News of the Church

By Marvin K. Gardner

Elder Gordon B. Hinckley Called to First Presidency, Elder Neal A. Maxwell to Quorum of Twelve

Within hours of their setting apart and ordination on Thursday, July 23, President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency and Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve stood before a press conference in the First Presidency’s conference room. They spoke in subdued tones of their love for the gospel and their dedication to the work of the kingdom.

On the day before July 24, when the state of Utah celebrates the arrival of the Mormon Pioneers, it was announced that Elder Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve had been appointed a counselor in the First Presidency. Elder Maxwell of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy had been called to fill the resulting vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve.

President Hinckley, 71, who has served in the Quorum of the Twelve since October 1961, joins President N. Eldon Tanner, first Counselor, and President Marion G. Romney, second counselor, in the First Presidency. Previously, President Hinckley had served as an Assistant to the Twelve from 6 April 1958 until his call to the Twelve. Elder Maxwell, 55, has been a member of the presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy since its reorganization in 1976. Earlier he had served two and a half years as an Assistant to the Twelve.

President Gordon B. Hinckley

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“It is a privilege and an opportunity to be closely associated with President Kimball and his able counselors, President Tanner and President Romney,” said President Hinckley in response to his call. “I feel in my heart a great love for them, and if I can do anything to assist them in any way with the tremendous responsibility they carry, I will be pleased to be of help.”

He emphasized the broad scope of the gospel message. “The great work in which we are engaged is the work of God. Its mission and responsibilities are worldwide. Our message is the gospel of peace, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The dissemination of that message and bringing the power of that message into the lives of people everywhere is our charge and our responsibility—and to that task we devote ourselves.”

With President Hinckley’s call as a counselor in the First Presidency, that governing Quorum becomes the largest it has been since the late 1960s, when there were as many as six members at one time. In addition to President Hinckley, there have been twelve other men called as counselors in the First Presidency—beyond the traditional first and second counselors—since the Church was organized in 1830.

President Hinckley was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, 23 June 1910, a son of Bryant S. and Ada Bitner Hinckley. He graduated in 1932 from the University of Utah, then served as a missionary in the British Isles from 1933 to 1935.

He was appointed in 1935 by President Heber J. Grant to serve as secretary of the Radio, Publicity, and Mission Literature Committee of the Church (a forerunner of today’s Public Communications Department of the Church). In this capacity he pioneered the use of filmstrips, moving pictures, and other audiovisual materials for Church use. He also wrote and directed numerous radio programs, world’s fair exhibits, and other related activities.

He married Marjorie Pay 29 April 1937 in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of five children and twenty-one grandchildren.

Elder Hinckley was called to the Sunday School General Board less than two years after returning from his mission. He served in this capacity until 1946, when he was called as a counselor in the East Mill Creek Stake Presidency, later serving as president of that stake until called as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve.

In 1954 Elder Hinckley was assigned to prepare materials in various languages and methods of presentation for the Swiss Temple, which was dedicated in 1955. He set up this work in the Swiss, London, New Zealand, and Los Angeles temples, utilizing the procedures now employed in most temples of the Church.

During President David O. McKay’s administration, Elder Hinckley was given responsibility for the operation of the Missionary Department of the Church. In 1960, while serving as as an Assistant to the Twelve, he administered the work of the Church in Asia, serving in that capacity until 1967 when he was assigned the work in South America. After three years of supervising the work in South America, he was given responsibility for the work in Europe, then was reassigned supervision of Asia for an additional three years.

President and Sister Hinckley have traveled widely in fulfilling numerous assignments. In 1980 they accompanied the BYU Young Ambassadors on a tour of Mainland China; in May of 1981, again with BYU performing groups they visited Yugoslavia, Romania, and Russia.

In addition to his Church service, President Hinckley has served in numerous business and civic capacities.

Responding to his call as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Maxwell spoke quietly of commitment and fulfillment of prophecy. There is no way,” he said, “that one can feel any sense of adequacy about this calling. All one can do is to be willing to be tutored and trained; I certainly am willing to do that. I responded to this call immediately; I am pleased to play a small part in the kingdom.

