News of the Church


Washington Temple, Missionary Tool

As the date for the mid-November dedication of the Washington Temple approached, the already long lines of temple visitors grew even longer. Interest in the temple was high not only because of its commanding position on the skyline of the Washington, D.C. area, but also because of the extensive coverage given the temple and the Church by leading newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations.

Special articles about the temple appeared in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report. Extensive coverage was given to the Church as a direct result of a press conference held to introduce the temple and President Spencer W. Kimball to national press representatives.

Typical of the missionary work effected by the presence of the temple was this description given by the National Catholic News Service:

“… the three-story celestial room, stands as a symbol of the exalted state man may achieve through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The news release goes on to describe the gospel principles practiced in the temple, including marriage for eternity, baptism for the dead, man’s relationship to his Father in heaven, and the plan of salvation.

“In the temple which bears the Mormon name, Catholics and members of many other faiths will be getting a rare insight during the weeks ahead of how another religion is practiced. It will be a fascinating discovery,” the release concludes.

Public interest in the new Washington Temple was so great that tickets for the tours were gone before the public tours actually began on September 17. Because of the demand for tickets, the original hours of 9 A.M.–9 P.M. were changed to 7:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m.

However, the heavy interest still continued, and another full week was added to the schedule for visitors to tour the temple. When the temple was finally closed to visitors on November 2, over 758,000 persons had toured the newest landmark in the Washington, D.C. area.

“This is a very impressive monument to man’s aspirations,” said Paul Cummings of Friendship, Maryland, after leaving the temple.

“My visit to the Mormon Temple was the most unique experience that I have had. It seems as though I could feel the reverence within the walls,” said Milt Perry of Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Perry is blind, and he visited the temple on one of the special tours conducted for blind persons.

Another blind visitor participated in the “tour by touch” and commented on the beauty and feel of the temple. “Even the oxen in the baptistry have unique personalities. All of them are different. There is a powerful and special spirit in the building,” she said.

“Rich, plain, and simple, and all done in such good taste” were the remarks of Mrs. Sophie Parkhurst, Washington, D.C., after her visit. Her husband, Lewis Parkhurst, was impressed by the devotion of the Latter-day Saints he met on their visit, commenting that all Latter-day Saints seemed so tranquil.

The majority of temple visitors were from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia areas, which is known as the Washington Metropolitan area. However, a survey of the parking lot indicated that approximately one-third of the visitors were from other parts of the country. Visitors from as far away as Australia signed cards at the temple indicating that they would like more information about the Church.

Tours of the temple were silent. Instead of a tour guide speaking, placards in each room briefly explained its purpose. The baptistry area was the last room on the tour. As guests left the temple, missionaries and other volunteers were available to answer questions and distribute Church literature.

“We have the best job because we see the people as they complete the tour and after they see the movie,” said Iola Sabin of the temple missionary committee. “Very often a crowd leaves the movie, ‘Man’s Search for Happiness,’ without a dry eye in the entire group,” she said. Upon leaving the temple, visitors are given a card to fill out if they desire more information about the Church or the temple.

According to Elder Lee Yates, a missionary from Salt Lake City, 15 to 20 percent of the visitors returned the cards. “This is an impressive figure when it is considered that most persons who filled out cards brought their whole families with them,” he said.

Every evening the cards were sorted at the Washington, D.C. Mission home and sent to the respective districts for followup. Many wards in the Washington, D.C. area reported receiving 25 inquiry cards each day. Many additional stake missionaries were called to handle the increased interest that resulted from the temple tours.

The cards often read: “It’s magnificent. Thank you for allowing us to come.” A man from York Haven, Pennsylvania, said, “It is beautiful and a great contribution to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

A man from Springfield, Virginia, wrote, “My wife and I are very much impressed with the magnificence of your building which we think symbolizes your good will.”

Every day during public tours the parking lots were filled with a steady stream of visitors. The heaviest crowds came on Saturdays, and on most of the Saturdays a double line formed from the temple annex back to the flagpole, almost 500 feet away.

