Image by Aaron Thorup.The numbers: 201 total temples scattered across six continents and 58 nations and U.S. territories.Simply put, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has embarked on an unprecedented era of more international temples.Organized in the state of New York in 1830 with its headquarters moving across the Midwest and reaching Salt Lake City in 1847, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been based in what is now present-day United States. International missionary efforts started in the Church’s first decade—within three years to Canada and seven years to Great Britain. The Laie Hawaii Temple. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
A photo of the Kirtland Temple circa 1875. It was dedicated on March 27, 1836, after three years of construction. Photo courtesy of Community of Christ Library-Archives, Independence, MO. Stereograph by W. A. Faze.
The Tokyo Japan Temple.Only eight temples total were built in the first seven years of the 1990s before President Hinckley made his memorable end-of-the-century push with temples.Those two are the start of an extensive and historic string of international temples to be dedicated over the next several years, given that the 10 temples in various stages of construction and next in line to be dedicated are all outside the United States.
Image by Aaron Thorup.At the conclusion of his inaugural April 2018 tour that took him to England, Israel, Kenya, Zimbabwe, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Hawaii, President Nelson offered a succinct summary: “Everything we’ve done in these last few days together circling the globe could be summed up in two words—‘the temple.’”Rather, the current increase is more international in nature—with 85 percent of the future temples to operate beyond U.S. borders.And as the first-year leader of the Church in 2018, President Nelson announced seven new temples in the April 2018 general conference and another 12 in the October 2018 general conference. A total of 19 temples—four in the United States, including Utah, Virginia, and California; and 15 others to be located in Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Guam, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Russia.The longest time between dedications of U.S. temples in the past 50 years was the six years between the November 1974 dedication of the Washington DC Temple and the November 1980 dedication of the Seattle Washington Temple, the Church’s 16th and 19th operating temples. The dedications of the São Paulo Brazil and Tokyo Japan Temples occurred during the six years.Which brings us to 2018, a current total of 161 operating temples in the Church’s history of nearly 189 years, and the Concepción and Barranquilla Temples starting this international surge in temple building.And the temples started coming—and not 30 or 32 but actually 34 between that conference and the end of 2000. Dedicated on October 1, the Boston Massachusetts Temple became the Church’s 100th, with two more—in Brazil’s Recife and Porto Alegre—dedicated in 2000’s final month, making it 102 total operating temples and a 51-51 split between U.S. and international locations.It may be some time before the next new temple is dedicated in the United States, the last one being the Cedar City Utah Temple in December 2017. Six U.S. temples have been announced—for Saratoga Springs, Layton, and Washington County, Utah; Pocatello, Idaho; Richmond, Virginia; and Yuba City, California—but none has a site officially designated nor a groundbreaking date set.Into the 21st centuryThe 1980s saw the Church’s first concentrated effort of extensive international temple building, with 17 of that decade’s 26 temples located outside of the United States—five in Latin America, Asia’s first four temples, four in the Oceania area (Australia and the South Pacific), three more in Europe, and the first on the African continent.The average time between the groundbreaking and dedication for the 29 temples that had both a groundbreaking and a dedication over the past decade (or a scheduled dedication in the next five months) is three years and three months. The shortest time was the one year and three months for The Gila Valley Arizona Temple, and the longest is the Rome Temple, with its March 10–12, 2019, dedication dates coming eight years and nearly five months after its October 2010 groundbreaking.The seven other temples underway include a pair in Brazil and one each in Portugal, South Africa, Peru, Côte d’Ivoire, and the Canadian province of Manitoba.As for the time between announcement to dedication, the average is 66 months—or 5.5 years—for the 18 temples announced since 2009 that have either been dedicated or are scheduled for dedication. The extremes are the Brigham City Utah Temple, dedicated just under three years after it was announced, to the dedication of the Concepción Temple in October 2017, a little more than nine years after it was announced.At the time of the April 1998 general conference, the Church had 51 operating temples—27 in the United States—with another 17 temples either announced or under construction for a total of 68 temples.Timing over past decadeGoing more globalThe first temples—no longer operating—were in Kirtland, Ohio, and Nauvoo, Illinois. With the move out West came what President Nelson has referred to as “pioneer temples” in Utah—temples in St. George, Logan, Manti, and Salt Lake City. Members wait outside the Freiberg Germany Temple prior to the September 4, 2016, rededication of the historic edifice. Photo by Jason Swensen, Church News.With the Church’s bicentennial anniversary a little more than 11 years away and 40 future temples already on the books, reaching the 200-temple benchmark shouldn’t be a problem.During that conference, President Hinckley announced plans for 30 additional temples—many of them a smaller size than previous temples. No locations were announced at the conference—just the number “30,” until the late Church President upped the number.
President David O. McKay at the site dedication and groundbreaking for the Bern Switzerland Temple in 1953. Photo courtesy of Deseret News archives.Between U.S. temple dedications Architects Hyrum C. Pope and Harold W. Burton designed the Cardston Alberta Temple. Photo courtesy of Deseret News archives.
Capstone laying of Cardston Temple, Alberta, Canada. The capstone was placed September 23, 1917. Photo courtesy of Church History Museum archives.That includes President Russell M. Nelson, who as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles nearly two decades ago underscored the doctrine—and dotting—of temples.“In this program we are moving on a scale the like of which we have never seen before. … I can only add that when these 30 or 32 are built, there will be more yet to come.”Before that, the longest stretch of consecutive international dedications were the five from June 1983 through May 1984—in Apia, Samoa; Nuku’alofa, Tonga; Santiago, Chile; Papeete, Tahiti; and Mexico City, Mexico.Recently, two years passed between the dedication of The Gila Valley Arizona Temple on May 23, 2010, and the Kansas City Missouri Temple on May 6, 2012, during which four international temples were added in Cebu City, Philippines; Kyiv, Ukraine; San Salvador, El Salvador; and Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.By then, even more temples—both in the United States and across the globe—will likely have been announced.The average time between announcement and groundbreaking for the 21 temples announced since 2009 where groundbreaking has taken place or is scheduled is three years. The extremes are the seven months between the announcement and groundbreaking for the Provo City Center Temple to the eight years and nearly four months for the Urdaneta Temple, announced in October 2010 with a January 16, 2019, groundbreaking.The Church has averaged a little more than three temple dedications a year—59 total in the last 18 years—and usually a slight edge of international temples to those in the United States. When the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple was dedicated as the Church’s 141st operating temple in March 2013, there were five more internationally than in the United States.There is no set template for time between a temple’s announcement, groundbreaking, and completion, given all the varying factors such as property selection, architectural designs, approvals from local governing councils, construction issues, and the like.Of the Church’s 161 currently operating temples, 81 temples are located within the United States and 80 are located in other countries. But the last two temples dedicated in late 2018 were in South America—the Concepción Chile and Barranquilla Colombia Temples.Still, the time gap between the December 2017 dedication of the Cedar City Temple and that of the next new U.S. temple to be finished and dedicated may end up being one of the longest in more than a half-century. (Second from the left) President William F. Perschon of the Swiss-Austrian Mission; Elder Samuel E. Bringhurst, president of the new temple; President David O. McKay; and Elder Richard L. Evans of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles leave the Bern Switzerland Temple following a dedicatory session on September 11, 1955. The Swiss Temple was the first in Europe and reaches a 60-year milestone this month. Photo courtesy of the Deseret News archives.The result is temples dotting the earth, the start of fulfilling the words of latter-day prophets who spoke of hundreds and even thousands of temples over multiple continents.Dedicated in 1923, the Alberta Temple (later renamed the Cardston Alberta Temple) was the first outside of the United States and its territories, with the Swiss Temple (Bern Switzerland) the first in Europe in 1955 (with a temple in London, England, three years later). The first temple in the Southern Hemisphere came with the New Zealand Temple (now Hamilton New Zealand) in 1958, while the São Paulo Brazil Temple was the first in South America in 1978.Over the past five years, more U.S. temples came on line, especially during a 15-month stretch from August 2016 to December 2017 with temples in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Fort Collins, Colorado; Star Valley, Wyoming; Hartford, Connecticut; Tucson, Arizona; Meridian, Idaho; and Cedar City, Utah, coming on board, with the sole international temple being in Paris, France.A historical look backAnd of the 30 announced temples still awaiting formal site designations and groundbreaking dates, 24 are located outside of the United States. In all, that’s 34 of the 40 future temples—85 percent—that will be beyond the U.S. St. George Utah Temple.“As part of the planned destiny of the earth and its inhabitants, here our kindred dead are also to be redeemed,” he said in the April 2000 general conference. “Families are to be sealed together for all eternity. A welding link is to be forged between the fathers and the children. In our time, a whole, complete, and perfect union of all dispensations, keys, and powers is to be welded together. For these sacred purposes, holy temples now dot the earth.”And as he uses his ministry and devotional travels throughout the world to visit temple sites under construction or consideration as well as encourage temple preparation and participation, he underscores the need for these sacred edifices.The Saratoga Springs and Pocatello Temples were the first of the six to be announced, nearly two years ago in the April 2017 general conference. The other four were announced by President Nelson at the two 2018 general conferences.While 40 future temples might seem like a lot, it’s well shy of the push in 1998 to dedicate 49 new temples before the end of the year 2000 so that the Church could meet President Gordon B. Hinckley’s goal of 100 operating temples by the end of the 20th century. Hamilton New Zealand Temple. Kirtland Temple in April 2000. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.Ending the 20th centuryAnd in the truest sense of the word, those four temples were not built and dedicated in the United States but in the Utah Territory, all beginning operation before statehood in 1896. The Hawaii Temple in 1919 was also dedicated in Laie four decades before Hawaii’s statehood.The table is set for an international focus of new temples, which started with last year’s dedications in Concepción and Barranquilla. The 10 temples designated as “under construction” are all outside of the United States, with three—the Rome Italy, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Port-au-Prince Haiti Temples—already with dedication dates for the first half of this year.And of those 40 temples under construction or planned, 15 will be the first in their respective nation or U.S. territory, including the expansive Russia, the populous India, and the remote islands of Cape Verde and Guam. Workers put up a sign during construction of the Bern Switzerland Temple in the early 1950s. The Swiss Temple was the first in Europe and reaches a 60-year milestone this month. Photo courtesy of Deseret News archives.“I think we had better add two more to make it an even 100 by the end of the century, being 2,000 years ‘since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh,’” he said, quoting Doctrine and Covenants 20:1.Looking ahead The Bern Switzerland Temple, the first temple in Europe, was dedicated in 1955 and remodeled in 1992.And so it could be another several years—or more—before the next temple is dedicated in the United States, if one looks at the timing of temple announcements, groundbreakings, and dedications of the last 10 years.Temples dotting the landConsecutive international templesUp to now, the longest string of international temple dedications came during the big push of 2000, when eight temples outside the United States were dedicated in succession in less than two months. From May 21 through July 16, temples were dedicated in Adelaide and Melbourne, Australia; Mérida and Veracruz, Mexico; Montreal, Canada; San Jose, Costa Rica; Fukuoka, Japan; and Suva, Fiji.Before that, three years and four months passed between the Las Vegas Nevada Temple in mid-December 1989 and the San Diego California Temple in late April 1993, with only the Toronto Ontario Temple dedicated in that period.With the July 1985 dedication of the temple in Stockholm, Sweden, the Church had for the first time as many temples outside of the United States as it did within—17 and 17. Five of the next six temples were built in international locations—South Africa, South Korea, Peru, Argentina, and Germany.
Image by Aaron Thorup.President Joseph F. Smith first used the phrase of temples “dotting the land”—referencing Europe during several conferences with members there in the early 1900s. Prophets and apostles since have echoed the “dotting” phrase, expanding it to not just North and South America and Europe but to the entire world.“Building and maintaining temples may not change your life, but spending your time in the temple surely will,” said President Nelson in the October 2018 general conference, echoing a similar sentiment shared six months previously.Two of the 30 “announced” temples have groundbreaking dates set for this month—the Urdaneta Philippines and the Bangkok Thailand Temples, again both international sites.
A team can’t reach the Final Four of the NCAA Division 1 tournament without plenty of talent. And yes, the Cougars had plenty of star power—including outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry, freshman of the year Heather Gneighting, and elite setter Lyndie Haddock-Eppich.Life can get a bit frantic for a college volleyball coach during the playing season.But when asked about her successes, Olmstead naturally shifts from “I” to “we.”The recruiting pool is definitely smaller than at other schools, she added. “But we are looking for the best Latter-day Saint kids in the country, and we want to supplement them with the best nonmembers that want to be here.”Olmstead was also honored for her leadership, being named the 2018 American Volleyball Coaches Association national coach of the year. Over the course of her four-year head coaching career, she has won 90 percent of her games.
