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Nauvoo News

Nauvoo News & Events features stories shared from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world.  This includes official Church news releases and contributed articles by Latter-day Saint authors - as well as events & stories from YOU.

Relief Society Coordinating Relief Efforts in California

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - The Relief Society and Local Priesthood leaders for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are coordinating relief efforts in California wildfire disaster. The death toll from the Camp Fire in Northern California has reached 71 while 1,011 people are yet unaccounted for. The blaze is now reported to be 50 percent contained after consuming more than 145,000 acres. 

Just outside of Los Angeles, the Woolsey Fire is 78 percent contained after burning 98,000 acres. 

Now, dense smoke from the fires is smothering parts of the state with what has been described as "the dirtiest air in the world."

Firefighters have been racing against time, with a red flag warning issued for Saturday night into Sunday, including winds up to 50 mph and low humidity. Rain was forecast for mid-week, which could help firefighters but also complicate the challenging search for remains.

"It's a disheartening situation," Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Friday "As much as I wish we could get through this before the rains come, I don't know if that's possible."

The wildfire that largely incinerated Paradise, California, offered a stark reminder that Latter-day Saint bishops often shepherd others even while enduring their own trials.

Paradise 1st Ward Bishop Robert Harrison and Paradise 2nd Ward Bishop Troy Mattson have spent the past several days monitoring the welfare of their members, offering spiritual support, and coordinating relief efforts with fellow priesthood and Relief Society leaders.

Both bishops lost their own homes to the flames and are counted among the thousands displaced by one of the most destructive wildfires in California's history.

“We got confirmation on Sunday that our home had been completely destroyed,” said Bishop Mattson, a husband and father of four children, ages 10–15.

Bishop Harrison, meanwhile, learned he had lost his two Paradise-area houses shortly after fleeing for safety on November 8 when the wildfire spread across the Northern California community. But even as they minister to those in their charge, both Bishop Harrison and Bishop Mattson said they too are being ministered to by fellow members from the Chico California Stake and beyond.

“It’s amazing how the members are coming together and supporting one another,” Bishop Harrison told the Church News.

For many Latter-day Saints from the Paradise area, the temporal and spiritual support they are receiving now represents a sizable chunk of all they own.

The blaze swept over the town of 27,000 and practically wiped the town off the map with flames so fierce that they melted metal off cars, the Associated Press reported.

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Elvis Presley's Copy of the Book of Mormon a Forgery?

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - BYU is preparing to release its findings in the upcoming issue of BYU Studies.

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.

The idea of Elvis Presley cherishing the Book of Mormon has captured the popular imagination of some 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.

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.

 Handwritten letter used by BYU to compare writing inside the Book of Mormon

Handwritten letter used by BYU to compare writing inside the Book of Mormon

The book’s donor claimed to have given the book to Elvis Presley on Aug. 2, 1977. He 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’ life were very busy. His 9-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 Aug. 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.

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.

Read Entire Article click here

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Looking Back: President Gordon B. Hinckley Helps a Dream Come True in Fiji

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - We all have moments we’re not likely to forget, some so vivid they seem to knit together past and present.

One of those moments for me occurred on October 15, 1997, in Suva, Fiji, which was one of the stops on President Gordon B. Hinckley’s visit to eight islands of the South Pacific from October 10 to October 17. The tour gave me new insight to the term “island hopping.”

President Hinckley began his tour in Laie, Hawaii, on October 10. The Church News turned over to a correspondent in Hawaii the assignment to report on that leg of the prophet’s journey for the simple reason I couldn’t keep up with him and his entourage. They traveled by private jet; I flew on commercial airlines—the schedules of which didn’t always meet their itinerary.

Those accompanying President Hinckley included Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley; Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Elisa Wirthlin; and Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Merlene Featherstone.

I met up with President Hinckley and his group in Apia, then Western Samoa—now it’s called Samoa—on October 11. He visited the island of Savai’i and then went to Pago Pago, American Samoa, on October 13. That same day, he traveled to Nuku’alofa, Tonga, a trip of about 90 minutes, but because of crossing the International Dateline, he arrived on Tuesday, October 14.

The moment I mentioned earlier—in Fiji—occurred as President Hinckley arrived in Suva. I got to Fiji’s National Stadium about two hours before he was scheduled to address Church members there. I watched members from many of Fiji’s islands arrive. As in the other island nations, most had never seen a prophet in person. Their anticipation was almost palpable.

I met some members from the Labasa Branch, part of a group of 100 Latter-day Saints who undertook an arduous journey from the island of Vanua Levu to Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu. The Labasa members began saving money to pay for their trip to Suva as soon as they heard President Hinckley planned to visit. They did without things they ordinarily would have bought for daily use. They traveled four hours on an uncomfortable bus over dusty roads and then 12 hours on a boat. The daytime travel was hot and humid; the night hours were chilly. The journey was the first time many had traveled away from their island.

