Small & Simple Things

Small and Simple Things

By Arinzechukwu Okere

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“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).

Church History around the World

Hong Kong

China was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel on January 9, 1921, in Beijing by then Elder David O. McKay (1873–1970) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. However, missionary work was limited to the city of Hong Kong. In 1949 Elder Matthew Cowley (1897–1953) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles opened the mission with a prayer from Victoria Peak—the highest point overlooking the city.

The Chinese translation of the Book of Mormon was finished in 1965, followed by the Doctrine and Covenants in 1974. The Hong Kong China Temple was the first temple in the world built as a multiuse structure. The building also contains a chapel, mission offices, and the temple president’s home.

When Hong Kong returned to Chinese control from British control in 1997, the Hong Kong Mission became the China Hong Kong Mission.

By the Numbers

Members in Hong Kong








Wards and Branches




Elder Matthew Cowley, an Apostle, opened the Hong Kong Mission in 1949.

The Hong Kong China Temple.

Right: photograph of Hong Kong © Corbis; photograph of Matthew Cowley courtesy of Church History Library; photograph of Hong Kong China Temple by Craig Dimond; photograph of wood shavings by Welden C. Andersen

Suggestions for Better Teaching

  • Try to arrange the seating so you can see each class member and so everyone can see the chalkboard and other visual aids.

  • When trying to promote discussion, avoid yes-and-no questions. Instead of asking, “Did Nephi have faith?” ask, “How did Nephi show his faith?”

  • Be attentive when class members are answering questions or commenting so they know their thoughts and opinions are appreciated.

  • If your meetinghouse has a library, ask the librarian to show you what’s available to use with your lesson. Possibilities might include gospel art pictures, videos or DVDs, or resource books.

Photo illustration of teacher by Hyun-Gyu Lee

One Act of Kindness

One never knows what a little kindness can generate. One January, while serving in Akure in the Nigeria Lagos Mission, I had a small gift that I wanted to give to someone. I wondered, “Whom can I give it to that will benefit from it?” I took the gift to church two Sundays, yet I was undecided.

On the third Sunday, I went to church thinking I would give it to a good friend. He did not come to church that day, but I had a feeling that someone else needed it. Looking around the chapel, I saw a boy whose parents were not members of the Church. He seemed so lonely. I felt impressed to give him the gift. I presented it to him, feeling very happy within.

Something wonderful happened. His mother came to church the following Sunday. She thanked me for the gift. She said, “I have been promising my son that I would one day come to church. Today I came to express my gratitude for the gift.” That was how my companion and I met her; since then she has joined the Church. How happy the boy was to see his mom finally baptized.

I know that by small means great things are brought to pass.

Temple Spotlight

Cardston Alberta Temple

President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) dedicated the site for the temple at Cardston, Alberta, Canada, on July 27, 1913. It was the old tabernacle square, originally given to the Church by Charles Ora Card, who founded the settlement in 1887, when the immigrant Saints first arrived. Then Elder David O. McKay (1873–1970) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles laid the cornerstone on September 19, 1915. President Heber J. Grant (1856–1945) dedicated the building on August 26, 1923.

The temple is built of off-white granite from quarries near Nelson, British Columbia. A veritable fortress of God in spiritual strength as well as physical appearance, the Cardston Alberta Temple has a commanding view of the Canadian prairie in all directions from Cardston.

As an Apostle, Elder David O. McKay laid the cornerstone of the Cardston Alberta Temple in 1915.

One of the temple’s striking features is a 33-foot-wide (10-m) sculpted panel on the east side. The sculpture depicts the Savior offering living water to the Samaritan woman at the well.

Left: photograph of Cardston Alberta Temple by Anita Satterfield; photograph of trowel by Jed Clark; photograph of President David O. McKay by Boyart Studio; photograph of temple panel by Eldon K. Linschoten

Great Lives Remembered

Nathan Eldon Tanner

Though he was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, N. Eldon Tanner grew up in Canada, where his parents, Nathan William and Sarah Edna Brown Tanner, had helped settle the small town of Aetna, near Cardston, Alberta. Their first home was a one-room dugout cut from a hillside and reinforced with timber. The hard farm life on the prairies of western Canada developed a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility in Nathan.

When he was young, the rest of his family fell ill with smallpox. The neighbors were afraid to come in because of the disease, so young Nathan spent two nights and three days without sleep as he cared for the sick.

Despite heavy responsibilities on the farm, Nathan completed his schooling and became principal of a three-room school, where he fell in love with one of the teachers, Sara Isabelle Merrill. They married and became the parents of five daughters.

N. Eldon Tanner’s reputation for hard work and integrity led to many leadership responsibilities in government and business. He was speaker of the house in the Alberta legislature, a minister in the provincial cabinet, president of a petroleum company, and head of the company that built the 2,000-mile (3,220-km) Trans-Canada Pipeline.

But his family and the Church always came first. He was a devoted father who played an active role in rearing and nurturing his daughters from the time they were infants. When he became counselor to a bishop in Cardston and adviser to the deacons quorum, Brother Tanner found that some of the boys were not attending because their families could not afford Sunday clothes, and the boys were embarrassed to wear their overalls. He made an agreement with the boys, and when they showed up at priesthood meeting the next Sunday wearing overalls, there was Brother Tanner, also wearing overalls. He won the hearts of those boys, and soon they were all active.

N. Eldon Tanner became bishop of the Cardston Ward, later served as a stake high councilor, and then became president of the newly formed Calgary Alberta Stake. It was while he was serving as stake president that the call came to serve as a General Authority and Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve in October 1960.

When N. Eldon Tanner passed away, President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said of him: “Nathan Eldon Tanner was one of the great and noble men of our time. He was recognized as a giant among men. In the annals of Church history he will be remembered as one of the influential counselors in the First Presidency of the Church.” 1


  •   1.

    In “President N. Eldon Tanner Dies,” Ensign, Jan. 1983, 11.

  • Important Dates in the Life of President N. Eldon Tanner

    • Born on May 9, 1898, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    • Sustained as Assistant to the Twelve on October 8, 1960.

    • Ordained an Apostle on October 11, 1962.

    • Sustained as Second Counselor to President David O. McKay on October 4, 1963. Served as Second Counselor to President Joseph Fielding Smith and as First Counselor to President Harold B. Lee and to President Spencer W. Kimball.

    • Died on November 27, 1982, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Above: Elder N. Eldon Tanner. Below, left: Elder and Sister Tanner with their family. Below, right: Elder Tanner as a young man.

    Right, top: photography Visual Resource Library; right, bottom: photographs courtesy George Homer Durham.