(by Lindsey Williams deseretnews.com 2-7-16)
In an article released Thursday by Mormon Newsroom, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared experiences from his childhood. As a child, President Uchtdorf was a refugee.
The Uchtdorf family went to East Germany from Czechoslovakia when President Uchtdorf was 4. When he was 11, the family left East Germany and went to West Germany.
“Within those few years, we lost everything twice,” President Uchtdorf said in a video associated with the article.
In the video, President Uchtdorf said that through these experiences, he learned to never label people. President Uchtdorf asked LDS Church members to do the same through a Facebook post.
“We are all children of Heavenly Father and therefore brothers and sisters,” President Uchtdorf wrote. “Let us look for opportunities to help wherever we can. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts; let us notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us; let us be an answer to those prayers; let us be instruments in the hands of the Lord.”
The LDS Church is donating an additional $5 million to help in the European refugee crisis, according to Mormon Newsroom.
“We don’t want to focus all our efforts on one single refugee activity,” President Uchtdorf said in the video. “We want to use our talents which we have as a church to bless the lives of individuals through all phases as a family, as individuals, in seeking to become self-reliant to help them to learn to help themselves.”
Elder Dale G. Renlund, a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, also has a connection to the refugee crisis. His father was a European refugee.