They arrived at National Stadium three hours before the meeting. They watched people arrive by the hundreds until about 5,000 had assembled. Labasa Branch President Tipo Ralifo told me their eyes widened in amazement as they, for the first time, found themselves in the midst of a vast congregation of Latter-day Saints.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. That hour came and went. President Hinckley’s plane had been delayed leaving Tonga earlier that day. Time seemed to stand still. Every few seconds, members looked toward the portal through which President and Sister Hinckley were to enter. Then the moment finally came. At 3:10 p.m., the members stood and began singing “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.”

Instantly, tears welled up in the eyes of many in the congregation. Emotion choked their voices, but they continued to sing “to guide us in these latter days.” Soon, emotion overcame control. Many stopped singing and wept. They used handkerchiefs, scarves, backs of hands, shirttails, sleeves, and dress collars to wipe tears from their eyes so they could have clear vision to see the prophet.

As he addressed the members, President Hinckley asked how many of them would like to have a temple in Fiji. It almost seemed as though an electric current ran through the stadium. Hands went up. More tears flowed.

However, President Hinckley said he wasn’t announcing a temple for Fiji on that day, but he promised that—one day—a temple would be built in the island nation.

That promise, that dream for the Fijian Saints, became reality when he returned and dedicated the Suva Fiji Temple on June 18, 2000, less than three years after that memorable visit.

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Family Search Adds New WWI Records for Armistice 100th Anniversary

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - On Veterans Day 2018 this Sunday, the world will look back a century to the victory of Allied forces and the signing of the Armistice that marked the end of World War I. With that signing, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the world rejoiced.

In memory of those who served, FamilySearch has added millions of new, free historical records to help families discover more about their WWI veteran ancestors. Search the WWI collections at

In many allied nations, Armistice Day is a national holiday coinciding with Veterans Day and Remembrance Day to celebrate the endings of both World War I and World War II. In the warring nations of World War I, millions registered for war and millions served. Twenty-one million were wounded and 20 million died.

As countries pause to remember, families seek to document their ancestors’ wartime stories. The stories from WWI are no longer first-person memories, but they do exist on documents, in pictures, and as memorabilia. The era’s records supply rich ancestral details including physical characteristics, vital information, service details, and more.

FamilySearch has a large, constantly expanding, free collection of World War I records to help remember World War I soldiers. Governments on both sides of the conflict, Allied nations (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Belgium, Serbia, and Italy) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire) created a treasure trove of documents useful to genealogists.

Some records are unexpected today. For example, American women married to non-American men lost citizenship. Many created citizenship papers to be renaturalized. Nearly everyone who had a male ancestor aged 21–30 that lived in the U.S. during WWI can find a record of that ancestor.

William Earl Potts from Juab County, Utah, served in France in WWI.

Jennifer Davis, a family historian, found all four of her great-grandfathers in the WWI Draft Records online—even though none of them served active duty. “The only picture I have of my great-grandpa Figgins is in black and white from a copy of a newspaper clipping,” said Davis. “In his draft record, it gives a physical description of him and says his eyes are brown. That’s a cool discovery, because I never would have known his eye color.” 

The draft records can be the perfect springboard to searching other records, because they often give hints about the registered individual, such as clues to family members listed in the “closest living relative” section or employment clues.

Among World War I records are draft cardscemetery records, and statement of service cards. The armed services kept military records that name the names and describe the work of those who served in any capacity.

Nauvoo Exhibit of Rare SLC Temple Photos

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - The Nauvoo Gallery has scanned hundreds of rare glass negatives from the C. E. Johnson & Charles Savage photograph collection. The photographic negatives were part of a private collection that includes Johnson’s professional journal related to the photographs. The journal has several Salt Lake Temple dedication artifacts, including the photographer’s entry ticket to the dedication and a very rarely seen tower ticket for entry up to the capstone ceremony among other items.

The glass scans and photos of the artifacts will be published online this month according to gallery manager Jenell Anderson. “These photos are really exciting to see and have views that show the event in ways that most people have never seen.” said Anderson. The gallery is preparing descriptions of the photos and hopes to have them completed by the intended release date. “We will be holding a gallery open house showing the printed versions of the photographs here in Nauvoo, but we want to create a place online as well for those who can’t make it to Nauvoo” - says Anderson.

 Salt Lake Temple - C. E. Johnson Collection

Salt Lake Temple - C. E. Johnson Collection

Book of Abraham & Related Manuscripts - Now Available

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - The Church Historian’s Press today announced the release of the latest volume of The Joseph Smith Papers. Revelations and Translations, Volume 4: Book of Abraham and Related Manuscripts tracks the development of the Book of Abraham from the time Joseph Smith and others purchased Egyptian papyri in 1835 through the publication of the Book of Abraham text and its accompanying illustrations in the church newspaper Times and Seasons in 1842.

“This latest volume offers readers an unprecedented look at the manuscripts and earliest publications of the Book of Abraham,” explains Robin Scott Jensen, one of the volume’s coeditors. “But it also takes readers inside Joseph Smith’s study of the Egyptian papyri before he dictated the Book of Abraham—which is a history with which few Latter-day Saints are familiar.”

