News of the Church

By Melissa Merrill, Church Magazines

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First Presidency Announces Creation of the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy

The First Presidency has announced the formation of the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy, effective immediately.

The creation of the quorum is the direct result of a growing Church. With the new calls extended at the April 2004 general conference, the number of members of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy exceeded 70—a full quorum.

The areas of the Church in the United States and Canada—which is where members of the Fifth Quorum have been serving—have been divided between the two quorums.

Forty-four Area Authority Seventies serving in the North America Northwest, North America West, Idaho, Utah North, Utah Salt Lake City, and Utah South Areas will be members of the Fifth Quorum.

Thirty-four Area Authority Seventies serving in the North America Central, North America East, North America Northeast, North America Southeast, and North America Southwest Areas will be members of the Sixth Quorum.

Areas served by the Third Quorum (whose members live in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific) and the Fourth Quorum (whose members live in Mexico, Central America, and South America) are unaffected by the change.

Area Authority Seventies continue their regular employment, reside in their own homes, and serve in their areas on a Church-service basis. Though they are not designated as General Authorities—as are the members of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy—Area Authority Seventies are also called to preach the gospel and to be special witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ. As assigned, they train stake presidencies, serve in Area Presidencies, tour missions, train mission presidents, and complete other assigned duties.

For changes to U.S. and Canada Area Presidencies and new Area Presidency assignments worldwide, see the “New Area Presidency Assignments” chart and accompanying story in the August 2004 issue of the Ensign.

[map] With the creation of the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy, areas in the United States and Canada are divided between the Fifth and Sixth Quorums. (Map by Tom Child.)

New Mission Presidents Begin Service

On 1 July 2004, 116 new mission presidents and their wives began their assignments. There were no changes to mission boundaries. The Chile Santiago South Mission was renamed the Chile Rancagua Mission.


New President

Alabama Birmingham

Douglas R. Johnson

Albania Tirana

W. Bryan Colton

Argentina Buenos Aires North

Alan L. Wilkins

Argentina Buenos Aires South

Stephen C. Record

Argentina Córdoba

Ronald D. Gardner

Argentina Neuquén

Patrick R. Casaday

Arizona Mesa

W. Tracy Watson

Arizona Tempe

Gerald A. Buttars

Armenia Yerevan

Lamar B. Bartholomew

Australia Brisbane

James E. Phillips

Australia Melbourne

Paul R. Coward

Australia Melbourne West

Joel W. Warner

Australia Perth

Leslie M. Albertson

Australia Sydney North

David D. Vincent

Bolivia La Paz

Rómulo V. Cabrera De Mello

Bolivia Santa Cruz

J. Stephen Cranney

Brazil Campinas

N. Eugene Shawcroft

Brazil Curitiba

David R. Webster

Brazil Goiânia

Edward L. Platt

Brazil João Pessoa

Silvio Geschwandtner

Brazil Londrina

Jerold E. Burns

Brazil Santa Maria

Roger W. Mack

California Carlsbad

Brian D. Garner

California Long Beach

Ronald W. Evans

California Los Angeles

Richard F. Raymond

California San Bernardino

Kent C. Wilson

Canada Edmonton

David M. Randall

Canada Toronto West

Alan C. Ashton

Cape Verde Praia

Romeo A. Piros

Chile Antofagasta

Francis C. Alder

Chile Concepción

James C. Kougioulis

Chile Rancagua

Kenneth L. Openshaw

Chile Santiago West

Lon D. Packard

Colombia Barranquilla

Julio R. Dávila Durán

Colorado Denver South

Roger B. Wright

Czech Prague

G. Fred Yost Jr.

Denmark Copenhagen

H. James Williams

Ecuador Guayaquil South

Keith B. Caldwell Jr.

