News of the Church

By Susan Hall


Jordan River Temple Cornerstone Is Laid

A persistent breeze tempered the mid-morning sun’s glare on 15 August 1981 as a crowd of some 10,000 Saints gathered to witness the cornerstone-laying ceremonies at the new Jordan River Temple in South Jordan, Utah. The 135,000-square foot temple, now in its final stages of completion, has been under construction since June 1979. Dedicatory services are scheduled for November 16–20, this fall.

Under direction of the First Presidency and conducted by President Marion G. Romney, the ceremonies included addresses by President Gordon B. Hinckley, President Ezra Taft Benson, and brief remarks by President Spencer W. Kimball. Music was furnished by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

“We are proud of this temple,” said President Kimball, “as we will be of other temples that will be built in due time. We ask that the Lord will bless our efforts and bless all of us, that as we continue to close the ranks on these many temples, that we maybe blessed and sanctified in the work.”

“This beautiful building,” said Elder Hinckley, “is a testimony to all who see it of the faith of the Latter-day Saints in the immortality of the soul. Every purpose for which it is built is an affirmation of our conviction that life continues after death for all of our Father’s children. Every ordinance that will be administered herein will be of eternal consequence.

“Without that faith in eternal life there would be no reason for this and other temples. With such faith they are indispensable if the full purposes of the plan of the Lord are to be realized.”

President Benson emphasized temple attendance as a protection against tribulation in the latter days. Citing Moroni’s prophecy to Joseph Smith concerning “great judgments which were coming upon the earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence; and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this generation” (JS—H 2:45), President Benson declared that “we live in a time when those days are imminent. Temples have been provided by a benevolent Father in Heaven to protect us from these tribulations.

“The saints in this temple district will be better able to meet any temporal tribulation because of this temple. Faith will increase as a result of the divine power associated with the ordinances of heaven and the assurance of eternal associations. I repeat what I said at the groundbreaking of the temple two years ago: This valley will be preserved, our families will be protected, and our children will be safeguarded as we live the gospel, visit the temple, and live close to the Lord,” said President Benson.

[photo] Over 10,000 attended the cornerstone-laying ceremonies of the Jordan River Temple. (Photography by Dell Van Orden.)

New Triple Combination: Three Styles Available

Three different styles will be available in the new triple combination recently published by the Church. (See related story on page 8.) Large-print and thumb-indexing will also be offered.

The “style C,” or curriculum edition, designed primarily for use in seminaries, institutes, and other Church teaching situations, will be published in two formats—regular size print and large print—and will have black or brown vinyl covers, comparable to the “style C” Bible. It will cost $5.50 for the regular size print and $8.25 for the large-print edition and will be available through Church distribution centers.

The “style B” triple combination will be leather-bound in split cowhide, either black or brown, and may be purchased in either regular size or large-print and either with or without thumb-indexing, according to the following price schedule: regular size without thumb-indexing ($19.95); regular size with indexing ($24.95); large-print without indexing ($26.95); large-print with indexing ($29.95).

“Style A” will be bound in water buffalo calfskin and will be thumb-indexed. In regular-size type it will be available in black, brown, white, or blue ($36.00); the large-print version will come in black or brown ($55.00).

Styles A and B will be distributed through Deseret Book Company retail stores and nearly two thousand Deseret Book wholesale dealers throughout the Church.

The trim size for the regular copies will be 4 7/8 by 7 inches, while the large-print copies will be 6 1/8 by 9 1/4 inches. The new triple edition will contain 1344 pages, or a little more than half as many pages as the LDS edition of the Bible.

In addition to these new editions of the Bible and the triple combination, the feasibility of publishing a new “quadruple combination” (binding together the Bible and the triple combination) is being studied. New technology has produced very lightweight papers, which are much thinner than any previously available, but still retain a remarkable degree of opacity.

Work has also been under way on adapting the combined index for publication of an edition of the Book of Mormon itself, as well as a combined edition of the Doctrine and Covenants/Pearl of Great Price. As a result, missionaries and others will still be able to distribute copies of the Book of Mormon without the other two latter-day scriptures. They then may follow up later with a volume containing the other two scriptures.

