For friends and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.within the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake (Northern Virginia). We invite all, regardless of faith, to come worship with us.
The Mount Vernon Virgina Stake serves members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in South Arlington, Alexandria City and the Alexandria portions of Fairfax County. Visitors welcome. Our Stake includes the following congregations:
Alexandria 1st Ward
Alexandria 3rd Ward
Crystal City Ward
Fort Belvior Ward
Mt. Vernon Ward
Old Town Ward (Spanish
Operating as usual
What this blind father and his triplet sons have learned about happiness and relying on the Lord
Ollie Cantos and his sons, Steven, Nick and Leo, are no strangers to attention from the media.
In 2017, Steven, Nick and Leo Cantos made headlines as the first blind triplets to become Eagle Scouts. Ollie Cantos, a Washington D.C. attorney who is also blind, was featured in People magazine for adopting the three teens. Steven, Nick and Leo talked with NPR’s StoryCorps about the experience of meeting Ollie. And ABC News and other outlets reported on the triplets’ battle with COVID-19 in April 2020.
At the end of June, Ollie and his sons spoke to the Church News while traveling to their Arlington, Virginia home via the Metro after a lunch celebration for Steven, Nick and Leo’s 22nd birthday.
Despite the hustle and bustle of the Metro and the fact it was the boys’ birthday, the Cantos family eagerly spent a few minutes sharing what they have been up to this summer, what they have learned from the pandemic and what the gospel of Jesus Christ means to them — a topic they don’t often get to talk about with the media.
“We know from our own lives the power of happiness,” said Ollie Cantos, a convert to the Church who is currently serving as the first counselor in the bishopric of the Potomac Yard YSA Ward, Washington DC YSA Stake. “People sometimes think that when it comes to being happy, being happy means ‘Someday I will be happy when …’.
“But the gospel that we know teaches that we can be happy right now. The plan of happiness is in our hands, at our disposal this very second, and that happiness comes from loving our Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ and having the joy of being of service to others.”
Thriving in their own way
A Filipino-American who grew up attending Catholic schools, Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII first met Latter-day Saint missionaries in 1995 and was baptized in December 1996.
In 2010, he was introduced to 10-year-old triplet boys who were born prematurely in Colombia and lived with their mother in South Arlington. They were often bullied by other kids and didn’t leave the house much. Starting off as their mentor recruited by a local social services agency, Ollie Cantos soon felt a desire to adopt them and show them a world of opportunity.
As the adoption was in process, he introduced Steven, Nick and Leo to the Church. There they felt loved and accepted. They were baptized in December 2012.
“For me, joining the Church was the biggest and the greatest decision of my life thus far,” Leo Cantos said. “Being able to have that in my life has changed me in a lot of ways. And because of church, I have become a better person and have definitely made, I believe, a good life for myself.”
Steven, Nick and Leo soon joined Scouting and loved it. They earned Second Class in 2014, and less than three years later, they qualified for the rank of Eagle, becoming the first blind triplets in the history of the Boy Scouts of America to do so.
What this blind father and his triplet sons have learned about happiness and relying on the Lord “They continue to thrive, and they do so in their own ways,” Ollie Cantos said of his blind triplet sons. “Even in spite of adversity along the way, they still give it their very best.”
URGENT: Single Adult Event on Aug. 1 -- TODAY (July 25) IS LAST DAY FOR RSVP
Today is the last day to RSVP for the upcoming Multi-Stake Single Adult Fireside hosted by the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake. An RSVP is required for in-person attendance. It is also the last day to submit your “one authentic question.”
To RSVP, and to find out more information visit: https://buff.ly/35kICOE
We are in need of volunteers to help serve dinner, direct parking, and other set-up. If you are able to help, please email: [email protected]
A MULTI-STAKE SINGLE ADULT DINNER & FIRESIDE
HOSTED BY THE MOUNT VERNON STAKE
HAVING MANY REVELATIONS DAILY: HOW TO READ A PATRIARCHAL BLESSING
A FIRESIDE BASED ON YOUR AUTHENTIC QUESTIONS
Date: August 1st 2021
Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 3400 Clark Street South, Arlington, Virginia 22202
Dinner Catered by Cafe Rio
RSVP by July 25th is required for in-person attendance
Virtual broadcast details (coming soon)
All single adults (age 31+) from the Annandale, Ashburn, Centreville, Gainesville, McLean, Mount Vernon, Oakton, and Woodbridge stakes are invited to attend.