England Leeds

James H. Woodward

Florida Jacksonville

Ralph J. Marsh

Florida Orlando

Kent W. Farnsworth

Florida Tallahassee

William L. Ertel

Germany Hamburg

Lowell C. Barber

Ghana Accra

Robert C. Gay

Hawaii Honolulu

Ronald K. Hawkins

Honduras San Pedro Sula

Adrián Ochoa Quintana

Idaho Boise

R. Brent Ririe

Illinois Chicago South

Albert E. Haines III

Illinois Peoria

Brent L. Top

India Bangalore

Brent R. Bonham

Indiana Indianapolis

Darrell G. Simmons

Indonesia Jakarta

Dean C. Jensen

Iowa Des Moines

M. Dirk Driscoll

Ireland Dublin

Steven R. Chapman

Italy Milan

Rodney B. Boynton

Italy Rome

Robert C. Rhien

Japan Nagoya

Gary E. Stevenson

Kenya Nairobi

John M. Barger

Korea Daejeon

Norman R. Nemrow

Korea Seoul West

Michael T. Ringwood

México Chihuahua

Guillermo Torres Saunders

México Culiacán

Juan M. Vázquez Mata

México León

Abraham Martínez Cerón

México Mérida

Fernando Lagunes Victor

México México City East

S. Shane Littlefield

México México City West

Craig R. Dixon

México Monterrey North

John R. Taylor

Michigan Detroit

William S. Winegar

Missouri St. Louis

Gary F. Gessel

Mongolia Ulaanbaatar

Steven J. Sorensen

New Hampshire Manchester

Douglas M. Rees

New Jersey Cherry Hill

Michael W. Cottle

New Mexico Albuquerque

Brent H. Koyle

New York Rochester

Alan S. Layton

Nicaragua Managua

Ricardo Valladares Banegas

Nigeria Enugu

Jerry L. Nelson

Nigeria Ibadan

B. Taylor Harper

Nigeria Lagos

Russell K. Booth

Nigeria Uyo

Stanford B. Owen

Ohio Cincinnati

Richard C. Bramwell

Oklahoma Oklahoma City

Richard L. Bracha

Panama Panama City

R. Michael Duffin

Paraguay Asunción North

James W. Weipert

Pennsylvania Philadelphia

Robert F. Fillmore

Perú Arequipa

L. Gino Galli Coxola

Perú Lima North

Dan W. Morris

Perú Trujillo

Lane D. Ward

Philippines Cagayan de Oro

Benson E. Misalucha

Philippines Ilagan

Loren G. Burton

Philippines Naga

Russell K. Harris

Philippines Quezon City

David R. Labrum

Poland Warsaw

David J. Barnett

Puerto Rico San Juan

David H. Crane

Russia Moscow

Glenn W. Beus

Russia Novosibirsk

Steven C. Smith

Russia Samara

Mikhail M. Davydik

Russia St. Petersburg

Paul B. Pieper

Russia Vladivostok

Dallas W. Rhyne

South Africa Durban

Danny R. Brock

Spain Málaga

Lindon J. Robison

Switzerland Zurich

Brent L. Buckner

Taiwan Taichung

Scott R. Watterson

Texas Fort Worth

Dennis L. Crockett

Texas San Antonio

Derrill C. Larkin

Tonga Nuku‘alofa

Siaosi E. Moleni

Utah Salt Lake City

J. Michael Moeller

Utah Salt Lake City South

Brad K. Risenmay

Virginia Richmond

Spencer F. Kirk

Washington DC North

William D. Price

Washington Everett

Stephen K. Ashton

Washington Kennewick

Roger C. Connors

Washington Seattle

Kevin R. Pinegar

Wisconsin Milwaukee

Bruce L. Hunt

Significant Issues of Ensign, New Era Coming This Fall

Subscribers to the Ensign and New Era will receive special issues of the magazines this fall. To be assured of receiving these issues, new subscriptions to the Ensign and New Era need to be entered by 15 August. In the United States and Canada, subscriptions may be submitted online at or by phone at 1-800-537-5971.

Subscriptions are available at any Church distribution center or by sending a check for U.S. $10 ($16 Canadian) for the Ensign or U.S. $8 ($12.80 Canadian) for the New Era made out to “CPB” to Distribution Services, P.O. Box 26368, Salt Lake City, UT 84126-0368, USA.


The Ensign will carry a new DVD produced by the Church that focuses on the Restoration. It will give members an opportunity to share some basic teachings regarding the Church’s origin and doctrine. The new DVD includes a feature on Joseph Smith’s First Vision, short features on the Apostasy and the Restoration, and information for those who wish to find out more about the Church.

The DVD is intended to provide members another way to share the gospel with acquaintances. It will also be helpful for families and for use in home teaching and fellowshipping. The DVD will not be mailed with magazines sent to the Philippines and to parts of Mongolia and Africa, but it can be ordered through distribution centers serving those areas.

