News of the Church


June Conference

[photos] “Reaching the One” was the theme of June Conference in Salt Lake City June 21–24, the first general MIA meeting since last fall’s realignment of the MIA into priesthood-correlated programs. From the receptions on Thursday evening to the closing session on Sunday, the conference provided a wealth of information, counsel, and guidance for leaders of both the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA and the Aaronic Priesthood MIA. An innovation this year was the various small-group workshops and seminars that gave emphasis to leadership skills, youth participation, identifying individual needs, and service to others. In addition to the traditional dance festival, roadshows, dramas, and young artists music festival, the conference also featured many special displays and demonstrations. (The September Ensign will feature additional information and excerpts from talks given at June Conference.)

Six new stakes created; first one in Philippines

Manila Stake, the first stake to be organized in the Republic of the Philippines, was created recently from the Philippines Mission. In addition, five other new stakes have been created from mission districts and the division of other stakes.

The Manila Stake has a membership of 2,410 and is organized into five wards. President of the stake is Augusto Alandy Lim, former counselor in the mission presidency. His counselors are Angel Salta Pedroche and Melicio V. Emata.

Aragon Stake, a new stake in Mexico City, has been created by a division of the Mexico City East Stake; it consists of 13 wards. President Agricol Lozano of the Mexico City East Stake was named president of Aragon Stake, with Juan Manual Cedeno and Isaac Soriano as counselors. New president of the parent stake is Filiberto Ledezma, with Bartolme de le Cruz and Fredrico de Antunano as counselors.

In England, Thames Valley Stake has been created from the Thames Valley District of the England South Mission. Peter Benjamin Charles Brighty has been called as president, with Edward Keith Higglesworth and Gleen Keith Henry Rumbold as counselors. Stake membership of 3,055 is in six wards and four branches.

The new Savai’i West Stake in Samoa was created from units of Savai’i Stake and the Falelima District of the Samoa Mission. President of this new stake is Fa’afoi Aiono Tuitama, with Ropati Pei Burgess and Uso Gose Mata’utia as counselors. The stake has 3,046 members in seven wards and four branches.

The Dallas (Texas) North Stake has been created by a division of the Dallas Stake, with a membership of 3,714 in seven wards and two branches. Ivan L. Hobson is president of the new stake, with Arthur Eugene Gabriel and Lee T. Harris as counselors.

In Utah a new stake has been formed from a division of the West Jordan Stake. The new Jordan River Stake has a membership of 2,997 in five wards. Max Curtis Jewkes has been called as president, with Wilburn L. McDougal and Darrel Merlin Wolf as counselors.

Guests Visit New Facilities

[photos] The First Presidency welcomed special guests at three receptions recently held in the new General Church Office Building to let local civic and business leaders, clergy, and the news media become acquainted with the new facility. The guests were taken on guided tours of the building and shown various exhibits highlighting Church activities in the community and around the world. The building will be open to public tours in the near future.

Press Leader Visits Salt Lake City

[photos] Canadian-born Lord Thomson of Fleet, head of the world’s largest publishing empire, visited in Salt Lake City during June Conference and was an observer at many of the conference activities as a guest of President Harold B. Lee. While in Utah, Lord Thomson, who resides in London, England, and his son Kenneth of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, met with representatives of the news media (left). Lord Thomson’s enterprises include ownership of 260 newspapers and television and radio stations around the world, Britain’s largest travel agency, and oil developments in the North Sea. He hosted a special luncheon in London for President Lee last fall.

Curator Named to Committee for Historical Arts

Florence S. Jacobsen, former president of the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association, has been called by the First Presidency to serve as curator for the Historical Arts Committee of the Church.

“My immediate responsibility,” said Sister Jacobsen, “will be to find out what the Church has of historical value, then catalog these items, noting their condition, their worth, and their historical significance. This has never been done before.”

She said many gifts have been given to the Church but that before her call no one in particular had been responsible for them.

“I have handled correspondence about gifts and purchases of historical relics for a number of years, because they interest me. I will continue to do this and will also display these items for public viewing.”

Sister Jacobsen took a leading role in the restoration of the Brigham Young Forest Farm in Salt Lake City. She has also supervised the renovation of the Lion House, home of Brigham Young from 1856 to 1877. She was involved in the restoration and furnishing of the Promised Valley Playhouse in Salt Lake City and supervised the furnishing of the Wilford Woodruff and Brigham Young homes in Nauvoo.

Sister Jacobsen said that numerous pioneer items are on display in various Church facilities, museums, and historical buildings, and others are now in storage. “I am hoping that some of these things will come alive through imaginative display,” she declared.

Mural for New Church Building

[photo] A 66-foot-long mural, depicting the occasion when the resurrected Savior commissioned his apostles to go forth and teach to all nations, has been approved by the First Presidency for the lobby of the new General Church Office Building. The mural will be the collaboration of artists Harry Anderson of Ridgefield, Connecticut, and Grant Romney Clawson of Salt Lake City. They have collaborated on other Church works, including a mural in the Visitors Center at Independence, Missouri, depicting the second coming of the Savior. (See Ensign cover, April 1972.) Mr. Anderson is seen here, left, with the preliminary sketch on which he will base a 16-foot-long oil painting; Brother Clawson will reproduce the painting as the final oil-on-canvas mural. With Mr. Anderson in the photo are Wendell J. Ashton, right, managing director for Public Communications for the Church, and Charles Graves, Church public relations representative in New York.

Teaching of Religion Extended to All BYU Faculty

A move that makes the teaching of religion a university-wide concern has been effected at Brigham Young University.

An organization known as Religious Instruction has been created to replace the former College of Religious Instruction. It will not be a university college as such, but will involve faculty members from all colleges and schools in the university in the teaching of religion classes.

All BYU undergraduate students are required to take a class in religion every semester, and more than 50 religion courses are offered.

“We shall continue to depend on full-time faculty in Religious Instruction for the leadership and scholarship necessary to improve further our effectiveness in the teaching of religion,” explains Dr. Dallin H. Oaks, BYU president. He adds that there will be no change in the faculty status of current teachers in the area of religion. Dr. Roy W. Doxey will continue as dean of Religious Instruction.

“Since religion classes will no longer be identified with a single college, this new organization should result in increased concern and participation in the teaching of religion by faculty members in all of the academic colleges,” says President Oaks.

Concerning the change, Dean Doxey commented, “The opening of teaching of religion to faculty outside Religious Instruction will enhance the spirituality of the faculty on a wider basis. It also will expand the opportunity for students to receive religious training from professors in many areas of university life.”

Dr. Allen E. Bergin, professor of psychology who has been teaching religion classes in addition to his psychology classes, noted that “a unique intertwining of psychology and religion occurred. I found myself describing the psychopathic personality traits of Amalickiah on the one hand and citing Book of Mormon references in my psychology classes on the other. While this overlapping occurred only occasionally, a merging of domains developed continuously. I suspect that, as a result of the interspiritual wrestling this required, my views of psychology will never be the same.”

International Conference Attended by LDS Women

Two Latter-day Saint women attended the 60-nation International Council of Women conference held recently in Vienna, Austria.

Belle S. Spafford, general president of the Relief Society, and Florence S. Jacobsen, curator of the Church Historical Arts Committee and former president of the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association, were among a group of 12 United States representatives at the conference, which was held from June 25 to July 4.

Sister Spafford, who is a member of the Health Committee and a past president of the National Council of Women in the United States, spoke and participated as a member of a panel at a session entitled “Partners in Development.” Her topic was “The Monetary Value of Household Work.”

Sister Jacobsen, a member of the Child and Family Committee, noted that the delegates from each nation meet together every three years as committees and as a whole to exchange ideas and help each other. The United States council is comprised of 32 organizations, representing approximately 32 million women. Sister Jacobsen said the Relief Society and the MIA are two of three remaining charter members.

When the Council of Women was organized in 1888, President Wilford Woodruff asked that the women of the Church be represented. “The Relief Society and MIA have been members of the council since that time,” said Sister Spafford.

New General Manager for Deseret Press

Kay A. Schwendiman is the new general manager of the Deseret Press, commercial printing operation of the Church-owned Deseret News Publishing Company. He succeeds Dr. O. Preston Robinson, who has retired.

Brother Schwendiman is a member of the Church’s Military Relations Committee and is a Regional Representative of the Twelve.

In stating the goals of the Deseret Press, he said, “Our aim is to satisfy the needs of the Church by taking care of as many of its printing requirements as we can.”

He noted that improvements during the past year have made the press better able to serve the Church. For example, a new high speed web press, which is now being used for the printing of the Ensign, is one and a half times faster than the old equipment and “improves the quality as well.”

Prior to joining the Deseret Press, Brother Schwendiman was vice-president and manager of Utah Printing Company for approximately 15 years.

Magazines for Blind Available in Braille or Talking Book

Supervision of Church materials for the visually handicapped has been transferred from Social Services to the magazine section of the Internal Communications Department.

For many years, Church magazines and books written by Church authorities have been available to both members and nonmembers in either braille or talking book form.

Each month, the Church publishes in braille The New Messenger, a compilation of material from the Ensign, the New Era, the Friend, and the Church News section of the Deseret News.

