Elder Bednar “Impressed” with Saints in Japan and Korea

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor

  • 14 November 2016

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles poses with members in Busan, Korea, during an October 2016 visit to Japan and Korea.

Article Highlights

  • The Church in Japan and Korea is experiencing slow but steady growth.

After visiting Japan and Korea—an area of the world where the Church is experiencing slow but steady growth—Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles praised Asian Latter-day Saints for their commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“You can’t help but be impressed by the diligence, graciousness, and faithfulness of these Latter-day Saints,” he said.

Elder Bednar—accompanied by his wife, Sister Susan Bednar—visited Asia October 14–23.

As part of his assignments in Japan and Korea, Elder Bednar held priesthood leadership conferences, member devotionals, and missionary meetings—many with the aid of technology.

“It was a great blessing for the members in Japan and Korea to have a visit by Elder and Sister Bednar,” said Elder Scott D. Whiting, a General Authority Seventy and President of the Church’s Asia North Area. “With the use of technology all members in both countries were able to learn from an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Using an interactive format, the youth in Japan and Korea were able to ask questions of Elder and Sister Bednar even from remote locations. The youth felt a unique connection with an Apostle, though many were unable to be in his physical presence.”

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan Bednar participate in a conference with youth from Sapporo, Japan.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks to members in Busan, Korea, during an October 2016 visit to Japan and Korea.

Sister Susan Bednar speaks to youth in Sapporo, Japan, as she participates in a conference with her husband, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Elder Whiting said that in Korea Elder Bednar felt impressed to give a warning to the members, just as Nephi did to the people in Helaman 12:1–5. “I felt that this message of warning is a message that has application to all of us in these latter days,” Elder Whiting explained.

“What a marvelous blessing it was for us to be in the company of a prophet, seer, and revelator! We felt of his love and concern for the people in Japan and Korea, and his message of encouragement and clear and lovingly given admonitions will be remembered for years to come.”

In northern Japan, Elder and Sister Bednar visited the Sapporo Japan Temple, dedicated August 21 by President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The temple is the Church’s 151st.

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, a General Authority Seventy and member of the Asia North Area Presidency, said Elder Bednar spoke of the beauty of the temple and the blessing it is to northern Japan and invited the members to consider the role and purpose of this new temple in fulfilling God’s plan for His children.

When he visited the city of Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan, several years ago, Elder Bednar witnessed the devotion of the Sapporo Latter-day Saints, who were so faithful in their temple attendance despite the expense and time to travel to Tokyo.

“The Church members in Hokkaido are grateful for having such a beautiful temple in Sapporo,” Elder Bednar said. “They appreciate this great opportunity to receive sacred ordinances for themselves and their families and to serve as ordinance workers in the Sapporo Temple. …

“These members are still excited for this temple in their midst and recognize the sacred power of temple covenants. They strongly commit to invite and take others to the temple.”

Youth from Sapporo, Japan, participate in a conference with Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan Bednar.

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, a General Authority Seventy and member of the Asia North Area Presidency, said Elder Bednar came to the area with the apostolic keys. “He warned us with sweet love and gave us hope and desire to act with faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. He guided us to find the way on our own and asked us to simplify our lives according to the right priorities. It was time for the members of the Church and members of other faiths in the Asia North Area to be awakened.”

Elder and Sister Bednar had meetings with stakes and missions as well as the youth and young single adults. “We learned from their example of ministering one by one while holding meetings with such large gatherings,” Elder Choi said.

Youth from Sapporo, Japan, participate in a conference with Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan Bednar.

For example, there was a woman of another faith in Japan who came to the devotional with the missionaries. “She felt that Elder Bednar was an Apostle of the Lord. … She could not stop her tears while sharing her feeling with members around her, pointing to Elder Bednar’s picture in the General Authority chart in the Liahona right after the meeting.”

A young man was invited by a member friend to participate in the youth meeting via Facebook. After the meeting, he called the missionaries and asked if he could learn more about the Church, recounted Elder Choi.

“I fully recognized again that Elder Bednar is one of Twelve Apostles on the earth who brings blessings and comfort for all people,” he said.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan Bednar participate in a conference with youth from Sapporo, Japan.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan Bednar participate in a conference with youth from Sapporo, Japan.

Youth in Sapporo, Japan, participate in a conference with Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Latter-day Saints in Tokyo listen to Sister Susan Bednar, wife of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on October 16, 2016.

Latter-day Saints in Tokyo listen to Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 16, 2016.

Latter-day Saints in Tokyo listen to Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 16, 2016.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles poses with members in Busan, Korea, during an October 2016 visit to Japan and Korea.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles children in Busan, Korea, during a recent visit.

Members in Busan, Korea, listen to Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during an October 2016 visit to Japan and Korea.

Members in Busan, Korea, listen to Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during an October 2016 visit to Japan and Korea.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks to members in Busan, Korea, during an October 2016 visit to Japan and Korea.