News Release

Elder Stevenson Meets With Government and Religious Leaders in Brazil

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, accompanied by his wife, Lesa, ministered in Recife and São Paulo, Brazil, May 20–26. He was accompanied by Elder Brent H. Nielson of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Marcia. At the Metropolitan Curia in São Paulo, Elder Stevenson met with Odilo Scherer, Catholic Cardinal and Archbishop of the Archdiocese of São Paulo. Cardinal Scherer was very interested in how the Church of Jesus Christ has connected with young people. Using the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet, Elder Stevenson shared his feelings about modern young people, the challenges they face and the initiatives the Church uses to involve them. 

Cardinal Scherer and Elder Stevenson discussed serving the poor and needy. The Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ have a significant humanitarian presence in São Paulo and throughout Brazil, along with opportunities for joint action. Elder Stevenson presented Cardinal Scherer with an engraved copy of the Book of Mormon and a small Christus statue.

Elder Stevenson also went to the Mesquita Brasil mosque, the site of the first mosque in Brazil. He met with Sheikh Mohamad Al Bukai, director of Islamic Affairs of the National Union of Islamic Entities of Brazil, and Sheikh Jihad Hammadeh of the Abu Bakr Mosque. While visiting the mosque, Elder Stevenson discussed the commonalities of Muslim and Latter-day Saint beliefs, using a pamphlet produced by the Church entitled “Muslims and Latter-day Saints: Beliefs, Values, and Lifestyles”.

“By sitting and eating together, we further strengthen this relationship which is already so positive,” said Sheikh Mohamad Al Bukai. “We are very happy with your presence today.” At the end of the visit, Elder Stevenson was presented with a copy of the Quran, and in turn, the Sheikhs were given a copy of the Book of Mormon.

At Elder Stevenson’s final stop in São Paulo, he met with Mayor Ricardo Nunes in his office at city hall.  Mayor Nunes expressed appreciation and admiration for the Church of Jesus Christ and its humanitarian work. The Church has helped thousands of people in the city of São Paulo.

During their visit, the mayor read an excerpt from the Book of Mormon and showed interest in strengthening their relationship.

Throughout his weeklong ministry in Latin America, Elder Stevenson expressed his love and compassion while testifying of Jesus Christ.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.