News of the Church

By Jay M. Todd


Report of the Regional Representatives’ Seminar

“There now begins the most intensive period of temple building in the history of the Church.”

With this forceful and prophetic observation, President Spencer W. Kimball pointed the attention of General Authorities and Regional Representatives and their wives to the significance of the announcement April 2 of seven new temples.

“We look to the day,” President Kimball continued, “when the sacred ordinances of the Church, performed in the temples, will be available to all members of the Church in convenient locations around the globe. The building of these temples must be accompanied by a strong emphasis on genealogical research on the part of members of the Church. We feel an urgency for this great work.”

President Kimball’s remarks opened the Regional Representatives’ Seminar, Friday, April 4, held in the Church Office Building.

Following additional counsel by President Kimball, Regional Representatives were then instructed by Elder Thomas S. Monson and Elder Boyd K. Packer, through a panel discussion narrated by Elder J. Thomas Fyans and Brother Rulon G. Craven. Instructions in the duties of being a Regional Representative were given, as well as a presentation on genealogy, which is to be made throughout the Church in the second half of 1980, in Saturday evening sessions of stake conferences.

The remaining morning session of the seminar focused on the new consolidated meeting schedule, during which time representative members and leaders from pilot areas reported the favorable impact the new consolidated schedule has had on the lives and activity of members. Areas outside the U.S. and Canada begin the new consolidated schedule May 4.

The following materials and observations are from the presentation on the consolidated meeting schedule:

  1. 1.

    Elder Neal A. Maxwell—“At the time the new consolidated schedule was approved by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, it was made clear that its purposes were to provide ‘more time for giving attention to family life, individual study, self-improvement, and Christian service.’ We are mindful that the consolidated schedule would save much in the way of costs of gasoline, but this was not the basic purpose. It is true that circumstances in which the saints live vary widely. But the basic purposes of the Church remain unchanged. In the Book of Mormon we read about how the Sabbath was basically the teaching and learning day: ‘And there was one day in every week set apart that they should gather themselves together to teach the people, and to worship the Lord their God, and also, as often as it was in their power, to assemble themselves together’ (Mosiah 18:25). In the future, what is in our power by way of assembling ourselves together may not even be what is feasible today. But a family-centered Sabbath has been and always will be desired; so will a scripturally centered Sabbath. We hope that as we now have a fresh opportunity to study the scriptures that we will do so. We have a chance to sink our root system in the rich soil of the scriptures and become more firmly anchored therein under the consolidated schedule. Also, under this new schedule, it will be important to expedite meetings without making them seem rushed. Children are still to be blessed in fast meetings.

    “Space considerations require thoughtful attention. Thousands of dollars have been saved from purchasing dividers by having the Primary hold split sessions. Clearly, there are balances to be struck which we think are best determined locally. One of them, for example, is between the legitimate and competing needs of having continuity in our Primary teachers, on the one hand, and not having those sisters go forever without the privileges of participating in Relief Society, on the other.

    “A balance also needs to be struck in having active Scouting and exploring programs which require regular activities, on the one hand, and not badgering busy high school students with too many activities, on the other.

    “In sum, the consolidated meeting schedule is an opportunity of major proportions. I reflect that in the past years we have stretched or pulled or strained to gain a percentage point here or there in a particular church program; now we have an inspired consolidated meeting schedule that actually raises attendance 10 to 15 percent, or higher in some cases. We should welcome this opportunity with arms reaching out as never before to all who are in need of our fellowship.”

  2. 2.

    Elder Dean L. Larsen—“One of the things I have noticed is that there is a tendency by some to think that the Church is dramatically different now that we have the consolidated meeting schedule. That simply is not true. We are still carrying on many of the functions that we have had in the Church. The new consolidated meeting schedule has not changed the basic Church, and it has not given license for aberrations in established, prescribed programs.”

  3. 3.

    Elder Dean L. Larsen—“There is something about the consolidated meeting schedule that has an appeal to those who have not been participating with us before. We don’t know all the reasons for this, but there is something about the newness and the innovation that has this appeal. Thus, right now during the so-called honeymoon period, while this new appeal is still there, it is crucial that we organize to take full advantage of this reactivation opportunity. And the place to do that on the ward level is in the ward correlation council meeting. We hope we will all be alerted to this opportunity for reactivation.”

  4. 4.

