Mormon Underwear: Spiritually Protective

June 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Mormon Beliefs

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church—are a covenant-making people. Mormon underclothing—or “garments,” as they are called by members of the Church—are outward expressions of covenants made in the temples of God. President Henry B. Eyring, the first counselor in the First Presidency (with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ), said:

The Latter-day Saints are a covenant people. From the day of baptism through the spiritual milestones of our lives, we make promises with God and He makes promises with us. He always keeps His promises offered through His authorized servants, but it is the crucial test of our lives to see if we will make and keep our covenants with Him. [1]

A Covenant is a Sacred Agreement between God and Man

Mormon UnderwearA covenant is an agreement between God and man, and the terms are set by God. Elder Russell M. Nelson, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, explained:

One of the most important concepts of revealed religion is that of a sacred covenant. In legal language, a covenant generally denotes an agreement between two or more parties. But in a religious context, a covenant is much more significant. It is a sacred promise with God. He fixes the terms. Each person may choose to accept those terms. If one accepts the terms of the covenant and obeys God’s law, he or she receives the blessings associated with the covenant. … Through the ages, God has made covenants with His children. [2]

God outlines the terms of covenants. He has declared that they are to be performed through the power of the priesthood, which is the authority and power that God gives to man to act in all things for the salvation of man. Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ, said: Read more

Apostles Visit Mormons Worldwide

April 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Mormon Beliefs

get-on-your-kneesAfter the Lord Jesus Christ was resurrected, He appeared to His apostles and commanded them to be “witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church) is given the same charge. In a revelation on the priesthood given in 1835 through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the “twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:23).

“An apostle is an ordained leader in the Melchizedek Priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Apostles are chosen through inspiration by the president of the Church, sustained by the general membership of the Church, and ordained by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by the laying on of hands. They serve as general authorities as distinguished from local and regional officers—holding their office as apostle for the duration of their lives. The senior apostle is the president of the Church.”1

With over 14 million members of the Church worldwide, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ “traverse the globe to meet with members, train local Church leaders, visit government and civic leaders,” and administer the affairs of the Church. Like the Apostle Paul in the early church, they proclaim the gospel, bear testimony, and strengthen the members of the church.

For example, Elder Russell M. Nelson visited Japan in March 2013, where he met with Japan’s foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, and justice minister, Sadakazu Tanigaki.

“Foreign Minister Kishida and Justice Minister Tanigaki thanked the Church for the service it provided following the devastating tsunami in 2011, including financial contributions and 400,000-plus man-hours of service from local Latter-day Saints.”

Russell M. Nelson in japan MormonElder Nelson also devoted time to ministering to Church members in Japan and Guam.

During February, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland traveled to Europe where he visited with Latter-day Saints in Holland and Germany. While visiting England on the same trip, he spoke to Mormons and missionaries in the Church’s London Missionary Training Center, participated in an interfaith dinner, and met with members of Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Also in February, Elder Neil L. Andersen traveled to the Caribbean where he met with local priesthood leaders, missionaries, and members of the Church through the Caribbean region. He also visited Haiti to commemorate the Church’s 30-year anniversary in the country. As part of his visit, he unveiled a commemorative plaque on a hill above Port au Prince—the same spot where Church President Thomas S. Monson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, dedicated the land for the preaching of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ

Mormons dedicate lands and countries for “divinely appointed purposes.”

“Dedication is the act of devoting or consecrating something to the Lord, or ‘setting apart’ something for a specific purpose in building the kingdom of God. It is a priesthood function performed through an official and formal act of prayer.”2

Elder Andersen said that several Church-sponsored projects continue in Haiti, each intended to continue to help members of the Church and the citizens of Haiti progress after the devastating effects of the earthquake that struck three years ago.

Elder Quentin L. Cook visited the Ivory Coast in February. He met with 9,000 members of the Church, trained local Church leaders, and visited local government officials.

In January, Elder D. Todd Christofferson visited with Latter-day Saints in several countries in Central America. “Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla extended the time allotted for Elder Christofferson’s visit to speak at greater length about the importance of strengthening the family.” He thanked President Chinchilla for “ways in which the national government has made it easier for the Church to do charitable work in the country.”

Missionary service was one of the topics Elder Christofferson discussed with Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina. Almost 1,000 Mormon missionaries serve in Guatemala and about the same number of missionaries from Guatemala serve in other countries. They also discussed a Guatemala initiative that encourages reading in Guatemalan families.

