Church.

That being said, the idea of formally restricting them from baptism is troublesome to me. I totally get that they can still receive Church blessings, but if baptism is a fundamental ordinance within the LDS Church, then why restrict it from truly seeking young children? I understand that family unity is a factor, but still. Perhaps they are worried about a lawsuit from same-sex couples if they baptize their children?

I live in Utah and I know of stories where minors were baptized, or it was attempted, without parental consent by Mormon missionaries.

That being said, the idea of formally restricting them from baptism is troublesome to me. I totally get that they can still receive Church blessings, but if baptism is a fundamental ordinance within the LDS Church, then why restrict it from truly seeking young children? I understand that family unity is a factor, but still. Perhaps they are worried about a lawsuit from same-sex couples if they baptize their children?

I hope a Mormon poster will answer our questions.

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