“I take note of the fact that the Church, in this part of this dispensation, exists in a time when one of President Brigham Young’s prophecies is being fulfilled, in which he said as the Church grows and expands in the nation and the world, so also, in direct proportion, will the power of the adversary rise. So the high adventure that lies before us as a people and as a kingdom is difficult to assess. I hope in some small way that I can make a contribution.”

Elder Maxwell’s service as a General Authority began in April of 1974 when he was called to be an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve. When the First Quorum of the Seventy was reorganized in 1976, he was called to the presidency of that body.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Prior to his Church callings, Elder Maxwell held a variety of administrative and teaching positions with the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, including executive vice president of the University. He had earlier served as a legislative assistant to United States Senator Wallace F. Bennett of Utah. He has served as director of several business firms and has been active in public service.

He has written a number of books and has authored many articles dealing with politics and government for national, professional, and Church publications.

A political science graduate of the University of Utah, Elder Maxwell also earned a master’s degree from that university. He was later awarded honorary doctoral degrees from Westminister College in Salt Lake City, Brigham Young University, and Utah State University in Logan.

Prior to his 1970 appointment as Church Commissioner of Education, Elder Maxwell had served the Church in a variety of positions, including bishop of Salt Lake City’s University Sixth Ward, member of the General Board of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association, member of the Adult Correlation Committee, and Regional Representative. As a young man he served a two-year mission to Canada.

Born 6 July 1926, he is married to the former Colleen Hinckley. They are the parents of four children.

Elder S. Dilworth Young Dies

Elder S. Dilworth Young
We must stand true
Stand true as Joseph stood;
Be good as he was good;
And faithful be, as he
Stood faithful.

S. Dilworth Young

Standing true and faithful to the last, Elder Seymour Dilworth Young, 83, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, died 9 July 1981 of congestive heart failure at a Salt Lake City hospital. Only five days earlier, he and Sister Young had returned to Utah from Southern California, where he had directed the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center for two years and four months. His death closed a term of Church service spanning thirty-six years as a General Authority, including service as the first Senior President of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Young was born 7 September 1897 in Salt Lake City to Seymour B. and Carlie Louine Young Clawson Young. He graduated from Salt Lake’s Granite High School and attended Weber College for one year. (The rest of his education, he once quipped, came at the “University of Hard Knocks.”)

During World War I, Elder Young served in Europe with the 145th Field Artillery. Upon his return to the United States, he was called as a missionary to the Central States in 1920, where he served until late 1922.

Elder Young married Gladys Pratt 31 May 1923 in the Salt Lake Temple. They had two children: Dilworth Randolph Young, who was killed in military action in Belgium in 1944, and Leonore, now Mrs. Blaine P. Parkinson of Ogden, Utah. Following the death of his wife Gladys, Elder Young married Huldah Parker 4 January 1965.

He served as a professional Boy Scout executive in the Ogden Area Council from 1923 to April 1945, at which time he was appointed a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. In 1947 he and his wife were called to preside over the New England Mission, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They served in that position until 1951.

In 1975 Elder Young was sustained a member of the newly reorganized First Quorum of the Seventy. That same year he received the David O. McKay Humanities Award from Brigham Young University. He was given Emeritus General Authority status in September 1978.

Elder Young has been widely known by members of the Church as an author and a poet. Among his published books are Adventure in Faith, Young Brigham Young, More Precious Than Rubies, a book of poetry entitled Here Stand I—Looking! and a biography of his great-grandfather, Brigham Young. The Ensign has published a number of his poems through the last decade.

Many Saints have expressed their love and admiration for Elder Young and his wife, especially those in Southern California who had witnessed the Youngs’ devotion to their calling as directors of the Los Angeles Visitors’ Center. “He endeared himself to the hearts of thousands of Saints in this area with his delightful personality and subtle wit,” said Sister Kit Poole, Communication Director for the Santa Ana Region.

One of the highlights of the Youngs’ Los Angeles service was the establishment of a garden monument to women, based on the Relief Society Monument to Women in Nauvoo, Illinois. “He was always personally involved with whatever went on at the Center,” wrote Sister Poole. “When the monument garden was being built, he could often be seen out there, early in the morning, in overalls with a handkerchief bound around his head, weeding and watering the tender new plants.

