That was the good news being reported September 19 by the Philippines Area Newsroom.Ninety-six chapels or meetinghouses were used as evacuation centers, which housed more than 4,000 evacuees composed of both members and those of other faiths. Priesthood leaders prepared food and water prior to the typhoon, which were provided to all those who took shelter in the meetinghouses.LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, in coordination with the Helping Hands volunteers of the Church, were packing relief goods Wednesday. The provisions are expected to be distributed to impacted areas in coming days.Mission emergency plans were activated as mission presidents mobilized to ensure missionaries were in safe and secure locations, were transferred to higher ground, and had emergency kits with them at all times.Local Church leaders were planning to distribute 3,000 food kits to Benguet Province, 2,000 food kits for Cagayan Province, and an additional 2,000 kits will be distributed in the Ilocos Norte Province.No Latter-day Saints living in the path of Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines were killed and injured, and all missionaries in impacted regions in the Asian island nation are safe and accounted for.The massive storm caused deaths, landslides, damage to homes, and power outages.Rapid assessments were immediately done after the typhoon, and the Church is working with local vendors to secure food, water and other basic supplies, according to the report.In a radio interview, the Provincial Governor of Cagayan expressed appreciation to the Church for opening its doors to evacuees, according to the report.The current emergency response initiative of LDS Charities is in partnership with Humanitarian Response Consortium, Alagang Kapatid Foundation, Kaya Natin Movement, and Angat Buhay Program.The staging centers for the repacking of goods will be in the Tuguegarao North Stake Center for Tuguegarao; Legarda Stake Center for Baguio; and San Nicolas Chapel for Laoag, Ilocos Norte.
Camps and other outdoor activities will be a part of the new children and youth experiences the Church is currently developing for 2020.President M. Russell Ballard recently emphasized the need to find new ways to bless the children and youth of the Church.To read the new frequently asked questions and answers, visit childrenandyouth.lds.org.“We have been considering for many years how we can best meet the needs of a worldwide Church. Our children and youth in every part of the world are so precious to us. We have a deep desire to help them strengthen faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and feel of His love,” President Ballard said.In response to these questions, two new frequently asked questions and answers have been posted on childrenandyouth.lds.org.The frequently asked questions explain that “camps and other outdoor activities will be an important part of gospel learning, building relationships, and strengthening faith in Jesus Christ.”On May 8 of this year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced plans for new resources for girls and boys, young women, and young men coming in 2020. Some have wondered if camps and activities would continue to be a part of the experience for children and youth.
The Church’s opposition to Proposition 2 should not be interpreted as an effort to simply table the medical marijuana issue. Instead, it is prompted by a “great urgency” to care for those in dire need of care.Church leaders are in hopes the Utah Legislature will legalize safe and responsible medical marijuana use in a special session by the end of the year.All three of the Church leaders spoke of their empathy and compassion for people, including many children, who suffer each day with chronic and debilitating pain. They have spent time with many of them. The parents and caregivers of those in need, they added, also deserve help.“We believe this proposition loses sight of our real purpose, which is to relive pain and suffering, and if passed, could become a slippery slope to unintended uses of marijuana,” he said.“Proposition 2 is not the answer,” said Elder Gerard. “We are in favor of appropriate use of medicinal marijuana, and it’s our view that by calling upon our legislature and local leaders, we can quickly find an appropriate resolution.”Additional information about the Church’s opposition to Proposition 2—and its combined efforts with others in the community to find a better solution—can be found at MormonNewsroom.org.Elder Gerard said states with laissez-faire marijuana policies, such as Colorado, have witnessed increases in teen recreational use, auto fatalities, and other adverse consequences.The Proposition 2 initiative “goes far beyond what we consider the appropriate use of medical cannabis,” said Elder Craig C. Christensen, a General Authority Seventy and President of the Church’s Utah Area.In appropriate circumstances, the Church supports the use of medicinal marijuana when it is distributed correctly to people enduring chronic pain and suffering.
But the medical marijuana initiative that Utahns will vote on in November is not the right solution, it says.The Church is not alone in its rejection of Proposition 2. It is part of a broad coalition of medical professionals, educators, law enforcement officials, and fellow religious leaders who are united in their opposition of the initiative.Elder Christensen, along with fellow General Authority Seventy Elder Jack N. Gerard and Sister Lisa L. Harkness, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, met with the Church News on September 19 to discuss the Church’s opposition to the ballot initiative.“We joined this coalition so we can come to a Utah solution that works,” said Sister Harkness.“We are one voice in the chorus,” said Elder Gerard.As a mother and a grandmother, Sister Harkness said she grieves for anyone who has to watch a child or loved one suffer. The Church is working to find responsible legislation that would allow patients to have legal access to appropriate dosages of cannabis under the direction of their doctors.Elder Christensen said the medical marijuana initiative that will soon be in front of Utah voters does not do enough to protect vulnerable members of the community, including children and teens.The leadership of the Church is eager for pain-ridden patients to find relief as quickly as possible. When responsible controls are in place, medical marijuana is an acceptable option for those who need it most.
But aside from all the ceremonial parts of the celebration, Dennis expressed how wonderful it was to be amongs a large group where everyone was speaking Welsh.For the last 40 years, Dennis has had an admitted “bee in his bonnet” regarding the Welsh language and culture.Of the prestige that comes from being made a Bard, he added, “It really is quite amazing. They have a few awards for Welsh people from outside Wales that have contributed to Welsh culture and society … but it’s really quite rare.”The plaque was commissioned and created by the Llanelli Community Heritage group, who wanted to honor the key piece of history. After organizing the plaque installation, they worked with local Church history specialist Jill Morgan and local Latter-day Saints to include the Church in the unveiling efforts.
In a ceremony sponsored by the Llanelli Community Heritage Group, Dr. Ronald Dennis unveils a blue plaque marking the former location of the historic Church building known as the Island Place Meeting House. Photo courtesy of Grant Vaughn.Built near the center of the small town, the building drew large crowds of people looking to learn more about the new faith coming from America. Although humble in appearance, the chapel could accommodate more than 1,000 visitors, according to a letter written by Dan Jones to Parley P. Pratt following the dedication of the building on January 28.Having begun his work approximately 40 years ago, Dennis has published nearly 6,000 pages of the periodical Zion’s Trumpet as well as pamphlets, journals, and other documents of the Church there. And if anyone—whether an academic or an individual researching their family history—wants to know something about the Church in Wales, Dennis and his website Welsh Mormon History are usually the first sources to which they turn.“I’ve set up an endowment so that young students can keep working on it and expanding it, doing sourcing and connecting it to Family Tree and that sort of thing,” Dennis said.Pointing to Doctrine and Covenants section 123, in which Joseph Smith encouraged Church members to gather and document the atrocities committed against them for their faith, Dennis said he takes that commission by extension to gather and document opposition that occurred anywhere. “So that’s what I am doing,” Dennis said.“One of my responsibilities as a Church history specialist is to document sites of interest to the Church,” Morgan said. And when approached for help to find a well-known Church member to participate in unveiling the plaque to the public, Morgan said Dennis immediately came to mind.A mission on the earthAnd although he hopes others will carry on his work, Dennis said he recognizes that the barrier of the Welsh language has given him an unintended monopoly on his area of research.Ever since he began researching his Welsh ancestry, he has felt driven to unearth more and more information about his ancestors as well as the general history of Church members in Wales. But it wasn’t long after beginning his personal challenge to research the Church in Wales that Dennis realized a giant road block in his research would be the Welsh language.The honor of becoming a Welsh BardThere is a phrase that is common to Church members regarding how each person has a mission they need to complete on this earth, Dennis explained.“He is generally recognized as the ‘go-to man,’” Morgan said. “What he’s done is invaluable and certainly inspired.”On August 25 of this year, Ronald Dennis, an emeritus professor at Brigham Young University and great-great-grandchild of Dan Jones, was invited to unveil one of the United Kingdom’s well-recognized blue plaques to commemorate the old chapel and the presence of early Church members in Wales.While this historic building, commonly known as the Island Place Meeting House, was demolished just over 10 years ago, its presence and the historic role it played for Church members from Wales has not been forgotten.In 1849, a small chapel located in Llanelli, Wales, was dedicated for use by Dan Jones, president of the Welsh Mission at the time. It was the second building constructed and dedicated by members of the newly formed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—the first was the Kirtland Temple—and the first built outside of the United States.