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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.

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.”

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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.”

Purpose

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.

NAUVOO - A Great Way for Your Family to Unplug & Explore

LDS News

(Nauvoo, IL) For children the exploration of Nauvoo, Illinois, involves hoops:  wooden hoops to catch on a stick, to roll with a mallet or to bind the wooden wagon wheel in a bumpy ride over country roads. It may be a giant step for the electronically savvy kids of today, but a peek at the pioneer pastimes presented in a Nauvoo tour provides a bridge to historic family activities, a means of slowing the contemporary pace and making connections with years gone by.

The journey to Nauvoo, the historic restoration of an 1840s Mormon settlement, offers a link to the tales of pioneering effort and endurance, a hands-on exposure to the lifestyles of the settlers and a nostalgic glimpse of the past brought forward to current times.

“Nauvoo is a walk back in time,” reports recent visitor Jolene Jaster. “It’s an inviting place where one can find peace, serenity and excitement all combined.”

Exploration of the restored settlement begins with a meandering drive up the Great River Road Scenic Byway, a tree-lined path that borders the Mississippi River. Much of the geographic introduction to the bustling settlement revolves around the river: flocks of birds, freight-laden barges, river locks, drawbridges and patches of lily pads bursting from the water.

“Nauvoo is a site of uncommon beauty in any season,” says Roger Black, manager of public affairs for the restoration of the Nauvoo historical sites. “It’s one of America’s premier historic communities and designated as a National Historic Landmark District.”

Background

The Mississippi River provided a useful economy for the ravaged and well-traveled early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After Church members were forced from Ohio and Missouri, they settled in Commerce, Illinois — a swampy bend of the Mississippi River. The city was renamed Nauvoo in October 1839, deriving its name from a Hebrew word meaning something pleasant or beautiful, or a place of rest and beauty. The Church’s founder, Joseph Smith, selected the swampy spot on a bend in the river as yet another stopover for the beleaguered converts to the faith.

That settlement, built to a thriving city in less than four years and abandoned in six, now serves as a connection to that industrious past, a reminder of the dedication and hard work that contributed to Nauvoo’s religious and economic success.

“Historic Nauvoo, along with the magnificent Nauvoo Temple, represents the culmination of the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” explains Jennifer L. Lund, manager of historic sites for the Church. “The resulting city was a testament to the faith, obedience, sacrifice and charity of its people.”

Under the leadership of Smith, Nauvoo citizens focused on building another temple, but also constructing the Nauvoo House hotel. Family homes were first constructed as huts or tents but progressed to log structures and even substantial brick buildings. The temple, begun in 1840, however, received the greatest attention. Residents were invited to donate one day in ten, a tithe, to work on its construction.

Skilled craftsmen opened a variety of shops and businesses: brick kilns; printing offices; flour mills and bakeries; cabinet, blacksmith, tailor and shoe shops; and a lively economy developed in the river town.

In the religious focus of the Nauvoo period, Smith broadened latter-day understanding of the temple ordinances, emphasized missionary work and organized the Church’s women in their own group, the Relief Society.

What to See and Do

Today’s Nauvoo offers an intimate exposure to the stories of those early settlers — their cozy red brick homes, their business establishments and their cultural pursuits. Full-time missionaries, dressed in period clothing, relate the tales of industry, sacrifice and humor. Stories come to life in more than 40 restored sites. Visitors of all ages participate in a variety of family-friendly activities and collect traditional free souvenirs: a prairie diamond ringfrom the blacksmith shop, an inscribed red brick from the kilns and a ginger cookie from the Scovil Bakery.

The landmark site, the reconstructed Nauvoo Temple, stands up on the hill above the “Flats,” the location of the historic renovations and the visitors’ center. The rebuilt temple was completed and dedicated in June 2002. The temple is not open to visitors, but a center adjacent to the temple provides background information on the reconstruction, interior detail and purposes of temple worship in Latter-day Saint theology.

Summer days in Nauvoo fill with the sounds of the brass band, theatrical productions and guest performers. In addition to the full-time missionaries who present a musical history of the Nauvoo settlement in the Cultural Hall, a group of young performing missionaries adds to the seasonal repertoire.  Musical productions each night ALL SUMMER take the stage and provides a variety shows with the river as a backdrop. Touring groups from Brigham Young University also appear during the summer months.

The Nauvoo Pageant and the British Pageant are musical dramas in an outdoor setting, they're preceded by a nightly country fair. The pageants run each year in July and plays every night except Sunday. The pageants and all of the other musical productions are free and tickets are not required.

A nearby site, the Carthage, Illinois, Jail includes a review of the 1844 martyrdom of Church leader Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. The original red limestone jail is open for visitors and is only 25 mins from Nauvoo.

A family visit to Nauvoo and Carthage provides an opportunity to explore the 19th-century beginnings of Mormonism in a series of varied experiences and activities. The exploration provides a broader understanding of the faith’s beginnings but also a glimpse into frontier life of the time.

LDS Australia Mission President Severely Injured in Bicycle Accident

LDS News

Australia Sydney South mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been severely injured in a bicycle crash on Wednesday. 

Daniel J. Bingham, president of the Australia Sydney South Mission, suffered a broken neck in a bicycle crash on Wednesday morning. He has undergone surgery and is in intensive care at a local hospital, according to a statement from the LDS Church,

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"The family is grateful for prayers on their behalf at this difficult time," the statement said.

