News of the Church


First Presidency Announces Priesthood MIA Programs

The First Presidency has announced a realignment of the programs of the Church that have been administered by the Mutual Improvement Associations.

Two separate priesthood-oriented MIAs have been established. One is the Aaronic Priesthood MIA (Mutual Improvement Association) for young people 12 to 18. This program is under the direction of the Presiding Bishop. The other is the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA (Mutual Interest Association). The latter is divided into two groups, the Young Adults for unmarried persons 18 through 25 years of age and Special Interests for unmarried persons 26 years of age and over. Activities for married persons will be under the direction of the priesthood quorums.

In announcing the realignment, President Harold B. Lee said that it has been introduced in the interest of achieving improved priesthood correlation.

Under the new program, a basic guideline is that MIA activities are for unmarried members. Those who are married will be involved in quorum-originated activities.

The First Presidency has also announced new presidencies for the youth programs. These presidencies, who will serve under the direction of the Presiding Bishopric, include Robert L. Backman, LeGrand R. Curtis, and Jack H. Goaslind, Jr., for the young men, and Ruth Hardy Funk, Hortense H. Child, and Ardeth G. Kapp for the young women.

Released were General YMMIA President W. Jay Eldredge and his counselors, George I. Cannon and Robert L. Backman, and General YWMIA President Florence S. Jacobsen and her counselors, Margaret R. Jackson and Dorothy P. Holt. Also released were all members of the MIA general boards.

In the area of adult activity programs, the First Presidency announced that advisers are Elders Thomas S. Monson, Boyd K. Packer, Marvin J. Ashton, and Bruce R. McConkie of the Council of the Twelve. These advisers will be advisers to the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA and will also oversee the development of curricula, service projects, and activities to be administered through Melchizedek Priesthood quorums. Married members, widows of priesthood holders, and prospective elders will now participate in priesthood quorum activities.

Under the direction of the four-man advisory committee of the Twelve, a managing director and two associate directors have been called to lead the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA. Managing director is Elder James E. Faust, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve; associate directors are Elders Marion D. Hanks and L. Tom Perry, also Assistants to the Twelve. Service projects and activities for Young Adults and Special Interest groups will come under their direction.

At the stake level, the Aaronic Priesthood MIA program is headed by the stake presidency and the stake Aaronic Priesthood committee. Other leaders and advisers for the youth programs are called by the stake presidency as needed.

Adult supervision at the ward level consists of the bishopric, the Aaronic Priesthood general secretary and advisers to the Aaronic Priesthood quorums (who are the presidency of YMMIA), and the YWMIA presidency.

In the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA program, Young Adults are organized on a stake and regional basis for unmarried members 18 through 25 years of age, including members of the Latter-day Saint Student Association. LDSSA will continue to function and be a coordinating body for LDS students on college campuses. Students attending institutes of religion will continue to receive gospel instruction there, but their activities are now to be a part of the stake and region Young Adults program.

For unmarried persons 26 years of age and over, Special Interests groups are to be organized at stake and regional levels, depending on local needs.

In the administration of these two Melchizedek Priesthood MIA groups, the Regional Representative of the Twelve is the adviser in his region. Also at the regional level, separate organizations for both Young Adults and Special Interests may be formed if required, and would consist of a stake president who serves as priesthood adviser, one high councilor from each stake within the region, and regional officers as may be required.

At the stake level, the Young Adults and Special Interests are supervised by the stake presidency, the high council, find stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee. The two groups are separately served by a high council adviser, officers called by the stake presidents, and ward representatives as needed.

With announcement of the new program, it was noted that a strong feature of MIA has always been the Church athletic programs. These programs will continue. Also unaffected by the changes will be such events as roadshows, dance festivals, music festivals, and other activities previously associated with MIA.

[photo] Robert L. Backman, new YMMIA president, center, with his counselors, LeGrand R. Curtis, left, and Jack H. Goaslind, Jr. (Church News photo.)

[photo] The new YWMIA President Ruth Hardy Funk, center, with her counselors, Hortense H. Child, left, and Ardeth G. Kapp. (Church News photo.)

