Looking at what has been accomplished in the past year, President Ballard added, “We’re well on our way. Are we there yet? No. Is there a lot more work to do? Yes.”He stated that to date:“This is the Church of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior. He is our Redeemer. He is our best friend. And what a wonderful thing to be able to repeat His name and praise His name to all mankind.”But, he said, the day will come when “the whole world will start to see us as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”“I think this effort is focused on bringing it out of disguise and bringing it out of obscurity, making it clear that the Lord Himself has revealed the name for His Church and leads the Church through His modern leaders.”“The name of the Church was revealed by the Lord Himself,” explained Elder Gong. “This is about us recognizing the role of Jesus Christ in our lives.”
Signage bearing the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints designates the meeting place of the Union Station Ward in New York City.Elder Gong said it has been said that “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been disguised as the Mormon Church.”“I think we have to tip our hats, for example, to the telephone operators here at Church headquarters. You call now and they answer ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ Why we haven’t been doing that forever, I don’t know. But it’s being done now.” Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is interviewed in his office in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.President Ballard said he does not know of any other organization the size of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that does more to reach out into the world and help the poor, the hungry, and those that are in distress.President Ballard said that as a result, the Church will continue to improve its messaging to the world.
Meanwhile, mental health professionals provided counseling services, legal agencies offered pro bono advice, and the Colombian military organized recreational activities for a few hours of fun.Over the past four years, more than 4 million refugees and migrants have fled Venezuela to escape civil unrest and severe shortages of food and medicine. Dozens of Latter-day Saints volunteers helped prepare and distribute about 1,000 food kits to families and individuals in need; others donated clothing. Meanwhile, government health organization joined in—providing wellness exams and much-needed medicine for illnesses such as high blood pressure.“We were all equal and we were all contributing to people who need it,” he told Newsroom in Colombia. “It has been a moment full of love.”Besides donating humanitarian aid, the Church’s ongoing efforts to assist Venezuelans in Colombia are also focusing on self-sufficiency programs. Church-sponsored personal growth initiatives include free training on starting and growing a small business and managing personal finances—along with training on finding and improving employment opportunities through education. Venezuelan refugees in Bosa, Colombia, sort through clothing donated by Colombian Latter-day Saints. Through volunteering, Colombian Latter-day Saint Bryan Steven Gonzalez has discovered hope and light during a dark period. He’s been uplifted by the cooperative efforts of so many—regardless of their religious or national affiliation.Angel Guacaran, a Venezuelan member living in Colombia, joined the Bosa volunteer effort.Partnering with both government and private organizations, the Church continues to offer assistance to Venezuelan migrants via humanitarian relief donations and volunteer hours from local Church congregations.More than a million of those Venezuelans have crossed their country’s western border into neighboring Colombia, according to global refugee agencies. The situation continues to tax Colombian public and private relief organizations, and relief-assistance resources are being stretched thin.Some of the Church’s partnering efforts in Colombia to assist Venezuelan refugees have focused on specific events, such as a May food and clothing donation day in Bogota’s Bosa community. In cooperation with government partners, the Church donated clothing and food to more than 1,200 Venuezuelan migrants, according to Newsroom in Colombia.Meanwhile, the Church has worked alongside trusted allies such as the International Red Cross, the Catholic Church, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency and several local government organizations.Many Venezuelan migrants have also participated in Church-sponsored English classes. Latter-day Saint “Helping Hands” volunteers serve breakfast to Venezuelan refugees in Tunja, Colombia.“It was an organized activity for my countrymen. The participating organizations collaborated with all kinds of help.”
Among these substances that are prohibited by the Word of Wisdom are vaping or e-cigarettes, green tea and coffee-based products.Read the full statement on Newsroom.The Word of Wisdom, a revelation given through Joseph Smith in Kirtland, Ohio, in February 1833, is a “law of health for the physical and spiritual benefit of God’s children,” according to the August 15 statement. Found in Doctrine and Covenants section 89, the Word of Wisdom prohibits the use of several substances such as “wine or strong drink,” “tobacco,” and “hot drinks” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:5, 7-8).Church leaders have provided additional instruction since then, “and have taught that substances that are destructive, habit-forming or addictive should be avoided,” the statement read.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently released a statement regarding its stance on the use of vaping or e-cigarettes, coffee-based products, marijuana, and opioids. Additionally, the statement listed substances such as marijuana and opioids that Church leaders have cautioned “should be used only for medicinal purposes as prescribed by a competent physician.”
Stone tile, in varying shades of brown and cream, are from Spain, Italy, and Turkey. Both interior and exterior glass in the temple has been carved in traditional Portuguese patterns and is highlighted with gold leaf. Additionally, chandeliers in the sealing and celestial rooms are made of Swarovski crystal. A sealing room in the Lisbon Portugal Temple. Brides’ room in the Lisbon Portugal Temple. The baptistry in the Lisbon Portugal Temple. A painting of Jesus Christ is at the end of a hallway in the Lisbon Portugal Temple. The Lisbon Portugal Temple. Detailed décor on the outside of the Lisbon Portugal Temple.At 49 feet tall, the temple has a 134-foot gold-leafed spire with a statue of the angel Moroni on top.Read the full story on Newsroom. Detailed décor in the Lisbon Portugal Temple.Reservations for the Lisbon Portugal Temple open house are available here. Detailed décor in the Lisbon Portugal Temple.With the Church officially recognized in Portugal since October 27, 1974, the country was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel by President Monson on April 25, 1975. A groundbreaking for the temple was held on December 5, 2014, and the temple will be officially dedicated on Sept. 15.The Madrid Spain Temple—which is over 300 miles (500 kilometers) away from Lisbon—has been serving Latter-day Saints in the area since 1999.The Lisbon Portugal Temple is the country’s first temple and was announced by President Thomas S. Monson during the October 2010 general conference. At present, there are nearly 45,000 Church members in the country, with six stakes, four districts, and one mission. The open house begins Saturday, August 17, and runs through Saturday, August 31, with the exception of Sundays. The free, public open house will be held from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Newsroom reported.A public open house for the Lisbon Portugal Temple is being held this month. The Lisbon Portugal Temple. Entry into the Lisbon Portugal Temple. Celestial room in the Lisbon Portugal Temple. An instruction room in the Lisbon Portugal Temple.The temple’s architecture was inspired by the late Art Deco and Modern styles and includes azulejo tile star patterns, which are native to Portugal. Colors in the temple consist of gold, blue, ochre, and lavender. The exterior of the temple is made of Portuguese Moleanos limestone. The Lisbon Portugal Temple.
“The training is opportunity to increase awareness and further spread the knowledge of important safety and protection concepts,” Rogers said. Parents and others are also welcome to take the training at any time to become better informed regarding the righteous protection of children. A login is required but anyone can sign up for a login on the Church’s website. Imagery from the Church’s newly launched training on preventing and responding to abuse for all adults who serve or interact with children and youth.
It is a work in progress, Erekson said. “We are going to continue to find things on a website, in the materials center in our chapels, in our homes, that reflect past usage. It is important for us to say, ‘That is OK.’ . . .“The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said in an August 16, 2018, statement. “We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so.”“In the past you could use one word—‘Mormon’—to signify the Church, the members, the culture, the traditions. And now if you want to talk about all of those, it requires you to be more precise.”On October 7, 2018, President Russell M. Nelson stood before a worldwide congregation and emphasized the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, saying he was “compelled to discuss . . . a matter of great importance.”Barrick said the Choir’s name change set the stage for other changes that followed.President Nelson has “deployed the full mantle of leadership” regarding the use of the full and proper name of the Church, he said. “This was a committed and concerted effort from the top down.”He said the name of the Church is one example in a shift in how Church leaders are ushering in change. “In the past, Church leaders would prepare for a change, do all the homework and announce it in a package,” said Erekson. “Under President Nelson, we have seen him announce a direction and admit we haven’t figured everything out yet, but we will do it together. . . . In a way it brings all of us into the process of making the change a reality.”“We tried to focus on what wasn’t changing,” said Barrick. “The historic significance of the choir, the connection to our home in the tabernacle, the music, and all the great heritage behind the choir name.”“The name of the Church is not negotiable,” said President Nelson. “When the Savior clearly states what the name of His Church should be . . . , He is serious. And if we allow nicknames to be used or adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, He is offended.”“It is a testimony of what can be done with strong and decisive leadership,” said historian Patrick Q. Mason, Leonard J. Arrington Endowed Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University.They looked at several different approaches and even considered asking for the name to be grandfathered. “But we soon realized that for the choir to perform its role within the Church, to support the mission of the Church, that we could not have the choir have a name that was no longer consistent with the general direction of the Church.”The call lit up social media and set in motion an update to the Church’s style guide. In the months after releasing the statement, Church leaders renamed numerous communications channels: websites, social media accounts, mobile apps, and email domains were all impacted.
