“News of the Church,” Ensign, May 1987, 88–112
Elder George Richard Hill III of the First Quorum of the Seventy
“Elder George Richard Hill III of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1987, 88
“I can’t remember when I didn’t have faith in Jesus Christ, and I can’t remember when I didn’t want to pursue a Ph.D.,” says Elder George Richard Hill of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
That statement characterizes the new General Authority perfectly. Not only has Elder Hill spent his life in service to the Church, serving as bishop three times, as regional representative over three different areas, and as a counselor in two general MIA superintendencies, but he is also a pioneer in the field of fossil fuels. In 1946, George Hill earned his doctorate in chemistry from Cornell, serving as a branch president along the way. The same year, the University of Utah hired Dr. Hill to research fuel possibilities in Utah. In 1951, the school asked him to start the Department of Fuels Engineering. He says, “In order to organize the new department, I had to offer nine courses, none of which I had ever taken.” He met the challenge, though, and the department’s work soon gained a grant from the federal government.
From 1966 to 1972, Dr. Hill served as dean of the College of Mines and Mineral Industries at the university. Then he was appointed director of the Office of Coal Research, U.S. Department of the Interior, and moved to Washington, D.C. From there, he went to the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, to direct its Fossil Fuel Department. In 1977, he returned to Salt Lake City to accept an endowed chair from the University of Utah, the Envirotech Professor of Chemical Engineering, which allowed him more freedom in teaching and research.
“For us teaching types, an endowed chair is like heaven,” he explains, smiling. Over the years, Dr. Hill has written more than one hundred articles for professional journals and received numerous awards, including the Henry H. Storch Award presented by the American Chemical Society and an honorary science degree from Brigham Young University.
Elder Hill was born 24 November 1921 in Ogden, Utah. “My parents set a solid foundation in church and education,” Elder Hill says. His parents, George Richard, Jr., and Elizabeth McKay Hill (sister to President David O. McKay), both served as deans of colleges at what is now Utah State University. His father was also general superintendent of the Sunday School. “My father has been a real motivator and role model for me,” Elder Hill continues. “Both of us received the Silver Buffalo and Silver Antelope awards from Scouting. One of his teachings that has had great impact on me is ‘There’s no limit to the amount of good a person can do if he doesn’t care who gets the credit.’ ”
Elder and Sister Hill are a family-centered couple. He met his wife, Melba Parker, at Brigham Young University, where he obtained his A.B. in chemistry. They married in his senior year. The couple have seven children and twenty-seven grandchildren.
Elder Hill, at sixty-five, likes to do things with his children. He’s helped to teach his children to ski, and about seven years ago, he and a son in Germany earned amateur radio licenses so they could communicate. One major family enterprise has been the refurbishing of the old McKay home in Huntsville in cooperation with the McKay family.
When asked about his reaction to his call as a General Authority, Elder Hill said, “I’m thrilled to be able to serve the Lord full-time. This year I arranged to retire from teaching to have more spare time. The call couldn’t have come at a better moment. Church service has been a delight for me. I think the hardest thing about the call, though, will be leaving the grandchildren for long periods. But we’ll just love them that much more.”
Elder John R. Lasater of the First Quorum of the Seventy
“Elder John R. Lasater of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1987, 89
Not since Joseph Smith was lieutenant general of the Nauvoo Legion has there been a General Authority of the Church who was actually a general.
Elder John R. Lasater, sustained in April conference to the First Quorum of the Seventy, becomes the first. A retired Air Force general and F-4 fighter pilot by profession, Elder Lasater, fifty-five, has been serving as president of the New Zealand Auckland Mission. Born 8 December 1931, Elder Lasater married the former Marilyn Jones of Samaria, Idaho. They are the parents of four daughters—Mary Lynn, Leslie Ann, Melanie, and Carolyn, all of whom are married—and a son, Garth, who is at BYU and will marry this spring.
The Lasater family has lived in Germany three times. The last time they were there, Elder Lasater was regional representative assigned to the Servicemen’s Stake—Europe. Before that, he was president of that stake, which covers some sixty-five thousand square miles. President Harold B. Lee called John Lasater to that position and blessed him with a wonderful promise. At the time of the call, Major Lasater thought himself an unlikely man for the job, since he was required to spend nearly all his time flying to various U.S. bases throughout Europe, training and evaluating pilot performance. But President Lee set him apart, promising him that he would be able to preside over and conduct the affairs of the stake without interference from his work. President Lee further blessed him that his advancement in the military ranks would be extraordinary.
The very next day, as Major Lasater was preparing to leave on a routine flight evaluation visit to bases in Europe, he was called in by his commanding general and told he would not be going on that flight; furthermore, his assignment had been permanently changed. From that day on he was to report to that general’s office as his executive assistant. John Lasater did not travel one day after that, which enabled him to serve uninterrupted as stake president. General Lasater attributes his uncommonly rapid rise in rank directly to the Lord’s blessing as well as to the priesthood standards that have guided in his life.
Each of the five points on the stars worn by generals in the military stands for a quality expected of men of that rank: honor, integrity, loyalty, service, fidelity. These high standards are the qualities of a true leader, “qualities that come from within a man.”
As Elder Lasater sees it, military ideals and gospel principles are more similar than most people realize. He sees the military as a “noble profession—though it hasn’t always been—where old virtues are practiced and defended. One advances by living these virtues, rather than by subscribing to any of the myths about war being glorious and soldiers being tough.
Upon his being promoted to general, Brother Lasater remembers telling his superior officer, “I hope I can remember that I can be wrong and that I can be big enough to admit it.”
He has tried to remember this and has depended on the Lord in his major assignments, where much depended on his judgment. As Senior Military Adviser to Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; as U.S. Commissioner to the Standing Consultative Committee at Geneva SALT talks XIX and XX; as commander of the SAC 4th Air Division (responsible for B-52 bombers, ICBMs, and 28,000 men); and then as deputy assistant Secretary of Defense under Caspar Weinberger, Elder Lasater believes he was more effective because he relied on the Lord for help.
The army of the Lord also needs faithful servants who measure up to such standards of leadership.
Elder Douglas J. Martin of the First Quorum of the Seventy
“Elder Douglas J. Martin of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1987, 90
As a young man, Douglas Martin of Hamilton, New Zealand, was introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ by an attractive Maori girl, Amelia Wati Crawford. Her example helped bring him into the Church, and the dedication of the Maori people he met in the Church helped him learn what it means to be a Latter-day Saint.
“They showed me the example of total obedience and faith in the Lord,” he recalls. They had very little in the way of material goods or education, but learning the gospel and following the Savior were much more important to these Maori members than obtaining things to make mortal life comfortable.
“I think I learned obedience from those people,” Elder Martin reflects. “I like to be obedient.”
That is just one of the strengths he brings to his new calling as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Looking at the men in his new quorum, he says, “I feel the very least of them.” And yet, whatever strengths and abilities he has to offer are committed to the service of the Savior, Church leaders, and his quorum.
The calling was stunning. “I literally didn’t sleep all that night” after receiving it, Elder Martin recalls. “I was overwhelmed.”
And yet the calling was a quite unexpected fulfillment of a hope. Just two weeks away from retirement as manager of a plastics molding plant, he was preparing to fill his spare time with some of the pastimes he enjoys—beekeeping, gardening, fishing, wood-turning, or surfing—if necessary. But what he and Sister Martin really wanted, after years in Church leadership positions, was an opportunity for full-time service. They hoped perhaps to receive a mission call. Now Elder Martin is looking forward to “for the first time, completely turning my life over to the Lord.”
In a sense, Elder Martin really took that step many years ago.
He was born 20 April 1927 in Hastings, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. He is a son of George and Jessie Jamieson Craigie Martin.
Already twenty-four years old when he was baptized in 1951, he nevertheless went on to serve a mission before he and Amelia were married.
Because there was no temple in New Zealand in 1954, Douglas and Amelia traveled to Hawaii, in company of a group of older Maori members, to be married in the temple. The Martins have three living sons: James, Sydney, and Douglas. (Another son, Craig, drowned in childhood.)
Church service has been a way of life for Elder Martin, who is now sixty years old. Shortly after the New Zealand Temple was dedicated in 1958, President David O. McKay called him as a sealer. During the temple’s first four years of operation, Douglas Martin served as temple recorder. Concurrently, he served as a bishop.
He later was a counselor to two stake presidents and served as president of the Hamilton New Zealand Stake for nearly ten years. He is a patriarch in that stake and was serving as a regional representative at the time of his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Martin says his wife has offered steadfast support for his church service. “She puts the Church first. She has a total faith” which comes from her Maori heritage, he adds.
The Martins have no regrets about giving up their retirement plans or the vacation home they were finishing. They are looking forward to the privilege of serving the Lord full-time. Elder Martin comments that it will be a blessing in his life to associate with the members of the First Quorum of the Seventy and to feel their great strength.
“I hope that I can justify the confidence that has been placed in me,” he says, “and I can only do that by staying close to the Lord.”
Elder Alexander B. Morrison of the First Quorum of the Seventy
“Elder Alexander B. Morrison of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1987, 91
Alexander B. Morrison concerns himself with matters of life and death. He is a scientist whose heart, mind, and strength are devoted to curing and eliminating disease and malnutrition. And as a new member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Morrison is equally concerned with spiritual health.
“One of the great passions of my life,” he says, “is my concern for the poor and neglected and downtrodden.” Trained in nutrition and pharmacology, Dr. Morrison has directed several international committees in the World Health Organization, has led groups of Nobel prizewinning scientists, and is chairman of his department at the University of Guelf in Canada, where he teaches.
As a public health generalist, his work has had three dimensions. First, in his academic role at the university, he has attempted to prepare others to eliminate the diseases that take hundreds of millions of lives yearly.
Second, as an administrator of public policy regarding environmental and food safety in his post with the Health Protection Branch of the Canadian government, he has promoted laws and helped regulate the use of environmental contaminants.
The third dimension of his work, and perhaps the one closest to his heart, has been his effort to fight diseases in underdeveloped countries. In the World Health Organization, he chaired for many years the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. This group works with twenty countries in the United Nations to eliminate diseases affecting millions.
His international work was recognized in 1984 when he became the first recipient of the David M. Kennedy International Service Award from the Kennedy International Center at Brigham Young University.
Brother Morrison and his wife, the former Shirley Brooks, joined the Church during college as soon as they discovered that earth life was for learning and eternally progressing, that the glory of God is intelligence, and that marriage is eternal. The branch president at the time was N. Eldon Tanner, and their Sunday School teacher was Hugh B. Brown. Since then, Elder Morrison has served as branch president, bishop, and regional representative. The Morrisons have eight children, two of whom—Mary and Heather—will go with them to their new assignment.