“There were many recipients of his kindnesses. All who performed at the Visitors’ Center received hand-written notes of thanks from him. Sister Maryann Mendenhall, musical director of many of the major productions at the Center, said that after one performance she received a beautiful loaf of bread—baked by the loving hands of Elder S. Dilworth Young.

“The Los Angeles Temple has stood on Santa Monica Boulevard many years, and yet few in the community have realized that there was a Visitors’ Center in back of it. Because of the work of Elder S. Dilworth Young, the community is now more aware of the Center, and thousands have attended the special weekend cultural programs and concerts held there.”

In his address as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in the Church semiannual conference on 1 October 1978, Elder Young summarized the lessons of his life in these words:

“I testify that he who obeys the commandments and thus seeks the virtuous, righteous life will find the pearl of great price of knowledge of the Son of God who is our Savior, and, finding this, will have joy. If in addition he loves and serves his fellowmen, he will add a chain of pearls and will find eternal life in the presence of his Heavenly Father and that Savior.

“We obey the ordinances which make exaltation possible.

“We follow and obey the code of conduct which makes it certain.”

Manti Temple Closed for Renovation

The Manti Temple will be closed for renovation beginning 1 October 1981, the First Presidency has announced. Completely new electrical wiring, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems will be installed in the century-old building. New dressing rooms are planned and the temple annex will be upgraded, It is expected that the renovations will take two years to complete.

The First Presidency emphasized that although the work on the temple will be “extensive,” there will be no change in the interior design. The historic spiral staircase, the murals, and much of the furniture will be retained.

Stakes in the Manti Temple district will be temporarily assigned to the Provo Temple district.

Ghanaian Branch President Visits Utah

9 June 1981—three years to the day after the announcement that all worthy men could hold the priesthood—the branch president from Accra, Ghana, visited Church headquarters.

Emmanuel Abu Kissi, 42, is a member of the faculty of the Legon University Medical School and a general surgeon at the 1,000-bed Korle Bu Hospital.

He came to Salt Lake City to speak at LDS Hospital.

Dr. Kissi fits a pattern of some new Latter-day Saints in Ghana: after completing formal education, they go abroad to work or to continue studying. There they meet the missionaries, are baptized, and return to Ghana to serve their people and build up the Church.

Dr. Kissi was working in a hospital near Manchester, England, when his wife, Benedicta Elizabeth, received the missionaries one day. She became interested in their message and shared it with her husband when he returned.

“When we left for Britain in 1976,” Dr. Kissi says, “I hadn’t been satisfied with the many Christian religions I was acquainted with. In my search I had read the Bible page by page. When we went to Britain, I thought that perhaps I’d get to know the truth there.”

At first the elders sounded to him like everyone else. But then they gave him a Book of Mormon. “Don’t tell me about it,” he said. “I’ll read it myself.” After finishing it, he consumed the Doctrine and Covenants, seven Volumes of Church history, Jesus the Christ, Mormon Doctrine, and all the tracts the missionaries could provide. After intense prayer and study, he asked for baptism.

They were baptized in Manchester 8 February 1979. Lillian, 9, and Emmanuel, 8, have since been baptized; Eric, 6, is preparing.

Since the Church is still new and relatively unknown in Accra, some recently baptized Ghanaians have a hard time finding it when they return. But only a few days after Dr. Kissi’s arrival, he discovered a patient reading the Doctrine and Covenants in the hospital where he worked. When he greeted her, she excitedly exclaimed that Church members had heard that he had been baptized in England and that everyone was looking for him. The patient? Sister Sampson-Davis, mother of one of the first two full-time missionaries from Ghana.

In the summer of 1980, Bryan A. Espenschied, president of the Africa West Mission, set him apart as president of the sixty-five-member Accra Branch. Brother Kissi finds that the Church is well received among Ghanaians and that it’s easy to introduce the gospel to others. When they receive a Book of Mormon, they read it and are open to discussion.

