News of the Church

By Bonnie Boyd, Church Magazines

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    Three Called to Presidency of the Seventy

    Three members of the First Quorum of the Seventy have been called to serve in the Presidency of the Seventy, effective on August 1, 2007. Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder Claudio R. M. Costa, and Elder Steven E. Snow have been called to succeed Elder Charles Didier, Elder Merrill J. Bateman, and Elder Robert C. Oaks.

    Elder Quentin L. Cook

    Elder Quentin L. Cook

    Elder Quentin L. Cook was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on April 4, 1998. He served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy from April 1996 through April 1998. As a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, he has supervisory responsibility for the North America Southeast Area.

    Elder Cook has served as Executive Director of the Missionary Department and as President of the North America Northwest and Pacific Island Areas. He also served as a counselor in the Philippines/Micronesia Area Presidency.

    He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Utah State University and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from Stanford University. At the time of his call as a General Authority, he was vice chairman of Sutter Health System. He had previously served as president and chief executive officer of California Healthcare System. Prior to that, he was a managing partner of Carr, McClellan, Ingersoll, Thompson and Horn, a San Francisco Bay area law firm.

    Elder Cook also served as a full-time missionary in the British Mission and as a bishop, stake president’s counselor, stake president, regional representative, and Area Seventy.

    Quentin LaMar Cook was born in Logan, Utah, USA, on September 8, 1940. He married Mary Gaddie in November 1962. Elder and Sister Cook have three children and nine grandchildren.

    Elder Claudio R. M. Costa

    Elder Claudio R. M. Costa

    Elder Claudio R. M. Costa was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on March 31, 2001. He served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy from April 1994 through March 2001. As a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, he has supervisory responsibility for the Idaho Area.

    He has served as President of the South America North Area and the Brazil North Area and as a counselor in the Brazil and South America South Area Presidencies.

    He studied marketing in São Paulo as a young man and later served for 13 years in various positions in the Church Educational System. At the time of his calling as a General Authority, he was the director of the Church’s institute of religion in São Paulo.

    He has served the Church as an institute and seminary teacher, bishop’s counselor, bishop, high councilor, stake president’s counselor, mission president, and regional representative.

    Claudio Roberto Mendes Costa was born in Santos, Brazil, on March 25, 1949. He married Margareth Fernandes Morgado in 1978. They are the parents of four children and have one grandson and three granddaughters.

    Elder Steven E. Snow

    Elder Steven E. Snow

    Elder Steven E. Snow was called to serve as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on March 31, 2001. As a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, he has supervisory responsibility for the North America Central Area.

    Elder Snow has served as Executive Director of the Priesthood Department, as President of the Africa Southeast Area, and as a counselor in the same Area Presidency.

    Elder Snow earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Utah State University and a juris doctorate degree at Brigham Young University.

    Prior to his call to serve as a General Authority, Elder Snow was a senior partner in the law firm of Snow Nuffer. He has actively supported education, having served as a member and president of his local school board, Chairman of the Utah State Board of Regents, and Chairman of the Western States Commission of Higher Education.

    Elder Snow also served as a full-time missionary in the Germany North Mission and as a bishop, high councilor, stake president, president of the California San Fernando Mission, and Area Seventy.

    Steven Erastus Snow was born in St. George, Utah, USA, on November 23, 1949. He married Phyllis Squire in June 1971. They have four sons and six grandchildren.

    First Ladies of Peru, Paraguay See Humanitarian Efforts Firsthand

    During an April visit to Salt Lake City, the first ladies of Peru and Paraguay saw firsthand how the Church’s humanitarian and welfare programs work.

    Pilar Nores de García, first lady of Peru, and Maria Gloria Penayo de Duarte, first lady of Paraguay, visited Welfare Square and the Humanitarian Center to observe and to explain to Church officials their own efforts to help people in their respective countries.

    The Peruvian first lady outlined to Church leaders and to faculty and students at Brigham Young University her humanitarian program, Sembrando, which assists the poor in Peru’s higher-elevation areas. While Mrs. García was in Utah, she learned that the Church would provide her country with 1,000 wheelchairs and 50 tons (45 tonnes) of Atmit—a food supplement that combats malnutrition and starvation.

    Mrs. Duarte and representatives from Paraguay personally assembled 48 cases of hygiene kits. These kits are sent to disaster areas and contain items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and a washcloth. Arrangements were also made for the Church to continue providing assistance and outreach through REPADEH (Paraguayan Network for Human Development), Mrs. Duarte’s foundation in Paraguay. Last year, in cooperation with the Church, this foundation distributed approximately 2,000 wheelchairs.

