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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 First Presidency: Utah Citizen Participation Among Lowest in Nation

LDS News

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a letter to be read to members throughout Utah urging them to be more active in politics, including attending party caucus meetings in Utah next week. 

“Our Utah communities and our state are best served when Utah citizens fully engage in the political process through caucus meetings, primaries and other political mechanisms." the letter stated,  "We are concerned that citizen participation rates in Utah are among the lowest in the nation, and urge greater involvement by members of the church in the 2018 election cycle.”

The letter calls on leaders to not schedule church meetings on March 20, “so that members may participate in a caucus meeting of their choice.”  

It concluded with the reminder “It is important to remember that engaging in the election process is both a privilege and a significant responsibility regardless of one’s political inclinations, and that principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of each of the various political parties.”

LDS First Presidency Letter.jpg



See the full letter below:

LDS Church Releases Statement on Leaders Interviewing Youth

LDS News

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued the following statement regarding Church leaders conducting one-on-one interviews with youth members:

Personal interviews are an important part of ministering to those in a congregation. They offer an opportunity for a leader to know an individual better and to help them live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Leaders are instructed to prepare spiritually so they can be guided by the Holy Ghost during these interviews. Leaders are provided with instructions in leadership resources and are asked to review them regularly.

Interviews are held for a number of reasons, including for temple recommends, priesthood quorum or Young Women class advancement, callings to serve in the Church or when a member requests to meet with a priesthood leader for personal guidance or to help them to repent from serious sin.

For youth, a bishop meets with a young person at least annually to teach, express confidence and support, and listen carefully. These interviews should be characterized by great love and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. They speak together about the testimony of the young woman or young man, their religious habits (such as prayer, church attendance and personal study of the scriptures) and their obedience to God’s commandments. They may review together these teachings in the scriptures or other Church resources, such as For the Strength of Youth.

In these interviews, Church leaders are instructed to be sensitive to the character, circumstances and understanding of the young man or young woman. They are counseled to not be unnecessarily probing or invasive in their questions, but should allow a young person to share their experiences, struggles and feelings.

There are times when a discussion of moral cleanliness is appropriate —particularly if a young man or young woman feels a need to repent. In these instances leaders are counseled to adapt the discussion to the understanding of the individual and to exercise care not to encourage curiosity or experimentation.

Church leaders have a solemn responsibility to keep confidential all information they receive in confessions and interviews. When a young person is faced with serious sin or temptation, a bishop will likely encourage them to share (as appropriate) their struggles with their parents so they can pray for, teach and encourage the young man or young woman.

When a Church leader meets with a child, youth or woman, they are encouraged to ask a parent or another adult to be in an adjoining room, foyer or hall, and to avoid circumstances that may be misunderstood.

If, during an interview, a leader becomes aware of incidents of abuse, they are directed to call the Church’s 24-hour help line to seek guidance from professional counselors and legal professionals in how to identify, report and respond to abuse. The leader may also refer them to professional counseling services, as needed.

When counseling with parents, leaders encourage them to remain close to their children, to regularly teach and counsel with them, asking questions about their growth, progress and worthiness. This allows leaders to act in a supporting role to the family and individual.

Our belief is that interviews should be meaningful and sacred opportunities for an individual to counsel with priesthood leaders, who represent the Savior in their ministry.

Town of Nauvoo Doubles in Size Becoming a Village of Volunteers

LDS News

Nauvoo gets more than 1,100 volunteers to work on the Nauvoo pageants every summer—nearly as many people as live in Nauvoo itself. (The 2010 census lists a total of 1,149 residents in Nauvoo.)

The performers at the pageants consist of the “core cast,” who portray major characters and most speaking parts and therefore remain for the duration of the pageants; young performing missionaries, who as part of their assignment perform in many productions in Nauvoo, including in the pageant and in the Nauvoo Band; and the “family cast,” who are volunteer Church members who remain at the pageants for two weeks at a time—one week to learn their parts, cues, and dances, and the second to perform and teach the new cast following them. 

There is also the Nauvoo Pageant Bagpipe Band, which performs at many locations in Nauvoo and the surrounding communities and includes volunteers who accompany the band in order to speak with interested guests while the band plays.

Besides the performers, the pageants rely on many others to function. There is the work crew, who helps maintain the technical and mechanical side of the pageant; the costuming team, who fits the costumes to the cast and prepares them for each new group; family support, who help take care of volunteers’ children during specific parts of the day; food preparation teams for the pageant headquarters; photographers who document the pageant and the work surrounding it; translators who make the pageants accessible for Spanish-speaking visitors; and security and maintenance workers.

LDS Church to Release New History Collection

LDS News

This new four-volume series follows President Brigham Young's council to Church historians; “Write in a narrative style,” he advised, and “write only about one tenth part as much.” Introducing - Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days.

The series was introduced by Elder Steven E. Snow  General Authority Seventy and Church Historian and Recorder

Saints was prepared in response to the Lord’s commandment to “keep the church record and history continually” (D&C 47:3). 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.

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. Notes at the end of each chapter refer to the records and additional sources. Those who want to read the actual records, better understand related topics, and discover even more stories will find links in the back of the books.

The Rich Tapestry of the Restoration

These books are not scripture, but like the scriptures, they include both divine truth and stories of imperfect people trying to become Saints through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 3:19). Taken together, the four volumes tell the story of the Lord’s Church striving to fulfill its mandate to perfect the Saints (see Ephesians 4:11–13).

Saints has a very different format, style, and intended audience than the two multivolume histories the Church has published in the past. The first history was begun by Joseph Smith in the 1830s and published beginning in 1842. The second was published in 1930 by assistant Church historian B. H. Roberts.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.

