Episode 175: Church News reporter Christine Rappleye on continual service and the covenant path

Reporter Christine Rappleye talks about the Tabernacle Choir and temple dedications, being a single adult and serving in the Church

Church News reporter Christine Rappleye joined the Church News three years ago, after serving as editor of the Deseret News features department.

As a returned missionary; a Brigham Young University graduate; a talented writer; a Relief Society, Primary and Young Women leader; and aunt and sister, she has shown how continual service can help individuals along the covenant path.

She joins this episode of the Church News podcast to share her experiences reporting stories from around the globe and the insights she has gained along the way. 

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Christine Rappleye: What I know now since I’ve been working at the Church News is that the work is moving forward really quickly. As we compile things, look at things, you really see how the Lord is moving His work forward and how the Restoration is still ongoing and how much that the Church — while it is a worldwide religion — how much it can impact a person in a very spiritual and very significant way. As we tell people’s stories and as we cover the leaders and as I’ve had the opportunity to cover the choir, it’s been this really amazing experience to kind of be on the front row of history, so to speak, as you document those things. It’s also becoming clear just how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ just love everyone.


Sarah Jane Weaver: This is Sarah Jane Weaver, executive editor of the Church News, welcoming you to the Church News podcast. We are taking you on a journey of connection as we discuss news and events of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I have said it before: Some of the best things that happen for any individual or organization occur with the support of a lot of people behind the scenes. The Church News is no exception. In this episode of The Church News podcast, we continue our tradition to help you get to know members of the Church News staff, whose bylines you will recognize but who also do much behind the scenes.

Joining us today is Christine Rappleye, a Church News reporter whose constant support is vital to the success and growth of the Church News. Before joining the Church News staff three years ago, she worked for the Deseret News as a reporter and then editor of the Features section. She also worked for the Beaumont Enterprise in Southeast Texas as a reporter and editor. Born and raised in Southeast Texas, Christine graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, with a communications degree, and she served a mission in the Taiwan Taipei Mission. Christine, welcome today.

Christine Rappleye: Hello, how are you?

Church News reporter Christine Rappleye wrote about the Moses Lake Washington Temple dedication on Sept. 17, 2024. | Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News


Sarah Jane Weaver: It’s so good to have you finally on the Church News podcast. As we said, so much of the work you do is behind the scenes; helping us put out a print edition every week, helping us coordinate video efforts. What is one of the things that you love most about working for the Church News?


Christine Rappleye: One of the things I love most about working for the Church News is just the variety of things that I get to do. We get to tell stories about members of the Church, we get to cover the leaders. But personally, I also get to work on a print edition. I also get to work online. I also get to help in different aspects, where every day is a different day filled with different opportunities and different challenges.


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I love chronicling a record of the Restoration and seeing all of the miracles that take place in the Church every day. Now, a lot of people could look at their own lives and say, “Wow, that’s a miracle,” you know; a girl from Southeast Texas ends up in Utah.

So, Christine, tell us how someone from Southeast Texas says, “I want to become a reporter.”


Christine Rappleye: That is a really good question. So, my parents are both engineers. They both graduated in mechanical engineering from BYU. They’re both from the Intermountain West — from Utah, Idaho, Arizona — and they moved to Southeast Texas right before I was born. And they’re both BYU graduates. I grew up with a love for BYU football. I remember my grandma, who still lived in Orem, would send these big, huge envelopes of news clippings to my dad every week after BYU football games. And so, we would come back to Utah for family vacations and other things.

We always grew up with this ability to try new things. We were always trying new things at home with both of my parents, just with their abilities. And so, as we would try out new things, and I also grew up with this love of reading, of reading and writing. And so, initially, I had picked a major; I had wanted to go into biology. And when that didn’t quite work out my freshman year at BYU, I was looking at what else I liked, what else I was good at.

And I liked reading and writing and things like that, so I thought I would try communications. And so as I tried communications, I got involved in that and realized that that was something I could do and possibly make a career out of.


Sarah Jane Weaver: So, I am so excited to talk to you about books. I’m glad you said you liked reading. Before you came to work at Church News, what I remember most is your work for the Features section of the Deseret News, where you would review books that came in from authors across the nation. And so your desk was always covered with books so high.

