Chinese members of the LDS Church who live around the world can now find access to the Church in the People’s Republic of China by using a new website.
Many Chinese nationals have discovered the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while living in other parts of the world, and some members return to the PRC without a way to stay connected to local church leaders in Asia. Another purpose of the new site serves to help those returning to China on how to comply with Chinese law regarding religious practice.
Under the guidance of the First Presidency, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has long nurtured the incredible growth of the Church in Asia, including areas in Cambodia, Singapore and India. Elder Oaks established the first Stake in India when he visited Hyderabad in May last year.
The Church has admittedly refrained from making public statements relating to the Gospel in China.
“Our more open communication about the Church in China follows our developed relationship of trust with Chinese officials and our concern for the PRC citizens who are joining the Church throughout the world,” Elder Oaks said. “In order to observe Chinese laws and directions on religious activities, the Church is blocking access to this website so it cannot be viewed in China.”
In a March 15th press release from the Church, it stated why this communication platform is so critical:
The new website includes the most frequently asked questions by PRC Chinese members outside China and by Church leaders who work around the world with those members. It gives needed basic information for PRC Chinese members returning to China, including whom to contact for information, attending Sunday Church meetings and encouragement to observe relevant Chinese laws.
(The website) explains that Church members should not mail religious materials to China or carry scriptures or other Church materials into China beyond a copy for personal use. Latter-day Saints should not discuss religion or the Church while traveling in China.
Church leaders say the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia host the largest number of Chinese-national members.
In a statement from the press release, Elder Oaks made clear, “the Church has no proselytizing missionaries in the PRC, nor does it have any plans to send missionaries or to engage in proselytizing activities in China.”