New Zealand PM Ardern is the face of a new generation of former Mormons

Jacinda-Ardern-and-Russell-Nelson-5

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives a Book of Mormon to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Wellington, New Zealand on Monday, May 20, 2019. Photo courtesy of the Newsroom of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Source: Religion News Service

BY Jana Riess

Earlier today in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had a meeting with President Russell M. Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Judging from the Deseret News coverage, it doesn’t sound that different from previous LDS leaders’ meet-and-greet opportunities with heads of state. Ardern received an embossed leather copy of the Book of Mormon, and a promise that the Church will make donations to the two Christchurch mosques that were the targets of a gunman’s fatal spree two months ago that resulted in the deaths of 51 people. They discussed shared issues, including a mutual concern for the abuse of social media for violent ends.

What’s different — I think perhaps unprecedented — is that Ardern is a former Mormon herself. She grew up as a member of the Church in New Zealand, and some of her relatives who also attended the meeting are still active believers.

Read more

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