News of the Church


Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy Reorganized

The First Presidency has announced the reorganization of the Presidency of the First Quorum Of the Seventy.

The reorganization shortens and strengthens lines of authority and administration within the First Quorum of the Seventy by appointing as members of the quorum presidency the executive directors of the Missionary, Curriculum, Priesthood, and Genealogical departments.

Released from the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy were Elder A. Theodore Tuttle, Elder Marion D. Hanks, Elder Paul H. Dunn, and Elder W. Grant Bangerter. Continuing to serve as members of the quorum presidency are Elder Franklin D. Richards, Senior President, and Elder J. Thomas Fyans and Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

The four new members of the Presidency are Elder Carlos E. Asay, Executive Director of the Missionary Department, Elder M. Russell Ballard, Executive Director of the Curriculum Department, Elder Dean L. Larsen, Executive Director of the Priesthood Department, and Elder Royden G. Derrick, Executive Director of the Genealogical Department.

Elder Carlos E. Asay

Elder Carlos E. Asay.

Elder Dean L. Larsen

Elder Dean L. Larsen.

Elder Royden G. Derrick

Elder Royden G. Derrick.

New assignments have been announced for the four former members of the quorum presidency. Elder Tuttle is now serving as president of the Provo, Utah, Temple. Elder Hanks will begin serving July 1 as Executive Administrator of the Southeast Asia-Philippines Area, with headquarters in Hong Kong. He succeeds Elder Jacob de Jager, who will return to Salt Lake City to assume other responsibilities. Elder Dunn will succeed Elder Robert L. Simpson as Executive Administrator of the Salt Lake City Utah Area. Elder Simpson is now serving as president of the Los Angeles, California, Temple. Elder Bangerter has been appointed Executive Administrator of the new Salt Lake City Utah South Area.

The three members of the quorum presidency, Elder Richards, Elder Fyans, and Elder Maxwell, who will continue in their present assignments, were sustained to those positions 1 October 1976.

The new members of the Presidency were all called to be General Authorities in 1976.

In addition to the changes in the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the First Presidency has also announced other changes in assignments for some members of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Robert D. Hales will succeed Elder Theodore M. Burton as Executive Administrator of the Europe Area headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, effective July 1. Elder Burton will then return to Salt Lake City to assume other responsibilities.

Elder James M. Paramore will succeed Elder Hales as Executive Administrator of the Europe West Area headquartered also in Frankfurt, effective July 1.

Elder F. Enzio Busche will succeed Elder Paramore as Executive Administrator of the Northwest Area, effective July 1.

The First Quorum of the Seventy, which is under the direction of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, is responsible for “building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations” (D&C 107:34).

Some members of the quorum serve as executive directors or managing directors of major departments at Church headquarters and as presidencies of the Sunday School and Young Men’s organizations. Two members of the quorum are temple presidents, and Elder Busche has been serving as president of the Germany Munich Mission. The quorum also has seven emeritus members.

Members of the quorum also have responsibilities as executive administrators over geographic areas of the Church worldwide. Twelve presently reside outside the continental United States to fulfill these responsibilities. These General Authorities and their assignments are Elder William R. Bradford, Mexico-Central America Area; Elder Teddy E. Brewerton, Brazil Area; Elder Theodore M. Burton, Europe Area; Elder Gene R. Cook, Andes Area; Elder Loren C. Dunn, Australia-New Zealand Area; Elder Robert D. Hales, Europe West Area; Elder Jacob de Jager, Southeast Asia-Philippines Area; Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi, Japan-Korea Area; Elder Adney Y. Komatsu, Hawaii-Pacific Isles Area; Elder Rex C. Reeve, British Isles-South Africa Area; Elder Richard G. Scott, Mexico North Area; and Elder Robert E. Wells, Chile-Argentina-Uruguay-Paraguay Area.

Church Members Look to New Meeting Schedule

The members of the Safford, Arizona, Fourth Ward heard the news in a February sacrament meeting: the Church is adopting a consolidated meeting schedule. And their reaction? “Everybody is just thrilled.” This same response is being heard throughout the church.

The change consolidates Church meetings into a three-hour time block. Auxiliary meetings held on weekdays now are held on Sundays.

What does it mean to the members?

To Terry Larsen, elders quorum president in the Safford Fourth Ward, it means considerable savings in time and money—as well as some new challenges.

“I live out in the country a little ways,” Brother Larsen says, “and I used to drive a hundred miles a day on Sunday. This will make it twenty. Financially, it makes a lot of difference to us.”

