News of the Church

By Walter Cooley, Church Magazines


President Hinckley Travels the World

President Gordon B. Hinckley visited members in seven cities and dedicated a temple in Aba, Nigeria, as he traveled around the world in July and August, adding several thousand miles to his extensive travel as Church President.

President Hinckley’s meetings with members ranged from small groups gathered on airport runways to thousands of Latter-day Saints participating in cultural celebrations.

Vladivostok, Russia

While making a brief stopover for plane refueling in Russia, President Hinckley greeted 200 members at an airport in Vladivostok. President Hinckley’s visit to the city was the first by a President of the Church.

“Live the gospel and establish the work in this great place,” President Hinckley said to the group.

President Hinckley told the members that they reminded him of a small congregation of Saints he met in Korea 50 years ago. He said that group of Saints now numbers in the thousands and told the Russian Saints he believes that in the future, thousands of Saints will live in their town. President Hinckley said if they will be true and faithful the Lord will bless them.

Seoul, South Korea

President Hinckley spoke in Seoul, South Korea, to members gathered for a regional conference. The meeting was broadcast throughout the country and to locations in the United States and Australia.

President Hinckley recalled previous stopovers in Korea. He apologized for missing a cultural celebration involving 1,500 adult and youth performers the evening prior to the conference due to a travel mishap.

He said: “God has poured out His blessings upon this people, and the security and the peace and the well-being of this nation rests on the righteousness of the nation. I believe with all my heart that if the Saints will live the gospel they will be spared from war and other afflictions.”

Taipei, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, China

While visiting in Taipei, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, China, President Hinckley met with members, and he dedicated Church office buildings in both cities. Both buildings have chapels, classrooms, and Church office space.

In the meeting with members in Hong Kong, he described receiving inspiration about the Hong Kong China Temple being part of a multistory building; it was a pattern, he said, that was used again for the Manhattan New York Temple. President Hinckley also expressed his gratitude for the members. He said: “I just want to tell you how much I love you. You are wonderful people.”

Aba, Nigeria

When President Hinckley arrived in Nigeria on August 6, the day before dedicating the Aba Nigeria Temple, Latter-day Saints in Nigeria welcomed him by lining the street leading to the temple grounds. They also performed “The Day of Rejoicing,” a cultural event to celebrate the arrival of the prophet and the completion of a new temple.

The program involved nearly 1,500 youth and children who had prepared for almost a year practicing music and dance routines. Youth from five stakes in Nigeria participated in the event. The audience, including local Church leaders, parents, and the prophet, sat on chairs or stood on a sloping hill just below the temple for the program.

The day after the cultural celebration President Hinckley dedicated the Aba Nigeria temple. The temple is the third operating temple in Africa and the Church’s 121st operating temple worldwide. (See accompanying article below.)

A Million Miles

During the trip President Hinckley also met with small groups of members during brief stops in Delhi, India, and Nairobi, Kenya. He said he told the members during these visits to continue “keeping the faith, living the gospel, doing what they ought to do, taking care of their families, providing for them, giving them spiritual strength.”

To speak to countless members, President Hinckley has traveled more than one million miles since becoming fifteenth President of the Church in March 1995.

Church News contributed to this report.

President Hinckley attends a meeting in Korea. (Photo by Greg Hill, Church News.)

Members Celebrate Temple Dedications and a Groundbreaking

Apia Samoa Temple

After fire destroyed the original Apia Samoa Temple, members waited two years for a new temple to be built. Their wait ended on September 4, 2005, when a new temple was dedicated on the same ground where the original temple had stood.

The Apia Samoa Temple today has more than 16,000 square feet (1,486 sq m), slightly larger than the former temple built in 1983.

After two decades of attending a temple close to their homes, members in and around Samoa said they have learned gratitude from traveling to a temple farther away for two years. While the temple was being built in Samoa, members had to travel 475 miles (760 km) to the Nuku‘alofa Tonga Temple.

“I believe members now have learned to be more appreciative of having the new temple,” said Uele Va’aulu, Church public affairs representative in Samoa. “They are now more eager to do their family history and are filled with the Spirit of Elijah.”

