Emeritus Seventy Expresses Love for Filipino Members
By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
“They are a beautiful, sweet people who are humble and dedicated to the gospel.”
—Elder Ben B. Banks, emeritus Seventy
For four years, Elder Ben B. Banks, an emeritus Seventy, called the Philippines his home while he served in the Philippines Area Presidency. He would leave the island nation with a deep love for the Filipino people and their rich culture.
Elder Banks’s thoughts have returned to his friends in the Philippines as he has followed the news reports of deadly Typhoon Haiyan.
“It has just been gut-wrenching to watch,” he told the Church News.
In the mid-1990s, Elder Banks was called to be a counselor in the Philippines/Micronesia Area Presidency. He was later assigned to preside over the area.
He would spend his assignment visiting almost every corner of the sprawling island nation. At each stake conference, mission tour, or priesthood leadership training he was inspired by the faith and devotion of the Filipino members.
“They are a beautiful, sweet people who are humble and dedicated to the gospel,” he said.
The Philippines are a natural home for the restored Church, he added. “People there are willing to talk about religion—they are a church-going people.”
Elder Banks added that some of the most sacred doctrinal talks that he has heard in his decades of Church service have come from the pulpits of Filipino meetinghouses.
The Filipino members also possess a deep love for their families and cherish their trips to the temple, he added. Many sacrifice almost all they have to claim their temple blessings.
While saddened by the staggering death and destruction in the Philippines, Elder Banks said he finds comfort knowing the Filipino members are looking out for one another. The country is vulnerable to several types of natural disasters including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and, of course, typhoons. He has witnessed firsthand the capacity of the Filipino members during troubled times.
The local priesthood and Relief Society leaders, he said, “are absolutely fantastic.”