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).
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.
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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