The new section, titled the Friend, will include additional material created specifically for children, containing more stories, music, visuals, and content for home-centered learning. It will be printed on thicker paper that children can easily draw on or cut. It will also have special features to help children learn to read. The Liahona will continue to offer content for adults, young adults, and youth.The children's section will be delivered with every issue of the Liahona—the two cannot be ordered separately. Those who don’t have children in their homes are encouraged to share the new section with children in their ministering families, Church units, or extended family, or other adults who work with children—such as Primary presidents or teachers.Starting in January 2019, copies of the Liahona, the international magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will arrive with a new addition. Content usually found in the children’s pages of the Liahona will now appear in an expanded, separate children’s section of the magazine. “Fortifying children to become sin-resistant is a responsibility for parents, grandparents, family members, teachers, and leaders,” said Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President. “We are thrilled that the new Friend section of the Liahona will make more gospel resources available for children and families to use in the home—and for teachers to use in Primary. We hope that this new stand-alone children’s section will be a valuable aid to all who are helping to ‘bring up [our] children in light and truth’ (Doctrine and Covenants 93:40).”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Bangkok Thailand Temple will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 26, 2019.President Russell M. Nelson said that “the Bangkok Temple will be a blessing to all the people of this area. It will be a symbol of faith to tens of thousands of members of the Church throughout the region and their commitment to follow Jesus Christ. It will also stand as a reminder that God loves and cares for all of His children.”The artistic rendering of the Bangkok Thailand Temple released on March 19, 2018, features a majestic 44,405-square-foot, six-story temple with multiple spires reaching heavenward. An additional 91,370-square-foot religious building will feature two religious meetinghouses, a service center, seminary and institute facilities, and mission offices and housing. Substantial underground parking is also planned at the site located on Petchaburi Road in the center of a residential and business area in Bangkok.The ceremony will be held at the temple site, which is located at 1645/6 New Phetchaburi Road Makkasan, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400 Thailand.The Bangkok Thailand Temple will serve the more than 22,000 Latter-day Saints in Thailand as well as members in all of Southeast Asia. Before the temple was announced in April 2015, the nearest Church temple was in Hong Kong, over 1,000 miles away.Construction of the Bangkok Thailand Temple is expected to take between three and four years. After construction of the temple is completed, open house dates will be announced and public tours conducted. A date for dedication will also be announced.The intent to construct the temple was announced April 5, 2015, by then Church President Thomas S. Monson.Elder David F. Evans, Asia Area President, will preside at the ceremony. Attendance will be by invitation, and proceedings will be transmitted via the internet to designated Church meetinghouses within the proposed temple district.
A young missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died Monday, November 26, after collapsing at the South Africa Missionary Training Center in Johannesburg, South Africa.Elder Lamping had been assigned to the South Africa Johannesburg Mission and had entered the MTC on November 22.Zane Lamping, 19, of Moapa, Nevada, died at a local hospital after collapsing while exercising at the MTC. The cause of his death is unknown at this time, according to a Church statement.“Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones,” said Daniel Woodruff, Church spokesman. “We pray they will feel the love of our Heavenly Father during this difficult time.”
Elder Zane Lamping, 19, of Moapa, Nevada, died Monday, November 26, after collapsing while exercising at the South Africa Missionary Training Center in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo courtesy of the Lamping family.
Elder Zane Lamping, 19, of Moapa, Nevada, died Monday, November 26, after collapsing while exercising at the South Africa Missionary Training Center in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo courtesy of the Lamping family.
“The ocean, the mountains, the temple, the magnificent vistas are as inspiring today as they were then,” he said.“Righteously adhering to the counsel given will bless you now and throughout your life.” A choir performs prior to Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaking during a campus devotional at BYU-Hawaii on November 20. Photo by Monique Saenz, BYU-Hawaii.Elder Cook added, “It is essential that we place faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, at the center of our lives.”2. Righteous choices matter.“Your experience here at BYU-Hawaii and the education you are receiving prepares you for righteousness, unity, and happiness,” he said.4. Be strong and immovable in matters of righteousness.5. Earn the heritage bestowed “upon us as we make righteous choices.” Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, greet students at a campus devotional at BYU-Hawaii on November 20. Photo by Monique Saenz, BYU-Hawaii.3. Righteous day-to-day consecrated effort is better than occasional heroic actions.Elder Cook shared five principles to help contribute to a successful quest for faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, righteousness, and knowledge.The school had been in existence for only four years, and President McKay had dedicated the first permanent buildings the year before.
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets students at a campus devotional at BYU-Hawaii on Nov. 20. Photo by Monique Saenz, BYU-Hawaii.It was the first time the 19-year-old had met a prophet, and he was impressed with his countenance and spirit.Drawing from the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Elder Cook said, “The decent people to whom this happens haven’t engaged in major transgressions, as a rule, but they have distanced themselves from the Savior, and He has become a stranger to them.”Listing a few of the actions on the “road map,” Elder Cook reminded listeners of the emphasis on honoring the Sabbath Day, the strengthening of elders quorums and Relief Societies, ministering in a higher and holier way, as well as the home-centered, Church-supported Sabbath effort. Elder Quentin L. Cook and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, greet students at a campus devotional at BYU-Hawaii on November 20. Photo by Monique Saenz, BYU-Hawaii. Elder Quentin L. Cook spoke to students about resolving to make righteous choices at a campus devotional at BYU-Hawaii on November 20. Photo by Monique Saenz, BYU-Hawaii.“Sloane and Cox represent a continuing quest for knowledge to bless mankind,” Elder Cook said. “I relate these accounts because they exemplify the love of learning and the synergism of knowledge.”“He asked if we would meet with the students and administrators, give them his love and blessing, and encourage them in every possible way,” he said. Elder Quentin L. Cook and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, greet students at a campus devotional at BYU-Hawaii on November 20. Photo by Monique Saenz, BYU-Hawaii.Consecration is not a once-in-a-lifetime event, Elder Cook said. Rather, it is a daily devotion.“I love the diversity of students that attend this great institution,” Elder Cook said.Elder Cook also spoke of Paul Cox, a BYU professor who has been part of several breakthroughs in treating diseases.“At a practical level you are preparing for family life and the means of supporting your family,” he said. “Faith, righteousness, and knowledge will greatly assist you in both areas. Any honest labor is worthwhile and to be admired. Work that includes values, meaningfulness, new ideas, and blesses mankind is particularly significant.”1. Enthusiastically and righteously continue the quest for knowledge.In the fall of 1959, Utah State University student body officer Quentin L. Cook made plans to visit Hawaii to watch the USU football team play against the University of Hawaii.Over the years, and through many of his assignments as a General Authority, Elder Cook has seen how unity is an eternally significant principle—especially amid diversity.When basically decent people simply get caught up in the cares of the world, they lose their way, Elder Cook said.“Lest we be discouraged, let us remember the outcome of the war in heaven, and the wonderful outcome that we know will be ushered in with the Second Coming of Christ,” he said.“My mission president put all this into perspective for me and taught that, in some cases, seeking to perform a heroic effort can be a form of looking beyond the mark,” he said.“Many of you, if not most, have a testimony,” Elder Cook said. “We each need a personal testimony.”While there on that earlier trip, he met with the new governor of Hawaii, William F. Quinn. Just prior to his visit, Hawaii had been admitted as a new state in the United States on August 21, 1959.Drawing from 2 Nephi chapter 9, Elder Cook spoke of the instruction for young people about learning, wisdom, wealth, labor, and the profound doctrine that allows all to follow the paths of righteousness that lead to the Savior.Of the importance of not living off of “borrowed light,” Elder Cook spoke of the responsibility every person has to develop his or her own testimony.“The choices we make are critical—they are the key to our future and happiness,” he said. “Remember, we are the sum total of every decision we make.”Recognizing today is a time when almost every choice is debated and dissected, when people immediately oppose any righteous proposal or principle, and when many argue that accountability is not necessary, Elder Cook told listeners to not be discouraged.“Your principal goal is to build your personal faith,” he said. “World conditions increasingly require deepening individual conversion to and strengthening faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement. The Church has made an incredible effort to give you a road map to assist you in making righteous choices.”“We live in a world that is emphasizing diversity over unity,” Elder Cook said. “Many assume that it is virtually impossible for people from different cultures and diverse backgrounds to be united in common goals. … A unifying answer to these assertions is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Righteousness is the underlying principle that brings unity and happiness.”“We student officers paid our own way but accompanied the football team on the same airplane,” he recalled. “President David O. McKay, who was then the President and Prophet of the Church, learned of our trip and invited us to meet with him at Church Headquarters.”Elder Cook said he remembered the feeling of awe he had when he first saw the beautiful setting.It is more important to develop consistent, faithful, righteous dedication.Elder Cook shared the story of Sir Hans Sloane, a physician in the mid-1600s who was interested in botany. In his work, he identified about 800 new species of plants and created the recipe for milk chocolate. After selling his recipe, he became wealthy and poured much of that money into creating a large collection of botanical and other specimens from around the world.“Some members profess that they would commit themselves with enthusiasm if given some great calling, but they do not find ministering or gathering family history sufficiently heroic for their sustained effort,” he said.“When he died, he [had] made provision for his collection to become the property of the British nation,” he said. “That was the beginning of the British Museum.”“He was warm and gracious to us,” Elder Cook told BYU-Hawaii students during a campus devotional on November 20. “President McKay then told us about this institution where we are today with great enthusiasm.”