    Maria Gloria Penayo de Duarte, first lady of Paraguay, meets Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

    Pilar Nores de García, first lady of Peru (seated at computer) and her daughter, Josefina García Nores (left of first lady), discover information about their ancestors at the Church’s Family History Library.

    New Exhibit at Church Museum Highlights Relief Society through Years

    At the organization of the Relief Society held on March 17, 1842, Emma Smith declared, “We are going to do something extraordinary” (Relief Society, Minutebook 1842 Mar.–1844 Mar., entry made March 17, 1842, 12, LDS Church Archives).

    The statement inspired the women of the fledgling organization then, and it is now the inspiration for a new exhibition at the Museum of Church History and Art titled Something Extraordinary: A Sampler of Women’s Gifts.

    The exhibition celebrates the remarkable fulfillment of Emma’s pronouncement by displaying objects representing the gifts and talents of Relief Society sisters from around the world.

    The most historically significant object included in the exhibit is the 1842 minutebook used by the founders of the Relief Society to record the proceedings of its meetings.

    The manuscript, titled A Record of the Organization and Proceedings of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, contains the minutes of Relief Society meetings held in Nauvoo from 1842 to 1844. Many of the quotes from the minutebook are well known to members everywhere, making it an important document for Latter-day Saint women.

    To help tell about the good works of the Relief Society, nearly 60 objects are displayed, including many historical and contemporary works of art, writing, and everyday objects. Latter-day Saint women have been involved in so many activities and events that the sum of these events has created and is still creating a remarkable legacy of sisterhood and service.

    “Since the founding of the Relief Society more than 160 years ago, Latter-day Saint women around the world have performed countless acts of compassion and service,” said exhibit curator Marjorie Conder. “This service has been extraordinary, and it has created a legacy of sisterhood and expanding opportunities for the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    The exhibit features a print of a painting of Emma Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph and the first president of the Relief Society; music; quilts; cookbooks; and items from around the world created by Relief Society members to help beautify Church buildings.

    There is even a Grammy Award in the collection, which was awarded to Gladys Knight, a Church member and successful musical artist. Sister Knight has used her great talents to lift others and expand their talents.

    For information on the museum and its exhibits, visit

    Quotes from the Relief Society Minutebook

    “This society is not only to relieve the poor, but to save souls” (Joseph Smith, Relief Society Minutebook, June 9, 1842).

    “The popular institutions of the day should not be our guide—that as daughters of Zion we should set an example for all the world” (Eliza R. Snow, Relief Society Minutebook, March 17, 1842).

    “[I] rejoiced at the formation of the society, that we might improve upon our talents and prepare for those talents and blessings which God is soon to bestow upon us” (Bishop Newel K. Whitney, Relief Society Minutebook, May 27, 1842).

    “We design to act in the Name of the Lord—to relieve the wants of the distressed, and do all the good we can” (Sarah Cleveland, Relief Society Minutebook, March 17, 1842).

    “[I] rejoiced that we could enjoy the privilege of associating together to converse on the things of the Kingdom, to comfort and edify each other while passing through this vale of tears” (Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Relief Society Minutebook, July 15, 1843).

    Eliza R. Snow was the first secretary of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo. Much of the minutebook is recorded in her hand. She carried this precious document across the plains in 1847 and drew upon it to assist bishops in reestablishing ward Relief Societies in Utah and surrounding areas beginning in 1868. As second general president of the Relief Society, she directed women in establishing organizations for young women and children.

    Quilting followed Church missionaries into many areas where it was not indigenous, such as Tahiti. The maker of this quilt learned to make quilts from her mother, who in turn learned to make quilts from early missionaries. The design of this quilt is the Heifara pattern, which means “pandanus,” a Tahitian tree that produces fruit with edible seeds.

    In October 2003 general conference, Ann Pingree of the Relief Society general presidency told of women she knew in Africa who walked many miles to receive their temple recommends with no expectation they would ever be able to use them. Since that time, those Saints have seen a temple dedicated in their own land.

    Shortly after the founding of Relief Society, women were sent out to assess and report the needs of those residing in the precincts, or wards, of Nauvoo. Today Relief Society sisters performing much the same task are known as visiting teachers and their mission of sisterly watchcare continues.

    In 1876 Brigham Young asked Emmeline Wells to head a wheat-saving project. At first the women gleaned wheat. Later Relief Society sisters purchased both wheat and fields with their own funds. Over the years their wheat and wheat funds were used for many charitable purposes, including European relief after World War I. Wheat came to symbolize the Relief Society motto of Charity Never Faileth.

    Church Receives George A. and Bathsheba Smith Artifacts

    Spread over a table, the possessions of George A. and Bathsheba Wilson (Bigler) Smith tie together a century of Church history.

