News of the Church

By Nicole Seymour, Church Magazines

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    Ground Broken for Construction of Panama City Panama Temple

    Elder Spencer V. Jones of the Seventy, President of the Central America Area, broke ground to begin construction for the new Panama City Panama Temple on Sunday, October 30, 2005.

    Elder Jones cited D&C 109:8, telling those in attendance that the duty of Panamanian members during the temple’s construction is to make sure their own houses are in order. He said that families who study the scriptures, hold family home evening, and pray together consistently will receive promised blessings.

    Elder José A. Garcia, Area Seventy, spoke of all those who had gone before. Domingo Estribí, who served as the second stake president in Panama, reminded those in attendance of the time when there was only one branch in the country. Now there are 7 stakes, 8 districts, and more than 39,000 members.

    Announced on August 23, 2002, the temple will be built upon land partially occupied by the existing Cárdenas Ward, Panama City Panama Stake, meetinghouse located not far from the Panama Canal.

    Though Hurricane Beta had hovered off the Panamanian and Costa Rican coasts the day before, it moved north the day of the groundbreaking, leaving beautiful skies for the ceremony.

    [illustration] Panama City Panama Temple

    Temple Presidents Prepare for Assignments

    Thirty-five new temple presidents and their wives attended the annual temple president training in Salt Lake City on October 18, 2005, in preparation for their new assignments. The following presidents and matrons have begun their service.

    Adelaide Australia

    Charles and Anne L. Parsons

    Apia Samoa

    Suau‘upaia and Talaloa M. Pe‘a

    Asunción Paraguay

    Richard R. and Jeannine George

    Baton Rouge Louisiana

    V. Kenneth and Betty G. Dutile

    Bern Switzerland

    Wayne M. and Connie A. Hancock

    Billings Montana

    Robert M. and Estella W. Wilkes

    Bismarck North Dakota

    Robert L and Bonnie B. Holyoak

    Bogotá Colombia

    Lawrence T., Jr. and Eileen M. Dahl

    Boise Idaho

    Harold G. and Carol R. Hillam

    Buenos Aires Argentina

    Ángel J. and Edith Leonor Sulé

    Campinas Brazil

    Adhemar and Walkyria B. Damiani

    Columbia South Carolina

    Alvie R. and Ruth G. Evans

    Freiberg Germany

    Manfred H. and Helga D. Schütze

    Guayaquil Ecuador

    Robert B. and Marian F. Marriott

    Idaho Falls Idaho

    John H. and Jean S. Groberg

    Jordan River Utah

    Robert L. and Janet W. Backman

    Kona Hawaii

    Earl E. and Audrey L. Veloria

    Logan Utah

    Dennis E. and Carolyn T. Simmons

    Madrid Spain

    F. Burton and Caroline H. Howard

    Mexico City Mexico

    Ned B. and Jo Ann S. Roueché

    Mount Timpanogos Utah

    Lawrence S. and Carole W. Clark

    Newport Beach California

    Stephen B. and Dixie Oveson

    Oakland California

    Darwin B. and Sandra L. Christenson

    Ogden Utah

    Gordon T. and Connie W. Watts

    Oklahoma City Oklahoma

    H. Aldridge and Virginia L. Gillespie

    Salt Lake

    M. Richard and Kathleen H. Walker

    San Antonio Texas

    A. Ray and Sonya S. Otte

    San Diego California

    David E. and Verla A. Sorensen

    Snowflake Arizona

    Larry B. and LaDawn Brewer

    Suva Fiji

    Richard W. and Helen B. Wells

    Sydney Australia

    Frank H. and Maxine J. Hewstone

    The Hague Netherlands

    Marcus and Cornelia J. Reijnders

    Toronto Ontario

    Harold F. and Maureen G. Walker

    Vernal Utah

    Norman G. and Lou Ann M. Angus

    Washington D.C.

    F. Melvin and Bonnie S. Hammond

    [photo] Toronto Ontario Temple

    Joseph Smith Film Portrays Prophet Joseph as Exemplar

    First Presidency input, historically accurate script and sets, vivid cinematography, and a spiritually minded cast and crew all played a role in the creation of the new feature film on the Prophet Joseph Smith now playing at the Legacy Theater at Temple Square.

    The new film, which succeeds The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd and Legacy, also began showing at some visitors’ centers at Church historical and temple sites in December 2005.