Read the complete story CLICK HERE

New High-rise Planned for SLC by Church Development Co.

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - City Creek Reserve Inc., a development company owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is proposing a new downtown high-rise tower.

The group submitted building drawings and renderings to the Salt Lake City Planning Commission this week and fielded questions regarding the proposed 28-story tower.

The proposed 395ft tall building would be located at 61 South State Street. The renderings were created by architect firm Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, LLP. The building would have a mostly glass exterior.

Tickets for Christmas Devotional Available Online

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS: The First Presidency invites Church members and their friends to participate in the First Presidency’s Christmas devotional broadcast on Sunday, December 2, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. mountain standard time.

The program, originating from the Conference Center, will include Christmas messages by General Authorities and General Officers of the Church.

The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will provide the music.

View live

The following options are available for viewing the devotional live:

Various other stations and internet sites throughout the world will also carry the devotional. Check local program listings for availability in your area.

Stake technology specialists

Stake technology specialists should refer to the Church broadcast schedule when it becomes available approximately three weeks before the event.

Tickets to live event

The event at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, is free but tickets are required for admission. Reserve up to six tickets beginning November 1 at 9 a.m. on the Temple Square Events page (be sure to refresh your Internet browser to see the link) or by calling 801-570-0080 (locally) or toll-free at 1-866-537-8457 (1-866-LDS-TIKS). Tickets may also be obtained in person at the ticket office located at door 4 of the Conference Center (open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Social media sharing

To participate in conversations about the Christmas devotional on Twitter and other social media channels, use #ChristmasDevo.


Video and audio recordings of the devotional—along with text from the messages in English, Spanish, and Portuguese—will also be provided on in the Gospel Library app within a week. These recordings may be used as part of local unit or family Christmas celebrations and gatherings.

Nauvoo Pageant to Continue - Here’s What to Expect from Other Productions

Nauvoo News

The Church’s Saturday, October 27, statement on pageant productions explains that while “local celebrations of culture and history may be appropriate” to celebrate and spread the gospel message, “larger productions, such as pageants, are discouraged.”

It continued: “As it relates to existing pageants, conversations with local Church and community leaders are underway to appropriately end, modify, or continue these productions.”

Pageants currently produced by the Church include the following:

  • The Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Utah, is held annually in June.

  • The Castle Valley Pageant in Castle Dale, Utah, is held every other year on even-numbered years.

  • The Clarkston Pageant—subtitled “Martin Harris: The Man Who Knew”—in Clarkston, Utah, is held every other year on odd-numbered years.

  • The Mesa Easter Pageant in Mesa, Arizona, is held annually in the spring prior to Easter.

  • The Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, New York, is held annually in July.Th

  • The Nauvoo Pageant & British Pageant A pair of pageants held each year in Nauvoo —featuring early Church history in both the United States and the British Isles, conducted on alternating evenings—in Nauvoo, Illinois, are held annually between July and August.

  • The British Pageant in Chorley, England, is held annually in August.

Of the aforementioned seven pageants, two have announced official changes. The Hill Cumorah Pageant will be discontinued entirely following its 2020 summer production. Additionally, the Mormon Miracle Pageantwill no longer be directly supported by the Church after its 2019 run.

Mark Olson, president of the Mormon Miracle Pageant, told the Deseret News that while the Church’s direct support will no longer continue after its 2019 run, he believes local efforts by the community will be made to help a similar pageant continue in future years.

Due to renovations of the Mesa Arizona Temple and temple grounds, the Mesa Easter Pageant has been temporarily suspended. It is expected to resume production in 2020 following the completion of the temple renovations, with public renderings showing a pageant stage and seating accommodations.

In a statement released following the Church’s announcement on October 27, President John Ricks, president of the Nauvoo Illinois Stake, indicated that no changes are anticipated for the Nauvoo pageants. The two “will continue in the future the same as it has in the past, being fully supported and funded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said President Ricks in his statement.

Changes to the other pageants have not yet been announced.

In its October 27 statement, the Church also acknowledged the impact of its growth globally. “As this occurs, local Church leaders and members are encouraged to focus on gospel learning in their homes and to participate in Sabbath worship and the Church’s supporting programs for children, youth, individuals, and families.”

The statement aligns with other changes announced throughout 2018 that show an effort to simplify and reduce Church programs.

“The goal of every activity in the Church should be to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to share His gospel message throughout the world,” the statement concluded.

The Art & Story of Minerva Teichert

Nauvoo News

Nauvoo: This amazing Latter-day Saint changed the art world forever and introduced some of the most enduring symbols of the restored Church.


Minerva Bernette Kolhepp Teichert was an American artist beloved for her paintings of Mormon history and the great American west.  Although her Latter-day Saint art subjects are perhaps her most prominent work, her western paintings depicting scenes ranging from rodeos to American Indians are also highly collectible and sought after.

