The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could lose hundreds of its faithful because of a new plan not to baptize the children of same-sex parents. According to CNN, many plan to officially resign from the church tomorrow, 15 November.
‘The fact that it affects children really upset people,’ Utah attorney Mark Naugle said to CNN. ‘Most people are disaffected from the church already and this was the final straw.’
Naugle. who is helping people with the process, says he has 900 resignations that will be delivered to church headquarters, located in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Earlier this month church leaders released its book of guidelines, known as Handbook1. Not only are children of LGBTI married couples barred from baptism, Mormons in a gay marriage are listed as apostates – people who has given up their religion – for whom a disciplinary council is mandatory.
The church is opposed to marriage equality.
The children of same-sex couples have an opportunity to be baptized when they reach the age of 18. However, they must disavow gay marriage and stop living with their parents. They will also require approval of the First Presidency, the church’s top governing body.
According to CNN, the church released a statement yesterday, pointing out the change does not apply to those already baptized by the church.
‘We don’t want to see anyone leave the church,’ the LDS said in a 13 November statement, according to CNN affiliate KUTV. ‘We hope that today’s guidance from church leaders and the additional commentary will help provide understanding and context to some who may be considering resigning their membership.’
Naugle told the station this clarification did not lessen the amount of people coming to him for help to fill out paperwork.
UPDATE: Affirmation, an organization that supports LGBT Mormons, released a statement concerning the Handbook1 changes. The group criticized the church, arguing, in part, that ‘forcing children to disavow the love of their parents as the price for acceptance by the Church runs contrary to everything the Church has taught us about the nature and the purpose of family.’