“Elder Andersen stressed the importance of using the name the Lord revealed for His Church and in all members embracing the concept of home-centered, Church-supported,” said Elder Vinson. “He also expressed the importance of families, the future of their country, the Savior, education, temples, and testimonies in the meeting we held with youth and young adults in Harare, Zimbabwe.”Members of the Africa Southeast Area presidency and their wives—Elder S. Mark Palmer and Sister Jacqueline Palmer, Elder Joseph W. Sitati and Sister Gladys Sitati, and Elder Joni L. Koch and Sister Michele Koch—also accompanied Elder and Sister Andersen.As a result of their faith and sacrifice, the Church is growing, he said. Among those joining the Church are students and young professionals who have a strong background and are searching for truth. “They find the Church and the Church finds them,” said Elder Andersen. As a result, he added, leadership is strong.“You see their enormous faith despite the challenges that beset them, and you realize their happiness without all the things you think will bring happiness,” said Elder Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “You sense a peace and a simplicity that you admire and envy.”He spoke to Latter-day Saints in both Zimbabwe and South Africa about honesty and the power of the Book of Mormon.African culture—that encourages individuals to care for a look after one another—also allows the members to excel at ministering, he said. “Africans are a kind, loving, and spiritual people who understand the principle of ministering so much better and more naturally than those of the developed world,” said Elder Vinson.Elder Andersen’s meetings in Zimbabwe and South Africa followed a two-day visit to the Ivory Coast, where he broke ground for the Abidjan Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) Temple on November 8. (See related story.)He said during the trip Elder Andersen made a special point of welcoming and greeting the children, of which there were many, at every opportunity. Church members participate in a member meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy addresses employees at the Church’s area office in Johannesburg, South Africa.Members lined up hours before meetings with the leaders and traveled long distances “in their Sunday best to learn the word of the Lord for them,” said Elder Andersen. Elder Neil L. Andersen meets with Zimbabwe Vice President K. Mohadi on November 15, 2018.During the visit to South Africa and Zimbabwe from November 9–18, Elder Andersen addressed members, held leadership meetings, participated in an area review, and spoke at a mission presidents’ seminar. He also met with Zimbabwe Vice President K. Mohadi. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, center, and Sister Kathy Andersen participate in a member meeting in Zimbabwe on November 18, 2018. Sister Kathy Andersen addresses youth during a devotional in Cape Town, South Africa, on November 10, 2018.The temple, announced by the late President Thomas S. Monson on April 5, 2015, is being built near the Cocody Côte d’Ivoire Stake Center.“What a marvelous blessing the people of South Africa and Zimbabwe have been given to hear the Lord’s Prophet declare that their countries would each have a new temple, in addition to the currently operating Johannesburg Temple,” said Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy, who accompanied Elder Andersen on the trip.It is impossible to travel to Africa and not return a better person, said Elder Neil L. Andersen after visiting the Church’s Africa Southeast Area this November. A young boy carries his sister into a member meeting in Zimbabwe on November 18, 2018.During his meeting with the vice president, Elder Andersen said the pair discussed the importance of education and the great impact the future temple would have on the nation. They also discussed the humanitarian efforts in the nation, where the Church has given more than $20 million in the past 30 years to provide clean water and immunizations.“More than half the mission presidents in Africa are from Africa,” he said. “The leadership exhibited by both men and women in the Church is more and more impressive every time I visit Africa.” Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, center, and Sister Kathy Andersen gather with children after a member meeting in Zimbabwe on November 18. 2018. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Joseph W. Sitati, a General Authority Seventy, and Sister Gladys N. Sitati speak during a member meeting in Zimbabwe on November 18, 2018. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, center, with Sister Kathy Andersen, center, during a trip to South Africa and Zimbabwe in 2018. Participants gather to learn from Elder Neil L. Andersen during a mission presidents seminar in South Africa on November 16, 2018.Elder Andersen’s visit followed a trip by President Russell M. Nelson to Zimbabwe six months ago. Elder Andersen reminded the members of the promises President Nelson left with them: “I bless you that you may be good examples among your neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers, that they’ll want to be more like you and learn what makes you so different from the others around you. I bless your homes that they will be places of love, where peace and harmony may prevail, that your marriages will be strong.”“My lasting memories of this visit will be the faith of the members of the Church, the joy in their eyes and countenances, and the smiles so readily offered in seeing and greeting an Apostle and in reflection of the blessings of the gospel in their beloved countries and in their lives,” said Elder Vinson. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, center, with Sister Kathy Andersen, center, during a trip to South Africa and Zimbabwe in 2018.The Church’s Africa Southeast Area has a membership of 226,000 with 17 missions and 735 congregations. The only temple in the area—the Johannesburg South Africa Temple—was dedicated on August 24, 1985. However, two additional temples—the Durban South Africa Temple and the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo Temple—are under construction, with two additional temples announced for Nairobi, Kenya, and Harare, Zimbabwe. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, center, and Sister Kathy Andersen, with Elder Terence M. Vinson and members of the Africa Southeast Area presidency—Elder S. Mark Palmer and his wife, Jacqui; Elder Joseph W. Sitati and his wife, Gladys; and Elder Joni L. Koch and his wife, Michele.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the Church of England’s traditional “Nine Lessons and Carols” service in the Pembroke College Chapel in Oxford, England, on Sunday, November 25, 2018.“By the time we finally got to see him, wired and tubed and gray and unconscious, it was mid-afternoon on December 24, Christmas Eve. ‘Magnificent timing,’ I muttered to no one in particular.”In a white robe trimmed with blue and wearing a gold stole, Reverend Teal delivered a bidding prayer at the beginning of the service after rising from his seat in the dimly but artfully lit chapel. He was positioned at a small lectern built into the collegiate-style benches along one wall of the chapel in the midst of the congregation.
An organist plays a hymn during the “Nine Lessons and Carols” service on Sunday, November 25, 2018.“We might well ask,” Elder Holland said, “Was such an ominous warning, such a fateful prophecy, appropriate in this season of joy? Surely such was untimely, maybe even unseemly, at that moment—that moment when the Son of God was so young and tender and safe, and His mother so thrilled with His birth and his beauty?”“It was lovely to see their embrace,” she said.Vickey Petchey of London and a member of the Staines Stake said the service was especially moving because she converted to the Church from the Church of England, where she had been an altar girl involved in services like Sunday night’s. Her conversion created some tension with her Anglican bishop, so she was buoyed to see Elder Holland and Reverend Teal hug after Reverend Teal ended the service with a blessing.“To be true to the complete experience we must on occasion speak of Christmases—and other days in our individual and collective lives—that for whatever reason may not be as joyful or do not seem to be ‘the season to be jolly,’” Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said.Elder Holland spoke from Luke 2 about Simeon, saying there is a profound Christmas message in the sign “this dear old man” gave Mary when he held a weeks-old Christ child in his arms at the temple. Simeon rejoiced at the fulfillment of a promise that he would see the Messiah, but he also issued a dire “warning that this child’s life—or more specifically His death—would be like a sword piercing through His beloved mother’s soul.”He said he paced and prayed alone in an unfamiliar hospital as Christmas Eve turned into Christmas, feeling sorry for himself and muttering questions about why he had to lose his dad at Christmas.“The true meaning,” Elder Holland said, “the unique, joyous meaning of the birth of this baby was not confined to those first hours in Bethlehem but would be realized in the life He would lead and in His death, in His triumphant atoning sacrifice—remember why Joseph and Mary were in the temple—and in His prison-bursting Resurrection. These are the realities that make Christmas joyful.”“I don’t think I’d ever heard anyone with the LDS speak at length,” said Emma Sadler, a post-doctoral bacteriologist. “I enjoyed it. He seems like a very good man, wise and noble. I’m not a believer, but I can appreciate a lot of what he said.”The best-attended event of the year at the Pembroke College Chapel, “Nine Lessons and Carols” intersperses carols and hymns with Bible verses about “the tale of the living purpose of God,” said the chapel’s chaplain, the Reverend Andrew Teal, who invited Elder Holland to speak and conducted the meeting. The Pembroke College Chapel Choir and congregation sing a Christmas hymn during the traditional Church of England “Nine Lessons and Carols” service on Sunday, November 25, 2018.“Nine Lessons and Carols” was first created and performed in 1880 by a future Archbishop of Canterbury. It was made famous 100 years ago when it was performed on Christmas Eve 1918 to celebrate the end of World War I a month earlier. Today, a version of the service is broadcast around the world by the BBC live from King’s College in Cambridge every Christmas Eve at 7 a.m. mountain standard time.Standing under an ornate ceiling that bore Latin phrases like “Redemptor Omnibus”—Redeemer of all—Elder Holland said Simeon’s prophecy to Mary was appropriate and important. He said all should see the meaning of Christmas the way Simeon saw it and told Joseph and Mary as they stood in the temple where they offered a sacrifice, a pair of turtledoves.Elder Holland recalled his father’s two heart attacks during and after back surgery on December 23, 1976.Elder Holland sat at the opposing small lectern on the facing benches in a black bow tie and tuxedo. He was the lone speaker. He followed 10 hymns and carols that alternated with nine readings from Genesis, Isaiah, Matthew, Luke, and John about the Fall, prophecies about Christ, and the story of His birth.Sunday night’s scripture selections were Genesis 3:8–15; Genesis 22:15–18; Isaiah 9:3, 6–7; Isaiah 11:1–4, 6, 8–9; Luke 1:26–35; Luke 2:1, 3–7; Luke 2:8–16; Matthew 2:1–11; and John 1:1–14.Standing in the midst of the benches of an intricately decorated 1700s Anglican chapel on Sunday during the Church of England’s signature Christmas service, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland delivered a message about the comfort he felt at his father’s death because of Christ’s birth.