Salt Lake Temple to Close for Improvements

The Salt Lake Temple will be closed for approximately six months during 1982 for improvements in the mechanical systems and for minor interior refurbishing.

The temporary closing will begin on 9 July 1982.

All stakes now assigned to the Salt Lake Temple District will be temporarily assigned to the Jordan River Temple District during the period of renovation.

Policies and Announcements

Ward Genealogical Consultants.

In a letter dated 9 July 1981 and signed by President Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, the following guidelines were given with regard to ward and branch genealogical workers:

“In order to give further encouragement to genealogical work in the wards and branches, it has been decided that the responsibility of genealogical forms examiners will be somewhat expanded. Hereafter, they will be known as Ward Genealogical Consultants.

“These consultants will work under the direction of the high priest group leaders. They need no longer review or initial the genealogical forms submitted by members of the ward. They will help members fulfill their genealogical responsibility, including help with those things necessary to complete the forms for their kindred dead and for others, in order that temple ordinance work may be performed.

“The high priest group leader may recommend to the bishop members to be called as consultants. The ward genealogical teacher may also serve as a consultant.

“This expanded responsibility of genealogical consultants gives opportunity for increased encouragement for genealogical work in the wards and branches. We ask that bishops and branch presidents give consideration to these expanded assignments at an early date.”

The following items were printed in the Bulletin, August 1981.

Sports Directors. The term sports has replaced the term athletics in the competitive sports program of the Church. Athletic directors are now sports directors at every level. The positions of Young Men and Young Women sports specialists no longer exist. Their functions have been absorbed by the sports directors.

All ward and stake sports directors are members of their respective activities committees and report to the physical activities specialist. Except for the change in position title, the region, multiregion, and area organizations remain as outlined under “Competitive Sports,” in the Activities Committee Handbook (PBAC0012), pages 1 and 2.

Yearly Calendar. Each stake and ward activities committee should prepare a master yearly calendar early enough to avoid scheduling conflicts among Church, school, and community groups. A specialist may be called to prepare this calendar. For suggestions on preparing a yearly calendar, refer to the Activities Committee Handbook (PBAC0012), page 6, and the Activities Exchange, no. 1, May 1981, page 1.

Monthly Home Teaching Messages. A letter from President Ezra Taft Benson dated 1 December 1980 stated: “We suggest that the First Presidency Message carried in the Ensign magazine be considered for use as a monthly home teaching message.” Home teachers may present a First Presidency message to their families at any appropriate time after it appears in the Ensign, as instructed by their priesthood leaders. These messages need not be presented throughout the Church in the same month as they are printed in the Ensign. They are not out of date if presented later.

Service by Young Women. The Young Women organization should help girls develop a lifetime practice of giving service. To help them develop this practice, young women may select individual, class, or group service projects under the guidance of adult leaders. For instance, a ward or class might spend time with children in a nearby hospital, or the young women might plan to carry out the celebration of a local holiday with member and nonmember neighbors. Service opportunities could help young women reach out in kindness and love to those in the family, peer group, ward, neighborhood, school, and community. After each project, the girls could share with their class what they learned and their feelings about the activity.

The following items appeared in the July 1981 Bulletin:

Replacement Copies of Church Ordinance Certificates. Church members who want to replace lost or damaged ordinance certificates should ask their present bishop or branch president for a replacement copy. Ordinance certificates are not kept at Church headquarters.

The bishop or branch president and his clerk may prepare a replacement certificate using the information on the membership record. Only the individual, or the parent of a minor child, to whom the original certificate was issued should receive a replacement certificate.

Funding for Scout Activities. The guidelines for decreasing the financial demands on Church members that accompanied the First Presidency letter of 3 April 1981 state: “Avoid charges or fees for youth activities. When necessary, these should be funded by the ward or branch budgets.” This statement does not change Church policy for funding Scouting activities. Expenses for membership registration, equipment, badges, activities, and camping are to be paid by the participating pack, troop, or post members or from funds obtained by group fund-raising projects. Scouting at the Council level should continue to be funded from the Sustaining Membership Enrollment (SME) drive. Local priesthood leaders are urged to carefully examine the cost of Scouting and ensure that such costs are not burdensome.

