News of the Church

By Rebecca M. Taylor

Winter Quarters, Guadalajara Temples Dedicated

President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple in four sessions on 22 April 2001.

Located in what is now a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska, Winter Quarters was once a refuge for thousands of Latter-day Saint pioneers en route to the Salt Lake Valley. Between June 1846 and October 1848 alone, some 2,000 Church members died at Winter Quarters due to heavy storms, inadequate provisions and shelter, scurvy, malaria, and the Saints’ weakened condition after being driven from Nauvoo or crossing the seas from Europe. Winter Quarters became a place that tested the faith of thousands who struggled through sickness and wilderness to reach their eventual destination in the Salt Lake Valley.

Recognizing the spiritual and historical significance that Winter Quarters represents, President Hinckley said in the temple’s dedicatory prayer, “The ground on which this sacred structure stands was hallowed a century and a half ago by the suffering of Thy Saints. Here they stopped temporarily, hundreds and thousands of them on both sides of the Missouri River, while moving westward from their homes in Nauvoo, or from the British Isles and Europe to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Many of them died here and are buried in the cemetery adjacent to this holy house. Great were their trials, tremendous their sacrifice. …

“Now the generations have come and gone. Our people left here. Then for reasons of employment they slowly returned. Today we have stakes and wards with large congregations. Songs of thanksgiving fill our hearts. Crowning all is the presence of a temple on this hallowed ground. … We dedicate the ground on which it stands, ground which has already been made holy by those who long ago were buried here. We make the cemetery a part of these grounds.”

President Hinckley was accompanied by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and by Elder Donald L. Staheli, Elder Monte J. Brough, and Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy, who comprise the North America Central Area Presidency.

Because of the special significance of Winter Quarters in Church history, the first session of the temple’s dedication was broadcast to meetinghouses throughout the United States and Canada, where temple-worthy members were able to watch the proceedings. The only previous temple dedication that was similarly broadcast was the Palmyra New York Temple dedication on 6 April 2000.

The local community of Florence, Nebraska, has been very receptive to the new temple. Church members and the community worked together to beautify the area before the temple’s open house. Local children handcrafted flowers for store fronts and decorated historic sites and markers with balloons. Over 61,000 people attended the open house. One visitor commented, “I am grateful for your generosity, that we who are not Latter-day Saints can rest for a while in your temple and feel the presence of Jesus Christ.”

Members of the Winter Quarters temple district, which includes the Des Moines Iowa, Independence Missouri, Omaha Nebraska, and Rapid City South Dakota Missions, are especially struck by the significance of a temple now existing at Winter Quarters. “This area, once a staging ground for pioneers going west, once a point of departure, has now become a destination for modern Latter-day Saint pioneers as they come to the house of the Lord,” said E. Louis Butler, Winter Quarters temple president.

Guadalajara Mexico Temple

President Hinckley dedicated the Guadalajara Mexico Temple in four sessions on 29 April. In his dedicatory prayer he said, “We thank Thee for the progress of Thy work in this great nation of Mexico. Move it forward, dear Father. Touch the lives and hearts of great numbers of people who will hearken to the message of truth and come into the fold of Christ. Bring about the miracle of conversion among the great and good people of this land. May those who govern look upon Thy people with respect and with a desire to be helpful. Wilt Thou bless them and the nation for their friendliness to Thy work. …

“May all who enter [the temple] do so worthily. Wilt Thou seal upon them an endowment of righteousness that will become the guardian of their culture and the lives they live.”

Assisting President Hinckley in the dedicatory services were Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and members of the Mexico North Area Presidency: Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen and Elder Gary J. Coleman of the Seventy, and Elder Adrián Ochoa, Area Authority Seventy.

The Guadalajara temple is the Church’s 105th operating temple and Mexico’s 11th. It will serve more than 60,000 members in 16 stakes and 8 districts in southwestern Mexico. Some 13,000 people attended the temple’s open house, and 6,520 members attended the dedication.

Local Church members said the temple’s dedication filled them with joy. “I can’t describe the emotion that filled us as … our beloved prophet blessed our homes, our country and its leaders, and our land,” said Graciela Garcia of the Moctezuma Ward, Guadalajara Mexico Moctezuma Stake.

[photo] Some 61,000 people attended the open house for the Winter Quarters Temple. (Photography by Mark Romesser.)

[photo] President Gordon B. Hinckley, left, directed the cornerstone ceremony. Standing to his left are Elder L. Tom Perry; members of the North America Central Area Presidency (Elder Donald L. Staheli, President, Elder Monte J. Brough, and Elder Bruce C. Hafen); Sister Marie Hafen; and Sister Doris Butler, temple matron. (Photography by Mark Romesser.)

[photo] The Guadalajara Mexico Temple will serve more than 60,000 members in 16 stakes and 8 districts in southwestern Mexico. (Photo by Jason Swenson, Church News.)

President and Sister Hinckley, Elder Wirthlin Receive Honorary Doctorates

President Gordon B. Hinckley and Sister Marjorie Hinckley each received honorary doctorates from Utah Valley State College on 27 April, just two days before their 64th wedding anniversary. President Hinckley received a doctorate of religion and humanity, and Sister Hinckley received a doctorate of humane letters.

Speaking at the commencement exercises, President Hinckley urged graduates to be kind, loving, decent, and honest. “These things are so simple that they scarcely seem worthy of mention,” he said. “And yet they are the very fabric of life. When all is said and done, when you have lived your life and grown as old as I am, you recognize that it is the simple virtues that count, that make the great difference in our lives.”

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles received an honorary doctorate of Christian service from Brigham Young University on 26 April. Elder Wirthlin advised graduates to work hard, serve others willingly, and remain faithful to the teachings of the gospel. “Whatever your honorable work may be, give it the best that is in you,” he said. “Let your name always be associated with diligent effort and uncompromising quality—even when there appears to be no reward, even when it appears no one is watching. If you give the best of yourself to your labors, you will be rewarded tenfold.”

Three Temples Announced for California

New temples will soon be built in Sacramento, Redlands, and Newport Beach, California. The three temples, announced on 20 April, will bring the total number of temples in the state to seven. Nearly 750,000 Latter-day Saints live in California.

The three new temples will serve a total of about 188,000 members in the Sacramento area (in northern California), in the inland area east of Los Angeles, and in Orange County (located just south of Los Angeles County).

The announcement generated high-profile articles in many California newspapers and brought much enthusiasm among local members. “It’s one of the most joyful days of my life,” said Richard Porterfield, a member of the Harbor Hills Ward, Newport Beach California Stake.

Map of California

New York’s Ellis Island Genealogy Records Released

On 17 April Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at the dedication of the American Family Immigration History Center, a state-of-the-art historical and genealogical facility on New York City’s Ellis Island. Elder Nelson was joined by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and Ellis Island Foundation founding chairman Lee Iacocca.

Years after Ellis Island was abandoned, concern over decay of the landmark led to the inclusion of the island as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965. Private citizens then formed the Ellis Island Foundation, which, with the U.S. National Park Service, is dedicated to preserving the island’s unique buildings and history.

In 1985 the foundation asked the Church for assistance in making the immigrant records of Ellis Island more accessible to the public. More than 12,000 volunteers from 2,700 Church units in the U.S. and Canada, and a group of 100 family history missionaries at the Church’s Family History Library, logged more than five million hours during seven years, extracting the records from ship passenger manifests and entering them into the database.

The result is the new history and genealogy center, which houses a 22-million-record database of every immigrant who legally entered the United States through Ellis Island and other New York ports between 1892 and 1924, peak immigration years. In the center, users can search for their ancestors and create Web-based genealogical scrapbooks.

Also on 17 April, the database of immigrant records was made available on the Internet at The site was extremely popular immediately upon opening, registering some 26 million successful hits in its first week alone, equaling 27,000 hits per second.

The collection, which includes at least one ancestor of an estimated 40 percent of all Americans, was released on 17 April because it is the anniversary of the day Ellis Island processed the most immigrants ever—11,747 on 17 April 1907.

[photo] Elder Russell M. Nelson addresses dignitaries and others gathered at the genealogical center’s dedication. (Photography courtesy of Church Public Affairs.)

[photo] Some 12,000 Church volunteers extracted 22 million records from ship passenger lists and entered them into the Ellis Island database. (Photography courtesy of Church Public Affairs.)

Elder Loren C. Dunn Dies at 70

Elder Loren C. Dunn, 70, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, died on 16 May of complications incident to surgery. At the time of his death he was serving as president of the Boston Massachusetts Temple.

Elder Dunn was sustained as a General Authority on 6 April 1968. He served as President of six of the Church’s geographical areas around the world and, in addition, was an executive administrator or counselor in other Area Presidencies.

He served as executive director or assistant executive director in the Church’s Correlation, Curriculum, Family History, Historical, and Missionary Departments. He also served as president of the Australia Sydney Mission and of Nauvoo Restoration, Inc.

Loren Charles Dunn was born on 12 June 1930 in Tooele, Utah. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1953 with degrees in journalism and economics. He served a Church mission to Australia, then a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Germany. He later received a master’s degree in public relations from Boston University and worked as a newspaper editor.

He married Sharon Longden on 15 December 1959 in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of five children.

During general conference in October 2000, Elder Dunn bore a powerful testimony of the restored gospel: “I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Redeemer and that He has purchased us by the shedding of His blood and by the anguish which He suffered on Gethsemane. This, my brothers and sisters, is the gospel of Jesus Christ. This work is true” (“Testimony,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 14).

George Hill, Former Seventy, Dies

George Richard Hill III, formerly a member of the Seventy, died on 22 April at age 79.

Elder Hill was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy on 4 April 1987 and was sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy when it was organized in 1989. He was released on 3 October 1992. Prior to his call as a General Authority, he had served in two general Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association superintendencies and as a regional representative.

Born 24 November 1921 in Ogden, Utah, he was a scientist who had served as dean of the College of Mines and Mineral Industry at the University of Utah and as director of the Office of Coal Research for the Department of the Interior.

He is survived by his wife, Melba, and their seven children.

In the Spotlight

Members Help Protect Community from Flooding

When the Mississippi River and the Minnesota River reached record levels in April, members from five stakes in the St. Paul-Minneapolis Minnesota area helped protect their community. Over a period of two weeks, some 500 Church volunteers logged thousands of hours sandbagging, repairing, and monitoring dikes and levees to keep the rivers in their banks. “State emergency services quickly learned they could call on the Church for hundreds of volunteers,” said David Durfey, second counselor in the Burnville Minnesota Stake presidency.

Even on Easter Sunday, when flooding threatened to destroy a large Army National Guard headquarters and hangar at a local airport, many Latter-day Saints joined with members of a Jewish volunteer group to sandbag. “We received a request from the state at 1:00 P.M., and within a few hours over 150 members had shown up at the site, many of them staying until 10:00 P.M. to fill about 20,000 sandbags,” said President Durfey. “It was so touching that these families and individuals would spend Easter Sunday serving in this way.”

Air Guard captain Jeff Merricks was grateful for the help. “I would not have been able to save this building without the support of the volunteers,” he said.

Salvation Army and Church Send Aid to Ukraine

The Salvation Army and the Church teamed up in April to send more than $100,000 worth of aid to Ukrainian orphanages and senior citizens. The Salvation Army provided 209 boxes filled with new clothing, medical supplies, and laundry and hand soap, and the Church contributed flour, beans, dry milk, hygiene kits, quilts, and blankets.


Following are temple presidents and matrons recently called to temples in areas served by the Ensign (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand):

E. Luis Butler and Doris Book Butler, Ralston-LaVista Ward, Omaha Nebraska Papillion Stake, have been called to serve at the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple.

Marty McCoy and Suzanne Web McCoy, Centerville Ward, Fremont California Stake, have been called to serve at the Oakland California Temple.

LDS Family Services: Adopting a Noble Cause

Last summer as Melissa * was watching television, a public service announcement caught her attention. In the ad, a young boy expressed his appreciation for his birth mother, who had placed him for adoption.

“I just broke down and cried,” says Melissa. Single and pregnant, she had been wrestling with the decision of what to do for her unborn child. The television spot—sponsored by LDS Family Services—was one of many factors that influenced her ultimately to choose to place her baby for adoption.

Fred Riley, commissioner of LDS Family Services, hopes other unwed mothers-to-be are similarly touched by the commercials. The ad campaign was initiated last year, and a new campaign was launched in April this year. The ads constitute a major part of efforts throughout the United States and Canada by LDS Family Services to promote adoption as a positive choice. Other efforts include the staging of a conference at Brigham Young University to promote adoption; this year the third annual conference takes place on 27–28 July.

“We hope to help parents make decisions based on what’s in the best interest of the child,” says Brother Riley. “Typically birth mothers are told by others, ‘You can single-parent; here’s the government aid you can get.’ Many are told they should consider abortion. Hardly anyone says, ‘Have you thought about adoption?’” Brother Riley says the ads support the First Presidency’s position that adoption is a positive solution when marriage is not feasible (see “Policies and Announcements,” Ensign, Apr. 1999, 80).

The ads were created by Bonneville Communications and the Church’s Audiovisual Department. Curt Dahl of Bonneville Communications hopes the ads help dismantle the idea that birth mothers who choose adoption are taking the easy way out. “If anything, they are doing the most noble thing,” says Brother Dahl, who with his wife adopted a baby girl seven years ago. “They are doing something that in many instances is a lot more difficult than keeping the child. They’re providing a wonderful blessing both for the child and for the child’s adoptive family.”

Another purpose of the ad campaign is to heighten awareness of the adoption services provided by LDS Family Services. Among other services, the organization provides free counseling to birth parents and their parents, medical and legal arrangements, and adoption education classes for prospective adoptive parents.

The annual conference at BYU is for members of Families Supporting Adoption, a national organization sponsored by LDS Family Services.

Those involved in the adoption promotion campaign are gratified to hear stories of people like Catherine and Glen, a couple who were beneficiaries of a birth mother’s decision to place her baby for adoption through LDS Family Services. Catherine vividly remembers the moment four years ago when a tiny baby with masses of dark hair was placed in her arms for the first time. “The bond was immediate,” she says now. “We just loved him and knew he belonged to our family.”

Catherine hopes the adoption campaign encourages other unwed birth mothers to consider adoption, particularly through LDS Family Services. “We have so much respect for mothers like Jackson’s birth mother,” she says. “It was a huge sacrifice on her part, but she wanted what was best for Jackson. For that, she’ll always be in our hearts.”

[photo] In a television ad sponsored by LDS Family Services, actors portray prospective adoptive parents meeting with a single expectant mother. The ad is part of a campaign to promote adoption as a positive choice for unwed parents. (Photo by John Luke.)

[photo] When Catherine and Glen adopted their son, Jackson, four years ago, they were able to realize their dream of becoming parents.

  1.   *

    Name has been changed.

Being Good Neighbors in the Valley of the Sun

Noting nearly 125 years of Latter-day Saints as important partners in Arizona’s sprawling Phoenix area, known as the Valley of the Sun, Mesa Arizona Maricopa Stake president Wilford W. Andersen says, “Fortunately, the gospel of Jesus Christ functions here as it does everywhere else. When it really gets into our hearts, it helps us be kind, charitable, and service oriented to others around us.”

President Andersen knows whereof he speaks. Not long ago members of his stake, one of 47 in the Phoenix area, built bridges of friendship with neighboring Shilo Missionary Baptist Church members. Stake members helped the small African-American congregation build their church on evenings and Saturdays. “We took our plumbers, carpenters, and electricians and rolled up our sleeves with them. It was wonderful.”

President John W. Lewis’s nearby Gilbert Arizona Stake had a similar experience. As has occurred in the past two years, hundreds of stake youth combined with hundreds of St. Anne’s Catholic Church youth in service projects. This year more than 300 youth and leaders painted, repaired, and landscaped homes of four elderly persons, prepared an acre at the Gilbert town garden for planting, pulled weeds at a park, and cleaned books at the town’s library. “I cannot tell you how much we look forward to these service projects with St. Anne’s. Our stake congregations and St. Anne’s congregation truly feel bonded in genuine friendship,” says President Lewis.

Little wonder that the Church is seen as an active partner in the United States’ sixth largest city, widely known for its dry, warm climate. The cultural and industrial center of the Southwest, with a metro population of 3.1 million, Phoenix is both “cowboy and cosmopolitan,” a city marked by high-rise office buildings as well as Spanish colonial and Native American pueblo architecture and colors.

“There are numerous high-profile Latter-day Saints in business, politics, community affairs, and sports among our 154,000 metro members,” says Ron Bellus, Phoenix multistake public affairs specialist. “The Church here is also well known for our annual Easter Pageant and Christmas light displays on Mesa temple grounds. The pageant has been called ‘fabulous’ by the media. It’s a first-class production on the life of the Savior. About a quarter-million persons attend yearly, and a million persons see the light display, which was recently called one of the nation’s top 10 Christmas light displays.”

The Church has a rich heritage in metro Phoenix. The Mormon Battalion passed through Phoenix’s Maricopa County in 1846. In 1877 Latter-day Saints settled in the county, and a year later other incoming Mormon pioneers founded Mesa, today a major Phoenix suburb. The Mesa Arizona Temple was dedicated in 1927. A community park monument honors Mesa’s Latter-day Saint founders. Church growth in Phoenix itself is rooted in the 1913 formation of the Phoenix Branch, which became a ward five years later. As Phoenix’s population soared in subsequent decades, so has the Church’s population.

“We are visible enough that sometimes there might be a few detractors,” says President Andersen. “Yet we feel that though some may want to debate what a Christian ought to believe, no one ought to debate how a Christian ought to act. We’re trying to be good followers of the Lord.”Jay M. Todd, Managing Editor

[photos] Above: A view of Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo © Jensen Associates, Inc.) Inset: Gilbert Arizona Stake youth team up with St. Anne’s Catholic Church youth to serve their community. (Photo by Ted Morgan.)

[photo] The Easter pageant held on the grouds of the Mesa Arizona Temple draws about a quarter-million visitors each year. (Photo by Mark Mabry Jr.)


Healing from Sexual Abuse

Thank you for having the courage to publish the article “Healing the Spiritual Wounds of Sexual Abuse” (Apr. 2001). I’ve been in and out of Church activity for the past 15 years due to my feelings of guilt and inadequacy resulting from the abuse I suffered as a child. This article has given me the strength to make an appointment to talk with my bishop and seek his counsel. I know that this powerful, honest article will help many other victims of abuse.

Name Withheld

Strengthened by Kenyan Pioneers

“Pioneering in Chyulu, Kenya” (Feb. 2001) was one of the most inspirational articles I have read. The brothers and sisters in Kenya are truly pioneers. The trials, obstacles, and miracles taking place there are unforgettable. My testimony was strengthened as I soon realized how blessed many of us are and how we sometimes take for granted the ease with which we go about our daily lives.

Kathy Ord Edmonton, Alberta, Canada