“During his tenure, the choir received the prestigious National Medal of Arts, two Grammy nominations, and Music & the Spoken Word was inducted into the National Association Broadcasting Hall of Fame,” wrote Jarrett.“His favorite song was ‘God Be with You Till We Meet Again’ because it meant that another broadcast, concert, or tour had come to a meaningful end. Those words have never rung truer than today as we mourn the loss of our dear friend and colleague. May these beautiful lyrics be our prayer of comfort for the Christensen family at this tender time.”Mac Christensen, Tabernacle Choir president from 2000 to 2012, former director of the Church’s Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center, and a Utah businessman, died Friday October 11, 2019. He was 85.
Mac Christensen, 85, former president of the Tabernacle Choir, died Friday October 11, 2019. Photo courtesy of the Deseret News.Tabernacle Choir President Ron Jarrett said Christensen left an enduring legacy of excellence for The Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra, and Bells at Temple Square.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints again denounced abusive forms of conversion therapy on Tuesday but also announced its opposition to the proposed Utah licensing rule that would ban those therapies, calling it too broad and ambiguous.“Although well intentioned, the proposed rule as written will strongly dissuade many responsible therapists from providing much-needed therapy to minors,” the letter said. “That is especially true of therapists whose counseling respects the religious identity and faith perspectives of Latter-day Saints and members of other faith communities with biblically informed beliefs about gender and sexuality.”The rule should be amended or dropped in favor of a legislative solution, the Church said both in a statement and in a 13-page letter from the Church’s counseling services arm, Latter-day Saints Family Services, to the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
The Church offices in Japan have been working closely with the Japan Volunteer Organization Active in Disaster and local volunteer centers to gather information. President Justin Cook, president of the Tokyo Japan South Stake (English), noted that all but two members in that stake —with wards and branches in the Kanto, Misawa, and Iwakuni areas—were unaffected by the storm. “One of our families had their home flooded due to a levy breach on the Tamagawa River,” President Cook stated in an email to the Church News. Another member of that stake was evacuated to a shelter as a precaution but was able to return to her residence safely as it did not receive any damage.As Typhoon Hagibis made landfall on Saturday evening in Japan, the storm brought a record 36 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. Flooding and high wind speeds wreaked havoc throughout the greater Tokyo area leaving a reported 33 people dead and 19 missing. Several river embankments collapsed as a result of the heavy rains and flooding. Transportation systems, including Narita and Haneda airports, remained closed throughout the weekend as the storm passed. “We are so grateful for the blessing of safety that we have experienced,” President Cook said. “With 1,600 members in our stake, it is a miracle that not more experienced damage to their property or danger to their lives. Today has been a small opportunity for our members to minister to each other and to our neighbors in Tokyo who we love.”Elder Takashi Wada, General Authority Seventy and first counselor in the Asia North Area presidency, noted that stakes throughout Japan have cancelled their showings of general conference over the weekend to ensure members’ safety in the aftermath of the storm. With airports and trains being shut down over the weekend and operations suspended throughout the metropolitan and surrounding areas in Tokyo, the Asia North Area presidency of the Church reported that they have, as of yet, been unable to reach Tokyo in the aftermath of the storm. According to news reports out of Tokyo, rescue efforts are in the central, eastern and northeastern regions where there have been landslides as a result of the flooding. All evacuation advisories have been lifted as of Sunday in Tokyo and transportation services are expected to resume throughout Sunday and Monday.On Sunday morning in Japan, the Church’s area offices in Tokyo confirmed that all missionaries serving throughout the Tokyo North, Tokyo South, Nagoya and Sapporo areas were safe and accounted for by their mission presidents. In Tokyo North, several missionaries spent Saturday night at a community evacuation center, but their safety was confirmed as well. The area offices of the Church are still waiting to confirm the safety of all Church employees in the area.Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, General Authority Seventy and President of the Church’s Asia North Area, said that Church staff in the Tokyo area have been working diligently to follow up with stake presidents and bishops to verify members’ safety and determine needs of members in affected areas as emergency response begins. No reports have yet been made about the condition of Church meetinghouses throughout the affected areas. “Our members brought food, support, cleaning supplies, and many hugs and words of encouragement,” he said. And with so many members there to help, many members were able to assist neighboring families and homes in the affected neighborhood. More than 30 members from the Tokyo Japan South Stake (English) showed up to help in the neighborhood where a member family’s home flooded, President Cook said.
The Raleigh North Carolina Temple.We are grateful to dedicate all of the architectural upgrades including the additional offices, new vestibule, the 10-foot raised tower, the raised ceilings, and centered windows in the sealing rooms, the new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, and the beautiful redecorated walls, woodwork, and paintings throughout the temple. A capstone on the exterior of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple commemorates both the 1999 dedication and the October 13, 2019, rededication of the temple. Photo by Jason Swensen.Today we rededicate this temple at the direction of President Russell M. Nelson. Heavenly Father, we include President Nelson’s recent counsel that “the ordinances of the temple and the covenants [we] make [here] are key to strengthening [our lives], [our] marriage and family, and [our] ability to resist the attacks of the adversary” (“As We Go Forward Together,” Apr. 2018 general conference). Heavenly Father, may this be granted to each one of us on this day of rededication.And now as Thy Apostle acting in the authority of the everlasting Melchizedek Priesthood, and in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, I consecrate and rededicate all the improvements mentioned to Thee and to Thy Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Bless in every way, Father, this Raleigh North Carolina Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Raleigh North Carolina Temple. A statue of the angel Moroni, an ancient American prophet, is set on top of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple. North Carolina Latter-day Saints arrive for the October 13, 2019, rededication of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple. The temple was rededicated almost two decades after its original dedication. Photo by Jason Swensen.We ask Thee dear Father for heavenly protection to be over this temple that the sacred work of salvation for the living and for the deceased may continue here uninterrupted from this day forward. Heavenly Father, please temper the weather from storms and watch over the temple and grounds that they may remain clean and beautiful.Father, we know that many of Thy children suffer greatly for one reason or another. Please give unto them comfort and peace and bless us to help do what we can to help lift their burdens. Help us, Father, to share the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, with all we come in contact within our daily lives.The following is the text to the prayer offered by President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to rededicate the Raleigh North Carolina Temple on Sunday, October 13, 2019.Dear Heavenly Father, we love thee and acknowledge Thy hand in all things in our lives. We rededicate Thy temple to Thee and with deep gratitude we thank Thee for Thy Beloved Son, whose atoning sacrifice makes it possible to repent and be forgiven of our sins and be worthy of the ordinances and covenants of the temple which are efficacious in this world, and the spirit world beyond the veil. We join together in offering this prayer of rededication with our hearts filled with love for Thee, dear Father, for which we humbly pray in the sacred name of Thy Beloved Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, amen. The Raleigh North Carolina Temple.Twenty years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the temple. We include in this rededication today all the blessings he promised at that time on the temple including the blessings on the families in this temple district, and on Thy work throughout the world.Bless Thy children with hearts filled with love for Thee and Thy Beloved Son as they rejoice today to have their temple available for their own ordinances and the sacred work for their families and extended families.Please bless all who are called to serve here in any capacity, particularly the temple presidency, the matrons, and her assistants. Bless those who prepare for and administer the ordinances for Thy children that come here. May they serve one another with love and with reverence for Thee and Thy Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.May Thy children come here often to make covenants and receive their own ordinances and also do this for their kindred dead. Help Thy children in this temple district keep Thy commandments, preparing them for all the promised blessings to become worthy of Thy holy presence. The Raleigh North Carolina Temple. The Raleigh North Carolina Temple.Our gracious Father in Heaven, thou Almighty Elohim, with deep love and reverence for Thee and Thy Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, we Thy children join together to rededicate the beautiful Raleigh North Carolina Temple. Please also bless all Thy children throughout the world to come to understand the significance of the eternal blessings available to those who serve and honor Thee on both sides of the veil. May Thy work proceed here as Thou hast revealed to Thy prophet, President Joseph F. Smith in the 138th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. From left, Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy and the Executive Director of the Temple Department; Sister Nancy Duncan; President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Sister Jennie Martino; and Elder James B. Martino, General Authority Seventy and President of the North America Southeast Area. The visiting leaders and their wives participated in the October 13, 2019, rededication of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple. a General Authority Seventy and the Executive Director of the Temple Department.
