News of the Church

By Bonnie Boyd, Church Magazines

Print Share

    Member Artists Giving Church Publications a More International Look

    A growing number of artists and photographers from around the world are being used to give the Church magazines and other official Church publications a more international look.

    The Curriculum Department of the Church first issued a call for professional artists and photographers in the October 2005 issue of the Liahona. Since that time, the group of talented Church members from many countries has grown steadily and a database of these contributors has been created. A later request for international artists to illustrate religious scenes, in particular New Testament stories, added to the database.

    “The objective of [creating and using] the database is to increase the cultural accuracy of art and to accurately reflect the international Church in Church publications,” said Tadd Peterson, who oversees the project as a lead designer in the Graphics Division of the Curriculum Department. “We also are striving to feature the artistic talents of members of the Church worldwide.”

    As part of the New Testament project, the Liahona staff sent out a call for contributors to create and submit paintings and illustrations that could potentially be used in Church publications to support the New Testament theme for 2007. Art was used from artists in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Peru, and South Africa.

    Currently there are more than 200 photographers, artists, and designers from 31 countries included in the database.

    Contributors have provided photographs for a number of Church magazine articles as well as for several localized missionary publications that accompany Preach My Gospel, a manual used by missionaries throughout the world.

    The use of international art helps produce a sense of unity among members around the world, said Brother Peterson. The art depicts cultural diversity and various styles, yet there is a unified respect and love for the teachings of the gospel as well as reverence for the sacred subjects.

    “These pieces of art have great value to all members in that they truly represent a worldwide church,” Brother Peterson said.

    The most effective method for submitting a request to be included in the database is to send contact information and samples of artwork or photography for review by e-mail to It is also possible to send copies (please do not send originals) of art or photography, contact information, and a short work history by mail to:

    Artists and Photographers Database
    50 E. North Temple St., Rm. 2474
    Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3220, USA

    Freelance assignments are based on location, experience, style, and the resources available to the artists or photographers.

    Art submitted to the international artist’s and photographer’s database represents the talents of artists from throughout the world, such as this painting depicting Christ’s millennial reign by John Zamudio of Peru, entitled Dejadlos.

    A pastel work by Stephanie Offermann of Germany depicts Christ kneeling in prayer.

    From South Africa, Louise Parker’s piece beautifully depicts a scripture from Proverbs in the Old Testament.

    Jefferson Cabral of Brazil’s painting is of David of the Old Testament.

    Church Emergency Response Shows Speed, Flexibility

    An earthquake in Peru and a hurricane in Mexico within a few days of each other demonstrated the speed and flexibility of the Church’s emergency response procedures.

    “These two disasters have shown that local Church leaders have the resources and the capability of responding to immediate needs by buying and storing emergency supplies locally,” said Dennis Lifferth, managing director of the Welfare Services Department at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City.

    Immediately following the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Peru in August 2007—the deadliest quake to hit the country in the last 35 years—local Church leaders began assessing the urgent needs of all Peruvians, not only those of the Latter-day Saint faith, in the hard-hit port city of Pisco.

    While a 747 cargo plane loaded in Salt Lake City with vital medical supplies, surgical instruments, family food boxes, hygiene kits, and tarps was making its way to Peru, Elder Walter F. González of the Presidency of the Seventy, then President of the South America West Area, directed the purchasing of food locally and opened four meetinghouses to serve as shelters.

    Two days after the earthquake, Elder González represented the Church at a ceremony where more than 8,000 blankets were donated to Pilar Nores de García, the first lady of Peru, to be distributed to Peruvians affected by the quake.

    Soon after the earthquake, a new threat worked its way toward Mexico. Hurricane Dean was expected to hit Cancun, so local Church leaders began stocking food, water, and equipment in a facility near the expected hurricane target. When the storm shifted directions, threatening the Yucatán Peninsula, Church leaders moved supplies to another facility in Chetumal. As the hurricane began a path back across the country, a third supply facility was stocked.