Newport Beach California Temple

The Newport Beach California Temple was dedicated on August 28, 2005, becoming the Church’s 122nd operating temple. Before the dedication more than 150,000 people attended the temple open house. Newport Beach stake president Weatherford Clayton said many visitors commented on the beauty of the temple. “I believe they can appreciate why it is an incredibly sacred building for us,” said President Clayton.

With more than 770,000 Church members California has the largest population of Latter-day Saints in one of the United States—except for Utah. The Newport Beach California Temple is the seventh operating temple in California, serving 50,000 members.

Aba Nigeria Temple

President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Aba Nigeria Temple on August 7, 2005. The temple is located near the Ogbor River. As part of the temple construction, the Church built a bridge over the river and a road leading to the temple.

During the dedication ceremonies, President Hinckley said the temple would be a blessing to the people just as the Accra Ghana Temple has been to African Saints since being dedicated in 2004.

Rexburg Idaho Temple

After waiting 19 months since President Hinckley announced that a temple would be built in Rexburg, Idaho, more than 8,000 members attended the temple’s groundbreaking services held on July 30.

“Members and even some nonmembers are excited the day has arrived, and they are looking forward to watching the temple go up,” said Farrell Young, a Church member in Rexburg.

The Rexburg Idaho Temple will join operating temples in Boise and Idaho Falls and become the third temple in Idaho. A fourth Idaho temple was announced for Twin Falls in October 2004. The Rexburg Idaho Temple will serve 17 stakes in the area. Rexburg’s temple will also serve the almost 12,000 students attending Brigham Young University–Idaho.

The new Apia Samoa Temple was dedicated on September 4, 2005.

President Gordon B. Hinckley greets Saints attending the dedication of the Aba Nigeria Temple. (Photo by Greg Hill, Church News.)

Pass-Along Cards Invite the World to Hear the Gospel

Without much fanfare, the number of pass-along cards used and the number of referrals obtained from them have steadily increased since the cards were introduced less than 10 years ago. In August the Church printed its 150 millionth pass-along card—a milestone that represents the success that members and missionaries have had using the cards to introduce others to the Church.

Pass-along cards are available in every area of the Church and in 28 languages. Pass-along card use among members and referral rates from pass-along cards continue to increase.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described the purpose of pass-along cards, calling them “simple, personal, and nonthreatening” invitations to hear the gospel (“The Role of Members in Conversion,” Ensign, Mar. 2003, 55). Members distribute the cards, inviting acquaintances or friends of other faiths to call and receive one of the Church’s free media items such as a Book of Mormon or the Joy to the World or Finding Faith in Christ DVDs. Responses to pass-along cards often lead to missionary referrals.

Early concepts for a pass-along card emerged in 1996. Early card styles ranged from business cards to folded greeting cards. While card concepts were tested in the United States, the Church’s Public Affairs office in the United Kingdom used a similar idea for a media campaign there.

A variation on the three test concepts ended up as the current pass-along card.

Pass-along cards are pocket-sized, measuring about 3 inches by 4 1/2 (8 by 12 cm). Cards include a picture on the front and a telephone number, the Church’s logo, and an offer for a free media item on the back.

Minor revisions to the card have been made since the first pass-along cards in 1997. Now all pass-along cards are printed with the address www.mormon.org beneath the Church’s logo on the back. New cards also leave blank space or blank lines on the back of the card to allow Church members to include an e-mail address or a short message with their invitation.

Area Presidencies throughout the world have adapted pass-along cards to their area’s unique needs.

For example, in one area missionaries distribute a set of pictures featuring Christ-centered paintings that correspond to the missionary lessons. Missionaries leave one picture with the investigator after each of their appointments. Many of the investigators display the pictures in their homes because of the difficulty of obtaining fine art to display. Missionaries also deliver the pictures to those who request them after seeing them in members’ or investigators’ homes.

In some countries, members use a perforated pass-along card that offers copies of the Book of Mormon or other free media items. Members who invite their friends to hear the gospel or to receive a Book of Mormon tear the card in half, leaving half with their friend and writing their friend’s address on the other half. Members give their half to the missionaries. These cards are used to distribute free media items in areas without telephone service.

