The Time to “Do It” Is Now, Pleads President Kimball at Hawaii Area Conference
Again and again, the message was repeated by President Spencer W. Kimball and other general authorities: put your lives and families in order, and do the Lord’s work.
The setting was the Neal Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii, where thousands of Saints gathered June 18 for the Hawaii Area Conference, the first area conference in the United States. The area conference concluded a week of spiritual activities for members from the Hawaiian Islands, Guam, and Micronesia.
President Kimball visited the island of Kauai June 11, meeting with representatives of the news media in a news conference and interviews. He then presided at nine Hawaii Temple rededication services June 13 through 15 and a priesthood solemn assembly June 17 before presiding at the Sunday area conference. The first Presidency met with Hawaii Governor George R. Ariyoshi June 17. The governor attended a conference session.
Crowds had formed outside the arena at 5 A.M. June 18 to gain entrance to the arena, which opened at 8 A.M. By 8:30, the multi-purpose complex was filled to capacity. The stage where the general authorities and their families sat was decorated with Hawaiian flowers and floral arrangements. In addition to singing the traditional “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet,” the Hawaiians sang “Aloha Oe” for the general authorities. The morning session was televised by KITV and one hour of the afternoon session was rebroadcast over KHVH radio.
“Enough has been said,” President Kimball told crowds of 8,500 and 7,000 at the two conference sessions and thousands of other Hawaii residents watching and listening to television and radio broadcasts, “It is now time to ‘do it.’”
“We urge you to quicken your pace, lengthen your stride, move forward in your local ecclesiastical work,” he said.
President N. Eldon Tanner, first counselor in the First Presidency, gave affirmative answer to the question “Are Mormons Christians?” by referring to the Articles of Faith, which place Christ and the Atonement at the center of Latter-day Saint beliefs.
As counselor to four presidents of the Church, President Tanner bore testimony of the divinity of Church organization and of the inspiration of the men who lead the Church.
President Marion G. Romney, second counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the afternoon session and urged Hawaiians to read and study the Book of Mormon. “I counsel you to read it a few minutes a day, and it will become a lifelong habit,” he said. He encouraged families to read the Book of Mormon together, promising that the practice will result in greater reverence, mutual respect, and less contention. Children will become more responsive and submissive, and faith, hope, and charity will abound.
Two general authorities who spoke at the morning session, President Ezra Taft Benson, president of the Council of the Twelve, and Elder O. Leslie Stone of the First Quorum of the Seventy, gave the Hawaiian Saints specific advice on living Christlike lives.
President Benson, whose wife served a mission in the Hawaiian Islands, told the gathering of Church members and civic and business dignitaries that “Hawaii will never be any stronger than its homes, and the Church will never rise above its homes.”
He referred to family home evening as the vanguard for parents to use in teaching their children. “Parents are directly responsible for the righteous rearing of their children. This responsibility cannot be safely delegated to relatives, friends, neighbors, schools, the Church, or the state.
“It is time that the hearts of us fathers are turned to our children, and the hearts of the children are turned to us fathers, or we shall both be cursed,” President Benson said.
“The seeds of divorce are often sown and the blessings of children delayed by wives working outside the home. Working mothers should remember that their children usually need more of mother than of money,” President Benson said.
“Fathers have the responsibility for the physical, mental, social, and spiritual growth and development of themselves, their wives, and each of their children, and should bless their wives and children.”
Elder Stone emphasized that “parents are held responsible to teach their children.”
“How can a child be expected to accept a drive toward spiritual values in life if he does not even know what they are or what they mean?” he said. “Are we as parents indifferent to the moral needs of our children? Do we provide the necessary guidance and instruction for them? Do we feed their spirits as well as their bodies, or do we let them do as they please as long as they do not disturb our routine, our comfort?”
Elder Stone encouraged the Hawaiian members to remember the fundamental principles of a righteous life-reverence, honesty, integrity, service, prayer in decision making, family counsel, and remembering that God is a loving father with whom we should always communicate.
Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve, president of the Polynesian Cultural Center at Laie, described at the afternoon session two types of testimonies. The first, the “sudden-impact testimony,” comes to those who are converted, are reactivated, or have special experiences. The other kind of testimony is the “quiet—not silent—testimony,” which, although not as dramatic on the surface as the first type, is equally important and equally strong.
He urged the Saints to be proud of both kinds of testimonies, to strengthen them, to add to them, to share them, and to bear them. He said that one of the purposes of having general authorities attend area conferences throughout the world is to help members build testimonies. He noted that men and women are not saved by their testimonies and quoted Doctrine and Covenants 3:4—“For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.” [D&C 3:4]
Every valid testimony, said Elder Ashton, should include a knowledge that God lives, that Christ is his son, that Joseph Smith was a prophet and an instrument in the restoration of the gospel, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true, complete, divine church on the earth.
A key to developing testimony is reading the scriptures, said Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve. Pleased that many attending the conference had brought their scriptures, he encouraged them to continue to read and study the scriptures and to cultivate patience and hope.
Elder Marion D. Hanks of the presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who served in the United States military in Hawaii thirty-eight years ago, noted change in the islands and growth in the Church. He related the story of a Latter-day Saint serviceman who was entertaining friends at a party at his home. The friends were not interested in things of a spiritual nature. Then the host’s children asked to have family prayer. After the prayer, it was like a different party, and the friends had a different attitude about spiritual things, Elder Hanks said.
Elder Adney Y. Komatsu of the First Quorum of the Seventy, a Hawaii native named earlier in the week as the new Hawaii-Pacific Islands area supervisor for the Church, said that the rededication of the Hawaii Temple was an appropriate time for the Hawaiian Saints to recommit themselves and rededicate their lives.
Elder John H. Groberg of the First Quorum of the Seventy, former area supervisor in Hawaii now assigned at Church headquarters, stressed service to others. He praised Hawaii’s world-famous “Aloha spirit.” “The true Aloha spirit is a reverence for, a closeness to, and a love of nature, family, and God, as demonstrated by our unselfish acts of kindness and help to others.
“If you divorce any of these elements from the Aloha spirit, you have nothing of value left,” Elder Groberg Said. “The spirit of Aloha then is the spirit of service, a desire and willingness to help others.
“This is the spirit of the gospel, also. So it is little wonder that the Lord’s true church fits so well with the islands. I plead with all of you, do not lose these great soul-saving qualities as commonly encompassed in the word Aloha. Don’t let frustration or cynicism or materialism or sin canker your soul and rob you of the life-giving joy of service. Remember the words of King Benjamin as he speaks to you today: ‘I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.’” (Mosiah 2:17)
Regional Representative Glen Y. M. Lung, speaking in the morning session, said that in spite of the grueling pace set by President Kimball during the week, Brother Lung felt the president’s pure, Christlike love, his amazing physical strength, and the warmth of his humility. He described the eight days as the most stimulating week of his life, echoing the feelings of most of those in attendance.
Hawaii Temple Rededicated
With these words, President Spencer W. Kimball opened a three-day spiritual feast as the renovated Hawaii Temple was rededicated at Laie, Oahu, June 13 through 15.
During two dedicatory services the first day, President Kimball stressed the seriousness of temple work, the need for the Hawaiian Saints to rededicate their lives as they rededicated the temple, and the urgent necessity for parents to properly teach and prepare their children to use the temples.
One hundred local priesthood leaders, their wives, and guests joined members of the First Presidency, three members of the Council of the Twelve, and other General Authorities in the opening services.
Elder Ezra Taft Benson and Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve attended the rededication. Elder Marion D. Hanks of the presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and quorum members O. Leslie Stone, Adney Y. Komatsu, and John H. Groberg also attended. Elder Stone supervised the Hawaii Temple rededication services.
Also speaking at the services were Max W. Moody, temple president, and Lloyd C. Walch, who was temple president until the temple was closed for remodeling in May 1976. Two other former Hawaii Temple presidents, Harry V. Brooks and Edward L. Clissold, attended the rededication.
