News of the Church

President Kimball Condemns Wrongdoing by Government Officials

On the eve of the nation’s bicentennial birthday, President Spencer W. Kimball has issued a special statement condemning the wrongdoing and immorality of public servants and has called upon all elected and appointed government officials to observe “high moral principles.”

“New disclosures and charges regarding questionable activities of public servants in Washington, D.C., in addition to those in recent months and years, are shocking indeed.

“It is time for both elected and appointed officials, regardless of party, in our government, nationally and locally, to appraise themselves and their practices. There appears to be too often an attitude of indifference toward serious acts of wrongdoing.

“There is no better time than now, in this bicentennial year of our nation’s birth, for a rededication to the high moral principles which have contributed to this nation’s greatness. The workings of our government should be an example to the world—in uncompromising integrity, in wise and prudent stewardship of public funds, in personal morality, including fidelity in marriage, and in an openness on activities which will build the confidence of the electorate. The citizenry should expect no less.

“We remind public servants of a slogan of President Grover Cleveland: ‘Public office is a public trust.’

“And also of President Theodore Roosevelt’s statement: ‘It is better to be faithful than famous.’ This nation can be no stronger than its families.

“America cannot remain strong by ignoring the commandments of the Lord given to Moses on Sinai.

“It is time our government officials and all of us reaffirm our motto, ‘In God we trust,’ and conduct our lives accordingly.”

Church Issues Statement on Abortion

To reaffirm the policy of the Church concerning abortion, the First Presidency is publishing the following official statement on this subject:

“The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to, be a party to, or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or health of the woman is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by forcible rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the victim. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local bishop or branch president and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.

“Abortion is one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day, when we are witnessing the frightening evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality.

“Members of the Church guilty of being parties to the sin of abortion are subject to the disciplinary action of the councils of the Church as circumstances warrant. In dealing with this serious matter, it would be well to keep in mind the word of the Lord stated in the 59th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 6, ‘Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.’

“As far as has been revealed, the sin of abortion is one for which a person may repent and gain forgiveness.”

Additional Scripture Now Available

Sustained as scripture at the April general conference (Ensign, May 1976), Joseph Smith’s 1836 vision of the celestial kingdom and President Joseph F. Smith’s 1918 vision of the redemption of the dead are now available as an insert to the Pearl of Great Price.

Divided into chapter and verse, the insert is designed in three sizes to fit existing large print, standard, and pocket-size editions of the scripture.

Each size costs 25 cents and is available from any Deseret Bookstore or from dealers throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Mail orders for the Pearl of Great Price insert may be sent to Deseret Book Personal Shopping Service, P.O. Box 659, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110.

Family Records Emphasized in New Genealogy Handbook

Sacred family records, temple blessings for family members, and family organizations are highlighted in the newly published Priesthood Genealogy Handbook, which has been distributed to stakes and missions throughout the English-speaking Church.

The new publication, with a gold cover, replaces the blue-covered Priesthood Genealogy Program which should be destroyed. It summarizes the responsibilities of the individual member in creating and maintaining links in the eternal family chain, and also provides an outline for the priesthood leaders responsible for guiding such work.

“The Priesthood Genealogy Handbook is a good tool to use to follow up the instructions received at the June regional meetings,” said Thomas E. Daniels, manager of the priesthood genealogy division of the Church Genealogy Department.

“It is not an attempt to explain everything in detail—that will be forthcoming as part of the curriculum over the next few years. But it does clarify policies and responsibilities both for the priesthood leader and the individual member.

“The new booklet is smaller than the earlier publications—it’s designed for quick and easy reading,” said Brother Daniels.

Its nine chapters are: Overview of Priesthood Genealogy and Temple Work, Stake Organization for Genealogy and Temple Work, Genealogical Organization in the Ward, Mission Organization for Genealogy and Temple Work, Temple Blessings for Family Members, The Book of Remembrance, Family Organizations, Basic Activities of Priesthood Genealogy and Temple Work, and Aids to Priesthood Genealogy and Temple Work.

The Priesthood Genealogy Handbook is for the priesthood leader, and although copies have already been distributed, additional copies are available at no cost from distribution centers (stock number PBG50515). The translations in some sixteen languages are scheduled for distribution starting July 15.

