Leadership throughout Church Gathers for Priesthood MIA Conference:

Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood MIAs

Nearly 13,000 leaders and officers of the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood MIAs from throughout the Church met in Salt Lake City this summer for a historic conference to learn their new assignments and responsibilities.

The conference followed the announcement made by the First Presidency last November concerning changes in the traditional MIA organizational structure, with the newly aligned MIAs now merged into the existing priesthood leadership structure.

Conference activities included two general sessions in the Tabernacle conducted by the First Presidency and a day of seminars and departmental sessions where stake officers learned their new duties. Also featured at the conference were numerous ideas for ward and stake programs, demonstrations of crafts, hobbies, and service projects, get acquainted receptions and parties, and such cultural arts as a full-length musical presented by a ward, readers theater, roadshows in the round, young artists music festivals, and a dance festival.

Attendance at the general sessions and the individual workshops was overwhelming to leaders in charge. “We anticipated perhaps 2,000 persons at our workshops,” says Jeffrey R. Holland, manager of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA, “but more than 4,000 showed up.

“I think people are excited by the fact that the members of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA are, in the words of one participant in the Special Interest group, going to have ‘the only show in town.’ They are going to be involved in their own activities and projects far more than they have been in the past. Our emphasis on service was well received, and, of course, the service we would really like to see is the more personal, one-to-one project.

“There was a strong spiritual overtone to the whole conference. I think people are now aware that the realignment of the organizations has been the result of revelation and prayer, and the presence of the First Presidency and other General Authorities gave great strength to this feeling. People went home excited by the concept of priesthood leadership in the new program.”

Brother Holland emphasized that June Conference was just the kickoff for the new program. “We will be following up with area conferences to assist in spreading information concerning our programs.”

One such conference is scheduled for Logan, Utah, in September, where some 800 Melchizedek Priesthood MIA leaders from Salt Lake City to Rexburg, Idaho, will meet in workshops and planning sessions.

Theory alone will not be the emphasis of the three-day conference; the leaders will involve themselves in community service projects such as helping to remodel a school for handicapped children in Benson, Utah. Workshop sessions will involve discussion on how to reach the one, the individual who needs the spiritual strength that comes from participation and service.

Similar conferences have already been held or are scheduled for Korea, England, Mexico, Japan, and other areas of the United States and Canada.

Area conferences are also to be a post-June Conference feature of the Aaronic Priesthood MIA.

“Stake leaders will now be conducting leadership sessions for wards in their own stakes,” explains Bishop Vaughn J. Featherstone, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, “and there will be area conferences to assist the stake leaders in their new roles.”

What are the changes in responsibility in the Aaronic Priesthood MIA?

“I suppose the most important emphasis is in the area of youth involvement. We want the youth to be an integral part of planning when it comes to their own activities and their own programs. We see this as a great challenge, not only for the youth but also for the adult leaders, who now have to provide a sort of shadow leadership.

“We see heavier involvement in all youth activities by bishoprics and branch presidencies. After all, they are members of the youth committee. We need the full priesthood support of the bishop as chairman of the Explorer post committee. One of his counselors is chairman of the Venturer post committee, and the other is chairman of the Scout troop committee. In these capacities, they are assisted by the Aaronic Priesthood MIA president who is the assistant chairman of each of the three committees. He must truly be the young man’s specialist in the ward; it is one of the most exciting positions to which a man can be called.

“In other changes explained at June conference, the priests quorum adviser now serves as the Explorer Post leader, the teachers quorum adviser as the Venturer post leader, and the deacons quorum adviser as the Scoutmaster. You see, there is a very definite correlation between priesthood and youth activity.

“One of the outstanding features for the young sisters is the streamlining of the personal achievement program. The bishop now has less involvement in details but more involvement when it comes to inspiring and motivating the girls. There is more privacy in the compiling of a personal journal; the young ladies won’t have to expose the contents of their personal journals to everyone down the line; it will be more like keeping a personal diary with their own goals, aspirations, and achievements.

“All these new programs are being outlined at various leadership meetings, and they will appear soon in manual form so that youth supervisors can teach themselves. June Conference was just the beginning.”

During the conference sessions and festivities, several members were honored for the contributions to the youth program of the Church. G. Carlos Smith and Jay Eldredge, general presidents of the YMMIA, and Florence S. Jacobsen, former general president of the YWMIA, were honored at the Master M-Man and Golden Gleaner reunion, while Bishop Lawrence H. Gold of the Cannon Sixth Ward in Salt Lake City received the Homer C. “Pug” Warner award for outstanding service to athletics.

June Conference Report: Selected Excerpts

As in all conferences of the Church, the messages delivered at the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood MIA conference this summer were of great inspiration. Speakers and listeners seemed tuned to the same Spirit—and that Spirit bore continual witness of the new program and its value to our Father’s children.

Following are selected excerpts from General Authorities and general Church officers who spoke at the general sessions.

The First Presidency

President Harold B. Lee

One or two thoughts have impressed themselves upon me as we have witnessed and have listened. During the year that has passed, we have pondered, we have prayed, we have searched, and now we come with a declaration to all of you that you may know with a certainty that defies all doubt that this which you have witnessed, this which you have heard has been divinely inspired.

I have occasion to recall again and again what the Lord said: “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.

“But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.” (D&C 59:21, 23.)

I choose not to offend God by claiming that all of this has come by the will of men. I confess with all my soul that these things are of the Lord, and they have come through righteousness, through prayer, and through great needs.

What is that great need? During the last year I have tried to reach out to the youth at several youth conferences. From one of those youth conferences I received from a member of the stake presidency a note that suggests something that the world needs greatly.

He said, “One recently reactivated young man of about 15 years said in our fast and testimony meeting, ‘President Lee must have known that there was lots of wickedness and evil in the … … … area and that the kids here were in trouble, and just to think that he loves us enough to come all this way just to help us.’”

If it means nothing more to the youth, to the children, to those who are young adults, and those who are over those ages, that all of this is to evidence a love for them that comes from the General Authorities and from your Heavenly Father, then we have yet accomplished much.

From this pulpit over 60 years ago, the president of the Church said, “It has been said that the Church is perfectly organized, and the only trouble is that these organizations are not alive to the obligations resting upon them. When they become thoroughly awakened to the requirements made of them, they will fulfill their duties more dutifully, and the work of the Lord will be stronger and more powerful and influential in the world.”

