News of the Church

By Lisa Barton


Stakes Receive Training on Welfare and Self-Reliance

A new DVD and booklet are being shipped to stake and district presidents around the world to train local priesthood and Relief Society leaders on how to apply Church welfare principles to today’s challenges.

The DVD, titled Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance, is accompanied by a transcription of the DVD and a new booklet, Providing in the Lord’s Way: Summary of a Leader’s Guide to Welfare.

Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop, says, “The training will help stake and ward leaders be better prepared to teach and encourage Church members to live principles of provident living and self-reliance.”

The DVD

The DVD features four speakers: President Thomas S. Monson; Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Bishop Burton; and Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president. Each speaker focuses on different aspects of welfare: how the welfare program is the Lord’s program; the gospel vision of welfare as faith in action; bishops’ and branch presidents’ welfare responsibilities; and Relief Society presidents’ welfare responsibilities.

President Monson shares the scriptural account from1 Kings 17 of the widow from Zarephath, who met the prophet Elijah during a famine. The widow was preparing to make a final meal for herself and her son before they died. Elijah asked the widow for food and promised that if she shared with him, her family would have food until the famine ended. She shared her food with Elijah and saw the fulfillment of his promise.

“This is the faith that has ever motivated and inspired the welfare plan of the Lord,” President Monson says. “To all within the sound of my voice I declare that the welfare plan of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is inspired of Almighty God.”

Elder Hales defines self-reliance and provident living. “Self-reliance is taking responsibility for our own spiritual and temporal welfare and for those whom Heavenly Father has entrusted to our care,” he says.

Provident living means “joyfully living within our means and preparing for the ups and downs of life so that we can be ready for the rainy-day emergencies when they come into our lives,” Elder Hales says.

“How, then, do we obtain Heavenly Father’s help so that we have enough for our own needs and also enough to serve others?” he asks. “One of the fundamental principles of welfare is the payment of tithes and offerings.”

Bishop Burton lists five basic and time-tested welfare principles for priesthood leaders. First, seek out the poor; second, promote personal responsibility; third, sustain life, not lifestyle; fourth, provide commodities before cash; and fifth, provide work and service opportunities.

Sister Beck says as she has studied the histories of the Relief Society general presidents, she has been reminded that the organization has accomplished its work in times of growth and prosperity and in times of war, famine, epidemic, and depression. She says a painting in her office of a pioneer midwife reminds her that one sister with one skill can be a blessing to many.

The Relief Society president fulfills an important part of providing aid, Sister Beck says—helping the bishop assess the needs of members. Because this is “a divine work and because a Relief Society president has a divine call, she is entitled to divine help,” Sister Beck adds.

Additional Materials

The eight-page booklet included with the DVD, Providing in the Lord’s Way: Summary of a Leader’s Guide to Welfare, summarizes a 34-page manual that the Church has used to teach the principles of welfare and self-reliance in the past. The manual is called Providing in the Lord’s Way: A Leader’s Guide to Welfare and is still available to leaders as an in-depth guide on welfare management.

The DVD, transcription, and Providing in the Lord’s Way booklet do not replace the manual, but are a summary of and a supplement to it.

The Church released the English version of the DVD, transcription, and booklet in February 2009. Translations in Cantonese, Cebuano, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog, Tahitian, and Tongan are being sent as the translation process is completed. Many have already been distributed.

The Training

The First Presidency has requested that when stake and district presidents receive the training packet, they go over the information with stake or district and ward or branch leaders. A letter included with the packet suggests an agenda for a training meeting that includes watching the 52-minute DVD or reading the transcription and counseling together on how to apply the principles taught.

“Although many members face challenges as a result of today’s difficult economic times, the new training helps reassure ward and stake leaders that there are ways to address all welfare needs,” Bishop Burton said. “This training reinforces proven principles that the Lord Himself has established.”

As leaders apply what they have learned, they will receive the inspiration and blessings of the Lord to move forward the sacred work of providing in the Lord’s way, Bishop Burton added.

