New Mormon Prez Vows to Stay the Course
Church picks Monson, 80, who displays old-fashioned style
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2008 7:02 PM CST
Thomas S. Monson gives his closing remarks during the funeral service of Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Mormon church, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008, in Salt Lake City. Hinckley died Sunday. He was 97....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The new Mormon church president vowed to stay the course with "no abrupt changes" in policy after he was inaugurated this morning, the Deseret Morning News reports. Thomas S. Monson, 80, an old-fashioned storyteller who enjoys quoting Dickens, asked for God's "spirit in my heart and angels round about me to bear me up" in his effort to lead the 13-million member church, the AP reports.

Asked whether members could disagree with Mormon opposition to same-sex unions, Monson said he approved political debate, but "if it's an apostasy situation, that would not be appropriate." A sufferer of Type II diabetes, Monson is youngest Church president since 1973. He accepted the mantle after the recent death of President Gordon B. Hinckley, with whom Monson worked for 44 years.