In a speech during a twice-yearly conference, a top leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) suggested that same-sex attraction was a phase for some children.

Dallin H. Oaks of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles made his comments on Saturday.

“Our walk demands that we not compromise on commandments but show forth a full measure of understanding and love. Our walk must be considerate of children who are uncertain about their sexual orientation, but it discourages premature labeling because in most children such uncertainty decreases significantly over time,” Oaks is quoted as saying by the AP. “Our walk opposes recruitment away from the covenant path, and it denies support to any who lead people away from the Lord. In all of this, we remember that God promises hope and ultimate joy and blessings for all who keep his commandments.”

Oaks, a former Utah Supreme Court Justice, earlier this week said that gender assigned at birth is eternal. Oaks said that the church's family proclamation, issued 23 years ago, states that “the intended meaning of gender … is biological sex at birth.”

“God created 'male and female'” and this “binary creation is essential to the plan of salvation,” he said, according to a statement released by the church.

Laurie Lee Hall, a transgender woman and senior vice president of Affirmation, an LGBT support group for LDS members, told The Salt Lake Tribune that Oaks' statement made it “a dark day for transgender Latter-day Saints.”

“It will send shock waves through our transgender community,” Hall said. “They are going to be traumatized and damaged by this statement.”