News of the Church

By Heather Whittle, Church Magazines

Print Share

    The 2010 Liahona: New Approach, Same Goal

    In January 2010, readers will say tot ziens (Dutch), au revoir (French), and tofa (Samoan)—good-bye—to the old Liahona and welcome to the new.

    While readers in 51 languages will continue to receive inspired counsel from Church leaders and inspiring stories about members of the Church from around the world, a host of changes are intended to make the magazine more useful for members of all ages and all levels of gospel experience.

    “It started with a feeling that the Liahona could do more to reach the increasingly diverse membership of the Church,” said Val Johnson, managing editor of the Liahona. “We knew we could do a better job of meeting the needs of the worldwide Church.”

    “We know readers love the current Liahona,” said Jenifer Greenwood, assistant managing editor of the Liahona. “We’re hoping to take what is good and add to it.”

    Changed from Time to Time

    Nephi explained that the writing on the original Liahona, a ball or compass found by his father, Lehi, gave them “understanding concerning the ways of the Lord,” but that it “changed from time to time” (1 Nephi 16:29).

    One of the goals of the Liahona magazine has always been to help provide readers with an understanding concerning the ways of the Lord, according to Brother Johnson. He says that won’t change with the new Liahona in 2010.

    However, a number of other changes are planned.

    The first thing readers will likely notice is the new look and the improved organization of the magazine, intended to make the content easier to find and easier to use.

    Sections of the magazine will be written and designed specifically for certain key audiences, including young adults, youth, and children. Each section will be color-coded to make it easy to identify.

    In addition, some of the sections inserted into the center of the current magazine will be relocated with the new Liahona. The children’s section will be integrated into the magazine with other content for specific age groups, and the News of the Church section will now appear at the back of the magazine.

    In many areas and countries, a section written specifically by local members for local members will appear in each issue. This section may contain messages from Area Presidencies; news and events from the area; testimonies, faith-promoting experiences, and other inspiring contributions from local members; and other important information.

    Another important change will be the addition of short sidebars to some articles in order to help members of different age groups apply important information to themselves. For example, an article encouraging temple worship could be supplemented by a narrative for teens about a young member’s first visit to the temple as well as by a related activity for young children, such as a coloring page of a temple.

    The Lord Prepared It

    While teaching his son about the original Liahona, Alma stated that “the Lord prepared it” (Alma 37:38). Members of the team that helped build the new magazine wanted to be able to say the same thing.

    “Coming up with the innovations and new design has been a revelatory process,” said Sister Greenwood. “We have seen the Lord’s hand in it all along the way.”

    The project began in July 2008 after Elder Jay E. Jensen, then Executive Director of the Curriculum Department and editor of Church magazines, approved the creation of a team to create a prototype for a new Liahona that would better meet the needs of its diverse readership.

    Six months of brainstorming, writing, designing, and testing produced a proposal that was approved by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in January 2009.

    “It was an intense experience,” said Adam Olson, an assistant managing editor at the Liahona, “because at the same time we had to carry on with the work required to produce the magazines each month. There was no way we could do both without looking to the Lord for help.”

    With the Liahona normally planned one year in advance, the newly approved changes were implemented immediately in order to unveil the changes with the January 2010 issue.

    “We can testify of those moments when we had a ‘stupor of thought’ (D&C 9:9) and then those flashes of insight that definitely didn’t come from us,” Brother Johnson said. “The Lord really helped us.”

    The Words of Christ

    Nephi said the writing on the Liahona “was plain to be read” and gave them “understanding concerning the ways of the Lord” (1 Nephi 16:29). Alma explained that just as following the Liahona led Nephi’s family to the promised land, “the words of Christ, if we follow their course, [shall] carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise” (Alma 37:45).

    Beginning with the First Presidency Message—the words of Christ as given through His servants—and ending with a new department, Words of Christ, on the inside of the back cover, the intent of the Liahona is to help lead its readers to Christ.

