Houston Area Conference Report
For 17,000 Texan Latter-day Saints, the recent June 23–24 Houston Area Conference, the first in the continental United States, was the fulfillment of a long-anticipated spiritual feast.
For many, it was also the first opportunity to see and hear President Spencer W. Kimball. They also heard five other General Authorities and two general auxiliary leaders speak at the two day conference held at Houston’s Summit sports center.
The messages given reiterated familiar themes: strengthen and prepare families and homes, and teach the gospel.
President Spencer W. Kimball, who spoke at all four sessions, emphasized individual righteousness and responsibility in his address at the first of two general Sunday sessions.
“It depends almost wholly on you,” he told the 17,094 attending the morning session. “To some extent we have been bypassing our neighbors,” he said.
“Every man and woman should return with the determination that they will take the gospel to their relatives and their friends.”
Another primary duty is for parents to instruct their children correctly, he said. “It isn’t enough to go to Sunday School and sacrament meeting, as important as that is. Our children should also be taught the gospel by their parents.”
That message was similar to those he gave briefly at a Saturday afternoon session for women aged twelve and older, and at greater length at a Saturday night priesthood session.
He told priesthood brethren that when he was a youngster his father took him to Salt Lake City and introduced him to President Joseph F. Smith and his counselors, and to store clerks. “My father was proud of me,” he said—and that pride made young Spencer Kimball proud of himself and his family heritage. That trip and another to San Francisco “have remained in my memory all these years,” he said.
He encouraged fathers to likewise spend time with their children and to encourage their sons to serve missions. “I won’t be totally satisfied until all the boys are convinced and are ready to go when they are nineteen years of age.” He also urged older couples to serve missions. “Many people are—what do you call it?” he mused, turning to Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, who sat behind him. “Retiring,” Elder Hinckley prompted. “Yes,” the president continued, using a word evidently not considered much in his busy eighty-four years. “They are retiring too early. They could go on missions.”
President Marion G. Romney, second counselor in the First Presidency, spoke to women Saturday about the importance of motherhood, and to the general session Sunday afternoon about the importance of prayer.
“No one will ever reach … perfection except those who communicate with and are guided by the Lord,” he said. “God assists every soul who learns to walk the path of prayer.” How a person prays is not as important as the spirit he has in doing it, he said. “I know that prayer is the pathway to God. There have been times when it was very difficult for me to get through to God. It took fasting and prayer,” he said. He had to learn, he explained, to be as earnest in saying “Thy will be done” as he was in saying “My will be done.”
President Ezra Taft Benson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, told priesthood brethren that “there are some of us … who do not take the priesthood as seriously as we should.” He cited three “imperative, important responsibilities:” obedience to priesthood covenants, governing righteously in priesthood stewardships, and following the counsel of presiding officers.
Sunday morning he counseled those attending to spend more time with their children, to have daily devotion in the home, to instruct children in the home—particularly in “problems of sex relationships”—and to have family recreation and cultural activities. (“Many parents have turned the musical education of their children over to the local rock music station,” he quipped.)
Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve, speaking—on his birthday—at the women’s meeting, addressed remarks to unmarried women in the Church. “Stop wandering around in the wasteland of self-pity,” he said. “If you are single, remember that all of the unhappiness in the world isn’t found among the single. …
“Don’t give up hope and don’t give up trying, but do give up being obsessed with it.”
At the Sunday afternoon session, Elder Hinckley bore testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and said that bearing such testimony is “the great and overbearing responsibility” of Church membership. Although the message of the gospel is the divinity of Jesus Christ, “I sometimes think that with our emphasis on programs we’re prone to think more of the mechanism than the message,” he said.
Elder Dean L. Larsen, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and former mission president in Texas, said Saturday night that he saw “evidences of [moral] deterioration” in Houston. “It will be your responsibility to hold the line, to maintain and foster an environment in which good can flourish.”
The next day, Elder Larsen counseled the Sunday morning congregation to “check your vital signs” and thus monitor spiritual status. It isn’t necessary, he said, for a member to “carry an official, significant assignment in the Church.” Instead, ask, “What things are you doing to reach and bless the lives of others?”
Elder F. Burton Howard, also a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, encouraged fathers to instruct their children spiritually by “communicating the contagion of the gospel.” He told how his father demonstrated love for the gospel and Church leaders by taking the Howard children to meet Spencer W. Kimball, then an apostle, at Independence Rock, Wyoming.
