President Kimball Dedicates Orson Hyde Memorial Garden in Jerusalem
On a revered hill outside a revered city, President Spencer W. Kimball October 24 dedicated a garden built in memory of an Apostle’s prayer.
The dedication’s setting was the Mount of Olives, across a valley from Jerusalem, in Israel. There, on 24 October 1841, Elder Orson Hyde dedicated the land of Palestine for the building up of Jerusalem and the gathering of Abraham’s posterity. This October 24, President Kimball dedicated the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden to commemorate that event and the ongoing fulfillment of that prayer.
Elder Hyde’s early morning prayer to consecrate the land, given at the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, was not witnessed by anyone else. But President Kimball’s dedication of the gardens was seen by several thousand in person, and later by uncounted others on television. Many attending the dedication were members of the Church who had journeyed to the Middle East to see the dedication as part of Biblical tours.
Portions of the dedication service were broadcast via satellite to the United States by two television stations who sent film crews to cover the dedication.
Seven General Authorities traveled to Jerusalem for the dedication: President Kimball; President N. Eldon Tanner, first counselor in the First Presidency; President Ezra Taft Benson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve; and Elders LeGrand Richards, Howard W. Hunter, and Marvin J. Ashton, members of the Quorum of the Twelve; and Patriarch Emeritus Eldred G. Smith.
The memorial garden, five-and-one-quarter landscaped acres, is just across the Kidron Valley from the City of Jerusalem. It is situated near the Garden of Gethsemane and the road to Jericho.
An amphitheater in a grottolike setting provides seating for visitors with a view of the Old City and numerous landmarks of Jerusalem. A heroic-size plaque in the garden inscribed in English and Hebrew contains excerpts of Elder Hyde’s prayer. The plaque is accessible by winding pathways through groves of trees, plants, and other shrubbery.
The garden is the largest single tract in the Jerusalem Gardens National Park, which encompasses a green belt of more than 600 acres surrounding the Old City. The Park preserves historic sites including Mount Zion, the City of David, the Kidron and Hinmon valleys, Gethsemane, and the slopes of the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus.
The words of President Kimball’s dedicatory prayer acknowledged the historic and religious significance of the garden’s setting:
“Father, bless these grounds, these walks, these structures, the flowers, the shrubs and trees, that they may radiate the loveliness and give pleasure to those who visit here,” President Kimball prayed.
“Protect this garden from the ravages of war and storm and depredation of every kind. Let it be a haven where all may meditate upon the glory which thou hast shed upon Jerusalem in ages past, and of the greater glory yet to be.
“Let those who come here feel of thy Spirit and influence, and the spirit of the holy prophets who have traversed this beautiful land.”
A 300-voice choir sang at the dedication service. Members of the choir had practiced for the performance during a Mediterranean cruise in which President Kimball and his wife, Camilia, participated.
Speaking at the dedication were President Kimball; Mayor Teddy Kollek; Orson Hyde White, chairman of the Orson Hyde Foundation; President Tanner; President Benson; and Elder Richards.
President Kimball told those attending that much of Elder Hyde’s prayer has been fulfilled.
“The land has become abundantly fruitful again, with flocks and orchards and fields. The scattered children of Abraham have returned in great numbers to build up this land as a refuge, and the city of Jerusalem has flourished,” he said.
He celebrated the history of the site: “If a person could have had a vantage seat on this mount down through the ages, what scenes his eyes would have beheld.
“From the mount, with the city of Jerusalem before him, a spectator through the centuries could have witnessed caravans of merchants and processions of armies and common folk from many nations and empires.”
President Kimball recalled that David had ascended the Mount of Olives and wept, that the Lord Jesus Christ had here given great teachings, that below the Mount of Olives he had suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane.
He also recalled some of Orson Hyde’s history. Elder Hyde was thirty-six years old when he gave the dedicatory prayer on the Mount of Olives and, after the prayer, collected a small mound of stones to commemorate the dedication.
“We today have built of stones a new and more permanent memorial to that same event,” the President said.
