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Relief Society to Celebrate Birthday, Honor Women

The Relief Society will be one hundred and forty years old next month. In conjunction with that anniversary, the Relief Society General Presidency has announced a series of events designed to recognize and honor women of the Church.

“Latter-day Saint women are so outstanding that we want to make this a very special time of recognition for them,” said Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society general president. The Young Women and Primary organizations will also join in the celebration.

Theme for the celebration is “The Legacy … Remembered and Renewed,” and the events will culminate with a Churchwide meeting of women on Saturday, March 27.

On March 11, dedicatory services will be conducted at the restored Sarah M. Kimball home in Nauvoo, Illinois. It was in this home in early 1842 that Sarah Kimball offered to furnish funds and fabric if her seamstress would make shirts for brethren laboring to build the Nauvoo Temple. A number of other women supported the project, and it was suggested that a society be organized for that purpose. From these beginnings came the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo.

Other events scheduled in March include:

Singles fireside. A fireside for all single women in the Church will be conducted on Sunday, March 14. Its purpose will be to introduce a new program designed to help single sisters implement principles of the gospel in their lives.

Lecture series. Women of the Church are encouraged to submit papers focusing on their particular areas of expertise—religious, domestic, or professional. Selected papers will then be presented in the Relief Society Building during the week of March 15–19; these essays may later be published. Deadline for submission is February 15; send papers to Legacy Lectures, 76 North Main, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. Length should not exceed twenty-five double-spaced typed pages.

Relief Society open house and 140th anniversary celebration. A general open house will be held on March 17 in the Relief Society Building in Salt Lake City between 10:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. Anniversary celebrations will also be held in each local unit throughout the Church on that day.

Cultural evening and displays. A concert featuring accomplished LDS women will be presented March 17 at Salt Lake City’s Symphony Hall. Similar presentations will be organized under the direction of local leadership throughout the Church. In conjunction with this event, displays of varied cultural arts will be exhibited through the week.

Sacrament services. The theme of sacrament meetings throughout the Church on March 21 will be the contributions of womanhood. Wards will honor women from their local areas during this meeting.

General women’s meeting, March 27. Featured at this meeting will be a multi-media presentation documenting the progress of Relief Society since its inception and honoring the role of women in the Church. Those in attendance will also see a videotape of the dedicatory services at the Sarah M. Kimball home and will receive counsel from the general presidents of Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary, and from General Authorities of the Church. The meeting will be broadcast by satellite to sisters throughout the English-speaking world.

[illustration] March 17, 1842: Organization of the Relief Society. (Illustrated by Dale Kilbourn.)

Missionary Work in the Central Australian “Outback”

Now receiving the gospel in one of the most isolated areas of the world is the aboriginal Warramunga tribe of the Central Australian “outback.”

Approximately eight years ago, Sister Lorna Fejo, a descendant of the Warramunga tribe of Elliott, Australia, joined the Church in Darwin, a city in the same general area, where she had found employment. Soon after her baptism, she became enthusiastic about completing her four-generation genealogy program and on several occasions sought information from the tribal elders at Elliott. She visited in particular with tribal genealogist Beetaloo Bill, who has the distinct task of committing to memory the genealogy of tribal members. Now that Sister Fejo has presented her information to the Genealogical Society of the Church, work for the dead is being done for Australian aboriginals.

But Sister Fejo’s contact with the tribal elders has led her in another, equally significant, direction. She is helping to teach her tribe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Often accompanying her in her missionary labors are Robert King and his wife, Christine (Sister Fejo’s daughter), of the Darwin Branch, Australia Adelaide Mission, both returned missionaries who have been called to continue their missionary endeavors in their own area. These three make frequent weekend visits to the solitary township of Elliott, located halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs.

When white men first began to settle Australia, approximately 300,000 aborigines inhabited the continent. They comprised from 300 to 500 tribes, each tribe made up of from 100 to 1500 individuals. Sister Fejo’s tribe, the Warramungas, is thus one of many. Less than 50,000 full-blooded aborigines are left in Australia today. The Australian government maintains about half of the tribes in supervised camps. Along with receiving a pension, they are provided with schools and hospitals. Outside the camps, the nomadic tribes have little or no formal education.

Prior to 1980 the gospel had been taken to some of the aboriginals in Australia, but it had yet to reach the Warramunga tribe. The first major step in taking the gospel officially to the Warramungas took place in December 1980 when, in a meeting of full-time and district missionaries with Darwin Branch President Arnold Cummins, it was proposed that the gospel be preached to aboriginals in this mission area. Under the direction of Miles C. Romney, president of the Australia Adelaide Mission, the area was dedicated for the teaching of the gospel. By the end of December the first official missionary visit to Elliott took place.

