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In The Year 44 A.R. (After Romney), Mormons In France May Finally Get Their Church

In the 1960s, Mitt Romney was a Mormon missionary in the French cities of Brest, Le Havre and Bordeaux. Though the Church of the Latter-Day Saints is still a tiny minority in this Catholic country, it may finally build its first church in France. But loca

As a young man, Mitt Romney spent time in France as a Mormon missionary (Wikimedia/xtimeline)
As a young man, Mitt Romney spent time in France as a Mormon missionary (Wikimedia/xtimeline)
Stéphanie Le Bars

PARIS - There were 25 Mormons in the town of Saint-Brieuc, in northwest of France, when the missionary arrived from the United States in October 2010. By the time the young American left the town's cobbled streets a few weeks later, there were exactly the same number of Mormons.

Today, posted in the French capital, Nicolas Hujtyn, a tall, well-built 20-year-old from Missouri, says he doesn't let this get him down. As a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, he fulfilled his mission to "share the message." Part of that means assuring his listeners that "the Church of Jesus Christ has been re-established on earth," thanks to the founder-prophet, Joseph Smith, a mystical 14-year-old born in Vermont in 1805.

Accompanied by Brookx Andrus, also 20, Nicolas works the streets of Paris. "The majority of people are polite, but they just don't have time to talk about Jesus Christ," acknowledges Hujtyn, just one of the 300 missionaries currently based in France.

Between the atheists and those in a hurry, very few passers-by agree to stop and discuss the merits of their beliefs compared to Mormonism. "I kind of believe, but not enough to start a debate with you," Gabrielle, 20, tells them, adding as an aside: "They're a bit like a sect, aren't they?" That is a recurring suspicion that leaves the two Americans frozen in place. Mormonism is not listed as a cult by France's Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances.

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Families wait for news of their missing relatives following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Barev!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where 21 are killed in a school shooting in Texas, Davos focuses on Ukraine, and a vertigo-inducing world record is broken at Mont-Saint-Michel. Die Welt also offers a psychoanalyst’s perspective on how war survivors pass trauma onto their children.

[*Armenian]

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