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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, November 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Mormon leaders have released the equivalent of a papal encyclical, stating that unrepentant homosexuals are “apostates.” The document also states that the children living under sodomitical households may not be baptized until they can “specifically disavow” such sin.

The official document, called “Handbook #1,” is a list from the “Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.” The handbook is for Mormon bishops and “Stake Presidents” only, but some Mormons have put copies on the internet. 

Under the heading “When a Disciplinary Council May Be Necessary,” the handbook lists “serious transgressions,” including attempted murder, rape, abuse, adultery, fornication, family abandonment, and “homosexual relations (especially sexual cohabitation).”

Under the heading “When a Disciplinary Council is Mandatory,” the handbook lists various forms of “apostasy,” including being “in a same-gender marriage.”

The handbook issues the instructions, “Priesthood leaders must take disciplinary action against apostates to protect church members. The Savior taught the Nephites that they should continue to minister to a transgressor, 'but if he repent, he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people' (3 Nephi 18:31;  see also Mosiah 26:36).”

The handbook speaks to the issue of innocent children being raised by homosexuals. “A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing,” the official Mormon document states.

In Mormonism, children are baptized around age eight, and baptism is taught as essential to salvation.

The only children from homosexual homes who may be “baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service” are those who commit to living according to Mormonism, no longer live with a practicing homosexual, and “specifically disavow the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage,” the document states.

The handbook says its commands are “for immediate implementation.”

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Homosexual activists decried the document, calling it “outrageous,” “repulsive,” and even “anti-family.” Excommunicated former Mormon blogger John Dehlin called the policies “harmful” and stunning. “This is a level of retrenchment that I don't think anybody could have envisioned,” he wrote. “Before today it's never been defined in the Handbook as apostasy.”

Church spokesman Eric Hawkins explained, “While [Mormons] respect the law of the land and acknowledge the right of others to think and act differently, (we) do not perform or accept same-sex marriage within its membership.”

As LifeSiteNews reported in 2014, Mormon leadership issued a statement reading, “Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society.”

The 2014 statement says all people should be treated civilly, no matter what their beliefs. “Just as those who promote same-sex marriage are entitled to civility, the same is true for those who oppose it. The Church insists on its leaders' and members' constitutionally protected right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution.”

In September, Mormons launched a religious freedom campaign, noting, “Religion is not just private worship; it involves public expression on social and moral issues.”

Like Christianity, Mormonism teaches that marriage was created by God exclusively for one man and one woman. The group, which follows the teachings of Joseph Smith, has worked publicly against homosexual “marriage,” including in California in 2008.

Salt Lake City, where Mormonism is based, just elected Jackie Biskupski as the city's first openly gay mayor.