President Hinckley Maintains Busy Schedule, Visits Two Continents

In a month that saw him celebrate his 86th birthday and visit two continents, President Gordon B. Hinckley continued to make it a priority to visit the Saints, sharing his testimony and urging Church members to remain faithful.

From 11 to 16 June, President Hinckley visited five European countries, speaking to members and missionaries, meeting with press and government representatives, and breaking ground for a new temple.

Milestone Visit for Spain Members

President Hinckley arrived in Madrid, Spain, on 11 June, the first visit to this country by a Church President. While in Spain, he attended a luncheon of local priesthood leaders, talked to missionaries in the Spain Madrid Mission, and spoke at the ground breaking for the Madrid Spain Temple.

Accompanying President Hinckley were his wife, Marjorie; Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, June; Elder Dean L. Larsen of the Seventy, President of the Europe West Area at the time, and his wife, Geneal; and Elder Francisco J. Viñas, a new member of the Seventy and the first native of Spain to serve as a General Authority, and his wife, Cristina.

“The temple is invested with a particular sanctity,” President Hinckley told the approximately 2,000 people gathered at the site in Mortalez, an area west of Madrid. “I promise you and the officials of Madrid that what is built here will be beautiful. We will build a temple, a stake center, and missionary training center, and some other facilities to accommodate the needs of our people. The structure will be beautiful, and the ground will be beautiful. This will be a hallowed and sacred place.”

President Hinckley urged those in attendance, who came from all over Spain and parts of France and Portugal, to begin to “set their lives in order, to live the gospel of Jesus Christ more fully, to show an increase of love in our hearts, in our families, and in all our associations. … The measure of our faithfulness will be the degree to which we live the gospel.”

After the site dedication prayer, President Hinckley and others participated in the ceremonial ground breaking, inviting a young boy and girl to take a turn with the shovel as well. As President Hinckley left the ground-breaking site, many members were visibly moved, some openly weeping, by the emotions they felt from this first visit of a prophet of the Lord to their country.

Belgium Members Hear of Restoration

The Church leader and those accompanying him then traveled to Brussels, Belgium, where they were met and welcomed at the airport by Ambassador Robert E. Hunter, the U.S. permanent representative to NATO, and Alan John Clinken, U.S. ambassador to Belgium.

While in Brussels, President Hinckley met with full-time missionaries on the afternoon of 12 June and with about 1,500 area members that evening. Many members had arrived more than three hours early so they would have good seats for the meeting.

During his remarks, President Hinckley talked of breaking ground for the temple the day before and praised members for their faithfulness and for their love and prayers. He urged them to remember their responsibilities as members and spoke about four purposes of the Restoration, which are outlined in the Doctrine and Covenants: (1) that all men might be able to speak in the name of the Lord of the marvelous blessings that have come through the priesthood, (2) that faith might increase in the earth, (3) that the Lord’s everlasting covenant might be established, and (4) that the fulness of the gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and simple throughout the earth. (See D&C 1.)

Holland Members Urged to Be Rooted in Gospel

On 13 June President Hinckley traveled to The Hague, Holland, where he spoke in two different gatherings, one with full-time missionaries and the other with some 2,000 members at an evening meeting. The latter group represented members from all over Holland, as well as Flemish-speaking Church members from Belgium.

President Hinckley spoke briefly to the parents, asking them to “be true and faithful to each other as husbands and wives. Be grateful for your children; keep them close to you and rooted in the gospel.” He counseled priesthood holders to “never stoop to mean and tawdry things, to live up to the priesthood that you hold.”

To the youth he said, “You are the hope of the future; keep your roots in the gospel.” In counseling the young people to each look for a mate among the members of the Church, he said, “Your chances for happiness are much greater.”

He told all in attendance to obtain learning by study and by faith. “Education is the key to success in this life, and it will be a blessing for us in the hereafter. … [We need to] educate our minds and our hands to be productive; … we will be rewarded for doing so.”

Danish Members Challenged to Do Missionary Work

The Church President and his group arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 14 June to hold two meetings with local members from all over the country, as well as a third meeting with full-time missionaries serving in the area.

In his remarks, President Hinckley challenged the members to double their numbers. The prophet summarized the history of the Church in the country, mentioning the first missionary, Peter O. Hansen, who preached in this Nordic country. During those first few years, more than 26,000 people joined the Church, but virtually all of them immigrated to the United States. Membership in the country hovers around 5,000 and has not seen significant growth since the creation of the first stake in 1974.

“I believe you could double the membership of the Church here in five years,” President Hinckley told the members, who had formed long lines around the Copenhagen stake center while waiting for the meeting to begin. “I really believe that—if you would work and pray and pray and work and concentrate on doing it at every opportunity and go forward in faith and without fear.”

President Hinckley also bore testimony to the members gathered together and expressed his love and concern for them.

During his one-day stay in Denmark, President Hinckley visited the Frederiksborg Castle, situated north of Copenhagen and home to the famous Carl Bloch paintings. He also visited the Church of Our Lady, where he viewed Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen’s original Christus statue and the statues of the original Twelve Apostles.

“Strengthen Families” Is Message to Germany

President Hinckley wrapped up his Europe trip with a regional conference in Berlin, Germany, where he spoke twice in one four-hour priesthood leadership training meeting, addressed the full-time missionaries from two missions in the area, met with representatives of two of Berlin’s major newspapers, and spoke at the regional conference meeting for the general membership.

While meeting with reporters, President Hinckley was asked what his message for Germany was. “I would say to return to God and look to Him for guidance. … The world’s standards are slipping everywhere. Family life is crumbling. My message to the people is to strengthen your families. Have families with a mother and father, and children who are loved—a family who prays together to achieve a common good. … No nation can rise higher than its family life.”

During his remarks at the regional conference, President Hinckley mentioned this interview. He noted that he explained to the reporters that among the Church’s distinguishing characteristics are the unpaid lay ministry and the belief in modern revelation.

President Hinckley urged the youth in attendance to stay morally clean despite the filth of the world and to be true to their heritage. He told them they were youth of great promise. “I want to say to each of you: Be true to the tradition of your families concerning this the work of the Lord.”

In the Footsteps of the Savior

Immediately following the European trip, President Hinckley and his wife, Marjorie, journeyed to Israel, where they spent a week in the land where the Savior walked. While there, the Church leader visited Caesarea, site of Paul’s defense before Festus and King Agrippa; Dan, ancient Israel’s northern boundary; the ancient area of Megiddo; the area of Nazareth, where Jesus was reared; the Sea of Galilee and Capernaum, sites of many miracles; the area of the Mount of Beatitudes, where the Sermon on the Mount was delivered; the River Jordan, where the Savior was baptized; Jericho, whose walls fell at the shout of Joshua’s army; Masada, an ancient Jewish fortress; the Dead Sea; and Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

In the Jerusalem area, President and Sister Hinckley visited the traditional places of the Savior’s birth in nearby Bethlehem, Shepherds’ Field outside Bethlehem, the Old City of Jerusalem, the Upper Room, the Garden of Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Garden Tomb.

President Hinckley also spoke at a 21 June fireside at The Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. “Jerusalem is celebrating its 3,000th year,” he observed. “This is a tremendously significant place. It is unique. I suppose there is more history in Jerusalem than perhaps any other place on earth. …

“When we were at Gethsemane today, we went across the street into that garden and sat in the shade and read the scriptures. I think of His plea to His Father, when He sweat drops of blood in His agony. …”

The Savior asked if it were possible that there could be some other way, President Hinckley recounted. “I think it was more than the certainty of the Crucifixion that weighed on Him,” he continued. “It was His place in the whole eternal plan of God concerning the immortality and eternal life of man. It was the whole matter and purpose of the Creation of the earth, of the peopling of the earth, of the divine plan. …

“His great message was a twofold message of love and peace in an atmosphere of hatred and conflict. … There is nothing we can do that is more important than to listen to that which He has said, and follow it. If we are disciples of His, there cannot be conflict in our hearts, there cannot be jealousy, there cannot be meanness, there cannot be any of those things. We must stand a little taller, a little higher, and walk in the direction that He pointed.”

Birthday Celebrations

The day after returning home from Israel, 23 June, President Hinckley celebrated his 86th birthday by addressing newly called mission presidents and their wives (see accompanying story). He also spoke to members of Kiwanis International in the Tabernacle on Temple Square and attended a birthday dinner hosted by his grandchildren.

On Monday, 24 June, President Hinckley visited Cove Fort, a structure in south central Utah that his grandfather built in 1867, to speak to more than 15,000 people attending a family home evening fireside. Just outside the fort area, President and Sister Hinckley climbed into a buggy and rode to Cove Fort, leading a mile-long, 75-wagon Centennial Wagon Train, which was moving across Utah in celebration of the state’s 100th birthday.

“I don’t know of anything else that compares with the coming of our people to the valleys of the mountains,” President Hinckley remarked. “The boldness of bringing thousands of people to this mountain country when they had never seen it, except in vision, was an act of tremendous courage.”

President Hinckley shared several pioneer stories of faith and hardship and also recounted the story of his grandfather’s being sent by President Brigham Young to the area to build a fort. President Hinckley said he carries in his heart a great love for pioneers like his grandfather. “How much I want to live worthy of the inheritance that has been handed to us without cost or price of any kind [on our part],” he concluded. “Let us never forget the cost of our faith.”

A few days later, on 29 June, President Hinckley continued his participation in Utah centennial celebrations by rededicating This Is the Place State Park. Accompanying President Hinckley was his wife, Marjorie; President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Frances; and President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Ruth.

President Hinckley

President Hinckley rededicates This Is the Place State Park during Utah centennial celebrations. (Photo by Jed Clark.)

“This is a strikingly beautiful monument which stands behind us,” said President Hinckley. “It honors great events in the history of our beloved state.” Recounting briefly the history of the state, President Hinckley explained many of the symbols on the statue and their significance. He also noted that many of those who came in the early days left the area, “but the Mormon pioneers came to stay. They broke the hard, sunbaked soil. They developed modern irrigation practices. They platted a city, built homes, schools, public buildings, places for cultural expression, the great Tabernacle, and the magnificent temple. They established this city and literally hundreds of other communities up and down what is now Utah, as well as the first Anglo-Saxon settlements in California, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and Wyoming.”

Also rededicated and reopened was Old Deseret Village, a “living history” facility at This Is the Place State Park, designed to recapture the feel and setting of pioneer Utah. A dozen new buildings have expanded the village to 26 structures.

“Make Something of Your Lives”

After rededicating the monument and village, President Hinckley traveled north to Sun Valley, Idaho, where he was given a Golden Plate Award and honored by the American Academy of Achievement for “exceptional accomplishment in the area of public service.”

While in Sun Valley, President Hinckley spoke to some 700 members of the Hailey First and Second Wards and the Sun Valley First Branch, Carey Idaho Stake, during a combined 30 June sacrament meeting. In his remarks, President Hinckley commented on his previous evening at the awards ceremony and challenged the youth in attendance to “make something of your lives. It isn’t enough just to exist; you must equip yourselves so that you can make a contribution to the society of which we are a part. I want to urge our youth to be hungry for education. Sacrifice for it, work for it, plan for it, and do it.”

The Church President also encouraged the young men to go on missions, promising them, “You’ll do wonders for those you teach and [serving a mission] will do wonders for you.” He also urged older couples to serve missions. “You’re needed out there,” he said. “I know it’s hard; it’s difficult, but it’s wonderful.” He shared experiences from his recent overseas visits and spoke of how valuable couples are in serving the Saints and strengthening the Church throughout the world.

[photo] Hundreds of members lined up outside the Copenhagen stake center. (Photo by Suzanne Perkins.)

[photo] President Hinckley and translator during ground breaking. (Photo courtesy of Church News.)

[photo] Church leaders, including President Hinckley, center, watch as a young boy shovels dirt during temple ground-breaking ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Church News.)

[photo] Some 2,000 members gathered for Madrid Spain Temple ground breaking. (Photo courtesy of Church News.)

[photo] Members from Hailey, Idaho, greet President Hinckley. (Photo by Lowell Hardy.)

[photo] During visit to the Holy Land, President and Sister Hinckley visited the Garden Tomb. (Photo courtesy of Church News.)

[photo] President and Sister Hinckley ride in buggy to Cove Fort. (Photo by Ravell Call.)

New Mission Presidents Instructed by Church Leaders

The largest group of new mission presidents ever, along with their wives, were counseled to “be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27) during a four-day seminar at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. President Gordon B. Hinckley, who had returned the day before from Israel, told the newly called leaders about his trip and said, “I would hope that as mission presidents, if you did nothing else during the time you’re in the field, you would strive to create within the lives, the hearts, the souls of your missionaries, a love for Jesus the Christ.”

The group of mission presidents, who come from 17 different countries and will serve in 47 countries, also heard from President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency; President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Quorums of the Seventy; and staff members of the Church Missionary Department.

In encouraging the new leaders to create a love for the Savior in their missionaries’ hearts, President Hinckley observed that such a love can come from reading the Bible and the Book of Mormon and by pondering and practicing what one reads.

He counseled the mission presidents and their wives to believe that they were called by revelation, to believe in the message they are sent to teach, to believe in their missionaries, to believe in the power of prayer, to believe in their power to bless, to believe in the Savior whom they are called to represent, and to believe in God, their eternal Father.

After his address, which was the concluding one of the seminar, President Hinckley was surprised when the group sang “Happy Birthday” in recognition of his 86th birthday, which was Sunday, 23 June.

In his address opening the 19–23 June seminar, President Monson instructed the new mission leaders on five M’s of missionary work.

  1. 1.

    The message. “What a divine message you and your missionaries have to proclaim,” he said. “It’s the message that’s all-important, but we must convey it in a way which exemplifies the spirit of the message itself.”

  2. 2.

    The missionary. President Monson observed that many families have prepared young men and young women to be missionaries, and these missionaries have now put aside their daily interests and activities, have left jobs, friends, and family behind to serve the Lord. “That’s no small thing, particularly in this day and age,” he declared. “It’s a miracle, a true miracle, to see the missionary force of the kingdom of God.”

  3. 3.

    The mission. President Monson emphasized that calls are issued to missionaries to serve in the particular fields of labor where the Lord wants them to serve. He also talked of the importance of missionaries gaining a love and appreciation for the missions to which they are assigned.

  4. 4.

    The member. “The member is the key to the maximization of a mission’s success,” said President Monson. “There are many ways to contact people. There are many ways to teach investigators. The best way in the world is to involve the members.”

  5. 5.

    The mission president. President Monson told those assembled that the mission presidents set the spiritual tone of their missions and that they, along with their wives, serve as models for the missionaries.

President Faust focused on the principles of conversion during his 21 June address. “Who should be baptized?” he asked, and then observed that while the answer might seem easy, it is not that simple. “It’s a great responsibility to bring someone into this Church … so that through baptism they may become a new person through repentance,” he said. He noted that some missionaries are so hungry for baptisms that they may urge people to be baptized before the people understand what they are baptized for. President Faust then talked about two “time-tested” principles of conversion: the powerful bearing of testimony and being guided by the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.

Speaking of the first principle, President Faust recalled a meeting where the Prophet Joseph Smith spoke to a congregation. Parley P. Pratt recorded that the Prophet “arose like a lion about to roar; and being full of the Holy Ghost spoke in great power, bearing testimony” concerning his visions, the ministering of angels, and the translation of the Book of Mormon. The result of his testimony was that “multitudes were baptized in Philadelphia and in the regions around.”

Regarding the second principle, President Faust related the missionary experiences of Wilford Woodruff, who labored in England. “He had been laboring up among the Potteries, and the Spirit told him to move eight miles south and labor there. Logic would not have taken him there, because it was farm country. He contacted the United Brethren and had perhaps the greatest harvest ever in the history of the Church.”

Many missions in the Church do not have high numbers of baptisms, President Faust said. Despite the potential discouragement, the Church leader told those in attendance that “no one fails if they do their best.”

[photo] Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, site of mission presidents’ training.

Supplement to Gospel Doctrine Course Now Available

The First Presidency has announced the availability of a new book, Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In a letter sent to local Church leaders in the United States and Canada, the First Presidency said that the book “will help members throughout the world learn more about the history and heritage of the Church. This book will make an excellent addition to home libraries. It will be available in all approved languages and will be used to supplement and support the Gospel Doctrine course in 1997, the study of the Doctrine and Covenants and Church history.”

The book, written by a Church service committee, was initially produced for international areas of the Church where there is sometimes a void of Church materials, but all members can benefit from studying it.

The book’s 11 chapters summarize the coming forth of the Church and also include chapters on the present-day Church and a brief look at the worldwide Church. The text emphasizes the spiritual heritage of all members and can be especially helpful to add interest for youth classes.

“Each of us has a place in Church history,” the book’s conclusion states. “Some members are born into families who for generations have embraced the gospel and nurtured their children in the way of the Lord. Others are hearing the gospel for the first time and entering the waters of baptism, thereby making sacred covenants to do their part in building the kingdom of God. Many members live in areas where they are just beginning their era of Church history and are creating a heritage of faith for their children. Whatever our circumstances, we are each a vital part of the cause of building Zion and preparing for the Second Coming of the Savior. We are ‘no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God’ (Eph. 2:19).

“Whether we are new members or old, we inherit a legacy of faith and sacrifice from those who have gone before us.”

Included with the letter announcing the release of Our Heritage was a supplement for the Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, which informs Gospel Doctrine teachers of supplemental material available for use during the 1997 course of study. These materials include Our Heritage (35448), Truth Restored, Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Video Presentations (53912), and pictures from the meetinghouse library, Church magazines, and the Gospel Art Picture Kit (34730).

“In 1997 Sunday School Gospel Doctrine classes will study the Doctrine and Covenants and Church history, with more emphasis being given to Church history than in the past,” the instructions read.

“Although this course focuses on the Doctrine and Covenants, it should include later events of Church history also. Teachers may combine some lessons during the year to allow time to study more recent events, such as those mentioned in chapter 14 of Truth Restored and chapters 9 through 11 of Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

These materials, including the newly released Our Heritage, can be obtained from local distribution centers.

New Temple Presidents

The First Presidency has called 17 new temple presidents and matrons:

Elder Carlos E. Asay of the Presidency of the Seventy, president of the Salt Lake Temple, and his wife, Colleen Webb Asay.

Aledir P. Barbour, president of the São Paulo (Brazil) Temple, and his wife, Christine Hedwig Barbour.

Robert J. Belbin, president of the Sydney Australia Temple, and his wife, Betty Phillips Belbin.

Georg J. Birsfelder, president of the Swiss Temple, and his wife, Annaroesli Dettwiler Birsfelder.

LeGrand R. Curtis, president of the Jordan River Temple (South Jordan, Utah), and his wife, Patricia Glad Curtis.

Udine Falabella, president of the Guatemala City Temple, and his wife, Graciela A. De Falabella.

Elder In Sang Han of the Seventy, president of the Seoul Korea Temple, and his wife, Kyu In Lee.

C. Leon Johnson, president of the Boise Idaho Temple, and his wife, LaRue Johnson.

Collins E. Jones, president of the Ogden (Utah) Temple, and his wife, Betty Jones.

G. Jackson Kidd, president of the Logan (Utah) Temple, and his wife, Lillian Kidd.

Elder Augusto A. Lim of the Seventy, president of the Manila Philippines Temple, and his wife, Myrna Morillo Lim.

Robert J. Matthews, president of the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple (American Fork, Utah), and his wife, Shirley N. Matthews.

Glenn C. Nelson, president of the Idaho Falls Temple, and his wife, Emma Jane Nelson.

Earl J. Roueche, president of the Washington (D.C.) Temple, and his wife, Elaine Roueche.

Ian D. Swanney, president of the London Temple, and his wife, Anne M. Swanney.

Joseph F. Willmott, president of the Toronto Ontario Temple, and his wife, Gladys B. Willmott.

Durrel A. Woolsey, president of the Oakland (California) Temple, and his wife, LaRae W. Woolsey.

LDS Women Participate in Convention of American Mothers

Twenty members of the Church represented their states at the 61st annual American Mothers convention—eight were Mothers of the Year, while the remaining 12 were Mothers of Young Children.

During the convention, which was held in Lincoln, Nebraska, two Latter-day Saint mothers received national recognition. Carolyn Merrill Shumway of Hawaii was chosen 1996 National Mother of the Year, and Lisa Vail Phillips of North Carolina was named 1996 National Mother of Young Children.

The following are the other Latter-day Saint Mothers of the Year and the states they represented:

Alaska—Sherry Lynn Sayer of the Eagle River Second Ward, Wasilla Alaska Stake.

Arizona—Jeanne Nix Wright, Mesa 14th Ward, Mesa Arizona Maricopa Stake.

Maryland—Lela Sullivan Cox, Hamstead Ward, Columbia Maryland Stake.

Nevada—Rosel Ruesch Seastrand, Civic Center Ward, North Las Vegas Nevada Stake.

New Mexico—Barbara Rather Pixton, Eldorado Ward, Albuquerque New Mexico East Stake.

Utah—Sybil Shumway Stewart, North Logan Fourth Ward, North Logan Utah Stake.

Washington—Renee Fillmore Christensen, Walla Walla Second Ward, Walla Walla Washington Stake.

The following are the other 1996 Latter-day Saint Mothers of Young Children and the states they represented:

Alaska—Dawn Hanni Hibbert, Anchorage Fifth Ward, Anchorage Alaska Stake.

Arizona—Karen Heywood Miskin, Mesa 22nd Ward, Mesa Arizona North Stake.

California—Karen Bauman Haber, Yorba Linda Fifth Ward, Anaheim California East Stake.

Idaho—LuShaun Derry Curtis, Mountain Home Fourth Ward, Mountain Home Idaho Stake.

Indiana—Laura Fathauer Rush, Peru Ward, Fort Wayne Indiana Stake.

Maine—Linda Larsen Davis, Waterville Ward, Bangor Maine Stake.

Michigan—Patricia J. Amonette Michalek, Farmington Hills Ward, Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake.

Nevada—Suzanne Scott Hooper, Bermuda Ward, Las Vegas Nevada Warm Springs Stake.

Ohio—Betsy Lingel Lowe, Hilliard Ward, Columbus Ohio Stake.

Oregon—Suzette McCall Dyches, Summerlake Ward, Tualatin Oregon Stake.

Utah—Nancy Bingham Peterson, Oakridge Seventh Ward, Farmington Utah Oakridge Stake.


Clear, Specific Instructions

Thank you for “The Invisible Heartbreaker” (June 1996). Finally an article with clear, specific situations! It was a tremendous help and eye-opener. Sometimes articles on marriage have been so vague and general that it’s frustrating to figure out if you have a problem or not. This article was truly inspired!

Name Withheld

Winter Quarters, Kanesville, and Council Bluffs

Map of Winter Quarters

The article “Church Historical Sites” (July 1996) mentions the construction of the new visitors’ center at Winter Quarters in “Iowa.” Actually, the Mormon Trail Center is in north Omaha, Nebraska, to be exact. Many members coming here have also erroneously thought that Winter Quarters is in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Elden L. Fletcher Director, Mormon Trail Center

Indeed it is so. For many members the terms Winter Quarters, Kanesville, and Council Bluffs fade into ambiguity. Under the leadership of President Brigham Young, a vanguard group of Saints left Nauvoo on 4 February 1846, crossed the Mississippi River, and journeyed across Iowa. Because they reached the Missouri River later than expected, a decision was made to delay the trek to the Rocky Mountains until 1847. Thus, the Saints built a headquarters called Winter Quarters on Indian lands on the west side of the Missouri River at the site of present-day Florence, Nebraska, a part of Omaha. In addition to this settlement, the Saints established numerous smaller settlements nearby on both sides of the Missouri River. The term Winter Quarters was sometimes loosely applied to the totality of all these settlements in the Middle Missouri River Valley.

But because of U.S. Government concern about Indian relations, the Saints were instructed to vacate their Nebraska sites, and in 1848 Church headquarters was moved eastward across the Missouri River to a nearby Iowa settlement the Saints named Kanesville, which became the main staging area thereafter for pioneers en route to the Salt Lake Valley. Following the 1852 departure from Kanesville of the bulk of remaining Latter-day Saints, new residents to Kanesville of other faiths renamed the town Council Bluffs in 1853.

Today, on the western side of the Missouri River in north Omaha, Nebraska, the Church is completing construction of the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters. Scheduled to open in spring 1997, the new center will feature exhibits telling the story of the gathering of Latter-day Saints from all over the world to Salt Lake City and its environs during the latter half of the 19th century. The Church maintains no historical sites in Council Bluffs (formerly Kanesville), Iowa, but a group of Latter-day Saints and members of other faiths has reconstructed the historic Kanesville tabernacle, where significant events including the reorganization of the First Presidency in December 1847, with Brigham Young as President, occurred three years after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. Kanesville was named after Colonel Thomas L. Kane, a loyal supporter of the Latter-day Saints. In addition, today the Church helps maintain as a historic site the Thomas L. Kane Memorial Chapel in Kane, Pennsylvania, where Colonel Kane is buried.—The Editors