Bingham and his wife Donna are from Helena, Montana and have four children. There began serving serving in Australia since July. 

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Two LDS Youth Among the Victims in Florida School Shooting

LDS News

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement responding to Tuesday’s shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“Once again we find ourselves as a nation and as communities faced with a tragic loss of life and incomprehensible sorrow following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.  Among the many injured or killed were two members of our faith. To all of the victims and their loved ones, we extend our love. These are hours filled with grief, emptiness and a terrible sense of loss. We unite our prayers with millions of others who are mourning and praying for them.” the statement said.

The two LDS youth referred to are Alaina Petty, 14 and Madeleine Wilford 17.  Alaina Petty was initially listed as unaccounted for during evacuation all day and into the evening.  She was eventually discovered among those who were killed by the gunman.  Madeleine Wilford, 17, who was seriously injured, was undergoing her third surgery on Thursday morning.  Both young women are members of the LDS Church at the Coral Springs Ward in the Coral Springs Florida Stake.

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Petty's family called her vibrant and determined. Petty had volunteered after Hurricane Irma hit Florida in September. "Alaina loved to serve," the statement from her family said. She was also a part of the "Helping Hands" program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"While we will not have the opportunity to watch her grow up and become the amazing woman we know she would become, we are keeping an eternal perspective," her family said  Alaina, 14, was also a member of the junior ROTC at her school, a leadership program taught by retired Army personnel.

Madeleine Wilford's condition is still listed critical and her family released the following statement:

"17-year-old Madeleine Wilford who was shot multiple times during Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Florida high school is reportedly “fighting for her life” after multiple emergency surgeries. Doctors are unsure how many bullets struck Madeleine Wilford’s body, but she sustained injuries to her ribs, right lung, stomach, shoulder and right arm" according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 

 

How the LDS Church Approaches Abuse

LDS News

Recent headlines regarding White House staffer Rob Porter and the disturbing plague of domestic abuse and violence has brought both spousal and child abuse further into the light.   Church spokesman, Eric Hawkins, provided the following statement when the Rob Porter story first broke: 

"It is difficult to speak to specific circumstances without complete information from all involved, but the position of the Church is clear: There is zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. Church leaders are given instruction on how to prevent and report abuse and how to care for those who have been abused."

The following is part one of our two part series on domestic abuse

LDS CHURCH TEACHINGS ON CHILD ABUSE

The Savior then warned His disciples: “Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (see Matthew 18:1-6)

These are powerful words from the Savior, who is also known as the Prince of Peace. As followers of Jesus Christ, we condemn, in the strongest terms, offending (harming) or abusing children. Child abuse is despicable and heinous. It is not just a social malady and a criminal act; it is absolutely forbidden by the commandments of God. Protecting and nurturing children was a priority for Jesus Christ in His life (see Matthew 18:1-6; 3 Nephi 17:11-23), and it is a priority in His Church today. No child should have to endure abuse. Even one case is one too many.

Our First Priority: Help the Victim, Stop Abuse

Child abuse is a matter the Church takes very, very seriously. When we learn of abuse, our first priority is to help the victim and stop the abuse. As society and the Church have increased in their awareness of this malady perpetuated by people in and out of the Church, the Church has made extensive efforts in the past several decades to build understanding among local Church leaders and provide resources to stop and prevent abuse, and to keep children safe. We are continually looking for ways to strengthen our proactive program to combat abuse and care for those whose lives have been harmed by this evil practice. As we see or learn of ways to more effectively decrease the potential for abuse, we implement them.  

Victims Are Innocent

The Church’s constant efforts to prevent and stop child abuse reflect the Savior’s teachings to “help the one” (see Luke 15:4). A victim of child abuse is a real, living, child of a loving Heavenly Father. Every victim is a little boy or little girl who is suffering deeply. We must do everything we can to protect and love them. We urge our local leaders and members to reach out to victims, comfort and strengthen them, and help them understand that what happened was wrong, the experience was not their fault, and that it should never happen ever again.

Children Are a Gift from God

We believe the family is ordained of God, and that children are a gift from our Heavenly Father. Because of our religious beliefs, and because child abuse is always wrong, protection of children and family comes first in the Church. Every child should know they are safe to come forward and speak with adults if abuse has occurred. A large network of Church leaders and clinical and legal professionals are ready and willing to reach out with love to help those struggling with the effects of abuse.

Zero-Tolerance Policy

When child abuse occurs, we deal with it immediately and directly. The Church has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to abuse. This means that if we learn of abuse, we take immediate steps to protect the victim and help them with healing. We cooperate with law enforcement to report and investigate abuse. Members found guilty of child abuse are also subject to the laws of God. When someone is convicted of child abuse they face formal discipline from the Church and risk losing their membership in the Church. Even if the individual has not been convicted in a court of law, they may be subject to Church discipline and could lose their membership.

A Societal Plague

Child abuse is a societal plague that we have learned more about in the last several decades. When the Church has faced claims of child abuse at the courthouse, the great majority of these claims occurred decades ago, when society and the Church understood far less about abuse. The Church has always been concerned for the welfare of children: and as awareness of the scourge of child abuse has grown in society, the Church has been at the forefront of efforts to combat it.