New Era

The October New Era will be a special issue on courtship and marriage. “This is always a topic of great interest for teens,” says Val Johnson, managing editor. “And, because of the potential pitfalls, as well as the importance of preparing for the temple and for marriage, it is a topic of great concern for the parents and leaders of teens, too.”

The issue will give practical advice on dating, temple preparation, and temple marriages, and discuss issues such as dating etiquette and finding a spouse.

“This will be a must-read issue for teens and those who care for them,” says Brother Johnson. “It will provide great material for family home evening and classroom discussions.”

Church History Site Adds Features

Since its launch in 2003, the Church History Web site ( has been updated and expanded. Its three newest features include information on the pioneers, biographical information on the Presidents of the Church, and a new index to gospel-related articles and articles about the Church.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel

Just in time for the 2004 celebration of the pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley, this online database allows users to search for names of individual pioneers and browse company listings chronologically or alphabetically. The site also offers narratives about each company and posts citations of publications that provide additional information.

“This site allows people to get to know their ancestors better, not just in terms of birth or death dates, but it gets them involved in the experiences their ancestors had throughout their lives, particularly during the pioneer trek,” says Kevin Nielson, manager of the Church History Web site.

Compiled over the last two decades, the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database currently includes some 40,000 names, and the numbers and depth of information constantly increase because the site invites visitors to submit documented supplementary information to add to the database. Brother Nielson says that the site is currently receiving 30 submissions per day.

He also notes that the addition of the database has doubled the Church History Web site’s traffic each day to more than 1,500 visitors.

Presidents of the Church

This site features biographical information on all 15 Presidents of the Church. A section on basic facts is available for those seeking minimal information, such as birth and death dates, term of presidency, or a short biographical sketch. For researchers wanting more in-depth information, the site also features timelines highlighting significant events in the prophets’ lives, their testimonies, quotations, images and multimedia clips, and citations of additional resources about or by each prophet.

The site also contains links to already-existing Church resources such as curriculum materials and institute manuals.

Index to Church Articles in Periodical Literature

Formerly known as “Index to Church Articles,” this updated index provides searchers with key articles about specific topics. Moreover, instead of merely offering the source citations, the site immediately links visitors to the magazine article in the Gospel Library section of the Church’s Web site.

The index also refers to articles about the Church in external sources such as news magazines, newspapers, and other media.

In addition to these three newly introduced tools, the Church History Web site also has offerings related to the general history of the Church, Church historical sites, Museum of Church History and Art, the Church History Library, Church Archives, and BYU resources.

[photo] The Church recently added new features to the Church History Web site, including information on pioneers and Presidents of the Church.

Saints Celebrate Sailing of the Brooklyn

July marks the 158th anniversary of the landing of the Brooklyn in Yerba Buena (now San Francisco), California. The Brooklyn, a 125-foot (38-m) ship carrying approximately 240 members of the Church, launched from Manhattan on 4 February 1846 and arrived at Yerba Buena on 31 July 1846. It was the first civilian ship to round Cape Horn and logged the longest recorded sea voyage of religious pioneers, covering 20,000 miles (32,000 km).

A plaque commemorating the sailing of the ship was dedicated on 7 February 2004 at Manhattan’s Old Slip, the New York City pier from which the ship sailed.

The ship’s passage included 11 deaths and two births, one during the Atlantic and one during the Pacific portions of the journey.

Among the supplies these religious pilgrims carried with them in the small hold (the living space for the passengers was only 2,500 square feet [232 sq m]) were materials for two sawmills and a gristmill, tools for 800 farmers, two cows, 40 pigs, and a printing press that would later publish The California Star, California’s first English-language newspaper.

The dedication of the plaque at Old Slip was followed by a screening of Forgotten Voyage, Scott Tiffany’s award-winning documentary about the Brooklyn.

[illustration] The Brooklyn carried members of the Church 20,000 miles (32,000 km) around Cape Horn 158 years ago. Members in New York commemorated the event with the dedication of a plaque in Manhattan’s Old Slip. (The Ship Brooklyn by Arnold Fribert. © 1984 IRI. Courtesy Museum of Church History and Art.)

