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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Monday February 27, 2017 @ 04:20:54 PM mt

Elder Rasband Tells Saints in Central America to Stand in Holy Places



Missionaries gathered in Guatemala City, Guatemala, listen to Elder Ronald A. Rasband speak during his February 2017 visit. Photo courtesy of Central America Area.Sitting knee-to-knee with Elder Rasband, President Ortega asked several questions about the Church and its history.The symposium included government officials, religious leaders, and academics from across Central America. This first-of-its-kind gathering centered on the importance of protecting religious liberties across Latin America.GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALAThe strength of the area is found in its individual wards and branches. Many of the local priesthood and Relief Society leaders are products of strong, stable families whose lives are anchored to the temple and its eternal covenants.Many in the region face employment difficulties. Many are concerned about social unrest. They look to the Lord and His servants for comfort and guidance. Elder Ronald A. Rasband greets missionaries gathered for the Retalhuleu Mission Conference in February 2017. Photo courtesy of Central America Area.Elder Rasband echoed his optimism. The Lord is hastening His work in Central America, he said. Through His missionaries and members, He is gathering the elect.I came away with life-lasting impressions of the people in these Book of Mormon lands, Elder Rasband told the Church News. The Lord is working in marvelous ways in Central America. Elder Ronald A. Rasband greets a missionary serving in Guatemala City during a February 21, 2017, visit. Photo courtesy of Central America Area.All of the Brethren feel a special connection with the missionaries and their shared, sacred calling to take the gospel to all nations and people.These are faithful, Christ-centered, temple-going people, observed Elder Christensen.Historic meeting with Nicaraguas president The Brethren answered questions from the young people, discussed their unique challenges in a volatile world, and shared counsel on the importance of marriage in the holy temple, remaining faithful, and building strong families.Between the three visiting Brethren and members of the Area Presidency, they visited with missionaries from 10 missions. We shook the hands of every missionary, said Elder Christensen, smiling.It is love of liberty that inspires my soulcivil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race.Stand in your homes, said Elder Rasband, stand in your meetinghouses, stand in the temples of the Lord. These are places of safety. These are places of refuge.Christ has no borders or political affiliations, he said. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.The travels of the latter-day Apostles may be frequentyet they are never commonplace. Elder Ronald A. Rasband, standing front center, with participants of a Church-sponsored religious symposium in San Salvador, El Salvador. Elder Rasband delivered the event's keynote address. Photo courtesy of Central America Area. Elder Ronald A. Rasband shares words of comfort with a young patient at a childrens cancer hospital in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The Church presented medical equipment to the hospital. Photo courtesy of Central America Area.The Brethren answered questions from the young people, discussed their unique challenges in a volatile world, and shared counsel on the importance of marriage in the holy temple, remaining faithful, and building strong families.It was like teaching the first missionary lesson as I talked to him about the Restoration of the gospel. I told him that we belong to the restored Church of Jesus Christ, said Elder Rasband.If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a Mormon, I am bold to declare before heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the [Mormon] Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.Elder Rasband, Elder Christensen, and Bishop Davies count being with the members and the missionaries as key highlights of their Central America trip.Elder Rasband also delivered the keynote address at a February 13 Church-sponsored religious freedom symposium at a meetinghouse near the San Salvador El Salvador Temple.The Central America Area has long been a key region of the Church. Its home to hundreds of thousands of members, 18 missions, and, remarkably, six temples.Elder Christensen added that the Lord has also blessed Central America with strong local leaders, including many who hail from multigenerational Latter-day Saint families and are committed to building the Church in their own nations and communities.The president called his visitors ministers of peace. Latter-day Saints, Elder Rasband responded, worship Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and mens hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the ends of the earth (D&C 45:26).Before leaving, Elder Rasband presented President Ortega and Rosario Ortega, who is first lady and Nicaraguas vice president, with a statuette of The Christus.Elder Christensen said President Ortega was deeply interested in the Churchs rich history in his country. Over 96,000 Latter-day Saints live in Nicaragua. Elder Ronald A. Rasband speaks to missionaries gathered in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Photo courtesy of Central America Area. Elder Ronald A. Rasband and Sister Melanie Rasband with youth in El Salvador who participated in a Salvadoran cultural event. Photo courtesy of Central America Area.Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recently returned from a 12-day trip to Central America. There he met with thousands of members, shared counsel with scores of missionaries, and fortified friendships with key government leadersincluding Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.Elder Rasband and Elder Christensen and their wives also visited a childrens cancer hospital in Guatemala City and presented the hospital with medical equipment as a gift from the Church.The visiting Brethren conducted the annual area review at area headquarters in Guatemala City. The Central America Area is directed by a presidency of seasoned priesthood leadersElder Kevin R. Duncan, Elder Adrian Ochoa, and Elder Jose L. Alonso, General Authority Seventies. Their dedicated shepherding, said Elder Rasband, is helping the members find safety and joy during a time of frequent commotion and disruption. A member of the Palmita Stake takes notes during a special stake conference where Elder Ronald A. Rasband spoke. Photo courtesy of Central America Area.It was a remarkable meeting, reported Elder Rasband. We spoke with President Ortega about families, education, humanitarian aid, welfare, and about the efforts the Church has made in his country.After being with the Central American members, Elder Christensen returned to Church headquarters assured that the Lord will continue to bless and prosper the people of Central America for many years to come.Even among hardship and great commotion, safety and joy can be found by standing in holy places.Elder Rasband challenged symposium participants to work together and form a chorus of voices in defense of religious freedoms. He shared a timeless message of religious advocacy declared in 1843 by the Prophet Joseph Smith:They also participated in a devotional with young single adults, originating in Guatemala City. The event was broadcast throughout Central America and was viewed by over 19,000. Missionaries in Guatemala City, Guatemala, listen to Elder Ronald A. Rasband speak during his February 2017 visit. Photo courtesy of Central America Area. Elder Ronald A. Rasband speaks at the Mazatenango Stake conference. Photo courtesy of Central America Area.On February 14, Elder Rasband, Elder Christensen, Elder Duncan, and Elder Ochoa met with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega at his private residence.Each assignmentforeign or domesticembarked upon by members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offers unique opportunities to minister to people who face unique challenges and opportunities. And with each travel assignment, the Apostles make new friends even as they answer their sacred charge to testify of the Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel. Local priesthood leaders attend a priesthood leadership conference with Elder Ronald A. Rasband and other Church leaders. Elder Ronald A. Rasband, right, presents a statuette of The Christus to Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega and his wife, first lady and Nicaragua Vice President Rosario Murillo.The Lord does not forget His people, assured Elder Rasband: But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved (D&C 45:32).Elder Rasband was joined by Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy and Bishop Dean M. Davies, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. The Brethren were also accompanied by their wivesSister Melanie Rasband, Sister Debbie Christensen, and Sister Darla Davies.In his many meetings with members, young adults, and local priesthood leaders, Elder Rasband said the Lord had envisioned such commotion:A believing peopleThe visit offered Elder Rasband an opportunity to enjoy quiet moments with children battling cancer and with their families. It was particularly moving for me to be able to see what they are doing at the hospital in Guatemala City to help treat children with cancer.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Monday February 27, 2017 @ 04:20:53 PM mt