Ultimately, there is One to whom we can look, One whom we can trust with our whole hearts. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He shows us the way of kindness, forgiveness, courage, and compassion. He offers us the truth about who we are and why we are here. He promises us an abundant life—not just life here on earth but life everlasting with Him. This is what we were created for—to become, in process of time, more like Him.When we look at a human life—including our own—what do we see? Life is not just about getting older. None of us is meant to remain forever the way we are now. Like the acorn, we were meant to become something greater. We were created for growth, improvement, and progression. And for that reason, we have an innate longing to reach for something higher. When we look at an acorn, we see more than an acorn. We know its potential to become a mighty oak tree and start producing acorns itself. It doesn’t bother us that this process can take decades or that growth is slow, almost imperceptible. We know that an acorn is not meant to remain an acorn.That’s the way, the truth, and the life. And so, remembering what a miracle it is for something small like an acorn to grow into something great like an oak tree, we offer the Lord this heartfelt plea: “May we be more like Thee.” Tuning In . . .Yes, life is a long walk on a long road, but it helps to have a vision of where that road leads. Pondering the purpose of life, reading holy words, and obeying divine law can provide that vision and guide our course. Learning from the lives of exemplary men and women can help us along the path. Of course, it can take us time to develop into our best self, the person who we truly want to be. We make mistakes along the way; we confront uncertainties and ambiguities. We experience both fear and faith, joy and heartache, belief and unbelief. We’re a lot like the tearful father who said to Jesus, “I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). But that shouldn’t discourage us too much, because authentic growth comes best when we, like that father, admit what we lack and seek heaven’s help.Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This was given October 6, 2019.The Music & the Spoken Word broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM, ksl.com, KSL X-Stream, BYUtv, BYUradio, BYUtv International, CBS radio network, DISH Network, DIRECTV, SiriusXM radio (channel 143), and The Tabernacle Choir’s website and YouTube channel. The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org.
Paulo Alves and his wife, Tânia, who joined the Church in Portugal at age 20, first met at the Madrid Spain Temple as part of separate young single adult temple trips—his from the Azores and hers from Portugal. Married and sealed in 2008, they spent four years in Portugal, enough time for Paulo Alves to watch wards and stakes function there, fostering similar hopes for a future Azores stake.“I looked to the sky and said, ‘Thank you, God, I know that the temple sealing is true and that I can have this family for eternity in the celestial kingdom,’” said Alves, now the Açores Portugal District president.She and her husband, Luís Alves, and oldest son, Herberto, were baptized in 1985. Their second son, Paulo Alves, was only 7 years old and baptized later.The islands’ natural erosion, combined with the mild climate, has resulted in green hillsides and fertile farmlands contrasting with black beaches and rocky shorelines. The predominant industries are agriculture, dairy, and fishing, with tourism rapidly gaining.Local leaders are working to tighten up membership records, accounting for those who have passed away, left the islands, moved elsewhere, or disappeared. The district recently totaled upwards of 1,600 records, compared to a three-branch combined attendance of 110 active members. Cattle rest in a hillside field on the Azores' São Miguel Island on September 17, 2019. Agriculture is the primary industry in the Azores, followed closely by tourism of late. President Ricardo Resendez of the Ribeira Grande Branch, visits with Elder Matthew Ethan Rhea of the Portugal Lisbon Mission, serving on São Miguel island in the Azores, on September 17, 2019. Photo by Scott Taylor.And 22-year-old Cátia Almeida remembers how embracing the restored gospel as a young teen helped lessen the absence of a grandmother who had passed away. “I really felt alone,” Almeida said. “But I found people caring about me. I felt the Spirit, and I felt a part of everything at Church.”“It’s hard to leave,” said Almeida, “but at the same time, I feel like I’ve done everything here and I’ve changed.”President Resendez cites family history as an example. “I can be in my home and do everything. It’s really easy to do this work. We can access everything, and we can see the difference.”Challenging Isolation“I want to look to the members of the Church here like Heavenly Father looks upon us, because He works with our potential, and I want to work on this potential here,” said President Alves, adding “the challenge will be to help the members understand the importance of the temple in our lives. …Added Rogéria Medina, his wife and the branch Relief Society president: “In the temple, we learn great respect for the ordinances. The respect we have for the covenants strengthens us to keep the commandments and be obedient.”“The ‘Church’ for Heavenly Father is each person—so you can be in Alaska or in the Azores, and He knows your name, He knows you, He loves you. And I know we all have our own purpose in life—it’s part of His plan, where we are born, where we grow up, where we live. He knows His plan, and He knows why I was born here.”Elder Robert V. Carter—who with his wife, Sister Louise Carter, are a senior missionary couple joining four companionships of young full-time missionaries serving in the Azores—has worked specifically on one São Miguel branch, where records were trimmed from 700-plus to just over 200.And Almeida first met her fiancé, João Barata, at an Especially For Youth conference eight years ago in Portugal, where he is from. A seven-year friendship led to a one-year courtship, following Barrato’s mission in Angola and Almeida’s mini-mission in the Azores.Technological advances—such as the internet and global communications—have lessened the isolation as well as aided in local Latter-day Saints’ progression.After Elder Carter served as a branch president and Sister Carter as Young Women president, they had their first Azores mission cut short, with his cancer diagnosis forcing an early return to Pleasant Grove, Utah. Eleven months and a clean bill of health later, they returned and are midway in an 18-month call, having spent 32 of their 34 months in the Lisbon mission on the islands.Church’s Future in the Azores Paulo Alves, president of the Açores Portugal District, stands along the southeast coast of the Terceira Island on September 16, 2019. Photo by Scott Taylor.Paulo Alves remembers the moment from several years ago, sitting at a beach on the Azores’ Terceira Island, watching his wife, Tânia, and his young son, Samuel, roll up their pants and run to splash in the surf. The scene is indelibly etched in his memory—blue sky, blue Atlantic Ocean, and sounds of laughter and crashing waves.When meeting the missionaries at the post office, her first questions were if they believed in a resurrection and if they could tell her about a spirit world. Their responses paved the way for lessons in the Alves home.Isolation from the rest of the world is just one challenge in the Azores. “Being a member of the Church on an island, it’s very different from being a member of the Church in another place,” said Tânia Alves. “So to be able to go to the temple more often will help us to live the gospel more fully.”While the islands’ strong Catholic traditions make conversion challenging, strong family ties have helped some be receptive to learning of the Latter-day Saint faith.Yet despite the distance and burdensome travels to temples, Azorean Saints have attended—and they have served.Despite the distance to Portugal and the European mainland, Church members in the Azores have benefitted from long-distance connections.“I was amazed because it said ‘Jesus Christ,’” she recalled. “That was the name of my God, not another god—and I was happy.”The distance from the Azores to the new Lisbon Portugal Temple is similar to that from Salt Lake City to Des Moines, Iowa, or New York City to Tallahassee, Florida. Yet, the Azorean Latter-day Saints are excited for the improved proximity to a temple, calling it a “one-plane” trip instead of the back-to-back flights or extended driving to get previously to temples in Madrid or Paris.João Joaquim Pinto and Alexandra Camacho Rodrigues were serving as missionaries in Portugal when they first became acquainted. Having concluded his mission, Pinto—who was baptized in his native Madeira, Portugal’s other autonomous island region—not only was permitted but encouraged to write Sister Camacho while she continued to serve. His parents refused to receive him in Madeira, so he instead went to the Azores to work and write and wait.While not officially recognized in Portugal until 1974, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was represented 20 years earlier in the Azores by members assigned as military personnel to Terceira’s Lajes Air Field. President João Joaquim Pinto, second from left, the second counselor in the Açores Portugal District, is photographed with his wife, Alexandra Pinto; their oldest son, Abraão, left, and recent convert Júlio Costa, right, in Ponta Delgada on São Miguel Island on September 17, 2019. Photo by Scott Taylor.About half of the Azores’ quarter-million residents are on Sao Miguel Island, with another quarter on Terceira Island, home to military bases that have been either shared or leased at times by other countries since World War II.Alexandra Camacho Rodrigues, now the wife of district presidency counselor João Joaquim Pinto, is the Azores’ longest-tenured current member, baptized at age 18 on June 14, 1980, in the Atlantic Ocean. With the beach already crowded where her baptism was to take place, Camacho’s ordinance was moved to a smaller, more secluded spot where the surf pounded at jagged rocks.President Alves hopes that as members attend the temple more frequently in Lisbon, the district will grow stronger—especially the younger generation. “The members have demonstrated their faith to the world by already going to the temple despite the distance.”ANGRA DO HEROÍSMO, TERCEIRA ISLAND, THE AZORESNoticing Church missionaries before, Nair Alves thought the “Mormon” name she heard represented some sort of god. A kind gesture by an elder in the Angra post office led to introductions and a closer inspection of a missionary nametag and “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”The Pintos were married in 1986 and sealed in 1989, with the two of them and her mother—who had joined the Church after her daughter—flying to Lisbon and then traveling by bus three days to the Frankfurt Germany Temple for endowments, sealings, and ordinance work there. The Alves family of Angar, Terceira Island, on their baptism day in 1985 in Angar, São Miguel Island of the Azores. Luís Alves is second from the right, his wife, Nair Alves is second from the left, with the two sons Herberto and Paulo, lower right. Photo courtesy of the Alves family.Mainland Connections“We needed to come back,” Sister Carter said. “There were things we needed to do.”
