News Release

Mormon Doctor and HIV Researcher Shares his Faith

Dr Ivan Stratov, an infectious disease specialist and HIV researcher in Melbourne, has been featured in a recent episode of the community TV programme, Support Life, a series that promotes life affirming values and discusses current social issues in Australia from a family perspective.

Ivan also serves in a voluntary capacity as a Councillor in the Melbourne Australia Heidelberg Stake Presidency, which provides leadership and support for seven congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often referred to by the nickname "Mormons’") in  Melbourne.

Ivan spoke about growing up in an atheist family, with his father, a Russian immigrant, telling him at a young age that when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man to fly into space, he did not find God.  As Ivan began to ponder what life was about, he was influenced by friends who were members of the Church. They were normal people playing sport, attending school, and having a strong faith in God.

This led to Ivan’s conversion to the Church and subsequent desire to serve a mission.  He was assigned to the Soviet Union at the end of the Gorbachev era, a time that was characterized by "a revolution in peoples' souls," as he called it.  He described the significant growth in the Church in the Ukraine, where he served.

Ivan also discussed having to deal with legislative changes that are troubling for medical practitioners with traditional Christian views.  His commitment to his values and the importance he places on the freedom of conscience led him to stand for the Victorian parliament in 2010.

The interview concluded with Ivan relating how difficult many people find it to change negative habits or to develop faith.  He concluded with his witness that the strength he and many others have received through their membership in the Church enables them to change their lives for the better.

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