News of the Church

By Jerry P. Cahill


The Seattle Temple: “In Which Thou Canst Dwell Forever”

“Our Father, we ask thee to accept this house, the workmanship of the hands of thy servants, this house in which thou canst dwell forever,” prayed President Spencer W. Kimball in dedicating the Seattle Temple, his voice floating over the hushed throngs who gathered, 43,000 strong in thirteen separate dedicatory services November 17–21.

“Bless this temple that it may be a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of glory, a house of eternal marriage, a house of sealings, and thy house, the house of God, wherein thy holy saving work may be done for the salvation of both the living and the dead,” he prayed. He implored the Lord to bless the youth of Zion with “a desire for eternal marriage in thy holy temple,” to unlock “national gates” so that the gospel can be preached to “the countless millions on the earth,” and to bless the missionaries “that nothing will prevail against them in their faithful presentation of thy gospel plan to the world.”

His prayer also asked the Lord’s blessing on “all who labor in thy vineyard” He also invoked blessings on national, state, and local officials, “that peace and liberty and justice may continue to be the foundation stones of our existence.” Broadening his reference, he supplicated: “Father, we are concerned with the condition of the world of today and that nations seem to need only the striking of a spark to bring war. Bless, we pray thee, the leaders of nations, that they may rule wisely and righteously, and give thy people everywhere freedom to worship thee. Stay the powers, our Father, that would bring us to the brink of annihilation. But insomuch as nations repent and follow thee, be gracious, our Father, and let thy destroying angel pass by, and let thy people be forgiven.”

In reference specifically to the temple, he sought the Lord’s protection “from harm or destruction by fire or flood, or the rage of the elements, shafts of lightning and blasts of hurricanes, the upheavals of earthquakes, and all disturbances of any nature. Save it from any who, with evil design, would seek to desecrate its hallowed precincts.”

For the almost 4,000 members who attended each of the thirteen services, the prayer was deeply comforting in its invocation that the building might be found worthy of acceptation by the Lord, a theme that was reiterated as General Authorities instructed members of the Church in areas of personal righteousness. Both President N. Eldon Tanner and President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency also addressed sessions along with President Ezra Taft Benson, other General Authorities, and the temple presidency.

Approximately 285,000 members live in the Seattle Temple district which includes Washington, most of Oregon, the Idaho panhandle, Alaska, and British Columbia.

In his address President Kimball urged members to visit the temple often and pointed out the efforts to make temples easily accessible to Saints. “The Lord has seen fit to withhold the fulness of these principles and ordinances from the world and make them available only for those who have recognized the voice of their Shepherd, and prepared themselves for the temple.”

The Seattle Temple

Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten

BYU Symposium Probes Humanities and the Gospel

BYU’s Fifth Annual Symposium on the Humanities asked questions about the relationship of the gospel to the humanities in a variety of ways: carefully prepared lectures, of course, but also small group discussions, panels, and the presentation of a medieval morality play, updated to the twentieth century and vivified with gospel concepts.

Keyote speaker was Wayne C. Booth, George M. Pullman Professor of English at the University of Chicago. One of the most distinguished critics and rhetoricians in the United States today, he used a device made popular by Mark Twain in Letters from the Earth and by C. S. Lewis in Screwtape Letters to discuss the condition of arts in the Church. He told of “discovering” a stack of letters on red stationery in the library, the correspondence between a fictional demon named “the Chief” and his thick-witted field agent stationed in Provo named “Smoother.”

Reminding Smoother that the motto engraved over the door of hell is: “Homogenize, tranquilize, desensitize,” he told his bumbling lieutenant that his job was to combat “in every possible way the tendency of the arts to strengthen the souls of those who take them seriously.” He was especially irate that Smoother had not seemed aware that President Kimball’s message on the arts “could finish us off once and for all.”

The Chief quoted several passages that he found particularly damaging, including this one: “‘We must recognize that excellence and quality are a reflection of how we feel about ourselves and about life and about God. If we don’t care much about these basic things, then such not caring carries over into the work we do, and our work becomes shabby and shoddy.

“Real craftsmanship, regardless of the skill involved, reflects real caring, and real caring reflects our attitude about ourselves, about our fellowmen, and about life.” (Ensign, July 1977, p. 5.)