Pass-along cards can be more effective than giving away a Book of Mormon or DVD because the process involves the missionaries more directly. By using a pass-along card, members invite their friends to accept not just a free media item but contact from the missionaries.

Calls from those who receive pass-along cards are directed to a call center or mission home in the caller’s area. At the initial call or during one of three follow-up calls, a missionary will begin a conversation with the pass-along cardholder. These missionaries usually ask callers, “What prompted you to request this offer?” Answers to questions like these usually give missionaries an opportunity to testify of the truthfulness of the messages the callers will be receiving.

Those calling to accept a pass-along card offer will have shown interest and faith and will have heard the testimony of a missionary called and set apart to testify with the Spirit. This process goes much further to involve members and missionaries and leads to more frequent missionary referrals. More than one-third of callers allow missionaries to deliver their free offer and share a message.

To obtain pass-along cards, contact a Church distribution center or your local full-time missionaries.

The Church has printed more than 150 million pass-along cards in an effort to help members share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

London Member on Duty during Bombings

William Holder was on duty as a police officer in London on July 6 when England won the bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The streets of London were filled with thousands of people celebrating. It was pandemonium for police.

Then, less than 24 hours later, Brother Holder was on duty again. Now, however, he dealt with a different type of pandemonium—terrorists had attacked his city.

Nothing could have prepared him for what he saw—people running out of the Aldgate subway station in terrible shock; some were injured, others were screaming for family. Steps away, Brother Holder of the Gravesend Ward, Canterbury England Stake, realized he was one of the first emergency personnel on the scene of a terrorist attack.

“You are on auto pilot. You do your job,” he said. “It is human to human. It doesn’t matter who they are, you just want to take away their pain.”

No members or missionaries were injured when bombs exploded on three London underground subway trains in a coordinated attack on July 7. At least 56 people died in the blasts, which injured an additional 700 people—dozens seriously—and took place within a 50-second period during the morning rush hour. A fourth bomb went off 57 minutes later on one of the city’s red doubledecker buses.

The terrorist attacks were the deadliest in London since World War II. In response to the atrocity, the Church is making a donation to a victims’ fund set up by London mayor Ken Livingstone and the British Red Cross.

“It is not until you can look back on it that you are able to comprehend the sheer horror of it,” said Brother Holder. “At the time you just do what you were meant to do: be calm and professional and get on with it.”

During the next several days, Brother Holder worked extra hours. In quiet moments, however, he remembered a priesthood blessing he had received years earlier. The blessing said in his career he could be as a lighthouse, that people would come to him for direction and that he would be calm.

He has felt the Lord’s hand guiding him in his work. “I felt peace inside, but also sadness at the same time,” he explained.

Still, Brother Holder said he sees daily reminders of the event: closed subway stations and an increased police presence on the streets of London. It is hard, he added, to escape the memories of the event.

Adapted from Church News, July 23, 2005.

Using Mormon.org to Share the Gospel

Using Church material online provides another way for members to help friends and acquaintances learn about the Church and at the same time build confidence in their ability to share gospel principles with others.

The Church’s Web sites can be grouped by purpose into three categories. www.lds.org and www.providentliving.org, which are available in various languages, help teach, strengthen, and perfect members. www.familysearch.org, available in English, allows visitors to search for their kindred dead. www.mormon.org, available in 23 languages, seeks to proclaim the gospel to the world. The principal Web site for members to use when sharing the gospel online is mormon.org.

Mormon.org assists members sharing the gospel with friends who have various levels of understanding about the Church. Members can use this site to introduce friends to the gospel, help them better understand Church doctrine and lifestyle, and invite them to attend Church meetings.

Since its launch in October 2001, more than 8.3 million visitors have visited the Web site. These visitors have requested more than 200,000 media items, such as DVDs or copies of the Book of Mormon. More than 40,000 site visitors wanted to learn more and were referred to missionaries.