Cadet Choir Offers Testimony, Patriotism

Like other cadets, John Spillane was overwhelmed by his first week of Basic Cadet Training (dubbed “Beast Week”) at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The regimen, he says, was “intense and intimidating,” and by the time Sunday rolled around, Brother Spillane felt very alone.

As he descended into the basement of the Cadet Chapel where the Latter-day Saint cadets meet, he heard the strains of “Come, Come, Ye Saints” (Hymns, no. 30) and was overcome by feelings of comfort. “I sat … and cried, wishing I could stay there forever,” Brother Spillane explains.

So when he heard about the LDS Cadet Choir at the Academy, he knew he needed to join. Brother Spillane says, “The hymns of Zion could bring me the peace I needed.”

Brother Spillane is now a senior at the Academy and the assistant cadet-in-charge of the choir. For him and 36 other Latter-day Saint cadets, the weekly practices and performance tours aren’t just a break from the rigors of studying. In addition to gaining personal peace and direction, choir members are able to express their testimonies to others, show their patriotism, and build strong friendships. The choir, which was organized in 1995, performs at a variety of Academy events and tours throughout the western United States.

“We are not a professional choir, and in fact, the rigorous Academy schedule leaves cadets very little time to rehearse,” says Major Dan Gillespie, an instructor of military strategic studies at the Academy and the officer-in-charge of the choir. “Many of them have to bring their dinner to rehearsal and eat between numbers. And yet as I listen to the cadets there is a power there. The Spirit is with the choir and takes their message to the listeners.”

Colonel Parris C. Neal, senior military professor in the department of electrical engineering and bishop of the Colorado Springs 14th (YSA) Ward, Colorado Springs Colorado North Stake, notes that the influence of the Latter-day Saint cadets is a powerful one. “The small group [is] well known and respected across the institution. … They are known as hard-working [and] honest and [as having] a level of maturity that is above the norm.”

For the cadets, the choir is more than just singing. “Sharing the message of the gospel through song is a powerful experience,” freshman Andrew Groberg says. “The cadets are proud to be serving our Heavenly Father and serving the nation.”

[photo] The U.S. Air Force Academy’s LDS Cadet Choir performs at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In the News

Interfaith Relations Strengthened by BYU Records Preservation

After he heard about Brigham Young University’s Dead Sea Scrolls database project, Bishop Mar Bawai Soro of the Assyrian Church of the East approached the school’s Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts about digitizing 33 ancient Christian texts housed at the Vatican Library. In May, that proposal came to fruition as BYU and the Vatican Library released a DVD with some 14,000 pages of Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic) texts dating back to the fifth and sixth centuries.

The texts include the writings—many of them previously unpublished—of early Christian writers. The texts contain the theologies of the Syriac Christian churches and chronicles their emerging culture. “These manuscripts really tell our ‘lost’ story,” says Bishop Soro.

But wide-scale records preservation isn’t the only thing the seven-year project has created. The effort has also established relationships among the Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Vatican, introducing the possibility of similar collaborations in the future.

“This was somewhat of a pilot project to demonstrate how the different parties could work together,” says Kristian Heal, a research associate for the institute and a specialist in Syriac studies. “When the Assyrian Church put us forth as the party to collaborate with, the Vatican was initially reticent because they had no prior relationship with us. However, as they asked around, they received very positive comments about us as a people and about the credibility of our work.”

This particular project focused on the writings of a branch of Christians who lived in what is modern-day Iraq. Although they faced heavy taxation and pressure to assimilate with their Muslim neighbors, they struggled to retain their identity as followers of Christ.

Brother Heal explains, “This project [has given] us an opportunity to get to better know some of the Christian groups, and in particular, … a group of people who have been resolutely Christian under difficult circumstances. … There has to be something good and useful and true and inspiring in their story.”

The project has generated significant scholarly enthusiasm. Lucas Van Rompay, a noted Syriac Christian scholar and professor at Duke University, says he was impressed by the quality of the digital images. “I haven’t seen anything of the same level, of the same expertise, and of the same breadth,” Professor Van Rompay says.

Church Recognized for Humanitarian Contributions

For the first time, the Church was invited to participate in the International Aid & Trade Europe 2004 Conference & Exhibition, held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 28–29 January.

