Monday, October 08, 2012

LDS Apostle Dallin H. Oaks Condemns Child Abuse And Elective Abortion At October 2012 LDS General Conference; Good Lead-In To The 40 Days For Life Campaign

Because there are 32,464 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Alaska (as of December 31st, 2011), this story is pertinent in the Last Frontier. However, it addresses an issue of concern to all of us regardless of religion -- child abuse.

During the Saturday Afternoon General Session of the just-concluded 182nd Semiannual LDS General Conference, Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the governing Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave a speech during which he delivered a ringing condemnation of child abuse around the world. Millions of children are victimized by a wide variety of evil adult crimes and selfishness. Elder Oaks not only decried the practice of children being abducted to serve as soldiers in contending armies in war-torn lands, but also condemned the fact that nearly two million additional children are victimized each year through prostitution and pornography. One primary Alaskan example is the case of former VECO boss Bill Allen; the Department of Justice not only deliberately ignored allegations that Allen patronized underage prostitutes in exchange for his testimony against the late Senator Ted Stevens, but quashed attempts by Anchorage authorities to investigate the allegations against Allen. Senator Lisa Murkowski raised hell about it, but to no avail.

In addition, Elder Oaks also strongly condemned elective abortion, noting that worldwide there are an estimated 40 million abortions per year. From a Mormon theological standpoint, one of the most serious abuses of children from the perspective of the Plan of Salvation is to deny them birth in the first place. Furthermore, Elder Oaks pointed out that children are at a significant disadvantage when raised by single or unmarried parents. "We should assume the same disadvantages for children raised by couples of the same gender", said Elder Oaks.

Although a written transcript of the speech will not be posted on the LDS Conference page until Thursday October 11th at the earliest, LDS Church News has published a short synopsis, and there is now a YouTube video of the complete address:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejDywd9GOCg



While Elder Oaks did not distinguish between types of abortions during his speech, the official LDS Church position on abortion primarily condemns elective abortion; the Church does not impose any sanctions upon women who get abortions for life, health, rape, or incest reasons. So it can be assumed that Elder Oaks is primarily targeting elective abortions.

Those who are interested in the other speeches delivered during the Conference will find video and audio archives on the LDS Conference Page, and can read short summaries published by LDS Church News. Many LDS members are abuzz over the announcement that the minimum age for male missionaries has been lowered from 19 to 18, and that of female missionaries lowered from 21 to 19, in addition to the announcement of two new temples to be constructed in Tucson, Arizona and Arequipa, Peru.

Those who share Elder Oaks' concern about abortion, regardless of religion, have an opportunity to take a public stand against abortion in their communities. From now until November 4th, the 40 Days For Life campaign is taking place in numerous communities throughout the United States. Here's the national list of locations; note that this also includes Anchorage and Fairbanks and Palmer. The Anchorage Daily News published an excellent Compass piece by local pro-life activist Joann Pantages in which she discusses the Anchorage vigil.

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