News of the Church

By Kerril Sue Rollins

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    The Book of Mormon in Polish

    From the little-known sacrifices of faithful Latter-day Saints isolated in a small branch in Selbongen, Poland, during the mid 1940s through the early 1970s, have come some deeply dedicated members of the Church. (See Gilbert W. Scharffs, “The Branch That Wouldn’t Die,” Ensign, Apr. 1971, pp. 30–33.) Early this year a long-awaited dream came true for them—the Book of Mormon was printed in the Polish language. Now Polish members and nonmembers the world over, at present numbering well over 36,000,000, have a better opportunity to come to know the truths of the restored gospel.

    Under the direction of the General Authorities, the Book of Mormon is being made available in each language spoken by members and prospective members of the Church, as soon as it is practical. According to Eb Davis, director of the Translation Division of the Church, this is one of the ways the Church is taking the gospel to all the world. The story behind the translation of the Book of Mormon into Polish is a remarkable example of this inspired work.

    The primary figure in the work on the Polish Book of Mormon has been Maria Krolikowska. Born and raised in Poland and converted to the Church in 1966 while in Oxford, England, Maria was prepared in a number of ways to be the main translator. She studied English, Russian, and Spanish languages at a Polish college and university, and later worked as a translator of business correspondence, translating Polish to English and English to Polish. She gained additional experience with the English language while in England, Canada, and the United States in her work as a secretary. Of inestimable value was Maria’s mission for the Church to Alaska-British Columbia and subsequent leadership positions in wards and stakes at Brigham Young University and later in Salt Lake City. These experiences helped her gain a clearer understanding of Church doctrines.

    “When the Brethren say, ‘Now we will go in this language,’ we go; and we’re amazed to see, if we do our work well, that the translators are there and they are prepared,” Brother Davis explains. “So when the time came and Poland was opened, a qualified translator—Maria—was ready. It’s a tremendous responsibility to translate the scriptures. They have to be done precisely—there are no liberties that can be taken with the text,” Brother Davis adds. “You have to have the right translator. All I can say is that Maria was led to us.”

    According to Irvin B. Nydegger, who recently retired as director of the Translation Division, “Maria just walked into the office one day. She was then interested in studying nursing and had no thought whatsoever of what was ahead of her as a translator of the Book of Mormon. As we got to know her, we felt that she was to be the main translator. In translation work we do a lot of worrying, a lot of thinking, a lot of praying in order to find the right people.”

    “As a translator I believe that the language used should be familiar and comfortable for people to read, so that it can speak to their hearts,” Maria says. “When we translate scriptures we try to be very strict. The translation must be literal, but it also must allow for the people to understand the spirit of the scripture and thus recognize and accept the truthfulness of it. While translating the scriptures, I learned a lot more about understanding the gospel, about understanding the Book of Mormon. I came to know what it means to know with all my heart that it is the word of God. My greatest satisfaction and reward is that my people will be able to understand this book of scripture and say, ‘It is true.’”

    According to Maria, it has been only in the last few years in Poland, a strongly Roman Catholic country, that most of the people have been interested in discussing religion. Until recently the only Bible known to Catholics there was a sixteenth-century translation by Wujek, a Roman Catholic priest. During her work on the Book of Mormon, Maria became aware of three new Polish translations of the Bible, which had recently been published to celebrate one-thousand years of Catholicism in Poland. Two of the editions are in the contemporary language. Now that the Book of Mormon in Polish has been added to that body of scripture, Polish people have the privilege of learning more fully the history of the Lord’s work.

    The translation of the Book of Mormon into Polish has involved a number of people in addition to Maria, among them reviewers and revisers, as well as the many people who were part of the printing and publishing process.

    Because of the work of Maria Krolikowska and others, three thousand copies of the Polish Book of Mormon are now available to Polish-speaking people; more will be printed as the need arises. An encouraging result of their work is that the Translation Division was able to obtain permission from the Polish government to distribute the book in Poland. Copies are now available at the newly established Church information center in Warsaw. The book can also be obtained from the Salt Lake City Distribution Center (1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104), and from or through other distribution centers worldwide.

