Variety Marks World Conference on Records

The August 12–15 World Conference on Records in Salt Lake City will feature a wide display of topics that can help anyone interested in any aspect of family history or genealogy.

Thousands of members and nonmembers, from all over the world, are expected to attend the conference. Information on the conference is available from: The World Conference on Records, Genealogical Society of Utah, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150 USA.

Speakers for the general assemblies will be President Spencer W. Kimball, author Alex Haley, Elder G. Homer Durham of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and the Osmond family.

President Kimball has long encouraged Latter-day Saints to be diligent keepers of family and personal records. In nearly every general conference since he became President of the Church, he has mentioned record keeping—particularly personal and family histories. Among his many comments about record-keeping are these:

“Let us then continue on in this important work of recording the things we do, the things we say, the things we think, to be in accordance with the instructions of the Lord. For those of you who may have not already started your books of remembrance and your records, we would suggest that this very day you begin to write your records quite fully and completely” (Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 5).

Author Alex Haley, whose Roots sparked interest in genealogy for millions, has said that he expects the World Conference on Records to be “the epoch event in family history in our time.” Mr. Haley has said this about the family-history urge:

“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage—to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.”

A major purpose of the conference is to interest people in writing personal and family histories.

In last April’s general conference, Elder John H. Groberg of the First Quorum of the Seventy commented on the reasons for the World Conference on Records:

“We have an obligation to follow the counsel of the prophet. President Kimball has made it abundantly clear that it is very important to write our personal and family histories. It is so important that this August the Church is sponsoring, in Salt Lake City, a great World Conference on Records to help all of us, and the whole world, better understand the vital importance of these histories and to learn much about how to write them.”

And why is history-writing so important? Elder Groberg gave this answer:

“By writing personal and family histories and doing the research required thereby, we inevitably have our hearts turned to our fathers as well as to our children.” Also, he said, “we are helped immeasurably in gaining a true, eternal perspective of life.” In addition, “Writing our histories will certainly help us keep our eyes on the most important of all goals—even the goal of eternal life” (Ensign, May 1980, p. 48).

The theme of the World Conference on Records is “Preserving Our Heritage.” Nearly three hundred seminars on that topic will be taught by noted authorities, with instruction in such a wide range of topics as family history, personal history, genealogical research, and demographic studies.

Seminars are in the following areas: personal and family history (general), United States and Canada, Great Britain and Ireland, continental Europe, Scandinavia, Spanish and Portuguese language areas, Asia and the Pacific, Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, and demography.

The range of diversity is wide. For example, the Africa section includes seminars on oral traditions, west Africa, eastern Africa, southern Africa, west African culture, culture of the British slave trade, traditional religion and the family, the impact of urbanization and modernization, black and white African families, slave family life in the American South and Brazil, black family life in Utah, a comparison of the African great trek and the Mormon pioneer trek, tracing heritage to Africa, tracing family history from South Africa through written sources, sources in the Arab world, Islam and the family in the Arab world, and Islam and the Moslem family.

A similar diversity is planned for all other geographic areas mentioned, covering source availability and life-style.

Those attending the conference will participate in a general assembly, a plenary session, and five seminars of the person’s choice each day. In addition, there will be cultural, ethnic, and commercial exhibits on the theme of the conference.

History Meets Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Who would think of using cowboys and Indians to share the gospel? “Probably only someone from Jackson Hole, Wyoming,” says John Campbell, a member of the Driggs Idaho Stake presidency who has worked closely with mission and other Church leaders to open a historical art center in Jackson Hole this June.

The new center will be open during the summer season seven days a week. It is directed by Ritchey M. Marbury III, Idaho Boise Mission president; and Ivan R. Willey, Idaho Falls visitors’ center director.

Members in Jackson Hole are excited about having a unique way to share the gospel with their friends. Financing comes from money raised by Church members who feel a need for a Mormon historical art center in Jackson.

Located near the entrances to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, Jackson Hole hosts several million visitors during a typical summer season. Finding a way to attract those vacationers to a visitors’ center took “some thought and a lot of prayer,” says President Campbell. “We felt strongly that area history, including cowboys and Indians, would be an effective way to attract people to the center.”

Jackson Hole has been promoted as the “last and best of the old west.” And many people come to Jackson primarily to enjoy the wild-west atmosphere. However, Jackson is also a major western art center, and galleries are popular tourist attractions. So local Church leaders decided to include original Mormon art as an equally important part of the center.

The center will present the gospel through both history and art. Artifacts and original art pieces are captioned to tell local history. Jackson Hole was settled largely by Church members, and tales of these colorful yet faithful pioneers and their relationships with the local Indian tribes make interesting entertainment. Many stories emphasize gospel principles as practiced by the early settlers.

