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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Tuesday September 19, 2017 @ 10:33:19 AM mt

Plan of Salvation Comforts Parents of Man Killed in Barcelona Terrorist Attack



A van plowed straight into the crowd, causing the deaths of 13 people and injuring more than 100. Jared, 42, was among those who died.Dan Tucker said a conviction of the plan of salvation has been a comfort to him and his wife as they have coped with the loss of their son.Tucker and his wife, Heidi Nunes-Tucker, who were living in the San Francisco Bay area, were simultaneously observing their honeymoon and first wedding anniversary on a trip to Europe.Joann said Jared, father of three teenage daughters from a previous marriage, was known for his good heart and being a friend to those in need.For 24 hours, he was missing. Back home, Dan and his wife, Joann, were hopeful when they saw a picture of the incident on the internet showing a man about Jareds size wearing clothing of the same color he had been wearing.National news media reported that the couple were at a kiosk in the middle of Las Ramblas shopping when Jared stepped away to find a restroom.

Jared and Heidi Tucker are shown onboard a ship during their honeymoon trip to Europe. He died in a terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain, August 17. Photo courtesy of Daniel M. Tucker.

But the father I can most identify with is Joseph the carpenter. Even though he wasnt the real father of Jesus, he provided for Him all his life. Joseph had a family-owned business. From the time his son was old enough I am sure they worked together in their carpenters shop. I can only begin to identify with the heartache that Joseph and Mary must have felt during the last few days of their sons life. (I am sure if Joseph had already passed on, he was still watching from heaven.)As the father of Jared, I can identify with some of the fathers we read about in the scriptures, Dan wrote in an email to the Church News. Adam, Noah, Isaac, Lehi, among others, had a lot of heartache to deal with.Though not active in the Church, Jared would help out with ward activities such as Fourth of July breakfasts.My goodness, practically everybody that came up to us had a story to tell about him, she said. Even when he was young, he was big and broad-shouldered. He would stick up for kids who were picked on because they were different. He would pull himself up to his full height and say, Knock it off!We have a family-owned business, and hes helped me since day one, said Dan Tucker, who installs fiberglass surfaces in swimming pools. It was not just father-son relationship, but a working-together relationship.But the hope would not last. Heidi was summoned to the American consulate, where she was shown pictures of victims who had died and eventually made a positive identification of her husband.Police evacuated the street, and Heidi was among those who were pushed into nearby shops for safety. When she came back out, she could not locate her husband.Weve had a ton of wonderful people come by, supporting us, loving us, and praying for us, said Joann, who works in the Oakland California Temple. She and her husband are members of the Northgate 1st Ward, Walnut Creek Stake, in Lafayette, where they have lived since 1966.They had spent four days in Venice and were finishing their trip in Barcelona, Daniel M. Tucker, Jareds father, told the Church News. Jared moved ahead and was maybe one minute apart from Heidi when the van sped by.Jared Tucker, the only American to perish in the August 17 terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain, is a member of the Church, according to family members who contacted theChurch News.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Tuesday September 19, 2017 @ 10:33:19 AM mt

Bringing Camp Home: Youth Benefit from Increased Faith Companionship of Holy Ghost



A historic Young Women camp held at a summer home in Marathonas, Greece, opened with a devotional by two youth camp leaders. Activities included Olympic-themed events that taught physical, mental, and spiritual endurance, a service project, scripture study, and kayaking in the sea. On the last evening, the campers gathered around a portable fire pit, and a young woman who had recently been baptized and another who recently decided to be baptized, stood for the first time and bore sweet simple testimonies. For each of them it was a leap of faith to do so, but they were surrounded in love and unity by the young women and their leaders. At the first Young Women camp in Greece, these young women learned that they do not stand alone when they stand as witnesses of God.Camp is an opportunity to give young women the gifts to carry home with them so that when they do stand alone, they remember who they are and the covenants they have made. They remember Jesus Christ and their commitment to keep His commandments so that they may continually have the Spirit of the Lord to be with them. Every camp activity, from the most adventurous to those that dissolve into happy, wholesome laughter, should point to the Savior and the blessing of living according to His word. Consider the gifts young women receive when camp activities demonstrate Christlike attributes, teach gospel principles, and distill upon the mind the need to be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost.From Greece to California, by the seashore or in a forested mountain or even in a backyard, camp is an opportunity for young women to gather together, separate from worldly influences. Camp is where young women can feel the Spirit of the Lord, grow in unity and love, and learn to lead in righteousness. They have fun while strengthening their faith and testimonies of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and help others to do the same. The experiences at a simple and Spirit-filled camp that direct the mind and heart to the Savior in relevant ways will bless young women when they return to their homes, schools, and workplaces.Over the last several months, our presidency and board members have had the opportunity to visit numerous Young Women camps.President Howard W. Hunter taught principles that are a clear guide to Young Women leaders. He said, Our great task is to ground these [young women] in whatcango with them through life, to point them toward Him who loves them and can guide them where none of us will go. Please make sure [their] loyalty is to the scriptures and the Lord and the doctrines of the restored Church. Point them toward God the Father and his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and toward the leadership of the true Church. Give them the gifts that will carry them through when they have to stand alone. When you do this, the entire Church is blessed for generations to come (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter[2015], 285).When camp has concluded, let us consider the ways we will help young women carry forward the gifts they have received at camp. Armed with increased faith in Jesus Christ and the companionship of the Holy Ghost, our young women are capable and prepared to lead and strengthen others and bless the Church for generations to come.