A reader shares a biblical selection about Jesus Christ during the traditional Church of England “Nine Lessons and Carols” service at the Pembroke College Chapel in Oxford, England, on Sunday, November 25, 2018.The Pembroke College Chapel Choir, about 30 strong, sang five pieces, including Mendelssohn’s “There Shall a Star.” The choir and congregation joined in the other six carols and hymns, singing “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful” after Elder Holland’s talk. The Pembroke College Chapel Choir and the chapel’s chaplain, the Reverend Andrew Teal, left, sing during the traditional Church of England “Nine Lessons and Carols” on Sunday, November 25, 2018.An Oxford resident in the choir said she likes the cultural unity Christmas provides and that she felt Sunday night.Then he received what he termed a “theological wake-up call.”“With new eyes then, that morning, I went back to look at my dad, the great gift-giver who was starting to make his way out of the world on Christmas Day. He was doing so on the wings of the greatest gift ever given—the Atonement and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I thought of another Father who gave that gift.”OXFORD, ENGLANDHe said Simeon would sing with the choir and congregation in the chapel Sunday night “not in the absence of hard days and long years and swords that pierce our hearts, but because of them.”He said the calendaring and divine grace of the timing of that birth changed his outlook. He recognized the joy that child must be in its parents’ lives. He remembered that his mother always reminded him of the joy he brought her as a Christmas baby himself.“At 3 a.m. late early morning in a very quiet hospital, immersed as I was in some sorrow and self-pity, heaven sent me a small, personal, prepackaged revelation, a tiny Christmas declaration. In the midst of my mumbling about the very poor calendaring in all of this, I heard the clear, unbroken cry of a baby.” An organist plays during the “Nine Lessons and Carols” service on Sunday, November 25, 2018. The congregation listens to a biblical selection about Jesus Christ during the traditional Church of England “Nine Lessons and Carols” service at the Pembroke College Chapel in Oxford, England, on Sunday, November 25, 2018. A Bible, a Book of Mormon, and a Church of England lectionary of worship texts rest on a lectern on the top row of benches before the start of the traditional Church of England “Nine Lessons and Carols” service at the Pembroke College Chapel in Oxford, England, on Sunday, November 25, 2018.
Tuning inMaybe that’s why we look forward so eagerly to Christmastime—because at Christmas we tend to think more of others than ourselves. We extend more love; we offer more kindness; we give more time. We gather with loved ones and open our hearts to hope and faith. Even with winter’s storms ahead, we feel the warmth of joyful anticipation that seems to be unique to Christmas. In fact, it’s a Christmas tradition that goes back centuries.This season of the year is a time of joyful anticipation. As summer’s heat gives way to fall’s vibrant colors, as planting and tending become reaping and harvesting, the season of thanks flows quite naturally into a season of generous giving.Yes, everyone can be touched by the joyful anticipation that Christmas brings. We need only open our hearts to its wonders and our homes to its peace and hope.
The Salt Lake Temple reflection is seen in the Main Street Plaza reflection pond in Salt Lake City, November 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.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 November 25, 2018.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), thetabernaclechoir.org and youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoiratTempleSquare. 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/schedules.Christmas where peace, like a dove in its flight,
As Sylvester explained it, their family feels lucky to be in a position where they don’t have serious financial worries when it comes to dealing with cancer, so they feel it is important to reach out and help those who may not be as fortunate in similar circumstances.“I felt like we had to focus our lives on something besides cancer for the next 12 months or however long I have,” Ferran said. “So we decided to put our efforts toward something else because there are a lot of people out there who have it worse than us. … We wanted to turn this into something where we can focus on the needs of others.”They began in October by partnering with a group called the Shine Project to raise money to help first-generation college students who struggle to make ends meet while in school.Ashley Sylvester, Ferran’s oldest daughter, said her mother has always been a service-oriented person, so it didn’t come as a surprise that just hours after being told she had months left to live, she started thinking of ways to help others in need.“We decided as a family that it is better to have a short life with high quality,” Ferran said. “We kind of just put it in Heavenly Father’s hands and however it plays out, we’ll be good with it.”But when a biopsy came back in August 2018 telling her that the cancer had migrated to her colon and had spread in such a way that her diagnosis was now terminal, Ferran and her family made two life-changing decisions.Allie Middleton, a friend of the Ferran family and owner of a retail store in Draper, Utah, said she knew immediately when she heard about the project that she wanted her business to get involved and help.For the Ferran family, serving others in their time of trial is the perfect way to draw closer to the Lord and to take the focus off of their own worries.Time to turn outward“We are choosing to make this into a positive thing, and to see her choosing to be positive through this is a making a huge impact,” Sylvester said of the projects so far and how people have responded to her mom’s efforts. “I think this will be an amazing legacy for her.”12 months of serviceThroughout all the stress and worry of their situation, Sylvester said her mom has been the one guiding them through it. “We have just been able to follow her lead in this hard time, which is amazing,” Sylvester said.“My mom is a really incredible person. You don’t have to spend very much time with her to realize that she is different in a good way,” Sylvester said. “She loves and cares about everyone, and she has a really strong testimony. She has this unwavering faith that everything will make sense eventually, even though it’s hard right now.”“The choice wasn’t ‘Are you going to have cancer or not have cancer?’ It was ‘How are you going to react to having it? Are you going to be sad and fall apart and be angry, or are you going to trust God and be positive and grateful for the days you have?’” Ferran said in a recent interview with the Church News. “It has to be a conscious decision, and it becomes a daily thing.”For the month of November, they decided to collect winter coats to donate to refugees in the Salt Lake Valley, and when a local retail business learned of their efforts, it decided to sponsor the project for the month.Using Sylvester’s social media skills and the help of friends who offered to shoot photos and videos to help promote their projects, the family launched a Facebook page to help boost community involvement in their projects and started reaching out for their designated projects.Noting the reach that her company has through their customers, Middleton said she hoped the sponsorship of her company would help expand the project and get more of the community involved in local service efforts.“We rely on the blessing of faith and prayer daily,” Ferran said. “We rely on the knowledge that we will see each other after this life.”With the goal of 12 months of service, the family began brainstorming various projects, causes, or people they could help. Before they realized it, they had a list of things they wanted to do and had jumped into their first month of service. Youth groups from the Draper 5th Ward assembled to help collect coat donations for the Ferran family’s November project.Relying on faithSince getting to know Ferran, Middleton said that she has come to know her as one of the most selfless people she has ever met. “And I don’t say that lightly,” Middleton said.First, as a family, they opted to not attempt treatment.
A designed quote from Annette Ferran was put together for the Ferran family’s 12 months of service projects by their collaborator Piper and Scoot in Draper, Utah. Image courtesy of Piper and Scoot.The Ferran family left to right: Parker Ferran, Bronson Ferran, Andrea Ferran, Troy Ferran, Annette Ferran, Alexa Ferran, Ashley Sylvester, Zachary Sylvester.After first being diagnosed with adenocarcinoma (stomach cancer) in 2016, Ferran and her family made the decision to fight the cancer. And after three rounds of chemotherapy, a surgery that removed about 90 percent of her stomach, and one more round of chemo for good measure, all the tests came back positive. For a brief time, it seemed that Ferran had beaten the odds.And although the project of collecting coats this month is only halfway done, Middleton said she has been impressed by how many donations they have received already, and she is looking forward to helping the Ferrans with future projects.In December, the family will be partnering with the Hayes Foundation, an organization that helps support families who have children with cancer.“We really strive as a family to serve because it helps us be closer to our Savior,” Middleton said, noting that they try to carry that over into their business as well.“The first thing that came to her mind was that she wanted to turn this really awful thing into something for us to focus on something else more positive. It started with wanting to do something for Christmas. … She wanted us to focus on minimalism and sacrifice and to donate what we would normally spend to a good cause that would help somebody that needed it,” Sylvester said. “And then I don’t know exactly how it went from there to 12 months of service, but as a family, we wanted to turn this into something that could withstand the year of hardship that we’re about to go through and give us something positive to focus on.”When Annette Ferran, a member of the Hidden Valley Stake in Draper, Utah, first heard the news that her cancer was terminal, she knew she had a decision to make.Second, they decided to turn their focus away from their own trials. When doctors told Ferran that the average life expectancy for someone with her diagnosis is 12 months, a plan developed amongst the Ferran family.But for Ferran, she said she finds strength in her family and their combined faith.In the months following the new year, the family’s projects will vary in size and focus and will include things like blood drives, assembling backpack meals with the Utah Food Bank for schoolchildren who face hunger, and other localized efforts that focus less on donations and more on raising awareness for community needs in their surrounding areas.“It’s the project that is closest to her heart,” Sylvester said of her mom, who personally selected that project. “It is also the only thing we are doing that is related to cancer.” Annette Ferran with some of the coats the Ferran family received as donations for their November service project.“We’re just trying to live each day the best we can and try not to worry about the future a ton because the ‘what-ifs’ can consume your life. Whatever complications come, we’ll deal with those as they come,” Ferran said.
On November 2, Tony Finau announced via Instagram his project “Tony’s Turkeys,” which provided Thanksgiving meals to 1,000 families in Rose Park, Utah. Image from Instagram.Finau’s a young man—still a year shy of his 30th birthday. But his gospel beliefs and devotion to his family instill in him an older man’s maturity and perspective.Affability and preternatural golf skills have made Finau a fan favorite. When he injured his ankle in a freak fairway accident on the day before the Masters, photos of his badly bruised foot spread across social media. But by his final round that weekend at Augusta, his name was found ascending the leaderboard, earning him new admirers.“Everything I do is deeply rooted in my faith and especially in Jesus Christ,” he said.
Tony Finau in his Lehi home. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.The professional golfing world is hyper-competitive. A player can win a major tournament one weekend and miss the tournament cut a few days later. Finau said he loves the competition and wants to win each week. But he feels no conflict between his athletic ambitions and his religious beliefs.
