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In case you missed it: Tokyo Japan Temple rededication, President Ballard on pioneers, Elder Uchtdorf on citizenship, plus 6 more stories

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Clockwise from top left, President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder Gary E. Stevenson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, look over the grounds prior to the Tokyo Japan Temple rededication in Tokyo on Sunday, July 3, 2022; President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, talks about pioneers while sitting in front of the Mary Fielding Smith home at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City on June 15, 2020; Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, flashes a heart to the audience during the Patriotic Service of America's Freedom Festival in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Sunday, July 3, 2022; and missionaries with baptismal candidates from the areas of Trevo and Liberdade in the Mozambique Maputo Mission, at the Liberdade Ward building in Maputo, Mozambique, on April 30, 2022.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News; Scott G Winterton, Deseret News; Mengshin Lin, Deseret News; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


During the week of July 3-July 9, President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, rededicated the Tokyo Japan Temple. President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke to the Church News about what Pioneer Day means to Latter-day Saints. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at the Patriotic Service of America’s Freedom Festival.

Matt Grow, managing director of the Church History Department, shared in this week’s Church News podcast how following the legacy of pioneers impacts today’s way of life. The Church News reported on the first Latter-day Saint branch organized in Gambia, and some 900 people have been baptized in Mozambique since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted two months ago.

The number of service missions in Mexico are doubling to meet current needs. Displaced Ukrainian refugees are finding open arms and generous hearts in western Canada, and Latter-day Saints in Malawi on Africa’s east coast are helping rebuild a bridge after Tropical Storm Ana.

Find summaries and links to these nine stories below.

1. Tokyo Japan Temple rededication

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President Henry B. Eyring, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder Gary E. Stevenson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, look over the grounds prior to the Tokyo Japan Temple rededication in Tokyo on Sunday, July 3, 2022.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

On July 3, President Eyring rededicated the Tokyo Japan Temple, expressing gratitude in the prayer for for the Savior and those who contributed to the building of the temple. In the prayer, he asked that the temple and its grounds might be blessed, as well as God’s children, the missionaries throughout Asia, Latter-day Saints and the leaders of the temple.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles served in the Japan Fukuoka Mission mission in his younger years. He said, “Japanese people are already remarkable temple-going people. It is their culture.”

Read more about the dedication and the dedicatory prayer

2. President Ballard on pioneers

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President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, talks about pioneers while sitting in front of the Mary Fielding Smith home at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City on Monday, June 15, 2020.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

President Ballard said, “No one can really understand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and not be overwhelmed with love, affection and admiration for our pioneer forefathers.”

He spoke about the what the pioneer legacy means and the importance of understanding how this relates to the Restoration of Christ’s gospel. He explained that no matter where an individual is from, the message of the restored gospel remains the same.

Learn more about what President Ballard said

3. Elder Uchtdorf at the Freedom Festival

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Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, flashes a heart to the audience during the Patriotic Service of America's Freedom Festival in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Sunday, July 3, 2022.

Mengshin Lin, Deseret News

“Citizenship in the kingdom of Almighty God is open to all,” said Elder Uchtdorf at Provo’s Patriotic Service of America’s Freedom Festival. On Independence Day eve he encouraged others to find independence from “division and bitterness,” alternatively drawing upon the “independent light of Christ.”

Elder Uchtdorf urged to all to focus on embracing others, rather than the division that seems to be present, in order for love to out-rule hatred.

Read more about it

4. Matt Grow on the pioneers’ legacy, today

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Episode 91 of the Church News podcast features Matt Grow, Church History Department managing director, discussing the 175th anniversary of the pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley.

Church News graphic

Historian Matt Grow was featured on this week’s Church News podcast as he shared a bit about pioneer history and how this impacts individuals today. Just as the pioneers who traveled to the Salt Lake Valley exhibited immense faith, so did many other pioneer ancestors around the world.

Their example of being committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ provides stories that people, today, may rely upon for hope in the face of challenges and tribulations that are encountered throughout life.

Listen to the podcast

5. First branch in Gambia

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Members of the Banjul Branch on the day the branch was created in Banjul, Gambia, on June 10, 2022. President Daniel W. Lewis and Sister Betty Jo Lewis, mission leaders of the Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan West Mission, are on the right.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Republic of the Gambia just claimed its first branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Branch President Samuel O. Amako said, “This day is a day of triumph granted by the grace, mercy and love of a loving Heavenly Father, who is no respecter of persons and loves all His children and all His creations.”

President Daniel W. Lewis, president of the Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan West Mission, organized the Banjul Branch on June 10 at a meeting of Church members. 

Read about the branch

6. Baptisms in Mozambique

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Missionaries with baptismal candidates from the areas of Trevo and Liberdade in the Mozambique Maputo Mission, at the Liberdade Ward building in Maputo, Mozambique, on April 30, 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The government of Mozambique prohibited religious ordinances, such as baptisms, after the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe in 2020. While many awaited their chance for baptism, this finally became a reality on April 20 when the Mozambique president announced that baptism could once again happen.

Since then, roughly 900 individuals have joined the Church through baptism, according to the Church’s Africa Newsroom. The first baptism took place at 8 a.m. just three days after the announcement, leading the way for many more to follow. Many expressed joy and gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the saving ordinance.

Read more about the baptisms

7. Service missions in Mexico

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This map shows new service missions in Mexico.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

According to the Church Mexico Newsroom, the number of service missions in Mexico have doubled. The Mexico Area presidency announced in June that six service mission areas were organized and as the number of service missionaries grow, the number of service mission areas follow suit.

Elder Hugo Montoya, a General Authority Seventy and first counselor in the Mexico Area Presidency, said, “They are representing the Savior in a different way than teaching missionaries.”

Find out more about Mexico’s service missions

8. Ukrainian refugees in Canada

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Since February 2022, the Ukrainian Displaced Persons Planning Committee has co-ordinated the efforts of several churches, businesses and local government leaders to assist displaced Ukrainians arriving in central Alberta. Meeting essential physical needs of incoming Ukrainian families is one way The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers relief.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

All hands were on deck making pierogies as local church members, businesses and government leaders combined forces to make the classic Ukrainian dish to raise funds for the refugees. The group formed the Ukrainian Displaced Persons Planning Committee in order to assist the Ukrainian people coming through Alberta, having helped 50 displaced individuals with many more to come.

People throughout Canada have pitched in. One event put on by the Ukrainian Catholic Parish raised roughly $20,000. One Ukrainian family expressed their appreciation and gratitude, having received aid from many to travel and arrive safely in Canada.

Learn what others have done and how you can help

9. Latter-day Saints in Malawi rebuild bridge after Tropical Storm Ana

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Members of the Zingwangwa Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their neighbors in Blantyre, Malawi, help construct a new bridge on July 2, 2022.

Elder Prince Sibanda

Members of the Zingwangwa Branch in the Blantyre Malawi District spent Saturday, July 2, helping rebuild a bridge destroyed by a cyclone earlier this year.

Tropical Storm Ana affected several African nations along the south east coast of Africa in January, and the heavy rains and flooding continued to impact the area for several months. Hundreds of people died, more than 300 people were injured or remain missing, and more than 500,000 people were displaced from their homes.

Read more about service in Malawi

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