Soon after this weekend’s LDS General Conference, church President Thomas S. Monson will be jetting off to Germany, a country that has played a pivotal role in his life and faith.
In the mid-1970s, Monson, then an LDS apostle, worked behind-the-scenes with government officials in what was then East Germany to build a Mormon temple in that country. That dream came to fruition in 1983, when Monson prayed at the groundbreaking for a temple in Freiberg. It was dedicated in 1985.
Now Monson is returning to the place and a people he knew so well.
From Oct. 13 to 20, the 85-year-old Monson, considered a “prophet, seer and revelator” by the Mormon faithful, will speak in four German cities — Hamburg, Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt.
It seems, however, that the trip was only planned in late September, according to a German member.
“The rooms they have rented for those meetings are big, but they are far too small for receiving members from four stakes at a time, so limited-entry tickets are distributed to the stakes,” writes Volker Molthan, second counselor in the Pforzheim branch of the Stuttgart LDS Stake, at the edge of the Black Forest, in an email. My branch has received only 11 tickets (for 40 members who would have liked to go).”
Because of the short notice, Molthan writes, LDS officials in Germany “could not rent any larger facilities.”
The fact that there is a full week between Monson’s meetings in Berlin and Munich has generated lots of speculation among German Latter-day Saints.
“Normally, authorities will stay maybe one or two days and leave for other activities right away,” Molthan writes. “So people are guessing, what really is the president of the church doing for a whole week in Germany between those weekend meetings?”
Some speculate, he says, that this is likely to be the last time Monson will be in Germany, and the Mormon prophet wants to bid them “auf Wiedersehen.”
Peggy Fletcher Stack