President Hinckley Counsels Colorado Youth
During three separate meetings, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to young people in Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado, on 14 April, giving them guidelines to use in their lives to nurture happiness.
At a morning young adult conference in Colorado Springs, President Hinckley stated that a loving Heavenly Father desires to see His children happy. President Hinckley provided six specific points that, if implemented, would provide that happiness.
First, be grateful, he urged the more than 1,100 young adults in attendance from six stakes in southern Colorado. “We should be thankful for the time in which we live,” he said. “Cultivate a thankful heart.”
Next he told those in attendance to “be smart. Prepare yourself, get the best education you can. It is part of a mandate from the Lord that you train yourselves.”
Third, he admonished the young members to be clean. “If you’re clean, you’ll be able to stand tall in the presence of God. Can you think of a more marvelous thing than that?” he asked.
“Be true,” he counseled next, extolling the virtues of trust, loyalty, and integrity.
Fifth, “Be humble,” he said. “The world is full of arrogant people. ‘Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers’” (D&C 112:10).
President Hinckley finished by telling the young adults to be prayerful. “You can’t do it all alone and do your best,” he stated. “You need the help of the Lord. You have the opportunity to pray with the expectation that your prayer will be heard and answered. … Ask the Lord to forgive your sins, to bless you and help you with all the important things that mean so much to you in your life. He stands ready to help.”
Elder David B. Haight, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, accompanied President Hinckley to all three meetings. He spoke briefly, exhorting members to listen to the Church President’s counsel. “We have the responsibility to carry the message of hope and salvation and eternal life out to all the world. That is our charge; that is our responsibility,” he said.
That afternoon and evening, President Hinckley spoke to approximately 4,000 youth during two firesides in Denver. In the first fireside, he recalled an event that occurred while he was living in Denver and working for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. A careless employee pulled a lever and threw a small switch that moved a track only three inches but resulted in sending the baggage car of a passenger train 1,400 miles off course.
“That’s the way it is with our lives,” he said. “We have instructions. We know the way we should go, but for some reason we pull a little switch and find ourselves on the wrong track. And when we come to a stop, we are way off from where we belong.”
President Hinckley emphasized that small and seemingly trivial decisions made in youth may have lifelong consequences. Continuing, he echoed the message he’d delivered earlier in the day, encouraging those in attendance to “be true. Be true to the promises that you make every Sunday when you go to sacrament meeting and partake of the sacrament. Think of the meaning of the sacrament every time you partake of the sacrament—and be true!”
In the second meeting, President Hinckley recalled that when he left for his mission to England, his father had given him a small card inscribed with a scripture: “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36).
He encouraged the teenagers in attendance to believe in Heavenly Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ and in themselves. “Believe in yourselves, in your capacity to do something remarkable. The work of the world is done by ordinary people who have learned to work in an extraordinary way.”
Believe in goodness and in virtue, he continued, and believe in prayer. “If you so live, you will shine. You will have a luster about you. This is the great day of preparation in your lives.”
In conclusion, President Hinckley encouraged those in attendance to go home and record in their journals that they had heard a prophet tell them that he knew God lives.
Robert H. Slover, assistant director of public affairs for the North America Central Area, and Ray Hendershot, regional director of public affairs for the Colorado Springs Region, contributed to this report.
A Mighty Change in Mongolia
For many, the name Mongolia brings to mind images of Genghis Khan and his fierce warriors galloping on horses over grassy steppes. Landlocked between Siberia on the north and China on the south, Mongolia has historically experienced much warfare with its neighbors. But today’s Mongols are seeking peace and prosperity as their remote country undergoes social, economic, and political change. In addition to these changes, humble, truth-seeking Mongols are experiencing a “mighty change in [their] hearts” (Alma 5:14) as they learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mongolia is in the midst of a transition from socialism to a free-market economy. Once the headquarters of history’s largest land empire, Mongolia was subsequently ruled by China for nearly three centuries and then became Russia’s first Soviet satellite in 1922. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia established a multiparty system and a democratic constitution in 1990. Change is most evident in the larger cities, where many of the country’s 2.3 million residents live. Other Mongols live primarily on government-organized livestock farms or as nomads who tend their sheep, goats, yaks, camels, horses, and cows in the grassy countryside. The official language is Mongolian, and the chief religions include Lama Buddhism and Shamanism.
