News of the Church

By Patricia S. Norwood, Church Magazines

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First Presidency Emphasizes Following Christ’s Example

During the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional in December 2004, members of the First Presidency taught and testified of the Savior’s significance and encouraged members to make the Lord’s life their example.

“God be thanked for the gift of His glorious Son, the only perfect man ever to walk the earth,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley. “There is none to excel Him. There is none to compare with Him. He is the great example for all of us, our revered teacher and, most importantly, our Redeemer.”

Members of the Church tuned in to the annual devotional by satellite, Internet, television, and radio to watch or listen as the First Presidency, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Orchestra at Temple Square focused on the Savior.

“Our Conference Center here in Salt Lake City is filled with people, and our image, as we speak, travels … across the earth—to lands of winter and lands of summer,” President Hinckley said. “We are all together as one great family to sing and speak of the joys of Christmas.”

He Lives

President Hinckley taught of the Savior’s mortal life from beginning to end, from birth to Atonement. “Let us never forget as we celebrate Christmas with song and story, with gifts and mundane baubles, the greater message that Jesus Christ, the Firstborn of the Father, came into the world that ‘the world through him might be saved’ (John 3:17).

“Let us remember always that through His infinite Atonement salvation will come to all, and the opportunity for exaltation will be afforded those who walk in obedience to His commandments.”

President Hinckley also testified of the Savior’s continued ministry after His death and in years to come. “He has come again to usher in a dispensation. And He will come yet again in clouds of glory to usher in a millennium and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

The President of the Church also honored the Prophet Joseph Smith, born 199 years ago. President Hinckley added his testimony to that of the dispensation’s first prophet regarding the Savior, saying: “He lives, resplendent, magnificent, the wondrous Lord Immanuel. He lives, the Eternal Son of the Ever Living Father. He lives, the Great Creator, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Savior of the New, the Wondrous Light in a dark and troubled world. He lives to bless us, to teach us, to heal us, to touch our troubled hearts, to give substance to our greatest dreams, to assure the immortality of our souls.”

In His Footsteps

President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, explained that “to catch the real meaning of the Spirit of Christmas, we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the Spirit of Christ.”

He testified: “With the birth of the babe in Bethlehem, there emerged a great endowment, a power stronger than weapons, a wealth more lasting than the coins of Caesar. … Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, He came forth from heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the kingdom of God. His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world.

“At this blessed season of the year, as we follow in the Savior’s footsteps, we too will have an opportunity to bless the lives of others.”

President Monson taught: “There is no better time than now … for us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ.”

Agents of God

President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, related the story of a man who had no money to buy his father a Christmas gift during the Great Depression, so he gave him a diary in which he had recorded a good deed he had done every day that year.

“We are each the agents of our Father in Heaven to do Christlike deeds for [the] Father’s children, even as [the Savior] offered to do in the grand premortal council when He said, ‘Here am I, send me’ (Abr. 3:27). ‘Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever’ (Moses 4:2).”

[photo] President Gordon B. Hinckley addresses members around the world during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional.

Translation Work Taking Book of Mormon to More People in More Tongues

Imagine believing in the gospel but not being able to read or study about it. Imagine having a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon but not speaking any language the book is printed in. Imagine your joy, after years of faith, in having a copy of the Book of Mormon presented to you in your native language.

As time goes by, more members are receiving the Book of Mormon as more translations are being produced in the earth’s many languages. In D&C 90:11 the Lord said, “For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Almost 175 years after Joseph Smith first published the book in English, 104 different language editions are now in print, including 74 full editions of the Book of Mormon and 30 editions of Selections from the Book of Mormon.

The prophet Moroni said that the Book of Mormon “shall shine forth out of darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people” (Morm. 8:16). Since its initial printing in 1830, it is estimated that more than 120 million copies of the Book of Mormon have been distributed, with millions more to be printed in the future.

One of the most recent translations of the Book of Mormon is in Slovenian. Additional languages are currently being produced, along with some Selections being expanded to full translations of the Book of Mormon. After 1998 the Church stopped translating Selections from the Book of Mormon; each new approved translation will now be a full edition.

The Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles considers recommendations from Area Presidencies for new translations of the Book of Mormon. Before the Book of Mormon is translated, Gospel Fundamentals and other basic doctrinal items such as the Articles of Faith are translated (if they haven’t been already) in order to establish standard terminology. Translation work for the Book of Mormon is carried out by worthy, qualified members who are assigned specifically to the task.

