Author’s Note: These are some of my thoughts and a summary from a recent visit from Elder Gerrit W. Gong, who addressed my stake at a recent special conference. This is Part Two of a Two-Part Series. Read Part One here.
Elder Gong shared with us some of the numbers of the Restoration. Currently, the United Nations recognizes 224 countries (a number that changes fairly regularly). Of those 224, the Church has an organized unit in 189. There are currently 23 countries with more than 100,000 members of record. The Church currently has more than one million members of record in The United States, Mexico, and Brazil.
Basing the growth and happenings of the Church on the faithlessness and apostasy you may be encountering in your local Utah congregation is as ignorant as measuring the size of the Amazon river at it’s headwaters.
Elder Gong then shared with us two stories from his recent travels with President Nelson. In Samoa, it is a drive of 17 miles from the airport to the government center. The streets were lined the entire way with members waiting to greete President Nelson and him, the visiting apostle. He observed the prophet had his head and hands out the window for the entire 17-mile trip greeting and waving to the Saints.
In Tonga, President Nelson and Elder Gong met with the King and Queen. After their meeting, the King invited President Nelson to address the media from the Royal Grounds. It was the first time non-royalty had spoken publicly on the grounds in over 100 years. The queen asked President Nelson to stand on her royal tapa during the address.
Much has been said by the Lamans and Lemuels among us regarding President Nelson’s emphasis on properly utilizing the name of the Church. Elder Gong addressed the Prophet’s correction to the world and explained the inspiration and the results behind the prophetic correction. In the past when a member stated they were Mormon, it would generally lead to a discussion about how many wives they had, the history of the restored Priesthood, or why we don’t drink coffee. NOW when a member states they are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the conversation is naturally led to the member sharing how they feel about Jesus Christ. He asserted the name correction in our “casual, everyday” missionary work has been phenomenal.
Elder Gong closed by bearing testimony of the Book of Mormon and then of the Lord Jesus Christ. No evil person could have written it and no good person could have written it with the intent to deceive. We were challenged to learn of Christ’s love for us personally and as a people. He smiled and told us Doctrine & Covenants 45 was a great way to start.
It was a wonderful meeting and all who were there felt of his special witness. I echo his final statement and testimony to us. “Brothers and Sisters it is true. It’s all true.”
- “The Correct Name of the Church” -President Russell M. Nelson, October 2018.
- “Turn On Your Light” -Sister Sharon Eubank, October 2017.
- “The True Strength of the Church” -Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, April 1973.
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