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LDS News & Events

LDS 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 LDS authors and writers as well as events & stories from YOU.

LDS Church Releases Its Financial Details of Worldwide Faith

LDS News

The LDS Church has spent "billions of dollars over the past few years" according to one of two documents about the faith's finances released Tuesday through its official websites.

The Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says the Church has a singular purpose: to invite all people to come unto Christ. The Church is not a financial or profit-making institution; it uses resources to carry out its divinely appointed mission. The Church is a steward of the tithes and generous donations provided by its members, and it practices the principles it teaches — avoiding debt, living within a budget and preparing for the future.

Following sound financial principles over an extended period of time, the Church has grown from meager beginnings into a worldwide organization able to support its divine mission. Its current relative prosperity only reflects the faith of its members in keeping the law of tithing and the accomplishment in their lives of the Lord’s often-repeated promise that “inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land” (Alma 9:13).

The Church uses its resources to pursue the Lord’s work by:

  • Sharing the message of Jesus Christ throughout the world.
  • Building and maintaining places of worship to strengthen individuals and communities (stakes, districts, wards and branches).
  • Providing welfare, humanitarian assistance and emergency response to alleviate suffering and help people achieve self-reliance.
  • Promoting spiritual and secular learning through the Church Educational System (seminaries, institutes, universities and other higher education initiatives).
  • Building and operating temples and sustaining family history work to strengthen families.
  • Supporting general institutional administration.

Resources used to carry out this work come principally from the tithing donations of Church members. A small portion of funds comes from businesses maintained by the Church.

Budget and Expenditures

The Church’s Council on the Disposition of the Tithes is composed of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Presiding Bishopric. Together, they establish and administer the specific policies and budgets guiding the use of Church resources (see D&C 120:1). Those policies embody the following principles:

  • Expenditures will not exceed forecasted revenue.
  • The budget for operating expenses will not increase at a more rapid rate than anticipated tithing contributions.

Budgets for the Church’s efforts are specifically approved and funds are appropriated by the Church’s Budget and Appropriations Committee, a subcommittee of the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes. Additionally, the Church Auditing Department, which is independent from all other Church departments, employs credentialed professionals to ensure that Church funds are administered and recorded in accordance with Church policies and standard accounting practices.

Church Reserves

Church members are taught to “gradually build a financial reserve by regularly saving [a portion of their income]” (Providing in the Lord’s Way: Summary of a Leader’s Guide to Welfare [booklet, 2009], 2). The Church applies this same principle in its own savings and investments. In addition to food and emergency supplies, the Church also sets aside funds each year for future needs. These funds are added to Church reserves, which include stocks and bonds, taxable businesses, agricultural interests and commercial and residential property. Investments can be accessed in times of hardship or to meet the emerging needs of a growing, global faith in its mission to preach the gospel to all nations and prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (see Gérald Caussé, “In the Lord’s Way: The Spiritual Foundations of Church Financial Self-Reliance,” Mormon Newsroom, Mar. 2, 2018).

Some investments serve a dual purpose. For example, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley stated that “we have felt that good farms, over a long period, represent a safe investment where the assets of the Church may be preserved and enhanced, while at the same time they are available as an agricultural resource to feed people should there come a time of need” (“The State of the Church,” Ensign, May 1991, 54). Another example is the Church’s participation in the development of downtown Salt Lake City. With its investment in the City Creek Center (a mixed-use development that includes retail space, residential units, office space and parking), the Church enhanced the environs of Temple Square and underscored a commitment to Salt Lake City, Utah, where it is headquartered. The investment increased local economic activity during a financial downturn and attracted visitors and residents to Salt Lake City’s historic downtown.

The Church’s reserves are overseen by Church leaders and managed by professional advisers, consistent with wise and prudent stewardship and modern investment management principles. Ultimately, all funds earned by the Church’s investments go back to supporting its mission to invite souls to come unto Christ.

Commercial Businesses

While the vast majority of its financial resources comes from the tithes and offerings of Church members, the Church also holds business interests that help in accomplishing its mission.

“Essentially,” President Gordon B. Hinckley explained, “the business assets which the Church has today are an outgrowth of enterprises which were begun in the pioneer era of our history when we were isolated in the valleys of the mountains of western America.”

President Hinckley noted the sugar beet industry, the Hotel Utah, media and merchandising interests as examples of early Church enterprises. “The Church has maintained certain real estate holdings,” he continued, “particularly those contiguous to Temple Square, to help preserve the beauty and the integrity of the core of the city. All of these commercial properties are tax-paying entities.” He observed that “the combined income from all of these business interests is relatively small and would not keep the work going for longer than a very brief period” (“Questions and Answers,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 49).
 

Taxes

Latter-day Saints believe in “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” (Articles of Faith 1:12). Accordingly, the Church and its affiliated entities pay taxes and other governmental levies as required by the laws of each country in which the Church functions. In the United States, where churches and other nonprofit organizations are generally exempt from federal and state income tax, the Church pays taxes on any income it derives from revenue-producing activities that are regularly carried on and are not substantially related to its tax-exempt purposes. Church-affiliated entities that are organized as for-profit corporations pay regular federal and state corporate income taxes on their net income. The Church and its affiliated entities also pay property taxes on property that is not used for religious, educational, or charitable purposes, including taxes on undeveloped land and properties held for investment or commercial purposes. Government fees, levies and assessments are paid in connection with the development of Church property. The Church also pays federal and state employer taxes and withholds and remits employee payroll taxes. Where applicable, the Church and its affiliated entities pay state and local sales and use taxes.

Conclusion

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé has said, “We are the Church of Jesus Christ, and this Church has no other objective than that which the Lord Himself assigned to it; namely, to invite all to ‘come unto Christ, and be perfected in him’ (Moroni 10:32), by ‘helping members to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, gathering Israel through missionary work, caring for the poor and needy, and enabling the salvation of the dead by building temples and performing vicarious ordinances’” (“In the Lord’s Way: The Spiritual Foundations of Church Financial Self-Reliance,” Mormon Newsroom, Mar. 2, 2018).

 

Questions & Answers

 

Q: How does the Church use tithes and other funds? Why does the Church need financial resources?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and invite all to follow Him. This is a broad, worldwide work that requires considerable resources. The Church supports more than 30,000 congregations and maintains thousands of chapels and meetinghouses; it operates employment centers, storehouses, family history centers, seminaries and institutes, schools, universities and other higher education initiatives, and 159 temples around the world (with another 30 announced or under construction). The Church oversees approximately 70,000 missionaries in hundreds of proselytizing, service and humanitarian missions. This work continues to grow, often in areas with significant temporal needs. To accomplish this work, the Church follows the financial principles it teaches: living within a budget, avoiding debt and saving and investing for the future.

 

Q: Why doesn’t the Church publish its financial information? 

The Church is not a financial institution or a commercial corporation. It has no other objective than preaching the gospel and inviting all to come unto Christ. While the Church chooses not to publish the details of its finances, the Church does provide public information on the financial principles it follows, the financial controls in place to protect Church funds and the source and use of these funds. The Church also provides all financial information required by law.

 

Q: Is the Church a rich church?

Some people occasionally describe the Church as a prosperous organization. However, the strength of the Church cannot be measured by its financial holdings or real estate assets. As President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “When all is said and done, the only real wealth of the Church is in the faith of its people” (“The State of the Church,” 54). The relative current prosperity of the Church only reflects the faith of its members in observing the law of tithing and other guiding principles such as provident living and self-reliance. It is based on the Lord’s promise that “inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land.” This promise appears in 18 verses of the Book of Mormon, and Latter-day Saints believe it continues to apply today.

Additionally, some people may try to attach a monetary value to the Church in the same way they would assess the assets of a commercial corporation. Such comparisons simply do not hold up. For instance, a corporation’s branch offices or retail outlets have to be financially justified as a source of profit. But every time the Church builds a place of worship, the building becomes a consumer of assets and a financial obligation that has to be met through worldwide member donations. The ongoing maintenance and upkeep, utilities and use of the building can only be achieved as long as faithful members continue to support the Church.

 

Q: Does the Church pay taxes?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pays all taxes that are required by law. Latter-day Saints believe in “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” (Articles of Faith 1:12). Worldwide, the Church and its affiliated entities pay applicable taxes and other governmental levies. In the United States, where churches and other nonprofit organizations are generally exempt from federal and state income tax, the Church pays taxes on any income it derives from revenue-producing activities that are regularly carried on and are not substantially related to its tax-exempt purposes. Church-affiliated entities that are organized as for-profit corporations pay regular federal and state corporate income taxes on their net income. The Church and its affiliated entities also pay property taxes on property that is not used for religious, educational or charitable purposes, including taxes on undeveloped land and properties held for investment or commercial purposes. Government fees, levies and assessments are paid in connection with the development of Church property. The Church also pays federal and state employer taxes and withholds and remits employee payroll taxes. Where applicable, the Church and its affiliated entities pay state and local sales and use taxes.

 

Q: What controls are in place to prevent the misuse of funds?

Church leadership is very aware of the sacred nature of Church resources and takes great care to ensure that tithes and other funds are used prudently and are protected from misuse. Any person found misusing sacred tithes or other donations is subject to Church discipline.

The expenditure of Church funds is approved by the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Presiding Bishopric. These senior leaders counsel together and make decisions to allocate funds. Additionally, certified professionals perform regular audits to ensure strict adherence to standard accounting principles and Church policies. Auditors are also called locally to perform periodic audits in wards and branches following detailed guidelines and processes provided by the Church.

 

Q: Does the Church have investment reserves? What kinds of investments does the Church possess? 

The Church maintains diversified reserves — including common stocks and bonds, interests in taxable businesses, commercial and residential real estate and agricultural properties — to provide financial support for the Church’s ongoing and future operations. These funds are invested solely to support the Church’s mission to preach the gospel to all nations and prepare for the Lord’s Second Coming. Some Church investments, such as agricultural interests, preserve and enhance Church resources but may also be deployed to meet acute needs.

 

Q: Does the Church have resources invested in the stock market? 

Yes. These funds are part of the financial reserves that allow the Church to address needs as it continues to grow and administer programs around the world. Each year, the Church sets aside a portion of its funds to save and invest.

 

Q: How does the Church choose stocks and bonds in which to invest?

The Church strives to be a good steward of these resources and has certified professionals invest Church funds in a broad and diversified manner. Professional financial advisers select and manage specific investments.

 

Q: Where does the money for the Church’s reserves come from?

The vast majority of Church operations are funded through the sacred tithes and offerings given by members. The Church operates within its means and sets aside a portion of its funds each year. The Church follows the financial principles it teaches: living within a budget, avoiding debt, and saving and investing for the future.

 

Q: Why does the Church maintain financial reserves when there are so many unmet humanitarian needs currently in the world? 

The Church has spent billions of dollars over the past few years to meet welfare and humanitarian needs around the world. We anticipate that these needs will continue to increase over time. Church affiliated, for-profit entities also contribute to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation, which gives to various charitable causes. Church members donate their own time and resources to support many other charitable endeavors. This is part of the Church’s divine mission.

In addition to humanitarian and welfare efforts, Church financial reserves provide resources to sustain the Church’s future growth as prophecy is fulfilled that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be taught and the Church established in all nations of the earth until the Savior’s return. Ever-increasing financial means are needed to preach the message of Jesus Christ throughout the world, build and operate a fast-growing number of temples and houses of worship, and provide educational and other opportunities to lift people out of poverty and promote self-reliance.

 

Q: Why does the Church ask members with limited means to donate 10 percent of their income as tithing?

Latter-day Saints believe that God promises and provides spiritual and temporal blessings to those who follow His commandments, including the commandment to tithe. Tithing is a spiritual principle through which the Lord funds His Church. The Church is acutely concerned with helping individuals rise out of poverty; it dedicates significant resources toward educational, humanitarian and welfare efforts aimed at helping people achieve personal self-reliance. Paying a full tithe is an act of faith and obedience to God’s commandments. Those who choose to pay tithing often attest to the blessings that come from their decision.

 

Q: How and when are Church reserve funds used?

Historically, when resources have been scarce or when there have been demands associated with growth, reserve funds have been available to assist in supporting the operations of the Church.

Reserve funds provide for the future. Church financial reserves assure resources will be available to sustain the Church’s future growth as prophecy is fulfilled that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be taught and the Church established in all nations of the earth until the Savior’s return. The Church anticipates building additional chapels and temples. Welfare and humanitarian efforts will continue to increase. Missionary work, education needs and other programs to benefit people around the world will require additional resources. Whether Church funds are from reserves or directly from the tithes of members, all are used for the singular purpose of supporting the mission of the Church. Reserve funds exist for no other reason.

LDS Church Transferring 169 Missionaries Out of Nicaragua

LDS News

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released the following statement about the transfer of 169 missionaries out of 327 serving in Nicaragua:

Due to growing political instability in Nicaragua, the Church is in the process of transferring 169 missionaries out of that country. This includes 37 missionaries from the Nicaragua Managua North Mission, all of whom were nearing the end of their service and will return home. In the Nicaragua Managua South Mission, 20 missionaries will return home, while 112 missionaries will be temporarily reassigned to other missions in North America, South America and the Caribbean. All 158 missionaries remaining in Nicaragua are being moved to areas that are safe.

The Church will continue to closely monitor conditions and developments in Nicaragua. We pray for the people there as they navigate this difficult time in their country.

Church Leaders Teach New Zealanders and Australians How to Love and Lift Others

LDS News

President Ballard is Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. 

The leaders were accompanied on their visit by Elder Carl B. Cook of the Presidency of the Seventy and the members of the Pacific Area Presidency, Elder O. Vincent Haleck, Elder Craig A. Cardon and Elder Ian S. Ardern. 

In two meetings in two countries the visiting Latter-day Saint authorities spoke to local congregational leaders from the lower half of New Zealand's North Island, and South Island, as well as leaders from congregations in Sydney.

In Wellington the leaders greeted and shook hands with all in attendance, one by one.

President Ballard shared a question that he and other senior Latter-day Saint leaders have been asking the Lord and themselves for some years: "How do we get the Gospel from the minds of our people deeply into their hearts sufficiently to feel the urgency to reach out to serve one another as Jesus Christ showed?" 

As leaders in congregations, we are "ministering for the Lord Jesus Christ," he said.  

"We are shepherding one another, and loving one another, along the covenant path. We are learning how to love as Jesus did."

Speaking of the weekly worship service held in Latter-day Saint meetinghouses around the world each Sunday, President Ballard said: "Sacrament meeting can be a time we come to the feet of Christ, in a sense, and worship Him." 

"We can ask others to 'Come see, come worship with us.'"

He promised, "If our youth have spiritual experiences in sacrament meetings, they will be stronger."

He added, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of love, of repentance, of forgiveness, of changing lives for the better."