Saints tells the stories of ordinary men and women from the earliest days of the Church until now. It also provides new detail and insight into better-known people and events from Church history. 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. Woven together, their stories—and yours—create the rich tapestry of the Restoration.

Our Sacred Past

The Book of Mormon record keepers kept both large and small plates. In the large plates they recorded political and military history. They used the small plates for “the things of God” that were “most precious,” including “preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying” (1 Nephi 6:3; Jacob 1:2, 4). The small plates were recorded “for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people” (Jacob 1:4). Saints aims to be a “small plates” history, one that focuses on our sacred past. It thus includes only a small sample of all the stories that could be told to show how the Lord works in the lives of the Latter-day Saints.

Saints is not just about imperfect people in the past who became better with the help of the Lord. It is also for imperfect people now who want to always remember Him. It will help you remember how merciful the Savior has been to His people, how He has made weak people strong, and how Saints around the globe have joined together to further God’s work.

Saints What Formats Will Be Available In?

The four volumes will be published in 14 languages in book form (available at, online at, and in the Gospel Library app. They will also be available in e-book and audiobook formats in select languages.

What Will Be Found in Each Volume?

  • Volume 1—available later this year—tells the story of the Restoration, from Joseph Smith’s childhood to the Saints receiving ordinances in the Nauvoo Temple in 1846.

  • Volume 2 will cover the Saints’ challenges in gathering to the western United States and will finish with the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple in 1893.

  • Volume 3 will narrate the global growth of the Church, ending with the dedication of the temple in Bern, Switzerland, in 1955.

  • Volume 4 will bring the reader to the recent past, when temples dot the earth.

LDS Missionaries Expand Online Teaching

LDS News

Today it was announced that Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are expanding their online teaching efforts. “The world is changing and so the way we do missionary work is changing as well,” said Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, who serves on the Church's Missionary Executive Council. “We recognize that the methods and the approaches that we're using to do missionary work need to change with what's going on in our society with technology.”

Sister Oscarson and other Church leaders invited media inside the teaching center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 8, 2018. Missionaries in the center are teaching in 41 languages. The facility is one of the Church’s 20 online teaching centers embracing the new technology.

“Our missionaries spend time finding people,” said Elder Brent H. Nielson of the Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department. “They knock on doors and stop them on the street. Here, people are contacting us.”

Sister missionaries in the teaching centers engage with people around the world who reach out to them via to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elders are also being used at the Missionary Training Center in Provo. These video chat interactions can often resemble traditional lessons with prayer and scripture reading.

Sister Guiuo from the Philippines enjoys online teaching to people interested in improving their life. Recently, she talked with a single mom of four children. “She was really interested in how she could raise them knowing that they could trust in God and that they could be safe and happy.”

Visitors’ center missionaries can also share their contacts with missionaries in their hometowns and can be part of the process since they can join lessons via Skype or FaceTime.

Kaila Brady of Arizona was seeking spiritual guidance during a difficult time in her life. She found the online missionaries while conducting a Google search about Mormons. She and her parents were baptized. Just one month ago, she was married in the temple.

“Our missionaries are growing up using technology. … They are using this technology in their missionary work to do it more effectively and more efficiently,” said Sister Oscarson. “Rather than us knocking on their doors, they are knocking on doors now.”

Elder Nielson believes this method of teaching will expand. “This generation of young men and young women are really comfortable communicating online. They buy everything online and text their friends. This is how they communicate.”

In 2017, more than 600 Mormon missionaries taught over 140,000 people online in more than 30 languages. The missionaries participated in nearly 350,000 chats and more than 90,000 phone calls.

Teaching centers operate in the following 20 Latter-day Saint visitors’ centers, historic sites and other locations around the world:

  • Hill Cumorah Historic Site (New York)
  • Hyde Park Chapel Visitors’ Center (London)
  • Idaho Falls Temple Visitors’ Center
  • Independence Visitors’ Center (Missouri)
  • Kirtland, Ohio, Historic Site
  • Laie Hawaii Temple Visitors’ Center
  • Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center
  • Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center
  • Mexico City Temple Visitors’ Center
  • Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah
  • New Zealand Temple Visitors’ Center
  • Oakland Temple Visitors’ Center
  • Paris Temple Visitors’ Center
  • Portland Oregon Temple Visitors’ Center
  • Priesthood Restoration Historic Site (Pennsylvania)
  • San Diego Mormon Battalion Historic Site
  • St. George Temple Visitors’ Center
  • Temple Square (Salt Lake City)
  • Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center
  • Winter Quarters Historic Site (Nebraska)

LDS Mission Presidents Announced for 2018

LDS News

The First Presidency has called 111 new mission presidents, effective July 2018. They are expected to serve in the position for three year.  The names and areas of service of the new mission presidents and their companions are listed below. 

It was also reported today that the Church will adjust the number of missions from 421 to 407 and realign boundaries for 19 other missions, as well as creating five new missions, on July 1, 2018.


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Republic of Congo Kinshasa Francois and Mireille Mukubu

Madagascar Antananarivo Cory L. and Elva M. Duckworth

Zimbabwe Bulawayo Jimmy Carter and Lindiwe Amanda Okot

Zimbabwe Harare Tasara and Shamiso Makasi


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Cote d'Ivoire Yamoussoukro Kirk D. and Jacqueline D. Sherman

Ghana Kumasi Stephen C. and W. Rosely Webster

Nigeria Calabar Emmanuel A. and Adiza Nelson

Nigeria Ibadan Patrick and Elizabeth Appianti-Sarpong


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Cambodia Phnom Penh John W. and LaCinda Lewis

