News of the Church

By Don L. Searle


Priesthood Leaders Worldwide Receive Training via Satellite

Stake and ward priesthood leaders around the world received counsel from President Gordon B. Hinckley and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a first-of-its-kind leadership training broadcast in January.

“We see this as an important opportunity to teach foundation doctrines and principles, and their application in local circumstances,” stated a letter signed by the First Presidency announcing the broadcast. “We anticipate that the broadcast will do much to strengthen the faith of the leaders worldwide as they labor to bring souls unto Christ and build the Kingdom of God on earth.”

The meeting was for priesthood leaders, including stake presidents, bishops, and other priesthood officers. Translated into more than 50 languages, the broadcast originated at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City and reached some 97 percent of targeted Church leaders. Only a swath of land in western Africa was outside the satellite footprint. Leaders in that area received the full training meeting by videotape.

Speakers focused on topics basic to the salvation of individuals and to the progress of the Lord’s kingdom on earth, such as living the Lord’s standards, preparing to receive and live temple covenants, strengthening families, and advancing missionary work.

“Missionary work is the lifeblood of the Church,” President Hinckley said in his remarks. “It is older than the Church itself.”

“Who should do full-time missionary work? Those who are worthy and are called,” he explained. “We simply cannot permit those who have not qualified themselves to go into the world to preach the glad tidings of the gospel.”

“Let me emphasize that we need missionaries,” President Hinckley explained, but they must be spiritually and physically capable of doing the work.

President Hinckley also said missionaries can do a better job if they learn to teach with spiritual conviction and not just through rote memorization. Let them learn to speak from their own convictions; let them ask the Lord each morning to loosen their tongues, and let them teach with His help, President Hinckley urged.

President Hinckley admonished leaders to be sure investigators are ready to be baptized, and he reiterated his counsel that every new member needs a friend, a responsibility, and nourishment with the word of God. “Every convert is worth saving. I am convinced we do not need to suffer losses among those who come into the Church,” President Hinckley said.

President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke of receiving direction through the Holy Ghost. “The language of the Church is the language of the Spirit,” he said.

President Packer showed a pair of sextants, used by sailors for centuries to find their courses across the sea. “The Holy Ghost is like a sextant,” he said. Just as light from the heavens could keep sailors from losing their way, the light of the Holy Ghost can help us stay on the right course.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles continued the theme of being guided by revelation, teaching that it is the duty of Church leaders to receive for themselves the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ and to teach it to others.

Elder Maxwell reiterated President Brigham Young’s assertion that “we live far beneath our privileges” in terms of receiving revelation from God for guidance (see Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 32). Elder Maxwell counseled: “To the degree that we cease to live beneath our privileges, we can lift the Church.”

But he cautioned, “Revelation is not a matter of pushing buttons but of pushing ourselves, often aided by fasting and by scripture study.”

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that while Church leaders see many different levels of organization in units around the world, “the Spirit is the same.” The Church provides handbooks and other resources to guide leaders in the development of Church programs in units of every size, but development must be done carefully and in good order, he counseled. “The secret to building a ward or branch is to know your members,” he said, and tailor the growth to their needs.

A primary goal of local leaders should be to help each member prepare for the covenants and blessings of the temple, Elder Perry taught. If priesthood leaders only help members prepare for, make, and keep these covenants, they have done what could be expected of them, regardless of the size of the ward or branch, he said.

Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of the strength and joy that can come to members who faithfully obey the Lord’s standards. Those standards for receiving temple blessings are high, and they are unchangeable, Elder Eyring pointed out. Priesthood leaders must uphold these standards “clearly and without apology.”

The Lord’s standards are not given to keep people from Him but to draw more people to Him, Elder Eyring explained, testifying that as leaders hold the Lord’s standards high, more people will come to baptism and follow the pathway that leads them to Christ.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered counsel on strengthening families. “Remember, the Church is organized to assist families,” he said.

Referring to “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102), Elder Ballard suggested that both parents and Church teachers review the proclamation regularly to help them support its principles. He cited other gospel-based resources to help strengthen families, including manuals, Church magazines, and family home evening. Elder Ballard urged priesthood leaders to be aware of these resources and encourage members to use them.

He also called on priesthood leaders to give strong support to the goal of temple marriage among members because of the blessings it brings to families and to the Church. Members who have not made or learned to keep temple covenants have not taken advantage of all the blessings the gospel has to offer, Elder Ballard said, referring to counsel from President Hinckley.

[photo] Sister missionaries teach from the scriptures. President Gordon B. Hinckley recently instructed leaders to help potential missionaries be worthy and prepared to teach by the Spirit. (Photograph by Steve Bunderson.)

[photo] Church leaders were recently reminded to help each member prepare for and receive the blessings of the temple. (Photograph by Steve Bunderson.)

New Site Encourages Provident Living

Say you would like to develop your food storage but you aren’t sure how to begin. Perhaps you are burdened with debt and would like to become debt free. Maybe you are looking for a new job or additional education and training. Or maybe you suffer from emotional challenges that are too difficult to manage alone.

With the launch of the new Church Web site www.providentliving.org, gospel-based guidance for these and other situations has been brought together to provide how-to assistance for managing a wide range of temporal affairs.

“The philosophy behind the site is really in its name,” says Jeff Newey, project manager of Provident Living. “It was created so people could learn to live more providently.”

