ABU DHABI // A Mormon meeting house called the Abu Dhabi Stake Centre has opened in Mussaffah.
The three-storey, 1,300 square metre building was established after the Manama Bahrain Stake was split in two, the website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states.
Elder Jeffrey R Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve church-organising body, was at the opening on February 22, which was attended by hundreds, said the website. Hundreds more watched on the internet.
The centre caters for Mormons in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. In Mormonism, a stake is a group of several congregations, similar to a diocese in other Christian denominations.
"Wherever we are in the world, Latter-day Saints will always be law-abiding citizens and good neighbours to everyone around us," said Elder Holland.
"I love the Middle East. We're grateful to be there. In our meetings I encouraged the members to obey and sustain the laws of the countries they're in.
"That's been a blessing, as we've been allowed to meet together and to grow as a church. We don't proselytise but we are growing as more of our members move to the Middle East."
The centre is expected to attract people in the UAE for business purposes, and domestic workers.
Elder Larry S Kacher said on the website: "We are so grateful to those in the Abu Dhabi Government who have been so accepting of other faiths that they are willing to donate land to allow those not of the Muslim faith to worship as they desire.
"Those Government officials in Abu Dhabi have been an example of tolerance and kindness to all who come here and, in return for such consideration, are willing to respect local laws and traditions."
The Mormons began in the 1820s in the US when Joseph Smith Jr distinguished them from traditional Protestantism.