Hastening the Work of Salvation and Facing the Future with Faith (2015 and Beyond)

Chou Po Nien (Felipe) (周伯彥) and Chou Sin Mei Wah (Petra) (周冼美華), “Hastening the Work of Salvation and Facing the Future with Faith (2015 and Beyond),” in Voice of the Saints in Taiwan, ed. Po Nien (Felipe) Chou (周伯彥) and Petra Mei Wah Sin Chou (周冼美華) (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2017), 429-454.

The Chinese Sexagenary Cycle (六十花甲) is a cycle of sixty terms or “stems and branches” used to record days and years. It uses a cycle of ten “heavenly stems” with a cycle of twelve “earthly branches” to generate a total of sixty different terms (least common multiple for ten and twelve), with the cycle repeating itself to create this Chinese calendar system. A firm foundation, growth, and development accompanied the first sexagenary cycle of the Church in Taiwan as it prepares for the continuing “hastening of the work of salvation” in the next cycle.

During the sixty years preceding 2016, the first missionaries arrived, beginning the history of the Church in Taiwan. The challenge by the Asia Area Presidency in 2013 to double the number of stakes and the acceleration of family history and temple work furthered the “hastening of the work of salvation” in Taiwan. During the sixtieth anniversary of the Church in Taiwan, various events helped the members appreciate the “voice of the Saints” from the early pioneers and their rich legacy of faith and sacrifice. Along with the steady number of new converts that will continue to bless the Church in Taiwan, there are now multigenerational LDS families and a mighty rising generation to carry on the work of salvation and face the future with faith.

Asia Area Presidency Challenge to Double the Stakes

By 2006, when the Church celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in Taiwan, a total of nine stakes had been created on the island. As part of the “hastening of the work of salvation” in Taiwan, eight more stakes were organized in the next decade. By the sixtieth anniversary of the Church in Taiwan, there were more than 58,750 members, 398 full-time missionaries, a temple, and 17 stakes in Taiwan.

In 2013, the First Presidency announced area leadership assignment changes to be effective on 1 August 2013. The Asia Area Presidency included Elders Gerrit W. Gong as president, Larry Y. Wilson as first counselor, and Randy D. Funk as second counselor. Elder Wong Chi Hong (Sam) (黃志康) from Hong Kong became a member of the Asia Area Presidency when Elder Wilson was reassigned.[1] Just a few weeks before Elder Gong became the Asia Area President, members and missionaries worldwide had the opportunity to participate in “The Work of Salvation” satellite broadcast that originated in the Marriott Center on BYU campus in Provo, Utah, in June 2013.[2]

Under the direction of the new Asia Area Presidency, Church leaders in Taiwan gathered in Taichung for a special leadership meeting and were encouraged to double the number of stakes in Taiwan.[3] Those who attended this island-wide leadership meeting noted that their vision was expanded, and they considered ways to multiply the number of stakes in Taiwan, even dreaming of another temple in Taiwan. Huang Yong Da (黃永達), from the Taichung Stake presidency, said that President Gong asked the local priesthood leaders to make goals for the growth of their wards and stakes in the next five years, the next ten years, and beyond. They were encouraged to set goals that after a few years, the stakes would be large enough to divide and double.[4]

Yang Shih-Ning (Steve) (楊世寧), the stake president of the Kaohsiung Taiwan West Stake, recalled the shock of local leaders who wanted to help but were used to thinking in the short term with a local perspective. However, as they discussed further, they caught the vision and began to see with long-term perspective, expanded vision, and possibility. President Gong had given the local leaders a wakeup call and reminded them that “all things are possible in the eyes of the Lord.”[5] Tsai Feng-Cheng (蔡豐丞), the stake president for the Hsinchu Taiwan Stake, said he was inspired to help extend, expand, and establish Zion. The Asia Area Presidency inspired a vision in the local leaders to help the Church grow in Taiwan. Many priesthood leaders in Taiwan returned to their respective units, inspired to work towards doubling the number of stakes, as well as having five hundred local missionaries, another mission, and another temple in Taiwan.[6]

Lee Shih-Jung (Robert) (李世榮) noted, “When President Gong was the Asia Area President, he gave Taiwan a goal to double the number of stakes. . . . The goal was to have about twenty stakes in the next few years.”[7] Liao Ji-Shuen (廖吉順), the stake president of the Taichung Taiwan West Stake, remembered that local leaders were encouraged to set a goal to divide their stakes in a few years and to continue to grow thereafter.[8] Ho Shao-Ming (何紹銘), the stake president for the Taichung Taiwan South Stake, recalled a discussion pertaining to Taichung in which a goal was set to have three stakes in 2015, four in 2020, and so forth. He also noted that smaller stakes organized during this period allowed for development and training of more stake and ward leaders, permitted less travel and better ministering due to the smaller geographical size of each unit requiring members in each unit to exercise faith to help the Church grow.[9] Sister Ho Chu Yu-Hsia (何朱玉霞) said that when her husband was called to preside over a brand new stake, it was both a challenge and a blessing.[10] Soon afterwards, the stakes began to divide quickly across Taiwan.

