If you need to add a little Christmas cheer to your workday, try streaming free, uplifting Christmas music now through Christmas Day.The Mormon Channel is also streaming commercial-free classic and modern Christmas music. Access the stream on mormonchannel.org, the Mormon Channel app, Roku, and internet radio.Visit TheTabernacleChoir.org for additional Choir Christmas videos and programs to watch, or enjoy The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square YouTube channel.The Tabernacle Choir has been streaming music 24 hours a day without interruption since 2014. When you access the music stream, a box on the pop-up screen indicates which choir album is playing. The stream also indicates what song is up next. All you need to do to add the selection to your personal music library is click on the “Buy Now” button. The player will stay active even if you close the web page, so you can just relax, block out the world, and continue to listen to your favorite Christmas music.Tabernacle ChoirAccess a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week Christmas music stream in the following ways:Listen to music by the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square from Music and the Spoken Word Christmas specials and past Christmas concerts, as well as music from Christmas albums by popular artists.Mormon Channel
People enter the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 2, 2018, for the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional.Another friend from Côte d'Ivoire told him that in his home village, villagers take any unresolved conflicts to their leaders each Christmas Eve. Those leaders spend the rest of the day working with those families to resolve conflicts so that every home will have peace and harmony on Christmas.“This is the real spirit of Christmas—individuals helping others. After all, an important part of the Savior's legacy was His ministering to the 'one,'” Elder Vinson said.When Elder Vinson's daughter was two years old, she broke her leg just before Christmas and spent many weeks in the hospital. A family in their ward, who was not well off financially, came to visit her on Christmas Day. Each of the children brought their own favorite gift received that morning, presented to her as their gift to her.“Whether in Sydney, Salt Lake, or Sierra Leone; whether in Nuku'alofa, Newfoundland or Nigeria, our Savior's birth inspires people to do good things,” Elder Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy said during the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional on December 2.One way to show this love for God and His Son is to serve others.Christmas is a time when each can focus on his or her personal gift to the Savior by continually loving and helping others, he said. “It's up to us to make Christ a part of our lives—to accept the gifts He offers us and to give Him the gift of our heart.”“Immediately I was sorry,” he said, “not just that I'd thrown the toy away, but because I felt it symbolized a rejection of my father's expression of love.”Despite searching for the toy car, Elder Vinson never found it, and he still feels the pain of having offended his father. President Russell M. Nelson and President Dallin H. Oaks greet Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who both spoke during the Christmas devotional December 2 in the Conference Center.“You know, that is analogous to our sometimes rejection of our Heavenly Father's love and His gifts to us, the greatest of which is His having sent His Son to suffer and atone for us. What a tragedy if we reject His atoning sacrifice or the covenants and ordinances of His gospel!”Christmastime in Utah is far colder than Elder Terence M. Vinson is used to. December typically has days of beach, surf, and barbecues in Australia, where he is from.Friends of his in Samoa have a tradition of placing food and other goodies in boxes for needy families in their community the day after Christmas. They also have a two-acre vegetable garden, the produce of which is mostly given to people in need.Christmas has many precious family memories for him, but not all of them are good ones. Elder Vinson told how when he was a young boy, he received a prized green matchbox racing car from his father. He loved this gift, but one day, in a fit of anger, he threw the toy into a thick wisteria bush.
One year later, the family spent Christmas Day in a wagon box that Paul had turned into a makeshift home while the family struggled to establish themselves in Nauvoo.“Even then, it was not the kind of celebration she had experienced in England,” he said. “Yet, in some ways, it was even better.”“I believe Mary’s challenges over the years did something to change her heart,” Elder Stevenson said. “She seemed to see Christmas more clearly, with new Christmas traditions and a new song in her heart. She had truly developed a heart of sacrifice, centered in her hope in and love for Jesus Christ.”“At our company, we went to great lengths to ensure that equipment users could accurately measure the condition and the activity levels of their heart through heart-rate monitors,” he said. “Today, many of us wear technology on our wrists that monitor our heart and encourage activities to strengthen our heart.”The Christmas season is an appropriate time to contemplate the health of one’s spiritual heart, Elder Stevenson said.The purpose of the equipment: to strengthen the heart.“I close with a simple suggestion that might help us monitor and strengthen our spiritual hearts: I invite each of us to choose to do something that expresses, in an outward way, our inward feelings about the Savior Jesus Christ as the gift we give Him this year.”Sharing a Christmas story about an early Latter-day Saint convert from Immingham, England, Elder Stevenson spoke of how her spiritual heart was changed, even through difficult circumstances.“The following year in 1846, the family’s third Christmas in America, Mary and the children found themselves in Winter Quarters, preparing for what would be a long trek west in the spring,” he said. “Mobs had driven them from Nauvoo, and Paul was walking west with the Mormon Battalion—several hundred miles away.”During the Sabbath day Christmas celebration held the day after Christmas in 1847, Mary and her family gathered with other Church members to pray, express words of thanksgiving, and sing songs of praise to God. One of the songs was a heartfelt rendition of ‘Come, Come, Ye Saints,’—a hymn written on the pioneer trail that had become an anthem of faith to these early pioneer Saints.“What if there were a way to measure the condition of your heart from a spiritual perspective—a spiritual heart monitor, if you will?” Elder Stevenson asked during the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional held in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on December 2.“They arrived in New York on December 20, 1844,” Elder Stevenson said. “Five days later, they traveled by stagecoach to Nauvoo, Illinois. Just imagine—journeying in the cold weather over rough, difficult roads, they celebrated their first Christmas Day in America.”Just as the familiar Christmas hymn states, “Let every heart prepare Him room,” the Apostle asked listeners how they can prepare room in their hearts for Christ, especially during the “busy yet wonderful season.”It wasn’t until the family’s fourth Christmas in America, when they had recently arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, that they finally celebrated Christmas together in relative peace.“What would your [spiritual] heart monitor say? How spiritually healthy is your heart? The Christmas season seems like an ideal time for us to thoughtfully evaluate the status of our own heart.”Again, the family was not celebrating Christmas like they had in years past in England. Instead of a large feast, the family was fasting and praying on behalf of Mary’s eight-year-old son, who was near death with severe malnutrition. Although the young boy survived, 25 others in Winter Quarters died on that Christmas Day.
This is the caption.Mary Wood Littleton and her husband, Paul, heard the message of the Restored gospel while living with their family in England. The family was baptized, and just two months later, they sailed to America to gather with the Saints.Dreaming of a time when the family would again celebrate Christmas with wreaths, Father Christmas, and caroling like they did in England, Mary had hope for a better Christmas in the future.In his professional life before being called to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Gary E. Stevenson was part of the development, manufacturing, and marketing of fitness equipment around the world. CAPTION.“During this Christmas and throughout the year, our kind deeds and good works are the best indication of our love for the Savior written in our hearts,” he said. “As I consider the condition of my own heart, I find inspiration and great examples to follow in the hearts and sacrifice of those who helped establish The Church of Jesus Christ in the early days of its restoration.”
“I painfully plunked wrong notes and made cringing mistakes in the tune until I blundered through the second verse. I wisely omitted the third verse and rushed down the aisle with a red face, trying not to cry,” Sister Eubank said.Thinking about her beloved Primary chorister, she tried to figure out how she too could “love pure light” like Jesus.Sister Whitley taught the children what all the words meant and promised them that if they thought about the words, they would find the message that was especially meant for their own lives. That Christmas, 6-year-old Sharon dutifully tried to apply what Sister Whitley had taught her as she learned the verses to “Silent Night.”“Instead of singing ‘Son of God, Love’s pure light’—as in Jesus was the expression of the light that flows from pure love—I understood it to say that the Son of God loves pure light. He adores anything made from pure light.”Three years later, when she was 9 years old, Sister Eubank was asked to play “Silent Night” during sacrament meeting on Christmas Eve. “My parents listened to me play literally 100 times on our black upright piano that was in our basement,” Sister Eubank said.Beverley Whitley and Alma Heaton did nothing extraordinary, Sister Eubank said. “They didn’t write anything down in their journals that night. … They were simply teaching little children how to sing and how to understand the gospel. What could be more mundane? Except is wasn’t. If you ask me what it looks like when a person ‘loves pure light’—it looks like Beverly Whitley. It looks like Alma Heaton. Each of them could recognize the ‘pure light’ of a little child trying as hard as she could and love her for it, even if it didn’t work out perfectly.” President Russell M. Nelson and President Dallin H. Oaks greet Sister Sharon Eubank of the Relief Society General Presidency, Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who all spoke during the Christmas devotional December 2 in the Conference Center December 2, 2018.At the end of the meeting, Sister Eubank’s Sunday School teacher, Sister Alma Heaton, took her hand and told her, “Sharon, it doesn’t matter how it turned out. Everyone could see how much effort you put into it, and we love you whether you can play the piano or not.”When Sister Sharon Eubank was 6 years old, the music chorister in her Primary, Sister Beverly Whitley, taught the children a song from the adult hymnbook. Sister Whitley told the children that “she knew we were mature enough musicians to be able to memorize the difficult words,” recalled Sister Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, during the First Presidency’s Christmas devotional on December 2. People walk on Temple Square December 2, 2018.Sister Eubank said that as a 6-year-old, she thought hard about the words in the third verse—but didn’t understand the punctuation.Too nervous to memorize the music, 9-year-old Sharon decided to lay the music on her lap instead of on the piano so that it would appear that she had memorized the song. Unfortunately, half way through the first verse, the music slipped off her taffeta Christmas skirt.“Jesus Christ will repair every bad note and redeem every sour overtone if we turn to Him and ask for His help,” she added. “Because of the birth, and the Atonement and the death of Jesus Christ, we can all sleep in heavenly peace.”“He sees us—His little children—trying. Our efforts don’t always succeed, but He knows how hard we are working—and sometimes gritting our teeth and plunking through a disaster—and He loves us for it. For all of our dissonant, out of tune, unrecognizable music He sent His beautiful Only Begotten Son who is Love’s pure light.Heavenly Father does the same, Sister Eubank said. The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform at the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional December 2, 2018.
President Russell M. Nelson and President Dallin H. Oaks greet Sister Sharon Eubank of the Relief Society General Presidency, Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who all spoke during the Christmas devotional December 2 in the Conference Center December 2, 2018.“What are your deepest desires? What do you really want to experience and accomplish in this life? Do you really want to become more and more like Jesus Christ? Do you really want to live with Heavenly Father and with your family forever and live as He lives?President Nelson said the four unique gifts will bring Latter-day Saints more and more joy as they accept them. “They were made possible,” he said, “because Jehovah condescended to come to earth as the baby Jesus. He was born of an immortal Father and a mortal mother. He was born in Bethlehem under the most humble of circumstances. His was the holy birth foreseen by prophets since the days of Adam. Jesus Christ is God’s transcendent gift—the gift of the Father to all of His children. That birth we joyfully celebrate each Christmas season.For example, “When we repent, we breathe with gratitude to God, who lends us breath from day today,” said President Nelson. “And we desire to use that breath in serving Him and His children. Repentance is a resplendent gift.”“My dear brothers and sisters, we can truly minister in the Lord’s way as we accept His gift of love.”“Indeed, our desires influence each of us in profound ways, not just here and now but beyond,” he said.Desire is important in this season of gift giving, when we are particularly mindful of the desires of those whom we love, added President Nelson, inviting Latter-day Saints to also consider their own desires this Christmas season.“As we talked about her life and what lies ahead, she was calm and at peace. When I asked if she had any questions, she quickly replied, ‘What is heaven like?’”Third, the Savior gives the gift of repentance. “This gift is not always well understood,” he said, noting that the word repent comes from the Greek prefix meaning change. “Can we begin to see the breadth and depth of what the Lord is giving to us when He offers the gift to repent? He invites us to change our minds, our knowledge, our spirit, even our breathing.”First, Jesus Christ gives the unlimited capacity to love. “That includes the capacity to love the unlovable and those who not only do not love you but presently persecute and despitefully use you,” said President Nelson. “With the Savior’s help, we can learn to love as He loved. It may require a change of heart —most certainly a softening of our hearts—as we are tutored by the Savior how to really take care of each other.“If you do, you will want to accept many gifts offered by the Lord to help you and me during our time of mortal probation.”This question, President Nelson said, led to a heart-to-heart discussion about the purpose of life and the blessings that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have offered to those who honor and follow Them. People walk on Temple Square December 2, 2018. The First Presidency at the Christmas Devotional on December 2, 2018.The key is to make and keep sacred covenants, said President Nelson. “We choose to live and progress on the Lord’s covenant path and to stay on it. It is not a complicated way. It is the way to true joy in this life and eternal life beyond.It is a process never to be feared, he added. “It is a gift for us to receive with joy and to use—even embrace—day after day as we seek to become more like our Savior.”“With our thoughts and feelings so focused on the Savior of the world, what, then, do we need to do to receive these gifts offered to us so willingly by Jesus Christ? What is the key to loving as He loves, forgiving as He forgives, repenting to become more like Him and ultimately living with Him and our Heavenly Father?” Latter-day Saints gather in the Conference Center in snowy downtown Salt Lake City for the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional, Sunday, December 2, 2018. The Salt Lake Temple on December 2, 2018.True followers of Jesus Christ have the privilege of experiencing unspeakable joy forever, explained President Nelson Sunday evening, December 2. President Russell M. Nelson and President Dallin H. Oaks greet Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who both spoke during the Christmas devotional December 2 in the Conference Center.Fourth, is the promise of life everlasting. Eternal life is so much more than a designation of time, he explained. “Eternal life is the kind and quality of life that Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son live. When the Father offers us everlasting life, He is saying in essence, ‘If you choose to follow My Son—if your desire is really to become more like Him—then in time you may live as We live, and preside over worlds and kingdoms as We do.’”President Nelson then emphasized four of the gifts Jesus Christ gave to all who are willing to receive them:
President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional, Sunday, December 2, 2018.Speaking to a capacity congregation in the Conference Center during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional—including Lydia and her family, President Nelson addressed “Four Gifts That Jesus Christ Offers to You.” President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional, Sunday, December 2, 2018.President Russell M. Nelson recently met in his office with a 12-year-old girl named Lydia Terry of Bountiful, Utah, who is suffering from a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer.
President Nelson had Lydia Terry, who is suffering from a rare aggressive form of brain cancer, stand during his talk. “She is poised beyond her years. … She has an angelic face,” he said.The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform at the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional December 2, 2018.“My dear brothers and sisters, my deepest desires are for all of Heavenly Father’s children to have the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and to heed His teachings and for Israel to be gathered as promised in these latter days. I pray that we will believe and receive the love the Savior has for each of us.” President Dallin H. Oaks conducted the First Presidency Christmas Devotional on December 2, 2018.Second, the Savior offers the ability to forgive. “Through His infinite Atonement, you can forgive those who have hurt you and who may never accept responsibility for their cruelty to you,” said President Nelson. “It is usually easy to forgive one who sincerely and humbly seeks your forgiveness. But the Savior will grant you the ability to forgive anyone who has mistreated you in any way. Then their hurtful acts can no longer canker your soul.”During his address, President Nelson said Lydia’s deepest desire is to be with her family forever in the celestial realm. That includes her desire always to be with Heavenly Father and Jesus, too.“I was deeply moved by the faith of Lydia and her family,” he said. “Though facing a monumental challenge as far as this earth life is concerned, Lydia is filled with faith. She has an eternal perspective. She knows that the Lord loves her and will care for her. Her devoted family is filled with the same peace and composure that only faith in the Lord can bring.”
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement Saturday after the death of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush:“We are grateful today for the life and service of President George H. W. Bush. We honor him as a devoted husband, father and grandfather, a man of deep conviction who dedicated his life in service to country, family and faith. We express our love to the Bush family. We have been blessed by his legacy of service and devotion, and we pray they will be granted God's peace as they remember and celebrate his remarkable life.”
The two Paradise wards gather at the Alamo building in Chico for Sabbath services. Each ward conducts their own sacrament meeting before combining for Relief Society, priesthood, and youth meetings.“We’re trying to keep the Saints together and allow them to be together,” he said.The wildfire that incinerated the Northern California city of Paradise has finally been contained. But for hundreds of Latter-day Saints—and for thousands of their neighbors—the impact of the historic disaster is felt from one moment to the next.“A lot of people are waiting to find out if they will still have a career or profession in the area. And we also wonder if we will be able to afford insurance once we get back up to our properties and start rebuilding.”“The biggest challenge that we are facing now is housing,” said Paradise 1st Ward Bishop Robert Harrison, who is counted among the thousands who lost their homes to the so-called Camp Fire.Bishop Harrison said many displaced Latter-day Saints continue to find shelter with fellow members. “But we can only expect that to last for so long.”A California businessman also donated $1,000 to every Paradise High student and school employee to go toward, say, buying new clothes, laptops, or whatever else they choose.“We do appreciate the outpouring of support from across the Church,” he said. “We have been blessed with many donations and prayers.”The Church also hosted a community Thanksgiving dinner at the Chico stake center. “There was a large turnout with a traditional Thanksgiving meal,” said Bishop Harrison. Missionaries and volunteers serve guests at the community Thanksgiving dinner at the Chico California Stake Center. Photo courtesy of the Chico California Stake Facebook page.Meanwhile, the Church continues to offer professional counseling to families who were impacted by the fire.Strength, he noted, is found in the concern and actions of others.“I’m doing fine,” he told the Church News. “It’s just tough getting back to the normal, everyday things. … When you come home, you’d like to be able to put your feet up, relax, and enjoy your own [home].”Bishop Harrison said it’s impossible to know what the coming months and years will bring. When he asks ward members if they plan to rebuild in Paradise he receives “a mixed reaction.”The blaze began November 8 and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes and hundreds of businesses. It has also covered more than 153,000 acres—roughly the size of Chicago, reported CNN.“The community of Chico has been wonderful,” he said. “They’ve hosted several activities with the Paradise kids. They’ve been able to get together, enjoy the food trucks, and go ‘shopping’ for donated clothing.”Others have found or are searching for temporary housing in neighboring communities such as Gridley, Redding, and Yuba City. The bishop and his family are staying with relatives in Gridley.“And we have several family home evening groups that are meeting together,” said Bishop Harrison. “We are also coordinating Young Men and Young Women activities with youth from other wards.” Volunteer Doug Guadagnin smokes meat to be served at a community Thanksgiving meal at the Chico California Stake Center for people impacted by the Paradise wildfire. Photo courtesy of the Chico California Stake Facebook page.Paradise-area members are still unable to return to their charred properties. And many have no clue where they will be living in the coming months and years.Classes are expected to reopen for area school-age youth in the coming weeks. Residents of all backgrounds are working together to help Paradise High School students enjoy a traditional school experience. The disaster forced the cancellation of a promising football season, but the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams are moving forward with their seasons and playing games.While there are few obvious solutions to the housing challenges in the area, the members do all they can to lift one another spiritually.The death toll stands at 88 even as crews continue the grim work of recovering bodies in and around Paradise.
Robert DeVon Chappell, 64, and Janice Kathryn Burningham Chappell, four children, College Park Ward, The Woodlands Texas Stake: Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center, succeeding Elder Mark A. and Sister Cheryl A. Ferrin. Brother Chappell is a former stake presidency counselor, mission presidency counselor, seminary and institute teacher, bishop, and missionary in the England London Mission. Born in Logan, Utah, to Aldus DeVon Chappell and Rayda Bishop Chappell.Sister Crane is a Primary music leader and a former temple matron, senior missionary in the Canada Vancouver Mission, stake and ward Primary president, ward Relief Society president, and seminary teacher. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Cuthbert June Trimble and Atheen Knudsen Trimble.Martin Andrew Cook, 65, and Judith Ann Robinson Cook, nine children, Chorley 2nd Ward, Chorley England Stake: Hyde Park Chapel Visitors’ Center, succeeding Elder Dale H. and Sister Mary-Jo Christensen. Brother Cook is a former senior missionary in the Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission, national public affairs director, stake president, mission presidency counselor, bishop, stake Young Men president, and missionary in the Switzerland Geneva Mission. Born in Wigan, Lancashire, England, to John Francis Cook and Doris Wolfenden Cook.President Thomas R. and Sister Renae K. Warne of the Spain MTC have been reassigned and began their service at the England MTC on November 1.
Christian and Marie-Françoise EuvrardRome Temple Visitors’ CenterSt. George Temple Visitors’ CenterSister Bourroux serves as a seminary teacher and is a former temple ordinance worker, ward Relief Society and Primary president, Sunday School teacher, and ward music director. Born in Paris, France, to Lucien Lenormand and Jacqueline Mundet.Due to the upcoming closures of the missionary training centers in Chile and Spain, the following MTC presidents will be reassigned:Brad L Crane, 69, and Susan Trimble Crane, six children, Greatwood Ward, Houston Texas South Stake: St. George Temple Visitors’ Center, succeeding Elder Barre G. and Sister Karen M. Burgon. Brother Crane is a ward Young Men presidency counselor and temple sealer and a former temple president, stake president, bishop, senior missionary in the Canada Vancouver Mission, and missionary in the Chilean Mission. Born in Murray, Utah, to Earl Edward Crane and Birdie Palmer Crane.Sister Chappell serves as a public affairs director for Texas Houston Area Coordinating Council and is a former seminary teacher, stake and ward Young Women president, and ward Relief Society president. Born in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, to Stanley Clark Burningham and LaVon Petra Squire Burningham.Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ CenterJean-Marc Bourroux, 64, and Monique Lenormand Bourroux, four children, Caen Ward, Paris France Stake: Paris France Temple Visitors’ Center, succeeding Elder William G. and Sister Renae H. Woods. Brother Bourroux serves as a bishop and is a former district president, branch president, bishopric counselor, ward clerk, and ward temple and family history consultant. Born in Paris, France, to Pierre Elie Bourroux and Michelle Lucile Courbe.Sister Hansen serves as a stake self-reliance specialist and is a former nursery leader, ward Relief Society and Sunday School teacher, ward Young Women presidency counselor, and ward family history consultant. Born in Twin Falls, Idaho, to Julian King and AuDean Watkins King.Six new visitors’ center directors and their wives have been called by The First Presidency. With the exception of the Cooks, who have already begun serving, the couples will begin their service early next year.
