News of the Church


New Supervisory Program for Missions and Regions

In a move designed to better serve the rapidly growing worldwide Church membership, the First Presidency recently announced a major new supervisory program. The program increases the number of Regional Representatives of the Council of the Twelve and creates a new position known as Mission Representative of the Council of the Twelve and of the First Council of the Seventy.

Speaking at the mission presidents seminar just three days prior to his passing, President Joseph Fielding Smith announced that “hereafter, Regional Representatives of the Twelve will go into the mission districts as they have been going into the stakes” to help “increase the activity and strengthen the faith of those who are members of the Church.

“Mission Representatives of the Twelve and Seventy will be sent to assist you in training and otherwise increasing the effectiveness of the missionaries,” he said.

This is the basic outline of the new program:

1. Supervisory responsibilities for teaching and training members have been assigned to Regional Representatives. Supervisory responsibilities for training how to proselyte nonmembers has been assigned to Mission Representatives.

2. The First Council of the Seventy has been assigned additional administrative responsibility for giving proselyting leadership throughout the Church.

3. Regional Representatives will work not only with all of the stakes, as they have heretofore done, but also with organized districts in the missions in order to bring to all members the complete Church program. This new arrangement now provides an opportunity for training and leadership opportunities to be given to members everywhere in the world. To accomplish these ends, 36 new Regional Representatives have been called, bringing the total number to 108. A new division of stakes and missions into 240 regions has also been made.

4. The creation of Mission Representatives means that proselyting training in stakes and missions will be supervised by experienced leaders in order to bring to all missionaries, both stake and mission, the best in proselyting counsel. Twenty-nine Mission Representatives were called, four of whom also serve as Regional Representatives.

Thus, missions of the Church and regions where full-time missionary efforts are conducted will be supervised by both a Mission Representative, who will work with proselyting activities, and a Regional Representative, who will work with and train the leadership of the organized branches and districts.

President Smith also announced that the new program calls for discontinuance of the supervision of specific areas of the world by members of the Twelve and other General Authorities. “You mission presidents,” he said, “may expect the brethren of the Twelve to visit you periodically, but not in the capacity of area directors as has been the case in the past.”

The Council of the Twelve as a whole will continue to serve as the missionary committee of the Church, under the direction of the First Presidency. President Spencer W. Kimball and Elders Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve serve as the executive committee. Under the direction of this executive committee, members of the First Council of the Seventy now give leadership and assistance to proselyting throughout the world.

In discussing the need for the new supervisory organization, the First Presidency pointed out that in the past twelve years (1960–72) the membership of the Church has increased 94 percent, to the present total of nearly 3.1 million.

The increases for various parts of the world include 1100 percent in South America, 948 percent in Central America, 751 percent in Asia, and 50 percent in the United States. Growth outside the United States has increased an average of 250 percent for the twelve-year period.

President N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency stated, “And we have no doubt that our membership total will double in the next ten years.”

Thus, with the Church’s population expected to double every ten years, the need for supervising and training leaders, members, and missionaries becomes paramount.

In announcing the names of the new Regional Representatives and Mission Representatives, many changes in assignment were made for Regional Representatives who are already serving. Of special interest, in light of the growing international membership of the Church, three new Regional Representatives are from Mexico, two are from England, and one each is from Samoa, Brazil, Tahiti, and the Netherlands. In addition, eight of the Mission Representatives live in the areas of their assignments: one each in Germany, Belgium, Uruguay, Guatemala, and Canada and three in areas of the Pacific.

New Regional Representatives and their assignments are:

Rulon Craven, Orem, Utah—Calgary and Lethbridge regions.

Arthur S. Anderson, Salt Lake City—St. Louis and Winter Quarters regions.

Dale T. Tingey, Provo, Utah—regions in the Northern and Southwest Indian missions.

Roy W. Doxey, Provo—Bear Lake and Wyoming regions.

James D. Pratt, North Hollywood, California—St. Johns and Flagstaff regions.

Richard G. Scott, Bethesda, Maryland—Montevideo Region and Uruguay-Paraguay Mission.

Joseph Hamstead, Purley, Surrey, England—Sunderland and Scotland regions and Ireland Mission.

O. Leslie Stone, Salt Lake City—Hawaii and Oahu regions.

Percy J. Rivers, Apia, Samoa—Samoa Region.

George R. Hill, Washington, D.C.—New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh regions.

Peter J. Morley, Heaton Moor, Stockport, England—London and Transvaal regions and England Southwest and South Africa missions.

