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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Saturday November 18, 2017 @ 01:09:48 AM mt

Coverage of the October 2017 General Conference General Womens Session



She shared five things women can do to play our part in the building of the kingdom on the earth: be righteous, articulate, different, distinct, and happy.President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, encouraged LDS women to find joy.Lets not be confused about who we are, said Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President. While it is often easier to be spiritually passive than it is to put forth the spiritual effort to remember and embrace our divine identity, we cannot afford that indulgence in these latter days.Sister Eubank reminded listeners that there is an energy that comes from happiness and optimism that blesses and builds everyone around them.A matter of lasting value to the Father is that we learn of Him, humble ourselves, and grow in obedience to Him through earthly experiences, she said. He wants us to change our selfishness into service, our fears into faith. These lasting matters can test us to our core. It is now, with our mortal limitations, that the Father asks us to love when loving is most difficult, to serve when serving is inconvenient, to forgive when forgiving is soul stretching. Attendees line up in the rain for the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Attendees line up in the rain for the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.If the love we feel for the Savior and what He did for us is greater than the energy we give to weaknesses, self-doubts, or bad habits, then He will help us overcome the things which cause suffering in our lives, said Sister Jones. He saves us from ourselves.Sister Sharon EubankThe meeting was translated into 90 languages and broadcast via television, radio, satellite, and the internet across the world.The prophets are calling on us, my sisters. Will you be righteous? Will you articulate your faith? Can you bear being distinct and different? Will your happiness in spite of your trials draw others who are good and noble and who need your friendship? Will you turn on your light? I testify that the Lord Jesus Christ will go before us and be in our midst. (Watch Sister Eubanks full talk.)When women truly know they are a daughter of God, it will affect every aspect of their life and guide them to service, she said.President Dieter F. UchtdorfSister Joy D. JonesSister Jones said no matter what, Gods children always have worth in His eyes.I appeal to each of you to put yourself in a place where you can feel the generous love God has for you, she said. You cannot put yourself beyond the reach of that love. When you feel His love, when you love Him, you will repent and keep His commandments. When you keep His commandments, He can use you in His work. His work and glory is the exaltation and eternal life of women and men. A combined Summit and Wasatch County choir sings during the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Sister Marriott recognized that challenges can pull a person off their course of happiness, that is, if they allow trials to distract them instead of sending them to their knees.

Sister Neill F. Marriott , Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, speaks during the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Attendees line up in the rain for the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Thousands gathered in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on September 23 for the general womens session of the Churchs 187th Semiannual General Conference.Dear sisters, dear friends, if you find it difficult to hold fast to the iron rod and walk steadfastly toward salvation, if the laughter and ridicule of others who seem so confident cause you to waver, if you are troubled by unanswered questions or doctrines you dont understand yet, if you feel saddened because of disappointments, I urge you to remember Lehis dream, he said. Stay on the path! Never let go of the rod of ironthe word of God! And when anyone tries to make you ashamed for partaking of the love of God, ignore them. Never forget, you are a child of God.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, speaks during the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

This living water will begin to fill us, and brimming with His love, we can tip the pitcher of our soul and share its contents with others who thirst for healing, hope, and belonging. As our inner vessel comes clean, our earthly relationships begin to heal. (Watch Sister Marriotts full talk.)Sister Neill F. MarriottHow? How will we do it? We earnestly reach for Heavenly Fathers help, in the name of His Son, and do things His way instead of pridefully asserting our own will.President Uchtdorf said the promises of praise and acceptance by the world are unreliable, untrue, and unsatisfying. In contrast, Gods promises are sure, true, and joyful. Attendees sing during the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President, speaks during the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

I pray that you will choose to lift up your voice and make your life a glorious symphony of praise, rejoicing in what the love of God, the wonders of His Church, and the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring to the world, he said.

Sister Sharon Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, speaks during the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

May we, as sisters, Be faithful in Christ; may Christ lift [us] up, and may his sufferings and death, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in [our minds] forever (Moroni 9:25). As the Savior lifts us to higher ground, we can see more clearly, not only who we are, but that we are closer to Him than we ever imagined. (Watch Sister Joness full talk.)Sister Sharon Eubank of the Relief Society General Presidency said righteous women have a significant part to play in building the kingdom in the latter days.My beloved sisters, you can do this, President Uchtdorf said. I pray with all the affection of my soul that you will make the choice to press on toward the tree of life. I pray that you will choose to lift up your voice and make your life a glorious symphony of praise, rejoicing in what the love of God, the wonders of His Church, and the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring to the world. (Watch President Uchtdorf's full talk.)Sister Neill F. Marriott of the Young Women General Presidency asked women to continually deepen their knowledge of and obedience to God. Our relationship with Him is eternal, she said. We are His beloved children, and that will not change. A combined Summit and Wasatch County choir sings during the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Church leaders asked Latter-day Saint women to be joyful, righteous, and articulate; to deepen their knowledge of God; and to understand their identity as His daughters. Elder Jeffery R. Holland, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, and Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles sing during the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, sing during the general womens session of general conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Saturday November 18, 2017 @ 01:09:47 AM mt

