Louie died from illness during a pregnancy in 1908; Joseph married his second wife, Ethel Reynolds, in November 1908 and the two were together until her death in 1937. He then married Jessie Evans, a well-known Mormon Tabernacle Choir soloist, in 1938, who preceded him in death in 1971.
President Joseph F. Smith and his son Joseph Fielding Smith, 1914.Even though Church assignments would take him away from home for long periods, President Smith was remembered as being a dedicated father and husband. Sister Ethel Smith, his second wife, described him as a husband and father “whose greatest ambition in life is to make his family happy.”President Joseph Fielding Smith spent his entire life dedicated to the work of the Lord. Speaking at the October 1971 general conference, he reflected on what he'd learned eight months before he passed away on July 2, 1972.“From my earliest recollection, from the first time I could read, I have received more pleasure and greater satisfaction out of the study of the scriptures, and reading of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the work that has been accomplished for the salvation of men, than from anything else in all the world,” he recalled years later in an April 1930 conference address.Less than a year later, he was called to serve a mission in England by President Lorenzo Snow. During the two years he was out, he didn't baptize a single convert. He and the other missionaries he was with, however, helped to plant seeds of faith that would lead to future success in the area.
Joseph Fielding Smith in 1923.“All my life I have studied and pondered the principles of the gospel and sought to live the laws of the Lord,” he said. “As a result there has come into my heart a great love for Him and His work, and for all those who seek to further His purposes in the earth.”“Yes, we could do that,” he said. “And if we press with all vigor, we might even succeed in taking the truck away from the poor man; then how would he make a living?”This work continued until his call as president of the Church in January 1970 following the death of President David O. McKay.President Smith was ordained as prophet of the Church at the age of 93 and served for just two and a half years between 1970–1972. During his life he knew every prophet, excluding Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, all the way through Thomas S. Monson.Throughout his ministry, President Smith stressed the importance of the family.“Do you spend as much time making your family and home successful as you do in pursuing social and professional success?” he once asked. “Are you devoting your best creative energy to the most important unit in society—the family? Or is your relationship with your family merely a routine, unrewarding part of life? Parent and child must ... put family responsibilities first in order to achieve family exaltation.”Even as boy, Joseph Fielding Smith was always said to spend time studying the scriptures.Born on July 19, 1876, President Smith was the son of Joseph F. Smith, the sixth president of the Church, and Julia Lambson Smith. Not only was his father a president of the Church, but his grandfather, Hyrum Smith, was the brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith.President Smith was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1910 when he was 33. According to lds.org, the decision was made only made after President Joseph F. Smith seriously pondered the idea—the prophet initially felt some hesitancy to call his son due to the fact that several from his family were in leadership positions at the time.President Smith was often perceived as stern, something his children couldn’t fathom. The father they knew would read to them while they sat in his lap, play music on the phonograph while dancing around the room, and come home with big boxes of oranges that he would peel and give them segment by segment.President Joseph Fielding Smith then served as the Assistant Church Historian and as Church Historian for nearly 50 years. He was also the Salt Lake Temple president, first editor and business manager of the Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Church Board of Education, and chairman of the Church Publications Committee.Joseph and his first wife, Louie Shurtliff, were married in the Salt Lake Temple on April 26, 1898. They were sealed by his father.President Joseph Fielding Smith holds a special place as the 10th president of the Church, but his family remembers him as a kind and dedicated family man.
Joseph Fielding Smith as a young boy.
President Joseph Fielding Smith.
Joseph Fielding Smith as a young man.President Smith was known as being straightforward and no-nonsense, but also for having a very kind and gentle heart. During one meeting where it was discussed whether or not to take legal action against a street vendor who had accidentally run his cart into a missionary car, President Smith was asked if he agreed with this decision.During his service as an Apostle, the younger Smith acted as the unofficial secretary to his father until his death in 1918. He acted as the scribe when his father dictated the vision of the redemption of the dead, now found in Doctrine and Covenants 138.
Through her experiences with loss, uncertainty, and fear, Sister Aburto says she has learned that relationships, family, love, and faith are our most precious possessions. She says that God is “mindful of each of us” and that “He is always extending His arms of mercy of love towards us, so we can turn to Him and have a better life.”Part 1: Heartbreak and HopeIn this second part of the video series, she shares what it was like to live through the civil unrest in Nicaragua in the late 1970s, which eventually led her to flee the country. She also tells the story of living in San Francisco, California, when she made the painful decision to divorce her first husband after years of trying to help him overcome alcohol and drug addiction. She had a 3-year-old little boy, and her soul was full of questions, fears, and longings for her and her son. “I felt lost, I felt lonely, I felt scared,” she says.Part 2: A Difficult JourneySister Aburto says she did not have a knowledge of the Resurrection at that time. But, she says, “the Light of Christ came to this little girl who needed comfort,” and with time, she came to know that she would see her brother again.Part 3: A New BeginningA series of significant moments throughout her life led Sister Reyna I. Aburto of the Relief Society General Presidency from the depths of despair to incomparable joy. Those moments and her reflections on them are shared in a three-part Mormon Messages series just released by the Church.In the first video, Sister Aburto shares the tragic experience she had as a nine-year-old girl living in Nicaragua. A terrible earthquake not only destroyed her home but also took the life of her older brother. Describing what life was like in the days and weeks following the tragedy, she says, “I remember laying down, looking at the stars at night, and still thinking, ‘What is going on? When will I wake up from this?’”In the three videos Sister Aburto shares some of the challenges she has faced and provides insight to help those who are struggling to find hope.Sister Aburto previously served on the Primary general board from 2012 to 2016 and was called to the Relief Society General Presidency in 2017.In the final video, Sister Aburto tells the story of how her life turned around. Her mother happened to meet the missionaries, who invited them to go to church. “It was amazing how as soon as I stepped into that building, I could feel the Spirit,” she says. “It was stake conference, and I felt that every single message was for me. I felt that I had found that safe place that I was longing for.” She was baptized soon after and later was sealed in the temple to her current husband, Carlos Aburto.Sister Aburto has served in the Relief Society General Presidency since April 2017. She and her husband, Carlos Aburto of Mexico, were married in the Jordan River Utah Temple in 1993. They have three children and two grandchildren.Sister Aburto refers to a cathedral in Germany that was destroyed in World War II, then rebuilt after the war. “You can see … how some of the bricks are black,” she says. “They are the original bricks that were burned during the bombing. I realized that my life is like that church. I have gone through very hard times—the scars are still there, the consequences, the pain is still there. But the Lord has rebuilt my life and allowed me to have joy.”Lessons learnedIn a recent blog post, Sister Aburto explains that she was hesitant to share the story of her divorce. She didn’t want to look back on that time. But knowing that many people have gone through similar difficult experiences, she wanted to help others know that “the sun will shine again, and things will not be difficult forever.”
In a new three-part video series, Sister Reyna I. Aburto of the Relief Society General Presidency shares some of the challenges she has faced and provides insight to help those who are struggling to find hope.
Interested participants can find information on registration and fees, parking, class schedules, and more by visiting educationweek.byu.edu. Online registration is available now, with options for the week, multiple days, and individual mornings, afternoons, or evenings. On-site registration will also be available during the week. Students walk between classes at Brigham Young University’s Education Week on August 23, 2017. Photo by Sarah Harris, Deseret News.Primary General President Sister Joy D. Jones will be the devotional speaker on Tuesday, August 21. The devotional is free and open to the public. Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President.For more information on classes and pricing, visit here.Brigham Young University has announced the theme for this year’s Education Week: “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not,” from Doctrine and Covenants 6:36.According to the release from BYU, the event will be held August 20–24. For those five days, participants will be able to hear from a variety of BYU professors, seminary and institute directors, and experts in a range of fields. Classes will be held on topics such as communication, marriage and family, health, history, and finances, as well as gospel topics.
Heavy rains, flooding, mudslides, and even a typhoon have cut across sections of Japan, Taiwan, and eastern China, combining for a destructive cocktail of weather events.Additionally, 20 full-time missionaries and members pulled on yellow vests and worked as Helping Hands volunteers, focusing their efforts in the center of Okayama City, said Woodruff. They also helped residents remove household items damaged by floodwaters from the Suna River.All missionaries serving across affected regions are safe and accounted for, and there are no reports of injuries to members.Meanwhile, Typhoon Maria affected sections of Guam, Taiwan, and China. Prior to the storm, missionaries serving in the Taiwan Taipei Mission restocked their 72-hour emergency kits and waited out the typhoon inside their apartments.Hundreds of thousands of people in Japan were forced from their homes, including several members from the Okayama Japan Stake and the Matsuyama Japan District. Trash and waterlogged items line the streets of a Japanese community hit hard by recent flooding.Japan has been hit especially hard. In recent weeks the island nation has endured its worst flooding and landslides in decades following torrential rainfall. More than 200 people have died in what has become the country’s deadliest disaster since the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.The dramatic weather looks to continue. Storm watchers in the region are now focusing on a tropical system forming east of the Philippines that could develop into a typhoon in the coming days.A deluge of rainfall hit several Japanese prefectures such as Hiroshima, Okayama, and Hyogo. Some cities were completely inundated in a matter of hours. The flooding was particularly harsh in some areas because rain fell over mountainous regions and then funneled down, causing heavy flash flooding, reported CNN.“In the aftermath of the storm, representatives of the Church’s Asia North Area Welfare Department traveled to Okayama [last week] to distribute resources,” said Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff. “They worked in conjunction with the Japan Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (JVOAD) and the Peace Board Volunteer Center.”Dramatic weather battered Asia in recent weeks—forcing members from their homes, keeping missionaries indoors, and prompting Church-sponsored relief projects. Missionaries and members in familiar yellow Helping Hands vests receive instruction prior to embarking on relief efforts to waterlogged communities in Japan.
These new education and employment initiatives include professionally developed training course materials to help improve the quality of life within communities. Course topics range from increasing income to gaining an education to managing personal finances. Members of the Church and the NAACP, in addition to those of other faiths, will help instruct the courses in places of worship and in community centers across the country.
Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP national board of directors, speaks during the 109th NAACP Annual Convention at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, for the Deseret News.The Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir, an independent LDS choir, performs “Calvary” during the 109th NAACP Annual Convention at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, for the Deseret News.“Today, in unity with such capable and impressive leaders as the national officials of the NAACP, we are impressed to call on people of this nation, and indeed the entire world, to demonstrate greater civility, racial and ethnic harmony, and mutual respect,” he said. “Together we invite all people, organizations, and governmental units to work with greater civility, eliminating prejudice of all kinds and focusing more on the many areas and interests that we all have in common.”
