News of the Church

By Bonnie Boyd, Church Magazines

Member Artists Giving Church Publications a More International Look

A growing number of artists and photographers from around the world are being used to give the Church magazines and other official Church publications a more international look.

The Curriculum Department of the Church first issued a call for professional artists and photographers in the October 2005 issue of the Liahona. Since that time, the group of talented Church members from many countries has grown steadily, and a database of these contributors has been created. A later request for professional artists from around the world to illustrate religious scenes, in particular New Testament stories, added to the database.

“The objective of [creating and using] the database is to increase the cultural accuracy of art and to accurately reflect the international Church in Church publications,” said Tadd Peterson, who oversees the project as a lead designer in the Graphics Division of the Curriculum Department. “We also are striving to feature the artistic talents of members of the Church worldwide.”

As part of the New Testament project, the Liahona staff sent out a call for contributors to create and submit paintings and illustrations that could potentially be used in Church publications to support the New Testament theme for 2007. Art was used from artists in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Peru, and South Africa.

Currently there are more than 200 photographers, artists, and designers from 31 countries included in the database.

Contributors have provided photographs for a number of Church magazine articles as well as for several localized missionary publications that accompany Preach My Gospel, a manual used by missionaries throughout the world.

The use of international art helps produce a sense of unity among members around the world, said Brother Peterson. The art depicts cultural diversity and various styles, yet there is a unified respect and love for the teachings of the gospel as well as reverence for the sacred subjects.

“These pieces of art have great value to all members in that they truly represent a worldwide church,” Brother Peterson said.

The most effective method for submitting a request to be included in the database is to send contact information and samples of artwork or photography for review by e-mail to It is also possible to send copies (please do not send originals) of art or photography, contact information, and a short work history by mail to:

Artists and Photographers Database
50 E. North Temple St., Rm. 2474
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3220, USA

Freelance assignments are based on location, experience, style, and the resources available to the artists or photographers.

Art submitted to the international artists and photographers database represents the talents of artists from throughout the world, such as this painting depicting Christ’s millennial reign by John Zamudio of Peru, entitled Dejadlos.

From South Africa, Louise Parker’s piece beautifully depicts a scripture from Proverbs in the Old Testament.

A pastel work by Stephanie Offermann of Germany depicts Christ kneeling in prayer.

Jefferson Cabral of Brazil’s painting is of David of the Old Testament.

March Issue on Savior Testifies to All

The March 2008 issue of the Liahona and Ensign will focus entirely on the Lord Jesus Christ. The issue is meant to help members better understand the Savior, receive or strengthen a witness of His divinity, and desire to follow and serve Him. It will also help members share their knowledge and witness of the Savior with others.

“We are confident that by reading this issue of the Church magazines, many people, both members and those not of our faith, will draw closer to our Savior and receive in greater abundance the blessings of His Atonement,” said Elder Jay E. Jensen, editor of the Church magazines.

  • • An overview of Church teachings about the Savior by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

  • • Articles for adults, youth, and children by President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Presidency of the Seventy; and others on who Jesus Christ is, why faith in Him is necessary, how His Atonement blesses lives, how to come unto Him, and what standing as a witness of the Savior means.

  • • A collection of art illustrating “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles.”

  • • Testimonies and experiences of developing faith in the Lord and receiving the power of His Atonement.

The issue can be used by home and visiting teachers, ward missionaries, priesthood and auxiliary leaders, and others as a way to help share their testimonies with neighbors and friends.

Each unit will receive a number of extra copies. Members who are aware of people who might benefit from a copy of the issue should talk with a member of their bishopric or branch presidency about obtaining additional copies of the magazine. Copies will also be available through distribution centers.

The March issue of the Ensign and Liahona will feature a transparent vellum cover over striking art of the Savior.

Area Presidency Reorganized in South America West Area

The First Presidency has announced that Elder Marcus B. Nash will serve as president of the South America West Area, succeeding Elder Walter F. González effective December 20, 2007. Elder González was sustained as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy at the October 2007 general conference.

Elder Nash was called to serve as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on April 1, 2006. He was an Area Seventy in the North America Northwest Area when he was called to be a General Authority.

Two Area Seventies will serve as counselors in the Area Presidency. Elder Alexander A. Nuñez, currently serving as Second Counselor in the Area Presidency, will serve as First Counselor. Elder Nuñez was named a member of the Fourth Quorum of the Seventy on April 3, 2004.

Elder César H. Hooker, an Area Seventy since April 1, 2006, will serve as Second Counselor.