More than 29,000 persons visited the temple on Saturday, October 29—a sunny, warm day. But even on windy days the crowds persisted. October 16 was a cool and rainy Wednesday, but 19,203 persons still came to view the temple.

At these busy times, most people willingly waited an hour before they could even enter the temple. The success of the temple tours can partially be attributed to more than 1,600 volunteers, who came from four Washington, D.C. area stakes and contributed days and hours at the temple as parking attendants, ushers, maintenance personnel, missionaries, and security personnel. Volunteers ranged from Rosel Hyde, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission who was in charge of crowd control every Monday morning to Francis Miller, a senior at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland, who served as a relief usher while she was investigating the Church.

Mondays at the temple were set aside as special tour days. School classes, churches, synagogues, and special interest clubs visited the temple on those days.

President Spencer W. Kimball dedicated the temple in services beginning November 19 at 9:30 a.m. His dedicatory prayer was repeated at several services held until November 22.

More than 40,000 members of the Church took part in the dedicatory services. More than 4,000 tickets were distributed for each of ten sessions. Members were seated in the Solemn Assembly Room, the chapel, and the ordinance and sealing rooms.

Members of the Church from all across the temple district—the entire eastern half of the United States and eastern Canada—planned for months to attend the temple dedication.

Full coverage of the dedication and pictures of the interior of the temple will be published in the February issue of the Ensign.

[photos] Photographs by Donald M. Jones

[photo] The temple looms mistily above the patiently waiting crowd of visitors.

[photo] Visitor, at right, receives literature about the temple.

[photo] The long lines of members and nonmembers waiting to tour the temple stretch past the landscaped grounds to the parking lot.

[photo] Under the canopy of the entrance, visitors make their way into the temple annex.

[photo] The number of visitors reached the half million mark on October 18 when a nonmember family, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Trowbridge DeRoache and their children from Baltimore, Maryland, entered the temple. Mrs. DeRoache’s full name is Isabel Temple DeRoache.

New Mission Formed for Alaska, Yukon

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—To facilitate the missionary activities in this vast area of the United States, a new mission has been formed by the First Presidency to include Alaska and the Yukon Territories.

The new Alaska Anchorage Mission, the 113th in the Church, was created from what was the Canada Vancouver Mission, previously known as the Alaska-British Columbia Mission, and even earlier as the Western Canadian Mission.

President Weston F. Killpack, formerly president of the Canada Vancouver Mission, has moved to Anchorage to head the new mission territory, while President E. Bruce Preece, formerly area director for the Department of Seminaries and Institutes in Bend, Oregon, has taken up residence in the Canada Vancouver Mission home. For President Preece this is a “return engagement” in Vancouver, where he served as area director for Seminaries and Institutes until his move to Oregon in the spring of this year.

Born in Vernal, Utah, President Preece is married to the former Nancy Glee Brighton. They have four children.

The Canada Vancouver Mission covers nearly all of British Columbia’s 366,255 square miles, although the eastern edge of the province, including the Kootenany River Valley communities of Cranbrook and Kimberley, are included in the Canada Calgary Mission. In addition, there is the Vancouver British Columbia Stake within the overall mission area.

In Anchorage, the home of the new mission, and also in the Anchorage Alaska Stake, President Killpack administers an area of approximately 800,000 square miles, or the approximate equivalent of one-quarter of the continental United States.

These enormous areas brought about the creation of the new mission, a mission call for an expanded missionary force with proselyting into the Yukon as well.

Earlier this year five other new missions were created with headquarters in Sendai, Japan; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cebu, Philippines; Pocatello, Idaho; and San Diego, California.

Important Role of Music Stressed By First Presidency

Recognizing the value of music in the Church, the First Presidency recently challenged priesthood leaders to see that the Church music program be improved and become an even stronger part of Church meetings.

Especially emphasized in the statement is the desired involvement of youth in music, the development of ward choirs, and the use of hymns about the Restoration.

