Menu

Church representatives strengthen relationships with Georgia leaders

Prompted by the Mobile Giving Machine, members of the Georgia legislature learn about FamilySearch, JustServe and other community offerings from the Church

A meeting at a Giving Machine during Christmas time is leading to future collaboration through the areas of family history and service in the U.S. state of Georgia. In the process, relationships are strengthening between local leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and political leaders in the state.

In December, Georgia state Representative Mesha Mainor (District 56) attended the ribbon-cutting event when the Mobile Giving Machine opened in Atlanta. Elder M. Andrew Galt, an Area Seventy for the Church’s North America Southeast Area, was able to speak with her about FamilySearch and other community offerings from the Church.

Georgia state Representative Mesha Mainor meets Elder M. Andrew Galt, Area Seventy for the Church’s North America Southeast Area, at the opening of the Mobile Giving Machine in Atlanta, Georgia, on Dec. 6, 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Rep. Mainor then invited Elder Galt to be Chaplain of the Day in the Georgia House of Representatives on Feb. 13.

She introduced him on the house floor and spoke of the good the Church does in the community and around the world.

When Elder Galt took the microphone, he thanked the state representatives for their service.

“We are all children of God,” he said. “That makes us true brothers and sisters, no matter our background, where we come from, our race, our religion, our lifestyles or our beliefs.”

Elder M. Andrew Galt, Area Seventy, center, stands with Representative Mesha Mainor, Georgia District 56, left, and Jon Burns, Georgia Speaker of the House, right, after Elder Galt was Chaplain of the Day at the Georgia House of Representatives in Atlanta, Georgia, on Feb. 13, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

He also spoke about the two great commandments and said that in today’s world, some believe that their solution to a problem must entirely prevail over all others. But he said it is hard to accomplish anything in this mode.

“We can compromise and hold true to core values. The best solutions come when we truly counsel together, truly listen to those with other views and try to put ourselves in the shoes of those we disagree with. This is what God would have us do,” Elder Galt said.

Elder Galt also offered a prayer to open the session. Following the session, he was able to greet members of the general assembly. 

Meeting with the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus

The week following, Rep. Mainor helped facilitate a Georgia Legislative Black Caucus breakfast with Church representatives. They discussed the Church’s humanitarian work and JustServe — a website and app where organizations and volunteers can connect for local service opportunities.

The group also spoke about FamilySearch — including ways the Church could provide genealogy services and classes in the state representatives’ districts. Rep. Mainor spoke about the possibility of forming a committee with the state representatives and the Church to host family history booths at Juneteenth events around Georgia. 

“It’s nice to discuss the value of family,” she said. “The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints is a genealogical diamond all families can consider an asset when searching their roots. The congregants are Christ-centered neighbors spreading the gospel of love.”

Members of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus gather for breakfast and to discuss FamilySearch with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Atlanta, Georgia, on Feb. 27, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Upcoming “Discover Your Roots” genealogy events will take place in two Georgia cities later this year, co-sponsored by the Church and the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS). will take place in Sharpsburg and Atlanta later this year.

Elder Galt said several representatives asked at the breakfast why the Church does family history.

“We were able to explain to them about our belief in the Bible,” he said, and the final verses of the Old Testament that say the Lord will send Elijah the prophet to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers.

“We believe that doing family history and connecting families through the generations is part of the spirit of Elijah that Malachi prophesied,” Elder Galt said. “People throughout the world are interested in their roots. They want to know where they came from. They want to know who came before them. We do this work to connect families and to help prepare the way for them to become eternal families.”

Elder M. Andrew Galt, Area Seventy, right, meets with members of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus in Atlanta, Georgia, on Feb. 27, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Related Story
Trent Toone: What I learned in Georgia about sharing the gospel and the Book of Mormon
Church donates thousands of pounds of food, supplies and volunteer hours after southeast U.S. tornadoes
See 2022 Giving Machines opening celebrations
Newsletters
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed

Cox, a Republican, took the stage with Democratic Gov. Wes Moore of Maryland to discuss repairing breaches in civic life.

Teachers can now record class attendance virtually through the Member Tools app.

The Tabernacle Choir Philippines Tour begins with youth performing traditional dances. This is the second stop on the "Hope" tour and the choir's first time in the Philippines.

These new temple presidents and matrons have been called to serve by the First Presidency. They will begin their service in September or when the temples are dedicated.

Alabama Latter-day Saint Mary Helen Allred finds joy in using JustServe to continue a legacy of service.

“In a world with a lot of walls, we need to continue to build bridges,” said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf while standing at the U.S.-Mexico border prior to the McAllen Texas Temple dedication.