Firesides We prosper when we act on a sense of identity and destiny. When disruptions come and we lose our sense of direction, we tend to spiral downward. Our life journey becomes an exercise in wandering. The associated feelings are often loneliness and despair. In the Church, we have access to a gif...
‘The pioneer legacy is a legacy of inclusion,’ President Oaks declares
It is not enough to study, praise or reenact the accomplishments of pioneers, said President Dallin H. Oaks while standing against a brightly colored backdrop of a covered wagon in the Pioneer Center at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City.
“We need to identify the eternal principles they applied for our benefit and then apply those principles to the challenges of our own day,” said President Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency.
“In that way we honor their pioneering, and we also reaffirm that heritage and strengthen its capacity to bless our own posterity and millions of others in this troubled world. We are all pioneers when we do so.”
President Oaks was the keynote speaker for SUPer DUPer Day on Monday, July 19, an annual celebration at This Is the Place Heritage Park for the families of the Sons of Utah Pioneers and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. He was accompanied by his wife, Sister Kristen M. Oaks. President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, dedicated the Pioneer Center in March.
During his remarks, President Oaks emphasized many traits and principles gleaned from the examples of pioneers that can help in facing modern challenges.
One of those principles is inclusion. “The pioneer legacy is a legacy of inclusion,” President Oaks declared.
“We live in a time when inclusion is needed — in political relations, in cultural relations, in legal relations — and it’s not forthcoming in our society,” he told the Church News after the event. “As a Church and as a culture, we need to lead out in demonstrating inclusion, not dissent, diversity, diversion or opposition.”
President Oaks began by sharing the stories of several of his family’s pioneer ancestors: Addison Everett, Hyrum Oaks, Emer Harris, Orange Seely, Anson Call, John S. White, Mary Fielding Smith and Joseph F. Smith.
“Their heritage of faith, strength and determination shapes who we are today,” he said.
President Oaks then spoke of the extreme opposition early Church members faced for practicing polygamy, but then highlighted an official U.S. government report from 1852 that was, in fact, entirely positive.
Capt. Howard Stansbury, a U.S. Army engineer assigned to survey the Great Basin, and his party of 18 became well acquainted with Latter-day Saint pioneers who sheltered them in Salt Lake City in the hard winter of 1849-50. Among his 267-page report are these observations:
“In their dealings with the crowds of emigrants that passed through their city, the Mormons were ever fair and upright, taking no advantage of the necessitous condition of many, if not most of them. … In short, these people presented the appearance of a quiet, orderly, industrious and well-organized society, as much so as one would meet in any city of the Union.”
Pioneer traits and principles
Though most present-day challenges are different from those faced by pioneer ancestors, President Oaks explained, “many are just as dangerous and surely as significant to our own salvation and those who follow us.”
For example, he compared the wolves that prowled around pioneer settlements to the drug dealers and pornographers threatening children today. The pioneer’s physical hunger can be paralleled by the spiritual hunger experienced today.
“Similarly, the more than 1,910 deaths on the pioneer trail are exceeded by the more than 2,200 pandemic deaths we have suffered just in Utah,” he said.
The pioneers’ foremost quality, President Oaks said, was faith.
“With faith in God, they did what every pioneer does — they stepped forward into the unknown: a new religion, a new land, a new way of doing things. With faith in their leaders and in one another, they stood fast against formidable opposition,” he said.
Other qualities evident in the lives of pioneers were unselfishness, sacrifice, cooperation and unity. President Oaks cited the examples of the Saints who immediately responded to President Brigham Young’s call to rescue stranded handcart companies and those who obediently pulled up roots and applied their talents and lives to colonizing new areas.
“We praise what the pioneers’ great qualities have done for us, but that is not enough. We should also assure that these same qualities are guiding principles for each of us as we have opportunities to sacrifice for our nations, our families, our quorums, our members and our Church,” President Oaks said.
“This is especially important in societies that have exalted personal interest and individual rights to the point where these values dilute the powers of individual responsibility and sacrifice.”
Modern manifestations of these pioneer qualities are evident in private projects and common efforts requiring unity and cooperation.
‘The pioneer legacy is a legacy of inclusion,’ President Oaks declares “We praise what the pioneers’ great qualities have done for us, but that is not enough. We should also assure that these same qualities are guiding principles for each of us," President Dallin H. Oaks said.
Following a pandemic-forced hiatus in 2020, traditional Pioneer Day sunrise service returns to Temple Square.
Commit to pioneerlike faithfulness and ‘drive on,’ challenges Elder Evans at Sunrise Service
It’s not enough to merely remember the remarkable deeds performed by the Utah pioneers — but also the reasons why they were performed, “and commit ourselves to be as faithful in our circumstances as they were in theirs.”
That was the message Elder David F. Evans, a General Authority Seventy and president of the Asia Area, shared with hundreds of early risers on Friday, July 23, at the annual Days of ’47 Sunrise Service at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square.
Gathering for Friday’s early morning service marked the return of a beloved Pioneer Day tradition for many. Last year’s sunrise service was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pioneers, taught Elder Evans, were inspired by the Holy Ghost “to not only believe and know that the Church is true, but to also act, choosing to follow and do things that they never before could have imagined.”
Elder Evans said the Church’s 1997 sesquicentennial anniversary of the pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley enriched his understanding and gratitude for those devout Latter-day Saint pioneers. “As we listened to the stories, many of which we had never heard before, we came to love and respect the difficult choices that were made, the faith that was exhibited and the sheer grit that was shown by men, women and children.”
Some pioneers endured “unimaginable hardship.” Yet they remained faithful. Others lost their lives during their journey across the American West.
“Through it all, our pioneer forefathers developed faith, courage, integrity, unity, inclusion, unselfishness, sacrifice and obedience,” he said. “Even during these periods of great hardship, the effort to share the gospel continued. Over time, and as the missions to England and Europe increased the number of converts to the Church, there were not wagons enough to bring all who were converted to Utah.”
Elder Evans shared the account of 9-year-old Bodil Mortensen, a pioneer girl from Denmark who perished on the high plains of Wyoming in 1856 while part of the Willie and Martin handcart companies. The child had come to America with the Jens Nielsen family, embarking with them on the trek to Utah.
In the April 1997 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley described the events that claimed young Bodil’s life and many more:
“In October of 1856, wind-driven heavy snow was already 2 feet deep as those of the James G. Willie Company tried to find some shelter from the terrible storm. Bodil went out and gathered brush with which to make a fire. Returning, she reached her cart with the brush in her arm. There she died, frozen to death. Starvation and bitter cold drained from her emaciated body the life she had fought for.”
Pioneer Day prompts one to remember Bodil Mortensen and many other pioneers “who gave so very much and who have become part of the history and heritage of the Latter-day Saints,” said Elder Evans.
The Lord’s hand can be traced in the arrival of many who came to the valley of the Great Salt Lake — even many who were not members of the Church. Elder Evans spoke of his own great-grandfather Alfred Frewin, who, for reasons unknown, emigrated from England and settled in the Salt Lake Valley in 1876.
The Frewin family remained in Utah, although none was a Latter-day Saint until Elder Evans’ mother, Beverly Joy Frewin Evans, was baptized at age 8 at the invitation of a loving Primary teacher. Beverly Joy was not fully active in the Church until high school. But she would eventually marry her friend, David C. Evans, in the Salt Lake Temple and raise a large family fully involved in the gospel.
“On this day, I am filled with gratitude for those who have gone on before,” he concluded. “I love our Utah pioneers and love the pioneers the Lord has in each country. … Throughout Asia, I see these first-generation pioneers and witness their faith and willingness to follow the Lord, regardless of the personal cost or sacrifice
“From the remarkable prophets who led the Church and directed the emigration of thousands of Latter-day Saints, to those who rode in the last wagons or walked across the Plains, let us remember and revere, and be eternally grateful for their sacrifices, their faith and their willingness to follow the Lord, whatever the cost.”
Also attending Friday’s sunrise service were the 2021 Days of ’47 royalty: Sophia Lowry, queen; Adelynn Eisenach, first attendant; and Arianna Haner, second attendant.
Prior to Elder Evans’ remarks, the program featured several musical numbers.
Commit to pioneerlike faithfulness and 'drive on,' challenges Elder Evans at Sunrise Service Following a pandemic-forced hiatus in 2020, the traditional Pioneer Day Sunrise Service returns to Temple Square.
Utah Governor Declares ‘President M. Russell Ballard Day’
The Apostle is honored for his commitment to community, history, bridge building and interfaith solidarity
Governor Spencer J. Cox has declared July 23, 2021, “President M. Russell Ballard Day” in Utah. He made the announcement on Thursday during a press event at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City.
