News of the Church

By Abbey Olsen, Church Magazines

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Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra Celebrate Christmas in August

Christmas trees, holly, wreaths, lights, and poinsettias adorned the stage of the Conference Center, complementing holiday and patriotic music that rang throughout the auditorium on August 19, 2006, as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square joined international relief organization Feed the Children and special guests to provide a tribute Christmas concert that will be rebroadcast to the military in December.

Sandi Patty, the most-awarded female vocalist in contemporary Christian music; guest hosts Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase, long-time TV broadcasters on the Nashville Network and hosts of a daily radio show; and the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve joined with the choir and orchestra. President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, attended the concert.

Lorianne Crook told the audience that although it was unusual to celebrate Christmas in a warm summer month, the warmth they felt would reach out to those who were away from loved ones across the world when it was broadcast during the holiday season.

Many of the selections performed testified of the Savior Jesus Christ, reiterating that the Christmas spirit reaches across cultures, backgrounds, and traditions to furnish hope and peace in a world of conflict.

At the end of the concert, the performers were given a standing ovation, which continued until the encore, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” was performed by the choir, orchestra, and band.

The Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) will air a 60-minute radio version of the concert during the upcoming holiday season as its annual Christmas special. The relief organization Feed the Children will air 30-minute and 60-minute television versions of the program during the holiday season from Thanksgiving until Christmas.

[photo] Christian vocalist Sandi Patty performs with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.

Annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional Set

The annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional, scheduled for Sunday, December 3, again will feature messages from the First Presidency and music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square.

The devotional takes place early in the month so that the recording of the broadcast is available for use throughout the holiday season.

For information on the broadcast, contact local leaders or visit

Work on Temples Progresses Worldwide

The year 2006 brought Church members the blessings of two new temples and the announcement of three more to come. There are 124 operating temples throughout the world as of December 2006.

Sacramento California Temple

The Sacramento California Temple, announced in April 2001, was dedicated Sunday, September 3, 2006. Elder Richard H. Winkel, former member of the Seventy, serves as president of the temple along with his wife, Karen. California’s 33.2 million inhabitants include nearly 800,000 Latter-day Saints, making up 2.2 percent of the state’s population. Members in California will now be served by seven temples—Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Fresno, Redlands, Newport Beach, and Sacramento. The Sacramento temple will serve 73,400 members in nearby areas.

Helsinki Finland Temple

The Helsinki Finland Temple was dedicated Sunday, October 22, 2006, in four sessions. The Helsinki temple is the 10th in Europe and the 3rd in the Nordic countries. Temples in Stockholm and Copenhagen were completed in 1985 and 2004, respectively. Melvin J. Luthy serves as president of the temple along with his wife, Anne. The Helsinki temple will serve approximately 26,000 members living in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, and Russia.

Under Construction

Work continues on the Rexburg Idaho Temple, announced in December 2003. A statue of the angel Moroni was placed atop the temple on September 21, 2006, a significant date in history for the Church. Beginning on this date in 1823, the angel Moroni visited Joseph Smith five times within a 24-hour period. The Rexburg temple will be the third in Idaho. A dedication date has not been set.

Construction for the Twin Falls Idaho Temple began in April 2006 and is expected to last about two years. The Twin Falls temple, the fourth in Idaho, will serve some 40,000 Church members from 14 stakes in south-central Idaho. A dedication date has not been set.

President Gordon B. Hinckley first announced the Draper Utah Temple at the October 2004 general conference of the Church. A groundbreaking for the Draper Utah Temple took place on August 5, 2006. The Draper temple will be the 12th temple in Utah and the 3rd in the Salt Lake Valley. A dedication date has not been set.

Temple Announcements

Other temples announced in 2006 include Tegucigalpa Honduras, Vancouver British Columbia, and Cebu Philippines.

For more information about temples across the globe, visit the Church’s Temples Web site (

[photo] The statue of the Angel Moroni was placed on the Rexburg Idaho Temple on the anniversary of Moroni’s first appearance to Joseph Smith.

