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Church Leaders Speak at Firesides, Devotionals, and Pageants

During August and September President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, rededicated a museum in Layton, Utah; President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke at a BYU devotional; President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave an address at BYU’s annual Campus Education Week; President Packer and Elder Dallin H. Oaks met with Chilean leaders during a visit to that nation; Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke at a patriotic pageant in Logan, Utah; and Elder Richard G. Scott spoke at a satellite-transmitted Church Educational System fireside.

President Monson Rededicates Museum

President Thomas S. Monson rededicated the newly expanded Heritage Museum of Commons Park in Layton, Utah, on 13 August. During the event, President Monson unveiled a bronze bust memorializing Christopher Layton, a 19th-century pioneer, colonizer, soldier, statesman, farmer, industrialist, and Church leader after whom the city was named.

In his remarks, President Monson quoted from Christopher Layton’s journal: “‘I have ever found that when we are in the line of our duty and retain our faith in the promises of God and His inspired servants, we are watched over by Him who holds all things in His power.’”

A few days later, on 21 August, President Monson turned 72. Because he was traveling outside Utah on his birthday, staff and colleagues at the Church Administration Building gathered after he returned to extend birthday wishes. Born in 1927 in Salt Lake City to G. Spencer and Gladys Condie Monson, President Monson has served as First Counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley since 12 March 1995 and previously served as Second Counselor to Presidents Howard W. Hunter and Ezra Taft Benson. He was ordained an Apostle on 10 October 1963 at age 36.

President Faust Speaks at BYU Devotional

“Happiness is not given to us in a package that we can just open up and consume,” said President James E. Faust to about 14,000 students gathered for a devotional at BYU on 14 September. “Nobody is ever happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rather than thinking in terms of a day, we perhaps need to snatch happiness in little pieces, learning to recognize the elements of happiness and then treasuring them while they last.”

He continued: “The golden pathway to happiness is the selfless giving of love, the kind of love that has concern and interest and some measure of charity for every living soul. Love is the direct route to the happiness which would enrich and bless our lives and the lives of others.”

President Packer and Elder Oaks Meet with Chilean Leaders

President Boyd K. Packer and Elder Dallin H. Oaks met with government leaders and Church members in Chile, 21–29 August.

Accompanied by Elder Dale E. Miller of the Seventy, President of the Chile Area, they met with the president of the Chilean senate, with the mayor of Santiago, and with a national presidential candidate. They also held three regional conferences.

“There is no other major nation in the world that has the proportion of membership [3.1 percent] that Chile has, a proportion that is even greater than that of the United States,” said Elder Oaks. “Chile is and ought to be an example for Latter-day Saints everywhere in keeping the commandments and maintaining the affairs of the kingdom.”

President Packer Addresses BYU Education Week

“Youth is the time for easy learning, and that is why the teachers of children and youth have been a concern for Church leaders from the very beginning,” said President Boyd K. Packer during his keynote address on 17 August at BYU’s 77th annual Campus Education Week. “Knowledge stored in young minds may wait many years for the moment when it might be needed,” he said. “It is the basic purpose of this Church to teach the youth, first in the home and then in church.”

At Education Week this year, about 30,000 people attended more than 1,000 classes taught by some 170 presenters. In addition, about 65,000 members watched selected presentations via KBYU-TV, the Internet, and the Church’s satellite system at meetinghouses in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and part of Mexico.

Elder Ballard Speaks at Patriotic Pageant

“The principles and philosophies upon which our constitutional law is based are not simply the result of the best efforts of a remarkable group of brilliant men,” said Elder M. Russell Ballard on 17 September at an annual pageant in Logan, Utah, celebrating the signing of the U.S. Constitution. “They were inspired by God, and the rights and privileges guaranteed in the Constitution are God given, not man derived. No nation or people that rejects God or His commandments can prosper or find happiness.”

Elder Ballard discussed modern efforts to prevent the public practice of religion. “In recent years, the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ has become almost a fixture in legal rulings,” he said, but rather than appearing in the Constitution the phrase “seems to have been lifted out of context from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson.”

Elder Ballard said: “The battle continues as efforts are under way to preclude the display of the Ten Commandments in a courtroom, a public school, or on other public property. These very commandments are the same ones James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, spoke of when he said: ‘We have staked the future of American civilization, not upon the power of the government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments.’”

Elder Scott Speaks at CES Fireside

“Unless you have already done so, make this decision now: ‘I will live to have no regrets,’” said Elder Richard G. Scott on 12 September to about 18,000 people gathered for a Church Educational System fireside and thousands more watching via satellite at more than 600 locations in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. “I cannot tell you how immensely important it is for your life here on earth and throughout eternity to be able to say, regarding those serious sins of immorality that could be committed on earth, ‘I have no regrets; I have not participated.’”

Elder Scott continued: “There are many ways to be motivated to do good in life. Perhaps setting goals is one that helps you. … You may have discovered that an even stronger motivating force to do right is to study, ponder, and distill truths from the doctrine of the Church as the very foundation of your life.” He also discussed other motivating forces, such as love for one’s marriage partner and for Heavenly Father and His Son.

[photo] President Boyd K. Packer, center, and Elder Dallin H. Oaks, right, met in Chile with Andres Saldivar, left, president of the Chilean senate. (Photo by Eduardo Montero.)

Members Survive Disasters

  • After a recent earthquake in Turkey and flooding in China, the Church donated a total of $70,000 in cash assistance to ambassadors representing both nations in Washington, D.C. “The ambassadors were very appreciative of our contributions,” said Ann Santini, the Church’s director of international affairs. “Our hearts go out to the victims of these terrible tragedies.”

  • Heavy rains from a tropical storm caused serious flooding in northeastern Venezuela during August. The homes of 40 member families were damaged, but no Church property was damaged. Local Church leaders used fast-offering funds to assist victims.

  • In September Hurricane Floyd caused flooding along the U.S. East Coast and prompted the nation’s largest-ever peacetime evacuation. No Church members or missionaries were killed or injured, but at least 20 homes of members were destroyed and hundreds of members were evacuated when floodwaters moved across parts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The flooding caused power and telephone outages, drowned thousands of farm animals, and contaminated drinking water. As far north as the Morristown New Jersey Stake, about 15 homes of members were damaged.

    The bishops’ storehouse in Atlanta sent emergency supplies—including generators, cots, blankets, water, food, and disposable diapers—to hard-hit eastern North Carolina, where an estimated 100 member families were living with friends, other members, or in public shelters. The North America East Area Presidency approved donation of an additional two truckloads of food, soap, quilts, and other supplies to be distributed by the Salvation Army. During the storm and flooding, four Church meetinghouses were used as shelters for members and others.

    “The members are doing well,” reported J. Horace Mizelle, first counselor in the Goldsboro North Carolina Stake. “People who were not affected are helping them, going from home to home and going to their places of business and helping them clean those also.” He said he expected about 200 volunteers from the Raleigh and Durham North Carolina Stakes to help in the weeks after the flooding.

  • An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale killed more than 2,000 people in Taiwan in September. Three members were injured, and the homes of at least 50 members were seriously damaged or destroyed. No missionaries were hurt, and no Church property was reported damaged. Three meetinghouses were used as emergency shelters. Local Church leaders used fast-offering funds to purchase water, food, and bedding for members in need, especially in the hardest-hit areas of Puli and Nant’ou. The First Presidency approved a $25,000 donation to the Taiwan Earthquake Relief Fund.

[photo] This member’s home was one of many damaged by hurricane-related floodwaters in North Carolina. (Photo by J. Horace Mizelle.)

Temple Update

Temple Announced for the Netherlands

The First Presidency has announced the Church’s 115th temple, which will be built in The Hague, Netherlands. The smaller-sized temple will be the 10th in Europe, where seven temples are already operating and the Kiev Ukraine and Copenhagen Denmark Temples are in planning or construction phases. About 10,000 members in three stakes in the Netherlands and two stakes and one district in Belgium live in the temple district.

Dedication Dates Announced

Dedication dates have been announced for two temples nearing completion. The Edmonton Alberta Temple is scheduled to hold an open house 3–4 December, to be dedicated 11–12 December in seven sessions, and to open for ordinance work on 13 December. The Raleigh North Carolina Temple is scheduled to open to the public 3–11 December (except Sunday), to be dedicated 18–19 December in seven sessions, and to begin ordinance work on 20 December.

[illustration] Artist’s Rendering of the Caracas D.F. Venezuela Temple—This temple was announced in September 1995 and has been under construction since January 1999. It will have two ordinance rooms, two sealing rooms, and a total of 11,600 square feet.

Appointments

Dee F. Andersen of the Sunset Heights Second Ward, Orem Utah Sunset Heights Stake, has been called as president of the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple. His wife, Frances Nicholas Andersen, will serve as temple matron.

Oswaldo Silva Camargo of the Lapa Ward, São Paulo Brazil Perdizes Stake, has been called as president of the São Paulo Brazil Temple. His wife, Beatriz da Silva Camargo, will serve as temple matron.

Elder Joe J. Christensen of the Valley View Seventh Ward, Salt Lake Valley View Stake, has been called as president of the San Diego California Temple. His wife, Barbara Kohler Christensen, will serve as temple matron. Elder Christensen received emeritus General Authority status during October 1999 general conference.

Kay H. Clifford of the Federal Heights Ward, Salt Lake Emigration Stake, has been called as president of the Oakland California Temple. His wife, Ruth Jones Clifford, will serve as temple matron.

Sterling D. Colton of the Potomac South Ward, Washington D.C. Stake, has been called as president of the Washington D.C. Temple. His wife, Eleanor Ricks Colton, will serve as temple matron.

Max W. Craner of the Rexburg Fourth Ward, Rexburg Idaho East Stake, has been called as president of the Logan Utah Temple. His wife, Evelyn Parke Craner, will serve as temple matron.

Loring M. Hampton of the South Cottonwood 13th Ward, Salt Lake South Cottonwood Stake, has been called as president of the Jordan River Utah Temple. His wife, Martha Kooyman Hampton, will serve as temple matron.

Elder W. Eugene Hansen of the Bonneville First Ward, Salt Lake Bonneville Stake, has been called as president of the Salt Lake Temple. His wife, Jeanine Showell Hansen, will serve as temple matron. Elder Hansen is an emeritus General Authority.

Richard Dan Lee of the Guilford Ward, Greensboro North Carolina Stake, has been called as president of the nearly completed Raleigh North Carolina Temple. His wife, Jean Robbins Lee, will serve as temple matron.

P. Bruce Mitchell of the Dural Ward, Sydney Australia Greenwich Stake, has been called as president of the Sydney Australia Temple. His wife, Elva Merle Trost Mitchell, will serve as temple matron.

J. Kirk Moyes of the Shadow Valley Ward, Ogden Utah Weber Stake, has been called as president of the Ogden Utah Temple. His wife, Sharyl Burnett Moyes, will serve as temple matron.

Everett S. Pallin of the Etobicoke Ward, Mississauga Ontario Stake, has been called as president of the Toronto Ontario Temple. His wife, June Marie Marchant Pallin, will serve as temple matron.

Donald D. Salmon of the River Valley Ward, Edmonton Alberta Riverbend Stake, has been called as president of the nearly completed Edmonton Alberta Temple. His wife, Joyce Jacobs Salmon, will serve as temple matron.

Gary L. Schwendiman of the Brighton 10th Ward, Salt Lake Brighton Stake, has been called as president of the Bern Switzerland Temple. His wife, Marva Jorgensen Schwendiman, will serve as temple matron.

Weldon R. Tovey of the Cedar Hills Fourth Ward, Pleasant Grove Utah Manila Stake, has been called as president of the Boise Idaho Temple. His wife, Vicki Rae Bowman Tovey, will serve as temple matron.

Cyrus J. Webber Jr. of the Westland Ward, Westland Michigan Stake, has been called as president of the nearly completed Detroit Michigan Temple. His wife, Glenna Margaret Palmateer Webber, will serve as temple matron.

David V. Yarn of the University City Ward, Charlotte North Carolina Central Stake, has been called as president of the nearly completed Columbia South Carolina Temple. His wife, Catherine Jones Yarn, will serve as temple matron.

LDS Scene

Missionaries Assist at International Summit

About 30 missionaries serving in the Ghana Accra Mission helped greet and assist more than 6,000 political and business leaders—including the presidents of 15 African nations—who recently gathered in Accra for a six-day summit. The missionaries helped with registration, in the press and media office, and during workshops and catered events.

“Our missionaries’ hard work, reliability, effectiveness, and contagious smiles touched the hearts of all who came in contact with them,” said mission president Larry Bodhaine. “They did not vocally proclaim the gospel, but by their conduct and demeanor I believe the missionaries presented a very positive image of the Church to leaders and representatives from countries throughout the whole continent.”

Colorado Day of Service

With the sanction of Colorado governor Bill Owens, Church members initiated a statewide day of volunteer service on 31 July. “From Aspen to Steamboat Springs,” said multistake public affairs director Ilene Dibble, “projects included community cleanups, a preparedness fair, painting and fix-up projects, and a quilting bee.” She continued, “This was a great opportunity for people from faith-based organizations as well as nonprofits, corporations, businesses, service clubs, and other segments of the community to come together on one day.”

BYU Testing Available at Other Schools

BYU is one of the first universities to offer its testing services to students at locations far from campus in Provo, Utah. BYU’s membership in the Consortium of College Testing Centers allows “BYU students who for some reason or another have to leave Provo a chance to keep up with their classes and take their tests at one of the 101 facilities across the country,” said BYU Testing Services manager Bud Wood. The university’s testing center is the largest in the United States, and BYU hosts the consortium’s official Web site.

[photo] Missionaries serving in the Ghana Accra Mission gave volunteer assistance at a large international conference. (Photo courtesy of Dave Olsen.)

[photo] Members of the Arvada Fourth Ward painted a barn during a statewide service day organized by Colorado Latter-day Saints. (Photo by Robert M. Lewis.)

A Warmth of Spirit in Anchorage, Alaska

Nestled between the soaring, snowcapped mountains of the Chugach Range on the east and the Cook Inlet on the west, Anchorage is one of the largest U.S. cities in terms of area. This Alaskan city covers 1,955 square miles and runs more than 70 miles north and south, and its more than 260,000 residents make up nearly half the state’s population. People come here from all over the world, some for adventure, some for work, some to find solitude, and some simply to take in Alaska’s breathtaking scenery.

The Church in Anchorage has grown from three wards in 1961 to two stakes encompassing 14 wards and one branch. In spite of its growth, the Church remains a small minority, with approximately 6,500 members.

“You feel needed here,” says Rosemarie Spencer, a member of the Anchorage 13th Ward, Anchorage Alaska Stake. “You know you’re making a difference. The community knows who the Church members are, which makes us behave better. And because there aren’t many of us, there are more opportunities and more variety in the ways we can serve.” Sister Spencer and her husband, Neil, have lived in Anchorage for more than 30 years.

The new smaller temple in Anchorage, dedicated on 9 January 1999, has been a blessing for active as well as less-active members. Brent Wadsworth, president of the Anchorage Alaska Stake, says that in the four months following the dedication of the temple, 71,000 ordinances were performed. “We now have 26 percent more members with temple recommends than last year,” he says. “But the percentages are not what is important; it’s the change in people’s lives.”

Kenneth Petersen, bishop of the Anchorage 14th Ward in the Anchorage Alaska North Stake, was born and raised in Anchorage. He and his wife, Kerstina, intend to raise their three children here. Just 29 when called as bishop in June 1997, he loves serving the Lord and his ward. “I’m the bishop in the ward I grew up in,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to spend my life helping people and doing something worthwhile. I’m doing what I always wanted to do.”

Members of the Anchorage 17th Ward, Anchorage Alaska North Stake, manifest a spirit of warmth that is common to many wards in the area. In May 1998 their bishop, Steven E. Young, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was given a short time to live. He and his wife, Linnea, decided they must move to Colorado to be near a hospital there. Members of the ward not only fasted and prayed for their beloved bishop and his family but also packed the Youngs’ belongings and cleaned their home. They sent telephone calls, letters, notes, and posters, as well as “hats of the week” to cover Bishop Young’s head, bald from the chemotherapy. His cancer subsequently went into remission, and he believes the Saints in the 17th Ward had a hand in his turn of health. “I will never forget the members here,” he said during a visit to Anchorage last April.

Elder Gordon G. Conger, a member of the North America Northwest Area Presidency, said at a recent stake conference in Anchorage: “The Church in Anchorage has a part of the Alaska spirit, which is huge personal warmth. The people bond so warmly and are so open and so culturally diverse … that it is a delight to be here and to be part of it. The Anchorage temple is a jewel in the crown of Anchorage. It’s a beautiful place, and it also has that feeling of warmth and personal love that I feel among all the people of Anchorage.”

A Brief History

Dedication of Alaska for preaching of the gospel: 6 June 1928

First Church meeting in Anchorage: July 1938

Missionaries first arrived: spring 1941

First branch organized: 25 May 1941

Dedication of first meetinghouse: 10 August 1958

First stake: The Alaska Stake, with three wards, was organized in Anchorage on 13 August 1961.

Missions: The Alaska Anchorage Mission was organized from the Canada Vancouver Mission on 15 October 1974.

Anchorage at a Glance

Meetinghouses: 5

Missionaries serving from the area: 65 full-time missionaries, 115 stake missionaries

Seminary Students: 295

Institute students: 178

[photos] Above: Sunset view of downtown Anchorage (photo by Lynn Howlett); right: longtime Alaska residents Martha and Jerry Swan.

[photo] Karma Tomlinson, right, a member of the Anchorage Alaska North Stake, leads her sophomore seminary class in a scripture chase. (Photo by Lynn Howlett.)

[photo] Elders Alvin Englestead, Heber J. Meeks, Lowell T. Plowman, and James Judd dedicated the territory of Alaska for missionary work on “Mormon Hill” in Juneau in 1928. (Photo courtesy of Norman H. Jackson.)

Sandi Howlett, a member of the Anchorage 17th Ward, Anchorage Alaska North Stake, is an area public affairs representative.

Policies and Announcements

Self-Awareness Groups

The First Presidency sent the following letter, dated 21 June 1999, to priesthood leaders in the United States and Canada:

We again remind Church members to be cautious in seeking help from groups that purport to increase self-awareness, raise self-esteem, or enhance individual agency. Some such groups falsely claim or imply Church endorsement. Some charge exorbitant fees or encourage long-term commitments. Some intermingle worldly concepts with gospel principles in ways that can undermine spirituality and faith. We call your attention to guidelines regarding self-awareness groups found in the Church Handbook of Instructions, page 157, and reprinted on the reverse side of this letter [see Self-Awareness Group Guidelines].

There is usually no quick solution to social or emotional difficulties. Those who suffer from such difficulties should exercise great care in choosing appropriate professionals to assist them. As always, members may consult with priesthood leaders for guidance in identifying sources of help that are fully consistent with gospel principles.

Ward and branch councils should consider carefully whether members in their units are being drawn into such groups. If so, the bishop or branch president should take necessary steps to acquaint these members with the foregoing principles and enclosed guidelines. Where appropriate, the guidelines may be published in ward/branch bulletins. Bishops and branch presidents should use them in counseling members as they deem advisable.

Self-Awareness Group Guidelines

Church members should not participate in groups that:

  1. 1.

    Challenge religious and moral values or advocate unwarranted confrontation with spouse or family members as a means of reaching one’s potential.

  2. 2.

    Imitate sacred rites or ceremonies.

  3. 3.

    Foster physical contact among participants.

  4. 4.

    Meet late into the evening or in the early-morning hours.

  5. 5.

    Encourage open confession or disclosure of personal information normally discussed only in confidential settings.

  6. 6.

    Cause a husband and wife to be paired with other partners.

Religious Liberty Protection Act

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Religious Liberty Protection Act, the Church issued a formal statement on 16 July:

“Passage of the Religious Liberty Protection Act is an important step in restoring freedom of religion to the protected First Amendment status it enjoyed for over 200 years. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is pleased to be part of a broad-based coalition involving many other religions in support of this legislation. We look forward to the U.S. Senate passing this bill in the near future.”

The bill aims to restore legal assurances that U.S. citizens can practice their religious beliefs without undue government interference. For the Church, one of more than 70 religious groups supporting the legislation, the bill would provide protection from zoning decisions restricting construction of meetinghouses and temples and from local restrictions on door-to-door solicitations that could keep missionaries from proselyting.

Worldwide Young Women Celebration in 2000

During the year 2000, young women and their leaders throughout the world are invited to participate in a celebration to renew their focus on the Savior. The celebration’s theme of “Stand As a Witness” is taken from Mosiah 18:9: “Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.” The theme hymn is “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” (Hymns, no. 136). The celebration will take place throughout the year, with a special event planned for November 2000.

Instructions for the celebration are being distributed to Young Women organizations in stakes and wards. Leaders are encouraged to integrate activities associated with this celebration into the existing Young Women program; introduce the theme “Stand As a Witness” at the New Beginnings program; sing hymns throughout the year that testify of the Savior’s life, mission, and Atonement; and develop a musical tribute to the life and mission of the Savior to be performed on or near 28 November 2000.

Languages Spoken by Members

The following chart shows the top 15 languages spoken as primary languages by members worldwide as of 31 December 1998. Also shown is the estimated number of members who speak each language.

Language

Members

Percentage of Total Membership

English

5,345,000

51.6%

Spanish

3,061,000

29.5%

Portuguese

737,000

7.1%

Tagalog *

132,000

1.2%

Japanese

107,000

1%

Cebuano *

90,000

less than 1%

Samoan

89,000

less than 1%

Ilokano *

78,000

less than 1%

Korean

70,000

less than 1%

Tongan

63,000

less than 1%

French

51,000

less than 1%

German

41,000

less than 1%

Hiligaynon *

33,000

less than 1%

Chinese (Mandarin)

31,000

less than 1%

Bikol *

20,000

less than 1%

Others (more than 145 languages)

407,000

3.9%

Total

10,355,000

 
  1.   *

    Spoken in the Philippines