"Each soul is very precious, particularly to the Saviour. As we minister to each individual, one more soul is embraced by the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

Elder Stevenson talked about a recent adjustment in the way Latter-day Saints minister to each other and those who are not members of the Church as a "higher and holier way."

"We are the Church of Jesus Christ," he said, "so our ministering should be as He has ministered."

He added, "As we learn of Christ, follow Him, and become like Him, we will minister to each other in His way."

Elder Stevenson talked about the people of Alma in the Book of Mormon, "how their hearts were knit together in love, mourning with those who mourn, comforting those who stood in need of comfort."

Elder Carl B. Cook made the connection between personal faithfulness and service to others. 

Quoting Jesus Christ in the New Testament, he said, "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

Elder Cook encouraged those in attendance at the Wellington meeting to study the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, to learn how to most effectively help others today.  

"If we are to serve Him and serve others around us, we must read of Him, ponder about Him, and reach out, feel, perceive, weep, and heal in His name."

Elder Haleck spoke about the relationship between the doctrine of Christ and ministering to one another. 

"Christ taught His doctrine with words and with action," he said.

"As we read from the Book of Mormon every day the Lord will bless us with spiritual insights that will help us minister to others."

Elder Cardon said that "God has invited us, through His prophets, to seek revelation as we look to help each other."

Nauvoo News LDS.jpg

"I cannot adequately describe my love for my Saviour," he said. "My mother helped me recognise the feelings I had as a child, as being from God."

Elder Ardern said, "Service to others increases the feelings of the Holy Spirit."

He added, "I testify to you that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I read from it daily and it enriches my life. It will do the same for you. I love you and am glad to serve with you."

Also in attendance in the Wellington meeting were Elder David J. Thomson, Elder Allistair B. Odgers, Sister Peggy Haleck, Sister Deborah Cardon and Sister Paula Ardern.

Sister Peggy Haleck told those at the Wellington meeting, "We are children of a loving Heavenly Father and He has given us a plan. His Son Jesus Christ will help us make ourselves right before we return to our Father."

Sister Deborah Cardon said, "Ministering is absolutely powerful. How can I help others? I've received answers to this question from the Lord, in thoughts and feelings. The Holy Ghost is our friend. Love is the answer to all of this. Pray, plead for charity, we will feel that and have that blessing."

Sister Paula Ardern said," I know that God lives and Jesus is the Christ. Ministering will bless the Church, each of us, and others."

In question and answer sessions in both cities, the visiting leaders responded to queries about how to follow Jesus Christ by more effectively ministering to others.

2018 Nauvoo Pageant & British Pageant Dates & Special Info.

LDS News

The 2018 Nauvoo Pageant preparations are underway.  The beautiful theatrical outdoor stage performance is put on each summer in beautiful Nauvoo, Illinois by a cast and crew of over 1,100 people. The legacy of early Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo is told through song, dance, music and acting. The Pageant season brings historical vignettes in Old Nauvoo and the 1840s Frontier Country Fair as a fun and exciting part of the pageant's pre-show activities.

Nauvoo Pageant Dates 2018:  July 11-August 5 (excluding Sundays and Mondays)

The 2018 Nauvoo Pageant season will feature two amazing musical productions:

The 2018 Nauvoo Pageant: Will be held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays - telling the story of early Latter-day Saint Church members who first settled the City of Nauvoo in 1839. It's full of music, singing, funny moments and a few tear jerkers.  You'll love the entire performance.

The 2018 British Pageant, “Truth Will Prevail,” held on Wednesdays and Fridays, and tells the history of early Saints in the British Isles. With delightful music and acting that will touch your heart and put a smile on your face, you'll learn the true stories of some very amazing families that made the hard sacrifice to come to America and follow their faith.

Both the 2018 Nauvoo Pageant & the British pageants are based on actual journals and historic records from the 1800s.  You experience both traditional period music and dancing as well as amazing original music. Thousands visit Nauvoo each year to enjoy both performances.  While in Nauvoo your family can also take free wagin rides around the old Nauvoo historic town - experience period blacksmith and tin shops - visit the old Times & Seasons newspaper press or take you whole family to the Family living center for pioneer games and crafts: ALL FREE.

2018 is a great year to come see beautiful Nauvoo.  

FULL SCHEDULE:

2018: July 10-August 4 (excluding Sundays and Mondays)

The Nauvoo Pageant will be presented on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The British Pageant will be presented on Wednesday and Friday.

1840s Frontier Country Fair starts at 7:00 p.m each evening & The Pageant performances begin
at 8:30 p.m.

ADMISSION: Admission is free. No ticket is required, and no reservation is necessary.

 

Church Releases Additional Answers to Questions about Ministering

LDS News

The Church has released an additional set of answers to questions members and leaders may have about priesthood quorum changes and ministering announced during April 2018 general conference.

A document titled “Ministering with Strengthened Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums and Relief Societies: Additional Frequently Asked Questions” included with a May 11 notice sent to priesthood, Relief Society, Young Women, and Young Men leaders worldwide clarifies questions people may still have about the roles and responsibilities of various leaders, quorum membership, ministering interviews, participation of youth, and callings relating to ministering.

The additional set of frequently asked questions, dated May 11, 2018, as well as answers to most other questions about ministering, can be found at ministering.lds.org. Simply click on one of the two options labeled “Frequently Asked Questions.”

For example, the document clarifies that “guidelines in the recent document ‘Preventing and Responding to Abuse’ allow for ministering companionships with youth assigned as companions to adults. ‘Ministering’ is not considered an ‘activity’ or ‘class,’ as referred to in those guidelines.” However, adult companions “should avoid situations that could be misunderstood.”

Updates to Handbook 1 and Handbook 2 will be published online in July to reflect all these changes.

Once these materials are made available, general Church leaders don’t anticipate publishing further questions and answers. This effort is intended to be Spirit led, flexible, and customized to local needs, as determined by inspired local leaders.

 

Quorums and Relief Societies

1. Does the focus on the elders quorum and Relief Society strengthen the role of the bishop and the ward council?

Yes. The bishop is the presiding high priest and “provides guidance and counsel to other leaders in the ward” (Handbook 1, 2.1.1). He reviews and approves ministering assignments. Under the direction of the bishop, the ward council continues in its essential role to “help individuals build testimonies, receive saving ordinances, keep covenants, and become consecrated followers of Jesus Christ” (Handbook 2, 4.4). The strengthened elders quorum and Relief Society—represented by their presidents, who are members of the ward council—will increase the effectiveness of that council.

2.  To what quorum do members of temple, mission, and missionary training center presidencies belong?

These brethren are members of their ward elders quorum.

3. In a stake, are high priests who serve in a branch presidency members of the high priests quorum?

No. High priests serving in branch presidencies in a stake are not members of the high priests quorum. Members of the high priests quorum are only those whose callings in the stake presidency, in a bishopric, on the high council, and as a functioning patriarch require them to be high priests.

4. Are elders serving in a bishopric (for example, in a young single adult stake) members of the high priests quorum?

No. Elders serving in a bishopric are not members of the high priests quorum.

5. Should elders quorum presidencies visit or interview quorum members once a year (see Handbook 2, 7.3.2)—in addition to holding quarterly ministering interviews?

Yes. As part of their overall responsibilities, elders quorum presidencies should interview quorum members relative to all priesthood duties—including the well-being of the priesthood holder, his spouse, and his family—at least once a year. These interviews can be held throughout the year. This discussion should not be combined with a ministering interview in which a companion is also present.