Elder Jack N. Gerard, General Authority Seventy, announces a new joint education initiative by the Church and the NAACP at the 109th NAACP Annual Convention in San Antonio on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, for the Deseret News.The Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir, an independent LDS choir, performs “Calvary” during the 109th NAACP Annual Convention at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, for the Deseret News.Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, stated that the organization is looking forward to working with the Church on a deeper level, Mormon Newsroom reported.The Church announced plans on July 15 for collaborating more extensively with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).“I’m pleased to announce that we will together launch an education and employment initiative with an eye towards national impact beginning in cities like Baltimore, Atlanta, and Camden, New Jersey,” Elder Gerard stated. “We envision joint NAACP and LDS activities and projects all over this nation. We do not intend to be a flash in the pan; that is not our style, and we know it’s not yours.”In May, the First Presidency joined with leaders of the NAACP, delivering a statement on the importance of serving all of God’s children. In the statement, President Russell M. Nelson cited “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” while delivering a message that all people are brothers and sisters to each other. (See related story.)According to Mormon Newsroom, Elder Jack N. Gerard, a General Authority Seventy of the Church, gave an address during the 109th annual national convention held in San Antonio, Texas, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Elder Gerard spoke on the common goals both the Church and the NAACP hold.Read the full story on the NAACP convention here. The Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir, an independent LDS choir, performs “Calvary” during the 109th NAACP Annual Convention at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, for the Deseret News.“I am proud to stand here today to open up a dialog to seek ways of common interest to work towards a higher purpose,” he stated.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong was joined on the program of the July 16, 2018, pioneer-themed devotional by the 2018 Days of ’47 Royalty. From left, Heidi Farley, first attendant; Lauren Bell, queen; and Rachel Roy, second attendant. Photo by Jason Swensen.“[Elder Gong] invited us to be that ‘third pioneer’—the kind in some ways we most celebrate,” she said. “To look back with gratitude and most importantly to look forward to those who still need a helping hand, a friendly smile, or some help.Second are the many pioneers who have come from “every nation, kindred, and tongue.” This Is the Place Monument, for example, appropriately salutes the Mormon pioneers. But it also celebrates the Native Americans, the explorers, and the religious leaders of other faiths who played essential roles in the settling of the Salt Lake Valley. They too called this place home.First, said Elder Gong, are the pioneers such as Brigham Young and many others “who entered this beautiful [Salt Lake Valley].”Elder Gong invited his audience to be that type of “bridge-building” pioneer. “Look for those who still need a helping hand. Who need a friendly smile. Who sometimes need some help.”But he didn’t need to wander over to the iconic granite structure to enjoy the company of pioneers. Seated in front of him, in an audience of young and old alike, were plenty of 21st-century pioneers who were claiming their place among the ongoing, unbroken “chain of pioneers” connecting people from all places and cultures.California resident Barbara Bell said she was moved by Elder Gong's tender memories of his Chinese grandparents, who established a pioneer legacy for his own family.The Gongs may trace different ancestral backgrounds, but their respective families found their new homes to be, in pioneer fashion, “the right place.”With Pioneer Day just days away, it’s an apt time to consider and remember the many types of pioneers.Elder Gong said his wife’s Mormon pioneer ancestors entered the Salt Lake Valley after walking 1,200 miles.Pioneers hail from diverse places and backgrounds, said Elder Gong in his evening devotional at This Is the Place Heritage Park that followed a day of pioneer-themed fun and learning hosted by the Sons of Utah Pioneers and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. People gather on July 16, 2018, at a pavilion at Utah’s This Is the Place Heritage Park prior to a devotional message from Elder Gerrit W. Gong. Photo by Jason Swensen. Elder Gerrit W. Gong introduces himself to 10-year-old Miriam Hurd prior to the July 16, 2018, devotional at This Is the Place Heritage Park. Photo by Jason Swensen.“This third kind of pioneer not only crosses oceans, plains, deserts, cities, and towns—but maybe most importantly, this third kind of pioneer crosses school playgrounds, parking lots, and cultural halls. This kind of pioneer crosses any fence or wall of separation to build bridges of understanding, compassion, friendliness, and good neighborliness.”Prior to Elder Gong’s remarks, the 2018 Days of ’47 Royalty—Lauren Bell, queen; Heidi Farley, first attendant; and Rachel Roy, second attendant, performed a pioneer-themed musical number.It’s important that all remember their own “this is the right place” heritage with gratitude. “And may we always offer a warm smile and a genuine, open hand—and maybe fresh peaches—to those who come from every nation, kindred, and tongue and every state of heart and hope.” Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets guests prior to a pioneer-themed devotional at This Is the Place Heritage Park on July 16, 2018. Photo by Jason Swensen.Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was standing just a short walk from the towering This Is the Place Monument on Monday when he delivered a pioneer-themed message.“They were greeted by new friends and new neighbors who offered them juicy, luscious, perfectly ripe Utah peaches,” said Elder Gong with a smile. “Can you imagine anything more wonderful than coming into a new place and having someone offer you a Utah peach?”“We honor every pioneer—past, present, and future. We are all part of the same heritage.”The recently called Apostle’s own pioneer forefathers came to the United States by ship across the Pacific from China. His wife, Sister Susan Lindsay Gong, descends from Utah pioneers with European roots.And don’t forget the third type of pioneer—the type of pioneer that, perhaps, “we most celebrate and that we most hope we can each be,” said Elder Gong.Elder Gong thanked organizations such as the Sons of Utah Pioneers and Daughters of Utah Pioneers who keep alive the spirit of the Mormon pioneers and their rich legacy.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf—then of the First Quorum of the Seventy, later a counselor to President Monson, and now of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, accompanied President and Sister Monson to Goerlitz.“Every promise came true, but one. We had nice buildings in Leipzig, in Dresden, and in other places. But not little Goerlitz, where the promise was made. Then in Salt Lake City one day I saw the recommendation for a building to be approved for Goerlitz. … I received the assignment to dedicate this building.”“The final blessing,” President Monson continued, “was permission for the missionaries to return—50 years after they were expelled at the beginning of World War II. And then young men and women from the DDR were given permission to leave to go on missions throughout the world.“Then, miracle of miracles, a temple was built, a temple in Freiberg, behind the Berlin Wall. …“When I got back to the old hotel that night—it was really dreary—I knew I had promised what I could not deliver. I got upon my knees, and I prayed to our Heavenly Father: ‘Here I am. Thou knowest that I said. Wilt thou honor the promise.’ I remembered the revelation where the Lord said, ‘Whether by my own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same.’“Other events took place. We were given permission to acquire property, to build buildings. Stakes were created in Dresden and Leipzig. Visitors from the DDR were given permission to go to conferences in Salt Lake City. …Arriving in Goerlitz on that 1995 visit, President and Sister Monson greeted longtime friends waiting in the newly constructed Goerlitz Branch meetinghouse, which he had come to dedicate. It was a key part of the 27-year-old promise.I took a sentimental journey with President Thomas S. Monson and his wife, Sister Frances J. Monson. That journey on August 27, 1995, took us to Goerlitz, Germany, near Poland’s border, far behind what was once the Iron Curtain.He said some might ask why a member of the First Presidency would travel so far to dedicate a branch chapel. “I am in Goerlitz, fulfilling that one unfulfilled element of the promise that you would have a building here,” he said. “Now my restless spirit can calm down. It is a day of happiness for me too.”En route to Goerlitz in 1995, President Monson told me, “Under the inspiration of the Lord, I promised those worthy Saints who had nothing—nothing—that if they were faithful to the Lord, He in His kindness and fairness would provide them with all the blessings any other member of the Church in a free country received.”Then, he said, he went on Sunday morning to the building where members of the Church met. “I heard Brother [Henry] Burkhardt, Brother [Walter] Krause, and Brother [Gottfried] Richter speak. And then I heard the German members sing, and heaven was very near.During the service, he described the stark conditions he found in the city on his first visit: buildings bore marks of bullets and mortar shells, supplies of many kinds were limited, and a dreary mood settled over nearly everybody and everything. “The more time went by, the more I realized I was a long way from home,” he said. “I was in a strange land.”“When it was my turn to speak, I made a promise … that if the members of the Church were true and faithful, every blessing that our members had in every other land would be given to them.“I looked at the conditions under which the Church met in those days. They had no ability to get Church [manuals and other publications], no visitors from Church headquarters, no patriarchs to give patriarchal blessings, no permission to hold a youth conference, no temple, no missionaries.”Then First Counselor in the First Presidency, President Monson went to Goerlitz to fulfill a promise he made to Church members there 27 years earlier, in 1968.But, he noted, the members were full of faith, true to the commandments of God. “I knew of the promises of God to those who keep His commandments,” President Monson declared.“I watched miracles unfold. I won't enumerate all of the elements, but soon a patriarch was called. Soon a mission was organized. Then visitors from Church headquarters. … President Thomas S. Monson talks with a widow in Goerlitz, Germany, on August 27, 1995. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, then of the Seventy and later a counselor to President Monson in the First Presidency, is at back left. Photo by Gerry Avant, Deseret News.
The Young Men General Presidency, from left, Brother Douglas D. Holmes, First Counselor; Brother Stephen W. Owen, President; Brother M. Joseph Brough, Second Counselor.
President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the Worldwide Youth Devotional at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, June 3, 2018. Photo by James Wooldridge, Deseret News.Blake, age 17: “Through the challenges I have been inspired to read the Book of Mormon and I finished it. By reading the Book of Mormon I’ve noticed Satan has less power in tempting me to do wrong things. I feel cleaner and more confident in myself and in my ability to spread the gospel.”Corbin, age 17: “Ever since we were invited to hold a seven-day social media fast I have hardly been on social media. I love it so much I hardly use it now. I have more time to do the things I wanted to do like read my scriptures and pray more often. What can be better than that? Honestly, I loved the challenge!”“And now I invite you to prepare yourself by doing five more things—five things that will change you and help you change the world.”As each young man and woman in the Church responds to these prophetic invitations, they will literally be fitted with spiritual armor for the impending battles as members of the Lord’s youth battalion. While they may sense the urgency of the gathering of Israel, yet they will be confident and empowered by virtue of this armor as they engage in this critical spiritual struggle.Watch the full broadcast now.It was an inspiring scene to view the prophet of God addressing the youth of this worldwide Church in a devotional on June 3. His direction and counsel surely will change many lives. Moved by the Spirit, many young people came away with a commitment to join the Lord’s youth battalion and help gather Israel.Joseph, age 17: “I really thought about President Nelson’s invitation to pray that all God’s children might receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I took this invitation and prayed about it and found myself thinking so much more about others and focusing on their needs and how I might help them. I wanted to help bring the blessings of the gospel to them, and it has honestly made me so excited for my mission!”
