News Release

Elder Uchtdorf Meets with Ambassadors and Senators in D.C.
Elder Uchtdorf Bertemu dengan Duta Besar dan Senator di D.C.

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While visiting Washington, D.C., October 23–27, 2023, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met with ambassadors and representatives from nine countries (eight of them from Asia) and United States senators from Idaho and Utah.

The Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints strengthened relations with representatives from Brunei, Cambodia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam. He also met U.S. Senator Jim Risch of Idaho and Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney of Utah.

“The Church always enters through the front door of a country,” Elder Uchtdorf said while reflecting on these visits in his office in the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, November 1, 2023. “We are totally transparent. We want everyone to know that we have no hidden agenda. Our work is not for selfish or economic reasons. We follow invitations to enter a nation because we believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can make this world a better place. Our activities of humanitarian help, emotional support and spiritual enlightenment center around the One who is our exemplar and who leads us – Jesus Christ. We invite everyone to come, help and belong by their own free will and choice — everyone is welcome, everyone!”

“The ambassadors appreciated our efforts to strengthen the youth by teaching moral values of integrity, honesty and service.” Elder Uchtdorf said, “Some showed great interest in the ‘For the Strength of Youth’ guidebook and expressed interest in learning more about our children and youth program.”

For example, in his visit with Malaysian Ambassador to the U.S. Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, the Apostle discussed in detail the “For the Strength of Youth” booklet.

“These leaders are always interested in raising their youth in a proper and good way, with integrity and honesty,” he said. The Apostle also shared with the Malaysian ambassador, whose country is home to more than 10,000 Latter-day Saints, the purpose of the house of the Lord and the role of Holy Spirit in the lives of our members. “These are the things of spiritual and emotional importance that connect people,” Elder Uchtdorf said.

The German native welcomed the opportunity to share more information about the Church of Jesus Christ. Pakistan Ambassador Masood Khan, for example, asked many deep questions about the faith. One of them was, “What is your Mecca?” Mecca is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammed and is the holiest city in Islam. Elder Uchtdorf shared with him that the Church’s temples or houses of the Lord are places of our most sacred worship to God around the world.


“If you want to compare, you might say we have many Meccas. Our temples are our places of most sacred worship,” Elder Uchtdorf said of the Church’s 335 houses of the Lord in operation or various stages of design or construction.

In further response to the Pakistani ambassador’s question and reference to the continual prayer and worship around the Ka’bah in Mecca, Elder Uchtdorf shared that we have members in many countries around the globe. Therefore, there is practically always someone worshiping and praying to God, either in their personal or congregational prayers. In our worship services, we commit to remember God and to always have His spirit with us.

“We have temples around the globe, so 24/7 we worship God, and we pray for His children,” Elder Uchtdorf said.

In recent years, the Church of Jesus Christ has announced it will build houses of the Lord in Cambodia, India, and Indonesia. And just last month, the Church opened its first temple in Thailand.

The visit with Vietnam Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Dzung reminded Elder Uchtdorf of the power of reconciliation.

“It’s a wonderful example that after a bitter war in Southeastern Asia with all its suffering, the same nations and their citizens are now in a beautiful process of reconciliation,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “We are grateful for the wonderful relationships we have with our friends in Asia.”


A Vietnamese delegation visited the First Presidency in June 2019, and President Russell M. Nelson visited Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in November of the same year.

With countries such as Brunei, where the Church of Jesus Christ does not have an official presence yet, Elder Uchtdorf said developing relationships is still of great importance.

“International ambassadors often know and respect each other. They work on similar topics and share experiences,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “As we work with the embassies to proceed in their countries according to their laws, we establish a relationship of trust and as friends of their nation and people. The Church and the gospel have a universal message of peace. Our members seek to be honest, live with integrity and strive to make this world a better place. These are good things ambassadors want for their people too.”

On Monday, October 23, Elder Uchtdorf also participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery. Joined by Sister Harriet Uchtdorf and Elder José A. Teixeira of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Filomena, Elder Uchtdorf placed the wreath on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ.

“We honor those who give their lives to make the world a better place,” said Elder Uchtdorf. “Through our own history, the Church of Jesus Christ can relate with deep emotion to those who stand up for their beliefs in the process of protecting the freedoms of all people worldwide.”


Meeting with high governmental representatives is directed and guided by the First Presidency to assure that the overall purpose of the Church is always kept in mind. There are multiple connecting points for the worldwide Church. Most of them are in the nation itself and then some are here in the United States, mainly at Church headquarters. For instance, each year important representatives from many countries meet for an international law symposium at Brigham Young University (BYU).

BYU also invites ambassadors to participate in a diplomatic lecture series in Provo. Elder Uchtdorf extended on behalf of BYU such invitations to two of the ambassadors he visited.

The ambassadors expressed gratitude for such opportunities in which they are able to learn more about the Church and its worldwide purpose and share with students and faculty their insight and experience about current world affairs. It is a highpoint in their visits to Utah when they get an opportunity to meet with the First Presidency.

Temple open houses are other events they mention as a learning experience in their diplomatic life. Since ambassadors often serve in their guest country for several years, they greatly appreciate invitations to activities that include their families. Some had just recently attended the Marriott family Western Family Picnic event and were sharing how their children enjoyed this cultural event.

Normal daily life consists of many touchpoints and experiences. Through those experiences, we learn about, respect and love our neighbors. Elder Uchtdorf expressed his hope that as much as he learned important things during these diplomatic contacts, their representatives would also feel the Spirit of the Lord as His work extends across the world.

The Church has members of great talent and deep dedication to the work in places of governmental significance. “The Washington team is exceptionally engaged and working hard to establish well-grounded relationships with all the nations of the world,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “They are highly respected by the representatives of other nations.”

It is by the many daily acts of goodness that the work moves forward. The Lord said, “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6). Elder Uchtdorf added, “The Lord expects us to do our part, which may not be perfect. But He expects it because we can do it. And then our work will be perfected in Christ. This applies to our public service, to our callings and responsibilities in the Church, but especially to our personal lives. We can trust Jesus Christ. He is at the center of this work.”

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