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Treat children with 'utmost respect, love,' writes the First Presidency in letter regarding same-sex marriage policy

The following letter, dated Nov. 13, 2015, and signed by The First Presidency, has been sent to local Church leaders:

The Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles provides the following guidance in applying provisions on same-gender marriage recently added to Handbook 1:

Revealed doctrine is clear that families are eternal in nature and purpose. We are obligated to act with that perspective for the welfare of both adults and children. The newly added Handbook provisions affirm that adults who choose to enter into a same-gender marriage or similar relationship commit sin that warrants a Church disciplinary council.

Our concern with respect to children is their current and future well-being and the harmony of their home environment. The provisions of Handbook 1, Section 16.13, that restrict priesthood ordinances for minors, apply only to those children whose primary residence is with a couple living in a same-gender marriage or similar relationship. As always, local leaders may request further guidance in particular instances when they have questions.

When a child living with such a same-gender couple has already been baptized and is actively participating in the Church, provisions of Section 16.13 do not require that his or her membership activities or priesthood privileges be curtailed or that further ordinances be withheld. Decisions about any future ordinances for such children should be made by local leaders with their prime consideration being the preparation and best interests of the child.

All children are to be treated with utmost respect and love. They are welcome to attend Church meetings and participate in Church activities. All children may receive priesthood blessings of healing and spiritual guidance.

May the Lord continue to bless you in your ministry. Sincerely yours,

Thomas S. Monson

Henry B. Eyring

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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