The global leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke Sunday to assembled Saints in Hanoi’s JW Marriott Grand Ballroom of his gratitude to the government for the privilege to gather and worship.
The prophet recounted the short history of the Church in Vietnam—from the dedication of the land in 1966 by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) to the Vietnamese government’s official recognition of the Church in 2016. President Nelson also noted that he met in Salt Lake City this past summer with a delegation headed by Vietnam’s Committee for Religious Affairs.
“We extended to them a very warm welcome. They offered an invitation to come visit. So here we are,” the 95-year-old President Nelson said. “I express to the leaders of the government and to all the leaders of Vietnam our heartfelt gratitude for the opportunity for our members of the Church to worship here in dignity.”
Just days before President Nelson’s arrival in Vietnam, the government granted the Church another important recognition. On November 14, 2019, Madam Thieu Thi Huong of the Vietnam Government Committee for Religious Affairs presented an official certificate authorizing Latter-day Saints to conduct religious activities in the country, in compliance with a new religious law established in 2018.
“We were thrilled with the announcement,” President Nelson said. “We are [also] very grateful to the [Church] leadership of this country. You’re a part of the solution to the problem rather than being part of the problems. … I have great feelings of thanksgiving for you. You are very special.”
In his sermon, the prophet spoke of the eternal nature of the family and God’s personal love for them.
“We recognize the importance of families,” President Nelson said. “We rejoice in the revealed knowledge that families can be perpetuated and be here forever. I know that God loves you, He knows you, and He will bless you with every blessing He has in store for his faithful children. We are created in His image.”
The prophet also told the Saints to love God and neighbor, have faith in Jesus Christ and embrace the gift of His infinite atonement, worship regularly, and engage in “real repentance.”
For those who say they have not done anything wrong and therefore do not need to repent, President Nelson reminded them what repentance is. “Repentance literally is conversion,” he said. “You turn away from the ways of the world and follow the ways of the Lord. That means we can become a little better each day than we were the day before. That is real repentance.”
President Nelson also encourage the Saints of Hanoi to take responsibility for their own education.
“Just as we’re responsible for our own education in our profession or our jobs, we’re responsible for our own education about the gospel,” President Nelson said. “Take it upon yourselves to see where you are low in your gospel understanding and add strength to where you are weak.”
Sister Wendy Nelson and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Kathy, are with President Nelson on this seven-day trip to four southeast Asia countries. Each spoke at the Sunday evening devotional.
In his remarks, Elder Christofferson thanked the membership for being good citizens and faithful Latter-day Saints in Hanoi. “We’re grateful for your examples. We’re grateful for the sacrifices you make. We’re grateful for the joy you bring to others,” he said. “You represent us so very well. Most importantly, you represent the Lord Jesus Christ so very well. Thank you.”
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.