LDS Temple Square Surrounded in Protest & Racist Packer Excerpt from 1977

LGBT rights activists lay on the sidewalk in front of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' church office building Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, in Salt Lake City. The demonstration was a response to remarks from Elder Boyd K. Packer that homosexuality is an immoral condition that can and should be overcome. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)

From Q Salt Lake:

Organizers estimate a crowd of 4,500 people completely surrounded the two blocks of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints administration building and Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City in protest of Boyd K. Packer’s remarks during the church’s semi-annual General conference last weekend.

I just got home from participating this protest with my parents and some friends. We were extremely impressed by the turnout (the organizers literally walked around and counted, one by one, how many people were there) and how well it conveyed the underlying core message: that hate speech results in really, seriously hurting LGBQT individuals, especially our youth - even killing them.

Nine gay teenagers all committed suicide in the month of September, victims of homophobic bullying - and one, right here in Utah, committed suicide just two days before Boyd K. Packer (who is basically next in line to be prophet) gave his anti-gay speech to an audience of millions.

Billy Lucas (15) September 9, 2010. Indiana

Cody J. Barker (17) September 13, 2010. Wisconsin

Seth Walsh (13) September 19, 2010. California

Tyler Clementi (18) September 22, 2010. New Jersey

Asher Brown (13) September 23, 2010. Texas

Harrison Chase Brown (15) September, 25 2010. Colorado

Raymond Chase (19) September 29, 2010. Rhode Island

Felix Sacco (17) September 29, 2010. Massachusetts

Caleb Nolt (14) September 30, 2010. Indiana

Alec Henrikson (18) September 30, 2010. Utah

As Eric Ethington, the organizer and blogger over at put it during the demonstration:

Alec Henrickson
We represent all colors of the rainbow tonight. We are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, straight, black, white, latino, Mormon, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and atheist – but we all stand firm in one thing, stop destroying our children,...

... And to the youth of the church: Never let anyone tell you that you need to be any different than who you are. There are thousands in this state alone who will love you and accept you. You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are!

Tomorrow, October 8th, the Utah Pride Center will be hosting a workshop from the Trevor Project Lifeguard Program | Suicide prevention. The Trevor Project is "a nonprofit endeavor established to promote acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, and to aid in suicide prevention among that group."

Follow The Rules, the LDS 70s Version

Speaking of discrimination, here's a link to an address that Elder Boyd K. Packer gave at Brigham Young University on 14 January 1977 titled "Follow the Rule", helping to give us a fuller picture:

I have a lingering, sensitive, prophetic idea that as you obediently follow the prophet you will live to know a stability and a fulness and a plenty in your own lands that by comparison now seem deprived economically. You will have far more of what matters most than you would have if you should go elsewhere seeking your fortune. When you come to find that which matters most, you will always find in the long run that to be the rule and not the exception is to see the fulness of life. Should there be exceptions, the Lord will designate those in an unmistakable way.

Now, one other subject. It's been the policy of the Church--and it's been spoken on many occasions--that as the gathering of Israel is in Mexico for the Mexicans, in Tonga for the Tongans, in China for the Chinese, and so on, so has been our counsel as it relates to marriage.

We've always counseled in the Church for our Mexican members to marry Mexicans, our Japanese members to marry Japanese, our Caucasians to marry Caucasians, our Polynesian members to marry Polynesians. The counsel has been wise. You may say again, "Well, I know of exceptions." I do, too, and they've been very successful marriages. I know some of them. You might even say, "I can show you local Church leaders or perhaps even general leaders who have married out of their race." I say, "Yes--exceptions." Then I would remind you of that Relief Society woman's near-scriptural statement, "We'd like to follow the rule first, and then we'll take care of the exceptions."

I was with President Kimball once some years ago when, in a small group, he told the story of his courtship and marriage to Camilla Eyring. They only knew one another for a short time. I'm even hesitant to say how short the time was before their marriage. He told of meeting this beautiful young schoolteacher who had come to the community, and in the course of a few weeks they were married. After hearing this, one young man in the group later said, "Well, if President Kimball can find somebody and be sure in that short of a time, I guess I can do that."

Someone else replied, "My boy, before you think that applies to you, you ought to be very sure you have the inspiration and power that is present in the beginnings of an apostle."

You may not be the exception. We counsel in the Church, for instance, that we ought to be old enough before we marry and we ought to know one another before we're married. Our courtships ought to be adequate. You may pick out a couple--he was 18 and she was 17 when they married--and see how happy and successful they've been. Yes, an exception! For every exception we can show you tens and hundreds, and I suppose thousands, who were not happy. Plan, young people, to marry into your own race. This counsel is good, and I hope our branch presidents are listening and paying attention. The counsel is good.

Racism... heterosexism... hmm, guess LDS Church representatives feel better about being more open about one than the other these days? Packer also openly supported gay bashing in a 1976 address: Boyd K. Packer Advocates Gay-Bashing (Yes, Literally, Not Figuratively)


  1. Thank you for this post and all the information therein. It will inform many about Mr. Packer's past statements. I wanted to be at the protest and to support the LGBT community, and to listen to those who spoke.

    The Media has let me know that it was a very, very good protest with thousands present. It should give hope and some degree of comfort to young LGBT citizens who were slammed by Packer. They know that there are many people who care about them. I care.

  2. As an Anthropology student I can say very confidently that there is no such thing as race. There are Ethnic communities but the term race was created by a white man who saw his white skin as a symbol for superiority over any other population of people with a different skin color. And he was an Anthropologist. I'm very glad that the majority of Anthropologists no longer believe in the term race. It is biologically evident that we are all homo sapiens, and we originated in Africa. The fact that the mormon church still uses the term race is just another example of their ignorance and racism.
    It just breaks my heart that people die because of their skin color or sexuality.
    I miss you Ryan...I wish you had found a place in this world where you felt that you belonged or at least had felt some hope. In your memory with love.

  3. Joan: It was an excellent turn-out! :]

  4. Anonymous: It's way unfortunate. However, on the plus side, awareness and acceptance have gained a huge amount of momentum - and things are getting better. People have LGBQT family members, friends; individuals they love; and are having dialogs about the real impact discrimination has - especially on youth, who end up becoming homeless, bullied, full of self-hate or even dead.


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