From the beginning of the translation process to the end, great care is taken to ensure that the translation is accurate. The manuscript goes through many reviews before it is approved and printed. Once the books are available on distribution center shelves, a letter from the First Presidency is sent to wards and branches in the language area announcing the new book.

To obtain a copy of the Book of Mormon in any of the languages listed here, visit or your local distribution center.

Full Editions of the Book of Mormon


Chinese Simplified Characters








American Sign



















Armenian East















































Selections from the Book of Mormon

Armenian Western



Quechua— Bolivia








Quechua— Peru














Quichua— Ecuador





[photo] With 74 full editions and 30 partial editions, the Book of Mormon is available in more than 100 languages.

Perpetual Education Fund: The Inspired Program Rolls On

Rodrigo Fontt of Osorno, Chile, has experienced the fulfillment of prophecy. His life has been changed just the way President Gordon B. Hinckley said lives would be changed when he announced the Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) to the Church more than three years ago.

Six months after its inception, President Hinckley said, “With greatly improved opportunities, they [young men and women] will step out of the cycle of poverty which they and those before them have known for so long. They have served missions, and they will continue to serve in the Church. They will become leaders in this great work in their native lands” (“Reaching Down to Lift Another,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 53–54).

While serving in the Chile Santiago West Mission, Brother Fontt worked in the mission office, where he learned what it was like to work in an administrative position. He enjoyed it, but in 2000, a year before the announcement of the Perpetual Education Fund, Brother Fontt returned home where he faced limited prospects for the future. Many returned missionaries around the world find themselves in similar situations. They have the desire but not the skills needed to rise above the poverty they and their progenitors have experienced.

The Perpetual Education Fund has been established to help those young men and women who need an education but who are unable to pay for it to improve their future. In the beginning, participation in the program was limited to five countries—Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and the Philippines—until the fund was well-established. It now reaches into additional countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Cambodia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Jamaica, Mongolia, Paraguay, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

President Hinckley reported that after the first six months of the program, the fund had already helped 1,200 young Latter-day Saints. By October 2004, more than 15,000 students had received assistance. The participants have earned or are earning degrees or certificates that will help them to better provide for a family and serve more effectively in the Church. It will enable them to obtain the promised blessings from the payment of tithes and offerings.

Applicants to the program take a course called “Planning for Success.” In the course, many of them discover that they can achieve their goals without needing a loan. After hearing about the program and taking the course, Brother Fontt qualified and applied for a PEF loan and began working toward a degree in finance and administration. Though he now has a wife and young child and is working full-time to support them, he is currently in the third year of his educational program. He has become a leader in the Church, serving as bishop of the Antillanca Ward, Osorno Chile Stake.

Bishop Fontt is just one of many working hard to improve their lives. With his education, he and his wife say that they are progressing not only temporally but also spiritually. They are achieving goals they would not have otherwise been able to reach.

Many students experience improved employment opportunities even before they earn their diplomas. Some large firms hire students before they graduate because the firms can see success in the students’ futures. For participants in the countries currently served by the program, the average increase in income after graduation is 400 percent. PEF students also have the opportunity to grow spiritually while in school as they participate in their local institute program.

The Perpetual Education Fund has another goal aside from helping young Latter-day Saints get an education. While the PEF is helping more than 15,000 students, it is also bringing blessings to the thousands of members around the world who contribute to the fund.

“Every day, every week … small contributions arrive to build the fund. If there were no other result than this outpouring of love and sacrifice, we would have to conclude that the fund had increased the spirit of sacrifice among the Saints everywhere in the world, thus exerting a powerful influence for good among them,” said Elder John K. Carmack, managing director of the Perpetual Education Fund (“The Perpetual Education Fund: A Bright Ray of Hope,” Ensign, Jan. 2004, 42).

Thousands of members have contributed through their local priesthood leaders, who receive small sums from Primary children, up to much larger contributions from more affluent donors. Some have made monthly commitments. Others have given up savings for long-planned-for trips or home improvement projects. The Lord recognizes every sacrifice.

“We again invite all who wish to participate to make a contribution, large or small,” President Hinckley has said. “We can then extend this great work which will make it possible for those of faith and latent ability to rise to economic independence as faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Ensign, Nov. 2001, 54).

With the help of this inspired program, members are leaving poverty behind, growing in the gospel, and, through the repayment of their loans, helping to provide a brighter future to others. They are evidence of a prophecy being fulfilled.

[photo] Bishop Rodrigo Fontt and his family are reaping the blessings of the Church’s Perpetual Education Fund.

