Mormon Culture Wars: Samoan Members Take on the Corporation!

I belong to a very diverse ward which includes Maori, Pakehā (Haolies or Palagi), Canadian, Tongan, Samoan, American, English, Zimbabwean,  Iranian, Nepalese, and Ghanaian to name a few. Yesterday at church we were offered the chance to take Samoan language lessons.  Quite a few members of the congregation registered their interest with some enthusiasm  in understanding both the language and culture of those with whom we share a religion.  In our congregation prayers, testimonies, talks etc. are offered in any language one feels comfortable.  We are mostly English speakers but for significant minorities a Sunday School lesson is offered in that medium.  I’m proud of our ward and the efforts that local leaders have made to honor and respect the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of all members, but there is always more that we could do to ensure that everyone feels that they belong including the single mother, the elderly, the youth and children, women, and the fuming middle-class educated man in the midst of a faith crisis.

Yet a case is currently brewing in Australia where a Brisbane Stake made a decision some years ago to ban the use of Samoan in Sunday services.  It has become so heated that some members of the Samoan community are pursuing legal action against the church, even taking their case to the Samoan Prime Minister.

Those of us in antipodean Mormon circles will probably not be surprised by this story at all.   It’s not unusual for Samoan congregations to be created.  It’s not unusual for them to be abandoned in short order either, particularly when  leaders struggle with understanding the unique dynamics between church and culture in (fa’asamoa) Samoan contexts.  It isn’t unusual for the abandonment of Samoan church units to splinter communities, with some using their obedience and compliance to church directives as an indicator of their righteousness, while others rage at the injustice of linguistic hegemony.    So I guess what I am saying is, this story is largely unremarkable.  These kinds of ad hoc local directives have been the order of the day in Australasia for as long as I can remember.

Simply put, what we have on our hands is a culture war – a competition between two sets of cultural systems, both of which have a powerful internal cultural logic.  The internal cultural logic of the LDS mainstream comes largely from white middle class, conservative, corporate America values with its emphasis on personal righteousness, prosperity and education as a marker ecclesiastical usefulness, charismatic leadership and its reliance on correlated mythologies (in English) to tell its stories.   Fa’asamoa (or the Samoan way) relies upon tiers of social hierarchies, respectful conduct, and the veracity of the community above the self.  Church and community are inseparably connected; they are not discrete entities with church existing as an optional extra.  Family is community is church, with all entities bleeding into each other to create a whole way of being.   Its not unlike  Fa’a-Utah which to my mind is only a notch away from Fa’asamoa with its indistinguishable boundaries between church, culture and community – boundaries and behaviours that have little to do holy living and have everything to do with sustaining a way of life carved out in a particular geographical space, within a particular economic, and political context.

But the biggest problem that I see here is not the culture war that exists between two distinct cultural groups.  It’s a crisis of leadership.   In public statements both regional leaders and Salt Lake Officials have backed away from this local decision, throwing up their hands in defence arguing, ‘But it wasn’t us – it’s not our fault.’  ‘We had nothing to do with that local decision’.  Unfortunately this largely occurs after the fact when the damage is already done.

After observing this pattern for some years. I’m reasonably confident that Mormon leaders simply don’t know what to do with strong, intact language and cultural communities that don’t look like, sound like and organize themselves like the Mormon mainstream.  In the absence of a sound approach that reflects the moral purpose of our religion, strategies are deployed to subdue, control and manage what can look like rogue communities. These supposedly heavenly inspired policies however look uncannily similar to the outdated New Zealand colonial policies of ‘civilization’, ‘assimilation’ and ‘integration’.

I’ve heard espoused from Mormon leaders measures that are reminiscent of 19th century tactics that saw colonists extract indigenous youth from their home culture and re-socialize them in colonial institutions.  I’ve heard Stake presidents speak emphatically about the necessity to restrict language use (another colonial strategy to undermine the transmission of cultural values).  I’ve heard compelling arguments from Mormon leaders on the necessity of disestablishing Samoan units and integrating Samoans into the mainstream church units.  This argument mirrors strategies employed during Maori urban migration and the peak of Pasifika immigration during the 50’s and 60’s.   State housing policy in this era worked to avoid ‘racial concentrations’ by pepper potting them in white neighbourhoods What I’m suggesting here is that colonial politics are not inspired – they are oppressive.  Revisioning colonial politics and recasting them as having a divine origin are not just oppressive – they are malicious, and the negative effects are incalculable.