Former Church President Gordon B. Hinckley once quipped that he traveled so extensively, he had to check the LDS Church News to find out where he’d been.

Although members of the Church of Jesus Christ gather twice a year for General Conference of the Church, most Latter-day Saints watch the conference through television, satellite broadcast, or through the Internet. The personal visits from the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency of the Church to their countries excite, encourage, and strengthen them.

Notes:

1. What is an Apostle?

2. What do Mormons mean by “dedicating” something?

Reference:

Apostles Travel the World

This article was written by Paula Hicken, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Paula Hicken Mormon

Paula Hicken was an editor with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship from 2000 to 2013. She earned her BA degree in English from Brigham Young University. She edited Insights, the Maxwell Institute newsletter, and was the production editor for Faith, Philosophy, Scripture, Hebrew Law in Biblical Times (2nd ed.), Third Nephi: An Incomparable Scripture, and was one of the copy editors for Analysis of the Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon. She also helped manage the Maxwell Institute intellectual property and oversaw rights and permissions. She has published in the Ensign, the Liahona, the LDS Church News, and the FARMS Review.

Additional Resource:

Worship with Mormons

Modern Women in Mormonism

April 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Mormon Beliefs

If a woman prays in General Conference, will women then be ordained to the priesthood?

News about a women praying for the first time in the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church) began circulating through social media in March 2013.

Mormon Women Campaign to Lead Church Conference PrayersAccording to the Salt Lake Tribune, Mormon activists urged others to write letters to “six high-ranking LDS leaders, including apostle Jeffrey R. Holland and three women who oversee church auxiliaries.” About 1,600 letters from 300 people were written in response to the “Let Women Pray in General Conference” drive and were “personally delivered” by organizers to the leaders or their secretaries. Organizers have not received a direct response.

LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter would neither confirm nor deny the report. He said that “decisions on speakers and prayers at general conference were made late last year.” He added, “Customarily, details of the conference programs are not announced until general conference.”

Quoting Elder L. Tom Perry, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ, the Deseret News reported the reason for not releasing the list of conference assignments:

“While we make assignments and plan ahead for our meetings, there is always the option in the church for the presiding authority to make changes as led by the Spirit. We rely on heaven’s guidance in our meetings. General conference is no different. That’s why we do not typically publish a program in advance.”

Women speak in the general conference sessions and they routinely pray in other church meetings. There is no church policy prohibiting women from praying in meetings.

The possibility of a woman praying in general conference pleases many women of the Church. Neylan McBaine, a Mormon blogger, columnist, and founder and editor in chief of “The Mormon Women Project” said that she has seen many indications “that our church leadership is not only aware of but proactively addressing the concerns of women church-wide.”

Some women, while pleased, also think Mormon women have always had a voice in general conference. “‘To be honest, I never really noticed that women weren’t praying in the general sessions,’ said Mary Jane Woodger, a professor of church history and doctrine at church-owned Brigham Young University. ‘To me, women have always prayed at general conference, but that’s probably because I’ve always considered the general women’s meeting and the general Young Women’s meeting as part of general conference.’”

“For many years there were specific conference sessions for Relief Society, Primary, and Young Women, the LDS instructional auxiliaries led by women. In those conferences, women were always called upon to speak and pray.” More recently there have been annual meetings for the Relief Society and Young Women (held the Saturday prior to general conference weekends, in September and March respectively).

The Deseret News reported that “a review of 15 different conference reports from past general conferences revealed several trends as far as general session invocations and benedictions are concerned. In the earliest days of LDS general conference, prayers were usually offered by the general authorities of the church, and occasionally by local priesthood leaders. Later the tradition turned to returned presidents of LDS missions and visiting stake presidents—all male priesthood leaders. More recently general conference prayers have been offered by members of the church’s expanding Quorums of the Seventy.”

If women are given the opportunity to pray in general conference, it does not follow that they will be ordained to the priesthood.