Program Testifies of the “Light of the Nations”

More than 16,000 Spanish-speaking people gathered in the Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on November 13, 2004, for “Luz de las Naciones” (“Light of the Nations”), a program that celebrated Hispanic culture and focused on the central role that the Savior of the world plays in every individual’s life.

The program was prepared for those of Hispanic heritage, whether members of the Church or not. They were welcomed by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and taught of the Savior by a member of the Seventy.

Speaking briefly in English at the end of the program, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave them an impromptu welcome in behalf of the First Presidency and the Twelve. He commented, “What a beautiful program you have put on!” Then he reminded them in good humor to “be careful as you go home. Don’t forget that tomorrow is Sunday. Go to church.”

Elder Ballard was preceded by Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy, who spoke to the group in Spanish about the meaning of the title for the program. We “declare to the world Jesus Christ is the Light of the Nations,” he said, and testified that the people of all nations must look to their Redeemer for peace and salvation. He quoted from “The Living Christ,” the testimony of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world” (see Ensign, Apr. 2000, 2–3).

Elder Jensen recounted the story of Christ walking on the water (see Matt. 14:24–33) and drew four lessons from it.

First, “the winds were contrary then, and now,” and we face many “contrary winds” in the problems common in the world today.

Second, “when we take our eyes off Jesus Christ and His gospel, we will sink—then, and now,” just as Peter did when he took his eyes off the Master and focused on the contrary winds around him.

Third, “those who accept the Savior’s invitation to have faith in Him and in His words will find peace and calm in their lives and will declare, then and now, ‘Of a truth thou art the Son of God’” (Matt. 14:33).

Fourth, “Jesus did not wait until they were in better circumstances to invite Peter to come to Him. In the midst of contrary winds and high-tossed waves, Jesus spoke reassuringly to ‘come.’ And when Peter began to sink, He ‘stretched forth his hand, and caught him’ (Matt. 14:31). And He does so today!”

Elder Jensen explained that the Lord’s invitation has gone out across the world to gather His people, to the mountains of North America in the early days of the Church, and later in their own lands. Prophets in earlier times testified that the gospel of Jesus Christ would be taken to His covenant people in the latter days through the Book of Mormon. “Our greatest desire is to bless you and your family with the fulness of His gospel, which is found in the Book of Mormon,” Elder Jensen said.

He pointed out that two testaments of Christ had been spoken of during the program: the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. “I testify that the Book of Mormon is Israel’s book. It is true. In it you will hear a familiar voice, the voice of the Spirit, the light of the nations saying, ‘Come unto Christ, … Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him’” (Moro. 10:30, 32).

In closing, he paraphrased an invitation from President Gordon B. Hinckley to people of all faiths to come and learn gospel truths: “We say to the people, in effect, you bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it” (Nairobi, Kenya, member meeting, Feb. 17, 1998; quoted in Church News, July 4, 1998, 2).

Prior to the inspirational message by Elder Jensen, “Luz de las Naciones” offered selections of dance and music from many Spanish-speaking countries. It was the third year in a row that such a program has been held in the Conference Center.

The colorful strains of mariachi music are not often heard in the Conference Center, but they rang through its halls before the beginning of the program. Musicians and dancers performed for crowds entering the building. Paintings by Hispanic Church members were displayed in a hallway near the Main Street–level terrace entrance.

The program opened with a Latin American music and dance number featuring children waving colorful banners. Musical and dance numbers from several countries followed, with scenes from the countries projected on the large screens in the Conference Center auditorium during some of the numbers. Familiar Church hymns were also among the musical numbers on the program. These included a classical guitar rendition of “I Stand All Amazed” and choir renditions of “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” and “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” The choir consisted of Church members from Utah.

The program also included several brief vignettes that featured individuals testifying of the Savior and His influence in their lives.

More than 1,000 volunteers were involved in preparing and performing in the program. Performers in the program came from every Spanish-speaking country of the Americas and also from Spain. The two masters of ceremonies for the program were Omar Canals, a recently returned mission president who was born in Uruguay, and María Angélica Carr, an entertainer born in Cuba.

[photo] Musicians perform on stage in the Conference Center as part of “Luz de las Naciones,” a celebration of Hispanic culture held in Salt Lake City. (Photograph by Christina Smith.)

[photo] One of many performers dressed in traditional garb greet the public in the Conference Center lobby during “Luz de las Naciones.” (Photograph by Christina Smith.)

Member Tops Peak, Breaks Record to Aid Needy

There isn’t any single characteristic that sets Carl Haupt apart as unusually newsworthy. Many people have a similar passion for hiking. He is a compassionate do-gooder, but the world is filled with compassionate people. And while ascending Tanzania’s 19,452-foot-high (5,900 m) Mount Kilimanjaro is noteworthy, climbers from around the world conquer the mountain on a regular basis.