Tony Finau with his four children. Photo by Alayna Finau.
Alayna Finau travels with her four children to meet her husband, Tony Finau, for a tournament. Photo courtesy of Alayna Finau.But Tony and Alayna work together while raising their children.“I grew up in Rose Park, which is a less-privileged area. There were a lot of gangs and drugs and things like that. So I knew if I ever had the opportunity to give back, that I would.”“Again, it’s all rooted in my faith.”Including his Church affiliation in his bio was an easy call. “It’s a huge part of who I am, and I’m never ashamed of it or afraid to proclaim it. … I’m proud to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”For fans and golf writers, he joins the short list of pros known simply by their first name: Tiger. Phil. Rory. Bubba. Jordan. Sergio. And now, Tony.Four years ago, Finau established the Tony Finau Foundation with a mission to empower and inspire young people and their families to discover and develop their gifts and talents “through the game of golf, educational funding, and core family values.”“PGA tour player, food lover, husband. Father of 4 beauties. Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”Proud of his beliefs“It will be a great accomplishment if I become the best player in the world,” he said. “But if my children can grow up with great core values and become great people and do good things and are happy, then, man, that would bring me great joy.”And this Thanksgiving week, he’s once again hosted “Tony’s Turkeys” in his hometown of Rose Park, Utah, during which he expected to feed over 1,000 people from the community he still considers home.Finding balanceFinau’s unforgettable year included three top-10 finishes in major championships—the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the British Open. And his success was rewarded with a coveted spot on the United States 2018 Ryder Cup team. PGA golfer Tony Finau, right, and his father, Kelepi Finau, pose for a photo at Tony’s home in Lehi on February 6. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.Giving back“[Alayna] is an incredible supporter and partner. She is everything to me. It’s pretty remarkable what she is able to do to sacrifice on my behalf. … She is the cornerstone of our family.”“I enjoy the challenge of being a father. … I try to do my best to be there for my children,” he said.“I want to win major championships and become the best player in the world—and those goals seem to be within reach,” he stated recently and matter-of-factly to the Church News.“I find that my upbringing in the Church and my relationship with God are huge benefits to me in helping me become the kind of person that I want to become.Representing his country in the Ryder Cup “was the crown jewel of the year.” The American side returned home from Europe without the Cup, but Tony played well, finishing with a winning record and impressing with his team play.He is grateful he’s not parenting alone.Rooted in faith“I hope that if others see me as a good person that they will know the source of that,” he said.And if you watched the lifelong member go about his business during the 2018 season, you would know such lofty ambitions are not far-fetched. This past season doubled as a resounding statement to the golf world: Tony Finau is a major talent capable of winning at any time.The PGA tour schedule can be brutal, with tournaments happening most weeks on golf courses across the United States. When not on the golf course, the competitors are likely at a hotel or at an airport. For families, it makes for an untraditional life.But golf is what he does, not who he is. His understanding of the gospel offers him eternal perspectives that reach far beyond the sport's premier events. He is a father, a son, and a husband. He and his wife, Alayna, are the parents of four children.“That was special for me. It was a boost for me and my career—playing that well and knowing that I can compete at a high level.”“I really enjoyed my finish at the Masters—it was arguably the best performance I had all season,” he said. “It was quite the feat accomplishing what I did despite being a little handicapped.Again, his gospel roots teach him the importance of looking out for those in need. “I’m just trying to do my part.”Tony Finau is 14th in the official World Golf Ranking. He expects to one day be the very best.Those sacred convictions—his combined loyalty to family and faith—have “helped me in times of trials and also kept me humble when I’ve been blessed to play well. They help me with both spectrums.”Many visitors have commented on his religious beliefs. Most are positive. Some are negative. No matter. PGA golfer Tony Finau eats with two of his children, Sage, 1, and Tony, 2, at their home in Lehi. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.“I feel like I do a pretty good job of smelling the roses along the way and just enjoying the moment,” he said.He believes in the oft-repeated adage that no amount of professional success can compensate for failure at home.The hundreds of thousands of golf fans visiting Finau’s Instagram page are welcomed with this bio:Latter-day Saint Tony Finau focuses on his golfing goals with the same intensity he summons trying to sink a putt on the 18th green in the final round of a PGA tournament.
Tony Finau and Alayna Finau pose for a photo by a Tony Finau Foundation backdrop. Photo courtesy of Alayna Finau.Despite playing on an injured ankle, he was able to relish his debut at perhaps golf’s most storied tournament.
Julia Nelson walks under some lights as she and her family look at the lights on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Standing near the reflection pool on the east side of the Salt Lake Temple when the lights came on at dusk on Friday, November 23, Cliff and Carolyn Richard from Denver, Colorado, let out an audible gasp as the trees around them lit up.More than 50 years ago, in 1965, around 15,000 people attended the first-ever Christmas-lighting ceremony at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. And while this year’s ceremony didn’t have quite that many people in attendance, crowds filled Salt Lake’s most famous downtown landmark as families, couples, friends, and individuals gathered in the cold to watch the lights turn on once again, marking the beginning of the 2018 holiday season.Twenty years ago, when Sister Bryars first came to see the lights on Temple Square, she wasn’t yet a member of the Church. This year was her first time back since then, and she said all she remembers from 20 years ago were that the lights were beautiful. But now, with her knowledge of the gospel, she said the whole experience means so much more. Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.They said it was a pleasant surprise to get caught up in the commotion and excitement of the lighting ceremony at the beginning of the Christmas season. It was a good first impression of Temple Square, Cliff Richard said.“We just stumbled upon this,” Cliff Richard said. “It feels like serendipity.” Stu Newman holds his son Nick as they wait for the lights to come on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Visiting the lights
The Nativity story is told on the grass near the North Visitors' Center at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.And while the lights themselves are spectacular to see, for many, visiting the lights at Temple Square is a way to help them remember Christ and feel His spirit during the Christmas season.For those who serve on Temple Square as missionaries, the lights offer an opportunity to connect with visitors in new ways.Dave and Heather Jones, members of the Pheasant Pointe Stake in Lehi, Utah, along with their four sons, have made the drive to see the lights nearly every year they have lived in Utah. This was the first year they attended the lighting ceremony the day after Thanksgiving.For others, the lights at Temple Square are a traditional part of their Christmas season.Connecting through Christ“Looking around, I see people sharing in what they know. It’s a spiritual thing,” said Sister Sharon Bryars, a senior missionary from Montana who serves at the Church’s Family History Library. “It offers a way for people to experience what the Church is about.”Standing by her son Fernando inside the Salt Lake Tabernacle listening to Christmas hymns emanating from the famous Tabernacle organ, Ana Maria Arauz added, “It is beautiful here, and it feels special.” Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“Christmas is a time of giving,” said LDS Business College student Fernando Arauz. “Visiting Temple Square gives me a sense of peace and calm so I can focus my thoughts. It is a subtle reminder of things we may not think about all the time.”“We’re making it a new tradition,” Dave Jones said. “We wanted to create a new tradition here, and this is as spectacular as Rockefeller.”Additionally, productions of “Mr. Krueger’s Christmas” and “The Nativity” will be shown in the Legacy Theater of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building from Friday, November 23, 2018, to Tuesday, January 1, 2019, along with the current selection of films scheduled.Noting the holiday spirit that comes along with the lights at Temple Square, her companion, Sister Jade Tuckett, added, “It helps spread the message. It becomes even easier to talk about Christ. I feel the Spirit and my testimony increases.” Kids look at the reflection pond as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.As an East Coast native, Dave Jones and his family used to enjoy going to the Macy’s parade in New York to celebrate Thanksgiving every year. Since moving to Utah, they hadn’t found something similar they wanted to do each year —until now. A young girl looks at the reflection pond as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.A Church member from El Salvador, Ana Maria Arauz said she felt the same spirit on Temple Square as she does when she visits the temple at home in El Salvador.Visitors can visit Temple Square to see the lights any time during the Christmas season. Lights will be displayed daily between dusk and 10 p.m. from now until December 31.A spectacular sight Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.The Richards came to Salt Lake for a family get-together prior to their son's upcoming wedding and decided to follow the crowd as they explored downtown Salt Lake City on Friday evening.
Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News. Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 23, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“It feels welcoming, like family and home,” she said.“You can just feel the Christmas spirit here because we’re all united in one thing,” said Sister Angelica Hadley, a missionary on Temple Square.
