The conference was held by Elders D. Todd Christofferson, Dallin H. Oaks, and Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidencey.
While Elder Christofferson affirmed that not doctrine or policy change was “apparent,” the news conference was meant to suggest a way forward. He mentioned that news conferences were rare, and only occurred when the Church had an announcement on a larger scaled. He said, “Today, we do have something to say.”
Sister Marriott spoke about the great debate going on in the United States due to the discussions of rights for both the LGBTQ community and religious peoples and the tensions that have followed. She said, “Tensions are not to be feared unless they become so extreme that they threaten to tear apart the fabric of our society.” She stressed the doctrine of the Church that marriage is between a man and a woman, but that “God is loving and merciful, and His heart reaches out to all his children equally” and that all need to be treated with love and fairness.
Elder Oaks discussed the alarming erosion of religious freedoms and cited multiple examples of groups and individuals who have lost rights in the debate. He expressed the urgent need for laws that protect faith communities to practice free expression and religious practice. He asserted four main truths from the church:
1. Everyone has the right to live their faith according to the dictates of their own conscience.
2. This right applies to men and women everywhere, no matter their beliefs or lack thereof.
3. Laws ought to be framed to achieve a balance in protecting the freedoms of all people.
4. Persecution and retaliation of any kind was rejected.
Elder Holland spoke of what kind of religious rights were actually being discussed. This includes the rights of faith communities to teach their beliefs from the pulpit, to share their views in the public square, and to elect their own leaders. He also stressed the importance of the family’s right to teach their beliefs to their children. He denounced ridiculing, finger-pointing, bigotry and called for the “highest level of statesmanship” from political leaders. He spoke of the Church’s tradition of supporting freedom for all people.
Multiple times it was mentioned that the Church supports the rights of those in the LGBTQ community when it comes to housing and employment.
A summary provided by the Church of key points from the conference can be found here.
You can watch the full conference below:
UPDATE 9:38a.m.: The link to watch the news conference can be found here.
UPDATE: It is now being reported that the subject of the news conference will be religious freedom and nondiscrimination.
Reported first by Deseret News, word has come from Salt Lake City that leaders of the LDS Church will be holding a special news conference at 10:00 a.m. MST. The subject of the news conference has not been announced. You will be able to watch it live on KSL-TV or streaming live on DeseretNews.com. You can also listen through KSL NewsRadio. Read the original release here.
Keep checking back to LDS Daily, where will update you as the conference goes on.