BY Alan Ah Mu
APIA: MONDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 2013: The highest ranked Mormon in the Pacific has been drawn to Samoa to discuss the row over language that has broken out between Samoan church members and their leaders in Brisbane, Australia.
Elder James J. Hamula, President of the Pacific Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – which includes Australia and New Zealand – has called a media conference tomorrow afternoon.
A portion of Samoan church members say their leaders in Brisbane have banned the use of Samoan in worship.
A delegation visited recently and discussed their complaint with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.
A statement issued last Thursday said Government has taken an interest in the issues the church and its Samoan members in Brisbane have argued over in a court case.
Important issues of religious practice and cultural rights have been raised it says.
The Attorney General is to advice Government on the matter – and met with the General Counsel of the Church on 11 September 2013.
It was revealed in a court decision in Brisbane that Samoan may no longer be used as a language of worship except by those weak in English in certain circumstances with English translation provided.
It follows a reorganization which saw Samoan-speaking wards merged with other wards for the sake of more efficiency in the running of stakes.
Wards form stakes in the organisation of the church.