When the Taichung Taiwan North Stake (renamed the Taichung Taiwan West Stake in April 2015) was created with Chang Jui Shen (張瑞昇) as the new stake president on 22 April 2007, it was the tenth stake in Taiwan.[11] The Kaohsiung Taiwan East Stake was created on 28 February 2010 with Yang Lei (楊磊) as the new stake president, later renamed the Pingtung Taiwan Stake on 20 December 2015 with Wang Shang Ming (王上銘) as the new stake president. On 30 November 2014, President Gong was accompanied by Elder Juan Jui-Chang (阮瑞昌), an Area Seventy, to create the Taipei Taiwan South Stake with Hsieh Hsien-Tso (謝弦佐) as the new stake president.[12] This was the fourth stake in Taipei and the twelfth stake in Taiwan. Shortly thereafter, the Taichung Taiwan South Stake was created on 26 April 2015 with Ho Shao Ming (何紹銘) as the stake president.

The Hualien Taiwan Stake was created on 21 June 2015 with Tsai Wen Fang (蔡文方) as the new stake president. President Gong was accompanied by Elder Kuan Ming-Shun (關名順), an Area Seventy, when they visited Taiwan’s east coast to organize this stake. About five hundred members attended the meeting and had the opportunity to raise their hands to sustain the new stake presidency. This was a significant milestone for the Saints on the beautiful east coast of Taiwan.

On 15 December 2015, the Taipei Taiwan North Stake was organized, making it the fifth stake in Taipei and the fifteenth in Taiwan. Hsu Chen Hsing (徐振興) was called, sustained, and set apart as the new stake president. On 20 December 2015, the Kaohsiung Taiwan North Stake was created with Li Chu Chia (李俊佳) as the new stake president, making it the third stake in Kaohsiung and the sixteenth in Taiwan. Then the Chiayi Taiwan Stake was created on 26 June 2016 with Hsiao Hsien Tsung (蕭憲宗) as the new stake president, bringing the total to seventeen stakes in Taiwan.

Family History and Temple Work Accelerates

The goal of “hastening the work of salvation” did not simply include missionary work and growth of the number of stakes on this side of the veil; it also included work on the other side of the veil. In Taiwan, the work for the redemption of the dead also accelerated during the twenty-first century. This was in part a result of inspired changes made in family history and temple work in Taiwan.

Family History

The efforts to gather genealogical records and family history that began in the 1970s and 1980s would continue and gain additional momentum in the 2000s. Genealogy, renamed “family history,” has always been important to the Church, particularly the Chinese members of the Church. According to Sister Chyou Shu-Min (邱淑敏), who was called to help with family history in Taiwan, various wards and stakes in Taiwan had regularly held genealogy fairs throughout the years. However, there were larger national genealogy fairs held by the Church in cooperation with the government.[13]

In 2006, as part of the fiftieth anniversary of the Church in Taiwan, a genealogy fair was held at the Changhua Athletic Center. Sister Chyou, called by Elder Ho Yu-Chen (Philip) (何於振) to organize this genealogy fair, noted that over sixty computers from various locations were brought in, and numerous volunteers helped with this event that was cosponsored by the Church and the local government. Several members, as well as missionaries from the Taichung Taiwan Mission, were available for the three days of the genealogy fair to meet people. About 2,500 referral cards were filled out.[14]

several people looking at a bookGenealogy fair hosted by the Tainan Taiwan Stake and the Tainan municipal government in 2009. From left to right, Chyou Shu-Min (event organizer and family history specialist), Chang Ting-Tsung (Tainan Stake president), and Hsu Tain-tsair (mayor of Tainan city). Courtesy of Chyou Shu-Min.