The Church’s Comprehensive Efforts to Prevent Abuse and Protect Children

Because the membership of the Church consists of people who are imperfect (most of whom are trying to improve), there is no perfect or flawless system; but the Church works tirelessly to prevent abuse and protect children, and constantly strives to improve in these areas. We are unaware of any organization that does more than the Church to stop and prevent abuse.

Congregations can provide great protection:

  • Our members attend church where they live, and members usually know each other and each other’s children.  There is no professional clergy at the local Church level—all leaders are volunteer, trusted lay leaders who serve for about five years and typically have lived in the community for an extended period of time.
  • Local leaders of adults and youth are neighbors, parents, and friends. They teach each other and each other’s children. No one would knowingly put his or her own children or neighbor’s children in a situation where they would be susceptible to abuse.

Facilities and programs designed to protect against abuse:

  • Church programs and facilities are designed to protect against abuse. Since 2006, all classrooms in new chapels and meetinghouses have windows so parents and others can help watch over our children and keep them safe. The Church is in the process of retrofitting older buildings with windows in classroom doors.
  • For any youth activity, we have a firm requirement that at least two adult leaders are present.
  • For younger children, when men are assigned to teach children, at least two responsible adults should be present at all times.

Process for calling leaders:

  • The Church goes to great lengths to screen volunteers who work with children and youth.
  • When an individual is identified as a candidate to be called to work with children or youth, the bishop receives a recommendation from other adult leaders, interviews the individual and reviews their Church membership record. If there is any indication of previous abuse, that person is disqualified from serving in any capacity with children or youth. Before serving, the individual is presented to the entire congregation for a sustaining vote. Bishops are asked to interview youth leaders at least twice each year.

Membership record annotations:

  • Every member of the Church has a membership record, which includes important information like baptism date, marriage, children, and so forth.
  • The Church places an annotation on the membership record of any member who has previously abused children. This record follows them to any congregation where they move, anywhere in the world.
  • When a bishop sees the annotation, he calls the Church and is given clear direction that an individual who has abused children should not be given a position with children.

Professional help line:

  • The Church recognizes its lay leaders are not clinical or legal professionals. In order to arm these leaders with the best information available, and to ensure compliance with child abuse reporting laws, the Church has created a 24-hour help line.
  • If a bishop suspects or learns of abuse, he is instructed to call a help line number that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. He will be put in touch with a professional counselor to help the victim, stop the abuse, and prevent abuse of others. In that phone call the bishop may also speak with a lawyer to make certain that all legal reporting requirements are observed.

Counseling available:

  • The Church offers and often covers the cost of professional counseling for victims, regardless of their ability to pay.
  • The Church believes that children can, with help, overcome the effects of abuse and live productive and Christlike lives. Through the grace of God available because of the Savior’s Atoning sacrifice on our behalf, and often through the assistance of professional counseling, victims of abuse can overcome. The Church does all it can to get victims on the path of healing and hope.

Continuing Vigilance

The Church seeks continually to improve its program to prevent and stop abuse and foster healing and peace for the victims.  We continue to look for ways to strengthen our proactive program to combat abuse and care for those whose lives have been harmed by this evil. As we identify new tactics or approaches that will decrease the potential for abuse, we will implement them.

Convicted Abusers Not Permitted to Work with Children

If those convicted of child abuse pay the legal price for their crimes and undergo the rigorous repentance process, they can be forgiven and may regain their membership. As Christians, we believe in forgiveness, but forgiveness does not necessarily mean it is safe for a former abuser to work with children.

Responsibility to Educate, Be Watchful

The Church encourages families to talk with their children about child abuse and to educate themselves on how to recognize and prevent abuse. Parents are also encouraged to be engaged in their children’s activities and to make time to establish open and trusting lines of communication with their children. Everyone in and out of the Church has a responsibility to be alert and watchful against abuse. Generally, someone who abuses others is skilled at deception and hiding his or her actions. Churches, youth organizations, families, and society as a whole must be vigilant.

Our Duty to Safeguard Children

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will continue to speak out against the abuse of children and youth. We take child abuse seriously, and we strive to be exhaustive in our efforts to protect children and prevent the hurt, pain, and shame caused by abuse. This is our duty as followers of Jesus Christ and our responsibility as citizens of the communities in which we live. While only the Savior Jesus Christ offers perfection, we will do everything we can to prevent, report and address the abuse of children.  

Book of Mormon Art Competition 2018

LDS News

The Book of Mormon is a masterpiece with vivid scenes and evocative narratives that bring one closer to God. Book of Mormon Central uses many images on our website and in our videos to portray Book of Mormon ideas, but we always need more. We want to encourage the creation of new Book of Mormon art to illustrate this powerful book, so that more may come to know that it is "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." If you are an artist or know an artist, share this event and consider participating in our art competition for a chance to win and be featured on our website.

  • First Place: $500
  • Second Place: $350
  • Third Place: $200

This competition is in conjunction with Book of Mormon Day 2018, and the winners will be announced at the annual Book of Mormon Conference on April 7, 2018.

Submission Deadline: February 28, 2018 at 11:59 p.m.

 

Art Requirements

Visual artwork depicting some aspect of the Book of Mormon. Acceptable mediums include:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Sculpture
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Digital Art
  • Pyrography
  • Ceramics
  • Crafts

Due to the challenge of judging art across various mediums, we will not be accepting submissions of music, literature, or film this year.

