News of the Church


New General and Area Authorities, Relief Society Presidency Sustained

Newly called General Authorities, Area Authorities, and a Relief Society general presidency were sustained on 6 April during the 172nd Annual General Conference.

Elder Gerald N. Lund and Elder William R. Walker were called to serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Bonnie D. Parkin was called as general president of the Relief Society, with Kathleen H. Hughes as first counselor and Anne C. Pingree as second counselor. (See related biographies beginning on the next page.)

Thirty new Area Authority Seventies were also called—13 from the United States, 2 from Brazil, 2 from Japan, and one each from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

In his opening remarks during Saturday morning’s session, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of the continued growth of the Church. He referred to the positive impressions of the Church received by hundreds of thousands of visitors, governmental leaders, and media when they recently visited Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympic Games. He also spoke of the success of the growing Perpetual Education Fund, which he announced last April. The program is now helping some 2,400 young Latter-day Saints in developing nations to gain an education.

During the priesthood session, President Hinckley spoke out strongly against abuse of spouses, of the elderly, and of children. “It is something that cannot be countenanced or tolerated,” he said.

Church members in the Conference Center raise their hands in sustaining new leaders called during Saturday afternoon’s conference session.

General Auxiliary Presidencies

Sunday School

Elder Cecil O. Samuelson Jr.

Elder Cecil O. Samuelson Jr., President

Elder John H. Groberg

Elder John H. Groberg, First Counselor

Elder Richard J. Maynes

Elder Richard J. Maynes, Second Counselor

Young Men

Elder F. Melvin Hammond

Elder F. Melvin Hammond, President

Elder Glenn L. Pace

Elder Glenn L. Pace, First Counselor

Elder Spencer J. Condie

Elder Spencer J. Condie, Second Counselor

Relief Society

Sister Bonnie D. Parkin

Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, President

Sister Kathleen H. Hughes

Sister Kathleen H. Hughes, First Counselor

Sister Anne C. Pingree

Sister Anne C. Pingree, Second Counselor

Young Women

Sister Margaret D. Nadauld

Sister Margaret D. Nadauld, President

Sister Carol B. Thomas

Sister Carol B. Thomas, First Counselor

Sister Sharon G. Larsen

Sister Sharon G. Larsen, Second Counselor


Sister Coleen K. Menlove

Sister Coleen K. Menlove, President

Sister Sydney S. Reynolds

Sister Sydney S. Reynolds, First Counselor

Sister Gayle M. Clegg

Sister Gayle M. Clegg, Second Counselor

Elder Gerald N. Lund

Of the Seventy
Elder Gerald N. Lund

“God cheats no one and no one cheats God, my father always used to say. He also often told us, ‘God is a rich paymaster.’

“We were raised on this philosophy,” said Elder Gerald N. Lund, “and it still defines the way I feel about service. The more I try to thank God, the more He seems to bless me, which in turn puts me deeper in His debt. You can never catch up with Him.”

When Gerald Lund returned from his missionary service, he had determined that he would rather work than go to college.

“I went to work in the construction business. After spending one week cleaning cement forms with a power brush, I realized this was not how I wanted to spend my life.”

He promptly enrolled in BYU, where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He also did post-graduate study at Pepperdine University. His decision to go to college not only changed his life but also resulted in many years of gospel influence for countless numbers of Latter-day Saints.

Gerald Lund started teaching seminary in Salt Lake City in 1965, and this was the beginning of a 34-year career with the Church Educational System. In addition to his early years teaching seminary, he taught institute, served as an institute director, worked as a curriculum writer, and fulfilled a number of administrative assignments. He is also the author of many popular books and articles.

Elder Lund was born in Fountain Green, Sanpete County, Utah, to Jewell and Evelyn Lund on 12 September 1939. The family moved to Salt Lake City when he was a year old and later to Murray, Utah, where he spent most of his growing-up years.

In 1963 he married Retta Lynn Stanard, from Great Falls, Montana. They have 7 children and 17 grandchildren. Sister Lund is an accomplished musician and has published many of her arrangements. The Lunds have collaborated on several Christmas and Easter cantatas.

Elder Lund has served as a branch president, bishop, and bishop’s counselor. At the time of his call to the Second Quorum of Seventy, Elder Lund was serving as president of the BYU 14th Stake.

Elder William R. Walker

Of the Seventy
Elder William R. Walker

As a young boy in the small Latter-day Saint community of Raymond, Alberta, Canada, William Walker often visited the nearby home of his grandparents. There, hanging on the wall, was a picture of the First Presidency. “I can still remember that image. It had a profound influence on me during those early years. I grew up loving the leaders of the Church.”

Elder William R. Walker was born on 25 May 1944 to J. Harris and Beth Russell Walker. After serving a full-time mission to Japan, he attended Brigham Young University, where he met his wife, Vicki Van Wagenen. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 10 June 1968 and are the parents of five children.

Following his graduation, the Walkers moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where he began his career in the investment business as a stock broker. The Walkers lived in Salt Lake City; Concord, California; Dunwoody, Georgia; and Kenilworth, Illinois; before returning to Utah again in 1988. He was a president of a subsidiary of American Express and later held executive positions at two of the world’s largest banks, Citibank and Barclays Bank.

Elder Walker’s interests include studying Church history, conducting personal history interviews with family members, and tending the flowers and fruit trees in his yard. He and his wife have also had many opportunities to cultivate in the gardens of the Lord. They were called to preside over the Japan Tokyo South Mission in 1990, and he was president of the Sandy Utah Cottonwood Creek Stake at the time of his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. He has been a bishop twice, a high councilor, and a regional welfare agent.

“A big part of my life was my mission as a young man,” Elder Walker says. “President Hinckley visited Japan three times while I was there. On one of those visits to the mission home, he told my companion and me to prepare to be bishops and stake presidents. This really surprised us. But I have been blessed to see the fulfillment of that wonderful encouragement from a prophet of God.”

Bonnie D. Parkin

Relief Society General President
Bonnie D. Parkin

“So many of the things that are good in my life happened because of Relief Society,” says Bonnie D. Parkin. “I believe in the goodness of women to look out for each other in ways that cheer each other on.”

Born on 4 August 1940 to Jesse H. and Ruth Butikofer Dansie, Sister Parkin is the third in a family of five children. She was reared in Herriman, Utah, in the southwest part of the Salt Lake Valley, which had been settled by her father’s grandfather at the direction of President Brigham Young. Her mother’s parents were Swiss converts who settled near Idaho Falls, Idaho.

In 1962 Sister Parkin graduated with a B.A. degree from Utah State University and, soon after, began teaching third grade in Bountiful, Utah. In February 1963 she met James L. Parkin, who was in his first year of medical school at the University of Utah. They married on 1 July 1963 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Now the parents of 4 and grandparents of 14, the Parkins still enjoy family vacations together. Sister Parkin also loves gardening, tennis, and early-morning walks.

“As I look at my life, every calling has strengthened me,” she says. “Being called to serve as Relief Society president when I was one of the youngest mothers in my ward was a challenge, but sweet peace came as the women of the ward accepted me. That calling blessed my life and helped me grow.”

Sister Parkin served on the Relief Society general board from 1990 until 1 October 1994, when she was called as second counselor in the Young Women general presidency. Then, in 1997, her husband was called to serve for three years as mission president of the England London South Mission.

“The blessing of serving a mission with my husband greatly strengthened me,” she says. “We loved the British Saints, as well as our elders and sister missionaries and learned so much from them.”

Eager to encourage young women to discover the joys of Relief Society and for Relief Society sisters to reach out to young women, Sister Parkin says, “For all sisters, Relief Society is a place that can help us come unto Christ.”

Kathleen H. Hughes

First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Kathleen H. Hughes

“Heavenly Father has endowed women with so many wonderful gifts and abilities and qualities,” says Kathleen H. Hughes, newly called first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency. “With His help, and with help from each other, we can’t fail.”

Sister Hughes says that the words of the scriptures, together with her knowledge that she is a daughter of God, have anchored her and helped her find peace, even during the difficult periods of her life. Once, for example, while she was struggling with what she says may have been postpartum depression, she and her husband visited the Liberty Jail in Missouri. They reviewed the Prophet Joseph Smith’s experience there and read the revelation he received, as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 121 [D&C 121]. Sister Hughes realized that just as the Lord had sustained Joseph Smith, He would help her endure her own trials. “It was one of those times you remember—a defining moment when I sensed the presence of the Lord in my life and realized what the scriptures can do to bring comfort and peace,” she says.

Sister Hughes was born on 19 October 1944 in Tooele, Utah, to William Daly and Emma Johanson Hurst. She married writer Dean T. Hughes on 23 November 1966 in the Salt Lake Temple; they have three children and five grandchildren.

Sister Hughes earned her bachelor’s degree in English education at Weber State College in 1966, and she earned her master’s degree in special education at Central Missouri State University in 1974. She taught school for many years and has been working as an administrator in the Provo (Utah) School District since 1985.

Most recently Sister Hughes has served as the Young Women president in her ward. She has also had callings in the Relief Society, Primary, and Sunday School and has served on the Young Women general board.

“The purpose of Relief Society is to help the sisters and their families, with the help of the priesthood, come to Christ,” she says. “I feel such peace about this calling and know it will be a wonderful opportunity to work with these great women in the presidency.”

Anne C. Pingree

Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Anne C. Pingree

Anne C. Pingree loves to read. But even more, she loves to help others learn to read.

While serving with her husband, George C. Pingree, as he presided over the Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission, one of Sister Pingree’s main focuses was promoting literacy, especially among auxiliary leaders. “I’ll never forget how joyful the sisters were when they learned to read. When they stood up in training meetings and read simple sentences about their leadership responsibility, the other women there would clap for them, they were so happy,” says Sister Pingree.

With a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Utah, Sister Pingree has been a literacy volunteer for Spanish-speaking elementary school children through the “I Can Read Program” and an English tutor for Laotian immigrants through Literacy Volunteers of America.

“I think the Lord gives you experiences in your life that prepare you for things that are coming in the future,” says Sister Pingree, who credits her literacy experiences with helping to prepare her for her new calling. As second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, she hopes to continue to promote literacy as an ongoing emphasis of the Relief Society.

Sister Pingree adds that working with people from other countries has also prepared her in additional ways. “My perspective, my insight, and my understanding of worldwide women have increased. They taught me more about faith and testimony than I ever taught them.”

Prior service as a Relief Society general board member, a stake and ward Relief Society president, a counselor in the stake Young Women presidency, and a ward Primary president have also given Sister Pingree a great love and appreciation for the women of the Church. “I hope to reach every woman and help her feel she is important in the Lord’s eyes,” she says. “Prophets have told us that we, as covenant women, have a significant contribution to make in building the kingdom.”

Sister Pingree was born in Salt Lake City on 11 June 1941 to Ezra T. and Maude Erickson Clark. She and her husband married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1963 and have five children.

Two Apostles Will Serve Overseas

Beginning this August, Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will serve in overseas assignments for a period of one year. Elder Oaks will serve as Area President in the Philippines, and Elder Holland will serve in the same capacity in Chile.

The First Presidency announced the appointments in a post–general conference training meeting with General Authorities on 9 April. The appointments mark the first time in decades that a member of the Quorum of the Twelve has lived and presided outside the United States. In the mid-1960s, Elder Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) and Elder Mark E. Petersen (1900–84) presided as Apostles over the European and West European Missions respectively. Elder David O. McKay (1873–1970) presided over the British Mission in the early 1920s as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Elder Oaks and Elder Holland will assist in training new Church leadership and in helping new members assimilate into the Church and attend the temple in the Philippines and Chile—areas of rapid Church growth. The new assignments will also enable members of the Quorum of the Twelve to gain additional experience in meeting such needs.

In the Philippines, Church membership has grown to nearly half a million, with much of the growth occurring in the past decade. More than 1,200 congregations, grouped in 80 stakes and 13 missions, now exist in this nation.

Chile now has more than 520,000 Latter-day Saints. In 1988 it became the fourth nation in the world to reach 50 stakes. Between 1983 and 1993, the numbers of Chilean members and stakes doubled, making Chile the country with the fastest-growing Church membership in South America. Continued growth, including the creation of 26 new stakes in the 1994–96 period, led to the creation of the Chile Area in 1996.

April Conference Available on DVD

Wish you could watch conference again or watch it in a different language? Now you can, using a single DVD set recorded in 16 languages.

This DVD is compatible with any DVD player and TV set in the world. The DVD set (item no. 22057090; U.S. $14.25) is scheduled to be available from Church distribution centers or via in June. Conference is also available in English on videocassette (22056; U.S. $15.50), audiocassette (22055; U.S. $7.75), and compact disc (22054; U.S. $9.50).

President Hinckley Dedicates Snowflake Arizona Temple

President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Snowflake temple—Arizona’s second and the Church’s 108th—in four sessions on 3 March.

“We are thankful for those who laid the foundations of this and other nearby communities,” said President Hinckley in his dedicatory prayer, referring to early Latter-day Saint settlers who came to the Snowflake area in 1878 as requested by President Brigham Young. “They struggled so desperately for so long against adversities of many kinds. Now their posterity enjoy the sweet fruits of their efforts, and crowning all is this magnificent and beautiful temple.”

Accompanying President Hinckley were Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Dale E. Miller of the Seventy, Second Counselor in the North America Southwest Area Presidency.

The new temple will serve some 35,000 Church members in 11 stakes in northeastern Arizona and a small portion of western New Mexico. The temple district includes members who live on Apache, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni reservations; many Native American designs and furnishings have been included in the temple interior, items such as handcrafted rugs, baskets, and pottery.

More than 11,000 members attended the temple’s dedication. Although only 9,000 people reside in the Snowflake area, more than 94,000 attended the open house on 2–16 February. Temple president Leon T. Ballard, a native of Snowflake, said that many thousands of visitors came because of ancestral ties to the area. “And in their enthusiasm, they brought their friends,” he said. President Ballard said this enthusiasm for the new temple has not decreased since its dedication. “We offer 24 sessions a week, and nearly every one of them has been completely full.”

Since the Snowflake temple’s dedication, “nearly every [session] has been completely full,” said temple president Leon T. Ballard. The temple serves some 35,000 members in northeastern Arizona and western New Mexico. (Photo by Scott P. Adair.)

Nauvoo Temple Dedication to Be Broadcast

The First Presidency has announced that dedication services for the Nauvoo Illinois Temple will be broadcast to stake centers worldwide via satellite. Church members aged eight and older should see their bishop or branch president for a recommend to attend their local broadcast. The first service will be broadcast live on Thursday, 27 June at 6:00 P.M. central daylight time (CDT) and rebroadcast at 8:00 P.M. CDT. The concluding service will also be broadcast live worldwide on Sunday, 30 June at 5:00 P.M. CDT.

For those time zones that will receive the broadcast at inconvenient hours, rebroadcasts will be scheduled for a convenient hour on Friday, 28 June, or Sunday, 30 June.

The date of the first dedicatory service, 27 June, is the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith, almost to the hour. It was shortly after 5:00 P.M. on 27 June 1844 when the Prophet and his brother Hyrum were martyred in nearby Carthage.

The open house for the Nauvoo temple is scheduled from 18 May through 22 June (except Sundays). Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend. For more information, visit the Church Web site at

Today’s Nauvoo Illinois Temple. (Photo by Welden C. Andersen.)

Media Spotlight Shines on Church

Despite its emphasis on taking a low profile during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the Church became an inevitable media focal point when 10,000 media visitors descended on Salt Lake City. The Church was the subject of many thousands of Olympic-related articles and broadcasts, the vast majority of which were positive and fair, reports the Church Public Affairs Department.

While President Gordon B. Hinckley made it clear that the Church was taking nothing more than a supportive role in the Olympics, efforts were made to accommodate media who came to Church headquarters looking for stories. A temporary News Resource Center was created in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. From here Public Affairs officials and hundreds of volunteers took more than 2,000 media phone calls and assisted more than 1,300 walk-in visitors. The staff set up interviews with General Authorities and other Church representatives, arranged tours of Church sites such as Welfare Square and Temple Square, and provided interpretation in any language requested. Packets of information on everything from the Family History Library to common myths about the Church were available in several languages. Also available for media use were computers on which the media portion of the Church’s Web site was translated into 12 languages.

Of such efforts, one French newspaper reported, “In matters of [public relations], the Mormons are already wearing the gold medal” (Le Monde, 31 Jan. 2002). Church media relations director Michael R. Otterson added, “I believe the image of Latter-day Saints has dramatically shifted since media coverage of the Olympics.” Following are just a few excerpts from the thousands of articles that appeared worldwide:

“The church’s contribution turned into a plus after years of fear that these would be the Mormon Games. [International Olympic Committee President Jacques] Rogge said Mormon influence was ‘absolutely invisible,’ but he noted the indirect contribution the church’s missions had made in helping welcome the world. Many volunteers were former missionaries whose time in a foreign country had given them language skills” (Chicago Tribune, 25 Feb. 2002).

“In merely 150 years, the Latter Day Saints have grown from the ecstatic visions of the 14-year-old Joseph Smith in the woods of upstate New York into a … U.S. global church, claiming a worldwide membership of 11 million. It is without a doubt the most successful religious group ever started in the North Americas” (The Ottawa Citizen, 3 Feb. 2002).

“If there is any single impression that the Mormon leadership would like to leave on their international visitors, it is that a religion with a reputation as an American upstart has matured into a global faith. One-third of the 60,000 missionaries knocking on doors for the church are foreigners, and not all are evangelizing their own countrymen. Spaniards proselytize in Tokyo, Brazilians in Lagos and Filipinos in New Zealand” (New York Times, 26 Jan. 2002).

“I suspect strongly that the clean little secret of Salt Lake City, Utah, … is not anything that should seem extraordinary: It is simply the mix of a serious and upright religion, of families who foster and insist upon providing the highest levels of culture right along with the highest modern technology, and of generally sensible organizing and governing. In short, it is a modern mix of the old America” (syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer, Washington Times, 16 Feb. 2002).

“[President Hinckley] radiates warmth, his words are soft and well chosen, but he speaks his convictions powerfully and persuasively. In spite of this, he knows how to make his conversation partner feel comfortable.

“As I leave the Church [Administration] Building, I encounter a woman beggar at the end of the steps. … Usually, with indifference, I pass such people by. But after a visit with President Hinckley there is nothing one can do but open his wallet and give the woman a dollar” (Von Horst Rademacher, Frankfurter Allgemeine [Germany], 7 Feb. 2002).

Volunteers in the News Resource Center said reporters’ preconceptions often changed after they learned more about the Church and met General Authorities and other Latter-day Saints. “Many of the media have reported that the Church is far different than they thought. For us volunteers that has been the most rewarding part,” said volunteer David Bresnahan. Don Jarvis, another volunteer, said the change seemed to take place when reporters and other visitors saw the Church in action and interacted with its members.

Perhaps one article from the London Evening Standard summed it up best: “Nobody knows yet who is going to win at these Games but it is already easy to imagine that, with their unconditional welcome and unprecedented global visibility, the Mormons cannot lose” (7 Feb. 2002).

Al Roker asked Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, appearing live on NBC’s Today show, about the Salt Lake Temple. During the same show, Mr. Roker also directed the Tabernacle Choir. (Photo by Paul Barker, Deseret News.)

NBC anchor Tom Brokaw’s interview with President Gordon B. Hinckley aired in prime time as part of NBC’s Olympic coverage. Mr. Brokaw described President Hinckley as an energetic, enormously thoughtful man. (Photo courtesy Office of the President.)

Tiffany E. Lewis is a member of the BYU Fifth Ward, BYU 11th Stake.

Thirteen Latter-day Saints Compete in 2002 Winter Olympic Games

Thirteen Latter-day Saints from around the world are known to have competed in the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in February and March. Two of these athletes, Joe Pack and Lacey Heward, won medals.

Brother Pack, a member of the Park City Ward, Park City Utah Stake, took the silver medal in aerial ski jumping. He was the first Latter-day Saint to win a medal in the Winter Games since 1964. Sister Heward, Mount Mahogany Ward, Highland Utah East Stake, won bronze medals in the super-G and giant slalom in the mono-ski division of the Paralympics.

Keith Barney, the other Latter-day Saint who competed in the Paralympics, took part in the five-kilometer cross-country race and in the sit-ski division of the men’s biathlon. He is a member of the Alpine 11th Ward, Alpine Utah Stake.

Rowena Bright from the Cooma Branch, Canberra Australia Stake, was a contender in the Olympic Alpine ski events of slalom, giant slalom, and combined.

Paul O’Connor of the Provo First Ward, Provo Utah Bonneville Stake, competed for Ireland in cross-country skiing. Brother O’Connor was the first Nordic skier ever to compete for Ireland.

Tamami Tanaka has been a member of the Japanese biathlon team since 1995 and is a member of the Moiwa Ward, Sapporo Japan West Stake. She competed in four biathlon events.

Werner and Chris Hoeger, a father and son pair from the DeMeyer Park Ward, Meridian Idaho North Stake, represented Werner’s home nation of Venezuela in the luge event. At age 48, Werner was the oldest luge competitor, and at age 17, Chris was the youngest.

Another luge participant was Dinah Browne of the St. Croix Branch, Puerto Rico San Juan Mission. Sister Browne made Winter Olympic history as the first black female athlete ever to compete in the luge. She competed for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Also representing the U.S. Virgin Islands was Quinn Wheeler, who competed in the two-man bobsled event. Brother Wheeler’s home ward is the Taylorsville 39th Ward, Taylorsville Utah South Stake.

Two sisters played on the German ice hockey team. Stefanie Wartosch-Kurten of the Ludwigsburg Ward, Stuttgart Germany Stake, was a goalie; her sister, Sabine Rückauer of the Waiblingen Branch, Stuttgart Germany Stake, was a defender.

Lacey Heward, a member from Highland, Utah, won bronze medals in the super-G and giant slalom in the mono-ski division of the Paralympics. (Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.)

Light of the World Is Now on CD

The soundtrack for the Church musical spectacular Light of the World: A Celebration of Life is now available on compact disc (item no. 22323; U.S. $5.75). The performance, which ran 14 times in the Conference Center during the 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, was seen by some 300,000 people.

The music for the production was written by Latter-day Saint composers and performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square, and the International Children’s Choir. The CD can be purchased through Church distribution centers or at

In the Spotlight

BYU—Idaho’s Enrollment Hits Record High

Enrollment at Brigham Young University—Idaho hit an all-time high with 9,893 students during the 2002 winter semester. The enrollment included 2,529 students classified as juniors or seniors.

BYU—Idaho began offering bachelor’s degrees along with its traditional associate degrees last fall.

Kansas City Stake Helps Put on Family Week

Members of the Kansas City Missouri Stake joined their community to put on the fourth annual “Family Week” in Blue Springs, Missouri, 20–26 January.

The weeklong community celebration included various religious services focusing on the importance of the family; a sacred music festival; the selection of a “family of the year”; family time improvement contests; family-centered activities; family-themed photo, art, and essay contests; and a drawing that could be entered by completing a pedigree chart and writing a story from family history.

Young people of the stake cut and distributed gold ribbons throughout the community for people to display as a reminder of the importance of families.

Government leaders, including Missouri Governor Bob Holden, praised the project. The week culminated with Blue Springs Mayor Greg Grounds designating every Tuesday night as “family night.”

Blue Springs’s family week started four years ago when Kansas City stake member Diane Mack presented the idea to officials at her son’s elementary school. The idea was so successful at the school that it has now turned into a community-wide celebration.

Finnish Relief Society Sends Aid to Russian Women

Sisters of the Tampere Ward, Tampere Finland Stake, recently provided dozens of maternity aid packages to a hospital in the Russian republic of Karelia. The packages contained 58 hand-knit blankets, diapers, baby clothes, and other baby supplies, with a letter in Russian explaining the Finnish women’s desire to send something made with their own hands to their unknown friends in Russia. The sisters hope the packages will help break barriers between Finland and Russia.

Members of other faiths and less-active and new members of the Relief Society also took part in the project. Kristiina Kalliomäki, who was baptized shortly before the project began, said participating helped her form roots in the Church and the Relief Society. A young woman who had just entered Relief Society, Annastiina Ruuskanen, said, “I have gained a feeling for what Relief Society is. I feel I have joined a circle of sisters.”

Relief Society sisters in Tampere, Finland, worked together to produce dozens of newborn kits for a hospital in the Russian republic of Karelia. (Photo by Tuija Vilonen.)


Not Treeless

The article “Saints in Saskatchewan, Canada” (Feb. 2002) contains some misinformation. Saskatchewan is not a treeless province. The central and southern part of the province is prairie, but one only has to visit the Cypress Hills in the southwest of the province or go north to the boreal forest to see that some of the province is covered with trees.

John Benson Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Inside Cover Art

I am just writing to express my appreciation for the beautiful artwork used each month on the inside front and back covers of the Ensign. I have particularly enjoyed the landscape scenes of the historical sites in the British Isles and the poignant portraits of Joseph and Emma Smith. These pictures on the inside covers are always delightful and in good taste.

Elizabeth Clark Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England