The stairways leading to the Our Lady of Peace (Nossa Senhora da Paz) Church featured tiled illustrations of the life of Jesus Christ. Photo taken September 17, 2019, above Vila Franca do Campo, São Miguel Island of the Azores. Photo by Scott Taylor.In 2012, the Alves moved back to Terceira, where he works as a pre- and post-op nurse and has served as district president for 20 months. “I believe it is the Lord’s will for us to be here to help,” President Alves said.Like the Pintos in 1989, when Luís and Nair Alves took their three children—Herberto, Paulo and Nisa—and her mother for their first temple ordinances, they had to go to Frankfurt because the Bern Switzerland Temple was closed. The trip was compounded when Nair Alves’ mother suffered a stroke and required hospitalization in Germany for two weeks.Rogéria Medina, baptized three years ago with her husband, said she relishes the spiritual learning. “We knew nothing of religion before we met the elders; it was not a big thing for us before,” she said. “I’ve learned things I had never learned in my life—the scriptures, how to pray—and I’m continuing to learn.”Similarly, learning the plan of salvation blessed recent convert Júlio Costa, who received a Book of Mormon on his first Sunday visit to the Ponta Delgada meetinghouse. “There was no doubt I was going back, because I felt something good,” said Costa, baptized in April. Overlooking Vila Franco do Campo and the Ilheu de Vila off the southern coast of the Azores' São Miguel Island, as photographed on September 17, 2019. Photo by Scott Taylor.“The only callings I haven’t had are Relief Society president and Young Women president,” quipped Luís Alves.With the islands identified as early as the 14th century, Portuguese settlers didn’t arrive until the next century. The Azores served as key locations first for explorers sailing from Portugal and other European nations and later whaling expeditions from the 1700s through the 1900s.
A closeup of the monument on Monte Brasil—marking Portuguese occupation of the Azores during the Age of Discoveries—shows national emblems of the cross and the armillary sphere, used by Portugal for centuries. Photo taken September 16, 2019, by Scott Taylor.No matter that the Azores sit nearly a thousand miles away from the European mainland. No matter that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are few on the remote islands. “We can live far away from the temple or another place on earth, but the sealings remain active in our lives,” he said.Nair Alves had lost her father to cancer at age 66. “I had a great desire to know about my father, to know what a spirit was, and I especially wanted to know that he wasn’t suffering any more,” she said, adding she prayed for understanding.President Arnaldo Medina of the Ponta Delgada Branch said having a temple in Lisbon “should lift the faith of the members, and they feel better when it is closer. … And when some members step back into their old traditions, they need to work harder to stay on the covenant path.” A view of Angra do Heroísmo, a UNESCO World Heritage Center site, in a photo taken September 16, 2019, from Monte Brasil on the Azore's Terceira Island. Photo by Scott Taylor. João Barata and Cátia Almeida—who are engaged to be married later this month and sealed in the Lisbon Portugal Temple—walk past the Ponta Delgada Branch chapel on the Azores' São Miguel Island on September 17, 2019. Photo by Scott Taylor.Added Elder Carter: “There’s still a lot of work to do—we hope in the time we have left we can get the branches pointed in the right direction with the rudder set.” A photo showing the baptism of Alexandra Camacho Rodrigues, at age 18 on June 14, 1980, among the rocks and surf of the Azores' São Miguel Island. Photo courtesy of Scott Taylor.The Azores—Açores, in Portuguese—is a nine-island archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean 950 miles west of Portugal and one of that nation’s two autonomous regions. The islands are volcanic-formed masses at the junction of the North America, Eurasia, and Africa tectonic plates; if measured from the island peaks to their bases at the ocean’s bottom, the Azores’ “mountains” would rank among the Earth’s tallest.New members can be quickly pressed into Church service, as is the case with President Medina, a convert of three years. “Day by day, I’m learning something new,” he said.Another challenge is rotating callings among the few members, with the long-time Azorean Latter-day Saints having done a little of everything. President Alves has presided over two branches before becoming district president; his father, Luís Alves, and Resendez both have presided over branches and the district at different times. The young single adults of the Açores Portugal District gather for a whale-watching activity in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island, on September 7, 2019. Photo courtesy of Paulo Alves.In 1979, the Portugal Lisbon Mission assigned the first missionaries to the islands. The first Portuguese branch was organized in Terceira’s Angra do Heroísmo, on March 5, 1980, with the Terceira Portugal District—now the Açores Portugal District—created in 1982.A servicemen’s group established in 1958 preceded the Lajes Branch organized in 1967. Maria Morgado, baptized by branch members that year, is considered the first known native to be baptized on Portuguese soil.
Lúcia Días, a recent convert of the Ponta Delgada Branch on the Azores' São Miguel Island, greets Sister Louise Carter on the street on September 17, 2019. Behind them, from right to left, Elder Robert V. Carter, Elder Matthew Ethan Rhea, and Elder Jimmy Terron. Photo by Scott Taylor.A New Temple in PortugalBut spiritual learning and progression doesn’t need a mainland kickstart. “I think there are a lot of members here with a lot of faith—they have to have it here—who have changed their lives with the gospel,” said Tânia Alves.Still, young Azoreans face limited educational and employment opportunities, and in turn, limited financial opportunities. It’s why Almeida and Barata—who will be married in a civil ceremony this month at the Ponta Delgada meetinghouse and then sealed several days later in the Lisbon temple—will live in Portugal after their marriage.Surprised to see how little Resendez possessed, the mission president asked other missionaries to help expand his wardrobe. As his two-year mission ended, Resendez—currently the Ribeira Grande Branch president on Sao Miguel—received a call from his parents welcoming him to return home.The Church in the Azores now has a temple only one flight away, an ongoing missionary presence, the blending of mature members with energetic young members, and increasing technology bringing the outside world closer to the islands. Nair Alves, right, greets Ben Clonts, one of the missionaries who helped teach and baptize the Alves family in 1985, at the Lajes Airport on the Azores' Terceira Island on September 18, 2019. Photo courtesy of Paulo Alves.A Legacy of Members Two women work under a large tree at the side of the beach at the São Roque parish on the Azores' São Miguel Island on September 17, 2019. Photo by Scott Taylor.The Azores and the Church A panoramic view of Sete Cidades, a parish of the municipality of São Miguel Island's Ponta Delgada, along with the two volcanic-crater lakes, Lagoa Verde, left, and Logoa Azul, right. Photo taken September 17, 2019, by Scott Taylor.While learning about the Church, Costa found the Gospel Library app—including the scriptures and “Preach My Gospel.” With his online learning, he says he could almost teach himself the missionary lessons—with the full-time sisters’ help, of course.That year, 18-year-old Ricardo Resendez was baptized in Ponta Delgada on July 24—Pioneer Day. He had been interested in religion but shy; both a neighbor and his parents arranged for missionaries to visit him.Noting a grandmother who had helped raise him had passed seven years earlier, Costa anticipates going to the Lisbon Portugal Temple next month to help with his ancestors’ ordinance work. “Knowing that families can be together forever was revelatory,” he said. “The reason is to unite my family—to take their names to the temple and unite them on the other side of the veil.” The monument on Monte Brasil—marking Portuguese occupation of the Azores during the Age of Discoveries—overlooks the city of Angra on the Azores' Terceira Island. Photo taken September 16, 2019, by Scott Taylor.Meanwhile, President Pinto continues to work with local municipal leaders in gaining access to civil records for digital archiving. His latest effort is São Miguel marriage records from the 1800s and 1900s.
Tânia Alves, left, opens a box containing textbooks for her son, Samuel, right, while her husband, Paulo Alves, the Azores' district president, looks on in their home on São Mateus da Calheta, Terceira Island, on Septemer 16, 2019. Photo by Scott Taylor.Nair Alves and Luís Alves read coverage of the Lisbon Portugal Temple dedication on a smartphone in their home in Angra, Terceira Island, Azores, on September 16, 2019. The Alves have since left for Lisbon for a year-long service mission at the same temple.Desiring to share the gospel well before conversion, he faced military obligations before serving a mission at age 22. With his disapproving parents wanting him instead to keep working, Resendez left home with an airline ticket for his assigned Portugal and scant belongings—the trousers he was wearing, a pair of white shirts and ties given to him by Sao Miguel elders, a pair of glue-patched dress shoes and a small sports bag.The Alves have remained faithful in not only regularly attending but serving in the Madrid temple since 2003. Their annual service sometimes has lasted as long as three weeks, not including an 18-month Church service mission at that temple. They recently moved to start a similar service as the Lisbon temple’s first such service missionary couple.“I can see a great future for the Church here in the Azores,” said President Alves, “because we’re trying to stay straight on the covenant pathway, to take the higher way.”Added Tânia Alves: “He loves us everywhere and anywhere. He wants us to grow here, to be strong here and to be an example here—all the members, not just us. It’s a great blessing to be a part of that. Because wherever there are any humans, there are children of God.”President Alves wants Azorean Latter-day Saints to not only be part of a global Church but to learn from it as well. “When you’re isolated from the world, you have your own culture. But I believe in the Latter-day Saint culture. … I want the members here to follow the higher way—the higher standard.”Local leaders look to the next generation to further establish the Church in the Azores, with the youth, young adults, and recent converts augmenting what mature members have provided. Leaders point to Azorean missionaries currently serving—an elder in Brazil and a sister in London—and efforts like the islands’ first daily after-school seminary program started last year and district-wide youth and young single adult activities, like last month’s whale-watching excursion.