    The relics—ranging from the myopic Apostle’s collection of eyeglasses to photos that create an early visual history of the Church—speak of the humanity of one of the Church’s most influential couples.

    A Book of Mormon, female headdresses, a paisley shawl, a handmade flag, multiple photo albums, letters, and a scrapbook of a trip to the Holy Land are among items filling several boxes received by Richard Oman, curator of the Museum of Church History and Art.

    George A., as he was known, was deeply committed to the Church from his baptism in 1832 until his death in 1875. As a first cousin to the Prophet Joseph Smith and an ardent convert, he said, “I was always Joseph’s friend; his enemies are my enemies” (Preston Nibley, “Youngest Modern Apostle,” Church News, 1950–51, a biography of George A. Smith published in weekly installments). He trekked with Zion’s Camp in 1834, was driven with his ailing parents from Missouri in 1838, and in 1840, so ill he could barely walk, he left on a mission to England.

    He later became the eminent colonizer after whom St. George, Utah, was named and was Church historian and First Counselor in the First Presidency.

    His wife, Bathsheba (pronounced BATH-sh-ba), was the fourth Relief Society general president. She fostered the publication of the Woman’s Exponent and spoke vigorously for women’s suffrage. Her meticulously kept albums of pioneer photographs and her boxes of crumpled red, white, and blue ribbons saved faithfully from territorial celebrations tell of her faithful involvement in current events and her love for her family.

    She instilled in five generations a sense of record keeping, said archivist Christy Best. “I see Bathsheba in the role of preserving family history—in the role of preserving Church history.”

    Bathsheba’s copy of the Book of Mormon was the one that Hyrum Smith read shortly before the Martyrdom; the corner of the page in Ether is still turned down, as mentioned in Doctrine and Covenants 135:4. Elder Smith originally bought the book in England, where it had been printed, and it is embossed with Bathsheba’s maiden name. He had met Bathsheba and stayed at her home on an earlier mission in 1837. He was there when she was baptized at age 15, and the 20-year-old “made provisional arrangements . . . the Almighty preserving us, in three years from that time, we would be married.” At that location he also preached a two-and-a-half-hour sermon just to outlast hecklers. (See “Youngest Modern Apostle,” Church News, 1950–51.)

    Three years from that time, the Almighty had indeed preserved them but on opposite sides of the Atlantic. In a letter to a relative, the recently called Apostle wrote: “Tell Sister Bathsheba I have not really forgotten her. . . . If she is married, wish her much joy for me, and if she is single, wish her much joy with me.”

    He returned to the United States in 1841, visited his parents, then went straight to the Bigler home. He and Bathsheba were married 10 days later on July 25.

    In 1844 he was in Michigan spreading the gospel. Among the Smith artifacts is a small handbill from that time and place, promoting Joseph Smith for president of the United States and promising “Jeffersonian democracy.” Upon learning of the Martyrdom, Elder Smith hurried home. He stood with Willard Richards against seeking revenge on Carthage.

    Despite the travails of Carthage and the challenge of the westward movement that followed, George A. Smith was a man of good humor, noted Brother Oman. “Life on the frontier and politically was not easy, yet he always had good cheer. His name in Piute was ‘Man Who Could Take Himself Apart.’ It was wonderful how he could talk in stake conference when it was hot and take off his toupee and wipe his brow with it. There wasn’t a pompous bone in his body.”

    After a lifetime of action, George A. Smith died in 1875 at the age of 58, leaving Bathsheba a widow for the next 35 years. His death came as shock to his wife, who was seated next to him when he leaned against her and breathed his last.

    In the years that followed, Bathsheba remained active. She served on the board of the Deseret Hospital and did work in the Endowment House and temples as they were completed. She had been part of the first Relief Society when it was organized in 1842 in Nauvoo and was called as second counselor to Zina D. H. Young when she was Relief Society general president. When Sister Young died, Sister Smith served as Relief Society general president from 1901 until her death in 1910.

    Adapted from Church News, May 5, 2007.

    A page of Bathsheba Smith’s Book of Mormon remains turned down, perhaps in honor of Hyrum Smith. (Photograph by John L. Hart, courtesy of Church News.)

    George A. Smith

    Bathsheba Smith

    Elder George A. Smith gave his fiancée, Bathsheba Wilson Bigler, a copy of the Book of Mormon printed in England. (Photograph by John L. Hart, courtesy of Church News.)

    Water Project Benefits 15 Malaysian Villages

    Fifteen Malaysian villages in the outlying Simunjan Junction area of Sarawak now have a reliable supply of clean water, thanks to help from Latter-day Saint Charities (LDSC), a humanitarian arm of the Church.

