During a recent semi-annual general conference, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormon Church, reasserted its position on same-sex marriage and expressed concerns about "changes that confuse or alter gender."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a firm position on same-sex marriage. According to its teachings, same-sex marriage goes against God’s plan for his children. The Church teaches that marriage should remain the union of one man and one woman.
Dallin H. Oaks, the second-highest-ranking leader in the Church, stated that “the highest level of salvation can only be attained through faithfulness to the covenants of an eternal marriage between a man and a woman.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches we are all specifically assigned to a gender at birth for a reason. As such, they do not support the concept of gender fluidity or believe that you can identify as a different gender than your birth sex.
“That divine doctrine,” Oaks said. “is why we teach that gender is an essential characteristic of individual pre-mortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”
Oaks made it clear at the conference that “confusing gender, distorting marriage, and discouraging childbearing” was the work of the devil, while he urged church members to live in peace and respect those who hold different beliefs than themselves.
Oaks has spoken out in defense of the Church’s current stance, but many observers believe that the Church is experiencing a significant shift on these issues. In fact, it faces mounting pressure from its members to become more welcoming to LGBTQ+ individuals.
A recent poll showed that more than half of Mormons now support marriage equality.
This is a significant change from previous years when the Church was vehemently opposed to any form of same-sex relationships. The Mormon Church has long been seen as a bastion of conservative values, but this poll suggests attitudes are changing.
Mormons are more likely to know someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, or queer than they were in the past, but they also seem to be more accepting of equal rights for all.
The survey results are a positive sign. While there is still much work to be done based on the statements of its senior leaders, the changing attitudes of Mormons show that progress is possible. In fact, in recent years, the church has softened its stance on some issues, such as the baptism of children of LGBTQ couples.
But Oaks’ recent comments suggest that the Church is not considering major changes in its doctrine regarding marriage. While these views may satisfy some of the more conservative members, they risk alienating other potential converts and pushing existing LGBTQ+ members away from the Church.
And it’s clear that there is a growing rift within the church membership on these issues, and it remains to be seen how this will affect the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the long run.