Elder Ronald T. Halverson Emeritus General Authority Dies at Age 80



Sister Halverson called her husband an excellent leader. He makes decisions well, and even better than that, he makes his decisions work, she told the Church News. He sees to the heart of a problem and has a real ability to zero in on the solution and go straight for it.Elder Halverson served a full-time mission to Norway, received an associates degree in political science and history, and studied at the University of Utah. He married Linda Jensen on October 13, 1960, in the Salt Lake Temple. They had five children.Elder Halverson served in many capacities in community and state government, including in the Utah House of Representatives (19661978), where he was majority whip and majority leader, and Utah State Senate (19781982). He also served on the Board of Trustees for Weber State University and as the Utah State Building Board Chairman, according to his obituary.Elder Halverson credited his strong work ethic to his parents.Elder Halverson served as a General Authority Seventy from 1998 to 2006, after serving as an Area Authority and Area Seventy from 1995 to 1998, as president of the Norway Oslo Mission from 1990 to 1993, and as a regional representative.When Elder Halverson was 10 years old, his father bought a farm in Weber County in northern Utah. He built a home and we had cows and horses and chickens and pigs. Dads idea was, I will keep my boys out of trouble because theyll work, he said in a May 9, 1998, Church News article.Elder Halverson is survived by his wife, Linda, their five children, 15 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 1, at 11:00 a.m. at the Ogden Utah Weber Stake Center.Born on December 18, 1936, in Ogden, Utah, to Marlowe and Hilda Tomlinson Halverson, Elder Halverson dedicated his life to his family, the community, and the Church.Elder Halverson, a plumbing contractor and former president of Halverson Mechanical Inc., had a deep love for horses. In 1998, Sister Halverson said, He is still the happiest when he has his cowboy boots on. When hes on a horse, thats his heaven.Elder Halverson told the Church News in 1998 that he was surprised to receive his call as a General Authority. Out of all the wonderful, qualified people in the Church, I kept saying to myself, why me? When the reality of it set in, I had a knot in my stomach for a full month, wondering if I could measure up and do what the Lord asks. The only time I found peace was finally saying, If this is what the Lord wants, Ill just have to rely on Him.Elder Ronald T. Halverson, an emeritus General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Friday, February 24, at his home in Ogden, Utah. He was 80 years old.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Monday February 27, 2017 @ 02:54:49 PM mt

Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo Believes Keeping His Covenants Has Brought Him Success



