SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - A grassroots group of devout Latter-day Saints expressed their love for others by marching in the Utah Pride Festival Parade.
Organizers placed the LDS marchers in the first slot for regular entries behind the grand marshal.
Many were dressed up in their Sunday best clothing, carrying their scriptures and holding signs with quotes about love from Church leaders.
Erika Munson, who calls herself devout LDS, organized the group on a Facebook page titled "Mormons Building Bridges".
"We were received with unbelievable love from the crowd. There were hoops and hollers and cheers and there were people in tears," said Erika Munson.
A parade announcer with a loud speaker shared her praise for the group as it walked by her location. "Thank you all of you. We adore your love. Thank you," she was heard saying as the LDS marchers passed.
Munson says the group is marching on its own and it did not receive any direction or guidance from church leaders to march.
The group is marching to inspire other Latter-day Saints to stand up for others who may experience same-sex attractions. It's also marching to send one more clear message. "We care about them and we don't dislike people because of that," said Eleesa Fluckiger.
One mother in the group says she's marching to show support for her son. "This is so important because unknowingly my son was raised without knowing God loved him. He thought he didn't love him because he was gay," said a Latter-day Saint mom who did not share her name.
Latter-day Saint prophets and apostles teach God personally knows and loves everyone, but that sexual intimacy outside traditional marriage is a sin.
Latter-day Saints marching in the parade are focusing on the message of love and inclusion in the hopes of uniting with and supporting others despite the strained relationship which has formed between the two groups in recent history.
Click on the attached link to learn more about the pride festival or what Latter-day Saint leaders teach about same sex attraction.