How did you determine what to review? Is there certain types of books you like better than other types of books?


Christine Rappleye: So, part of my job in the Features department, I did review some of the books, but I also worked with a group of reviewers to be able to review the books for the Deseret News Art section. And we would primarily look at local authors. We would also look at authors who were visiting. And then we’d also look at authors and books that kind of aligned with the values of the Deseret News and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We wanted to make sure that in every book review we did, that there was a content awareness of what readers would encounter in those books. And so as we’d do that and go through, making sure people are aware of those national authors who were coming, but also, Utah has a lot of really amazing local authors. And so to be able to highlight them as well.

And so as we would go through, and I would look at books, and we would get all these books in from different publishers, and I always felt like I had the messiest desk because I always had these piles of books, and the mail every day was always an adventure to open. And so as we would kind of go through and look at these things and see what to review, I was able to find some authors and some types of books that I really enjoy reading.

I really like — I think they’re called “sweet historical romances,” where they’re clean but yet historical, fun romances. I’ve also gotten into some kind of some science-fiction things and some other genres too. A few years ago, one of my sisters-in-law invited me to be part of their book club. And that’s kind of expanded kind of my perspective of books, too, as I read books that are kind of outside of the genres I normally read.


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I’m so glad you mentioned all of those things. I think most of us at the Church News love reading enough that if we had time, if so much wasn’t happening in the Church, we would have a book club.

Christine Rappleye: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Sarah Jane Weaver: So, let’s talk a little bit about your personal life. You have never married. You live in Salt Lake City. So much of your time in recent years has been given to the Church in Church service. And without children of your own, you’ve served in Primary and now Young Women.

What have you learned from the children and youth of the Church?

Church News reporter Christine Rappleye writes about the Tabernacle Choir and covers Latter-day Saint temple dedications, among other assignments. She is shown here with the Moses Lake Washington Temple prior to the dedication in September 2023. | Brian Nicholson


Christine Rappleye: I have learned from the children and youth of the Church that the gospel can be just very simple in its basic form. And there’s just the basic things that we need to do to be able to help lift our lives.

I’m the second oldest of seven kids, and a couple of my brothers do live in Utah, one in the Salt Lake Valley. And so I’m a regular participant in their family home evenings, and I’m on their family home evening chart. And one of my nephews, who’s in nursery, one of his favorite songs to sing is “I Am Like a Star [Shining Brightly].” And at the very end of that song is “[Because] I know my Heavenly Father loves me.” When we know the Savior loves us, that can help us remember to do those things that we need to do, like read our scriptures and pray, and to be able to continue on the covenant path.

There’s lots of things that can complicate our relationship with Heavenly Father and the Savior. But it also can be very simple. In my time serving in stake Young Women, the program has changed to the Children and Youth program. And also we’ve had different themes and new “For the Strength of Youth” guide and the For the Strength of Youth conferences, and trying to navigate that and helping the youth to become leaders. It’s definitely a process, and we’re still learning it. But the youth of the Church are amazing. If given the right tools and the right support, they’re going to do amazing things.


Sarah Jane Weaver: And when I look at your life, especially in the past decade, it seems like often when we deal with unfulfilled expectations or disappointments, one way to tackle that is through service. What can you tell us that you’ve learned about service?


Christine Rappleye: Service is all around us. And I think a lot of times, we think, “Oh, we’re going to do this big service project, and that’ll be our service.” But in reality, looking back, there’s lots of different ways to serve. There’s lots of different ways to reach out. I don’t really consider me going to my brother’s family home evening as a service, but my sister-in-law likes to say that, you know, it kind of keeps them honest, because I’m coming over, so they’d better have it.

And also, too, even in ministering, and there’s a couple of sisters who — they may be on my list to minister to, but they minister a lot to me, too. They just may not know it. And I think, too, it’s however we can reach out to each other. When I was invited to become the stake Young Women’s president, when the stake president was issuing that calling, he said, “Let me put it this way —” I’m not quoting this verbatim, but the way I remember it is that he said, “Will you help others come unto Christ by serving as a stake Young Women’s president?” So, whatever we can do to help others in the Church come unto Christ. And that can be a variety of different things.

