Nauvoo Monument to Women
More than 130 years ago, thousands of Saints trekked westward out of Nauvoo, Illinois. This June, thousands came back to visit. Dedication to the gospel took the early Saints away; the dedication of a monument brought them back.
The Nauvoo Monument to Women, a statuary plaza near the visitors’ center at Nauvoo, was dedicated June 28–30 by President Spencer W. Kimball in three ceremonies. Some 7,500 Relief Society members attended as invited guests. Thousands of other visitors participated in dedication activities.
Most attendees were bussed from their home states to Illinois, where they stayed in dormitories and other housing within several hours’ drive of Nauvoo. About 2,500 women attended each day’s dedicatory service and toured restored homes and shops in Nauvoo. When it didn’t rain, the women and the public were treated to an elaborate, original pageant, Because of Elizabeth.
The dedication was the first chance for many women to see the prophet and other General Authorities in person. Three members of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke at the services, and several members of the First Quorum of the Seventy attended.
“A day of fulfillment” was how President Kimball described the dedication of the monument, thirteen bronze statues financed by contributions from Relief Society members throughout the world.
On the second day of the dedication President Kimball gave the women a firm admonition: “Women are to take care of the family.” He said that through staying home to care for her family, “a woman will find greater satisfaction and joy and peace and make greater contributions to mankind.” In the dedicatory prayer that day, he added, “Bless the women of the Church that they may bless the Church and become the mothers of the posterity that will follow.”
Later that day, at a filmed interview with Barbara B. Smith, general president of the Relief Society, President Kimball admonished women to magnify their calling by attending Relief Society meetings. “Attendance is important because if they are not there they can’t get the spirit of it he said.
President Kimball also said that women have a right to look to their husbands for maintenance and support.
Illinois Governor James Thompson had declared June 28 as Nauvoo-Monument-to-Women Day in the state. His representative, Ilana D. Rovner, said that in view of the persecution of the early Saints, she should bring the governor’s apologies instead of his greetings.
“I think we’ve lost the greatest resource we had,” she said. “And on behalf of the governor—come back.”
Bethine Church, wife of Idaho Senator Frank Church, was the official representative of Rosalyn Carter, wife of the United States President Jimmy Carter. She read a message from the First Lady.
Sister Smith and other speakers defined the role of women.
She encouraged women to proclaim the gospel message “with the same courage, faith, and conviction as did the women of early Nauvoo,” and to create homes “without any ire.”
“It is a matter of deep concern that social and economic conditions today are enticing, if not forcing, woman out of the sphere in which she can find the most happiness and can render the greatest good to mankind,” Sister Smith said.
Her esteem for womanhood and her concerns were reinforced by three members of the Quorum of the Twelve—Elder L. Tom Perry, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, and President Ezra Taft Benson—who spoke on successive days of the dedication.
Elder Perry, speaking at the first dedicatory service, honored his great-grandmother, Martha Webb, a convert to the Church who pulled a handcart across the plains and made straw hats to support her five children after the death of her husband. “I’ve often compared her courage to that of today’s women. The scene has changed dramatically, but the challenge is just as real as it was in any period of history,” Elder Perry said.
“Today we cry, we plead, we earnestly petition you to remain on your pedestals in a place of striking, singular beauty, in a revered light. Continue to maintain the priorities the Lord has established for you. The scriptures have made record of your role.”
Elder McConkie told women on the second day of dedication that they were entitled to seek and receive revelation directly from the Lord. He cited Biblical women to “dramatize the part that women play” and to illustrate the Lord’s direct dealings with women.”
“I think we see in Mary [the mother of Christ] a pattern of piety and submission to the will of the Lord which is the example of all sisterhood,” he said. As he spoke of the birth of the Savior, his voice showed emotion.
Mother Eve provided “a pattern in teaching our children courage and light and truth for succeeding generations,” he said.
Rebekah, the wife of Isaac and mother of Jacob, was an initiator of faith in her family. “This is important,” Elder McConkie said. “‘She went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her. … ’” (Gen. 25:22–23; italics added.)
