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Mass Exodus From Mormon Church Follows Anti-Gay Rules

Large groups of Mormons are quitting the Mormon church this weekend after church leaders instituted a new policy threatening to excommunicate the children of homosexuals if they did not renounce homosexuality.

The new rules, which also bar homosexuals from joining the church, have faced massive amounts of criticism since they were announced last week.

After calls for mass resignations from the church, over 1,500 people have announced their resignation in protest of the new anti-gay policies.

A lawyer, Mark Naugle, collected the resignation letters of the individuals moving on from the church, and said that he was surprised by the turnout. “I was slammed for three hours”, he said. “Some people stood in line for an hour and a half”. Naugle, who will be delivering the letters to the Church of Latter-Day Saints in person in Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend, described the response as “incredible”.

BBC reports that the response to the new policies has been criticized by both liberal and conservatives in the faith. Patrick Mason, a Mormon scholar was quoted as saying he found it surprising how many people were disturbed by the new rules.

The surprising impact has been the amount of people who are confused and troubled and disturbed and, frankly, repulsed.

Church officials announced on Friday that the new rules would not apply to children who are already apart of the church, and they explained that they don’t want people to leave the church because of the new rules. “We hope that today’s guidance from church leaders and the additional commentary will help provide understanding and context to some who may be considering resigning their membership”, they said, according to CNN.

The clarification that existing members would not be impacted by the new rules did not result in a reduction of resignation letters, according to Naugle.

Along with Naugle, more than 1,000 church members will have attended the mass resignation rally at the church’s headquarters over the weekend.

Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for the church, said that the church stands by its decision to oppose same-sex marriage with the new guidelines. In his statement, Hawkins said that the new rules respect the law of the land, while acknowledging “the right of others to think and act differently.”

The church “does not perform or accept same-sex marriage within its membership”, he said.

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