Hundreds gathered at a park in Salt Lake City over the weekend to publicly resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The mass resignation came in response to LDS Church policy changes clarifying that those who are in a same-sex marriage should be considered apostates, and banning baptisms for children living with gay parents until they’re 18.
Heather Knight says the news came as a slap in the face.
“I suffer from mental illness and I got really suicidal that day. It was really hard, because it does impact my family and it impacts me,” Knight says. “To be called an apostate is horrible. It’s a hard label to have.”
Heather’s wife, Tia Knight says they were planning to baptize their one-year-old son in the LDS church when the time came.
“It’s hard because my family and friends love the church so much, and I did for so many years, until I knew that they would no longer accept me or my wife or my children,” Tia Knight says.
Church members waited in long lines snaking around City Creek Park for help from volunteer lawyers and notaries of the public to finalize their paperwork. An informal poll of people on the event's Facebook page revealed that few of those resigning were actively attending church. That was the case for sisters Chrissy Hernandez and Misty Knight – no relation to Heather and Tia Knight.
“This was just the final straw,” Misty Knight says, as her sister nods. “This was just the final, OK I’m not going any more, but now I need to officially not be a member of this church because I do not believe in what they’re doing. I don’t believe they’re promoting love in a lot of ways.”
In response to concerns from members, LDS Church spokesperson Michael Otterson said in a news release Friday that the rules are intended to prevent young children from being caught in a spiritual tug-of-war between teachings at home and church.