News of the Church


Tornadoes, Floods Take Lives and Property

The wisdom of family emergency plans paid off for the Snyder family in Xenia, Ohio, when the worst tornadoes in 49 years recently struck 11 midwest and eastern states and Ontario, Canada.

Brent Snyder, president of the dependent Xenia Branch, Dayton Ohio Stake, was outside his home with his four children when he was told of the approaching storm. Sister Snyder was out shopping. Telling his children to get into the house, he then began to warn his neighbors before realizing that a tornado was almost upon him. With his children, he sought the safety of a bathroom located in the center of his two-story brick home. This was the spot that the family had planned on using should such a storm strike, because its central location provided a strong shelter and protection from flying debris.

After the tornado passed, Sister Snyder returned to find her home nearly destroyed, but her family safe.

Now living in a temporary home until further plans can be made, the Snyder family was fortunate compared to others. More than 300 people were killed by the rampaging tornadoes and almost 4,000 were injured. Of the 4,000, more than 1,000 had to be hospitalized.

Early damage estimates included almost 22,000 homes, farm buildings, and small businesses either damaged or destroyed. In addition to President Snyder’s home, three other houses of Xenia Branch members were destroyed while others were only damaged.

“It was a fantastically destructive tornado,” said Joseph M. McPhie, president of the Dayton Ohio Stake. “Winds registered 500 miles per hour. We usually think of tornadoes as being quite narrow at the bottom and funneling upward. The one that hit here was about one and one-half miles across, almost like a thundercloud, and it just swept through everything. It touched down at the outskirts of Xenia, moved through a new subdivision, and then on through the center of the city. All that remained of some of the subdivision houses were the pads on which they had been constructed. It looks as though a bulldozer had cleared off the slabs and pushed the houses aside.”

President McPhie said that as the effects of the tornado became known, “we had people lining up to offer aid. It wasn’t a question of whether there was any help available, but how best to utilize the help offered. We have had several days, for instance, where our young people have worked all day long in helping to clean up. In so doing they have made quite a favorable impression with both the members and the nonmembers.”

Although there were no serious injuries and no loss of life among the Saints in Ohio, four seminary students and their instructor were killed when the vehicle in which they were traveling was picked up by a tornado and dumped into a reservoir at Monticello, Indiana. A fifth student, age 17, floated out of the rear door of the vehicle as it sank. Of the four girls trapped inside, two were 17, one was 18, and one was 14. Their instructor, who was the head of the German department at Indiana University’s Fort Wayne campus, is survived by a wife and five children. Members of the Fort Wayne Indiana Stake, the group had been on a field trip to Nauvoo, Illinois, as part of their Church history study course.

Reports from Mississippi indicate that three members were among those evacuated to safer ground when heavy rainfalls caused normally placid rivers to overflow their banks. The meetinghouse of the Seminary Branch, Hattiesburg Mississippi Stake, was flooded to a depth of four feet and it is expected that extensive renovations may be required.

In South America, Latter-day Saints were among the victims when heavy floods inundated the Tubarão area of southern Brazil. Approximately 100 members had to evacuate their homes as floodwaters rose as high as ten feet. According to Lynn A. Sorensen, president of the Brazil South Mission, initial aid to the Saints included three truckloads of clothing and needed supplies. As the floodwaters receded, priesthood holders from surrounding areas moved in to help clear away the debris and repair the damaged homes.

[photo] Downtown Xenia, Ohio, following the tornado. Photo courtesy Dayton Daily News

[photo] The tornado leaves its mark on the Central State University campus at Wilberforce, Ohio. Photo courtesy Dayton Daily News

Church Music Program Changes

The Church Music Department has introduced changes in the Church music program that will eliminate duplication of effort and phase out some traditional stake positions.

In both stakes and wards, the functions of the permanent music committees have been replaced, and in the stakes the permanent positions of music director and organist are being phased out. The ward music committee, comprised of a chairman and all ward music leaders, has been discontinued.

The new program is as follows: under the direction of the ward music adviser, who is a member of the bishopric, the ward music chairman will meet collectively or individually with the ward music leaders to assist them as the need arises. These leaders include the ward music director, organist, priesthood music director and organist, choir president and officers, Aaronic Priesthood MIA music leaders, and the assistant librarian for music, as well as music directors and organists or pianists for the Relief Society, Primary, and Sunday School organizations.