6. Who can help elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies accomplish the work of salvation?

Elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies may organize members to help accomplish the work as needed. For example, they may call members to lead and assist with such work as service, temple and family history, sharing the gospel, and welfare.

7. Can a ward have more than one elders quorum or Relief Society?

Yes. In the spirit of Doctrine and Covenants 107:89, when a ward has an unusually large number of active Melchizedek Priesthood bearers, leaders may organize more than one elders quorum. In such cases, each quorum should have a reasonable balance in terms of age, experience, and priesthood office and strength. Similar principles apply to Relief Society.

Ministering

8. How does ministering apply to the members of the high priests quorum?

Under the direction of their bishop, the presiding high priest in the ward, the members of the high priests quorum and their families have ministering brothers and sisters assigned to them by their elders quorum and Relief Society.

Because stake presidencies and bishoprics are responsible for all members of the stake or ward, these brethren are not generally assigned as ministering brothers to specific individuals or families.  High councilors and functioning patriarchs may be assigned, based on local circumstances, as determined by the stake president. If they are assigned, it would be by their elders quorum president under the direction of the bishop of their wards.

In addition to other important responsibilities such as presiding high priest and common judge in Israel, bishops have a specific responsibility, along with their counselors, to care for the youth. Doctrine and Covenants 107:15reads, “The bishopric is the presidency of this [the Aaronic] priesthood, and holds the keys or authority of the same.” Handbook 1, 2.2, states, “Members of the bishopric watch over and nurture young men and young women in the ward.”

Similarly, the stake president, as the presiding high priest of the stake, is “the primary spiritual leader in the stake” (Handbook 1, 1.1.1) and “presides over the work of salvation” (Handbook 1, 1.1.2).

9. Can elders quorum and Relief Society presidents call additional counselors to help with ministering?

No. A president has two counselors. If leaders find that additional help is needed, they can counsel with their bishop about calling one or more ministering secretaries. These ministering secretaries may be assigned, for example, to schedule ministering interviews and to help prepare a quarterly report of interviews.

10. What is the role of ministering coordinators and supervisors?

The callings of ministering coordinator and ministering supervisor have been discontinued. Those who have been called to these positions should be released.

11. Who conducts ministering interviews?

Each member of elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies conducts ministering interviews. Even in a large ward, leaders will find that interviews are manageable when a few are held each week by each presidency member. Ministering interviews do not need to be long to be effective.

12. When during the quarter do leaders hold ministering interviews?

Ministering interviews can and should be held throughout each quarter—and not reserved for the last week or last month of the quarter. As leaders hold interviews regularly, they will find that they can accomplish the spiritual and temporal purposes of ministering.

Including Youth in Ministering

13. Can young men and young women be assigned to minister with adult companions?

Yes. The guidelines in the recent document “Preventing and Responding to Abuse” allow for ministering companionships with youth assigned as companions to adults. “Ministering” is not considered an “activity” or “class,” as referred to in those guidelines.

Leaders should use inspired judgment when assigning youth as ministering companions. Adult companions should avoid situations that might be misunderstood. They should exercise care regarding isolated one-on-one situations so that youth have a safe and rewarding experience with ministering. Additionally, wisdom should be exercised in not assigning youth to difficult home or family situations.

14. Should all Mia Maids and Laurels have ministering assignments?

Mia Maids and Laurels may be invited to minister. Parents and leaders counsel with each young woman, and when her circumstances are such that she can and is willing to serve, she may be given a ministering assignment. Young women serve as companions to Relief Society sisters.

15. Who communicates ministering assignments to youth?

With the bishop’s approval, a member of the Relief Society presidency extends ministering assignments to Mia Maids and Laurels. And, with the bishop’s approval, a member of the elders quorum presidency extends ministering assignments to teachers and priests.

THE FAMILY - A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD

LDS News

THE FAMILY

A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

First Presidency, NAACP National Leaders Call for Civility, Talk Possible Future Efforts Together

LDS News

In a unified global call for increased civility, harmony, and respect, the First Presidency joined leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in pledging to explore ways to serve together and lift those in need.

In a pair of statements offered Thursday morning in the Church Administration Building, both groups—the Church and the organization that seeks equal rights without discrimination based on race—briefly mentioned the possibilities of shared future efforts in humanitarian work, welfare service, and education.

Citing “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” and its fundamental doctrine that all people are God’s children and therefore brothers and sisters, President Russell M. Nelson said: “Today, in unity with such capable and impressive leaders as the national officials of the NAACP, we are impressed to call on people of this nation, and indeed, the entire world, to demonstrate greater civility, racial, and ethnic harmony, and mutual respect.”

Saying that service together to lift others needing help follows the Savior’s example and teaching, President Nelson added: “Together we invite all people, organizations, and governmental units to work with greater civility, eliminating prejudice of all kinds, and focusing more on the many areas and interests that we all have in common.”

Watch the video of the press conference from MormonNewsroom.org.

President Nelson was joined by his counselors in the First Presidency, Presidents Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles conducted the media conference and introduced President Nelson and Johnson.

Derrick Johnson, who was elected in October 2017, as NAACP president and CEO, followed with his organization’s statement, mirroring phrases of calling “people, organizations, and government representatives” to work “in greater harmony, civility, and respect for the beliefs of others.”

Johnson invited “all people and organizations to follow our mutual example in coming together and finding ways to work in harmony and greater civility.”

Johnson and the handful of NAACP leaders with him were in Salt Lake City for quarterly meetings of the 109-year-old organization’s 65-member board. It was the NAACP’s first-ever leadership meetings held in Utah.

The First Presidency and the NAACP leaders met together briefly Thursday morning before issuing the statements. Neither President Nelson or Johnson took any questions from the media after making their statements.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to affirm its fundamental doctrine—and our heartfelt conviction—that all people are God’s precious children and therefore are brothers and sisters. Nearly a quarter century ago, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles proclaimed that ‘All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.’

“Today, in unity with such capable and impressive leaders as the national officials of the NAACP, we are impressed to call on people of this nation, and indeed, the entire world, to demonstrate greater civility, racial and ethnic harmony, and mutual respect. In meetings this morning, we have begun to explore ways—such as education and humanitarian service—in which our respective members and others can serve and move forward together, lifting our brothers and sisters who need our help, just as the Savior, Jesus Christ, would do. These are His words: ‘I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine’ (D&C 38:27).

“Together we invite all people, organizations, and governmental units to work with greater civility, eliminating prejudice of all kinds, and focusing more on the many areas and interests that we all have in common. As we lead our people to work cooperatively, we will all achieve the respect, regard, and blessings that God seeks for all of His children.

“Thank you very much.”

Johnson then followed with the following full statement, first addressing President Nelson and then directing his remarks to the gathered media:

“President Nelson, the statement you just expressed, the very core of our beliefs and mission at the NAACP—we admire and share your optimism that all peoples can work together in harmony and should collaborate more on areas of common interest. Thank you.

“To the media, as the NAACP celebrate this 64th anniversary of the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education—

“Like the Latter-day Saints, we believe all people and organizations and government representatives should come together to work to secure peace and happiness for all of God’s children. Unitedly, we can call on all people to work in greater harmony, civility and respect for the beliefs of others to achieve this supreme and universal goal.

“We compliment The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its good faith efforts to bless not only its members, but people throughout the United States and, indeed, the world in so many ways.

“The NAACP, through our mission, we are clear that it is our job to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. And we do so through an advocacy voice, but now with a partner, who seek to pursue harmony and civility within our community.

