"On the morning of Sunday, September 19, about ninety members of the Oakland, California stake (diocese) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with Elder Marlin K. Jensen, the Church's historian and a prominent member of the General Authorities, the ranking hierarchy of Mormon leaders," reports Joanna Brooks of Religion Dispatches magazine. She continues:
There was sobbing. There were tears. Elder Jensen also shed tears as he listened and took notes to share with other General Authorities back in Salt Lake City. At the conclusion of the hour, he apologized for the pain he was witnessing.
According to attendee Carol Lynn Pearson, a Mormon author and long-time advocate of LGBT concerns, Elder Jensen said, "To the full extent of my capacity, I say that I am sorry ... I know that many very good people have been deeply hurt, and I know that the Lord expects better of us."
Jensen is considered a (relative) liberal in a largely conservative church hierarchy, and while Brooks sees his apology as part of a larger soul-searching on the part of Mormons everywhere, conservative gay blogger Andrew Sullivan notes that the church's leaders continue to preach "anti-gay extremism." He points to Sunday's statement from Boyd K. Packer, president of the church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Speaking of gay marriage, Packer said:
There are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God's laws and nature. A law against nature would be impossible to enforce. Do you think a vote to repeal the law of gravity would do any good?