Bradley K. McKinnon, 57, and Sherry Rowe McKinnon, five children, Mountainville 5th Ward, Alpine Utah Stake: Brazil Londrina Mission, succeeding President Luiz Pereira and Sister Andreia Pereira.
Patrice and Maurice D. JonesGuatemala Cobán MissionSister Wilde is an institute teacher and a former ward Primary president, ward Young Women presidency counselor, Young Women adviser, Sunday School teacher, activity days leader, and Church-service missionary. She was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, to Michael Simkins and Shanna Hunt.Sister Packard is a stake Primary president and a former stake music chairman, ward Primary presidency counselor, ward Young Women camp director, Primary music leader, and ward organist. She was born in Boise, Idaho, to Robert Edward Simmons and Elzada Corinne Young.Brazil Piracicaba Mission
Karen K. and Ted A. ThomasSister Chatora is a self-reliance specialist and a former ward Relief Society president, ward Relief Society and Primary presidency counselor, and Relief Society compassionate service coordinator. She was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, to Mavhura Peter Musekiwa and Bessie Tsitsi Mavhura.Nicaragua Managua North MissionThe following new mission presidents and their wives have been called by the First Presidency. They will begin their service in July of 2019. Biographies of other mission presidency couples will be published throughout 2019 on news.lds.org. (See other published biographies.)
Benjamin and Hilda PoóuBrother Thomas is a stake president and a former stake presidency counselor, stake Young Men president, bishop, seminary teacher, and ward mission leader. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Theodore E Thomas and Georgia Louise Miller.Brother Packard is a ward Young Men president and a former stake president, bishop, stake mission president, bishopric counselor, Young Men adviser, and missionary in the Ecuador Guayaquil Mission. He was born in Nome, Alaska, to Robert Carter Packard and Talmadge Reyburn Meredith.Sister Cordón is a stake self-reliance specialist and a former stake Young Women presidency counselor, stake employment specialist, ward Relief Society and Young Women president, ward Young Women presidency counselor, and seminary teacher. She was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, to Ronald Mackinley Zea and Irma Julieta Diaz.Liberia Monrovia MissionR. Scott Wilde, 50, and Sherry Ann Wilde, six children, Oakhills Ward, Layton Utah Valley View Stake: Oregon Salem Mission, succeeding President Paul Tateoka and Sister Nadine Tateoka.
Bradley K. and Sherry Rowe McKinnonBrother Rasmussen is a stake president and a former stake Young Men president, bishop, high councilor, bishopric counselor, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the Japan Nagoya Mission. He was born in Portland, Oregon, to Ralph Waldo Rasmussen and Mary Ellen Ward Rasmussen.Sister Price is a Young Women adviser and a former ward Young Women president, ward Relief Society and Primary presidency counselor, and Primary teacher. She was born in Heber, Utah, to Frederick Glen Carlile and Janice Ellen Johnson Carlile.Brother Wilde is a counselor in a young single adult stake presidency and a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, ward Young Men president, elders quorum president, Sunday School teacher, and missionary in the Taiwan Taipei Mission. He was born in Encino, California, to Loren Clyde Wilde and Caroline Busone.Sister Soto is a stake Primary presidency counselor and a former ward Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary president and institute and seminary teacher. She was born in San José, Costa Rica, to Juan Evangelista Muñoz Chaves and Glady Virginia González Hernández.Brother Price is an elders quorum instructor and a former Area Seventy, stake president, district president, bishop, bishopric counselor, and missionary in the California Arcadia Mission. He was born in Vernal, Utah, to Duane Price and Eula Pearl Sessions Price.Brother Chatora is an Area Seventy and a former stake president, stake presidency counselor, bishop, high councilor, and bishopric counselor. He was born in Zvishavane, Zimbabwe, to Tsikai Chatora and Machivei Chatora.Brazil Londrina MissionDonald E. Smith, 62, and Rebecca Smith, three children, Twin Falls 15th Ward, Twin Falls Idaho Stake: Italy Rome Mission, succeeding President Michael D. Pickerd and Sister Marian Pickerd.
Gary S. and Julie C. PriceSister Rasmussen is a temple ordinance worker and choir director and a former stake Young Women camp director, ward Young Women president, ward Relief Society and Primary presidency counselor, Relief Society teacher, and ward organist. She was born in Alamosa, Colorado, to John Lynn Shawcroft and Dorothea Carol Shawcroft.
Jared R. and Jessica Galindo de OcampoSister Jones is a stake seminary supervisor and a former ward Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary president and seminary teacher. She was born in Spanish Fork, Utah, to Roy Wylie Lundell and Carol H Boyack Lundell.James F. Wood, 59, and Christine G. Wood, four children, Imperial 2nd Ward, Salt Lake Highland Stake: Florida Jacksonville Mission, succeeding President Brent I. Lee and Sister Jacque S. Lee. Jared R. Ocampo, 44, and Jessica Galindo de Ocampo, four children, Arrazola Ward, Guatemala City Don Justo Stake: Texas McAllen Mission, succeeding President José S. Torres Caballero and Sister Vicky A. Godoy de Torres.
Meredith H. and Corinne S. PackardWashington Kennewick MissionTexas McAllen Mission
Walter and Diana ChatoraGary S. Price, 59, and Julie C. Price, six children, Shepard View Ward, Farmington Utah North Stake: Liberia Monrovia Mission, succeeding President Doug Clark and Sister Michelle Clark.
James F. and Christine G. WoodBrother Soto is a stake presidency counselor and a former stake president, bishop, mission presidency counselor, area public affairs director, and missionary in the Honduras Mission. He was born in San José, Costa Rica, to Rodrigo Alvaro Soto Coto and Dinorah Bolaños Badilla.Maurice D. Jones, 59, and Patrice Jones, five children, Manitowoc Ward, Green Bay Wisconsin Stake: México Mérida Mission, succeeding President Abel Ruiz Valadez and Sister Rocio Ángel de Ruiz.
R. Scott and Sherry Ann WildeSister Thomas is a ward temple and family history consultant and a former stake Relief Society and Young Women presidency counselor and ward Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary president. She was born in St. Charles, Illinois, to David Mitchell Krafft and Arlene Faith Kruse.Brother Jones is a stake president and a former stake presidency counselor, stake mission president, bishop, high councilor, bishopric counselor, and missionary in the Uruguay Montevideo Mission. He was born in Murray, Utah, to Merlyn Paul Jones Sr. and Rosemary Wright.Sister McKinnon is a stake young single adult adviser and a former stake Young Women president, ward Relief Society and Young Women president, ward Young Women camp director, and seminary teacher. She was born in Provo, Utah, to Fred Ares Rowe and Sherrel Gay Butler Rowe.Brother Ocampo is a ward Young Men president and a former Area Seventy, stake president, stake Young Men president, high councilor, elders quorum president, and missionary in the Chile Santiago South Mission. He was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to Roberto Ocampo Reyes and Argentina Martínez.Sister Sturm is a Relief Society teacher and stake music chairman and a former ward Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidency counselor; ward missionary; and missionary in the California Fresno/San Diego Mission (American Sign Language). She was born in Mesa, Arizona, to Robert Dale Watson and Shirley Elizabeth Watson.Valeri V. Cordón, 49, and Glenda Cordón, three children, Concepción Ward, San José Costa Rica Los Yoses Stake: California Los Angeles Mission, succeeding President Robert M. Haynie and Sister Ruth E. Haynie. Brother Sturm is a high councilor and a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, branch president, and missionary in the Japan Kobe Mission. He was born in Carmichael, California, to Arthur William Sturm and Barbara D. Lythgoe Sturm.
Valeri V. and Glenda CordónBrother Smith is a Sunday School teacher and a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, high councilor, ward Young Men president, ward Young Men adviser, and missionary in the Italy Milan Mission. He was born in Salt Lake City to Donald Eugene Smith and Alice Barratt Smith.Elder Cordón is a General Authority Seventy and a former Area Seventy, stake president, bishop, high councilor, seminary teacher, and missionary in the El Salvador Mission. He was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, to Ovidio Cordón and Ema María Orellana.
Edward R. and Carolyn RasmussenSister Ocampo is a stake Relief Society presidency counselor and seminary teacher and a former stake Primary president, stake Relief Society and Primary presidency counselor, ward Primary president, and missionary in the San Salvador El Salvador East Mission. She was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to Gonzalo Galindo Galo and Anna Bessy Flores Milla.Sister Smith is a stake Relief Society president and a former seminary teacher and ward Young Women and Primary presidency counselor. She was born in Salt Lake City to Philip Hone Clark and Ruth Hawkins Clark.India Bengaluru Mission
Donald E. and Rebecca SmithOregon Salem MissionIowa Des Moines MissionSister Poóu is a stake Relief Society presidency counselor and a former ward Young Women president, ward Primary presidency counselor, and Relief Society teacher. She was born in Finca El Volcan, Senahu, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, to Ramiro Chiquín Cabnal and Cecilia Bac de Chiquin.Edward R. Rasmussen, 62, and Carolyn Rasmussen, five children, Provo Peak 10th Ward, Provo Utah East Stake: Washington Kennewick Mission, succeeding President Doneal L White and Sister Claudia Esplin White. Walter Chatora, 53, and Diana Chatora, three children, Centurion 1st Ward, Centurion South Africa Stake: Uganda Kampala Mission, succeeding President Stephen H. Collings and Sister Tracy Ann Collings. México Mérida MissionBrother Poóu is a mission presidency counselor and public affairs director and a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, high councilor, institute teacher, and missionary in the Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission. He was born in in Senahú, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, to José Herculano Poou Choc and Margarita Alva Yat.Florida Jacksonville MissionRodrigo B. Soto Bolaños, 55, and Maritza Muñoz de Soto, five children, La Victoria Ward, Liberia Costa Rica Stake: Nicaragua Managua North Mission, succeeding President Sergio A. Poncio Álvarez and Sister Jessiva L. Calderon de Poncio. Ted A. Thomas, 62, and Karen K. Thomas, eight children, Leavenworth 1st Ward, Platte City Stake: India Bengaluru Mission, succeeding President Fred M. Mortensen and Sister Shauna A. Mortensen. Sister Barros is a ward Relief Society president and a former ward Young Women and Primary president and ward Relief Society and Primary presidency counselor. She was born in Patos, Paraíba, Brazil, to Jaime Miguel de Araujo and Maria Auxiliadora Bolzan.Brother Barros is a bishopric counselor and a former stake president, stake presidency counselor, bishop, and missionary in the Brazil Brasilia Mission. He was born in João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil, to Antonio de Albuquerque Barros and Maria de Fatima Vasconcelos Barros.