President Kissi believes that the Church has potential in Ghana, a country about the size of Utah with a population of about twelve million people. “Ghanaians are spiritually-oriented people thirsting for the truth,” he says. “Most know they haven’t found it—and they aren’t satisfied. They keep changing churches. Many are unhappy, in turmoil—even though their family life and professions are going well. This is why they’re so receptive to the gospel.”

Satellite Hookup Approved for U.S. Stake Centers

In a letter to stake presidents in the Continental United States dated 25 June 1981, the First Presidency indicated that it is approved to “install satellite receivers for audio and video reception at stake centers in the United States. Initial programming for the system will include General Conference (including the General Priesthood Meeting), the General Relief Society Meeting, and the General Young Women Meeting. Other programs are anticipated in the future.”

Thus, with the projected installation of about five hundred satellite reception “dishes” at stake centers in the U.S., the possibilities for direct audio and visual communication between Church leaders in Salt Lake City and members in the field will be greatly expanded. Standard installation in stake centers will include (1) a satellite receiver with a three-meter dish antenna enclosed by a chain-link fence, and (2) a standard color television set, a videotape recorder, and a stand. Cable will be provided for inside wiring to one location.

The First Presidency’s letter was accompanied by information and a brief questionnaire to assist each stake president in determining “whether satellite reception is possible at your stake center.”

It is estimated that the satellite program will be put into effect nationwide within approximately eighteen months.

[photo] This satellite receiver “dish” in Fayette, New York, was used to facilitate transmission of April 1980 general conference sessions between Salt Lake City and Fayette. Similar “dishes” will be installed at stake centers throughout the United States. (Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten.)

Splitting the Bamboo Curtain

Latter-day Saints Sponsor Indochinese Refugees

“Before I left my country, my father’s land, my house, my animals, my friends, I said my last goodbye with tears dropping from my eyes to them. My lovely dogs looked at me very sad and knew that I was going to leave them away forever, but they couldn’t say anything to me, just lick my legs. My chickens crowed and clucked to me their last songs for goodbye forever. I said goodbye to my house where I slept. I also said goodbye to the mountain near my house where every morning I heard the songs sung by a multitude of beautiful small birds from its green trees.”

Since the Communist takeover of Southeast Asia in 1975, scenes like this have been reenacted hundreds of thousands of times by refugees streaming out of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Chou Ly, who recorded this poignant farewell to his home in the mountains of Laos, was sponsored by a Latter-day Saint family and now lives in Orem, Utah. He has accepted the gospel and serves as president of a small but growing refugee branch in that area.

Over the past few years, members throughout the Church have become increasingly involved in sponsoring Indochinese refugees. Members have opened their homes and hearts to families and individuals who have fled their native countries and must now adapt themselves to strange new lands.

Utah seems to have been particularly responsive to these refugees; well over 6,000 now reside in the state. Explains Brother Harvey Dean Brown, president of the Utah Friends of Refugees League, “We sponsored Vietnamese refugees in 1972 and 1973; they told us that Utah, among the refugees themselves, had a reputation for being a very good place to go. There seems to be a good social-humanitarian climate here.”

The Lo family are Hmongs (the “h” is silent) from the mountains of Laos, a few of the 25,000 Hmongs authorized to emigrate to America. Grant Barton and his family of Salt Lake City sponsored this family.

Refugees are usually not accustomed to modern conveniences, and Brother Barton recalls that the family’s first day in their home “was a real experience. They had to be taught how to turn on a light, how to turn on the water, how to use a stove, and how to use bathroom fixtures.

“It didn’t take them long,” says Brother Barton, “to warm up to us, and after seeing how hospitable our Latter-day Saint neighbors were, they also warmed up towards the Church.” Missionary discussions followed, and within a few months the Lo family with some of their friends and relatives were baptized. Brother Lo works as a bookbinder and is manager of the apartments where he and his family live in Salt Lake City.

But refugee sponsorship is by no means confined to Utah. “We’ve got Latter-day Saints all over the United States and many countries overseas who are intimately involved with refugee activities,” says Brother Brown.