File Requirements

  • File extensions: PNG, JPG, TIFF, PSD image formats accepted
  • Resolution: Resolution must be at least 300 dpi, and at least 2000x2000 pixels in dimension.
  • Filename: Image files must be titled as follows: [lastname]-art2018.[file extension].
    For example, if your last name is Johnson, the filename of your image should be "johnson-art2018.jpg" or "johnson-art2018.tiff"
  • If you are submitting a 3-dimensional work of art (sculpture, ceramics, etc.), you need to provide multiple images of the work from different angles to be able to adjudicate the piece in the round. If you need to upload multiple images, please upload a .ZIP directory containing your images.
    You must title your .ZIP directory [lastname]-art2018.zip. If your last name is Johnson, the zip directory should be "johnson-art2018.zip"
  • Multiple entries per artist are allowed, but each piece of art must me made in separate form submissions.

Inspiration

Book of Mormon Central will not discriminate pieces based off what the piece is depicting. However, if you are looking for inspiration, Book of Mormon Central is looking for more artwork depicting the following:

Events

  • Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon
  • Ishmael's family mourning at Nahom (1 Nephi 16:34)
  • Lehi on his deathbed (2 Nephi 1–4)
  • Nephi studying Isaiah (2 Nephi 12–22)
  • Allegory of the Olive Tree (Jacob 5)
  • Large Jaredite stone (Omni 1:20; KnoWhy #77)
  • Mosiah translating with the Interpreters (Mosiah 8; KnoWhy #86)
  • Coronation of Mosiah2 (Mosiah 1)
  • The execution of Abinadi where they "scourged his skin with faggots" (Mosiah 17; KnoWhy #96)
  • Abinadi stretching forth his hand (Mosiah 16; KnoWhy #94)
  • Battle of Nephites vs. Gadianton Robbers (3 Nephi 4; KnoWhy #191)
  • Final Nephite Battle (Mormon 6; KnoWhy #231)

People

  • Sariah
  • Nehor
  • Korihor
  • Sherem
  • King Limhi
  • Lachoneus
  • Mulek
  • Anti-Nephi-Lehies
  • bish
  • ultiple Book of Mormon prophets together

Places

  • Nephi's Jerusalem
  • Nahom
  • he valley of Lemuel
  • Bountiful (Old and New World locations)
  • Irreantum
  • The land of Nephi
  • ephi's temple
  • Zarahemla
  • Gideon
  • Ammonihah
  • ershon
  • ephite fortifications
  • ormon's cave

https://bookofmormoncentral.org/events/book-of-mormon-central-art-competition-2018

Mormon Helping Hands Serving at Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

LDS News

BY HANNAH ROMNEY

Mormon Helping Hands, the Church’s program for worldwide volunteer community service, has a center that provides services to support a successful Pyeongchang Olympic Games.

Staffed by more than 20 volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Gangneung, South Korea, the Helping Hands Center offers interpretation services in nine languages, a winter sports photo zone, DIY activities for families, free Wi-Fi, and a place to warm up, enjoy warm beverages, recharge cell phones, watch live Olympic broadcasts and even explore one’s family history.

The center is cooperating with the local police department to prevent foreigner-targeted crime. Go Kwang-young, director of the Gangneung City Volunteer Center, helped facilitate a partnership between the police department and the Helping Hands Center. He expressed gratitude for such collaboration, noting that the “volunteer service and talents offered in this center will help the Gangneung city to develop further.”

The Helping Hands Center is open daily during the 2018 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games through March 25, 2018. All are welcome.

500 Church Members Commemorate Exodus of Pioneers from Nauvoo

LDS News

NAUVOO, ILLINOIS

Contributed By Elder Don Searle, Church News contributor

Some 500 members, missionaries, and visitors walked the Trail of Hope on Saturday, February 3, commemorating the exodus of the pioneers from this city 172 years ago.

Temperatures were dauntingly cold—near freezing, accompanied by a brisk wind—and served as reminders of the conditions faced by the Latter-day Saints when their exodus began on February 4, 1846.

Flags snapped loudly in the breeze. A few of the marchers stepped carefully out on the ice at the edge of the Mississippi River and gazed across at Iowa as they thought about the trials that lay ahead of their ancestors who came to this crossing.

Those who marched in this year’s pioneer exodus reenactment pinned to their coats badges with the names of people who had lived in Nauvoo. Many marchers wore more than one ancestor’s name; some of these ancestral connections had only been discovered in recent weeks as they prepared for the exodus commemoration by doing family history research.

Many participants drove long distances to be part of the event. Some came from other areas of Illinois, from Iowa, and from Missouri.

Elder Phillip Lowe marched with the Nauvoo Legion group. Photo by Don Searle.

For some, like Barbara Barros of Star Valley, Wyoming, this year was a repeat of something they have done before. Sister Barrus has come to the exodus commemoration for the past 14 years in a row. It is, she says, one way to honor the sacrifices of her ancestors. Pinned on her coat today she wore the name of Nancy Ann Wilson. Sister Barrus is a great-great-great-granddaughter of Dunbar Wilson, who was called in section 124 of the Doctrine and Covenantsas a member of the high council in Nauvoo.

Those marching in this 2018 commemoration met first at the Family Living Center, behind the historic Cultural Hall in the center of old Nauvoo. They enjoyed hot chocolate or cider with cinnamon rolls and muffins. They were welcomed by President Mark Lusvardi of the Illinois Nauvoo Mission and heard brief comments by Susan Sims, Public Affairs representative for the Church’s Iowa Des Moines Public Affairs Council. She spoke of the faith of the pioneers and their willingness to sacrifice for their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The exodus reenactment was covered by representatives of a regional newspaper and of public radio.