Minerva Teichert was born in August of 1888 in Ogden, Utah the second of ten children. Although she was born in Utah she grew up on a ranch in Idaho in what was as much a part of the American frontier as could be found in those days.  With much to do and much more to see, Minerva's mother gave her her first set of paints when she was only four years old. Without any formal education or training she set our on her favorite horse to paint and sketch the wild world around her.

At age 14, Minerva took a job in far way San Francisco as a nursemaid or what is known today as a nanny. It was a big move in her life - she was earning money, she saw an art museum for the first time in her life, and she began taking art lessons.  It wouldn't be long before she would earn enough money to travel east.


Minerva Teichert studied art in Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago.  Upon completion of her courses in 1912 she returned to Indian Warm Springs, Idaho to earn more money for art lessons.  During this time she began dating a young man named Herman Teichert.  However, Minerva was off again after saving up her money - she left Idaho & Herman behind in 1914 and traveled to New York.  Minerva studied at the Art Students League of New York, under renowned artist Robert Henri.  Henri, who was from Nebraska, was well acquainted with Mormons and wester American Indians.  He challenged Minerva to paint the Mormon experience.   Robert Henri gave Minerva a scholarship and ranked her among his best three students. Minerva paid for her schooling by sketching cadavers for medical schools. and illustrating children's books. 

Shortly after returning to Idaho, Minerva married Herman Adolph Teichert.  The couple had five children. Minerva spent most of her life with her family on a ranch in Cokeville, Wyoming.  She never lost her love of painting and although she didn't have the money to buy proper art supplies, she was able to sketch on scraps of wood and paper and paint from time to time. 

Minerva Teichert painted throughout her life, and her work can be seen in places ranging from museums and private collections to murals in remote Mormon chapels.  She once explained "I must paint", when asked how she was able to produce despite being almost isolated from the art world. She created beautiful works of art without a studio or even much free time. Minerva was a intelligent political conservative - she was a confident, independent, capable woman who stood up for many things including women's rights


Heroic men & women as well as American western themes would feature prominently in Minerva Teichert art.  Scene's of contrasting metaphors such Teichert's painting The Madonna of 1846. It depicts depicts a mother and child in a covered wagon, crossing the plains to settle in Utah.  Minerva Teichert painted over 400 murals in everything from public building and homes, to churches and Mormon Temples.  One of her larger commissions was a request to paint 42 murals from stories found in the Book of Mormon. 



Minerva Teichert art has a distinctive style that can be seen in most of her paintings today.  For example Teichert painted much of the clothing in her paintings with patterns, a detail unique to her paintings. She would also include the color red to add contrast. She often left the edges unfinished or just sketched. Many of her paintings are filled with the colors from the desert and feature distant mountains.

Teichert submitted many pieces of artwork to the church, but in several instances they were rejected, so, she gave the paintings to Brigham Young University to help pay tuition for members of her family.  Today, her works can be found on display all around the BYU campus. 

Towards the end of her life it became clear that her lifetime of art was a monumental contribution to not only the LDS Church historians, but just as much to the western art museums all around.  Minerva Teichert art has been featured in most church periodicals and manuals and to this day hangs framed or as murals in most LDS chapels and Temples throughout the world. Her legacy of strong heroic scenes has helped in documenting the the remarkable role women played in the early migrating days of the church, but in the settlement of the western United States.

Minerva Teichert was a life-long devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her faith influenced the subjects of much of her work. She served in various positions in the church, including Primary President. and Sunday School President. She also worked in the Young Women's organization.

Her husband, Herman, was not a member of the church when the couple was married. He supported her activity in the church and donated tithing. He was later baptized in 1933. The couple was sealed the following year in the Logan Utah Temple.

Minerva Teichert continued painting into her seventies but after a hip fracture, she stop painting. Leaving behind a unmatched scattering of amazing art she died in Provo, Utah, in 1976.

We are proud to carry Minerva Teichert art in our gallery in Nauvoo, Il and as part of this online gallery.

New General Authority Leadership Chart Released

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - Recent changes to Church leadership are reflected in a new chart of General Authorities and general officers dated October 2018, available to view or download.

The First Presidency announced leadership changes during the Saturday afternoon session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference on October 6.

President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, announced the release of seven General Authority Seventies and 39 Area Seventies.

The General Authority Seventies—Elder Mervyn B. Arnold, Elder Craig A. Cardon, Elder Larry J. Echo Hawk, Elder C. Scott Grow, Elder Allan F. Packer, Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer, and Elder Claudio D. Zivic—were given emeritus status.

Additionally, Elder Brook P. Hales was sustained as a General Authority Seventy.

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Nauvoo Pumpkin Walk Gets Underway in Nauvoo

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - It’s been a long tradition in Nauvoo that’s become one of the biggest halloween festival in the state. The Nauvoo Pumpkin walk started off 15 years ago with dozens of carved jack O lanterns lined along the street in downtown Nauvoo, Illinois. Over time the number of pumpkins increased and the number as did the volunteers. Today there is almost a thousand pumpkins each year together a full parade and a festival of food, candy and music.

