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 Latter-day Saints 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.
The Book of Mormon resembles the Bible in that it contains a mixture of stories and sermons recorded by earlier prophets to help us learn about Jesus Christ and His dealings with mankind. It contains the records of several early groups of people who came from the Holy Lands to the American continent. Those who were righteous were led by prophets, just as were the people of the Bible. These prophets recorded the revelations they received about Jesus Christ, their testimonies of Him, and at one miraculous point, their visitation from Him.
During the Sunday Morning Session of the 135th annual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on 5 April 2015, President Thomas S. Monson announced the Church's intention to build a temple in Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti. Soon Latter-day Saints who live in one of the Western Hemisphere's poorest nations with a poverty rate approaching 60 percent, will be able to partake of the richest blessings of their faith through temple ordinances.
Haiti is home to more than 22,000 Latter-day Saints (out of an overall population of nearly 11 million), 46 Latter-day Saint congregations, and one mission. The temple district comprises more than 17,000 Latter-day Saints located in four Haiti stakes (similar to a diocese) and three districts (smaller than a stake).
The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple will be the first built in the country and the second built in the Caribbean, where missionary work officially began in 1980. Church members in Haiti currently attend temple services in the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple, requiring nearly a day's journey. The Church is growing steadily in this island nation where its third and fourth stakes were recently organized in 2012—all four stakes being headquartered in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, which boasts well over two million residents.
A Few Facts about the Church in Haiti
Latter-day Saint membership in Haiti has steadily grown since 1977 when Alexandre Mourra, a prominent Haitian businessman of Jewish-Arabic descent, was visiting his cousin’s business and noticed his cousin’s wife reading the Book of Mormon. Interested in the book, he wrote to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, to get his own copy. When he received the book, he read it in one sitting. Touched by this experience and his newfound testimony, Alexandre flew to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and was baptized in July of 1977, making him the first official Latter-day Saint in Haiti.
Haitian Saints love to sing, even though many of the early Saints had to learn hymns by ear. Haitian-born Marc-Aurel reveals, "The saints in Haiti really love to sing. They sing loud. I would say most of them don’t know how to read music. But they like the words, they like the tune, and they sing as if they really mean it." His mother learned the hymns by hearing others sing early in the Church's history in Haiti when hymnals and other church resources were not widely available.
Less than 0.2% of Haitians are Latter-day Saints—that's 2 in 1,000. The vast majority of Haitians—80%—are Catholic. With only 18,165 members in a nation of almost 10 million, Latter-day Saints in Haiti are still a very rare thing. Pioneer Haitian Church member, Fritzner Joseph says, "I have been living in Haiti for all my life. I grew up in Haiti, and I made progress living in Haiti. And I know that if the Saints there can remain faithful, they will succeed."
Today, there are more than 23,000 members of the Church in Haiti, five stakes (a group of congregations), 26 congregations, 20 branches (smaller congregations), and one mission - the Haiti Port-au-Prince Mission.
Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple
The ground was broken for the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple on Saturday, 28 October 2017, as Latter-day Saints and community leaders gathered to participate in the event. Elder Walter F. González, a member of the Seventy, president of the Caribbean Area for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a Uruguayan native presided at the groundbreaking ceremony and offered the dedicatory prayer. Elder Claudio D. Zivic and Elder Jose L. Alonso, counselors in the Area Presidency, also participated. They hosted Dominique Saint-Roc, mayor of the community of Pétion-Ville, the location of the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.
Responding to questions from the local media, Elder González said, "The temple groundbreaking ceremony was a wonderful spiritual experience. I can only think about everlasting joy and gratitude for all what the temple means in our lives. It is hard to express with words. This was a day of joy and gratitude when we start to build a portal to heaven as we come to better understand the importance of the covenants made in the temple and how they impact our daily lives, both in this time and eternity." A choir comprised of local Mormons in Haiti provided music for the sacred occasion.
