News of the Church

By Karianne Salisbury, Church Magazines

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True to the Faith: Simple Insights to Gospel Principles A to Z

When Robert Lund, a bishop in Kaysville, Utah, USA, encounters any gospel-related question or concern, he often turns to True to the Faith.

“If someone comes to me with a question, I’ll say, ‘Let’s see what True to the Faith says,’” said Bishop Lund, speaking of the gospel reference guide released in 2004.

True to the Faith takes a topic-by-topic approach in its simple explanations of gospel subjects. While the reference was designed to be especially mindful of youth, young single adults, and new converts, its underlying purpose is to help all readers strengthen their efforts “to draw near to the Savior and follow His example,” according to the First Presidency introduction.

Bishop Lund is not alone in his enthusiasm for the book. Members across the world are using True to the Faith to enhance their personal gospel study, build stronger foundations of gospel knowledge, apply gospel principles in their lives, and prepare to share or teach the gospel.

Enhancing Gospel Study

Donna Heßling, from the Münster Branch, Dortmund Germany Stake, uses True to the Faith to gain a broader understanding of the restored Church and its teachings.

“The entries are clear and intense, and each topic has enlarged and substantiated my testimony of the truthfulness of the Church,” Sister Heßling said.

True to the Faith contains approximately 170 entries on topics listed alphabetically from Aaronic Priesthood to Zion. In addition to teaching gospel principles in a simple yet inspiring way, each entry also contains scriptural references for further study of any topic.

Mark Ellison and his family, from Saratoga Springs, Utah, USA, often use True to the Faith to focus on a topic while studying the gospel at home.

“Sometimes we pick a topic and ask each member of our family to state one thing they know about that topic,” Brother Ellison said. “Then we go to True to the Faith and see what we may have overlooked.”

His children’s ages span from 7 to 18, yet Brother Ellison said True to the Faith provides information that meets the interest and levels of gospel knowledge for each member of his family.

Building Foundations of Knowledge

Throughout 2007, 17-year-old Jake McKell in the Grandview 21st Ward, Provo Utah Grandview Stake (USA), along with his peers and leaders, participated in a challenge issued by their bishop to read True to the Faith from cover to cover.

“It has been a wonderful blessing to read the doctrine taught in such a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner,” said David Tueller, the ward Young Men president. “Throughout the ward there is a greater awareness of the power and use of that book for talks, personal scripture study, and helping to share the gospel with others.”

In the Allentown Branch, Reading Pennsylvania Stake (USA), Tracy Norton, the Young Women president, and the young women in her ward used True to the Faith and the Articles of Faith to gain confidence to share the gospel by understanding the Church’s beliefs better. Sister Norton also tries to use the book in her lessons.

True to the Faith covers many topics relating to the struggles the youth face,” Sister Norton said.

“Using True to the Faith helped increase my understanding of the gospel and helped me have a stronger testimony,” said 14-year-old Genesis Felix, a member of the Allentown Branch. “I keep the book with my scriptures now and often use it to look up topics I don’t completely understand.”

Applying Gospel Principles

Reading, learning, and then living the gospel has become a familiar process for Daniel Jauslin of the Pratteln Ward, Bern Switzerland Stake, who said True to the Faith is one of his favorite books.

“You read it, you gain or strengthen a testimony of what it says, and you get something out of it,” said Brother Jauslin. “This really is a guide on how to live the gospel.”

Brother Jauslin cites the section on the scriptures as an example. “I know reading the scriptures every day might be tough for a lot of members, but … True to the Faith tells us we need to do it daily, we need to make a plan, and we need to continue finding meaning in what we read,” he said.

Legrand Laing, a seminary teacher in Springville, Utah, USA, said he has seen True to the Faith play a valuable role in helping his students apply the gospel in their lives.

True to the Faith offers thoughts and encouragement on real-life application of the doctrines and principles being taught,” Brother Laing said. “Certainly this can be found in many other resources provided by the Church, but True to the Faith provides these things readily, easily, and clearly—all in one place.”

Preparing to Share

In 2004 True to the Faith became an official part of the missionary library, along with Preach My Gospel.

“During the development of Preach My Gospel, it was determined that the missionary library should be simplified and updated,” said Greg Droubay from the Church’s Missionary Department. “True to the Faith was chosen as a simple, short, easy-to-use reference that would assist a missionary in his or her gospel study.”

“On my mission I often used True to the Faith to study for talks or lessons,” said Paul Epperson from Woodbridge, Virginia, USA, who served in the Belgium Brussels/Netherlands mission.

