Attempts to “confuse” gender and expand marriage beyond a male-female union are coming directly from Satan, according to a top leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Satan “seeks to confuse gender, to distort marriage, and to discourage childbearing, especially by parents who will raise children in truth,” Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, the church’s governing body, said Saturday at its General Conference in Salt Lake City.
“Our knowledge of God’s revealed plan of salvation requires us to oppose many of the current social and legal pressures to retreat from traditional marriage or to make changes that confuse or alter gender or homogenize the differences between men and women,” Oaks said.
He further asserted that “gender is eternal,” as the church teaches that humans exist as male or female in spirit form before being born into mortal bodies. God’s plan, he contended, required opposition not only to gender transition and same-sex relationships, but also to abortion and euthanasia.
“Our positions on these fundamentals frequently provoke opposition to the church,” he said. “We consider that inevitable. Opposition is part of the plan.” And it comes from Satan, he added, but individuals have a choice to make, between God’s plan and his opponent’s.
“Our positions on these fundamentals frequently provoke opposition to the church,” he said. “We consider that inevitable. Opposition is part of the plan.”
The denomination — known informally as the Mormon Church, although its leadership discourages use of that name — has long taken anti-LGBTQ stances, but it has amplified them in recent years. For instance, in 2015 it declared that children whose primary residence is with a same-sex couple cannot be baptized, and this year it added that language to its guidebook for missionaries. Also in 2015, it for the first time classified same-sex marriage as apostasy, the rejection of church teachings.
Oaks’s talk was one of the few to deal with social or political issues during the first day of the two-day conference, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Speakers “otherwise focused on procedural changes to the faith’s weekly worship services and more traditional sermons on faith, repentance, perseverance and charity,” the paper notes. Sunday’s sessions had a similar focus, although one speaker, Jack N. Gerard, warned against treating truth “as if it were a relative concept open to individual interpretation.”
LGBTQ-supportive Twitter users were quick to condemn Oaks’s words. A sample:
For anyone who thinks Dallin H Oaks words weren’t catastrophic pic.twitter.com/GYRFWjtsZf
— carissa (@HEYCARlSSA) October 7, 2018
President Dallin H. Oaks and the rest of the first presidency of the Church continue to be a disappointment and uphold bigoted stances and actively engage in the continual trauma the Church causes many LGBTQ Youth. But What else is new... #GeneralConference
— Madeleine Lemos (@madelemons) October 6, 2018
It is very very hard to want to align myself with an institution where Dallin H. Oaks is 2nd in command.
My heart goes out to my LGBT+ friends listening to his talk at General Conference. For your own well-being, please don’t listen or read it.
— Danielle Casós (@daniellecasos) October 6, 2018
I cannot and will not support, endorse or try to “better understand” the talk just given by Dallin H. Oaks. It’s not okay. I’m not okay, and if you are hurting because of that talk I am so sorry. I see you. I hear you. I, like Christ, will love, support, and walk with you-always.
— Alex Monroe (@alexrmonroe) October 6, 2018
“Children and our posterity are the number one priority in the gospel” -Dallin H Oaks
Ok but what about the hearts of LGBTQ+ children you JUST broke at the beginning of your talk? #ldsconf
— Hannah (@HannahB_rad_ley) October 6, 2018