Prosner Colin, a member who works in the Church's Haiti office, commented, "My beloved wife, Patricia, and I and our three beautiful kids, Eliza, Niel and Neilla, pray for the coming of the temple in each of our prayers. We pray for the hearts of the Haitian saints [to] keep turning to the Lord in order to continue the merit to have the temple. . .. It is real, we will have a temple, it is not a dream. For me this temple gives me hope that this nation will not be destroyed, and the Gospel of the Lord, Jesus Christ will be in this land forever. I have hope that this country will change ... and I have hope that this House of the Lord will bring peace to this country in every aspect."
Public Open House and Youth Devotional
The public open house officially began on Thursday, 8 August 2019 - although a few visitors had already toured the new edifice. The public open house continued through Saturday, 17 August 2019 — except for Sunday, 11 August 2019. The hours for the open house were from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Hours on Saturdays were 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Among the first visitors to the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple was a delegation from the U.S. Embassy. They were hosted by Caribbean Area President Elder José Alonso, a General AuthoritySeventy, and Elder Bien Aimé Huberman, an Area Seventy and chairman of the temple’s organizing committee.
A youth devotional was held on Saturday, 31 August 2019
The dedication of the new temple drew such interest that 23 members of the press came from far and near. Before the first of three dedicatory sessions, Elder Bednar said, "It’s amazing how the temple is a source of light, not only spiritually, but temporally." He also said, "On this day of dedication, I think not only of today, but also of the future, and what this temple will cause to happen in this country." And he said, "It is a place of supernal peace, which prepares you to go back into the world more stronger, and perhaps more purposeful than you were before."
Richard Bird and Ben Penrod, from Mapleton and Salem, Utah, respectively were two of the former church missionaries who served in Haiti who came back for the dedication. They served from 1998-2000. Because of dangerous conditions and political unrest in the last few years, only Haitians now serve missions in Haiti. Penrod said, "I think the progress you see in the members from the time we were here to now, is huge. The Temple will bind those families together, and it will be impactful for them and for future generations." Bird said, "One of the most amazing things, is that missionaries have been pulled in and out, and Haitians have stepped up and gotten stronger. For us to come back and see how much the Church has grown, is really heartwarming."
Emanuel Eximus, a Port-au-Prince native and a married father of three young sons, said, "“This is a day that I have waited a long time for. Today, I am so amazed that we have a temple in my own country." Because of the economic challenges that many Haitians endure, and because paying for passports, transportation and other costs can be almost impossible, many Haitian Saints were unable to attend the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple. Eximus, a convert to the Church, stated, "I’ve only been able to go to the temple in Santo Domingo on two occasions."
Latter-day Saints 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. They are also reminded of the words of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon who exhorted, "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). "And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also" (1 John 4:21).
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
Latter-day Saint Charities 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.
The following articles discuss the issue of Same-Sex Attraction and Same-Sex Marriage:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints distinguishes between same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior. The Church acknowledges that same-sex attraction is a sensitive issue that requires kindness, compassion and understanding.
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 other topics of interest about the Church of Jesus Christ:
Matthew was sustained as a General AuthoritySeventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 4 April 2020, at age 53. He previously served as the sixth president of Utah Valley University (UVU) in Orem, Utah, from June 2009 to June 2018, succeeding interim president Elizabeth Hitch. Following the transition from a state college to a university in the summer of 2008, he became the first president of the university.
Prior to joining UVU, Matthew was an associate professor in the political science department at BYU in Provo, Utah. In 1991, upon completion of his undergraduate work at BYU, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, he received the honor of being the valedictorian of BYU'’s political science department. He was also on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which is a political organization which opposes same-sex marriage.
In 1992 he spent an academic year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a Raoul Wallenberg Scholar. He later studied early American political thought at Duke University in Durham, N.C. He received a Master of Arts degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in political science from Duke University in 1997 and 2001, respectively. He also received an academic fellowship to study at Princeton University as a James Madison Fellow.
