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Hungarian president had ‘inspiring conversation’ with Latter-day Saint leaders

President Katalin Novák met with members of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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Hungarian President Katalin Novák speaks at Brigham Young University.

Hungarian President Katalin Novak speaks at Brigham Young University in Provo on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The president of Hungary brought her pro-family message to the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints and the governor of Utah during a visit to the state this week.

President Katalin Novák posted a photo with President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry J. Eyring, counselors in the First Presidency, along with Elder David A. Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Massimo De Feo, a General Authority Seventy, after a meeting at Temple Square on Tuesday.

“Thank you for the warm welcome and the inspiring conversation,” she wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The Church of Jesus Christ’s 1995 proclamation, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” encourages men and women to marry and have children, and says that the family is ordained of God.

Church leaders presented Novák with a copy of the Book of Mormon, according to the church’s website. Some 5,000 Latter-day Saints in more than 20 congregations live in Hungary.

Asked during a speech at Brigham Young University earlier in the day what she thinks about the church building a temple in Budapest, Novák said, “I’m happy for that. I think it is important.” President Russell M. Nelson announced construction of the temple in April 2019 but the church has not set a groundbreaking date.

Elected in 2022, Novák is the first woman president of Hungary and, at age 46, its youngest. A married mother of three children ages 20, 17 and 15, she stayed home with her children for six years before returning to work. She has focused her presidency on encouraging marriage, strengthening families and reversing the declining birthrate in Hungary and around the world. 

During her speech to an overflow crowd at the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies at BYU earlier Tuesday, Novák touched on those topics as well as her Christian faith.

“If you have no kids, we have no future, and having children is saving the world,” she said. “If you don’t have future generations, there is no reason in saving our planet.”

Novák encouraged young people not to be afraid to start a family or to choose family life in addition to a career. She warned of a “demographic ice age” as fertility rates decline around the world.

Also Tuesday, Novák met with Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and first lady Abby Cox at the state Capitol.

“Great meeting with @GovCox and his wife @AbbyPalmerCox whose slogan is “strengthening families.” I can only agree with this, since a state is strong when its #families are strong. Glad to hear that the #Hungarian pro-family approach and measures are an inspiration for the Governor, and happy to welcome another ally in the international #alliance of pro-family forces,” Novák posted on X.

The Hungarian constitution values families, including protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman and the family as the basis for survival of the nation, Novák said in her speech.

In Hungary, people who have more children pay less in taxes. A mother with four children, for example, doesn’t pay personal income tax for life, she said. Also, women who have three children don’t have to repay a student loan. Mothers and fathers also may take up to three years of paid family leave.

“We look forward to strengthening the bonds between our governments and people,” Cox said in a post on X after the meeting.