Top-ranking Mormon leader heads to hospice as cancer worsens
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A top-ranking Mormon leader, 92-year-old L. Tom Perry, is headed to hospice as his cancer spreads aggressively.
Cancer found last month in Perry’s thyroid gland has spread to his lungs and beyond, church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement Friday.
Perry is at home and no longer will attend meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a high-level Mormon governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He will be moved to hospice in the coming days, Hawkins said.
Perry is the second-most senior member of the quorum, which is modeled after Jesus Christ’s apostles and serves under the church president and his two counselors.
Originally from Logan, Perry spent his professional career as a vice president and treasurer in retail business before being named to the quorum in 1974.
He was one of four leaders to meet with President Barack Obama during his recent trip to Utah.
Perry also was in attendance when Mormon leaders and state lawmakers introduced a landmark bill in March that bars discrimination against gay and transgender people while protecting the rights of religious groups and individuals.
Perry was greeted warmly by LGBT advocates that day but drew their rebuke in early April when he gave a speech about the church being a leading advocate for traditional families and opposing “counterfeit and alternative lifestyles.”
Church President Thomas S. Monson, considered the religion’s prophet, is tasked with choosing replacements when quorum members die. Members of the faith believe those decisions are guided by inspiration from God.
Some past quorum members have been moved up from another governing body, the Quorum of the Seventy, while others have come from leadership posts at church-run universities.