The Human Rights Campaign sent a petition to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a response to President Packer’s recent General Conference talk. You can read the text of the Church’s response or watch a video of Michael Otterson, Church spokesman (also included below). The statement reiterates that the Church condemns cruelty or bullying of others.
While we disagree with the Human Rights Campaign on many fundamentals, we also share some common ground. This past week we have all witnessed tragic deaths across the country as a result of bullying or intimidation of gay young men. We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society.
The statement also reinforces truths taught in President Packer’s talk about the doctrine of marriage in which we believe, the law of chastity, and the power of agency in our lives. You’ll find comments about our stand on gay marriage and yet how we also have supported other rights for gays and lesbians.
Through this statement, Church leaders reach out to those who may be struggling with same-sex attraction and who want to live according to Mormon doctrine. They know this is a challenge, but they reiterate that the blessings of the gospel, including eternal blessings, are available to all who live the commandments.
Several times the message is reiterated that bullying and unkindness are inconsistent with Mormon doctrine. We center our beliefs on Jesus Christ, whose “interest was always to lift the individual, never to tear down.” Church members are specifically urged to “carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ’s second great commandment – to love one another.”
God’s universal fatherhood and love charges each of us with an innate and reverent acknowledgement of our shared human dignity. We are to love one another. We are to treat each other with respect as brothers and sisters and fellow children of God, no matter how much we may differ from one another….We hope and firmly believe that … kindness, persuasion and goodwill can prevail.
The statement recognizes that people will disagree with our position on these topics, but express the hope that “any disagreement will be based on a full understanding of our position and not on distortion or selective interpretation.” And we are told that “The Church will continue to speak out to ensure its position is accurately understood.”
We encourage you to read or listen to the entire statement.