Obviously, I’m not going to support any particular government policy to deal with our Mormon culture wars.    As a religious and moral community the more we privilege  ‘policy’ as a solution, the more we shift our hearts away from where they should be primarily settled.  And this is upon the necessity to move ourselves, and each other from a place of ungodliness to holiness, from the profane to the sacred, from judgment to mercy, and from abhorrence to love.

Today’s cultural strategies such as interculturalism, multiculturalism, cross-culturalism, biculturalism are legitimate approaches primarily designed to meet a government’s need to manage competing cultural claims in diverse populations.    As a religion they might be helpful in developing certain competencies but they can’t be the ends in and of themselves.  Rather, it would seem that cultures largely emerge with their own set of coherent processes to move their people into transcendent and into divine spaces.  From the casserole making door to door service orientation of the English, to the soaring Maori karanga which privileges a deep connection between the living and dead, to the generosity offered at the table of Samoans.   Church leaders might be better off understanding these processes and expressions,  and allowing them to adhere to gospel principles rather than disciplining when they don’t see recognizable behaviours that agree with their own cultural norms.

Like all of us called to live a life of sacredness, we will inevitably bring into question those cultural practices that don’t fit with our experiences of spiritual transformation.   But we can’t force and manage these shifts and changes in others.    The moral purpose of religion is not to compel transcendence by constituting ethnocentric norms against which the ideal religious subject is judged.   The most we can do is to uphold a compelling moral vision and extend an irresistible invitation to all to feast at the Lord’s table regardless of who we are, where we come from, or what language we speak.

In my work with students, who are largely middle class white kids, we challenge them to think about the ‘more’ that our cultural Others offer us.  Not just because difference can be ‘amusing’,  but because there is a compelling need to challenge and disrupt certainties that have us bound to a way of being that is becoming increasingly objectionable in a world weary of cultural tyrannies.  Unfortunately Mormonism has constituted its own kind of cultural tyranny, and we would all be better off in our pursuit of the ‘holy highway’ if that were to end.  Today would be good.

 

  • Rahui Katene

    Gina, thanks for this, we heard about it a few days ago and just shook our heads. When will our leaders – at all levels – learn that colonisation is not the way to show the love of Christ to those who do not look or sound the same as them? I remember when a GA came to Aotearoa – I think it was Loren C Dunn in the 1970s – and told Maori we had to stop speaking our own language. What!?! And the local Church leaders swallowed whatever they thought and enforced this pernicious, ugly policy as though it was doctrine. This was at a time when the Maori renaisance was just gaining traction, and we were starting to reclaim our identity as Maori and those of us who were also members of the one true Church working out how to marry that identity with Church/Utah culture. We had been colonised by civil society, and we were learning again how to be bicultural at school, work, in public and private life. But our Church leaders _Church leaders _ demanded that we remain mono-cultural and that culture should be one acceptable to leaders far away in Utah. In the Utahan world but not of the world wherever we lived. A Zion people who may have looked different, but had to sound and act exactly the same as white, middle-class, elderly male Utahans. And they are still perpetuating this pernicious, ugly tradition. It is not feasible to say it wasn’t them. Until they stand up and explicitly repudiate the policy in the same venues where they explicitly implemented them, the policy will continue to hurt all of us.

    • Raymond McIntyre

      I remember Elder Dunn’s comments. Most Maori that I knew simply ignored them as indeed they should have.

      • Moana Campbell

        Kia ora Raymond and Rahui. Thanks for shedding some light on this. I am too young to know what happened back in the 1970s. In my search for truth, I now understand why my Nanny said that she would never come back to the Mormon church because “you’re not allowed to speak Maori there”. While growing up in the church, I’ve heard similar expressions and always wondered where they got that idea.

        p.s. A few months ago I was having dinner with some friends. An elderly missionary couple for the U.S. were also there. He’s English and she’s Maori. For some reason, the discussion over dinner happened to be about this same topic – non-English speaking in Mormon church services. Of course, I just sat there and listened in while eating meal (plus I am way younger than the company that were there). One comment was “People need to speak English so everyone can understand what they’re saying”. I had to have a good chuckle at the next comment by Elder X “Well, I can’t wait for all of us to get to the Millenium. We’ll all understand each other because we’ll all be speaking English!” Hmmm…I better scrap my Adamic practice.

