News of the Church

By Kimberly Bowen, Church Magazines

Preach My Gospel Continues to Help Members and Missionaries Alike

Five years and nearly two million copies after it was first published, Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service continues helping missionaries and members in their missionary efforts.

While it was written as a full-time missionary reference tool, from the beginning Church leaders have encouraged members to become familiar with the manual as they learn to serve as member missionaries and as they prepare others to learn about the gospel. 1

“Our own study of Preach My Gospel will not only help us to develop a greater understanding and appreciation for our missionaries, but it will help us in our own day-to-day life,” 2 said Elder Erich W. Kopischke of the Seventy.

A Missionary’s Resource

The manual, which the Church announced on October 15, 2004, in a mission presidents’ training meeting, teaches basic gospel doctrine as well as the principles of missionary service. The First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, other General Authorities, and a team from the Missionary Department oversaw the creation of the manual.

As a missionary resource, Preach My Gospel has “revolutionized missionary work,” 3 said Elder Kopischke.

“Missionaries throughout the world now get into their minds and hearts the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the plan of salvation, essential commandments, and the laws and ordinances of the gospel,” said Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “These lessons are then given in their own words as guided by the Spirit. This focus has dramatically improved the effectiveness of missionaries that use it.” 4

The president of the Japan Kobe Mission, William A. McIntyre Jr., said that as the missionaries in his mission have focused on Preach My Gospel, it has helped them to be happier and to be more effective, motivated missionaries because they learned how to be missionaries as well as how to do missionary work.

How the Manual Can Help You

However, unlike previous missionary resources, Preach My Gospel was intended for broad distribution to the general Church membership. “Missionaries are not alone in benefiting from Preach My Gospel,” said Elder Scott.

Elder Scott invited members to find out how the manual could help them as “a parent preparing a child for a mission, a Church leader helping a new convert, a member sharing the gospel, or an individual getting ready to serve.” 5

“I feel the manual was intended to help all members of the Church, regardless of their understanding of gospel principles,” said Timothy L. Fry, president of the Ukraine Donetsk Mission. “It makes a wonderful and inspiring study guide. It helps [members of the Church] improve their knowledge and testimony of our Savior.”

Within the 13 chapters of the manual are essential gospel principles, such as how to better recognize and understand the Spirit, the role of the Book of Mormon in conversion, scripture study techniques, how to overcome addictive behavior, and how to find opportunities to share the gospel. The manual also has study pages and application ideas.

The manual states: “Study the chapters. … Apply what you learn. Evaluate your work. Missionaries who strive to prepare themselves daily and seek to improve regularly will receive direction from the Holy Ghost and see blessings in their lives.” 6

Uniting Members and Missionaries

Elder Kopischke taught that Preach My Gospel has the potential to unify members and missionaries in moving missionary work forward.

“As the missionaries become immersed in Preach My Gospel, they learn and apply important doctrines and principles which make them more capable in their important service,” he said. “Despite this, they still need all of our help and support. … Preach My Gospel is full of powerful ideas and insights. We learn how we can help the missionaries find people to teach and how we as members can work hand in hand with the missionaries.” 7

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “The Church has over 50,000 full-time missionaries serving around the world. Preach My Gospel has helped make them the best teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ we have ever had in the history of the Church. … If you and I did more of the finding for the full-time missionaries and freed them up to spend more time teaching the people we find, great things would begin to happen.” 8

Editor’s Note: For examples of members using Preach My Gospel, see “The Member-Missionary Effect” on page 16 of this issue and at

How to Get Preach My Gospel

Preach My Gospel is available free online in 43 languages at in PDF and MP3 file formats. It is also available at Church distribution centers for U.S. $6.00 for an individual copy and U.S. $88.00 for a case of 22.

Preach My Gospel has sold nearly two million copies since it was introduced five years ago.


  1.   1.

    See Richard G. Scott, “The Power of Preach My Gospel,Liahona and Ensign, May 2005, 29.

  2.   2.

    Erich W. Kopischke, “Preach My Gospel—the Unifying Tool between Members and Missionaries,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2007, 33.

  3.   3.

    Erich W. Kopischke, “Preach My Gospel,” 33.

  4.   4.

    Richard G. Scott, “The Power,” 29.

  5.   5.

    See Richard G. Scott, “The Power,” 29.

  6.   6.

    Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service (2004), vii.

  7.   7.

    Erich W. Kopischke, “Preach My Gospel,” 33.

  8.   8.

    L. Tom Perry, “‘Bring Souls unto Me,’” Liahona and Ensign, May 2009, 109.

The 2010 Liahona: New Approach, Same Goal

In January 2010, readers will say tot ziens (Dutch), au revoir (French), and tofa (Samoan)—good-bye—to the old Liahona and welcome to the new.

While readers in 51 languages will continue to receive inspired counsel from Church leaders and inspiring stories about members of the Church from around the world, a host of changes are intended to make the magazine more useful for members of all ages and all levels of gospel experience.

Changed from Time to Time

Nephi explained that the writing on the original Liahona, a ball or compass found by his father, Lehi, gave them “understanding concerning the ways of the Lord,” but that it “changed from time to time” (1 Nephi 16:29).

One of the goals of the Liahona magazine has always been to help provide readers with an understanding concerning the ways of the Lord, according to Val Johnson, managing editor of the Liahona. He says that won’t change with the new Liahona in 2010.

However, a number of other changes are planned.

The first thing readers will likely notice is the new look and the improved organization of the magazine, intended to make the content easier to find and easier to use.

Sections of the magazine will be written and designed specifically for certain key audiences, including young adults, youth, and children. Each section will be color-coded to make it easy to identify.

The children’s section will be integrated into the magazine with other content for specific age groups, and the News of the Church section will now appear in color at the back of the magazine.

In many areas and countries, a section written specifically by local members for local members will appear in each issue. This section may contain messages from Area Presidencies; news and events from the area; testimonies, faith-promoting experiences, and other inspiring contributions from local members; and other important information.

The Lord Prepared It

While teaching his son about the original Liahona, Alma stated that “the Lord prepared it” (Alma 37:38). Members of the team that helped build the new magazine wanted to be able to say the same thing.

“Coming up with the innovations and new design has been a revelatory process,” said Jenifer Greenwood, assistant managing editor of the Liahona. “We have seen the Lord’s hand in it all along the way.”

The project began in July 2008 after Elder Jay E. Jensen, then Executive Director of the Curriculum Department and editor of Church magazines, approved the creation of a team to create a prototype for a new Liahona that would better meet the needs of its diverse readership.

Six months of brainstorming, writing, designing, and testing produced a proposal that was approved by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in January 2009.

With the Liahona normally planned one year in advance, the newly approved changes were implemented immediately in order to unveil the changes with the January 2010 issue.

“We can testify of those moments when we had a ‘stupor of thought’ (D&C 9:9) and then those flashes of insight that definitely didn’t come from us,” Brother Johnson said. “The Lord really helped us.”

The Words of Christ

Nephi said the writing on the Liahona “was plain to be read” and gave them “understanding concerning the ways of the Lord” (1 Nephi 16:29). Alma explained that just as following the Liahona led Nephi’s family to the promised land, “the words of Christ, if we follow their course, [shall] carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise” (Alma 37:45).

Beginning with the First Presidency Message—the words of Christ as given through His servants—and ending with a new department, Words of Christ, on the inside of the back cover, the intent of the Liahona is to help lead its readers to Christ.

“There’s a lot about the Liahona that has changed,” said Brother Johnson, “but the goal is still the same. We hope to bring people to Christ.”

“The Liahona will continue to amplify the prophetic voice of the Brethren to the Saints around the world,” said Elder Spencer J. Condie, editor of the Church magazines. “We hope that the Liahona will be found in every Latter-day Saint home throughout the earth.”

Beginning in 2010, Liahona readers will notice a lot of changes meant to make the magazine more useful for members of all ages and backgrounds.

Photograph by John Luke

Orchestra Celebrates 10 Years on Temple Square

The nationally recognized Orchestra at Temple Square, officially organized on October 16, 1999, marked its 10th anniversary year in late March with two spring concerts.

The orchestra, originally envisioned by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), comprises more than 100 musicians of diverse ages and backgrounds. Church leaders created the orchestra to enhance the musical organizations within the Church.

Mac Christensen, president of the Tabernacle Choir, said: “I call it President Hinckley’s orchestra. He had the vision; he brought it together; he knew what it could be. … I think it is the finest volunteer orchestra in the world.”

While some orchestra members make their living with music outside of the orchestra, other volunteers are employed as university faculty, engineers, dentists, attorneys, physicians, and in many other professions. There are also “lots of moms,” explained Kathy Anderson, violist, who plays in the orchestra with her cardiologist husband, Jeff.

The orchestra performs frequently in both concerts and recordings with the Tabernacle Choir, including during the weekly television and radio broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word. It also accompanies the Temple Square Chorale and performs on its own as a concert orchestra.

On November 12, 2003, the orchestra and the Tabernacle Choir received the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. The orchestra and choir were also nominated for Grammy Awards in 2008.

The Orchestra at Temple Square, shown here performing with the Tabernacle Choir, celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2009.

