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‘Little stone’ is filling the earth

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PROVO, Utah — As "a stone cut out without hands," the work of the Church will move forward, said Randall C. Bird during a BYU Campus Education Week presentation Aug. 14.

"I know that this Church was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know it is the little stone that was cut out of a mountain without hands. I also know that it will fill the earth as was prophesied by Daniel," said Brother Bird, manager of seminary curriculum for the Church Educational System.

During his address, Brother Bird highlighted the growth of the Church during the last 170 years.

Church membership

"The Church began with only six members in April of 1830, and by December of that year there were 280. . . ," he said. "At the end of 1999 there were 10,752,986 members. This Church is currently growing at the rate of 300,000 members each year."

Number of stakes

"The first stake was organized in Kirtland, Ohio, on Feb. 17, 1834, and the 43rd stake in 1900, the 180th stake by 1950 and the 1,000th in 1979. We now have more than 2,500 stakes."

Number of missions

"The first mission was created in 1837 (42 districts), the 20th in 1920, the 43rd in 1950 (1,895 districts), and the 100th in 1972 (1,891 districts)," he said. "At the end of 1999 there were 333 missions and 636 districts."

Number of temples

The first temple was built in Kirtland, Ohio, and dedicated in 1836. The 10th temple was dedicated in Idaho Falls, Idaho, more than 100 years later in 1945," Brother Bird said. "It took us another 35 years to just about double the number to 19. . . . In the Church News for July 22, it was announced that the Boston Massachusetts Temple will be dedicated Oct. 1, making it the 100th operating temple of the Church."

Quoting President Spencer W. Kimball, Brother Bird concluded, "The gospel continues to roll forth to the nations of the earth in its approach toward the promise made by God through Daniel to fill the whole earth, and numerous people of all nationalities and tongues are accepting the gospel in many nations, and the Church and kingdom grow and develop, and we say to you and testify to you that it shall in Daniel's words, 'never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but . . . shall stand for ever.' " (Daniel 2:44.)