“Area Authority in Asia,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 68–69
Elder Shih-an (Kent) Liang, an Area Authority Seventy from Asia, recalls the day his father came to him to tell him that at noon he would be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “I thought none of my classmates were Christian, so I refused,” says Elder Liang. His father talked to him about the importance of taking this step, and, although reluctant, he finally agreed to baptism. “It was a cold and rainy day in December 1958, and there was no indoor font and no warm water,” he recalls. “But today I am deeply grateful to my father for bringing us into the Church,” says Elder Liang, a professor in the Department of Business Administration at the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan.
During the 1960s Elder Liang’s father served as branch president. There were a number of severe typhoons during those years that caused great damage to the homes. After each typhoon, his father would get on his bicycle and visit every member of the branch. His example impressed his son, who soon put aside his reservations and became active in the branch.
In those early years of the Church in Taiwan, there were no translated scriptures except the Bible. Church materials were few, and members struggled. The strength of the Church at the time was in the Mutual program and missionary teachings. “Every Tuesday was a special day because Mutual made it different,” says Elder Liang. “During summer vacations, missionaries taught interested members the gospel early in the morning, and many, including myself, were deeply touched.”
When he began studying at the university, he realized that many school activities were held on Sundays. As a Church member, he did not participate. “At first my classmates thought I was very strange,” he recalls. “They gradually came to understand that my religion was important and meaningful to me.”
Several years later he met Hsiao-Yun and began dating her. She knew about his membership in what seemed to her to be an unusual church, but she continued to date him anyway. After studying in the United States for a year, he returned to Taiwan and married his sweetheart but soon left again to continue his studies in the States. While he was gone, Hsiao-Yun began studying with the missionaries and joined the Church. A year later she traveled to the United States to be with her husband. Later the couple went with his parents to Salt Lake City, and both couples were sealed in the temple. “From that moment we have truly received a life of happiness,” says Elder Liang. “I am so grateful for the gospel. I know it is true. It is an honor to belong to the Church.”
Elder Liang, who earned a master’s degree from Texas A&M University, has served as a counselor in a bishopric, high councilor, stake president, and regional representative. The Liangs have two children: a son, Howard, 21, who serves as ward clerk, and a daughter, Alice, 19, who serves in Young Women.