TWIN FALLS, IDAHO
“We are assembled today in a place of consecration, sacrifice and service to others,” said Bishop Dean M. Davies, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, at the Aug. 27 dedication of the Twin Falls Idaho Bishops’ Storehouse. “This is truly a day of celebration.”
Quoting the words of Scottish theologian F.F. Bruce, Bishop Davies described his feelings of peace at the event as “joy at rest,” and his feelings of joy as “peace dancing.”
He said, “What we are doing this day and what will happen at this facility over the coming months and years may appear ordinary to some but, in reality, it is quite extra-ordinary.”
The 115th bishops’ storehouse in the United States and Canada, located at 1675 Mountain Drive in Twin Falls, Idaho, will meet the welfare and home storage needs of eight stakes and 73 wards and branches. The facility will support humanitarian and emergency response efforts and will produce, process and distribute food commodities in times of need.
“We are grateful to be surrounded by so many good friends who have come to rejoice with us,” said Bishop Davies to the group of community and religious leaders invited to the event. “I want to commend, congratulate and express my gratitude to all who have contributed so much to prepare for this day.”
Bishop Davies described the new facility as a modern-day monument to the idea that a person cannot worship God without remembering the poor and needy. “This is a symbol of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ committment to reach out and serve those who are distressed, struggling and searching for hope.”
He explained that the Church grows food on farms that extend over more than a hundred thousand acres of land. The food is sent to one of many plants owned by the Church to be packaged, canned or processed. The goods are then shipped to more than 100 bishops’ storehouses similar to the one in Twin Falls.
“It is often said that the food provided to those in need here at the bishops’ storehouse is the finest food money can’t buy,” Bishop Davies said. The food and goods are meant to meet immediate needs and assist families and individuals to become self-reliant.
Answering the question why a church would do so much humanitarian work at no cost, Bishop Davies said, “We do not seek notice from the press or the accolades of men for this outreach. Most of the charitable work we do is never known, much less acknowledged, by the world. That is not our goal. We serve because it is the way of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. …
“We don’t build facilities as this for personal gain or ulterior motive. We have one desire — to do good. We reach out to lift others because this is what disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ have done since the foundation of the world. To operate this vast structure of farms, canneries, storehouses, training facilities, counseling centers and to offer worldwide assistance, requires a massive commitment of funds, labor and resources.
“But we rarely speak of the expense. We give because the Savior gave. We love others because God extends His love to us. We lift others because it is a foundational principle of our faith.”
The first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric said most of the service performed at the new storehouse will be performed by Church members who give days, weekends, evenings and even vacation days to assist in serving others.
“If you want to meet some of the happiest human beings on this earth, come here and meet the people who give of themselves to help others.”
Bishop Davies spoke of another building not far from the new storehouse — the Twin Falls Idaho Temple. “These two edifices complement one another,” he said. “If you want to understand who we are as a people and what we believe as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, look at these two temples — one of them is spiritual, the other temporal.”
He then explained that these two buildings are a metaphor of love as taught by the Savior. Sharing the Bible’s words from the 22nd chapter of Matthew, Bishop Davies said the Savior responded to the question of which commandments were the most important by saying love of God and love of fellow man were the two greatest commandments upon which hang all the law and the prophets.
“These two magnificent edifices exemplify and symbolize a modern-day commitment to fulfilling the two great commandments,” said Bishop Davies.
Before giving the dedicatory prayer, Bishop Davies said, “It is my earnest hope that those who serve here, who live here and who enter the halls of this beautiful facility, will feel ‘joy at rest’ and ‘peace dancing.’ ”
During the dedicatory prayer, Bishop Davies pronounced a special promise on the Magic Valley (the Twin Falls area). “I leave a special blessing on this place called the ‘Magic Valley,’ ” he said. “It is truly a place overflowing with milk and honey.
“I bless this valley that if every man, woman and child will reach out in the Spirit of thy Son and have compassion on those who are in need or are less fortunate, that Thy Holy Spirit will distill down upon them and this valley, homes and lives and families will be filled with greater love and affection and this valley will be even more fruitful in bringing forth from the earth.”
Don J. Johnson, director of welfare production and distribution, also shared remarks at the dedication. He lived in the Twin Falls area from 1971 to 1984 and served as a bishop in Twin Falls. “We would like members who receive help from this storehouse to feel empowered rather than helpless and hopeful rather than hopeless.”
Local Church leaders provided remarks about how the new Twin Falls Idaho Bishops’ Storehouse will provide much-needed assistance and bless the members of local stakes. Both President Keith R. Hardy of the Kimberly Idaho Stake and Sister Geana Davis, Relief Society president of the Kimberly Idaho Stake, also spoke at the event.