“For some time we have been concerned about both the quality and the quantity of music in the Church,” their statement said. “Inspirational music contributes greatly to the spirituality of sacrament meetings and other Church meetings.”

They noted that young people often don’t sing in sacrament meetings and conferences, and they expressed concern that, “Many of our young people are growing up without becoming familiar with and learning to love the hymns of Zion.”

Music is a possible addition in almost every phase of the gospel, beginning with the family singing in family home evening. Music can also be a special part of a family spiritual presentation on Fast Sunday.

Many auxiliary and ward meetings include congregational singing—but it can be supplemented by a ward choir. The Brethren are anxious that every ward and branch organize and perpetuate a choir that sings regularly in sacrament meetings. The First Presidency expressly asked that the choir give “preference to hymns of the Restoration which strengthen testimonies both through the lyrics and the music.” They also pointed out that great fellowshiping and missionary success can result from involving inactive and nonmembers in a ward choir.

Special Interests Hold a First in Sweden

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN The inspiring area general conference recently held in Stockholm, Sweden, for the Saints of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland was preceded by another first—a Swedish Special Interest conference, attended by Melchizedek Priesthood MIA adults from throughout Sweden.

Highlights of the two-day conference included an address given by Elder James E. Faust, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve and Managing Director of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA, a boat tour, and sightseeing trips.

Planned to dovetail into the area general conference schedule, the conference provided an opportunity for approximately 80 Special Interest Saints to become better acquainted and to gain in strength from association with their Latter-day Saint peers.

[photo] Rain failed to deter the Saints, gathered together for the first Special Interest conference in Sweden, as they participated in the various activities.

LDS Women Gain National Recognition

Sister Florence S. Jacobsen, Church curator and formerly president of the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association, was elected third vice president of the National Council of Women of the United States (NCW) at their 43rd biennial meeting of the board.

Sister Jacobsen will now head up the planning for the National Council’s October 1975 conference, with the emphasis on responsible parenthood. At this year’s meeting, held in October, Sister Jacobsen presented a report as chairman of the Council’s standing committee on child and family.

She has been succeeded in this chairmanship by Sister Maren Mauritsen, dean of student counseling at Columbia University and a former YWMIA president in the New York New York Stake.

Sister Belle S. Spafford, former general president of the Relief Society and former president of the National Council of Women, was elected to continue as an honorary member of the national council’s executive committee, and she presented the proposed revisions of the council’s constitution. Sister Spafford chaired the committee responsible for revising the council’s constitution, bylaws, and standing rules.

Also attending the meeting was Sister Ruth Hardy Funk, general president of Young Women, and Mayola R. Miltenberger, secretary-treasurer of the Relief Society.

[photo] Florence S. Jacobsen

[photo] Belle S. Spafford

Church Tax Division Created

Junior Wright Child, managing director of Church Welfare Services, has been named to direct a new tax accounting and reporting unit with the Church’s Finance Department.

A new managing director of Welfare Services is expected to be named soon.

The growth of the Church internationally and the increasing complexity of tax laws have prompted the organization of the unit.

“With today’s tax laws, every time wards buy or sell something, every time members give cash, commodities, or labor, every time the Church buys land or builds a new meetinghouse, there are tax questions to be answered,” Brother Child said.

“We will work closely with the Church Legal Department and the Finance Department to make certain that the Church complies fully and correctly with the various tax laws that we are subject to,” he added.

Brother Child is a certified public accountant and a specialist in tax law. A former president of the British South Mission, he has also served as a stake president, counselor in a stake presidency, member of a high council, and president of an elders quorum.

LDS Scene

First Church Site in Italy

Property for the first Church meetinghouse in Italy has been purchased in Pisa, Italy. The new meetinghouse will serve as a chapel for the Saints in Pisa and as district center for the Tuscany District. It will serve such cities as Livorno, Pistoia, and Florence.

Negotiations for the property were completed on July 27, 1974, and local Saints are already at work on projects for the building fund.

Name Change

The name of the Genealogical Research Center at Brigham Young University has been changed to BYU Family History Services. The name change was made to better distinguish the BYU facility from the Genealogical Society of the Church.

