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Swift and emotional reaction on new church policy

SALT LAKE CITY — Reaction poured in Thursday after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a policy change affecting baptism and blessings for the children of LGBT parents.

Children of parents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may now be blessed as infants and later baptized. The previous church policy required approval from the First Presidency of the Church for the children to receive these church ordinances.

Troy Williams of Equality Utah joined the Dave and Dujanovic show to share his reaction to the policy change that was announced just minutes before.

“I’m speaking to you as a gay Latter-day Saint, and I am overwhelmed emotionally. I am grateful for the Church for this positive step forward,” Williams says.

The restriction on LGBT families was initiated in November 2015.

Williams acknowledged that the change was painful for supporters of the LGBT community.

“This culture war that has divided people of faith and the LGBT community has harmed families with LGBT members. It has been so divisive and so destructive. Parents and children have been at odds with each other, and I think this will heal much of that pain,” he says.

Pres. Dallin H. Oaks says in a statement that the church seeks to “reduce the hate and contention so common today.”

Williams offers his hope that the announcement will work towards reducing hate and contention.

“This is a significant development, I think it speaks to the core of what I’ve always known, that Latter-day Saint people are kind, and compassionate and loving.  This affirms what I’ve always known,” he says.

Tom Christofferson, the author of “That We May Be One: A Gay Mormon’s Perspective on Faith & Family,” spoke with Deseret News Opinion Editor Boyd Matheson on his program, Inside Sources, just as he was about to board a plane.

“I am really excited and pleased. It’s been a challenging two years with that policy and frankly has caused a lot of turmoil and pain for people, and I’m so glad that, you know, today, the parts that have been so painful are being changed.”

On Dave & Dujanovic, Matheson explained that the announcement was a policy change rather than a change in doctrine.

“This is really a demonstration that compassion and doctrine are compatible,” he said Thursday. “This is an uplifting thing. There are so many people who’ve been affected by this.”

The announcement Thursday was the first time the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had ever released information from a leadership session ahead of a general conference.