    Does the consolidated meeting schedule allow for special classes for inactive and prospective elders? “Yes. Ward Temple Preparation seminars and Gospel Essential classes can be held concurrently with the regular ward Sunday School classes, or they can be scheduled during other hours not designed for ward meetings.”

  5. 5.

    How does the consolidated meeting schedule affect family home evening? “Guidelines for family home evening remain unchanged. Families should continue to hold family home evening on Monday evenings, using the manual and other approved materials. As in the past, occasional family activities may be appropriate on Monday evenings in addition to gospel instruction. Family study of the gospel on Sunday is part of keeping the Sabbath day holy and should be encouraged in addition to family home evening.”

  6. 6.

    How can ward and stake leaders hold the necessary meetings and still maintain the spirit of the family Sabbath? “Priesthood and other leaders should be careful to schedule necessary meetings at times that do not interrupt family Sabbath activities. Careful planning will avoid lengthy meetings. Generally, times immediately before or after the combined meetings can save on travel and minimize the disruption of family worship. In areas where travel is not a significant problem, early morning hours may provide the best time for extra meetings.”

  7. 7.

    Should meetings or other activities be scheduled during the Sunday School period? “Only the approved Sunday School classes, using the approved curriculum, are to be conducted during the Sunday School period. Such functions as bishop’s meetings, executive committee meetings, ward correlation council meetings, choir practices, etc., should not be scheduled during this period.”

  8. 8.

    A bishop reported, “We try to keep our Sundays free from any leadership or organizational meetings. On the weekday Mutual night, we have found a way to consolidate other necessary meetings and on that night we hold priesthood executive committee meeting, ward correlation council, and welfare services meeting. Our ward officers and teachers come to Church on Sunday and then generally on our Mutual night once or twice a month. The rest of the time is left, for other duties relating to Christian service and being together with their families.”

  9. 9.

    “Women are not to be members of Sunday School presidencies. Men are not to be called to serve in Primary presidencies.”

  10. 10.

    What about the basic teacher development course? Elder Dean Larsen—“We are not using more Sunday School space than before consolidation. There should be no reason why space cannot continue to be provided for teacher development, and certainly we do not wish to lose the teacher development basic course which should be and is implemented under the direction of the Sunday School and should continue to be a part of that regular curriculum.”

  11. 11.

    Barbara Smith, general president of the Relief Society—“Many people call and ask about the stake Relief Society board—what is it composed of? We want members to know it should include the executive officers, plus at least eight other members, so that it is a board of twelve members. We hope Young Adults are considered for Relief Society presidencies and for teaching positions. They have much vitality and enthusiasm to give, while the older sisters can give stability and maturity.”

  12. 12.

    “Ward and stake Relief Society choirs may still be organized to provide music for stake conferences, sacrament meetings, funerals, and other occasions.”

  13. 13.

    Elaine Cannon, general president of the Young Women—“Stake advisers for Young Women are now generally not needed. If they are deemed necessary in a large stake, their responsibilities would be assigned by the stake Young Women Presidency. The same is true of ward structure; advisers are needed only when the young women population demands.”

  14. 14.

    The Young Women’s current manuals have twenty-two lessons. What shall they teach for additional lessons? “Provide weekly spiritual experiences for young women from the following sources: age group manuals, ‘The Latter-day Saint Woman,’ Gospel Principles, ‘My Personal Progress,’ Young Women Guidebook (youth leadership lessons), Church magazines, talks from general women’s meetings, approved films from meetinghouse library, Teaching, No Greater Call, and guest speakers, occasionally invited to a class or combination of classes as approved by the bishopric.”

  15. 15.

    Elder Neal A. Maxwell—“A very important role is played by the bishop’s youth committee and much of the planning for youth on the ward level will occur there. We see the ward activities committee as becoming more and more crucial as the bishopric uses them do some significant things.”

  16. 16.

    “Those who should attend the bishopric youth committee meeting are the bishopric, the chairman of the ward activities committee, ward Young Men and Young Women presidents, the first assistant to the bishop in the priests quorum, the presidents of the teachers and deacons quorum, and Young Women class presidents.”

  17. 17.

    What is the recommended way to treat youth firesides? Elder Robert L. Backman—“I don’t think there needs to be much change from the way we have done this before. A caring bishopric, caring for both the needs of the families and the needs of the youth, can see the need to continue these important firesides at an appropriate frequency.”

  18. 18.

    Does the new consolidated meeting schedule do away with any ward and stake activities such as plays and roadshows? “No. There continues to be a need for appropriate high quality activities. Some events, such as athletic contests, play rehearsals, etc., may need to be scheduled at other times during the week. Such scheduling should be approved by the bishopric through the correlation council.”