Viewpoint: Look for the Good Then Be the Good



She was a large womaneverything about her was large: her voice, her smile, her personality, President Uchtdorf said. It wasnt easy for her to get around, but she always sang and laughed while she worked, and the sound of her laughter filled the house.Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed. Has anyones burden been lighter today because I was willing to share? Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? When they needed my help was I there?Over time, Eva made a surprising discovery: Great-Aunt Rose was quite possibly the happiest person she had ever known, President Uchtdorf explained.When the young woman got to her relatives house, she noticed everything in the home was oldold books, old trinkets, and even her great-aunt Rose was old. All she could see was how much she didnt want to be there.In the October 2015 womens session of general conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency shared the parable of A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose.Not only is it important to see the good in the world; it is important to take it one step further tobethe good.Great-Aunt Rose was able to see the good in her life. But more than just seeing the good, Great-Aunt Rose was able to be the good by helping others in her life.Amid destruction and much sadness, even victims left with no material possessions have been able to see the good in the world as they have worked side-by-side with others to clean up.BYU Broadcasting is an integrated media organization that inspires people to see, do, and be the good in the world by providing uplifting content, magnifying the university, engaging like-minded communities, and elevating ideals into action, the BYUtv website reads.Recently, after multiple tropical storms tore through the North Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea, countless numbers of peopleyoung and oldhave been displaced. In response to the destruction, Church members of all ages donning yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests havealongside community membersgathered, divided up, and set out to help people in need.In 2000, in an effort to create wholesome television programming, Brigham Young University founded BYUtv. Owned by the university and operated out of the Provo, Utah, campus, BYUtv has created original programming in an effort to produce quality entertainment for the entire family.After being away from her parents, home, and friends for some time, Eva began to notice her great-aunt Rose.Evas mother was scheduled to have surgery that involved a lengthy recovery, so her parents decided to send her to live with her relative for the summer. The story begins by introducing an 11-year-old girl named Eva, who absolutely, positively did not want to go and live with her great-aunt Rose. Not at all. No way.President David O. McKay made this statement: Mans greatest happiness comes from losing himself for the good of others.The networks tagline is see the good in the world.But how could that be? She had never married, had no children, had no one to keep her company, and had a hard time physically doing simple things.I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives, President Thomas S. Monson said in his October 2009 general conference address. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourishand in effect save their lives (What Have I Done for Someone Today?).In a time where it is easy to be critical of others, easy to approach the world with pessimism and negativity, and easier than ever to find filth at the touch of a button, it is good to remember the motto of BYUtvsee the good.May we have eyes to see the good in the world as we strive to live and serve as Jesus Christwho is the ultimate example of being the good.Even the house itself seemed lonely, President Uchtdorf said in his talk. It was out in the countryside, where the houses are far apart. No one Evas age lived within half a mile. That made Eva feel lonely too.Every night Rose would pull out her scriptures and read out loud before offering the most beautiful prayers, thanking her Heavenly Father for all of the beauties of the earth.Then wake up and do something more than dream of your mansion above. Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure, a blessing of duty and love (Have I Done Any Good? Hymns, no. 223).In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin urged disciples of Christ to be the good through service: When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God (Mosiah 2:17).Whether it is the hit comedy and youth favorite Studio C series, a hidden-camera show called Random Acts, or a live broadcast of a BYU sporting event, the cable channel has grown over the last 17 years and now reaches more than 53 million households via cable and satellite companies.In the parable, she told young Eva, When we love God, we want to serve Him. We want to be like Him. When we love our neighbors, we stop thinking so much about our own problems and help others to solve theirs. That is what makes us happy.In that same address, President Monson shared an experience he had during the October 1963 general conference in which he was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Saturday November 18, 2017 @ 01:09:35 AM mt

