Serving the One: June Conference 1974
With the closing of 1974 June Conference, more than 8,000 leaders of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA, Aaronic Priesthood, and Young Women returned to their wards, branches, and stakes with new ideas and programs, and a commitment to “Serve the One.”
President Spencer W. Kimball conducted the opening session of conference and urged those in attendance to keep their eye on “the simple, basic, and strategic goals of the gospel, which we will all reach by taking safe, small steps in developing our skills and attitudes appropriately.”
In another conference session, the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA for young adults and special interest groups introduced new concepts in family recreation and in individual growth. Now being stressed is that recreational opportunities are encouraged for all members of a ward and not for just those who participate in traditional team sports.
Individual growth is emphasized through the “Pursuit of Excellence,” where the Saints, under priesthood supervision, set personal, spiritual, physical, and intellectual goals. This concept of lifelong learning and growing supersedes the Master M Man and Golden Gleaner awards.
The managing directors of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA, Elder James E. Faust, Elder Marion D. Hanks, and Elder Robert L. Simpson, Assistants to the Council of the Twelve, noted that during the past year, most activities were organized on a stake or multistake basis. However, in order to more effectively “serve the one,” they urged priesthood leaders to now place the emphasis on ward, small group, or individual activity.
Following two days of departmental activity, President Kimball presided at the closing session of conference where he announced a change in the Aaronic Priesthood MIA. Instead of being known as the Aaronic Priesthood MIA, the youth program of the Church is now called Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women. What used to be MIA night now is activity night for Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women.
The general presidencies and general boards of the Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Men and Young Women were released. Now, the Presiding Bishopric, as the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood, is directly responsible for the activities of priests, teachers, and deacons, and the young women of comparable age.
Assisting the Presiding Bishopric is a general Committee for Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women. Rulon G. Craven, formerly an administrative assistant for business affairs at Brigham Young University, is the director of the Aaronic Priesthood, while the Young Women are served by Sister Ruth Hardy Funk as president and Sister Hortense H. Child and Sister Ardeth G. Kapp as counselors.
The organizational changes at Church headquarters are emphasized in the wards and branches with a title change from the president of the Aaronic Priesthood MIA to director of the Aaronic Priesthood. Other titles remain the same.
Practical examples of the one-to-one approach were the service projects conducted during the second day of conference. The projects included escorting handicapped children to the zoo, teaching young children handicrafts, visiting nursing homes, learning traditional handicrafts from older Saints, and cleaning up park areas and playgrounds. Other major events of the conference included “We’ll Sing and We’ll Shout,” an unrehearsed songfest featuring Latter-day Saint hymns. Open to everyone who could play an instrument, from tubas to harmonicas, or who was prepared to sing, even off-key, the songfest proved that it is possible to gather people together for an evening of fun and spiritual uplift through music.
“Motorcycles, Fishing Poles, and Twelve Hundred Boxes of Apples” dramatized and spotlighted various service and activity projects that, in the past year, have had a significant impact on individual lives, while a “Showcase of Performing Arts,” held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, presented an evening of music, drama, dance, and poetry by members of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA. The Showcase was suggested as the type of activity leaders throughout the Church might wish to use as a model for their own presentations.
As one conference participant said: “Everything that we have seen and participated in during these three days has been applicable to the ward. For instance, many wards as well as stakes could have a cultural showcase of music, dramatic readings, or painting, and many wards as well as stakes could offer dramatizations of how people have been reached by the gospel in action, and any ward could present a songfest similar to the one held during conference.
“Of course, these are ward, or large group activities, but it is obvious that the Brethren are concerned specifically with individual activity, and with individual development, whether it be by means of the priesthood, Relief Society, or Sunday School, or a combination of organizations.”
As President Kimball said in his welcoming address: “Too often in the past, organizational lines in the Church have become walls that have kept us from reaching out to individuals as completely as we should. As we become less concerned with getting organizational or individual credit, we will become more concerned with serving the one whom we are charged to reach. We will find ourselves becoming less concerned with our organizational identity and more concerned with our true and ultimate identity as a son or a daughter of our Father in Heaven and helping others to achieve the same sense of belonging.”
From the Conference Pulpit
“It is of the utmost importance that the bishops realize that their first and foremost responsibility is the Aaronic Priesthood and the young women of their wards.
“The degree to which the stake presidents train the bishops will have a major impact on the success of the entire youth program of the Church.”
“The bishops of the Church have the stewardship for 213,000-plus young men. This is the reservoir for future missionaries of the Church.”
“In addition to these young men, the bishops have the responsibility for 217,000-plus young women. The degree to which they fulfill this stewardship with the young men and the young women will have a vital impact on the percentage of them who are married in the House of the Lord.”