    “There’s a lot about the Liahona that has changed,” said Brother Johnson, “but the goal is still the same. We hope to bring people to Christ.”

    “The Liahona will continue to amplify the prophetic voice of the Brethren to the Saints around the world,” said Elder Spencer J. Condie, Editor of the Church magazines. “We hope that the Liahona will be found in every Latter-day Saint home throughout the earth.”

    New and Redesigned Departments in the Liahona

    Gospel Classics highlights previously given General Authority talks and articles of particular relevance and includes brief biographical information about the author.

    Gospel in My Life includes testimonies written by young adults for young adults about how the gospel has made a difference in their lives.

    How I Know allows youth of the Church to share in their own words how they gained a testimony.

    In Box contains excerpts of readers’ comment letters.

    Latter-day Saint Voices, a reader favorite, now includes personal stories from youth as well as adults.

    News of the Church is printed in the back of the magazine.

    Our Homes, Our Families helps members of all kinds of families improve their home life.

    Our Page gives children a chance to share drawings, experiences, and testimonies.

    Our Space allows youth to share perspectives, insights, and experiences in their own words.

    Q&A and To the Point present responses to common questions from those who have faced the same issues.

    Serving in the Church is a quick read for those seeking help to better fulfill their callings.

    Small and Simple Things provides the reader with short but interesting information and facts about the Church.

    Tender Mercies lets readers share faith-promoting personal experiences about how the Lord has blessed them in times of need.

    They Spoke to Us highlights recent General Authority articles, talks and firesides for young adults.

    Until We Meet Again is a personal essay reflecting on gospel insights and will appear near the end of each issue.

    We Talk of Christ focuses exclusively on the Savior, His Atonement, and His relationship with God the Father and with us.

    What We Believe is a visual presentation of fundamental Church doctrine, created with converts and new members in mind.

    Words of Christ cites the teachings of the Savior in His own words, accompanied by related art.

    Beginning in 2010, Liahona readers will notice a lot of changes meant to make the magazine more useful for members of all ages and backgrounds.

    Orchestra Celebrates 10 Years on Temple Square

    The nationally recognized Orchestra on Temple Square, officially organized on October 16, 1999, marked its 10th anniversary year in late March with two spring concerts.

    The orchestra, originally envisioned by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), comprises more than 100 musicians of diverse ages and backgrounds. Church leaders created the orchestra to enhance the musical organizations within the Church.

    Mac Christensen, president of the Tabernacle Choir, said: “I call it President Hinckley’s orchestra. He had the vision; he brought it together; he knew what it could be. … The big thing that makes the orchestra absolutely great is the fact that they’re all set apart as missionaries. They’re not paid. It’s volunteer. I think it is the finest volunteer orchestra in the world.”

    While some orchestra members make their living with music outside of the orchestra, other volunteers are employed as university faculty, engineers, dentists, attorneys, physicians, and in many other professions. There are also “lots of moms,” explained Kathy Anderson, violist, who plays in the orchestra with her cardiologist husband, Jeff.

    The orchestra performs frequently in both concerts and recordings with the Tabernacle Choir, including during the weekly television and radio broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word.

    The orchestra played for the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration and Emma Smith: My Story soundtracks, the Nauvoo Temple open house, and the Kirtland Visitors’ Center opening. It also accompanies the Temple Square Chorale and performs on its own as a concert orchestra.

    On November 12, 2003, the orchestra and the Tabernacle Choir received the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. The orchestra and choir were also nominated for Grammy Awards in 2008.

    Meredith Campbell, concertmaster, estimated that each member has played his or her instrument for at least 10 years, practicing often two to three hours a day, for a total of some 800 hours a year.

    “It is a wonderful group of people,” said Barry Anderson, administrative director and manager of the Orchestra on Temple Square and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

    Playing for the choir is a lifelong dream for Sister Anderson. “I always hoped I could do something like this, and to play with Igor is another highlight,” she said.

