News Release

Apostle Oaks, Elder Rasband and Bishop Caussé Visit Pacific Area

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), was part of a tour of Church leaders to the Pacific in the latter part of April.  Elder Oaks, along with Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Bishop Gérald J. Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric, met with local priesthood leaders, members, young adults and missionaries.

Among the locations visited, either collectively or separately, by these senior Church officers were Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane. Each was accompanied by their wives who also spoke in most of the meetings.  

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles often travel internationally fulfilling their calling to minister and testify of Jesus Christ to the people with whom they meet.  Their role, to direct the entire Church, is identical to the responsibility of those called into this position by Christ 2,000 years ago.

The three leaders were also accompanied in various locations by members of the Pacific Area Presidency, Elders James J. Hamula, Kevin W. Pearson and  F. Michael Watson.  The Area Presidency comprises members of the Quorums of Seventy who administer the Church on behalf of the Apostles in assigned geographical jurisdictions.

The three-person Presiding Bishopric, based in Salt Lake City, has a particular role in directing the temporal arm of the Church which includes administering finance and membership records, buildings, Church material distribution and the other work of Church employees.

Among the Australian meetings, Elder Oaks and Bishop Caussé met with 200 missionaries in Brisbane on Friday 26th April and began by shaking the hands of each young man and woman before their meeting in Kangaroo Point chapel alongside the Brisbane temple.  

Two missionaries, Elder Will Hopoate, a well-known former Sydney NRL footballer, and Elder Alexandre Caby from France, who function as the assistants (or leading missionary training officers) to the Queensland mission president, were seen to enjoy a hearty embrace with the Brethren.  Bishop Caussé and his wife Valerie, spoke briefly with Elder Caby about their joint love of their French homeland.

On Saturday, 27th April at Brisbane’s Chandler Centre, Elder Oaks, who was a state Supreme Court justice before being called as an Apostle, presided at a meeting of 995 young single adults from the region and taught of the importance of marriage. He invited the young adults to work together, helping one another to be worthy to make and keep the sacred ordinances received in the temple.

He invited the young people to rely more greatly on the Saviour, Jesus Christ.  “Christ is the author and finisher of our faith.  (He is) the author because he brought the plan of happiness forward to our Heavenly Father and (he is) the finisher because of the atonement, enabling all men the gift of immortality,” said Elder Oaks.

Elder Oaks asked, “What is the most important thing about you?” and told the young adults not to limit themselves by categorising themselves as “a basketball player, a football player, a famous singer or a great businessman. What happens,” he said, “if you lose a game, lose your voice or your fame or your investments in the stock market.”

“Never allow yourselves to be a subject of disappointment or measure yourselves by the world’s values of power and prominence,” said Elder Oaks.  “You are a son or daughter of God.”

Elder Oaks referred to the oft-told the story of a prominent man who died, “How much property did he leave -- all of it.”

Elder Oaks also encouraged young adult men not to postpone marriage, a trend that was occurring in many countries.  “You are supposed to take the initiative,” he said.  “It is the Lord’s plan to have a wife and family.”  

In a personal example, he revealed some counsel he gave to his grandson about dating and looking for a wife.   He said, “You’ve probably done enough due-diligence and you’ve gone as far as you can in life, having completed a master’s degree.  Now, stop looking for the perfect companion and make a commitment.   Find one who is right for you.”

In other parts of the Australian tour, Elder Ronald Rasband, a former president and chief operating officer of Huntsman Chemical Corporation, spoke in meetings in Perth and Adelaide.  

In Perth, he addressed many hundreds of Latter-day Saints in a multistake fireside held at the Warwick chapel.  Quoting remarks by Church president, Thomas S. Monson, Elder Rasband, said the Lord is “hastening his work.”  Referring to the work of members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, he described the burgeoning number of new Church units around the world.

“Elder Bednar recently organized the first stake (diocese) of the Church in Indonesia,” said Elder Rasband. “Elder Oaks created the first stake in India, Elder Nelson has created two new stakes in Russsia. (Under assignment from the Twelve Apostles) I created the first stake in Abu Dhabi, interviewing and calling the new leaders by Skype.  I also went to Italy to create the ninth stake in that country in Milan.”

During a poignant moment of his remarks, Elder Rasband described a meeting he had with the president of one of the republics formed after the dissolution of a former Eastern European country and the subsequent civil wars there.

“I took the opportunity to talk about our doctrine of the family, emphasizing the eternal nature of families and being able to be reunited with deceased loved ones and be sealed for time and eternity,” said Elder Rasband. “The president wept, advising he had lost many of his fellow countrymen in the vicious war that had ravaged the country.  This doctrine was the first comfort he had felt. ‘Yours are the first words of hope,' the president said.”

In Sydney, Bishop Gérald Caussé addressed 200 missionaries and also referred to the hastening of the Lord’s work “in his time.  We are seeing the Lord’s time right now,” said Bishop Caussé, who is a former general manager and a member of the board of Pomona, France's largest food distributor.  “Never before in the history of the world has so much progress been made.”

“(But) we need to stay simple – not complex.  We need to invite all to come unto Christ.  What is measured is good, but what is most important can’t be measured.  We all need to be diligent in our efforts and desire to do the Lord’s work.” 

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