The devotional was also broadcast to 14 missionary training centers around the world including the one in Provo.Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, shared messages about gratitude with a little more than 1,500 missionaries gathered in the Provo MTC in a Thanksgiving morning devotional on November 22.In closing, Elder Uchtdorf told the missionaries, “on this Thanksgiving season and always, my prayer for all of you is that you turn your minds and hearts to thanking God for life itself, for God's plan—the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, for a living prophet—even President [Russell M.] Nelson—for the blessing of learning through experience, for the certainty that all things will work together for your good, and for the sacred privilege to be one of the Savior's missionaries.”When he was a child, he and his family became refugees twice, and life was difficult. In hindsight, he said, “I am deeply grateful for this special experience in my life and the eventual positive outcome—not because of, but in spite of the serious problems we had to go through.The scriptures teach that Heavenly Father should be thanked for all things, even challenges and difficulties.“I am especially thankful for you, the Lord’s missionaries,” Sister Uchtdorf told the elders and sisters gathered in the MTC.Elder Uchtdorf shared how in his youth, his gratitude focused more on the good things. But, “as I grew older and matured in my thinking, I learned that the higher law of gratitude is thanking God in all things, believing that God will make ‘all things work together’ for our good.”“Through your personal preparation, your example, and your dedication, you have the potential to be like angels of glory to all who seek the truth.”A few months later, two American missionaries knocked on their door. After a pleasant, short conversation, the missionaries left Sister Uchtdorf’s mother with a copy of the Book of Mormon and arranged to return a few days later. Sister Uchtdorf’s mother began reading and could not stop until she read the whole book, which she then shared with Sister Uchtdorf and her sister.“That day was a day of thanksgiving and will always be throughout my whole life. It was a day of miracles for our family; it was as if angels had been sent to us.”Now the elders and sisters in the MTC are the ones who will go out into the world to find, teach, baptize, and live the gospel message.When she was 12 years old, her father died from cancer and her mother became extremely depressed as a result. Her family attended their Protestant church every Sunday, but it could not comfort her mother.“Acknowledging your blessings is not meant to be merely to make you feel happy about the place you are in at this moment in life,” Elder Uchtdorf explained. “It is meant as a tool to help you recognize your resources so that you can use them to move onward and upward. Gratitude brings the Spirit into your lives and will bring you to a greater version of yourselves that exists and is waiting to be uncovered and cultivated.” Sister Harriet Uchtdorf and Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf shake hands with missionaries gathered in the Provo MTC following a Thanksgiving morning devotional, November 22, 2018. Photo by Valerie Johnson.“All these experiences blessed me with the assurance that God is indeed trustworthy and that His strength is the source of strength at all times and at all places across the world.”“The higher purpose of Thanksgiving is to thank God,” he explained.“You remind me of the special time in my life when missionaries found my family in Frankfurt, Germany, and blessed our lives forever,” she said.The early pioneer members of the Church maintained a spirit of gratitude during their trek toward the Salt Lake Valley.
Sister Harriet Uchtdorf speaks to about 1,500 missionaries gathered in the Provo MTC for a Thanksgiving Day devotional, November 22, 2018. Photo by Valerie Johnson.When experiencing personal trials, Elder Uchtdorf encouraged the missionaries to “take a moment to be quiet and pray, and specifically pray and ask Heavenly Father what lesson you are going to learn from this experience.”“If trials make us turn to God, see life from a more eternal perspective, and help us to grow and conquer our own weaknesses, even the most serious challenges can become tools to refine us,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “They may actually benefit us.”This holiday is a day for families to gather together, share a meal, eat too much, and remember the blessings they have received during the year, Elder Uchtdorf said.These missionaries taught her family about the plan of salvation, which gave them hope and light that relieved their heartache, despair, and sadness. Feeling the Spirit so strongly, they knew that the message they shared was true, and they agreed to be baptized.“You can imagine how surprised those two missionaries were when they came back, just a few days after their first contact, and learned that my mother had read the whole Book of Mormon,” she said.
The missionaries’ service doesn’t end with a Thanksgiving day project. Missionaries currently serving at the Missionary Training Center in Provo work together to fill apple oats breakfast bags as they participate in an annual service project with Feeding Children Everywhere to address the issue of domestic hunger. Working in a covered parking ramp, the group assembled and distributed 350,000 meals to The Utah Food Bank on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Photo by Steve Griffin.Of the service that day, she said, “I think it gives you really good preparation for the mission field,” she said.
Sister Sharon Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, speaks to missionaries in the Provo Missionary Training Center in an afternoon devotional before their Thanksgiving service project on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Phoo by Steve Griffin, Deseret News.With Feeding Children Everywhere—a Florida-based nonprofit organization—providing the logistics, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints providing the funding and the missionaries providing the labor, the combined force assembled about 350,000 breakfast meal packets to be donated to the Utah Food Bank. Missionaries currently serving at the Missionary Training Center in Provo work together to fill apple oats breakfast bags as they participate in an annual service project with Feeding Children Everywhere to address the issue of domestic hunger. Working in a covered parking ramp, the group assembled and distributed 350,000 meals to The Utah Food Bank on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Photo by Steve Griffin.
Elder Austin Briles, from South Carolina, works with fellow missionaries who are currently serving at serving at the Missionary Training Center in Provo to fill apple oats breakfast bags as they participate in an annual service project with Feeding Children Everywhere to address the issue of domestic hunger. Photo by Steve Griffin, Deseret News.This is Dave Green’s third Thanksgiving spent at the Provo MTC. The Feeding Children Everywhere CEO is ready to make a trip to Utah with his family an annual Thanksgiving tradition.Sister Sharon Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, invited all the missionaries to participate in the Light The World initiative, in particular during the worldwide day of service on December 1. However, while many of the missionaries will still be in the MTC on that day, that should not keep them from participating in the day of service, she said.The service project will go beyond the food packets packaged by the missionaries. Executives with the nonprofit organization Silicon Slopes were also there to watch and learn from the missionaries.“I’m feeling great,” said Sister Maylin Erickson of Glendale, Arizona. “It’s hard being away from my family, but I can’t think of a better place I’d rather be.”In a devotional before the service project, the missionaries were shown videos from the Light The World initiative and given ideas as to how to encourage others to serve when they reach the mission field.The MTC is a special place to Green. He had partnered with the Church in Florida earlier, but when he came to the MTC in 2013, he said he “felt the presence of God.” He felt a similar spirit touring Temple Square with his family and he began to have many questions about the Church. On the way back to Orlando, Florida, he prayed and told God that he would read the Book of Mormon if that’s what He wanted.“Being able to serve, to make these meals for families that need it, is really, really great,” Sister Erickson said.More than 1,500 missionaries are spending this holiday season in the Provo Missionary Training Center, away from home and family, and their Thanksgiving meal perhaps does not resemble the one they might have normally enjoyed. But if the ringing bells, cheers, and festive music echoing through a below-ground parking garage are any indication, this Thanksgiving is a happy one. Missionaries currently serving at the Missionary Training Center in Provo work together to fill apple oats breakfast bags as they participate in an annual service project with Feeding Children Everywhere to address the issue of domestic hunger. Working in a covered parking ramp, the group assembled and distributed 350,000 meals to The Utah Food Bank on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Photo by Steve Griffin.“We’re showing some of these people here from Silicon Slopes the ropes on how to do packaging like this,” said Elder Daniel S. Mehr II, an Area Seventy and chairman of JustServe for the state of Utah. Missionaries currently serving at the Missionary Training Center in Provo work together to fill apple oats breakfast bags as they participate in an annual service project with Feeding Children Everywhere to address the issue of domestic hunger. Working in a covered parking ramp, the group assembled and distributed 350,000 meals to The Utah Food Bank on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Photo by Steve Griffin. Missionaries currently serving at the Missionary Training Center in Provo work together to fill apple oats breakfast bags as they participate in an annual service project with Feeding Children Everywhere to address the issue of domestic hunger. Working in a covered parking ramp, the group assembled and distributed 350,000 meals to The Utah Food Bank on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Photo by Steve Griffin.“This MTC is the perfect opportunity for you to pray and ask for revelation. ‘What can I do? I’m at the MTC, but what could I do to encourage someone? To lighten somebody’s burden?’ You will be amazed at the creative ideas that will come to you through the Holy Ghost of what you can do.”Those involved with Silicon Slopes are planning on raising money and funding another hunger project with Feeding Children Everywhere, which will be completed during a tech summit in the Salt Palace in January. Missionaries currently serving at the Missionary Training Center in Provo work together to fill apple oats breakfast bags as they participate in an annual service project with Feeding Children Everywhere to address the issue of domestic hunger. Working in a covered parking ramp, the group assembled and distributed 350,000 meals to The Utah Food Bank on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Photo by Steve Griffin.
Missionaries currently serving at the Missionary Training Center in Provo work together to fill apple oats breakfast bags as they participate in an annual service project with Feeding Children Everywhere to address the issue of domestic hunger. Working in a covered parking ramp, the group assembled and distributed 350,000 meals to The Utah Food Bank on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Photo by Steve Griffin.The MTC has partnered with Feeding Children Everywhere for the Thanksgiving service project since 2013.“I think it’s really important to do service all over—not just on your mission, but in life in general,” Sister Emily Allen, who will serve in the Italy Rome Mission. She was a captain at one of over 50 assembly tables during the MTC service project.“Whether five years from now if I’m still at Feeding Children Everywhere or whatever God’s called me to, I think every year at Thanksgiving, this is going to be our family tradition—no matter what, to spend it in Utah,” he said.PROVO, UtahDespite having spent three days at the MTC, he was not given a copy of the Book of Mormon. It was the Uber driver picking him and his family up from the airport who had a copy to give him. Soon after, Green met with missionaries and joined the Church a few months later.She was one of hundreds of missionaries who donned hair nets and lined up at tables to assemble meal packets on Thanksgiving Day.