Spencer J. Palmer, Provo—Southeast Asia and Philippines missions.

W. Brent Hardy, Las Vegas, Nevada—Hong Kong and Taiwan missions.

Robert H. Slover, Provo—Korea Mission and Sandy Region.

Smith B. Griffin, Paris, France—France, France-Belgium, and France-Switzerland missions.

A. Kenyon Wagner, Mexico City—Monterrey and Tampico regions and Mexico North Mission.

Antonio D. Camargo, Sao Paulo, Brazil—Curitiba Region and Brazil South Mission.

Mark B. Weed, Wilmington, Delaware—Cumorah and New York regions.

Richard B. Sonne, Palo Alto, California—Sacramento and Sacramento North regions.

Leavitt Christensen, San Pedro, California—Italy North and Italy South missions.

Karl M. Richards, Papeete, Tahiti—French Polynesia Mission and Tahiti Stake.

Robert E. Wells, Salt Lake City—Mexico Southeast Mission.

Arturo R. Martinez, Sandy, Utah—Mexico West and Mexico North Central missions.

G. Carlos Smith, Salt Lake City—Moab and Uintah Basin regions.

Jacob de Jager, Mijmagen, Netherlands—Holland Region and Spain Mission.

E. Wilford Edman, Salt Lake City—Oakland and Walnut Creek regions.

E. LeRoy Hatch, Colonia Juarez, Mexico—Mexico City Region and Mexico, Mexico North Central, and Mexico West missions.

Samuel Boren, Mesa, Arizona—Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela missions.

Dean L. Larsen, Kaysville, Utah—Chile Mission.

Robert H. Burton, Salt Lake City—Lima Region and Andes-Peru and Bolivia missions.

Douglas H. Smith, Salt Lake City—Blackfoot and Fresno regions.

James M. Paramore, Orem, Utah—Jordan Region.

In addition to the new appointees, 35 other Regional Representatives received new or revised assignments.

The new Mission Representatives and their assignments are:

Paul C. Andrus, Honolulu, Hawaii—Japan, Japan East, and Korea missions.

Robert B. Arnold, Guatemala City—Central America, Colombia, Guatemala-El Salvador, and Venezuela missions.

James P. Christensen, Nuku‘alofa, Tonga—Fiji and Tonga missions.

David G. Clark, Northridge, California—Italy North, Italy South, and Spain missions.

Gene R. Cook, Bountiful, Utah—Mexico, Mexico Southeast, and Mexico West missions.

Stephen R. Covey, Provo, Utah—Cumorah, Delaware-Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania missions.

Stewart A. Durrant, Salt Lake City—Alberta-Saskatchewan, Colorado-New Mexico, Montana-Wyoming, Northern Indian, Oklahoma, and Southwest Indian missions.

Keith E. Garner, Portola Valley, California—Hong Kong, Philippines, and Southeast Asia missions.

Orville C. Gunther, American Fork, Utah—Germany Central, Germany North, and Germany West missions.

Clifton I. Johnson, Walmley, England—England North, Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa missions.

William N. Jones, Salt Lake City—Andes-Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Ecuador missions.

Walter H. Kindt, Dusseldorf, Germany—Austria, Germany South, and Switzerland missions.

Allen E. Litster, Salt Lake City—Argentina East, Argentina North, Argentina South, and Uruguay-Paraguay missions.

Edward Y. Okazaki, Denver, Colorado—Japan Central, Japan West, and Taiwan missions.

Hershel Noel Pedersen, American Fork, Utah—Arizona, California, California East, and California South missions.

Don H. Rasmussen, Salt Lake City—Alabama-Florida, Florida South, Georgia-South Carolina, Indiana-Michigan, Kentucky-Tennessee, and North Carolina-Virginia missions.

J. Murray Rawson, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida—England Central, England East, England South, and England Southwest missions.

Phillip G. Redd, Denver, Colorado—Gulf States, Kansas-Missouri, Manitoba-Minnesota, Nauvoo, and Northern States missions.

Sidney F. Sager, Angleur, Belgium—France, France-Belgium, France-Switzerland, and Netherlands missions.

Reginald Wayne Shute, Oahu, Hawaii—Hawaii, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, and Samoa missions.

Milton E. Smith, Salt Lake City—Mexico North, Mexico North Central, Texas North, and Texas South missions.

Asael T. Sorensen, Montevideo, Uruguay—Brazil North, Brazil North Central, Brazil South, and Brazil South Central missions.