“That message spoke to me; it told me I can still find joy,” shared Mike Bennon, an Idaho Falls resident and Education Week participant. When asked what this year’s event meant for him, he expressed, “It has been heavenly; it has filled an empty well that needed filling.” Richards encouraged those in attendance to eliminate fear by developing “Godfidence” (confidence in God), exercising faith, and seeking professional help if needed.Gaining confidence in God“The Lord knew we’d have many worries in this mortal existence. But when those worries drift into the arena of fear, Heavenly Father does not want us to go there,” Richards said. To view devotionals and select classes from the 2019 BYU-Idaho Education Week conference, visit video.byui.edu.Joy in the journeyDavis also expounded on how the quest for self-esteem is misguided when it is not accompanied by a constant pursuit of the kingdom of God. “The goal is the kind of confidence we get through selfless giving.”Finding joyGeorge Durrant expounded on his timeline as a priesthood bearer and how magnifying that sacred power and authority has brought joy into his life. “Fearlessness is not the absence of fear,” Richards said. “Fearlessness is simply acting in faith in spite of those things that might cause us to worry.” Steve Davis speaks during a BYU-Idaho Education Week devotional. Photo by Ericka Sanders.This year’s keynote speakers included CES Instructor Eric Richards, BYU-Idaho University Academic Vice President Kelly Burgener, BYU-Idaho Alumni Director Steve Davis, and authors and educators George Durrant and Susan Easton Black. “I’m going to analyze the J-O-Y, look at my life, and make sure I’m living in the right order,” expressed Marianne Olson, an Education Week participant from Tustin, California. George D. Durrant and Susan Easton Black speak during the closing session of BYU-Idaho Education Week. Photo by Michael Lewis.Burgener discussed the wonder of the human body, the possibility of trillions of habitable planets in the universe, the prevalence of the golden ratio in nature, and the abundant amount of love God shows His children through other people.Davis shared how the word “joy” itself teaches us the order of finding joy in our own lives. The first letter of the word, “J,“ stands for “Jesus Christ,” the letter “O” represents “others,” and the letter “Y” points to “you.”“The wonders of God are all around us, and their purpose is to teach us that ‘all things denote there is a God,’” Burgener said.With more than 2,800 attendees this year, BYU-Idaho Education Week brought peace, comfort, and hope to participants from all over the world who gathered on the Rexburg, Idaho, campus. The annual conference, held August 1–3, offered participants motivational devotionals, insightful workshops, and recreational activities for the whole family. Wonders of GodSeminary and institute teacher Eric Richards, who is also known for his Instagram personality and gospel-themed books, opened BYU-Idaho’s Education Week on August 1 with his keynote address titled “Godfidence,” encouraging attendees to “fear not” and develop deep confidence in God.In Friday afternoon’s devotional titled “Seeking Peace, Finding Joy,” BYU-Idaho Career Center Director Steve Davis dove into insightful feelings of joy and peace and how one can find them when depression, distress, and anxiety strike. He taught that principles of faith and an understanding God’s love for His children are key to accomplishing this. “These principles are very simple” he added, but explained how the adversary constantly tries to bury these simple principles under falsehoods. George Durrant and Susan Easton Black, both former BYU religious education professors who married each other in their later years, shared engaging stories that exemplify how living the gospel and being patient has brought them joy after losing their spouses and loved ones earlier in life. The title of their devotional address is “The Road Less Traveled.”BYU-Idaho Academic Vice President Kelly Burgener gave Thursday afternoon’s devotional address, titled “All Things Denote There Is a God.”Susan Easton Black shared how her marriage to a priesthood holder has brought so many blessings into her life. “Bottom line,” she whispered between laughs, “living the gospel brings joy into your life.” Keynote speaker Eric Richards talks to attendees at BYU-Idaho Education Week. Photo by Ericka Sanders.
Another section celebrates Christ’s role as our Mediator and His redeeming relationship to His brothers and sisters. For many, said Whitaker, “the pinnacle intersection between the divine and the mundane or worldly was when Christ was God-made-flesh.”The first section examines divine design and moments from scripture where mortals, such as the Bible’s Queen Esther, were placed by God in positions to bless others. Several works of art in the BYU-MOA exhibition “Rend the Heavens” explores the presence of God during the trials of mortality—including death, as depicted in Maynard Dixon’s oil “Sketch for Campo Santo.” Photo courtesy of the Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
Latter-day Saint artist Minerva Teichert’s “The First Vision” (1934) depicts a key moment of the Restoration. Photo courtesy of the Brigham Young University Museum of Art.Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art (MOA) will celebrate next year’s bicentennial with a new exhibition entitled “Rend the Heavens: Intersections of the Human and the Divine.” It will be displayed for more than two years and include dozens of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and prints from the MOA’s vast collection, including several never-seen-before pieces.Life-changing moments such as the birth of a child, the death of a loved one or, perhaps, a Job-like struggle against adversity often split veils between heaven and earth and trigger sustaining powers not easily explained.“We hope our patrons will leave this exhibition feeling they’ve seen remarkable, thought-provoking art and that helped them to slow down, to reflect, and to feel something deeper—to connect with centuries of human experience and expression.”A third element of the exhibition includes artwork that may not appear overtly religious at first glance. “But they speak to life’s experiences and how there are pivotal moments in our lives where we feel like there is a higher power,” said Whitaker.Curator Ashlee Whitaker said she’s long been interested in developing an exhibition that captures moments where “our mortal experience intersects with eternity.”“Rend the Heavens” will obviously include depictions of the First Vision. But curators are also using that monumental theophany as a springboard to search for ways that people continue to connect with the divine.For believers, the First Vision also serves as a reminder that mortals continue to have direct and personal access to the divine. No barrier—be it physical or spiritual—stands between men and women and their Creator and His sacred messengers.
Franz Ittenbach’s “Mater Christi” captures the intimate connection between the divine and mortals through the Baby Jesus and His mother, Mary. Photo courtesy of the Brigham Young University Museum of Art.It’s a common human experience, she added, to feel a link “to something greater.” The 200th anniversary of the First Vision offers the perfect moment to utilize art in exploring sacred links between individuals and the heavens.“Rend the Heavens” opens September 13 and will run through January of 2022.Next spring marks the 200th anniversary of the First Vision. God the Father and Jesus Christ’s joint appearance to the 14-year-old Joseph Smith in a grove in Manchester, New York, signaled both the beginning of the restoration of Christ’s Church and the young Joseph’s prophetic duties on earth. The mortal Christ is depicted in Rembrandt’s “Head of Christ,” an oil from the 17th Century. A key element of BYU’s “Rend the Heavens” is Christ’s mortal ministry that culminated with His Atonement. Photo courtesy of the Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
The Book of Esther’s vigilant Mordecai is depicted in ”Mordecai, Second in Power to the King“ by Jean Jules Antoine LeComte de Noüy. The oil is included in BYU’s “Rend the Heavens” exhibition. Photo courtesy of the Brigham Young University Museum of Art.PROVO, UtahThe final section examines how worship brings a person into communion with God. “There is great diversity in the mix and a lot to think about,” said Whitaker.Some of the artwork stretch back to the 1500s—evidence of the ageless impulse to discover communion between God and His children.In 2020, Latter-day Saints across the globe will commemorate one of the most essential bicentennials in world history. Maynard Dixon’s oil “Christmas Eve Procession” is a reminder of the human impulse to connect with the divine, including traditional celebrations of Christ’s birth. Photo courtesy of the Brigham Young University Museum of Art.Religious-themed exhibitions at the BYU-MOA always draw a wide audience—including students, art historians, Primary classes, young adult groups, and individuals who might not typically spend an hour or two in an art museum. Whitaker hopes each visitor walks away from “Rend the Heavens” with a heightened awareness of his or her own personal connection to a higher power.Located in a basement gallery, the free exhibition consists of four sections.