The ward music chairman will receive guidance from the stake music chairman, who is under the direction of a member of the stake presidency or a high councilor who serves as stake music adviser.

The permanent stake music committee that used to be composed of a chairman and the stake auxiliary music leaders has been discontinued. Under the new program, the stake music chairman will meet with stake auxiliary music leaders collectively or individually.

Since the positions of stake music director and stake organist have been discontinued, the stake music chairman may appoint any capable musician to fill these roles on a temporary basis.

At the regional level, a stake president within a given region may be recommended by the Regional Representative and approved by the Council of the Twelve to be adviser for a regional or multiregional activity. The appointed stake president, with his stake music chairman, would supervise the required talents and music for the activity, whether it be one event or a series of events. This appointment, made as the need arises and on a temporary basis only, would replace the existing position of regional music leader.

Although certain positions are being phased out, there still is a need for training courses, seminars, and workshops. Under priesthood leadership, such programs would be organized by the ward or stake music chairmen who may assign qualified instructors to conduct specific courses or sessions. The Church Music Department has recommended that a continuing program of preservice training for potential music directors, organists, and pianists be maintained, and that, where feasible, stake inservice seminars and workshops be conducted quarterly.

Ward auxiliary music leaders receive basic music skills training through the ward or stake music chairmen, while specialized help pertaining to their specific auxiliary needs should be forthcoming from their particular stake auxiliary music leader.

The positions of stake music director and stake organist or pianist for the Relief Society and the Primary should be phased out under the new program and be replaced by a single stake music leader for each auxiliary. These leaders will receive instruction and counsel directly from their respective general boards. The Sunday School may continue with its existing program of the stake music leader, or leaders, for Junior Sunday School and Senior Sunday School. Stake auxiliary music leaders may use ward auxiliary music directors and organists in their stake programs as needed.

This new music program is also applicable to districts and branches of the Church.

The organization of the Church music program(click to view larger)

In this chart showing the organization of the Church music program, the solid lines indicate priesthood direction. Broken lines indicate open communication between music leaders.

It’s Family Unity Month in Virginia

RICHMOND, Virginia—The family home evening program for the Saints in Virginia has become Family Unity Month for all Virginians during May.

The seeds for Family Unity Month were sown last January at the inauguration of Virginia’s governor, Mills E. Godwin, Jr. In his inaugural address, Governor Godwin expressed his belief in the importance of strong families and family ties, and he made mention of the Church’s family home evening program.

Encouraged by this remark, Church leaders in Virginia met with the governor to explain the program to him and to present him with a certificate of merit for his stand on family unity. The governor said that the Church’s program was a good one and would be of value for all Virginians.

From that meeting developed the idea of Family Unity Month, for which the governor issued a letter of endorsement of the Church’s attempts to strengthen family ties. In his letter to the people of Virginia he wrote:

“Today’s society rests upon a foundation composed of home and family, molding the individual character and abilities of its younger members within the environment of mutual love and respect. Emphasizing these qualities, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints observes May as Family Unity Month, and I call its importance to the attention of our people.”

At a gathering of local Church leaders and the press who witnessed the signing of the letter, Governor Godwin said, “Any free society rests upon the stability of the family, the prominence and dominance of the home, and family life and family unity. I think every great civilization that I have read of has seen this to be true. The deterioration of the family unit is certainly one of the things that disturbs us all.”

Among those in attendance at the ceremony were President Rex D. Pinegar, member of the First Council of the Seventy and president of the Virginia Mission, and President Glenn E. Nielsen, president of the neighboring Delaware-Maryland Mission.

President Pinegar said that Family Unity Month highlights an ongoing Church program that encourages members to fellowship their nonmember neighbors. “During Family Unity Month,” he said, “we know our families will reach out to their nonmember friends and invite them to a special family home evening. Of course, these would be held on a night other than their regular family home evening.

“In addition, local priesthood teams are responding to invitations from community organizations and service groups for demonstrations of and information about family home evening.”

President Pinegar said that the concept of Family Unity Month was being well received, with many community leaders endorsing the project through public statements on radio and television and in the press.

