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Thousands protest outside Mormon church over LDS leader’s anti-gay remarks

Thursday, October 7, 2010

An estimated 4,500 gay rights advocates gathered outside the headquarters of the Mormon church Thursday evening to protest recent remarks from a church leader that homosexuality is an immoral condition that can be cured.

Daniel Argueta
Protesters encircle Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

The demonstrators, mostly dressed in black, laid down on the ground and twice encircled Temple Square, a ten acre complex in downtown Salt Lake City.

The protest was response to remarks by Boyd K. Packer, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on Oct. 3 during a sermon against same-sex marriage and pornography.

Packer said that the LDS Church would always oppose same-sex marriage, that gays and lesbians could change their sexual orientation to straight, and compared homosexuality to “a habit or addiction that is unworthy,” calling same-sex attraction “impure and unnatural.”

The ill-timed remarks come on the heels of the suicides of at least six teenagers over the past month, all victims of anti-gay bullying or harassment.

Eric Ethington

“We represent all colors of the rainbow tonight. We are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, straight, black, white, latino, Mormon, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and atheist – but we all stand firm in one thing, stop destroying our children,” said organizer Eric Ethington, who blogs at

“And to the youth of the church: Never let anyone tell you that you need to be any different than who you are. There are thousands in this state alone who will love you and accept you. You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are!”

The Human Rights Campaign has called Packer’s comments “inaccurate and dangerous rhetoric.”

“Unless Elder Packer or the Mormon Church’s hierarchy corrects these inaccurate statements immediately, individuals will interpret them to mean that the church condones discrimination or harassment against LGBT people and others struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identify could rationalize the statements to continue their self-loathing or bring harm to themselves,” the HRC said in a statement.

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13 more reader comments:

  1. I just watched the documentary, 8: the mormon proposition, about how the mormon church directed its followers to support prop 8. shameful for a church to engage in the behavior. and anti-democratic, too.

    Posted on Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 5:55pm
  2. Boyd K. Packer is a LIAR.

    Posted on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 12:33am
  3. @Joe- you need to do better research than a lopsided "documentary". Out of the entire popoulation of california only 2% are LDS, oh and don't forget that the no on 8 campaign raised more than 2 million dollars than the yes on 8 campaign. There's more info I could give you but I'll let you do the work on that. Don't just blame it on the Mormons because they are an easy target.

    Posted on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 1:41am
  4. You should all realize that you wasted your time on this. It will have zero change on the stance of the church. Same gender attraction will always be viewed as an immoral act, not in harmony with God’s plan, which is why you are unable to reproduce with someone who is of your gender. So, don’t worry about it. Go on your way and make your lives more productive, rather than fight a lost cause.

    Posted on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 8:10am
  5. Speech such as this "minister's" directly causes deaths, suicides and murders of our people. The big mistake that the protesters made was they should have torn that church to the ground

    Posted on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 11:36am
  6. If one Mormon child hears about this event and realizes he is perfect the way he is, and gains strength to live his life to the fullest, it is well worth doing. I believe God put gays on earth to take in the offspring of heterosexuals who can't raise their own children. Even in animal populations, like wolves, it is the gay males who adopt and care for the orphans. Ironic if in our narrow-mindedness we are thwarting God's plan by making it difficult for gays to adopt unwanted children so instead they have to turn to surrogacy and artificial insemination.

    Posted on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 3:20pm
  7. I grew up listening to the same sort of rhetoric. Believing in it, I prayed for God to change me if he hated me so much. I was told that I was made in God's image and in practically the same sentence, I was told that God hated me for who I was. It definitely was a very confusing time for me. I realized a long time ago that my God did make me in his image and he does love me. All the naysayers out there can go to hell. Those same people who preach hate, should take a closer look at their own lives and families.

    Posted on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 3:40pm
  8. Maybe because I am religious [Protestant ;)] too, but I find this beautiful and will use it as support whenever I argue with people FOR gay rights!

    Replied on Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 4:39am
  9. I am a LGBTQ supporter…I am LDS and I am the parent of a gay son. I love my son with all of my heart.

    I just want to say that Elder Packer will never recant his words…these are his beliefs, these are the beliefs of the Church. Elder Packer has a firm and strong testimony of the teachings of the Church. To deny and recant his beliefs would be to deny what he believes to be the true word of God and regardless of what goes on in the world you have to understand that it is not his world.

    Like I said..I love my son with all of my heart. I believe totally in his right to marry the person he loves and to all of the rights and privleges and responsibilities that we all share. But, I also know, with all of my heart, that Elder Packer has no hatred in his soul and heart..his beliefs are based in love..not hatred.

    Posted on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 5:02pm
  10. Get your heads put of your asses. Religion is a ferry tale!

    Posted on Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 12:00am
  11. God does not hate Gay people. We all have things we can try to overcome or we can chose to sin. It is up to all of us to love one another even if we see others sinning. The question is "is there a GOD" and if so does he have rules? If you don't believe in God and there is no sin then good luck. If you do believe in God learn his will and repent and also good luck.

    Posted on Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 2:51pm
  12. The adult homosexual today knows they are living in sin. This is why they are trying to divert the attention from Christians, thinking that if they confuse the common belief that “This is a sin”, with the belief of "Living in sin as being natural" then maybe just maybe, they will not be judged, ridiculed, or attacked.

    What they do not understand is that they are the ones who are attacking Christianity by judging religions who speak against them and trying to ridicule them by pointing out imperfections.

    All that these religions are doing is answering the questions you are asking, and answering their position on the subject.

    If you don’t like what you hear then you are going against Christian belief, period, and perhaps you should look for a religion that says homosexuality is fine and of God, but I warn you that if you do, you will find a religion with even more contradictions about God and Christianity.

    Posted on Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 6:02pm
  13. So he means try being pagan, or a polytheistic religion like ancient Greek mythology ;)

    Replied on Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 4:42am