A few weeks ago we attended a conference back in New Jersey where we heard a wonderful sermon by the stake president on the importance of love. He said something to indicate how important that was in his boyhood life in his own home. He said, “Some of my greatest resources come from lessons learned in my youth from acts of love shown by my parents. I well remember when I was very young my mother was seriously ill. I had gotten up in the night to get a drink of water, and going into the kitchen, I noticed a light in my parents’ bedroom. On going to the door, I found father sitting quietly next to mother’s bed. She was asleep. He was just sitting there, appearing to be doing nothing. And so startled, I asked him what was wrong. Why wasn’t he in bed? My father’s answer was ‘Nothing is wrong, son. I am just watching over her.’

“Later I learned that he sat each night by her side during the crisis, watching over her. And thinking of this I have often thought that truly love is kind and never faileth. The memory of this act of love, the light and warmth of that occasion have always had special meaning to me. It made me feel safe and secure, to see this strong and gentle man so concerned about those of his household. It gave me a deeper appreciation of my father and set a high standard for me to try to follow.”

We have said again and again, and I repeat it now, that the most important work we will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes. Give the child love in the home, and the homes will give our auxiliaries well-adjusted children who can feel the lessons of love of God and man taught in the Church.

The experience of love in one’s early youth enables him to develop the ability to feel within the feelings the urges that create the attitudes that result in a truly religious life. It is these feelings that supply the motivation for good works.

If you can take with you now as you go back to your homes, you leaders of youth and young adults, and the church membership, a feeling of love that we have just demonstrated, you will have set the stage for great and mighty things that will make this church more wonderful and more influential than it has ever been before in all the world. You have had unraveled before your eyes an evidence of the revelations of Almighty God in your day, as he has poured out his blessings in this a great step forward in building the kingdom of God.

President N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency

All the activities of this conference, the preparations for the conference, and all of the organizations of the Church in general are for the purpose of building testimony and character, saving souls, and to further the work of the Lord.

Thousands have participated so untiringly and effectively. Church leaders have been called to participate and correlate their efforts to make these programs really effective. The extent of the good to be accomplished cannot be measured.

Where else in all the world could you find such a well-organized group, such far-reaching activities engaged in the building of good citizens, furthering the work of the Lord, and helping to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man? …

I read the other day the story of a softball player who says that his conversion was the result of his being with good company, where he was impressed with the lives of those with whom he was playing. And then the first baseman and his wife came to this ballplayer and his wife and told them about the gospel and taught the gospel to them. And he bears witness that he was overwhelmed with the change that came into his life, and he is now a bishop in the Church.

He feels that the great challenge for our youth and all members of the Church is to be strong in the faith and to live the teachings and commandments of the Lord, and to realize that no greater joy or satisfaction can come to one than to know that he has brought a family into the Church and kingdom of God. And then he said, “How sad it is that the actions of some who fail to keep the commandments keep others from becoming interested in the Church.”

President Marion G. Romney, Second Counselor in the First Presidency

To me [the] divine preface to the Doctrine and Covenants says, among other things, that the Lord revealed anew, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the gospel of Jesus Christ as an antidote to the wickedness which he knew would bring “calamity upon the inhabitants of the earth” if it continued. This preface is also a promise that observance of the commandments that the Lord gave to the Prophet and commanded others to proclaim unto the world will bring happiness now and qualify us to be with the Lord when he comes to reign in our midst.

With all my soul I believe this to be true. I believe it is our responsibility to teach this concept to the youth and the adults, young and old. It is our responsibility to help them apply the commandments and the Spirit of the Lord in adjusting to their own peculiar situations, whatever they may be, regardless of age, health, marital status, social standing, or economic possessions.

I believe that an affirmative and positive course in obeying and teaching the Lord’s commandments is the best defense against wickedness.

I believe that when we are on the Lord’s errand we always have more power supporting us than we have in opposition to us.

I believe we should be optimistic and convince our associates that truth, honor, virtue, and every other type of righteousness will win. I believe with President Joseph F. Smith that:

“Leaders of the Church, … should be men [and women] not easily discouraged, not without hope, and not given to forebodings of all sorts of evils to come. Above all things the leaders of the people should never disseminate a spirit of gloom in the hearts of the people. If men standing in high places sometimes feel the weight and anxiety of momentous times, they should be all the firmer and all the more resolute in those convictions which come from a God-fearing conscience and pure lives. Men in their private lives should feel the necessity of extending encouragement to the people by their own hopeful and cheerful intercourse with them, as they do by their utterances in public places. It is a matter of the greatest importance that the people be educated to appreciate and cultivate the bright side of life rather than to permit its darkness and shadows to hover over them.” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 155.)

Personally I am convinced that those who keep the commandments God has given and those which he will yet give in these latter days are in a position to be and will be as the righteous ten who, could they have been found, would have been in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. …

You are the Good Shepherd’s sheep. You must not stray from the fold. And you must remember that—

“ ’Twas a sheep, not a lamb, that wandered away
In the parable Jesus told—
A grown-up sheep that had gone astray
From the ninety and nine in the fold.
“Out in the wilderness, out in the cold
’Twas a sheep the good shepherd sought;
And back to the flock, safe in the fold,
’Twas a sheep the good shepherd brought.
“And why for the sheep should we earnestly long
And as earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger, if they go wrong,
They will lead the young lambs away.
“For the lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Wherever the sheep may stray.
If the sheep go wrong, it will not be long
Till the lambs are as wrong as they.
“And so with the sheep, we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today.
If the lambs are lost, what a terrible cost
Some sheep will have to pay!”

—C. D. Meigs, “The Sheep of the Fold”

Directors of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA

Elder James E. Faust, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, and Managing Director, Melchizedek Priesthood MIA

There is much in Melchizedek Priesthood MIA that is not of organization nor program, but rather of spirit and a reaching toward a second birth and a reawakening, followed by an eternal searching for that which is noble and good. It is about the necessity of being twice born that I desire to speak. Like Nicodemus, many will inquire, how can this be? The answer is still the same: Unless a man be born of the water and of the spirit, he cannot be twice born. To be spiritually born of God means that we must be able to answer affirmatively to the query of Alma, “Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?” (Alma 5:14.) …

As a young missionary, I was stricken with jaundice, which was known to us as “missionaries’ disease.” I was so deathly sick, I was afraid I would not die. A good woman, not of our faith, nursed me back to health. I felt she literally saved my life. That surpassing service to me was unpurchased, for she accepted nothing in return. I am looking forward to seeing her in another world, if I should be worthy to go where she is. If performed in the right spirit, there is no higher worship than the unpurchased service to another soul.