One of the things, too, that I’ve learned is following promptings of the Spirit. The 2022 youth theme was about “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). And then after the 2023 Seminar for New Mission Leaders, in a video Church News did with Elder [Dale G.] Renlund, he talked about having the courage to follow the promptings of the Spirit. And I can see in my life, where I’ve gotten promptings, and I’m like, “Well, that doesn’t make sense. I don’t know why I would be doing that.” And then later, I found out, “Oh, yeah, there was a reason why I should have done that.”

But there’s been other promptings that I’ve had that I’ve followed that I still don’t know why those came into my life. But as you have those promptings, even though you don’t know the whole story — as a reporter, you want to know the who, what, when, where, why and how. You want to know the whole story, especially when you get a prompting that feels a little bit out of the blue or something that doesn’t make a lot of sense. But you may only have a couple of those. You only may know the who and the what you need to do, or the who and the kind of the nudge in the right direction.

And so, as you do that, you realize that you are serving other people. Heavenly Father knows what that person needs. You may not know, but that is just kind of one way to serve, is to kind of help continue honing that skill to be able to listen to the Spirit and to be able to hear the voice of the Lord in your life.


Sarah Jane Weaver: One of the greatest blessings of my life is being a member of the Relief Society. Now, I didn’t always feel this way. For a lot of years, I thought of Relief Society as a Sunday class and actually hoped that I had a calling that allowed me to not go to Relief Society. But I have come to view this organization as a powerful, powerful tool in helping me with my discipleship of Jesus Christ and uniting me with women of all different kinds of circumstances and experiences who can strengthen my personal testimony.

What has been your experience with Relief Society?


Christine Rappleye: My experience in Relief Society, I think it first started when I was in Young Women and my mom would sometimes need a visiting teaching companion. So I would sometimes go with her, or if there was something that she needed to help with, like with — they called them “homemaking nights.” And then when I was at BYU, through those years, everybody in that apartment or those several different apartment complexes were part of the same ward Relief Society. So we were all right there and being able to serve each other.

And then as I’ve graduated and lived by myself, and as those kind of ward and stake boundaries have either grown or contracted, it’s been interesting to see that there is very much a diversity of experience. In Relief Society, in the ward that I served as ward Relief Society president, it’s very diverse in terms of age. We’ve got single women like me, we’ve got young mothers, we’ve got women who are either widowed or grandparent’s age.

And so there’s a whole different life experience and diversity there. And everybody’s at a different place in the gospel, but as we work together and as we come together and figure out, “OK, what can we do to help each other?” I think that helps every woman realize that they can, in some way, belong in the Church and have a place in the gospel of Jesus Christ as they work and help strengthen their testimony.

And I think, too, now that I’m on the side of Young Women, to make sure that Young Women can transition smoothly to Relief Society, there’s a lot to be done to kind of go outside your usual circle of those who we usually reach out to, because that’s part of it, is to be able to step a little bit outside of your comfort zone and reach out to those who you may not usually talk to, but those who could potentially be a friend.

Church News reporter Christine Rappleye writes about the Tabernacle Choir and covers Latter-day Saint temple dedications, among other assignments. Here she is in the Conference Center before The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s Christmas concert on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. | Provided by Christine Rappleye


Sarah Jane Weaver: Now, you recently also had the chance to go to Mexico City during a historic Tabernacle Choir tour. What was it like to hear the choir perform there?

Christine Rappleye: It was incredible. They performed in two different locations; they performed at the Toluca Cathedral and then also at the national auditorium. As I was sitting in the cathedral as they were rehearsing and getting ready, and I was thinking, looking around at all the carvings and all the art and all the things in there, and how it was designed to be a witness of Jesus Christ there. And then in the national auditorium, to see all those members there. And where we were sitting, you could hear, like, the members singing along with them to some of the Spanish songs, especially when they sang “Cielito Lindo” at the end.

For them, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to hear the choir in person. And so many people; it was just — there, the audience energy was just very palpable as they sang along and clapped and wanted more and more encores, and things like that. But to be able to document that and to be able to see the impact there, including some other service projects they were able to do that weren’t necessarily the spotlight of the tour, it’s something that I think about frequently.


Sarah Jane Weaver: And I love that the choir went to Mexico City, where our Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, has announced four new temples, along with a temple he also announced at the Mexico MTC campus, and the Mexico City temple. Just in that metropolitan area, we’ll have six temples.