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, 22 December 1930, Dr. Morrison, fifty-six, is described by those who have worked with him as a man gifted with human understanding as well as the ability to analyze technical aspects of health needs. He earned his Ph. D. from Cornell University in 1956, then nine years later obtained a master’s degree in pharmacology, to keep him abreast of the developments in drug research for prevention of diseases. Having been to Africa many times to study the problems there, he has devoted himself to finding cures to major deadly diseases.
“I carry victims’ faces in my mind as I brush my teeth and rinse my mouth with water whose purity I take for granted. I feel jungle heat on my skin as I move through air-conditioned corridors. I remember what starvation looks like as I sit down to abundance three times a day.
“Carrying this burden keeps me, on the most fundamental of all levels, human,” he says with moist eyes and emotion in his voice.
From public health to spiritual health, Elder Alexander B. Morrison is a man of deep devotion. As a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, his intense interest in the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of his earthly brothers and sisters takes on another dimension.
Elder L. Aldin Porter of the First Quorum of the Seventy
“Elder L. Aldin Porter of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1987, 92
After nine months, L. Aldin and Shirley Porter were just settled into their leadership roles in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission. President Porter was interviewing missionaries when there came a telephone call from President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency. Undoubtedly, it concerned mission business, President Porter thought.
Instead, President Hinckley relayed the call to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Porter, fifty-five, was among eight men sustained to that quorum on April 4. He will be released as mission president.
Reflecting on the caliber of men in the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Porter wondered momentarily if his own abilities and strengths could help him rise to the required level. But he humbly accepted the call.
Whatever one’s strengths may be, he comments, “I have great faith that if you accept an assignment in the Church, and move ahead, the Lord makes up the difference.”
“I know this: Sister Porter and I love the Brethren and will follow their counsel.”
Born in Salt Lake City on 30 June 1931, a son of J. Lloyd and Revon Hayward Porter, Aldin Porter grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho. After serving in the West Central States Mission, he married Shirley Palmer of Houston, Texas. They have six children and sixteen grandchildren.
Elder Porter associated with and then replaced Bishop J. Richard Clarke as head of an insurance agency in Idaho before his call as mission president in 1986. Before that, he served the Church as a bishop, stake president, and regional representative. At the time of his call, he was a patriarch in the Meridian Idaho Stake, and he and his wife were serving as a counselor and assistant matron, respectively, in the Boise Temple.
He has spent twenty-nine years in the insurance business. It would be accurate to describe him as “successful,” but Elder and Sister Porter’s concern for their family has always been greater than their concern for his career.
“We have a little farm up in Meridian,” he reflects. Its agricultural products were cattle, hay, grain, and corn. But there was a more important crop. “It raised fine sons and daughters.”
The Porters bought their farm to help teach their children responsibility, the value of work, and reliance on the Lord. It worked well, he says. The children willingly, even eagerly, shouldered their part of the farm responsibilities. Elder Porter praises his wife not only for giving direction to the farm work while he was busy with business and Church responsibilities, but also for her strengths as a mother and as a companion.
“Any parent should have the support we have from our children,” Elder Porter comments. Their four married daughters and two sons have helped strengthen the Porters in their missionary service, as have his two sisters.
Some might think it a sacrifice to be separated from their family, but the blessings of their missionary service—for parents, children, and grandchildren—“have more than compensated” for any effects of the separation, Elder Porter says.
Elder Porter says he is willing to do whatever is necessary to fulfill his calling faithfully. That is typical of him, Sister Porter says. “He’s a devoted Latter-day Saint, and is totally committed.”
What does he hope to contribute to people during his service? The number-one contribution anyone can make to others is to help them build faith and testimony, Elder Porter answers. And this he believes he will be able to do because “I’m certain of the divinity of this work.”
Elder Glen L. Rudd of the First Quorum of the Seventy
“Elder Glen L. Rudd of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1987, 93
Glen Rudd’s first two sons are named Lee and Matthew—after President Harold B. Lee and Elder Matthew Cowley. Both men had a great influence in Brother Rudd’s life. As a young missionary in New Zealand, Elder Rudd served as secretary to Elder Cowley, his mission president. He grew up in the Pioneer Stake, while Brother Lee was developing the Pioneer Stake’s welfare program. It was there that he learned welfare principles. Later, as a bishop, he presided over a large ward with many welfare needs. All this prepared him for full-time service in the Church Welfare Program.
Glen Larkin Rudd, now sixty-eight, was born 18 May 1918 in Salt Lake City to Charles P. and Gladys Marie Harman Rudd. Young Glen worked during his teenage years in his father’s poultry processing business, attended the University of Utah, served a mission in New Zealand, and then returned home to start a poultry business of his own. It was soon thriving.
He married the former Marva Sperry. Elder Lee performed their marriage and promised them that they would have a large family. And, although Sister Rudd suffered from heart problems, the couple eventually had the family that had been promised them—eight children in all.
During the early years of his marriage, Elder Rudd served as a ward clerk, a counselor in the bishopric, and a bishop. As a young deacon, “I had an idea that someday I would be a bishop—when I got to be fifty,” he says. But that responsibility came earlier than he had anticipated—“by the time I was halfway to fifty.”
For more than thirty years, he worked in the development of the welfare program. His first assignment was to help work out details of how storehouses should be run. Later, he helped design, build, and establish storehouses in many parts of the United States.
Elder Rudd managed his own business for twelve years—until one day when Elder Lee asked him if he would manage Welfare Square. “He made me a promise,” says Elder Rudd. “He said, ‘If you’ll come and be the manager of Welfare Square, you’ll never regret it.’ That was one of the great promises of my life—I have never regretted it.”
Elder Rudd took the job the next day and gave up his business. He traveled throughout the Church with General Authorities teaching in stake conferences about the welfare program. He gained a great testimony of the principle of work. “All my life, when I’ve found people in trouble, people who are sad, people who need counseling or advice, I have found that work is generally the answer to their problems,” he says.
Brother Rudd presided over the Florida Mission from 1966 to 1969. In 1970, he was called as a regional representative.
Released in 1976 from that calling, and after twenty-five years as manager of Welfare Square, he accepted a new assignment as zone director for the Welfare Services Department. He was also called as a counselor in the Salt Lake Wilford Stake presidency, where he served for nine years.
In 1978, he served as a mission president in New Zealand when the president of the Wellington Mission passed away. Then, in 1984, he retired from Church employment and was called back to New Zealand—this time to be the president of the temple.
In all his Church assignments—welfare work, temple work, and missionary work, Elder Rudd has felt the Spirit of the Lord. “I just know the Church is true,” he says. “There has never been a time when I haven’t known it was true. The testimony I have comes from the whisperings of the Spirit. If we can listen to the Spirit of the Lord, we can know the direction to go.”
Elder Douglas H. Smith of the First Quorum of the Seventy
“Elder Douglas H. Smith of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1987, 94
When President Spencer W. Kimball called Barbara B. Smith to serve as general president of the Relief Society in October 1974, he turned to her husband and asked: “Will you be able to support your wife in this assignment?”
Douglas H. Smith replied, “Yes. She has supported me for over thirty years in the positions I’ve held, and I’ll certainly be happy to support her.” And he did.
With his recent call to the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Smith, sixty-five, now has need of his family’s support. And there is no doubt that he has it.
Ready support for family members seems to come naturally to the Smiths. All seven children now have families of their own, but they still live near each other and Elder Smith calls them almost every day. They have frequent family dinners. The monthly Smith Family News, including articles from each family, is “a wonderful way to keep in touch and to keep a history of what’s happening in the family,” Sister Smith says. Every summer they get together for a two- to three-day activity. And for the past five years, they’ve held an annual family conference for everyone twelve and older.
Support is extended to others as well. Elder Smith had lunch with his mother once a week as long as she lived. And for years the Smiths have had someone living with them: her father, her aunt (who lived with them for twenty years until she was in her nineties), a boy from Taiwan, a girl from South Africa, and several others needing a place to live for an extended period of time.
Douglas H. Smith was born 11 May 1921 in Salt Lake City to Virgil H. and Winifred Pearl Hill Smith. “Our lives were built around the Church,” he says, “And I’ve always had a strong testimony.” The closest he came to choosing another path came one Sunday when, as a deacon, he felt baseball’s beckoning call and decided to skip Sunday School. Sitting in the bleachers at the ball park, he heard a voice next to him:
“Great game, isn’t it?”
When he turned to reply, he was stunned to find his dad sitting there; the father had missed his son at church and had come to find him.
Elder Smith is well known in his family for his motto: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15). After marriage in the temple in 1941, he became an Aaronic Priesthood adviser, then elders quorum president, bishop’s counselor, and bishop. Later he served as high councilor, stake president’s counselor, stake president, and regional representative. Most recently he has served as a temple sealer and, with his wife, has team-taught the Gospel Doctrine class.
The day after graduating from the University of Utah in 1942, he got a job at Utah Home Fire Insurance Company. Sixteen years later, he was president of the company. And after another fourteen years, in 1972, he also became president of Beneficial Life Insurance Company, a position his father had held. He has also served as executive vice-president and general manager of Deseret Management Corporation and as chairman or member of the board of several other banking and insurance organizations. Active in community circles as well, he served for over nine years as chairman of the Salt Lake LDS Hospital Board and has also served with such organizations as Freedom Foundation of Valley Forge, American Cancer Society, and Boy Scouts of America.
“When President Benson called me,” says Elder Smith, “I told him that a long time ago we made commitments to the Lord and we intend to keep them. Now we’re simply being asked if we meant it. The answer is yes.”
Elder Lynn A. Sorensen of the First Quorum of the Seventy
“Elder Lynn A. Sorensen of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1987, 95
Elder Lynn A. Sorensen, newly called to the First Quorum of the Seventy, served his first mission in Brazil beginning in 1940, when the Brazilian Mission was in its fifth year. He returned as president of the Brazil-Porto Alegre Mission in 1973, and again in 1982 as director for temporal affairs.
“I also spent four years as International Materials Management manager for Latin America,” he pointed out, “visiting all six area offices in those countries at least twice a year on training and auditing assignments.”
Elder Sorensen, who is now sixty-seven, was called as patriarch of the Wilford Stake last December, and his new calling to serve as a General Authority just four months later took him by surprise.
“I was greatly humbled by the call to be a patriarch,” he recalled. “But there just aren’t words to express how it felt when President Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency issued the call to the First Quorum of the Seventy. It overwhelmed me.
“After the call was announced in conference, we were greeted very warmly by the ecclesiastical leaders from Brazil,” he said. “Their expressions of joy and delight in our call brought tears to our eyes.”