Shortly after Elder Monte J. Brough of the Seventy met with several government officials and university directors, six couple missionaries entered Mongolia in 1992 and 1993 to assist the country’s higher education system and teach people about the Church. In 1993 Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated Mongolia for the preaching of the gospel, and the Ulaanbaatar Branch was organized that same year in the country’s capital and largest city.
Ulaanbaatar is a study in vivid contrasts. Many residents dress in native costumes called deels, colorful hats, and decorative leather boots with turned-up toes, while many others wear typical Western clothing. New German vehicles whiz past old, rebuilt Russian cars, four-wheel-drive vehicles, and trucks—and motor traffic sometimes has to dodge the wandering livestock that graze throughout the city.
In February 1993 Lamjav Purevsuren became the first native Mongolian baptized in the country. Purevsuren grew up in western Mongolia in a round, felt-lined tent called a ger. His family’s major challenge was providing for their animals during Mongolia’s harsh winters, when temperatures regularly fall as low as 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Several times during the year, the family would dismantle their ger and move elsewhere to find new grazing pastures.
Purevsuren first met Elder Stanley Smith when he took Elder Smith’s marketing class at the Mongolian National University. “My classmate Tsendkhuu Bat-Ulzii and I were curious why these American professionals would come to Mongolia,” Purevsuren recalls. “Elder Smith told us about his church and invited us to attend, but he gave us an apartment address. We were very surprised!”
Purevsuren and Bat-Ulzii attended the small service with the couple missionaries and agreed to hear the discussions. Both men joined the Church, and Bat-Ulzii now serves as president of the Ulaanbaatar Tuul Branch. Total membership in the nation now exceeds 550, with three branches in Ulaanbaatar and one branch in Erdenet, a city of 42,000 located northwest of the capital.
Togtokhin Enkhtuvshin, who now serves as president of the Ulaanbaatar Selbe Branch, recalls that during socialism Mongolians “were not taught about religion. Moral values declined. Drinking, smoking, and moral sin became accepted. When I was a little boy, though, my grandmother taught me about God. She was Buddhist, but she told me about Jesus Christ. I felt that religion could unite our people and help them progress.”
Enkhtuvshin prayed to find something that would change his life and help the country. “I didn’t know what God I was praying to,” he says, “but my parents said that if there was a God, he would help me.” Anxious to find out more about Jesus Christ, Enkhtuvshin accepted an invitation to study in Germany, which he knew had many Christian religions.
One day in Germany, Enkhtuvshin met Latter-day Saint missionaries on the street. “They gave me Russian and German copies of the Book of Mormon,” he recalls. “I read the book in one day and one night. I love this book.” Two days later he attended church, and during the summer of 1993 he was baptized. “I was excited because I thought I might be the first Mongolian member,” he says, “but I was concerned about returning home and not having the Church.”
Unaware of the gospel developments in his country, Enkhtuvshin returned to Mongolia the same month that six young elders arrived there to teach English, learn Mongolian, and share the gospel. He was shopping in a department store with his children when he noticed a familiar sight: clean-cut, young missionaries! “At that time I knew that God was helping me,” he says. “I was very excited to find that I was not alone. “Enkhtuvshin’s wife, Doyodiin Dashgerel, and their five children have joined the Church, and Enkhtuvshin has been a key figure in helping the Church gain government recognition. In October 1994, the Church was legally registered.
As a professor, Enkhtuvshin struggled for many years to provide for his large family in a two-bedroom, Russian-built apartment. Inflation makes it difficult for Mongolians to live on an average salary of U.S. $50 per month, and they are dependent on imported goods that are expensive and limited in supply. With the new freedom of the market-based economy, Enkhtuvshin and his wife decided to open a small delguur, or food shop. Strolling past many other vendors, one can today find Dashgerel weighing sausage, cucumbers, or tomatoes in a four-foot-wide shop with a picture of the resurrected Savior on the wall behind her.
Another sign of the gospel’s growth in Mongolia is that several natives have been called on missions. Sister Magsar Batchimeg is currently serving on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. She too loves her native country and believes that the gospel of Jesus Christ will bring the needed “mighty change” to the hearts of many Mongolians. “Mongolian people are good people,” she says. “They are very friendly, and they have good thoughts about others. If they will hear the gospel and join the Church, their lives will be better.”