“Home must be a workshop, not a lecture hall,” he said. At the Sunday afternoon session, he talked about missionary work and urged those who had not served missions to consider serving.
The two women speakers at the conference sessions were Barbara B. Smith, general president of the Relief Society, and Elaine Cannon, general president of the Young Women. Both spoke at the women’s session, which 5,875 women attended.
“Relief Society has been carefully shaped and refined,” through its years of growth, enabling it to help women in the Church, Sister Smith said. She urged women to attend Relief Society and lauded the work of women who help others. “The Lord has given us a responsibility to continue the work of compassionate service.”
Sister Cannon explained some responsibilities of taking on oneself the name of Christ. “When we take on us his name, we take on us the responsibility of helping mankind,” she said. “It becomes increasingly clear to me that the work of women is as vitally important in the plan of life, in the kingdom, as is the administrative and ordinance work of the priesthood. We love; we comfort; we nurture; we support; we provide the atmosphere which can make it heaven on earth.”
Four Regional Representatives also spoke at the priesthood and general sessions. An all-Texas choir performed at the Sunday sessions.
Between the conference sessions, many families ate sack lunches—some on the lawn, basking in Houston’s humid June heat, and others eating picnic lunches by their cars in the Summit’s ample parking lot.
As the conference ended, Saints from many Texas cities returned happily to their homes. They’d gone to hear the word of the Lord, and they’d not been disappointed.
Regional Meetings—Individualized and Helpful
“It was without question the best leadership meeting I’ve ever attended,” says Brent Jorgensen, first counselor in a Salt Lake City elders quorum presidency.
Why? Because he got more than just a lot of information—he got specific ideas on how to deal with specific problems his own quorum was having.
The meeting he refers to is the 1979 regional meeting held in his region. A similar meeting was held in regions throughout the Church during June, except for selected regions which will hold them later in the year.
But unlike previous years, the meetings this year did not follow identical agendas. Each region followed its own outline according to local needs, all working under the broad theme of “improving leadership and teaching in the Church.”
For example, in the New York-New Jersey Region, leaders discussed unique communication problems associated with their multilinguistic stakes, wards, and branches. Five of the wards and branches in the region are predominantly Spanish-speaking; one small branch is Korean; and another is Chinese. The leaders met in a building equipped with translation facilities.
Under the direction of Earl C. Tingey, Regional Representative, they also discussed reactivation, advancement of prospective elders, and the improvement of teaching. Since the region is preparing to set up the full welfare program (including bishops storehouses and production projects), some of the time was spent training priesthood and Relief Society leaders in principles of Church Welfare Services.
This kind of specific training, essential to the New York-New Jersey Region, was not given in other regional meetings, where it wasn’t necessary. Instead, other topics, based on local circumstances, were discussed.
For example, since the stakes in the Manitoba and Saskatoon Regions in Canada were just recently formed from missions, much of the regional meeting time was devoted to discussing differences between missions and stakes—and training leaders in their new assignments. “We focused on member and leader needs which have arisen as we’ve made the transition,” says Regional Representative Phillip G. Redd. “This was the first regional meeting we’d had with these stakes, and the excitement of the leaders as they planned it was tremendous.”
A specific problem discussed in the Fargo North Dakota and Rapid City South Dakota Regions was how to get the job done with the great distances members and leaders have to travel. Some leaders had to travel 400 miles one way to attend these meetings. Under the direction of Stewart A. Durrant, Regional Representative, leaders discussed alternatives of communicating with each other by phone and mail instead of always having to travel great distances to leadership meetings.
Another topic discussed was how to adapt the full Church program to meet local needs in small branches and isolated groups. “We needed to help leaders of these units see that the Church programs were to be adapted to their circumstances,” says Brother Durrant, “and that with their limited numbers and leadership, they didn’t need to feel guilty for not implementing every aspect of every Church program.”
In the Murray Utah Region, all the Melchizedek Priesthood leaders, under the direction of Morris A. Kjar, Regional Representative, met together instead of in separate sessions. The three main topics of that region’s priesthood workshops were identifying needs, organizing to meet needs, and following through. Each person received a booklet of materials giving specific information and suggestions in each of these areas. Then the leaders worked through a case study involving the reactivation of a family.
What kind of planning was involved? In the past, each region received a great deal of printed material from Church headquarters. Each discussion leader had an outline to follow. Every regional meeting was essentially the same.
