Brisbane ban on Samoan untrue local Mormon official says

Church Public Affairs Officer Tupuola George Hunter.

Church Public Affairs Officer Tupuola George Hunter.

by Lagi Keresoma

APIA: WEDNESDAY 7 AUGUST 2013: A claim that Mormons in Brisbane ban Samoan from their services can’t be true.

“There is no policy in our church to ban any language from services,” said Tupuola George Hunter, Public Relations Officer of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints or Mormons in Samoa.

Their head office in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States, makes policy decisions and no language ban in services has been issued, Tupuola said.

He doesn’t believe lawyer Leulua’iali’i Olinda Woodroffe who told reporters that Mormons in Brisbane have banned the reading of the Samoan Bible or the use of Samoan in hymns and prayers.

Leulua’iali’i said she has been hired by Samoan Mormons in Brisbane to represent them in the matter.

“What she said on TV is wrong,” said Tupuola.

“I suspect that perhaps a Samoan stake mission was closed and it’s members have joined a palagi mission,” he said.

It has been a past practice of the church to close one stake mission in order to develop the others.

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“Samoan community stake missions are very active and more functional than palagi missions, Tupuola said.

He is unaware the language issue has reached the Federal Court in Australia as Leulua’iali’i stated.

Several elderly Mormons were surprised to hear of events in Brisbane.

Sister Beth said if a mission is closed, it could only be that it has practiced things that are not in line with the Church’s teachings and principles.

“Banning language is not a church practice,” she said.

Tupuola is looking into the situation further.

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