(Photo: REUTERS / George Frey)
A high ranking leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reaffirmed the Church's opposition to same-sex marriage.
Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve, the second-highest governing body for the Church behind the presidency, recently laid out Mormonism's opposition to gay marriage.
"While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not," stated Andersen last weekend.
"He designated the purpose of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults, to more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared and nurtured."
Over the past few years there has been much examination on the position that the LDS Church has regarding homosexuality and the definition of marriage.
While noted for their support for various marriage definition amendments and officially believing that homosexuality is a sin, some have noted a softening of tone within the Church.
In 2012, the Church launched a website called mormonsandgays.org, which is meant to serve as a better outreach tool to the LGBT community.
"The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is," reads an entry on the website.
"Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God's children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters."
When the Boy Scouts of America opted to change their membership policy to allow openly gay scouts (but not scout leaders), the LDS Church welcomed the development.
"Sexual orientation has not previously been - and is not now - a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saint Scout troops. Willingness to abide by standards of behavior continues to be our compelling interest," stated the Church in May 2013.
"As the Church moves forward in its association with the Boy Scouts of America, Church leaders will continue to seek the most effective ways to address the diverse needs of young people in the United States and throughout the world."
Andersen's remarks came as part of the Church's semiannual general conference event, held at the Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Taking place on the first weekends of October and April, the general conference brings together an estimated 100,000 Mormons from across the world.
The conference that took place last weekend was the 184th annual general conference of the Church and featured remarks from several Mormon leaders.
The conference also comes as Utah appeals a recent court decision declaring their state ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The LDS Church was one of multiple religious groups to file an amicus brief in support of the ban.