“A Bishop with a Badge,” Ensign, June 1996, 68
When Bishop Gerrit Muurling of the Haarlem Ward, The Hague Netherlands Stake, observes that reclaiming a life is like reclaiming a polder, he knows what he’s talking about. He grew up in the Noordoost Polder, which his father helped drain and prepare for farming and grazing. Today, flowers bloom where sludge once covered the waterlogged lowlands.
Not only does Bishop Muurling help reclaim lives in the Church, but he also tries to influence his fellow officers for good in his employment as Haarlem’s chief of police. “Police work involves daily confrontation with the misery of others,” he says. “In spite of the best we do, we don’t see much improvement in criminals and other troubled people.”
To help officers cope with the sadness and stress they constantly encounter, Captain Muurling works with a special industrial care team that lends support and strength to police officers. He says that his sense of humor and his belief in the gospel help sustain him in difficult situations.
Bishop Muurling and his wife, Elly Hoekstra, joined the Church after two sister missionaries knocked on their door early in their marriage. The sisters were able to answer many religious questions the couple had and confirm concepts they already believed were true, such as eternal marriage and the Word of Wisdom. “We were amazed when the whole branch fasted and prayed that we would join the Church,” he recalls. The Muurlings have five children.—Paul and Shirlee Conners, Frankfurt, Germany