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The Mormon Church to Allow Baptisms for Children of Same-Sex Parents

The Mormon Church to Allow Baptisms for Children of Same-Sex Parents

Those in same-sex marriages are also no longer condemned as apostates. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has today announced a change in policy pertaining to baptism and LGBTQ+ couples.

According to a 2015 policy, Mormons previously only allowed children of same-sex parents to be baptized with First Presidency approval -- the First Presidency consists of the President of the church as well as his two counselors, and is the highest governing body of the Church. While there were a myriad of issues related to the policy, it particularly effected children of divorced parents were one was a queer ex-Mormon while the other remained in the faith. These children had to get approval to be baptised, and were many times prohibited from doing so. This controversial policy led to a widespread exodus of up to 1,500 members by some estimates.

The parents themselves were considered to be apostates, or ex-Mormons who have turned away from the principles of the Mormon gospel. When someone is "in apocacy" they can become the subject of a disciplinary court, convened by the church, and can be excommunicated spiritually as well as socially.

In a decision released today, both of those policies have been revised.

"Effective immediately, children of parents who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may be baptized without First Presidency approval, if the custodial parents give permission for the baptism and understand both the doctrine that a baptized child will be taught and the covenants he or she will be expected to make," the church wrote on their site. The decision was initially announced in a leadership session. At that meeting, President Dallin H. Oaks also shared the new policies surrounding queer members.

"Previously, our Handbook characterized same-gender marriage by a member as apostasy," read the announcement covering the new policies. "While we still consider such a marriage to be a serious transgression, it will not be treated as apostasy for purposes of Church discipline. Instead, the immoral conduct in heterosexual or homosexual relationships will be treated in the same way." The statement went on to say that the announcements are aimed at decreasing the "hate and contention so common today."

The church also affirmed that the alterations "do not represent a shift in Church doctrine related to marriage or the commandments of God in regard to chastity and morality."

While the church does not maintain that same-sex attraction is wrong, acting on that attraction is condemned and still would be under this new policy. An apology for the trauma and harm the 2015 may have caused was not included in the announcement.

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