Monday, December 1, 2014

Czech Yoga Missionaries

A Czech yoga retreat center.

I got this email from a student and friend of mine and soon to be Level 1 teacher in England. I will just post it as is without commentary. But someday I will look up this old mission president and chat with him. So cool. 

So I went to Sarahs ward this week. It was a lovely experience. Once of the speakers was the temple president I think... I was distracted. But he spoke about when he had been the mission president in Czechoslovakia that was. Basically in those days it was under the control of Russia. The people were not allowed to have religion. The church was basically underground. 
He gave 2 examples of how horrific things were. Firstly, kids had to be in nursery schools from a very early age, and they would basically "teach" them that God did not exist. He described one of the exercises where they told the children to close their eyes and ask God for a sweet. They would do so and no sweet would appear. Next they would tell them to again close their eyes and ask Mother Russia for a sweet. When they opened them again, a sweet would have appeared. The point would be pushed home -- see how mother russia looks after and provides for you. God does not exist. 
Another example was given that an apostle or someone of that sort of stature in the church was visiting for some reason... after driving around for several hours to check they weren't being followed he managed to meet up with a small group of saints in one of the homes, and speak with them. He noticed their were no children, and asked after them. The members basically said that their children did not know they were members of the church. They could not tell them, because even one slip of the tongue with the wrong person listening could spell disaster for the whole family and anyone they associated with. Dark times. (that made me cry a little, not that it takes much these days!) 
He also said that the church grew in Czech in this time. The church offices knew that it was growing because every once in a while they would recieve a postcard with a picture of some lake and a message something like.... 6 of us went swimming in this lake on saturday, it was a wonderful day. Something vaguely like that. That made me smile. 
Then he explained HOW the church grew in a country where there was no proselyting allowed and members couldn't even meet together and had to hide even their small meetings with branch presidents spending all day moving roudn the city bringing the sacrament to 2/3 families at a time. They held yoga classes. Then there were retreats where the teachers would basically explain the gospel to the students in addition to the yoga. When they started asking further questions, where did you learn this, I've never heard anything like this before. When they were absolutely certain the student could be trusted, they told them about the church. They taught about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  
He also talked about the miraculous way they got the small red books of mormon's printed in Czech into the country. Basically they had the initials KM on the front, and the customs guards assumed it was a book about the teachings of Karl Marx (bearing in mind the Russian military wouldn't have been able to read Czech). 
Yoga classes to spread the gospel!! Amazingly awesome!! And totally unsurprising to me, since I feel like that's a bit of what's happening at my teacher training. Yoga seems to attract spiritually minded people, right? 
I thought you'd all enjoy that story :D

1 comment:

  1. I have chills! How wonderful to see an example of the good branch growing in (and slowly changing) a rotten one. Those saints who prevailed through that are incredible.