Special ‘Mormon Land’ from Europe: The LDS Church isn’t dying here, but it is changing

With an influx of immigrants — the U.S.-based faith is gaining a more international flavor.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith listen to a devotional with apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf in Friedrichsdorf, Germany, in 2022.

Born in West Germany, Ralf Grünke has been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for most of his life. But it was complicated. And, among his Catholic and Lutheran peers, that meant he sometimes keenly felt his “otherness.”

Still, being “an ugly duckling between the swans,” Grunke has written, was a “blessing in disguise.”

He studied his own faith deeply, reading everything he could find, pro or con, as well as other faiths, and developed a strong foundation spiritually and scholarly. He now enjoys a spectrum of friends and contacts among all religions, while representing the Utah-based church.

(Michael Stack | Special to The Tribune) Ralf Grünke, shown in Hamburg, Germany, is the assistant communication director for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Central Europe.

Grunke is the church’s assistant communication director for Central Europe, headquartered in Frankfurt. He joined “Mormon Land” for a special on-location podcast in Hamburg about the faith’s status on the Continent.

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