“Who knows, with enough time and perspective, even the testing center may bring warm memories,” he said. “Maybe not.”The discussion made him think of more than just the physical condition of a person’s heart.He and his father had a very close relationship.“Over time, I have come to believe that one measure of our eternal progress is how much joy we derive from service,” President Worthen said. “In that regard, I have told my family that when I get as much joy out of serving as I do from watching BYU win a football or basketball game over one particular opponent, I will know that I am finally firmly on the path to heaven.” While some graduates have a job lined up and have “breezed through college” without any concerns, worries, or fears, Elder Nielson recognized there are many who “have been impacted by divorce, by death, or disappointment,” and have struggled to continue to believe in Christ and His Church. Some have fears about their identity, and many are worried about what lies ahead.Just two weeks after his graduation, his father passed away.To all, Elder Nielson said to not give in to such fears. President Kevin J Worthen speaks during Brigham Young University summer commencement in Provo on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.President Worthen spoke of the many iconic symbols—the “Y” on the mountain, the cougar statue at LaVell Edwards Stadium, a particular building—on the BYU campus.“My father was a lawyer and had been my mentor, my counselor, and my adviser,” he said. “As I sat here in the Marriott Center on graduation day, I knew that my father had only a few weeks to live.”
President Kevin J. Worthen applauds graduates during Brigham Young University summer commencement in Provo, Utah, on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“My plans for law school were then dictated by my desire to remain close to my mother as I turned down admission to a law school I had hoped to attend in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
Elder Brent H. Nielson, General Authority Seventy, speaks during Brigham Young University summer commencement in Provo, Utah, on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Like his need to take medication every day to keep his heart in rhythm, Elder Nielson spoke of taking care of one’s heart through finding opportunities to regularly serve others.
Elder Brent H. Nielson, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during Brigham Young University summer commencement in Provo on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.The sign has been part of the BYU campus since 1965, when the university invited faculty members and others to “submit a slogan or motto which would be suitable to be placed at the main entrance.”“During my last semester at BYU, I received a phone call from my father telling me that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,” he recalled. “In spite of wonderful doctors and many priesthood blessings, my father’s health continued to deteriorate. Although he promised that he would be at my graduation, his condition was so precarious that when the day finally arrived, my mother traveled to Provo alone to be with me at my graduation.”Elder Brent H. Nielson remembers exactly how he felt as he sat at his graduation from Brigham Young University exactly 40 years ago in 1978.Sharing his experience of attending his high school reunion last month, Elder Nielson said much of the conversations of his classmates revolved around current health conditions. A graduate adorns her cap during Brigham Young University summer commencement in Provo, Utah, on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Recognizing that at BYU educators strive to provide an education that is spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, and character building, President Worthen said a BYU education should lead to two things—lifelong learning and service. A bouquet is displayed during Brigham Young University summer commencement in Provo, Utah, on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing graduates today, Elder Nielson said, is a desire to know now what life will be like in the future.“What I know now that I didn’t comprehend then is how amazing your future will be,” he said.“My advice to you, as well as to myself 40 years ago, is to look beyond yourself,” he said. “This is the key to becoming like Jesus Christ. Don’t have yourself, your accomplishments, or your fears as your treasure; rather, focus on others and their needs.”“You want to know today who you will marry and when, where your first job will be, and how much money you will make,” he said. “And you especially want to know if you will be happy. My hope for you is that you will understand that today your graduation represents a gateway to your unknown future. The only thing that we do know today is that your life will change and that this change will be a wonderful opportunity for you to become who you need to become.”Other speakers included Jonathan O. Hafen, president of the BYU Alumni Association, and graduate Ashton R. Omdahl. Convocations for the various colleges are scheduled at various times throughout the day on Friday.“As you leave today, it will be so easy to withdraw from helping and lifting others,” he said. “It is so easy to worry only about yourself—new jobs, promotions, advanced degrees, and even your fears. You will find that it is easy to place yourself, and at times your fears, as your treasure.”Like the Savior, all must go “about doing good.”“I hope you will go forth to serve for the rest of your lives, understanding that in our Church we believe in really long lives—even eternal lives,” he said. “May you find deep, eternal joy that comes from unselfishly serving others.” Speaking to the 2,095 graduates and their supporters in the Marriott Center on the BYU campus, Elder Nielson reminded listeners that no matter their current situation, their future is very bright.“As you move forward with faith in God, you will not be able to comprehend adequately the joy and happiness that await you and that God has prepared for you,” he said.Important to that quest is “becoming” like the Savior, he said.Sharing his story during commencement at Brigham Young University on August 16, Elder Nielson, a General Authority Seventy and Executive Director of the Missionary Department, said it wasn’t his intent to take the joy and happiness out of an important day; rather, his intent was to share advice he wished he had known as a young graduate on his graduation day. Attendees watch Brigham Young University summer commencement in Provo, Utah, on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.To make matters worse, he was also graduating as a single person.“Is your heart closer to Christ than when you started here at BYU?” he asked. “Interestingly, the Savior taught that as you look to your future, to become what you want to become, you will need to look carefully at the condition of your heart.”To those whose hearts are out of rhythm, Elder Nielson encouraged them to have a “symbolic cardioversion”—a shock to repair one’s heart and put his or her rhythm in sync with Heavenly Father.“Fortunately, my wife and I had found each other, and I was hoping on my graduation day that she would continue to be willing to marry me.”While most of his classmates were excited about the completion of schoolwork and looking forward to the next phase in their life, his heart was “full of uncertainty, sadness, and a little bit of fear.”Stewart Grow, a professor of history and political science, offered the saying. Although he is not the original author and other schools around North America have used the slogan as their motto, there is significance in its message, President Worthen said.“With full understanding that I am not being original, I would like to focus on this saying one more time in a graduation setting because I believe that, notwithstanding the constant repetition, we may underestimate the depth of its importance and meaning.” Faculty members applaud during Brigham Young University summer commencement in Provo, Utah, on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“Why have I told you that long story?” he asked. “I am concerned about the condition of your heart as you graduate today. If you want to be happy as you leave today, you need to do the things that the Savior Himself has done.” Again, touching on a more personal nature, Elder Nielson spoke of the condition of his heart. Recently, while undergoing surgery on his neck, his heart went out of rhythm, and his heart began to fail him. He had never had heart problems prior to the surgery, and doctors found it necessary to get his heart back into rhythm. Graduates walk around the concourse during Brigham Young University summer commencement in Provo on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.One iconic symbol, the “Enter to Learn; Go Forth to Serve” sign found at the southwest entrance to campus, is one that is mentioned frequently.“You will have very busy lives. You are going to have meaningful employment, kids, Church callings, hobbies, and recreation, as well as disappointment, fear, stress, and anxiety,” he said. “Be sure that included in all of that you coach little league baseball, that you shovel your neighbor’s driveway, that you hold the door open for the person behind you, that you share your talents and put down your phone. No more saying that our thoughts and prayers are with you. If you lose your life, you will find it.As a consequence, doctors warned him of needing to take his medication faithfully, or else his heart might go out of rhythm again.Elder Nielson’s warning: “If you do that, your heart will fail you. … If you worry only about yourself, you will figuratively lose your life.”
Masters graduate Suzanne Palmer waves to family during Brigham Young University summer commencement in Provo on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News“In fact, there was a lot of discussion about the condition of our hearts,” he said.“Remember, ‘where your heart is, there will your treasure be also.’”
VIENNA, AUSTRIAShe added, “I’m grateful the Church has been visionary with the Savior’s way of teaching—inviting the teachers to be students as well.” She feels responsible to help fledgling testimonies become authentic as people “internalize concepts and share personal stories.”But as she’s deepened her understanding of the gospel, Esther has found it taking her in a different direction than she first envisioned when she started her medical studies.Esther’s facility with both English and German serves her well as the institute director for the Vienna Austria Stake, where she meets weekly with an evening class of around 40 students and also hosts a Thursday morning class for young moms whose children share the room during discussions. The building at Florianigasse 7, near the Rathaus (city hall), was opened as a Young Single Adult Center 10 years ago, and Esther was at its dedication as a young single adult.Esther Wosnjuk Duffles hails from Alaska, but she says her heart will always be in Austria.In 2006, Esther left after a year and a half at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to immerse herself in classes taught entirely in German at the Medical University of Vienna. At 21, she was called from Austria to serve in the Salt Lake Temple Square Mission, July 2007–December 2008, where she used the German she’d picked up in her studies as well as Portuguese, which she learned from her family.Austria started to become a part of Esther’s life when at age 12 she began accompanying her grandmother on extended trips home to Austria to visit family. Esther became especially close to her great-aunt Gertrude, staying weeks at a time and absorbing the language and culture. After three summers in Austria, she felt that was where she belonged. Vienna has been her home for nearly 13 years now.During that time, Esther has been a seminary teacher and Young Women president in her ward and stake. In addition, she’s often called upon to provide live translation for conferences, firesides, and mission presidency trainings.She believes she was called to serve in the CES institute program “because of my great love for this age group.” She said, “The goal for me is that everybody goes home edified and that all of us leave feeling grateful we were there [at institute].”“As I was learning the physiologies of organs,” she said, “I was so disenchanted with the world’s view that we get sick to go to a doctor. Considering what I had studied, it made sense to me that a doctor’s role is keep the population healthy, so I’ve chosen to work in public health.”As a single woman, Esther says of her local Church leaders, “They have never hesitated to support me.” She added, “We as women need to show by example. The Church is going places, and we need to help carry the vision forward.”Esther’s mother was born and raised in Brazil, served a mission there, and moved to the United States as a young adult. Esther’s grandfather was of Ukrainian descent, and Esther’s middle name, Wosnjuk, is Ukrainian. Her father, Wilson Duffles, was baptized in Brazil and met Sonia Wosnjuk in Provo, Utah. They’ve made Anchorage, Alaska, their home since 1988.Esther’s desire is to be in a management position where health policy is discussed and plans are created to optimize health on a macro level, rather than sporting “a white coat and a stethoscope.” With her thesis completed, she’ll soon be applying to global organizations.That included the Portuguese language.In her work, Esther assists with orthopedic surgeries, and to fill her need to be with children, she worked at a pediatric clinic and taught English to kids as a nanny. She’s also rounded out her experience by working as a tour guide.“There was nobody else who spoke Portuguese in Alaska in the late ’80s,” Esther explained. “If I wanted to communicate with my grandparents, my parents saw it as their responsibility to teach my brother and me the language of their fathers. We still speak Portuguese as a family today.”