“I am proud to stand here today, to open up a dialogue, to seek ways of common interest, to work toward a higher pursuit. This is a great opportunity. Thank you for this moment.”

Saints, New 4-Volume History of the Church, Debuts in Magazine Installments

LDS News

“Lucy and Joseph Sr. both came from Christian families and believed in the Bible and Jesus Christ. Lucy attended church meetings and often brought her children with her. She had been seeking the true church of Jesus Christ since the death of her sister many years earlier.

“Once, after falling gravely ill sometime before Joseph’s birth, she had feared that she would die before finding the truth. She sensed a dark and lonely chasm between her and the Savior, and she knew she was unprepared for the next life.

“Lying awake all night, she prayed to God, promising Him that if He let her live, she would find the Church of Jesus Christ. As she prayed, the voice of the Lord spoke to her, assuring her that if she would seek, she would find” (Saints, volume 1, chapter 1).

Readers are now getting their first look at a new four-volume history of the Church announced last year. (See related story.)

Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days debuted in the February editions of the Ensign and Liahona magazines. The first chapter of volume one was printed in the edition, preceded by an introductory article by Elder Steven E. Snow, General Authority Seventy and Church Historian and Recorder. Subsequent chapters were published in the magazines over the next several months.

The magazine issues can be accessed online now at magazines.lds.org.The first eight chapters will be serialized in this way and will be available in 47 languages.

The first chapters of volume 1 are also available at saints.lds.org. The four volumes will be published in 14 languages in book form (available at store.lds.org), online at saints.lds.org, and in the Gospel Library app for mobile devices. They will also be available in e-book and audiobook formats in selected languages. The first volume of the work will be available later this year in print, and other volumes will follow.

Elder Snow begins his article with an 1861 quotation from President Brigham Young, “who urged Church historians to change their approach. ‘Write in a narrative style,’ he advised, and ‘write only about one tenth part as much.’”

Elder Snow continued, “The story on the next pages follows that counsel.”

Noting that Saints was prepared in response to the Lord’s commandment in Doctrine and Covenants 47:3 to “keep the church record and history continually,” Elder Snow explained that it is unlike past histories of the Church.

“It is a narrative history written in an engaging style that will be accessible to both youth and adults,” he remarked.

“Saints, however, is not historical fiction. It is a true story based on the records of people from the past. Every detail and every line of dialogue is supported by historical sources.”

Endnotes included with each chapter refer to additional sources, thus inviting readers to explore actual records, related topics, and even more stories. Hyperlinks in the online versions can take the reader directly to the source with a single mouse click.

The books include both divine truth and stories of imperfect people trying to become Saints through the Atonement of Christ, he pointed out. “Taken together, the four volumes tell the story of the Lord’s Church striving to fulfill its mandate to perfect the Saints.”

In the past, Church members have been acquainted with two multivolume histories of the Church. The first, titled History of the Church, was begun by Joseph Smith in the 1830s and published beginning in 1842. The second, written by Elder B. H. Roberts, assistant Church historian, was published in 1930 and was titled A Comprehensive History of the Church.

“The global reach of the restored gospel since then and the Lord’s command to keep the history continually ‘for the good of the church, and for the rising generations’ (D&C 69:8) signal that it is time to include more Latter-day Saints in the story,” Elder Snow wrote in his article.

While it tells the story of ordinary men and women from the earliest days of the Church, the new work “provides new detail and insight into better-known people and events from Church history,” he explained.

“Each story will help you understand and appreciate the Saints who came before you to make the Church what it is today. Like you, they sacrificed to establish Zion, and they had challenges and successes as they sought to understand and implement divine direction.”

Elder Snow noted that additional in-depth material on selected topics will be published online to support each volume. This is indicated in the endnotes, where the word Topic is printed in boldface to indicate additional information online at saints.lds.org.

Elder Snow spoke of the new history in an address on June 3 of last year at the 52nd annual Mormon History Association Conference in St. Louis, Missouri (see related story). On that occasion, he said the volumes will be “transparent, honest, and faithful,” with controversial aspects of Church history covered in the context of the entire story.

He also said the books will be published in an inexpensive, paperback form and for free online and are being written at a 9th- or 10th-grade reading level, so as to make them widely accessible.

Meet Sister Freiss a “100-Year-Young” Ordinance Worker

LDS News

Anne Freiss doesn't like anyone knowing or making a fuss about her age. She doesn’t like being the center of attention. And up until her recent release, she was the oldest temple ordinance worker serving in the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple.

Before moving to Utah, Sister Freiss lived in Arizona. She retired from her full-time job at age 83 and spent the next 10 years serving in the Mesa Arizona Temple. In 2012 she moved to Salt Lake, where she began her service as a 94-year-old ordinance worker in the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple.

She continued serving in the temple every week. Most weeks she drove herself, since she does not like to put anyone out. She was even still able to use the stairs.

“You don’t need to schedule a break for me,” Sister Freiss told her coordinator at the temple, Sister Debra L. Martin. The sisters who serve with Sister Freiss in the temple say she is a blessing to all around her.

Everyone loves this sweet woman. Her daughter Michelle Riggs said people in the temple “adore her and look to her as an example of pressing forward and enduring at any age.”

Last July, Sister Freiss had emergency surgery and was placed on a leave of absence. During that time, some of her fellow temple workers visited her in her home. A small group went to her house just before Christmas to sing carols to her. She readily joined in with the caroling.

nauvoo LDS nerws.jpg

Sister Freiss turned 100 years old on March 26, and she was back in the temple performing ordinances just a couple days later.

Her daughter Barbara Jensen worked with Sister Martin to arrange this special temple trip. Sister Freiss’s family members who were there said it was a privilege to participate. They described the experience as both spiritual and emotional.

“She was at peace. She was where she wanted to be—her memory on point, and she was amazed to be so welcomed back, even to tears, to have been able to return,” said Sister Riggs.

Her daughter-in-law Kathleen Freiss was grateful to witness and participate in the ordinances of the temple with her mother-in-law, whom she described as “our own 100-year-young mother who is still capable and sharp enough to fulfill her calling as an ordinance worker.”

“She was glowing even after we got home,” said Sister Riggs. “This experience, to be surrounded by family in a setting such as this, is a blessing never to be forgotten.”

 

Man Faces Multiple Charges After Break-in of St. George LDS Temple

LDS News

ST. GEORGE – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Saturday that a man has broken into and then vandalized the St. George Temple.  The man now faces multiple charges in connection with the incident.

According to an announcement from the LDS Church, the man broke in through a window around 5:00 a.m. on Saturday morning

“He then proceeded to the fifth floor of the temple, damaging furniture, artwork and other items along the way,” said church spokesman Eric Hawkins. “After causing additional damage on the fifth floor, he was contained by temple workers.”

The Church says that it was not necessary to physically restrain the individual while being held until police arrived at which time he was then arrested.

The St. George Temple reopened after later that day.

A temple worker told St. George News she and other workers and patrons were asked by the police to wait in the foyer.  “They said there was an intruder in the temple, that he was upstairs somewhere,” she told St. George News. 

According to St. George News 'the man entered through a ground floor window and then damaged another window on the fifth floor.'

The intruder, Charles Gregory Logan was charged with disorderly conduct, interference with arrest, simple assault, criminal mischief and burglary of a non-dwelling.  Logan was released from custody after posting the required bond.