Elder Marcus B. Nash

Elder Alexander A. Nuñez

Elder César H. Hooker

Church Music and Cultural Arts Submissions Deadlines Approaching

This year’s deadline for members of the Church to submit original music and theatrical works is only a few weeks away. Both submissions are due by March 31, 2008.

The purpose of the submission program is threefold: to encourage members to bless their families and others by developing their talents, to encourage members to use their talents to teach and testify of the gospel, and to recognize members’ ability to create music and scripts that are wholesome and uplifting. For many years members have shared virtuous, lovely, and praiseworthy works through submission programs.

Each year in February a showcase of recognized works has been presented on Temple Square as part of the Temple Square Performances series. Music is presented in the Church Music Festival, and scripts and poetry are shared in the Cultural Arts Submission Presentation. Occasionally works are selected for future inclusion on the Church Web site.

Guidelines for music submission can be found at Click on Music, then Other Music, then Church Music Submissions, or call 801-240-6439.

Cultural arts submissions in the past have been theatrical scripts including dramas, comedies, musicals, and readers’ theater. Poetry and oratorios with performance value have also been accepted. The works submitted should be suitable for ward/branch or stake/district use, be a minimum of one act long, teach gospel principles in uplifting ways, be doctrinally correct, and be Church-oriented and accurate if historically based. Submissions are welcome in all languages.

Cultural arts submissions should include:

  1. 1.

    Two copies of the script and any applicable music on 8 1/2 x 11 inch (22 x 28 cm) paper.

  2. 2.

    A statement signed by all contributors that says, “The work submitted, entitled “________,” is my original work, is owned by me, and conforms to the submission rules.”

  3. 3.

    A cover letter with the piece’s title; author’s name, address, phone number, and e-mail address; central theme; synopsis; and cast requirements.

The names of all contributors should appear on the cover letter, script, and signed statement. Authors of productions accepted by the committee may be asked to grant the Church a nonexclusive, perpetual license for unlimited use.

Send submissions to:

Church Theatrical Script Submission,
50 E. North Temple St. Rm. 2082
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150-6070, USA.

For more information, call 801-240-6492.

Temple News

Open House in Tonga Attracts 40,000 Visitors

The renovated Nuku‘alofa Tonga Temple was dedicated on November 4, 2007, by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The dedication was held following a month-long open house attended by 40,000 visitors.

The number of visitors is equal to nearly 40 percent of the total population of the island nation, though it includes visitors from other islands as well. Special guests included Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu and Mrs. Ainise Sevele, wife of Tongan Prime Minister Feleti Sevele.

“My visit to the temple was a personal journey into the realm of all that is holy, which is peace, serenity, hope, happiness, and joy,” Mrs. Sevele explained.

The Nuku‘alofa Tonga Temple was first dedicated in 1983. In 2006 it was closed for a significant expansion, which has added more than 5,000 square feet (465 square meters) to the structure.

With some 50,000 members, Church membership in this nation of 110,000 ranks as the highest per capita (roughly 46 percent) of any country in the world.

New Temple Announced for El Salvador Saints

On November 18, 2007, the First Presidency announced plans to construct a temple in the Central American country of El Salvador.

The announcement is welcome news for members in El Salvador, who not only cope with long-distance travel to the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple, but also have had to deal with a recent rise in highway robberies.

For many members in El Salvador, the typical 32-hour round-trip temple excursion will be reduced to a more manageable 6 or 7 hours.

The announcement of the San Salvador El Salvador Temple brings to six the number of temples either operating, announced or under construction in the Central America Area.

Currently operating temples in the area are the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple, dedicated in December 1984, and the San Jose Costa Rica Temple, dedicated in June 2000. Work on the Panama City Panama Temple began in October 2005.

Two other temples, the Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple, the second temple in that country, and the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple have been announced and are awaiting groundbreaking.

When completed, the six Central American temples will serve nearly 600,000 members residing in some 100 stakes in 12 missions.

Adapted from Church News, November 24, 2007.

map of Central America

Map by Thomas S. Child

New Rexburg Idaho Temple Opens Doors to Public

After a month-long open house, the Rexburg Idaho Temple is set to be dedicated on February 3, 2008.

Tens of thousands of tickets to the open house were requested on the first day they were available. Organizers were preparing to accommodate some 150,000 visitors from late December 2007 through January 2008.