On a quarterly basis, the Church prepares The New Messenger, which features talks by General Authorities, interviews and discussions with prominent people, music by the Tabernacle Choir and organ, and other musical selections and information.

Both these publications, as well as lesson material for family home evening, Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society study courses, and lessons for the Sunday School Gospel Doctrine classes are available free of charge through Publications for the Blind, Internal Communications, 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.

Various Church books both in braille and talking book form are also available, including the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These books, on a loan basis only, are available from the Utah State Library, Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, 2150 South 2nd West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84115. These books, as well as the magazines, may be mailed anywhere in the world free of charge.

The Book of Mormon and other Church books can be purchased both in braille and talking book form from the Church Internal Communications Department. Full details are available in a brochure from the department.

Articles of Interest for Young Adults

In the coming months the Ensign will carry articles of particular interest to young adult readers as well as its traditional adult audience.

Planned for September, for instance, is the inauguration of a new section in which gospel-related questions from readers are posed to Church leaders and scholars.

Other articles planned for coming months will deal with the problems of aging, war and peace, changing standards in the arts, modern philosophy, and other contemporary problems. In addition, the News of the Church section will be broadened to include reports of young adult activities and achievements.

In the months ahead the New Era will be primarily designed to fill the needs of youth of Aaronic Priesthood ages. The Ensign will then become magazine for the young adults and adults of the Church.

Days of ’47 Royalty

[photo] Three young women whose ancestry can be traced to the early Utah days were selected to reign over the 1973 Days of ’47 celebration in Salt Lake City. Queen is Deborah Ann Shields, center, a 22-year-old dance major who will be graduated this month from Brigham Young University. She is the daughter of Brother and Sister Jed W. Shields of Salt Lake City. Her attendants are Terri Fisher, left, a 22-year-old BYU graduate and daughter of Brother and Sister Grant A. Fisher of Provo, Utah, and Sherry Bodell, 20-year-old BYU graduate and daughter of Brother and Sister Arden Bodell of Sandy, Utah. The Days of ’47 royalty reign over all holiday activities celebrating the anniversary of the day the pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley, July 24, 1847.

LDS Scene

The South Carolina Stake Relief Society recently attracted attention with a homemaking fair at their stake center and an exhibit at the Southern Living Exposition held in the Coliseum of the University of South Carolina. More than 500 persons visited the homemaking fair, while thousands of people saw the display and demonstrations at the exposition. Skills presented at the fair included quilting, crocheting, and food storage. The most popular display featured the making of dip-n-drape dolls. At the exposition, the Relief Society sisters presented a bread-making demonstration that utilized 700 pounds of donated flour and two donated ranges. A batch of bread was prepared every 20 minutes, sliced, and sold to visitors. Missionaries also participated with displays and filmstrips on the importance of the home and family and family home evening.

Byron Dean Walther, 18, of Anchorage, Alaska, has graduated from high school with five scholarships and awards to help him in college. Byron, a son of Brother and Sister Harold V. Walther of the Anchorage Fourth Ward, Alaska Stake, received the $600 Most Valuable Student award for the Anchorage area; an additional $600 as the most valuable male student in the state; the $200 Anchorage Soroptimist Club’s Youth Citizenship award; a Standard Oil Company 4-H scholarship worth $400; and a Ricks College seminary scholarship of $100. He has been serving as assistant general secretary of his ward’s Aaronic Priesthood, has earned his Duty to God award, and was president of the seminary students at East Anchorage High School.

Ming-Yee (Richard) Lee has become the first Brigham Young University graduate to go directly from university into professional opera, by winning the San Francisco Merola Opera Program auditions. Brother Lee, 30, is one of 15 winners named from hundreds of applicants in the United States and Canada. He was born in Chung Ching Province, China, and his family moved to Taiwan when he was eight. His interest in music led to his enrollment at the National Taiwan Academy of Art and later to his appointment as a vocal instructor with the College of Chinese Culture. There he met his wife, and through her he learned of the Church and was baptized. He received both a grant from the Republic of China for study in Italy and a scholarship from BYU. He chose BYU, where he is now completing his master’s degree in music.

In the May 1973 Ensign, News of the Church reported that the Valley View Fifth Ward in Salt Lake City has 20 missionaries currently in the field. This figure has been topped by the Edgemont Fifth Ward, Edgemont Stake, Provo, Utah, from which 25 missionaries are serving in various mission fields. Are there any wards that can top that?