As a faculty member at BYU, his emphasis on applied learning concepts led to his selection as the institution's "Civically Engaged Scholar of the Year" by Utah Campus Compact. He is a member of the American Political Science Association and the American Historical Association. He also serves on boards, including the Deseret News Editorial Advisory Board, Utah Technology Council, and the Salt Lake Chamber. In 2011, Matthew received the NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award through the Utah National Parks Council of BSA.
On 6 November 2017, Matthew announced that he would leave his position at UVU in June 2018 to serve as a mission president for the Church. He was assigned to serve in the Raleigh North Carolina Mission.
Matthew Scott Holland served as a full-time missionary in the Scotland Edinburgh Mission. In 1996, he married Paige Anita Bateman who is also a Utah Valley native, graduating from Timpview High School in Provo, Utah, before enrolling at BYU. The Hollands are the parents of four children. Matthew is currently serving at Church headquarters as an area assistant to the North America Southeast Area.
Featured Latter-day Saint Artist
Carson Ferris is a ten-year-old upcoming music artist who gets a lot of opportunities to sing and has his own YouTube channel. He also likes to go on bike rides, read, and do fun things with his family. He is a member of the One Voice Children’s Choir and Voices Elevated. Even though Carson likes to perform, he struggles with performance anxiety.
Carson says that he has always loved music and singing. At the age of six, he started taking guitar lessons, and credits his teacher, Dave Wilbur, for helping him get out of his comfort zone. He started taking singing lessons at the age of eight and auditioned for the world-renowned One Voice Children’s Choir. He was also fortunate to meet Debra Bonner (matriarch of the famous Bonner Family) and began taking singing lessons with her as well. She, in turn, introduced him to her son Oba Bonner (O/B/A) and Nate Jolley, and for the past six months he has been creating music with them.
Music has always been a very important part of my life. When I’m feeling down or sad or lonely it helps me through that. I want to share that with other people and help them hopefully feel that through my music.
Carson says that he would not be where he is today in the music industry if it were not for people like Debra Bonner who helped him hone his talents through vocal lessons. He says, "She has helped me see that I am someone worth believing in." He also gives a shout out to O/B/A and Nate Jolley for producing his music and for helping him get out of his comfort zone. And he also thanks his family for their love and support every step of the way.
On Friday, 23 October 2020, he released his debut single as a solo artist on his YouTube channel. The song is called "I Will Fight," which as he says, is about "pushing through things that are hard, so that we can do the things we love." He co-wrote the song with O/B/A and the music is by Nate Jolley. Since then, Carson has released other singles on his channel, with a cover of Kurt Bestor's "Prayer of the Children" being his latest release.
He told About Insider:
I wanted to sing a song about overcoming the challenges and anxieties that I go through every time I perform. Something I really struggle with is performance anxiety. Before every performance I feel like I’m going to mess up and no one will like it and that maybe I should just give up. Despite this I’m always glad I can go up on stage. Once I’m up there I feel like I can be myself and all my problems seem to fade away.
When asked, "What’s your message to other kids your age who also struggle with performance anxiety?" Carson replied:
I want them to know that they’re not alone and that there are lots of people who deal with it. There is probably somebody that they know that also goes through the same thing. I'd also like to say, don’t let it keep you from doing the things that you love because it doesn’t have to. I feel like when I push through my stage fright, I’m really me when I’m singing. I feel like I’m the best possible version of myself that I can be.
Carson also mentioned that when he is preparing his content for social media his objective is to show people who he is as a person, as well as an artist. He said, "I want to come up with things that people already know and like but put my own spin on it."
As for the one person who has influenced his growth the most, he gives that credit to his mother. He says, "She practices with me even when I’m stressed or being difficult. She always gives me good feedback and helps me with my difficulties. She always encourages me and helps me and supports me with everything that I do."
So, what is next for 10-year-old Carson Ferris? In November, he released his second single, which he helped write. The song is called "Number 1." Also, on the first Thursday of every month, he will be releasing a cover song. The cover song that he released in December, a cover of the Jackson 5's version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," is the first Christmas song that he has ever done.
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