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Oaks ‘clarifies’ LDS doctrine on LGBTQ-related issues

By Mark Shenefelt - | Apr 3, 2022

Photo supplied, Intellectual Reserve

Elder Dallin H. Oaks speaks on Sunday, April 3, 2022, during The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Annual General Conference at the church Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints is standing firm against external influence to alter church policy as it relates to gender, a member of the faith’s First Presidency said Sunday.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, speaking in the afternoon session of the church’s Annual General Conference, addressed church doctrine and the faith’s “different way of viewing the purpose of mortal life.” He said his talk “seeks to clarify how God’s love explains that doctrine and the church’s inspired policies.”

Fundamental to the church is revelation that celestial exaltation “can only be attained through faithfulness to the covenants of an eternal marriage between a man and a woman,” Oaks said. “That is also why the Lord has required His restored church to oppose social and legal pressures to retreat from His doctrine of marriage between a man and a woman, and to oppose changes that confuse or alter gender or homogenize the differences between men and women.”

Before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, the church opposed state laws that allowed the civil unions. After that decision, church leaders instructed local clergy that same-sex marriages were not to be performed by the clergy, according to church news releases.

The church in recent years also has been roiled by a since-repudiated policy that children of same-sex couples were not eligible for baptism.

Photo supplied, Intellectual Reserve

Elder Jörg Klebingat speaks on Sunday, April 3, 2022, during The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Annual General Conference at the church Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

Oaks said church leaders realize that their positions on fundamental matters frequently provoke opposition, including “Satan’s most strenuous opposition.”

“Consequently, he seeks to oppose progress toward exaltation by confusing gender, distorting marriage and discouraging childbearing,” Oaks said. “However, we know that in the long run the divine purpose and plan of our loving Heavenly Father will not be changed.”

Elder Jorg Klebingat of the church’s Quorum of the Seventy followed Oaks’ address with a denunciation of forces arrayed against the church, and he defended the church’s top leaders.

“Today, it is almost impossible to courageously live our faith without occasionally attracting a few actual and virtual fingers of scorn from the worldly,” he said.

But he urged church members not to succumb to the teachings of the “eat, drink and be merry” crowd.

“Should we be intimidated or afraid? Should we live our religion at periscope depth?” Klebingat said. “Surely not. With faith in Christ we need not fear the reproach of men or be afraid of their revilings.”

He said church members can accept and respect others without endorsing their beliefs or actions, but that does not mean truth should be sacrificed.

“Zion and Babylon are incompatible,” Klebingat said. “Moral relativists advocate that truth is merely a social construct, that there are no moral absolutes. What they are really saying is that there is no sin.”

He said the church’s First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles “frequently become the lightning rods for those unhappy with the word of God as the Prophets proclaim it.” He called them “good and honest men who love God and His children, and who are loved by Him. Their words we should receive as if from the Lord’s own mouth.”

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