LDS leader Oaks: gender set at birth

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints firs counselor in the First Presidency, Dallin H. Oaks, offered remarks about “the eternal nature of God’s children, His plan for them and the commandments to love God and to love our neighbors,” at the semi-annual conference in October.

“While God’s commandments forbid all unchaste behavior and reaffirm the importance of marriage between a man and a woman, the Church and its faithful members should reach out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same sex or whose sexual orientation or gender identity is inconsistent with their sex at birth,” Oaks said as he set out three “fundamental doctrinal truths that God has revealed.”

“First, … that God created ‘male and female'” and that this “binary creation is essential to the plan of salvation.” “Second, modern revelation teaches that eternal life, the greatest gift of God to His children, is only possible through the creative powers inherent in the combination of male and female joined in an eternal marriage. Finally, the long-standing doctrinal statements reaffirmed in [The Family: A Proclamation to the World] 23 years ago will not change. They may be clarified as directed by inspiration.” For example, “the intended meaning of gender in the family proclamation and as used in Church statements and publications since that time is biological sex at birth.”

Sue Robbins, chair of Transgender Education Advocates of Utah expressed concern for the safety of trans people.

“Again, we have the church making statements that are deeply damaging to their members and the the general population in Utah. There is little regard in these statements for the health of their transgender and intersex members, families, and friends,” she said. “Faith is a powerful human emotion and erasing their transgender and intersex members is abusive and tragic. Elder Oaks’ words disregard the biology around being transgender or intersex, which is how our creator, whichever you might believe in, made us. Revelations and other statements cannot change our make-up! I hurt for our LDS transgender and intersex church members. Again, a knife is struck in their heart as they are summarily rejected by their leaders. The rest of the community is here for you. We see you, we hear you, we love you!”

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