In 2009, another genealogy fair was held in Taiwan; this time it was hosted by the Tainan Taiwan Stake in collaboration with the Tainan municipal government. Almost five thousand people attended the genealogy fair—4,963 to be exact. The event was held next to a local shrine during the Chinese New Year, so many people visiting the shrine to honor their ancestors walked to the school next door where the genealogy fair was being held. It was a perfect location, and pamphlets were passed on all four corners of the building. This was the first time the Church had such a big genealogical fair, and it was very successful with the number of nonmembers attending and many referrals received. Sister Chyou noted that the Asia Area Presidency hoped that large genealogical fairs would continue to be held. It was a great opportunity to increase interest in genealogy and family history as well as publicize the Church’s focus on genealogy.[15]

According to Sister Chyou, the spirit of Elijah is strong among the Chinese people. She related an experience of Brother Lee Jung-Shen (李烱參), whom she met in 2006 while preparing the genealogical fair in Changhua for the fiftieth anniversary. Even before there was a temple in Taiwan, Brother Lee felt impressed to gather and organize a book of his own genealogy. He bought a genealogy book available from one of the genealogical societies in Taiwan and tried unsuccessfully for a period of time to merge and connect the records from these two books. Lee later had a dream or a vision while comparing the two records, in which a name jumped out at him. He was unsure what it meant but remembered that when he was younger, his father had taken him to a burial place for their ancestors.[16]

Remembering its location, Lee traveled to the site but turned away when he saw a house in its place. As he was walking away, he felt an impression to return and knock on the door of the house. He found the house was abandoned, so he entered and found all these ancestors’ plaques. He wrote down all the names, and then went home. While reviewing the names he wrote down, he saw the one name that had jumped out at him in his vision and learned that this person went by two different names. His small book contained one name, and the large book the other name; this finding allowed him to connect the records from both books. Brother Lee found three hundred thousand names and was the first Chinese member of the Church to find such a large list of names. He soon began to prepare the names to send to the Salt Lake Temple, and later the Tokyo Japan Temple, for the ordinance work to be done.[17] His experience illustrates that the hand of the Lord is in this work and that he will help those who diligently seek to help complete the temple work for their ancestors.

Updated FamilySearch

President Gordon B. Hinckley noted in the past that one of the challenges with family history and temple work was that many repeated ordinances were performed for the same person. Although the previous system used, Personal Ancestral Files (PAF), had improved search systems to help prepare names of ancestors for the temple, it still had problems with duplications.[18] Moreover, there were additional challenges with Asian names.

Brother Tsai Fu-An (Steve) (蔡福安), the area family history manager for Asia, explained, “There were additional challenges with cultural differences, languages, and characters.” For example, Asian names and Western names differed in the order of the names and dates for the records, as well as the diverse characters used by a multiplicity of Asian languages. The order in which the last and first name appeared differed, sometimes the father’s name was the last name, or tribal names would differ.[19]

manTsai Fu-An (Steve) served as the Asia Area family history manager and worked on the Unicode system to facilitate nonromanized characters for Asian languages to facilitate FamilySearch software. Picture taken in 2015. Courtesy of Chou Po Nien (Felipe).

As early as 2007, managers of the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean sites met weekly with computer engineers and product developers to try to resolve some of these language issues. Tsai noted the inspiration received and the Lord’s aid throughout this work. Miraculously, they were able to figure out how to overcome the cultural and technical challenges between Asia and the West. The new system provided various characters in ten versions of complicated characters. This new system allowed for both romanized characters and various nonromanized characters typical to Asian languages, including the simplified and traditional Chinese characters, Thai, Mongolian, Burmese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Malay, and so forth. Tsai also explained that while the previous system could handle only twenty thousand Chinese characters, the new Unicode 3.1 version could handle more than seventy thousand simplified and traditional characters, as well as Japanese and Korean kanji, making the names much more accurate.[20]

On 1 October 2010, the updated FamilySearch site was launched and made available to members in the Taipei Taiwan Temple district. This was a major milestone for the Church in Taiwan and throughout Asia. Besides resolving some of the duplication issues and simplifying the way to submit names to the temple for ordinance work, it also addressed the prior challenges with nonromanized names and dates.[21] Tsai observed the complications in getting the Chinese Unicode to work, more so than in other languages. The Church has come a long way over the years: beginning family history without computer systems, creating family group records and temple cards by hand from 1984 to 1994, moving to family pedigrees from 1994 to 2003, then to Personal Ancestral Files from 2003 to 2010, and finally to the new FamilySearch.org system. This allowed records to be merged, and it drastically accelerated the work of salvation; a work beginning with three hundred thousand names evolved to three million names from Hong Kong and Taiwan.[22] The Lord’s hand was evident in the work of Brother Tsai and others to facilitate family history.

