From out of the world He has called us, and now the people of the Lord are leavening the earth, with representatives in every continent and every clime.

The Church in this dispensation started with six men, then increased a thousand fold, and is now stretching toward a thousand fold more. Today, there are more than 4.3 million members of the Church worldwide.

What are the reasons for such tremendous growth? The Lord said he would perform a “marvellous work and a wonder” in the last days (see Isa. 29:14); and indeed he has, as the Saints featured in this section joyfully attest. The peace of the gospel has touched their lives.

The following pages show the Latter-day Saints of 1980—faces and testimonies, activities and experiences—glimpses of a people who follow Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. These photos are visual evidence of prophecies fulfilled: “And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him they shall find pasture” (1 Ne. 22:25).

The more I study Mormon doctrine, the stronger my testimony grows about the only true church here upon the earth. I strongly believe that there is a spirit of harmony between Mormon doctrine and Confuscius’ good teachings. Through this spirit of harmony, the gospel shall be preached throughout China, for this church is the religion that suits the Chinese people best.

—Liu, Chun-Hua, Taiwan

I returned to activity in the Church three years ago—and these last three years have had more meaning and brought more closeness and happiness to me and my family than all the other years put together. I have a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and how it changes lives—but only if you let it.

—Hugh Wilkinson, Spokane, Washington

After I heard the missionaries, I knelt down and asked the Lord if the message they’d brought was true. As long as I live I will never forget the answer I received—an indescribable, wonderful feeling that filled my entire being. I knew without a doubt that the message was true; everything fell into place for me and I felt nearer to the Lord than I had ever felt before. I have since had this witness confirmed many times. My twelve years of service in the Church have taught me that a testimony grows in accordance with our obedience to the commandments.

—Steffen Vestergaard Poulson, Denmark

Through all our troubles, trials, and testing my wife and I have developed an understanding love for each other, for our children, and a special love for our Heavenly Father that far exceeds anything we believed possible. We feel such a closeness to the Lord that we are compelled to talk with him about the things he wants us to do and seek his approval of the things we feel we should do. We feel a great dedication to him and his work. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for his blessing to us, our home, and our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

—Delos B. Price, St. George, Utah

One spiritual experience leads to another if we are faithful, diligent, and prayerful. There is a special spirit that accompanies every Church calling, and a spiritual reward for fulfilling each calling. Oh, how I love the work of the Lord!

—Nadia Ardis, Salisbury, Maryland

Amidst our grief at losing our young son came the sweet realization that even though we had lost for a time someone very precious, we had received something priceless in return. We felt the Spirit of the Lord comfort us as literally as if the Lord had put his arm around us. Love and peace beyond measure have filled our hearts and home.

—Teresa Gardner Randall, Tempe, Arizona

One of the first times I used my priesthood was to give a healing blessing. The experience, the feelings I had, sensing the thoughts of the Spirit in my mind, had a profound effect on me. The experience strengthened my faith and testimony that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is his kingdom established on earth to accomplish his will.

—Harry W. Cross, Newark, Delaware

On 28 April 1979 at 7:00 P.M., Bob and I were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How pure and peaceful we felt. It’s a feeling we will never forget. I remember Bob’s face when he had the laying on of hands for the Holy Spirit. He seemed to glow and he looked so peaceful—it was as though I could see the Spirit within him.

When I had the laying on of hands I felt different than I had before. I found what was missing within me. I remember crying for joy. We love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We are constantly working to better ourselves and to live more like Christ. We look forward to when our family will be together for eternity, with our Heavenly Father.

—Candy Bethany, Louisville, Kentucky

My grandparents were among the earliest group of people to accept the gospel and be baptized into the Church when the missionaries first arrived in New Zealand. I am the fourth generation in our family to be born a member of the Church. To my great-grandfather, Te Rangihawe Puriri, and my great-grandmother, Terena Puriri, I am eternally grateful. Even though they couldn’t speak English very well, they knew that the missionaries brought the truth and that they were indeed servants of the Lord. They had a strong desire to become members and have set a great example for me and the rest of my family.

