LDS President Speaks with Young Members on Church History, LGBT Issues and Mental Illness

He said the church knows more than one realizes.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Dallin H. Oaks spoke to young and married LDS church members on how much church leaders know about the tribulations of the young generation, including on the subject of raising children . He said church leaders should stay abreast of all issues that have to do with a diverse and global Church enjoying a membership of about 16 million individuals. The LDS President gave his speech at a Santa Monica, California chapel. He touched upon the subjects of mental health, LGBT issues, and Church history.

In his speech, President Oaks spoke about a few observations he had made. He told his audience he is aware of the many challenges parents face when they raise children within a world saturated with information and hostility or indifference towards religion. The hardest challenge young parents face, he told the audience, is mental illness. To bolster his argument, he quoted 2014-era statistics which showed that one American in five between 18 and 25 years of age suffered from mental illnesses. President Oaks pointed out that from 2008 to 2016, a rise of 40 percent happened among college students being treated or diagnosed with depression. There was also a 70 percent rise in anxiety diagnosis and treatment.

In regards to LGBT issues and questions on how to console friends “in the absence of a heterosexual marriage,” President Oaks “encouraged a compassionate, faithful, eternal perspective.” He stated “persistent prayerful ponderings, I have never found a better, shorter answer to the innumerable questions on this subject than a thorough knowledge and total faith in the love of our Heavenly Father and the plan of salvation He has established for the blessing of all of His children. The central truth of that plan is the Atonement of His Only Begotten Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

President Oaks had a decisive message to send out to fellow church members. He stressed that it was impossible for the church to be strong if a lion's share of its members and leaders are born and raised in weak families. The inverse, he said, also holds true. A strong family will give rise to a stronger church.

When it comes to the LDS church, President Oaks assured those attending that the church knows more than many realize. He said many church members constantly travel to the far corners of the world to be with those local members. The church also receives regular reports from well-known professionals in every field. This knowledge could encompass economics, diplomacy, politics and legal subjects. The LDS church is fully attuned to the most modern social issues and their ideas. The church gets periodic but detailed information concerning the world and more importantly, the challenges faced by those who subscribe to the LDS ideology.

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