Temple Presidents

Several individuals served as a temple president for the Taipei Taiwan Temple during this time, including two local Chinese members—Ho Yu-Chen (Philip) (何於振), from 2012 to 2015, and Lu Shin (盧訓), who was called and began serving in 2015.[23] Prior to their calls, Ho served as a stake president and Area Seventy, and Lu was a stake patriarch.

Accelerating Temple Work

Elder Ho Yu-Chen (Philip) (何於振) had the opportunity to serve as a counselor in the temple presidency to President Harvey Horner. Ho felt it a blessing to serve with Horner because as a sick, young boy, he was miraculously healed after receiving a priesthood blessing from a then young missionary, Harvey Horner (see chapter 12). After Horner was released as temple president, Elder and Sister Ho were called to serve as temple president and matron for the Taipei Taiwan Temple from 2012 to 2015. During Elder Ho’s time as temple president, temple ordinance work accelerated, significantly increasing each year. Ho instituted three changes leading to the dramatic increase in temple work and the spirituality at the Taipei Taiwan Temple.[24] Chen Ye (Arnie) (陳曄), the Taipei temple recorder, reported that there was a 10.5 percent increase in endowments performed and a 42.6 percent overall increase in total temple ordinances performed in 2014 compared to the previous year.[25]

husband and wifeElder Ho Yu-Chen (Philip) and his wife, Ho Lee Mei-Chen, served as temple president and matron of the Taipei temple. Picture taken in 2015. Courtesy of Chou Po Nien (Felipe).

First, Elder Ho encouraged the Saints to perform more temple ordinances while at the temple and provided additional workers to facilitate. Prior to his request, members would typically come to the temple for only one endowment session. They were also encouraged to participate in initiatories or sealings before or after their endowment session. Second, Elder Ho sought to provide additional training for temple workers on how to perform ordinances, and, most importantly, to understand why these ordinances of the temple were so essential. To that end, he put together a collection of fifty-two talks from general conference addresses that focused on the temple and temple work. A copy of this collection was given to each temple worker, and all were encouraged to study one talk each week throughout the year. These talks would also be used during each weekly prayer meeting and training at the temple. Finally, Elder Ho improved the facilities and updated old, worn-out temple clothes at the Taipei Taiwan Temple.[26] These changes helped increase the feelings of spirituality of the temple workers and patrons as they entered the house of the Lord to serve.

Sister Mao Chang Mei-Yun (毛張美雲) noted that they used to go to the temple for only an endowment session; but there are more temple workers today, allowing for initiatory and sealing ordinances to be done before or after an endowment session.[27] Additionally, Sister Huang Hui Hsien (黃慧嫺), who served as a temple worker during this time, remarked how helpful it was to have a local temple president like Elder Ho who understood the local needs and culture. She added that Elder Ho helped the Saints in Taiwan better understand the meaning of their service and attitude towards temple work. Her husband, Huang Yong-Da (黃永達), recalled a special fireside by Elder Ho where he talked about the black name tags worn by missionaries here on earth and the white name tags worn by temple workers helping with missionary work in the spirit world. That fireside, along with the collection of talks about the temple, increased the understanding of the members and temple workers about temple work.[28]

Chen Ye, who worked since 1996 in various assignments at the Taipei Taiwan Temple before his assignment as temple recorder in 2013, described the dramatic increase in temple ordinances. The total number of temple ordinances performed were increased substantially in 2014. Chen also explained that more temple workers were called, and patrons’ time at the temple was used more efficiently by allowing initiatory and sealing ordinances to be performed before and after endowment sessions. As a result, the overall amount of temple ordinances performed on behalf of the deceased was increased significantly.[29]

Thirtieth Anniversary of the Temple

In 2014, the Saints celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the dedication of the Taipei Temple. As part of the celebration, special meetings and activities were held in various locations throughout Taiwan. President Gerrit W. Gong, then the Asia Area President, presided over the services in Taipei on 30 November 2014. Likewise, Elder Juan Jui-Chang (阮瑞昌), then an Area Seventy, presided over the services in Taichung and Kaohsiung on 14 and 21 December, respectively.[30]

30 year logo

womanChen Yang Shu-Yen is blind but travels regularly to the temple. Her lifelong goal is to finish 5,000 endowments for the deceased. As of 2016, she had completed 4,378 endowments. Courtesy of Chen Ye (Arnie).

In Taipei, President Chou Wen-Tsung (周文宗), then a counselor in the temple presidency of the Taipei Taiwan Temple, talked about his experience bringing his son to attend the ground breaking ceremony for the temple more than thirty-two years earlier. He then shared the blessings brought forth by the temple. Following his remarks, several other temple workers and patrons also shared their testimonies, including Wan Wei, elders Ho and Juan, and Sister Chen Yang Shu-Yen (陳楊素媛). Sister Chen, who is blind, travels each week from Taoyuan to serve in the temple. In 1985, she received her own endowment and also had a serious surgery, leading to her forty-day hospitalization. Although the doctor told her it would be a year or more before she would return to her normal routine, she longed to return to the temple as soon as possible to serve the Lord. When she returned to the temple, she felt she had come home. She became a temple worker in 1992 and has completed 4,378 endowments for the deceased by 2016, moving towards her lifelong goal of finishing 5,000 endowments. President Gong spoke last at the meeting; during his speech, he recalled his time as a young missionary and the reminder from his mission president’s wife to always love and go to the temple, even though Taiwan did not have a temple at the time.[31]

Elder Juan Jui-Chang (阮瑞昌) presided over the meetings in Taichung and Kaohsiung, where several Church leaders and members spoke. In Taichung, President Chou Wen-Tsung (周文宗) shared his hope for a new stake and another temple for the members in Taichung. President Ho Yu-Chen (Philip) (何於振) discussed three hopes and desires of his heart: to increase the number of temple workers serving, to see another temple in Taiwan in the near future, and to attend and sing a hymn at the fiftieth anniversary of the Taipei Taiwan Temple. Furthermore, in Kaohsiung, several Church leaders and members spoke. Sister Catherine Chao Blickenstaff, wife of the Taichung Mission president, Kurt Lee Blickenstaff, shared a tender story about the power of the temple to seal families together; Sister Ho Lee Mei-Chen (何李梅珍) shared stories from temple workers and invited everyone to return to the temple regularly; and Elder Juan conveyed his hope that Taiwan might have its twentieth stake by 2018 as the Saints work towards a second temple in Taiwan.[32]

Sixtieth Anniversary of the Church in Taiwan

In 2016, the members of the Church in Taiwan celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of missionary work in Taiwan. Elder Juan Jui-Chang (阮瑞昌), a former Area Seventy, was assigned to chair the planning committee for the sixtieth anniversary. Members of the planning committee included Liang Shih-Wei (Carl) (梁世威), son of the first native branch president in Taiwan, and Chang Ting Tsung (張定宗), son of the first native stake president in Taiwan.[33]

This celebration included a variety of activities to strengthen the youth, young single adults, and others. A family discovery day helped emphasize genealogy work and the importance of families, which have been so important to the Chinese people and the members of the Church over the years. The dedicatory memorial service honored the dedication of Taiwan for the preaching of the gospel. The youth conference and single adult conference provided an opportunity for the rising generation to associate with one another and strengthen their faith. The pioneer-appreciation meeting, mission reunion, and cultural night honored the rich history of the Chinese people and the legacy of the early pioneers of the Church in Taiwan.[34]

celebration with lots of people

During the mission reunion on 15 October 2016, the mayor of Taichung expressed appreciation to the volunteer service rendered by the missionaries over the years. Afterwards many early pioneers, including the first Chinese temple president and mission president, joined past and present missionaries on a commemorative bicycle ride to highlight the iconic LDS missionaries on bicycles that have been seen in the streets of Taiwan over the last six decades. The sixtieth-anniversary cultural performance held that evening at the Taichung’s Fulfillment Amphitheater was attended by about six thousand people.[35]

As we honor the faith of those who came before, it is important to recognize their faith and sacrifice that helped preserve the “voice of the Saints” and their legacy of faith over the last sixty years of the history of the Church in Taiwan. Along with the spiritual excitement of new converts, the importance the multigeneration LDS families throughout the island cannot be overstated, as they provide a firm foundation for the establishment of the Church in Taiwan. These families help prepare the rising generation to face the future with faith and accept their responsibility to help “hasten the work of salvation” in Taiwan and throughout the world to prepare for the Second Coming of the Lord.

Multigeneration LDS Families and the Rising Generation

In recent decades, more and more multigeneration LDS families have been established in Taiwan, providing a strong gospel foundation for the new rising generation. They have been raised in the restored gospel, bringing increased strength and maturity to the Church in Taiwan. Many in this new generation have been raised in gospel-centered homes where daily family prayer and scripture study, weekly family home evening and Sabbath day observance, faithful adherence to the Word of Wisdom and law of chastity, and honest payment of tithes and other offerings have been the norm and standards they have grown up with. They have experienced the various programs of the Church in Primary, youth classes, seminary, priesthood quorums, Relief Society, and so forth.