For Esther Wosnjuk Duffles, institute director in the Austria Vienna Stake, 1,000-year-old Stephansdom Cathedral is a symbol of her adopted country. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.
The Vienna YSA Center at Florianigasse 7 hosts classes and activities through the week. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.She chose to do some of her medical rotations in the countries of Georgia and Brazil and was “grateful for the chance I had to see from a medical standpoint how places with fewer resources ‘make do.’”“I’d like to go where I’m needed,” she said. “The gospel brought the idea of keeping people healthy to the table,” and that’s the path she intends to pursue. It all leads back to her philosophy, “What can we give each other?” Vienna old and new spreads out beyond the Belvedere Gardens. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.Esther’s affinity for Austria was born in her heritage: her grandmother on her mother’s side immigrated to Brazil with her Ukrainian husband as a way to start over after World War II. Eventually, that new beginning allowed this European family living in Brazil to meet and join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1967.“I owe a lot of my testimony and my Church exposure to my parents,” Esther said. “I was always aware of my family’s own ‘pioneer’ heritage.”
Volumes two through four will chronicle the growth of the Church worldwide, from the pioneer exodus to the present day, and will be released over the next several years.
Cover of the first volume of Saints.Curriculum“I believe we will discover that even though times have changed, the same principles that helped the early Church members overcome their trials of faith will be equally valuable for us today.”The Saints podcast features interviews with historians, General Authorities, writers, researchers, and others involved with the Saints project. Listeners will gain insights on the stories behind the stories in Saints. A new episode airs each week.Institute students are invited to participate in a “Saints-a-thon” on September 7–8 to read Saints Volume 1 together as a way to prepare for the Face to Face broadcast on September 9. They can share their experience using the hashtag #Saintsathon.Saints is also a multilayered history that allows readers to explore topics in depth with links to explanatory topics and the primary sources behind the text. It is based on decades of rigorous research. Every event, character, and statement is supported by historical sources. There is no historical fiction here, the history’s writers and editors say.Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days presents the inspiring true story of the women and men who dedicated their lives to establishing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the world. Unlike past histories, which were primarily written as reference works, Saints is written as a narrative that is engaging to read.When Joseph Smith began the Church’s first history, he published it serially in the Nauvoo newspaper Times and Seasons beginning in 1842. Following that literary tradition, the first eight chapters of Saints, available in 47 languages, have been serialized in the Ensign and Liahona since February. Elder Snow introduced Saints with an article in that same issue. Chapter seven appears in the September magazines along with an article by Elder J. Devn Cornish of the Seventy. The serialization will end with chapter eight in October.On September 4, the Church will release a new history unlike any it has ever published before.Podcast“Saints is a different kind of history,” said Ben Godfrey, product manager for the Saints project. “Instead of a dry recitation of the facts, Saints relates the events through the eyes of the people who lived them. The result is fast-paced and enjoyable to read.”To celebrate the Church’s history and the release of Saints, Elder Cook, joined by historians Kate Holbrook and Matt Grow, will speak and answer questions in a Face to Face event for young adults on September 9. Elder Cook said his faith has often been strengthened by learning about the early Latter-day Saints and their stories. “They were not perfect, just as none of us are,” he said, “but that makes it all the more remarkable to consider what they accomplished. I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices they made to lay the foundations of this latter-day work.” (See related story.)Church magazinesSaints read-a-thonSaints illuminates aspects of Church history that have been lesser known or misunderstood. It includes details and context that are important for understanding topics like violence in Missouri and Illinois, plural marriage in the early Church, the Kirtland Safety Society, and many more.Saints is a also global history, presenting the experiences of women, men, and children involved in important events of the Restoration all over the world.The paperback book will be available at Deseret Book, store.lds.org, and digitally at saints.lds.org, the Gospel Library app, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Google, iTunes, Kobo, and Audible.Speaking of the importance of Saints today, especially for younger generations of Church members, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “The young adults of the Church are truly remarkable. They face important life decisions during a time when Satan is raging in the hearts of men and women everywhere.Saints will be used as part of the Doctrine and Covenants curriculum in seminary this school year, and a new Church history class is being offered in institute: Latter-day Saint History: 1815–1846 (Religion 341). Saints Volume 1 will provide the student readings for this course, and lesson materials for teachers are available in English on LDS.org and in the Gospel Library app.Worldwide Devotional, a Face to Face Event with Elder CookThe first volume in the series, titled The Standard of Truth, covers the period from Joseph Smith’s youth through the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple (1815–1846). It will be available on September 4 in 14 languages digitally and in print in English. Print editions in other languages will follow before the end of the year.The explanatory Church History Topics provide detail that goes beyond the narrative. Each article has links to additional reading and trustworthy supporting sources. Readers will find links to the topic articles in the footnotes in Saints, or they can find them in the Church History section of the Gospel Library app or by visiting saints.lds.org.Elder Steven E. Snow, Church Historian and Recorder and a General Authority Seventy, explained that “Saints was prepared in response to the Lord’s commandment to ‘keep the church record and history continually’ (Doctrine and Covenants 47:3).”
Rehearsals will begin on Saturday, September 22, at the Bountiful Regional Center.Savior of the World is a two-hour musical production based on the events surrounding the birth and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was first performed in 2000 for the inauguration of the Church’s Conference Center Theater.Callbacks will be held September 1, 7, and 8 at the Bountiful Regional Center.The Music and Cultural Arts Division of the Church is inviting adults and families (with children ages 7 and older) to participate in the 2018 production of Savior of the World: His Birth and Resurrection in the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City.Saturday, August 25
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Bountiful Regional Center
835 North 400 East, North Salt Lake, Utah A scene from Savior of the World: His Birth and Resurrection.Tuesday, August 28
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
828 West 1600 North, Orem, UtahSchedule auditions online at http://bit.ly/2018SOTW, or call the casting hotline at 801-240-9300. Walk-ins are also welcome (see dates, locations, and addresses below).Wednesday, September 5
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
BYU Richards Building, room #1137
Provo, UtahLatter-day Saint actors, members of other Christian faiths, and individuals from all races and ethnic groups are encouraged to audition. Cast members are chosen, in part, for their theatrical ability, but directors are also seeking those with a desire to share their witness of Jesus Christ. The more than 100 speaking and singing parts are recast every year, bringing new participants to the production.
Performances will run Tuesdays through Saturdays, November 16, 2018, through December 29, 2018. There will be no performances on Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as December 11–15 due to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert.Those interested in an ensemble role should prepare to sing a hymn or Primary song as an individual or as a family. To audition for a lead role, please bring a résumé and prepare to sing 16 bars of a song that demonstrates your vocal range and ability. A Broadway ballad is appropriate or a song from Savior of the World using the music found online.Auditions will be held at the following dates, times, and locations:Callbacks and rehearsalsFriday, August 24
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Bountiful Regional Center
835 North 400 East, North Salt Lake, Utah A scene from Savior of the World: His Birth and Resurrection.Tuesday, September 4
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
BYU Richards Building, room #1137
Renovations are expected to be done sometime in 2021. After they are complete, an open house and rededication will occur.Church members in the area will travel to temples throughout the Pacific—Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga—to worship during the few years the temple will be closed.Today the Hamilton temple serves some 115,000 Church members living in New Zealand, New Caledonia, and the Cook Islands. Hamilton temple and missionary housing rendering.After serving Church members in the Pacific for six decades, the Hamilton New Zealand Temple—the first temple in the Southern Hemisphere—has closed for an extensive, three-year renovation.Announced in 1955 and originally dedicated on April 20, 1958, by President David O. McKay, the temple became the Church’s 13th constructed and 11th operating temple.
The Hamilton New Zealand Temple, which has closed for an extensive, three-year renovation.The temple is one of the buildings constructed by “labor missionaries”—volunteers with experience and young missionaries who were called to assist in building the temple. More than 1,500 labor missionaries helped build the temple, along with many locals—many of who were not members of the Church. Hamilton Visitor's Centre rendering.Changes with the renovations will include seismic strengthening and significant upgrades to its mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems. Other changes include a new roof and an accessible entrance to the baptistry. The inside furnishings will receive a refresh, as well as the landscaping and parking lot. Rendering of a sealing room in the Hamilton New Zealand Temple. Rendering of Celestial Room in the Hamilton New Zealand Temple.Because of the historical nature of the building, all renovations will meet strict heritage standards. Rendering of Arrival Centre near the Hamilton New Zealand Temple. Rendering of baptistry in the Hamilton New Zealand Temple after renovation.Located in Temple View, a suburb outside of Hamilton, New Zealand, the Hamilton temple was the second to be built outside of the United States and Canada; the first temple built outside the U.S. and Canada was the Bern Switzerland Temple. A rendering of an instruction room in the Hamilton New Zealand Temple after renovation. Rendering of lobby of Hamilton New Zealand Temple after renovation.
“He did not say, ‘Thus shall my church be named.'’ He said, ‘Thus shall my church be called.'’ Years ago, its members were cautioned by the Brethren who wrote: “We feel that some may be misled by the too frequent use of the term ‘Mormon Church’” (Member-Missionary Class—Instructor’s Guide, Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982, p. 2). “Before any other name is considered to be a legitimate substitute, the thoughtful person might reverently consider the feelings of the Heavenly Parent who bestowed that name.”More than 28 years ago, then-Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered a general conference address entitled “Thus Shall My Church Be Called.”Elder Nelson then examined the key words in the name of the Church—saints, Latter-day, Jesus Christ, and The Church—offering insights into their sacred significance.
