News Release

Elder Taniela B. Wakolo Meets with French Polynesian Vice President

Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, General Authority Seventy and a member of the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with Madam Eliane Tevahitua, vice president of French Polynesia on 1 December 2023.

Elder Wakolo was accompanied by Elder Frederic Riemer, an Area Seventy.

“We explained about the Church and the history of the Church, especially temples and their purpose,” Elder Wakolo said after the meeting.

Madam Vice President Tevahitua shared with Elder Wakolo and Elder Riemer that she had visited the grounds of the temple in Papeete and was interested in learning more about the purpose of temples.

Elder Wakolo and Elder Riemer informed Madam Tevahitua about next year’s 180th anniversary of the arrival of the first missionaries to French Polynesia, and that an Apostle of the Lord, Elder Ulisses Soares, will be in Tahiti for the celebration.

As an Apostle, Elder Wakolo said Elder Soares will “talk of Christ and invite others to come unto Christ.”

Plans are being finalised for Elder Soares to meet with Mr. Moetai Brotherson, President of French Polynesia.

Elder Wakolo and Elder Riemer told the Vice President that youth from New Caledonia visited with President Brotherson earlier this year. The youth were in French Polynesia to worship in the Papeete Tahiti Temple and to attend a “For the Strength of Youth” (FSY) conference.

While with the country’s leader, the youth sang the Church’s 2023 youth theme song, “I can do all things.”

Elder Wakolo thanked Madam Vice President Tevahitua and the government for safeguarding freedom of religion for all French Polynesians.

The Church leaders presented the Vice President with French and Tahitian language copies of a new booklet produced by the Church on religious freedom within the legal context of French Polynesia.

Madam Tevahitua said, “What I have always appreciated about the members of your Church, and in fact, I have some in my family, is that they are citizens who strive to be respectful of others and of laws of the country.”

They also discussed the 2024 RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City — the largest family history event of its kind in the world, attracting thousands of visitors and millions of online participants.

The group discussed ways that the Church and government can do more together in the future to serve individuals who are homeless and others in need in French Polynesian communities.

As a token of appreciation for her and her fellow government leaders’ support of families, Elder Wakolo and Elder Riemer presented the Vice President with a statuette depicting a loving and unified family.

“Strong families lead to a strong society,” Elder Wakolo said.

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