Introducing the Gospel

Mormon.org’s 411 doctrinal pages, written in simple terms for those unfamiliar with the Church, explain the Church’s basic beliefs, the plan of salvation, the importance of families, and the purpose of life. Each page contains several hyperlinks to topics related to the page being viewed, offering visitors thousands of unique ways to navigate the site. The five most viewed page titles are (1) Welcome (2) Frequently asked questions (3) Find information (4) Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a Christian church? and (5) Frequently asked questions—beliefs and doctrines.

“This site is a great way for investigators to learn more about what your church is all about without talking to anyone one-on-one. Sometimes, people must take this first step [investigating on the Internet] before they are able to ask a member or attend worship. [Mormon.org] has been a continual guide for me as I search for truth,” said Tiffany, a site visitor.

Answering Questions

A popular page with investigators and visitors is the frequently asked questions page. Previous visitors have submitted some of the questions listed on this page. When mormon.org was originally launched, this page included 67 questions; since then 23 more questions have been added. Hyperlinks divide the questions into the following general categories: requesting media items or missionary visits, beliefs and doctrines, social issues, Church practices, and member lifestyles.

Each week Web site administrators compile a list of the top 25 questions submitted to the site. They then check the questions against those currently posted. If a question is frequently asked but not included on the page, the question is posed to the Brethren who decide whether the question and its answer should be added to the site.

The following questions are from the top 10 most frequently asked questions from 2004: “How can I obtain more information about the Mormon faith and beliefs?” “What do you believe about heaven, hell, salvation, and eternal life?” “Please explain the Word of Wisdom. What is it that is bad? Is it caffeine or hot drinks? What about decaf, hot chocolate, iced tea, herbal teas, or caffeinated soft drinks?” “How does the Mormon Church currently view polygamy, and how does it explain its previous association with polygamy?” “What are your standards on tattoos, body piercing, dancing, dating, abstinence, etc.?”

“This site gave me the information that helped to open my heart to the Spirit and filled me with a desire to be baptized. I just wanted to give my thanks. … It was an awesome tool in my conversion,” said Jason, a new member of the Church.

Inviting Friends to Hear More

One of the most popular ways members are accessing the site or referring others to it is with electronic cards. Mormon.org offers 10 different English greeting card categories including electronic pass-along cards. Card categories are inspiration, gratitude, birthday, sympathy, special occasions, families, seasonal, humor, temple, and baptism. Within each category, visitors can match one of several photos to a selection of quotations from a Church leader or historic figure, or insert their own quotation.

E-card senders can attach a link to almost any page on the site, presenting a personalized introduction for friends to hear more about a gospel subject that interests them most. E-card introductions are private and personal because they are sent from the sender’s own e-mail account. Last year visitors sent 196,099 e-cards from mormon.org.

“I was recently baptized, … and it was the best thing I have done in my life. I found this Web site to be very helpful. … I have family in America and I just sent them a card using the site. Well done on a great Web site!” said Lynn, a new member of the Church.

International Sites

Mormon.org content is available in 23 languages. These languages allow mormon.org to reach over 95 percent of the world’s Internet users.

Translating the Web page into additional languages is an ongoing process. Web site administrators regularly track the city and country from which all users connect to the site. When visitor requests or traffic increases from an area that uses a language not available on the site, a translation is considered in that language. After approval is granted, most of mormon.org’s pages are translated. E-greeting cards and most of the free-media-request pages are not translated. However, visitors on international sites can still send greeting cards even though that part of the site has to be viewed only in English. Last year the site was translated into 11 languages, bringing the total to 23. Pass-along cards referring members to mormon.org have been translated into 28 languages.

Besides pass-along cards and member referrals, Internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, and others bring up an advertised link to mormon.org when a Web user searches with key words such as “Holy Bible” or “Book of Mormon.” Last year 750,733 visitors found mormon.org through a search-engine-sponsored link.

“This is a great site. … I shared this with a friend at school and now she is investigating the Church and will be baptized in two weeks. … Thank you to everyone who helped with this excellent site!” said Jenny, a site visitor.

Helping to Improve Understanding

Mormon.org is an informal yet effective way to share the gospel with friends. For many in the world, the Web site has proven to be what Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Presidency of the Seventy said he hoped mormon.org would become when it was launched in 2001.

