News of the Church

By Karianne Salisbury, Church Magazines

Protecting Family Finances by Avoiding Fraud

Editor’s note: In February 2008 the First Presidency issued a letter to Church members warning against becoming entangled in fraudulent investments. The following article explores some of the common warning signs of fraud.

As a young college graduate, Marshall Romney knew very little about investing when he became interested in the money market. After talking with co-workers who were making a profit through gold and silver investments, Brother Romney decided this was the investment for him. He bought a bag of coins, arranged to store the coins with the company he purchased them from, and later used a bank loan to buy more bags.

Unfortunately, the value of the coins stopped going up and started going down. In addition to getting into debt, Brother Romney discovered the company he invested in had disappeared. They had exploited their customers by selling nonexistent bags of gold, which they conveniently offered to store in their secure warehouse. Brother Romney was a victim of fraud.

Like many profiting from investment schemes, this company had capitalized on what was a very hot market at the time. But swindlers won’t stop there.

Brother Romney, now a professor at Brigham Young University with a research specialty in fraud, said cases of fraud are becoming more common and are a concern for everyone, including Church members.

“Today investment fraud comes in all shapes and sizes, but many share similar characteristics that should raise suspicion,” he said.

While any investment holds some level of risk, schemes designed to deceive will often demonstrate a sense of urgency, propose a guaranteed profit with little risk, or persuade by using well-known referrals.

Sense of Urgency

An opportunity that requires an immediate response is typically a clear sign of fraud. Someone trying to sell an opportunity may try to persuade by saying it’s the chance of a lifetime or only a certain number can participate, but the need for a quick decision means there is little or no time to think about the commitment or to check the background of the investment.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles emphasized the importance of carefully evaluating financial decisions in a 1987 general conference address.

“There are no shortcuts to financial security,” Elder Ballard said. “Do not trust your money to others without a thorough evaluation of any proposed investment. Our people have lost far too much money by trusting their assets to others. In my judgment, we will never have balance in our lives unless our finances are securely under control (“Keeping Life’s Demands in Balance,” Ensign, May 1987, 13).

Fraudsters will try to create a sense of urgency to encourage investors to jump in before various concerns or anxieties can settle. It is important to take the time to carefully consider each aspect of the decision. A quality investment opportunity will be around long enough to allow the time needed to fully contemplate the options.

Guaranteed Profit, Little Risk

Who could turn down an investment opportunity with virtually no risk and guaranteed profit? It almost seems too good to be true, and according to Brian Sudweeks, an associate professor of finance at Brigham Young University, it probably is.

“No one can promise a consistently high specific rate of return, and there are no ‘get rich quick’ schemes that work on a consistent basis,” Brother Sudweeks said. “Guaranteed high returns are never guaranteed or high.” But promoters will often propose such ideas, appealing to the desire to see a fast return and immediate profit.

Brother Sudweeks encourages potential investors to apply two important principles to any investment decision.

“First, know what you invest in and whom you invest with,” he said. “Second, invest only with high-quality individuals and institutions.”

Often a scheme continues to operate simply because investors don’t know what they are investing in, only that they see a return. As new investors contribute money, those funds go to pay previous investors, creating a never-ending shuffling of money that eventually collapses.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained in a general conference address in 2004 that members sometimes get caught in notions of greed or selfishness that can lead to unwise and foolish financial practices.

“Brothers and sisters, beware of covetousness,” he said. “It is one of the great afflictions of these latter days. It creates greed and resentment. Often it leads to bondage, heartbreak, and crushing, grinding debt” (“Earthly Debts, Heavenly Debts,” Liahona, May 2004, 40).

Well-Known Referrals

Most individuals are more likely to participate in an investment opportunity if they know their sister, home teacher, neighbor, or co-worker is also participating. Promoters will often use these examples to appeal to and build some level of trust. While it may or may not be true that these friends and acquaintances are involved, investors cannot responsibly respond to this elevated form of peer pressure.

