Mormon Church President Visited Russia in 2005
Seth Adam Smith shared this entry after late Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Vladivostok, Russia, while Seth was serving as a Mormon missionary (representative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) on July 31, 2005.
«Good morning! Good morning, everyone! I am so happy to be here. I’m sorry we didn’t get here yesterday. We had trouble. I’m so sorry you had to spend the night. I am grateful to Sister Putilina for the translation. I am absolutely lost at once when on your Russian language. I envy President Neuenschwander. He is the only General Authority who speaks Russian—so we have to keep sending him back. We want to see if Sister Neuenschwander can speak Russian now. We are now beginning a long journey. This is the first stop in many ways. Tomorrow we will be in Korea. It is now 50 years since the gospel was introduced there. Fifty years ago I would have wondered at a congregation this large. Now there are thousands and thousands of saints there. I believe that the day will come that we will have thousands upon thousands of saints here also (D&C 1:38). You are the pioneers. I admire you so much. Years from now we will look back at Vladivostok and wonder again at such a large congregation as we did in Korea. Be strong, be faithful, be true. Live the gospel and establish the work in this great and beautiful place. People ask me about our missionaries. I say do all the good you can. In the church we say, bring all the good that you have and see if we can add to it. We have so much to offer, so much the world does not know about. The world is still bound by the Nicene Creed. I don’t understand it. Joseph Smith, the first prophet in this dispensation, cleared up these questions. He saw God. He heard him speak. He saw His Son, Jesus Christ (JSH 1:11-20). There is no question. We have a perfect knowledge of the nature of God. We can give all the understanding of God. «And this is life eternal that we might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent» (John 17:3). These are marvelous, wondrous gifts to the world. We are all children of God. It doesn’t matter about our nationality. It doesn’t matter where we were born. It doesn’t matter about our hair color or our skin color, nor the slant of our eyes. He is our Father. I know, we know, you know that he hears and answers our prayers. I can testify to that. You can testify to that. The Book of Mormon is a witness to this. The scriptures say, «in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established» (2 Corinthians 13:1). We have the Bible, now where is the second witness? The Bible and the Book of Mormon together are a witness of these words (Moroni 9:3-5). We have been blessed with the goodness that the Melchchizedek Priesthood is restored. You and I can speak in the name of the Lord. We are the only ones who have the sacred privilege to work in the name of God. Declare this gospel of righteousness and peace. Declare it to the world. A few years ago I had a conversation with Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel. We were talking about the continuing war and I asked him if there was ever a time of peace and would there ever be peace again. «Yes,» he said. «When we remember that we are all children of Adam and Eve.» He then said, «Let me tell you a story. There were three men together: a Jewish Rabbi, a Muslim and a Christian. They were asked ‘How do you know when a new day has come?’ The Muslim said, ‘I look to the east and see two trees; when I can distinguish between the fig tree and the olive tree then I know a new day has come.’ The Christian said, ‘I look to the east and see two animals; when I can distinguish between the goat and the sheep then I know a new day has come.’ The Rabbi said, ‘I look to the east and see two people. When I see a woman she is my sister. When I see a man he is my brother. Then I know a new day has come.’» We are all brothers and sisters; we are to honor one another. To you beautiful sisters who sang to us: I thank you. I wrote the words of that song and I have heard it on many occasions, but never before has it touched my heart so much as it did today. God bless you. I can’t stay long; we have more appointments to keep around the world. Soon we will be in Nigeria where we will dedicate a new temple. There will be a congregation of blacks, all of them—blacks, brothers and sisters; and we will love them just as we love you. I pray you will be blessed in every way. Live the gospel. The Lord can’t bless you unless you live the gospel. I love you dearly. I love you so much. I will never forget you. I bless you that you will have food on the table. I bless you that you will have clothes to wear. I bless you that you will have shelter over your heads. Live in peace and harmony with husbands honoring wives, with wives honoring husbands. Love your children. I know that God lives. He sees and answers prayers. I have seen miracles, many miracles, miracles even as recent as yesterday. Jesus Christ is our Savior; He gave His life for us. I leave my love and prayers with you. God be with you till we meet again. Thank you, thank you very much. I see missionaries here. Be thankful for them. Be kind to them. They put up with so much of the world. We live in a worlds of problems, filth and immorality. Rise above the filth. Stand taller and walk as the Lord would have you walk. I wish we had time to shake all of your hands but there are too many of you. I will shake hands with the front row. I will always remember you. How do you say ‘goodbye’ in Russian? Dasvedannya? Dasvedannya.»