Elder Sorensen expressed his belief that the biggest challenge to the Church in Brazil is training ecclesiastical leaders, because of the rapid growth in the number of members. “They’re baptizing over two thousand converts a month in those missions, which is almost a stake a month. Many of those good men called as bishops and stake presidents have only been in the Church two and three years.”
A significant turning point in Brother Sorensen’s life, from a spiritual standpoint, came during his first mission to Brazil. “I had an academic and athletic scholarship to the University of Chicago and spent my freshman and sophomore years there,” Elder Sorensen said. “I’d always planned on a mission, but after two years at college, a mission didn’t seem all that important. I told my parents I’d like to finish my schooling. Fortunately, I had a very kind and understanding bishop, and special parents who just loved me and prayed for me. When it came time for me to go back to school in the fall, the Lord answered their prayers. I accepted the call and went on my mission.
“It wasn’t very long after I arrived in the mission field and began studying the scriptures regularly that my testimony really grew and developed. From then on it has never wavered, but has just continued to grow stronger. I’m grateful to the Lord for guiding me at that very important crossroad.”
Elder Sorensen has served as bishop of the Kenwood Second Ward, on stake high councils, and as a member of several general Church boards.
He worked in management positions in the electronics industry and as general manager of Deseret Press before becoming affiliated with Church administration in what was then the Internal Communications Department. He also served as executive secretary of the International Mission for four years.
“My most rewarding experience was as mission president,” he said. “I never worked harder, put in more hours, or had more problems or concerns, yet there was never a time when I had sweeter or more satisfying experiences.”
Elder Sorensen was born in Salt Lake City on 25 September 1919. After returning from his mission in Brazil, he served as an instructor in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, then graduated with honors from the University of Utah. He married the former Janet Weech in 1943. They are the parents of nine children and have twenty-six grandchildren.
Mission of the Church Is Focus at Seminar and Leadership Meeting
“Mission of the Church Is Focus at Seminar and Leadership Meeting,” Ensign, May 1987, 96–97
The purpose of the Lord’s church is to “further the progress of every son and daughter of God toward the ultimate blessings of eternal life,” said President Ezra Taft Benson Friday, April 3, in an address at the annual Regional Representatives’ Seminar held in association with general conference.
President Benson said that in 1981, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve announced a mission of the Church consisting of:
1. Proclaiming the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people;
2. Perfecting the Saints by preparing them to receive the ordinances of the gospel and through instruction and discipline to gain exaltation;
3. Redeeming the dead by performing vicarious gospel ordinances for those who have lived on earth.
All elements of this mission statement received emphasis at both the Friday morning Regional Representatives’ Seminar in the Church Office Building auditorium and the Friday evening leadership meeting in the Tabernacle on Temple Square.
In his opening address at the seminar, President Benson said he would speak about “our mission to perfect the Saints, particularly the challenge of activating those who have separated themselves from full activity in the Church.”
“The challenge before us is great,” he said. “It will require us to put the Melchizedek Priesthood to work. We must exercise great faith, energy, and commitment if we are to reach these brothers and sisters. But we must do it. The Lord expects us to do it. And we will!”
President Benson said that less-active members often are members who have become distracted, indifferent, even preoccupied with other concerns. He pleaded that they be found and loved back into activity.
“Every priesthood and auxiliary resource must be used to assist in this great effort,” including, he said, the sisters of the Church who also have “callings of shepherding” through the “loving service they render to one another, to youth, and to children.”
Following President Benson, President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, focused on missionary work, with an emphasis on the need for couple missionaries.
“There is a growing need for couples in the mission field. They perform a great service. That service becomes a wonderfully rewarding season in their lives,” he said.
President Hinckley noted three factors pertaining to couple missionary eligibility: (1) the couple should be financially capable of caring for themselves without having to “sacrifice their life savings and then find themselves when they return without means to get along with some independence in their declining years. In many cases, children are in a position to maintain their parents in the mission field,” he said; (2) couple missionaries should not leave unmarried, dependent children, particularly children at the “courting age” when such children “need mother and father to counsel them”; (3) couple missionaries must be in general good health.
After President Hinckley’s remarks, President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, noted that it was now twenty years since the first regional representatives were called in 1967. At that time, Elder Harold B. Lee, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, had presented an administrative forecast obtained with the help of BYU statistical aides of “what the Church would look like twenty long years ahead” in 1987. In 1967, the Church had 443 stakes. The forecast was that in 20 years “we might have as many as 1,000 stakes!” Today, there are 1,634 stakes, noted President Monson. In 1967, there were 78 missions, with a 1987 forecast of 185 missions. By July 1987, there will be 200 or more, said President Monson. In 1967, there were 13,000 missionaries, with a forecast in 1987 of “possibly 30,000.” Today, there are 33,753 missionaries, said President Monson.
Reviewing the responsibilities of the regional representatives, President Monson said that “a regional representative is to teach, teach, teach. Your assignment is not so much preaching, managing, directing, or counseling as it is teaching, particularly concerning the mission of the Church.”
Throughout the rest of the seminar and in the evening leadership meeting, the mission of the Church received detailed attention. From the presentations made, the following will help members:
Full-Time Missionaries to Help with Activation. The Brethren announced that full-time missionaries are authorized on a “limited” basis to help local leaders activate less-active members “in stakes that have few brethren who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood.” However, authorization for this assistance requires specific Area Presidency approval and approval by the member of the Quorum of the Twelve assigned to that area. Such assistance may continue “until a ward or branch has an adequate number of brethren who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood.”
Home Teachers to Work with New Converts. Also announced was the instruction that home teachers “should cooperate with stake and full-time missionaries in fellowshipping new members” and may be assigned to visit converts while the missionaries are teaching them so the home teachers can begin regular visits. Home teachers may be present when stake missionaries teach the fellowshipping lessons, or they may be invited to assist stake missionaries with the teaching. “The efforts of full-time missionaries, stake missionaries, and home teachers overlap to ensure that converts are fellowshipped into the Church.”
Leaders to Nourish Members. Leaders were asked to teach members the goal of “individual perfection” through obedience to the ordinances and covenants of the gospel, and asked to greatly “shepherd and strengthen the less active, particularly through the home teaching program. To assist leaders and members in these labors, the Brethren announced several administrative changes designed to aid in the above emphases. Ward priesthood executive committee meetings are to take place weekly, and bishops should assign high priests “much” of the responsibility for strengthening prospective elders, their families, and less-active members. Elders quorum presidencies may give emphasis to strengthening elders and their families.
Focus on Genealogical Work. Stake conferences in the second half of 1987 and first half of 1988 will focus on temple and genealogical service. New and simplified resources to aid members are to be presented, and members are encouraged to do the genealogical work and receive ordinances for “at least one ancestor.”
Throughout all the presentations, a general theme prevailed: “The mission of the Church is best carried out in the home. It is supported and directed by united efforts of leaders in the priesthood executive committee and the ward council.”
The presentations were given by selected members of the Quorum of the Twelve and by members of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
President Benson Lauds Blessings of Motherhood
“President Benson Lauds Blessings of Motherhood,” Ensign, May 1987, 97–98
Home and family are “at the very heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said President Ezra Taft Benson February 22 at the annual Fireside for Parents. The fireside, which originated at the Salt Lake Tabernacle, was telecast over the Church satellite network to more than one thousand meetinghouses throughout the United States and Canada.
Also speaking at the fireside were Elder Jack H Goaslind of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and Jeanine S. Hansen, a mother and homemaker from the Salt Lake Bonneville Stake.
“This evening I pay tribute to the mothers in Zion and pray with all my heart that what I have to say to you will be understood by the Spirit and will lift and bless your lives in your sacred callings as mothers,” President Benson said.
He quoted President David O. McKay: “Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life.” (Gospel Ideals, Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953, p. 452.)
President Benson encouraged, “Young mothers and fathers, with all my heart I counsel you not to postpone having your children. Do not use the reasoning of the world, such as, ‘We’ll wait until we can better afford having children, until we are more secure, until John has completed his education, until he has a better paying job, until we have a larger home, until we’ve obtained a few of the material conveniences,’ and on and on,” he said.
“Mothers who enjoy good health, have your children and have them early,” he counseled. “Husbands, always be considerate of your wives in the bearing of children.
“Do not curtail the number of your children for personal or selfish reasons,” he said. “Material possessions, social convenience, and so-called professional advantages are nothing compared to a righteous posterity.”
Speaking of women who are unable to bear children, President Benson said: “To these lovely sisters, every prophet of God has promised that they will be blessed with children in the eternities and that posterity will not be denied them.”
He pointed out that some barren couples have “prayerfully chosen to adopt children” and saluted them “for the sacrifices and love you have given those children you have chosen to be your own.”
President Benson gave ten specific suggestions to help mothers spend effective time with their children:
“First, take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are coming or going—when they leave and return from school—when they leave and return from dates—when they bring friends home. Be there at the crossroads whether your children are six or sixteen.”
“Second, mothers, take time to be a real friend to your children. Listen to your children, really listen. Talk with them, laugh and joke with them, sing with them, play with them, cry with them, hug them, honestly praise them.”
He told mothers to take the time to read to their children, and also to take the time to pray with them.
“Take time to have a meaningful weekly home evening,” President Benson advised. “Have your children actively involved. Teach them correct principles.”
He suggested that families should be together at mealtimes as often as possible and that time should be spent daily in reading the scriptures together.
The eighth suggestion was for families to take time to do things together, while the ninth advised mothers to take time to teach their children. “Mothers, you are your children’s best teacher,” he said, listing gospel principles, modesty, sexual purity, and a love for work and education among the things a mother should teach.
“Tenth and finally,” President Benson said, “mothers, take the time to truly love your children. A mother’s unqualified love approaches Christlike love.
“Our young people need love and attention, not indulgence,” he added. “They need empathy and understanding, not indifference from mothers and fathers. They need the parents’ time.”
In conclusion, President Benson briefly addressed fathers and husbands. “We look to you to give righteous leadership in your home and families,” he said “and, with your companions and the mothers of your children, to lead your families back to our Eternal Father.”
President Benson’s address at this fireside has been printed in a pamphlet, “To the Mothers in Zion,” which is to be distributed to English-speaking stakes worldwide for delivery to members.
[photo] President Ezra Taft Benson at the annual Fireside for Parents, which was broadcast from the Salt Lake Tabernacle February 22.
President Benson Addresses Cache Regional Conference
“President Benson Addresses Cache Regional Conference,” Ensign, May 1987, 98
The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ, and all other things are secondary to this, President Ezra Taft Benson said at a multiregional conference in Logan, Utah, February 15. He addressed separate congregations of more than seven thousand members in morning and afternoon sessions at Utah State University.