Through the partnership, welfare and self-reliance managers now act as the primary contacts for local Church leaders in addressing individual ward and stake needs regarding self-reliance and educational opportunities, explained Blaine Maxfield, the Church’s managing director of Welfare and Self-Reliance Services.Having converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 18, she knew that both education and building a better relationship with God could help her find her sense of purpose again, but she wasn’t sure where to start.For Fernandes, BYU-Pathway helped her pursue her educational dreams, but it also served to bring her closer to God and find her sense of purpose in life once again.In a recent interview with the Church News, President Gilbert shared his excitement over a new partnership between BYU-Pathway Worldwide and the Welfare and Self-Reliance Services Department of the Church.“There are people around the world in the Church who need more education, but they might not know what is available to them,” President Gilbert said. “Having 300 self-reliance managers working with every self-reliance committee in the Church is going to make the odds that they find those resources go way up.”Additionally, the partnership between the two entities can offer clarity for anyone looking for information about becoming self-reliant because now there is a single source with all the necessary information, President Gilbert explained. “And for self-reliance managers, it gives them another really important tool in the self-reliance toolkit. So, they can not only help people learn to live within a budget or help people learn how to run and grow their own business, but also, if they need more education, they have direct access to an affordable, spiritually based education almost anywhere in the world.““[BYU-Pathway is] not just for people who want to go to college,” she said. “It’s actually for everyone who wants to strengthen their faith and their relationship with God or anyone who wants to learn practical things like how to budget or perfect their English or learn how to write a cover letter. It’s a character-building program.”“They can help to ensure that some of the key resources, like BYU-Pathway, are known and supported according to the priorities and needs of the local leaders,” he said. “And that also disseminates to the stake self-reliance specialists and ward specialist who provide a convenient and quick source of needed information for those in their ward desiring to participate in BYU-Pathway.” Welfare and Self-Reliance managers attend trainings at the BYU-Pathway Worldwide offices in downtown Salt Lake City on February 22, 2019. Photo courtesy of BYU-Pathway Worldwide. Welfare and Self-Reliance managers attend trainings at the BYU-Pathway Worldwide offices in downtown Salt Lake City on February 22, 2019. Photo courtesy of BYU-Pathway Worldwide.Around the world, many people like Fernandes are looking for ways to become more self-reliant, and education is often an important way of making that happen, explained BYU-Pathway Worldwide President Clark Gilbert. Welfare and Self-Reliance managers attend trainings at the BYU-Pathway Worldwide offices in downtown Salt Lake City on February 22, 2019. Photo courtesy of BYU-Pathway Worldwide.BYU-Pathway is about more than just getting an education, Ashton said. “It’s an opportunity open to anyone in the world who wants to do something to improve their lives.”Brian Ashton, vice president of field operations for BYU-Pathway Worldwide, added, “Self-reliance has hundreds of local representatives who work to get the word out there, so this will dramatically improve what is known about BYU-Pathway Worldwide.”“People have asked us for years why we haven’t been more closely aligned with self-reliance resources and now it is,” he said. ”You know, we have two organizations trying to help people be more self-reliant and now you can find out about them in the same place.”This partnership makes BYU-Pathway a Churchwide resource, President Gilbert said. “It improves the clarity for priesthood leaders, and it makes it much more likely that regular Church members will find out about this resource.”“I was depressed and I didn’t know how to get out of it, so through Pathway it actually helped me gain my confidence back and to actually reestablish my relationship with God.”Following a series of trainings that took place in February this year, welfare and self-reliance managers for the Church, as well as ward and stake self-reliance coordinators, now serve as official resources for information about BYU-Pathway and its programs, President Gilbert explained.“My finances were not as they were supposed to be,” she said.“I basically jumped right on it—the opportunity to go,” she said.Zvjezdana Zivko Fernandes always knew she wanted to go to college, but even into adulthood, she felt like she couldn’t go.“Everywhere you go in the world, when [members] talk to a self-reliance representative, they can learn about self-reliance workshops and they can learn about welfare programs, but now they can also learn about BYU-Pathway,” he said. “That’s going to be so intuitive to have all these resources together to help members be more self-reliant.”With no extra money to pursue her education at a university level and other personal challenges, Fernandes said she went through a very dark time in her life.Shortly thereafter, in 2017, she learned about BYU-Pathway Worldwide from a friend.Even though she was living in Zadar, Croatia, and working full-time, the PathwayConnect program was an opportunity she could afford and was easily accessible because of its virtual classrooms. It was also a program that emphasized both secular and spiritual learning.For Fernandes, BYU-Pathway played a big role in getting her life on-track with what she wants, she said, and now she is enrolled in a BYU–Idaho online program pursuing a degree in Family History Research.
Guest speaker Elizabeth Smart, left, stands with Melinda Huish, right, at an evening event during the 2019 Associated Ministries Interfaith Women’s Conference. Photo courtesy of Melinda Huish.Women of ServiceAs an army wife, Sharann Gilliam of the Lakewood Washington Stake said she knows from experience that sometimes when one sees a need, they have to fill that need themselves.For Elizabeth Thomas of the South Hill Washington Stake, offering service has become a way of life for her family. Hardly a day can pass by when she isn’t working on sewing something that will be used to serve someone in her community in some way. Elizabeth Thomas, right, and her daughter Rebeca Thomas, left, deliver quilts made by the “Helping Hands, Loving Hearts” SEW for Community service group to the Wishing Well, a clothing bank for foster kids in Pierce County, Washington. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Thomas.After recognizing the need, Gilliam set to work planning a women’s conference for army wives, which she created based off the BYU–Hawaii women’s conferences.And while Bird has been able to contribute to her community in very tangible ways, she said that she feels she has been equally built up by interactions with her neighbors.Through her work, Bird said, she has had a hand in creating several new parks throughout the county as well as ensuring that sidewalks are accessible on nearly every street. Finding ways to contribute to one’s community is pretty simple, she said.Becoming a CASA has blessed her life greatly, she said, noting how much the children she works with have inspired her. The “Helping Hands, Loving Hearts” SEW for Community service group sews and decorates 300 Christmas stockings every fall for foster kids. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Thomas.Women of Faith“From them, I have gained a deeper understanding of the meaning of compassion,” she said. “Because of them, I have hope the world will be OK. I have felt the presence of the Savior in this work; I know He loves not only the children but also their parents.” Army and military wives gather for a special women’s conference on base in Washington, organized by Sharann Gilliam, in 1995. Photo courtesy of Sharann Gilliam. The opening ceremonies of the 2019 Associated Ministries Interfaith Women’s Conference is attended by 300 women of all faiths coming together to learn and find ways to serve their communities. Photo courtesy of Melinda Huish.“We had four women come together, two from the nonprofit and two as volunteers. I was the cochair of the event, and my cochair, Karen, is a Zen Buddhist, . . . and we became lifelong friends. She is like the yin to my yang.”“You look around the community, you see where there’s a need, and you go for it,” she said. “Service is so ingrained in the doctrine of the Church that it’s become second nature in a lot of ways; because we are a lay ministry, we’re always serving one another. It’s an integral part of the gospel of Jesus Christ to love your neighbor, and it’s not just your neighbor in the Church; it’s your neighbor—whoever that may be.”Women in the Church have no idea how much they know, Gilliam said. But if they find something to believe in and make it happen, it can bless the lives of many.“The Lord has led me to these opportunities. In my personal life, the Lord calls me to things in or out of the Church. He has blessed me with great organizational abilities, and I just depend on Him,” she said. “We have a great deal to share, and I just have the feeling that whenever you listen to the Spirit or an idea comes to you, you need to follow it and talk to the Lord about it. And if He approves it, He’s behind you, so start moving forward.”Sometimes they sew baby clothes to give to young mothers through a low-income maternity clinic. Other times they sew pillowcases and blankets to give to foster kids through the nonprofit group The Wishing Well Foundation. And oftentimes they work to sew quilts to send to people who have been through tragedies, like the families from the Paradise, California, fires last year.Despite coming from two very different religions and perspectives, Huish and her cochair settled on three key themes while planning the first conference that were important to all the women involved. “The themes were to energize our faith, strengthen our families, and serve together in the community,” Huish said.Reaching out to some local organizations to see if she could partner with them, Huish came across an organization called Associated Ministries—an interfaith nonprofit dedicated to bringing together people of all faiths. And, after meeting with their community outreach coordinator and speaking with her stake president, Huish began planning her first interfaith conference.“When you understand someone, you can like them, and when you like them, you can love them, and you can serve them and serve with them,” she said, noting that charity is the pure love of Christ. “So we become more true neighbors when we understand a little better. . . . We have so much more in common than we do different.”
