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Vietnam gives local LDS leaders official recognition, legal status

Published: Friday, May 30 2014 3:30 p.m. MDT

"It was a huge privilege to go on a mission and speak Vietnamese," he said.

Nguyen was delighted by the government's recognition of the LDS committee.

"I was really excited today," he said. "I didn't think it would happen any time soon."

Elder Todd Tran's father also embraced the news from his native country.

"I think it's great the government is giving the church an opportunity to be in Vietnam and to serve and share the gospel with the people," Thao Tran said. "The church has a long record of humanitarian service in Vietnam, and I think the government appreciates that, and that the church follows the law."

Thao Tran said annual visits by Vietnamese government officials to the international law and religion symposium at BYU have provided those officials with firsthand opportunities to learn about the church in Utah.

The president of the church's Hanoi district, Hoang Van Tung, will chair the government-approved Interim Representative Committee. He will be joined by the two LDS branch presidents in Ho Chi Minh City.

Tung said the church is committed to following Vietnam's religious activity laws, according to the release.

He also said future announcements about what the recognition will mean for church members in Vietnam won't be made until additional details are finalized.

Pham Dung, chairman of the Vietnam government's Committee for Religious Affairs, presented the certification in a ceremony at the Hanoi LDS branch. He was joined by religious affairs committee members and other government officials.

Email: twalch@deseretnews.com

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