News of the Church


President Kimball Says Work for Dead as Urgent as Proselyting

The six thousand participants in the Twelfth Annual Priesthood Genealogy Seminar at BYU in August attended a full week of sessions, listening to General Authorities and genealogical experts who urged them on in genealogy and temple work. But the strongest encouragement of all came from President Spencer W. Kimball, who addressed them in the Marriott Center on Thursday night.

“Most members of the Church,” said President Kimball, “are aware of our intense interest in the missionary work of the Church and the appeals we have made in many lands for a rededication to preaching the gospel and preparing missionaries to carry the good news of the restoration to people everywhere. I feel the same sense of urgency about temple work for the dead as I do about missionary work, since they are basically one and the same. I have told my brethren of the General Authorities that this work for the dead is constantly on my mind.”

President Kimball reminded the Saints that the spirit world is filled with the spirits of men and women who need our help. “Why do you keep us waiting?” they ask. “Upon us rests the full responsibility to do their temple work, to perform the ordinances that will provide for them entrance into the Kingdom of God and bind their family ties throughout the eternity.”

After reminding the Saints that the “two important additions to our Standard Works” approved in April 1976 general conference both dealt with the life after mortality and the importance of missionary work being done there, President Kimball warned, “There is no real and lasting security apart from … the peace of conscience gained in perfecting ourselves and our ancestors. It comes in part from knowing who our ancestors are and in doing for them what they cannot or did not do for themselves.”

When we do that we become, “in a very real sense, saviors of our people,” President Kimball said, and then continued, “While genealogical research and temple work can help build security, ignoring these responsibilities leaves us in jeopardy every hour.

“Certain procedures are basic and fundamental,” President Kimball pointed out, and then reminded the Saints of the need to get their own sacred family records in order; to organize as families to perform their sacred responsibilities; to prepare personal and family records and histories; and to complete the four generation sheets. “This program was inaugurated ten years ago, but only about seven percent of the members have responded to it,” said the prophet.

And President Kimball concluded his address by saying, “We unconditionally urge you as individuals, as families, large and small, to go forward in this work and extend to you my blessings and a promise of the Lord on your efforts, with my personal testimony and assurance that God will grant you a great peace and satisfaction in your extended and efficient efforts. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Stakes in Every U.S. State

When Fargo, North Dakota, became the headquarters of a new stake in early August, the Church passed another milestone in its growth. Now every state in the United States has a stake of the Church within its borders.

Stakes do not come merely as a result of sufficient numbers, however. The organization of a stake implies that there are enough Latter-day Saint men and women with leadership ability and dedication for the Church in that area to stand on its own.

Before a stake is organized in an area where there have been no stakes, direction for the branches and districts in the area comes from the mission president. The organization is less complete, usually. When a stake is organized, local members take full responsibility for acting in their priesthood functions in the normal ecclesiastical line—and the mission president is freed to devote his time to the missionary effort.

Out of the fifty states in the U.S., only twelve have but one stake—all the rest have two or more, and as of mid-August there were 667 stakes in the U.S., or one stake for every 322,444 persons in the general population. Utah, where the Church has been strong for well over a century, contains over a third of those stakes—230—with a ratio of one stake for every 5,240 persons in the general population.

The number of stakes is, of course, most concentrated in the Western U.S. The twelve states with the most stakes relative to population are, in order, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Colorado, and California. All of these states have fewer than 200,000 people in the general population for each stake of Zion within state boundaries. At the opposite end of the spectrum is New England, where six stakes in as many states serve a general population of more than two million each.

Only twenty-five years ago, in 1952, the creation of stakes in Texas and Michigan brought to eighteen the number of states with stakes of the Church. Great growth has come in a quarter of a century!

Following the name of each state is the number of stakes within it. In parentheses is the number of people in the general population for each stake within the state.

Alabama

3

(1,205,000)

Alaska

1

(352,000)

Arizona

30

(74,000)

Arkansas

1

(2,116,000)

California

106

(200,000)

Colorado

13

(195,000)

Connecticut

1

(3,095,000)

Delaware

1

(579,000)

Florida

11

(760,000)

Georgia

5

(985,000)

Hawaii

10

(87,000)

Idaho

64

(13,000)

Illinois

5

(2,229,000)

Indiana

4

(1,328,000)

Iowa

2

(1,435,000)

Kansas

2

(1,134,000)

Kentucky

2

(1,698,000)

Louisiana

3

(1,264,000)

Maine

1

(1,059,000)

Maryland

2

(2,049,000)

Massachusetts

1

(5,828,000)

Michigan

6

(1,526,000)

Minnesota

2

(1,963,000)

Mississippi

2

(1,173,000)

Missouri

5

(953,000)

Montana

7

(107,000)

Nebraska

2

(773,000)

