News of the Church

By Abbey Olsen, Church Magazines


More Temples Underway around the World

Saints will gather in Papeete, Tahiti, to celebrate the rededication of the Papeete Tahiti Temple in November 2006 following renovations that began in August 2005. The dedication, which will be held on Sunday, November 12, follows a public open house from October 14 through November 4 (except Sundays). As part of the reopening, members will gather in a cultural celebration on Saturday, November 11.

The Papeete Tahiti Temple—the only temple in French Polynesia—will reopen for ordinances on Monday, November 13, to serve more than 21,000 Church members in the six stakes and one mission in French Polynesia.

The Tahiti temple was first dedicated on October 27, 1983, by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then Second Counselor in the First Presidency, almost 140 years after the first missionary arrived in French Polynesia in 1844. Nearly 500 Tahitian Saints packed the temple’s chapel that day for the first of six dedicatory services held from October 27 through October 29. With its 1983 dedication, the Tahiti temple brought the number of operating temples to 25 (see “News of the Church,” Ensign, Dec. 1983, 66).

Groundbreaking

The First Presidency will break ground for the third temple in the Salt Lake Valley on August 5, 2006, in Draper, Utah. The completion of the Draper Utah Temple will bring the number of temples in Utah to 12.

President Hinckley announced the plan to build a new temple in the Salt Lake Valley in the October 2004 general conference, and the location was announced that November. The Jordan River Utah Temple and the Salt Lake Temple are the other two temples in the valley.

In a letter that was read to Church members in meetings in the Salt Lake City area on November 21, 2004, the First Presidency noted that the temple will relieve overcrowding at the Jordan River Utah Temple. Utah is home to nearly two million Latter-day Saints.

Announcement

The First Presidency has announced the construction of new temples in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

The letter stated that the temples will bless “the many faithful Saints … who have had to travel long distances to enjoy the blessings of the temple.”

The new Vancouver temple will be the first temple in British Columbia and the seventh temple in Canada. Other temples in Canada are located in Cardston, Alberta (originally dedicated in 1923, rededicated in 1991); Toronto, Ontario (1990); Halifax, Nova Scotia (1999); Regina, Saskatchewan (1999); Edmonton, Alberta (1999); and Montreal, Quebec (2000).

The new temple will serve Church members throughout British Columbia. As of December 2005, Canada was home to more than 172,000 Latter-day Saints.

The new Tegucigalpa temple will serve more than 116,000 members in Honduras and 52,000 in Nicaragua.

Dedications

Following a month-long open house this month, the Sacramento California Temple will be dedicated on September 3, bringing the number of temples in California to 7 and the number of operating temples worldwide to 123. Of the approximately 750,000 Latter-day Saints in California, the temple will serve more than 80,000 Saints in the greater Sacramento area.

The Helsinki Finland Temple—the first temple in Finland—will be dedicated after an open house from September 23 through October 7, 2006, and a cultural celebration on October 21. The temple will be dedicated in four sessions on October 22. The temple will serve approximately 26,000 members living in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, and Russia.

Other Temples

The Twin Falls Idaho Temple is under construction after a groundbreaking ceremony on April 15, 2006. The Los Angeles California Temple closed for renovations in November 2005 and reopened on July 11. Other temples that have been announced by First Presidency letter or are under construction as of June include the Curitiba Brazil, Harrison New York, Kiev Ukraine, Panama City Panama, Rexburg Idaho, and Cebu Philippines Temples.

In the October 1985 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley, then Second Counselor in the First Presidency, told members of the Church: “We are living in one of the most significant and important epochs in the history of the Church and in the history of God’s work among His people. We are living in the greatest era of temple building ever witnessed.”

Since that 1985 general conference, 86 new temples have been dedicated.

For more information about temples across the globe, visit the Church’s temples Web site (www.lds.org/temples).

[photo] The Helsinki Finland Temple will be dedicated October 22.

Jerusalem Center Reopens Programs to Students

After a five-year closure to its student study-abroad program, BYU’s Center for Near Eastern Studies in Jerusalem will again open to students this fall.