Church Sends Aid After Typhoons in Asia

No members or missionaries were harmed during August 2009 when a pair of typhoons swept across eastern Asia.

Typhoon Morakot dumped a record 80 inches (2 meters) of rain on Taiwan in a single weekend. Confirmed dead number at least 136, with nearly 400 missing and feared to be buried beneath massive mudslides.

Church leaders mobilized to assist in cleanup efforts and to help supply food, water, and other necessary items.

Morakot claimed another 22 lives in the Philippines. Local priesthood leaders assisted 30 members who lost their homes.

Typhoon Etau killed at least 13 in Japan. Two earthquakes also shook the island. The first was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake, and the second was a magnitude 6.5 earthquake that triggered a small tsunami.

President Monson, U.S. President Meet

In July, President Thomas S. Monson met with United States President Barack Obama, presenting him with five large leather-bound volumes of his family history covering hundreds of years.

President Monson was accompanied by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who is also a member of the Church.

“President Obama’s heritage is rich with examples of leadership, sacrifice, and service,” President Monson said at the event. “We were very pleased to research his family history and are honored to present it to him today.”

President Obama and Elder Oaks, a former justice of the Utah Supreme Court, also had an opportunity to discuss their shared passion for the law.

President Obama said he enjoyed the meeting. “I’m grateful for the genealogical records that they brought with them and am looking forward to reading through the materials with my daughters,” he said. “It’s something our family will treasure for years to come.”

The Church has also presented family histories to other U.S. presidents, including Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

President Barack Obama (second from right) meets with (from left) Senator Harry Reid; Joshua DuBois, director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; President Thomas S. Monson; and Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Oval Office.

World Briefs

Church Participates in Kazakhstan Congress

In July 2009, Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy, then President of the Europe East Area, represented the Church at the Third Congress of Traditional and World Religions held in Astana, Kazakhstan. About 75 delegations from different religion attended to find ways to bless mankind.

Temple Square a Popular Destination

Temple Square was recently recognized by Forbes magazine as the 16th most-visited attraction in America, ahead of Universal Studios Hollywood in California. The area draws visitors from all over the world to its renowned research libraries, cultural activities, and historic buildings.

Conference Promotes Technology Use

In July 2009, participants in Brigham Young University’s 41st annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy were encouraged to embrace changes in technology. The conference featured more than 100 classes and the latest computer programs and products for genealogical researchers.



The article “Hope: The Misunderstood Sister” by Larry Hiller (June 2009, 8) deeply affected me. This is a topic I have struggled with for some time. I have faith, and I’m working on charity, but I struggle with hope. The way Brother Hiller personified hope made the concept very accessible. Thank you for the beautiful article, poem, and illustrations.

Anna L. Mortimer

Utah, USA

Just Browsing?

I can’t tell you how much your recent article, “Just a Game?” (August 2009, 46) has helped me. Although not addicted to gaming I did have an addiction to surfing the Internet. Somehow the problem seemed indecipherable to me. I thought perhaps I was struggling with laziness, a lack of motivation, or an attention problem. This article helped me understand that Satan was using distraction to involve me in wasting my time and resources in things that led me away from improving my life and developing my talents. My faith in the power of the Atonement, priesthood blessings, and prayer is being strengthened as I work toward restoring balance to my life. I wanted to thank you for this.

Craig Estep

Utah, USA

The Game’s Up

The article “Just a Game?” hit close to home for me. A few years ago my spouse and I began playing a popular online game. Over the next year it came to consume more and more of our time. After about a year we realized that we had skipped Church meetings, wasted weekends, and distanced ourselves from our family—all to play the game. After discussing it together, we decided to cancel our accounts. We now see that we had become addicted to this game. Luckily, we were able to walk away before too much harm was done.



While traveling I showed my five young children the illustrations from the article “Just a Game?” The way technology was depicted made a positive impact in our family. One example: when deciding what to play, our six-year-old was overheard advising a younger sibling, “Let’s go play out in the fort so the TV won’t suck us in!” Thank you for helping us fortify our homes and fulfill our divine roles as parents.

LeOni Winegar

Idaho, USA

Picture Perfect

While reading the May 2009 general conference issue I was struck once again by the beauty of the photographs that are interspersed with the text of the conference talks. The photos capture such striking views of Latter-day Saints attending conference and seem to help me place myself more intimately in the milieu of these gatherings. I appreciate also the recent addition of shots from various locations around the world that remind us of the many members who cannot be on Temple Square but participate nonetheless.

Steven D. Kohlert

Utah, USA


A caption on page 76 of the September 2009 Ensign incorrectly identifies President Dieter F. Uchtdorf as the First Counselor in the First Presidency. He is the Second Counselor.