A BYU quarterback, a replacement Angel and volunteers from Elk were featured in the very first issue of the Latter-day Sentinel on June 1, 2009.
At the time, 74 subscribers received the free, online publication via email, most of them residing in the Spokane East Stake. Dennis West, a member of the Belle Terre Ward in the East Stake, had come up with the idea of an LDS news portal focused on happenings within the Spokane Temple District, an area spanning Greater Spokane, North Idaho and a part of Western Montana.
The inaugural issue provided a preview of what the Sentinel would seek to become over the following years – an informative online newspaper with a variety of topics and an underlying goal to convey the abundance of positive news not always covered by mainstream media. The articles told of an appearance by former BYU and NFL quarterback Ty Detmer at an event sponsored by the BYU Management Society, the account of the original Angel Moroni statue being replaced and rotated at the Spokane Temple and a service project carried out by members of the Colville Stake.
Four years and over 200 issues later, the Sentinel is still publishing the good news of the restored gospel with stories that strive to illuminate, educate and entertain.
“The Sentinel has kept me up to date with activities and successes in the area and things I can share with others,” said longtime subscriber Jean DeGeare. “I hope those who do receive it share it with friends who also could receive it on a regular schedule.”
Over the years, the paper has built up its subscriber base to nearly 1,100 with many more visits to the site each month. Readers hail from over a dozen stakes throughout the temple district.
Nathan and JoAnn Howard of the Evergreen Ward in the East Stake took over the Sentinel in October 2010 when West and his family moved to Provo. The Howards, who currently serve in the Spokane Temple and have fulfilled temple missions in Nauvoo and Washington, D.C., say that publishing the Sentinel has been a mission in itself.
“Four years ago, when the Latter-day Sentinel came out with the first issue, we were so excited to receive a free on-line publication featuring local people with inspiring stories and, as a bonus, wholesome recreational listings for our area,” said Nathan. “Little did we imagine that within just over a year’s time, we would have the opportunity to serve as publishers of this wonderful newsletter.”
Nathan said the paper is reminiscent of a weekly letter his father, Edward Howard, wrote and sent out to family and friends over the course of 35 years. The “Sermoncito,” as it was known, contained scriptural passages, personal parables, humor and updates from wherever Edward and his wife, Corine, were living at the time, including Northern California, Chile and Spokane.
“The continuing success of the Latter-day Sentinel is reflected by the many comments received from our readers who are inspired and positively motivated by the stories they read each week,” Nathan said. “We are so thankful to you readers who are patronizing the businesses that graciously contribute to the production of the Sentinel. We carefully review each of these fine organizations as they join us and without reservation and we wholly endorse them to you.”
As the Sentinel approached its four-year anniversary, several of our readers chimed in with their thoughts:
“I wanted you to know and everyone else how much I enjoy reading the inspiring stories in the Latter-Day Sentinel. We live in a time when there is so much negative news all around us. It is so refreshing to read about the good things (and miracles) going on in the Latter-day Saint community in the Spokane Temple District.
I look forward to reading the ‘good news’ in this part of the Vineyard each week. Your stories are well written and uplifting. I have been reading the Latter-Day Sentinel since it started and it keeps getting better. Everyone (not just the LDS community) should make the Latter-Day Sentinel part of their weekly reading. It’s so good to keep up with all the positive happenings and accomplishments going on with the people that live among us.
Thanks so much for all you add to our lives! Keep up the good work – I hope you have many, many more anniversaries to come.”—Mark Spear
The Quote issue is very inspiring. Most quotes remind us of how Jesus Christ would act and speak as if He were here. We are His hands and also His voice”—Kari
Congratulations!! Thanks for always bringing to our attention motivating and inspiring stories and recognizing the efforts and hard work of youth in our area.”—Liz
Thank you, thank you for this uplifting publication! I especially like the pictures and the Wholesome Recreational Guide. I look forward to receiving my Latter-day Sentinel emails!”—Peggy
I love hearing stories of how people’s lives have been positively affected by others. Thank you for your coverage using this remarkable instrument in the Lord’s hands. I am finally taking time to read all these wonderful stories in each issue and I am so excited. Thank you for this wonderful news service. I wish everyone could read it.”—Patsy
I have truly enjoyed reading the weekly Sentinel. One aspect I love about reading the Sentinel is learning about the common everyday lives and families who are spreading the gospel through hidden service and community involvement. I love the stories that show you don’t need a certain calling in the Church or a particular position in the community to make a difference.”—Deborah
Each time we read of another senior couple preparing to serve, our confidence grows that we can serve a mission as well.”—Nancy
In April, the Sentinel introduced a new format that includes a search option where readers can locate specific topics featuring their ward or stake. The easy-to-browse Sentinel archives feature an inventory of stories in categories that include sports, service, arts, business, news and more.
While the paper has added 1,000 readers since that first issue four years ago, Nathan said the Sentinel maintains a goal of bringing good news to more subscribers each week.
“Thanks to each of you who share the Latter-day Sentinel with family and friends,” Nathan said. “We encourage you to expand your efforts and set a goal to ‘find and sign’ at least one new reader each week. May the next four years be equally successful and rewarding.”