Nevada

15

(40,000)

New Hampshire

1

(818,000)

New Jersey

2

(3,658,000)

New Mexico

7

(164,000)

New York

7

(2,589,000)

North Carolina

6

(909,000)

North Dakota

1

(635,000)

Ohio

6

(1,793,000)

Oklahoma

4

(678,000)

Oregon

20

(111,000)

Pennsylvania

3

(3,942,000)

Rhode Island

1

(927,000)

South Carolina

4

(705,000)

South Dakota

1

(683,000)

Tennessee

3

(1,396,000)

Texas

19

(644,000)

Utah

230

(5,240)

Vermont

1

(471,000)

Virginia

8

(621,000)

Washington

22

(161,000)

Washington, D.C.

1

(760,000)

West Virginia

1

(1,803,000)

Wisconsin

2

(2,304,000)

Wyoming

11

(34,000)

Changes in the Church Educational System

From the elementary school student in Tonga to the released-time seminary student in Salt Lake City, nearly 700,000 Latter-day Saints take part in the Church Educational System. While seminaries and institutes grow rapidly in the United States, tremendous strides are also being taken in dozens of other nations. To meet these pressing challenges, the Church Educational System has been reorganized to meet the educational needs of the Saints smoothly and effectively.

“We were faced with three problems,” Church Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Holland said. “First, the program was simply getting larger—many more students than ever before. The effects of that growth could be felt from top to bottom in the organization.

“Second, much of that growth was in the international area. Only a few years ago seminaries and institutes were largely confined to the United States, and Church schools were just a handful in Latin America and the Pacific. Now seminaries and institutes are available in seventeen languages and fifty-four countries; the school system is expanding to many new countries; and special programs, like the literacy program, keep cropping up to meet special needs.

“And the third need,” Commissioner Holland continued, “actually prompted the solution. The Church organization was moving to a zone and area approach. The educational system needed to correlate.”

The solution? “We wanted to avoid unnecessary duplication. With the seminaries and institutes sending representatives out into the field, and the Church schools doing likewise, and other specialized programs sending still other representatives, we would have been wasting valuable time and budget.” Now many diversified programs have been gathered under one umbrella. The new deputy commissioner of education, Henry Eyring, working with associate commissioners Joe J. Christensen and Stanley A. Peterson, will coordinate and regulate all aspects of field administration, including religious education, elementary and secondary schools, and special programs. This single line of authority will, along with Brigham Young University, Ricks College, and the LDS Business College, report to Commissioner Holland.

Two other associate commissioners serve in the Commissioner’s Office: Kenneth H. Beesley directs the newly created planning and research division and Harold F. Western supervises business and finance for the entire Church Educational System.

Serving under the direction of Deputy Commissioner Eyring are six zone administrators. Soon these zones will correspond with the zones established for the overall Church organization (see Ensign, July 1977, p. 94); zone administrators will then supervise all the educational programs within the zone, instead of having separate supervisors for each particular program.

The new zone supervisors for the Church Educational System are Dr. Frank M. Bradshaw, Dr. Frank D. Day, Dr. Bruce M. Lake, Dr. Benjamin Martinez, Dr. Alton L. Wade, and Dr. Dan J. Workman.

However, on the local level the programs will continue to be separate—seminary teachers will not necessarily be expected to run the literacy program or do double duty in a Church school, Commissioner Holland pointed out.

Another change also emphasizes the Church Educational System’s closer correlation with the overall Church organization. The First Presidency has announced that the executive committee of the Church Board of Education will serve as the Education Executive Committee of the Twelve. Consisting of Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, Elder Thomas S. Monson, and Elder Boyd K. Packer, all of the Council of the Twelve, along with one member not from the Twelve, Presiding Bishop Victor L. Brown, the Education Executive Committee will bring the educational system into the direct ecclesiastical line of authority.

The Church Board of Education, consisting of the First Presidency of the Church; President Ezra Taft Benson, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, Elder Thomas S. Monson, Elder Boyd K. Packer, and Elder Marvin J. Ashton, all of the Council of the Twelve; Elder Neal A. Maxwell and Elder Marion D. Hanks of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy; Presiding Bishop Victor L. Brown; and Relief Society General President Barbara Smith, will continue to formulate educational policy and provide administrative direction for the Church Educational System.

The Church Educational System has been undergoing a period of remarkable changes and advances. In 1977 four new institute buildings and nineteen new seminary buildings were built. Construction or purchase of one hundred new buildings is expected within the next five years.

New seminary and institute programs have recently been introduced in the Cook Islands, the Gilbert Islands, the New Hebrides, and the outer islands of Tahiti; Indonesia and Thailand will soon launch similar programs.

