M. Russell Ballard, an apostle for the LDS church, spoke to BYU students on Tuesday about the need for a more inclusive environment for LGBT Mormons.
Elder Ballard’s talks took on a kind of Q&A format. BYU students submitted questions beforehand and he condensed them into topics.
Concern for LGBT church members came up more than once.
“I want anyone who is a member of the church who is gay or lesbian to know I believe you have a place in the kingdom and recognize that sometimes it may be difficult to see where you fit in the Lord’s church. But you do," Ballard said.
Ballard went on to say it’s important that LGBT rights are tied with religious rights and referenced past anti-discrimination laws passed in Utah.
He also pointed to the LDS church’s support of the LoveLoud benefit concert in Utah County and emphasized that LGBT youth should never be mistreated.
It’s rare to hear a top church leader speak this candidly about acceptance, but of course it doesn’t change church policies and practices.
Just last month another church apostle, Dallin H. Oaks, reiterated the church’s view that marriage is between a man and a woman and referred to gay marriage as “a challenge to the family.”
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled the apostle's name as Russell M. Ballard.