  19. 19.

    What is the policy regarding competitive athletics and sports? “Competitive sports programs should continue to receive emphasis and support at all levels of play, including stake, region, multiregion, etc. The scope of the program for a given area should be determined by the Executive Administrator, Regional Representatives, and stake presidents involved. Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women leaders maintain stewardship for all young men and young women between the ages of twelve and eighteen. They will determine the extent of the Young Men and Young Women sports program. It is to be organized, implemented, and supervised by the ward or stake Activities Committee.”

  20. 20.

    How often should priests, teachers, and deacons quorums meet on a week night to participate in Scouting, Venturing, Exploring, and other activities? Elder Robert L. Backman—“The Aaronic Priesthood quorums will usually meet weekly, on a week night other than Monday, in addition to their regular quorum meeting on Sunday—unless travel or other restrictions require meeting only once a week.”

  21. 21.

    What about holding Primary on stake conference days? Elder Dean L. Larsen—“The initial guidelines did carry a notation that Primary on stake conference days was to be discontinued, but that was in error. What we have called junior Sunday School and is now Primary may be held on the same basis as in the past on stake conference Sundays for the children who have been attending those services.”

  22. 22.

    A bishop—“Our Primary leaders are saying, ‘We never had this kind of reverence on Tuesday afternoon, our usual Primary time. On Sunday, those children are prepared to have a spiritual experience, and we don’t have the kinds of problems we formerly had.’”

  23. 23.

    If a child turned three years old in January 1980 and has been enrolled in Sunday School, what Primary class will the child attend? “The child should attend the nursery until the beginning of the next curriculum year; then he would be enrolled in the Sunbeam class. Three-year-old children should be enrolled in Primary according to the entrance and enrollment policy as stated in the Primary Handbook, page 38.”

  24. 24.

    What do we do with the twelve-year-old boy who graduates from Primary in midyear and enters course 12 “Under the consolidation meeting schedule, a boy who reaches the age of 12 after the start of the curriculum year will become a member of the Sunday School and enter course 12 at that time. He will move to course 13 with the rest of the class at the beginning of a new curriculum year, regardless of how long he has been in course 12.”

  25. 25.

    Will there still be ward choirs? “Yes, ward choirs continue to be an essential part of the Church program. It is recommended that choirs sing in sacrament meeting at least twice a month. Special choirs, soloists, or groups may be used on those Sundays when choirs do not sing. Practices may be held at any time convenient to the members; however, they should not be held during the Sunday School hour.”

Also at the seminar, President Ezra Taft Benson announced the following newly called Regional Representatives: Oscar H. Aguayo of Lima, Peru; Hugo Angel Catron of Buenos Aires, Argentina; David Christensen Harvey of Pleasant Grove, Utah; Donald Long Hilton of Port Neches, Texas; Robert Donald Livingstone of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada; Russell Brown Maddock of Standardsville, Virginia; Joseph Marshall McPhie of Salt Lake City, Utah; George L, Merrill of Bountiful, Utah; Milton W. Russon of Bountiful, Utah; John Sonnenberg of Naperville, Illinois; Jason G. Souza of Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Kenji Tanaka of Yokohama, Japan.

President Spencer W. Kimball instructs Church leaders at the Regional Representatives’ Seminar.

Church Launches Worldwide Temple-Building Emphasis with Announcement of Seven New Temples

The Church begins an expanded worldwide temple-building effort with the April 2 announcement by the First Presidency of seven new temples.

The new temples, which are smaller than most built previously, may follow one of three basic designs. They are the first of what will be numerous smaller temples built throughout the world.

The seven temples will be built in Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Papeete, Tahiti; Nuku’alofa, Tonga; Apia, Western Samoa; and Sydney, Australia.

A temple had been announced previously for Pago Pago, American Samoa, but with the announcement of six new temples, the First Presidency said the Samoan temple site had been transferred from Pago Pago to Apia. Moving the Samoan Temple to Apia will better serve the needs of the Samoan Saints, since the majority live in Western Samoa rather than American Samoa. Members in other parts of the South Pacific will have temples on their own islands.

The seven temples will be patterned after one of three basic designs—an 8,500-square-foot edifice, a 12,500-square-foot edifice, or a 26,000-square-foot edifice.

