Wednesday, May 11, 2011

LDS in the Middle East

Growth in membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been high enough in the region that the Bahrain stake (large group of congregations) was split into two new stakes, one Bahrainian, one centered in Abu Dhabi. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland commented this growth was not from proselytizing Muslims as per the Church's agreement with the national governments, but from influx of members from elsewhere and conversions of other Christians living in the area. Pictured are members in Qatar listening to the apostle when he visited.

At the same time, the US State Department awarded Stephen Beecroft the Diplomacy for Human Rights Award for his work as US ambassador to Jordan in strengthening respect for human rights. Beecroft gives much of the credit to the Jordanians and staff with whom he works, and to his parents and their example of service. A fellow BYU graduate, he also worked as Executive Assistant to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condolezza Rice.

Michael Otterman discusses whether we are having another "Mormon Moment" with the probably presidential candidacy of not one, but two Mormons. In short, he says that yeah, we'll probably see a spike in interest, but the long course of growth and people getting to know more members in their daily lives are far more important. The Church is also making freely available an hour long film about the life of founder Joseph Smith, an adaptation from a similar film that relied on a little more background knowledge from the audience.

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