Today The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes inadvertently referred to by the media or friends of other faiths as "The Mormon Church") has over 15 million members in over 160 nations worldwide. Currently, 155 of its beautiful temples adorn sites in North, South, and Central America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and numerous islands of the sea. There are 22 other LDS temples that have either been announced or are under construction. The relief and humanitarian efforts of the Church have helped bless the lives of millions around the world, regardless of faith, as it follows the example of its Living Head, Jesus Christ. Sadly, The Church of Jesus Christ is still greatly misunderstood, and many myths and falsehoods still exist. We hope that this site will provide information to those who visit hoping to gain knowledge about Latter-day Saints (nicknamed "Mormons"), either on a given topic in Mormonism or simply about Mormons in general. Articles cover topics about such things as basic Mormon beliefs, Mormon doctrine, Mormon history and leadership, temple work, family life, Mormon literature, controversial topics, and Church organizations and humanitarian efforts.
On 4 October 2008, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced that it would build a new temple in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The temple was originally scheduled to be located on the east side of the 400 block of North Broad Street, between Noble and Hamilton Streets in downtown Philadelphia. However, per Robert B. Smith, a Church leader in Philadelphia, "the church encountered "contamination" problems with that site, prohibiting it from using the entire parcel to construct two buildings." The Church was able to acquire new property located between 17th and 18th Streets, on the north side of Vine Street, east of the Old Family Courthouse and near the Central Library of the Philadelphia Free Library and the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
Significant Events in Church History in Philadelphia
Two years prior to the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830, Church President, Joseph Smith, moved to Harmony, Pennsylvania, and lived in the home of Isaac Hale, his father-in-law. After a few weeks, he moved to a cabin adjacent to the farm. It was in this cabin where Joseph Smith translated most of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ - a companion volume of scripture to the Bible. Joseph and the first members of the Church were baptized in the Susquehanna River in May 1829. A total of 12 congregations were organized in Pennsylvania in the 1830s, prior to the gatherings of Saints to Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. One prominent congregation in Philadelphia had more than 200 members before 1840 and eight to ten new members were baptized weekly. Membership fell following the migration of the Saints to the Salt Lake Valley but grew again as Mormon European emigrants arrived. The first stake was organized in 1960 with 1,100 members located in congregations in southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.
Another significant event in Church history which occurred in Pennsylvania was the restoration of Priesthood authority. On 15 May 1829, having read about baptism for the remission of sins as they worked on the translation of the gold plates, Joseph Smith and his scribe Oliver Cowdery went to a secluded area to inquire of the Lord concerning the matter. There, on the banks of the Susquehanna River near Harmony, Pennsylvania, they received the answer to their prayer. John the Baptist, a resurrected being, came to them as “a messenger from heaven . . . in a cloud of light.” He conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood. Then, in obedience to his instructions, Joseph and Oliver baptized each other and ordained each other to the Aaronic Priesthood. Also in May 1829, the ancient Apostles Peter, James, and John conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. In June 1829, guided “by the gift and power of God” Doctrine and Covenants 135:3, the Prophet Joseph Smith completed the translation of the Book of Mormon. In 1839, Joseph visited Philadelphia to organize a branch of the Church and speak to a gathering of 3,000 people.
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple on Saturday, 17 September 2011 — the 224th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States at Philadelphia's Independence Hall. Attendance at the temple site was by invitation only. The event warranted a long story in the Philadelphia Enquirer.
Open House, Cultural Celebration, and Temple Dedication
A public open house for the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple was conducted from Wednesday, 10 August 2016, through Friday, 9 September 2016, excluding Sundays.
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, presided over the cultural celebration which took place the night before the dedication of the temple, on Saturday, 17 September 2016, at Temple University.
The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple was dedicated as the 152nd temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sunday, 18 September 2016. It is the first temple in Philadelphia and the state. President Henry B. Eyring, the First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, dedicated the temple in three sessions 9:00 a.m., 12:00 noon and 3:00 p.m. The dedicatory sessions were broadcast to all Church meetinghouses in Pennsylvania and those in the Philadelphia Temple district.
President Eyring has a close bond to this particular temple since he was born and lived in New Jersey and was baptized in Philadelphia as a boy.
Today there are 51,406 members, 2 missions, 12 stakes, 84 wards, and 30 branches in Pennsylvania alone. The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple will be the first temple in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware region. The Philadelphia Temple District will include 10 stakes — seven in Pennsylvania, two in Delaware, and one in New Jersey.
Humanitarian Aid Updates
Mormons Provide Humanitarian Aid Around the World
Following the admonition of the Master who taught, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40), members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actively engage in the service of their fellowmen in many areas of the world.