“It’s a nice circle of sorts,” Morgan said. “Dan Jones was able to bring people to a knowledge of the gospel through writing in their language, and Ron has turned that back into English for those of us who don’t have that knowledge or skill.” Chair of the Carmathenshire County Council, Councilor Mansel Charles, Plaid Cymru of Llanegwad, speaks with Dr. Ronald Dennis, who was recently inducted into the Gorsedd of the Bards in Wales for his extensive translation work of many Welsh Church history documents. Photo courtesy of Grant Vaughn.The Gorsedd induction is held annually as part of a Welsh National Eisteddfod—a weeklong celebration of Welsh culture and language. And for the Gorsedd ceremony, there is pageantry that goes along with it, Dennis explained, detailing the horns blowing, flower girls dancing, people singing, and everyone arriving dressed in regalia particular to the Eisteddfod.As far as Dennis is aware, he is the first Church member to be inducted into the Gorsedd, and more particularly, he is the first to be inducted specifically for Church-related contributions.“Oh, to speak English is heresy,” Dennis said, explaining how the groups involved in the Eisteddfod are all working to preserve and elevate the status of the Welsh culture and language. “That’s what they want more than anything else; it’s almost like a religion.”Even though Dennis said he hopes others will carry on his work once he is no longer able to, there are still two major projects he wants to complete. First, he wants to finish the biography he is writing about Dan Jones. And second, he wants to gather up and translate all the “anti-Mormon” literature he has found from the 1840s and ’50s.“Well, I feel that’s been my mission here, and I’ve been happy to do it,” he said. And even though he spent years learning and teaching Portuguese, he added, “My true love is Welsh and the history of the Latter-day Saints.”“It’s important to them and it’s a big, popular event,” Vaughn said.In the 1840s and ’50s, much of the Welsh population still primarily used Welsh, so missionaries and Church leaders like his great-great-grandfather took on the task of producing Church materials for the people in their own language. As such, most Church records, as well as a Church periodical called Prophet of the Jubilee and later Zion’s Trumpet, were all produced completely in 19th-century Welsh.Since that time, he has returned to Wales nearly 25 times for extended visits to continue his work of researching the Church as well as leading tours that help others of Welsh descent to connect to their relatives, both living and deceased.Recognition for the pastJust two weeks prior to the plaque unveiling, the 78-year-old Dennis was inducted into the Gorsedd of the Bards in Wales. It’s an honor comparable to the United States’ Presidential Medal of Freedom civilian award, explained Grant Vaughn, a federal attorney and close friend of Dennis who assists him with his research.Taking care to ensure all his work is freely accessible to all, Dennis has worked with the Welsh National Library as well as the BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy to guarantee perpetuity of his work and to allow students and other researchers to add to it.He was honored in the category of “arts and letters” for his extensive work in translating and making available many documents regarding Church history in Wales.“The fact that he was being made a Bard was what swung it with the Llanelli Community Heritage,” Morgan said, noting that the honor alone gave him enough prestige to be considered for the unveiling.She added that while the group was likely hoping for someone a little more famous to the general public, since Dennis’s great-great-grandfather was the one who dedicated the original building, it was appropriate for him to be the one involved.And considering it was Dennis’s ancestor Dan Jones who played a key role in making Church doctrine and materials accessible for members in the Welsh language in the 19th century, it seems fitting that his descendant is the one translating his work into English to make it more widely accessible over 140 years later.Since retiring from being a professor 14 years ago, Dennis has spent the majority of his time continuing his Welsh research. In that time he has published nine volumes of Zion’s Trumpet, which he explained average about 400 pages each. And although it’s always been something he loves doing, he said it has gotten a lot easier with the improvements of computers and website databases.“I’m not particularly fond of [the pageantry], but I thought it might reflect well on the Church to have somebody that has investigated the history of [the Church] in Wales in the 19th century,” Dennis said.“But someone needs to do it, and I’m happy to do it for as long as I can,” he said. “My purpose in doing this is simply to make it known to historians and descendants of the early converts. But this is a body of knowledge that is important to our history and has not been previously known, and I just want to make it known that it is available.”Unwilling to let a language barrier stop him from learning more, Dennis took it upon himself to learn Welsh. In 1976, while he was still working as a professor of Portuguese at BYU, Dennis decided to take a sabbatical to Wales, where he spent six months immersing himself in the language as much as possible.The circle of ancestors and language
It’s also hot in Wilmington, with high temperatures and high humidity forecast for the coming days. So many of the local Relief Society sisters with air-conditioned homes are hosting ward members who have lost power.“Everybody is trying to help each other out,” she said.Gasoline in the greater Wilmington area is a precious commodity with people needing to refuel their generators. “We still have a lot of people without electricity.”North Carolina Wilmington Stake President David Glew said the minute-to-minute efforts of Pierce and other “outstanding Relief Society leaders” in his besieged stake are ministering to many in need.Pierce deflects any praise for her actions. She agrees the circumstances of her ministering were far from ideal. The storm displaced her for several days. She was sleeping and eating in a public shelter.Meanwhile, floodwaters are invading the streets and homes of many in the city of Lumberton in southern North Carolina. Relief Society sisters there have utilized all available resources to keep tabs on one another. Some have shared water and flashlights. Another sister picked up a prescription for a women who was staying in a shelter. Others have taken in entire families.Duty called Karen Pierce, even from her Red Cross-provided cot in the hallway of an elementary school where she found shelter from Hurricane Florence’s deadly winds and rains.“Everyone is working together,” she said. “We will help one another out and get through this.”Meanwhile, Meadows and her fellow ward Relief Society sisters are anxious to pull on their yellow Helping Hands shirts and vests and serve anyone in their community in need.“It’s going to be a long recovery for our members, but their faith and resilience are amazingly strong,” he said.The Hampstead Ward Relief Society president knew people were depending upon her. “So I pulled out my ward list of single sisters and started calling. … I wanted them to know that someone was thinking about them; that they were not alone.”“Most of them are right in the heart of [the disaster],” she said.Tart agreed that coordination before, during, and after the hurricane between priesthood and Relief Society leaders at both the stake and ward leaders in the greater Fayetteville area is resulting in optimal service for those in need. “This has taken ministering to a whole new level.”Hurricane Florence may be history, but inundated waterways remain grave concerns. On Tuesday, 16 rivers across North Carolina were reportedly at major flood stage. The Cape Fear River near downtown Wilmington was expected to crest Tuesday.Pam Meadows, the president of the Wilmington 1st Ward Relief Society, said the sisters and priesthood brethren in her ward are also working together to ensure fellow members have adequate food, water, and fuel.Local Relief Society leaders in North Carolina such as Pierce are playing key roles in making life a bit easier for fellow ward members and neighbors affected by Hurricane Florence. They will be relied upon even more in the coming days and weeks as Latter-day Saints recover from a catastrophe that has claimed more than 30 lives, forced legions into shelters, and left hundreds of thousands without power.“But I felt very blessed,” she told the Church News. She was safe. She was dry. She could serve.Hampstead Ward Relief Society President Karen Pierce was finally able to leave the shelter on Sunday. There are leaks in the roof of her home and she can only guess when electrical power will return to her community. But she continues to make welfare calls and, when the roads are traversable, she visits her Relief Society sisters. Members clad in yellow Helping Hands vests help repair roof of damaged home on Harkers Island, North Carolina, following Hurricane Florence. Local Relief Society and priesthood leaders have joined forces to minister to fellow members in need. Photo courtesy of Mariah Gillikin.Members of the Wilmington 2nd Ward have been staggered by a one-two punch from Florence and subsequent flooding. Relief Society president Rosemary Abrams said many families in her ward are experiencing significant flooding in their homes. But by combining forces, the priesthood and Relief Society members have been quick to respond.“But there are other sisters who have eight inches of water in their homes or they have cars that won’t start because of the flooding,” she said.“There’s a lot of service going on,” she said.North Carolina Fayetteville Stake Relief Society president Janet Tart said it is humbling to watch the devotion and capacity of the women serving across her flood-damaged stake. From impacted units she hears accounts of individual ministering. Many of the sisters are dealing with their own challenges even as they claim opportunities to serve others.Much of the most meaningful service, she added, is happening ”one-on-one“ across the Kinston stake as Relief Society sisters and others reach out to storm-weary families and provide them with, say, a warm meal or a warm shower.“We’re going to have an awful lot of work to do” in the coming days and weeks, said Pierce.Taylor has also been invigorated by cooperation stretching across religious congregations. Many Latter-day Saints in Greenville, for example, donated food, diapers, and others provisions to a local Christian church for distribution to those in need.Relief Society sisters are delivering food and water to families and making frequent welfare visits. Abrams counts herself among the lucky homeowners in waterlogged Wilmington. She has plenty of food and water and the damage to her property was limited to a few fallen trees.Units such as the New Bern Ward and the Harkers Island Ward in the Kinston North Carolina Stake were severely impacted by Hurricane Florence. Stake Relief Society president Kelly Taylor said effective coordination between the sisters and the local priesthood leaders has allowed for effective service.