“The response has been very positive,” said President Pinegar.

[photo] Seated at his desk, Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr. signs the letter endorsing Family Unity Month.

Church College of Hawaii Becomes BYU Campus

In a move to tap the resources of Brigham Young University to serve the students at the Church College of Hawaii (CCH), the Hawaii campus is to become a branch of BYU. The change, to become effective no later than September 1, 1974, was announced at recent CCH commencement exercises.

To be known as Brigham Young University, Hawaii Campus, the college will be headed by Dr. Dan W. Andersen who has served as academic dean since early 1973. As dean of the newly named college, he will serve under Dr. Dallin H. Oaks, president of BYU.

In explaining the change of status for the college, Dr. Kenneth Beesley, an associate commissioner of the Church Education System, said:

“As the role of the Church College of Hawaii has been, reviewed and clarified, and especially as greater emphasis has been placed on in-country education, the need for increased availability of resources and greater facility in interchangeability of faculty and staff has been evident. This change will allow the tapping of the appropriate resources of BYU in the improvement of planning and implementation of programs at the Hawaii campus.”

Dr. Stephen L. Brower, who has served as president of CCH for the past three years, will continue as president until the consolidation. A special tribute to Dr. Brower was paid by President Spencer W. Kimball who delivered the commencement address.

Prior to coming to CCH, Dr. Andersen served three years as assistant dean of education at Haile Selassie I University in Ethiopia. He also served there as a consultant on school districts as he had similarly served in northern Nigeria, Nairobi, and Kenya. He has also served with the United States Office of Education.

The Church College of Hawaii opened its doors in September 1955. Almost half of its 1,000 students come from Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, New Zealand, Hawaii, Australia, the Philippines, China, Japan, and Korea. Others come from the United States mainland.

[photo] Dr. Dan W. Andersen

Ninth Annual Priesthood Genealogy Seminar Slated

The ninth annual Priesthood Genealogy Seminar will be held July 29 through August 2, 1974, at Brigham Young University. The seminar will feature 11 separate sections covering topics such as: priesthood genealogy, the basic genealogy class in wards and stakes, ward genealogical forms examination, branch libraries, fundamentals of genealogical research, and advanced research in 25 different countries.

The seminar will be highlighted each day with devotional assemblies where General Authorities will serve as guest speakers.

Advanced registration for both the classes and housing may be made by writing to Church Continuing Education, Ninth Annual Priesthood Genealogy Seminar, Box 7164, University Station, Provo, Utah 84602.

Love is—Project Mexico

The buses carrying 100 students and faculty members left El Paso, Texas, on April 26. They were headed for Mexico City, 1,000 miles away, to participate in Project Mexico ’74, an experience in service and involvement in the lives of others.

Project Mexico is a continuing program sponsored by Church Continuing Education through Brigham Young University’s Department of Travel Study. Its purpose is to assist both members and nonmembers in Puebla State, Mexico, in programs of nutrition, home management, construction, agriculture, and small industries.

This year the two-month program attracted LDS students from BYU, Ricks College, Utah State University, Idaho State University, and the University of Utah. Each of them has paid approximately $600 to be involved in the project that will take them this month from the comforts of Mexico City to small villages in the Puebla area 100 miles away.

Currently in Mexico City, the students are undergoing a three-week period of culturalization that includes living with Mexican families, attending classes at the Universidad Ibero-Americana, visiting museums, and learning some basics of Spanish. Although the ability to speak Spanish is not a requirement, many of the participants do speak Spanish. More important, though, than language skills, is a desire to serve, a desire to reach out to others, a desire to share skills and talents.

These desires are fostered and encouraged by seven BYU faculty members, including Dr. Thomas Edgar Lyon, Project Mexico ’74 director, and Dr. Frank Santiago, project coordinator.

Over the years many people have been involved in the formation and development of Project Mexico. Among them are Dr. Lowell D. Wood, chairman of the Department of Agricultural Economics at BYU, and Sister Kay Franz of BYU’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition. Each of them has motivated and encouraged the students, and raised the spirits of the Puebla Saints with their enthusiasm and energy.