China Hong Kong Dennis L. and May Phillips

India New Delhi Bradley R. and Danna L. Hansen

Singapore Greg P. and Sheila Mackay

Taiwan Taichung Bradley W. and Cynthia J. Card

Taiwan Taipei Michael L. and Shelley P. Peterson

Thailand Bangkok Todd Melvin and Noelle Green Hammond

Vietnam Hanoi Ross A. and Carrie A. Chiles


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Japan Fukuoka Spencer F. and Jane Neubert Mack

Japan Nagoya Ronald M. and Teresa Judd

Japan Tokyo J. Kimo and Kaye D. Esplin

Korea Seoul Bradford G. and Ann W. Taylor


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION 

Brazil Belém Mauro and Rosa Almeida

Brazil Belo Horizonte To be announced

Brazil Campinas John T. and Keri J. Marsh

Brazil Cuiabá Francisco D. N. and Evelina Granja

Brazil Porto Alegre North Dee Lon and Bonnie C. Jones

Brazil Porto Alegre South Fernando and Miriam Souza

Brazil Rio de Janeiro South Heltmar M. and Mariluce G. Gunça

Brazil Salvador South Michael C. and Marla P. Biddulph

Brazil São Paulo East Stephen D. and Lynne Miller

Brazil Teresina Adonai R. and Simone Cavalcanti Lago


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION  

Barbados Bridgetown Alan L. and Elizabeth H. Fisher

Dominican Republic Santiago Michael B. and Amelia D. Cowan

Haiti Port-au-Prince Harold and Sabine Jules

Jamaica Kingston Fred A. and Lina O. Parker

Trinidad Port of Spain Kyle K. and Melanie Baird


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION  

Costa Rica San José East Denis José and Yadira E. Aguilar

Costa Rica San José West Gerardo E. and Ada Valladares

Honduras Comayagüela Marvin E. and Diana E. Mejía


 MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Belgium/Netherlands Jo and Linda Buysse

Denmark Copenhagen Michael and Joan Olsen

England Birmingham David J. and Lisa A. Hughes

England London David W. and Deborah L. Checketts

France Lyon Christophe G. and Isabelle S. Giraud-Carrier

Germany BerlinTo be announced

Norway Oslo Wayne and Patrice Tew

Portugal Lisbon Brent D. and Joan W. Fillmore

Scotland/Ireland Mark A. and Denise R. Macdonald

Spain Barcelona Craig D. and Laurel E. Galli

Spain Madrid Philip K. and Cathy H. Bussey


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Richard L. and Joni Wirthlin


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Idaho Pocatello Stephen M. and Heather Southward


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

México Cuernavaca Alejandro H. and Elisa Treviño

México Guadalajara Miguel A. and I. Patricia Reyes

México México City South Gregorio E. and Alma A. Casillas

México Puebla North Raúl and Brenda M. Barrón

México Tampico Russell A. and Kelly Robinson


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Canada Calgary Stephen A. and Cindy Keung

Canada Winnipeg Craig K. and Merry G. Hitchcock

Illinois Nauvoo Mark J and Julianne Lusvardi*

Montana Billings Jared L. and Randa L. Larson

Nebraska Omaha James N. and Deborah Ence

North Dakota Bismarck Scott L. and Lori B. Howell


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Canada Halifax Richard A. and Gayle A. Low

Maryland Baltimore Thierry K. and Nathalie Sinda Mutombo

Massachusetts Boston Fotios and Virginia Mavromatis

New York New York City Craig and Gayle Teuscher

New York Utica Kyle A. and Kelli A. Vest

Washington DC South Steven G. and Toni B. Caplin


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Washington Spokane Michael A. and Julie A. Thompson

Washington Yakima Tom K. and Margi C. Jackman


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Georgia Atlanta Bret K. and Lisa K. Clayton

North Carolina Charlotte Detlef H. and Jutta H. V. Adler

North Carolina Raleigh Matthew S. and Paige B. Holland


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION 

Arkansas Bentonville Jeff and Sara Strong

Nevada Reno Taylor G. and Carol Godoy

New Mexico Farmington Jeffrey J. and Jolene Ackerman

Texas Houston South Jeremy and Jenny Guthrie


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION 

California Oakland/San Francisco Paul M. and Maren J. Durham

California Santa Rosa Bradley J. and Lynne S. Bentley


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Australia Adelaide Derek A. and Colleen C. Marquis

Australia Perth Paul R. and Andrea K. Bennallack

Papua New Guinea Port Moresby Finau and Lucy Hafoka

Samoa Apia Francis Arthur and Lanett Harmon Ho Ching

Vanuatu Port Vila J. Benoit and Diane Duquette


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Philippines Bacolod Elmer and Leanell Sumagpao

Philippines Cabanatuan Ramon C. and Maria Fe Nobleza

Philippines Laoag Mark M. and Cathlene J. Peterson

Philippines Urdaneta Jose Antonio and Sariah Mia San Gabriel


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Bolivia La Paz El Alto Juan C. and Patricia Z. Borja

Colombia Bogota North Francisco and Beatriz Valim

Colombia Bogota South Rudy and Betsy Palhua

Colombia Medellin Armando and Dina Ceballos

Perú Lima Central Michael B. and Cristin C. Strong

Perú Lima South Mark A. and Kristin Richey

Perú Piura Jorge and Martha Vega

Perú Trujillo South Armando and Jessica Rebaza

Venezuela BarcelonaTo be announced

Venezuela Maracaibo Pedro E. and Magdalena I. Hernández


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Argentina Bahía Blanca Robert W. and Katherine Ann Hymas

Argentina Buenos Aires East Daniel G. and Heidi N. Gifford

Argentina Neuquén Jorge R. and Iris S. Cardozo

Argentina Santa Fe Scott D. and Janice B. Hintze

Chile Santiago East W. Todd and Carrie Parrott Brotherson

Chile Viña del Mar Jorge L. and Marina E. Romeu

Paraguay Asunción Kimball R. and Christine E. Hansen


MISSION                                          NEW PRESIDENT AND COMPANION

Utah Layton
(Renamed from the Utah Salt Lake City Mission)Robert M. and Heather A. Call

Utah Ogden Mark A. and Diane T. Hobbins

Utah Orem Gordon L. and Kristi Elizabeth Treadway

Utah Provo Andrew M. and Helen O’Riordan

Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Craig G. and Julia W. Fisher*

Utah Salt Lake City West Kent A. and Karen McBeth

President and Sister Nelson to Address Youth at LDS Worldwide Devotional

LDS News

It was announced today that President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson, are scheduled to speak to the youth on Sunday, June 3, 2018 at a worldwide devotional.