“Anxiety can be exceedingly, exceedingly uncomfortable,” said licensed psychologist Debra Theobald McClendon.McClendon also addressed anxiety management techniques, citing a theory that says, “You feel the way you think.”“Anxiety gets progressively more intense as it goes along if you don’t intervene,” McClendon said. “When we let our anxiety get out of control, it starts to control us.”Anxiety becomes a problem, however, when it becomes so high that a person is unable to cope. This can look like a number of things such as severe shyness, panic attacks, or agoraphobia, which means “fear of the marketplace” and describes when a person becomes essentially homebound because they’re so afraid of being in crowded places.“There weren’t terms for that when I was growing up,” she said. “You just muddled through.”For example, scrupulosity may make a person unsure if the Spirit is telling them to confess something to their bishop, with the intense guilt making promptings difficult to discern.Anxiety can also cause scrupulosity, which McClendon described as “basically someone’s anxiety hijacks their religion.” This means simple things like scripture study or praying can cause tremendous guilt.In addition, the Spirit is encouraging and helps people act with intent, whereas anxiety is condemning and urgent; the Spirit gives clarity and hope and allows people time and space to ponder, while anxiety is confusing, impulsive, and creates despair and less stability.Exposure therapy can be difficult because the discomfort creates a strong desire to avoid the situation; however, “Just remember, anxiety does not last forever,” McClendon said, adding that repeated thoughts over time lose power.“You don’t ever let anyone know … just how sophisticated your coping mechanisms can get,” she said. “I could see that with myself just over and over again, just with people and the dance we do to make sure everyone else thinks we’re fine.”She also reminded listeners, “Normal is not symptom-free.” This means people should accept the nature and reality of where they’re presently at.“Don't think it’s just going to pass over, because I did that for so many years,” she said. “You don’t need to keep it to yourself. … It’s just another trial that you are put on this earth to deal with, and it will make you stronger eventually.”However, “When you feel anxious, it’s OK because it’s normative. The question is what you do with it that can be helpful or not,” she said.Linda and Eve Crawford, a mother and daughter from Colorado, attended the session together. Linda said the more she helps her son through anxiety, the more she realizes she has the same issues.“Confront the fear and you’ll defeat it,” she said.McClendon explained that anxiety is normal and protective; it helps people anticipate future danger, and in moderate doses, it improves performance. Lower anxiety produces lower proficiency. For example, an Olympic gold medal winner isn’t necessarily the best athlete, but they’re probably the person who manages their anxiety most effectively.“I think we fight a lot in life,” she said. “We don’t like what’s happening. We fight against it, we push against it. And I think the fighting … intensifies a lot of our own anxiety, a lot of our own stress.”Linda Crawford said her biggest takeaway was the breakdown of coping mechanisms, particularly avoidance.These thoughts can be overcome, however, through exposure to the fear, either with “in vivo” techniques, where a person faces a real-life situation, or imaginal techniques, where a person works mentally through a situation. Exposure eventually leads to habituation, the state where a person feels comfortable with what previously made them anxious.Eve Crawford said she’s known for a while she has anxiety, and she’s trying to get better at developing coping mechanisms before she leaves on a mission to Barcelona, Spain. She hopes people with anxiety don’t “bottle it up” but seek help and become comfortable with having anxiety. It’s also important that those with anxiety accept they may be judged for having it.Some of these distorted thoughts include assuming people are reacting negatively to them (“mindreading”), assuming the worst possible outcome (“fortune telling”), or “should” and “could” statements (“I should’ve done this better”).“If we make an action [based] on what the Spirit is telling us … then discomfort diminishes,” she said. “Whereas anxiety continues to grow … worry, panic, [and a] sense of crisis.”In addition, “anxiety is future-oriented,” she said. “When you find yourself feeling anxious … one of the biggest interventions is simply to remember that and pull yourself back into the present moment.”Stand in front of a clock and breath in and out, as hard and as quick as you can, for one minute. Your throat will go dry, you’ll feel ready to pass out, and you might gain some sympathy for people who experience these symptoms as part of anxiety.However, McClendon compared the Spirit and anxiety, pointing out that if someone truly needed to confess, they would have a sense of peace and comfort even though they’d naturally be uncomfortable going to the bishop.“Anxiety comes from distorted, illogical thoughts or self-talk,” she said. “You’re telling yourself things that aren’t true, but you’re buying it because these physical sensations … are so powerful.”McClendon explored the differences between healthy and debilitating anxiety during an August 22 BYU Education Week presentation titled “Anxious, Anyone? The Adaptive and Maladaptive Power of Anxiety: Anxiety vs. the Spirit, and Theoretical Approaches to Treatment.”If you know someone with anxiety and think they blow it out of proportion, try hyperventilating.“Acceptance does not mean that we don’t work to improve our situation,” she said. “But what it does means is we accept where we are … [and then] you’re free to say, ‘Well what can we do about it?’”“If I didn’t have any anxiety about performing in front of all of you, I wouldn’t prepare,” McClendon said. “Think about how your anxiety has helped you in the past—giving a talk in church, giving a presentation at work, [or] taking an exam. … If you can manage your anxiety, you will perform better.”She also cited the mantra “If you won’t have it, you will,” meaning when someone is determined not to become worked up over something, they tend to actually get worked up over it.
“There are other things that we can do to enhance our ability to receive revelation, including expanding our understanding of the truth that revelation comes in the manner and timing that God determines,” he said. “We need to recognize that His goal is not just to give us instruction but to help us become like Him.”He shared three points of how a person can increase his or her ability to receive and recognize revelation.The “line-upon-line” revelation, although less obvious, is equally powerful, he said. And yet, even though people may be doing better than what they initially think, there is still room for improvement, Worthen said.At times, the perfecting process requires hard work, study, and sometimes even action when a person is not 100 percent sure that it is right. “We will often need to stretch our souls beyond what we think is possible before revelation comes. … Answers may be slow in coming not because we are doing something wrong, but because Heavenly Father is leaving it up to our agency, or because He has already given us the answer and wants us to learn how that prior answer came, or because we need to learn something more before the answer makes sense to us. … Please know that even in those times when the heavens seem silent, there are explanations that will become clear over time if we will but trust God. … In the end, the one thing we can do to increase our ability to receive revelation is to trust God more, to increase our faith in Him.”While Worthen took a logical, street-by-street and door-by-door approach, his companion would feel impressed to skip houses or entire streets.To those who may be experiencing similar feelings, President Worthen said, “None of us is spiritually tone-deaf.”To those who wonder if it is a prompting from the Spirit or their own thoughts, President Worthen said if a person is impressed to do something good for someone else, there is little need to deliberate about its source.“I started wondering whether I was missing something,” he told students during a campus devotional at Brigham Young University on Tuesday, September 11. “I began to imagine that I would get up to the judgment bar, and God would say to me, ‘I tried to tell you what you needed to do in life on such-and-such a date and again on another such a date, and you just missed it.’”“Admonitions about the need to receive revelation intimidated and, quite frankly, worried me more than a little bit,” he said.Recognizing there are different types of revelation—some more dramatic, clear, and distinct impressions versus the more common, subtle revelation that comes “line upon line”—Worthen encouraged listeners to not “unnecessarily question” their ability to receive revelation because they experience the latter.“Set aside time and space when you can focus on being open to those thoughts and feelings,” he said. “Turn off the music; pause Netflix; take out your earbuds. Find time to listen to your feelings,” he said.“We can improve our ability to receive revelation if we better prepare both our spirits and bodies for such experiences,” he said. “Spiritual preparation includes daily scripture study, daily prayer, keeping the commandments, sacrament meeting attendance, Sabbath-day observance, and regular temple worship.”PROVO, UTAH“In addition to adhering to the principles of physical health outlined in the 89th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, we can increase our capacity to receive and recognize revelation by following the admonition the Lord provided in the immediately preceding section,” he said. In addition to following the Word of Wisdom, President Worthen referred to when the scriptures say to “retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated,” and encouraged students to follow that counsel.1. Revelation includes both heart and mind.2. Physical preparation to receive revelation. BYU students and faculty gather in the Marriott Center to hear President Kevin J Worthen’s counsel on seeking divine inspiration. Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU.Sharing that he keeps a notepad by his bedside to write down thoughts and ideas that come to him early in the morning, President Worthen encouraged students to make scripture study and prayer their “first order of morning business.”That feeling was only compounded during his mission, when he was paired with a companion who “genuinely had a gift for knowing where to go to find people who were ready to accept the gospel.”“And more often than not, he was right,” Worthen said. “But I rarely, if ever, felt such promptings. Thus, for much of my youth and young adulthood, I wondered if I had been born spiritually tone-deaf.”BYU President Kevin J Worthen remembers when he was the age of many college students, listening to some of his acquaintances sharing stories about how the Spirit had given them specific directions in dramatic ways. But he couldn't readily recall any such personal experience of his own.Recognizing those are all familiar tasks that Church members are regularly counseled to do, Worthen said he hopes “that repetition does not cause us to undervalue the significance of these actions. … Spiritual preparation facilitates revelation.”3. Time and space to listen.“Candor requires that I admit that when I was in college I did not consider myself a ‘morning person,’” he said. “I never took a class earlier than 9 a.m. … But over time I have come to find that early morning time is sacred, a time when few people interrupt and my mind is more open and invigorated—or alive—to new ideas and spiritual impressions.”Because every person is a literal spirit child of perfect Heavenly Parents, he or she has the innate potential to receive and recognize revelation, Worthen taught. “But there is more good news for those who question their ability to receive and recognize revelation despite their sincere—but often seemingly ineffective—efforts to do so,” he said. “It is that you are likely doing better than you think. The scriptures make it clear that it is possible to be influenced by the Holy Ghost and not fully recognize it.”
