Yesterday, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “first counselor in the governing First Presidency” Dallin H. Oaks said in his General Conference speech that Mormons still condemned marriage equality and what he called “gender confusion.”
“Our positions on these fundamentals frequently provoke opposition to the Church. We consider that inevitable. Opposition is part of the plan, and Satan’s (the Adversary’s) most strenuous opposition is directed at whatever is most important to God’s plan. He seeks to destroy God’s work,” he said.
“He also seeks to confuse gender, to distort marriage, and to discourage childbearing — especially by parents who will raise children in truth,” Oaks said.
None of that is particularly surprising. It was just a reiteration of Mormon beliefs and reminder of why decent people should leave the Church if they have that option.
What may have been a shock to many was the response offered by State Sen. Jim Dabakis, an openly gay man who grew up in the Mormon faith and who no longer accepts its theology. He’s also the founding chair for the Utah Pride Center and Equality Utah.
In response to a speech given today…..Dear LGBTQ youth of Utah, especially Mormon and trans kids. I know you feel alone and unloved. No matter who says it, even if it is your family or some high titled official — you are NOT ‘satan’s’ plan. You matter. You are loved. You don’t need to change who God made you to make ‘them’ feel like all their cogs fit into their tidy religious machine. This Senator and so many other Utahns are standing with you and not with the bullies — of all ages! People who mouth loving you but that demand that you to conform to their narrow, 1950’s, UnChristian requirements are dangerously ill-informed at best and evil at worst. It will get better for you. I see you. I love you.
In a separate comment, he explained why Oaks’ message was personal for him:
I don’t do doctrine. But I have been on the front lines. At the funerals. Five of them. Imagine that 13-year-old boy laying in the coffin in Alpine. Or the child in WVC, who killed himself outside his middle school, or the girl who took her life in Ogden. This is exactly this kind of loose talk that ripples out. It is careless and it is deadly.
Those are the consequences of Mormon theology that the Church doesn’t accept or care about. They’re not going to change their views on LGBTQ issues just because it drives kids to suicide. All the more reason for outside voices — especially ones in power — to continue criticizing the Mormon Church for spreading harmful beliefs.
Unfortunately, Dabakis will not be running for re-election next month.
(Screenshot via YouTube. This post has been corrected with the proper title for Dallin H. Oaks.)