Announcement of the temples and the new emphasis on temple-building was made by President Spencer W. Kimball at a news conference held in front of the replica of the Christus statue in the Visitors’ Center North on Temple Square.

The new temples bring to twenty-eight the number of temples either built, under construction, or planned. Seventeen are now functioning.

“It is with great joy that we approve construction of these new temples,” the First Presidency said in an official release. “They will bring the blessings of the temple ordinances to an ever-increasing number of faithful Latter-day Saints.

“We know that as our people meet the high moral standards required of those who would enter the temple, their marriages, family life, and individual life will be strengthened. Husbands and wives will live in harmony, children will be happier, and all lives will be enriched.

“As our families are the greatest source of joy in this life, so they may well be in the eternities.”

The new buildings, which will be smaller than previous temples are designed for efficiency. However, even the midsize 12,500-square-foot design temple will comfortably allow for 94,000 endowments to be performed each year.

The larger 26,000-square-foot temple will be built in Atlanta, Georgia. It will have four ordinance rooms seating forty persons each, and five sealing rooms. The Atlanta Temple District will include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, and parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

The 12,500-square-foot temples will be built in Sydney, Apia, Nuku’alofa, Buenos Aires, and Santiago. They will have two endowment rooms seating thirty-two persons each. Capacity can be doubled in the future by the possible addition of two more ordinance rooms. The temples have two sealing rooms.

The 8,500-square-foot Tahiti Temple will have one sealing room and two endowment rooms with twenty seats each.

Construction on the temples is expected to begin early in 1981 and end later that year.

“We’ve entered a new era of temples,” says Derek Metcalfe, managing director of the Temple Department. “The emphasis now is on the locality. A different type of sacrifice will be required of people.” In the past, going to the temple has for many members of the Church been a once-in-a-life-time experience. Some members have saved money for years, at considerable sacrifice, to travel to the nearest temple. As more temples are built worldwide, the sacrifice will be one of time, as members attend local temples with far greater frequency.

President Victor Cave of the Papeete Tahiti Stake, explains that Tahitian members now have to pay at least $800 each for transportation and lodging to go to the nearest temple, the New Zealand Temple. Since average income of members might be around $500 per month, the sacrifice is great. “Our families are large”—an average of six children, perhaps—“and if they go, they spend a month and do as many ordinances as possible to get as much work done as they can. Some people who have been members for twenty or thirty years have gone only once.”

The story is similar in Australia, where members have had to fly to New Zealand to attend the temple. For some, this has meant driving thousands of miles across the Australian continent and flying to New Zealand. Members of the Church in Perth, Australia, will still have to cross the continent to reach the new temple in Sydney. Also, members in Brisbane, Australia, will have a drive of several hours. But without the flight to New Zealand, frequent trips to the temple will be more feasible. Local leaders anticipate that members will be able to travel in groups, thus further cutting transportation costs.

When Harvey L. Guy, patriarch in the Brisbane Australia Stake, heard of the new temple, he thought it was “tremendous. The size of the building led us to believe that there will be other temples in Australia.”

Brisbane Stake President John D. Jeffrey says that he expects members to use school vacation times—which will be more frequent with recently announced schedules—for temple trips. “The reaction I had to the concept was that it was within our financial reach, within our capacity to keep it working to capacity.”

In Samoa, the announcement of the changed temple sites was met with mixed emotions. A boat ride from American Samoa to Western Samoa is less demanding on members than the current trip to the Hawaii or New Zealand temple, says Stake President Eugene E. F. W. Reid of the Pago Pago Samoa Stake. And while members in American Samoa are disappointed that the temple will not be within walking distance, they are grateful for a chance to have one as near as Western Samoa—and with typical generosity they will contribute gladly, says President Reid.

Funds will be raised at each locality to finance the portion of the temple cost not paid by the general Church.

The 8,500-square-foot temple design.

The 8,500-square-foot temple (top) will be built in Tahiti. The 12,500-square-foot temple (center) will be built in Australia, Western Samoa, Tonga, Argentina, and Chile. The 26,000-square-foot temple (bottom) will be built in Georgia.

Dedication at Fayette: A Day of Sunshine and Blessings

It was Easter; it was general conference; it was the Church’s Sesquicentennial. And on this blue-sky, sunny day another prophet had come to Fayette, New York, this time to dedicate new buildings on historic property.

The new Fayette Branch and visitors’ center were filled as the building and reconstructed log farm house were dedicated in a worldwide broadcast as part of general conference. On hand were more than 300 members of the Fayette, New York, Branch, numerous guests, and news media representatives.

