News of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pittsburgh area, counsel from its leaders, and reflections from its members.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Who is this remarkable woman? Read more about Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, member of the United Kingdom House of Lords, founder of AMAR Foundation, and awardee of an honorary Doctor of International Leadership and Humanitarian Service from Brigham Young University.

Photo by Molly Peterson

The audience hushed as Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne began her acceptance speech for an honorary doctorate at Brigham Young University's recent commencement ceremonies. With heartfelt expressions of gratitude and words of compassion about the world's forgotten, she captivated the crowd. Her beautiful British dialect and countenance alone convinced all that she was someone extraordinary. One of Britain's best-known politicians, she also has a long-standing relationship with many leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Holland said of her "She has embraced wholeheartedly the Savior's teaching that if [we] have done it unto the least of those among us, we have done it unto Him". Elder Holland was invited to speak at Windsor Castle in September of 2016 to a conference on religious persecution and forced migration. Additionally, in 2015, he addressed a group at the UK Parliament on humanitarian efforts. Baroness Nicholson addressed BYU that same year.

Among her many other accomplishments, the Baroness founded the AMAR Foundation 25 years ago, which provides aid and public support for refugees and displaced persons in the Middle East. AMAR stands for Assisting Marsh Arabs and Refugees. The word amar also translates as "the builder" in some Arabic dialects, reminding people of the Foundation's central mission of rebuilding lives. In the words of Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the general presidency of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: "Baroness Nicholson is an absolutely fearless advocate for people who have no one else to speak for them...she has used her position and platform to shut down human trafficking, increase protections of religious rights, and to open doors for families caught in conflict. Her work in the marshlands of Iraq attracted the attention of the Church's humanitarian organization, LDS Charities".  For the past 8 years, LDS Charities together with AMAR has worked to build health clinics and schools, and help victims of sexual violence in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Particularly touching in Baroness Nicholson's speech was her recollection of a child she encountered in a small front line hospital in Mosul, Iraq. She had just supervised equipping the hospital with every possible need to help those injured. She saw a tiny boy around two or three years of age, miserable, completely silent and motionless, sitting on one of the beds that had just been delivered. What had happened? Why had the boy distanced himself so completely from people? His mother pointed to his scalp of black hair, where there were patches of bare skin. She said that ISIL (Iraqi terrorist organization) had come in and picked the child up by the hair and swung him around like a toy, again and again. He hadn't spoken since. A nearby cameraman gently leaned forward and took a picture of the child. He turned his camera around and let the child see the picture. The boy's eyes caught his own face. He looked, and suddenly, he smiled. In Baroness Nicholson's words "A wonderful moment to remind us all that saving just one life - giving that little boy hope - is worth all of the effort we can put in."

"Count me in as one of you," said this woman of great achievement and compassion to the audience. What an honor to do so, and as a Church, what a statement our relationship with her is to promoting interfaith partnerships that help our world become a more peaceful and humane place for all mankind.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Photographs from "An American-Born Faith: Writings from the First Century of Mormonism" exhibition at the Free Library of Philadelphia

In this third article on the exhibition of historical writings by and about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, photographs from the exhibit as well as other photographs from the Free Library of Philadelphia's Rare Book Department are shown. The exhibition is found at the Parkway Central branch, the heart of the Free Library system in Philadelphia. It is a beautiful Beaux-Arts style building located at 1901 Vine Street on Logan Circle, just down the street from the Philadelphia Temple. It is wonderful to see the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints showcased at this institution, which houses one of the world's preeminent collections of rare books, artifacts, and manuscripts. Allison Freyermuth, head of the Rare Book Department, provided the tour.
Photographs by Molly Peterson

 A view of the Free Library of Philadelphia from Vine Street. The Philadelphia Temple can be see far right
 Front banners about the exhibition 

 Early guidebook for visiting teachers and missionaries
  Coinage associated with the early Church
  An account from western traveler John Wesley Clampitt, who shared observations of early Mormon settlers 

A rare copy of the Book of Mormon in the Hawaiian language 
 Books that taught reading by the curious phonetic "Deseret alphabet", invented for new converts who did not speak English

