“Elder Oaks Talks about China and the Gospel,” Ensign, May 1991, 105
By Western standards, things sometimes happen slowly in the People’s Republic of China. Nevertheless, the gospel is gradually finding its way into this nation of 1.1 billion people—even though missionaries do not at present bring it to them, says Elder Dallin H. Oaks.
In a devotional address at Brigham Young University, he told students that the doors to China are slowly being opened through tours by BYU performing groups, Chinese exchange students’ learning about the gospel, and the help of LDS individuals on a personal level.
“Two great realities of mortal life over-arch all difficulties—” said Elder Oaks, “the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God. The Lord has promised us that he will ‘provide means whereby [we] can accomplish the thing which he has commanded [us].’ (1 Ne. 17:3.)”
Ever since BYU’s Young Ambassadors received a standing ovation from an audience of Peking’s artistic elite in 1979, BYU performing groups have led the way in establishing friendly relations with the people of China and their leaders. Accompanied by a member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve on each trip, the Ballroom Dancers, the Lamanite Generation, the Wind Symphony, and the Young Ambassadors have all performed in China. Several Church leaders have had in-depth discussions with senior Chinese leaders. Ten of the fifteen leaders currently serving in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have traveled in China. In turn, Chinese officials have taken a closer look at the Church.
While missionaries are not yet able to preach the gospel in China, each year China sends thousands of its young men and women to study abroad. “They quite naturally meet our missionaries, and many of these Chinese students join the Church,” continued Elder Oaks. “We encourage our Chinese members to return to China. Their country needs them in China, and the Lord needs them in China.”
In addition, the David M. Kennedy Center at BYU has arranged for LDS couples to teach English for one year in China. In connection with the Church, the center has also sent books to Chinese libraries, microfilmed official and family records for them, and assisted victims of a devastating earthquake.
“We must open our minds and our hearts to the people of this ancient realm and this magnificent culture,” concluded Elder Oaks. “We must understand their way of thinking, their aspirations, and their impressive accomplishments. We must observe their laws and follow their example of patience. We must deserve to be their friends.”