The approximately 40,000 people who visited the newly-remodeled temple during the recent temple open house encountered interior features that are distinctly North Carolinian. The state flower—a dogwood tree blossom—is incorporated in new blue, gold, and cream art glass found in the baptistry and other rooms. Original artwork captures the state’s verdant natural beauty.For North Carolina members, having a temple operating inside the borders of their own state marked a miracle—an eternal “game changer”—that was realized after decades of prayer and faithful temple service.President Ballard participated in the original dedication of the Raleigh temple during a period of historic, prolific temple building. That effort continues today. On October 5, President Nelson announced plans to construct eight new temples in locales around the globe—Freetown, Sierra Leone; Orem, Utah; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Bentonville, Arkansas; Bacolod, Philippines; McAllen, Texas; Cobán, Guatemala; and Taylorsville, Utah.The nonagenarian smiled when asked about a vigorous schedule that still takes him to all corners of the world.“Rising before the sun and driving several hours to attend the temple was a great opportunity for our youth to demonstrate their commitment to the Lord.” A capstone on the exterior of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple commemorates both the 1999 dedication and the October 13, 2019, rededication of the temple. Photo by Jason Swensen.“But after the opening of the Raleigh temple in 1999, we have had the blessing of a temple that is less than 200 miles away,” he said. “Since then, we have enjoyed the convenience of being able to attend the temple on a routine basis.”Following the Sunday morning ceremony, the visiting Brethren shook hands with all who attended the rededication as they exited the temple.APEX, North Carolina“While the Raleigh temple was closed, members made significant sacrifices to attend temples elsewhere—sometimes requiring significant travel,” noted Durham North Carolina Stake President Christopher Kelsey. “Specifically, the youth regularly traveled to the Columbia South Carolina Temple to participate in baptisms for the dead.The Tar Heel State is no stranger to historic moments.Joel Hancock is a proud son of Harkers Island, a small strip of land known here for its rich Latter-day Saint history and devotion to missionary work. As a child, he remembers watching family members travel from his native island for “the long journey” from coastal North Carolina to Utah to receive the ordinances of the temple.And on March 23, 1957, the University of North Carolina claimed its first of six NCAA men’s basketball championship—defeating Wilt Chamberlain’s Kansas Jayhawks in triple overtime. (Fans of nearby Duke and North Carolina State universities will correctly remind you that their own teams have also won multiple national hoops titles.)North Carolina’s Legacy of BeliefNorth Carolina is part of the American South’s so-called “Bible Belt.” Many residents here hold deep religious convictions. Historically, not all have embraced the Latter-day Saints. The recent open house provided unique opportunities to teach others about Jesus Christ’s central role in the Church and in His temples and help clear up misunderstandings. North Carolina Latter-day Saints arrive for the October 13, 2019, rededication of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple. The temple was rededicated almost two decades after its original dedication. Photo by Jason Swensen.“The people who came to the open house were uplifted and saw our love of the Savior,” said Elder Harding.Backman made many lifelong friends serving in the temple. “And now I’m anxious to get back with them.”Today, almost 90,000 North Carolina Latter-day Saints belong to 17 stakes. The rededicated Raleigh temple serves members from 12 of those stakes in central and eastern North Carolina.“The open house was a chance of a lifetime,” said Elder Matthew S. Harding, an Area Seventy and North Carolina resident. “Our members invited the community to come and see the temple. That simple ‘Come and see’ was our theme. Our community was able to see the temple and learn more about our faith and sacred ordinances.”Since those relatively humble beginnings, the Church in North Carolina has grown steadily. The state’s first stake was created on August 27, 1961, in the eastern city of Kinston. A month later, a second stake was formed in Greensboro.New HopeFor Latter-day Saints across North Carolina and beyond, Sunday’s rededication was a challenge to rededicate one’s own life to the Savior.“One of the best ways our spirits can be reinforced and strengthened is to be here at the temple,” he said. “The Spirit of the Lord is here. The temple feeds the inner soul. It makes us stronger. It teaches us of our true identity: sons and daughters of God coming into His holy house and doing sacred work.”“I can’t complain because President Nelson’s 95—he’s four years older than I am,” he said. “I feel honored that the Lord has allowed me to stay and continue the work I’m engaged in. I’m thankful that I have enough energy and health so that I can continue to do my part.All the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, he added, “are honored that President Russell M. Nelson gives us some of these assignments to help lift some of the burden from his shoulders.”“Now that the temple is opening back up, it’s time to make sure our lives in order,” said Elder Harding. “It’s time to make sure our temple recommends are up to date and that we are ready to enter, learn, and serve. The beautiful Raleigh temple is the symbol of our faith and our love for the Savior and His atoning sacrifice for each one of us.” President M. Russell Ballard is greeted by ushers Willie and Pauline Brown outside the Raleigh North Carolina Temple on October 13, 2019. President Ballard rededicated the temple after it was closed for refurbishing. Photo by Jason Swensen.Joining President Hinckley that day was his friend and fellow Apostle, then-Elder M. Russell Ballard.In 1718, the fearsome pirate Blackbeard met a violent end batting British sailors off the North Carolina coast. Almost two centuries later, on December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers launched the world’s first self-propelled plane flight near the town of Kitty Hawk.Rededicating Lives to the Savior North Carolina’s first and only temple—the Raleigh North Carolina Temple—was rededicated by President M. Russell Ballard on October 13, 2019. Photo by Jason Swensen.President Ballard said Sunday that the purpose of dedicating or rededicating a temple is “to increase the spiritual preparation of our people so that they can live in a world which seems to becoming more secular and, in some cases, where people are disregarding even the existence of God.”Like Latter-day Saints anywhere, Backman has faced life’s trials. But Sunday’s rededication of the beloved Raleigh temple, she said, represents renewal, new hope, and the promises of eternity. On May 18, 1838, Elder Grant reported that he had preached for six months in Stokes, Surrey, and Rockingham Counties and baptized four people. He would go on to organize a conference of 200 Latter-day Saints in seven congregations.But for many North Carolina Latter-day Saints, no date in state history is as meaningful as December 18, 1999. On that Christmas-season Saturday, President Gordon B. Hinckley’s dedicated the state’s first and only temple, the Raleigh North Carolina Temple. As the veteran Church leader referenced a few days ago in his general conference talk, each person must wage a battle with himself or herself in deciding right and wrong. President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shakes hands with a North Carolina woman following the October 13, 2019, rededication of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple. Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy and the Executive Director of the Temple Department, and Elder James B. Martino, a General Authority Seventy and President of the North America Southeast Area are at right. Photo by Jason Swensen.“I hope I can hang around long enough to get it all done.” North Carolina Latter-day Saints arrive for the October 13, 2019, rededication of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple. The temple was rededicated almost two decades after its original dedication. Photo by Jason Swensen.The Hancocks served in the temple for a year prior to its closure. Not having an operating temple close by “has reminded us of how much being able to attend the temple regularly means in our lives, and the lives of our family.”North Carolina’s first temple was dedicated only two decades ago, but the state’s Church history stretches back to the early days of the Restoration. Elder Jedediah M. Grant—the father of President Heber J. Grant—was the first known missionary to North Carolina. Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy and the Executive Director of the Temple Department and his wife, Sister Nancy Duncan, welcome President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to the Raleigh North Carolina Temple on October 13, 2019. Photo by Jason Swensen. From left, Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy and the Executive Director of the Temple Department; Sister Nancy Duncan; President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Sister Jennie Martino; and Elder James B. Martino, General Authority Seventy and President of the North America Southeast Area. The visiting leaders and their wives participated in the October 13, 2019, rededication of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple. a General Authority Seventy and the Executive Director of the Temple Department President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, greets a young man following the October 13, 2019, rededication of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple. Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy and the Executive Director of the Temple Department, right, shakes with another temple patron. Photo by Jason Swensen.By the time Hancock and his wife, Susan, married, the journey was much shorter—an 800-mile round trip to the Washington D.C. Temple.President Ballard was assisted in Sunday’s single rededication ceremony by Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy and the Executive Director of the Temple Department, and Elder James B. Martino, a General Authority Seventy and President of the North America Southeast Area. Their wives, Sister Nancy Duncan and Sister Jennie Martino, also participated.While several North Carolina Latter-day Saints such as the Hancocks trace deep roots to the state’s Church history, others such as Holly Springs resident Joanna Backman are transplants. No matter—the Raleigh temple is a spiritual anchor for members of all backgrounds.“I’m grateful to be back,” he told the Church News. “It’s a wonderful part of the country and a tremendously important part of the Church. There are great Saints here in North Carolina.”The edifice was closed in early 2018 for extensive exterior and interior renovations. Workers enclosed the portico and the tower’s steeple now stands 10 feet taller.Temples are physical structures that age. Sometimes they need to be refurbished, refreshed, and even closed for a period. But members of the Raleigh temple district have learned that being a “temple people” is never conditional upon one’s proximity to an operating temple.Almost two decades later—and just five days after observing his 91st birthday—President Ballard, the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, returned to North Carolina on Sunday to rededicate the Raleigh North Carolina Temple. The First Presidency, said President Ballard, “has a sense of urgency to get the temples closer to the people so that they can take care of their family history and the temple work for those they love on the other side of the veil.”A convert from Germany, Backman relocated to North Carolina about a decade ago and worked in the Raleigh temple for several years. Returning to the temple during the recent open house “was such a spiritual experience for me,” she said.
