Dallin H. Oaks

Dallin H. Oaks

BLACKFOOT — The over 100 couples in attendance of a recent Mormon church gathering here were told that when they face a problem, there is one person to look to firstly and forever.

“A principle to married life is that you look to one another as you did across the altar as you were married in the temple,” LDS President Dallin H. Oaks told the couples. “You look to one another for the solution of your problems. You don’t look to your siblings. You don’t look to your parents. You look first to one another.”

Oaks, the First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, spoke to a large crowd of parents with children younger than 19 years old at the Blackfoot West Stake Center this past Saturday. Attendees flooded into the auditorium and through the gym in the back, while also populating side rooms where video of the event was streamed live.

Because the gathering was for LDS parents, Oaks spoke at length about parenting, urging the couples in attendance to work succinctly to be successful.

“In your separate responsibilities in your marriage, you will be helping one another and committed to the success of the other. Competition in a marriage is not good — unless you’re seeing who can finish reading the Book of Mormon first,” Oaks joked. “In the details of married life, you need to be one. You need to be united.”

After Oaks spoke, there was a panel discussion led by Elder Kevin Hathaway and Sister Becky Craven.

They answered prepared questions and touched on subjects including pornography and heavy cellphone use by their children, as well as talk about gay and transgender people.

“I just wanted to add a few comments on gender and gender identification,” Hathaway said. “While we recognize what LGBT means, we do not use those labels when we talk about people. We don’t say, for example, that person is gay. We say that person struggles with same gender attraction.”

Hathaway continued, “Why is that even important? It’s important because whenever we place a label or allow a label to be placed upon us then we also — a lot of times by default — accept the lifestyle that comes with that.”

The LDS church has become well known for its opposition to gay marriage and same-sex intimacy, making some members of the LGBTQ community feel unwelcome.

Utah resident Ed Smart, the father of kidnap survivor Elizabeth Smart, came out as gay last Friday in a Facebook post in which he also stated the LDS church “is not a place where I find solace any longer.”

“It is not my responsibility to tell the Church, its members or its leadership what to believe about the rightness or wrongness of being LGBTQ,” Ed Smart stated via Facebook. “I can only believe what I feel is right, but it is my responsibility to continue to grow, progress and mature as a child of loving Heavenly Parents.”

Following the panel discussion, Oaks said these parting words: “I know the work of the Lord goes forward. It goes forward magnificently and measurably in the building of temples and the calling and supervision of missionaries and the work in the temples and the way you are raising your children.”