True to the Faith has also found its place in student manuals used for institute and religion classes, according to Brian Garner, manager of college curriculum for the Church.

“Almost everyone has access to True to the Faith,” he said. “People can see the reference in the manual, turn to True to the Faith, and read the information. It’s accessible and it’s reliable.”

True to the Faith is published in 46 languages. Copies are available through Church distribution, at, or through local priesthood leaders. An English version is also available for download as a PDF or for handheld devices at in the Gospel Library.

Remaining True to the Faith

As members use True to the Faith to enhance their personal study and prepare to teach the gospel, they will find their knowledge of the gospel increasing and understand how to apply it in their lives.

In the introduction, the First Presidency states: “As you learn gospel truths, you will increase in your understanding of Heavenly Father’s eternal plan. With this understanding as a foundation for your life, you will be able to make wise choices, live in harmony with God’s will, and find joy in living. Your testimony will grow stronger. You will remain true to the faith.”

True to the Faith, a gospel reference guide published in 2004, helps provide a foundational understanding of the gospel.

True to the Faith was designed as a companion to a study of the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets.

The March 2008 Issue: A Report

Two years in planning and production.

More than 2.3 million copies distributed in 51 languages.

Two additional printings needed to meet demand.

More than 340,000 visitors to the special Web site.

Respectable as they are, the numbers don’t tell the story. The significance of the March 2008 issue of the Ensign and Liahona magazines, “The Lord Jesus Christ,” only becomes apparent when one sees how lives have been affected.

On a Personal Level

Invited to share their feelings and experiences with the March 2008 issue, many members wrote to tell simply how it affected their own lives. From the Philippines, Maria Felina Ferrer wrote: “For the first time in 29 years that I have lived speaking and writing about Him, I felt the palpable reality of the Savior in my life. He is not just a topic, not just a story. He is real. … It caused a mighty change in me. Everywhere I go and whatever I do now, I am conscious that the Lord Jesus Christ, in all His power, sees me and is standing by me. That fact makes me want to become a better person.”

Tom Kunz of Magnolia, Texas, USA, said: “I felt so good after I finished reading the magazine and I wanted to be better in every aspect of my life. … I felt the Savior’s love for me and the magnificence of the Atonement in a very personal way.”

Sharing With Others

Linda Buysse-Vergauwen, who teaches elementary school in Belgium, was on a study trip with a colleague and gave her a copy of the March issue along with a special note and an invitation to come to hear her speak in church on Easter Sunday. The friend went and had a positive experience. “The special issue of the Liahona gave me the opportunity to put a little seed in the heart of a friend,” Sister Buysse-Vergauwen said.

In California, USA, Lori Larson had her March Ensign with her at the beauty salon and was enthralled with it. She kept thinking of how the articles would be great to share with someone of another faith and how they would clear up misconceptions about the Church. Then her beautician asked about the magazine she was reading. By the time the appointment and the conversation were over, the beautician was asking for the missionaries to visit her.

Telma Chacón of Guatemala City, Guatemala, bought 12 extra copies of the Liahona and used the occasion of Easter to share the magazines and her testimony with her brothers and sisters. Patricia Hegedus of Cardston, Alberta, Canada, sent a copy to a German couple she and her husband had befriended some years earlier. They received it gratefully with a promise to read it. The Allan Harvey family of Krugersdorp, South Africa, bought 12 extra copies and distributed them to the families on their street.

Ward and Stake Efforts

Church units received allotments of free copies of the Ensign or Liahona to use in fellowshipping, activation, and missionary work. In England, the Chorley stake organized a special Easter concert to which friends, neighbors, less-active members, and VIP guests were invited. Each guest received a Book of Mormon and a copy of the March 2008 Ensign.

In Nigeria, Relief Society sisters in the Ile-Ife district, as part of the activities marking the Relief Society anniversary, visited the local prison and distributed copies of the March issue. The Newcastle-Under-Lyme stake in England saw to it that every family in the stake had a copy and an invitation to attend a special sacrament service on Easter Sunday. One result was that a brother who had been less active since shortly after his baptism in the 1980s was touched and now enjoys the blessings of the gospel in his life again.

