Tag Archive for: LDS

By Ernie Geigenmiller

VANCOUVER, WA — Milwaukee Bucks Forward, Jabari Parker, who was the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, addressed an audience of several hundred at a local LDS meetinghouse Wednesday night.

Parker, 20, who’s graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, and was named National High School Player of the Year, is also the first African-American Mormon to play professional basketball.The NBA player was in town competing against the Blazers Tuesday night, and found time to address a congregation of mostly youth.

He was introduced by the Bucks Strength Coach, Michael Davie, a fellow Mormon. Davie discussed issues of faith, struggle and integrity, and how people should express kindness toward others each day.

The event organizers showed a brief ABC News segment with Katie Couric, from three years ago, that showed Parker attending early morning seminary classes, and how well he performed in prep school.

The building was mostly filled with fans.
Couric asked him several questions about his faith, and in particular, the ongoing misconceptions about Mormonism.  Parker said his “faith kept him grounded, but that I have to explain my religion quite often to people.”

He addressed the Vancouver congregation by saying, “What’s up everybody?”

Parker, who’s 6 feet, nine inches tall, said being in the limelight as a basketball player is a challenge, but that “I’m no bigger than anyone else.”

“We have to acknowledge God, and remember that everyone is a child of God,” he said. “You have to have compassion and be a team player on the court, and recognize that we all make mistakes. We’re not perfect, so don’t judge.”

Parker said he started attending The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the church is formally known, when he was 7.“I have a very strong testimony of the Gospel,” he said. “I read the scriptures often, and my dad taught me that charity is putting yourself second.” 


Camas resident, Ethan Convey, waits for an autograph.


During the 90-minute session, audience members were able to write down questions, and have a moderator read those questions to Parker, and Davie.

One of those questions was: “How do you keep your personal standards while working in the NBA?”

Davie said: “These choices were made a long time ago, choices not to drink and to obey the law of chastity.”

Parker replied: “The influence of my youth leaders growing up helped get me here today. And using a basketball analogy, practice makes perfect. You have to keep praying to God, keep reading the scriptures. You have to be nice to people every day. I attribute all my success to God.”

Parker, who grew up in Chicago, Illinois, said his biggest challenge was breaking his foot when he was a junior. He played on a national team, and the doctor warned him of the consequences if he didn’t allow himself to heal properly.

He also addressed issues of peer pressure. “You know, a lot of people wanted to be my friend for the wrong reasons. I had to learn how to deal with that.”

He concluded his message with the following:

“The Gospel brings me more happiness than anything … You have the responsibility to share light with someone.”

He also said he practices 5 hours a day, and doesn’t have a girlfriend.

“It was awesome to have an NBA star right here in Vancouver,” said Jefferson Jackson, 14, of Camas. Jackson came along with his mom, Temple Jackson, his brother, Marc, and friends Ben Brittain, Calvin Wight, and Harrison Wight.

Parker stayed afterwards to shake hands, as well as sign autographs and take pictures with legions of adoring fans.

From left: Camas residents Ben Brittain, Calvin Wight, Jefferson Jackson, Temple Jackson.



VANCOUVER — Camas resident Derek Vanderwood was sworn in as Clark County’s newest Superior Court judge Friday at an investiture ceremony that was attended by approximately 130 people.

Vanderwood, who has practiced law in Vancouver since 1996, was sworn in by Judge Barbara D. Johnson, as family, friends and peers looked on during the sunny afternoon on the sixth floor of the Clark County Public Service Center.

Derek Vanderwood is sworn in as Superior Court judge by
Judge Barbara D. Johnson

The simple, yet elegant ceremony included remarks by Johnson, Casey Marshall (Vanderwood’s former law practice partner), and Judge Daniel L. Stahnke, who all spoke highly of Clark County’s newest judge.

Marshall introduced Vanderwood and spoke highly of their professional relationship while sharing some lighthearted moments. He said he at first doubted that Vanderwood would be appointed to the bench, but never doubted he’d make a good judge.

“And here we are now, ” Marshall said. “Derek will do an excellent job. He’s very meticulous and has a great love of community.”

Vanderwood was appointed to the bench by Governor Jay Inslee after a vacancy become available through the retirement of Judge Nichols. Vanderwood will have to run for election in November to complete the remaining two years of this judicial term.

“We welcome Derek into his new role,” said Judge Stahnke. “He’s been doing orientation for the past week … and know this can be overwhelming.”