Letters of Appreciation to Radio and Television Stations. Members may appropriately send letters of appreciation to radio and television stations that provide free public service time to broadcast general conference, the Homefront series, and other Church programs. These letters should not be form letters, but personal expressions from the writer in his own words.

Stations are not required to provide public service time. When they do so for the Church, it is at the expense of other organizations that also want public service support.

Because only 7 percent of religious programming in the United States is provided free of charge as a public service, station managers are justifiably upset when they receive complaints from an organization they assist. Moreover, all letters to broadcasting stations are kept on file for public review and for review by the FCC when stations are relicensed. Therefore, members should not send letters of complaint to stations for broadcasting only one-hour or ninety-minute segments of general conference.

Some station managers have said they may discontinue public service broadcasting for the Church because of letters of complaint.

We have a far greater opportunity to increase coverage by showing appreciation to the stations than by criticizing them for the free service they generously provide.

Making Friends in China

BYU Dancers Share Talents and the Gospel

It was a hazy afternoon in May. The group of forty-two Brigham Young University folk-dancers and their leaders made their way through a teeming crowd in Peking at the Forbidden City, ancestral home of the Chinese emperors. They passed through the gardens and entered a circular pagoda-styled building called the Pavilion of the Thousand Springs. It was near this place in 1929 that Elder David O. McKay first dedicated China to the work of the Lord.

The group formed a close circle and began to sing hymns, including the Chinese version of “I Am a Child of God.” As they sang, a hush fell on the people outside and they gathered at the windows and doors to watch and listen.

So began a memorable visit to China by the BYU International Folkdancers. They were accompanied by Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve, BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland, Bruce Olsen, Assistant to the President and director of University Relations, and their wives.

The five-week tour covered thousands of miles and five major cities of western China, complete with extensive media coverage. Chinese television officials estimated that the dancers were seen by 120 to 150 million people across the People’s Republic of China. “We were told more than once by the Chinese that Brigham Young University was the most famous university in all of China,” said President Holland.

The group used the attention to introduce the Church to many Chinese who had never heard of it before. “We were very open about the Church’s sponsorship of Brigham Young University,” President Holland explained. “We wanted them to know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is interested in brotherhood and the international relationships that religion can foster and encourage. That was our motive. We had no ax to grind politically or economically; we came in the name of love and brotherhood and goodwill.”

Through music and dance and friendship, this performing group was able to reach the Chinese people in unique ways. After a fast-paced show, a traditionally reserved Chinese audience reacted with standing ovations. A Chinese government official remarked to President Holland, “We as a people are touched when your young people work so hard with no apparent motive except friendship.”

Standing in a cold wind blowing through the rugged mountains and gazing at the Great Wall stretching for thousands of miles, Dennis Hill, assistant director of the folkdancers, reflected on the past of these people who make up one-fourth of the world’s population. “If that wall could talk,” he mused, “how much it could say about the history of China!” The wall can’t talk, but the troupe was told that 5,000 years of genealogical records are available in China.

Riding by train through the countryside, the folkdancers were impressed with the immaculate fields. In the cities the streets were choked with people, most dressed in the Mao uniform. Their homes were humble, yet no one appeared hungry or destitute. No pornography was seen; crime seemed almost nonexistent; and the people appeared to have very high standards of morality, honesty, and respect.

“The Chinese people we met were humble, sincere, warm-hearted, and eager to learn,” recalled Debbie Linford of Kaysville, Utah. Added Kim Cooper, a performer from Idaho Falls, Idaho, “President Spencer W. Kimball has talked about the Chinese virtues and how we can learn from them, and he has never been there. But when I saw how perfectly his description fit the people, I realized how keenly the president understands them—and how well God knows his children in China.”

At the Fang Chang Commune near Shanghai, the group was invited to visit an elementary school where the children, five and six years old, performed an entire program of “Christmas around the world.” The young students, recalled Wendy Gibby of Orem, Utah, were “very serious, confident, and well-disciplined.”