While Church representatives had attended the annual exhibition before, this was the first time the Church was asked to formally present information about its programs, said Garry R. Flake, director of the Church’s humanitarian emergency response.

During the conference, Brother Flake made several presentations outlining the Church’s focus on emergency response and its other major humanitarian initiatives. In addition, the show provided an opportunity to learn about other agencies’ causes and to form potential alliances. One particular benefit from the conference was interacting with the World Health Organization, headquartered in Geneva. The Church and the WHO had previously formed a partnership to help eliminate measles through inoculation, Brother Flake said. Besides offering financial assistance from the Church, Brother Flake hopes to provide field support later this year in the form of members helping with vaccination campaigns, especially in regions where immunization levels are low.

Anchorage Week of the Family

The first-ever Week of the Family in Anchorage, Alaska, was held in April, promoting the belief that healthy family relationships are a benefit to communities and nations.

“[Families are] your first place to learn about human relationships. It’s your jumping-off point,” Felicia Paskett, one of the presenters, told the Anchorage Daily News. The family unit allows children to learn values and traditions while flourishing as individuals, she added.

The seven-day conference included a series of seminars on topics such as creating a stable family and building a support network.

The Family Fair kickoff, held at a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse, was attended by Anchorage mayor Mark Begich. Booths at the fair were staffed by members of the Church and other local groups and included information on topics such as self-reliance, family home evening, and combating rape.

Aid Effort a Highlight of Women’s Conference

An estimated 17,000 attendees at Brigham Young University’s 2004 Women’s Conference rolled up their sleeves and assembled more than 44,052 hygiene kits, 16,138 school kits, and 5,016 newborn kits during the conference, held on 29–30 April. They also made 1,000 topical sore bandages, painted 1,000 toys, tied 210 quilts, and stuffed and sewed 350 teddy bears.

Some attendees crocheted quilt squares in the Marriott Center at BYU while listening to such speakers as Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and BYU President Elder Cecil O. Samuelson of the Seventy and his wife, Sharon. Others prepared kits, tied quilts, made greeting cards, assembled toys, and completed fleece blankets in various areas around the BYU campus.

In two major service projects, conference attendees were also asked to cut out patterns for children’s clothing and to use old airline seat covers to make school bags for children.

The quilts were to be sent to Chile as part of a request from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to send 4,000 quilts to the poor citizens of the country, where many families have only one blanket. The kits with bandages will be sent to Africa to help those suffering from leprosy to cover their sores.

Baseball Team Welcomes Saints to “Pioneer Night”

More than any other church, foundation, school, or corporation, members of the Church are the single largest group-ticket client the Los Angeles Dodgers has.

To celebrate this relationship, the Dodgers organization will be hosting “Pioneer Night at Dodger Stadium” on 23 July. All Latter-day Saint families, wards, and stakes will be able to buy tickets for that evening’s game at a discounted rate.

The event is intended to honor the Church and the role that Latter-day Saint pioneers played in the settlement of California. Latter-day Saints settled San Bernardino County, and the Mormon Battalion helped build roads and settle other parts of California.

At the game, fans will be able to visit a display including pioneer crafts, costumes, and historical documents. A tribute to the pioneers and salutes to outstanding members of the Church will take place during the pre-game activities and game-time breaks.

“Our hope is that there will be a greater awareness of the Latter-day Saint community in the Los Angeles area, and [awareness] that we are good neighbors,” says Elder R. Randall Huff, Area Authority Seventy.

Church Invites Youth to Monthly Devotional on Temple Square

Devotionals for youth and their parents and leaders will now be held monthly on Temple Square. Following the success of the April devotional featuring Elaine Dalton, Second Counselor in the Young Women general presidency, and Brazilian singer Liriel Domiciano, a similar event will be held each month in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

In May, Charles W. Dahlquist II, Young Men general president, and Eclipse, a popular a capella performing group, participated in the devotional.

Upcoming devotional dates are 14 July, 10 August, and 1 September. Speakers and performers had not been announced at press time. Tickets are required but can be obtained free of charge. For tickets or more information about upcoming devotionals, call the Conference Center ticket office at 1-801-240-0080 or go online at

[photo] Full-time missionaries answered questions at the Church’s booth in the recent International Aid & Trade Europe 2004 Conference & Exhibition, held in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photograph by Julie Rich Greer.)