Yes, We Are Christians

Many wrote to tell how the issue on the Savior helped clear up misunderstandings about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Barbara Mayes of Flagstaff, Arizona, USA, reported a comment from the woman who comes in to clean her home: “I have noticed many things that point to the idea that you believe in Jesus. How can that be? You two are Mormons. Are you Christians?” Sister Mayes gave her a copy of the March Ensign and they began a conversation. “As she reads, she continues to ask significant questions, and a closed heart has been opened,” said Sister Mayes.

The Mike and Shaz Kramer family of Garwood, New Jersey, USA, held a party earlier this year to which several non–Latter-day Saint families were invited. One family arrived early so the husband could ask a question about the Church. A minister friend of his had indicated that Mormons don’t believe in Jesus Christ. Brother Kramer said, “I simply reached over and picked up the March Ensign, with Christ’s picture on the cover, and asked, ‘Does this look like a church that doesn’t believe in Jesus?’” The man took the magazine with him and met with the missionaries later that week to ask more questions.

A Timeless Message

The March 2008 issue of the Ensign and Liahona is still available through Church distribution. Its timeless message about the Savior makes it valuable for sharing not only during future Christmas and Easter seasons, but anytime members wish to provide comfort, to teach true doctrine, and to share with others a firm testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. The potential is there for many more lives to be touched.

Many members have been positively influenced by the March 2008 issue on Jesus Christ and have shared it with others.

LDS Charities Project Rescues Infants

Thirty seconds after a heartfelt prayer was offered in the Latter-day Saint Charities office in Thailand, the phone rang with an answer.

Elder Robert Borden and his wife, Neva, had arrived in Thailand only a few weeks earlier in mid-April 2006 to serve as Latter-day Saint Charities country directors. Dr. Edward Kimball, a medical advisor for Humanitarian Services, had arrived in May on a short visit to help establish a Church-sponsored neonatal resuscitation training project.

However, with little time in the country and few contacts, the Bordens had not been able to find anyone with whom they could work to establish the program. Concerned about how soon Dr. Kimball would have to leave, the three knelt in prayer, asking for help to get in touch with the right people.

When the phone rang, Elder Borden answered, identifying himself as a humanitarian missionary for the Church. The caller thought he had dialed the wrong number and began to hang up. But feeling this could be an answer to their prayer, Elder Borden pleaded for him to wait and placed the phone in Dr. Kimball’s hands.

Dr. Kimball explained the Neonatal Resuscitation Training (NRT) that Latter-day Saint Charities was trying to set up in Thailand. Several minutes later, Dr. Kimball hung up the phone and with his face aglow said, “We’ve got our champion.”

The caller turned out to be Dr. Sarayut Supapannachart —Dr. Supa for short—secretary for the Neonatal Society of Thailand. With no equipment or budget, only a desire, Dr. Supa had prayed nearly every night for an opportunity to train doctors and nurses on neonatal resuscitation.

In September 2006, working with Dr. Supa, the Church sent volunteer medical specialists to train medical professionals, nurses, and even midwives in Thailand on the techniques of reviving infants who fail to establish adequate breathing immediately after birth. The program is self-sustaining, providing each health expert with the equipment to train others.

Because of Thailand’s widespread population and sparse medical facilities in rural areas, the project has rescued thousands of infants. Teams for advanced-level training now exist in more than 90 hospitals and medical centers. In the first two years, more than 3,000 specialists who attend births received training as the project focused on teaching those in the poorest and hardest-to-reach provinces of Thailand. As the project spreads and gains support, Dr. Supa’s goal of training 8,000 medical specialists is well within reach.

When Dr. Supa found out that medical supplies for the project, which include infant resuscitation dolls, came from fast offerings made by members of the Church, he and his colleagues at the Neonatal Society of Thailand felt compelled to pay for the translation and publication of the training textbooks needed.

“I cannot find good enough words or sentences to thank all the members of the Church who have sacrificed something to save others,” Dr. Supa wrote to Elder Wayne Facer, a humanitarian public affairs missionary in Thailand, on November 22, 2007. “Giving people money will not save their spirits, but saving their babies will ensure healthy and happy families for all and will give them the chance to have a good and fruitful life.”

The neonatal program continues to move forward in Thailand. “Train the trainers” sessions for doctors in Bangkok and midwives in the northern parts of the country took place in June 2008, under the direction of Elder Robert and Sister Theone Snow from Australia, who replaced the Bordens.

“Neonatal resuscitation is becoming the standard of care throughout all of Thailand thanks to dedicated Thai physicians who have been trained by LDS Charities volunteers who donate their time and expertise to share these life-saving skills with all those who attend deliveries,” Elder Facer said. “These are the heroes who are making this great program self-sustaining in the great land of Thailand.”