“A lot of people don’t understand the proper principles of investments and don’t want to take the time to research and investigate something,” Brother Romney said. “Instead they rely on the fact that someone else has investigated it. When they hear the names of people they know, they automatically assume the research has been done.”

With a countless number of fraud schemes come just as many types of fraudsters. While terms such as swindler or scammer may bring a stereotypical image to mind, there are no set characteristics of someone promoting fraudulent investments. In fact, they may be typical acquaintances from work or church, family members, or close friends, and they may not even know the depth of what they are involved in.

“Ask yourself if you are interested solely because you know someone else involved,” Brother Romney said. “If this is the case, perhaps take a step back and really look into the background of the investment. No matter how trustworthy the source seems, potential investors should never make a decision based solely on the advice of others.”

Avoiding Fraud

As investment fraud becomes increasingly common, Church leaders have offered counsel to avoid unwise investments and stay out of debt.

“We again urge our people to avoid unnecessary debt, to be modest in the financial obligations which they undertake, to set aside some cash against an emergency,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) in a general conference address in 2003. “We warn our people against ‘get rich’ schemes and other entanglements which are nearly always designed to trap the gullible” (“The Condition of the Church,” Liahona, May 2003, 4).

In February 2008 the First Presidency issued a letter to general and local leaders in the United States and Canada with a message to be prudent in managing financial affairs. They offered concern about individuals who may use relationships of trust to promote risky schemes and shared sound financial principles to manage risk: “First, avoid unnecessary debt, especially consumer debt; second, before investing, seek advice from a qualified and licensed financial advisor; and third, be wise.”

Resources exploring the basics of family finances are available on the Church’s Web site, The site features an online financial course, references to talks from Church leaders, lesson materials, and access to additional resource material.

Church leaders have warned members to be wise in their investments.

New Mission Presidents Now in Place

Accepting assignments from the First Presidency, 124 new mission presidents began serving on or around July 1, 2008. The missions and their respective new presidents are:


New President

Alaska Anchorage

Alan Roy Dance

Albania Tirana

John Martin Neil

Argentina Buenos Aires West

Evrett Wade Benton

Argentina Mendoza

James Blaine Lindahl

Argentina Resistencia

Jorge Luis del Castillo

Argentina Rosario

Jorge Marcial Villalba

Argentina Salta

Dan Northcutt

Arizona Phoenix

Paul Sherman Beck

Arizona Tucson

Wesley Paul Walker

Arkansas Little Rock

Robert Wyman Drewes


Douglas Leon Dance

Bolivia Cochabamba

Miguel Angel Tenorio Dominguez

Brazil Brasilia

Gelson Pizzirani

Brazil Florianopolis

Walter Guedes Queiroz Jr.

