News of the Church

By Alan and Teresa Chapman


President Hinckley Dedicates Kirtland Historic Sites

In an emotional service at the dedication of historic Church sites in Kirtland, Ohio, on 18 May, President Gordon B. Hinckley paid tribute to the early Saints and marked the tremendous growth of the Church. The restoration project was the largest ever undertaken by the Church outside of Nauvoo.

“May this area become a great gathering place for Thy people from over the earth,” said President Hinckley in the dedicatory prayer. He prayed that Church members would “come here, walk about with reverence and memories, … and grow in faith and testimony concerning Thy work and Thy kingdom,” and that Kirtland would become a “place where the stranger will be touched by Thy Spirit and come to know something of … Thy cause and kingdom.”

At the dedication President Hinckley spoke of the Kirtland Ward sacrament meeting he had attended earlier in the day, during which time he said his mind began to wander across the globe to similar meetings being held in 160 nations.

“I thought of the miracle of what has come to pass as this work has spread across the world,” said President Hinckley.

“I think those who walked these roads could not have dreamed—although the Prophet [Joseph Smith] spoke of it—of the marvelous expansion of this great work,” President Hinckley said, then paused to contain his emotion. “We are part of an incomparable miracle. I wish to emphasize that.”

In April 2000 Church leaders announced plans to reconstruct and restore sites in Kirtland, the 19th-century pioneer settlement where the Church’s first temple was built, the priesthood quorums were organized, and extensive missionary efforts began. Kirtland was the headquarters of the Church from 1831 to 1838, when persecution in the area eventually caused the early Saints to move on to Missouri.

Nearly 2,000 Latter-day Saints had settled there by the time of the Kirtland Temple’s completion in 1836. The temple is now owned and operated by the Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The first phase of the restoration project was completed in 2002 when the Church opened the new Historic Kirtland Visitors’ Center, the restored Newel K. Whitney home and store, and the reconstructed John Johnson Inn.

Projects completed for the May dedication include a 170-year-old sawmill that was originally constructed to provide lumber for the temple, the only known restored ashery (which produced potash, then used in manufacturing) in North America, and Kirtland’s first framed schoolhouse.

President Hinckley was accompanied at the dedicatory service by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Elder Dale E. Miller of the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Other religious, community, and government leaders also attended.

Prior to the dedication, President Hinckley accepted a road marker plaque from Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jennette Bradley. The road marker summarizes the significance of Kirtland to the state of Ohio and is one of more than 340 to be presented around the state as part of Ohio’s bicentennial celebration.

While in Kirtland for the dedication, President Hinckley also held a fireside with members in the Kirtland area. Fifteen hundred Latter-day Saints filled the Kirtland Ohio Stake Center on 17 May to hear President Hinckley commemorate the restoration and reconstruction of Historic Kirtland.

“Kirtland is an unusual place, a remarkable place, an interesting place, and a very important place in the history of this work,” President Hinckley said.

He spoke of Palmyra and Harmony as the birthplaces of the Restoration and of Kirtland as the place where many of the principles that govern the Church today were put into place. In Kirtland the first high priests were ordained, the Word of Wisdom was received, and the first high council and stake were organized. Other important events that occurred there include the organization of the First Presidency, the calling of Apostles who were organized into a quorum, the calling of the original First Quorum of the Seventy, the filling of the office of patriarch, Joseph Smith’s receiving of the Egyptian scrolls that he later translated into the Book of Abraham, and the acceptance of the Doctrine and Covenants revelations by the body of the Church.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell added his testimony and spoke about “the Kirtland cascade,” referring to the revelations and manifestations that occurred in Kirtland during the Church’s time there. “These important revelations connect us to daily life,” Elder Maxwell said.

[photo] President Hinckley (center) tours the restored ashery in Kirtland, Ohio. (Photograph by John Luke.)

Latter-day Saints and Muslims Prepare Aid for Iraq

Within the walls of a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse in southern California in May, the world changed just a bit due to a special partnership and an act of service for people suffering from the conflict in Iraq.

The event was an unprecedented humanitarian aid effort between Muslims and Latter-day Saints, organized and held in Pasadena, California. The mission was to prepare some 10,000 family hygiene kits for people in need in Iraq. The project was part of a large shipment of emergency supplies donated by LDS Humanitarian Services.

