On the second and final day of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' General Conference, apostle Dallin H. Oaks blamed the legalization of gay marriage and other “policy changes to establish behaviors contrary to God's decrees about sexual morality” on political and social pressures, including America's dropping birthrates, later marriages and rising rates of cohabitation.

These pressures “have already permitted same-gender marriages in various states and nations,” Oaks told 20,000 Mormons gathered in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City and millions more watching worldwide. “Other pressures would confuse gender or homogenize those differences between men and women that are essential to accomplish God's great plan for happiness,” Oaks said.

Same-sex attraction is not a sin according to Mormon teachings, but acting on it is.

“[U]nlike other organizations that can change their policies and even their doctrines, our policies are determined by the truths God has declared to be unchangeable,” he added.

After the church faced a backlash in 2008 over its heavy involvement in passage of Proposition 8, California's now-defunct gay marriage ban, the church appeared to retreat to the sidelines. But last month, local leaders in Hawaii called on Mormons in the state to get involved in the debate once again as lawmakers prepare to consider a bill which seeks to make Hawaii the 14th state to allow gay couples to marry.

(Related: Mormons called on to join gay marriage debate in Hawaii.)