But this year, each Regional Representative and stake president received only a forty-page booklet containing checklists instead of discussion guides. The checklists were reproduced and given to other stake, ward, branch, and mission leaders, who, in turn, checked topics needing discussion. Then the outlines for each region’s meetings were based on the checklists.
Presentations in many regional meetings were accompanied by testimonies given by the Regional Representatives and stake presidents, choirs, audio/visual materials, handouts, question/answer periods, and role plays. In some areas, cultural events were also a part of the meetings—music, drama, art, dance. Some regions in Salt Lake City considered the groundbreaking for the Jordan River Temple on June 9 as their cultural event.
Stake follow-up meetings were held afterwards to give stake leaders a chance to share with ward leaders the information they had received.
Two Area Conferences in August
Two area general conferences will be held during August—in Madison, Wisconsin, and in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The Madison conference will be August 4–5, and the Toronto conference, the first held in Canada, will be August 25–26.
[Site Dedication for Jordan River Temple]
President Spencer W. Kimball presides at the groundbreaking and site dedication for the Jordan River Temple on June 9. Thousands of Saints from the Salt Lake City area attended the ceremony.
Layton Construction Co. of Salt Lake City was awarded the contract for the temple with a low bid of $12,548,000. Church officials had expected construction bids to be around $15 million. Three days before the groundbreaking, the First Presidency announced that funds had been received to cover the cost of building the temple.
Three Additions to Be in Doctrine and Covenants
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have announced that future, yet-to-be printed copies of the Doctrine and Covenants will contain three new additions—the two visions added in 1976 to the Pearl of Great Price and the 1978 First Presidency statement extending the priesthood to “all worthy male members.”
The two visions to be transferred from the Pearl of Great Price to the Doctrine and Covenants are Joseph Smith’s Vision of the Celestial Kingdom and Joseph F. Smith’s Vision of the Redemption of the Dead. These two additions will become sections 137 and 138 in the Doctrine and Covenants. The two visions were accepted as scripture at a general conference session on 3 April 1976.
The third addition to the Doctrine and Covenants will be the proclamation of 9 June 1978 extending the priesthood to all worthy male members. The proclamation will be known as Official Declaration—2. Official Declaration—1 will be the title of the announcements discontinuing plural marriage that are already part of the Doctrine and Covenants. Official Declaration—2 was accepted as “the word and will of the Lord” at a general conference session 30 September 1978.
Copies of the Doctrine and Covenants containing sections 137 and 138, and Official Declaration—2 are expected to be available by 1982.
Church Policies and Announcements
The following items appeared in a recent Messages, sent to stake/mission/district presidents and to bishops and branch presidents:
1. LDS Chaplains. The Military Relations Committee of the Church, which administers the program for LDS chaplains in the military services, anticipates the possibility of additional openings for both reserve and active-duty LDS chaplains. Members interested in applying for appointment to the chaplaincy should have completed a full-time mission for the Church and a minimum of thirty semester hours of graduate work in counseling and guidance (a master’s degree is encouraged), and must be recommended by their bishop and stake president. For further information and application procedures, contact the Military Relations Committee, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150 or phone (801) 531–2286.
2. Higher Education for Hearing-Impaired Students. While planning for higher education, students with impaired hearing should be aware of several alternatives that are available to them. Most hearing-impaired students can benefit from the regular programs available at most colleges and universities. The Church’s colleges and universities have made provisions for students with impaired hearing who meet the regular academic admission requirements. Those, however, whose hearing loss is extreme and who rely on sign language as their primary mode of communication may be better advised to attend one of several schools with special programs geared to persons with hearing losses.
The following institutions of higher education are suggested. At each of these the hearing-impaired LDS student has access not only to a good secular education but also to both institutes of religion and wards with interpreted or signed programs and services.
a. Seattle Community College, Seattle, Washington. Junior-college level work with trade-school training; Seattle Institute of Religion; Seattle 1st Ward Deaf Group.
b. National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), Rochester, New York. Technical trade training; Rochester Institute of Religion; Rochester 2nd Ward Interpreted Services.
c. California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Northridge, California. Full university program; Northridge Institute of Religion; San Fernando Valley Ward for the Deaf.
d. Gallaudet College, Washington, D.C. Liberal arts college program, with all instruction in sign language; Silver Spring Institute of Religion; College Park Ward Deaf Group.
Note: Most institutions of higher education provide special assistance for hearing-impaired students who do not use sign language.