The service that they render is not limited solely to Latter-day Saints in need, but rather they stand ready, willing, and able to “lift up the hands which hang down, and [to stable] the feeble knees” (Hebrews 12:12) of anyone in their hour of need. Thus, as they perform their unselfish acts of service, the words found in the text of King Benjamin’s sermon as recorded in The Book of Mormon resonate with them. Said King Benjamin, “And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another” (Mosiah 4:21).
The Church of Jesus Christ Humanitarian Programs
LDS Humanitarian Services is a branch of the Welfare Services department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The organization’s stated mission is to relieve suffering, to foster self-reliance for people of all nationalities and religions, and to provide opportunities for service.
Throughout its history, The Church of Jesus Christ has always provided for those in need and is perhaps best known for taking care of its own members. In 1842, Joseph Smith organized the Women’s Relief Society, with a primary focus to provide “relief” to suffering members and an ultimate vision of aiding all people. During the Great Depression, the Church organized a welfare program, now administered by the church's Welfare Services Department, to help provide for the needs of its members.
To help as many people as possible, the Church has established various humanitarian projects which operate throughout the world. These programs include LDS Charities, Helping Hands, and LDS Philanthropies. The Church also maintains the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was established in 1991 to “prepare humanitarian supplies for use worldwide and train those desiring to develop employable skills to become self-reliant.”
The Members' Role in Humanitarian Work
The Savior taught, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). We show our love for one another when we are willing to follow the admonition of the Lord to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and those in prison. We are also taught that we are to visit the fatherless and the widow in their afflictions. In his timeless sermon, King Benjamin exhorted the people, “For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?” (Mosiah 4:19).
Members can get actively engaged in humanitarian efforts in several ways. One way that members can become involved is through service in their local community. Service in the community can include things such as cutting a neighbor’s lawn, washing a neighbor’s car, offering to run errands for an elderly person or someone who is otherwise unable to do so themselves, or babysitting for a neighbor. Service in the community might also include taking part in projects that benefit the community. Members should also seek to build community relations by being actively involved in community service projects that may be spearheaded by people of other faiths, or if they identify something that would benefit the community that has not been addressed, they should take the initiative to bring about a solution. No matter how a person chooses to serve his community, and no matter how small the service may seem, the service alone will say myriads about that person and his or her faith.
Too often we notice the needs around us, hoping that someone from far away will magically appear to meet those needs. … When we do this, we deprive our neighbor of the service we could render, and we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to serve.
Another way that a member can be involved in humanitarian efforts is by donating to the Humanitarian Aid Fund. Donations can be made through a local ward or branch of the Church by filling out a Tithing and Other Offerings slip and indicating the amount on the “Humanitarian Aid” line, mailing a check, or donating online through the Humanitarian Services Giving section of the LDS Philanthropies website. Donations to the Humanitarian Aid Fund allow the Church to help people throughout the world by providing relief and ultimately helping them to become self-reliant.
There are also many members who become actively engaged in community service or helping with relief efforts during natural disasters and catastrophes by volunteering to be a part of the Mormon Helping Hands. The Mormon Helping Hands is a program of The Church of Jesus Christ, under the direction of the Priesthood, which provides community service and/or disaster relief for those in need. The service that is rendered by the Helping Hands helps to establish the name and reputation of the Church by dispelling some of the misconceptions about the Church, and proving that Mormons are Christians who are willing to give of their time and service for the good of the communities in which they live.
Church of Jesus Christ Humanitarian Initiatives
Emergency Response is the part of the LDS Church’s humanitarian efforts of which most people are aware. Funds and supplies in this area are used to help victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, and hurricanes, as well as other disasters such as wars or political unrest. Supplies in this area are gathered and stored before a crisis so supplies can be sent within hours of an emergency. Volunteers are also on call so they can be reached and organized within a few hours if needed. The LDS Church is renowned for its ability to organize its members in various regions of the world to respond to emergency and facilitate distributing goods immediately after a crisis, often before aid programs such as the Red Cross or the Salvation Army come to assist. In 2008, the LDS Church responded to 124 disasters in 48 countries.
Wheelchair Distribution is another church program crucial to helping those in need. Studies estimate that only one percent of the disabled in the world have wheelchairs. For the rest, being without a wheelchair means adults cannot provide for themselves or their families, and for children it often means not being able to attend school. By providing wheelchairs to those in need, the church hopes to help people become more self-reliant which is an important tenant of LDS beliefs.
The Clean Water Service provides clean water and wells to people who otherwise would most likely contract deadly diseases because of the dirty water. It is estimated that one billion people lack clean water. The clean water program is designed to partner with local community agencies to provide sustainable clean water.
The Neonatal Resuscitation program sends doctors and volunteers to areas where infant mortality rate is high. They are able to teach people in the area how to resuscitate newborns as well as provide simple medical equipment. This service is greatly needed as it is estimated that nearly 1 million newborns die each year due to birth difficulties. Up to 10% of newborns have breathing difficulties.