Each year several thousands attend this unique event in Nauvoo, Illinois and the come from many miles around; some travel hours to enter their halloween decorated car in the parade. The towns people and business line the streets and give away candy & toys.

Nauvoo hotels enjoy more guests and the shops bustle with people coming and going. Parents bring their children to Nauvoo for the pumpkin walk and because it’s a safe place to trick or treat.

The Nauvoo pumpkin walk is held each year on the last Saturday of October.

2018 First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional Announced

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the date and time of the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional.

The First Presidency invites Church members and their friends to participate in the First Presidency’s Christmas devotional broadcast on Sunday, December 2, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. mountain standard time.

The program, originating from the Conference Center, will include Christmas messages by General Authorities and General Officers of the Church.

The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will provide the music.

View live

The following options are available for viewing the devotional live:

Various other stations and internet sites throughout the world will also carry the devotional. Check local program listings for availability in your area.

Stake technology specialists

Stake technology specialists should refer to the Church broadcast schedule when it becomes available approximately three weeks before the event.

Tickets to live event

The event at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, is free but tickets are required for admission. For ticket information, see the Temple Square Events page.

Social media sharing

To participate in conversations about the Christmas devotional on Twitter and other social media channels, use #ChristmasDevo.

Visit Nauvoo News on Facebook at:

NAUVOO: Church News Staff Got to Work in Times and Seasons Newspaper Building

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - This story is a looking back piece from the Church News. It covers an experience related to the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple.

Church News: I covered many temple dedications during my Church News career. Usually, I worked solo. I had double duties as reporter and photographer, but on one assignment three Church News staff members and a Deseret Newsphotographer accompanied me: Shaun Stahle, Scott Lloyd, Jason Swensen, and Jeffrey D. Allred.

We went to Nauvoo, Illinois, several days before the dedication of the temple there June 27–30, 2002. In addition to covering the dedication, we were to participate in a marketing campaign for the paper. However, after we arrived in Nauvoo, the project was cancelled.

The cancellation gave us the opportunity to work out of the Printing Office, home of the Times and Seasons newspaper, at the corner of Main and Kimball Streets in Old Nauvoo.

Most people who go to the building do so as visitors who want to learn about life there in the 1840s and, in particular, how newspapers of that time were published. Missionary tour guides explain the intricacies that went into publishing a newspaper back then. They point to an old press, cases of type, and racks where newspaper pages hung to dry. When John Taylor—who became the third President of the Church—was editor of the Times and Seasons, this must have seemed like state-of-the-art machinery and technique.


Like to Perform? Apply Now - 2019 Young Performing Missionary in Nauvoo

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - Nauvoo Productions, under the direction of the Church’s Historical Department, is now accepting applications for the summer 2019 Young Performing Missionary (YPM) program in Nauvoo, Illinois.

The YPM opportunity is open to all single adult members ages 18 to 25. Each year, 24 singing missionaries, 4–6 tech missionaries, and 16–18 brass band missionaries are selected through a rigorous audition process and will receive a 4-month Church-service mission call to the Illinois Nauvoo Mission, assigned to serve in Nauvoo. Applications for summer 2019 (May 1 through August 14, 2019) are now being accepted and processed through November 30, 2018.


The Nauvoo singers sing, dance, and act in seven separate productions in addition to entertaining on the streets of historic Nauvoo. They also participate as dancers for the Nauvoo Pageant during the month of July.


The brass band performs as the show band in stage shows and daily concerts and participates in the Nauvoo Pageant. Members of the brass band also perform on a horse-drawn bandwagon throughout the streets of Nauvoo.


The Nauvoo techs are responsible for stage management, setting and running lighting and sound, assisting with costuming, and overseeing all technical aspects of each performance.

All YPMs must be in excellent physical and mental health, as they are required to consistently put in 12- to 14-hour performance days, 7 days a week for the entire season, with little downtime. Applicants are asked to submit a full audition application, including an audition video. Between 300 and 400 applications are received each year. From these initial applications, applicants may be invited to participate in a full-day call-back audition, at the conclusion of which the final YPM candidates will be selected for the summer 2019 season.

All YPMs are called as Church-service missionaries. Once they are selected, they must obtain an ecclesiastical recommend and complete all service missionary application documents. During their missionary service they are expected to live in mission companionships, abide by all mission rules, and provide their own financial support (outside of travel, which is provided).

Interested applicants can find more information, as well as the application, online at

Sunday Church Services Now Two-Hours - Conference Announcement

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opened the faith’s 188th Semiannual General Conference by announcing a “new balance and connection between gospel instruction in the home and in the Church.” It is part of an effort “to strengthen families and individuals through a home-centered and Church-supported plan to learn doctrine, strengthen faith, and foster greater personal worship,” he said.

