The Mormon church has doubled down on its stance that marriage is “between a man and a woman”, despite adjusting one of its anti-LGBT+ policies.
President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M Nelson, addressed students at Mormon institution Brigham Young University (BYU) on Tuesday, September 17, to tell them about “five truths”.
n 2015, the church announced that children of LGBT+ parents would be banned from baptisms and from joining the church, unless they “disavowed” their parents’ relationships. Less that two weeks later, more than a thousand members had quit the church.
This year, the church revoked this policy and said that bishops would have the power to decide whether or not to baptise someone raised in an LGBT+ family.
But, in his speech at the notoriously anti-gay university, Nelson reiterated that the Mormon church defines marriage as opposite-sex only.
He said: “In recent years, many countries, including the United States, have legalised same-sex marriage. As members of the church, we respect the laws of the land and abide by them, including civil marriage.
“The truth is, however, that in the beginning – in the beginning – marriage was ordained by God! And to this day it is defined by Him as being between a man and a woman.”
Nelson said that the 2015 policy was intended “to facilitate harmony in the home and avoid pitting children and parents against each other”.
He added: “Though it may not have looked this way to some, the 2015 and 2019 policy adjustments on this matter were both motivated by love.”
BYU is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and “homosexual behaviour” is against the rules.
Its honour code states: “One’s stated same-gender attraction is not an Honour Code issue. However, the Honour Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity.
“Homosexual behaviour is inappropriate and violates the Honour Code.
“Homosexual behaviour includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”