LDS Church Makes 'Surprise' Change on LGBT Issues

Mormon Church to allow baptisms, blessings for children of LGBT parents, reversing 2015 policy

The controversial anti-LGBT policy, which was rolled out in 2015, said that Mormons who enter same-sex marriages would be considered "apostates" and excommunicated from the church.

The 2015 rules that were approved by global church leaders had prohibited baptisms for children living with gay parents until the children turned 18 and disavowed same-sex relationships.

Children of parents who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender may now be blessed as infants and baptized.

The 2015 rules roiled the church and were widely panned by LGBT activists and some members of the faith. Some LGBTQ members thought it was a sign of progress and hope.

These latest policy reversals are the biggest moves yet by church president Russell Nelson, who took office previous year.

The church also slightly relaxed its stance on same-sex marriage, no longer considering such unions to be a rejection of the church.

According to Mormon beliefs, the ruling governors of the Mormon church, known as "The First Presidency", are vested with powers to dictate all policy changes of this nature. Why?

Senate triggers 'nuclear option' to speed through confirmation of Trump appointees
US President Donald Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, US, March 28, 2019 . If this happens, millions will lose health insurance and people with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage.

"Instead", the statement reads, "the immoral conduct in heterosexual or homosexual relationships will be treated in the same way ..." In addition, our members' efforts to show more understanding, compassion and love should increase respect and understanding among all people of goodwill.

The newly announced policy, which comes ahead of this weekend's bi-annual General Conference, is a reversal of an earlier position which said LGBT parents needed approval from the highest level of the church for baptism of their children.

"She looked around and said, 'My family worked to build this and it should belong to all of them.' She broke down crying and has since left the church", Braidan Weeks tweeted. "I'm very excited about the public experience that this is going to give to Mormons, to see how imperfect humans try to live and run a church on the Earth".

For the followers of the church, the president is a prophet who receives divine revelations. So long as they understand the church's teaching, they may present their child for the blessing.

"One reason is that we need the Lord's direction to meet changing circumstances, and He has guided changes in practice and policy throughout the history of the Church", the statement said.

"We thank the church leadership for their willingness to listen and engage their members and our community on these issues".

The new policies have been sent to priesthood leaders worldwide and will be included in online updates to the Church Handbook for leaders.

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