  • Moana Campbell

    Ka mau te wehi! Awesome! I was expecting to see a blog from you about this subject. I also heard about it a few days ago (via TVNZ One News), and was highly peeved (that’s just putting it mildly) to hear about this ‘policy’ approach. I was also quite annoyed to hear from the news report that the ‘rationale’ behind this policy was so that the “younger people become more comfortable with the English language”. Immediately I vented my annoyance (again putting it mildly) on Facebook and with my friend. I just couldn’t get past the thought that “this is just another example of colonisation! Another example of the how my parents, aunts and uncles, were smacked over the knuckles for speaking Maori” And yes – I also sensed from this news story the “injustices of linguistic hegemony”. I wonder if a similar policy would be applied to the English-speaking wards in Japan or other non-English speaking countries? I think you have articulated quite well, exactly what I have felt about this matter. Kia ora Gina.

    • Darren

      “Another example of the how my parents, aunts and uncles, were smacked over the knuckles for speaking Maori””
      My parents and uncles / aunts got smacked over the knuckles for not speaking English properly. Howz grammar these dayz? (Mines’ not too good).

      • Moana Campbell

        LOL…ur So funi! i truly luv rdg ur commentary (or is dat comments?) my apologeez. i ws in a Hurrie (sp?) to get sumwea ratha dan worrie (sp?) abt da grams. dank u 4 doin dat job 4 me. Luckylie i hv a good colleague to chek my spellin & grams b4 my journo articles go to print. But at least u got da gist right?

        wile Im on da subject of lingo – can n-e-body tell me hw to pronounce Rotorua? Otahuhu? Kawerau? Whanganui? Whakatane? Taupo-nui-a-Tia? Ma mates, I mean, my cuzzies keep kik’n my arch b/c i ain’t sayn it rite. Its takin me years to master some non-Maori words e.g. advertisement. Even ma palagi mates dunno wich is rite pronounciation of dis ‘simple’ word. btw, the abovementioned kupu (oops – words) are names of towns/citys in good old multi-cultural Aotearoa. Ooops,, I also typed some of da names so so badly b/c my macron doesn’t work. thnx very muchly again.

        Hey Darren, is that apostrophe in the right place? It looks awfully weird. Perhaps i shud open my other eye & then I cn c better. Ahhh…dats it! again, thnx very muchly.

        • kiwi57

          Moana,
          I think you missed the point. Darren wasn’t twitting you for your grammar. Rather, he was pointing out that, in your parents’ generation, getting rapped over the knuckles was a fairly common form of in-class discipline (it happened to me often enough) and could be administered for offences as trivial as a split infinitive. It wasn’t just a matter of the big bad Pakeha “establishment” oppressing the poor downtrodden Tangata Whenua, although as time goes by, that legend does seem to be steadily growing.

          I recently lost a dear friend, somewhat older than me, who recalled that when he was growing up, not only the school teachers but his own Maori parents, aunts and uncles used to punish the children for speaking Maori. Were they colluding with the evil colonisers to destroy their own culture? Not at all; the values of their generation simply lay elsewhere. They wanted their children to succeed at school to enhance their opportunities later. That’s all it was.

          • Darren

            Kiwi57;
            You would be correct. And I was also pointing out that without stringent standards set (and it’s fine to debate what methodology is effective) grammar (and overall mine is terrible) has decreased significantly. There’s nothing inherently wrong with getting your knuckles smacked with a ruler for not speakng correctly.

            I recently lost a dear friend, somewhat older than me, who recalled that when he was growing up, not only the school teachers but his own Maori parents, aunts and uncles used to punish the children for speaking Maori. Were they colluding with the evil colonisers to destroy their own culture? Not at all; the values of their generation simply lay elsewhere. They wanted their children to succeed at school to enhance their opportunities later. That’s all it was.”
            Exactly. Nicely told.

          • Gina Colvin

            You consistently don’t speak properly Darren and I’d like to give you a smack on the knuckles, a clip upside the head and some serious whoop fanny. I agree – nothing inherently wrong with some physical punishment if you disagree with what is coming out of someones face!

          • Darren

            Actually, I managed to dig up Maona’s original post buried a full 9 posts or so before yours, Gina and it’s clear that the setting for her parents. Uncles, and, aunts getting smacked on the knuckles was that of a school setting. That’s where my parents, uncles, and aunts got their knuckles smacked for not speaking English properly.