In the Church of Jesus Christ, men are ordained to offices in the priesthood, and both women and men preside and serve in the auxiliaries of the priesthood. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ (often mistakenly called Mormons) believe that the

“…priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God by which He blesses, redeems, and exalts His children. Heavenly Father’s worthy sons are ordained to priesthood offices and are assigned specific duties and responsibilities. They are authorized to act in His name to look after His children and to help them receive ordinances and make and honor covenants. All Heavenly Father’s sons and daughters are equally blessed as they draw upon the power of the priesthood.”1

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ taught: “While we sometimes refer to priesthood holders as ‘the priesthood,’ we must never forget that the priesthood is not owned by or embodied in those who hold it. It is held in a sacred trust to be used for the benefit of men, women, and children alike.”2

Leaders in the Relief Society, an auxiliary of the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ, affirmed their understanding of the purpose and blessings of the priesthood:

“It is significant to me that the women were organized under the authority of the priesthood,” said Elaine L. Jack, twelfth Relief Society general president. “We sustain the priesthood and are sustained by its power. The sisters of the Church . . . treasure our opportunity to be full partakers of the spiritual blessings of the priesthood.”3

Sheri L. Dew, who served as a counselor in the general Relief Society presidency (now the largest and oldest women’s organization in the world), said,

“Sisters, some will try to persuade you that because you are not ordained to the priesthood, you have been shortchanged. They are simply wrong, and they do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. The blessings of the priesthood are available to every righteous man and woman. We may all receive the Holy Ghost, obtain personal revelation, and be endowed in the temple, from which we emerge ‘armed’ with power. The power of the priesthood heals, protects, and inoculates all of the righteous against the powers of darkness. Most significantly, the fullness of the priesthood contained in the highest ordinances of the house of the Lord can be received only by a man and woman together.”4

Notes:

1. Blessings of the Priesthood for All: An Inseparable Connection with the Priesthood

2. Blessings of the Priesthood for All: An Inseparable Connection with the Priesthood

3. Blessings of the Priesthood for All: An Inseparable Connection with the Priesthood

4. Blessings of the Priesthood for All: An Inseparable Connection with the Priesthood

References:

Will a woman pray at Lds genearl conference?

Female Mormons set to pray in April, breaking new ground for church

This article was written by Paula Hicken, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Paula Hicken MormonPaula Hicken was an editor with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship from 2000 to 2013. She earned her BA degree in English from Brigham Young University. She edited Insights, the Maxwell Institute newsletter, and was the production editor for Faith, Philosophy, Scripture, Hebrew Law in Biblical Times (2nd ed.), Third Nephi: An Incomparable Scripture, and was one of the copy editors for Analysis of the Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon. She also helped manage the Maxwell Institute intellectual property and oversaw rights and permissions. She has published in the Ensign, the Liahona, the LDS Church News, and the FARMS Review.

Additional Resource:

What is the Priesthood?

Mormons in Africa: Ugandan Latter-day Saints Help Further the Gospel

April 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Mormon Beliefs

The organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (mistakenly referred to as the Mormon Church by the media and others) is in its infant stages. The Church of Jesus Christ was organized in the early 1990s, and since its inception, nearly 7,000 people in this East African nation have embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ, and are now members of the global faith.

“Missionaries are baptizing [new members] almost every Sunday,” said Ugandan Jimmy Carter Okot, President of the Kampala Uganda Stake (a stake is similar to a Catholic diocese). “The Church is growing rapidly and the members are very faithful.” [1]

“People are looking for a solid anchor in a world of shifting values,” said Gordon B. Hinckley, former Church president. “They are welcomed as new converts and are made to feel at home. They feel the warmth of the fellowship of the Saints.” [1]

Uganda Stake Presidency MormonPresident Okot, with the assistance of other Stake leaders, spend their time teaching congregational leaders how to care for those of whom they have immediate stewardship, as well as, how to reach out to friends and neighbors that are not of the LDS faith. Their task is to help the young leadership to first understand the scope of their responsibilities, and then to have them go forth and perform those duties. They teach how to strengthen members of the Relief Society, the women’s organization, and to provide guidance to youth in the Young Men and Young Women programs and to children ages 18 months to 11 years in what is called Primary.

President Okot has only been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ for the past decade, and has said that his path to membership began the day he walked past the construction of a new church building. There he noticed a sign that read: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Visitors Welcome.” Yearning to know more, he listened intently as the full-time missionaries taught about Jesus Christ.

He later spoke with two Sister missionaries who expressed their fervent belief in the Book of Mormon as another testament of Jesus Christ. He gained strength from their powerful, heartfelt testimonies. He recalls, “When they shared their feelings about the Book of Mormon, immediately I had a very strong and powerful feeling.” [1] He continued with the missionary lessons and was baptized the next week.