Maritza Muñoz and Rodrigo B. Soto BolañosUganda Kampala MissionBruno V. Barros, 43, and Luciene M. A. Barros, three children, Jardim do Horto Ward, Maceió Brazil Stake: Brazil Piracicaba Mission, succeeding President Howard K. Bangerter and Sister Lissa H. Bangerter. Brother Wood is a ward Young Men presidency counselor and a former stake president, stake clerk, bishop, high councilor, Gospel Doctrine teacher, and missionary in the Italy Padova Mission. He was born in Salt Lake City to Franklin Snow Wood and Nellee Jean Abraham.California Los Angeles MissionMeredith H. Packard, 53, and Corinne S. Packard, six children, McKinney 7th Ward, McKinney Texas Stake: Perú Lima North Mission, succeeding President Matthew R Godfrey and Sister Monica A. Godfrey. Sister Wood is a stake Relief Society presidency counselor and a former ward Relief Society and Primary president; ward Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidency counselor; Primary music leader; Relief Society teacher; Gospel Doctrine teacher; ward missionary; and missionary in the Italy Catania Mission. She was born in Neubrucke, Germany, to Garth Lowe Geddes and Nordith Geddes.Brother McKinnon is a bishop and a former stake president, branch president, stake executive secretary, stake Young Men president, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the Brazil Porto Alegre Mission. He was born in Salt Lake City to Gary Francis McKinnon and Linda Rose Kempton McKinnon.Dale A. Sturm, 55, and Valerie Sturm, five children, Plano Ward, Rexburg Idaho Henry’s Fork Stake: Iowa Des Moines Mission, succeeding President Briant T. Badger and Sister Cynthia Badger. Italy Rome Mission
Bruno V. and Luciene M. A. Barros
Dale A. and Valerie SturmBenjamin Poóu, 45, and Hilda Poóu, five children, Coban 2nd Ward, Coban Guatemala Stake: Guatemala Cobán Mission, succeeding President Carlos A. Faundez Maureira and Sister Teresa Riquelme Faundez. Perú Lima North Mission
She said she also enjoyed Sister Nelson speaking of the process of inspiration and revelation for her husband at night and how he wrote them down. President Russell M. Nelson speaks a record crowd of 65,000 people gathered for at a devotional at the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix on Sunday, February 10, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.He cautioned against tattoos and piercings, immodesty, and pornography.“The changes we have experienced in our Church meetings and policies should help us, but by themselves they won’t get our members to where our Heavenly Father wants us to be,” President Oaks said. “The changes that make a difference to our position on the covenant path are not changes in Church policies or practices, but the changes we make in our own desires and actions.” President Russell M. Nelson and President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency speak with 10 young single adults prior to a devotional at the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix on Sunday, February 10, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks to 10 young single adults with his wife, Sister Kristen Oaks, prior to a devotional at the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix on Sunday, February 10, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.President Oaks spent much of his address reviewing and underscoring the many changes and points of emphasis from President Nelson and other Church leaders from the April and October general conferences—the changes in the Sunday worship schedule, the youth advancing to classes and quorums at the first of the year rather than on a birthday, the call to spend more time in the temple, the changes in the curriculum, the emphasis on a home-centered Church, the move to ministering, the challenge for the women to read the Book of Mormon by the end of 2018, and the correct use of the Church’s name. He focused some of this remarks on the youth and young adults in attendance, highlighting the importance of the gospel and the fact that God is our Father and Jesus Christ His Son. “And Their commandments and our obedience remain essential, whether we travel by wagon or spaceship, and whether we communicate by voice or texting.”“Everything in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints belongs to Jesus Christ,” Sister Nelson said. “The doctrine is His, the covenants are His, the ordinances are His, the priesthood power is His power. The Apostles are His. And the prophet is His prophet, chosen and instructed by Him.”President Nelson posed the question of what the gathering of Israel looks like, then listed four examples, punctuating each with a pointed phrase at the end of each.Testifying that the power of coming to Christ and following His teachings as taught by modern-day prophets is both tangible and attainable, Sister Oaks reminded: “We are not alone. We are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us and desires that we come to Him.Sister Nelson recounted personal and shared experiences with her prophet-husband in the 13 months since the passing of his predecessor, President Thomas S. Monson, and President Nelson’s sustaining as the Church’s leader. She also acknowledged the personal confirmation she received—twice—of his mantle. President Russell M. Nelson gestures to attendees at the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix on Sunday, February 10, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Displaying on the giant videoboards at both ends of the stadium a photo of President Nelson and President Oaks together, Sister Oaks underscored the energy and unity of the pair who have served side by side since their calls to the apostleship in the April 1984 general conference.Gail Ricks of Gilbert, Arizona, who attended with her husband and six children, said she was touched by “the prophet’s presence and the spirit he carries. I loved the message of gathering Israel and that we can have a mini-MTC (missionary training center) in our home.” Audience members at a devotional at the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix listen to President Russell M. Nelson on Sunday, February 10, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.
The devotional at the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix on Sunday, February 10, 2019, was also broadcast live to meetinghouses across Arizona. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.She was thrilled to hear one of her children say of the event: “We’re are in the same room as the prophet—but it is a really large room.” President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, wave to audience members in the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix on Sunday, February 10, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“Loyal Saints of Arizona assembled to hear and heed our Prophet’s words, you must be very special,” she said, “because only 15 Apostles of Jesus Christ walk this earth, and two of them have been directed to come here in your behalf.”Citing the restoration of priesthood and its keys through heavenly messengers such as Peter, James, John, Moses, Elias, and Elijah as key to “gather together in one all things,” President Nelson emphasized the keys of the gathering of Israel coming from Moses and the restored keys of sealing authority from Elijah.Eleven-year-old Hailey Hinton of Peoria, Arizona, said it was her first time being with a president of the Church—other than attending general conference—as she sat six rows above the floor. “I was really excited to see him walk in,” she said of President Nelson. President Russell M. Nelson gestures to attendees at the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix on Sunday, February 10, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.When the house of Israel rejected the teachings of the Lord and persecuted the prophets in biblical times, Jehovah scattered His people far and wide among the heathen—but with a promise that one day they would be gathered back into the fold of the Lord, he said. “And that promised day is today.”The Book of Mormon, he added, serves as a tangible sign to all the world that the Lord has commenced to gather Israel and fulfill the Abrahamic covenant. It contains the fulness of the gospel and teaches the Savior’s Atonement, with its two primary and oft-repeated topics being Jesus Christ and the gathering of Israel.PHOENIX, Arizona President Russell M. Nelson speaks at a devotional at the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix on Sunday, February 10, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“Tonight Heavenly Father has sent His messengers to teach and inform us. I beg you to listen to what they say. I promise that their teachings, if you apply them, will uplift and edify you.”Regarding technology, he said cell phones “should be your slaves, not your masters … cut it back and rejoin the world of those who talk face to face.”The devotional in the indoor stadium was the largest congregation to listen to President Nelson, the largest Church gathering ever in the state of Arizona, and one of the largest of the Church since the area and regional conferences held in the 1970s and 1980s, which included a May 1980 Southern California area conference in the Rose Bowl that drew an estimated 75,000. President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks to 10 young single adults with his wife, Sister Kristen Oaks, prior to a devotional at the State Farm Stadium in Phoenix on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Arizona is home to nearly 430,000 Latter-day Saints (263,000 in metro Phoenix) and six missions (five in the Valley of the Sun) as well as the birthplace of President Spencer W. Kimball, the Church's 12th president who served from 1973 through 1985.
“My dear brothers and sisters, these promises—first given to Abraham and later reaffirmed with his son, Isaac, and his grandson Jacob, who became ‘Israel’—are known as the Abrahamic covenant and are available to all of God’s children,” President Nelson said. “Yes, these divine promises are available to you!”President Oaks also urged care in how youth and young adults label themselves, asking them to not define themselves by some temporary quality. “Our single best quality to characterize ourselves is that we are a son or daughter of God,” he said. “That fact overrides all other labels, including race, occupation, physical characteristics, honors, or even religious affiliation.”“We have a prophet on the earth, and he came to see us and to tell us to join the Arizona battalion,” he said. “And he made it very specific for us.”The latter is done as missionaries take the gospel across the globe, as the light of the gospel and the love of the Lord infuse the lives of all; as men are ordained to the priesthood and women are endowed with the power of the priesthood through their temple activity; and as temples continue to dot the earth, he said.“I have an invitation for you as the Arizona battalion of the Lord’s army to help gather Israel on both sides of the veil,” proclaimed the 94-year-old President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as he spoke to about 65,000 gathered in State Farm Stadium, including the nearly 9,000 youth and young adults seated on the stadium floor for the Sunday, February 10 event. Hailey’s father, President Sean L. Hinton of the Peoria North Arizona Stake, appreciated the rallying cry for him, his family, and his fellow members from the prophet.She also shared her witness of him receiving inspiration and revelation—often in the middle of the night, sometimes while she is in the room with him and other times when she leaves him to be alone. “I am a witness of being present, and I am a witness by being absent, that the Lord indeed instructs His prophet....Called by a variety of names ranging from the Arizona Member Devotional to the Greater Phoenix Area Devotional, the event was the day’s finale for President Nelson, who had a guest column published in the morning issue of the state’s largest newspaper, the Arizona Republic; a television interview shared across the state’s television stations, several receptions with a collection of the state’s civic, educational, and faith leaders; a question-and-answer session with 10 young single adults, and then the stadium devotional, which was also broadcast live to meetinghouses across Arizona.
