News of the Church

By Adam C. Olson, Church Magazines

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Seventh and Eighth Quorums of the Seventy Announced

Policies and Announcements

A recent letter from the First Presidency to priesthood leaders reads:

“With the additional members of the Fourth Quorum of the Seventy approved at a recent general conference, the Seventh Quorum of the Seventy has been organized from a division of the Fourth Quorum.

“Members of the Seventh Quorum are drawn from the Brazil North, Brazil South, Chile, and South America South Areas. The Fourth Quorum is composed of brethren serving in the Central America, Mexico North, Mexico South, South America North, and South America West Areas.

“In addition, the large geographic area covered by the Third Quorum of the Seventy has made it advisable to create the Eighth Quorum of the Seventy. The new quorum is composed of Area Seventies from the Asia, Asia North, Australia, New Zealand/Pacific Islands, and Philippines Areas. The Third Quorum consists of brethren serving in the Africa Southeast, Africa West, Europe Central, Europe East, and Europe West Areas.”

Map of the world

The geographic areas covered by the Third and Fourth Quorums of the Seventy have been divided to create the new Seventh and Eighth Quorums of the Seventy.

New Church History Library to Be Constructed

More than 3.5 million Church records, manuscripts, publications, photographs, and audiovisual items of historical value will soon find a new home in Salt Lake City thanks to the announcement of plans for a new Church History Library.

The library, which will be built across the street to the east of the Conference Center, will be a five-story, 250,000-square-foot (23,000-m2) building that will visually complement the Conference Center. Because the new library will be much larger than the existing one, the Church will have more archival space to which it can add more materials.

The new library, which will replace the library currently located inside the Church Office Building, will include reading rooms and a special collections area that will be open to the public.

“The new Church History Library will be a welcome resource for those who wish to learn more about Latter-day Saint history,” said Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy, who serves as Church historian and recorder.

Construction on the building is scheduled to begin later this year. The Church expects the building to be completed by late 2007. The library will be built on a site that is currently a 272-space parking lot. Bill Williams, the Church’s director of architecture and engineering, said the Church will create interim parking during construction.

Brother Williams also said the library will have a similar feel to the Main Street Plaza and that it will have “the same kind of character” as Temple Square.

[illustration] The new Church History Library will be a five-story, 250,000-square-foot (23,000-m2) building constructed to the east of the Conference Center.

New Mission Presidents Begin Service

More than one-third of the missions worldwide will receive a new mission president this year. One hundred and twenty-two mission presidents will begin their new assignments on or around July 1. The total number of missions worldwide is now 339, the newest being the Mozambique Maputo Mission, which was created on January 1, 2005.


New President

Alaska Anchorage

Randy C. Lewis

Albania Tirana

Paul D. Clayton

Argentina Buenos Aires West

Alfonso Ramos

Argentina Mendoza

Juan C. Ávila

Argentina Resistencia

Donald V Shakespear

Argentina Rosario

Richard C. Hutchison

Argentina Salta

Israel Rubalcava

Arizona Phoenix

C. Scott Gill

Arizona Tucson

Douglas F. Higham

Arkansas Little Rock

Gary N. Batchelor


Russell N. Watterson

Bolivia Cochabamba

Ronald E. Dalene

Brazil Brasília

Marcos A. Aidukaitis

Brazil Florianópolis

Lamonte J. Dansie Jr.

Brazil Fortaleza

Victor A. da Silva

Brazil Maceió

B. Bruce Muir

Brazil Manaus

Paulo H. Itinose

Brazil Recife

Mark B. Woodruff

Brazil Ribeirão Prêto

R. Blair Condie

Brazil Rio de Janeiro

Milton H. Brinton

Brazil Rio de Janeiro North

João L. Oppe

Brazil Salvador

Jarbas F. Souza

Brazil São Paulo Interlagos

Dale H. Bradford

Brazil São Paulo North

Michael J. Bertasso

Brazil São Paulo South

Jose A. Teixeira

California Anaheim

Randall G. Harmsen

California Arcadia

Stephen W. Owen

California Fresno

John C. Beck

California Riverside

Robert A. Ewer

California Roseville

Lee T. Perry

California Sacramento

R. Randall Huff

California San Diego

Robert N. Packer

California San Jose

Oscar W. McConkie III

California Ventura

Richard M. Ellsworth

Canada Montreal

Alain A. Petion

Canada Toronto East

Tad R. Callister

Canada Vancouver

Anthony W. Middleton Jr.

