Mormon family leaving faith following controversial announcement

BOISE - A new policy in a Mormon handbook created for bishops and LDS lay leadership has been leaked on social media. The new guidelines state that children of married same-sex couples cannot be blessed or baptized.

The news caught fire on social media and has left Mormons, non-Mormons, and LGBT supporters reeling. For one Treasure Valley family, today, the news has changed the entire course of their lives.

Seventeen year old Francisco has been prepping to serve a Mormon mission after he graduates high school.

"I thought that would be a wonderful and beautiful experience just being able to touch people, and become a part of people's lives like that , and just to serve for two years, I thought that would be a great experience,” said Francisco Negron.

But the teen has a gay father. His parents divorced and his dad -- an active Mormon -- is now in a same-sex relationship.

“As far as I was concerned I could still believe what I believed and just be very careful about how I taught the things I taught, and preach more love and acceptance,” said Negron.

But on Thursday night, things changed for the teenager.

“In these past hours, mostly, my entire life after high school has changed,” said Negron.

His mother, Kristine Ellis -- a woman who served a mission herself -- shared with Negron the new policy found in the LDS handbook for lay clergy. It says a child of a parent who lives in a same-gender relationship, before being recommended for mission service, must first disavow the practice of same-gender cohabitation.

“For him, the rule is set up essentially, that if he wants to go on a mission, that he has to receive special permission and that he has denounce his father's relationship. He has to denounce his belief in same-sex marriage. So if he doesn't do that, the decision was just made for him,” said Ellis.

“In order to go on that mission of service and love, to tell my father that I did not approve of him, seemed kind of hypocritical to me,” said Negron.

The policy also says that children of same-gender parents cannot be blessed or baptized. It has left many Mormons and non-Mormons alike confused. For Negron, it has changed the direction of his life.

“So it ruled out, as of now, going on a mission," he said.

Ellis spent Friday writing her resignation letter. She says she no longer wants to be a member of the Mormon Church. Negron says his gay father wants him to serve a mission, and it will be hard to disappoint him, but is looking to see if he could serve in the Peace Corps instead.

The LDS church released a statement on the leaked handbook policy saying in part, "While it respects the law of the land and others to think and act differently, it does not accept same-sex marriage within its membership."

The LDS Church also sent us this response via email.

Changes to LDS Handbook 1 Document 2 Revised 11-3-15 %28003%29



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