And here's a news video from KSTU Channel 13 that focuses on Boyd Packer's speech:
But the one speech likely to attract controversy, even within the LDS community, was delivered by Boyd K. Packer, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the Sunday morning general session. In this speech, President Packer basically states that homosexuals are not born gay, although he does not address the Church's past involvement in the Proposition 8 campaign. Both the Deseret News and KSL Channel 5 published stories about the speech, and you can now listen to the audio archive embedded below (archives of all sessions being put up HERE):
The full text of the address, entitled "Cleansing The Inner Vessel", is now available HERE. There are some minor differences between the final text and the spoken version.
President Packer spoke about marriage and the power of procreation, saying there are moral and physical laws that cannot be changed despite current political trends. "To be entrusted with the power to create life carries with it the greatest joys and most dangerous temptations," President Packer said. "Whether we use this power as the eternal laws require or reject its divine purpose will forever affect who we will become." In addition, President Packer pointed out that pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity — a legal and lawful ceremony — and ideally after the sealing ordinance of the temple, are those life-giving powers released for the full expression of love. "It is to be shared only and solely between man and woman, husband and wife, with that one who is our companion forever. On this the gospel is very plain," he said.
But it was in his statement when he said God designed that power only be used in a legal and lawful marriage between a man and a woman that he denounced the emerging "conventional wisdom" that homosexuals are born gay. First, he explained that the gospel teaches a standard of moral conduct that will offer protection from Satan's many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage. He wanted the audience to understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. Then came the money shot: "Some suppose that they were pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that do anyone? Remember He is our Father", said President Packer.
President Packer also went on to criticize those who would legalize practices considered to be immoral. "There are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God's laws and nature," he said. "To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day," saying there are moral and physical laws that cannot be changed.
Reaction by LDS rank-and-file is somewhat mixed. Some comments on the By Common Consent open thread were critical, like this one:
#132 Tracy M Says:
October 3, 2010 at 10:06 am
If we’re supposed to have the spirit and the still small voice be our guidance, and if our personal relationship with God is how we know who we are and what path we must follow, then when the talk from Pres. Packer caused my stomach to lurch and my heart to feel heavy, what am I to do with it? In any other circumstance, I would read that feeling as a departing of the spirit, and that I should get the heck away from whatever is causing me to feel that sorrow and heaviness.
Packer came under sharper criticism on Feminist Mormon Housewives. But some were simply concerned that lost in the shuffle was the fact that the LDS Church allows membership to those who merely have a homosexual orientation, so long as they don't actually practice it. The 1995 "Proclamation on the Family" still applies.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Laura Compton, who directs Mormons4Marriage, a group of Latter-day Saints who opposed Proposition 8 and support marriage equality in California and elsewhere, was also troubled by Packer’s sermon. “So many Mormons have worked hard to increase understanding of what homosexuality is and what it means to be faithful,” Compton said in a phone interview from her California home. “Now we have this [anti-gay] message coming from the pulpit in General Conference by the president of the Quorum of the Twelve. It seems like hitting a brick wall. Hopefully, this won’t make people stop and say, ‘It wasn’t worth it.’“
The fact that Compton considers Packer's remarks "anti-gay" shows the mindset of these people. Tolerance of the existence of homosexuals is not enough for the pro-gay lobby; they want celebration. And that ain't gonna happen. It's good to see Boyd Packer standing frim for tradition and refusing to cave in to political correctness.