News of the Church


Two New Temples Dedicated, President Hinckley Visits Saints in Pacific

Two new temples were dedicated during January, and President Gordon B. Hinckley completed a tour of Pacific areas in which he met with Church members and high government leaders in several countries.

St. Paul Minnesota Temple

The St. Paul Minnesota Temple was dedicated on 9 January. More than 8,000 members attended the four dedicatory sessions.

In the prayer dedicating the sacred structure, President Hinckley said, “It is our gift, dear Father, which we present with thanks for the opportunity of doing so and with hearts made glad by this sacred privilege.” He also asked blessings on all who would attend the temple. “May all who serve herein do so with singleness of purpose, with love for Thee and for Thy Beloved Son, and for the accomplishment of the work of eternity for which it has been built.”

He prayed for blessings on faithful tithe payers everywhere who contributed funds toward the temple’s completion, then continued: “Bless Thy cause and kingdom that it shall move forward across the earth in fulfillment of Thy word and promise. Bless the messengers of eternal truth who go out into the world from this sacred house that Thy endowment may be upon them, that their testimonies may be certain and unwavering, that they will be led to those who will accept the truths of the eternal gospel.”

Accompanying President Hinckley at the dedication were Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy, President of the North America Central Area, and his wife, Anne; and Elder Thomas A. Holt, Area Authority Seventy, and his wife, Bonnie.

The temple serves some 25,000 members in seven stakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin, one district of the Canada Winnipeg Mission, and the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission.

Kona Hawaii Temple

The Kona Hawaii Temple, the Church’s 70th in operation, was dedicated 23–24 January. More than 3,100 members attended the four dedicatory sessions.

“We pray that it may truly be the house of the Lord, respected and reverenced by those not only of our faith, but by all who shall look upon it. May it be sanctified by the presence of Thy Holy Spirit,” President Hinckley asked in the dedicatory prayer.

“We pray for the well-being of the faithful Saints in these beautiful isles of the Pacific,” he said. “May there come into the hearts of the people a growing desire to come to the house of the Lord, here to taste the sweet refreshment of the Holy Spirit. May the influence of this Thy house be felt among Thy people, and may it find expression in their lives and in their homes.

“We pray that the youth of the Church may have a desire to serve the needs of those beyond the veil of death through vicarious baptisms in their behalf. As they do so, may there grow in their hearts a compelling desire to walk as Thou wouldst have them walk, and not after the ways of the world.”

President Hinckley was accompanied at the dedication by President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, an Area Authority Seventy. Also in attendance were Sister Marjorie P. Hinckley, Sister Donna Packer, and Sister Diane Hallstrom.

Among the members at the dedication were one sister who had attended the dedication of the temple at Laie with her mother as a four-year-old and two sisters from the Kalaupapa Branch on Molokai, in the settlement once set aside for victims of Hansen’s Disease, or leprosy. More than 3,800 members attended the dedication services. Many were natives of other areas in the Pacific; one room in the adjoining stake center was set aside for translation of the services into Tongan.

The temple will serve more than 11,000 members from the Kona and Hilo stakes, located on the island of Hawaii, and the Kahului stake, which includes members on the islands of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai.

The temple dedication was considered the first event in a yearlong commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Church in Hawaii.

Regional Meetings in Laie, Hawaii

Noting that it had been 150 years since Latter-day Saint missionaries first brought the restored gospel to “these favored islands,” President Hinckley complimented members in Hawaii for faithfulness and called on them to step up to higher levels of righteousness and service.

He spoke to members who gathered in two different regional meetings at Laie on 22 and 23 January. The combined attendance for the two meetings numbered more than 15,000.

“Walk on a higher plane with your heads up, believing in yourselves and in your capacity to act for good in the world and make a difference. You can do that. You have demonstrated that. Keep it up,” he said.

Warning that the battle of evil against the Church and against individual Latter-day Saints will continue to escalate, he urged members to fight against it by turning to prayer. “There is no power on earth like the power of prayer.”

He called on them to make missionary work a priority and to do more. “If we were more faithful, I believe that we could bring more people into the Church in these beautiful islands, and we have a responsibility to do so.”

During the second regional meeting, on 23 January, he urged members not to let work at the temple in Laie slow down because there is a new temple in Kona. “Keep the temple as busy or busier than it has been,” he said. “I make a promise to you that every time you come to the temple you will be a better man or woman when you leave than you were when you came.”

Across the Pacific

President Hinckley’s two stops in Hawaii were only the beginning of a 10-day, nearly 23,000-mile loop through the Pacific in which he met with Church members and with national and local government officials in several countries. He was accompanied on the trip by his wife, Marjorie, and also by President Packer and his wife, Donna.