Organ recitalsGotta Dance! (Joseph Smith Memorial Building lobby). The Stratford Street Big Band, along with local dance groups, will entertain us with jazz, swing, and big band favorites.Fiesta! (Tabernacle). Award-wining Latino performers celebrate life and new beginnings. Artists include Alex Melecio, Tony Garcia, Martha Chavez, and others.Assembly Hall: Tuesdays through Sundays at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 p.m. (November 24 through December 22)Family History Library: Various Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. (November 24 through December 22)Church History Museum: Various days at noon and 4:00 p.m. (November 26 through December 22) Wednesday evening rehearsals begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Tabernacle on Temple Square. Doors open 10 minutes before rehearsals. Bells on Temple Square is a 35-member hand bell ringing ensemble that is part of the The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square organization.Savior of the World6:00 p.m.Discover your heritage through interactive discovery experiences. Additional Christmas activities from November 26 through December 31 include Christmas traditions around the world, arts and crafts, family history videos, music, and short Christmas films. Library hours November 26 through December 21 are Monday: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.FilmsGabriel Trumpets (Tabernacle). Trumpets, organ, and percussion come together to perform a broad repertoire highlighting the wide range of trumpet sounds with selections that will please all tastes. Other activitiesConcertsSeveral holiday films are shown in the North Visitors’ Center throughout the Christmas season. For this season, the Legacy Theater at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building will add Mr. Kreuger’s Christmas and the Bible Video “The Nativity” to other ongoing presentations. For a film schedule, call 1-801-240-8945.From Now On! The Best of Movie Musicals (Tabernacle). Dallyn Bayless and Mindy Robbins, together with the celebrated One Voice Children’s Choir, present favorite songs from movie musicals.8:00 p.m. For 2018, the Christmas lights will turn on at dusk on Friday, November 23, the day after Thanksgiving. Visitors are welcome to come see the lights any time during the Christmas season from dusk until 10:00 p.m. through December 31.In addition, choral and musical groups will present free music, carols, and songs of the season in the following venues:The Christmas on Temple Square opening concert is Saturday, November 24, in the Tabernacle at 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. This family-friendly kickoff to the Christmas season features music by We Also Sing! under the direction of Merrilee Web. All ages are welcome.Guests are encouraged to return for the New Year’s Celebration on Temple Square on December 31.6:00 p.m.Savior of the World is a sacred musical drama based on scriptural accounts of the birth and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Performances are Friday, November 16, through Saturday, December 29, and are presented at the Conference Center Theater (located in the northwest corner of the Conference Center) on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. Reserve $10 tickets at lds.org/events or call 1-801-570-0080. For this event, Conference Center parking is free to ticket holders.Church Office Building: Mondays through Fridays at noon and 1:00 p.m. (November 26 through December 21)Family History LibraryJoseph Smith Memorial Building: Mondays through Saturdays at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00 p.m. (November 24 through December 22)Bells on Temple Square rehearsalsComplimentary guided tours of Temple Square’s buildings and grounds, as well as an explanation of basic Church beliefs, are available throughout the day and evening in many languages. The North and South Visitors’ Centers are open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day.The Tabernacle Choir broadcasts Music and the Spoken Word at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday from the Tabernacle on Temple Square. Broadcasts originate from the Conference Center during the month of December. The public is welcome and should be seated by 9:15 a.m. The public may also attend Tabernacle Choir rehearsals every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Conference Center. There will be no rehearsal on November 22 and 29 and December 13 and 27.8:00 p.m.Adults and children of all ages are welcome to attend any of the above Christmas performances. Download the detailed schedule of performing groups, which includes locations and times of performances, at www.lds.org/events and at information and hostess desks throughout Temple Square. For more information call 1-801-240-3323.The Church History Museum is open weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This year the museum features a new art exhibit called A Visual Journal: Artwork of Henry B. Eyring. Since the mid-1970s, President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency has produced hundreds of small-scale watercolor paintings that, like his journals, capture his feelings and memories about important moments and people in his life. This display will be open from November 8, 2018, to January 21, 2019. (See related article.)Family Night Sing-Along: Broadway and the Big Screen (Assembly Hall). Performing groups include high school and collegiate student choruses, ensembles, and madrigals from Utah and surrounding states, as well as children’s choruses, community choirs, and other musical groups.Guided toursChurch History MuseumLightsNorth Visitors’ Center: Tuesdays through Sundays at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. (November 24 through December 22)New Year’s Eve Celebration on Temple SquareFor more than 50 years, Temple Square has been a destination for families and friends to see the colorful lights during the Christmas season. Every part of the decorations—from the white Nativity scene surrounded by floating lights in the reflecting pool, to the luminaria around the square, and the inspiring music and concerts—is meant to draw attention to the story of Christ’s birth. Organ recitals are held year-round in the Tabernacle on the magnificent 11,623-pipe Tabernacle organ Monday through Saturday at noon and at 2:00 p.m. on Sundays. Tabernacle Choir broadcasts7:00 p.m.
It’s appropriate, then, to note that Thanksgiving Day as an official U.S. holiday has its roots in a period of American history when it may have been difficult to find reason to be grateful. It was during the dark days of the Civil War when President Abraham Lincoln called for a day in November for “Thanksgiving and Praise.” He proclaimed on October 3, 1863: “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”
President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. Photo courtesy of National Archives.Maybe that is the best way to “ask the Lord’s blessing”—to give thanks for the blessings we already have. A thankful heart is a soft heart, better able to receive the peace and reassurance we need. Numerous scientific studies have confirmed that gratitude literally makes us feel better, both emotionally and physically. One study showed that when people expressed gratitude in a journal each day, they saw great improvements in their overall well-being. And in this changing, stressful world, we need such blessing more than ever. But in spite of any hardships we might be facing, in our Thanksgiving gatherings we humbly affirm that we have much to be thankful for—that our blessings outnumber our difficulties. And perhaps that’s the greatest gift we can offer—to live in thanksgiving daily, to acknowledge heaven’s hand in all things, and always, always to count our blessings.Sometimes we are being blessed even when we don’t realize it. If we just pause and reflect on all the good in our life, we will see that good things, however small, and better days, however distant, are ahead for us. This is why we gather to give thanks.Editor's note: The “spoken word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This message was given November 18, 2018.Thanksgiving is a time of gathering. We gather together to enjoy a meal, to connect with loved ones, and to recognize and celebrate the good things in our lives. As we sing in “Prayer of Thanksgiving,” “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing” (Hymns, no. 93). Tuning inThe 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. The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. mountain time on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org.
Then one day as she was pondering the life and ministry of Jesus Christ while preparing to partake of the sacrament, the words to the sacramental prayer resonated in her heart and mind.The following story illustrates how a dear sister was able to draw closer to the Savior during a challenging time in her life:We too can be and do the best things in the worst times. Out of every tragedy, every trial, every heartache, every single disappointment comes an opportunity for spiritual growth and understanding.Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander, formerly of the Presidency of the Seventy, expounded on this explanation, teaching: “The repetitious scriptural reminder to remember takes on added significance when we understand that in Hebrew the word remember has a much broader meaning than does the English connotation of ‘keeping something in mind.’ In the Hebrew context, ‘doing’ is an essential part of the remembering process. Thus, ‘to remember’ is ‘to do,’ whereas ‘forgetting’ is ‘failing to do’ (“Remember, Remember,” BYU devotional, Nov. 12, 2002). Having the Lord before our face means that we not only “keep his commandments … that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us]” (Moroni 4:3) but that we also speak, testify, and teach of Him daily.Helaman expounds on this sacred truth while teaching his sons: “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).Located in Leicester, England, is the charming little Staunton Harold Church. Carved above the door is an inspiring inscription that reads: “In the year 1653 when all things sacred were throughout this nation either demolished or profaned, Sir Robert Shirley Baronet founded this church. Whose singular praise it is to have done the best things in the worst times and hoped them in the most calamitous.”Her heart was filled with much gratitude that she was able to continue to help her husband raise their children. During the months that followed, she often found herself on her knees thanking her Father in Heaven. Then, after praying, she would rise and go about her daily tasks thinking of what she could do to repay all of those who had sacrificed and served her family during such a trying time.The Spirit softly answered, “Jesus Christ did something for you that you couldn’t possibly do for yourself, and what does He ask in return? That you always remember Him.” Her heart filled with joy as she was reminded of the power and importance of remembering.Her thoughts often turned to her wonderful doctor. She would ponder the following questions: “How do you properly thank someone who helped save your life?” “How do you repay them for doing something for you that you couldn’t possibly do for yourself?”Our beloved prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, added his testimony to that of Helaman’s when he declared, “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” (“Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Oct. 2016 general conference). Brothers and sisters, if we are wise and turn to the Savior, through His infinite Atonement we can find peace, comfort, and even joy during the storms of life.The Hebrew word remember carries the connotation of “to have before your face always” (see Deuteronomy 6). This isn’t a casual “Please don’t forget about me.” The Savior wants to be an intricate, personal part of our daily lives. If Jesus Christ is before our face always it affects how we speak; what we choose to watch, read, and listen to; and, most important, how we treat one another.After the birth of her third child, a young mother suffered some serious complications. The road to recovery was uncertain but hopeful. After much fasting, prayer, and the work of skilled doctors and nurses, she was eventually released from the hospital and reunited with her family.As covenant followers of Jesus Christ, there is sanctifying power in the word remember. As we partake of the sacred emblems of the sacrament each week and reflect upon the Savior’s admonition to “always remember Him,” we are tenderly reminded that when worlds without number hung in the balance, He remembered us. We have always been and always will be before His face.We can choose to remember our Savior by walking as He walked, loving as He loved, forgiving as He forgave, serving as He served, and teaching as He taught. In doing so, we are promised a wonderful blessing, “That [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us].”It is our prayer that during this season of thanksgiving that we may always remember the matchless gift of a Son and the bounteous blessings that flow from Him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Farm manager Tad Steadman stands at the entrance of the Church-owned turkey farm near Moroni, Utah. Steadman is a second-generation manager at the facility. Photo by Jason Swensen.Turkey meat has long been a storehouse staple. Canned turkey chunks are available year-round, while fresh frozen birds are distributed to families during the holidays.Steadman’s days are spent in the company of turkeys—thousands and thousands of turkeys. But, yes, he still looks forward to sitting down with one for a traditional holiday meal.
Tad Steadman inspects the health of a baby turkey, or poult, at the Church-owned turkey farm near Moroni, Utah. Photo by Jason Swensen.You won’t find workers here in suits and ties, but they all agree that the turkey farm is dedicated, sacred ground. Steadman appreciates that the offerings of Latter-day Saints around the world are what make this farm possible.Then keep reading for a brief turkey primer (and apologies for that last sentence):“When you think of what we do here in those terms, it’s pretty humbling,” said Steadman, who began working at the turkey farm when his father, Marlin Steadman, managed it.