Anniversary of Beginnings of Great Pioneer Trek Celebrated
In a scene similar to that of 150 years ago, hundreds of Latter-day Saints and others gathered in Nauvoo, Illinois, on the icy shore of the Mississippi River as part of a two-day commemoration event. Approximately 1,100 people braved the cold temperature and even colder windchill to retrace the steps of Saints who traveled down Parley Street to the riverbank to begin the 1846 exodus to the Rocky Mountains.
“It is good to reflect upon the work of those who labored so hard and gained so little in this world, but out of whose dreams and early plans, so well nurtured, has come a great harvest of which we are the beneficiary,” said Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy, a counselor in the North America Central Area Presidency. Elder Pinnock presided at the outdoor meeting, held in a tent not far from the river’s edge where, a century and a half earlier, the first wagons were ferried from Nauvoo to Montrose, Iowa, starting the mass migration of faithful Saints westward.
Elder Pinnock spoke of the indomitable will and the spiritual strength of the pioneer Saints. “This tremendous example provides compelling motivation for us all, for each of us is a pioneer in his own life, often in his own family, and many of us pioneer daily in trying to establish a gospel foothold in distant parts of the world,” he said.
Focusing on the self-reliance and determination of the early pioneers, Elder Pinnock encouraged those in attendance to strive for growth in their personal pioneer journey. “May we seek a level of living that transports us beyond the circumstances and situations of today,” he said. “As the 20th century will soon close, we dwell in a time when science, government, and medicine leave us well protected and cared for, yet if we don’t stretch to a higher life and better way of living, how can we find the true joy that could await all of us? A loving Heavenly Father wants us to become even better, to live our own special glory.”
Also speaking at the chilly outdoor meeting was Brigham Young University professor Susan Easton Black, who described the noble qualities of the pioneers who willingly made the great trek west despite the unseen obstacles and fears they faced. “They were not exactly your sunshine Saints,” she noted. “They were those willing to leave when it’s not convenient. They were those that knew that a prophet of God had spoken, and they heard the whisperings of the Lord. … Why would they leave? The answer is because they were following a prophet of God.”
The 3 February meeting was the first in a series of events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the westward trek of the Latter-day Saints.
The Saints’ departure from Nauvoo was symbolically recreated during the festivities, and on the evening of 3 February several Iowa communities along the Mormon Pioneer Trail simultaneously lit bonfires marking the sites where the early pioneers passed. Many of these towns trace their own origins to the first groups of Saints who developed the early communities to provide food and shelter for those who followed them.
Dr. Loren N. Horton, senior Iowa state historian, spoke at another gathering the same day, reading pioneer journal entries describing personal accounts of daily life during the Mormon trek across Iowa. “It looked like the movement of a nation,” said Dr. Horton, who explained that amid the logistical challenge of moving an entire city of people, the daily task of living continued.
The commemoration events continued on Sunday, with more than 900 people gathered for sacrament meeting, followed in the afternoon by a fireside held at the meetinghouse in Nauvoo. Several descendants from Nauvoo pioneers spoke, sharing moments from their ancestors’ lives. In addition, Elder Bruce Bingham, an Area Authority, spoke of hearing the gospel as a 12-year-old boy when his family visited the Nauvoo Temple site during a vacation. After returning to their home town in Illinois, Elder Bingham’s parents listened to the gospel message and the family was baptized. “I am eternally grateful for Nauvoo,” he said.
As the concluding speaker at the Sunday commemoration, Elder Pinnock spoke of people living in the nearby communities who were not members. “I hope we can understand just a little bit the feelings of those who lived here and nearby,” he said. “We were considered so different from anything they knew.”
Elder Pinnock talked about the future growth of the Church, mentioning predictions that Church membership will grow remarkably during the coming decades. “And so it shall be,” Elder Pinnock declared. “When we only want to do what the Master wants us to do, … then these great things will come to pass.”
Other events to commemorate the history of the Mormon Trail have been scheduled throughout this year. An Iowa Mormon Trail Historical Symposium is planned for May. Two different groups will be recreating the wagon trek across Iowa. The Kanesville Tabernacle is being rebuilt with private donations and will become a local site of historical significance.
