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Quitting the Mormon Church: LGBT Leader Cites 'Cruel' Treatment of Children

Quitting the Mormon Church: LGBT Leader Cites 'Cruel' Treatment of Children

FACEBOOK/TRISH TUNNEY

Kate Kendell announced in a national newspaper opinion piece why she's formally left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"It is impossible for me to be a part of a religion that would attack its own members and punish them by denying their children involvement in the church."

With those words and many more, the executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights,Kate Kendell, announced in a Washington Post op-ed that she was leaving the church of her childhood, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

"Even at the height of church involvement in the passage of Proposition 8 in California, I never seriously considered removing my name. It just didn't matter that much to me. Spiritually and emotionally, I left the church I grew up in decades ago. And despite being a "known gay activist" to the church, I was never excommunicated, so my name remained on the church rolls as a member. Not anymore."

The impetus for the change was last week's revelation that the Mormons rewrote the policies in the guide for its lay leaders, "Handbook 1."

"Under the changes, same-sex couples who marry are apostates and are unwelcome in church congregations. Going further, the new policy states that the children of same-sex couples cannot be baptized in the church until they are 18 and then only if they disavow their parents. It was the gratuitously cruel and stigmatizing treatment of children that pushed me to disavow the church of my childhood."

Read how the policy impacted a writer, his husband and their baby daughter, here.

Kendell wrote that this onus on LGBT members who only wanted "to live lives of integrity as openly LGBT people" was too much to bear, because they "must not only leave the church, but take their children with them. It requires a particular streak of evil genius to manufacture such a 'Sophie's choice.'

In an email to The Advocate, Kendell said she hadn't received any response from the church to her request to be removed from its rolls, "But tremendous support from friends and family. And it's a bit odd since I 'left' the church at 20. But not formally..."

Calling the new policy "repugnant and deeply stigmatizing," Kendell wrote of the heartbreak she imagined would be in store for a lesbian couple she met this summer, who had received their bishop's blessing.

"I can't help but think how crushing this news is to everyone who had begun to believe that they could both love their church and love themselves or their LGBT family. I can't help but think about that lesbian couple in Seattle and their bishop, who tried to do the right thing and now must turn this couple away. The consequence of these policy changes is emotional carnage to individuals and families who simply wish to live as their authentic selves and remain part of a religion they love, but which does not deserve them."

Read the full op-ed by Kate Kendell here.

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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