Monique and Jean-Marc BourrouxParis France Temple Visitors’ Center
Judith and Martin A. CookLos Angeles Temple Visitors’ CenterSister Euvrard serves as a stake self-reliance specialist, served with her husband in the Italy Milan Mission, and is a former stake Relief Society president, stake Primary presidency counselor, Sunday School teacher, and missionary in the France Toulouse Mission. Born in Paris, France, to Michel Drouot and Marcelle Lecomte Drouot.
Jan K. and Robert D. ChappellSister Cook is a former senior missionary in the Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission, assistant national director of public affairs, ward Primary president, and stake Young Women presidency counselor. Born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, to Douglas Robinson and Frances May Johnson Robinson.MTC updatesChristian Euvrard, 65, and Marie-Françoise Nicole Drouot Euvrard, two children, Torcy Ward, Paris France East Stake: Rome Temple Visitors’ Center. Brother Euvrard serves as a high councilor and stake self-reliance specialist and is a former mission president in the Italy Milan Mission, national public affairs specialist, stake presidency counselor, bishop, and missionary in the France Toulouse Mission. Born in Saint-Mandé, France, to Paul Euvrard and Jeanine Wagenknecht Euvrard.President Brian B. and Sister Leslie K. Carmack of the Chile MTC will be reassigned and will continue their service at the Colombia MTC beginning in January.Hyde Park Chapel Visitors’ Center
Brad L. and Susan T. CraneRandy Vernell Hansen, 62, and Kathy Jo Hansen, four children, Lynwood Ward, Twin Falls Idaho Stake: Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center, succeeding Elder Leif J. and Sister Linda N. Erickson. Brother Hansen serves as a stake self-reliance specialist and is a former stake president, high councilor, bishop, YSA branch president, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission. Born in Ogden, Utah, to Ace Hansen and Lois Bullock Hansen.
Kathy and Randy Hansen
“Some of you may have questions about the temple and struggle to understand all that is included in those words and ceremonies,” she said. Students leave the BYU–Idaho Center after a devotional where Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President, spoke about keeping an eternal perspective. Photo by Michael Lewis, BYU–Idaho.2. Study the scriptures“These gatherings provide a framework to connect us to others who are on that same life journey, those whom we can strengthen and who also strengthen us,” she said. “Although we are independently responsible for our own choices, we are interdependent in our travels toward our heavenly home.”“If your understanding of the temple is incomplete, this could be a good way to ‘seek to know more [and] to feel more about temples than you ever have before,’ as President Nelson has invited us to do,” Sister Bingham said. “As you seek for answers, I urge you to continue to attend the temple, keep your covenants, and ponder and pray for increased understanding.” Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President, speaks during a campus devotional in the BYU–Idaho Center on November 27. Photo by Cami Su, BYU–Idaho.3. Attend Sunday meetings“This coming year will provide an amazing opportunity to ‘up our game’ in understanding the gospel through dedicated study of the scriptures,” she said. “Each of you will receive a manual called Come Follow Me—For Individuals and Families that is designed to help you delve deeper into the doctrine and then apply it to your life.”The greatest example of this is Jesus Christ.Using some of the world’s most powerful instruments to calculate, astronomers in Australia concluded there are at least 70 sextillion stars in the entire visible universe.1. Pray“With the pressures of school, work, and family, you may sometimes feel the weight of the world on your shoulders,” she said. “Remembering who you are—a child of God with infinite worth—gives you the assurance that your all-powerful Father in Heaven is willing and wanting and waiting to help you, if you put your trust in Him and strive to do your best to keep His commandments. There really is no other way.”The new home-centered approach helps individuals recognize and take personal responsibility for their own gospel learning and spiritual progress, rather than waiting for others to supply it to them.4. Worship in the temple Sister Jean B. Bingham speaks about six ways to keep an eternal perspective during a campus devotional in the BYU–Idaho Center on November 27, 2018, in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Michael Lewis, BYU–Idaho.“Understanding that we are personally responsible for our choices and that we are accountable to God for those choices is vital to true progress,” she said. “It can also be liberating! You have the power to act for yourself and not merely to be acted upon.“Morning and evening and lunchtime and any-time-you-need-it prayer reminds us of the purpose of this life,” she said. “There we also find answers to deal with our daily dilemmas.”“Does knowing that make you feel small?” Sister Bingham asked. “Contemplating that incredible number fills me with a humble yet exhilarating realization that, among all that vastness, our Father in Heaven knows not only where I am but who I am and what I am thinking and doing and struggling with. And He knows everything about you and loves you more than you can even comprehend.”“I believe we each made promises to our Heavenly Parents to build on what we learned while we lived with Them and to continue to strive to become like Them,” she said. “Not one spirit was created to fail; every single one has the capacity to triumph. It is up to us individually to make the choices that bring us closer to that potential.”As individuals center their respective lives on Jesus Christ by following His example and keeping His commandments, they receive the spiritual, emotional, and even physical energy to meet demands required of them.An important component to maintaining an eternal focus is weekly attendance at church and holding home evenings.Worshipping in the temple is one way to remember the ultimate, eternal goal.“Among all those millions and billions and quadrillions of stars, no two are exactly alike,” she said. “They differ in brightness and color, in size and location, in age and mass—and they are all important in God’s design.”“Stars produce heat, light, and various forms of radiation that influence their celestial neighbors,” she said. “Like the stars which are each placed in a particular orbit and location, we have an influence on those around us. Because you are unique, there are things only you can do in your particular way to bless [others].”6. Help othersImportant to becoming what Heavenly Father has designed a person to be is keeping an eternal perspective, Sister Bingham said.“Yes, others have an influence, but we will ultimately be sorrowful or joyful, disappointed or successful, because of our individual decisions. Take control of your life and let your light grow and shine for others who are seeking the true light.”“How will that help me do all the things I can’t even keep up with now?” Sister Bingham asked. “The real question is ‘Why will having an eternal perspective help me progress?’ Because that reminds us of our ultimate goal and helps us make the daily decisions that help us along the path. Have you ever been so focused on the immediate that you lost track of the important?”From the darkest parts of the earth, the naked human eye is able to see about 5,000 stars, but from a brightly lit city street, only around 100 stars are visible, Sister Bingham said. Depending on lighting and location, a person may see a few stars or “an incredible array of stars dusting the velvet expanse that is so numerous it boggles the mind.”“If you look up into the sky on a clear night, you can see glowing planets and twinkling stars,” she told students at Brigham Young University–Idaho during a campus devotional on November 27. “On some nights, you will see the moon, depending on whether there’s clouds or not. Sometimes you may see a meteor or shooting star scooting across the sky.”“How many of you are assigned as a ministering brother or sister?” she asked. “Do you think that assignment is unimportant or uninspired? What is your divine responsibility to that person? How you respond to that assignment tells your Father in Heaven how serious you are about returning to live with Him.”It is up to an individual to make the effort to grow, learn, and develop the unique talents and characteristics that contribute to his or her eternal progress.5. Embrace the gift of agency BYU–Idaho’s Women’s Glee Choir sings a musical number during a campus devotional with Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President, on November 27. Photo by Michael Lewis, BYU–Idaho. Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President, references a photo of the stars on November 27, 2018, in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Sarah Jones, BYU–Idaho.Sister Bingham shared six “do-ables” to help individuals keep an eternal perspective at the forefront of their thoughts.That knowledge helps individuals know that they are valued and essential in God’s plan of happiness.Recognizing that sometimes individuals may feel they don’t fit in or they don’t have much to contribute, Sister Bingham reminded listeners that from our Heavenly Parents’ perfect perspective, each one of Their children has been created for a divine purpose, has infinite worth, and has a vital work to accomplish in life.She shared that just a few weeks ago while addressing the members in Chile, President Russell M. Nelson invited the youth to prepare spiritually for the temple by studying five topics in the Bible Dictionary: anoint, atonement, covenant, sacrifices, and temple.“Paradoxically, even though we are individually responsible for our choices, interdependence is critical to the success of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness,” she said.Since she was a small girl, Sister Jean B. Bingham—now the Relief Society General President—has loved to watch the night sky.