President Spencer W. Kimball spoke first from the farmhouse—a reconstruction of the Peter Whitmer home where the Church was organized 150 years before. Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve read a proclamation from the farmhouse, then the Church leaders came to the nearby meeting house, where President Kimball gave the dedicatory prayer.

(Before the second session of Sunday conference, Elder Hinckley left for New York City, where he appeared April 7 on the NBC Television Today show with Latter-day Saints businessman J. Willard Marriott, Jr.)

This was the second time the Lord had spoken to the Church and the world through a prophet in Fayette. The first was when Joseph Smith organized the Church “in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month, which is called April.” Once more it was April 6, and once more the faithful assembled as their leaders taught them to “build [the Church] up unto the most Holy Faith” and to “give heed unto all [the Lord’s] words and commandments.” Again the members would receive the Lord’s words from the prophet, “as if from my own mouth” (D&C 21:2–5).

The setting for the sesquicentennial messages was striking and appropriate. The newly constructed Fayette chapel and visitors’ center is Greek Revival style, which matches architecture of the 1830s period. The chapel’s gleaming white trim and white walls are offset by red carpeting, plush red pew seats, and dark wood pews. The interior, including an arch beyond the choir seats and shutters on the windows, is a match for the best Greek Revival architecture of western New York.

And the log house, built where Peter Whitmer’s old farmhouse stood, is furnished with period antiques carefully selected by experts. From feather mattresses to a fireplace crane, from lamps to door latches, the house is authentic. Wood in the frame is from an old area house of the period. The actual Peter Whitmer house is no longer standing, but through written accounts historians and specialists have been able to determine some aspects of the original house’s appearance. The replica is as close as possible to the original.

It was from that reconstructed site that President Kimball first spoke on Easter Sunday and it was from that site that Elder Hinckley read a Sesquicentennial Proclamation to the world, stating the Church’s purposes and defining its role in the future (see pp. 50 and 52 for full accounts of the proceedings).

For many in the Fayette area, the day culminated months of intense, diligent work.

Doug Porschet, for instance, had worked steadily since September to prepare the visitors’ center and farmhouse. A specialist in antique and restoration, he was commissioned by the Church to provide pieces and decorate the building. He found what he needed at antique sales, at junk sales, “by just hunting around.” He worked seventy hours weekly to find, refinish, and furnish.

Volunteering to help him was Merrill Roenke, curator of the Geneva Historical Society and administrator of the Rose Hill Mansion. Though not a member of the church, Mr. Roenke was as excited about the restoration as Brother Porschet. He donated hours and artifacts.

The visitors’ center was readied for its guests, too. A powerful bronze depiction of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, sculptured by Trevor Southey, was in its place. Artwork by William Whitaker depicting events of the Restoration lined one side of the center.

The Fayette preparation wasn’t limited to antiques and art. Other things were needed for the dedication—like music. The Fayette Branch choir was to be featured, along with the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Mormon Youth Chorus in the conference broadcast. With a little help from members of another branch, the choir filled the choir seats with strong singers.

Help would also be needed to handle the visitors for the dedication. George Schmidt of Rochester, New York, a member for only a year, volunteered his Scout troop. Brother Schmidt’s young men assisted alongside the adults who wore badges reading “Helper” and “Usher.”

And for weeks before the dedication, workers labored over the electronic equipment that would transmit the Fayette proceedings to Salt Lake, where it would be broadcast to the world.

When members and guests came to the chapel the morning of April 6, everything was ready. A multicolored spray of flowers was in place on the wall behind the choir seats.

The Saints there were ready to meet the prophet. For some, it was their first chance to see him, to sing to him, to hear him in person, and—for the few who had the opportunity—to shake his hand. “I can’t believe the prophet is sitting there and I shook hands with him this morning,” said Sam Weber of Rochester, who assists Public Communications Director Paul Thayne, also of Rochester. Brother Weber has been a member of the Church less than nine months.

Those attending at Fayette listened silently as President Kimball, Elder Hinckley, and Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Executive Administrator of the Northeast Area, spoke from the pulpit. Nor was there noise from the congregation as a satellite transmitted the singing of the choir, or as Elder Eldred G. Smith, patriarch emeritus, offered the benediction to the conference.

The Fayette, New York, Branch meetinghouse.

For Joseph’s Great-Granddaughter, a Happy Day

She was poised before television cameras in an elegant red dress—her “happy dress,” she calls it.