    Technology has played a significant role in emergency preparedness, Rick Foster, director of administrative services for the Welfare Services Department at Church headquarters, explained. Now more than ever before, disasters can be predicted—sometimes even the precise location of the disaster.

    “Having this information allows Church leaders and employees and volunteers living in threatened areas to begin the process of purchasing supplies and relocating people to shelters,” said Brother Foster.

    Volunteers in Salt Lake City pack food boxes to be flown to the earthquake-ravaged area of Peru.

    Church Response to Hurricane Dean

    As Hurricane Dean made a second Mexican landfall, this time as a category-2 storm, local Church leaders continued to work with local officials in Jamaica to determine how best to help residents recover from the devastation Dean left behind as a category-5 hurricane.

    Dean brought hurricane-force winds to much of Jamaica on Sunday, August 19, 2007, but the 145-mile-per-hour (233-kilometer-per-hour) winds near the eye of the storm skirted to the south of the island. Members and missionaries were reported safe, although many members’ homes sustained roof and other damage.

    Dean made landfall on the Caribbean coast of Mexico on August 21. The eye of the storm passed over a sparsely populated area of the Yucatán Peninsula, 40 miles (64 km) east-northeast of Chetumal, Mexico. Dean reenergized as it passed through the Bay of Campeche and hit the central Mexican coast about 100 miles (160 km) north of Veracruz, Mexico.

    Members and missionaries were reported safe. Church leaders had arranged for safe housing and sufficient food and water for missionaries, and bishops’ storehouse personnel in Mexico were ready to ship humanitarian aid if needed.

    Hurricane Dean damaged buildings and this construction in Dominica as well as structures in Jamaica and Mexico.

    Photograph courtesy of Associated Press/by Johnny Jno-Baptiste

    Members Assist in United States Flooding Cleanup

    Church members helped distribute more than 16 truckloads of food, water, cleaning kits, and hygiene kits to those affected by severe flooding across much of the upper midwestern United States. More than 600 members helped the affected communities clean up.

    Following a week of heavy rains, the flooding killed more than 18 people, forced hundreds to evacuate, and damaged thousands of homes. More than a million residents were without electricity. All members and missionaries were reported safe, but a number of member homes were damaged and three Church buildings received minor damage.

    Bishops’ Storehouse Program Growing Internationally after 75 Years

    Adapted from Church News, August 25, 2007.

    As a 16-year-old boy, Glen L. Rudd took between 800 and 900 pounds (360 to 400 kg) of chicken meat to the Pioneer Stake Bishops’ Storehouse in downtown Salt Lake City for his father.

    He watched as the heavy delivery was lifted up on the loading dock of the familiar building. He had heard about what went on inside but had never seen it personally. He knew of the circumstances of many families in his stake; most of his friends’ fathers were unemployed because of the Great Depression.

    But on that day he saw what was really happening. “I knew we were helping the poor, the people in need,” recalled Elder Rudd, a former member of the Seventy who spent 25 years managing Welfare Square—the outgrowth of that first storehouse.

    As a young man, he realized that during the height of the Depression, when almost 70 percent of the men in his stake didn’t have jobs, the Church was offering help. At the storehouse was a coal and wood yard, a furniture workshop, a cannery and sewing center, and food—much of it donated by people like his father, who owned a poultry processing plant.

    August 19, 2007, marked the 75th anniversary of the opening of that storehouse, the Church’s first. Today the Church operates 108 storehouses in the United States and Canada and an additional 29 in Latin America. There are storehouses in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

    In addition, the Church runs 285 Employment Resource Centers, 44 Deseret Industries thrift stores, and 100 home storage centers around the world. Church members donated 623,153 days of labor to welfare facilities in 2006, and 239,410 people internationally received training and jobs with the help of Latter-day Saint employment efforts, according to information provided by Welfare Services.

    “I have passed this place thousands of times,” said Elder Rudd, speaking of the Church’s first storehouse and its significance. “I have always had great feelings for it. This was the beginning.”