CADIZ PHILIPPINES STAKE (September 23, 2018): President—Dennis Aying Ceniza, 35, sales agent, Ronald Villa; succeeding Ricardo Portilla Sombilla; wife, Roxanne Lamag Barranco Ceniza. Counselors—Eric Mercado Guillermo, 43, jail officer; wife, Doris Mae Alarcon Manzon Guillermo. Redato D. Sipe, 52, collector, Better Line Lending Company; wife, Roselyn Soleta Bones Sipe.New stakesPAPANTLA MEXICO STAKE (August 26, 2018): President—Israel Cruz Vazquez, 40, medical representative, Pfizer Laboratories; succeeding Sergio Bastian Lopez; wife, Alejandrina Aneyda Lopez Gonzalez. Counselors—José Lehi Sanchez Ramírez, 50, businessman; wife, Claudia Azucena Cruz Muñoz. Antonio Cancino Pérez, 46, manager, Totonaca SPCV Distribution; wife, Rossana Hortencia Urcid Gonzalez.LEAGUE CITY TEXAS STAKE (September 30, 2018): President—Brian Paul Anderson, 41, project manager, NASA; succeeding Weldon J. Reeves; wife, Wanonie Miller Anderson. Counselors—Trevan Drake MacArthur, 58, technology manager, Exxon Mobil Corporation; wife, Sondra Gay Driggs MacArthur. David Charles Woffinden, 41, engineer, NASA; wife, Doreen Spie B Woffinden.LONGMONT COLORADO STAKE (October 14, 2018): President—Jarom LaVern John, 40, dentist; succeeding David W. Richards; wife, Jamie Joy Nielsen John. Counselors—Barton Harold Schmitz, 49, vice president of sales, Vyaire Medical; wife, Ann Christine Hepworth Schmitz. Paul Wayne Elggren, 35, senior manager, Ernst & Young; wife, Rachel Weston Elggren.FOLSOM CALIFORNIA STAKE (September 23, 2018): President—Treaver Kent Hodson, 51, attorney and partner, Palmer Kazanjian Wohl Hodson; succeeding Daniel B. Harrison; wife, Diane Kay Squires Hodson. Counselors—Norman Moser White, 50, senior attorney, Intel Corporation; wife, Allyson Maureen Boice White. Casey Miller Stoeltzing, 52, biopharmaceutical sales, AMGEN; wife, Tamera Coulam Stoeltzing.A new stake has been created from the Ammon Idaho, Firth Idaho, Idaho Falls Ammon West, Idaho Falls North, Idaho Falls South, Shelley Idaho South, Shelley Idaho, and Ucon Idaho Stakes. The Idaho Falls YSA Stake, which consists of the Parkside YSA, Shelley YSA 1st, and Shelley YSA 2nd Branches and the Ammon YSA, Bonneville YSA, Community Park YSA, Dunbar YSA, and Foothills YSA Wards, was created by Elder Bradley D. Foster, a General Authority Seventy, and Elder Bradford C. Bowen, an Area Seventy.KAUAI HAWAII STAKE (October 21, 2018): President—William Elliott Summerhays, 45, executive vice president, Layton Construction; succeeding Gregory P. Gonsalves; wife, Karen Elizabeth Barton Summerhays. Counselors—Kahele John Keawe, 45, academy coordinator, Hawaii Department of Education; wife, Karen Kahanu Kailimai Keawe. Coppin Yuji Colburn, 57, director of security, St. Regis Hotel; wife, Caridyn Kapi’olani Kaona Colburn.PAPEARI TAHITI AUSTRAL ISLANDS STAKE (September 16, 2018): President—Emile Tetuatoa Tunutu, 46, welder; succeeding Vaianu B. Tupai; wife, Lynn Maite Tahutini Tunutu. Counselors—Jean Mariteracti, 48, chef; wife, Ketty Tetoe. Teave Harold Teinauri, 37, technician; wife, Pamela Tehea Tihoni.A new stake has been created from the Santa Cruz Bolivia La Merced and Santa Cruz Bolivia La Pampa Stakes. The Santa Cruz Bolivia La Libertad Stake, which consists of the La Cañada, La Libertad, Plan Tres Mil, Primero de May, and Quince de Septiembre Wards, was created by Elder Hugo Montoya, a General Authority Seventy, and Elder Edgar A. Mantilla, an Area Seventy.CROIX-DES-MISSION HAITI STAKE (September 16, 2018): President—Fresnel Charles, 34, temple facilities manager; succeeding Kerving H. Joseph; wife, Nerlande Saint-Fleur. Counselors—Karlyle Raphael, 52, Church facilities manager; wife, Myrlandeo Michel Raphael. Adner Louis, 37, administrative assistant, Pierre Jorel; wife, Roseline de Rosier Louis.NAMPA IDAHO EAST STAKE (October 21, 2018): President—Ren L Hansen, 48, project manager, Micron; succeeding Sean C. Smith; wife, Lara Leigh Curtis Hansen. Counselors—Klint Ryan Keller, 44, dentist; wife, Elizabeth Egan Keller. Daron Dean Ashcraft, 48, owner, Out ‘N’ Bout; wife, Leticia Ann Grow Ashcraft.SANTA ROSA ECUADOR STAKE (September 23, 2018): President—Leon Yezid Armando Valarezo, 50, treasurer, Nucleo de Solca Machala; wife, Samantha Marina Muñoz Guajala. Counselors—Javier Wilberto Granda Parrales, 40, logistics coordinator, Chen Gye Cia. LTD; wife, Mayra Lisseth Suqui Cuenca. Jorge Cristiams Tello Riofrio, 38, teacher, Ministry of Education; wife, Alexandra Sanchez Vergara Grecia.Reorganized stakesSANTA CRUZ BOLIVIA LA LIBERTAD STAKE (October 14, 2018): President—Sammy Torrez Saldias, 34, owner and manager, Saldias Pest Control Division; wife, Jenny Gladys Chuquimia Limachi. Miguel Franco Cayoja Flores, 42, programmer, self-employed; wife, Claribel Cuevas Cayoja Cuevas. Santos Rogelio Jiménez Condori, 57, projects and building manager, self-employed; wife, Julia Basilica Baoz Patzi.VALENCIA CALIFORNIA STAKE (October 14, 2018): President—Bradley Gary Larkins, 43, assistant recorder, Los Angeles California Temple; succeeding C. Ray Carlson; wife, Mandy Moon Larkins. Counselors—Jon Bennion Spendlove, 51, aerospace engineer, Boeing; wife, Kimberly Blythe Hawken Spendlove. Alan Eugene Williams, 53, film composer, Silverscreen Music; wife, Julianne Tolboe Williams.LAIE HAWAII NORTH STAKE (October 21, 2018): President—Kevin Lee Schlag, 48, chief information officer, BYU–Hawaii; succeeding Kingsley K. Ah You; wife, Nanette Lindsay Schlag. Counselors—Rodrigo Rulloda Yeras, 54, teacher, Hawaii Department of Education; wife, Maria Elena Peroy Veras. Tuihalafatai Niutupuivaha, 49, electrical contractor, self-employed; wife, Rutholelene Milovale Reid Niutupuivaha.MONTERREY MEXICO MITRAS STAKE (September 9, 2018): President—Trinidad Rodolfo Uribe, 45, self-employed; succeeding Timothy R. Cottrell; wife, Reyna Olivia Barrera Angulo. Counselors—Arias Virgilio Aguilar, 45, self-employed; wife, Norma Edith Gomez Gutierrez. Juan Casanova Loya, 49, self-employed; wife, Alicia Montoya Torres.A new stake has been created from the Fort Myers Florida Stake. The Naples Florida Stake, which consists of the Estero YSA, Hibiscus, Immokalee, Liberte, and McGregor Branches and the Bahia and Bonita Springs Wards, was created by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Peter M. Johnson, an Area Seventy.IDAHO FALLS YSA STAKE (September 16, 2018): President—Brad H Hall, 65, chairman of the board, Brad Hall & Associates and LP Propane, and president, E-H Farms; wife, Andrea Perkins Hall. Counselors—Kirt Lamont Hodges, 50, retired; wife, Shawna Lyn Porter Hodges. Charles M. Hunter, 69, dentist; wife, Susan Jane Vignone Hunter.A new stake has been created from the Rexburg Idaho YSA 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Stakes. The Rexburg Idaho YSA 11th Stake, which consists of the Rexburg YSA 11th, 16th, 28th, 35th, 49th, 50th, 68th, 85th, 114th, 115th, 116th, and 117th Wards, was created by Elder Steven E. Snow, a General Authority Seventy, and Elder M. Dirk Driscoll, an Area Seventy.GOODYEAR ARIZONA STAKE (September 30, 2018): President—Don L. Rainey, 57, estimating manager, Walsh Group; succeeding Kent H. Chou; wife, Dana Lynn Burns Rainey. Counselors—Jace Coly Larkin, 41, managing pharmacist, clinical programs, Humana Pharmacy; wife, Heidi Renee Nielson Larkin. Gordon David Thelin, 48, engineer and project manager, Carollo Engineers; wife, Ashley Farmer Thelin.PROVO UTAH YSA 6TH STAKE (October 21, 2018): President—David Reed Adamson, 57, program manager for the Church; succeeding R. Brent Ririe; wife, Melanie Gay Glines Adamson. Counselors—Jeffrey Randall Smith, 63, orthopaedic surgeon; wife, Karen Teresa Bone Smith. Kenneth Tim Larsen, 62, shareholder, Squire & Company; wife, Elise Allred Larsen.KWAJALEIN MARSHALL ISLANDS STAKE (October 14, 2018): President—James Jelke, 36, warehouseman lead, Dyncorp; succeeding Johannes J. Sermai; wife, Carcellina Langbata Jelke. Counselors—Paul Loeak, 51, self- employed; wife, Rosa Mijjena Loeak. Lanny Wimi Abija, 49, welder; wife, Wainani Nani Debrum Abija.A new stake has been created from the Abakaliki Nigeria District. The Abakaliki Nigeria Stake, which consists of the Abakaliki, Amasiri, Edda, and Enechi Akuma Branches and the Afikpo 1st, Afikpo 2nd, Itim, Nkwagu, Okposi, and Ozizza Wards, was created by Elder Hugo E. Martinez, a General Authority Seventy, and Elder Fredrick O. Akinbo, an Area Seventy.A new stake has been created from the Lima Peru Santa Anita, Lima Peru Santa Patricia, and Lima Peru Vitarte Stakes. The Lima Peru Mayorazgo Stake, which consists of the Covima, Mayorazgo 1st, Mayorazgo 2nd, Portales, and Veintisiete de Abril Wards, was created by Elder Mathias Held, a General Authority Seventy, and Elder Victor R. Calderón, an Area Seventy.WINDSOR COLORADO STAKE (September 16, 2018): President—Michael J Houghton, 58, physician and owner, Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies; succeeding Byron L. Packard; wife, Tamara Sue Bringhurst Houghton. Counselors—Douglas Alan Epperson, 56, health systems executive, AbbVie Inc.; wife, Laura Beth Phelps Epperson. Daniel Paul Seegmiller, 44, superintendant of schools, Weld Re-4 Schools; wife, M. Shereece Turner Seegmiller.AREQUIPA PERU PAUCARPATA STAKE (October 14, 2018): President—Juan Diego Morales Morales, 33, regional senior executive, Protecta Security; succeeding Jose L. Delgado Quispe; wife, Katherine Sosa Rodríguez. Counselors—Raúl Honorato Apaza Cruz, 56, textile technician, Inca Tops S.A.; wife, Calixta Fortunata Soto Aguilar. Vidar Israel Carbajal Rivera, 45, self-employed marketing and advertising specialist; wife, Rosa Nayda Sequeiros Chávez.ABAKALIKI NIGERIA STAKE (October 21, 2018): President—Erhiori Godwin Idudu, 39, resident doctor, Federal Teaching Hospital; wife, Justina Onome Ogbedaye Idudu. Counselors—Amaechi Callstus Nwatu, 31, head porter, Fetha; wife, Chidera Lucy Nwatu. Nnanna Oko Chukwu, 37, principal librarian, Ebonyi State; wife, Queendaline Ogochukinu Chukwu.LIMA PERU MAYORAZGO STAKE (October 14, 2018): President—Pavel Francisco Bermúdez Lazo, 44, legal counsel, La Positiva Seguros; wife, Sharon Ameli Bejar Usquiano. Counselors—Fredy Humberto Garavito Camacilanqui, 45, chief operations officer, Analitica Visual Consulting; wife, Gaby Isabel Ávalos Pino. Luis Enrique Fernandini Rahe, 40, manager of agencies, Banco Pichincha; wife, Ivonne Melina Chamochumbi Rodriguez.LARAMIE WYOMING STAKE (September 23, 2018): President—Kory Ray Allen, 42, clinical supervisor of cardiopulmonary, Irinson Memorial Hospital; succeeding Kirk S. Dory; wife, Julie Neves Allen. Counselors—Ryan Kay Searle, 39, principal and administrator, Carbon County School District; wife, Alisha Southern Searle. David Paul Hokanson, 35, dentist; wife, Gina Michelle Taylor Hokanson.OCUMARE DEL TUY VENEZUELA STAKE (September 23, 2018): President—Fernando José Viloria Toro, 45, director, Multiservicios VILONGHI; succeeding Aquiles J. Gutierrez Ceballos; wife, Minerva Longhi Marquiz. Counselors—Luis Alfonso Briceño Cortes, 44, chief of operations, Ven 911; wife, Yelitza Yolimar Azuaje. Carlos Alberto Santeliz Zamora, 41, head of fabrication, National Cement Factory; wife, Ericka Maria Rojas Gonzales.VALLE HERMOSO MEXICO STAKE (September 16, 2018): President—Alberto de la Rosa Chapa, 32, GTE administrator, EIUHSA; succeeding Alonso Ortiz Dominguez; wife, Blanca Lluvia Sacriste Nuñez. Counselors—Enrique Coronado Torres, 52, general doctor; wife, Leticia de Anda Villareal. Lara Mora Adán, 39, teacher; wife, Sheila Anabel Sacriste Nuñez.MONTPELIER VERMONT STAKE (October 14, 2018): President—Erik Shane Worthington, 45, owner, Worthington LLC; succeeding Bret D. Weekes; wife, Bethany Atwater Worthington. Counselors—Barclay Glen Tucker, 48, professor, Northern Vermont University; wife, Julia Cluff Tucker. Gabriel Christian LaJeunesse, 46, financial advisor, Edward Jones; wife, Kristen Anne Sanchez LaJeunesse.PORT-BOUET COTE D’IVOIRE STAKE (September 23, 2018): President—Staneislas Doho Bi Irie, 45, accountant; succeeding Zogoury Rodoph Datche; wife, Ka Fui Koudahin. Counselors—Leon Paul De Digbeu Boga, 37, managing director electrician, Artech-Service; wife, Genevieve Boga Aya. Constant Adeu Affian, 38, prevention inspector, IPS-CNPS; wife, Rebecca Eyse Affian Kovadio Aya.LIBERTY MISSOURI STAKE (October 14, 2018): President—Michael Thurston Beach, 56, chief financial officer, Kansas City Kansas Community College; succeeding Jeremiah J. Morgan; wife, Suzette Judene Gurney Beach. Counselors—Rodolfo Marvin Garcia, 47, sales director, UPS; wife, Lori Michelle Tubbs Garcia. Jeffrey Alan Barnes, 47, sales director, Cintas; wife, Jennifer Lee Fankhauser Barnes.POOLE ENGLAND STAKE (September 23, 2018): President—Peter Cope, 47, lead pharmacist, Dorset Healthcare; succeeding John W. Crew; wife, Bronwen Kenninston Cope. Counselors—Joseph Edward Hull, 43, Church facilities manager; wife, Lindsey Sarah Flinn Hull. Alan Roger Burchell, 40, mortgage advisor; wife, Jens Kathleen Cooper Burchell.KIRTLAND OHIO STAKE (October 21, 2018): President—Nathan Leo Johnson, 43, senior manager, Parexel; succeeding Michael B. Haymond; wife, Camille Colleen Thompson Johnson. Counselors—Rendell Whitney Ashton, 48, physician; wife, Cathleen Helen Campbell Ashton. David Scott Vineyard, 41, account manager, Philips Medical; wife, Rebecca Forstner Vineyard.FARR WEST UTAH POPLAR STAKE (September 23, 2018): President—Michael William Broadbent, 42, oral surgeon; succeeding John L. Watson; wife, Aimee Louise Ellis Broadbent. Counselors—David Paraskevas Bolos, 41, vice president of business development, Red Bell Real Estate; wife, Breanna Thompson