A decade later, President Okot has matured as a leader of the LDS Church. He has served a full-time Mormon mission. He has also served as a lay leader of multiple congregations and is now serving as the Stake President of the Kampala Uganda Stake. “I’m grateful to witness the Church flourishing; everyone has a part to play,” explained President Okot. “As a stake, we are able to solve our own challenges.” [1]

Latter-day Saints in Uganda attend six wards (congregations) and five branches (a smaller congregation) in the villages and communities of Kajjansi, Mengo, Mutungo, Ntinda, Seeta, Entebbe, Kabowa, Kololo, Makindye, Mukono and Nsambya. The six wards comprise the Kampala Uganda Stake, the first Stake in Uganda, created in January 2010.

The organization of The Church of Jesus Christ and its leadership in Uganda operate the same as any other congregation of Latter-day Saints around the world. If a person were to attend worship services on any given Sunday in the United States, Italy, Japan, or even the nation of Africa, he will find congregations singing sacred hymns, offering gratitude through prayer, partaking of the sacrament of bread and water in remembrance of the Savior’s sacrifice and sharing their beliefs.

The Church in Uganda has come a long way, President Okot concluded. As the leadership understands the doctrine of the Church and gains experience, they are strengthened. “The Lord is blessing us; He hasn’t left us alone.” [1]

 

Mormon Apostle Teaches and Testifies in Asia North Area

March 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Mormon Beliefs

On 10 December 2010, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited the island of Guam and organized the country’s first stake (an administrative unit composed of multiple congregations.) Just a little more than two years later, another Apostle of the Lord, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve visited the Western Pacific island during his first stop on an almost two-week long visit to the Asia North Area.

Tokyo, Japan Mormon TempleHe was accompanied by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson; Elder Tad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Kathryn Callister; and Bishop Dean M. Davies, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, and his wife, Sister Darla Davies. Elder Michael T. Ringwood, Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, and Elder Koichi Aoyagi, all of the Seventy and members of the Asia North Area Presidency, also accompanied the Church leaders at various times during their visit.

The visit to the area began on 23 February 2013 with a Priesthood Leadership Conference in Guam. Following that meeting, Elder Nelson held special meetings with members, missionaries, and local Church leaders in Japan. He also met with Japanese government leaders. The visit ended on 3 March 2013 with a military district meeting in Okinawa, Japan.

Elder Nelson commented to the Church News that it was a wonderful assignment to be with the people in that area of the world, but no matter where he is, his message remains the same. He stated in part:

“We can learn two things from the [Asian] people,” he said. “First is honesty, and second is a reverence for ancestors.”

“We are here to teach and testify of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel restored,” he said. “That is the way to find joy and purpose in life. While the world and the people of the world do the best they can in darkness and in despair, they can’t find best-is-yet-to-comehappiness any other way. So ours is a message of peace and joy, of strengthening families, bonding husband and wife, children to their parents, and people to their ancestors … that they can all enjoy eternal life in the presence of God when their sojourn on earth is over.

“Most people live from day to day without a thought of what they will do after this life is over, so we try to give them that eternal perspective. This mortal experience is just act two of a three-act play—the best is yet to come.” [1]

Elder Nelson further stated that one of the main highlights of the visit was when he and Sister Nelson were able to attend the Temple in Tokyo, Japan.

“It is a great blessing to have two temples in Japan, and a third one (located in Sapporo) is under construction,” he said. “We went to the Tokyo Temple and did an endowment session. We did proxy work for [Sister Nelson’s] ancestors. That’s what we do now—we don’t just go to the temple and draw names of unknown people; we take family names.” [1]

Sister Nelson, along with Sister Callister and Sister Davies, divided up and made special visits to some Church members. “They did a lot of good,” Elder Nelson said. “They accomplished a great work, maybe even more valuable than what we did with the area review. They were in their homes and took pictures—it was pretty tender.” [1]

On 3 March 2013 a special meeting was held with the Okinawa District—a district for American military personnel and their families.

“It’s pretty rare for us to meet with a military district,” he said. It was also during his visit to Tokyo that Elder Nelson, along with the Area Presidency, met with two local government leaders—Fumio Kishida, minister of foreign affairs for Japan, and Sadakazu Tanigaki, the minister of justice for Japan.

“They spoke in glowing terms of the Church, expressing gratitude for our help following the earthquake, for the high moral standards and responsible citizenship of Japanese Latter-day Saints,” he said. “They were very warm and friendly, and we expressed our gratitude to them for their making it [possible] … for our missionaries and visitors such as us to come into Japan.” [1]

Japan has six missions. Elder Nelson remarked that after President Thomas S. Monson’s announcement concerning the change in age requirements for serving a full-time mission for both young men and young women, there still remains a “wave of excitement throughout the entire earth”, and the excitement among missionary age young people in Guam and Japan matches that of the rest of the world.