Two weeks before, Lorena Horner Normandeau of Roman, Montana, hadn’t known she would be on television as part of the broadcast of general conference. But on April 6, as a descendant of the Prophet Joseph Smith, she was an honored guest at the dedication of the Peter Whitmer property and the Fayette Branch chapel at Fayette, New York. There her great-grandfather and five other men signed the paper that formally organized the Church.

There she sat with Melvin Thomas Smith, a great-grandson of Samuel Harrison Smith; and Elder Eldred G. Smith, a great-great-grandson of Hyrum Smith. The other honored descendants of the Church’s organizers had been members of the Church all their lives. She hadn’t.

Nearly a year before, in May 1979, she had worn her “happy dress” for another significant occasion: her baptism.

Although she has known and believed all her life that her great-grandfather saw heavenly beings and translated the Book of Mormon, she was raised a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and did not believe the “Mormons” could be right. Since her family did not live near an RLDS congregation, she attended other churches. When she decided to join the Latter-day Saint Church, she was an active Methodist.

Her conversion had spanned many years.

“I read an account somewhere of Emma [Smith] going to Nauvoo,” she recalls. The account told of Emma’s journey to Illinois while the Prophet was in Liberty Jail. “She carried a babe in her arm, one piggyback riding on her shoulders, and one hanging on each side of her skirt. And under her skirt she carried a twenty-three pound manuscript of the Inspired Version. She crossed the Mississippi on the ice.”

“When I read that, it came home to me that the baby she carried in her arms was my grandfather, Alexander—and, believe me, I was stirred.”

She was afraid to go against her own religion, and her husband’s Catholic background.

Then Sister Normandeau’s daughter, Gracia Denning of Whitefish, Montana, read the Book of Mormon, was baptized, and became a strong influence in her mother’s conversion. “She is so steadfast,” Sister Normandeau says.

Since her baptism, she has been asked to speak at numerous meetings about her ancestry and conversion. She explains that her membership has not come without adversity.

But that only strengthens her; it only sets her more firmly in her desires. And this May she hopes to be sealed in a temple to her husband, who died nine years ago. She says she senses his approval of her conversion as strongly as she senses the approval of another relative—one who opened this dispensation 150 years ago.

Lorena Horner Normandeau.

New Primary Presidency Sustained

Sustained at the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference was a new general Primary presidency of the Church. Sister Dwan Jacobsen Young was called as the seventh general president of the Primary, with Virginia Beesley Cannon as first counselor and Michaelene Packer Grassli as second counselor.

Upon announcing the change, President Tanner expressed gratitude to the former general presidency for their years of excellent service: Naomi Maxfield Shumway, who served as president for 5 1/2 years, and her counselors Colleen Bushman Lemmon and Dorthea Lou Christiansen Murdock. They and all members of the Primary General Board were released.

The new president, Sister Dwan J. Young, has served on the Primary General Board for ten years, working as chairman of the Cub Scout and regional meetings committees. (Her mother, Vauna S. Jacobsen, had previously served on the general board for seventeen years.) Sister Young has also served as ward Primary president, in a stake Primary presidency, and on Young Women and Relief Society stake boards. A graduate of the University of Utah and formerly an elementary school teacher, Sister Young is married to Thomas Young, Jr., and is the mother of five children.

Sister Dwan Jacobsen Young

Sister Dwan Jacobsen Young, new Primary general president.

Virginia B. Cannon, new first counselor, served in a stake Primary presidency and in various teaching positions in the Primary, Relief Society, and Young Women organizations before her thirteen years on the Primary General Board. Board assignments have included the younger children’s age groups and the in-service committees. Also a graduate of the University of Utah and a former teacher in Utah public schools, Sister Cannon is married to H. Stanley Cannon and has six children.

Sister Virginia Beesley Cannon

Sister Virginia Beesley Cannon, new Primary first counselor.

Michaelene P. Grassli, new second counselor, has served on the Blazer and regional meeting committees during her five years on the Primary General Board. She previously served in Sunday School, Relief Society, and Young Women presidencies, on stake Young Women boards, as Primary teacher, and as stake Primary president. Involved in community affairs, she has worked on March of Dimes, PTA, and local school board committees. Before her marriage, she attended Brigham Young University. She and her husband, Leonard M. Grassli, have three daughters.

Sister Michaelene Packer Grassli

Sister Michaelene Packer Grassli, new Primary second counselor.