Thomas R. Stone, Modesto, California—Australia East, Australia South, Australia West, and French Polynesia missions.

Gary Ursenbach, Calgary, Alberta, Canada—Eastern States, New England, Ontario, and Quebec missions.

Clark M. Wood, Tempe, Arizona—Alaska-British Columbia, California Central, California North, Oregon, and Washington missions.

The four Regional Representatives who will also serve as Mission Representatives are:

Don L. Christensen, Bountiful, Utah—Denmark Mission.

Reid Johnson, Salt Lake City—Sweden Mission.

Dean A. Peterson, Provo, Utah—Norway Mission.

Phileon B. Robinson, Jr., Provo, Utah—Finland Mission.

Canada

11

Stakes

33,350

Members

5

Missions

21,333

Members

54,683

Members

United States

492

Stakes

2,053,459

Members

34

Missions

80,299

Members

2,133,758

Members

Mexico

7

Stakes

19,617

Members

5

Missions

61,707

Members

81,324

Members

Central America

1

Stakes

4,894

Members

4

Missions

27,590

Members

32,484

Members

South America

9

Stakes

32,686

Members

12

Missions

85,688

Members

118,374

Members

Great Britain

9

Stakes

31,076

Members

8

Missions

40,339

Members

71,415

Members

Europe

6

Stakes

14,111

Members

17

Missions

53,909

Members

68,020

Members

Asia

1

Stakes

5,018

Members

9

Missions

39,036

Members

44,054

Members

South Pacific

31

Stakes

68,043

Members

10

Missions

32,307

Members

100,350

Members

MIA Leaders Instructed at June Conference Sessions

Thousands of regional, stake, mission, and district MIA leaders gathered in Salt Lake City June 22–25 for the annual June Conference sessions.

Pre-conference activities began Thursday, June 22, with camp instruction for YWMIA leaders in the Salt Palace. That evening, at the Master M Man-Golden Gleaner banquet, some 1,600 persons witnessed the presentation of the 1972 honorary Master M Man award to Casey Golightly, president of the San Antonio (Texas) Stake, and the honorary Golden Gleaner award to Betty Herb, YWMIA leader in the Augsburg (Germany) Branch.

At the Friday morning general session, held for the first time in the air-conditioned Salt Palace Arena, the 1972–73 MIA theme was introduced: “And if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” (D&C 14:7.) This theme will be repeated each MIA night during the coming year in thousands of wards and branches throughout the Church.

“House Talk,” this year’s parent and youth program, was presented in the Friday afternoon general session. First presented in 1964, it has been revised with additional music for 1972–73.

On Saturday, June 24, the MIA leaders dispersed to more than twenty department sessions in buildings throughout Salt Lake Valley for instruction and guidance in their respective MIA callings.

Two departments featured special presentations: In the athletic department, the Homer C. “Pug” Warner award, given annually to an outstanding leader in YMMIA athletics, was awarded to Jesse A. Pease, finance clerk of the Thatcher Ward, St. Joseph (Arizona) Stake. And in the Scout department, Troop 360 of the San Marino Ward of the Pasadena (California) Stake was honored as the top Scout troop in the Church.

Cultural events of the conference included performances of the musical Carousel, presented by the M Men and Gleaners of the University Second Stake in Salt Lake City; “Sing a New Song,” the music festival, which featured a 4,000-voice chorus and the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus performing original compositions by sixteen Latter-day Saint composers; a one-act play festival, and roadshows.

At the Sunday morning session, conducted under the direction of the First Presidency in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, President Joseph Fielding Smith expressed appreciation for “the many wholesome activities that are prepared for the youth of the Church.”

President Harold B. Lee announced that hereafter titles of the heads of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association and Sunday School on all levels—general, stake, and ward—will be changed from superintendent to president, and that the assistants will be known as counselors. Tracing the history of the titles, he observed that the terms superintendent and president had both been used in the past. He noted that President Brigham Young, in organizing the YMMIA in 1875, instructed the young men, “You should have a president and two counselors.”

At the Sunday morning session, Elder George R. Hill, who has been serving in the YMMIA general presidency since 1967, was released, and Elder Robert L. Backman was sustained as a counselor to YMMIA General President W. Jay Eldredge.

Elder Hill, who has been called as a Regional Representative of the Twelve, has accepted a new position as director of the U.S. Office of Coal Research in Washington, D.C. He was previously dean of the College of Mines and Mineral Industries at the University of Utah.