Each year, the Church-owned turkey farm near Moroni, Utah, produces four million pounds of meat. A portion of that yield will be used to feed people in need through the Church welfare program. Photo by Jason Swensen.A rafter of poults flock together inside a brooder house at the Church-owned turkey farm near Moroni, Utah. Photo by Jason Swensen.The Moroni facility includes three brooder houses for the poults and 13 growout barns for the more mature birds. Approximately 220,000 turkeys are raised here annually, yielding about four million pounds of meat. Church agricultural specialist Wade Sperry inspects a brooder house filled with young birds at the Church-owned turkey farm near Moroni, Utah. Photo by Jason Swensen. Hundreds of thousands of newly hatched turkeys—called poults—are raised each year at the Church-owned turkey farm in Moroni, Utah. Photo by Jason Swensen.“Turkey is a good, high-protein meat that is efficient to produce—and people really like it,” said Church agricultural specialist Wade Sperry.Looking to baste your Thanksgiving Day dinner conversation with some thickly-carved slices of “turkey talk” that holiday guests are sure to gobble up?Meanwhile, when Sperry inspects the thousands of birds being raised here, his thoughts are often with families in need gathering around a holiday turkey and building priceless memories.MORONI, UTAHAnd unlike many Church-operated welfare sites, there are no volunteer workers at the turkey farm. Maintaining a small staff means the turkeys encounter limited exposure to humans.The Moroni turkey farm is part of the Church’s global welfare program established to offer relief to people in need even while promoting self-sufficiency and provident living. A portion of the meat raised here will find its way to the Church’s bishops’ storehouses and, ultimately, to the dinner tables of families facing hard times.
The video “How To—Align Different Parenting Styles in Five Helpful Steps” identifies three main types of parenting: permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative. What style do you use?Finding harmony between work and familyNearly every parent has a different parenting style in how they teach, scold, or even play with children.We all try and balance our professional work lives with our lives at home. But in “How To—Achieve Balance Between Work Life and Family Life,” Dr. Erin Holmes suggests that “balance” may not be the right word.In the video “How To—Show Love Daily,” Dr. Loren Marks, a professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, says that love is a series of daily decisions. Often these decisions have an immediate, short-term impact. But sometimes the impact can extend much further.“If at the end of the day we can look at each other and say, ‘Wow, we made it; I sure am glad you’re here to help me,’ I think we’re getting something right.”Families can look very different from each other. While much of the advice in this article is catered toward a home with two parents present, many of the principles can be adapted to apply to single-parent homes, grandparents raising grandchildren, situations of divorce, or other circumstances.It can be helpful to recognize that sometimes there will be times when work and family life are unbalanced—and that’s OK. Rather than seeking for balance, we can seek to find harmony in the various demands on our time.The realization that you, as parents, are on the same team with the same end goals is a powerful reminder that can help you overcome hard days.According to Dr. Holmes, balance can suggest that things are happening in equal ways—that the amount of pressure at home and at work are equal. A more helpful way to think about this pressure may be to think of the word “harmony.” It can be helpful to recognize that sometimes there will be times when work and family life are unbalanced—and that’s OK.In the October 2018 general conference, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new focus on home-centered learning and gospel study. This emphasis brings many opportunities to teach and instruct in your home.TeamworkHarmony in music can include dissonance as well as perfect balance. Sometimes things at work will overwhelm your life. At other times, your family life will need more attention.In the video “How To—Be a Team in Marriage and Parenting,” Dr. Erin Holmes, a professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, says that it’s important to recognize that hard days exist and that having a hard day is OK.Remember that you and your spouse are a team, in marriage as well as in parenting.Dr. Marks shares something he calls the Five-Year Rule. He recommends looking at things through a five-year lens and asking yourself, “Will this discussion matter to us in five years?”Aligning different parenting stylesIn today’s world, parents face many challenges that affect families. It can be easy to feel inadequate as a parent, particularly when life gets busy. This month, the Church’s How-To channel is highlighting videos that can give your parenting a boost going into the holiday season and the new year. Often the answer will be no, which can help you let things go. But sometimes the answer will be yes, which means that as parents, you will need to come together to find solutions and compromises.Try working through some of the following steps with your spouse (or the other parent of your children, if you are separated or divorced) to better align your parenting styles with each other.To find more tips for parenting and working together as a family, browse other video playlists on the How-To channel on YouTube.Working through decisions together Nearly every parent has a different parenting style in how they teach, scold, or even play with children.
European Latter-day Saints are committed to helping the Church grow in their own countries, said Elder Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.Elder Johnson said Elder Cook’s witness of the Savior Jesus Christ “had a profound impact on me and on those who heard and felt that witness. I heard members and missionaries make comments afterward concerning the powerful effect it had on them. The members and the missionaries felt loved, instructed, and edified from the visit of Elder Cook.”“The missionaries looked so good and they were working so hard,” said Elder Cook. “They are loving the opportunity to serve.”“They loved their messages and were very excited for their visit. One stake president was in tears as he turned to me on the stand and commented how glad he was to see the large turnout for such a special meeting even though it was a national holiday.”Armenia was the first nation in the world to declare Christianity as its national religion. “The Armenian people have been conquered by pagans, Muslims, atheists, and others, and they have never converted away from Christianity,” Elder Martino said. “They have a strong pride in who they are. There are only 3 million Armenians in Armenia, with about 12 million Armenians living around the world. …Elder Johnson said, “It was wonderful to see Elder and Sister Cook interact with the Saints. They were very open and loving. The Saints were touched and felt the power of being with an Apostle of the Savior.”Elder Cook testified these missionaries were called to serve in their particular missions by inspiration through the Holy Ghost. He testified that they should not be discouraged even when it was hard. He said, “I hope you are feeling a sense of urgency. Never lose that!” Elder Quentin L. Cook addresses missionaries in the Church’s Europe East Area.Elder Golden said that “although the Church is still relatively new and small, the Church and the restored gospel are very important to these members who are the pioneers.”
The Kyiv Ukraine Temple.“We are blessed with many members and missionaries who, despite the challenges, are full of inspiring faith. I feel we are on the verge of a wonderful transformation as members working with missionaries reach out to returning members to invite them back.”Elder Cook had the opportunity to visit the Kyiv Ukraine Temple and hold missionary and member meetings in the areas, where missionary work is challenging.
Elder Quentin L. Cook and Sister Mary G. Cook stand outside the Kyiv Ukraine Temple with Elder Elder James B. Martino, a General Authority Seventy; Sister Jennie B. Martino; and Ukraine Kyiv Mission President Edwin C. Kumferman.Elder Quentin L. Cook greets missionaries in the Church’s Europe East Area.“The members in both of these countries truly are a people of faith,” said Elder Martino. “The vast majority of people now strongly profess Christianity and they are learning how to grow their faith by personal religious habits like scripture study and prayer. They are learning to become self-reliant. Sometimes they must gain more self-confidence of their own abilities, and the gospel helps them see that better than anything.”Latter-day Saints living in the Church’s Europe and Europe East Areas—which include 50 countries and almost as many languages—are looking forward to implementing a new home-centered curriculum, are eager to use the full and inspired name of the Church, and are following President Russell M. Nelson with intensity, reported Elder Quentin L. Cook after an October 19 to October 28 visit.Elder Golden said missionaries and members were “attentive, reverent, and responsive” during the meeting.The Church helps the people to “learn who they are,” Elder Martino said. “It does not matter where we are born or where we live; the Lord’s chosen are scattered throughout the world. The Church is helping Saints here to understand their divine nature and their potential to live in eternal families with our Heavenly Father. It allows them to face economic and political challenges and realize that they can grow through these trials. This eternal perspective allows the members to see that they can grow, particularly as they learn to serve as the Savior would serve. These were themes of Elder Cook.”Europe AreaElder Cook visited two countries in the Europe East Area—Ukraine and Armenia—countries that for many years were part of the former Soviet Union.“The area has experienced economic crisis, refugees, political upheavals, terrorism, and seems to be in a state of constant change,” said Elder Sabin.TeachingsSister Mary G. Cook accompanied her husband on the visit to Ukraine, Armenia, France, Hungary, Switzerland, Romania, and the Czech Republic. They were met by members of the Area Presidencies: Elder Paul V. Johnson, a General Authority Seventy, and Sister Jill Johnson; Elder James B. Martino, a General Authority Seventy, and Sister Jennie B. Martino; Elder Christoffel Golden, a General Authority Seventy; Elder Gary B. Sabin, a General Authority Seventy, and Sister Valerie P. Sabin; and Elder Mathieu Bennasar, an Area Seventy, and Sister Natacha Bennasar.Elder Johnson said Elder Cook helped the leaders understand the intent and potential of the new family-centered, Church-supported curriculum and the associated changes.Elder Martino said Sister Cook brought great energy to the missionaries as she would lead them in a hymn.“In this connection he emphasized the proper use of the name of the Church. Elder Cook encouraged the people to live the gospel and to share through example by reaching out to others. He took particular time to address how the change in the schedule on Sunday should be used to worship the Lord and serve Him and our fellowman.”The missionaries were touched Elder Cook took the time after the meetings to shake hands, said Elder Golden.“The highlight for me was Elder Cook’s witness of the Savior and the apostolic blessing he left for the missionaries and members,” said Elder Sabin. “Sister Sabin and I felt personally uplifted by their visit and ministering—not only to the missionaries and members, but to us as a couple as well.Elder Sabin said, “He spoke about some of the history of the areas. However, a common theme to the members was that those who follow the new prophetic home-centered teaching will be blessed. He prophesied that 20 years from now those families that have listened to the prophet will weather the coming storms.”Sister Cook spoke to the missionaries about developing the attributes of Christ using Preach My Gospel, Elder Sabin said. She effectively used music in the local language to teach the missionaries and taught the members the importance of strengthening their families.The members are the strength of the Church in the Europe Area, a region consisting of 38 countries and 29 languages with diverse laws and cultures.“The biggest challenge, however, is the increased secularism where many fail to see the need for God in their [lives]. …“Elder Cook addressed the general theme of living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ every day of our lives,” said Elder Golden.