Using universal gospel principles of welfare, self-reliance, and providence, the site focuses on eight areas: helps for Church leaders, physical health, social and emotional strength, educational literacy, employment, resource management, food storage and emergency preparedness, and caring for others.

Through these areas of focus, users will find articles from Church leaders and industry experts, instructional material from Church lesson manuals, interactive tools such as a food storage calculator and career tutorials, and practical how-to information on topics ranging from job interview skills to gardening. Users will also find information such as job listings, resources for adoptive and birth parents, food storage guidelines, instructions for compiling humanitarian kits, and tools to help find educational programs around the world.

“Never before in my life has the doctrine of self-reliance been more needed to be preached and encouraged for the benefit of the Saints,” said Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in October 1991 general conference (“Becoming Self-Reliant,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 65). Church leaders continue to preach the importance of self-reliance and provident living. With the development of the Provident Living site comes a practical, gospel-oriented resource to help people manage their temporal needs.

“We teach emphatically the importance of self-reliance, the importance of education, of equipping our people so they can earn a living; the importance of saving and being prudent in the management of their affairs; the importance of setting something aside, a reserve, to take care of their needs if there should come a rainy day in their lives,” says President Hinckley (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 585).

[photo] Offering resources in eight areas, the Provident Living Web site promotes spiritual and temporal welfare.

2003 Church Pageant Schedule

Pageant

Location

Date

Jesus the Christ

Mesa, Arizona

10–12 April (Spanish); 15–19 April (English)

Mormon Miracle

Manti, Utah

19–21, 24–28 June

America’s Witness for Christ

Palmyra, New York

11–12, 15–19 July

And It Came to Pass

Oakland, California

15–19, 22–26 July

Castle Valley

Castle Dale, Utah

31 July–2 August; 5–9 August

City of Joseph

Nauvoo, Illinois

1–2, 5–9 August

Martin Harris, the Man Who Knew

Clarkston, Utah

15–16, 19–23, 26–29 August

All pageants are free of charge, but the Clarkston and Oakland pageants require tickets. For more information on any of the pageants, call 1-801-240-7800 or visit www.lds.org and click on “Other Resources,” then “Places to Visit.”

Church Donates Books, Refurbishes Wells in Ghana

Latter-day Saint Charities, the distribution arm of the Church’s Humanitarian Services, presented 12 shipment containers full of thousands of educational books to Ghana’s minister of education in November, reported the Accra Daily Mail.

“Through education our country gets ahead,” says education minister Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi. “Many have and will benefit by your humanitarian aid.”

Brother Edward Richard K. Dwemoh represented Latter-day Saint Charities in presenting the books. “Knowledge is power, and through studying books most of us have changed attitudes,” he said.

Elder Neil Darlington, director of Latter-day Saint Charities in Ghana, added, “The real value of a book … becomes priceless when parents, children, and teachers read … to gain wisdom.”

In addition to donating books, Latter-day Saint Charities is also refurbishing wells, called boreholes, in villages in the Takoradi and Assin Foso areas of Ghana. As of January the organization had completed 40 refurbishing projects and had begun an additional 50 projects.

Latter-day Saint Charities worked with local priesthood leaders and local Peace Corps workers to determine which villages were in greatest need to have their wells repaired.

One of the restored boreholes is in Assin Brofoyedur. The chief, Dumpah II, expressed gratitude “for … making it possible for the well to work again.” About 800 villagers benefit from this one borehole.

The village of Achowa also received a refurbished well. Since the well stopped working 14 months earlier, about 500 residents in the village have had access only to ground water that they could catch in a rainstorm.

Village chief Nana Domkor III of Fasin expressed the feelings of many villagers, repeating, “May God bless you, may God bless you!”

BYU Women’s Conference to Be Broadcast in May

The 2003 Brigham Young University Women’s Conference will be held 1–2 May. Selected talks will be broadcast over the Church satellite system to meetinghouses throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America from 6:00 to 10:00 P.M. mountain daylight time on the days of the conference. The broadcast can also be accessed on KBYU-TV in Utah, cable station BYUTV, BYU Radio, and on the Internet at http://broadcasting.byu.edu. Check local listings for specific times.

Church units in Europe, the British Isles, and South Africa will receive the broadcast later in May. Local units have been authorized to record and retain a set of the broadcasts for Church use, and members may record presentations for home use.

For more information, call 1-801-378-7692 or visit http://womensconference.byu.edu.

Comment

On Divine Love

I must comment on the article “Divine Love,” written so eloquently by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Feb. 2003, 20). I truly believe that if we study these words and feel the power in what is being taught, we will find new meaning in and a refreshed outlook on our relationship with Jesus Christ. We may truly feel His divine love, the kind of love we would feel in His presence, on the condition that we obey His will. We must get to the temple and make those divine covenants that will allow us to receive this love. How thankful I am to be a part of this glorious gospel that opens my eyes to new and greater understanding. Amie Cotton Madison, Indiana

Building for Eternity

The article “Two People Building for Eternity” (Jan. 2003, 10) touched my heart. I also have a disability that prevents me from walking well. My cane helps me to get around and do all that needs to get done.

I do not have an eternal mate, but the words of the Hiatt family have given me hope that someday it will come to pass if I have faith, keep my thoughts positive, and trust the Lord. Forty years ago, I was left alone to raise three small sons. They are grown now and always keep in touch with me. They have a deep love for me, for which I am very grateful.

The scriptures are my constant help each day. And thank you for your special efforts as you work on the Ensign every month. Marie W. Stealey Paradise, California