Having first obtained the consent of the governor of Northern Territory and of Mr. Bill Hayes, the leader of the Warramunga tribe, Brother and Sister King and Sister Fejo entered the aboriginal encampment near the Elliott township and commenced preparations for a Saturday evening fireside. The only suitable building, a community canteen, was then renovated for this purpose by the tribesmen, with the help of the missionaries. Since the canteen had no power, the missionaries used long extension leads (cords) to bring electricity to the site for the organ, projector, and lighting.

In the meantime, word was circulated among the several tribes using the camp that a meeting was to be held in the community canteen. The response was overwhelming. The small building was packed to overflowing with more than 180 people. With enthusiasm the crowd listened to a selection of hymns and joined in with some they knew. Whether they sat on the concrete floor, or stood outside looking in through the windows, they were enthralled as the film Man’s Search for Happiness introduced them to the gospel.

The aboriginal religion of this tribe teaches of life in a premortal existence and also life after death, concepts that harmonize with some aspects of the gospel as taught by the Church. Also strongly family oriented, the tribes are ruled by a chief and a council of tribal elders, elderly men held in great respect. The elders sit together in ceremonial council, and during what they call “dream time” they claim to communicate with their dead ancestors. Members of the council are forbidden under penalty of death to discuss the secrets of their religion with anyone other than the other tribal elders. They do not disclose the name of Deity, but they acknowledge their belief in a supreme being as the God and the Father of all men.

Because that first fireside visit was so enthusiastically received, Sister Fejo and Brother and Sister King made a number of subsequent weekend trips to Elliott. Each time they received a warm welcome, and each time the local people flocked to Saturday evening firesides.

At the beginning of February 1981 President Arnold Cummins of the Darwin Branch accompanied the Kings and Sister Fejo one weekend and held a sacrament meeting in the canteen. Some thirty-six people, most of them nonmembers, attended. The presence of the Spirit was most evident. “It was as reverent and spiritual a sacrament meeting as I have experienced,” said President Cummins. “It was very clear that these fine people are indeed ready for the gospel.”

Shortly afterward, President Romney assigned two proselyting missionaries to work with the aboriginals at the camp: Elder Matthew Cowley Tuhourangi Tarawa, a Maori from Auckland, New Zealand, and Elder Lloyd Lance Young from Brush Prairie (Vancouver), Washington—the first missionaries ever to work in this aboriginal camp.

These two young men found some of the conditions in which the aboriginals live rather challenging. Temperatures range from 20° C. (68° F.) to 40° C. (104° F.) in summer and drop to a nighttime minimum of -5° C. (23° F.) in winter. During the hot daytime hours, the aboriginals seek shade under trees and sleep. When the cooler hours of night approach, they begin to forage.

The nomadic tribes wander within their geographical area, obtaining their living by hunting, trapping, fishing, and collecting seeds and other edible portions of the natural vegetation in the area. Their only domestic animals are dogs. Among their relatively few material belongings are wooden spears and spear throwers, clubs, stone chisels, stone axes, wooden dishes, grinding stones, digging sticks, and, in some cases, boomerangs, shields, fishing nets, baskets, and temporary huts. Kangaroos and wallabies are a major source of protein for them, along with emus, large Australian birds similar to the ostrich.

Dust, flies, and mosquitoes fill the air. Sewage facilities are nonexistent, and running water is rare. Although some of the local people have houses (tin sheds in which they sleep only on rainy nights), many live in “humpies,” bivouac-style shelters that provide very little protection from the elements.

The missionaries’ adjustment to these living conditions has been somewhat eased, however, with living quarters erected by members of the Darwin Branch, under the direction of President Philip Baker, Darwin Branch president, and with a modification of the usual missionary attire. They live with the members of the Warramunga Tribe, but obtain groceries from the local store in Elliott, cook their own meals, and sleep in their own living quarters. Instead of regular missionary suits, they wear levis and “work” shirts most of the time. They also have planted a garden, which has attracted the interest of some of the natives who are developing a desire to raise their own vegetables and bananas. Several banana trees, procured from the members in Darwin, are being cultivated under the direction of the missionaries.

Elder Tarawa and Elder Dennis Richard Bate (from Queensland, Australia), who replaced Elder Young, have added new purpose and new interest to the camp. The young aboriginals now congregate around the missionaries, who, besides teaching them gospel principles, are involving the youth and young adults in cleanup projects and sports programs. Complementing their work are the efforts of Sister Fejo and the Kings. With each visit they make, progress is accelerated. Plans for the future include preparation of vegetable gardens, redecorating the canteen for church meetings, holding health and sanitation seminars, and providing advice on personal budgeting.

The teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ is now a very real and productive force in this area. Already Beetaloo Bill, the tribal genealogist, and his wife Biddy have been baptized. Following their baptism in June 1981, seventeen others were baptized by mid-July. More will enter.

Since beginning work in Elliott, the Church has been invited to visit other aboriginal areas in the Territory. No doubt this will happen in due course, but it is felt that real progress should be demonstrated in Elliott first.

And so the work of the Lord goes on, with the gospel being introduced to yet another new people, the Warramunga tribe of the Central Australian “outback.”

Robert G. Moodie, Public Communications Director for the Darwin area of the Australia Adelaide Mission, has been a member of the Church since 1972. He and his wife have six children. A. Elden and Vivian Ball, who recently served in the Australia Adelaide Mission, contributed helpful information.

A Prayer of Thanks, Supplication Dedicates Jordan River Temple

President Kimball asks blessing on all who lead and serve

The following is the text of the dedicatory prayer for the Jordan River Temple, prepared by President Spencer W. Kimball and read by members of the First Presidency at each of the fifteen dedicatory services held November 16–20, 1981.

O God our Eternal Father, Thou almighty Elohim who liveth and reigneth from everlasting to everlasting; in the name of Thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, we come before Thee this day in this beautiful edifice to dedicate it unto Thee, our Living God.

We are grateful for the knowledge Thou has given us that Thou art our Father, to whom we may go for inspiration and guidance, for revelation and strength in time of trouble and distress.

O Father, wilt Thou grant unto us Thy guidance and Thy Holy Spirit while we are gathered in this solemn assembly. May the channels of communication between Thee and us be open, and wilt Thou smile upon us and cause us to feel and know that we are partakers of Thy divine Spirit. Overlook our follies and our weaknesses, cleanse our hearts of all evil, and let us come before Thee in sincerity of heart and purity of life, that what we say and do here will be in harmony with Thy mind and will.

We thank Thee for the gift of Thy Beloved Son who came into the world according to Thy divine plan, to establish on earth the way that men should live in order to come back into Thy presence as Thy sons and daughters.

We thank Thee for the infinite love manifested in the atoning sacrifice of Thy Son who gave Himself a ransom for all, who broke the bonds of death and opened the gates of salvation to all of Thy children. We praise His holy name, our Redeemer and our Lord.

We are grateful for the gift of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, to lead us to a knowledge of Thine everlasting truth, and that as we accept and follow that truth and cleanse and perfect our lives we may become worthy to stand spotless before Thee at the last day.

We thank Thee for the ushering in of a new dispensation, even the dispensation of the fulness of times, by Thine own appearance and the appearance of Thy Beloved Son to the boy Joseph Smith. We are thankful for the message which he received, a message for the entire world, that Thou art our Living God and Thy Son is our Living Redeemer.

We are grateful that following Thy glorious revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, Thou didst restore, by heavenly messengers, the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood, and subsequently didst restore all of the keys of the priesthood ever held by Thy prophets from the days of Adam through Abraham and Moses to Malachi. For this completeness and consistency of restoration of authority, we express gratitude and praise Thy holy name.

We give thanks to Thee for the men whom Thou hast chosen to lead the Church, from the Prophet Joseph Smith and his associates and successors through the years, down to the present General Authorities, the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve Apostles, the First Quorum of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric and the emeritus Brethren. We are grateful too for the leading sisters of the Church, who have rendered able and devoted service from the time of the restoration of the gospel to the present. Confer upon each of them a rich endowment of Thy Spirit.

Bless with health, wisdom, and revelation Thy servant whom Thou hast called to lead Thy Church in this day, even President Spencer W. Kimball. Continue to reveal to him Thy mind and will, as it pertains to the growth and advancement of Thy work among the children of men. Bless abundantly his counselors. May the First Presidency be united by the Spirit and power of God in all their labors. In every thought, word, and act, may they and all of the other General Authorities of the Church glorify Thy name, that they may work in unity and harmony, committed to the purpose of helping to prepare a people qualified and ready to receive Thy Beloved Son at His Second Coming.

Bless the presidencies of stakes, the high councils, the bishoprics of wards, the presidencies of branches, the presidencies of the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood quorums, and the presidencies and general boards of auxiliary organizations and their local officers throughout the world. Guide them that they may be equal to the responsibilities placed upon them. Keep the officers of the quorums and auxiliary organizations united, we beseech Thee. Make them one as Thou and Thy Son are one.