A young woman holds the drawing she made of the Savior, which represents the love she felt and which was imprinted in her heart while she attended Beehive camp. Photo courtesy of Carol F. McConkie.

While visiting a Beehive camp, I met a young woman who felt the Lords love for her through the example and the teachings of her leaders. She learned that meaningful service and extending loving kindness in the Saviors name to friends and strangers made her feel good. As she listened to a devotional talk centered on Jesus Christ and what He has done to help her overcome sin and sorrow, that He has prepared the way for her to come unto Him, she drew a beautiful picture of the Savior. His image represented the love she felt and which was imprinted in her heart.Another camp provided an opportunity for young women to learn to rappel down the side of a steep cliff. Though frightening to me, I watched as each girl received proper instruction from a certified climber at the top of the cliff. They learned how to communicate with the belayer below. With helmet, harness, and rope securely in place, each young woman safely rappelled down until she was standing on solid ground. Together the girls shared their experience overcoming fears, following instructions, and using the equipment properly. As they talked, the girls related what they had learned and felt to the saving power of the word of God if they would just hold fast to it.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Tuesday September 19, 2017 @ 03:28:49 AM mt

Emeritus General Authority Carlos H. Amado Now Answers to Bishop



Bishop Carlos H. Amado, center, enjoys a moment between Sabbath day classes with young men from Daybreak 5th (Spanish) Ward in South Jordan, Utah. Photo by Jason Swensen.So, are leaders in his stake a bit intimidated giving direction to an emeritus Seventy?Along the way, he left a lasting footprint of leadership in Latin America, presiding over four different areas of the Church.What I enjoyed most while working with the Brethren was seeing the love and respect they have for one another and seeing their commitment to carry out whatever the Lord asks them to do, he said. They are faithful men who will never ask for anything that they have not already done themselves.Instead he went to work. Elder Carlos H. Amado speaks at the 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Bishop Amado accepted the unexpected assignment with trademark humor: It seems like everything today is being recycledso I guess that is what the Church is doing with me.Understandably, folks in his ward sometimes believe their venerable bishop has an answer for every question and concern. But I usually respond to their questions with two of my own: What do you think, and how can we can find an answer together?He also has a promise for anyone considering retirement from Church service: Blessings await those who laborin any capacity.But in the Church there is no vacation time, no retirement, he told the Church News. I have always believed that it does not matter where you serve, but how you serve.Bishop Carlos H. Amado is living proof that emeritus is not always synonymous with retired. Bishop Carlos H. Amado, an emeritus General Authority, in his office in South Jordan, Utah. Photo by Jason Swensen.He admits hes an old school bishop. He doesnt always get along with his computer and prefers to write things down by hand. But he adds he learns new things each day.But it doesnt matter if hes [working] with a deacon or an apostle; he performs every calling as if it were the highest honor in the Church, he said. If anyone knows how to touch a persons heart, its Bishop Carlos Amado.Julio Alvarado became acquainted with Bishop Amado decades ago. He has watched his friend and fellow Guatemalan fulfill a vast range of Church assignments.Bishop Amados local priesthood leader, South Jordan Utah Daybreak Stake President Michael MacKay, admits having an emeritus General Authority presiding over one of his wards is a unique resource.Bishop Amados tenure in the Seventy made him an eyewitness to the work being performed by the General Authorities he has come to call his friends.When I was serving as a General Authority, I would typically give more general instructions to stake presidents and mission presidents. But when you are a bishop, the instructions must be more specific. When a member has an individual problem, its your job to help solve it.Bishop Amado has consecrated his life to the Lord and His Church, he said.Not long after his release as a General Authority Seventy, he was called as bishop of Utahs Daybreak 5th (Spanish) Ward. (His wife, Mayavel Amado, is a Sunday School teacher.)I am every bit as happy serving as a bishop as I was serving as a General Authority, he said. I was not sad when I was released from the Seventy. It was a wonderful experience, but my joy in this calling is just the same.The stake president added he often observes the bishop quietly shepherding in the Daybreak 5th Ward. Whether hes walking alongside a youth at a recent pioneer trek or visiting the home of a less-active man, Bishop Amados first concern, he said, is always for the one.The General Authority Seventy-turned-bishop may not be following a traditional path of Church leadership. General Authorities are usually former bishopsnot future bishops.Then, in 2014, he was released from the Seventy and became an emeritus General Authority. He had just turned 70retirement age. He had earned the right to play golf, find new fishing holes, and catch up on missed time with his growing family.Latter-day Saints likely recognize his name.This isnt the first time Bishop Amado has presided over a ward. He served as a bishop in Guatemala before being called as a General Authority Seventy. But this time around its completely different, he said. Many of the challenges are the same, but the ways you might resolve those problems are different.I dont believe so, he answered, shaking his head. Sometimes they ask questions about certain thingsbut I dont give my opinion on things I should not. Im very obedient to my stake president. I do whatever he asks of me because I understand the line of authority in the Church.SOUTH JORDAN, UTAHFor more than two decades, Bishop Amado answered to Elder Amado. He became a General Authority Seventy in 1989 and spent some 25 years organizing stakes, counseling mission presidents, participating in temple dedications, and working shoulder-to-shoulder with prophets and apostles.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Tuesday September 19, 2017 @ 03:28:40 AM mt

