News of the Church


Never Forget Pioneers, President Hinckley Says

On Sunday evening, 22 July, President Gordon B. Hinckley addressed a Conference Center crowd of nearly 21,000 in what was called the first annual Pioneer Day Commemoration.

“I proposed that we hold a meeting of this kind to emphasize the spiritual elements of the coming of the pioneers,” said President Hinckley. “We have instituted these services as a feature of our Pioneer Day celebration, lest we lose sight of the hand of God in establishing our people in these valleys of the mountains.”

The hour-long commemoration included the performance of nine pioneer hymns by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square. The program was broadcast on the Internet and to Church meetinghouses in the United States and Canada.

“I take this occasion to plead for a spirit of tolerance and neighborliness, of friendship and love toward those of other faiths,” President Hinckley said. “In the furtherance of this attitude as the years pass, there will likely be an increasing tendency to emphasize this diversity in the 24th of July Parade and associated festivities.

“But I have felt that we must never permit ourselves to lose sight of the great and singular achievements of those who first came to this valley in 1847.” (For the full text of President Hinckley’s talk, see p. 70.)

President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke at a Days of ’47 committee luncheon on 24 July in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. His remarks included praise for Brigham Young, who led the pioneers, he said, with an absolute belief that he was doing the will of God, while expending the energy and effort to accomplish what needed to be done.

Prior to the luncheon, President Faust represented the Church in Salt Lake City’s annual Days of ’47 parade, watched by thousands of spectators. The parade’s theme was “Welcoming Pioneers from All Nations.”

Early on the morning of the 24th, Elder Rex D. Pinegar of the Seventy was the featured speaker at the 55th annual Days of ’47 Sunrise Service in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. “We plainly see about us the fruits of the labors of those who came before us,” he said. “From many countries they came with courage and faith to an unknown, untamed land. With miraculous determination and valor they conquered the desert, created settlements, and contributed everything they had to give to establish a new way of life.”

Elder Pinegar referred to Brigham Young’s bold statement that the Salt Lake Valley “will become the great highway of nations. Kings and emperors and the noble and wise of the earth will visit us here.”

“Those promises were as seeds of hope planted by our faithful ancestors to be harvested in our day as a prophecy fulfilled,” Elder Pinegar said. “We have indeed become a great highway and friend to all nations! This coming year we will welcome the world to our beautiful city that was established as an ensign for all nations (see Isa. 5:26).”

Utah governor Michael Leavitt also spoke of welcoming the world as he offered remarks at the Days of ’47 luncheon, referring to the forthcoming arrival of the Olympic flame to Salt Lake City “as an affirmation and as a tribute to the pioneers who entered this valley.” Governor Leavitt said some 3.6 billion people worldwide will watch the flame come into a modern city that the pioneers settled more than 150 years ago. When the Olympics begin in February 2002, “may we all recognize the affirmation and tribute we will pay to the pioneers,” he said.

[photos] Top: President Hinckley speaks. Above left and right: The authentic pioneer wagon was among decorations for the program, at which the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed.

[photo] “We must never permit ourselves to lose sight of the [pioneers’] great and singular achievements,” President Hinckley said. Above: Video clips of reenacted pioneer scenes were shown as part of the program.

[photo] President Faust represented the Church in Salt Lake City’s annual Days of ’47 parade. (Photo by Chuck Wing, Deseret News.)

President Monson Dedicates Maeser Statue in Germany

President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated a statue honoring Karl G. Maeser at the Dresden stake center in Germany on July 14.

“One country, one continent, could not hold the talents of Karl G. Maeser,” said President Monson, honoring the man who was the first convert to the Church in Saxony, Germany, and later the second principal of the Brigham Young Academy, known today as Brigham Young University. The bronze statue is a replica of an original which stands on the BYU campus.

Brother Maeser and his wife, Anna, immigrated to the Salt Lake Valley in 1860. In 1876 President Brigham Young selected him to develop in Provo, Utah, an institution where students could learn through the Spirit of the Lord. Brother Maeser went on to influence the development of Brigham Young University and education in western America through the introduction of new educational methodologies, the implementation of a model honor code, and the training of early leaders of the Utah territory and the Church.

“We are assembled here in the city of Dresden, where Karl G. Maeser was baptized,” said President Monson in his dedicatory prayer. “We are grateful to the land of Germany and the state of Saxony from whence he came, where he, like the Savior, grew in stature and in wisdom and in favor with God and man.”

More than 350 people attended the dedication, including Church members and local civic leaders. “I am glad I can be here for the dedication and unveiling of the statue of our son, Karl G. Maeser,” said Dr. Thomas Pollock, mayor of Meissen, the community in which the Dresden stake center stands.

President Monson was accompanied by Elder D. Lee Tobler of the Seventy, President of the Europe Central Area, and by Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, president of Brigham Young University. Speaking at the ceremony, Elder Bateman said that the fundamental honor code developed by Brother Maeser is still in use at BYU today. “I’m proud to be a successor to Karl G. Maeser,” he said.

[photo] Joining President Thomas S. Monson (center) at the dedication were President Byron P. Hughes of the Germany Leipzig Mission (left); President Frank Jentzsch of the Dresden stake; Hans Schult, a former Berlin district president; and Elders D. Lee Tobler and Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy. (Photo by Ross Ezra Kendell.)

Elder Ballard Dedicates Moldova

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Republic of Moldova for the preaching of the gospel on 16 May.

Located between Ukraine and Romania, Moldova is part of the Romania Bucharest Mission and has had missionaries in the country since October 1997. Moldova currently has one branch with some 100 members.

In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Ballard prayed for the people of Moldova. “Help them to strengthen their families and the nation,” he said. “Bless the people that their hearts may be touched by the light of the gospel so that the message of the restoration of Thy Church and kingdom may penetrate their hearts and their minds.”

Elder Ballard was joined at the dedication by Elders D. Lee Tobler and Ronald A. Rasband of the Europe Central Area Presidency; Romania Bucharest Mission President George K. Jarvis and his wife, Kathryn; President Ion Varlan of the Chisinau Moldova Branch; and two full-time missionaries. The dedication took place on a hill overlooking Chisinau.

[photo] Elder M. Russell Ballard (center) recently dedicated the Republic of Moldova for the preaching of the gospel. With him were President and Sister Jarvis of the Romania Bucharest Mission (left); President Ion Varlan of the Chisinau Moldova Branch; Elders D. Lee Tobler and Ronald A. Rasband of the Seventy; and two missionaries. (Photo courtesy of Europe Central Area Presidency.)

Vital Records Index for Scandinavia Released

The Church recently released a new family history tool for those who want to learn more about their Scandinavian ancestors. The Vital Records Index for Scandinavia on CD-ROM contains 4.5 million records extracted from original birth, christening, and marriage certificates from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Volunteers extracted the information from church records kept from the late 1500s to 1905.

“Birth and christening records usually included the parents of the child. Marriage records often included the parents of the bride or the groom. Therefore, with 4.5 million of these vital records, the total number of individuals available in the database could easily be over 10 million,” said Paul Nauta, communications manager for the Family and Church History Department. The database also includes source information, which enables users to refer to the original record on microfilm for additional data.

The set of seven discs (item no. 50108) can be purchased for U.S. $16.50 (shipping and handling included) through Church distribution centers worldwide. The discs can also be ordered on the Internet at www.familysearch.org.

Open Houses Introduce Eastern Armenian Book of Mormon

Seventeen hundred years ago, Armenia officially recognized Christianity as its religion. During the year 2001 as the country celebrates its long religious tradition and history, the good news of the restored gospel is being taught in Armenia by a small but dedicated group of Latter-day Saint missionaries.

Armenia—at one time a Soviet republic—struggles with social and economic challenges. However, some of its citizens have begun to embrace The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Armenia Yerevan Mission was organized in 1999 as part of the Europe East Area. Although they cannot proselyte, the full-time missionaries have worked with member referrals, and Church membership has grown steadily.

During the year of elaborate celebrations to commemorate 1,700 years of Christianity, Latter-day Saint missionaries held open houses in two cities to introduce the newly published Armenian Book of Mormon to the people. On 28 December 2000, the full Eastern Armenian translation of the Book of Mormon rolled off the press, making it one of the 100 languages into which the Book of Mormon has been translated.

The first open house was held on 3 March 2001 in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia; another occurred in the second-largest city, Gyumri, on 16 March. Although the open houses required hundreds of hours of preparation, the 57 referrals received from the 400 people who attended made the work worthwhile.

“What better way to celebrate the 1,700 years of Christianity than to bring them the fulness of Christ’s gospel in their own tongue,” says Elder Michael King from Fruit Heights, Utah.

The presentations and displays explained such topics as “What is the Book of Mormon?” “Why does the world need the Book of Mormon?” and “Why should a person read the Book of Mormon?”

Now that Armenians can read the Book of Mormon in their own language, missionary work is much easier, full-time missionaries explain. Trying to understand the treasures of the Book of Mormon in a foreign language can be difficult and confusing. But that confusion will no longer be a stumbling block for Armenian members and investigators.

“It’s amazing to be able to share the Book of Mormon with people here in Armenia in their own language,” says Elder Marcus Draper from Danville, California. “It has opened so many doors that weren’t open before we received the Book of Mormon in Armenian. It has strengthened people’s testimonies in the Church and has helped new converts become a lot stronger.”

“I have felt a change in the atmosphere of this country,” adds Elder Luke Petersen from Riverton, Utah. “I believe the Spirit has begun to be poured out more abundantly upon the people of Armenia.”

As the country continues its celebration, few people may realize the significance of the Armenian translation of the Book of Mormon. But those who do are grateful for the role it will have for years to come in bringing people unto Christ.

Following are comments from a few members in Armenia about the blessings of reading the Book of Mormon in their own tongue:

Sargis Ayvazyan: “When I read the Book of Mormon in Armenian, I feel peace. I read the Book of Mormon in two other languages before reading it in my language. Now I understand more. The new translation has helped me to have a greater understanding of Jesus Christ and how to serve Him.”

Margarit Matanyan: “The Book of Mormon fills my heart with warmth and love toward others and helps me to love Heavenly Father and serve Him. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I appreciate that great gift.”

Jennik Mannusyan: “I am one of very few people in Armenia my age who cannot understand Russian. The Armenian translation is a blessing in my life. I read the Book of Mormon every day before I go to bed. I am going to keep reading every day because the more I read, the more I understand.”

Hasvira Minasaryan: “While I worked on the team that translated the Book of Mormon from English into Armenian, every word and sentence of the book passed through my mind, my spirit, and my heart, leaving an indelible testimony in my soul. I began to recognize the ways of God, the significance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my life, and the love, mercy, and grace of my Savior.”

[photo] Elder Arthur Minasyan of Armenia (left) greets members Hakob Ghrjoyan, Artush Harvtyunyan, and Houhannes Topchyan at a presentation in Gyumri, Armenia. (Photo courtesy of Armenia Yerevan Mission.)

Policies and Announcements

The First Presidency sent the following letter, dated 29 June 2001, to General Authorities; Area Authority Seventies; stake, mission, and district presidents; bishops and branch presidents, to be read in sacrament meeting.

Members of the Church have responded with great interest and generosity in donating funds to the Church for the Nauvoo Illinois Temple Construction Fund since the announcement of the temple. We wish to express our love and appreciation for the devotion and sacrifice of the members in providing funds to rebuild this temple.

Many have inquired if it would be appropriate to continue donating to this fund. Even though a significant amount has already been received for the construction of the temple, additional donations would be appreciated.

We would like to encourage those who wish to contribute to the Nauvoo Illinois Temple Construction Fund to do so by placing the donation under the “Other” category on the donation slip, and designate the donation as a contribution to the Nauvoo Illinois Temple Construction Fund. The ward will forward these funds to Church headquarters.

May the Lord continue to bless you and your families for your continued support of this wonderful era of temple growth in the Church.

Museum Sponsors Sixth International Art Competition

The Museum of Church History and Art is seeking entries for its Sixth International Art Competition, to be held in 2003.

The exhibit, which is scheduled from 21 March to 1 September 2003, is titled Latter-day Saints, Yesterday and Today: Belief, History, Life. Entries should represent themes, stories, people, places, and ideas related to one or more of the following: (1) Latter-day Saint doctrines, beliefs, and teachings, including messages and stories from the scriptures and teachings of the prophets; (2) important events, places, and people in the history of the Church; (3) the application of gospel teachings and values in Latter-day Saint life, including Church, family, and individual activities and programs.

The competition is open to all members age 18 and older. Each artist may submit one work of art. The museum welcomes a variety of cultural and aesthetic traditions, styles, approaches, and artistic media. These media may include painting, sculpture, quilts, textiles, pottery, ceramics, jewelry, wood carving, metal work, photography, drawing, original prints, and so forth. Entries must have been completed after 1 January 2000. The maximum size limit for artworks is 83.5 inches (213 centimeters), including frame, in the longest dimension.

A jury will evaluate slides and prints of the artwork in the first round of judging. The slides and prints will not be returned. Artists should not send original art to the museum for first-round jurying.

Artists whose works are selected for the second round of judging will be notified after 15 December 2002. Artists who are notified that their work has been accepted and who live outside the United States and Canada should deliver their original art to the nearest Church distribution center by 7 January 2003. These entries will be juried again to develop the final selection for the museum exhibit. Artwork will be judged on the creative and successful expression of the theme and on the excellence of aesthetic and technical accomplishment.

Entry forms for artists living outside the United States and Canada will be available at local distribution centers after May 2002. Artists may also request a copy of the entry form by sending their name and address to the museum. Entry forms should be sent directly by mail to the Museum of Church History and Art. The entry forms must be received in the museum by 22 November 2002.

For information, write to Museum of Church History and Art, 45 N. West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3810, USA. Or e-mail to church museum@ldschurch.org.

[illustration] Taking the Stick of Joseph to the Children of Hagoth was an entry in the Church’s Fifth International Art Competition. (Painting by Sylvia Huege de Serville.)

Appointments

E. Marshall and Suzanne McCoy of the Centerville Ward, Fremont California Stake, have been called to serve as president and matron of the Oakland California Temple.

Bruce F. and Suzanne Sorenson of the Monument Park 17th Ward, Salt Lake Monument Park Stake, have been called to serve as president and matron of the Boston Massachusetts Temple.

In the Spotlight

Ricks College Becomes BYU—Idaho

On 10 August, Ricks College quietly changed its name to Brigham Young University—Idaho and officially became a baccalaureate university. Along with the name change, the university implemented 16 junior-year level courses that will eventually lead to bachelor’s degrees.

During summer semester 2001, the university had a record enrollment of 2,282 students, a 228-student increase from the same semester last year.

Mongolian President Honors Educator

The president of Mongolia, Natsagiyn Bagabandi, honored Church member Malan R. Jackson with the “Friend of Mongolia Award.” Brother Jackson, a member of the Sharon First Ward, Orem Utah Sharon Stake, received the award for his work while he served as director of the Butler Institute for International Understanding at Utah Valley State College in Orem, Utah.

As the Butler Institute director, Brother Jackson began a program to educate and support Mongolian students and leaders in their country’s transition from communism to democracy. Many Mongolian university administrators and government officials, including the prime minister, have been trained at the Butler Institute.

Latter-day Saints Serve in Alberta Cabinet

Church members Ian McClelland, Greg Melchin, and Broyce Jacobs were recently elected as members of the Legislative Assembly in Alberta, Canada.

Brother Melchin, a member of the Calgary 17th Ward, Calgary Alberta West Stake, has served in the Legislative Assembly since 1997, and after his reelection was appointed to the Alberta cabinet as minister of revenue. Brother McClelland, of the River Valley Ward, Edmonton Alberta West Stake, served as a member of Parliament before his election to the Legislative Assembly. Brother Jacobs is a member of the Mountain View Ward, Cardston Alberta Stake.

Oregon Stake Gives Major Service

During the week of 16 July, 1,100 members of the Oregon City Oregon Stake were joined by 400 residents of Canby, Oregon, in giving an estimated 7,000 hours of community service.

The stake had originally approached the city government seeking opportunities to serve the community. As a result, service projects were carried out throughout the city, from cleaning and restoring several community centers to collecting food and clothing for local food banks and shelters.

Because organized service on this scale was unprecedented in Canby, a local television station helped the stake produce a training video to show other community organizations how to work with the city in carrying out large-scale service.

Texas Stake’s Family-Themed Float Wins Prize

In an effort to call attention to the need for strong families, the Plano Texas Stake entered a family-themed float in a local Fourth of July parade and won the Grand Marshal’s prize for best float. More than 60 stake members walked beside or rode on the float, which was titled “Families, the Heart of America.”

BYU Ballroom Dance Company Wins Championship

The Brigham Young University Ballroom Dance Company placed first in the Standard and Latin divisions of the British Formation Championships held recently in Blackpool, England.

“The teams compete at the championships every three years, and since 1989, both the Modern and Latin teams from BYU have won first place,” said Curt Holman, a BYU dance faculty member.

[illustration] BYU, BYU—Idaho, and BYU—Hawaii now share similar identifying marks, such as this new medallion.

[photo] Mongolian president Natsagiyn Bagabandi presents award to Malan R. Jackson. (Photo courtesy of Malan R. Jackson.)

[photo] More than 1,000 members of the Oregon City Oregon Stake teamed up with others to spruce up their community. (Photo by Lynn Bever.)

[photo] Members ride the Plano Texas Stake’s award-winning float. (Photo by Keith Taylor.)

Comment

Seeking the Son

I so much appreciated the article, “Seeking the Son” (April 2001). I, too, am a mother of a disabled son, and I received this issue at a time when this article could have been written about me.

I am usually very optimistic about our challenges, but like the daffodil fighting for a ray of sunshine, there are times when I find myself having to work very hard to seek out the Savior’s light and to remember that He is mindful of my little family. Sometimes it seems easier just to wither away, but I know He is there. It is up to me to seek Him and allow Him to replenish my faith and my strength.

Keri Gillespie Stillwater, Oklahoma

Enlarging the Soul

I write to express appreciation for the Latter-day Saint Voices section of the Ensign and to share an experience I had relative to it.

In the February issue, I read “The Lost Pamphlet,” a story of a Guatemalan brother whose prayer was answered by the arrival of the missionaries. I then read “Go Check on Wendi,” a story of a mother responding to the prompting of the Spirit of the Lord. Her young daughter’s prayer was answered.

My experience in reading those stories is reaffirmation of a fundamental and significant truth: God does hear and respond to the petitions of His children. The sincere prayer of a child of God, young or old, does not go unheeded. I felt that testimony enlarge my soul and bring tears to my eyes.

Joseph B. Romney Rexburg, Idaho