Bless Thy servants who preside over the missions of the Church, together with all of the missionaries who have gone forth to proclaim to the peoples of the earth the restoration of the gospel and the plan of salvation. Protect them from all evil. Bless them with the gifts and powers of their ministry. Bless their families that they may be sustained in peace and comfort.

Let Thy Spirit be poured out upon all who teach in Thy Church that they may build the faith and increase the understanding of those they instruct in the principles of the gospel.

Frustrate the designs of the adversary against Thy people and Thy work, and may the efforts of all who fight against Zion come to naught. May Thy glorious work roll on in majesty and power to fill the whole earth, even as the waters cover the mighty deep.

We are thankful that Thou didst inspire Thy prophet, Brigham Young, to lead Thy people to this beautiful and peaceful valley; that Thou didst inspire him to plan the Salt Lake Temple, whose pointed spires, reaching toward heaven, symbolize the eternal quest of Thy children for the blessing of exaltation in Thy holy presence. We are thankful too that Thou didst inspire Thy prophet in this day to select the beautiful site for this edifice on which still another holy temple has been erected in this valley. We are grateful for those who, in their generosity, donated this site for this purpose, and for all who have given so generously of their means, their time, their skills, and their strength to make possible this sacred house.

May each contributor, whether of money or services or goods, rejoice in the opportunity to assist in Thy holy work. Wilt Thou open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings upon them. May they be assured of the gratitude of those uncounted millions who have passed beyond this life, for whom the prison doors may now be opened and deliverance proclaimed through the devoted service of Thy people in this and other sacred temples.

We are grateful, our Heavenly Father, for this land of America and for other lands of the earth where Thy children enjoy liberty and peace. We pray that Thou wilt bless the leaders of all nations, that they will have wisdom and the desire to save the world from devastating war. May they be enlightened and guided by Thy Spirit to maintain and uphold the glorious principles of human liberty for the blessing of Thy children throughout the earth.

Help all, O Father, to realize that only by obedience to the eternal principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ may we become exalted. Increase our desire, therefore, we pray Thee, to put forth even greater effort towards the consummation of Thy declared purpose to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of Thy children.

With these and many other glorious principles in mind we render unto Thee the thanks and gratitude of our hearts.

And now, Father, according to the pattern Thou hast given, and in harmony with the course established by Thy servants who have gone before, and acting in the authority of that priesthood which is after the order of Thy Son and in His holy name, we dedicate this, the Jordan River Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to Thee, our God.

We humbly pray, Father, that Thou wilt accept this holy edifice. Pour out Thy blessings upon it as a house to which Thou wilt come and in which Thy Spirit will direct all that is done, that it may be acceptable unto Thee. Let Thy influence and blessings attend and guide the temple president and matron and all others who officiate herein, that an atmosphere of holiness will prevail in every room in this, Thy house. May all who enter have dean hands and pure hearts, and may they participate with faith in the ordinances to be given herein, and depart with a feeling of peace, praising Thy holy name.

We dedicate the grounds on which this beautiful temple stands. We dedicate the foundation, the walls, the floors, the ceilings, the tower, and all other parts of the building. Protect this Thy house, we pray, from any devastating influence, from holocausts, hurricanes, storms, or destruction of any kind. Protect all the mechanical parts, lighting conduits and fixtures, ventilating system, elevators, escalators, and all things pertaining to this sacred edifice.

We dedicate the walks, the ornamental landscaping, the trees, the plants, the flowers, and the shrubbery that they may add beauty and fragrance to the surroundings.

May all that is done herein be done with an eye single to Thy glory and to the building of Thy kingdom here upon the earth.

Now, gracious Father, permit us to praise Thy holy name forever in all nations, with all kindreds and tongues and people. Let them cry with a loud voice before Thy throne and before the Lamb of God, saying, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb,” and let us in unison praise Thee, saying, “Blessing and honor and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving, power, and might be unto our God and His Son forever and ever.”

In the worthy name of Thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, amen, amen, and amen.

Music Helps for Church Organists, Pianists, Families

“Sometimes I feel that we get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.” (J. Reuben Clark, in Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 111.)

In the spirit of President Clark’s words, over the past few years the Church has produced a number of aids to assist members in their Church music callings and to help families make gospel music an enjoyable part of home life. The following are available at Church distribution centers.

For Organists and Pianists

Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ (PBMU0417, $.60 each). Thirty-five familiar LDS hymns arranged as prelude music at varying levels of difficulty. Selections can also be used as postludes, solos, choir and congregational accompaniment. Includes suggested organ stops.

Hymn Preludes for Piano (PBMU0348, $.60 each). A collection of nineteen short hymn arrangements written as prelude music. Many can be easily adapted for use on the organ.

