News of the Church

By Kimberly Bowen, Church Magazines


Church History Library Set to Open

The property on the corner of North Temple and Main Street in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA—just north of the Church Office Building—has been home to many buildings since the pioneers settled the Salt Lake Valley.

Originally owned by Heber C. Kimball (1801–68), First Counselor to President Brigham Young (1801–77), the land has been occupied by homes, a school, a mill, a blacksmith shop, a pharmacy, a cafe, an ice-cream shop, a dance academy, a bowling alley, an advertising agency, and the LaFayette School, which later became the mission home—a precursor to the Provo Utah Missionary Training Center.

While the lot has hosted many buildings that have become a part of history, it will now host history itself.

The Church History Library

The newly finished Church History Library opens to the public on June 22, 2009. The 230,000-square-foot (21,000-square-meter) library will hold more than four million Church documents from around the world, ranging in date from 1830 to the present.

Christine Cox, director of customer service for the Church History Library, believes that preserving Church history and making it available to members is important because it helps “them to increase their faith and to make and keep their sacred covenants,” she said. “One of our main purposes … is to bless the lives of the members of the Church,” as well as to create “a great archival facility to preserve” Church materials as long as possible.

The five-floor building will hold 270,000 books, pamphlets, magazines, manuals, and newspapers; 240,000 original, unpublished journals, diaries, papers, manuscripts, and local Church unit histories; 13,000 historic photographs, posters, and maps; 23,000 audiovisual recordings and microfilm rolls; and 3.7 million patriarchal blessings.

The library has everything from last month’s Liahona to a board game called Mormonopoly; Brigham Young’s journal from 1844; a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith hand-addressed to Vienna Jacques, one of the three women referenced in the Doctrine and Covenants; and the Joseph Smith Papers.

A Growing Need

The Church History Library has needed a new home for some time. For nearly 40 years its documents have been housed in the east wing of the Church Office Building. However, the Church Office Building was not designed to be an archive. It does not have seismic and fire protection or sufficient temperature and humidity controls.

In addition, the available space for employees, Church-service missionaries, and the collections has been dwindling because the library adds 500 to 700 archival collections—as well as some 6,000 published items—each year.

The Church announced plans to build the Church History Library on April 20, 2005, and broke ground on October 11, 2005.

A State-of-the-Art Building

Church History Department specialists and the company that designed the building consulted with international experts on records preservation and archival design in order to create a building that would best meet the needs of the Church.

The new building has wireless access, general-use and special collections reading rooms that are open to the public, 14 storage rooms, and a records preservation area.

Designers created record storage vaults that have temperature, humidity, and lighting control and seismic and fire protection. Of the 14 main storage areas, 12 will be kept at 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees C) with 35 percent relative humidity. For color motion picture films, photographs, and records of special significance, the other 2 storage rooms will be maintained at-4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees C) with 30 percent relative humidity.

None of the individual archival storage areas connect to one another, and reinforced concrete walls surround each compartment in order to limit damage to Church records in the event of a fire. The building has fire sprinklers for the 55-degree vaults and is equipped with smoke and heat detectors that constantly take samples of the air. The-4 degree rooms rely on an oxygen suppression system to immediately put out a fire before it can damage the valuable records.

Kevin Nielson, Church History project manager over the building, said the new library is prepared for the millions of documents it will hold. Its storage rooms contain 40,048 shelves that average 40 inches (106 cm) wide.

The structure is not only well-built, but it is also green, or environmentally friendly, according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. 1 The building is designed to recycle, help control building temperatures with window shades, and use environmentally sustainable materials.

Brent Thompson, director of records preservation for the Church History Department, said being sensitive to environmental issues “has helped our building to function better as well as to be able to be LEED certified.”

Sister Cox said a lot of thought and wisdom went into the building’s design. “We’re going to have a state-of-the-art facility for preserving documents,” she added.

A Library for Everyone

The facility has two separate areas, an open stacks collection and a preservation collection. Documents from both of these collections are available for public viewing. Those from the open stacks collection are in the public library area. Staff retrieve the documents from the archival preservation storage rooms for visitors upon request.

Access to the library is free and open to the public; however, since it is an archival facility, photo identification is required to request materials from the storage rooms.

“We’re trying to get the message out that we are open to everyone and we welcome people to come in and use the facility,” Sister Cox said.

A Design with a Message

The goal of the Church History Library’s design was to help explain why the Church keeps records.

The main foyer of the building will have replicas of the Laie Hawaii Temple’s bas-reliefs representing Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and current dispensations. The engravings symbolize how record keeping has been an important part of each dispensation. Brother Nielson said the bas-reliefs were positioned so visitors would be able to see a representation of record keeping in each dispensation and then be able to see the people in the library reading and studying records of this dispensation.

