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Trending Articles in the Discussion of New Church Policies

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On the evening of November 5, 2015, multiple news organizations began reporting updates to the Church Handbook of Instructions, Handbook 1. The updates, which have been confirmed by Church spokesman Eric Hawkins, lists being in a same-sex marriage under the definition of apostasy and clarifies certain ordinances are not to be performed for children of those in same-sex marriages until they are of legal age.

16.13 Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship

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.

A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service only as follows:

A mission president or a stake president may request approval from the Office of the First Presidency to baptize and confirm, ordain, or recommend missionary service for a child of a parent who has lived or is living in a same-gender relationship when he is satisfied by personal interviews that both of the following requirements are met:

  1. The child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.
  2. The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.

Below is a brief timeline of story and trending topics of interest. is the first to report on the story, drawing heavily from social media posts by former member John Dehlin and the original screenshots of the Handbook which had been uploaded onto the image-sharing website Imgur. The Salt Lake Tribune and Washington Post quickly picked up the story, as did KSL, a local Utah news website.

Deseret News, the newspaper owned by the Church and headquartered in Salt Lake City, published the article ‘LDS Church reaffirms doctrine of marriage, updates policies on families in same-sex marriages‘ with the full statements by Eric Hawkins at 9:10 PM MST. No other official statement has been offered by the Church at this time.

Multiple national websites have since reposted their various articles of the original story. The story is currently trending on social media.

Popular responses currently trending among LDS members include:

A popular image that is currently trending encourages those within the LGBTQ community who may be struggling with the news to get help. The original image was posted by Facebook user Jerilyn Hassell Pool and has been shared over 3,000 times. Multiple news organizations, including Mormon LGBTQ advocacy groups, have issued the same cry.

We’ll add more information as it becomes available.

Join the Discussion!
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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.


  1. Obviously, as the Mormon daughter of a gay man, my perspective is biased, but I think that it adds an important element to the story. Remember that the people affected by this issue are just as much sons and daughters of Heavenly Father as you are.


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