Missionary Open House

A powerful message about the Book of Mormon - with dramatic scenes depicting highlights from its pages - will be featured in the annual Missionary Satellite Open House Feb. 22.

Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve will speak during the event, explaining how the Book of Mormon can bring answers, inner peace and hope in the midst of life's troubles.The satellite broadcast will be over the Church's satellite system and will be carried to meetinghouses in United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

"The Book of Mormon teaches that God will always prepare a way for us to escape from the trials we will be given," Elder Eyring said in the pre-recorded fireside. "But we must understand that the escape will almost never be out of the trial. It will usually be through it and, in the process, the Lord will change our hearts."

Included in the video will be testimonies from people who experienced a change in their lives because of the Book of Mormon. Some of those who bear testimony of the Book of Mormon tell how it helped them resolve difficult family problems.

In a letter to priesthood leaders in the satellite viewing area, President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, said:

"The purpose of the broadcast is to give friends and investigators an opportunity to learn more about the restored gospel and the truths taught in the Book of Mormon."

He counseled, "Friends and investigators should be warmly greeted and given an opportunity to become acquainted with the Church through appropriate displays," and that the format for the open house is to be decided by local leaders.

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve and a member of the Missionary Executive Council emphasized the importance of members inviting their non-member or less-active friends and relatives to the open house.

"President Ezra Taft Benson said, `The Book of Mormon was written for us today.' This truth is powerfully reinforced in the video presentation with Elder Henry B. Eyring that has been prepared for the Feb. 22 Open House Broadcast," Elder Scott said.

"This video contains several accounts of individuals who have literally had their lives changed by the Book of Mormon. We hope that members of the Church will bring their friends and families to the open houses where they can learn more about the gospel, feel of the Spirit and hear the testimonies of those who have been blessed by the power of this sacred book."

Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Presidency of the Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department added:

"The Missionary Satellite Open House broadcast provides an opportunity for members to invite their families, friends, and close associates to become acquainted with the Church.

"The video presentation with Elder Eyring will help guests understand the power of the Book of Mormon to solve life's challenges today. Local open houses, which should be organized in conjunction with the video presentation, will allow members to explain the restored gospel and bear witness of its truth."

A number of Book of Mormon stories are depicted on film for the fireside. Among those are the accounts of Enos praying for forgiveness, Abinadi appearing before wicked King Noah, wars leading to the extinction of the Nephites, and the plight of Moroni.

Sherman M. Crump, managing director of the Missionary Department, said that the presentation allows members to bring friends and relatives into a comfortable, spiritual environment where they can learn more about the Savior and the restored gospel.

"We think this is the single best missionary activity we do during the year," he said.

"What we have found over the years is that this open house appeals to a large audience across the Church. It touches their hearts and changes their lives.

"Our stake missionaries say it is one of the finest events and tools they have to help them in member missionary work."

He said that whenever members are involved in missionary work, "we have conversions, and the people who are converted are more likely to be active in the Church."

He cautioned members against deciding not to invite their friends to learn more about the Church.

"It is a mistake to make that decision for the people. They have to make the decision and members should give them the opportunity. In all of our studies, we find that when a member approaches a non-member about the Church, in most cases it improves the relationship.

"Members shouldn't feel embarrassed if the friend says no, because our findings show that the `no' is for right now, not for all time."

Mike F. Hemingway, director of media relations for the Missionary Department, said, "President Hinckley has asked us to be friends with our neighbors. This open house provides an opportunity to invite friends to find out a little bit more about what we believe.

"It is a good way to spend a pleasant evening with a quality production to share what we believe."

The video will be telecast from Salt Lake City at 4, 6 and 8 p.m. and may be recorded for later use. It will be close-captioned and transmitted in English, French and Spanish. It will not be broadcast over KBYU-TV. A copy of the video will be available later through Church distribution centers.

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