New to the parade this year was a JustServe entry. JustServe.org is a clearinghouse website that connects local organizations in need of service with local volunteers. The website is maintained by the Church.The annual parade has been organized by the Monument Hill Kiwanis club for the past 30 years. The organization welcomes any parade entry whether it's religious or secular, according to Harry Brandon, Lieutenant Governor for Division 4 of the Rocky Mountain District Kiwanis Club.
Colorado Springs North Stake temple and family history consultants talk with local residents in Monument, Colorado, regarding the importance of family history. Photo by Peggy Kinnaird.“The Family History booth was a great success. We talked with many people who were interested in learning more about their family history,” Sister McAllister said. “I felt like it was, overall, a positive missionary experience.”Daniel K. Stevenson, President of the Colorado Colorado Springs Mission, and his wife, Ann Marie, also marched in the parade alongside the missionaries in the 90-degree heat. Several youth from the Colorado Springs North Stake represent JustServe during the Monument Hill Kiwanis parade. Photo by Russ Ford.The Family of Christ Lutheran Church and Monument Hill Church were also represented in the parade.“I think the day was an absolute success and worth our time,” said Elder Jackson Lewis from Lai, Hawaii.The celebration also included a Palmer Lake Fun Run, pancake breakfast, children's parade, Fuel Church Kid Zone, live music, and the Monument Street Fair with more than 100 booths.The missionaries greeted thousands of onlookers by handing out candy and pass-along cards to the crowd as they represented the Church.
Full-time missionaries serving in the Colorado Colorado Springs Mission, Elder Alan Brown, from Loveland, Colorado, and Elder Ariel Soto from Santiago, Chile, give out free water bottles and pass-along cards during the Monument Colorado street fair. Photo by Peggy Kinnaird.Seventy full-time missionaries from the Colorado Colorado Springs Mission marched on the streets of Monument, Colorado—located at the foot of the Rampart Range just north of Colorado Springs—during the annual Monument Hill Kiwanis parade this month.Several young men and young women from the Colorado Springs Colorado North Stake marched in the parade representing JustServe. They wore JustServe T-shirts and handed out candy and nearly 2,000 stickers with website information printed on them.“It was super cool to see their faces light up as we were ministering one-to-one as the Savior did,” Elder Lewis continued. “We were there to spread the good word.”“The parade is a community function and there is a feeling of camaraderie, brotherhood, and togetherness. It is obvious that everyone is very happy to be here,” he said.“I think it's a great opportunity to put the face of the Church out there in the public eye,” President Stevenson said. “It opens the door for us and helps build a better relationship between the Church and the community.”The Church occupied two booths in the fair, one manned by the full-time missionaries. The second booth represented the Colorado Springs North Family History Center. Charlyn McAllister, stake temple and family history consultant, and her husband, Neil McAllister, talked to members of the community from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband and Elder Ruben Acosta, an Area Seventy. Photo by Riz Espinili.Five Mormon youth—Joshua Salgado, Benson Wu, Emma Grace Liloa Kailiponi, Abbey Dayton, and Sophie Cadden—were recognized during the opening first pitch ceremony for their outstanding achievements at school and in their communities.Elder Rasband, in an Angels jersey with his name on the back, gathered with his family beneath the “Angels Wall of Fame” sign for a photo before heading onto the field. Three generations of Rasbands were represented. Elder Rasband was accompanied on the field by his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, and Elder Ruben Acosta, an Area Seventy, and his wife, Sister Yvonne Acosta. Elder Rasband’s grandson Camden Norton joined him as his “official catcher” during his warm-up pitches.Camden had been practicing the first pitch with his grandfather for over a month and helped warm him up on the side of the field. When asked if his grandpa could make the pitch the entire 60’6” from the mound, Camden answered with a resounding “yes.” Elder Rasband’s pitch did clear home plate, low and wide. Josh Anderson, a relief pitcher for the Angels, signed the ball Elder Rasband used for the first pitch. Elder Ronald A. Rasband and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, at the 21st Annual “Mormon Night with the Angels” held on July 27. Photo by Riz Espinili. Elder Ronald A. Rasband waves to the crowd during the 21st Annual “Mormon Night with the Angels” held on July 27. Photo by Riz Espinili.Ken Hutton, a member of the Anaheim Stake who has worked for the Angels for 40 years, was given the job to escort Elder Rasband through the stadium during the third inning to greet members. Hutton, who has been to all 21 Mormon Night with the Angels games, was “excited” for the new assignment. Elder Ronald A. Rasband stands with his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, and his grandson Camden Norton during the 21st Annual “Mormon Night with the Angels” held on July 27. Photo by Riz Espinili.Joshua Salgado, an Angels fan, didn’t believe his bishop when he found out he was chosen to participate. “It’s an amazing opportunity,” Joshua said. He never dreamed he would get to represent the Church at an Angels’ Game.Jim Panetta, director of ticket sales for the Angels, joined the participants on the field for the pre-game activities. “It’s a great night for us every year, and we love hosting ‘Mormon Night with the Angels,’” Panetta said.Abbey hoped that “people can see that I love the gospel and the Savior.” She realized there were many other outstanding church youth she represented.Other Primary age youth participated during the evening; Ben Walker as the “Play Ball” announcer, Henry Berrett as “Bat Boy,” and John King had the chance to, “Steal Third Base.” John made the dash from the outfield down the third base line and picked up and “stole third base,” carrying it back to the outfield in less than 20 seconds. Ben Walker and his family are Angels season ticket holders. He was surprised at the chance to be the “play ball” announcer. “It feels like I’m sharing the gospel to the world,” he said. Ben had rehearsed his words several times with his father before the game. As the Angels team members ran out onto the field Ben officially announced “play ball” and another “Mormon Night with the Angels” began.