Watch LIVE

Mormon Church Just Codified Two Major Policies Involving People 'In Same-Gender Marriage' and Their Children

Faith

"The church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages."

People walking through Temple Square arrive for the opening session of the two-day Mormon church conferencem Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Salt Lake City. As many as three new high-ranking Mormon leaders could be named during the weekend’s church conference to fill vacancies on a governing body that sets church policy and run the faith’s business operations. (AP Photo/Kim Raff)\n

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has amended its Church Handbook of Instructions to read that gay couples are apostates who have turned their backs on the church and that their children cannot take part in official church activities.

The handbook, which governs the activities and conduct of local Mormon congregations and governing bodies, includes changes that were approved from church leaders, NBC News reported.

The amended text adds individuals who are "in a same-gender marriage" to a list of characteristics of people who are seen as having committed apostasy by turning away from Mormon teaching, the outlet reported.

A screen shot of changes to be made to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Church Handbook of Instructions

"Church handbooks are policy and procedural guides for lay leaders who must administer the church in many varied circumstances throughout the world," Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a statement. "The church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages."

He continued, "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.”

In a separate section of the handbook, children of same-sex couples are not permitted to be given church blessings, be baptized, train as missionaries or be ordained unless they have permission from church leaders; permission would be granted if the child is at least 18 years old and "disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage," according to NBC News.

This would create a situation in which these children are handled quite differently from kids living with parents who reside in a traditional marriage, as Mormons typically bless babies as infants and generally baptize children when they are 8 years old, the Washington Post reported.

A screen shot of changes to be made to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Church Handbook of Instructions

The decision by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to solidify these policies comes after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage back in June — a move that left many religious organizations and denominations thinking more deeply about how to move forward.

The move also comes as the Mormon church attempts to balance religious freedom with personal choice.

Just last month, Dallin Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — the church's second-highest governing body — said that government workers like Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who has refused to issue gay marriage licenses in her name, must follow the law.

"Office holders remain free to draw upon their personal beliefs and motivations and advocate their positions in the public square," Oaks said. "But when acting as public officials, they are not free to apply personal convictions, religious or other, in place of the defined responsibilities of their public offices. All government officers should exercise their civil authority according to the principles and within the limits of civil government."

Earlier this year, leaders with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called for balanced legislation that protects religious conscience, while also supporting protections for gays and lesbians in the areas of housing, public transportation and employment, among other sectors.

Most recent
All Articles