The new presidency assist a worldwide total of more than 588,000 children, ages 3 through 11—and more than 126,000 officers and teachers. The Primary also directs the Sunday nursery program.

“Primary leaders have greater opportunities and responsibilities than ever before,” says Sister Young. “Since the children receive formal religious classroom instruction only once a week, those serving as officers and teachers have an even greater need to provide consistent, loving direction to these little ones. I know that through this dedicated service, the lives of Primary leaders will be enriched and these future leaders of the Church will be blessed.”

The World Conference on Records—a Part of the Sesquicentennial

When the World Conference on Records opens August 12, a major event of the Church’s sesquicentennial celebration will be under way. More than 10,000 people from twenty-five countries are expected to gather in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City to learn about preparing personal and family histories.

The conference is designed for a general audience.

Brigham Young University’s third annual Family History and Genealogical Research Seminar will be held this year in conjunction with the World Conference on Records. Primary emphasis of the combined World Conference on Records and the BYU seminar will be to benefit nonprofessionals, historians, genealogists, sociologists, demographers, and archivists who are interested in family history and genealogy. With “Preserving Our Heritage” as the theme, the topics will include family histories, demographic studies, genealogical research, and royalty and heraldry.

Keynote speaker at the opening general assembly of the World Conference on Records will be President Spencer W. Kimball, who has long encouraged Latter-day Saints to be diligent in personal and family record keeping.

The four-day conference will feature 235 speakers from North America, India, Peru, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Sarawak, Italy, Scandinavia, central Europe, and Great Britain.

Author Alex Haley will be a speaker at the conference, and conference planners say, “He has an exciting new story to tell.” He has said that this conference will be “the epoch event in family history in our time.”

A major purpose of the conference is to stimulate the writing of personal and family histories, with the transcending benefit of unifying and strengthening families.

Registration fee for the conference is $50 for the four days or $17.50 per day. For student ages twelve through twenty-five, the fee is $25. After June 15, a late-registration fee of $10 for adults and $4 for youths will apply.

Information on registration and housing is available by writing to World Conference on Records, Genealogical Department, 50 E. North Temple St., Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. Or those interested may call toll free 1-800-453-3222 in the United States, from outside of Utah. The number for calling from within Utah (not a toll-free number) is 1-531-3335.

President Kimball—Going Strong at Eighty-Five

It was a grand night for singing—and on two separate evenings, at two mammoth celebrations, thousands of people sang birthday wishes to President Spencer W. Kimball, who turned eighty-five March 28.

On the eve of his birthday, a celebration was held at the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Thousands packed the Tabernacle to honor the president at a presentation which used film, song, dance, and tributes to reflect on President Kimball’s life of service and love.

The next night, President Kimball was honored at a birthday dinner at the Hotel Utah, where some 2,500 invited guests included leading citizens from throughout the United States.

The Tabernacle program is being distributed on video cassettes or films for viewing throughout the Church, with sound tracks in English and other languages. The multimedia presentation included filmed birthday greetings and music by the Tabernacle Choir, directed by Jerold D. Ottley and accompanied by Robert Cundick. Other entertainment was by the Lamanite Generation, a group of Indian students from Brigham Young University, and by singers from Ricks College.

Among the tributes paid to President Kimball at the Tabernacle was one from his wife, Sister Camilla E. Kimball. Sister Kimball recited lines from poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach.

And Sister Kimball was not the only one with misty eyes. Many men and women in the audience and watching on television were moved to tears as they witnessed the effect of President Kimball’s life on the millions who love and follow him.

At the Hotel Utah dinner the following night, President Kimball was equally honored by numerous friends both in and outside the Church. The keynote speaker, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, was among 2,500 who sang “Happy Birthday” along with the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans.

(Dr. Peale’s remarks at the dinner is printed on p. 108.)

Several gifts were presented to President Kimball—a porcelain seagull sculpture, a bronze statue of President Kimball with Indian children, and a silver-and-turquoise medallion of the Navajo nation seal.

And President Kimball’s response to the outpourings of affection: “I’ve never felt worthy of such attention. I appreciate it more than I can express. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is a joy to say I love all the people of the world.”

Less than a week later, at the press conference where President Kimball announced that seven new temples would be built, a news reporter asked the president how his health was. Within the last year President Kimball has had brain surgery twice.

Smiling, President Kimball stood and raised both arms high in a victory gesture. He is indeed going strong at 85.