From left to right: Sister Linda Reeves, former First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, stands with a Jewish woman and an Islamic woman after participating in a workshop on prayer during the 2017 Associated Ministries Interfaith Women’s Conference. Photo courtesy of Melinda Huish.For many years, Thomas, along with her daughter and often as many as 20 women from their community, the majority of whom are not members of the Church, have met each month at their local library to gather, chat, and sew various items for local charity organizations.After spending most of her adult life working full-time, taking care of her family, and serving in various Church callings, Melinda Huish of the Tacoma Washington South Stake felt like she had no time for herself, let alone time to do additional community service.Through her work, Carter said, she has come to realize that blessing the lives of others does not take many hours each month and that small contributions can make a big difference.“She said, ‘I’d really like to do a women’s conference because the soldier has something for him, the family now has something for them, but there’s nothing for the army wife,’” Gilliam recalled.“We meet some wonderful people in the community with what we sew, and we bring a lot of joy to people,” Thomas said. “We sew good things, and people are always so thankful. I just see the Lord’s hand in everything we do.”“It has been a tremendous thing to see grow,” she said, noting that after a couple of years in each location, she turned the conferences over to other army wives to run. “The women are so uplifted. It’s still going on, and it’s been a great blessing to the women with military husbands.”Some years ago, while stationed on a military base in Hawaii, a general’s wife called Gilliam and told her she thought they should plan a women’s conference.Later, when her husband was restationed in Washington, she started a second conference there, in 1995.Their examples of quiet service are unique and powerful and show how much of an impact each individual can have, she said.Women of Community“What I’ve found through this is there are so many wonderful, wonderful women out there who want the same things as we do,” Huish said. “They want a strong community, they want to strengthen their families and protect them, and they want to have the kind of faith that is strong through every kind of tragedy, and there are many tragedies that all of us will face. So these three goals are very common to all of us as women, and what I’ve found is that there’s so many ways we can share small things like that with other women.”“That began a whole series of little miracles,” Huish said, recalling all the things that led up to hosting two successful interfaith conferences in the Pierce County area in Washington.There is a power that comes in showing up, raising your hand, and being willing to speak, said Linda Bird of the Tacoma Washington North Stake.It has been a humbling experience to see how something so simple can affect so many people, Thomas said, and it’s not just those that receive their service who benefit from it.For years, Debbie Carter of the South Hill Washington Stake had the desire to volunteer to be a court-appointed special advocate for children but said the timing never seemed right for her to volunteer. Then, after two young boys in her community lost their lives at the hands of their father, she decided she could no longer hold back.In a recent interview with the Church News, Janice Martin, a public affairs representative for the Church in the Pierce County area in Washington state, said she is constantly surprised by the amount of service and good works that the women in her community, like Carter, go about doing without receiving much recognition.“It has blessed my life in so many ways,” Bird said of her involvement in the wider community. “I’ve met so many wonderful people, I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities, it’s expanded my universe, and I think it has blessed the lives of the people in my community, and it has raised the profile of the Church.”Through her work with local nonprofits and interfaith conferences, Huish said she has seen an increase in love and understanding between women of different faiths in her community and that she has also come to a better understanding of what charity really means.“It has had a tremendous effect, and it’s still going on, which shows how much of a need it has met,” she said, noting that the first conference she did was back in 1987.It's not a surprise that, as a big proponent of community planning, Bird helped plan and guide her community’s effort in successfully incorporating a city for the first time in 50 years in their county. But what may be surprising is where her inspiration to get involved in the first place originated.With those themes as their guiding principles, the small group of women, with the support of Associated Ministries and other local supporters, have now hosted two large women’s interfaith conferences—the first in 2017 and the second in 2019.Sharing the stories of a handful of women she has come across through her Church calling, Martin said, “Each one of these women has done totally different things in their community and made an impact.”In the 1980s, when the Church first announced the creation of a three-hour Sunday schedule, Church leaders encouraged members to use their extra time to get more involved in their communities. Bird took that counsel to heart and immediately started seeking ways to involve herself in local government and community planning.Although the conferences are not affiliated with any specific religion, Gilliam credits her work in getting the conferences started to the guidance of the Lord.Women of Knowledge“But I got to a point where I just ran out of excuses,” she said. “I felt it was really time for me to give back to my community more than just focus on my family.”“They’ve taught me a great deal. It is not a one-way thing,” she said.“Most of these women that come to sew with us I didn’t know before,” she said. “But we’ve rallied around one another and been friends through difficult times, so we’ve developed a community. We’ve created a community of goodwill.”
A QR code will be created that you can show at the front desk of the temple. You can save the code to your photos to avoid data-loading issues when you arrive.Step 1Log in to FamilySearch.org, and click on the temple logo at the top of the screen. After you have saved names, click either All Reserved or Not Printed from the drop-down menu. These days, saving and printing family names for the temple is as easy as opening up the FamilySearch Tree app on your phone. But if you are unfamiliar with the app, printing cards on your computer beforehand might be the right choice for you.Step 5Select Print Family Name Cards and continue to follow the on-screen prompts that will remind you how to prepare the names for the temple. You can also get a 16-digit code to take to the temple so they can print your names. “Your worship in the temple and your service there for your ancestors will bless you with increased personal revelation and peace and will fortify your commitment to stay on the covenant path” (Russell M. Nelson, “As We Go Forward Together,” Ensign or Liahona, April 2018, 7).Using the app to take names to the templeStep 2Step 4Find your saved names in the Temple section found at the bottom of the screen. Printing Cards from Your ComputerClick the Print drop-down menu that appears near the top of the page. Step 4Select the ordinances you are preparing to do at the temple for these names and select Continue.Step 2All cards should be printed on white paper. Cut the cards out before you take your newly found names to the temple. Step 3If you don’t feel confident with your mobile skills or data connection, you can still print off cards beforehand following these steps:If you prefer to print the cards off at home, select View Cards. Click the three bubbles in the upper right corner, and select Share. You can email them to yourself to print off from a computer or just print them from your phone. Step 3Select the blue check box next to the name you want to print cards for.Select all names you are ready to print and click the Take to the Temple button that appears. Step 1To take the names that you have found to the temple—using either the Tree app’s Ordinances Ready feature or searching and saving ordinances—you can save them and show the QR code to a temple worker at the front desk of the temple to have the names printed.
“I can’t believe my eyes,” said Michael Paquette, a Canadian who was one of the first international missionaries to serve in Haiti in the 1980s. “I used to walk up and down this road outside the temple, Route de Freres. (That) was in the early days of missionary work; now there are (several) stakes here in Port-au-Prince. Now the temple is here.” The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple is prepared to welcome thousands of visitors during the public open house period. Photo courtesy of the Caribbean Area Public Affairs.Unimaginable horror fell upon Haiti in the opening month of 2010 when a massive earthquake claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced legions more. Entryway into the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.Turquoise blue and lime green carpets throughout the interior mimic the neighboring sea and the island’s fecund plant life. It’s patterned after an array of local vegetation—including palm leaves, tropical flowers, and the hibiscus, Haiti’s national flower, according to a Church-provided facts report.Elder Huberman noted the historic significance of having a temple operating in his homeland.