In each of the last two years 24 countries participated in the neonatal training as an ongoing initiative of the Church’s humanitarian efforts.

Debra Whipple, medical training team leader, gives neonatal resuscitation training to Thai physicians and birth attendants.

Humanitarian Rooms Provide Localized Help

For children undergoing cancer treatment at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, hugs and comfort become precious. That is why volunteers at the Deseret Industries Humanitarian Service Room (HSR) in Las Vegas sewed together 25 padded cushions that wrap around each child’s shoulders and fasten in the front with glove-like hands.

“It wraps around them like a hug,” explained Elder Henry Hoogland, who is serving with his wife, Nedra, as the supervising HSR missionaries in Las Vegas. “They use it when their parents can’t be with them during the actual treatment.”

This is just one example of the many local projects that have taken place within the service rooms located at 16 different Deseret Industries stores and at Welfare Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

In 2000, five HSRs were launched as secondary production facilities for the Humanitarian Center, primarily producing standard kits (hygiene, newborn, and school). In 2007 and 2008, 12 more rooms were added to existing stores, and future Deseret Industries stores will be designed with designated space for the rooms.

Christy Boyer, HSR coordinator, said that since 2007 the purpose of the rooms has become twofold: to produce humanitarian items and to provide a place where groups and individuals can serve their community.

“A lot of people don’t know how or where to serve,” said Sister Judy Chambers, who serves as a supervising missionary in the Logan, Utah, USA HSR with her husband, Blaine. “When they find out we are available, it gives them an opportunity to come in and do something.”

In Logan volunteers made “whisper phones” out of PVC pipe for the local English as a second language center. The phones help children to improve their language skills and reading ability by amplifying the sounds that make up words. The Provo, Utah, USA HSR has teamed with a community program to provide needed items to youth at a detention facility.

The missionaries staff the rooms and are responsible for identifying community projects. The Humanitarian Center supplies the rooms with the items needed to make the standard kits and will also pay for the supplies for local projects that do not exceed $500. Projects above that cost must be approved by the Humanitarian Center.

Members and nonmembers are encouraged to participate by contacting their local Deseret Industries store. Volunteers should be at least 12 years old, and youth groups or groups with special needs should be accompanied by at least one adult per five volunteers.

Food Storage Products Available through Distribution Services

The Church has had to increase production to keep up with the demand for items associated with the family home storage starter kit available through Distribution Services to members in the United States.

The family home storage starter kit, introduced in December 2007, contains six cans of longer-term food supply (wheat, rice, beans, and oats) to help members start their home food storage. Each item has an expected shelf life of 30 years or more if stored in a cool (75° F/24°C or lower), dry place.

Beginning in March 2008, Church members in the U.S. could also purchase cases of wheat, white rice, pinto beans, and quick oats at the Salt Lake Distribution Center by phone (1-800-537-5971) or online at Phone and online orders are sent directly to the customer’s home.

In August 2007 Welfare Services published All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage (item no. 04008), a new pamphlet on food storage in which the First Presidency encouraged members worldwide to prepare against adversity. The pamphlet outlines a pattern for members to follow: (1) build up a three-month supply of food most often eaten, (2) have a supply of drinking water, (3) establish a financial reserve, and (4) build a longer-term supply where permitted. Each of these steps should be done gradually, according to individual or family circumstances and as local laws allow.

Additional magazine articles on home storage and family finances will appear regularly through 2009 as well as on the Church’s Web sites at and

Members in the United States may order basic food storage supplies through distribution centers online or by phone.

Temple News

President Monson Dedicates Panama City Temple

Following the open house held from July 11 to July 26, 2008, and a cultural celebration held on August 9, President Thomas S. Monson dedicated the Panama City Panama Temple on August 10, 2008.

The first lady of Panama, Vivian Fernández de Torrijos, attended the open house along with several government officials. She told her host that she was impressed with the beauty and reverence of the temple.

Luis Farias, one of the more than 32,000 people who visited the new temple during the three-week open house, said that his experience had allowed him “to renew hope.”

“I see that the world is losing its values,” he said, “and after I entered the temple my hopes increased that not all is lost.”

There are 140 temples either in use or under construction throughout the world. The Panama temple is the 127th in operation.

The first lady of Panama, Vivian Fernández de Torrijos, visited the new Panama City Panama Temple with Elder Don R. Clarke, Central America Area President, and his wife, Mary Anne.

