Mormon president to be replaced with homophobic elder following death
The role of the Mormon president is set to be taken up by a homophobic elder following the death of former president, Thomas S. Monson.
Monson, who has served as the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2008, died at his home in Salt Lake City on Tuesday aged 90.
Throughout his time 54 years within the church, Monson took a hard stance against LGBTQ members within the church.
He denied open admission of gay members and refused to recognise same-sex marriages despite calls from critics to do so.
The late president also denied Mormon women the right to be ordained as priests, sticking to his traditional views.
It is expected that Monson’s position will be resumed by Russell M. Nelson, an elder of the church.
Similarly to his predecessor, Nelson has held a homophobic stance within the church.
In 2016 he came out in support of anti-gay policies, calling them ‘God’s will’.
The polices stated that gay people who marry are ‘apostates’ – meaning they are viewed as having abandoned the Church.
The Church also affirmed that all children living with same-sex parents or guardians will be barred from being baptised or becoming Church members for the entirety of their childhood and until they “disavow” their parents’ relationship.
Talking to the Salt Lake Tribune, Nelson said: “Each of us during that sacred moment felt a spiritual confirmation.
“It was our privilege as apostles to sustain what had been revealed to Mormon President Thomas S Monson.
“The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counsel together and share all the Lord has directed us to understand and to feel, individually and collectively.
“And then, we watch the Lord move upon the president of the church to proclaim the Lord’s will.”
After the rule change, protesters staged a mass resignation from the Mormon Church at its HQ in Salt Lake City, while others filed their own paperwork to leave the Church privately.
In total, over 1500 members of the Church have resigned over the issue so far. The number is a small fraction of the Church’s claimed 15 million global worshippers – but the impact has been felt strongly in Salt Lake City.
A leading Mormon speaker previously called for the church to become more accepting of diverse sexualities.
Jeffrey Holland who has been a long-standing member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that there was “room” in the faith to accept people who may have different “sexual attractions”, as long as they “love God” and “honour” his commandments.
He said: “When we disparage our uniqueness or try to conform to fictitious stereotypes — stereotypes driven by an insatiable consumer culture and idealised beyond any possible realisation by social media we lose the richness of tone and timbre that God intended when he created a world of diversity.”
Dale Relund, a newer member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said that being intolerant would be repeating the past.
“We must not be guilty of persecuting anyone inside or outside the church.
“Church history gives ample evidence of our members being treated with hatred and bigotry. How ironically sad it would be if we were to treat others as we have been treated,” he said.
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The Mormon church has a long history of persecuting the LGBT community. Most recently, it pulled the plug on Boy Scouts funding after the feud over LGBT members.
In 2015, the Boy Scouts of America removed its long-held ban on gay scout leaders, after first lifting the ban on gay youth members two years before. More recently trans boys have been accepted into the BSA for the first time.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which has been affiliated with the BSA for 100 years and provides a massive amount of funding for the organisation, bitterly opposed the changes.
After the changes went through, the Mormon leadership said it was “deeply troubled” by the decisions and would review the church’s “century-long association with Scouting” as a result.