Bolos. Rick John Taylor, 50, seminaries and institutes educator; wife, Anne Christine Hawkes Taylor.IPSWICH ENGLAND STAKE (October 21, 2018): President—Robert Francis Schwartz, 40, partner, general counsel, Tyndaris LLP; succeeding Simon Fagg; wife, Amy Whisenant Schwartz. Counselors—Enrique Cano Carballar, 45, software developer and manager, General Electric; wife, Dawn Louise Brooks Cano-Carballar. David Fagg, 49, sales director and partner, JAS; wife, Jane Amanda Palmer.A new stake has been created from the Santa Rosa Ecuador District. The Santa Rosa Ecuador Stake, which consists of the Arenillas and Piñas Branches and the Huaquillas, Pasaje, Santa Rosa 1st, Santa Rosa 2nd, and Santa Rosa 3rd Wards, was created by Elder Mathias Held, a General Authority Seventy, and Elder Alberto A. Álvarez, an Area Seventy.REXBURG IDAHO YSA 11TH STAKE (September 30, 2018): President—Robert Irvin Eaton, 54, associate academic vice president of instruction, BYU–Idaho; wife, Dianne Hansen Eaton. Counselors—Kirk Walter Peterson, 63, president, Peterson Enterprises; wife, Nancy Faye Andrus Peterson. Eric Andreasen, 51, physical therapy rehab director, Rehab Specialists of Idaho; wife, Nickole “Nikki” Jensen Andreasen.MAPLE VALLEY WASHINGTON STAKE (October 14, 2018): President—Glenn Gaylin Fuller, 55, senior counsel, Boeing; succeeding Thomas R. Nead; wife, Colleen Faye Ockey Fuller. Counselors—Jeffrey Hales Cannon, 59, engineer; wife, Suzanne Follett Cannon. Derek Christman Howell, 41, legal technology manager, Elevate Services; wife, Rachael Lynn Eucker Howell.FORT MYERS FLORIDA STAKE (September 23, 2018): President—Christopher M. Keith Thompkins, 43, attorney, Lindsay and Allen; succeeding Joseph L. Lindsay; wife, Ilaisaane Tu'pou Taanea Pahulu Thompkins. Counselors—Charles Daniel Cole, 49, manager, Sunburst Shutters; wife, Patricia Adriana Blanco Pina Cole. Elmer Roderico Paiz, transcription specialist, Iron Mountain; wife, Janet de Lao Paiz.NAPLES FLORIDA STAKE (September 23, 2018): President—Joseph L. Lindsay, 51, attorney, Lindsay and Allen; wife, Stacy M. Konold Lindsay. Counselors—Michael Kelly Crowder, 58, senior consultant, Korn Ferry; wife, Julie Anne Closser Crowder. Mario Fernandez, 66, retired; wife, Fuedesuiuda Fernandez.
Frau Vincken added that each of the soldiers could be her son, setting such a tone of peace and brotherhood that the soldiers spent the night together in peace and worked to care for one of the American wounded. The next day, as in the story of the Wise Men who visited the newborn Christ child and then “departed into their own country,” the soldiers likewise went their different ways.WASHINGTON, D.C.Adding to the evening’s festivities was the Washington D.C. Temple Choir, who sang traditional Christmas carols under the direction of Gary Clawson. Choir members stood before a large window highlighted by a gleaming white temple beyond. Later they were joined by a children’s choir of the Washington area. Havah Shwalb, Karina Keele, and Victoria Keele were featured soloists in Spanish. Clawson also invited children from the audience to participate.Honored guests Elder Holland and His Excellency German Rojas, the ambassador of the Republic of Paraguay, examined ways light can overcome darkness and then conveyed that concept together by switching on 650,000 lights that brilliantly illuminated the temple grounds and reflected into the night sky.
J. W. Marriott Jr. reminds the audience, “Let not your hearts be troubled” during the ceremony to turn on lights at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center on November 27, 2018. Photo by Page Johnson.Christmas lights at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center. Photo by Richard W. Brown.“By the light of your commitment, you are promoting tolerance, dialogue, integration, and diversity,” he said. “You are enlightening lives by walking the roads of my country, by giving relief, by assisting with many humanitarian initiatives, by changing lives when you are letting our people know that they can have a better life, that the light is there, that you can teach them to use it to guide their present and their future.” Creche from Paraguay displayed at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center in December 2018. Photo by Page Johnson.The public is invited to the visitors’ center to see the lights and displays and to attend free nightly concerts through January 1, 2019. Last year, over 120,000 visitors came to these events, and another estimated 100,000 drove by just to see the lights.In the midst of World War II, two small groups of soldiers—one American and one German—lost their way and ended up in the home of the Vincken family on Christmas Eve 1944.J. W. Marriott Jr. and his wife, Donna Marriott, hosted the two-evening event, as they have for the past 41 years. Working with Mauri Earl, director of international affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they invited members of the diplomatic corps, members of Congress, government officials, and other dignitaries to help celebrate this popular Christmas tradition in the nation’s capital. Among this year’s attendees was U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and his wife, Candy Carson.Ambassador Rojas, who was introduced by U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (Arizona), reminded listeners that Christ Himself said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). He pointed out the ways that members of the Church had been lights not only to his family but also to citizens of his country.Elder Holland concluded his remarks for the evening with the thought that the Lord was once laid in a manger meant for cows, not kings.The transformative power of the Light of Christ to change lives and encourage peace was the focus of the event opening at the visitors’ center on November 27 and 28.“No matter how humble our setting or modest our effort,” he said, “as we allow that Christmas light to shine, we will shine brighter in these contentious times. If enough of us shine together, we can illuminate a path toward greater harmony, gentleness, and peace.” Children participate in a ceremony where Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and His Excellency German Rojas, the ambassador of the Republic of Paraguay, switch on 650,000 lights that brilliantly illuminated the grounds of the Washington D.C. Temple on November 27, 2018. Photo by Richard W. Brown.He recalled his many encounters with Church members, noting a conversation he had with Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that inspired a Symposium on Life and Family in Paraguay last August. (See related story.) He also mentioned that Paraguayan members of the Church were honored that President Russell M. Nelson visited the country in October. (See related story.)“We are called to turn back darkness with light,” said Elder Holland in his Christmas message during the annual Festival of Lights at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center. “We are to turn back fear with faith. We are to extend love to friend and foe alike.”“Keep shining,” he suggested, in order to “keep the enlightening concept alive.”From the white Carrara marble Christus statue and international crèche displays and doll trees inside the building to the welcoming missionaries and a narrated Nativity scene outside, the motifs of light over darkness and peace through brotherhood permeated every aspect of the evening.“In a moment of divine diplomacy and pure Christian charity, this German mother brokered what can only be called a one-woman armistice,” said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explaining that Frau Vincken told the soldiers it was Christmas Eve and there would be no shooting.
Boynton Beach Stake President Andy Lustig speaks to participants prior to the Turkey Toy Ride on Saturday, November 17, 2018.One patient’s mother, whose daughter will likely not find remission in the coming months, remarked that the riders and message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uplifted her and filled a void. She chatted with Stan Ellsworth and his wife, Stacy, about the basis of the Church’s doctrine and how members believe families can live together forever. The message that no diagnosis or death is final was impactful and inspiring. A woman reads a Church pamphlet from the back of a motorcycle during the Turkey Toy Ride on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.About 150 children and family members were waiting for them. Upon arrival, the riders pulled in close, and the children were excited to see the massive bikes with presents strapped to them. The riders handed out the gifts and then patients, families, and riders alike sat down to eat a meal together.When you think of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the first thing you picture probably isn’t people riding motorcycles. But on Saturday, November 17, Church members in the Boynton Beach, Florida, area gathered to ride their bikes as part of the first-ever “Turkey Toy Ride.” To kick off the holiday season, Latter-day Saints teamed up with members of South Florida motorcycle brigades to bring toys to children battling cancer.The event, hosted and organized by the Boynton Beach Florida Stake, featured Stan Ellsworth, host of the BYUtv series American Ride, as the guest of honor. His popularity among riders drew a large crowd of participants. More than 200 people gathered at the Boca Raton chapel to hear Christ-centered messages delivered by Ellsworth; Jason Gilmore, bishop of the West Boca Raton Ward; and Andy H. Lustig, president of the Boynton Beach Florida Stake. Then audience members sat astride more than 40 motorcycles carrying packages and rode 35 miles to the Kids Cancer Foundation in West Palm Beach.Debora Gilmore, public affairs director for the Boynton Beach Stake, remarked that it was a delightfully unforgettable moment. “It was not possible to keep a dry eye. Motorcyclists possess the grace and grit that these little warriors need to face their trials. These motorcyclists brought the most amazing gifts and attention to these beautiful kids.” A motorcyclist with a child’s present attached to his bike rides toward the Kids Cancer Foundation in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.Boynton Beach Stake President Andy Lustig said, “I saw hearts of gold connect with some very sick patients. These men and women lifted others with their own culture and flavor. It is what our Savior wants us to be—an aid to those in need of comfort and camaraderie, in our own skins. We are taught to ‘lift where we stand,’ and this group, an assembly of many different motorcycle groups in the area, along with a few added Church members, indeed did that.” Turkey Toy Ride participants, including Stan Ellsworth (right), and children display gifts on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Photo by Rick Williams. Children and families wait outside the Kids Cancer Foundation in West Palm Beach, Florida, as Turkey Toy Ride participants arrive on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Photo by Rick Williams. Stan Ellsworth and other participants form a line as they take part in the Turkey Toy Ride on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore. Stan Ellsworth of American Ride takes a photo with two Turkey Toy Ride participants on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore. A young girl plays with her gift as riders in the Turkey Toy Ride hand out presents on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore. Pamphlets offering information about the Church were handed out prior to the Turkey Toy Ride on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Photo by Rick Williams. A motorcyclist rides toward the Kids Cancer Foundation in West Palm Beach, Florida, with gifts for the children. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.
