SALT LAKE CITY — President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has launched a new social media page on Instagram dedicated to the faith’s Spanish speakers. The account made public on Wednesday coincides with the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States.
President Nelson asks permission to speak in Spanish — again
“Con su permiso, quisiera hablar en español,” President Nelson said in the first video posted to the page. He made that statement to members and friends of the church gathered in Peru in 2018, asking if they would give him permission to speak to them in Spanish.
That question was followed with applause by those gathered to listen.
“Years ago, I had the desire to learn the language of my Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters,” President Nelson continued in Spanish on that Instagram Reel. “Although my Spanish is not perfect, I desire to speak with you in your own language.”
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Latter-day Saints who speak Spanish are faith’s second-largest group
Spanish-speaking Latter-day Saints make up the second-largest group of church members. In 2020, the church launched a consolidated their Spanish-language news website; At the time, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles noted that more than a third of the church’s membership spoke Spanish as a first language.
This account becomes the first Spanish-only social media account created by any senior leader of the church.
The church has been translating materials and sharing its message in other languages since the church’s founding. Its first foreign-language mission came in 1843, when Joseph Smith called missionaries to serve in French Polynesia.
The first non-English translation of the Book of Mormon was in Danish, published in 1851. The first Spanish translation of the Book of Mormon was published in 1886.
Bilingual church leaders share faith in many languages
In recent years, other members of the faith’s leadership have shared their talks and testimonies in languages they speak.
Elder Richard G. Scott, who passed away in 2015, would record his conference talks in both Spanish and Portuguese. Currently, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, who served a mission for the church in Argentina, records all his conference talks in Spanish as well.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf records his conference talks in German, and Elder Gary E. Stevenson records his talks in Japanese.
At the church’s semiannual general conferences, the proceedings were first interpreted in 1961 from below the Conference Center in Dutch, German, Samoan, and Spanish. Now they are interpreted into 93 different languages. The church teaches more than 50 languages at its Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.
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