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 Old Testament contains the writings of ancient prophets and others who wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. It is a record of God's dealings with His children from the Creation to about 400 B.C. It gives an account of the Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, the great flood in the days of Noah, and the establishment of God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whom the Lord renamed Israel. It also bears record of the history of God's covenant people, the descendants of Jacob, who are called "the house of Israel" or "the children of Israel." And the Old Testament contains the prophecies and warnings of the Lord's ancient prophets, whom He called to preach repentance to the children of Israel. Through His prophets, the Lord gave the Israelites laws, covenants, and doctrines to prepare them for His coming and teach them how to return to God and how to live in God's presence.
The Washington D.C. Temple was announced on 15 November 1968. It is the 16th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the first temple of the Church to be built on the East Coast of the United States. Elder Hugh B. Brown presided at the groundbreaking and site dedication ceremony, which was held on 7 December 1968. The temple was completed in 1974 and serves Church members in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and New Jersey.
The announcement that a temple was being built was gladly received by the thousands of members who lived east of the Mississippi River and did not have a temple nearby. A very large plot of land on a wooded hill had been purchased in 1962 for the temple, with only eleven acres cleared for the building itself. The rest of the land was left untouched to give the temple a remote feeling.
At 160,000 square feet, the Washington D.C. Temple is the third largest Latter-day Saint temple in the world. It has the tallest tower of any of the Church's temples, at 280 feet. The angel Moroni that sits on top of this tower is eighteen feet tall and weighs two tons. The temple was designed to be similar in style and form to the Salt Lake Temple so that it would be easily recognized as an LDS temple. The exterior finish is constructed of reinforced concrete sheathed in 173,000 square feet of Alabama white marble. There are six ordinance rooms (stationary) and fourteen sealing rooms inside the temple. Another interesting feature is that the temple does not look like it has any windows, but when you go inside you realize that the marble has been cut thin enough in some places that it is translucent.
Temple Location and Free Shuttle Service
The Washington D.C. Temple, located on a serene 52-acre hilltop in Kensington, Maryland, standing on sprawling grounds about 10 miles north of the United States Capitol, creates an impressive sight for travelers along the Capital Beltway. The beauty of the soaring edifice is enhanced by a reflection pond near the Washington D.C. Visitors' Center and a spouting water feature at the temple entrance. Also sharing the 52-acre wooded site is the Washington D.C. Stake Center.
The Washington D.C. Temple Visitors' Center hosts numerous interactive exhibits, a breathtaking reproduction of the Christus statue, and regular lectures and concerts throughout the year. Admission is free. And at Christmastime, the grounds are set aglow during the Festival of Lights, which offers nightly concerts, a live nativity scene, and international nativity sets. A free temple shuttle, funded by donations, is offered to patrons and visitors traveling between the Metro and the Washington D.C. Temple.
First Open House and Temple Dedication
When the construction of the Washington D.C. Temple was completed, the First Presidency buried a metal box with historical items near a corner of the temple.
The temple opened to the public for seven weeks, from 17 September to 2 November 1974, and more than 750,000 visitors toured the edifice. Betty Ford, President Gerald Ford’s wife, was among the high-profile visitors who attended the open house. During the first week of open houses, government officials and diplomats from around the world were taken on special tours through the temple.
The high number of people that attended the open house was due mostly to the large amount of media coverage that the temple and Church received as the temple neared completion. News articles were printed in Time, Newsweek, and World Report. There was also a large press conference held that introduced the temple and Spencer W. Kimball, the Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at that time.
Tickets for the open house were gone before the first day of tours. Because of the high demand, the times of the tours were extended to allow as many people as possible to attend the open house. The times had originally been set from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. but were changed to 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Interest in the Church was so high, that more missionaries were called to the area to answer questions.
The Washington D.C. Temple was dedicated in 10 sessions held from 19-22 November 1974. More than 40,000 members were able to attend the dedicatory services. Then-Church President, Spencer W. Kimball, offered the dedicatory prayer, in which he gave thanks for those who paved the way for the founding of the United States. He said, "We are grateful that thou didst cause this land to be rediscovered and settled by people who founded a great nation with an inspired constitution guaranteeing freedom in which there could come the glorious restoration of the gospel and the Church of thy Beloved Son."
Temple Renovations, 2022 Open House and Temple Rededication Postponed
The Washington D.C. Temple closed in March 2018 for extensive renovations, including an upgrade of the mechanical systems and the refreshing of the finish and furnishings.
The temple was originally scheduled to be rededicated on Sunday, 13 December 2020, in three sessions. Prior to the rededication, a public open house was scheduled to be held from 24 September 2020 through 31 October 2020 (except for 27 September, 3-4, 11, 18 and 25 October). A media day was also scheduled to be held on 15 September 2020, with private tours taking place 16 through 23 September 2020. And a youth devotional was to be held the evening prior to the rededication on Saturday, 12 December 2020.
On Monday, 15 June 2020, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that, because of concern for the effects of COVID-19, the open house, youth devotional, and re-dedication of the Washington D.C. Temple were being postponed until large public gatherings are deemed safe.
A media day for the renovated temple will take place on 18 April 2022, followed by private tours for invited guests from 19 April 2022 to 27 April 2022. A two-month public open house will then begin on 28 April 2022 and go through 4 June 2022 (except for Sundays).
This will mark the first time that the public will be able to tour the temple since its 1974 dedication. Open house ticket information is available at dctemple.org. More details about the open house, including reservations, and rededication will be released later. A website — dctemple.org — has been created for open house information.
A youth devotional will be held on 18 June 2022, followed by the temple rededication on 19 June 2022 in three sessions — 9:00 am EST, 12:00 pm EST, and 3:00 pm EST. The youth devotional and rededication will be broadcast for all congregations within the Washington D. C. Temple district.
Aaron Sherinian, director of media for the temple open house committee, said, "This is a great occasion for us to open the doors of the temple for our friends, members of the Washington, D.C., community, people and partners of all faiths and backgrounds to come and join us and to experience the beauty and peace that is the temple of the Lord."
On Friday, 28 January 2022, the Church’s Temple Department released a statement stating that because nearly 50% of the available parking for the initial open house was scheduled in the first two weeks after the announcement of reservations was made, the First Presidency has approved an extension of the open house and has rescheduled the rededication to be on 14 August 2022. The available dates for the extended open house will be published online as soon as they are determined.
The statement said, "Our goal is to invite all to join us to experience the peace, beauty and connection that can be felt in the temple, and to ensure that all who desire to come have a welcoming, safe and orderly experience in this sacred place."
Besides tickets for the on-site parking, online reservations can be made for a free-of-charge shuttle from the Forest Glen Metro Station to the temple grounds on weekday evenings and Saturdays. Public tours last about 45 minutes and will include a self-guided walk throughout the remodeled interior of the temple. The tour includes scaling more than 150 stairs. Comfortable shoes are recommended, and wheelchair and ADA accessibility is available.
Appropriate COVID-19 protocols will be followed per public health recommendations and in cooperation with local authorities.
The Youth of Zion - Uplifting Music Videos
Church Humanitarian Aid Efforts
Latter-day Saints Unselfishly Help Their Brothers and Sisters in Need
President Russell M. Nelson has taught us that they who are willing to be called the Lord's people "are willing to bear one another’s burdens, . . . to mourn with those that mourn; . . . and [to] comfort those that stand in need of comfort."
Members of the Church have a covenant commitment to live the two great commandments: to love God and to love our neighbor. The Lord has commanded us to "succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees" (D&C 81:5). As followers of Jesus Christ, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints heed the Savior's call to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and afflicted.
Church members seek out those in need and render aid to all of God’s children without regard to religious affiliation, race, or nationality. As they do so, they are reminded of the Lord's admonition when he taught, "Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me" (Matthew 25:45). King Benjamin in his timely treatise as recorded in the The Book of Mormon also reminds us, "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17). King Benjamin also exhorted, "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).
Those Who Give and Those Who Receive Are Equally Blessed
The two great commandments teach us that we are loved by God and our neighbor. Both the giver and the receiver are blessed as they strengthen one another. As part of the Lord's way to provide for His children, Church members are blessed with an opportunity to fast for a 24-hour period each month and generously donate the value of the meals missed for the benefit of those in need. Local leaders use these funds to help meet needs for food, clothing, housing, or other necessities within their congregations and communities. In addition, all the resources available to the Church to help those in need are called the Lord's storehouse. These include members' offerings of time, talents, compassion, materials, and financial resources.
I believe that for every disciple of Jesus Christ, this is part of our DNA, that we go and find those that are in need and try to help them, whether it is in our own community or far away in other countries. This is really at the center of our religion. — Bishop Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop
In 2021, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in 3,909 humanitarian projects, with 6,800,000 hours of service volunteered, and 188 countries and territories served. Volunteer service was rendered through various means such as: (1) Service at Church Facilities, such as farms, orchards, canneries, Deseret Industries stores, and more; (2) Missions to Care for Those in Need, including volunteer service in 85 countries around the world; and (3) Church-Sponsored Community Service Projects, including cleanup after natural disasters. In addition, JustServe facilitated over 41,000 volunteer projects (including 21,500 new projects).