The Rexburg Idaho Temple is the third temple to be built in Idaho, along with the Idaho Falls Temple, dedicated on September 23, 1945; and the Boise Idaho Temple, first dedicated on May 25, 1984. The fourth temple in Idaho, the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, was announced in October 2004. Ground was broken on April 15, 2006.

Groundbreaking Held for Cebu Temple Complex

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles broke ground for the Cebu Philippines Temple complex in Lahug, Cebu City, on November 14, 2007.

During the ceremony, Elder Oaks said they were there not only “to dedicate the land to the Lord,” but also “to pray … that we may prepare ourselves for the blessings of the temple.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Keith R. Edwards, Philippines Area President; and his counselors, Elder Won Yong Ko and Elder Michael J. Teh of the Seventy, were also in attendance.

Now 23 years after the first temple in the Philippines was built, President Anthony John Balledos of the Cebu City Philippines Stake expressed in his prayer how grateful members are that the second temple in the Philippines will serve members in the central and southern parts of the country.

The Cebu Philippines Temple complex, having an area of 4.7 hectares, will include patron housing, a meetinghouse, homes for the temple and mission presidents, and a mission office. The temple itself will have an area of 2,391 square meters.

The Cebu Philippines Temple is the 132nd temple of the Church that is announced, operating, or under construction.

General Young Women Broadcast Set for March

On Saturday, March 29, 2007, thousands of young women around the world will come together to gain strength and hope by listening to a member of the First Presidency and the members of the Young Women general presidency. The theme matches this year’s Mutual theme: “Be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works” (Mosiah 5:15).

All young women ages 12 to 18 are invited to attend with their mothers and Young Women leaders.

The meeting will be broadcast live on March 29 at 6 p.m. MDT on the Church satellite system, BYU TV and BYU TV International, KBYU TV, and online at BYU TV. Audio will be available live at in many languages and on BYU Radio and KBYU Radio.

The meeting will be rebroadcast that evening at 8 p.m. MDT on the Church satellite system and KBYU TV. BYU TV will rebroadcast the meeting on April 4 at 11 p.m., April 5 at 8 a.m., and April 6 at 8 p.m.

FamilySearch to Put Part of National Archives Online

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of the United States and FamilySearch announced a major program that will digitize, index, and place major segments of NARA’s vast records collection online in the coming years.

FamilySearch will photograph records with specialized digital cameras five days a week at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and will expand to additional regional facilities at a later date.

The records will include court, military, land, and other government documents that date from as early as 1754 to as late as the 1990s. FamilySearch intends to do all 1.28 million files during the coming years and will make the indexes available without charge on the FamilySearch Web site or at the National Archives and its regional centers.


Branching Out

Thank you for George D. Durrant’s article, “Branching Out on Your Family Tree” (Apr. 2007 Ensign) on descendancy research. After reading the article, I chose two early-1800s couples at the end of my paternal lines in North Carolina and began researching their descendants. We recently completed the temple work for over 100 of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I am very grateful for this nudge in the right direction in our family history research.

Wendi Wilcken, Utah

Hymns on

I enjoy singing harmony with the hymns on Sunday. However, unless I get a chance to practice in advance I am not able to sing the parts for some of the more difficult hymns.

The music, lyrics, and harmony parts for almost all of the hymns in the hymnbook can be heard separately on the Interactive Church Music Player. A great feature of the music player is that you can have your harmony part played louder than the other parts. I find this to be a very valuable tool.

Ernie Baty, Canada

Note: The Interactive Church Music Player can be found under the Music link at

Reminding Me of the Temple

After reading the October 2007 Ensign, I realized how much I had taken for granted the opportunities for temple attendance I had prior to entering the mission field.

While I have been serving here in Spain, the ordinances of the temple have taken on greater meaning for me as I work with recent converts and other members in encouraging them to take this necessary step in their exaltation.

I have also come to understand the significance of these ordinances more as I see how the doctrine of redemption brings hope and faith to those with loved ones on the other side of the veil.

Elder Fletcher Reed Carpenter, Spain

Joy of the Temple

I just had the pleasure of reading the October 2007 issue of the Ensign and was especially touched by your articles on temples. My greatest joy is going to the temple and fulfilling what the Lord wants me to do. I feel such peace when I am there.

There is no greater joy than being at the temple. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord that I am able to go.

Diane Jones, Utah


Richard Lenz, an event coordinator in the Physical Facilities Department quoted in “Christmas Lights, Efforts Help Testify of Christ” (December 2007), is responsible for overseeing the preparation of Temple Square facilities for musical and theatrical programs organized by Marilyn Lorensen of the Music Division.