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband stands on the pitcher's mound before throwing the ceremonial first pitch at the Los Angeles Angels game on July 27. Photo by Riz Espinili.Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Los Angeles Angels game on July 27. The Angels were playing the Seattle Mariners and won the game 4 to 3. This was the third win in a row for the Angels. Elder Rasband and some of his family attended the game as part of the 21st Annual “Mormon Night with the Angels.” An estimated 2,200 members of the Church attended the event, representing the 15 stakes in the Orange County area. Elder Rasband warms up with his grandson Camden Norton before throwing out the first pitch at “Mormon Family Night” at Angel Stadium. Photo by Riz Espinili.
“We had invited President and Sister Hinckley to stay for dinner,” Sister Larsen recalled. “But they had other commitments.” She described how they prepared sack lunches for President and Sister Hinckley to eat in the car as they left.“There are no stores, no services,” he explained, and said about 50 people lived on the 30-by-30-mile area that comprised the boundaries of the branch on the promontory of land jutting into the Great Salt Lake. (The branch was dissolved in 2004; its membership was transferred to Thatcher-Penrose 2nd Ward, Tremonton Utah West Stake.)As I arrived on Sunday morning, October 15, 1995, I saw a white frame building where, on three sides, tall grass gleamed golden in the autumn sunshine. The solitude of the building—the only other structure in sight was a house across the road and slightly to the east—bespoke the isolation of Promontory, once a bustling railroad town.The branch president, Brent H. Larsen, told me there was no longer a town, although Promontory was the name of the location of the Church meetinghouse.Recently, I spoke with Carol Larsen, widow of the branch president, and Steve Peterson, both now of the Thatcher-Penrose Ward, about some of the highlights of President Hinckley’s visit. President Hinckley told the members if they had questions about any principles of the Church, to prove them by putting them to the test. That applied to the Word of Wisdom, tithing, missionary work, family home evening, and temple work. President Hinckley said, “If you have any question about the value of service in the Church, get to work.”One assignment to a rather isolated place to cover a meeting with President Gordon B. Hinckley didn’t require a plane ticket. It was to Promontory, Utah, about a two-hour drive northwest of Salt Lake City. Our destination was the Promontory Branch meetinghouse, located about 15 miles north of the Great Salt Lake.After the meeting, President and Sister Hinckley went outside to pose for a photo with members of the Promontory Branch.Brother Peterson said, “We were a small branch, just country folks. We applied what President Hinckley said to a lot of different lessons. For a long time, we talked about the impact of that visit and the talk President Hinckley gave.”Only the branch presidency and their wives knew President and Sister Hinckley were to visit that day. The 35 or so members waiting in the chapel for the meeting to start did not display much more than passing curiosity as visitors trickled in to swell the congregation to about 50. It was the Sunday of branch conference, so visitors were expected.During my career at the Church News, I became accustomed to packing a bag and boarding a plane to report on the activities of the First Presidency, Apostles, and other leaders of the Church as they attended and spoke at events on six continents and many islands.As he began his address to the small congregation, President Hinckley said, “I’m here to keep my word.” He explained that he had met President Larsen a year earlier, on May 10, 1994, at the 125th anniversary commemorating the driving of the “golden spike” to mark the completion in 1869 of the first transcontinental railroad at Promontory Summit, about 15 miles northwest of the Promontory Branch’s meetinghouse. President Hinckley said until then he’d had no idea there was a branch of the Church at Promontory and promised President Larsen he would visit one day. “He took me up on it and, somehow, I’m here, keeping my promise,” President Hinckley said.Sister Larsen said, “Some of the things he told us that day he said other times, but it was special to have him there in that small, intimate chapel, where he looked us in the eyes and talked about living the gospel. He told us to try it and we would see that it’s true and blesses our lives.”As a petite woman took her place alone at the front of the chapel, branch member Ron Porter commented to the person next to him, “She looks just like Sister Hinckley.” As several men approached the podium, Kaye Draper whispered to Joyce Poulsen, saying, “That man looks like—oh my! That is President Hinckley!”“The children made large bibs to protect their clothes, not knowing who they were making them for,” Sister Larsen said. “President Hinckley sent the nicest thank-you note; he commented about each particular food, which came from our gardens or close by, and he even commented on the bibs. That really touched me that he would mention those details.”