Viewpoint: Follow Gods Divine Road Map



Our Lord gave us this imagery to teach us that discipleship is not an endeavor to be entered into lightly. The cost of discipleship requires all that we have.We existed prior to mortality as spirit children of a Heavenly Father and Mother. We have been born into mortality with no remembrance of our previous existence. Mortality has a number of purposes, including a probationary period during which we demonstrate that we will do all things whatsoever the Lord [our] God shall command [us] (Abraham 3:25).It has done wonders, he says, for mitigating the restlessness of the passengers.The father shared this account by way of illustrating the value of understanding the plan of salvation, or, as it is referred to in scripture, the plan of happiness, and the part our mortal probation plays in that plan.Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.My young friends, said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf in the priesthood session of the April 2006 general conference, today I say to you that if you trust the Lord and obey Him, His hand shall be over you, He will help you achieve the great potential He sees in you, and He will help you to see the end from the beginning (See the End from the Beginning).A land holy and pure,
Where all trouble doth end,
And your life shall be free from all sin,
Where no tears shall be shed,
For no sorrows remain.
Take his hand and with him enter in.That can certainly seem dauntingjust as the road trip must have seemed daunting to the children who wondered if they were nearly at their destination, only to be told that they still had many miles and many hours ahead of them.While making a comment in a Sunday School Gospel Doctrine class, a father related how he quells boredom among his children during long family road trips.Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?It becomes less daunting when we come to grasp the journey in its entirety and can begin to understand, even if only imperfectly, the end from the beginning.Often, he said, they would ask, Are we almost there yet? or How much longer till we get there? This after only about 30 minutes into a journey anticipated to take several hours.The poem, which is now one of our beloved Church hymns (see Hymns, no. 127), expresses the assurance and the comfort that can come from a secure knowledge of the plan of happiness, a knowledge that can buoy us up when the troubles of mortality seem overwhelming or when doubts encumber us.Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,That is the assurance open to all of us, young and old, through the plan of happiness associated with the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior. May it ever guide our way.Though we experience a measure of joy, we are certain to encounter trials and hardships along the way; that is part of the plan. It helps immeasurably to have a clear understanding of the plan of happinessa divine road map, as it werewith the destination clearly marked: a return to the presence of our Father in an exalted state whereby we become joint-heirs with Christ of all that the Father has. The Psalmist expressed it more succinctly: Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5).Thus assured of the joy that awaits the faithful, we are motivated to make the sacrifices and obey the laws that lead us to this joy.Let your heart be not faint
Now the journeys begun;
There is One who still beckons to you.
So look upward in joy
And take hold of his hand;
He will lead you to heights that are newOn April 18, 1924, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith was traveling by train to preside at a stake conference. Concerned about the welfare of his wife, Ellen, who was back home caring for their children while seven months pregnant, he closed his letter to her with the words of a poem he had written:Speaking to Abraham, the Lord said, My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee (Abraham 2:8).So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:2833).Then, he hit on an idea for a practice he has used with success since then. Prior to beginning the journey, he obtains a map and marks the route of travel with the starting point, destination, and landmarks in between clearly marked. He then places it in a sheet protector to preserve it.Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.Now, when the children want to know how much longer the journey will be he hands them the map he has prepared in advance so they can see how far they have come and how much farther they need to go.The Savior said: For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?Does the journey seem long,
The path rugged and steep?

Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet
As you struggle to rise
To the heights thru the heat of the day?

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Monday September 18, 2017 @ 11:32:28 PM mt

President Nelson Challenges Institute Students to Study Bibles Prophecies of the Book of Mormon



When referencing the combining of the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph, President Nelson said, When the Bible and the triple combination were first bound in one book, we felt that this amazing prophecy had been fulfilled. Now, most of you have all of those scriptures bound as one in your telephone. Sister Wendy W. Nelson speaks at a devotional sponsored by the Logan Institute of Religion on September 17 in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum arena on the Utah State University campus. Photo by Marianne Holman Prescott. A combined institute choir performs during a devotional at Utah State University on Sunday, September 17. President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy W. Nelson, spoke to a near-capacity crowd in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum arena. Photo by Marianne Holman Prescott.He asked members of the Logan institute council to read scriptures to the audience for President Nelson to discuss.First, Sister Nelson spoke of Nephi.I think he expected me to say, Yes, as far as it is translated correctly, he said. But I did not. I said, Yes, especially Isaiah 29 and Ezekiel 37.Speaking to a near-capacity crowd in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum arena on the Utah State University campus in Logan, Utah, President Nelson invited listeners to work on a project with him.I want to know its prophecies about the gathering of Israel, he said. I want to find its prophecies about the Restoration of the gospel in its fulness in these latter days.Whether it is a prophecy about Joseph Smith or from the Bible, a lot can be said regarding evidences of the Book of Mormon.Prior to President Nelson addressing institute students, his wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson, shared a message about how the latter days are marvelous days, days filled to overflowing with the fulfillment of prophecies.Latter days are marvelous days A combined institute choir performs during a devotional at Utah State University on Sunday, September 17. President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy W. Nelson, spoke to a near-capacity crowd in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum arena. Photo by Marianne Holman Prescott. Institute students at Utah State University listen to President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Wendy W. Nelson, speak on September 17 in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum arena. Photo by Marianne Holman Prescott.The second situation Sister Nelson spoke of was the Prophet Joseph Smith. Institute students at Utah State University listen to President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Wendy W. Nelson, speak on September 17 in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum arena. Photo by Marianne Holman Prescott.Because the Lord had shown the prophet the Nauvoo Temple in the vision, Joseph Smith was undaunted; he was determined that the temple would have circular windows as shown him by the Lord, she said. Joseph knew the Lord Himself was a true architect of the temple.Dr. Nelson did not want to live his life after the manner of man, Sister Nelson said.The Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon are companion scriptures that teach of Christ and testify of each other, President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught young adults during an institute devotional on September 17.Important truths have come through the Bible and Book of Mormon, such as the ancient law of tithing and the building up of temples.President Nelson encouraged listeners to recognize their position is one of strength.Would you like to know what I am working on now? he asked. Months ago, I read all the scriptures listed under the title of Jesus Christ in the Topical Guide. I invited young adults to do the same. Many have accepted that invitation. It changed my life. (See related article.)President Nelson continued to trust in the Lord, so much so that when he was called out of the operating room to follow the Savior, he was willing to lay down his netsin his case, his surgical glovesand follow the Savior.Sister Nelson taught that there will be times when a person will be compelled to do something that might not seem logical or possible at the time. She reminded listeners that, like with Nephi, Joseph Smith, and President Nelson, the Lord will provide a way.LOGAN, UTAHIt was through pondering two truths in the Doctrine and Covenantsone, all blessings are predicated on obedience to divine law, and two, to every kingdom there is a law giventhat Dr. Nelson started to wonder what eternal laws govern the beating heart.Sister Nelson spoke of Nephis courage to go and do what the Lord asked him to do, not because it will be fun or easy, but because it is what the Lord wanted him to do.The Prophet Joseph Smith was asked to build a temple in Nauvoo, Sister Nelson said. The Lord showed him exactly what the temple would look like.This question catapulted him into the journey of pioneering open heart surgery, including inventing the heart-lung machine, Sister Nelson said.When the architect, William Weeks, approached the prophet with a plan, Joseph noticed there werent any circular windows. The prophet instructed Weeks that the windows should be circulardespite the known rules of architecture at the time.Even one of the most famous surgeons of that time proclaimed that any surgeon who attempted to operate on the heart would lose all credibility within the medical profession.Recognizing it is an unfinished project, President Nelson invited listeners to begin their study by participating with him. Sharing an experience he had with a Protestant minister, President Nelson spoke of his answer to the ministers question if he believed in the Bible, every word of it?Sister Nelson spoke of the advances in medicine President Nelson made as a young doctor, specifically his work in developing the heart-lung machine that helped support the first open-heart operation on a human being in 1951. President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks at a devotional sponsored by the Logan Institute of Religion on September 17 in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum arena on the Utah State University campus. Photo by Marianne Holman Prescott.The third situation Sister Nelson spoke of was about a young doctor named Russell M. Nelson. Young adults walk outside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on the Utah State University campus prior to a devotional with President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson. Photo by Marianne Holman Prescott.You might reply, If you like the voice of the Lord as contained in the Holy Bible, you will love the voice of the Lord as recorded in the Book of Mormon, he said. You might ask, Do you know about the people who lived in ancient American civilizations?President Nelson walked listeners through more than a dozen scriptures related to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness in the latter days, including the Old Testament prophet Isaiah forecasting that a book would be delivered to him that is not learned (Isaiah 29:12).President Nelson invited listeners to begin with him in those particular chapters, because they each foretell the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.Now, the senior Church leader said, he is rereading the Bible. This time, he said, he is seeking to learn how the inspired and holy ancient record predicted the coming of the Book of Mormon.His impeccable obedience is always inspiring to me, she said. Nephi was asked by the Lord to do really impossible things. Over and over again the Lord asked Nephi to do things Nephi did not know how to do. And yet, Nephis response was always the same. Young adults listen to President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speak at a devotional sponsored by the Logan Institute of Religion on September 17 in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum arena on the Utah State University campus. Photo by Marianne Holman Prescott.Much more can be said, President Nelson said. The Holy Bible is replete with prophecies about these latter days and the Restoration of the gospel in its fulness. You students will want to prepare for such a conversation, as surely you will have a similar hour of opportunity in the future.To become the successful surgeon he was to become and to do what had never been done before, he actually had to defy the very books from which he studied, Sister Nelson said. His medical textbook read, Do not touch the beating heart.Over the years, young Dr. Nelson became an internationally renowned cardiovascular surgeon, Sister Nelson said. How did he do that? Only one wayhe followed the counsel of the Lord and not the counsel of man.Sister Nelson shared three situations where a person relied on knowledge of the Lord rather than the manner of man.However, young Dr. Nelson had a source he honored more than that famous surgeon and a book which he honored more than his medical textbook, Sister Nelson said. Dr. Nelsons source was the Lord, and the book was the Doctrine and Covenants.My beloved brothers and sisters, we love the Holy Bible, he said. Its the word of God. And we love the Book of Mormon. It is the great clarifying scripture provided to us by the gift and power of God. Indeed it is another testament of Jesus Christ. These two books are companions. We hold them togetherbound as oneas foretold long ago by prophets of God.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Monday September 18, 2017 @ 11:32:28 PM mt