“We are told by relief workers in Iraq that these family hygiene kits will be most welcome,” said Elder Tad R. Callister, an Area Authority Seventy. The kits contain such items as hand soap, towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and combs.

Nour International Aid and Mercy Corps International transported the goods by ship, which traveled from Los Angeles to Turkey and then on to Iraq.

The cultural hall in the Pasadena California Stake Center lived up to its name at this multicultural gathering. Members of local mosques arrived dressed in traditional attire. Raymond O. Lowry Jr., president of the Pasadena California Stake, welcomed the 300 Latter-day Saint and Muslim volunteers, then offered a prayer to begin the event. Dr. Yahia Abdul-Rahman, head of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, also shared a prayer on behalf of his people. It was a testimony to the importance of the day that both spiritual leaders prayed for almost identical blessings upon their people—to please God, to care for their families, and to bless their service.

The shared labor of the volunteers will be a permanent memory for everyone. Members of the Pasadena stake worked shoulder to shoulder for several hours with members of the Muslim community, assembling kits with washcloths, toothbrushes, and other hygiene necessities, while discovering how much they had in common.

“We’ve just been talking, and I found out that Hedab lives next door to one of my good friends!” said Carolyn Peterson of the Pasadena stake after meeting one of the Muslim volunteers.

Most of the Muslim volunteers, like Traore Lancind of West Africa, had never been inside a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse. “When they spoke at the mosque and said that we could help today, I wanted to come,” said Mr. Lancind. “This is much different than our mosque. We go only for prayers. You do so many things inside your church.”

A particularly memorable moment occurred when those of the Muslim faith requested to use the nearby Relief Society room for a midday prayer. In minutes, shoes came off, prayer rugs came out, and without restraint some 50 faithful Muslims expressed their thanks to God surrounded by the walls of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was a very reverent moment, and it spoke volumes of how welcome the Muslims felt. Friendship and understanding between the two faiths blossomed.

Dr. Abdul-Rahman expressed his admiration for the Church: “You have so many examples to offer us to learn from—your commitment, your voluntary work, your prompt action to help those who need it and without asking for any rewards. Our friendship is not just for today.”

[photo] Working side by side, volunteers from the Church and the Muslim community in Pasadena, California, assemble family hygiene kits that were later donated to people in need in Iraq. (Photograph courtesy of Church Public Affairs.)

New Area Presidency Assignments

The First Presidency has announced changes in assignments for Area Presidencies. The changes are effective 15 August 2003. All presidency members belong to the First or Second Quorum of the Seventy unless otherwise noted.

1. North America Northwest: Quentin L. Cook, President; Stephen A. West, First Counselor; Keith K. Hilbig, Second Counselor

2. North America Central: Donald L. Staheli, President; Donald L. Hallstrom, First Counselor; William W. Parmley, Second Counselor

3. North America Northeast: Glenn L. Pace, President; H. Bryan Richards, First Counselor; David R. Stone, Second Counselor

4. North America East: Dale E. Miller, President; Gordon T. Watts, First Counselor; Ronald T. Halverson, Second Counselor

5. North America Southeast: Gene R. Cook, President; Keith Crockett, First Counselor; H. Aldridge Gillespie, Second Counselor

6. North America Southwest: F. Burton Howard, President; H. Bruce Stucki, First Counselor; Stephen B. Oveson, Second Counselor

7. North America West: Lynn G. Robbins, President; Val R. Christensen, First Counselor; Ned B. Roueché, Second Counselor

8. Utah North: Robert S. Wood, President; Merrill C. Oaks, First Counselor; Robert C. Oaks, Second Counselor

9. Utah Salt Lake City: Ronald A. Rasband, President; Bruce D. Porter, First Counselor; Richard H. Winkel, Second Counselor

10. Utah South: John H. Groberg, President; W. Rolfe Kerr, First Counselor; Monte J. Brough, Second Counselor

11. Idaho: Lynn A. Mickelsen, President; Jay E. Jensen, First Counselor; E. Ray Bateman, Second Counselor

12. Mexico North: Gary J. Coleman, President; Robert J. Whetten, First Counselor; Adrian Ochoa * , Second Counselor

13. Mexico South: Craig C. Christensen, President; Clate W. Mask Jr., First Counselor; Benjamin De Hoyos * , Second Counselor