“Women are appointed to be Rebekahlike, to be guides and lights in the family unit and to engineer and arrange so that they lead in the way that will bring about salvation in the Father’s kingdom.”
President Benson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, underscored the need for women to “temper the home and marriage relationship with … compassionate and loving influence.”
“It is not good for man to be alone, because a righteous woman complements what may be lacking in man’s natural personality and disposition,” he said. He addressed his remarks to “the elect women of the kingdom of God” and explained: “You are elect because you were elected to a certain work. How glorious is the knowledge that you are dignified by the God of heaven to be wives and mothers in Zion.
“Now the Church recognizes that not all women in the Church will have the opportunity for marriage and motherhood in mortality. Of necessity, some of our sisters have had to choose careers as a means of their own livelihood, and in some instances to provide for their families. But we do not encourage our young women to enter careers as lifelong objectives nor as alternatives to marriage and family,” he said. “There is a godly and noble reason for this counsel.”
Janath R. Cannon, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, compared the Nauvoo gardens to the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane. “As you walk through the garden here at Nauvoo and contemplate the bronze figures that portray the many opportunities available to women, be grateful for the decisions made in Eden and Gethsemane that made these opportunities possible,” she said.
Marian R. Boyer, second counselor, lauded sculptors Florence Hansen and Dennis Smith. Sister Hansen created two of the statues in the monument, and Brother Smith sculpted the other eleven.
“This beautiful garden of statues is the gift of Latter-day Saint women to all women everywhere—a precious gift, for it embodies all that Latter-day Saint women hold highest and most sacred,” she said.
Former general Relief Society president Belle S. Spafford voiced her support of Relief Society and the monument. “It is now my hope that those who may pass this way in the days ahead shall be rejuvenated in mind and spirit and favorably influenced by what they see, the truths conveyed to them, and the feelings they experience,” she said.
The Brethren, the Relief Society leaders, and their advice were received enthusiastically—even emotionally at times. Wherever these leaders went, women swarmed to shake their hands. Groups frequently started singing “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” when they sighted President Kimball. When two busloads of women unexpectedly saw President and Sister Kimball after they toured the jail at Carthage, Illinois, where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred, many cried.
Tears, however, were not the only moisture in Nauvoo. Several days before the dedicatory services began, an oppressive humidity settled over the town, which borders the Mississippi River. Visitors with swollen feet and sticky skin sought refuge in the few air-conditioned buildings in restored Nauvoo.
Humidity became a downpour only moments after 2,500 women and dignitaries gathered under a giant tent for the first dedicatory service. While Sister Smith and others spoke, rain clattered on the tent roof. But, by the time President Kimball offered remarks before the dedicatory prayer, the rain had turned to sunshine. “The beautiful storm we had has passed, and beyond the showers comes the peace,” he said.
Later that day, as President Kimball took his seat to watch the outdoor production Because of Elizabeth, the rain started again. That performance and another on July 1 were cancelled because of rain.
The weather eased for the next three days and the pageant went on as scheduled. In the musical production, a cast and crew of 240 members of the Champaign Illinois Stake presented the life of a young woman who joined the Church in England, immigrated to Nauvoo, migrated West with the Saints, and raised her family while her husband served three missions for the Church.
Most pageant-goers who applauded the epic of sacrifice were unaware of the logistics and sacrifice involved in staging the pageant itself.
Members of the Champaign Stake began working on the production in March under the direction of Stake President Joseph R. Larsen, assistant producer, and Moana Bennett of Salt Lake City, who wrote the script.
Larry Bastian of Bountiful, Utah, wrote and arranged the music. Duane Hiatt of Provo, Utah, wrote the lyrics. Nonie Sorenson of Salt Lake City wrote one musical selection. The music was recorded in London, the dialogue in Illinois. The chorus was recorded in California.