Two Pioneer Homes

[photos] Two pioneer homes with Church historical interest were recently dedicated by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Council of the Twelve. The homes, the winter residence of President Brigham Young in St. George and the nearby Santa Clara residence of Jacob Hamblin, were acquired by the Church in 1974 from the state of Utah. Now refurbished, the two homes are open to visitors each weekday from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. The Brigham Young home, started in 1869 and completed in 1874, is of sun-baked adobe brick on a foundation of black volcanic rock. Jacob Hamblin, who was known as the “Apostle to the Indians,” built his home of red sandstone in 1863.

International Mission Continues to Reach Out

In today’s mobile society, many Church members live in areas far from existing Church organizations. To meet the challenge of maintaining contact with them, the International Mission was established in 1973. It is presided over by Elder W. Grant Bangerter, an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve.

According to Elder Bangerter, the International Mission currently serves some 1,500 members in thirty-five countries around the world. Generally contact is made with these members before they leave their regular wards or branches or when notification is received from their bishops or families that they have moved to some isolated part of the globe.

The International Mission maintains contact with members by informing them of developments within the Church and by helping them take part in existing Church programs.

The International Mission assumes responsibility for its members’ records, and where possible it arranges for baptism and other ordinances for children of the proper age. The mission also informs members if other Latter-day Saints live in the area.

Members who are going to move to an area where the Church does not have organized units should contact the International Mission so their records can be transferred and so they can be assured of continual contact with the Church. Priesthood leaders or families who know of members of the Church who now are in isolated areas should also contact International Mission, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150, USA.

The mission needs to know the full name of each member, where he will be going, and where he is from, including ward and stake or branch and district.

Song Contest Winners, New Worldwide Contest Announced

The Relief Society has announced the winners of the 1975–76 song contest, and has opened the 1976–77 contest to international competition.

This year’s contest winners are Jackie F. Halversen of Spokane, Washington, first place for “In a Safe Place”; Nancy Lee Oliver of Ephraim, Utah, second place for “Each One, My Sister”; and Janice G. Bishop of Ithaca, New York, honorable mention for “A Fullness.”

Sister Halversen, mother of three children, is a stake Relief Society education counselor and ward organist for the Spokane Third Ward, Spokane Washington Stake.

Sister Oliver serves as a Primary Star A teacher and visiting teacher in the Ephraim West Ward, Manti Utah Stake, teaches piano, and has two sons.

Sister Bishop is a Laurel adviser and Sunday School organist in the Ithaca Ward, Ithaca New York Stake, and has three sons.

In announcing the 1976–77 contest, the Relief Society presidency said, “For the first time the annual Relief Society Song Contest is open to sisters in all parts of the Church. While the difficulty of comparing music from diverse cultures is recognized, the value of having a worldwide representation outweighs the difficulties. Where possible, English translations and/or standard phonetic pronunciation marks should accompany non-English lyrics, since the majority of Relief Society singers are English-speaking. This year, themes inspired by the Relief Society Nauvoo Monument, such as “the circles of a woman’s influence,” will be given priority by the judges. Contest rules are on pages 45–47 of the new Relief Society Handbook (stock number PERS0055).

LDS Scene

Brigham Young University and Ricks College have both announced major new fund-raising programs. BYU will be raising money for a new building to house the Graduate School of Management and the College of Business. Ricks has set a goal of $1,500,000 for its new practical agriculture program, which will include a landscaping nursery, horsemanship and stable management, farm management, and beef management.

President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve officiated April 28 when Elder L. Tom Perry of the Council of the Twelve was married in the Salt Lake Temple to Sister Barbara Drayton of Cokeville, Wyoming. Elder Perry’s first wife, Virginia, passed away December 14, 1974.

Richard Farthing of Richlands, Virginia, president of the Richlands Branch, has been named Citizen of the Year by the Richlands Area Chamber of Commerce for his outstanding civic service. Brother Farthing has served as president of the Lions Club and the Parent-Teachers Association, and has worked with the Boy Scouts, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and the Richlands Recreation Commission. He and his wife, Bonnie, have five children.

Mike Johnson and Curt Brinkman, both psychology students at Brigham Young University, won nine medals at the western regionals in California for the Wheelchair Olympics, and both qualified for the nationals scheduled for June in New York. Brother Johnson, a highly decorated former Marine who lost his legs in Vietnam, qualified for the nationals in six events and came back with two first-place gold medals, two second-place silver medals, and two third-place bronze medals. Brother Brinkman, who lost his legs in an electrical accident on a farm in Idaho, qualified by winning a second place in the mile with a time of 6:47—his best time ever. He also won a silver medal in the 100-yard dash and two bronze medals in the javelin and the mile relay.