 The Story of the Book of Mormon, by Elder George Reynolds
 Photograph of Brigham Young on a collectible card used for trading, similar to today's baseball cards 

 The exhibition is found in the William B. Dietrich Gallery of the Rare Book Department

The next photographs are from other exhibits in the Rare Book Department
 One of many in a lovely collection of original Beatrix Potter art and books
 Carta executoria, late 16th century manuscript. These writings were issued in the name of the current king to provide certain people with nobility 

 Puppet hornbook - used to hold a "horn", which was bone, wood, or other material on which was written school lessons for children 
 Charles Dickens' taxidermy of his pet raven "Grip"
 Section of the 62 foot long Georgian style room in the Rare Book Department, bequested by heirs of William McIntire Elkins, who donated his entire book collection and other treasures to the Free Library 
 Giant globe in the Elkins room
The desk of Charles Dickens, part of the Elkins bequest

Thursday, September 15, 2016

General Sunday School President Tad R. Callister Gives Inspired Counsel at Training Fireside Hosted by the Pittsburgh Stake

Photo courtesy of LDS Media Library © 2015 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
General Sunday School President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Tad R. Callister

What a rare blessing it was to hear direction on teaching in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the Sunday School general president. Nothing is so frequently used and needed in the functions of the gospel as inspired teaching. Brother Callister's warmth and candid words left little room for interpretation of the Lord's direction in this regard. He allowed the spirit to speak through the voices and hearts of the audience as well as himself, which gave special life to his presentation. A note on Brother Callister's title - he is referred to as Brother due to the fact that he is a Church general auxiliary leader. When he was a Seventy, he was referred to as Elder. 

By way of background information, Brother Callister was serving in the Presidency of the Seventy and as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy when he was called as Sunday School general president. He has served in a number of Church callings including full-time missionary in the Eastern Atlantic States Mission, bishop, stake president, regional representative, mission president, and Area Seventy. He received a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Brigham Young University, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in tax law from New York University Law School. He spent most of his professional career practicing tax law. He and his wife Kathryn Louise Saporiti are the parents of six children. He has also authored a number of outstanding gospel related books, among which are the classic "The Infinite Atonement", his newest, "The Blueprint of Christ's Church", and "The Inevitable Apostasy and the Promised Restoration".

Brother Callister began his address by reflecting on his time serving a mission in the Pittsburgh area. He has real roots here. He then gave an overview of the new Church resource "Teaching in the Savior's Way". This book shares 20 teaching principles that can be the basis for teacher council meetings, which are to be led by a member of the ward Sunday School presidency. Such meetings are a time when teachers can share successes, problems, and principles together. One audience member asked "How long will the Church continue to have these meetings?" There is not an end planned. Ward auxiliary presidencies are to train new teachers in their organizations, and this book is a resource to help those auxiliary presidencies in doing so. They will sit down with the teacher for 45 minutes to an hour and give vision and instruction. Brother Callister then shared some things to look forward to in regards to curriculum in the years to come. 

Teaching should be by the spirit so that it inspires class members to be more Christlike. Some think they can't do it. Whom the Lord calls the Lord qualifies. By weak and simple things...the keystone to being a better teacher is to be humble and rely on Christ. Elder Groberg once said to a stake president: "There are many revelations waiting for you". Inherent in every calling is the right to receive revelation to help magnify that calling.

"There is no doubt that if a person lives according to the revelations given to God's people, he may have the spirit of the Lord to signify to him his will and to guide and to direct him in the discharge of his duties...I am satisfied, however, that in this respect, we live far beneath our privileges" (Brigham Young).

Brother Callister then asked how we might live that we can receive revelation. One audience member said to "Live worthy". Another shared "Love the people". The Savior spoke to people as individuals: "I'm praying for you Peter, that your faith won't fail you". Joseph Smith was the master receiver of revelation because he was the master asker. What is appropriate to ask? What kinds of things would help teachers touch the hearts of the people they teach? One audience member said to ask help for their students' testimonies.  Dixie Thielet said to ask for help in conveying that the gospel is exciting! An idea shared by Brother Callister to make teaching exciting was to give class members a "spiritual trailer" of sorts. A missionary he knew not only told an investigator to read 3 Nephi 11 in the Book of Mormon, but that missionary explained the scriptural passage and the amazing events surrounding the coming of Christ to the Nephites and how God spoke to them, "Do you know what he told them to do?" Read the part that I underlined to find out!