If you like to make lists, set goals, and check off accomplishments, you’ll love the new Study Plans feature in the latest update of the Gospel Library app.“We are pleased to add the study plans feature in the Gospel Library app,” said Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy. “The Church continues to innovate its resources to better support the new home-centered approach to gospel learning.”Study Plans helps you set up a schedule for studying any content found in the Gospel Library app.How to create a study plan
Set a schedule
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And in the rotunda of the Rome Italy Temple Visitors’ Center among the Christus and ancient Apostle statues, he pointed to Thorvaldsen’s statue of Peter that has two keys gripped in the right hand.Between Rome and Jerusalem, the assignment’s itinerary—ranging from conferences and devotionals to humanitarian visits—included stops in the United Arab Emirates cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai; Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan; and Cairo, Egypt.President Brimhall reported that in addition to the large-scale gatherings of members and students, Elder Bednar found ways to minister to individuals during his stay. One such person was a sister, Margreta Spencer, who is the district’s longest-residing member in Israel and is confined to a nursing home in the Golan Heights, nearly three hours north of Jerusalem. Sister Susan Bednar, right, visits with youth at the Ashti refugee camp near Erbil, Kurdistan, on January 21, 2019. LDS Charities assisted in providing 750 tents in two refugee camps in the area. Photo by Boyce Fitzgerald. Elder David A. Bendar, seated with folded arms to the left end of the table, holds an impromptu meeting with students in the cafeteria of the BYU Jerusalem Center during his visit there in late January 2019. Sister Susan Bednar is seated in front of him. Photo by Dennis Brimhall. A sign in the Ashti refugee camp shows the cooperative efforts of LDS Charities and the Barzani Charity Foundation to provide tents and shelter in several refugee camps in Kurdistan. Photo by Boyce Fitzgerald.Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stood in the urban grove of aged olive trees located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. It is called the Garden of Gethsemane, although the precise location of the New Testament’s same-named site of the Atonement of Jesus Christ remains uncertain but likely nearby.The Apostle noted his affinity for having visited the areas of Capernaum and Tabgha off the shores of the Sea of Galilee—seeing the foundation of Peter’s home, visualizing the events of the New Testament in the area, and being mindful of the Savior’s teachings such as the Bread of Life sermon and the Sermon on the Mount.“When you are in a place very close to where Christ’s Atonement actually occurred, you try to imagine—but cannot totally—what that experience was like for Him,” said Elder Bednar, who also visited other historical and religious sites in the Old City and near the Sea of Galilee.Church members in the Middle Eastern countries face unique and difficult challenges, Elder Andersen said, explaining that “Elder Bednar’s visit was a comforting reminder to them that Heavenly Father remembers and loves all His children. His teachings and his testimony warmed their hearts.” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan Bednar pose for a photo at the excavated ruins of an ancient Byzantine-era synagogue in Capernaum, Israel, near the Sea of Galilee on January 27, 2019. Photo courtesy of Elder David A. Bednar. Children from the African Hope Learning Centre in Cairo, Egypt, gather to greet Elder David A. Bednar and other guests on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. Photo by Boyce Fitzgerald.In addition to visiting historical and religious sites in the Old City and around the Sea of Galilee, Elder Bednar presided over a conference of the Jerusalem District and a devotional at the BYU Jerusalem Center. The Bednars also hosted an impromptu gathering with students in the center’s cafeteria one evening.“Consider the antiquity of Egypt and its impact on the world and on world culture, and then think of the Roman influence and of Jerusalem,” he said. “It is just a remarkable sequence of places to be and to learn.” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Susan, walk from the Rome Italy Temple to the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, January 14, 2019. Behind them at right is President President Marcello De Vito, president of the Rome City Council. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.“I love to read about Peter and Paul and their ministries in the New Testament,” he continued. “And the mantle they bore, that Elder Rasband and I have received, is real. For me, the bond with those ancient Apostles is in the majesty and powers of the mantle and in the spiritual witness of the reality of the Restoration in the latter days.” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is joined by his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, at the pulpit during the Jerusalem District conference meeting in the BYU Jerusalem Center on Saturday, January 27. The Old City, including the Dome of the Rock, is seen in the background. Photo by Dennis Brimhall.One humanitarian stop was at the African Hope Learning Centre in Cairo, Egypt, where LDS Charities has donated computers and other materials. For more than two decades, the school has helped educate impoverished children—up to nearly 500 annually—who have fled from Sudan and a dozen other African nations, often without one or both of their parents. A group of visitors—including Elder David A. Bednar, Sister Susan Bednar, Elder Wllford W. Andersen, and Sister Kathleen Andersen—are greeted by children at the Ashti refugee camp near Erbil, Kurdistan, on January 21, 2019. LDS Charities assisted in providing 750 tents in two refugee camps in the area. Photo by Boyce Fitzgerald.“We are all sons and daughters of God,” said Elder Bednar of the displaced refugees and their needs. “We help provide some of the assistance they need to survive in really difficult circumstances.”In the UAE, Elder Bednar conducted a special meeting of the Abu Dhabi Stake as well as a meeting with youth and young adults ages 12 through 30. While geographically Abu Dhabi is a long distance from Salt Lake City, “the leadership and the Church are not a long way from Abu Dhabi,” he said. “There is a powerful message when we minister to them in their lands and in their homes.”It was a learning experience for others as well, as Elder Bednar met with many in meetings while ministering to the one. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Susan Bednar stand at the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee on January 27, 2019. Photo courtesy of Elder David A. Bednar.Jerusalem District President Dennis Brimhall, who joined the Bednars and Andersens and others in the small group touring the Old City and Galilee, said, “We were continually thinking about a living Apostle walking where the original Apostles walked and were taught—and to be mindful that the words of a living Apostle are just as important as those we read in the New Testament.”“You are close to the location when time and eternity intersected in the Savior’s atoning sacrifice,” said Elder Bednar, recalling his first-ever visit to the Holy Land last month and the scriptural scenes of the Apostles Peter, James, and John accompanying Christ to the garden that night.Another visit was at the Ashti IDP Camp—IDP standing for “internally displaced persons,” or refugees within one’s own country—in Iraqi Kurdistan, near the city of Erbil. LDS Charities partnered with the Barzani Charity Foundation to provide 750 large tents—250 at Ashti and another 500 at the Khazer refugee camp. The tents offered shelter and protection from the cold winter weather, with November flooding in the area damaging the previous refugee shelter. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles answers a question during a press conference in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.The two locations—Rome and Jerusalem—served as fitting bookends for the modern-day Apostle’s 18-day assignment. Joined by his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, Elder Bednar went from Rome, with its history of influence, to Egypt and neighboring Middle East nations marked by the antiquity of the region’s early civilizations, and then on to the Holy Land. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stands with Sister Susan A. Bednar in front of the Christus and Apostle statues in the Rome Italy Temple Visitors’ Center in Rome in mid-January, 2019. Photo courtesy of Elder David A. Bednar. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, is the largest mosque in the country. Photo courtesy of Elder David A. Bednar. A young girl grins while greeting a group of visitors—including Elder David A. Bednar, Sister Susan Bednar, Elder Wllford W. Andersen, and Sister Kathleen Andersen—to the Ashti refugee camp near Erbil, Kurdistan, on January 21, 2019. Photo by Boyce Fitzgerald.
Children from the African Hope Learning Centre in Cairo, Egypt, gather to greet Elder David A. Bednar, second from left, Sister Susan Bednar, fourth from right, and other guests on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. Photo by Boyce Fitzgerald.“Peter received from the Savior the keys of the kingdom,” Elder Bednar said, “and there is a mantle associated with the ordination. The apostleship is never about the men. It is about the office and the mantle.“To be in Jerusalem with an Apostle of the Lord is an experience that none of us will ever forget,” said Elder Wilford W. Andersen, a General Authority Seventy who with his wife, Sister Kathleen Andersen, accompanied the Bednars in the Middle East and Israel. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets attendees following a special meeting of members ages 12 through 30 of the Abu Dhabi Stake, held on Friday, January 18, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Photo by Boyce Fitzgerald.Elder Bednar video-recorded a message and blessing for her, President Brimhall said. The district president added that he’ll deliver it to her soon when he goes to do a temple-recommend interview with her.“To have the responsibility to bear witness of Him, His divinity, His Resurrection, His living reality causes us to count our many blessings and reflect deeply on all we have been blessed to have received in this dispensation.”Less than two weeks earlier, he had been in Rome, joined by his fellow Apostle, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, in initiating the media and special-guest tours of the new Rome Italy Temple. (See related story.) During the nearly weeklong assignment there, the two visited the Mamertine Prison, believed to be the dungeon cells “where Peter and Paul were held captive for publicly declaring their witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Elder Bednar said. Elder David A. Bednar glances at a tent bearing the LDS Charities and Bargain Charity Foundation logos in the Ashti refugee camp near Erbil, Kurdistan. Elder Bendar was accompanied by, from left, Elder Wilford W. Andersen, a General Authority Seventy, and their wives, Sister Susan Bednar and Sister Kathleen Andersen. Photo by Boyce Fitzgerald. Children from the African Hope Learning Centre in Cairo, Egypt, gather to greet Elder David A. Bednar, Sister Susan A. Bednar, and other visitors on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. Photo by Boyce Fitzgerald.
Faith in God is, and has always been, the preeminent force for good in this world, wrote President Russell M. Nelson in an op-ed article published February 10 in the Arizona Republic.“Whatever your faith tradition or personal circumstances, as a servant of the Lord I invite you to look to Him and make Him the center of your life.”“If there is anything I’ve learned in my 94 years of living, it is that a life with God is far better—more filled with hope—than one without Him.”In the editorial, titled “Viewpoints: LDS president urges spirituality in an increasingly secular world during Phoenix-area visit,” President Nelson, 94, wrote that the most profound thing he has witnessed during his lifetime is the unrivaled difference that belief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, has in a person’s life. “There is simply nothing to compare with the refining, ennobling strength and meaning that come into the life of a devoted believer and servant.” President Russell M. Nelson looks over a destroyed LDS chapel with his wife, Wendy Nelson, in Paradise, California, on Sunday, January 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed 1,400 homes and hundreds of businesses. President Nelson wrote about the visit in an op-ed published February 10 in the Arizona Republic. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Read the article here.In the op-ed President Nelson wrote about his visit last month to Paradise, California, where he met with and comforted those affected by the Camp Fire, which left 86 dead and destroyed more than 18,000 structures. He also wrote about the recent death of his daughter Wendy Nelson Maxfield to cancer.
President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, stand with son in-law Norman A. Maxfield after funeral services for President Nelson’s daughter Wendy Nelson Maxfield on Saturday, January 19. President Nelson wrote about his daughter in an op-ed published February 10 in the Arizona Republic. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.