New Temple Presidents Now Serving

The majority of 38 new temple presidents and their wives officially began their service on November 1, 2006. The following presidents and matrons have been called to serve:

Accra Ghana

John C. and Naomi M. Riding

Albuquerque New Mexico

Ivan G. and Annette Y. Waddoups

Boston Massachusetts

Kenneth G. and Priscilla G. Hutchins

Bountiful Utah

H. Bryan and LynnAnne T. Richards

Brisbane Australia

Terence L. and Nola Y. Davies

Buenos Aires Argentina

N. Earl and Judith M. Deschamps

Cardston Alberta

Donald S. and Judith Hansen

Denver Colorado

Dennis K. and Kathleen A. Brown

Fukuoka Japan

Ryoushou and Noriko U. Nakamura

Guatemala City Guatemala

Benjamin I. and Meredith A. Martínez

Helsinki Finland

Melvin J. and Anne S. Luthy

Hermosillo Sonora Mexico

Victor M. and Yolanda Cerda

Houston Texas

William R. and Mary Ann B. Bradford

Las Vegas Nevada

H. Bruce and Cheryl C. Stucki

Manila Philippines

Earl M. and Donna M. Monson

Manti Utah

J. Bruce and Marlane S. Harless

Mesa Arizona

Ezra T. and Virginia M. Clark

Montevideo Uruguay

N. Gaylon and Margaret C. Hopkins

Monticello Utah

Donald V. and Shirley G. Jack

Montreal Quebec

Terry L. and Elenor M. Rollins

Oaxaca Mexico

Limhi and Veone S. Ontiveros

Palmyra New York

Ralph E. and Muriel Y. Siebach

Papeete Tahiti

Thomas R. and Diane S. Stone

Porto Alegre Brazil

Pedro and Betty C. Brassanini

Preston England

Arnold and June F. Jones

Recife Brazil

Valdemiro and Maria J. Mendes Skraba

Redlands California

Wayne H. and Rita C. Bringhurst

Regina Saskatchewan

Dale E. and Phyllis T. Evanson

Sacramento California

Richard H. and Karen H. Winkel

San José Costa Rica

E. Jerald and Joan G. Haws

São Paulo Brazil

Jairo and Elizabeth I. Mazzagardi

Seoul Korea

Jong Chul and Young Sim Jun

St. Louis Missouri

Wendell E. and Glee B. Brown

Stockholm Sweden

Bengt and Inger Höglund

Taipei Taiwan

Gerald H. and Christie C. Walker

Tokyo Japan

Masayuki and Michiko A. Nakano

Veracruz Mexico

J. Larry and Shirley W. Memmott

Villahermosa Mexico

Vicente I. and Rosario Díaz Mederos

Museum Commemorates Handcart Experience

Willie and Martin Remembered: A Tribute to the Mormon Handcart Pioneers, an exhibit honoring the Willie and Martin handcart companies and commemorating the 150th anniversary of their trek across the plains, is nearing the end of its run at the Museum of Church History and Art, closing at the beginning of January 2007 after opening in September.

The exhibit, which features paintings and sculpture depicting the Willie and Martin handcart companies that were caught in snowstorms on the plains of Wyoming while traveling to Utah in 1856, may still be viewed online by visiting the museum’s Web site (

“Nearly every label in the exhibit contains a quotation from one of the pioneers or their rescuers,” said museum curator Robert Davis. “I could not think of a more powerful way to tell this story than through the words of those who experienced it. The quotations and the works of art create a sense of compassion and reverence for these faithful people who endured horrific tragedies and who mustered incredible faith in God.”

The exhibit follows the pioneers’ difficult journey to Utah, from boarding ships in England to crossing the snowy plains of Iowa and Nebraska. The end of the exhibit depicts a renewed sense of hope as valiant rescuers bring the beleaguered handcart pioneers to safety in Salt Lake City.