Outraged at his lieutenant’s obtuseness, the Chief fumes: “Now see here, Smoother, how stupid can you get? … Don’t you see that this is the strongest statement ever made by a Mormon leader about the kinship of art and worship? He sees no inherent conflict between art and the aims of the Church. Don’t you see, idiot, that such a view strikes at the very roots of our program? He speaks as if a member of the Church who is a fine artist is actually serving the Church by being a fine artist. … Once people take seriously his suggestion that there’s a close tie between the virtue of fine craftsmanship and the virtue of religious devotion, our goose is cooked!”

Johann Wondra, a convert of about thirty years who is currently serving as the first president of the Vienna Austria Stake, contributed to the symposium in two ways. With Thomas F. Rogers, he directed a cast of BYU students in performing Jedermann (Everyman), an allegorical morality play that is performed annually on the steps of the Salzburg Cathedral.

He also addressed an absorbed crowd on “Art: A Possibility for Love.” After reviewing the tension-filled lives of such great artists as Schiller, Handel, and Beethoven, he observed, “All these artists lived in this world as if in a prison, a prison of external conditions but also frequently as a result of their lifestyle. But they didn’t know the gospel, or … that peace of mind that makes you independent of external circumstances. So they created their immortal masterpieces out of that inordinate tension of their longing for the liberation and the salvation of Jesus Christ.”

But if these tensions seem to accompany the production of great art, and if the gospel would remove these tensions, what would the gospel offer that would also inspire great works of art? “Charity,” he said simply, noting that the Spirit fills a man with the desire to bless his neighbors as well as himself. This charity is “not imposed by external circumstances but rather is an expression of the intense interest in the fate and welfare of a neighbor. Love makes use of artistic means to bless other men, and art is thus a possibility for love. Art is, through the pure love of Christ, a powerful means of edifying, teaching, ennobling, and perfecting mankind. Art is great to the extent that it is motivated by the Spirit.”

Dr. John Carroll Lloyd combines two unusual interests in his profession. He is chief of surgery at Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh and holds the academic positions of professor in the medical and comparative literature schools at the University of Pittsburgh. In a slide lecture, Dr. Lloyd examined the life of William Carlos Williams, a doctor in Rutherford, New Jersey, and one of the nation’s most prominent poets. “He was a doctor for their illnesses and a poet for their health,” said Dr. Lloyd, “who used to jot down a short poem or an idea for one on his prescription pad. He did not lead two separate lives but seemed to achieve a merged sensibility.”

How was he able to do it? Dr. Lloyd suggested that one of the strengths was his insistence that there are “no ideas but in things,” that poetry must be rooted firmly and deeply in reality, and that knowledge comes from looking directly at that reality.

“Medicine deals with the great intimacies of daily life which is the stuff of great art—birth, illness, death.” The “technological splendor of the intensive care unit” is one kind of reality, but “the human aspects are the hardest part of an illness.” As disease “distorts the relationship of organs, nerves, and vessels within the body, it also distorts the relationship of the sick person to his family, friends, colleagues, his image of himself, and most importantly, his relationship to God. These are the concerns of the world’s great literature.”

[illustration] Christ in America, by Minerva Teichert, a prominent Latter-day Saint artist who often portrayed gospel events and themes in her paintings.

Church History Films Available for Wards, Families

Eleven films of a twenty-five part series of Church history video tapes beginning with the exodus from Nauvoo and ending with the issuing of the Manifesto in 1890 are available for wards and families. Produced by BYU Media Services for the university’s religion classes, they include a set of eleven on Church presidents, from Brigham Young through President Kimball.

Video tapes on the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Church’s beginnings are included in a twenty-two part set now in production that should be finished in 1983.

The video tapes are available in 3/4-inch size for U-Matic educational and industrial sets, and in 1/2-inch sizes for Betamax and BHS home sets. This is also the size in use by many wards. The video tapes rent for $12 apiece from Audio Visual Services, 295-A HCRB, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84601, 378–2713, and are also available for purchase at $85 each from Media Marketing, W-164 Stadium, Brigham Young University. The eleven tapes on the Church presidents have been made into filmstrips as well and are available as a package for $65 from Media Marketing, for purchase only, not rental.