    Under the direction of the First Presidency, Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration, was released December 17, 2005, in time for the 200th anniversary of the Prophet’s birthday.

    A Prophet’s Life

    The 65-minute film depicts events from Joseph Smith’s life, beginning with his youth in Vermont and ending with his martyrdom in Illinois at age 38. It helps members and others to become acquainted with Joseph Smith as a man of character, said Ron Munns, the film’s producer.

    Elder Ronald T. Halverson of the Quorum of the Seventy, an assistant executive director in the Audiovisual Department, said the film’s portrayal of the Prophet Joseph’s character, difficulties, and accomplishments will encourage viewers to learn “more about the Prophet so that their testimony [of him] is not shallow, but very solid.” He feels that everyone who views the film will be affected. “There is a spiritual impact for those viewing the film. You can’t know of the Prophet Joseph and not be changed.”

    “We’re trying to really give a feeling for the Prophet Joseph Smith in perhaps a different way than he’s been viewed in the past—not only his prophetic persona, but his personal life and the trials he had to endure,” said Lyle Shamo, managing director of the Audiovisual Department.

    There are several life lessons that can be learned from Joseph Smith’s example, Brother Munns said. For instance, the way Joseph handled adversity and the way he fulfilled his life’s mission are applicable for all lives and circumstances.

    “Joseph was totally dedicated, and he didn’t always get a fair shake,” Brother Munns said. “In his life came a lot of adversity, right from the beginning. And yet Joseph was not deterred in his quest for truth and in his desire to do what Heavenly Father wanted him to do.”

    Playing the Prophet

    After an extensive nationwide search for a temple-worthy member to represent the Prophet, Nathan Mitchell, who previously played the adult Joseph in the recent Church film The Restoration, was again chosen to play the role of the Prophet. Two other actors played the roles of Joseph at age seven and as a teenager.

    After receiving the role, Brother Mitchell was struck by a line from the hymn, “Praise to the Man” (Hymns, no. 27): “Millions shall know ‘Brother Joseph’ again.”

    “I realized that if this film is to be one of the means by which millions come to know the Prophet, then first I had to know him,” Brother Mitchell said.

    He began extensive research of Joseph Smith’s character by reading books and Joseph’s journals and papers and by speaking with Church history professors and others.

    “My feelings about the Prophet Joseph are so special to me that I wanted to do him justice,” he said. “I just hope that the audience can have some of those same realizations and that they can start to understand Joseph. Then they will begin to understand his love of the Savior, and they will really feel his testimony.”

    Making the Movie

    The Lord was mindful of the production of this film, Brother Munns said, citing instances when snow seemed to come on cue or when rain may not have been planned for a particular scene, but made it better.

    Throughout the filming process, the Spirit was present, said Brother Munns. He said it was often obvious that the Lord enhanced the talents of the cast and crew.

    Brother Munns said the consecrated efforts of hundreds went into the production. The movie’s director, Gary Cook, was also the principal screenwriter. T. C. Christensen was the codirector and director of photography. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square, and Church composers Merrill Jenson and Arlen Card also combined their talents in a powerful way for the film’s soundtrack, Brother Munns said.

    The movie was filmed at the LDS Motion Picture Studio in Provo, Utah; on location at Church history sites in New York and in Nauvoo, Illinois; in a historical village in Canada; and along the Mississippi River in Michigan.

    Initially, the film will be offered in five languages in addition to English.

    Admission to the movie is free, but advance reservations will be required. Online reservations will be accepted at Telephone reservation requests will be taken at 1-866-LDS-TIKS (1-866-537-8457, toll-free in the U.S.) or at 570-0080 (local calls in the greater Salt Lake City area).

    [photo] Nathan Mitchell portrays Joseph Smith in the recently released movie Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration. (Photograph by John Luke.)

    [photo] Filming took place on location at various Church historical sites as well as at the LDS Motion Picture Studio in Utah. (Photograph by Matthew Reier.)

    Hurricane Wilma Breaks Records

    In mid-October 2005, as parts of North and Central America were recovering from the blows of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, a record third category 5 hurricane churned to full strength in the western Atlantic and eastern Caribbean. As with Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Stan, the Church once again stood ready to fill the initial needs of members and other Hurricane Wilma victims.