Sister Helene Hipple wore the names of two of her ancestors, one only recently discovered. Photo by Don Searle.

After the welcoming remarks, the marchers formed ranks in the street next to the Cultural Hall. They were led by a flag bearer and drummer boy followed by a contingent dressed as the Nauvoo Legion. Behind them came missionaries and members carrying flags of many of the nations from which the pioneer residents of Nauvoo had come. Following these flag bearers came other people walking—many families—and some participants riding in horse-drawn buggies and wagons. Participants ranged in age from their 80s down to infants or toddlers bundled in strollers and children’s wagons.

They moved out heading south on Main to Parley Street, then proceeded west to the river crossing at the end of Parley.

At the Pioneer Memorial next to the Mississippi River, there was a flag-raising ceremony, with singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. President Lusvardi made brief remarks honoring the pioneers. Ben Pykles, curator of Church historical sites, offered comments about the pioneers’ sacrifices. A closing prayer was offered by Lachlan Mackay, an apostle of the Community of Christ church.

The Community of Christ sponsored other events during the weekend in connection with the commemoration. These included a meeting at which Brother Pykles spoke. All of the weekend’s events were well-publicized in Nauvoo and surrounding areas.

LDS Billionaire, Family Man Honored at Funeral for Life of Devoted Service

LDS News

Within the university arena and in the vicinity of the cancer research hospital that each bear his name and legacy, billionaire industrialist, philanthropist, and Church leader Jon Meade Huntsman was honored at a funeral service Saturday, February 10.

Church President Russell M. Nelson presided over and spoke at the service in the Jon M. Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus. President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, also spoke, as did six of the eight Huntsman children.

On behalf of his counselors in the First Presidency, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, President Nelson read a letter addressed to Sister Karen Huntsman, widow of Brother Huntsman, who died February 2 at age 80.

“We express to you and your family our heartfelt sympathy at the passing of your beloved husband and our friend, Jon M. Huntsman Sr.,” President Nelson read. “At the same time, we rejoice with you in his life of devoted service.

“Brother Huntsman’s mortal life was a marvel of diligence and hard work. His devotion as a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and stalwart servant of the Lord has influenced the lives of loved ones and all with whom he came in contact.”

President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the funeral for Jon M. Huntsman Sr. in the Huntsman Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday, February 10, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson talks with Karen Huntsman prior to the funeral for her husband, Jon M. Huntsman Sr., in the Huntsman Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday, February 10, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Jennifer Huntsman Parkin and Mark Huntsman speak during the funeral for Jon M. Huntsman Sr. in the Huntsman Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday, February 10, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

The letter made note of Brother Huntsman’s love for his family and other people, “his lifelong efforts to accomplish his dreams, and his great testimony of the gospel.” It expressed appreciation for his Church service as a missionary, president of the Washington D.C Mission, stake president, regional representative, and Area Seventy.

President Nelson said the most important date of Brother Huntsman’s life was June 20, 1959, when he and Sister Huntsman “were sealed in the house of the Lord.”

“Everything that gives us confidence and joy now looks at that date as the hinge point in their history.”

President Ballard, whose daughter Brynn is married to Huntsman’s son Peter, spoke of his own close friendship of many years with Brother Huntsman.

“I did not have any brothers when I came into the world,” he said. “I had some wonderful sisters, but I felt Jon was my brother. He even called me ‘Brother Russ.’ I don’t know that he even remembered, sometimes, my last name.”

He said the two have traveled the world together and knelt in prayer in many places. “It has been my privilege to give Jon priesthood blessings over matters pertaining to business, family, and health. And he, likewise, has blessed me by the power of the holy priesthood that he bore.”

Noting that the two have each spent time in the hospital, President Ballard said, “I have pushed him down the hallways in a wheelchair after surgery, and he has pushed me down the hallways in the hospital. I don’t know how the nurses let us do that, but we made a great case that we were the only ones that could do that and do it properly.”

The two have shared moments of both good news and sad news, he said. “Being the bearer of some of those experiences has been one of the treasures of my life, to be that close to this wonderful friend of mine.”

All of the Huntsman children were present except for Kathleen, who is deceased, and David, who is serving with his wife, Michelle, in the Washington D.C. South Mission, where he presides.

With youngest sibling, Mark, standing by her side at the pulpit, youngest daughter Jennifer Huntsman Parkin said her father was “a masterful teacher, never missing an opportunity to teach in either word or deed.”

“My father taught us through his actions that the greatest exercise of a human heart is to reach down and lift another up,” she said.

She said she once expressed to him the desire to one day be CEO of the company. With tear-filled eyes, he looked at her and said, “I have no doubt that you could do that, but you have an opportunity to do something far greater than I have ever done, and that is a chance to be a righteous mother and a loving one.”

James Huntsman said the words “go big” characterized and defined his father in many ways. “From this cavernous arena to the cancer hospital behind us on the hill, to buildings of higher education which dot universities around the country, to numerous shelters for those in need, to a multinational, billion-dollar corporation, which all bear his name, my father never shied away from setting high expectations for himself, for his family, and for those around him.”

