The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced a new law change that will permit baptisms and blessings for children of LGBT couples.
LDS Church President Dallin Oaks announced the seismic shift in church policy, which amends a 2015 church policy that was designed to maintain family unity, at the 189th Annual General Conference.
“The very positive policies announced this morning should help affected families,” Oaks said, according to Deseret News. “In addition, our members’ efforts to show more understanding, compassion
Were there any further changes?
In addition to this significant amendment, the Mormon church has also vowed to update its handbook of instructions so that the label of “apostasy” is removed from those who engage in homosexual union.
No change in doctrine
Despite the enormity of the changes, the church insisted that there would be no diversion made from their fundamental doctrines and statement of faith.
“These changes do not represent a shift in church doctrine related to marriage or the commandments of God in regard to chastity and morality,” read an official press release from the church. “The doctrine of the Plan of Salvation and the importance of chastity will not change.”
What were the rules in the past?
In November 2015, the late President Thomas S. Monson issued clear-cut policies and handbook instructions that specified children who live with same-sex couples were not allowed to be baptized or receive blessings.
In addition, as a result of homosexual marriage equating to “apostasy,” gay couples could be subject to a church disciplinary council, which can subsequently lead to excommunication from the Mormon 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? Because the eminent figure of the Presidency, the president himself, is thought to receive personal revelation from God on these matters.
The current sitting president, Russell M. Nelson, who is seen as a prophet, has made numerous policy changes in recent years, chalking them up to a divinely-received revelation from God.
“We pray these teachings will be received in the same spirit we received them from the Lord and have shared them with our leaders — as positive and inspiring instruction that will bless many lives,” The First Presidency said of the most recent policy diversions.
“With gratitude we acknowledge God’s continuing guidance and love for all his children and invite our members to renew their commitment to follow the teachings of the Savior, Jesus Christ to love God and to love one another,” the group added.