“It is our firm conviction that our bishops and their counselors will spend even more time with their youth, and that bishoprics will be more influential in helping the young men be prepared both to go on missions and to be married in the temples. We should not be afraid to ask our youth to render service to their fellowmen or to sacrifice for the kingdom. Our youth have a sense of intrinsic idealism, and we need have no fear in appealing to that idealism when we call them to serve.
“One young man spoke tellingly of this when he recently said, ‘I hope that when I am called to go on a full-time mission, I am called and told that the Lord wants me to go, and that it is my duty, rather than just being told that a mission would be a good thing for me if I wanted to go.’”
Assistant to the Council of the Twelve and associate managing director of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA
Pursuit of Excellence
“We have had in the Church for many years a wonderful award program leading to Master M Man or Golden Gleaner recognition.
“We are moving forward now in another effort—an achievement challenge called the Pursuit of Excellence.
“The purpose of this program is to begin where we are and to undertake a continuing pursuit of excellence—intellectually, physically, and spiritually, especially in the areas of service and character.
“Primarily, participation in the program is for those between the ages of 18 and 29; that is where the emphasis will be. But anyone beyond 29 may involve themselves simply by presenting their request to a priesthood leader. A person wishing to participate will … discuss the program with the priesthood leader, establish his own goals, and then begin the pursuit of those goals.”
“There will be a pin and a certificate awarded, but obviously this pursuit does not culminate with an award. It will last a lifetime, and eternally.”
“It is our purpose to continue to emphasize and strongly support competitive athletics on a ward, stake, region, and area basis throughout the Church. But at best, athletic competition in the Church involves relatively few members in any ward or branch. We have the strong feeling that we should do better.”
“… think of what we could do with a recreation program in each ward or branch of the Church that would involve the entire ward family in wholesome activities—members of individual families participating with other families. Single people, unmarried, divorced, widows, and widowers, the active and the less active, all joined together in opportunities that would recreate and regenerate, that would bring rich social and physical and spiritual benefits to those involved.”
“What a remarkable blessing would come to so many who need something enjoyable to do, and, please don’t forget, someone to do it with.”
Presiding Bishop and president of the Aaronic Priesthood
“Under the inspired leadership of President Kimball, adjustments have been made in the Aaronic Priesthood MIA organization that will shorten the lines of responsibility and authority, eliminate some of the gray areas, and place the responsibility for all youth between the ages of 12 and 18 on the bishop’s shoulders as never before.”
“It is important that each of us recognize that … there are no changes in the existing program, that the organizational changes on the stake and ward levels are minimal, that the manuals you presently have … are as applicable today as they were yesterday.”
“As you catch the vision of this change, you will understand that there are two organizations one for the Aaronic Priesthood and one for the Young Women—and that the Aaronic Priesthood organization is presided over by the Presiding Bishopric who, in addition, have the responsibility for the women of comparable ages.”
“What we are saying is that the youth of the Church are the first and foremost responsibility of the bishops, including the Presiding Bishopric.”
“I cannot overemphasize that the bishop holds the keys that will bring about the miracles that take place in the lives of youth as they relate the Savior.”
“There are numerous young men who postpone marriage. There are many of them who are merely procrastinating. There are others who have found it easier to live alone without sharing responsibilities. There are others who are praying for a satisfactory marriage and do little else about it. Then there are an increasing number of men, especially in the ‘world,’ who do not intend ever to marry and insist that they can have every satisfaction without marriage, and that the single life is so much easier, with much less responsibility.
“Now, may I say to all our brethren: Marriage is honorable before God. We were placed on earth, not primarily to have fun, or to satisfy our cravings for wealth and distinction, or to satisfy our passions in a life of selfishness.”
“Let no single man excuse himself [from the eternal covenant of marriage] by rationalizing.”
“There are numerous young women who are worthy, attractive, educated, and well-groomed, and who appear to be most desirable. To them we say, we cannot supply you husbands as you might want. If you have fewer opportunities, you need to evaluate yourself carefully. Take a careful inventory of your habits, your speech, your appearance, your weight, and your eccentricities if you have them. Take each item and analyze it. What do you most admire in others? What personality traits please you? Can you make some sacrifices to make yourself acceptable to others?”
“Certainly, we want all of our people to be happy, but much depends upon the individual. Self-pity is most destructive. Do you feel sorry for yourselves?
“Consider: Have you made yourself attractive physically? Are you well groomed, well dressed, attractive mentally, engaging, interesting, well read? If not, then change yourself.”
Highlights From June Conference
Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women
1. The Presiding Bishopric now functions with a Committee for Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women without the level of organization formerly filled by the Aaronic Priesthood MIA presidency.
2. The ward bishopric is expected to become more directly involved than before in the programs for Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women. This becomes their first and foremost responsibility. The bishopric is expected to:
—attend Aaronic Priesthood quorum meetings and prayer meeting and opening exercises of the activity night program, visit classes, and become more involved in youth activities.