Many of the adult single members, in drinking of the bitter cup, wrongfully think that this cup passes by others. In his first words to the people of this continent, Jesus of Nazareth himself poignantly spoke of the bitter cup the Father had given him. (3 Ne. 11:11.) Every soul has some bitterness to swallow. Parents who have a child who loses his way come to know a sorrow that defies description. A woman whose husband is cruel or insensitive can break her heart every day. Having drunk the bitter cup, however, there comes a time when one must accept the situation as it is and reach upward and outward. President Lee has said, “Do not let self-pity or despair beckon you from the course you know is right.” The Savior boxed the compass many years ago: We must be born again in spirit and in heart. …

How shall we know the way? We shall know the way by looking beyond ourselves. A trusted friend states, “I need to be reminded of the dangers of turning inward, of grabbing too tightly to my own soul. In trying to preserve myself, I would squeeze all of the life out of myself.” There are grave dangers in considering too prominently our own desires and needs which strangle the opportunity to be born anew. …

It is a mistake for women to think that life begins only upon marriage. A woman must have an identity and be useful and feel important and needed whether she is single or married. She must also feel that she has something to offer. Shakespeare, speaking through Portia, said: “… for myself alone I would not be ambitious in my wish, To wish myself much better; yet, for you I would be trebled twenty times myself. …” (Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene ii.)

In the message of the Divine Redeemer there is an offer of hope to all, including those who feel poor in spirit and downtrodden, unloved and unlovely. It is the transcending hope of a new birth. There is a great freedom for those who are born of the spirit. They can be like the wind which bloweth where it listeth, and no man knoweth “whence it cometh, and whither it goeth.” (John 3:8.) Thus, being twice born, they can be free from the restricting shackles of self-pity, doubt, discouragement and loneliness and be lifted up in lofty and noble pursuits. “… they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31.)

The message of the Savior is the same now as it was by the well, or in the cornfield, or by the Sea of Galilee. It is the message that there can be a heavenly kingdom on earth, even as in heaven, and that those who take upon themselves his work shall be twice born, renewed in heart and in spirit. It is the message that they who drink of the water which the Master gives them “shall never thirst” and that the water which he gives them may be in them “a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4: 14.)

Elder Marion D. Hanks, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, and Associate Managing Director, Melchizedek Priesthood MIA

I thought early this morning of something attributed to Martin Luther and appropriate to our rather frantic schedule these last hours. He reportedly said, “I have so very much to do today that I must spend more time in prayer.” …

We are faced with the reality of the people whom we are called to serve, their varying circumstances, their individual needs. The programs we are talking about involve our discovering what those needs are by listening. It has been written that we cannot really love anyone—that is, act toward them in a way that would foster their well-being and happiness—unless we know what they need; and we cannot know what they need unless they tell us, and we listen. Our programs involve listening, getting a response, some assessment from them of their own understanding of their needs, what they would like, what they are willing to do, how far they are willing to reach. Our responsibility is to reach out to them.

Elder L. Tom Perry, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, and Associate Managing Director, Melchizedek Priesthood MIA

I am certain that history will record the events of this great conference as having kindled the enthusiastic spirit of a new program. I also know that the real history is still to be written in the elders quorums and Relief Societies, in the wards and branches, in the stakes and missions of the Church throughout the world as the spirit of this conference is translated into action into these programs, which are individually tailored and specially designed to meet the needs of the great single members of the Church.

Their ride on the stream of life has been rougher than most and at times they have found themselves on tributaries lined with sharp rocks, rapids, and swift currents that have tossed them to and fro. Now this program cuts a channel and will allow them to come into the mainstream of the Church where the waters are deep and the ride can be smooth, with many new ports of opportunity in study, activity, service, and spirituality. Now what we need is leadership who have the conviction of their calling, who have the desire and the enthusiasm of these great programs.

The Presiding Bishopric

Presiding Bishop Victor L. Brown

The MIA is not now an auxiliary to the priesthood. It has now been brought directly under the umbrella of the priesthood. It is priesthood oriented and priesthood directed. With the advent of this new organization, it is extremely important that the young men leaders and young women leaders recognize their relationships. On the stake level, the high councilor who is assigned as an adviser to the Aaronic Priesthood MIA reports directly to the chairman of the Aaronic Priesthood MIA committee, who is a member of the stake presidency. The young women’s adviser also reports directly to the chairman, not to the high councilor. The young women’s leaders, both on the ward and stake level, have the full responsibility for the young women’s program under the direction of the chairman on the stake level and the bishopric on the ward level.

It is intended that the young men’s leaders work cooperatively and in partnership with their counterparts in the Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women’s organization and not take over the responsibility for the young women. When there are joint affairs, the planning will be done on a joint, cooperative basis. The priesthood leader will preside at these affairs. Traditionally, the young women have been about two steps ahead of the young men; we suggest to the young men that we not slow down the young women, but rather that we quicken our pace just a bit to catch up.

As the details of this change unfold during the conference, I am sure you will sense that this program is divine. I hope you will catch the enthusiasm that we who have been involved in its development feel. We have a conviction that as the bishops and the branch presidents of the Church catch the vision and provide the stewardship, we will see miracles take place in the lives of our youth—miracles of growth and development that will surpass anything we have seen in the past. …

May I discuss some parts of this with you. First, we feel an urgency to become boy and girl oriented rather than program oriented. To repeat our objective again, it is to save the souls of every boy and girl and to use programs only as they help reach this objective. When we consider the number of young people who have no interest in or affiliation with the Church except their membership, it is clear that we must broaden the base of all that we are doing in order to bring those who are lost into the fold. The Lord emphasized this principle in Luke when he told of the Lost Sheep. “And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:5–7.)

This is what we mean when we say we must appeal to every boy and girl. It is our plan to provide a manual with a great variety of possible activities for local use. Local leaders, including youth themselves, will determine which of the programs will be effective in the lives of the youth in their areas. In other words, the responsibility for developing or selecting much of the program will rest in the hands of local leaders. This will mean that the bishop’s youth committee must be organized and properly used or much of the program will fail. Actually the bishop’s youth committee becomes one of the cornerstones in the Aaronic Priesthood MIA organization.

Another very important principle involved is that of service. When we speak of service, we speak of person-to-person type service, the kind of service that we experienced in the lives of a group of Mia Maids. These young ladies had determined that they were going to visit one of the homes for elderly folk. They spent hours baking, cooking, trying new recipes, planning a program, writing new songs, etc.