LDS Church to Drop Boy Scouts as Part of New Worldwide Initiative

LDS News

The children and youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide are precious. They represent the future, and ministering to their needs is a significant focus for the Church. 

For years, Church leaders have been preparing a new initiative to teach and provide leadership and development opportunities to all children and youth, to support families and to strengthen youth everywhere as they develop faith in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This new approach is intended to help all girls and boys, young women and young men discover their eternal identity, build character and resilience, develop life skills and fulfill their divine roles as daughters and sons of God. The initiative is designed to allow local leaders, families and even the young people themselves to customize their efforts, while providing service opportunities and activities, fostering healthy relationships and supporting communities. Details will be shared at childrenandyouth.lds.org as the implementation date approaches.

As announced publicly today in a joint statement with the Boy Scouts of America, effective on December 31, 2019, the Church will conclude its relationship as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world. Until then, the intention of the Church is to remain a fully engaged partner in Scouting for boys and young men ages 8–13. All youth, families and leaders are encouraged to continue their active participation and financial support of Scouting until that date.

The Church honors Scouting organizations for their continued goal to develop character and instill values in youth. The lives of hundreds of thousands of young men, along with their families and communities, have been blessed by Scouting organizations worldwide.

JOINT STATEMENT:

A Joint Statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and
the Boy Scouts of America

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America have been partners for more than 100 years. The Scouting program has benefited hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saint boys and young men, and BSA has also been greatly bene ted in the process. We jointly express our gratitude to the thousands of Scout leaders and volunteers who have sel essly served over the years in Church-sponsored Scouting units, including local BSA districts and councils.

In this century of shared experience, the Church has grown from a U.S.-centered institution to
a worldwide organization, with a majority of its membership living outside the United States. That trend is accelerating. The Church has increasingly felt the need to create and implement
a uniform youth leadership and development program that serves its members globally. In so doing, it will be necessary for the Church to discontinue its role as a chartered partner with BSA.

We have jointly determined that, e ective on December 31, 2019, the Church will conclude its relationship as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world. Until that date, to allow for an orderly transition, the intention of the Church is to remain a fully engaged partner in Scouting for boys and young men ages 8–13 and encourages all youth, families, and leaders to continue their active participation and nancial support.

While the Church will no longer be a chartered partner of BSA or sponsor Scouting units after December 31, 2019, it continues to support the goals and values re ected in the Scout Oath and Scout Law and expresses its profound desire for Scouting’s continuing and growing success in the years ahead. 

LDS Church Releases Update on Missionary Safety Survey

LDS News

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent a survey to missionaries worldwide to better understand their day-to-day experiences and perceptions related to physical safety. The results painted a picture of overall safety among missionaries and highlighted areas for improvement.

We were pleased to learn that an overwhelming majority of missionaries reported feeling safe within their missions, and the number of incidents was very low compared to the total missionaries serving. Gratefully, serious threats and violence involving missionaries are uncommon, although we recognize that exceptions occur.

The feedback from this survey will inform future changes to the Missionary Handbook and has already impacted the following policies and procedures:

  • A Sister Safety Committee that meets regularly is using the survey results to determine how to enhance the overall safety of sister missionaries.
  • A follow-up process has been implemented to provide better care and support for missionaries following an incident.
  • A significant health, safety, and security training program is being produced that is heavily influenced by the survey results.

Additionally, the Church will soon send a second survey to missions where multiple safety concerns have been reported. Information from this follow-up survey will be shared with mission presidents to help them understand the potential risks in their missions and to help them consider where missionaries are placed.

Missionaries throughout the world are known for their goodness and selfless service. We greatly value their safety. We are committed to doing all we can to understand and to improve, where needed, the circumstances of all missionaries.

Elder Uchtdorf Discusses First Russia Temple Plans

LDS News

During a recent visit to Eastern Europe, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraged members in Russia to prepare their hearts for a new temple. President Russell M. Nelson recently announced that a new temple will be built in a major Russian city yet to be determined.

Elder Uchtdorf and his wife, Harriet, participated in a special conference of the Moscow Russia Stake on April 22, 2018. The meeting was attended by about 700 Latter-day Saints, including Church leaders in the region.

First Temple in Russia

After the conference, Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Alexey V. Samaykin, an Area Seventy, were interviewed by historian, publicist, well-known journalist and editor in chief of the academic journal Science and Religion, Sergey Georgievich Antonenko.

“This announcement is a historic one and it’s a beautiful one,” said Elder Uchtdorf about the new temple to the journalist. “We have around the globe 159 temples, and the number is growing.”

This will be the first temple for Latter-day Saints in Russia. “Up until now if they wanted to go to the temple, they had to travel outside of Russia,” he explained.

Elder Uchtdorf said, “We’re very grateful for Russia to be a country where religious freedom is established. We may practice our faith here.”

The Latter-day Saint apostle said the members in Russia are “law-abiding, wonderful citizens” who love the tradition and history of their country.

“We have learned worldwide that it has always been a great blessing for a community to accept and invite a house of the Lord,” added Elder Uchtdorf. “And even though sometimes at the beginning there are critical voices, … these critical voices learn that the Mormons are good people. They are people to be trusted.”

The full content of the interview will be published in the June 2018 issue of the publication.

Ministry

Elder Uchtdorf is the Church’s primary contact for the Europe and Europe East Areas, one of the new assignments he received in January following his service in the First Presidency.

During the conference in Moscow, Elder Samaykin compared the ministry of the Church with the unconditional and sincere love parents have for their children.

Sister Uchtdorf told the touching story of her family's conversion to the Church, in which the prospect of an eternal happy family life played a key role. She said they noticed a special happiness that filled the lives of people who keep the commandments and share the joy of the gospel with their neighbors.

Elder Uchtdorf stressed how important it is to bear witness of Christ's love through service to others.

During their visit to Europe, the Uchtdorfs also met with members and volunteers in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Tallinn, Estonia.

“With this announcement of course of the temple, there's a marvelous excitement among the members,” said Elder Uchtdorf during an interview in his office following his return to Salt Lake City; however, he cautioned that the process of building a temple in Russia will be slow. “We have to have patience.”

“Our hearts have to be ready for the temple,” said Elder Uchtdorf. “It's like East Germany. They waited for a temple forever, but they had current temple recommends … and eventually faith was rewarded. And that's the same thing which will happen in Russia.”

“When we are ready, the temple will be ready,” he added. “I hope I can help them to feel happy to be a member of the Church.”

Elder Uchtdorf said he and his wife also encouraged young single adults and other members of the Church to stay in their country to build up the Church as they did in Germany. “Eastern Europe is losing a lot of good members emigrating, leaving the country.”

Elder Uchtdorf said he learned some insights about Russia as he met with Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, in Washington, D.C., prior to his international trip. “It was very helpful because I told him what the Church is all about in Russia, and we are just good people [who] … just want to live their faith and want to be good citizens.”

The apostle also had a courtesy meeting with Rüdiger von Fritsch, the German ambassador to Russia, at the embassy while he was in Moscow. “He had some good counsel. … He’s a friend of the Church and of us.”

Relief Society General President Delivers White House Prayer

LDS News

“We unite to acknowledge that all good gifts come from Thee,” prayed Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who participated in the National Day of Prayer at the White House in Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 3, 2018.

In a Rose Garden ceremony, Sister Bingham stood with other Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish leaders from across the United States to offer prayers.

prayer-screen-shot-4.JPG

“Heavenly Father, many are in need, and we pray for all who are working unselfishly to improve lives. May we become a land of ‘good Samaritans,’ laboring in love to lift the hands of the downtrodden, the oppressed, and the afflicted,” she said.

