The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has doubled down on transgender Mormons with a new handbook that spells out the consequences for those who transition.
Released on Wednesday, General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints includes an entire section on “Transgender Individuals”.
While it advises church members to treat transgender people with “sensitivity, kindness, compassion, and an abundance of Christlike love”, it also warns transgender people against any form of social transition.
“Gender is an essential characteristic of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness,” the chapter begins. “The intended meaning of gender in the family proclamation is biological sex at birth.”
It continues: “Church leaders counsel against elective medical or surgical intervention for the purpose of attempting to transition to the opposite gender of a person’s birth sex (‘sex reassignment’).
“Leaders advise that taking these actions will be cause for Church membership restrictions.”
Any Mormon who attempts to transition their gender through “changes in dress, grooming, names, or pronouns intended to reflect a gender identity different from the one assigned at birth” will be subject to a plethora of restrictions “for the duration of this transition.”
These include receiving or exercising the priesthood, receiving or using a temple recommend, and receiving some Church callings.
Building on a statement by a top church leader last year that gender assigned at birth is eternal, the guidance reiterates that the Mormon priesthood, which is reserved for men, will not admit trans men.
Transgender people are assured that they are free to receive Church callings, temple recommends, and temple ordinances, as long as they agree not to pursue any medical, surgical, or social transition to the ‘opposite gender’.
Unsurprisingly, the Church also refuses to budge on its position on same-sex marriage (don’t do it). It states that “God’s law defines marriage as the legal and lawful union between a man and a woman”, and the only people who should be having sexual relations are a married heterosexual couple.
“Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same sex, are sinful and undermine the divinely created institution of the family,” the Church claims.
On the plus side, they will no longer consider same-sex marriages “apostasy” (rejection of church teaching) or deny baptism to children whose primary residence is with a same-sex couple.