When asked how they feel about becoming ministering sisters, some of the young women we spoke with said they are a little nervous. However, they also are quick to report that their excitement to have more responsibility as young women overshadows their apprehension. Although the Mia Maids and Laurels have been given this new opportunity to serve in a formal assignment, the Beehives are also anxious to increase their level of ministering. All of our young women are extraordinary!Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminds us that “each of us as a disciple of the Master has a responsibility to minister to others and recognize that what we do truly matters, even if what we do may seem small or inconsequential” (One by One , 4).The young women are quick to see how unity in their ward families will increase as they serve in the capacity of ministering sisters.“I feel like this will help to get to know more people in our ward,” one young woman shared. “We already know the young women, and now it will help us get to know the adults.”We see an acceleration of spiritual growth as the young women look outside themselves, see the needs of others around them, and then act to help meet those needs. In doing this, they will more fully live the covenants they made at baptism to bear one another’s burdens, comfort those who stand in need of comfort, stand as a witness of God, serve the Lord, and keep His commandments (see Mosiah 18:8–10). Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women General President, right, poses for a selfie with her ministering companion, Jessica Akins. Photo courtesy of the Young Women General Presidency. Young women are invited to participate in ministering assignments with Relief Society sisters, and many—such as young woman Clara Thompson and her ministering companion, Sister Michelle D. Craig, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency—have responded to the call. Photo courtesy of the Young Women General Presidency.As young women learn to serve and minister, they will feel the love of the Savior more deeply in their lives. They will realize that as they reach out to help the “one,” they are serving the Savior Himself and becoming His disciples.Carol McIlrath from Centerville, Utah, sees a wonderful benefit from having a young sister minister to her. “What a pleasure it is to have a young woman come and do ministering to me. She brings with her a young and refreshing view about the gospel and challenges me to try to be better. How excited I am to get to know the youth in the ward better.”The young women of the Church are extremely capable and have countless talents they are ready to share with others. They will be a valuable force for good as they take part in the work of salvation for those they serve. Ella Nielsen, from South Jordan, Utah, shared how she thought young women could minister when she said, “You can check in on people and say, ‘How are you doing?’ and make sure they are doing OK and see if they are happy and how their life is going.” It can be that simple.With this new opportunity, we see the spiritual blessings afforded not only to those sisters the young women serve, but also to the young women themselves. A young woman named Katie Varga shared her enthusiasm to minister by saying, “I get to exercise my faith more regularly. I can bear my testimony in people’s homes when I think I should, and it will help me know that the Church is true.”Simple acts of service performed by our young ministering sisters will bless the lives of many as they learn to become more devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.Our hope is that every Mia Maid and Laurel will be considered for an assignment as a ministering sister. These assignments may be determined as the Relief Society president, Young Women president, priesthood leaders, and parents counsel together. Some young women who may not be able serve in traditional ways may be given an assignment suited to their abilities. All young women have gifts that could benefit another sister in some way—and the blessings to the young women who serve cannot be measured.In a time when personal relationships have been largely replaced by virtual friendships, many youth of the world often lack basic social and communication skills. This additional opportunity for young women to serve will aid them in developing the confidence to talk with and connect with others in a personal way. They will become more like the Savior as they learn greater compassion, understanding, and patience. They will be less judgmental of others, become more able to discern needs, and be better able to act upon promptings from the Spirit.Grace Rogers, a Mia Maid from Centerville, Utah, learned that ministering was a little different than she thought it would be. “I first thought that it was teaching and giving a lesson. That’s until I was given the opportunity to minister to Sister [Carol] McIlrath. Ministering for me now is building friendships and all aspects of being there for each other.”Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “True disciples of Jesus Christ have always been concerned for the one. Jesus Christ is our greatest example. He was surrounded by multitudes and spoke to thousands, yet He always had concern for the one” (“Concern for the One,” Apr. 2008 general conference).As the young women serve in this new capacity, they will build friendships with older, more mature Relief Society sisters. This relationship will help them learn and understand the purpose of the Relief Society organization to which they will soon belong. As they minister together, Relief Society sisters can have a significant impact for good on the lives of their young companions as they teach and mentor them in their joint assignments.
Once in Germany, she settled into the traditional missionary duties of finding people to teach, building relationships with the members, and inviting others to embrace the gospel. But when appropriate, she shared her testimony of prayer and scripture study through her song, often performing at missionary street displays and in the homes of investigators.Several months ago, Sister Roach was serving in the northern German city of Lübeck and was invited to sing at a musical event at the local meetinghouse. She performed “Plans for Me” because it worked with the evening’s Christ-anchored theme.Five minutes later, she had completed a song she would call “Plans for Me.” Her opening stanza doubles as a supplicant’s prayer:Afterward, a woman from the ward who is a videographer approached her. She said she was inspired by the song and asked if she could make a video of the missionary’s song to share with others.“It is a raw recording of the song—no editing and very simple. But it goes with how I received my answer, which was in a simple yet powerful way.”And, yes, a follow-up video will soon be finished on a song Sister Roach wrote called “Forgiveness.”“Plans for Me” has reached a far larger audience than Sister Roach could have imagined. But the song remains, at its core, her witness of personal revelation.Sister Erin Roach had no clue the song she was penning during a challenging moment at the missionary training center would eventually be heard by tens of thousands of online viewers.Most missionaries will never write and record a song, but the genesis of “Plans for Me” will ring familiar to young sisters and elders serving anywhere in the world.Soon the YouTube video of the studio recording was being viewed across the globe. Others watched on Facebook. To date, the video has received nearly 25,000 views. Counted among her listeners are fellow missionaries from different parts of the world and other Latter-day Saints.“Be my guide so my heart can open wide;
Be my light when my eyes see only night.
Shelter me when I’m sinking out at sea;
Care for me when I’m ripping at the seams.”“It has been really cool for me as well hearing such positive responses from people who aren’t of my faith but are touched by the song.”After speaking with her mission president, President Axel H. Leimer, Sister Roach made arrangements with a local studio and recorded “Plans for Me.”“At that moment, inspired words filled my head, and it was important for me to write down these words because they ultimately became my prayer and answer from Heavenly Father,” she said.“Praying before beginning to read the scriptures has helped me stay in tune with the Spirit and feel prompted to read specific passages to find the answers I desired to know.”She began reading the fifth chapter of Helaman. Specific words seemed to be jumping off the page: Repentance. Salvation. Rock. Foundation. Christ.Sister Roach was soon performing the song for her fellow sister missionaries and at an MTC departure devotional before leaving for Germany.“I was struggling to learn the language and meet the demands and expectations of what I thought a ‘successful’ mission was supposed [to be],” she wrote in an email from her service area in the Germany Berlin Mission. “I felt very incapable in my abilities to thrive, and I began to question why God wanted someone like me, with all my flaws, to accomplish His work.”“It was a really special experience for me to connect with and strengthen the missionaries around me as I played this song,” she wrote.Sister Roach, who grew up in California, remembers praying “fervently” for assurance and strength. At the end of one particularly difficult day of German-language study, she felt impressed to open her scriptures.She was simply drawing upon a moment of personal revelation—transferring inspiration from her mind to her music.“We have already recorded the song in the studio and we are in the process of filming the video,” she wrote. “It will go with a Church campaign in Germany, and I am really looking forward for people to see it.”
“I invite you, my young brothers and sisters, to look for those messages and promises that are specific for you and for me, for us, in these latter days,” Sister Aburto said. “By doing so, each of you will find guidance, assurances, answers, and, most of all, a purpose.”“Do you feel overwhelmed by the massive amount of information that surrounds you and the conflicting voices that pull you in different directions?”Reminding students of the power that comes through reading the Book of Mormon, Sister Aburto shared her own experience of the feelings and peace and comfort that came into her life when she read the Book of Mormon when she was 26 years old.The answer to most of those questions and concerns, Sister Aburto said, is “found in the small and simple things we can incorporate into our daily lives.““Do you have questions and longings in your heart?”Recognizing a big part of the beauty and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ lies in its simplicity, Sister Aburto shared 17 pieces of advice—as a mother, aunt, and friend—to help students along their way.
Sister Reyna I. Aburto of the Relief Society General Presidency speaks during a Salt Lake Institute devotional at the LDS Institute of Religion in Salt Lake City on September 13, 2018. Photo by Steve Griffin, Deseret News.Sister Reyna I. Aburto of the Relief Society General Presidency greets people after speaking at a Salt Lake Institute devotional at the LDS Institute of Religion in Salt Lake City on Septempber 13, 2018. Photo by Steve Griffin, Deseret News.Sister Reyna I. Aburto, Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, posed those questions to students of the Salt Lake Institute during a devotional Thursday, September 13.“She reminded me of the simple things—like reading the Book of Mormon—that give us the power that will lift me,” she said. “I want a complicated, big answer, but it is the simple things that make a difference.”“We all feel like that from time to time,” Sister Aburto said. “It seems that at times we struggle to find or remember our place and our purpose. At times, we may look at the future and feel that we do not have what it takes to face it. At other times, we may even look at the next day, or the next week, and be overwhelmed by fear.”“Have you ever felt discouraged and inadequate?”Those words rang true for University of Utah student Mele Taunauta. The sophomore from Millcreek, Utah, returned home from her mission to San Jose, California, in February and has since missed the feelings she had as a missionary.
Church-service missionaries differ from full-time missionaries in several ways:The couple has enjoyed meeting all different kinds of people—both members of the Church and people outside of the Church. One of the highlights of their mission has been working with the young missionaries.“I’m so glad we followed that counsel,” said now-Elder Bowen, who serves with his wife as a self-reliance missionary in the Tennessee Knoxville Mission. “It has been such a good experience.”“We have loved being a part of zone conferences and district meetings,” Sister Bowen said. “It has been a neat experience, and we have been so blessed and taught by the young missionaries. I have a greater respect for my three sons who served missions.”Full-time senior missionaries do the following:Church-service missions are also a great option for couples who may not be in a position to serve together—such as one spouse is still working or has physical limitations.The couple began to recognize that there is “always something going on,” and the advice from their Church leader kept coming back to them: “Don’t wait.”“The closer we kept getting to retirement the more real it became,” said Rachele Walker, from American Fork.“Closing the trunk lid isn’t going to be as easy as we thought it would be,” Elder Bowen said.Another important step is a frank conversation with a spouse, determining together what the best plan would be, as well as conversations with priesthood leaders and with family.“We recognize not everyone is able to serve a full-time mission,” said Williams. “Some may not be able to leave home.”To anyone who is thinking about serving a mission, the answer is clear: “You are needed,” said Miller.As someone who was a little nervous before leaving rural Idaho to serve in a big city on her mission, Sister Bowen said of her experience, “Not long ago we met a new couple and flashbacks of nervousness of little things came back. All of those fears go away. They don’t seem so big now. And it didn’t take long.”Although single women are eligible to serve as either a full-time or Church-service missionary, single, divorced, or widowed men are able to serve only as Church-service missionaries.They are not required to learn a foreign language, maintain the same schedule as young elders and sisters, or, depending on their assignment, wear Sunday dress all of the time. They are able to call family freely and even watch television if they choose.“Between texting, email, and phone we have been able to keep in touch [with family],” said Elder Bowen.
Jenny Friesen, a teacher and the Surrey British Columbia Stake young women president, could not wait for her sons to see President Nelson personally.These are the latter days, she said, and “the Lord really needs us to be His Saints.”One day after addressing a record audience of 49,000 Latter-day Saints in Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington, President Nelson traveled to Langley, British Columbia, to address Latter-day Saints from the greater Vancouver area.Teach them about God’s Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, President Nelson continued. “He came into the world to do the will of His Father, because His Father sent Him.”
