Latter-day Saint Life

President Nelson Thanks Tongan King for Religious Liberty That Has Helped the Gospel Flourish


The royal family and nobles here are Free Wesleyan Christians and 62 percent of the population has membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so when King Tupou VI welcomed President Russell M. Nelson to the royal palace, religious liberty was a key topic.

"It's important for us to be able to thank leaders for the privilege of religious freedom in their country," President Nelson said after emerging from the white, shiplap-sided palace.

"It's a really precious aspect of governmental relations to allow the people to have the ability to practice the religion of their choice."

The two leaders also spoke about education and living a healthy lifestyle during the 30-minute meeting. The king and queen invited President Nelson to hold a short press conference on the palace lawn under overcast skies 50 yards from the Pacific Ocean. They rolled out a traditional Tongan tapa, a mat made of crushed tree bark, for him to stand on.

Story by Tad Walch, lead image by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
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