President Monson told of having gone to eastern Germany in August. He said he was reminded of tense scenes during his first visit 27 years earlier. “Back then, the flame of freedom had flickered and burned low,” he related. “A wall of shame sprang up, and a curtain of iron came down. Hope was all but snuffed out. Life . . . continued on in faith, nothing wavering. Patient waiting was required. An abiding trust in God marked the life of each Latter-day Saint.”
“When I made my initial visit beyond the wall, it was a time of fear on the part of our members as they struggled in the performance of their duties. I found the dullness of despair on the faces of many passersby but a bright and beautiful expression of love emanating from our members.”
President Monson said that he was touched by the members’ sincerity, and humbled by their poverty. “They had so little,” he said. “My heart filled with sorrow because they had no patriarch. They had no wards or stakes-just branches. They could not receive temple blessings-neither endowment nor sealing. No official visitor had come from Church headquarters in a long time. The members were forbidden to leave the country. Yet, they trusted in the Lord with all their hearts, and they leaned not to their own understanding. In all their ways they acknowledged Him, and He directed their paths. I stood at the pulpit, and with tear-filled eyes and a voice choked with emotion, I made a promise to the people: ‘If you will remain true and faithful to the commandments of God, every blessing any member of the Church enjoys in any other country will be yours.’ ”
President Monson said that the heavenly virtue of patience was required. “Little by little the promise was fulfilled,” he said. “First, patriarchs were ordained, then lesson manuals produced. Wards were formed and stakes created. Chapels and stake centers were begun, completed and dedicated. Then miracle of miracles, a holy temple of God was permitted, . . . Finally, after an absence of 50 years, approval was granted for full-time missionaries to enter the nation and for local youth to serve elsewhere in the world. Then, like the wall of Jericho, the Berlin Wall crumbled and freedom, with its attendant responsibilities, returned.”
The final part of the promise was fulfilled when President Monson and his wife, Frances, and Elder Dieter Uchtdorf and his wife, Harriet, went to Goerlitz, the very city where the promise was given 27 years earlier, and dedicated a beautiful meetinghouse there Aug. 27. The precious promise was thus fulfilled.