President Eyring Visits Branch on St. Thomas in Wake of Hurricane Irma



Being with President Eyring and the others was a tremendous opportunity for us, said Steven Richards. We know were out here in the booniesbut the Church has not forgotten us. We know the recovery effort is in the hands of the Lord, and weve all got renewed faith and hope.After boarding up the windows of their house, the Richards family shared a family prayer then played games by the light of a few lanterns. But it was impossible to ignore Irmas historic, horrific power raging across St. Thomas on September 6. Hurricane Irmas high winds toppled the steeple of the St. Thomas Branch meetinghouse. Photo courtesy of Steven Richards.They were alive and uninjuredand their home escaped any significant damage.When Irma finally veered from St. Thomas and moved toward Puerto Rico, Cuba, and, eventually, Florida, the family emerged from their home, assessed the damage, and began counting their blessings.The islands small LDS meetinghouse also suffered significant damage. About a quarter of the roof was destroyed, and Irmas brutal winds toppled the steeple. Still, the building is salvageable and continues to be used even though it remained without power or running water Sunday.As president of the LDS branch on St. Thomas, Richards felt doubly blessed to learn no one from his congregation had been killed or injured.Its still really rough out here, said Steven. Theres a lot of debris, damage, and devastation all over the place.But make no mistake: Hurricane Irma exacted an awful price on Latter-day Saints and their neighbors in St. Thomas. The pain of the storm is being felt more than a week after hitting the islandand it will sting for months to come.My soul has been lifted by the charitable actions of the members, he said.St. Thomass tourist-driven economy will be weakened for months to come. Limited power and water, coupled with the islands compromised infrastructure, will likely keep vacationers away from St. Thomas, said Richards, a business owner in the local boating industry. The roof of the St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, LDS meetinghouse suffered significant damage during Hurricane Irma. Photo courtesy of Steven Richards.The St. Thomas Branch enjoyed a much-needed boost on September 15 when President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and other general Church leaders visited with the members in their damaged meetinghouse.You could tell there was something going on outside, said Richards, laughing at his own understatement. It was nerve-wracking. It was terrifying.While St. Thomas residents are weary of power outages, Richards said access to clean water is the islands most immediate challenge. Each day, civic and relief organizations distribute water and military-style meals-ready-to-eat (MREs) to residents. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is counted among the organizations shipping relief supplies to St. Thomas.When Hurricane Irma recently raged across this Caribbean island they call home, Richards and his wife, Kim, hunkered down with their children and made the best of an awful situation.The coming weeks and months wont be easy for the islands small Mormon community. But Richards said the 40-plus members of the branch are looking out for one another. They've taken each other into their homes and donated personal precious resources to help others get by.But getting water to my members is becoming an issue, said Richards.ST. THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDSTwo members of the branch lost their residences. One mans home was destroyed. Another man, who lived on a sailboat, could not save his nautical abode.Everyone in the branch here is thanking Heavenly Father for that fact, he told the Deseret News.President Eyrings visit to St. Thomas was one of several stops during a visit to the Caribbean and Florida, September 1517, 2017, where he met with Mormon Helping Hands volunteers of all ages and Latter-day Saints affected by Hurricane Irmas destructive forces.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Monday September 18, 2017 @ 11:32:37 AM mt

