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Sent on Mormon-News: 27Mar01

By Kent Larsen

Church Raising Profile in Scotland

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND -- The Edinburgh-based newspaper The Scotsman says that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is raising its profile in the land, launching a "charm offensive" in this northern part of the United Kingdom. The newspaper says the Church has sent public relations officers to Scotland, is forging links with local groups and is staging events in the country that feature Mormon celebrities. The article goes on to imply that the purpose behind this activity is 'recruitment.'

Elder and Sister Duane LeSueur, of Mesa, Arizona, have been sent to Scotland as the Church's first public relations missionaries there, says the newspaper. But Elder LeSueur says "Our intent is not to try to push the religion. If we do good things and people see it, people will be interested." In addition to the LeSueurs, wards and stakes in Scotland have participated with other local groups to clean playgrounds and paint community centers to forge ties with local community organizations.

Then, during the summer, Mormon astronaut Don Lind will visit Scotland to give a series of lectures. BYU's folk dancers will then perform in Edinburgh. Finally, in August, the Scottish port of Grenock will host the ships of the Sea Trek as they re-enact the voyage of Mormon converts from Europe to the US.

But Edinburgh stake president Stephen Kerr, one of five stake presidents in Scotland, says that this activity and the LeSueur's job is simply meant to show the Scots what Mormons are about, "There's a lot of hocus pocus spoken about different churches, including our own. Their job is to make the public more aware of the existence of the church. If more people join that's good, but it's really about getting our story over to people."

But the Scotsman's Frank O'Donnell remains unconvinced, finishing his article saying, "Despite the denials about recruitment, the scent of expansion is in the air," and observing that the Church is looking to build a new Edinburgh building.


Mormons in charm offensive
Edinburgh UK The Scotsman 26Mar01 N1
By Frank O'Donnell


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