Videos of high-ranking LDS leaders discussing social issues anonymously released on conference weekend

Posted at 4:39 PM, Oct 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-02 23:39:57-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A series of videos of high-ranking LDS Church leaders discussing various social issues were posted anonymously on YouTube on the last day of the church's semi-annual General Conference Sunday.

The videos, posted on the Mormon Leaks channel, cover a range of topics from politics to the housing crisis and marijuana to young single adults. The video that has garnered the most views and has caused a firestorm of comments online, relates to the leaders' discussion of cyber security, where homosexuality is brought into the conversation.

The video has garnered more than 10,000 views within a few hours of being posted Sunday and is embedded in the player below. The presenter talked about the various possible ways the Church could be attacked, which included technical, personnel or unintended attacks.

An example the presenter gave of a personnel breach was when Pfc. Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning, released sensitive military documents to the nonprofit organization WikiLeaks, which provides anonymous ways for independent sources to leak information to journalists.

"He contributed to worldwide stir by using a music CD...and a drive, or several, to transfer hundreds of thousands of confidential U.S. reports on Iraq, Afghanistan and U.S diplomacy to WikiLeaks, which then made them public," the presenter said of Manning.

The presenter categorized Manning's actions as a personnel attack.

"Private Manning reportedly became depressed after his homosexual companion left him and then lectured him," the presenter said.

After the presentation, leaders had questions about Manning's sexuality.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, asks whether or not Manning's sexual orientation had been reported in the news.

“The reason I ask the question is not related to this presentation, but I’m suspicious that the news media covers up anything involving homosexuals when it would work to the disadvantage of the homosexual agenda and so on, and I just wondered if there was some of that in this?” Oaks asked.

The presenter said it was "in the collateral press" and covered by the New York Times.

Eric Hawkins, spokesman for the Church, addressed the release of the videos. He said most of the videos appear to be from briefings received by senior Church leaders between 2007-12.

"In these committee meetings, presentations are routinely received from various religious, political and subject matter experts on various topics," Hawkins said. "The purpose is to understand issues that may face the Church, and is in pursuit of the obligation Church leaders feel to be informed on and have open discussion about current issues. This is an informational forum, not a decision-making body," he said.