“Over here [in Jerusalem], people are ecstatic,” said Jim Kearl, BYU’s assistant to the president for the Jerusalem Center. “Not just the people who work in the building but vendors in the city and good friends that have known the students for years are really excited to have the students returning.”

Students, who will live at the Jerusalem Center, will travel on field trips across the Holy Land about twice a week to biblical and historical sites that are correlated directly with their curriculum.

The course curriculum covers ancient and modern Near Eastern history, modern Near Eastern languages, and the Old and New Testaments. In addition to field trips in Israel, students are scheduled to travel to Egypt and Jordan.

One aspect of BYU’s mission at the Jerusalem Center is to help students develop a deepened understanding and testimony of the scriptural record of Jehovah’s dealings with the prophets in ancient times and with Christ’s appearance in His time, Brother Kearl says.

“You come to see the scriptures in a whole different way when you see the land,” he explains.

The other part to the Jerusalem Center’s mission is to help students understand the area’s culture.

“We want students to have an appreciation for Islamic culture and Palestinians,” Brother Kearl says. “And we want them to have an equally well-developed appreciation for Jewish culture and Israelis and to come to understand more of the cultures that are here and something of the tragic conflict that has these people tied to one another.”

Although the U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory for the Holy Land, BYU officials consulted with government and Church leaders before resuming the program.

The student program was closed in 2001, after violence broke out in Jerusalem during the fall 2000 semester. However, the Jerusalem Center had remained open to host concerts, workshops, tours, and visitors.

The Jerusalem Center, located on Mount Scopus overlooking the oldest part of Jerusalem, has classrooms, a library, a learning center, auditoriums, student and faculty apartments, a gymnasium, and a cafeteria for students. Instructors at the center include BYU faculty members and local part-time faculty.

“Part of the building’s purpose was this education program, and so it sort of comes to life again as we bring students back,” Brother Kearl says.

The fall student program is opened to a limited number of 44 BYU juniors and seniors selected from several applications submitted June 26–July 7. The fall program runs September to December with subsequent winter, spring, and summer programs planned.

For more information about the Jerusalem Center, visit http://ce.byu.edu/jc.

[photo] BYU will again open its Center for Near Eastern Studies in Jerusalem this fall.

New Area Leadership Assignments

The First Presidency has announced changes in assignments for area leadership, effective beginning August 15, 2006. All members of Area Presidencies are members of the First or Second Quorum of the Seventy unless otherwise noted.

The First Presidency has also announced the formation of a new area, the Caribbean Area, formed from what was part of the North America Southeast Area.

Presidency of the Seventy

Earl C. Tingey 1. North America East 2. North America Northeast

D. Todd Christofferson 3. North America Southeast

Charles Didier 4. North America Southwest

Merrill J. Bateman 5. Utah North 6. Utah Salt Lake City 7. Utah South

Robert C. Oaks 8. North America Central

Neil L. Andersen 9. Idaho

Ronald A. Rasband 10. North America Northwest 11. North America West

12. Mexico North C. Scott Grow, President Jorge A. Rojas*, First Counselor José L. Alonso*, Second Counselor

13. Mexico South Craig C. Christensen, President Marco A. Cárdenas*, First Counselor José L. Torres*, Second Counselor

14. Central America Spencer V. Jones, President Don R. Clarke, First Counselor José E. Boza*, Second Counselor

15. Caribbean Clate W. Mask Jr., President Daniel L. Johnson, First Counselor Migule A. Lee*, Second Counselor

16. South America North Claudio R. M. Costa, President Benjamín De Hoyos, First Counselor César A. Dávila*, Second Counselor

17. South America West James M. Dunn, President Willy F. Zuzunaga*, First Counselor Alexander A. Nuñez*, Second Counselor

18. Brazil North Walter F. González, President Stanley G. Ellis, First Counselor Pedro J. Penha*, Second Counselor

19. Brazil South Mervyn B. Arnold, President Ulisses Soares, First Counselor Carlos A. Godoy*, Second Counselor

20. Chile Carl B. Pratt, President Carlos H. Amado, First Counselor Oscar W. Chavez*, Second Counselor

21. South America South Lynn G. Robbins, President Shayne M. Bowen, First Counselor Fernando D. Ortega*, Second Counselor