J.W. Marriott Jr. reminds the audience, “Let not your hearts be troubled” during the ceremony to turn on lights at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors Center on November 27, 2018. Photo by Page Johnson.The transformative power of the light of Christ to change lives and encourage peace was the focus of the event opening at the visitors’ center on November 27 and 28. Children participate in a ceremony where Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and His Excellency German Rojas, the ambassador of the Republic of Paraguay, switch on 650,000 lights that brilliantly illuminated the grounds of the Washington D.C. Temple on November 27, 2018. Photo by Richard W. Brown.“We are called to turn back darkness with light,” said Elder Holland in his Christmas message during the annual Festival of Lights at the Washington DC Temple Visitors’ Center. “We are to turn back fear with faith. We are to extend love to friend and foe alike.” Christmas lights at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors Center. Photo by Richard W. Brown.The public is invited to the visitors’ center to see the lights and displays and to attend free nightly concerts through January 1, 2019. Last year, over 120,000 visitors came to these events, and another estimated 100,000 drove by just to see the lights.“Keep shining,” he suggested, in order to “keep the enlightening concept alive.” Creche from Paraguay displayed at the Washington D.C. Visitors Center in December 2018. Photo by Page Johnson“In a moment of divine diplomacy and pure Christian charity, this German mother brokered what can only be called a one-woman armistice,” said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explaining that Frau Vincken told the soldiers it was Christmas Eve and there would be no shooting.From the white Carrara marble Christus statue and international crèche displays and doll trees inside the building to the welcoming missionaries and a narrated Nativity scene outside, the motifs of light over darkness and peace through brotherhood permeated every aspect of the evening.Elder Holland concluded his remarks for the evening with the thought that the Lord was once laid in a manger meant for cows, not kings.WASHINGTON, D.C.J.W. Marriott Jr. and his wife, Donna Marriott, hosted the two-evening event, as they have for the past 41 years. Working with Mauri Earl, director of International Affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they invited members of the diplomatic corps, members of Congress, government officials, and other dignitaries to help celebrate this popular Christmas tradition in the nation’s capital. Among this year’s attendees was U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and his wife, Candy Carson.He recalled his many encounters with Church members, noting a conversation he had with Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that inspired a Symposium on Life and Family in Paraguay last August. (See related story.) He also mentioned that Paraguayan members of the Church were honored that President Russell M. Nelson visited the country in October. (See related story.)“By the light of your commitment, you are promoting tolerance, dialogue, integration, and diversity,” he said. “You are enlightening lives by walking the roads of my country, by giving relief, by assisting with many humanitarian initiatives, by changing lives when you are letting our people know that they can have a better life, that the light is there, that you can teach them to use it to guide their present and their future.”In the midst of World War II, two small groups of soldiers—one American and one German—lost their way and ended up in the home of the Vincken family on Christmas Eve 1944.Frau Vincken added that each of the soldiers could be her son, setting such a tone of peace and brotherhood that the soldiers spent the night together in peace and worked to care for one of the American wounded. The next day, as in the story of the wise men who visited the newborn Christ-child and then “departed into their own country,” the soldiers likewise went their different ways.Honored guests Elder Holland and His Excellency German Rojas, the ambassador of the Republic of Paraguay, examined ways light can overcome darkness and then conveyed that concept together by switching on 650,000 lights that brilliantly illuminated the temple grounds and reflected into the night sky.Adding to the evening’s festivities was the Washington D.C. Temple Choir, who sang traditional Christmas carols under the direction of Gary Clawson. Choir members stood before a large window highlighted by a gleaming white temple beyond. Later they were joined by a children’s choir of the Washington area. Havah Shwalb, Karina Keele, and Victoria Keele were featured soloists in Spanish. Clawson also invited children from the audience to participate.Ambassador Rojas, who was introduced by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), reminded that Christ Himself said, “I am the light of the world.” He pointed out the ways that members of the Church had been lights not only to his family but also to citizens of his country.“No matter how humble our setting or modest our effort,” he said, “as we allow that Christmas light to shine, we will shine brighter in these contentious times. If enough of us shine together, we can illuminate a path toward greater harmony, gentleness, and peace.”
Although the service rendered through the giving machines is quite instant for the individual purchasing the service, the purchase has a long-term benefit for local communities and charities throughout the world. Amy Dott Harmer, executive director of the Utah Refugee Connection, talks about the Light the World giving machine in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, November 28, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Sister Eubank compared giving to lighting a candle, explaining that sometimes bringing light to others comes through providing a meal, school supplies, or even a soccer ball. Sister Sharon Eubank, president of LDS Charities and First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, talks about the Light the World giving machine in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, November 28, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Some of the goods available to purchase for refugees include basic items—a home essentials kit, cleaning supplies, diapers, and even a volleyball. Sister Sharon Eubank, president of LDS Charities and First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, speaks to the media about the Light the World giving machine in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, November 28, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.For Ginette Bott, president and CEO of the the Utah Food Bank, partnering with the Church has been a great experience.“[Service] is certainly not only through a giving machine—you can do anything that is a simple thing in your own family life—but this is an instant way to provide service and a way to teach people … who we are as members of the Church of Jesus Christ,” Sister Eubank said.“We have the opportunity to make a big difference with the needs right here in our own backyard,” she said. “And you don’t even have to put anything together.”“We are helping someone become self-reliant,” he said. “They perform better in school; they are getting hope.”“We go through 100 to 450 kits a week,” she said. “These are items that are most helpful to [refugees].” Joseph Carbone, president and founder of Eye Care 4 Kids, talks about the Light the World giving machine in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, November 28, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Bottles of water in the Light the World giving machines represent the chance to donate for clean-water efforts worldwide. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.A variety of items are available to purchase, including food, clothing, eyeglasses, medicine, hygiene supplies, wheelchairs, sporting equipment, and livestock. The machines will be available through the Christmas season and partner with global charities such as CARE, UNICEF, WaterAid, Water for People, Eye Care 4 Kids, Utah Food Bank, and Utah Refugee Connection.Sister Reyna Aburto, Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, added: “No matter our circumstances, we want to help others. Everybody can help. And hopefully we can find ways to help each other know that they matter and they are important.”Joseph G. Carbone, a pediatric optician and president and founder of Eye Care 4 Kids, talked about the impact the #LightTheWorld campaign had in the past.“It is starting to help the next generation of donors—and there is no better way to do that than through the spirit of giving,” Bott said. “After they do it, the kids … talk to their friends and teachers and that awareness spreads. … They have a story to tell, and they have taken ownership of the problem. Our goal is to have many, many folks share in the fight against hunger.”More than seeing clearly, Carbone has seen how children “become changed” through proper eye care.Whether it is purchasing a soccer ball, clean water, hygiene supplies, or livestock, individuals and families around the world have the opportunity to #LightTheWorld again through the Church’s giving machines available during the Christmas season. Light the World giving machine, where people can donate to local or global causes, are found in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, November 28, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.“The partnership that we have with the Church goes beyond the holiday season, but we are so humbled to be a part of this specific event,” she said. “It brings such attention to the need in a variety of areas, not only in the local area but worldwide.”
Ginette Bott, president and CEO of the Utah Food Bank, talks about the Light the World giving machine in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, November 28, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.
For the fifth year in a row, The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square have released a video that combines a Christmas song with an inspiring video message. This year’s video features the German carol “Silent Night,” arranged by choir music director Mack Wilberg. The police officer, played by actor Kevin Sorbo, helps deliver the child and is motivated by the experience to later reconcile with his daughter. Sorbo is best-known for playing the title role in the TV show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, as well as his roles in the movies Let There Be Light and God’s Not Dead.“‘Silent Night’ is one of the most cherished Christmas carols of all time,“ Sorbo said in a press release. ”And this video’s story showing how people of diverse backgrounds can work together in unity is so needed in the world today. Putting all of that together with the heavenly music of The Tabernacle Choir was something I absolutely loved doing.”
According to choir president Ron Jarrett, “Each of these moving Christmas videos has enabled the choir and orchestra to share the message of hope in Jesus Christ at Christmastime in a special way for the last five years. The new ‘Silent Night’ video takes its place among them, and we are anxious for people to enjoy its message this year.”In the symbolic video, a police officer—subtly named Shepherd—and a group of strangers (some also with interesting names) come together on Christmas Eve to help a desperate young couple find shelter for the pending birth of their baby.
“Working with Chef Todd has been one of the best experiences of my life,” said Harris, who will soon trade her “toque blanche” (that’s kitchen-speak for chef’s hat) for a missionary name tag in the Washington Vancouver Mission. “He is such a good mentor, and I appreciate the knowledge I have gained as a chef. He has helped me understand the importance of cooking with your heart and truly finding joy in it.”It all started with Scouting.“I was working on my cooking merit badge as an 11-year-old Scout,” he said. “I was on a campout with my parents and had to make a breakfast with a mess kit.”“To me, it’s the most prestigious award in our country for chefs; it’s a big honor,” he told the Church News.His scrambled eggs were a hit and his cooking career began to take hold. Leonard’s first job was working as a busboy in a Salt Lake-area restaurant. A couple years later he was promoted to the kitchen. He cooked at several restaurants prior to his mission, learning the ins and outs of chef’s knives, spatulas, and strainers.“We weren’t eating johnnycakes,” he said.A frequent and high honor he had was preparing a meal or perhaps a specialty milkshake for a General Authority.His professional career and testimony guided him to a chef’s position at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. For eight years his duties included overseeing the Garden Restaurant and opening the Nauvoo Café.