            “nothing inherently wrong with some physical punishment if you disagree with what is coming out of someones face!”

            Um, nobody said amy such thing. In fact, were I to ever take an English class from you, you have my permission to smack my knuckles if I were to ever respond to you like, “WHAT?!?!”, “yeah, what’s up?”, or “arrrrggggghhhhh!!!” But, as tempting as my fanny is, I do respectfully ask you leave it alone.

          • Gina Colvin

            I think that might be a rather simplistic explanation as to why the oppressed assume the stance of the oppressor.

          • kiwi57

            You’re right, of course. Any single explanation for why a lot of people do something is inevitably simplistic. But then again, so is the Marxist-style rhetoric of “oppressed” and “oppressor.” And not only is it simplistic, it’s a brilliant alibi. Whoever needs to take responsibility for their situation if they’re “oppressed?”

            But once again, none of this applies to Samoans (or any other nationality) who choose to move to Australia (or any other country were the prevailing language is not that of the migrant group.) They are neither “oppressed” nor victims of “colonisation.” Indeed, to whatever extent they may be trying to import their culture with them, they are arguably the ones doing the “colonising”

            Unless, of course, we want to insist that, being Polys, that makes them somehow different.

            But I confess I’ve always been wary of arguments that rely upon the assumption that “A does it to B” is somehow morally distinct from “B does it to A.”

        • Darren

          Why yur just a sweettawkin’ thang there shugga.

        • Gina Colvin

          E hoa! Nga mihi nui ki a koe mo to korero! Ahua porangi, ahua kuare hoki nga kaikorero nei. Ki oku whakaaro, maumau wa ki te whakahoki i a raua tiko!

  • kiwi57

    I never cease to be puzzled by the propensity of some to characterise Church leaders above a certain level (usually whatever level is doing what the speaker disapproves of) as “the corporation,” as if those leaders were merely serving some bureaucratic policy in utter indifference to the needs of the people they serve; an insinuation I have never once seen backed up in any substantive way.

    I fail entirely to see why it is a bad thing that Church leaders should be at least a little ambivalent about the prospect of the Church becoming balkanised. There is going to be some degree of tension between the Church’s mandate to teach the Gospel to everyone in their own tongue, and the Lord’s command that we are to “be one;” and perhaps that is not altogether unhealthy. There is also the rather important social need to ensure that immigrant communities are able to assimilate into the larger culture. And if “assimilate” is a dirty word in the oh so fashionably left-wing world of academe, the alternative seems to be little monolingual, inward-looking ghettoes whence the rising generation have little chance of escape. If Samoan Saints in Brisbane were to become an underprivileged underclass of multi-generational duration, who would Gina be blaming?

    And besides, it is not as if Samoans in Brisbane have been “colonised” against their will. Rather, it is the case that they have chosen to move to a primarily English-speaking country (if you can call the Australian dialect English) presumably to improve their economic prospects. Keeping to themselves and speaking primarily in a language that is not supported by the state educational system and not in demand by most employers seems not to be the most efficient way to achieve that. Describing voluntary migrant communities as having been “colonised” by the cultures that prevail where they have chosen to settle is a triumph of rhetoric over facts.

    As you yourself have noted, the Church creates language-specific units whenever it sees a need; and the non-alcoholic champagne socialists of this world smirk as they sip their decaf lattes and proclaim that the leaders are practicing “segregation” in order to keep the unruly brown under-class from getting too close to the white folks, who must feel “threatened” by having them around. And the Church dissolves language-specific units whenever it sees that the need no longer exists; whereupon the aforementioned NACS of this world smugly sneer as they pontificate about “colonialism.”

    Since it is apparent that there is nothing whatsoever that the leaders of the Church can do that would satisfy the terminally superior, they might as well follow their own best judgement on these matters.

    Now it happens that there are Samoan bishops and stake presidents who preside over mixed-race units. I know some of them. They generally don’t have much trouble directing that church services in those units be conducted in the language that is most likely to be understood by the majority of the participants. Because after all, we don’t hold church services to show off our cultural cutenesses, but to teach and learn the Gospel from one another. Now Gina: can you guess which language is most likely to be understood by the greatest number of people attending a mixed-race ward in Auckland?

    Or perhaps Brisbane?

    I confess that I am alarmed that any ostensibly believing Latter-day Saints should be inviting secular courts to overrule church leaders in carrying out their legitimate ecclesiastical governance, or exercising proper ecclesiastical judicature. It hardly seems like something any person who values religious liberty would approve of, much less be celebrating.