At the appointed time, the girls arrived at the home a little nervous and somewhat less enthusiastic about their idea. (Every one of you who has ever visited an old folks home cannot help but have a vivid picture of lost souls.) After the bags of cookies had been placed on a nearby table to ease the strain of the first few moments, the girls began to sing. As they did so, one or two patients raised up from their slumped positions on beds, and a few in wheelchairs pushed closer to the group. At that moment a miracle was taking place as the elderly responded to the sweet voices of youth. The girls then hummed a familiar tune while a foreign exchange student sang the words in German. From a bed in the next room, in soft but audible tones, an elderly gentleman joined in the words of his native tongue. A few quiet words of appreciation were expressed, and a different group of girls walked almost reverently down the steps of the old building. These girls had for a moment lived a principle in a Christlike way. Their lives had been changed, and they wanted to do it again.

Bishop H. Burke Peterson, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric

We have experienced, as long as our minds will let us remember, war in various parts of the earth on which we live. There have been many great and significant battles fought, and in each of these battles there has always been planning on the part of the opposing leaders, those who are trying to overthrow each other. Now there is a very real conflict going on in the earth, more real than any battle that we read about or participate in on this earth, and this is the battle that is going on between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Every Thursday morning in the temple these brethren of the First Presidency and the brethren of the Twelve meet and discuss ways to thwart the forces and advancements of Satan. They discuss plans whereby we might overcome his influence in the earth. I am confident that in every stake in the Church and in every mission likewise there are like meetings held—and, if you please, battle plans, where great stake presidents and great priesthood leaders meet and discuss ways to overcome the advancements of Satan.

I also would hope that in every home there are these kinds of meetings held where mothers and fathers would discuss the ways to safeguard their children against the advancements of Satan.

Bishop Vaughn J. Featherstone, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric

My beloved leaders of youth: I would like to pose a question. What will you take back from this conference? And then I would like to suggest maybe one or two additional items you might consider.

In connection with our young people, I do not believe they like things sugarcoated. I believe that sometimes when we try to sugarcoat it for them, we make it hard for them to really understand what we are saying and we do them a disservice.

Let me give you an example of how I think we ought to present it to them. This is a response from President Spencer W. Kimball, this great Christlike man, to a youth who sat in his office and said, “These are your own opinions.” And then President Kimball responded, “Yes, if that were true, I would agree with you. Your mind may be broader than mine, your gray matter thicker and grayer, your logic and thinking processes may be far more alert than my own, but you have forgotten one thing: Your opinion, no matter how erudite, is matched not by mine but by the composite of the inspiration of all of the ancient prophets of at least six millennia and of the Creator himself. Your logic is hardly equal to the inspiration and revelation from the Lord that I am representing to you. Your deliberations look rather puny when compared to the knowledge and wisdom of the God who made your little mind and gave it function. God said the act is sin. Numerous prophets claim the act is sin. The act is sin. Yes, my friend, if it were your mind against mine, your logic against mine, your perception against my limited ability, then I would retire and leave you to your deliberations and conclusions. But I am expressing not my own opinion but the word of the Lord of heaven, and I am telling you God’s truth. The act is sin. To compare your opinion with the Lord’s proven truth might be like a grain of sand compared to the bulk of Mt. Everest.”

Isn’t that a beautiful way of saying it clear and un-sugarcoated? …

I had the privilege as a general secretary of the Aaronic Priesthood one time of going to a home, and I thought about this visit. I wanted specific guidance. I didn’t want to shoot with a shotgun. I wanted this boy and he was the only one I was concerned about at this hour. And so as I walked up on the porch and knocked, here came a fine, sharp-looking fellow in a T-shirt. He was working in cement work and he was strong, a towhead in the sun, and as he stood there in the door, I said, “Duane, I have come to arm-wrestle you.” And he motioned me to come in.

I want you to know I thought I had been had, but I went in anyway. He took everything off the coffee table and we knelt down, and then we arm-wrestled. And I slowly put down his right arm, and he said, “Do you do it with the other arm?” And I said, “I do,” and so we arm-wrestled with the other arm, and I slowly edged him down. Then he said, “Do you Indian-leg wrestle?” I made a great mistake and said yes. We got down on the floor, and I don’t recall what happened after that. He rolled me over about three times to the fireplace. Then I made a second mistake and I said to him, “Do you do it with the other leg?” He said yes; then he rolled me back from the fireplace.

After this was over, I looked at him and said, “Duane, we need you over at church. We need your kind of person. Can you make it Sunday morning at priesthood meeting?” He looked at me for quite a while and said, “I will be there.”

I want to tell you, when we communicate on the right wavelength and we focus in on one individual soul, as the God of heaven does, we get results. God cares about every one of us, and he knows there is a burden that each heart carries. We must care and love, as the prophet has said, every soul that walks the earth.

General Presidencies of Aaronic Priesthood MIA–Young Men and Young Women

Robert L. Backman, General President, Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Men

Great programs are great, but we can’t accomplish anything without people to participate in them. President Tanner has said that the secret of the success of this church is in our participation. You and I are here today because of our participation in the Church, our involvement, our responsibilities in God’s kingdom. How unfortunate it would be if we did not have such an assignment.

When one of my daughters was eight or nine years old, she came back from Sunday School one day. She had been serving as the president of her class. As we sat down to Sunday dinner, she heaved a huge sigh of relief and said, “I was released from being Sunday School class president this morning. Now I know what President McKay must feel like running the Church.”

How else do we learn except by participation and involvement? Do you recognize how few opportunities in the past we have given our youth to take responsibilities? I served as a mission president. I don’t think any other former or present mission president would disagree with me when I say that one of the chief concerns we have when young men and young women come into the mission field is that too few of them have ever learned what it means to take responsibility. This society of ours cripples us in teaching our youth to take responsibility. They can’t take jobs. It is against the law. There aren’t enough daily chores to keep a boy or a girl busy, so something else must be evolved to take the place of them. All too often nothing has, and so our young people grow up being spectators instead of participators in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Again I would ask you, how strong would your testimony be if you did not have an active role to play in the kingdom of God? I think that is what all of this comes down to. We must involve our youth—involve them not just to be spectators but to be planners, to be implementers, to be evaluators. Out of that great process, we think we are going to see a tremendous change take place as our young men and young women build strength of character to withstand the alien society in which we live, find the means to resist temptation, and then discover ways to serve, learning that happiness lies in losing themselves in selfless service to their fellowmen. That is what it is all about.

Ruth Hardy Funk, General President, Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women

We as members of this great church are entering into an era in this final dispensation wherein women are being called and inspired to take their complete and rightful place in the homes and congregations of the world as they support and sustain the priesthood work that is now going forth. It is a testimony to me how the Lord has prepared the entire world for this further understanding of his priesthood and its blessings upon the lives of women and children as they seek to understand and assume their rightful roles.

