Online petition opposes LDS Church apostle’s commencement speech at SUU due to stance on LGBTQ issues

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland speaks at the groundbreaking for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George, Utah, Nov. 7, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University announced Thursday that a Latter-day Saint apostle will be the keynote speaker at its April graduation ceremony — but within hours, thousands of people had signed an online petition demanding that Jeffrey R. Holland be disinvited because he has “openly opposed LGBTQ+ individuals.”

The petition criticizes Holland for his call for “‘musket fire’ toward the (LGBTQ+) community.” In an August 2021 talk at Brigham Young University, Holland advised faculty and staff that they should take up their intellectual “muskets” to defend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its “doctrine of the family and … marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” He also criticized the commencement speech by BYU’s 2019 valedictorian, who declared himself a “gay son of God.”

The petition asserts that including Holland in SUU’s commencement “would fail to serve the student body, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community and students who do not [ascribe] to the religious teachings of the LDS Church.”

It was posted after SUU President Mindy Benson announced that she was “delighted” that Holland will be the commencement speaker at the Cedar City school April 28.

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Written by SCOTT PIERCE and PAIGHTEN HARKENS, The Salt Lake Tribune

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aims to inform readers across the state.

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