Describing the next generation of Church members—the youth and young adults—he met on his travels, Elder Nelson said that they are “bright, light-filled young people” who “know who they are, and they know where they are going. … It is fun to teach them because they are so very receptive. They are the cream of the crop.” [1]

Mormon Missionary Work

 

“The Good in the World” Seen Through Mormon Websites

March 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Mormon Beliefs

The public broadcast station connected with Brigham Young University has this thought as part of their logo: “See the good in the world.” One of the ways to find the good in the world is to visit Mormon Newsroom.org. The website pulls stories from the international Newsroom websites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the Mormon Church. Stories include a link to the international websites, which are written in the area language. Below are two examples of the “good in the world” posted recently:

From the Pacific

At the end of February 2013, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church) donated a digital mammography machine and a digital biopsy machine to the L.B.J. Tropical Medical Center in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

According to the lead mammographer, “The old machine used film, which had to be sent off-island, and results were not received for two or three weeks.” The new equipment will allow them to give results within one or two days.

Mormon Helping Hands New Zealand February 2013Elder F. Michael Watson of the First Quorum of the Seventy; Linda K. Burton, General President of the Relief Society; and Rosemary M. Wixom, General President of the Primary, represented the Church of Jesus Christ.

American Samoa Lieutenant Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga and his wife, Pohakalani D. Mauga represented the government at the presentation. Representatives from the Medical Center also attended.

As part of the program, the Church leaders each spoke briefly before presenting a certificate of donation to Sandra King Young, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Medical Center. After her acceptance remarks, the Acting Governor was the concluding speaker.

Elder Watson pointed out that “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in interfaith and community cooperation.” He said that the donation “is for all the people of American Samoa, as well as others who may come here from other Pacific Islands to benefit from its uses.”

He also quoted Church President Thomas S. Monson, who said: “I would encourage members of the Church wherever they may be to show kindness and respect for all people everywhere.”

In accepting the gift, Sandra King Young indicated that the new hospital board was “faced with recession and constraints of financial limits. This gift is much appreciated.”

Lt. Governor Mauga commented on the gift and other community service activities of the Church: “We thank you, the Mormon Church, for the many clean-ups on flag days and festivals. Thank you for the service you have given us in taking care of the cemetery. I see it as I go to church.”

From Australia

Communities in Queensland, Australia, are bracing for more flooding while recovering from major floods in January 2013. Volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are prepared to assist by helping with the clean-up and by assembling and distributing personal care packages.

In January, when Queensland and New South Wales experienced “once-in-a-century magnitude flooding,” they assembled 2,000 personal care and hygiene kits, which were given to the Red Cross for distribution to those in need, and joined with others to assist individuals, families, and communities. Hygiene kits include soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a hand towel, and other necessities.

When the floods hit Queensland at the end of January, Latter-day Saints in the region were ready to respond.” Members of the Church worked hand-in-hand with local emergency services. Queensland Emergency Response coordinators trained and organized them to clean up communities after the floods.

Members of the Church who had signed up to attend a weekend of special emergency response training by the Red Cross (several weeks before the floods) were called to action as disaster struck. Ten of these individuals were placed in locations where their newly acquired skills helped in areas ranging from evacuation centres, recovery centres, command centres, and engaging directly with members of the community.

Michael Malouf, a Latter-day Saint from a Brisbane (Queensland) suburb, said that “many wonderful stories have come to light, that accentuate the true Aussie spirit, with acts of charity and service.”

Kimmi Hartley, an 18-year-old volunteer, said that many people in the Bundaberg area “had their homes completely covered in water. But those of us who volunteered to help were impressed by the resilience of the people who had been affected by the flood.”

This article was written by Paula Hicken, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Paula Hicken MormonPaula Hicken was an editor with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship from 2000 to 2013. She earned her BA degree in English from Brigham Young University. She edited Insights, the Maxwell Institute newsletter, and was the production editor for Faith, Philosophy, Scripture, Hebrew Law in Biblical Times (2nd ed.), Third Nephi: An Incomparable Scripture, and was one of the copy editors for Analysis of the Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon. She also helped manage the Maxwell Institute intellectual property and oversaw rights and permissions. She has published in the Ensign, the Liahona, the LDS Church News, and the FARMS Review.