President Kimball was one of three Church leaders given a medal of the City of Jerusalem by Mayor Kollek. Also receiving medals were Elder Richards and Elder Hunter. Church leaders gave Mayor Kollek a porcelain statue of Noah holding a peace dove.
Prior to the dedication, Church leaders were honored at a reception hosted by Mayor Kollek. At the reception, Elder Richards presented Mayor Kollek with the final installment in the $1 million raised by the Orson Hyde Foundation to finance the garden. Elder Richards is president and trustee of the foundation. While numerous Church members contributed to the Orson Hyde Foundation, the memorial was not funded by the Church.
Mayor Kollek spoke of the Orson Hyde Foundation’s contribution to the beautification of Jerusalem and joked, “We’ll come to you with another project soon.”
He demonstrated his awareness of Latter-day Saint teachings when he quipped, “We are very grateful that all of you made the effort to come to the other Jerusalem”—referring to a Church teaching of a new Jerusalem to be built on the American continent. “Everybody who knows about the history of Jerusalem in comparatively modern times knows about the prophecy of Orson Hyde,” Mayor Kolleck said.
“And here the Jews are back in Jerusalem again. We have political arguments, but nobody doubts that the city today is a more beautiful city, a better city united than divided by barbed wire and mine fields and concrete walls. And it befalls to us as city administration to do everything to bring out the inherent beauty of Jerusalem by our own efforts,” he said.
At the dedication of the gardens, Mayor Kollek added: “I wish you all could continue as many generations as we have continued, and that this good relationship between you and us should persist during all these coming centuries. We are looking forward to it,” he said, his remarks bringing applause from the audience.
“And together we’ll make both Jerusalems very beautiful … and you’ll help us in doing so.”
BYU Jerusalem Center Announced
Brigham Young University will build a center in Jerusalem, Israel, by 1983, Church leaders have announced.
The multi-purpose, self-contained education and information complex was announced by Church leaders aboard a BYU Travel Studies cruise in the Mediterranean. The ship was sailing between Alexandria, Egypt, and Haifa, Israel, when plans for the center were announced and outlined.
Elder Howard W. Hunter, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, told those on the Travel Studies Eastern Mediterranean Air-Sea Peace Cruise that the center is an outgrowth of BYU’s Semester Abroad program in Jerusalem.
President Spencer W. Kimball, one of those on the cruise, added that “creation of the BYU Jerusalem Center has the full-hearted support of the university’s Board of Trustees.” He explained that the center will “stand as further evidence of how seriously the university believes its long-held assertion that the world is our campus.
“It will facilitate expansion of Middle Eastern Studies, including Arabic and Hebraic languages, archaeology, geography, philosophy, and current world events.”
Scriptural studies research and possible graduate studies will be enlarged “as we examine our own historical ties in ancient lands wherein are implanted spiritual roots of our own faith as well as the roots of Islam and Judaism, lands to which we come with love as friends and brothers,” President Kimball said.
The BYU Semester Abroad program has operated in Jerusalem since 1968. Some 160 students participate annually. The new Jerusalem Center will facilitate the addition of important educational programs to existing programs—including continuing education courses for adults, professional development programs for Church Educational System teachers, a near-eastern studies program (an extension of the Center for International and Area Studies now at BYU’s Provo, Utah, campus), scriptural studies programs, graduate work, archaeological research, and examination of historical and philosophical ties.
The two-acre complex will include classrooms, auditoriums, administrative offices, dormitories, and other facilities for students. Also planned are facilities for the Jerusalem Branch of the Church and a visitors’ center.
Elder Hunter said the architecture of the complex will reflect the culture and tradition of Jerusalem, while meeting the needs of the university and the Church members. It will be administered by the BYU Department of Travel Study under the Division of Continuing Education.
Tuition fees and Church funds will provide much of the funds needed to build the center. Additional support, through major philanthropic gifts, is needed from individuals. Fund raising will be conducted by the Development Office of the Church, which has facilities in Provo.
The Church Comes Alive in Kirtland, Ohio
Church leadership and headquarters moved out of Kirtland, Ohio, about 140 years ago. But now the new Kirtland Ward is getting a meetinghouse, the Church has purchased a historic site, and missionary work is fruitful.