    • Darren


      I never cease to be puzzled by the propensity of some to characterise Church leaders above a certain level (usually whatever level is doing what the speaker disapproves of) as “the corporation,” as if those leaders were merely serving some bureaucratic policy in utter indifference to the needs of the people they serve; an insinuation I have never once seen backed up in any substantive way.”
      Nor have I seen a substance example as to how the LDS Church is a “corporation”. (And why is “corporation” become such a bad word? I bet the internet server Gina uses is part of a corporation). What I find different from Gina’s post is that she’s calling the LDS Church a “corporation” for not doing enough aganist those malignant English-only speakers whereas all my other recollections of people slapping the “corporation” label on the LDS Church is because they do way too much to micro manage personal / local choices.

  • Darren

    “white middle class, conservative, corporate America values with its emphasis on personal righteousness, prosperity and education as a marker ecclesiastical usefulness, charismatic leadership and its reliance on correlated mythologies (in English) to tell its stories.”

    What a shock!!! Gina has written an attack on Americans. White, conservative, middle class, and LDS none-the-less. Such original writing from Gina. Such novelty. Such insights. While Gina fully enjoys the blessings of being white, middle / uper class, and LDS, it’s those American brand of LDS conservatism which is the root of evil and corruption. Gina distances herself from her white evil Kiwi cousins who dominate through oppression while fully living the benefits of their oppression.

    “State housing policy in this era worked to avoid ‘racial concentrations’ by pepper potting them in white neighbourhoods.”

    White, middle class, conservative Americans oppose this too. Quaint.

    “What I’m suggesting here is that colonial politics are not inspired – they are oppressive.”

    And yet here’s Gina with a PhD in English nd on the internet. Among what group of people the internet originate, I wonder?

    “Revisioning colonial politics and recasting them as having a divine origin are not just oppressive – they are malicious, and the negative effects are incalculable.”

    That’s how I see Manifest Destiny and a big reason I oppose Social Justice here in the States. Also, Barak Obama in particular is of the religious mindset that for injustices of the past, justice must be paid in the present and therefor certain classes of people need to be favored at the explicit expense of other classes of people. This is the gist of Black Liberation Theology and it’s very destructive.

    “Its not unlike Fa’a-Utah”

    And

    “I’m reasonably confident that Mormon leaders simply don’t know what to do with strong, intact language and cultural communities that don’t look like, sound like and organize themselves like the Mormon mainstream.”

    So, what’s going on in New Zealand is not unlike what goes on in Utah where the LDS Church is headquartered yet the top LDS leadership seems unknolwedgeable as to how to deal with the situation New Zealand? Is it me or does this not make a whole lot of sense?

    “It’s a crisis of leadership. In public statements both regional leaders and Salt Lake Officials have backed away from this local decision, throwing up their hands in defence arguing,”
    Wait a second, I thought Gina did not like imperialistic attitutde of American Saints, particularly of the white conservative brand, which Gina defines the LDS leadership as being made up of. Now when they defer judgement to local authorities, Gina sees a “crisis”? The way I see it, Gina does not like values and norms from americans forced upon her people in her country unless they are in conformity to her own values. The former is opressive and corrupt whereas the latter ies enlightenment. It’s OK to be opressive and imperialistic with Gina so long as they adhire to Gina’s sense of right.
    What is omited in Gina’s article is the need for a uniform / universal language. It’s great to talk diversity but yu cannot have a society be being purely diverse. There needs to be some form of universiality and language is one of them. As the Babylonians know, you cannot build a tower if you cannot communicate one with another in a manner mutually undestood. If Gina wants the Maori to form their own society with their own government, go right ahead and say it. I highly doubt she’d join it if they did. She’d stick with her old, out of date, imperialistic norms instead. But at least she can still use the internet to speak against the norms she’d chose to live by.

    • Gina Colvin

      A couple of corrections. 1. Gina’s not white. 2. Gina IS right.

      • Darren

        My apolgies on not getting your race correct. That actually makes the scenario of which would you choose, maori or white imperialist life were the two ever become completely separated.

  • Fred Fredson

    Some things are beyond parody. A group of Samoans moves to a country with a language and culture completely different from their own, insist on having their own language and culture accepted as the norm, and then complain they’re being colonized because the locals insist on preserving their own language and culture.