Tributes Honor Elder Robert D. Hales: We Will Miss Him



I remember as an almost 17-year old listening to Elder Hales during a session of LDS conference [#LDSconf] when he was the Presiding Bishop. The theme of his talk was Return with Honor and it touched me. He shared that he had put his arms around each of his boys as they left to serve LDS missions and whispered in their ears, Return with honor. I've thought of that motto many times, especially as I left to serve a mission in Russia 25 years ago. Elder Hales has now returned to his heavenly home with honor. Matt BondChurch members around the world have turned to social media sites to honor their beloved leader. While many posted a thought on their personal profiles online after hearing the news, a video about his life and legacy shared on Elder Haless Facebook page has been shared more than 12,380 times and has had more than 584,000 views. Hundreds of comments have been posted sharing tributes and condolences.I had so much respect for Elder Robert D. Hales and for his wife Mary. I remember the theme for our mission, Return with Honor. He lived that principle and taught us to follow. Jody VanValkenburgIncluded are some of the tributes posted on social media sites in honor of Elder Hales.We will miss him, President Eyring said. His wisdom and goodness have blessed our lives for many years. We express our love to his sweet wife and caregiver, Mary, and extend our heartfelt condolences to the family.Elder Hales holds a special place in my heart. I had an opportunity to meet and converse with him many years ago before he became an Apostle. He was a very kind and gentle man. I can't think of a better day for him to pass into the hands of our loving Heavenly Father. Beverly Shields ThompsonLocal politicians expressed their appreciation for the LDS Church leader. On the Senate floor the morning after Elder Hales died, Senator Orrin Hatch said, Yesterday afternoon after decades of dedicated service as a minister of Jesus Christ, he completed his mortal mission and returned with honor to our heavenly home. The challenge he leaves behind is for all of us to do the same. ...Following his death on October 1, 2017, Church leaders and members reflected on the leadership and ministry of the beloved Church leader.Utah Governor Gary Herbert said, Jeanette and I join millions of people around the world in mourning the passing, and celebrating the life, of my friend Elder Robert D. Hales. I will always remember the honor of working alongside Elder Hales in efforts to lift and enhance some of our local institutions. He was always friendly. He was a man with no guile. I consider him an extraordinarily humble and spiritual leader. The state of Utah and its citizens are better because of his example and his personal ministry. He will be missed but not forgotten. My prayers are with his loving wife, Mary, and the Hales family at this time.While millions of us grieve his passing, we take peace and comfort in knowing that his service continues on the other side. I knew him very well, played golf with him, thought he was one of the greatest men in my life and I want to pay tribute to him and his family here today in front of the whole United States Senate and the country. He was one of the most worthwhile people Ive ever met and were going to miss him. Elder Robert D. Hales is greeted by some of his fellow Apostles following a session of general conference in October 2016.Yesterday during General Conference, Apostle Elder Robert D. Hales passed away. His testimony of the Savior was one of the greatest things I remember about him. This quote [by Elder Hales] says it all: 'Oh, if I had the voice and trump of an angel that I could say to all mankind that [Jesus Christ] is risen and that he lives; that he is the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father, the promised Messiah, our Redeemer and Savior; that he came into this world to teach the gospel by example. His divine mission is directed to you and me to come unto him and he will lead us into life eternal.' ... His voice will be sadly missed at general conference and other times. May his family find joy in the memory he left behind and knowing they will see him again. Charleen Ross HaugenMy dear Mission President my dear friend. I was the only sister from NZ. This man to me was such a loving example of a priesthood holder of the Saviour. You could feel the Saviours love through him. He was always concerned about you and your companionship and how your relationship was going together. See a problem and fix it. Sister Hales was alway 150 percent behind him. Will always love and miss this very special man. May the Lord bless and comfort Sister Hales and family at this time. Lesley Potaka OrmsbyWhat an amazing example of enduring to the end! I have so appreciated his example, his testimony and service. He helped me through a hard time with poor health by his saying of When you can't do what you have always done, you do what matters most. He will be missed. My prayers go out to his sweet wife and family and all of those who loved him. I imagine him being greeted on the other side with Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Debbie PearsonIn 2002 Elder Hales conducted a fireside for military service members and their families in San Diego, CA. Theresa and I attended as we were keenly aware of an imminent deployment to combat. Elder Hales served as a fighter pilot as a young man and that evening as a special witness of Jesus Christ he was powerful, comforting and encouraging. He gave us an apostolic blessing and it was a wonderful moment in my life as a member of the military and a holder of the priesthood. Thank you Elder Hales for your service to God and to our Country. Shon BrodieI will never forget sitting in the LDS chapel in Bilbao Spain to be instructed by Elder Hales almost 40 years ago. We were a group of about two dozen missionaries and it was a cold winter day.... back then I knew that I was part of something very special and these many years later that event still stands out, I have often quoted things I learned that day.. later he was called to be one of the modern day Apostles of Jesus Christ. He will be missed. Betty ChristensenFlags flew at half-staff at LDS temples, Church buildings, and university campuses the week after Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles passed away.In the latter half of 2015 I studied Elder Hales' conference addresses in order from his first testimony after being ordained an apostle in April 1994 to his last talk in April 2017. Studying in this way gave me an awesome view into the impressions and themes given to him by The Lord for us. His ministry was referred to frequently by his brethren in the quorum as humble and meek, and I would agree. Of all his talks, this one I'm sharing from October 2000 stands above the rest in it's humility, sincerity, and doctrinal significance. He shares some of the suffering he endured, some things he learned, and that angels ministered to him in his times of greatest need. I love the Lord of whom Elder Hales testified, and I witness he was called as an apostle in our day for our benefit. I count it a blessing to have heard his witness and I accept it wholeheartedly. Garth QuigleyDuring the 187th Semiannual General Conference for the Church on October 1the same day Elder Hales diedPresident Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency shared tribute to his friend and colleague of many years.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Saturday November 18, 2017 @ 01:09:28 AM mt

Church Acquires Handwritten Testimony of Italian Saint Converted by Untitled Book of Mormon



