Worldwide 200th anniversary celebration goes online

Opinion

To the Editor:

This April, while respecting social-distancing measures, local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , along with 16 million members worldwide, will celebrate online the 200th anniversary of a pivotal moment in their history: the First Vision of the prophet Joseph Smith.

The restored religious tradition born from this vision began in upstate New York, not far from the Canadian border. The first Church missionaries to Canada arrived in 1830, and the first Canadian branch (congregation) was organized in 1832. Today there are nearly 200,000 members in Canada, 500 congregations and eight operating temples, with a ninth under construction.

President Russell M. Nelson, the current Latter-day Saint prophet, extends a special invitation to the world to celebrate and commemorate together online. Church leaders will deliver messages of inspiration and guidance via satellite broadcast. Four general sessions will be held 12-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. on April 4 and 5. The proceedings of this historic online conference can be viewed at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Over the last 200 years, Latter-day Saints have followed 17 successive modern prophets as the Church has grown to include 160 countries and 178 languages. The first four prophets personally preached or ministered to the early Saints in Canada; three others were direct descendants of early Canadian converts.

As an international faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides humanitarian aid in 128 countries and has spent over $2.2 billion (USD) helping those in need. One hundred percent of the donations to Latter-Day Saint Charities are used for humanitarian efforts. Latter-day Saint Charities is currently providing pandemic aid to China, Italy, Iran, and many other countries.

The Church also operates over 5,000 family history centres — including five in Greater Montreal — open to anyone wishing to research their genealogy. Free online access to genealogical information is also available through FamilySearch.org.

In Nova Scotia, the Church has more than 3,000 members participating in 13 congregations in Halifax, Dartmouth, Sackville, Kentville, Greenwood, Annapolis Royal, Yarmouth, Bridgewater, Truro, New Glasgow and Sydney. Increased immigration in recent years has brought many members from Brazil, the Philippines, Africa, Mexico, Chile, etc. The Halifax Nova Scotia Temple, located in Colby Village, has been in operation for over 20 years.

Joel Glanfield, President

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints