Celebrating 50 years of the gospel in Taiwan
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Sultry weather failed to dampen the spirits of hundreds of Church members and full-time missionaries gathered on Saturday, June 13, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Taiwan's dedication for the preaching of the gospel.
The Taiwan Latter-day Saints were assembled on the hillside overlooking Taipei where Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve gave the dedicatory prayer on June 1, 1959. He was surrounded by a small group of Taiwanese converts and some of the earliest missionaries called to serve on the island.
In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Petersen said, "Let Thy Spirit bear testimony to the hearers of the truth."
Over the past five decades, Elder Petersen's plea has been answered in Taiwan. The Church has grown strong, with many third-generation members faithfully living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Adding to the significance of the 50th anniversary celebration was news that Taiwan's Church membership had recently surpassed the 50,000 mark.
With its 10 stakes, two districts, 102 wards and branches, and three missions, the Church in Taiwan is a vibrant fulfillment of the blessings Elder Petersen invoked.
Taipei Taiwan East Stake President Wong Ling-xing presided over and spoke at the event at which Elder Petersen's dedicatory prayer was read. Taiwan Taipei Mission President Norman Nielson also addressed the gathered group, as did Taipei Taiwan Temple President Gerald Walker.
At the beginning of his comments, President Walker raised his hand high and asked the congregation if there were any who were present when Elder Petersen dedicated Taiwan in 1959. President Walker's was the only hand raised. "I guess I'm the Lone Ranger," he quipped.
Fifty years ago, it was a young Elder Gerald Walker who was one of the missionaries who witnessed Elder Petersen's dedication of Taiwan. He recounted how in 1959 there were just five small branches and a few hundred members of the Church in all of Taiwan.
"To have been here then and now are choice blessings in my life," he said. "It is truly exciting to see the strength of the Church in Taiwan today."