Elder Mason was widely quoted in the media on preventive medicine and received numerous honors. He also was author of numerous articles in the Utah State Medical Association Journal and the USMA supplement to the Western Journal of Medicine. He was licensed in Georgia and Utah and certified in general preventive medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.He jogged throughout his life and with his family hiked and skied. Vision was the watchword that guided his life.Funeral services will be Saturday, October 19, 2019, at 11 a.m. at the Farmington Utah North Stake Center, 729 West Shepard Lane, Farmington, Utah. Public viewings were scheduled for the previous evening and prior to Saturday’s services.In local Church service, he served in the stake presidencies and on the high councils in Boston, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; and Salt Lake City, and was president of the Atlanta Georgia Stake. He served as bishop twice in Salt Lake City—for the University 13th and Ensign 6th wards. He also was a regional representative to the Rock Springs Wyoming and Jacksonville, Tampa, and Tallahassee regions in Florida.In his only general conference address, during the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1994 conference, he said the Church was thriving in Africa despite turmoil and disruption.He served his internship at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore and, after military service, a residency in internal medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Harvard Medical Service.
Elder James O. Mason with his wife, Sister Marie Mason, in 1994. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.In the 1970s, Elder Mason served on the Aaronic Priesthood MIA General Board.Elder Mason served for about four years as assistant secretary for health and head of the U.S. Public Health Service before his call as a General Authority. Previously, he had been director of the Centers for Disease Control, executive director of the Utah Department of Health, associate professor and chairman of the Division of Community Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Church commissioner of health services, and director of the LDS Hospital infectious disease division.He served in the Church’s Africa Area, first as Second Counselor and later as Area President. He later served as Second Counselor in the North America East Area.“I had this very strong and compelling impression that the Lord wanted me to do something in medicine,” he told the Church News in an interview after he was sustained to the Seventy.As a result, he entered the pre-med program at the University of Utah immediately following his marriage. He received bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Utah and a master’s and a doctorate of public health from Harvard University.They were the parents of seven children.Elder Mason, a prominent spokesman for preventive medicine, was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in the April 1994 general conference and was released at the October 2000 conference.Elder Mason was the Church’s commissioner of health services when in 1974 the Church turned over operation of 15 hospitals to a new nonprofit corporation, Intermountain Health Care. The hospitals had been brought into strong economic and quality position so they could be divested from the Church. He retained his post for two more years after the changeover.In 1959 he entered a branch of the U.S. Public Health Service, and at that time he decided he wanted to work in preventive medicine. He also developed an affection for disadvantaged people while at Johns Hopkins.Elder James O. Mason, 89—the former head of the U.S. Public Health Service who also served for five years as a General Authority Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Wednesday, October 9, 2019.After his retirement from government service, the family moved back to Farmington, Utah.Elder Mason served as president of the Bountiful Utah Temple after his release from 2000–2003.James Ostermann Mason was born on June 19, 1930, in Salt Lake City, the son of A. Stanton Mason and Neoma Thorup Mason. He met his wife-to-be, Marie Smith, when her family moved into the East Ensign Ward when they were 13; they were married December 29, 1952, in the Salt Lake Temple. He graduated from West High School.As assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services, he directed the drafting of “Healthy People 2000,” which envisioned how the nation should proceed in health promotion and disease prevention.Elder Mason served a mission to Denmark from 1950-1952, taking time out from engineering studies at the University of Utah. While on his mission, he found he enjoyed interacting with people.
Open house hours include Monday through Wednesday, 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. No tours are given on Sunday. Reservations are not needed. Artistic art glass is located in many areas of the Asunción Paraguay Temple. An instruction room in the Asunción Paraguay Temple. An instruction room in the Asunción Paraguay Temple.A free public open house is set to begin on Saturday, October 12 and go through October 19, 2019, for the renovated Asunción Paraguay Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Asunción Paraguay Temple at night. An instruction room in theof the Asunción Paraguay Temple. The recommend desk of the Asunción Paraguay Temple. Detailed décor in the Asunción Paraguay Temple.The temple will be ” Sunday, November 3, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. (Asunción time) by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The temple will reopen for temple patrons on Tuesday, November 12, 2019. The Asunción Paraguay Temple. Celestial room of the Asunción Paraguay Temple. Detailed décor in the Asunción Paraguay Temple. An instruction room in the Asunción Paraguay Temple. Sealing room in the Asunción Paraguay Temple. Sealing room in the Asunción Paraguay Temple. Celestial room of the Asunción Paraguay Temple.Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1995 to 2008, originally dedicated the Asunción Paraguay Temple on May 19, 2002. The Asunción Paraguay Temple.The Asuncion Temple will serve some 100,000 Church members in Paraguay and the surrounding area. Brides' room of the Asunción Paraguay Temple. The Asunción Paraguay Temple. A waiting area in the Asunción Paraguay Temple. Detailed décor in the Asunción Paraguay Temple. The baptistry of the Asunción Paraguay Temple. The Asunción Paraguay Temple at night.The Asuncion Temple is located at the intersection of Avenida Espana and Avenida Brasilia. It was constructed on the same property as the first chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Paraguay, which was removed to make room for the temple. Adjacent to the temple is a newer chapel/meeting house which was built incorporating one of the historic mansion homes of Asuncion.A stylized version of the Lapacho tree flower, which is the Paraguay National Tree and flower, was used as inspiration throughout the building from the lighting, to decorative paint and color scheme. The Lapacho flower is most commonly found in a lavender color, which was used in the temple’s fabrics, art glass, and even stone. The Spanish Colonial furniture style was inspired by the early architecture and furniture of Paraguay, prior to their destruction during the Paraguayan War. The Asunción Paraguay Temple. The Asunción Paraguay Temple at night. An instruction room in the Asunción Paraguay Temple. The Asunción Paraguay Temple at night.
BYU law student Annemarie Garret joins others from the legal community to participate in a moot court experience. Photo courtesy of Annemarie Garrett.PROVO, UtahFor most would-be attorneys, three years of law school is a sleep-deprived, retire-late-arise-early exercise in mastering the basics of legal research and writing, civil procedure, torts, property, and contract law, and the criminal code—all coupled with in-depth study of a specialized legal field.
She’s a high-performing third-year student at Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School preparing for graduation and a job that waits at a large Utah law firm. And she’s also the mother of seven children—Thomas, Hintze, April, Lily, Nathaniel, Benjamin, and Wallace—and the wife of a bishop.
So how does Annemarie Garrett do it?
“It’s teamwork,” she told the Church News during a rare break from her law school and family duties. “My husband [Jared] and I made this plan together. And as a family, we’re all pitching in together to make it work.”
Jared Garrett calls his wife “a humble person” and “the most disciplined thinker” he’s ever known.
“Her disciplined mind, her hunger for knowledge, and at the heart of it all, her goodness have been major factors of our family being healthy,” he said.
A lifelong Latter-day Saint, Annemarie Garrett grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. In 2003, she claimed an undergraduate degree in theater arts (with a minor in Japanese) at BYU. For the next decade, she focused “mainly on being at home with my kids” and working part time doing Japanese-English translations.
She and Jared Garrett have been married for 21 years after meeting in a writing class at BYU. A convert and a returned missionary, he is an instructional designer and works for BYU. The Garrett children range in age from 8 to 19.
“My oldest is in the MTC about to head to Japan on a mission,” she said.
Becoming a lawyer had not been a lifelong ambition for Annemarie Garrett. Her interest was piqued as an adult as she watched a few friends become legal eagles.
BYU law student Annemarie Garrett worked as a summer associate at Tokyo's Baker McKenzie law firm. She has accepted a position at Utah Kirton McConkie following graduation from BYU Law School. Photo courtesy of Annemarie Garrett.
“But it wasn’t really until we started looking at options for me furthering my education that I really started looking closely at law school. It seemed like a good fit.”
She was also drawn to the affordability and scholarship programs offered by BYU’s law program, which has long been regarded as one of the best values in academia. As a Latter-day Saint, she also appreciates the mission of the Church-owned law school to “teach the laws of men in the light of the laws of God.”
