News Release

Latter-day Saint Apostle and Other Church Leaders Speak in Auckland

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy; and Elder O. Vincent Haleck, president of the Church’s Pacific Area, each spoke to separate gatherings of members and friends of the Church in Auckland on Sunday, 11 March 2018.

Elder Andersen and Elder Clayton are visiting the South Pacific from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Elder Haleck is the most senior leader of the Church in the Pacific Area.

People began arriving at 7:00 a.m. for a meeting that would not begin until 10:00 a.m. at the Ferguson Road Church building in the Auckland suburb of Otara. At 9:00 a.m. the building was three quarters full and by 9:45 it was full.


Speaking to people from the Otara area, Elder Andersen acknowledged that they are a people of great faith and told them that “three virtues: faith, diligence and patience, can take you a long way.” He added that life is all about our choices, “between right and wrong, good and evil.”

“Life is our chance to show our faith, to learn the lessons we are to learn, to love our family…to be faithful to the promises we make to God.”

He continued: “We are far from our heavenly home in mortality. Here, we are being tested to see if we will put our faith in Christ, live the kind of life we are supposed to live and do the kinds of things we are supposed to do, so that we can return and be with Him. Life is not only believing; it is also doing.”


Elder Andersen was accompanied by his wife, Kathy Williams Andersen; Elder Paul R. Coward, an Area Seventy, and his wife, Julie Coward.

Hon Aupito William Sio, a Member of Parliament and Minister for Pacific Peoples, and Associate Minister of Courts and Justice, was among the members of the congregation.

Following the meeting, a Church member, Blake Wong-Ling, commented that he enjoyed Elder Andersen’s remarks, saying they were filled with hope, and that it was a blessing to be in the presence of an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Speaking at another conference in Papatoetoe, a few suburbs away, Elder L Whitney Clayton encouraged Church members to: “Build your homes into heavens. Make your homes heavenly, kind, loving places to be. Places where the gospel is not just taught, not just preached, but lived.”


He continued: “Many of the problems of life can be avoided if we keep the commandments. Our lives will be free from the hardships that come from being lazy about keeping the commandments of God.”

Elder Clayton’s wife, Kathy Ann Kipp Clayton; James A. Walker, president of the New Zealand Auckland Mission, and his wife, Harumi Walker, accompanied the visiting Church leader.


Speaking of Elder Clayton’s remarks, Ailia Fa’amausili, a young married woman starting a family, said, “Elder Clayton’s emphasis on being kind in the home was like what President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) said about a nation being as strong as its homes. Having strong families makes taking on the world easier.”

Another Church member, Diana Broederlow, said that Elder Clayton’s message was “simple.”

“He taught us to be kind and love one another.”

Elder Haleck spoke to Church members and friends in the Penrose area of Auckland at a third conference. He was accompanied by his wife, Peggy Haleck.

Referring to counsel given by the Old Testament prophet, Joshua, Elder Haleck encouraged those in attendance to “choose this day whom (we) will serve.”

“There are so many ‘gods’ in this life,” he said.


“Are we being distracted by those things of lesser value and forgetting the most important things.”

Elder Haleck added: “We need to be examples of the things we want to leave them [our children and grandchildren], by rearing them in the gospel, and spending time teaching them in our homes.”

Accompanying Elder Haleck were Michael A. Roberts and Christine A. Roberts, president and matron of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple.

Veeshayne Patuwai, a Church member from Glen Innes, said of Elder Haleck’s remarks: “He provided a wonderful reminder to parents and grandparents of the importance of teaching and living the gospel of Jesus Christ in our homes.”

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