LDS Magazines for July are Now Available!

ensign magazine july 2014 new era magazine july 2014 the friend magazine july 2014

The Ensign, New Era and Friend magazines are now available in the LDS Scriptures Premium and LDS Scriptures Premier apps for Android, Kindle Fire, Nook and Blackberry. They will automatically download and install on Tuesday, July 1st, OR you can download them right now.

Instructions to download and install now:


1) Open app, tap the green ellipsis icon and then tap Download


2) Tap Ensign to download Ensign, or tap Publications to download New Era and Friend

Professional circus performer discovers LDS Church while attending clown college

lds clown mormonBy Sara Phelps and Tim Torkildson

Either by random chance or cosmic design, Tim Torkildson had his first opportunity to be a clown in kindergarten, and after that he was never the same.

He swiped his brother Bill’s pajamas and smeared his mother’s lipstick on his face, looking more like the victim of a head-on crash than a merrymaker.

Not having any scripted action besides the teacher’s admonition to “do something funny,” Torkildson pranced around the classroom, stuck out his tongue at the indulgent group of parents and then stood as still as Lot’s wife — struck with the utter beauty of laughter and the dim premonition that the cost of generating such merriment could be terribly high.

“I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not want to make people laugh,” Torkildson said.

He put cellophane tape over the projector lens when the teacher showed movies. He learned to make an immense number of embarrassing noises. He assiduously studied old Marx Brothers and Three Stooges movies on TV. He blew bubbles through his straw into his milk carton until it foamed over, and then slathered the foamy milk over his face so he could shave it off with a plastic butter knife.

The summer after high school graduation, Torkildson found an article about the Ringling Clown College within the pages of Life magazine. In a few months, he hitchhiked to Florida and enrolled in the program.

“I wanted to be (funny), but I wasn’t,” Torkildson said. “I needed the training and the exposure that came with working with professional clowns.”

Completing the Ringling Clown College program was no easy task for Torkildson. His family was embarrassed by his career choice, and he felt rejected by many of his fellow clowns. Despite this opposition, Torkildson became one of the top performers in his class, and graduated as one of only 12 students with an offer to perform with the Ringling Brothers Circus.

As his college days came to a close, Torkildson began to notice a classmate, Tim Holst, who stood out from the other students.

“This was the first time I’d ever been away from home,” Torkildson said. “I could do anything I wanted and I was considering my options. I noticed that Tim Holst … didn’t swear, didn’t drink (and) didn’t smoke.”

Torkildson realized perhaps there was greater purpose in his attending Ringling Clown College; perhaps he was more than just a juvenile jokester. He took the missionary discussions and was baptized soon after as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After a few years of working as a professional clown, Torkildson put his career on hold to serve an LDS mission in Bangkok, Thailand. Here he developed a love for spicy foods and even performed some of his clown routines for locals.

“I spent two-thirds of my mission performing as a clown,” he said. “The church did not have a very good image in Thailand, (so) the mission president did a number of things to generate good public relations. One of the things I did was free clown shows. We would go visit hospitals, schools and jails. I would be introduced as a missionary for the church, and that is as much publicity as we did.”

Torkildson was lucky enough to get his job back with the Ringling Brothers Circus after he returned home, but being the class clown came at a price. Though he spent years in the circus making families clap and cheer with excitement, his wife and eight children were not so enthusiastic about his career.

“I sensed that my wife was falling away from me,” he said. “This frightened me so … I gave up the circus (and) I worked for the Utah State Tax Commission as a tax collector. I went from making people laugh to making them cry … but I did it because I wanted to stay at home. It really didn’t help because by that time the marriage was dead. As soon as it was over, I quit that job and I went back to the circus. Obviously I was sad, I was heartbroken … I had lost my family.”

Torkildson finished out his career working as a clown, eventually becoming the ringmaster and then running publicity for the circus. However, arthritis kicked in and traveling with the circus became too difficult to continue.

After moving on from the circus and working several different jobs, Torkildson found himself struggling to make ends meet.