So she crammed for the LSAT, applied, was accepted to BYU Law, and began her studies in the fall of 2017.
Transitioning from stay-at-home mom to full-time BYU law student marked a major life change for all nine of the Garretts. The family had recently moved to Utah County from Washington and were still adjusting to a new neighborhood, a new ward, and new schools.
“It was quite crazy,” Annemarie Garrett said. “But everyone was committed to making it work.”
Her husband initially worked from home and became “the home-based person while I was focused on law school for that first year.”
No surprise, flexibility has become synonymous with the Garrett household. Sometimes she drives the younger kids to school and picks them up after class. Other times, he plays chauffeur when his wife is in class or fulfilling other law school duties.
“I focus on my schoolwork when I’m in the law school building and then, when everything is quiet in the house and people have gone to bed, I’ll study at home for a little while,” she said. “You find time to study, week to week, when time opens up.”
Annemarie and Jared Garrett are the parents of seven children. The family has learned to be flexible and work together while Annemarie studies law at BYU. Photo courtesy of Annemarie Garret.
There’s always a school activity or musical recital to plan around. And the two still make time for weekly dates.
The Garretts have had to define family priorities: What’s important and can’t be missed versus what can be set aside?
“And my husband completely took over the cooking, which has helped a lot. I never have to worry about meal planning or the shopping. He took over those jobs entirely.”
Still, there’s little time to waste. Savvy time management has helped Annemarie Garrett keep up on her unending list of responsibilities.
“I make sure that when I can study, that I’m in the zone,” she said. “Sometimes that takes a real effort to flip the switch, but I don’t really have a lot of leeway.”
Still, life happens. Finding time for family is never a sacrifice, said Annemarie Garrett.
“There have been times when I [planned] to be studying in the evening, but one of my teenagers is up and needs to talk about something, and so you rearrange things,” she said.
“What’s happening in their lives affects my life.”
Her testimony keeps her anchored to her priorities. Prayer provides direction and clarity.
“Just to feel that we are being guided and comforted by the Spirit has been very, very helpful,” she said.
Things have even got a bit busier for the Garretts. Jared Garrett was recently called to be the bishop of the Orem First Ward. “And we’re all very excited about that,” she said.
Despite her brutal schedule, Annemarie Garrett is an outstanding student and has earned a spot near the top of her law class. “I’ve always been a fairly strong writer, and much of law school assessment is based on writing, so that’s been helpful.”
Being a so-called non-traditional student, she added, has also been advantageous. She brings life experience to her studies. “Starting out, I didn’t know anything more about the law than anyone else, but I did have more experiences to filter the things that I was learning.”
Annemarie Garrett has already accepted an offer to work for Utah’s Kirton McConkie law firm following graduation in the spring. She’s not certain which practice area she will begin with, but she has a strong interest in intellectual property litigation.Then there’s Annemarie Garrett.“Law school and life balance” is generally an oxymoron. Just keeping all the proverbial plates spinning is an hour-to-hour task, even for students with few personal responsibilities outside of their studies.
Young women exit a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse. The updated safety guidelines released on October 10, 2019, encourage members to avoid being alone in Church buildings, especially women and youth.Fight“Second, the number-one thing that can help someone if they find themselves in an active shooter situation is to follow the principles of ‘run, hide, fight.’ This approach is taught by law enforcement and security experts around the world,” he said.Guidelines emphasize the importance of relying on local law enforcement during emergency situations, being aware of one’s surroundings, and following promptings of the Holy Ghost. A section dedicated to responding to an armed intruder or active shooter is also included.Read more about the updated safety guidelines in the letter released to Church leaders.Updated safety guidelines for leaders and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were released in a letter from the Presiding Bishopric on October 10. The letter states that due to “changing conditions around the world,” the purpose of the new guidelines is to help leaders and members know how to increase safety at Church buildings. Leaders are invited to discuss the guidelines in stake and ward councils and educate members to address local concerns.Hide A Church member speaks in a Latter-day Saint chapel. The updated safety guidelines released on October 10, 2019, encourage members to always be aware of their surroundings.
At conference.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, click the title of the talk to read the text or watch the video. You may then click the icons at the top of any talk page for additional actions (listen, download, print, share, and watch).He concluded, “Please be assured that revelation continues in the Church and will continue under the Lord’s direction until “the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 142).“We know the restored gospel of Jesus Christ will bring hope and joy to people who will hear and heed His doctrine. We also know that each home can become a true sanctuary of faith, where peace, love, and the Spirit of the Lord may dwell.”“My beloved brothers and sisters, as we come to the end of this historic conference, we thank the Lord for inspiring the messages and the music that have edified us. We have truly enjoyed a spiritual feast,” President Russell M. Nelson said during his closing remarks Sunday afternoon, October 6.The official English text for all the general conference talks from 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now available at conference.ChurchofJesusChrist.org and will soon be in the Gospel Library app. Text in many languages will be posted over the next several days.
While serving as president of the Canada Toronto Mission, he was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1976. From February 1980 to October 1985, he served as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy. Family time was always important to the Ballard Family. From left, Craig, Elder M. Russell Ballard, Tracy and Sister Barbara Ballard, match wits and luck in a board game in the 1980s. Photo courtesy of Church News archives.Here are 23 photos celebrating the life of President Ballard: Elder M. Russell Ballard and his wife, Sister Barbara Ballard, pose after his new calling to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1976. Photo courtesy of Church News archives. Elder M. Russell Ballard, President Boyd K. Packer, Jon M. Huntsman Sr., Bishop H. David Burton, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson at the Baton Rouge Evacuation Center on September 4, 2005, following Hurricane Katrina. Elder Jon M. Huntsman Sr., Peter Huntsman and Elder M. Russell Ballard survey some of the damage following Hurricane Katrina in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, September 4, 2005. M. Russell Ballard, left, worked as the president of Ballard Motor Company, his father’s car dealership, in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of Church News archives. M. Russell Ballard is pictured with his wife, Barbara B. Ballard. They are the parents of two sons and five daughters. Photo courtesy of Church News archives. Elder M. Russell Ballard, right, was a guest of President George Bush at Camp David for the dedication of the new interfaith chapel at the former president’s Maryland retreat. Elder Ballard received a silver tray for the Church’s contribution to the Camp David Chapel Fund Inc. This picture appeared in an April 1991 edition of the Church News. Photo courtesy of Church News archives. President Russell M. Nelson and President M. Russell Ballard pose near the Vatican in Rome, Italy, on March 9, 2019, after meeting with Pope Francis. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Elder M. Russell Ballard and Jon M. Huntsman Sr. are pictured at Waterfall Resort in Alaska in July 1994. They were great friends. Elder Huntsman, a successful businessman who served as an Area Seventy and mission president, passed away in February 2018. Elder Charles Didier and Elder M. Russell Ballard, on front row, mingle with children and others in the congregation when Suriname was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel in February 1990. Photo courtesy of Church News archives. Elder M. Russell Ballard rides in the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Elder M. Russell Ballard gives a talk about families in a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse on May 25, 1980. Pictured with his daughter and son-in-law, he uses his grandson to make a point that no one knows the destiny of a child. Photo courtesy of Church News archives. Michelle Obama, middle, meets with the Elder Quentin L. Cook, left, and Elder M. Russell Ballard, right, at Church Headquarters during a campaign stop in Salt Lake City on behalf of her husband, Sen. Barack Obama, in February 2008.He married Barbara Bowen on August 28, 1951, in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of seven children. Sister Ballard passed away on October 1, 2018, at the age of 86. President Ballard acknowledged the passing of his wife during his October 2018 and October 2019 general conference talks. M. Russell Ballard served twice as a bishop. Here he is pictured with the Holladay 12th Ward, Olympus Stake. Left to right are Glendon M. Whitmore, first counselor; Bishop M. Russell Ballard Jr., and Boyd N. Nielson, second counselor. Photo courtesy of Church News archives. Elder M. Russell Ballard talks about grave sites of Joseph and Hyrum Smith commemoration service June 27, 2002. Jospeh Smith is Elder Ballard’s great-great-great-uncle and Hyrum Smith is his great-great grandfather. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.President Ballard has been serving as the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since January 14, 2018. He was sustained as an Apostle on October 6, 1985. M. Russell Ballard and Barbara Bowen were married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 28, 1951. Elder M. Russell M. Ballard shakes hands with a young child in Moscow, Russia, June 4, 2016. Elder M. Russell Ballard reviews curriculum material at the Church in March 1980. Photo courtesy of Church News archives. Elder M. Russell Ballard, President Howard W. Hunter, and Elder Russell M. Nelson, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, and Elder Dean L. Larsen watch a cornerstone laying for a temple dedication in 1989. Photo courtesy of Church News archives. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, fourth from left; Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the Seventy, third from left; and Sister Cristina B. Franco, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, second from left; gather in prayer with The Reverend Clemons in Houston, Texas, on September 16–17, 2017.On Tuesday, October 8, President M. Russell Ballard celebrates his 91st birthday. Elder M. Russell Ballard speaks during the annual Days of ’47 rodeo at the new state fair park arena in Salt Lake City on July 19, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Elder M. Russell Ballard and his wife, Sister Barbara Ballard, exit at the end of the afternoon session of 187th Semiannual General Conference in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Sister Ballard passed away on October 1, 2018, at age 86. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. M. Russell Ballard as a toddler. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 8, 1928, to Melvin Russell and Geraldine Smith Ballard.
