by Willa Frej
Members of the Mormon church are planning a “mass resignation” demonstration on Nov. 14, in response to a harsh new church policy against gay couples.
The decision, announced earlier this month, bans children of same-sex couples from being baptized until they turn 18. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormon church, also added same-sex marriage into its definition of apostasy, which they define as an “act in clear, open, and deliberate opposition to the church and its leaders.”
If someone is actively taking the step to resign, “it must be a sign of outrage or anger,” John Dehlin, a leading progressive Mormon voice, told HuffPost. People are likely “deeply disappointed and probably hurt by how egregious and insensitive these latest changes are. They’re punishing little children who have done nothing,” Dehlin added.
“There was a lot of pain and shock,” Kathy Carlston, vice president of the Mormon LGBT advocacy group Affirmation also told HuffPost.
It’s “pitting child against parent,” Lauren Elise McNamara, one of the event’s organizers, wrote on Facebook. She also wrote that she “just can’t have [her] name on this organization any longer.”
Mormons must fill out resignation letters and authorization forms in order to leave the church permanently. Demonstrators plan to drop all the paperwork in a mailbox near the church office, according to the Facebook page.
Utah attorney Mark Naugle is offering pro bono legal representation to those wishing to resign. He said that he’s already been contacted by upwards of 2,000 people.
Mormon LGBT advocates support the decision to leave the church. “If [people] feel it’s the most life-giving decision to leave the church or to stay in the church or to stay somewhere in between, then we want to offer our solidarity,” Carlston said.
Church leadership responded to backlash by saying that they “regard same-sex marriage as a particularly grievous or significant, serious kind of sin that requires Church discipline,” according to a video interview with Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
The church did not immediately respond to a request for comment.