The team of students was given the task to “become experts of Mexico’s trucking industry”—in just one semester.“We need to help people that are suffering, and that’s what Christ did,” she said. “That’s kind of the extended call to us. We need to help people who are in a compromising situation.”The only problem? They didn’t know anything about the transportation industry in Mexico.Alicia Becker, the professor for the internship, said the Ballard Center works with award-winning organizations to work on projects that the organization doesn’t necessarily have the resources for but holds a high priority for them.The Ballard Center works with several organizations, but this was the center’s first time doing work for TAT. It was intimidating to be working with a new partner, so the team made sure to set clear expectations of what TAT was looking for.The project left an impression on everyone involved. TAT’s partner in Mexico has already made headway with major influencers in the country’s transportation industry.“I think that’s one of the main points of the gospel: look outside yourself,” Davis said. “It’s important to look out for your family, to take care of your family, … but also to always try to get outside yourself and look to help others and their needs.”“They did not understand their trucking industry,” Lanier said. “They did not have the bandwidth to be able to really delve into that and to get the information they needed.”Language wasn’t the only challenge, though. For the Church members, the connection between the intensive research project and the gospel are obvious.Seeing the success of the students is exciting for Becker, but she hopes they learn more than just how to compile information.“They really got into trucking culture,” Lanier said. “They got into all the regulations; they could answer questions on the fly. They owned it.”But the group persisted.Hannah Jarman, who was an art history major at the time and the team leader, was impressed by how each member of the group was able to come together at the end of the semester and found TAT to be a great organization to work with.One challenge they faced early on was the glaring language barrier. Carmago, originally from Colombia, was a native Spanish speaker, and Davis had served a Spanish-speaking mission in Peru. But Jarman and Weber had only the most basic understanding of the language, making it difficult to understand documents or contact people for information.Asking a group of students to become experts of a foreign country’s trucking industry is a unique task, and it soon became evident that not all the information that is readily available in the United States is as easily available in Mexico.“I cried a little because it was just so much more than I expected,” Lanier said. “They were mature. They took it on themselves. They got T-shirts. … They truly became Mexico’s TAT.”That’s where the Ballard Center came in.Jarman found a connection to ministering from working on the project.That’s because the document represented a lot more than trucking. For Lanier, the deputy director of Truckers Against Trafficking, it meant an increased ability to fight human trafficking in Mexico.It seemed an unlikely, almost mismatched group. Juan Camargo, Gabe Davis, Hannah Jarman, and Gabby Weber were all from different majors and at different points in their college careers. Truckers Against Trafficking deputy director Kylla Lanier attends a press conference in Mexico discussing the organization’s partner in the country, Guardianes del Asfalto. Students from BYU did research for the group to learn more about Mexico’s trucking industry. TAT is a nonprofit dedicated with the mission to “educate, equip, empower, and mobilize members of the trucking and business industries to recognize signs of human trafficking and to know what to do when they see it.” Photo courtesy of Kylla Lanier.“They wanted an extensive report, but they didn’t know exactly what they wanted in it,” Davis explained. “We drew a report, like a plan of what we were going to do week by week. … Every week we were going to tackle one of their questions that they had and get as much information as we could on one of those.”The hefty dossier was researched and compiled by a group of four BYU students as a project for the Social Innovations Projects internship from the school’s Ballard Center.Lanier will never forget what it was like to see the results of the team’s hard work. After showing the research to her mother and sister, who are the cofounders of TAT, they were amazed at the detail, wishing they had access to something like this when they were starting out.The fall 2017 semester was the first time the Ballard Center had worked with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), a nonprofit dedicated with the mission to “educate, equip, empower, and mobilize members of the trucking and business industries to recognize signs of human trafficking and to know what to do when they see it.”Their differences, however, turned out to be the group’s strength.A 59-page report about the ins and outs of Mexico’s trucking industry wouldn’t make most people cry with gratitude, but that’s exactly what Kylla Lanier did.“I still don’t fully understand how they managed that,” Alicia Becker, the professor over the internship, wondered. “I think that between Google Translate they would look at some of the big framework … because I think a lot of those things were available in English. Where they would get stuck, they would pass some of those things off to the Spanish-speaking students.”“There’s a good, better, and best way to live your life, but also to serve others,” she said. “To help students see and learn what is their best way of loving their neighbor, … it’s really fun and really, really rewarding.”Among other things, the group researched the top 100 trucking companies in Mexico, top manufacturers, average ages, required regulations, licensing, and schooling. Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) deputy director Kylla Lanier attends a press conference in Mexico discussing the organization’s partner in the country, Guardianes del Asfalto. Students from BYU did research for the group to learn more about Mexico’s trucking industry. TAT is a nonprofit dedicated with the mission to “educate, equip, empower, and mobilize members of the trucking and business industries to recognize signs of human trafficking and to know what to do when they see it.” Photo courtesy of Kylla Lanier.By the end of the semester, the team had become bona fide Mexican trucking experts. Even though she had been meeting with them weekly about their progress, Lanier had no idea just how much work they had done.“In the end, all of us had a job to do and we were all pretty decent at our jobs because we’d been studying it for a while,” Gabe Davis, an American studies major at the time, told Church News.TAT recently obtained a partner in Mexico who was looking to replicate the success that the organization has had in the United States.Davis will begin attending law school in the fall and hopes to set up a clinic to help victims of human trafficking. Carmago is finishing his last year at BYU and wants to use his degree to help with social issues. Jarman is now attending grad school and studying social work, inspired by her work with TAT.
Hildebrando de Melo, an LDS artist from Angola, speaks at the donor event on opening night of the Mormon Arts Festival June 28. Photo by Rebecca Reed.Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had a brother who at one point seemed more poised to become famous than the well-known Apostle. Author Laurel Thatcher Ulrich presents at the opening night celebration of the Mormon Arts Festival June 28 at the Italian Academy at Columbia University. Photo by Rebecca Reed.However, in the early 1950s before the public availability of a polio vaccine, all three of James McConkie’s children contracted the deadly illness. Doctors warned that the children were extremely contagious and should not be touched, but as James watched his children suffer, he kissed one of them on the forehead and eventually contracted the illness. Although each of the children survived, James McConkie passed away at 32 years old.“A culture is a powerful thing, and the people in that culture identify with the artifacts of the culture,” Nelson said. “So if you’re an American, for example, famous American movies or plays or books or paintings end up becoming part of your identity, so for us to not know our own cultural history, it’s just a missed opportunity.”“The Church is so good at the things that they do, but sometimes it’s really difficult to find people who fly under the radar,” he said.In the days leading up to the festival, an 80-inch high poster was displayed outside Carnegie Hall advertising the performance of Scott Holden, a BYU professor and pianist who performed the work of 14 different composers, including James W. McConkie. McConkie’s family in attendance included his three children—James W. McConkie II, Kathleen McConkie Collinwood, and Michele McConkie Erekson. Holden played a sonatina written by the late composer.“It was almost a redemptive act,” Nelson said, becoming choked up. “Here’s somebody whose work was unjustifiably lost.”“Walking onstage, performing, sometimes feels like you are in survival mode hoping to get through it relatively unscarred,” Holden said. “And sometimes it feels just magical, and [performing at the festival] just was really magical.”
One of the Mormon Art Festival’s founders—historian, educator, and author Richard Bushman—presents at an opening night event for donors on June 28.His unexpected death left his family heartbroken and grieving. Many of his compositions and correspondences were put in a box and there remained for decades.Artists and composers flew in from Angola, Kuwait, the Dominican Republic, and all across the United States to attend this year’s festival, and in the end, Bushman says he believes everyone there felt “they had really been in on something fabulous.”Holden added that months of practice paid off in the performance.James W. McConkie was a composer who received his PhD from Columbia and studied in Paris with some of the most important classical music teachers of the 20th century.Their efforts are paying off. This year’s festival even attracted the attention of The New York Times’ chief classical music critic Anthony Tommasini, who requested tickets to the performance at Carnegie Hall.“Their concert works are really deeply meaningful to them and spiritual. They don’t distinguish between sacred and secular,” Nelson said. “For them, they’re tapping into inspiration from these sources that are heavenly, so a sonata is as meaningful spiritually to them as a hymn.”The Mormon Arts Festival is advised by a board that includes, besides Bushman and Nelson, Dave Checketts and Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, wife of Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.They have found that for members of the Church, creating these works is often a spiritual experience, regardless of whether the art is religious in nature.Bushman explains that he believes that as Church members become familiar with this art, it “heightens our sense of who we are.” But even more than that, it is the hope of Bushman and Nelson that others will come to understand Latter-day Saints as their art is more widely shared.“It became something that everyone in the family could respond to and be grateful for because these are works of faith and joy [by] a remarkable mind,” she said. “It opened up the box and let us talk.”And the festival’s mission is to bring to light the work of any artist who is a member of the Church or has been touched by the culture of the gospel.“What this brings to the floor is that we have a church, which is very powerful and very effective, but beyond that, we have a culture,” Bushman said. “We are a people, not just a church—almost an ethnic group—and that ethnic group has a culture, which is expressed through art to a large extent.”“What that indicated to me was this is news, this is quality, and it’s not just an insular, ‘Let’s put on a show for ourselves,’” Nelson said, adding that Tommasini ultimately fell ill and was unable to attend but sent his regards. “So we just sent him a CD. … But that’s a really interesting lesson for us. It doesn’t have to be evangelizing for us to get the message of who we are out there. Sometimes an effective way is to just show our best work—maybe that’s enough.”“When [Holden] finished, he took the applause, took his bows, and then he said, ‘I’d like the children to stand and receive the applause that [James W. McConkie] should have,’” said Judith McConkie. “It was wonderful.”While the long-term goal of the festival is to eventually have a permanent exhibit in New York City, Nelson says he does not focus on that. He instead focuses on bringing to light the work and stories of people around the world.“It was, for us and the arts community, sort of like when the Church took over Times Square with all of the ‘I’m a Mormon’ ads,” Nelson said. “It felt like an arrival.”“It was an unspeakable tragedy,” said Judith McConkie, daughter-in-law to James McConkie. “Through all these years, people could not bear to deal with the loss.”When the lights went up in the performance hall, which holds 599 people and was nearly filled to capacity, Nelson said it was as if no one wanted to go home. Attendees stood outside the hall visiting with one another under the lights of Carnegie Hall and the poster that read “Mormon Arts Festival.”Last month, James W. McConkie’s work was unearthed when it was performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall as part of the Mormon Arts Festival. According to Judith McConkie, bringing his music to light has brought solace to the family as they have been able to honor their loved one’s work.The Sunday after the festival ended, Nelson recalls being approached by an African American man at church whose family had traveled to attend the conference.The man grabbed both of Nelson’s shoulders, looked into eyes, and, in an effort to express gratitude for displaying the art of an LDS artist from Africa, said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”“We have to realize that it’s not enough to do art that looks good in our chapels and in our temples,” Bushman said. “We need an art that speaks to the broader world. We’ve never been a people that turns in. We’ve always turned out.”It was a life-changing moment for the family, many of whom have taken after their ancestor and have since become accomplished musicians. The significance of the moment wasn’t lost on the audience, either.Poet, writer, and publisher Glen Nelson describes the role he and well-known historian, educator, and author Richard Bushman have as founders of the Mormon Arts Festival as half-archeologists and half-spies.