Each Sunday he puts to use the language skills he learned as a Spanish-speaking missionary in California, serving as the high councilor in Annapoliss Spanish-language branch. Sister Niumatalolo works in the Primary.Im very proud to be the head football coach at the U.S. Naval Academy. Its a great responsibility and I love the job, but its not the most important thing. Number one is being a husband and a father.You read that rightthe Niumatalolos are a mixed-Cougar/Ute family. There will be red and blue on both sides of the dinner table, laughed the coach.Hanging on an inside wall is a large photo of smiling midshipmen at the White House receiving the Commander-in-Chiefs Trophy from, well, then commander-in-chief, Barack Obama.A multilevel shelf behind the coachs desk is lined with commemorative football helmets, Army-Navy game balls, and fist-sized reproductions of Navy bowl rings. A multilayered shelf in Navy coach Ken Niumatalolos office is adorned with football helmets and other memorabilia reflective of his success at the U.S. service academy in Annapolis. Photo by Jason Swensen.I came very closeI was very interested. Thats why I went for an interview, he said.Annapolis Maryland Stake President John Jackson said the coachlike any good Navy manadroitly navigates the demands of his profession and the duties of his faith.Ultimately, he added, things worked out for the best.A coach in demandA coachs daily remindersJust dont ever question Coach Niumatalolos competitive juice. The man loves to win football games. Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo looks over the many LDS-themed items and images on his desk in his Annapolis office. Photo by Jason Swensen.Coach Niumatalolo is comfortable with any and all of those answers. At age 51 and almost a decade into his head coaching tenure at Navy, hes never felt a need to compartmentalize his professional, family, cultural, and religious identities.Such burdens, he said, almost forced me out of the profession.Its been a rewarding calling for both of us, he said.All of the leadership principles that I know are principles I learned in churchthose things like working in a priesthood quorum and learning how to lead like the Savior leads.So how close did he come to leaving Annapolis for Provo?Counted among his personal mementos are portrayals of Christ and the Book of Mormons Captain Moroni, a CTR logo, and a quote about curbing ones anger from President Gordon B. Hinckley. A copy of a general conference talk about the priesthood from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, rests under a paperweight. And theres also a recently published compilation of writings from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.Stay true to your covenants and values. Do that and youll be fine.The Mormon-themed quotes and imagery help keep him grounded during the most harried moments of a college football season.I keep these things in my office so I never forget who I am, he said.The post-film years have been eventful for the entire family. Daughter Alexcia is a flight attendant living in Hawaii. Son Vaa is a linebacker at BYU preparing for his senior season. He and his wife, Kenzie, are expecting a baby this summer. Coach Ken will soon be a grandpa.Hes proud of the growing number of fellow Latter-day Saints enjoying success in the college coaching ranks. When a visitor asks what time-earned counsel he would share with them, he pauses for a moment before offering a humble response:But leaving Navy for another coaching position, he explained, would have to work out on both sides, for them and for me. Im not going to jump just to jump. I have a great job. I work at a great place. I coach great kids and I make more money than I ever thought I would make.And a full-length window offers a broad view of the Spa Creek Inlet. The founders of the U.S. Naval Academy, back in 1845, didnt select its locale to attract star high school defensive ends and quarterbacksbut its an enticing site just the same.The coachs scandal-free success at Navy has earned him high regard as a leader. Hes sought out to speak at business conferences, coaching clinics, and youth gatherings.As the head football coach at a highly visible U.S. service academy, Coach Niumatalolo recruits athletes from many backgrounds. Each day he works alongside people who practice a variety of religious traditionsor none at all. A coach in his position might be understandably reluctant to be so open about his or her convictions.But the wins, the bowl games, the awards, and, yes, the lofty paycheck remain secondary elements of his life.Meanwhile, youngest son Alii served a mission to Chile and is enrolled at the University of Utah, where hell play football.Life outside the gridironI had a really good talk with the people at BYU, he said. [Athletic director] Tom Holmoe is a good man and they are good people. But in the end, they had to feel right and I had to feel right. It had to be right on both sides. U.S. Naval Academy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo speaks at the White House during a presentation of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. President Barack Obama stands at left. Photo by Phil Hoffman.Now back to Coach Niumatalolos desktop.But its the smaller items atop Niumatalolos desk that are most important to Navys all-time winningest football coach.It was a good movie, he said. Its whole premise was to show people what our faith was about. Were just normal people living in different countries and places and making a living in different ways.The work of a college football coach is never done. Theres always more game film to watch, more plays to scheme, and more athletes to recruit. Still, Coach Niumatalolo continues to make time for his Church duties.ANNAPOLIS, MARYLANDNavy football coach Ken Niumatalolos spacious office likely leaves even the most jaded recruit a bit noodle-kneed.Weve been very successful, he said. But I know where my success comes from. It comes from being obedient and honoring my covenants. The Lord has blessed me, and Im not ashamed to say that.But as a head coach, hes been able to strike a football-family-faith balance that works. The hours are still longI get to the office at 3 or 4 in the morningbut hes home in time for supper.Winning at Navy has not gone unnoticed. Several schools have courted Coach Niumatalolo in recent yearsincluding BYU when its head coaching job became available before last season.He remains appreciative of BYUs interest.Meet the Mormons introduced a global audience to the Niumatalolos. They were filmed having fun together at home, worshipping at church, and, of course, gathering at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for Navy football games.I dont force my beliefs on anyone, but this is how I believe, he said. If you believe differently, I respect your beliefs. I would just hope that people would give me the same benefit to allow me to believe how I believe. Its what makes our country greatto be able to worship how we want.His workday begins with a few minutes of study from the scriptures. Then he prays for guidance on how to lead his team.Like most people, Ken Niumatalolo deals with a daily time deficit. There are simply not enough minutes in the day to do all he wants. So, following the counsel of Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he determines whats good, whats better, and whats best. Then he focuses his attention on the best.But Coach Niumatalolo has never second guessed appearing in the film.The members of the Spa Creek Branch, he added, sincerely love the Niumatalolos.Meet the Mormons was a life changer for him and his wife, Barbara, and their three childrenAlexcia, Vaa, and Alii. More people saw the film than he could have imagined. Hes still stopped at airports by passengers who recognize him as the football guy from the Mormon flick.

  • For college football fans, hes one of the games top dogs. Hes the two-time American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and a frequent finalist for national coach of the year awards. The former college quarterback has guided the Midshipmen to football heights once thought unreachable for modern-day service academies.
  • For Brigham Young University fans, hes the guy who was oh-so-close to being their head coach after Bronco Mendenhall stepped away at the end of the 2015 season.
  • For members of the Spanish-language Spa Creek LDS Branch, hesHermanoNiumatalolo, the high council representative from the Annapolis Maryland Stake.
  • And for legions worldwide who viewed the 2014 Church-produced documentary Meet the Mormons, hes the fiery football coach/family man who battles rival college teams on Saturdaysthen serves humbly in his local congregation on Sundays.
  • In any job that Kens done, hes put the Lord first, said President Jackson. Everything else just seems to fall into place.Kalani Sitake obviously had a good yearhes doing a really good job.As head coach, hes led Navy to five Commander-in-Chiefs Trophies awarded each season to the top service academy team in the nation. He beat rival Army eight straight years before dropping last years game to the Black Knights. And last season his Midshipmen defeated storied Notre Dame for the third time under his watch.He doesnt work Sundays.So who is Ken Niumatalolo? The answer depends on whom you ask.Prayerful time management has kept Coach Niumatalolo in the college coaching business. As a young assistant, intent on establishing his bonafides, he usually left home for the football office when his children were still asleep. When he returned late that evening the kids were already in bed.

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    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
    Monday February 27, 2017 @ 05:01:07 AM mt

    Councils Follow Heavenly Pattern Say Leaders in Roundtable Discussion



    We all bring all our experiences. That is the value of a council, she said.Sister Jones said councils can be a blessing to families. Councils protect those very precious relationships, she said. I love the idea of councils assisting children in helping them to feel their worth and understand their divine identity. Hopefully because the Spirit has been invited to a family council, the children are being listened to, they are being asked questions, they are being included and feel a part of their family. I am grateful for the potential of family councils to bless children. Church leaders say that all council members should come prepared, participate, and then take action after the meeting.Also participating in the roundtable discussion were Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President; Elder Larry J. Echo Hawk, Assistant Executive Director of the Correlation Department; Elder Bradley D. Foster, Executive Director of the Family History Department; Elder Robert C. Gay, Executive Director of Self-Reliance Services; Elder Christoffel Golden, Executive Director of the Priesthood and Family Department; Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President; Elder Jrg Klebingat, Assistant Executive Director of the Temple Department; Elder Brent H. Nielson, Executive Director of the Missionary Department; and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric.Sister Burton said as Church members participate in councils they put forth their best thinking and work together to determine the will of the Lord. This is His work, she said. Councils serve to help determine His will in His work.He said Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President, has been a great addition to the Missionary Executive Councilespecially with the recent increase in the number of sister missionaries.Sister Jones said, A sister recently approached me and asked, Do the Brethren really listen to you? She said, I need to know. Do they let you talk and do they really listen?Heavenly patternMembers should not rush through councils, Elder Nielson said. We are actually looking to heaven to get answers, and we wait until those answers come. We dont act out of haste. We let the Lord help us know what the timeline is.At a member level you bring members together into small groups, which are like councils, where we ask them to mentor one another on how to make improvements, he said. They work together.And council participants should never forget the So what? question at the end, he said. We just met for two hours. What are we going to do? The understanding of what we do outside the council is really what the Lord is interested in.Looking to heavenPreparation, actionI have been very fascinated to watch Elder Oaks, who wont make a decision until he has heard from everyone in the council, even when it appears to me to be a very simple issue that could be decided now. If it is not right in Elder Oakss mind, if we havent vetted all the issues, he will delay it for weeks and sometimes months, until everyone is comfortable and the council feels like the heavens have opened, that revelation has been received, and this isnt just our best judgment speaking.But in order to be successful, councils must focus on the right questions, Elder Golden said.One size doesnt fit all.There is an evolution in the Church, and more people are beginning to better understand what councils really are, said Elder Golden.Quoting President Ezra Taft Bensons April 1979 general conference address, Elder Perkins said, I mention family councils because of our consistent emphasis on family unity and family solidarity; by encouraging parents to hold family councils, we imitate in our homes the heavenly pattern.In recent years, Church members have turned their focus to councils as leaders have reemphasized family councils, general women leaders have begun participating on general Church councils, general training has refocused the purpose of stake and ward councils, and members worldwide have been asked to participate in monthly teacher councils.Much of the work with this project was accomplished through the council system, he explained. Brother Tad R. Callister, Sunday School General President, conducts a teacher training council during the worldwide broadcast on teaching in the Savior's way originating from Salt Lake City November 5, 2016.Our Heavenly Father operates through councils. We all participated in one, said Elder Perkins, speaking of the Council in Heaven.As Latter-day Saints participate in Church and family councils, they are engaging in a heavenly pattern, said Elder Anthony D. Perkins, a General Authority Seventy.He said a good leader at a council wont talk but will provide an opportunity for everyone else to speak in a safe environment.Elder Nielson said one of the biggest frustrations people have is feeling like they are not heard. A council allows everyone to be heard.It is great to share these potent ideas with members of the council as to what works for us individually, but we should take care to share these ideas in a manner that lets others know that the Spirit of the Lord allows for a variety of ways to counsel and to do His work.Elder Perkins said councils are the genius of Church government. The world operates with one man or one woman in charge of the organization. They decide what to do, he said. Governance by councils is learning how the Lord operates. He doesnt operate by compulsion, He allows agency. I think councils help us understand our Heavenly Parents better.I said, I have never been in a council setting where I was more listened to, more respected, or more encouraged than in the councils of the Church. She cried. I thought, What experiences have led her to ask that question?Every Area Presidency sits down with the Presiding Bishopric every six months to discuss all the affairs that we have in common, explained Bishop Waddell. We counsel together to build the Lords kingdom and see what we can do to assist one another and to agree upon His word. Wards and branches now hold monthly teacher council meetings in which teachers can counsel together and study the manual Teaching in the Savior's Way. A council allows everyone to be heard and opens hearts and minds for revelation to flow.I have a statement that says, When you tell someone what to do you are telling them to become like you, to act like you, to reason and think like you. When you let them counsel together, they can decide who and what they want to become.In councils, leaders are able to blend the temporal with the spiritual and determine the Lords will. It all has to do with building the Lords kingdom and blessing lives, he said. A family in Norway participates in a family council.We also need to go prepared to listen to the Spirit, added Sister Jones.Quoting Doctrine and Covenants 42:3, Sister Burton said in councils members assemble together as an act of faith.Speaking of the worldwide training broadcast on teaching in the Savior's way, during which general leaders and others demonstrated the pattern of a council, Sister Burton said the strength of that group was the differences we brought to the table.Individually we will often make mistakes, said Bishop Waddell. In councils we rarely make mistakes.The Lord has commanded Latter-day Saints to assemble yourselves together to agree upon my word (D&C 41:2), said Bishop Waddell.Elder Perkins, Executive Director of the Communication Services Committee, joined other General Authorities and General Officers of the Church on December 6 to discuss general, mission, stake, ward, teacher, and family councils.Elder Klebingat said Church members often feel that their presence at ward and stake council meetings is enough to fulfill their calling. However, council members should come prepared, participate, and then take action after the meeting. I was given the reminder that what happens before and after the council is actually as important as what happens in the council.Elder Golden said it is very healthy, when participating in a council, to say, There are many ways in which the Lord can accomplish His work. Often, it is going to look a little different for everyone.Elder Nielson said he has learned much about councils from serving on the Missionary Executive Council, chaired by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.The Church is governed by keys and councils, said Elder Gay. In councils you gather input and then work together to come to unanimous consensus. In councils both men and women participate in every level of the Church.It is interesting to bring individuals together on councils who have different responsibilities. Some of those responsibilities may be temporal; some may be ecclesiastical.Elder Foster said when members think about the councils in the Church, from the Council of the First Presidency, clear down, they understand the Lord has designed councils and quorums to govern His Church. It is not only to get the work done, but it is also to exalt His people as well, he said. When people experience what a real council is, when everyone is engaged, revelation flows.In monthly teacher council meetings, she continued, the new convert who can share what he is learning will bring a different perspective to the table than an experienced teacher.Unanimous consensusSister Jones recommended using a basket for gathering electronic devices. Digital devices can interrupt a council, she said. It is a sacred time. It needs to be looked at as a sacred time, a revelatory opportunity.Elder Gay said the Church uses councils in how leaders administer self-reliance services and how they help members improve their lives. Self-reliance is discussed in the Council of the Presiding Bishopric in the Executive Welfare Council and with the Relief Society.Elder Echo Hawk, who has responsibilities in Church Correlation, said one of his recent assignments involves the new Book of Mormon videos project. The Bible Videos were enormously successful, he said. Now, the keystone of our religion, the Book of Mormon, is ready to go forward and has been approved to produce similar videos. That means a lot of departments in the Church have to be involved.Children need to understand their voice is important. Councils are most effective when everyone is listening, when everyone is talking, when everyone is participating, and when every voice is heard.I have had some different experiences than some of the Brethren, she said. I can bring my mother hat, I can bring my grandmother hat, I can bring my Primary president hat. What I have learned in my family roles and Church callings is what I bring to contribute to the council.Sister Burton said it has become easier for her to speak up as a member of the Priesthood and Family Executive Council because I can see I have a role to play.