Viewpoint: The Importance of Religious Freedom



For example, in a speech at Brigham Young University on September 13 of last year, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said he believes religious freedom is declining because faith in God is declining.At its essence, the First Amendment guarantees liberty to engage in activities by which we can ascertain and convey truth: freedom of religion, speech, the press and assembly, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances when these liberties are violated.What to do about it?For more on these suggestions and for a plethora of resources for safeguarding this important freedom, visit the website.While the Lord has declared that He established the Constitution itself, it is the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment, that most directly addresses His stated purpose that everyone may act according to the moral agency which He has given each individual.Consider the wording of the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.Two years later, on September 25, the newly created U.S. House of Representatives approved 12 articles of amendment to the Constitution. The last 10 were eventually ratified by the several states as Amendments 1 through 10 and today are known collectively as the Bill of Rights.The First Amendment guarantees are vital to the protection of our God-given moral agency, for, without knowledge of truth, we are hindered in our ability to exercise our agency responsibly in a manner that blesses ourselves and others. In recent years, the Brethren have deemed it needful to emphasize anew the Constitutional principle of religious freedom.It is not right that anyone should be in bondage to another, the Lord further declares, giving that as the purpose for which He has established the U.S. Constitution by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood (verses 7980).September is a good time for thoughtful remembrance of that event. It was on September 17, 1787, that the 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention met at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to sign the document they had forged through earnestat times impassioneddeliberation.The Churchs religious freedom website gives four suggestions: Become informed, live and respectfully share your beliefs, find simple ways to protect everyones right to act on their beliefs, and build trusted relationships.The website makes the point that despite its importance, religious freedom is increasingly under assault around the world. Thats why the apostles have spoken about this topic dozens of times in the past decade. As prophets, seers, and revelators, they recognize the need to defend religious freedom. Each of us has a role to play.This should be done, the revelation stated, according to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles (verse 77).In the midst of their suffering from mob oppression in Missouri in December 1833, the Latter-day Saints received instruction by revelation from Jesus Christ to importune their government for redress and redemption pertaining to the wrongs that had been committed against them (see D&C 101:76).Although religious freedom lies at the core of what America is and what it stands for, critics now openly ask whether religion belongs in American public life at all.With final ratification taking place on December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights applied initially to the federal government, but by virtue of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, its guarantee of liberty would eventually apply to all governments in the nation, including state and local. The revelation goes on to say that the Constitution was established so that every man may act in doctrine and principle . . . according to the moral agency which I have given him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment (verse 78).At a Freedom Festival Patriotic Service in Provo, Utah, on June 26, 2016, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles warned that religious freedom is under fire.If one does not value religion, one usually does not put a high value on religious freedom, Elder Oaks observed. It is looked at as just another human right, competing with other human rights when it seems to collide with them.The concepts enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights by no means are limited thereto. They are embodied in the constitutions of other nations as well. To the extent that documents and institutions, wherever they are found in the world, protect these divinely bestowed liberties, they may be seen by extension as being covered under the Lords approbation as expressed in Doctrine and Covenants 101. For He said they are for the rights and protection of all flesh.To this end, they have directed the creation of an internet site, Religious Freedom, found at https://www.lds.org/religious-freedom.Religious freedom is more than just the freedom to believe what you want, reads the introductory content on the website. Its also the freedom to talk about and act on your core beliefs without interference from government or others, except when necessary to protect health and safety.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Monday September 18, 2017 @ 03:18:02 AM mt

