The first newsworthy quotes coming from April General Conference emanate from his moral excellency, Boyd Packer:
Just because the nation may change its laws to “tolerate legalized acts of immorality” does not make those acts any less spiritually damaging, senior apostle Boyd K. Packer said Saturday morning at the LDS Church’s 183rd Annual General Conference.
“The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate legalized acts of immorality,” Packer said, “does not reduce the serious spiritual consequences that result from the violation of God’s law of chastity.”
This surprises no one, least of all me, but I had hoped for a more tolerant church response to the push for marriage equality in this country.
His sitting tirade of inclusion, diversity and unconditional love included this as well:
“Tolerance is a virtue, but, like all virtues, when exaggerated it transforms itself into a vice,” said the 88-year-old Packer, speaking from his seat rather than from the pulpit. “We need to be careful of the ‘tolerance trap’ so that we are not swallowed up in it.”
The Salt Lake Tribune article also mentions the “separate but equal” status of women in the church with this bon mot:
Several church leaders also spoke Saturday morning about the important but separate roles of women within the Mormon faith. For the first time in the church’s history, a woman, Jean A. Stevens, offered a public prayer at General Conference.
And then continues on to drive the point home.
“Men and women have different but equally valued roles,” apostle M. Russell Ballard said Saturday. “Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman. In other words, in the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by a husband and wife.”
Ballard went on to discuss a new church-produced video called “Strengthening the Family and the Church through the Priesthood” that “shows us all — men, women, children, married, widowed or single, no matter what our circumstances — how we can be partakers of the blessings of the priesthood.”
The church can make all of the videos, create all of the websites, play all of the new social media games it wants, but it does not obfuscate the fact that it has to change to survive — and yet, demonstrates again this conference its unwillingness to do so.
ADDENDUM: One reader ["MenaceToSociety"] of the Salt Lake Tribune article quoted above had this to say:
Say we could classify our treatment of our neighbors roughly as Love, Like, Accept, Tolerate, Dislike, and Hate. Packer isn’t talking about Love Thy Gay Neighbor. Or Like. Or Accept. Packer is resisting Tolerating Thy Gay Neighbor, when tolerate is really quite a low standard. Strange level of feeling towards his neighbors for a church leader.