Walking down the streets, the folkdancers would often stop to look at something and immediately a crowd would gather about them with eager interest. The folkdancers took advantage of these opportunities. “We couldn’t speak much Mandarin,” said Miss Gibby, “but we smiled. When we would hand out our postcards they smiled, and their eyes would light up.”

Some of the Chinese told performers that they were “different” from other Americans they had seen. A nonmember tourist from New England, riding on the train with the group, remarked to President Holland, “If you had gone to central casting at MGM looking for people to come and say ‘This is young America,’ you couldn’t have been more impressive than to take a group of BYU students.”

At two universities, the folkdancers were grouped with English-speaking Chinese students. Michael Todd, a performer from Alexandria, Virginia, talked to several students who asked him to send Bibles, assuring him that it would be good practice for their English. One young woman questioned him about the Church, was given a Book of Mormon, and confided that she often prays to a God in her mind. “They were supposed to give us a tour of the university,” said Wendy Gibby, “but they were more interested in finding out about us than in showing us around.”

President Holland explained that there has been a considerable increase in opportunities available in religion, education, and culture in China. He added, however, that there are yet limitations on the freedoms that can be expressed in that country. “China has a more open and responsive brand of Communism than that which prevails in Eastern Europe,” he said. “But the Church will still have to convey to the Chinese that it is there for the good of the people and not western exploitation.”

During their stay in China, special treatment had become everyday fare for the BYU group. They ate in the best restaurants, stayed at good hotels, performed in the finest halls. Their sponsors, a government organization titled the All-China Youth Federation, had done whatever they could to make the visit enjoyable. “We tried to repay them by performing to the best of our ability,” recalled Kim Cooper, “but we wondered what more we could do for these people who had been so good to us. Elder Packer told us that we could love them. He said that it was possible to love and pray for all of the people of China.”

Before boarding the train that would take them through the bamboo curtain to Hong Kong, the folkdancers bid farewell to their two guides, Chaung Chang and Jing Jing. During the tour the two guides had formed close friendships with many members of the group. “They and many other people in China had told us often that there was something very different about us. We knew that it was the gospel,” reflected Wendy Gibby.

Chang, who had been trained not to show emotion, embraced Kim Cooper with tears in his eyes. “Thank you,” he said. “We will not forget. What you have is the truth, and we need it.”

[photo] Michelle Ney talks about BYU with Chinese students.

[photo] Chinese youngster at Peking Zoo studies BYU postcard.

When Ordering from Distribution Centers …

Ensign articles often mention items that can be ordered from Church distribution centers. The ordering procedure for such materials is really quite simple. Just give your order to the individual in your ward or branch who coordinates requests for materials and supplies made by priesthood leaders, auxiliary organizations, and individual members. (This person is usually one of the ward clerks.) He has a Publications Catalog which lists current stock numbers, prices, and item descriptions.

If for some reason you are unable to submit your order through a unit representative and you don’t have an official order form, simply write a check for the exact amount of purchase and include a description of the desired items, being sure to include the stock numbers. (If you don’t know the stock number, consult the catalog in your ward meetinghouse library.) Send your order to the distribution center nearest you. (See addresses below.) The distribution center will pay return postage. Allow about two weeks for delivery. (As in the past, over-the-counter purchases continue to be welcomed.)

1. Salt Lake City Distribution Center
1999 West 1700 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84104

Make check payable to “Corporation of the President”

2. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Distribution Center
18 Hammond Avenue
Whitehill Industrial Estate
Stockport, SK4 1PQ, England

Make check payable to “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Distribution Company)”

3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Distribution Center
C.P.O. Box #4379
Auckland 1, New Zealand

Make check payable to “Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”

4. LDS servicemen in Europe should write the Frankfurt office: Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage

Porthstrasse 5–7
D–6000 Frankfurt am Main 50
Postfach 50 1070
West Germany

Make check payable to “Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage”

5. A limited supply of materials printed in English is often stocked at non-English distribution centers. English-speaking members of the Church living in non-English areas may wish to contact local distribution centers before writing to Salt Lake City.

