Changes in church policies

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints changes their baptism policy.

Téa Schmid and Evie Smith

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on April 4, 2019 that “children of parents who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender may be baptized without First Presidency approval if the custodial parents give permission for the baptism and understand both the doctrine that a baptized child will be taught and the covenants he or she will be expected to make.”

Previously, the policy stated that children of parents in the LGBT community were allowed to be baptized once they turned eighteen. Elder Todd D. Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said in an interview with Michael Otterson, Managing Director of Church Public Affairs, regarding the old policy, “We don’t want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the Church are very different.”

The new policy is also careful to prevent the issues Elder Christofferson addressed earlier. Each parent is asked to know the church’s commitments and beliefs, which their children will be taught once they become a member. All parents must also give permission before the church performs the ordinance of baptism. This process is not much different than the baptism of a child whose parent is not in the LGBT community.

President Oaks, a member of the First Presidency, hopes the new policy will help families that have been affected by the old policy. “Our members’ efforts to show more understanding, compassion, and love should increase respect and understanding among all people of good will.”

A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Rachel Shaw (‘20) said, “That is what our church is all about. Our church is based on the teachings of Christ and his law is called the Law of Love. No matter who we interact with we have to interact with them with love.”

The church shares their goals they hope to be accomplished by the new policy, “We want to reduce the hate and contention so common today. We are optimistic that a majority of people—whatever their beliefs and orientations—long for better understanding and less contentious communications. That is surely our desire, and we seek the help of our members and others to attain it.”