“Encourage your students to always hold a temple recommend … and then to share their feelings about being in the temple, the revelation and inspiration that comes as they reach beyond this life ‘for the things of a better’ serving those who cannot do the ordinances for themselves.”“To this day I can see my teachers’ imprint on how I study the scriptures and, in particular, how much I love the Book of Mormon.” Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, participate in “An Evening with a General Authority” devotional, which was broadcast from the Tabernacle on Temple Square on February 8, 2019.Elder Kim B. Clark, a General Authority Seventy and Commissioner of Church Education, introduced Elder Rasband and made brief remarks.“I have learned no one is immune,” he said. “Teen suicide is a crisis reaching all around the world. Statistics show that suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among youth ages 15 to 24.”Sustaining power also comes each week by renewing sacred covenants and partaking of the sacrament. “Let the blessing of the sacrament, to ‘always have His Spirit to be with us’, be something you talk about so that drawing upon the healing power of Jesus Christ, through His Atonement, is real.”Like the angel that comforted the Savior during the unfathomable pain of Gethsemane, the Lord’s teachers can be angels of comfort for those in their charge.The Church, he emphasized, takes teen suicide seriously. Seminary and institute teachers can help those at risk by utilizing love and the many Church-provided suicide-prevention resources. In doing so, they further fulfill their calling as “a teacher come from God” (John 3:2).Christ’s influence, impact, and reach are all encompassing. “He loves us in our brightest and our darkest hours,” he said.“Life-changing” influencersBut Elder Rasband warned that even youth who come from gospel-centered homes might be at risk. “One young man responded to a family home evening activity that asked each member to write down one thing that was important to them. The 14-year-old, seemingly on top of his world, wrote, ‘To know there is someone there for me.’” Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addresses Church Educational System employees, missionaries, and their spouses during “An Evening with a General Authority” devotional, which was broadcast from the Tabernacle on Temple Square on February 8, 2019.Life has always been filled with challenges and no one is immune. Trials come to all—they are part of the mortal experience to make one strong.“They need to be encircled in the arms of their Savior and know they are loved. So often the Lord calls on us; He expects us to be His welcoming, loving arms. We need to encourage their friends to do the same.”“The scripture states, ‘I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you,’” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:6).The Lord continues to look for those who can help a student who struggles or perhaps is declining in testimony and understanding.Teachers should ensure that academic rigor or gospel instruction never “get in front” of the power of the Spirit to touch and encourage students. Prepare them to receive inspiration and personal revelation—and then act upon it.There is no template for teens at risk for suicide, according to a Latter-day Saint Apostle.Elder Rasband counseled seminary and institute teachers to help their students identify a “protection scripture” that they can call upon whenever they are in a perilous situation or in need of strength. “‘Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you’ is a good one.”But there are common threads, said Elder Ronald A. Rasband in his sober, yet hopeful, message to Church Educational System employees, missionaries, and their spouses.Healing in service, temple worship, and partaking of the sacrament“To be of good cheer is to trust Him when things don’t work as we planned,” he said. “It means to soldier on when difficult twists take us in unexpected directions, when tragedy and hardship shatter our dreams.”Students fear not being accepted by friends. They fear academic performance, pressures, and problems at home they can’t solve. They fear they can trust no one—and no one trusts them. They fear being alone, and fear being in groups. They fear there is no solution or relief to their pain.But never forget, divine assistance and ministering is found through the Savior. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addresses Church Educational System employees, missionaries, and their spouses during “An Evening with a General Authority” devotional, which was broadcast from the Tabernacle on Temple Square on February 8, 2019.“He has prepared you to step forward in teamwork with parents and Church leaders. You stand before your students and reaffirm the truth that Jesus Christ lives, that our Father in Heaven loves each one of us, and that we have a place in His eternal plan. And best of all, you believe it.”Elder Rasband began his “An Evening with a General Authority” address—which was broadcast live from the Salt Lake Tabernacle at Church headquarters to a global audience—by noting the “life-changing” influence CES instructors have had on his own life.Elder Rasband concluded with an apostolic witness and reminder of the Savior’s loving power to lift and heal all who are in need.The Lord lifts His servants, telling them to be of “good cheer.”Suicide is often connected to the pain of unanswered questions, sorrows, griefs, what-ifs, and what-nows, he said. Suicide levels have reached such tragic proportions that people must reach out in new and more effective ways to counsel, care for, and support vulnerable youth.Additionally, many of today’s seminary and institute students have had their lives overtaken by stress, temptation, crisis, and disappointment.“He will be with us, He will comfort us, and He will heal us if we come to Him and draw upon His power to save us,” said Elder Rasband. “Most often He heals the wounded heart. How does it happen, we ask? By the power of the Atonement exercised in our lives today, not at the end before the final judgment, but every day as we seek to be like Him, to love what He loves, to follow His chosen prophets.”Those threads might include disappointment, a botched quiz, a break up, a string of bullying, academic stress, or perhaps what can aptly be called adolescent misery. Elder Kim B. Clark introduces Elder Ronald A. Rasband during “An Evening with a General Authority” devotional, which was broadcast from the Tabernacle on Temple Square to Church Educational System employees, missionaries, and their spouses on February 8, 2019.Discouragement, despair, anxiety, and depression are all products of such fears.Seminary and institute also offered young Ronald Rasband “a safe place” to hang out with friends gathered together in a gospel setting. “I particularly looked forward to taking Melanie Twitchell to the institute dances. Melanie is now my beautiful, wonderful wife.”“Jesus Christ is always the answer. In understanding His mission and His gospel, our love for Him, and our belief in and reliance on Him gives us strength.”Start by following the example of the Savior, who rescues through the Atonement and continues to love and heal His loved ones.“The blessing is that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can still be of good cheer,” he said.Elder Rasband then shared a hope-driven teaching from the Church’s presiding Apostle, President Russell M. Nelson: “When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives.”“When they do, they will experience the miracle of the Lord’s direction and guidance, a very real form of His love,” he said.Everyone must face the issue of suicide, he said.Gospel teaching in seminary and institute is especially vital for those students without a gospel support network at home.Be of good cheerThe weight of lifting, teaching and encouraging youth can be almost more than one can bear. Bringing souls to Christ can be hard—and the adversary is aggressively targeting those of the rising generation.Elder Rasband acknowledged that his days as a student in seminary were unburdened by today’s internet content that can undercut beliefs in God, religion, revelation, and prophets.“As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we must commit to do everything we can to reshape the thinking that suicide is an answer, a response worth considering. We must talk to teens about suicide and love them out of considering suicide as a solution to their pain.”Youths at risk may play the trombone, sing in the choir, compete on soccer teams, or bag groceries after school. Some regularly attend church. Others have set aside religion.The Lord’s sustaining promise to “stand by you” is not reserved for those “who are squeaky clean” or hold a seat on the seminary council.Fearful moments“He will stand by each one of our youth, each one of us for that matter, in our darkest hour. That is the power of the Atonement, and we need to teach it with such force that it reaches those who are suffering.”“Try just saying the name ‘Jesus Christ’ in a perilous setting with one who has lost hope. Just calling upon Him by name, with reverence, can make a difference in a difficult moment.”Seminary and institute teachers are in the corps of “first responders” for young people at risk and, tragically, believe life has no purpose for them.“Some students get derailed, but with the Spirit of the Lord, you can help put them back on track,” he said. “Remember the words of Paul: ‘We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed,’” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).“They may be the ones who privately ask a question just to engage in further gospel discussion because it is the only time they have that spiritual connection in their day. Treasure those opportunities, and make time for them.”Elder Rasband challenged seminary and institute teachers to help students know of God’s love while developing an understanding of the Atonement. Encourage them to find joy and purpose by serving others and serving in the temple.Elder Rasband also warned of suicide “clusters,” where one teen takes his or her own life and others see it as an option and follow.Throughout time, Christ has unceasingly demonstrated His love for all.“Fear in its many forms is manifest unfortunately in the cruelest of conclusions—suicide,” he said.Youth and young single adults who struggle with gender issues are particularly vulnerable, he added.“A greater understanding of Jesus Christ will help those who are spiraling down,” said Elder Rasband, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “His love for them and the profound and exalted place He has prepared for them in the eternities is a message of hope. He loves them. They need to know that.Life is fragile and uncertain. Homes that practice family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening offer precious tools for young people.Hope in Christ is the antidote for suicide“We can express love if that is what youth need; find them a friend, listen to them, and seek them out with a kind word or gesture. We may need to work with their parents and bishops to get counseling services for struggles, depression, or another mental illness.”Elder Rasband spoke of serving on the Utah governor’s task force that is charged with addressing the surge in teen suicide. It has proven to be a daunting responsibility.Never forget, the “cause of Christ” beckons with an everlasting promise: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Construction on the temple with an adjacent meetinghouse is expected to begin in 2019 and is anticipated to take about two years to complete.This will be the first temple in Cabo Verde, a country of 10 islands off the west coast of Africa. The temple was first announced October 7, 2018, by Church President Russell M. Nelson.An artist rendering of the temple was also made public Friday. The rendering features a single-story temple with an end spire reflective of the architectural styles in the area. The temple will be built in the capital city of Praia on the island of Santiago and located east of Avenida Cidade de Lisboa in the Tahiti Chã de Areia neighborhood.The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that the groundbreaking for the Praia Cabo Verde Temple will be held May 4, 2019. Elder Paul V. Johnson, president of the Europe Area for the Church, will preside.Attendance at the site will be by invitation only. It is anticipated that the groundbreaking services will be transmitted via internet to local meetinghouses within the proposed temple district. Additional details will be forthcoming.
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Friday, February 8 they will close the missionary training center located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, effective July 2019.
Plans for future use of the facilities will be determined in coordination with local leaders, according to Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff. Following the closure, missionaries who would have attended this center will be trained in the Mexico and Brazil MTCs.
This decision comes as Church leaders continue to seek the best use of resources worldwide according to the needs and demands of each area, said Woodruff. Specifically, this closure is designed to better utilize the Mexico and Brazil MTCs, among others, which train large numbers of missionaries who are assigned to serve in Latin America. Three additional Missionary Training Centers closed this month in Spain, Chile, and the Dominican Republic.
With the closures, the Church will operate 11 missionary training centers—located in Brazil, Colombia, England, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Provo, and South Africa.
