LGBTI people born in the Mormon church has reacted to the rule changes on baptism and apostasy.
New rules at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints revoke a four-year-old ‘November policy’.
New rule changes at the Mormon church
LGBTI parents can now request a blessing for their children. At the age of eight, children of same-sex parents can be baptized.
President Dallin Oaks announced the news at the Church’s 189th Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City yesterday (4 April).
The Mormon Church said in a statement: ‘Previously, our Handbook characterized same-gender marriage by a member as apostasy.’
An apostasy is the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief or principle.
They then added: ‘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 read.
The changes are effective immediately.
However, the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage remains the same, with LGBTI Mormons also still expected to be celibate.
‘Countless children killed themselves’
Shelly, who co-hosts the Latter-day Lesbian podcast, said she felt ‘furious’.
‘How do I feel about the Mormon God changing his mind again? I feel furious,’ she told Gay Star News.
‘Countless children [killed themselves] after the last policy was released.’
She added: ‘Did God change his mind? Or did the church realize they were losing memberships and money faster than they could control?’
Shelly said the rule that states same-sex marriage is no longer apostasy was also wrong.
‘Oh, right. You can stay and pay your tithing but you still won’t be saved because your marriage is still a fraud in the eyes of God. No thanks.’
‘We are not crumbs. We must not accept crumbs.’
Other LGBTI ex-Mormons opposed the idea the church is now LGBTI-friendly.
Tyler Glenn, the gay frontman of Neon Trees and ex-Mormon, posted on Instagram.
This very policy personally sent me and my family on a complete life course shift,’ he said.
‘This “correction” has nothing to do with actual LGBTI people and everything to do with baptism numbers.
‘WE ARE NOT CRUMBS WE MUST NOT ACCEPT CRUMBS.’
On Reddit, another said: ‘They still hate us. They still won’t allow us into the temple if we’re “acting on it”. They still see consensual gay intimacy as a huge sin, even if the couple is married.’
The Reddit user added that trans people are still being excommunicated for transitioning.
‘Stop celebrating,’ they said. ‘It’s fucking disgusting.’
Is the move political or a publicity stunt?
Katherine Mohrman, an academic on LGBTI Mormon issues, told GSN: ‘Today’s announcement follows hard on the heels of Tuesday’s passage of more stringent hate crimes legislation in Utah, which now includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity as protected classes.
‘It also follows in the wake of almost three and a half years of internal strife the Church’s November 2015 policy caused, but which also helped motivate a revitalization in community-based activism and education around LGBT issues, especially LGBT youth suicide in Utah.
‘This announcement is a signal that at least some in the Church’s leadership are realizing it cannot and should not treat LGBT people in the discriminatory ways it has in the past and that homophobic and transphobic policies do in fact produce violent and deadly results.’
LGBTI charities react to rule changes
LGBTI charities have also reacted to the rule changes.
‘In this reversal, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taken an important step forward,’ said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.
‘There’s still work to do but this policy reversal is a very welcome change that moves the church closer to a day where LGBTQ Mormons can see themselves affirmed and included within their faith community.’
A Trevor Project spokesperson said: ‘The Trevor Project welcomes any faith group’s public commitment to treat the LGBTQ community fairly and equally, and this statement by the LDS Church to change course is a move in the right direction that will make a real difference in the lives of LGBTQ Mormons.
‘We hear from LGBTQ young people in crisis every day who struggle to reconcile being part of both the LGBTQ and faith communities, and decisions to end policies of exclusion can help LGBTQ youth feel seen, loved, and less alone.’