    The Polish Book of Mormon is one of the Church’s most recent translations of this latter-day scripture. During the 1850s it was translated into Danish, German, French, Italian, Welsh, and Hawaiian. The late 1800s saw translations into Swedish, Spanish, Maori, and Dutch. In the 1900s the book was printed in such languages as Samoan, Turkish, Armenian, Portuguese, Tongan, Norwegian, Rarotonga, Chinese, Afrikaans, Thai, and Hungarian. By 1980 it had been translated into Bulgarian, Navajo, Quichua-Ecuador, Arabic, Czech, Vietnamese, and Fijian, among others. The year 1981 saw the publication of this scripture into still more languages: Catalan, Russian, Icelandic, Niuean, Quechua-Bolivia, Cuna, Romanian, Polish, and Hebrew. Translation into additional languages continues to move forward as missionaries take the gospel to still more areas of the world.

    [photo] The Polish Book of Mormon—Ksiega Mormona—(left center) is one of the most recent translations of the Book of Mormon. Also shown with other Book of Mormon translations are Joseph Smith’s Testimony; the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price; and several manuals. (Photography by Eldon Linschoten.)

    Check Mail for Important Four-Generation Information

    If you are among the many who have submitted four-generation family group records and pedigree charts within the last year, you have likely received a letter from the Church Genealogical Department.

    The letter, signed by Elder Royden G. Derrick, Executive Director of the Genealogical Department, contains three important items of information for submitters:

    1. A temporary identification number. David M. Mayfield, director of library services for the Genealogical Department, explained that “Each submission is assigned a temporary number until the ancestral file is computerized, at which time it will be assigned a permanent number. The assignment of these temporary numbers will make it possible for members to make additions or corrections to the data contained on the family group records and pedigree charts they submitted. All communication with the department relative to a particular four-generation set should include the submission number.” It is anticipated that the ancestral file will be functional within a few years.

    2. Process for making corrections. Corrections should be prepared by using a new sheet to replace each one needing correction and sending it, along with the submission number, to the Genealogical Department. Brother Mayfield noted that “an entirely new sheet must be prepared and sent in, even if only one number or letter needs to be changed. By the same token, sheets that need a number of corrections can be fixed with only one corrected page.” In the event of a submitter’s change of name or address, the information should be sent to the department, accompanied by the submission number.

    3. Request for additional or corrected information. Dozens of Church service personnel have been numbering and evaluating submissions since last July; as a result of the evaluation, about ten percent of the submitters will be asked to make changes or corrections in their materials. According to Brother Mayfield, all such adjustments should have been made and materials resubmitted within two months of the letter’s receipt. “We plan to begin microfilming the records in May,” he said.

    Letters have been sent to more than 100,000 family representatives.

    Policies and Announcements

    The following items appeared in the April 1982 Bulletin.

    Reduction of Time and Money Required for Church Programs. “We are very anxious that the cost of participation in Church activities not become unduly burdensome to our members. There is concern lest some who are not able to meet these costs may withdraw themselves from full participation in the Church. Particularly the youth programs of the Church should be so managed that all of our young people may enjoy full participation.

    “Local leaders in stakes and missions are … asked to carefully review their budgets together with those things not included in the budget that require donations of time or money from our members. Determine if some reduction in these costs may be made. Some less-essential activities of the Church may have to be curtailed somewhat. These may include those activities that require extensive travel, or frequent contributions from members.

    “It is a time of great opportunity. We are anxious that we not falter in expanding the great missionary program of the Church, and in providing the needed buildings, including temples. In order to keep up with the costs of the essential activities of the Church, it will require wise and prudent management on the part of the local priesthood leaders. …

    “Our members face increasing costs in providing food, clothing, shelter, and the other necessities of life for themselves and for their families. It is a time that will require very wise and prudent budgeting on the part of local leaders so that the cost of Church membership will not be burdensome to them.” (First Presidency letter, 2 May 1978.)

    Activities for Youth and Young Adults. Those who supervise activities for youth and young adults should not plan events that require long-distance travel and unusual expense. Leaders generally should discourage overnight activities for mixed groups. For special events, such as youth conferences, that extend beyond a single day, leaders should obtain written permission from parents and should provide adequate chaperones (normally one responsible adult for every eight to ten youths or young adults and at least one adult per car).

    Do not curtail activities for youth and young adults, because wholesome activities are a necessary part of the Church program. However, exercise wisdom and avoid undue expense and extravagance. Also, emphasize family-centered activities.