In the account published in theEnsign,Francesca told of the cold February morning in 1910 when he was walking down Broadway and saw that the pages of a book lying on a barrel of ashes were being moved by the strong wind from the open sea.Born in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, Francesca had studied religion until 1905. That year, his brother, Antonine, living in New York City, invited him to attend a seminary taught by a Methodist pastor in the Italian Brandi Chapel, Elder Semadeni said.Ultimately, he was censured by a committee in the parish and ordered to burn the book. This he refused to do.He called Francesca one of the great Church heroes, a man who sacrificed his career to join the Church and lived in isolation and kept the faith all those years.In November 1914, he was called into the Italian army and saw action in France. At the end of the war he returned to New York, where he was admitted to his former congregation as a lay member. He was sent to Australia, where, while preaching to some Italian immigrants, he again taught from the Book of Mormon, still not knowing the name of the book. He was reported to the synod and again cut off from the church.I closed the door of my room with the key, knelt with this book in my hands, and read the 10th chapter of the book of Moroni.He had asked Vincenzo Di Francesca to write up his conversion and testimony, explained Matthew K. Heiss, area manager of Global Support and Acquisitions in the Church History Department.The movie in which his story is recounted, How Rare a Possession: The Book of Mormon, is still available for purchase on DVD fromChurch distribution centers.Curious, he picked up the book and beat it against the barrel to knock off the ashes. He noted that it was printed in English but that the frontispiece had been torn away.Elder Semadeni read through the letter, written in Italian, and found that it sheds new light and gives greater detail than was depicted in the film.Translated portions of the letter include the following:In May 1930, while looking up something in a French dictionary, he saw the entry Mormon. From that, he found sufficient information to write to the president of Brigham Young University in Provo. His letter was passed on to Church President Heber J. Grant. Francesca was sent some information, and at long last, he learned more about the Church.All was easy without my understanding, and the more I read [it] and the more I thought of it, the more I was impressed that I had received the assurance that God had answered my prayer in that way, and that the remainder of the book was of greatest benefit to me and to each and all who listen to its words.While I was in that pose, to await a positive answer, I felt all my body becoming cold and my heart to palpitate as if it would talk, and a gladness as if I had found something precious, extraordinary. He wrapped the book in a newspaper and took it home, where he cleansed the pages with denatured alcohol and cotton so he could read the pages.The fury of the wind turned the pages, and I hastily read Alma, Mosiah, Mormon, Moroni, Isaiah, Lamanitesexcept for Isaiah, all were names I had never before heard.Millions of Latter-day Saints became acquainted with the remarkable conversion story of Vincenzo Di Francesca through the 1987 Church-commissioned movie How Rare a Possession: The Book of Mormon.Heiss said one of the key messages from this acquisition is there are still historical treasures that are out there waiting to be collected and preserved.World events, including a revolution in Sicily, prevented his being baptized. Not until January 18, 1951, was he baptized and confirmed on the island of Sicily by Elder Samuel E. Bringhurst, president of the Swiss Austrian Mission. In 1956, he received his endowment at the Swiss Temple in Bern.Elder and Sister Semadeni focus on the first generation of missionaries to serve in Italy, and in connection with that, they contacted Brother Gibson and acquired the letter Francesca had written to him.Francescas story was recounted in theEnsignmagazinein January 1988. It is a first-person account drawn from theChurch News(then called theDeseret News Church Section) of February 28, 1951; the May 1968Improvement Era,and a letter that Francesca wrote to Avard Fairbanks, the only known account by the author in English of his 40-year struggle to join the Church.

How Rare a Possession is a 64-minute film produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It depicts the conversion stories of Parley P. Pratt, a Church leader in the 19th century, and Vincenzo Di Francesca, an Italian pastor in the 20th century, who both join the Church after studying the Book of Mormon. It also shows several key scenes from the Book of Mormon.

Elder Gibson has donated this to the Church, and it gives us validation of documents that we already have here, but it also reminds me of the fact that people who have had significant Church experiences have personal records and we are actively collecting those kinds of things.He continues to be a hero among the Italian Saints, Elder Semadeni said of Vincenzo Di Francesa.After receiving the spiritual experience from reading the passage in Moroni, he continued his services in the parish, but my preaching was tinged with the new words of the book. The members of my congregation were so interested that they became dissatisfied with my colleagues sermons. When members began leaving the chapel during their sermons and remained when I occupied the pulpit, my colleagues became angry with me.

Letter written in Italian by Vincenzo Di Francesca to Elder Stephen O. Gibson, a Mormon missionary, recounting Francescas conversion after finding a copy of the Book of Mormon without a title page. It was recently acquired by the Church History Department. Photo by R. Scott Lloyd.