Michael Paquette, left, a Canadian who served a mission to Haiti in the 1980s, stands outside the country’s first temple with Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple President Andre Joseph Fritzner. Photo courtesy of the Caribbean Area Public Affairs.Haiti is home to more than 23,000 Latter-day Saints.Almost a decade later, the quake recovery continues. But Haitian Latter-day Saints are celebrating this week as they welcome their friends and neighbors to their nation’s first temple.The disaster prompted a world-wide humanitarian response—including tens of millions of dollars from the Church to help fund food, clean water, and other disaster aid efforts.In the past, the high cost of travel and passports prevented many Haitian Latter-day Saints from worshiping regularly inside temples in neighboring Dominican Republic and other nearby nations. The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple public open house officially begins on Tuesday, August 6—although a few visitors have already toured the new edifice, surrounded by lush gardens reflective of Caribbean flora. Some of the beautiful detail n the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.Temple visitors will also spot hibiscus-inspired wall plaster patterns in the brides’ room. The building’s beauty is amazing, he added. “It is very special for the saints in Haiti.”Artwork adorning the Port-au-Prince temple includes two original works: “Haiti Palm Trees by the Sea” and “Mountains near Port-au-Prince,” both by Russian artist Emin Zulfugarov, the report noted. Caribbean Area President José Alonso, far right, hosted representatives of the U.S. Embassy on a recent tour of the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple that included, from left, Jean Baptiste, U.S. Embassy defense attaché Commander Kenneth Eller, Haiti communication director Sister Pierre-Nau and Area Seventy Elder Bien Aimé. Photo courtesy of the Caribbean Area Public Affairs.The Port-au-Prince temple is distinctly Haitian.The public open house will continue through Saturday, August 17—except for Sunday, August 11.“[Now] we will also be able to go to the temple in our own country with our friends, family, and our own people,” he said. “It is a new day for us, a new program. We are very satisfied. Everyone is excited and we are ready now for the open house to begin.”Palm leaf motifs are found in several areas of the temple such as the celestial room, sealing room, baptistry, and foyer. Palm leaves, of course, were used to celebrate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.“The temple is, first and foremost, important because the members will be able to do their sacred ordinances,” he said.A youth devotional in Haiti will be held on the eve of the September 1 dedication of the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. The temple will open for ordinances on September 10.
Covers that hold books together are often documents as well and are older than the actual book. Senior missionaries Sister Rife and Sister Klafke are currently serving in Spain on a records preservation mission. Photo courtesy of Raelynn Klafke.Piles of documents are ready to be scanned at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Taylors served a records preservation with their disabled adult son in the Indianapolis Indiana Mission. Photo courtesy of Rosalie Taylor.
Genealogy in a notary book scanned to be used for online family history work. Senior missionaries Sister Rife and Sister Klafke are currently serving in Spain on a records preservation mission. Photo courtesy of Raelynn Klafke.Sister Klafke and Sister Rife find more time to work with the missionaries than many other records preservation missionaries because time is limited at the Spanish archive. Elder Taylor found that he and his companion were even able to help young missionaries through hard trials.Craig and Renae Hawker served a more traditional records preservation mission working at the Clayton Library of Genealogical Research in Houston, Texas. Elder Hawker scanned the books that Sister Hawker brought to him from the library. Elder Taylor encourages anyone considering serving a senior mission to “just go. Heavenly Father wants us to serve.” As far as worrying about children and family at home, Elder Taylor said, “[God] will take care of everybody. Our kids thrived. It was a great example for our kids.” The Taylors said they are glad they did not wait to serve because of the blessings their family experienced and the good health they enjoyed.
Russell Taylor, who has Downs syndrome, scans books at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, while serving a records preservation mission with his parents. Photo courtesy of Rosalie Taylor.The senior missionaries have come across family names several times in their years of service and have learned stories of their own families. Sister Klafke found the name of a family member when they were serving in Australia even though she had not known her family had connections to the country. The experience confirmed to her that she was called to Australia for a reason. Some advice for future records preservation missionaries“As you picked up a book and turned pages, you would find your own family names,” said Sister Taylor. “But you also would read stories about families that just touched your heart, and you knew that these people wanted to be sealed.”
Elder Hawker scans documents to be made available for family history research. The Hawkers served in the Houston Texas Mission. Photo courtesy of Ranae Hawker.The friends’ experiences have taught them the essence of a records preservation mission: “Don’t have any preconceived ideas, and be prepared to be sensitive to the Spirit. Each records preservation location is different. There are never any two experiences that are just exactly the same,” said Sister Rife. “You will go where it’ll become personal for you.”“When we started looking for senior missionary opportunities, we were specifically looking for something that he could do with us,” Sister Taylor said. “And he has really great computer skills.” “The library has 100,000 books in it, and they are all connected to genealogy in some way or another,” said Sister Hawker.
A statue found in Spain of Joseph teaching Jesus to be a carpenter. Senior missionaries Sister Klafke and Sister Rife take time to visit sites in Spain when they are not working in the archives or helping the young missionaries. Photo courtesy of Raelynn Klafke.“All the work of the Lord is important, and I truly feel that. But we really, incredibly feel the Spirit when we are gathering the records so people can find their family,” said Sister Klafke.The Taylors and the other missionaries serving in the library together scanned well over 5,000 books—close to 1.8 million pages. For every page, there are an average of 10 names, dates, and places concerning individuals, says Elder Taylor. “That’s roughly 18 million names of people that are now available for temple work to be done or stories to be known about family history.”Sister Raelynn Klafke and Sister Joy Rife are lifelong friends currently serving a records preservation mission together in Spain but have served three previous records preservation missions in Australia, at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, and in the Midwest. They also plan on serving again as soon as their current mission is over.Elder Taylor added, “On one occasion while visiting the Indiana Temple, it became very clear to me that this is why we’re doing what we’re doing. Because but for someone doing this monotonous, tedious scanning and making these names available, some of these names would never ever show up on the temple records.” Even though the mission can be difficult, the rewards outweigh the costs. James and Rosalie Taylor knew they wanted to serve a mission. But they hesitated, knowing that the only way they could serve would be if they took their adult son with disabilities with them.Editor’s note: The following is the first article in a new series titled “Finding Your Senior Mission” that explores various service opportunities open to senior missionaries.
Elder and Sister Hawker pose for a photo while serving a records preservation mission in Houston, Texas. Photo courtesy of Ranae Hawker.
Russell Taylor, who has Downs syndrome, finds books to scan at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, while serving a records preservation mission with his parents. Photo courtesy of Rosalie Taylor.The work is not always easy and requires physical dedication to digitizing the records.Learn more a records preservation mission as well as other senior missionary opportunities at the senior missionary service website.“It’s a physically demanding job,” Sister Klafke. “In the first three months, you’ll be more tired than you ever thought you could possibly be. And then one day you’ll wake up and it’ll all be better. And you think, ‘I’m just standing and clicking a camera.’ But there’s 100 things to think about with every single picture and it tires you out.” A pen found in a book from the 1700s. Senior missionaries Sister Rife and Sister Klafke are currently serving in Spain on a records preservation mission. Photo courtesy of Raelynn Klafke.Russell, the Taylors’ 24-year-old son with Down syndrome, served with them.One day while attending a local farmers market, the Taylors recognized the name of one of the vendors they were speaking to. To the man’s surprise and delight, Elder Taylor was able to pull up a page online from a book he had recently scanned with some of the vendor’s family history. From then on, the vendor made sure to say hello every time the Taylors visited the farmers market. “We built up a relationship with him,” said Sister Taylor. “Those relationships are meaningful to us.”Despite differences in each type and location of records preservation missions, experienced senior missionaries had similar advice: “Get really involved with the young missionaries. It helps you get the while feeling of missionary work, and the young people are amazing,” said Sister Hawker.Senior missionaries Elder and Sister Hawker felt the impact they made as they served at the Clayton Library of Genealogical Research.They also enjoyed getting to know and care about the people that were in the mission working alongside them. Sister Klafke and Sister Rife both testified of the Spirit of their work in records preservation as an important part of family history.After exploring service opportunities on the senior missionary service website, the Taylors submitted their mission papers and were called to the Indiana Indianapolis Mission. They worked with several other senior companionships to scan genealogical books for FamilySearch in Fort Wayne at the Allen County Public Library.
