visited eight nations and addressed several thousand members of the Church. Growth in the area prompted the division of the former Manama Bahrain Stake into the Manama Bahrain District and the newly named Abu Dhabi Stake.
The original stake from which this growth came was organized 28 years ago by then Elder Boyd K. Packer, now president of the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Holland is the first member of the Quorum of the Twelve to have returned to the stake since its creation.
Elder Holland reported that growth in the Church has tripled over the years and continues to increase.
This was indeed an historic trip, not only for Elder Holland, but for the annals of the Church and for the people of God. It was written of Ishmael son of Abraham that the Angel of the Lord prophesied, "And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. (Gen. 16:12)" The term "wild" as used here is from the Hebrew, meaning a freedom loving people, and also probably a nomad. Indeed the Muslims are nomadic and freedom loving, but they cannot obtain the freedom they seek save through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Of his endeavors in the Middle East this April, Elder Holland noted, "Just as anywhere else in the world, our Father in Heaven watches over those who faithfully keep their covenants and strive to obey the gospel. That safety and protection was certainly manifest in the lives of the members of the Church I met with on this trip."
I know that if the Muslims repent and come to the Gospel they will obtain the freedom they seek. In the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.