“Africa has been held in reserve by the Lord,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in an October 2010 visit to Burundi. “Africa will someday be seen as a bright land full of gospel hope and happiness.” 
Africa is one of the fastest growing areas of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (mistakenly referred to as the Mormon Church by members of other faiths) with some 320,000 members, the majority of whom have joined the Church over the past 30 years. These faithful Saints have found that hope and happiness spoken of by Elder Holland through embracing the teachings of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every year, as congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ continue to grow in different areas of the world, several dozen new stakes (congregational groups similar to Catholic dioceses) are organized.
In December 2012, Elder Holland organized the 3,000th worldwide stake of The Church of Jesus Christ in Freetown, Sierra Leone. This is the first stake in the West African nation and is comprised of eight congregations (approximately 3,000 members.) “So much is happening that there seems to be this momentum, and it really seems to be featuring now the African moment, in a sense,” Elder Holland says.  (more…)
Recent discussion concerning whether or not to permit those with same-gender orientation to have an active role in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) organization has become a complex issue as far as being able to make a definitive decision on the matter. The organization had recently announced that it would consider changing its policies and might allow local chapters to decide whether to admit gays as Scouts and leaders.
Further Research Required Before Making Final Decision
On Wednesday, 6 February 2013, after much deliberation on the issue, it was decided to put off making any decisions as more time would be needed for further study. At this juncture, it appears that resolution on the current policy of excluding gay members and leaders will not be voted on by the approximate 1,400 voting members of the national council until the annual meeting which will be held during the week of 20 May 2013 in Grapevine, Texas. GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group, condemned the decision to wait. (more…)
According to The Birmingham News, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more commonly referred to as the Mormon Church) has named Peter M. Johnson, who served a mission to Birmingham, Alabama from 1987 to 1989, as the Bessemer, Alabama Stake President, the first Black regional leader for Mormons in Alabama. Johnson and his family were living in Utah and have just recently moved back to Alabama.
A stake is an administrative unit of The Church of Jesus Christ comprised of multiple congregations – the smaller congregations are called branches and the larger ones are called wards. It may be compared to a Roman Catholic Church diocese. The name “stake” is derived from the metaphor employed by Isaiah, comparing Zion to a tent fastened securely by stakes:
Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken (Isaiah 33:20.) (more…)
The Master taught the following as recorded in the Holy Bible, in the New Testament, in John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
A student of the Greek language (the original language of the New Testament) knows and understands that there are different words used to express love in the Greek language. The Greek word that is used in these verses is a form of the Greek verb “agape” (ah-gah-pay) which is understood in Christian theology to be an expression of God’s unconditional love. In other words, what the Savior was teaching His disciples, and the lesson that applies to us today, is that we are to love everyone even as the Savior loves each of us – unconditionally. W. E. Vine, a great scholar of the New Testament Greek language, said of the word agape:
It expresses the deep and constant love and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential love in them towards the Giver, and a practical love towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver. (more…)
Without mentioning their last names, when people hear the names Jabari and Ziggy, the first thing that may come to mind is that they are two popular rap or hip-hop singers. However, such is not the case, at least not in this particular case. If the names Jabari and Ziggy are mentioned on the campus of Brigham Young University, sports fans immediately recognize that the persons being spoken of are Jabari Parker and Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah. Both are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and both are sports legends in their own right – Jabari Parker being well known in the world of basketball, and “Ziggy” Ansah being well known in the world of football. Jabari is finishing high school in Chicago and “Ziggy” is a senior at BYU in Provo, Utah.
Ezekiel Ansah, the son of Edward and Elizabeth Ansah, was born in Accra, Ghana. His favorite food is fufu and peanut butter soup. He excels at FIFA soccer. He speaks Twi and Fante, two local Ghanaian dialects and surprisingly enough his favorite athlete is LeBron James, the one to whom Jabari Parker is compared with as for his basketball skills and talents. He is majoring in actuarial science with a minor in mathematics. He enrolled at BYU in 2008 and participated on the track team in 2009 before joining the football team in 2010.  (more…)