14. Central America: Spencer V. Jones, President; W. Douglas Shumway, First Counselor; E. Israel Pérez * , Second Counselor

15. South America North: Claudio R. M. Costa, President; Walter F. González, First Counselor; Roberto Garcia * , Second Counselor

16. South America West: Carlos H. Amado, President; James M. Dunn, First Counselor; Willy F. Zuzunaga * , Second Counselor

17. Brazil North: Adhemar Damiani, President; Robert R. Steuer, First Counselor; Pedro J. Penha * , Second Counselor

18. Brazil South: Neil L. Andersen, President; Mervyn B. Arnold, First Counselor; Paulo R. Grahl * , Second Counselor

19. Chile: Jeffrey R. Holland ** , President; Francisco J. Viñas, First Counselor; Carl B. Pratt, Second Counselor

20. South America South: L. Whitney Clayton, President; Carlos E. Agüero * , First Counselor; Jorge L. Del Castillo * , Second Counselor

21. Africa West: Sheldon F. Child, President; H. Ross Workman, First Counselor; R. Conrad Schultz, Second Counselor

22. Africa Southeast: Steven E. Snow, President; Christoffel Golden Jr., First Counselor; David J. Barnett * , Second Counselor

23. Philippines: Dallin H. Oaks ** , President; Richard J. Maynes, First Counselor; D. Rex Gerratt, Second Counselor

24. Pacific Islands: Robert K. Dellenbach, President; Dennis E. Simmons, First Counselor; Spencer J. Condie, Second Counselor

25. Australia/New Zealand: Kenneth Johnson, President; John M. Madsen, First Counselor; Lindsay T. Dil * , Second Counselor

26. Europe Central: Marlin K. Jensen, President; Bruce C. Hafen, First Counselor; Holger D. Rakow * , Second Counselor

27. Europe West: Harold G. Hillam, President; W. Craig Zwick, First Counselor; Gerald N. Lund, Second Counselor

28. Europe East: Douglas L. Callister, President; Robert F. Orton, First Counselor; Wayne S. Peterson, Second Counselor

29. Asia North: Yoshihiko Kikuchi, President; William R. Walker, First Counselor; Won Yong Ko * , Second Counselor

30. Asia: John B. Dickson, President; Daryl H. Garn, First Counselor; D. Allen Andersen * , Second Counselor

  1.   *

    Area Authority Seventy

  2.   **

    Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Primary Celebrates 125 Years

The first Primary meeting was held on 25 August 1878 in Farmington, Utah, with 224 boys and girls. Today—125 years later—there are nearly one million Primary children throughout the world, and the Church has marked the anniversary with events throughout the year.

The Primary commemoration began in February, when more than 20,000 children, parents, and Primary leaders gathered at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and tens of thousands more gathered in meetinghouses around the world to participate in the first-ever broadcast for Primary children.

“I think there never was before a meeting such as this of boys and girls,” President Gordon B. Hinckley told the congregation. “And your coming together in these many different places is a sign of the wonderful growth which this Church has experienced since it was first established.”

Children and their parents heard messages from President Hinckley; Sister Coleen K. Menlove, Primary general president; Sister Sydney S. Reynolds, first counselor in the Primary general presidency; and Sister Gayle M. Clegg, second counselor in the Primary general presidency. The full text of each of their talks was printed in the May issue of the Ensign.

“We hope children will remember this all of their lives,” Sister Reynolds said of the broadcast.

Individual branches, wards, and stakes have been encouraged to hold their own local anniversary celebrations in August. The Primary general presidency encouraged local Primaries to participate in service projects or explore the history of Primary, tying activities to the theme “I’ll Follow Him in Faith,” says Sister Reynolds.

The Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City is commemorating the 125th anniversary with an exhibit of Primary memorabilia and nostalgia. Visitors will see bandalos, Merrie Miss Articles of Faith banners, Targeteer flags, and issues of the Children’s Friend dating back to the early 1900s. Visitors to the exhibit can also vote for their favorite Primary songs. Submissions are tallied each week during the exhibit, and as of 29 May, the top five all-time favorites were: (1) “I Am a Child of God,” (2) “I Love to See the Temple,” (3) “A Child’s Prayer,” (4) “We’ll Bring the World His Truth,” and (5) “Book of Mormon Stories.”

