Abortion Is Considered “Revolting Sin” by Church
Recent developments in the United States affecting abortion have occasioned an important statement by the First Presidency. Following two years of deliberation, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the individual states may not forbid a woman to have a medical abortion during the first six months of pregnancy. The First Presidency issued the following statement:
“In view of a recent decision of the United States Supreme Court, we feel it necessary to restate the position of the Church on abortion in order that there be no misunderstanding of our attitude.
“The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.
“Abortion must be considered one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day, when we are witnessing the frightening evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality.
“Members of the Church guilty of being parties to the sin of abortion must be subjected to the disciplinary action of the councils of the Church as circumstances warrant. In dealing with this serious matter, it would be well to keep in mind the word of the Lord stated in D&C 59:6, ‘Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.’
“As to the amenability of the sin of abortion to the laws of repentance and forgiveness, we quote the following statement made by President David O. McKay and his counselors, Stephen L Richards and J. Reuben Clark, Jr., which continues to represent the attitude and position of the Church:
“‘As the matter stands today, no definite statement has been made by the Lord one way or another regarding the crime of abortion. So far as is known, he has not listed it alongside the crime of the unpardonable sin and shedding of innocent human blood. That he has not done so would suggest that it is not in that class of crime and therefore that it will be amenable to the laws of repentance and forgiveness.’
“This quoted statement, however, should not, in any sense, be construed to minimize the seriousness of this revolting sin.”
Statement on Peace, Cease-Fire Issued by First Presidency
The longed-for halt to the conflict in Southeast Asia was welcomed as “joyous news indeed” by the First Presidency and the world at large. In a statement on the cease-fire, the First Presidency said:
“Our prayers now are that a just and enduring peace will follow, for all the people who have been involved in this long and devastating conflict. Our hearts go out to the families who have been deprived of loved ones and of their homes in this wearying war.
“Our hope is that there will be established, in the days ahead in the lands which have been torn by this terrible war, representative governments which will protect the individual in his or her inalienable rights. We reaffirm the declaration of belief regarding governments and laws in general adopted by the general assembly of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on August 17, 1835 at Kirtland, Ohio:
“‘We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property and the protection of life.
“‘We believe that every man Should be honored in his station. …’ (D&C 134:2, 6.)
“We hope that mankind everywhere, now more than ever, will seek the inner personal peace that comes through knowing and living the message of the Master, Jesus the Christ, the Prince of Peace.”
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The LDS Scene: A Round-up of Important Happenings
Richard Stanley Johns II succeeds Jay W. Mitton as executive secretary of the Sunday School general board. Brother Mitton has joined a Salt Lake City law firm but is continuing as a member of the board. Brother Johns currently serves as a member of the board and was the assistant executive secretary.
Oakley S. Evans succeeds Harold H. Bennett as president of ZCMI (Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution). Brother Bennett is retiring after 46 years of service with ZCMI, which he joined as an accountant. Brother Evans has been a vice-president, director of corporate development, and member of the board of directors of the J. C. Penney Company. Founded by President Brigham Young in 1868, ZCMI is one of the United States’ oldest department stores.
Three Church educators have been named to administrative positions in Church schools in the Pacific. James William Harris is the new principal of Liahona High School in Nuku‘alofa, Tonga; Robert Rangiuaia is vice-principal of the Church College of New Zealand; and Tufuga Samuela Atoa will assume his duties as superintendent of LDS schools in Western Samoa in June.
The Church College of New Zealand’s boys basketball team has successfully retained the National Secondary Schools basketball championship crown. Three of the team’s students placed among the top ten players for all secondary schools in New Zealand.
Buck Nin, one of the top Maori artists in New Zealand and an art instructor at the Church College of New Zealand, was recently honored with a one-man show of his works in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Tabernacle Choir to Sing at European Conference
The Tabernacle Choir has accepted an invitation to sing at the Central European area general conference in Munich, Germany, August 24–26. This will be the choir’s first appearance in Germany. It is expected that the group will also perform in other major European cities.
The conference has now been expanded to include three more countries: France, Belgium, and Spain. This means the conference will encompass the Saints throughout Germany, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, France, and Spain.
Nicaraguan Saints Rebuild in Spirit of Brotherhood
As the people of Managua, Nicaragua, recover from the shock of losing most of their city in an earthquake two days before Christmas, “There is no doubt in the minds of members and missionaries that they were preserved by the hand of the Lord,” according to President Quinten Hunsaker of the Central America Mission.
In a special report to the Ensign, President Hunsaker said that many people are moving back to the outlying areas of the city. It was originally thought that the entire city of 400,000 persons would have to be razed, but now some 200 square blocks of the downtown area are being cleared and the remainder of the city will be repaired.
“The government is clearing away all debris, getting down to the bare rock,” he said. “Most of the members’ homes were completely destroyed. However, the Managua Branch chapel can be repaired. Most of the walls are down, but the roof stayed up because the beams and supports held. It will be a matter of rebuilding the walls and replacing some of the damaged furniture. So far, local authorities have not given us permission to meet in the chapel, so the members are meeting on the lawn outside. The house used for a chapel in the Managua Second Branch was destroyed, and the members are meeting in the branch president’s home.
“We are still providing the Saints with food and other supplies they need, and we may have to do so for many months to come, but now that the initial shock has worn off, the Saints are getting together to help each other rebuild their homes. They are working together in real gospel brotherhood. We will have to maintain our food supplies because no stores are open—they were destroyed—and the only other sources of supply are the government and the International Red Cross.
“In the outlying areas,” President Hunsaker continued, “some factories are reopening, so some people can go back to work. Of course, when everything is organized and the funds are available, the reconstruction of the city will provide a great deal of work.
“From what we found out, no active members sustained deaths, and there were few injuries. The injuries we know of were slight except for one sister, who sustained a broken back.”
President Hunsaker said that the Lord had truly blessed the Saints. “Many of the missionaries and local Saints had a premonition that something was going to happen, and they had slept with their clothes on. The homes of members and some of our investigators were damaged or destroyed, but the members themselves were saved, while on either side of them many of their neighbors were killed. The Saints and missionaries here have held testimony meetings, and their stories are remarkable. This has been a terrible ordeal for them, but their faith has been strengthened, for they have seen the Lord protect them.”