The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church, has launched a new website that is designed specifically for those from the People’s Republic of China who have joined the Church while living in other countries, according to a Meridian Magazine article titled “New Website to Serve Chinese Nationals, Help Members Find Church in China.” Members of the Mormon Church believe in “obeying, honoring, and sustaining” the laws of the land in which they live, as the 12th Article of Faith states. The new website, Mormons and China.org, is set up to help members from China to do that.
“Many of these Chinese members remain where they have been working or studying, but many also return to China and do not know how to find the Church in their country and may not understand how they should comply with Chinese laws in relation to religious practice,” the article said.
“Over the years, the Church has built a strong relationship of trust with the People’s Republic of China by always respecting the important laws and traditions of that country,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who has long supervised the Church in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said in the article. “In order to observe Chinese traditions and directions on religious activities, the Church is blocking access to this website so it cannot be viewed in China.”
Dispelling Rumors and Answering Questions about the Church in China
“The Church hopes that making information public will help counter unsubstantiated rumors that circulate about the Church in China,” including whether Mormon missionaries are being sent there, according to the article. Elder Oaks said that the Church doesn’t send any proselytizing missionaries to the People’s Republic of China and doesn’t have any plans to do so, according to the article. The new site is also unrelated to the recent announcement lowering the eligibility age for full-time missionaries, according to the article.
With this website, The Church of Jesus Christ is, for the first time, addressing a number of questions about its members and operations in China, according to the article. The website answers questions frequently asked by PRC Church members outside of China as well as those from Church leaders around the world who work with those members, according to the article. “It also gives basic information for PRC Chinese members returning to China, including whom to contact for information, attending Sunday Church meetings and encouragement to observe relevant Chinese laws,” according to the article.
Church Encourages Adherence to Religious Restrictions in China
The new website explains some of the religious restrictions in China and encourages members to obey them. These include not mailing religious materials to China nor carrying scriptures or other Church materials into China beyond a copy for personal use, according to the article. “Latter-day Saints should not discuss religion or the Church while traveling in China,” the article states.
Also in obedience to Chinese law, “worship services for foreign-passport holding Latter-day Saints are separate from worship services for PRC Chinese members, whose branches are directed by their own local priesthood leaders,” according to the article.
“Our more open communication about The Church of Jesus Christ in China follows our developed relationship of trust with Chinese officials and our concern for the PRC citizens who are joining the Church throughout the world,” Elder Oaks said in the article. “We will continue to teach our members to be good citizens. Providing accurate information about the Church will allow them to better contribute to society in China.”
I am a wife and mother of 4 beautiful children in a small town in the mountains of Idaho. We ski as a family in the winter and camp, fish, and go to the beach in the summer. I’m a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I am grateful for the Savior and the blessings of the gospel in my life.