President Spencer W. Kimball, his wife Camilla, and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale at President Kimball’s birthday dinner.

Sesquicentennial Grand Ball

Promenading at the Sesquicentennial Grand Ball on April 3 with their wives are Elder Robert D. Hales of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Elders A. Theodore Tuttle and Robert E. Wells of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Rumor about Second-Coming Statement Refuted

The following statement has been released regarding statements falsely attributed to Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“About a year and a half ago, a false rumor, in the form of a typewritten statement, was circulated in certain areas of the Church. Efforts to quell the rumor have apparently been unsuccessful, since Church headquarters continues to receive inquiries from members as to its validity.

“The statement alleges that Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, told those gathered at a missionary conference in South Africa when the Second Coming of the Savior would occur.

“Enough credence has apparently been given the falsehood that it has been the subject of discussion in various classroom situations and in other forums around the Church.

“Despite the fact that Elder Hinckley publicly refuted the rumor in a speech to Brigham Young University students March 25, 1979, it persists. Thus, Church members are encouraged to take note of the following statement from Elder Hinckley:

“‘The rumor is pure fabrication. There is no element of truth in it. I have not the remotest idea where it began. If anyone were to ask me the day and the hour of the Second Coming, I could only answer that I do not know. The Lord himself declared, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only”’ (Matt. 24:3).”

LDS Scene

Six area conferences will be conducted in the Far East this fall. This will be the second series of such conferences with Church members in the Orient. Previous conferences were held there in 1975. The conference schedule is:

Manila, Philippines, Oct. 18–19, for the 34,000 Church members in the Philippines’ three stakes and four missions; Hong Kong, Oct. 20–21, for the 5,200 members in one stake and one mission; Taipei, Taiwan, Oct. 22–23, for the 8,000 members in Taiwan’s one stake and three missions; Seoul, Korea, Oct. 25–26, for the 16,000 members in Korea’s five stakes and three missions; Tokyo, Japan, Oct. 30–31, and Osaka, Japan, Nov. 1, for the 42,000 members in Japan’s eight stakes and eight missions.

Each conference except Osaka will include two general sessions and separate sessions for men and women ages twelve and older. Osaka’s conference will include one general session and separate sessions for men and women.

The presidency of the Jordan River Temple has been called. Donovan H. Van Dam of Salt Lake City has been called as president of the temple, which is under construction in South Jordan, Utah. His wife, Ada Strong Van Dam, will be temple matron. Serving in the temple presidency with President Van Dam are Richard R. McKean of Murray, Utah, first counselor; and Barr Moss of Salt Lake City, second counselor.

President Van Dam has served as president of the Netherlands Mission, as a stake high councilor, and as counselor in a stake presidency.

The Relief Society has given the Church a gift of four bronze statues and thirty-five redbud trees. The Sesquicentennial presentation was made by Relief Society General President Barbara B. Smith on March 28—the 85th birthday of President Spencer W. Kimball.

The trees will be planted in the garden area just south of the Church Office Building and north of the Church Administration Building. The four bronze statues are replicas of ones in the Monument to Women statuary garden at Nauvoo, Illinois. The three by sculptor Dennis Smith are “Joyful Moment,” “In Her Mother’s Footsteps,” and “Preparing Her Son.” The fourth statue, “Joseph and Emma,” is by Florence Hansen and depicts the Prophet Joseph Smith and his wife.

In accepting the trees and statues in behalf of the Church, President Kimball said they “will bring joy for many, many years to many people.”

Two new buildings on Brigham Young University campus, one of them 176 feet high, have been named after members of the First Presidency. The tallest building on campus, a new twelve-story class-room-office building, will be named the Spencer W. Kimball Tower. A new School of Management building will be named for President N. Eldon Tanner, first counselor in the First Presidency.

BYU President Dallin H. Oaks says it is appropriate to name the classroom-office structure after President Kimball, who is “known for his monumental accomplishments and his sensitive and tireless concern for individual men and women.”

Of President Tanner; President Oaks says: “As a practitioner and exemplar of the arts of management, he has had a profound impact on the Church and its members. … With the naming of the N. Eldon Tanner Building, we memorialize the name of a great businessman and public servant.”

Ground was broken in March for a new BYU—Hawaii administration building. Elder Thomas S. Monson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and of the executive committee of the school’s board of trustees, gave the groundbreaking prayer. The two-story, 38,000-square-foot building will house the major administrative offices of BYU—Hawaii and of the nearby Polynesian Cultural Center.