    If Gina has a PhD in English, she must have missed the seminar on irony.

    • Gina Colvin

      Firstly, Gina doesn’t have a PhD in English. Its in journalism. But if I had one no doubt I would have done paper or two on post-colonial literature which would have informed me that this parody or irony was rampant in colonial contexts where whole nations moved into other territories without consent and then insisted the original inhabitants do exactly that which you find so appalling. And I don’t think they were asking that their language be accepted as the social norm. They just asking that their language be accepted. Why so cross?

      • Fred Fredson

        Not cross, really–just a bit disappointed. I thought you were writing satire until I saw that your commenters were taking you seriously.

        Your reply is just a bit disingenuous. The Samoans you are writing about are the ones who moved into someone else’s territory, albeit with their consent, and are now seeking to impose their own cultural norms on the current natives (unless in my brief reading of Australian history I missed the part about the large groups of native Samoans who were displaced by the arrival of the British).

        As to accepting the Samoan language, who is denying them the right to speak whatever they want? If I understand correctly from your rather slanted article, the Samoans happen to live in a linguistically diverse area, so I expect the local Church authorities are simply trying to establish a common language that the majority can use. I also suspect that most of the Samoans speak English quite well and that the use of English as a common language causes them little harm.

        My job has taken me outside the US for most of the last twenty years to Africa, Central Asia (yes, the Church is in Central Asia), Eastern and Western Europe. My experience has been that the Church is very accomodating to letting congregations speak whatever language they please. Certainly even in the US we have many non-English speaking wards and branches. I honestly think if you’re going to look for linguistic oppression, the Church is not the place to start.

        Try looking at the situation of Flemish-speaking Belgians. There’s a true case of linguistic oppression, colonization of a minority group by an arrogant majority (the French in this case), and all the other things that seem to set your heart atwitter. Of course, both sides are white Europeans, so maybe there’s no interest.

        • niuzila

          My comment is in response to your view that Samoans in Australia insist on having their own language and culture accepted as the norm. Ummm… tell that to an Aborigine! Your term “current natives” hides the historical wrongs done to the “original natives, yet you criticise Samoan natives?

          Because that’s what many of those Samoan members are… Australian Samoans, or “current natives” to use your words. Sheesh… white Australia policy all over again.

    • kiwi57

      Spam is bad for your health. It’s also very bad manners.

      We’re discussing an important subject here. Stop advertising.

      I hope Gina removes your spam from all of her threads. (Gina, if this reply makes it hard to remove pablosemenov’s stuff, feel free to remove this as well. I won’t be offended.)

  • HappyTrails

    Watch Native Affairs on Maori TV, Monday night at 8.30pm. It will discuss Temple View and the redevelopment of Church College.
    With regards to church members using English. I firmly believe spiritual teaching and learning is best given and received in one’s first language. Expressing ourselves in a deep and meaningful way is should be done in the language we are most comfortable using. It’s ridiculous not to be able to bless a baby in your first language.
    Mormon culture is a foreigner in Australia – and any country other than the good ole USA.

    • Gina Colvin

      Will be watching! Thanks for that!

  • Powderski

    Ua matua moni ma fa’amaoni le talalelei ma le ekalesia o le Atua. E le gata ai lea, ua alofagia tagata Samoa e le Atua ma lana ekalesia. O lo’u talosaga e avatu ma le loto maulolo, ia ona sa’i mai lo tatou au paia, se’i maua se tonu lelei o o tatou ta’ita’i i lenei tulaga. Po’o le a le gagana tatou te fesoota’i ai, e tutusa tatou uma lava, o tagata Samoa ma papalagi, i luma o le silafaga paia o le Atua. Ma le faaaloalo tele,

  • OnTheCrown

    I embrace diversity but I am confused on you make church work where everything is “offered in any language one feels comfortable.” I would think that you would use the language that used by the majority of the members.

    • HappyTrails

      It works really well in my Ward. Maori is spoken – sometimes in Sacrament meetings. We have a Samoan Sunday School class in the Ward. There is a Tongan Ward in the Stake. Local leaders try to accommodate diversity and it’s working. Certainly if a baby is blessed or prayer offered in a language other than English, it is no big deal.

      • OnTheCrown

        Thats great to hear. We had a missionary return from Africa and he gave a talk in some African dialect. We also have a Sunday School class for those who speak Spanish. I think its great that local units take it upon themselves to accomodate everybody.


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