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

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern leaves after the Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern leaves after the Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

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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