“As Latter-day Saints, we have become accustomed to thinking of church’ as something that happens in our meetinghouses, supported by what happens at home,” he continued. “We need an adjustment to this pattern. It is time for home-centered church, supported by what takes place inside our branch, ward, and stake buildings.”

Immediately following President Nelson’s Saturday morning remarks, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed the global audience and provided details of the forthcoming adjustments.

“The Sunday meeting schedule will be adjusted in the following ways, beginning in January 2019,” Elder Cook said. “The Sunday Church meetings will consist of a 60-minute sacrament meeting each Sunday, focused on the Savior, the ordinance of the sacrament, and spiritual messages. After time for transition to classes, Church members will attend a 50-minute class that will alternate each Sunday. Sunday School will be held on the first and third Sundays. Priesthood quorums, Relief Society, and Young Women meetings will be held on the second and fourth Sundays. Meetings on the fifth Sunday will be under the direction of the bishop. Primary will be held each week during this same 50-minute period and will include singing time and classes.”

Four purposes and blessings associated with this and other recent changes were given:

  • Deepening conversion to Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthening faith in Them.

  • Strengthening individuals and families through home-centered, Church-supported curriculum that contributes to joyful gospel living.

  • Honoring the Sabbath day, with a focus on the ordinance of the sacrament.

  • Helping all of Heavenly Father’s children on both sides of the veil through missionary work and receiving ordinances and covenants and the blessings of the temple.

A First Presidency letter outlining the changes is being sent to local leaders of the Church’s 30,000-plus congregations worldwide, along with supplementary material.

An enclosure to the letter provides answers to 12 questions, including:

  • How will we enhance gospel learning and living at home and in our personal lives?

  • What is the format for sacrament meetings?

  • What is the Sunday schedule for multiple wards or branches sharing a meetinghouse?

  • Do we hold optional courses during church on Sunday?

The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are confident Latter-day Saints “will be blessed in extraordinary ways” by this change, said Elder Cook. “Sunday can be a day of gospel learning and teaching at church and in the home. As individuals and families engage in family councils, family history, ministering, service, personal worship, and joyful family time, the Sabbath day will truly be a delight.”

The Church’s current format of three consecutive hours of Sunday worship services began in 1980. Prior to that, Church meetings were held throughout the Sabbath day and during the week.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Changes Its Name

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - After more than 100 years, the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir is changing its name to “The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.” The name modification, which drops the long-standing word "Mormon," follows an August 2018 statement by President Russell M. Nelson requesting the use of the full name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the choir’s sponsoring organization.

“A new name for the Tabernacle Choir will represent a change after so many years,” said Ron Jarrett, president of the choir. “The name may change, but everything that people know and love about the choir will not only be the same but will get better and better.”

To coincide with the choir’s new name, its website address will be changed to and its Facebook and YouTube pages can now be found at and The choir can also be found on Twitter at 

Jarrett said, “We have always been a forward-looking people, and we are focused on what is not changing: the world-class musicianship, the inspiring arrangements and programming, and our weekly ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ broadcast, continuing a tradition begun 90 years ago.”

The Tabernacle Choir’s new name preserves the heritage of its home in the historic Tabernacle at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Since 1867, choir members have sung in the Tabernacle, a building known for its one-of-a-kind signature sound.

The historic Tabernacle was built during a time with no amplifiers or electronics and was designed so all attendees could hear the speaker’s voice from any seat in the hall. In fact, the Tabernacle building is still used as a recording studio for the choir today.

Launched in 1929, the landmark “Music and the Spoken Word” program is now in its 90th year of weekly broadcasts, making it the longest-running continuous network broadcast in history. The nondenominational program features musical selections by the choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, accompanied by the Tabernacle organ, with a short inspirational message.

Music director Mack Wilberg said the program’s audience continues to grow: “Among the many reasons ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ continues to be relevant worldwide is it conveys hope, joy, and comfort through inspirational music and messages. [In] each broadcast, the choir and orchestra stand on the shoulders of the many who came before them to bring audiences the highest quality of music and inspiration.”

The first airing of “Music and the Spoken Word” on July 15, 1929, was makeshift at best. That summer day, a local radio crew ran a wire from its control room to an amplifier in the Tabernacle nearly a block away. The technicians put the station’s sole microphone on a ladder not only to capture the music of the choir, but also so an announcer could introduce each number. Nineteen-year-old Ted Kimball — son of the Tabernacle organist and the designated announcer — perched on the ladder for the duration of the program so those listening could hear his words.

Today the choir’s weekly broadcast is carried on radio, television and cable networks across the United States and around the world. The choir’s music is also available live on its YouTube channel.

“Music and the Spoken Word” has been inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Sister Ballard, Wife of President M. Russell Ballard, Dies at 86

Nauvoo News

After a life of dedicated service to her family and the Church, Sister Barbara Bowen Ballard died peacefully Monday, October 1, 2018, at her home in Salt Lake City, surrounded by her family. She was 86.