LDS Scene

The first satellite sending and receiving station in the U.S. Mountain West was put into service 6 August following a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Salt Lake City attended by President Spencer W. Kimball. The facility gives Church headquarters access to space-age communications.

The “earth station,” as it is called, has a 10-meter dish which can send signals to or receive signals from satellites in any orbit above the United States. It communicates internationally by connecting with other satellites and earth stations.

Since 1849, Latter-day Saints have been celebrating the 1847 arrival of the pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley. Again, in 1981, the “Days of’ 47” celebration on 24 July commemorated that event. Tens of thousands of observers lined the streets of downtown Salt Lake to enjoy hundreds of parade floats depicting pioneer scenes, major figures in Church history, and contemporary themes. Members of the First Presidency also participated in the parade.

A sunrise service was held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, complete with a flag ceremony by the Mormon Battalion and a musical program, by the Salt Lake Symphonic Choir. The featured speaker was Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who pointed out that there is still great need for a pioneering spirit of adventure in life. He urged Latter-day Saints to “ever be prepared to do our part of the pioneering yet to be done as the gospel of Jesus Christ covers the entire earth.”

Among 23,000 participants in the 1981 Canadian Boy Scout Jamboree, held July 1–10 near Calgary, Alberta, were some 1,000 LDS Scouts. Events included a “Scouts Skills” hike over five miles of mountain trails, a challenging games program called a “Muck-A-Bout,” a day hike to a mountain top, an overnight backpacking trip, and numerous opportunities to share Scoutcraft ideas. On Sunday, 5 July, the LDS boys met in 110 priesthood meetings and sacrament meetings at a number of locations. Earlier in the week an LDS Scout chorus of 150 voices sang two selections for a gathering of 10,000 Scouts. A group of LDS Scouts were also privileged to form an honor guard for Lord Robert Baden-Powell III, grandson of the founder of scouting.

A few weeks later, approximately 2,800 LDS Scouts attended the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, from 25 July to 5 August. (At the gathering of 35,000 Scouts, 900 were from Utah—the largest single state representation at the Jamboree.) President Ezra Taft Benson addressed the LDS Scouts at a sacrament service on Sunday, August 2.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Reagan’s nomination of Rex E. Lee as solicitor-general of the United States. BYU’s President Jeffrey Holland stated that the confirmation is “a great compliment to [Brother Lee] personally and is certainly a compliment to Brigham Young University and to the LDS Church which sponsors BYU.”

As solicitor-general, Brother Lee will supervise a group of some twenty attorneys who prepare and present the sixty or seventy high court cases in which the government is involved each year.

Carl S. Hawkins has been appointed dean of BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, succeeding Dean Rex E. Lee, the newly appointed solicitor-general of the United States.

Keith Foote Nyborg of Ashton, Idaho, has been appointed United States Ambassador to Finland. Brother Nyborg, 51, a member of the Ashton Fourth Ward, Ashton Idaho Stake, served as a missionary to Finland from 1950 to 1952 and has returned to that country several times since. He married Raija-Leena Itkonen, a native of Tampere, Finland, in 1953.

Have you ever wanted to write us an article?

Chances are that some readers have thought of sharing something with other Ensign readers—gospel understanding, a moving experience, a plan for doing or being better, results of study or research. If you’re interested, here are a few guidelines:

The best way to determine the kinds of articles we publish is to scan carefully back issues. Please query us if you have an idea for a feature article; we’re overstocked on some subjects but welcome submissions on others. Topics include gospel doctrines and principles; marriage, courtship, and family; Church programs; biographical sketches on present and former-day Saints; and features on most topics of help and interest to Latter-day Saints.

Also, most Ensign editorial departments are “naturals” for reader contributions. For example, Mormon Journal shares Church members’ inspirational experiences that would strengthen the commitment of others. Random Sampler consists of short features on homemaking and welfare subjects. Sharing insights are written by sisters, for sisters, to support sisterhood. And we are always anxious to receive essays or anecdotes of humorous, Mormon-flavored experiences for Mirthright.

Length of articles varies according to department; for feature pieces, ten typewritten pages is generally a maximum.

If interested write for a more detailed writer’s information sheet, Ensign, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.