BYU head coach Heather Olmstead directs BYU’s practice. The BYU women’s volleyball team held a press conference and an open practice on December 7, 2017, in Lexington, Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum. Photo by Jaren Wilkey, BYU.But Olmstead said the squad also possessed plenty of intangibles that can make the difference in a tough five-set match against an equally talented team. She points to senior leadership and team determination.“We are able to get in the doors of nonmembers who want to be high performers in volleyball, academics, and life,” she said.“We find joy in each other’s success,” she said.“We are so happy for the experiences we have had together and the trials that we went through and overcame.”Time not spent training or traveling with the team is likely filled in film study, recruiting, and preparing for that next match. It can be tough to look beyond the next pressing item on the day’s to-do list.“And the players did everything in their lives to allow them to play at a high level, including in their spiritual lives and academics.”After playing at Utah State University, Heather Olmstead followed her brother Shawn into the collegiate coaching ranks. She was her brother’s assistant coach when the 2014 BYU women’s team made it to the national championship—and earned Shawn his own national coach-of-the-year award.But even amid the hustle and bustle of an unforgettable 2018 season, Brigham Young University women’s volleyball coach Heather Olmstead was clearly aware she was part of something special.Coaching at BYU is perhaps different than coaching at any other university. First, the school expects to compete at a high level. That requires talent. But Cougar student-athletes are also required to live the Honor Code at the Church-owned school. BYU head volleyball coach Heather Olmstead talks with her players during a timeout at the Hunstman Center in Salt Lake City on September 14, 2017. Photo by Adam Fondren, Deseret News.The school’s motto, “Enter to learn. Go forth to serve,” is a guiding principle she tries to instill in her athletes on the volleyball court and outside the lines.And for the right athletes, the school sells itself.But Olmstead insists there’s no sibling rivalry.As a lifelong Latter-day Saint, Olmstead feels BYU is the perfect place to ply her trade. Her testimony and faith have guided her as a student-athlete and as a coach.The 31-win season was defined by a bevy of highlights—including an undefeated run of home games at BYU’s Smith Fieldhouse, a West Coast Conference Championship, and a stretch of season where they were ranked as the top team in the country.Volleyball has defined much of the coach’s life. The Olmsteads are a volleyball family. All seven of the siblings played in high school. Four played in college. Meanwhile, their father, Rick Olmstead, played at the Church-owned college in Hawaii and went on to coach in high school. One of his star players at Santa Barbara High School was American volleyball legend Karch Kiraly. BYU head coach Heather Olmstead talks to her team before the match. The no. 4 BYU women’s volleyball team defeated no. 5 Texas 3-0 in the regional final of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships. Photo by Jaren Wilkey, BYU.“I’ve always had a strong faith in what I’m doing and where I want to go.”
BYU head coach Heather Olmstead cheers on her team during an NCAA volleyball playoff game against UNLV in Provo on Saturday, December 3, 2016. BYU swept UNLV 3-0 to advance into the Sweet 16. Photo by Nick Wagner, Deseret News.“It’s a unique opportunity to work at a school owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” she said. “The Honor Code provides us an opportunity to talk about what makes BYU great. We are able to focus on priorities in areas that become strengths.”“I didn’t need any time to realize and understand what a magical season we were experiencing,” she told the Church News following the Cougars’ 2018 campaign that culminated with a trip to the NCAA Final Four. “We knew we had a special group and we had a strong belief in each other.”
To better align with President Nelson’s call to refrain from using “Mormon” as a nickname, the “Mormon Tabernacle Choir” changed their name to “The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.”Starting December 31, 2019, “the Church will conclude its relationship as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world,” according to a statement released by the Church and BSA on May 8, 2018.“Bishops have a sacred responsibility to lead, teach, and inspire youth,” the letter reads. “Effective personal interviews are one important way they do this. These interviews provide opportunities to help youth become disciples of the Savior, repent of transgressions, and live the gospel of Jesus Christ.”President Nelson also spoke on this topic in Canada and during October 2018 general conference.“Sunday Church meetings will consist of a 60-minute sacrament meeting each Sunday followed by a 50-minute class that will alternate each week. Sunday School will be held on the first and third Sundays. Priesthood quorums, Relief Society, and Young Women meetings will be held on the second and fourth Sundays. Meetings on the fifth Sunday will be under the direction of the bishop. Primary will be held weekly.”In the priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Nelson announced changes to the structure of priesthood quorums.
The First Presidency announced changes December 14 to the timeline children and youth in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will complete Primary, move from one class or quorum to the next, and attend the temple for the first time. The changes, effective January 2019, also impact when young men may be ordained to priesthood offices.The inspired “organizational adjustments”—endorsed by all members of the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—will “fortify our members and their families,” said President Nelson.“For years, Church leaders have been preparing a new initiative to teach and provide leadership and development opportunities to all children and youth, to support families, and to strengthen youth everywhere as they develop faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” the statement noted. “This new approach is intended to help all girls and boys, young women and young men discover their eternal identity, build character and resilience, develop life skills, and fulfill their divine roles as daughters and sons of God.”3. The Church to end its relationship with Boy Scouts at the end of 2019, create new children and youth development program.During the April 2018 and October 2018 general conference sessions, President Nelson announced a combined number of 19 new temples. Those temples will be built in the following locations:9. “Home-centered and Church-supported” program begins.“The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so. Additional information about this important matter will be made available in the coming months.”The First Presidency also updated missionary dress and grooming standards in December 2018.On June 18, the Church announced plans to publish new editions of the Hymns and the Children’s Songbook.15. New missions and boundary realignments. The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performs. The choir’s name was changed on October 5, 2018. Cast members perform at the finale of the Mesa Easter Pageant. Photo by Scott P. Adair.In another historic session of general conference in October 2018, President Nelson announced that beginning in 2019, Church meetings will begin supporting a new home-centered curriculum.In December 2018, the First Presidency announced changes to Primary progression, young men priesthood ordination, and youth temple recommends.8. Gone are the days of “MoTab.” Church announces a revised name for choir.January 14 marks one year since President Russell M. Nelson became the 17th prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As this historic anniversary approaches, we thought it would be fitting to take a look back at some of the Church’s announcements throughout the past year.In September 2018, the Church announced that missionaries will now receive their calls online. Previously, future missionaries received their calls to serve through “snail mail.” But with this switch, they are able to view their call through a secured website and are even notified by text or email when their assignment has been made.7. So long, snail mail—mission calls to be posted online.The Church also announced four new missions on January 2, 2019, with 12 existing missions to be dissolved into neighboring missions. Changes will take place July 1, at which time the Church will have a total of 399 missions worldwide.“Beginning in January, children will complete Primary and begin attending Sunday School and Young Men and Young Women as age groups, not as individuals following their 12th birthdays.”
During his remarks, President Nelson said the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah likened the righteous who mourn—“including you heroic brothers and sisters”—to trees of righteousness planted by God.“You learn that everyone has challenges,” President Nelson said. “If you want to feel better, forget about yourself and serve someone else.”For example, President Nelson recounted the story of Horatio Spafford, a real estate investor who lost a fortune in the great Chicago fire of 1871. After his 4-year-old son died of scarlet fever, Horatio sent his wife and four daughters to England, thinking a vacation would do the family good. Before he could join them, however, Horatio received word from his wife that the ship had sunk and claimed their daughters. “Saved alone,” she wrote. “What shall I do?”“Today is an answer to your prayers, evidence they are listening to your heartfelt prayers and know of your needs. If you listen carefully with your hearts you will hear their voices and feel their love for you, for each of you personally.” President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints looks over destroyed homes with his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, in Paradise, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed 1,400 homes and hundreds of businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Church leaders, she said, have learned of “your losses, your ministering to each other, your miracles, and your faith.” A choir sings during a meeting in Chico, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Two months after the Camp Fire savagely claimed an entire community here, President Russell M. Nelson surveyed the ashes of Paradise on Sunday and spoke to the community’s Latter-day Saint residents about loss—his and theirs.“In the midst of heart-wrenching loss it is natural for our souls to long for things to be the way they used to be,” she said. “When we realize that that simply is not possible, we seek for those things that will never change. We seek for what we can really count on, for what we can hold on to. We search for what is real.”“We have come to minister unto you. We want to bring you hope. I know the Lord has been guiding you in your efforts to recover and move forward in faith.”Elder Pearson told the congregation that they have been in his thoughts and in his prayers continuously following his visit to Paradise in the days after the fire. “The stake truly became a defense and a refuge for the entire community…,” he said. “Your collective light, brothers and sisters, has been and continues to be a beacon of hope and the evidence of true discipleship of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Attendees cry while watching President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after a meeting in Chico, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.After visiting Chico and Paradise, speaking to Latter-day Saints from the broader community, and learning of the area's goodness in the face of trial, President Nelson said, “Now I feel better informed about what was behind the revelation that there should be a temple in Yuba City.”President Nelson announced the Church’s plans to build a temple in Yuba City, and 11 other locations worldwide, in the final moments of general conference on October 7. (See related story.)Elder Pearson called President Nelson’s presence at the Chico stake conference a sign from Heavenly Father and the Savior.Rob and Gretchen Harrison and their three children walked with President Nelson around the remains of their home. Rob Harrison is bishop of the Paradise 1st Ward.President Nelson was joined at the stake conference and on the visit to Paradise by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and by Elder Kevin W. Pearson, General Authority Seventy, who spent three days in Paradise after the fire, and his wife, Sister June L. Pearson.After President Nelson’s remarks the choir performed the hymn with a special addition—a concluding verse written by Sister Nelson for the congregation. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, pause with Lillianna Mower after a meeting in Chico, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, o my soul.”President Nelson’s words were delivered just two days after the death of his daughter, Wendy Nelson Maxfield, to cancer. (See related story.)“These people are acting just like the Lord would act were He here,” said President Nelson as he visited the Harrisons. “There are challenges, but with faith—keeping the commandments and knowing that God’s in charge—all will be well in the long run.”His example of care for others resonated with Latter-day Saints in Paradise, who also found peace and hope in the service of others after fire destroyed their community on November 9.Times of lossA sign from Heavenly Father“Your hope, your joy, and your future will all be shaped by your faith in God, and by your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. Attendees look on as President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints enters the chapel in Chico, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Robert and Gretchen Harrison look over the remains of their home with their children Cassidy, Braden, and Abby in Paradise, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“My husband and I understand loss,” said Sister Nelson, noting that just 40 hours earlier they had learned that President Nelson’s daughter had “slipped through the veil to join her mother, Dantzel, and her sister Emily.” A youngster looks over drawings of the recent fire in Chico, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed 1,400 homes and hundreds of businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. “We can hardly comprehend the tragic losses that you have sustained—loss of life, loss of homes, loss of jobs, work places, and much, much, more,” said the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a special conference held for members of the Chico California Stake, which includes two units in Paradise. “The accounts of your suffering are exceeded only by the accounts of your ministering.”To rise from the ashes and grief of the past,“Today my brothers and sisters, my message is that you can count on that.” President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints looks over destroyed homes with his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, in Paradise, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed 1,400 homes and hundreds of businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Attendees look on as President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints enters the chapel in Chico, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.PARADISE, Calif.A new templeMy covenants with God give me powerSister Nelson told the congregation that she and President Nelson “already love you and we honor you for your great faith that you are showing in the midst of your devastating losses.” A burned-out Camaro remains on Sunday, January 13, 2019, in Paradise, California, after being destroyed in the Camp Fire. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. A memorial for deceased fire victims is displayed in Paradise, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks in Chico, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Elder Kevin W. Pearson, General Authority Seventy, hugs fire victim Robert Harrison in Paradise, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“My future is bright, as my covenants I keep,President Nelson shared the same message with the thousands of Latter-day Saints gathered in the Chico California Stake Center. “We care about you. We care for you, and we love you,” he said. In the days after the disaster, more than 12,000 community members received some service from members of the Chico California Stake. In many cases the service was rendered by those who had also lost their homes, which included 95 percent of the Paradise 1st Ward.The truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ are never sweeter than in times of loss, she added. “No one can ever take away from us that the only begotten son of God, Jesus Christ, is truly our redeemer, our healer. How anchoring it is to know that the commandments will never change and that our covenants, if we live worthy, will always give us access to God’s power. What else can we count on? What else is really true?Before the stake conference, President Nelson greeted government and civic leaders during a short reception. One group included local leaders from Yuba City, located 40 miles outside of Chico.“We mourn the loss of our second daughter,” said an emotional President Nelson in an interview after surveying the ashes of Paradise. “Fathers can’t have that without feeling a deep sense of grief. And yet there is nothing we would rather do than to try to be of help to others.”President John R. Meyer, Chico California Stake president, spoke of a note sent to the fire victims from a child in Manhattan. The note, accompanied by cute drawings, included the message: “When you love what you have, you have everything you need.”Sister Pearson also promised the congregation that through personal revelation they would feel God’s love. She asked them to seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost. “You need the constant guidance of the holy Ghost to be with you,” she said.President Meyer said the greatest evidence that mankind is created in the likeness of a loving Father in Heaven is found in the goodness of people.“We have come to minister”President Nelson said Horatio immediately set sail for England. As he passed over the spot where the shipwreck had occurred, he wrote down the words of comfort and hope that filled his mind. Those words became the text for the hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul.” The remains of a destroyed Latter-day Saint meetinghouse still stand in Paradise, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. A child's drawing of the recent fire in Chico, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed 1,400 homes and hundreds of businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.The deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history, Camp Fire raced through Paradise the morning of November 8, leaving 88 dead and destroying 18,804 structures. Marnette Barton cries while meeting President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after a meeting in Chico, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, talk with fire victims Rick and Kathie Turner by the burned chapel in Paradise, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed 1,400 homes and hundreds of businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.
”The sole purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to help Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in Their work to bring to pass the eternal life of God’s children,“ Sister Renlund said. ”It provides the covenant path, the way to return to our Heavenly Father. Those who serve in the Church, though not perfect, are essential to help and encourage us along the covenant path.“As an 11-year-old boy living in Göteborg, Sweden, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, began to grow his testimony by following the counsel of the local mission president at the time. After reading the Book of Mormon, a young Dale Renlund accepted the invitation to find for himself the truth of the book. He offered a simple prayer to his Father in Heaven, asking to know of its truth.Sharing the story of a young man with whom Elder Renlund became acquainted, Elder Renlund related the dangers of allowing doubts to fuel one’s personal queries.Inviting the young adults of the Church to develop an individual testimony of the Savior and the truth of His Church, Elder and Sister Renlund challenged individuals to study the scriptures and words of the living prophets with a spirit of faith rather than doubt.In other words, Sister Renlund continued, those on the covenant path who choose to endure to the end are those who will experience the gift of eternal life.
Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, and Sister Ruth L. Renlund, speak during a worldwide devotional for young adults on January 13, 2019, at BYU-Hawaii.Questions of faith“I did not hear a voice, but it was as if God told me, ‘I have been telling you all along that it is true,’” Elder Renlund said on Sunday, January 13, during a worldwide devotional for young adults. ”That experience changed me. It changed my life. It began a process of belief, a process of being on the covenant path and trying to do more and trying to do better.““What we consider dents and peeling paint on the well-used boat may turn out to be divinely sanctioned and divinely directed from an eternal perspective,” Elder Renlund said. “The Lord has either had a hand in the dents and the peeling paint or He uses them for His own purposes.”Returning to the parable they shared of the swimmer and the fisherman, Sister Renlund said, “Those who choose to stay on the well-used, dented boat with the chipped paint are those who recognize that the boat saved them from drowning and can get them safely to shore.”“Doubt is not and will never be the precursor of faith any more than light depends on darkness for its creation,” Elder Renlund said.Elder Renlund added: “You will miss spiritually important events if you choose persistent doubt, fueled by answers from faithless and unfaithful sources.” Screen capture of image shared during the youth worldwide devotional to illustrate the parable shared by Elder and Sister Renlund on January 13, 2019.Paraphrasing a statement from Elder John A. Widtsoe, Elder Renlund said, “Doubt, unless changed into inquiry from reliable, trustworthy sources, has no value or worth. The stagnant doubter, one content with himself, unwilling to make the appropriate effort, to pay the price of divine discovery, inevitably reaches unbelief and darkness. His doubts grow like poisonous mushrooms in the dim shadows of his mental and spiritual chambers. At last, blind like the mole in his burrow, he usually substitutes ridicule for reason, indolence for labor, and becomes a lazy scholar. Doubt is not wrong unless it becomes an end in and of itself. That doubt which feeds and grows upon itself, and breeds more doubt, is evil.”“If you have forgotten, we urge you to do something to recapture the feeling. This knowledge and these feelings are the beginnings of faith,” Sister Renlund said. “Faith is a choice that each person must make. … Faith is also a principle of action.”She continued, ”You do not have to be an ordained seer, like my husband, to know that slipping back into the water instead of staying in the boat is risky. Yet, when we lose sight of the big picture, the small dents and peeling paint can loom large in our minds.“ Screen capture of image shared during the youth worldwide devotional to illustrate the parable shared by Elder and Sister Renlund on January 13, 2019.[Watch the full broadcast now.]Enduring safely to shore“The blogosphere cannot replace scripture study and reading the words of living prophets and apostles,” Sister Renlund said. “Foster your faith by going to trustworthy sources to find answers to your questions.”“Where did you come to a knowledge of your Redeemer? How did you feel?” Sister Renlund queried after Elder Renlund shared his own remembrance of first feeling the Spirit and building his testimony.Using Joseph Smith as an example of the importance of asking questions of God, Sister Renlund said, “To have questions about the Church and its doctrines is normal and the root of gospel learning.” But to receive the kind of answer Joseph Smith sought—and the kind of answer that the children of God crave in search of truth—she said, seekers need to approach God with a believing heart and mind.Coming to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and His Atonement, a loving Father in Heaven, and the great plan of salvation requires a choice of faith and not of doubt, Elder Renlund said. It also requires one to turn to trustworthy and reliable sources in their pursuit of knowledge and truth. Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, and Sister Ruth L. Renlund, greet young adults gathered at the Brigham Young University–Hawaii campus in Laie, Hawaii, following the worldwide devotional for young adults on January 13, 2019. Young adults gathered at the Brigham Young University–Hawaii campus in Laie, Hawaii, listen during a devotional with Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, and Sister Ruth L. Renlund, speak during a worldwide devotional for young adults on January 13, 2019.Once comfortably within the protection of the rescuing vessel, it may be easy to begin to doubt its reliability and strength, she explained, noting how in the parable, after noticing dents and paint chips in the boat, the swimmer begins to doubt the ability of the boat and its captain to carry them safely to shore.Elder Renlund and his wife, Sister Ruth L. Renlund, spoke in tandem during the devotional Sunday night that originated from the Brigham Young University–Hawaii campus in Laie, Hawaii, and was broadcast via satellite for young adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world.No value in continual doubtsIf each of us represents the swimmer, Elder and Sister Renlund said, then the boat—the rescue vehicle—would represent the Church, and the kind fisherman would represent those who serve in the Church. While dented and well-used, the boat is a reliable vessel, sent to help us return to our destination.Asking questions that are motivated by faith can lead to more faith, but questions that begin with doubt can often lead to more doubts, Sister Renlund said, noting that consistent doubting can become a form of “Church history whack-a-mole.”In this life, no one will know everything they desire a knowledge of, Sister Renlund said, but they can know enough to continue in faith on the path their Father in Heaven has put before them.Addressing issues of faith and doubt, which Sister Renlund said had been on their minds for many months, the Renlunds shared a parable about a stranded swimmer lost at sea and a kind fisherman in an old boat who comes to the rescue of the lone swimmer.Having a personal witness of truth is more important than ever before, Sister Renlund said.“This is the greatest gift that God can give,” Sister Renlund said. “It is through this process that we come to know Jesus Christ, to know of His living reality, and to know of His love and compassion.” Young adults gathered at the Brigham Young University–Hawaii campus in Laie, Hawaii, listen during a devotional with Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, and Sister Ruth L. Renlund, speak during a worldwide devotional for young adults on January 13, 2019.
Wendy Nelson Maxfield—a daughter of President Russell M. Nelson, the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint Saints—died Friday, January 11, 2019, at her home after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 67.“We express our love to the entire Nelson and Maxfield family as they remember her life and mourn her passing,“ said Church spokesman Irene Caso.Sister Maxfield is proceeded by death by her sister Emily Nelson Wittwer—who died on January 29, 1995, at age 37 of cancer—and her mother, Sister Dantzel W. Nelson, who died unexpectedly on February 12, 2005. The Norman and Wendy Nelson Maxfield family. Sister Maxfield, daughter of President Russell M. Nelson, passed away Friday, January 11, 2019, after a courageous battle with cancer. Wendy Nelson Maxfield, daughter of President Russell M. Nelson, passed away Friday, January 11, 2019, after a courageous battle with cancer.She is the second of nine daughters and one son to be born to President Nelson and Sister Dantzel White Nelson.She and her husband, Norman A. Maxfield, are the parents of seven children and 20 grandchildren.
Life is often compared to a pathway. And as most of us know by experience, that pathway is rarely smooth and straight. Rather, it takes us on a journey of peaks and valleys, twists and turns. Some of these are expected: Childhood passes into youth. Youthful life evolves into adulthood and, eventually, into life’s twilight. We know these changes are coming, and we can prepare ourselves to transition from one stage to another.The Music and the Spoken Word broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM, ksl.com, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143), and on the Tabernacle Choir’s website and YouTube channel.A young man and his father took an adventurous hike in a remote mountainous area. At one point their path brought them to a wide, deep chasm. The only way forward was to cross a long suspension bridge. At first, they were hesitant. Was the bridge safe? But then they saw the firm anchors on either side and the strong cables that held the span in place. Seeing the strength of the bridge and knowing that many others had gone this way before them, they confidently crossed the chasm and continued their journey.Tuning inIf we want to safely cross the bridges that span from one stage of life to another, we need secure anchors and strong connections. We can be anchored by values that do not shift with the times, by truth that does not sway in the winds of change. Connections with family, friends, and mentors will give us confidence that we can make lasting and meaningful progress in our transitions through life. Perhaps no anchor is stronger, no connection more important, than our relationship with the divine and our trust in heaven’s help.No matter the transitions we must make, no matter the bridges we must cross, if we are anchored in truth and connected to those who love and support us, we can rest assured that we will arrive safely on the other side.Other transitions are less predictable. We might transition from being single to married, from unemployment to a steady job, from health to chronic illness, or any of these in reverse. We know that life’s path must take us through such changes; otherwise we will never really go anywhere. Still, it can be hard to transition from the familiar to the unknown.The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org.Editor's note: The “spoken word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. The following was given January 6, 2019.
Like everyone here, Latter-day Saints in Paradise lost much. Of the 1,399 member homes on the Paradise ridge, only six remain totally intact, said Josh F.W. Cook, area director of public affairs for the Church. Chairs remained stacked at a burned-out meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Paradise, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Jeremy and Brynn Chatfield walked around what was once their home here with deliberateness, trying to avoid stepping in the sticky white ash that coats this community.Elder Pearson traveled to Paradise just eight days after the Camp Fire claimed the community. “We drove through so many neighborhoods once filled with beautiful homes now reduced to ashes,” he said. “The magnitude and intensity of the fire’s destructive force was almost incomprehensible. There was an eerie feeling of emptiness in the lingering smoke-filled air. Yet, the faces of the people we met were filled with faith and gratitude. They recounted story after story of the tender mercies involved in their escapes from the fire's path.”Moving forwardAccompanying the Nelsons are Elder Kevin W. Pearson, a General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister June L. Pearson.“Love has created a lot of hope in the community, that no one is alone,” said President Meyer. “One of our fears is that we will be forgotten.”President Nelson to offer hopeShe bent down and picked up a blackened bowl, holding a blackened spoon. This was breakfast on the morning on November 8. That was the day a thick darkness consumed Jeremy Chatfield’s dental practice. Although he didn’t know it, the dark was a foreboding indicator of the devastation ahead. Jeremy Chatfield finds items from his destroyed dental office in Paradise, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Chatfield also lost his home. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Both couples get emotional when they think about their many friends who are resettling in areas outside of Chico and Paradise.In the days and weeks that followed, the Church participated in a toy drive, a giving tree, and Christmas sub-for-Santa projects. They hosted clothing drives. One Church group pledged to replace the music instruments lost in the fire, another sent ties for the men and young men in Paradise. They hosted dinners—including a Thanksgiving dinner—and accepted thousands of packages sent to those in need. The Paradise 1st Ward meetinghouse was destroyed in Paradise, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.When Robin Cook, a member of both the Silver Dollar Fair Board and the Church, realized the children could not be accommodated at the fair grounds, where great numbers of people were already gathering, she called the stake center. There the children and school district staff were received by local Relief Society members, fed and cared for until their parents arrived.Latter-day Saint response Rick and Kathie Turner look over their destroyed home in Paradise, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. On November 17, 2018, Elder Kevin W. Pearson, a General Authority Seventy, listens to and comforts those impacted by California's deadliest wildfire, which heavily damaged Paradise, California.Looking over burned cans of food storage, Kathie turns to three metal bowls sitting on the perimeter. “I got them out,” she said. “They maintained their shape.”As news of the disaster spread, President Meyer began receiving phone calls from across the country. Everyone wanted to help. “By nature our default position is to be good,” he said.The couple learned in the days after the Camp Fire—the devastating November 8 wildfire that left 88 dead and destroyed 18,804 structures, including the Chatfields' home and business—that “the white stuff will not come off your shoes,” Jeremy Chatfield explained.After loading their cars and picking up a community member on the side of the road, the couple headed out of Paradise. As they drove, for 45 terrifying seconds, hot flames licked both sides of their car. The couple, active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, worried the heat would pop their tires.Brynn Chatfield pointed through burned trees to another empty foundation: “I grew up in the house right over there. This is where we wanted to raise our children. We bought this house sight unseen.” Food storage sits in the remains of Jeremy and Brynn Chatfield's home in Paradise, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Brynn Chatfield did the only thing she could. As she recorded the consuming fire with her phone, she offered a prayer. “Heavenly Father, please help us. Please help us to be safe. I am thankful for Jeremy and his willingness to be brave.” Brian Larson look over free suits given away through Working Wardrobes in Chico, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.As the evacuated community of paradise moved into Chico, President John R. Meyer, president of the Chico California Stake, said he immediately knew what the Lord wanted him to do. “We opened up everything the Church has for the whole community,” he said. Several hundred Latter-day Saints and community members gather at a warehouse in Oroville, California, on Nov. 17, 2018, to package and distribute food and supplies to those impacted by a deadly wildfire that heavily damaged Paradise, California.He doesn’t have a plan to heal, to take care of family, or to rebuild. “It is uncomfortable.”To date, Jo Anne Madsen, the Chico California Stake Relief Society president, has received more than 4,000 packages at her home. Having noticed it was overwhelming for fire victims to figure out what to buy, she began putting “home starter kits” together for them. “They would go shopping and say, ‘I need to buy this for the house.’ Then they would realize, ‘Oh, I don’t have a house anymore.’”He raced home and found his wife gathering a few items and preparing for what she thought would be another routine fire evacuation. Everyone in Paradise—a forested community of 26,000 nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills above the city of Chico—always knew a fire was possible. Still, Brynn Chatfield explained, no one actually believed fire would find them.He invited local members to seek out those in need.Cookware, toasters, dish towels, and mixing bowls continue to arrive at Madsen’s home. A room in her house is used as a staging area to assemble and distribute the kits. On November 17, 2018, Elder Kevin W. Pearson, a General Authority Seventy, listens to and comforts those impacted by California's deadliest wildfire, which heavily damaged Paradise, California.The sense of loss is profound, explained Rick Turner, a doctor whose medical practice burned. “You aren’t sure what you are going to do next.”The first five days after the disaster volunteers working in the Chico California Stake Center served 750 people a day with food and clothing.Many in the community began referring to the Chico Bishop's Storehouse as “the grocery store without a cash register.”Among those served were school children loaded on four buses by the Paradise Unified School District and sent first to the Chico Fair Grounds.Kathie Turner says there is no other option.The Chatfields are also in limbo. Jeremy Chatfield is continuing his dental practice in Chico, but he does not know if enough people will return to Paradise to rebuild his practice there.Brynn Chatfield posted her desperate escape and prayer video online—and it went viral. She still receives comments and messages from people thanking her for her willingness to turn to God in the face of tragedy.Jeremy Chatfield’s mother stopped in and took the couple’s three daughters ahead.As that was happening, local leaders were organizing clothing and food donations and finding places to house all the evacuees.Blair Parrott, the community outreach officer with the California Highway Patrol Chico Area, needed help collecting Christmas presents for the ”Chips for Kids“ toy drive. The goal was to collect 2,400 toys, one for each of the 2,400 school age kids displaced in Paradise. A Latter-day Saint building was used to organize and stage the drive, during which 14,012 toys were collected.Just as did the Chatfields, Kathie and Rick Turner warned visitors about the sticky white ash that will coat clothes and shoes as they walk around the remains of their home. Aylee and DeLynn Chatfield play in their burned trampoline in Paradise, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Elder Pearson said “the acts of charity, selfless service, and personal ministering within the community have been astonishing.” A burned-out car sits in Paradise, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Yet in the hours after disaster, many found hope in gathering together and serving others. Now they are looking forward to a different kind of hope. President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, are expected to speak Sunday during a special conference held for members of the Chico California Stake. The visit from the Latter-day Saint leader comes just two days after his daughter, Wendy Nelson Maxfield, 67, died of cancer.“We lost our town,” she explained, “but we maintained our testimony.”Volunteers load goods and supplies in Oroville, California, on November 17, 2018, to give to those impacted by California's deadliest wildfire, which heavily damaged Paradise, California. Hazardous materials are marked in Paradise, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.PARADISE, Calif. A Young Women's medallion is recovered in Paradise, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Kathie Turner looks over her destroyed home in Paradise, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.It has been two months since the Camp Fire—the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history—destroyed Paradise. Workers walk the community downing trees and collecting hazardous materials, but few residents remain. Although daffodils are beginning to sprout and birds are returning, there is a gloomy air in the town—where darkened, brick chimneys still stand, coated with the white, sticky ash.For the Turners, returning to the place they have lived for 24 years feels a little like participating in an archeological dig of their life. They know there is not much salvageable on their property. But when something looks intact, they rescue it. “I say, ‘Here’s a little piece of our life.’” A flag flies over damage in Paradise, California, on Saturday, January 12, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 homes and businesses. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.