The Salt Lake Temple is in full view of the building’s main entrance and window-enclosed main foyer. Brother Nielson said the building’s position was chosen to communicate to visitors the important relationship between record keeping and making and keeping sacred covenants.

The new Church History Library is set to open at the end of June.

Photograph by Matt Reier

The Church History Library (center) was designed to point visitors to the Salt Lake Temple as a reminder of the relationship between record keeping and making and keeping sacred covenants.

Photograph by Matt Reier

    Note

  1.   1.

    LEED is a certification program that evaluates and rates buildings on their impact on the environment and their use of sustainable resources.

Aid Organizations Winning Measles Battle

Measles deaths worldwide decreased by 74 percent from 2000 to 2007, according to health and relief organizations fighting the disease. The number of deaths dropped from 750,000 in 2000 to 197,000 in 2008. The significant decrease in measles deaths was due to extensive vaccination efforts.

The Measles Initiative is behind the vaccination effort that has saved millions of lives. The initiative is led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also a partner.

“It is gratifying to know that, due to the generous donations of time and means of selfless individuals, millions of lives have been saved,” said Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of the Church. “The Church praises the work that has been done by all organizations involved to eradicate measles and is proud to be a partner in this effort.”

The Church first became involved in the measles campaign in 2003. Using 54,784 Latter-day Saint volunteers, the Church has contributed to measles campaigns in 28 countries. In total, 189,261,345 children have been vaccinated in the campaigns where Church members participated, according to Church Welfare Services. The Church has also donated millions of dollars to the effort.

“We have provided financial support, but even more important, we’ve had thousands of members of the Church involved in helping with these campaigns,” said Garry Flake of Church Welfare Services.

The United Nations’ goal is to reduce measles deaths by 90 percent from 2000 to 2010. The Church will continue to be a partner in helping to meet that goal.

An African boy receives a measles vaccination.

© 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.; all rights reserved

General Conference Now Available on CD, DVD in Spanish

Proceedings of general conference in Spanish are now available on CD and DVD. Both the audio and video formats will contain the full conference proceedings, including all of the music and the talks.

“We wanted to get conference products out quickly so people can use them, rather than getting them out in four or five months when they’re getting ready for the next conference,” said Rob Jex, director of scriptures coordination.

He said the English audio CD has been the top-selling new product of conference for the last five years. “We’ve done it in English only [in the past],” Brother Jex said, “but we felt there is enough demand or will be enough demand among the Spanish members to do this.”

The products are planned to be ready within eight weeks after conference. Subscriptions to the products will be available in some areas, Brother Jex said. To find out what areas offer these subscriptions, members can contact their local distribution centers.

The distribution item numbers for April 2009 conference products are 08315 002 for the Spanish CD (08315 000 for English) and 08316 002 for the Spanish DVD (08316 000 for English).

In addition to these new audio CDs, conference is available in more than 70 other languages as audio files at GeneralConference.LDS.org. The Web site also offers text versions of the conference addresses in 30 languages and video streams in American Sign Language, English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

“Our purpose is to get the words of the prophets into the minds and the hearts of the members,” Brother Jex said. “We hope this helps members enhance their personal and family study of the words of the living prophets.”

Temple News

Oquirrh Mountain Temple Prepares to Open

The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple is set to open its doors to the public on June 1, 2009. The free open house requires reservations and will run through August 1, 2009. Twelve dedicatory sessions are planned from August 14 to 16, 2009; local priesthood leaders will distribute tickets for the dedication. The temple will open for ordinances on August 17, 2009. The temple is the 130th operating temple in the world and the 13th in Utah.

First Presidency Announces New Temple in Peru

A new temple in Trujillo, Peru, will bring the number of announced or operating temples worldwide to 146 and the number of temples in South America to 17. Two other temples are currently under construction in South America—Manaus, Brazil, and Córdoba, Argentina. The Trujillo Peru Temple will be built on the site of the existing meetinghouse on Teodoro Valcárcel Street in Urbanización Primavera, Trujillo. It will serve more than 88,000 members.

Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple

Disaster Report

Church Responds to Deadly Wildfires in Australia

Roaring wildfires, fed by fierce winds and lingering drought, spread across southern Australia in January and February, killing at least 200 people, destroying more than 800 homes, and consuming thousands of acres of vegetation. Three member families are among those whose homes were destroyed.

The wildfires are being called the worst natural disaster in Australia’s history; however, police believe some of the wildfires may have been intentionally started.

The fires razed entire rural towns. In Victoria, several communities were still at risk, with 30 fires still burning. As disaster crews made their way deeper into disaster zones, they anticipated the death toll would rise.