Meanwhile in Champaign, the cast and crew learned lines and staging. Costumes, wigs, and props were prepared. In Nauvoo, the set was built. During the week of the dedication, the cast assembled in Nauvoo for final rehearsals with Sister Bennett, President Larsen, and Nathan B. Hale of Salt Lake City, producer. Cast members came and stayed at their own expense, using vacation time to rehearse and perform. Entire families, even babies, were in the production.
Of course, the dedication services, the tours of the restored sites, and the pageant were peripheral to the reason for the dedication: the monument itself.
The thirteen statues in the red brick plaza south of the visitors’ center were the central attraction for members and nonmember visitors alike. A full-time missionary assisting with the dedication, Elder Harold Christiansen of Escondido, California, said, “We can use the monument as a tool to help people understand a beautiful principle.” In dedicatory remarks, Elder Perry noted that the original center of Nauvoo, the Nauvoo Temple, had been destroyed; but “today a new centerpiece is added to give honor to women.”
And honored they were. The monument was the first place many women went when they reached Nauvoo, and was often the place they lingered as time came to leave. The sculptors spent hours in the plaza greeting visitors and explaining the statues’ significance and symbolism. “I wanted to portray many different aspects of a woman’s nature in her multifaceted experience,” Brother Smith said.
For many women, the statues went beyond portrayal into inspiration. “They are a model for me,” one young woman said. And from a middle-aged mother: “They make me proud to be a woman.”
New Young Women Presidency Announced
Elaine A. Cannon of Salt Lake City, Utah, has been called as general president of the Young Women. The First Presidency announced the change July 12.
Called as her counselors were Arlene B. Darger of Salt Lake City, first counselor; and Norma B. Smith of Ogden, Utah, second counselor.
Ruth H. Funk, former general president, and counselors Hortense Child Smith and Ardeth G. Kapp were released after serving for nearly six years.
Sister Cannon, a writer and lecturer, said she hopes the Young Women can help youth in the Church by giving answers “in a way that will be understandable to today’s generation.”
A graduate of the University of Utah, she has worked with Church publications, newspapers, television, and freelance writing. She has taught continuing education courses for. Utah State University, the University of Utah, and Brigham Young University. She recently has served on the Church Activities Committee and has been the staff coordinator for the 1980 sesquicentennial observance of the Church.
She has served on the general board of the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association, on the Youth Correlation Committee, the LDS Student Association, and Church writing committees.
She and her husband, D. James Cannon, are parents of six children and grandparents of eleven.
Sister Darger, also a Salt Lake City native, has been involved with the Civic Music Association of Salt Lake City and has sung with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for nine years. She graduated from the University of Utah. Her Church service includes Church music festivals and leading and teaching in the Young Women organization, the Relief Society, the Sunday School, and the Primary. She has also been a ward organist. She and her husband, Stanford P. Darger, have five children and three grandchildren.
Sister Smith, a native of Heber City, Utah, also has been active in music. She has performed with singing groups in Idaho and Utah for twenty years. A graduate of the University of Utah, she serves on the advisory board of the University of Utah School of Nursing and the Primary Children’s Medical Center Development Fund. Her Church service includes youth, Relief Society, and Primary work on ward and stake levels. She has helped write instructional manuals for the Church. She and her husband, Lowell D. Smith, are parents of eight children and have eleven grandchildren.
Stakes Edge toward 1,000
President Spencer W. Kimball announced at the recent mission presidents’ seminar that the Quorum of the Twelve was working toward creating the Church’s one thousandth stake during 1978. And at the current pace they could pass that mark.
During the second quarter of 1978, from April through June, forty-two new stakes were formed, bringing the total to 945. The formations included the creation of five newly named stakes in England. More than 5,000 British Saints—the largest assembly of Saints since the 1976 England area conference—gathered in London’s Royal Albert Hall for the reorganization.
The new British 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.
New stakes formed from missions were Rochester Minnesota, Nagoya Japan, Blue field Virginia, Hopkinsville Kentucky, Chattanooga Tennessee, Utrecht Netherlands, Charlottesville Virginia, Gomez Palacio Mexico, Cali Colombia, Guayaquil Ecuador, Celaya Mexico, and Montreal Quebec.
