Editor's Note: Since this post published Tuesday morning, the LDS Church has issued a statement in response to the day's events. Please see some of the comments, and a link to the full statement, at the bottom of this piece.
Twice a year, members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints convene for a general conference during which the LDS Church leadership addresses the Mormon faithful.
Broadcast via satellite to millions of Mormons across the globe, and speaking in front of the more than 20,000 LDS Church members who flock to the enormous conference center in Salt Lake City, Utah, the leaders offer insights on doctrine and guidance to church adherents.
One speech at the 180th semiannual conference, held the first weekend of October, ignited a controversy that spawned protests, set off a petition-signing push and led to allegations of cleaned-up records. It sparked battles in the blogosphere and online onslaughts of accusations, frenzied Facebook campaigns and even unconfirmed claims of a suicide. It prompted Utah’s largest newspaper, The Salt Lake Tribune, to issue a statement to readers this weekend explaining its in-depth coverage and pushed the church-owned newspaper, the Deseret News, to print Sunday a “call for civility.”
The speech in question was that made by LDS Church apostle Boyd K. Packer, 86, the president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles – a governing body in the worldwide church.
Editor's Note: The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel is the Faith Work Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
By Rev. Rebecca Voelkel , Special to CNN
Before he committed suicide, a high school friend of mine wrote pages and pages in his journal about his turmoil and struggle with his church’s teaching that he, as a gay man, was sick, sinful and an abomination. Finally, it was simply too much for his 15-year-old soul to endure.
His experience has been writ large in recent weeks as we’ve seen a national spate of suicides caused by bullying - in school and church.
We’ve seen brutal attacks on gay men in New York City, while New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino verbally attacked the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community with divisive, hateful remarks. Threats to LGBT people have become an epidemic.
As a pastor who claims the life and ministry of Jesus as her model, I need to say that this is simply unacceptable. Preaching hate from our pulpits, in our politics, or to our pupils is never acceptable. It literally endangers lives. And the life and ministry of Jesus always stands against that which hates, hurts or destroys.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.