Moe also said PCC carvers created the custom-built canoes used in Huki, including a miniature version of the Fijian camakau outrigger canoe, and a Maori-style double-outrigger. “They also carved the magnificent wooden drums and many other custom-made props and accessories worn by the performers.”“I also love the new Huki, because while we’ve always had recurring themes, this is one of the first times we’re actually telling the story of the Polynesian Cultural Center. Huki portrays actual people and events, and we’re putting that on display,” Mariteragi said.Huki’s storyline continues: With western contact, the Polynesians adapt music and instruments, then add their own rhythms, words, and motions to both traditional and contemporary songs. Western-influenced but island-style choral music becomes an important part of Christian worship. Then to raise funds to rebuild their chapel in the 1940s, Polynesian Latter-day Saints living in Laie combine island entertainment and a luau with a traditional hukilau fishing event, where the guests help pull in the nets. The Laie Hukilau immediately becomes popular; the aloha spirit and talent of the local islanders, combined with the Hukilau Song and Uncle Hamana Kalili’s famous shaka sign, help spread its fame around the world.
Steve Laulu introduces the Polynesian Cultural Center’s new Huki canoe celebration. Photo by Mike Foley.
The people celebrate after the legendary demigod Maui pulls up the islands and their connection to the ocean in the new canoe celebration. Photo by Mike Foley.
Western influence, a Polynesian affinity for music, and Christian faith combine in this church-choir segment of Huki. Photo by Mike Foley.She pointed out that a special creative committee has been working on Huki for more than three years. Members of the committee include Elder David T. Warner, an Area Seventy, and Ross Boothe as consultants. “They were also both consultants for us on our evening show, Hā: Breath of Life, and they’re back on this project.”Mariteragi also expressed gratitude for the previous Rainbows canoe pageant. “There’s always going to be a time at the center when something that’s been with us for a while has had a nice run, and then something new comes in. That’s always been part of our legacy. That’s what makes the center great. Because of the things that have been passed down, we’re always grateful for those who came before.”Approximately 10 million visitors have enjoyed Rainbows over the past 18 years. Typical of the close bonds that exist among the PCC “family” of employees, even some alumni returned on July 11 with special permission to dance in that show’s final performance, while others joined the audience. The center also staged free morning previews of Huki on July 10 and 18 for the community.“Huki also reflects the prophecies of President David O. McKay, who founded the university and the center. We proceeded with our plans in faith,” Mariteragi added. “We worked hard and followed Heavenly Father’s promptings, and I really feel that’s guided our committee, our cast, and everyone involved in this production.”
The legendary Earth Mother and the demigod Maui, shown with his magical fish hook, are part of the storyline in the new canoe celebration, Huki. Photo by Mike Foley.
New Zealand Maori share a popular “big-band” 1940s hit—for which they’ve created Maori lyrics and motions—in the new canoe celebration, Huki. Photo by Mike Foley.Hollywood helps, too: One segment of Huki portrays how popular singer Elvis Presley films part of his 1965 movie, Paradise Hawaiian Style, at the Center and even adapts the PCC’s signature song, Bula Laie, into his English version, Drums of the Islands. Polynesian Cultural Center performers reenact laying the hukilau nets during the PCC’s new canoe celebration, Huki: One ‘Ohana Sharing Aloha.” Photo courtesy of the Polynesian Cultural Center.“Dallin Muti composed four original songs for Huki, and he’s also responsible for the entire soundtrack; Roger Ewens, Cathy Teriipaia, and Fatai Feinga oversaw all of our costuming and wardrobe, and Lance Aina was responsible for canoe choreography,” Moe continued.After more than 5,000 performances by several thousand employees, the Polynesian Cultural Center replaced its popular Rainbows of Paradise canoe show with a soft launch of Huki: One ‘Ohana Sharing Aloha. “‘Ohana” means “family” in Hawaiian.As the canoes come together for the finale of Huki, the emcee says, “Now you know my story. . . and why the Polynesians have gathered again at the PCC in beautiful Laie, for the waters around us do not divide us. They unite us into one ‘ohana sharing aloha.”“I honor all the individuals who poured their heart and soul into the making of Rainbows, and all our alumni and current employees who kept it going over the years. This is part of the spirit that really makes the Polynesian Cultural Center unique. We have a history of honoring those who have come before and being grateful for the legacy we have.”LAIE, HAWAIIPCC performance specialists are Steve Laulu, Samoa; Rāhira Makekau, Aotearoa; Kalivati Volavola, Fiji; Pōmaika’i Krueger, Hawaii; ‘Alamoti Taumoepeau, Tonga; and Jon Raymond Mariteragi, Tahiti.In addition to these people, Mariteragi said he strongly feels that the new canoe celebration is much more than a theater department production. “Every division in the center has been heavily involved. We’ve all pulled together to help launch Huki.”“The overall takeaway from our new canoe celebration is that we are all a member of a worldwide family,” Moe said.Muti, who started at the center in 1986, recalled the new theme song he wrote came to him as David Warner was discussing the concept of Huki. “I grabbed a guitar, and the words to the song just came out. It just felt right,” he said. “To me, this is a special place, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work here,” he added.When Brigham Young University–Hawaii (known as Church College of Hawaii from 1955–1974) starts up, more Polynesians and others come to Laie; and the Church soon uses the Laie Hukilau concept to found the Polynesian Cultural Center as a means to help the students pay for their education.