After reviewing the materials, W. Wynn John, president of the Wilmington Delaware Stake in Delaware, USA, said the training information was “extremely timely,” as a rising number of members in his stake have lost their jobs. He said the materials would be helpful in teaching members self-reliance.

“It’s going to help us provide guidance and encourage people to take more responsibility for their personal welfare,” President John said.

Craig Ruesch, president of the Rose Park Stake in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, said, “I appreciated the attention to the responsibilities of key people—bishops, Relief Society presidents, and other priesthood leaders—helping everyone realize they have a part to play in helping others.”

A welfare training DVD and related materials are being shipped to stakes and districts around the world.

Working to Fulfill Spiritual Needs

Patti Stanley searched for a job for a month and a half. She had been out of the job market for a couple of years and felt overwhelmed looking for employment. She had stayed at home raising her children, but because of her family’s economic situation, she and her husband, who was self-employed, decided she needed to work to help support their family.

Throughout the world, the economic downturn has left many in need of jobs and many with financial stress.

Dale Willis, president of the Mesa Arizona Alta Mesa Stake, said he is concerned not only for the members’ temporal needs but also for their spiritual needs. He said if the members in his stake cannot provide adequately for their families, it can negatively affect their ability to serve in the Lord’s kingdom. If they cannot serve, he said, they miss out on essential opportunities for spiritual growth.

Organizing a Job Fair

In the Mesa, Arizona, USA, area, President Willis said, the unemployment rate has risen in the past few years among Church members.

Concerned about the trend, leaders of several stakes in Mesa began organizing free careers fairs to help address unemployment in the area. The fairs bring together members of the community who are searching for jobs and employers who need to fill job vacancies.

The Mesa stakes, in cooperation with the Mesa Employment Center, have held the annual Career Expo since 2006. The one-day event has grown to attract from 500 to 800 people and dozens of companies.

The organizing committee invites companies in a variety of fields to the expo. They also send out invitations to Church members and the community.

As part of the expo, the committee plans workshops to teach ward and community members how to improve their résumés and their interviewing skills as well as the importance of having a positive attitude when pursuing a job.

In preparation for the career fair, bishops invite members to take classes at the employment center regardless of their background or current employment status.

Bringing People Together

Sister Stanley attended the expo in 2008, which was held at a Church institute of religion building. The people who came to the expo attended workshops in classrooms. They also walked through aisles of booths in the gym, where they met with potential employers and distributed their résumés.

Sister Stanley talked to employers and gave them copies of her résumé and letters of recommendation. There were many types of businesses at the expo, she said, but it was not until she visited the last booth that she found a position that matched her interests and experience. She talked with the employer, and he took her résumé. The following week he called her and offered her the position.

“I don’t believe in coincidence; I don’t believe in sheer luck,” Sister Stanley said. Without the career expo and the Lord’s help, she said, she would not have found this company.

Finding Better Employment

The Mesa area career fairs don’t help just those who are unemployed. They also provide an opportunity for employed people to consider other career options.

The bishop in Caroline Kirkham’s ward in the Mesa area recommended she attend the employment center classes even though she already had a job. The company she worked for did not offer the medical benefits she wanted, and she was concerned about retirement.

While at the employment center, she updated and improved her résumé. She also learned about the career expo and decided to attend.

Before she went to the expo, Sister Kirkham researched each of the companies that would be participating. When she got there, she targeted the companies that interested her. She met with several company representatives, gave them her résumé, and scheduled follow-up appointments. Eventually she met with a national business publication. That meeting led to a series of interviews and a new job. It was in a similar field as her previous job but had better benefits. She said her new job also brought her peace of mind because it would help her be better prepared for retirement.

“We all have something to offer,” Sister Kirkham said. “Work on the assumption that your Heavenly Father loves you, He knows your situation, and at some point in time, something different will happen. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from God and from others in your ward.”

