News Release

Pacific Area Presidency Speak to Latter-day Saint Congregational Leaders Across South Pacific

Members of the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke via satellite to lay, congregational leaders of the Church from Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the islands of the South Pacific last night.

Elder Kevin W. Pearson, Elder O. Vincent Haleck and Elder S. Gifford Nielsen encouraged Latter-day Saints to increase their faith in Jesus Christ so individuals, married couples, families and communities could be strengthened.

Elder Pearson, Pacific Area President, said: “Brothers and Sisters, everything we do in this Church, every meeting, and every program has one common purpose:  To strengthen faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and develop greater spiritual power and self-reliance in individuals, families, stake, ward and branch units.”

“What is faith? And why is faith important?” he asked. “Faith is more than a desire, belief or hope.  It is an assurance centred in the Lord Jesus Christ that leads to action.  This assurance is a spiritual gift from God.   It is a spiritual power that becomes an ‘anchor to the souls of men, and women young and old,  which makes them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works…’  in every season of life:  especially in times of great distress and difficulty.   This kind of assurance is anchored in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Haleck spoke about increasing faith in Jesus Christ through engaging in family history research and participating in temple ordinances on behalf of deceased family members. Latter-day Saints believe that baptism and other ordinances can be performed vicariously on behalf of family members who have died.

Elder Haleck announced an initiative for 2015 called “My Family: 15 in 15.” Latter-day Saints are invited to research information about their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Then participate in temple ordinances on behalf of these family members.

“We ask that you increase your faith in Jesus Christ through submitting and performing temple ordinances for your kindred dead,” Elder Haleck said. “Each person capable of doing his or her family history work for their 15 names or 4 generations is invited to go and do it.  Not only will you have the eternal gratitude of your deceased loved ones, your act of love will bind you together for the eternities to come.”

Watch videos about family history research and temples.

Elder S. Gifford Nielsen spoke about the opportunity that Latter-day Saints have to work together in ward (congregation) councils to serve members of the Church and others.

“There is a contagious excitement as we courageously move out of our comfort zone to share with others our deeply held beliefs,” Elder Nielsen said. “During the fourth quarter of 2014, the Pacific Area held a special fast followed by ‘Invitation Sunday.’  It was an opportunity to give our friends a chance to see how we worship. The response was overwhelming as nearly 16,000 less active or non-members attended church on Sunday November 30th.”

“The success of this special invitation showed what we can do every week if we have our hearts and minds committed to the principle of inviting.”

There are close to half a million Latter-day Saints in the Pacific Area (Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, islands of the South Pacific) and over 15 million members worldwide. This year is the 175th anniversary of the first Mormon missionary to arrive in the South Pacific.


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