“The Lord says he gave Joseph Smith power from on high and revealed the Book of Mormon, which contains the whole gospel, which was given by inspiration,” he said.
President Benson told the congregation the Book of Mormon was written for us in this day. Mormon abridged centuries of records, and God guided him in what to include in the abridgment that would be needed for our day. Moroni, the last one to write in the Book of Mormon more than fifteen hundred years ago, also speaks to us today. President Benson said that Moroni speaks to us as if we were present because the Lord had made us known to him.
Under President Benson’s direction, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve conducted and spoke. Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the First Quorum of the Seventy also spoke. He is a member of the presidency of the Utah North Area. Speakers also included Sister Benson, Sister Nelson, and Sister Kikuchi.
President Benson said the Book of Mormon does two things. First, it tells in a plain manner of Christ and his gospel. It testifies of His divinity and our need to put our trust in Him. It bears witness of the Fall and Atonement and the first principles of the gospel. It proclaims we must endure to the end in righteousness.
Second, it exposes the enemies of Christ. It fortifies humble followers of Christ against the evils of the devil in our day. The kind of apostates that appear in the Book of Mormon are similar to the kind we have today, President Benson said, adding that God molded the Book of Mormon so we might know how to combat the evil concepts of our time.
Elder Nelson focused on a similar theme in his address. He said the problems of today have different names but are well described in the scriptures. He related frequent references to profanity, adultery, fornication, and other evils in scriptures and said they are the evils with us today.
“The solutions to the problems of society will not be found in gimmicks, but in the word of the Lord,” he declared.
Correspondent: J. R. Allred is director of information services at Utah State University and a high councilor in the Logan Utah University Third Stake.
Tabernacle Organ Gets Refurbished Console
“Tabernacle Organ Gets Refurbished Console,” Ensign, May 1987, 98
The Mormon Tabernacle organ, one of the world’s most famous musical instruments, has a newly refurbished console.
Tabernacle organist Robert Cundick said the Aeolian-Skinner organ console, which was rebuilt over the past two years, was delivered and installed in mid-February.
“Organ pipes never wear out,” Cundick said, “but a console does.” The renovation of the console has included installing five new keyboards, all new stops, resurfaced pedals, and repairing and refinishing the walnut/mahogany case.
In addition, craftsmen are beginning to install the wind chests on which a total of 766 new pipes will rest. The organ now has nearly eleven thousand pipes. The additional pipes to be installed will range in length from one-half inch to sixteen feet.
As part of the renovation project, new electronic equipment has been installed to enable organists to more quickly access tones. The new equipment has increased the combinations of tones from the 20 combinations originally available to 1,280 combinations.
The Aeolian-Skinner organ was originally installed in 1948.
Elder Henry D. Taylor Eulogized
“Elder Henry D. Taylor Eulogized,” Ensign, May 1987, 99
“I loved Brother Taylor,” said President Ezra Taft Benson at funeral services February 27 eulogizing Elder Henry Dixon Taylor, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. “I thank God I’ve had the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with this great man.”
Elder Taylor died in a Salt Lake hospital February 24 after a brief illness. He was eighty-three years old. Services were held in the Salt Lake Eagle Gate Stake Center, with burial at the Provo City Cemetery.
Also speaking at the funeral were President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency; President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; and Arch L. Madsen, former bishop of the Oak Hills Ward. President Howard W. Hunter, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve, conducted.
“I know of no other man who so exemplifies Christ,” President Hinckley said of Elder Taylor. He characterized Elder Taylor as someone who spoke softly and quietly, but with great concern.
President Monson paraphrased the Apostle Peter from the Book of Acts (Acts 10:38): “God anointed Henry Dixon Taylor with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, … for God was with him.”
He went on to describe Elder Taylor as “a modest man,” “a caring man,” “a gentle man.”
He also noted Elder Taylor’s dedication and effectiveness in Church service.
Elder Taylor, a native of Provo, Utah, had served as a General Authority since 6 April 1958, when he was sustained as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve. He continued his service as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy from 1 October 1976 until he was given emeritus status 30 September 1978.
He was a former managing director of the Church’s welfare services program. At the time of his call to general Church service, he was presiding over the California Mission. Prior to his mission appointment, he had served for ten years as president of the East Sharon and Sharon stakes in Provo, Utah. During that time he was also chairman of the Mt. Timpanogos Welfare Region, which then comprised ten stakes, and the Central Utah Welfare Region.
From 1944 to 1946, he was bishop of Provo’s Pleasant View Ward.
Elder Taylor was born 22 November 1903, in Provo, the son of Arthur N. and Maria Dixon Taylor. He was reared on a farm in Provo, which provided the background for his later service in the welfare program.
After graduating from Brigham Young High School in Provo, Elder Taylor worked as an accountant for a real estate company before accepting a call to the Eastern States Mission. He was president of the Connecticut District and later served as mission secretary.
Returning home, he received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Brigham Young University in 1929. In 1937 he received his master of arts degree in retailing from New York University Graduate School.
On 26 December 1929, he married Alta Hansen of Richfield in the Salt Lake Temple. They were the parents of four sons. After his first wife died, Elder Taylor married Ethelyn Peterson Taylor in 1986.
Elder Taylor was long associated with the family mercantile business, Dixon-Taylor-Russell Home Furnishers, in Utah County.
Active in civic affairs, he was a past president of the Provo Chamber of Commerce and Provo Kiwanis Club, and vice-president and chairman of the executive committee of Utah Valley LDS Hospital.
He is survived by his widow, Ethelyn, Salt Lake City, Utah; sons, Henry D. Taylor, Jr., Palo Alto, California; Anthony H. Taylor, Salt Lake City, Utah; Stephen K. Taylor and David A. Taylor, Provo, Utah; sixteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Also surviving are brothers and sisters, Alice Taylor Nelson, Elton L. Taylor, Clarence D. Taylor, and Ruth Elaine Taylor Kartchner, all of Provo, Utah.
Elaine L. Jack, Second Counselor in the Young Women Presidency
“Elaine L. Jack, Second Counselor in the Young Women Presidency,” Ensign, May 1987, 100
“How can I do what those women do?” Elaine L. Jack said when President Thomas S. Monson extended the call for her to serve as second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency. She admired Ardeth Greene Kapp and her other counselor, Jayne B. Malan. But she worried because the Young Women program is for girls and she has no daughters—only four grown sons.
President Monson assured her that the Lord needed her unique personality and talents in the calling. Still a bit overwhelmed, Sister Jack called Sister Kapp the next day. “I said, ‘Ardie, how could you choose me?’ Sister Kapp replied, ‘I didn’t choose you; the Lord did.’ ”
Sister Jack and Sister Kapp both have Canadian roots. Born 22 March 1928 to Sterling O. and Lavina Anderson Low, Elaine grew up in Cardston, Alberta. She attended the University of Utah, where she majored in English. It was there that she met her husband, Joseph E. Jack. They married in 1948 and moved to Staten Island, New York—where, she says, she first realized she had a testimony.
“It took an hour and a half by subway and bus each way to get to church,” she recalls. Her husband, a busy physician, worked long hours at a New York City hospital, and the only full day they could spend together was every other Sunday. “I remember bearing my testimony in a fast and testimony meeting in Manhattan and realizing that I really did have a testimony or I wouldn’t be making the effort to be there,” she says.
The Jacks have also lived in Boston and in Mt. Edgecumbe, Alaska, where, the first morning they were there, the only other Latter-day Saint in town appeared on their doorstep with a hot huckleberry pie. For two years they attended a tiny branch—a “twig,” Sister Jack calls it—usually with as few as nine people attending.
“That was a time of testimony strengthening—when we had to make the effort to gather these few people and meet together in our home,” she says. In 1958, the Jacks moved to Salt Lake City. Sister Jack served on the Relief Society General Board from 1972 to 1984.
Making a good effort is important to Sister Jack in whatever she does. Motivated by a grand piano “inherited” from a music-teacher friend, she is taking piano lessons—something she hasn’t done since her girlhood in Canada. She also enjoys golfing and skiing—activities the Jacks do together as a family.
Her enthusiasm for music, sports, and life itself is contagious. “What brings me joy is to look back on my life and see growth,” she says. She sees application of the gospel as essential to that growth.
“Learning or knowing isn’t enough if we don’t implement it in our lives,” she says.
Mexican Saints Honor Nation’s Constitution
“Mexican Saints Honor Nation’s Constitution,” Ensign, May 1987, 100
Hundreds of Church members in Mexico reaffirmed their loyalty to their country with early morning flag-raising ceremonies at LDS meetinghouses on two recent national holidays—Constitution Day, February 5, and Flag Day, February 24.
In programs held throughout the country, members gathered at ward and branch buildings on both days to see the national flag raised and to sing the national anthem. On Constitution Day, the groups heard speakers praise the national constitution and reaffirm the Church belief in “being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” (A of F 1:12.)
Uniformed military bands and bugle corps performed at some of the flag raisings, and government officials attended in some areas.
In Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, rain failed to dampen patriotic fervor. The Constitution Day observances at the LDS meetinghouses were mentioned in the city’s newspaper as well as on television.
“Especially, we want to remember the benefits that we as members of the Church are guaranteed by the Constitution,” said President Jorge Montoya of Mexico City Mexico Ermita Stake. “Thanks to that document, we enjoy the freedom to worship God.”
The Family-to-Family Book of Mormon Program
“The Family-to-Family Book of Mormon Program,” Ensign, May 1987, 101–2
The Family-to-Family Book of Mormon program, which was begun on a limited scale more than twenty years ago, has gained considerable impetus in recent years. To learn more about this program and what it is doing for both members and missionaries, the Ensign spoke with Robert H. Burton, director of the program, and Vernon Proctor, assistant director.
Ensign: Exactly what is the Family-to-Family Book of Mormon program?
Brother Burton: The Family-to-Family Book of Mormon program is designed to encourage members of the Church to strengthen their testimonies through daily study of the Book of Mormon and to share their testimonies in writing with neighbors and people throughout the world. Families or individuals provide funds to purchase copies of the Book of Mormon and write their testimonies regarding the truthfulness of the book. These testimonies, along with a photograph of the person or his family, are affixed to the inside front cover of each Book of Mormon, and the books are then distributed to friends and neighbors or to investigators and missionary contacts.
President Ezra Taft Benson has said that the Book of Mormon is the most powerful proselyting tool that we have. The program provides a wonderful way for more and more people to declare their testimony of the book to others.
Brother Proctor: For many years the prophets have told us we should all be missionaries. This program provides an excellent way to help us do this. Those who participate serve as a sort of absentee companion to the full-time missionaries and help them serve in a more effective and successful way.
Ensign: What are the goals of the program?
