Arturo Toscanini, the late, famous conductor of the New York Philharmonic
Orchestra, received a brief, crumpled letter from a lonely sheepherder in the
remote mountain area of Wyoming:
"Mr. Conductor: I have only two possessions—a radio and an old violin. The batteries in my radio are getting low and will soon die. My violin is so out of tune I can't use it. Please help me. Next Sunday when you begin your concert, sound a loud 'A' so I can tune my 'A' string; then I can tune the other strings. When my radio batteries are dead, I'll have my violin.”
At the beginning of his next nationwide radio concert from Carnegie Hall, Toscanini announced: "For a dear friend and listener back in the mountains of Wyoming the orchestra will now sound an 'A.'" The musicians all joined together in a perfect "A.”
The lonely sheepherder only needed one note, just a little help to get back in tune; . . . he needed someone who cared to assist him with one string; [after that] the others would be easy. (Elder David B. Haight,"People to People," Ensign, November 1981,p 54.)
The gospel is for all people and the Church is guided by continuing revelation.
Acts 10–14; 15:1–35
“God is no respecter of persons”
BIBLE DICTIONARY - CORNELIUS and his friends. What did he teach in his first sermon to them? (See
A centurion at Caesarea, baptized by Peter (Acts 10). The significance of Cornelius’s baptism is that he was probably the first gentile to come into the Church not having previously become a proselyte to Judaism (see Proselytes). Other gentiles had joined the Church, but they had been converted to Judaism before becoming Christians, which caused no great commotion among Jewish Christians who thought of Christianity as having some ties with Judaism. Preceding the baptism of Cornelius, there were several spiritual manifestations: the ministry of an angel to Cornelius; a vision to Peter showing that the dietary restrictions of the law of Moses were to be discontinued; the voice of the Spirit to Peter; and a manifestation of the power of the Holy Ghost, accompanied by the speaking in tongues. All of this would make clear the divine approval and direction of what was about to take place. The baptism of Cornelius and his family marked a new dimension in the work of the Church in N.T. times, since it opened the way for the gospel to be preached to the gentiles directly, without going by way of Judaism. It is notable that this major event in the missionary activity of the Church was done through the ministry of Peter, the chief apostle, who held the keys of the kingdom of God at that time on the earth.
What significant revelation occurred on that date?
The Priesthood was made
available to all worthy male
members of the Church.
Official Declaration 2 –
located at the end of the
Doctrine and Covenants
There was much controversy in the early church with regard to the obligation of circumcision (Acts 15:1-31). The Church under direction of Peter and the Twelve, and acting under the guidance of the Spirit, declared that circumcision was not obligatory for gentile converts. However, it apparently did not settle the matter of whether or not Jewish members of the Church should have their children circumcised. As one reads the scriptures on the matter, it becomes evident that the real issue was not circumcision only, but also the larger question as to continued observance of the law of Moses by members of the Church.
The word circumcision seems to have been representative of the law in these instances. The controversy was renewed later on in Galatia, as we read in Gal. 2: 1-15; Gal. 5: 2-6, 11; Gal. 6: 12-16. These passages, along with Rom. 2: 25-29; Rom. 3: 1-2; Philip. 3: 3; and Col. 2: 11, contain Paul’s teaching on the subject.
(3 Ne. 15: 1-4; Moro. 8: 8).
"As you know, on the ninth of June a policy was changed that affects great numbers of people throughout the world. Millions and millions of people will be affected by the revelation which came. I remember very vividly that day after day I walked to the temple and ascended to the fourth floor where we have our solemn assemblies and where we have our meetings of the Twelve and the First Presidency.
After everybody had gone out of the temple, I knelt and prayed. I prayed with much fervency. I knew that something was before us that was extremely important to many of the children of God. I knew that we could receive the revelations of the Lord only by being worthy and ready for them and ready to accept them and put them into place. Day after day I went alone and with great solemnity and seriousness in
the upper rooms of the temple, and there I offered my soul and offered my efforts to go forward with the program. I wanted to do what he wanted. I talked about it to him and
said, "Lord, I want only what is right. We are not making any plans to be spectacularly moving. We want only the thing that thou dost want, and we want it when you want it and not until."
We met with the Council of the Twelve Apostles, time after time in the holy room where there is a picture of the Savior in many different moods and also pictures of all the Presidents of the Church. Finally we had the feeling and the impression from the Lord, who made it very clear to us, that this was the thing to do to make the gospel universal to all worthy people. You will meet this situation undoubtedly as you bring the gospel to them on condition that their lives can be changed. (It was announced to the church members.)
I anticipate the day when the gospel, that has come to you and your families and has transformed your lives, will begin to transform their lives and make new people out of them. They become people who will love the Lord and who will make the same sacrifices that you make(Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 450-451).
The first official Church meeting in black Africa was held on October 22, 1961, in a small mud hut in Opobo District, Nigeria, where Brother Williams met with a pastor and 110 followers. No one came by car. Many, including eight mothers with small children, had begun their day before 4:00 a.m. and walked 25 miles or more to be there. After teaching them for two hours, Brother Williams prepared to end the meeting. He recorded:
It was hot as blazes. . . . My suit was wringing wet. . . . When I turned the meeting back to [the pastor], I heard a murmur all through the congregation . . . and [the pastor] said to me, "They don't want to go home. They have something to say."
Then for three hours . . . these people were standing up bearing testimony to the truthfulness of the Church and how they believed in the prophets. I could not believe what I was hearing. [Williams interview, pp. 10–12]
One elderly gentleman said: “I keep hearing you say, "if we are sincere." Elder Williams, I want you to know that I am sincere. I am an old man . . . I am sick. But when I heard you were going to be here, I walked 16 miles this morning to see you and to hear what you have to say. I still have to walk 16 miles to get back home, and I am not well. I want you to know that I am sincere or I would not be here. I have not seen President McKay. I have not seen God. But I have seen you. And I will hold you personally accountable to tell President McKay that I am sincere.”
The significance of this unique chapter of Church history was summed up by Brother Jude Inmpey from Nigeria. At a social gathering with mission couples, the mission president called on him to share his feelings about the gospel coming to his people.
He related a dream that he had not understood until that moment. He had dreamed that he was in a gathering where an organ was playing background music. It sounded terrible, and people were complaining. They discovered that the organist was playing only on the white keys.
Brother Inmpey then observed, "For many, many years the Church has been playing only the white keys, but now we are playing on the white and the black keys, and the music is much, much sweeter"(LeBaron, All Are Alike unto God, p. 123).
At the beginning of 2002, the Church had over 11 million members living in over 160 nations. There were more than 60,000 missionaries working in over 120 independent countries, speaking about 50 major languages and many additional dialects.
The Church is also growing more diverse internationally. More than half of all Church members now reside outside of the United States, a milestone that was reached in February 1996.
2007 ~13,000,000 members
2006 more than 272,800 convert baptisms.
8,254 meetinghouses internationally, a 10 percent growth rate over the past five years. United States has 6,361 meetinghouses—or a 9.6 percent growth rate for the same time period. Many of these meetinghouses accommodate several congregations.
More than 52,000 missionaries teach in 347 missions in more than 140 nations.
total number of missions around the world to 347.Church Statistics