Basic survivorElder Gay suggested an alternative important question to ask: “What lack I? And what do I need to do to move my life ahead the way Heavenly Father would have me move it ahead?”To students who are working two jobs just to pay the bills, parents, busy doing Church service, who don’t have a spare minute in their lives to think about attending school or don’t feel like they can afford education, the leaders—while recognizing the hard work they are already doing—encouraged them to keep an eternal perspective.Sister Gilbert, who with her husband, President Gilbert, has eight children, added that her education has helped her in establishing a learning environment in their home as well as with time management.Recognizing all experience doubt or discouragement at some time, Elder Holland reminded them, “God is on your side,” and encouraged listeners to “keep the doctrine in mind and remember who you are.”“I feel that if we work toward our divine potential, anything that we learn is an advantage,” she said.Whether it is a student who is distracted by getting married and having children—both righteous endeavors—or a student who is still living in his or her “mission days,” some struggle with focusing on investing in the future.
A broadcast to Pathway students around the world November 8 included a panel discussion on overcoming obstacles in education with messages from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and other members of the Church Board of Education, including Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Sister Jean B. Bingham, and Elder Robert C. Gay, along with Elder Kim B. Clark, Church Commissioner of Education, and President Clark G. Gilbert with his wife, Christine. Photo by Michael Lewis.The panel spent close to an hour discussing how to overcome obstacles to education.“As we go around the world and meet with lots of people, I’m always touched by the fact that so many of [the leaders we meet] … when you ask them about earlier in their lives, there were huge sacrifices and times of want and times of deprivation,” said Elder Cook. “But most of them look back on that time with great joy and happiness, and a time of preparation, not just a time of sacrifice. Sacrifice does bring forth the blessings of heaven. …“Our hearts are so touched by anybody who’s having to work several jobs and trying to get an education at the same time. You have our admiration and our appreciation, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it in this life, and its worth it in the eternities.”“Even if you never use that education degree in the field you go into, you will always use that experience to teach people what you have to do to move your life and the lives of others ahead,” he said.The doubter is a student who is not sure if he or she will make it in the program, who in the first week feels school is tough and the lessons are getting hard to understand.“There is a strength and a power beyond our own that helps us do what we otherwise could never do,” said Elder Bednar.“You are continuing to be a disciple of Jesus Christ progressing to receive everything that God has,” Elder Gay said. “It is about becoming, and we have to get that deep down in the heart. The question is not ‘Am I happy?’”When it comes to education, “you have divine help,” said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.“I know that the Lord will bless those who are trying to develop their divine potential to their fullest,” she said. “Sometimes we have to step off into the dark and trust that the Lord will help us to be able to accomplish the things that we need to accomplish.” A broadcast to Pathway students around the world November 8 included a panel discussion on overcoming obstacles in education with messages from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and other members of the Church Board of Education, including Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Sister Jean B. Bingham, and Elder Robert C. Gay, along with Elder Kim B. Clark, Church Commissioner of Education, and President Clark G. Gilbert with his wife, Christine. Photo by Michael Lewis. A broadcast to Pathway students around the world November 8 included a panel discussion on overcoming obstacles in education with messages from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and other members of the Church Board of Education, including Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Sister Jean B. Bingham, and Elder Robert C. Gay, along with Elder Kim B. Clark, Church Commissioner of Education, and President Clark G. Gilbert with his wife, Christine. Photo by Michael Lewis.The purpose, President Gilbert said, is to “help us understand how to stay the course and pursue our education even when things get tough.”“We all have the weakness of the natural man,” Elder Clark said. “We get lazy, we get afraid, we doubt, we get subject to all sorts of maladies, but the Lord says that if you will humble yourself and come unto Him, He will make weak things … strong through the power of His atoning sacrifice to His redeeming power.”“Missionary work is hard work. … It’s down in the nitty gritty of planning, seeking, knocking, and in really moving people along,” he said. “I cannot think of anything that you would learn in the classroom that is not applicable in some other setting.” A broadcast to Pathway students around the world November 8 included a panel discussion on overcoming obstacles in education with messages from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and other members of the Church Board of Education, including Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Sister Jean B. Bingham, and Elder Robert C. Gay, along with Elder Kim B. Clark, Church Commissioner of Education, and President Clark G. Gilbert with his wife, Christine. Photo by Michael Lewis.Important to that change is acting in faith, Elder Clark said.Elder Bednar added, “I would recommend a very simple thing when you have doubts. Repeat the first article of faith to yourself. It is the Father’s plan of eternal progression. We come to earth to learn from our own experience the good from the evil, and we are blessed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. … His Atonement helps us to overcome sins and mistakes and strengthens us to do what we otherwise could not do on our own. And the Holy Ghost is the teacher. The first article of faith denotes the help from heaven that is available to every person who acts in faith and follows the teachings of Christ: the plan, the Atonement of Christ, and the teacher.”Although she doesn’t have to take tests or turn papers in on time anymore, Sister Gilbert said, “I’m still blessed knowing how to manage our time and our schedules and the things that go on in our house.” Learning how to ask good questions as a student has also helped her as a mother.Paraphrasing a quote from Brigham Young, Elder Holland said the tragedy in life is not failure—the tragedy in life is “diminished expectations,” where a person expects too little of oneself and aims too low.Elder Bednar shared an experience he had as a young father with two children while serving as an early-morning seminary teacher and completing a demanding graduate program. “When we talk about our capacity being enlarged, because of and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ—a blessing available to every covenant-keeping Latter-day Saint—it doesn’t mean it gets easier immediately,” he said. “You may sometimes have questions and wonder, ‘Can I do this?’ Through stretching and turning to the Lord, our capacity is increased.” As a person does his or her best and strives to live the gospel, there are “compensating blessings.”“You are able—you are far more able than you think,” Elder Holland said.“Even in your difficulty, and they’re real, even in your difficulty, make sure you step outside yourself and bring someone else along. It’s amazing how much better two of you will make it than one can do alone.”Happy as I amThe doubter“We’re going to walk through a number of concerns students at BYU–Pathway face as they work through the program,” President Gilbert said, later adding, “As you listen to each of these students, maybe some of them are more true to you; maybe all of them are true to you.”“When we shortchange ourselves on education as a woman, we are not prepared to bless others and really fulfill our divine potential as a daughter of God. … We are commanded to learn in this life,” Sister Bingham said.
Some 450 BYU–Pathway Worldwide students and educators—and more via broadcast around the world—met in a special devotional originating from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City on November 8.“We are all more able than we think; we’re all capable of infinitely more than we do,” said Elder Holland. “And we must not let our fears get in the way. … You have help, we are all children of God. We have divinity in us. We have potential and promise and covenant and privilege that we haven’t even begun to tap, and there are legions in heaven that are prepared to help you fulfill that destiny.”“As limited as your dream might be and as worried as you are, they are more worried—will you remember them? You’ll do a lot better, if in all of your travail, you realize that there’s a neighbor … who needs you.Elder Bednar added, “In the mission field, there is a structure, a scaffolding that surrounds a missionary. When a missionary comes home from a mission, they sometimes question if they can continue to develop and dedicate themselves to a holy purpose without that protective scaffolding. That’s part of the test.” It is through two words—develop and dedicate—that a person is able to be successful, Elder Bednar taught.During the broadcast, BYU–Pathway Worldwide President Clark G. Gilbert acted as moderator in a discussion with Elder Holland, Elder David A. Bednar, and Elder Quentin L. Cook, all of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Robert C. Gay of the Presidency of the Seventy; Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President; Elder Kim B. Clark, General Authority Seventy and Commissioner of Church Education; and Sister Christine Gilbert.Identifying the students who are “happy as I am” and may spend much of their time on things that distract them from accomplishing their work or education, President Gilbert asked leaders what advice they would share with them.
Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President and a member of the Church Board of Education, was part of a panel discussion during a devotional for BYU–Pathway Worldwide students and educators November 8.Speaking to 450 BYU–Pathway Worldwide students and educators in a special devotional originating from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City on November 8—and more via broadcast around the world—Elder Holland and many of his associates on the executive committee of the Church’s Board of Education offered encouragement and advice to students.“We’ve talked about doing hard things,” said Elder Holland. “Please believe that the great things in life for any generation come by people who do hard things and put forth hard work. Let me ask you to do another hard thing: however tough you think you have got it, someone near you has got it tougher than you do. …Doing hard things A broadcast to Pathway students around the world November 8 included a panel discussion on overcoming obstacles in education with messages from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and other members of the Church Board of Education, including Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Sister Jean B. Bingham, and Elder Robert C. Gay, along with Elder Kim B. Clark, Church Commissioner of Education, and President Clark G. Gilbert with his wife, Christine. Photo by Michael Lewis.The panel focused their remarks on four types of students—“the doubter,” “misplaced zeal,” “happy as I am,” and “basic survivor”—and shared personal insights to help students along their path to education.Elder Clark spoke of the scripture found in Ether 12:27, which speaks of weakness becoming strong.To the returned missionaries who are wishing to “go back to those glory days” when they were “building the kingdom and doing things that mattered,” as President Gilbert described, Elder Gay reminded them the things they have learned as missionaries will help them throughout their lives. Some 450 BYU–Pathway Worldwide students and educators—and more via broadcast around the world—met in a special devotional originating from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City on November 8. Photo by Michael Lewis.Sharing her own experience of becoming a mother while taking nursing classes, Sister Bingham said, “Everything I learned in those classes, even though I didn’t finish my degree at that time, I used in my mothering. The child development, nutrition—every one of those classes helped me.”“We have to act, but act in faith,” he said. “If we do, power flows into our lives through the redeeming and strengthening power of the Savior.”Years later, she returned to finish her degree in education, and she said it was fascinating to see that “not one class was wasted” and they each helped her to be a better person, a better mother, and better in her service in the Church.“I really learned during that time to invite the Spirit into my life every day to help guide and direct me in the things I need to do,” she said.Misplaced zeal“Who do you suppose is the ‘father of doubt’?” Elder Holland asked. “If you had to have an antonym to doubt, wouldn’t it be faith?”Recognizing that getting married and raising a family requires problem-solving, creativity, discipline, and education, Elder Gay encouraged listeners to continue working toward achieving goals.Sister Bingham added sometimes a person has to give up what’s at hand in order to have something better in the future.“I’d much rather have a goal and if there’s failure or limitation or inadequacy along the way, you keep working at it,” said Elder Holland. “But to not even have the goal or to have the goal too low … that really does smack of tragedy.”
Thirteen years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley visited San Antonio—and, according to local Latter-day Saints, south Texas was never the same.Tens of thousands gathered inside the indoor football stadium to hear their prophet share counsel, encouragement, and love. It was a weekend marked by revelation and unity. The next day, President Hinckley dedicated the San Antonio Texas Temple.President Russell M. Nelson is scheduled to preside over a San Antonio member devotional at the Alamodome. The Church’s 17th President will be joined by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson; Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar; and Elder Adrian Ochoa, a General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Nancy Ochoa.Rain is forecast for San Antonio on Sunday. No matter. An evening with President Nelson, Elder Bednar, and the other visitors is certain to again prompt smiles from heaven and across the Lone Star State.On Sunday, November 18, a President of the Church returns to the Alamo City.Latter-day Saints and their friends from 17 stakes and two districts are being invited to the Sabbath evening devotional. Organizers expect about 25,000 people to attend. Many will be Spanish speakers who will listen to live translations of the talks via a translation app.Since learning of the November 18 devotional, stake presidents across south Texas have been asking members to pray for the visiting leaders, who are seeking revelation on their behalf.“The level of excitement for this devotional has really intensified—it is electrifying,” said Elder Carlos Villarreal, an Area Seventy and south Texas resident.“I would think that the heavens are smiling on Texas today,” said Elder Ballard.Now they are humbled “that the prophet wants to be with us,” said Elder Villarreal. San Antonio’s Alamadome will be the site of a November 18 member devotional featuring President Russell M. Nelson, Elder David A. Bednar, and other visiting leaders. Image courtesy of visitsanantonio.com.On May 21, 2005, the Church’s 15th President presided at a youth jubilee at the Alamodome in downtown San Antonio.The members living across the greater San Antonio/McAllen region appreciate that President Nelson’s visit comes at a moment of prolific revelation for the Church, he added. They have closely followed President Nelson’s travels across the globe, including his recent member devotional in Seattle and his South American tour. They listened intently to his recent general conference messages.Following the May 22, 2005, dedication of the San Antonio Texas Temple, then-Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stopped to speak for a few moments with a Church News reporter.
A service missionary is called by the Lord through His prophet to serve in an environment uniquely tailored to his or her talents, skills, and gifts.
A service missionary is called by the Lord through His prophet to serve in an environment uniquely tailored to his or her talents, skills, and gifts.Missionaries can be home for a grace time of about nine months to a year and still be able to transfer to a service mission to finish out their mission, said Porter. “We’ve been piloting this [reassignment] program around the U.S. and Canada, and it’s been highly successful,” he said, “and our hope is to expand the program to other countries in the future.”Mission reassignments Service missionaries on Temple Square. Changes to the Church’s missionary programs expand service opportunities for worthy young adults who desire to serve a mission.“Their call will be from the prophet,” said Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a video on MormonNewsroom.org. “They will apply just like every other missionary to full-time missionary service.”“They go about doing good, just like the Savior did,” said Elder Renlund.According to the updated website lds.org/service-missionary, “A service missionary is called by the Lord through His prophet to serve in an environment uniquely tailored to his or her talents, skills, and gifts.”“What this means is that any worthy young person in the Church [men ages 18–25 and women ages 19–25] who desires to serve a mission will submit an application through a single online portal, and the Missionary Department then through prophetic keys will decide whether they go on a proselyting or a service mission,” said Porter.Called to serve
Service missionaries fulfill a variety of service needs, such as these service missionaries helping to plant flowers at the Ogden Utah Temple.Service missionaries serve anywhere from six months to two years, live at home, and serve locally. “They make a huge difference,” said Elder Renlund. “They’re dependable, they show up, they do the work. They’re cheerful, they’re positive, they’re enthusiastic. They bring life and energy.”If a candidate will not be called to a proselyting mission, a representative from the Missionary Department will counsel with the stake president before a service mission call is issued. Those called as a service missionary will work with their stake president and local facilitators to find the best service opportunities for them.But an opportunity to serve as a young Church-service missionary at Church headquarters “changed everything for me,” she said. “It gave me a purpose and made me feel like I had worth and could contribute to the Lord’s work.”Service missionaries serve on Church farms in Florida and Texas or in departments at Church headquarters in Utah, or they help with seminary and institute enrollment and other stake-assigned service opportunities. Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, and the California Old Towne state park are some of the non-LDS organizations that currently use service missionaries. “The Church is always looking for more partners who need service volunteers,” said Porter.Regardless of the type of mission someone is called to, the Lord is behind the call and equally values all service rendered in His name. According to the updated website lds.org/service-missionary, “Service missions are acceptable offerings to the Lord when a proselyting mission is not possible. … All missionaries represent the Lord and are His agents in the work of salvation.”In addition, missionaries who are not able to complete a proselyting mission due to due to mental, physical, and emotional health reasons may be able to transfer to a service mission for the remainder of their mission.Major changes to the Church’s missionary programs announced November 16 will further expand service opportunities for worthy young adults like Schuyler who desire to serve a mission.Three changesAnother significant change is that service missionary candidates will apply the same way as proselyting missionary candidates, through an online portal, and their mission calls will likewise come from the prophet.“These changes will affect the lives of young people and their parents in the U.S. and Canada in a significant way,” said Ben Porter, managing director over the service mission programs of the Church.Parents and potential missionary candidates are encouraged to visit lds.org/service-missionary and then talk to their bishops about their desire and eligibility to serve.Missionary candidates don’t get to pick their type of mission. Mission assignments are made under priesthood keys by prophets and apostles based on the information provided in the application, which includes various evaluations.Proselyting missionaries from the U.S. or Canada who are not able to complete their missions due to mental, physical, and emotional health reasons may have the option of transferring to a service mission, if approved by their stake president.“The Lord said if you have desires to serve, you are called to the work,” said Elder Renlund. “This is serving the Lord as a missionary and bringing to pass God's work. … [Service missionaries] bring great blessings to themselves, but more importantly, as they are doing this work, they’re blessing Heavenly Father’s children in unique ways.”“They don’t proselyte,” said Casey Mortensen, a manager in the Service Missionary Program, “but they serve the Lord in His name and in His way. They have a strong desire to serve and don’t take this opportunity for granted.”Beginning in January 2019, young Church-service missionaries will be called “service missionaries.” The Service Missionary Program, which has been available in the U.S. and Canada for about 10 years, makes it possible for worthy young adults who for various reasons have been excused from serving a proselyting mission to still serve a mission.Mickelson has an extensive background in music. Serving as a service missionary in the Church’s Music Department on the new hymnbook project was a great fit for what she had to offer. “It felt like a big blessing because I was working on the best project for the skills and talents I have been developing since I was young.” She hopes other missionaries can have a similar experience.When reoccurring health problems prevented Schuyler Mickelson from completing her proselyting mission in Boston, Massachusetts, she was “devastated and really sad. I was depressed for months and months,” she said.
Learn more now at LightTheWorld.org, available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.Returning this year are the popular Light the World giving machines. These vending machines symbolically illustrate how easy it is to donate to charities by allowing donors to instantly give instead of receive.For the third year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is encouraging members to #LightTheWorld with simple acts of service and Christlike love during the 2018 Christmas season. Giving machinesThe 2018 theme, “Light the World, Give as He Gave,” is influenced by President Russell M. Nelson’s call to minister in “new, holier ways” (“Let Us All Press On,” Apr. 2018 general conference).Special sacrament meeting“The emphasis the past two years has been on how can I serve. With President Nelson’s invitation to minister, we’ve adjusted our focus to whom can I serve,” said Greg Droubay of the Missionary Department.This year’s campaign, detailed at LightTheWorld.org, encourages people to find ways to share their time, love, and resources with those in need, “helping others in a new way each week.” It includes four weekly themes and videos: light the world, light your community, light your family, and finally, light your faith. For service ideas, see the downloadable advent calendar.Light the World giving machines will be located in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, Utah; at the Water Tower Plaza in Gilbert, Arizona; in Manhattan outside the temple; at the Hyde Park chapel and visitors’ center in London, England; and inside the SW Megamall in Manila, Philippines.If you can’t make it to a giving machine, you can learn about and donate to the charities involved by visiting LightTheWorld.org.Using credit cards, people can purchase representations of items like a goat or a chicken, socks, a new pair of school shoes, an eye exam, clean water, baby supplies, first aid kits, medication, and food. After the purchase is complete, the machine vends the item into a bin at the bottom. These donations, and the money used to purchase them, are then distributed to charity partners like CARE, UNICEF, WaterAid, and Water for People.Kicking off the season is a worldwide day of service December 1, where Latter-day Saints worldwide are encouraged to do simple acts of service in their neighborhoods and communities. Members are encouraged to use JustServe.org (where available) or to contact local charities to find simple service opportunities.Worldwide day of service
Light the World giving machines illustrate how easy it is to donate to charities by allowing donors to instantly give instead of receive.On December 23 members and missionaries are encouraged to invite those not of our faith to attend a special Christ-centered sacrament meeting that will focus on the birth of Jesus Christ with appropriate messages and Christmas music.
Sunday offered members from both Paradise wards a few hours of welcome Sabbath day respite from their staggering challenges. The two wards worshipped at the Chico stake center at a combined sacrament meeting. They listened to messages of hope, sang hymns, and partook of the sacrament. They enjoyed a shared meal together in the cultural hall.“That gives you some sense of the proportion,” said Bishop Harrison.The blaze swept over the town of 27,000 and practically wiped the town off the map with flames so fierce that they melted metal off cars, the Associated Press reported.Bishop Harrison, meanwhile, learned he had lost his two Paradise-area houses shortly after fleeing for safety on November 8 when the wildfire spread across the Northern California community. But even as they minister to those in their charge, both Bishop Harrison and Bishop Mattson said they too are being ministered to by fellow members from the Chico California Stake and beyond.“It could take years to get our town back into shape and get things cleaned up,” said Bishop Harrison. Members of the Paradise 1st and Paradise 2nd Wards meet together on November 11, 2018, for Sabbath day worship and post-disaster assistance at the Chico California Stake Center. Photo courtesy of Josh Cook.All members from the Paradise 1st Ward are accounted for, said Bishop Harrison.The wildfire that largely incinerated Paradise, California, offered a stark reminder that Latter-day Saint bishops often shepherd others even while enduring their own trials.As of Monday, November 12, their status was unclear. The bishop said he rejoices each time he learns a previously unaccounted for member is alive and well.The two bishops know shepherding holds no expiration date. Difficult days await the Paradise members. They will all be asked to look out for one another along the way.“We got confirmation on Sunday that our home had been completely destroyed,” said Bishop Mattson, a husband and father of four children, ages 10–15.There was some good news to report. The damage at one of the Paradise meetinghouses—the so-called Billy Road building—was limited to trees outside the structure, reported Bishop Harrison. The fire destroyed the second meetinghouse in Paradise.At least 29 people have been confirmed dead, equaling the deadliest blaze in California history. Nearly 230 people are being called “unaccounted for” by public safety officers.
Flames continue to burn at the site of the charred remains of the Paradise 1st Ward meetinghouse in Paradise, California, on the day after the November 8 fire destroyed the town. Photo by James Dimmitt.For many Latter-day Saints from the Paradise area, the temporal and spiritual support they are receiving now represents a sizable chunk of all they own.Church-provided counselors were also on hand to offer practical and emotional support for members of all ages. Following the religious services, children and youth participated in breakout sessions hosted by professional counselors.The Paradise members left the Sunday meeting reminded that they would not have to face the coming weeks and months alone. “It was good to get together and just spend time with one another,” said Bishop Mattson. “Everyone left with clothing, food, toiletries, and bedding.”“Ninety-five percent of the members in our ward have lost their homes,” said Bishop Harrison, who is staying with relatives.
Google maps image of the Paradise 1st Ward meetinghouse in Paradise, California, prior to the November 8 fire that destroyed the town. © 2018 Google.“It’s amazing how the members are coming together and supporting one another,” Bishop Harrison told the Church News.The adults, meanwhile, were divided into two groups: those who lost their homes and those who did not lose their homes. The families whose homes were spared met in the stake high council room. The families whose homes were lost met together in the spacious cultural hall.Meanwhile, displaced Latter-day Saints have found shelter with family, friends, or fellow members from Chico and neighboring stakes. A sobering number of Paradise members are now homeless.Paradise 1st Ward Bishop Robert Harrison and Paradise 2nd Ward Bishop Troy Mattson have spent the past several days monitoring the welfare of their members, offering spiritual support, and coordinating relief efforts with fellow priesthood and Relief Society leaders.Bishop Mattson acknowledged Monday that communication remains a challenge. There are 750 members on the Paradise 2nd Ward rolls. He has sent out mass surveys to collect status information from each family. Most have responded, but a few have not.Both bishops lost their own homes to the flames and are counted among the thousands displaced by one of the most destructive wildfires in California's history.Most member families have not been able to return to their charred home sites. The roads into Paradise are being blocked to keep people safe and to discourage would-be looters.
My parents have been a consistent thread of strength and guidance. I have fond memories of sitting on the living room floor listening to my mother tell a flannel board story of Lehi and Sariah and their four sons. I felt then that what she was telling me was true, and from a young age I have loved and treasured the Book of Mormon. I felt secure and loved in my home and could easily visualize what my Heavenly Father was like, because I knew He had to be like my earthly father.The Oxford Dictionary defines weaving as “the craft or action of forming fabric by interlacing threads.” I like to think of my life much like a fine piece of fabric, consisting of people and experiences as the different types of threads added throughout a lifetime. Each person I associate with and learn from can add luster and strength to the cloth I am weaving.In retrospect of my six decades of mortality, I remember and am filled with gratitude for many influential teachers who have contributed to the tapestry of my life. I can’t say one outshines another, because they have all contributed in very tender and significant ways.My youth years were laced with teachers and leaders who took an interest in me. They made me feel important and special. Brother and Sister Stowe were new to our ward, and in my 12- to 13-year-old mind, they were perfect. They were a young couple who loved each other and loved the gospel. I can’t remember details of their Sunday School lessons, but they always came prepared. I remember thinking that I wanted to be just like them when I grew up.I had two bishops during my teenage years—Bishop Orvil K. Anderson and Bishop Ray Don Reese. These men were some of the kindest men I knew. I felt their love and interest for me, and I could feel the power of the priesthood as they served. They taught me to trust my leaders. I gained a testimony of priesthood power and how it is operative in my life every day.
Sister Vicki G. Jackman of the Young Women general board.My life has been woven with threads of testimony by these ordinary, committed Latter-day Saints who taught me that God lives and cares about me. Because they loved and cared about me, I felt the love and care of a Heavenly Father and His perfect Son. These dear teachers are extraordinary!I had many Primary teachers and leaders who taught me gospel truths. I knew they cared about me and loved me, so I was secure in what they were teaching me. I grew up when Primary was held during the week. I can still envision sitting in the Brigham City 10th Ward chapel, with the afternoon sun streaming in the windows, singing the song “I Wonder When He Comes Again.” I gained a testimony then that one day Jesus will come again, and I want to be ready.I loved camping, and I had a fabulous camp director, Sister Donna Hansen. I was convinced that she knew everything about nature. She took us on hikes and identified all the plants, flowers, and trees. We learned how to lash poles together and create our own Clorox bottle showers. We learned to build fires and baked cakes in a reflector oven, which actually turned out. She instilled within me such a love for the outdoors. I could tell she was passionate about the world around her, and that threaded in me a sense of passion for God’s creations.
However, President Hinckley said he wasn’t announcing a temple for Fiji on that day, but he promised that—one day—a temple would be built in the island nation.President Hinckley began his tour in Laie, Hawaii, on October 10. The Church News turned over to a correspondent in Hawaii the assignment to report on that leg of the prophet’s journey for the simple reason I couldn’t keep up with him and his entourage. They traveled by private jet; I flew on commercial airlines—the schedules of which didn’t always meet their itinerary.One of those moments for me occurred on October 15, 1997, in Suva, Fiji, which was one of the stops on President Gordon B. Hinckley’s visit to eight islands of the South Pacific from October 10 to October 17. The tour gave me new insight to the term “island hopping.”As he addressed the members, President Hinckley asked how many of them would like to have a temple in Fiji. It almost seemed as though an electric current ran through the stadium. Hands went up. More tears flowed.Instantly, tears welled up in the eyes of many in the congregation. Emotion choked their voices, but they continued to sing “to guide us in these latter days.” Soon, emotion overcame control. Many stopped singing and wept. They used handkerchiefs, scarves, backs of hands, shirttails, sleeves, and dress collars to wipe tears from their eyes so they could have clear vision to see the prophet.That promise, that dream for the Fijian Saints, became reality when he returned and dedicated the Suva Fiji Temple on June 18, 2000, less than three years after that memorable visit.The moment I mentioned earlier—in Fiji—occurred as President Hinckley arrived in Suva. I got to Fiji’s National Stadium about two hours before he was scheduled to address Church members there. I watched members from many of Fiji’s islands arrive. As in the other island nations, most had never seen a prophet in person. Their anticipation was almost palpable.I met some members from the Labasa Branch, part of a group of 100 Latter-day Saints who undertook an arduous journey from the island of Vanua Levu to Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu. The Labasa members began saving money to pay for their trip to Suva as soon as they heard President Hinckley planned to visit. They did without things they ordinarily would have bought for daily use. They traveled four hours on an uncomfortable bus over dusty roads and then 12 hours on a boat. The daytime travel was hot and humid; the night hours were chilly. The journey was the first time many had traveled away from their island.The meeting was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. That hour came and went. President Hinckley’s plane had been delayed leaving Tonga earlier that day. Time seemed to stand still. Every few seconds, members looked toward the portal through which President and Sister Hinckley were to enter. Then the moment finally came. At 3:10 p.m., the members stood and began singing “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.”I met up with President Hinckley and his group in Apia, then Western Samoa—now it’s called Samoa—on October 11. He visited the island of Savai’i and then went to Pago Pago, American Samoa, on October 13. That same day, he traveled to Nuku’alofa, Tonga, a trip of about 90 minutes, but because of crossing the International Dateline, he arrived on Tuesday, October 14.Those accompanying President Hinckley included Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley; Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Elisa Wirthlin; and Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Merlene Featherstone.We all have moments we’re not likely to forget, some so vivid they seem to knit together past and present. The Suva Fiji Temple was dedicated in 2000 by President Gordon B. Hinckley.They arrived at National Stadium three hours before the meeting. They watched people arrive by the hundreds until about 5,000 had assembled. Labasa Branch President Tipo Ralifo told me their eyes widened in amazement as they, for the first time, found themselves in the midst of a vast congregation of Latter-day Saints.
The manuals for Primary and Sunday School supplement what is being studied and taught at home during the week, providing opportunities for individuals to share experiences, ask questions, and participate in a discussion about what they have been studying at home.His wife, Alish Anderson, added, “I’m excited to put my best effort into my family teaching in the home.Promised blessings
Image by Aaron Thorup.A family studies together from the new Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families manual for 2019.“That was our goal—to come when we could all come together,” said Alish Anderson.
A young woman studies from the new Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families manual for 2019.“‘The new home-centered, Church-supported integrated curriculum has the potential to unleash the power of families, as each family follows through conscientiously and carefully to transform their home into a sanctuary of faith. I promise that as you diligently work to remodel your home into a center of gospel learning, over time your Sabbath days will truly be a delight. Your children will be excited to learn and to live the Savior’s teachings, and the influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease. Changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining’ (“Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” Oct. 2018 general conference).”“Individuals and families, however, seek inspiration as they choose to study what will best meet their needs. They prayerfully consider options such as the Book of Mormon and other standard works, general conference messages, Church magazines, information available on LDS.org, and other materials suggested by general or local leaders. There is no expectation that members will study all, or even most, of these resources at any one time.”“When [leaders] would ask the children questions in Primary, they had learned so much at home and you could tell they were enjoying it,” he said. “It really improved conversations in music and sharing time and was a real positive thing for Primary.”According to materials enclosed with the First Presidency letter dated October 6, 2018: “Gospel study at home deepens conversion to Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthens our families. A study of the scriptures, supported by the new resource Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families, is the suggested course of gospel study at home. This rich resource provides a variety of study options for individual and family adaptation and aligns Sunday School and Primary curriculum with home study.For Brian Noble’s family, the pilot program became an important part of their family scripture study in the morning before family members left for school and work.“It became not just a time to read a bunch of verses or chapters, but [also] a time to discuss what we were reading as we went along with the manual,” he said. “I felt like it made scripture study a lot more meaningful. We were talking about things more than we would otherwise and it became a more spiritual experience.”Being together in the Conference Center was memorable, but to be in the Conference Center when so many changes were announced was more than memorable, it was historic.“We saw in all the organizations people came prepared to discuss the neat things they have learned,” he said. “It changes the dynamics of the class.”At the time his ward was first involved in the pilot program, President Lemperle was serving as the Primary music leader.Noble, who is a father of five and serves as bishop of the Briarwood Ward in the Centerville Utah Stake, said the new curriculum helped members in his ward participate more in discussions than they would have otherwise.Doran Anderson said, “We’ve been feeling like we needed a little more for our family, and this is an answer to prayers, especially the focus on more quality time as a family discussing gospel topics.”Because classes in the Sunday meeting schedule will be on a rotating basis, the schedule is meant to be a guide, allowing Church classes to skip or combine the lessons when necessary due to a stake conference or other meetings.During an LDS Business College devotional on November 6, President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of the changes to Church curriculum and reminded listeners of President Russell M. Nelson’s prophetic promise: “Last month during general conference, many Latter-day Saints welcomed the announcement that the Church will soon implement a two-hour Sunday meeting schedule. Those listening by the Spirit, especially parents, heard in that announcement the Lord’s call to greater responsibility. You remember President Nelson’s promised blessings to those families who embrace the opportunity for increased Sunday stewardship:“Nobody wanted it to end”An elevated focusSingle members who had studied on their own at home were able to bring their insights and experience to a greater conversation in class on Sundays, President Lemperle said. For those who come from a home where it wasn’t being done—a less-active member or part-member family—President Lemperle said class still became an enriching place of learning.When David A. Lemperle’s stake was asked to be part of the pilot program for the new curriculum, many of the stake members were uncertain of how they were going to do it.“When you come to church on Sunday, you are able to share with each other,” President Lemperle said. “The most important thing of all of this—when people are gathered together to talk about the Savior, the Spirit teaches what we need to know and you leave feeling better than when you come.”“I always encourage people, even if all you can do is spend five minutes a day, then spend five minutes a day,” President Lemperle said. “Do what you can, even a little bit. Consistency is the most important thing. For us, it is exponentially easier to [study] at the same time every day. For our family, it happened to be in the morning; another family that time might be at night. It is more about creating the habit of consistent daily study.”A quick glance through the manual shows lessons broken up into a weekly study, each one including seven elements:“This resource is for every individual and family in the Church,” according to the Come, Follow Me resources. “It is designed to help you learn the gospel—whether on your own or with your family. If you haven’t studied the gospel regularly in the past, this resource can help you get started. If you already have a good habit of gospel study, this resource can help you have more meaningful experiences.”A greater responsibilityBecause the outlines in the resource are organized according to a weekly reading schedule, Sunday lessons in Primary and Sunday School classes will follow the same schedule. A study guide is available for every week of the year, with the exception of general conference weekends.For some, figuring out a time that works with a busy family schedule may be tricky; for others it may be difficult to study on their own.Since the October 6 announcement, Church members around the globe have been anticipating the arrival of the new Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families curriculum. While the actual distribution of the manual is up to local leadership, all active households will have a copy by the end of the year. Church members who would like to view content before they are given a manual can view the content online at comefollowme.org.To those who are worried or concerned about the responsibility that comes with the new curriculum, Bishop Noble said to “exercise some faith and you will find remarkable blessings in your life and as a family and ward. You will be so glad leaders have been inspired and come out with this program.”A highlight was hearing President Russell M. Nelson as he discussed the need for a “home-centered Church, supported by what takes place inside our branch, ward, and stake buildings.”“I felt like within our home, conversations were really great,” said President Lemperle, who had two teenage children at home when they were doing the pilot program. “I found myself trying to do my own study, and then we would read as a family. My family members had their own insights, and then when I would go to Sunday School the depth of the conversations with people were very enriching. We had different insights and perspectives.”President Lemperle said the material the Church provided—videos, commentaries, insights, and prompts—made it so “you will never run out of stuff to do.”“I feel like we are going to have to make some sacrifices to make this happen,” said Alish Anderson. “We’ve already cut back a lot on extracurricular stuff, and we’ll just have to make it a priority.”
