Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Church in China

While we were in Utah this week we heard the news on the Salt Lake news station that China has agreed to allow our church to have "regularized" operations in China. Click here for the church news report about this subject. It may not seem like much, but this is a HUGE step forward for the church in China. Up until now, the Chinese government has only recognized 5 religions: Muslim, Buddhism, Catholic, Protestant, and Taoism. Being that we don't fit in to any of these categories, they have agreed to recognize us separately. We are Christian, but we believe ours is the restored church of Jesus Christ, and not a break off of the Protestant or Catholic churches.

I'm really not sure how this will play out in normal worship, but it has been implied that it might give a little more freedom to Chinese members who have not been allowed to meet as a congregation. We do not proselyte in China, and we are careful to obey their laws concerning this, but there are chinese citizens who have joined the church outside of China, then returned home.

It is interesting that Jon Huntsman, who is the present ambassador to China, and is LDS, and a former Taiwan missionary, was not part of those negotiations. This came about because of a 30 year relationship we have formed with the chinese government. Our church has had the opportunity to do many service related things in China, and I think the Chinese government has learned that we can be trusted to "come in the front door, not the back".

What this means to me, as a former Taiwan missionary, is that we are one step closer to the church being able to proselyte in China. That may not happen immediately, but we have hope that in the future we will have that chance. I know the chinese people are hungry for religion, and we hope to be able to take the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to them.


Nene said...

I think this is great - baby steps!

Mr. Giggles said...

It may truly be baby steps, but it should mean great leaps for those living in China! The new freedoms they will enjoy, though small, will be incredible for them! We were SO excited to hear this news!

Becky said...

Just a week ago we had a brief visit with a family who just moved into our ward after living in Shanghai for a couple of years. We'd never really thought about the church in China, so although we knew the church wasn't recognized there, we were still amazed to hear some of her stories - government officials in sacrament meeting and keeping the Chinese branch and the English branch totally separate (weren't even supposed to say hi if they crossed in the halls), etc. This is momentous news, and I imagine it will just make your daughter's mission even more incredible and exciting.

Marla said...

We have two family members teaching in China right now. It's an amazing place filled with people hungry for the truth.