President Russell M. Nelson speaks in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.“My intent today is to increase your gratitude for the covenants you have made with Him,” he said. “And even more, my hope is to build your faith that you will be able to claim the eternal blessings promised as you keep those covenants.”LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA He also asked the congregation to teach children about the restoration of priesthood authority. Let “your homes be sanctuaries of faith for these children,” he said.Then, singing a line from a popular Primary song about prophets, President Nelson said God teaches His children through prophets. He shared his personal witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.“I feel a little like the resurrected Lord might have felt when He first appeared to people on the Western Hemisphere. He directed His attention to the children,” President Nelson said. “Is there anything more that you parents and teachers would like for your children than to have real peace in their hearts and in their minds?”President Russell M. Nelson strained to see the Primary-age children in the congregation of 4,600 Latter-day Saints gathered in the Langley Events Center on Sunday evening, September 16.During the devotional, President Eyring spoke of the feeling he received at his own baptism, his service in the Church, and his marriage. Crowds line up outside of the Langley Events Center to hear President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speak in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, laughs while sitting with President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Langley Events Center in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.President Nelson closed by leaving a blessing on those in the congregation. Hevenxen de Guzman and Baelfire de Guzman play in front of the Vancouver British Columbia Temple in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Closing, President Eyring said, “I bear you my witness that the covenant path in the Church of Jesus Christ is the way to happiness in this life and joy in eternal life forever.”President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share the blessing of being under covenant with God.“Oh yes. Now I can see you,” he said.Joshua and Jamille Clair, who live with their daughter Callista in Delta, British Columbia, said President Nelson’s message was directly for them. “Hopefully we will be able to apply everything from the prophet we have heard today,” Jamille Clair said.The meeting in British Columbia marked another stop this year for President Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, who have also visited Canadian Latter-day Saints in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta.British Columbia—where the Church dedicated the Vancouver British Columbia Temple in May 2010—is home to nearly 31,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sister Wendy Nelson, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, look at the crowd before speaking at the Langley Events Center in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.“Do you think that Wendy’s being from Canada might prejudice me in some way?” said President Nelson. “I’ll confess she is a very good influence on me. Actually, we love all the Saints wherever they live, and we love to be with them.”“At 94 years of age, my husband is becoming more and more of his true self every day,” she said. “Why wouldn’t he be? He is doing exactly what he was foreordained to do.”Jenny and Scott Friesen of Surrey, British Columbia, live in the area, where they enjoy hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities with their three sons. Zach Friesen, 14, participated in an all-youth choir that performed Sunday night for President Nelson.“The Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God,” said President Nelson. “Do you realize more than 180 million copies have now been distributed? It is another testament of Jesus Christ. It is the instrument by which the promised gathering of scattered Israel will take place.”“She can no longer comfort, mourn, or serve as she always has,” he said. “But she is growing more powerful in bearing witness of the Savior.” Crowds line up outside of the Langley Events Center to hear President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speak in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks at the Langley Events Center in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Continuing, he said, “Please help them to focus, even at an early age, on the blessings of the temple. … That is where they will receive their greatest blessings.” President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, leave the Langley Events Center after speaking in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.“They have never experienced the flooding of emotion that happens when he enters the room and everyone stands up,” she said. “They have never experienced the feeling that says, ‘I want to follow him.’”Kristen Potter of Vancouver, British Columbia, said the teachings from the meeting were a good reminder to focus on family and home. Devin Roth holds his son Miles Roth as they wait to hear President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speak at the Langley Events Center in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks at the Langley Events Center in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.“Of course, our children need correction from time to time,” said President Nelson. “That’s why they have parents. Please correct them quietly and privately.”Sister Nelson shared her testimony and witness of her husband’s prophetic mantle.Latter-day Saints are drawn to the province not only for employment and universities in Vancouver and Victoria, but also “for the beauty of its vastness,” said President Frank Hitchmough of the Victoria British Columbia Stake. “Ocean, mountain ranges, and large areas of arable land drew the Saints here as well.”So he asked them to stand, raise their arms high in the air, and wave “like french fries.” Primary children raise their hands at the request of President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Langley Events Center in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.During Sunday’s devotional, President Nelson—a father of 10, grandfather of 57, and great-grandfather of 119—directed his remarks to the Friesens and other Church members teaching “precious children.”Help children understand “the significance of the sacrament” and that this is the “Church of Jesus Christ,” said President Nelson. “It is His Church.” Sister Wendy Nelson, wife of President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks at the Langley Events Center in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks at the Langley Events Center in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.“First and foremost, teach them what it really means when they sing ‘I Am a Child of God.’ God is their Heavenly Father,” President Nelson said, noting children can call upon their Father in prayer anytime “without recharging batteries or paying service fees.”Romney Udani of Surrey, British Columbia, said the meeting marked the first time he has ever been in the presence of a prophet. “I have always had a testimony of prophets,” he said. “Being here confirmed that for me.”Teach them to be worthy to be called as missionaries for the Lord, to be tithe payers, to keep the Word of Wisdom, to shun the “perilous plague of pornography,” to gain an education, and to be good citizens, he said.President Eyring said his wife, Sister Kathleen Eyring—now suffering from the effects of age—only speaks a few words each day.“The promised blessing from the baptismal covenant holds marriages and families together in a bond of love,” he said. “Always remembering the Savior and keeping His commandments is the path to marital love and family happiness.”President Nelson asked parents and teachers to “read the Book of Mormon to these wonderful children. Read the Bible and other standard works to them. They will be better students in all of their subjects if they learn to read along with you.”
Lisbon Portugal TempleSister Coelho is a ward Relief Society presidency counselor and a former stake and ward Relief Society president, ward Young Women president, and Sunday School teacher. She was born in Salvaterra de Magos, Santarém, Portugal, to Francisco Lopes Magalhães and Maria Celeste Mendes Papoila.Calisto Martins Coelho, 76, Amadora Ward, Oeiras Portugal Stake, called as president of the Lisbon Portugal Temple. President Coelho’s wife, Maria Fernanda Papoila Magalhães Coelho, will serve as temple matron. He is a bishop and a former stake president and public affairs director. Retired high school educator and management consultant, he was born in Saboia, Odemira, Portugal, to António Coelho and Hortense das Dores Martins.The following new temple president and matron have been called by the First Presidency. They will begin their service when the temple is dedicated.
Calisto M. and Maria M. Coelho
And they worry the worst is yet to come.“The rivers are expected to crest tomorrow, so it’s only going to get worse for us in the next couple of days,” said President Quick. “We’ve just got to get this rain out of here, or it’s just going to keep adding to the rivers.”“We are also praying that the riverbanks will hold—that would be a tremendous blessing,” he told the Church News. “But we are prepared to accept the will of the Lord and we’re working hard taking care of people.”
“Miraculously, the freefall extinguished the flames…,” he said. “I plead with you not to let the temptations of the world—including the time-consuming allurements of your occupation—distract you from the real reason you are here on earth. Will you use your agency to choose Jesus Christ and His gospel?” People line up outside Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday, September 15, 2018, to hear President Russell M. Nelson speak.3. The honors of men fadeThis came clearly into focus years ago as President Nelson was traveling with four passengers on a flight from Salt Lake City to St. George Utah; during the flight, one of two engines exploded, sending the small plane into a downward spiral.On the last day of the journey, the family approached the steepest and most dangerous rapid of the journey, Lava Falls. With Horn Creek Rapid fresh in his memory, President Nelson “instructed each family member to hold tightly to the ropes on the raft, knowing that the raft would always come to the top of the water.”President Nelson said life has taught him that “the honors of men, exhilarating as they may seem at the time, fade into oblivion compared to what the Lord has in store for covenant-keeping children—the supernal gift of eternal life. That’s the greatest of all of God’s gifts.” People gather at Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash., to hear President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.