PROVO, UtahElder Cook: Four Ways Missionaries Can Love Others and Deepen Their ConversionSecond: Keep it simple. The equation is simple, he said. “If missionaries want to teach, convert, and baptize more people, they must talk to more people.”“I will often repeat what I have said before, recognizing that once in a while someone listens to me,” he said. “You will be doing the same on your mission.”Elder and Sister Renlund Review the What, Why, and How of Developing Christlike Attributes President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24-26.“Joseph and Hyrum, missionary companions, true and faithful one to another and to God, are the example for every missionary companionship in this Church. None of your missionaries will be called upon to go through what Joseph and Hyrum did. None will be required to voluntarily lay down their lives for this Church, but all can learn from these two powerful missionaries how to support and strengthen one another.”And 174 years ago nearly to the day of President Ballard’s seminar address, the two brothers lost their lives in Carthage Jail, felled by the guns of a hate-driven mob.During the event’s third and final day on Tuesday, June 26, President Ballard reflected on he and his wife, Sister Barbara Ballard, attending a previous version of the new mission presidents’ seminar 44 years earlier in preparation to preside over the Canada Toronto Mission. He has attended 43 since.“No missionary should ever fail to understand and appreciate the great price others have paid to establish once again the Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth,” he said. “No assignment or challenge of any missionary should hold him or her back from boldly declaring the gospel truths that are ours to share.Repentance Is Not a Backup Plan; It Is the Plan, Says Elder AndersenGospel Study and Holy Ghost Essential to Effective Teaching, Say Elder and Sister ChristoffersonPresident Nelson Shares the “Hopes of My Heart” with New Mission Leaders
Hyrum Smith.Third: Teach when you find and find when you teach. He spoke of one of his senior missionary couples serving in northern Ontario who, on their second day in a small town and first visit at the local store, asked if they could visit and teach the clerk and his wife,—and then inquired if there was anyone else they could invite to join them for the lesson. The clerk and his wife identified a couple. President Ballard said 18 members of the family, at his last count, have joined the Church from that simple extended invitation.Elder Bednar Shares Five Lessons about the Spirit of Revelation with New Mission LeadersThe latter was part of his main theme, “The Faith to Find the Elect,” to which he listed seven principles from Preach My Gospel with personal thoughts. “Always remember, ‘nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach,'” he said, quoting the manual’s Chapter 9.
A statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith by Carthage Jail in Illinois.Seek Divine Assurance to Remove Self Doubts about Service, Says President EyringBook of Mormon Is the Most Effective Conversion Tool, Say Elder and Sister HollandFifth: Finding through members. President Ballard shared the two basic reasons why many members hesitate to do missionary work—the first is fear and the second is a misunderstanding of what missionary work is.Taking moments to turn back the clock, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, drew upon his experiences and those of his ancestors as he spoke at the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar.“Brothers and sisters, fear will be replaced with faith and confidence when members and the full-time missionaries kneel in prayer together and ask the Lord to bless them with missionary opportunities,” he said.Read additional storiesSeventh: Finding with the Book of Mormon. “Our missionaries need to recognize and utilize the power of the Book of Mormon in their finding efforts,” he said, quoting President Ezra Taft Benson in that “missionaries need to show how the Book of Mormon ‘answers the great questions of the soul.’”He added that in talking to people wherever they are found, the missionaries seem to stay mentally, emotionally, and spiritually involved in the Lord’s work. And recent studies show that service to others also improves their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.Concluding his address by speaking of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his older brother, Hyrum, President Ballard recounted the two’s discussions about possibly going back to Nauvoo and giving themselves up to authorities. Joseph acknowledged they would “be butchered,” while Hyrum responded with an answer that showed faith in the Lord and a willingness to die for His cause. “Let us go back and put our trust in God, and we shall not be harmed,” said Hyrum Smith. “The Lord is in it. If we live or have to die, we will be reconciled to our fate” (History of the Church, 6:557-558).President Ballard then offered “a personal thanks to Elder Pratt for not giving up but following up,” because of his connection to Mary Fielding. After her conversion, she later married a widowed Hyrum Smith; their son was Joseph F. Smith, the Church’s sixth president, and their grandson Joseph Fielding Smith, the 10th president. Joseph F. Smith’s oldest son was Hyrum Mack Smith, himself an apostle and President Ballard’s maternal grandfather.President Oaks Says Knowledge, Testimony of Joseph Smith Vital to Missionary WorkFirst: Missionaries must know how to teach the essential doctrines, principles, and commandments. Said President Ballard: “Knowledge is power. Confidence builds courage.”Support and Encouragement Help New Converts Blend with Members, Says Elder SoaresSixth: Finding through technology. “Digital media tools provide opportunities to engage those who are searching for truth,” President Ballard said. “In a sense, people are finding us.”
Mary Fielding, circa 1844. She came to Kirtland from Canada in 1837 and eventually married Hyrum Smith.“The seminar, in those days, did not even remotely resemble the marvelous seminar preparation and presentations that you have experienced here this year,” he said to the 112 new mission leadership couples preparing to serve worldwide. “The power of heaven has guided all; we have been taught.” A mission president and his companion participate in a session during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24-26.He also spoke of his great-great-grandparents as examples of his message’s two themes—Hyrum Smith for his faith and life sacrifice for the gospel, and Mary Fielding Smith for her accepting the gospel.Love, Serve, Teach, Baptize, Elder Uchtdorf Tells New Mission LeadersPresident Ballard concluded: “This is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are on His errand. I bear testimony that Joseph and Hyrum were prophets of the living God. We must be bold and steadfast in carrying the gospel of Jesus Christ to our Father’s children—wherever we find them.”Fourth: Missionaries follow up, they do not give up. President Ballard told of Parley P. Pratt’s mission to Ontario and his persistence in finding, teaching, and converting John Taylor, who later became the third President of the Church. Elder Pratt took the yet-unbaptized John Taylor to visit Joseph Fielding and his sisters outside of Toronto, having to persist through a less-than-cordial welcome to convince the Fieldings to listen to the message; they were baptized several days later.
The Renlunds reviewed the what, why, and how of developing Christlike attributes, sharing multiple scriptures as well as selections from Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel. Sister Renlund noted that chapter doesn’t provide an exhaustive list of attributes but rather “is a starting point for missionaries to study the divine nature.”Love, Serve, Teach, Baptize, Elder Uchtdorf Tells New Mission LeadersPROVO, UtahThe Spencers moved into her home and enjoyed a time while his health was stable. A decline in his heath required placement in a nearby care center, which she paid for with money she had carefully saved and where she could visit daily.
This is the caption.Heartbroken, she moved away to raise her five children and grandchildren and to serve four additional missions; meanwhile, her former husband became a member of the Church again and had his priesthood and temple blessings restored. End of story as far as the Renlunds knew—until their October 2015 visit.President Ballard Discusses 7 Principles for Finding People to Teach“These attributes are granted as we serve God and our fellowman,” Elder Renlund said. “The gospel purpose is to produce people of perfect character whose actions are only motivated by the pure love of Christ. It is never just about perfecting ourselves. It is always about helping God in His work.”It is worthwhile to follow Preach My Gospel instruction to look, study, and work on Christlike attributes one by one, Elder Renlund said. “But please remember that these characteristics do not function separately or autonomously any more than a perfect carburetor is all that is needed to complete a motor,” he added. “Nevertheless, an auto mechanic will work on the carburetor and then move on to other parts of the motor before the engine is ready to work effectively and safely.”Read additional storiesThe Renlunds asked if they could join her that October 2015 day in her visit to her husband. “My husband took the opportunity to give his beloved mission president one of his first apostolic blessings,” Sister Renlund said. “President Spencer passed away two days later.”Elder Renlund said Sister Spencer’s demonstration of Christlike attributes inspires him—more than four decades after his mission.In teaching new mission leaders about developing Christlike attributes, Elder Dale G. Renlund and his wife, Sister Ruth L. Renlund, cited from the scriptures and Preach My Gospel. But their most poignant teachings came from describing influences and examples from his Sweden Stockholm Mission service more than four decades ago and from the wives of his two former mission presidents.Book of Mormon Is the Most Effective Conversion Tool, Say Elder and Sister HollandYears after the Spencers returned home from their mission assignment, he suffered health challenges that temporarily affected his personality, becoming infatuated with another woman, losing his membership in the Church, divorcing Sister Spencer, and marrying the other woman.Support and Encouragement Help New Converts Blend with Members, Says Elder SoaresKey is the understanding that the Savior chose His Father and loved others, with the pre-eminent event and example being His Atonement, Elder Renlund said. “He performed the atoning sacrifice not just because He submitted His will to the will of the Father, but also out of love for us, His pure love, an attribute called charity.”President Oaks Says Knowledge, Testimony of Joseph Smith Vital to Missionary WorkAdded Sister Renlund: “These women have been spiritually born of God. They received the Savior’s image in their countenances. They experienced the mighty change of heart, described in the scriptures. They had qualified for and received the spiritual gifts to become like the Savior. Their influence encouraged all their missionaries to seek for the same gifts, to become like the Savior. I am grateful for the effect they had on my husband. They knew that their efforts to develop Christlike attributes was not only for themselves but a powerful example for others.”Repentance Is Not a Backup Plan; It Is the Plan, Says Elder AndersenThe reasons to be Christlike is to fulfill a commandment, to qualify for salvation and exaltation, and to help others. Divine attributes are sought to help the Savior in His work, to not just merit blessings for oneself but to help bless others.“Their Christlike examples and influence have been long-lasting, extending way beyond my mission,” Elder Renlund said. “There were times when I could have made different choices than I did. But the thought of disappointing either of these saintly women gave me pause. I knew, as every missionary who served with them knew, that they loved me. But, to receive their approbation, I needed to do my best, during and after the mission. To avoid disappointing them, I made better choices than I otherwise would have made. Without their influence, my life would have been different.”Elder Bednar Shares Five Lessons about the Spirit of Revelation with New Mission LeadersPresident Nelson Shares the “Hopes of My Heart” with New Mission LeadersThe two reminded the new mission leaders that they were responsible to teach, encourage, and set the example of Christlike attributes to their missionaries. They concluded their presentation by sharing “the rest of the story” of how Sister Spencer exemplified Christlike attributes.“In an incomprehensible act of forgiveness, compassion, and love, and to the delight of their five adult children, Sister Spencer remarried President Spencer. She explained to us that their temple sealing was still intact and that he was temple worthy, so she saw no barrier to marrying him again. Despite it all, she had never lost her love for him.”And they had shaped his life as well, long after the in-person interactions.After his call to the Twelve Apostles in October 2015, Elder Renlund felt impressed to take his wife to visit Sister Spencer, then age 87, and Sister Folkersen, then 86, and tell them how much they had influenced him. Despite heartache, heartbreak, loss, betrayal, and other challenges, they had been examples of faith, patience, compassion, love, selfless service, and forgiveness, he said.In their joint presentation June 26 at the Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center, Elder and Sister Renlund saluted Sisters Mavis Spencer and Mardene Folkersen—their husbands and his mission presidents in the early 1970s, President Herbert B. Spencer and President L. Ronald Folkersen, having passed away.“Her example says more about developing Christlike attributes than any speech or sermon ever could,” he added. “I love her for that! I am blessed to be her former missionary.”Seek Divine Assurance to Remove Self Doubts about Service, Says President Eyring“It’s hardest to be Christlike when you have been wronged, when you have every right to hold a grudge, when your own resources are small, or when your heart has been broken,” he said. “But being Christlike, Sister Spencer forgave her husband, found solace in her temple blessings, and was charitable. She acquired Christlike attributes as she lived the gospel each day and extended love to all.“The part we only learned while visiting Sister Spencer was that after 29 years of marriage, wife number two divorced President Spencer,” Elder Renlund said. “At age 86, he found himself alone, impoverished, and in failing health. Elder Dale G. Renlund and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund, speak during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24-26.Elder Cook: Four Ways Missionaries Can Love Others and Deepen Their ConversionThe Renlunds also underscored that one can qualify for divine attributes by repetitively applying the doctrine of Christ. “Accepting and following the doctrine of Christ leads to developing His attributes,” Sister Renlund said. “His doctrine, His character, His rewards are necessarily connected.”Gospel Study and Holy Ghost Essential to Effective Teaching, Say Elder and Sister Christofferson
