Newsmaker: South Korean LDS Heads Agency

    “Newsmaker: South Korean LDS Heads Agency,” Ensign, Oct. 1996, 68

    Newsmaker: South Korean LDS Heads Agency

    As an expert in forensic odontology, South Korean dentist Chong Youl Kim has helped investigate and identify victims of Korean disasters such as the 1971 Daeyongak Hotel fire, a 1987 airline accident, and the more recent Sampoong department store collapse that killed some 500 people. Because of his knowledge, training, and experience, Brother Kim has been appointed director of Korea’s National Institute of Scientific Investigation (NISI), an agency that evaluates and develops scientific evidence from reports provided by law enforcement agencies and attorneys and also handles medical-legal autopsies and assists in arson and automobile accident investigations and body identification.

    When Brother Kim met missionaries at about age 10, they were the first foreigners he had seen who weren’t soldiers. During his youth he studied the gospel, but when he decided to join the Church he needed to wait three more years until he turned 18 in 1960. When Brother Kim was baptized, the Church in Korea had fewer than 200 members in four branches. Today the nation has more than 80,000 members in 16 stakes, five districts, and four missions.

    After baptism Brother Kim was called to teach a Gospel Principles Sunday School class by branch president In Sang Han, now a member of the Seventy. In 1973 Brother Kim became one of Korea’s first bishops, and he has also served in a stake presidency, a mission presidency, and as an elders quorum president. He served for many years as a part-time instructor in the Church Educational System after it was established in Korea. He was called as a regional representative in 1993, and today he serves as an Area Authority in the Church’s Asia North Area.

    In addition to his new NISI position, Brother Kim continues teaching as a dental professor at Korea’s largest private university. As a Church member in an important and visible government role, he says his hope is to promote equality and justice in his homeland.