Australia had fire safety plans in force; however, scorching temperatures, drought, tinder-dry bush, and fast-moving winds that constantly changed directions increased the ferocity of the wildfires and seemed to catch many residents by surprise.

All members and missionaries were accounted for. One member, whose home was destroyed, was hospitalized because of heart complications. The fires did not damage any Church buildings.

The Church made a monetary donation to the Australian Red Cross disaster fund, and many members volunteered to help in emergency shelters and in the cleanup process.

Australia experiences wildfires every year. The previous most deadly bushfire in Australia was in February 1983 on what is now called Ash Wednesday, when 75 people died.

Wildfires burn near a community outside of Melbourne, Australia, in February 2009.

Photograph © AP Photo/AUBC, channel 9 via APTN

Australian Saints Help Clean Up After Floods

While wildfires devastated the opposite side of the continent, heavy rainfall led to widespread flooding across Australia’s northern state, Queensland, damaging more than 3,000 homes and sending hundreds to emergency shelters.

Ingham, a town near the northeastern shoreline in Queensland, sustained the greatest amount of damage. An estimated 2,900 homes there were flooded.

The rainstorms that generated the floods started in December 2008 and continued through February 2009. The water level receded in early February 2009, but authorities expected heavy rains to continue throughout the month, bringing the water level back up. Torrential rainstorms are typical for this part of Australia during its monsoon season.

All missionaries and Church members were safe, and no damage was reported to members’ homes or Church property. Members participated in cleanup efforts.

Church Steps in During Fiji Flooding

At least eight people died during the worst flooding in a generation and subsequent landslides on the west side of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, in mid-January 2009.

Floodwaters covered Nadi, Rakiraki, and Ba, and more than 9,000 people, including many member families, fled to the 118 government-sponsored evacuation shelters. Members and missionaries were reported safe. After the floods subsided, members participated in the cleanup and restoration work.

“The Church worked with the government relief organization DISMAC to supplement food, water, and clothing provided to individuals and families housed in the emergency shelters,” said Elder John Larsen, area welfare specialist in the Pacific Area. “The local stakes also sponsored food and clothing drives for distribution within their boundaries.”

Flooding destroyed the Ba meetinghouse, leaving only the outer walls of the building standing. People used the Nadi meetinghouse as a temporary shelter.

Floods and landslides in Fiji damaged homes and sent more than 9,000 people to shelters.

Photograph by Lin Bothwell

Deadly Ice Storm Prompts Church Aid

A deadly ice storm killed at least 42 people across the United States, 30 of those in the state of Kentucky, as it swept from the southern plains to the East Coast. Many members’ homes were affected, but no members or missionaries in the storm’s path were killed.

Kentucky declared 101 counties and 75 cities in states of emergency. In Kentucky alone, the expected cleanup costs exceeded U.S. $45 million.

The ice storm, which started on January 27, 2009, cut off power to 1.3 million people and forced more than 6,500 people from their homes. Two weeks later, 35,000 customers across Kentucky continued to experience power outages.

Local priesthood leaders worked with community and state officials to assess the needs of the people in the areas and to administer Church assistance. Bishops’ storehouses in Carrollton, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Slidell, Louisiana; and Tucker, Georgia, sent several truckloads of relief supplies to the people in need.

The Church provided blankets, hygiene kits, cots, water, food, and other supplies to several Red Cross shelters in Kentucky. Members and others who had critical and special needs received generators. The Church also sent chain saws and other supplies to support the volunteer cleanup efforts.

More than 1,350 Church members worked the weekend after the storm to clean up the damage. Their efforts totaled more than 16,000 hours of service.

An ice-covered utility pole lies in the road in the state of Arkansas, USA. Ice and snow caused widespread power outages.

Photograph © AP Photo/The Baxter Bulletin, Kevin Pieper

Members Join in U.S. Flood Relief

After historic flooding in western Washington State, USA, in early January 2009, members and missionaries helped clean up the damage. Floodwaters destroyed more than 100 homes, damaged more than 2,000 others, and temporarily closed two main freeways, but no one was seriously injured or killed.

The high water levels destroyed one member’s house and flooded several others. No Church buildings were damaged in the floods.

Floods covered two major freeways, I-5 and I-90. The freeways closed until water levels dropped.

Fifteen counties in western Washington were declared a disaster zone. Church members in the Selah, Longview, and Centralia Washington Stakes joined local cleanup crews. Missionaries helped sandbag and clean up the flooded areas.

Flooding Damages BYU–Hawaii

Flooding on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, USA, on December 11, 2008, damaged homes in Laie, Waianae, and Mililani, as well as several Church-owned buildings. Up to 12 inches (30 cm) of rain fell in about four hours, shutting down major roads and causing a rockslide. No evacuation orders were given but several schools closed. No Church members or missionaries were harmed.

