The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reaffirmed the church’s stance against same-sex marriage during a speech to students at Brigham Young University.
Russell M. Nelson made the statement on Tuesday, saying God’s law states marriage should only be between a man and a woman. He also explained that the policy banning baptisms for children whose parents are in same-sex relationship, enacted in 2015, was rescinded earlier this year because leaders saw the “confusion…concern…and heartache” it caused, which “grieved” them.
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Nelson with his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson.
Nelson also said the decision was motivated by an attempt to prevent friction from the beliefs of gay parents and their children, The Guardian reports. The policy resulted in protests and defections from the religion.
The church, which has a history of opposing LGBTQ rights, including through the use of its millions of dollars in tax-free monies, continues to teach that having gay sex is sinful, and that those Mormons who are gay or bisexual should remain celibate. The president said that church leaders can change church policy but not God’s word.
“The arbiter of truth is God, not your favorite social media news feed, not Google, and certainly not those who are disaffected from the church,” Nelson told the nearly 19,000 students in attendance at the church-owned university.
Video of Nelson delivering his speech follows.