“I hope people will see mormon.org as an introductory source of information about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and a way to gain an improved understanding of our faith,” Elder Andersen said.

We invite you to send suggestions or success stories about how you have used Church Web sites as a resource for sharing the gospel to cur-news@ldschurch.org.

Numbers of Visitors Connecting to Mormon.org by Country in 2004

1. United States

1,853,865

2. Canada

112,849

3. United Kingdom

110,564

4. Brazil

72,587

5. Mexico

55,885

6. Germany

40,135

7. France

39,686

8. Australia

39,322

9. Peru

34,726

10. Japan

28,268

Mormon.org is available in 23 languages to help members around the world share the gospel online.

Additional Sharing Time Ideas, December 2005

The following are additional ideas Primary leaders may use with the Sharing Time printed in the December 2005 Liahona. For the lesson, instructions, and activity that correspond with these ideas, see “I Am Grateful for Many Things” on pages F4 and F5 of the children’s section in this issue.

1. This year we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Smith. Post or a draw a large map of the eastern United States on a chalkboard. Identify the following places important in the Prophet’s life: Sharon, Vermont; Palmyra, New York; Harmony, Pennsylvania; Fayette, New York; Kirtland, Ohio; Far West, Missouri; Nauvoo, Illinois; and Carthage, Illinois. (This could also be presented using a time line; see “Important Places in the Life of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” pp. F10–F11 of this issue.) Prepare the following pictures and written references to teach about the life of Joseph Smith and put them in paper bags: Bag 1—Birth: Picture of Joseph Smith’s family from Primary picture packet 3-7, JS—H 1:3–4, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” (Hymns, no. 19); Bag 2—First Vision: Gospel Art Picture Kit 403, JS—H 1:15–20, “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” (Hymns, no. 26); Bag 3—Moroni: Gospel Art Picture Kit 404 and 406, JS—H 1:29–35, 59; Bag 4—Translating the Book of Mormon: Gospel Art Picture Kit 416, JS—H 1:61–67, “The Golden Plates” (Children’s Songbook, 86); Bag 5–Priesthood: Gospel Art Picture Kit 407 and 408, JS—H 1:68–72, a song or hymn about the priesthood. Divide the children into four groups, and give each group a bag. Have the groups find and discuss the scripture references. Invite each group to post the picture on the map or time line, role-play or give a brief summary of the event, lead the song or hymn, and express how this event helps build their testimony that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration.

For younger children: Invite an adult member of the ward or branch to portray the Prophet Joseph. Using the map, pictures, and songs, share these major events in the life of Joseph Smith. Bear testimony of the Restoration and the role of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

2. How do we express our gratitude to the Lord? If possible, invite the children to look up thanks or thanksgiving in the Topical Guide or Guide to the Scriptures. Give them time to find a reference and choose a verse or simple story to share. Accept a few responses. Explain that one of the purposes of prayer is to give thanks. In your own words, tell the story of Nephi as he relied on his father and the Liahona to find food and then gave thanks (see 1 Ne. 16:21–32). Have the children find and read 1 Ne. 16:32. Explain that you can also express gratitude by the way you live or with a song of praise. Write the titles of a number of hymns or Primary songs of praise or gratitude on pieces of paper. Post them on the board print-side down. On strips of paper, write case studies. For example: “You are not prepared for the math test, but you know the person you sit by always does well on tests. You can show you remember the Savior by …”; or “You are watching your favorite television show. Your father asks you to come to family prayer. You can express gratitude to the Lord by …” (see Teaching, No Greater Call [1999], 161–62). Put the case studies in a basket, and pass it around as you sing a song about gratitude. Stop the music, and invite a child to choose a paper from the basket, read the case study, and answer the question. They can then either pick one of the papers off the board or invite a friend to choose. Sing the song as an expression of gratitude to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Repeat as time permits. Express your gratitude to the Lord, and encourage the children to remember the Savior and express their thanks in word and deed.

Speaking Today

Elder Wirthlin Shares Five Keys to Happiness

In an address to graduates of LDS Business College on May 5, 2005, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared five keys to happiness that have blessed his life.