Women of the world can only gain the liberation they seek by recognizing within themselves the gifts of womanhood and the gifts of motherhood, and satisfying them in the natural and divine role as found within the priesthood and as provided through those vessels of the Lord who are the bearers of the priesthood. This is the only key to our identity—the role we play in the priesthood of God. As one beautiful board member expressed: “I am not interested in liberation. I am interested in exaltation.” …

With President Lee’s permission, may I recall a unique and celestial experience that was granted the general presidencies of the Aaronic Priesthood MIA when, on Thursday, March 29, we were invited to share a celestial hour with the brethren in their weekly temple meeting at which all of the General Authorities were in attendance. At the time we were called, President Lee referred to the direction and change of the MIA program, as it now would become the Aaronic Priesthood MIA, as the most significant change I would see in my lifetime as far as the organization of the Church is concerned. After days and months, I am beginning to know in just a small way this enormous significance, which I am sure will grow and grow and encompass all of the priesthood programs of the Church.

After weeks of prayerful pondering with our Presiding Bishopric, appraising considered suggestions by our board, after deep deliberation by the correlation committees, and exact scrutiny by members of the Twelve Apostles acting as advisers for the curriculum of the Aaronic Priesthood MIA, and finally after careful review by the First Presidency, the proposed organization was refined and made ready by this divine process to be presented in the temple. Our joy was great.

The day prior to this appointed hour, President Lee extended through the Presiding Bishop an invitation to the joint presidencies to be in attendance at the temple meeting when the proposal would be presented to the governing body of the Church. This would include us as women. The significance of this occasion was reinforced when President Lee said that according to his knowledge this was the first time in the history of the Church that any women had been invited to be in attendance at this special meeting.

The formality, the order, the spirit, the tremendous feeling of power, the strength of the priesthood manifest, and the sacredness of the entire setting were almost overwhelming. President Lee commented on the historical nature of our being there and then asked us to stand and be introduced individually.

Following Bishop Brown’s presentation and the discussion that followed, at which he invited a response from the women present, a vote was called for, following which President Lee assured us of the support of everyone in the room and official approval was made for the Aaronic Priesthood MIA.

In this holy setting in the company of these brethren, prompted by the President’s great consideration for the young women of the Church in allowing us to come, we were allowed to witness the process whereby all matters and all programs of the Church become official.

Lamanite Self-Help Programs: A Status Report

A field day was recently held on the Blood Indian Reserve near Cardston, Alberta, Canada, as the climax of a program of assistance sponsored by the Brigham Young University Institute of American Indian Services and Research.

The project included home development and improvement, community gardens, programs to increase agricultural production, and the organization of the Future Farmers of the Reserve. This last program was introduced to encourage the building of dairy and beef herds and provide firsthand experience for young Indians in productive animal husbandry.

This particular project is one of many in a self-help program initiated by the Church in 1958 for the American Indian. Administered by the BYU Institute, the program has involved some 1,200 Indian families of 40 tribes in more than 60 agricultural projects. In addition, the program has helped establish small businesses and educational projects.

Important features of the program are that it is available to all Indians, they themselves initiate various projects, and they must be willing to be fully involved.

Giving money is not part of the Church program, although a substantial number of foundation grants have been received to assist in the work. Many Church members, especially those living in Idaho and northern Utah, have contributed seed, fertilizer, fuel, and farm machinery.

Considered one of the greatest contributions to the program is the dedicated service of couples who live on the reservations with the Indians. Currently more than 40 such couples give of their time and experience to assist in various projects on a family, community, or tribal basis.

The Church program has provided self-help guidance and counsel in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Montana, and the projects have included Indian cooperatives and preparations for the first Indian-owned trading post in America. As work proceeds on the reservations and reserves, Indian students attending BYU are developing their expertise and talents so that they may fill leading roles in the expanding program. In addition, businessmen are providing the students with opportunities to learn business administration so that they may be trained to operate their own businesses.

The success of these programs can best be summed up in the words of Albert Narrango, council member for 20 years of the Santa Clara Pueblo Tribe and tribal lieutenant governor for three years:

“I have been associated with the Mormon people for the past two years, and I must admit that I have never in my life seen such dedicated people. They have encouraged us to try different crops, to irrigate properly, to level our land, and to learn the importance of fertilizing. All in all, I feel that we farmers have greatly benefited. We hope we can continue to have this assistance when necessary.”

[photo] 1. The delicate art of creating Indian jewelry being revived and taught by Indian craftsman Winston Mason of Springville, Utah

[photo] 2. Indian mothers in Arizona receiving health and home care hints from a mobile classroom, one of three vans utilized to take programs to remote areas

[photo] 3. Dressmaking skills being demonstrated in a class in Vernal, Utah

[photo] 4. A down-to-earth discussion on soil cultivation is held near Moenkopi, Arizona

[photo] 5. Supplies are unloaded at Many Farms, Arizona, as preparations are made to plant crops in a 97-acre area

[photo] 6. Vern Charger operates a discing unit on the Crow Creek Tribal Farm, South Dakota

[photo] 7. Young Indians proudly showing cattle raised as part of a Future Farmers project on the Blood Reserve near Cardston, Alberta, Canada

[photo] 8. Joe Bear, with a project supervisor, looking over cattle pens on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Montana

Mission Leaders Challenged

“Those called into missionary service must be worthy and able”—worthy in not having committed any serious sins that would jeopardize their receiving the Holy Spirit, and able in being capable of receiving and carrying out assignments.

These were the instructions given by President Harold B. Lee in his keynote address to new mission presidents and their wives at a seminar in the new General Church Office Building recently.

“Judging a person’s worthiness requires intuition, which is nothing more than the spirit of prophecy,” he noted, adding, “we urge mission presidents to exercise that gift.”

The two-day seminar featured talks by members of the First Presidency and by President Spencer W. Kimball and Elders Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, and Bruce R. McConkie of the Council of the Twelve. A new proselyting program was introduced in a series of workshops; a reception was held where mission presidents and their wives could meet with parents of missionaries; and the seminar was concluded with a banquet on the 26th floor of the new building.

President Lee’s remarks centered on the spiritual guidance needed by every individual associated with missionary work: the bishops and stake presidents and branch and mission presidents who select and recommend missionaries; by the president of the Church, who reviews the names and gives final approval to those who are called; by mission presidents and missionaries who labor in the field; and by prospective candidates for baptism.