    Downgraded to a category 3 storm at landfall, Hurricane Wilma pounded the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico for more than 36 hours. Then the storm swept through western Cuba and ultimately through the southern part of Florida in the United States.

    All missionaries in the affected areas of Mexico and Florida were reported safe and accounted for. A downed communications network in Mexico complicated efforts to contact and account for all members in hurricane-affected areas.

    The Church’s presence in relief efforts in Florida and Mexico increased in the wake of Hurricane Wilma. Regional welfare committees oversaw the distribution of food, water, and other emergency supplies from the Orlando bishops’ storehouse. Several truckloads of emergency relief supplies were purchased in Mérida, Mexico, and were distributed to members and others in the Cancún and Cozumel areas. Infrastructure damage, however, slowed the delivery of goods. In order to address the substantial damage in these areas, stake presidents will continue to assess the needs of members and neighbors in their areas.

    Hundreds of member families in Mexico were displaced because of severe damage to their homes. About 20 member families in southern Florida sustained significant damage to their homes, and Church meetinghouses in Cancún were severely damaged.

    In Mexico, more than 100 temporary shelters operated, housing some 22,000 people. Major flooding hit Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel. About 30 to 40 percent of Cancún’s population had damaged housing because of the storm, and some residents of the Cancún area were expected to be without power for months.

    Heavy rains and subsequent flooding also affected western Cuba later in the weekend as Hurricane Wilma hit that area. More than 625,000 people were evacuated from the storm’s path. Eastern parts of Cuba that were hit in July 2005 by Hurricane Dennis sustained damage from Wilma as well.

    Wind and water damage was widespread throughout the southern Florida peninsula as well as the Florida Keys. Many of the meetinghouses were damaged by wind and rain. Landscaping and satellite receivers of many southern Florida meetinghouses were damaged. Power was out for more than 3.5 million Florida residents, and a major portion of Key West, Florida, had floodwaters up to 5 feet (1.52 m) deep. There were 10 confirmed storm-related deaths in Florida.

    Stake presidents continue to evaluate and meet member needs in the aftermath of these disasters as members attempt to return to their homes and rebuild their lives.

    [photo] Hurricane Wilma caused substantial damage to this meetinghouse in Cancún, Mexico last October. (Photograph courtesy Church Public Affairs Mexico South Area.)

    Translation Division Relies on Spirit, Training to Capture Meaning in Work

    The increasing number of languages in which Church materials are available is an indication that the gospel is rolling forth to “all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” (D&C 112:1).

    With the addition of 5 languages, interpreters provided October 2005 general conference in 80 languages. Full translations of the Book of Mormon are available in 77 languages. The Liahona is available in 50 languages.

    As Church membership expands into many nations, the Translation Division of the Church keeps busy meeting the worldwide demand for Church meetings to be interpreted and materials to be translated into additional languages. The division does both translation, which is the transformation of written text into another language, and interpretation, which is the delivery of spoken words into another language.

    The Role of Interpreters and Translators

    The first priority when selecting members of a translation team is to identify individuals who are living lives that allow them to access the Spirit, said Jeffrey C. Bateson, Translation Division director, in an interview with Church magazines. “We feel, first of all, that translation is a spiritual gift, and anyone involved in that work needs access to the Spirit,” he said, quoting Doctrine and Covenants 9:9: “You cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.” That scripture serves as a guide for the Translation Division, Brother Bateson added.

    Next in consideration are translation skills. Potential team members are evaluated to see whether they would better fill the role of translator or reviewer. Individuals working for the Translation Division typically know the target language as their primary language and English as their secondary language.

    Like translators, interpreters must be very familiar with both the target language and English. While most interpreters speak the target language as their native tongue, others learned the target language while serving missions and speak English as their native language.

    Processing Language Materials

    Direction concerning which languages Church materials will be translated into comes from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. As of November 2005, the Church had approved 190 languages and is actively working in 104 of them.

    The Translation Division operates according to the Worldwide Translation Plan, which consists of phases, or levels, through which Church materials are produced in a given language according to how many members speak that language.

    Requests for a language to receive materials under the Worldwide Translation Plan come from Area Presidencies. “They monitor the language needs of the area and make recommendations to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,” Brother Bateson said.