“Once my active clowning career ended, I felt a real sense of deflation, and it took me years to redefine myself as someone who has worth outside of his ability to make people laugh,” he said. “I wound up living in a homeless shelter. I ran out of options. That happened just a year ago.”

A good friend of Torkildson’s took notice to his situation and invited him to come stay with his family in Provo. Torkildson lives there today, works part-time and expects to be in his own apartment by the end of the summer.

Now that he lives in Provo, Torkildson is closer to his children and grandchildren, and longs to spend time developing those relationships that may have suffered during his circus days.

“Anytime I can be with my children or grandchildren, that is extremely fulfilling for me,” he said. “I haven’t experienced that with my children for many years, so it’s like a holiday.”

Torkildson’s clowning days may be over, but he’ll never stop trying to make others smile.

“Writing is the thing I enjoy the most … I have a lot of fun memories of Thailand and the circus, and I write about those things,” he said. “Physical comedy is impossible for me to do, so I’m grateful I have a new outlet to be able to write and through the Internet be able to share that with people.”

Through his trials, Torkildson is grateful for the influence of the LDS Church and how it has helped him stay hopeful toward the future.

“I feel that my best work is still ahead of me, and the reason I feel that way is because of my living testimony of the superb reality of the Savior and of his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said. “I feel that each day is a gift and that it is my responsibility, and privilege, to find the wonder and awe in it, and to respond to that wonder and glory with all the creative resources at my command. … And one way or another, it’s still going to be about laughter. I’m still going to be entertaining people. That’s my life.”


Mormonism in Pictures: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf Visits Saints in Europe


“Mormonism in Pictures” is a photo essay feature from depicting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members around the world.

Second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf shakes hands with Latter-day Saints in Switzerland.© All rights reserved.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, Harriet, visited Western Europe to celebrate several milestones of the Church. They met with Church members, leaders and dignitaries in Switzerland, Italy and Poland 7-17 June 2014.

President Uchtdorf, a convert to the Church and native of Germany, was accompanied by Elder José A. Teixeira, the president of the Europe Area.


Posing for a picture on the lawn of the Bern Switzerland Temple (from left to right) are Brother Melvyn and Sister Linda S. Reeves, second counselor, Relief Society general presidency; Sister Kathy and Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; President Dieter F. and Sister Harriett Uchtdorf; and Elder José and Sister Maria Teixeira.

“The trip truly was wonderful,” Elder Teixeira said. “It symbolized faith, family, growth, and the dedication of our faithful members in Europe. The Church members felt the love of the Lord expressed by President and Sister Uchtdorf.”


President Uchtdorf reminded Church members of the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Church’s Bern Switzerland Temple, the first LDS temple built outside the United States and Canada.


Speaking via satellite broadcast to all congregations in western Europe, he said: “The first LDS missionaries arrived in western Europe more than 170 years ago. The Church now has more than 15 million members worldwide, with half a million in Europe. This is a great and marvelous work; it is not a small thing in a corner. It is God’s work and glory to bring the blessings of the gospel into the lives of His children, wherever they live!”


President Uchtdorf and his wife, Harriet, spent time with Church members, missionaries and Church leaders in Switzerland, Italy and Poland.


All missionaries serving in Poland gathered to meet with President Uchtdorf and his wife. While in Poland the Uchtdorfs also visited Auschwitz and Birkenau.


President Uchtdorf was eager to see the progress at the Rome Italy Temple construction site. The temple is scheduled to be completed in 2015.


President and Sister Uchtdorf were joined at the temple construction site in Rome by Elder and Sister Anderson, as well as Sister Reeves.

President Uchtdorf, the retired chief pilot of Lufthansa German Airlines and a military veteran, has served nearly 20 years as a General Authority for the Church. He and his wife, Harriet, have been married since 1962 and have two children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Pres Uchtdorf Rome Temple4

With his calling in the Church, President and Sister Uchtdorf now permanently reside in the United States of America.