Sister Colleen Liljenquist and her family were living in Nashville, Tennessee, when an opportunity came to sponsor members of a royal dance troupe from Laos—a group that had performed regularly in the king’s palace. As the Communists overran the country, several members of the troupe managed to stay together, swimming across the Mekong River into Thailand; others joined them later. Now about thirty members of the group, trying desperately to stay together, were to arrive in Nashville.

“We decided that we would do it big, if we were going to do it at all,” recalls Sister Liljenquist. “These people were unique, because they brought with them an important part of the culture of their country.” Altogether, more than two dozen Nashville LDS families sponsored refugees. “Some of our people were reluctant, a little bit afraid. And it is a little frightening. Our biggest problems were finding them worthwhile employment and adequate housing.”

Communication is an ever-present concern for most refugees and their sponsoring families. Some have access to the services of returned missionaries from Thailand; others must find their own resources. “One of the best things I think we did for them,” says Sister Liljenquist, “was to have a number of picnics. We seemed to be able to bridge the communication barrier by just sitting together and eating together. We would sing some of our songs, they would sing theirs.”

President B. Lloyd Poelman of the Tennessee Nashville Mission (whose family also sponsored a Laotian family) helped establish a Laotian Sunday School in the Nashville First Ward. “We had some real challenges communicating with them at first,” he reflects. “The first hour they would spend studying English; the second hour we would have, in essence, a Gospel Essentials class taught through a translator; the third hour they would join us in our regular sacrament meeting. I think we really have to commend the Saints for what they’ve done, because it’s a herculean effort.”

Now living in Idaho, the Liljenquists are still refugee-minded. “Every time I see an Asian,” says Sister Liljenquist, “I go up and say, ‘Where are you from?’ because we came to love them like brothers and sisters. I think what my children miss most about the nine years we lived in Tennessee are the Laotians. We’re going to become involved again.”

Ted and JaNae Winder of Salt Lake City welcomed into their home a sixty-three-year-old father with four of his ten children—ethnic Chinese who had been living in Cambodia, where they were members of the upper class. “When they came,” says Sister Winder, “the father didn’t seem really well to me; but he never said a thing.” Two weeks later he was admitted to the hospital with a serious case of active tuberculosis. “One of his concerns had been that he might be sent back. So he never complained; but he must have been terribly sick.”

The Winders hosted this family in their home for about six weeks, during which time they were able to help the family secure employment. “The Chinese are very hard workers,” explains Sister Winder, “so many employers are very happy to hire them for jobs where they don’t have to do a lot of talking; they can just show them what to do. Two of the girls are working at a sewing factory; one girl is going to work as a maid at a hotel. The father, once he is healthy enough, has been guaranteed a job at a Chinese restaurant as a cook.”

In Long Beach, California, refugees have, in effect, introduced themselves to the Church. Dennis Beckstrand, a high councilman in the Long Beach East Stake, tells the story: “The missionaries were tracking and they ran into a refugee family, about six or seven of them; they came to church by themselves the first time. By the second week, that had escalated into about thirteen and the stake president and I got together and started setting the wheels in motion to have a program for them. By the fourth week we were up to about thirty or forty; and then it jumped to seventy after the fifth or sixth week. Right now we have 350 attending. We have a complete branch organization.”

Brother Beckstrand is not aware of LDS families in the Long Beach area who are serving as sponsors; rather, all members of this new refugee branch were missionary contacts. “What happened,” he explains, “is exactly what we’re supposed to do as member missionaries. They’d come to church and we’d teach them a principle of the gospel through a translator; then we would bear testimony, ‘This is a great message. If you like it, you can invite your friends.’ The next week, attendance would double.”

“Our greatest problem is communication,” he adds. “They are such sweet people that as the elders teach them, they nod their heads—yes, yes, they understand—even if they don’t. They do understand basic principles; but many of the concepts we teach in the Church they have never experienced before. And so when it comes time for a baptismal interview, rather than being a fifteen- or twenty-minute interview, it’s an hour and a half or two hours.”

