An archive of articles about the church, both scanned newspaper articles, and documents written by congregation members, are a treasure trove of information. I am referring specifically to the recent developments in church governance. The organisation behind this project – Friends of Church Alley – was a small conservation and local history charity based in Croydon, which was set up by local residents in 2011 and active until it closed in 2018. Virtually all native representation was either in the local records, such as minute books, or in the oral histories recorded by Gordon Irving in the 1970s and 1980s. Europe East Area president Paul B. Pieper charged the Halls to prepare a book that would capture the first twenty years of the church’s history in Ukraine and would be part of the celebration for the Kiev temple dedication. The process of defining the department’s core values helped us better communicate to church leaders and members what we do and why we do it. Richard E. Turley Jr. (Salt Lake City: Church History Library, 2009), 58–60. . A third reason for the department’s focus on global church history is this: if the department does not begin to systematically document the worldwide church by acquiring and preserving records, others will fill this vacuum. By Stephanie García. Documenting ugly history. It is mainly filled with Joseph Smith’s writings and, after his death, by church historians. All of these important efforts have provided a solid foundation and a deeper knowledge of the challenges and possibilities facing the Church History Department. Between 1991 and 2005, Church Archives staff members visited sixty-three countries. Feeling as if he was facing an impossible task, President Neuenschwander asked Elder Russell M. Nelson how serious the church was about missionary work in this vast area. ), In 1987 Dennis B. Neuenschwander was called to preside over the newly created Austria Vienna East Mission, which comprised Central, Southern, and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In November 1989 the Berlin Wall came crashing down. I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. These should be the guiding principles for this documentation effort—not someone’s private agenda. Approximately two decades ago, Benedictine Sr. Mary John Mananzan got a grant to do research on the history of the Roman Catholic church in the Philippines from the people's perspective. One quick example of this: In May 1995 I was in St. Petersburg, Russia, recording oral histories with some of the first Russian Mormons. It has the second-largest Latter-day Saint population in the world (after the United States), with 212 stakes, 41 districts, 21 missions, and 13 temples. It took a seventy-five-cent bribe to get us and our two Nigerian friends away from the crooked cops and back on the way to the airport. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. She said that in the coming general conference there would be announced a program which would come to be recognized as even more noteworthy than the coming of our people to these valleys as pioneers. 9: Documenting Your Church History on the Web; Playlists containing CWS Podcast - Ep. This is not entirely a bad thing; clearly we need to partner with others. Much like any other culture, churches are proud of their history. Lay out in this section why you are writing the history of the church. In my opinion, there were three important events: 1. For the first time in many years, the Church Archives was capturing the story of Latter-day Saints throughout the world in their own language and within their own context. [16] Telephone conversation with Rosemary Chibota, February 18, 2009. Not long ago the Mejias held “cultural and historical nights” in five stakes. the Catholic Church originated anti-Semitism and that Pope Pius XII was Documenting fake history against the Catholic Church Bearing False Witness: Debunking centuries of anti-Catholic history Rodney Stark Templeton Press, West Conshohocken, PA, 2016 Hitler’s pope. In the 1980s and 1990s, according to Elder Hafen, members of the Twelve and the First Presidency focused more on their spiritual ministries and let the Seventies and stake presidents take charge of operational matters. Second, historically speaking, the current era is one of the greatest in the history of the Lord’s kingdom on earth. Mark L. Grover, “Documenting the History of the Church in South America: Recovering the Past,” in Preserving the History of the Latter-day Saints, ed. As the church grew throughout the world, the First Presidency delegated an increasing load to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Also remember to document current church activities for those who will come after you by collecting clippings, photographs, and other records and artifacts of interest. But we sought to follow this direction in describing the department’s efforts to preserve and share the history of the Lord’s work on the earth with the purpose of blessing Latter-day Saints worldwide. A staff member would select a country, gather records from former missionaries or immigrants up and down the Wasatch Front, and then travel to the country, where he or she would spend a week or two recording interviews with the locals. ???? There were also health and safety issues. The materials are now preserved in Mexico as well as in the Church History Library, enabling future generations to learn about this stalwart pioneer.[17]. I don’t take credit for these ideas; they are based on chapter 44 of Bruce C. Hafen’s biography of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, A Disciple’s Life.[10]. The monastery established in the 17th century by the founder Abune Tetemke- Medehin at the Awi Administrative Zone, Guangua Woreda. Matthew K. Heiss, “Doing the Impossible: Documenting the Worldwide Church,” in Preserving the History of the Latter-day Saints, ed. Nevertheless, a record of their stories and history is essential “for the good of the church, and for the rising generations” (D&C 69:8). Film describes Northern family’s role in promoting and profiting from slavery. Decentralization depends on our ability and willingness to empower local Latter-day Saints, who already have the requisite language skills and cultural understanding, to represent the Church History Department and do the work of documentation in their own nations. Our next step is to delegate even further to missionaries in the field, who can help with the acquisition and processing of church history records and other Church History Department programs. Grant Building The Twelve, in turn, delegated an increasing load to the Seventy and to stake presidents. ; To perfect the Saints . More than four hundred people attended and learned more about the purposes of the Church History Department. Documenting and Preserving Cemeteries to Preserve Community History Tuesday, January 26 12:00—1:30 PM Zoom Indian Valley Public Library 100 E. Church Ave, Telford, PA, 18969 Virtual Program: The Pennsylvania State Archives is pleased to offer another event in its Community History … These early trips led other staff members to travel throughout the world. Holiness Manuscripts: A Guide to Sources Documenting the Wesleyan Holiness Movement in the United States and Canada. . The task will require priesthood leader endorsement, basic instructions for people at various education levels, and a reliable technical infrastructure. We learned that oral history has its limitations. In May 2008 Marc and Cherylee Hall were called to serve as church history missionaries in Kiev. In a Church History Department meeting, assistant church historian Richard E. Turley Jr. and Steven L. Olsen, then the managing director of the Church History Department, briefly described the history of the department by discussing four different and necessary eras: Their presentation was informative and culminates, as you can see, with a global focus. Their missions were made possible by the vision and endorsement of the Mexico and Europe East area presidencies. You might consider exhibits, lectures, a written church history, or even an oral history project. . While they know about the foundational events of the Restoration that define all Latter-day Saints, the majority of members today do not trace their ancestry in the church back to the nineteenth century. They had already served five missions, including one in which they presided over the Russia Yekaterinburg Mission, as well as two other missions in Russia. 2. Church Historians such as Willard Richards and Joseph Fielding Smith, as well as capable assistants such as B. H. Roberts, wrote the history of the church. Perhaps a scaled-down version would be suitable for your church website. It also helped department staff stay focused on the larger vision. . (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Company, 1901–1936), 1:262–63. Their parents, some of whom were Latter-day Saints and still lived in villages, were unable to read and write. In 2000 Elder Maxwell said members of the Quorum of the Twelve were “Apostles first and then we may have assignments, rather than having the assignments seem to dictate our role to us.”[14], The Twelve became “more strategic and less tactical,” less specialized or tied to a program, auxiliary, or geographical area. . Brother Perez, a second-generation Latter-day Saint, was born and raised in the town of Tepecoculco, where he still lives. My coworker Clint Christensen has started a pilot program in Mexico to do just that. [2] Conversation with Rosemary Chibota, Statistical Records, Finance and Records Department, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, January 5, 2009. Now those ordinances are performed locally by stake presidents. Of course, you may want to offer “just the facts” and keep the narrative simple—that is certainly an option. Now, instead of having to bring all records to Salt Lake City for microfilming, we can have records scanned in the field and then transferred electronically to the Church History Department. The Catholic Church is blamed for anti-Semitism because But during those early years, the technology and other factors were not in place to make this possible in a systematic way. On one occasion he was walking home at night when a force pushed him to the ground. Elder Bruce R. McConkie would say he wasn’t “the Archbishop of South America” even though he oversaw church affairs there. I had studied three years of Russian at the University of Utah and was feeling pretty comfortable asking questions and then listening to responses I could only partially understand. In 1981 President Spencer W. Kimball said, “My brothers and sisters, as the Brethren of the First Presidency and the Twelve have meditated upon and prayed about the great latter-day work the Lord has given us to do, we are impressed that the mission of the church is threefold: To proclaim the gospel . Here is a brief summary of what they said. They may want to see if there were any natural disasters their ancestors played a critical role in. But I have discovered something of interest in the last short while. The question naturally arises: why focus on the global church now? Our vision is to create a network of Pakistanis united in Christ, focused on better quality of life, fellowship and religious freedom for Christians in Pakistan and the UK. So once again I ask: How should the Church History Department implement a worldwide program of acquiring, preserving, and making available church history records that will bless the lives of Latter-day Saints? They include heads of state and ambassadors of nations. In 1991 two fairly new Church Archives employees, Jeffery L. Anderson and I, flew to Germany, where we recorded the oral histories of the East German Latter-day Saints who survived four decades behind the Berlin Wall. [3] Gordon B. Hinckley, “I Was an Hungred, and Ye Gave Me Meat,” Ensign, May 2004, 58. It was simpler to carry a recording device, batteries, and tapes than to acquire large quantities of records in the field and carry them back to Salt Lake City. I always asked about each person’s conversion experience. In St. Petersburg I interviewed Alexei Akimov, one of the earliest converts in Russia, having been baptized in January 1991. It would be great for them to see that information through the lens of your church. We hope to use this model to build a permanent program for documenting Mexican church history. A few of us would fill suitcases with records, but mostly we focused on gathering stories through oral history. Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, 1994. To capture and preserve their experiences, the Church History Department will have to rely on nonprofessional and volunteer helpers living in local congregations throughout the world who have a vested interest in their local Latter-day Saint history. I understand that some of this information may not be fit for public consumption. For the most part, there had been no concerted effort by our department to acquire records relating to the church throughout Mexico. These records will be used for the book and will also be sent to the Church History Library to build the Ukraine collection. As I share with you a brief history of these pioneering efforts, I must also pay tribute to a man who had an inspired vision of what the department could do: Steven R. Sorensen. [10] Bruce C. Hafen, A Disciple’s Life: The Biography of Neal A. Maxwell (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 449–53. Smith-Mather said the Church is a critical part of the peace process. Instead of Elder Marlin K. Jensen, our current church historian, giving all the presentations, writing all the books, recording all the oral histories, and determining what to acquire, now the professional staff shoulders those responsibilities. Church leaders are so well-respected, and the institution is held in such high esteem that it is an essential part of this nation’s development. The articles are organised into categories including History, People, and other subjects of interest within and around the church. In 1965 there were twelve assistants to the twelve and seven Seventies serving as general authorities. Children born after September 11, 2001 may want to research about how the church responded to the needs of its congregation. Termites and humidity wreak havoc with records. Users who like CWS Podcast - Ep. But at this point, some places in Ukraine lack experienced local members to run Church History Department programs, and so expatriates will have to do. but what a remarkable and wonderful challenge that is.”[4]. A UMBC professor is documenting the history of the Lumbee Indian community in Baltimore. Early on, Andrew Jenson traveled the earth as a one-man documentation machine. The department’s oral history collection more than doubled, going from 2,215 interviews in 1988 to nearly 4,700 oral histories in the short span of fourteen years. ?? We also explored and publicised the history of Church Alley and the surrounding area. The world and the church suddenly became flat. On January 11, 1925, the first sermon was preached in the new building. This was a question I had already asked countless Russian and Ukrainian Latter-day Saints. [1] Dennis B. Neuenschwander, “Reflections on Establishing the Gospel in Eastern Europe,” Liahona, October 1998, 38. Finally, make the history of your church come alive for its members! The spiritual radiation from that temple deserves much credit for the changes that have occurred. I believe that by following these four principles—a focus on core values, delegation, decentralization, and strategy—we will be able to support area presidencies with Church History Department programs, thereby ensuring that the history of the church is relevant to all Latter-day Saints. That year, the church celebrated its 200th-year of … - Volume 65 Issue 2 - Edith L. Blumhofer The original may then be photocopied onto regular or acid-free paper to provide additional copies for local use. Documenting ethnic church history leads to unity and societal understanding A LITTLE ABOUT BPCA? He is inspiring its leadership to care for its ever-growing membership.”[13]. In return, we will reap the benefits of extending our reach through local church members. Younger people who grew up in the glasnost and perestroika era were more likely to keep personal records than their parents were. We have entered a new era with brave new possibilities. Like the Mejias in Mexico, the Halls were an inspired gift to the Church History Department. Beginning in 1891, he went on several “missions,” as he called them, to visit nearly every Latter-day Saint settlement in the Rocky Mountains, from Mexico to Canada, all of the historic sites of the Restoration, and finally “all the missions and conferences and nearly every important branch of the Church in the entire world.”[5] Ah, those were the days! First, if the Church History Department does not begin to document the global church, the department will become increasingly irrelevant to the majority of Latter-day Saints. LGBTQ History and the Christian Church: An Oral History of the First Openly Gay Bishop. Almost twenty years ago, Steve realized it was critical for the department to gather records from congregations worldwide and from people whose stories would provide insights into the manner of life, faith, and works of church members across the globe. This set should not be confused by the later 6-volume set, written by B.H. Under the direction of Steven L. Olsen, Church History Department staff focused on defining the department’s core values. Here are four possible answers; there may be more. He knew spies were in the branches and said he would rather have a faithful church member reporting accurate and harmless information than a person with an ax to grind giving the Stasi false and damaging information.[7]. I sometimes feel we are facing a similarly impossible task in the Church History Department. These new quorums of the Seventy and the increasing responsibilities of area presidencies indicate a decentralization of authority necessitated by growth. But I firmly believe the church should assume the leading role in this work so that it can maintain a focus on remembering the great things of God and on witnessing to the truth of the Restoration. Travel through the mission was difficult, and basic necessities that would support missionaries—such as food, reliable medical care, and a communication infrastructure—were hard to find. This is how we will move into the future. Elder Nelson replied, “The Lord is master of the unlikely, and he expects the impossible.”[1]. What will the next generation read about your church’s journey? The department no longer consists of a church historian surrounded by clerks and research assistants; rather, it is staffed by a core of professional curators, librarians, and archivists. Finally, do you think it is a coincidence that a church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) developed the leading format for storing genealogical information? For example, the Mejias had the wonderful opportunity to record an interview with ninety-five-year-old Dario Perez. June 1, 2006. What was that change? Rev. Plus many people may come back to the city they were raised to research their family history. [8] Alexei Vasilevich Akimov Oral History, interviewed by Matthew K. Heiss, 1995, typescript, Moyle Oral History Program. This brings me to the final way in which the Church History Department can mirror the evolution of the church’s global governance model. Ideas for improving digital ministry experiences. And some of the stories were truly remarkable. As I have illustrated, there were severe language barriers. In 1866, the First Colored Methodist Protestant Church merged with it. Genealogical Data Communication, or GEDCOM, is a nationally recognized data format for sharing genealogical information. At that time, the church was … [7] Johannes Henry Burkhardt Oral History, interviewed by Matthew K. 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