Brazil Fortaleza

Alan Charles Batt

Brazil Maceió

Gary Ray Beynon

Brazil Manaus

David Woodward Jayme

Brazil Recife

Mário Hélio Emerick

Brazil Ribeirão Preto

Ricardo Vieira

Brazil Rio de Janeiro

Antonio Kaulle Machado Bezerra

Brazil Rio de Janeiro North

Scott Warren Pickett

Brazil Salvador

Carlos Roberto Toledo

Brazil São Paulo Interlagos

Christopher George Jackson

Brazil São Paulo North

Jeffry Lynn Cooley

Brazil São Paulo South

Stephen Darrow Richardson

California Anaheim

Steven Bennett Watrous

California Arcadia

Oscar Arthur Pike

California Fresno

John Arthur Gonzalez

California Riverside

Melvyn Kemp Reeves

California Roseville

Mark James Pendelton

California Sacramento

James Stuart Jardine

California San Diego

Lee Leonard Donaldson

California San Jose

Eric Michael Jackson

California Ventura

Wayne Dale Murri

Canada Toronto East

Chris Allan Eyre

Canada Vancouver

Kent Kruger Nelson

Cape Verde Praia

Joselito Medina Costa Neves

Chile Concepción South

Joe Neil Swenson

Chile Osorno

Kenneth David Lovell

Chile Santiago North

Michael Edward May

Colombia Cali

Edgar Nain Bolivar Forero

Colorado Colorado Springs

Brian Loyal Pfile

Colorado Denver North

Gary Gail Ely

Connecticut Hartford

Hugh Gary Pehrson

Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan

Yapo Ayekoue

Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East

Guillermo Arturo Antivilo Rojas

Dominican Republic Santo Domingo West

Juan Evangelista Almonte

Ecuador Guayaquil North

Jose Wilson Gamboa Galvez

Ecuador Quito

Timothy Quinn Sloan

El Salvador San Salvador East

Alex Moroni Perez Ulin

El Salvador San Salvado West/Belize

Alejandro Lopez Mota

England Manchester

David John Bullock

Fiji Suva

William Orval Ostler

Finland Helsinki

David Blaine Brown

Florida Fort Lauderdale

J. Nathan Hale

France Paris

Don Hansen Staheli

France Toulouse

Michel Joseph Jules Carter

Georgia Atlanta North

Steven Douglas King

Georgia Macon

Mark Oliver Bowman

Germany Frankfurt

Kevin John Ninow

Germany Munich/Austria

Robert Gideon Condie

Ghana Accra

Byron Lindsey Smith

Ghana Cape Coast

Melvin Burns Sabey

Guatemala Guatemala City Central

Richard Allen Baldwin Jr.

Guatemala Guatemala City North

David Jaime Torres Rodriguez

Guatemala Guatemala City South

Herbert Edgardo Alvarado Renderos

Guatemala Quetzaltenango

Ramón Darío Lorenzana Reyes

Honduras Tegucigalpa

Luis Gerardo Chaverri Madrigal

Japan Hiroshima

Yoshiaki Isa

Japan Kobe

William Arthur McIntyre Jr.

Japan Sapporo

Lee Alford Daniels

Japan Sendai

Reid Tateoka

Kentucky Louisville

Steven George Glende

Korea Busan

Kenneth Wayne Jennings Jr.

Louisiana Baton Rouge

William George Woods

México México City North

Daryl Nancollas

México Oaxaca

Leobardo De La Cruz Rosales

México Puebla

Steven Glen Rex

México Tijuana

Robert Hernan Heyn

México Torreón

Bruce Richard Clark

México Tuxtla Gutiérrez

Guillermo Velasco Coronado

México Veracruz

Jay Peter Hansen

Michigan Lansing

Marc Ducloux Jones

Minnesota Minneapolis

Mark Douglas Howell

Missouri Independence

George Johan William Van Komen

Nevada Las Vegas

Peter Kevin Christensen

New Jersey Morristown

A. Lee Bahr

New Zealand Auckland

Benson Lee Porter

New Zealand Wellington

Clive Richard Jolliffe

Nigeria Enugu

Jerry Reid Boggess

Nigeria Lagos East

Spencer Bennion Jones

Nigeria Lagos West

Gary Leslie Neuder

Ohio Columbus

Robert Forrest Jensen

Oregon Eugene

Thomas William Macdonald

Oregon Portland

Timothy John Dyches

Pennsylvania Pittsburgh

Lane Alma Summerhays

Peru Lima East

Juan Augusto Leyva Ponce

Philippines Angeles

Rudy Burt Puzey

Philippines Cebu

Darrel Parke Hansen

Philippines Davao

Jairus Cinco Perez

Phillipines Manila

Mark James Howard

Philippines Olongapo

Dave Advincula Aquino

Philippines San Pablo

Richard Edwin Anderson

Philippines Tacloban

Edwin Valencia Malit

România Bucharest

James Scott Lundberg

Russia St Petersburg

Gennady Nikolaevich Podvodov

Samoa Apia

Otto Vincent Haleck Jr.