“If you are doing your best to make the Lord Jesus Christ the center of your faith, your life, and that of your family—if you will hold onto him and his gospel as tightly as our family held onto that raft on the Colorado River—he will work miracles for you in your lives.”3. The honors of men fadeFrom the outset of the task—undertaken during the Cold War when all of Eastern Europe was “under the oppressive yoke of communism,” obstacles were placed in his way. “Well, the Lord is able to do His own work, and I was privileged to watch the unfolding of one miracle after another—always and only after I had brought my best thinking, my most fervent prayers, and my most courageous efforts to the task,” he said. “I learned that the Lord likes effort. ... He blesses our best efforts.”President Nelson’s final lesson is that “we are happiest when we are thinking of someone other than ourselves.”President Nelson began his remarks recalling an experience his family had years ago when they took several of their nine daughters on a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. On the second day of the trip, as the family approached Horn Creek Rapid, President Nelson put one arm around his wife and the other around his youngest child. “As it flexed over the brink, that rubber raft became a catapult and shot me like a stone from a slingshot—right over the raft and into the churning waters of the Colorado River,” he said. “I felt like an egg in an eggbeater.”He invited the nurse and her surgeon husband to read the book and loaned them his only copy. “When her husband returned my precious Book of Mormon to me, he casually tossed it to me and said, ‘Thanks a lot.’ People gather at Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash., to hear President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, September 15, 2018. “I plead with you to make reading the Book of Mormon a regular part of your daily life,” he said. “Doing so is one of the surest ways ‘to hang onto the raft’ and learn the truths of the restored gospel.”A Safeco Field official confirmed the devotional was the largest “non-sporting event in the history of Safeco Field” and the second largest event the venue has ever hosted, said Elder Gary F. Gessel, an Area Seventy.During the Korean War, President Nelson was a surgeon in the Army and was asked by his surgical nurse why he was different from other surgeons. “I responded: ‘If I am different from other surgeons, it is because I know the Book of Mormon is true.’”“As a Church, we need to be doing what the Savior wishes us to do,” concluded President Nelson. “And as a people, we need to be looking and acting like true followers of Jesus Christ.Latter-day Saints began lining up for the devotional midday—arriving at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, up to six hours before the 6 p.m. start. Some 2,200 local youth, Laurels, and Priests age 16 to 18, filled the seats directly in front of President Nelson during the historic meeting.In his dying moments those honors meant nothing to him. What did matter was his wife and children—to whom he was sealed in the holy temple.None of the Church's shipments of relief material are ever labeled: “For Latter-day Saints only.”From the experience, President Nelson learned a powerful lesson. “We are all, metaphorically speaking, on a rafting trip through life,” he said. “Usually it is beautiful and peaceful, but at some point we hit mighty rough rapids. ... As we face churning challenges in our lives, the greatest and only real safety comes as we hold onto the raft, which is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”1. Hold to the raftToday Washington has 288,000 Latter-day Saints, three temples and eight missions, according to the Church's public affairs department. Church members account for 3 percent of the state's population, according to the Pew Research Center.President Nelson said he felt strangely calm. “Events of my life rapidly flashed before me. I thought about all the framed degrees, awards, and honors on my office wall, and the various uniforms, tuxedos, and doctoral robes that I’d worn in my life.”In 1985, just 19 months after being called as an Apostle, President Nelson was asked by President Ezra Taft Benson to open the countries of Eastern Europe for the preaching of the gospel.Standing on second base in Seattle's Safeco Field, President Russell M. Nelson shared the “lessons life has taught me” during a devotional with 49,000 Church members—the largest non-sporting event ever held in the iconic baseball stadium.Speaking one week after celebrating his 94th birthday, President Nelson addressed the topic “lessons life has taught me,” and shared five lessons.2. The Book of Mormon is the word of GodThis is also why the Church engages in humanitarian service around the globe. “Whether we are digging wells in Africa, providing wheelchairs to those in need in Peru, or among the first to respond after natural disasters anywhere in the world, our efforts are designed to help all mankind,” President Nelson said.4. The Lord uses the unlikelyThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is well-established in the Pacific Northwest; the Church's first unit in Washington was organized in Tacoma in 1899 with 21 members. By 1940 membership in the state had reached 5,000.“I had spent much of my professional life opening hearts to perform life-saving operations, but I had no experience that would lead me to believe I could open countries for the preaching of the gospel,” he said. “And yet, a prophet had given me an assignment, so I set out to do what seemed utterly impossible.”In the year 1992, President Nelson was able to report to President Benson that the Church was established in every country in Eastern Europe.People gathered at Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash., listen to President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speak on Saturday, September 15, 2018.SEATTLE, Washington“Our message to the world is simple and sincere: We invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, to receive the blessings of the holy temple and qualify for eternal life, so that they can have enduring joy now and forever.”“A fundamental characteristic of followers of Jesus Christ is the desire and willingness to care for others,” he said. “This is why at the last general conference we emphasized ministering as a higher, holier way of taking care of each other.”“‘Thanks a lot?’ I said. ‘That is a totally inappropriate answer for one who has read the Book of Mormon. You didn’t read it, did you?’” People gathered at Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash., listen to President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Clinging to others can help as we minister to each other, but not if it means letting go of the raft, he said. “If I have learned anything in my life, it is that our ultimate security, and our only enduring happiness, lies in holding onto the iron rod of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, complete with its covenants and ordinances. When we do so, we can safely navigate through rough waters because we have access to God’s power.”5. Care for othersThe couple took the book back, read it, and asked to know more. President Nelson subsequently taught and baptized both of them.“My dear brothers and sisters, we are living in the most crucial era in the history of the world,” he said on Saturday evening, September 15. “Since the beginning of time, prophets have foreseen our day and prophesied about what would take place during this winding-up period before the Savior comes again.”Accompanied by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, President Nelson expressed gratitude for the opportunity to return to the Pacific Northwest, where in 1985 he was made an honorary member of the Seattle Surgical Society.
Full-time missionaries serving in hurricane-threatened areas in the Carolinas evacuated prior to Florence’s Thursday arrival.President Walker said he has asked the Church-operated bishops’ storehouse in Atlanta to deliver building supplies and other provisions to impacted areas in his stake as soon as the roads are accessible.“In some areas, that could take a week or more,” he said.The category 1 hurricane made landfall at 7:15 a.m., local time, near Wrightsville Beach, just east of Wilmington, North Carolina.“The flooding is just so devastating,” said President Walker. “My nephew and his wife in New Bern have three feet of water in their house.”Still, Michels feels fortunate his home escaped any significant damage.“But it really could have been much worse for us,” she said.Longtime Harkers Island resident Lloyd Michels said he would never forget Hurricane Florence’s unwanted visit to his tight-knit island community. “We stayed in our home and made out okay, but this has been a fantastic storm,” he said.Hurricane Florence hit her home in differing bands of intensity throughout the evening. She was only able to sleep for a couple of hours early Friday. Meanwhile, flooded streets are preventing her from leaving her neighborhood.“It’s the price you pay for living in paradise,” she said.“As of this morning, we have maybe 20 member families whose homes are uninhabitable, and I’m sure there are many more,” said Kinston North Carolina Stake President David Walker on Friday.Hurricane Florence’s relentless first-day assault on the Carolinas is impacting a number of Latter-day Saints, with floodwaters inundating homes and transforming subdivision streets into canals.Florence’s center may linger for another whole day along coastal North and South Carolina, punishing homes with crushing winds and floods and endangering those who have stayed behind, CNN reported.The stake president is also concerned for Church members and their neighbors in the coastal communities in nearby Carteret County—including Harkers Island, an area rich in Church history.Cell phone service and other communication have proven fairly reliable.There were no initial reports of injuries as local priesthood and Relief Society leaders in eastern North Carolina scrambled to make contact with members from their wards and branches who opted to stay in their homes during the ongoing storm.As Florence continues its surge, Friday afternoon’s high tide near Harkers Island and neighboring areas could prove troublesome, he said. “We’ve probably got 24 more hours of bad weather in that area.”Members living in the riverside city of New Bern and surrounding communities in North Carolina’s Craven County have been hit especially hard.Since arriving, “the storm has been constant, but it seems to be getting better,” he said after he and his wife, Lillian, endured an anxious night of powerful wind and driving rain. “This is as bad or worse as I’ve ever seen.”“We are not in the worst part of this yet but should start to see some impact later today,” Charleston South Carolina Stake President Darren Johnson reported Friday morning. “If we feel we are ready, and if we are spared from the major impact of this storm, we will be ready to go and assist in [affected] areas.”Emily Hancock Nelson lives in Carteret County’s Otway community. The lifelong Latter-day Saint regards the reality of hurricanes in her coastal community with measured humor.“We are all safe and doing well,” said South Carolina Columbia Mission President Weston Innes in a text message. “We have already had some service opportunities and know there will be much more in the coming weeks. We feel the prayers of so many wonderful Saints.”
Church leaders have been in contact with mission, stake, and district leaders in the path of Typhoon Mangkhut, urging them to take all necessary precautions to prepare those in their care for the storm. Many Church buildings in the path of the typhoon are already being used to shelter members and others, and the Church is working with local vendors to secure food, water, and other basic supplies.
Missionaries in affected areas in the Philippines are all safe and accounted for and are being moved to outlying areas. All missionaries have been instructed to carry adequate supplies. Mission presidents are communicating regularly with the parents of missionaries as the situation progresses. Mission leaders in Taiwan and Hong Kong have also been instructed to take necessary precautions.