The more specific we are about prayer, the more specific will be God's blessings to us. Revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge - this is the revelation that teacher's have. A video example was given for auxiliary presidents to help them teach. The gift to teach must be earned. The Savior was a teacher, and he should be our ideal. His image can become engraven on our countenances. We teach what we are. Our conduct may determine whether his words are accepted or rejected. There should be deep regard for what he taught and how he taught, for Christ was the master teacher. Brother Callister asked for comments on important principals. Cynthia Greathouse said we need humility. Another sister said that we are teaching who we are - our words don't hold value unless we are living them. "You can't fake the spirit". The audience contributed these thoughts: When our countenance reflects Christ's countenance, people will trust us. It's okay to aspire to be like him.

Brother Callister counseled to read the scripture block for a lesson before reading outside commentaries. Read the scripture, ponder, and seek revelation first. "If you are familiar with it, it will come back to you". One sister shared that she feels that reading the Pinterest versions of lessons blocks our own personal revelation. Brother Callister said to seek our own revelation before others'. Another resource or commentary can never predict the questions that will be asked in class. (As we study the actual passage, God can inspire us with a certain part of it that we may need to know to answer a question one of our students may ask). So much comes out of the original scriptures. Get information from the head of the river, so to speak, before the cattle have trodden through it. Don't go to the commentary for the answer. Think it through yourself first, then consult the commentary. Brother Callister found that when he did this, sometimes he would get things that were the same as the commentators, and sometimes he would get a customized answer. Spend the bulk of preparation time on the scriptures.

So what could be better than spending from 1 to 3 in the afternoon on Saturday preparing for our Sunday lessons? Prepare at least a week early, and ponder the lesson. Brother Callister repeated to prepare at least a week in advance. If we start early enough we give the Lord time to inspire us, and also we have a chance to assign readings to class members. If we have very little time but do the best we can with what time we do have, the Lord will still help. Record spiritual impressions. Elder Richard G. Scott told Brother Callister to record every single spiritual impression he had when he was called to be stake president. Why is it so critical to record spiritual impressions when they come? We show God that we value them. The Lord gives us counsel and sometimes we roll our eyes! "Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need". This practice enhances the likelihood of one receiving further light. A little seed of spiritual knowledge can become a great redwood. Joseph Smith said that if we fail to write what God has told us, the spirit could withdraw, and there would be "A vast knowledge of infinite importance which is now lost".

Brother Callister said to teach the doctrine with the spirit. Doctrine has an inherent power. (Doctrine is the word of God as found in the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets and apostles - Boyd K. Packer said that "the study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior". If you teach the doctrine, the spirit will come". Doctrine counters falsehood. A story was shared about an elder who wanted to go home from his mission because he felt that he had failed in explaining a gospel concept to someone. The mission president told him to go to his apartment and study the doctrine on his perceived failure for a time period, then tell him what he learned. The elder did this, and no longer wanted to go home because he learned the doctrine of the situation. Doctrine counters falsehood. The purpose of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness of the doctrine that we teach. Joseph F. Smith said not to substitute your testimony for the needed discourse of instruction. The course of instruction is the meat of the learning experience for a class.

The question was asked of the audience: "What is an inspired lesson?" One audience member said "To help our class members learn the doctrine and live it". Using questions that begin with why or how is teaching more like the Master. Ask inspired questions. Lead inspired discussions. Teachers do not need to rush - just cover the most important things. Remember that a discussion is a means, not an end. Discussions are successful if they help the learner to understand and live the gospel. A teacher is not the facilitator of a discussion! The discussion is just a component. A teacher gives instruction and doctrine. A teacher know his or her students. A teacher uses stories, art, and music to enhance his or her words. A teacher reaches to less active members of the church. Neal A. Maxwell compared teaching to belonging to a big army. When a soldier walks past artillery and digs a foxhole, for that spot, he is the army. When we go into the classroom, we are the Church. Strive to be the most influential teacher we can be!
Photo by Molly Peterson
Left to Right: Brother Tad R. Callister, the Pittsburgh Stake Presidency: First Counselor President Ron E. Paul, Stake President Erich B. Peterson, Second Counselor President George P. Cavalier, and Elder S. Marc Clay of the Seventy 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Interview with Allison Freyermuth, Curator of Historical Exhibition on Mormonism at the Free Library of Philadelphia