This year’s activities are based on the experience of projects held in 1972 and 1973. The students have been formed into small service teams under the direction of the faculty members and local Church leadership. For five weeks these teams will travel to small outlying villages, where they will teach and serve. They will board with local residents of Puebla. There are approximately 3,000 Saints in the area, and while project programs are provided for them through the local leadership and Church organizations, nonmembers also are invited to participate.

Programs initiated last year will be evaluated and, where necessary, refined. One such program, rabbit raising, not only helped to improve the quality of meat for individual families, but also gave them the promise of a “cash crop.” This project supplies participating families with enough meat to eat and enough meat to sell in order to buy more feed and continue the project. Working together, students of agriculture and construction designed rabbit hutches of precast concrete parts that fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle.

In addition to the rabbit-raising project, the students worked to improve housing for the inhabitants of the villages. Because wood is scarce but termites are not, longer-lasting housing is a major concern. Last year students demonstrated an inexpensive, practical, and acceptable way to build walls of compressed soil cement. Using a hand press that can be operated by a husband and wife, soil is mixed with a handful of cement, then pressed into blocks, the cement acting as a bonding agent.

Sometimes the nutrition and health teams saw remarkable changes in just a short time. In Xalitzintla, an ancient village resting on the slopes of Mount Popocatepetl, a 17,000-foot volcano, students began teaching sanitation classes on a Tuesday. The following Sunday was a district conference and when the district leaders arrived, they found the sacrament water had been boiled, and a dinner had been prepared, with the dishes having been soaked in water containing chlorine. The first latrines also had been dug.

In the same community a mother who had lost a child through severe protein and vitamin A malnutrition proudly displayed her new baby, the biggest ever born in the village, born healthy because some young Latter-day Saints cared enough to share their knowledge with their fellowmen.

An important aspect of Project Mexico is the development of testimonies as the gospel is put into action. Field work photographer for Project Mexico ’73, Marilyn Harvey, says of her experiences, “Pictures will never tell the story behind the project and the good it is doing. The brothers and sisters here in Mexico are surely wonderful people. They are full of love and warm hospitality toward each other and toward us. I’ve learned universals like the language of a smile or laughter, the love of a mother for her family, the desire for a better way of life.”

In seeking a better way of life for themselves and their families, the local Saints have been taking advantage of the opportunities suggested and offered by the visiting students and their leaders. One such suggestion developed into a thriving industry employing some 12 families in manufacturing chessboards and pieces from onyx. After BYU College of Business representatives investigated the feasibility of such a business, a private foundation loaned the local workers funds to purchase tools and 18 tons of black, brown, green, gray, and white onyx. The manufacturing plant that was established now produces 110 units per week and sells them throughout the world.

Local Saints and nonmembers also learned pottery making. Initially involving only one village, the project proved to be a great attraction, and within a few days other communities sent representatives to the classes. Among those who came were 11 villagers from Atexcac located high on the side of Mount Popocatepetl; they had to walk for two hours and then ride a bus for another hour to get to the classes.

Whether it be pottery, nutrition, rabbit hutches, health care, or new businesses, the lives of many members of the Church have been improved. “When approximately 100 students pay for the privilege and opportunity to serve other human beings, it’s difficult for a project to fail,” says Dr. Santiago.

Kirt Olson, who is the resident field supervisor for BYU’s Indian assistance program in Puebla, has gained an interesting insight into the project. He says:

“I had thought that people would change because of knowledge—all we needed to do was to teach them effectively and they would change. Now I see a new dimension. The moving force doesn’t seem to be knowledge, but love, brotherhood, testimony, and obligation. The obligation is to the young people who travel so far to share their time and their skills with their brothers and sisters, who, in turn, feel a strong responsibility to show a new and better way of life to their children.”

[photo] 1. Carol Setterstrom, center, found the sisters in Xalitzintla eager to learn to crochet. She was able to teach them even though she could not speak Spanish.

[photo] 2. One of the service project directors, Dr. Ivan Corbridge, along with James Roundy, Gregorio Osorio, Tomas Luna, and Marlo Jensen, all pull together to remove a burned-out pump from a well.

[photo] 3. Tricia Ormsby, who now is serving as a Health Services missionary in Taiwan, records the height and weight of a young man in Cabrera.