Stakes organized from existing stakes were Davenport Iowa, Centerville Utah South, Salt Lake Mr. Olympus North, Orem Utah Windsor, Carson City Nevada, Adelaide Australia Modbury, Monterrey Mexico Paraiso, Kitchawan New York, Fort Smith Arkansas, Tulsa Oklahoma East, Vernal Utah Maeser, Blackfoot Idaho Northwest, Las Vegas Nevada East, Savannah Georgia, San Jose Costa Rica La Sabana, Benson Utah, Buenos Aires Argentina Banfield, Atlanta Georgia, Merida Mexico Lakin, Huntsville Utah, Lynnwood Washington, Tooele Utah South, West Jordan Utah West, Salt Lake Cottonwood Heights, San Bernardino California East, Grand Blanc Michigan, Roy Utah West, and Bakersfield California East.
New Mission Presidents Trained
It was the largest group of new mission presidents ever. Seventy-two of them, recently called to preside over 44 percent of the missions of the Church, met June 19–23 for five full days of workshops and instruction.
The Language Training Mission in Provo, Utah, provided the appropriate missionary atmosphere for the first four days of the seminar. There the new mission presidents attended general sessions and small group discussions. They were instructed by members of the Quorum of the Twelve in such matters as motivating missionaries, the conversion process, and interviewing and teaching skills. Members of the First Quorum of the Seventy gave addresses and led discussions on such topics as the organization and supervision of missionaries, building the missionary’s confidence and trust, study techniques, missionary leadership skills, and the use of the scriptures.
The wives received instruction on such topics as nutrition, missionary health care, and their role as mission presidents’ wives.
Unique to this year’s seminar was the participation of all of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, except Elder Delbert L. Stapley, who is ill. The new mission leaders also met with Zone Advisors and General Authority Area Supervisors.
A special highlight of the seminar was a testimony meeting in the solemn assembly room of the Salt Lake Temple. President Spencer W. Kimball, who had addressed the group earlier, spoke to them again at that time.
“The entire seminar was a beautiful experience,” commented Elder Carlos E. Asay, executive director of the Missionary Department.
During the next three years, the seventy-two new mission presidents will collectively serve m thirty-one countries, teach the gospel in seventeen languages, and preside over approximately 35,000 missionaries.
Seattle Temple Presidency Called
A Renton, Washington, dentist has been called as president of the new Seattle Temple.
Dr. F. Arthur Kay, a Regional Representative since 1970, will serve as president of the temple, which is under construction in Bellevue, Washington. Eunice Deel Nielsen Kay, his wife, will serve as temple matron. Counselors to President Kay will be Gene M. Conger of Seattle and Anthony I. Eyring of Mercer Island, Washington.
The First Presidency announced the callings after the groundbreaking and dedicatory service May 27 at the temple site. President Marion G. Romney, second counselor in the First Presidency, offered a dedicatory prayer at the service, which was attended by 1,200 members of the Church.
First BYU Performers Tour in Soviet Union
They came, they sang, and they conquered.
In June the Young Ambassadors, a Brigham Young University singing-and-dancing group, became the first Church group to perform inside the Soviet Union. Bridging language and cultural barriers, they performed before live audiences of thousands and a potential television audience of 150 million on a two-week tour of the Soviet Union. The group spent two weeks in the Soviet Union and three weeks in Poland, where they performed for a potential television audience of twenty million.
The twenty-seven members of the touring group were accompanied on the Soviet leg of the trip by BYU President Dallin H. Oaks. Following the Young Ambassadors tour, President Oaks joined other BYU groups performing in Europe.
The television appearance in the Soviet Union was made possible by a Soviet Central Television official, a woman whom the group met through another woman who had seen them perform in Montana. After the broadcast official saw the Young Ambassadors perform, she invited them to tape an hour-and-a-half show for the Soviet network.
It was the university’s first representation on Soviet television. “We felt like we were present at history in the making,” says President Oaks.