The eleven video tapes on the Church presidents run between thirteen and nineteen minutes; the filmstrip version, with accompanying tape, has been edited to an average eleven minutes.

Titles on the video tapes include: “Succession in the Presidency” (15 min.), “Come, Come, Ye Saints” (13 min.), “Winter Quarters (15 min.), “Mormon Battalion” (16 min.), “The Great Basin before the Mormons” (12 min.), “Route of the Pioneers” (18 min.), “Sam Brannan” (17 min.), “Establishing Zion in the Mountains” (18 min.), “Handcarts to Zion” (18 min.), “The Utah War” (15 min.), “City of the Saints” (18 min.), “That All May Profit” (12 min.), “Mormons under Federal Attack” (15 min.), and “Women of the Kingdom” (19 min.).

All of the tapes are in color and use historic photographs, daguerreotypes, and engravings from the Church Archives. They also document each period with the records of the time—letters, journal accounts, and reminiscences.

[photo] An important site in Church history—the “ice pond” at Joseph Smith’s birthplace in Sharon, Vermont. Photography by George Edward Anderson, 1912.

Policies and Announcements

Tithing Settlement Attendance

The following appeared in a letter from the First Presidency sent to Church leaders, dated 2 December 1980:

“As the period for the settlement of tithes and offerings approaches, we desire to reemphasize to the membership of the Church the importance of the law of tithing.

“Accordingly, we are asking that every bishop and branch president take this opportunity to visit personally with each family in his unit and teach the principles of tithes and offerings and the blessings promised by the Lord when we are obedient to the law (see 3 Ne. 24:10–11). … We also ask that the following statement be read in your next sacrament meeting:

“‘All members, whether full-, part-, or non-tithe payers, should meet with their bishop or branch president at tithing settlement to declare their tithing status and make sure their donations have been recorded correctly.

“‘We encourage members to seek a personal conviction of paying tithing. Tithing is a law of God and is required of his followers. To fail to meet this obligation is to fail in a very weighty matter. It is a transgression, not an inconsequential oversight.

“‘We bear our testimony and witness to the divinity of this important principle, and pray our Heavenly Father to bless you and all the Saints with this same testimony.’

“May the Lord bless you as you visit with the membership of the Church and teach these sacred principles.”

Monthly Home Teaching Messages

The following information appeared in a letter sent by President Ezra Taft Benson to Church leaders, dated 1 December 1980:

“Effective January 1, 1981, we suggest that the First Presidency Message carried in the Ensign magazine be considered for use as a monthly home teaching message. These messages enable the First Presidency to communicate regularly with Church members on important subjects. To assist home teachers in using the message more effectively with the families they visit, each message will be accompanied by some suggestions entitled ‘Ideas for Home Teachers.’

“Because the May and November issues of the Ensign contain the addresses given at general conferences, no special First Presidency Message will appear in those issues. One of the conference addresses would be appropriate to discuss in those months.

“We suggest that instructions be given to the home teachers by their priesthood leaders on the use of the monthly message in the Ensign. We encourage home teachers to have access to the Ensign magazine in their homes.

“We appreciate your effort to put into effect this valuable aid to the home teaching program.”

LDS Scene

Jeffrey R. Holland became BYU’s ninth president in November ceremonies that also included an academic procession, a reception, a luncheon, and a ball.

In giving the formal charge to the new president, President Spencer W. Kimball, also president of the Board of Trustees, stressed his theme that education for eternity is what counts and urged BYU to “hold fast to those basic principles which have proved true and right and have guided good men and women and good universities over the centuries.”

He also promised the new president: “By drawing close to our Heavenly Father you will be guided. This is His work. This is his university. You are his servant. You are on his errand.”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, in delivering the inaugural address, reviewed the great number of universities that began as religiously affiliated institutions. Brigham Young University, he said, will never stop being a religious school, and charged it to continue its dual concerns “with both knowledge and godliness.”

BYU will increase tuition beginning fall semester of the 1981–82 school year, from $485 to $545 per semester for undergraduates; from $540 to $605 for graduate and advance standing students; $890 to $1,000 for law students; and $695 to $780 for Graduate School of Management students. Tuition for spring and summer terms will be one-half the semester rate.