Image by Aaron Thorup.After their youngest child turned 8, they decided to make the drive from Reno, Nevada, to Salt Lake City so they could attend the October 2018 general conference.Alish and Doran Anderson had been looking forward to the time when they, with their four children, could attend general conference in the Conference Center.For those who are already having scripture study and home evening, these changes will come fairly easy, said Bishop Noble. For those who aren’t in the habit of studying at home, the new curriculum is an opportunity to start.“Once we got into the rhythm of doing it, it was not a difficult thing,” said President Lemperle, who serves as president of the Centerville Utah Stake. “Integration only took a week or two, and then everybody moved forward as if we had been doing it all along. When it ended, nobody wanted it to end. Nobody wanted to go back to the old way.”
“That phone call started a professional, then personal, then apostolic friendship that will continue warmly and wonderfully forever,” he said. “Suffice it to say that second only to some very profound experiences in prayer in New Haven, the fact that I would pursue a teaching career in the institute program of the Church—clearly the least exciting and least Ivy League-like choice available to me—was due in large measure to that and subsequent conversations with Neal A. Maxwell. My life since then continues to have his fingerprints all over it.”“But if it did come down to a choice, it would be faith, the yearning, burning commitment of the soul, that would always matter most in the end.”The group is a gathering place for scholarly research about religion—specifically about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.“I was very impressed,” he recalled.Addressing the topic “Mormon studies”—a well-recognized part of the Maxwell Institute’s identity—Elder Holland spoke of the need for a name change after President Russell M. Nelson’s general conference address.“I am not suggesting our BYU approach to scholarly dialogue has to start with slides of your mission and end with an anthem from the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square—notice that modified name,” he said. “But any scholarly endeavor at BYU—and certainly anything coming under the rubric of the Maxwell Institute—must never principally be characterized by stowing one’s faith in a locker while we have a great exchange with those not of our faith. … Bracketing your faith is what those in the field call it.”“How do we best and most warmly open that door, personally and professionally, and on what do we sup when the Master is admitted?” he asked. “Will our time and conversation in the Maxwell Institute be consistent in every way with His gospel, His grace, His life, His loving, persistent plea to ‘Come, follow me’?”Although she is not a part of the Maxwell Institute, Amanda Burnham, a junior at BYU studying communications, said she liked hearing from Elder Holland and his reminder that scholarly and academic pursuits should never contradict her spiritual beliefs.Elder Holland told the crowd of scholars and students, “We are at a moment in His Church, the Savior’s Church, when there is a demonstrable, near-tangible hastening of the work. These continue to be the latter days with no one knowing when that last ‘last day’ is going to be.”“Beloved colleagues, if we do our work well today, we can make things better for those who will come in troubled times ahead, those prophesied times before that day when Christ Himself will rule and reign, that eschatological moment against which I increasingly measure both my own personal worthiness and that of the Church generally. In that regard, we all need to do what we can in the hour we have been given, acknowledging as the later Nephi did that ‘these are [our] days.’”J. Spencer Fluhman, executive director of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute, said of Elder Holland’s lecture: “Our Maxwell Institute mission statement challenges us to become ‘disciple-scholars’ who inspire and fortify Latter-day Saints in their testimonies of the restored gospel with academic work that also meets the highest scholarly standards. Elder Holland’s remarks formed a powerful charge to pursue that mission with energy and wisdom. His insight and experience, and his apostolic vision in particular, will help shape and prioritize all the good that we can do.”Not only does bracketing one’s personal faith limit truth claims and moral judgments, it has often cost scholars credibility with readers because “no one knows exactly where authors are coming from ideologically.”“Take heart, we are going through the same exercise at Church headquarters, addressing a whole host of adjustments that are necessary in our own departments, our own printed materials, and public communications,” he said. “We know this assignment will give you heartburn, but it doesn’t rank with the Missouri persecutions, so dive in.”In June of 1971, Jeffrey R. Holland, then a young student in New Haven, Connecticut, read an article in the Church News about the newly appointed commissioner of the Church’s educational system, Neal Maxwell.“Friends, what we are asking you to do is difficult, it is demanding, it is among the stiffest challenges we could give you,” Elder Holland said. “We know you can’t be credible in every circle if you are seen as lacking scholarly substance and categorically defensive all the time. But neither can you afford to ever be perceived as failing to serve the larger, faith-oriented purposes of this Church. All we can ask is that you pray and fast and strive and sweat to find your way through. And then, if there be error, let it be on the side of your covenants and on the side of your faith convictions.”According to the Maxwell Institute’s mission statement, “As a research community, the institute supports scholars whose work inspires and fortifies Latter-day Saints in their testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and engages the world of religious ideas.”Whatever the audience, the Maxwell Institute must engage in work that builds the kingdom, set its agenda according to its own objectives, and ensure that the dominant tone of its work affirms core values of the Church.While there will be times where a person is not obligated, or it is not appropriate, to declare everything he or she knows, Elder Holland warned of even looking “like what we do not believe.”“As I look back on it, that was a silly, embarrassing thing to do—some insipid graduate student Brother Maxwell had never met asking via a telephone call what he should be when he grew up,” Elder Holland told listeners during the 2018 Neal A. Maxwell Lecture at Brigham Young University on November 10.Quoting from Elder Maxwell, Elder Holland said, “‘The highest education, therefore, includes salvational truths,’ thus the invitation to include in your scholarly backpack the body of ‘divine data’ that the eternities have placed at our disposal. We are to use salvational truths whenever and wherever we can.”“I care about [Elder Maxwell’s] name, about the life he lived, the legacy he left, and the legacy that will run on into the 21st century and beyond,” Elder Holland said. “In great measure the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship will, for good or ill, be the means of communicating much of that legacy to an ever-younger, ever-newer generation in the Church who never heard Elder Maxwell’s voice, nor delighted in his prose, nor felt the fire of his faith.”The Maxwell Institute at BYU has an important responsibility to reflect the Savior and His doctrine in all that it does.That personal relationship was one of the motivating factors of his lecture on November 10, titled “The Maxwell Legacy in the 21st Century.” Elder Holland, who served as the ninth president of BYU from 1980 to 1989 as well as commissioner of education for the Church and was the dean of the College of Religious Education at BYU, understands the purposes of the Maxwell Institute as a place for gathering and nurturing academic scholarship through “disciple-scholars.”Elder Maxwell often spoke of the “disciple-scholar” and the commitment to seek learning with “full intellectual stretching” and that not all truths are of equal importance.“And in the case of the Maxwell Institute, they must come as close together as an ecclesiastical sponsor and an academic recipient of that sponsorship can be,” he said. “So if the university is to reflect the best the Church has to offer by way of a world-class academic endeavor, no apologies to anyone, then the Neal A. Maxwell Institute must see itself as among the best the university has to offer as a faithful, rich, rewarding center of faith-promoting gospel scholarship enlivened by remarkable disciple-scholars.”But Commissioner Maxwell—who was later called to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles just a few years before Elder Holland was sustained to the same quorum—could not have been more gracious in his manner, nor more generous with his time, Elder Holland recalled.Unlike other universities and institutions with departments or courses dedicated to studying the Church in a purely intellectual and historic way, BYU has to provide scholarly dialogue within a spiritual context.“The spiritual half of that union was always the more important,” said Elder Holland. He later added, “But the wonderful thing with Neal, and the thing I want for us, is that it didn’t have to come down to a choice between intellect and spirit. In a consecrated soul—and consecration was one of his favorite doctrinal concepts—they would be aligned beautifully, a perfect fit, a precise overlay.Elder Maxwell taught that a person is not really “learned” if they exclude the body of divine data that the eternities place at a person’s disposal through revelation and the prophets of God.“Sometimes as students we focus only on our studies, and we are actually studying to be a disciple,” she said. “We are disciples first.”Because of that, continuing revelation to prophets, seers, and revelators is significant and will continue to be. Just as an individual must “open the door” and allow Christ into his or her life, so does the Maxwell Institute in the academic world.Speaking to a capacity crowd in the Joseph Smith Building on the university’s Provo campus, Elder Holland explored the importance of scholarship and discipleship and how, in both, representing the Savior is most important.Several years later, with his dissertation moving along and decisions arising such as “after this degree, what?” he decided to call Neal Maxwell for advice.Recognizing the missions of the Church and of BYU are not identical, Elder Holland spoke of how their missions can never be at odds with each other.Although there are some limitations to what can be shared, there are many topics that Church members and scholars must share “without compromising their unique Latter-day Saint characteristics.”He later added, “But as with all such challenges in gospel life, I see the requirements to adjust that name as being a blessing not in disguise. A unique name of somehow reflecting language given by the Savior Himself will be one way of sending a signal that we are different—sometimes a lot different—out here in Provo, Utah. Of necessity we will often be ‘a peculiar people’ in the academy as well as in other arenas of life.”