Dr. James A. Mason, member of the Church Music Committee and professor of music at Brigham Young University, has been elected president of the 65,000-member Music Educators National Conference (MENC). Brother Mason is the immediate past-president of the Western Division of MENC and has served on two of its special councils. Dr. A. Harold Goodman, chairman of the BYU Music Department and chairman of the Church Music Correlation executive committee, has been elected president of MENC’s Western Division. Gene Marlan of McLean, Virginia, acting executive secretary of the MENC, is also a Latter-day Saint.

Two trips to Washington, D.C., and a $1,000 research grant were won by Reed B. Markham, a Brigham Young University student from Provo, Utah, in two separate national contests. One trip and the grant were awarded Brother Markham as one of ten 1976 National Exploration Award winners for scientific research. His other trip was awarded for his winning entry in the Bicentennial USA slogan contest sponsored by the Washington Post.

Starting this year, National Family Week becomes an annual tradition in the United States with the signing of a joint resolution by President Gerald R. Ford. The resolution climaxed efforts spearheaded by Latter-day Saint representatives in Congress and led by LDS Congressman Del Clawson, Los Angeles, 33rd Congressional District of California. National Family Week will be observed November 21–27, the week of Thanksgiving.

Sister LaVern W. Parmley, general Primary president from 1951 through 1974, has received the Silver Buffalo Award, the highest award for volunteer service to youth by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The award citation states: “If there is a person, in or out of Scouting, who has had a direct effect on the lives of more children than yo,. the name does not spring to mind.” Sister Parmley, who initiated the Cub Scout program in the Church some twenty years ago, also has been honored over the years with the BSA’s Silver Fawn and Silver Antelope awards, and in 1973 she became the first woman to be named to the national Cub Scout committee.

Arizona Television Program Aids Families, Missionary Work

Three Latter-day Saint women in Phoenix, Arizona, have had a “missionary’s dream come true.” They were invited to discuss the family home evening program on a popular local television program, and now they are regular guests on KPHO’s “Open House” talk show.

Mrs. Rita Davenport, hostess of Open House, at first invited them for only one appearance, but because of the tremendous audience response after the first show, she asked them to return for a series of eight more shows.

The 50,000 viewers of Open House continued to request more family home evening material, and now sisters Madeline Westover, Nevada Harward, and Karine Eliason have been asked to continue indefinitely as regular guests on the show.

Sister Westover reported that soon after their first appearance they produced a series of family home evening packets with ideas for Christmas, the Bicentennial, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and other special occasions. The packets have been very popular with members and nonmembers alike. More than two thousand orders were received for the Christmas packet, and many hundreds of the other packets have been requested. Sister Westover, who handles the mail, received 195 requests the first day after the television presentation of the Easter packet. She said that the Easter show was much more Church-oriented than any of the previous shows had been, “but that didn’t seem to hurt the show’s popularity.”

The sisters have received many letters from people of different denominations praising them for their work and their courage in presenting the home evening ideas on television, and telling of new interest in the Church. “Your cheerful attitude and smiles are a great example for your religion,” said one. Another said, “If only all families could practice this beautiful idea, there would be fewer problems on this earth today.”

Two New Pageants Added to Annual Events

Two new Church-related pageants are being readied for presentation this summer in San Bernardino, California, and Nauvoo, Illinois.

The San Bernardino Bicentennial Pageant tells of Mormon colonists sent to California by Brigham Young. Led by Elders Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich, both of the Council of the Twelve, the group arrived in southern California in June 1851 and settled at San Bernardino. The pageant will be presented June 29 and 30, and July 1–3. The pageant committee plans to make it an annual affair.

In Nauvoo, members from nineteen stakes and two missions, as well as many nonmembers, will participate in the outdoor musical “City of Joseph” scheduled for August 18–21.

Other Church pageants are “Missouri, Mormons, and Miracles” in Independence, Missouri, June 17 and 18; the “Mormon Miracle Pageant,” July 8–10 and 13–17 in Manti, Utah; the Oakland, California, temple pageant “And It Came To Pass,” July 13–17 and 20–24; and the Hill Cumorah pageant “America’s Witness for Christ,” July 23, 24, and 27–31. Members in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, are helping to produce a play about the Mormon pioneers in Canada in conjunction with the annual Calgary Stampede, July 9–18.