22. Europe West Kenneth Johnson, President Francisco J. Viñas, First Counselor Patrick Kearon*, Second Counselor

23. Europe Central Bruce C. Hafen, President Wolfgang H. Paul, First Counselor Johann A. Wondra*, Second Counselor

24. Europe East Dennis B. Neuenschwander, President Paul B. Pieper, First Counselor Larry W. Gibbons, Second Counselor

25. Africa West Lowell M. Snow, President Craig A. Cardon, First Counselor Adesina J. Olukanni*, Second Counselor

26. Africa Southeast Christoffel Golden Jr., President William W. Parmley, First Counselor Allen P. Young*, Second Counselor

27. Asia Daryl H. Garn, President Donald L. Hallstrom, First Counselor D. Allen Andersen*, Second Counselor

28. Asia North David F. Evans, President Won Yong Ko, First Counselor Kazuhiko Yamashita*, Second Counselor

29. Philippines D. Rex Gerratt, President Keith R. Edwards, First Counselor Michael J. Teh*, Second Counselor

30. Australia Paul K. Sybrowsky, President John R. Gibson*, First Counselor Dirk Smibert*, Second Counselor

31. New Zealand/Pacific Islands Spencer J. Condie, President David S. Baxter, First Counselor Hans T. Sorensen*, Second Counselor

* Area Seventy

Church’s FamilySearch.org Reaches Seven-Year Mark

FamilySearch.org, the largest provider of free family history resources and genealogy records in the world, has helped millions of people find their ancestors and preserve their family history since it first launched seven years ago in May 1999.

“Seeking to understand our family history can change our lives,” President Gordon B. Hinckley said during a press conference to launch the site in 1999. “It helps bring unity and cohesion to families. There is something about understanding the past that helps give our young people something to live up to, a legacy to respect. We’re grateful to be able to make a significant contribution to that” (“News of the Church,” Ensign, Aug. 1999, 74).

FamilySearch.org allows users to search numerous databases for records of deceased ancestors, access millions of microfilmed records stored in the Granite Mountain Records Vault, download free Personal Ancestral File (PAF) family history software, learn how to get started on family history, and share their genealogy with other family members.

Steve W. Anderson, marketing manager for FamilySearch™, notes that many new databases, record collections, research guides, and other resources have been added to the Web site since its launch.

When FamilySearch.org was first launched, nearly 400 million names were available in the site’s searchable databases. At its seventh anniversary, the number is more than one billion names. The site’s capacity to serve more patrons has also increased since its launch.

FamilySearch.org receives more than 100,000 visitors a day and has more than one million registered users.

“Many thousands of patrons are new, and in just minutes they are able to find information about their ancestors that they have never been able to find before,” Brother Anderson says.

Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch, says that “FamilySearch.org’s primary objective is to improve access to the Church’s genealogical holdings.”

Brother Nauta says he has heard countless success stories—and has one of his own—of using the genealogical resources available on FamilySearch.org. His paternal grandfather came from Italy to the United States. After his grandfather’s death, Brother Nauta and his siblings lost contact with that side of the family. About a year after Brother Nauta posted his genealogy online, a university student in Italy e-mailed him: “Hey, I saw your genealogy … and we’re related! Would you like to know more?”

Through this contact Brother Nauta discovered more about his ancestors and their roots in Italy. He has since had the opportunity to visit the town and his newfound relatives in Italy. He said of his Italian cousins, “It was like I had never not known them.”

Brother Nauta, who attends family history conferences around the world and often hosts a booth at these conferences, says many people have come by the family history booth, saying, “You can’t help me with my family history—it’s a lost cause.” But within 20 to 30 minutes of searching on FamilySearch.org, they have discovered information about their ancestors. “People just sit there and cry with joy to be connected with their ancestors,” he says.

A number of new features are slated for addition to FamilySearch.org as the Church continues to help people around the world discover their heritage and unite their families.

[photo] Millions of people worldwide have used FamilySearch.org since it was launched seven years ago in 1999. (Photograph by Robert Casey.)

