In our opinion: A call for civility following Mormon Apostle Boyd K. Packerís address
We encourage all to read President Packer's talk rather than simply rely on the media interpretations and selective quotations. It stretches all credulity to find in President Packer's pastoral counsel what some are calling a hateful message "that can lead some kids to bully and others to commit suicide." Contrary to what some have written in provocative press releases, nothing in President Packer's talk says that "violence and/or discrimination against LGBT people is acceptable."
This distortion is not only misguided and political, it is dangerous. It frays trust that helps people of goodwill from different perspectives to constructively address the serious problems under consideration. By holding up a caricatured account of people's spiritual leaders, those in greatest need of pastoral care may be mistakenly alienated from the very people who can compassionately help them get access to professional resources and counseling.
The challenges facing the families and individuals affected by same-gender attraction are poignant and real. Religion provides a unique perspective on how these challenges can be addressed that has every right to be heard and evaluated on the merits. Indeed, religious organizations provide the vital infrastructure for the economy of care that undergirds our community. For the sake of our youths and the health of our communities, we call for thoughtful and civil dialogue on this and all difficult conversations. That dialogue should respect context, should not prejudge motive and must work to include instead of isolate.