And so now, I want to talk to you about temples. You and I had this great opportunity that was a Church News assignment to go to Ohio. I’m sure it was fun for you to be there. Your parents live there now. But in Ohio, we have the Church’s first temple, in Kirtland. It was so amazing to visit and have some Church News responsibilities in Kirtland and stand and look at that temple and contemplate the sacrifice of early Latter-day Saints to build that beautiful building. And then we were able to cover President M. Russell Ballard as he rededicated the Columbus Ohio Temple, and contemplate what a blessing that temple is to the members today in Ohio.

Share some of the things that you took away from that assignment.

President M. Russell Ballard greets two children at the Columbus Ohio Temple
President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints greets Russel Boss, 12, and Elizabeth “Eliza” Boss, 10, of the Gahanna 1st Ward, Columbus Ohio South Stake, after attending the Columbus Ohio Temple dedication on Sunday, June 4, 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News


Christine Rappleye: It was really incredible to be able to see the Kirtland Temple and to be there and to be able to go inside and also see around and then realize that there was so much of the Church members that had the time to sacrifice and literally build that temple. You see in nearby historic Kirtland, that the Church owns and operates, you can see the ashery and the rebuilt sawmill. These are some of the businesses that they kind of developed themselves in order to be able to support the building of the temple and also to be able to get the supplies and things that they needed to be able to build it.

Members of the Church in Kirtland and Nauvoo were asked to sacrifice to build the temple. And that’s how the Relief Society came about, was the desire to help the men who were working on the Nauvoo Temple.

And I see, in thinking about that — that particular experience and then going to Columbus, where the members were celebrating having their temple back again, having to be able to rededicate it — my parents moved there several years ago with a change of my dad’s job, and they became temple workers pretty soon after they moved there, and they’ve been working in the temple and volunteering in the temple in a variety of positions ever since. And they currently volunteer in the baptistry. And just to be able to hear some of their experiences and to be able to know that that would be a part of their life again.

And I’ve been to that temple for the weddings of a couple of my siblings, and also to do sessions and do other ordinances there with my family when I would go to visit. And so, even though that’s not a place that I have lived or called home, that temple still has been a part of my life. And so, to know that that is back for them again is really exciting, especially as I have several nieces and nephews out there who are in the youth program, so to have a place that’s close for them to be able to do baptisms, especially with our push to be able to have the youth go to the temple, is just really exciting for me.

Church News reporter Christine Rappleye, shown here at the Columbus Ohio Temple in June 2023, writes about the Tabernacle Choir and covers Latter-day Saint temple dedications, among other assignments. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and I want to talk about my favorite part of this temple rededication, because parking was limited. And so the local temple committee had to figure out what to do for parking; not only during the rededication, but during the open house period of the temple.

There was a business directly behind the temple that the Church sought permission from, and they allowed Church members and others wanting to participate in the open house to park in their parking lot, which was not utilized during most of the peak times of the open house and dedication, which were held on weekends. And so, this is my favorite part: They had to make a path through kind of an area where there were a lot of trees and plants and growth from this parking lot to the temple grounds.

And as we were walking that path, I thought so much about the covenant path, about paths that lead to the temple, about paths that lead to temple blessings. And, you know, we’re all on that covenant path. I’m sure that’s something that you talked a lot about to Primary kids and to young women.


Christine Rappleye: The term “covenant path” has been something that in the last several years has been pretty popular, but as even in Primary and Young Women and Relief Society, I mean, it’s always about “What is the next ordinance that you need?” whether that is sacrament on Sunday, whether that’s for children who are preparing to be baptized, whether that’s young men and young women going back to do proxy ordinances, and whether that’s you going to the temple for your own endowment and for your own ordinances, and then returning back to the temple, maintaining that temple recommend and going back.

And there’s — I probably included a lot more than what’s officially on the covenant path, but it’s always making that direction to go back to Jesus Christ. And I loved that they nicknamed that path “the covenant path,” too. That was a lot of fun to see there in Columbus.