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    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
    Monday February 27, 2017 @ 05:01:06 AM mt

    FamilySearchs 52Stories Project Can Help You Write Your Family History in 2017



    President Spencer W. Kimball emphasized that recording and sharing glimpses of your life and your ancestors lives is an invaluable aspect of building strong families. People often use the excuse that their lives are uneventful and nobody would be interested in what they have done. But I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations, he said (Hold Fast to the Iron Rod, Oct. 1978 general conference).

    Family stories help build individual identity in children and childrens children. These stories allow you to preserve and share the story of your life and your ancestors lives, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed bleak, and your rejoicing when you finally achieved your goals.Januarys theme is goals and achievements. Sample questions include:

    Choose from 12 different questions for each theme. Answer one or all 12.

    The result: at the end of 2017, you will have 52 stories about your life to enhance your personal history.The #52Stories project has divided the year into 12 themes, from Goals and Achievements to Education and School to Holidays and Traditions, providing 12 different questions for each theme. Thats a total of 144 questions, giving you plenty of options to choose from as you build your library of 52 stories. The questions are available for download in fun, colorful themed pages, and youll also see a different question highlighted each week on Instagram (@FamilySearch) and the FamilySearch Facebook page.FamilySearchs #52Stories project may provide just the help you need.

    Each week in 2017, FamilySearch will publish topic questions designed to trigger your memories. Simply focus on the topic and write a response. It doesnt matter if you write a few paragraphs, a single page, or several pages. You can write in a journal or in a document on your computer, or you can make a video or audio recording. The #52Stories project has divided the year into 12 themes, from Goals and Achievements to Education and School to Holidays and Traditions, providing 12 different questions for each theme. Each is easily downloadable.
  • What goals are you actively working toward right now?
  • What was the greatest achievement of your life?
  • What is something you taught yourself to do without help from anyone else?
  • What role has failure played in your efforts to achieve your goals?
  • If your New Years resolution is to write your personal history, you may be wondering where to start.Your 52 stories, or your ancestors stories, can also be shared for free in a FamilySearch Memories profile, preserving these stories for future posterity. FamilySearch will not make these stories public while the person is living but will make them available for future generations after the person is deceased.This 2017 personal history challenge, called the #52Stories project, is an expanded version of a similar, very successful challenge offered by FamilySearch four years ago, said Wendy Smedley, FamilySearch project manager for social media. This year, however, instead of having a list of only 52 questions, the writer can choose his or her 52 questions from a list of 144 questions.