Latter-day Saint priesthood holders are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to use the priesthood in giving blessings and performing other ordinances, such as administering to the sick, giving father’s blessings, and consecrating oil.Where else are instructions found?
The Brasov Branch has one of few actual meetinghouses in Romania and has around 40 members in attendance for weekly Sunday services. Many branches meet in rented spaces or homes. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.She set a baptismal date, then another, then another.When the Brasov missionaries called, Ivan was eager to meet them. They couldn’t believe it when he told them he’d been able to stop smoking, literally overnight. The main square in Brasov, originally built nine centuries ago, was rebuilt after a fire destroyed the walled city in 1689. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.The branch lies within the Bucharest District of the Church’s recently-realigned boundaries of the Hungary-Romania Mission, whose headquarters are in Budapest, Hungary. There are approximately 3,000 members in Romania in 15 congregations.The Mescos were sealed in the Freiberg Germany Temple in 2012 and continue to enjoy semiannual trips to the temple with three families in their small van, talking and singing during the 19-hour journey.BRASOV, ROMANIA“As I was reading, I felt it was true, like lost memories coming to life,” he said. About halfway through the book, “I realized my life needed to be aligned with what I was reading and with the will of God.”Ivan now works in vehicle accident insurance, and Cristina works from home for a telemarketing company. She said the gospel has helped her be more patient with the children and has taught her how to teach them to pray and share.Meanwhile, Ivan had run across an intriguing title at a book fair about ancient prophets and wondered why there weren’t any prophets nowadays.It was on one of those trips that Cristina met the missionaries. She had been praying nightly, and “God had prepared me to have an open heart,” she said. “I felt peace when I met them.”Without either Ivan or Cristina planning it, their baptisms were scheduled for the same day, July 3, 2010. Ivan was baptized in the morning and was able to travel to Cristina’s baptism in Bucharest in the afternoon.She began meeting with them and found her questions answered as she prayed before and after reading passages in the Book of Mormon. Materials in the Romanian language greet visitors in the foyer of the Brasov Branch meetinghouse. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.They live in an apartment building outside the historic center and attend church at the small meetinghouse of the Brasov Branch, where Ivan serves as branch president and Cristina oversees a small group of children ages 3–7 in the Primary.Four days later, when he was in Bucharest to see Cristina, he attended the Bucharest Branch with her and met the missionaries. The fast and testimony meeting was filled with the Spirit, but as the congregation began to sing together, Ivan felt ashamed and uncomfortable with something that felt completely new to him. Looking back, he contrasts that uncomfortable first encounter with the powerful experience that singing the hymns with others has become for him.“We are pioneers in Romania,” he said, smiling.“I was having the time of my life as a single man,” he said, “but something was missing.”Recalling how his coworker had knocked on his door after he’d prayed to meet someone he could spend his life with, Ivan felt their next step was marriage. Cristina agreed, and they were legally wed in January 2011, six months after their baptisms.The Mescos joined the Church eight years ago, each of them leaving the Romanian Orthodox religion that more than 80 percent of Romanians claim.The two met before that, when neither were members. Ivan had been a truck driver, traveling all over Europe.Cristina and Ivan Mesco watch their two children with delight as Amina, 5, and Filip, 3, dash around the ancient water fountain in Brasov’s old town square giggling and squealing and poking their fingers into the water bubbling from the spigot.He decided on a whim to pray and ask God to help him meet someone he could spend his life with. Two weeks later, when a coworker knocked on his door and offered to introduce him to a relative, he was ready.“I felt there was more,” he recalled, speaking in English, which he honed over the years. He again prayed to find answers to his questions. “I need more light,” he remembers telling God. The Mesco family enjoys a fountain in the historic main square of Brasov. The Southern Carpathian mountains surround the town. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.As they were living far apart, Ivan and Cristina began growing apart. But as Ivan looked for ways to rebuild their relationship, he received a personal revelation: “Remember how you met her.”The missionaries gave him a Book of Mormon, and Ivan returned to Brasov and his old life, not realizing there was a branch of the Church meeting together there.
Cristina and Ivan Mesco and their children, Filip, 3, and Amina, 5, attend and serve in the Brasov Branch, where Ivan is branch president. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.
Catherine’s Gate, built in 1559, is the only gate of the medieval city still standing in Brasov, Romania. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.Cristina and Ivan immediately hit it off—despite their nine-year age difference—but the fact that she was a university student in the capital city, Bucharest, and his work was based in Brasov, 105 miles (170 kilometers) north, meant they could see each other only on weekends. Taking the train one direction or the other became a weekly occurrence.Cristina said she hopes her children will grow up to be missionaries like the ones who brought her and Ivan into the Church. “I want them to be a light to people around them,” she said.“Some words seemed written for me,” she said.The Mescos are determined to remain in Brasov and help build the Church there. Noting that many Romanians left the country after communism fell in December 1989, Ivan said he is happy for his family to have “the opportunity to be spiritual anchors” in the land of their birth.The centuries-old city in central Romania, part of the scenic Transylvania region and surrounded by the Southern Carpathian mountains, is where the Mescos have chosen to sink their roots as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
During his October tour of several South American countries, President Russell M. Nelson met with Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra at the Government Palace in Lima. They were joined by Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The men discussed the Church’s humanitarian response efforts in Peru, along with the charge that local members have to be good citizens and serve their respective communities.In countries across the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia, the Church helps provide clean water to people in need by building water and sanitation systems, teaching communities hygiene and system maintenance, and doing all they can to help people meet their own long-term water needs.Studies determined the feasibility of the Church-sponsored well project. Good quality water was found at 135 meters below the earth’s surface, with a flow of 42 liters per second, Newsroom reported.Meanwhile, more than 3,000 members volunteered about 12,000 service hours to prepare 55,700 emergency relief kits.Water—it’s as fundamental to sustaining human life as your next breath. The world’s most prevalent yet precious liquid also provides dignity and self-reliance while remaining the key ingredient for a community’s development, growth, and potential.The Church’s ongoing commitment to helping deliver clean water to people in need was on full display recently in the town of San Cristo in northern Peru.When local wells that provide drinkable water to much of San Cristo’s population began to produce brackish water, the Church’s Welfare Department stepped forward and donated a new well.The San Cristo well project is the latest chapter in the Church’s long-established commitment to humanitarian service in Peru, a South American nation that is home to almost 600,000 Latter-day Saints.Last month, local civic and Church leaders gathered to dedicate San Cristo’s newest community water source. The lives of thousands of people will improve because they have access to clean water, Newsroom in Peru reported.The desperately needed San Cristo well “will provide a defense against anemia and malnutrition—a scourge that mainly attacks children,” said Piura Regional Governor Reynaldo Hilbck Guzman. “Mothers will have more alternatives, together with the [government] authorities, to deal with malnutrition.”Providing clean water, of course, is one of the Church’s key humanitarian initiatives.It is perhaps ironic that the San Cristo well project comes about a year after Peru endured a brutal flood season that claimed scores of lives and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Local Church welfare leaders worked closely with Peruvian government officials to deliver flood relief provisions where they were most desperately needed. More than 380 tons of Church-donated relief supplies benefited 103,000 flood victims. From left, Elder Gary E. Stevenson and President Russell M. Nelson meet with Peruvian president Martin Vizcarro on October 20, 2018, in Lima. The men discussed the Church’s ongoing humanitarian service in Peru. Photo courtesy of the South America Northwest Area.San Cristo Mayor Augusto Quiroga Cherre, local civic leaders Sebastian Espinoza and Hipolito Collazoa Anton, and regional Church public affairs representative Patricia Caceres de Bustamante also participated in the dedication ceremony for the new well.
Sister Kelly C. Eyring, wife of BYU–Idaho President Henry J. Eyring, speaks about having good cheer despite challenges during the first devotional of the semester on January 8, 2019. Photo by Cami Su, BYU–Idaho.
Students gather in the BYU–Idaho Center to listen to President Henry J. Eyring and his wife, Sister Kelly C. Eyring, speak on optimism at the first devotional of the semester on January 8, 2019. Photo by Sarah Jones, BYU–Idaho.However, President Eyring said, “notwithstanding today's constant barrage of temptations and frightening news reports, on many dimensions our world is getting steadily and even speedily better.”For example, when a family lost their home to Hurricane Michael in Florida, Kimberly Downs Norton said that due to so many trees being downed in her backyard, “We can see more of the stars at night now.”Ironically, some of the advances in this day have become a double-edged sword. For instance, an electronic device can be a tool to access gospel resources and education, but it can also ensnare one with mindless gaming or pornography.The officer had previously witnessed the radiation-poisoning deaths of more than 20 sailors that resulted from a coolant leak in a submarine’s nuclear reactor. Despite the bombardment threat to his men and likely military consequences, the fleet officer declined his approval.“Miracles are occurring, not only at the level of governments and scientific discoveries but also in individual daily lives,” he said.But, she added, “there will be some things you weren’t planning on learning and experiencing. So much will depend on how you decide to see those things.”Now, as President Eyring sings along with “Follow the Prophet,” in his mind he’s made some small changes to those two lines about news: “Now we have a world where tempters would confuse. If you want to prosper, don’t just trust the news.”He added: “As we strive to see the small but significant miracles and divine power given to us each day, our spiritual eyes will be opened to eternal realities, especially as we make a personal record of what we have been shown daily by the Holy Ghost. Almost immediately, our spiritual eyesight will grow sharper and our fears duller.”Among these social, medical, and technological strides is the growing strength of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.President Eyring said that based on news media reports and other messages received each day, one might naturally conclude that the world is becoming increasingly wicked and hostile.Even when the incident first came to light at a missile-crisis conference, the leading news covering the conference didn’t mention the account, President Eyring said. “As this episode demonstrates, the news that really matters can be hard to find in the media. But it is all around us. And it is encouraging.”Because of her past experiences with new beginnings, new semesters, new roommates, and such, “I love the chance to start again,” she said.The discovery of nuclear radiation is an advancement that also became means to wreak worldwide destruction.
Students smile on their way to the BYU–Idaho Center to listen to President Henry J. Eyring and his wife, Sister Kelly C. Eyring, speak at BYU–Idaho’s first devotional of the semester on January 8, 2019. Photo by Michael Lewis, BYU–Idaho.President Eyring spoke of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the 13-day standoff between the Soviet Union and the United States when Soviet submarines were discovered off the coast of Cuba. While the confrontation was defused, a related story went unreported for 40 years—that a Soviet fleet officer declined to give his approval to launch his sub’s nuclear torpedo during a bombardment.“The Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a boon to all people, even those who are unaware of its existence,” President Eyring said. “The Church is legally recognized in more countries than ever, with more members and more temples. Its doctrines can be studied in 188 languages.”This attitude even appears in two lines of a Primary song, “Follow the Prophet,” which he sang for the students: “Now we have a world where people are confused. If you don't believe it, go and watch the news.”President Eyring’s wife, Sister Kelly C. Eyring, began the devotional by also speaking of optimism, sharing hope for the world and the beginning of a new semester.Infant mortality has decreased by 93 percent. Life expectancy in the U.S. has increased by about 30 years. Eighty-five percent of the world’s population is literate. The homicide rate in the U.S. fell by 50 percent between 1990 and 2010. While authoritarianism and slavery persist today, humans are treating one another better. More than 50 percent of people today live in a democratic country.She testified that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ desire to give everyone new beginnings. “In fact,” she said, “it is the Savior’s mission to make sure that we can have hope and happiness through His Atonement. … We can be of good cheer and optimistic because we know the Savior has overcome the world for us.”Latter-day Saints are blessed with an optimistic view of the world, President Henry J. Eyring told BYU–Idaho students in a campus devotional on Tuesday, January 8.“Can you believe her gratitude amid her loss?” Sister Eyring asked.“People are now freer than ever before,” he said.
When her grandmother, Sister Worthen, inquired of Ainsley as to why she was praying for that particular gift, Ainsley admitted that she was having a problem with telling the truth and that her father advised her to pray for help to overcome her challenges.As children of loving Heavenly Parents, each person can pray to their Father in Heaven and ask for help. President and Sister Worthen reminded students as they begin a new semester that they can ask for help to know they are loved, ask for help to know who they are, and earnestly ask for help to grow in a way that will help them realize their individual divine destinies. And, much like He helped a small 6-year-old girl to improve in being more honest, God will help each of His children as they earnestly seek out His help and guidance.Sister Worthen challenged the audience to “seek to discover and develop previously undiscovered gifts [they] may possess.”Recognition of the true meaning of such a profound statement can help shape a person’s life for the better, he explained. “Understanding that we are children of Heavenly Parents—sharing Their divine nature and possessing the potential to be like Them—can bring great power into our lives.”Prophets and apostles have provided such an answer, he said, quoting a statement from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”Gathering with family for the Christmas holiday, the granddaughter of Brigham Young University President Kevin J Worthen and Sister Peggy S. Worthen, 6-year-old Ainsley, was always willing to say a prayer to bless the food. But each time she prayed, she included a simple phrase, “Please bless me with the gift of honesty.”