“When I ponder the lists of names submitted to me,” President Lee declared, “I realize that these are not just names; they are real people, individuals, and I want to know something about them. I want to fulfill my responsibility with that same spirit of prophecy. No callings in the Church are given more careful consideration than are those for the mission field.

“A prospective mission president once asked me, ‘Do you have a department to help me get my affairs in order?’ I replied, ‘Yes, we do. It is the Lord. If you will go to him prayerfully and humbly, he will help you get your affairs in order.’ That mission president returned to tell me that I was right.”

Emphasizing the need for an investigator to seek spiritual conversion before baptism, President Lee stated that if a person is truly seeking the truth, then when someone comes to teach him the truth, he will receive a witness of this truth.

“There are drastic changes the new convert must make,” he added, “but if he is converted, then he will be willing to change and forgo all past bad habits. But without the witness of the Spirit, he will not make the necessary sacrifices and changes.”

President Lee admonished the mission presidents, “Your work will not be judged by how many baptisms you put on the records of the Church, but by how many converts you have—how many are still active after a few years. No one is thoroughly converted until he sees the power of God resting upon this church, until he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the present leadership of the Church is directed by the Lord. The new member must do his spiritual housekeeping and be prepared to receive the witness of the Spirit. After that he must work to keep his testimony alive, because it is as fragile as an orchid: it will die if he departs from gospel principles and activity in the Church.”

Referring to the new missionary lessons now being introduced, he said, “You are being sent out to teach your missionaries to convert the world. Teach them the simple principles of the gospel. And what is the gospel? The answer is found in the scriptures:

“‘And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.’ (D&C 39:6.)”

The new missionary plan, prepared under the direction of the Council of the Twelve and the First Council of the Seventy, is entitled “The Uniform System for Teaching Families” and suggests more individual initiative and approaches in proselyting. It strongly emphasizes the family home evening program to help strengthen family ties and suggests that missionaries might introduce the gospel by making appointments with nonmember parents to hold family home evenings.

The family will be invited to learn more about the Church, and those who accept the invitation will participate in seven missionary discussions. Subjects and concepts of these discussions are:

1. The restoration. The Lord has shown his love and concern for all his children in our time by appearing to a prophet, revealing the Book of Mormon, and restoring His church with his authority and power. One can discover the truth of these things by reading and pondering the teachings in the Book of Mormon and praying sincerely.

2. Eternal progression. As we are obedient to the commandments of the Lord, we earn the right to live with him forever in the celestial kingdom.

3. Continuing revelation and individual responsibility. God spoke to many prophets in ancient times and he speaks to prophets today. We will be blessed as we follow the counsels of the living prophet and other priesthood leaders.

4. Truth versus error. Knowledge of truth helps us to become free. Our Heavenly Father wants each of his children to learn and live the truth. He has given us several ways to discern truth from error. As we apply the first four principles and ordinances of the gospel, we will begin our preparation to enter the kingdom of God.

5. Obedience to the Lord’s commandments brings his blessings. Commandments are guidelines to happy living, given because of God’s love for us. By obeying them, we can have peace in this life and eternal life with our families; we can become like God.

6. Our relationship to Christ. Jesus Christ is our Creator, Savior, and Redeemer—the Light and Life of the world. By him we shall be judged. His atoning sacrifice assures each of us a resurrection from death and opens the way to redemption from sin.

7. Membership in the kingdom. After baptism, which is the gate to the straight and narrow path leading to eternal life, we must press forward with determination to serve the Lord and obey his commandments.

A set of visual aids accompanies each handbook. The seven discussions may be presented in any order that seems appropriate for the individual investigator.

The family home evening introduction to the lessons is designed to be a family experience, including prayer, spiritual message, games, talent show, refreshments, and any other activities that may seem appropriate.

Thirty-six new mission presidents and their wives have been called to preside over the missions listed below. Six are new missions (indicated by an asterisk *), bringing the total of Church missions to 107.

Name, Place of Residence

Most Recent Church Position


Raymond E. Beckham Provo, Utah

Sealer, Provo Temple


Earl C. Tingey Easton, Connecticut

Eastern States Mission presidency counselor

Australia East

J. Martell Bird Australia East Mission

Australia East Mission president

Australia Northeast*

Lynn A. Sorensen Salt Lake City

Melchizedek Priesthood MIA general board

Brazil South

Clarence R. Bishop Bountiful, Utah

Sunday School and MIA positions


Glenn E. Nielson Cody, Wyoming

Church Finance Committee member


John E. Heward Holbrook, Arizona

Missionary among Mexican people


Royden G. Derrick Salt Lake City

Sunday School general presidency

England North

R. Donald Livingstone Lethbridge, Canada

Alberta Temple officiator

England South

Arnold R. Knapp Salt Lake City

Sunday School general board

England Southwest

Sidney F. Sager Angleur, Belgium

Mission Representative


Seth D. Redford Boise, Idaho

High councilor

Georgia–South Carolina

Gary L. Schwendiman Salt Lake City

Church’s European general counsel

Germany North

Hans-Wilhelm Kelling Provo, Utah

Stake presidency member

Germany South

Robert B. Arnold Utah (formerly of Guatemala)

Mission Representative

Guatemala–El Salvador

Clyde J. Summerhays Salt Lake City

Ireland Mission president

Ireland (one-year extension)

Ralph A. Barnes Salt Lake City

Missionary, Italy South Mission

Italy South

Kotaro Koizumi Oahu, Hawaii

Stake presidency member

Japan East

Arthur K. Nishimoto American Fork, Utah (formerly of Hawaii)

Bishop, district president

Japan West

Satora Sato Hilo, Hawaii

Stake presidency member


Graham W. Doxey Salt Lake City

Stake president


Thurn J. Baker Moses Lake, Washington

Stake president


Lester B. Whetten Provo, Utah

Patriarch, Provo Temple sealer


C. Russell Hansen Syracuse, Utah

Stake president


George T. Frost Ogden, Utah

Stake presidency member


M. Baden Powell Pere Laie, Hawaii

Temple worker

New Zealand North

Charles M. Alexander Phoenix, Arizona


North Carolina*

Paul Buehner Salt Lake City

Stake president

Ohio–West Virginia

Hugh W. Pinnock Salt Lake City

Regional Representative, Priesthood Leadership Committee


Carl D. Jones Springville, Utah

Stake president


Robert P. Thorn Salt Lake City

High councilor

South Africa

Robert V. Stevens Salt Lake City

Ward MIA president


George R. Lovell Ririe, Idaho

Stake president

Texas North

Ronald Lee Loveland Boise, Idaho

Stake presidency member

Texas South

Paul D. Morris Thailand

District president


Robert L. Marchant Salt Lake City

Sunday School teacher


Changes Made in Assignments of Regional Mission Representatives

Twenty-three new Regional Representatives of the Council of the Twelve have been appointed, bringing the total of that group to 120. In addition, in some areas outside the United States and Canada, the duties of Regional Representatives and Mission Representatives of the Council of the Twelve and First Council of Seventy have been combined to facilitate their duties and responsibilities.