Elder Wirthlin learned the first important key to happiness from a dog his family owned when Elder Wirthlin was a child. The dog, named Ruff, would run away at the sound of any loud noise. Elder Wirthlin said that, like his former dog, people run away from worthwhile goals and relationships because of fear.

“Fear can be a thick fog that smothers our dreams. It can be a cage that restrains us from reaching our destiny,” he said. “It can be a weight that restrains our every step.”

Elder Wirthlin said that our Heavenly Father gave His children the power to help overcome fear. “We each have a spark of divine courage within us. We may not be immune to being afraid, but we do not have to succumb to it,” he said.

Gaining courage to overcome fear comes from having faith, and developing faith is the second key to happiness, Elder Wirthlin said. He recounted the story of Gideon’s army of Israelite soldiers facing a numerous host of Midianites despite being outnumbered as an illustration of the power of faith (see Judg. 7:1–8). Elder Wirthlin suggested spending time in prayer, communicating with Heavenly Father, as one way to develop faith.

Elder Wirthlin said work is the third key to happiness. “Some of the most fulfilling moments of our lives are when we establish worthwhile goals and work to achieve them,” said Elder Wirthlin.

He encouraged the graduates to set goals. Elder Wirthlin said accomplishing a goal doesn’t take an expensive system. It is as simple as writing down the work that needs to be done to achieve the goal and then working each day a little at a time.

Fourth, Elder Wirthlin said, doing what is right will lead to happiness. “It is not enough to do things,” he said. “We must do the right things—the things our Heavenly Father would want us to do.”

Elder Wirthlin instructed the graduates to follow the commandments recorded in scripture and given by latter-day prophets. He called these commandments the handbook to happiness.

In describing the last key to happiness, Elder Wirthlin told the story of one student in the graduating class, Emily Jensen. When Emily was 16, she was involved in a serious accident and lapsed into a coma. The accident and resulting coma changed her life. Emily, he said, had to relearn how to do everything—including how to eat, walk, and sit up.

By accomplishing her goal to graduate from college, Emily, Elder Wirthlin said, had demonstrated the fifth key to happiness: perseverance to the end. He said heroes are remembered because they persevere.

“Some of the most memorable characters from literature as well as life have this in common: they never give up,” said Elder Wirthlin. “Those who do are often forgotten. But those who fight on, sometimes despite tremendous odds, these we respect, revere, and remember.”

Elder Wirthlin concluded by blessing the 352 graduates to include the five keys to happiness in their lives.

Elder Oaks Urges Members to Stand in Holy Places

During a devotional at Brigham Young University–Idaho’s Education Week in June, Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Presidency of the Seventy said homes, chapels, and temples are three places where members can “stand in holy places” (D&C 45:32).

Elder Oaks said that members should strive to make their homes feel different than the outside world.

He said: “Walking in the front door of our home should provide an immediate contrast to the rest of the natural-man world. This sounds utopian, but it is possible, if there is concerted effort on the part of all family members to make the home environment different from the outside world environment.”

Smiles, compliments, good music, and love can make a home a holy place, he said.

Elder Oaks described why the Church builds and dedicates chapels. These buildings, he said, help members grow spiritually. “When we gather together in worship services we draw strength from one another,” he said. “This strength flows from shared testimonies as well as from gospel knowledge gained through shared lessons. We grow spiritually as we accept and magnify callings, and we strengthen our Christian character as we provide charitable service to one another.”

Elder Oaks related an experience he had while visiting southeast Africa. During a crowded fireside in a Church building with only a dirt floor and tin roof, children sat quietly for the entire meeting. These children knew reverence, he said. During a three-year period as he traveled in 21 African nations, Elder Oaks said he never witnessed irreverent behavior.

Elder Oaks emphasized that members should do everything they can to invite reverence and spiritual warmth into their chapels. For those unable to enter the temple, a chapel will be the best holy place to enjoy shelter and sanctuary. “Our chapels and those who come into them deserve our reverence,” he said.

Temples are at the top of the list of holy places to stand in, said Elder Oaks. He told of how he felt after taking a tour of the Kirtland Temple in Ohio.

He said: “Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in that beautiful temple, along with Moses, Elijah, and Elias. Grand, dispensational keys were restored: keys for the gathering of Israel and keys for the redemption of the dead. On that spot and on that day, Christ gave great impetus to the restoration process. That is what happens in the Lord’s holy places.”

Elder Oaks said that temples are sanctified by the sacrifice required to build them, a prayer of dedication, and by the sacred, eternal ordinances performed within them. “We stand in these places to bless those who have gone before through the vicarious ordinances we perform, but we also bless ourselves in dramatic fashion,” he said.

In conclusion, Elder Oaks said although members cannot always stand in a holy place, they can take their “holy places” with them by their standards of language, entertainment, and general behavior.

Elder Oaks said, “By standing in holy places, thinking virtuous thoughts, and doing our utmost to abide by the eternal laws of the gospel, we can prepare ourselves to ‘not be moved’ by the tumults of the world.”

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Elder Robert C. Oaks

New Online Training Available for Members

New interactive training available at www.lds.org uses e-learning technology to train members serving in Church callings. Training lessons are currently available for Church record keepers, Primary teachers, and Young Women leaders. Topics include learning to manage unit finances and membership records, teaching children reverence and appropriate behavior in Primary, and using Personal Progress.

The training lessons are presented in a downloadable slide show format and have been posted on the Internet to increase availability to members. Each slide show requires between 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Slide shows include video and audio clips, printable application questions, practice scenarios, interactive dialogues, and tables and charts with suggestions related to the training topic.

Training Clerks and Auditors

Eleven slide shows are available for clerks and local unit leaders learning to record and manage unit finances and membership records. Currently, English, German, and Spanish translations of the lessons are available. The lessons will eventually be translated into 11 other languages: Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Swedish, and Tongan. Translations will be posted online as they become available.

The lessons mimic the personal training a newly called priesthood holder with record-keeping responsibilities might receive from his predecessor. A narrator guides each of the lessons, periodically asking viewers to answer questions, take notes, or participate in interactive learning activities.

Six of the lessons address the roles of bishops, stake presidents, stake auditors, stake audit committees, and stake and ward clerks in caring for historical, financial, and membership records. Other lessons discuss how-to procedures for processing weekly donations, handling expenses, and updating membership records using the Member and Leader Services software.

By examining interactive forms and watching choreographed charts, clerks and auditors learn how to properly complete data fields on Church records and how to support their local priesthood leaders by keeping accurate records. Along with completing the lessons, clerks and auditors can download a 22-page question-and-answer sheet. The list of more than 60 questions and answers covers many of the basic questions that clerks and auditors ask upon beginning their callings.

To view this lesson, click on “Serving in the Church” listed in the left column at www.lds.org, click on “Melchizedek Priesthood,” then “Record-Keeping and Auditing Training.”

Teaching Children Reverent Behavior

Six slide shows in English provide teachers and leaders suggestions for overcoming common behavior concerns many Primary teachers face.

Topics covered by the training include dealing with disruptive and inattentive students, setting rules for acceptable Primary behavior, caring for students with special needs, responding positively to negative behaviors, talking to disruptive children, and using ward resources to encourage reverence.

Each lesson uses a real-life scenario to describe suggested approaches to teaching appropriate behavior.

For example, one segment shares Sister Pond’s approaches to dealing with a disruptive student. Sister Pond learns that teaching Primary means becoming an example to the children as well as teaching lessons. Viewers watch as Sister Pond obeys promptings from the Spirit to enhance preparation for her lesson and prayers for her students. The online training pauses several times to ask viewers how they would respond in Sister Pond’s situation.

Another lesson describes Brother Long’s frustration with students in his Primary class who don’t pay attention to his lessons. Viewers learn from Brother Long’s experience how to recognize the learning characteristics of a particular age group. Brother Long then applies this knowledge to better understand how to teach his class. The lesson then asks viewers to propose how to teach a gospel principle using activities appropriate for a child’s age.

To view this lesson, click on “Serving in the Church” listed in the left column at www.lds.org, click on “Primary,” then “Help Children Behave Appropriately.”