Mexico City Temple Prepares to Reopen

Following an open house scheduled from October 20 to November 8, 2008, the Mexico City Mexico Temple will be rededicated on November 16, 2008. The 25-year-old temple closed for renovation on March 31, 2007.

There are more than one million Latter-day Saints in Mexico. For a quarter of them, those who live in Mexico City and the states of Mexico, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Morelos, Baja California Sur, Michoacán, Hidalgo, Puebla, Queretaro, and San Luis Potosí, the Mexico City temple will be the nearest temple.

In conjunction with the temple rededication, a cultural celebration of music and dance will be held on November 15, 2008, in Mexico City. The Mexico City Mexico Temple, originally dedicated on December 2, 1983, was the first of 12 temples constructed in Mexico.

Family History Notes

Church Members Granted Free Access to Partner Census Images

Through, access to census images provided by partner organizations such as and will become available free to Church members in 2009, when FamilySearch will enable a member validation system for registered users on its Web site. In addition, any FamilySearch volunteer or indexer who meets basic contribution requirements each quarter will also have free access. All data indexed by FamilySearch volunteers will continue to be available free to the public.

FamilySearch Pilot Site Nears Half Billion Searchable Names

With more than 467 million names available, the Record Search pilot Web site is helping FamilySearch increase access to genealogical records. Recently 46.3 million names and 1.2 million images were added to the site at by updating the 1850 United States Census, adding 15 states from the 1870 U.S. Census, and updating the 1930 Mexico Census. The 1841 and 1861 England Censuses were also published with links to images at

FamilySearch, Team Up on U.S. Census

FamilySearch and have exchanged resources to publish new online indexes and images of the U.S. Federal Census Collection (1790 to 1930). In July 2008, FamilySearch gave improved digital copies of the original censuses to In return, gave FamilySearch copies of its existing census indexes. FamilySearch will merge its own indexes with those from to create enhanced census indexes with several new fields of searchable data.

FamilySearch, Partners Increase Availability of British Censuses

FamilySearch partnered with three United Kingdom organizations in July 2008 to significantly increase Internet availability of English and Welsh census records., The Origins Network, and Intelligent Image Management joined with FamilySearch to publish online indexes to censuses for England and Wales from 1841 to 1901. Census records from 1841 and 1861 are currently accessible at and, with other years to follow as the project moves forward.


Online Outreach

Regarding Elder Ballard’s article, “Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet” (Ensign, July 2008, 58): I was a convert of about a year in 1994 when the Internet was only beginning to emerge. I found a number of postings about the Church, but to my surprise, most of them were hostile. I could not remain silent. I composed one of the first pages I ever posted to the Internet. It talked simply about how I had grown up in a secular family with Jewish roots and how the example of a colleague at work brought the Spirit in such a way that I began exploring the gospel myself. I told of how an experience with the Holy Ghost during a moment of deep trial left such a profound impression that my testimony became firmly rooted. I concluded by bearing my testimony.

Reactions were varied and came from all over the world. The most remarkable was from a writer in Utah who was prompted to explore the restored gospel and who was baptized and confirmed five years almost to the day after my own baptism.

Sander J. Rabinowitz

Tennessee, USA

Young Singles

I felt strongly that I needed to thank the writers and editors for following inspiration to create an Ensign issue (August 2008) that addresses so perfectly the needs, concerns, and feelings of young single adults in the Church. The article “Single and Steadfast” (p. 20) was so in tune to what I am feeling right now as a 26-year-old woman; it was insightful, sensitive, and accurate. Thank you most sincerely.

Jean Marie Place

South Carolina, USA

Making of the Magazines

I just wanted to thank you for the great article on the production of Church magazines (July 2008 issue). I have always wondered about the process of getting the Ensign into our homes. I also loved learning about the production of the Liahona and the extensive translating efforts that go into making that publication. Great piece. Thanks!

Meagan Alder

Maryland, USA

Word to the Wise

Thank you so much for the article “Cancer, Nutrition, and the Word of Wisdom (Ensign, July 2008, 42). I think it is a very important topic for the Church at this time, when so many health issues (many caused by poor diet) are becoming prevalent, in North America and Europe especially. Please continue to publish more Word of Wisdom-promoting articles. Our health and spirituality are interrelated.

Faith Goimarac

Arizona, USA


In the September Ensign, a byline was inadvertently omitted. The Random Sampler article on page 67 titled “Helping Children Remember Him” was written by Amanda Noll of Washington.