Brazil’s best days are the claim of the future

Credit: Courtesy of the Brazil Area
Credit: Courtesy of the Brazil Area
Credit: Courtesy Brazil Area
Credit: Courtesy of the Brazil Area


The Church in Brazil reflects Brazilian culture — it’s warm and rich in color, tradition and opportunity.

Faithful Latter-day Saints here in South America’s largest nation love the Lord and their families. They find joy sharing the gospel with their neighbors. And they’re eager for their relatives and neighbors to claim the blessings that come from living devout, hopeful lives.

Today it’s impossible to talk of the Church’s global footprint without speaking of Brazil.

“Brazil is one of the main pillars of the Church — and it has tremendous potential,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Elder Christofferson recently witnessed the Church in Brazil at the ground level when he directed an annual review of the Brazil Area. Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy and Bishop Gérald Caussé, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, also participated in the review.

While in Brazil from April 24 to May 3, the visiting Brethren presided over a variety of other member meetings — including priesthood leadership conferences, missionary, youth and married couple devotionals, stake conferences and family home evenings with young single adults.

In all, they provided counsel and support to some 20,000 Latter-day Saints.

Elder Christofferson also met with religious leaders at a mosque in Sao Paulo where, speaking in Portuguese, he delivered a keynote address on religious freedom. (See accompanying report.)

With over a million members and home to six temples and two more announced, the Brazil Area has emerged in recent decades as a power in the Church. “But there’s much more room to grow,” Elder Christofferson said.

The visiting Brethren placed key emphasis on increasing the number of missionaries serving from Brazil and improving the effectiveness of missionaries serving in the country.

Bishop Caussé told the Church News that a record number of Brazilians have answered full-time mission calls in recent years, including an increase in sister missionaries.

Elder Clayton also emphasized fellowshipping members who have stepped away from regular Church activity. “It’s the work of rescue that President Monson talks about so often.”

Priesthood and Relief Society leaders in Brazil have proven resourceful in finding people who have strayed from Church activity. The leaders are dedicated, devoted and systematic in their efforts.

Helping individuals and families claim the blessings of the temple remains the central goal of fellowshipping, added Bishop Caussé.

Practicing principles of self-reliance was another key theme in the Brethren’s teachings.

“The Area Presidency is working closely with local leaders throughout the country to ensure that the members have a full understanding of the law of tithing and the law of the fast,” said Elder Clayton.

He added that faithful members have been the catalyst for a dramatic increase in fast offerings throughout the area.

Bishop Caussé said several Church-sponsored “self-reliance groups” are functioning in the country to help people find jobs, grow their businesses and improve their education.

“Spirituality and temporal life are always related,” he said. “The aim of self-reliance is not to just, say, to find a better job — it’s about building faith and strengthening one’s relationship with the Lord.”

Much work remains in Brazil, but the members here are up to the task.

“It’s interesting to see this current generation of leadership in Brazil,” said Elder Christofferson. “It’s very strong, with many second- and third-generation members. They come to the table with maturity and skills.”

Elder Clayton was impressed with the vitality of the Church in Brazil. “You can feel it in every meeting,” he said. “Members arrive early and attend in great numbers. They participate happily when asked to do so, and obviously feel the presence of the Spirit. They are hungry for the gospel and the blessings it brings. Multigenerational families are growing up in the Church across the country. One senses that the Church is poised for even greater growth and strength in the future.”

Bishop Caussé left Brazil with a deep respect for the youth of the Church. “They are engaged, reverent, positive and very eager to learn,” he observed. “The youth provided us with a vision of what Brazil is going to become.”

Brazil is a massive country and the Church operates across dozens of stakes and multiple missions. But the strength of the Church here remains anchored to the homes of faithful families and individuals.

In his devotionals with couples, Elder Christofferson taught that family unity can be realized when individuals put God first. “When [husbands and wives] each grow closer to their Heavenly Father, they grow closer to one another.” @JNSwensen

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