Web Site Provides Family History Tools for Priesthood Leaders

The Church’s Web site now has new resources available to help priesthood leaders administer family history to Church members. The “Administering Family History” section of www.lds.org (found at the link “Serving in the Church” and “More Callings”) offers priesthood leaders two lessons that give guidance in overseeing the family history organization in stakes and wards.

“Priesthood leaders play an important role in helping members fulfill their temple and family history responsibilities,” the Web site states. “Leaders teach members the doctrines of temple and family history service. They encourage members to identify their ancestors, link them into families, and provide temple ordinances for them.”

The first lesson, “Administering Family History Work,” gives leaders an overview of the stake and ward organization for family history work, explaining roles and responsibilities of key priesthood leaders and members with family history callings. The other lesson, “Encouraging Members to Participate in Family History Work,” gives priesthood leaders tips on getting members involved in family history work in wards and stakes.

“This lesson on encouraging members will help priesthood leaders … focus on the important role of family history consultants [and also learn] other ways in which they can encourage members to participate in family history work,” says Fred Graham, instructional designer in the Worldwide Support Services Division of the Family and Church History Department.

This lesson includes interactive scenarios to guide leaders on calling and training ward consultants, tips on identifying members to help with family history work, and interactive scenarios for reaching out to Church members through family history.

In addition to the Web version, the lessons can be printed as hard copy.

The Web site also offers leaders links to General Authority talks on family history work.

“In many ways each of us is the sum total of what our ancestors were,” President Faust said in 2003. “The virtues they had may be our virtues, their strengths our strengths, and in a way their challenges could be our challenges. Some of their traits may be our traits. I noticed a while ago that one of my great-grandsons, a toddler, seemed to have an interesting kind of a walk. My wife said, ‘He walks just like you do!’ Now I wonder from whom I inherited this characteristic.

“It is a joy to become acquainted with our forebears who died long ago. Each of us has a fascinating family history” (“The Phenomenon That Is You,” Ensign, Nov. 2003, 53).

“Why all this interest?” Brother Graham asks. “Because members are blessed as they participate in family history. Members are strengthened. They increase in spirituality. They achieve all of the wonderful blessings of not only family history work but going to the temple to provide ordinances for their ancestors. …

“As priesthood leaders help encourage members to participate, they help strengthen the members of their congregation so they individually can receive of the Spirit and be blessed.”

Opportunities to Serve Abound for Church-Service Missionaries

Catching Elder Don Ziegler on the phone is difficult.

“Don Ziegler here, wondering if we can burn up some calories here playing phone tag,” he says in a voice-mail message. Chuckling follows. But if the Church-service missionary isn’t out burning calories while climbing the stairs of the Church Office Building, he’s busy promoting fruits and vegetables, planning health fairs, or posting the nutritional value of frozen yogurt in the cafeteria.

It’s part of the calling he and his wife, Sharon, share as Church-service missionaries.

Surprised?

A wide range of part-time Church-service opportunities are available for both young and old. Church-service missionaries must be temple worthy, physically and emotionally able to perform required duties, able to support themselves financially, and at least 19 years old. There is no upper age limit.

The Church maintains listings of these needs on LDS.org. The postings, submitted by Church-service missionary coordinators worldwide, are updated regularly and published online at www.lds.org/csm/0,17022,1,00.html.

Doctors, hosts, grounds crew—even someone to change the tires in the fleet garage—they are all enlisted to help the Church run smoothly.

More than 12,000 Church-service missionaries are currently serving worldwide, but Elder Blaine P. Jensen and Sister Clarice T. Jensen, director and administrative assistant of the entire Church-service missionary program, feel there would be more positions filled if more people knew about the opportunities available.

These missionaries live at home while serving part-time, anywhere from 8 to 32 hours a week, and magnifying their talents in the service of the Lord.

Those who work with Church-service missionaries around the world agree that they bring a special spirit into the workplace.

Elder and Sister Jensen serve as full-time missionaries while they oversee operations of all Church-service missionaries, but they attest that part-time service missions are divinely inspired, just as full-time missions are.

