Thousands of gay activists staged a silent demonstration Thursday in protest of LDS leader Boyd K. Packer's anti-gay message.

Activists estimated that over 4,500 people dressed in black to symbolize the loss of young, gay Mormons to suicide, protested the leader's remarks by laying outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' (the Mormons) Salt Lake City headquarters, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Speaking Sunday at the church's 180th General Conference, Packer, the president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, railed against gay marriage – “To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.” – and rejected the notion that same-sex attraction – which he called “impure and unnatural” – is inborn. “Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” he rhetorically asked.

On Monday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate, called Packer's statements “inaccurate” and “dangerous.”

The protest was organized by PrideInUtah blogger and gay rights activist Eric Ethington.

“Tonight, we are symbolic of all the children who have been killed by messages like Boyd K. Packer's,” Ethington said. “When you hear nothing from [church leaders] but that you are nothing but evil and you need to change the unchangeable nature of yourself, that is only a message kids can take for so long.”

At the behest of their leaders, Mormons donated millions to the 2008 campaign to ban gay marriage in California.