[photo] 4. Marta Augustin de Gutierrez, Relief Society president in Xalitzintla, with her two-month-old son. Sister de Gutierrez was one of the first to take advantage of the nutrition lessons in 1972, passing on her newly acquired skills to other families in the branch.

[photo] 5. Gay Leany, center, gets acquainted with new friends in Cabrera.

[photo] 6. Building bricks are formed in the two-man handpress.

[photo] 7. Kent Hall sifts earth preparatory to making bricks for a hog pen.

[photo] 8. Patty Johnson demonstrates a new method of preparing eggs to two sisters in the Puebla South Branch.

Tree Planting Time

[photo] Spring for several tribes of Indians will be tree-planting time this year. The Institute of American Indian Services and Research at Brigham Young University recently received a grant for the purchase of 2,000 fruit trees for Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, and Pueblo Indians residing in Arizona and New Mexico. According to Dale Tingey, director of the institute, these tribes were at one time horticulturalists and had expressed the desire to be involved in fruit growing once again. Approximately 700 trees were trucked to the Havasupai Tribe nestled deep in an arm of the Grand Canyon. To reach the tribe, the trees had to be carried by mule to the bottom of the canyon. Seen here are Dr. Frank Williams (right), assistant professor of horticulture at BYU, with Robert Whatahomogie, a member of the tribe (left), and full-time missionary Elder Bruce W. Baxter of American Fork, Utah.

The Umpire Must Be Right

[photo] Elder William H. Bennett, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, served as softball game umpire during a recreational break at the second annual Latter-day Saint Servicemen’s Conference in the Philippines. More than 170 Latter-day Saint servicemen, family members, and guests met together for the four-day conference at John Hay Air Base on the main island of Luzon. Elder Bennett presided at the conference and spoke at two main sessions and at a family fireside. Among the other speakers was Carl D. Jones, president of the Philippines Mission. In the picture here with Elder Bennett, left, are Captain Ernest Bedont as catcher, with Sergeant David Bosgeiter at bat.

The LDS Scene

Elder Monson Elected Trustee

Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve has been elected a trustee of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Founded in 1949, Freedoms Foundation aims to contribute to the development of responsible citizenship and to make Americans proud of America through educational programs and an annual awards program.

Elder Hanks Named to Fitness Council

Elder Marion D. Hanks, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, has been appointed by President Richard M. Nixon to his Council on Physical Fitness. Serving with Elder Hanks will be men and women prominent in sports and physical education. This is the second time that Elder Hanks has been appointed to such a governmental position. President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him to the United States President’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Youth Fitness.

In recent weeks, Elder Hanks also was elected president of the Rotary Club of Salt Lake City.

Ricks Confers Honors

Elder Sterling W. Sill, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, recently received the Distinguished Service Award from Ricks College for his contribution to the arts and humanities.

In presenting the award, Ricks College president Dr. Henry B. Eyring cited Elder Sill as “a master teacher who has dipped into the great reservoir of significant thought and scripture in order to teach the will of the Lord.”

Also honored at Ricks was Florence Smith Jacobsen, former general president of the YWMIA. Sister Jacobsen received the Exemplary Womanhood Award from the Ricks College women students for her concern for young people and her 11 years of dedicated leadership as head of the young women’s program of the Church.

Named as the 1974 Woman of the Year at Ricks was 19-year-old student Rozell Johnson, daughter of Brother and Sister Gordon Johnson of Sugar City, Idaho. The award is presented to those who are “outstanding spiritually and scholastically and examples for other girls to follow.”

Sister Kimball Honored

Sister Camilla Eyring Kimball, wife of President Spencer W. Kimball, was presented a special “Ka Hoa Pono” award at commencement exercises at the Church College of Hawaii. Ka Hoa Pono means “the righteous companion,” and the students at the college honored her with the award for her 57 years as a righteous companion to President Kimball and for her “personification of the qualities and characteristics of ideal Latter-day Saint womanhood.”