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    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
    Monday February 27, 2017 @ 05:01:06 AM mt

    Elder Glen L. Rudd the Church's Mr. WelfareDies at Age 98



    Elder Glen L. Rudd is seen outside the Church's Welfare Square, which he managed for 25 years. Elder Rudd, who served in a variety of ecclesiastical dutiesincluding bishop, temple, and mission president and General Authoritydied December 30, 2016. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

    Funeral services for Elder Rudd are planned for Wednesday, January 4, at noon at the Salt Lake Wilford Stake Center, 1765 East 3080 South, Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Elder Glen L. Rudd is part of a 2012 tour of the Utah Bishops' Central Storehouse along with the Presiding Bishopric at that time: Gary E. Stevenson, Gerald Causs, and Dean M. Davies; Terry Oakes, managing director of the Welfare Department; and Richard Humpherys, storehouse manager.

    Countless bishops, branch presidents, and Relief Society presidents learned key principles of provident living from his seminal book Pure Religion, the Story of Church Welfare Since 1930.The stake built a storehouse in 1932 under the direction of stake president Harold B. Lee, the future Apostle and Church President who would become a key welfare mentor for Elder Rudd. The Rudd family were in the poultry business and donated thousands of pounds of chicken to the stake storehouse. Young Glen learned early the importance of provident living and care for those in need.Elder Rudd left a deep footprint on the Church's welfare program. Besides managing Welfare Square, he served 35 years on the Church's General Welfare Committee. He maintained an office at the Church Office Building until he was 95.In 1938, he was called to missionary service in New Zealand, where he served as secretary and traveling companion to President Matthew Cowley, who would later be called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.Glen Rudd attended the University of Utah and then went to work in the family poultry business.In a 2007 personal letter, President Gordon B. Hinckley noted, No one knows the history of the welfare program more thoroughly than do you.Called as a bishop at the age of 25, Elder Rudd fulfilled a variety of Church callings. He presided over missions in Florida, New Zealand, and Texas and served as the president of the New Zealand Temple. He would serve for six years as a Regional Representative before being called to the Seventy in 1987.Born in 1918 to Charles and Gladys Harman Rudd, Glen Rudd was raised in a Salt Lake City neighborhood laid low by the economy. When the Great Depression hit, it hit our Pioneer Stake hard, he said in a 2012 Church News interview.Glen Rudd had natural common sense and a quick sense of humor, said LDS welfare specialist Wade Sperry a short time after learning of Elder Rudd's death. He was genuine and made everyday people a priority. I admired his candidness and humility. As a mentor, he showed me how eternal perspective brings quality to life every day.His life was defined by his service to othersparticularly those who needed a helping hand and a loyal friend. He was a devoted Church employee, a beloved mission and temple president, an influential General Authority, and a trusted friend to several Church Presidents, including President Thomas S. Monson.He would also guide and influence multiple generations of welfare workers.In 1953, he was called by Elder Harold B. Lee to serve as the manager of Welfare Square. The job, he would say later, didn't pay much money. But when Brother Lee spoke I jumped.His assignments would take him across the world to some 900 stake, regional, and area conferences. Elder Glen R. Rudd, who died December 30, 2016, spoke during the dedication of the new Deseret Mill and Pasta plant in Kaysville, Utah, February 26, 2015. Elder Rudd has seen the welfare program develop into a resource that has touched tens of thousands of lives around the world.He would return home and marry Marva Sperry, who preceded him in death. The Rudds are parents of eight children and have 41 grandchildren and more than 70 great-grandchildren.

    Elder Glen L. Rudd, left, who died December 30, 2016, and President Thomas S. Monson were longtime friends who grew up in the same Salt Lake City stake. Photo courtesy of the Rudd family.

    Elder Glen L. Rudd, an emeritus General Authority Seventy and the Church's so-called Mr. Welfare, died Friday, December 30. He was 98.

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    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
    Monday February 27, 2017 @ 05:00:53 AM mt

    Elder Oaks Urges All Church Members to Defend Religious Freedom



    The most important Church doctrine being currently attacked is our practice and reliance on the traditional man-woman marriage and family, Elder Oaks said. The family proclamation begins with the declaration that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creators plan for the eternal destiny of His children.Weve left too much to the courts, he said. We the people must do the hard work in defense of religious freedom in order to form a more perfect union today.He explained that core principles of Church doctrine, such as those identified in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, are divinely given doctrine of the restored Church and cannot be changed.Dr. Jaswant Singh Sachdev, who represents the Sikh religion on the Arizona Interfaith Movement, was one of many belonging to other religions who attend the conference. He said after the meeting that it was one of the best conferences of its kind that he had attended and he would like to see more of them to help people better understand each others beliefs.There are many political, legal, and social pressures for changes that deemphasize the importance or change the definition of marriage, confuse gender, or homogenize the differences between men and women that are essential to accomplish Gods great plan, he said. Our eternal perspective sets us against such changes.Under Examples are videos and information on Everyday Conversations: Creating Mutual Respect in Heated Conversations and Religion in Public Schools: 7 Religious Things You Can Still Do.He added, To achieve these goals, we must have mutual respect and Christian love toward others whose beliefs, values, and behaviors differ from our own.Whatever our differences, most of us want to live together in happiness and harmony, with goodwill toward all, he said. We want effective ways to resolve differences without anger or contention and with mutual understanding and accommodation. We all lose in an atmosphere of hostility or contention. We should encourage all to refrain from the common practice of labeling adversaries with such epithets as godless or bigot. We all lose when debates on ideas and policies turn into personal attacks, boycotts, firings, and other intimidation of adversaries.Under the FAQs section, answers to important and current questions can be found, such as Isnt protecting religious freedom just an excuse for discrimination? and Wont people call me a bigot if I dont support their beliefs?He said when the proclamation was presented by President Gordon B. Hinckley in 1995, many Church members questioned why such an official pronouncement of commonly accepted beliefs was necessary. Today, we see the hand of the Lord in identifying our doctrine in clear terms, Elder Oaks said.Elder Keetch, who conducted the meeting, said the purpose of the Religious Freedom Conference was to assist Church members in understanding the role they can and should play in defense of basic constitutional rights.There was also a presentation by two religious liberty lawyers, Hannah Smith and Alexander Dushku. They showed the Churchs new web page, religiousfreedom.lds.org, which features videos and information that defines religious freedom and what can be done to protect it.Elder Oaks said, Notwithstanding opposition, the Lord Jesus Christ commands His followers to show love and seek peace.Joseph Smith said, It is a love of liberty which inspires my soulcivil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race.Dr. Sachdev said of the message, I believe we can find ways to live in harmony.Those participating in the conference reminded audience members of the need for civility and understanding when discussing and defending religious freedom and dearly held personal beliefs.One of the most important things you can do is to be an example of the believers, Sister Smith said.I hope, as members of the Church, she said, we would be the first to stand up for religious freedom for all people.TEMPE, ARIZONAThe presenters also took questions submitted by audience members and talked about how to speak up with courage and civility.It was a product of hard work, he said. It requires us to do hard work as citizens to protect it.