Mormonism in Pictures: Women Church Leaders Visit South Korea


“Mormonism in Pictures” is a photo essay feature from depicting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members around the world.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Relief Society general president, Linda K. Burton, and Young Women general president, Bonnie L. Oscarson, recently visited South Korea.

oscarsons burtons

Prior to her call as Relief Society general president, Sister Burton served with her husband, Craig, as they presided over the Church’s Korea Seoul West Mission from 2007 to 2010.

burtons oscarsons korea news outlets

As Sister Burton and Sister Oscarson visited Korea, they met with a number of political leaders, Church members and news organizations.

sister burton senator kim

Sister Burton met with Korean Senator Kim Yong-ju, an influential woman in the Korean Assembly. They discussed the tragic ferry disaster of April 2014. The senator wore a yellow ribbon in honor of those who had lost their lives. They also talked about the Church’s interest in the success of children and families.

sister burton hugs sisters

During a gathering with approximately 1,000 Church members, Sister Burton expressed profound sorrow to the Saints regarding the ferry tragedy. She then recalled a song that was popular soon after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack in the United States. The song was titled “One More Day.” Sister Burton asked, “What would we do if we had one more day with our loved ones who have passed away? What would we do differently today?” She also taught about how the home can be a refuge from the storms of life.

sister oscarson greeting youth

At the same gathering, Sister Oscarson taught that people can show their true love of Christ by loving and serving others as He did.

sister burton korea

As Sister Burton and Sister Oscarson traveled throughout Korea, they also talked with many other Church members and held leadership training sessions with members of the Church in several cities. Local lay leaders were taught gospel principles and leadership methods.

sister burton paper

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has 86,000 members in 128 congregations throughout Korea. Read more on the Korea Mormon Newsroom site (

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Young Women general president, Bonnie L. Oscarson, and her husband, Paul (left), and Relief Society general president, Linda K. Burton, and her husband, Craig (right), during their recent visit to South Korea.© 2014 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

LDS Family Services shifts from adoption agency to adoption counseling

SALT LAKE CITY — LDS Family Services announced Tuesday it no longer will operate a full-scale adoption agency, instead shifting all of its adoption-related resources to counseling for birth parents and prospective adoptive parents.

“The adoption program of LDS Family Services is changing,” said David McConkie, the organization’s group manager for services for children. “Our goal is to provide more opportunities for LDS families to adopt. Our goal also is to provide a broader array of services, more services, to single expectant parents, unwed parents, in the church primarily.”

McConkie said his organization expects the new model will enable more LDS families to adopt because it will broaden the options for prospective adoptive parents.

LDS Family Services is a private, nonprofit corporation owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It provides professional counseling services and an addiction recovery program, among other services. For decades, it has been operating one of the largest, private, nonprofit adoption agencies in the world.

Tuesday’s announcement comes at a time when religious-based adoption agencies around the country are under pressure to facilitate adoptions for same-sex couples. LDS Family Services also has been the subject of lawsuits about fathers’ rights in adoption cases.

“None of these issues drive this decision,” McConkie said.

“This predates any of these court cases,” said Sherilyn Stinson, field group manager for the Salt Lake Valley offices of LDS Family Services.

Officials made the announcement Tuesday morning in a meeting with employees, all of whom will be retained and, if necessary, retrained.

The 600 or so couples who were in the process of waiting for adoptions through LDS Family Services will be able to complete that process if they choose, or they can move to the new model, which could increase their chances of adopting.

LDS Family Services will partner with local agencies for services it no longer will provide, such as home studies.

The consulting provided by LDS Family Services will be free.

Changes in adoption trends prompted the change. The largest pressure in domestic adoption has been the reduction in children available for adoption. As the U.S. population has increased, the number of adoptions has leveled out at about 50,000 per year.

That’s despite a marked increase in the number of unwed pregnancies, to 41 percent of U.S. births as of 2013, according to a report released last month.

Recent statistics also show that just 1 percent of births to unwed mothers result in adoption. That’s down from 9 percent in 1973.

McConkie said those statistics are similar among the LDS Church population, and that LDS Family Services hopes to provide more counseling to birth parents who choose to raise their child.

In the past, Stinson said, some LDS bishops and single expectant mothers saw Family Services as an adoption agency and expressed concern that as such, it would work to persuade mothers to place their children for adoption.

