The World Congress of Families will commence on Tuesday, October 27 in Utah, and LGBT groups are already outraged in anticipation of this event.
Around 3,000 people will participate in the 4-day conference, where 185 speakers will gather in support of the “natural family”, between a woman and a man.
The opening speech about the factors that undermine modern-day families will be held by a top Mormon leader, M. Russel Ballard. The keynote speaker is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one of the governing bodies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He has stirred controversy recently due to anti-Catholic remarks, and it’s expected that more outrage will be sparked today, if Ballard’s highly anticipated presentation opposes same-sex marriages and relationships.
It appears that the Mormon Church has transformed recently, by becoming less adamant against the LGBT community, and trying to promote tolerance and compassion instead, taking small steps in that direction.
For example, Dallin H. Oaks, another member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has delivered a surprising speech last week, which condemned Kentucky clerk Kim Davis for her refusal to grant marriage licenses after same-sex marriage became lawful.
Oaks has criticized her for using her religious freedom as a pretext to start a cultural war, and declared that a compromise should be reached, instead of unfairly discriminating against people.
It remains to be seen what Ballard’s perspective on the LGBT issue will be, and if the Mormon church will continue to show more acceptance towards sexual minorities.
After the introductory speech, the conservative conference will proceed with the rest of its presentations, by other pro-family scholars, activists, researchers and religious leaders.
Topics on the agenda will include: human trafficking, solutions from strengthening family ties, the ethical aspects of human cloning and genetic engineering, as well as the impact on pornography on society.
The Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group, has already condemned the World Congress of Families (WCF) as a hate group whose growing influence has helped introduce anti-gay legislation in Uganda, Russia and Nigeria.
According to representatives of the pro-LGBT organization , WCF has actually assisted in exporting bigotry and discrimination against sexual minorities worldwide, by promoting homophobic rhetoric which laments the collapse of the traditional family.
The Human Rights Campaign has called for representatives of the Mormon Church, including Utah Governor Gary Richard Herbert to boycott the event, but spokesperson Dale Jones has remained unshaken in his support of the conference.
“Utah has become a destination for many world conferences which represent a wide variety of thought and opinion, and we’re pleased that Elder M. Russel Ballard has been invited as one of the keynote speakers”, declared Jones.
It must be said that this claim may have some validity, given that the two other events, which supported the gay community also took place in Salt Lake City earlier this month: the Family & Faith LGBTQ Power Summit and the Inclusive Families Conference.
Meanwhile, organizers of the World Congress of Families have denied their intention is to promote gay hate, claiming the purpose is simply to express religious beliefs, which uphold the definition of marriage, as formulated by God.
According to them, the Human Rights Campaign wants to support its own radical agenda in favor of the LGBT community, and that is why it’s overly critical of anyone who doesn’t endorse its cause.
It’s the first time that such a controversial global meeting will be held in the United States. Prior editions of the Natural Family Conference took place in Madrid, Amsterdam,Warsaw, Mexico City, Geneva, Sydney and Prague.
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