Elder Carl B. Cook of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Alexey V. Samaykin, Area Seventy and president of the Europe East Area, joined Elder Cook for the May 27 meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s capital.
Bordered by Russia to the north and China to the east, Kazakhstan is the largest country in Central Asia and the ninth largest in the world. Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea border Kazakhstan to the south. Kazakhstan is part of the Church's Europe East Area.
The Church leaders spoke with Erzhan Kazykhan — deputy head of the administration of the president of the Kazakhstan and the president’s special representative for international cooperation — and Nukezhanov Yerzhan Bolatkanovich, chairman of the Ministry of Information and Social Development’s Committee for Religious Affairs.
Kazykhan posted on Twitter following the meeting: “Delighted to welcome Elder Quentin L. Cook, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to [Kazakhstan] this morning. Kazakhstan is a home to over 3700 religious associations that live in peace & harmony. [The Church] has a vibrant community in [Kazakhstan].”
Delighted to welcome Elder Quentin L. Cook, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to 🇰🇿 this morning. Kazakhstan is a home to over 3700 religious associations that live in peace & harmony. LDS has a vibrant community in 🇰🇿 pic.twitter.com/joVdt0VqOl— Erzhan Kazykhan (@ErzhanKazykhan) May 27, 2022
The Apostle expressed appreciation for the country's commitment to religious freedom and interfaith dialogue. He presented Kazykhan with a family statue as a reminder of the family values important to the Church and to Kazakhstan. Kazykhan then gave him a commemorative medal marking the 30th anniversary of the independence of Kazakhstan.
The Kazakh leaders invited the Church to participate in the Seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Nur-Sultan on Sept. 14–15. Church leaders have participated in this triennial event in previous years, including Elder Samaykin and Elder Paul B. Pieper and Elder Jörg Klebingat, General Authority Seventies.
The Church in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is home to some 200 Latter-day Saints in three branches, according to statistics on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The Church received official recognition in the country in December 2000 and the first branch was created in Almaty in July 2001.
President Russell M. Nelson, then president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, visited Kazakhstan during a visit to Eastern Europe in October 2017. He met with Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, chairman of the Senate in the Kazakhstan Parliament, and Nurlan Yermekbayev, minister of Religious Affairs. The leaders expressed appreciation for the Latter-day Saints in their country and for the influence of the Church, President Nelson told the Church News.