Mike Terry, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Thousands of Mormon youths and their Facebook friends are using social networks to show support for an LDS Church apostle and his recent general conference remarks.
At the forefront of a number of Facebook groups and pages is an "event" titled "WE LOVE YOU — President Boyd K. Packer," promoting a supportive letter-writing campaign to counterbalance an upcoming petition critical of the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his Oct. 3 conference talk.
"My only desire in creating this event is to tell President Packer that we love him," wrote the event-page author/group, labeled "LDS Young Men & Women."
"So for those who do, let's send him 100,000 letters by this Friday, October 15th, to simply tell him how much we love him and sustain him as a prophet, seer and revelator," the event information continues, providing the Church Office Building mailing address.
By midday Monday, the Facebook event site had garnered more than 7,500 "friends." It was the most popular of more than a dozen group, page and event sites — most, but not all, supporting the LDS leader — on Facebook alone.
Meanwhile, gay-rights proponents used Monday's National Coming Out day to trumpet a second week of protests against President Packer.
The Human Rights Campaign, a national organization that presses for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality, has partnered with similar local groups to criticize President Packer, claiming his address included inaccuracies and was hateful to those with same-sex attractions.
HRC president Joe Solmonese plans to lead a Tuesday news conference at Utah Pride Center's Salt Lake City offices, after which he and others will seek to present the LDS Church with a petition calling for corrections to the talk that a press release stated was signed online by more than 150,000.
It is expected the church will handle the matter as it has with past petitions and requests — sending an individual to accept the documents without any formal comment or acknowledgment.
Formally posted online by the church late last week, the written text of President Packer's conference address already had some acknowledged amendments, but not the type of magnitude of revisions called for in protests and petitions.
"The Monday following every general conference, each speaker has the opportunity to make any edits necessary to clarify differences between what was written and what was delivered or to clarify the speaker's intent. President Packer has simply clarified his intent," said Scott Trotter, LDS Church spokesman.
"As we have said repeatedly, the church's position on marriage and family is clear and consistent. It is based on respect and love for all of God's children."
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