This photo from 1983 includes Elder Laddie Stewart, left, and his investigator John Larkin. Larkin was baptized and is now serving as Elder Stewart’s mission president in the Marshall Islands/Kiribati Mission.In 1988, “Brother” Larkin became “Bishop” Larkin. He would later serve in a stake presidency and presided over the Canberra Australia Stake for nine years.Welcoming the Stewarts to the mission field marked an unforgettable moment for President Larkin.(He also remembers sweetening their frequent visits with generous slices of apple pie.)Anyone who has served a proselytizing mission likely recognizes the first two scenarios.They located the address and knocked on the door. John Larkin answered and invited them in. He had discussed the Church with a Latter-day Saint friend and eagerly began asking the missionaries question after question. Elder Stewart and Elder Bouy couldn't answer all his queries—but their teachings and testimonies soon took hold.Elder Stewart and his companion challenged their inquisitive investigator to find answers and guidance through prayer. Personal revelation, they taught, would become his trusted friend.At this moment a missionary is knocking on the door of a would-be investigator.Additional visits to the United States would follow, and the two growing families gathered together whenever possible. Sister Lori Stewart and her husband, Elder Laddie Stewart, outside the New Zealand Missionary Training Center prior to reporting to the Marshall Islands/Kiribati Mission. The Stewarts’ mission president, President John Larkin, was once Elder Stewart’s investigator in Australia.Elder and Sister Stewart have been in the mission field for just a few weeks, he added, “and already their love for the people and love for the gospel of Jesus Christ is touching the hearts of many others.”“Looking back, I can see that teaching institute was my mission for gaining a deeper knowledge of the gospel,” he said.John accepted their invitations and was soon preparing for baptism.The new convert initially hoped he could serve a full-time mission. But at 29, he was too old. So, he instead accepted a calling to teach institute. He also became a husband and later a father. He and his wife, Robyn, are the parents of six children.“Going on a mission when I was 19 years old was a dot. Meeting and teaching John was another. … Now, getting to serve with him is a milestone-sized dot. I am honored and filled with joy.”Soon a mission call to the Marshall Islands/Kiribati Mission arrived.“John reached out to me and said he was coming to the States on a business trip and would like to reunite and visit,” said Elder Stewart. “I was beyond thrilled to see one of my converts doing so well.”“I was deeply touched by their humility, their genuine concern, and their passion for the gospel—and I later realized that the greatest influence during the lessons was the Spirit of the Lord,” wrote President Larkin in an email to the Church News. “I always felt good when the missionaries were in my home, and I always looked forward to their next visit.”In the early weeks of 1983, 19-year-old Elder Stewart and his companion, Elder Michael Bouy, were serving in Melbourne, Australia, when they followed up on a member referral.Meanwhile, young Elder Stewart returned home to Arizona, attended college, began his career in education, married his wife, Lori, and started a family of his own.Then, “out of the blue,” he said, the phone rang. He immediately recognized the Australian accent on the other end of the line.The third outcome? Highly unlikely—and seemingly impossible. But for senior missionary Elder Laddie Stewart and his one-time-investigator-turned-mission president, President John Larkin, it’s a priceless reality.“I count serving alongside Elder Stewart on a mission as a highlight of our 36-year friendship,” he said. “His humility and kind nature continues to touch my heart.”A few possible outcomes:
As a child and young teenager, I asked all of my Primary, Sunday School, and Young Women teachers a lot of questions—questions that would be considered “deep” for a child. They fulfilled their callings faithfully and blessed my life in indescribable ways, yet they often did not have the answers I sought. At times, this made church a difficult experience for me.He also helped us learn by teaching. When he was sick or out of town, instead of getting another adult to substitute, he would ask one of us to teach. The first time he asked me, I felt surprised, nervous, and super excited. I don’t really remember how it went, but I know I loved it. I now even wonder how much of that experience contributed to my desire to become a teacher by profession.I couldn’t believe my ears. “Really?” I thought. “OK, let’s do this.” I sat up in my chair and raised my hand. He called on me and the questions began. I honestly don’t remember my first question. But I remember his response: “Wow, that’s a really good question. Let’s turn to Doctrine and Covenants.”I have questions. Lots of them. I always have. For as long as I can remember, I have believed in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and I have had an insatiable appetite for truth and a burning desire to know more about Them. Over the years, this gift has brought many blessings and some challenges.That became a normal Sunday for our class, but the other classmates started joining in as well. Soon enough, even those of us who used to have to get escorted to class by the Sunday School president were now running to class after sacrament meeting. We truly wanted to learn the doctrine.Heavenly Father sent me one of the greatest gifts of my teenage years in the form of a Sunday School teacher named Brother Brent White. Shortly after Brother White and his family moved into the ward, he was called to be my Sunday School teacher. When he was sustained in sacrament meeting, I remember thinking, “Who is this guy in the blue framed glasses? Should I really give him a try?” It sounds so silly to my adult mind now, but that was my thought as a 14-year-old. And I am grateful I did “give him a try.”I turned to the reference and there was my answer—right in the scriptures. That verse led me to another question, which I asked right away. And that was the pattern for the rest of the class. I don’t think I even let anyone else in the class talk that day. I kept firing questions and he kept taking me to the scriptures.On his first Sunday as my teacher, he started the class by asking, “Does anyone have any questions?”Brother White would regularly take us to the scriptures and the words of prophets. He would lead discussions that allowed us to think and share and ask more questions. If he didn’t know something, he would tell us he didn’t know. And then he would invite us to keep thinking and would give us more questions to consider about that topic. I was OK that he didn’t know all the answers—I didn’t expect him to know everything. He testified that Heavenly Father wanted to teach us and wanted to help us understand truth as we are taught repeatedly in the scriptures. “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:63).Lori Newbold serves as the director of training services for Seminaries and Institutes and is a member of the Young Women general board.I felt my small flame of a testimony growing into a blazing fire that year because of my Sunday School experience. We knew he loved us, and we loved him. I am eternally grateful for Brother White and the way that he led me to the Savior and assisted Him in my personal conversion.Some of us class members were so engaged that the 40-minute Sunday School session was often too short for all we wanted to learn. Brother White would allow us to come to his home on Sunday nights, and we would continue our questions and conversations from class. He took time to help me understand—lots of time.This is by no means a criticism of any of those wonderful teachers; at age 11 I was asking questions that I still don’t know the answers to a couple of decades later. I remember complaining to my mom one Sunday after Church: “Why do I even go to church if no one can answer my questions?” She compassionately listened to my frustrations and witnessed of the importance of following the Savior at all times.
The Music and the Spoken Word broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM, ksl.com, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143), and on the Tabernacle Choir’s website and YouTube channel.A newspaper reporter was covering the story of a soup kitchen that served the homeless. She chose a patron to interview, a middle-aged woman, and asked what she thought of the facility. The woman gave an articulate, detailed analysis and expressed her gratitude, stunning the reporter with her poise and confidence. It was a lesson learned not to judge someone by appearances.The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org.Don't let your eyes—or your prejudices—deceive you. If we are willing to see past the superficial and treasure the very heart of those we meet, we'll realize that each human being we meet is one of God’s precious children. That is the difference between looking and seeing.Those are usually harmless mistakes. But what about our perceptions when we look at a person? We might think we can easily discern a person’s intelligence, moral character, and abilities. But are our eyes deceiving us?Tuning inHenry David Thoreau once said, “The question is not what you look at, but what you see” (Thoreau's journal entry for August 5, 1851). When you view a beautiful painting, you are looking at brushstrokes, colors, and lines. But what do you see? That depends on whether or not you allow the artwork into your heart, to teach you, to move you, to inspire you. Every painting is more than just paint. And the same is true of every person. When we meet someone, do we look beyond the outward appearance to see the soul within?We’ve all been misjudged and labeled based on nothing but a hasty first impression. Sadly, we sometimes even misjudge ourselves; self-judgment is often the harshest kind of all. And we have witnessed how sweeping generalizations based on culture, politics, or religion can prevent us from seeing that we have more in common with one another than it may appear.Can your eyes be fooled? It actually happens every day. What looks like a leaf sometimes turns out to be a well-camouflaged insect. A shadow on the wall can make a harmless tree branch look like something much more menacing. And the objects in a rearview mirror are often closer than they appear.Editor's note: The “spoken word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. The following was given February 3, 2019.
“We are uniquely able to strengthen families because we have temples,” said the Church president. “The ordinances, covenants, and blessings of the holy temple are only offered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Neil L. Andersen and Sister Kathy Andersen smile with a young girl after a meeting with Church members in Vienna. The young girl had made a sign during the meeting that read, “I am a defender of the faith.”But Elder Andersen challenges any suggestion that Europe’s most pivotal contributions belong to Church history. Today’s European members continue to play an essential role in the growth and stability of the Church. During his recent assignment, Elder Andersen repeatedly felt an impression of European Latter-day Saints: defenders of the faith.Evidence of deep-rooted, gospel-centered homes abounds across many European countries. Elder Andersen was presiding over the Bordeaux mission in 1992 when then-Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles organized the Bordeaux France Stake. All three members of the original Bordeaux stake presidency were Church converts.The temple: evidence of God’s love
Elder Andersen with Elder Caleb Wilkinson of the France Lyon Mission. Elder Wilkinson’s father, Matthew J. Wilkinson, was one of Elder Andersen’s missionaries when he presided as the president of the France Bordeaux Mission.“During his visit to Vienna, Elder Andersen encouraged us to be defenders of the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” wrote Elder Wondra. “In order to be able to do that I feel that we need to always remember our Savior and pray daily with real intent to have His Spirit with us at all times. We must search the scriptures and the words of our living prophets to find Him, to better understand Him and His doctrine and what He did for us.Some might argue that Europe enjoyed its Latter-day Saint “moment” in the 19th century when legions across the continent joined the Church and immigrated to the United States, providing an essential role in the growth of the young Church.As Latter-day Saints worldwide strive for “home-centered, Church-supported” families, they “can look to the long-established examples of many in Europe,” added Elder Andersen.One of the central opportunities of the restored gospel is to strengthen families through the temple, added Elder Andersen, citing a quote from President Russell M. Nelson at last October’s General Conference leadership meeting:“And then we need to try to follow His example by doing small acts of kindness and faith. The more we do that the more we will be filled with His light and then it will come natural for us to share it with our families, to teach our children about it, and to speak of the joy that we feel because of Him to our friends and people we meet.”His most recent European assignment (January 18–January 27) included a stop in Bristol, England, for a priesthood leadership conference; a first-time visit to Wales for a member meeting; a missionary meeting in Paris; a member meeting in Vienna, Austria; and time spent with local Church leaders and members in his mission “home” region in southern France.Those family chains of faith were fortified by a visit from a latter-day Apostle.Elder Helmut D. Wondra is an Area Seventy in Vienna. He grew up in the Church and is now raising his own children. The Wondras are emblematic of the many multi-generational chains “holding the line” across Europe.But all, he said, can aptly be called “defenders of the faith.”Latter-day Saints in Europe answer a sacred charge. “They defend the faith and keep the restored gospel firmly implanted with strong generations that come one after another,” he said.
In his rededication remarks on February 5, BYU President Kevin J Worthen briefly outlined the life of Caroline Harman. She saw much adversity in her day, while also serving others without complaint. She was a widow three times over, raised 14 children (including her sister’s children after she died), and suffered from diabetes, all while taking responsibility for a 300-acre farm as well as serving as Relief Society president for 18 years.After most of her children had married, Caroline Harman continued to be productive. She began a chicken farm that soon had 1,000 chickens. As one biographer put it, “Aunt Carrie expected everything around her to be productive, and she would not have a lazy chicken. A hen who lacked commitment was invited for Sunday dinner.”President Hinckley previously dedicated the Harman building on April 13, 1982. Ground was broken on June 24, 2016, to begin construction of the Harman Building addition, and remodeling of the rest of the building began. The new wing added 109,806 square feet to the building, resulting in a total 142,693 square feet, and room to better house the independent study program and the Church Pathway Worldwide program.In 2017, over 260,000 people were enrolled in some kind of Division of Continuing Education program, including evening classes, independent study classes, Especially For Youth, and much more. “That’s seven times what we have here in our student body,” President Worthen said. Jessica Bryan and Joel Hemingway walk up the stairs of the Caroline Hemenway Harman Building after Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave the rededication prayer at BYU in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.
Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares, arrive for the rededication prayer for the Caroline Hemenway Harman Building at BYU in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.
Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.
Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gives a short speech then gives the rededication prayer for the Caroline Hemenway Harman Building at BYU in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.
“‘The impressions on the soul that come from the Holy Ghost are far more significant than a vision,’” he said, quoting President Joseph Fielding Smith. “‘It is where spirit speaks to spirit, and the imprint upon the soul is far more difficult to erase.’”One’s own testimony
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks about making righteous decisions during a devotional at the Utah Valley Institute in Orem, Utah. Photo by Scott Taylor, Church News.Elder Cook highlighted the key elements of Alma’s counsel to sons Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton to seek one’s own testimony, to bridle one’s passions, and to repent of sins and find peace through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.He cited his great-great-grandfather, Heber C. Kimball, on the need for a personal testimony: “The time will come when no man or woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. If you do not have it, how can you stand? If you do not have it, you will not stand; therefore seek for the testimony of Jesus and cleave to it, that when the trying time comes you may not stumble and fall.”Emily Adams from Pleasant Grove, Utah, appreciated the Apostle’s third principle that day-to-day consecrated effort is better than occasional heroic actions. “It’s my daily habits that are going to affect me the most,” she said.OREM, UTAHNoting that some cultures accept spouses hitting each other or parents striking a child, Elder Cook challenged listeners to “make up your mind that regardless of whether your parents did or did not hit you, you will not hit or verbally abuse your spouse or children.”Announcing the title of his remarks as “Spiritual ignorance leads to moral blindness: Righteous spiritual choices are the antidote,” Elder Cook offered four principles:
Elder Soares told the students they have been preserved to be born at a time during preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. “Truly, there has never been a time like this in the history of the world,” he said. “We are living in a time of significant technological, medical, and scientific advancement.”
Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks at a devotional at BYU in Provo on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.PROVO, UtahThe scriptures demonstrate a similar cycle of prosperity and pride that has affected God’s children throughout human history, Elder Soares said. When people remembered the Lord, they prospered; when they forgot Him, they fell into a cycle of pride, resulting in rejecting the Lord and the poor and needy, he said. Eventually the society collapsed, and through those resulting trials, the people became humble and repented, turning back to the Lord.So, how can this generation avoid being affected by modern-day leprosies and always remember the Lord? he asked.Inviting the students to consider things they could do to always remember Jesus Christ every day, the Apostle left a blessing on them to help them always remember and recognize the Savior in their lives; to allow His influence to guide their thoughts, feelings and decisions; and to feel of the Savior’s love and real concern for their well-being. lder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets some of the people attending as he exits after speaking at a devotional at BYU in Provo on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Given the reality of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, life has eternal and divine possibilities for those who always remember Him, Elder Soares said. “It is of central importance to remember the feelings we have when we partake of the sacrament. We are preparing for eternal life and exaltation as we partake of the sacrament and promise to remember the Savior in our hearts and minds.”A year after the Restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith received a revelation from the Lord, found in Doctrine and Covenants 59, that gave a broader dimension to the covenant to “always remember Him.”Alyssa Gates, a junior from Provo studying interdisciplinary humanities, loved Elder Soares’s invitation to feel the Savior’s love. “We choose to let the Savior into our lives,” she said.As an example, Elder Soares told the story of Uzziah, one of the kings of Judah whose name means “Jehovah is my strength,” or “Jehovah’s strength.” Uzziah was known as one who always remembered the Lord, and during his reign, the kingdom of Judah experienced the greatest period of prosperity since King Solomon’s time.The Apostle’s message defined something that Barlow had been feeling for some time: “I need to make more of an effort to remember the Savior on a daily basis.”However, this is also a challenging time. “We have seen steadily declining moral values that have dramatically changed the world through the years.”As Elder Soares spoke, Jardine realized that in her efforts to remember the Savior, “I need to make it not only a daily, but hourly mental thought—to always be actively remembering the Savior in everything that I do.” Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares, take their seats prior to his speaking at a devotional at BYU in Provo on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“I invite you to feel for His love and have faith that He will come to you. I promise that He is near and that He will, indeed, come to you. He will always be with us.” Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles waves as he exits after speaking at a devotional at BYU in Provo on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“Uzziah prospered in every way in his life while he remembered the Lord; but when he forgot Him, Uzziah experienced heartbreak, disappointment, and sorrow for his sin,” Elder Soares said.“In summary, the more we remember the Lord, the more power we will have to keep on the path doing what the Lord expects from us.”“I think taking time to remember Him every day and doing the things He wants me to do will bless me to look forward to and be ready for the sacrament.”Josh Barlow, a sophomore from Salt Lake City, appreciated how genuine and loving Elder Soares was. “It was very clear that he himself remembers the Savior in everything that he does, so it was very easy to feel how important his invitation was when he extended it to us,” he said.Gates appreciated the simplicity and power of finding happiness and peace by remembering the Savior. “Choosing to let Him be a part of our life and relying on Him really does bless us to have joy.”Following the devotional, Elder Soares dedicated a new wing of the Caroline Hemenway Harman Building on the BYU Provo campus.During the sacrament, those who partake covenant to “always remember Him, the Savior. This covenant is repeated in both sacrament prayers.”The word “remember” is used hundreds of times in the scriptures. In the Hebrew context, the word involves a knowledge that is accompanied by appropriate action. “Thus, ‘doing’ is an essential part of the remembering,” Elder Soares explained.The covenant to “always remember Him” should influence and inspire every decision and action one makes in his or her life, Elder Soares said. “It affects, for example, how we speak, what we choose to do, to watch, to read, and to listen to, and how we treat one another. I can assure you that the Lord Himself will inspire these decisions, guide us in our challenges, and assure that the harvest will be positive.” lder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets some of the people attending as he exits after speaking at a devotional at BYU in Provo on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Melissa Jardine, a sophomore from Salt Lake City, said college students tend to be worried and stressed about many things. But she learned in the devotional that as one remembers the Savior, “we’ll be blessed, we’ll be provided for, and things will work out as we need them to. We can’t fall into that pride cycle of remembering the Lord and then when everything is OK to forget about Him.”Partaking of the sacrament is regarded with such importance by Heavenly Father that followers are admonished to partake of it regularly every Sunday. Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles blows a kiss to the audience as he and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares, take their seats prior to his speaking at a devotional at BYU in Provo on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“Through this revelation, the Lord taught us about the why, the how, and the what to do to ‘always remember Him,’” Elder Soares said. “The why: ‘to fully keep thyself unspotted from the world.’ The how: ‘that thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness with a broken heart and contrite spirit.’ And, finally, the what: ‘to offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.’”But pride in his military triumphs, great power, and wealth caused him to forget the Lord. For this sin, Uzziah was struck with leprosy and forced to live in isolation from his people until he died.Happiness and peace in this life and in the world to come depend upon remembering the Savior and covenants with Him daily.That was the message Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared during a Brigham Young University devotional held in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on February 5.
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and the Utah Symphony will present the 2019 O.C. Tanner Gift of Music Concert on Friday, May 10, in the Conference Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of Golden Spike 150th Celebration events and activities. The choir and symphony will be joined on stage by two talented Broadway stars, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Megan Hilty.
Featured guest artists
Brian Stokes Mitchell first performed with the Choir in another Tanner Gift of Music concert in September 2008, which also featured Denyce Graves and guest conductor Erich Kunzel. The response to Mitchell was so positive that he was invited back that very same year as the featured guest for the 2008 Christmas concerts with narrator Edward Hermann. Stokes, as he is affectionately called, can be heard on the Choir’s Ring Christmas Bells CD and DVD as well as on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Friends CD. He has received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his starring roles on Broadway. In 2016 Stokes was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Currently he is appearing in a new CBS TV show, Fam.
This is Megan Hilty’s first time performing with the Tabernacle Choir and Utah Symphony. She is well known on Broadway for her leading roles in Wicked, 9 to 5 the Musical, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Noises Off, where she received a 2016 Tony Award nomination. Television audiences will recognize her talent from the two-year series Smash about an actress trying to land a role on in a Broadway musical.
Golden Spike anniversary
On May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah, one of the most important historical events in American history took place with the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which unified the country by rail. As the last rails were laid—and the ceremonial golden spike was driven—shortly after 12:30 p.m., the promised telegraph signal alerted everyone across the nation that the work had been completed.
In Salt Lake City at the signal, the national flag was raised, brass bands played, and artillery salutes were fired from the court house, city hall, and Arsenal Hill, letting everyone in the valley know that the work was accomplished. The principal business places, stores, and factories were closed, and work was suspended for the rest of the day. In about an hour’s time, the citizens began to assemble in the Tabernacle on Temple Square for a celebratory gathering of dignitaries and residents with music and accolades of appreciation.
Tickets for the Tanner Gift of Music concert will be free but are required. Admission will be open to everyone eight years and older. Information about ticket availability will be announced in April.
History of the O.C. Tanner Gift of Music concerts
The O.C. Tanner Gift of Music Concert series began in 1983 from the combined vision of the late Utah philanthropist O.C. Tanner and Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These two life-long neighbors and friends wanted to share the talents of The Tabernacle Choir and Utah Symphony as a free gift to the community through periodic concerts. Through a generous endowment established by Mr. Tanner and his family, this will be the choir and cymphony’s 18th concert and gift to the community.
Sister Udoh is a ward Relief Society president and a former institute teacher. She was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, to Izegaegbe Anthony and Imonokha Margaret.Sister Rush is a ward Primary presidency secretary and a former stake Primary presidency counselor, ward Relief Society president, ward Relief Society and Young Women presidency counselor, and Sunday School teacher. She was born in Englewood, Colorado, to Daniel Howard Spencer and Vera Avalene Larsen.Sister Sargent is a Primary activity days leader and stake language missionary, and a former stake Young Women presidency secretary, ward Primary president, and ward Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidency counselor. She was born in Salt Lake City to Michael Antone Neider and Rosemary Curtis Neider.Sister Foster is a Relief Society teacher and a former ward Relief Society president, ward Young Women and Primary presidency counselor, ward temple and family history consultant, and ward organist. She was born in Ashton, Idaho, to James Basil Manwaring and Edna Adams Manwaring.Korea Seoul South MissionBoyd S Foster, 61, and Laurie Foster, six children, Clark Ward, Ririe Idaho Stake: Marshall Islands/Kiribati Mission, succeeding President John F. Larkin and Sister Robyn Larkin. Brother Zuñiga is a bishopric counselor and temple ordinance worker, and a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, and missionary in the Chile Antofagasta Mission. He was born in Vicente López, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Julio Alberto Zuñiga and Silvia Esterkin.Sister Beardall is a stake temple and family history consultant, and a former stake and ward Young Women presidency counselor, ward Relief Society and Primary president, family history center director, and ward missionary. She was born in Provo, Utah, to Harry Stanley Nielsen and Lois Gifford Nielsen.Ecuador Guayaquil South MissionKeith M. Dunford, 61, and Lori B. Dunford, eight children, Snowflake 9th Ward, Snowflake Arizona Stake: Uruguay Montevideo West Mission, succeeding President Ryan K. Olsen and Sister Julie Olsen.
Larry K. and Laurie BeardallBrother Green is a Sunday school teacher and a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, high councilor, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the Massachusetts Boston Mission. He was born in Billings, Montana, to Melvin Carl Green and Eleanor Marie Slater Green.