The devotional will be broadcast on Mormon Channel, and the Church's LDS Facebook page. More details about the event, which includes a list of available broadcast languages, will be available four weeks before the event according to LDS Media Talk.

A previous worldwide event with President Nelson and his wife was originally scheduled for Feb. 3, 2018, This event was postponed upon the passing of President Thomas S. Monson.


BYU Study Shows Running Helps with Learning, Memory, and Stress

LDS News

Although most people have been saying it for years, research from Brigham Young University now shows that exercise - especially running - helps with the negative effects of stress.

“You can’t go wrong with exercise,” said Jeff Edwards, associate professor of physiology and developmental biology at BYU and lead on the research. “I think everybody knows that exercise is good for mental health or stressful things, but [it is also important] to know that it can counteract negative effects of stress on cognition and on memory.”

A new BYU study, published in the journal of Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, shows that running alleviates the negative impacts that chronic stress has on the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

Researchers looked at the hippocampus of the brain, where memory formation and recall occur. When the connections between neurons are strengthened over time, a person’s memory function and recall is optimal. The process of synaptic strengthening is called long-term potentiation (LTP), and when chronic or prolonged stress weakens those connections, the LTP decreases. Those decreased levels impact a person’s memory.

Although research has been done looking at how exercise affects the brain and how stress affects the brain, Edwards and his team decided to look at how exercise and stress combined affect the brain.

“I was surprised nobody has ever done this yet, and kind of shocked, because it seems like an important question because nobody really just has exercise, or just has stress in their life,” Edwards said. “So, the question really for this paper is what happens if people are exercising while they are having stressful events?”

The researcher looked at four groups of mice—one group that used running wheels over a four-week period, another group that was left sedentary, one group that used running wheels and was exposed to stress-inducing situations, and another group that was sedentary with stress-inducing situations. Researchers induced stress by having the mice walk on an elevated platform or swim in cold water. An hour after the stress induction researchers measured the LTP.

Mice who had been put in stressful situations and had exercised had significantly greater amounts of LTP than the mice who had been put in stressful situations who did not run. In addition to the higher level of LTP, stressed mice that had exercised performed just as well as the mice that were not put in stressful situations.

“Turns out that when you are exercising an animal at the same time stress is occurring, it mitigates or negates the negative impacts of stress on this LTP,” Edwards said.

The researchers looked at different types of stress, focusing on acute stress and chronic stress. Their findings concluded that exercise provided even more than just higher levels of LTP; it also improved memory. Mice that had exercised made fewer errors in a maze-running experiment meant to test their memory.

Recognizing that a person doesn't have control over every situation they face in life, Edwards said it is important to recognize what he or she can do to make their life less stressful.

“We can’t really control stress in our lives, and you never can predict when stress is going to happen,” said Edwards. “But we are finding that we can control our cognition … even when stress comes; [we are able to reverse] some of the negative effects.”

Edwards said that research supports what Church members have been taught about being a wise steward of their body.

“The Word of Wisdom is a code of health, and although it doesn’t specify being physically active, we know [exercise] has benefits on body and brain, on cognition and memory function, and depression and anxiety,” Edwards said.


1830 Book of Mormon Sells for $80,000

LDS News

This week an 1830 First Edition of the Book of Mormon sold at auction for $80,000

The rare book was auctioned by EBTH, an online auction house. The starting bid was $1, but in the final moments of the auction the bids began rapidly increasing in mostly $500 increments.

This is not a record for the sale of a first-edition Book of Mormon.  The record sale for a first edition was actually $1 million dollars set in 2006.  That book had a significant historical connection that drove the price up.  The winning bidder for this most current sale was a private collector, according to EBTH.

The first edition Book of Mormon, printed in 1830, The printing of the original book was overseen by Jospeh Smith who contracted with E.B. Grandin in Palmyra, NY for its production. 

Antiques Roadshow in 2013 featured an 1830 Book of Mormon. Rare book specialist Ken Sanders said, “It is not technically the rarest of the editions of the Book of Mormon, but for LDS people, it’s the one that everyone knows and understands and wants.” Today the Book of Mormon is now read by millions of people in over a hundred languages. 

Collectors who can't afford to buy an original copy need not fret. 1830 Book of Mormon replica copies are available.  These replica Book of Mormon copies are created using the same original text, including printer mistakes such as misprinted page numbers. 

Recovering Shooting Victim Maddy Wilford Thanks First Responders, Asks for Unity

LDS News

Maddy Wilford sat down on a chair at Broward Health North Hospital on February 26 and looked across a scene she could not have imagined days earlier.

Facing her were rows of reporters and camera operators from local and national news networks. Her parents sat at her sides and, beside them, doctors and local first responders.

That unusual gathering introduced live web viewers across the globe to Maddy—a 17-year-old Laurel and one of the many victims of the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Maddy wore a black sweatshirt and casual pants—the sort of outfit you’d expect from an athletic high school junior. She walked without aid. Just 12 days earlier, she had arrived at the hospital critically injured after being shot multiple times.

