SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unveiled a new website Friday aimed at educating and assisting Chinese citizens who have joined the church in other countries and have returned to the People's Republic of China.
Called "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in China," the website was designed specifically for these citizens and their church leaders, according to Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Elder Oaks, who has long supervised the church in China under the direction of the LDS Church's First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said there are thousands of Chinese citizens who have joined the church while living in the United States, Canada, Australia and Britain and worship in Chinese congregations in those countries.
"If these Chinese members of the church return to China, they may not know how to find the church in their country or they may not understand how they should comply with Chinese laws in relation to religious practice," Oaks said in a video about the website. "This new site is designed to give these Chinese members information that will be helpful to them, including whom to contact for information."
We will continue to teach our members to be good citizens. Providing accurate information about the church will allow them to better contribute to society in China and throughout the world.
–Elder Dallin H. Oaks
The website features answers to frequently asked questions from citizens of China, church leaders and non-Chinese members visiting or moving to China. Oaks said the LDS Church has worked to build a "strong relationship of trust" with officials in China and that the website follows in that relationship of trust.
"We will continue to teach our members to be good citizens," Oaks said. "Providing accurate information about the church will allow them to better contribute to society in China and throughout the world."
Church officials are also hopeful that the increased information will debunk numerous rumors about the church and missionary work in China.
"The church has no proselyting missionaries in the People's Republic of China nor does it have any plans to send missionaries or to engage in proselyting activities in China," Oaks said. "Furthermore, this new site is in no way related to the recent church announcement lowering the age of eligibility for full time missionary service."