PAF Release for Macintosh
A new release of Personal Ancestral File® for Macintosh computers is now available. This release includes the following new functions:
—Match/Merge, which finds possible duplicate records and allows users to merge them into one.
—Focus, which allows users to create a group of individuals with something in common and view, edit, or print lists from this group.
—Backup and Restore, which allows users to copy very large files onto two or more disks.
—Preview on Screen, which allows users to preview any form or list on screen before printing it.
—Font selection, which gives users the ability to select any system font for screens or printouts.
Other features of the new release enables users to count ancestors and descendants, find relationships, calculate dates, create a birth date graph, put Ahnentafel numbers in the ID number field, and print a list of temples.
In addition to these features, the program includes new charts and lists, plus the capability to custom design additional lists. A Family Records Check program also has been added to check and fix data files with common data structure problems.
Personal Ancestral File 2.3.1 Release for Macintosh requires 2 MB of memory, a hard drive, and one double-sided 800K disk drive. It is available through the Salt Lake Distribution Center for $35.
Conversation on Gospel Roots Deepen in Northern Europe
As a new generation of priesthood holders moves into leadership positions and as members’ strong family and moral values become more publicly recognized, the Church continues to progress in the British Isles and in the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland. For an update about the Church in this area, the Ensign spoke with Elder of the Seventy, President of the Europe North Area, and his counselors, Elders and , both also of the Seventy.
Question: After more than a century of helping seed the gospel in other parts of the world, northern European members are now putting down gospel roots in their homelands. Where does this process stand today?
Answer: Since the London Temple was dedicated in 1958—at a time, incidentally, when England was home to only about 6,000 members—the Church in the British Isles has grown at a rapid pace. Today we feel that other countries throughout the area also have stronger corps of priesthood leaders and more faithful Saints than ever before in their histories. These wards and branches are built on foundations laid by dedicated, experienced members who remained faithful during years when the Church was small and obscure. Yet these stalwart pioneers have raised up a generation of committed, competent young leaders who are now moving the Church into a new phase of growth and development. A recent change in local leadership in Oslo, Norway, illustrates this process: A good brother who had worked for nine years as a counselor in a stake presidency and for another nine years as a stake president was released, and into his shoes stepped a 34-year-old returned missionary who is becoming a powerful leader. It is exciting to witness this ongoing transition to a strong, well-prepared younger generation of local priesthood leaders.
We credit much of the strength and preparedness of today’s northern European Saints to full-time missionary service. We were recently impressed on a visit to the Nordic countries to find so many couples and younger men and women who had served missions. Returned missionaries bring considerable skill and enthusiasm to their home units, and their missionary spirits influence other members to renew their efforts. With such a wonderful and ever-growing group of returned missionaries strengthening the Church throughout northern Europe, we feel much confidence about the Church’s future here. As an Area Presidency, we continually encourage young adults and couples to serve full-time missions whenever possible.
Q: How is the gospel helping northern Europeans meet modern challenges?
A: As is true elsewhere in the world, Latter-day Saints seem to be standing increasingly apart in proclaiming and living basic moral values. Some institutions and individuals that once could be counted on to stand up for what is right seem to be equivocating on issues such as morality, gambling, and homosexuality. Instead of encouraging the formation and maintenance of traditional families, some social policy seems to encourage undesirable patterns of conduct and attitude toward the sacred institutions of the home and family. In such situations, marriage is not attractive to many because social assistance stops when an income is provided by the father. We note, however, that while the world’s decaying moral climate entices some Latter-day Saints to reject moral ways of living, it also influences others to embrace the gospel way.
For these reasons, no message could be more timely for the people of our area—as well as for the rest of the world—than the recent proclamation about the family issued by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles (see Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). This proclamation states that “children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Nearly all economic and social problems in our countries could be solved if people will respond to this proclamation and apply its principles. As the proclamation has unfolded in our area, we have sensed that the Lord is preparing the hearts of many decent, God-fearing people in the Europe North Area to receive the restored gospel.
Q: What other outreaches and events are strengthening Church members and helping proclaim the gospel?
A: Several countries in our area have recently enjoyed separate visits by members of the First Presidency. President Thomas S. Monson created a second stake in Stockholm, Sweden, and also visited with Sweden’s king and queen at the Stockholm Sweden Temple, where he presented the queen with 60 pounds of books containing her family’s genealogical records. This visit was highlighted in a nationally televised year-end review of the king and queen’s activities. In Great Britain, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke 16 times to a total of 8,000 people over a period of nine days and gave three significant media interviews. President Hinckley was the first Church President to visit Ireland since President David O. McKay visited there in 1953. Some 500 people drove from Belfast, Northern Ireland, to join 800 more Saints in Dublin, Ireland, to hear the prophet. One brother who decided at the last minute to make the trip later expressed that hearing President Hinckley and feeling his warmth, humanity, and love for the people was one of the most marvelous spiritual experiences of his life.
Family history and temple work continue to strengthen the area tremendously. After several years of cooperation among Church members and associates from genealogical groups, 30 million names from the British 1881 census have been added to family history resources for the use of members and nonmembers alike in researching their kindred dead. We expect to see much continuing good from this project, not only in family history research but also in increased public awareness of the Church.
The fruits of the census labor will begin to reach the public about the same time the Preston England Temple is completed, which is already generating much public interest as well as excitement among members. Rising prominently above a major motorway on a hill in Chorley, a small town southeast of Preston, the temple will be the centerpiece of a complex that also includes housing for temple workers, a reception center for travelers, a stake center, and a missionary training center with a significantly larger capacity than the London center. We predict that the Preston temple will represent as significant a milestone in British Church growth as the London Temple did in 1958. So much of the good that occurs in our area can be traced to temples. When members gain a sense of what the temple really means and focus their gospel living on it, the quality of their lives improves and their ability to influence others for good increases.
The Church is becoming better known in northern Europe. Though much remains to be done, we’ve made some real strides forward. For example, much of our press coverage is favorable, and a large, dedicated full-time missionary force is working hard to convert people one by one. Our most significant progress, we believe, comes because of the examples of Church members. Though they represent a small religious minority, our people seem to feel no resignation about being Church members. They take great pleasure in living the gospel, and they feel a sense of healthy confidence about their testimonies and values. This kind of attitude is what will further bring the Church out of obscurity.
BYU’s Heritage Series Features LDS Composers
The Heritage Series, an LDS recording project established by Brigham Young University’s Department of Music, has released its second volume in a series of recordings documenting the musical contributions of Latter-day Saint composers. Produced by the university’s Tantara label, this volume features Robert Cundick’s The Redeemer: A Sacred Service of Music.
Brother Cundick’s work celebrates the life of Jesus Christ through scriptural text in a choral and orchestral setting. BYU’s University Singers, Concert Choir, and the Philharmonic orchestra combined their talents under the direction of Ronald Staheli to make the recording.
The works recorded in the Heritage Series “have as their core an understanding of music’s spiritual nature—manifest through the talents of accomplished performers,” noted Clyn Barrus in an introduction to the first volume of the Heritage Series. Brother Barrus is chair of BYU’s music department and is on the production committee for the Heritage Series.
The Heritage Series was born in 1991, recalled Anna Marie Hales, who along with her husband, Sloan, contributed an endowment to BYU for the recording of significant LDS compositions. During the Tabernacle Choir’s tour of Eastern Europe in 1991, the Haleses spoke with Robert Cundick, Tabernacle organist at the time, about the lack of recordings from serious LDS composers. They recognized a void in documenting what has been created musically by Church members beyond what the Tabernacle Choir has recorded. Using the Haleses’ endowment, the Heritage Series was created to fill this void.
The first volume in the Heritage Series was Leroy Robertson: A Treasury of Chamber Music. Several more volumes featuring LDS composers and performers are in various stages of planning.
A Call for LDS Art
The Ensign, which has featured many beautiful and instructive paintings and illustrations, invites Latter-day Saint painters and illustrators to submit photographs of their artwork that they feel would be appropriate for use in the Ensign or on its inside or outside covers.
Artwork may focus on (1) aspects of Latter-day Saint lifestyle, (2) scriptural events, themes, or doctrinal principles, (3) worldwide Latter-day Saint history from 1805 to contemporary times, and (4) any theme that artists feel merits consideration.
Please send slides of your artwork to Ensign Magazine, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you would like the slides returned.