Last Thursday, Mormon Apostle Russell M. Nelson challenged Brigham Young University summer graduates to carry the heavy "burden of discipleship" by refusing to yield in their defense of traditional marriage. His statements communicated to graduates that their status as defenders of traditional marriage sets them apart from those who believe same-sex marriage should be legal.
Nelson argued, "History is not our judge. A secular society is not our judge. God is our judge!" And he distinguished the BYU graduates in the audience from those who heed "popular votes ... oft-quoted bloggers [and] pundits ... [or] lobbyists." He spoke of the importance of total fidelity within opposite-sex marriage and the evils of premarital sex, extramarital sex, pornography and abuse. According to the LDS Church News, he also made the claim that "true intimacy is only experienced within the sacred union of a husband and wife."
Nelson's choice of a commencement ceremony to again assert the church's positions on sex, sexuality and marriage has been interpreted by some to be misplaced. His decision makes sense, however, as commencement speeches traditionally inspire graduates to go forward and reach their highest potentials. In Nelson's mind, the highest potential any graduate can attain is that of an obedient child of God who has the courage to follow God's will and withstand ungodly pressure that might deflate graduates' inherent worth.