The year 2006 marked the 150th anniversary of the arrival of these handcart companies in the Salt Lake Valley, and the exhibit commemorates that anniversary. Regarding the trials those pioneers faced, President Gordon B. Hinckley said in the October 2006 general conference: “Their faith is our inheritance. Their faith is a reminder to us of the price they paid for the comforts we enjoy today” (“The Faith to Move Mountains,” Ensign, Nov. 2006, 84).

Several of the artists whose works appear in the exhibit are direct descendants of Willie and Martin company pioneers and their rescuers.

Stephen Mark Bartholomew’s painting shows his great-great-grandmother and her sister as teenagers gathering wood in the snow. Through his research, he learned that these girls pulled one of two family handcarts all the way across the plains until their rescue near Devil’s Gate.

Artist Glen Hawkins painted his ancestor Ann Jewell Rowley, a widow, pulling a handcart through the snow with the help of her seven children, who traveled with her in the Willie company.

[illustration] Stephen Mark Bartholomew’s work depicts an ancestor gathering wood in the snow. (Snowbound at Red Buttes, by Stephen Mark Bartholomew.)

Church Releases Plans for Downtown Salt Lake

Downtown Salt Lake City is getting a facelift. The blocks just south of Temple Square and the Church Administration Building will undergo five years of demolition and construction to make way for a 20-acre development the Church is tentatively calling City Creek Center.

The plan calls for an indoor-outdoor mix of retailers, residences, and office space, with six acres of open space—gardens, fountains, pedestrian walkways, and a mock City Creek running down the middle, roughly along what was once the actual stream’s historic south arm.

Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of the Church, presented a conceptual design plan for the project to the Salt Lake City Council on October 4, 2006. Demolition of part of the site was set to begin in November. A progressive wave of demolition will move roughly west to east, followed by excavation and site preparation that will take about a year.

The Church first announced three years ago it was planning to redevelop the downtown area to energize the economy of the city that houses its headquarters and to bolster the area near Temple Square. No tithing funds will be used in the redevelopment.

Bishop Burton shared with the city council design concepts of what the redeveloped blocks may look like, but stressed that final architectural plans will not be completed until 2007.

As outlined by Bishop Burton, the project will include:

  • Up to three national department stores to anchor a retail component that will include a complement of nationally recognized in-line retail tenants.

  • New, refurbished, and renamed office towers.

  • New residential buildings.

  • A full-service grocery store to serve a growing downtown population.

  • The reopening or extension of historic downtown streets as pedestrian walkways through two of the blocks—Richards Street, Regent Street, and Social Hall Avenue.

  • Fountains and man-made streams to represent the historic South Fork of City Creek, supplemented by approximately six acres of gardens and open space.

  • Underground parking to accommodate some 5,600 vehicles.

A downloadable schematic site plan showing proposed locations of retail, office, and residential space is available on the Internet at

Three New Pamphlets Help Teach about Church

With the development of three new missionary pamphlets, investigators will now receive literature to read and ponder at the conclusion of each of their first three lessons with the missionaries.

“At the conclusion of every teaching session, the investigator should be left with something to read,” President Gordon B. Hinckley stated in the first worldwide leadership training meeting. “It may be designated chapters from the Book of Mormon. It may be other literature. But there should always be something for him to read and think about, to ponder and reflect on” (Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 2003, 20).

The pamphlets provide a resource investigators can turn to in private or group reflection. Coinciding with the first three lessons in Preach My Gospel, the pamphlets offer insight to answer questions that may come to mind after the missionaries have left and to prepare the reader for future lessons.

Each of the three pamphlets—The Restoration, The Plan of Salvation, and The Gospel of Jesus Christ—is a small booklet containing a summary of principles in that lesson, with study questions and a glossary of terms that may be unfamiliar. Questions such as “How can I know?” and “How do I pray?” are answered, an overview of Sunday meetings tells investigators what they can expect, and a list of commitments offers guidance in scripture study and points to additional resources.