“One learns joy by sponsoring a refugee family,” reflects Christi Burnett of Granger, Utah. “On December 12, 1980, about twelve hours after we had committed ourselves to be sponsors, we stood at the Salt Lake City airport watching our refugee family walk off the plane carrying only a few belongings in their hands. The father was in his early thirties, the mother in her late twenties. They had two little boys, one five years old and the other six months.”

That evening they attended a ward Christmas party. “People at the party took a great interest in them. One lady was so touched by seeing this young refugee mother that she left the hall with tears in her eyes. The next morning this same lady and her own little family brought our refugee family pots and pans, pillows, a bedspread, and a large mirror. By Sunday a bed had been donated and clothes and shoes had been brought to our home.

“The giving and caring didn’t ever seem to stop. On Christmas Eve, people from the ward dropped by with gifts that included a hand mixer and drinking glasses. After the family had brought the glasses, our Cambodian man held one of them gently and said, ‘Real American glasses.’ Such small things brought them great joy.”

What began as a simple fellowshipping effort in Colorado has blossomed into a heartwarming missionary effort among the refugees. “About three years ago,” recalls Aldine Allen of Arvata (a suburb of Denver), “we were assigned by our bishop to be a fellowshipping family, and we decided to take on a family that had just joined the Church; they were Hmongs. We have kept in touch with this family, and about a year and a half ago we went to them and said, ‘You indicated at one time that you had some friends who might be interested in hearing about the Church.’ They gave us about fifteen families’ names, and we had a fireside (all Hmong). All but two of these families have since been baptized—in addition to many more. We now have a Hmong branch of the Church here in Denver; my husband is the branch president, and I’m the Relief Society president. We continue to have baptisms about every two weeks. They are very receptive to the gospel.”

Association with the Hmong people has reinforced Sister Allen’s scriptural insights. “Most of them are not Christian, but they know the story of Noah, and of the Tower of Babel, and of Adam and Eve. If I’d never had a testimony of the truth of Genesis before, there’s no way I could deny it now. They know those stories; they have been handed down through the generations.”

Gospel learning among these people is slow but steady. “Most of them, now,” says Sister Allen, “are learning to call upon us when someone is ill. We have had several instances where the priesthood administered to a sick baby, and the child was healed. They are learning to have great faith in those blessings. The same thing is true of teaching them about prayer. At first it was very difficult to convince them to have prayers; but they’re doing it now. And now that we have our branch, they bless and pass the sacrament. They are serving and growing.”

Where refugees have joined the Church in significant numbers, branches are established to serve their needs. And, says Brother Harvey Brown, “We are seeing these people taking over leadership positions. In most cases we’ve had a branch president who was a refugee and a counselor who was a returned missionary; or sometimes the returned missionary would be the branch president and his counselors would be refugees.

“The program is adjusted, too. In some places, all they’ve got is just a Sunday School along with the sacrament. It has to be adapted to the people you’re dealing with. You start with the program to meet your greatest need; then, as you get different demands, you can add to it.”

The Church has recently begun calling missionaries currently serving in the Thailand Bangkok Mission to serve the last several months of their missions in the United States where there are high concentrations of Indochinese refugees. Their language skills enable them to open the doors of gospel learning for refugees and to assist in a number of ways.

Kent Pulsipher and his wife and ten children of Sandy, Utah, “sat down as a family and decided that we ought to become sponsors. The children wanted to, and supported our decision. They even recognized the need for some to give up their rooms. And we did have to re-shuffle a bit.” The Pulsiphers sponsored a widow with three of her children and a family friend. “She escaped the night before the Viet Cong attacked their village by loading the three youngest on a log and crossing the Mekong River. (Her husband was lost earlier.) She had sent seven or eight of her other children ahead with a brother.

“We had them in our home for two months until we located an apartment for them. Then we began to help her track down the rest of her family. We located them in Minnesota; so she took her three children and joined them there.”

Stories of faith, love, and sacrifice on the part of Latter-day Saints and their refugee brothers and sisters could fill many pages. It is not an easy thing to rebuild one’s life in a new land amidst an alien culture; neither is it simple to put aside other interests to assist in that rebuilding. But Latter-day Saints who have done so can now look back and see the benefits. As Brother Kent Pulsipher reflects: “The important thing is the experience of becoming aware that some of God’s children need help, that some very serious experiences have happened to them, and then getting in there to help. It’s a very humbling thing to recognize that we have some things other people have not been given. And not to share them is tragic.