Ruth Teal, another participating institute student, called it “a wonderful, exhausting, brilliant experience” that she got more out of than she thought she would.“I loved devoting 12 hours to reading the Book of Mormon with so many amazing friends,” Roberts said. “I am so grateful for the examples of love and guidance that are shown throughout the scriptures and for the important truths that are given for us in our time.”She also said the experience reminded her of Luke 1:37—“For with God nothing shall be impossible”—and the Book of Mormon is a testament of that scripture, reminding her she can do hard things.Institute director Luke Kerr saw a note written by a student during a Book of Mormon reading challenge:“We only have 531 pages in our Book of Mormon compared to the vast 541 in the Turkish Book of Mormon. Oh to be Slovakian, that we would only have 513 pages to read!”“It is a tremendously challenging task to read the book from beginning to end in such a short period of time, but I can testify that it is extremely rewarding and moving to hear the prophets of the Book of Mormon testify, encourage, and offer blessings to the reader in such quick succession,” he said. “I felt that I understood the people more. I felt of their love, the love of Christ, and the urgency of their message.”“It was incredible to see students marking their scriptures with their pencils and pens all around them,” Kerr said. “I found myself in awe of their ability to stay focused for so long.”Institute student Georgia Roberts said although she could only attend the second half of the challenge, she “truly felt the Spirit and my Heavenly Father’s love for me personally.”And if anyone wants to try a Book of Mormon challenge, “Do it,” Teal said. “You will not regret it. There is a healing power in that book. If you want peace, real peace, read and study this book.”Kerr said 30 students participated in the challenge, with 18 students staying the whole time. They began by reading verse-by-verse around the room, then changed to page-by-page after several hours, with two students keeping track of their pacing.He also said anyone planning a similar event should “plan good meals, [have] lots of sugar, and make sure you keep a notepad near at all times.”“It was exciting to share this experience for the first time with my friends,” she said. “I felt so spiritually connected to all of the people we were reading about. To hear the trials that they had endured showed me that with faith in Jesus Christ, I can also have the strength to get through my trials.”The local YSA senior missionary couple also attended, as well as missionaries in their district who visited the challenge during their dinner break on the second day. The students themselves didn’t stop for meals but read as they ate, and they began and ended both days on their knees in prayer. Kerr said they prayed again at the conclusion of the challenge “for the confirming feeling of the Holy Ghost of the truthfulness of the things that we read.”“It was exciting, fun, challenging, and rewarding,” Kerr said. “The overriding feeling was not one focused on completion and speed.”They ultimately finished in 23 hours and 55 minutes.Kerr said there’s power in studying and discussing scripture block-by-block, but there’s also great power in reading the Book of Mormon as a book.It was all part of a recent 24-hour Book of Mormon reading challenge completed by institute students in Manchester, England. Kerr said after studying the Book of Mormon for two semesters, the students felt “such a love and excitement for the Book of Mormon” they suggested a 24-hour reading challenge. Kerr arranged for the challenge to be in two 12-hour parts across two days, as he was concerned about students driving home after a straight 24 hours without sleep.Chantal Barton, an institute student who participated in the challenge, joined the Church only about two months ago. The 24-hour challenge was her first time reading the Book of Mormon all the way through, an experience she said reminded her of the excitement she felt reading the Bible as a child.
“We came home and we prayed for them,” he said. The couple asked God to sustain the two future Apostles—and for the members of the Church to sustain their new leaders.“I pray for you. I support you. I follow you. I trust you.”He was on a mission of ministering. The veteran Apostle comforted flood-weary members in their meetinghouses and at the edges of waterlogged homes. He thanked people for offering relief service under the heat of an unforgiving sun.Calling for a sustaining vote in general and local conferences, he added, is a reminder that “we are all in the Church together and no one seeks for position; no one politics for an assignment.”That sacred vote lifts and blesses the Apostles—but it also lifts the sustainers, added Elder Cook. “It empowers them and blesses them and gives them guidance.”“I pray for you. I support you. I follow you. I trust you.”
Jesus Shows His Wounds (Behold My Hands and Feet), by Harry Anderson.The Uchtdorfs’ thoughts turned to the two yet-to-be-called men who would fill those empty seats. Those servants would be accepting an overwhelming, lifelong assignment. They would require the sustaining support of Church members everywhere.“It was wonderful support.”A solemn assemblyDays later, Elder Uchtdorf, along with Elder David A. Bednar, was called to the Twelve.That recent event brought the act of sustaining the Apostles into immediate focus for the two men. President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks with Mormon Helping Hands volunteers during a trip to Houston, Texas, on Saturday and Sunday, September 16–17, 2017.Editor’s note: The following is the sixth and final article in a Church News series on the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. See the related links for the previous article.Strength and confidence filled the humbled new Apostle as he witnessed tens of thousands of members lift sustaining hands on behalf of him and Elder Bednar.While enjoying a walk with his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, Elder Uchtdorf, then a General Authority Seventy, reflected upon the calling of Apostle. Two giants of Church leadership—Elder David B. Haight and Elder Neal A. Maxwell—had died a few months earlier, leaving a pair of vacancies in the Twelve.As a concluding element of the Church News series about the apostleship, several members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of what it means to be sustained by their fellow Church members.“We seek with all our hearts to be a unified voice,” he said. “As a Quorum and First Presidency, we try with all our hearts to teach and to find those things that the Lord would want taught at this time to build faith.”And wherever he went, members—along with many others—came forward to shake his hand. It was a gesture of appreciation. They thanked the Apostle for his support. But for members of the Church, each handshake also communicated a common sentiment of sustaining:Sustaining one—sustaining allWhen accepting the call to the apostleship, members of the Twelve “are constrained” to follow the Lord’s will, said Elder Dale G. Renlund. By choosing to sustain the Twelve, members demonstrate their confidence in each Apostle’s pledge of obedience to the Savior.Sustaining the Apostles can sometimes mean defending them from unfair attacks or false statements, he added. But be wise and remain civil. If the cost of, say, winning a Twitter battle causes more harm than good, “it would have been better to just leave it alone and let it go.”“Another thing that the members can do to sustain me as one of the Twelve is to forgive me for not being perfect,” said Elder Renlund with a smile.Sustaining the Apostles also means “acting in faith” and following the direction of the Apostles because one believes the Twelve are communicating the counsel of God.Like men and women across the Church, the Apostles are called to serve the Lord, His Church, and His people. “I love the imagery of arms to the square and the meaning behind that,” said Elder Holland. “No one has to serve alone in the Church, whatever our calling.”It’s a scene replicated whenever members of the Twelve are with those whom they rely upon to sustain them in their apostolic duties. Christ Ordaining the Apostles (Christ Ordaining the Twelve Apostles), by Harry Anderson. Members of the Church raise their hands to sustain leaders of the Church during its semiannual general conference Saturday April 5, 2003. Photo by Keith Johnson, Deseret News.Sustaining is far more than casting an affirmative “vote.” It also signals one’s desire to keep the commandments and minister to others, said Elder Gong.A vote of confidence, faith, and forgivenessIn a religion of more than 16 million members, relatively few Church members will ever speak face to face with an Apostle. Many others will never shake an Apostle’s hand. But every member—through his or her formal sustaining vote and daily sustaining actions—makes personal connections with the Twelve, along with the First Presidency and other general Church leaders:Faith precedes the sustaining, added Elder Soares.Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf learned firsthand the essential link between sustaining and praying for the Apostles in the days leading up to the October 2004 general conference.Elder Quentin L. Cook said he and his associates in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with the First Presidency, ask for guidance from the Lord as a singular unit.In that same spirit, Latter-day Saints who give their sustaining vote to an individual Apostle are simultaneously sustaining the consolidated Quorum.Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares will never forget March 31, 2018. For the first time, the worldwide membership, gathered together in solemn assembly, raised their hands to sustain them as “prophets, seers, and revelators.”In the challenging days after flooding inundated much of southeast Texas late last summer, President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles traveled to affected communities and worshipped with local Latter-day Saints.When Elder Jeffrey R. Holland calls a new stake presidency, he often takes a few moments during stake conference to discuss why members are asked to sustain their leaders, including the Apostles.“By sustaining [the Apostles], you are helping the Savior accomplish His work. Your faith helps the Lord accomplish what He communicates through His prophets and revelators.” President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks with Mormon Helping Hands volunteers during a trip to Houston, Texas, on Saturday and Sunday, September 16–17, 2017.Praying for the Apostles remains a priceless element of sustaining, said Elder Soares. “We are regular people, and the Lord has called us to something above our capacity. But we feel we can reach that capacity because people are praying for us.”“Membership in the Church is a very personal matter. Every individual counts. That is why we function on the principle of common consent,” he said. “We want everyone to have an opinion, to express him or herself, and to be united in going forward.”A commitment to common consent“We sustain with our raised arm but also with our hearts and our actions,” said Elder Gong. “We sustain Church leaders in the same way we sustain each other. We know we are bound by covenant.”For the Apostles, being sustained by the members of the Church is spiritually akin to receiving life-giving food, he added. “Every voice counts and every helping hand looked to.”
Before Ravell and I left, President Monson talked about some of his hobbies. One was fishing; he dug out some of his gear and showed us a collection of hand-tied flies, some gifts from friends or casual acquaintances.His life was comprised of freewill giving. As a youngster, he was tall, thin, and not particularly athletic. He told me about the pangs of disappointment and embarrassment when he was always the last chosen for the softball team.To aid and comfort the sick and lonely, the homebound and hospitalized, he visited them, sometimes during night’s lonely hours after having returned to Salt Lake City from across the world on a Church assignment.I look back on that moment 23 years ago and am struck by the unique experience of having an Apostle—a future Church President—share a few moments of his casual at-home time with a newspaper reporter and photographer.I told him I’d never seen Birmingham rollers. The day was approaching dusk; the birds had already gone to roost. He opened the coop, tapped gently on its side, and shooed the pigeons out. They took to the air, did several rolls, and promptly returned to roost.“Come outside. I’ll show you my other hobby,” he said. We went out to the backyard where he kept hens in one coop and pigeons in another. He asked if we had ever seen Birmingham rollers, performing birds that spin over backward in the air. He had won state and national trophies with his pigeons.Over the years, the Sixth-Seventh Ward meetinghouse was torn down, and death pared his list of widows’ names from 84 to four at the time I spoke with President Monson, but he still had the heart of a bishop. He visited those four remaining widows until their deaths and added other widows to his list to visit.I had visited President Monson and his wife, Sister Frances Johnson Monson, in their home before and, over the years, returned for more visits. However, the visit on that June afternoon stands out in my memory. It gave me a glimpse into the life of an Apostle “after hours,” when he had changed out of his suit and tie and put on more casual clothes to relax at home.I had done much of the interview with President Monson before Ravell and I went to his home. He had told me about some of his boyhood interests and adventures, college life, meeting his future wife, service in the U.S. Navy, and early married life.He talked about his call, at age 22, as a bishop in Salt Lake City. I began my article this way:On a June afternoon in 1985, Deseret News photographer Ravell Call and I went to the home of President Thomas S. Monson to take photos for an article I was writing about him.Instead of basking in his new popularity on the field, he looked at another boy who became the last chosen for the team. “From my mother and father I learned this caring and sensitivity,” he said. “It became my opportunity to help the other boy who was chosen last to move up the ladder and develop his skills.”“On a cold December evening in 1950, Bishop Thomas Spencer Monson, 23, trudged blustery sidewalks to houses, apartments, and cottages in his ward. Slightly more than 1,000 members were under his stewardship in the Sixth-Seventh Ward, nearly twice the number in a typical ward today. Among them were 85 widows, to whom the young bishop had determined to make personal visits during the Christmas season, even though to do so he had to take vacation time from his work in the advertising department of the Deseret News.“When I was 14, I was playing center field and the local hero hit what would have been a home run. When the ball came toward me, I was sure I would miss it, but I caught it,” President Monson related as he slapped his right fist into the palm of his left hand in imitation of a ball settling into a mitt. “Catching that ball gave me a major confidence. I became rather adept and proficient at softball, and I became the first chosen.”“He took each widow a small gift, a symbol that she was not forgotten. But more important than gifts was the strong handshake the 6-foot-3-inch bishop extended and the warm, tender clasp that told each widow that if she ever needed someone, he would be there.”