But combine the ingredients above and throw in the fact that Brother Haupt suffers from arthritis, battles prostate cancer, and has undergone nearly 30 surgeries in his 78 years and you’ll have something special.

When Brother Haupt, of the Benson Ward, St. David Arizona Stake, decided to climb Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, it was not to satisfy his passion for hiking; it was to help destitute families in Agua Prieta, Mexico.

Brother Haupt began taking supplies to families there during 2003. “There were two of us who went, and we took a truckload of things,” he said. “I had heard about it but saw for myself the poverty.”

Once he saw the one-room shacks families lived in and how hungry they were, Brother Haupt knew he had to do more. In little more than a year he made nearly 150 trips to the city just across the border from his home in Benson, Arizona. He and his wife even started a nonprofit organization called “The Starfish Difference.” But he felt as though there was still more he could do.

Brother Haupt knew there were a lot of generous people willing to give money to make a difference, so when he planned his climb he asked residents of his area to donate one dollar for every 1,000 feet he climbed.

The hike was far from easy. On top of the physical challenges was the mental obstacle—no one his age had ever accomplished the goal. The oldest recorded climber to top the mountain was 75. But Brother Haupt knew that every step could mean another piece of bread for a hungry child or another blanket for a cold baby.

He began his ascent on August 25, 2004. By the end of his six-day trek he had achieved his goal—he had reached the top and raised nearly $6,000.

Since then Brother Haupt has continued raising funds for Agua Prieta. He is now working to purchase a mobile home to be used as a health clinic in the town.

In the News

Location Announced for New Temple in Salt Lake Valley

The Church’s 12th temple in Utah and 3rd in the Salt Lake Valley will be built in Draper, a community in the southeast of the valley and one of the fastest growing in the state. The temple will share a large site with a stake center already under construction.

In a letter read to local members, the First Presidency noted that the temple “will be a blessing to the many faithful Saints in this rapidly growing area” and will accommodate overcrowding at the Jordan River Utah Temple.

No groundbreaking date has been set.

Members in Philippines Battered by Multiple Deadly Storms

Over the period of four weeks last November and December, five tropical storms inundated the Philippines, making 2004 the nation’s worst storm year since 1991. More than 1,000 were killed in the storms, including two members of the Church who lost their lives during the heavy flooding and widespread landslides.

As of press time more than 500 people were still missing, but none of the other 517,000-plus Church members in the country had been reported missing or dead. Many had to be rescued from rising floodwaters, including two missionaries who were rescued from a rooftop. All missionaries are reported safe.

More than 100,000 homes were totally or partially destroyed; among them were many members’ homes. More than 800,000 people in nine provinces were significantly affected by the storms. Hardest hit was the Quezon province. Aside from the torrential rains, the storms brought winds with gusts of up to 165 mph (270 kph) and coastal waves of up to 33 feet (10 m) high.

The Church authorized emergency relief for those affected and designated 33 meetinghouses as emergency response locations.

About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year.


Photographs Evoke Memories

I wish to express my gratitude to all the photographers who give of their time during conference. Two years ago my parents, my five-year-old son Jacob, and I made a quick trip to Salt Lake City for a family wedding. While there, we had time to visit Temple Square. The other day I heard Jacob call, “Mom, come quick.” As I hurried to him to see what was wrong, I found him pointing to a picture in the November 2004 Ensign, a photo of the outside of the visitors’ center showing the statue of the Christus through the window. “Mom, that’s where I want to go again,” he said.

Until that day I didn’t realize the impact our visit had on him. He is now seven, but his feelings are still very strong, and your photo reminded him of a special time. Thank you again for all you give to our Heavenly Father’s children. Eva Streibel, Queensland Ward, Calgary Alberta South Stake

Parents with Different Standards

I was touched by the article “Parents with Different Standards” in the October 2004 issue. As an adult convert to the Church, I felt the items discussed in the article reflected exactly many of the difficult things I have struggled with for some years, both before and after joining the Church. The sentiments expressed in the article brought me to tears and put into words what I have felt and experienced. Thank you for helping me understand that I am not alone in struggling to make peace and cope with parents who do not share my gospel standards. Name withheld


I absolutely loved reading the October 2004 Gospel Classic about the miracles our Heavenly Father performed through Elder Matthew Cowley. I always look forward to the Gospel Classics. Jared Benware, Riverdale Second Ward, Riverdale Utah Stake