“Very definitely, I think more families ought to be more involved in this effort. It’s like everything else; you can make that personal decision, and then offer to make the sacrifices you will have to make—and then the sacrifices turn into opportunities and blessings for everyone involved.”

Brother Harvey Brown, who is a former Thailand Bangkok mission president and who has worked with hundreds of refugee families and their sponsors through government agencies, religious groups, and charitable organizations, holds deep convictions about the potential and destiny of the Indochinese people—and about the Church’s unique role in the drama:

“Generally, I think the refugees are just like every other Church convert population. There are those who are there for their own reasons; there are those who are touched by the Spirit. And, like any other group, we’ll lose some of them and we’ll keep some of them. The ones that we keep will be stronger, and grow and develop, and they’ll become leaders. And if they’re not leaders, their children will be. Even though the adults may not be able to fully understand everything, I think the next generation will. And I think this is terribly important.

“We cannot get behind the so-called bamboo curtain. But in this case, the bamboo curtain has been opened by pushing the people out. Now it’s up to us to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ into their lives so that they can take it to others of their people. The Lord has made this opportunity available to us.

“This, in turn, gives us opportunities. One is the opportunity to serve and to have humanitarian experiences in our lives, to give Christian service. At the same time, we can, if they are interested, bring the gospel into their lives.

“Any Latter-day Saint that takes a refugee family will have an experience that will mean something important to his own family. And we do need more sponsors. Everywhere.”

Families or individuals who wish to participate in a sponsorship or assistance program are encouraged to contact their local LDS Social Services office—or any voluntary resettlement agency or state refugee agency—for information.

[photos] Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten

[photo] Men of all ages attend priesthood meeting at the Vietnamese Branch, Salt Lake Stake.

[photo] Relief Society in the Vietnamese Branch, Salt Lake Stake.

[photo] Sister Marie Morgan discusses gospel principles with a Young Women’s class in the Vietnamese Branch.

LDS Scene

Sister Freda Joan Jensen Lee, widow of President Harold B. Lee, died 1 July 1981 at her home in Salt Lake City. She would have celebrated her 84th birthday on July 2.

Born in 1897 in Provo, Utah, Sister Lee attended Brigham Young High School, received degrees in education and music from Brigham Young University, and did graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley, at Columbia University, and at the University of Utah. She taught school in Provo and Draper before being appointed supervisor of primary education for Jordan School District.

On 17 June 1963 she married Elder Harold B. Lee, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. She was President Lee’s second wife, his first wife, Fern Tanner Lee, having died in 1962.

Sister Lee was active in educational and civic organizations and held many positions in the Church, including member of the Primary General Board, the YWMIA General Board, the General Church Music Committee, and various stake Sunday School boards.

She was honored as Woman of the Year in 1971 by the Associated Women Students of Ricks College and in 1972 by the Utah Woman’s Review. In 1979 she received the Distinguished Service Award from the BYU Alumni Association.

Two new counselors have been named to the Sunday School General Presidency. Elder Robert D. Hales is the new first counselor and Elder James M. Paramore the new second Counselor to Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, general president of the Sunday School. They succeed Elder Ronald E. Poelman and Elder Jack H Goaslind, Jr., who had served as counselors since October 1979.

Elder Hales and Elder Paramore will also continue in their assignments as executive administrators for the Europe and Europe West areas, respectively, but will make their residence in Salt Lake City rather than in Frankfurt, Germany.

Relief Society Annual Meeting

The general Relief Society annual meeting is scheduled for 6 P.M. (U.S. mountain daylight time) Saturday, 26 September 1981, in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. It will be broadcast over closed-circuit television or radio to all buildings where the priesthood session of general conference can be viewed.

This year’s meeting theme will be “Charity Never Faileth.” Scheduled to address the sisters of the Church are President Spencer W. Kimball, President Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve, and members of the Relief Society general presidency. All adult women of the Church are invited to attend.