His brother’s ward had been part of a pilot project in which selected stakes tested variations of the consolidation plan. In that test ward, activity levels shot up thirty and forty percent.

Reaction to the announcement was generally positive. “Everybody here is really excited about it,” Brother Larsen says. Even so, he realizes that some members who attended only one meeting a week—such as Primary or Mutual—may not want to come to a three-hour block of Sunday meetings.

“We expect these things,” Brother Larsen says—and like leaders throughout the Church, he will be looking for ways to help activate the inactive and make the new system beneficial.

Andrea Breinholt, a Mia Maid teacher in the Richfield, Utah, Seventh Ward, says the new schedule has the potential for raising attendance among the Mia Maids. “We have a hard time getting the girls to go to all three meetings—Mutual, Sunday School, and sacrament meeting. But with consolidation, if they come to one they’re more likely to come to the others.”

Positive reactions from the pilot stakes have been one factor in the acceptance of the consolidated meeting schedule.

“Nobody that I’ve heard of wants to go back to the old schedule,” says Arlene F. McCauley of the Eagle First Ward, Meridian Idaho East Stake. The biggest reason in their family is, “It gives Jim a chance to be home with us on Sundays,” something that has never happened before. He went from elders quorum assignments to being in the seventies and then serving in the bishopric while their four sons, all underage of nine, grew used to not seeing him on Sunday.

A former typical Sunday for him was to leave for his first meeting at 6:30 A.M. and return about 7 or 8 P.M. “I didn’t have any problems at all adjusting to the new schedule,” he laughs.

The Eagle First Ward meets on an afternoon schedule, so their mornings are “the very pleasant experience” of breakfast, family gospel discussion, games with religious content, and stories either from the scriptures or from uplifting literature. “We particularly enjoy the Friend on Sunday mornings.” After dinner and naps, the family goes off to choir practice and consolidated meetings.

“I miss Relief Society,” says Sister McCauley, chorister for the Senior Primary, “but the advantages of being able to teach in the home as parents far outweigh the inconvenience. In our ward we’ve talked about rotating assignments every year. Many of the staffing problems have already been reduced because we can use former junior Sunday School teachers, men, working sisters, or Special Interest sisters who have usually only been able to hold a position in the second session Relief Society.”

Husbands are cooperating—and developing a great appreciation for their wives—by taking the babies under eighteen months into priesthood meeting while their wives are teaching Primary and Young Women.

The nursery itself is “a fantastic program,” carefully organized and planned to teach the eighteen-months to three-year-olds skills. “The children are happy there and anxious to go, and we expect to see fewer discipline problems in the three-year-old class because they’ve been trained to sit and do things quietly.”

One of the initial obstacles to overcome was “the meeting habit,” says Brother McCauley. When a block of time became available, it was “almost a reflex” to fill it with meetings that seemed to be necessary—missionary training meetings, leadership meetings, prayer meetings, etc. The members gave the leaders some feedback, and the process of discussion “helped clarify the goals of the program.” Now the priesthood brethren can spend Sundays with their families and are learning how to solve problems in personal priesthood interviews rather than “in mass meetings.”

Brother McCauley adds, “Sometimes it’s easier to be an administrator than it is to be a father. Sometimes it’s easier to call a meeting and be off on Church business than it is to work on the business of being a husband and father. But this extra time with our family has made a wonderful difference in our home. Our time for family spiritual discussions, for only one example, has become so much more effective. Our sons come to it with an attitude of more reverence because it’s on Sunday and because they’re not tired and distracted from a day’s activities. The lessons carry through the whole week.”

Other families have found a similar new attitude toward the Sabbath as they’ve attended consolidated meetings.

“Peaceful and relaxing.” Those paired adjectives come up half a dozen times as Karla C. Erickson of the Bountiful, Utah, Forty-ninth Ward expresses what the “new Sundays” are like since her stake was chosen as one of the pilot stakes.

“We’d never choose to go back on the old schedule unless it were necessary,” comments Sister Erickson, a second counselor in her Primary. “On the old schedule, we’d get up early, Barry’d be off to priesthood, hurry back, we’d climb into the car and rush to Sunday School, scramble back for lunch (trying to keep the kids clean), and then be off to another meeting. We’d spend the whole Sunday coming and going, dressing and undressing.”

Now Sunday is a family day. It begins with laying out clothes and taking baths Saturday nights since their block of meetings begins at 8:30 A.M. “But the children love it. They always comment on how quickly it goes.” Even though sacrament meeting is last, their four children, ages ten to one, seem able to handle it. And “it ends the morning on a spiritual note.”