    The translation of Church materials is an extensive process that calls for multiple reviews using several people who are familiar with the target language. One or more may translate while others ensure that the meaning and language usage are appropriate. When scriptures are translated, the review process is even more extensive. The same process of Area Presidency requests and translation approval exists with scripture translation.

    “First and foremost, scripture translation is directed by the Lord through the Brethren in the highest levels of the Church,” Brother Bateson said. “It is not something we do, then present to the Brethren. They are in charge of the work.”

    Once a scripture translation project is approved, the Translation Division reports regularly to General Authorities for approvals during the process.

    For other Church materials in print, the English original is first translated, and then a back-and-forth review by a team of translators and reviewers stationed in Salt Lake City or in other nations continues until the translation is perfected. The target language teams typically work on tight deadlines.

    Brother Bateson explains that the process is not merely an exchange of the target language for the English: “Translation is an art, but it is also a very detailed process and requires a lot of skill and ability to make sure that nothing is left behind. There are so many nuances with language. It’s not a matter of just getting all the words transformed—it is making sure you have all the meaning, all the emotions, all the culture, and everything else that affects how we say things.”

    In addition to printed materials, many of the Church’s software and Internet programs are also being translated, said Brother Bateson. Such items include help screens, instructions, and forms. Translating for software and Internet sites adds an additional level of complexity to the work of translation, he said.

    Technology Aids Interpretation

    For some meetings, translated texts are prepared beforehand. But if a speaker departs from the prepared text or does not have a prepared text, an interpreter must provide simultaneous interpretation. Advances in technology allow interpreters to remain in their homelands while actively interpreting a meeting that may be broadcast from Salt Lake City.

    “For example, we may have an interpreter in Norway,” Brother Bateson said. “High-speed communication lines allow him or her to interpret a meeting being held in Salt Lake City and have the interpretation transmitted by satellite to Salt Lake City and back to the same building to a congregation in another room simultaneously with the video portion of the meeting with only a one-second delay.”

    Typically, teams of several interpreters take turns interpreting talks. Interpreters in Salt Lake City work from booths in the Conference Center, and conference attendees all over the world can listen to the meetings in their native tongue.

    The Good News Spreads Forth

    Brother Bateson said the Doctrine and Covenants describes the work in which the Translation Division is involved: “For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ” (D&C 90:11).

    “We consider it a privilege and a blessing to play a very important part in helping the gospel reach the various nations, kindreds, tongues, and people,” Brother Bateson said. “We feel that we are instruments in the Lord’s hands in helping to make that happen.”

    The effort of preparing the gospel to spread forth in many languages requires much work, along with the companionship of the Spirit.

    “The multiplicity of languages and cultures is both an opportunity and a challenge for members of the Church,” stated President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. “Having everyone hear the gospel in their own tongue requires great effort and resources. The Spirit, however, is a higher form of communication than language” (“Heirs to the Kingdom of God,” Ensign, May 1995, 63).

    [photo] Members in Samoa can watch a general conference session in their own language thanks to the efforts of a team of interpreters. (Photograph by Judith Niuelua.)

    [photo] The Book of Mormon has been translated in full into 77 languages.

    Additional Sharing Time Ideas, March 2006

    The following are additional ideas Primary leaders may use with the Sharing Time printed in the March 2006 Liahona. For the lesson, instructions, and activity that correspond with these ideas, see “Follow the Prophet” on pages F4 and F5 of the children’s section in this issue.

    1. Using simple costumes or signs, have five children represent Moses, John the Baptist, Abinadi, Joseph Smith, and President Gordon B. Hinckley. Have them read one of the following statements, and ask the children to guess which prophet each is. After they correctly guess, ask, “What did the Lord teach and promise through this prophet?” Moses: “I lived during Old Testament times. The Lord told me to lead my people out of bondage. I went to Mount Sinai where the Lord spoke to me and gave the Ten Commandments. Who am I?” John the Baptist: “I was born just before Jesus Christ. I was sent to help the people prepare to receive Him. I baptized Jesus Christ. I also conferred the Aaronic Priesthood upon Joseph Smith. Who am I?” Abinadi: “I lived about 150 years before Christ was born. I prophesied to King Noah that Jesus would come to earth and redeem His people. The people did not believe what I said. I suffered death by fire. Who am I?” Joseph Smith: “I wanted to know which church I should join. I prayed and was visited by God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They told me not to join any of the churches. Who am I?” President Gordon B. Hinckley: “With the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, I proclaimed that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and families are central to the Creator’s plan. I was also inspired to build temples all over the world. Who am I?” Sing a song to reinforce the teachings from these prophets each time the children identify one of the prophets. Testify that prophets teach truth, both long ago and now.