Visitors walk a wooded pathway near the Columbus Ohio Temple.
Visitors walk a pathway after attending the first of two sessions for the rededication of the Columbus Ohio Temple on Sunday, June 4, 2023. With the help of area youth, members of the local temple committee built a path between a parking area and the temple grounds which they dubbed the “Covenant Path” because it leads to the Columbus Ohio Temple. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, you know, as we walked that path, we both knew what was on the end of the path. Yet it still was so thrilling to kind of come out of those trees and see the temple. And we had the opportunity to contemplate that in reverse, because after we left Columbus, we had work assignments that took us to Nauvoo.

And I remember, as we had finished our work there at the end of that day, in Nauvoo, we were driving back to the hotel and saw Parley Street. And I said, “Let’s just drive to the end.” And I had never done that before. And I remember standing at the end of Parley Street and looking back at the temple and actually having the opportunity to contemplate what Church members would have felt to have to leave a temple.


Christine Rappleye: That experience was pretty incredible. Anytime that you have the opportunity to kind of walk down Parley Street and to do that walk and look back. I had ancestors on both sides of my family that go back to Church history, including several that we can say that worked on the Nauvoo Temple and to have to leave Nauvoo, and sometimes I think, “They didn’t know what was next when they left.” But to be able to see that temple and to be able to participate in the ordinances and to be able to have that endowment of power to be able to go on, it’s just incredible, especially as we knew that they had to leave not knowing kind of what awaited them next.


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and as President Russell M. Nelson has continued to accelerate the pace that the prophets before him set of building and announcing temples, it has been hard for us at Church News to keep up. Right above where you sit, we have a big sign, because it’s hard for us to remember how many temples we have. And every day when I come into work, I see this big sign that says “335 Temples Announced.” And then there’s another sign that says how many are dedicated.

And what a thrilling thing that is to be able to record and chronicle this blessing of the Restoration, as every day we have to actually remind ourselves. This work is moving forward really, really fast.

Now, you have, since Columbus, been to another temple dedication. Let’s talk about that.


Christine Rappleye: Yes, I helped cover the Moses Lake Washington Temple dedication. And that weekend was a historic weekend because it was the first time ever that there were three temples dedicated in the same weekend; there was one in Belém, Brazil, and another in Bentonville, Arkansas. And as it was my first time covering a temple dedication solo, I wanted to do all the things right. But I met some just amazing people there who were just so helpful and just so willing to tell their stories about the Church there and being able to help there, and just to see their excitement to have a temple just so close to them.

And we think of Moses Lake, Washington; it’s in central Washington. And I actually had two of my brothers who served missions in different parts of Washington, but they never were in Moses Lake. But the photographer who went with us, who we hired as a freelancer, he had actually served in that area and had known some people who were in that temple district, which was really exciting for us to kind of be able to reconnect with those people.

And it was so interesting to be part of that weekend and to see the excitement of how people felt in their plans to go to the temple in the next week. And they didn’t have to commute as far to be able to get to the temple. So, as we see temples moving around the world, and as people are able to be closer, they can be more part of the work.

Sarah Jane Weaver and Christine Rappleye stand in front of the Newel K. Whitney Store in Kirtland, Ohio.
Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News executive editor, and Christine Rappleye, on assignment in historic Kirtland, Ohio, in June 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I remember in April of 2018, President Russell M. Nelson went on his first global ministry tour, and accompanying him was [then]-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. And on that tour, it started in England, and then they went to Jerusalem, and then they had some stops in Africa and ended up in India.

And then there was this really, really amazing meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. And I remember the whole ballroom was filled to capacity, and Elder Holland got up to speak at this member meeting. And he said, “I wish every missionary who has ever served in Thailand could see this; could see these fruits of their labor.” And I think about that because, just recently, Elder Ronald A. Rasband dedicated the Bangkok Thailand Temple. And so, we have these moments in the Church where we think, “Wow, we all do our little part, and the work moves forward.” And Elder Holland said on that day, he said, “Sometimes we are so close to miracles that we don’t even realize we are seeing a miracle.”

What are some of the miracles in your life?


Christine Rappleye: Being able to be in the right place at the right time to be able to work at the Deseret News and be able to gain those skills, to be able to help with the work as it continues.