Heiss sees significance not only in the fact that the acquisition occurred 30 years after the movie came out but that, as the Church nears the completion of the Rome Italy Temple, this is part of the Italians heritage. Wed like them to know we continue to document their history.Soon, Vincenzo became a teacher of that congregation, he said.The newly acquired document is a letter written by Francesca in 1966, the year of his death, to Elder Stephen O. Gibson, a Church missionary serving in Italy at the time. It was acquired from him on August 3, 2016, for the Church History Department by Elder Lorenzo and Sister Virgina Semadeni, who are serving a Church-service mission in the Italian Project of Global Support and Acquisitions in the Church History Department.Francesca never married. Until his death, he lived with his sister in Sicily, who arranged a Catholic funeral for him, then gathered his effects and gave them to LDS missionaries who turned them over to the mission president. Some of these, including what is purportedly that Book of Mormon copy he found in 1910 in New York City, were conveyed to the Church archives in Salt Lake City. Letter written in Italian by Vincenzo Di Francesca to Elder Stephen O. Gibson, a Mormon missionary, recounting Francescas conversion after finding a copy of the Book of Mormon without a title page or titled cover. It was recently acquired by the Church History Department. Photo by R. Scott Lloyd.The dramatic story of his conversion to the restored gospel after going many years without knowing the title of the book or where to find the Church before ultimately being baptized in 1951, is one of two conversion stories depicted in the movie, the other being that of Elder Parley P. Pratt, a 19th-century Church leader. This copy of the Book of Mormon without a title page or a name on the cover is purportedly the one found by Vincenzo Di Francesca on a barrel of ashes in New York City. It is in the archives of the Church History Department. Photo by R. Scott Lloyd.After, I prayed to the Eternal Father in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ. I asked Him to tell me if this book was of God and if it was good, true, and to mix the words of it with the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in my preaching publicity.Now, 30 years after the movies release, the Church History Department has acquired the handwritten testimony of Francesca, who, as a pastor in an Italian parish in New York City in February 1910, found a soiled copy of the Book of Mormon without a title page and with no title on the cover.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Saturday November 18, 2017 @ 01:09:27 AM mt

Walking in the Prophets Shoes



The next morning, President Kimball put on his new shoes, which felt fineinitially. However, by the time he arrived in Florida and then attended some meetings with local leaders, his feet were hurting. He had not brought along his old, comfortable shoes.When they got to the hotel that evening, Brother Haycock asked the men in the hall if anyone could find a way to stretch President Kimballs shoes. He had in mind someone going to a store to buy a shoe stretcher, or perhaps a trip to a shoe repair shop to have the shoes stretched professionally. But when the man I would later meet asked what size shoe President Kimball wore, he volunteered to wear the prophets shoes all night. He told me that he wore shoes in a size slightly larger than President Kimballs. It was a bit uncomfortable squeezing his feet into smaller shoes, he said, but declared it was a great honor to do that little bit of service.How many people can say theyve walked in the prophets shoes? he asked.Ive traveled the width and breadth of the United States and to some 60 countries, mostly reporting on the travels of prophets and apostles as theyve spoken to tens of thousands of members and ministered to the one.With a big smile lighting up his face, he exclaimed: Im walking in the prophets shoes! Im breaking them in for him. Im going to wear them all night.On the first evening in Lakeland, I took the hotel elevator to the floor on which those of us from the Salt Lake group had our rooms. When I arrived on the floor, I saw a man walking in the hallway. He was walking when I left about 15 minutes later and walking still when I returned about an hour after that.Now, Ive never walked in the shoes of a prophet, but I have walked in the footsteps of prophets: Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas S. Monson.I later asked President Kimballs personal secretary, D. Arthur Haycock, about how the man came to be wearing the prophets shoes. Brother Haycock said that he had received a letter from a member who had been at a recent meeting in which President Kimball, sitting on an elevated dais, had stretched out his legs and rested one foot on top of the other, thereby exposing a hole in the sole of one shoe.In June 1980, I traveled with President Spencer W. Kimball and his wife, Sister Camilla Eyring Kimball, to an area conference in Lakeland, Florida.

Gerry Avant poses for a portrait at the Deseret News in Salt Lake City on Thursday, February 9, 2017. Photo by Spenser Heaps.

A local Latter-day Saint, he had been assigned to serve on the security detail during the prophets stay in the hotel. Back then, there werent several full-time security personnel traveling with the prophet, but rather local members were recruited to position themselves at a small table near the floors elevator and stairwellmore to protect the leaders time and energy from local members trying to meet and greet the prophet.

President Spencer W. Kimball.