David Henry Hill

South Africa Cape Town

Randall K Probst

South Africa Johannesburg

David Edward Poulsen

South Carolina Columbia

Stephen Lowell McConkie

Sweden Stockholm

Larry Ernest Anderson

Tahiti Papeete

Matthew Artell Smith

Tennessee Knoxville

James Ermon Griffin

Tennessee Nashville

Gary Lynn Hutchings

Texas Dallas

Barry Morgan Smith

Texas Houston

Todd Bailey Hansen

Texas Houston East

Dan Edward Moldenhauer

Texas Lubbock

John Lee Robison

Ukraine Donetsk

Timothy Lee Fry

Ukraine Kyiv

Lane Orin Steinagel

Venezuela Caracas

Freddy Valentin Herrera Molina

Washington Tacoma

Harvey Kent Bowen

West Virginia Charleston

Michael William Thornock

Missionaries in 124 missions received new mission presidents.

Around the Church

Saints in Spain Celebrate Church History

Church members in Spain will hold an extended celebration from October 2008 through May 2009 to commemorate the official recognition of the Church in October 1968 and the dedication of Spain for the preaching of the gospel. Organizers intend to involve the community through open houses and service projects.

On May 20, 1969, Elder Marion G. Romney dedicated Spain for the preaching of the gospel. A month later, the first missionaries in more than 30 years arrived—missionary attempts in 1932 failed because of restrictive laws. By 1975, 17 branches operated in Spain. The Madrid Spain Stake was formed in 1982, followed by eight additional stakes and the 1999 dedication of the Madrid Spain Temple. More than 41,000 members reside in the country.

Québec Saints Celebrate City’s Birthday

Latter-day Saints in Québec City, the capital city of Canada’s Québec province, will join in the celebration of the city’s 400th birthday in July and plan to welcome visitors to a handful of their own commemorative events, including a performance by a dance company from Brigham Young University–Idaho.

Established as a fur-trading post in 1608, Québec City helped produce explorers influential in the exploration of North America, including parts of Utah. The journals and reports of explorers from the St. Lawrence Valley—such as Etienne Provost (1785–1850), namesake of Provo City, and Peter Skene Ogden (1794–1854), namesake of Ogden City—helped prepare the way for the Mormon exodus to the Rocky Mountains.

The hotel Château Frontenac dominates the skyline of 400-year-old Québec City.

Osmonds to Be Honored at Pioneer Day Concert

July’s Pioneer Day concerts in the Conference Center will feature not only “America’s Choir,” but also America’s favorite family. The Osmond family—including the Osmond Brothers, Donny and Marie, and Jimmy—will perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.

“The members of this wonderful musical family are true pioneers, not only as Latter-day Saints in the entertainment business, but also as landmark recording and performing artists,” said Mack Wilberg, director of the choir.

The concerts on July 25 and 26, 2008, will pay tribute to the Osmonds’ 50-year legacy, which includes 142 albums with more than 100 million copies sold and 51 gold and platinum recordings. The concert will also feature traditional favorites. Go to for information.

Church Responds to Myanmar Disaster

With death toll estimates reaching 100,000 in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta region, the Church responded quickly to the disaster caused by Cyclone Nargis on May 2 and 3, 2008.

Partnering with Atlanta-based CARE International, a nongovernmental organization, the Church’s initial response included a large donation for purchasing clean drinking water, tarps, blankets, basic food items, and medical equipment. The items were purchased by CARE International in Myanmar or in nearby countries for distribution to victims.

A week later, the Church sent 142,000 pounds of emergency relief supplies by plane. Some 13,000 first-aid kits, along with hygiene kits, tarps, blankets, food, and medical equipment were sent to Bangkok, Thailand, where CARE made arrangements to deliver the supplies to Myanmar hospitals and clinics.

LDS Philanthropies will continue to accept donations at Donations not sent to Myanmar will be held for quick distribution in the event of a new catastrophe elsewhere around the world.

Family History News

Genealogy Guides Aid in Research has added England and Scotland to its online collection of Finding Records of Your Ancestors genealogy guides. The free, downloadable workbooks explain each step of the research process and include important Web sites, search tips, and information on how to find and use different records.

The series includes Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, and Sweden guides. The guides are currently available in English; the Mexico guide is also available in Spanish. There is also a guide for those searching for African-American ancestors. Access these and other helps at Click the Search tab, then Research Helps.

FamilySearch Web Site Enhanced by FamilyLink

A partnership with will improve navigation on, reduce research time, and allow major search engines to comb the Church’s Family History Library Catalog.

The new Web elements provided by will allow users to link directly to other sources, post comments, and make contributions, such as adding missing information to a source. Some of the enhancements will be implemented in 2008.

British Soldiers, Seamen Records in FamilySearch

FamilySearch is teaming with a United Kingdom family history Web site to provide online access to records of deceased British soldiers and seamen dating as far back as the eighteenth century. and FamilySearch received licenses to digitize the Chelsea Pensioners retired soldiers’ records from 1760 to 1914. Anther project will make available British merchant seamen’s records from 1835 to 1941. Many of the twentieth century records will include photographs of sailors and personal details of naval voyages.

U.S. Civil War Records, 1860 Census Online has granted permission for FamilySearch to publish Civil War pension indexes and the 1860 U.S. Census, which includes some slave ownership information. The files usually include a soldier’s full name, rank, and company. Though the war ended in 1865, the pension index extends to veterans who served between 1861 and 1917. Users will be able to search segments of the collections as they are uploaded to

Resources for Family History Leaders Available Online

New training resources for priesthood leaders who oversee temple and family history work are now available on

These resources include interactive lessons designed to help leaders direct family history efforts. Additionally, the Administrative Guide for Family History, which supplements the Church Handbook of Instructions, is now available in 19 languages.

These resources can be found at by following links from Serving in the Church, to Family History, and then to Priesthood Leadership of Family History.


Inspiring Prophetic Messages

I have been traveling for a long time. As a result, many aspects of my life have not been constant. Then I arrived at a friend’s home in the United States who is a member of the Church. There was a copy of the Ensign there. I picked it up and read the message from President Thomas S. Monson.

This message changed my heart. I have shared it with many others, and it has touched their hearts as well. It is light and inspiration to me and for our time.

Maria Hessenauer, England

Sacred Words

I just wanted to thank you for publishing the wonderful story, “Sacred Words,” by Edwin Smith in the April 2008 Ensign. I was so touched to read it. I, too, had a micro-preemie, born at the same gestation and close to the same weight as Annie. It has not been an easy road. There are not a lot of these babies who survive, so it was heartwarming. Thank you!

Kristy Christopherson, California

First Presidency Cover

During a home teaching visit last evening we all agreed that the photograph of the First Presidency on the cover of the April 2008 Ensign is a “true keeper.” It is, I believe, both refreshing and important to see our leaders in such a natural situation. Thank you so much for all your efforts on behalf of the Church and the work.

Richard L. Godfrey, Utah

Journal Keeping

I enjoyed reading the article in the April 2008 Ensign titled “My Journal, My Testimony,” by Salli Hollenzer. I have kept a journal since I turned 12 in 1977. My very first journal was a notebook that I received at a Young Women new beginnings night at church. At first I didn’t keep up with my writing—in fact, I misplaced my journal and couldn’t find it for three months. But after that I was determined to write in it as often as I could.

I don’t have as many journals as Salli has, but I too have come to value deeply my journals and all that is in them. I can go back to any day of the year and see what I was thinking about and doing and saying, and what other people were doing and saying, and remember some of the important events in my life.

Thank you very much. Keep up the wonderful stories that you share with us, your readers.

Genevieve Berthiaume, Oregon