Photo courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Allison Freyermuth, Branch Head of the Rare Book Department at the Free Library of Philadelphia

Allison Freyermuth is head of the Rare Book Department at the Park Central Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. She curated a fabulous new exhibition at the Library entitled An American-born Faith: Writings from the First Century of Mormonism. The Library is steps away from the new Philadelphia Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In honor of the temple, this exhibition of rare writings has been created. It was truly a pleasure to speak with Allison and learn further insights about the exhibition, which will run through February 6, 2017. 

The Free Library of Philadelphia has 54 locations throughout the city, as well as the separate Rosenbach collection, which became an affiliate in 2013. This affiliation brought together two of the world's preeminent collections of rare books, artifacts, and manuscripts. "We are a huge system. The building that I am in, the main library - Parkway Central, was built in 1927. The rare book department has been where it is since 1949."  When asked about the mission of the Free Library, Allison shared: "As a public library we serve the community of Philadelphia by advancing literacy, guiding learning, and inspiring curiosity." Allison went on to describe the proximity of the Library to the Philadelphia Temple, and a surrounding building. "There is one building in between us - it used to be Family Court. It is the twin building to the Free Library - they are matching buildings. It's going to be turned into a boutique hotel - a very handsome building".

Photo by Jason Smith for Visit Philadelphia
Parkway Central Branch, Free Library of Philadelphia

Allison shared that many people had learned about the exhibit through social media. "We have had a huge amount of visitors. On Saturday we had over 100 people visiting the exhibit, which is amazing for us. We usually don't get that kind of traffic".

When asked about the acquisition of the pieces in the exhibition, Allison shared "Every single book in the exhibition is either owned by the Rare Book Department or the the Free Library itself. They were part of a circulating collection at one point, or they are from the Rosenbach Museum and Library collection. We borrowed one book from the University of Pennsylvania, I believe it is a Doctrine and Covenants from the 20's. About 17 items came from [the Rosenbach] collection, such as the Deseret Newspapers, a 1st edition Book of Mormon... and a little hymn book...there are around 70 items".
"We have an Americana Collection - some of the books came from that. Some came from the History of Books and Printing Collection - books that are printed in the Deseret Alphabet came from that. We have a very very extensive Children's Book Collection - some of the the primers came from that".

Part of the exhibition is traveler's descriptions of Mormon settlements and the faith. Allison tells us that Dr. Rosenbach had a keen interest in traveler's descriptions of the early west. "There are lots of books and memoirs about that. Most of them are books, no manuscript journals. The exhibit is very book heavy, containing all books, newspapers, and one photograph... for wall exhibits, text panels have been used." In the section of the exhibition about early Americans' reactions to the faith, Allison tells us that both pros and cons were touched on, but they did not go too heavy on anti-Mormon literature and tried to be balanced.

Allison described a positive general reaction to the exhibit. The Library has not been criticized for doing an exhibit on just one religion, though they are a public institution. They have not had any pushback so far, for which she is glad.

When asked if there were any general questions about the church that the exhibit might answer or clarify, Allison said "We...tried to do a historical perspective of the first 100 years. It definitely touches on scriptures, tenets, and what is believed, but there is a lot more to it than that. There is the missionary experience which I found really fun to put together, and there is Deseret inventing this whole new alphabet, which might be the most visually interesting part of it. We tried to give people a perspective of what it was like".

An American-born Faith: Writings from the First Century of Mormonism is in the Library's largest exhibition space, however there are other compelling galleries in the Rare Book Department. "People are welcome to look at the other cases and other exhibits. We've got a huge collection of Edgar Allen Poe, a huge collection of Americana, and a Charles Dickens collection that's amazing. We have a Charles Dickens taxidermy pet raven, 'Grip'. People who have visited An American Born Faith, most of them, have...wandered around and looked at everything else".