    Igor Gruppman, the Ukrainian-born conductor of the orchestra, has been involved with the orchestra since he and his wife, Vesna, were appointed as co-concertmasters at its inception in 1999. He was named orchestra conductor in August 2003.

    “Part of the excitement I feel in coming here is working with the incredible talent and dedication of everyone in the orchestra,” Brother Gruppman said. “Because they are all volunteers, they really have to be very passionate about music, and they all share a deepened understanding and grasp of the spiritual mission that music carries when we perform for our audiences.”

    The spring concerts honored global victims of genocide.

    “It [was] a very demanding program,” said Brother Gruppman. “It’s challenging for the orchestra and challenging to the audience to stretch around the experience. Feelings of sadness, guilt, and loss occur and then transition to passages of brightness, even the ecstasy of hope and very powerful spiritual connections.”

    The Orchestra on Temple Square, shown here performing with the Tabernacle Choir, celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2009.

    Preach My Gospel Continues to Help Members and Missionaries Alike

    Five years and nearly two million copies after it was first published, Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service continues helping missionaries and members in their missionary efforts.

    While it was written as a full-time missionary reference tool, from the beginning Church leaders have encouraged members to become familiar with the manual as they learn to serve as member missionaries and as they prepare others to learn about the gospel. 1

    “Our own study of Preach My Gospel will not only help us to develop a greater understanding and appreciation for our missionaries, but it will help us in our own day-to-day life,” 2 said Elder Erich W. Kopischke of the Seventy.

    A Missionary’s Resource

    The manual, which the Church announced on October 15, 2004, in a mission presidents’ training meeting, teaches basic gospel doctrine as well as the principles of missionary service.

    The First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, other General Authorities, and a team from the Missionary Department oversaw the creation of the manual.

    As a missionary resource, Preach My Gospel has “revolutionized missionary work,” 3 said Elder Kopischke.

    “Missionaries throughout the world now get into their minds and hearts the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the plan of salvation, essential commandments, and the laws and ordinances of the gospel,” said Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “These lessons are then given in their own words as guided by the Spirit. This focus has dramatically improved the effectiveness of missionaries that use it.” 4

    The president of the Japan Kobe Mission, William A. McIntyre Jr., said that as the missionaries in his mission have focused on Preach My Gospel, it has helped them to be happier and to be more effective, motivated missionaries because they learned how to be missionaries as well as how to do missionary work.

    How the Manual Can Help You

    However, unlike previous missionary resources, Preach My Gospel was intended for broad distribution to the general Church membership because “missionaries are not alone in benefiting from Preach My Gospel,” said Elder Scott.

    Elder Scott invited members to find out how the manual could help them as “a parent preparing a child for a mission, a Church leader helping a new convert, a member sharing the gospel, or an individual getting ready to serve.” 5

    “I feel the manual was intended to help all members of the Church, regardless of their understanding of gospel principles,” said Timothy L. Fry, president of the Ukraine Donetsk Mission. “It makes a wonderful and inspiring study guide. It helps [members of the Church] improve their knowledge and testimony of our Savior.”

    Within the 13 chapters of the manual are essential gospel principles, such as how to better recognize and understand the Spirit, the role of the Book of Mormon in conversion, scripture study techniques, how to overcome addictive behavior, and how to find opportunities to share the gospel. The manual also has study pages and application ideas.

    Preach My Gospel is not really something you read, it’s something you study,” said Richard Heaton, administrative director of the Provo Missionary Training Center. “And the most important study you’ll do, based on Preach My Gospel, is the study of the scriptures.”

    He said because the manual has so many scripture references it helps the reader to get into the scriptures to understand the doctrine. “It’s not a prescription; it’s not a checklist of how you do missionary work,” he said. “It’s a set of resources from which you draw as inspired in your teaching.”