President Lee Visits Southern California

Members of the Church in Southern California were recently delighted with the visit of President Harold B. Lee to their area to dedicate the Mormon Battalion Memorial Visitors Center in San Diego. President Lee was accompanied by Elder Mark E. Petersen.

The building serves both to commemorate the role the battalion played in settling the area and to acquaint visitors with the history and doctrines of the Church. Organized at Council Bluffs in July 1846 during the war against Mexico, the 500-man battalion arrived in San Diego in January 1847, after trekking more than 2,000 miles, the longest infantry march in American military history. Although the battalion did not see military action, its members aided in the settlement of California, and their army pay provided financial assistance for the pioneers.

[photo] Church News photo

New Distribution Center

A new General Church Distribution Center has been opened in Salt Lake City to serve Saints in America, the Philippines, and U.S. military services.

The new center, dedicated recently by President Marion G. Romney, handles the distribution of more than 5,000 printed items for Church departments, including seminaries and institutes. The address is 1999 West 1700 South. The old center at 33 Richards Street has been closed; however, the new center has retained its mailing address of P.O. Box 11627, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111.

Four other new distribution centers were opened last year: in Mexico City; Auckland, New Zealand; Apia, Samoa; and Seoul, South Korea. Other centers are located in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Manchester, England; Frankfurt, Germany; Copenhagen, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.

Three Mission Changes

The First Presidency has announced the realignment of three United States mission boundaries and titles in order to “ensure that missionary-member relations are enhanced, overlapping jurisdiction is eliminated, and that proselyting in languages other than English will not be neglected.”

The missions affected are in southwestern United States:

1. Colorado Mission is the new name of the former Colorado-New Mexico Mission, with headquarters continuing in Denver, Colorado. The mission includes western portions of Nebraska and Kansas, a small portion of eastern Utah, and all of Colorado except a small part of the southwest corner of the state.

2. Arizona-New Mexico Mission is the new name for part of the old Colorado-New Mexico Mission and part of the Southwest Indian Mission, with headquarters in Holbrook, Arizona. The mission includes all of New Mexico, a small corner of western Texas, and the Navajo sections of southern Colorado, Utah, and northern Arizona.

3. The Arizona Mission will now include all of the state of Arizona except the Navajo areas assigned to the New Mexico-Arizona Mission, with headquarters in Tempe, Arizona.

With the change, all persons residing within the boundaries of each mission, whether they speak English, Spanish, Navajo, or other Indian tongues, will be within the jurisdiction of that particular mission. Each missionary who has been serving in those areas has been assigned to the mission within whose geographical area he has been laboring.

Temple Alterations Planned

A renovation program that will improve patron facilities at five temples in the United States is presently underway. Work has already begun at the Idaho Falls Temple.

Although plans and schedules are tentative, the program calls for work to be done on the Arizona Temple this year, with the Hawaii, Logan, and St. George temples slated for renovations next year.

The work will be confined to patron facilities and will not involve alterations to endowment or sealing areas.

In planning the program, consideration has been given to the alternatives of adding to the basic temple structure and the construction of an annex, as was done at the Salt Lake Temple. Plans include an addition to the south side of the Arizona Temple and additions to the south, north, and west sides of the Hawaii Temple.

Each temple will be closed during construction.

Chair of Christian Understanding Founded

The Richard L. Evans Chair of Christian Understanding has been established at Brigham Young University. Financed through donations from both members and nonmembers, the chair is in memory of the late Elder Richard L. Evans of the Council of the Twelve, who was known to millions not only for Church work and “The Spoken Word” on radio and television, but also for his activity in various civic organizations, including Rotary International, which he served as president in 1966.

The purpose of the chair is to promote understanding among people of differing religions through teaching and other activities centered in Jesus Christ.

First occupant of the chair is Dr. Truman Madsen, director of the Institute of Mormon Studies at BYU and a member of the Sunday School general board. Although he will continue his work at BYU, Dr. Madsen will be a “commuting professor” at centers of religious learning. He also will respond to invitations from academic, civic, and social organizations to present Mormon history and philosophy. His first major assignment will be this spring when he will commute to Berkeley, California, for two days weekly to deliver lectures on Church doctrine and history.