“He told me once that if he could strip off his skin to hold the priesthood, he would,” Johanna Brutinell said.A Christlike example“I remember from the first time walking into Harry’s shack … he just had the ability to make you feel like the only person in the room,” Johanna Brutinell said. Even if there were 15 people around, he made each individual feel special, she recalled.As Mortensen recalled, he didn’t think much about racism. When attending the movies with his young friends, Bailey was required to sit in the balcony section, due to the color of his skin; and at restaurants, Bailey was required to go to the back door to order his food, Mortensen recalled. And although it bothered him when Bailey was treated differently, he said that as a teenager, he didn’t feel there was anything he could do to change that.A different kind of family“Harry grew up poor and lived poor,” Mortensen said.“We’d go there just to talk and listen to Harry’s stories and to plan mischief,” Mortensen said, noting that many of the adults in the area never seemed to understand why the youth chose to spend their time there. “Prejudice against African Americans was very common, and Harry expected and accepted it.”When Mortensen first met Bailey in 1952, Bailey was at least 54 years old, while Mortensen was just entering his final year of high school.“Harry worked whatever jobs he could find and always had some work,” Mortensen said. “Farm labor, picking cotton by hand, roofing houses, etc. And he seemed to know everyone—the farmers, politicians, Church leaders, and the African American community.”Despite his many domestic skills, Bailey wasn’t much of a housekeeper, and, with a small iron pot-belly stove as his only heat source, smoke and ash often covered the surfaces in his small home. Bailey was always making things for others. “Before he would give his crocheted items away, he would wash them to change the color from ash grey to white,” Mortensen said.Curtis said that during the event, Bailey was the only person she could think about, particularly remembering his tolerance for so many things and his perseverance through so many difficulties in life.But despite the prejudice shown to him, Bailey treated all alike and all kindly.On November 15, 1978, Harry Bailey Jr. was endowed in the Mesa Arizona Temple. It was a day he had waited 25 years for, since the day he had joined the Church.“Harry always had a twinkle in his eye,” Curtis said. “He had a great sense of humor and he was a proper gentleman, just always a very kind man.”Bailey was single, had never been married, and had no children of his own, yet photos of youths, mostly young men from the Safford and Central areas who were serving missions or who had gone into military service, were displayed proudly on a long table adorned with handmade doilies in his home. As Mortensen and his younger sister, Lafaunda Curtis, explained in a recent interview with the Church News, these were Bailey’s family, “his boys.”“I left my office and went to see Harry with the news,” Mortensen said. “He was in his home, which needed some cleaning, and pictures of ‘his boys’ were still on display.”Church records, social security records, and even Bailey’s obituary contradict Bailey’s birthdate, Mortensen explained, but as far as he has been able to research, Bailey was born sometime between 1898 and 1909 in the state of Georgia.“He was a good listener,” Brutinell said. “He treated you like you were somebody because to him you were somebody.”Johanna Brutinell and her husband, Mautice, were among the youth of the valley who often sought refuge at Bailey’s home, and when they were married, Bailey attended their reception and gave them three pot holders that he had crocheted himself. “We still have one,” Johanna Brutinell said.“Harry told us of growing up on the Bailey Plantation in Georgia,” Mortensen said. “From his stories, I believe his grandmother was a slave, at least in her youth, and the living he described was pretty much like a slave camp, … hence why he had the last name of Bailey.”Bailey was always there to listen to their stories and their plans for the future and to counsel with the youth, Mortensen explained. Bailey was always understanding, and he would help whenever he perceived a need.Throughout the years, Bailey was inconsistent with his activity in the Church. At times, he would only attend Relief Society meetings, where he learned a great deal from the sisters. In the late ’70s, due to health problems, he attended church very infrequently. But around that time, many years after Mortensen had returned from his mission and after Bailey had been forced to move from his small condemned shack near the railroad tracks, Mortensen became Bailey’s bishop.While Bailey had no formal education, he had learned to play the piano and organ and could read and write. In the Gila Valley, Bailey spent much of his time with the local Relief Society sisters, learning to knit, crochet, and cook.For those who remember Bailey and the impact he had on the community, the temple there is a reminder of the faith and kindness of a remarkable character with a selfless spirit.Fond memoriesIn June of 1978, while at work on Main Street in downtown Safford, Mortensen received a call from his wife, who had just received word that all worthy men could be ordained with the priesthood, regardless of their skin color.Johanna Brutinell said that as teenagers, they didn’t pay much attention to how other people treated Bailey, or to the issues of race in their community. To them, “Harry was just a good friend, someone we could go and talk to any time,” Johanna Brutinell said. “It didn’t really occur to us that he was black. He was just Harry.”Through their 62 years of marriage, Bailey has remained an important figure in their minds.In May of 2010, more than 20 years after Bailey died, on a plot of land visible from where Bailey’s old shack-like house had once stood, the Gila Valley Arizona Temple was dedicated by President Thomas S. Monson.“We can’t let his memory die,” Curtis said. “He deserves to be remembered.”When Mortensen explained the news to Bailey and reviewed the process for being ordained an elder and entering the temple, Bailey told his young bishop that he had been waiting for this day for a long time. He even had a set of pressed temple clothes ready to go.Bailey’s good character and the way he affected his community is part of why Mortensen and Curtis felt so strongly about wanting to share the story of their dear friend following the “Be One” event in June.Kindness firstA remarkable characterOn Friday and Saturday nights in the Gila Valley, the youth who were looking for something to do would often end up at Bailey’s house.And although Bailey never had a lot of close family or connections, he had an impact on everyone around him. “He was an example of kindness and the ability to love without judgment,” Curtis said. “He was a colorful staple in the valley. Just a truly loved character.”Mortensen never knew how or why Bailey ended up in the Gila Valley, but that part didn’t matter much to him in his teenage years. To him, Bailey was a staple of the community and a great friend.“He made delicious bread,” Mortensen recalled. “And he was always making something by crochet, … but by the time he finished it, it was quite dirty.”As a true minister and an example of what it means to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” Bailey taught Mortensen and Curtis many things over the years, for which they expressed their gratitude, and with their memories starting to fade, they expressed the hope that others would learn from Bailey as well.But while Bailey was aware of the prejudices against his skin, the youth who so frequently sought his company seemed to not fully understand it.When Irval Mortensen, a Church member from Safford, Arizona, tuned in to watch the “Be One” celebration in June, his thoughts turned immediately to a figure from his past—someone he described as an “unforgettable character,” and someone he hoped would be remembered, even as his own memory fades.One time, when a student from a nearby community college ran out of funds to stay in his college accommodations, Harry made a place for him by giving the kid his own bed and sleeping on the couch himself, Mortensen recalled.For Mortensen, Johanna Brutinell, and Curtis, Bailey stands out in their minds as a perfect example of what it truly means to minister and to be a ministering brother.Waiting for change“He didn’t want anything. He never did,” Brutinell said. “He would just give of his time. Youth would go see him with their problems, especially the problems they felt they couldn’t go to their parents with.”Among the difficulties Bailey faced, like many black members of the Church, was difficulty with understanding his role prior to the 1978 revelation on the priesthood. Portrait of Harry Bailey Jr. Photo courtesy of Irval Mortensen.The full-time resident of the small shack was a man named Harry Bailey Jr., and in the year 1953, when he was baptized, Bailey was one of the only African American members of the Church in the Safford area.As a teenage boy growing up in the Gila River Valley of eastern Arizona, Mortensen spent much of his free time about 10 miles west of his house in the rural town of Central. There, just west of Highway 70 and the railroad tracks that run parallel to the road, stood a small shack-like home on the edge of a cotton field. It was a small and humble structure, likely meant to serve as a semi-permanent residence for a farmer to house seasonal workers. It had no indoor plumbing and no water. Water had to be carried in buckets from across the railroad tracks and highway. With just a small kitchen space, a small bedroom, and a small living room area, the house was hardly considered an ideal place for youth of the area to hang out in their free time, but despite its lack of modern comforts, the house and its resident served as a refuge for many youth in the community.“He had very little, so he ministered with his time,” Curtis said. “He would’ve given anything anyone asked of him.”
