Mormon leaders have reaffirmed their opposition to the “counterfeit and alternative lifestyles” of the LGBT community at their biannual conference in Salt Lake City.
Church officials spoke of their faith’s belief that marriage should be exclusively between a man and a woman.
L Tom Perry, a senior Mormon leader, stressed that strong, traditional families are the bedrock of a stable society, economy and culture of values.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has repeatedly voiced its disagreement with same-sex marriage and Mr Perry warned followers to ignore media outlets, which are said to attempt to make minority views mainstream.
“We want our voice to be heard against all of the counterfeit and alternative lifestyles that try to replace the family organization that God Himself established,” Mr Perry, a member of the church’s governing Quorum of Twelve, said.
D. Todd Christofferson, another quorum member, emphasised the point and said: “A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God's plan to thrive — the setting for the birth of children who come in purity and innocence from God.”
As support for same-sex marriage has swelled across the country and many states, including Utah, have legalised the unions the Mormon Church has softened its stance on homosexuality.
A state-wide ban on employment and housing discrimination against gay and transgender people was passed this year thanks to support from church leaders.
LGBT activists had spent years pushing for a similar law, but it only gained traction when Latter Day Saints officials called for nationwide legislation that also protected religious liberties.
The conference began on Saturday without the customary address from the church president, Thomas S Monson, 87, who earlier missed a meeting with President Obama, who was visiting Utah.
Despite concerns, church officials said their leader was scheduled to speak at the conference at a later time. He had stumbled as he attempted to reach his seat at the beginning of Saturday’s afternoon session.
Rare dissent was also displayed by a small minority of the 20,000 conference attendees who shouted “opposed” to a vote of support for the church leadership.
Other delegates gasped in shock at this act of defiance, which has not been witnessed for decades.
One who stood in opposition, Micah Nickolaisen, 31, of Mesa, Arizona, complained: “The leaders of the church are insulated by so many layers of bureaucracy that we feel it's almost impossible for them to get genuine, authentic feedback.”
Additional reporting by APReuse content