BYU President Kevin J Worthen speaks during the first devotional of BYU’s winter 2019 semester in the Marriott Center, January 8, 2019. Photo by Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo.Another key part of discovering or gaining spiritual gifts is the requirement to share them with others.Each person will be given and will discover different gifts with which God has prepared and blessed them, she noted. As such, it is important not to compare one’s gifts with those that others might possess. To so do is a disservice to one’s self as well as to God and His blessings.Divine identity Students gather in the Marriott Center on the Provo, Utah, campus to listen as BYU President Kevin J Worthen and his wife, Sister Peggy Worthen, give the first devotional of BYU's winter 2019 semester, on January 8, 2019.
Sister Peggy Worthen speaks during the first devotional of BYU’s winter 2019 semester in the Marriott Center, January 8, 2019. Photo by Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo.With the second, destiny, he explained that every living person has the power, the divine destiny, to become like their Heavenly Parents and that an understanding of such a destiny can transform and empower each person throughout their lives. In concluding his address, President Worthen suggested three things people can do to “retain, or regain, the eternal perspective that changes the knowledge of our potential from a burden into a blessing.”“She excitedly told me that since she has been praying for the gift of honesty, she is doing much better at telling the truth,” Sister Worthen told BYU students gathered in the Marriott Center. “Not only is she gaining the gift of honesty through her earnest plea for help, she is gaining the gift of faith in knowing that her prayers will be answered as she puts her trust in Heavenly Father.”As President Worthen pointed out, “beloved” and “destiny” are two key words in the statement that hold great importance for the true identities of every living person. With the first, beloved, President Worthen said it is important to recognize that God loves each person more than they can possibly comprehend. God’s love is perfect and goes far beyond the love that living persons understand and experience in this life. It is therefore a disservice to God to equate His love with a mortal understanding of love, he said.“Each [of us] is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny,” he said, noting that it is likely a statement familiar to most members of the Church. “Yet I wonder if familiarity has caused us to overlook the depth, breadth, and power of the truths this identity statement contains.”Sister Worthen’s story encompassed the two main themes that she and her husband shared as they spoke to students on Tuesday, January 8, during the first devotional of the new semester.“Our gifts are given to benefit others,” she noted. “As we look for opportunities to uplift and bless others, we will likely find new gifts and talents that were lying dormant, just waiting to be discovered through service.”Spiritual gifts“Earnestly seeking to know what gifts we need by asking God will often help us discover and develop previously unknown gifts that God is willing to bless us with,” she said.“Do you know who you are?” President Worthen inquired as he began his address. “This question may be more complicated than it at first appears.”
The impact of LDS Charities on millions of lives beyond the Church itself is evident in some of the South American countries that President Nelson visited in October. For example, the Church’s humanitarian arm has helped 4.6 million people in Peru since 1985, according to statistics provided by the Church, which now has 593,854 members in the country.
Maite Montaluo performs during a program at Heart of Jesus preschool in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“Let’s give the credit where it belongs,” he said. “When there’s a cyclone, a hurricane, or an earthquake … what do the Saints do? They put money into the humanitarian fund. We never appeal for it. As the need goes up, the voluntary contributions follow the same curve, without our even asking. So the credit goes to the people, the members of the Church who just feel this confidence that if they donate to the humanitarian fund, it will be sent right where it needs to go.”“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been working for years in Peru helping people who are disabled,” Julio Guzman added.“We couldn’t have done it without the Church’s help because there isn’t enough money here,” said Jenny Velasquez, the head teacher. “The families could not have funded it themselves.”ASUNCIÓN, PARAGUAY Through a state-of-the-art microscope provided by the Church, a surgeon gazed steadily at a cloudy cataract threatening an impoverished woman’s eyesight in October during President Russell M. Nelson’s visit to Paraguay.“It was the biggest check I’ve ever had in my purse,” Helmine Funk said.Just a few months earlier, their parents and teachers condemned their ramshackle building. The Heart of Jesus Preschool was closed for good, they thought, a harsh end for neighborhood children ages 3 to 5. But those children and their parents soon had reason for the celebration in and around three small, prefabricated buildings provided by the Church that allowed the school to reopen.Asked later about the gratitude of South Americans for the Church’s aid, President Nelson redirected the credit.Scores of babies died preventable deaths in Peru at the dawn of the 21st century. That’s when a young doctor in Lima signed up for neonatal resuscitation training provided by LDS Charities.In Paraguay, LDS Charities has provided 5,800 wheelchairs since 2013 through an eight-year-old partnership with Fundación Solidaridad. The foundation distributes about two-thirds of all the wheelchairs in Paraguay.“This training has filled a gap here,” Paredes said. “It’s a seed that will continue to grow.”“I’m very emotional,” said a local shop owner, Hilda Pacheco. “We’re grateful for the help you’re giving our children. Thank you very much.”Cataracts are the main cause of blindness. With the right equipment, removing them and replacing them with an artificial lens is a simple outpatient procedure that lasts 15 to 45 minutes.“If we didn’t have the Church’s help, thousands of people would be without wheelchairs every year,” said Oscar Corbo, the foundation’s wheelchair coordinator.Some of the parents carried the prefabricated wooden walls up all those stairs themselves. The buildings, with corrugated roofs, allowed the school to double in size from 20 to 40. The relative scale of the project was small, but the impact in an economically challenged area was large. The children celebrated by singing, “If you have the faith of a mustard seed.”In 2016, the Church added new training to help mothers survive childbirth, focused especially on hemorrhaging. The more women are educated about childbirth in Peru, the lower their mortality rate in childbirth. Teenage mothers are at the highest risk, Paredes said. Maternal deaths have fallen almost by half.Partners like Paredes and Fundación Visión are required in the Church’s humanitarian work. LDS Charities seeks organizations or individuals who can act as partners on every project, said Alexander Principe, welfare specialist for the South America Northwest Area.And absolutely necessary for a group intent on performing demanding surgeries on the transparent structure of the eye lens, said Jason Penniecook, an ophthalmologist and the foundation’s academic coordinator.In Paraguay, LDS Charities has helped 167,781 people with a broad range of services since 1985, again far outstripping the number of members it has in the country, which was 93,773 as of March 31.The Church’s efforts go well beyond vision, neonatal and maternal care, and wheelchairs. For example, the day before President Nelson arrived in Lima, Peru, Church humanitarian missionaries presented 1,150 canes and 1,150 braille readers from LDS Charities to the National Federation of Disabled People. The foundation’s president, who is blind, said he was “profoundly grateful.”For example, 95 percent of the wheelchairs distributed in Peru by the Institute of National Rehabilitation come from LDS Charities, including one given to Jorge Luis Robles, 50, soon before President Nelson’s visit last October. Robles, a grains analyst, suffered a hemorrhagic stroke while working on his green pepper farm three months ago.Partners in aidScalamogna broke up the woman’s cloudy lens, painstakingly removed the pieces from her eye, and placed an artificial lens in its place behind her iris and pupil.The Church’s true primary welfare focus in Peru is on education for children ages 3 to 8, said Principe, the area welfare specialist.“If you want to be a healthcare provider, the barrier you have to cross that helps you help people is expensive equipment.”“There’s no room for error,” President Nelson, himself a retired, world-renowned heart surgeon, said when told about the procedure. “The doctor must be very precise.”Cautiously, Dr. Miguel Scalamogna began to make skillful, tiny, meticulous incisions in her eye. One floor below a loud throng of Paraguayans filled the lobby and hallway of Fundación Visión, one of the Church’s charitable partners. Many of the people were working their way through the process of applying for a $7 eye exam they could not afford.
Blind individuals line up for a new cane at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Las Brisas Ward in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. LDS Charities donated 1,150 canes and 1,150 braille readers. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.That focus on education centered on a tiny plot at the top of 155 stairs carved into a hillside in a tiny spot in an impoverished section of Lima as President Nelson visited. There, little children danced, sang the national anthem, and shouted, “Viva Peru!” during an emotional ceremony at their preschool built with materials provided by the Church.“It includes everyone, all of [Heavenly Father’s] children,” he said. “So we have a very sophisticated organization to do that. There are humanitarian platforms that are very important. … We do great good, and the humanitarian offerings made by the members of the Church around the world are directed in a very important way, a very organized way to see that we are indeed caring for the poor and needy around the world.”Tania Paredes was bright, professional, and conscientious. It hurt to watch 18 of every 1,000 children die at or near birth. The training lit a spark in her.
Students at Heart of Jesus preschool sing the Peruvian National Anthem during a program in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Steep climbs
Students at Heart of Jesus preschool sing a song in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Housing lines the hillside in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.
Elder Floyd Rose helps Dr. Urcia Fernando unload a Church- donated wheelchair at the Institute of National Rehabilitation in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. LDS Charities has donated 6,200 wheelchairs. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“Without them, we cannot perform this surgery,” he said. Students perform during a program at Heart of Jesus preschool in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.The principle behind the Church’s aid in South America and around the world is a divine appointment to care for the poor and needy, said Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.Since 2000, Paredes has worked tirelessly to help her country’s infant mortality rate improve from 18 per 1,000 to 10 per 1,000 last year. In Lima, the rate is down to eight per 1,000. She said the neonatal training that has saved thousands of babies would not exist in Peru without LDS Charities and the Church, which has trained 100 doctors a year since 2006 and which leaves behind the equipment it brings to each session. Doctors and nurses use the equipment to pass on their training to others, another 500 doctors since 2000.Others were somewhere on a journey from that exam to the quiet operating room upstairs and the microscope provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that plays a vital role in about half of all cataract surgeries in this nation of 6.9 million people.
Maite Montalbo listens to her teacher at Heart of Jesus preschool in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“You need precise instruments,” Penniecook said. “A surgeon has to take things four microns thick and move them 1 millimeter without having things break up. That requires very precise movements. The equipment must be very precise, and it’s very expensive.”Fundación Visión’s partnership with the Church has allowed it to become the leading eye-surgery provider in Paraguay while helping thousands who financially cannot afford other options. People begin to arrive between 4 and 5 a.m. on most mornings. The clinic sees between 300 and 400 people a day. The facility performs between half to 75 percent of all corneal transplants in Paraguay each year, Penniecook said, about half of all cataract surgeries, and a significant percentage of retinal procedures. In all, its doctors perform 6,500 eye surgeries in a year.For a country with a desperate need for eye surgeries, the need included Zeiss microscopes, a machine to sterilize the surgical equipment, and other items necessary for specialized exams.As he cauterized the incisions, wisps of smoke rose above the woman’s face. To the surgeon’s right, another doctor began the same procedure on an older man. He peered through a second Zeiss microscope, one of several “machines provided by the Mormons,” Jorge Medina, a registered nurse, said in Spanish.Outside, the building’s cornerstone bore an inscription: “I was blind, now I see.” Students sit at a donated table at Heart of Jesus preschool in Lima, Peru on Friday, October 19, 2018. LDS Charities donated three prefab classrooms, tables and chairs, and other school supplies. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.
Helping Hands volunteers carry supplies to Heart of Jesus preschool in Lima, Peru, on Friday, October 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Dying newbornsThousands of those the Church has reached there have been through Fundación Visión, which the Church began to support in 2007 with a donation of $250,000. The charity’s fundraising chief will never forget it.
A new stake has been created from the Agoo Philippines District. The Agoo Philippines Stake, which consists of the Sison and Tubao branches and the Agoo 1st, Agoo 2nd, Agoo 3rd, Damortis, and Rosario wards, was created by Elder Michael John U. Teh, General Authority Seventy, and Elder Raul S. Villanueva, an Area Seventy.
AGOO PHILIPPINES STAKE (November 4, 2018): President—Edgardo Gali Dungan, 47, seminaries and institutes support specialist; wife, Gloria David Boado Dungan. Counselors—Joseph Rosal Ramos, 46, Herbalife senior consultant; wife, Maribeth Balderas Estonilo Ramos. Santiago Ollero Oribello, 66, desk clerk/investigator, Philex Mining Corporation; wife, Rosalina Estonilo Cariño Oribello.
A new stake has been created from the Assin Foso Ghana and Yamoransa Ghana stakes. The Assin Foso Ghana South Stake, which consists of the Abura Dunkwa, Asebu, Assin Akrofuom, Assin Anynabrem, Assin Darmang, and Assin Edubiase branches and Abakrampa, Assin Achiasi, Assin Foso 1st, Assin Foso 2nd, and Paramu wards, was created by Elder Marcus B. Nash, General Authority Seventy, and Elder Anthony M. Kaku, an Area Seventy.
ASSIN FOSO GHANA SOUTH STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Ebenezer Quahsah, 45, assistant director of IT, Ghana Education Service; wife, Charity Arthur Quansah. Counselors—Bennett Aboagye Asamoah, 41, administrator, Cecilia and Sammy Memorial Clinic; wife, Mary Adjei-Banin. Matthew Donkoh, 46, coordinator, Ghana Education Service; wife, Vivian Mensima Donroh Akromah.
A new stake has been created from the Carrefour Haiti Stake and the Haiti Port-au-Prince Mission. The Les Palmes Haiti Stake, which consists of the Tenier branch and Jacmel, Leogâne 2nd, Meyer, Petit-Goâve 1st, and Petit-Goâve 2nd wards, was created by Elder Jose L. Alonso, General Authority Seventy, and Elder Hubermann Bien-Aimé, an Area Seventy.
LES PALMES HAITI STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Octa Hyacinthe, 53, school director; wife, Gladys Pierre. Counselors—Jean Pierre Antonius, 39, professor; wife, Solangi Nicaisse. Wilfrid Soliman, 47, tax agent; wife, Lucine Bruny.
