Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina Meets With Elder Cook From the Church of J


At the conclusion of a four-day ministering visit to Madagascar, Elder Quentin L. Cook, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with the country’s leader, President Andry Rajoelina, to discuss the island nation, its people and the Church’s growth.

Meeting inside Presidential Palace Iavoloha in the capital city of Antananarivo, Elder Cook was welcomed through the main entry with ceremonial guards standing at attention.

“We are grateful for the welcome we received and the treatment of the government to the Church,” Elder Cook told Rajoelina.

During the meeting on Tuesday, February 21, Elder Cook also thanked Rajoelina for his country’s commitment to religious freedom.

“Religious freedom helps protect both believers and non-believers,” Elder Cook said.

The president thanked Elder Cook for the service given by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints following recent cyclones in the country and recalled visiting some of the Church’s chapels where aid was administered to those in need.

“You help the most vulnerable,” he said. “In hard times, you know who your friends are. The Church are true friends.”

Elder Cook and Rajoelina were joined by Elder Cook’s wife, Sister Mary Cook, and local regional leaders of the church, including Elder Edward Dube who oversees the church in southern Africa and his wife, Naume Dube; and President Hery F. Rakotoarivelo, who leads the church’s mission in Madagascar.

During the meeting, Elder Cook presented Rajoelina with a Book of Mormon embossed with the President’s name. The Book of Mormon is a companion scripture to the bible and acts as another testament of Jesus Christ.


Elder Quentin L. Cook of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presented a Book of Mormon to the president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, in Antananarivo, Madagascar on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

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He also gave the president a statue of the Christus, which Rajoelina said would go on his desk. Elder Cook testified of the reality of Jesus Christ and shared that Jesus Christ appeared in Ancient America after His death and Resurrection, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.

Overcoming challenges

Rajoelina talked with Elder Cook about the challenges people in his country face, including food scarcity, lack of access to clean water, weather disasters and educational opportunities. Elder Cook said he believes the Church can provide some assistance in each of those areas. The two committed to working out the details of future joint efforts.

Rajoelina told Elder Cook that the Church would receive recognition for its help, but Elder Cook replied that was not something the Church seeks.

“We’re not as concerned about being recognized as we are about taking care of people,” Elder Cook said.

The Apostle also praised the people of Madagascar for their growing families and the willingness to have children even when circumstances may not be ideal.

As the group prepared to leave, Rajoelina asked Elder Cook and the others to pray for the country and its people.

Church in Madagascar

There are currently 14,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where the Church was officially recognized in 1993.

President Russell M. Nelson announced a temple for Madagascar in the October 2021 general conference. The temple’s location has not yet been announced, but Rajoelina said he is happy to know the Church will build one in his country.

“I fully encourage this,” he said.

Elder Cook explained that the temple is a sacred place for members of the Church and explained how it is connected to helping create stronger families.

“In temples, young people get married for eternity and are sealed to their family forever,” he said.

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