The Rare Book Department is open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and this exhibition is open the same days and hours. It is free to the public.

Allison graduated from the Philadelphia Arts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia Designing Leadership class on April 15, 2015. She received her MLIS degree from Louisiana State University in 1995, and she has been working for the Free Library of Philadelphia since 1997.

Friday, August 19, 2016

An American-Born Faith: Writings from the First Century of Mormonism. Philadelphia Free Library Opens Rare Book Exhibition

Photographs Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia

First Edition Book of Mormon

The City of Brotherly Love has opened its arms to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as our temple opens for public viewing. In honor of the temple, the Philadelphia Free Library, which is just a short walk from the temple location on Vine Street, has mounted an exhibition of historic material focusing on 19th and early 20th century writings connected with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These rare items come from both the Free Library and the Rosenbach collections.

Among the items on display are such historical treasures as a Book of Mormon written in Hawaiian, which may be one of only 15-20 in existence, early copies of the Deseret News, a phonetic alphabet devised for non-English-speaking converts, 19th century travelers descriptions of Mormon settlements, publications documenting the range of Americans' reactions to the new faith, as well as early copies of the Book of Mormon.

Book of Mormon, Hawaiian Copy

Deseret News, February 23, 1859

The exhibition, on display at 1901 Vine Street in Philadelphia, is currently being shown and will run through February 6, 2017.

The Rare Book Department of the Philadelphia Free Library is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and may be visited at any time during those hours. At 11:00 a.m. every day, there is a guided tour of the Department's general collections. For more information on the Department, please visit this LINK .

For further reading and information surrounding the exhibition, see this ARTICLE by Kenneth Hilario of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple Open House and Dedication

© 2011, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The time is almost upon us for the open house and dedication of the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple! It has been nearly 5 years since the groundbreaking on September 17, 2011. The open house will begin Wednesday, August 10th, and will continue through Friday, September 9th. The dedication, which is separate from the open house, will be held on Sunday, September 18th in three sessions at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. at local stake centers. These dedication sessions will be broadcast to all stakes and districts in Pennsylvania, as well as the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple district, which includes stakes in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and parts of New Jersey and Maryland. The three-hour block of church meetings will be cancelled that day to allow church members to participate in the dedication, and a special temple recommend must be obtained to attend. Please see your Bishop to arrange this. Reservations for the temple open house are strongly encouraged, as people will have to wait in potentially very long lines to attend without them. For reservations visit or call 855-537-2000. The open house tour is free to the public for all ages, and times are as follows: Mondays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. There will be no tours on Sundays. The address of the temple is 1739 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. The tour includes a short video with a walking tour, and comfortable shoes plus modest attire are recommended. It is wheelchair accessible, however service animals are not permitted in the temple. It is requested to refrain from smoking on temple and chapel property. Parking will be limited, and public transportation is encouraged. For additional information, visit 

The beautiful historic design of the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple incorporates elements that complement the classic architecture of the neighborhood buildings. The spires have similarities to the clock tower on Independence Hall, and the inner furnishings create an atmosphere of historic Philadelphia. Striking panes of stained glass run the length of the building, which is surrounded by a landscaped plaza with a reflecting pool and gardens open to the public. The lead architect is B. Jeffrey Stebar of the Fayetteville Georgia Stake.  Parking for the temple is to be provided by an underground facility.

Come and enjoy this magnificent house of the Lord! All are invited to the open house!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

This Weekend Marks Conclusion of Historical 12 Stake Youth Conference - Elder Milan F. Kunz of the Seventy, Sister Carol F. McConkie, and Kenneth Cope Among Special Guests

Group photo by Blaine Shahan of the Lancaster Pennsylvania Stake

On Saturday morning, July 16, over 800 youth from 12 stakes gathered for a devotional by special presenters at the concluding activities of the 2016 Multi-Stake Youth Conference, held at Robert Morris University in Moon, Pennsylvania. Participating stakes were Altoona, Chambersburg, Charleston, Cleveland, Huntington, Jamestown, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh North, Pittsburgh West, Williamsport, and Youngstown. The conference began on Wednesday, July 13th and concluded on July 16th. It was filled with devotionals, games, workshops, service projects, and dances. Notable was the effort to serve refugees. The youth teamed up with Catholic Charities, the primary social services agency of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, to provide a truck load of hygiene kits, baby goods, and other necessities to aid refugees. These things were delivered to Catholic Charities in Pittsburgh. The theme of the conference was Press Forward with a Steadfastness in Christ, and it was hosted by the Pittsburgh North Stake.