Defining Success

Organizers feel that the career expos have been a wonderful success on many levels, not just helping people find employment.

Scott Farmer, a manager of Employment Resources in Mesa, said, regarding visitors’ experiences at the career expo: “You see faith rebuilt. The ward will help take care of people, but when they go out and prove to themselves that they are of value, it lifts their souls and helps them see that things are not hopeless.”

Paul Sanders, who helped develop the multistake career fair while serving as a welfare employment specialist, said, “There was no question that the Lord’s hand was in its creation.”

Job seekers in Mesa, Arizona, USA, meet with potential employers at a career expo sponsored by stakes in Mesa.

Photograph by Paul Sanders

Traveling Open House Teaches Preparedness in UK and Ireland

Church members in the United Kingdom and Ireland are learning how to prepare for and get through difficult times—and helping their neighbors along the way—with a traveling exhibit titled “Weathering the Storms of Life.”

The professionally designed exhibit fills a cultural hall with more than a dozen tradeshow-style kiosks and displays on topics related to personal and family preparedness, from preparing for and surviving natural disasters to handling economic hard times through avoiding debt and building financial reserves. Displays highlight educational resources and employment services as well as the Church’s humanitarian efforts.

Each time the exhibit moves, local organizations are invited to participate in the event, including blood banks, the Red Cross, fire services, and others.

The Church created the exhibit’s components to apply to people in all parts of the UK but invited stakes to complement the exhibit with local touches, such as rooms set aside for discussions and counseling on getting out of debt, food storage, fire and flood prevention, home security, and more.

Each day the exhibit was in Chorley, Lancashire, UK, near the Preston England Temple, one stake prepared food from food storage ingredients and shared samples with the visitors. Donald Hull, one of the full-time Public Affairs missionaries who along with his wife, Annette, takes the exhibit from location to location, recalled their wonderful breads. He said the samples generated a lot of interest. People stayed at the food storage display and talked to the cook for a long time.

While the exhibit was on display at the Ilford Ward, Romford England Stake meetinghouse in Ilford, England, Bishop Kim Theed and his wife, Vanessa, stood outside of the meetinghouse to talk to passersby. It was a chilly January evening, and people stopped to accept a free cup of hot chocolate from them. As the people took the hot chocolate, the Theeds told them about the free exhibit inside the building that would help them to be better prepared for emergencies.

As visitors entered the meetinghouse cultural hall, they saw people playing games, interacting with the Church’s Provident Living Web site, listening to speakers from various emergency response units, making laminated emergency number cards, and looking through examples of practical 72-hour kits.

The timeliness of the exhibit was perfect, Bishop Theed said, because many people have been concerned about the global economy. He said that many times when people think of weathering the storms of life they only think about physical storms, but this exhibit focused on weathering all types of storms, including financial ones.

The exhibit, which was commissioned in 2008 before the current global economic crisis, began a 34-stake tour in January 2009 and is scheduled into 2010.

Malcolm Adcock, assistant director of Public Affairs for the Church in the UK, said the exhibit was “timely and inspired for all Church members, who are not immune from the financial and social pressures of the economic downturn.”

Local stake and ward members invite their friends and neighbors to the four-day event. Church leaders invite dignitaries and other community leaders, who have all commented favorably on the exhibit.

“Though the content of the exhibit is non-proselytizing in tone, there are general references to the principle of tithes and offerings and a few quotes from Church leaders, and our nonmember neighbors like it,” said Brother Adcock. “We’ve learned that people who are not members of the Church share many of our values and support us in many of our preparedness efforts.”

“This is a high quality event presenting a message that could not be more vital for Church members and like-minded citizens in our communities,” said Elder Stephen Kerr, Area Seventy in the Europe Area.

The “Weathering the Storms of Life” exhibit is the second such effort in the UK in recent years. It follows on the heels of a similarly successful traveling exhibit, “FamilySearch on the Road,” which took place in 2007 and 2008 and emphasized the Church’s family history efforts.