I recall only three times in my 45 years at theChurch Newsthat Ive written personal accounts, or to say it another way, put myself in the story. When I retired last May,Deseret Newseditor Doug Wilks invited me to write a series of articles about some behind-the-scenes experiences of my assignments.I made a comment to the walking man, something along the line of, Are you getting your exercise?Brother Haycock said the letter writer expressed dismay that he (Brother Haycock) would allow the prophet to go around wearing shoes with holes in the soles. Until he received the letter, Brother Haycock was unaware that this was the condition of President Kimballs shoes. Having received the letter the day before President Kimballs trip to Florida, he left his office, went to a store, and bought a pair of shoes, which he gave to President Kimball that evening.To start this collection of recollections, I chose this storyto put a twist on the footsteps of the prophets.From the start of his presidency, President Kimball was holding area conferences in arenas and stadiums across the globe, from Scandinavia to the Far East, and from South America to South Africa to the South Pacific. In 1979 and 1980, he held similar area conferences across the United States, including the June 2829 conference at the Lakeland Civic Center, located between Tampa and Orlando in central Florida.Editors note: Former Church News editor Gerry Avant retired in May after 45 years as a reporter/editor chronicling events of the Church and the work of its leaders and members. This is the first in a series of articles about behind-the-scenes events she witnessed.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Saturday November 18, 2017 @ 01:09:22 AM mt

Elder Rasband Returns to His Missionary Roots in Harlem by Divine Design



Bishop Micah J. Day of the Harlem 1st Ward, who served a full-time mission in New York under the leadership of Elder Rasband, said Harlem has a vibrant spiritual element.

Elder Randall K. Bennett, General Authority Seventy; Elder Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Harlem 1st Ward Bishop Micah J. Day; and Elder David L. Buckner, Area Seventy, stand in front of Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem, New York, on October 22, 2017. Photo by Joel Richards.

He said local leaders organized the program Sunday to help members, many of whom are new to Harlem, understand the rich history of the area. I really wanted to give the members an understanding of their pioneer heritage and the pioneer heritage of Harlem and the roots that are here, he said. Harlem is a very special place in the patchwork of Zion. How blessed I am to be serving in a placeto have an opportunity to continue to serve my mission president 20 years later, to carry on his legacy, to build upon the inspiration he had 20 years ago.Church leaders formed the Manhattan 9th Branch, better known as the Harlem Branch, in 1997. Members met in the iconic Sylvias Restaurant. As the Church was welcomed into the prominent business, the way the community perceived the Church changed, recalled Elder Rasband.Elder Ronald A. Rasband exited the Churchs prominent 33,000-square-foot meetinghouse located in the heart of Harlem, New York, on Sunday, October 22, and walked one block down the street. There he looked in the windows of the iconic Sylvias Restaurant where, two decades earlier, the first LDS branch met in Harlem.HARLEM, NEW YORK Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets a member in Harlem, New York, after a meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the first branch in the area on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Photo by Joel Richards.Elder Rasband said he knew as a mission president that great things were in store for Harlem.The opportunity to participate in the meeting was a great privilege for Elder Rasband, who only a few weeks ago spoke in general conference on the topic By Divine Design. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets a member in Harlem, New York, after a meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the first branch in the area on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Photo by Joel Richards.It was while Elder Rasband was serving as president of the New York New York North Mission from 1996 to 1999 that it became apparent that members and missionaries needed a place to meet in Harlem. Congregations from numerous denominations were gathering on nearly every corner in Harlem; Latter-day Saint converts also wanted to worship in their community.It was like Heavenly Father knew I would be there six months ago when I was assigned to go to East Brunswick, New Jersey, he said. And I was able to go to Harlem Sunday afternoon and participate and give them all my love and the Lords love. It was one of those special, almost choreographed-in-heaven, opportunities.Church membership thrived in Harlem, and the Latter-day Saints soon outgrew Sylvias. Construction on the first Church-built meetinghouse in Harlem began several days before the dedication of the Manhattan New York Temple in 2004. Today the five-floor meetinghouse on Lenox Avenue and 128th Street stands in the heart of Harlem. Three wards meet in the building.We were having a very difficult time finding a place to lease, said Elder Rasband. Then Van Woods, an LDS convert, offered Elder Rasband and the Church his famous soul food restaurant. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets a member in Harlem, New York, after a meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the first branch in the area on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Photo by Joel Richards.Bishop Day was with Elder Rasband as they left the Churchs Harlem meetinghouse and walked one block to Sylvias.Looking over the congregation, he realized where there was nothing 20 years ago, there are now thriving congregations that contribute to the community and host community events in their beautiful building. It is a community church nowan important part of Harlem, he said.He listened as Elder Rasband hearkened back to his experiences as a missionary, he said. I got the feeling as if we were back on the mission again. He had this spring in his step. You could tell he felt the power of the placeand the experiences he had there.Thinking of all the storefront churches in New York City, Elder Rasband thought, Why cant we meet in a restaurant on Sunday mornings? Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets a member in Harlem, New York, after a meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the first branch in the area on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Photo by Joel Richards.Recalling the birth of the Church in the historic northern Manhattan community, Elder Rasband, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who served as a full-time missionary and then mission president in New York, thought, This is what it is all about. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets a member in Harlem, New York, after a meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the first branch in the area on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Photo by Joel Richards.

Elder Randall K. Bennett, General Authority Seventy; Elder Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and Elder David L. Buckner, Area Seventy, stand in front of the Churchs Harlem meetinghouse on October 22, 2017. Photo by Joel Richards.

