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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is stepping up its efforts to exclude LGBTQ people from its ranks.

The Mormon Church included anti-gay provisions in the June 2018 edition of Preach My Gospel, its guide distributed to all 70,000 of its missionaries worldwide.

The policy, which prohibits children of same-sex couples from getting baptized without special permission, was first suggested as a guideline following the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage. That guideline was called the “November Policy” since it was issued in November of 2015, and it was controversial at the time, but the recent policy revision cements it in place.

Specifically, under the rules for baptizing a minor, the policy includes the now-fact that kids can’t live in a home with same-sex parents.

The policy also requires members to abstain from sex “outside the bonds of a legal marriage between one man and one woman.”

Addison Jenkins, a student at Brigham Young University and an openly gay Mormon, said the 2015 policy was a watershed moment for the church’s gay members. Up until then, gay Mormons seemed to have a little more flexibility in matters of faith and sexuality.

Jenkins said that changed with the new guidelines, which sent a clear message: no more gray area. Or, as he puts it, “If you want to be gay and Mormon, okay, but you have to be Mormon. And you can’t really be gay.”

The scariest part about this is that, at a time when you’d think organizations like this would be embracing gay people (at least in public statements) and walking back offensive statements from years ago, the Mormon Church is doubling down on its anti-gay beliefs. It’s not just Mormons in same-sex relationships who are affected. It’s their children, too. And for people like Jenkins, the message is clear: The Mormon Church wants nothing to do with you.

This isn’t entirely breaking news. After all, these are the same people who didn’t allow black Mormons to join leadership until 1978 — but as policies like this one become commonplace, they will continue to alienate people, young and old, around the world. At some point, you would think they’d recognize that and adjust accordingly. They ignore the critics at their own peril.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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