A new stake has been created from the Middleton Idaho Stake. The Middleton Idaho East Stake, which consists of the Black Canyon YSA, Middleton 2nd, Middleton 4th, Middleton 5th, Middleton 7th, Middleton 8th, and Middleton 11th wards, was created by Elder Steven R. Bangerter, General Authority Seventy, and Elder Kenneth J. Firmage, an Area Seventy.
MIDDLETON IDAHO EAST STAKE (September 16, 2018): President—Fredrick Alan Betzold, 48, district director, neurology specialist; wife, Amy Buehner Betzold. Counselors—Matthew Patten Grow, 46, partner, Grow Rasmussen LLP; wife, Caryn Michele Green Grow. Spencer W Kofoed, 44, president, Self-Tradition Capital Partners; wife, Erin Elizabeth Pace Kofoed.
A new stake has been created from the Naic Philippines District. The Naic Philippines Stake, which consists of the Carissa, Indang, Maragondon, Naic, Punta, Tanza, Ternate, and Trece Martires branches, was created by Elder Evan A. Schmutz, General Authority Seventy, and Elder Ryan Virola Pagaduan, an Area Seventy.
NAIC PHILIPPINES STAKE (September 16, 2018): President—Margelino Gaveria Baloerama, 44, maintenance mechanic; wife, Maricel Hayag Soreta Baloerama. Counselors—Jose Jemmel Bustamante Bacolod, 51, municipal health officer; wife, Ma. Lorena Ninobla Aguino. George Aranas Padilla, 44, crew manager, BW Shipping Philippines Inc.; wife, Christie Almoite Galeste Padilla.
A new stake has been created from the Santaquin Utah Stake. The Santaquin Utah East Stake, which consists of the Santaquin 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 10th, 12th, 16th, and 22nd wards, was created by Elder Steven E. Snow, General Authority Seventy, and Elder Richard Holzapfel, an Area Seventy.
SANTAQUIN UTAH EAST STAKE (November 11, 2018): President—Steven Matley Wood, 57, director of research, Nu Skin; wife, Jenny Ann Sturm Wood. Counselors—Gregg Morris Warnick, 49, director and associate professor, BYU; wife, Kimberly Ann Nicol Warnick. Ryan Hugh Sharp, 36, professor of ancient scripture, BYU; wife, Jessica Ashlee Farish Sharp.Reorganized stakes
AKRON OHIO STAKE (November 18, 2018): President—Quinn J Coburn, 55, chief financial officer, Graftech; succeeding Douglas L. Talley; wife, Denna Lynn Floyd Coburn. Counselors—Tony Tung Nam Wen, 49, owner, PCDS; wife, Winnsa Siu-Mun Lee Wen. Kumen Rey Call, 44, vice president of finance, TT Electronics; wife, Holly Nynnne Hansen Call.
ASSIN FOSO GHANA STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Seth Patrick Owusu, 53, planning and statistics officer; succeeding Abraham Kwaku Fokuo; wife, Beatrice Akesse Owusu. Counselors—Patrick Adu Gyapong, 53, proprietor; wife, Monica Egyir. Emmanuel Codjoe, 51, proprietor; wife, Ruth Codjoe.
BARRANQUILLA COLOMBIA HIPODROMO STAKE (November 25, 2018): President—Ivar Rafael Romero Ortega, 36, teacher; succeeding Justina A. Rodriguez Borja; wife, Yulissa Escalante Buelvas. Counselors—Mario Enrique Gutierrez Martinez, 36, systems coordinator, Altos de San Vicente Clinic; wife, Narciza del Carmen Paez Anaya. Alex de Jesús Molina Arrieta, 37, contractor; wife, Leidys Melissa Lombrano Mejia.
CAICO BRAZIL STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Alberto Rodrigues da Silva, 37, community health agent; succeeding Eduardo Terceiro de Azevedo; wife, Maria Sueneide Ferreira de Paiva Rodrigues. Counselors—Armando da Silva Filho, 39, merchandise manager; wife, Vaneza Araujo de Lima de Silva. Xulto Cezar Silva dos Santos, 27, account executive, CIA Sense; wife, Luana Oliveira Costa Silva.
CHANDLER ARIZONA STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Jeremy Paul Grohman, 46, vice president and producer, USI Insurance; succeeding Matthew B. Lewis; wife, Victoria Jensen Riggs Grohman. Counselors—Matthew Archibald Campbell, 52, manager, GPW and Associates; wife, Kerri Alice Boas Campbell. Jesse Eldon Rowley, 43, project manager, Peterson Geotechnical Group; wife, Barrie Patricia Bolen Rowley.
CIUDAD OBREGON MEXICO STAKE (November 18, 2018): President—Sai Santana Sai, 29, fleet manager, Fertilizantes Tepeyac; succeeding Alfredo Lazaro Martinez; wife, Yazmina Tabardillo González. Counselors—Jesús Antonio Hernández Pérez, 41, manager, Omnibus de México; wife, Leticia Vázquez García. Roberto Castañeda Zazueta, 42, contractor; wife, Alma Lorenia Ramírez Valenzuela.
EDINBURGH SCOTLAND STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Stanley Llewellyn Wilford, 54, senior sales manager, IPG Photonics; succeeding Allan D. Freed; wife, Helen Marie Wilkinson Wilford. Counselors—Martin Colin Beaumont, 60, subject analysis cataloguer, BDS; wife, Jacqueline Enid Kelsey Beaumont. Daniel Garth Goodare, 44, general practitioner; wife, Ellie Grace McKeown Goodare.
FEIRA DE SANTANA KALIANDIA STAKE (November 18, 2018): President—Luciano Araujo Brito, 40, accountant; succeeding Erivelto Conceicao Bastos; wife, Macilene Antonia Dias Conceição. Counselors—Fabio dos Reis Carneiro, 35, technical manager, CICHO Solutions; wife, Lorrane Teixeira Mendes. Marcio Santos de Carvalho, 38, professor; wife, Jucienny de Almeida Silva Carvalho.
HARRISBURG PENNSYLVANIA STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Rhett R. Hintze, 48, chief operating office, Bravo Group; succeeding Steven H. Giles; wife, Melissa H. Hardy Hintze. Counselors—Jeffrey H. Coltrin, 52, chief financial officer, New Penn Motor Express; wife, Tamara Ann Perron Coltrin. Christian Anthony Johnson, 57, law school dean, Widener University; wife, Cori Lin Anderson Johnson.
IDAHO FALLS AMMON WEST STAKE (December 2, 2018): President—Christian David Monson, 45, anesthesiologist; succeeding Kipp L. Manwaring; wife, Charise Andrus Monson. Counselors—James Robert Barnes, 48, sales and support manager, Brad Hall & Associates; wife, Karen Green Barnes. Nathan Allen Hunsaker, 47, physical therapist; wife, Audra Kay Anderson Hunsaker.
JUNDIAI BRAZIL STAKE (November 11, 2018): President—Paulo Sérgio Ribeiro, 49, partner, Halley Industria; succeeding Jose C. Pierina; wife, Ana Rogério Albuquerque de Andrade Ribeiro. Counselors—Thiago Rocha, 35, business analyst; wife, Arika Aparecida Echila Rocin. Roger Melo, 44, product engineer, Century Link; wife, Flavia Marchioli Bernardes de Melo.
LAS VEGAS NEVADA ELKHORN SPRINGS STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Matthew Paul Kelly, 48, regional manager, Align Technology; succeeding Mark E. Waite; wife, Samantha Marie Hatch Kelly. Counselors—John Alex Piet, 46, lawyer; wife, Gina Jamison Piet. Bryon Dale Richardson, 46, executive director, Leadership Academy of Nevada; wife, Amy Jo Whittaker Richardson.
LETHBRIDGE ALBERTA STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Michael Wayne Steed, 60, radiologist; succeeding Cameron D. MacLennan; wife, Valerie Anne Leidlaw Steed. Counselors—Samuel Kent Earl, 45, owner, Sign Superstore, Lethbridge Real Estate; wife, Jenna Anne Kozub Earl. Kevin Andrew Goth, 44, dentist; wife, Kara Lanae Jubber Goth.
MEXICO CITY ALAMEDAS STAKE (November 18, 2018): President—Francisco Israel Regina Sánchez, 42, director of infrastructor, Grupo Hitec; succeeding Eduardo E. Centeno Gallegos; wife, Elena Trujillo Baltazar. Counselors—César Lima Escalante, 41, solutions manager for the Church; wife, Blanca Isela Aquilar Arias. Mario Cedillo Ordaz, 62, process manager, FAPRESA; wife, Angélica Mora Manzanarez.
MEXICO CITY MELCHOR OCAMPO STAKE (November 25, 2018): President—Mariano Pineda Alvear, 45, project director, Edificaciones con Aceso; succeeding Homero Rojas Trejo; wife, Leticia Yerbafria Granjero. Counselors—Luis Alberto Duarte Lopez, 39, seminaries and institutes area director; wife, Lillo de Jesús Duarte Jemima. Juan Carlos Moreno Soriano, 34, planning coordinator, Liverpool; wife, Rocio Martinez Garcia.
MEXICO CITY TENAYO STAKE (November 4, 2018): President—Ayax Raúl Bernal Sánchez, 46, self-employed; succeeding Daniel Manzo Peñuñuri; wife, Juana Vianet Meneses Munive. Counselors—Arold de los Santos Pérez, 36, operations consultant for the Church; wife, Matia Esther Rodriguez Bugatin. José Guadalupe Zamora González, 51, temple trip coordinator for the Church; wife, Ibañez Mireya Aguilar.
MEXICO CITY TULTITLAN STAKE (November 18, 2018): President—Pedro Márquez Soto, 53, real estate project manager for the Church; succeeding Francisco I. Regino; wife, Julieta Martinez Hinojos. Counselors—Roberto Ernesto Lasa Chavarria, 51, therapist; wife, Elena León Melgarejo. Jaime Fernando Carbajal Coronado, 37, assistant builder for the Church; wife, Karla Frias Espinosa.
MONTERREY MEXICO MODERNA STAKE (September 16, 2018): President—Edgar Abraham Gámez Ávalos, 44, business manager, Internacional de Inversiones; succeeding Dante A. Martinez Coss; wife, Lila Mónica Rentería González. Counselors—Alejandro Arriaga Medina Valentín, 42, service manager, NEORIS; wife, Carla Edith Vázquez González. Miguel Valeriano Olea, 34, operations manager, Diestel; wife, Esli Janeth Morales Villanueva.
NORTH OGDEN UTAH EAST STAKE (November 18, 2018): President—Brian Christopher Morris, 42, senior estimator, HHI Corporation; succeeding D. Brad Reeves; wife, Amy Barie Hubbard Morris. Counselors—Robert Karl Stowers, 60, office manager, Mountain Alarm; wife, Susanne Marie Brown. Roger Curtis Smout, 51, outside sales rep, Industrial Bolt & Supply; wife, Kristin Nichols Smout.
NORTH SALT LAKE UTAH LEGACY STAKE (November 18, 2018): President—Damon Charles Glenn, 45, manager of investment, Etrade; succeeding Ronald B. Gordon; wife, Catherine Neddo Glenn. Counselors—Dean Lynn Howes, 66, commissioner, Major League Rugby; wife, Catherine Nelson Howes. Alfred Howard Tukuafu, 46, lead estimator, Jacobsen Construction; wife, Matila Maryann Lavulo Tukuafu.
PAYSON UTAH WEST STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Ben W Mangelson, 44, master lead, Deseret Meat; succeeding Edwin E. Ballard; wife, Camille Ann Killian Mangelson. Counselors—Justin Reed Jacklin, 46, senior program manager, Adobe; wife, Shelley Flinders Jacklin. Lynn Leroy Gerratt, 52, school administrator, Alpine School District; wife, Shalawn Frances Brown.
PORT OF SPAIN TRINIDAD STAKE (August 26, 2018): President—Michael Andrew Rupa, 52, facilities manager for the Church; succeeding Emrol I. Gould; wife, Abigail Marsha Nalini Ramdeen Rupa. Counselors—Ashton Sunil Garcia, 41, accountant; wife, Colleen Jonne Garcia. Joseph Charles Edmund Warner, 59, Alicia Hazel Cooper Warner.
ROSWELL GEORGIA STAKE (December 2, 2018): President—Daniel Ray Lister Jr., 45, executive vice president, SWM Inc.; succeeding Verne M. Ernst; wife, Melissa Lin Wagner Lister. Counselors—Nelson Daniel Zivic, 41, head of human resources, Newell Rubbermaid; wife, Lorena Renée Calabria Zivic. Reed Aaron MacDonald, 45, CEO, FDS Avionics; wife, Andrea Tanner MacDonald.
ROY UTAH NORTH STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Preston Cordale Lamb, 52, special agent in charge, U.S. Treasury Department; succeeding Alan E. Hall; wife, Stefane Farr Lamb. Counselors—Kevin Dale Merrill, 61, shipping associate, Mason Bee's; wife, Debra Elaine Quent Merrill. Michael Alan Tesch, 49, account representative, West Pharma; wife, Marci Manes Tesch.
SANTIAGO CHILE QUILICURA STAKE (June 10, 2018): President—Alejandro Andres Leiva Salas, 42, supervisor, Komatsu Cummins Chile; succeeding Jorge W. Perez; wife, Karina Elizabeth Astudillo Fredes. Counselors—David Ignacio Verdugo Ibañez, 37, operations supervisor, Bopp Chile S.A.; wife, Elizabeth Mariela Arriagada Garcia. Giovanni Esteban Lopez Santander, 43, management supervisor, Biturix S.A.; wife, Mariela Raquel Britez.
SAO JOSE DOS PINHAIS BRAZIL STAKE (September 2, 2018): President—Enéas José Pereira Filho, 38, operations manager, Centro de Integração Empresa-Escola do Paraná; succeeding Luis Fernando Ogebowsky; wife, Liliana Sarti Luna Pereira. Counselors—Vando Augusto Diniz, 50, maintenance technician for the Church; wife, Carmen Sofia Mosko. Murilo Pinheiro Belletti, 33, coordinator; wife, Amanda do Nascimento Oliveira.
TACLOBAN PHILIPPINES STAKE (November 18, 2018): President—Pedro Bimbo Basada Tan, 50, senior trade and industry development specialist, Department of Trade and Industry; succeeding Ricardo A. Aban; wife, Jenny Operario Ruba. Counselors—Jhumer Cajife Operio, 37, real estate broker; wife, Jean Lim-It Calipayan Operio. David Dagano Mendros, 40, sales clerk, EMCOR Inc.; wife, Analiza Baldecanas Dangco Mendros.
TORREON MEXICO JARDIN STAKE (November 18, 2018): President—Angel Carlos Cepeda Santos, 47, key account manager, Schneider Electrical; succeeding Jose A. Jimenez Roldan; wife, Claudia Valles Herrera. Counselors—Gustavo Ademis Castillo Landeros, 41, academic affairs coordinator; wife, Mitzi Garcia Hernandez. Daniel Gómez Junco Santillán, 28, administrative manager, SEVAC; wife, Ada Ragó Abish Canaán de los Santos.
VALENCIA VENEZUELA LOS SAUCES STAKE (November 18, 2018): President—Fernando de Jesús Vivas Calderón, 42, regional director, Church Educational system; succeeding Jorge E. Ferrer Perez; wife, Dariana del Carmen Briceño Zambrano de Vivas. Counselors—Rafel Antonio Sequera Castillo, 59, operations inspector, Naguanagua Waste Management; wife, Ana Elizabeth Sánches de Sequera. César Augusto Rodriquez Bonito, 53, independent contractor, FamilySearch; wife, Maria Nelly Sevilla Galea de Rodriguez.
VALPARAISO CHILE STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Miguel Alberto Honores Troncoso, 35, seminaries and institutes coordinator for the Church; succeeding Helgi Hukdhs Zerega; wife, Yannina Yoselin Loyola Silva. Counselors—Manuel Alvear Torres, 39, technician; wife, Andrea Paola Vega Opazo. David Alessandro Oyarce Olivares, 42, employee, army of Chile; wife, Gloria del Carmen Ibarra Villalón.
ZAMORA MEXICO STAKE (September 2, 2018): President—Christian Adrián Gudiño Alatorre, 33, middle and high school teacher; succeeding David Montoya Torres; wife, Elizabeth Peña Castillo. Counselors—José Joaquín Higareda Naranjo, 55, teacher; wife, María de la Luz Espitia Martínez. José Antonio Cázares Gonaález, 43, welder; wife, Guadalupe Romo Olivo.
If youth understand the inherent power of doctrine to transform lives, they will realize that all scriptures, all questions, all discussions, and all supplemental resources (such as pictures, music, videos, analogies, and the like) used in teaching need to focus upon and support the doctrine and its application in the lives of those they teach.The Savior was much more than a facilitator of gospel discussion. He used all the teaching skills and resources previously discussed. Likewise, we should be an instrument through whom the Holy Ghost can use varied teaching skills to teach doctrinal truths. A group of young men participate in a Sunday priesthood class in Ghana.To teach like the Savior requires more than knowledge and a testimonyUse varied teaching methods to teach the doctrineIn truth, everyone in the Church is a teacher—not just formally called teachers. Missionaries are teachers, parents are teachers, and every Church leader is a teacher. In preparation for these experiences, youth can and should learn to teach in the Savior’s way. Doing so will help them strengthen their own testimonies as they learn to understand and then articulate doctrinal principles with clarity. In addition, it will accelerate and sharpen the skills they need to become inspired missionaries, parents, called teachers, and leaders. One effective way to help our youth in this pursuit is to train them how to teach and then give them opportunities to do so.Where, then, does one find the true doctrine to teach? The foundational source is the scriptures—the words of both ancient and modern prophets. The Savior explained that “the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom” (Doctrine and Covenants 35:20). In other words, the scriptures are the purest source of doctrine we have—they come directly from the Lord. We can teach our youth that the scriptures are the original and pure source of doctrine. They are a teacher’s primary resource.Youth will receive revelation and the Spirit to teach as they do their “homework”—discovering the needs of those in their class, pondering the doctrine to be taught, sincerely asking for the Lord’s help, and taking the time to organize a teaching plan. When youth teach the doctrine with love and by the Spirit, they teach with power and authority of God.The Lord has taught us that the doctrine is to be taught “by the power of my Spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants 43:15). But how does one get the Spirit to teach? President Henry B. Eyring gave this promise during a CES satellite training broadcast on August 10, 2003: “If you teach doctrinal principles, the Holy Ghost will come.” Filipino youth interact during a Sunday School class.Many teachers, particularly youth, struggle to know how to prepare an inspired teaching plan that incorporates and utilizes the above skills and resources.Positive feedback and constructive suggestionsAt the heart and core of the Savior’s teaching was doctrine. Accordingly, we can give our youth a vision of the power of doctrine when taught with love and by the Spirit—how it can transform and change lives—so youth will make it the focus of their teaching experience. Alma explained that just as a seed has the inherent power to grow physically when properly nourished, so too the word of God has the inherent power to grow spiritually in the recipient’s heart when properly nourished (see Alma 32).Sometimes we invite teachers, including youth, to ask inspired questions but fail to train them how to do so.The scriptures are the ultimate source of doctrine Young woman helps teach a youth class in Ayacucho, Peru. Photo by Jason Swensen, Deseret News.The primary responsibility to train a youth to teach in the Savior’s way rests with parents. In addition, however (or where there are no parents to do so), Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women advisers and youth Sunday School teachers can and should assist. This would normally require them to spend some time with a youth well before a lesson is given. For these purposes, Teaching in the Savior’s Way (in print, online, and in the Gospel Library app) is a valuable resource.Resources like this, when properly used to support doctrine, add a spiritual creativity and richness to the lesson that enhance the ultimate goal of building faith. We can help our youth use resources—both those that are a result of their own inspiration and those in the inspired Church curriculum.In many cases, we have noticed that youth are given the opportunity to teach but without any prior training. To learn to teach more like the Savior, a youth needs both opportunity and training.The following are suggestions to help us train our youth so they can gain experience that will help them teach more like the Savior.Many youth also struggle with asking follow-up questions. For example, a youth may respond to a question by saying she had a spiritual experience while reading the Book of Mormon. An untrained youth teacher might respond, “That’s wonderful,” and then go on with the teaching outline. If that happens, the teacher will have missed a golden opportunity to follow up with another question such as, “Would you feel comfortable in sharing that experience with us?” (See Matthew 16:13–17.)These teaching experiences for youth should be determined based on age, spiritual maturity, and experience. For example, a young and inexperienced youth might be given the opportunity to teach a brief portion of a lesson. An older, more experienced youth might teach a somewhat longer portion and, on occasion, an entire lesson. While a conscientious effort should be made to stretch our youth to new heights of teaching, care should be taken that no one is embarrassed or overwhelmed in the process. Teaching for our youth should always be a rewarding experience.As we help our youth teach doctrine in the Savior’s way, we will strengthen their testimonies and enhance their spiritual skills as missionaries, parents, called teachers, and leaders. We will make a substantial, enduring contribution to their lives. We invite all parents, as well as leaders and teachers of youth, to prayerfully and diligently consider how they might help each child or youth within their stewardship teach more like the Savior.Once a lesson is completed, it is an appropriate time to discuss with the youth one or more ways they might improve their teaching skills. This might be done by asking the question, “What do you think you could have done better?” or by discussing the subject in some other sensitive way that does not embarrass or discourage the youth. This evaluation should be a constructive and positive experience.One of the ways we show love for those we teach is to listen to them. When youth teachers ask sincere follow-up questions, it is an evidence that they love and care more about the person giving the answer than their own personal need to hurry to the next point in their lesson.Youth should not teach so often as to displace the formally called teacher as the principal teacher—one who should teach doctrine, bear testimony, share personal experiences, and be a consistent teaching model for the youth to follow. But the youth should teach frequently enough in Sunday School, Aaronic Priesthood, and Young Women to develop skills and attributes that will enable them to teach in the Savior’s way. This allocation of teaching time is a delicate balance to be decided by ward and youth leaders as guided by the Spirit.One case exemplified the problem. Two missionaries were teaching about the Apostasy and Restoration. The missionaries made a point, followed up by one random thought after another. There was no logical sequence, no building of one point upon another. One could see the learner’s eyes glazed over. He just couldn’t follow where the missionaries were going. As a result, an opportunity to teach the gospel with purity and power was lost.Once a youth has taught, leaders have an opportunity to offer generous praise. President Spencer W. Kimball was once asked by a mission president how to motivate his missionaries. He responded, “Lavish them with honest praise.”Who should train youth to teach?The power of doctrine when taught with love and by the SpiritTeachers can help youth organize their thoughts and feelings into a simple teaching plan.This can be done by powerful discourse and instruction, giving helpful background information, using resources and teaching aids, engaging in discussion, and extending inspired invitations. All of these are teaching methods utilized by the Savior. We can help our youth strike the inspired balance among these teaching methods that best utilizes their personal talents and best promotes faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.A youth might evaluate the quality of his or her questions by asking, “Does it build faith as manifested by the above consequences, and if not, how can I refine and improve it?”We can train our youth to listen carefully to each answer and then thoughtfully reflect if a follow-up question might invite an even greater insight into the doctrine being taught or the sharing of a spiritual experience or bearing of testimony. (See diagram below.)Alma stepped down as chief judge so he could reclaim his people by “preach[ing] the word of God unto them” and “bearing down in pure testimony” (Alma 4:19). As Alma went from city to city doing just that, he learned that “the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else” (Alma 31:5).He referred to imagery people could visualize, such as the lilies of the field or a fig tree. He told stories such as the parable of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son. And He used object lessons such as a Roman coin to teach a doctrinal truth. None of these were stand-alone objects or stories or activities. Each had a specific purpose—to support a doctrinal principle and encourage the living of it.Speaking of our youth during a worldwide training broadcast on November 5, 2016, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles observed, “We underestimate their ability and overestimate their experience.”A gospel discussion is successful when it increases faith, leads to a greater understanding of the doctrine being taught, and inspires the participants to live the gospel more fully. Discussion can be a great help in accomplishing these goals, but it is a means, not an end.Extend inspired invitations to apply the doctrineAll sincere testimony is important, but President Joseph F. Smith gave this counsel to help us maximize the power of our testimonies: “The [teacher] is sent into the [classroom] to preach the gospel … expounding the truths embodied in the first principles of the gospel; then if he bears his testimony under divine inspiration such a testimony is a seal attesting to the genuineness of the truths he has declared.” Then he added this caution: “But the voicing of one’s testimony, however eloquently phrased or beautifully expressed is no fit or acceptable substitution for the needed discourse of instruction” (Gospel Doctrine, 258). In other words, testimony, in and of itself, is not a replacement for doctrine. Rather, the testimony of a youth teacher is most effective when it seals and confirms the doctrine that has been taught.The Holy Ghost can best confirm the truth of doctrine when it is taught with clarity and conciseness. We need to help our youth develop the gift to teach simply, clearly, and powerfully as the Savior did. Simply being an active youth in the Church does not automatically make one a good teacher. It also requires observation, experience, practice, study, and prayer.In addition to individual training, youth might be invited on occasion to attend a teacher council meeting that focuses on how youth can teach in the Savior’s way. Parents and formally called teachers can also highlight Christlike teaching principles as they or the youth teach so as to impress these principles on the minds of the youth who are present. For example, if a youth teacher uses a picture effectively that results in a successful doctrinal discussion, the teacher might comment: “Did everyone notice how the effective use of that visual helped us gain some doctrinal insights we might otherwise have missed?”On the other hand, questions that begin with “why,” “what,” and “how” are usually more effective in this regard. For example, “Why did Joseph Smith enter the Sacred Grove?” or “What truths did he learn there?” or “How do those truths affect my life?” usually promote more faith-filled responses. As youth ask inspired questions, inspired discussions will usually follow. One mission president and his wife made it a habit to teach lessons with the missionaries. As they did, it became apparent that many fine young men and women who had a knowledge of the gospel and a testimony of its truthfulness had not yet developed the gift of teaching the gospel in a clear and concise manner.How often should youth teach?A piano player who strikes only one note is far less effective than the one who plays symphonies and rhapsodies drawn from many keys stretched across the keyboard. Nonetheless, some youth and adults have the misconception that a lesson is successful solely because it is all discussion—robust and participatory as it may be. Many robust and participatory discussions occur in business and secular settings and have nothing to do with building faith.Invitation to all parents, youth leaders, and teachersHow can youth ask inspired questions that support the doctrine?Using resources to support the doctrineWith the new Come, Follow Me curriculum being introduced in 2019, Latter-day Saints are focusing on teaching and learning at home and at church. Consistent with this emphasis, we desire to help our youth teach more like the Savior.Why is it important for youth to teach in the Savior’s way?A recent inquiry of some converts confirms this conclusion. One said, “When I heard the doctrine of the premortal existence for the first time, I just knew it was right.” Another said, “The plan of salvation was so beautiful and appealing to me that I readily embraced it.” These impressions are in accord with the observation of Alma that the word of God is “delicious” to the taste (Alma 32:28). Graphic by Aaron Thorup, Deseret News.Once the doctrine has been taught in its purity, a teacher has an opportune time to extend an inspired invitation to apply the doctrine. These invitations can be a spiritual catalyst to motivate us. The Savior, after teaching doctrine, often extended inspired invitations, such as “Come and follow me” (Matthew 19:21) or “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). We can encourage and train our youth to follow this pattern of the Savior.The ultimate goal of teaching is to teach the doctrine by the Spirit in such a way that it builds faith in Heavenly Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Atonement. Thus, an inspired question is one that helps accomplish this purpose.In addition, spiritual power is related to our love for those we teach, our worthiness, our humility, the intensity of our prayers, and the degree to which we prepare. Speaking during a BYU devotional in 1990, President Eyring said he once asked President Harold B. Lee, “How do you get revelation?” President Lee responded, “If you want to get revelation, do your homework.” Youth attend a Sunday School class in New Zealand.The Savior was the Master Teacher. Not only did He teach the doctrine by quoting scriptures and asking inspired questions, but He also used a multitude of resources to enrich the doctrine and make it more appealing and personal to His listeners.Preparing a plan to teach doctrineQuestions that begin with “when” and “where” may be stepping-stones to building faith, but in and of themselves, they often fail to accomplish the desired goal. For example, “When did Joseph Smith receive the First Vision?” or “Where is the Sacred Grove?” are questions that are unlikely to build faith.Bear testimony to support the doctrineAs youth prepare a plan (see sample to the right), they should keep in mind that they may not have time to use all these references and resources. Rather, they should see these as tools in a toolbox to be drawn upon as the Spirit directs. The more tools youth have in their toolbox, the greater flexibility the Spirit has to inspire them to use those tools best suited to meet the needs of class members. One way for youth to demonstrate love for those they teach is to take the time and effort to prepare an inspired teaching plan intended to best meet the needs of class members.