The wife of President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sister Ballard will be remembered for her characteristic grace, sense of humor, loving smile, and lack of guile.

A loving wife, mother and grandmother, Sister Ballard faced many health issues in recent years, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Barbara Bowen was born January 5, 1932, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to James Russell Bowen and Afton Wilkins Bowen. She was a student body officer at South High School in Salt Lake City, where she graduated as valedictorian of her class. She also attended the University of Utah and studied English.

Just three days after Russell Ballard returned home from his mission in the British Isles, he met his future wife at a Hello Day dance.

“A friend of mine thought I ought to meet her, so he tagged in to dance with her, danced over to where I was, introduced me, and I danced with her 30 seconds before I was tagged out,” President Ballard recalled later. “That was the beginning of a courtship of 11 months.”

Year later, President Ballard said that “getting her to agree to marry me was the greatest sales job I ever did.”

”She was not only beautiful but had a sparkling personality,“ he said.

The couple married August 28, 1951, in the Salt Lake Temple, and had two sons and five daughters.

Shortly thereafter, he was called to serve in a bishopric of the Monument Park 13th Ward in Salt Lake City. Later, he would serve as bishop of the ward.

The couple moved to Toronto, Canada, in 1974, where President Ballard presided over the Canada Toronto Mission until 1977. It was during that service that he was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy on April 3, 1976, continuing his duties as mission president until the term of service was up.

During their time in Ontario, Sister Ballard made many cherished connections with the missionaries, Church members and community members.

President Ballard often acknowledged Sister Ballard's support in their family’s success. “I married the right daughter of God,” he said. “Without the help and direction of Barbara, our family relationships would not have been as happy and fulfilling as they were. Barbara is a treasure for our family forever. We honor her for her constant love, good judgment, and counsel.”

On March 28, 2002, Sister Ballard was honored as the Exemplary Woman of the Year at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

In her remarks, Sister Ballard spoke on the theme, ”Standing in Holy Places.“ She affirmed that a woman can make every home a holy place by the standards that she keeps and the grace that she shows. She encouraged women to make good choices and develop their talents.

During a devotional address on March 13, 2001, Elder Ballard spoke of his 50-year marriage to Sister Ballard.

“The greatest day in my life was the day I met Barbara Bowen,” he said. “My greatest accomplishment was convincing her that I was the only true and living returned missionary among all of those she was dating. It was a most important day when we were married in the Salt Lake Temple.”

Sister Ballard served faithfully in many Church callings. She taught classes and served in presidencies of the Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society. She found great joy as she befriended and fellowshipped others.

For 15 years Sister Ballard served as a caregiver to her mother, Afton Bowen—who came to live with the Ballards in her later years. Sister Ballard often commented on her gratitude for the time she spent with her mother during that time. Together they shared a love of laughter and created cherished family memories.

According to her family, Sister Ballard’s greatest desire was to be a loving mother to her children—Clark (Leanna) Ballard, Holly (Paul) Clayton, Meleea (David) Roper, Tammy (Brad) Brower, Stacey (Hal) Murdock, Brynn (Peter) Huntsman, and Craig (Melissa) Ballard—43 grandchildren and 90 great-grandchildren.

Walking the “Trail of Hope” in Nauvoo

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS - During the closing moments of the dedication of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple on June 30, 2002, President Gordon B. Hinckley noted it was “a very hot day” in Nauvoo. Nevertheless, he asked that those attending the dedication in Nauvoo to take a few minutes to “walk down Parley Street to the waterfront,” the landing on the Mississippi River from which the early Saints departed Nauvoo and crossed into Iowa on their westward trek.

He asked members to leave behind the comfort of their air-conditioned cars to walk and take time to read plaques along what is designated as the Trail of Hope and read about those who left behind the beautiful temple and the “city of Joseph” they had built in just six and a half years.

“Look across to Iowa,” President Hinckley said, inviting the members to ponder on those past events. He asked they imagine it not as a hot day in June but a day of bitter cold in February, the month when the first company of Saints left Nauvoo under dire circumstances in 1846.

When the dedicatory session concluded, the temple’s doors opened. What happened next was a sight to behold. More than a thousand members exited the temple, some by its front doors from which they could see the late afternoon sun glistening on the Mississippi River. Hundreds who watched the dedication in the nearby Nauvoo Illinois Stake Center joined the throng walking down the hill. I fell in with them. With the new Nauvoo Illinois Temple to our backs, it wasn’t hard to imagine the scene as earlier Saints left the original temple for the last time.

What unfolded on that late afternoon/early evening on June 30, 2002, was as a spiritual snapshot, the capturing of a moment to remember forever. Church members heeded a prophet’s voice. It was 95 degrees Fahrenheit, as humidity readings hovered in the 90s. The distance covered, approximately a mile, wasn’t significant, but the walk itself was.

I walked with a mixture of emotions. Daylight was in its last moments; getting proper film exposures was difficult. Besides the fading light, I had trouble looking through the viewfinder because tears often blurred my vision. I felt spiritually elevated and emotionally drained.