Missions across the world received English versions of the pamphlets during 2006. Missionaries are encouraged to study the pamphlets while preparing for lessons and to refer to them in teaching. Each booklet includes art and photography that can be used in teaching. Through the pamphlets, missionaries can remind investigators of commitments, invite them to church, and point them to Members are encouraged to share the pamphlets with their families and friends.

The pamphlets, planned from the beginning as part of the Preach My Gospel effort, are currently being translated into the languages in which the Preach My Gospel manual is published, more than 50 in all.

The pamphlets are available through distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada or at at a cost of U.S. $2.50 for a package of 25.


Small Miracles Each Day

Your article “Living in the Shadow of Death” (Sept. 2006) could have been written by me. When my Ensign arrived, I too had just been diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer after eight years. I have read many articles on dealing with the death of a loved one, but never one concerning dealing with one’s own death. It was very well written, uplifting, and encouraging. As a result I look for the small miracles in each day now and am truly grateful for such a wonderful article. I hope we will have more on this subject, as I know the need is great. Dian Danner, Texas

Appreciation for Courage and Comfort

As a cancer survivor of just over three years, I appreciate in a unique way the article by Sister Lois McCune Sewell in the September Ensign. After my diagnosis, I too prayed for courage to bear what lay ahead with dignity, found comfort in the scriptures, felt an urgent need to be of service to others as a way of giving back, and noticed with awe and reverence the beauty of God’s handiwork. Most important, I developed a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father and treasure more than ever my earthly family and the relationships we have.

Thank you so much, Sister Sewell, for your example of courage and your words of comfort and inspiration. Charles Hawkins, Missouri

A Plea for Inmates

You recently printed a letter from an LDS correctional officer. Well, I am an inmate, formerly LDS and hoping to be restored someday, and I think I can add something to what he had to say. He is right that the Ensign is very important to an inmate. It is a true lifeline, a light in the darkness. Only letters are of equal importance. I ask, I plead, I beg, on behalf of all inmates everywhere, that members who have friends, family, or even acquaintances in a prison or jail take the time to write to them. Do not forget them. Reply to their letters. You might keep someone’s heart from failing, and you might save them from a storm. Name Withheld

Another Tender Mercy

I just wanted to say thank you to the editors and contributors of the Ensign for publishing “My Husband’s Addiction” (Aug. 2006). That article was just exactly what I needed, as I am going through the same problem with my husband. That article proves once again our Lord’s tender mercies to His children. Name Withheld

Stopping the Attacks

Having practiced criminal appellate law for eight years, I appreciated “A Hole in Her Soul” in the July 2006 Ensign.

The article said the rapist was not prosecuted because “too much time had passed” and “there was no physical evidence.” Although these are common problems in rape cases, they can be overcome by police investigation into the circumstances of the crime, testimony from an expert to explain rape trauma syndrome, and testimony from the victim. A victim who did not tell anyone immediately after the crime and whose physical wounds have healed should still report the crime because there may still be enough evidence.

Many rapists have numerous victims. Stopping these attacks requires at least one victim reporting the rape and assisting in the prosecution. This does not mean the victim hates the rapist or cannot begin the process of forgiveness. Victims who report and assist in the prosecution are doing their part to put a stop to the evil inflicted by the rapist and are protecting others from the tremendous suffering they and their families have experienced. Linda Lemke, Missouri

Realizing His Awareness

Thank you for the article “Getting Past the Hurt” (July 2006). This article came in such a timely manner for me. As I flipped through the pages of my Ensign, I immediately had tears come to my eyes as I stopped on page 28. Three weeks prior to seeing this article, I cut off all contact with a man whom I still loved very much. We dated for two years before I realized that he truly had no desire to get married. I am a 35-year-old single mother of four children, and the anguish I experienced in breaking off this relationship was almost unbearable at times. I truly feel like this article was Heavenly Father’s way of letting me know that He is always aware of what is going on in my life. This article was a great strength to me, right down to the illustration in the background of the cactus. (I live in Arizona.) What a tremendous testimony builder this was for me. Name Withheld