    2. Help the children become familiar with our current First Presidency and Apostles by preparing pictures of them (available in the May or November Liahona or at Put one or two sentences about each on the back of his picture. (For example: President Gordon B. Hinckley served a mission to Great Britain and has dedicated more temples than any other Church leader. President Thomas S. Monson had a career in publishing before he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at age 36. President James E. Faust served a mission to Brazil. He worked as an attorney. President Boyd K. Packer served as president of the New England Mission. He has carved and painted lifelike birds. Elder L. Tom Perry served a mission to the Northern States. He was a businessman. Elder Russell M. Nelson was an internationally renowned heart surgeon. Elder Dallin H. Oaks was a lawyer, law professor, president of Brigham Young University, and justice of the Utah Supreme Court. Elder M. Russell Ballard was a businessman and served as president of the Canada Toronto Mission. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin is an Eagle Scout. He played college football. Elder Richard G. Scott was a nuclear scientist. He presided over the Argentina North Mission. Elder Robert D. Hales was a jet fighter pilot. He served as president of the England London Mission. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland served as president of Brigham Young University and as an Area President in Chile. Elder Henry B. Eyring was a college professor and president of Ricks College [now BYU–Idaho]. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf was born in Czechoslovakia and raised in Germany, where his family joined the Church. He is a pilot. Elder David A. Bednar was a college professor and president of BYU–Idaho.) Have some children hold the pictures, name the leader, and tell something about him. Play a guessing game with the pictures (see Teaching, No Greater Call [1999], 169). Bear testimony that these men have been called to be special witnesses of Jesus Christ and they hold the keys of authority to direct God’s Church. Read D&C 84:36. Encourage the children to listen to our leaders in general conference.

    Speaking Today

    President Monson Urges Caution, Faith in Navigating Life’s Course

    Speaking at a Church Educational System fireside on November 6, 2005, President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, encouraged young adults who are making choices to consider who they are, where they came from, and what destinations they seek.

    Addressing an audience of thousands of college-age adults in the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and many more watching the worldwide broadcast of the fireside, President Monson said futures and destinies are determined by everyday choices. He encouraged the audience to seek improved ways of living while developing a spirit of exploration. “The principles of living greatly include the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and trial with humility,” he said.

    President Monson referred to a passage in Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”

    “This is you, my young brothers and sisters,” President Monson said. “The future is in your hands. The outcome is up to you.”

    Although life’s path may be challenging to navigate, President Monson said, the Lord has provided “markers” such as His commandments to guide His children to the ultimate destination, eternal life.

    “My young friends,” he said, “each heartfelt prayer, each Church meeting attended, each worthy friend, each righteous decision, each act of service performed all precede that goal of eternal life. The reward of eternal life requires effort.”

    President Monson provided three “ideals” to help guide young adults toward their destinations: “Choose your friends with caution, plan your future with purpose, and frame your life with faith,” he said.

    He said friends are an important factor in shaping lives.

    “We tend to become like those whom we admire,” he said. He also said those who are most admired tend to be one’s friends. He urged the audience to find friends who share the same goals and who can help them toward the destination of eternal life.

    Beyond the bounds of earthly friendship, President Monson said, Heavenly Father stands ready to guide, and He also extends guidance through His servants who are set apart as bishops.

    President Monson encouraged young adults searching for an eternal companion to remember their purpose and maintain their standards in action and in selection.

    “We must not let our passions destroy our dreams,” he said, quoting King Arthur from the musical Camelot. “May you follow this most essential counsel. I urge you to hold fast to your standards. I plead with you not to waver.”

    President Monson said genuine faith is a product of dedication.

    “Amidst the confusion of the times, the conflicts of conscience, and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives,” he said, adding that “faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other. Be firm in your faith.”

    He told the story of a pioneer woman, Catherine Curtis Spencer, who died on the plains because of her refusal to renounce her faith.

    “Though we may not necessarily forfeit our lives in service to our God, we can certainly demonstrate our love for Him by how well we serve Him,” President Monson said.