He recalled that during his teenage years, his father developed close relationships with many of his friends. One friend, Steve Burnett, owned a vintage Volkswagen Beetle. One morning, he was surprised to find that someone had spray-painted the letters “E-L-V-I-S” down the driver’s side of the car.

“It didn’t take long to figure out that the biggest Elvis fan in the neighborhood was my father,” James said. “To this day I never understood why my father did this, but as a young teenager, I thought it was pretty cool and pretty unexpected and a small example of ‘going big,’ even when you’re pranking somebody.”

The friend drove the car around with the spray-painted word for months “as a reminder to all of us of the side of my father that we all loved,” he said.

Paul Huntsman said his father’s greatest tribute was not his business success, or even his considerable philanthropic impact, but his influence on the lives of those who knew him.

“He shared our burdens,” he said. “He mourned with us. He wouldn’t let us go until he knew we were healed. Nobody was beneath my father, a true sign of humility. He always sought to acknowledge everyday working people who never received any recognition.”

Christena Huntsman Durham said Huntsman loved his role as a father.

“He loved to sing silly songs with us, and some of those songs have carried on to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When I was young, he would sometimes drop us off at school, and as we were driving down the street, he would often sing, ‘Don’t know much about biology, … but I do know that I love you.’”

Peter Huntsman said his father’s corporate success was nothing more than a means to an end. “With the foundation he and my mother established, their life’s work will live for generations to come.”

As though speaking to his father, he said tearfully, “Dad, earlier this week, I chaired my first board meeting of Huntsman Corp. Thanks to you, I’ve never felt more prepared. Thanks to you, I’ve never felt more lonely. Our loss and our loneliness can only be exceeded by our gratitude for your love, direction, leadership, faith, and example.”

Jon Huntsman Jr., U.S. ambassador to Russia and former governor of Utah, said of his father, “Although his charitable heart was formed in his youth, I noticed that after his diagnosis of prostate cancer 25 years ago, that his life became a public crusade to relieve human suffering. And because he refused to be imprisoned by his own deteriorating condition, he brought to fulfillment his most important work.”

The invocation at the service was offered by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and the benediction was given by Elder Ronald A. Rasband, both of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Hymns were performed by the American Festival Chorus, directed by Craig Jessop and accompanied by Bonnie Goodliffe.

The service was conducted by Bishop Herbert E. Scruggs, who noted that Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was in attendance as well as members of the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric, and General Officers of the Church. Leaders of other faiths, public officials, community leaders, and business associates of Huntsman also attended.

LDS Missionaries Safe in Cyclone-Battered Tonga, Samoa

LDS News

NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA ( LDS News )

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News associate editor

Mormon missionaries serving in cyclone-battered Tonga and Samoa are accounted for and unharmed.

“All missionaries serving in the Samoa Apia Mission and the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission are safe as Tropical Cyclone Gita moves through the region,” said Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff. “Missionaries in Tonga are taking refuge in Church buildings away from the coast and have taken necessary preparations to help keep them safe.

“We pray for all those in the South Pacific who are impacted by this powerful storm.”

Over the past few days, Tropical Cyclone Gita has hammered Tonga and neighboring South Pacific islands with what is being called the most powerful storm to hit that region in memory.

A tropical cyclone is the same type of storm as a hurricane.

The eye of Gita passed just south of the low-lying Tongatapu group of islands in southern Tonga on Monday with maximum sustained winds estimated at 145 mph, the Associated Press reported. The nation has declared a state of emergency.

Residents prepared for the tropical cyclone by nailing boards and roofing iron to the homes to try to limit the damage from coconuts, trees, and other flying debris.

Gita has strengthened since hitting Samoa and American Samoa last weekend, where it caused damage to buildings, flooding, and widespread power outages, according to the AP reports. U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday, February 11, declared an emergency in American Samoa, a U.S. territory.

Weather experts anticipate flooding and coastal inundation to cause as many problems as wind damage. After passing by Tonga, Gita is expected to travel west before slowly dissipating.

Home to more than 64,000 members, Tonga enjoys a rich Mormon history. The island nation has the largest number of Latter-day Saints, per capita, of any nation in the world.

More than 78,000 Latter-day Saints live in Samoa.

The Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple serves approximately 41,000 LDS members throughout Tonga and the Line Islands of the Pacific Ocean.

Mormons Around the World - Headlines

LDS News

 

Germany: Refugee Mothers Receive Donation of Baby Supplies
An estimated 100 Mormon volunteers assembled baby supplies for young refugee mothers in Frankfurt. Latter-day Saints set up an efficient assembly line of socks, toys, diapers and other items for little boys and girls.  The event was organized by Mormon women who, for the second time in 2017, volunteered to help young refugee mothers in need of baby clothing and diapers.

Kenya: Every Drop of Water CountsFor the past 12 years, the Church’s service center has been supplying water to residents in a community in Nairobi. People place their jerrycans neatly along the curb so they can be filled Monday, Wednesday or Friday afternoons at no charge. Two companies pay for the water residents use. The jerrycan is the keeper of the precious resource, and people must make the most of the commodity each day — many families try to stretch a can of water to last an entire day. The jerrycan is also a symbol of hope that the drought will end.


Honduras: Mormon Women Donate Clothes to Local Hospital
More than 50 women from the local Mormon congregation donated their own clothing, shoes and personal use products they had been saving to the San Felipe Hospital and the Hospital del Tórax. One of the women said the experience was a pleasant one to be able to give of their time and clothes to people who need it most.