After taking the oath of office from Judge Johnson, Vanderwood received his robe, which was placed by his wife, Allison, a longtime Clark County resident.

“It’s been a great opportunity to serve so many clients over these many years,” said Vanderwood. “And my partners have been a great help. I’m looking to create new relationships and this is an opportunity to help others … and I want you to know that I’m committed to respecting all those who enter the courtroom.

“This has given me a chance to reflect on accomplishments, and it’s a wonderful chance to serve,” he added. “And I ask you all to look how you can serve our community.”

In her closing remarks, Judge Johnson said: “Judge Vanderwood fits in and truly seems to have a calling to be a judge. It’s very meaningful to have him here.”

In attendance was Vanderwood’s immediate family, including his wife, Allison, and three of his four children: Alina, Andrew and Tyler. His oldest two sons, Devin and Grant, are currently serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Peru and Dallas, Texas, respectively. The new judge also serves as a local LDS Bishop in Camas.

Derek Vanderwood, his wife Allison, and three of their five children.

Much of his extended family, including his mother, Joan, and siblings, were in attendance, as well.

Following the investiture ceremony, the guests attended an elegant reception at Vancouver Hilton.

“It’s a great experience for our family,” said Andrew. “It’s a good change. I thought he would get it. He’s a great public speaker and it was just right.”

His mother, Joan Vanderwood, referred to the ceremony as a parent pay day.

“Of course, I’m impressed with Derek and his abilities,” said Joan. “He’s very fair and has many good qualities. I’ve always felt he had the potential to be amazing and live up to his potential.”

Judge Vanderwood has served actively in the community for years in his ecclesiastical capacity, as well as serving Little League and the Boy Scouts of America, among other organizations.

Judge Vanderwood takes his seat among other judges.

“It’s been a fantastic day,” said Allison. “It’s really an honor to be part of this event, and I’m just so  proud of him. This entire experience teaches our kids the importance of community. When he was appointed by Governor Inslee, were were shocked, but very happy with the announcement. It was a surprise and surely a great honor. Derek will serve people well.”

Judge Vanderwood will continue his orientation these coming weeks, and will then be given a load of cases to oversee.


VANCOUVER – Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s office announced Friday the appointment of civil lawyer Derek Vanderwood, a long-time Camas resident, to be Clark County’s newest Superior Court judge.
Vanderwood, a partner at the firm English, Lane, Marshall & Vanderwood, succeeds Judge John Nichols, who retired this month after serving 18 years on the bench.
“Derek has a long-standing reputation in Clark County for being a smart and committed lawyer,” Inslee said in a prepared statement. “I know he’s ready to take on this role and serve the people in a new capacity.”
Derek Vanderwood, of Camas.
Friday’s announcement was the culmination of a months-long process, which began last summer when Judge Nichols announced his retirement. At that time, Gov. Inslee posted a notification for application with a mid-September deadline.
Vanderwood was one of three applicants, which included Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Fairgrieve and criminal defense attorney Christopher Ramsay. Each applicant had the opportunity to present their case to the Clark County Bar Association, as well as conduct interviews with Gov. Inslee and the General Counsel.
“I look forward to this wonderful opportunity to serve,” said Vanderwood. “I’ll be wrapping up matters at my practice, which will take some time. I’ll likely start serving in this new position in late February.”
Vanderwood has been practicing law in Washington state since 1994, and has lived in Clark County since 1996. At his Vancouver firm, he focuses on injury claims, civil litigation, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and consumer safety cases.
One of his highest profile cases involved a suit against Hyundai for defective seats in which the jury awarded the plaintiff, Jesse Magna, $8 million. Vanderwood and firm partner, Dennis Lane, represented Magna, who was ejected from the vehicle during a late 90s automobile accident. The award was appealed to the state’s highest court, and was ultimately upheld.
Vanderwood, who is originally from Grand Junction, Colo., is married to Allison Teuscher Vanderwood, who grew up in Clark County. They have five children – four sons and one daughter – who have all attended Camas public schools.
Service to community is part of Vanderwood’s life, as he has been serving as a Bishop (an ecclesiastical leader) for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Camas since 2012. The voluntary, non-paid position requires many hours each week dedicated to serving church members and local residents. He also volunteers his time serving the community at large in other capacities, such as being a parent volunteer at Camas Little League, among other organizations.
Vanderwood’s supporters say, “He follows the letter of the law, and is very much into respecting individual privacy rights.”
“In the Washington judicial system there are two trial courts: District and Superior,” said Vanderwood. “Superior is the higher court and the distinction is in size and ramification. The Superior Court works with more serious criminal cases, as well as large financial claims. Over time I will be working on a mix of family, criminal, civil, and juvenile cases, and that can change with rotations.”
While Vanderwood has primarily focused on his law practice, he said he’s been drawn to serving on the bench in recent years, and looks forward to the opportunity.
He will need to run for election in November 2015. Each Superior Court judicial term is four years.