The new Regional Representatives include: Moroni Taylor Abegg, Salt Lake City; Carlos E. Asay, Provo, Utah; Paul Wesley Bott, Ogden, Utah; Grant Martin Bowler, Logandale, Nevada; B. Darrell Call, Suisun, California; Dale R. Curtis, Salt Lake City; Charles A. Didier, Liege, Belgium; James I. Gibson, Henderson, Nevada; Joseph A. Kjar, Centerville, Utah; John R. Lasater, Oxon Hill, Maryland; David D. Lingard, Salt Lake City; Bryant William Rossiter, Rochester, New York; John Major Scowcroft, Wilmette, Illinois; Russell Carl Taylor, Arvada, Colorado; Keith W. Wilcox, Ogden, Utah; L. Harold Wright, Mesa, Arizona.

Mission Representatives who will now also assume duties of Regional Representatives include David G. Clark, Northridge, California; Stewart A. Durrant, Salt Lake City; Orville C. Gunther, American Fork; Clifton I. Johnson, Bountiful, Utah; William N. Jones, American Fork, Utah; Walter H. Kindt, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Milton E. Smith, Orem, Utah.

New Stakes Created in Latin America, U.S.

An indication of the Church’s steady growth is the recent creation of four new stakes: two in Latin America and two in Utah.

The San Salvador Stake has been created from the Guatemala–El Salvador Mission, with Mario Edmundo Scheel as president, assisted by counselors Alfonso Octavio Diaz and Fidel Ricardo Villeda (Campos).

In Brazil, growing membership caused division of the São Paulo East Stake with four wards and two branches now assigned to the new São Paulo West Stake, presided over by Jose Benjamin Puerta and counselors Fernando Alvara Magalhaes and Wilson Sanchez Netto.

In Utah, Willow Creek Stake has been organized from a division of Jordan East Stake, now known as the Fort Union Stake. Wayne L. Saunders serves as the new stake president with John Robert Ruppel and Rulon Lamar Bradshaw as counselors.

Also in Utah, Alpine Stake was divided to form the new American Fork North Stake. Alpine Stake’s former president, Leland Forbes Priday, is president of the new stake; Alvin M. Fulkerson and David R. Haymond serve as his counselors.

BYU, Ricks Announce New Programs to Better Assist, Counsel Students

Both Brigham Young University and Ricks College have announced changes in student career advisement that will greatly help individual selection of major study areas and post-college employment.

A central agency to coordinate career advisement has been created at BYU. For the first time, a student now can receive from the Career Education Council counseling from the time of preenrollment through his career selection prior to graduation.

Dr. David M. Sorenson, council chairman, director of the university’s Personal Development Center, and assistant dean of student life, explains that regardless of the point at which a student needs or seeks help regarding his major study area or career plans, the council will go into operation in his behalf. For example, he says, the high school graduate newly approved for admission to BYU receives considerable instruction; BYU students undecided as to their major may register in the Department of University Studies which was created last year; and those who have chosen majors receive further assistance in advisement centers set up in each college.

Of the new program, BYU President Dallin H. Oaks says: “We can’t make a choice for the student, but we can give him greater understanding of himself and information on the present and future job market, as well as understanding of major study areas and their requirements and the jobs they lead to, so that he can make a satisfactory decision.”

At Ricks College, Dr. Henry L. Isaksen, coordinator of academic planning and program development, now is also in charge of career development activities on campus, including the placement office, student employment, and cooperative education plans. The main purpose of the new program, says Dr. Isaksen, “is to insure that all students who attend Ricks will have experiences that promote the early identification of satisfying career paths and will be able to obtain sufficient preparation for the world of work.”

Bolivian Twins Enroll at BYU to Fulfill Promise Made by President Nixon

Little did President Richard M. Nixon realize 18 years ago that he would be sending two students to Brigham Young University, but this summer Judith and Ruth Leonardini, twin sisters from La Paz, Bolivia, enrolled at BYU under the President’s sponsorship.

The story began when the then U.S. Vice-President Nixon was touring Latin America and cradled the twin baby girls in his arms on a visit to a public health clinic. Captivated by the twins, he promised to provide them with a college education in the United States when they grew up.

On the girls’ eighteenth birthday last March, the President’s promise was recalled, and arrangements were made to bring Judith and Ruth to the United States. As news of the girls’ hopes to accept the offer became known, some 27 colleges offered them full scholarships, including President Nixon’s alma mater in southern California.

However, since the President’s visit 18 years ago, the two girls, along with their family, had been converted to the Church, and they expressed the desire to attend BYU. Currently enrolled with other international students in an intensive English language class, the girls will assume regular classes with the new college year.

[photo] Judith and Ruth Leonardini

1973 Genealogical Time-Saver Available to Researchers

An updated time-saver for genealogists is the 1973 edition of Computer Parish Listings, currently available at Genealogical Society branch libraries, stake meetinghouse libraries, or mission equivalents.

The book lists parishes or towns from which names have been extracted by the Genealogical Society for temple ordinance work, along with the time periods covered. Countries for which some extraction has been done include England, Wales, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Prussia, Scotland, and Luxembourg, as well as the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Genealogical Society officials stress that only a small percentage of the records of any country has been extracted, but that patrons should check the listings before doing research in these countries. Names that appear in parishes in these listings should not be sent in for temple ordinance work since these ordinances either have been or are in the process of being performed.

However, some names may not appear in the vital records being extracted, even though the family member was born in a place during the time period extracted. In such cases, patrons may submit the name from another approved source, noting in the “remarks” area that this individual’s name does not appear in the printout.

More information is available in the 1973 edition of the Genealogical Society Research paper, Series F, No. 3 (Catalog No. PRGS0670), “The Genealogical Society’s Controlled Extraction Programs,” available for fifty cents from the General Church Distribution Center, P.O. Box 11627, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111.

Church Hosting Service Expands to Meet Demand

A Church program initiated in 1965 to host visiting dignitaries has now grown so large that two couples, Brother and Sister W. Stanford Wagstaff and Brother and Sister A. Palmer Holt, have been called to assist the Church hostess, Sister Irene E. Staples.

