By Kent Larsen
Elder Nelson Visits Brazil's Top Elected Officials
BRASILIA, BRAZIL -- Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve
Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints paid a visit to
several of Brazil's top elected officials on August 15th and 16th, sharing
information about the Church's worldwide efforts in support of families.
Elder Nelson met with Brazilian Vice President Marco Antonio de Oliveira
Maciel, Aecio Neves, President of Brazil's Chamber of Deputies (equivalent
of the US House of Representatives), Edson Lobao, acting president of
Brazil's Senate, and of its Congress, and Jose Serra, Brazil's minister of
Elder Nelson was accompanied by Elder Claudio R.M. Costa of the Seventy,
recently released president of the Brazil North Area; Elder Athos M. Amorim
of the Seventy, president of the Brazil South Area; Elder Cesar M. Milder,
Area Authority Seventy; Fernando Assis, Brazil director of public affairs,
and by Moroni Bing Torgan, the lone LDS Church member in Brazil's congress.
Torgan is widely known in Brazil for his efforts to rout out corruption as
part of a 19-member anti-drug investigation commission known by its initials
in Portuguese, CPI. Sometimes called the "untouchables" after the U.S. FBI
agents who fought the Chicago mob under Elliot Ness in the 1930s, the CPI
has changed the perception of illicit drug distribution in Brazil.
The LDS leaders met with Vice President Maciel instead of Brazil's President
Fernando Henrique Cardoso becuase Cardoso was out of the country on a state
visit. Elder Nelson presented the officials with copies of the Proclamation
on the Family and stressed the Church's role in supporting the family and
obeying the law. When the group met with Minister of Health Jose Serra,
Torgan presented him with the video tape "Helping Through Love" and Elder
Nelson praised Brazil's anti-smoking program.
Deputy Torgan also escorted Elder Nelson before the Chamber of Deputies,
where he became the first LDS Church authority to be recognized by the chamber.
The Church counts about 800,000 members in Brazil and remains one of the
fastest growing religions in the country. However, since Torgan is the only
LDS Church member in the Congress, Church members are under-represented in
the 594-member legislature, making up just .15% of the Congress, but .5% of
Elder Nelson meets Brazilian leaders
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