Brother Burton: Our goals are, first, to increase the testimony of members, and second, to convert nonmembers through these testimonies and through the Book of Mormon, which gives them a true and firm testimony of the Savior, of the divine calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and of the truthfulness of the restored Church.
A third goal is to increase the spirituality of both the family donating the Book of Mormon and the family receiving it. This also should increase the spirituality of the ward and stake involved.
One bishop told us that after his ward became very active in reading the Book of Mormon and in the Family-to-Family Book of Mormon program, he noticed a great increase in the unity and spirituality of the ward. Another member’s teenage son told his dad, “Something wonderful has happened to our ward.” He didn’t know what it was, but he could feel it.
Ensign: How do members participate?
Brother Burton: A member who wants to participate in the program should contact his ward mission leader. This leader will then help the member and his family prepare the material that goes with the book. First, they will write a testimony on paper about four by five inches.
The testimony should be brief—perhaps sixty-five words or less. It should include reference to the Book of Mormon and what it has meant to the family or the individual donating the book.
A clear, sharp photograph of the family or the individual may be placed above the testimony, while the donor’s name and address should appear at the bottom of the page. Those bearing their testimony may also invite those who read it to write and tell them how they enjoyed the book.
Brother Proctor: If the family or individual donor can’t provide a suitable photograph, the ward mission leader should help arrange to have one taken. He should then have the photo processed and screened for reproduction. Approximately two hundred copies of the photograph and written testimony could be printed for future use. These should be kept by the family or the ward mission leader until needed.
Copies of the Book of Mormon are purchased by funds donated by the individual member or family providing the testimonies.
Brother Burton: Testimonies can also be furnished to stake and full-time missionaries to be placed in books they distribute. I should note that books for the Utah North and Utah South missions are supplied by the stakes through the Family-to-Family Book of Mormon office.
One major goal of the program is to have individual stakes supply enough copies of the Book of Mormon, complete with written testimonies and photos, to supply the mission in which the stake is located. Surplus funds and expressions of testimonies should be sent through the ward mission leader or stake mission president to The Family-to-Family Book of Mormon Office, 430 West 400 North, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103.
We don’t encourage people to send copies of the books directly to the different missions. It’s more efficient for the books to be sent in bulk from distribution centers, with the testimony packets sent separately. The testimony sheets will then be attached to the inside cover of the books in the mission office.
Ensign: Is there any way members may learn if their testimonies have been favorably received?
Brother Burton: In each testimony packet three other items are included: a self-addressed envelope in which the recipient can send a letter to the donor, a small page of twenty-three questions that refer to passages in the Book of Mormon, and a self-addressed feedback card that missionaries can use to advise the donor of what the recipient did with the book.
Ensign: You mentioned that one of the goals of the program is to increase the testimonies of those who participate in it. How does the program do this?
Brother Burton: If a member’s testimony of the Book of Mormon isn’t as firm as he or she would like it to be, the Family-to-Family Book of Mormon program encourages the person to strengthen that testimony by reading the Book of Mormon daily, pondering its message, and praying for confirmation of its truthfulness. As is promised in the introduction to the Book of Mormon, “Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
It is important for families to immerse themselves in the Book of Mormon and develop solid testimonies for themselves, and then to share that testimony with others.
Ensign: How successful is the program?
Brother Proctor: We have many letters from those who have received copies of the Book of Mormon through the program. We find that when people read the personal testimonies of donors and see the photos in the front of the book, they become interested enough to read the book.
Brother Burton: Mission presidents have told us that the testimony-bearing copies of the Book of Mormon are much more effective than are uninscribed copies.
We know the success increases even more when the missionary makes an effort to explain the program as he presents a Book of Mormon to an investigator, and emphasizes the desire of the donor to share both the book and his family’s testimony.
[photo] Robert H. Burton, director (left), and Vernon Proctor, assistant director of the Family-to-Family Book of Mormon program.
Historic Hotel Utah to Close at End of August
“Historic Hotel Utah to Close at End of August,” Ensign, May 1987, 102
The First Presidency has announced plans to close the Church-owned Hotel Utah 31 August 1987. The hotel has been a landmark in downtown Salt Lake City for seventy-six years.
It is anticipated that over the next few years the hotel will be renovated and converted to an office building for various Church departments and Church affiliated organizations, many of which are presently located throughout the city. The planned interior remodeling will also include meetinghouse facilities with chapel, cultural hall, and classrooms to accommodate the urgent need for ward and stake facilities in the downtown Salt Lake City area. The use of space in the hotel structure will make unnecessary the building of a costly new meetinghouse in the area.
The hotel was completed in 1911 to meet the need for a first-class hostelry in the city. With the construction of a number of new hotels in the city, this need no longer exists, the First Presidency explained. They further explained that the planned conversion is consistent with the growth of the Church, the prudent use of Church resources, the long-range plan for the Church Administration block, and a long-term program under which the Church has withdrawn from competition with private business interests.
The immediate decision, it was noted, was prompted by the need to either make a substantial investment to update the hotel, in a market now adequately served, or to convert it to other uses.
In the conversion process, every feasible effort will be made to preserve the historical integrity and the impressive architecture of the hotel structure, including its lobby. Work is now going forward on the structure’s exterior restoration.
[photo] Hotel Utah
A Conversation about the Church Educational System
J. Elliot Cameron, “A Conversation about the Church Educational System,” Ensign, May 1987, 103–4
The Ensign spoke recently with J. Elliot Cameron, commissioner of Church education, to learn more about the Church’s worldwide role in both secular and religious education.
Ensign: How does the Church decide where to establish schools, and when to discontinue them?
Brother Cameron: In the past, whenever there were young people who didn’t have the opportunity to receive a basic education at the elementary or secondary school level, the Church has looked carefully at the possibility of establishing a school where there were a sufficient number of potential students to justify the action. Each of these schools has remained in operation as long as it has been supported by the parents and by the local Church members and until the local government has provided a school that offers the same educational opportunities. At that time, the Church removes itself from the secular school business in that community.
A few years ago we closed all the Church elementary schools in Mexico and South America. They were closed because the local governments were providing the basic educational programs and our schools were no longer necessary.
We’re continually evaluating the programs. Wherever we have eliminated the secular schools, we have always continued with a religious education program in the seminaries and institutes.
At the present time we operate seven elementary schools, thirteen middle schools, and nine secondary schools. These schools are currently located in Mexico, Kiribati, New Zealand, Tonga, and Western Samoa.
Ensign: The Church has an excellent seminary and institute program that does great good. Are there any changes projected for these two programs?
Brother Cameron: No. The primary function of seminaries and institutes is to build testimonies and establish a basic foundation in gospel principles for young people in their formative ages.
Ensign: What is happening with the seminary and institute program outside of the U.S.?
Brother Cameron: We now have seminaries and institutes located in seventy-two different nations and territories throughout the world. These programs are essentially religious instruction. The young people are usually instructed in one of three different ways. Where released time is available through the public education sector, we teach seminary on a released time basis. If released time is not available, we have an early morning program where the students attend seminary before their regular classes begin. We also have a home study program that allows a young person to study within his or her home environment. On one day each week or one day each month, depending on how far they have to travel, the home study students in a particular area meet together for a Saturday morning or afternoon class.
Ensign: What can you tell us about the goals and successes of the home study program abroad?
Brother Cameron: This last year about 59,000 young people were enrolled worldwide. We’ve heard many testimonies about the value of this program in their lives, particularly as it requires them to exercise personal initiative.
Ensign: We understand that the home study program has been dropped in England in favor of the early morning seminaries.
Brother Cameron: Yes. The priesthood leaders in each area ascertain the kind of instruction that will be available for their people. We have a stake board of education in every area where we have seminary and institute classes. Where daily instruction can be conducted, the positive impact on young people is much more effective.
Ensign: The Church has encouraged LDS youths to attend institute at nearby colleges or universities. How is this being accepted?
Brother Cameron: This last year, institutes of religion served in excess of 1,400 colleges and universities. We enrolled in institute of religion classes in excess of 135,000 students. Those are students who are not attending BYU, BYU—Hawaii, Ricks, or LDS Business College.
The institute of religion allows many young people to remain close to their families and at the same time receive a basic foundation and training in preparation for a mission.
Ensign: What things are considered in accepting a student to be enrolled at BYU? What priorities are considered?
Brother Cameron: The things that are considered are, first, worthiness and activity in the Church along with the grade point average of the student involved and that student’s performance on the American College Test. Recognizing that BYU cannot accommodate everybody who would like to attend, each year a determination is made of the number of freshmen who will be allowed to enroll and of the number of transfer students the school will accept.
Ensign: How do BYU and the other Church colleges compare academically with similar colleges?
Brother Cameron: Every college must go through an accreditation process to determine whether or not the school is doing what it says it is doing. All of our schools are fully accredited. This means their credits are accepted at similar colleges throughout the country.
Ensign: Some people ask the reasons the Church continues to operate BYU when there are many other colleges and universities members could attend.
Brother Cameron: BYU has been carefully evaluated by the Brethren now for more than a hundred years. When the school was founded in 1875, it was established as a personal school by Brigham Young. It was not operated as a part of the Church educational system until after the death of Brigham Young. Since that time, there have been numerous evaluations made as to whether or not BYU was essential to the Church and to the teaching of gospel principles and secular education. The decision has been made to maintain BYU as a place where young people of the Church can come together to take part in secular education within the gospel context and to prepare themselves to be successful in the world.
Ensign: Are there any plans to institute additional types of professional programs at BYU?
Brother Cameron: At the present time we’re looking to strengthen the programs that are already there. However, we are planning some changes. For example, at the moment there are very few outstanding or effective doctoral programs available in mathematics. The Church board of education has just recently approved a Ph.D. program in mathematics.
In the last few years we’ve eliminated sixty-two professional programs and added four. The programs we’ve added include a Ph.D. in music composition, and master’s programs in business management, engineering management, and social work. The university now offers a total of 220 undergraduate and 183 graduate degrees.
[photo] J. Elliot Cameron, commissioner of Church education
BYU—Hawaii President Inaugurated
“BYU—Hawaii President Inaugurated,” Ensign, May 1987, 104
Alton LaVar Wade was installed as the seventh president of Brigham Young University—Hawaii February 20 on the school’s campus in Laie.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, issued the inaugural charge. Other speakers included Bishop Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric; J. Elliott Cameron, commissioner of Church Education; and BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland. Elder L. Tom Perry, a member of the Council of the Twelve and of the board of trustees of BYU, offered the closing prayer.
“It is the responsibility of this institution to train those who come here to think with intellectual integrity, to act with moral responsibility, to stand as examples of men and women possessed of a great sense of service to their fellowmen,” said President Hinckley.