Nearly 9,000 persons, or close to one-third of Hawaii’s 30,000-member Church population, participated in the nine separate two-hour dedicatory sessions. Other sessions were held in the Brigham Young University-Hawaii Campus auditorium or were carried to other rooms on the campus through closed-circuit television.
Church leaders from throughout the Pacific attended the services. “This is one of the great spiritual occasions in the history of the Church in Hawaii,” said Glenn Y. M. Lung, regional representative and chairman of the temple rededication planning committee. John Baird, Hawaii’s other regional representative, said that members came from all of Hawaii’s major islands for the rededication, for a solemn priesthood assembly, and for the Hawaii Area Conference June 18, the first area conference held in the United States.
Leaders also came from Saipan, Ponapu Island, and Guam.
In his address at the services, President Marion G. Romney, second counselor in the First Presidency, outlined the history of temples. The purpose of the latter-day temples, beginning with those constructed under the direction of Joseph Smith, was to prepare men to meet God and to be a place where the Savior might manifest himself on earth, President Romney stated.
President N. Eldon Tanner, first counselor in the First Presidency, noted the sacrifices of earlier Saints in building temples in Ohio, in Illinois, in Utah, and in Hawaii. He paid tribute to the sacrifices of Polynesians, Japanese, and other Saints in building and traveling to the Hawaii Temple, which he described as “a jewel, a gem, a light in the Pacific.”
Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve outlined the Church’s history in Hawaii and noted that when the Hawaii Temple was dedicated in 1919 by President Heber J. Grant—the first outside the continental United States—the Church had one-half million members, seventy-nine stakes, and twenty-two missions. Only 78,000 endowments had been carried out in modern-day temples by that time. Now, the Church has eight times as many members and the number of temple endowments has increased nearly fifty times throughout the world.
President Kimball told the Saints attending, “It’s foolish for us to come to the rededication of a temple and not make a determination to live the word of God to the end of our days.” He asked the membership of the Hawaiian Islands to pledge greater temple service to the Lord and his kingdom.
He encouraged families to place a picture of a temple in their homes as a constant reminder of the important, sacred building available to them in the Hawaiian Islands.
He expressed gratitude to the Lord for “the wonderful, splendid labors performed in the land of Hawaii and other islands by the early leadership of this church. We thank thee for their devotion to this people and we thank thee for raising up thy servants who gave leadership to the numerous island people in the translation of the records.”
Brother Clissold, speaking at a dedicatory service, related an experience he had as temple president. He once envisioned a procession of persons lined up outside the Laie temple and going to the ocean shore blocks away. They were seeking entrance to the temple. Brother Clissold said he dismissed this experience as “an imagination,” but later discussed it with Elder Harold B. Lee, then a member of the Council of the Twelve. Elder Lee advised Brother Clissold that the vision may have been the Lord’s way of impressing upon him and other temple workers the great responsibility and work to be carried out in the Hawaii Temple.
Warm Responses to Priesthood Announcement
On a quiet Friday in June, the announcement came: “… every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood.”
The reaction? For Church members, joyous surprise, a warm witness that a living prophet receives revelation, and increased understanding. For nonmembers, praise mingled with curiosity.
Church members throughout the world say they will always remember what they were doing when they heard the announcement, which was made June 9 from Salt Lake City. The official notification of the revelation was sent in a letter to Church leaders throughout the world. The news media carried the news in front-page headlines.
Newspapers across the United States delayed editions to include the news; two news magazines, Time and Newsweek, stopped the presses on their weekend editions to get the story in. The news made the front page of The New York Times. Newspapers that previously had been neutral or negative on Church-related issues carried laudatory editorials. U.S. President Jimmy Carter commended President Spencer W. Kimball for “compassionate prayerfulness and courage.”
Yet the real news was in the lives that the revelation affects.
