SALT LAKE CITY — The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced today that plans are being finalized for the construction of a new Church History Library in downtown Salt Lake City.

The 5-floor building will be constructed on the northeast corner of the intersection of North Temple and Main Streets. General-use reading rooms and a special collections area open to the public will be housed in the planned facility.

“The new Church History Library will be a welcome resource for those who wish to learn more about Latter-day Saint history,” said Elder Marlin K. Jensen, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy who also serves as church historian and recorder.

“Scholars, Church members and other researchers will enjoy expanded, more comfortable research facilities and enhanced access to our collections,” added Elder Jensen.

Since current archival space is inadequate, this new library will incorporate updated technology and significantly increase archival storage capacity to preserve Church records, including printed materials, manuscripts, publications, photographs and audiovisual items. Current collections include 3.5 million manuscripts, 210,000 publications, 100,000 photographs and 50,000 audiovisual productions in a variety of media formats

MHTN Architects, Inc., a Salt Lake City-based firm, is designing the new library to visually complement the Conference Center, which is situated across Main Street to its west. Plans are still under development, so a contractor is yet to be named. Construction is expected to begin sometime later this year.

MHTN and specialists from the Family and Church History Department have consulted with international experts in records preservation and archival design to ensure that this facility will employ best-available lighting, humidity and temperature controls, as well as fire and seismic protection.

Completion of the new library is scheduled for late 2007.

First Presidency Congratulates Pope Benedict XVI

Following the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement:

“We join with men and women of goodwill everywhere in congratulating Cardinal Ratzinger on his election as Pope Benedict XVI.

“We wish for him and his many followers continuing progress in furthering the cause of peace among the nations, and the alleviation of poverty and distress throughout the world.”

SVU’s Education Conference Announced
 
BUENA VISTA, Virginia — Southern Virginia University has announced the scheduling of its ninth education conference for adults, to be held on the SVU campus from June 10–11. The conference focuses on spiritual and religious topics, and features prominent speakers from the Latter-day Saint community. The theme for this year’s conference is, “That I may serve you — Leader-Servants in the Footsteps of the Master, and his Prophet, Joseph Smith.”
 
The phrase, “That I may serve you” comes from a passage in the Book of Mormon, where Benjamin addresses his people prior to his death. King Benjamin labored all his days for the welfare of his people, taking nothing from them, defending and serving them diligently and valiantly throughout his life.

The term leader-servant was coined by the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell to describe King Benjamin.  He said a leader-servant is someone who leads by example, governs with love, and gives back to the people by performing acts of service. This term has been adopted as the mission of Southern Virginia University — “to prepare leader-servants.” Conference speakers will address various aspects of living as a leader-servant, as exemplified by Jesus Christ and the Church’s prophet, Joseph Smith.
 
Speaker include Matthew Richardson, associate dean of religious education, BYU; W. Jeffrey Marsh, Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture, BYU; Ardeth Kapp, former Young Women general president and former matron of the Cardston, Alberta Temple; Gracia N. Jones, author of Priceless Gifts; Celebrating Holidays with Joseph and Emma; Gary and Joy Lundberg, authors of numerous marriage and family relationship improvement books; Del Parson, artist and professor of art, Dixie State College, and Joan Betros, independent film and television producer and director.

For more information, visit the SVU website at http://www.southernvirginia.edu/conferences/ . On-line registration is available.