3. Simplified Accompaniments of the Hymns. Many wards and branches have pianists and organists who have difficulty playing the hymns from the hymnbook. For this reason, the Church has produced the publication Hymns: Simplified Accompaniments, Abridged Version. The publication presents over one hundred simplified arrangements of hymns found in the hymnbooks of various languages. Many of these hymns are transposed into lower keys making them easier to sing and play. The simplified accompaniments can be used by the pianist or organist while the choir or congregation sings in unison or in parts from the standard hymnbook.
The abridged version is printed on sheets designed to fit in an 8 1/2-by-11-inch three-ring binder and can be obtained with a language index corresponding to one of the sixteen standard language hymnbooks. The price is $1.25 each or the local equivalent.
4. Orthodontic Treatment for Prospective Missionaries. As indicated in the General Missionary Handbook, page 27, prospective missionaries should have “all medical problems … cared for before reporting for missionary service.” Accordingly, parents should begin orthodontic treatment for their children early enough so that active treatment will be complete when the children are old enough to be recommended for full-time missionary service. Considerable inconvenience and expense are avoided when such treatment is completed before the prospective missionary is recommended for a mission.
First Presidency Supports Energy Conservation
The First Presidency has issued a statement encouraging energy conservation measures.
“We urge Latter-day Saints and all citizens to join in efforts nationally and locally to conserve precious energy resources,” the First Presidency said in a statement issued May 17.
“Worshippers should walk to church meetings where it is feasible and can be done without undue hazard to personal safety,” they said.
They urged members and others to join car pools for transportation, to use mass transit facilities, and to curtail unnecessary travel.
“It is also important that all motorists observe prescribed speed limits, both on the freeways and in residential or business areas. We also suggest that thermostats in homes be adjusted where it is feasible and that all unnecessary consumption of electricity or fuel be eliminated.”
The statement urged that fuel conservation be discussed in family home evenings.
The Church endorsed and adopted these and other conservation measures in 1973.
Highlights of Seminar for New Mission Presidents
Fifty-eight new mission presidents and their wives recently spent three days June 20–22 in sessions and workshops presented by members of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the First Quorum of the Seventy.
The first two days of classes were held at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, where 2,426 new missionaries are also preparing to take the gospel to the world. Meetings on the third day were held in the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City and culminated in a special testimony meeting held in the assembly room in the Salt Lake Temple.
The two days of workshops given at the MTC included presentations on “Motivating Missionaries,” by Elder Mark E. Petersen; “Distinctive Features of a True Disciple,” by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley; “The First Weeks in the Mission Field,” by Elder Thomas S. Monson; “Missionary Conduct,” by Elder Boyd K. Packer; “Power of Your Personal Influence,” by Elder L. Tom Perry; and “Elements of Effective Teaching,” by Elder David B. Haight.
In other workshops, led by members of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy and by other members of the quorum, the new mission leaders received additional training. Of special interest was a workshop by Elder Carlos E. Asay, executive director of the Missionary Department, assisted by several General Authorities’ wives, on “Role of the Mission President’s Wife.”
The third day of the seminar opened with an address on the life of Christ by Elder Bruce R. McConkie. The message of salvation, he said, rests upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “The resurrection proves that Jesus was the Son of God. If Jesus rose from the dead, he is the Son of God. If he is the Son of God, his gospel is true. If his gospel is true, men must believe and obey. They must accept these truths, be baptized, and live the law, or they will be damned.”
If the resurrection is so central to a belief in the Savior, then, “how do you prove the resurrection?” he asked. “How do you prove spiritual truth?
“You prove it by testimony,” he answered. “You teach the doctrines of salvation so people will be in an intelligent position to weigh the merit and proof of your testimony. And after we have taught in plainness to the best of our ability, then we bear witness, and we say, ‘I know it, the Holy Spirit of God has revealed to me, to us, to the Latter-day Saints, that this work is true!’ And after we have taught and born testimony, every individual who is in tune, who has prepared himself spiritually to receive the truth, will feel in his heart that what we have said is true. And it won’t be a matter of argument, it won’t be a matter of debate, it will not be an intellectual conversion. It will be a revelation from the Holy Spirit of God.”
President N. Eldon Tanner, first counselor in the First Presidency, spoke on Joseph Smith and the restoration. “Every member of the Church,” he said, “and especially every set-apart missionary, should have a testimony of the divine calling of Joseph Smith, and indeed of the need for and the mission of all the prophets. Joseph Smith, like his predecessors and like his successors down to the present, Spencer W. Kimball today, was foreordained to come forth at a given time for a particular mission.”