Robert Dryden, president of the Leeds England Stake (left), converses with Stephen Worley, a member of the Leeds stake public affairs council, at the “Weathering the Storms of Life” exhibition while in Leeds, England.

Photograph by Tom Arber

Disaster Response

Members Provide Flood Relief in Brazil

Members in the Teresina Brazil Stake and the Itacoatiara Brazil District assisted in relief efforts after two months of unusually heavy rains triggered the worst flooding seen in decades in Brazil.

The flooding killed at least 40 people and displaced more than 800,000. No Church members or missionaries were killed, though eight member families were affected by the flooding.

From the deep Amazon to the normally arid environs of the Atlantic coast, roads, highways, and communities across 10 states were swamped by the flooding.

Brazil’s government worked with local governments to deliver food, cleaning materials, and other supplies to the affected areas and offered shelter and assisted with reconstruction.

California Blaze Displaces Members

Favorable weather allowed firefighters to gain the upper hand on a 9,000-acre (3,640 ha) wildfire in Southern California that displaced 50,000 people, including an estimated 70 percent of members in the Santa Barbara Ward.

Eight households in the El Camino Ward, the Goleta Valley Ward, and the Los Olivos Branch were also evacuated.

Most who fled the week-long blaze had returned by mid-May. More than 80 structures were destroyed or damaged by the flames, including one home of Church members.

Officials believe the use of a power tool to clear vegetation may be related to the fire.

New Mission Presidents Begin Service Worldwide

The majority of the following new mission presidents and their wives began serving on or around July 1, 2009, as assigned by the First Presidency. The missions and their respective new presidents are:

