WikiLeaks files: U.S. envoys helped Mormons worldwide

Thankful for the opportunity, an LDS Church official in Kazakhstan presented tenets of his faith to the central Asian nation’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, a tough former Communist labeled by detractors as corrupt and ruthless.

General authority Paul Pieper, who represents the area for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke in both Kazakh and Russian as he outlined support of traditional family values, education and the authority of local governments — as well as the faith’s taboos against alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs.

"You don’t drink?’’ Nazarbayev interrupted. "There are places in Russia where they live to be over 100 and drink like fish."

Then, apparently sensing Pieper’s discomfort, Nazarbayev chuckled and added, "I hope you understand that’s a joke.’’

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