Emmanuel O. and Tina Elizabeth UdohBrother Neilson is an assistant Church historian and recorder, and a former high councilor, elders quorum president, ward Young Men president, Sunday School teacher, and missionary in the Japan Sapporo Mission. He was born in Glendale, California, to Ralph Reid Neilson and Katherine Larkin Neilson.Brother Wright is a sealer, stake mission preparation instructor, and area temple and family history consultant, and a former stake president, stake presidency counselor, gospel doctrine teacher, and missionary in the Belgium Antwerp Mission. He was born in Salt Lake City to Donald Nicoles Wright and June Edwards Wright.Argentina Buenos Aires North MissionMéxico Culiacán Mission
Leonard and Rita Woo
Laurie and Boyd S FosterBrother Henke is a stake president and a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, high councilor, bishopric counselor, elders quorum president, and missionary in the El Salvador/Costa Rica/Honduras Mission. He was born in San Diego, California, to Douglas Carl Henke and Donna Mae Hammett Henke.Alan B. Tingey, 65, and Susan F. Tingey, eight children, East Mill Creek 12th Ward, Salt Lake East Mill Creek North Stake: Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission, succeeding President Pablo Moreno Hortua and Sister Libia Moreno. Larry K. Beardall, 63, and Laurie Beardall, four children, Willow Hills Ward, Sandy Utah Granite Stake: Washington Seattle Mission, succeeding President Sterling A. Rasmussen and Sister Cheryl Rasmussen. Robert C. Henke, 59, and Mary Ann Henke, five children, Providence 12th Ward, Providence Utah Stake: México Ciudad Juárez Mission, succeeding President J. Randall Owen and Sister Suzette B. Owen. M. Kirk Green, 60, and Sally Thomas Green, six children, Centerville 7th Ward, Centerville Utah South Stake: England Leeds Mission, succeeding President Martin J. Turvey and Sister Debra L. Turvey. Brother Tingey is a YSA stake president and a former stake president, stake Young Men president, bishop, bishopric counselor, Sunday School teacher, and missionary in the Guatemala/El Salvador Mission. He was born in Salt Lake City to Burton Stafford Tingey and Beverley Davis Tingey.Nigeria Lagos MissionEmmanuel O. Udoh, 54, and Tina Elizabeth Udoh, six children, Mgbuosimini Ward, Port Harcourt Nigeria West Stake: Nigeria Lagos Mission, succeeding President Cornelius O. Tay and Sister Caroline Olabisi Tay. Brother Udoh is a secretary to an Area Seventy, and a former mission presidency counselor and stake presidency counselor. He was born in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, to Michael Okon Udoh-Nseme and Arit Okon Etim.Sister Henke is a ward Young Women president and a former stake and ward Primary president, ward Relief Society presidency counselor, Young Women adviser, ward Primary presidency counselor, and Relief Society teacher. She was born in Ogden, Utah, to Garnel Melroy Larsen and Charlene Larsen.México México City Chalco MissionSister Wright is an area temple and family history consultant and a stake Primary presidency counselor, and a former ward Relief Society presidency counselor, Cub Scout leader, Nursery leader, Primary teacher, and activity days leader. She was born in Provo, Utah, to Ruel Acord Allred and Betty Best Allred.Brother Rush is a high councilor and a former bishop, bishopric counselor, elders quorum president, ward Young Men president, seminary teacher, and missionary in the Peru Lima North Mission. He was born in La Mesa, California, to Julian Roy Rush Jr. and Sandra Nielson Rush.Sister Horsley is a Relief Society instructor and a former temple ordinance worker, stake Young Women presidency counselor, ward Young Women president, and ward Relief Society and Primary presidency counselor. She was born in Provo, Utah, to Hal Leon Marchbanks and Terry Smith Marchbanks.
Shelly A. and Reid L. NeilsonBrett and Amy Horsley Brett Horsley, 49, and Amy Horsley, five children. Logan 19th Ward, Logan Utah Central Stake: Brazil São Paulo West Mission, succeeding President Thomas W. Thomas and Sister Ellen Mathias Thomas. Sister Esparza is a stake Relief Society presidency counselor and a former stake Young Women president, stake Relief Society presidency counselor, seminary teacher, and missionary in the México México City South Mission. She was born in Sabinas, Coahuila, México, to Dámaso Ramón and Cruz Dora López.England Leeds MissionSister Zuñiga is a temple ordinance worker and seminary supervisor, and a former stake Young Women president, ward Primary president, ward Relief Society presidency counselor, and seminary teacher. She was born in Laboulaye, Córdoba, Argentina, to Raul Isidro Fantini and Delia Esther Fantini.Brother Beardall is a stake presidency counselor and a former stake and ward Young Men president, bishop, high councilor, ward mission leader, and missionary in the Canada Montreal Mission. He was born in Provo, Utah, to Keith Eugene Beardall and Maurine Spratling Beardall.
Angelina Ramon and Victor Esparza VillasanaNathan M. Sargent, 46, and Nicole N. Sargent, six children, Lake Creek 1st Ward, Heber City Utah East Stake: Korea Seoul South Mission, succeeding President Roger W. Turner and Sister Terri L. Turner.
Debbie and Michael C. RushMichael C. Rush, 52, and Debbie Rush, four children, McArthur Ranch Ward, Highlands Ranch Colorado Stake: México México City Chalco Mission, succeeding President Francisco Zapata Orozco and Sister Maria Esther Marin de Zapata. Brother Dunford is a stake self-reliance specialist and a former stake president, bishop, high priest group leader, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the Spain Barcelona Mission. He was born in Provo, Utah, to Max Patterson Dunford and Katie Pearl Thornhill Dunford.Brother Esparza is a stake presidency counselor and a former stake president, mission presidency counselor, and missionary in the México México City South Mission. He was born in Tampico, Tamaulipas, México, to Antonio Esparza and Josefina Villasana.Sister Green is a stake Primary presidency counselor and a former ward Relief Society and Young Women president, Young Women adviser, ward Primary presidency counselor, activity days leader, and gospel doctrine teacher. She was born in Salt Lake City to Raymond Earl Thomas and Joyce Holbrook Thomas.Brother Miranda is a stake Sunday school president and a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, high councilor, bishopric counselor, district presidency counselor, and missionary in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro/Brasilia Mission. He was born in São Paulo, Brazil, to Milton Miranda and Ephigênia Guiette Gallo Miranda.Brother Horsley is a priest quorum advisor and a former temple ordinance worker, stake president, bishop, elders quorum president, gospel doctrine teacher, and missionary in the Brazil São Paulo South Mission. He was born in Downey, Idaho, to E. Spence Horsley and Deborah Field Horsley.Sister Tingey is a YSA stake welfare specialist and a former stake Young Women and Primary presidency counselor, ward Young Women and Primary president, ward Relief Society presidency counselor, and gospel doctrine teacher. She was born in Salt Lake City to Reed Eugene Fogg and Lorraine Snarr Fogg.Leonard Woo, 62, and Rita Woo, four children, Newton Ward, Singapore Stake: Singapore Mission, succeeding President Paul S. Rowley and Sister Robin M. Rowley. Brother Foster is a former stake president, bishop, high councilor, bishopric counselor, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the New Zealand Wellington Mission. He was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to Dewain Claxton Foster and Melba Leone Sauer Foster.Singapore MissionUruguay Montevideo West MissionWashington DC North MissionVictor Esparza Villasana, 60, and Angelina Ramon de Esparza, three children, Azcapotzalco Ward, México City Camarones Stake: México Culiacán Mission, succeeding President Carlos A. Gabaldón Royval and Sister Ana Laura Gabaldón.
Robert C. and Mary Ann Henke
Nathan M. and Nicole N. Sargent
Keith M. and Lori B. DunfordBrazil São Paulo West MissionGordon K. Wright, 60, and Lynette A. Wright, six children, Allen 3rd Ward, Allen Texas Stake: Arizona Gilbert Mission, succeeding President Richard W. Wheeler and Sister Linda N. Wheeler.
M. Kirk and Sally Thomas GreenBrazil Natal Mission
Alan B. and Susan F. TingeyEmilton Miranda, 53, and Aparecida Miranda, three children, Santana Ward, São Paulo Brazil North Stake: Brazil Natal Mission, succeeding President Eliseu Colleoni and Sister Tania Teresa Colleoni. Marshall Islands/Kiribati MissionSister Neilson is a Primary teacher and a former ward Young Women president and ward Young Women presidency counselor. She was born in Logan, Utah, to Loren Runar Anderson and Mary T Anderson.Leopoldo Zuñiga, 44, and Gabriela Zuñiga, five children, La Paz Ward, Córdoba Argentina West Stake: Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission, succeeding President Robert T. Smith and Sister Kristine Smith. Brother Woo is an Area Seventy and a former mission presidency counselor, stake president, and branch president. He was born in Singapore to Shee Cheng Woo and Wan Tai Ho.Sister Miranda is a stake Primary presidency counselor and a former stake Relief Society president and presidency counselor, stake temple and family history consultant, ward Relief Society and Primary presidency counselor, and district Young Women president. She was born in Mirassol, São Paulo, Brazil, to Francisco Alves Pereira and Rosa Francisca Pereira.Arizona Gilbert MissionReid L. Neilson, 46, and Shelly A. Neilson, five children, Bountiful 50th Ward, Bountiful Utah Heights Stake: Washington DC North Mission, succeeding President Stephen C. Johnson and Sister Beth Johnson. Sister Woo is a Sunday School teacher and a former stake and ward Relief Society president, branch Young Women and Primary president, and institute teacher. She was born in Singapore to Hoh Sim and Liang Hiang Sim.Brother Sargent is a stake presidency counselor and a former high councilor, bishopric counselor, elders quorum presidency counselor, Primary teacher, and missionary in the Korea Seoul West Mission. He was born in Ogden, Utah, to Milton Kenneth Sargent and Becky Boyer Sargent.México Ciudad Juárez Mission
Gordon K. and Lynette A. Wright
Gabriela and Leopoldo ZuñigaWashington Seattle MissionThe following new mission presidents and their wives have been called by the First Presidency. They will begin their service in July of 2019. Biographies of other mission presidency couples will be published throughout 2019 on news.lds.org. (See other published biographies.)
Emilton and Aparecida MirandaSister Dunford is a stake self-reliance specialist and a former ward Relief Society and Young Women president, branch Primary presidency counselor, Primary music leader, and missionary in the Spain Madrid Mission. She was born in McNary, Arizona, to Darrell Lake Brimhall and Hazel Pearl Bryant Brimhall.
