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Sunday July 12th, 2020 4:56AM

The Latest: Mormons reaffirm opposition to same-sex marriage

By The Associated Press
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on Mormon conference in Salt Lake City (all times local):

2 p.m.

A top-ranking Mormon leader is reaffirming the faith's opposition to same-sex marriage and belief that a person's gender is God-given and eternal.

Dallin H. Oaks is a member of a top leadership panel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He said Saturday at a church conference that the religion must oppose social and legal pressures to "retreat from traditional marriage or to make changes that confuse or alter gender or homogenize the differences between men and women."

Oaks says those relationships and identities are "essential to accomplish God's great plan."

The comments align with past positions by the Utah-based faith, which has tried to take a more welcoming stance to LGBTQ people while sticking with fundamental opposition to same-sex marriage and transgender operations.

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11:30 a.m.

The Mormon church is scaling back the Sunday time commitment expected of its members from three hours to two.

Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced the change Saturday at the faith's twice-yearly conference. He says the new "home-centered church" strategy reflects the faith's increasingly global membership where not all Latter-day Saints live close to a chapel or even have a chapel.

Since 1980, church members have been expected to attend a one-hour sacrament worship service each Sunday, followed by two hours of meetings such as Sunday school and men's and women's groups.

Under the schedule change, which takes effect in January, members will continue attending the one-hour Sunday service but then have only one additional hour of meetings.

Quentin L. Cook, a member of a Mormon leadership group called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, says church leaders have been aware for years that the three-hour block was difficult for many.

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10:30 a.m.

Mormon leaders are set to deliver spiritual guidance and church news as the faith's conference kicks off in Salt Lake City one day after the faith announced it was renaming the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir to drop the word Mormon.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' twice-yearly conference began Saturday morning and runs through Sunday.

The decision to rename the singing group the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square was the first major move since church president Russell M. Nelson in August called for an end to the use of shorthand names for the religion that have been used for generations by church members and the public. He could speak more about the push to get people to use the full church name during the conference.

The choir is performing at the conference as it always does.

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