World Congress of Families is full of Mormon connections

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People walk past Salt Lake temple as they arrive to attend the biannual general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 5, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
*Note: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MORMON-GAYS, originally published on January 27, 2015 or RNS-TRANS-MORMONS, originally published on April 1, 2015, or with RNS-PARLIAMENT-RELIGIONS, originally transmitted on Oct. 14, 2015, or with RNS-CONGRESS-FAMILIES, originally transmitted on Oct. 27, 2015.

People walk past Salt Lake temple as they arrive to attend the biannual general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 5, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Urquhart *Note: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MORMON-GAYS, originally published on January 27, 2015 or RNS-TRANS-MORMONS, originally published on April 1, 2015, or with RNS-PARLIAMENT-RELIGIONS, originally transmitted on Oct. 14, 2015, or with RNS-CONGRESS-FAMILIES, originally transmitted on Oct. 27, 2015.

SALT LAKE CITY — The ninth World Congress of Families begins Tuesday (Oct. 27) with a parade of national flags carried by International Children’s Choir members; an invocation by Rabbi Avremi Zippel, co-director of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah; and a keynote address by a Mormon apostle.

Organizers tout the four-day meeting as “the largest gathering of pro-family advocates in the world,” attracting more than 3,000 participants and some 185 speakers, including scholars, researchers, religious leaders and activists.

The conference, according to a news release, will tackle topics such as “ways to strengthen marriages and families; the social costs of pornography; human trafficking; global health care initiatives; the bioethics of cloning and genetic modification; and many more.”

Since its founding in the 1990s, Mormons have been an integral part of the World Congress of Families, which promotes “the natural family,” meaning a husband, a wife and children.

And Latter-day Saints are everywhere on this week’s program as well. They include Utah Gov. Gary Herbert; Tim Ballard of Operation Underground Railroad; Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes; authors Richard and Linda Eyre; and even the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

M. Russell Ballard, a member of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will open the conference with a keynote address, highlighting the Utah-based faith’s beliefs about the family.

Ballard has defended the church’s 1995 document “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” describing it as “a clarion call to protect and strengthen families and a stern warning in a world where declining values and misplaced priorities threaten to destroy society by undermining (the family, which is) … the basic unit of society, of the economy, of our culture, and of our government.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “has long been a strong ally to the World Congress of Families,” Janice Shaw Crouse, a member of the board of directors of WCF and executive director of the World Congress of Families IX, said in a news release, “and it is an honor to have one of its senior apostles speak at our conference — particularly someone whose lifelong commitment and leadership have been to preserve and strengthen the family unit.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, however, has declared the World Congress of Families to be a “hate group” for fostering homophobia under the guise of protecting families. At a news conference Monday, the Human Rights Campaign decried WCF support of laws in other countries that criminalize being gay.

WCF officials balk at the hate-group allegation, saying they are “not ‘anti’ anything.” Members, they say, are simply people of faith who celebrate the natural family and focus on how to make families stronger.

(Peggy Fletcher Stack writes for The Salt Lake Tribune.)

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  • LindaSDF

    Question: How can it be against the law to BE something? I can understand how it would be against the law to DO something, but how does anyone know what you ARE?

    Just curious.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    From the article: “… largest gathering of pro-family advocates….”

    The Mormon Church is not pro family, rather they want to control the family. Furthermore, many of the Church’s attempts to control the family are deeply harmful to families.

    An example is the church’s cult-like policy of excluding family members who are not Mormons (or are “inactive” Mormons) from the church’s “temple weddings.” The church deems such persons “unworthy” to attend family weddings since they don’t pay the church money or “sustain” LDS church leaders as God’s only legitimate emissaries on earth. The church thus uses their temples as means of coercion, usurping family relationships to pressure other family members to join/support the church and enriching its coffers.

    Mormons hold their temples up as symbols of commitment to family, but instead these temples are tools for coercing money and obedience on threat of the church ruining the family.

  • There is another clarion call going out: Mormonism follows a different Jesus than the Jesus of the Bible:

    http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/2015/09/a-different-jesus.html

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  • Phillip C. Smith

    I am sorry for those who attack other religions. Negative comments about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints misrepresent us. As the Lord Jesus well Said, “blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake.” (Matthew 5:10) Love should always replace hate.