Students who are not members of the Church will pay one and a half times the regular rate.

Having a hard time keeping Nehemiah, Proverbs, and Deuteronomy in order? More Songs for Children, a Church activity songbook for youngsters, contains all of the Old Testament books set to music, an easy way to memorize the names of the books quickly. The songbook is available at the Salt Lake City Distribution Center, 1999 W. 1700 S., Salt Lake City, Utah 84104, for seventy cents, order number PBMU0392.

The recently published LDS edition of the Old and New Testament are available at the Salt Lake City Distribution Center. This edition comes in a variety of styles:

—large-print brown leather covers (PBCS0029), $22.50.

—large-print black leather covers (PBCS0018), $22.50.

—small-print black leather covers (PBCS003A), $16.75.

—small-print brown leather covers (PSCS0040), $16.75.

—large-print black vinyl covers (PBSC0051), $10.50.

—large-print brown vinyl covers (PBCS0062), $10.50.

—small-print black vinyl covers (PBCS0073), $7.00.

—small-print brown vinyl covers (PBCS0084), $7.00.

The Distribution Center’s address is 1999 W. 1700 S., Salt Lake City, Utah 84104.

Among other activities marking National Family Week in November were Church ceremonies honoring one nonmember “model family” in Columbia, Ohio, and another in Savannah, Georgia. Church public communications officials and stake leaders arranged the events to pay tribute to the family of Edsel and Shirley Cotter, members of the Presbyterian Church, and the James and Virginia DeLoach family, United Methodist, in Georgia.

New stakes in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Paisley, Scotland, join those in Dundee and Glasgow to make the blessings of stakehood available for all of the country’s 10,000 members. Missionaries first arrived in 1839; but until about 1950, many converts emigrated. In the past thirty years, however, the Church population has soared and more than thirty chapels have been built.

President John A. Davis has been called to preside over a newly created mission in the Dominican Republic, accompanied by his wife, Ada Whitten Davis. It will be headquartered in Santo Domingo. Missionaries first entered the country in 1977 and since then have baptized about 2,500 members in twenty branches. The main language is Spanish, although English is also widely spoken.

A four-day family reunion, the sixth for several thousand descendants of Lucy Mack and Joseph Smith, Sr., is scheduled for August 6–9 at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. It follows those held in Nauvoo (1972 and 1979), Independence (1973), Salt Lake City (1975), and Kirtland, Ohio (1977).

All descendants are invited whether they have attended a previous reunion or not, according to Buddy Youngreen, executive secretary for the family reunion. Further information and registration forms are available by writing Buddy Youngreen, 1564 N. Moonriver Drive #9, Provo, Utah 84601, and enclosing a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Dallin H. Oaks, former BYU president, was appointed to the Utah Supreme Court by Governor Scott Matheson on 21 November 1980. Former dean of the University of Chicago College of Law, Justice Oaks will serve two years, then, if elected, will be on the bench for an eight year term.

This year’s Miss New Zealand, Vickie Lee Hemi, is a Latter-day Saint from Hamilton, New Zealand. She recently placed fifth in the Miss World competition in London. A graduate of the Church College of New Zealand and an education-English student at the University of Waikato, the eighteen-year-old Miss New Zealand attributes her poise before the judges to her experience with Church speaking.

Proceedings of the August World Conference on Records will soon be available in print and tapes. Order forms have been sent to all English-speaking wards, stakes, and missions; but the forms are also available from the Genealogical Department, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150; and from the Salt Lake Distribution Center, 1999 W. 1700 S., Salt Lake City 84104.

The Southern California Mormon Choir recently completed a two-week tour of Israel. Singing before enthusiastic audiences, the sixty-three choir members, under the direction of their conductor, Frederick Davis, performed a program that included religious, classical, and folk songs, with two concluding numbers in Hebrew. A twenty-five minute Schubert section of each concert was conducted by Maestro Amos Meller of Tel Aviv, the general music director of six choirs in Israel.

Each of Israel’s two national radios recorded a concert for later replay. Each concert was preceded by a ten-minute talk on the history of the Church, including Orson Hyde’s dedication of Israel for the return of the Jews, by Dr. Joseph Ginot, professor at Haifa University and friend of the Church.