Samoans demonstrate how even country-western music has become a part of their culture in the Polynesian Cultural Center’s new canoe celebration, Huki. Photo by Mike Foley.“Huki is a very unique canoe celebration,” said Delsa Atoa Moe, PCC vice president of cultural presentations. “It’s very different from anything PCC has done in the past. We’re not focusing on the individual cultures as much as we are on the ocean and how it pulls us all together. We also use this theme to tell the story of Laie, and how the Polynesians came together in this place.”“We are excited to share a brand-new canoe celebration with our guests,” said Alfred Grace, president and CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center, in separate remarks. “Our team has been working tirelessly to ensure that Huki’s story authentically captures the unique history and folklore of Polynesia and that our facilities are renovated and reinvigorated to ensure that the experience is elevated for all our guests.”For example, “blue-shirt” physical facilities workers and labor missionaries have extensively expanded the seating capacity around the lagoon. The tech crew installed an all-new surround-sound system, and wardrobe ladies and labor missionaries created hundreds of new costumes.“There’s both a very creative, contemporary side of the show, and a historical story of our heritage. As Delsa [Moe] reminded us at one hard point in the planning stage, from the times of the legendary Maui our people have been resilient.”PCC canoe show manager Jon Raymond Mariteragi said Huki starts with dramatizations of the legendary demigod Maui harnessing the sun and dragging up the islands with his magical fishhook. Though far apart, the people on the Polynesian islands then use the ocean as a highway to interact with each other, as portrayed in a canoe-borne cultural exchange, marriage, and warfare among the islanders.
Not only is prayer an opportunity to speak to God, it is also a time for families to disclose details of their day. Whether it is addressing a concern or an opportunity to pray on behalf of others, prayer becomes a “time and space” to share feelings and thoughts.One Asian Christian mother, Mei-Fen, said of her experience praying with her son: “There were several times this year, he said he felt bad when he came back home from school. He wanted me to pray with him hand in hand in his room, and then he felt better and went to sleep. Prayer has become his practice. … It seems that he found answer[s] through prayer.”Theme 6: Family prayer provides feelings of connectedness, unity, and bonding New BYU research finds that praying together as a family has many positive benefits, including reducing relational tensions and increasing feelings of closeness and unity.Researchers found that for participants praying together as a family brought a “balancing” effect to their relationships. New BYU research finds that praying together as a family has many positive benefits, including reducing relational tensions and increasing feelings of closeness and unity.A decade ago, Joe Chelladurai and his father were standing on the coast near his hometown of Chennai, India. The two talked as they watched the rising rays of the early morning sun and listened to the rolling waves.For those families who struggle to pray together, Chelladurai said to start with the daily rituals of praying before a meal or before children go to bed.Chelladurai was used to praying with his family, but the words of his father’s special prayer left him feeling strengthened. It was a pivotal moment moving forward.Rather than wondering if prayer made a difference in families, Chelladurai wanted to know how it made a difference.That experience, coupled with those of his own growing up, sparked his interest in studying more about how prayer impacts families.Just as there are many positive experiences that come from family prayer, there are some challenges and struggles associated with praying as a family. When one or more family members are “non-believers” or practice a different faith, prayer can be a divide, bring dissatisfaction and conflict.In a recently published study in the Journal of Psychology, BYU researchers looked at Chelladurai’s question—how family prayer influences family relationships. What Chelladurai and his colleagues found is that the familiar phrase, “The family that prays together stays together” is more than just a saying.Yameen, a Muslim father quoted in the study reported, “We [pray] as a family. Especially after prayer … the whole house settle[s] down. There is no TV, there is no Internet … there is pureness of communication there, and it comes straight from the heart. You know, you just cannot get that any other way and especially close with the children.”Researchers reported that families in the study identify prayer as a place for them to “go to God” to “draw strength” and “comfort and encourage each other.” Prayer can also be a time for families to share and process personal challenges. It is a powerful arena for providing and receiving social support.Theme 7: Families struggle to pray together when there is disunityChelladurai, then in his late teens, was feeling overwhelmed. Besides struggling in school, he had other things on his mind.