“In the News,” Liahona, June 2005, N5, N7
Norway Centennial Celebrated at Temple Square
Hundreds of people with Scandinavian ancestry gathered January 15 at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square to commemorate the centennial celebration of Norway’s independence.
The celebration included a speech by Norwegian dignitary Bendik Rugaas, a musical presentation by the International Children’s Choir, and a tribute to Norway from Elder Ronald T. Halverson of the Seventy.
Elder Halverson spoke of the faith displayed by the more than 30,000 Scandinavian Church members who came to Utah during the second half of the 19th century. “It took more than an invitation; it took a special motivation and indoctrination. It took spiritual conviction and faith not only for them to come but to endure in this barren wilderness,” he said.
After his remarks, Elder Halverson presented Mr. Rugaas with a book about the trials faced by Norwegian and Danish Saints who crossed the plains in the Seventh Handcart Company.
“It will give you an idea of the hardships and sacrifices that they faced,” Elder Halverson told Mr. Rugaas. “It is not a complete history, but a history that will help you understand why they came and the dedication that was necessary for our forefathers to establish Zion.”
Mr. Rugaas, who was the first National Librarian of Norway, expressed thanks for the book.
During his four-day visit, he also toured the Family History Library, addressed students at Brigham Young University, and watched the pioneer film Legacy.
“I have been very moved by watching the film Legacy,” he said.
He also said he noticed that many in attendance were dressed in traditional Norwegian garb. “When I look out and see all the sweaters, I can go back and say it was like being at an annual convention of the Norwegian Arts and Crafts Celebration,” Mr. Rugaas joked.
Taiwan Stake Open House Builds Community Relations
More than 800 people, including politicians, investigators, and others, visited the Chung Hsing Taiwan Stake Center late last year during an open house that allowed members of the Chung Hsing stake to share their faith with those in the community.
The open house, which members of the stake spent many hours organizing and preparing, consisted of a tour that led visitors to 10 areas in the building. In each area a different topic of the gospel, Church services, or life as a Latter-day Saint was discussed.
The tour began in the chapel, where the meaning and structure of the sacrament service were explained.
When visitors entered the Relief Society room, members taught them of the role of the Relief Society, explained why it is important to have food storage, and displayed 72-hour emergency kits.
Members taught visitors the importance of family home evening through skits that showed how family home evening works and how it can help build harmony within the home.
Members also showed visitors the stake’s family history center and explained Elijah’s role in turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers (see Mal. 4:6). Many of the guests expressed interest in doing family history work.
The Chang Hua County Commissioner toured the building and remarked how impressed he was with the intelligence and eloquent social skills among the youth in the stake. Before leaving, he posed for a picture with the Primary children in front of the building.
Members of the stake said they felt blessed in their effort to build goodwill for the Church in the community.