World Congress of Families to be held in Salt Lake

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The world’s largest gathering of pro-family advocates is coming to the United States for the first time on Oct. 27–30.

“Every single group that’s represented here believes that the family is central to culture, and to nation building,” Director of the World Congress of Families IX Janice Shaw Crouse said.

Volunteers assemble welcome packets for the World Congress of Families. This is the first time the congress will be held in the United States. (Allie Hamilton)
A volunteer assembles welcome packets for the World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City. This is the first time the congress will be held in the United States. (Allie Arnell)

People from 61 countries will gather at the Grand American Hotel in Salt Lake City to discuss pro-life and pro-traditional marriage topics.

Each day of the conference will focus on a different aspect of the congress’ theme, “Family: The Promise Begins with Me.” The first day will focus on life, the second on marriage and family as an ideal, the third on what happens when marriages and families fail, and the fourth on looking to the future.

Crouse, who has been involved with the World Congress of Families since 1999, said the goal of the congress is to inform and inspire. She said the presentations are academically oriented, sharing the latest research about marriage and family.

“The family is a unit that has been here since the beginning of history and across cultures, so I think we’re doing a vast social experiment to just kick the family and marriage aside as though we know better than anybody throughout history,” Crouse said.

Crouse said religion plays a central role to the World Congress of Families. She said presenters and attendees will represent the diversity of faiths that stand united behind family issues.

“We don’t have the same theology, but we are all people of faith,” Crouse said.

Opponents of the World Congress of Families have called it an anti-LGBT hate group, but Crouse rejects this label.

“We are confident in who we are, and we are unwavering in our beliefs,” Crouse said. She said the World Congress of Families doesn’t engage in violence or in violent rhetoric. “We will do our thing and ignore protest.”

A few notable Latter-day Saints who will speak at the congress including Elder M. Russell Ballard and blogger and author Stephanie Nielson. Jenny Oaks Baker and The Piano Guys will play musical performances.

Follow the Universe’s coverage of the congress here.

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