A hallmark of Church growth in Kirtland, the town where the early Saints built the first latter-day temple, was the October 14 groundbreaking for a future stake center. President Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve gave the dedicatory prayer and officiated.
The groundbreaking came only a few days after the Church officially purchased one of the most historically significant sites in Kirtland, the Newel K. Whitney Store. The first two missionaries to serve fulltime in Kirtland in 140 years moved into the Whitney Store in January 1978. Now, several sets of missionaries later, converts are being baptized and townspeople are asking to be taught.
President Benson’s remarks at the groundbreaking service reflect the changes that have come to Kirtland since the leaders left in the late 1830s. He referred to a prophecy in Doctrine and Covenants 124:83 that states Kirtland would be scourged after the Saints left, but would be built up later.
“I think that this prophecy is being fulfilled today,” President Benson said at the groundbreaking service.
President Benson quoted an 1841 letter from Hyrum Smith containing the prophecy that Kirtland would be “polished and refined” (Times and Seasons 1:589, 1 Nov. 1841).
“The scourge that was placed upon Kirtland in that prophecy is being lifted today,” President Benson said. “We have a new day here, and a great opportunity and a great day ahead of us. I’m sure of it, because I have been pondering this. I’m sure that there is a new day, that the Lord is looking in on the people of this community.” Later, in the dedicatory prayer, President Benson asked the Lord to lift the “scourge.”
The groundbreaking received attention from the news media in nearby Cleveland and helped to make the Church better known throughout the area.
The Church has also gained increased visibility through the recent development of the Whitney Store as a historic site. In the last year, thousands of visitors, many of them nonmembers, have toured the store and seen a slide presentation prepared by the Ohio Cleveland Mission.
The Whitney Store has not yet been restored to its 1830s condition. A missionary couple has lived at the store, and two other missionaries who live near Kirtland work at the store full time. The missionaries tell visitors to Kirtland about the events that occurred at the store—Joseph Smith living there for a few years, and many revelations now in the Doctrine and Covenants being received there.
They also tell of the spiritual events that occurred at the Kirtland temple, which was acquired by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the 1880s and, now restored, is open to visitors.
However, visitors to Kirtland aren’t the only ones showing interest in the Church and its Kirtland history. Kirtland residents are increasingly more receptive.
The first two missionaries in Kirtland in 1978 discussed history with the residents and made many friends, but they didn’t tract initially.
Now, however, Elders Kevin Pyfer and Kenneth Jon Baldwin are tracting Kirtland—the second time the town has been tracted since the Restoration. “Now we’re setting up appointments, teaching people, and putting articles in the town newspaper,” says Elder Pyfer.
And, even more important, the missionaries feel that “the heavens have been opened to our investigators.”
Elder Pyfer says the work remains challenging, but the feeling in Kirtland is changing. “In Kirtland there’s a warm feeling, a warm reception.”
Mission President Joseph H. Young describes Kirtland in three words: “It’s coming alive.”
Church Policies and Announcements
The following items appeared in a recent Messages, sent to stake/mission/district presidents and to bishops and branch presidents:
“Mission Immunization Requirements. Newly called missionaries receive an information sheet specifying both those immunizations they should receive before reporting to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) and those they will receive while at the MTC. However, many missionaries are reporting to the MTC without receiving the required immunizations. Acquiring such immunizations is time consuming for both the missionaries and the MTC staff and often disrupts the training program. Furthermore, some immunizations are given in series, and the brief period of residency at the MTC sometimes prevents completion of the series.
“Bishops and branch presidents should review the immunization requirements with all newly called missionaries and their parents.”
Symposium Examines “Literature of Belief”
“It’s like … ,” said one speaker, straggling for a comparison that would mean the very best, “like tasting a really fine blend of tea.” His audience laughed. “Or champagne?” They laughed harder.
Since the audience was a Brigham Young University audience, their laughter at his comparison was understanding and affectionate. And since he was Wing-tsit Chan, a famous scholar-lecturer on Chinese philosophy in the United States, they needed an analogy to help them understand the meaning of Tao.