Latter-day Saint Todd Leonard was recently named the 2018 National Chef of the Year at the American Culinary Federation national convention in New Orleans. Photo courtesy of Jim McCulloch, Utah Valley University.When Chef Todd Leonard was serving his mission in Ohio, his go-to evening meal was out-of-the-box macaroni and cheese mixed with boiling water and salsa—hold the butter and the milk.“We practiced 16 run-throughs before the competition—we had everything memorized, so there was no guessing,” he said.His first shot at the event came seven years ago after claiming the western regional top chef’s title. But his preparation, he says good-naturedly, was interrupted by a stake pioneer trek.His father’s pre-event priesthood blessing provided him welcome spiritual peace. His two apprentices offered skilled assistance. And his wife, Michelle, was at his side when he was announced the winning chef.When he returned from his mission, it was back to the kitchen, completing his culinary education at Salt Lake Community College. He also started a family. He and his wife, Michelle, are the parents of four children. They belong to the River View 9th Ward, Draper Utah River View Stake.One beloved Church leader once stopped by his kitchen to personally thank the chef. National Chef of the Year medal hangs around the neck of Latter-day Saint Todd Leonard. Photo courtesy of Jim McCulloch, Utah Valley University.Preparing food for others can also be an uplifting and edifying experience, he said. Emotions fill the chef whenever he reads the sacred accounts of Christ serving the Last Supper or feeding His disciples.“Cooking is awesome,” he said. “Food remains a tradition that can bring families together and make a difference in our lives.”Using three required proteins—pork cheek, oysters, and red fish—the chef developed a menu consisting of 23 ingredients. The first course alone included southern braised pork cheek with dauphine potatoes, sautéed mustard greens, red pepper purée, and Cajun fried shallots and peppers.“That was my dinner for probably half of my mission. … I was just trying to survive and get the Lord’s work done,” he said, laughing.Leonard traveled directly from trek to the airport and on to the national competition. He lost but left determined to one day return and claim the top chef title.“I loved working for the Church in that capacity. I fed a lot of good people,” he said.So how did a guy raised far from international food hubs such as New York City or San Francisco—he’s a proud native of Cottonwood Heights, Utah—end up as one of America’s premier chefs?Last summer, the lifelong Church member was named the 2018 National Chef of the Year at the American Culinary Federation national convention in New Orleans. He is believed to be the first Latter-day Saint to claim the national cooking title.Prior to qualifying for the national competition, he accepted a call to cook for the stake trek. He initially asked to be released from the assignment so he could focus on the competition, but his heart told him he belonged on the trek. So even as his competitors were making final preparations for nationals, Leonard was whipping up meals for hundreds of hungry, trail-worn youth (and, undoubtedly, setting an impossibly high menu standard for all future pioneer treks).Twelve years ago, he accepted a teaching job at Utah Valley University, where he now chairs the culinary arts department.“I’m 42 years old, and I finally got it accomplished,” he said. “It was super fun.”“He told me, ‘That was a noble piece of prime rib.’ I cut his piece a little thicker, of course.”His opportunity arrived earlier this year when he again won the western regional championship, securing a spot for the New Orleans convention. Latter-day Saint chef Todd Leonard, center, was assisted in the 2018 National Chef of the Year competition by a pair of student apprentices—Lydia Harris, left, and AnnaLis Nielsen. Photo courtesy of Jim McCulloch, Utah Valley University.“But I was there to baptize people,” he said.Leonard and his four competitors, all regional champions, each had 90 minutes to prepare a four-course meal to be judged by fellow master chefs on taste, presentation, and sanitation. Two student apprentices, AnnaLis Nielsen and Lydia Harris, assisted him.Leonard enjoys sharing his professional know-how with his students—but he admits to a competitive streak. Several years ago, he witnessed the National Chef of the Year contest as a spectator and knew that he wanted to make a run at the title.None of then-Elder Leonard’s companions would have ever guessed they were serving with a future national cooking champ.Still, as his missionary mac-and-cheese diet attests, he set his cooking ambitions aside for missionary work in Ohio. He cooked a few times for investigators and occasionally helped out at ward parties.
We know Primary music and hymns invite the Spirit of the Lord and move us to repentance and good works. They build testimony and faith, comfort the weary and worn out, and console the lonely and mourning (see “First Presidency Preface,” Hymns).“‘Pray, He is there. Speak. He is listening.’ Though simple, these words have struck my heart time and time again. The basic principles I learned as a child in Primary have had lasting impacts on my life. These songs are like small testimonies … that relay pure truths rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”Recently a college student wrote, “There are many important and big decisions I am making in my life. During this process, there have been multiple occasions where I have been filled with doubt or become discouraged. On one specific instance, I found myself asking Heavenly Father in prayer, ‘Are you there?’ ‘Do you know how much I am struggling?’ These thoughts of doubt were automatically dismissed when the words of the Primary song ‘A Child’s Prayer’ came to mind.In the past few months we have visited many Primary sacrament meeting presentations. We have felt the Spirit as the children shared their “part” in the program. But we have also noticed the muted, energetic humming of the congregation as the children sang songs like “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” or “Families Can Be Together Forever.”Sing with them the songs of Primary and the hymns.Music will have an important role in the new integrated curriculum beginning in 2019. Come, Follow Me not only has weekly lessons but also music chosen to reinforce the doctrine being learned in the scriptures both at home and in Primary. There are songs suggested for Primary singing time. These same songs will be available as a resource in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families by the end of the year. Families will now be studying and singing together. Primary will support these efforts at church every week. A family gathers around the piano and sings hymns together as a daughter plays.Do you want to help your children, youth, young adults, and older adults to remember a point of doctrine?Sing together.Sing about that truth.The music learned in Primary stays with us long after we turn 12. Music has the ability to plant seeds of doctrine deep into our hearts that can continue to grow into adulthood. President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency taught, “The singing of hymns is one of the best ways to learn the doctrine of the restored gospel” (“Worship through Music,” Oct. 1994 general conference).You don’t need to have a beautiful voice to enjoy singing in your homes. Singing Primary songs and hymns will bring blessings, even if the music is a little off key. “Remember, music has the power to provide spiritual nourishment. It has healing power. It has the power to facilitate worship. It allows us to contemplate the Atonement, the restoration of the gospel with its saving principles and exalting ordinances. Music provides power for us to express prayerful thoughts and bear testimony of sacred truths,” President Nelson said.Do you remember the last Primary sacrament meeting presentation you saw? Perhaps it was just a few weeks ago. How did you feel when the children sang? When you heard their sweet voices, did you feel the desire to sing along with them?As a presidency, our hope is that you sing Primary songs and hymns so that your families and your faith may be strengthened and enduring. May your homes always be blessed with the loving melodies of the gospel of Jesus Christ.Do you want to bring the Spirit more abundantly in your life and in the lives of your families?President Russell M. Nelson has taught that “music has a sweet power to promote unity and love in the family. Not only is it an important component of family home evening, but it can exert a continuing influence for good well beyond times when children are small” (“The Power and Protection Provided by Worthy Music” [Brigham Young University devotional, May 4, 2008]).Do you want to encourage unity in your families, classes, and quorums?
With notable openness in the chapel's intimate setting, Elder Holland shared pain from his own life about his father's opposition to his mission, his bout with depression as a young husband, a relative who is unable to conceive and the tears he has shed over unanswered prayers. He told the young married members that when they feel pain or doubt to keep walking in faith. “I know you will get to the meadowlands again.”Elder Holland said Latter-day Saint doctrine is grounded in “what I consider straightforward Biblical theology” and used the Bible to explain how the Church is different from Christianity rooted in 4th- and 5th-century creeds. One difference is that the Church believes the scriptural canon is not closed, he said, describing “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ“ as the fulfillment of Biblical prophesy (Isaiah 29:11, 18–19).The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, sent a blessing for the event in which he called service “crucially important to the health of our society.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles answers a question about the beliefs and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a public conversation with the Rev. Dr. Andrew Teal, chaplain and lecturer in theology at Pembroke College at the University of Oxford, in the Clore Old Library at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin on Thursday, November 22, 2018.He also provided an example from Christ’s life for those who would serve but feel overwhelmed by the immense needs of the world. He recalled how Judas Iscariot complained that Mary was wasteful when she anointed Christ’s head with expensive burial ointment. Christ told him, “She has done what she can.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shares a light moment with the Rev. Dr. Andrew Teal during a public conversation on Latter-day Saint beliefs and doctrine at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin at the University of Oxford on Thursday, November 22, 2018.Elder Holland delivered a specially made copy of the Book of Mormon to the House of Commons Library, which had requested one. He deposited another to the House’s collection of sacred texts for use in swearing in new Latter-day Saint members of Parliament. He presented additional gift copies to the deputy speaker of the House of Commons and to the chaplain of the chapel in Westminster Hall. The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided a signed inscription inside a gift copy of the Book of Mormon presented by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to the British House of Commons at the Palace of Westminster in London on Wednesday, November 21, 2018.Between the visit with the Prime Minister and the panel on service, Elder Holland spoke November 22—Thanksgiving—to Oxford theology faculty and students at the storied University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. He outlined Latter-day Saint theology, then engaged for more about an hour in a rare interfaith question-and-answer session with the Rev. Dr. Andrew Teal of the Church of England.“She has done what she can,” Elder Holland repeated. “What a succinct formula.”The visit showed the Church’s image is improving in the United Kingdom, Elder Holland said: “As a young British missionary, I would have loved to get in any door in the country and never had the idea that they would open the doors of Parliament to me. For a former British missionary, it is very gratifying to see the image of the Church elevated in the eyes of the people, in the press, and in the people holding political office.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and the Rev. Dr. Andrew Teal embrace after their public conversation about the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the University of Oxford's University Church of St. Mary the Virgin on Thursday, November 22, 2018.LONDON, England“We need God,” he said, “but he also needs us. It is an inspiring thought to think that not only humankind but divinity itself needs our heart and needs our helping hand. Surely that must be one way that we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.”The speakers shared lessons from their heroes of service and invited Christians to use service to confront an age of what Lord Alton termed “toxic loneliness.” They said service is the lifeblood of human connection and vital to Christianity, democracies, and communities. Elder Holland said that is true of families and marriages, too.He said she was gracious on a day filled with genuine international tension.Rev. Teal organized and conducted the panel on service. He also opened Pembroke College Chapel, where he serves as chaplain, to Elder Holland for the meeting with young married members. (See related story.)
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks about the beliefs and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Clore Old Library at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin at the University of Oxford on Thursday, November 22, 2018.“It was a wonderful trip,” Elder Holland said. “I think for the combination of the experiences, it would be as important a trip as any apostolic visit I know of to the United Kingdom. In a single visit, the significance of that is, I think, without precedence in our apostolic ministry.” The Rt. Hon. Sir Linday Hoyle, deputy speaker of the House of Commons, left, talks with Stephen Kerr, member of the British Parliament;, Yvonne Kerr; Sister Patricia Holland and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the Palace of Westminster in London on Wednesday, November 21, 2018.
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided a signed inscription inside a gift copy of the Book of Mormon presented by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to the British House of Commons at the Palace of Westminster in London on Wednesday, November 21, 2018.Young married members of the Church visit after meeting with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland at the Pembroke College Chapel in Oxford, England, on Thursday, November 22, 2018.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland presents British Prime Minister Theresa May with a portrait of her family tree in her office at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday, November 21, 2018. Photo by Tad Walch, Deseret News.Elder Holland said significant differences between the churches have in the past interrupted what could be “larger, warmer, wonderful conversation,” and Rev. Teal said each sees themselves more clearly when engaged with the other. Elder Alan T. Phillips, an Area Seventy; David Rutley, a Conservative member of the British Parliament; Yvonne Kerr, wife of Stephen, member of Parliament; Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; British Prime Minister Theresa May; Sister Patricia Holland; and Stephen Kerr, member of Parliament, pose together in the prime minister's office after Elder Holland presented May with her family history at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday, November 21, 2018. Photo courtesy of the Prime Minister's Office. The Rt. Hon. Sir Linday Hoyle, deputy speaker of the House of Commons, greets Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Patricia Holland at the Palace of Westminster in London on Wednesday, November 21, 2018. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presents a leatherbound copy of the Book of Mormon to Philippa Helme, principal clerk of the Table Office of the House of Commons at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday, November 21, 2018.In a first for the Church, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met with British Prime Minister Theresa May on November 21 during a groundbreaking week-long trip to Great Britain. The altar at Pembroke College Chapel in Oxford, England, on Thursday, November 22, 2018.