A total of $906 million was expended to help those in need through:
Fast Offering Assistance, which provides temporary financial help to those in need.
Bishop's Orders For Goods, including giving food and commodities from bishops’ storehouses and Deseret Industries stores to those in need.
Humanitarian Projects, including charitable relief in communities across the world.
Donated Commodities, including Church-produced goods provided to communities through food banks and other agencies.
Donated Clothing, including discounted or free apparel given to Deseret Industries.
Church Operations, including Family Services counseling, employment centers, farms and food-processing facilities, and Deseret Industries.
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."
Ministering to Those in Need
Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President has taught, "Sometimes we think we have to do something grand and heroic to 'count' as serving our neighbors. Yet simple acts of service can have profound effects on others—as well as on ourselves." Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has taught, "Ministering looks different from person to person and is highly individualized. Members are encouraged to prayerfully seek guidance from the Spirit to know how to meet the needs of those to whom they minister."
During His earthly ministry, Christ was the Great Exemplar in showing us how to love and serve others. As members of the Church minister to those around them, they strive to follow the example of the Master Teacher. In addition to carrying out ministering assignments and meeting the immediate needs of others within their own communities, members of the Church strive to be more Christ-like through random acts of kindness.
Service is a core pillar of their beliefs— both as an organization and as a people. Like Jesus Christ, members of the Church strive to bless the lives of others through unselfish service. Like the Good Samaritan, they believe the definition of "neighbor" extends beyond those in their immediate vicinity. They are willing to help anyone in need regardless of their location, race, nationality, gender, or religious and political beliefs.
Some examples of types of service that members have rendered include:
In Bolivia, the Relief Society sisters of the Los Andes Stake collected 34,000 plastic caps to support the Niño Feliz initiative, which helps low-income children with cancer receive chemotherapy treatments.
Members of the Khovd Branch in Mongolia visited their local Violence Victims' Shelter to donate warm blankets, newborn supplies, and hygiene kits.
Sister Curriden, a volunteer at the welcome center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in east Las Vegas, and her husband serve their community by helping people who have recently immigrated find access to legal services, improve their English, and work on paths to citizenship, so they can obtain better jobs and improve their lives.
Members of the Erima Ward in French Polynesia collaborated with the city of Arue to set up a training course to help community members to learn how to sew. This allowed the participants to produce clothes for themselves and baby blankets for new mothers.
In both South Korea and Canada, members worked to deliver fans, air conditioners, and other necessities to the elderly. These supplies made a significant difference in the comfort and safety of vulnerable seniors, many of whom were isolated due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In Layton, Utah, a local Relief Society leader coordinated with the St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Utah to serve together on the 9/11 day of service. Members of both congregations assembled more than 10,000 food packs for local schoolchildren while establishing friendships between the two groups.
In Schaumburg, Illinois, volunteers converted a church building into an approved food processing facility so they could package and distribute food to those in need. After posting the opportunity on JustServe, the project received 356 volunteers from multiple faiths, who packed 85,538 meals. The effort will feed 234 children in Haiti and the Philippines for an entire year.
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.
Adriana, the communication director for the Montreal Quebec Stake, summed up the willingness of members to serve by saying, "We can make a difference in a person's life by following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and reaching out—safely—to those in need; for we know well that it is 'by small and simple things that great things are brought to pass'"(see Alma 37:6). In the words of King Benjamin from his timely sermon as recorded in the Book of Mormon, "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?" (see Mosiah 4:19).
The Youth of Zion Also Render Service
President Russell M. Nelson has said, "[Our youth and children] have the capacity to be smarter and wiser and have more impact on the world than any previous generation!"
It is for this reason that children and youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are also encouraged to engage in service and be active in their communities. They are given opportunities to plan service activities and choose the goals and projects they want to work on with the help of adult leaders and family members. The activities that they participate in are designed to help them grow to be more like the Savior and develop socially, spiritually, physically, and intellectually.
On 11 September 2021, youth from 40 stakes in the United Kingdom and Ireland participated in a day of service. Activities ranged from collecting and delivering supplies for food banks to making flash cards to help people who are refugees learn English.
Also in 2021, many youths around the world participated in the Church's Light the World with Love campaign. As part of the initiative, adult leaders in Ecuador taught young women how to knit, and they were able to make 43 scarves in three months for their local nursing home.
In addition to activities organized by the Church, families are encouraged to plan service opportunities at home. For example, five-year-old Preston Andrews in Alberta, Canada, came up with the idea to organize members of the community to clean up trash strewn fields by their home. His four siblings helped him carry out the project.