Chile Osorno

Carl R. Faulkner

Chile Santiago North

Kevin R. Duncan

Colombia Cali

Horacio J. Nieto

Colorado Colorado Springs

Robert S. Fotheringham

Colorado Denver North

W. Dea Montague Jr.

Connecticut Hartford

Van R. Johnson

Croatia Zagreb

Douglas L. Weight

Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East

Juan A. García

Dominican Republic Santo Domingo West

Larry K. Bair

Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa

William W. Maycock

Ecuador Guayaquil North

Randall L. Ridd

Ecuador Quito

José F. Lara

El Salvador San Salvador East

Ricky D. Jones

El Salvador San Salvador West

Robert D. Call

England Manchester

Theodore M. Jacobsen

Fiji Suva

Ian S. Ardern

Finland Helsinki

Phillip Estes

Florida Fort Lauderdale

Noel B. Reynolds

France Paris

Steven H. Pond

France Toulouse

J. Craig Merrell

Georgia Macon

R. Brent Evanson

Germany Frankfurt

K. Eugene Webb

Germany Munich/Austria

Holger D. Rakow

Guatemala Guatemala City Central

Hugo E. Martínez

Guatemala Guatemala City North

Thomas R. Coleman

Guatemala Guatemala City South

Ronald R. Bennion

Guatemala Quetzaltenango

César A. Morales

Honduras Tegucigalpa

Scott D. Farrell

Italy Catania

W. Bryan Colton

Ivory Coast Abidjan

Lindsay T. Dil

Japan Hiroshima

Akira Yafuso

Japan Sapporo

Yoshikazu Yokoyama

Japan Sendai

Asao Miyashita

Japan Tokyo South

Valten J. Tucker

Kentucky Louisville

Dennis C. Brimhall

Korea Busan

Pyung-Jong Song

Louisiana Baton Rouge

Douglas H. Patterson

Mexico Guadalajara

Gary L. Heaton

Mexico Mexico City North

Ricardo E. Castillo

Mexico Oaxaca

Jesús A. Ortiz

Mexico Puebla

J. Phil Freestone

Mexico Tijuana

Brian B. Carmack

Mexico Torreón

Richard J. Hogan

Mexico Tuxtla Gutiérrez

Clifford L. Whetten

Mexico Veracruz

Lester F. Johnson

Michigan Lansing

Dean C Edwards

Minnesota Minneapolis

R. Lloyd Smith

Missouri Independence

James L. Hacking

Mozambique Maputo

Lynn P. Wallace*

Nevada Las Vegas

John J. Wadsworth

New Jersey Morristown

Stephen K. Parkinson

New Zealand Auckland

Carl B. Cook

New Zealand Wellington

G. Michael Finnigan

Nigeria Port Harcourt

Edgar L. Stone

Ohio Columbus

Russell S. Gilliland

Oregon Eugene

Daniel B. Fugal

Oregon Portland

Van C. Gessel

Pennsylvania Harrisburg

Jerrald M Jensen

Pennsylvania Pittsburgh

Jay K. Francis

Peru Lima East

Michael R Lindstrom

Philippines Angeles

Robert J. Stringham

Philippines Cebu

Leonard M Anderson

Philippines Davao

Moises M. Mabunga Jr.

Philippines Manila

David E. LeSueur

Philippines Olongapo

Craig A. Burtenshaw

Philippines San Pablo

Gerald E. Mortimer

Philippines Tacloban

Richard J. Trask

România Bucharest

John H. Ashby

Russia Yekaterinburg

Gregory A. Schwitzer

Samoa Apia

Paul B. Price

South Africa Cape Town

John C. Nelson

South Africa Johannesburg

James A. Bowden

South Carolina Columbia

Kenneth E. Brailsford

Sweden Stockholm

Jan Åke Karlsson

Tahiti Papeete

T. Marama Tarati

Tennessee Knoxville

Ronald S Godfrey

Tennessee Nashville

Mark O. Lords

Texas Dallas

Bart C. Warner

Texas Houston

Travis L. Steward

Texas Houston East

Michael S. Lake

Texas Lubbock

D. Brent Rose

Ukraine Donetsk

Dale E. Andersen

Ukraine Kiev

R. Kim Davis

Venezuela Caracas

Danilo A. Paredes

Washington Tacoma

Kevin W. Pearson

West Virginia Charleston

Joseph F. Cowley Jr.

* Began service on January 1, 2005, when mission was created.

Home Evening Blessing Families for 90 Years

Ninety years ago, President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) and his counselors in the First Presidency announced the commencement of the family home evening program. Since that time, the program has become an institution in Latter-day Saint households around the world, blessing families in countless ways.