—hold effective youth committee meetings at least once a month.
—hold a monthly personal priesthood interview with Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidents and group leaders, and with Young Women class presidents. In addition, the bishop should conduct a worthiness and a spiritually uplifting interview annually with all youth between 12 and 18.
3. The stake president is the chairman of the stake Committee for Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women. One counselor serves as vice chairman of the committee.
4. The name of what was the Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women’s organization is now Young Women. The overall general organization is called the Committee for Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women of the Church.
5. The term MIA as applied to the Aaronic Priesthood has been discontinued. What was formerly MIA night is now activity night. (This does not mean a change in program. For instance, the Young Women still have 22 lessons in their curriculum.)
6. Great emphasis is placed on the proper training of youth advisers in their role as “shadow leaders.” (In order for a leader to cast a shadow, he or she has to be in the picture.)
7. Leadership training materials for quorum presidents, group leaders, and class presidents have been developed for wards and branches. Training materials for counselors, secretaries, and project chairmen also are available for wards and branches.
Melchizedek Priesthood MIA
1. From its beginning, the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA has been charged with reaching, serving, and involving every individual in the Church 18 years of age and over. In order to fulfill this charge most effectively, it is important that the majority of Young Adult and Special Interest activities occur on the level closest to the individual. Often this is the ward level.
2. Ward representatives are important officers in Melchizedek Priesthood MIA. They have the responsibility of identifying everyone who is eligible to participate, determining their needs and interests, and working with the elders quorum counselor for singles and the Relief Society counselor for singles to make certain that each one is involved.
3. In the area of recreation for each ward member, encouragement is given to ward and stake leaders to expand the recreation program to include every member of the ward. It is intended that this expanded program, while still giving encouragement to competitive athletics, will involve every member of the ward in recreational activity appropriate to his or her interests and needs.
4. The honor awards of Master M-Man and Golden Gleaner have been superseded by the Pursuit of Excellence award, an ongoing challenge for excellence in several areas of one’s life. While it is intended principally for those from ages 18 to 29, the challenge is also available for those over and includes those who are married.
5. The heart of Young Adult and Special Interest activities should involve doing something for someone else. Service and spiritual involvement should have the highest priority as activities are planned. Cultural, educational, recreational, and social activities should be planned appropriately in that order of priority.
Two Area General Conferences Scheduled for South America
São Paulo, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, are the sites of two area general conferences of the Church to be held on successive weekends in February and March of 1975.
Over 41,000 Church members in the four missions and nine stakes in Brazil are invited to attend the São Paulo conference scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, February 28 through March 2. The conference will be under the direction of the First Presidency.
General Authorities in attendance will then attend the conference in Buenos Aires to be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 7 through 9. More than 58,000 members from four missions and five stakes in Argentina, one mission and two stakes in Uruguay, one mission and one stake in Chile, and the mission districts of Paraguay are invited to attend the Buenos Aires conference.
In informing the other church leaders in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela of the two conferences, the First Presidency stated: “If there are members of the Church within your respective jurisdictions who would care to do so, they are welcome to attend either of these conferences.”
The schedule of events for the two conferences is similar to those of other area general conferences, and will include an activity and social program on Friday evening, general sessions Saturday morning and afternoon, special group sessions Saturday evening, and concluding general sessions Sunday morning and afternoon.
Music for the conferences will be provided by large choirs of members of the Church from the countries involved.
New Conductors Appointed for Tabernacle Choir
The First Presidency has appointed Jay E. Welch as the tenth conductor of the world-famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Brother Welch, assistant conductor of the choir since 1957, succeeded Richard P. Condie, who has been associated for 40 years with the choir.
Brother Condie was named conductor emeritus of the Tabernacle Choir by the First Presidency during June Conference.
Named also were two new associate conductors: Jerold Don Ottley of Salt Lake City, assistant professor of music at the University of Utah; and Robert C. Bowden of Rock Springs, Wyoming, recording director and assistant to the conductor of the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus.
Isaac M. Stewart continues as Tabernacle Choir president and Alexander Schreiner remains chief Tabernacle organist, assisted by Robert M. Cundick and Roy M. Darley.
An associate professor of music and former Department of Music chairman at the University of Utah, Brother Welch has served as conductor of the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus. He graduated from the Conservatoire National de Paris in France and later received a master’s degree in music composition at Mills College in Oakland, California, and a Ph.D. in musical composition at the University of Utah.
Dr. Welch and his wife Marcelle have six daughters.
Brother Condie graduated from Brigham Young University in 1923 and later graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music. He was appointed assistant conductor and soloist of the Tabernacle Choir in 1937 and became conductor of the choir in 1957, succeeding J. Spencer Cornwall.
The First Presidency stated:
“For forty years Richard P. Condie has distinguished himself, first as assistant conductor, and then as conductor, of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. During his nearly 17 years as conductor he has brought the choir to new high levels of achievement through his talent as a musician and his dedication to the Church.