Mission

New President

Argentina Bahía Blanca

Jorge Esteban Detlefsen

Argentina Neuquén

Darwin Franz Peterson

Australia Adelaide

Craig Kidd Poulton

Australia Sydney South

Jeffrey Ted Simmons

Belgium Brussels/Netherlands

Scott Mcdonald Brubaker

Brazil Belém

José Claudio Furtado Campos

Brazil Belo Horizonte

Adilson de Paula Parrella

Brazil Cuiabá

Cleto Pinheiro De Oliveira

Brazil Porto Alegre North

Edison Pavan

Brazil Porto Alegre South

Curtis Floyd Swenson

Brazil Salvador South

Helton Carlos Pimenta Vecchi

Brazil São Paulo East

Joaquim Jorge Oliveira Moreira

Brazil Teresina

Mario Aparecido Dias

Bulgaria Sofia

Gerold Roth

California Oakland

David Gary Wade

California San Fernando

Jerald Lynn Martin

California Santa Rosa

Jonathon Wayne Bunker

Cambodia Phnom Penh

Scott Brunson Smedley

Canada Calgary

Alan Lee Archibald

Canada Halifax

Craig Winger Simpson

Chile Santiago East

Larry Roberts Laycock

Chile Viña del Mar

Richard William Gillespie

China Hong Kong

Simon Yue-Sang Chan

Colombia Bogota North

Joseph Grant Hacking

Colombia Bogota South

Justo Pausides Casablanca

Costa Rica San José

Sam Minó Gálvez Orellana

Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa

Michael Steven Headlee

Dominican Republic Santiago

Miguel Alfredo Lee Bruno

England Birmingham

John Charles Ogden

England London

Renn Matthew Patch

England London South

Lyle Eric Shamo

Georgia Atlanta

Steven Homer Satterfield

Germany Berlin

Jay Douglas Pimentel

Greece Athens

Christopher Charles

Haiti Port-au-Prince

Hardwarson Kerving Joseph

Honduras Comayagüela

Manuel Antonio Flores Batres

Hungary Budapest

Gary Scott Baughman

Idaho Pocatello

Scott W Colton

Illinois Chicago North

Sherman Leroy Doll

India New Delhi

William King Jackson

Jamaica Kingston

Rick Graff

Japan Fukuoka

Sherman Kay Margetts

Japan Tokyo

William Steve Albrecht

Korea Seoul

Yong Hwan Lee

Madagascar Antananarivo

Sean Edmund Russell Donnelly

Marshall Islands Majuro

Bradley Jay Smith

Maryland Baltimore

Alma Brent Belliston

Massachusetts Boston

William Thornley Evans

Mexico Cuernavaca

Alin Spannaus

Mexico Guadalajara

Lazaro Saucedo Sosa

Mexico Guadalajara South

John Douglas Jesperson

Mexico Hermosillo

Sergio Velez Chavez

Mexico Mexico City South

Aaron Chavez Carpio

Mexico Monterrey West

Brent Wayne Romney

Mexico Tampico

Stanton Lynn Call

Montana Billings

Larry Higbee Gardner

Mozambique Maputo

Loren Blake Spendlove

Nebraska Omaha

Milan Foster Kunz

New York New York North

Richard Fred Smith

New York New York South

William Henrick Nelson

North Carolina Raleigh

Dirk A. Cotterell

Norway Oslo

Armand Duane Johansen

Ohio Cleveland

Darwin Dean Sorensen

Oklahoma Tulsa

Richard Edgar Merkley

Papua New Guinea Port Moresby

Meliula Meafou Fata

Paraguay Asunción

Mark James Callan

Peru Lima Central

Stephen Hunter Tyler

Peru Lima South

Roger Christensen Manning

Peru Piura

John Jensen Chipman

Philippines Bacolod

George Javier Tobias

Philippines Baguio

Thomas Henry Jensen

Philippines Laoag

Allistair Bruce Odgers

Portugal Lisbon

Moroni Bing Torgan

Portugal Porto

Charles Wesley Walton

Russia Moscow West

Kenneth Musser Woolley

Russia Novosibirsk

Jon Charles Trejo

Russia Rostov-na-Donu

Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nechiporov

Russia Vladivostok

Michael Stephen Pratt

Russia Yekaterinburg

Bruce Howard Allcott

Scotland Edinburgh

Gary King Griffiths

Singapore

Terrence Andrew Clark

South Dakota Rapid City

Jay Glen Layton

Spain Barcelona

Clark Bryant Hinckley

Spain Bilbao

Richard Reed Clegg

Spain Madrid

James Stanford Watkins

Switzerland Geneva

Kent Hyrum Murdock

Taiwan Taipei

Terence Elial Grimley

Texas Houston South

Gregory Mark Saylin

Thailand Bangkok

Michael Sherrod Smith

Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk

Dale Edwin Nielsen

Uruguay Montevideo

Ernesto Antonio Da Silva Bornholdt

Utah Ogden

Richard Brent Olson

Utah Provo

Neil Edward Pitts

Venezuela Barcelona

Edgar Lopez Delgado

Venezuela Maracaibo

Sergio Luis Krasnoselsky

Washington DC South

George Mark Albright

Washington Spokane

Stanley Mark Palmer

West Indies

Claude Remy Gamiette

Zimbabwe Harare

Edward Dube

Changes Made to Missions

Along with changes to mission presidents in more than 100 missions, the Church has made changes that will affect six missions in Brazil and two in Pennsylvania, USA.

The new Brazil Teresina Mission was organized from portions of the Brazil Belém and Brazil Fortaleza Missions.

The Brazil Belo Horizonte and Brazil Belo Horizonte East Missions were consolidated into a single Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission.

The headquarters of the Brazil Rio de Janeiro North Mission was moved to Vitoria, and the mission was renamed the Brazil Vitoria Mission.

In the United States, the Pennsylvania Harrisburg Mission was consolidated into the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission.

People

Choir Announces Associate Music Director

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir named Ryan T. Murphy as associate music director on March 27, 2009. Brother Murphy will help Mack J. Wilberg, music director, with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square rehearsals, concerts, tours, and the weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts. He will also conduct the Temple Square Chorale concerts.