Tao, tea, and BYU? Yes. It was part of an enormous effort to communicate across cultural and religious gulfs in the symposium on “The Literature of Belief” sponsored by the Center for International and Area Studies and the Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University, with one session jointly sponsored by the Association for Mormon Letters.
Nine speakers spoke on a range of topics that included Kundalini yoga, Hindu folklore, Qu’ran, Buddhism, Taoism, the Old and New Testaments, Joseph Smith’s First Vision, and the Articles of Faith. Some of the topics were as familiar as Sunday School class to the audience; others were so far removed from daily experience that most of the audience did not even know that the scholar addressing them stood at the summit of his profession. Academic Vice President Robert K. Thomas had predicted that the symposium would be a “honing and focusing experience” that “comparison and contrast alone can provide.” His prediction was amply fulfilled.
Keynote speaker Joseph Campbell, retired professor of literature and comparative folklore at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, introduced his audience, through an illustrated lecture, to the symbols and stages of Kundalini yoga, “India’s gift to us” dating from about the fourth or fifth century B.C. “Try to hold one thought in your mind continuously, even for a couple of seconds,” said Dr. Campbell. “It takes tremendous concentration to make the mind stand still.”
Four of the presentations were on scriptures very familiar to Latter-day Saints: the Old and New Testament, the First Vision, and the Articles of Faith.
Dr. Herbert N. Schneidau, professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, combined his fascination with both modern literature and Old Testament studies to assert, “The processes of the mind that lie behind a people’s thinking will also be seen in its literature. … Style in key ways creates content, and Biblical thinking produced our literature.”
BYU’s Richard L. Anderson, professor of religion and history, challenged New Testament critics who see the New Testament as a record of successive changes, from Christ’s original unwritten gospel through the recordings of the Gospels, and the theology that Paul created.
Instead, Paul’s own letters, usually accepted as among the earliest of New Testament documents, reinforce and retell the great stories of the Gospels, constituting, in fact, “raw gospels.”
He compared the pattern of revelation in Paul’s letters to that of New Testament revelation in particular. The New Testament records seven of Paul’s visions, including his conversion, his vision in the temple at Jerusalem, his vision of things “unlawful” to speak of, the dream that sent him to Macedonia, reassurance after he was driven from three cities, the revelation that he would go to Rome, and the angel he saw before the shipwreck.
All of these revelations, said Professor Anderson, pointed back to the greatest revelation of all—the appearance of the resurrected Lord to eyewitnesses, which Paul continually cites in his letters as the ultimate proof.
The story of the First Vision—not only what happened there but the fact that it happened—was the subject explored by Adele B. McCollum, who teaches philosophy and religion at Montclair State College in New Jersey. “To believe in the vision of Joseph Smith is to believe that one may have to look on God and yet live. And that risk is great because one will never again live in the same way.”
She discussed in greater detail one of the most threatening aspects of that vision: the multiplicity of Gods. Part of what Joseph Smith found out is that God and man do not belong to two completely different species, that man cannot only experience God but also “experience himself as god, that is, to experience Godness. In Mormonism, man, though finite, is not completely separated from God.”
P. Lal, professor of English and Sanskrit at the University of Calcutta and publisher of more than eighty English translations of Indian texts, gave his audience an experience with Hindu folklore as part of his explanation of it.
One parable involved children who discovered the wishing tree with its “roots in the sky and its fruits on the ground.” Like all children, they wished for candy. The tree gave them candy, but it also gave them stomachaches. They wanted toys; they also got boredom. As adults, they wanted fame, money, and power. “The tragedy of life,” commented Professor Lal, “is that you get exactly what you want. With every gift comes its opposite.”
In the parable a crippled boy, pushed aside by his comrades, waits his turn under the wishing tree “and in one dazzling illuminating spectacle, he marvels at the cosmic swindle of life. In a gush of compassion for his companions, he forgot to wish—and the tree couldn’t touch him. He was free.”
Fazlur Rahman, originally of West Pakistan, and professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Chicago, shared his deep knowledge of the Qu’ran (Koran), the holy book of Islam.
“Because the Qu’ran’s message is also one of social justice, some western scholars see it primarily as a socio-political teaching, religious only by accident. Mohammed felt—and felt it in his inmost being—that he had been called by God, the one and unique, the only bring who is infinite.”
