Australian members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have embraced missionary opportunities as “The Book of Mormon” musical arrived in Melbourne earlier this month.
“The Book of Mormon” pokes fun at Mormon missionaries, but with the LDS Church's decision to launch media campaigns with phrases like, “You’ve seen the play, now read the book” in public areas, members are given opportunities to easily talk about the gospel.
ABC News posted an article about LDS Church members’ reactions, after finding that “‘The Book of Mormon’ mocks their faith. But rather than being offended, Mormons are viewing it as an invitation to set the record straight.”
The media outlet also featured Mormon missionaries serving in Katherine, an Australian town in the Northern Territory. Two elders, Connor Bennion from Utah and Matthew Nelson from Chicago, were followed throughout their routine of a normal day.
The missionaries discussed everything from working with Katherine's Indigenous people, which make up 50 percent of the town's population, to how they battle the area's heat.
"I think as missionaries, it's like ... I wouldn't say we're given extra power, but it's that we're on the Lord's errand, so if you go out and do all that you can — drink water, put on sunscreen — you'll be protected, you'll be fine," Elder Connor Bennion said when discussing the heat.
They also shared why they continue to study for themselves in addition to the people they teach.
"Personal study is personal for us because there are things we need to improve on as well because we're human ... we wish we were perfect, but none of us will be," Elder Nelson says.
Instagram posts reveal the church’s ads in Melbourne, prompting people to “Discover what’s inside.”
One young single adult posted her feelings to her ward’s Facebook page.
"These Elders are champions! I'm not sure how long they'll be there for but if you're in the CBD go say hi," she wrote. "They're at #FederationSquare right beside the Information Centre. Day made."
An Australian returned missionary shared that the pass-along cards, released by the church, remind her of her mission.
One member posed with the giant Book of Mormon display for the musical, and then shared her testimony on Instagram.
Mormon.org posted a series of interviews from Australian members and their feelings about the Book of Mormon.
Six years ago, just before I went on my mission, I decided to retire as a ballet dancer having worked with The Australian Ballet and the Melbourne Ballet Company to study law and international relations. Part of me really wants to practice law, and part of me would love to pursue a career in diplomacy. I really admire human rights lawyers. Im one of nine children, and my parents taught us since we were young the importance of respecting others, and to see all people as having innate worth, feelings and rights. I believe everyone should have an acute awareness of those around them, and to treat them with love and respect. The Book of Mormon is my favourite book, the first book I read all the way through. It is a constant part of my life I try to read it every day. Time and time again I have found it a source of hope in a world filled with difficulty and sadness. As I try to follow the Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon helps me to know that the things I do each day do count for something, and that there is good in this world worth fighting for. Learn more at the link in our profile. #DiscoverWhatsInside
I met my husband Zach through the church a year and a half ago and we became best friends pretty soon after. We were married six months ago and look forward to starting a family of our own. Zach and I recently started volunteering, visiting with elderly migrant and refugee people who are socially isolated. Its been humbling hearing their stories and I already feel so much love for them. I grew up in the Church and it helps me become a better person each day hopefully a little better than the last. The Book of Mormon is one of the main reasons I know God and Jesus Christ love me and have an active role in my life. Ive had countless experiences where Ive had personal questions answered as Ive prayed and read the Book of Mormon. Its helped me come closer to Jesus Christ and living his teachings has brought me happiness that cant be found in any other way. Learn more at the link in our profile. #DiscoverWhatsInside
Ive loved the sea since I was a boy. Ive been an abalone diver and a marine scientist, and now I am a humble commercial fisherman. Diving, you really are free, but you are part of the ecosystem, and its disconcerting not to be top of the food chain. I had a pod of killer whales above me one day. A friend has kissed a killer whale, but Id rather kiss my wife. Another time a 7-gill shark, thick as a tree trunk, came and looked at me like I was breakfast. Ive been caught in a shark feeding frenzy in the Coral Sea, which was a bit exciting. Ive loved the Book of Mormon since I was boy too. We read it with the Old and New Testaments, and you get a greater, more rounded understanding of God. It gave me a foundation in justice and caring for others, and taught me God is no respecter of persons. Whether we are with kings or queens or drug addicts or people suffering trials in life, we treat everyone as brothers and sisters on the same journey we are on. Discover more at the link in our profile. #DiscoverWhatsInside
As a Mormon, I am allowed to drive a car. And when I do I am allowed to have the radio on. I dont have to plough fields, go door-knocking at weekends or to Church services on Saturday, and I definitely believe in Jesus Christ. I have encountered misunderstandings about all of these. My wife Cass and I moved to Melbourne for work Im a marketing manager, shes a midwife and we have an 11-month-old boy, Trey. I grew up in the Church and, while high school can be a bit of a test of faith, I really believe in the standards of the Church and in the teachings and principles. Ive read the Book of Mormon eight or nine times, Id say. It means so much. So much! It has helped shape me to be the person I am, and it brings a sort of daily peace and joy which I notice is missing if I dont read it. Click the link in our profile to learn more. #DiscoverWhatsInside