“I remember him expressing love and concern in his prayer,” said Chelladurai.Family prayer is one way to develop a “sense of ritual” as parents teach their children about religion and faith. As children learn to pray through their parents’ example, a flow of religious direction and communication occurs.Theme 1: Family prayer as a time of family togetherness and interactionParticipants indicated that family prayer was a time of worship, as well as a time of interaction. As they removed distractions and set aside time to disconnect from the rest of the world, they were able to connect with God and each other.Before the meal, the family gathered together for a prayer.Just a few years later in 2016, after serving a mission and completing his undergraduate and masters degree at a college in India, Chelladurai was in his first semester of his PhD program at Brigham Young University when he was invited to his roommate’s family dinner over the Thanksgiving holiday.“These intentional efforts to prioritize and be available reportedly makes this a special time of family togetherness that stands out from the rest of the day,” according to the publication.Even families practicing the same religion with similar core beliefs can see conflict when one of the family members feels there should be more or less prayer in their home.Whether praying before a meal, at bedtime, in stressful situations, or on holidays or special occasions, researchers found prayer has many positive benefits. Among the positive outcomes were reduced relational tensions and feelings of closeness and unity.The study authors—Chelladurai, Dollahite and Loren D. Marks, all from the School of Family Life at BYU—identified seven themes from their research:“There hasn’t been much research that actually looks carefully at what does happen with families that pray together,” said David C. Dollahite, professor at Brigham Young University and one of the authors of the paper. “If it is true that ‘the family that prays together stays together’—why? And what is it about prayer that affects relationships that helps families be closer and have greater unity?”“Family members reported that during times of relational tensions and stress, prayer was a way to reduce or even alleviate tensions, as well as to help maintain harmonious relationships,” the study says.And now there's research to back it up.Theme 2: Family prayer as a space for social support “Family prayer, as a practice, was also a means to transmit faith,” according to the study.“We wanted to get into the specifics,” he said.Researchers studied 476 participants from 198 religious families—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim—living in 17 different states across the country and asked questions like:“Families that seemed to have [prayer] naturally … [part] of their day, those who were intentional, seemed to have seamless connections that helped in many aspects of family life,” said Dollahite. “It is a time for them to connect with God and each other.”His father prayed with his son.In fact, 96 percent of the families referred to prayer in their responses.Khadija, an 18-year-old Muslim, said of her younger sister: “Even the youngest one, she likes to pray. She’s one and a half. She’ll come and she’ll try new positions with us. She doesn’t understand exactly what we’re doing, but she sees us doing it every day. And that’s part of her everyday life, so she’ll come and she’ll join us, and she’ll look at us, see if she’s doing it right. And from an early age it becomes part of your life, so when you’re older and you have to do it, then it becomes just easy for you, and it’s not a burden.”The article can be found online or accessed through most libraries.Another benefits of family prayer is a sense of connection within a family unit. The physical and spiritual aspects of family prayer—holding hands and coming together as a family “praying as one”—bring a spiritual connection, unity, and bonding.“I observed a family coming together naturally,” he said. “It was special for them, they spoke of things they were grateful for and were getting emotional.”
New BYU research finds that praying together as a family has many positive benefits, including reducing relational tensions and increasing feelings of closeness and unity.Theme 4: Family prayer involves issues and concerns of individuals and the familyDollahite added, “We need to be thoughtful, intentional, and mindful how we do prayer in the fabric of our life.”Theme 3: Family prayer as a means for intergenerational transmission of religionThe questions didn’t specifically ask about prayer, but many participants reported that prayer was important and meaningful to them and “occupied a special place in family life.”“Family prayer doesn’t have to take too long,” he said. “As families do this frequently, prayer can be a place for families to focus on the opportunity to be together, to express love and support and a place people can turn for strength.”Gabriella, a Jewish mother said, “It is a chance to breath, to relax. … We’ve had a busy week and here’s our time to be together, and we always take a deep breath before we do this and let all the thoughts, craziness, and worries, and everything slip away, and we say the blessing.”Theme 5: Family prayer helps reduce relational tensions
From a young age she taught her children how to “process.”Sister Harkness loves learning the answers to questions, which is how her testimony grew. Like Joseph Smith, she always takes her questions to Heavenly Father. “All you have to do is ask our Father in Heaven,” she said. “He will answer our sincere prayers.”
