1999
LDS Scene
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“LDS Scene,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 79–80

LDS Scene

Temple Groundbreakings

Ground has been broken for two more smaller temples. On 3 July Elder Rex D. Pinegar of the Seventy, President of the North America Southwest Area, led the groundbreaking service for the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple. On 24 July Elder Pinegar broke ground for the Reno Nevada Temple.

Christmas Island Branch Created

The Church’s first branch on Christmas Island, a 4,000-citizen atoll located in the South Pacific about 1,500 miles south of Hawaii, was recently created. President H. Ross Workman of the Hawaii Honolulu Mission, who organized the branch, said: “A wonderful feeling pervaded the entire meeting. I was especially touched by the testimony of Anami Tiouniti, who wept that her worst fear, as she was released from her mission, was that she would lose the Spirit because she would return to Christmas Island as the only member of the Church in her family. In the absence of a branch of the Church, she feared for her opportunity to serve and strengthen her testimony. She wept as she expressed gratitude for the blessing of the branch not only for her but also for all the members.” Many of the island’s 117 Church members were converted while attending Church schools elsewhere in the Pacific.

Mongolia’s First Meetinghouse

A building located in the center of Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, has been renovated as Mongolia’s first Latter-day Saint meetinghouse. More than 650 people attended two dedicatory sessions for the new facility, and the dedicatory prayer was offered by Elder Richard E. Cook of the Seventy, First Counselor in the Asia Area Presidency. With a foundation dating to 1890, the building is a well-known landmark that has previously housed an art and design center, bank and government offices, and a children’s cinema and has been featured in magazines and on postage stamps. In Mongolia, the Church has six branches in Ulaanbaatar, one branch in Darkhan, and one branch in Erdenet.

Church Receives Two Awards

The American Society of Landscape Architects recently honored the Church with an award for its landscaping and gardens at Church headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City. Noting that the Church’s gardens are tended by 34 employees, 50 regular volunteers, and 3,000 spring and fall volunteers, Church gardener Peter Lassig said, “There is nothing like this in the world because no where else do you have such a concentration of so many thousands of volunteers willing to make so much happen at once.” When the Church’s new Conference Center is completed, the gardens will cover nearly 30 acres.

The Church’s other recent award was presented by the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill. The association’s Religious Advocacy Award recognized the Church’s corporate policy of providing its 48,000 employees with the same health-insurance consideration for mental illnesses as for physical illnesses. The award was accepted by Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy, President of the North America Central Area, at a convention held in Chicago.

Tabernacle Choir Broadcast Milestone

The Tabernacle Choir first broadcast its weekly Music and the Spoken Word program on 15 July 1929. Today the program continues as the world’s longest-running weekly network broadcast; not even the choir’s international tours have interrupted the broadcast schedule. The 70th-anniversary broadcast on 18 July was the choir’s 3,648th consecutive weekly program. “This is a most remarkable thing that this broadcast is still an acceptable mode for music lovers throughout the world,” said Tabernacle Choir president Wendell M. Smoot. “Many other choral groups over these 70 years have long since gone by the wayside, but the appeal of the Tabernacle Choir’s music is apparently still well accepted and beloved by people of many faiths.”

Stories of Pioneer Women

A four-volume collection containing the stories of 8,000 pioneer women has been published by the International Society of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Titled Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude, the collection honors women who journeyed to the Salt Lake Valley by wagon or handcart between 1847 and 1868. “Society today does not have much of a future if we don’t look back on history,” said project leader Edith W. Menna, who also serves as director of the DUP museum in Salt Lake City. “These women were such examples of mothers and of kindness and of commitment to their faith, family, and cause.” To prepare the collection for publication, more than 30 women edited histories, another 15 women typed information, and about 7,000 photographs were scanned into computers.

On Christmas Island, Priesthood and Relief Society members participate in training in the new branch.