The Church of Latter Day Saints in Utah
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has quietly doubled down on their controversial anti-gay policies.
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Known as the ‘November Policy,’ these guidelines were released in November of 2015 — shortly after the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. The Policy labeled same-sex couples as ‘apostates’ and disqualified their children from Baptism without special permission.
Though these policies were released three years ago, back in June of 2018 the Church included the November Policy in their latest Preach My Gospel guide. This guide is given to all Mormon missionaries — about 70,000 across the globe.
Addison Jenkins, an openly gay Mormon student at Brigham Young University, said the November Policy was a ‘watershed moment’ for the LGBTI members of the Church. Jenkins noticed, before the November Policy was introduced, the LDS stance on homosexuality tended to be more flexible.
According to Jenkins, the November Policy completely removed any grey area.
‘If you want to be gay and Mormon, okay, but you have to be Mormon. And you can’t really be gay,’ Jenkins told NPR Utah.
Jenkins once served as an LDS missionary in Madagascar. According to him, Preach My Gospel is ‘everything a missionary needs to know to teach someone and baptize them into the LDS Church.’
Jenkins believes the Church is now permanently cementing their anti-gay policy into place. While he sees the Church taking a more positive stance on LGBTI individuals in some of its messaging, in terms of actual policy, he said it feels like there ‘isn’t really a place’ for him.
With the Church’s confusing stance on LGBTI rights, some members have left. One such person is Jamey Jesperson, a non-binary individual who was raised Mormon. Another is a woman named Sarah. At age 13, Sarah protested LGBTI rights for the LDS and now lives freely as a gay woman.