Though the group’s audiences were large, the Poles and Russians seemed quite interested in having one-to-one contact with the performers—which would have been difficult, had the group not prepared.
For months prior to the trip, Young Ambassadors prepared intellectually, spiritually, and linguistically. They studied Polish and Russian language and culture. They learned to perform Polish and Russian songs. They also studied group dynamics, so that “cultural shock” would be lessened and group interaction would be positive. They increased their musical and dancing skills and made spiritual commitments.
On tour, that work paid off. “When the group was performing, the people present were so enthusiastic and warm in their response that they helped the organizing authorities arrange more concerts,” says Dr. Gary L. Browning, tour manager who teaches Russian at BYU. For example, the group had planned fifteen concerts in Poland, but once they were there they were asked to perform thirty. “The reason we were able to do that was that the group was so well received,” Dr. Browning said.
Randy Boothe, artistic director, said that the group was “blessed to be able to reach so many people with our message of friendship.” He said that the group tried to communicate the brotherhood and friendship of the gospel of Jesus Christ without using words. “If the communication is pure, if you’re really striving, you have that light inside that says, I like you, I care about you, and I’m desirous about having a better world for us to live in.”
BYU Movies Mark Twenty-fifth Year
The beginnings were humble—a three-room cottage that has long since been torn down on the Brigham Young University campus. But in its twenty-five years of existence, BYU’s motion picture studio has begun to fulfill the vision of its founders—to produce films used throughout the world.
The BYU Film Production Department celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary September 1. In a quarter-century, 183 movies have been produced, and more are in production. Statistics help indicate the studio’s impact on people throughout the world: In 1970, the Motion Picture Department sold a total of 297 copies of films outside the Church. In 1977, it sold 2,360, a 794 percent increase.
Those films, costing hundreds of dollars a copy, are led in sales by Cipher in the Snow, with more than 2,400 copies sold. A more recent film, John Baker’s Last Race, has in its first six months on the market nearly doubled sales for Cipher. One religious group alone has already purchased twenty-four copies.
A physical fitness film, Run Dick, Run Jane, has sold more than 1,500 copies. The Seventh-day Adventist church has bought more copies of that film than the Latter-day Saint Church has. Adventists use that along with two other films in anti-smoking, heart-evaluation clinics.
The Air Force Chaplain’s Board has purchased twenty-four copies each of Cipher and Johnny Lingo, and the Army Chaplain’s Board has requested seventy copies of John Baker’s Last Race.
What makes the studio run? Professionalism and talent are two factors. BYU-produced movies have received numerous awards, including Silver Screen and Gold Camera awards this year at the Chicago Industrial Film Festival. Also, the facilities have changed drastically from that first BYU cottage.
The first BYU films, Come Back, My Son, and B. Y. and You, were produced in 1953 in the cottage, after Walt Disney animator Wetzel O. “Judge” Whitaker signed a contract with BYU to begin producing films. In 1954, a writer, a cinematographer, and an editor were hired, and a new plywood studio was constructed where the Wilkinson Center Bookstore now stands. The structure, known as “the green barn,” was far from soundproof.
Four years later, the studio moved to a permanent location in the Carterville river bottoms area. The fifteen-acre studio was dedicated in 1959, but was mostly destroyed by fire in 1964. Many valuable props were lost in the fire. The studio was rebuilt in 1965, and in 1976 an additional audio and film production wing was added. In July, KBYU-TV located its television production facilities in the studio.
A name change reflects how the capabilities have changed. Originally called the Motion Picture Studio, the facilities later became Media Production Studio, since films were only part of the effort.
The staff has increased vastly since “Judge” Whitaker, his brother Scott Whitaker, Frank Wise, and Robert Stum were mainstays of the studio. But they are not forgotten; pictures from their productions line the walls, reminders of the reality and promise of their vision for the studio.
President Ezra Taft Benson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, is recuperating from a broken hip. President Benson, 79, suffered the injury July 12 when he was bumped by a horse at his Midway, Utah, ranch. He underwent surgery at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City and within twenty-four hours was sitting up in bed. His physicians say he will be assisted by a walker or crutches for several months.