As a key element of the Church News’ ongoing series about the Apostleship, several members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of their unique connection and love for the missionaries.The Apostles’ near-breakneck schedule lifted Elder Soares and the members to whom they were ministering. “It gave us,” he said, “what we did not have.”And just as a full-time missionary depends upon his or her companion, the Apostles depend upon the missionaries.Such administrative duties go beyond simply “running the organization,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve. The Apostles hold priesthood keys for the gathering of Israel. Elder Quentin L. Cook greets missionaries in Honduras during a February 2018 visit. Elder Neil L. Andersen greets missionaries at the Auckland New Zealand MTC during a March 2018 visit to the area.Joseph Smith once said, “After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel.” The Apostles and the full-time missionaries are “joined at the hip” in this most important endeavor, said Elder Renlund.The Lord remains the guiding director of missionary work. He authorizes His living Apostles, who often serve on the Missionary Executive Council, to communicate His desires to the full-time missionaries laboring in the field.Like Paul of Old, today’s apostles prayerfully delegate their duties to share the gospel with others, said Elder Uchtdorf. “Every one of those 65,000 missionaries are performing a sacred service and are called by the Lord with a letter from the prophet of God to be representatives of the Savior.Ultimately, the connection between the Apostles and the missionaries goes deeper than mere callings and assignment. Their companionship is rooted in respect, fondness and love as fellow servants in the gospel.Sometimes members of the Twelve find themselves ministering to missionaries in need.“They are the extended arm of the Twelve.”Consider the First Presidency and the Twelve, said Elder Christofferson. Those two groups consist of only 15 men. “So we find people and ask them to devote their time—for 18 months or two years —in helping us accomplish this great commission,” he said.“We are companions with the missionaries and they are companions with us,” he said. Elder Ulisses Soares and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares speak to missionaries in Tacloban Philippines in September 2017. Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver, Deseret News.“Companions” in the workNow dissect the Lord’s instructions in those two Biblical verses: Leave home and go out into the world; share the gospel with everyone; and then teach baptism. Each instruction could aptly be called divine “marching orders” issued to the Apostles—both ancient and latter-day—and to full-time missionaries, alike.Consider the Savior’s defining charge to His Apostles of old: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:15).But members of the Twelve are quick to add that they too are uplifted whenever they are in the company of missionaries.While serving in the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Ulisses Soares often traveled with members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—men he now counts as fellow Apostles.For full-time missionaries, an hour or two spent with a visiting Apostle is a mission highlight worthy of several journal entries. Even listening to the Apostles speak at general conference on television or perhaps online makes for nourishing spiritual sustenance. Elder D. Todd Christofferson greets missionaries in Cordoba during a visit to the South America South Area in February of 2018. Elder Ronald A. Rasband greets missionaries in the Philippines during a February 2018 visit. Elder David A. Bednar greets missionaries in Recife, Brazil, during a March 2018 visit.The Apostles and the Church’s 65,000-plus full-time missionaries share a sacred, even symbiotic relationship. Each depends upon the other to fulfill their divinely issued call to share the gospel. “Go Ye Therefore (Go Ye Therefore, and Teach All Nations),” by artist Harry Anderson. (See Matthew 28:16–20.)In following that command, the Twelve are “righteously engaged” in missionary work and delivering the message of the gospel, said President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.The young missionary was facing challenges, but he knew he was loved. An Apostle was praying for his success and well-being. “Certain things are put in front of us to help save others in a spiritual way, or bless them in a physical way,” said Elder Andersen. “It's a very real power.”“The missionaries help fulfill that prophecy every day as they testify of the Savior and the Prophet Joseph Smith—and the work he has done with the Restoration.” Elder Gary E. Stevenson speaks with missionaries during a meeting in Taichung, Taiwan, during a 10-day tour of the Asia Area March 9-19.Whenever he studies that bronze piece, he is reminded of the unbreakable connection between the Apostles and the missionaries. Both groups are following Christ’s direction to share the gospel’s good news. “That’s why missionary work is so important to what we do—we all go out into the world and proclaim the gospel.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard shakes hands with missionaries during his visit to Edmonton, Canada, on June 10. Photo by Linda J. Purnell.“In fact, it is the Twelve, exercising the keys that they have, who assign them to missions ...,” said Elder Renlund. “And so we send them.”The Apostles and missionaries, he added, also testify of the prophetic call of Joseph Smith, whose name would be known, according to prophecy, “for good and evil.”A sacred, symbiotic unionElder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles chairs the Church’s Missionary Executive Council. Sitting atop his office desk is a small bronze sculpture of a missionary companionship peddling furiously on bicycles, perhaps rushing to a teaching appointment. Elder Gong greets missionaries in El Salvador during a March 2018 visit to Honduras and Nicaragua with Elder Quentin L. Cook.The word “apostle” comes from a Greek word meaning “to be sent,” explained Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. And, in apostle-like manner, the missionaries “are sent” across the globe to teach Christ’s gospel.“Part of the reason for that is the spirit that radiates from the missionaries, and the joy we feel when we are together,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “The missionaries are so devoted and committed that the spirit comes easily. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland greets missionaries individually on occasion of meeting in Malaga, Spain, September 16, 2017.The unique yet similar callings shared by the Apostles and the full-time missionaries edifies all. “I think every member of the Twelve feels that being with the missionaries is one of the most exciting things we do,” said Elder Renlund.Elder Gerrit W. Gong, a recently called Apostle, calls it “a privilege” to meet with the missionaries who share his responsibility to “represent and testify” of the Savior and His restored gospel.“As I say to them frequently, we see the full-time missionaries as our companions.”But crazy schedules aside, traveling members of Twelve almost always find an hour here or there to be with the local full-time missionaries. The two groups, they say, enjoy an eternal kinship testifying of Christ.“Many times I watched them travel all night and arrive at their destination. They would take a quick shower, change clothes, and then head to meetings with the members,” he said.Editor’s note: The following is the third in a Church News series on the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. See the Related Links for the previous article. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks with missionaries offering service to victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas.“We are providing spiritual oversight and direction so that the work is performed in the way that the Lord wants it,” he said.Elder Neil L. Andersen recently learned of a struggling missionary assigned to a South American mission. The young elder’s family was in crisis. He wanted to go home. Prompted by an impression that the missionary should remain, Elder Andersen worked late hours counseling with local leaders and a member of the area presidency who were in working closely with the missionary.“Whenever we have time, we assemble with the missionaries,” he said. “We meet with them. We let them ask questions. We try to help them find, teach, baptize and retain our Heavenly Father’s children.” Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum o the Twelve Apostles, center, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, right, greet volunteers from the Russia Moscow Mission on April 24, 2018.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband visits with missionaries during his February 2018 trip to the Church’s Philippines Area.
In the video “How to—Align Different Parenting Styles in Five Helpful Steps,” a father shares some tips he and his wife learned that you can start implementing now to avoid problems down the road.You and your spouse may have differing opinions on parenting, such as rules around curfew or media use, how to discipline, or even which family traditions to implement during the holidays. It can be difficult to come to a consensus on how to raise a family. Additionally, each child is unique and has an individual personality, needs, and challenges. Because of this, even experienced parents may struggle with parenting. Whatever the challenges you and your spouse face in parenting, it’s important to parent as a team.From a young age, many people hope and plan for marriage and parenthood. Many studies report the benefits of marriage and family life: people with healthy family relationships tend to live longer, gain more education, and are generally happier. However, as wonderful and worthwhile as marriage and family life is, it can present some difficult challenges, including knowing how to parent.Professor Loren Marks extols the virtues of perseverance and commitment in family life. After a hard day, he says we should “start by getting up the next morning and trying it again.” Life will never be perfect, but we can find joy by doing our best each day and not being too hard on ourselves when things aren’t going as smoothly as we’d like.In “How to—Be a Team in Marriage and Parenting,” experts provide some suggestions on becoming more united as parents. Professor Erin Holmes feels it’s important to let your spouse know you appreciate them at the end of a long day. Being able say “I’m grateful for your help” or “I’m glad we can work together on this” goes a long way. Expressing appreciation helps both spouses grow closer and feel hopeful and motivated.Finding balanceAs newlyweds or engaged couples, it’s important to start talking about parenting decisions that need to be made in the future. You don’t have to wait until you have kids to begin learning about parenting styles and practicing good parenting skills. A good place to start is by seeking to understand your spouse and his or her family background and history.Visit the “How To” channel for more videos on being a better parent, preparing for parenthood, and raising a family.Families can look very different from each other. While much of the advice in this article is catered toward a home with two parents present, many of the principles can be adapted to apply to single-parent homes, grandparents raising grandchildren, situations of divorce, or other circumstances.Sometimes in order to make really great music, you’re going to have these periods of dissonance,” she says. “And other times you’re going to have these perfect melodic phrases. … There are times when I have heavy demands at work, times when I have heavy demands at home, and sometimes I just have to recognize that’s going be how life is and it’s OK. It’s OK for some of that dissonance sometimes. It’s OK when things aren’t perfectly balanced. It doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong.”As we discuss the demands of life with our spouses, we can work together to accomplish what we need to do. Being aware of where we are spending our time and energy and where we are needed can help us stay in harmony and make adjustments when needed.Part of being a parenting team is helping each other meet the demands of work life, home life, and other duties. When we try to balance all these needs, we might end up feeling like we’re failing at everything. In the video “How to—Achieve Balance between Work Life and Family Life,” Holmes suggests that it’s better to seek for harmony rather than balance.Preparing for parentingWe can prepare by taking steps to better ourselves individually. One young adult suggests asking ourselves the question “What can I do to be the best version of myself?” rather than focusing on the flaws of others. (See more tips about improving yourself in “How to—Prepare for Marriage and Parenting: It’s Personal.”)Becoming a team takes time and hard work. Even if you’re not currently married or a parent, you can start preparing now to partner with your spouse and face the challenges ahead. Parenting as a team means discussing differences and creating a united front.Whether you are preparing for or are in the midst of marriage and a family, the “How To” YouTube channel has helpful tips for you to consider as you navigate the waters of parenting.Creating a united front
Part of being a parenting team is helping each other meet the demands of work life, home life, and other duties. As we discuss the demands of life with our spouses, we can work together to accomplish what we need to do.As two people from different backgrounds come together in a marriage, they may have different habits, routines, perspectives, and opinions. Parenting as a team means discussing differences and creating a united front.