Hymns, Simplified Accompaniments (PBMU0133, $6.20 each). Contains 152 simplified arrangements of hymns from the current hymnbook. Many are transposed into lower keys, making them easier to sing. Can be used by the organist while the choir or congregation sings from the standard hymnbook.

For Home Use

Songs and Hymns for Latter-day Saints (Records and booklet, PCS10149, $7.25 per set; cassettes and booklet, PCS1015A, $7.25 per set; booklet, PCS10160, $.25 each). A set of seven cassettes or records of thirty standard Latter-day Saint hymns and thirty children’s songs. One side of each cassette or record presents the hymns and songs sung in unison with piano accompaniment. The opposite side is a recording of the same hymns and songs with piano accompaniment only. The set also includes a booklet containing all of the words to the hymns and songs, printed in large type. Tempos of some songs are slower than normal to aid learning.

Heritage of Hymns, Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus (Record, PSPC0304, $3.55 each; cassette, PSPC1056, $4.00 each). Rendition of eleven favorite hymns performed by the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus. Hymns include “The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning,” “I Need Thee Every Hour,” “How Gentle God’s Command,” “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”

Filmstrip: Worthy Music, Worthy Thoughts (VVOF1293, $2.00 each). Based on Elder Boyd K. Packer’s talk at the October 1973 general conference, the presentation draws an analogy between cleaning weeds out of an irrigation ditch and ridding the mind of impure thoughts and replacing them with hymns. Includes a discussion of what constitutes worthy music. Fifteen minutes. This filmstrip should also be available in ward meetinghouse libraries.

Record: Like Unto Us (PJSI0443, $1.50 each). A record of contemporary songs written for the Seminary Book of Mormon course. Suitable for youth and families.

Record: The Quest (PKSI0664, $3.00 each). Two-record set of pioneer songs and contemporary songs written for the Seminary Church History course. Suitable for youth and families.

Record: Gates of Zion (PHSI0543, $3.00 each). Two-record set of contemporary songs written for the Seminary Old Testament course. Suitable for youth and families.

General Activities Workshops

Are you looking for an appealing way to fellowship members or friendship nonmembers? Do you need an opportunity for creative people in your ward or stake to share their talents? Do you want to help your people enjoy greater physical fitness?

If so, the General Activities Committee may have the answer. From January through August of 1982, the Cultural Arts area of the General Activities Committee has scheduled training sessions on music composition, roadshows, plays and play festivals, musical productions for the handicapped, productions for special needs, puppet shows, dance, dance and arts festivals, variety shows, directing, children’s theatre (on fantasy, pioneer, and adventure themes), and a children’s heritage arts fair and science fair. Printed information and instructions for these and other workshops held during the 1981 year are available upon request to the Activities Committee, Floor 20, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150, according to Pat Davis, cultural arts director.

Also, the Physical Activities arm of the General Activities Committee, under the direction of Clark T. Thorstenson, has planned a training workshop for 1 April 1982, in practical physical fitness activities that can be performed in the home, the community, and the church. Particular attention will be given to activities for the homebound, the handicapped, the elderly, the individual, and groups. Also available is a physical fitness awards program explained in a brochure titled Physical Fitness Awards Program, available on request or from Church distribution centers (stock No. PBAC0271, 10 cents). One of the goals of the Physical Activities area is to continue to provide the sports program for members of the Church.

In the workshops scheduled during general conference weekend of April 1982, the General Activities Committee will focus on new ideas for family-oriented, inexpensive activities.

LDS Scene

On December 2, United States President Ronald Reagan announced the formation of a White House Task Force to promote volunteer activity and private charity in helping the needy of America. Among the forty-four citizens appointed to the task force were Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Jeri J. Winger, Springville, Utah, first vice-president of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs; and George W. Romney, head of the National Center for Citizen Involvement.

BYU and Ricks are bowling ‘em over. The first Valley of the Sun Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona was a setting for victory on Thanksgiving night as the Ricks College Vikings came from behind to win the game 28–21 over unbeaten Western Arizona College of Yuma, Arizona. Less than a month later, Brigham Young University won its second Holiday Bowl, on December 18 in San Diego, California, having previously captured a fifth straight Western Athletic Conference championship. BYU’s opponent was Washington State University. The score: BYU Cougars 38, Washington Cougars 36.

On September 10–11, 1981, Brother Clark T. Thorstenson, director of the Physical Activities arm of the General Activities Committee of the Church, represented the Church (the only church invited) at United States President Ronald Reagan’s first national council on fitness and aging. At the invitation of President Reagan, Brother Thorstenson presented the Church’s Physical Fitness Awards Program to five hundred experts in the field of fitness and aging.