Not one to miss a chance to visit the motherland, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on July 6, 2018. Surprisingly, this marked the first time a chancellor had met with senior leadership from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Like, seriously, we’ve had Elder Uchtdorf in our pocket since 2004, and it took 14 years for this to happen?!
The meeting was not Elder Uchtdorf’s doing, but that of outgoing Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. Senator Hatch, also a Latter-day Saint, invited Elder Uchtdorf to come along.
Uchtdorf used the opportunity to discuss the Church’s effort in helping refugees, a need with which the apostle is intimately familiar, having been involved in 69 projects valued at almost $3 million since 2015, according to the Mormon Newsroom.
Later, in a Facebook post, Elder Uchtdorf elaborated on the parallels between those seeking refuge from Nazis and those in need today:
It is sobering to consider the path that led to unimaginable pain and suffering of those who became victims of Nazi terrorism. It may help us to be more cognizant of those who suffer today as the result of intolerance. In our own sphere of influence, I pray that love of God and of our fellowman will be at the root of all we do.
Love is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.
Sen. Hatch and Elder Uchtdorf later visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg, where approximately 30,000 people died in horrendous conditions. The two men signed a book of remembrance and participated in a wreath-laying ceremony.
Germany is one of the power bases in Europe for the LDS Church, with over 40,000 members across 14 stakes and 1 district—although Europe at large has been suffering of late, with numerous mission closures and slow baptism and retention rates.