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BYU London Euroseminar, 15 December 2017

Elder Patrick Kearon:

‘The Savior knows how it feels to be a refugee—he was one. As a child, Jesus and his family fled to Egypt to escape the murderous swords of Herod and at various points in his ministry, he found himself threatened and his life in danger, ultimately submitting to the designs of evil men who had plotted his death. Perhaps then, it is all the more remarkable to us that he repeatedly taught us to love one another, to love as he loves, to love our neighbor as ourselves. Truly, pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to look to the poor and the needy and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer.’


Gaston Chappuis, April General Conference, 1943

‘There is a Belgium District, and there I had the privilege to talk to our district president, Brother Devignez. He was one of the Saints who left the City of Liege at the onslaught, to seek refuge in France, and while upon the highway in Belgium they were stranded and witnessed an aerial attack by Stuka dive bombers. Brother Devignez said to me: “I have never seen anything like it. Blood was as thick on the streets as water on a rainy day,” and he testified to me that he knew that the Lord blessed him as well as his companions. When I reached Liege I heard some criticism about the good shepherd leaving the flock. Some of the brethren and sisters who had decided to remain censured the decision of this brother to leave as a refugee, yet he had spoken’ of it ofttimes before the war had overtaken Belgium and had invited all who wanted to, to join the party. I couldn’t help thinking how much better this man was fitted to lead the Saints after he came back from such an experience, knowing, as he did that the Lord had spared his life — that the whole party got back safely, including a ten-months-old baby; that among this party was another brother who, in the face of death, had gone into a field to milk a cow so that the ten- months-old baby would be fed.’

‘Because of Polish expulsion orders, the more than fifteen hundred members of the Church who had resided in Silesia now taken over by the Poles, have had to find their way into Germany proper. In Cottbus, fiery, courageous Fritz Lehnig last year established a center in one of the schools, and there often as many as a hundred people were quartered until they could be pushed further into the interior to distribute them- selves in other parts of Germany. At one time as many as four hundred refugees were provided for by the Latter-day Saint organization in Berlin. When the bombings caused tremendous displacements, the Church leaders of the East Mission created community refugee areas in the Spreewald, Sudeten Mountains, and in Kreuz in Pomerania. An appeal went out to the membership in February 1944, asking for contributions of clothing, bed linens, and other supplies which were accumulated in quantities so adequate that the appeal was shortly voided. To-day, of course, there is a general shortage of all clothing and supplies among the members, but in 1944 and 1945 many a person was assisted through trying months because of this self-help action and the cooperation of the membership of the different branches.’

Improvement Era, Vol. 49, No. 9 (1946).