Moreover, many of the youth come from family lines where parents or grandparents sacrificed much to be baptized, to serve missions, or to be sealed in the temple. These youth now follow in the footsteps of their progenitors and are the beneficiaries of their legacy of faith as they plan for their own full-time missionary service and temple blessings. They are a powerful rising generation, prepared and reserved for these latter days to carry on the work of salvation and prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Messiah. Whereas multigeneration LDS families were rare during the early decades of the history of the Church in Taiwan, the Church today has an increased number of faithful and devoted multigeneration LDS families now. These multigeneration LDS families are able to support and strengthen each other in the faith as well as inspire and teach new converts who will continue to come into the Church.

Brother Wang Jung Ling (王榕翎) said that LDS parents have higher expectations for their children in terms of attending seminary and serving missions, and the rising generation is living up to those expectations. Although individual conversion is still needed, the rising generation has a great desire to learn and live the gospel[36] Sister Wu Wang Hui-Ching (Emily) (吴王惠卿) is a returned missionary who was sealed in the temple; she is among the second generation of Latter-day Saints raising a third generation in the Church in Taiwan. She related an experience during the fiftieth anniversary celebration, where they asked the attendees to stand if they had been in the Church over thirty years. She was among those who stood and had two realizations: first, she was happy and grateful she was still faithful in the Church, and second, the important role of parents is to teach the rising generation to remain faithful in the Church.[37]

Sister Mao Chang Mei-Yun (毛張美雲), who, like her husband, is a convert to the Church, served in the Taipei Taiwan Mission in 1981 and expressed gratitude that her son and daughter also had the opportunity to serve in the same mission in 2008 and 2010, respectively.[38] Ho Shao-Ming (何紹銘), the stake president for the Taichung Taiwan South Stake, said that after almost sixty years in Taiwan, the Church has multigenerational LDS families. He added that many of the second generation of Latter-day Saints in Taiwan are going on missions, and this new rising generation will lead the Church in the future.[39]

Brother Huang Yong Da (黃永達) said the Church has been in Taiwan for sixty years, and more parents are preparing the second and third generations to go on missions.[40] His wife, Sister Huang Hui-Hsine (黃慧嫺), observed the change in the parents’ thinking over the years. While they were less willing to let their children go on missions before, today more parents realize that during their missionary service, “the Lord can teach these children what we can’t teach them.”[41] Their son, Huang Jing Song (黃景崧), a second-generation Latter-day Saint and a returned missionary, noted that early-morning seminary, family prayer, and scripture study helped prepare him for his mission. Many of the second generation plan to go on missions and prepare for their future family.[42] These are examples of how Latter-day Saints in Taiwan are raising members of the new generation, who are prepared to serve missions, marry in the temple, and raise their families in the gospel.

The Key to Our Success Will Be Our Faith

After the Church’s 1997 pioneer sesquicentennial celebration, President Gordon B. Hinckley paid tribute to the early Mormon pioneers and said, “We have bowed in remembrance of their sacrifice. . . . We cannot detract from their accomplishments. We cannot add to their glory. We can only look back with reverence, appreciation, respect, and resolution to build on what they have done.”[43] This tribute to the early Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains on their trek to the western United States is very applicable to all the early pioneers of the Church throughout the world, including those in Taiwan.

President Hinckley also added, “I stand in amazement, knowing the history of this Church, when I realize there is not a city in the United States or Canada of any consequence which does not have a Latter-day Saint congregation. . . . It is the same in Central and South America, . . . in the islands of the sea, and in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines.”[44] After reflecting on the past sacrifice of early pioneers and the history of the Church, President Hinckley invited the Saints to turn and “face the future,” while also noting the “great challenge facing us and the key to the success of the work.” His speech continued as follows:

The time has now come to turn about and face the future. This is a season of a thousand opportunities. It is ours to grasp and move forward. What a wonderful time it is for each of us to do his or her small part in moving the work of the Lord on to its magnificent destiny. . . .

The future will be essentially the same as the past, only much brighter and greatly enlarged. We must continue to reach out across the world, teaching the gospel at home and abroad. . . .

As we look to the future we must extend the great work carried forward in the temples, both for the living and the dead. . . .

But there are many other things we must do as we move forward the work to a new and promising century. Simply put, we must be better Latter-day Saints.[45]

President Hinckley continued by reminding the Saints to keep the commandments and to love, respect, nurture, and strengthen the family.[46] He then concluded by saying:

I see a wonderful future in a very uncertain world. If we will cling to our values, if we will build on our inheritance, if we will walk in obedience before the Lord, if we will simply live the gospel we will be blessed in a magnificent and wonderful way. We will be looked upon as a peculiar people who have found the key to a peculiar happiness. . . .

We have glimpsed the future, we know the way, we have the truth. God help us to move forward to become a great and mighty people spread over the earth, counted in the millions, but all of one faith and of one testimony and of one conviction, I humbly pray in the name of our great Redeemer and Savior, even Jesus Christ, amen.[47]

The Future Is as Bright as Your Faith

On 3 February 2008, President Thomas S. Monson became the President of the Church after President Hinckley passed away. During the April 2009 general conference, President Monson shared stories of several individuals who faced a variety of challenges he then added the following:

I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. . . .

My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.[48]

These prophets remind us that as we face the future and its many challenges, the key to the success of this work will be our faith. As we face the future with faith, we can be assured that the future is as bright as our faith. The example of the early pioneers in Taiwan illustrates the blessings that come to those who move forward and face the future with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.


The hastening of the work of salvation in Taiwan focused on the efforts to double the number of stakes in Taiwan as well as emphasizing the acceleration of family history and temple work in Taiwan. Various individuals have been prepared by the Lord and inspired to contribute to the hastening of the work of salvation among the Saints in Taiwan, and the Church continues to expand throughout Taiwan.

As one considers the sixtieth-anniversary celebration of the Church in Taiwan, it is helpful to learn from the legacy of the early pioneers in the past as one looks to the future. It took the Church fifty years to organize nine stakes in Taiwan but only ten years to add another eight stakes. There were several key events that influenced the success of the Church in Taiwan. These happenings included the efforts of early missionaries to bring the restored gospel to the Chinese realm in the 1800s, followed by then Elder David O. McKay’s dedication of the Chinese realm in 1921. Next was the arrival of the first missionaries and the dedication of Taiwan in the 1950s. Furthermore, the 1960s contained the translation of the Chinese Book of Mormon and the building of the first chapel. These historic events were followed by the establishment of the first missions and the first stake in Taiwan in the 1970s, along with a historic area conference presided over by President Spencer W. Kimball. During the 1980s, the building and dedication of the Taipei Taiwan Temple brought the blessings of the temple to the Chinese people on both sides of the veil. The call of local Chinese members to serve in various leadership roles helped the Saints overcome the challenges of the 921 earthquake towards the end of the 1990s. Finally, the 2000s saw the arrival of early-morning seminary, along with the growth in the number of converts and congregations, necessitating the construction of new buildings throughout Taiwan, including the new multipurpose Church Administration Building in Taipei. These past events have helped to prepare the stakes of Zion in Taiwan to continue to grow and expand throughout the island in the future.

According to Church leaders and members in Taiwan, there were various events that prepared the youth of the Church in Taiwan to serve as full-time missionaries in the twenty-first century, as well as to hasten the work of salvation in Taiwan. Among the key contributors were the establishment of the early-morning seminary program and the 2006 island-wide youth conference, as well as the new resources available, including Preach My Gospel, the Come, Follow Me youth curriculum, and the updated Chinese scriptures in 2007. Moreover, changes in Taiwan’s military service requirements, the lowering of the age for missionary service, the availability of the Church handbook, and the training given by Church leaders, including General Authorities and general auxiliary leaders, further blessed the Church in Taiwan. Finally, the strength that comes from multigeneration LDS families, with a rising generation of youth that has been raised in the restored gospel, has brought maturity to the Church in Taiwan.

At the dawn of a new chapter in the history of the Church in Taiwan, individually and collectively, the Saints honor the sacrifice and legacy of the early pioneers of the past and face the future with faith and an understanding that the key of our continued success will be our faith and reliance on the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. The “voice of the Saints” over the last sixty years will be perpetuated by the rising generation. Indeed, “the future is as bright as [our] faith.”[49]


[1] “New Area Leadership Assignments,” Church News, 29 May 2013; “Church Announces Area Leadership Assignments for 2014,” Church News, 30 April 2014.

[2] “The Work of Salvation: Worldwide Leadership Broadcast,” 23 June 2013, originating from Brigham Young University, Provo, UT; “Hastening the Work of Salvation,” Ensign, October 2013, 36–39.