Emily Kezerian glances at her scriptures during a lesson on the plan of salvation. Photo by Whitney Evans, Deseret News.
EndureThe final step, President Kusch said, is to become a “whole soul” of Christ.
President Bruce C. Kusch, president of LDS Business College, and his wife, Sister Sister Alynda Kusch, greet students as they arrive for an LDS Business College devotional held in the Conference Center Theater on January 8, 2019.
Photo by Valerie Johnson.
LDS Business College President Bruce C. Kusch speaks during a devotional in the Conference Center Theater on January 8, 2019. Photo by Valerie Johnson.President Bruce C. Kusch, president of LDS Business College, and his wife, Sister Sister Alynda Kusch, greet a student as he arrives for an LDS Business College devotional held in the Conference Center Theater on January 8, 2019. Photo by Valerie Johnson.By accepting the invitation to offer our souls unto Christ, our role “transitions from partaker to giver,” President Kusch said.
The FamilySearch Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, has announced its free family history classes and webinars for January 2019.
The focus of instruction this month will be on beginners. Learn how to use the powerful, free resources of FamilySearch.org and cool tips and tricks (both in English and Spanish) to help expand your family tree. Participants can attend in person or online. See the calendar below for the complete list of classes. No registration is required.
If you are unable to attend a class in person or online, most sessions are recorded and can be viewed later online at your convenience at Family History Library classes and webinars. Online classes are noted on the schedule as webinars. Webinar attendees need to click the link next to the class title at the scheduled date and time to attend the class online. Those attending in person simply go to the room noted. Invite your family and friends. All classes are in mountain daylight time (MDT).
DATE / TIME
WEBINAR | ROOM
Tuesday, January 8
10:00 a.m. MDT
Overview of FamilySearch (Beginner)
10:00 a.m. MDT
Navigating, Adding, and Editing, Standardization of Dates and Places on Family Tree (Beginner)
Saturday, January 19
1:00 p.m. MDT
Una vista general de FamilySearch (Beginner)
Tuesday, January 22
10:00 a.m. MDT
Tips and Tricks for Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch (Beginner)
Tuesday, January 29
10:00 a.m. MDT
Research Help and Searching Records on Family Tree (Beginner)
A fitting conclusion to the five-country, nine-day trip was President Nelson’s dedication of the Concepción Chile Temple, his first temple dedication as Church President. (See related story.) In addition to the three sessions conducted on Sunday, October 28, he met with 1,500 local youth the evening before in a devotional setting.• Meetings in Seattle, Washington, and Langley, British Columbia, Canada President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is interviewed by Sergio Rubin, Argentine journalist and biographer of Pope Francis, in Montevideo, Uruguay, on October 26, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“Really, we want to get to every country, to every person,” President Nelson said at one of his two dozen stops. “And that won’t be possible—but we’ll try.”In conjunction with the Calgary and Raymond devotionals, Sister Nelson was able to introduce her husband to many of her extended family and friends in the Calgary and Raymond areas. (See related article.)
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, left, poses with Peru President Martín Vizcarra at the presidential palace in Lima, Peru, on Saturday, October 20, 2018. Photo courtesy of the president of Peru.As part of his teachings in the last two stops, President Nelson took time to underscore a public statement he had made earlier in the week about the correct use of the Church’s full name—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. See related article.• Traveling with Sister Wendy Nelson, Elder Holland, and Sister Patricia Holland President Russell M. Nelson speaks during a special devotional in Nairobi, Kenya, on Monday, April 16, 2018. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who accompanied President Nelson on his first trip in April, said the symbolism of that tour—which carries over to subsequent travels—is “so that the whole world, the whole Church, would know that their prophet cares about them.” President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson greet the Vargas family at the Hyde Park Visitors’ Center in London on Thursday, April 12, 2018. The boys are Juan David Vargas Saavedra, right, and Joseph Daniel Vargas Saavedra. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.For his next travels, President Nelson conducted three devotionals in as many weekend evenings in the province of Alberta, home of his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, who was born and raised in Raymond and then studied and worked as a marriage and family therapist in Calgary.
President Russell M. Nelson, joined by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, waves to the 8,000 members and visitors at the conclusion of the Sunday night, August 19, 2018, devotional held at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. Photo by Scott Taylor, Church News.Two weeks after speaking in the Caribbean, President Nelson visited the Pacific Northwest, highlighted by speaking at Seattle’s Safeco Field to a gathering of nearly 50,000—making for the largest non-sporting event held in the baseball stadium.• Meetings in Lima, Peru; El Alto, Bolivia; Asunción, Paraguay; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Concepción, ChileIn his September 1 devotional in Santo Domingo, he surprised those attending by offering his remarks in their native Spanish—the first time a Church President has delivered a substantial address in a language other than English. See related article.August—Canada• Traveling with Sister Nelson, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Sister Kathy Andersen Doris Leonard cries as President Russell M. Nelson leaves the stand after a devotional in Hong Kong on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.• Meetings in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and Hamilton, Ontario, CanadaPrior to the devotional, he met with Most Reverend Gustavo Garcia-Siller, the Catholic Archbishop of San Antonio. “The message of the Lord Jesus Christ is a message of hope, it is a message of love, it is a message of joy,” said President Nelson. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.November—TexasHe shared five lessons “life has taught me” while speaking from a stage set at second base. (See related article.)• Traveling with Sister Nelson, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Sister Melanie Rasband President Russell M. Nelson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles look over a possible temple site in Bengaluru, India, on Thursday, April 19, 2018. They are accompanied by Elder Randy D. Funk, General Authority Seventy, and Elder Robert K. William, an Area Seventy. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson greets Nadine Sunderraj, Nathalee Sunderraj, and their mother, Stella Sunderraj, after the devotional in Bengaluru, India, on Thursday, April 19, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, leave the Langley Events Center after speaking in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.• Meetings in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and San Juan, Puerto RicoFive continents. Sixteen nations and territories. Twenty-four cities. And some 55,000 flight miles—well more than twice the earth’s circumference. Those numbers underscore the seven ministering travels and tours of President Russell M. Nelson in his first year as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Russell M. Nelson greets members on June 8, 2018, in Edmonton, Alberta.It was another three-devotionals-in-three-days trip to Canada, but this time visiting a trio of provinces.• Meetings in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Raymond, Alberta, CanadaJune—Canada
In Lima, he met with Peru President Martín Vizcarr, and in Concepción, he met with Governor Jorge Ulloa Aguillon. President Russell M. Nelson; his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson; Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and Sister Patricia Holland tour the Church site to be used for a temple in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, April 20, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.April—Europe, Africa, Asia, Hawaii
• Traveling with Sister Nelson, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Sister Susan BednarLess than a month later, President Nelson was on the road again—this time to the Caribbean.“We’re bringing the love of the Lord to the people, and they will learn to love each other,” said President Nelson in London, England, the first stop of his inaugural tour not long after the April 2018 general conference. A young girl places a lei on President Russell M. Nelson in Laie, Hawaii, on April 22, during the prophet’s final stop on his global tour.The Nelsons—joined by President Eyring of the First Presidency—made a third foray into Canada by holding a second-evening devotional in Langley, of metropolitan Vancouver. (See related article.) President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, hold Four Tanapumtonger after a devotional in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, April 20, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.The Montreal devotional was provided in four languages—English, French, Spanish, and Mandarin—as evidence of the Church’s multicultural presence in Quebec and Ontario.• Meetings in London, England; Jerusalem, Israel; Nairobi, Kenya; Harare, Zimbabwe; Bengaluru, India; Bangkok, Thailand; Hong Kong; and Laie, Hawaii• Traveling with Sister Nelson, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Sister Lesa Stevenson President Russell M. Nelson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in Jerusalem while on a global tour of eight countries. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.The next month, during the October 2018 general conference, he would announce a temple for Puerto Rico. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, wave to attendees after a devotional in Lima, Peru, on October 20, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. People gather at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington, to hear President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, hug their grandson Elder Nicholas Nelson, a missionary serving in the Uruguay Montevideo Mission, prior to a missionary meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Thursday, October 25, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles joined President Russell M. Nelson in the Dominican Republic Saturday, September 1, 2018.• Traveling with Sister Nelson and President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency
President Russell M. Nelson holds a young Latter-day Saint girl in Harare, Zimbabwe. President Nelson and his wife, Wendy, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife, Patricia, met with members of the Church in a devotional Tuesday, April 17.“We don’t have time for jet lag,” President Nelson quipped at the end of his first global tour in April, which included eight cities in 11 days across Europe, Africa, and Asia before a final stop in Hawaii.But more meaningful than the distances traveled and locations visited are the tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints who personally listened to President Nelson—many in a prophet’s presence for the first time. Many devotionals were also broadcast by satellite or closed-circuit TV to meetinghouses in outlying areas, reaching tens of thousands more.Member devotionals and missionary meetings were conducted from London’s Hyde Park to the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center overlooking the Old City’s Temple Mount and then on to cities that either host current temples (Hong Kong and Laie) or have temples either announced or under construction (Nairobi, Harare, Bengaluru, and Bangkok).Below is a recap of President Nelson’s devotionals conducted across the globe since he was ordained as prophet on January 14, 2018.October—South AmericaSeptember—CaribbeanAnd the next day in San Juan, less than a year after the island territory was hit by a terrible twosome of hurricanes, he encouraged members to find peace during difficult times. (See related article.)
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, stand with attendees Augustine Escobar and Lilieth Rojas during the cornerstone ceremony of the Concepción Chile Temple on Sunday, October 28, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Crisscrossing the southern half of South America, President Nelson spoke at missionary and member meetings in five countries, from Peru’s capital city overlooking the Pacific Ocean to Bolivia’s high-altitude reaches some 13,600 feet above sea level and next to one of the continent’s oldest cities in Asunción and on to the South Atlantic harbor city of Montevideo.
All organizationsAaronic Priesthood quorum meetings focus on the gospel topics found in Come, Follow Me—For Aaronic Priesthood. Leaders and teachers select lesson outlines that best meet the needs of quorum members. (Learn more.)Young Women meetings focus on the gospel topics found in Come, Follow Me—For Young Women. Leaders and teachers select lesson outlines that best meet the needs of class members. (Learn more.)All Primary classes will learn from the same Come, Follow Me—For Primary lesson manual, which this year focuses on the New Testament. See additional teaching helps. (See related article.)Young Women (2nd and 4th Sundays)Primary (every Sunday)The new Sunday meeting schedule that begins January 6 allows time for more home-centered individual and family study.Go digital, if possibleThe Sunday School manual for adults and youth is Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019. Teachers should use this manual to learn about the scripture accounts and the principles to be taught, then use the manual to prepare and organize lessons that support what class members are studying at home, combining and adapting lessons as necessary (learn how). Instruction and class discussion should help class members understand and apply the doctrine in the scriptures. Sunday School classes do not begin with prayer but do conclude with one. See a suggested study schedule. (See related article.)Singing time will focus on music that supports the scriptures that children study in their classes. (Learn more about singing time and the children's sacrament meeting presentation.)New curriculum resources support home-centered, Church-supported learning that deepens conversion to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and strengthens families.Where possible, students and teachers are encouraged to use digital versions of 2019 curriculum materials using the Gospel Library mobile app or visiting comefollowme.lds.org. Print copies are also available through your ward or branch leaders or at store.lds.org. Materials for those with disabilities can be ordered on store.lds.org. Graphic courtesy of Debora Gilmore.With the new year comes a new Sunday meeting schedule and new curriculum resources for adults, youth, and Primary children. To help you prepare, here’s a refresher for what you’ll be studying or teaching and links to where you can easily find lesson materials and other resources.New Sunday scheduleAll teachers attend a teacher council meeting quarterly during the 50-minute class time on the week they don’t teach and should reference the Teaching in the Savior’s Way manual and website.Nursery classes will continue to use Behold Your Little Ones: Nursery Manual.Individuals and familiesYou can find the list of manuals for Melchizedek Priesthood, Relief Society, Primary, Sunday School, Young Men, and Young Women in Instructions for Curriculum 2019.Elders quorum and Relief Society will focus on messages from the most recent general conference. Teaching suggestions are found in the May and November issues of the Ensign and Liahona, at LDS.org, and in the Gospel Library app. Classes do not begin with an opening hymn or prayer but do conclude with prayer.Sunday School (1st and 3rd Sundays)Curriculum materialsFamilies and individuals are encouraged to study the scriptures more at home using the new manual Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families. This year the focus for Sunday School and Primary classes is on the New Testament, and this home-study manual focuses on the same scripture passages that you will learn about in your Sunday School classes.Aaronic Priesthood (2nd and 4th Sundays)President Nelson promised that changes in families will be “dramatic and sustaining” (“Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” Oct. 2018 general conference).Elders Quorum and Relief Society (2nd and 4th Sundays)