Mothers of LGBTQ children say remarks at LDS General Conference are 'harmful rhetoric'

Dallin H. Oaks

(KUTV) — Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made comments about traditional marriage and gender that drew criticism during the Church’s General Conference on Saturday.

Mama Dragons, a support group for mothers of LGBTQ+ children which has 2,000 members, issued this statement on Monday via Facebook:

In light of the harmful rhetoric heard by our LGBTQ Mormon friends this past weekend from the pulpit at LDS General Conference, we as Mama Dragons would like to reiterate our unequivocal support of our LGBTQ children and the entire queer community. We remain committed to our mission of providing support and education to mothers and to condemning discrimination in any form. We love you. We celebrate you exactly as you are.

Lori Davis, a Mama Dragons Board Member and a member of the Church, said that for her, President Oaks’ talk caused her pain and sadness.

“It was doubling down on things that are really hard for our LBGTQ kids,” she said.

Dan Reynolds, lead singer of Imagine Dragons, said this via Twitter:

“...especially those reeling after this LDS conference weekend - you are not alone. you are loved and perfect the way you are.”

This is an excerpt from the talk given by Oaks:

“Our knowledge of God’s revealed plan of salvation requires us to oppose many of the current social and legal pressures to retreat from traditional marriage or to make changes that confuse or alter gender or homogenize the differences between men and women. We know that the relationships, identities and functions of men and women are essential to accomplish God’s great plan. ”

Davis, whose son Zach is in college, said she doesn’t know why the Church would promote suicide prevention and anti-discrimination of LGBTQ+ people on one hand, then on the other hand, make statements that make LGBTQ+ people feel like outsiders in their Church.

This is concerning, she said, given that LGBTQ+ people are at higher risk for death by suicide.

Davis doesn’t expect the Church to change its position, but said she hopes in the future there are more messages that encourage parents to love and accept their LGBTQ+ kids.

Her son is no longer a member of the Church, and she is OK with that, Davis said.

“He’s left the Church and I think it’s a good space for him because I don’t feel the message is safe for him,” she said.

Debra Coe, a Church member, who is also a member of the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition, said she worries that Oaks’ words will divide families because parents will reject their LGBTQ+ children.

She said when LGBTQ+ youth are rejected by their families, their church, their schools and others in the community, they are very vulnerable.

“You are going to take a normal person and put them at risk for suicide,” she said.

Coe and her husband walked their son Lincoln down the aisle to marry his husband.

She and her husband often host LGBTQ+ students in their home, to help and support them.

Coe said she does not feel there’s a conflict in loving her son and other LGBTQ+ young people and being a Latter-day Saint.

“One thing the Mormon doctrine does have is it says families are important. That’s what I’m focusing on,” she said.
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