Map showing Elder Quentin L. Cook’s travels. Graphic by Aaron Thorup.“Elder Cook lifted the Saints everywhere he was,” said Elder Martino. “He bore a very strong testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and taught how we are blessed with peace and joy when we follow the gospel of Christ.”“They love President Nelson as president and prophet, and they love the Church,” said Elder Cook, noting that many Latter-day Saints in the areas feel “they knew President Nelson personally because he has had responsibility for Europe and Europe East in the past.”Europe has many “dedicated, powerful Saints who love the Lord and are committed to Him,” said Elder Johnson. “They attend the temple, love their families, and help bring the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ to others.” Sister Mary G. Cook sings with missionaries in the Church’s Europe East Area.Europe East Area“Life is not easy in some of these countries, but the gospel of Jesus Christ will always bring joy and hope when we are filled with faith.”Elder Martino agreed. “I will not forget Elder Cook’s powerful witness of the Savior. He taught how the Atonement [of Jesus Christ] overcomes sin and death, but that it also overcomes everything that seems unfair. … There are many challenges that members and missionaries face in this area, but they left the meeting feeling hope and direction for life.”Because of Elder Cook’s assignment as chairman of the Priesthood and Family Executive Committee his insights were enlightening, Elder Golden said.
Members in the Church’s Europe East Area gather to hear Elder Quentin L. Cook address them.
Elder Jeffrey R. HollandPresident Russell M. Nelson“I love having the Apostles on Instagram,” said Bethany Reynolds, a young adult Latter-day Saint in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. “I was really inspired during my 10-day fast [following the invitation of President Nelson] to use social media less [and] to also change what I was seeing on my feed. … I unfollowed a lot of pages, and it’s been so nice to fill my feed and my mind with uplifting, positive, and inspiring posts and messages like the Apostles’ posts instead. Can’t wait to see them post more!”“We have been tremendously blessed in recent years to reach people around the globe with messages that promote faith in Jesus Christ in ways that simply were not possible when I was a young man—or even a young father,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “These advancements in communication are a blessing. We expect to continue to utilize digital channels—such as Instagram—that best help us in our desire to share the Savior’s message of hope, love, and peace.”With 72 percent of teenagers using Instagram on a daily basis, according to Newsroom, the platform is a great way for Church leaders to share messages of love and hope with the youth and young adults of the Church and exemplifies the efforts to connect with them on a more personal level.Following are links to all 15 of the Apostles’ Instagram accounts:Elder D. Todd ChristoffersonElder Quentin L. CookIn an effort to increase their ability to reach young adults and youth, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are now actively publishing inspiring gospel messages on Instagram—a photo and video-based social media platform.President M. Russell BallardThe Church leaders’ use of social media platforms demonstrates a desire to connect with members around the world and use technology in a positive way to emphasize the global nature of the Church. According to Newsroom, Instagram is a platform used by over 1 billion people worldwide, the majority of which are outside of the United States.
A recent Instagram post from President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency. In an effort to increase their ability to reach young adults and youth, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are now actively publishing inspiring gospel messages on Instagram.
A recent Instagram post from President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency. In an effort to increase their ability to reach young adults and youth, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are now actively publishing inspiring gospel messages on Instagram.President Henry B. EyringElder Ronald A. RasbandPresident Dallin H. Oaks“This is a global ministry. We are prophets for the whole world, to all of God’s children—not just the members of the Church,” President Nelson said in his first Instagram post. “So, on this tour, we talked to people in five different countries. If there are 200 or more countries in this world, five is such a small drop in the bucket! We’ll get around, but we’ll still miss more than we’ll touch. But we’ll try. We won’t give up just because it’s a big job. We’re just at the exponential phase of growth. And it will continue.”
A recent Instagram post from President Russell M. Nelson. In an effort to increase their ability to reach young adults and youth, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are now actively publishing inspiring gospel messages on Instagram.President Russell M. Nelson became the first member of the First Presidency to publish on Instagram on November 1 when he shared some thoughts and photos upon the completion of his recent visit to South America.President Henry B. Eyring and President Dallin H. Oaks published their first Instagram posts in the days following. The First Presidency’s presence on Instagram comes on the heels of the Quorum of the Twelve’s initial participation, which began in July of this year. In addition to Instagram, each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve has a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Elder Gary E. StevensonElder Dale G. RenlundElder Neil L. AndersenElder Ulisses SoaresElder David A. BednarElder Dieter F. UchtdorfElder Gerrit W. Gong
The idea of Elvis Presley cherishing the Book of Mormon has captured the popular imagination of Latter-day Saints. The story of this book has been told by fireside speakers, classroom teachers, newspaper columnists, and an independent filmmaker. And the story continues to circulate throughout the market for “uplifting” books and social media.
Elvis Presley’s jerky handwriting and authentic signature can be seen in this letter to President Richard Nixon dated December 21, 1970.The signature on the first page of the book is a clear forgery. Elvis signed his full name for autographs, but he did sign with just his initials on formal documents. Despite a general resemblance to his signature, significant differences appear in nearly every letter, the most dramatic being that the “P” is connected to “resley,” a closed-bottomed “s,” and the omission or serious misformation of the second “e” in Presley.Elvis Presley did not write in the Book of Mormon now held by the Church History Library. Annotations suggesting that Elvis wanted to be baptized, that he believed his daughter needed the Church, and that he suspected his death was imminent are fabrications manufactured to deceive. Forgeries are often accepted because they provide something that people already want—in this case, a story of the conversion of a celebrity. The place where Elvis performed the finale for Paradise, Hawaiian Style forms the lushly foliaged stage of the Hale Aloha Theater, site of evening luaus at the Polynesian Cultural Center.Did Elvis have any verifiable connections to the Church? Yes. He spent a week at the Polynesian Cultural Center filming the movie Paradise, Hawaiian Style. He was also acquainted with the Osmond family, exchanging gifts and sharing the same drummer and jumpsuit designer in Las Vegas. Elvis’s best-documented Latter-day Saint friend was his karate instructor and later bodyguard, Ed Parker.Whatever effort the forger put into making the signature look authentic was not spent on the rest of the annotations. Elvis’s authentic handwriting was erratic, jerky, and childish-looking—and grew worse over time due to stress and drug abuse. He was, in fact, a reader and an annotator of books, underlining text and writing in the margins in printed block letters. In contrast, the handwriting in this volume is cursive script and so smooth and mature that it is clearly forged.For almost 30 years, a copy of the Book of Mormon has been preserved in the historical collections of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The book was published in 1976 with a soft, light blue cover featuring a golden angel Moroni. Within the book there are handwritten markings on nearly one of every six pages—the majority are underlining or curved brackets, but three dozen of the pages contain handwritten words. The first page contains the signature “E. A. Presley” and on the last page (in the index) was written, “Father, I want more! I need more now. Help me!” The content and placement of the annotations suggest that Elvis Presley read this copy of the Book of Mormon from cover to cover.What about those who felt inspired by a story that now turns out to be false? One lesson to learn is to seek corroboration before retelling a story. Errors arose in the repeated tellings of this story—that Elvis underlined “king” throughout, that he wished “Priscilla” would read it, or that he wrote “There is only one King.”
Elvis performed with PCC cast members from all of the island villages in the finale of the film Paradise, Hawaiian Style.The book’s donor claimed to have given the book to Elvis Presley on August 2, 1977. Elvis died 14 days later, and the book was allegedly returned to the donor who shared it with a few people before it was transferred to the Church in 1989. The last two weeks of Elvis’s life were very busy. His nine-year-old daughter, Lisa Marie, had arrived on July 31 and he entertained her by renting out a local amusement park, screening several films, and spending an evening visiting the family of his then-current girlfriend. The day of his death was supposed to be the day he departed on tour, so much of those two weeks were spent reviewing plans and details, avoiding and reluctantly starting a liquid diet, and playing racquetball once. And Elvis also reeled from the August 6 publication of a devastating exposé of his prescription drug abuse and violent behavior. It is very unlikely that Elvis read and pondered nearly 600 pages of scripture during these 14 event-filled days.
This copy of the Book of Mormon was donated to the Church in 1989 with forged annotations purportedly made by Elvis Presley.Experts in authenticating Elvis Presley’s handwriting corroborate these findings. Music industry autograph authenticator Roger Epperson wrote: “In my opinion this is not written or signed by Elvis. The signature has some similarities to an authentic signature, but the writing is not really even close.” Rich Consola, owner of Elvis Presley Authentication, concluded: “After reviewing the signature of Elvis Presley and all the writing in this book, it is my opinion that NONE of the writing and the signature are that of Elvis Presley. To this end I am very certain.”However, after carefully analyzing the historical opportunities for Presley to have read this volume and the handwriting throughout its pages, I affirm that Elvis Presley did not write in this Book of Mormon. A detailed presentation of the analysis with photographic evidence will be published in a forthcoming issue of BYU Studies, but my findings about the book’s history, its forged signature, and its forged annotations are summarized here.