It’s no surprise many are calling Maddy’s recovery a miracle.

“I’m so grateful to be here,” she said softly. “It wouldn’t be possible without those [police] officers and first responders and amazing doctors.”

A member of the Coral Springs Ward, Coral Springs Florida Stake, Maddy spoke of the love, letters, and gifts from many others. That love, she said, has sustained her. “I wouldn’t be here without it.”

She also called for unity at a post-shooting moment defined by divisive debate. “At times like these, I know we need to stick together.”

She ended her brief remarks with a reassuring smile: “I’m making a full recovery, and everything has been going so smoothly.”

Her mother, Missy Wilford, said she too is grateful for all who have stepped forward to help. “Yes, this is a tragedy. But I would like to find the positives and what has happened in our community.”

Power, she added, has been found in prayer.

“We’ve had an outpouring from people we don’t know, people I now consider to be our friends,” she said. “I may not have met you, but your prayers were felt.”

She called her daughter “a fighter” who “wants to get better.” She again offered thanks for Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who administered to Maddy in her hospital room.

“Madeleine knows who she is, and she knows where she wants to go and what she wants in life—and that strength and power is what helps you heal,” she said. “It makes you want to get up. It makes you want to keep going.

“[Maddy] has been an inspiration to me.”

She ended with a message to the other mothers suffering for their slain or injured children: “I love you and I’m here for you.”

“I’m grateful to be sitting here next to my daughter,” said Maddy’s father, David Wilford.

He saluted the police officers, sheriff’s deputies, doctors, and first responders who helped save his daughter’s life.

“There are a lot of emotions going on, so it’s hard for me to feel anything but gratitude and thanks for the miracle that has happened with [Maddy].”

Blessings have come, he added, “from the outpouring from the community and all the prayers people have given us.”

In an earlier interview with the Deseret News, Maddy spoke of her love for fellow Coral Springs Ward member Alaina Petty, a 14-year-old who died in the shooting.

“I loved her,” she said. “She always lit up the room. She was always so lighthearted and spirited. She always made people laugh. It was rough losing her, finding out she was dead.

“I know she’s in a good place.”

Two weeks before the shooting, Maddy spoke in stake conference about life’s challenges and pain.

“Most people say they don’t believe in God because if there was a God, all these terrible things wouldn’t be happening,” Maddy recalled telling the congregation, “but that’s what we’re put on this earth to do, to endure a lifetime, and life’s going to be full of ups and downs. The only way we can make it better is to turn toward Christ and know that He always has a plan for us, and He’ll help us through it no matter what.”


    Presiding Bishop details spiritual foundations of Church finances

    LDS News

    Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé says the true strength of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not in its financial reserves, but in the faith of its people.

    “We are not a financial institution or a commercial corporation,” Bishop Caussé said Friday at a Church history symposium on Temple Square that focused on Mormon economic history. “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.’”

    Bishop Caussé said the Church is much more than its buildings or even the organization itself. “The Church is all about people. It is all about individual members who are bound together by common beliefs and covenants. They are its strength and its future,” he said.

    The presiding bishop, a native of Bordeaux, France, traced the roots of a few of those common beliefs and covenants that contribute to the Church’s financial strength — including tithing, self-reliance, provident living and understanding the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    Latter-day Saints in good standing donate 10 percent of their income to the Church. These tithes (along with other charitable donations) help the Church carry out its mission of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, caring for the poor and strengthening members’ faith.

    “Without tithing, the Church would be incapable of accomplishing its divine mission,” Bishop Caussé said. “We continually feel our great responsibility to use the sacred tithes and offerings in a manner that is appropriate and pleasing to the Lord.”

    Church leaders also teach members how to provide for themselves. This includes classes that emphasize the spiritual importance of self-reliance, as well as practical principles such as gaining an education, finding a job, starting a business and managing family finances.

    “By becoming self-reliant temporally and spiritually, God’s children progress in their ability to make choices independently and thus fulfill the measure of their creation,” Bishop Caussé said.

    Members are also taught to prepare for financial emergencies. “Today’s Church members are conscious of the fact that they live in a period of calamities,” Bishop Caussé said. “Church leaders have frequently counseled members to practice provident living by establishing home storage, including extra water, basic food items, medications, clothing, and other supplies that could be needed in case of emergency. … This same principle of temporal preparation has also been applied at the general Church level. For example, grain silos and warehouses filled with basic emergency necessities have been established.”

    Bishop Caussé said the Church’s most important priority is how to help people spiritually through a proper understanding of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

    “While we consider such things as macroeconomic indicators and financial analyses, our ultimate goal is to fulfill our responsibilities in a manner that will carry out the designs of the Lord and sacred mission of the Church ‘to invite all to come unto Christ,’” Bishop Caussé said.

    And how does the institutional Church, a global faith with thousands of buildings and employees, maintain financial solvency? By staying out of debt, balancing budgets and saving and investing money to anticipate future needs.

    In other words, he said, the Church “simply practices the principles that it teaches to its individual members.”

    Remarkable Discourses by Mormon Women Released

    LDS News

    New releases of selected talks given by Latter-day Saint women have been made availing online and in print.

    More than 50 discourses given by Latter-day Saint women over 185 years are now available online for free. The talks were compiled by Church Historian’s Press for publication in a book a year ago titled, “At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women.” The Church Historian’s Press is an imprint of the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Deseret book mormon at-the-pulpit-bio.jpg

    The publication can also be found in the LDS Gospel Library app in the “Church History” section.

    “At the Pulpit,” authored by Church historians Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook, showcases 54 speeches given by Mormon women since the founding of the Church. The talks focus on doctrinal themes and were selected from every decade from 1831 to 2016.