Besides bearing witness of the mission of Joseph Smith, every missionary needs to have a personal testimony of what the restoration of the gospel means to the world—what unique truths it provides to the world.
“The contributions of Joseph Smith as revealed through the restored gospel,” said President Tanner, “are of such magnitude and so remarkable as to challenge every one of us to invite the world to partake of the glorious message and to live according to the teachings as espoused in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
The final address of the Friday morning session was by President Spencer W. Kimball. He began by quoting his concluding remarks in April 1979 general conference:
“‘It seems clear to me, indeed, this impression weighs upon me—that the Church is at a point in its growth and maturity when we are at last ready to move forward in a major way. … We have paused on some plateaus long enough. … Think, brothers and sisters, what would happen if each active family were to bring another family or individual into the Church before next April conference: We would be joined by several hundred thousand new members of the Church. … I believe the Lord’s church is on the verge of an upsurge in spirituality.’ Let’s move forward and upward.” (Ensign, May 1979, p. 82.)
President Kimball then continued: “I now say those same things a second time.
“We’ve been doing in our missionary efforts a good work,” he said, “but it is not good enough. It is time to stir ourselves, and then we can stir others.”
Cautioning the mission leaders against getting bogged down in programs and paper, he said, “We hope that statistics will not overpower us. We do want many, many converts, but we want them well converted. We want worthy baptisms—people who have been carefully taught.
“Our concerns are with souls, not with statistics,” he said. “We desire growth only because it will mean that we are reaching out farther to our Father’s children.”
President Kimball spoke of the importance of constantly fellowshipping new members and of involving them immediately in missionary work “as friends and finders.”
“At the same time we involve the new members,” he continued, “we must begin as never before to energize our members of longer standing to get them involved in the missionary program.
“I feel impressed to say, brothers and sisters, that the Lord has placed in a very natural way within our circles of friends many thousands who we intend to bring into the Church. This is one of the reasons I am so confident that the Church can now grow in a major way.”
He also spoke of the need to revitalize the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums to be ready to receive, assist, watch over, and train the many new members that will be joining the Church.
He encouraged the study of other languages: “Is there any reason why all our sons and daughters couldn’t begin to take the language of their choice—Spanish, French, German, Cantonese, Mandarin—or whatever it would be?”
Reminding the leaders of our charge to take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world, President Kimball again spoke of moving into countries not yet open for missionary work. “We are tremendously sincere in this effort.”
According to President Kimball, every member of the Church can do much to further this effort: “I hope you’ll pray, brothers and sisters, pray as you’ve never prayed before. Pray with a great earnestness. Pray for the leaders of the nations. Pray for all of our leaders. Pray for our leaders who are filling especially high, responsible positions in all the countries of the world.
“The Lord will hear our prayers, I am positive of that. And he will in his own way and in his own time cause that we may have success.”
The Church in Poland: Small, but Strong
Though there are few members of the Church in Poland, a country of some thirty-five million, the Church is established there, and it is growing.
Some strong families have joined the Church in the last year in the “beautiful land,” and others are interested and are studying the gospel.
“They’re a lovely people,” says Shirley W. Thomas, second counselor in the general Relief Society presidency, who visited with the Polish members of the Church in May. She and her husband, Robert K. Thomas, academic vice-president of Brigham Young University, accompanied BYU’s Young Ambassadors as the group performed in Poland and West Germany. It was the Young Ambassadors’ second trip to Poland.
As the performers appeared before more than 28,000 persons in three countries, members of the group met with the Saints wherever they performed. Polish members of the Church met the travelers as they flew into Warsaw, and all participated in a fireside that night, where Polish Saints bore testimonies of the strength of the gospel in their lives.
The group visited several Polish cities—Warsaw, Poznan, Gdansk, Torun, and others.
The Church in Poland is “fledgling,” Sister Thomas says, “but the members are strong. And you realize, too, that they’ve had a prophet visit them.” President Spencer W. Kimball visited Poland in 1977, meeting with Church members and government officials and dedicating the land and the people for the teaching of the gospel on 24 August 1977. The Polish Saints also have been visited by other representatives of the Church.