A strong Church, he concluded, first requires strong families.“Super family activities may be good for children, but they are not always better than one-on-one time with a loving parent.”After sharing that list in recent Saturday evening stake conference meetings, a few sisters in attendance suggested to President Oaks a few three-word phrases that “will please a wife more” than anything her husband could say to her:
Sister Kristen Oaks shares insight during February 2, 2019, devotional for young married couples in downtown Chicago. Also pictured is President Dallin H. Oaks. Photo by Marlene Clayton.President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency participates in a panel discussion during a devotional for young married couples in downtown Chicago on February 2, 2019. Photo by Marlene Clayton.The General Authorities, he added, value “the experience and voice and wisdom” of the sister leaders, particularly the General Officers of the auxiliary presidencies.Young married Latter-day Saints are serving “on the frontline” in matters of great consequence to the Church.“For example, the voices of young mothers who had great difficulty managing children during a 3-hour block of meetings on Sunday was an important consideration in reducing our worship meetings to two hours and Primary’s duration commensurately.”“When you are asked a difficult question, such as a puzzler about Church history, be honest and, if necessary, say you don't know. But then be sure to say what you do know: ‘I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God’.“President Oaks also offered suggestions on teaching children. Answering a child’s difficult question is one of the most important things a parent can do.Many young married couples face seemingly insurmountable obstacles, said President Oaks in his remarks. They are raising children in environments often hostile to the mission and teachings of the Church. Respected institutions and leaders question the existence of right and wrong, along with time-honored standards for civilized behavior and standards.Elder Wilford W. Andersen, a General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Kathleen Andersen, along with Elder K. David Scott, an Area Seventy, and his wife, Sister Auralee Scott, joined President and Sister Oaks in a panel discussion.Elder Andersen noted that Chicago is ”a special place“ for President Oaks, where he studied, taught, and practiced law for over 16 years.“The first three words suggested were ‘Let's eat out,’“ he said. “Others added later were ‘You've lost weight,’ and ‘You were right.’” Young married couples gather February 2, 2019, for a devotional in downtown Chicago. President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency presided at the gathering. Photo by Marlene Clayton.”His love for the saints and theirs for him was palpable. His powerful and sincere testimony of the Savior encouraged and strengthened us all. What a privilege it was to be taught by President Oaks.”Additionally, many members—“and you are surely among them”—live in areas where they are a small minority. Each day they associate, and are sometimes governed by, persons who have “radically different” beliefs and standards.— Joseph Tateoka contributed to this report.Such challenges concern the Church.President Oaks also encouraged parents to study President Russell M. Nelson’s many family themed addresses, which include “precious content” for teaching children.Church leaders and teachers should use every possible opportunity to recognize the preeminence and strengthen the position of the home and family.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in anchored to the family. Its highest aspirations are to perpetuate family relationships throughout eternity.The Church leader then injected a bit of humor into his counsel:“In our theology and in our practice, the family and the Church have a mutually reinforcing relationship,” he said. “The family is dependent upon the Church for activities and for doctrine and ordinances governed by priesthood keys. The Church exists to provide those unique resources that will perpetuate family relationships in the eternities. The priesthood presides in each.”5. We can't afford it.3. Yes, dear.President Oaks admonished young fathers to “rise up to your responsibilities,” lead their families in righteousness and be united with their wives and children.2. I am sorry.CHICAGOPresident Oaks said the leaders of the Church are mindful of young married couples with children. They pray for them and are alert to their circumstances when considering Church issues.President Oaks’ wife, Sister Kristen Oaks, also shared a few brief remarks and her testimony. She counseled the young married couples to strive to maintain a positive attitude and to support one another. Seek opportunities to worship together and make the home a classroom of gospel learning, she said.An overflow crowd filled the Clark Street Meetinghouse in a downtown section of the Windy City. As subzero temperatures in the region have snagged headlines over the past several days, for local Latter-day Saints the joy of hosting a member of the First Presidency was perhaps augmented on Saturday by warmer temperatures, which made the early February conditions feel almost pleasant.The Church does offer answers to many familiar questions through its Gospel Topics Essays found at lds.org.4. You look good in that.The panel answered questions from the audience on a variety of family related subjects—including queries about finding family-Church-work balance and principles of happy marriages.“But the best answer to any question that threatens faith is to work to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “Conversion to the Lord precedes conversion to the Church. And conversion to the Lord comes through prayer and study and service, furthered by loving patience on the part of spouse and other concerned family members.”“You are the rising generation and you are raising the next generation,” said President Dallin H. Oaks at a Saturday devotional for young marrieds. “You are doing what is vitally important to the Church in our day. We love you for that and for your faithfulness in pressing forward with what is most important to all of us.”“Your generation has grown up with an avalanche of information about the history of the Church that is new to many and concerning to some,” he said. “The time-honored principles of relying on and trusting the Lord and His servants are questioned by some.”“We are taught to love our neighbors, but it is not easy to love and live with those who have different standards and sometimes challenge us and our standards in a persuasive or even threatening way,” he said.“Perhaps it's time for a light moment. I found that in a list of five things that a husband should say to his wife:”Parents should carefully manage the time they spend with their children, he added. Be careful not to focus on things that are “merely good” and leave little time for that which is “better or best.”“These sisters were consulted frequently on the important developments announced during the last year, and their advice was embodied in all of them.”“I suggest that research is not the answer,” he said.President Oaks acknowledged that some Latter-Saint couples face conflicts over important values and priorities. Matters of Church history and doctrinal issues have led some spouses to inactivity. Some spouses wonder how to best go about researching and responding to such issues.1. I love you. President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency participates in a panel discussion during a devotional for young married couples in downtown Chicago on February 2, 2019. Photo by Marlene Clayton.
Comparisons between building and rebuilding a building and a soul are explored in the Constructing a Soul exhibition at Brigham Young University. Photo courtesy of Education in Zion Gallery, BYU.As Paul taught: “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).But then the miracle occurred.And so it is in our own lives. Through the grace of a Master Builder, even the most damaged bodies and souls can be purified and rebuilt into something precious and new.Curating museum exhibits “is well outside my wheelhouse, as far as scholarly ventures go,” said Farnsworth, laughing.PROVO, UTAHFire gutted the historic Provo Tabernacle in the final month of 2010, leaving many to wonder if the iconic structure would forever remain history’s claim.“I have always tried to look for parallels between the gospel and my occupation,” said Richards. “I’ve found many connections between engineering and building and our own personal development as sons and daughters of God.” Construction work on the old Provo Tabernacle February 22, 2013, as crews converted it into a Latter-day Saint temple. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Just as the ruins of an incinerated Utah County tabernacle were once rebuilt into a sacred temple, “we can do similar things in our own lives as we rely upon the Savior,” said Farnsworth.By utilizing scriptures and the words of latter-day leaders, the colorful, kid-friendly display taps parallels between the building and improving of a physical structure and the eternal, divine work of building and improving a soul.Located in the Education in Zion Gallery in the Joseph F. Smith Building, the exhibition explores four key principles elemental to engineers and building contractors: pre-building, building, improving, and rebuilding.Both engineers/curators were especially drawn to the exhibition elements that explore the Christ-driven act of rebuilding.Still, Farnsworth recognized the potential for a construction-themed religious exhibition several years ago after visiting the Bodies Filled with Light exhibition on display at the time in the Education in Zion Gallery. He was inspired by the many references to the human body found in scripture.Constructing a Soul will be on display through the summer of 2022. Admission is free.Working under the direction of inspired leaders, contractors, builders, and designers took the charred remains of a decimated building and transformed it into something more beautiful and essential than ever before—the Provo City Center Temple.“A light bulb clicked that there are also many [gospel] references to construction and building,” he said.A new exhibition at Brigham Young University entitled Constructing a Soul celebrates the miracle of divine rebuilding promised to all who invite the Savior into their lives.BYU faculty members are challenged to integrate their academic teaching with the gospel. So he reached out to Education in Zion curator Heather Seferovich. The two agreed a building-themed exhibit was a good fit for the campus. A short time later, Richards was brought into the project. A visitor to the Education in Zion Gallery at Brigham Young University takes in the Constructing a Soul exhibition that will be on display until the summer of 2022. Photo courtesy of Education in Zion Gallery, BYU.Guest curators Clifton Farnsworth and Paul Richards are quick to note they are neophytes in pulling together museum exhibitions. Both are engineering professors at the Church-owned school. Provo City Center Temple, photographed on March 20, 2016. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.
“The Lord blessed us so much we paid for the property within three years.”
Fritz E. Bollbach gave former Church News editor Gerry Avant a glimpse of courage in adversity and hope during trials. Illustration by Aaron Thorup, Deseret News.In August 1969, the Bollbachs were called to the Central German Mission, where he served briefly as president of branches in Gelsenkirchen and Aachen. After he had a heart attack, he received a blessing from the mission president, Walther H. Kindt, and Elder Hartman Rector Jr. and was able to continue in his assignments.Fritz E. Bollbach was born in East Prussia in 1910. He was baptized a member of the Church in 1921. He was sent to a Nazi labor camp before World War II began. After his release, he married Elli Gertrude Worch in 1935. During the war, he repaired weapons and machinery for the German army; he was captured by British forces and sent to a prisoner of war camp in 1945. In the fall of 1946, he was released to West Germany and reunited with his family.“I remember one day I was sitting on the table in my workshop where I had been carving an elk,” he said. “When I started to work on the head it seemed like it was impossible. I was very discouraged. I never started working without prayer, so I prayed. I tried to carve the eyes, but it was impossible.No one would loan him the money he needed to finish the nursing home. In desperation, he enrolled at the Utah Blind Center for training. After he completed the course work there, the government gave him a loan to finish the building, which he turned into apartments with a workshop in the back.With limited vision, he started building a nursing home. After he finished the framework, he suddenly became totally blind when he struck his left temple on a sharp edge while stooping over to pick up a piece of wood. Nerve damage caused total blindness in his “good eye.”After he lost sight in his right eye in 1957, he had a hard time finding work. “In three years I worked on more than 25 jobs,” he said. “Each morning when my wife left home for work at 5 a.m., I would kneel and pray. I often cried to my Heavenly Father. I never gave up on prayer, although I did not seem to get an answer.”He worked with others to build homes for refugees from East Germany. He served as president of the branch in Langen from 1954 to 1956. The Bollbachs’ 13-year-old daughter, Sigrid, was killed in an accident during that time. He and his wife and their two other daughters, Ursula and Hannelore, immigrated to the United States in 1956; they became U.S. citizens in 1993.“I decided I wanted to help other blind and handicapped people, so I became a tutor,” he said.“I finally decided to try to carve again. This time, I carved the eyes within a couple of minutes. I had the feeling that I could see what I did. When I was through carving the eyes, I touched the elk over and over. I was so happy. I cried again. This time, it was for joy and thanksgiving.”“I cried and prayed. … I walked around in my workshop and started to sing, thinking it would give me courage and cheer me up. I sang ‘I Need Thee Every Hour.’ I prayed and sang out loud to my Heavenly Father, asking for help. I started to sing ‘Lead, Kindly Light.’ I guess I sang and prayed for about an hour.”“The Lord blessed us with health and strength, and He opened my mind,” Bollbach said. “I was able to remember so many scriptures. I wished I had learned more before I went blind.”After the Bollbachs returned home, he resumed working on his goal to help other people. However, things didn’t always go smoothly for him.One of the earliest stories I wrote for the Church News remains one of the most vivid in my memory. It was about a blind wood carver who gave me a glimpse of courage in adversity and hope during trials. I wrote about him for the January 30, 1972, issue of the paper.“I went back to the carving table and took the knife, but I still couldn’t carve the eyes. I couldn’t make the knife go in the right direction. I put the elk and knife on the table and started to cry again. I walked around and cried and prayed some more.He said he had a certain wonderful, happy feeling after he prayed on Thanksgiving Day in 1960. “I could hardly wait for my wife to come home,” he said. When she did, he asked her to look in the newspaper ads for a piece of ground for sale. “She told me we were not able to pay the gas bill, let alone pay for a piece of ground. I told her nothing is impossible when we believe.” The owner of the land they found asked how much Bollbach could pay down. “I told him, ‘Nothing.’ I did not have any money.” An arrangement was made for Bollbach to pay over time.