“Visitors’ Centers Strengthen Members Too, Directors Told,” Ensign, June 2000, 80
The purpose of Church visitors’ centers and historic sites is not only to introduce the gospel to nonmembers but also to strengthen and to teach doctrine to members, Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Seventy, executive director of the Missionary Department, told 10 new directors of visitors’ centers and historic sites at a recent training seminar.
The weeklong seminar was held at the Provo Missionary Training Center and at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. Gaining understanding of doctrine enables members to “handle challenges and do anything required of them in the Church,” Elder Tingey explained to the directors and their spouses.
Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy, assistant executive director of the Church Historical Department, also spoke, teaching that members “come to remember the significance of the area, to understand, and to be strengthened.”
Elder Jensen cited as an example the Mormon Handcart Visitors’ Center at Martin’s Cove in Wyoming, where visitors can try pulling a handcart along part of the Mormon Trail. The lives of those who visit this center are changed, he explained, as they contemplate the sacrifices of the pioneers.
In 1999 nearly 5,300,000 people entered Church visitors’ centers and more than 660,000 visited historic sites. More than half of all visitors were Church members.