—Rakaipaka Puriri II, Alpine, Utah

My answers to life—its purpose and meaning—are found through the gospel of Jesus Christ. By living in accordance with the Lord’s will and commandments, we can have joy and peace of mind, rather than the world’s so-called fun and pleasures. It is wonderful to know that this is not our only life; when you think of life as being eternal, you naturally start your own planning with eternal goals in mind.

—Edward Joseph (Skip) Willis, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

With open hearts, trust, and courage, life can be rather exciting. But the most exciting thing is seeing how the gospel of Jesus Christ and its blessings embrace more and more people around us. Perhaps that’s the greatest blessing in life: to know that those you love are walking the same path, toward the same goal of being together with Heavenly Father, forever.

—Karin Wingard, Skovede, Sweden

In these past years I have learned that there is no joy in life unless it is in living the gospel. I have learned that the Lord gives us his commandments to keep—not to break or even bend—and that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me on a personal, individual basis and cares about what happens to me. No matter where life may lead me, I will be eternally grateful to him for bringing me to his holy gospel.

I have questioned the gospel many times in my mind; at times I tried not living it because it seemed too hard, but I always came to the same conclusion: the gospel is true and life is not worth living without the guidance of the Lord. I have only one goal in life, and that is to serve the Lord and keep his commandments so that in the end I may be with him forever in the celestial kingdom.

—Delma M. Heath, Dugway, Utah

After fifteen years in the Church I am grateful for the knowledge I have of this life and the life to come. It has brought me an inner peace that all the money of this world can’t buy.

—Edward A. Lyons, New South Wales, Australia

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of the dearest and most peaceful awareness in my life: Heavenly Father and our Savior live! When I think of their love for me, sometimes I get choked up and I can’t speak. At other times I can’t stop talking, trying to explain how I feel about this wonderful gospel. I know our Father is always there with his ever-guiding hand, to help us in time of need. I thank the fine missionaries that persevered with us—if not for them I’d still be the lost soul I was when I first met them.

—Judy Colston, Lakeland, Florida

My life as a single woman is continually blessed by my activity in the Church. As I learn how to exist in the Church as a single woman I find that I am better able to exist in the outside world. My growth in the gospel and my acceptance of my role as a woman seem to be in direct proportion to my activity in Church programs. I am thankful for those inspired programs that offer opportunity for activity and growth to all daughters of the Lord—single as well as married.

—Connie Pynes, St. Louis, Missouri

When we attended our first meeting, I felt a gentle spirit presiding there. I also felt that I had known these friendly people for a very long time. I was impressed by the sure knowledge they had of Christ and that he lives today. I soon found that these special people live their religion seven days a week and are striving to attain a degree of perfection that I had been taught would never occur until death.

We became as the man who sold all to buy the pearl of great price—we gave up the habits that conflicted with the Word of Wisdom; we gave up our material goals. Following Moroni’s instructions, we prayed with sincere hearts—and Heavenly Father answered our prayers. We know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of God.

—Cheryl Bryant Lancaster, Norman, Oklahoma

After some time of inactivity in the Church, one day the Lord opened my mind to a message brought by my home teacher, one based on fasting and prayer. I felt the sincerity of his spirit and, motivated to learn for myself, have finally come to understand that the gospel is true.

—John E. Hopkins, Warrington, Pennsylvania

I thank my Heavenly Father every day for sending his servants to my home to teach us the gospel. I am grateful for my testimony and the many blessings he bestows upon us. We will always be in his debt; if we are willing to keep his commandments and use our time and talents in his service, he does open the windows of heaven to pour out his blessings upon us.

—Willem van Zoeren, the Netherlands

I can hardly remember the long slow labor that preceded my rebirth: It felt so much like dying sometimes. But I was blessed with dear friends and a ward who helped me more than they will ever know. I began my renaissance on my knees, then read, really read, the scriptures—and slowly began to realize that while I had been living the letter of the law for many years, I had not even known how to live the spirit of the law. I had never learned how to love people. And so I discovered the center of it all, the mystery, the corona of the gospel, that is so simple and yet so immense: we only keep what we lose. In giving up my inner-independence, I gain freedom; in giving of myself I gain love. But most of all, I learned in trying to keep the commandments that one cannot keep them alone.

—Lynnda Seyfried, St. Louis, Missouri

Though I was baptized in 1969, I feel as though I’ve been a member all my life. In a way, my life really began when I joined the Church.

—Mary A. Burns, Ardsley, Pennsylvania

I spent my days without any particular purpose until I learned about the Church. I had hoped that I would lead a purposeful and fruitful life; however, I felt empty. I had not found anything to fill my soul and vitalize my spirit. Then the missionaries came and we began to have the lessons. From the missionaries I began to believe that we are the children of God. It is natural that as the children of God we follow the will of God. That is the reason I chose to seek to live God’s commandments. We began to live the commandments and in December 1972 my family happily entered the waters of baptism.

—Kaoru Takeda, Japan

When I went to church for the first time, I was welcomed as the greatest and most special person around. And the more I talked to the members the more I had the feeling that I needed to let them guide me. I quickly gained great confidence in these warm and friendly people. Because of their love I had the desire to learn.

—Guy Taburet, Paris, France

I can truly say that the Church has transformed my life. It has given me direction in my business career, spiritual life, and most importantly as a father. I know that God lives for I have felt the promptings of his Spirit. I am most happy to be a member of this church.

—Charles W. Woodrow, Hopkins, South Carolina

The Ensign thanks the many wards and branches, stakes and missions that helped supply the photographs and the testimonies of the Saints. And a special thanks goes to the hundreds of Saints around the world who willingly spent time taking the pictures and recording their thoughts and feelings about their membership in the Church. (For more detailed experiences of Saints, see page 50.)

1. Tevita (right) and Mele Bloomfield of Fatai, Tongatapu, Tonga. Tevita was the first person to join the Church in Fatai—and now the town has a thriving ward. (Photography by Gary W. Stoddard.)

2. Branch members in Bentzanos, Bolivia. (Photography by Clark Jensen.)

3. Eeva-Leena Eronen of the Helsinki First Ward in Finland. (Photography by Goran Hallberg.)

4. Sidnea, Sibell, and Marcia, three young members in the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission. (Photography by Barry Shelley.)

5. Stuart Fowler, second counselor in the Sunday School presidency of the Chelmsley Wood Ward in Birmingham, England. (Photography by Brian Heath.)

6. Brother Angel Zembrana (left) and Bishop Juan Carlos Aquino of the Third Ward in the Cochabamba Bolivia Stake. (Photography by Steven Sprinkel.)

7. Elida B. Almeida, a Laurel in the Dourados Branch of the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission. (Photography by Darrell H. Smith.)

8. Brother Chang, a member in the Korea Seoul Mission, is retired but keeps busy by caring for fifteen beehives. Traditional Korean architecture can be seen in the background. (Photography by David Mayo.)

9. A young Texas member displays his volleyball medals. (Photography by Barry Hodson.)

10. Romilda Leith, Relief Society President of the San Lorenzo Branch in the Paraguay Asuncion Mission. (Photography by Pablino Nunez.)

11. Priastianto Sadiono, a teacher (pengajar) in the Aaronic Priesthood in the Solo Branch, Indonesia Djakarta Mission. (Photography by Philip Groesbeck.)

12. Young sisters from the Austin, Texas, area. (Photography by Barry Hodson.)

13. A brother from the Mexico Monterrey Mission. (Photography by Eldon Karratti, Jr.)

14. Sister Chan Yee, a member of one year, stands on the balcony of her home in Chai Wan, Hong Kong. (Photography by Bradford Hillam.)

15. Ten-year-old Chantal Legault is a member of the Gatineau Branch of the Montreal Quebec Stake. (Photography by Lloyd Dickson.)

16. President Kerry Kereho Kahuroa of Mataura Branch, New Zealand Christchurch Mission, pauses while shearing a sheep. (Photography by Bradley Carlson.)

17. Hana Ahlback of the Umea Branch, Sweden Stockholm Mission, with two friends. (Photography by Dennis Empey.)

18. Sister Edith Wiklof and daughter Rose-Marie outside their home in Alby, Sweden. (Photography by John Alexander.)

19. John Doig and son Nathon in the foyer of Payneham chapel, Firle, South Australia. Brother Doig is a seventy in the ward. (Photography by Australia Adelaide Mission.)

20. Sister Durand of Perpignan, France, plays an ocarina. (Photography by Max Wheelwright.)

21. Brother Flores, the custodian and gardener for the mission home in Guatemala City, Guatemala. (Photography by Willard I. Skousen.)

22. Akanesi Naeata serves as stake Primary president in Nuku‘alofa, Tonga. (Photography by Gary W. Stoddard.)

23. Ime O. Edouk, Cross River State District president, Nigeria. (Photography by Spencer J. Palmer.)

24. Sister Shum Wan Oi Wa sits with her daughter and son in their Tsuen Wan home, Hong Kong. (Photography by Bradford Hillam.)

25. Brother Sadiono of the Indonesia Djakarta Mission teaches his family of eleven a home evening (malam keluarga) lesson. He and his family live behind the church and serve as custodians for the building. (Photography by Philip Groesbeck.)

26. Bishop Guillermo Riveros and his family pose in front of the new Mburukuja chapel in the Asuncion Paraguay Stake. Bishop Riveros is a lawyer. (Photography by Pablino Nunez.)

27. Gary and Marilyn Smith of the Hattiesburg Ward, Mississippi, welcome a new addition to their family. (Photography by Gary W. Smith.)

28. Cresencio Laverez, president of the Marbel Branch, Philippines Davao Mission, with his wife, Excelsa, and his two daughters, Maria and Cherry, in front of the Marbel meetinghouse. Maria and Cherry are riding on a carabao. (Photography by Rick Hardy.)

29. President Marc Van den Brande of the Mechelen Branch, Belgium Antwerp Mission, enjoys a family home evening with his wife, Annie, and son, Stijn. (Photography by Stanford P. Fitts.)

30. Chale Poobuwle of Udorn, Thailand, transporting his family to church. The family members are Sister Poobuwle, Bunruang, and the children: Sompong, 10; Samrong, 8; Wansai, 6; Chokchai, 5; Sudjai, 2; and Ratrii, 3 months. Brother Poobuwle uses the bicycle cart as a taxi to make his living during the week. (Photography by Nick L. Nielson.)

31. Lamanite converts in Betanzos, Bolivia. (Photography by Clark Jensen.)

32. Members Edson and Odete Ferreira and their daughter, of Osasco, Brazil, share a dinner with Elder Darrell H. Smith of Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photography by Darrell H. Smith.)

33. The Heikki Karumo family of the Stockholm First Ward in Sweden. Front row, left to right: Markus, 7; Lisbeth, 4; Kai, 9; and Kristian, 10: Back row: Anna-Helena, 10; Brother Karumo holding Henrik, 1; Sister Karumo; Katja, 11; and Kati, 12. (Photography by Dennis Empey.)

34. Jacques and Marie Plovier and their children, Marina and Marc, work in their garden. Brother Plovier is a district president in the Belgium Antwerp Mission. (Photography by Ruel A. Allred.)

35. Members of the Drummondville Ward of Quebec, Canada, in the Sunday School room above a bakery. In the foreground are Brother and Sister Lareau with their baby. Behind are Sister Blanche Couture and Sister Solange Bedard. (Photography by Steve Westfall.)

36. Eighty-four-year-old Lavada Cox of Birmingham, Alabama, demonstrates the delicate art of tatting to Lisa Hawk and Dia Maddox. (Photography by Lynn Kinney.)

37. The Maldonado family of Talcahuano, Chile. (Photography by J. Warren Harding.)

38. Moegalupe and Susana Nonu of Vailele, Western Samoa, hold family home evening. Their children’s names are Akenese, Elena, Lisina, Atonio, Leolaga, Kerita, and Tofi. (Photography by Eric W. White.)

39. Martin and Sonja Gout and their two children of the Groningen Branch, Netherlands Amsterdam Mission. (Photography by Pat Connolly.)

40. Brother Klas Byggmaster and his wife, Heidi, of the Finland Helsinki Mission. (Photography by Eero Mustonen.)

41. Members in the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission attend one of the branches. (Photography by Dale Goodman.)

42. Greenfield Park Ward in Ontario, Canada, after sacrament meeting. (Photography by Wayne Kennedy.)

43. Payneham chapel in the Adelaide Australia Stake. (Photography by Australia Adelaide Mission.)

44. A family prepares to be baptized in the outdoor baptismal font of the Guarantingueta Branch of the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission. Outdoor fonts are not uncommon in Brazil. (Photography by Barry Shelley.)

45. A young sister in the East Stratford Ward, Salt Lake Highland Stake, partakes of the sacrament. (Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten.)

46. Elder Richard Polson of the Alaska Anchorage Mission baptizing Gary Brown of Wrangell, Alaska. (Photography by Douglas T. Snarr.)

47. Members congregate outside their meetinghouse in the Mexico Monterrey Mission. (Photography by R. A. Petersen.)

48. Meetinghouse for the First Ward in the Helsinki Finland Stake. (Photography by Antti Lampila.)

49. The meetinghouse in Sanford, North Carolina, has been converted from an old theater. Homer A. Cates of the high council of the Fayetteville North Carolina Stake stands near the entrance. (Photography by John W. Edmund, Jr.)

50. Youth leave a stake building in Seoul, Korea. The structure has been built in traditional Korean style. The roof of a large Buddhist temple can be seen in the background. (Photography by David Mayo.)

51. Members of the Leuven Branch of the Belgium Antwerp Mission. (Photography by Bryce Jolley.)

52. Jorgen Schmidt, Jr., teaches a class of ten-year-olds in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photography by Kenneth Bauer.)

53. A Sunday School Gospel Doctrine class in the East Stratford Ward, Salt Lake Highland Stake. In the foreground sit Sisters Afton Bouck (left) and Sarah Hendricks. (Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten.)

54. Members of the Birmingham Alabama Stake receive general conference via cable television. (Photography by Lynn Kinney.)

55. Members of the East Stratford Ward bishopric, Salt Lake Highland Stake, discuss ward business. From left to right, Brother Dale Glade, Bishop Sterling Ryser, and Brother Paul Fagergren. (Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten.)

56. Sisters Ngatuvai and Moala, two of the 120 native sister missionaries in the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission. (Photography by Gary W. Stoddard.)

57. President Andre Salarnier of the Bordeaux District, France Toulouse Mission. (Photography by Max Wheelwright.)

58. The Primary of the Davao Second Branch, Philippines Davao Mission, performs a song in sacrament meeting. The chorister is Sister Miriam Ang. (Photography by Rick Hardy.)

59. Connie Kinney (standing) and Francis Israel of the Birmingham Alabama Stake stop to chat after a meeting. (Photography by Lynn Kinney.)

60. Elders Marsh, Owings, and Davies stand outside their flat in the New Zealand Christchurch Mission. (Photography by New Zealand Christchurch Mission.)

61. Bishop David Parkinson of the Hutchinson Ward, Wichita Kansas Stake, leads a workshop on the needs of the youth at a stake women’s conference. (Photography by Mary E. Willoughby.)

62. Richard L. Krikava, seminary principal in Salem, Oregon, discusses a scripture with Deana Miller and Ramona Hinman. (Photography by David M. Habben.)

63. Members of the Sucre Second Branch of the Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission. (Photography by Steven Sprinkel.)

64. Brother Kwok Wai Yip, a member of his ward bishopric in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, makes his living as a mechanic. (Photography by Bradford Hillam.)

65. Pedro Flores, Feliciano Vasquez, Erwin Sanchez, and Bishop Salomon Balderama form part of a priesthood choir for a stake conference in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. (Photography by Randy Lusk.)

66. Members of the Bayonne Branch, France Toulouse Mission, on the beach. (Photography by Craig Urling.)

67. Tori Hamp of the Spencer Third Ward, Magna Utah Central Stake, leads the children in singing. (Photography by Jed A. Clark.)

68. Members of the Farmington Ninth Ward, Farmington Utah Stake, Relief Society presidency. From left to right, Nancy Peterson, June Brown, Sandra Pritchett, and Karen Clark. (Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten.)

69. Primary children in the Hattiesburg Ward in Mississippi participate in the ward parade during a Twenty-fourth of July celebration. (Photography by Gary W. Smith.)

70. Children in Moroni Church School, Paraguay Asuncion Mission. (Photography by Pablino Nunez.)

71. The Kauni Kavea family of the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission spend a quiet time together making baskets. The baskets not only have a practical, everyday use, but they are also considered a fine art, one which is passed from generation to generation. (Photography by Gary W. Stoddard.)

72. Members of the Groningen Branch, Netherlands, have a piggy-back race as part of a weekday activity. (Photography by Pat Connolly.)

73. Young Adults participate in their Institute class, Iligan Branch, Philippines Davao Mission. (Photography by Todd C. Atkinson.)

74. Elder Jaime Zenteno, a native Bolivian elder, teaches a discussion in Sucre, Bolivia. (Photography by Steven Sprinkel.)

75. Youth of the Antwerp South Branch, Belgium. (Photography by Gregory Bean.)

76. Kym Wainwright of Payneham Ward in South Australia bears his testimony in an early morning seminary testimony meeting. (Photography by Australia Adelaide Mission.)

77. The Norman Ward of Norman, Oklahoma, pays for its ward budget by cleaning the 72,000-seat University of Oklahoma football stadium. An average of 250 ward members participate in this project. Here Brother Don Neighbors works with a blower on an upper deck. (Photography by Lilli Anderson.)

78. Members gather potatoes at the Church welfare farm in Patcicia, Guatemala. (Photography by Willard I. Skousen.)

79. Young Manuel Guejan plays while father Manuel weaves in his home. The Guejans are members in the Ecuador Quito Mission. (Photography by Kyle Mecham.)

80. Sisters in the Athens Branch Relief Society in Greece gather for an evening function. (Photography by Daniel E. Court.)

81. Kathy Troxel works in the Deseret Industries outlet in Portland, Oregon. (Photography by David M. Habben.)

82. Welfare missionary sisters Cox and Ball teach children in Abancay, Peru. The sisters travel for ten hours by bus once a month to give the sisters in Abancay the orientation they need in the Primary and Relief Society programs. (Photography by Gerry D. Prince.)

83. Members of the Colombo Branch, Sri Lanka. (Photography by H. Duane Anderson.)

84. Desiree Akerstrom, Aina Seter, Annika Lofstrand, Maria Permats, and Ann Akerstrom wear traditional dress as they sing folk songs on the longest day of the year, Midsommar, a Swedish national holiday. All live in the Sweden Stockholm Mission. (Photography by Peter Hansen.)

85. Cheryl Stoddard of Decatur, Illinois, rehearses the play Because of Elizabeth at Nauvoo, Illinois. (Photography by Norman Ross.)

86. Ron Kunha, an elder in the Prunedale Ward, smiles through the pie he has just consumed to win the pie-eating contest of the Monterey California Stake Family Olympics. He is congratulated by Bishop Jack Fear, right. (Photography by Kathy Spangler.)

87. Soeng Dae Lee of Seoul, Korea, teaches a biology lesson at the Seoul National School for the Blind. (Photography by David Mayo.)

88. Primary children from the Hunter Branch, Arequipa, Peru, perform a native dance for a school in the Plaza el Mirador. (Photography by Gerry D. Prince.)

89. Finnish youth perform a national dance in traditional costumes. (Photography by Sakari Tuominen.)

90. Brother Nicolas Cardenas helps in the building of a house for Brother Agusto Vasquez. His prior home was destroyed by an earthquake in the spring of 1979. Brother Cardenas, a member of the Peru Arequipa Mission presidency, is head engineer in Arequipa. (Photography by Gerry D. Prince.)

91. Bishop Merlin Olsen of the Greenfield Park Ward, Ottawa Ontario Stake, helps to prepare food for the annual ward luau. (Photography by Wayne Kennedy.)

92. A Boy Scout from the Arorangi Branch, Rarotonga, Cook Islands. (Photography by Tahiti Papeete Mission.)