“If you are under 100 years old and you ever went to Primary, you’ll find something [in this exhibit] that will remind you of your Primary experience,” says Marjorie Conder, the exhibit’s curator, “and more especially, the feelings of your Primary experience.”

The exhibit is on display through November.

[photo] Items such as a Targeteer flag and a CTR airplane are some of the memorabilia on display at the Museum of Church History and Art, commemorating 125 years of Primary. (Photograph courtesy of Museum of Church History and Art.)

Artists Shine in Art Competition

With works ranging from traditional oil paintings to a collage of beads and straw, the Sixth International Art Competition, sponsored by the Museum of Church History and Art, honored the talents of Latter-day Saint artists throughout the Church.

“This is one of the finest gatherings ever of artwork with Latter-day Saint meaning,” says Robert O. Davis, a curator at the Church’s museum who served as a judge for the competition. “The artists delivered works that are ambitious and thoughtful and express their visual content in compelling ways.”

With the theme “Latter-day Saints Yesterday and Today: Beliefs, History, Life,” the competition drew more than 700 entries from Latter-day Saint artists representing 30 countries. Of the entries, 171 were selected for display in the Sixth International Art Competition exhibit at the museum. Twenty works of art were given Awards of Merit with cash prizes of U.S. $500 each, and six of the works were given Purchase Awards and added to the museum’s permanent collection.

The exhibit is on display at the Museum of Church History and Art through 1 September. It can also be viewed online at www.lds.org/museum.

This year’s competition drew a wide variety of entries. Among those recognized were a hand-knotted rug depicting Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, an acrylic painting on papier-mâché with scenes from Church history and modern times, a photograph of an apartment with the walls papered with images of the Savior and photos of Church leaders, a bronze statue of children eagerly waiting by the mailbox for a letter from their missionary brother, and a mixed-media composition depicting the universe.

“The works of art showcase many styles and many different media and cultural viewpoints,” says Brother Davis. And that’s really the point of the competition. Museum curators hope to encourage Latter-day Saint artists—both professional and amateur—to create works reflecting the gospel through an artist’s personal and cultural lens. The museum hopes to uplift visitors with gospel-oriented art and discover artists the Church may be able to use in the future—to create works of art for use in temples, visitors’ centers, or Church magazines, for example.

“We really do discover artists through the competition, and that is one of our goals,” Brother Davis says.

The museum is already planning for the Seventh International Art Competition, to be held in 2006. The theme is “Our Heritage of Faith.” Information about the next competition is available on the museum’s Web site.

[photo] This scratchboard drawing, Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy by Joseph Lasura, is one of 171 works of art selected for exhibition in the Sixth International Art Competition. (Photograph courtesy of Museum of Church History and Art.)

Sister Elaine Cannon Dies at Age 81

Sister Elaine Cannon

Elaine Anderson Cannon, who served as the Young Women general president from 1978 to 1984, died 19 May 2003 in Salt Lake City. She was 81 years old.

Born in Salt Lake City on 9 April 1922 to Aldon Joseph and Minnie Egan Anderson, she married D. James Cannon in the Salt Lake Temple on 25 March 1943. They have six children, 25 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.

Sister Cannon most recently served as a stake Relief Society president and a temple worker. In addition to her service as Young Women general president, she also served on the Young Women Mutual Improvement Association General Board, Youth Correlation Committee, Curriculum Planning and Writing Committee, Church Activities Committee, and BYU’s Church Educational System faculty.

The Lesson I Remember Best

Do you remember a lesson or gospel discussion that was particularly insightful or enjoyable and that blessed your life or the life of someone else? Please send an account of the lesson you remember best to Teaching, Ensign, 50 East North Temple Street, 24th Floor, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3220, USA; or e-mail ensign@ldschurch.org with “Teaching” in the subject line. Please include your name, address, telephone number, and ward and stake (or branch and district).

New Testament Chronology Chart

Published in the January, April, and July 2003 Ensign magazines, this chart can now be purchased as a two-sided foldout poster. The chronology chart (item no. 36835; U.S. $.50) is designed to assist members in their personal study and teaching of the New Testament. To order, contact your local distribution center or visit www.ldscatalog.com.