Sister Lisa L. Harkness, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 2, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.It was at BYU that she met David S. Harkness, who became her husband. During this time, the two of them served missions. Sister Harkness served in the Baton Rouge Louisiana Mission, speaking Spanish. She spent her entire mission in one area and one branch in New Orleans. It proved to be advantageous as she was able to introduce the gospel to many by developing trusting relationships.The Harkness family has lived in San Diego, California; Provo, Utah; Highland, Utah; and now Alpine, Utah. As a stay-at-home mother, she has kept herself involved in her community serving in school organizations, participating in her local government, volunteering with various art organizations, and even picking up snakes and identifying them when neighborhood boys would bring them to her—a skill she learned while working as a docent at the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum when she studied at BYU.Brother Harkness described her as a researcher. “She’s one that when someone asks her a question that she doesn't know the answer to, she’ll say, ‘I don’t know, but I’ll go figure it out.’ And then she’ll study and research not only getting an answer to her original question but learning many more things beyond that.”Thanks to her father’s love for BYU—he would often wake up their young family on Saturday mornings with the BYU fight song—Sister Harkness moved to Provo, Utah, to attend the Church-owned school. There she studied political science, Spanish, and secondary teaching.Sister Harkness grew up in Southern California as the eldest of five children. Her mother came from a part-member home, and her father joined the Church while attending Brigham Young University. She is eternally grateful to her parents. “They kept their covenants, so I could have a chance to have mine.”Just after new General Authorities and auxiliary leaders were sustained during general conference on March 31, the new Church leaders made their way from the congregation to the stand. Sister Lisa L. Harkness, who had just been called to the Primary General Presidency, led the way down the aisle with Sister Michelle D. Craig and Sister Becky Craven of the new Young Women General Presidency behind her.Because of her experience as a missionary, Sister Harkness learned how to take every opportunity to bear testimony to her five children. Whether while pulling weeds or doing dishes or driving, she says she tries to “find every opportunity to . . . teach the fundamental principles of the gospel.”Suddenly, disruptive shouting broke the reverent atmosphere in the Conference Center.Sister Harkness is excited for her new calling because Primary is where one starts on the covenant path. “It’s where you learn how to stay on and stay true,” she said. “Hold on. Keep moving. . . . We learn how to have the courage to keep moving in Primary.”Sister Harkness distinctly remembers, “Without hesitation, I heard the kind, familiar voice of the Holy Ghost say, ‘Keep moving. Keep moving. Keep moving.’”“That’s what Mormon did,” she said. Throughout the Book of Mormon, the phrase “And thus we see” is used 21 times by Mormon and other compilers of the record. She explained that “he was processing. He was trying to help us understand how to apply important gospel principles.”She also pays close attention to the questions He asks her. “When I feel the Holy Ghost asking me questions, I know it is my Heavenly Father teaching me. I have learned so much by seeking to answer these questions. I'm grateful Father in Heaven allows me to study and seek and then listen for further guidance and wisdom.”Relying on Heavenly Father was something that came naturally to Sister Harkness from a young age. “Because I could go to my parents and I could ask them questions and they had answers, I totally believed and trusted that I could go to Heavenly Father and get answers,” she said.
Image by Aaron Thorup.This is what Heavenly Father encourages His children to do, she later told the Church News. “Just keep moving. Because of His love, we can have the courage to keep moving. It’s pretty simple. [Heavenly] Father’s love gives us the courage to keep moving.”Sister Lisa L. Harkness, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 2, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.
She does her best to accommodate his loves: sci-fi/fantasy audiobooks, listening to his scriptures in Spanish, artwork, classic rock, gardening, motorcycles, going for rides, and holding babies. He has earned the nickname “Uncle Cookie” for spoiling his many nephews and nieces with treats, and draws pleasure by handing out fruit snacks to other children who come to visit. One of the Voorheis’ favorite activities is going to the Mount Timpanogos Temple each Thursday afternoon to do sealings. Orin A. Voorheis with his parents, Wayne and Florence, just before leaving for Argentina for an LDS mission. He was later shot in the head while serving in Buenos Aires. Photo by Stuart Johnson, Deseret News.
“I knew pretty early on that I would marry him someday, sometime within the first month,” said Chartina Voorheis, who served a mission in Russia. “I could just tell he’s amazing, resilient, and fabulous.” Chartina Voorheis greets her husband, Orin, after she returned home from work in Pleasant Grove, Utah, on Tuesday, July 10, 2018.
Orin Voorheis and his father like to go for rides in a Polaris. More than 20 years after being shot in the head on his mission, Voorheis is living a happy life surrounded by family and friends. Credit: Provided by Chartina Voorheis“We are just normal people with a unique situation. Orin has challenges and could be so mad at the world, but he’s not,” Chartina Voorheis said. “He’s never been bitter about it, never wanted to trade places with anyone, never been angry at the guy who shot him. It’s just part of life.”While some may feel a little timid at first, all come away with a new friend and a better outlook on life.“About five minutes later I had to admit that I was not as strong as him. I had to ask for permission to get my hand back,” Edgecomb said. “He has a super strong handshake. Everybody knows that Orin can beat you in an arm wrestle.”
Carol Harding helps Orin Voorheis paint a water color painting of his parents. Harding holds his arm up and shows him where to paint but Voorheis makes the strokes and chooses the colors he wants to use in his paintings. His wife, Chartina Voorheis (at left), watches as he paints.
