SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Mourners gathered on the southeastern side of the Conference Center at Temple Square to call attention to lives they say were lost over they past three and a half years due to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ “November 5th, 2015 policy” which excluded children of same-sex couples from being baptized and labeled same-sex couples as apostates.
Carrying rainbow and transgender flags and dressed in black, the mourners held silence in remembrance of people they say died by suicide after the November 5th policy.
While data shows that the total suicides in Utah increased in the years after the policy was implemented, data does not specify the reasons for the increase.
Activists Sunday demanded an apology from leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, after they reversed the “November policy” last week and said children of same-sex couples could now be baptized with parental permission. President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church also said same-sex marriages will no longer be subject to church discipline.
The group Queers Divest released this statement ahead of the Sunday protest:
“While activists do not hold out hope for a response from leadership, they hope their actions will inspire active members of the LDS Church to demand accountability from their leadership, and to adequately make amends and recompense toward the LGBTQIA2S+ community for the damage and loss they’ve experienced. Change can only come through healing, and healing can only begin once we have admitted to the wrongs we have committed. As is stated in the Book of Mormon, Alma 42: 29-30: “Let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance. […] Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point.”
Saturday, Elder Neil L. Andersen reiterated the church’s stance against same-sex marriage, as outlined in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
One conference-goer was seen gazing at the protestors, reading their signs and asking “Did someone die?”