Christianity and China

The gospel of Jesus Christ is spreading, if very slowly, in China, and people are seeking information. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often inadvertently called the Mormon Church, has recently announced its plan to create a website for Chinese Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”). The laws governing different religions in China are very strict, and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ have always been, and continue to be, very careful to observe all of those laws.

We must ask and it shall be given, seek and we shall findIt is currently illegal for Mormons to proselyte in the People’s Republic of China, but, according to officials of The Church of Jesus Christ, thousands of Chinese people have been baptized while they were in other countries. This is in no way illegal, but many of them have had a hard time living their religion when they return to China. In addition, there are many Chinese members of The Church of Jesus Christ who continue to live in countries other than China whose needs are not currently being sufficiently met.

New Mormon Website for Chinese Members

The Church of Jesus Christ is launching a new website, mormonsandchina.org, to reach out to Chinese members. According to the official news release from the Church…

Many of these Chinese members [who were baptized while outside of China] 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.

With the launch of the new website at mormonsandchina.org, the Church is addressing for the first time a number of questions about its members and operations in China. The site acknowledges that, historically, it has made few public statements about the Church in China. [1]

Mormonism in China

“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, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said. “In order to observe Chinese laws and directions on religious activities, the Church is blocking access to this website so it cannot be viewed in China.”

Chinese Mormons have had trouble finding local congregations upon returning to China. Laws make it difficult to get the necessary information once in China, so contact information is provided on the website of the correct people to get in touch with, in a legal way, when these individuals do return to China.

In addition, the new website addresses many frequently asked questions regarding The Church of Jesus Christ and China. The answers provided help to clear up many misunderstandings. For example, congregations of Chinese citizens meet separately from people who have foreign passports but still wish to worship while in China. This website makes this distinction easier to understand and follow.

Mormonsandchina.org will also address questions Church leaders around the world have had regarding Chinese members so that all Church leaders can be sure to understand and follow Chinese laws in these matters.

Mormon Missionaries in China

Speaking on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Dallin H. Oaks also stated, putting to rest many unsubstantiated rumors, that the Church has no proselytizing missionaries in China and has no plans to send missionaries or to engage in proselytizing activities in China.

One of the tenets of Mormon doctrine is obeying the law. “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” (Article of Faith 12). Elder Oaks reaffirmed this belief when he said, “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.”

Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is also a fundamental Mormon belief, but it should only be done in accordance with  a country’s laws. Because it is illegal to even bring pamphlets or scriptures into China (except those for personal use), the best way to spread the gospel in China at this time is simply to live a good Christian life and be a good example.

About dwhite
Doris White is a native of Oregon and graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English and a minor in Editing. She loves to talk with others about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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