“There’s a lot of curiosity about the temple. All our friends and relatives want to go inside. They’re waiting for that,” he said.
Umberto and Nicoletta Pagnani joined the Church when both were young medical students. Their family has added stability and strengthened other converts in Rome. Photo by Laurie Sowby.Umberto Pagnani, who serves on the high council of the Rome Italy East Stake, expressed excitement about the announcement of the open house and dedication dates for the Rome Italy Temple.Nicoletta Pagnani, who was seriously ill for a time after the temple was announced, said, “I’m happy to be alive to see it open.”Native Romans Nicoletta and Umberto Pagnani have been married 41 years—all of them as members of the Church.The greatest blessings“I was doing everything the missionaries asked me to, but I wasn’t getting an answer,” despite praying, Nicoletta Pagnani recalled. Then, one morning while she was preparing breakfast, “it came to me that Jesus was the Savior. From that point on, I felt the truth of the Church. I knew I needed to be baptized.”Forty-five years ago, though, when both were students at a medical university in Rome and encountered Mormon missionaries at a bus stop on a Saturday, the future Nicoletta Pagnani was skeptical.When they see the problems some of their friends are having, Nicoletta Pagnani observed, “I think how the Savior has sweetly worked in our lives. Our lives in the Church are like a rock with the blessings from Heavenly Father gently lapping against it.”Two daughters born in the covenant have also been married in the temple and are raising the Pagnanis’ five grandchildren in the gospel. Serena Teodosi is in the Rome 2nd Ward and Adriana Gessati in the Rome 5th. Along with their husbands and parents, they are helping provide a solid foundation for the growth of the Church in Rome.Because she and her husband tried to live gospel principles, she said, “our children have never [witnessed] us say one thing and do another.”A retired pediatrician, Nicoletta Pagnani remains involved with children in her calling as second counselor in the ward Primary. Both she and her husband have held many different callings over four decades.Reflecting on their conversion to the gospel, she said, “The greatest blessing is that we’ve been able to raise our family in the Church,” along with “the trust between husband and wife and having the priesthood in our home.”Umberto Pagnani, who had already been a member for a year, baptized his future wife in the summer of 1975. They continued their studies and received their medical degrees; his as an ophthalmologist and hers as a pediatrician. They were married according to civil law in March 1977 and immediately made a trip to the temple in Bern, Switzerland, to be sealed.As a self-proclaimed agnostic, it would take two years for her to accept the gospel. The Rome 2nd Ward chapel features many rooms and courtyard spaces beyond these doors. Photo by Laurie Sowby.“Some of our own grandchildren will be old enough to do baptisms for the dead when the temple opens,” he added.For his part, Umberto Pagnani said he was simply curious at first. He had discussions with the missionaries for several weeks after the initial encounter, then went on vacation. He read the Book of Mormon while he was away. He looked for the elders when he returned, continued with discussions, and was baptized a year later, on July 24, 1974.ROME, ITALYA temple in Rome Rome Italy Temple under construction, April 2018. Photo by Laurie Sowby.Becoming convertedNicoletta Pagnani noted that because their nonmember friends know and respect them, it will be a positive experience when those friends attend the open house.Umberto Pagnani said the stake is encouraging members to work on family history and have family names ready for ordinance work when the temple is dedicated.Umberto and Nicoletta Pagnani are the only members of the Church among their parents and siblings, yet Nicoletta Pagnani’s mother, who died 10 years ago, noted the softening of Nicoletta’s heart when she became a Latter-day Saint.His fiancee’s conversion took a while longer.“They were speaking about angels and gold plates,” she related in a recent interview at the chapel of the Rome 2nd Ward. “I even thought [Umberto] was a little crazy,” she said, recalling how she felt when he made the decision to join the Church.
In the service of the Lord, each person will touch a few, he concluded. “They will touch others. And in the years ahead, you will find that the fruits of your labors were multiplied a hundredfold by those with whom you served. And most of all, you will come to see that it was the loving service of Heavenly Father, of the Savior of the world, and of the Holy Ghost that allowed you to be blessed with peace here and with joy in the celestial kingdom, never to feel alone.”President Eyring said the most certain evidence of approval is when the Lord sends the Spirit to testify, guide, and help him in the harvest. “I find that the Spirit comes only after prayer, searching scriptures and the words of living prophets— and especially in the Book of Mormon—exact obedience, love of others, humbly listening for the Spirit, and long and painful labor.”“You will feel in wonderful moments that the approval of most worth is from God, who knows what you have become,” said President Eyring. “Those moments help me understand why a wise priesthood leader has said more than once in my presence something like this: ‘Rather than focus so much on what we are to do, wouldn’t we do better to focus on what we must become?’”Personal example seems to me to be more effective than words, President Eyring explained. “But it is powerful only if what the exemplar does springs from what he or she has become.”Support and Encouragement Help New Converts Blend with Members, Says Elder SoaresPresident Eyring said some weeks after he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve, President James E. Faust called him to his office—the office President Eyring now occupies. He said in a kindly voice, “I’ve been watching you. It looks to me as if it has happened. You have begun to feel doubt that you are qualified for the call to the Apostleship.”President Eyring said fully qualified servants of the Lord who serve in His way have temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, charity, and humility.Only the Father, His Beloved Son, and the Holy Ghost can provide the assurance Latter-day Saints need to go forward boldly in their service, said President Henry B. Eyring on June 26.“Our task is to do our best to let the Lord bring that lofty standard into our daily lives and those of our missionaries, and into the hearts of the members whom the Lord invites to serve with us in the vineyard.”President Eyring said he wished he could say that change takes less effort and comes more quickly. “I wish the harvest was easy and that the Holy Ghost was given just for the asking…. The Holy Ghost comes as we try to give our all. And it is the Holy Ghost who both cleanses us and conveys the Lord’s approval.”A loving teacher who teaches with love has the greatest likelihood of engendering love for the Master, he said.“I have learned how to seek and then to feel assurance that I am approved enough to go forward in confidence,” President Eyring said. “Everyone needs that assurance.”“My simple message for you, and for your missionaries, is the one that has taken away my self-doubt as I have labored in calls from the Lord that appeared far beyond me,” said President Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. “What has saved me is a spiritual assurance that has come to my mind and has gone down into my heart. It is the reality that Heavenly Father and His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost go with me.”President Eyring said it has taken him years to see and feel what President Faust was teaching him. “He knew that the only source of the answer to my question was the Lord of the vineyard,” he said. President Faust and other Church leaders knew of the Church service President Eyring had given. “But only the Savior and His Father knew in what way the Atonement and the Holy Ghost had purified and changed my heart.”That inspired insight is discernible in Preach My Gospel, he said.These moments of doubt will be as much a danger for missionaries as they are to their mission president and his companion, he said.President Oaks Says Knowledge, Testimony of Joseph Smith Vital to Missionary WorkIn Preach My Gospel mission leaders will find the ideas and the doctrine they will need to help their missionaries grow in their power to teach the gospel. He emphasized that gospel teachers should “teach with the true love of God for the student.”Missionaries will seek that assure from their mission president and his companion, President Eyring said. “They are grateful when you praise them. Everyone feels some satisfaction and assurance from being praised for how well he or she did. That kind of recognition is pleasing.“It has seemed to me that the prepared person is the next one you find after you and your companion decide to keep working…,” he said. “That’s when you find that you have had the Holy Ghost as your unseen companion. That is when you will know that you do not labor alone. That’s when you find joy in the harvest with the Lord of the harvest. And that’s when you feel approval. And that is how you know your heart is changing.”Read additional storiesIn the book of Helaman the Lord granted to Nephi some of His power, a priceless message of approval. God explained how Nephi had allowed God to change even the desires of Nephi’s heart. The Lord goes on to give Nephi the charge to call people to repentance.Book of Mormon Is the Most Effective Conversion Tool, Say Elder and Sister Holland Mission presidents and their companions greet one another during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24–26.He acknowledged having the experience of being led as a missionary by the Spirit to a person who was prepared to receive the message of the gospel and the Restoration, he said. But that guidance comes most often at the end of a hard day of speaking to people and being rejected.President Eyring said his suggestions stem from two observations. “First, the love of God does beget love. And, second, successful mission presidents use a variety of ways to engender that love in those they try to influence.”Elder Bednar Shares Five Lessons about the Spirit of Revelation with New Mission LeadersRepentance Is Not a Backup Plan; It Is the Plan, Says Elder Andersen“If we could feel the reality of being called into the vineyard to labor with Them, it would replace our self-doubt with the courage to go forward. I saw that once when I began in a call, as you are now doing.”Gospel Study and Holy Ghost Essential to Effective Teaching, Say Elder and Sister Christofferson“When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself. You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you,” he said, quoting Preach My Gospel.President Nelson Shares the “Hopes of My Heart” with New Mission Leaders“But then I remember that only God knows my heart. There is only one approval I can trust perfectly. … And the assurance we need is to know that by serving the Lord faithfully, we have become more like Him.”“I have had such moments often in my service in the Lord’s kingdom. And I have learned how important it is to banish those moments quickly. If you let them linger, they grow, and then your power to serve diminishes.”President Eyring quoted Jacob 5, describing the reality of missionary work in the Church. Missionaries have studied for years. “Now is a time for you to feel it more deeply and act upon it more courageously,” he said. President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency greets new mission presidents and their wives during the Mission Leadership Seminar held in the Provo MTC June 24–26.“You may have times when you wonder if your call is beyond you,” he said. “You may even ask, ‘Is this too much for me?’Love, Serve, Teach, Baptize, Elder Uchtdorf Tells New Mission LeadersIn these passages, the Lord of the vineyard labors with his servants to prepare and perfect it. “He calls the servants. He gives them commands. He listens to them. He talks with them. He works beside them,” President Eyring said. “In fact, he seems to do much of the work himself. And yet he gives his servants a generous share in his divine joy.”“Teaching is only one of the ways we labor with and for others in our missionary service. But all of those labors must spring from the love of God to be effective. …President Eyring said he has felt that joy often. “And I have seen with the eyes of faith not only that I did not work alone, but that the Father, the Savior, and the Holy Ghost were generous beyond measure to let me share in their joy for my small efforts,” he said. “We have all felt joy in the transformation of others’ lives through the Lord’s Atonement, and the Holy Ghost being sent to the hearts of those we were called to invite to follow the covenant path.President Faust’s words made then-Elder Eyring lean forward in anticipation. “I thought he was going to give me assurance,” recalled President Eyring. “I felt that he was going to answer my question of whether I was approved of God. I began to ask him for that reassurance. He smiled, holding up his hand to stop me from going on with my question. He pointed to the ceiling of the office and said quietly, ‘Don’t ask me. Ask Him.’”Elder Cook: Four Ways Missionaries Can Love Others and Deepen Their ConversionThat understanding could shape the way mission leaders praise their missionaries. “You might wisely tend to praise them more for what they are becoming than for what they have done,” he said. “You can help them recognize their growth in character. You will help them see what God has helped them to become.”Speaking during the Mission Leadership Seminar at the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah, President Eyring said the call as a mission leader often brings “moments of feeling overwhelmed.”President Eyring told the mission leaders that President Faust’s teaching will help them in similar times, which they will experience in the field.