Stinson said that has not been the case, but now that Family Services will no longer be an adoption agency, she hopes bishops and birth parents will be more willing to use Family Services resources to find information about options and to connect with appropriate outside resources.

Family Services now will partner with local community resources, including adoption agencies, that will do licensed regulatory work like home studies.

Stinson said that prospective adoptive parents will benefit from the guidance Family Services will be able to provide them to plug into multiple resources.

If couples want to adopt, they should turn to LDS Family Services, Stinson said.

“We’ll teach you how to be an entrepreneur,” she said. “We’ve seen that the ones who get placement sooner are those who take control of their adoptions and who are out seeking other possibilities. That’s the shift in our role, is to empower them.”

Catholic adoption agencies in multiple U.S. cities have closed their doors in the past year because they could not, according to the Catholic News Agency, in good conscience place children with same-sex couples.

LDS Family Services also would not place children with same-sex couples, but McConkie and Stinson said discussions about the changes announced Tuesday began long before those pressures mounted.

Stinson said she long has advised her employees to earn master’s degrees and seek licensing so they could act as full-fledged counselors in anticipation of such a shift.


Fatherhood: A Divine Responsibility to Revere

Father’s Day will be celebrated this Sunday, 15 June 2014, in the United States and some other countries. The video below, first published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2013, teaches that fatherhood is a divine responsibility to be cherished.

How Do Mormon Missionaries Learn Foreign Languages? NPR Explains

Sister missionaries being interviewed by NPR

Sister missionaries being interviewed by NPR

A piece from National Public Radio (NPR) details how missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints learn languages at the faith’s missionary training center in Provo, Utah.

NPR’s story focuses on a class of missionaries learning Mandarin Chinese. These young men and women will head out to their assigned areas of service after only nine weeks of study—a small time frame, NPR notes, compared with the U.S. military’s 64-week course in Mandarin taught at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.

How does the Church teach effectively in such a short time? They accomplish it through intense classroom instruction from teachers who are former missionaries, daily practice in realistic teaching situations, and learning by and following the Holy Spirit. As one missionary tells NPR, “Everything we do is trying to learn by and with the Spirit.”

“Many other students said the same thing in one way or another,” NPR adds, “and whether you share their faith or not, the results speak for themselves.”

While the Provo MTC teaches 56 languages (31 of which require the MTC-maximum nine weeks of training), the Church also has 14 international MTCs that teach a total of 7 foreign languages. And each instructor who teaches a language is either a native speaker or is fluent thanks to his or her own missionary service.


LDS Church Responds to Church Discipline Questions


The Church issued the following statement today in response to questions from the news media regarding Church discipline:

“The Church is a family made up of millions of individuals with diverse backgrounds and opinions. There is room for questions and we welcome sincere conversations. We hope those seeking answers will find them and happiness through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Sometimes members’ actions contradict Church doctrine and lead others astray. While uncommon, some members in effect choose to take themselves out of the Church by actively teaching and publicly attempting to change doctrine to comply with their personal beliefs. This saddens leaders and fellow members. In these rare cases, local leaders have the responsibility to clarify false teachings and prevent other members from being misled. Decisions are made by local leaders and not directed or coordinated by Church headquarters.

“Actions to address a person’s membership and standing in their congregation are convened after lengthy periods of counseling and encouragement to reconsider behavior. Ultimately, the door is always open for people to return to the Church.”

Photographer travels around America capturing every LDS temple

washington dc temple lds

Scott Jarvie is on a mission to capture and compile pictures of every LDS temple in the United States. The Washington D.C. Temple is pictured here. (Scott Jarvie)

Scott Jarvie has called almost all 50 states home in the last eight months as he’s immortalized the beauty of every LDS temple in America with his Nikon D800 camera.

With Jarvie’s car doubling as his residence, this member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spends his days on the road, navigating U.S. cities for LDS temples and other religious buildings.

His journey started with an idea he had in March 2013, five years after he became a full-time photographer.

