Mormon leader's comments on homosexuality provoke protests
October 8th, 2010
06:28 PM ET

Mormon leader's comments on homosexuality provoke protests

Editor's Note: CNN Salt Lake City affiliate KSTU has this report about a protest outside the headquarters of the Mormon Church.

Thousands of gay activists held a silent protest outside the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Thursday.

The protestors expressed outrage to comments made by church leader Elder Boyd K. Packer saying homosexuality is an immoral condition that can and should be overcome. Packer, president of the church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles, made the comments Sunday during a semiannual conference.

"Some suppose that they were pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?" said Packer at the conference.

Activists at the protest said the remarks are hurtful and could lead some gay Mormons to suicide.

"Our message is very simple. It's hate speech equal LGBT suicides," said Eric Ethington, Pride in Utah blogger and organizer of the event. "You can not tell kids for their entire lives there is something wrong with them."

Ethington organized the event using the social networking site Facebook. He said his event staff counted nearly 4,500 participants involved in the protest, who all wore black in symbolism of the loss of gay Mormons to suicide. The protestors all laid down, forming a human chain surrounding the Church's headquarters and Temple Square.

Several activists said the suicides are growing within the LGBT community.

"This last September there were three confirmed suicides among LGBT youth in Utah," said Creig Neilson, leader of gay rights organization, the Trevor Project. "In Utah this last weekend there was another one. When these brothers and sisters take their lives, it's because they think that there's no other answer, I understand. When ending your life becomes the better answer, or the better solution, something is wrong."

The LDS Church released a statement in response to the protest saying, "Of course, the Church recognizes the right of groups to voice their opinion in the public square. However, those familiar with the Church's doctrine on the importance of marriage and family know it is based on principles of respect and love for all of God's children."

Read the full story here from KSTU.

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