The journey took them to Tarawa, Kiribati; Cairns, Queensland, Australia; Jakarta and Bali, Indonesia; Singapore; and Guam. Including the meetings in Hawaii, they met with more than 26,000 Church members along the way: 20,533 during the meetings in Hawaii; 1,500 at the airport in Tarawa; 625 at a fireside in Cairns; 1,800 during a fireside in Jakarta; 6 at the airport in Bali; 1,450 at a fireside in Singapore; and 684 at a fireside in Guam, with a number of Saints in Saipan participating via teleconference.

In Kiribati, President Hinckley was welcomed by Kaiaotika Tekee, minister of Environment and Social Welfare for Kiribati, representing the president of his country. In Australia, three legislative leaders attended the meeting in Cairns on Australia Day (26 January): Warren Pitt, Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Mulgrave, Dr. Lesley Clark, MLA for Barron River, and Mrs. Naomi Wilson, former MLA for Mulgrave. In Indonesia, President Abdurrahman Wahid, who had earlier invited President Hinckley to meet with him at his palace, also arranged a meeting the following day with other government leaders. And on Guam, President Hinckley was officially greeted by Governor Carl Gutierrez, along with Tony Unpingco, speaker of the Guam Legislature, and senators John Salas and Frank Aguon.

The response of members in Tarawa to President Hinckley’s brief visit was joyous, typical of the responses of Saints in similarly distant locations where the Lord’s prophet rarely visits. First came the official welcome by Kaiaotika Tekee, who thanked the Church for the influence of its Moroni High School, for recent humanitarian aid, and for the continuing service of members. Then the members sang for President Hinckley “Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice” and “How Firm a Foundation.” In response, the President told them, “What a pleasure it is to look into your faces and to feel of your spirit, your great love for the Lord.”

He reminded them that they are members of the great family of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that they “will always be part of that if you will keep the faith.” Then he invoked the blessings of the Lord upon them according to their faithfulness.

Levita Lamese, president of the Tarawa Kiribati Stake and principal of Moroni High School, was seated where he could look into the faces of the Saints. Many were “crying, overwhelmed to be in the presence of the prophet of God,” he said. “Tears ran down their cheeks as they listened to the prophet’s message and the blessings he invoked upon Kiribati. They felt the spirit of the Lord.”

In other areas, it was the same. On Guam, nearly 700 Saints gathered to hear President Hinckley speak, and other members in Saipan participated in the meeting via teleconference. V. Ben Roberto, president of the Koror Topside Branch in Palau and governor of Anguar State, Republic of Palau, commented that he left the meeting “more committed to living the gospel of Jesus Christ, improving the quality of life both spiritually and temporally, and, more important, leading my family in love.” Francis Moylan, president of the Dededo Branch in Guam, called the opportunity to hear President Hinckley speak “a dream come true.” The day would be remembered, he said, because the President of the Church had taken time to visit members in Guam. “It was a great honor to have been in the presence of this humble and yet very loving man.”

[photo] The St. Paul Minnesota Temple will serve members from stakes or districts in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Canada. (Photo by Janet Kruckenberg, Church News.)

[photo] The new Kona Hawaii Temple is the Church’s 70th temple in operation. (Photo by Doug Green.)

[photo] Under the canopy of a temporary shelter, President Hinckley speaks at the airport in Tarawa.

[photo] In Tarawa, Kiribati, President Gordon B. Hinckley shakes hands with some of the crowd of members and well-wishers who greeted him at the airport.

[photo] Members of the congregation stand in welcome at the fireside in Jakarta, Indonesia. Some 1,800 people attended.

[photo] President Hinckley speaks at the fireside in Jakarta.

[photo] This young man was among those greeting President Hinckley in Singapore.

[photo] In Cairns, Queensland, Australia, a couple takes the opportunity to meet President Hinckley.

MTC Presidents Counseled to Teach and Testify

“You are to go out to testify and teach and train and impress young people of who they are,” Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told seven new missionary training center presidents at the end of their weeklong training seminar in the Provo Missionary Training Center.

“The great miracle in this work is the change in people. Each comes out of the waters of baptism a new person,” he said.

Referring to the rapid growth of the Church, Elder Haight told the new presidents, “We have the challenge of organizing the Church, to see that it carries on with the spiritual direction received by our prophets.”

He gave a short history of the growth of the Church, which began in 1830 with just six members, and went on to say: “By the 1900s, the Church had about 283,000 members. One hundred years later, on January 1 of this year 2000, we’re pushing 11 million. It’s a great story, of course, of how it all took place. And so here we are now. We have 15 missionary training centers out in the world, and you’re going to preside over one of them, in Tokyo or Santiago or Buenos Aires or elsewhere.”

Explaining the role of a missionary training center president in the missionary work of the Church, Elder Haight said: “It is your great responsibility to see that those missionaries who go through your hands have a spiritual experience. They will look at you and see how you conduct yourself and how you treat others.

“You will become the Church in their eyes. They will watch you. They will listen very carefully as you teach, testify, and train them. They will learn how to act as missionaries from your example.”

[photo] Elder David B. Haight makes a point during his talk to new missionary training center presidents. (Photo by Michael Brandy, Church News.)

Five Missionaries Killed in Car Crashes

In January, car accidents took the lives of five missionaries: a sister missionary serving in the North Carolina Raleigh Mission and four elders serving in the Iowa Des Moines Mission.

On 21 January, Sister Melissa Peterson, 22, of Snowflake, Arizona, was killed when a truck struck the rear of the car in which she was riding. The car had stopped to allow a funeral cortege to pass. Sister Peterson would have completed her mission in March. Elder Rex D. Pinegar of the Seventy, President of the North America Southwest Area, spoke at her funeral, which was held in Snowflake on 27 January.

On 28 January, four elders in the Iowa Des Moines Mission were killed when their car collided with another vehicle whose occupant, Herman Heckathorn, 90, of Murray, Iowa, was also killed. The four elders, all from Utah, were Daniel Byrne Roundy, 19, of Kaysville; Jared Mont Pulham, 20, of Alpine; Jaysen Ray Christiansen, 20, of Harrisville; and Bradley Alan Savage, 20, of Lehi. The First Presidency issued a message of condolence to the families and loved ones, and individual members of the First Presidency attended the funerals.

LDS Scene

Church Sends More Aid to Venezuela and Brazil

The Church Humanitarian Service division continues to send aid to residents of flood-ravaged northern Venezuela and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where heavy rains and mud slides affected thousands last December. Twenty-eight shipments of medical supplies, food, and clothing, as well as quilts and hygiene kits, have been sent to Venezuela. In Brazil, Church members have been gathering and distributing food boxes, and the Brazil South Area Presidency is assessing future needs.

175 Volumes of Chinese Family History Donated

A major collection of Chinese family history will soon be available on microfilm. On 20 December 1999, Ching Ning and his two sons, Simeon and Francis, donated to the Church Family History Library their family history, which includes 200,000 names dating back to A.D. 602.

Acknowledging that a collection of this size represents a monumental effort on the part of many people over hundreds of years, Richard E. Turley Jr., managing director of the Family History and Church Historical Departments, accepted the paperbound books amid a gathering of Ning family and friends.

More than 100 volunteers in Brother Ning’s extended family in China gathered the family history into one compilation over a four-year period. Brother Ning funded the publication of the 175 volumes.

In 1995 in China at a Ning family celebration that included a marching band and fireworks, 6,000 family members gave Brother Ning a copy of the published family history. Since then, he and his family have fulfilled a long-held goal of completing the temple ordinances for 24 generations of his direct ancestors.

Persons interested in searching these records on microfilm may soon do so at the Church’s 3,400 Family History Centers worldwide.

Procession of Light in Huntington Beach

Some 300 members of California’s Huntington Beach and Huntington Beach North stakes took part in an interfaith celebration on 2 January asking God’s blessings on their community and the world.

The “Procession of Light—2000” was designed to unify citizens of diverse faiths and cultures through prayer, song, and a procession of caring citizens bearing electric candles. The event drew more than 2,000 people to the downtown Pier Plaza.

Thirty-six missionaries from the California Long Beach Mission assisted with arrangements for the celebration.

Mayor David Garofalo praised the work of the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council in planning the event and spoke of the celebration as “a prayer being answered. It’s a message about what the 21st century could be.”

Park City, Utah, Visitors’ Center Emphasizes Family

Climbing your family tree just became easier for visitors to Park City, Utah, where the Church opened its first visitors’ center with a family history focus.

Located in a quaint three-story building designed to blend in with other historic storefronts in this old mining town turned ski community, the Family Tree Center at Park City is directed by local residents Verdis and Bonnie Norton. Brother Norton says the center has two purposes: first, to emphasize the importance of families as basic units of society and of the Church, and, second, to leave a favorable impression of the Church with visitors.

The center will be staffed with full-time sister missionaries from Temple Square in Salt Lake City and with local couples from Park City wards.

Early response to the center has been positive. Because Park City, a town of 16,000 residents located about 25 miles east of Salt Lake City, is scheduled to host many events of the 2002 Winter Olympics, as many as 75,000 people could visit the center during that year.

The first thing visitors see as they enter the 20-by-50-foot main-floor room is a huge tree growing up from the basement through a hole in the floor, its branches spreading out until they nearly touch the ceiling and the walls. Upon closer examination, visitors notice old photographs of faces peering out from various places amid the rough tree bark. A painting of the Savior and a backlit picture of the Salt Lake Temple are prominently displayed.

Around the room, interactive video displays each have their own ceiling speaker cone in the ceiling so that visitors hear only the audio for the display they are viewing. Favorites include hands-on displays for children and a station that replays the Church’s “Homefront” television spots.

The basement room features several FamilySearch• computer stations and a wall-sized mural of a representative pedigree chart complete with pictures of forebears.

[photo] The Family Tree Center has a prominent place on Main Street in Park City, a historic mining town turned ski resort community. (Photo by Paul Barker, Deseret News.)

BYU Women’s Conference to Be Broadcast

Thirteen hours of the BYU Women’s Conference will be broadcast 27–28 April over the Church satellite system to stake centers in the United States, Canada, Caribbean, and Latin America. The 13 hours can also be seen on 27–28 April on KBYU-TV and a new station, BYUTV, channel 9403 on the Dish Network System (500 series).

Church units in Europe and the British Isles can capture the broadcast on 6 May for later viewing. Local units have been authorized to record and retain a set of the broadcasts for Church use only, and members may record presentations for home use only.

For more information, contact BYU’s Division of Continuing Education at 1-801-378-7692 or at "urlPath=http://womensconference.byu.edu.">womensconference.byu.edu.

Sessions to Be Broadcast

Thursday, 27 April 4:00–10:00 P.M. (MDT)

  • “Arise and Shine Forth, That Thy Light May Be a Standard for the Nations,” Mary Ellen W. Smoot, Relief Society general president

  • Truth and Righteousness Will Sweep the Earth, Merrill J. Bateman, president of BYU; member of the First Quorum of the Seventy

  • “By Mine Own Voice or by the Voice of My Servants,” Maren Mouritsen and Carolyn Rasmus

  • Videotape of Gloria: The Life of Christ

  • “When I Was a Child, I Spake as a Child, … but When I Became a [Woman], I Put Away Childish Things”: Learning to Be Articulate as Well as Righteous, Kathleen H. Barnes and Carole Mikita

  • “Let Us Run with Patience the Race That Is Set before Us,” Truman G. Madsen and Steve Young

  • “Be Thou an Example of the Believers,” Virginia U. Jensen, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency

  • As Women of God, “Shall We Not Go on in So Great a Cause?” Sheri L. Dew, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency

Friday, 28 April 3:00–10:00 P.M. (MDT)

  • “Give Me This Water, That I Thirst Not”: The Woman at the Well, Camille Fronk

  • “Yea, by the Unspeakable Gift of the Holy Ghost,” Sally H. Barlow

  • “That Our Children May Know to What Source They May Look,” Margaret D. Nadauld, Young Women general president, and Stephen D. Nadauld

  • “Stand by My Servant Joseph,” Heidi S. Swinton

  • “I Will Manifest Myself to My People in Mercy in This House,” Virginia H. Pearce

  • “Yea, They Had Been Taught by Their Mothers,” Carol Hillam and Jolene Merica

  • “That All Their Outgoings from This House May Be in the Name of the Lord,” Wendy L. Watson and S. Michael Wilcox

  • “Choose You This Day Whom Ye Will Serve”: Using Our Agency to Arise as Women of God, Sharon G. Larsen, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency

  • “Press Forward with a Steadfastness in Christ”: Stand for Truth and Righteousness, Ardeth G. Kapp

New BYUTV Network Widens Reach of LDS, BYU Programs

Brigham Young University has formed a new television network—BYUTV—that is offering programming to more than 3.4 million subscribers of the Dish Network, a satellite broadcasting service that carries programming from many sources.

BYUTV is part of the Dish Network’s 40-channel basic package, which reaches subscribers throughout the United States and parts of southern Canada.

“One of the ways we can extend the blessing of learning is through the reach of KBYU, and now BYUTV,” comments Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, president of BYU. He notes that the new BYUTV network offers the opportunity to share campus devotionals and firesides and a wide variety of other educational and uplifting programs with the large, diverse Dish Network audience. “It’s very exciting to me, and I believe it will bless many lives.”

BYUTV broadcasts programming from both its parent station, KBYU, and from Church-owned Bonneville International, which produces the weekly Tabernacle Choir broadcast from Salt Lake City, family-oriented programs such as Family Times and Center Street, and general conference broadcasts. BYUTV does not have access to programs owned or distributed by the Public Broadcasting System and transmitted by KBYU, a PBS affiliate. But BYUTV will be able to broadcast some BYU sporting events that are not already under contract to the ESPN network through the Mountain West Conference.

BYUTV programming is “as diverse as what you might find on a university campus,” says John Reim, CEO for KBYU and BYUTV. “It will challenge you intellectually, but at the same time it supports the mission of the university and the values of the university.”

The new network has its own 24-hour programming schedule separate from KBYU. While BYUTV offers a wide variety of programming, he says, all of it is oriented toward high moral values. Future developments in digital broadcasting might make it possible to air up to four channels of such programming in the available bandwidth during parts of the day.

In its first few weeks of broadcasting, BYUTV had already received numerous e-mail communications and other messages expressing gratitude and support for the programming it offers.

Persons wanting information about schedules or other aspects of BYUTV can check www.byutv.org on the Internet or call 1-801-378-8450.

Massachusetts Museum to Focus on LDS History

The Peabody-Essex Museum of Salem, Massachusetts, has scheduled an exhibit this spring and summer that will spotlight the Church’s New England roots, development, and westward movement.

“From New England to the Great Salt Lake: The Mormon Legacy of Faith” is scheduled to begin on 6 May and run through the end of August.

The exhibit will include rare items owned by the Peabody-Essex Museum as well as items loaned by the Church Museum of History and Art in Salt Lake City. Among the items from the museum in Salem are a first edition and a fourth edition copy of the Book of Mormon, the latter signed by Nathaniel Henry Felt, a pioneer Church leader in the Salem area. The museum will also exhibit two letters linked to the Prophet Joseph Smith—one from him and one from a writer reporting the Prophet’s martyrdom in Illinois.

In addition to providing information on the Church’s roots in New England and the Latter-day Saint trek westward, the Peabody-Essex exhibit will offer a brief look at the Church today. Among the other items on loan from the Church museum will be photos for a family history display, folk art representations of LDS temples created by members from nations around the world, and a contemporary painting with a Book of Mormon theme. The painting will be part of the Book of Mormon display.

Arrangements have been made for local Church members to serve as guides for the museum exhibit, and there will be a reception and preview of the exhibit on 4 May for community leaders.

[photo] A poster invites attention to the Peabody-Essex Museum exhibit.

[illustration] This lithograph depicting Moroni delivering the gold plates to Joseph Smith will be on loan from the Church museum. (Angel Moroni Delivering the Plates to Joseph Smith Jr., by C. C. A. Christensen.)

Share Living Water, Presiding Bishop Urges

“We as His agents are not only to declare His word but also to deliver the living water unto the least of His brethren, just as He Himself would do if He were here,” Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of the Church, told those attending a Church Educational System fireside broadcast from Brigham Young University on 9 January.

Our loving Father in Heaven and His Son most often minister to the needs of others “through the efforts of typical, garden-variety people like you and me,” he said.

Bishop Burton told of reading various forecasts for the future of the new century and the new millennium, forecasts that primarily highlighted present needs. What the world truly needs, he said, is Jesus Christ. “Certainly if we allow the gospel of our Savior and Redeemer to penetrate our souls, there will be no need to be concerned with forecasts of further declines in morals and values.”

Bishop Burton reviewed the biblical account of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well in Samaria (see John 4:4–14), noting that the Lord offered her living water. “It is this living water, freely offered by Jesus Christ, that we all seek to quench our own spiritual thirst and that is critically needed to end the gospel drought that continues to plague mankind. As His disciples, we are the primary distribution system for delivering the living water from its everlasting source to His cherished children in need,” Bishop Burton said. “It is only the living water of Jesus Christ that can and will bring a happy, successful, and everlasting life to the children of men.”

Briefly reviewing some of the parables the Savior used in teaching eternal truths, Bishop Burton said that the principles taught in those parables, if learned and practiced well, can “help us to be dispensers of the living water of Jesus Christ.” He quoted President Gordon B. Hinckley on our role to dispense the living water: “Given what we have and what we know, we ought to be a better people than we are. We ought to be more Christlike, more forgiving, more helpful and considerate to all around us” (“At the Summit of the Ages,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 74).

Bishop Burton pointed out that many who need the living water do not even realize it. “This is a season of a thousand opportunities” for each of us. “May we enthusiastically respond to the needs of the downtrodden, rejoice in the repentant soul, magnify and use our talents to bless lives, identify with the hungry, and bring peace to the sinner. May we be worthy vessels to represent Him in doing unto the least of our brothers and sisters that which He Himself would do were He here now.”