Elder Melvin J. Ballard’s prophecy is becoming a reality, said Alfredo Salas, director of public affairs in the Church’s South America South Area. Housing lines the hillside in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Forty years later, the Barranquilla Colombia Temple, scheduled for dedication on December 9, will become the 19th temple in South America.“And the best is yet ahead,” said President Nelson in Paraguay. “We are just looking at the beginning now.”The Delgados and other second, third, and fourth generations of Latter-day Saint families “are becoming a strength in the Church and hopefully in the world,” said Salas.“I saw the Church with just a few members when I got baptized,” Curbelo said. “Now there are thousands and thousands.”The journey to 19 temples Churros are sold at Plaza Mayor in downtown Lima, Peru, on October 21, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.During his October visit to the South American nations of Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile, President Nelson spoke to thousands gathered for member meetings. During each meeting he addressed the members in Spanish and spoke of the miracle unfolding before them in South America and across the world.In 1925, three leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—Elder Melvin J. Ballard, Elder Rey L. Pratt, and Elder Rulon S. Wells—embarked on a 34-day journey, by land and sea, from Salt Lake City to Buenos Aires, Argentina.Another example of the growth of the Church in South America is Nestor Curbelo. After three years of working with the missionaries, he was baptized in 1969. On the day of his baptism, he paid the tithing he had been saving for more than one year.On Christmas Day of 1925, in the park of Tres de Febrero in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Elder Melvin J. Ballard dedicated South America for the preaching of the gospel.Early in the mission, Elder Wells became ill and had to return to Salt Lake City. Elder Ballard and Elder Pratt remained, walking the streets of Buenos Aires passing out handbills about the Restoration of the gospel; their efforts resulted in a single conversion.In 1960, when missionaries arrived in Talcahuano, Chile, the Church was not yet organized in the area. They prayed and were directed to Alberto Altamirano’s home. Alberto’s parents, José and Luz, listened to the message. They believed the missionaries to be men of God.Having temples close to the people is a wonderful blessing, he said.Then on July 4, 1926, as Elder Ballard was preparing to return to Utah, he spoke about the future of the Church in South America. From his office in Salt Lake City, President Ballard read his grandfather’s prophecy: “The work of the Lord will grow slowly for a time here just as an oak grows slowly from an acorn. It will not shoot up in a day as does the sunflower that grows quickly and then dies. But thousands will join the Church here. It will be divided into more than one mission and will be one of the strongest in the Church. … The South American Mission will be a power in the Church.”“Bless the presidents, governors, and the leading officials of these South American countries, that they may kindly receive us and give us permission to open the doors of salvation to the people of these lands,” he prayed.The work of early membersIndeed, more than nine decades since that inspired prophecy, South America is a power in the Church. Latter-day Saint membership on the continent numbers 4,076,054, with 692 stakes, 4,178 wards, 95 missions, and 18 operating temples, according to Church statistics. Since 1970, more than 187,000 missionaries have served in South America.But “the Church started growing little by little. We started learning about the temple little by little.” Physical therapist Diana Cam Chiock looks over a donated wheelchair at the Institute of National Rehabilitation in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. LDS Charities has donated 6,200 wheelchairs to the center. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Blind individuals applaud during a delivery ceremony at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Las Brisas Ward in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. LDS Charities donated 1,150 canes and 1,150 braille readers. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.During a recent visit to South America, President Russell M. Nelson spoke of the early missionaries, who “didn’t feel very successful. In fact, they finished their visit here feeling rather down that they didn’t get much done.” And President Nelson spoke of the Church today in South America. “It is not just numbers; it is strength, it is power, it is faith,” said President Nelson.Secundino Delgado joined the Church in Peru 50 years ago. One of 40 baptisms performed on Christmas Day a half century ago, Delgado’s baptism was dubbed a “white Christmas” by missionaries.The family, who came into the Church in 1973, has a tradition of missionary work. “We are so proud of our children,” said Risso, noting their first goal for their posterity was Church activity.“I still feel like there is more to come,” he said. “A few years ago, we only had a few temples. Now we have two, three, or four temples in some countries.” Motorists travel along the coastal highway in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.The missionaries carried an artist’s depiction of the Savior. Soon Alberto’s mother—followed a few months later by his father—entered the waters of baptism in San Pedro Lake.Missionaries became a symbol of the Church in early days in Uruguay. Elder Floyd Rose helps Dr. Urcia Fernando unload a Church-donated wheelchair at the Institute of National Rehabilitation in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. LDS Charities has donated 6,200 wheelchairs. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.A prophecy fulfilled A student peers out of a window of a prefabricated classroom at Heart of Jesus Preschool in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. LDS Charities donated three classrooms, including tables and chairs and other school supplies. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Valentine Alfredo walks with her daughters to the Heart of Jesus Preschool in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Seeing the new temple in Concepción would make his parents very happy, said Altamirano of the Talcahuano Chile North Stake. “They worked so hard at the beginning of the Church here. [A temple] here is the culmination of all their work.”“The São Paulo Temple was the temple of South America,” he said. “All the converts who joined the Church from the beginning to 1978 had the blessing of the temple.”José Altamirano became the first branch president, and then district president, in Talcahuano. When the Talcahuano Stake was created in 1977, he became the first stake president.At the time of the historic dedicatory prayer, President Nelson was 15 months old. Students sit at a donated table at the Heart of Jesus Preschool in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“The Church is relatively young here in South America,” said President Nelson. “Ninety years ago, nothing. … And now … we saw four-generation families.”Days later he elaborated during an interview in Chile. “We’re witnesses to a process of restoration,” said President Nelson. “If you think the Church has been fully restored, you’re just seeing the beginning. There is much more to come. … Wait till next year. And then the next year. Eat your vitamin pills. Get your rest. It’s going to be exciting.”Early in their marriage, Curbelo’s wife, Rosalina Coitino, thought of the temple as “something she would do in the millennium.”“A power in the Church”The 1978 dedication of the São Paulo Brazil Temple—the 17th in the Church and the first in South America—changed everything for the Curbelos and the other members. Many members sacrificed for the temple, selling military medals of honor or the gold from their teeth, said Curbelo. “Families sold their TV or their car or their bicycle. They did this to build the temple or to travel to the temple.Instead, they found an apartment to rent and went to work.One of those families is Eduardo and Jeanet Echevarria Risso. “Our posterity is our most important thing,” said Eduardo Risso. “It is our joy.”Back then, without a temple in South America, he was told to “get baptized, be faithful, and attend church.”Of the trip, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the grandson of Elder Melvin J. Ballard, said: “My grandfather went out into the streets of Argentina. They did not have a great harvest. They did not see the people flock into the Church by any means.”“It has been a miracle how the Church has grown,” said Delgado. “We were one stake; now we are hundreds of stakes. It has been amazing to be part of that.” Students at the Heart of Jesus Preschool sing a song in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. LDS Charities donated three prefabricated classrooms, including tables and chairs and other school supplies. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.
Sister Milder served with her husband in the Brazil Cuiabá and Brazil Ribeirão Preto Missions and is a former stake Relief Society presidency counselor, Relief Society and Primary teacher, and ward Relief Society president. Born in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil, to Leugim de Paula and Antonia Gonçalves Ramos de Paula.César Augusto Seiguer Milder, 61, and Maureen Daisy de Paula Milder, three children, Horto Florestal Ward, São Paulo Brazil North Stake: Brazil Missionary Training Center, succeeding President João R. C. and Sister Maria Lúcia Martins Silva. Brother Milder is a former Area Seventy, mission president in the Brazil Cuiabá and Brazil Ribeirão Preto Missions, stake president, bishop, high councilor, and missionary in the Brazil São Paulo South Mission. Born in Uruguaiana, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, to Eldio Krunsel Milder and Branca Flor Seiguer Milder.New Zealand Missionary Training CenterDavid Ellsworth LeSueur, 69, and Nancy Lee Rigby LeSueur, seven children, Stratland Ward, Gilbert Arizona Stake: Provo Missionary Training Center, succeeding President David C. and Sister Deanie Martino. Brother LeSueur serves as a temple sealer and ward music chairman and is a former temple president, Area Seventy, mission president in the Philippines Manila Mission, stake president, and missionary in the Central British Mission. Born in Mesa, Arizona, to Leo Robertson LeSueur and Thelma Claire Ellsworth Leslie.
Christine and Lindsay T. DilSister Clark serves as an assistant director of public affairs, served with her husband in the Philippines Angeles Mission, and is a former stake seminary supervisor, seminary teacher, ward Primary president, and stake Young Women camp director. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Jay Kent Curtis and Bonnie Jean Curtis.Sister LeSueur serves as ward organist, served with her husband in the Philippines Manila Mission, and is a former temple matron, stake music chairman, ward Young Women and Primary president, and stake Relief Society president. Born in Berkeley, California, to Charles Emery Rigby and Mary Jayne Tolton Rigby.Scott Boyd Clark, 59, and Sandra Gail Clark, four children, Bentonville 2nd Ward, Bentonville Arkansas Stake: Philippines Missionary Training Center, succeeding President Rodolfo A. and Sister Brenda R. Carlos. Brother Clark serves as a stake executive secretary and is a former mission president in the Philippines Angeles Mission, stake president, bishop, high councilor, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the Japan Sendai Mission. Born in Murray, Utah, to Wallace Ivan Clark and Colleen Clark.Philippines Missionary Training CenterProvo Missionary Training CenterSister Olson serves as a ward organist and temple ordinance worker, served with her husband in the Uruguay Montevideo Mission, and is a former ward Primary, Relief Society, and Young Women president; stake Young Women president; and seminary teacher. Born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to Walden Weaver Johnson and Gwen D Johnson.Lindsay Thomas Dil, 67, and Christine Mary Dil, four children, Takapuna Ward, Auckland New Zealand Harbour Stake: New Zealand Missionary Training Center, succeeding President Philip F. and Sister Judith L. Howes. Brother Dil serves as an area Church history adviser and is a former Area Seventy, mission president in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission, stake president, bishop, and missionary in the French Polynesian Mission. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, to Wilfred Thomas Dil and Gloria May Dil.Brazil Missionary Training Center
Sandra G. and Scott B. Clark
César A. S. and Daisy Milder
Rose Ann and Timothy M. OlsonSister Dil also serves as an area Church history adviser, served with her husband in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission, and is a former stake and ward Relief Society president. Born in Thames, New Zealand, to Jack Charles Cathro Patrick and Daphne Myrtle McLean Dawson Patrick.México Missionary Training Center
David E. and Nancy L. LeSueurTimothy Michael Olson, 70, and Rose Ann Johnson Olson, seven children, Monte Cristo Ward, McAllen Texas West Stake: México Missionary Training Center, succeeding President Curtis R. and Sister Sheri M. Bennett. Brother Olson serves as a patriarch and temple ordinance worker and is a former Area Seventy, mission president in the Uruguay Montevideo Mission, stake president, bishop, and missionary in the Argentina Mission. Born in Downey, California, to Roger Lee Olson and Faith Wanda Olson.The First Presidency has called five new missionary training center presidents and their wives; with the exception of the Milders, who have already begun serving, the couples will begin their service in January.
By the time the Mathews arrived home late Sunday, they had been reminded of charity’s paradox: the benefactors of service are often as richly blessed as those they serve.They both offered kudos to the local Helping Hands organizers in Wilmington. Efficiency defined the project, allowing yellow-clad volunteers to spend their time focused entirely on service.Both have spent most of their lives as key members of their respective sports squads. But “teamwork” has perhaps been redefined for the Mathews after recently joining thousands of other Latter-day Saints volunteering on Helping Hands work crews in hurricane-affected regions of the southeastern U.S.On October 12, the couple made the six-hour drive to their assigned work area in Wilmington, North Carolina. They camped in a tent outside the stake center and arose early Saturday morning to begin a weekend of Helping Hands service. They rested a few moments from their efforts on Sunday morning for a brief sacrament service at the Wilmington meetinghouse.The Mathews worked with fellow volunteers—new “teammates”—cleaning out several heavily damaged homes. They pulled out drywall, removed waterlogged furniture, and salvaged other valuables. Mitch and Madie Mathews recently worked alongside fellow Helping Hands volunteers, removing waterlogged debris from a home in Wilmington, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Madie Mathews.Both were celebrated athletes at Brigham Young University. Remember the Cougars’ last-second, game-winning touchdown against Nebraska in 2015? That was Mitch on the receiving end of that unforgettable score.Working on a Helping Hands project “really brought me down to earth,” said Madie. “It helped me recognize the small, everyday tender mercies in my own life.” Madie Lyons Mathews played soccer and ran track for Brigham Young University. The former athlete recently worked alongside her husband, Mitch, during a Helping Hands cleanup effort in Wilmington, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of BYU.The Mathews don’t know if the houses they worked in belonged to fellow Latter-day Saints. It makes no difference. “It was good for us to get our hands dirty alongside others doing the same thing. It was humbling to put on a mask, pull on gloves, and get dirty,” said Mitch.Both Mitch and Madie are Westerners. They didn’t grow up with hurricane terms such “category 5 winds” or “storm surges.” But after seeing Florence’s wrath on television, they were eager to pull on yellow Helping Hands vests and join the ongoing multi-state cleanup effort.Mitch and Madie Mathews know the ins and outs of good teamwork.Madie, meanwhile, was an all-conference striker on the BYU women’s soccer team and a sprinter on the track team.They knew the work would be hot, grimy, and exhausting. “But we also knew we would be much more uncomfortable just sitting at home instead of getting out and helping,” said Mitch.The floodwaters may have receded, “but everything inside the homes was still wet—and there was a lot of mold, so we had to wear masks,” said Madie.Mitch and Madie quickly discovered that the work moved smoothly when the Helping Hands volunteers came together as a team. Their first few work orders moved slowly, but soon their crew established a rhythm and leaders emerged. Once everyone learned their job, “we could accomplish a lot more and get things done,” said Mitch.“We were blessed not to have been affected by the hurricanes, so we wanted to help those who were,” said Madie, a Utah native who now calls Alpharetta, Georgia, home. Mitch Mathews enjoyed a celebrated athletic career playing wide receiver at Brigham Young University. He and his wife, Madie, recently participated in a Helping Hands service project in Wilmington, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Deseret News.The Mathews are relatively new members of the Johns Creed Ward of the Roswell Georgia Stake. After Hurricane Florence inundated much of eastern North Carolina, calls for Helping Hands volunteers went out to wards and branches across the South.