Using Personal Progress

Eight slide shows in English are now available online to help leaders and parents encourage young women to use Personal Progress to remain temple worthy and prepare to become future leaders, wives, mothers, and homemakers.

The set of eight lessons opens with a video clip from Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He relates the Savior’s parable of the ten virgins and teaches of the importance of preparation. In the same slide show, viewers can click on a map of seven areas around the world to hear young women testify about how Personal Progress helped them prepare for the future.

In another lesson, viewers observe a conversation between Sister Chan, a Young Women leader, and Lin, a young woman in her class. Viewers review how Sister Chan learned and recognized Lin’s interests and helped Lin set Personal Progress goals that matched her interests. At the end of the lesson, visitors are asked to apply the lesson’s principles to members of their own class.

A conversation in another lesson teaches leaders how to meet with parents and introduce the Personal Progress program. Viewers watch a ward Young Women president ask Maria about her future goals and then suggest how Personal Progress could help her reach those goals.

Other topics addressed in the lessons are how to modify a value experience, how to use Mutual to support Personal Progress, how Young Women leaders can gain a testimony of Personal Progress by earning their Young Womanhood Recognition award, and how to encourage young women to continue setting Personal Progress goals.

To view this lesson, click on “Serving in the Church” listed in the left column at www.lds.org, click on “Young Women,” then “Encouraging Young Women to Work on Personal Progress.”

Members involved in Church record keeping can access new online training in multiple languages.

Rembrandt: The Biblical Etchings Exhibit Now Available Online

One of the Museum of Church History and Art’s current exhibits, Rembrandt: The Biblical Etchings, can now be viewed online. Included in the online exhibit are digital images of the Church’s recently acquired collection of 20 Rembrandt etchings and more than 30 etchings loaned to the exhibit by private Latter-day Saint collectors, Shawn and Andrea Merriman.

Rembrandt: The Biblical Etchings opened in Salt Lake City in May. Senior museum curator, Robert Davis, said that, like the Salt Lake City exhibit, the online exhibit is one of the largest collections of Rembrandt’s biblical artwork shown together in one place.

“Visitors can view online high-resolution images of more than 50 of Rembrandt’s 70 documented biblical etchings,” Brother Davis said.

During the 17th century, Rembrandt created more than 1,500 authenticated pieces of artwork. A third of the Dutch artist’s works involved biblical subjects. In his religious art, Rembrandt frequently depicted common people from his Dutch background as he visualized and expressed the scriptures.

The online exhibit includes pictures showing the gallery setting of the current Rembrandt display in the Museum of Church History and Art.

Online exhibit visitors watch an animated presentation detailing the multistep process used to create an etching. Brother Davis said the site also allows online visitors to carefully examine the details of Rembrandt’s etchings. Each digital image can be magnified several times to show the artist’s “exquisite technique and unique detail.”

The online collection includes depictions of Old and New Testament stories, including Abraham sacrificing Isaac, the battle between David and Goliath, and Joseph telling of his dreams to his brothers and parents. The collection includes 36 etchings of the life, ministry, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Brother Davis said that Rembrandt approached his biblical artwork by pondering a biblical passage and then expressing it in an etching.

“Rembrandt through his art was able to give visual equivalents to the words and meaning of the scriptures,” Brother Davis said.

The Rembrandt exhibit is one of several exhibits to have been posted online by the museum in the last five years. Previous online exhibits have included the museum’s international art competitions, a display of Walter Rane’s Book of Mormon paintings, and a collection of President Boyd K. Packer’s paintings and sculptures.

Brother Davis said posting the Rembrandt exhibit and other exhibits online increases access to the museum’s art throughout the world.

“The farther you get away from Utah, the harder it is to come to the museum,” Brother Davis said. “But you can see what the Church museum is through these Web sites.”

Rembrandt: The Biblical Etchings will be on exhibit in Salt Lake City until December 11, 2005, and will remain indefinitely on the museum’s Web site www.lds.org/churchhistory/museum.

Christ and the Woman of Samaria, one of Rembrandt’s biblical etchings, is now displayed online. (Courtesy of the Museum of Church History and Art.)