ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended August 06, 2000
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 04Aug00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

South China Morning Post Skeptical About Mormons

South China Morning Post Skeptical About Mormons

HONG KONG, CHINA -- An article in today's South China Morning Post recognizes the efforts of LDS missionaries in Hong Kong and the growth of the LDS Church there, but takes a very skeptical view of the Church. The article looks at LDS doctrine and practice in missionary work and genealogy and looks at the reaction of critics to the Church, who claim that Mormons aren't Christian and that missionary efforts are overly zealous.

According to the article LDS missionaries have been banned from mainland China, which call's the Church a "cult" because of the "doomsday" reference in the Church's name (i.e., Latter-day). But this hasn't stopped the Church in Hong Kong, where the Church has grown to 20,000 members since its intoduction there in 1949. Hong Kong has become, according to the article, a regional headquarters for the Church, and in June the Church made what is believed to be its largest foreign investment when it purchased property at 116 Gloucester Road in Wan Chai for a 25-story building, "the finest building the church has ever constructed outside of Utah," according to Cree L. Kofford, President of the Church's Asia Area.

But according to Hong Kong Temple President Brent Hardy, who served a mission to Hong Kong in 1956, the island isn't as spiritually hungry as it used to be, "Hong Kong was not a happy place. Refugees were looking for something - there was a spiritual vacuum. There isn't that spiritual longing here anymore." says Hardy.

Current missionaries include Elders Brandon John and Ben Torgensen, who teach in Mandarin, trying to get converts among those from mainland China. When the South China Morning Post visits with them, they are street contacting in Exchange Square in Central, where some non-Chinese criticize them, calling Mormonism an "aberrant" form of Christianity that undermines the rest of Christianity, "You undermine the fundamentals on which Christianity stands or falls," says Jason Porteous, a 32-year-old artist, Scot and Christian.

Another non-Chinese critic is Louis Pabiout, who asks the missionaries, "Is it legal in Hong Kong to be a zealot and push religion?" An anthropologist, Pabiout claims to know when someone is a zealot, "I find your work repulsive. You are bringing people into your way of thinking - if they come to you, fine. You have to be respectful of other points of view and culture."

But Elders John and Torgensen shrug off the detractors, "That happens every day," says Torgensen. They move on to an appointment with a woman for a second discussion, but find that she hasn't yet felt the spirit of what they are teaching, apparently listening to those who say that Mormonism is a "bad religion."

One place where LDS beliefs mesh with those of the dominant beliefs in Hong Kong is in a common respect for forebearers. Chinese members participate like members in the US, collecting records and performing temple ordinances for the dead. One member, Valencia Yu-Yan Hung, 46, has even traced her lineage back to the fifth century BC chinese philosopher Confucius, who is worshiped across Asia, and had temple work done for him. Another has given 175 volumes of his family's history, containing 200,000 names, to the Church for temple work.

Preaching to the diverted
Hong Kong China South China Morning Post 4Aug00 N1
By Kenneth Howe


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information