- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A top Mormon leader will deliver the keynote speech at the opening of a conservative conference in Salt Lake City this fall that has drawn opposition from LGBT groups.

Officials with the World Congress of Families said Tuesday in a news release that M. Russell Ballard will speak on Oct. 27. Ballard is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve, a top-level governing body.

World Congress of Families said the 86-year-old Ballard was chosen because he’s a longtime proponent of the natural family dictated by God.

Mormon spokesman Eric Hawkins said conference officials have also been invited to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearsal.

The event is the organization’s first worldwide conference in the U.S.

Gay rights groups accuse the congress of promoting anti-LGBT rhetoric and legislation.

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