    Elder Lance B. Wickman, general counsel of the Church and an emeritus General Authority Seventy, speaks about the hard work of citizenship January 21 in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Scott P. Adair.

    The leadership and membership of the Church of Jesus Christ are irrevocably committed to the principle and preservation of religious freedom because it is necessary for the divine plan for mortals to exercise their agency to make the choices necessary to progress toward eternal life, said Elder Oaks. In furtherance of what we believe to be the inspiration of God, our national and state constitutions guarantee the free exercise of religion by forbidding government laws or actions to restrict it. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets special guests in a reception following a conference on religious freedom in Tempe, Arizona, January 21. Photo by Scott P. Adair.Speaking prior to Elder Oaks was Elder Von G. Keetch, General Authority Seventy, and Elder Lance B. Wickman, general counsel of the Church and an emeritus General Authority Seventy. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addresses more than 1,100 in attendance at the Tempe Institute of Religion at Arizona State University January 21, and thousands more at 81 stake centers in Arizona. Photo by Scott P. Adair.For example, under Get Involved at the top right of the web page are 10 Ways to Protect Religious Freedom and Seven Keys to Successful Conversations. More than 1,100 were in attendance at the Tempe Institute of Religion at Arizona State University January 21, and thousands more, ages 16 and older, viewed a live broadcast of the religious freedom event at 81 stake centers in Arizona. Photo by Scott P. Adair.Elder Wickman spoke of the creation of the U.S. Constitution by those who labored extensively to form a more perfect union.

    Elder Von G. Keetch, General Authority Seventy, speaks at a religious freedom event in Tempe, Arizona, January 21. Photo by Scott P. Adair.

    Urging all Church members to take a stand in defense of religious freedom, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church officials addressed more than 1,100 people at the Tempe Institute of Religion at Arizona State University on January 21. Over 11,000 more, age 16 and older, viewed a live broadcast of the event at 81 stake centers in Arizona. Hannah Smith and Alexander Dushku show the Churchs new web page religiousfreedom.lds.org. Anyone can defend religious beliefs, they said. Photo by Scott P. Adair.We should stand where we are and do the very best we can when a religious liberty fire erupts, he said, referring to a story he told of a volunteer firefighter who left his post briefly and returned to a raging fire in a building he was assigned to protect.She also quoted the Churchs eleventh article of faith: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.Religious freedom is definitely under fire, he said. There will be serious challenges ahead.She also recognized members of other faiths who were in the audience and pointed out a doctrinal perspective from Church history when the Prophet Joseph Smith said that he was just as willing to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good person of any denomination because he realized that the same principles that would trample upon the rights of those other faiths would be used to trample on the rights of Church members.He said he was taking away that thought shared by Elder Oaks when he used the metaphor of a two-sided coin: Love of others and tolerance for their opinions and behavior is only one side of a two-sided coin, Elder Oaks said. The other side is always what is true or right. One of these sides cannot govern without consciousness of the other. Those who question why the Church does something they consider contrary to love overlook the companion requirement of truth.

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets special guests in a reception following a religious freedom conference in Tempe, Arizona, January 21.

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    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
    Monday February 27, 2017 @ 05:00:52 AM mt

    Teaching Next Sunday Heres a New Media App to Help



    Have you ever taught a Sunday lesson and the Church video you selected wont stream because the Wi-Fi connection is poor? Now there is a solution for that.Unique featuresHave you ever wanted to share just a portion of a general conference talk or hymn? The LDS Media Library app has a unique feature that allows members to trim videos or songs to the exact clip they would like to show.The LDS Media Library app for iOS and Android can be downloaded at the App Store or Google Play. The app is available in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, although currently only English content is available. In the next month or so, Spanish and Portuguese content will be added. Additional languages and media in different languages will be added throughout the year.The app allows you to browse by topic and add the media to your playlists for easy use during lessons. You can also shift the content in the playlists and even add presenter notes. This media can easily be shared through email or social media.Feel free to give feedback to ldsmedalibrary@ldschurch.org about how the app is working for you!A solution for poor internet connectionWe want it to be a useful tool, so let us know what is working, what is not, and what would make it better, said Sister Jennings. Our job is to make it easy for members to find, use, and share Church media.

    Create playlists to organize your media.

    Accessing media in Church buildings is very difficult, she said. There was a need for people to be able to download media and present it in offline situations.

    Trim videos to show a specific clip.

