LDS leader uses family as example of harmony between church, gays

(KUTV) A high-ranking member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said he would like to see additional legal steps taken to protect religious freedom, and stamp out discrimination against gays -- whose history with the church has been complex one.Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, spoke publicly on the matter last week -- noting that his own family is a great example of how a harmony can be struck between members of his faith and the gay community."From my own experience, I see that understanding is possible," he said. "I think the same principle that applies in society applies in families, as well."Christofferson's brother, Tom, who is gay, had previously been a member of the LDS church. But he asked to be excommunicated -- and ultimately found a relationship with his partner, Dr. Clarke Latimer.Whatever differences between church members and gays existed in the past, or remain in the present, the Christofferson family said it stands united.

"Nothing would be allowed to break the circle of love that binds all of us together as a family," the parents of the Christofferson brothers have said.When asked if he and his brother ever see each other, whether they love each other and whether they understand each other, Elder Christofferson was emphatic.

"Yes, yes and yes!" he said. "We like to see each other and be together."Tom, though not officially a member of the LDS church, has returned to the faith. He and Clarke Latimer are active participants in their neighborhood ward.Elder Christofferson and other church leaders are asking the Utah Legislature for bills that protect religious freedom, and ban discrimination against gays -- particularly in endeavors like housing and employment."The model is the same," Elder Christofferson said. "The Savior points the way."_____Copyright 2015 Sinclair Broadcast Group

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