Family History Services is a nonprofit organization that performs genealogical research for individuals on a fee basis.

Top Award

Brigham Young University psychologist Dr. D. Eugene Thorne has been awarded a diploma in clinical psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology.

He is the third BYU faculty member to receive this distinctive recognition from the ABPP. The other two are Dr. Allen E. Bergin and Dr. Robert J. Howell.

Counsel Given Sunday School Workers

The First Presidency has issued a four-point charge to Sunday School workers in the Church.

It was presented recently when the Sunday School general presidency made its report to the First Presidency and advisers from the Council of the Twelve.

President Spencer W. Kimball urged Sunday School workers to teach the following four principles:

1. Parents should lead, not merely send, their families to Sunday School.

2. Church members should bring their scriptures to Sunday School.

3. Teachers should depend on the scriptures and teach correct doctrine, utilizing the approved teachers’ supplements and manuals, and taking care to avoid discussions of “mysteries” of the gospel.

4. Sunday School leaders must increase activation efforts so that all members of the Church may be edified and strengthened spiritually in Sunday School.

BYU Attracts Canadian Students

Among the many thousands of students currently enrolled at Brigham Young University, there are 441 from Canada, the largest Canadian contingent at any college or university in the United States.

Canadians also rank high in the total of international students at BYU. Altogether there are 1,057 students from 70 countries outside the United States enrolled at BYU.

Over half of the Canadians at BYU or Ricks College (Idaho) are from Alberta, where Latter-day Saint pioneers colonized almost 80 years ago.

The strength of the Canadian contingent at LDS colleges has been recognized in a survey conducted by the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. A 1973 report showed that more than 9,600 Canadian citizens attended 700 United States universities and colleges, with 482 at BYU and 176 at Ricks in 1973.

The BYU figure was the highest by a large margin. The next highest number of Canadian student enrollment was 249 at the University of Washington.

Youth Symphony, Chorus Name New Officers

Salt Lake City’s Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus recently named new officers and created a new position following the appointment of Brother Jay E. Welch as director of the Tabernacle Choir.

Ray Furgeson will fill the newly created post of president, and Robert C. Bowden will succeed Brother Welch as director.

Brother Bowden was originally named as associate director of the Tabernacle Choir, but has been released from that position so that he might devote his full attention to the Youth Symphony and Chorus. He has formerly been associated with the youth group as assistant conductor and recording director.

Brother Furgeson recently moved to Utah from California, where he was a founder of the Grand Land Singers, a group for which he was also general manager. The California group has gained nation-wide acclaim and has garnered four Freedoms Foundation medals for the patriotic emphasis of its programs.

Christmas on Temple Square

Christmas on Temple Square will begin on December 9 this year with the annual community youth songfest.

The songfest on Temple Square marks commencement of several Christmas-related programs which bring thousands to Temple Square each December.

Rev. William H. McDougall, pastor of Salt Lake City’s Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Madelaine, will be the featured speaker at the community program on December 9.

The Salt Lake Oratorio Society’s presentation of George Frederick Handel’s Messiah will be presented in the Tabernacle at 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 15.

The annual Christmas concert of the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus will be presented on December 17 and 18 at 8 p.m.

Last year’s concert, conducted by Jay E. Welch, was videotaped for national release this Christmas.

This year Dr. Welch, in his new role as conductor of the Tabernacle Choir, will lead the performance of the Choir’s annual Christmas offering on December 19 at 8 p.m. in the Tabernacle.

Salt Lake Valley’s Primary children will present their annual Christmas program December 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. in the Tabernacle. The Primary program, presented entirely by young children, will be directed at the interests of young children.

More than 100,000 visitors are expected to come to Temple Square to see the depiction of Christ’s birth and to listen to the sacred music of the Christmas season.

[photo] Temple Square nativity scene.

[photo] Christmas on Temple Square would not be complete without the Tabernacle Choir.

[photo] Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus: a major attraction for Christmas on Temple Square.