The closing devotional was one of the beautiful spiritual highlights of the conference. Following are thoughts from the speakers, and words to a moving musical number by Kenneth Cope:
Photo by Blaine Shahan
Pittsburgh North Stake President Raymond B. Carter 

Stake President Ray Carter of the Pittsburgh North Stake gave opening remarks and shared comments from youth which he overheard at the conference, such as "Now I know what the Holy Ghost feels like". He shared a miracle that happened. A large storm cell was headed directly towards the conference on Thursday evening which should have come straight through Robert Morris University. The storm cell split to the north and south before hitting the area. President Carter emphasized how important it is to draw close to Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ and to understand the atonement. Such things are not stories, but the truth. He urged the youth to press on after their testimonies have been strengthened, and to ask for help from Heavenly Father. 
Photo by Blaine Shahan 
 Carol F. McConkie, First Counselor in the General Young Women's Presidency 

The next speaker was Carol F. McConkie, General Young Women's Presidency First Counselor. She shared how the youth were so kind, so gracious, and so outgoing. She feels a deep love for them and encouraged their remembrance of what the spirit has taught them which might not have been spoken in words. Such things will bless their entire life. The most important word in the dictionary is "remember". The legacy that we have is living the gospel of Jesus Christ. "We need to remember...this love, this faith, this example of obedience that has been passed down. Our ability to remember is a choice. Those who choose to remember Jesus Christ become the people of God. Those who choose to forget...become...the people who knew not God", as is stated in the Book of Mormon. "We remember that we are sons and daughters of God...we remember when we write down those experiences...those who have influenced you". Sister McConkie encouraged the youth to write about people at the conference that were influential to them and what it was about such people that they admired. She also suggested being kind and inclusive. In the gospel of Jesus Christ there is never room for rudeness, sarcasm, or bullying. Obedience is the process by which we discover what we are truly made of. She used the example of Sariah in the Book of Mormon, who struggled greatly when her sons had been gone so long in the wilderness. She thought they had died, and said "My sons are no more". Sariah was comforted by the testimony of her husband, the prophet Lehi. We can exercise faith in another's testimony until we receive our own. Sister Mary Fielding Smith, Hyrum Smith's widow, inspires Sister McConkie. Sister Smith would not give up the latter-day gospel for anything the world could offer. A story was then told of a returned missionary named Brie. She and her sister moved to an apartment in downtown Salt Lake City. One night, a predator climbed through the window and attacked Brie. Her sister tried to help but was thrown down the stairs and knocked unconscious. Brie and the predator were in a struggle and he desired to kill her. Brie received divine protection while being attacked. Brie's sister regained consciousness, and was told to get help. A policeman just happened to be right there outside the door, and came to assist. Although this experience caused Brie to battle anxiety, depression, and a sense of low self esteem, she has been helped by praying every day, opening the scriptures, and attending the temple. While in the temple, she felt the love of God for her, and even the love of God for her attacker. She has found forgiveness. The legacy we have (of  living the gospel) is the answer for mortality. Everything unfair will be made right. Give the Lord full attention of your thoughts, and you will be able to overcome every battle and face every trial successfully. Remember your legacy. Remember the things you have learned and felt, the things the Spirit has taught you, and move forward. Sister McConkie then shared a missionary's letter from her family. She asked the youth to never forget our Savior Jesus Christ. She then quoted Helaman 5:12 "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless woe, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall".

She testified that this is true. She bore her testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, which contains the rock upon which we can stand. She stated that she prayed that the youth would stand true and faithful to the gift that has been given to them. 

Next was a touching original song by Kenneth Cope entitled "Gethsemane". Prior to singing, he told the audience that some things we can not remember because of the veil of forgetfulness, but we can IMAGINE.