Brother Mel Stricklin of the North Branch Ward, East Brunswick New Jersey Stake, a postal worker, was at work when his wife called him to relay the news. The Stricklins, who are black, joined the Church seven years ago.
“I was so overwhelmed that I just got warm all over. I couldn’t sit down, I couldn’t stand up. I had to go outside and thank God that now my family and I can be sealed together,” Brother Stricklin says. “It was such a wonderful feeling that I can’t put it into words. I think it was the most important announcement of my life. It means so much to us, after waiting so long.”
Brother Stricklin was interviewed by his bishop that Sunday and was ordained a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood a week later. He will be presented at stake conference in August to be ordained an elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood. After that ordination, the Stricklins plan to be sealed.
“I feel it’s an awesome responsibility to act in the name of God. I’m praying to the Lord every day that I can be worthy to receive his Spirit and authority.”
The Stricklins are thankful that Brother Stricklin’s life has been spared twice by priesthood blessings. And they are thankful for the support of their ward. On the day of the announcement, the Stricklins’ telephone rang continuously from 3 P.M. to 11 P.M. The last call was from a man in Salt Lake City—the former missionary who baptized them.
Throughout the Church, steps were taken to ordain worthy men such as Brother Stricklin. A brief telegram, received at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City a few days after the announcement, stated that an ordination had taken place in Bangkok, Thailand, on what would have been Saturday in the United States. (Thailand is a day ahead of the United States.)
In the Plainview Long Island Stake, the opportunity for one such member of the Church came soon after the announcement of the revelation. He was presented for a sustaining vote in a stake conference June 11. Stake President Charles Neaman relates: “We had sustained one other man, and this man was next. He stood up and held his little son. We asked for a sustaining vote on his behalf. The hands just shot up. To me, that was just like sustaining the prophet.”
The announcement also had an impact on those whose lives were not directly affected. Stake President Conrad Caldwell of the Houston Texas Stake says he is excited—and sobered—about the implications of the revelation. “The way is now open for more missionary work,” he says. “And it certainly is indicative of the times in which we live, and the need for things to be done.”
Stake President Richard L. Chapple of the Tallahassee Florida Stake recounts what he has learned from the revelation: “I now understand more fully the concept that there really is a prophet, and the process followed to receive the revelation. It’s a great lesson—what have I really prayed that long and hard for?
“Now we’re so excited. We can really see the Church going forth. It’s great to be alive and part of it. It’s as right as it can be.”
President Kimball to Address All Women of the Church
In a first-of-its-kind fireside, President Spencer W. Kimball will speak to women of the Church September 16 from the Salt Lake Tabernacle. The fireside will be broadcast closed-circuit throughout the world.
The Saturday-night fireside will use closed-circuit facilities set up for the priesthood session of general conference in October. All women members from twelve years of age will be invited to attend the fireside broadcast. A 400-voice women’s choir from the Bountiful, Woods Cross, and Kaysville, Utah, areas will perform.
President Kimball Wants Missionary Force Doubled
President Spencer W. Kimball has requested that the current number of missionaries serving worldwide—26,800—be doubled.
Speaking at the conclusion of a five-day mission presidents’ seminar, President Kimball told some seventy-two new mission presidents and their wives that as the Church approaches one thousand stakes, the lands of the world need to supply their own local missionaries as fast as possible. He said that the day will come when many nations will also have a surplus to send elsewhere. “That day, we hope, is not too far off.”
President Kimball again stressed the great need for missionaries:
“In a population survey that came to my attention, we read that there were many, many nations … that have hardly been touched with the gospel at all. We are therefore making an appeal for nearly doubling or more than doubling the missionaries of the world,” he said.
“We would ask every Latter-day Saint woman who gives birth to a boy child that she begin training him for his mission, encouraging him to save the money that comes into his hands and work in little jobs which will bring money to him that can be saved for that purpose. If his mother and family teach him these missionary needs from his infancy, he will grow up with a feeling of receiving gladly his missionary term.”
