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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

LDS Diplomats for the United States

I have a handy issue of BYU Magazine here, with a feature article about alumni (Mormons) serving in the foreign service. I do know or know of a handful of Mormon diplomats myself! You can read the text of  A Diplomatic Life for yourself. But here's what I found interesting, in light of what it says about the people of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"A current of alumni runs through the ranks that staff 265 U.S. embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions around the globe. Numbers aren't tracked officially, but anecdotally the State Department BYU is among the top 10 alma maters of Foreign Service officers."

"Amy Hyatt, a former diplomat in residence for Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, says there's a high percentage of candidates from BYU who speak foreign languages - and they speak them well. 'It's not just that they've learned them in school.... They've lived in those environments, so they really know the nuances, the idioms,' says Hyatt."
She is referring to LDS returned missionaries, men and women who have served the Lord by preaching the gospel for 18 months or 2 years. They can be assigned (by the prophet) to almost anywhere in the world, barring some countries forbidding proselyting.

This is the conclusion below.

" 'The only thing I believe in as fundamentally as the gospel is democracy and civic participation,' says Woodward [diplomat]. 'The opportunity to help people understand the value and blessings - and the responsibilities - of living in a democratic country was almost a missionary-like experience.'
"Such motives underlie the work of BYU alumni in the Foreign Service - and outside observers take note.
"In her tenure as Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice says she probably worked alongside Beecroft [LDS], her executive assistant, more than anyone else. She describes a commonality among him, others she's known from BYU, and the LDS community at large, a 'sense of how you go out into the world to serve - that what you learn and your intellectual pursuits are not just to be hoarded internally but are really to go out into the world. That's how I would characterize people I've known from BYU.' "

Condi is right. The BYU motto is "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve." I'm not trying to say anything about Mitt Romney here, just so you know. But, it may apply to him in his current endeavor for all that. Judge for yourself.

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