    He said the Holy Ghost will bless the lives of those who turn to the Lord as they choose friends with caution, plan for the future with purpose, and frame their lives with faith.

    [photo] President Thomas S. Monson

    Ground Broken for New Church History Library

    On Friday, October 7, 2005, the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as well as members of the Quorums of the Seventy, missionaries, and others, gathered for the groundbreaking for the new Church History Library. The building will serve as a mark of the significance of maintaining a connection to past and future generations through record keeping in the Church.

    Work was set to begin later in 2005 on the 250,000-square-foot (22,925-square-meter) building, much of which will be underground. It will be built on a plot of land that had been used as a parking lot across the street from the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City. The new building will be similar in design to the Conference Center to the west. The building’s architects and specialists from the Family and Church History Department have consulted with experts in record preservation to ensure that the interior temperature, humidity, and lighting will best favor the preservation of Church records.

    President Gordon B. Hinckley expressed gratitude that records had been so dutifully kept. “I wish to say with gratitude and appreciation that the custodians of the records of the Church through all of the years of its existence have been so conscientious and dutiful, helpful and devoted, in every respect to the duties that devolved upon them.”

    In the prayer President Hinckley offered before the groundbreaking, he said: “As we look to the past and are reminded of the past, to that which has been preserved in history, our hearts are filled with gratitude and appreciation and love and respect for those that have gone before. Great was their work, tremendous their sacrifice. We thank Thee for them.”

    In his remarks about the Church History Library, President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “We benefit from what our fathers did for us, and we have the privilege, through sacred records to be maintained here, to provide a legacy for those who follow.”

    President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “I believe that the principal benefit for the making and the keeping of records is to strengthen faith in those who make the history and those who record the history and those in the future who read of that history.”

    Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy, who serves as Church Historian and Recorder, said the current library in the Church Office Building has outgrown its capacity. He noted that Church membership has increased from about 5 million when the Church Office Building was completed in the 1970s to more than 12 million today.

    [illustration] The new Church History Library will be built across the street to the east of the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. (Rendering by Bowen Studios.)

    Deadlines for Cultural Arts and Music Submissions Approaching

    The Church is welcoming members’ submissions of uplifting music, poetry, and theatrical scripts from its members. Submissions for 2006 are due March 31 for music, and cultural arts submissions are due April 1.

    The Church established the submissions program under the direction of the Music and Cultural Arts Division of the Priesthood Department as a means for members to develop and share their talents, for wards and stakes to be involved with wholesome and creative works, and for members to express their testimonies of the gospel with their creative abilities.

    The arts have been an integral part of the Church throughout its history. In 1830, the Lord called Emma Smith to compile a collection of sacred hymns: “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me” (D&C 25:12).

    When the Saints gathered in Nauvoo, they built a Cultural Hall and often held evening concerts, plays, and dances. The Saints continued this tradition in the Salt Lake Valley and built three theaters within the first decade of their arrival: the Old Bowery, the Social Hall, and Bowring’s Theater.

    President Brigham Young taught that recreational and cultural activities such as music, dance, and theater bless the Saints by providing opportunities to “be renewed and quickened and enlivened and animated” in social activities with one another (quoted in A. M. Merrill, “Dancing,” Improvement Era, October 1908, 950).

    Music Submission

    The First Presidency has encouraged Latter-day Saints to “fill their homes with the sound of worthy music” (Hymns, preface, p. x).

    To encourage the composition of new music for worship and home use, the Church Music Submission program was created in 1975. The General Music Committee reviews submissions annually. Selected musical works are presented regularly in concerts at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. The Relief Society Music Festival is held each October and honors the works by Relief Society sisters. The Church Music Festival is held every February to present other works in categories such as hymns, children’s songs, anthems, and instrumental arrangements.

    Recognized entries are sent to the Church magazines for possible publication. In addition, some recognized submissions have been posted on the Church music Web site, and more will continue to be added. Guidelines for submitting music can be found by visiting

    Cultural Arts Submission

    In 2004, the Church expanded its submissions program to include the Cultural Arts submission. Entering its third year, this program accepts Church members’ submissions of performance-oriented works, such as dramas, comedies, musicals, readers’ theater scripts, poetry, and oratorios—all intended for use in wards and stakes. Excerpts from recognized entries are presented annually in October or November. Some entries may be selected for further Church distribution.