    The storehouse began in early 1932, when then-stake president (later 11th President of the Church) Harold B. Lee (1899–1973) and his counselors met with bishops in the Pioneer Stake. “It was decided after a good discussion that they better do something and do it quickly,” Elder Rudd said. “It was decided that they would build a storehouse and learn how to fill it.”

    Stake leaders obtained the free use of a building on Pierpont Avenue and volunteers got the facility ready. Members of the Pioneer Stake fasted on the day of the official opening and brought their contributions to the storehouse.

    “It was an interesting thing that by the time it was finished, there was enough food and other items contributed to fill the storehouse,” wrote Elder Rudd in a report about the storehouse. “Also, there was a spirit throughout the stake like there had never been before—just plain brotherly love.”

    The storehouse, which filled the same function as early tithing offices, operated under the same principles as modern Latter-day Saint storehouses. “Everyone was supposed to work. That was the aim of the Church, to help people help themselves,” Elder Rudd explained.

    Elder Rudd said as commodity prices were very low in the 1930s, many farmers were unable to hire any help and most were harvesting what they could and letting the rest spoil. Storehouse officials—including President Lee’s counselor Paul C. Child and storehouse manager, Bishop Jesse M. Drury—assigned Fred J. Heath and other unemployed men to contact the farmers, and many men were sent onto farms along the Wasatch Front and as far away as Idaho to harvest crops that were then shared with the volunteers.

    Trucks arrived at the storehouse filled with fruit and other produce. Much of the fruit was canned, Elder Rudd recalled.

    He said at one point so many onions (which were donated in abundance) and canned goods were stored in the upper level of the storehouse that the ceiling started to buckle. Props were placed to keep the ceiling from collapsing. Onions were traded for other necessities. The storehouse provided help. No one was ever turned away, he said.

    Soon the Salt Lake Stake asked if they could join with the Pioneer Stake storehouse, and four years later they moved the facility to a larger building. Other storehouses were established in the Murray and Liberty Stakes. In addition, employment offices were set up in all six stakes then operating in the Salt Lake Valley.

    “[The Pioneer Stake storehouse] became the pattern for all other storehouses,” said Elder Rudd, “including the big storehouses built by the General Welfare Committee in 1938 and 1939, which were located on what has since been known as Welfare Square.”

    Men work in a 1930s lumberyard cutting firewood to help the needy and themselves.

    The Pioneer Stake Bishops’ Storehouse in 1932.

    Portuguese and Spanish Scriptures Available as MP3s

    In keeping with the goal of providing approved material to members worldwide, audio files of the Spanish and Portuguese scriptures are now available in MP3 format on the Church’s Web site. The files may be downloaded free of charge.

    These audio files will provide the scriptures to a growing population of audio users worldwide. This technology provides the convenience of mobility to those who wish to listen to the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. It also provides members with another style of learning.

    Before September 2007, only the English language scriptures were available to MP3 users. Rob Jex, director of scriptures coordination for the Curriculum Department, explained that Spanish and Portuguese were selected for inclusion because they are the languages besides English most widely spoken by members. Also, audio versions of these languages were already available in other formats, so conversion to the MP3 format was simpler.

    He emphasized that the MP3 files are provided to “enhance effective study of the word of God.”

    Plans to increase the audio files available on the Church’s Web site include 28 other languages within the next few years. Brother Jex said the Book of Mormon is currently available in print in 106 languages and the triple combination in 49. Translation continues in more languages as the Church works to provide the word of God to the world.

    To access the audio files, go to

    Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained in April 2000 general conference: “Technology has blessed us with many new innovations to spread the message of the gospel through satellite systems, our own network Web site, television, radio, as well as the written text in our magazines and newspaper. All of these add to our delivery systems, which greatly increase our ability to receive the messages that are delivered” (“Thou Shalt Give Heed unto All His Words,” Liahona, July 2000, 27; Ensign, May 2000, 23).

    Chinese Triple Combination Completed

    The First Presidency has announced the completion of the translation of the triple combination of the scriptures into Chinese (traditional characters) in a letter to priesthood leaders dated August 15, 2007.

    “We encourage members to obtain their own copies of the scriptures and to use them in regular personal and family study and in Church meetings and assignments,” the First Presidency stated. “As [members] prayerfully learn and teach from the scriptures, their testimonies will grow, their knowledge will increase, their love of family and others will expand, their ability to serve others will enlarge, and they will receive greater strength to resist temptation and defend truth and righteousness.”

    The Chinese triple combination edition contains the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and a helpful study aid titled Guide to the Scriptures. Copies are now available through local Church distribution centers.

    The triple combination has been completed in Chinese characters.

    Additional Sharing Time Ideas, January 2008

    The following are additional ideas Primary leaders may use with the Sharing Time printed in the January 2008 Liahona. For the lesson, instructions, and activity that correspond with these ideas, see “My Life Is a Gift; My Life Has a Plan” on pages F4 and F5 of the children’s section in this issue.

    1. 1.

      Ask the children what it means to be valiant. Suggest action words that represent valiancy such as follow, serve, keep, obey, depend, and so on. Read 2 Nephi 10:23 together. Teach about the gift of agency. Discuss what it means to be valiant in our testimonies of Jesus Christ.

      Make a copy of the “Preparing for Jesus to Come” game found at the back of the Primary 2 manual. Prepare 12 small pieces of paper. Write a number on each paper, using 1 though 6 twice. Fold the papers, and put them in a container. Play the game by inviting children to come up, draw a number, and move a marker the correct number of spaces. Read the square. If it describes a right choice, ask why this was a valiant choice. If it describes a wrong choice, ask how the children could choose to be valiant. Play the game as long as time allows. Conclude by bearing testimony of the importance of being valiant in our testimonies of Jesus Christ.

    2. 2.

      Prepare cutouts 1–1 through 1–25 from the Primary 1 picture packet. Invite the children to help tell the story of the Creation using the cutouts. Express gratitude for the beautiful world that Jesus Christ created for us.

      Show Gospel Art Picture Kit 101 (Adam and Eve). Help the children find Moses 5:4, and read the phrase “Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord.” Discuss what this means. Show picture 1–34 (Adam and Eve teaching their children) from the Primary 1 packet, and read Moses 5:12. Ask, “What did Adam and Eve do to help their children?”

      Ask the children how their parents teach them the gospel. Provide some examples if needed, such as being a good example and having family home evening. Sing a song or hymn about families. Bear testimony that Jesus Christ created the world and that Adam and Eve were the first parents on the earth.

      For older children: Prepare a sheet of paper with a list of different terms describing events of the Creation (light, day, night, firmament, dry land, grass, tree, greater light, lesser light, and so on). Ask the children to turn to Genesis 1, find out on what day each event took place, and list the scripture reference. (Example: Light—first day, Genesis 1:3–5.)

    3. 3.

      Song presentation: “I Am a Child of God” (Children’s Songbook, 2–3). Focus on helping the children identify and understand the important doctrines taught in this song. Invite the children to listen as the pianist plays the melody of the chorus and to stand up when they recognize the song. When most of the children are standing, ask them to whisper the name of the song. Sing the chorus to the children. Ask the children to sing the chorus with you and listen for action words that describe what they would like someone to do for them. Sing the chorus, and list responses on the chalkboard (lead, guide, walk beside, help, teach). Ask: “Who leads us?

      When would it be important to have a guide? Why would you want someone to walk beside you? Why would you want someone to help you find the way? What are some things we must do to live with Heavenly Father someday?” Sing the chorus again, and testify of the blessings of having parents, teachers, leaders, prophets, and the scriptures to help us find our way back to Heavenly Father.

      As you teach and review the verses of the song, use key words or phrases that will help the children remember the doctrines taught in each verse. For example: verse 1—gifts (earthly home and parents); verse 2—scriptures (His words); verse 3—blessings; verse 4—His promises are sure.