Last week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced new guidelines classifying people in same-sex marriages as apostates and barring their children from baptizing and naming ceremonies. This week, Mormons are pushing back.
On Saturday, Mormons will stage a mass resignation from the church in Salt Lake City—over 3,400 have expressed interest on the Facebook event. Meanwhile, others have expressed their disapproval on religious blogs.
A Utah-based attorney named Mark Naugle has even offered his services to Mormons trying to quit.
“There will be fourteen hundred people who won’t be on the record, coming in the next 5 to 15 days, just from my end,” he said in a phone interview with a local television station. “I’m also attending a mass resignation event on Saturday. They’re starting at City Creek Park, and I’ll be going there with blank forms for everyone to fill out.”
The Washington Post reports:
News of the policy came after several years in which the church has made deliberate, public efforts to show compromise with LGBT advocates, and seek to tamp down internal culture wars.
The church worked with gay advocates in Salt Lake City to come up with an anti discrimination law compromise that included a new affirmation of religious freedom rights. A few weeks ago, a top Mormon leader gave a talk to lawyers about the tensions between gay rights and conservative religious Americans and said both sides really need to give. Many saw the Mormon church as working to be a leader on the conservative side in encouraging Americans to accept differences as equals.
The changes, which were made to a confidential handbook distributed to congregation leaders, were not supposed to be released to the public. John Dehlin, the excommunicated Mormon who initially leaked the change to the press, also reported that the policy could change in the next few days.
“I’ve heard from many, many people in wards and bishoprics who are expressing serious concerns and reservations,” said Benjamin R. Hertzberg, a visiting professor at Emory University and practicing Mormon, in an interview with the New York Times. “It seems to me deeply unfair to put a barrier in the way of the children’s involvement when the children are not responsible for their parents’ choices.”
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