The 92-year-old President Ballard is a Utah native and has served as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since January 2018. This honor comes to the Apostle, Governor Cox said, because of President Ballard’s commitment to community, history, bridge building and interfaith solidarity.
Others who spoke Thursday were Pamela Atkinson, a community advocate; Ellis Ivory, chair and executive director of This Is The Place Heritage Park; Kem Gardner, chairman of the Days of ’47 Rodeo; Scott Anderson, president of Zions Bank; and Utah Rep. Melissa Garff Ballard, President Ballard’s daughter-in-law.
“[President Ballard] is the epitome of a truly wonderful Christian, following Christ’s teachings in all that he does,” Atkinson said.
“President Ballard has truly dedicated his life to building faith and cherishing the memory of those who have gone before and sacrificed so much for the building of this state,” added Garff Ballard.
President Ballard said he feels deep gratitude for the pioneers who founded Utah.
“The more you learn about them and the more you think about them, the more overwhelmed you are that someday you’re gonna be able to embrace them and thank them for everything they did to make this such a beautiful experience for us,” he said. “What a wonderful, wonderful place to live — Salt Lake City and the great state of Utah, where I believe our Heavenly Father has been so kind and has blessed us in so many ways.”
The text of the governor’s declaration is below.
Whereas, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a lifelong Utahn who was born and raised in Salt Lake City;
Whereas, President M. Russell Ballard is the descendant of prominent Utah pioneer families including the Ballards and Smiths and, along with his wonderful late wife, Barbara Bowen Ballard, are the parents of seven children; Clark, Holly, Meleea, Tammy, Stacey, Brynn, and Craig; 43 grandchildren and 99 great-grandchildren;
Whereas, President Ballard has worked hard to preserve the history of the great state of Utah;
Whereas, the development of, enhancements to, and beautiful upkeep of the This Is The Place Heritage Park would not be possible without the untiring commitment and efforts of President Ballard, who has inspired so many to be a part of this historic park;
Whereas, President Ballard and others have worked hard to preserve and to share the story of the sovereign tribal nations in Utah at This Is The Place Heritage Park with the creation of a Native American village that highlights their enduring cultures, customs, resilience, valor, and courage;
Whereas, on Pioneer Day we celebrate the history of our pioneer ancestors, who trekked across the country seeking a place where they could have religious freedom and worship freely and they found a home in the Salt Lake Valley;
Whereas, President Ballard has declared many times that we can’t lose Utah’s pioneer story and has highlighted how Utah pioneers were responsible for settling much of the American West and had characteristics of hard work, responsibility, faith, resilience, vision and perseverance, and has encouraged all of us to emulate those traits;
Whereas, President Ballard helped with the creation of the Walk of Pioneer Faiths that highlights the contributions of members of the Catholic, Jewish, Congregational, Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Greek Orthodox faiths, alongside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and supported the growth and development of Utah and co-founded the Alliance for Unity in Utah;
Whereas, President Ballard continues to be a bridge-builder among people of all faiths and walks of life in Utah;
Whereas, we can all be modern-day pioneers by making a positive difference in our homes, schools, and communities;
Whereas, the Days of ’47 organization keeps the spirit of our shared Pioneer ancestors alive;
Whereas, because of President Ballard’s lifelong commitment and advocacy for the Days of ‘47 organization and new rodeo arena, Utahns can continue to enjoy the Pioneer Day festivities each year;
Now, Therefore, I, Spencer J. Cox, governor of the great state of Utah, do hereby declare July 23, 2021, as
President M. Russell Ballard Day in Utah
Spencer J. Cox
#TrustGod #ChildrenOfGod #GodLovesUs #CountOnHim #ShareGoodness #WordOfGod #TheChurchOfJesusChristOfLatterDaySaints
July 23, 2021 is ‘President M. Russell Ballard Day’ in Utah Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox has declared July 23, 2021, “President M. Russell Ballard Day” in Utah. He made the announcement on Thursday at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake.
Serving members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the geographic area of South Arlington, Alexandria City and the Alexandria portions of Fairfax County.
To find a the meetinghouse, direction and service time, enter your location here: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/meetinghouses.
Visitor always welcome.
Our Stake includes the following congregations:
Alexandria 1st Ward
Alexandria 3rd Ward
Crystal City Ward
Fort Belvior Ward
Mt. Vernon Ward
Old Town Ward (Spanish Speaking)
Potomac SA 1st Ward (31 - 45 yr. singles)
Potomac SA 2nd Ward (31 - 45 yr. singles)
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