Latter-day Saint apostle Jeffrey R. Holland was about to be invited by Southern Utah University to be the guest speaker at its upcoming April graduation rites. But later on after the announcing it, some of the students started an online petition which demands that Holland be canceled from the event.
The petition has garnered thousands of signatures, with critics pointing out Holland's public opposition to LGBTQ+ individuals.
A Petition to Cancel Latter-Day Saint Apostle Jeffrey Holland to be the Guest Speaker in Graduation Rites
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the petition on Change.org cites Holland's bad remarks towards the LGBTQ+ community, referencing a talk he gave in August 2021 at Brigham Young University. In the speech, he pushed the faculty and staff of the unversity to endorse the doctrine of Latter-day Saints and the traditional belief and teaching that in marriage, the union is only for a man and a woman.
Holland also criticized the 2019 valedictorian's commencement speech at BYU, where he announced himself as a "gay son of God." The source also claims that if SUU included Holland in its commencement, it would not benefit the student community, especially those who belong to the LGBTQ+ community or do not follow the teachings of the LDS Church.
SUU President Mindy Benson expressed her excitement about having Elder Holland as the speaker for the upcoming commencement ceremony. According to their website, Southern Utah University, she emphasized Holland's roots in southern Utah and his dedication to education and learning, which are timely as the university wraps up its 125th anniversary year. The president believes Holland's speech will inspire graduates to pursue lifelong learning and give back to their communities.
Elder Holland, a member of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorom, was ordained in 1994. Prior to joining the church completely, he served in a number of roles, including as the ninth president of Brigham Young University, the church's commissioner of education, and the college's dean of religious studies. Also, he held board positions with both the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the President's Commission of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
What is The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states that the title "Apostle" was given by Jesus to the Twelve individuals whom he had chosen and ordained to be His closest followers and supporters. These Apostles were chosen to bear a special witness of Jesus Christ. Similar to how Jesus sent out his Apostles to represent Him, today's Apostles are tasked with spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ worldwide. The Quorum is the next-highest position to the president of the LDS.
In modern times, Jesus Christ still calls individuals to become Apostles and represent Him, just as he did in the Bible. These people give up their regular jobs and dedicate themselves to serving the church full-time. They travel the world to spread God's love to His children and to invite them to learn about and follow Christ. As Apostles, they are entrusted with the important task of overseeing the development of the world church.