A Palo Alto, California, woman with an education and business background has been named director of the new Women’s Research Institute at BYU. Ida Smith, who assumes duties August 31, managed personnel and did research at the western regional office of the National Association of Manufacturers.
The institute will evaluate information on issues of concern to women and will serve as a resource to Church leaders.
BYU is trying to make “the golden years” even better. It has established a Resource Center on Adult Development and Aging.
Dr. Phileon B. Robinson, Jr., assistant dean of the Division of Continuing Education at BYU has been named to direct the center, which will train students and volunteers to work with the aged. The center also will be a resource for community and church programs.
Some ten percent of the population of the United States is age sixty-five or older. The resource center will attempt to minimize the dependency and maximize the potential of older persons, Dr. Robinson says.
A Salt Lake City organist, Beverly Decker Adams, has been named first in a series of guest organists at the Salt Lake City Tabernacle. She is one of a few women who have earned fellowship status in the American Guild of Organists. She is playing thirty-five recitals that began in May and end in September.
Missionary work can be a gritty job. Just ask some twenty missionaries in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission who helped townspeople near Rochester, Minnesota, brace against July floods.
The missionaries sandbagged houses, cleaned flooded basements, and helped families move to higher ground. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms devastated some homes and caused creeks and rivers to rise rapidly. Eight people in Minnesota and North Dakota were killed by the storms, which dropped more than nine inches of rain in less than twenty-four hours.
Such work was old-hat to one of the missionaries, says Monte J. Brough, president of the mission. The missionary was in the Rexburg, Idaho, area when the Teton Dam broke in 1976, flooding the area.
The Los Angeles, California, area seems to have a lot of “good Samaritans.” To honor them, the area Public Communications Council of the Church gives Good Samaritan awards to individuals or groups. This year, two members of the Church were among award winners.
Ettie Lee Homes, Inc., founded by a Church member, received the top honor for assisting more than 3,800 boys in academic, vocational, and spiritual training. Church members given recognition were Elsie Leach, a member of the Hermosa Beach Ward, for working with community musical shows; and George F. Chamberlain, 88, a member of the Baldwin Park First Ward, for supporting missionary work by collecting and selling old newspapers.
The oldest art club in the United States is including a Church member’s pastel drawing in a historic exhibition. The Salmangundi Club in New York City, has included work by Jim Spada of Ithaca, New York, in its first juried exhibition of works by artists not belonging to the club. Brother Spada is a member of the Ithaca New York Ward, and is a research technician at Cornell University at Ithaca.
A fossil-gathering team led by a BYU paleontologist may have unearthed some of the ancient history of Baja California. The team, led by Dr. Wade E. Miller, found fossils suggesting that Baja California was once part of mainland Mexico and was probably covered with lush vegetation. Baja now stands, scorched and desolate, apart from mainland Mexico.
Many scientists believe that the peninsula was once part of the mainland and was ripped away by movement of two of the giant plates on which the earth’s continents ride. The fossil evidence collected by the team supports that belief. The group found remains of a boa constrictor, a frog, a fresh-water, plant-eating mastodon and to Dr. Miller’s surprise—a fresh-water dolphin. “I didn’t want to believe it when I first saw it,” he says. “There has been no evidence of dolphins before in North American fresh-water deposits.”
Excitement hit the quarry crew at Moab, Utah, when they found it—a hollow upper rear leg bone from a prehistoric creature. The upper leg bone appears to fit a lower leg bone—which means to Dr. James Jensen, famed BYU paleontologist, that BYU’s crew has found a dinosaur that hopped. The same quarry operation has unearthed a dinosaur with a fin on its back.
The research is part of a program investigating the development of dinosaurs. During the first month of digging, the crew uncovered parts of more than one dozen unknown dinosaurs. The quarry was opened this spring because of the pressure of vandalism by illegal collectors who already have destroyed some two tons of fossil material at the site.