A focal point of the history is the story of Elijah Nickolas (“Uncle Nick”) Wilson, one of the first white men to bring his family to the valley. A member of the Church, he lived in Utah as a boy. When he was twelve, he was lured away by a tribe of Shoshone Indians and lived with them for two years. He became Chief Washakie’s adopted brother and close friend. After Uncle Nick returned to his white family, he became a pony express rider and eventually led the first families and wagons over the Teton Pass and into Jackson Hole.

Future plans for the historical presentation include a “living museum” featuring people dressed as pioneers and engaged in pioneering pursuits like quilting, square dancing, and blacksmithing.

Original paintings and sculpture by LDS artists whose work meets rigid standards will be on display at the visitors’ center this summer. Subjects treated include an early rendezvous between fur traders and Indians: irrigation, a Mormon contribution to Jackson Hole; a life-size depiction of the Savior; and an early meetinghouse, the social, cultural and spiritual center of the community.

The matching of history and art gives the center a wider appeal, thereby increasing its potential for teaching the gospel. Hopes are high for it to generate numerous referrals and baptisms. And if visitors leave the center with a better idea of what Church members believe and of what contributions they make, it will have served much of its purpose.

Among the Western artists whose work will be shown at the Jackson Hole visitors’ center are father and son Harold (right) and Glen Hopkinson. (Photography by Stu White.)

Judy S. Clayton, a member of the Jackson First Ward, Driggs Idaho Stake is the mother of two children.

Stakes Total: 1,125 By End of March

The total number of stakes in the Church reached 1,125 by the end of the first quarter of 1980, continuing the steady growth of 1979.

The 1979 total was 1,092, up 102 from the total at the end of 1978.

The number of new stakes increased by 9.4 percent in 1979, a small drop from the 10.4 percent of 1978 and the 10.9 percent of 1977. The 1976 increase was 8.3 percent, and the 1975 increase was 9.2 percent.

In 1979, stakes were formed for the first time in three countries—Panama, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Three stakes were formed in Bolivia in 1979.

Stakes formed during the first quarter of 1980 were Kingsport Tennessee, Schaumburg Illinois, Tucuman Argentina, San Juan Argentina, Bahia Bianca Argentina, Durazno Uruguay, West Jordan Utah Central, Arica Chile, Calgary Alberta South, Lebanon Oregon, Mililani Hawaii, Gisborne New Zealand, Sydney Australia Hebersham, Sydney Australia Newcastle, Lawndale California, Arequipa Peru, Ciudad Juarez Mexico East, Sandy Utah Crescent North, Salt Lake Wasatch, La Paz Bolivia East, Bogota Colombia Ciudad Jardin, Monterrey Mexico Moderna, Spanish Fork Utah South, Guayaquil Ecuador Duran, Guayaquil Ecuador Febres Cordero, St. Louis Missouri South, El Centro California, Kobe Japan, Tokyo Japan East, Chimbote Peru, Artigas Uruguay, Pleasant Grove Utah Manila, and Menan Idaho.

Stakes formed from missions from June 1979 through March 1980 were Scranton Pennsylvania, Quito Ecuador, Pusan Korea, Cochabamba Bolivia, Londrina Brazil, Panama City Panama, Talca Chile, Sioux Falls South Dakota, Santa Ana El Salvador, Kingsport Tennessee, Tucuman Argentina, San Juan Argentina, Bahia Blanca Argentina, Durazno Uruguay, Arica Chile, Gisborne New Zealand, Arequipa Peru, and Kobe Japan.

Dedications Set for Tokyo, Seattle Temples

Dedication and open house dates have been announced for the Tokyo, Japan, and Seattle, Washington, temples, and the Tokyo Temple president has been announced.

The First Presidency has scheduled a five-week open house for the Tokyo Temple, starting September 15 for invited guests and September 16 for the public. The open house will run through October 18, excluding Sundays. Dedicatory services are scheduled October 27–29. A cornerstone service will be conducted October 27. The temple will be open November 4 for ordinance work.

An open house for invited guests will be October 6 for the Seattle Temple. The general public will be able to tour the temple from October 7 through November 8. The temple will be dedicated November 17, with the service repeated three times daily November 18 through 21. Ordinance work will begin December 2.

Attendance at dedicatory sessions is limited to qualified members of the Church.

President of the Tokyo Temple will be Dwayne Nelson Andersen, assistant professor and counselor in career education at Brigham Young University. Peggy Jean Huish Andersen, his wife, will be matron. Counselors in the presidency will be named later.

Detail of the Tokyo, Japan, Temple.