The Church is monitoring the situation and local personnel are on standby to coordinate relief efforts as needed. We pray for the safety and wellbeing of the people of the Philippines and those in the surrounding region.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued the following statement regarding Typhoon Mangkhut:
“So we did on our trip—we began at the temple.”“When President Nelson was at the pulpit, an easier angle than looking at him directly was to look out at the audience and watch them looking at him,” said Elder Holland, the member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who accompanied President Nelson on his inaugural global ministry tour last spring. “That triangle of looking at the devotion on their faces, the adoration, the tears gave me my impressions of him, my feelings about what he was saying as I saw what it meant to them, as I saw the look on their faces.”And Elder Renlund personally saw that influence in action. “Sensing that my wife might have been a little chilled on the flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Salt Lake City, President Nelson procured a blanket from the flight engineer and gave it to my wife to use,” he said. “I asked myself afterwards, ‘Why am I not that thoughtful towards my wife?’”President Nelson himself answered that question in a media interview in Montreal, Quebec, following the August 18 devotional there. He labeled them “broadening” experiences.Before accompanying President Nelson earlier this month to the Caribbean, Elder Renlund and Sister Ruth Renlund had never been with the prophet in visiting any congregation outside the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. President Russell M. Nelson speaks during a Jerusalem District Conference priesthood meeting at the BYU Jerusalem Center in Jerusalem on Saturday, April 14, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Impact on President Nelson President Russell M. Nelson, right, and Elder Dale G. Renlund shake hands with missionaries at a September 1, 2018, missionary meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo by Rex Warner, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, joined by Elder Ronald A. Rasband and Sister Melanie Rasband, wave to members following the June 8, 2018, devotional in Edmonton, Alberta.“He was not only, as the prophet, ministering to those on this side of the veil, he was literally ministering to those on the other side of the veil as well,” Elder Rasband said. “You can see how that would be a wonderful thing for me, as a partner on this trip, to tell the members: ‘You’re going to hear this great message [from President Nelson], and you’ve already heard words about the covenant path and the gathering of Israel—I want you to know that we went and did that on our first day in western Canada.’“When he shifted from English to Spanish in San Juan, pronouncing an apostolic blessing in Spanish, tears began to flow for many in the congregation. I suspect that if they were asked, they would have individually felt that they were ministered to.”Elder Rasband said the increasing number of devotionals reminds him of President Gordon B. Hinckley’s time as Church President, “when it was almost like, ‘OK, I’ve got to come into the office and take care of some administrative business, but get me on that plane and get me out in the world.’”Elder Renlund watched President Nelson as he greeted several mothers and children while exiting a meetinghouse in the Dominican Republic. He held one in his arms without the child getting alarmed, then knelt by an elderly woman in a wheelchair to help buoy her spirits. President Russell M. Nelson, center, and Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, behind him, greet members following a September 1, 2018, devotional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, tour the new temple site in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, April 20, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“I remember him saying, ‘It’s just the opposite. It’s the going out that energizes us and makes us able to handle the things during the week. It’s being with the Saints, seeing their faith. ” The hands of Russell M. Nelson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reach out to shake hands after a devotional in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, April 20, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“Clearly it means a lot to him to be doing this,” Elder Holland said, adding, “I think he’s conscious that in recent years, the Presidents of the Church haven’t always been able to get out, haven’t always been with the people—but he is vigorous enough, he is healthy enough to do that. …“But I am a member of the Church like every other member, and Russell M. Nelson is my prophet as well as theirs,” Elder Holland said. “I’m as adoring as they are because he is my prophet, he is my president.”“We know and acknowledge that we won’t always have access to every President of the Church for every moment of his administration. Some of those limitations might come from ill health or the incidence of age. But while President Nelson can get out to the people, I know that he wants to do exactly that—and it’s clearly what the members want him to do. They want to see him and hear him personally.”As they arrived at the public meetings, the Apostles and their wives walked with the Nelsons, usually a respectful step or two behind. The Apostles and their wives spoke in the meetings before the Nelsons, often testifying of his prophetic calling and encouraging members to listen and learn just as they themselves do. And while the Nelsons taught later in the meetings, the Apostles and their wives listened intently and took notes, later sharing their impressions in subsequent speaking assignments or on the Apostles’ social media pages.Hectic pace Elder Ronald A. Rasband and his wife, Sister Melanie T. Rasband, attend a devotional in Alberta, Canada, in June 2018.“He’s not hesitant to extend invitations, and I love that,” Elder Rasband added. “It’s one thing to get up and give a great speech. It’s another thing to give a great speech and a stern invitation. And Russell Nelson does that—and it helps me in my ministering.” Graphics by Aaron Thorup, Deseret News.“In this ministering, he appeared completely unrushed,” Elder Renlund said. “Time seemed to slow down as he took all the time he needed to bless and lift others. In every encounter though, he directs people to the Savior and the Savior’s love.”So Elder Holland did the next best thing—something he calls “the visitor’s vector.”“We enjoy meeting the people—they energize us,” he said. “We learn their names, their culture, their language.”First on the agenda for the trip to the western Canada province of Alberta for Elder Rasband and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, was to join the Nelsons in an endowment session at the Edmonton Alberta Temple, with President and Sister Nelson taking family names for proxy ordinance work.Consider the pace of President Nelson’s devotional travels so far: the first with stops in London; Jerusalem; Nairobi, Kenya; Harare, Zimbabwe; Bengaluru, India; Bangkok; Hong Kong; and Laie, Hawaii. That’s eight sites for public meetings in 14 days and a total round-trip distance of nearly 30,000 miles, well more than the 24,901-mile circumference of the earth.
President Russell M. Nelson, center, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, right, along with District President Dennis Brimhall walk at the BYU Jerusalem Center in Jerusalem on Saturday, April 14, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.The four are the first to acknowledge they have the privilege of knowing President Nelson more closely and interacting with him more frequently than most Church members, given the proximity of their Church Administration Building offices and the Brethren’s interactions in administrative meetings.Said Elder Holland of such incidents: “You have no idea who that person is or what their unique need was, and you certainly didn’t prepare a talk for just one person, but that is how the Spirit works, turning a congregational experience into a one-on-one, more personal moment.”As President Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, have traveled across four continents in the last five months, much has been written about the impact these devotional meetings have had on the tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints meeting with him in the first year of his tenure as Church President.To learn from himElder Andersen repeatedly invoked the Oliver Cowdery phrase “days never to be forgotten”—as found in the Joseph Smith—History footnotes—when he spoke to members during the mid-August weekend in which he and Sister Kathy Andersen joined the Nelsons in central and eastern Canada. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addresses more than 4,000 Latter-day Saints gathered at the Palais des congrès convention center in Montreal, Quebec, on Saturday, August 18, 2018.Elder Andersen witnessed of what he saw as President Nelson spoke to Canadian Saints. “The people were on the edge of their seats because there was a spiritual strength that was coming, and the Lord was magnifying the President,” he said, adding, “it was very powerful to me to see the Lord’s mantle upon him, the President of the Church and the prophet of the Lord. I’ll never forget it—it was marvelous.” President Russell M. Nelson, front right, and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, arrive at a stop during their June 2018 member devotional tour in the Canadian province of Alberta, followed by Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband.In fact, President Nelson became the first Church President to speak extensively to a large gathering of members in a language other than English as he spoke in Spanish—the native language of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico—during devotionals there September 1–2.President and Sister Nelson are scheduled to participate in a pair of devotionals in Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia. They will be joined by President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency.“In that way,” summarized Elder Holland, “we were exactly like everyday, garden-variety members of the Church who were thrilled to be with the prophet of God.”“It’s the desire of the Lord for us to be with people and help them in their challenges as they apply the teachings of the gospel in their lives,” President Nelson continued in the Montreal interview. “No matter what the problems are, we can help them. So we love to meet with them, to help them, to lift them, to love them, and to learn more about them.”And yet the Apostles have watched President Nelson make it as personal and individual as possible.And that’s how Elder Holland observed President Nelson for nearly two weeks of public meetings in England and Israel, in Kenya and Zimbabwe, in India and Thailand, and in Hong Kong and Hawaii. “I loved looking at the people looking at him, watching him, and listening to him,” he said.One of Elder Rasband’s takeaways from the trip was President Nelson’s message of love and thanks coupled with invitations for commitment. “President Nelson loves Heavenly Father’s children, wants them to know it, wants to thank them for all they’re doing to build up the Church—and then give them serious invitations: ‘We’ve got to do better on gathering Israel on both sides of the veil; we need to be inviting people to get on the covenant path if they’re off it.’“For Kathy and me, it was a unique experience that we’ll remember all our lives, to travel three days with the Lord’s prophet, to be at his side, and to be able to testify of him and of the inspiration and revelation that he receives,” Elder Andersen said.“I just thought it exemplified Russell Nelson—he’s not just a talker of the word; he’s a doer of the word. And it gave me my message for those days in whatever setting I was in—that we started at the house of the Lord,” Elder Rasband added, saying it reminded him of how President Nelson started his presidency by broadcasting his first message in January from the Salt Lake Temple Annex and spoke the words “we want to begin with the end in mind.”“We learned too. We were eager students sitting at his feet,” Elder Holland said, underscoring the messages of President and Sister Nelson of family, temples, covenants, and following divine inspiration.On these devotional trips, as well as after any type of address given, Church leaders have had members come up, saying “that talk was just for me.”Eager students at his feetAlthough speaking to a large group, the Apostles recognize the individual impact provided by the Holy Ghost.All this from President Nelson, who turned 94 on Sunday, September 9.Then add the others: the June trip to Alberta, with nearly 1,800 flight miles in a three-devotionals-in-as-many-nights weekend, followed by three evening devotionals in a central and eastern Canada swing that covered more than 4,000 miles and the recent Caribbean visit with two days of meetings and a nearly 6,300-mile distance.He called two weeks of listening to President and Sister Nelson teach “a rare privilege” for him and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland. “The members in each of those locations had that experience one time; Pat and I got to have it more than a half-dozen times in sequence. In that sense, we were very much like every other member who heard them—it’s just that we had more of a ringside seat, heard them more often, and loved every minute of it.”Ministering to the massesAnd the four Apostles who accompanied the Nelsons on the prophet’s first devotional trips—Elder Holland, Elder Neil L. Andersen, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, and Elder Dale G. Renlund—still bask in the singular experiences as they reflect on the impact of those travel and speaking assignments on them and their wives.“We are able to speak to many, while knowing that the Holy Ghost will customize the impact of the message to the needs of the individual member,” said Elder Andersen.Often when the General Authorities travel on assignment, they seek for opportunities to meet privately with a handful of individuals or families in “ministering to the one.” But when the devotionals run on a daily schedule and travel is required to get from one city to the next, it’s more “ministering to the masses.”“One of the things you’ll see President Nelson do is he’ll sit up in his chair, and he’ll look,” said Elder Andersen. “He’ll look around as if he’s looking at everyone, and then he’ll speak to the one. He’s speaking to everyone, but he sees in a face something that stirs a certain impression, a certain inspiration. So it’s true there’s a certain largeness to it, but there’s a personal nature to it as well.” President Russell M. Nelson, along with Elder Dale G. Renlund and Sister Ruth Renlund, arrive for a September 1 missionary meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo by Jason Swensen.“He appears tireless and desirous of blessing the people,” Elder Renlund said of accompanying President Nelson. “Being with him made us want to become better people. President Nelson exerts a Christlike influence on those around him to try hard, to be kinder, and to be more devoted to the Savior and His work. This influence occurs because President Nelson is himself a genuine disciple of the Savior.”Elder Andersen said travel assignments—such as these devotional trips—are “energizing,” as he recalled a conversation long before being called as a General Authority when asking then-Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles if traveling worldwide to meet with the Saints was exhausting.President Nelson, he added, has that same philosophy, wanting to go to, be with, and minister to the people by shaking hands, giving blessings, offering apostolic blessings, and lifting others. “His message about ministering is his life,” Elder Rasband said. “That’s his life—that’s who he is.”But what have these devotional trips meant to him and to the Apostles traveling with him?