Reference:

Mormons Around the World: Country Newsroom Websites – March 6

Additional Resources:

BYU TV: See the Good

Humanitarian Services

30-Year-Anniversary of Church of Jesus Christ in Haiti

March 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Mormon Beliefs

There have been members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (mistakenly referred to as the Mormon Church by people of other faiths) in the country of Haiti since 1977. The first member was Alexandre Mourra. After reading the Book of Mormon, Alexandre traveled from his home to Florida where he was taught by missionaries and baptized on 30 June 1977.

On 2 July 1978, 22 Haitians were baptized in Hatte-Maree, near Port-au-Prince. In September of that same year, J. Frederick Templeman of the Canadian embassy arrived. He worked with Alexandre Mourra to organize the first branch (a small congregation), created in October 1980 in Port-au-Prince. Missionary work began in Haiti in May 1980 under the direction of the West Indies Mission, and in 1982 there were 12 missionaries serving in the country.

30-Year-Anniversary of Church in HaitiOn 31 March 1981 a branch was created in Petionville, and Alexandre Mourra was called to serve as the Branch President. In 1982 the branch was divided and the Haiti District was created. Four missionaries were then sent to Cap Hatien.

As of December 2011, total Church membership in Haiti is 17,407. There is 1 mission in Haiti, 37 congregations, and 2 Family History Centers. Even as members in Haiti labor to build a promising future for their faith and families, they remain grateful for the Church’s humble beginnings—and the pivotal, historic role of a prophet in their island nation.

Three decades ago, Thomas S. Monson, President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ – then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles – visited the island of Haiti and dedicated the land for the preaching of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Since that time, the members in Haiti have endured staggering economic struggles and in 2010, the country was ravaged by a devastating earthquake. Yet, through it all, the Saints have remained faithful.

When Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited Haiti recently, he received a warm welcome from devout, hopeful Lattter-day Saints who have dedicated their lives to living the principles of the gospel. Elder Andersen was in Haiti as part of a tour of the Caribbean Area of The Church of Jesus Christ that included an Area review, and several meetings with local priesthood leaders, missionaries, and members throughout the Caribbean region. His visit commemorated the 30th anniversary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the country of Haiti.

On 12 February 2013, Elder and Sister Andersen accompanied by a large group of Haitian members drove high above the capital city of Port-au-Prince to Mt. Boutillier—the mountain site where Elder Monson delivered his dedicatory prayer. There Elder Andersen presided over the unveiling of a commemorative plaque that will serve as a permanent reminder of the beginnings of the LDS Church in Haiti. The members who gathered were excited to be able to view a televised message from President Monson which was recorded prior to the event.

In his remarks, President Monson stated that his duties would not allow him to be in Haiti at that time, “but my heart is surely with you as we reflect together on the remarkable progress of the kingdom of God in your country, as well as on the blessings that we all enjoy as children of our Heavenly Father.” [1] He also noted the growth that had occurred in Haiti since his 1983 visit when the Church was in its infancy:

Now, with nearly 20,000 members in four stakes and three districts, the Church is becoming a great blessing to the country of Haiti and to her people,” he said. “Thousands of faithful families kneel together daily in family prayer to thank God for His blessings and to seek His protection. I know that those prayers are heard and answered. [1]

He further noted the number of youth attending seminary and institute and serving full-time missions. “Surely, our Heavenly Father is honoring and answering the dedicatory prayer it was my privilege to offer those long years ago.” [1] He concluded his message by stating, “”glorious days” await the members who keep their sacred covenants.” [1]

Elder Andersen noted the struggles that the Haitian Saints have endured since the dedicatory prayer and spoke of the Church’s “deep appreciation” for the many who have played key roles in setting the foundations of the gospel upon Haitian soil. He added that the work of the gospel is primarily spiritual work, and ““The important things in life are not between wealth and poverty or between fame and obscurity—the important choices in life are between good and evil.” [1]

He continued his remarks by stating:

Three years ago following the terrible earthquake, all the Church and all the world cried with you. These have not been easy days for you. We thank you for your examples of courage, of faith, of seeing blessings even in the difficulties.

Nothing will change this country as the gospel of Jesus Christ will change this country. Let us speak of Christ. Let us speak of His example, His atoning power, and His Resurrection.

You … are a light to the country. [1]

References:

Elder Andersen Marks 30-Year-Anniversary of Church in Haiti

Additional Resource:

Missionary Work

 

LDS Church Dedicates New Chapel in the United Arab Emirates

March 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Mormon Beliefs

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (mistakenly referred to as the Mormon Church by people of other faiths) has dedicated a new house of worship in the United Arab Emirates. The half-acre parcel on which the Abu Dhabi Stake Center is built was donated by the Crown Prince of the Abu Dhabi Emirate. The building is located in an area surrounded by other religious structures.