The afternoons are spent on “all the things we felt we should do that we just couldn’t find time to do. All of us sit down and write in our journals—even our seven-year-old, who needs a lot of help spelling.” There’s time to visit grandparents—and to be visited by them. “The phone hardly ever rings; and Barry and I have much more time for each other.”

Both Brother Erickson, adviser to the teachers quorum, and Sister Erickson miss not being able to attend elders quorum or Relief Society meetings but that’s the way it has always been for the brethren teaching priesthood classes. “We feel that we don’t know the other adults in the ward as well as we might, especially since we’re relatively new here. But we know that we won’t have these callings forever, and so we’re enjoying the good parts.”

When Sister Erickson’s Primary teachers were asked about missing Relief Society, about half of the teachers said that they missed attending but were willing to make the sacrifice. One woman compensated by reading the lessons on her own and looking up the scriptures cited. The Relief Society teachers make extra lesson handouts for the Primary teachers.

Sister Erickson found that, with a little extra planning, things went okay without prayer meetings. “Because it’s Sunday, the sisters come prepared for a spiritual meeting, so we don’t really need prayer meeting to invoke a spirit of reverence.”

The Nursery—a Time to Learn

The nursery program under the consolidated meeting schedule can be a learning experience for both parents and children—certainly not just a “baby-tending” time.

But it will be up to nursery leaders, parents, and local leaders to bring the nursery to its potential use, says Sister Naomi B. Shumway, general president of the Primary.

“With all the new resource material available for the nursery, it can be a beautiful program that children a positive, happy, successful Church experience. And it can teach great parenting skills to the adults who work in the nursery,” she says.

The resource materials are the Nursery Guidebook, Nursery Workbook, Nursery Resource Book, and the filmstrip To Touch a Child’s Life. In these materials are basic instructions and guidelines for operating the nursery, self-training for nursery leaders, and ideas for stories, music, art, toys, and other materials.

Both men and women can serve in the nursery, Sister Shumway says. In fact, this is an excellent opportunity for young children to learn from the particular insights and approaches of men. The number of adults in the nursery will depend on the size of the nursery and the number of children.

But When Can the Choir Practice?

The consolidated meeting schedule doesn’t change the policy: Every ward should have a choir.

But with meetings condensed into a three-hour time block and families encouraged to spend more time together, when does the choir practice?

Local leaders can consider alternatives such as arranging rehearsal time on ward activity day, or before or after Sunday meetings. Rehearsals should be scheduled so that a minimum of travel time is required.

Donald B. Jessee, president of the Orem Utah North Stake, says wards in his stake who pilot tested the consolidated meeting schedule found that activity day is a good time to hold weekly choir practice. Few wards wanted to hold it on Sunday.

Wards in his stake schedule choir practice from 8:30 to 9 or 9:15 P.M. The timing makes it possible for youth as well as adults to participate.

BYU Women’s Conference Draws Thousands

The information and ideas came about as fast as the audience could absorb them. Information about Child-rearing and finances, ideas about the many lives a woman lives—all were part of the “Blueprints for Living” women’s conference at BYU.

Between six and seven thousand women and some men attended the conference—a multifold increase over attendance at the four previous years of the conference. The women came from throughout the western United States—with BYU students comprising only some 15 percent of the attendance.

The conference sessions were spread over four days—January 29 through February 2. General Church auxiliary leaders, Latter-day Saint educators and professionals, married women, mothers, and single women were among the speakers.

Sister Barbara B. Smith, general president of the Relief Society, gave the keynote address January 31. She commended the conference for its theme, “Blueprints for Living,” taken from President Spencer W. Kimball’s two women’s fireside addresses, given in 1978 and 1979.

She compared building a life with building a home. She mentioned four similarities:

“(1) Selecting our lot in life. (2) Building life’s foundation. (3) Constructing a framework for all we do. (4)Finishing the structure by becoming what we want someday to be.”

Regarding the interior finishing of one’s “house,” she said: “Will you be honest? Will you be chaste? Will you be kind? Will you have integrity?

“You and I alone determine the interior finish of our souls. The choices we make individually are the ones that ultimately set in place the furnishings.

“One of the great teachings of the restored gospel is that each person has the right and the responsibility to determine the direction of his or her life. So it is with each of you. So it is with me.”

Elaine Cannon, general president of the Young Women, encouraged women to share the gospel in unity, despite their differences.

“I plead for us to love each other more now and not be angry or judgmental with differences.

“The things that matter most must not be sacrificed for those that matter least. It seems to me that it is time, then, for the women of the Church to behave with a sense of belongingness instead of a sense of separateness.