[3] Lee Shih-Jung (Robert), interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 29 August 2015, Provo, UT.

[4] Huang Yong Da, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 13 November 2015, Taichung, Taiwan.

[5] Yang Shih-Ning, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 16 November 2015, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

[6] Tsai Feng-Cheng, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 21 November 2015, Taipei, Taiwan.

[7] Lee Shih-Jung (Robert), interview by Chou.

[8] Liao Ji-Shun, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 14 November 2015, Taichung, Taiwan.

[9] Ho Shao-Ming, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 14 November 2015, Taichung, Taiwan.

[10] Ho Chu Yu-Hsia, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 14 November 2015, Taichung, Taiwan.

[11] Chang Jui Shen was followed by Kuan Ming-Shun (關名順), called as stake president on 28 June 2009, and Liao Chi-Hsun (廖吉順), called as stake president on 26 April 2015, when Elder Kuan was called into the Quorum of the Seventy as an Area Seventy.

[12] “Stake Presidents Called to Lead New and Reorganized Stakes,” Church News, 3 March 2015.

[13] Chyou Shu-Min, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 20 November 2015, Taipei, Taiwan.

[14] Chyou Shu-Min, interview by Chou.

[15] Chyou Shu-Min, interview by Chou.

[16] Chyou Shu-Min, interview by Chou.

[17] Chyou Shu-Min, interview by Chou.

[18] “The New FamilySearch.org Chinese Edition Is Launched,” Liahona (Chinese), February 2011, n-1–3.

[19] Tsai Fu-An (Steve), interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 19 November 2015, Taipei, Taiwan.

[20] “The New FamilySearch.org Chinese Edition Is Launched,” n-1–3.

[21] “The New FamilySearch.org Chinese Edition Is Launched,” n-1–3.

[22] Tsai Fu-An (Steve), interview by Chou.

[23] “Three Temples in Utah, Taiwan, and British Columbia Get New Presidents: Taipei Taiwan Temple,” Church News, 2 June 2015; Gerald H. Walker (吳傑榮) served as the president of the Taipei Taiwan Temple from 2006 to 2009, and Harvey G. Horner (賀中正) served from 2009 to 2012.

[24] Ho Yu-Chen (Philip), interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 19 November 2015, Taipei, Taiwan; Ho Lee Mei-Chen, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 19 November 2015, Taipei, Taiwan.

[25] Chen Ye (Arnie), interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 20 November 2015, Taipei, Taiwan.

[26] Ho Yu-Chen (Philip), interview by Chou; Ho Lee Mei-Chen, interview by Chou.

[27] Mao Chang Mei-Yun, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 14 November 2015, Taichung, Taiwan.

[28] Huang Yong-Da, interview by Chou; Huang Hui Hsien, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 13 November 2015, Taichung, Taiwan.

[29] Chen Ye (Arnie), interview by Chou.

[30] “Taipei Taiwan Temple 30 Year Dedication Prayer Meeting,” Liahona (Chinese), June 2015, n-3–6.

[31] “Taipei Taiwan Temple 30 Year Dedication Prayer Meeting,” n-3–6.

[32] “Taipei Taiwan Temple 30 Year Dedication Prayer Meeting,” n-3–6.

[33] Liang Shih Wei and Chang Ting Tsung to Chou Po Nien (Felipe), email, 14 September 2015.

[34] Liang Shih Wei and Chang Ting Tsung to Chou Po Nien (Felipe), email.

[35] Chou Po Nien (Felipe), personal history and journal entries, 2016.

[36] Wang Jung Ling, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 22 November 2015, Taipei, Taiwan.

[37] Wu Wang Hui Ching, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 21 November 2015, Taipei, Taiwan.

[38] Mao Chang Mei-Yun, interview by Chou.

[39] Ho Shao-Ming, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 14 November 2015, Taichung, Taiwan.

[40] Huang Yong Da, interview by Chou.

[41] Huang Hui-Hsine, interview by Chou.

[42] Huang Jing Song, interview by Chou Po Nien (Felipe), 13 November 2015, Taichung, Taiwan.

[43] Gordon B. Hinckley, “Look to the Future,” Ensign, November 1997, 67–69.

[44] Hinckley, “Look to the Future,” 67–69.

[45] Hinckley, “Look to the Future,” 67–69.

[46] Hinckley, “Look to the Future,” 67–69.

[47] Hinckley, “Look to the Future,” 67–69.

[48] Thomas S. Monson, “Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign, May 2009, 89–92.

[49] Monson, “Be of Good Cheer,” 89–92.