I had an interesting conversation this weekend. A met a man who had served as mission president in Mongolia. I didn’t know much about Mongolia, and thought it was part of China. At one time it was, I guess, but the Soviets took over after World War 2, and forced the country to use the Cyrillic alphabet when writing Chinese, which was quite a difficult transition. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mongolia declared independence from the Soviet Union, and is still an independent country today.
Corruption is still a big problem. Many of the old communists are still the leaders. While we complain about the corruption in the U.S. government, the fact is that the government works quite well compared to Mongolia. Things have become so bad that the stake president there asked church members to pray and ask God to bring back Communism–at least they could afford food and housing under the old Soviet empire! (Of course, the LDS Church wasn’t fond of that message.)
There is only a single stake in the whole country. He told me that there are enough people to form a second stake, but there aren’t enough priesthood holders to accommodate a second stake. I asked him if women were ordained, would that solve the priesthood problem, and he said it absolutely would. He said that the women there were the lifeblood of the stake. He also mentioned that sister missionaries there were responsible for 3/4 of baptisms, and these new converts were more likely to maintain active status.
Isn’t is a shame that the church policy restricting priesthood prevents a second stake from being formed in Mongolia?
MH – thanks for this post, and the interesting discussion over on Wheat and Tares. I’m going to be in Mongolia in a couple weeks, and hope to be able to attend a service there. If anything jumps out, I’ll let you know. While I’ve always been keen to go to Mongolia (even asked to be sent there when I was becoming a missionary), this timely post (which I’m reading a bit late), makes me keen to see how things are on the ground.
Thanks Leonard. I’d love to hear your experience. Sounds like a good guest post!