Russell Taylor, who has Downs syndrome, finds a book to scan at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, while serving a records preservation mission with his parents. Photo courtesy of Rosalie Taylor.“Some missionaries struggle with emotional issues and things like that, and as grandparent-age people, we can help counsel and strengthen and encourage them,” said Elder Taylor.“We end up spending a lot of time with our young missionaries working with them on FamilySearch or participating in district meetings. We also work with their investigators or new members on FamilySearch so that the first time they go to the temple, they can take their own family names,” said Sister Klafke.“My favorite part was actually working with the young missionaries because we would work in the library all day, and then in our time away we would go with the young missionaries,” said Sister Hawker. “We also loved working with the librarians.”“Russell alone did over 1,500 books himself and almost 230,000 pages of work,” said Sister Taylor. “Sometimes the work is monotonous and tedious, but when you think of the amount of information that’s being made available for everyone, anywhere in the world, it becomes pretty incredible.”“Records preservation is so important,” said Sister Hawker. “And I think it is amazing that the Church is making this available for people who may want to do something kind of different.” Sister Taylor said serving with Russell was “very meaningful, because even as we shopped at the store, people would approach us or approach him with his missionary badge and interact with us. They were interested in what he was doing and why he was here. And members of the Church that had disabled children would come up to us and be so excited to see that it was possible for them to serve a mission with their child.” Sister Taylor said, “I would recommend that anyone going out get as involved as you can with the missionaries. It was a great thing to be involved with their work.”The records preservation mission is one of many family history missionary opportunities for senior missionaries. And each records preservation mission is very different. In some cases, several companionships work together to complete preservation of library archives. Sometimes a single companionship works in an archive alongside librarians. As senior missionaries work to scan valuable records, it’s not uncommon for them to find records with names of their own family or of others in the mission.
The archive where Sister Klafke and Sister Rife work, which includes 20,000 books. Sister Rife and Sister Klafke are currently serving in Spain on a records preservation mission. Photo courtesy of Raelynn Klafke.
Sister Rife scans a book to be used for online family history work. Sister Rife and Sister Klafke are currently serving in Spain on a records preservation mission. Photo courtesy of Raelynn Klafke.“I think what I liked best was the fact that my husband and I could spend so much time together,” said Sister Hawker. “We have never been able to serve and be together so much because of work and whatever. It was wonderful to spend that time together.” Senior missionaries Sister Klafke and Sister Rife hold the last three books from the 18th-century selection of the archive. The two friends are currently serving a records preservation mission in Spain. Photo courtesy of Raelynn Klafke.Records preservation is all about family history
Some of the beautiful temple in the celestial room in the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.Almost a decade later, the quake recovery continues. But Haitian Latter-day Saints are celebrating this week as they welcome their friends and neighbors to their nation’s first temple. Caribbean Area President José Alonso, far right, hosted representatives of the U.S. Embassy on a recent tour of the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple that included, from left, Jean Baptiste, U.S. Embassy defense attaché Commander Kenneth Eller, Haiti communication director Sister Pierre-Nau and Area Seventy Elder Bien Aimé. Photo courtesy of the Caribbean Area Public Affairs.The Port-au-Prince temple is distinctly Haitian.“(Now) we will also be able to go to the temple in our own country with our friends, family and our own people,” he said. “It is a new day for us, a new program. We are very satisfied. Everyone is excited and we are ready now for the open house to begin.” A waiting room in the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.Elder Huberman noted the historic significance of having a temple operating in his homeland. Instruction room in the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. Sealing room in the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple public open house officially begins on Tuesday, August 6—although a few visitors have already toured the new edifice, surrounded by lush gardens reflective of Caribbean flora. The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple is well lit inside with wall sconces and chandeliers.In the past, the high cost of travel and passports prevented many Haitian Latter-day Saints from worshiping regularly inside temples in neighboring Dominican Republic and other nearby nations. Celestial room in the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.Haiti is home to more than 23,000 Latter-day Saints.Unimaginable horror fell upon Haiti in the opening month of 2010 when a massive earthquake claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced legions more.Turquoise blue and lime green carpets throughout the interior mimic the neighboring sea and the island’s fecund plant life. It’s patterned after an array of local vegetation—including palm leaves, tropical flowers, and the hibiscus, Haiti’s national flower, according to a Church-provided facts report. Some of the beautiful detail in a waiting room of the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. Some of the beautiful detail n the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. Baptistry into the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.Temple visitors will also spot hibiscus-inspired wall plaster patterns in the brides’ room.“I can’t believe my eyes,” said Michael Paquette, a Canadian who was one of the first international missionaries to serve in Haiti in the 1980s. “I used to walk up and down this road outside the temple, Route de Freres. (That) was in the early days of missionary work; now there are (several) stakes here in Port-au-Prince. Now the temple is here.” Instruction room in the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.
Michael Paquette, left, a Canadian who served a mission to Haiti in the 1980s, stands outside the country’s first temple with Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple President Andre Joseph Fritzner. Photo courtesy of the Caribbean Area Public Affairs.Baptistry into the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. A waiting room in the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. Entryway into the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.The building’s beauty is amazing, he added. “It is very special for the saints in Haiti.”“The temple is, first and foremost, important because the members will be able to do their sacred ordinances,” he said. Some of the beautiful detail in a sealing room in the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.The disaster prompted a world-wide humanitarian response—including tens of millions of dollars from the Church to help fund food, clean water, and other disaster aid efforts. The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple is well lit inside with wall sconces and chandeliers.Artwork adorning the Port-au-Prince temple includes two original works: “Haiti Palm Trees by the Sea” and “Mountains near Port-au-Prince,” both by Russian artist Emin Zulfugarov, the report noted. Bride's Room in the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.Palm leaf motifs are found in several areas of the temple such as the celestial room, sealing room, baptistry, and foyer. Palm leaves, of course, were used to celebrate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.A youth devotional in Haiti will be held on the eve of the Sept. 1 dedication of the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. The temple will open for ordinances on Sept. 10.The public open house will continue through Saturday, Aug. 17 — except for Sunday, Aug. 11. The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.
Rendering of the Hong Kong Temple entry.“The temple is symbolically the heart of the Church in Hong Kong where members from all parts of the city can get to it within an hour's travel on public transport,” said Wallace Lam, president of the Hong Kong Island China Stake. “Members have sought inspiration and revelation to cope with life's challenges while celebrating the most joyous events in life. Although the closure for renovation will bring temporary sadness to faithful patrons from across Asia, a significantly renovated temple in the future also brings tremendous excitement and hope, imagining the elegance and joy to be found inside the soon-to-be-unveiled House of the Lord.”Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1995 to 2008, dedicated the Hong Kong China Temple May 26, 1996. The temple serves Latter-day Saints in China, Singapore, Mongolia, and other Asian countries. Rendering of the the Hong Kong Temple baptistry.Workers will also take steps to strengthen the building against water and moisture. New art glass will be installed—adhering to the oriental design familiar to temple visitors—and new pieces of artwork and furniture will be added. The exterior landscaping and grounds will also be refreshed. The temple’s existing steeple will be removed. Rendering of an instruction room in the Hong Kong Temple.“These improvements will add to the beauty of this magnificent temple,” said Mark Berry, senior project manager. “Our architects have worked meticulously to draw up plans to preserve and strengthen this structure, and our local contractors will make those plans a reality over the next three years.” Rendering of the Hong Kong celestial room.“This temple has faithfully served Church members in the Asia area for more than 20 years,” said Brent Roberts, managing director of the Church’s Special Projects Department. “But like all buildings, systems wear out and updates and refreshing become necessary. This work over the next three years will beautify and rejuvenate this beautiful House of the Lord.” Rendering of a sealing room in the Hong Kong Temple.The five-story temple’s exterior stone will be replaced, and some of the windows will be reworked. Additionally, the rooms will be reconfigured to create a better patron experience. This includes renovating one of the floors that was used as a meetinghouse and incorporating it into the temple experience.Additional details and renderings showing the planned renovation of the Hong Kong China Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been released.The temple closed July 8, 2019, to undergo an extensive renovation of its mechanical, electrical, heating, and plumbing systems. It is expected to remain closed until sometime in 2022 when the temple will be rededicated following a public open house.
Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This message was given August 4, 2019.