Although Elder Rasband received his assignment to participate in a stake conference in New Jersey many months ago, he did not learn of the Harlem eventpromoted on social media by his former missionariesuntil much later.The Harlem Branch, now three wards, is an example of people having vision, he told the members. Look what has now happened in Harlem. Dream big. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets a member in Harlem, New York, after a meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the first branch in the area on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Photo by Joel Richards.Speaking to members at the meeting on Sunday, Elder Rasband quoted Proverbs 29:18, Where there is no vision, the people perish.A piece of my heart and a piece of my testimony exists here in Harlem, said Elder Rasband, who was in Harlem to participate in the 20th anniversary celebration of the Church in the community. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets children in Harlem, New York, after a meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the first branch in the area on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Photo by Joel Richards.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Saturday November 18, 2017 @ 01:09:20 AM mt

Sister McConkie and Sister Eubank Visit Perus First Lady



She was very candid and shared her challenges, her hopes, and her efforts on behalf of her family and her country, said Sister McConkie, according to a Mormon Newsroom press release. Peru first lady Nancy Lange Kuczynski meets with Sister Carol F. McConkie, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, and Sister Sharon Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency.Sister McConkie, who serves as First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, called the meeting delightful and said the first lady was very interested in the welfare of women and children, according to the release.Sister Eubank, who in addition to serving as the First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency also works as the director of LDS Charitiesthe humanitarian arm of the Churchcontinued to travel in South America to visit some of the welfare projects of the Church in Bolivia.LIMA, PERUShe is so grateful for [the youth of the Churchs] service, Sister McConkie said in the release. Most remarkable for her was to see their enthusiasm and unity in their work. She hopes that all of the youth of Peru can feel that kind of joy and satisfaction in their work and in service for others.The auxiliary leaderswhose assignment included visits to Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador October 1422also met with local Church members and leaders and participated in training meetings and Sunday worship.The women talked with the first lady about the youth in the area, specifically those who recently volunteered as Mormon Helping Hands. The Church auxiliary leaders also provided the first ladywho is a mother to a teenage daughtersome Church booklets for youth today.On the first day of an eight-day trip to South America, Sister Sharon Eubank and Sister Carol F. McConkie, First Counselors in the Relief Society General Presidency and Young Women General Presidency, met with Perus first lady, Nancy Lange Kuczynski, wife of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Saturday November 18, 2017 @ 01:09:20 AM mt

The Majc Family: Three Generations Help to Grow the Church in Slovenia



Their son Davor Majc has spent his Saturdays of late constructing a closet for the entryway of an old home purchased two and a half years ago in the village of Blejska Dobrava, not far from Lake Bled and its fairy tale scenery. During the week, he works at home as a programmer and web developer, with frequent breaks to play with and help care for three children, ages 6, 4, and 15 months. Those three constitute the entire Primary in their branch.But they returned, and after being taught for eight months, Ivan and Rosana Majc were baptized, as Jesus was, said Ivan, in the nearby Sava River on July 25, 1993. For the next 20 years they attended Church meetings a 40-minute drive away in Ljubljana. They now meet with other members of the Kranj Branch in a rented space where, Rosana said, were truly like a family. Rosana and Ivan Majc, some of Slovenia's longtime members, were baptized in the nearby Sava River in July 1993. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.

Ivan and Rosana Majc with their two youngest, Sameul, 17, and Rebeka, 12, at their home in Kranj, Slovenia. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.

The LDS chapel in Ljubljana, Slovenia, is one of two in the Adriatic North Mission; the other is in Zagreb, Croatia. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.

Ivan said both he and his wife were religious before meeting the elders but couldnt agree on whether to christen their first children. When the missionaries were here that first time [in December 1992], I felt that would change my life forever, Ivan said. I have felt that spirit from every missionary whos been in our home.As the 29-year-old president of the Ljubljana Slovenia District, Davor Majc is over more than 400 members in five units spread across the country. (The chapel in Ljubljana, the capital, is the only meetinghouse in Slovenia.) Stanka is first counselor in the district Relief Society and has been teaching online seminary for years. Ivan and Rosana Majcs home in Kranj, Slovenia, has been in the family for generations. Young Women camp was held in their backyard last year. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.Eventually, the family grew to five childrenson Davor, currently district president, living a few miles away with his family in Blejska Dobrava; daughter Barbara Swenson, married and living in Utah; daughter Sarah, currently serving in the England Leeds Mission; son Samuel, 17, who plans on a mission when his four years of high school are complete; and Rebeka, 12, who attended her first Young Women camp this summerin her own back yard. There are five grandchildren.President Majc said, When kids grow up in the Church, it becomes a way of life. That longevity blesses the growth of the Church, as the second generation is serving missionsthree full-time missionaries are out at the moment from a single branch in Slovenia, and seven are serving from the district.They agree they cant imagine what their lives would have been without the gospel and the Church. Rosana said, I know there is a path that leads back to Heavenly Father, and I know Jesus is also there for meno matter what happens, no matter how hard it is.Married 30 years in August, Ivan and Rosana Majc recalled their sealing in the Salt Lake Temple in August 1995, when their two oldest children were sealed to them. It was a really special day, Rosana said.