Although a date for the groundbreaking of the Layton Utah Temple has not yet been announced, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a rendering of the design for the temple’s exterior on Wednesday, October 8.
The site for the temple in Layton, Utah, has been designated at the corner of Oak Hills Drive and Rosewood Lane, with plans for a three-story edifice of more than 87,000 square feet.
The Church noted in a Newsroom release that “project leaders are preparing to file additional public documents relating to plans for the temple’s design” and that more details will be forthcoming following that process.
The release of the rendering comes just three days after President Nelson announced eight new temples, including two more for Utah, in Orem and Taylorsville, during the women’s session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference.
With 17 temples currently operating in Utah, additional temples have also been announced for Saratoga Springs, Tooele Valley, and Washington County.
President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson—along with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Katherine—will travel to Asia in mid-November as the prophet continues his worldwide ministry. These global faith leaders will visit four countries in seven days, with trips to Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, and Indonesia, from November 15 to November 22.
In the countries to be visited, there are approximately 30,000 Latter-day Saints, four missions and one recently announced temple in Cambodia.
President Nelson and Elder Christofferson will speak at member meetings with Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith. They will also meet with government and religious leaders of these countries.
This will be the first visit to Vietnam and Cambodia by a Church president in more than 20 years. President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Vietnam and Cambodia in 1996, and Singapore and Indonesia in 2000. No other president of the Church has visited these countries.
President Nelson visited Singapore and Indonesia as an apostle in February 2010. His return in November will mark celebrations of the Church’s 50th anniversaries in these countries.Sunday, November 17–Monday, November 18
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
President Nelson is scheduled to meet with Latter-day Saints in an evening devotional in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, Sunday, November 17, following a VIP reception. On Monday, November 18, a VIP reception and devotional will be held in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam is a country where presence of the Church is relatively new and growing.Tuesday, November 19
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
President Nelson will travel to Cambodia to hold an evening devotional. The event will be transmitted for live viewing by all congregations in Cambodia.
In Cambodia, there are about 15,000 Latter-day Saints in 29 congregations and one mission. The Phnom Penh Cambodia Temple was announced by President Nelson in October 2018 during general conference.Wednesday, November 20
President and Sister Nelson, along with Elder and Sister Christofferson, will travel to Singapore for a member meeting in the evening. The meeting will be translated and transmitted for live viewing by all congregations in Malaysia. About 14,000 members of the Church, in 43 congregations, reside in Singapore and Malaysia. The Church is celebrating 50 years in Singapore this year.Thursday, November 21
The final stop on the Asia ministry is Jakarta, Indonesia, where the senior Church leaders will host a reception and speak at a devotional that will be transmitted for live viewing by all congregations in the country.
About 7,500 Latter-day Saints, in 24 congregations, live in Indonesia, and there is one mission. The Church is celebrating 50 years in Indonesia this year.
Attendees listen during the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on October 6, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Elder Jeffrey R. Holland welcomed members to the 189th Semiannual General Conference of the Church with an invitation to “find Jesus at the center of it all”—including at general conference.[View and download the PDF now.]As a service to readers, the Church News has created a downloadable PDF summarizing each talk offered during general conference October 5–6, 2019:
Starting in January, the youth curriculum will still focus on gospel topics but will be aligned with Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families. This adjustment will further support home-centered gospel learning that has been already seen in Sunday School and Primary, said Brother Owen, Young Men General President.When Come, Follow Me for youth was launched in 2013, Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy said: “This represents a marvelous opportunity for the youth. They will experience things they never felt before, and they will become different from the world.”Brother Russell T. Osguthorpe, then-Sunday School General President, said the curriculum was designed to help youth deepen their understanding of gospel doctrine.More information about the youth curriculum adjustment in 2020 will be forthcoming.“We wanted to teach for conversion and not just for increasing knowledge,” Brother Osguthorpe said. “If we just increase knowledge, then that’s not enough. It’s harder for the youth to go out and live it unless they become converted to it.”As Church leaders announced in a worldwide presentation on September 29 about the new Children and Youth program, Come, Follow Me will be an integral part of the gospel living component of the initiative.“This is a small change, but it can make a big impact on the spiritual nourishment of the youth,” he said.A slight adjustment to Come, Follow Me curriculum for Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women meetings was announced by Brother Stephen W. Owen in the Saturday morning session of general conference.
Come, Follow Me for 2020 will focus on the study of the Book of Mormon. The manuals for individuals and families, Sunday School, and Relief Society are now available online and in the Gospel Library app.Gospel study for 2020 will focus on teachings found in the The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Digital copies of the manuals for individuals and families, Sunday School and Primary have already been released and can be found in the Gospel Library app and on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The first few videos of the Book of Mormon series have also been released to coincide with the curriculum for 2020.In March, the Church announced an alignment for seminary curriculum that began summer 2019. Youth are studying the New Testament for the remainder of the year and will shift to the Book of Mormon in January 2020.“We think this is a tremendous development at this time when our young people need evermore strength,” said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in a video about the seminary curriculum schedule. “We think is a wonderful alignment … with what the rest of the Church is doing. And we believe that it’s going to be wonderfully symbiotic with the … Church-supported—and now we add Seminary supported—home-centered, gospel study.”
Elder Dallin Thompson, the missionary who was critically injured last month in a vehicle accident in Canada, has been moved back to his home state for continued treatment.
“That’s a good thing,” the missionary’s mother, Holly Thompson, told the Church News. “We’re closer to our family and our support system now.”
Elder Thompson, 19, of Sahuarita, Arizona, and his companion, Elder Bryant Keck, 19, of Sanford, Colorado, were driving September 13 in Kamloops, British Columbia, when their vehicle collided with a truck.
Elder Keck died a few days after the accident. Elder Thompson remained in a Vancouver-area hospital until he could be safely transported to a hospital in Arizona last Sunday.
The two elders were assigned to the Canada Vancouver Mission.
Holly Thompson said her son “continues to make progress.”
“He’s speaking a little more, and yesterday he threw a little football. That was exciting.”
Elder Thompson’s recovery is happening slowly—“but it seems like he just keeps doing new things each day, which is really good,” said his mother.
The missionary has also been moved out of the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Latter-day Saints and others across the globe have prayed for both Elder Keck and Elder Thompson and their families. Holly Thompson said they have been strengthened by the love and concern of others, be they friends or strangers.
“We have felt it worldwide, from every continent and from people we know and people we don’t know,” she said. “It’s definitely been a support for us.”
Holly Thompson said she was able to get to know Elder Keck’s mother, Kjerstina Keck, when the two of them were in Canada following the accident.
“She is an amazing lady who has a very strong spirit. She has been super supportive of us through all of this.”
Knowing so many people are concerned for Elder Thompson’s well-being, his mother was eager to share a few things about her son, who enjoys distance running and having fun.
“He’s a real easy-going kid (who) makes friends with everyone,” she said. “He worked hard to go on a mission—it’s what he really wanted to do.”
Elder Thompson arrived in the Vancouver mission last summer. He was welcomed by his mission president and his wife, President G. Blake Wahlen and Sister Jana Lee Wahlen. The Wahlens met the young elder at the Provo Missionary Training Center when they were all preparing for their respective assignments.
“Elder Thompson was part of the first group of missionaries we welcomed to the mission,” said President Wahlen.
Holly and Jared Thompson and their four children belong to the Anamax Ward, Sahuarita Arizona Stake. Dealing with the accident has been understandably difficult for Elder Thompson’s three younger siblings.
“But they’re doing well,” said Holly Thompson. “They were able to see him Monday. They are excited to have their brother home and to be able to see him.”