Camas, WA — More than 1,100 local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and their friends, gathered at Doc Harris Stadium Saturday to commemorate a cherished milestone in the faith’s U.S. history — namely Pioneer Day. The annual event helps contemporary members of their faith recall the legacy 19th century members left while on trek from Illinois to what is known today as Utah.

The early members of the faith were forced numerous times to leave their homes in various mid-Western states, and they had hoped to settle in Nauvoo, Illinois. But it wasn’t meant to be, as they were persecuted, and forced to escape to Utah.

Andrew Wight
Andrew and Calvin Wight enjoy a tug-of-war game.

Pioneer Day
Many struggled and lost their lives in their effort to cross the Plains to arrive in the great Salt Lake Valley.

The first LDS pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, and began to built up new cities.

Local east Vancouver, Camas, and Washougal church members convened at Doc Harris Stadium on Saturday to eat, celebrate, play games and learn about early church history. There were running events, tugs-of-war, music, talks, etc.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has a presence in nearly every nation.

To learn more about Pioneer Day, visit www.lds.org

Pioneer Day Susie Huckvale


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded today to the Boy Scouts of America vote on its membership policy with the following statement:

“For the past 100 years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has enjoyed a strong relationship with Boy Scouts of America, based on our mutual interest in helping boys and young men understand and live their duty to God and develop upright moral behavior. As the Church moves forward in its association with the Boy Scouts of America, Church leaders will continue to seek the most effective ways to address the diverse needs of young people in the United States and throughout the world.

Supportive of Gay Youth Participation

The Church’s long-established policy for participation in activities is stated in the basic instructional handbook used by lay leaders of the Church: “young men … who agree to abide by Church standards” are “welcomed warmly and encouraged to participate” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church [2010], 8.17.3). This policy applies to Church-sponsored Scout units. Sexual orientation has not previously been—and is not now—a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saint Scout troops. Willingness to abide by standards of behavior continues to be our compelling interest.

These standards are outlined in the booklet For the Strength of Youth and include abstinence from sexual relationships. We remain firmly committed to upholding these standards and to protecting and strengthening boys and young men.

The Church appreciates BSA’s reaffirmation of its commitment to “duty to God,” which includes service to others and moral behavior—central principles of our teaching to young men. As in the past, the Church will work with BSA to harmonize what Scouting has to offer with the varying needs of our young men. We trust that BSA will implement and administer the approved policy in an appropriate and effective manner.”

The LDS Church also said that a letter signed by the First Presidency of the Church is being sent to all Latter-day Saint congregation leaders throughout the United States.

To learn more about the church’s official position, visit www.lds.org

Every third week in July, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrates Pioneer Day, which is a commemoration of Mormon ancestors who arrived across the Plains and into the Salt Lake, Utah Valley in 1847.

As the church has grown throughout the years, this celebration has extended to many parts of the world in honor of those church members who left Nauvoo, Illinois, to escape religious persecution.

At the time, Utah was (and still is in many places) a desolate and undesirable place. The displaced Mormon’s took refuge there, and began to build an inspiring and prosperous community.

“They left family and friends,” says the church’s official website, www.lds.org, in reference to the pioneer legacy. “They pulled handcarts across the plains; they grew a city out of a desert. Most important, the pioneers left a legacy of perseverance, faith, and sacrifice.”

So, LDS members across the globe celebrated this past weekend, and in particular, hundreds of Clark County members gathered at Camas High School for a fried chicken lunch, games, craft events, and history lessons to celebrate their history.


Max Whittle and Andrew Wight participate in a tug-of-war competition.


Dozens of kids participated in candle-making.


Hunter Gurney
Stuart Weiss, Hunter Gurney and Andrew Wight get ready for tug-of-war.