    Where can I download it?Another planned feature includes adding pictures and videos from your camera roll. This gives you the opportunity to share personal experiences using your own media. According to Marianne Jennings, LDS Media Library product manager, the app was created as a solution to members' problems with streaming Church media during lessons due to a poor or overloaded connection to Wi-Fi.The Churchs new LDS Media Library app makes it easier for you to plan lessons, teach, and share Church media. The app includes videos, images, and music from the Churchs largest selection of media content on the LDS Media Library website. While this initial launch is a basic release with limited content, the app will eventually have all the material that is available on the LDS Media Library website.In the coming months, the app will include the ability to add text slides to your presentation, such as scriptures and quotes, integrated from the Gospel Library app.For a step-by-step user guide for the app, visit the LDS Media Library App landing page.Future plansThe LDS Media Library app allows you to automatically download your media ahead of time so that internet connection will not be a problem. Its a simple way to use media in Sunday lessons, family home evenings, or missionary discussions, no matter where you are.If you have access to Chromecast or Apple TV, you can also cast your playlist to a larger screen so the class doesnt have to huddle around your small device.

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    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
    Monday February 27, 2017 @ 05:00:52 AM mt

    John W. Welch Honored for Religious Scholarly Work



    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIAThe Widtsoe Foundation has announced its goal to fund a chair in Mormon Studies at USC within the USC School of Religion.Brother Welch is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School. He is a graduate of Duke Law School and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Oxford University. He practiced law in Los Angeles with OMelveny & Meyers and founded the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS). Brother Welch joined the BYU law faculty 1980 and served as an editor for Macmillans Encyclopedia of Mormonism.Larry L. Eastland, chairman and president of the Widtsoe Foundation, said Professor Welch is one of the leading Mormon scholars of the 21st century. When you look at the breadth and depth of Jacks prolific writings on scriptural and Mormon theological topics, his pioneering work in establishing renowned global foundations, his academic coursework, his appointments to prestigious and well-known national and international societies, conferences, and institutes, the Widtsoe Foundation is honored to name him our first Distinguished Scholar in Residence.

    John W. Jack Welch. Photo courtesy of BYU Photo.

    Varun Soni, dean of religious life at USC, said Professor Welchs training in law at Duke, his classical studies at Oxford, as well as his scholarly work within the LDS faith will bring a unique perspective to our religious life forums. I also anticipate many rich and rewarding dialogues will take place with interfaith council members, faculty, and students generating thoughtful exchanges and learning moments. We are honored to have a scholar of Professor Welchs stature at USC.The designation recognizes Brother Welchs prolific scholarship spanning 40 years in law, classical languages, and biblical and scriptural commentary and his contributions to Mormon studies and Mormon history. While at USC and the foundation, Brother Welch will be a guest lecturer in the classroom, participate in interfaith conversations with campus-based religious leaders, engage in research and writing, direct foundation initiatives, and be a featured speaker at LDS devotionals and community gatherings in Southern California.In a joint announcement, the University of Southern Californias Office of Religious Life and the John A. Widtsoe Foundation have named Brigham Young University law professor John W. Jack Welch the Distinguished Scholar in Residence, where he will be guest lecturing and directing research for the spring 2017 semester beginning this month.

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    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
    Monday February 27, 2017 @ 05:00:52 AM mt

    Sister Oscarson Says Booklet Can Help Missionaries Deal with Stress



    She said missionaries experience major changes in their lives. They are expected to step out of their comfort zones, talk to complete strangers, and learn to live with a companion they didnt choose24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will experience rejection and at times feel discouraged. With these changes in their lives, there will almost always be some stress.Sister Oscarson, Young Women General President, was one of several speakers at the annual three-day seminar for the departing leaders and their wives.Leaders can help them discover how to reduce stress, Sister Oscarson suggested. We may simply need to remind them they already have many of the tools available to them which will be helpful in handling the stress they may be experiencing as they adjust to being a missionary. Among them are prayer, the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, their companion, work, their leaders, conference talks, this booklet, and you!PROVO, UTAHChallenges in adjusting to missionary life are real and need to be acknowledged, said Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson as she spoke to new MTC presidents and visitors center directors January 11 about the resource booklet Adjusting to Missionary Life.They have righteous desires to serve the Lord and they have strong testimonies. But theyre also just like most of us and will at times experience challenges and strugglesespecially in the first few weeks and months of their missions as they adjust to missionary life.For example, the book directs missionaries to take things one step at a time, not set too many personal goals all at once, and not expect perfection, she said. Sister Bonnie Oscarson, Young Women General President, speaks at the 2017 Seminar for New MTC Presidents and Visitors Center Directors. Her presentation was on the resource booklet Adjusting to Missionary Life.You will soon be meeting the actual missionaries who will be coming into your MTC or serving in your visitors centers, said Sister Oscarson, who at the age of 25 was called to serve with her husband, Paul, as he presided over the Sweden Gteborg Mission. Sister Bonnie Oscarson speaks at the 2017 Seminar for New MTC Presidents and Visitors Center Directors. Her presentation was on the resource booklet Adjusting to Missionary Life.She showed a video clip featuring a sister missionary, Rachel Condie, who told of a particularly stressful and disappointing day she and her companion experienced. Her district leader referred her to a passage in the booklet that recommended lying on the floor, being still, and breathing. The technique worked for both Sister Condie and her companion as they tried it for 60 seconds and found their stress reduced thereby.Many times, physical problems among missionaries result from emotional stress, Sister Oscarson noted. Your MTC will have access to professionals with a medical background who can be called upon to help you evaluate which cases require more serious medical care and which seem to be a result of anxiety, stress, or homesickness. We encourage you to be very familiar with the information in this book.

    Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General
    President.

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