[Djamila Grossman, The Salt Lake Tribune]
On the heels of extremely bigoted, anti-gay remarks the other day from Boyd Packer, one of the highest ranking leaders in the Mormon church, thousands gathered in Salt Lake City, dressed in black, to protest his words, coming as they did after a spate of gay teen suicides:
Packer’s speech, delivered during the LDS Church’s 180th Semiannual General Conference, hit a nerve, protesters say, because it came after a string of gay teen suicides in the national news. Boys as young as 13 took their own lives after reportedly being bullied by their peers for being gay.
On Thursday, protest organizers estimated that 4,500 people ringed the two downtown blocks that make up the LDS Church’s headquarters. Participants wore black, and some carried signs. Lying head to toe or sitting shoulder to shoulder, they encircled Temple Square two times.
“Tonight, we are symbolic of all the children who have been killed by messages like Boyd K. Packer’s,” said organizer and Salt Lake City blogger Eric Ethington. “When you hear nothing from [church leaders] but that you are nothing but evil and you need to change the unchangeable nature of yourself, that is only a message kids can take for so long.”
It’s getting louder. Keep turning up the volume.