A Good Monday Night Model

It was Monday night, and seven-year-old María Fernanda Fernández of the Loma Nueve Ward, San Miguelito Panamá Stake, was in charge of her family’s home evening. María Fernanda (Marifer to her friends and family) had chosen the topic of prayer.

After leading the singing and asking her two-year-old brother, Roberto, to say the prayer with a little help from their mother, Marifer told a story her mother had helped her memorize from the Family Home Evening Resource Book, using pictures from the Gospel Art Picture Kit. Then she related a personal experience: “At the beginning of the school year, a classmate always fought with me. One day, I went to the bathroom crying after a fight and prayed that she wouldn’t fight with me anymore.”

Marifer said after that prayer, their relationship changed. “We invited her to my house and gave her mom a couple of issues of the Liahona. My friend liked them so much that she asked for more.” Marifer said she and her friend have talked a lot about the Church.

She ended with her testimony: “I know that Jesus Christ lives, that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are true, and that Jesus lived and died for us.”

Her mother, Marisol, and her father, Luis, bishop of the Loma Nueve Ward, shared their testimonies about prayer as well. Then Bishop Fernández offered the closing prayer, and it was time for treats.

Family Night Blessings

President Gordon B. Hinckley, who was a young boy when family home evening was instituted, has said that although it was a struggle at times, his parents always held family home evening, and he and many others were blessed for their diligence.

“I see the fruits of it in my own family and in the families of my grandchildren and in the families of my great-grandchildren,” he said. “The principle of family solidarity carries with it a conviction of its truth” (“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, June 1999, 4).

In order to receive the blessings promised to those who hold family home evenings, it is important to realize that these blessings are reserved not only for couples with children, but for all members of the Church.

President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said love will abound in any home that has family home evening, regardless of how many people live there. “One of the most important ways to foster unity in the home is holding family home evening regularly,” he said. “Whether we are young or old, single or married, whether we have children at home or have become empty nesters, family home evening can increase unity and love in our homes. Family home evening is for everyone” (“Enriching Our Lives through Family Home Evening,” Ensign, June 2003, 3).

To help members have more meaningful family home evenings, the Church offers many resources that can help families have uplifting experiences. Along with the Family Home Evening Resource Book (item no. 31106), the Gospel Art Picture Kit (item no. 34730) is also available. This can be particularly useful with young children. Online resources are also now available that give tips and suggestions on how to make the evening special (see sidebar on p. 77).

Families are encouraged to plan family home evening together. If all members of the family have a responsibility for family home evening, each person can feel that he or she is contributing to the success of the gathering.

Together Again on Monday Night

It was Monday again, and the Veras family of the Gazcue Ward, Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Stake, was learning about the importance of listening to the prophet. Eight-year-old Shantalle led the singing. Four-year-old Yeraly helped her mother, Awilda, tell the story of Noah and the ark. Aaliya, two, was content sitting with her father, Nelson, as he bore testimony of President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Brother Veras’s rendition of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” sent the three girls into peals of laughter. A prayer followed, then treats.

Family home evening had turned the Veras family’s cramped downtown Santo Domingo apartment into a peaceful haven five stories above the busy street. “I love being with my family,” Shantalle says of family night.

[photo] Marifer Fernández leads the singing during family night. (Photograph by Adam C. Olson.)

Family Home Evening Help Online

Recently, in an effort to help families plan more meaningful family home evenings, the Church added a link to its Web site that gives families hundreds of ideas for lessons, activities, games, and topics of conversation.

Ideas listed on the Church’s Home and Family site ( are taken from the Family Home Evening Resource Book, Church magazines, and various other sources. While the site has been operational for about two years, additions and changes are constantly being made to allow even those who use the site often an opportunity to come across new material.

Prophets and apostles have stressed the importance of family home evening since it was instituted. In a letter dated February 11, 1999, the First Presidency counseled members on the importance of the responsibilities of parents and family in the home.

“The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility,” the statement said. “We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities” (see Ensign, June 1999, 80).

In order to encourage these activities, the Web site includes tips that can help families with varying circumstances understand the best ways to make family home evenings memorable. The site includes tips on how to involve teenagers in family home evening, keep the attention of younger family members, and create your own lessons.

While the site is currently only in English, plans are being made to broaden the number of languages available to aid more members.

[photo] Family home evening help can be found online at

Saints in Central America Organize Day of Service

Members of the Church throughout Central America spent Saturday, April 9, working to improve their communities. Before the day was over, they and some of their neighbors who worked with them had donated more than 166,000 hours of service—the equivalent of one person working 24 hours per day, 365 days a year, for just under 19 years.