“For the entire Church we express our heartfelt gratitude to a humble, able man who with his baton has lifted millions of souls with the message of good music.
“The new choir conductor, Jay E. Welch, has already proved himself as a superior leader of music, both as assistant conductor of the choir and as conductor of the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus, which under his leadership has presented several nationally televised programs. Brother Welch assumes his new responsibility with our full confidence that under his guidance the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will rise to new heights in its mission of bringing the hearts of people everywhere closer to their Heavenly Father.”
Washington Temple Dedication, Tours Planned
Dedicatory services for the new Washington Temple will be conducted Tuesday through Friday, November 19 through 22, under the direction of President Spencer W. Kimball.
Nine dedicatory services are scheduled, beginning at 9:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 19, and at 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, November 20 through 22.
Free public tours of the temple will begin Tuesday, September 17, and will continue through Saturday, October 26. Tours are scheduled daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. except Sundays and Mondays. On Mondays during that period, special tour groups will be conducted.
The week of September 9 through 14 is reserved for special tours by invitation only, according to the First Presidency. Included in the special tours will be government leaders, international representatives, religious and educational leaders, and representatives of state and local governments and business and trade associations. Neighbors of the temple in Kensington, Maryland, will be guests on Saturday, September 14.
Until the tours begin, the construction site will be closed to the public, added the First Presidency.
Policy Announced on BYU Student Home Evenings
The primary objective of obtaining an education at Brigham Young University takes precedence over special activities on Monday nights for BYU students, announced the First Presidency recently.
Except for a brief family home evening, “Monday nights … will be regarded by the students as a time for study,” said the First Presidency. Home evenings for students should now include a short discussion “not exceeding one hour” with special activities discouraged.
A previous announcement authorized Church leaders to organize Young Adults (ages 18 to 25) or Special Interests (ages 26 and over) not living with their parents into groups for family home evening activities, with one member of the group appointed as a family home evening group leader if desired. “The group should not be called a family, and the leader should not be designated as a father or family head,” the First Presidency emphasized.
Small group involving both young men and young women may continue as “interest groups” under the direction of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA. Such groups will be scheduled as part of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA calendar and will not meet on Monday nights. “This will accomplish much that is desirable for the many members who do not date a great deal or otherwise do not have social opportunities,” said the First Presidency.
A weekly branch-size Melchizedek Priesthood MIA activity is also permissible but not mandatory for the BYU branches, according to the announcement.
April Dates Announced for Sunday School General Conference
Sunday School general conference will be held in conjunction with the April general conference of the Church instead of with the October conference.
As a result, Sunday School general conference will not be held in October 1974, but will be conducted April 3, 4, and 5, 1975.
The April Sunday School conference will be an annual event and will include workshops, seminars, and resource exhibits formerly scheduled during the October conference.
Home Teachers Aid in British Crisis
Brother Arthur Hickman, a high councilor in the Hull England Stake, was working in his garden last June 1 when he heard a “terrific explosion from the direction of Scunthorpe,” just southeast of Flixborough, site of a major chemical plant.
“I ran to my back gate from where I could see Scunthorpe five miles to the north, and saw a huge cloud of gray smoke mushrooming two thousand feet in the air,” said Brother Hickman. “At the base was a billowing mass of flame which I estimated to be two or three hundred feet high and one hundred yards wide.”
After having his fears of an explosion at the chemical plant confirmed by police reports, “I picked up the telephone and called my home teaching companion, who luckily was at home,” said Brother Hickman. “He immediately agreed to come with me to check on our group of families who all rived in north Scunthorpe, which was in the three-mile radius named as a disaster area.
“We had some difficulty reaching our destination due to excessive traffic and the closing of some roads by the authorities, but we were able to visit all our families and find all well, though shaken, and only two homes with damage to their windows,” said Brother Hickman.
He concluded, “As we left our area, a little embarrassed by the gratitude shown and freely expressed by our people at being so promptly visited, we overheard one good sister tell her neighbor, ‘That’s the way our church does things—they are our home teachers.’ She said home teaching is the Lord’s work, and we agree wholeheartedly!”
New Assignment for Elder Stone
Elder O. Leslie Stone, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, has been called by the First Presidency to serve as an associate managing director of the Church’s Internal Communications Division. According to Elder J. Thomas Fyans, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve and managing director of Internal Communications, Elder Stone was chosen for the new position because of his extensive background in control and distribution. Functions of Internal Communications include correlation and curriculum planning, administrative services, internal printing and mailing, production coordination, Church magazines, and the distribution and translation services. In addition to his new calling, Elder Stone is also managing director of the Church Music Department, director of the church-owned Deseret Trust Co., and a member of the Church temple committee and the Church’s investment advisory board.