A Mormon leader has claimed he does not discriminate against gay and lesbian people - as the church has no homosexual members
David A Bednar, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), made the comments during a visit to Chile.
He was asked: “How can homosexual members of the church live and remain in steadfast in the gospel?”
He replied: “First I want to change the question – there are no homosexual members of the church."
“We are not defined by sexual attraction," he continued.
"We are not defined by sexual behaviour.
“We are sons and daughters of god and all of us have different challenges in the flesh."
He added that people may experience these feelings, but that it was up to them how them how they responded to them.
He said: "Some people have physical limitations, they may be born with a body that is not fully functional."
Mr Bednar likened this to having “an inclination to be attracted to someone of the same sex”.
"Simply being attracted to someone of the same gender is not a sin," he added.
He said there were "many members of the church who may have some manifestation of that attraction" and that those people can serve in the church and receive a blessing of the temple.
But he said that when they acted "on the inclination or the attraction, that’s when it becomes a sin”.
Mr Bednar said the church did not "accept or tolerate" marriage between anyone other than a man and woman.
“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and the family is central to the father’s plan for the eternal happiness and destiny of his children," he said.
"That plan is halted in anything but a marriage between a man and a woman.”
He added: “So please do not let the voices of the world confuse you or lead you in another direction”.
Mr Bednar’s comments come after the Mormon church changed its policy in November to denounce same-sex marriage.
The new rule means children from same-sex marriages would be barred from the church and would not be baptised until they were 18 and moved out of their parents’ home.
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