On

his own dime, Mark Paredes is headed to Europe to try and explain Jews

and Judaism to Mormons and to reassure Jewish people that they have a

friend in Mormonism.

Paredes, who currently is the president of the Los Angeles office of

the Zionist Organization of America and a high councilor in the Santa

Monica California LDS Stake, plans to speak in Holland, Germany,

Finland, Sweden, Slovenia and Austria starting on Aug. 29.

Earlier this year, he did a similar tour in Norway and Sweden.

Paredes believes he is being spiritually urged to visit Europe and speak in support of Jews and Judaism.

"I believe that Jews in Europe need to know who their friends are

now more than ever," he said. "I will be delivering talks in six

languages on the history on Jewish-Mormon relations to predominantly

(but not exclusively) Mormon audiences at the invitation of local

Mormon leaders who wish to remind their members of the long history of

LDS support for the Jewish people."

Paredes told the JewishJournal.com that he thinks of himself as "yehudi b/nefesh" or "Jewish in soul."

"You don't have to be Jewish to be a Zionist or to understand what's

happening in the world," he said. He said he has a deep love for Jews,

Israel and Judaism.

Paredes said the Bernie Madoff scandal has hurt Jews and given fresh fodder to anti-Semite groups.

Paredes hopes Mormons who learn about his plans will encourage their Jewish friends to attend the free lectures.

Information about the specific times and locations of the lectures in available by contacting Paredes at: [email protected].


e-mail: [email protected]