We live in a world that seems obsessed with power—political power, military power, earning power. Popular movies even imagine superhuman powers. Few of us, if any, experience much of those powers. But there is a power that we can all have, and it’s the most important and most lasting power in the world. It is the power to influence others for good.
Think of the people who have helped shape your life and your outlook. Think of the teachers, role models, and friends who helped you become the person you are today. For many talented flutists, the person they think of is Myrna Brown of Denton, Texas. Myrna was an outstanding flutist who performed in well-known orchestras. But her powerful influence was felt most strongly by her five children and the many aspiring musicians she taught over the years. And her influence extended around the world, as Myrna served for more than a dozen years as the executive coordinator for the National Flute Association, which now has thousands of members from more than 50 countries.
One of her former students described feeling nervous before her first lesson, but when she met Myrna, she said, “My nervousness disappeared. My new soft-spoken teacher introduced me to the many different aspects of the flute discipline, but most of all, she taught me to find confidence within myself” (see “A Tribute to Myrna Brown,” by Berlinda A. Lopez, in The Flutist Quarterly).
That’s power. For Myrna, the flute was the means, but the method was her heart—helping others with gentleness and love.
One of those whom Myrna influenced is Jeannine Goeckeritz, now principal flutist in the Orchestra at Temple Square. Jeannine, like her mentor, looks for ways to influence others with her music. “To me, the flute represents more than beautiful music. It represents an opportunity to bless someone’s life—to bring people together, to lift them, maybe even to heal a wounded heart. That’s what Myrna Brown did for many people, and I hope I can do that too.”
The music of the flute is one of the oldest and most beautiful sounds in musical history. But the most beautiful music of all is the kind we create when we give of ourselves to influence others for good.Tuning in . . .
The Music & the Spoken Word broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM, ksl.com, BYUtv, BYUradio, DISH and DIRECTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143), The Tabernacle Choir’s website and YouTube channel, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org/schedules.
—Steve Thomsen, professor of communication at BYU, contributed to this article.President Young described Elder Hinckley’s response at the time by saying, “He took the grieving family members in his warm embrace and wept with them.”After learning of the event, Elder Hinckley traveled immediately to the island of Maupiti to attend to the people. He arrived on the morning of May 24 with President Kendall W. Young, the mission president in French Polynesia at the time, and brought wood caskets for the bodies of the deceased.Among the survivors from that day was a nurse named Claire Teihotaata. Although she herself was injured in the accident, she disregarded her personal injuries in order to tend to the needs of others. Among her actions in the aftermath was her decision to send a telegraph to Church leaders, knowing that many of those injured and killed in the accident were members.Near the tiny island, known as a coral atoll, is the pass of Maupiti, one of the most dangerous stretches of water between the islands. On the morning of May 23, 1963, the pass of Maupiti became the site of a tragedy when an interisland trading boat overfilled with passengers coming from the island of Huahine was caught in the rough seas of the pass. The vessel was rolled by the waves, tossing the 42 passengers and four-man crew helplessly into the ocean before crashing against the reef.Newspapers from the islands reported that day that 15 lives were lost in the tragedy, four of whom were children under the age of five. Of the 15 lost, 14 were members of the Church.Since introducing the idea for the memorial, President Fox said that both local and general leaders of the Church have been very supportive, and he is excited to see how plans move forward leading up to May next year.During his time on the island, Elder Hinckley became personally acquainted with Teihotaata who—according to an account from her granddaughter Hina Ioane—received a blessing from the Apostle before his departure. Through their shared experience, Elder Hinckley and Teihotaata formed a friendship that continued until his passing in 2008 and is one that he spoke of publicly over the years. Additionally, their friendship, along with the dedicated work of the missionaries on the islands, helped lead to Teihotaata’s conversion and baptism on July 1, 1963.On the island of Maupiti, part of French Polynesia, in the South Pacific, the people know that the ocean can be unforgiving—often taking as much as it gives.It was through her telegraph that word of the tragedy reached Elder Hinckley, who had returned to Tahiti following the dedication of the chapel on Huahine.President Fox shared his hope that the memorial will serve to honor not only the lives of those who died in the tragedy but also the legacy of Elder Hinckley and the families of all those affected by the loss on the islands.“It’s a compelling, wonderful story,” he said. It’s about love and loss, and the memorial will honor both.“My grandmother was really touched by the love the missionaries had for the people of the island and their willingness to serve and to help the people,” Hina Ioane said. “That was an important factor in her conversion.”Among the passengers that day were a number of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were traveling back to their homes on Maupiti after attending the dedication of a new chapel on Huahine by then Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Then Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles appears in a photo taken in the 1960s.“It’s not just about 14 members of the Church drowning,” he said. “It is about that, but it’s also about the love of an Apostle who went out of his way to go and console them. It’s a beautiful, beautiful story, and I was touched by it.”Nearly two years ago, when the current Tahiti Papeete Mission president, Steven Fox, first learned the story of the 1963 tragedy and the friendship of Teihotaata and Elder Hinckley, he felt a desire to formally honor the event and the lives lost.In Elder Hinckley’s own account of the day, he wrote, “This has been a terrible day. I’m glad I came. . . . I shall never forget Maupiti.”After learning of the story from Steve Thomsen, a BYU professor who had researched the event during his time as a missionary in French Polynesia, President Fox began the process for seeking approval from the Church and the local government to erect a memorial in honor of the Maupiti tragedy. After getting the necessary approvals, President Fox said he is looking forward to May 22, 2020—the day a new memorial marker will be dedicated on the grounds of the Church’s meetinghouse on the island.
For Des Ratima—a native of the area of Maori descent—Whakatu was home. But home hadn’t been the same ever since the 1980s, when Whakatu’s freezing works shut its doors and employment plummeted, leaving a devastating poverty in its wake. And with drug use, divorce, and suicide rates climbing, the “bubbly, noisy, active community” Des Ratima remembered became silent.He and his wife were on a mission to change that.“The village of Whakatu [now] has a reputation for resilience and a determination to have its voice heard and achieve results that prove . . . this community can restore itself to full health,” said Des Ratima.To establish more trust in their community, Evelyn Ratima said they started an annual event free to the public called “Christmas in the Park.” The festivities include entertainment, prizes, Christmas carols, and treats such as candy floss (cotton candy) and sausage sizzles—a community barbecue common in Australia and New Zealand. The Christmas celebration has long been a favorite in Whakatu for years.It’s been well over a decade since Evelyn and Des Ratima decided to move to Whakatu—a small suburb of Hastings, New Zealand—with the intent of helping the community.Additionally, the Ratimas visit prison inmates and often sing with them, an uplifting experience for both the couple and for those they are serving.“Our community of Whakatu has taken charge and has found its voice,” she said. “We had achieved what we set out to do, . . . giving our children great memories of growing up in a thriving, safe community where everyone knows everyone, where families support each other . . . and the river and streams are healthy and full of fish and people enjoy the walkways and it is a great place to grow up.“[Our] faith guides how we engage with our community,” said Des Ratima. “Providing leadership in a diverse community is strengthened by the knowledge that we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This conveys confidence and assurance to everyone. Our faith guarantees honesty, truthfulness, and humility. These are religious and cultural values and qualities our community expects from us as members of the Church.”“This journey is a journey of love, giving hope to a dying community, then watch[ing] as it grows. Good leadership, patience, good communication, and trust, coupled with a bit of faith and a whole lot of love, is the recipe for a community to flourish.”It’s not the awards, though, that matter most to the Ratimas. It’s how they’ve seen the predominantly Maori community grow throughout the years.“This took a total of five years—a trial in itself, a journey of faith for both my husband and myself,” she said. “Through working with children at our Kohanga I was able to really get close to our families and gain their confidence and trust, which was required to assist my husband in his work with the building up of the community.”“The inmates . . . need to be uplifted spiritually,” said Evelyn Ratima. “I pray that is what we give them when we visit, because they need hope, and they need to know that someone cares for them as well.”Serving in their community has also been an opportunity for the Ratimas to represent their faith as members of the Church.
Whakatu, New Zealand, locator map. Graphic by Joseph Tolman.Seeing the strides the Whakatu community has made over time, Evelyn Ratima added, has made the years of service worth it.So, after Des Ratima had completed his service in the New Zealand Army as an electrical instructor for 25 years, he and his wife packed up and moved to Whakatu with one purpose—to do good.From reducing crime to cleaning up waterways to being a part of regional councils and health boards, it seems there’s hardly a part of the community that hasn’t felt the Ratimas’ influence. But while the couple is now an integrated part of the community, the road to serving others hasn’t always been an easy one. Evelyn Ratima, who runs the local Kohanga Reo, or Early Childhood Centre, teaches Maori to the children there—but gaining the trust of the people there has been a slow process.Now, years later, both husband and wife have been recognized by the New Zealand government for their service to the community. In 2018, Des Ratima received the New Zealand Order of Merit. And, most recently, Evelyn Ratima received the Queen’s Service Medal, which she will be awarded in Wellington, New Zealand, on September 19.
On the opening night of this year’s Hill Cumorah Pageant, crowds gathered early, hoping that the storms predicted for the evening would pass.“The long-standing pageant tradition may be ending soon, but the sites will stay forever,” said Mayor David Husk of Palmyra. “The residents and business of the Village of Palmyra will always welcome those visitors here to acknowledge the many historic sites in and around our area.” A scene from the Hill Cumorah Pageant depicts Abinadi from the Book of Mormon. The pageant ran July 11-13 and 16-20, 2019, on the hillside next to the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center in Manchester, New York. Photo by Matt Barr, Hill Cumorah Pageant.The cast is supported by a volunteer staff of 150, most of whom work year-round on the production. After just six days of rigorous rehearsals, which are only stalled if there is lightning, the show opens.Volunteers in the performance and on the staff come to western New York at their own expense from around the world. They do not come just to practice their sword-fighting skills and learn dances or wear costumes and wigs in the hot, humid New York summer. For these people, the Hill Cumorah Pageant offers a time of spiritual renewal in the cradle of their faith.The pageant is something of a theatrical miracle. The 2019 Hill Cumorah Pageant featured its largest cast ever at 770 participants, ranging in age from 6 months to 82 years. Almost none had theater experience. After receiving 3,600 applications for the 2019 show, pageant organizers altered the typical 50/50 split of experienced vs. new cast members this year to allow more people an opportunity to participate in the pageant. The 2019 cast was estimated at 75 percent new to the experience.The Hill Cumorah certainly isn’t a strange place for miracles to occur. It was the site from 1823–1827 where Joseph Smith met with the angel Moroni before receiving the gold plates that contained the records that became the Book of Mormon. In 1937, missionaries in the region staged a play on the hillside. Lit by headlights and featuring scenes from the Book of Mormon, the pageant became an annual event.It rained through almost the entire show, but opening night was not canceled. Few people left.The pageant offers a spiritual balm to its visitors as well. At the base of the Hill Cumorah, visitors are greeted by cast members in costume, who spend two hours welcoming visitors and bearing testimony of the Book Mormon. Audience members enjoy taking pictures with cast members in costume who portray Nephi, King Noah, Abinadi, Alma, Samuel the Lamanite, Mormon, Moroni, and Joseph Smith, among others. Over the course of the pageant’s 2019 nine-day run, 42,000 people saw the show.The pageant cast and crew set up almost 8,000 chairs this year in anticipation of larger crowds than in recent years.Perhaps in the face of a torrential New York downpour, that was a miracle in and of itself. Cast members prepare to perform during the 2019 Hill Cumorah Pageant, which ran July 11-13 and 16-20 on the hillside next to the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center in Manchester, New York. Photo by Matt Barr, Hill Cumorah Pageant.Knowing the pageant performance nights are precious, the directors huddled around weather apps, saw the storm clearing into an on-and-off drizzle, and kept the show going. The crowd of almost 5,200, featuring more than 1,500 youth on youth conference trips, was mostly prepared. A sea of umbrellas opened up, guests shrugged on rain ponchos, and the show went on.For the last 82 years, participants in the Hill Cumorah Pageant and even pageant goers could tell tale after tale of personal miracles, answered prayers, and testimonies born and strengthened in that sacred place. The fact that the Hill Cumorah is such a sacred place is one of the reasons that the famed pageant will close after in 2020 after 83 years.Applications to participate in the 2020 pageant will open August 15. The 2020 pageant dates are July 9-11 and 14-18. Cast members need to commit to being in New York from July 3–19. For pageant information, please visit www.hillcumorah.org. Look for pageant updates on Facebook under “Hill Cumorah Pageant.” Cast members prepare to perform during the 2019 Hill Cumorah Pageant, which ran July 11-13 and 16-20 on the hillside next to the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center in Manchester, New York. Photo by Matt Barr, Hill Cumorah Pageant.Pageant President Neil Pitts later told the cast how close they had come to calling the cast from the stage but that they heard people nearby begging them not to cancel. They had come so far, and it was their only night to be there, rain or star-filled night.Knowing it was the famed pageant’s penultimate year, participants were optimistic for miracles, weather related or otherwise.
A scene from the Hill Cumorah Pageant depicts the Savior visiting the Americas. The pageant ran July 11-13 and 16-20, 2019, on the hillside next to the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center in Manchester, New York.
Photo by Matt Barr, Hill Cumorah Pageant.
A cast member takes a break prior to a performance of the 2019 Hill Cumorah Pageant, which ran July 11-13 and 16-20 on the hillside next to the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center in Manchester, New York. Photo by Matt Barr, Hill Cumorah Pageant.Cast members perform during the 2019 Hill Cumorah Pageant, which ran July 11-13 and 16-20 on the hillside next to the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center in Manchester, New York. Photo by Matt Barr, Hill Cumorah Pageant.The entire cast, staff, and crew volunteer their time to the pageant to the tune of an estimated 230,000 volunteer hours a year. Within hours of arriving to the hill, participants are cast into 1,200 roles in a well-oiled group casting process that production officials say happens nowhere else in theater.
Cast members prepare to perform during the 2019 Hill Cumorah Pageant, which ran July 11-13 and 16-20 on the hillside next to the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center in Manchester, New York. Photo by Matt Barr, Hill Cumorah Pageant.A scene from the Hill Cumorah Pageant depicts King Noah from the Book of Mormon. The pageant ran July 11-13 and 16-20, 2019, on the hillside next to the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center in Manchester, New York. Photo by Matt Barr, Hill Cumorah Pageant.
Editor’s Note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This was given July 28, 2019.
Elder Neal A. MaxwellWhen we look at others, we can remember that we see only part of the course of their lives. And when we look at ourselves, we can similarly remember that the course we’ve known is not irreversible. It is determined by our most sincere desires and efforts.The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM, ksl.com, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143), thetabernaclechoir.org and youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoiratTempleSquare, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org/schedules.Tuning in …Some people face so many obstacles and seem to struggle and barely get by as they journey through life. On the other hand, others seem to travel an easy, scenic road with beautiful vistas all around. In reality, it’s likely that neither assumption is entirely true. We usually don’t discover the truth until we look a little deeper than outward appearances.The well-known British writer C. S. Lewis used an industrial example to teach the same principle in his book Mere Christianity: “To judge the management of a factory, you must consider not only the output but the plant. Considering the plant at Factory A it may be a wonder that it turns out anything at all; considering the first-class outfit at Factory B its output, though high, may be a great deal lower than it ought to be. No doubt the good manager at Factory A is going to put in new machinery as soon as he can, but that takes time. In the meantime low output does not prove that he is a failure.”This is a good reminder whenever we are tempted to be judgmental. Each life course is so individual, so personal. There’s so much about every person that we do not and cannot see—experiences and circumstances that shaped him or her in ways we can’t calculate. If we knew the whole story, there are some ordinary-seeming people who would astound us with their productive, happy lives. Some lives that may seem mediocre are actually quite miraculous.Of course, that doesn’t mean the future is at the mercy of the past. In spite of whatever went into shaping us, we can decide who we want to be. Hundreds of daily choices get us to where we want to go. And the first choice is believing that we have the ability to change, improve and find happiness.Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said: “Circumstances … shape us significantly. Yet there remains an inner zone in which we are sovereign, unless we abdicate. In this zone lies the essence of our individuality. … What we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become” (see “According to the Desire of (Our) Hearts,” Apr. 1996 general conference).