Former BYU athletes Mitch and Madie Mathews donned masks and yellow Helping Hands vests during a recent cleanup project in Wilmington, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Madie Mathews.
But the winds were blowing, flames were moving, “and I knew I had to get my family out of there.”The fast-moving flames prompted mass evacuations for members living in Paradise. Fellow members from the nearby city of Chico and other neighboring communities immediately stepped up to offer shelter to displaced Latter-day Saints.Bishop Robert Harrison was commuting from his Paradise, California, home Thursday morning, November 8, when a spiritual urge he couldn’t ignore hit hard.By late Thursday night, 66 member families were staying in the homes of Latter-day Saints from the Chico and Gridley stakes. Such efficiency was made possible thanks to a previously established stake website that matches displaced people with families eager to help.Local Church leaders are relieved that all members and missionaries are safe and accounted for. But the so-called Camp Fire exacted an awful price in the Paradise Latter-day Saint community and beyond.In less than 24 hours, the Camp Fire had torched over 31 square miles, or 20,000 acres, turning escape routes around the town of Paradise into tunnels of fire as the entire community of 27,000 residents were ordered to evacuate, USA Today reported. Several other wildfires are burning across the Golden State.He also sent out mass texts to the members issuing a similar plea to leave Paradise immediately.“So far, the members are doing well. We have a really tight ward. We will hang on and reach out to each other. We will make it through.”Bishop Harrison’s terrifying get-out-now account could be echoed by thousands of residents forced to flee from this town in Northern California’s Butte County.“I was baptized in that building,” said Bishop Harrison, a convert to the Church.Bishop Harrison spent the night with his in-laws. He told the Church News he’s holding up well—but his heart is heavy. He’s heartsick for his ward members and his neighbors. And the decades-old meetinghouse that hosted countless sacrament meetings, wedding receptions, funerals, and ward gatherings is now nothing but a memory.The wildfire that would eventually consume much of Paradise, destroy two of Bishop Harrison’s homes, and incinerate the Latter-day Saint meetinghouse he loved seemed far off at that initial moment of inspiration.“I had several promptings to turn around; turn around and go back,” he said November 9.“Most or all of our members have lost their homes—I know I’ve lost two homes,” said Bishop Harrison, who presides over the Paradise 1st Ward, Chico California Stake.Latter-day Saints across the region “have done amazing work to help everyone in need,” he added.The Chico stake center is functioning as both a temporal and spiritual anchor for the fire-affected members. For many Paradise members, it was their initial destination after escaping the danger.Paradise 2nd Ward Bishop Troy D. Mattson reported Friday that “emergency crews seem to have done an excellent job of search and rescue,” even though communication was often difficult.Meanwhile, both meetinghouses in Paradise were reportedly destroyed.But the true strength of the ward—the members—remains resolute and unshaken, he added.“Local Church leaders are accessing needs in the community and evaluation will be ongoing,” said Church spokesman Doug Andersen. “We pray for first responders working tirelessly to fight the fires and for all those affected by this disaster.”
A 24-year old full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, died Thursday, November 8, of a sudden illness.Elder Spencer Owusu, 24, from Ghana, had been serving in the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan West Mission since September 2018.“We sincerely pray for his parents and loved ones as they mourn his passing and remember his life and service,” according to a Church statement.Church leaders announced the death of the young missionary “with profound sadness.”Before his death, Elder Owusu reported not feeling well and was taken to an emergency room, according to Church spokeman Daniel Woodruff. However, the exact cause of his death is still not known.
Of the more than 100 paintings in the exhibit, the subject matters vary—sometimes highlighting his wife and children, sometimes a memory of a place he has been during his Church service, and sometimes the painting captures a moment in his own family history. President Henry B. Eyring discusses the different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.A painting of Paris again turned his thoughts to his wife. Watercolor paintings by President Henry B. Eyring on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.These small-scale watercolor paintings capture memories and feelings of important people and moments in his life, creating a “visual journal.”A painting of his two daughters as young girls got him talking about his family. Another image of horses sparked a comment about his father, who grew up in the Church colonies in Mexico. President Henry B. Eyring discusses the different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“Sweet Kathy,” he said as he looked at a painting he had done depicting his wife as a young girl in a green rowboat at a favorite family vacation spot. “It is not a great painting, but oh, it really gets me.”“I hurt my back surfing,” he recalled. So he pulled out his paints and began painting. President Henry B. Eyring discusses the different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. Watercolor paintings by President Henry B. Eyring on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.During the time he was president of Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) in Rexburg, Idaho, in the mid-1970s, President Henry B. Eyring received an invitation to paint in the outdoors with one of the college’s faculty members, Richard Bird. President Henry B. Eyring discusses one of his watercolor paintings on display for a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.And a new exhibit on the second floor of the Church History Museum—open November 8 through January 21, 2019—highlights a fraction of those paintings.“Not bad when you never had a lesson,” he joked. A watercolor painting by President Henry B. Eyring on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.
The painting ”Bark Diana—Bremerhaven, Germany“ by President Henry B. Eyring, is one of the paintings on display at a special exhibit in the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.President Henry B. Eyring discusses the different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“I’ve learned to do it quickly,” he said.“I don’t consider myself an artist,” President Eyring said. “I am a fellow who likes art and who likes memories. … I can’t resist capturing a memory.” President Henry B. Eyring discusses the different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Alan Johnson, director of the Church History Museum said, “We are just thrilled that he agreed to let us show his work. … He was not wanting to be the focus or center of attention because he is so humble. But in talking with him, the show became about gratitude, remembering, creativity, and love, so once we entered those things into the conversation he was more open to letting us do a show. … It’s really meaningful to him and now it will be meaningful to a lot of other people.”“I have feelings while I paint certain kinds of things,” President Eyring said in a video accompanying the exhibit. “I can’t do it unless I have something I care about. So I pray to know; I can’t just go do a picture to do a nice picture.”Prior to the exhibit’s official opening, President Eyring took a walk through the new gallery. With each picture he approached, he smiled, pointed at the image and, with emotion in his voice, shared a snippet of what the image in front of him was depicting.The exhibit’s title, “A Visual Journal: Artwork of Henry B. Eyring” is exactly that—a journal of his family, friends and important places in his life.When asked why he does watercolor, he replied: “it’s faster.” Watercolor paintings by President Henry B. Eyring are on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.That day in the outdoors sparked an interest that has continued as President Eyring has raised his family and served in the Presiding Bishopric, as Commissioner of the Church Educational System, as a General Authority Seventy, as an Apostle, and as a counselor in the First Presidency to three prophets. President Henry B. Eyring discusses the different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. President Henry B. Eyring discusses the different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. Sketches by President Henry B. Eyring are part of the many different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.
President Henry B. Eyring discusses the different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Sketches by President Henry B. Eyring are part of the many different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. Watercolor supplies and sketching pencils along with a few sketches by President Henry B. Eyring are among the different pieces on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. A watercolor painting by President Henry B. Eyring on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. President Henry B. Eyring discusses the different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“I painted this for a family home evening,” he said, pointing to the painting “Bark Diana—Bremerhaven, Germany.” The painting depicts a ship crossing choppy waters. Although it wasn’t a memory from his own life, it was the ship on which his ancestors, siblings Henry and Bertha Eyring, traveled to America in about 1840. President Henry B. Eyring discusses the different pieces of his art on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. A watercolor painting by President Henry B. Eyring is on display in a special exhibit at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“We found seven categories or reoccurring moments,” said Laura Allred Hurtado, global acquisitions art curator for the Church History Museum. “One of the things I tried to do is get to the core meaning of his paintings, to do more than just recognize the art as worthwhile, but to look at the memories and people.”For President Eyring, the images are more than just paint on paper—they are “memories I want to preserve.”He continued through the exhibit, commenting here and there.“Kathy—oh!”A glance at another painting of his children playing on a beach sparked another memory.His motivation behind the art—feelings.To date, President Eyring has produced more than 1,000 paintings—and continues to do more. He keeps a set of paints both at home and at his office, and often packs them with him as he travels.“I would have told you [there were only] a few,” he said, surprised at the number of paintings. “I get an idea and then sketch a little bit.”After meeting only once or twice, President Eyring, who now serves as the Second Counselor in the First Presidency, picked up a new way of journaling—through watercolor.
“We feel that Saroo’s message will be a perfect fit for the conference as RootsTech continues to showcase how connecting with others deepens our own sense of belonging,” said Jen Allen, event director. “Saroo’s desire to connect with his biological family came at a time when emerging technology barely made it possible. Now, there are hundreds of tools and technologies to facilitate connection with others, but Saroo’s determination led him there anyway. His story is a perfect fit for RootsTech.”When he finally arrived in Khandwa, he asked the taxi driver to take him to the railway station. From there, his feet knew the way. When he knew he was close to home he began showing photos of himself as a child to the locals and saying the names of his biological siblings. This soon led him to an emotional reunion with his biological mother, and just hours later he was reunited with his siblings.“I’m thrilled to be a part of the 2019 RootsTech as a guest speaker! I hope my story will resonate with many attendees evoking all sorts of attributes of identity, hope, determination, and chance,” said Brierley. “I’m super excited—can’t wait to see you all!”Eventually, Brierley met a teenager who took him to a police station. From there he was placed in a government care center for abandoned children and later moved to the Indian Society for Sponsorship and Adoption. At five years, Brierley couldn’t provide enough information for the society to locate his mother. In time, he was adopted by a family from Hobart, Tasmania, in Australia, where he was raised to adulthood.Brierley, now a successful businessman in Australia, regularly visits and video chats with his biological family in India and travels the world sharing his miraculous reunification story.RootsTech has announced that Saroo Brierley will be the keynote speaker at RootsTech on Friday, March 1, 2019. Brierley is well known for his remarkable family reunification story as depicted in the 2016 film Lion, which is an adaptation of Brierley’s autobiography, A Long Way Home. (Find out more at RootsTech.org.)Brierley was born in Ganesh, Talai, a suburb within Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, India. In 1986, at five years old, he was accidentally separated from his older brother, Guddu, at a train station in Burhanpur. Lost and alone, Brierley boarded a train he supposed his brother to be on and ended up nearly 1,500 kilometers from his village. He survived for weeks by scavenging food, spent time in a prison for children, and narrowly missed what he now believes may have led to a life of being trafficked.Though Brierley was raised in a loving home by his adoptive parents, he was haunted by the unknowns of his birth, his biological family, and where he’d come from. He spent many late evenings in his early twenties working relentlessly to pair his vague childhood memories of India with what he could see on Google Earth. Late one night he finally found familiar landmarks that matched the places he remembered. Through Facebook and YouTube he was able to verify the likelihood that what he was seeing was indeed his childhood home. It provided enough confirmation to make the trip to India.