The Church’s Self-Reliance and Humanitarian Initiatives
Some members choose to devote even more of their time to humanitarian work by serving a fulltime welfare and self-reliance mission. These devoted volunteers fill a variety of roles within the Church’s self-reliance and humanitarian initiatives. They may provide employment coaching, help those in need to transition to more stable living environments, supervise humanitarian projects, and even manage Church-owned farms and other facilities.
In southeast London, Elder and Sister Miller served at the Church's Friendship Centre, which aims to help individuals who are fleeing war, persecution, and natural disasters. The Millers coordinated volunteers, local government agencies, and other nonprofit groups to help these vulnerable individuals meet friends, learn skills, connect with counseling and legal assistance, and work toward integration in their new community.
In Laie Hawaii, Elder and Sister Ellingson managed the Church-owned Laie Hawaii Farm, where over 310 families grow crops to support their households. The Ellingsons helped clear land, prepared soil for planting, and taught basic farming skills. Their work helped many food-vulnerable people in Hawaii to support themselves during a time when jobs have been scarce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Similarly, Elder and Sister Brock collaborated with Taiwan Technical Mission and the Ministry of Environment and Land Development in Kiribati to help residents learn how to grow nutritionally rich, sustainable gardens. One aim of this effort is to promote dietary practices that will help decrease the incidence of diabetes.
The Church also facilitates self-reliance programs and resources to help individuals find employment, become financially secure, gain educational opportunities, and build emotional strength. These efforts are aided by missionaries and other volunteers, who facilitate self-reliance groups and employment coaching in 144 countries worldwide.
For those who struggle with barriers to employment, development counseling is available through Deseret Industries. This program helps individuals to make goals and to determine a plan to get the education and experience necessary to achieve those goals. As part of the program, participants receive training and real-life work experience in Church-owned thrift stores.
The Church's Family Services organization helps leaders care for individuals with social and emotional challenges by providing resources and consultation. One important focus for Family Services is the Church’s Addiction Recovery Program (ARP), which provides support and a safe place for anyone working to overcome a compulsive behavior. The free program is made up of support groups that follow a 12-step approach. The program is built within a gospel-centered framework that connects with the Savior Jesus Christ and recognizes Him as the source of healing. The Addiction Recovery Program is facilitated by ARP volunteers around the world, and anyone—regardless of their religious belief—is welcome to participate. In addition to ARP services, Family Services offers counseling to people in a variety of circumstances. They also conduct family, group, and marriage counseling sessions.
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.
President Russell M. Nelson has said, "It would be impossible to calculate the amount of service that Latter-day Saints render around the globe every day of every year." President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles adds, "When we serve together, we realize that our similarities are stronger than our differences." And Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, has said, "Our individual efforts don’t necessarily require money or faraway locations; they do require the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a willing heart to say to the Lord, 'Here am I; send me.'"
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.
The members of the group exemplify the expression, "There is beauty all around, when there’s love at home," as the genuine love that they have for one another shines through in the music that they produce together.
Sunny's favorite color is yellow. She loves horseback riding, songwriting, playing various instruments – piano, guitar, ukulele, and violin – and teaching voice lessons.
Hannah's favorite color is purple. She loves yoga, photography, videography, singing, and playing the piano.
Chloe's favorite color is turquoise. She loves writing stories and one of her life goals is to someday write and publish a novel. She also enjoys playing soccer, playing the piano and violin, and singing.
Belle's favorite color is blue. Two of her favorite things are playing basketball and ballet. She also enjoys singing and is learning to play the ukulele.
Zoe's favorite colors are pink, purple, blue, silver, and gold. She loves playing soccer, playing the piano, and singing with her sisters and brother. She has a spunky personality and loves to keep her siblings in line.
Rockwell (Rock) is the youngest member of the group. His favorite colors are orange and red. He loves to run, play with Legos, sing, play with his sisters, and play with his friends.
TORCH family music's YouTube channel currently has more than 67,000 subscribers, and to date, their awe-inspiring videos have garnered more than 1.7 million views. From watching their music videos, it is apparent that one of the things that makes this group happy is being able to sing together as a family. Their most recent video release was a beautiful rendition of the traditional Christmas carol, "We Three Kings." In December 2021, the group also released a cover of ABS-CBN’s Christmas song, "Star Ng Pasko" ("Star of Christmas") and sang the song in Tagalog.
Sunny does the vocals for a lot of the videos. Hannah does the videography and editing of a lot of the videos. The girls also arrange the music. Besides singing, the group also loves performing in musical theater.
TORCH family music's mission is to spread Christ's light throughout the world, lift the brokenhearted, and help people to smile and have a better day. Through their music, they strive to praise and thank Jesus Christ for His Divine Light and the source of all that they have. They also have a goal and a desire to increase the good that is out there on social media.
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