Credit: Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
Orin and Chartina Voorheis practice sign language. More than 20 years after being shot in the head on his mission, Voorheis is living a happy life surrounded by family and friends. Photo by Trent Toone, Deseret News.Bishop Fugal, a seminary teacher, once took 17 students to meet the Voorheis and said it was one of the highlights of the year.Despite low expectations that he would survive the shooting, it’s all come to pass. Voorheis is still here, more than 21 years later, living a quiet, happy life with his wife and family in his hometown.Another time, Brandon Edgecomb, who worked as an aide to Voorheis and became a friend for life, decided he was going to pull his hand away without saying the magic word.Over the next five years, Orin and Chartina developed a special bond and fell in love.It started near the end of 1997 when Orin Voorheis came home. People donated materials and labor for a home renovation project that catered to his special needs. Since then, each ward in his stake has taken a monthly turn signing up to help with his physical therapy for two hours a day while his wife is at school. Orin Voorheis waters plants outside his home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.“She can see the long-term, eternal perspective,” Clark said. “She saw him as who he was and fell in love with the Orin that’s in there. She’s amazing.”Now happily married more than 15 years later, Chartina Voorheis takes care of Orin while teaching U.S. history and advising the student government at Lone Peak High School, where the two often supervise at dances, sporting events, and other activities.“You realize just how special those two are and you want to be around them,” Bishop Fugal said. “It’s been a unifying thing for our ward and stake to be able to serve him. You realize it’s not for him, it’s more for us.”“It’s incredible. A lot of people in wheelchairs don’t live very long. Their lungs have a hard time because they don’t get the exercise they need. It’s kept him alive. It really has helped immensely,” said Chartina Voorheis, Orin’s wife. “He’s quite a guy. It shows that everybody has a reason to be here.”“We had no idea. We were just out in public, doing our thing. Perhaps if we had decided to stay home and not get out, it wouldn’t have happened,” Chartina Voorheis said. “Sometimes we can bless people in ways we don’t know.”PLEASANT GROVE, UtahNearly a decade later, the woman thanked Voorheis and walked away eager to tell her now 21-year-old son about their encounter.Described by many as a “big tease” and “prankster,” Voorheis is still going strong thanks in part to many friends and neighbors who volunteer time each day to help with his physical therapy and other needs. Those who serve him often come away feeling grateful and uplifted by his positive attitude.When asked if what happened to Voorheis on his mission affected Francom’s decision to serve, the teenager said it actually made him more eager to go.Dixie Oveson, President Oveson’s wife, remembers the doctor’s grim prognosis when they were told the bullet went through Voorheis’ brain stem. “He’s not going to live through this and you probably wouldn’t want him to,” she recalled. “But that wasn’t the prognosis the Lord had impressed upon my husband.” His survival has resulted in many blessings for many lives, she said.“Unwavering faith”“If he can go out and have that happen to him and still be a faithful member that goes every week, and has one of the strongest testimonies of anyone I know, then that bears witness to me that a mission, no matter how it ends, can still give you a really strong testimony,” Francom said.Although the anniversary comes and goes each April without much fanfare, it serves to remind family members how grateful they are to have Orin and appreciate all he’s accomplished, said his mother, Florence Voorheis.Only a few months after he was flown from Argentina to Utah on Jon Huntsman Sr.’s private jet, Orin Voorheis was moved to Provo for physical therapy and rehabilitation.Clark agrees.Mindy Stailey, who met Orin Voorheis for the first time in February, was impressed by his happy disposition and felt “the most incredible feeling in his home,” she said.“It was honestly a true introspection for me,” Stailey said. “He helped me to see what is really important. I can be so thankful for so many things that I take for granted. Beauty is all around us and happiness is always available to anyone in any circumstance. I can’t wait to visit with Orin again.” Orin Voorheis accompanies Kyler Francom to collect fast offerings on a recent Sunday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Chartina Voorheis. A painting of some horses by Orin Voorheis. More than 20 years after being shot in the head on his mission, Voorheis is living a happy life surrounded by family and friends. Photo by Trent Toone, Deseret News.“He lives a beautiful, wonderful life that he finds a lot of joy in,” Edgecomb said. “Orin has had some circumstances in his life that would seem to dictate a life of sadness or a life that most people would say wouldn’t offer much joy. But he is such a positive, happy guy. It’s a huge example to me that we don’t have to choose to let the things that happen to us define us.”“He inspires me,” Francom said. “He teaches me without words how to live life. He’s always happy. I’ve never seen him sad. No matter what you do he makes it fun. After you serve him, he usually tries to do his best to serve you.” Orin Voorheis, with his wife, Chartina Voorheis, by his side, works as a greeter at the Deseret Industries in American Fork, Utah, on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News. Orin Vooheis with his friend, Addie McClure, the daughter of one his aides. More than 20 years after being shot in the head on his mission, Voorheis is living a happy life surrounded by family and friends. Photo courtesy of Chartina Voorheis.
