SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Mormon leader is calling on church members not to drive themselves into depression or eating disorders in the pursuit of Christ-like perfection.
Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of a top governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said Saturday during a church conference that following doctrine and seeking personal improvement shouldn't lead to getting ulcers, bulimia, depression or lowered self-esteem.
He instructed the nearly 16-million members of the religion to strive for "steady improvement without obsessing over what behavioral scientists call 'toxic perfectionism."
Holland lamented that he often hears from Mormons that they feel like they don't measure up.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' twice-yearly conference runs Saturday and Sunday in Salt Lake City.
A top Mormon leader is reaffirming the religion's opposition to same-sex marriages during a church conference watched by members around the world.
Dallin H. Oaks, a member of a top governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on Saturday urged members to follow church teachings that dictate that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual men and women.
Oaks acknowledge that this belief puts Mormons at odds with current laws, including the recent legalization of gay marriage in the United States. He told Latter-day Saints that the religion's 1995 document that details the longtime teachings called "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," is not a policy statement that will be changed.
The speech followed a push in recent years by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to uphold theological opposition to same-sex relationships amid widespread social acceptance while trying to foster an empathetic stance toward LGBT people. Some members have called on leaders to do more to ensure gay church members feel accepted.
The twice-yearly conference brings 100,000 people to Salt Lake City to listen in person to speeches. It is watched by millions more around the world who belong to a religion of nearly 16 million members.
For the first time in more than a half century, the Mormon conference is underway without the presence of longtime leader and current president Thomas S. Monson.
The 90-year-old Monson isn't attending this weekend's two-day conference that began Saturday in Salt Lake City due to his ailing health. Since last May, church officials say Monson has not been going regularly to meetings at church offices because of limitations related to his age.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, one of Monson's top two counselors, opened the conference by telling church members tuning in around the world that President Monson loves them all very much.
Monson became president in 2008 and has been a member of a top governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1963. He has spoken at every one of the twice-yearly conferences since then.
Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serve until they die.
Also missing is 85-year-old Robert D. Hales, another top leader who was hospitalized in recent days. Hales has been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1994.
Mormons around the world will tune in Saturday to hear guidance from the religion's top leaders during a twice-yearly conference in Utah.
For the first time in more than a half-century, they won't hear from Thomas S. Monson, currently the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At 90 years old, Monson will be absent from the conference due to his health.
Monson has given speeches at every conference since 1963, when he became the youngest member ever of a top church governing body called Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He ascended to president in 2008 and is considered a prophet, seer and revelator. Mormon presidents serve until they die.
Also missing will be 85-year-old Robert D. Hales, another top leader who was hospitalized in recent days..
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