News Release

Melbourne Hosts Latter-day Saint Apostle and Other Leaders

Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often known by the nickname ‘Mormons’) and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, visited Melbourne last weekend.

The Bednars were accompanied by Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy; his wife, Sister Jan Robbins; Elder O. Vincent Haleck of the Pacific Area Presidency; and his wife, Sister Peggy Haleck.

Approximately 400 women who hold lay leadership positions in the Church’s youth groups, children’s programmes (known as Primary) and women’s organization (Relief Society) throughout Victoria met in Heidelberg on Saturday. Others joined via webcast from country areas of Victoria and Tasmania.

Discussion focused on the question: “What manner of men and women ought we to be?” — based on a talk delivered by Elder Robbins in April 2011, in which he considered the distinction between “doing” and “being” in the quest to become better Christians. 

Mother-of-three Michelle Linley — a practice manager and Latter-day Saint lay leader who oversees youth programmes in one the Church’s congregations in Melbourne — noted that through the open and interactive format of the meeting there was much practical wisdom shared by many present through their questions and input.

On the Saturday evening, Elder Bednar met at Wantirna with over 1,200 youth members of the Church, aged 12-18, from all over Melbourne. The meeting was held in the shadow of the Latter-day Saints’ Melbourne Australia Temple — the only such building in Victoria and one that members of the Church regard as sacred.

Elder Bednar candidly answered youths’ questions on a wide range of topics. Some questions came via text messages from teenagers in other parts of the country who were participating in the event via a webcast.

Natasha Brooks, a 17-year-old student from Melbourne’s east, was especially uplifted by Elder Bednar’s focus on helping young people in the Church feel confident and happy with who they are.

On the Sunday, Elder Robbins attended a meeting in Narre Warren of five congregations from Melbourne’s south east. He spoke on the New Testament parable of the 10 virgins found in Matthew Chapter 25. 

Elder Robbins reminded the congregation that the oil in the lamps spoken of can be regarded as a representation of faith in Jesus Christ and that it is this faith that gives members of the Church, and other Christians, strength during difficult times.

Michael Poore, a company director and a lay leader in a Dandenong congregation, said he felt the meeting emphasized that “the teachings of Jesus Christ stand out as a light or beacon as to how all people should treat each other.”

Elder Bednar met with over 1,000 members of the Church and guests from six congregations in western Melbourne and Geelong, sharing insights into how disciples of Jesus Christ should move from being mere objects, that are acted upon, to being agents, acting to bless the lives of others.

Adam Carthew, a finance industry executive from Melbourne’s western area, said, “It was great to hear Elder Bednar speak powerfully on simple doctrines that reminded us to focus on what the Saviour would have us do. There was a great spirit throughout the meeting which would have left everyone feeling they could press forward.”

Elder and Sister Bednar concluded their visit to Melbourne by presenting a devotional on marriage at Wantirna that reached congregations in the thousands, both in person and in Church buildings throughout Australia via satellite and webcast facilities.

Reference was made to the ongoing relevance of the Church’s statement, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” which was published 20 years ago and contains “principles that are vital to the happiness and well-being of every family.”

As with many of the other meetings this weekend, much of the program was interactive, giving individuals in the congregation the opportunity to ask questions of Elder Bednar.

The same evening, Elder and Sister Robbins were joined by Area Seventy Elder Robert Dudfield and his wife Darice at a gathering for young adults, aged 18 – 30. Subjects discussed were particularly applicable to this age group, including juggling work, study and church service; preparing for marriage; and becoming more unified.

The visitors were hosted by local leaders on a scenic tour around Melbourne’s central business district, including a walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens and the War Memorial.

Newsroom contributor: Mark Bender.


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