President Oaks made the following comments regarding the Proclamation on the Family, sexuality and gender identity on Wednesday:
President Dallin H. Oaks
In a continuation of the teaching given two weeks ago by President Nelson at Brigham Young University, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, 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.
“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,” President Oaks taught. “We do not know why same-sex attraction and confusion about sexual identity occur,” he continued. “They are among the challenges that persons can experience in mortality, which is only a tiny fraction of our eternal existence.”
President Oaks spoke of 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 (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:19). That is why the law of chastity is so important.”
“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.”
“When counseling with any members experiencing challenges related to their sexual orientation, Church leaders should affirm that God loves all His children, including those dealing with confusion about their sexual identity or other LGBT feelings,” President Oaks said. “Such members and their families have unique challenges. They should be offered hope and be ministered to as directed by the Spirit according to their true needs, remembering the admonition of Alma to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort (see Mosiah 18:9).”
“Because we love God and understand His great plan of salvation and the significance of His commandments, we manifest our love for our neighbors by helping them come unto Christ, repent, and keep His commandments. This is part of bearing one another’s burdens that they may be light.”
(I added the bolded emphasis above).