News Release

Brazil Honors the Church of Jesus Christ

Elder Soares and other Latter-day Saint leaders are recognized at a special session of Congress

For more than a century, Latter-day Saints in Brazil have lived in a way that shows the teachings of Jesus Christ “have fallen on fertile soil.”

Those words — from Brazil Legislative House President Arthur Lira — were spoken during a special session of the Chamber of Deputies in Brasília in honor of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Thursday, August 10, 2023. The hall was packed with some 500 members and friends of the Church, including the Brazil Area Presidency.

Brazil Federal Congressman Charles Fernandes, reading a statement from House President Lira, said the ceremony was “a fair tribute to the Church of Jesus Christ, whose members have carried out, for more than a century, extraordinary missionary work of evangelization and social assistance in our country, contributing to the dissemination of high Christian values in Brazilian society.”

House President Lira said this is “extremely positive because it is certain that there is no more effective way to combat violence, hopelessness and lack of meaning than messages that preach solidarity and love for others as essential pillars of existence.”

Congressman Fernandes offered his own praise of the Church’s dedication to Christian service and strong families. He said his recent tour of the Brasília Brazil Temple was special because of the “peace and spiritual strength I felt inside, which touched me deeply, which awakened in me the desire to be better. … I imagine that this is the feeling that nourishes [Latter-day Saints] to be a positive influence in Brazilian society.”

Some of that leavening influence was detailed in a video about the Church’s humanitarian efforts in Brazil and around the world . In 2022, this work included more than $1 billion in expenditures, 6.3 million hours volunteered and 3,692 humanitarian projects in 190 countries and territories. In the past 18 months in Brazil alone, more than 1.5 million people have benefited from Church aid and service. Examples include assistance to people affected by catastrophes in several Brazilian states, a donation of buses to the nongovernmental organization Amigos do Bem and partnerships with the Institution Abrace Esperança, Operation Smile and Doutores das Águas.

Natália and Pedro Brasileiro, representatives of the youth of the Church of Jesus Christ speaks during the special session in the Chamber of Deputies in Brasília, Brazil, Thursday, August 10, 2023.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The video also featured Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He thanked Congressman Fernandes for honoring the Church. He also invited people to the Brasília Brazil Temple open house, which runs through September 2.

Former Congressman Moroni Torgan, a Latter-day Saint, emphasized that when you pay homage to the Church of Jesus Christ, you are paying homage to Jesus Christ. “He is the one who runs the Church,” Torgan said. “We learn from Him to provide service to the community. Any and all help you need, we will be ready to serve, because that is the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Rommana Remor, another former member of Congress, said her tour of the Brasília Temple brought her “a feeling … I had never had before. I saw everyone as sons and daughters of God. And there, I felt that partisan differences were worthless.”

The Brasileiros, a young Latter-day Saint couple, said Church membership has blessed their lives. They said their opportunities to participate in the Brazilian Mathematics Olympiad and pass the medical entrance exam are blessings they have received from putting God first.

Elder Joni Luiz Koch, president of the Brazil Area, thanked Congressman Fernandes for his sincere friendship. Elder Koch also spoke about the Church’s belief in protecting religious freedom for all, its support for the law of the land and its emphasis on the love of Christ.

“When I came here, it was impossible not to see the words ‘order and progress’ on the flag,” said Elder Koch, a native of Santa Catarina, Brazil. “The original phrase is inspired by the French philosopher Auguste Comte: ‘Love in principle, order as a base and progress in the end.’ Though someone convinced the creators of the flag to suppress the word ‘love,’ we Christians have a responsibility to restore that feeling that is the beginning of everything.”

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