“This event will be one of the top experiences of my life,” she said.The broadcast, originating in Osaka, Japan, covered topics such as marriage, social media use, and finding balance, and was the second Face to Face event with Elder Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, in Asia, the first occurring in the Philippines just a few days prior. (See related story.) From left, Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Tazuko Yamashita; Sister Lesa Stevenson and Elder Gary E. Stevenson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and the two youth hosts, Miyu Nakiatania and Mashahiro Yoshikawa, during the Face to Face event held in Japan on August 14. Youth hosts, Miyu Nakiatania and Mashahiro Yoshikawa, during the Face to Face event held in Japan on August 14.For the one of the co-hosts, Miyu Nakatinia, being with the Church leaders made her “really happy.”As a young man, Elder Stevenson served in Japan as a missionary and later traveled there often for his business career. The Stevenson family lived in the country for seven years while Elder Stevenson served as mission president of the Japan Nagoya Mission from 2004–2007, as well as when he as a counselor and president in the Asia North Area Presidency during his call as a General Authority Seventy. Youth in Japan listen during a Face to Face event with Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, on August 14.Youth around the country submitted questions prior to the event through social media channels, and then tuned in to the broadcast from their various locations.“It is great, great blessing to have Elder and Sister Stevenson here,” Elder Yamashita said. “We feel how our Heavenly Father loves these young men and young women.” Youth perform a Face to Face event held in Japan on August 14.Youth in Japan received a special gift from Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the first regional Face to Face broadcast in their country on August 15—the Apostle spoke entirely in Japanese.Joining Elder and Sister Stevenson for the event was Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Tazuko Yamashita, and two youth hosts, Miyu Nakiatania and Mashahiro Yoshikawa.“I hope [the youth] realize how strong they are and how loved they are and how they are so important to the rise and the growth of this country and the Church in Japan,” said Sister Stevenson.To view the broadcast and past Face to Face events, visit lds.org. Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, speak with the youth in Japan during a Face to Face event on August 14. Youth in Japan listen during a Face to Face event with Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, on August 14.“It’s the language of their heart and it’s kind of become the language of my heart as well,” said Elder Stevenson, in a MormonNewsroom.org release. “I felt it a great privilege to be able to testify of Jesus Christ and of His role as our Savior and Redeemer in Japanese to our Japanese saints, especially these special young people. … They are the treasure of Japan.”
Angel Aracca, the youngest of seven children, grew up in humble circumstances in the tiny Peruvian village of Sucapaya, 12,500 feet high in the Andean Altiplano. His family owns a small farm where they grow quinoa, yucca, potatoes, and other high Andean crops. The primary language in the Aracca home is Quechua, the only language Angel’s mother speaks.Less than a year after joining the Church, Angel’s father died. This time was so difficult for Angel’s family that his three older brothers had to drop out of school to work in the fields in order to provide food for the family. In spite of the challenges, and with their mother’s encouragement, two of the older sons left to serve full-time missions.
Elder Angel Vicente Aracca Huancco of Sucapaya, Peru.In 2012, Angel’s mother took the 18-hour bus ride to the Bolivia Cochabamba Temple to be sealed for time and eternity to her deceased husband. In 2006, when Angel was seven years old, two North American missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to their home. Angel’s father had been very ill and was in bed. The elders walked up to his father, took him by the hand, and lifted him out of bed. Then they taught the family the gospel of Jesus Christ, which “brought joy and peace to our home,” Angel said. His mother and father said that it was God who sent the missionaries to their home because missionaries had never been to their village before, and after they taught the Aracca family, they never returned.Angel—called to serve in the Bolivia La Paz Mission—is now Elder Aracca, the fifth missionary his widowed mother has sent into the mission field. “I have wanted to serve a mission since I was seven years old and two angel perfect missionaries came and taught my family,” he said. “I wanted to be just like them.”The Araccas worked hard just to obtain suitable clothing to wear to church. There was no public transportation to the village, so to attend church in Juliaca, Angel’s family had to walk a few kilometers from their home to a road where they could then catch a ride. Every Sunday the family would make the long trip to church, where his father and the older children would translate the meetings into Quechua for his mother. Although the family was somewhat scorned by other members of their village, Angel’s mother would say, “It doesn’t matter. My children are receiving blessings.”—Elder Jerry Dunn and Sister Jeanie Dunn are Church history missionaries serving in the South America Northwest Area in the Lima Peru Missionary Training Center.
“She really loved her hair, but she loved our Father in Heaven more,” said Kellys Fandiño. Her sister cut her hair short, sold it, and used the money to buy a suitcase to take with her to the Peru Iquitos Mission.About three years after the family was baptized, Kellys’s younger sister decided she wanted to serve a mission. After she finished school, she began cleaning houses to earn money for everything she would need. Inspired by her younger sister’s sacrifice, Kellys Fandiño is now serving in the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission. She wears her sister’s mission clothes and travels with a very special suitcase. —Elder Jerry Dunn and Sister Jeanie Dunn are Church history missionaries serving in the South America Northwest Area, in the Lima Peru Missionary Training CenterThen, she realized she did have one more thing that could be worth some money—her beautiful long hair that went below her waist. When she went to collect the money owed her, one of the women she had worked for refused to pay her. Sister Fandiño was still able to buy most of the things she needed, but without the rest of the money she had earned, she did not have enough to buy a suitcase.“Once again the book has come to our home,” Sister Fandiño told her family. They were all baptized within a few weeks.When the pastor saw the Book of Mormon, he took it from her and burned it. The Fandiño family was very upset and stopped attending church.
Sister Kellys Fandiño stands with her special suitcase. Her sister sacrificed a lot to earn the money to buy this suitcase for her mission. Her sister’s faithful sacrifice inspired Kellys to serve as well. Photo courtesy of Kellys Fandiño.When Kellys Fandiño was a child, her mother bought a used book without a cover in the marketplace. Although they had no idea what the book was, her family began reading it. Five years later, two missionaries were teaching the Fandiños’s neighbor. When that neighbor asked the elders not to come back, they decided to knock instead on the Fandiños’s door. Kellys’s mother opened the door and found two smiling missionaries. She told them the story of the book, and the missionaries showed her a copy of the Book of Mormon.Sacrificing for missionary workAt that time, there was no official presence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their small city of Cienaga, Magdalena, Colombia. They didn’t realize it then, but the book the Fandiño family was reading was the Book of Mormon. They did not know the name of the book, but they knew it was scripture. They loved reading it and looking for meaningful verses. In 2008 the family was attending a local church. Kellys was still very young, but she would sometimes copy a scripture from the unknown book and take it to her study group. The youth liked the verses she shared. They asked her where she was getting them, so one day she took the family’s book to her youth group to show them her source.
The Old Great Hall at Ellis Island. FamilySearch and The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. announced August 14, 2018, the entire collection of Ellis Island New York Passenger Arrival Lists from 1820 to 1957 are available online on both websites.The ship manifests list passengers, their names, age, last place of residence, who is sponsoring them in America, the port of departure, their date of arrival in New York Harbor, and sometimes other interesting information, such as how much money they carried on them, number of bags, and where on the ship they resided during its sail from overseas, according to the joint press release.The entire collection of Ellis Island New York Passenger Arrival Lists from 1820 to 1957 are now available online on both websites.The expanded collections can be searched at the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation’s website or at FamilySearch in three collections, representing three distinct periods of migration history.
FamilySearch and The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. announced August 14, 2018, that the entire collection of Ellis Island New York Passenger Arrival Lists from 1820 to 1957 are available online on both websites.Ellis Island’s predecessor—Castle Garden—was actually America’s first immigration center. Today it is known as Castle Clinton National Park, a 25-acre waterfront historical park located within The Battery, one of New York City’s oldest parks and the departure point for tourists visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.Thanks to a joint project between FamilySearch and The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., they will be able to access their ancestors’ records.“The Foundation is delighted to make these immigration records accessible to the public for free for the first time,” said Stephen A. Briganti, president and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. “This completes the circle of our decades-long collaboration with the team from FamilySearch, which began with providing the public with unprecedented access to their genealogy and sparking a world-wide phenomenon linking past and present.”Originally preserved on microfilm, 9.3 million images of historical New York passenger records spanning 130 years have been digitized and indexed in a massive effort by 165,590 online FamilySearch volunteers, according to a press release from both organizations. The result is a free, searchable, online database containing 63.7 million names, including immigrants, crew, and other passengers traveling to and from the United States through the nation’s largest port of entry.
For me, service and callings made all the difference. As one close friend commented: “Nursery children do not look to see if you have a ring on your finger as you wipe away their tears. It doesn’t take a wedding license to feed hungry Scouts or missionaries or shut-ins. Nowhere on the tithing slip do you indicate marital status as you contribute to the Church’s humanitarian service or Perpetual Education Fund. And they don’t have two doors at the temple—one for couples and one for singles. We are a Church that needs faithful workers. I’ve been blessed because I had priesthood leaders who knew this.”Our residential wards are valuable because they bring together people of different ages and backgrounds, interests, and varied economic and educational levels.
Sister Kristen M. Oaks, wife of President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency, married him when she was almost 53 years old and he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Photo courtesy of Kristen M. Oaks.