“I was feeling like everything was great, but I wanted to do something more,” Jarvie said. “I prayed about it, and the answer I got was that I should make an LDS temples book.”

Jarvie had acquired an online fan base after a picture he took of the Salt Lake LDS Temple went viral, and he looked to this group for support as he launched a Kickstarter project.

On Kickstarter, Jarvie promised fans a book featuring every temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United States, and in return, asked them to help fund a yearlong escapade around the country.

boston massachusetts lds temple

Scott Jarvie is on a mission to capture and compile pictures of every LDS temple in the United States. The Boston Massachusetts Temple is pictured here. (Scott Jarvie)

“I didn’t want to just go out and photograph 30 temples and call it good. I wanted to spend a year documenting all 70 LDS temples in the U.S.,” Jarvie said.

One month later and halfway to his $70,000 goal, Jarvie accepted that he wasn’t going to be able to take the full trip he’d planned.

It was the last day of his Kickstarter project when his phone rang.

“With just a few hours left, an old friend called and said he happened to see me on the news, even though he barely has the TV on,” Jarvie said. “He asked, ‘How much more do you need?’ ”

Since last fall, Jarvie has photographed every LDS temple in the U.S. apart from those in Alaska and Hawaii, which he plans to capture next month.

The bright colors Jarvie uses in his work represent the temple as being “a light on a hill.”

“We really light up our temples more than any other religion,” Jarvie said. “We incorporate light into the design, the building and the landscape.”

lds temple orlando florida

Scott Jarvie is on a mission to capture and compile pictures of every LDS temple in the United States. The Boston Massachusetts Temple is pictured here. (Scott Jarvie)

Jarvie aims to share that light in his book, but he desires something more than just the photographs.

After receiving so much support from those who crowd-funded his experience, he decided to hone his crowd-sourcing skills.

“We are excited to announce to the public that in addition to the beautiful pictures, the book will include a corresponding story/creative writing piece for every temple in the book,” Jarvie wrote on his website.

Because Jarvie’s skills don’t extend to the written word, he’s asked the public to submit their own stories, creative writings, historical perspectives and essays.

Each contribution will be featured on his website, but only one submission per temple will be chosen for the book.

“The unique and well-written stories get high precedence,” Jarvie said. “We want a variety of stories. If we get a writing from one of the architects of the temples or someone that has a historical perspective, then that’ll be really interesting.”

Jarvie will be accepting submissions until the beginning of July.

In addition to his LDS temples book, Jarvie is working on another book titled “Faith in America,” with the goal of photographing other religious buildings in hopes of restoring and supporting American piety.

“When I go through a city, I’ll do some quick research to see which religious buildings will be old, photogenic or just unique,” Jarvie said. “I’ve gotten everything from big, beautiful cathedrals to little tiny countryside one-room buildings.”

During his project, Jarvie has welcomed missionary opportunities.

Self-described as a “quiet example,” Jarvie said many people ask him questions about the temple when they see his work.

“I’ve felt like this has been a character-building experience to live on the road and be open to be directed by the Spirit,” Jarvie said.

Jarvie plans to publish his LDS temples book in November. The book will primarily be sold on LDS Bookstore and on his website, Jarvie Digital.

“I hope people get a book and they put in a prominent place and look at it often,” Jarvie said. “I hope to create a beautiful piece of art that inspires people and helps them remember a symbol of our religion.”


Hastening the Work

Thomas S. Monson

Do you realize that the restored Church was 98 years old before it had 100 stakes? But less than 30 years later, the Church had organized its second 100 stakes. And only eight years after that the Church had more than 300 stakes. Today we are more than 3,000 stakes strong.

Why is this growth taking place at an accelerated rate? Is it because we are better known? Is it because we have lovely chapels?

These things are important, but the reason the Church is growing today is that the Lord indicated it would. In the Doctrine and Covenants, He said, “Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.”1

We, as spirit children of our Heavenly Father, were sent to earth at this time that we might participate in hastening this great work.