Orin Voorheis with family members at the Jordan River Utah Temple open house. More than 20 years after being shot in the head on his mission, Voorheis is living a happy life surrounded by family and friends. Photo courtesy of Chartina Voorheis.“We know the anniversary. It isn’t anything special,” she said. “But he’s a special part of our lives and he’s special to a lot of different people.” Elder Orin Voorheis and his new companion, Elder Shumway, with former Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission President Stephen B. Oveson and his wife, Sister Dixie Oveson. Photo courtesy of Dixie Oveson.Speaking of handshakes, one way Voorheis likes to tease people and demonstrate his strength by holding a person’s hand until they say “please.” He does the same with hugs. Much to Chartina’s dismay, Orin once held a General Authority’s hand for an uncomfortable amount of time in the temple until the leader finally said “please,” she said.Orin Voorheis has been a blessing in many lives, thanks to his survival 21 years ago.Whether it’s struggling to communicate with her husband, getting his equipment to work, or waking up in the night to find him choking on his mouth guard, Chartina Voorheis is quick to acknowledge divine help, answered prayers, and many helping hands. She is happy and has no regrets.“He’s always trying to make a connection with people,” Bishop Fugal said. “He shook every one of their hands, joked with them, smiled, and laughed with them. Those kids have remembered that all year.” Orin Voorheis rests his hand on that of his wife, Chartina, at their home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, on Tuesday, July 10, 2018.In response to the kindness shown to them, the Voorheis look for ways to give back. Whether it’s cookies, muffins, flowers, or a humorous birthday card, Orin Voorheis loves to make people happy, his wife said.“His parents’ idea was to go to Argentina and pick up their dead son. That’s what they were expecting to do. He wasn’t expected to live by pretty much anyone,” Barry said. “But everything in that blessing has come true.”Scott Fugal, the Voorheis’ bishop, said people sign up the first time out of sense of duty. They go back because they love being there.Orin Voorheis now serves as an adviser to the young men of his ward. He faithfully shows up to activities and regularly helps 15-year-old Kyler Francom with his fast offering route. It’s something Francom looks forward to each month.Wendy Clark, a ward member whose son grew up with Orin, said she and others wondered if Chartina realized what she was getting into when she married Orin, but has come to see her as an “angel.”“Heavenly Father is very kind to us. We are super blessed,” she said. “We see tender mercies every day in big ways and small ways. A lot of it comes through other people.”On the evening of April 9, 1997, Elder Armondo Barry and his companion, Elder Orin Voorheis, were serving together as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission. Walking home under a drizzling rain, the two young elders were within a block of their apartment when three figures emerged from the shadows. One thief demanded Barry’s money while the other two—one with a knife and the other holding a gun —grabbed at Voorheis’ backpack. Barry heard the gunshot and saw his companion fall to the ground.Chartina Jarrett didn’t know Orin Voorheis before his mission, but she’s been at his side for nearly all of the 21 years since.With his parents helping him to get down on his knee, Orin Voorheis finger-spelled “Will you marry,” then pointed to himself and her to indicate “you and me.” She accepted.
Orin Voorheis takes a rake to work in the garden. More than 20 years after being shot in the head on his mission, Voorheis is living a happy life surrounded by family and friends. Photo courtesy of Chartina Voorheis.Sporting a white shirt, tie, and name tag, Orin Vooheis sat in his electronic wheelchair smiling at people as they entered the American Fork Deseret Industries on July 11. As always, his wife, Chartina, was by his side.Orin and ChartinaBecause of his experiences, Edgecomb is considering a career in the medical field. He says Voorheis has taught him a great deal about the joy that comes from service.
Orin Vooheis holds a baby. His wife Chartina Voorheis says her husband loves to hold babies. More than 20 years after being shot in the head on his mission, Voorheis is living a happy life surrounded by family and friends. Photo courtesy of Chartina Voorheis.Chartina Jarrett holds the hand of her then fiancee Orin Voorheis at his home in Pleasant Grove Monday, December 9, 2002. Jarrett became acquainted with Voorheis after volunteering her time to help in his rehabilitation. Voorheis proposed to her using hand signals and sign language. The two were married in the Manti LDS Temple on December 26, 2002. Photo by Jason Olson, Deseret NewsAfter returning to Utah in April 1997, Orin’s mother requested that he be permitted to continue wearing his missionary name tag because many people pray for the missionaries and she hoped those prayers would help her son. He was released in November 2002 so he could get married, Chartina Voorheis said. Carol Harding helps Orin Voorheis paint a water color painting of his parents. Harding holds his arm up and shows him where to paint but Voorheis makes the strokes and chooses the colors he wants to use in his paintings. His wife, Chartina Voorheis (at left), watches as he paints. Photo by Stuart Johnson, Deseret News.During their morning hour of greeting, a woman approached the couple and asked if she could take a photo with Orin. She explained that nine years earlier she had come to the D.I. with her son who was then dealing with some personal challenges. Orin Voorheis welcomed the family. His upbeat friendliness lifted the 12-year-old boy’s spirits and left a positive lasting impression.Today Orin Voorheis has some upper body control and spends most of his time in a wheelchair. The bullet affected his motor functions but he can still see, hear, and understand people.