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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Additional Church News Reported

Hello again, everyone! While I have no desire to detract focus from the September 11 anniversary being marked here in the United States, I wanted to take an opportunity to pass along a few additional Church news stories which have been reported lately. So let's get right into all of that.

First, as Hurricane Florence, which is expected to be quite vicious, prepares to hit the southeast coast here in the United States, the Church News has released this look at the preparations that are underway. In the meantime, the Newsroom website on lds.org reports that all missionaries in that region are currently safe, and that mission presidents have been advised about what to do as the storm gets closer.

Where necessary, missionaries will be moved from the danger zone, and in the meantime, those serving in the area have been instructed to do what they can to help those who will not be evacuating. Leaders on all levels will monitor this storm and take any action as that becomes necessary. I would just add here that to whatever extent the storm impacts the North America Southeast Area of the Church, that might in turn impact the likely timing and prospect of future temples there.

In other news, national rankings are in for universities in the United States, and this article describes how the Church-owned BYU-Provo fared in those rankings. And the final news item I wanted to share is that the Mormon History Association has appointed a new executive director, a woman who is deeply familiar with the history and stories which that association has assembled and released.

I should add in relation to that story that this is one organization which likely won't be affected by President Nelson's statement reemphasizing the name of the Church. This is primarily because the term "Mormonism" refers to the larger movement of all the religious organizations which trace their origin to Joseph Smith and to the Book of Mormon.

I continue to monitor any and all Church news and temple developments and will do my level best to pass word of those along to you all as I become aware of them. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Some Thoughts About September 11, 2001

Hello again, everyone! While there have been several Church news stories which I feel deserve a mention on this blog, I wanted to pause for a moment and provide some thoughts about what occurred here in the United States on September 11, 2001, now 17 years ago.

Days before the terrorist attacks that would cause widespread devastation and significant loss of life, the September 2001 Ensign was delivered to my family's mailbox. I remember following my customary practice of opening it up as soon as I could to read the First Presidency message and get a sense of what I could share from it with those I home taught.

Typical of President Gordon B. Hinckley, the prophet at that time, his message was one of optimism, hope, and faith, as he talked about living with and finding comfort from the courage of our convictions, and about how living what we believe, even in times of great trials & tribulation. His message truly was prophetic.

A few days later, when the terrorists hijacked several planes attempting (and in some cases succeeding) in trying to crash them into several national buildings, viewing their actions as a sacred mission, those of us witnessing this tragedy were devastated. But as I recalled the words of President Hinckley's timely message, the words I had read in the Book of Mormon a few days earlier came strongly to my mind:

"And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks—

"And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded."

We know from the words of prophets and apostles that, although any land in which the Church is strong can obtain the same promise, the passage above refers directly and specifically to the United States. This gave me reassurance to know that the Lord would preserve the United States, and I found the strength to carry on.

3 days after the attacks occurred, the leaders of the Church held a special service in the Tabernacle. An excellent summation of that service was provided earlier today by retired Church news editor Gerry Avant. It was an event never to be forgotten. But there was more to all of this than that for me.

I had been asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting on September 9, 2011. When ward leaders learned that a family in the ward would be moving out that week, they asked if I would mind speaking the following week instead. Since that family had covered the topic on which I was originally asked to speak, I asked if it would be all right if I covered another topic, and my bishop at the time graciously accommodated my request.

I spoke on the comforting spirit of the Holy Ghost, and in my remarks, I shared the passage of scripture that had reassured me in the aftermath of the attacks, in addition to some thoughts from President Hinckley's First Presidency message that month. Many people thanked me afterward for those remarks, but the Lord led me to those resources, so I could not take credit for what I said.

As the days went by, many of us also found assurance in the words of the President of the United States, who at that time was George W. Bush. He correctly pointed out that our enemies (those who perpetuated the attacks) were a group of radical Islamic terrorists, not our Muslim brothers and sisters. Eventually, in trying to appropriately respond to this incident, the United States was thrust into a war on terror, which continues to some degree today.

The one thing that impressed me in all of this was that both our national leaders and the leaders of our Church stepped up in a big way to provide comfort, reassurance, and a fair and balanced perspective on all of this. Though the nation would not recover overnight, the promise that the Lord was aware of this nation and its' leaders, and the calming messages provided by both those leaders and to all of us individually as we sought for it was something I will never forget.

I hope these thoughts have been helpful to at least some of you. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.