The Latest: LDS leader warns of ‘Satan’s temptations’ at weekend conference

The Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Intellectual Reserve Inc., St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A leader with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cautioned people to be aware that Satan tries to tempt them to use their bodies improperly and “love as we should not love,” at a church conference Saturday.

David A. Bednar made the comments Saturday during a speech at the church conference in Salt Lake City. Bednar is a member of a top church governing board called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

His speech came after fellow Quorum member D. Todd Christofferson earlier in the day urged members to uphold sexual purity and adhere to the faith’s law of chastity, which forbids premarital sex.

Neither mentioned same-sex relationships in their speeches, but the faith has recently reaffirmed its opposition got gay marriage and belief that homosexual intimacy is a sin.

The two-day conference brought nearly 100,000 people to Salt Lake City and was watched by hundreds of thousands of others in live broadcasts online and on TV.

D. Todd Christofferson, a leader with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, urged members to withstand mocking and adhere to the faith’s strict rules, including the law of chastity that forbids premarital sex.

Christofferson said that church members shouldn’t waver even in a “hedonistic age” where people who uphold the faith’s standards for modest attire and sexual purity face “merciless attacks” on social media.

Christofferson is also a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Several hundred people are calling on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other religions to implement stronger rules to prevent child abuse.

A group called “Protect Every Child” gathered several blocks away from where the faith’s twice-annual conference occurred. It is led by Sam Young, who was kicked out of the religion last year after his public opposition to closed-door, one-on-one interviews of youth where he and his followers say inappropriate sexual questions are sometimes asked.

Former church member Stuart Shellenberger held a sign that read, “Protect every child. No sexual questions.”

Church leaders have defended the interviews as an important way for bishops to determine youth’s obedience to God. The church changed the policy last year to allow children to bring a parent or adult with them.

The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has rolled out a dizzying number of policy changes during his first two years at the helm of the faith.

The twice-yearly conference kicked off Saturday three days after President Russell M. Nelson announced that women can now be official “witnesses” at two key ceremonies: baptisms and temple sealings for married couples. The move is considered to be a small but important step toward breaking down rigid gender roles in the religion.

It added to a long list of noteworthy moves made by the 95-year-old former heart surgeon since he assumed the post in January 2018.

Written by the Associated Press.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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