Kenya: Faith Results in Humanitarian Miracle
Without the faith and perseverance of Kenneth, a local resident, the Association of the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) would have gone without clean water. His efforts helped convince everyone concerned to dig a borehole (water well). Initially, the director of the APDK did not want to pay its share of the project for fear it would fail. They had already drilled six other wells with no success. A hydrologist suggested a larger borehole, and now the successfully producing well is giving 70,000 liters (more than 18,000 gallons) of water in an eight-hour period of time.

Italy: Mormons Remove Graffiti From Museum Walls Latter-day Saints have removed years of graffiti from the outside walls of the home of Gabriele D'Annunzio, an Italian poet from the 1800s, in Pescara. Using a special paint/varnish, the Mormon volunteers brushed the mixture on the graffiti, not only to cover it up but also to protect the walls from being marred again.                    

Pacific: LDS Charities Improves Facilities for Samoa Council of Churches
LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, donated funds to renovate space for the Samoa Council of Churches.  Referring to the Church’s recent joining of the Samoa Council of Churches, Elder O. Vincent Haleck of the Seventy and president of the Church’s Pacific Area, said, “This is a day of thanksgiving for all of us. We have been apart for too long. Now we are together.”

Church Announces Mission Adjustments - LDS News

LDS News

It was reported in October that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would adjust the number of its 421 missions to better fit the needs of each region of the world. Today, the Church announces boundary realignments for 19 missions, as well as the creation of five new missions. With the changes there will be 407 missions.

The following five missions will open in July 2018:

Brazil Rio de Janeiro South

Cote d’Ivoire Yamoussoukro

Nigeria Ibadan

Philippines Cabanatuan

Zimbabwe Bulawayo

And the Church will realign the boundaries for the following 19 missions in July 2018 and merge them with adjoining missions:

Australia Sydney North

Bulgaria Sofia

California Modesto

California San Fernando

England London South

Greece Athens

Illinois Chicago West

México Ciudad Obregón

México Reynosa

Mississippi Jackson

New York New York South

Ohio Cleveland

Portugal Porto

România/Moldova

Russia Samara

Spain Málaga

Ukraine L’viv

Utah Logan

Washington Federal Way

Changes to mission boundaries are common. Since President Thomas S. Monson announced in 2012 the change in the ages for missionary service, the Church has created 76 new missions to accommodate a surge of growth in only a few years, from 58,000 to 88,000 missionaries. The initial wave of missionaries has since receded to about 68,000 missionaries, as anticipated.

Fewer missionaries means that not only are fewer missions needed but also a heightened importance of a more strategic placement of missionaries in areas of need around the world; thus the creation of five new missions.

“We want missionaries to be in the best possible place and position to help people, whether through sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ or community service,” said General Authority Seventy Elder Brent H. Nielson, Executive Director of the Missionary Department. “The pattern established by the Savior is to make a difference in individual lives, one by one, all over the world, which requires continuous planning and organizing.”

Details on mission merges will be coming in future communications from mission presidents to parents of missionaries in the affected missions.

 

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Statement

LDS News

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued the following statement regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is established in 188 nations around the globe. Issues of immigration and legal status are of concern for many of our members. Most of our early Church members emigrated from foreign lands to live, work and worship, blessed by the freedoms and opportunities offered in this great nation.

Immigration is a complex and sometimes divisive issue. As we have stated before, we believe that our first priority is to love and care for one another as Jesus Christ taught. Each nation must determine and administer its policies related to immigration. The Church does not advocate any specific legislative or executive solution. Our hope is that, in whatever solution emerges, there is provision for strengthening families and keeping them together. We also acknowledge that every nation has the right to enforce its laws and secure its borders and that all persons subject to a nation's laws are accountable for their acts in relation to them.

We welcome the sincere efforts of lawmakers and leaders to seek for solutions that honor these principles and extend compassion to those seeking a better life. Specifically, we call upon our national leaders to create policies that provide hope and opportunities for those, sometimes referred to as “Dreamers,” who grew up here from a young age and for whom this country is their home. They have built lives, pursued educational opportunities and been employed for years based on the policies that were in place. These individuals have demonstrated a capacity to serve and contribute positively in our society, and we believe they should be granted the opportunity to continue to do so.

New LDS General Authority Chart - View or Download

LDS News

The newest LDS General Authority Chart has been released. You can view or download the chart and print at home. 

Nauvoo Summer Vacation Destination

LDS News

For children the exploration of Nauvoo, Illinois, involves hoops: a hoop to catch on a stick, a hoop to roll with a mallet or a hoop to bind the wooden wagon wheel in a bumpy ride over country roads. It may be a giant step for the electronically savvy kids of today, but a peek at the pioneer pastimes presented in a Nauvoo tour provides a bridge to historic family activities, a means of slowing the contemporary pace and making connections with years gone by.

The journey to Nauvoo, the historic restoration of an 1840s Mormon settlement, offers a link to the tales of pioneering effort and endurance, a hands-on exposure to the lifestyles of the settlers and a nostalgic glimpse of the past brought forward to current times.

“Nauvoo is a walk back in time,” reports recent visitor Jolene Jaster. “It’s an inviting place where one can find peace, serenity and excitement all combined.”

Exploration of the restored settlement begins with a meandering drive up the Great River Road Scenic Byway, a tree-lined path that borders the Mississippi River. Much of the geographic introduction to the bustling settlement revolves around the river: flocks of birds, freight-laden barges, river locks, drawbridges and patches of lily pads bursting from the water.