“In a climate where some barter their Church membership for political expediency or for a moment’s pleasure in sin, or where Church-related blessings are forfeited because someone does not fully understand yet, it is well for us to review these things again unless we, too, fall. Understanding brings more appropriate behavior. We’ll be more valiant. We’ll give more willingly and serve more compassionately and effectively. We’ll love better.”

She explained women’s responsibilities to help others as they take upon them the name of Jesus Christ. “When we covenant with the Lord to take upon us his name, we also take upon us the burden of helping mankind in our special womanly way. Oh, sisters, can’t we do better to bring us all together in our hearts and purpose even though our activities and personal opinions vary somewhat? Can we not go forth from this conference determined to help each other draw closer to Christ—as well as endure the daily grind?”

Naomi B. Shumway, general president of the Primary, challenged her listeners: “If we must become as little children to inherit the kingdom of heaven, what qualities must we have?” She cited several. The first is humility. “All spiritual progress is conditioned on humility.” Faith is a second quality, and she told the story of four-year-old Stanley, the victim of repeated and savage asthma attacks. One night when his father was rocking him, Stanley looked at his father and asked, “How do you expect me to get better when you haven’t even blessed me?” Reminded of his powers and responsibilities, the father promptly complied, and Stanley “hasn’t had an attack since.”

Children also are teachable. Sister Shumway quoted one study indicating that 50 percent of the total development of a child’s thinking patterns is completed by age four; an additional 20 percent is fixed by age eight. Children are also honest—“sometimes embarrassingly so”—and are loving, “open, trusting, and quick to forgive.”

Another session was an address, entitled “Patriarchy and Matriarchy,” by Dr. Hugh W. Nibley, professor of history and religion at BYU.

He cited the examples of Adam and Eve and Abraham and Sarah as scriptural models for man-woman relationships. Adam and Eve had, “if you will, a system of checks and balances in which each party is as distinct and independent in its sphere as are the departments of government under the Constitution—and just as dependent on each other.”

The matriarchies and patriarchies established in the apostasies after the time of Adam and Eve have both lent themselves to abuses, Dr. Nibley explained. As each has sought supremacy they have become “mortal enemies.”

Brother Nibley explained the misuses of power that a matriarchy may involve. “Though the matriarchy makes for softness and decay, beneath the gentle or beguiling or glittering exterior is … fierce toughness, cunning, and ambition.”

On the other hand, said Brother Nibley, “the gospel sets absolute limitations beyond which patriarchal authority may not be exercised—the least hint of unkindness acts as a circuit-breaker. ‘Amen to the priesthood or authority of that man’ (D&C 121:37). Without that sacred restraint, patriarchal supremacy has ever tended to become abusive.”

Abraham and Sarah restored the state of Adam and Eve—“she as well as he, for in the perfect balance they maintained he is as dependent on her as she on him.” Their love bound them together though the world tried to force them apart. “When both sides of the equation are reduced, the remainder on both sides is only a great love.”

Other participants in the conference panels and lectures ranged from professors to attorneys, from a television producer to homemakers. Some were married, some widowed, some divorced, some mothers. All were received enthusiastically by those attending the conference.

A continual theme throughout the conference was the definition of men’s and women’s roles—particularly in marriage. The relationship of priesthood and sisterhood was discussed often.

Women were given ideas for dealing creatively with the duties and difficulties of their lives. Sessions dealt with education, finances, journal writing, literature, development, missionary work, motherhood, scripture study—in short, many topics relating to Latter-day Saint women’s lifestyles.

The conference session topics were based on principles, not on issues. Current issues were discussed, therefore, in the context of overriding principles. Some panelists discussed how to balance priorities and time so that women could be involved in civic issues and stay current in careers—even while they are raising a family.

In a session on human potential, women listed their roles and responsibilities and discussed how they could best meet them by following the Spirit of the Lord. With comaraderie and enthusiasm, women attending the conference participated in discussion groups on developing lifetime plans, or “blueprints for living.”

Despite the diversity of topics, the theme of defining a woman’s role in the home, the Church, and society kept recurring as different speakers presented different perspectives of a woman’s life.

Grethe Ballif Peterson of the Young Women General Board developed her theme from President Kimball’s fireside address discussing women’s responsibilities of “motherhood and sisterhood” and men’s responsibilities of “fatherhood and the priesthood.” That linking of sisterhood and priesthood made “a relationship that I haven’t heard before,” said Sister Peterson.