    Reeder and Holbrook gathered the early talks by digging through old Relief Society minute books, newspapers, magazines, journals, conference reports and other resources. Two of the newspapers they searched through were the “Millennial Star” and the “Women’s Exponent.”

    “‘At the Pulpit’ comes alive when people use it. While we know women gave great talks of doctrinal importance, we recognize the power and meaning of those words when we understand their lives that produced such testimony,” said Reeder.

    “I have felt strongly, while working on the book, while giving talks about the book and just while quietly reading from the book, that the words and the stories bring me closer to the power of God — the power to lead, to forgive and to persevere,” said Holbrook.

    Speakers include Emma Hale Smith, wife of Church prophet and founder Joseph Smith, as well as his mother, Lucy Mack Smith, who led the Saints from New York to Ohio. Other prominent pioneer women featured are Elizabeth Ann Whitney and Eliza R. Snow. The historians also selected talks from women they had never heard about before they started their research for the book.


    International voices include Judy Brummer of South Africa and from Gladys Sitati of West Africa.

    Discourses from contemporary Church leaders include Belle S. Spafford, Ardeth G. Kapp, Elaine L. Jack, Chieko N. Okazaki, Julie B. Beck, Bonnie D. Parkin, Sheri L. Dew, Virginia H. Pearce and former Relief Society general president Linda K. Burton.

    In addition to the text, 22 original audio recordings allow listeners to hear the talks. Spanish and Portuguese translations will also be available later this summer.

    Provo's First Tabernacle - Brief History of a Little Known Building Unearthed

    LDS News

    The beautiful Provo Tabernacle in Provo, Utah has been an iconic building since it was built in 1898.  Until a fire gutted it in 2010 the historic building was home to many religious and cultural events.  Many people, including life-long residents of the area never knew that there actually was an Old Provo Tabernacle that pre-dated the one we've come to know. 

    There was once a smaller tabernacle (sometimes called the Old Provo Tabernacle) that stood from 1861-1919 on the very same block as the larger well-known structure.  The old tabernacle was situated just north of the current building and faced Center Street. Plans for the first Provo tabernacle began as early as 1852. The actual ground breaking ceremony for the building was in 1856. However, the Walker and Utah wars slowed construction progress of the original structure.

    This first Provo tabernacle had seats for 1,100 people and more could be accommodated with additional chairs added.  It’s design was similar to the Nauvoo, IL Temple which the saints had just completed less than 8 years before the design of this structure began.  The single tower, located on the north end above the foyer, stood 80 feet tall and housed a large 500-pound bell. Construction was mostly complete in 1861 when they began using the building for meetings and events.  However, the final plastering and dedication of the building occurred in 1867.

    According to records there seems to be some confusion as to whether Brigham Young or John Taylor was the one to actually dedicated this first tabernacle.  However it is noted that at the dedication, Brigham Young stated that the tabernacle was "entirely too small" and should have been completed 12 years previously.

    The smaller original Provo tabernacle was eventually demolished between 1918-1919. The original foundation and nearby baptismal font were unearthed by the Office of Public Archaeology at Brigham Young University in 2012 when the Church began constructing the new Provo City Center Temple.  Coins, trinkets and other small items that evidently had fallen through the floorboards were also discovered.  The remaining rock foundation was then disassembled and donated to Provo City.

    After a fire gutted the second, larger Tabernacle Church president Thomas S. Monson announced that the Provo Tabernacle would be rebuilt to serve as a second temple in Provo, Utah - making it only the second city in the LDS Church to have two temples.  The other city is South Jordan, Utah which has the Jordan River and Oquirrh Mountain temples.  The Provo Tabernacle is the second tabernacle in Utah to be converted to a temple, following the Vernal Utah Temple. 

    Below is a collection of photos showing the building and where it stood in relation to the newer tabernacle. 

    RootsTech 2018 Brings Family History Enthusiasts to Utah

    LDS News

    Welcome to Salt Lake City - Thousands of family history enthusiasts will meet in Salt Lake City next week for the largest genealogy conference in the world. RootsTech 2018 will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center from February 28 through March 3, 2018.

    Registration is still open for the annual event, which includes more than 200 breakout sessions over four days. In addition, some of the sessions will be available online through a live stream.

    LDS news Nauvoo mormon.jpg

    “The 19 sessions we will live stream for free will expand the show’s reach and give more people the opportunity to participate remotely in this world class conference,” said Tyler Stahle, RootsTech marketing manager. The streaming sessions attracted more than 50,000 views in 2017. No registration is required for the live streams.

    Other activities include Wednesday’s Innovation Showcase featuring new family history technology, as well as a large exhibition hall.

    Family Discover Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 3, a free event with family history activities and messages from leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency and his wife, Kristen, will speak at 1:00 p.m.

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    The conference closes Saturday evening with a musical production, “My Family, Mi Herencia.” The performance, featuring “Luz de Las Naciones” (Light of the Nations), begins at 6:00 p.m. in the Conference Center on Temple Square. A cast of more than 1,000 people will celebrate the cultures and stories of Latin America in this free, non-ticketed event, which will also be live streamed on in English, Spanish and Portuguese.


    LDS Church President Speaks on Gun Laws in Wake of Florida Killings

    LDS News

    President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to a group of hundreds of young adults in Las Vegas, NV. President Nelson talked about finding purpose in life and avoiding temptations. His talk briefly touched on the recent killings of High School students in Florida and that gun laws "let people who should not have guns obtain them."  


    President Nelson says in part:

    “I know your hearts are heavy as is mine as we contemplate those ruthless killings in Florida this last week. I think of Alaina Petty, 14-year-old Latter-day Saint, her life snuffed out by that sniper’s bullet…. you and others to say, ‘how could God allow things like that to happen?’ Well, God allows us to have our agency, and men have passed laws that allow guns to go to people who shouldn’t have them.”