Assignments Announced for Elder Uchtdorf

LDS News

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has received several key assignments following his service in the First Presidency. Elder Uchtdorf served as second counselor to President Thomas S. Monson, who passed away on January 2, 2018. 

At the announcement of a new First Presidency on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, President Russell M. Nelson, the 17th president of the Church, thanked Elder Uchtdorf for his “totally capable, devoted, and inspired [service].” President Nelson said Elder Uchtdorf “has resumed his place in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and has already received major assignments for which he is uniquely qualified … and where he is needed most.”

The assignments given to Elder Uchtdorf include chair of the Missionary Executive Council, chair of the Correlation Executive Council and the primary contact for the Europe and Europe East Areas.

Elder Uchtdorf will represent the Office of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve in his capacity as chair of the Missionary Executive Council, where he will direct the global operation of all missionary activities of the Church. The Correlation Executive Council reviews and approves all Church materials and products.

Prior to his calling as an apostle in 2004, Elder Uchtdorf spent much of his life working and serving in various Church leadership positions in Europe. He was born in Czechoslovakia and lived in Germany, where he and his family joined the Church. 

LDS Missionaries Return to Madagascar

LDS News

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued the following update regarding missionaries in Madagascar:

"With the recent containment of the plague outbreak in Madagascar, missionaries who were temporarily transferred from the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission are preparing to resume their service in that country. At this time, 12 missionaries are in various stages of returning to the island of Madagascar. Additional missionaries will arrive as the mission is ready to receive them. All missionaries serving on the island of Madagascar had been temporarily relocated or reassigned in October."

Star Wars & The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

LDS News

Star Wars has officially taken over the box office, and its influence has now infiltrated the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

You may not know, but following the Christmas concerts in December, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir received a request to sing “Happy Birthday.” It’s a request that the Choir gets quite often, especially on tour—but this was a little bit different. This time, the request came from the Conference Center stage, from guest artist Sutton Foster’s husband, Ted Griffin.

While Griffin and his wife stood on the stage saying their goodbyes to the Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, and staff, he asked if the Choir could sing “Happy Birthday” to his good friend Rian Johnson, who directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This 360-member chorus of men and women — all volunteers — has performed at World’s Fairs and expositions, at inaugurations of U.S. presidents, in acclaimed concert halls from Australia and Europe to Asia and the Middle East, on television broadcasts. The choir has been referred to as "America's Choir" as a result of its high standard of popular choral music.

With its incomparable voices and shared faith in God, the choir is a significant presence in the world of music, giving service through song.

Russell M. Nelson Named 17th Church President

LDS News

President Russell M. Nelson was announced as the 17th president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. The announcement was made by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during a live broadcast from the annex of the iconic Salt Lake Temple. He was sustained and set apart in the Salt Lake Temple on Sunday, January 14, 2018.

President Nelson, 93, succeeds President Thomas S. Monson, who passed away January 2, 2018.

The new leader of a global faith of more than 16 million members has named President Dallin H. Oaks, 85, and President Henry B. Eyring, 84, to serve with him as his first and second counselors in the First Presidency, the Church’s highest governing body.

President Nelson also announced that M. Russell Ballard, 89, is the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

President Russell M. Nelson

Prior to his service as head of the Church, President Nelson served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since April 7, 1984. He was president of that quorum from July 15, 2015, until his call as the Church’s leader.

An internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher, President Nelson’s professional work included the positions of research professor of surgery and director of the Thoracic Surgery Residency at the University of Utah and chairman of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. 

President Dallin H. Oaks

President Dallin H. Oaks has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since May 1984. He was president of Brigham Young University from 1971 to 1980, and a justice of the Utah Supreme Court from 1980 until his resignation in 1984 to accept his calling to the apostleship. Read more about Dallin H. Oaks.

President Henry B. Eyring

President Henry B. Eyring served as a counselor to President Thomas S. Monson from 2008 to 2018 and to President Gordon B. Hinckley from 2007 to 2008. He was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 1, 1995. Prior to full-time Church service, President Eyring was president of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, from 1971 to 1977. He was on the faculty at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University from 1962 to 1971. 

Acting President M. Russell Ballard

Acting President M. Russell Ballard has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve since October 6, 1985. In 1976 he was called as a General Authority Seventy. Prior to his call as a full-time Church leader, President Ballard had interests in automotive, real estate and investment businesses. 

President Russell M. Nelson To Announce New Leadership in Live Broadcast

LDS News

(LDS News) Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from around the world are invited to participate in a live message from President Russell M. Nelson on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time. This message will be shared on all Church broadcast, internet and social media channels in 29 languages. President Nelson’s message will be followed by a press conference at 10:00 a.m. MST.

Broadcast information

This message will be broadcast live on LDS.org and on the Church satellite system (Cebuano, Chinese - Cantonese and Mandarin, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Swedish, Tagalog, Tahitian, Thai, Tongan, Spanish, Ukrainian, and ASL, with closed captioning in English, Mormon Channel, Canal Mormón (Spanish), MormonNewsroom.org, KSL TV, the KSL TV app, BYUtv, BYUtv Global, KBYUtv Eleven, and BYUtv International. In addition, audio broadcasts will air on KSL Radio and BYU Radio.