President Kimball expressed disappointment that only 20.1 percent of all eligible young men in the Church are serving missions. “This makes me very sad indeed,” he said. “I am a bit disappointed or at least surprised.”
President Kimball also encouraged members and missionaries to teach members of numerous minority groups and ethnic communities throughout the world.
“In view of recent revelations—the blacks holding the priesthood—we can now use many more missionaries in the United States, where we have a great abundance of these people, because there are many areas that will be needing missionaries.”
He cited figures indicating that millions of foreign-born persons live outside their homelands, and he instructed mission presidents to make certain that these people are taught the gospel. “Wherever they live, they’re important to us,” he said. “If they are sons and daughters of God, they need the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
BYU, Justice Department Agree on Housing Policy
Brigham Young University and the United States Department of Justice signed an out-of-court agreement in June, permitting BYU to continue its unmarried-student housing policies but protecting the rights of nonstudents.
The agreement, effective December 31, also paves the way for other universities to establish and maintain similar housing policies.
“We are very pleased with this resolution, not only because it means that BYU can continue its policy of requiring unmarried students to live in housing separated by sex, but also because it clarifies the right of other educational institutions to do the same, on-campus and/or off-campus, if they choose to do so,” BYU President Dallin H. Oaks said.
Ensign Subscription to Cost Six Dollars a Year
On September 1 a year’s subscription to the Ensign will increase from five to six dollars. The change is necessitated by a nearly forty percent rise in publication and distribution costs over the past four years—while the subscription price has not changed.
The price increase affects only the Ensign. The other two Church magazines, the New Era and the Friend, will publish eleven issues in 1979, instead of the current twelve. Their subscription rates will remain the same.
Those who have already paid for more than one year’s subscription will not be charged extra for the rate increase.
The single-issue cost of the Ensign will be sixty cents beginning September 1. The New Era and the Friend will remain at forty cents an issue.
Church magazines are entirely self-supporting and receive no appropriations from Church funds. Subscription income pays the production and operating costs, as it has for many years.
Church magazines continue to form an official line of communication from the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve to members and friends of the Church. They also serve as valuable missionary tools, helping nonmembers learn about the gospel.
President Harold B. Lee summarized the role of the magazines in 2 October 1972 as follows:
“We feel that the Church magazines are essential tools in our gospel teaching program. They are designed not only to strengthen the faith of Church members, to promulgate the truths of the everlasting gospel, and to keep members informed on current and vital policies, programs, and happenings, but also to provide worthwhile articles to entertain and enrich their lives.”
It is hoped that all members of the Church will continue to use the magazines for these purposes.
First Presidency Opposes U.S. ERA Ratification Extension
The First Presidency has formally opposed a proposal to extend the period allowed for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The statement from the First Presidency was submitted to Representative Don Edwards (D-California), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on civil and constitutional rights. It followed a 1976 statement by the First Presidency opposing the ratification of the amendment.
By car, by bus, by subway, by train they came—nearly 5,000 of them. And the gathering of Church members in London, England’s, Royal Albert Hall was the largest assembly of Saints since England’s 1976 area conference. They came to take part in the creation of new stakes and the realignment of others, forming five newly named stakes and four reorganized stakes. Elders Gordon B. Hinckley and David B. Haight of the Council of the Twelve officiated.
The new stakes are London England Hyde Park, London England Wandsworth, Maidstone England, St. Albans England, and Staines England. Two stakes, London England and London England North, were absorbed into the new stakes. Stakes reorganized were Crawley England, Norwich England, Reading England, and Romford England.
Thousands of Relief Society women from throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Samoa journeyed to Nauvoo, Illinois, in June to witness the dedication of the Nauvoo Monument to Women. Members of the First Presidency offered the dedicatory prayer. The Ensign will publish photographs and an account of the dedication in the September issue.
The rain fell, but with shovel in hand, President Marion G. Romney, second counselor in the First Presidency, broke ground for the Seattle Temple anyway. Some 1,200 members of the church attended the groundbreaking and dedicatory service May 27 at the Bellevue, Washington, temple site.