He charged President Wade to qualify students for productive lives by training their minds and hands. He directed him to cultivate within students the principles of morality and integrity and to create an environment in which students can grow in faith and gospel living.
“You have in this institution … a binding and compelling responsibility to build faith in God our Eternal Father, in his Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the great everlasting principles that have come to us through prophets, both ancient and modern,” he said.
In responding to the inaugural charge, President Wade said, “The weight of your charge rests heavily upon my shoulders and upon my mind. The strength to carry that weight is made possible only because of my conviction of the divine and prophetic destiny of this great institution. …”
He noted that the two thousand students currently enrolled at BYU—Hawaii include young men and women from thirty-eight countries who speak twenty-three different languages.
President Wade has directed BYU—Hawaii since mid-1986, when he was selected by the First Presidency to succeed J. Elliot Cameron as the school’s president.
He was formerly president of Dixie College in St. George, Utah, where he served from January 1981 to July 1986. Prior to that he served four and one-half years as zone administrator in the Church Educational System in the Pacific.
A native of Leamington, Utah, President Wade holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a doctoral degree in educational administration from BYU—Provo, as well as a master’s degree from California State College in Long Beach.
He is a member of the high council of the Laie, Hawaii Stake. His wife, Diana Daniels Wade, is president of the BYU Hawaii Stake Relief Society. They are the parents of eight children.
[photo] President Gordon B. Hinckley, left, with BYU—Hawaii President Alton L. Wade before inauguration ceremony. (Photo by Mark A. Philbrick, Church News.)
Saints in Hilo, Hawaii, Focus on Temple Work
“Saints in Hilo, Hawaii, Focus on Temple Work,” Ensign, May 1987, 105–6
At ninety-one, Brother Akima AhHee can recall the days when all Church talks and Sunday School lessons on the Big Island were given in Hawaiian. Today, almost all teaching is done in English, but the greeting, “Aloha,” continues to precede each sacrament talk.
The Big Island of Hawaii first became a stake on 15 December 1968. Today, the Hilo Hawaii Stake covers the eastern half of the island, stretching one hundred miles from north to south, and includes Ka’u Ward, the southernmost ward in the United States. The island maintains a rural atmosphere with a population numbering only 107,000. It boasts a land area of 4,034 square miles, which is more than twice the size of all the other Hawaiian Islands combined.
The Hilo stake now has seven wards and one branch to serve some 2,400 members. The Kona stake to the west has six wards and just under 2,200 members.
William Meyers, a stake patriarch, recalls his first days in the Church in 1940. “I became a branch president only a few months after my baptism. We noticed how adversity brought the Saints out in greater numbers. During the war the chapels were full. After the tidal wave of 1946 that destroyed so much of Hilo, there was another big return to activity.”
AhKui Aina, ninety, remembers well that tidal wave of 1946: “Our home was near the sea, and a huge wave came 150 feet inland, taking our home and little girl with it. We never found a trace of our little girl.” AhKui, now great-grandfather to seventy-eight great-grandchildren, has been no stranger to tragedy, but he insists, “My testimony of the gospel and temple work gives me hope and comfort.”
Temple work is an ever-recurring theme in the talks, firesides, and conversations of Hilo Stake members. When Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve set apart stake president Sanford K. Okura three years ago, he counseled him to concentrate on a few concerns rather than scattering efforts in many areas. Following that counsel, the stake has chosen temple worship as a major focus, believing that when spirituality increases, all other aspects of Church service also improve. This has apparently taken effect, as the number of convert baptisms in the stake in 1986 was 50 percent greater than in the previous year.
The Hawaii Temple is a 200-mile overseas flight from Hilo to Honolulu, and another hour by car to Laie. The airfare, car rental, and hotel costs are a considerable expense for the modest incomes of Hilo stake members. Yet some forty to fifty members travel together for a two- or three-day temple excursion almost every month.
Leroy Alip, the high council adviser on genealogy and temple work, exemplifies the dedication of the Hilo stake members. He rises at 3:30 every morning to deliver newspapers before going to his job as a County Parks and Recreation supervisor. “This extra income is earmarked solely for temple trips,” he explains. “This way we can go often without hurting the family budget.”
Because of that kind of commitment, temple president Arthur Haycock teases, “Hilo stake is wearing out our carpets!” In the last six months of 1986, Hilo members performed 1,423 endowments in addition to many baptisms and sealings for their own family file. The trend continues as the first three months of 1987 mark an increase of endowment work nearly four times that which was done by Hilo members in the first quarter of 1986.
Part of the reason for this increase in activity is the effort by stake and ward leaders to make sure a member’s first visit to the temple is a positive experience. For example, first-time temple patrons are accompanied on their special day by their priesthood leaders and friends. “Our desire is to help our members feel so much love and spirituality during their first temple experience that they will want to return again and again,” President Okura explains.
President Okura says that “in addition to the usual temple preparation seminars and interviews, members are prepared with counseling and firesides to lift them spiritually before and after their temple experience. Temple teachings are kept sacred, but the glorious possibilities of temple attendance are presented to enhance their understanding and enjoyment.”
Youth have also caught the spirit of genealogy and temple work. John McBride, second counselor in the stake presidency, said, “The young men and women are preparing for their Youth Conference this summer by researching their family lines and submitting names for temple ordinances. For this year’s conference we plan two days of temple baptisms—one day for family names and the other day for the usual temple file names.”
Geoliette Bargamento, a Laurel from the Ainaola Ward, said, “We are fasting and praying to keep ourselves worthy to enter the temple and to help in our research. Last year’s trip to the temple changed our lives. It’s hard to wait to be back in the temple again.”
Hilo stake members have found that temple attendance has many rewards, some very personal. President Kenneth Fuchigami, first counselor in the stake presidency, encourages members, “When you are besieged or depressed, run to the temple. Run in attitude when you cannot go in actuality.” A “temple attitude,” he says, sustains many members through difficult trials. Beatrice Toutai, whose 14-year-old son Salesi is battling bone cancer, says, “Receiving my endowment in January has given me a peace and spiritual strength I never thought possible.”
Allison Mayeda, secretary to the stake Young Women presidency, was baptized just a year ago. She had worked in several LDS homes. “I felt the spirit in those homes and started asking questions almost in spite of myself,” she says. Now after receiving her endowment she affirms, “This past year has been filled with challenges, but I’m so grateful because without those challenges I wouldn’t have been prepared to go to the temple.”
Members in Hilo frequently hug when they meet and express their love for one another. “We dream of the day when we can serve the Lord in a temple of our own right here on the Big Island,” says stake Relief Society president Daisy Naihe. “We know it is the place of highest learning, joining heaven and earth.”
Correspondent: Nancy Okura, stake public communications director for the Hilo Hawaii Stake.
[photos] Photography by Lawrence Nerveza
[photos] Members gather for Honomu Branch conference March 22 (left); the Relief Society at the Kileauea First Ward (upper right); scenic view of Mauna Kea (lower right).
[photos] Anna Toki teaches a Sunday School class (above). Keaau Ward Sunday School president Derek Kalima, Sr., (center) with his counselors Curtis Mia (left) and Anthony Arruda.
Policies and Announcements
“Policies and Announcements,” Ensign, May 1987, 106–8
The following items appeared in the 1987-1 Bulletin.
Birth Certificates for Missionary Candidates. As part of the recommendation process, each missionary should obtain a certified copy of his birth certificate. If he does not already have one, he should request one from the clerk of the county where he was born or from other appropriate government agencies (such as the department of vital statistics or department of health). He should specify that he needs a certified copy. By obtaining this certificate at the time of recommendation, the candidate can save considerable time in obtaining a visa and thus avoid frustrating delays in entering the mission field if he is assigned to a mission outside his own country. The candidate should keep the certificate and, if he is assigned to a mission outside his own country, use it in applying for a passport or visa according to the instructions received from Murdock Travel.
Advancement in the Young Women. Chronological age is the standard for advancement for young women. Advancement by birthday provides opportunities for individual attention and recognition. Advancement and progress of young women should be recognized by priesthood leaders, Young Women leaders, and parents.
As a young woman enters a class, she has opportunities to form friendships with young women who are older. During her time in that class, she also has opportunities to form friendships with those who are younger as they enter the class. Such experiences encourage independence as young women interact with a changing group and discourage the tendency that some young women have to limit their association to an established group.
Standards for Youth Activities. Youth leaders are to ensure that all activities planned for young men and young women comply with Church standards. Youth leaders have a responsibility to both the youth and the Lord to see that dress standards, music, movies, videocassettes, and other entertainment are in keeping with truth and righteousness.
Activities should be planned with a purpose—to help youth experience the joy of putting gospel principles to work in their lives. Appropriate activities enable youth to interact with each other; build relationships with friends, leaders, and parents; enjoy health; serve others; and exert an influence for righteousness.
Reduction in Costs. Priesthood and auxiliary leaders should help implement the following suggestions previously given to stake, mission, district, and branch presidents and bishops concerning reduction in costs:
“We are very anxious that the cost of participation in Church activities not become unduly burdensome to our members. There is concern lest some who are not able to meet these costs may withdraw themselves from full participation in the Church. Particularly the youth programs of the Church should be so managed that all of our young people may enjoy full participation.
“Local leaders in stakes and missions are … asked to carefully review their budgets together with those things not included in the budget that require donations of time or money from our members. Determine if some reduction in these costs may be made. Some less essential activities of the Church may have to be curtailed somewhat. These may include those activities that require extensive travel or frequent contributions from members.
“It is a time of great opportunity. We are anxious that we not falter in expanding the great missionary program of the Church, and in providing the needed buildings, including temples. In order to keep up with the costs of the essential activities of the Church, it will require wise and prudent management on the part of the local priesthood leaders. …
“Our members face increasing costs in providing food, clothing, shelter, and the other necessities of life for themselves and for their families. It is a time that will require very wise and prudent budgeting on the part of local leaders so that the cost of Church membership will not be burdensome to them.” (First Presidency letter, 2 May 1978.)
Use of Church Meetings and Facilities for Commercial Purposes. There is cause for concern in the increase in the number of Church units sponsoring or permitting meetings where lecturers are paid a fee to give instruction on time management, interpersonal relationships, and so forth. (This concern does not apply to approved programs of the Church Educational System or officially approved activities.)
Church meetings, classes, and facilities are to be used solely for the purpose of worship, religious training, or programmed activities of the Church.
These meetings and facilities are not to be used to promote business ventures or investment enterprises. Commercial activities for the purpose of making profit by selling products or services or by demonstrating wares in Church classes are out of harmony with the purpose of religious meetings.
Stake presidents, bishops, and priesthood quorum and auxiliary presidents should accept, endorse, or promote only those services or activities specifically approved by the Church in official correspondence and publications.
