SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A high-ranking Mormon leader is reiterating the religion's commitment to advocating for the right to promote the traditional family led by a married man and woman.

M. Russell Ballard on Tuesday also urged 3,000 people at the conservative World Congress of Families conference in Salt Lake City to extend compassion to those with opposing views. His remarks illustrate The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' ongoing attempts to delicately balance a softened tone toward LGBT people with a firm belief that God mandated marriage be between a man and a woman.

LGBT groups oppose the conference, calling the World Congress of Families a dangerous hate group that promotes anti-gay legislation around the globe. World Congress leaders scoff at the criticism, saying opponents are distorting the facts to defame the organization.