And when I moved to Utah to work at the Deseret News, one of the things I really wanted to do was to work in a temple. In Southeast Texas, the Houston temple had opened while I was serving a mission. Now, I’m dating myself. But it was still 100 miles away; it was still two hours away. So I couldn’t quite figure out how to be a temple worker and to serve in the temple that way. But when I moved up here for several years, I was able to volunteer and serve in the Jordan River Utah Temple. And it was amazing to be able to learn more about the temple and how it operates, but also to be able to be in the temple and feel the Spirit there.

I think some of the miracles in my life also include to be able to have the opportunities for education. I recently went back to school, to Ensign College, to be able to get one of their certificates, to be able to kind of get more skills that reporters have now that I didn’t learn then. But it’s been so interesting to learn that.


Sarah Jane Weaver: And I want to talk about that, because — I will date myself. I graduated from BYU in 1994. When I came to work for the Deseret News, we had computers here, but not many; everyone shared. You would write your stories out freehand and then type them in on the computer. And we were thrilled to have computers. Spellcheck was sort of something that was starting to come on. It wasn’t very reliable all the time. You know, the dictionary was one of my best, favorite things. And now I keep it on my desk still. I like to have my dictionary, but I don’t think I’ve opened it in five years. And so I don’t know why I keep it there. I think I like to remember the time when we had to work harder for things.

But certainly when we started, you would write an article, it would appear in print, it could only go to the people who could get a physical paper on their front porch the next day. And now we write a story, and we put it online. At the Church News, we actually translate it into Spanish and Portuguese. It goes all over the world. If you don’t want to read it from our website or our app, you can get it on social media or through video messages on the Church News YouTube. Or you can get a summary of some of the most important events that happen every day in the Church through newsletters that can come right to your email box.

And so, the profession has just dramatically changed. It’s not just you and I that have witnessed those changes, but how has all that has occurred in the course of our careers changed how you feel about journalism?


Christine Rappleye: I think there’s some things that have changed about journalism and just the different methods of storytelling, like you’ve said, whether through podcasts or videos or newsletters, and just all the different ways to be able to reach people now. But I think still at its core, we still want to make sure that we are true to represent what that story is. Whether we’re covering a devotional or doing a feature on someone and telling their story, I think we still need to be true to those facts.

But I do think that there are lots more ways to reach people and a lot more ways to be able to help influence other people. And we all learn things differently. We all see things on different platforms. And so, to be able to reach a lot of people, you have to be in a lot of different places. So, learning all those different skills is definitely a benefit.

Christine Rappleye takes a selfie in front of the building where the Tabernacle Choir performed in Mexico.
Church News reporter Christine Rappleye, shown here in front of the National Auditorium in Mexico City, Mexico, writes about the Tabernacle Choir and covers Latter-day Saint temple dedications, among other assignments. | Christine Rappleye


Sarah Jane Weaver: And I am so grateful for technology that can take the words of our Church leaders, that can amplify the words of prophets, seers and revelators and carry them across the globe. You can write a story today, and in just a matter of seconds, it can be in Taiwan.

Now, you served in the Taiwan Taipei Mission. What was that like? Was that a language that was hard to learn? Do you still have connections there?


Christine Rappleye: Oh, it was so hard to learn Chinese. I learned in the MTC that I was going to need to change how I learned, just with the way they taught things in the MTC and the way I learned there. My second companion in Taiwan was a native who didn’t speak very much English at all, and I didn’t speak a whole lot of Chinese, and she was going home, so that was my moment of, “OK, I’ve got to step it up. I have got to learn. I have got to make sure that I can help make sure that everything in this area goes smoothly whenever she finishes her mission.”

And I’ve still tried to keep up with Chinese. It was hard enough to learn the first time around, so still trying to keep up with it through a couple of different apps. But also, too, thanks to social media, I am able to keep up with people there. And I’m so excited about the Kaohsiung temple that was announced and work is progressing on with the groundbreaking. It wasn’t in my mission, but there is a temple in Taipei, and we were able to go to that temple because it was in our mission. And that was such a blessing. And so, it’s going to be such a blessing to be able to have those on the south end of the island also have a temple too.

