Monday, August 30, 2010

LDS Church Meets With People's Republic of China Officials Regarding the Regularization of Church Activities in China

In a significant development regarding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the People's Republic of China, apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Donald L. Hallstrom of the Seventy met with Chinese officials in February and May in Beijing and August 24th in Salt Lake City regarding the regularization of LDS Church activities in mainland China. Although the possibility of open proselytism in mainland China remains "not even under consideration" according to the article posted on the Church's website, this recent discourse with the Chinese government is preparing the way for Chinese and foreigner Latter-day Saints in China to comply with the law and live church teachings and assemble in a more organized fashion. Although details have not been discussed relating to what changes will take place, possibilities may include greater information provided to the general Church membership regarding the native LDS Chinese membership in China which continues to be not released to the public out of respect for Chinese law and policy. This recent progress has come as a result of 30 years of work and respect between the Church and People's Republic of China.

Currently 14 English-speaking branches organized in two districts meet in China with many more groups in isolated areas. Elder M. Russell Ballard reported in 2008 that around 20 small branches had been established for native Chinese members, none of which appeared to have been operating just eight years earlier. Chinese law requires citizens and foreigners to be segregated for worship services. Foreigners tend to consist of North Americans, Europeans, and Koreans. Chinese Latter-day Saints living in China either joined the Church abroad or through family members in China as permitted by the government. Chinese members and congregations continue to meet privately.

The first full-time male LDS missionary to serve from China completed his mission in 2006. In early 2010, there were 42 missionaries from mainland China serving around the world (but not in their home country).

For additional information regarding the Church in China, please read an article written by me and David Stewart on Cumorah.com. The original article about the meetings between LDS Church and Chinese officials can be found here.

2 comments:

brent said...

I wonder if Ambassador Huntsman had some influence in this meeting.

Alex said...

The news article said that he had no influence at all in it.