Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Mormon Mass Resignation over LGBT Rules: A Big Deal for the Church?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Mormon Mass Resignation over LGBT Rules: A Big Deal for the Church?

Article excerpt

A protest featuring a "mass resignation" of Mormons from their church Saturday over a recently announced policy on LGBT families is not a new form of opposition for the 185-year-old church.

Several hundred people are expected at the rally, reports the Associated Press.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded to the protest with a 10-minute video interview Friday by a top-tier church leader and an official letter signed by the church's three highest authorities, reported Reuters. The response seems designed to temper members' concerns by contextualizing Saturday's protest within Mormon history:

During the church's early years, resignations occurred even within the inner circle of leaders under founder Joseph Smith, though many were later welcomed back to the church. Of that time, according to the church's website, Joseph Smith wrote in 1837:

It seemed as though all the powers of earth and hell were combining their influence in an especial manner to overthrow the Church at once. ... The enemy abroad, and apostates in our midst, united in their schemes, ... and many became disaffected toward me as though I were the sole cause of those very evils I was most strenuously striving against.When Mormon leaders publicly opposed the controversial Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, dissident members openly protested against the church. A group of pro-ERA Mormon women - including later-excommunicated leader Sonia Johnson - chained themselves to the gates of a Mormon temple in Washington, and other activists caused a stir in Ogden, Utah, where they publicly burned Mormon temple garments in protest, Charles McCollum wrote for the Cache Valley Herald Journal.

The latest controversy began after the church's Nov. 5 announcement of the policy regarding children of LGBT parents. The rules ban baptisms for children living with gay parents until they turn 18, disavow same-sex relationships and get approval from global church leaders. They also make gay marriages a sin worthy of expulsion. …

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