Sister Bingham continued: “Please strengthen homes and families which provide loving guidance in building capable and compassionate citizens. … Help us to find ways to understand and value one another, to work together in cooperation and selflessness, rather than seek for personal gain, to satisfy vain ambitions, or to gratify pride.” 

“America is a nation of believers,” said President Donald Trump, who signed an executive order to create a faith initiative at the White House that recognizes the role of faith in our community. “We are proud of our religious heritage.”

In his remarks, Vice President Mike Pence read a verse from the Bible that offers hope for the future, Jeremiah 29:11 NIV, a scripture that hangs in his home.

 


Sister Jean B. Bingham, the Church’s Relief Society general president, delivered this prayer May 3, 2018, at the White House during a a Rose Garden ceremony to honor the National Day of Prayer (the first Thursday each May in the United States).

Our loving, gracious, and perfect Father in Heaven, we approach Thee in gratitude for the many blessings received at Thy hands. On this National Day of Prayer, we unite to acknowledge that all good gifts come from Thee. This nation has been given relative peace and prosperity, and we humbly ask Thee to watch over those who are in harm’s way protecting our freedoms in the pursuit of happiness. 

Bless those who lead this great nation with the empathy, insights, and inspiration they need as they counsel together and sincerely strive to work in harmony. Help us in our quest that we may be “joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). May each exercise integrity, humility, and nobility of character in his or her sphere of influence.

Heavenly Father, many are in need, and we pray for all who are working unselfishly to improve lives. May we become a land of “good Samaritans,” laboring in love to lift the hands of the downtrodden, the oppressed, and the afflicted. “Knit [our hearts] together in unity and in love one towards another" (Mosiah 18:21).

Please strengthen homes and families which provide loving guidance in building capable and compassionate citizens.  

We also recognize the need to improve, Father. Help us to find ways to understand and value one another, to work together in cooperation and selflessness, rather than seek for personal gain, to satisfy vain ambitions, or to gratify pride. May we examine ourselves and become better individuals, thereby increasing the peace and happiness of each citizen in this United States of America.

Dear Father, we thank Thee for every blessing and humbly ask for Thy help as well as for Thy continued care and keeping.

In the sacred name of Thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, amen.

LDS Missionaries Pulled From Turkey Over Unrest

LDS News

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement today about missionaries and other volunteers in Turkey:

“Due to a prolonged period of heightened political tensions in Turkey, all of our volunteers serving in that country have been temporarily reassigned. This includes 20 young men, 4 young women, and 5 senior couples. They will be temporarily reassigned to other regions in Europe, Asia, and North America. Additionally, four volunteers who are nearing the end of their service will return home. The safety of our volunteers is a primary concern for the Church, and we work diligently to monitor conditions and make adjustments as needed in an effort to promote their safety.

As was announced in February, the Bulgaria Sofia Mission was to be realigned with the Central Eurasian Mission. The combined missions will now be known as the Bulgaria/Central Eurasian Mission headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria. The country of Turkey continues to be part of this mission.”

 

Fatal Car Crash Leaves Two Dead and Four LDS Missionaries Injured

LDS News

PRESTON, Idaho – Two people were killed and four LDS missionaries serving in the Utah Logan Mission suffered injuries in a crash near Preston, Idaho.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement that stated the crash occurred on US-91 near Preston, Idaho Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Idaho State Police the crash occurred when a man driving his Jeep southbound and made a left turn onto Cub River Road in front of the northbound vehicle carrying the four missionaries. The missionaries vehicle then struck the Jeep on the passenger side.

An LDS Church spokesman says that while all four missionaries are expected to recover from the crash, the driver and the passenger in the jeep were killed.

“Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones at this tragic time,” an LDS Church spokesman stated.

The police have identified the deceased as L. Max Richards, 83 and 80-year-old Phyllis Richards both of Franklin, Idaho. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The four missionaries were identified as 67-year-old Elder Charly Sistrunk and his wife, 62-year-old Sister Debra Owens Sistrunk, both from Preston, Idaho. The other two missionaries were Elder Elijah Wall, 19  and Elder William Wilson, 19. Both Wall and Wilson are from Kentucky.

Police say all four were initially taken to area hospitals by ambulance but Debra Sistrunk was later transported by medical helicopter to Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello.

Hong Kong Saints Inspired as President Nelson concludes Asia portion of global ministry tour

LDS News

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invites all people “to come unto their Savior, to be blessed by the ordinances of the temple and have enduring joy and qualify for that greatest of all blessings — that of eternal life,” said President Russell M. Nelson. These comments were made as he concluded his visit to Asia Saturday, April 21, 2018.

The prophet spoke to some 4,000 members in Hong Kong, the seventh location on his eight-city global ministry tour. President Nelson was in Bengaluru, India, on Thursday, April 19, and Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday. The final stop on the tour is Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.

President Nelson’s wife, Wendy, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Patricia, are traveling with the prophet on the worldwide tour to eight cities in 11 days on the continents of Europe, Africa and Asia.

In his remarks to Latter-day Saints, President Nelson, a former surgeon and medical researcher, spoke of the wonder of the human body, as well as the importance of education, prayer, tithing, family and worship in temples.

“Everything we do in the Church is to make life better for other people, to bring them joy,” President Nelson said. “And how do you that? By building strong families. Those families are made stronger because of covenants made in the holy temples.”

Prior to President Nelson’s remarks, Elder Holland taught the gathered Saints about Joseph Smith’s 1839 Liberty Jail experience — one of the most difficult periods of Joseph’s life but one that yielded some of the Church’s choicest and most comforting passages of scripture.

“God can turn every disadvantage to your opportunity and your advantage,” Elder Holland said. “Whatever the difficulty, whatever the heartache, whatever the deprivation, if we seek our Father in Heaven, He can turn that setting and that moment into divine instruction.”

Such instruction comes more readily in the Church’s temples, Elder Holland added. Like President Nelson, he encouraged the people of Hong Kong to continue to focus on the temple — especially because they have such a sacred structure in their midst.

“When you're not in the temple here in Hong Kong, make sure the temple is in you,” Elder Holland said, “that whatever the environment you face, you'll have the peace of the gospel of Jesus Christ speaking to you as God Himself spoke to the Prophet Joseph in Liberty Jail.”

The senior Latter-day Saint leaders, who stand as witnesses of the Savior, began their travels in the United Kingdom with a stop in London on April 12. They also visited Jerusalem, Israel; Nairobi, Kenya; and Harare, Zimbabwe.

This is the first international trip for President Nelson since he was named the Church’s 17th prophet in January.

Many were moved by President Nelson’s Christlike, one-on-one approach to his ministry.

“I was so touched by his kindness [and] by his love,” said Lance Chan, who joined the Church in 1972 and now serves in the Church’s Hong Kong Temple. “I could just feel it when he was going and saying goodbye to us. You know, I felt that he really liked to shake everybody's hands. I could feel his love when he was going.”

President Nelson reminded Latter-day Saints that the work of the Church in Asia is only beginning.

“In a very real sense, you here today are pioneers. You're pioneers in Hong Kong, Macau, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, the Philippines,” he said. “The work of the Lord in these places is just beginning. And you are His people, His pioneers.”

Wendy Au, who has been a Latter-day Saint her entire life, says she takes President Nelson’s pioneer teachings to heart.

“We're just a start, we're just a little pioneer,” she said. “We have more generations to come to convert and [help] return back to the presence of Heavenly Father.”

