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Posted 25 Jun 2001   For week ended June 22, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 21Jun01

By Kent Larsen

Newly Named Area President Visits Reunion

SAINT DENIS, REUNION -- Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Africa Southeast Area Presidency visited the tiny Indian Ocean island of Reunion last week, attracting the attention of Le Quotidien de la Reunion. The newspaper was surprised to discover that Oaks is a former four-star general in the US Air Force, and used his visit to look at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members on Reunion.

Elder Oaks is a 65-year-old California native who served in the Air Force for 35 years, rising to lead the US Forces in Europe from 1990 to 1994, a period that included both the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Persian Gulf War. In 1994 he left the Air Force and became Vice President of Operations for US Airways, retiring in 1998. Now Elder Oaks is based in Johannesburg, and recently the LDS Church announced that he will be President of the Church's Africa Southeast Area, effective August 15th.

Last week as part of a tour of that Area, Elder Oaks visited Reunion. He was greeted by about 200 Church members in a meeting at a Hotel in Saint Gillois and on June 15th he met the mayor of Saint Denis, Reunion, before traveling on to the neighboring island of Maurice.

According to the Le Quotidien article, the growth of the Church in Reunion has stalled in recent years amid misunderstanding about the Church during a public campaign about sects. Currently the island has three branches, located in Saint Denis, Saint Pierre and Le Port. According to District President Alain Chion-Hock, who was the first LDS Church member on the island, there are now about 750 members on Reunion. Eight missionaries, six Elders and two Sisters, now serve there.

The Le Quotidien article also discusses the Church's prohibition of polygamy since 1890, quoting Elder Oaks as saying that those that practice polygamy are excommunicated from the Church. It also tells about the LDS Church's genealogy program, mentioning that the program has microfilmed the French government's vital records archives.


Visite d'un responsable mormon
Le Quotidien de la Reunion 16Jun01 D1


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