    Using supplies provided by LDSC, some 100 villagers, young and old, worked together to enlarge a dam and lay a three-inch (8-cm) diameter pipeline to communities in this area, all within just a few months’ time.

    “It is easy to take clean water for granted,” said George Mak, a Church spokesman based in Hong Kong who has witnessed many such projects throughout Asia. “But when a dam or well or some other supply is brought to a village, . . . it’s an emotional thing to see.”

    When clean water was available in the past, it was often limited in quantity and only to be found several miles away. Getting the water would take a person away from family and work and children away from their classes for hours at a time.

    Humanitarian projects sponsored by the Church encourage participation by locals where possible. Emphasis is placed on helping people to help themselves and to become more self-reliant.

    At a ceremony to mark the completion of the project, village leader Chief Augustine expressed gratitude to all who had helped bring the fresh water to his people. “Only heaven knows how we will be able to say thank you,” he said.

    Other villagers and guests spoke at the ceremony, including Jimmy Donald, a member of the Malaysian Federal Parliament.

    The ceremony was held near the dam where the pipeline starts. Normally this area is reached by climbing very rugged terrain, but the villagers had cut and dug a trail through the jungle. This included making several hand-lashed bamboo bridges across the treacherous ravines for the benefit of visitors.

    At the conclusion of the ceremony, officials turned on the valve, allowing water to flow into the small holding reservoir.

    Village leaders and Church members turn on the tap to the new water supply they installed.

    Additional Sharing Time Ideas, September 2007

    The following are additional ideas Primary leaders may use with the Sharing Time printed in the September 2007 Liahona. For the lesson, instructions, and activity that correspond with these ideas, see “The Master Served” on pages F4 and F5 of the children’s section in this issue.

    1. 1.

      Explain that “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37) is the last line in a very important story that Jesus told. Show Gospel Art Picture Kit 218 (The Good Samaritan). Use the text on the back of the picture to explain why Jesus told the story. Read Jesus’s words from Luke 10:30–37, and have the children follow along. After the children are familiar with the story, ask four children to dramatize it (see “Dramatization,” Teaching, No Greater Call [1999], 165–66). Have the children represent the priest, the Levite, the Samaritan, and the wounded man. Read the account from the scriptures again while the participants act it out.

      Refer back to “Go, and do thou likewise.” Explain that one purpose of Jesus’s story was to teach people how to be a good neighbor. Ask the children how they can be like the Samaritan. Show the older children the Faith in God booklet. Read the ideas listed under “Serving Others” on pages 8 and 9. Challenge the children to be more like Jesus by serving others.

      For younger children: Point to different parts of the body, and ask the children to think of ways they can serve using that part of their body. For example, for feet, they could say, “I could take something into another room for my mom,” or for ears, “I can listen to and obey my parents.”

      Jesus taught us to serve others by His words and example. Sing “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (Children’s Songbook, 78–79; Liahona, Apr. 1990, F6–F7). Divide the children into several groups. Have each group sing one phrase and point to themselves when they sing “I.” Have everyone sing the chorus. Bear testimony of the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus have for us. Jesus showed His great love in giving His life for us. Testify that He is the Son of God.

    2. 2.

      Display a book made of large pieces of paper with “The M217 Mystery” written on the front. Turn to the first page of the book and read, “What is M217? Hint: It is a scripture about service.” Ask the children to help you solve the mystery by searching for the scripture (Mosiah 2:17). Have half of the children turn to the Bible’s table of contents and identify any books that begin with the letter M. Have the other half turn to the Book of Mormon’s table of contents and do the same thing. Have the children look up the reference 2:17 in each M book (for example, Malachi 2:17). Point out that the reference 2:17 will not exist in some books. Hint again that they are looking for one specific scripture about service.

      When the children correctly identify Mosiah 2:17, invite them to underline it in their scriptures if they choose. Explain that it tells us how to serve the Lord. Display “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” on the next page of the book.

      Invite children to turn the pages of your book, which show ways we can serve God. Discuss how the people are serving as you show pictures such as Gospel Art Picture Kit 612 (Missionaries Teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ), 611 (The Bishop), and 607 (Young Girl Speaking at Church). Add various pictures from the Primary picture packets to show helping in the family. Discuss ways the children can serve others and thereby serve Jesus Christ.

      Distribute pieces of paper so the children can make their own books. Have the children fold their papers in half, and ask them to write “The M217 Mystery” on the cover and to copy the scripture on the inside of the cover. Challenge them to draw pictures or write ways they will serve the Lord in the coming week. Invite them to share their books with their families at family home evening. Encourage them to do acts of service throughout the week. Explain that faith in Jesus Christ grows when we serve others.