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:
- 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.
- 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.
KUTV.com 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:
- Insight into new LDS Church policies on same-sex couples and their children – Published at A Well-Behaved Mormon Women
How to Keep Your Faith Strong Despite Controversy or Doubt – Published at LDS Living (While it does not mention the policy changes, it was published the morning after the announcement.)
A Look at the Church’s New Policy on Children of Gay Couples – Published at Fair Mormon Blog
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.