The Palace of Westminster at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday, November 21, 2018. Photo by Tad Walch, Deseret News.Elder Holland visited May in her office and gave her bound copies of her family history as well as a wall-hanging of her family tree and a gift copy of the Book of Mormon. The prime minister sandwiched the appointment between a contentious appearance in the House of Commons attended by Elder Holland and a flight to Brussels to meet with European Union leaders as she negotiated highly controversial terms for Brexit, the proposed British exit from the EU in March.Rev. Teal, a Pembroke theologian whose questions explored Latter-day Saint doctrine on the Trinity, the Fall, priesthood ordination, temples, baptism for the dead, and even dancing. Teal said his goal was to ask questions with integrity and intellectual honesty and conduct a dialogue free of defensiveness or tribalism. Elder Holland said he succeeded and praised his preparation. A painting in the Pembroke College Chapel in Oxford, England, on Thursday, November 22, 2018.
After the war ended, Joseph Beuchert went to Freiburg, Germany, where he met Karl Bechert, who baptized him. Beuchert served as a missionary from 1949 to 1951 in Germany and then emigrated from Germany to Canada, where he met Fern Baker. They married and later, in 1960, moved to Utah. At the time of our interview, the Beucherts had three sons serving as missionaries.“Within three weeks, miraculous things began to happen. The guard started giving us 10-minute breaks. Then he started bringing us sandwiches from home, and he eventually arranged to have us work on the kitchen truck with him. This was the most envied position in the camp.“We went about the countryside gathering food for the prisoners. On the way back to camp, the guard would stop at his house, where his wife usually had snacks fixed for us.They were captured and sent to another camp. They grieved at being separated from their Latter-day Saint friend, but a while later, Walter was transferred to their camp. The three men spent many hours telling other prisoners about the Church and sharing faith-promoting and character-building experiences. I remember Beuchert’s account of one of those experiences, which I have shared with others many times:He saw his bunkmate, Hans Ruckdaschel, reading a book and asked to borrow it. The book was A Voice of Warning by Parley P. Pratt. Walter had given it to Hans. “I started reading the book and was convinced I had found the truth,” Beuchert said.“I’ve never seen anything manifest the power of prayer as much as this to make that guard change so much. By the time we left that camp, we were the best of friends. I’ve often wondered what happened to him; I’d like to see him again.”The three prisoners became close friends as they discussed the teachings of the gospel. “Hans and I wanted to be baptized, but the guards wouldn’t give us permission, … so we decided to escape.”“Walter … said it would not do any good to kill the guard. I said something had to be done because I couldn’t take any more of his abusive treatment. Walter suggested that we fast and pray in the guard’s behalf.One of the first things he told me about his capture was that the American guards allowed the POWs to read the Bible. “I set out to investigate every Bible study group in the camp,” he said. “I went to seven or eight, but none of them seemed to have the complete truth as taught in the Bible.”Here’s the story I heard in 1975 from Joseph Beuchert, who was captured by an American unit—the Thunderbird Division—in southern France in 1944.“There was one guard who always picked the three of us for the hardest details. We nearly starved to death in that camp. … This one guard was very abusive. We had been assigned to a road-building detail. When we’d stop to rest, this guard would hit us with his rifle butt. I hated him so much I wanted to kill him.He soon discovered his new friend didn’t have any connections with the kitchen. An elder in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Walter Ruthenberg told him he lived the Word of Wisdom and that helped preserve his health. “Of course, that didn’t mean anything to me,” Beuchert said.The American-operated POW camp was dissolved about a year and a half after Beuchert had been sent there. He was transferred a French-operated camp, where he noticed a healthy-looking German POW. “I figured he had some connections with the kitchen, so I decided to make friends with him,” he said.I met a former German soldier, Joseph F. Beuchert of Heidelberg, who was a young man when he was conscripted into the German army. He spent four years as a prisoner of war, an experience filled with physical deprivation. In hindsight, he came to regard one of the POW camps as a gateway to an abundant and fulfilling life. In that camp, he found one of his greatest blessings: knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
One young father asked Elder Holland what questions he and other apostles ask as they seek revelation.The Jests said it was deeply meaningful to meet as a peer group. Many couples went out together after the meeting.He urged the members, some of whom had taken a half-day or day’s worth of vacation to travel through a gray, cold afternoon to attend the meeting, to keep walking when their personal journeys grow most difficult, “and I know you’ll get to the meadowlands again.”A sampling of the heartfelt questions and answers include:The group also laughed together as Elder Holland talked about the administration of President Nelson.“We travel with him by relay,” he said of the Twelve, and he laughed along with the members. “We pass the baton to the next one to keep up with him.”Her husband, Harry, age 32, took a half-day off work to attend. He said he felt the strong impression that Elder Holland was representing Jesus Christ, but the couple felt like they were having a conversation with him as a friend.“And that’s what Jesus Christ would do if he were here,” Harry Jest said. “I really liked how he said the closest we’ll get to divinity is the role we’ll play as spouses and parents,” Harry Jest said.Question: “We just had our first son three months ago, and that changed our world for us. Can you teach me, what does it mean for a husband to preside in the family?”The 40 couples from the Reading, Staines, and Watford stakes sat in the chapel’s wooden benches that run lengthwise down the chapel and face each other across the room in the collegiate style of a monastic church. They are designed for recitation of Psalms, with one side saying the odd-numbered verses while the other responds with the even verses.“The conviction I felt from him,” Kimberly Jest said, “was that we could trust God as much as the pioneers, who trusted him so much that they were willing to bury their children and go through what they went to. There was a conviction that there is meaning in that suffering, that it’s not arbitrary or from a malicious God. There’s divinity in that suffering.”Elder Holland welcomed the question, leaning forward in his chair to listen and respond. He said he had many answers but not all and spoke of the pain and deaths experienced by Peter and Paul, whose statues flanked a painting of Christ in a red robe on the wall above and behind him. He said the impact the gospel has made on his life, after growing up without its consistent presence in his childhood home, has marked him forever, as has the gospel influence of his wife, Sister Patricia Holland.Question: “I struggle with mental health, and at times I feel blocked in the Spirit. I know you talked about that. How does one overcome mental health issues blocking the Spirit?”Elder Holland: “When the Savior washed the feet of the Twelve, he was teaching that great lesson of stewardship and leadership and love. ... If you could attain that spirit, I would never, ever worry about you being a husband and a father, if you were that devoted to your wife and that devoted to your children that they meant everything that they could and should mean to you, and in that deferential way you would wash their feet and change the baby’s diapers and take time with your wife to listen to Beethoven together.”“It was really lovely that it was so personal and the setting was so intimate,” said Kimberly Jest, 32, of Reading, who cried through much of the event.To some who expressed concern that they felt less of the Spirit than they did while as missionaries or at other times in their lives, he said that he, too, had shed tears like theirs when his prayers have gone unanswered, but said he had learned that God needs His children to stretch themselves, that he has learned God will eventually answer all their prayers, and that he has seen in hindsight the growth that he has found when God took a step or two back to allow him to learn and gain his own experience.“There is not enough pain, there is not enough cost, there is not enough difficulty that could tear from my heart the conviction that this is God’s Church,” he said. “This has been everything in God’s earth to me. ... There is nothing that could take me from this.”“The windows of revelation seem free and open and abundant,” he said. “Since the moment he became president of the Church, Russell Nelson has been particularly open, particularly receptive, and particularly entitled to revelation that is more public, is more sharable.”He moved the lectern aside and sat in a chair to listen to and answer deeply personal questions from women and men in their 20s and early 30s that drew him to relate relevant personal experiences. One woman said the Church has been the source of her greatest joy but that some policies and past history have been the source of pain and confusion for her and for family and friends who have left.Elder Holland: “Of all the things in the world that are worth your whole soul and devotion, it should be your spouse and your children. Short of being in the very presence of God, literally, you will never be more proximate to divinity than you are in the presence of your spouse and children. They deserve godly loyalty. They deserve divine attention. Husbands, when your wife asks you to do better, she’s not talking about perfection. She’s not criticizing you. She’s saying, ‘I need you. I need you to be here. I need you to listen. I need you to be nearby.’ Wives, when your husbands are troubled or worried, and they will be because they would like to be perfect, too, what they need you to say is, ‘You are OK now. You are alright now. We will work on perfection later. I love you like crazy right now, just the way you are.’”“While you bide time, you be the best you can be, and that will be an undeniable witness to them,” he told the woman. “No parent can deny the sweet experience in the life of their child.”Leaning on a slim lectern in front of the stone marble altar in the dimly lit chapel, Elder Holland also expressed joy about recent changes in the Church and joked about the Quorum of the Twelve’s coping strategy for keeping up with President Russell M. Nelson.Question: “What advice do you have about spouses and children?”“I was feeling the pain in the room from the people who were hurting,” she said, “and I was feeling overwhelmed by the gratitude of having such a personal experience with an Apostle because of his calling and the mantle he holds.”In an intimate setting in the Church of Oxford’s Pembroke College Chapel, he spoke frankly about being raised without the gospel in his home, his father’s opposition to his mission, his bout with depression as a young husband, a relative who is unable to conceive, the tears he has shed over unanswered prayers, and feeling overwhelmed upon his call to the apostleship.Elder Holland asked them to be fair with God and promise him they would count their blessings, too, any time they begin to count their problems.Elder Holland expressed a wish that members could be with him in the weekly temple meetings of the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He noted that not all revelation in those meetings is shareable, but he promised that, after a year in which the Church has announced multiple major initiatives, more are to come.He told a young woman concerned by her parents’ hostility to her conversion to the Church that she is the first sermon to them.The chapel setting they were in added to the experience, the members said.With notable openness, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shared struggles from his own life with young married British members of the Church who gathered in a 300-year-old chapel this week as the member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles continued his weeklong trip to England.
The altar at Pembroke College Chapel in Oxford, England, on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Photo by Tad Walch, Deseret News.“They won’t show up for Church soon,” he said. “The best you can do is be the best Latter-day Saint you can be, and you don’t condemn them or treat them the way they treat you. My dad was quite opposed to me going on a mission. I know what it is like to walk that path and not get angry. I used to get angry. I wanted to know why he needed to be that way. Why did he need to take it out on me and provide that kind of opposition? I lived to repent of that. I understand him a lot more than I did then.Elder Holland: “My case was very limited—an incident in a moment over a problem. That isn’t what a lot of people experience, which is more clinical issues that are more permanent. I cannot begin to say I know what that is like. ... I had a spirit of depression. The very fact that we talked about it from the pulpit—that it is not an indictment, it is not a failure, it is not a weakness—I think a lot of good was done then by just talking about it, by being open about it so we can talk about what we can do. It is true, that there are very real experiences, very real phenomena that do cause that blocking. All I know how to do is to get all the professional help you can and continue to pray and trust and to keep as reasonable and rational about the blessings of the gospel and trust in the future.”“When you feel blocked or limited, maybe it is stretching,” he said, adding, “I have shed tears over prayers I did not think were getting very far, but with greater hindsight I could see that was a lesson in maturity and growth.”“I would like to stay,” she said. “I would like to not let my doubts-slash-pain get the better of me,” she said. “I’d love to hear your insight to people like me.”OXFORD, England
Young married members of the Church visit after meeting with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland at the Pembroke College Chapel in Oxford, England, on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Photo by Tad Walch, Deseret News.Elder Holland said he asks about things he does not know and about what the long-term policies of the Church should be.