Mormons in Film

Several Latter-day Saints have helped to produce a new motion picture, Where the Red Fern Grows. Based on a popular children’s book by Wilson Rawls, the movie was produced by Lyman Dayton, a former student at Brigham Young University; the screenplay for the film was written by Douglas Stewart and Eleanor Lamb Stewart of BYU’s Department of Motion Picture Production; five songs were especially written by the Osmond Brothers; the score was written by Lex de Azevedo; and the leading role is played by 13-year-old Stewart Petersen, a deacon in the Cokeville Ward, Montpelier Idaho Stake.

Filmed on location, Where the Red Fern Grows deals with the true story of a boy growing up in the Ozarks.

Nominated to Top Education Post

Dr. T. H. Bell, a member of the Capitol Hill Second Ward, Salt Lake Stake, has been nominated new United States Commissioner of Education.

For Brother Bell, currently superintendent of the Granite School District in Salt Lake City and a member of the Sunday School General Board, this would be his second term in the nation’s capital.

In 1970 he resigned as superintendent of public instruction in Utah to accept the position of associate commissioner for regional offices in the United States Office of Education. That same year he was named acting U.S. commissioner and then deputy commissioner for school systems. He resigned from this position in 1971 to return to Salt Lake City.

Brother and Sister Bell are the parents of four sons, one in high school, two in junior high school, and one not yet in school. Even though their father may be the new U.S. commissioner, Sister Bell says that her three school-age sons do not always make As. “But they do enjoy school. They like their classes and their school activities. The move to Washington, D.C., will mean that they will have to leave behind their friends, of course, but they are very happy for their father in this nomination.”

Of the responsibility, Brother Bell says that he hopes to be able to bring national attention to the importance of the home. In an interview he said, “There is a great awareness, both on the part of school people and parents, of the vital role the home plays in education. People, by and large, are conscientious, and there is a feeling of ‘how can we do better?’”

Negative Collection

A priceless collection of 3,000 glass plate negatives has been donated to Brigham Young University. The work of pioneer Mormon photographer George Edward Anderson (Ensign, September 1973), the negatives depict life in central Utah during the late 1880s.

The acquisition is the second-largest Anderson collection in existence, according to Nelson B. Wadsworth, BYU assistant professor of communications, who is doing research for a book on the photographer.

About 75 percent of the collection is made up of portraits and landscapes taken in studios in Manti and Springville, Utah, and in a portable tent-gallery which Brother Anderson used as he traveled throughout the area.

Singers Win Medal

A group of young Americans who seek to inspire their fellow citizens to “Discover Your America” has been named recipient of its fourth George Washington Medal presented by the Freedoms Foundation, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Called the Grand Land Singers, the group is comprised of 100 young people, including some nonmembers, and has gained national recognition not only for its performances of patriotic songs, but also for its program to rekindle the flame of patriotism in the home, the community, and in schools and colleges.

From the 100 members, 35 to 50 are selected to perform, while the remainder are involved as technical crews, hostesses, developers, and administrators for the “Discover Your America” project that offers suggestions for week-long activities and programs aimed at promoting pride in the nation.

The group was formed in 1967 under the auspices of the Institute of Religion at Cerritos College, Cerritos, California.

National President

Douglas O. Woodruff, a member of the Ensign Third Ward, Salt Lake Ensign Stake, is the new president of the six million-member American Association of Retired Persons. A grandson of former Church president Wilford Woodruff, Brother Woodruff has long been associated with the organization of which he is now president. He was president of the Salt Lake City chapter, state director for Utah, and area vice-president and president-elect. Prior to retirement, he held several positions at the University of Utah, his alma mater. In other interests, Brother Woodruff organized the Utah Skating Club and was a member of the 1960 Olympic Skating Committee. Married, with two daughters, Brother Woodruff has served in many positions in the Church.

Heads 1,000th Expedition

Dr. Ray L. Matheny, an anthropologist at Brigham Young University, is leading the National Geographic Society’s 1,000th scientific expedition.

The expedition, which marks a milestone in the society’s 86-year history of worldwide exploration, is to the ancient Maya ceremonial center of Edzna near Campeche on the western side of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

Dr. Matheny, with two graduate students, Deanne Gurr and Michael Hironymous, heads a 15-man team to study a complex, pre-Mayan canal and reservoir system that he discovered in 1971. Since his initial discovery, Dr. Matheny has surveyed a network of some 30 canals, totaling more than 12 miles in length, and 25 large reservoirs that once supported agricultural operations for a large civilization. Some of the canals are 50 or more yards wide.

