As you can imagine, that move certainly woke up Mormons online and had many of us standing at attention! And by the way, no changes in doctrine or Church teachings were made -- just sayin.
So, what went down during this urgent News Conference? This, from the Mormon Newsroom:
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Tuesday for legislation across the United States that protects vital religious freedoms.
At the same time, the Church said it would support legislation where it is being sought to provide protections in housing, employment and some other areas where LGBT people do not have protections, while ensuring that religious freedom was not compromised.
Competing interests between advocates of religious freedom and those seeking to build LGBT rights into law have led to legislative inaction or stalemates with increasing frequency across the United States. In a news conference that included three members of the governing Twelve Apostles and one woman leader of the Church, leaders called for a “fairness for all” approach that balances religious freedom protections with reasonable safeguards for LGBT people — specifically in areas of housing, employment and public transportation, which are not available in many parts of the country.
Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Jeffrey R. Holland of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Neill F. Marriott of the Church’s Young Women general presidency each spoke on behalf of the Church, outlining the issue and the Church’s position and approach. Elder D. Todd Christofferson, also one of the Twelve Apostles, introduced the news conference and the speakers.
Elder Oaks said: “Because we are frequently asked for our position on these matters, the Church asserts the following principles based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, and on fairness for all, including people of faith:
- We claim for everyone the God-given and Constitutional right to live their faith according to the dictates of their own conscience, without harming the health or safety of others.
- We acknowledge that the same freedom of conscience must apply to men and women everywhere to follow the religious faith of their choice, or none at all if they so choose.
- We believe laws ought to be framed to achieve a balance in protecting the freedoms of all people while respecting those with differing values.
- We reject persecution and retaliation of any kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief, economic circumstances or differences in gender or sexual orientation.”
Church leaders said that both sides of the debate over religious freedom and nondiscrimination should treat each other with respect.