“I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work … until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Safety for the Soul,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 89–90.

Celebrating the Pioneers

Each July many members of the Church worldwide pause to honor the pioneers who entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Here is an experience that one young woman shared with us:

“Sometimes our ward has pioneer activities,” says Analee B. of Burke, Virginia, USA. “People dress up in pioneer outfits, and we usually go on some type of ‘trek’—it’s really a walk. We also talk about pioneers, and we do games that pioneers would play. In Virginia it is really hot and humid in the summer, and we always have these celebrations outside, so with the hot weather we really feel like pioneers.

“For me personally I am almost always reading a book about Church history. Reading those books makes me appreciate the pioneers even more and helps me understand better what they went through.”

How, in your area, do you celebrate the past or present pioneers in the Church? Remember, pioneers can include anyone who prepared the way for others to follow.

How to Gain a Testimony

Jordi R., age 18, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

A testimony is a very important part in our lives as members of the Church. To gain a testimony, do what Moroni invites us to do: ponder in your heart the message or the principle that you want to know is true; then ask God in the name of Jesus Christ if it is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of the truth by the power of the Holy Ghost (see Moroni 10:3–5). I can testify to you that if you pray with all the faith of your heart, our Heavenly Father will answer your prayer.

When I was an investigator, I decided to pray and ask Heavenly Father if everything I had learned was true. Never in my life will I find words to describe the feeling I had, but I know that it was the answer of my Heavenly Father because I have received a lot of blessings from it.

By the Numbers

20,551

Number of audience seats in the Conference Center’s main auditorium.

Pioneer Word Search

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Faith

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My Favorite Scripture

2 Nephi 32:5 has been my favorite scripture since I was in Primary because it tells you what to do when you are given the gift of the Holy Ghost. You must receive it and be worthy of it, and then the Holy Ghost will guide you on the right path.

Peaches C., age 16, Trinidad, West Indies

Tell us about your favorite scripture in one or two sentences. Go to newera.lds.org and click on Submit Your Material.

The Church in USA—New York

The Church was organized April 6, 1830, in Fayette, New York, with 50 people and 6 official members present. In one year’s time, membership more than doubled. In July 1840, the first group of new converts from Liverpool, England, arrived in New York aboard the ship Britannia.

To commemorate the early events of Church organization, an annual pageant, “America’s Witness for Christ” (also known as “Hill Cumorah Pageant”), began in 1928. The Hill Cumorah Pageant attracts as many as 100,000 people to New York during its seven-night run.

On April 6, 2000, 170 years after the Church was organized, the Palmyra New York Temple was dedicated. The temple overlooks the Sacred Grove and other historic sites. The first temple in New York City, the Manhattan New York Temple, was dedicated in 2004.

Here are a few facts about the Church today in New York:

Membership

75,852

Missions

4

Temples

2

Wards & Branches

151

Family History Centers

50

Brain Centre Service

On a very cold but sunny day last October, youth and leaders from the Kettering Ward, Northampton England Stake gave 30 hours of service in their community at Headway, a local charity that works to improve life for patients after brain injury. Armed with paintbrushes and paint, ward members went to work cleaning and painting the inside and outside of the Headway day centre.

“The activity was really fun because although it was cold I could really feel the spirit of the youth working together,” said Sarah Dean, a Laurel. “We had cold hands, but we also had warm hearts.”

Michael Winebrunner, a priest, agreed that it was cold, but says, “We were working really hard, so I hardly noticed. I enjoyed being with my friends and knowing that I was making a difference to the lives of the people in the day centre.”

Illustration by Pat Gerber; photographs by David Stoker, Richard Romney, courtesy of Kettering Ward, Northampton England Stake, and John Telford