When Nelson Mandela, prominent and visionary South African president, passed away in December 2013, the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church) expressed their condolences at his passing. As part of the published statement, The Church of Jesus Christ expressed that “[Mandela’s] courage, kindness and extraordinary moral leadership have been an example to all people.” [1]

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Mandela was a champion for human rights and liberties. He was a key player in abolishing discriminatory apartheid practices from South African law and worked tirelessly to establish balance and peace within his nation. He served as President of South Africa from 1995 to 1999, and his influence has continued to impact the world. His legacy will not soon be forgotten.

The Church of Jesus Christ believes that all people, regardless of race, age, gender, or nationality, are children of a loving Heavenly Father and all deserve the liberty to choose a personal path. Nelson Mandela was an unparalleled political leader, with a sound and strong moral imperative, and Mormons join with the world in mourning his passing.

There are nearly 60,000 Mormons in South Africa in 152 congregations, with 3 missions, a temple in Johannesburg, and 60 family history libraries. The first Mormon congregation was organized near Capetown in 1853. Two years later, there were 130 members of The Church of Jesus Christ in 3 congregations. From 1865 to 1903 Mormon missionaries were not able to work in South Africa. A few years after missionaries returned to South Africa, the first Church building was built in Mowbray in 1916-17. Today, members of all origins work together to overcome cultural barriers that have been prevalent in South African society.  [2]

About Charlotte Wilson
Charlotte graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in English, with an emphasis in editing. During her education she interned with the Neal A.Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, BYU Publications, and the New Era magazine. Charlotte currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and son. She's a stay-at-home-mom and has been able to keep up her writing through maintaining a personal blog (smallandtrivial.blogspot.com).

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