    Scripts should be suitable for ward/branch or stake/district use, be a minimum of one act long, teach gospel principles in uplifting ways, be doctrinally correct, and be Church-oriented and accurate if historically based. Submissions are welcome in all languages, although non-English entries may require evaluation from translation.

    Submissions should include:

    1. 1.

      Two copies of the script and any applicable music on 8 1/2 x 11 inch (22 x 28 cm) paper.

    2. 2.

      A statement signed by all contributors that says, “The work submitted, entitled ________ , is my original work, is owned by me, and conforms to the submission rules.”

    3. 3.

      A cover letter with the piece’s title; author’s name, address, phone number, and e-mail address; central theme; synopsis; and cast requirements.

    The names of all contributors should appear on the cover letter, script, and signed statement. Authors of productions accepted by the committee may be asked to grant the Church a nonexclusive, perpetual license for unlimited use.

    Send submissions to: Church Theatrical Script Submission, 50 E. North Temple St. Rm. 2082, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150-6070, USA. For more information, call 1-801-240-6492.

    [photo] Actors representing members of a typical ward perform one of several theatrical works presented at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. (Photograph by Christina Smith.)

    Service in South America Lends Spiritual and Physical Vision

    In the Book of Mormon, the Liahona provides Lehi and his family with a clear vision of the Lord’s path. In similar fashion, a group of young single adults from Utah helped Dr. Robert Christiansen, M.D., an LDS ophthalmologist from Salt Lake City, Utah, and his family give vision spiritually and physically in South America.

    The Liahona Eye Care Mission, a privately operated group, consisted of 23 young single adults and the eight members of the Christiansen family. They offered “helping hands” in differing service projects during an August 2005 trip to Brazil and Argentina. The Christiansen family has invited single adults on various service trips to South and Central America for the past four years.

    On one leg of their service trip, in El Dorado, Argentina, the group provided free eye exams and glasses. The Argentina trip was organized with the help of local members who rallied local news outlets and community leaders to publicize the service project.

    Because of the widespread announcements of the free eye exams, it is estimated that more than 1,300 people benefited from the service provided by the Liahona group during their brief visit to Argentina.

    In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the group assisted in the renovation of an old playground at a small preschool. Local Church members helped organize the day of service. The local members proved invaluable as they helped bridge the language gap. Side by side, the members of the group meticulously painted the faded yellow playground equipment, walls, and playhouse a bright blue and white.

    Some members of the community watched curiously. Many hearts and doors were opened to the missionaries because of the display of service that transformed the public preschool.

    Shannon Christiansen, who led the group with her husband, Robert, said of the experience, “What touched my heart was realizing that we were with our brothers and sisters, and we could all feel the love of being part of God’s eternal family.”

    Saints from Tiny Pacific Island Attend Temple on a Landmark Trip

    In late September 2005, a group of Saints from the island of Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia made a journey west to the Manila Philippines Temple. This trip, which took them thousands of miles from their tiny island in the Pacific, was the first temple excursion from the island of Chuuk.

    The group consisted of three sisters and two families from the Mwan and Mechitiw Branches of the Namoneas Chuuk District. They were accompanied by Elder Gordon and Sister Jerry Stewart, a senior missionary couple.

    They spent four days doing temple work for themselves and for their ancestors. Members of the group expressed gratitude for the rare opportunity of receiving their temple blessings and felt it worthy of all their sacrifices to be able to do so. “I may someday be able to buy another little boat, but I will probably never have the chance to go to the temple again,” said Simion Anap, president of the Mechitiw Branch.

    As part of the trip, President Anap’s family reunited with their daughter, Tersy, as she completed her mission in the Philippines Manila Mission.

    The Namoneas Chuuk District is part of the Micronesia-Guam Mission and is located approximately 600 miles (966 km) southeast of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. The first missionaries started teaching there in the late 1970s, and branches were established in the 1980s. Today, there are nearly 1,300 members of the Church on Chuuk, which has a population of 60,000 people. The Church organization now consists of one district and four branches on the main island and five branches scattered throughout other islands within the Chuuk lagoon. Sixteen missionaries and the senior missionary couple, the Stewarts, serve in this area.

    [photo] Members from the Namoneas Chuuk District travelled thousands of miles to attend the Manila Philippines Temple.