Sisterhood “is more than a support group, more than compassionate service and visiting teaching. It is a bond that connects women with women and with the Savior across generations; it is a bond among consecrated women who are close to things of the Spirit. Sisterhood is an association of women from Eve to the present who have taken the name of Christ; they have the personal power of sure knowledge. Sisterhood connects all women through Christ and brings women together in unconditional love and trust. The Spirit permeates those relationships.”

She cited scriptural examples of Ruth and Naomi (who were “loyal to each other and to the God of Israel”), the women who were Christ’s disciples, and sisters who sacrificed for each other during the nineteenth century. She warned that “even though we all strive for the same things, our expressions are different” and that such diversity is one of the “additional blessings of sisterhood.”

Ida Smith, director of the Women’s Research Institute at BYU, explained that the Savior is the role model for both men and women.

“Nowhere is it written he came to save men (or women) only; nowhere is it written that men and women should each be allowed only half of his traits!

“The ‘world’ has divided up character/personality traits and has labeled some of them ‘masculine’ and some of them ‘feminine.’ Latter-day Saints of all people in the world should know better than to be deceived by this. Nowhere does the Lord say that tenderness, kindness, charity, faithfulness, patience, gentleness, compassion are ‘female’ traits and should be utilized by women only.

“And nowhere does he say courage, strength, determination, leadership … should be the exclusive prerogatives of men.”

She explained that both sexes suffer from “sexual categorization.” “A heavy burden is placed on a man when he realizes that many of the traits that will make him Christlike have been labeled by the world: feminine. And that by taking upon himself those characteristics he will run the risk of having his masculinity seriously questioned by his peers.

“We should all have both strength and sensitivity, courage and compassion, tenacity and tenderness. …

“If the true male role is, indeed, to be obedient and sacrificial, how can a man achieve his highest potential with only macho traits? And if the woman is to reach her highest potential in her creative and nurturing role, how can she achieve it by being helpless and dependent?”

President Kimball’s words to women at the two women’s fireside talks were quoted often—and not only because they were printed in the program. Panelists and speakers turned often to his counsel, particularly his admonitions that women become educated, scripturally literate, and develop their talents.

And many attending the conference left with increased motivation and ability to do just those things.

Young Women, Relief Society Schedule Annual General Meetings

The First Presidency has announced that Relief Society and Young Women annual, general meetings will be held, beginning in 1980—two-hour sessions in the evening, originating from the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

The Young Women annual general meeting this year is March 22 from 6 to 8 P.M. Mountain Time. The Relief Society annual general meeting will be September 27. Both meetings will be transmitted worldwide, just as the women’s fireside has been for the previous two years, and as the priesthood session is at each general conference.

The March 22 meeting is for all Young Women and their leaders. The September 27 meeting is for all women eighteen and older.

Preceding the meetings, at Church headquarters and at transmission locations, will be displays and a small reception. The meeting presentations, which are likely to include addresses by general Young Women and Relief Society leaders and General Authorities, will be instructional as well as motivational.

Norma Smith, first counselor in the general presidency of the Young Women, explained the purpose of the Young Women annual meeting: “We hope to uplift and encourage girls and help them make valid decisions. We hope they will hear the clear, strong voice of the gospel. There are so many angry, strident voices calling out to women today.”

Throughout the Church, Relief Society members or young women will meet a half-hour before the starting time of the meeting transmission.

Local displays will pertain to either the Relief Society or Young Women’s program, and may include things of interest to either age group. The Young Women displays, for example, might be on personal progress, camping, sports, standards night, personal record keeping, music, family relationships, standards, manners, dating, grooming, peer relationships, leadership training, activation, mother-daughter events, use of time on the Sabbath, use of the ward activities committee, or service.

LDS Scene

Area conferences in the United States have been scheduled for 1980. The first area conference is in Rochester, New York, April 12–13. Conferences follow in Jackson, Mississippi, May 3–4; Pasadena, California, May 17–18; St. Louis, Missouri, June 7–8; Lakeland, Florida, June 28–29; and Ann Arbor, Michigan, Sept. 20–21.

Lavern W. Parmley, former general president of the Primary Association, died January 27 in Salt Lake City. Sister Parmley, 80, was Primary president from 1951 to 1974. She was editor of The Children’s Friend for twenty years and was president of the board of trustees of Primary Children’s Medical Center.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii President Dan W. Andersen is being reassigned. He will leave his position this summer for assignment to another Church Education System position.

BYU President Dallin H. Oaks, citing the growth of BYU-Hawaii, praised President Andersen as a “remarkably effective” administrator.

Under his leadership, enrollment has doubled, academic standards and performance have been raised, a new activities center is under construction, and ground has been broken for a new 38,000-square-foot administration building.