    Several news outlets in Utah and nationally are reporting on the remarks since the recent shooting in Florida has reenergized the national conversation about current gun laws. 

    President Nelson began his overall address using a parable to emphasize that “your ultimate safety in this life lies in never taking the first enticing step toward going where you should not go and doing what you should not do.”  President Nelson told the young adults, participating in the fireside in four Las Vegas LDS meetinghouses, that they should learn to have purpose in this life, know who they are, why they are here and how to master the divine laws. “When you begin to catch even a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father sees you and what He is counting on you to do for Him, your life will never be the same,” President Nelson said.




    Elder Stevenson Ministers to Shooting Victims in Florida

    LDS News

    What does one say to comfort a grieving parent in the immediate wake of a daughter’s death — especially when her passing came by bullet in a school shooting that claimed her life and the lives of 16 others, while injuring a dozen others?


    On February 16, as Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and General Authority Seventy Jörg Klebingat visited the home of Latter-day Saints Ryan and Kelly Petty, they pointed the family to the comforting Christian doctrines of God’s omniscience and the reality of life and joy in the world to come. The Petty’s youngest daughter, Alaina, was fatally wounded in the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

    “[They told us that] although what happened last Wednesday was a surprise and a shock to us, it was not a surprise to our Heavenly Father — nothing is a surprise to Him and Alaina is continuing on,” Ryan Petty said. “[They also said] although we're sad here, across the veil there are no tears — there she is not sad, she has a different perspective than we do. I'm sure she misses us like we miss her. She now has the different perspective that allows her to miss us but not to be sad. And that meant a lot to Kelly and me.”

    Alaina and two classmates killed in the shooting were cadets in the school's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps and have received the Medal of Heroism for their actions in the shooting. Alaina also loved to serve in other ways, with her friends, even engaging in Mormon Helping Hands cleanup efforts in 2017 after Hurricane Irma.

    “There’s a great group of young women in our [congregation] that she served with, and they found great joy in helping those that had lost almost everything [in the hurricane] sort through what was left, figure out what was salvageable, figure out what needed to be thrown away, and do that in a very tender and caring way,” Ryan said.



    He also expressed thanks to be on the receiving end of sensitive, personal service from top Church leaders when they needed it most.

    “To have Elder Stevenson and Elder Klebingat come and minister to us personally in our time of need was — well, we're just so grateful for that.” Ryan added.

    Prior to visiting the Pettys, Elder Stevenson and Elder Klebingat ministered to Latter-day Saint Madeleine (Maddy) Wilford and her family in the intensive care unit of the Broward County North Hospital. Maddy was shot twice — one bullet to a shoulder and another to her back — and underwent three surgeries. Miraculously, she was released from the hospital February 21.

    Maddy said she found important comfort in the apostolic blessing Elder Stevenson gave her and her family during the visit. “It was very spiritual and [there was] an immense amount of peace throughout the room,” she said. "The peace I felt really helped."

    Maddy’s father, David, described the blessing as “an incredible experience. It was something I hadn't seen before. He used it to bless the whole family. It was a really interesting gospel moment. There's no question in my mind that's why she's doing so well."

    Prior to that blessing, Maddy and David said Elder Stevenson opened his Book of Mormon and read from 2 Nephi 2:2, which teaches that God “shall consecrate [our] afflictions for [our] gain.” God has a purpose for Maddy and she will grow spiritually from this, they said Elder Stevenson told them.

    Maddy was the captain of the Stoneman Douglas girls’ basketball team and wants to attend Brigham Young University. “[God] has a plan for her. As her dad, I'll support whatever that is and do what I can to help her with it."

    David also expressed deep gratitude for the Church leaders’ private visit.

    “I was just dumbfounded that they would do that,” he said. “I was extremely grateful they came and took time to give that level of comfort and heal her."

    Maddy thanked the countless numbers of people who offered prayers in her behalf. “Knowing everyone was out there praying for me was overwhelming, learning how much love was out there for me from so many people,” she said.

    She was heartbroken to learn of Alaina’s death. Though the two were a few years apart, they shared some good times at girls’ camps for two or three years.

    “[Alaina] was amazing. I loved her,” Maddy said. “She always lit up the room. She was always so lighthearted and spirited. She always made people laugh. It was rough losing her, on finding out she was dead. … She was a tough girl. I know she's in a good place."

    At a youth fireside two days later in Orlando, Elder Stevenson told the crowd of 1,300 that though it’s difficult to understand the evil in the world, faith in Jesus Christ allows us to find purpose even in the face of incomprehensible cruelty.

    “We know that Heavenly Father could have stopped this tragedy,” Elder Stevenson said. “And we ask, why didn’t he? The answer we have is that we know that there is a Father in Heaven, an Everlasting God, and he understands the purpose for everything. Our faith gives us the comfort in this knowledge. I know that the Lord knows why and one day we’ll know with a perfect clarity too, because we’ll be able to see through his heavenly perspective.”


    LDS Church Launches New Online Music Submission Process

    LDS News

    Recent changes to the Church Music Submission process now make it quick and easy to submit original sacred music to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Katie Bastian, a music manager for the Church, explained that the goal of the annual submission is “to encourage the development of musical talent and to bring new musical works to light.”

    Members simply create a profile on the online submission tool and submit their work to up to three categories of their choice. Those who submit may then share the story behind their composition.

    “Members are often divinely inspired in their creative process,” Bastian says. “Whether it’s art, poetry, music, or anything else, every new creation has a story. We are delighted that so many are willing to share their stories and music with others.”

    Members who have already submitted sheet music through the online tool have sent feedback on how seamless the process is. The tool has previously been used for the Church’s International Art Competition and has recently been adapted to accommodate the Church Music Submission as well.

