On Thursday, November 5th, we learned of several new additions to the Church Handbook of Instructions, Volume 1, which guides members of stake presidencies and bishoprics in their duties and responsibilities. The substance of these policy changes is (1) that Latter-day Saint adults who are in a same-sex marriage, or cohabitating with a member of the same sex, are now considered in “apostasy,” with leaders specifically directed to call disciplinary councils for those who fit these criteria; and (2) that children under the age of 18 from these relationships, and who live at least part-time in the home of a parent in a same-sex relationship, may not be given a name and a blessing in an official church setting (one that would generate a membership record for them), nor can they be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, be ordained to priesthood, or serve a mission. At age 18, baptism and mission service come back onto the table as a possibility for them, should they desire, but in order to qualify for consideration, they must satisfy a stake or mission president that they repudiate same-sex relationships and affirm the Church’s teachings and policies concerning them. At that point, their case is referred to the First Presidency who must then give approval before their baptism or mission processes can go forward.
In this episode, the first of at least two that Mormon Matters will host, we are blessed to be able to hear from Carol Lynn Pearson and Mitch Mayne, two Latter-day Saints in good standing who are also prominent voices in conversations about LGBT Mormons. In conversation with Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon, Carol Lynn and Mitch share they are personally processing the new policy changes, report on their experiences with others and how they are reacting to the news as well as how certain church leaders are reacting (in both loving and more cold and administrative ways), and even predict results that are already and will likely continue to follow from these new guidelines. Mostly they and Dan share thoughts on ways forward for them. What from their own lives or looks at history are beacons of hope for them? Where are they finding strength to continue journeying and serving in Mormon communities even during these most difficult times?
Part 2 of this series will follow within a few days of this episode release.
We hope you will listen and then share in the comments section your own reactions, thoughts, and any sources of comfort and hope that you have found.