Copying Commercial Crafts, Patterns, or Other Items. Do not copy, trace, or sell patterns, crafts, kits, or other items from commercial stores, magazines, or books without the written permission of the copyright holder. Modification of these items also infringes on the protection offered the owners of the copyright by law.
Family Home Evening Resource Book. The Family Home Evening Resource Book (PBHT5197), introduced in January 1984, is a continuing resource to help families conduct their weekly family home evenings. It also contains excellent suggestions for building a strong family and numerous ideas for family activities.
Bishoprics and Melchizedek Priesthood quorum leaders should see that a copy of the Family Home Evening Resource Book is provided for each family in the ward. Following are some suggestions for encouraging its use:
1. See that all new convert families are taught about family home evening and the resource book at the time of their baptism, or before.
2. Teach all less-active families the value of family home evening and provide them a copy of the book.
3. Ask home teachers to teach their assigned families about family home evening and to encourage them to use the resource book.
4. In priesthood quorum meetings, sacrament meetings, and other appropriate settings, encourage members to use the Family Home Evening Resource Book.
5. Set a personal example by holding a weekly family home evening and by using the resource book.
The following items appeared in the 1987-2 Bulletin.
Bounce Back Audiocassette. The Bounce Back audiocassette (VVOT3436; $1.00 each) that the Church offered last year for use in public service television announcements and for member, missionary, and media purposes is available now at the Salt Lake Distribution Center. This twenty-minute audiocassette includes music, humor, and ten helpful ideas to help people cope with life’s disappointments and adversities.
Full-time missionaries may use this audiocassette in finding activities to help build trust, generate interest, and prepare people to hear the first discussion.
Members may use this audiocassette in finding and friendshipping activities to lead into gospel discussions, helping nonmembers understand that the gospel of Jesus Christ can provide solutions to life’s problems.
Home teachers and visiting teachers may use this audiocassette in activation efforts.
Stake mission presidencies and ward mission leaders may plan finding and friendshipping activities using this audiocassette.
Referrals. The most productive referrals are to nonmembers who have expressed a willingness to have the missionaries visit them. When the nonmember has not expressed this willingness, the missionaries are rarely able to teach the gospel. Therefore, referrals should be forwarded to the missionaries only if the nonmembers have explicitly agreed to be visited. (This procedure does not change policies on friendshipping or on tracting and other types of normal missionary contacts.)
Relief Society—A Blessing for Every Woman. The brochure Relief Society: A Blessing for Every Woman, which is available in English (PXRS4567; $.10 each), is now available in Spanish (PXRS4567SP; $.10 each) at the Salt Lake Distribution Center. The purposes of the brochure are to explain the mission of Relief Society, to build testimonies, and to strengthen the individual and families. It could be useful in teaching both members and nonmembers at special events such as missionary open houses, welcoming new members, Relief Society anniversary celebrations, teaching open houses, and other meetings where information about the work of Relief Society might be helpful.
Music Copyright Violations. Published music protected by copyright notices other than the Church, including some hymns from the hymnbook (numbers 15, 54, 82, 124, 143, 219, 284, 296, 323, 324), must not be copied without written permission from the publisher or copyright owners (unless otherwise noted). Permission to use hymns in the hymnbook could be withdrawn, or the Church, including the ward and the stake, could face legal action if these instructions are not heeded.
Restrictive copyright notices in the hymnbook should not be interpreted as encouragement to contact the copyright owners. The original permission obtained by the Church to place these hymns in the Church hymnbook included the agreement that these hymns would not be copied by the stakes and wards or for home use.
Bible Lands Photo, Map Book Offered
“ Bible Lands Photo, Map Book Offered,” Ensign, May 1987, 108
Bible Lands, a 128-page book containing photographs, maps, and commentary about the Holy Land and Egypt, will be available in April from the Salt Lake Distribution Center.
The many full-color photographs include beautiful scenic aerial and ground views, as well as sixteen pages of panoramic views taken from manned space shuttles. The space shuttle photos encompass large geographic areas and place biblical landmarks in modern perspective.
Detailed maps show early boundaries and accurately locate both historical and modern sites.
In addition to identifying many biblical sites, the book provides references to related scriptures. Bible Lands is intended as a companion guide to aid scripture studies at church or at home.
The book helps illustrate the relationship between the teachings in the Bible and the land that was the setting for biblical events. An alphabetical index provides access to the name of every significant site mentioned in the book.
Bible Lands (stock no. PBIC0562) is $10.50.
Family Home Evening Video Available
“Family Home Evening Video Available,” Ensign, May 1987, 108–9
The Church is now offering a new Family Home Evening Video Supplement to help members enrich their family home evening lessons.
The videocassette consists of nineteen vignettes treating specific gospel topics. Each short episode is cross-referenced to lessons in the Family Home Evening Resource Book. The two-hour tape is available in both VHS and Beta format and is closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired.
The vignettes range from two to eleven minutes in length. They were created using excerpts from general conferences, satellite broadcasts, and Church movies and filmstrips. Among the topics covered are the importance of scriptures, how to use the LDS scripture study aids, following the Spirit, honesty, repentance, and other subjects.
The videocassette provides material for people of all ages. Included with the tape are suggestions for its use to supplement family home evening lessons and to stimulate meaningful discussions.
The Family Home Evening Video Supplement is available from the Salt Lake Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104, USA, at a cost of $8.00 per tape (stock number VNVV2764 for VHS, and VNVB2763 for Beta).
“Appointments,” Ensign, May 1987, 109–11
Elder F. Enzio Busche of the First Quorum of the Seventy has been called as president of the nearly completed Frankfurt Germany Temple. His wife, Jutta Baum Busche, will serve as matron. President Busche has been a General Authority of the Church since 1977. He is a native of Germany, and he and his wife joined the Church there in 1958.
Lubbock Texas and Oklahoma City Oklahoma regions, Charles M. Alexander, general contractor, former mission president, stake high councilor.
Paysandu Uruguay and Rivera Uruguay regions, Hugo W. Arostegui, hospital administrator, former stake president.
Davao Philippines Region, Ananias Panganiban Bala, area manager, former stake president.
Spanish Fork Utah and Payson Utah regions, Ralph O. Bradley, company owner, former stake president, mission president.
Brigham Young University Second Region, Monte J. Brough, asset manager, former bishop and mission president and former executive secretary to an area presidency.
Manti Utah and Fillmore Utah regions, C. Max Caldwell, university professor, former mission president, counselor in a stake presidency.
Price Utah, Castle Dale Utah, and Moab Utah regions, Lyle J. Cooper, area manager for LDS Social Services, former stake president, stake patriarch.
Long Beach California and Los Angeles California regions, Vern Orvel Curtis, chairman and president of a restaurant company, former counselor in a stake presidency.
Santa Barbara California and San Fernando Valley California regions, Wilford Lynn Dredge, city manager, former stake president.
Charlotte North Carolina and Raleigh North Carolina regions, Alvie Ransom Evans, Sr., real estate developer, former stake president.
Las Vegas Nevada North and Las Vegas Nevada East regions, W. Darrell Foote, university professor, former stake president.
Guadalajara Mexico and San Luis Potosi Mexico regions, Gustavo Ramos Godinez, school administrator, former stake president.
Anaheim California and Santa Ana California regions, William Richard Gould, utility company chairman, former stake president.
Orem Utah West and Orem Utah South regions, L. Dale Hawks, company vice-president, former mission president, stake president.
Provo Utah Edgemont and Provo Utah North regions, Niles W. Herrod, oral-maxillofacial surgeon, former stake president.
San Bernardino California and Riverside California regions, Gerald B. Iba, radiologist, former stake president.
Richfield Utah and Panguitch Utah regions, John Anderson Larsen, high school principal, former mission president, stake president.
Kaohsiung Taiwan and Taipei Taiwan regions, Ch’un Hau Liu, temple recorder, former stake president.
Joao Pessoa Brazil Region, Jose Orlando Lemos, banker, former stake president.
Flagstaff Arizona and St. Johns Arizona regions, John H. Lyons, attorney, former stake president.
Osaka Japan and Nagoya Japan regions, Haruyoshi Nakamura, company director, former stake president.
Cottonwood Utah and Murray Utah regions, Dale George Newbold, communications company division director, former stake president.
Austin Texas, Corpus Christi Texas, and San Antonio Texas regions, Alfred Ray Otte, association senior vice-president and controller, former stake president.
American Fork Utah and Timpanogos Utah regions, F. David Stanley, construction company vice-president, former stake president.
The First Presidency has called additional new mission presidents to begin serving in 1987.
Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, is a native of Japan and has served as a General Authority of the Church since 1977. He will preside over the Hawaii Honolulu Mission. He has served in the Utah North Area presidency and as a managing director in the Temple Department. He has been a stake president and branch president. Toshiko, his wife, will assist him in his new assignment.
Howard K. Barlow, an insurance and tax planning executive and a native of Tremonton, Utah, will preside over the Idaho Boise Mission. He has served as a bishop, stake president’s counselor, and regional welfare agent. He will be accompanied by his wife, Dell-Marie.
Bernard J. Barnes, a native of Seattle, Washington, is a senior partner in a law firm. He has served as a bishop and stake president. He will preside over the Michigan Lansing Mission. His wife, Frances, will accompany him.
Harry Blundell, a retired power company president, is a native of Salt Lake City. He will preside over the California Fresno Mission. President Blundell has served as a bishop and a member of a stake presidency. He will be accompanied by his wife, Beverly.
Richard Christensen was reared in Payson, Utah, and is an executive of a securities firm. He has served as a bishop and stake high councilor. He will preside over the New York Rochester Mission, accompanied by his wife, Diane.
Robert E. Coates, a Phoenix, Arizona, native, is director of operations at a major airport. President Coates will preside over the Florida Ft. Lauderdale Mission. He has served as a bishop, branch president, and district president. Dorothy, his wife, will accompany him.
Andrew J. Day II, a native of Huntington Park, California, is a retired businessman who has recently been working for the Church’s Temple Department. He will preside over the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission, accompanied by his wife, Lorraine.
Nelson de Genaro, a native of Brazil, is in the book and toy business. He will preside over the Brazil Sao Paulo South Mission. President de Genaro has served as a stake president and regional representative. His wife, Irani, will accompany him.
Leo L. Douglas, a Salt Lake City native and a distributing firm owner, has been called to preside over the California San Jose Mission. He has served as a bishop and stake high councilor. Barbara, his wife, will accompany him in the mission field.
Dale L. Dransfield, a retired businessman and a native of Ogden, Utah, will preside over the Pennsylvania Harrisburg Mission. He has served as a stake president’s counselor and mission president’s counselor. He will be accompanied in the mission field by his wife, Peggy.
