New Mormon president brings new perspective on LGBTQ+ issues

Adviser Dallin H. Oaks with current president Russel M. Nelson. AP.

(AP) — The Mormon church appointed a 93-year-old former heart surgeon Tuesday as its new president, following a longstanding succession plan that aims to keep the faith on course with a minimum of upheaval.

Russell M. Nelson's remarks about LGBT issues and the role of women in the faith to reporters after he was officially chosen to become the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reaffirmed an expectation that he will make few changes as he upholds traditional church teachings.

Speaking about his approach to LGBT issues, Nelson said he understands there are "challenges with the commandments of God, challenges to be worthy."

"God loves his children and we love them and there's a place for everyone," Nelson said. "Regardless of his challenges."

This is after a decree passed in 2015 by former president Thomas S. Monson decreeing LGBT+ people within the church to be apostates (excommunicated Mormons). The decree also stated that any children of a LGBT+ household would be refused baptism and acceptance in the church unless they renounced their parents.

The church at times has expressed empathy and told members to be welcoming to LGBT people while also strictly defending opposition to same-sex marriage and all homosexual relationships.

Dallin H. Oaks, one of two men Nelson chose to be his counselors, added that leaders have the responsibility to teach love but also God's commandments.

"We've got the love of the Lord and the law of the Lord," said Oaks, a member of church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles leadership body.

Nelson called doing so a "balance."

Copyright AP-Brady McCombs. All rights reserved.
The Gayly 1/16/2018 @ 4:05 p.m.