The Church’s literacy program, first introduced in Bolivia in mid-1972, is being extended to several other countries. Now available in Spanish and English, the literacy program is designed to teach basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Already 3,100 Bolivians have successfully completed the program, with 400 currently being taught in the major Bolivian population centers.

By the end of this year, the literacy program will have been introduced or tested in Ecuador, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala (in Spanish and in Cakchiquel), Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Honduras, Uruguay, Paraguay, and in the Aymara language of Bolivia.

The Church Educational System now operates seventy-three elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools around the world, with 16,000 students enrolled. These schools serve areas that particularly need more educational opportunities—no such schools are operated where public or private schooling is able to meet all the needs of local Church members.

Seminaries and institutes are also growing at an incredible rate—an increase of more than 100,000 students is expected within the next five years, 30 percent more than are currently enrolled in the programs.

Another exciting program is the Church Educational System Scholarship Program for Latter-day Saints in Latin America, the Pacific, and the “Asian Rim”—those parts of Asia bordering the Pacific. Donated funds are loaned or granted to students from developing nations, helping them get higher education so they can provide leadership in their families, in the Church, and in their communities.

Latter-day Saints, believing that “the glory of God is intelligence,” have long been committed to education. And as the Church spreads throughout the world, that commitment follows—now to be even more effectively administered by the Church Educational System.

Church Educational System(click to view larger)

New Zone, Area Set-up Streamlines Church Educational System

President Marion G. Romney Turns Eighty

Upon his head the
Weight of eighty years
Rests as a crown.
His hair is snowy white.
And in his face the peace
Which comes from work
Well done,
From having heard
And having learned to hear
The Son of God’s own voice.
Have you heard him
Speak about the Lord?
Or how the doctrine
May affect our lives?
Each word is carefully
Weighed before it’s spoken.
He turns the wisdom
Of the Lord outward
To the light for all to see
And understand the
Meaning of eternity.

(From a tribute written to President Romney by Elder S. Dilworth Young of the First Quorum of the Seventy)

He has been a General Authority since 6 April 1941, when he was sustained first among the first five Assistants to the Twelve. Now, after turning eighty on September 19, President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency can look back on a longer term as a General Authority than any other of the Brethren today—except Elder LeGrand Richards of the Council of the Twelve, who was Presiding Bishop from 1938 until 1952. (President Romney shares this distinction with Elder Alma Sonne, who also was sustained as one of the first five Assistants.)

What has been the most important change in the Church during President Romney’s thirty-six years of service as a General Authority? “The growth of the Church,” President Romney says without hesitation. “Before I was called as an Assistant to the Twelve in 1941, there were only twenty-six Brethren serving as General Authorities. Today there are sixty. The Church was so small that when I was a child, two General Authorities would come to each quarterly stake conference. And when I went to Mexico to supervise the work there in the 1950s, there were only 11,000 members—and now there are more than 200,000, I believe.”

Marion G. Romney was born 19 September 1897 in Colonia Juarez, It’s a Young Church in … Mexico, in a community of Latter-day Saints who had fled persecution years before and then came to consider Mexico their home. He spent his childhood there in the hard frontier life. “We raised our own food, everything we ate. We worked hard, even as children.” But there were pleasures, too. “We children played Run Sheepy Run, Stink-Base, Pomp-Pomp-Pullaway—we swam and fished. It was a very free, hardworking, wonderful childhood.”

Then, when young Marion Romney was only fifteen, the Saints were driven out of Mexico as revolution swept back and forth across the country. “We came away with only one trunk holding the belongings of a family with seven children.” Yet despite the uprooting in his adolescence, he went on to receive his LL.B. and Juris Doctor degrees and launched a distinguished career as a public attorney in Salt Lake City, including service in the Utah Legislature from 1935 to 1936.

Church service was important to the Romneys—even from the time of President Romney’s birth. Eight days after he was born, his father left on a mission for the Church and was gone for two years. Later, President Romney served a mission in Australia and then was called to be a bishop and a stake president.

As a General Authority, President Romney served quietly and well as assistant managing director of the Church Welfare Program from 1941 until he was called in 1959 to serve as general chairman. In October 1951 he was ordained to the Council of the Twelve. And always his lively sense of humor, “which I inherited from my mother,” he says, has helped make hard work a pleasure.

But then, President Romney has always been pleased to work hard in the Lord’s service. “I’ve never wanted to use any position to promote myself,” he said to the Ensign’s interviewers. “I just want to serve, like you serve in your Church position, and if I do a good job, the Lord knows it—and if I don’t, He knows it. Either way I don’t want to be talking about it.” And then he laughed, said “Adios, hermanos,” and went on with his day of service to the Lord and the Saints.