Slovenian converts Ivan and Rosana Majc and their two oldest children were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple August 25, 1995. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.

President Majc met his wife, Stanka, when she joined the Church at 18. She continued her studies and served in the branch while he served a mission to Barcelona, Spain, and in 2010, they married according to civil law and were sealed three days later in the Frankfurt Germany Temple.LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIADavor and Stanka Majc plan to remain in Slovenia, despite what may appear to be more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. With the opportunity for free education through university and a growing economy in our country, President Majc said, we see that we can live here, we belong here.Ivan had been awaiting a visit ever since being approached by missionaries near Ljubljanas famed Three Bridges in the newly independent Slovenia. He had excitedly told his wife about that meeting when he got home that night, but it was weeks before the elders located their home in the village of Kranj.Growing up, Stanka said, shed always felt there was a God and is grateful for meeting the missionaries in an English class they offered. Now I have a personal relationship with Him, and I wish for my children to have it too. She finds peace of mind and help in everyday things through the gospel, and a sense of divine worth: You know youre somebody.The first generation didnt have a chance to serve a mission, he explained. Priesthood leaders whove served a mission add a lot of value. They understand because of their experience whats needed and how the Church works. Now, children [the third generation] understand from the start and are growing up to serve missions. A mountain landscape in Slovenia. The Church was established as a legal entity in Yugoslavia, which later became Slovenia, in 1975. Photo by Laurie Williams Sowby.He recalled the palpable feeling in the room when the two elders shared a message that December night. When they went out the door, the Spirit went with them.Its the same room where, as they sat visiting with family on a cold, moonless night three days before Christmas 1992, they spotted the frozen faces of two elders through the big window and invited them in.The Kranj Branchpart of the Ljubljana Slovenia District of the Adriatic North Missionhas about 30 regular attendees but swells in the summertime, thanks to nearby tourist draws like Lake Bled and Slovenias alpine forests. (The country borders Austria on the north, Croatia on the south and Italy on the west.)Ivan, who creates 360-degree shots of Slovenias stunning scenery, has served in various leadership callings, including branch president and counselor in the mission presidency. Rosana, currently Relief Society president, has a genealogy business and has worked with a team to help translate scriptures and other Church materials into Slovene, the national language (although many people here also speak English).Ivan and Rosana Majc relax on the sofa of their living room, surrounded by pictures of their family, familiar LDS art, and a view of the verdant hills and Julian Alps in the distance.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Saturday November 18, 2017 @ 01:09:19 AM mt

Download October 2017 General Authorities Chart



An updated chart of General Authorities and General Officers of the Church, dated October 2017, is now available for download.To save a larger, higher-quality PDF of the chart, click on the image below or the related link to the right. The chart also appears online and in print in the November 2017 Ensign and Liahona magazines (conference issues).The chart reflects Church leadership as of the 187th Semiannual General Conference. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles passed away October 1, before the afternoon session.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Saturday November 18, 2017 @ 01:09:19 AM mt

Church Announces Change to General Conference Meeting Schedule



President Thomas S. Monson shakes hands with Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President, and Emri Elizabeth Smith, who said the opening prayer, at the end of the first semiannual general womens session in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 29, 2014. Beginning April 2018, both the general priesthood and general womens sessions of general conference will be held annually, with the priesthood session being held in April and the womens session being held in October. The meetings will follow the morning and afternoon session of conference on Saturday evening. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.We are confident this change will be a blessing in the lives of members throughout the Church, the First Presidency letter states.In an effort to reduce and simplify the work of the Church and the demands made upon leaders and members, the First Presidency announced October 27 a modification to the general conference meeting schedule.Beginning April 2018, both the general priesthood and general womens sessions of general conference will be held annually, with the priesthood session being held in April and the womens session being held in October. The meetings will follow the morning and afternoon session of conference on Saturday evening.Since 1977, general conference has been established as a two-day, weekend event, with two general sessions each day and a priesthood meeting Saturday evening. Annual general Relief Society meetings, held the Saturday before general conference, were added in 1986. Then in 1994, annual Young Women meetings were similarly held. The Young Women general meetings occurred the week before April general conference, and the Relief Society meetings were held the week before October general conference for nearly two decades.The First Presidency letter also states that the times of the other general conference sessions will not change.In November 2013, the First Presidency announced that a semiannual general womens sessionnow part of general conferencewould replace both the general Relief Society and general Young Women meetings. On March 29, 2014, women, young women, and girls 8 years and older filled the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to hear the words of Church leaders during the first-ever general womens session. President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the Churchs First Presidency, exits after the conclusion of the priesthood session of the Churchs 187th Semiannual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 30, 2017. Beginning April 2018, both the general priesthood and general womens sessions of general conference will be held annually, with the priesthood session being held in April and the womens session being held in October. The meetings will follow the morning and afternoon session of conference on Saturday evening. Photo by Adam Fondren, Deseret News.

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