Elder George I. Cannon, former second counselor in the YMMIA presidency, was named first counselor. He served as president of the Central British Mission from 1966 to 1969.

The new second counselor, Elder Backman, had been a Regional Representative of the Twelve since 1970, when he completed three years as president of the Northwestern States Mission. He had served previously as a counselor in the Parleys Stake presidency, in a bishopric, in executive positions in ward and stake YMMIA and Sunday School organizations, and as a member of the YMMIA general board. He is a Salt Lake City attorney.

[photos] June Conference activities are highlighted in photos on these two pages. Above, Robert L. Backman, new second counselor in the general YMMIA presidency, addresses the final session in the Tabernacle.

Military Relations Committee Reorganized

Elder David B. Haight, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, has been named managing director of the Church Military Relations Committee, with J. Willard Marriott of Washington, D.C., and Kay A. Schwendiman of Salt Lake City as committee members.

Elder David B. Haight

Elder David B. Haight

Released were Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Council of the Twelve, chairman; and Elders Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson, committee members. Elder Boyd K. Packer, who previously served as managing director, has been named adviser to the committee.

Elder Packer explained that the purposes of the committee are “to foster the welfare of Church members in the military service, to give direction to chaplains serving in the military, to maintain relations with military officials, and to give attention to an ongoing military relations program in all countries of the world where there are Latter-day Saint servicemen.”

Robert G. Crawford, who will continue as executive secretary of the Military Relations Committee, has emphasized the need for support of committee programs at the ward level. “Bishops should advise and encourage every young man going into the military service to attend the preservice Church orientation before he leaves for the service and also the in-service Church orientation at the basic training centers,” he said.

External Communications Managing Director Is Appointed

The First Presidency has appointed Wendell J. Ashton, Regional Representative of the Council of the Twelve and Salt Lake City advertising executive, as managing director of external communications for the Church. Earlier this year J. Thomas Fyans was appointed managing director of internal communications.

Brother Ashton’s assignment will be to direct the public relations program of the Church, including the Church’s television, radio, and newspaper arms, Church Information Service, and visitors centers. Advisers to the new department are Elders Mark E. Petersen and Gordon B. Hinckley of the Council of the Twelve.

Brother Ashton has held many responsible positions in business, church, and community, including general secretary of the Sunday School, managing editor of the Deseret News, member of the Sunday School general board, author of a monthly article that ran for twenty-eight years on the back cover of the Instructor, stake president, and member of adult correlation, leadership, and priesthood home teaching committees of the Church. He has received many honors and awards in writing, public relations, and journalism.

[photo] Wendell J. Ashton

New Salt Lake Temple President

John K. Edmunds, recently released as president of the California Mission, has been appointed president of the Salt Lake Temple. His wife, Jasmine Romney Edwards, will serve as temple matron.

President Edmunds succeeds President O. Leslie Stone, who served as temple president for four years. A former Regional Representative of the Council of the Twelve, President Stone has been reassigned as Regional Representative and will supervise the Hawaii and Oahu regions and the Hawaii Mission.

Before being called as a mission president in 1969, President Edmunds, a Chicago attorney, served as Chicago Stake president (1945–63), Chicago Stake patriarch, a member of the Priesthood Home Teaching Committee, and a Regional Representative of the Twelve.

Report on Eastern Seaboard Storm Damage

Tropical hurricane Agnes stunned several states along the eastern seaboard of the United States with rain and wind, leaving a trail of incredible destruction from Florida to upper New York.

Junior Wright Child, managing director of the Church Welfare Department, was in constant communication with stake and mission presidents in the troubled areas during the danger period to determine the extent of damage to Latter-day Saints and their homes.

“There were no storm deaths reported among Church members,” he said, “but many homes were destroyed and families were evacuated.

“The Church welfare program functioned as planned. Stakes and missions were able to help one another locally, and it was not necessary to send aid from Salt Lake City.”

Declared an “extreme emergency” area by the government, Pennsylvania was particularly hard hit. In a telephone conversation with the Ensign, George M. Baker, president of the Pennsylvania Mission, reported severe damage to the chapel in Harrisburg and the mission home in Camp Hill.

“Mayor Peters of Scranton, Sister Lenore Romney, Sister Baker, and I had an overview from a helicopter flying over flooded communities. Our main concern,” said President Baker, “is, of course, for the families who have lost their homes. In conversations with other Church officials in flooded regions, I can report that these families are all being well provided for in their need for shelter, food, and other necessities.”