[photo] Photography by Eldon Linschoten

LDS Scene

The Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii, is having its first million-visitor year. It took six years after the center was opened in 1963 for the first million visitors to come. Now, with recently expanded facilities covering 42 acres, the center easily accommodates one million visitors in one year—and would welcome many more.

BYU—Hawaii Campus has announced the dedication of the new Joseph F. Smith library, to be held on 21 November 1977. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Council of the Twelve, a grandson-in-law of President Joseph F. Smith, will dedicate the building.

The best radio spot of any kind, as well as the best public service spot announcement—these were the two “Andy” awards given to the Church’s Public Communications Department for its famous “Love” radio spot. “I just called to say that I love you, and I appreciate everything that you do,” says a girl on the phone to her father—and he answers, “Who is this?” The message got home—especially to the Advertising Club of New York, which gave the award.

The much-honored BYU films “John Baker’s Last Race” and “Cipher in the Snow” were chosen to represent the United States in a world peace festival of young teenagers in Moscow, USSR, in July. The conference was attended by thousands of teenagers from all over the world.

The second runners-up in two beauty contests recently were Latter-day Saint young women. Helen Ng Puay Ngoh, an active member of the Singapore Branch, was second runner-up in the Miss Asia Contest, held in Singapore in June. And former BYU student Glenna Anne Jenks, recently returned from a mission to New Zealand, was second runner-up in the Miss Indian America pageant held in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Winners in another competition were recently announced: Charlene Anderson Newell of Evanston, Wyoming, won first place in the Relief Society Song Contest with her song, “A Woman’s Prayer.” Second place was awarded to Ruth Benson Lehenbauer of Dearborn, Michigan, and Janice Kapp Perry and Val Camenish Wilcox received an honorable mention.

New chairman of the national Cub Scout Committee is a Latter-day Saint—Rodney H. Brady of Los Angeles, California, President of the Los Angeles Stake.

Sister Phyllis Brown Marriott has been elected national president of the American Mothers Committee. At the same meeting of the committee, President Barbara Smith of the Relief Society was named to the board of directors, while Belle Spafford and Adelaide McAllister were elected as third and sixth vice-presidents, respectively.

The 17,000-member American Society for Public Administration has a new president—H. George Frederickson, of the Cheney Ward, Spokane Washington Stake. Brother Frederickson, president of Eastern Washington State College at Cheney, is the second Latter-day Saint to preside over the ASPA: Elder G. Homer Durham of the First Quorum of the Seventy was president in 1959–60.

In the devastating Santa Barbara fire, which destroyed two hundred homes, only four Latter-day Saint families were affected, and there were no serious injuries in the blaze.

News of BYU: A new master’s degree program in secondary education began this summer in Mexico City. Conducted entirely in Spanish, the degree-granting program is offered by the BYU College of Education and the Division of Continuing Education for teachers in the Church Education System. Most of the twenty-two students in the pilot program this summer were native Mexicans.

BYU’s poet-in-residence, Clinton F. Larson, was one of the main speakers at the Royal Jubilee Conference on the Arts and Communications, held in London, England, in July. Dr. Larson spoke on “The Poets of Western America.”

Former BYU president Ernest L. Wilkinson has donated a part-ownership of a prestigious 17-story apartment building in Houston, Texas, to BYU. Brother Wilkinson specified that one-third of the gift was for the BYU Translation Sciences Institute, and the other two-thirds were to be used in support of the LDS Church Education System in Mexico and Latin America, and for student loans in Latin America, the Far East, and the Pacific Islands.

Church Policies and Announcements

The following notices recently appeared in Messages, which is sent to local priesthood leaders as official guidelines from Church headquarters:

Roster of Services for Deaf Members. A list of units providing interpretation services for deaf members is now available to bishops and branch presidents who may have use for it. Deaf members who are traveling or moving will find the roster helpful in locating wards or facilities adapted for their needs. Copies may be obtained at no cost by writing or visiting Personal Welfare Services, 7th floor, Church Office Building, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150, or by calling (801) 531–2847.

Scheduling 1977 New Year’s Eve Parties. Where New Year’s Eve socials sponsored by Church organizations or units are held on 31 December 1977, the First Presidency recommends that stake presidents set an alternate Sunday for observing fast day. Dancing or similar activities should be discontinued at midnight, but provision may be made to serve a late supper or early breakfast from midnight to 1:00 or 1:30 A.M. Participants would then be free to go home immediately thereafter and be available for regular Sunday meetings.

Attendance at Dedicatory Services at São Paulo Temple. Many Church members who reside outside the São Paulo Temple district appear to be planning to attend dedicatory services at the temple. Members who do not live in the São Paulo Temple district will not be invited to attend the dedicatory services. Available seating for these services will only accommodate the worthy members living in the temple district. Others planning to attend the São Paulo Temple should delay their visit until several weeks after the temple dedication.