Taoism, “the path, the way of existence, the way of ancient wisdom,” is ascribed to Lao-tzu, who supposedly lived in the sixth century B.C., explained Professor Wing-Tsit Chan, professor of philosophy at Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Lao-Tzu and Confucius “have determined the direction of Chinese philosophy and religion ever since.”
Taoism consists of Several parts. The Tao (pronounced dow) is a “luminous, transcendental” state, “a process of being, not a subject-object relationship. The Way is in things, not through them.”
After this overview of one of the world’s most important religious philosophies, the audience heard a microanalysis of one element of another major religion, Buddhism, from Richard B. Mather, a professor of Chinese at the University of Minnesota, currently on leave at Berkeley.
Steven P. Sondrup, assistant professor of humanities and comparative literature at BYU, contrasted the Articles of Faith with the creeds of other religions, examined Several different meanings that “believe” can have and how these meanings operate in the Articles of Faith, and then compared the “we believe” of the Articles of Faith to the “I know” of the testimony meeting.
King Benjamin, in concluding his address, gave his people a simple challenge: “Believe in God”; and then specified: “If you believe all these things see that ye do them” (Mosiah 4:9–10).
Professor Sondrop pointed out: “Far from being just a passive inward attitude, ‘believing in’ is a mode of being and a course of action that can lead to ‘knowing.’ The private ‘I know’ must be so ordered that it ultimately contributes to the common ‘we believe’; and conversely, the community to a personal ‘I know.’”
Relief Society has been in New Zealand for a hundred years in December. And to celebrate, the Christchurch New Zealand Stake will stage a musical and sponsor a parade and ball. The roles of Relief Society in the lives of women will be the foremost messages of the celebrations.
The upcoming World Conference on Records is getting worldwide notice. The conference, scheduled for 12–16 August 1980 in Salt Lake City, is a sequel to the successful 1969 World Conference on Records. At least 10,000 participants are expected—many of them from around the world.
Representatives of the Genealogical Society have traveled throughout Asia, the South Pacific, and Europe distributing information about the conference. Despite language barriers, physical limitations, and difficult means of communication, the word has spread through the news media.
“We publicized the conference to whatever news media would take the stories,” says Tom Daniels, director of the conference. In some countries, the representatives were interviewed by the major news media of the country. And often members of the Church assisted in contacts with the media.
“We had evidence that the Lord was opening doors and guiding our paths,” Brother Daniels says. “It was difficult work—the press handles things differently in different places. We had to convince them that we had a story.”
Countries visited included Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Samoa, New Zealand, Tahiti, the British Isles, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and the United States.
The Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists elected a new president at its fifth annual convention. Dr. Allen E. Bergin, professor of psychology at Brigham Young University and an associate in the BYU Institute for Studies in Values and Human Behavior, was elected at the Salt Lake City convention. Although not sponsored by the Church, the association supports principles and standards of the Church.
Enrollment at BYU is both up and down. Fall semester student enrollment at the Provo, Utah, campus is down 44 students from last year’s record. 26,373 are enrolled for fall semester, the first decline in enrollment since 1975. The drop was expected, however. “The LDS freshmen figures are declining the same as the remainder of the country,” says Dr. Robert W. Spencer, dean of admissions and records. “BYU will probably follow that natural trend.” BYU’s enrollment ceiling has been 25,000 since 1970. Statistics are different at the BYU—Hawaii campus at Laie, Hawaii. There, enrollment is at a record high for the fourth consecutive year, with 1,790 students registered for the current semester. BYU—Hawaii has had an eighty-eight percent increase in enrollment since 1974, when the school became part of Brigham Young University.
In his annual address to faculty and staff, BYU—Hawaii President Dan W. Andersen said that the school’s board of trustees has given approval for enrollment to increase to 2,000. “We could reach that total within the next two or three years.”
The cornerstone-laying service for the Seattle Temple was held November 3. President N. Eldon Tanner, first counselor in the First Presidency, presided at the service. In place atop the temple was a gold-leafed statue of the Angel Moroni, which was installed October 18.