Photo by Blaine Shahan
 Recording Artist Kenneth Cope

 (written by Kenneth Cope) 

My Lord Jesus 
Me in heaven—You on earth 
You’re in the garden
 And Your heavy burden is growing worse
 I weep for You, Jesus

 My poor Jesus
 I’m so sorry to make You cry
 But I’m far from like You
 And all my sins, Lord, demand this price 
I wish that I could come to You
 And wipe away the blood
 And then I’d bear Your cross, Lord
 If I could
 But I’m up here
 And You’re down there, Jesus

 My poor Jesus
 I’m so sorry to make You die
 But, please, for me, Jesus

 Now Lord Jesus
 You’re in heaven and I’m on earth 
Now it’s my turn
 And my little burden is getting worse
 I weep for me, Jesus 

Oh kind Jesus
 I keep trying to win this fight
 But I just can’t change me
 I need Your grace, Lord Please provide

 I wish that I could run to You
 And all of this would end
 If I could see Your face
 Have You close again 
But You’re up there And I’m down here, Oh Jesus

 My Lord Jesus
 If You’ve got time to spend with me tonight
 Then fly to me, Jesus 

 © 2001 Mohrg├╝d Music (BMI)

Photo by Blaine Shahan
 Elder Milan F. Kunz of the Seventy

Elder Milan F. Kunz of the Seventy, from Philadelphia, shared final remarks at the devotional. Elder Kunz shared a few light-hearted words about what a Seventy does. He then spoke of how a supercharger works within an engine. Superchargers force air into the pistons of an engine to allow greater performance. How can you supercharge your life? We are born with a set of talents and weaknesses that make us unique, and will optimize our growth and development in this life. He gave an example of two hypothetical individuals, Blaze and Dudley. Blaze seemed to have it all. He was confident, had a lot of talents, and very few weaknesses. Dudley on the other hand had few talents and many weaknesses. In the eyes of the world, Blaze was the more favorable of the two, because the world judges based on what is seen on the outside. God looks on the heart, however, and Dudley would be more favored than Blaze in his eyes if Dudley developed the few talents he was given and worked to overcome his weaknesses. If Blaze relied on his natural ability and worked very little on his talents and did not overcome his weaknesses, he would not be as favored in the judgement of God. In Ether 12:27 we read :  "...if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." We learn that God enables us to overcome our weaknesses by the power of the atonement, and his grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before him. Elder Kunz emphasized humility and gratitude. The grace of the Lord helps us overcome our weaknesses and allows us to enjoy the gifts of the spirit. The gifts of the spirit that we receive from the Lord are superchargers. They allow us to do things beyond our usual capacity. For example, the Nephites, though not as strong, could go to battle against the Lamanites and be victorious because the Lord enhanced their ability. He told the story of a Russian missionary who had one leg. He was a national wrestler with a scholarship. Additionally he learned to play the cello. This Elder had hardships on his mission, such as having to climb difficult stairs daily to get to his first apartment, but he also had a great attitude of faith. 

Judgement will come - and we will be judged primarily on our hearts. Our gifts magnify and supercharge us. We need to identify what gifts we need in our lives and ask for them. Places to find examples of spiritual gifts are in 1 Corinthians 12, Moroni 10, and Doctrine and Covenants 46. The lists in these chapters are not comprehensive of all spiritual gifts. When we are serving and helping others, we will have greater access to those gifts. Of all the spiritual gifts, the greatest is charity. This gift enable us to see others as Christ sees all of us. When Christ sees us, he sees us not only now, but us in an exalted state. Elder Kunz, together with his wife, served as a mission president and was deeply touched by a video he received from the missionaries of his mission, in which they expressed their love for himself and his wife, even before they met them. A powerful love was felt from these missionaries even before Elder and Sister Kunz arrived in their mission. Love is powerful. Elder Kunz works with leaders in the church and does not ask for more of their time, but that they may have the gift of better use of their time. He gave his wife a blessing before her talk the day before, and additionally blessed that the youth would be prepared to learn. Elder Kunz bore powerful testimony of Jesus, and shared that he has seen the doctrine of Christ change thousands of lives. "He has the power to change your life". He encouraged listeners to repent, develop their talents, and overcome their weaknesses.