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Race, Religion & Social Justice

At General Conference, LDS Leaders Warn Against Nationalism, Reiterate Gay Marriage Opposition

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
The LDS Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City where the twice-a-year gathering is held.

Last weekend’s general conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint came during a time of political and social unrest and some of the speakers acknowledged that.

Following general conference Mormon’s often ask each other, “What did you think the theme was?”


Now, there isn’t actually a theme. No topics are assigned. But occasionally a unifying thread can be heard, and warnings against racism and nationalism popped up more than a few times.


“We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism," said Russell M. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Those comments were echoed by another apostle, Quentin L. Cook.


“Anyone who claims superiority under the Father’s plan because of characteristics like race, sex, nationality, language, or economic circumstances, is morally wrong," said Cook.


Their comments come after the church doubled down on a statement condemning white supremacy following the violence in Charlottesville this summer. It said members who promote “white culture” are not aligned with church teachings.


Another issue Mormons are often primed to listen for is the acceptance or exclusion of LGBT values. Dallin H. Oaks, another apostle and one of the top 5 most senior leaders, reiterated the church's stance on gay marriage. 


He quoted from The Family Proclamation, a official document released by church leaders in 1995, "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."


Oaks pointed to gay marriage and cohabitation without marriage as "current challenges to the family."


Although this stance is not new one, it solidifies the LDS Church's stance during a time where evidence of more acceptance for the LGBT community can been seen.


In recent weeks the church voiced support for an LGBT benefit concert in Utah County. And Deseret Book, a publishing company owned by the church, released a book authored by Tom Christofferson, an openly gay Mormon and brother to D. Todd Christofferson, another top Mormon leader. 


Hear an interview with Tom Christofferson on KUER's RadioWest.






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