Sister Kristen M. Oaks, wife of President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency, married him when she was almost 53 years old and he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Photo courtesy of Kristen M. Oaks.The transition is frequently difficult. Singles often feel more comfortable in the company of other singles. They know that certain questions and conversations are off limits. For some, a move to a family ward can seem like a separation from a surrogate family and close friends. It is exacerbated by entering a residential ward and searching for a place to fit in. I personally remember how difficult it was for me as a single to sit alone in church every Sunday.When we are single, our Church associations become especially meaningful to us. We look to our wards to provide not only a place to worship but also a place to socialize and be part of a ward family. Single members hold high expectations that their wards will be places of refuge, of personal growth, and of spiritual renewal. The expectations for fellowship are high because we live in a world where social isolation is increasing. As Robert D. Putnam, a Harvard political scientist, sees it, “America is fraying as people spend more time alone and we are becoming a nation of loners” (Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, 212, 235).Singles faced with the necessity of returning to a residential ward may find the change uncomfortable and traumatic. There is often a period of adjustment, and it takes time and effort to develop new relationships and discover ways to make meaningful contributions.“To remain active, a single member has to develop a deep and abiding testimony of gospel truths rather than depending solely on Church programs for happiness,” wrote one Church member from Los Angeles, California.There is no separate Church for singles. There may be wards, branches, or classes, but we are all part of the same Church. What the singles ward does provide is an environment to associate with others of similar interests and age, where being single is the norm. It is easy to feel accepted when our lives are so much like those around us. More importantly, in singles units there are often increased opportunities for leadership, callings to teach, social activities, service projects, and spiritual guidance.Bishops can make transitions so much less traumatic by providing callings and welcoming singles who transition into their wards. President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “We speak of the fellowship of the Saints. This is and must be a very real thing.” He added: “We must never permit this spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood to weaken. We must constantly cultivate it. It is an important aspect of the gospel” (“Fear Not to Do Good,“ Apr. 1983 general conference).I have a vested interest in single adults because I spent so much of my life as a single woman. My name is Kristen Meredith McMain Oaks. I married President Dallin H. Oaks, now of the First Presidency and then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, when I was almost 53 years old.The very diversity that makes a residential ward so vital and strengthening to some makes others feel they have just entered a church where there is no place for them. Entering this new environment can be lonely and intimidating.The bottom line is that we are a covenant people. I can testify that if we believe, we should we put that belief into action. “It is not enough to know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that the gospel is true. We must take the high road by acting upon that knowledge. It is not enough to know [we are led by] God’s prophet. We must put his teachings into our lives. We must fulfill our responsibilities” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Be Not Deceived,” Oct. 2004 general conference). Our righteous acts cement our testimonies, bring the Spirit into our lives, and make any ward we attend the one where we can become the person our Heavenly Father wishes us to become.I rejoiced during my single years, and I suffered through them too, while I was discovering what Heavenly Father wanted for me. He was blessing me with adequate time and experience to build a solid and sure testimony.An equally important aspect of the gospel is that we are to be “anxiously engaged” in good works. I have learned from happy and sad experience that if we wish for our ward experience to be a positive one, we have to make it so.—Some of the information for this article was taken from Sister Oaks’s book, A Single Voice.
Jody Bashaw, who is battling ALS, talks about her efforts to do family history indexing on Sunday, August 5, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Additionally, a few months ago, during the Jordan River Utah Temple open house, Bashaw had the opportunity to tour through the remodeled temple with her family.“We’d never encountered anything like this, with any of our kids,” Palmer said. “When a doctor tells you you’ve got a year, maybe year and a half, you start kind of looking out of different eyes.”For Bashaw, a single mother of three, the first sign that something more serious might be going wrong was when she lost the use of her index finger. She explained that suddenly she was unable to straighten or control it. She went to the doctor for multiple tests but received no clear indication of what was wrong. Nearly a year later, she lost control of her other index finger. That’s when the doctors seemed to settle on the conclusion of ALS.“I’m all emotional,” Bashaw said, trying to find the words to share just how much her family means to her and the role they have played in sustaining her fight.Eight years ago, Jody Bashaw, of the River Ridge 11th Ward in the South Jordan Utah River Ridge Stake, had two life-changing experiences. First, she gave birth to her youngest daughter, Charlee, and second, she was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.But despite the struggles and the pain, they still hold on to their sense of humor and their sense of hope.“My son-in-law comes over every night and helps to put me to bed,” Bashaw said, explaining that her granddaughter will often come to help as well. “My granddaughter knows my routine, the order we do everything, and if we forget any one step she says, ‘hey we need to do this.’”While there still isn’t a cure for ALS, both Bashaw and Palmer said they see cold laser therapy as a miracle from heaven. Jody Bashaw smiles as she talks about her family history indexing work. Bashaw, who is battling ALS, talks on Sunday, August 5, 2018, with her daughter Charlee at her side. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.At the time Bashaw first started experiencing symptoms, she was about 30 years old and neither she nor her family had any idea what was happening. Having been in a car wreck not long before the onset of her ALS symptoms, Bashaw and her father, Van Palmer, said they initially thought the symptoms were just delayed effects of the car wreck. “We didn’t have a clue what was going on,” Palmer said.Bashaw’s granddaughter, who is three years old, also has a pretty good understanding of her grandmother’s need.Twice a week, Bashaw’s son-in-law takes her to Orem where she receives the treatments that have helped restore some of her movement and abilities.“It’s really been a miracle to me, and I really feel that it has improved the quality of my life,” Bashaw said. Smiling, she continued, “That and the care of my family.”At just eight years old, Charlee has only ever known her mother with ALS.“I love my family. And I have loved being a mother and a daughter and a sister, and now I’m a grandma. And I don’t want them to be sad,” Bashaw said. “So it keeps me going, because I don’t want to miss anything. When I was diagnosed, everything changed. The doctor said to go home and make yourself right … and then there was the joy when nothing happened. I’m not done. I’m selfish, but I want more time.”“We had a ball,” Palmer said.A small contributionExplaining why she thinks indexing is so important, Bashaw said, “Our ancestors did so much for us, and this is the least that we can do for them. Like my dad said, it all comes back to family. We’re all related somehow on this great earth, so it’s good to think of them and take time for them.”“Now I type with the two fingers, so it takes me a long time, but it is so worth it,” Bashaw said.“The other 10 have gone,” Palmer said. “And the doctors ask her, ‘Jody, what are you doing different?’”Others, including Jody, may have a different answer, Palmer said. But for him, the answer is undeniable. She has been blessed with a combination of things that have helped her keep the will to live, and among those are her faith and her family, Palmer explained.A different perspective“They were so good to me and they took me on a special elevator so that my wheelchair could fit,” Bashaw said.Prior to getting sick, Bashaw said she loved to do genealogy work, so when Soulier came around to teach her how to index, she was thrilled.Even with all the good around them and the many blessings they have received, Plamer admits it hasn’t been an easy road.Picture this. While walking home from church on a sunny Sunday afternoon, a large Jazzy wheelchair whizzes past carrying two people giggling and laughing. Moments later, an older man walks quickly by, trying to keep up as the scooter swerves back and forth along the street. The two on the scooter are mother and daughter. The man following behind, their father and grandfather. For all three, it’s one of the best parts of their Sunday.“But the thing that brings tears to my eyes is that the first week, she came to church with band-aids on her fingers.” Soulier said. “She was right down to raw skin and she was bleeding. I would probably quit before that.”In addition to indexing, Bashaw said she now also uses the resources of FamilySearch to find family connections to ancestors. Once she gathers the necessary information for her ancestors, she sends their names to her son and daughter-in-law in Iowa so that they can take the names to the temple. And when they come home to visit in the summer or for Christmas, they take her to the temple too.“Like one time, we had two pieces of cake left, and I said, ‘Hey Jody, raise your hand if you want a piece of cake, otherwise they’re history,’” Palmer said while laughing with his daughter. “That keeps us going, to be able to tease each other. We pull some good ones on her, but she also pulls them right back.”After being diagnosed, Bashaw entered into a study with the University of Utah. When the study started, Bashaw was one of 11 patient participants.
Scott Soulier, Jody Bashaw’s former home teacher who helped to teach Jody how to index, holds a certificate of excellence that she received. Jody is battling ALS and continues to do family history indexing. Jody’s dad, Van Palmer, and her daughter Charlee stand at her side on Sunday, August 5, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Explaining the remarkable difference that cold laser treatments have had on Bashaw, Palmer said, “It’s really helped her. She would choke if you put anything just on the end of a spoon, like the size of a pea and she’d choke. And now, she can’t eat heaping teaspoons, but she can eat whole teaspoons of pretty much anything.”Bashaw doesn’t know how long she has. That’s a question that neither she nor the doctors have an answer for, but if it’s up to her, Bashaw said she will keep fighting for as long as she can. Jody Bashaw, who is battling ALS, demonstrates family history indexing with her daughter Charlee at her side on Sunday, August 5, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“Because of Jody’s quiet, faithful, one-finger-on-the-keyboard-at-a-time-service, thousands of names have been made searchable,” Soulier said.Keeping a sense of humor about their situation is one of the best ways to stay positive, Palmer said, admitting he likes to tease Bashaw from time to time.“Yep, she’s my translator,” said Bashaw, who slurs her speech as a result of the disease.After diagnosis, Bashaw was seeing two specialists. “One of them told her she had a year, and the other told her a year and a half,” Palmer said. “She’s at almost 8 and a half [years] now. She’s doing better now than she was then when she first found out she had it.”Palmer said that Jody’s name is nearly always on the prayer roll at the temple as well and that the personal prayers of friends and family have no doubt helped give Jody strength to continue on despite her challenges. But what it really comes down to, in Palmer’s view, is that she simply has the will to keep on living.Last year, Scott Soulier, the Palmer’s neighbor and former home teacher, helped Bashaw find one more thing to add joy to her daily life.
Van Palmer, Jody Bashaw’s father, laughs on Sunday, August 5, 2018, as he recalls a funny experience with Bashaw. Bashaw, who is battling ALS, continues to do family history indexing. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Not done yet“I got movement back in my arms and my fingers,” Bashaw said. “Before I started the cold laser, I couldn’t move my tongue to talk or to swallow, and then a month after, I started moving my tongue.”This winter, Palmer said, he and Bashaw had great fun by following all of the playoff games. Unless a game was a complete blowout, he and Bashaw made sure to watch every game from beginning to end together.“It came to my attention that she had a new computer and … I had just been called as a family history volunteer at the prison,” Soulier said. “I thought, she’s got a new computer, indexing is easy, maybe she’d like to index. … So I asked her and she lit up like a light. She said, ‘Sure!’”“It amazes me her level of understanding,” Palmer said. “If somebody says, ‘What did your mother say?’ she’ll fire right back. She understands and she listens, you know, and I think that’s important.”A little more than a year following her diagnosis, Bashaw was introduced to a treatment called cold laser therapy. At that time, things were really bad for Jody, Palmer explained. So when he and his wife, Sharon, heard about the new therapy during a Sunday School lesson while visiting Manti, Utah, they decided to see if Bashaw wanted to try it.Speaking of the joy that Charlee brings to Bashaw, Palmer explained part of their nightly routine. “We’ll whistle at Charlee at night, when we’re putting Jody to bed,” Palmer said. “Sometimes she’s already down here, but if she’s upstairs we’ll whistle at her, and to see her come down here and cling to her mother and tell her goodnight. … She’s amazing. To see her patience and her love, … and she’s only eight, but it’s as intense as the older kids.”Each time before she starts indexing for a day, Bashaw said she will say a little prayer that the Spirit will help guide her hands and give her the strength to do it.“All of my kids are the light of my life,” Bashaw said. “I thank Heavenly Father every night for my kids and granddaughter. … Everyone that is a part of my circle—I don’t know where I would be without them, and I am so grateful that we are a family forever,” Bashaw said.Because going to the temple is not an easy process for her, Bashaw said she only goes on special occasions, or when her son comes to visit and can help take her.“You know how you have to put the little booties on in the temple?” Palmer asked. “Well, they put them on all of Jody’s wheels. She didn’t have to have them on her feet, you know, since they’re there to keep the carpet clean. I thought that was cute,” he said. He chuckled as he thought about it.When he first went to teach her how to index, Soulier admitted he assumed she would just do a couple names and leave it at that. But in the few hours he spent with her, she did 10 records. When she saw him the next Sunday, she reported to him that she had accomplished more than 65. And from that point, Soulier said she just kept going.A will and a wayPalmer said his favorite part was the way the volunteers decked out Bashaw’s wheelchair for the tour.From the time she was diagnosed, Bashaw said it was a downhill slide. “I was falling down a lot, and I couldn’t eat, and I lost a lot of use of my arms, and I was having trouble swallowing and drinking,” Bashaw explained of the first year of degeneration.And the ability to go to the temple is just another thing on the list that helps her stay positive.But that is the thing about Bashaw, he said. She doesn’t quit. “She doesn’t have a ton to give, but she gives every ounce that she possibly can,” Soulier said.Bashaw now leads her ward in indexing numbers, and Soulier recently presented Bashaw with a small award honoring her efforts.And despite her situation, Palmer said Bashaw is still the fun mom she’s always been. Reminiscing about the past, Palmer said, “I came home from work one day and Jody and her two older older kids were out here in the yard flipping donuts in their car.” He continued, “Now we have to do it in a wheelchair with Charlee.”“Jody actually does the work, just like you or I or anyone else, but I think that’s really neat that the temple sets things up like that,” Palmer said. “No matter the condition, you can be there and you can do your part.”
Scott Soulier talks about Jody Bashaw, who is battling ALS and continues to do family history indexing. Bashaw was taught indexing by Soulier.As Bashaw explained it, what happens to one side often happens to the other, like a delayed mirror effect. After nearly three years of being tested, in 2010, the doctors confirmed to Bashaw and her family that she had ALS and that she most likely had a year, maybe two, left to live.“Like Charlee, for example,” Palmer said, showing effort to keep his emotions in check. “That little girl, she gives Jody something to live for.” Scott Soulier, Jody Bashaw’s former home teacher who helped to teach Jody how to index, holds a certificate of excellence that she received. Jody is battling ALS and continues to do family history indexing. Jody’s dad, Van Palmer, and her daughter Charlee stand at her side on Sunday, August 5, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.
“It’s been great to see Isaac progress as he has,” said Whittingham. “He’s in the NFL now and has a great wife and family. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is to watch a young man develop.”
The Asiata family—Isaac, Angel, and baby daughter Norah. Photo courtesy of the Asiata family.Then one morning he awoke to a sobering reality. Despite his burgeoning athletic success, he was miserable. For the first time since his mission he picked up his Book of Mormon. His eyes fell upon Alma 41:10: “Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.”But the family, he said, was never really alone. “We always had great youth leaders. . . and they’re still a big part of my life. They were priesthood holders that I could look up to.”A former world-class ski racer, Phillips was a few years older than most of his Utah teammates and became something of a big brother to Asiata. During one fall camp, the hulking lineman asked his kicker for an unexpected favor.He also leaned on the ministering of several coaches and teammates he regarded first as caring priesthood holders. When he visited with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham outside of practice or games, the veteran coach rarely talked football. Instead, Asiata remembers him asking if he was going to Church and what was he learning.“When I got my temple recommend back I was scared,” said Asiata. “I had been away from the temple for so long, I didn’t really know what to expect. But Andy was great. He helped me have a great experience in the temple.”“My mom always reminded us that she was able to do these things because of the Lord,” he said. “She stayed true to the covenants she made in the temple and raised us with those same principles. She was able to do hard things.”Asiata’s college coach also keeps close tabs on his former player.Others, he said, looked at him differently than when he had left. He felt like an outcast. He hated it.Phillips is grateful he could help his friend—but ultimately, he said, it was Asiata who brought about the changes in his life. In July of 2016, Isaac and Angel were married in the Provo City Center Temple. And as promised, the blessings have come.The two young men had become friends on and off the gridiron. They were part of the team’s field goal unit and often swapped texts. On the field, it was Asiata’s job to protect Phillips from ornery defensive linemen. Phillips’ job was to kick the ball through the uprights. They depended upon each other.The young family has quickly become a welcome addition to their new south Florida congregation. “The Asiatas are wonderful people,” said Hollywood Ward (Fort Lauderdale Florida Stake) Bishop Bradley Bills.“There were so many things that I was able to learn on my mission that helped me when I started going back to Church, and helped build my testimony,” he said. “I will carry those things with me for the rest of my life.”But there were still challenges. A single mother, Leitu Tui worked multiple jobs to keep Isaac and his five siblings fed, clothed, and sheltered. But she paid her tithing, said her prayers, and made sure her children were at church on Sundays.And for Phillips, “It was a special moment that I’ll never forget.” He had watched Isaac push back adversity with an offensive lineman’s ferocity and come out a better man.Asiata’s full-time mission did not end as he had planned. But he’s proud to be called a returned missionary. He learned lessons on his mission that continue to serve him well as a husband, father, and professional athlete.Whittingham said his star guard was “pretty down” after returning from his mission. “He was having a hard time,” he told the Church News. “I just tried to be there for support and to try to help him see the big picture.” Better days awaited, Whittingham promised.Phillips said he’s not surprised to see his old teammate speak candidly about personal, often painful moments from his life. “Isaac has a big heart. He understands the impact he can have on those around him.”A couple of years passed. He had returned to college, cracked the Utes’ starting lineup, and developed into an elite offensive lineman. And he continued “doing my own thing.”“Just tell them, ‘You’re home now. It doesn’t change anything. You are a beautiful son or daughter of our Heavenly Father and He loves you. . . . Don’t let [the missionary] feel alone. Be supportive. And help them come back if they leave.”Perhaps there were periods in Asiata’s life when he could not have imagined sending such a resolute text. Those five simple words—I’m ready to go back—spoke volumes to where he had been, what he had become, and where he was going.Andy Phillips wasn’t alarmed to receive a text a few years ago from his University of Utah football teammate Isaac Asiata.Soon the two Utes were preparing to worship together in the temple.“Go back,” Phillips understood, meant going back to the temple. For Asiata, returning to the temple after a long absence was one of many “come to himself” moments that were necessary for the now-second-year Miami Dolphin. He was seeking a peace that had eluded him since returning home from his mission earlier than planned.A returned missionary“I got so fed up with it that I thought, ‘OK, if you guys want to paint me out to be a bad guy, then that’s who I’m going to be.’”Slowly, he started going back to Church. He began cutting away, piece-by-piece, things in his life that he knew were wrong. And he was reminded of something he knew all along—he was not alone.When he and Angel drove from Utah to Florida prior to his rookie NFL season, they passed through areas where he had once labored in a white shirt and tie. He was overcome by the memories of the good times and the tough times that define missionary service. He visited with people he had taught and baptized and befriended.Ministers in shoulder pads“My day is entirely different for me when I can say my morning prayer, read my scriptures, say my midday prayer and read my scriptures, and pray with my wife at night,” he said.But this text was different: “I’m ready to go back.”Taught by his mother
Miami Dolphins offensive lineman/returned missionary Isaac Asiata lines up against the Atlanta Falcons in a pre-season game on August 10, 2017. Photo by Dave Cross.“When I came home early and decided to stay, it was hard for my family and it was hard for my mom. . . . I felt like I had brought disrespect to our name.”Phillips humbly provided a priesthood blessing, and also invited his friend to Church meetings and to the blessing of his newborn son, Max. He challenged Asiata to “test the Lord” by doing what was right—and then to expect blessings.“It was kind of a wake-up call,” he said.Frustrated and angry, Asiata followed paths running counter to the childhood lessons he had learned from his mother. “I went for a long time doing things that I knew I shouldn’t be doing. I knew they were the wrong choices to make.”Young Isaac excelled in football, earning high school all-state honors and a scholarship to play at the University of Utah. He redshirted the 2011 season and then accepted a mission call to Tulsa, Oklahoma.Raised in Spanish Fork, Utah, Asiata grew up surrounded by the Church. An athletic kid like Isaac could chuck a football in any direction and it would likely land within a field goal’s distance from a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse.Asiata began training camp a few days ago for his second season with the Dolphins. His testimony now helps him navigate pro football’s choppy waters.After serving almost a year, he returned home to care for an injury. He did not return.“Isaac said to me, ‘I’ve been experiencing this pain, and I need a blessing.’”
Isaac Asiata and Head Coach Kyle Whittingham of Utah celebrate their win over USC, 24-21 as the University of Utah and University of Southern California play PAC 12 football Saturday, October 25, 2014. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.Meanwhile, fellow returned missionaries/teammates such as Westlee Tonga and Andy Phillips were “examples of faith.”Besides his mother and his family, “I was blessed to have my high school sweetheart, Angel (Benson)—who is now my wife,” he said. “We dated early and we always kind of knew that we wanted to marry each other. . . . I made a commitment to her that I would change all of the bad aspects of my life because I knew that what I really wanted was to marry her and be with her for time and all eternity.”He also knows that many people in wards and branches across the world are trying to minister to a young man or a young woman whose mission ended earlier than he or she had planned:Last year, the Miami Dolphins drafted Asiata in the fifth round of the NFL draft. Following his rookie season, the Asiatas welcomed a baby daughter named Norah. The gospel anchors their young family.