More than 22,000 Church members, along with some 1,800 friends of other faiths, carried out service projects in 258 locations spread through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

The projects not only contributed to improving communities, they also helped make friends for the Church and its members, commented Elder W. Douglas Shumway of the Seventy, First Counselor in the Central America Area Presidency. “It was most gratifying to see so many members of the Church as well as others participating hand in hand cleaning, painting, and repairing as they enjoyed each other’s company throughout the day.”

Elder Shumway noted that the diligence and the spirit felt among members made an impact on leaders in the communities. He cited as an example a visit by the mayor of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second largest city, to Latter-day Saint Church services on Sunday, April 10, the day following the service projects. The mayor had been so impressed by the LDS young people involved in the projects that he said in a Sunday School class, “I congratulate your youth for having principles that help them maintain their moral cleanliness and purity. As you continue to uphold these standards, you will continue to build our community.”

In other areas, some residents who saw what the Latter-day Saints were doing joined in the work spontaneously or helped by bringing water or refreshment. In Nicaragua, there were reports that some citizens who joined in the projects were so impressed by the Latter-day Saints that they asked to have missionaries visit them at home. But most simply expressed gratitude for what the Church members had contributed. One man, a member of a community improvement committee in Chalchuapa, El Salvador, explained that a local public park had been allowed to run down badly and that the municipal government had not had funds or manpower to save it. “But now, thanks to the help that the Latter-day Saints have given on this day of service, we’ve been able to improve it, to make it beautiful again.”

It was easy to identify the workers involved in the projects. Throughout Central America they wore white vests with the words “Hands That Help” on the front, along with the letters “SUD,” which stand for Latter-day Saint in Spanish. On the back, the vests identified the wearers as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons. The identifying vests were an idea that has worked well during similar service projects in other areas, notably Brazil.

Local residents were not the only ones who noticed the work going on in their communities. The news media, alerted by LDS public affairs representatives, paid attention too. News stories appeared afterward in papers in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Six television channels in El Salvador produced stories about the day of service, as well as one channel each in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In San Salvador, El Salvador, one local radio station, alerted while the work was being done, had a news story on the air within an hour.

Undoubtedly one of the more lasting effects of the day of service will be the strengthening of ties between Latter-day Saints and community leaders. For many of the projects, local governments furnished materials and supervision while Church members and others offered their labor. Projects were planned in cooperation with local government leaders. In one municipality of San Salvador, for example, a member who has quietly worked with local government over a period of years arranged, at the mayor’s request, for a group of volunteers to clean up and paint in and around a community theater. In Santa Ana, El Salvador, the stake Relief Society president is employed at an elder care center operated by an order of Catholic nuns. At the request of the nuns, she arranged for volunteers not only to perform physical labor outside, but also to offer personal grooming and care to the residents of the home.

Many members spoke afterward of the joy they felt in serving. Many said also that they felt the service would help change perceptions of the Church. One said, “It is said that words convince people, but actions pull them in.”

[photo] Members of the San Salvador El Salvador Soyapango Stake bag garbage collected along the freeway. (Photograph by Don Searle.)


Testimony in the Magazine

I just finished reading, from the picture on the front cover to the picture on the back cover, the April 2005 Ensign, and I must tell you that it is exceptional. The articles, the photographs, the paintings, and even the comment letters are exemplary and edifying. This issue stands as a beautiful and timeless testimony of our Church. Franklin E. Walker, Lone Peak Ward, Alpine Utah West Stake

Grateful for Balance

Thank you for your article, “A Balanced Life” (Ensign, April 2005, 26). What a breath of fresh air in the polluted rhetoric of “do more,” “try harder,” “more is expected of you.” I have been trying to live a more balanced life after my own bout with depression. I don’t remember ever reading an article that expressed those sentiments quite that way. I truly believe we need to try our best, but some people’s best is better than others.’ We need to stop comparing ourselves with others and just work on ourselves. Sometimes it is not about praying harder and having more faith. Sometimes it is about relaxing with our family. Name Withheld

Touched by a Poem

As a mother with young children and the wife of a dutiful priesthood holder, I was touched by “The Wedding Reception” by Sister Martha Taysom in April’s Ensign. I was filled with emotion the first time I read it earlier in the month. Today I reread the tender poem and was again moved and grateful for the beautiful words she expressed in her heartfelt poem. Thank you. Kim Mantz Swallow, Spring Hollow Ward, American Fork Utah West Stake