The Lord has never, to my knowledge, indicated that His work is confined to mortality. Rather, His work embraces eternity. I believe He is hastening His work in the spirit world. I also believe that the Lord, through His servants there, is preparing many spirits to receive the gospel. Our job is to search out our dead and then go to the temple and perform the sacred ordinances that will bring to those beyond the veil the same opportunities we have.

Every good Latter-day Saint in the spirit world is busy, said President Brigham Young (1801–77). “What are they doing there? They are preaching, preaching all the time, and preparing the way for us to hasten our work in building temples here and elsewhere.”2

Now, family history work is not easy. For those of you from Scandinavia, I share your frustration. For example, on my Swedish line, my grandfather’s name was Nels Monson; his father’s name was not Monson at all but Mons Okeson. Mons’s father’s name was Oke Pederson, and his father’s name was Peter Monson—right back to Monson again.

The Lord expects you and me to perform our family history work well. I think the first thing we must do if we are to perform our work well is to have the Spirit of our Heavenly Father with us. When we live as righteously as we know how to live, He will open the way for the fulfillment of the blessings that so earnestly and diligently we seek.

We are going to make mistakes, but none of us can become an expert in family history work without first being a novice. Therefore, we must plunge into this work, and we must prepare for some uphill climbing. This is not an easy task, but the Lord has placed it upon you, and He has placed it upon me.

As you pursue family history work, you are going to find yourself running into roadblocks, and you are going to say to yourself, “There is nothing else I can do.” When you come to that point, get down on your knees and ask the Lord to open the way, and He will open the way for you. I testify that this is true.

Heavenly Father loves His children in the spirit world just as much as He loves you and me. Regarding the work of saving our dead, the ProphetJoseph Smith said, “And now as the great purposes of God are hastening to their accomplishment, and the things spoken of in the Prophets are fulfilling, as the kingdom of God is established on the earth, and the ancient order of things restored, the Lord has manifested to us this duty and privilege.”3

Regarding our ancestors who have passed on without a knowledge of the gospel, President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) declared, “Through our efforts in their behalf their chains of bondage will fall from them, and the darkness surrounding them will clear away, that light may shine upon them and they shall hear in the spirit world of the work that has been done for them by their children here, and will rejoice with you in your performance of these duties.”4

There are millions upon millions of spirit children of our Heavenly Father who never heard the name of Christ before dying and going into the spirit world. But now they have been taught the gospel and are awaiting the day when you and I will do the research necessary to clear the way so that we can go into the house of the Lord and perform for them the work that they themselves cannot perform.

My brothers and sisters, I testify that the Lord will bless us as we accept and respond to this challenge.

Teaching from This Message

Think of a favorite story from your family history and share this story with those you visit. You may want to use the questions in the children’s section of the First Presidency Message (page 6) to encourage those you visit to share their stories. Consider reading Doctrine and Covenants 128:15 and discussing the importance of performing temple ordinances on behalf of our ancestors.


Could I Enjoy Indexing?

The author lives in Veracruz, Mexico.

I participated in our stake goal to index 50,000 names. At first it was hard. On several occasions the batch I downloaded had difficult handwriting, and sometimes I wanted to return it and download a different one. But then I realized that if everyone thought like that, those batches would be left to the end. I could imagine many lines of people waiting in the spirit world, and I decided to continue trying to read those names and transcribe them without making a mistake.

I learned to have love for those people. I understood that they truly did need help, and we also needed help from them. I came to better understand that Heavenly Father’s perfect plan takes everyone into consideration. When we follow the inspiration and instructions of His chosen leaders, we will witness His mercy and infinite love.

Indexing has been a lovely experience for me. I learned to value and love many things about family history. I also obtained gifts of great value from our Lord by obeying something as simple as participating in indexing.


Know Your Stories

Your parents and grandparents have had many adventures—some you don’t even know about! Some of their stories will make you laugh, and they can help you have faith in Heavenly Father. But even adults feel shy sometimes. Use these questions to help them remember some of their favorite stories and write down or draw pictures of their answers.

Tell me about your three happiest memories.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Tell me about the day I was born.

What did you like to do when you were a child?

How did you gain your testimony of the gospel?