News Release

Elder Rasband Meets with Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam

Apostle Ministers in Hanoi

Elder Ronald A. Rasband, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with His Excellency Tran Luu Quang, the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, in Hanoi on October 19, 2023. He was accompanied by Elder Benjamin M. Z. Tai, Asia Area President of the Church.

The Apostle shared with the Deputy Prime Minister his gratitude to the Vietnamese government for respecting religious freedom and allowing members of the Church to practice their faith in Vietnam.

The Deputy Prime Minister affirmed that Vietnam's policy is to respect and safeguard freedom of belief and religion, ensure equality between the different religions, and create an environment for all people in the country to freely live their faith according to the law. The country encourages religious organizations to unite their efforts in contributing to society and building a better life together.

His Excellency also expressed appreciation to the Church for its teachings that guide people towards humanity and morality, and its humanitarian efforts. He shared his hope that the Church and its members will continue to abide by the law and actively help with humanitarian causes in Vietnam, especially during economic downturns.

On the same day, Elder Rasband also visited with Chairman Vu Hoai Bac of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs. They first met earlier this month in the United States when Chairman Vu attended Brigham Young University Law School’s annual International Law and Religion Symposium in Utah. They were delighted to see each other again in Hanoi.

This was Elder Rasband’s first visit to Vietnam. He said he was deeply inspired by his interactions with these high-ranking government officials, as well as his ministering visits with members and young volunteers of the Church.

“The faith and desire among pioneer members of the Church here to follow the Savior’s example is amazing,” he said. “Likewise, the diligent and faithful efforts of our volunteers here are stunning.”

The Church has more than 60 young volunteers serving in Vietnam today. Addressing this group, Elder Tai said that they being called to Vietnam was not by accident. He reminded them, “The grass is never greener than where you are, because where you are is where the Lord wants you to be.”

Elder Rasband clearly recognized that the volunteers’ dedicated service is helping to set a sure foundation for the Church in Vietnam. He affirmed, “You are pioneers in this work. You have been sent here to gather these people, it’s a privilege.”

When speaking to over 330 Church members at a devotional, Elder Rasband recounted that about 54 years ago, he was drafted in the United States to serve in the Vietnam War. However, it began to wind down before he was deployed, enabling him to serve a mission instead. He called a local leader to come up to the stage and said, “Some 54 years ago, I would have come to Vietnam as his enemy. Now he stands by me as my brother.” The audience was moved as they embraced each other.

“All of this…in my lifetime, ‘I’m thinking I will be carrying a rifle’…to now, carrying the armor of God in Vietnam with you, my sisters and brothers, and this is just the beginning,” Elder Rasband said. “You are at the beginning.”

He reminded his audience, “Live your lives worthy that you can have a temple recommend. We need you brothers and sisters to form a strong foundation of the Church. Always remember you are not just living your life for yourself. You, the pioneers of this country, are paving the way for those that will follow you.”

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