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Mormon Apostle Tells LGBT Church Members ‘You Have A Place’

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M. Russell Ballard spoke to BYU students during their weekly Tuesday devotional.

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. 


Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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