    Each year, members submit between 400 to 700 entries—about 500 submissions on average. In the past, submissions have come from members in the U.S., Argentina, Spain, Brazil, Russia, Hong Kong, and Scandinavian countries.

    Submission categories

    The Church Music Submission offers a number of submission categories appropriate for home and Church use:

    • Hymns
    • Children’s Songs
    • Arrangements for Mixed Chorus
    • Arrangements for Men’s Chorus or Women’s Chorus
    • Anthems
    • Solos, Duets, and Small Groups
    • Instrumental
    • Hymn Texts
    • Youth Music
    • International Music

    Two of these categories, Youth Music and International Music, were recently added.

    Youth Music submissions are Church-themed and written in a contemporary style. International Music submissions include new works with non-English lyrics or music written in an international style.

    Explaining the newly added Youth Music category, Bastian said, “There is a great need for music that teaches pure gospel principles in a style that is approachable from a youth perspective.”

    The International Music category was added to encourage Saints outside of the U.S. to share their testimonies through music. “This is a worldwide Church, but music is a language we can all speak, or at the very least, appreciate,” Bastian remarked.


    Each composition is reviewed by several music experts for “artistic merit, usefulness for home or Church, general appeal, ease of performance, originality, quality of text (if applicable), and compatibility of music to text (if applicable)” (“Church Music Submission Guidelines”).

    All submissions from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, are considered for the 2018 Church Music Submission awards, including awards of distinction ($200), awards of merit ($100), and special recognition awards. Winners receive their rewards in July, and all award-winning music is published online at for non-commercial use.

    Church Music Festival

    In addition to publication and cash prizes, award-winning music is performed at a biannual Church Music Festival. At this event, talented musicians across the Wasatch Front in Utah bring members’ compositions to life. “These festivals give composers a chance to connect with each other and to hear their music performed,” Bastian commented.

    This year’s Church Music Festival will be held on February 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, and it will be performed by the Utah Valley Institute Singers. The event is open to the public, and admission is free. No tickets are required.

    “The Church Music Festival is a great opportunity for anyone interested in Church music to hear new music, including hymns, children’s songs, and arrangements for soloists, instrumentalists, and choirs.”

    Contributed By Hannah DeTavis, Church News staff writer

    LDS Church releases statement on passing of Rev. Billy Graham

    LDS News

    The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement on the passing of Reverend Billy Graham.

    Graham died Wednesday at the age of 99. Heralded as being "America's Pastor," Graham was a spiritual advisor and preacher to a dozen U.S. presidents.  His worldwide appeal made him one of the most well-known evangelical Christians in the world. 

    The statement from the LDS First Presidency reads: "We express our deepest condolences at the passing of Reverend Billy Graham. His decades of ministry stand as a legacy of his love for the Redeemer of all mankind, and we admire his courageous voice of moral witness to the world. We pray God's blessings will be upon his family and all who knew and loved him."

    President Nelson to Tour Europe, Africa and Asia in April

    LDS News

    For two weeks in April, President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy, along with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife, Pat, will visit several countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. They will depart April 10 and will meet with members and missionaries and visit Church sites in these areas. Their trip will conclude April 23.

    Church president will be joined by his wife, Wendy, and Elder and Sister Holland



    Prophet's Advice to Millennials Living in a Hectic World

    LDS News

    How can the rising generation live more happy and meaningful lives? President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told a group of young adults in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, February 17, 2018, the answer can be found, in part, from a parable describing the importance of avoiding distraction and temptation.

    He began his address using a parable to emphasize that “your ultimate safety in this life lies in never taking the first enticing step toward going where you should not go and doing what you should not do.”


    The prophet explained that as human beings we all have appetites necessary for our survival. “These appetites are absolutely essential for the perpetuation of life. So, what does the adversary do?” He asked. “He attacks us through our appetites. He tempts us to eat things we should not eat, to drink things we should not drink, and to love as we should not love!”

    President Nelson told hundreds of young adults, participating in the fireside in four Las Vegas Mormon meetinghouses, that they should learn to have purpose in this life, know who they are, why they are here and how to master the divine laws.

    Personal Identity

    “One of the most important things you need to learn in life is to know who you really are,” President Nelson said. He encouraged his audience to learn about their parents, grandparents and other forebears down their genealogical lines. Most importantly, he said they should know their ultimate identity.

    “Know that you are an elect son or daughter of God, created in His very image,” President Nelson said.

    Sister Nelson, who also spoke Saturday night, said, “It's time that we stop comparing ourselves to others. … "When you let the Lord know that you are serious about doing exactly what you came to earth to do, watch what happens. He may change many things dramatically. So hang on for the ride of your life, the ride that you were born to take.”


    President Nelson reminded those present that everyone was made for a reason and answering the "why" of their lives is essential.

    “When you begin to catch even a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father sees you and what He is counting on you to do for Him, your life will never be the same,” said President Nelson.

    Divine Law

    President Nelson said his experience as a heart surgeon taught him that divine laws are discoverable, predictable, dependable and repeatable. This, he explained, is true in science and religion. For example, there are laws of science that govern a beating heart and those of religion that govern revelation.

    “One size really can fit all who are here tonight,” said Sister Nelson. “Whatever is said over the pulpit can fit each one of you perfectly because the Holy Ghost will tailor-make whatever is said to fit you. I don't know what you need to hear, but the Lord does.”

    Sister Nelson recalled calling off an engagement when she was 24 years old after receiving inspiration while listening to general conference.

    President Nelson said, “The more of God’s laws you know — and more importantly, live — the more effective your righteous leadership will be.” In that vein, President Nelson encouraged those present to follow Jesus Christ by living a life of prayer, service and careful study of God’s laws.