Abu Dhabi Stake Center MormonThe new 14,000-square-foot building was dedicated on 22 February 2013 by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest presiding group within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) The building consists of three levels and includes a chapel, offices, classrooms, and a small cultural hall. In keeping with the local culture, one of the architectural features of the building is a dome-shaped steeple. The building, constructed of concrete masonry with a stucco finish, is part of the Middle East Africa North Area which encompasses 20 countries, with Morocco on the west and Afghanistan on the east. It is the only building in the area constructed by the Church of Jesus Christ solely as a meetinghouse for its members.

Dewan Architects and Mazcot Construction, both Emirati companies, were architect and contractor on this unique project.

Elder Larry S. Kacher, Area Seventy (members of the Third through the Eighth Quorums of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ are designated Area Seventies), said, “We are so grateful to those in the Abu Dhabi government who have been so accepting of other faiths that they are willing to donate land to allow those not of the Muslim faith to worship as they desire. Those government officials in Abu Dhabi have been an example of tolerance and kindness to all who come here and, in return for such consideration, are willing to respect the local laws and traditions. We are grateful to them.” [1]

Elder Holland dedicated the building as part of the stake conference in Abu Dhabi on Friday morning, with Friday being the day the Sabbath is observed in this part of the world. A total of 413 people attended the meeting in the stake center and another 637 watched a webcast in other buildings throughout the stake. An unknown number watched via the Internet. Later that evening, a devotional was held in Dubai and the proceedings were broadcast to other buildings in the stake (an administrative unit composed of multiple congregations, or wards, comparable to a diocese in the Roman Catholic Church.)

The stake covers four countries in the area: The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. The Church of Jesus Christ does not do any proselytizing in the area and membership is made up of Latter-day Saints primarily from North America and the Philippines. The nations of the workers and supervisors who constructed the stake center were equally international in their background, coming from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

“The building is very well equipped to transmit our meetings to members around the region,” said Robert E. Bateman II, president of the Abu Dhabi stake. “In terms of electronic technology, remotely controlled cameras and projection capabilities, it may be one of the most advanced in the church.” [1]

James Morris, who served with his wife, Sheila, as church service missionaries for the construction of the building, said, “When in the construction phase, the engineer on site for the construction company made the comment: ‘I have been instructed by my director to make sure that the construction of this building is to be of the highest quality, because it will be a holy place of worship for hundreds of people.'” [1]

Brother Morris also said, “We have been befriended by the ministers of other Christian churches in the neighborhood. They dropped by after the dedication to congratulate us on such a fine building, and have proposed having a joint social with their congregations.” [1]

Elder Kacher said, “The construction of the chapel has already been a great blessing in the lives of the members. I remember the first time I entered the completed chapel just a few months ago. I was overcome by a feeling of peace and reverence, more so than any other chapel I have ever entered. It is as if there is a special purpose for this, the first Church-built chapel in the Middle East. … [1]

Mormon Newsroom

 

LDS Church Announces 58 New Missions

February 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Mormon Beliefs

MissionaryworkSymbolQuoteThousands of Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes mistakenly called the “Mormon Church”), have responded to the announcement given last October, by the Mormon Prophet and President, Thomas Monson, in regards to lowering the age limit for volunteer missionaries. Young men were eligible to serve at age 19, and young women at age 21. Now they can serve Mormon missions at 18 and 19 respectively. Because of this prophetic announcement, the church’s missionary force is now exceeding 60,000 for the first time in a long time! Since the influx of missionaries has increased, so have the number of missions! Fifty-eight new missions, around the world, were announced at the end of February 2013—an historic moment for Mormons around the world. The news of this increase comes as no surprise, but is a reinforcing truth, prophesied by Joseph Smith centuries ago:

The truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent,” Joseph declared, “till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done (See Josephsmith.net).

As a young adult myself, I can’t even tell you how many of my own friends have submitted their applications to be Mormon missionaries! The excitement of President Monson’s announcement has not died down—thousands more are ready to start service in the months ahead. Why the lowering of the age, and the increase of missions? Following President Monson’s announcement, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) reported in a news conference—stating to the future missionaries, “This announcement isn’t about you. It’s about the sweet and pure message you are called to bear” (see Deseret News). In other words, the reasoning is because this is the work of God, and it is going forth in full force.

What do Mormon Missionaries Do?

Mormon missionariesThese volunteer missionaries serve God by “Invit[ing] others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end” (See Preach My Gospel). In a nutshell, they share 1 ½-2 years of their life in an effort to further the work of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

I invite you to learn more about the faith of Mormons and why they are so eager to serve missions, by reading the Book of Mormon for yourself and ask God if it is true. I know from experience that if you ask God, He will tell you that which you desire to know. There is even a promise in the Book of Mormon:

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:4-5).

Once you know the power behind the Book of Mormon, you will know why thousands are so eager to go and share the messages within it!

This article was written by Ashley Bell, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Additional Resources:

Request a free copy of the Book of Mormon

Chat online with a Mormon missionary

ThomasMonson.com

 

Mormon Preparation: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”

November 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Mormon Beliefs

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Preparedness is a key word that is used in many facets of life. A dictionary definition of the word “preparedness” is “a state of readiness, especially for war.” Synonyms that are used for “preparedness” are: readiness, preparation, and willingness.

Soldiers in the military, for example, are trained to always be prepared for an impending attack from the opposition, and to be ready and willing at a moment’s notice to respond to the call when the alarm is sounded. Professions such as firefighters and policemen, also have a keen knowledge and understanding of what it means to be prepared, as at any given time they may be called to respond to an emergency.

Mormon Helping Hands In the same sense, each of us should always be prepared for emergencies or natural disasters which are subject to occur at any given time, without any prior warning or notification. At such times a person can be left feeling helpless and abandoned unless he has adequately prepared for the impending storm. Although it may be impossible to be fully prepared for every possible scenario, at least having the basic emergency essentials staged and ready for use can mean the difference between panicking when disaster strikes, and being able to get through the crisis with the least amount of stress and worry.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more commonly referred to as the Mormon Church), I have been taught that preparedness brings peace. Modern day revelation as recorded in additional scriptures used by Latter-day Saints teaches, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 38:30.) We are further instructed to, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing” (D&C 109:8.)

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ has given this counsel to the members:

We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult–the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.

We are living in the prophesied time ‘when peace shall be taken from the earth’ (D&C 1:35,) when ‘all things shall be in commotion’ and ‘men’s hearts shall fail them’ (D&C 88:91.) There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current ‘commotion’ is spiritual.

Elder Oak’s counsel was indeed appreciated and heeded recently when the northeastern United States seaboard was struck by a devastating hurricane that became known as the “Super Storm.” The storm caused major property damage and power outages in some areas leaving many people either completely homeless or without any electricity for many days. Some, in a temporal sense, were as the “wise virgins” who were prepared with enough oil to keep their lamps burning; however, there were many others who were as the “foolish virgins” who waited far too long to make adequate preparations, and at the very hour that they needed oil for their lamps, their supply ran out.  In spite of the many weather alerts and warnings that had been given concerning the impending storm, there were those who were not prepared, and as a result, they found themselves left out in the cold without food, water, extra clothing, or shelter.

I am thankful that I was prepared for the storm, and because of my prior preparations, I was able to weather the storm and had the calm assurance that all would be well, and that I had no need to fear. I like the “wise virgins” had enough oil to keep my lamp burning that provided the temporal light that I needed to be able to see, but also because of the light of Christ within me, I was able to have peace in the midst of the storm and my soul was able to rest from worry and stress.

As the weather reports were coming in, I prepared my home by making sure that I had flashlights and battery powered lanterns that I could use for light in the event that I lost power. I also made sure that I had food that I could eat without the need for cooking, as without power, I would not be able to even use my microwave. I also made sure that I had plenty of water and paper products such as paper towels and toilet paper. Knowing that communications would also be a challenge if power was lost; I made sure that my cell phone was fully charged so that I would still have a way to communicate with family and friends to ensure them that I was alright. I even purchased a car charger for my cell phone in the event that I would need to recharge my cell phone. I have plenty of clothing and blankets to stay warm, and so I was also prepared to even evacuate my apartment if I had been asked to do so.

Preparedness should be more than just a byword in our homes. We should all be prepared, at all times, for any emergencies – personal or natural – that could occur at a moment’s notice.  If we are adequately prepared, then we will be ready to weather any storm, and we will have no need to fear, for we will have the calm assurance that all will be well.

This article was written by Keith L. Brown, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Additional Resources:

Basic Mormon Beliefs and Real Mormons

Mormon Doctrine

Mormon Self-Reliance

Emergency Preparedness and Response

 

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