Genealogical seminars have been scheduled for a number of eastern cities of the United States for the month of August. Sponsored by the Church Educational System, with instructors from Brigham Young University faculty, the seminars will feature genealogical research in the United States, Britain, and Europe. They will be held in the New York area August 17–18; New Jersey, August 21–22; Washington, D.C., August 23–25; and the Potomac area, August 28–29. Full details of the seminars can be obtained from the Church Educational System, P.O. Box 7191, University Station, Provo, Utah 84602.

James L. McBride, an attorney and Venturer leader in Ventura Stake in Ventura, California, has been appointed to the second-ranking post in the Ventura County Counsel’s office. As chief assistant counsel, Brother McBride will represent Ventura County in civic legal matters. He won the post after a promotional competition among the office’s attorneys. He is a 1966 graduate of the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.

Clay A. Stewart, 22, of Ogden, Utah, was top student among the 842 cadets graduating this year from the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado. A son of Lt. Col. (Ret.) and Mrs. Arlo H. Stewart, he received two honors—the Graduation Order of Merit for his military, academic, and extracurricular activities, and the academic award for the number and type of courses taken. In addition to his military and academic training at the Academy, Brother Stewart served as a member of the professional ethics and the public relations committees. He claims his success is the result of values taught him by his parents and Church leaders. “Work and the improvement of oneself are two good values that I appreciate in my life,” he says. “Although I didn’t serve a regular full-time mission, I feel that I can serve a mission in the armed services by setting a good example. When people are curious as to the way I live, and see me working hard and being happy while I’m doing it, then they are receptive to hearing about the Church and the gospel and the part they play in my life.” An Eagle Scout and Duty to God award recipient, he is continuing his schooling at the University of Pittsburgh.

LDS golfer Johnny Miller recently set new records when he won the 73rd annual United States Open Golf Championship at Oakmont, Pennsylvania. Brother Miller, 26, a former member of the Brigham Young University golf team and now a resident of Napa, California, posted a tournament and course record with his final 18-hole score of 63. His total score of 279 for the championship broke another course record for 72 holes. He told reporters that although the U.S. Open has placed him in the forefront of the golfing scene, golf still is not the most important thing in his life. First, he said, come his family and church. He and his wife have two children.

Richard E. Black, who has been serving as the LDS Social Services director of California, has been named to succeed Clarence Bishop as the agency’s director for Utah. Brother Bishop has been called to serve as a mission president. Succeeding Brother Black in the California post is Oliver L. McPherson, formerly director of the Four Corners Agency at Chinle, Arizona. Both men will also serve as directors of the Intermountain and West Coast divisions of Social Services, comprising Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, California, and Nevada.

Robert G. Meldrum, 19, of Salt Lake City, has been named one of the six recipients of the Young American awards presented by the Explorer division of the Boy Scouts of America. The six were chosen from among 400,000 Explorers in the nation. A son of Brother and Sister Grant Meldrum, Robert was named the outstanding teenager of Utah for 1972 and was invited to serve on the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission Youth Council. As a student at Brigham Young University, he was a member of the Cougar marching band. He has now received a call to serve in the Ontario (Canada) Mission.

Film crews for the National Broadcasting Company’s monthly documentary First Tuesday are still photographing material on the Church for a program scheduled for September 4. Many aspects of the Church will be shown, including general conference last April, June Conference, Church activity in Utah, Florida, California, and Washington, the Church College of Hawaii, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and possibly the Hill Cumorah Pageant. The program will also feature an interview with President Harold B. Lee, in the first national television interview he has granted. (See News of the Church, July Ensign.)

Lewison Watchman, a 19-year-old Navajo Indian, has been awarded the Utah Power and Light Company’s four-year college Minority Scholarship. An honor student at Weber High School in Ogden, Utah, he plans to attend medical school before returning to the Navajo reservation to practice and teach in the new medical school under construction there. He is a son of Brother and Sister Lewis R. Watchman of Sheep Springs, New Mexico.

The traditional summer production of Promised Valley is currently delighting audiences at the Promised Valley Theatre in Salt Lake City. This is the second year that the production is being presented in its new home; previously it was an outdoor presentation. During August Promised Valley, will be presented each evening at 7:30 P.M. and 9:00 P.M. There will be no performances on either Sunday or Monday evenings.

Four wards in the Richland (Washington) Stake recently accepted an invitation to present a display of quilts and quilting in the Richland Public Library. In the three-day exhibition, the Relief Society sisters demonstrated how to quilt, including setting up frames and tying. Although many types of quilts were represented, the two that attracted the most attention were an early pioneer quilt that had accompanied the Saints across the plains and a “crazy patch” quilt more than 100 years old, made of velvet worked in decorative patterns with silk thread. The display received a great deal of publicity, with people lined up at the door before the library was opened.