Christine Rappleye takes a picture on the roof of building with the city in the background and the mountains in distance.
Christine Rappleye served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Taiwan Taipei Mission. One area she served in was in Xindian and shown here in May 2000. | Provided by Christine Rappleye


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, you know, one of my favorite stories that President Ballard has shared with the Church News, and in so many other places, is that as a young missionary, he served in England, and one night he was walking along the Trent River. And so, missionary work was a little different in his day, and he was serving as the district president and did not have a companion. And he’s walking along the Trent River one night, tired, alone. And instantly, he knows that the Lord is aware of him. He knows that the Lord sees him. And he said it changed the course of his life to feel seen and acknowledged by his Heavenly Father.

Have you had an experience like that, where in a single instant, you feel like, “Wow, I am a child of God”?


Christine Rappleye: So, when I go to the temple and do an endowment session, afterwards you go to the celestial room, and I like to be able to sit there for a little while. And there’s been times when I’ve been in there, and there’s times when I’ve been praying about a lot of things that are on my mind. And while I don’t get a specific answer, I’ve gotten the feeling that I can only best describe as a big hug, like a big spiritual hug. And I know that in that moment, that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are aware of me. They’re aware of the problems that I have, whether — regardless if they are big or little, because they may be big to me but small on a broader scale. And even though I may not get answers or the direction that I’m hoping for right then, I know that They will help me along.

There’s also times when I’ve gotten promptings from the Spirit for something, and I’m like, “I don’t know why I’m doing this or what I’m doing,” but then I do it. And then I get this kind of feeling like, “You did a good job. You did it. You did what I asked you to do.” It’s not those words, it’s just a feeling of, “Thank you for doing that.” And in those instances, you don’t know what kind of impact you have or what that is, but it’s like I knew I made the right choice. So, it’s that feeling of a big spiritual hug. It’s the best way that I can describe it.


Sarah Jane Weaver: And I think that is sort of the perfect place to sort of wrap up everything that we have talked about today. We so appreciate the work you do every single day to keep the Church News moving forward. We have a tradition at the Church News podcast: We always ask our guests the same question, and we always give them the last word.

And so, as we close, Christine, what do you know now that you did not know before coming to work for the Church News?


Christine Rappleye: What I know now since I’ve been working at the Church News is that the work is moving forward really quickly. And I thought I knew that before, but when you go back and you look at the, just, news from just the past month, and you see where different leaders have been in ministering, and you see the different announcements that have been happening, it’s like — there’s lots of changes. There’s lots of things. When President Nelson said to eat your vitamins because there’s changes coming, he really meant it.

But as we compile things and look at things and do things, you really see how the Lord is moving His work forward and how the Restoration is still ongoing and how much that the Church — while it is a worldwide religion — but how much it can impact a person in a very spiritual and very significant way. As we tell people’s stories and as we cover the leaders and as I’ve had the opportunity to cover the choir, it’s been this really amazing experience to kind of be on the front row of history, so to speak, as you document those things and be able to see how the Lord is working through His children to reach more and more people.

It’s also becoming clear just how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ just love everyone. Just, They want everyone to be able to feel the peace of the gospel and to feel that Spirit. And while it may not be a headline, as we document a record of the Restoration, you can also see how Heavenly Father loves all His children and how He wants us all to help each other and to minister to each other, and also how He wants us all to work together. Even though we may not always see eye to eye on things, just always — as we have the same purpose and as we work together — that we can all help move towards the same goal.

I have a testimony that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us, that They want all of Their children to get back to Them, and They want us all to reach out and be nice to each other and to also be kind and serve each other regardless of what our situation may be. There’s always opportunities to serve and opportunities to reach out. I know that we have a Prophet today who is leading and guiding our Church. And also, I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that, as we continue to follow the invitations of our President, and as we continue along the covenant path and doing those things that may be simple but are very meaningful in our lives, that we can continue forward and be able to get back to our Heavenly Father again.

The sun rises on the Kirtland Ohio Temple in Kirtland, Ohio on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News


Sarah Jane Weaver: You have been listening to the Church News podcast. I’m your host, Church News executive editor Sarah Jane Weaver. I hope you have learned something today about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by peering with me through the Church News window. Please remember to subscribe, rate and review this podcast so it can be accessible to more people. And if you enjoyed the messages we shared today, please make sure you share the podcast with others. Thanks to our guests; my producer, KellieAnn Halvorsen; and others who make this podcast possible. Join us every week for a new episode. Find us on your favorite podcasting channels or with other news and updates on the Church on

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