Elder M. Russell Ballard was one of 185 speakers to address the importance of the traditional family with thousands of attendees gathered at the World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City this week.
Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke Tuesday morning and encouraged individuals to continue promoting marriage between one man and one woman, despite society’s changing views. Mormon Newsroom quotes Ballard, saying,
Society, law and popular opinion may change, but we know that society’s version of the family cannot and will not substitute for God’s purpose and plan for His children.
Ballard explained that the Church’s strong beliefs regarding the family are outlined in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Even with strong advocacy for traditional families, Ballard emphasized that Church leaders continually encourage and expect Latter-day Saints to treat others who have differing views with “understanding, love and compassion.”
“We cannot and should not shun those who look or think or act differently than we do,” Ballard said. “We demonstrate our best humanity when we show love and kindness to all God’s children. We demonstrate our discipleship when we refuse strident tones, when we refuse derisive labels and when we enter the public square seeking fair outcomes through understanding and mutual respect.”
Using the Church’s “fairness for all” approach, Ballard urged those in attendance to reach out to others of differing beliefs or values and try to find common ground. He said,
By engaging in compromise and extending love to all God’s children, who are our brothers and sisters, we can create a peaceful, diverse tapestry of ideals and beliefs. Remember, married or single, that, in the end, we are each a unique part of God’s grand plan.