The Vision Treatment Training program teaches facilities and medical personnel in developing countries how to treat preventable or reversible blindness. There are 37 million people in the world who are blind, and up to 75 % of blindness is treatable. The vision care program works with local vision health care centers to help treat and prevent blindness for the poor.
North Star - A place of community for Latter-day Saints dealing with issues surrounding homosexual attraction who desire to live in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the values and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The following articles discuss the topic of Religious Freedom:
Mormon Music - Features bios about seasoned and upcoming LDS artists, music videos, and interesting news articles about the Mormon music scene
Gérald Jean Caussé: Presiding Bishop
Gérald Jean Caussé was called to serve as the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 9 October 2015. He is the fifteenth man to serve in this position in the Church’s history. He is the third presiding bishop born outside the United States and the first for whom English is a second language. He has served as a General Authority of the Church since 2008 and was the first person from France appointed as a General Authority.
Gérald Caussé was born in Bordeaux, France, on 20 May 1963, and raised as a Latter-day Saint. His parents became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was six months old. He became the Sunday School President in his branch when he was 16. His Church service includes Elder Quorum President, Bishop’s counselor, Stake President’s counselor, Stake President, and Area Seventy.
Caussé was President of the Paris France Stake of the LDS Church from 2001 to 2007. In April 2007, he became an Area Seventy in the Europe West Area of the Church. On 5 April 2008, he became a member of the church's First Quorum of the Seventy. For most of his four years as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, he served in the presidency of the Church's Europe Area.
On 31 March 2012, he was called to serve as the First Counselor to Gary E. Stevenson in the Presiding Bishopric. When Stevenson was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on 3 October 2015, Caussé succeeded him as the Church's Presiding Bishop. Under the direction of the First Presidency, the Presiding Bishopric is tasked with general oversight of many of the church's day-to-day operations. Among other areas of management, this includes the construction and maintenance of church meetinghouse facilities around the world.
Caussé received a master’s degree in business from École supérieure des sciences économiques et commerciales (ESSEC Business School) in 1987. His career has been in the food industry, where he has worked with several supermarket chains and food distribution companies. He also served for a year in the French Air Force. At the time of his call as a General Authority Seventy, he was the General Manager of Pomona, France's largest food distributor.
Gérald Caussé and his wife, Valérie Lucienne Babin, were married on 5 August 1986 in the Bern Switzerland Temple. They are the parents of five children.
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Featured Mormon Artist
Yahosh Bonner and Kiirt Banks
Yahosh Bonner comes from an accomplished musical heritage and so he has been surrounded by music ever since he was a child. His mother, Debra Bonner, is an icon in the music industry and passed her love of music on to her 8 children. She is one of America’s Leading Voice Teachers with over 20 years of experience backed by a Masters of Music Degree in Voice Performance from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is a well-known vocal coach and has guided the voices of American Idol finalists. She is also a recording artist of various genres including Pop, Gospel, Broadway, Country, Classical, R&B, and Jazz, and has shared her gift as a talented singer performing in several countries. She has also been a guest soloist with the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Yahosh is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada and has lived in Arizona, Florida, New York City, Colorado, and Nebraska. He attended and graduated from, Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona. He is a member of the graduating class of 2004 of Choate Rosemary Hall, a highly selective, private college-preparatory boarding school located in Wallingford, Connecticut. He attended the University of Northern Colorado located in Greeley, Colorado from 2008 to 2010 where he majored in Communication Studies, with a minor in Sociology. He graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor Degree in Communication.
He is also passionate about the game of basketball, and while a student at Southern Utah University (SUU), located in Cedar City, Utah, from June 2013 to June 2014, he was the Director of Basketball Operations and Video Coordinator, as well as, Assistant Coach. He graduated from SUU with a Master of Arts in Professional Communication Degree.
In May 2014, he moved to Spanish Fork, Utah, where he currently resides. He is the Head Boys Basketball Coach at American Leadership Academy which is a charter high school in Spanish Fork. He has held the position since June 2014. On his Linkedin profile, he states, “I am passionate about the game of basketball. I have played at a high level and also coached at the university level. Now I have the opportunity to give back and share my knowledge with young men at the High School level.”
Yahosh’s love of music is deeply rooted in his love for the gospel. He states, “I look forward to sharing the gift of music that God has given me to bring the spirit into every performance.” He is an active member of the Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir (formerly LDS Genesis Choir), and most recently, he has become a member of Saints United Voices, a choir which is led by Gladys Knight.
He has performed with such artists as Alex Boyé, James The Mormon, Mauli B, and Oyoyo Joi. He enjoys creating remakes of popular songs, adding a little of his own flair, style, and emotion to the songs that he performs. Although he is a pronounced hip hop and R&B vocalist, he says that his heart will always be rooted in Gospel music.