News Release

The Love of God Distils Upon India in Elder Uchtdorf’s Ministry

The apostle emphasizes the commandments to love God and love thy neighbors

Members and service volunteers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in India warmly welcomed Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as he toured parts of the country from February 6-17, 2023. It has been 25 years since his last visit to India as a pilot.

“We love India and the people,” Elder Uchtdorf exclaimed. “We were deeply touched and impressed. It was kind of a homecoming for us.”

He was accompanied by his wife, Harriet, and Elder Kelly R. Johnson of the Asia Area Presidency and his wife, Terri.

They visited New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru. Everywhere Elder Uchtdorf went, he was enfolded in the warmth of India and its people. Likewise, he was genuinely interested in getting to know them, connecting with them, and ministering to them.

“When you approach people in kindness, they respond in kindness, with a smile,” he said about the trip.

To the Church members in India, Elder Uchtdorf is not only an instructor who teaches gospel principles from the podium, he is also a leader that cares about those he teaches. During his visit, he embraced the Saints with love by giving them hugs, shaking their hands, giving high-fives to the little children, never missing the chance to show a hand heart. He spent extra time with the congregation after each meeting to get to know individual members.


“I felt that we were listening to a family member,” said Ravi Gupta, first counselor of the New Delhi Stake. “After the devotional, I felt peace in my heart. I felt God loves us.”

At each of the meetings in all three cities, Elder Uchtdorf taught the principle of love.


“The two great commandments are love our Heavenly Father and love our neighbors.” Elder Uchtdorf taught that the love of the gospel causes people of different backgrounds to live in harmony and bear one another’s burden. “Try to forgive and forget,” he exhorted. “Reach out to the individuals by showing your love … Be a brother, be a sister, be a friend.”

From their experience in Europe, the Uchtdorfs know what it is like to be part of a small group of members.  Sister Uchtdorf said she could identify with the challenges the youth experienced in India. As a convert and the only Church member in her school, she shared how she introduced and defended her faith amongst her peers. Over time, she was even able to build friendships and mutual respect with them.


“Be yourself,” she emphasized across different meetings throughout the trip. “Don’t give in to peer pressure. Stand up for what you believe. Try hard to develop your own testimony so you can say, ‘I believe this. It is not just because of my parents or teachers or somebody else, but I want to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.’”

Elder Uchtdorf congratulated the Saints in India for making the choice to become members according to the laws of the land. He specifically encouraged the young people in India to use the scriptures and other resources like the “For the Strength of Youth” guide to make correct choices.

“The things he has spoken have really strengthened me and my testimony,” said Sister Aishwarya Battina from Bengaluru. “[It is] not just knowing the things but emphasizing on the things that we need to do to stay on the covenant path…I really liked when he spoke about having meaningful prayers, heart-to-heart prayers with our Heavenly Father, which will help us to have that special connection.”

To all members of the Church in India, Elder Uchtdorf asked them to rely on the Lord in finding ways to strengthen the restored gospel of Christ in this country of 1.4 billion people.


“Here is a nation of strength, of goodness, of kindness, of great potential,” he said. “I invite you to grow the Church here. Love the people, share with them why you love the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ, and invite them to come and see, come and help, and come and belong.”


The Uchtdorfs took the time to visit the Taj Mahal again, India’s iconic monument commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. On the train to Agra, Elder Uchtdorf walked up the aisle and said hello to people.

At the Taj Mahal, the breathtaking beauty of the architecture and sensational meaning behind its creation left a lasting impression on them once more.

“If human beings can design, construct, and maintain something in such a beautiful way, there are no limits of beauty and dimension for our Heavenly Father in creating this world or the circumstances of our life in eternity,” he said. “In some ways, it reflects the heart of India with its love, kindness, beauty and enduring presence in complex, oftentimes challenging times. It shows there can be a place of beauty in every circumstance.”

Elder Uchtdorf added his hopes and his blessing by saying, “The future of the Church in India is great … You are a wonderful and marvelous country … you are an amazing people, marvelous things will happen and you are part of it … You are the pioneers here in India and you will see the fruits of your efforts.”

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