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the member devotional in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on August 17, 2018.“They talked about family, so Pat and I would go back to the hotel room and talk about our family. Some of the things they said, we would say, ‘That’s an overlay on our situation. That fits with what we want for our children and our grandchildren.’ So in addition to being fellow travelers with them on the trip and at the pulpit, we did have our own takeaways—those little nuggets in the talks given that applied powerfully to us. …Sitting on the rostrum off to the side and behind the speaker’s podium, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland didn’t have the best sight lines to see the face of President Russell M. Nelson as the prophet spoke to Latter-day Saints in eight member devotionals spread over two weeks and three continents in April 2018.In the prophet’s presence With is arm on the shoulder of Elder Ronald A. Rasband, President Russell M. Nelson points toward a group of youth at one of the member devotionals during a June 2018 trip to Alberta, Canada.Elder Renlund noted the prophet’s speaking in Spanish in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico as connecting in a personable way. “By the look on the faces of the congregants (in Santo Domingo), each seemed to feel President Nelson was speaking directly to him or her,” he said.
It wasn’t until December 15, 2008—more than 50 years after the temple was first completed—that an angel Moroni statue was placed on the spire of the temple.For many years, converts to the Church would immigrate to the United States to be with more Church members. In the 1950s, Church leaders encouraged new members of the Church to build the Church in their native lands, causing the Church membership in Britain to increase.Some 32 years later the temple closed for renovations, adding 8,500 square feet and a fourth floor to the existing building. A rededication was held on October 18–20, 1992, where President Gordon B. Hinckley led the 10 sessions. The statue of angel Moroni was not placed on top of the temple’s spire until 2008, 50 years after the temple opened.Ten years after the angel Moroni was placed on top of the London England Temple and 60 years after its dedication on September 7, 1958, the London England Temple continues to bless members of the Church living in the United Kingdom.Today there are more than 186,000 members of the Church in the United Kingdom, with six missions, 327 congregations, and two temples. In June 1998, a second temple in Great Britain, located in Preston, England, was dedicated.A year later the Church purchased the 32 acres identified, and an official announcement of plans to build the temple was released on August 10, 1953. Two years later, President David O. McKay participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on August 27, 1955.A Church News article from September 20, 1958, reported the reaction of President David O. McKay after returning home from his trip to England, saying he “lauded the workmanship of the London Temple.”With that counsel came the need for a temple for the members of the Church in England.In an area where the Church has long been established—the first unit was created in Preston in 1837, just seven years after the Church was officially organized—the London Temple stands as the first temple in the United Kingdom and is the Church’s 12th operating temple.The site of the original 34,000-square-foot building, located 25 miles south of London in Newchapel, Surrey, England, was selected in June 1952 by President David O. McKay and Elder Stayner Richards.According to a Time magazine article dated Monday, September 15, 1958, the new temple was opened to the public for 17 days, and at the time of dedication there were 11,000 Church members in Britain, with 75 chapels.Prior to the dedication, 76,000 people toured the temple during a public open house.The placing of Moroni was the conclusion of the Jubilee Celebration of the London Temple held in 2008. The Jubilee project included restoring the Manor House and the visitors’ center, adding new mission offices to the temple site, and renovating the accommodation center for temple patrons.After three years of constructing the mid-century modern-styled building, a dedication took place over three days, September 7–9, 1958. President McKay presided over the six dedicatory sessions.“Under gray, threatening skies with 150 [spectators], … a helicopter flew in from Buckinghamshire, 58 miles away, to lift the 8-foot, gold-leaf covered statue to the top of the 50-year-old temple,” a Church News article stated. “Scaffolding—erected earlier—made it possible for construction workers to access the top of the 180-foot spire and secure the statue. The event briefly stopped traffic on the busy A22, which passes the temple, and onlookers got out of their cars to peer through the temple gates.”“The visitors, warned not to talk or smoke within the temple, were escorted in groups through the building (cost: $1,700,000), saved their questions to be asked later,” the article stated. “They had plenty of questions: Why was there a telephone switchboard? Why were there locker rooms and powder rooms with Queen Anne–style dressing tables? What was the green and beige drawing room, called the Celestial room, used for, and why should a church be furnished like a luxury hotel, with grey wall-to-wall carpeting, concealed lighting, air conditioning, and armchairs in fawn and black? Whispered one woman to her husband: ‘I’d like to come here for a holiday.’”
Placed near a busy motorway, the London England Temple attracts many Church member and nonmember visitors.
What counsel would you give members living in Puerto Rico or other areas of the Caribbean who are trying to decide if they should remain in their homeland or relocate to the mainland of the United States?Elder Renlund: If I were giving any advice to the rising generation in the Caribbean—to the youth and the young adults—it would be to reread President Nelson’s talk at April general conference.Some questions and responses have been edited for length and clarity.President Nelson: Whenever one of the Twelve Apostles comes to a country, that country will be blessed. To have two of the 15 men who hold the holy apostleship here in this country is a very important, historic step. The [Dominicans] will be blessed because of the fact that the Lord’s Apostles have been here and taught and loved the people.What counsel do you have for members in the Caribbean as they seek personal revelation to better minister to one another in a troubled world?
How does the gospel allow us to grow even during periods of struggle and even sadness?Would you share your feelings about the people of the Caribbean?On September 1, President Russell M. Nelson and Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in a Caribbean Area member devotional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.Following the historic gathering, which included a message from President Nelson delivered entirely in Spanish (see related article), the visiting Brethren sat down with several Latter-day Saint news organizations, including the Church News, to discuss their historic visit to the Caribbean.President Nelson: We travel around the world, and wherever we go people ask, “What can we do to have a better life and become closer to the Lord?” President Russell M. Nelson, far right, and Elder Dale G. Renlund greet community visitors who attended the September 1, 2018, member devotional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of the Caribbean Area.The answer for everyone is to get close to the Lord Jesus Christ and keep His commandments. The Lord has promised us that if we keep His commandments we will prosper in the land. … His thoughts will govern your thinking and His plans will become the foremost part of your own plans.Elder Renlund: What one should do with one’s life is very individual. Every member of the Church has been blessed with the Holy Ghost. Our counsel to people throughout the world is to stay in their homelands and to strengthen and build up the Church. But we don’t tell people what to do. We trust that they will be inspired by the Holy Ghost as to what to do. President Russell M. Nelson delivers his message and testimony in Spanish at a September 1. 2018, member devotional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of the Caribbean Area.Likewise, if one is inspired by the Holy Ghost to make changes in one’s life, we don’t get in the way of that.I think some of the most difficult challenges in life are opportunities to build faith. Once you start to focus on the Lord and your fellow men, you can keep His first two commandments even more perfectly than when things are rosy.I watched him interact with babies, with grandmothers, and with parents. He brings people closer to the Savior. That’s what President Nelson has always done—he directs people to the Savior and to our Heavenly Father and Their work. He invites Heavenly Father’s children home.President Nelson: These are challenges all over the world—how do we strengthen our families and how do we raise children who are obedient?Elder Renlund: In our meeting with the Dominican members, something very historic happened: the prophet of God spoke in Spanish to all assembled. (See related article.) It’s the first time it’s happened in this dispensation. It brought a spirit and a look to the faces of the people. It was the language of the Spirit that spoke to them because we have a prophet who, through the [magnified] gifts God has given him, can communicate in Spanish to the people.Last year’s hurricanes presented great hardships for many Puerto Ricans, including Church members. Yet many Puerto Rican members say it was also a period of personal growth and increased unity in wards and branches.Any concluding thoughts? After speaking to Latter-day Saints in the Dominican Republic on September 1, 2018, President Russell M. Nelson greeted members of the congregation. Photo courtesy of the Caribbean Area.And wherever we go, there are always challenges. In some places, it is too hot and in some places it is too cold. In the Caribbean, we have too many hurricanes. And so it goes.In that talk they would find, number one, that they should receive their own testimony of the restored gospel to know that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them and to know that Christ has restored His work to the earth. Also, that they can gain their own testimony of the Book of Mormon.President Nelson: It is possible to find joy in life even through the most difficult circumstances. The hurricane that came a year ago damaged Puerto Rico mercilessly. Yet hundreds of Latter-day Saints came to help out. They distributed relief supplies, food, and other commodities that were needed.Elder Renlund: It is unbelievable to be with the prophet, President Nelson. It is a thrill I wish everyone could have.President Nelson: I love the people of the Caribbean islands. I first came here in 1994 and I’ve been here many times since. I remember in 2002 I was able to come here with President Thomas S. Monson. That was a blessing for the people and for me.Your children will be more obedient. They will be sweeter. They will be kinder. They will be more intelligent if you read them the scriptures. Correct them in private and praise them in public.How does a visit from a prophet of God bless those he visits?Then it doesn’t matter what else is going on; they have something that is very sure.What advice do you have for the Caribbean members to strengthen their marriages and families?The answer is the same for all people: God gives everyone blessings and challenges. The blessings of life and the opportunity to learn and develop faith are the same for all people. That’s a great gift.If the Holy Ghost is directing a person to stay put and build the Church, their families, and their lives in the place where God has already placed him or her, then that’s what he or she should do.What are your expectations and advice for the Caribbean’s rising generation?We have a message of hope for all the world: come to the Lord Jesus Christ and keep His commandments, and your families and your countries will prosper.The challenges are the same throughout the world. If you can learn to love the Lord, your capacity to love your companion is increased. If you can love the Lord first, then your capacity to teach your children is increased.