“The Church in Poland: Small, but Strong,” Ensign, Aug. 1979, 79–80
Though there are few members of the Church in Poland, a country of some thirty-five million, the Church is established there, and it is growing.
Some strong families have joined the Church in the last year in the “beautiful land,” and others are interested and are studying the gospel.
“They’re a lovely people,” says Shirley W. Thomas, second counselor in the general Relief Society presidency, who visited with the Polish members of the Church in May. She and her husband, Robert K. Thomas, academic vice-president of Brigham Young University, accompanied BYU’s Young Ambassadors as the group performed in Poland and West Germany. It was the Young Ambassadors’ second trip to Poland.
As the performers appeared before more than 28,000 persons in three countries, members of the group met with the Saints wherever they performed. Polish members of the Church met the travelers as they flew into Warsaw, and all participated in a fireside that night, where Polish Saints bore testimonies of the strength of the gospel in their lives.
The group visited several Polish cities—Warsaw, Poznan, Gdansk, Torun, and others.
The Church in Poland is “fledgling,” Sister Thomas says, “but the members are strong. And you realize, too, that they’ve had a prophet visit them.” President Spencer W. Kimball visited Poland in 1977, meeting with Church members and government officials and dedicating the land and the people for the teaching of the gospel on 24 August 1977. The Polish Saints also have been visited by other representatives of the Church.
Even so, being a member of the Church in a country with so few members can be lonely. One woman joined the Church after meeting some German members of the Church and attending meetings with them. After those members moved, “she was alone, and didn’t have any meetings to attend for two years,” Sister Thomas says. The woman read scriptures in German, and her German Latter-day Saint friends telephoned her regularly. After two years, a Polish family joined the Church, and a branch was formed.
Sister Thomas says the Relief Society can do much to enable the Polish Saints to help each other. One woman, a Church member, had a limited amount of clothing, but she knew how to sew. The Relief Society procured a sewing machine, which the Relief Society members learned to use while Sister Thomas was visiting.
Like the other Polish people, the Polish Saints are proud of their nationality and heritage. They express affection warmly and openly—often with flowers. Once, while the Young Ambassadors were performing, a Polish woman ran to the stage and bedecked a drum soloist with flowers.
The warmth and fervency of the people reminds Sister Thomas of the early members of the Church. “I couldn’t help comparing those few Saints with the six who met in April 1930 to form the Church. They were few, too, but they were strong.”