Parents pushed baby strollers and carried infants in their arms and toddlers on their shoulders. Some members went to the waterfront in conventional or motorized wheelchairs. Some walked with the aid of crutches or canes. Mike Larsen, originally from Blackfoot, Idaho, who then lived in Iowa City, Iowa, made his way down the route on crutches. “It’s nothing compared to what the pioneers did,” he told me.

Mary Hart of the Garden Park Ward in Salt Lake City and a descendant of two of Nauvoo’s original settlers, James and Drusilla Hendricks, walked as far as she could while using crutches, but eventually resigned to sitting in a wheelchair pushed by a young relative, LeAnn Hord of Mesa, Arizona. Every bump along the uneven verge caused pain. Still, Sister Hart persisted in going the distance.

Until after dark, a steady stream of people walked to and from the river. It was a beautiful, yet rather somber, occasion. The mood was contemplative. Many members stopped to read some or all of the 28 markers along the Trail of Hope.

One marker bore a statement by Newel Knight: “Here we all halted & took a farewell view of our delightful City. … We also beheld the magnificent Temple rearing its lofty tower towards the heavens. … My heart did swell within me.”

There we were, 156 years later, gazing at a similar scene, feeling some of the same emotions.

The marker bearing words of Bathsheba Smith touched many: “My last act set in that precious spot was to tidy the rooms, sweep up the floor, and set the broom in its accustomed place behind the door. Then with emotion in my heart … I gently closed the door and faced an unknown future; faced it with faith in God.”

President Hinckley surely knew what that walk would mean to those who attended the dedication of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple. He had gone on that walk many times during earlier visits to Nauvoo. I was privileged to take along my camera as he walked down Parley Street to the water’s edge on one of those visits several years earlier.

New Security Changes Ahead of General Conference

Nauvoo News

NAUVOO NEWS: Those who attend the 188th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will notice some changes designed to improve security and enhance the patron experience at the Conference Center.

“We're taking all precautions necessary for a large venue,” said Charles Andersen, managing director of the Church’s Headquarters Facilities. “This is very typical of any large venue, whether it's a stadium or an arena.” 

“Obviously, when you're dealing with 60,000 people on Saturday and another 40,000 people on Sunday of general conference weekend, we're trying to keep everybody as safe as possible and move them through as quickly as possible,” explained David Miles, director of Events and Support Services for the Church. 

The fall sessions of general conference are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, 2018, on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. 

"There's no immediate threat or any new information that's come forward; we're just trying to get consistent with what's happening around the country as far as how to secure our buildings,” said Miles. “All events will have the same security process.”

“We have a team of 700 volunteer … service missionaries who are tasked with searching every bag,” he added. “We're just trying to stay with these small items. Every purse, every bag will be opened and checked by our security team, and so this expedites that process.” 

Here are the changes:

  • The Conference Center will be closed to the public beginning Monday prior to general conference weekend.

  • Water bottles must be clear. Metal containers are not allowed inside the Conference Center.

  • Attendees can bring small bags and umbrellas with them inside the building. Large bags are not allowed.

  • Any personal items such as large purses, backpacks, shopping bags, suitcases and food items will no longer be stored on Church property.

  • North Temple will be closed between West Temple and Main Street two hours before each session, allowing pedestrians to cross the street in crosswalks and other designated locations within the restricted area. The street will be blocked off with moveable barriers.

  • North Temple will reopen with limited access during each session and each day approximately two hours after general conference sessions end.

  • People are encouraged to walk through Temple Square and the Church plaza to get to the Conference Center.

  • Conference goers are encouraged to arrive early to provide adequate time to attend the event.     

LDS General Conference Mormon.jpg

General Sessions

Members of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other general authorities and general officers of the global Church will deliver messages of inspiration and guidance in five sessions.

This is the second time President Russell M. Nelson will preside over general conference since becoming the 17th president of the global Church in January.

Church membership is now more than 16 million men, women and children in 188 countries, nations and territories.

The general sessions begin at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. mountain daylight time. The general women’s session for women, young women and girls ages eight and older will be held on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. The general priesthood session for the men and young men of the Church is held in the spring.

Those of other faiths are welcome to participate in general conference.

All sessions will be streamed live on the home page of They are also available via the Church satellite system, Mormon Channel, radio, television, satellite and other digital channels.

Attending in Person

Complimentary tickets are required for admission to all sessions in the Conference Center, which seats 21,000 people. For visitors from outside the United States and Canada, tickets will no longer be distributed at the Conference Center Ticket Office. International visitors must request tickets through their local leaders.

A standby line for those without tickets will begin at the north gate of Temple Square.

Additional seating will be available at locations on Temple Square. Tickets are not required for the overflow locations, including the Assembly Hall, where the sessions can be heard in Spanish.

Conference attendees are encouraged to carpool or use public transportation to relieve local traffic congestion. Visit for parking information.