Even so, being a member of the Church in a country with so few members can be lonely. One woman joined the Church after meeting some German members of the Church and attending meetings with them. After those members moved, “she was alone, and didn’t have any meetings to attend for two years,” Sister Thomas says. The woman read scriptures in German, and her German Latter-day Saint friends telephoned her regularly. After two years, a Polish family joined the Church, and a branch was formed.
Sister Thomas says the Relief Society can do much to enable the Polish Saints to help each other. One woman, a Church member, had a limited amount of clothing, but she knew how to sew. The Relief Society procured a sewing machine, which the Relief Society members learned to use while Sister Thomas was visiting.
Like the other Polish people, the Polish Saints are proud of their nationality and heritage. They express affection warmly and openly—often with flowers. Once, while the Young Ambassadors were performing, a Polish woman ran to the stage and bedecked a drum soloist with flowers.
The warmth and fervency of the people reminds Sister Thomas of the early members of the Church. “I couldn’t help comparing those few Saints with the six who met in April 1930 to form the Church. They were few, too, but they were strong.”
A poem adapted from the text of Psalm 147 has won the 1979 Relief Society Song Contest. Joyce M. Jensen of Bountiful, Utah, a mother of six, is the author of “Sing unto the Lord,” the winning entry. Other winners are “A Blessed People,” Grietje T. Rowley of Salt Lake City, second; “Keep Me in Thy Way, O Lord,” Ruth B. Gatrell of Farmington, Utah, third; “Psalm 131,” Yang, Kyung Shin of Seoul, Korea, special merit for non-English.
A member of the Church in Mesa, Ariz en named U.S. national young mother of the year. Susan Elizabeth Brown, a mother of five sons, recently received the honor. Other members of the Church who represented states in the competition were Deborah F. Hamilton of Orem, Utah; Jeanne Southam of Athens, Ohio; Janis L. Curran of the District of Columbia; Mary Seabrook Brown of Dover, Delaware; and Rosalie Davis of Salt Lake City, Utah.
The print media is publishing more about the Church. Newspaper space devoted to Church-related stories outside the United States jumped 69 percent from 1977 to 1978. “The sizable increase can be credited largely to the Public Communications field offices in Canada, Great Britain, Germany, and France, and also to a better reporting system made possible by those offices,” says Heber G. Wolsey, managing director of the Public Communications Department. Space in U.S. newspapers devoted to the Church increased 20 percent.
Five Latter-day Saints who have made contributions to the media arts were honored June 7 with awards from the Associated Latter-day Media Artists (ALMA). Awards were presented to Nathan and Ruth Hale, owners and operators of the Glendale Center Theater at Glendale, California; Glen A. Larson, executive producer of “Battlestar Galactica” and producer and creator of other popular television programs; Dr. Harold I. Hansen, BYU professor who directed the Hill Cumorah Pageant at Palmyra, New York, for nearly forty years; and Dr. Harvey Fletcher, the 95-year-old scientist known as the father of stereophonic sound.
David and Patricia Hansen of Ogden, Utah, are thankful. The Hansens are parents of twins born in October 1977 with conjoined heads. The twin girls, Lisa and Elisa, were separated May 29 by surgeons at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City. As attention focused on the twins’ successful surgery, their parents issued a statement published nationally, acknowledging “the hand of the Lord” and praising the skill of the surgeons who performed the sixteen-hour operation.
They came from many places—from the United States, from Canada, from Mexico. And starting at Nauvoo, Illinois, these 450 descendants of early Mormon pioneers ran in relay teams along the 1,450 miles of the Mormon Trail.
The runners, working in teams of several persons who ran in ten-mile segments, left Nauvoo, Illinois, May 23 and arrived at Salt Lake City June 1. The trail recently was designated as a national historic trail. Runners carried batons containing messages for President Spencer W. Kimball, Utah Governor Scott M. Matheson, and Salt Lake City Mayor Ted L. Wilson from governors and local officials and Church leaders of states along the trail.
The Women’s Office of the Associated Students of BYU is asking for names of Latter-day Saint men and women in the armed services so that letters and boxes of cookies can be sent to them at Christmastime. Friends and relatives are asked to send names, addresses, and marital status of military personnel to Denise Tucker, ASBYU Women’s Office, 432 ELWC, BYU, Provo, Utah 84602. Names should be sent by October 19.
BYU’s Ballroom Dance Team has been awarded second place in Latin dance competition at the international British Ballroom Dance Festival at Blackpool, England. A BYU Latin formation ballroom team won first place in 1977, and the BYU team won first place as the best overall team in 1971.