Area Authority in Australia
Born in Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Elder Victor D. Cave, Area Authority Seventy in the Pacific Area, was helped to embrace the Church and the gospel by a friend while attending the Church College of Hawaii in 1967. Full-time missionaries had been teaching Victor about the gospel for six months, but he had not yet decided to be baptized.
One day a dorm friend met him in the hallway on the way to class. “He suddenly asked me why I had not yet joined the Church,” Elder Cave recalls. In answer to this question, Victor said he had not received a witness that it was true. His friend then challenged him to pray for a witness from the Holy Ghost.
Victor went back to his dorm room, locked the door, knelt down by his bed, and prayed. “I asked Heavenly Father if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was His and if it was true,” Elder Cave says. “No sooner had I asked that than I was overcome with the warmest feeling, and I began to sob on my knees for at least half an hour. Those were tears of joy and peace that came from knowing I had found the only true and living church of God.” Victor was baptized at sunrise on 9 March 1968 in the Pacific Ocean.
Five years later he married Antonina Moea Ferriol. They now have five children. “The gospel brings peace into our home,” says Elder Cave. “When we live the gospel in the home, things seem to fall into place in our everyday lives and in our plans for the future. The more important matters in life take their rightful places and the less important things fade away.”
Elder Cave has enjoyed a varied professional life. He served in the French military and worked as an agent for Pan American Airways, he taught at an elementary school, and he worked as a loan officer for the Bank of Tahiti. Most recently, he has been employed by the Church, working as area translation manager in the Pacific Area Office.
“My testimony,” says Elder Cave, “is that God is at the head of His Church, Jesus is the Christ, our prayers are always answered, the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, the Church is really true with a living prophet to teach us what God wants of His children today, and that living the gospel is always the best of all options.”
“Act Well Thy Part”
Actor Rockne Tarkington has been in movies and television programs for 40 years. Believed to be the first black actor to appear on the Andy Griffith Show and the first to appear in a recurring role in a television series (Daktari), Brother Tarkington has had a prolific acting career since 1958. But when he went home to be with his mother during an illness several years ago, it turned out to be the scene for a dramatic change in his life.
After traveling from Los Angeles, where he has spent the majority of his career, to his hometown in Junction City, Kansas, Brother Tarkington found a change of pace living in the quiet town and caring for his mother. He also found the gospel.
“When Mother got ill,” he recalls, “I began praying for the first time in a long while. But why should God listen to me when I hadn’t spoken to Him for years?” A lifelong determination to find the true church was reawakened, and he began visiting different churches in the area.
One afternoon he saw a television commercial from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This church seemed somehow different from other churches, so he decided to call. But he missed the phone number. It was nearly two months before he saw the commercial again, wrote down the number, and called.
The missionaries taught Rockne the discussions, and he was baptized on 4 June 1997. “Just like the missionaries said, I asked God to let me know whether or not the Church was true, and He did.” Through the process of seeing her son change and watching the ward members accept him into their social group, Rockne’s mother became interested in the Church. She was baptized about three weeks before she passed away in September 1998.
For the sesquicentennial celebrations in his ward, Brother Tarkington directed several plays. He is currently working on a documentary project about the geographical history of each of the 50 United States. “He’d been waiting for this project to come through for months, but nothing came,” says Bishop Brent Methvin of the Junction City Ward. “Rockne was left with the time to care for his mother and to investigate and join the Church. Right after she died—after he had received his patriarchal blessing, his temple endowment, and done the work for his father and grandparents—the job came through.”
“The gospel changed my life completely,” says Brother Tarkington. “I wish I could help people understand how fully and completely I know this is the true Church.”—, Provo, Utah
Strength in the Gospel
When Lee and Jolene Bearheels of the Aberdeen Ward in South Dakota joined the Church as teens, they did not know each other and could not have known then how the gospel would bring them together and fortify them as parents.
A full-blooded Lakota Sioux, Jolene was 16 when the missionaries knocked on her family’s door in Fort Yates, North Dakota. “My mother and father were very traditional Sioux,” says Jolene. “Honesty, truth, bravery, wisdom, courage, and humility” were their code of living. “I think that really prepared me for the missionaries as they taught the truth. I recognized it with a strong inner feeling.”
Jolene and her brother joined the Church, and both served missions. “Being Native American and being Mormon go hand in hand,” she says. “The Book of Mormon is in our blood. When I read it, I know it’s about my people before me.”
Lee joined the Church at 18 in Rapid City, South Dakota. “The missionaries came to Kadoka, South Dakota, and tracted out my grandparents,” says Lee. “My mother told us kids to go over to our grandparents’ home, so we did.” There, Lee learned about the Church; he was the only member of his family to be baptized.
The Bearheels are parents of two children: Kyla, 12, and Krisene, who died in 1995 at the age of 4 of hydrocephalus, a condition marked by an increase of fluid in the cranial cavity. Jolene explains that because of the pressure of the fluid on Krisene’s brain, it had not grown properly and there was only a small amount of brain tissue. Doctors thought she wouldn’t live more than a week.
The four years after her birth were filled with many moments of joy and moments of anguish. The family screeched with delight the first time Krisene, at six months, turned her head. When she was two, her parents put her in preschool speech therapy. At three, she was pulling herself up to a standing position. In her preschool class, she knew everyone’s name and something about each person. There were also times of severe headaches and convulsions and hospital trips each month for stays of several days. “Sometimes you wish you could take that pain away from your child,” Lee says.
Faith and Krisene’s words helped prepare her parents for the inevitable end. “She was very spiritual. Toward the end, it seemed she knew. The Spirit was preparing us,” says Jolene. Lee adds, “When we took her to the hospital for the last time, she said as we left the house, ‘I’m going home now.’”
Jolene shares this thought: “It must be hard for those who lose a child who don’t have this faith. We know we’ll eventually see her again.”
People meeting the Bearheels would not guess the tragedy they have had in their lives, for they have been healed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and continue to experience the peace and joy it offers.—, Wahpeton, North Dakota
In the Spotlight
Rulon F. Stacey of the Parkwood Ward, Fort Collins Colorado Stake, received the American College of Healthcare Executives Robert S. Hudgens Memorial Award, making him the 1999 Young Healthcare Executive of the Year. In under two years, Brother Stacey expanded Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, from a single facility to a thriving five-hospital system.
Kathleen Louise Harris is one of four Idaho teachers selected by U.S. President Bill Clinton for the Presidential Award, the nation’s highest honor for K–12 mathematics and science teachers. She received an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony in June. Sister Harris is a member of the Middleton First Ward, Caldwell Idaho North Stake.
In April 1999 Eric Erickson was inducted into the Company of Fellows for the Association of Information and Image Management (AIIM). He is the current micrographics supervisor of the Genealogical Society of Utah and has been closely involved in developing the AIIM micrographics and the Electronic Information Management standards since the early 1980s. Brother Erickson is a member of the Hunter 12th Ward, Salt Lake Hunter West Stake.