“I believe these reformers were inspired to create a religious climate in which God could restore lost truths and priesthood authority.”The exhibition also reminds visitors of Martin Luther’s prominent role in Latter-day Saint teachings. In the 1940s, for example, he was referred to 13 times in general conference talks.President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has referenced Martin Luther on multiple occasions. Historical wall texts posted at the BYU exhibition Martin Luther Media Star utilize modern slang, including “Stay Woke.” Photo courtesy of BYU Harold B. Lee Library.PROVO, UTAH Students and visitors examine displays and wall texts on display at the ongoing BYU exhibition Martin Luther Media Star. Photo courtesy of BYU Harold B. Lee Library. Decorated in bright colors, the BYU exhibition Martin Luther Media Star examines a key historical figure with playful modern eyes. Photo courtesy of BYU Harold B. Lee Library.Martin Luther may not have had a single Twitter follower or Facebook friend in 1517, but his writings were quintessentially viral. He was then—and remains now—a pivotal social influencer.By today’s definition, Martin Luther was a media celebrity. Besides his “95 Theses,” Luther also had a short pamphlet printed called “The Sermon on Indulgences and Grace” that became the Reformation’s first great bestseller, according to the exhibition.First, “we have a Reformation collection that is a little underutilized,” she said.And second, summer and fall are busy seasons for social-media savvy young people (and, yes, their parents and grandparents) at the Church-owned school. Besides BYU students attending the summer semester, the campus is filled with teenagers participating in Especially for Youth and other camps. Meanwhile, legions of adults gather for a variety of school-sponsored conferences. Visitors to BYU’s exhibition Martin Luther Media Star scribble thoughts on an interactive display. Photo courtesy of BYU Harold B. Lee Library.It's safe to assume that “social influencer” was not a label attached to Martin Luther when he, according to custom, nailed his “95 Theses” to the door of a Wittenberg, Germany, church just over 500 years ago. Still, his controversial, albeit persuasive, writings kicked off the Reformation—and served as a faith-driven prologue to the Restoration of gospel.An ongoing exhibition at Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library entitled Martin Luther Media Star examines the German monk’s historical reach and his contemporary relevance.Martin Luther Media Star is expected to be on display through October. The free exhibit is found on the library’s third floor.“Then in 1517, the Spirit moved Martin Luther, a German priest who was disturbed at how far the church had strayed from the gospel as taught by Christ. His work led to a reformation, a movement that was taken up by such other visionaries as John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, John Wesley, and John Smith.The Harold B. Lee Library is an apt venue for a religious history narrative with a decidedly contemporary voice, said curator Maggie Kopp.Visitors quickly realize there’s something a bit different about Martin Luther Media Star. Plenty of historical facts add context to books, pamphlets, and other relics on display. But wall texts include headings such as “Stay Woke” and “Preaching on Point,“ offering a wink or two to library patrons.You likely hear the buzzword “social influencer” almost daily if you follow business or pop culture trends on Twitter or on other social media platforms. But being recognized as a social media user with persuasive access to a wide audience is a prized designation awarded to only a select few.The Dark Ages were especially dark because the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been lost, he said in his October 1994 general conference address:“We’ve had good feedback,” said Kopp. “Every time I walked through the exhibit, there’s somebody visiting.”Kopp said Latter-day Saint visitors will surely spot similarities between the reformer Martin Luther and the restorer the Prophet Joseph Smith. They were spiritually curious seekers prompted to action by prayerful study of the scriptures. And both men, she added, “stood up for their beliefs.”Just don’t expect to find dusty displays resting behind velvet ropes. Martin Luther Media Star is colorful, interactive, and even a bit playful. A neon green portrait of the man himself donning a pair of red sunglasses welcomes visitors.
“Business partnerships are internship-type experiences where Deseret Industries pays the associates’ wages while they are working for another organization to get skills and experience,” said Denya Palmer, communications specialist in the Church’s Welfare Department. “[We] send someone to another business, organization, or company to get some skills and experience. Sometimes they end up getting hired at that business if they have an opening and it is a good fit.”“I was a police officer, and after the accident I wasn’t able to be in that line of work anymore,” he told the Church News. “I was kind of scared to even talk to people and didn’t know what to do.”It was toward the end of the Depression, and the First Presidency announced in a letter dated August 14, 1938, an effort to “provide opportunities for individuals to become self-sustaining.” Stewart B. Eccles, Deseret Industries manager, instructs truck drivers at the Sugarhouse Deseret Industries in 1941.After 80 years of serving people and communities, the mission of Deseret Industries remains the same—helping people move forward in employment, hope, and understanding their divine identity.The Community Partnership Program began in 1999 and offers vouchers to non-LDS, nonprofit charitable agencies that go toward helping people in the area. Vouchers allow individuals and families in need to select items at Deseret Industries stores.“It might take me a little bit longer, but I can still help out.”Jarmin is only one example of the thousands of lives that have been changed through Deseret Industries.In addition to providing communities with new and used commodities at a lower cost, Deseret Industries provides training and on-the-job experience for people seeking employment. Associates gain work experience and skills—learning how to greet others, be on time, and gain the confidence needed to work—in a learning environment.Many of the employees are working through addictions, have language barriers, or have been handed a tough situation in life, said Dan Colvin, welfare processing facility manager at the Deseret Manufacturing facility.With 43 stores—and the 44th store scheduled to open in Gilbert, Arizona, this fall—located in seven western states, Deseret Industries has played an important role in building communities.Some associates are paid by Deseret Industries to work at a local business.“When people donate to DI they can know that their donation is going to go wherever it is most needed or makes the most difference,” said Palmer. “Whether that is being sold to someone in the store and going to have a new life that way, or going to humanitarian aid in their community or somewhere around the world, or some items are recycled. Whatever happens to your donation, something good is happening.”
Graphic by Aaron Thorup, Deseret News.“I am serving the citizens,” he said.The store would employ men and women who would sort, process, and repair the donated goods, preparing them to be sold at a nominal cost.“Our product is people,” said Lisa Leavitt, manager of retail operations and awareness for Deseret Industries. “People think the DI is a place for people to bring their used [commodities], but people are actually why we exist. We can open a thrift store and we have Deseret Manufacturing, but our product is people.”
Graphic by Aaron Thorup, Deseret News.“I worked in the collectibles section and then moved up to the cashiers where I got to interact with people and talk to them on a normal basis,” he said. “Just the interaction with people built my confidence up.”
A Deseret Industries cashier assists customers at a store.In August of 1938, the first Deseret Industries store opened in downtown Salt Lake City. The goal of the new store: to provide job training and low-cost goods.Whether helping to train people with disabilities, those who were experiencing hard times, or those who never had an opportunity for training or vocational skills, the job training went beyond those needing employment during the Depression.No matter their background, each associate has access to a job coach, who works with the associate side by side and helps set and evaluate goals, as well as a development counselor who helps determine what other services—and if an individual qualifies for those services—a person needs.Elder John A. Widtsoe, who was serving as a General Authority at the time Deseret Industries opened, established four guiding purposes:Read in sacrament meetings throughout the Salt Lake region, the letter issued a call from Church leaders for contributions of “clothing, papers, magazines, articles of furniture, electrical fixtures, metal, and glassware.”Now 80 years later, the same purpose remains.Like Deseret Industries stores, associates are building their future as they work there.“I should be dead, but I’m not,” Jarmin said of the experience.A history of helpingThe report from doctors was grim—they never expected him to walk, or even talk, again.Although many benefit from working in a Deseret Industries store, a person doesn’t have to work at a store in order to benefit from services offered through Deseret Industries.“I was in a wheelchair at the time and I had to realize ‘I am still me,’” he said. “I could do what I wanted to do, and they wanted me and supported me with everything. That was a big burden off of my shoulders just knowing that.”Jarmin, who now lives in the Mountain Shadows 6th Ward in West Jordan, Utah, worked at the Deseret Industries for about 10 months before transitioning to a job in security. He has been working in the security business ever since.More than commodities The first Deseret Industries in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.“First, those who have will be given another type of opportunity to help those who have not. Second, waste will be reduced by keeping our possessions in use as long as possible. Third, the work of renovation will employ many now unemployed. Fourth, articles in common use, of good quality, will be available at a low cost” (“Editorial: Deseret Industries,” Improvement Era, Sept. 1938).Eighty years after the first Deseret Industries store opened in 1938, people—as well as commodities—are getting a chance at a new life.“In this facility and others like it you will find some of the finest people this world has to offer,” said President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency during a Deseret Industries dedication in 2013. “Often those who come here have journeyed through dark valleys of suffering and distress, persecution, and failure. No matter the path they have walked, here they are offered safety and blessed hope—a place of understanding, nurturing, and encouragement.”
Graphic by Aaron Thorup.An employee works at the Deseret Manufacturing plant in South Salt Lake.Unlike Deseret Industries, where used items are donated, all of the commodities made at the Deseret Manufacturing warehouse are new and include mattresses, wood beds, dressers, and kitchen tables.Located in South Salt Lake is the Deseret Manufacturing warehouse. At first glance the gray building looks like any other building on the block—large and industrial.In 2017 alone, some 16,000 associates were helped, either through employment or training. More than 42,000 volunteers gave of their time, and 6,149,330 pounds of commodities—clothing and shoes—were provided in humanitarian aid.Recognizing he needed to do something for work, Jarmin decided to try a suggestion from his bishop and to go to work at Deseret Industries.His employment—and life as he knew it—was over; not only did he lose his leg, he lost his self-confidence.To read more about the experiences of associates or what Deseret Industries has to offer, visit its website.As he found employment, Jarmin realized he has much to offer.More than two decades later, in the 1960s and 1970s, Deseret Industries added another element to its purpose—rather than just focusing on second chances for commodities, the program would offer second chances to people.Jarmin spent the next 30 days in a coma and endured 39 surgeries—including one to remove his leg.Career and technical education comes through partnerships with community colleges, applied technology centers, and other institutions that offer training courses, certificates, and vocational skills.But within a few steps inside, individuals are greeted with images of the Savior and smiling faces.Purchases make it possible to provide services, Palmer said. “You should feel good either shopping or donating.”While working at the Deseret Industries, Jarmin learned he was going to be OK.A place of understanding, nurturing, and encouragementYet there is so much more to it than just brick and mortar thrift stores.Working as a 25-year-old police officer in Texas, Mo Jarmin was directing traffic one day when a semi-trailer truck going 60 mph struck him, leaving him severely injured and barely alive. An associate in the job-training program works at a Deseret Industries store.“There is a broad spectrum of individuals that can be helped,” said Brenda Smith, a product manager in the Welfare Department. “Whether it is a mom returning to work, a young person preparing to serve a mission, someone who has experienced social challenges or recently lost their job, we provide a stepping-stone to reenter the workforce and learn employable skills. … For many, it is a safe space for people to land.”
Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, participate in a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018. Youth listen to Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, during a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.Within the past week, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has heard many different names for the youth of the Church. Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, participate in a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.To the youth who are wondering about advice in “balancing technology and the real world,” Elder Stevenson recognized that there are positives that come with social media. He encouraged youth to not get caught up in viewing the most fun pictures of another person's life, but to use time wisely.
Youth listen and take notes as Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, talk during a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.“When I think about that scripture I realize I can do anything,” she said. “That pertains to anything—whether it is going on a mission, whether it is saying prayers, whether it is standing up for the Church in front of friends—it is anything that might be hard. We can do this through Christ because He is always with us and will always be with us.”Elder Stevenson added, “The covenant path is not a path for perfect people. The covenant path is for those who are trying to become perfect.”He heard the prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, refer to the youth as the “Hope of Israel,” and from others the names “Zion's army,” and “beloved sons and daughters of God.” Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson pose with the two youth moderators, Charlene Lee and Austine Fernando, during a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.Sister Stevenson shared one of her favorite scriptures found in Philippians 4:13 where it says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”Important to accepting a call to serve is being prepared.“Sometimes we feel like we have to be perfect to be able to walk this path and to return to our Heavenly Father,” Sister Stevenson said. “We get discouraged and we don't want to do it. We don't understand that we are supposed to get on this path to help us to strive to become perfect.”Sharing the stage with his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, and two youth moderators, Charlene Lee and Austine Fernando, the Stevensons spent an hour answering questions submitted by the youth.“One of the greatest blessings (that) we have as members of the Lord's Church is the gift of the Holy Ghost,” Elder Stevenson said.Speaking to “the future of the Church,” Elder Stevenson asked the group, “Can you imagine what you are going to see in your lifetime, and the very important role that you are all going to play? ... Each one of you has a very important role to play in building the kingdom of God on earth.” Youth listen to Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, during a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.“I want to express our gratitude for you being here ... [and] being the youth that you are—for being strong, for being valiant, and for being the bright light,” Sister Stevenson said. “We can see it in your eyes. You're incredible and we want you to know how much we love you and we appreciate you and we pray for you.” Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, participate in a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018. Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, greet youth participants in a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.To those wondering if they are following promptings from the Spirit, the Stevensons offered some advice:“We've seen some of the questions—you ask good questions,” Elder Stevenson said. “Some of them aren't the easiest, but we will try our best. … Be prepared to try to remember the things that you (hear), … but also the things … that you feel in your heart.”“The gospel is a gospel of joy and it tries to teach us to be happy,” he said. “Satan will try to make us miserable because he is. The gospel will bring joy and happiness to you.” Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, are interviewed during a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.Using the example of scripture study, Elder Stevenson said that we may not be perfect, but we can be perfect in our scripture study.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, participate in a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, participate in a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.“You are a special group of people,” Elder Stevenson said during a Face to Face broadcast with the youth in Asia on August 11. It was the first time a Face to Face has been held on the continent. A second event will be broadcast from Osaka, Japan, on Wednesday, August 15, originating in Japanese.The full broadcast, as well as all archived Face to Face events, are available to view on LDS.org. Follow the conversation on the LDS Youth Facebook page or on other social media channels using the hashtag #LDSface2face.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, participate in a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.Although we may not be perfect, Elder Stevenson said that we all can do some things perfectly.For young people thinking of going on a mission but who feel as if they aren't good enough, Elder Stevenson encouraged them to move forward in faith and begin preparing now.“You are representing over half the population of the world,” Elder Stevenson said. “In just the broadcast we are having today, my heart is just thrilled to think of young men and young women seated in all these countries tuned in today being uplifted and inspired as we are.”“There are some things we just know we can do if we challenge ourselves,” he said.The Stevensons spoke of their “toolbox“ of “spiritual tools“ that help in times of learning and with questions. Among the “spiritual tools“ mentioned was the scriptures, Preach My Gospel, the For The Strength of Youth pamphlet, and a reminder to live worthily to receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost.“One of the ways you will be prepared is if you are always worthy to hold a temple recommend,” he said, also reminding listeners that the Lord helps people who are willing to do His work.“I understand,” Elder Stevenson said. “I've been a member of the Twelve for about three years now—wow! Can you imagine what it would be like to walk into a room and to be there in the Quorum?“In an area of the world with more than one million Church members, the event, held in the Manila Missionary Training Center, brought thousands together in the Philippines—as well throughout the entire Asia Area via live broadcast.
Youth listen and take notes as Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, talk during a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.Youth listen to Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, during a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.“From my experiences, I have realized that things that are good, things that are positive, things that make you happy—these usually are coming from the Holy Ghost,” said Sister Stevenson. “They are good things. … Basically, if something is good, something is helpful, you know it is from God. And don't doubt yourself.” Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, participate in a regional Face to Face event with youth in Asia on August 11, 2018.Questions covered a variety of topics facing youth of the Church today: following the Spirit, receiving revelation, advice on how to stand valiantly, learning how to find balance, and managing technology use.When asked how to stay valiant in doing what is right, the Stevensons said that you don't have to be perfect to be a disciple of Christ. Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, pose for a photo with youth while participating in a regional Face to Face event in Asia on August 11, 2018.
“The Lord needs each of us to be finishers. He needs us to be finishers in the seemingly routine activities of our daily lives. He needs us to be finishers when He asks us to do some really hard things,” Morrin said.Eaton explained he originally wasn’t excited for the solar eclipse—he thought it was overrated. He then described the feelings and attitude change he had after witnessing the spectacular event.“It was a spiritual experience,” he said.BYU–Idaho’s University Resources vice president, Jeff Morrin, addressed Education Week participants during the first day. Morrin taught the importance of endurance, perseverance, grit, and being a finisher in both the big and small aspects of life.Finishers wantedEaton closed by encouraging all in attendance to not be afraid to invite others into the “zone of totality” or, in essence, to invite them to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.Through relating the story of the Atonement, Morrin reminded everyone that Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of a finisher. He closed with the invitation for everyone to “become the finishers that God wants [them] to become.”“One of the great joys of life is learning,” he said. He went on to explain how there is something special about being able to name things that you didn’t know before.Hughes and his wife have served two LDS missions, the last being in Beirut, Lebanon. On both missions, the couple had wonderful experiences learning about and becoming friends with the local people. Hughes taught that, in the end, all people are alike.“Just allow Him to show us how great He really is,” she said.Rob Eaton, BYU–Idaho associate academic vice president, spoke during Friday’s afternoon devotional. Eaton taught of exaltation and kingdoms of glory by comparing them to his experience of witnessing the 2017 total solar eclipse.Third, the author shared one of his favorite things to learn about: people.Trusting in GodEaton also compared the beauty of the eclipse to the blessings God grants His children when they keep His commandments. He said that people who viewed 75 percent of the solar eclipse did not receive 75 percent of its beauty. He explained how the beauty was exponential—that it only began to take people’s breath away when they began to witness its totality. Eaton expounded by saying that God’s blessings work the same way. When we are 75 percent obedient, we do not receive 75 percent of the blessings. Yet when we start to align ourselves completely with God, our blessings are exponential.Eaton then compared his observation of the heavenly phenomenon to exaltation. Just like the eclipse, celestial glory is not overrated. He taught that exaltation is something we should all strive for—that it is worth the work and sacrifice on this earth. Attendees walk the BYU–Idaho campus in between sessions of BYU–Idaho Education Week August 2–4 in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Ericka Sanders, BYU–Idaho.Second, Hughes reminded the audience that the purpose behind learning is to become like the all-knowing God. He taught that learning will continue throughout mortal life and into the eternities.Eclipses and exaltationFor three days, more than 2,500 individuals came to the BYU–Idaho campus to hear uplifting messages, attend a variety of classes, and enjoy the many activities offered by the university.The root of happiness“The more you know something, the more interesting it becomes,” he said.The three-day conference included classes for children ages 6 and above, youth, and adults and activities for families including a dance, devotionals, alumni events, and a concert.Dean Hughes (known for his popular book series Children of the Promise) opened the conference. He spoke of the importance of lifelong learning and gave the audience three reasons why it is important to continually learn throughout their lives. Attendees listen and take notes during a session of BYU–Idaho Education Week August 2–4 in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Ericka Sanders, BYU–Idaho.The author then explained how her life changed once she put her complete trust in God and chose to have patience in Him. She talked about how she began to write, blog, and speak—all activities that came as inspiration from God. She expressed gratitude for her husband, her two children, their recent move to New York, and the life she is living. Carraway saw the full circle of all the blessings she had received.
Attendees listen and take notes during a session of BYU–Idaho Education Week August 2–4 in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Ericka Sanders, BYU–Idaho.Carraway shared her own story of moments when she wondered if Heavenly Father was really there for her. She told her conversion story and how, as a result, many of her family and friends rejected her. She talked about how she received a spiritual impression to move to Utah after her baptism. She described the difficulties of the move and how doing so put her in a poor living situation. Carraway said she often wondered where God was during her trials.First, Hughes taught that learning brings us happiness.
An attendee walks the BYU–Idaho campus in between sessions of BYU–Idaho Education Week August 2–4 in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Ericka Sanders, BYU–Idaho.This year attendees had the opportunity to listen and learn from four keynote speakers: Dean Hughes, Jeff Morrin, Rob Eaton, and Al Fox Carraway.The final speaker of the conference was Al Fox Carraway—an LDS convert, blogger, multi-award-winning speaker, and author. Carraway began her address by relating an experience she had while giving a speech at a prison ceremony. She said she was surprised to hear them sing “A Child’s Prayer” as the closing song. Carraway then asked the audience if they’ve ever wondered, “Heavenly Father, are you really there?”