SALT LAKE CITY — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, reiterated the Church’s stance on several controversial social issues during the Saturday morning session of the Church’s 188th Semiannual General Conference. Elder Oaks spoke about “restored gospel truths that are fundamental to the doctrine of the Church” and their applications to issues including abortion, euthanasia and gender and sexuality.
Elder Oaks said the principles he spoke on were critical to the Church’s position as a “family-centered church” and to its goal “to help the children of God achieve … exaltation in the celestial kingdom, which can only be attained through an eternal marriage between a man and a woman.”
“We affirm the Lord’s teachings that gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal and eternal identity and purpose,” Elder Oaks said. “Maleness and femaleness, marriage between a man and woman, and the bearing and nurturing of children are all essential to his great plan of happiness.”
When speaking about the bearing of children, Elder Oaks formally noted the Church’s opposition to abortion.
“Mortal life is sacred to us. Our commitment to god’s plan requires us to oppose abortion and euthanasia,” he said.
Elder Oaks also acknowledged the criticism the Church has received for its positions on same-sex marriage, transgender rights and other issues of gender and sexuality, saying he considered such opposition “inevitable.”
“Some are troubled by our church’s position on marriage and children,” Elder Oaks said. “Our knowledge of God’s revealed plan of salvation requires us to oppose current social pressures to retreat from traditional marriage and to make changes that confuse or alter gender or homogenize the differences between men and women. We know that the relationships, identities and functions of men and women are essential to establishing God’s great plan.”
Elder Oaks’ comments have drawn a variety of reactions from Church members, LGBTQ people and Utahns at large. Responses have ranged from supporting Elder Oaks’ message of conviction to implicating him in Utah’s rapidly rising youth suicide rate.
I stand with @OaksDallinH, truth is truth. No amount of feelings one way or the other can change that.
“Don’t be among those who would rather change the church than change ourselves.” #ldsconf #elderoaks
— Emily Duke (@missemilymduke) October 6, 2018
To those struggling after Elder Oaks talk, we love you. I love you. God loves you. If you feel unwelcomed, unwanted, unloved,etc, there is a place for you here and in eternity. You have a place in our home church! We welcome all and mean it. #ldsconf #generalconference pic.twitter.com/oFxvnEcKi1
— 🎃👻 Scary Mary ♿♀️🏳️🌈 (@poeticdiction) October 6, 2018
All sessions of the 188th Semi-annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are available to download as free podcast episodes. You can find those on the KSL Newsradio website, Apple Podcasts, Google Play or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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