President M. Russell Ballard examines a Bible that belonged to Joseph F. Smith and is being donated to the Church by the Jackson family. Photo by Savannah Hopkinson, Deseret News.“I got that [Bible] right back to my mom,” Jackson said.President Ballard expressed his gratitude to the Jackson family for keeping “this precious Bible.”The markings implied their family Bible was the one President Smith was reading at the time he received the revelation on the souls of the dead now found in Doctrine and Covenants 138, sometimes called the Vision of the Redemption of the Dead. From left: Alan Jackson, Robert Jackson, Steven Jackson, Susie Groesbeck, President M. Russell Ballard, Nancy Miller, John Jackson, Richard Jackson, and Scott Jackson. The Jackson siblings, direct descendants of President Joseph F. Smith, recently donated their family Bible to the Church. The Bible belonged to President Smith. Photo by Savannah Hopkinson, Deseret News.Decades later, Jackson and his wife, Sue, along with his other siblings and their spouses, donated their family Bible to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a meeting at the Church Administration Building on July 10. The donation was made in commemoration of the revelation, which was received shortly before President Smith died in 1918.“This really did happen,” he said, referring to President Smith’s revelation. “We have concrete evidence he had it, it’s in this Bible, and I’d say that would be more or less [a strength to] their faith and also a reminder of what happened.”One could argue the Bible hasn’t really left the family, however; Steven Jackson, the oldest sibling, handed it off to President M. Russell Ballard, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who also descends from President Smith. The Jacksons descend through President Smith’s daughter Rachel Smith, who passed the Bible to her own daughter Mary Ellen Taylor, who is the Jackson siblings’ mother.
Church History Department archivist Brandon Metcalf and President M. Russell Ballard pose with Joseph F. Smith’s Bible, which contains personal scripture markings. Photo by Savannah Hopkinson, Deseret News.From left: Alan and Steffany Jackson, Robert and Sue Jackson, Steven and Pat Jackson, Susie Groesbeck, Brandon Metcalf, President M. Russell Ballard, Nancy Miller, John and Stacy Jackson, Richard Jackson, and Scott and Ruthanne Jackson. The Jackson family, direct descendants of President Joseph F. Smith, recently donated their family Bible to the Church. The Bible belonged to President Smith. Photo by Savannah Hopkinson, Deseret News. President Ballard hands the Bible to Church History Department archivist Brandon Metcalf for safekeeping with the Church History Library. Photo by Savannah Hopkinson, Deseret News.The Bible contains President Smith’s signature on the front page, along with the date he received it, April 1, 1913; and due to the passages marked in 1 Peter 3 and 4, the Jackson family believes it is the Bible President Smith was reading when he received the Vision of the Redemption of the Dead.On his first night, he found markings his great-grandfather—President Joseph F. Smith—made in 1 Peter 3 and 4.“We try to keep things in the best possible environmental conditions to preserve the life of all the materials we collect here,” he said.Steven Jackson said though their family has kept the Bible for a long time, there was “a general family spirit” that they should donate the Bible to the Church for the 100th anniversary of the revelation. He hopes the Bible gives Church members a greater testimony of President Smith as a prophet.As a young man, Robert Jackson took his family’s Bible into the mission field.
President Joseph F. Smith.“He had been basically bedridden for several months leading up to this revelation … and so I think he had a lot of time to contemplate things,” Metcalf said. “Also that year, he had lost his son Hyrum M. Smith … and a son-in-law and then a daughter-in-law, all within that year, and so I think death [was] on his mind.”He’s also not sure when the Bible was published, as Oxford University Press did not include a publication date for unknown reasons. Though there aren’t any immediate plans to display it, the Bible could “definitely be a candidate for future exhibits.” The inside cover of a Bible once owned by President Joseph F. Smith, where he wrote his name and the date. The Bible was recently donated to the Church. Photo by Savannah Hopkinson, Deseret News. Pages in a Bible owned by President Joseph F. Smith. The Jackson family, who recently donated the Bible to the Church, believe the faintly marked passages indicate that this is the Bible President Smith was using when he received the revelation now found in Doctrine and Covenants 138. Photo by Savannah Hopkinson, Deseret News.Metcalf said the Bible will be kept in the Church History Library’s temperature- and humidity-controlled vaults. He also said the Bible looks like it’s been handled a lot over the years and has some loose pages, but the binding is still intact; the Church History Department won’t do much restoration in order to preserve the bible’s story, though they will repair some of the loose pages. President M. Russell Ballard speaks with the Jackson family, who have been in possession of President Joseph F. Smith’s Bible and have decided to donate it to the Church. Photo by Savannah Hopkinson, Deseret News.“I think the significance for us is that it tells us a great story of the days, the events, and even presumably the exact Bible that President Smith [used] in the months and years that led up to him receiving Section 138 of the Doctrine and Covenants,” Metcalf said. “We appreciate the family being willing to donate that and trust us with it, and we’re grateful to be able to preserve this now for generations to come.”“What a treasure,” he said, speaking to the Jackson family. “When you think about our grandfather, our great-grandfather, you think about one of the great prophets that ever lived, in my judgment. I don’t know of any prophets in this dispensation short of Joseph Smith that taught the gospel quite like him.”
“Emma was one of the most important and least understood people of the Church’s early history. Through her immediate participation in significant events from the earliest days of translating the Book of Mormon through the trials of Missouri and Nauvoo, she provided strength to her husband and family as well as to the Church membership at large.” —Keith Erekson, director of the Church History Library
A painting depicts Emma Smith leading the first meeting of the Relief Society on March 17, 1842.“Emma Smith was absolutely crucial in the establishment of the Church. Her contributions to the translation of scripture, the first hymnal, and organization of the Relief Society cannot be overstated. She was Joseph’s confidant and best friend through extreme adversity. We do not fully comprehend the strength she was not only to Joseph, but the entire Church through the heartaches and horror of repeated forced moves, mob persecution, arrests of Church leaders, and ultimately the murders of Joseph and Hyrum.” —Brandon Metcalf, archivist/historian in the Church History Department“One part of Emma Smith’s legacy that matters to me is how often she was taken in and cared for by others when she was in need—left homeless when her husband was in jail, for example. And how often she cared for others in her own turn. She so often had a house full of people and had to figure out how to [keep] the household running, how to tend to her children, what to feed the people in her care, and how to keep up with her Church responsibilities—helping with various iterations of the hymnal, overseeing the Relief Society starting in 1842, and generally looking to ameliorate the needs all around her.” —Kate Holbrook, managing historian of women’s history for the Church
An actor portrays Emma Smith in the movie Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration.
Here’s what they had to say:Her efforts included compiling the first book of hymns, helping with the translation of the Book of Mormon, and supporting her husband, Joseph Smith Jr., in his call as the Prophet.“In 1830, the Lord told Emma Smith in Doctrine and Covenants 25 that she was “an elect lady” with a charge to expound scriptures and exhort the Church. She assisted her husband, the Prophet, in many ways: she helped scribe the translation of the Book of Mormon; she prepared missionaries for service; she opened her home to the sick, the orphaned, and other visitors; she collected hymns for the Church’s first hymnal; and she was the first president of the Relief Society. Emma was the first woman to make temple covenants, and she led other women to do the same.” —Jenny Reeder, 19th-century women’s history specialist for the Church History DepartmentEmma Smith played an important part in the Restoration of the gospel, and today, more than two centuries after her birth on July 10, 1804, Church members can still learn from Emma’s example.Named by the Lord as “an elect lady” and known for being the first Relief Society General President, Emma Hale Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, lived a life of sacrifice and service. A painting shows Emma Smith caring for sick people.The Church News asked Church historians to answer the question “What should Church members know about Emma Hale Smith?”