In addition, Sister Phyllis Sandberg has been named chairman in charge of hostesses for the new General Church Office Building.

Sister Staples has hosted many thousands of people since her call eight years ago, and last year she assisted some 22,000 official visitors at Church headquarters.

Many of the European guests to Salt Lake City have been invited to attend the area general conference in Munich in August, as well as special receptions and Tabernacle Choir concerts in Munich, Paris, and London. Sister Staples will be traveling with the choir as she has done on their previous concert tours.

“With the contacts I make here, I send thousands of referrals to the missionaries. I don’t know what happens to all of them, but often I receive reports of people joining the Church because of the work we have done here.”

[photo] Sister Irene E. Staples, Church hostess

Pageant Tells Church Story

President Harold B. Lee was among the many thousands of people who attended this year’s Hill Cumorah Pageant near Palmyra, New York. The pageant is based on scenes from the Bible and the Book of Mormon and features a volunteer cast of some 600 persons, each of whom is called to serve a mission during the run of the outdoor presentation.

Other volunteer players performed before many thousands of spectators at the Mormon Miracle Pageant (below) on the grounds of the Manti Temple in Utah. This pageant traces the history of the Church and rich heritage found in the Book of Mormon.

The Church’s pioneer heritage has been portrayed in drama and music to capacity audiences of tourists in Salt Lake City at Promised Valley this summer. The pioneer theme was also evident in the annual Days of ’47 parade in Salt Lake City. The parade, one of the largest in the United States, celebrates the arrival of the Saints into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.

LDS Family Receives National Honor

[photo] The Verl L. Buxton family of Cornish, Utah, has been chosen as the National Farm Family of the Year by the Farmers Home Administration. The Buxtons were chosen on the basis of their farm management and church, community, and family activity. Brother Buxton has served as mayor of Cornish for three terms and as president of the Cache County Mayors Association. In the Church he has served in the bishopric of the Cornish Ward, Benson Stake, and is currently a Sunday School teacher. Sister Helen Buxton teaches in the Aaronic Priesthood MIA. As part of the program honoring the family, the Buxtons met with President Richard M. Nixon at the White House. Pictured here are Mark Buxton, 17, Sister Buxton, President Nixon, Brother Buxton, Carol Buxton, 20, and Dale Buxton, 13. The Buxtons also have two married daughters, Patricia and Sharon.

Pioneers Receive Recognition

[photo] A hymn that went around the world, and an early Latter-day Saint settlement, have received public and historical recognition with a museum display and a commemorative plaque. The hymn, “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” written in 1846 by William Clayton near Corydon, Iowa, is the theme of a life-size display in the Wayne County Historical Museum at Corydon. Prepared by the Church at the invitation of the Wayne County Historical Society, the display opened in mid-July at a ceremony attended by Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Council of the Twelve. Music for the occasion was provided by the Des Moines Stake Relief Society choir, pictured above. While in Iowa, Elder Petersen also attended the dedication of a granite monolith bearing a plaque in memory of the Saints who lived at nearby Garden Grove and who provided assistance for other Saints traveling to the Salt Lake Valley. The memorial was erected through the cooperation of the Decatur County Historical Society and the Church.

Water Displays to Highlight Plaza

[illustration] Currently under construction between the Church Administration Building and the new General Church Office Building is a block-long landscaped plaza that will feature three attractive water displays. As announced by the First Presidency, the central display will be a seven-jet fountain with water rising 50 feet above a reflective pool. When the fountain is not in operation, the pool will mirror the Salt Lake Temple. Construction of the fountain and pool, the First Presidency explained, has been made possible by substantial financial contributions from yet unnamed donors. From the central display, streamlets of water will run alongside pathways to Main Street, the west entrance to the plaza. At the State Street (east) end, a bank of water will cascade eight feet from street level into plaza-level pools. All the water in the displays will be recycled and reused. The overall project is scheduled for completion in 1974.

LDS Scene

U.S. AIR FORCE CAPTAIN DAVID A. SAWYER, a high councilor in the South Carolina East Stake, was recently awarded top military honors in recognition of his actions during the Indochina War. He received the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest award for heroism, for his actions as a fighter pilot in providing air cover for search and rescue operations for two downed pilots in November 1972. This action came in the face of adverse weather conditions and intense enemy antiaircraft fire. The second honor, the Distinguished Flying Cross, was awarded in recognition of extraordinary performance. Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming, Brother Sawyer was graduated from Brigham Young University in 1968 and commissioned in the Reserve Officers Training Corps. He is married and has two children.

JEAN R. JENKINS, an assistant professor of speech at BYU, has been reelected president of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies at its recent conference. Max Golightly, BYU assistant professor of drama, was appointed librarian; in addition, he was awarded a first prize for his poetry. Three other members of the Church took six additional first prizes in the contest of 6,519 entries in 45 categories: Lael W. Hill, three first prizes; Alice Morrey Bailey, two first prizes; and Vesta P. Crawford, one first prize.

DR. LORIN F. WHEELWRIGHT, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University, has been appointed head of overall planning and preparation for the university’s 1975–76 centennial celebration. In assuming this new position, he will retire from his deanship when his successor is named in the near future. In addition to many anticipated centennial programs, a history of BYU will be published. Research on the volume is being directed by Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson, former president of BYU and now serving as chairman of the Centennial History Committee.

U.S. MARINE STAFF SERGEANT RICHARD W. DORAY, JR., a group leader at the Parris Island Recruit Depot, Beaufort, South Carolina, recently was named Military Citizen of the Quarter by the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce. Brother Doray, a member of the Beaufort Branch, Charleston Stake, was cited for his leadership in church and scouting activities as well as for his outstanding military performance.

A former Brigham Young University student who lost both legs when he tripped a booby-trap while serving in Vietnam has been named the United States Outstanding Disabled Veteran for 1973. MIKE R. JOHNSON, who also lost three fingers and a thumb in the incident, now is employed as an engineer draftsman with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Provo, Utah. He has been cited by the Disabled American Veterans for his “personal efforts in overcoming severe combat-incurred disabilities” and for assisting other handicapped people. Brother Johnson credits his family and the Church with helping him return to the mainstream of activity. “You’ve got to open up to people and be almost an extrovert to help yourself,” he says, “or you’ll feel sorry for yourself and stay in a deep depression.” Despite his handicap, he enjoys hunting and fishing, plays wheelchair basketball, and is a Scout leader. He also coaches a basketball team that last year won 13 games and lost one. He and his wife and baby son live in the Edgemont Eighth Ward, Edgemont Stake, where he teaches Sunday School.

[photo] Capt. David A. Sawyer