“In Church-service work, as well as all missionary work, you see the Lord’s hand in calling and placing members of the Church,” Elder Jensen says.

However, the call to fulfill a Church-service mission comes a little differently than a call for a full-time mission. Worthy individuals willing to serve are encouraged to select an open position they feel they are qualified for. In addition to being interviewed by their bishop and stake president, they are often interviewed by the given department or job manager to ensure they are up to the tasks required. They are then called by their stake president—not the prophet—and set apart by their bishop.

Elder Jensen emphasizes that Church-service missions are a secondary choice to full-time proselyting missions.

“But they are an excellent alternative if full-time service is not an option,” he says. “Many who go on service missions end up serving full-time missions later. It’s excellent preparation.”

Some opportunities are age specific, such as the annual call for 35 young (ages 19–24) performing stage and band missionaries to take part in a summer of musical productions in Nauvoo.

Elder Jensen notes what a blessing young service missionaries are, such as those serving in the Audiovisual Department who bring with them a “fresh knowledge” of computers. More than 300 young adults who could not serve full-time missions currently work as Church-service missionaries, but there are still many opportunities for others who wish to serve.

In fact, Sister Mary Alice Hansen, who is 102 years old, put in her request to serve for three years as a host in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. She has served as a Church-service missionary for the past 20 years.

“I’ve just loved it,” Sister Hansen says. “It’s been fun meeting all the people.”

Elder Jensen says: “A Church-service mission is a wonderful and exciting thing for members to do. This sacred service blesses not only the lives of individuals but the entire Church. The rewards of Christ-like service are felt by all involved.

The list of positions can be found online at LDS.org, and many wards and branches print the list of opportunities in their area to display in their building.

[photo] Gary Fitzgerald shares stories about the Presidents of the Church as a host at the Conference Center. He and his wife, Garna, serve as supervisors of hosting as Church-service missionaries. (Photograph by Adam C. Olson.)

[photo] Church-service missionaries Tim Campbell and Daryl Miles prepare the grounds around Temple Square for spring. (Photograph by Adam C. Olson.)

Comment

The Prophet of the Restoration

The article “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration” (June 2006) shows and tells the majesty of not only a great human being but a magnificent prophet chosen for this day and age. The new film has already touched and lifted many lives with increased testimony. Thanks to the Ensign for the previews of this stirring rendition of the Restoration and its restorer. Without Brother Joseph we are not whole and have not the truth. Joel Marks, Oregon

Art Appreciation

I am writing to express my great satisfaction with the recent sections of art depicting LDS religious themes in the past several issues of the Ensign. These sections give me a chance to sate what has become an appetite for the visual arts and to experience the gospel in so vivid a medium. My missionary labors don’t provide many opportunities to appreciate the humanities, so I am especially grateful each time a new Ensign arrives. I often use the small pictures to decorate my books, or I put them where I can see them often. Thank you. Elder Daniel Garcia, Brazil Goiânia Mission

A Dark and Rocky Road

As a correctional officer and a member of the Church who works in a state prison in Arizona, I can attest to you that unless one either works in a prison or is incarcerated in such a place, one can never really know what a pressure cooker our incarcerated brothers and sisters face on what is most assuredly a very dark and rocky road to repentance. They can use all the help they can get, and the Ensign is an excellent lifeline for them. It is always heart-warming when I deliver a copy of the Ensign or Church News. LDS inmates are among the best behaved and least troublesome of inmates. In a difficult job like mine, that’s very gratifying. Tim Heavrin, Arizona

Call for Articles

If you have had experience with the following situation, we invite you to share your suggestions for an upcoming “Questions and Answers” feature: I recently married, and I don’t relate to my in-laws very well. How can I develop better relationships with them?

Please send your submission (up to 500 words) by September 18, 2006, to ensign@ldschurch.org or to Ensign Editorial, 50 E. North Temple St. Rm. 2420, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150-3220, USA. Clearly mark your submission “In-laws,” and at the top of your submission, write your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and ward and stake (or branch and district).

While we cannot acknowledge receipt of individual responses, authors whose submissions are selected for publication will be notified. If you would like your manuscript returned, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope and allow up to a year.