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Sent on Mormon-News: 28Aug01

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 Health.

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 the population.


Elder Nelson meets Brazilian leaders
LDS Church News 25Aug01 N2

See also:

LDS Congressman in Brazil Leads Powerful Drug Investigation

'Gun Toting' LDS Congressman fights organized crime in Brazil


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