    The manual’s sixth chapter describes Christlike attributes and ends with a self-evaluation activity. Chapter eight teaches principles of time management such as setting goals, making weekly and daily plans, and being accountable.

    The manual states: “Study the chapters. … Apply what you learn. Evaluate your work. Missionaries who strive to prepare themselves daily and seek to improve regularly will receive direction from the Holy Ghost and see blessings in their lives.” 6

    Uniting Members and Missionaries

    Elder Kopischke taught that Preach My Gospel has the potential to unify members and missionaries in moving missionary work forward.

    “As the missionaries become immersed in Preach My Gospel, they learn and apply important doctrines and principles which make them more capable in their important service,” he said. “Despite this, they still need all of our help and support. … Preach My Gospel is full of powerful ideas and insights. We learn how we can help the missionaries find people to teach and how we as members can work hand in hand with the missionaries.” 7

    Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “The Church has over 50,000 full-time missionaries serving around the world. Preach My Gospel has helped make them the best teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ we have ever had in the history of the Church. … If you and I did more of the finding for the full-time missionaries and freed them up to spend more time teaching the people we find, great things would begin to happen.” 8


  •   1.

    See Richard G. Scott, “The Power of Preach My Gospel,Liahona and Ensign, May 2005, 29.

  •   2.

    Erich W. Kopischke, “Preach My Gospel—the Unifying Tool between Members and Missionaries,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2007, 33.

  •   3.

    Erich W. Kopischke, “Preach My Gospel,” 33.

  •   4.

    Richard G. Scott, “The Power,” 29.

  •   5.

    See Richard G. Scott, “The Power,” 29.

  •   6.

    Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service (2004), vii.

  •   7.

    Erich W. Kopischke, “Preach My Gospel,” 33.

  •   8.

    L. Tom Perry, “‘Bring Souls unto Me,’” Liahona and Ensign, May 2009, 109.

  • How to Obtain Preach My Gospel

    Preach My Gospel is available free online in 43 languages at in PDF and MP3 file formats. It is also available at Church distribution centers for U.S. $6.00 for an individual copy and U.S. $88.00 for a case of 22.

    Preach My Gospel has sold nearly two million copies since it was introduced five years ago.

    Members and missionaries can benefit from studying Preach My Gospel.

    Revised Gospel Principles Manual Introduced as 2010 Curriculum

    Beginning in January 2010, adult members of the Church will spend two years studying the newly revised Gospel Principles manual on the second and third Sundays of each month.

    Since 1998 most adult members have studied the Teachings of Presidents of the Church series in their priesthood quorums and Relief Society classes. During that time, millions have joined the Church. A return to studying the fundamental principles and doctrines of the gospel will bless not only those new members but longtime members as well.

    The new edition of Gospel Principles is larger, and the design has changed to match the Teachings volumes and to make it easier to read. All of the visuals, one per chapter, are in color.

    Instructions for teaching from the manual in class or at home are included in the updated and simplified introduction to Gospel Principles. Additional instructions are found in footnotes throughout the manual.

    Questions at the beginning of most sections of the chapters help focus readers on important content in the chapter. Questions at the end of each section prompt members to reflect upon and apply what they have read. Teachers may use the questions to promote class discussion during the lesson.

    “The more we reflect on the principles and doctrines, the greater our understanding becomes,” said Elder Kenneth Johnson of the Seventy. “They never grow old, and our understanding of them is increased and enhanced. The truth is not just an intellectual truth, but more of an understanding as the Spirit is present.”

    Teachers of the Gospel Principles class for new members, investigators, and members returning to activity will also use the new manual, but there will be less overlap in the lessons than one might think. The Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society classes typically will use the manual two weeks a month, and will teach the lessons in sequential order. Teachers preparing for the Gospel Principles class will teach the lessons in the order best suited for the members of their classes. Also, members who attend the Gospel Principles class often do so for a specific period of time, after which they attend the Gospel Doctrine class.

