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April 6, 2014

Mormon leader outlines opposition to gay marriage

SALT LAKE CITY — A top Mormon leader reiterated the church’s opposition to gay marriage Saturday during the church’s biannual general conference.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ stance on homosexuality has softened in recent years, but this marks the second consecutive conference in which leaders took time to emphasize the faith’s insistence that marriage should be limited to unions between a man and a woman, as God created.

“While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not,” said Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve. “He designated the purpose of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults, to more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared and nurtured.”

In the October 2013 church conference, Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum said human laws cannot “make moral what God has declared immoral.”

The church sent a letter to local leaders that includes that message, Andersen said Saturday. “As the world slips away from the Lord’s law of chastity, we do not,” he said.

During the first day of the weekend conference, LDS leaders on Saturday also encouraged missionaries to stay strong amid the inevitable personal abuse they will encounter and parents to shelter their children from the damaging effects of pornography.

A demonstration outside an all-male meeting by a Mormon women’s group advocating for gender equality was uneventful, despite a contentious lead up to the event.

The conference brings more than 100,000 Latter-day Saints to Salt Lake City to find out church news and soak up words of guidance and inspiration from the faith’s top leaders. Thousands more will listen or watch from around the world in 95 languages on television, radio, satellite and Internet broadcasts. More than half of all 15 million Latter-day Saints live outside of the U.S., church figures show.

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