Juan Castro Duque, a native of Chile, is a real estate manager for the Church. President Castro Duque will preside over the Chile Osorno Mission. He has served as a stake president and regional representative. His wife, Gracia, will accompany him in his new assignment.
Dale L. Gardner, a native of Deweyville, Utah, is a director of a college activities center. He has served as a bishop and stake president. He will preside over the Kentucky Louisville Mission, accompanied by his wife, JoAnne.
Robert H. Garff, a native of Salt Lake City, is president and general manager of an automobile dealership. He has served as a bishop and stake president. His wife, Katharine, will accompany him as he presides over the England Coventry Mission.
Arnold B. Gilbert, a physician, is a native of Yost, Utah. He has served as a stake president and regional representative. President Gilbert will preside over the Ohio Columbus Mission. Janet, his wife, will accompany him in his new responsibilities.
George F. Hilton is an eye surgeon from Lafayette, California. He has served the Church as a branch president and stake high councilor. Accompanied by his wife, Yvonne, President Hilton will preside over the Tahiti Papeete Mission.
Gareth B. Homer is a retired electrical engineer and a native of Idaho Falls, Idaho. He has served as a bishop and stake president’s counselor. He is presiding over the Michigan Dearborn Mission, accompanied by his wife, Maurine.
Jovencio Cabezas Ilagan is a data processing manager in the Philippines. He has served as a bishop, branch president, and regional representative. Zenaida, his wife, will accompany him as he presides over the Philippines Davao Mission.
Lawrence H. Lee, a native of Santaquin, Utah, recently retired as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of a major airline company. He has served as a bishop and stake high councilor. He and his wife, Marjorie, have been serving as missionaries in London. She will accompany him in his new assignment as president of the England Leeds Mission.
Tomas F. Lindheimer, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been serving as director of temporal affairs for the Church in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. President Lindheimer will preside over the Argentina Cordoba Mission. He has served as a bishop and stake president. He will be accompanied by his wife, Pilar.
Mario A. Lopez, a native of Guatemala, is employed in the Central America area office of the Church. He has served as a stake president and regional representative. He will preside over the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission, accompanied by his wife, Frida.
T. Dean McCook, president and owner of a boiler and pump company, has been called to preside over the Portugal Lisbon Mission. He is a native of Tempe, Arizona. He has served as a ward executive secretary and stake high councilor. His wife, Jolinda, will accompany him in the mission field.
Steven R. Mecham, a Salt Lake City native, is assistant superintendent of a county school system. He has served as a bishop and stake high councilor. President Mecham will preside over the Finland Helsinki Mission. His wife, Donna, will accompany him.
Samuel Lara Del Moral, a native of Mexico, is a businessman in Mexico City. He has served as a stake president and stake high councilor. President Lara, accompanied by his wife, Lydia, will preside over the Mexico Mazatlan Mission.
Yasuo Niiyama, a native of Japan, is a self-employed businessman. He has served as a branch president and stake president. Accompanied by his wife, Tomiko, he will preside over the Japan Sendai Mission.
Servando Rojas Ornelas, a native of Mexico and a bank officer, will preside over the Mexico Mexico City North Mission. He has served as a stake president and regional representative. His wife, Blanca, will accompany him in his new calling.
Mark A. Peterson, a Brigham Young University professor, is a native of West Jordan, Utah. He has served the Church as a bishop and stake high councilor. Accompanied by his wife, Randy, he will preside over the Korea Pusan Mission.
James E. Rasband, a native of Washington, D.C., is a physician. He has served as a bishop and stake high councilor. President Rasband will preside over the Canada Montreal Mission. His wife, Ester, will accompany him.
C. Elliott Richards, a native of Salt Lake City, is a pediatrician. He has served as a bishop, stake high councilor, and Temple Square guide. His wife, Margaret, will accompany him in his new assignment as president of the Philippines Cebu East Mission.
Jorge Leano Rodriguez is a native of Bolivia and a retired bank executive. He has served as a regional representative and as a stake, district, and branch president. He will preside over the Colombia Cali Mission, accompanied by his wife, Zorka.
Elmo B. Shirts is a retired educator and a native of Longview, Washington. He has served as a bishop, branch president, and executive secretary to the Mexico/Central America Area presidency. He will preside over the California Los Angeles Mission, accompanied by his wife, Marla.
Glen L. Slight, a Salt Lake City native, is a high school teacher. He has served the Church as a bishop, stake high councilor, and member of the General Activities Committee. His wife, Marian, will accompany him in his new duties as president of the Peru Lima South Mission.
Reed C. Snow, a dentist, is a native of Fair Oaks, California. He has served as a bishop and stake president’s counselor. President Snow will preside over the South Africa Cape Town Mission. He will be accompanied by his wife, LaNae.
Gary Sorensen, a native of Hyrum, Utah, is a general contractor. He has served the Church as a bishop and counselor to a stake president. Assisted by his wife, Elayne, he will preside over the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo Mission.
Nile A. Sorenson, a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a native of Heyburn, Idaho, has been called as president of the Colorado Denver Mission. He has served as a stake president and regional representative. He will be accompanied by his wife, Charlene.
John H. Tanner, a company president, is a native of Joseph City, Arizona. He has served as a stake high councilor and regional representative. His wife, Bobbie, will accompany him as he presides over the Florida Tallahassee Mission.
Gerald L. Thompson, a native of Brigham City, Utah, owns an insurance brokerage firm. He has served as a bishop and stake president. President Thompson will preside over the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission. He will be accompanied in his new assignment by his wife, Ann.
J. Ballard Washburn, a physician, is a native of Blanding, Utah. He has served as a stake president and regional representative. He will preside over the Arizona Phoenix Mission, accompanied by his wife, Barbara.
“LDS Scene,” Ensign, May 1987, 111–12
Nearly seven thousand members from one stake and seven districts gathered in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic February 22 for the country’s first regional conference. The conference was held under the direction of President Howard W. Hunter, Acting President of the Council of the Twelve, and Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, also of the Council of the Twelve. Some members traveled up to five hours to attend the meeting.
Members of the Shatin Ward, Hong Kong Kowloon North Stake, recently produced a show, titled “First Contact,” for their community. The show illustrated gospel principles in song for more than two hundred members and their nonmember guests.
Three members of the Adana Servicemen’s Branch in Turkey were recognized at an annual awards presentation at the Incirlik Air Base. Primary teacher Mark Harper, a security police officer and dog handler, was named Airman of the Year. Branch President John W. Perkins, a senior master sergeant, was named First Sergeant of the Year, and Sunday School president Joseph Thornton, a captain who heads the 7005th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, was commander of the Outstanding Small Unit of the Year.
Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, had a record number of students enrolled for Spring semester. The 6,597 students attending the Church-owned college during the semester is 179 more than the previous spring record set in 1986, when 6,418 students were enrolled. Jim Gee, assistant academic vice-president for support services, said spring enrollment is typically lower than fall semester; last fall a record 6,931 students were enrolled at the college.
Fifty young women of the Santiago Los Condes Stake in Santiago, Chile, recently received commendation from the mayor of Baloto, a nearby community. As a service project, the young women spent their vacation cleaning and painting the city plaza, and planting thirty trees there.
Heather Benson Sandstrom, public communications director of the Boston Massachusetts Stake, recently participated on a talk show panel discussing the pros and cons of having children. The program on which she appeared, “People Are Talking,” is the top-rated talk show in New England on WBZ-TV. As the only panelist who favored having children, she was selected because of the Church’s pro-family attitude.
President James W. Ritchie of the Virginia Roanoke Mission, along with a number of missionaries, presented 150 personalized copies of the Book of Mormon to members of the state legislature. The governor and every senator and member of the House of Delegates received a copy. Each book carried an inscription of appreciation from the LDS people of Virginia for the legislators’ efforts to make the state a wholesome place in which to live and rear families. Personal testimonies of the Book of Mormon were included in each book.
Radio and television documentaries produced by the Church have won three 1986 Silver Angel awards in national competition sponsored by Religion in Media. Religion in Media is an international, interdenominational organization which honors “great social and/or moral impact” in the media each year. The Church’s two television awards were for public affairs documentaries on the evils of pornography and gambling. In the radio competition, the Silver Angel was awarded for a public affairs program on the principle of fasting.
More than 1,100 visitors toured the East Taipei stake center in Taipei, Taiwan, during a two-week open house. Visitors viewed displays on the life of Christ, the purpose of life, and the restored Church. Choirs also performed, and more than fifty members served as tour guides during the open house. More than a hundred copies of the Book of Mormon were distributed.
Four of the seven speakers at a “Family in Focus” series at North Lake College in Irving, Texas, were Latter-day Saints. The series was strongly supported by ministers and professional counselors. The organizer of the series visited BYU’s Family and Demographic Research Institute and scheduled the speakers.
A group of youth from the Brasilia Alvorada Stake, who are representative of the many members who travel long distances to perform ordinance work at the Sao Paulo Temple in Brazil, learned that they had performed the one millionth vicarious ordinance of the temple during a recent Saturday session. The temple, which is busiest on Saturdays, was dedicated 30 October 1978.
Thirty-seven youths from the San Rafael Branch in San Rafael, Argentina, spent two days of their school vacation canvassing the community and distributing pamphlets about the Church. As a direct result, thirteen people were baptized the following month.
This year, four missionaries set up a booth at the annual “Bande Dessiner” festival in Angouleme, France, and distributed copies of the Church’s illustrated children’s versions of the standard works. The festival features illustrated books of all kinds. The missionaries received a number of referrals as a result of their efforts.
More than eleven thousand people viewed the New Zealand Temple Pageant in Hamilton, New Zealand, recently. Some five thousand nonmembers toured the visitors’ center. Seven hundred members participated in the three-evening pageant, which tells of the visit of the Savior to the New World. Attending from the First Quorum of the Seventy were Elder Robert L. Simpson, a former president of the Pacific Area, and Elders John Sonnenberg and F. Arthur Kay of the Pacific Area presidency.
Roger Scott Johnson, a 25-year-old graduate student in Cambridge, Massachusetts, saw an elderly woman fall into the icy Charles River as he was jogging by. He dove in and kept her afloat for ten minutes until they were both rescued. “I really believed that we would be protected and that help would be coming soon,” said Johnson, who with his wife and young daughter are members of the Cambridge First Ward, Boston Massachusetts Stake.
Church members and missionaries escaped injuries in the earthquakes that struck Guayaquil, Ecuador, March 5–6. Church facilities were not damaged, although an estimated five hundred quakes occurred during the night, preventing most people from sleeping. The Church offices in Quito were closed the following day.^ Back to top