    In addition to studying the manual on Sunday, members can use the book in their personal study to better understand core principles and doctrines of the gospel. Parents can use the new introduction, questions, pictures, and notes to help teach their children these doctrines in the home.

    In 2012 Church members will resume studying Teachings of Presidents of the Church.

    The revised Gospel Principles manual will be studied in Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society classes beginning in January 2010.

    Disaster Response

    Members Provide Flood Relief in Brazil

    Members in the Teresina Brazil Stake and the Itacoatiara Brazil District are assisting in relief efforts after two months of unusually heavy rains triggered flooding that killed at least 40 people and displaced more than 800,000. No Church members or missionaries were killed, though eight member families were affected by the flooding. From the Amazon to the Atlantic coast, roads, highways, and communities across 10 states were inundated.

    California Blaze Displaces Members

    Favorable weather allowed firefighters to gain the upper hand on a 9,000-acre (3,640-ha) wildfire in Southern California that displaced 50,000 people, including an estimated 70 percent of members in the Santa Barbara Ward. Eight households in the El Camino Ward, the Goleta Valley Ward, and the Los Olivos Branch were also evacuated. More than 80 structures were destroyed or damaged, including one home of Church members. No Church buildings were affected.

    Additional Sharing Time Ideas, October 2009

    The following are additional ideas Primary leaders may use with the Sharing Time printed in the October 2009 Liahona. For the lesson, instructions, and activity that correspond with these ideas, see “We Believe the Family Is Ordained of God” on pages F4 and F5 of the children’s section in this issue.

    1. 1.

      “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” teaches my family how to be happy. Hand out copies of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” to each child. Have the children look in paragraph 7 and circle the word happiness. (Teachers or older children can help the younger children.) Read paragraph 7, beginning with “Happiness in family life” and ending with “wholesome recreational activities.”

      On each of nine pieces of paper, write one of the following principles: faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, family activities. In random order, display pictures that correspond to the principles. (Examples: faith: Gospel Art Picture Kit 318 [The Brother of Jared Sees the Finger of the Lord]; prayer: 605 [Young Boy Praying]; repentance: 321 [Conversion of Alma the Younger]; forgiveness: 230 [The Crucifixion]; respect: 611 [The Bishop]; love: 213 [Christ Healing a Blind Man]; compassion: 420 [The Prophet Joseph Loved Children]; work: 615 [Serving One Another]; family activities: 616 [Family Togetherness].) Let each class choose one of the papers. Have them work together with their teacher’s help to tell the Primary how the principle can bring happiness to their families. Then let all of the children suggest which picture illustrates the principle. Bear testimony that we can help our families when we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    2. 2.

      “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” teaches my family the importance of work. Have the children hold up fingers to count each of the nine principles while you read paragraph 7 from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” beginning with “Successful marriages and families” and ending with “wholesome recreational activities.” See if they can remember the eighth principle (work). To teach the importance and value of work, tell the following story about President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. As a young boy, he worked at his parents’ laundry business, delivering laundry before and after school. For many years he had to ride a big, heavy bicycle, pulling a laundry cart up and down the streets of their town. He said: “Sometimes the cart seemed so heavy and the work so tiring that I thought my lungs would burst, and I often had to stop to catch my breath. Nevertheless, I did my part because I knew we desperately needed the income as a family, and it was my way to contribute.” Dieter knew his hard work as a delivery boy was helping his family. But it wasn’t until many years later that he learned how his hard work helped cure him of a lung disease he never knew he had. He said, “My regular exercise in fresh air as a laundry boy had been a key factor in my healing from this illness” (“See the End from the Beginning,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2006, 43).

      Ask: How do you think delivering laundry helped President Uchtdorf’s family? What are some things you do to help your family? President Uchtdorf said riding the bike and pulling the laundry cart was hard work. What work do you do that is hard? Besides helping his family, how did the hard work help President Uchtdorf? How does working hard help you?