A mission president and his companion participate in a session during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24–26.1. Not knowing beforehandPresident Nelson Shares the “Hopes of My Heart” with New Mission LeadersReceiving, recognizing, and responding to revelations from God are spiritual gifts for which Latter-day Saints should yearn and appropriately seek, said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar on June 26.Gospel Study and Holy Ghost Essential to Effective Teaching, Say Elder and Sister ChristoffersonThe lesson: “We should not expect to receive additional revelation if we do not treat appropriately the revelations we already have received.”Nephi went to Jerusalem to obtain the plates of brass and “was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [he] should do” (1 Nephi 4:6), said Elder Bednar. “Nephi did not recognize in the moment he was receiving revelation that he was receiving revelation.”“God uses a variety of patterns to convey His revelations to His sons and daughters, such as thoughts to the mind and feelings to the heart, dreams, visions, conversations with heavenly messengers, and inspiration,” he said. “Some revelations are received immediately and intensely; some are recognized gradually and subtly.”“All of the messages were the same and all the messages were different in a pattern of repetitious revelation and learning,” he said.Revelation, he said, focuses upon the “what” more than the “why.”4. Revelation as a conclusion about timing Mission presidents and their companions listen to a session during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24–26.“In many of the uncertainties and challenges we encounter in our lives and in this great latter-day work, God requires us to do our best, to trust in Him, to be anxiously engaged and act and not simply wait to be acted upon,” he said. “We may not see angels, hear heavenly voices, or receive overwhelming spiritual impressions. We frequently may press forward hoping and praying—but without absolute assurance—that we are acting in accordance with God’s will. But as we honor our covenants and keep the commandments, we can walk with confidence that God will guide our steps.”Elder Bednar promised the mission leaders that the five lessons will be helpful in their personal lives, families, and ministries in the mission field. In closing he testified, “The spirit of revelation is real and operates in our individual lives and in the Savior’s restored Church.” Mission presidents and their companions participate in a session during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24–26.Elder Bednar described five interrelated lessons he has learned about how the spirit of revelation operates in the work of the Lord.Typically, revelation comes as a conclusion and not an explanation, taught Elder Bednar. “We should not be surprised, for example, if impressions or promptings simply guide us to stop, to go, to open our mouths, to remain silent, to slow down, to press forward more rapidly, or to consider an option or course of action that may seem unusual.” Mission presidents and their companions enter the Provo Missionary Training Center during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar on June 24–26.Often, revelatory help may focus not upon what to do, but when to do, said Elder Bednar.Revelation frequently comes in small increments over time and is granted according to desire, worthiness, and preparation, he said.Defined most simply, revelation is communication from God to His children on the earth and is one of the great blessings associated with the gift and constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, taught Elder Bednar.2. Repetition as a pattern for receiving revelation“We have learned to treasure the spiritual gems that are revealed through repetition,” he explained. “The distinctive nuggets of inspiration and spiritual knowledge that flow into our minds and hearts as we repeatedly teach and testify of gospel truths are the product of a line upon line and precept upon precept pattern of revelation. Repetition is a vehicle through which the Holy Ghost can enlighten our minds, influence our hearts, and enlarge our understanding.”Members should more fully appreciate the value of repetition as a means of facilitating revelation, he said.President Oaks Says Knowledge, Testimony of Joseph Smith Vital to Missionary WorkRepentance Is Not a Backup Plan; It Is the Plan, Says Elder Andersen5. The importance of keeping spiritual confidences Mission presidents and their companions greet one another during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24–26.Elder Cook: Four Ways Missionaries Can Love Others and Deepen Their ConversionQuoting the late President Boyd K. Packer, Elder Bednar counseled mission presidents and their companions to not speak lightly about sacred things. President Packer said: “I have come to believe also that it is not wise to continually talk of unusual spiritual experiences. They are to be guarded with care and shared only when the Spirit itself prompts you to use them to the blessing of others.”Read additional stories Mission presidents and their companions participate in a session during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24–26.Elder Bednar said a “hallmark characteristic” in the ministries of Church leaders is repetitious teaching. Mission presidents and their companions listen to a session during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24–26.For example, Elder Bednar said he frequently and repeatedly has opportunities to teach and testify of the divinity and living reality of our Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son; of our resurrected Redeemer; of the basic doctrine of the Savior’s restored gospel. Many times each day he is blessed to declare the truthfulness of these eternal verities. Interestingly, the messages always are the same and always are different. Mission presidents and their companions participate in a session during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24–26.The lesson: “We do not have to recognize in the moment we are receiving revelation that we are receiving revelation,” said Elder Bednar. “Simply be good. Remember and honor your ordinances and covenants. Just go and do your best, and you will be guided, blessed, and become an instrument in the hands of the Lord to accomplish His purposes.”“And in describing this series of events, many of us commonly state that Moroni appeared to Joseph and delivered the identical message four times. That statement is accurate but it is incomplete.”“Such communications from God gradually and gently ‘distil upon [our souls] as the dews from heaven’ (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45).”“As the Savior declared, ‘And thus they all received the light of the countenance of their lord, every man in his hour, and in his time, and in his season’ (Doctrine and Covenants 88:58).”Book of Mormon Is the Most Effective Conversion Tool, Say Elder and Sister HollandThe lesson: “The Lord often requires that we initially go and do without knowing why.”Elder Bednar called the spiritual gift of revelation a great blessing. “As we righteously exercise and honor this sacred gift, we demonstrate to God our increasing trustworthiness and our desire to always use such gifts to bless and serve other people.”The lesson: “Discerning by the power of the Holy Ghost when something should be done can be just as important, or even more important, than knowing what should be done. A mission president and his companion participate in a session at the Provo Missionary Training Center during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar on June 24–26. A mission president greets missionaries at the Provo Missionary Training Center during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar on June 24–26. Mission presidents and their companions listen to a session during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24–26.Latter-day Saints cannot and should not wait for an explanation before acting “because we have the sure promise of the Lord: ‘Blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more’ (2 Nephi 28:30).”Elder Bednar explained that perhaps this experience is highlighted so early in the Book of Mormon precisely because it is an example of such an important pattern of revelation.During the night of September 21, 1823, the angel Moroni visited Joseph Smith three times and conveyed eternally important messages to him, said Elder Bednar. Moroni also returned a fourth time the next morning.This pattern of revelation tends to be more common than rare.“The spirit of revelation is real and operates in our individual lives and in the Savior’s restored Church,” said Elder Bednar, focusing on Doctrine and Covenants 8:2–3 and addressing the topic “The Spirit of Revelation in the Work.” A mission president and his companion participate in a session during the 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 24–26.Love, Serve, Teach, Baptize, Elder Uchtdorf Tells New Mission LeadersSupport and Encouragement Help New Converts Blend with Members, Says Elder SoaresIndeed, the same core message was presented on all four occasions. But in visitations two, three, and four, additional information and instruction were given to Joseph “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (see 2 Nephi 28:30).The lesson: “Repetition can invite revelation if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.”3. Revelation as a conclusion and not an explanation
Almost six decades after the missionaries arrived in Scotland, a young Elder David O. McKay, also born of Scottish roots, was assigned to labor in the country in 1897.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland presents a Scottish museum with the exact replica of an artifact that became linked with Scotland’s religious history.Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Stirling Member of Parliament Stephen Kerr at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling, Scotland, on July 5, 2018.Just six and a half years after completing his mission to Scotland, David O. McKay was called as an Apostle and became president of the Church in 1951. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland presented a Scottish museum with the exact replica of an artifact that became linked with Scotland’s religious history. The event was held in Stirling, Scotland, home of the iconic Stirling Castle.President McKay’s experience in Stirling is now part of Church history. “That moment, that difficult day, highlighted by that inscription had a profound impact on McKay for the rest of his life,” said Elder Holland. “He referred to it repeatedly, lacing it into remarks at various points along the more than 70 years of Church service he would give following that mission.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland presented a Scottish museum with the exact replica of an artifact that became linked with Scotland’s religious history.“I am delighted for the invitation to be with you today for such a significant moment in my own history as well as in the history of beautiful Stirling,” he said. Audience members listen as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland presents a Scottish museum with the exact replica of an artifact that became linked with Scotland’s religious history.As a discouraged, homesick young missionary serving in Stirling, Scotland, in March 1897, Elder David O. McKay noticed an inscribed stone on the side of an apartment building under construction near his flat.“I want you to know that I stand before you as a bona fide son of Stirling, the shire if not the city proper. I am very proud to have Scottish blood flowing through my veins.”In 1839 Alexander Wright and Samuel Mulliner, natives of Scotland, traveled from the United States to their homeland and baptized the first Latter-day converts in the country. “Those were our humble beginnings in Scotland, leading to a Church membership today of more than 25,000 members in five stakes and one mission,” said Elder Holland.During the presentation to the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Elder Holland spoke of the early history of the Church in Scotland and his own Scottish roots. The event was attended by Stephen Kerr, Stirling Member of Parliament, and Councillor Christine Simpson, Stirling’s Provost.In his journal he recorded, “I accepted the message given to me on that stone, and from that moment we tried to do our part as missionaries in Scotland.”“The work was hard, the weather sometimes disagreeable, the people were unreceptive for the most part, and one inevitably wonders whether the sacrifice of time and money is worth it,” said Elder Holland of David O. McKay’s experience. “In the midst of such doldrums, young Elder McKay noticed an inscribed stone on the side of an apartment building under construction [in Albany Crescent, Stirling] as they returned to their flat that evening. It read in a bold, clear message to him personally, ‘What e’er thou art, act well thy part.’”Elder Holland’s great-great-grandfather, Robert Gardner, Jr., was born in Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, Scotland, on October 12, 1819.So when Albany Crescent was being demolished in 1965, two local missionaries of the Church asked the demolition company to save the renowned stone. The Scotland Mission President bought the stone for 30 pounds and displayed it in the Mission Home in Edinburgh. It was later moved to the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. A replica was made and is displayed in the garden of the Mission Home in Edinburgh.The Church also has a long, storied history in Scotland.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles expresses his delight at being invited to speak at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling, Scotland, on July 5, 2018.“Even with this history I am not sure you marvelous citizens of Stirling can understand how almost sacred this stone and the incident behind it is for us as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, simply because it meant so much to a beloved prophet of our Church who revered it so much,” said Elder Holland.During a 1955 visit to Stirling, President McKay found his old apartment and proceeded to find the inscription on what he called the “crisis stone.“More than 121 years later, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presented an exact replica of the inscribed stone to a Scottish museum on July 5. “During his presidency the Church experienced substantial growth,” said Elder Holland. “Membership tripled, the number of missionaries called grew six fold, and the first temple in Europe was dedicated in Switzerland. President McKay was the first Church president to travel outside of North America extensively, visiting missions and congregations across Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Pacific. Over and over again, in almost every land and island of the sea, President McKay used the story of the Stirling stone, 'the crisis stone,' with its inscription, inspiring young people, adults, and thousands of missionaries with the message of integrity, duty and resolute character that so moved him as a young man. ‘What e’er thou art, act well thy part.’”From those earliest years on, the stone remained an important monument to missionaries serving in Stirling long after President McKay completed his mission in 1899, explained Elder Holland.The message was bold and clear: “What e’er thou art, act well thy part.”
Stephen Kerr, Stirling Member of Parliament, speaks at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling, Scotland, on July 5, 2018.
Stirling’s Provost, Councillor Christine Simpson, speaks at event at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling, Scotland, on July 5, 2018.Receiving the replica stone on behalf of the museum was Director Dr. Elspeth King who said, “We are pleased to be chosen to display the exact replica of this stone to preserve the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Scotland. We offer our gratitude to the Church for their contribution. We also express thanks to Stephen Kerr MP who worked closely with the museum on the project and was instrumental in making it happen.”