Elder Bednar: Diversity in Europe Helps Gospel Sharing

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 26 September 2014

A young girl presents Elder David A. Bednar with a picture following a stake conference meeting in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

During his recent visit to northern Europe, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided over a variety of member and missionary meetings in the Scandinavian nations of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

The Nordic lands enjoy a rich Church history. Many multigenerational Latter-day Saint families trace their gospel beginnings back to Scandinavia. Congregations in states such as Utah, Idaho, and Arizona have many members named “Jensen,” “Nelson,” “Christensen,” and “Anderson.” Elder Bednar’s wife, Sister Susan Robinson Bednar, has her own ancestral ties to Scandinavia.

Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Susan, in front of the Christus statue at Our Lady’s Church in Copenhagen, Denmark, September 6, 2014.

Elder David A. Bednar speaks during a special stake conference in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on September 14, 2014.

Despite living in a time when secularization has become prevalent across Europe, many Scandinavian Saints who have remained in their homeland are increasingly faithful and devout. Almost two decades ago, Elder Bednar met two local priesthood leaders during a trip to Finland. He rejoiced at seeing both of these men—ever faithful and strong—at a September 6 priesthood leadership conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Elder Bednar served a full-time mission in Germany as a young man. Since that time, he has made several trips to western Europe for business purposes and now on Church assignments.

Elder Bednar also presided over young single adult meetings in Stockholm and Berlin. He counseled the young adults to utilize the many technological resources of the Church—such as online family history research—to become full participants in the gospel. They need not feel isolated. “Get in, get going, and be anxiously engaged,” he invited.

“In all my travels to Europe I had never been to Berlin,” he said. “This trip provided my first opportunity to meet with priesthood leaders and Saints in the northern part of Germany.”

This is a “new season” in Europe offering prime opportunities to spread the news of the Restoration. “In all of these countries, there are people of many different nationalities who find the gospel and join the Church,” Elder Bednar declared. “Many of these people might not have had access to the missionaries and the blessings of the gospel had they remained in their own country.” He concluded, “The Lord truly is in control, and His hand can be seen in such demographic upheavals.”

Elder David A. Bednar addresses a missionary meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, on September 6, 2014.

Two young people wait for a special conference to begin in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on September 14, 2014.

A young family waits for the start of a special stake conference with Elder David A. Bednar in Oslo, Norway, on Sunday, September 7, 2014.