“Though we lost everything,” she said, “we still have to recognize the blessings of what we have. We are so appreciative. We’ll make it through.”Local resident Ebony Sparks, who had lived in her home all her life, was well aware of the storm and had been watching the weather. At 4 a.m., she and her husband, Christopher, could see water rising in the streets but were not alarmed. In just two short hours, water covered the streets and seeped into her home. They barely had time to gather some valuables before they were wading through waist-deep water to higher ground with some neighbors. The Chambers Branch chapel in the heavily impacted town of Winnie, Texas. Photo by Kelly Foss. Father and daughter team Jared and Elizabeth Mangum volunteer to serve after the storm. Photo by Kelly Foss. Elisa Zepepa's home after mucking and gutting is almost complete. Photo by Kelly Foss. A fresh work crew is ready, willing, and able to help some of the many families in need. Photo by Kelly Foss. The CrisisCleanup.org program has dramatically improved the efficiency of work crews by being able to keep track of many jobs in many places being done at the same time. Photo by Kelly Foss.Ricky Westbrook, the elders quorum president of the Chambers Branch in Winnie, Texas, was responsible for organizing work crews and sending them to homes that needed help in that area. A local resident, Westbrook acted as liaison between the work crews and the homeowners. Farther down the street, Martha Chisom and her dog, Penny, had a similar experience. After a kind neighbor called her in the middle of the night to warn her about the flooding, Martha and Penny ended up wading through waist-high floodwaters with their neighbors’ help. They went from a boat to a school bus and finally to a local grocery store where evacuees gathered. Elizabeth Mangum helps with cleanup in the home of Church member Fele Hernandez. Photo by Kelly Foss.Tropical Storm Imelda, which hit the southeast coast of Texas on September 19, continues to be a source of mystery to local residents in the hardest hit area from Winnie to Orange, Texas. To have as much as 40 inches of rain fall in a 24-hour period is unprecedented, but to also have it fall in such a small area surprised most local residents. Members of the Houston 4th and 8th Spanish Wards don yellow Helping Hands shirts before volunteering to help those in need. Photo by Kelly Foss.Martha’s newly constructed retirement bungalow had been completed just shortly before the floods came. As a woman of faith, she said the experience caused her to reevaluate her priorities. “I do a little volunteering, but this lets me know I don’t do enough. … There’s not a reason that I can’t volunteer more … and I can do that, I can do that well.”With Imelda, even rural areas were not spared. Fele Hernandez, a long-term resident and member of the Chambers Branch of the Beaumont Texas Stake living in the Hamshire area, experienced enormous amounts of water build-up around her home. Even after hours and days of hard work, just in this small community alone, there were still more than 250 homes in need of basic mucking and gutting.Her neighbor and fellow Church member, Elisa Zepeda, lost all her home furnishings, now piled in a row on the front of her property. Her three vehicles were also written off because of water damage. A wall board is cut on a straight line. Everything below the line will be removed and discarded. Photo by Kelly Foss. Ebony Sparks and her husband, Christopher, adjust to the harsh reality of a flooded home. Ebony expressed sincere gratitude for the help from Church members. Photo by Kelly Foss.
Church member Matt Albrecht helps a disabled homeowner register for a Helping Hands crew to work on his home. Photo by Kelly Foss.Missionaries from the Texas Houston East Mission came to help clean up.floodwaters contain all types of contaminants—like sewer runoff, lawn chemicals, and other pollutants. Flood-damaged homes need to have all floor covering and home items damaged from the floods removed and unceremoniously heaped on the curb for city disposal to haul away.Volunteers from the Richmond stake—which included members from English wards, two Spanish wards and the Vietnamese branch assigned to their stake—would get up early, make the 100-mile trip, work hard all day, and then go home until the next scheduled shift. A wheelbarrow with debris is removed from Ebony and Christopher Sparks' home. Photo by Kelly Foss. Interior walls are removed, a necessary part of the process to muck and gut homes after flood damage. Photo by Kelly Foss. Elisa Zepeda, whose home was flooded, stands in front of the long pile of debris, her soaked home furnishings and interior walls. Photo by Kelly Foss.Volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have massed in the area in the days following the storm with approximately 200 10-man teams of workers to further help victims of the floods clean out their homes in preparation for reconstruction work.Her father, a pastor who was out of town, had been praying all night that somehow help would come to assist them in the overwhelming task of cleaning out their home. Just as they arrived at their home to begin the cleanup work, a yellow-shirted work crew from the Cypress Stake was there waiting for them.The process of cleaning out a flooded home is a massive and exhausting task, and local residents—often overwhelmed by the magnitude of the cleanup—were profoundly grateful for the help the member volunteers offered.President John Bartlett, first counselor in the stake presidency of the Richmond Texas Stake, one of 20 stakes mobilized to provide assistance to homeowners, said, “The response on the part of the Church volunteers has been incredible, everybody is happy to be here.”In the city of Beaumont, several isolated neighborhoods had massive flooding. The Cypress Texas Stake was assigned to help people in the area around Fehl-Price Elementary School, which itself was flooded. Additionally, sheet-rock wall boards need to be removed several feet above the high-water mark because the water seeps upwards in the walls. This is called “mucking and gutting.”Times of difficulties are when communities come together—when churches, relief agencies, and local governments unite to help those affected. In addition to tens of thousands of service hours, the Church also made other significant contributions of material to help sustain individuals and to provide supplies to other agencies for distribution as they discover those in need. The City of Beaumont will work for weeks to remove the piles of debris taken from flooded homes. Photo by Kelly Foss.
Fele Hernandez points at the high-water flood level as massive rain and flooding quickly inundated their area. Photo by Kelly Foss.Volunteers pull down damaged sheet rock wall board to be taken to the curb for removal. Photo by Kelly Foss. Chambers Branch elders quorum president Ricky Westbrook busily assigns work crews to homes in need of flood cleanup. Photo by Kelly Foss.Once floodwaters recede, the remaining debris is removed, the interior of the home is gutted and is then dried and treated with anti-mold chemicals. Homeowners are then able to live in the house with little risk of mold while waiting for contractors to reconstruct the home’s interior.Stirling Pack, the Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Houston Texas Region, noted: “There is great joy in service. It can be very, very hard work sometimes, but the difference that it can make in the lives of people, all of whom are God’s children, can be of great significance, even life-changing.”“We’ll stay,” Fele said. “We’ll clean it up and go on.”
Elder Gary E. Stevenson and Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles talk prior to the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Daily repentance, service, and love for one’s fellow men, continually striving to become more like Christ by following His example and making and keeping covenants with the Lord were some of the themes that speakers touched on during the Sunday afternoon session.President Eyring shared his own personal experience of entering the temple for the first time and the great feeling of peace and happiness he felt there and how such feelings continue to bless his life. Next year, general conference in April will be different than any previous conference experienced by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson said as he addressed Church members during the final session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference on Sunday, October 6.Prayers were offered by Elder Jack N. Gerard, General Authority Seventy, and Brother Douglas D. Holmes, First Counselor in the Young Men General Presidency. Music for the session was provided by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square under the direction of Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy with Richard Elliott on the organ.In closing his opening address, President Eyring said, “God the Father lives and loves us. He wants us to come home to Him in families. Our loving Savior invites us to follow Him on our journey there. They have prepared the way.”In addition to building anticipation for next year, President Nelson’s closing remarks highlighted changes to the questions bishops ask when assessing the readiness of members to attend the temple. Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Elder Gerrit W. Gong, Elder Dale G. Renlund, Elder Ulisses Soares, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, and Elder Ronald A. Rasband talk prior to the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson, center, shakes hands with General Authorities after the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Following the President is President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News. President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, leaves the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.Striving to be more holy and to share the blessings of the temple with others are key components of helping move the work of the restored gospel forward, President Nelson noted. The year 2020 will mark the bicentennial of the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith, President Nelson noted, adding: “I hope that every member and every family will prepare for a unique conference that will commemorate the very foundations of the restored gospel.” “The crowning jewel of the Restoration is the holy temple,” he said. “Its sacred ordinances and covenants are pivotal to preparing a people who are ready to welcome the Savior at His Second Coming.”President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, opened the final session of the conference by speaking about the importance of individual holiness and the plan of happiness.
Affirming the eternal nature of every individual and child of God, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, stated, “This is who you really are, and who you have always been: a son or daughter of God, with spiritual roots in eternity and a future overflowing with infinite possibilities. You are—first, foremost and always—a spiritual being.” Elder Peter M. Johnson, General Authority Seventy, speaks during the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Elder Ulisses Soares of the Twelve Apostles gives a thumbs-up prior to the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.Others speakers from the session touched on the importance of the things that help bring about greater holiness. Sisters Marisol De Anda and Andrea Iguodala attend the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, gives a thumbs-up prior to the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Increasing in holiness is the only path to happiness, President Eyring said. “Only by faith in Jesus Christ, continuing repentance, and keeping covenants are we able to claim the lasting happiness we yearn to experience and retain.” Blanca Quispe, Brittany Calani, Aurelia Herrera, and Elsa Calani of Bolivia attend the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.President Nelson urged Church members to prepare for the upcoming conference by pondering questions they may have about the restoration and immersing themselves in the light of the Restoration through diligent study of the gospel, including the Book of Mormon and Come, Follow Me. President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, leave following the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Following President Nelson and his wife is President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, left, and President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.Other speakers from the Sunday afternoon session included Elder Neil L. Andersen and Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and Elder Hans T. Boom and Elder Peter M. Johnson, General Authority Seventies.President Nelson added, as he concluded the conference, “I leave with you my love and my blessing that each of you may become happier and holier with each passing day.” President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, speaks during the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.