Among other previous positions, Brother Murphy has conducted two choirs at the New England Conservatory of Music. He spent four years as the choral director at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in the Boston area and two years as the music director of Tuacahn Theatre in St. George, Utah, USA.

Brother Murphy graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, in piano and organ performance and pedagogy. He received his master’s degree from BYU in choral conducting. He received his doctorate in choral conducting from Boston University in May 2009.

Ryan T. Murphy was named associate music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in March.

Members’ Dreams Realized With YouTube Concert

Two Church members competed against more than 3,000 talented musicians and won the opportunity to appear in the world’s first online-auditioned orchestra at New York’s Carnegie Hall in April 2009.

YouTube, a popular online video sharing Web site, sent out a call for musicians of all ages, levels of expertise, and locations to compete online for a spot in their Concert Symphony.

Violinists Benjamin Chan, from New York, and Jacqueline Metz Morant, from Texas, submitted their auditions online and made it past voting from a panel of professional musicians and voters from the online YouTube community.

Sister Morant obtained a degree in violin performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Brother Chan graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in music performance.

Both Brother Chan and Sister Morant described the three days in New York as a “whirlwind,” with eight hours of rehearsals each day. But the results were rewarding. Morant was made concertmaster, leading the first violin section and playing a solo during part of the three-hour concert.

The symphony orchestra’s performance may be found at YouTube.com/symphony.

Jacqueline Morant (left) and Ben Chan (not pictured), members of the Church, were selected as part of the YouTube Cooncert Symphony, which played in Carnegie Hall.

Nine-Year-Old Enthusiastic about FamilySearch Indexing

Nine-year-old Ruth Rodriguez of Chaco, Argentina, has been full of energy since she was born, according to her mother, Viviana. With that energy she has participated in dance, karate, gymnastics, swimming, and guitar.

She has also been a volunteer indexer for the FamilySearch indexing initiative since the age of 8, when her mother was called as the family history center director.

“She cried when she found out that you had to be 12 years old to register to use the new FamilySearch program,” Sister Rodriguez said. “Every once in a while she still tries to register, just in case.”

When she found out children under 12 could register for FamilySearch indexing with the permission of a parent, she signed up. She has since helped index Mexican census records and 1869 census records from Argentina.

Ruth helps patrons register for the new FamilySearch or FamilySearch indexing programs. She teaches others how to fill out their family trees and family group sheets. She even helps patrons set up microfilm in the microfilm readers.

Ruth Rodriguez of Argentina became a volunteer indexer for FamilySearch at age 8.

World Briefs

Church Launches Radio Channel Online

Mormon Channel, a new official Church radio station, now streams 24 hours a day at radio.lds.org and is available via HDRadio in Bonneville radio markets. Other distribution options are being explored.

Programming includes new content as well as content from the Church archives and partner organizations such as Bonneville International and Deseret Book. All Church-owned content will be downloadable after broadcast. An online schedule will appear up to two weeks in advance. See radio.lds.org for additional information.

FamilySearch Indexing Adds Three Languages

The FamilySearch Indexing application at FamilySearchIndexing.org is now available in three additional languages—Italian, Portuguese, and Russian. The application was already available in English, French, German, and Spanish.

In 2008, FamilySearch indexing volunteers from all around the world indexed more than 115 million names. Volunteers are always in demand, especially those who read a language other than English. Anyone of any age can register to volunteer by visiting FamilySearchIndexing.org.

Oquirrh Mountain Temple Dates Announced

The public open house for the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple that began June 1, 2009, will run through August 1. Reservations for the free open house can be made online at LDS.org/reservations.

The temple will be dedicated in nine sessions over three days from August 21 to 23, 2009. The Sunday 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. dedications will be broadcast to all stake centers in Utah. Local priesthood leaders will distribute tickets for the dedication.