President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson tour through the Rome Italy Temple during an early construction phase. Photo courtesy of the Nelson family.The dates for the free public open house remain the same next year, running from Monday, January 28, to Saturday, February 16, excluding Sundays.When the dates for the Rome temple's open house and dedication were originally announced in March 2018, an eight-day period in 2019—from Sunday, March 10, to Sunday, March 17—was set aside for possible dedication services. The recent announcement shortens the dedication days to three. The Rome Italy Temple nears completion in Rome, Italy on April 15, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. A display model shows the Rome Italy Temple and grounds. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Located near the Grande Raccordo Anulare in northeast Rome, the temple will be the first in Italy and will serve more than 23,000 Church members in Italy and neighboring countries. It will be the 13th temple in Europe.Following a November 5 letter sent to Church leaders, the Church announced the new dates for dedication are Sunday, March 10, 2019, through Tuesday, March 12, 2019. The Rome Italy Temple nears completion in Rome, Italy on April 15, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.
Julie M. and Craig N. Pacini have been called to serve as the matron and temple president for the Rome Italy Temple.Craig Neil Pacini and his wife, Julie Anne Metcalfe Pacini, were announced earlier this year, in July, as the future temple president and matron for the Rome Italy Temple. They will begin their service following the formal dedication in March.The temple was announced in October 2008 and construction began in October 2010. President Thomas S. Monson presided over the groundbreaking ceremony on October 23, 2010, joined by Church and community leaders.Reservations for attending the open house can be made at templeopenhouse.lds.org beginning a few week prior to the open house.“The sacred ordinances performed in this holy temple will unite families for eternity,”said Church President Russell M. Nelson in a Newsroom release. “God loves all His children equally and has provided a way for them to be linked in love, generation to generation. We are thrilled to be able to dedicate a temple in this city replete with historical importance throughout the ages.” The sun sets behind the Rome Italy Temple nearing completion in Rome, Italy on April 15, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.The temple is a three-story, 40,000-square-foot building with an exterior constructed from granite and an interior which includes marble, woodwork and decorative painting. The temple stands as part of a 15-acre religious and cultural complex, which will include a visitors’ center, a family history center, a multi-purpose meetinghouse and some housing for temple patrons.The dates of dedication for the Rome Italy Temple have been amended, as announced Wednesday, November 7, by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Missionary work in Ivory Coast began just three decades ago, and the first meetinghouses in late 1990s. In his April 2015 general conference address (the same conference as the aforementioned temple announcements), Elder Andersen highlighted a pair of the Church’s “pioneer” couples in the country—Lucien and Agathe Affoue and Philippe and Annelies Assard—who separately had joined the Church in Europe before relocating in Ivory Coast in the 1980s and meeting and forming a Sunday School.“Each time I enter in the temple, I am touched by the fact that the Lord permits us to enter in His holy house to receive the blessings that we cannot receive in any other place on earth,” said Sister Andersen.An Apostle’s message and prayer and testimonies from a three-generation Latter-day Saint family highlighted the Thursday, November 8, groundbreaking ceremonies for the Abidjan Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire) Temple. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, with his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, is joined by Elder Marcus B. Nash, Africa West Area President, and Ivory Coast leaders and dignitaries in breaking grounds for the construction of the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Temple on November 8, 2018.The Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple will be the sixth on the African continent. Three temples are currently operating—in Aba, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; and Johannesburg, South Africa. The Abidjan temple will join ones in Durban, South Africa, and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo as the three temples under construction.From Annelies Assard: “With a grateful heart, I testify to you, dear brothers and sisters, that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Messiah and that our Heavenly Father listens to the prayers of His Saints. We are in His true and living Church.” Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Kathy Andersen help Primary children at the groundbreaking ceremonies of the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Temple on November 8, 2018.Another four temples have been announced but not yet started—in Harare, Zimbabwe; Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos, Nigeria; and Praia, Cape Verde.“Today is a sacred day, a holy day, a day that will long be remembered in the records kept in heaven and by the Saints of God here in the Ivory Coast,” said Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who presided at the ceremony and offered his remarks and a dedicatory prayer in French, the official language of the West African nation of more than 24 million people.“The building of this temple means that the restored kingdom of God will be established here in Abidjan and throughout the Ivory Coast until the Savior returns to the earth, and that there will be covenant people here to receive Him when he returns.” The exterior rendering of the Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire Temple, which was released in October 2018. Sisters take over the shovels in the ceremonial groundbreaking the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Temple on November 8, 2018.The temple was one of three new temples—along with ones for Bangkok, Thailand, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti—announced by the late President Thomas S. Monson on April 5, 2015, during the Sunday morning session of general conference. The temple is being built near the Cocody Côte d'Ivoire Stake center, and a rendering of the temple’s exterior was released last month. Two of the Church's pioneering couples in Ivory Coast—the Assards and the Affixes—were featured in Elder Neil L. Andersen's April 2015 general conference talk. From left, Annelies Assard, Philippe Assard, Lucien Affoue, and Agathe Affoue.Elder Andersen was joined by his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, who also spoke in French during the ceremony, as well as Elder Marcus B. Nash, General Authority Seventy and Africa West Area President, and his wife, Sister Shelley Nash; and Elder Edward Dube, General Authority Seventy and First Counselor in the Africa West Area, and his wife, Sister Naume Dube.She added: “My dear brothers and sisters, you have made so many sacrifices to go to the temple and to return year after year. We are greatly strengthened by your faith and your devotion.”From Dorothée Anzoua, a daughter of the Assards: “When I think of the Lord Jesus Christ and the wonderful gift He gave me by sacrificing himself for me, I am infinitely grateful to Him. This feeling of love and gratitude strengthens and motivates me every day to make the right choice and to consult the Holy Spirit to guide and lead in my daily journey. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ that teaches me the truths about the plan of salvation and the eternal life promised to those who follow His way.”The Assards were married in her native Germany, where they joined the Church and were sealed in the Swiss Temple, later moving to his native Ivory Coast. In his remarks at the groundbreaking, Elder Andersen shared the testimonies of three generations of the Assard family.“Let this be an example for us in our own lives. Let us devote ourselves during these months of construction to better shaping our character and souls to be ready to enter the dedicated temple. Let us be better husbands and wives, better children; let us be more true to following the Savior. … Let us be honest in our tithes and offerings. Let us be kind and generous to those around us. Let us pray with humility and real intent.” Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Sister Kathy Andersen, and Elders Marcus B. Nash and Edward Dube of the Africa West Area Presidency join Primary children at the groundbreaking ceremonies of the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Temple on November 8, 2018.Elder Andersen explained that the construction of the Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple—estimated to take two years—will involve the best materials and best work of craftsmen and construction crews. In short, he said, “We will ask for near perfection in materials and labor.”While the 10 a.m. groundbreaking was an invitation-only event, the proceedings were broadcast to local meetinghouses. Also attending and speaking were Daniel Kablan Duncan, the nation’s vice-president, and M. Mattias N’Gouan, major of Cocody.And from Marie-Emmanuelle Anzoua, a granddaughter almost 13 years old: “The gospel and the Church are very important in my life because without them, I would not know our good Savior who made so many sacrifices for us to become just and right. I am very [grateful] to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ because we have the restored truth. Our Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ have done so much for us that we cannot count it. So, obey His commandments, glorify Him, and sanctify Him.” Invited by Elder Neil L. Andersen to come closer to the ceremonial groundbreaking, missionaries gather at the future site of the the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Temple on November 8, 2018.Citing teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle challenged the local Latter-day Saints to a similar task in their personal preparations.Ivory Coast is home to nearly 44,000 Latter-day Saints, 14 stakes, 211 congregations, and two missions. Church members in Abidjan, the country’s largest urban center on the southern Atlantic coast, currently attend the Accra Ghana Temple, which requires a 12-hour one-way trip by car to reach.
In many allied nations, Armistice Day is a national holiday coinciding with Veterans Day and Remembrance Day to celebrate the endings of both World War I and World War II. In the warring nations of World War I, millions registered for war and millions served. Twenty-one million were wounded and 20 million died.As countries pause to remember, families seek to document their ancestors’ wartime stories. The stories from WWI are no longer first-person memories, but they do exist on documents, in pictures, and as memorabilia. The era’s records supply rich ancestral details including physical characteristics, vital information, service details, and more.Among World War I records are draft cards, cemetery records, and statement of service cards. The armed services kept military records that name the names and describe the work of those who served in any capacity.On Veterans Day 2018 this Sunday, the world will look back a century to the victory of Allied forces and the signing of the Armistice that marked the end of World War I. With that signing, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the world rejoiced.Some records are unexpected today. For example, American women married to non-American men lost citizenship. Many created citizenship papers to be renaturalized. Nearly everyone who had a male ancestor aged 21–30 that lived in the U.S. during WWI can find a record of that ancestor.In memory of those who served, FamilySearch has added millions of new, free historical records to help families discover more about their WWI veteran ancestors. Search the WWI collections at FamilySearch.org.FamilySearch has a large, constantly expanding, free collection of World War I records to help remember World War I soldiers. Governments on both sides of the conflict, Allied nations (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Belgium, Serbia, and Italy) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire) created a treasure trove of documents useful to genealogists.Jennifer Davis, a family historian, found all four of her great-grandfathers in the WWI Draft Records online—even though none of them served active duty. “The only picture I have of my great-grandpa Figgins is in black and white from a copy of a newspaper clipping,” said Davis. “In his draft record, it gives a physical description of him and says his eyes are brown. That’s a cool discovery, because I never would have known his eye color.”
William Earl Potts from Juab County, Utah, served in France in WWI.The draft records can be the perfect springboard to searching other records, because they often give hints about the registered individual, such as clues to family members listed in the “closest living relative” section or employment clues.