November 13, 2015
Perspectives on LDS Church Leaders’ November 13, 2015 Clarification of New Policy Related to Same-Sex Relationships and their Children
We acknowledge the LDS Church leadership’s efforts to provide clarifications on the new policy. The clarifications will reduce stress on those children of gay or lesbian parents who are already baptized and actively participating in the Church. We had already heard stories of such individuals who were being told they would not be able to receive the Priesthood, serve a mission, etc. It will also immediately reduce the difficulties for children whose obvious primary residence is not with their gay or lesbian parents. These are helpful for those in such current situations.
Unfortunately, this clarification may actually create a new battleground for joint custody parents where the heterosexual Mormon parent will seek informally or legally to ensure they are the primary residence, if that is not already the case. It could also pit LDS Church members against gay or lesbian family members who want to adopt or care for children, as they may view care of children by gay or lesbian couples as putting the children in spiritual jeopardy until the age of majority. Instead of increasing harmony in families, this may actually cause greater family discord.
The policy, even with the clarifications, has caused tremendous pain within the LGBT Mormon community. We are aware of widespread depression directly related to the policy change, not only among LGBT Mormons, but among their family and friends. Leaders of Affirmation have had to work round the clock to reassure and comfort heartbroken individuals within our community worldwide.
The new policy and clarification seem to assume that very few gay or lesbian Mormon couples have a desire to raise their children in the Church. Yes, many have left activity because they felt excluded, were disciplined, or were treated insensitively by members and church leaders. Yet, there remain a significant number of gay and lesbian Mormons who are same-sex partnered, married or planning to marry, who also have or hope to have children, and had planned on raising them in the Church.
Not allowing the children of same-sex couples who love the Church to receive the ordinances and membership opportunities will push more gay and lesbian Latter-day Saint families away from the Church, even those who have strong testimonies, and love the Gospel. These individuals and families will be wounded and ostracized because of the label of “apostates.” We will assume this is not Church Leaders’ fundamental intent, as signaled by the statement in the clarification that the Church invites all to participate. We are a very diverse Church with all kinds of family arrangements that include children being raised by single mothers, fathers, siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents, unmarried heterosexual couples, and even celibate same-sex marriages. We reiterate our affirmation that all families are worthwhile and supported by God, when individuals are committed to love, honesty and kindness in the home.
We believe the Savior Jesus Christ ministers to us individually. Although our personal experience and personal revelation may sometimes seem at odds with current Church policies, we have seen the fruits of the Spirit in our lives, including love, joy, faith and family. We hope that local LDS leaders will remember to always have “sensitivity to individual circumstances as learned through the Spirit, Christ’s teachings and example as found in the scriptures, from talks and teachings of General Authorities, and from the leaders’ own experience and exposure to real-life situations,” as stated by Michael Otterson in the LDS Church’s accompanying press release.
Board of Directors
Affirmation – LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends
Read our initial press release regarding the November 5, 2016 policy change here: