President Hinckley Dedicates Two Temples, Meets with Members
Continuing a busy season of temple dedications, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Campinas Brazil Temple and the Asunción Paraguay Temple in May. The dedications brought the total number of operating temples to 112.
During his travels, President Hinckley also met with Latter-day Saints in Jamaica and Trinidad.
Campinas Brazil Temple
On 17 May President Hinckley dedicated the Campinas Brazil Temple in four sessions.
In the industrial city of Campinas, the new temple has become a beacon of light to the community. “It is brilliant,” said Nei Tobias Garcia Jr., son of the city’s first stake president. “Its light in the dark night serves as a teaching that proclaims the truth.”
In the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley invoked the blessings of the Lord for the Saints in Brazil. “Here we will honor Thee in carrying forward the great work of salvation and exaltation made possible through the atoning sacrifice of Thy Beloved Son, our precious Lord,” said President Hinckley. “Bless Thy Saints in this great nation of Brazil. As they walk in obedience before Thee, open the windows of heaven and shower down blessings upon them.”
President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, also attended the dedication. President Faust, who was an early missionary to Brazil, conducted the temple’s groundbreaking ceremony four years ago, in May 1998. Other General Authorities attending the dedication were Elder Athos M. Amorim of the Seventy, President of the Brazil South Area, and his counselors, Elders Neil L. Andersen and Adhemar Damiani of the Seventy.
More than 8,500 people attended the dedication, and some 75,000 people attended the temple’s open house, including Campinas mayor Izalene Tiene. “The city was in need at this time of precisely this kind of spiritual refuge,” Mrs. Tiene said. Campinas has experienced recent civil unrest that culminated in the assassination of Mrs. Tiene’s predecessor, Antonio da Costa Santos.
Many who attended the open house and dedication shed tears of gratitude for the sense of peace they felt at the temple.
Asunción Paraguay Temple
Just two days after dedicating the Campinas temple, President Hinckley dedicated the Asunción Paraguay Temple, the Church’s 112th temple. With the 19 May dedication, every Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking nation in South America now has a temple.
“Marvelous has been the growth of Thy work in this part of Thy vineyard,” said President Hinckley in the dedicatory prayer. “We thank Thee for the labors of missionaries who have taught the everlasting gospel. We thank Thee for all who with open hearts and open minds have accepted these teachings and entered the waters of baptism to become members of Thy Church.”
President Faust and Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy, President of the South America South Area, also attended the dedication.
When the Asunción temple was first announced in general conference in April 2000, the Saints in Paraguay literally shouted for joy. “When we heard the news that a temple was to be built in Paraguay, we clapped and jumped and hollered. We wanted the Lord to know how happy we were,” says President Abilio Samaniego, counselor in the Asunción temple presidency. “The Lord has shown us much love, and I am grateful.”
Meeting Members in Jamaica, Trinidad
More than 2,000 people from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands gathered on 15 May in Kingston, Jamaica, to hear President Hinckley speak. “I can’t tell you how pleased they were to think that the prophet would stop here,” said Norman G. Angus, president of the Jamaica Kingston Mission.
President Hinckley told the Saints they are a blessing to the land of Jamaica. He admonished them to respect their country, to share the gospel with those around them, and to strengthen their families. He told the youth they are the future of the Church and counseled them to be strong. He also promised blessings to those who pay their tithes and offerings.
President Faust also bore his testimony of missionary work and the restored gospel.
In Port of Spain, Trinidad, President Hinckley spoke to a gathering of almost 900 people, including members, government and civic leaders, and journalists. He called on those listening to love their spouses and children, to treat one another with acceptance and respect, and to faithfully pay their tithes and offerings. He also encouraged members to reach out to new converts.
“I place upon you a responsibility to put your arms around others and welcome them and make them feel at home and answer their questions and give them encouragement when they come into the Church,” President Hinckley said. “In so doing you will bless their lives many times over.”
President Faust also spoke to the congregation, sharing his thoughts about gaining and maintaining a testimony. “Our testimonies come from a personal inward belief,” he said. “We are all converts to the Church.”
During their visit, President Hinckley and President Faust met with Patrick Manning, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago. They discussed the work of the Church in the area, and President Hinckley thanked the prime minister for allowing Church activities and proselytizing to take place.
Church Leaders Counsel Graduates, Receive Honors
Members of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Seventy counseled graduates at schools in Idaho and Utah during 2002 commencement exercises, and both President Gordon B. Hinckley and President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, received honorary degrees. The honor for President Hinckley was a first of its kind, and it came at a landmark moment for the school.
President Hinckley presided at the first commencement for BYU—Idaho, formerly Ricks College, on 27 April. For his lifetime of Christian service and leadership, he was awarded an honorary doctorate, the first such degree ever presented by the school. Nearly 2,500 students also received degrees from the now four-year institution.
During his address, President Hinckley said the Church Board of Education had long been troubled by the fact that an ever-diminishing percentage of young people could attend a Church-sponsored university. “While reflecting on this fact, the thought came, and I am confident it was inspiration, that we could increase the number touched by our higher education program if Ricks were to become a four-year school offering baccalaureate degrees,” President Hinckley said.
He told the graduates: “Keep the faith. This is my message to you. … My challenge to you this morning is that throughout your lives you cultivate and act with faith—faith in yourselves, faith in your associates, faith in the Church, faith in God, your Eternal Father.”
He continued: “You did not come into the world to fail. You came into the world to succeed,” adding, “You will be amazed at what might happen when in faith you take a step forward.”
President Hinckley admonished: “Never lose faith in yourself. Never lose faith in your capacity to do good and worthwhile things. You cannot be arrogant. You cannot be conceited. You can be quiet and humble and forward looking and full of hope, the hope that blossoms into faith.”
Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—Church Commissioner of Education and a former president of Ricks College—told the graduates that they will be forever in debt to the teachers, family members, and tithe payers who made their education possible.
“You can’t repay your benefactors. You could not ever find them, and they wouldn’t take your money if you offered it. But you can from this day forward act so that your debt will be steadily reduced,” he said.
“First, wherever you may labor in life, give more than you take. Second, whoever is around you in life, find someone to help. And third, ask God to multiply the power of your efforts to give and to help.”
Elder Eyring placed the hood representing the honorary degree on President Hinckley, assisted by Donald Bird, academic vice-president of BYU—Idaho.
In conferring the honorary doctorate on the President of the Church, BYU—Idaho president David A. Bednar said, “As the transition from Ricks College to Brigham Young University—Idaho moves forward, we have special reason to honor President Hinckley.” President Bednar, who also serves as an Area Authority Seventy, explained that President Hinckley’s “vision of education has largely impacted the direction of the new four-year institution, as well as the lives of each student who attends.”
The first graduates to receive bachelor’s (four-year) degrees from BYU—Idaho were 28 interior design students. The remainder of graduates received associate (two-year) degrees. Among the graduates were 56 international students.
Salt Lake City, Utah
President Faust was one of four people who received honorary degrees on 10 May at the University of Utah commencement. The honor recognized his leadership in legal, civic, and Church affairs.
In his brief response, President Faust spoke to some 6,500 graduates of his own opportunities to teach and of the profound effect that outstanding teachers have had on his life.
“In truth my teachers have all been legion,” he said. He mentioned his parents, children, grandchildren, and particularly his wife, Ruth. He also named three of the teachers who had profound influence on him during his formal schooling.
But, President Faust said, some of the most important of his learning came through another teacher, “even the greatest of all.”
“I must acknowledge the learning that has come to me in my life from the Holy Spirit of God,” he commented, explaining, “At times this knowledge has come, and it could not possibly have come from any other source.”
Chief Justice Christine Durham of the Utah Supreme Court offered the commencement address.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided at the commencement for Brigham Young University on 25 April and spoke to the more than 6,400 graduates. Elder Eyring also spoke, as did Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, BYU President. Roderick Paige, U.S. secretary of education, was the principal speaker for the occasion.
“Strong families are the backbone of society,” Mr. Paige told the graduates. Homes shape the people who come out of them, he said, and “it is in our families where we learn that being a good mom or dad is the most important job any of us could ever have.”
All of us, he said, “must let faith be the fire within us.” He counseled graduates that success has more to do with serving than receiving.
Elder Ballard also spoke of service, calling on the graduates to help make the world a more peaceful place to live. He urged them to let the testimony of Jesus Christ “become ever more powerful in our life.” Then he added, “That will happen as you serve Him.”
Elder Eyring told the graduates that service is one way to achieve the purpose of their education, even at times when they are torn between the demands to provide and care for a family and to manage other responsibilities. “Your key and mine to rising to our potential as servants is to know our Master, to do for Him what we can, and to be content to leave the residue in His hands.”
Remember, he said, “that you serve a Master who loves you, who knows you, and who is all powerful. He has created not demands for your service but opportunities for your growth.”
These opportunities bring blessings, he said. “As you go to serve Him, rather than being demeaned, you will be lifted up.”
In his brief remarks, Elder Bateman noted that the 6,435 graduates come from all 50 United States and from 51 other countries, and that the university is nationally recognized and “rapidly becoming known internationally.” He said that during the Olympics in February, nearly 60 national and international news organizations visited the campus.
“You are an elect group,” he said. “May you draw upon the lessons of life learned here. May you become an unusual force for good in your communities, and may you humbly stand for the right.”
Salt Lake City
At the commencement for LDS Business College on 9 May, Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy told graduates not to be taken in by common worldly myths about success, but to be obedient to principles that will make them successful in eternal terms.
He told them success does not come from choosing the “right” profession, rising to the top, making a lot of money, or even knowing right now what they will do with the rest of their lives. But filling the measure of their creation on the earth (see D&C 88:25) will have much to do with their persistent effort and their integrity. He counseled them to persevere in order to achieve and to be sure morality governs their professional as well as personal lives.
Research Foundation Honors Elder Maxwell
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles received the 2002 Legacy of Life Award from the Deseret Foundation’s Heart and Lung Research Foundation at an annual banquet on 18 April.
The award, Elder Maxwell remarked, will “spur me to try to deserve what you’re kind enough to bestow.” He reminded those attending the banquet that “as long as our hearts pump, some of the time they should pulsate because we’re reaching out to others. And as long as there is breath in our lungs, some of that breath should be used to bestow on others deserved commendation and needed encouragement.”
The Heart and Lung Research Foundation annually bestows the Legacy of Life award on a leader with Utah ties who has made significant contributions to the community and to the well-being of mankind. Elder Maxwell was selected because his life achievements have “made the world and the lives of all us dwelling in it better,” said David G. Thomas, chairman of the Foundation’s Community Advisory Council.
Past recipients include, among others, President Gordon B. Hinckley (1998), Utah governor Michael O. Leavitt (1999), Latter-day Saint industrialist Jon M. Huntsman (1994), and Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1993).
Among those attending the awards banquet were President Hinckley; President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency; President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; and Elder Maxwell’s wife, Colleen, and other family members. The program featured a video tribute describing Elder Maxwell’s influence and contributions. Among those taking part in the tribute were President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy.
Members Cope with Effects of Tornado, Floods
Members were among those affected by four recent natural disasters, but in each case they escaped serious injury.
When a level F-5 tornado hit La Plata, Maryland, on 28 April, it left 5 people dead, 738 homes damaged, and 49 businesses destroyed. Three LDS families lost property as a result of the storm. The tornado was the second worst ever to strike the eastern coast of the United States.
Along with providing disaster supplies, food, and building materials to the community, the Church offered its facilities to three other churches that were damaged by the tornado. Schoolchildren from a local private school met in a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse until schools adjourned in June.
As part of the massive cleanup effort, missionaries and members helped clean debris and organized meals for the volunteers and victims. They also helped sort the many commodities sent to relief agencies.
In Panama during May, heavy rains brought some flooding to the northwestern part of the country. At least 400 people in rural areas were forced from their homes. Members of one LDS family lost their home and all their possessions. Another 14 member families were left in need of basic supplies. Local Church leaders assisted members with food, clothing, shelter, and medicine.
The heavy rains of May also brought flooding in areas of Honduras and Nicaragua. In Nicaragua, some 30,000 people were affected, including 600 member families; many of these members were staying with friends and neighbors. No members were reported among those evacuated in Honduras. Local Church leaders provided aid for members in need in the affected areas. At the request of the government of Nicaragua, the Church shipped two container loads of food, clothing, and personal hygiene kits to help with relief efforts.
In Chile, the heaviest rains in 100 years caused flooding that affected as many as 100,000 people and killed 9. No Church members were injured. The homes of 170 member families sustained damage, but welfare funds were used to provide for emergency repairs and relief supplies. Two Church meetinghouses sustained minor flood damage.
Women Produce Thousands of Humanitarian Service Items
As part of the annual Brigham Young University Women’s Conference, Relief Society sisters took part in a massive service project on 3 May. Thousands of women organized into assembly lines to create hygiene kits, school-supply packages, and fleece hats and jackets to send to disaster victims or others in need all over the world. As a group, the sisters assembled some 67,000 hygiene kits and 15,000 school kits.
The kits will be distributed by the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City. There is constant demand for them in many different areas of the world.
Major corporations donated most of the materials for the school kits, hats, and jackets.
Discount Offered on Temple Clothing
In an effort to help members obtain their own temple clothing, the Church continues to offer a substantial discount on the first-time purchase of temple clothing.
The First Presidency initially announced the discount in a letter dated 6 October 1998 to encourage endowed members to purchase their own temple clothing and to use it when performing temple ordinances. “The preparation and care of one’s own temple clothing will enhance the feeling of reverence and gratitude for this sacred work,” the First Presidency letter said.
Members can purchase temple clothing through local distribution centers.
Policies and Announcements
The First Presidency has sent the following letter, dated 2 May 2002, to priesthood leaders.
Bearing of Testimonies in Fast and Testimony Meeting
We are concerned that in some instances, members who desire to bear their testimonies in fast and testimony meeting do not have the opportunity to do so. Bishoprics are encouraged to help all people learn to express a brief, heartfelt testimony of the Savior, His teachings, and the Restoration, so that more members may have the opportunity to participate.
Parents and teachers should help children learn what a testimony is and when it is appropriate for them to express it. It may be best to have younger children learn to share their testimonies at such times as family home evening or when giving talks in Primary until they are old enough to do so in a fast and testimony meeting.
We encourage bishoprics to teach these important principles to priesthood and auxiliary leaders and to all ward members.
In the Spotlight
Italian TV Program Features Primary
The national Italian television network, RAI, recently aired a program, “Let’s Protect Our Children,” which featured the Church and its Primary organization. The program, aired on 11 April, was part of an ongoing series, Ten Minutes Of.
Moderator Carlo Fontana spoke with Sergio Belforti, president of the Milan Italy Stake and a pediatrician and father of four children; Emanuela De Matteis, a Primary teacher; and Giuseppe Pasta, the Church’s national director of public affairs.
Issues such as the fight against child abuse were discussed. The Church’s Primary programs were described as a way of protecting children, and the LDS panelists were able to explain Church teachings about children and families.
Cambodian King Receives Church Representatives
Church representatives met on 6 May with the king of Cambodia. Among other things, they talked about the Church’s activities in Cambodia and about its emphasis on families.
King Norodom Sihanouk and his wife, Mony Neat Sihanouk, received President John P. Colton of the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission and his wife, Barbara; President Colton’s counselor Elder Gordon Haight and his wife, Emma; Elder Ralph and Sister Charla Francis, representing LDS charities; Elder David Rasmussen, assistant to the president; and Elder Tol Koim, a native Cambodian missionary.
The visitors presented the king with two copies of the Book of Mormon, one newly translated in Khmer and one in French, along with a record documenting Church activities in the country, including the delivery of humanitarian aid and the providing of educational help through the Latter-day Saint Charities learning center.
Soldier in the Spotlight
The face on the cover of a national magazine the day before Memorial Day in the United States was that of a young soldier from Morgan, Utah. Specialist Matthew L. Hinck was chosen to represent U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan for a story in the 26 May issue of Parade, a Sunday supplement for many newspapers. Brother Hinck is stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He and his wife, Ann, also from Morgan, are members of the branch in Princeton, Kentucky.
Food for Famine Relief
Humanitarian volunteers gathered at Welfare Square in Salt Lake City on 29 and 30 May to pack nearly 7,000 boxes of emergency food supplies for the suffering people of drought-stricken Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar.
The worst drought in 50 years is affecting some 20 million Africans in Malawi alone.
More than 300 Church members took part in preparing the emergency food boxes. The Church also sent four large containers of clothing and purchased 250 tons of grain from surrounding countries to help people in the drought areas.
Home Storage: Catching the Spirit
Members of four stakes in American Samoa have enthusiastically welcomed a new emphasis on home storage. They packed 40,000 pounds of food in three months, using foil pouches that protect rice, sugar, and flour in the warm temperatures and humid environment of the tropics.
The procuring of two sealing machines helped spur the storage drive, with the effort being assisted by Elder Ronald and Sister Rose Harvey, welfare service missionaries from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Local priesthood leaders have directed and helped give impetus to the efforts. President Falema’o M. Pili of the Pago Pago West Stake, chairman of the welfare committee in American Samoa, helped seal and pack the first 50 pounds of rice. Saints from the Pago Pago Samoa, Pago Pago Samoa Central, Pago Pago Samoa Mapusaga, and Pago Pago Samoa West Stakes have come to the bishops’ storehouse as families, ward groups, and individuals to take part in packing food for home storage.
I want each of the photographers whose work appeared in the May 2002 Ensign to know how inspiring it is. I wish I could see the photos that didn’t make it into the issue! I am grateful for the photographers’ abilities and gifts to see.
Deborah Kent Moberly, Missouri