Global Ministry Tour

The global ministry tour runs April 10–23, 2018. The senior Church leaders are visiting eight cities in 11 days in Europe, Africa and Asia. The final stop on the tour is Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.

Global Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, has more than 16 million members around the world. There are nearly 1.2 million Latter-day Saints in Asia.

Nearly 25,000 Latter-day Saints in 42 congregations reside in Hong Kong. Missionary headquarters were established in 1949.

The Church has 159 temples worldwide with 30 others announced or under construction. The Hong Kong China Temple was dedicated in 1996.

New Website Launched to Recruit Senior Mormon Missionaries

LDS News

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has launched a new website designed to recruit senior missionaries and help them find opportunities to serve.

Seniormissionary.lds.org aims to better connect potential senior missionaries with volunteer opportunities that best suit their lifestyles and preferences.

This is also part of an effort by the Church to better utilize technology in missionary work — in this case, helping members identify the right missionary opportunities for them.

“The website that we've created is a wonderful thing for us because we've taken all of the departments in the Church that need senior missionaries and who have been recruiting senior missionaries, and we've brought them all together on one website,” said Elder Brent H. Nielson, executive director of the Missionary Department.

“Senior missionaries are absolutely critical to our work, and we have thousands of them serving. But we only have about half of what we need,” explained Elder Nielson. “We hope that in the retirement plans of senior couples and their plans for what they want to do in their life, that included in that is the opportunity to go serve a mission.”

The new site is easy to use and interactive, allowing members to compile an online wish list of service opportunities. Candidates use tools to input their preferences, including how long they want to serve, the level of expenses they can afford each month and where they would like to live. They can also indicate special language skills, preferred assignments and any medical needs that could impact their service.

After searching, users can browse lists of available service opportunities that match the detailed criteria. They add their choices to a cart and submit them to their local Church leaders, who are responsible for forwarding their recommendation to serve to Church headquarters.

While finding these opportunities can greatly help Church leaders in making appropriate assignments for individuals and couples, the call to serve full-time ultimately comes from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“What we're trying to do is to allow a couple, in their very own home, to sit down at their own computer,” said Elder Nielson. “They can see at a glance all the opportunities all around the world — and technology has just opened up to us the ability to do that — and then to match their abilities with the needs that we have.”

For those unable to leave home to serve as full-time missionaries, opportunities for part-time and full-time Church-service missions are also listed on the website. These opportunities allow missionaries to live at home while serving in assignments within their own communities.

Missionaries serve voluntarily and at their own expense. Church leaders have regularly encouraged couples and single sisters to consider serving as senior missionaries. Opportunities for service include humanitarian work, family history, teaching, leadership training, public affairs, health and education and other areas.

President Nelson Reaches India on Global Ministry Tour

LDS News

“The influence of the temple will be felt not only by the people here in this particular part of India, but it will bless the people of the entire nation and neighboring nations,” said President Russell M. Nelson as he reached Bengaluru, India, Thursday, April 19, 2018.

During the recent general conference, President Nelson announced that a new temple would be built in Bengaluru, the first Mormon temple to be built in India, a country with more than 1.3 billion people of many faiths, including Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.

“It was a thrill for me to receive the real impression that I should announce that there will be a temple here in India,” he explained in an interview. “The temple is our ultimate destination here on planet earth. All the blessings that God has in store for His faithful people come in the temple.”

Bengaluru, the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state, is the fifth of eight cities on his global ministry tour. The Latter-day Saint prophet traveled to Asia following a series of meetings in Europe and Africa.

President Nelson is joined on the worldwide tour by his wife, Wendy, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Patricia.

“In a way, it’s easier for us to build a temple than it is to build a people who are ready for the ordinances and covenants of the temple,” said President Nelson at a meeting for Latter-day Saints, missionaries, and visitors in Bengaluru. “It’s going to take you a little while to get ready. It will take us a little while to build it as well. … Now, I’m 93 years old. You better hurry.”

Prior to the meeting, the delegation looked at potential sites in the area for the new sacred structure.

“It’s going to be a national treasure,” added Elder Holland. “It will be revered and admired and loved by these millions of people and bless them in a wonderful, wonderful way.”

“I think our Church is growing fast in our country, and this will bring many blessings to our nation,” said Paul Vijayakumar, who served a mission in the area in 1988. “Those days here, very few people [were] able to bless the sacrament and pass the sacrament and partake [of] the sacrament. So today I’m happy that this hall was filled with a lot of members. And it was a dream for us that our prophet, President Nelson, came here.”

“The temple is coming. I’m so happy,” said Mercy Lyuas, who also expressed her excitement to see President Nelson.

“I’m really excited to see the prophet myself, in my own eyes, in [the] India Bangalore Mission,” said her brother, Jerry Lyuas.

“It was wonderful to meet up with him and shake hands and say, ‘Welcome to India,’” said Pericho Prabhu of the United Christian Forum for Human Rights. “Keeping him in our special prayers, and he’s globetrotting, he’s traveling today, tomorrow, the day after.”

Prabhu continued, “It’s been a great thing being amidst all of you and meeting some of your officials here and the brothers, sisters, and bishops.”

There are nearly 1.2 million Latter-day Saints in Asia. 

The Church has 159 temples worldwide with 30 others announced or under construction, which includes the newly announced temple in Bengaluru.

India is home to more than 13,500 Mormons in 43 congregations. Unofficial missionary work began in India in the 1850s. The country’s first meetinghouse was dedicated in February 2002.

“They love God, and I love them,” expressed President Nelson, who first came to India in 1966 as an experienced cardiologist to attend a professional meeting in New Delhi. In 1992, he returned to India as an apostle.

“I met President Nelson in the year 1992, and with Elder Neal A. Maxwell,” said Joshua Thamizhmaran. “That time, there was only one branch in Bangalore. Now a stake.”

“Our approach is to take the poverty out of the people, not the people out of the poverty, as we teach them that God loves them and that if they’ll keep His commandments, they will have joy in life,” said the prophet.

Elder Holland first visited the country in 1977 as the Church’s commissioner of education. “The glory of the gospel comes, and they become motivated and industrious and seek for education, and they yearn for better employment and they want a better life for their children,” he said.

Global Ministry Tour

The senior Mormon leaders are traveling to eight cities on three continents in 11 days. The tour began in the United Kingdom with a stop in London on April 12. Other cities have included Jerusalem, Israel, and the African destinations of Nairobi, Kenya, and Harare, Zimbabwe.

This is the first official trip for President Nelson outside of the United States since he was named the Church’s 17th prophet in January.

The global ministry tour runs April 10–23, 2018. The next stop on the tour is Bangkok, Thailand, where President Nelson will meet with members. Other destinations include Hong Kong, China, and Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.

 

Church to Celebrate Revelation on the Priesthood

LDS News

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced a celebration will be held in Salt Lake City marking the 40th anniversary of the 1978 revelation on the priesthood. 

Nearly 40 years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball announced that the blessings of the priesthood would be extended to all of God's children everywhere in the world. In June 1978 the First Presidency announced, “that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple.”  We invite Church members, their families and friends to commemorate the 40th anniversary of this revelation.

A worldwide broadcast will originate from the Conference Center on Temple Square on Friday, June 1, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. The program will include a message from Church leadership and music from a variety of choirs. The broadcast will be live on the Church satellite system, LDS.org, and other media. A broadcast schedule listing available languages and other details will be sent approximately three weeks before the event.

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