Please see the disclaimer.
Early this morning, President Russell M. Nelson, the senior Apostle, was announced as the new President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This means that he is a Prophet, on par with Moses, Joshua, Peter, Abraham, Jacob (Israel), Joseph Smith, Jr., and many others.
He chose Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring as his counselors.
Above image taken from the website of The Church.
In an address to members of the Church, he asked us to “stay on the covenant path.” President Eyring reminded us that “the best is yet to come.”
During the news conference that followed, there were good questions, and there were tough questions.
The first question was about the place of the LGBT community. All three members of the First Presidency affirmed that there is a place in the Church for those who struggle with those obstacles.
The second question was about bringing more people of color, non-Americans, and women into the leadership. President Nelson pointed to the current Quorums of the Seventy.
And then, when interrupted and the question about women reiterated, President Eyring reminded the media that there is a difference between influence and position. Though men hold the positions (for doctrinal reasons), women exert much influence. I was reminded of the story about the Prophet Joseph Smith and his wife Emma. It was her talking to her husband about cleaning up tobacco that caused the Prophet to inquire of the Lord and receive what we now know as the Word of Wisdom, canonized in Doctrine and Covenants 89.
There were two questions about millennials, the first about how to retain them, and the second about how they might follow old men. President Eyring quipped that they will have to run, and President Nelson reminded us that there is nothing wrong with old age, that it is, in fact, good.
I can't remember what question was asked that prompted the following response from President Oaks, but at some point, he said that there are three kinds of policies:
- Policies that are doctrinal (ones that cannot be changed without the Lord's specific direction).
- Policies that are practice (ones that can be adjusted for our time).
- Policies that are temporary directives (ones that could change quickly, at any time).
It is a good reminder that, just because we think that the Church is behind the times regarding LGBT people and women, it doesn't mean it is; there are doctrines that cannot change.
In fact, one of the best indicators of the true church is that the doctrine doesn't change with the temporary storms of public opinion.
I am grateful to have a Prophet. I intend to follow him.