Pioneer Day Annual Parade Celebrates Visions of a New Horizon



It was the Mormon movement that began the process of building what we have now, Izatt said. Thats worth celebrating.This guy did so much for the pioneers, said Nolan Gerber, a chairman over the stakes float. He made it easier for the rest of the pioneers to do what they were trying to do. A float from Cottonwood Heights City wins the Governors Award in the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call. Paradegoers stand for the flag during the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call. The Centerville Utah North Stake wins the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Award in the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call.I think its fun that we as Utahns remember those pioneers that made it and just everything that theyve done, said Jodene Smith, co-chair of the parade. Thats always in our mindto honor that sacrifice and that hard work and to make sure that we remember hard work and sacrifice is still an attribute today. The Sweepstakes Award went to the Bountiful Utah South Stake in the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call.Kathi Izatt, a parade committee member and co-chair of the religious section of the parade, said she is impressed every year with the creative and ingenious ways LDS stakes depict the parades annual theme with their floats.Gardners water-powered mill design helped pioneers to saw wood and grind wheat much more efficiently than they were able to by hand. The West Jordan Mountain View Stakes float mirrors this design with a water wheel run on seven to eight gallons of water, which powers a sawmill on one end of the float and a gristmill on the other end.Izatt said she thinks Utahs Pioneer Day celebration is important because the states history is inextricably intertwined with the Mormon pioneers. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; his wife, Harriet; and their grandson Robin Uchtdorf wave to the crowd during the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call. The Spirit of Faith Award goes to the Salt Lake Utah Tongan Stake float in the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call. Utah Governor Gary Herbert and his wife, Jeanette, wave to the crowd during the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call.Members of the Salt Lake City Police Department Motorcycle Squad led the parade wearing false red, white, black, and brown mustaches.The nations armed forces were represented in the parade with a group of U.S. Marines, as well as a Utah Honor Flight, featuring veterans from World War II and the Vietnam War. Members of the Utah National Guard and Civil Air Patrol also marched in the parade. A group from Make-A-Wish Utah was featured aboard army vehicles.The theme of this years Days of 47 celebration was Pioneers: Visions of a New Horizon, symbolizing the Mormon pioneers goal as they strived to reach the new horizon on their journey west.Several marching bands performed in the parade, from the Liahona Alumni, Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Utah, and Salt Lake Community College Summer Spirit bands to those from Richfield, Stansbury, Northridge, Davis, Kearns, West Jordan, Park City, and Delta high schools. The Legacy Award was given to the Draper South Mountain Stake in the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call.One float she found particularly remarkable was the West Jordan Mountain View Stakes float, winner of the parades Peoples Choice and Childrens Choice awards. This float featured a working sawmill and gristmill patterned after a design by Mormon pioneer Archibald Gardner, who served as a bishop in West Jordan for 32 years.Its just incredible that people who have never done anything like this before can amass the creativity, the technicians, the mechanics, the welders, the carpenters, the creative typesall of the components it takes to put together a float, Izatt said.Families and friends lined the streets of downtown Salt Lake City on the morning of July 24some having camped out overnightto celebrate Utahs Pioneer Day at the Days of 47 Parade.State and government officials including Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Representative Chris Stewart also appeared in the parade. The Salt Lake Granger North Stake wins the Community Award during the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call. Days of 47 second attendant Brittny Millington, left, Queen Maren Cline, and first attendant Tess Hanson look to the crowd during the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call. Floats move down 200 East during the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call. Entries move south on 200 East during the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call. The Peoples Choice Award and the Childrens Choice Award go to the West Jordan Mountain View Stake float in the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call.Its all run off of water, Gerber said. The only motor thats in the whole float is the pump. We built it the way the pioneers did in honor of them.Various Model A cars drove through the parade, along with several other vehicles from the early 1900s. The Sweepstakes Award went to the Bountiful Utah South Stake in the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call. The Peoples Choice Award and the Childrens Choice Award go to the West Jordan Mountain View Stake float in the Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call.

Children wave from the South Jordan Utah Parkway Stake float during the Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call.

The Woods Cross Utah Stake wins the Outstanding Animation Award in the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call.President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency and his wife, Harriet, rode through the parade route, smiling and waving from the back of a red Ford Mustang convertible.A float representing refugees welcomed new American pioneers to Utah. The Woods Cross Utah Stake wins the Outstanding Animation Award in the Days of 47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call.The Days of 47 and Utah Valley University royalties were represented in the parade, as well as several city royalties, including those from Draper, Herriman, Bluffdale, Saratoga Springs, Lehi, Murray, Riverton, and Tooele.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Monday September 18, 2017 @ 03:18:02 AM mt

All Are Part of the Same Great Family Seventy Says at Sunrise Service



Elder Duncan then turned to one of his own ancestors, Robert Lock Read, who joined the Church as a young man in England. Later, he migrated to Zion in Utah and, at his mothers behest, took his younger brother George with him. Members of the Salt Lake Valley Combined Institute Choir sing during the Sunrise Service at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.As His children, how blessed we are to know that we are precious in His sight and that He longs for us to return home, Elder Duncan remarked in his address at the 7 a.m. event held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. With the gift of our beloved elder brother Jesus Christ, we can qualify to make the ultimate pioneer journey back home to the presence of our Father, to become like Him and live with Him forever. Members of the Salt Lake Valley Combined Institute Choir sing during the Sunrise Service at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News. Members of the Salt Lake Valley Combined Institute Choir sing during the Sunrise Service at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.He joined the Church and soon married. Later, like other Church members in early Utah, he entered into plural marriage. Samuel Garbett and his mother, Donna, participate in a flag ceremony during the Sunrise Service at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.In addition, the Days of 47 royalty sang their own arrangement of Battle Hymn of the Republic. The royalty, selected in a pageant last spring, are Maren Cline of North Salt Lake, queen; Tess Hanson of South Jordan, first attendant; and Brittny Millington of South Jordan, second attendant.Though all people stem through different pioneer lines, each is ultimately from the same great familyeven the great family of God, our Father, Elder Kevin R. Duncan, General Authority Seventy, said July 24 at the Days of 47 Sunrise Service in Salt Lake City.I took off my pistol that first day in Salt Lake City and have had no occasion for one since, for I discovered that I was in the most peaceable country I had ever seen, he said.In keeping with tradition, members of the Mormon Battalion Association posted the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance.In Utah, he married a young convert from England, Ann Jane McCowan, who was divorced by her first husband after she would not go to California with him to hunt for gold. Together, Robert and Ann had 16 children, including two sets of twins and one set of triplets.Abel believed in familyespecially eternal families, Elder Duncan said. This was perhaps why he served as a temple worker. He served in the Logan Temple, even being privileged to attend the dedication and stand in the first prayer circle.The first was the story of Sister Duncans great-grandfather Abel Smart, who, as an adventurous 19-year-old, left his home in England to see the world.William remained in the care of the man for many years, going with him at the age of 14 to California during the Gold Rush. Later, William obeyed President Brigham Youngs request for the Saints to return to Utah.Ann and Robert became my great-grandparents, Elder Duncan said.Mark eventually moved his family to what became Bountiful, Utah. Elder Kevin R. Duncan, General Authority Seventy, speaks during the Sunrise Service at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.Elder Duncan shared four stories from the pioneer heritage of himself and his wife, Sister Nancy Elizabeth Smart Duncan.Lastly, he shared the story of one of his great-great-grandfathers, Mark Cook, an Englishman who accepted the gospel after moving to Wales to work in the coal mines.Elder Duncan concluded, I pray that you will feel a special connection with your great pioneer forefathers this day and every day, and may we all anticipate a wonderful reunion with them some day.He then baptized others, but his parents were not pleased with his decision to convert to the Church. Before emigrating with his wife and children to go to Zion in America, he went to see his parents, but they refused him entrance. Even so, later in life he sent them money to assist them in their aging years.One day, as little William was wandering around Nauvoo, he encountered a man out plowing in a field, Elder Duncan recounted. The friendly man asked William, Whose little boy are you?William replied, Im nobodys little boy. Ill be your little boy if you want me to be.The event, sponsored by the Sons of Utah Pioneers, traditionally begins the annual day of celebration in the Utah capital, marking the coming of President Brigham Young and the first company of Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.Music for the service was provided by the Salt Lake Valley Combined Institute Choir, which was directed by Richard T. Decker, William D. Hatch, Robert B. Hoch, and Marshall S. McDonald.His life was one of obedience to the leaders of the Church, Elder Duncan said.He told of his wifes great-grandfather William Hulme, who arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois, at age 5 with his father and younger sister. Not long thereafter, the father died. Days of '47 royalty first attendant Tess Hanson, left, queen Maren Cline, and second attendant Brittny Millington sing during the Sunrise Service at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.Once in the United States, he found work in Wyoming, where he began to hear strange stories and rumors about a religious group called Mormons. Curious, he went to Salt Lake City. He was impressed with the people there.One summer, Elder Duncan said, Bountiful experienced an event much like the cricket invasion, only this time it was grasshoppers. Knowing of the miracle that had saved the crops from the crickets, the people prayed for deliverance. The next morning the grasshoppers flew into the air after spending the night in the crops, when suddenly an east wind arose and carried the grasshoppers out to the Great Salt Lake, where thy fell into the water and were drowned. The dead grasshoppers were washed ashore and decayed. The stench was terrible, but the crops had been saved and starvation avoided.The Sunrise Service was sponsored by the Salt Lake Pioneer Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers in partnership with its national society and with the Days of 47 committee. Michael and Linda Fitzgerald, front, join with others for the Sunrise Service at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 24, 2017. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Monday September 18, 2017 @ 03:17:54 AM mt

Los Angeles Angels Host 20th Annual Mormon Family Night



For most of the youth participants, Anaheim Stadium was a familiar place for exactly the same reasons Mormon Night at the Angels was starteda place to have good family fun.Other youth participated as honorary bat boy and the play ball announcer. Madeleine Arrhenius was given the opportunity to steal third base in a race against the clock: she had to run to third base, steal the base, and come back before time ran out.Madeleine, who had practiced dashing, retrieving medicine balls, and running back, said she felt the event provided a really great opportunity for her to be a good example of a kind person and show what a young woman of the Church can do.Bronwyn Jarvis threw out the first pitch of the game. Victoria Williams and Ethan Hoopes accompanied Bronwyn on the field. Bronwyn, who was named Pacific Coast Softball League Pitcher of the year in 2017, said she felt so blessed and honored to represent the Church at the game.The 20th annual Mormon Family Night with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was held Friday, August 4. Each year since 1997, Mormon families and their friends and neighbors have come together at Anaheim Stadium for a family-friendly event that all can enjoy.During Friday nights game, several outstanding LDS youth were recognized for their academic efforts and athletic and artistic achievements, as well as their ongoing community service. President Robert Greene, director of the Orange County Public Affairs Council for the Church, said, We appreciate the common interest we have established with the Angels ownership to elevate the example of outstanding youth and community service during these special game night programs.The event provides an opportunity for members of the surrounding stakes to meet each other face to face. Mormon Family Night in Anaheim has featured special guests such as Dale Murphy, Wally Joyner, and Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.We love to support organizations that make it easy for families to spend time together and have good fun, said Allen Ostergar of the Laguna Niguel California Stake presidency, who attended this years event. The Angels organization makes that easy. Maddex Soto prepares to say Play Ball at the beginning of the Angels game. Photo by Riz Espinili. Bronwyn Jarvis throws a strong pitch over the plate. Photo by Riz Espinili.

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