Brigham Young University–Hawaii officials estimated $1.5 million in damages to the campus was caused by the flood. Several buildings flooded—the General Classroom Building, the Social Sciences Building, and 36 married-student housing apartments.

The Polynesian Cultural Center’s Gateway Building and several other on-campus buildings were also damaged.

The temple and Church meetinghouses were not affected, but the temple’s visitors’ center sustained minor damages.

Church members teamed with the Red Cross to provide shelter and food on the BYU–Hawaii campus for those displaced by the flood. University students and Church members helped to clean up after the flooding.

World Briefs

Three New Triples Now Online

LDS.org now includes the triple combination of the scriptures in Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish. The Church has published the triple combination in 38 languages, and 12 of those languages are now online: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. To access the scriptures online, go to scriptures.lds.org and select your language from the upper right corner.

Faiths Join in Concert in Salt Lake Tabernacle

More than 15 faith groups, including the Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, and Hindu faiths, joined in sharing their common beliefs during an Interfaith Musical Tribute hosted by the Church at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square on February 9, 2009. The concert was part of the seventh annual weeklong interfaith celebration sponsored by the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable.

LDS Business College Appoints New President

John L. (Larry) Richards has been appointed as the new president of LDS Business College. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles made the announcement on behalf of the LDS Business College Board of Trustees. Brother Richards succeeds Stephen K. Woodhouse, who is retiring from LDS Business College after serving as a member of the faculty since 1989 and as president since 1992.

Additional Sharing Time Ideas, June 2009

The following are additional ideas Primary leaders may use with the Sharing Time printed in the June 2009 Liahona. For the lesson, instructions, and activity that correspond with these ideas, see “Foundation for Happiness” on pages F14 and F15 of the children’s section in this issue.

  1. 1.

    Repentance helps me return to Heavenly Father. Loosely wrap string around a child’s ankles, and help the child balance so he or she doesn’t fall. Ask him or her to step up onto a stool without hopping or jumping. Explain that just as the string prevents the child from climbing onto the stool, sin keeps us from progressing toward Heavenly Father’s kingdom. Help the children understand that Jesus Christ made it possible for us to repent through His Atonement. Unwrap the string, and have the child step onto the stool. Explain that repentance is similar to removing the string. Repentance frees us of our mistakes and sins and lets us progress to return to Heavenly Father. Ask the children to listen for things we do to truly repent while you sing together the second verse of “Help Me, Dear Father” (Children’s Songbook, 99). Ask for responses (“Making things right, and changing my ways”). Tell a story from the Liahona or a personal story that demonstrates repenting and making things right. Read together 3 Nephi 9:22. Testify that Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to repent and be forgiven of our sins through His Atonement.

  2. 2.

    As I forgive, I will be forgiven. Before Primary, fill a bag with rocks that you have labeled with the following words: anger, hurt, resentment, revenge, hate. Begin sharing time by singing the first verse of “Help Me, Dear Father” (Children’s Songbook, 99). Let several of the children take turns carrying the bag of rocks. Ask how it feels to carry the heavy rocks. As you take each rock from the bag, explain what the word means, and explain that when we carry these feelings in our hearts, it is like carrying a bag of heavy rocks. Cut the word forgive into puzzle pieces, and post the pieces around the room. Invite the children to find each piece and then put them together to form the word forgive. Read together Matthew 6:14, and discuss what it means. Read and then act out the parable of the unforgiving servant (see Matthew 18:23–35). Help the children understand that if they want Heavenly Father to forgive them, they must be willing to forgive others. Explain that we can receive the strength to forgive as we pray for help. Sing again the first verse of “Help Me, Dear Father.”

  3. 3.

    Song presentation: “Seek the Lord Early” (Children’s Songbook, 108; Liahona, Mar. 1996, F13). Make eight wordstrips with one of the following words on each: youth, truth, there, prayer, obey, say, abound, found. Post them in random order on the board. Tell the children that each sentence in the song has two words that rhyme. Sing the first sentence to the children. Have them listen for the word that rhymes with “youth.” Put those two wordstrips next to each other on the board. Sing the first sentence together. Continue this pattern with the rest of the sentences. Display pictures that correspond to concepts in the song. Possible pictures include Gospel Art Picture Kit 605 (Young Boy Praying), 617 (Search the Scriptures), 618 (“My Gospel Standards”), and Thomas S. Monson (Liahona, Apr. 2008, F4). As you sing each phrase, ask a child to choose what picture (or pictures) could go with the sentence. When all the pictures have been chosen, invite the children with the pictures to stand at the front of the room and raise their pictures when their phrase is sung. Sing the whole song together.