The month-long expedition, now underway, is being cosponsored by BYU and the New World Archaeological Foundation, with the cooperation of the Mexican government.

LDS Director Wins Oscar

The Great American Cowboy, a full-length documentary produced and directed by Kieth Merrill of the Los Altos Second Ward, Menlo Park California Stake, recently garnered an Oscar at the annual Academy Awards presentations.

Selected from a total of 31 entries in the documentary category, the film traces the year-long competition between two championship rodeo cowboys. It was filmed in 15 states and Canada.

In addition to the recognition of the film by the award of an Oscar, the documentary also has been honored by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center.

Brother Merrill, a native of Farmington, Utah, where his parents still live, graduated in communications from Brigham Young University in 1967. It was at BYU that he met his wife, the former Dragny Johnson. They have four daughters.

Working with Brother Merrill on the film were Alan Cassidy, assistant director and sound engineer and another graduate of BYU, and Reed Smoot of BYU’s Department of Motion Picture Production as one of the principal cameramen.

As he accepted the Oscar, Brother Merrill, who also was a photographer for the award-winning documentary, said, “I want to thank three special people: my mom, who taught me to believe in God and in uncompromising principles; my father, who taught me to believe in myself; and my wife, who taught me to believe in the principles the other two taught me.”

Miss Curaçao Visits The U.S.

Ingeborg Zielinski, a member of the Church from Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, recently toured the United States as a goodwill ambassador in her role as Miss Curaçao.

Sister Zielinski, the 11th child from a family of 12, represented her island in the 1973 Miss Universe competition. As a university student in Holland, Sister Zielinski met Latter-day Saint missionaries who were holding a street meeting. One month later she was baptized. Returning to Curaçao she was the only Latter-day Saint for one year until another member of the Church moved to the island. Since then two member couples have moved to the island that has a population of 150,000.

Sister Zielinski says that during the year when she was alone she knew that her “iron rod” had to be the Word of Wisdom. “I was attracted to the Church,” she says, “by the moral standards that the missionaries presented. I had always tried to live these same standards and their message struck a responsive chord.”

As Miss Curaçao, a title held in 1963–64 by her sister, Sister Zielinski feels that she has the opportunity to tell the story of the Church. “I have had people write to me who read of me in a newspaper story or heard me on radio or saw me on television, and they want to know more about the Church. I always try to tell people of my beliefs and of the standards I live as a member of the Church.”

BYU Receives Donations

Two substantial gifts have recently been received by Brigham Young University. Property worth an estimated $2 million was donated by former BYU president, Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson and Sister Wilkinson, and an anonymous donor. Proceeds from the Wilkinson property will be used to establish a new George Sutherland Chair in the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU, for financing the Ernest L. and Alice L. Wilkinson Loan and Scholarship fund to assist students, and for the use of the president of BYU for the purposes of advancing the university.

Another gift of property valued at $240,000 has been made by Brother and Sister Clinton Hall of Hurricane, Utah, who have placed 240 acres of land in trust with the Church and the university. Half of the proceeds from the property will be used for the BYU Genealogy Research Center and the other half for the Church Missionary Trust Fund.

[photo] Dr. T. H. Bell

[photo] George Edward Anderson

[photo] Representatives of the Grand Land Singers recently traveled from California to the headquarters of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to receive the George Washington Honor Medal awarded in recognition of their efforts to help Americans be proud of America. Seen here with the medal, front row, left to below: Raymond E. Furgeson, adviser to the Grand Land Singers; singers Valerie Mundell and Marilyn Frazier; Harold K. Johnson, General, U.S. Army (Ret.), president of the Freedoms Foundation; and Lt. Col. Ralph George, president of the Grand Land Singers. On the back row are the singing group’s directors, Randy Dalton; Jeff Frazier; and Capt. Brian Steadman, technical director. Although serving full time with the U.S. armed services, both Brother George and Brother Steadman find time for participation in the Grand Land Singers.

[photo] The Grand Land Singers

[photo] Douglas O. Woodruff

[photo] Kieth Merrill

[photo] Ingeborg Zielinski