    General Authority Speaking Assignments. The growth of the Church and the increasing demands on the time of the General Authorities have prompted the following policy statement:

    a. Regional Representatives, stake presidents, members of general auxiliary boards, and other exemplary Latter-day Saints generally should be invited as special speakers for youth and single-adult firesides and conferences rather than General Authorities.

    b. On occasions when a particularly significant multi-stake event would be greatly enhanced by a General Authority speaker, the priesthood leader requesting a General Authority speaker should have the Executive Administrator clear the request and then submit it in writing to the Office of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

    c. General Authorities are assigned regularly to visit stake conferences to instruct and meet with local members of the Church. In few additional instances would a General Authority speaker be appropriate at a stake or ward function.

    Length of Visiting Teaching Visits. Visiting teaching visits should be limited to approximately ten minutes except where a special need requires a longer visit.

    Visiting Teaching with Small Children. Visiting teachers who have small children should not leave them unattended while doing visiting teaching even when the children are asleep. Visiting teachers may take small children with them. However, mothers should help them to sit quietly, possibly with a book or toy, during the visits.

    Members in Military Service. Ward Relief Society presidents should keep a current list of sisters who are in military service. They should see that these members receive regular letters from the presidency and from visiting teachers. This is important for any members away from home, but especially for those serving in the armed forces. They are often in circumstances that make active Church participation difficult. Regular communications from Relief Society sisters can provide needed encouragement and a reminder of the security and strength found in the gospel.

    Polynesian Cultural Center Has Cultural, Spiritual Impact on Visitors

    The sun sets gently on the western horizon as the coconut palms are silhouetted against the last hues of magenta and orange in the sky. A tropic darkness hushes the last glimmer of daylight. Suddenly music fills the air, and lights flood a stage set against the palms.

    Thus begins another performance of “Invitation to Paradise” before an audience of almost 3,000. It is the climax to a day at Hawaii’s Polynesian Cultural Center.

    This Church-sponsored institution, located at Laie on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, is now in its nineteenth year and has attracted more than ten million visitors from the United States, Canada, Japan, and scores of other countries throughout the world. Its primary feature is demonstrating Polynesian culture; in a way, it has become a living museum of songs, dances, arts and crafts, histories, and lifestyles of people from Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tahiti/Marquesas.

    William H. Cravens, general manager of the cultural center and president of the Laie Hawaii Stake, described the purpose of the center as twofold: “To preserve the culture of Polynesia, first and foremost; and second, to provide jobs and scholarships for students attending the Hawaii campus of Brigham Young University adjacent to the center.”

    What it has done, it has done very well—so well that the Pacific Area Travel Association presented its first Pacific Cultural Award to the Polynesian Cultural Center for doing more to preserve one or more Pacific cultures than any other organization among its thirty-nation membership.

    The center has become a “must see” visitor attraction in Hawaii, and rates as one of the top attractions in the state.

    “The success enjoyed by the cultural center could be attributed to hard work and sacrifice, and pride in cultural heritage,” said President Cravens, “and the spirit of the gospel that allows people of different backgrounds to live together in a bond of peace and brotherhood.”

    From the beginning, the center was intended to be more than a visitor attraction. It is, in fact, the result of prophetic visions which also helped establish a temple and a university in the same village of Laie.

    In the 1860’s, when missionary work had been under way for a dozen years in Hawaii, a new gathering place was needed for the Saints. Under Brigham Young’s direction Elders Francis Hammond and George Nebeker negotiated to buy a 6,000-acre ranch in Laie from Thomas Dougherty for $14,000. The purchase price included 500 head of cattle, 500 head of sheep, 200 goats, and 26 horses.

    But times were hard in those early years. Lack of water, harsh winds, and disappointing harvests fostered disillusionment among the settlers.

    Joseph F. Smith, on his third mission to Hawaii, met with the Saints and encouraged them to stay. He reassured them that “this place has been chosen by the Lord as a gathering place for the Saints of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii. Do not complain,” he told them. “Be patient, for the day is coming when this land will become a most beautiful land. Water shall spring forth in abundance, and upon the barren land you now see, the Saints will build homes. … Many trees will be planted and this place will become verdant, the fragrance of flowers will fill the air, and trees which are now seen growing on the mountains will be moved by the Saints and will grow in this place near the sea, and because of the great beauty of the land, birds will come here and sing their songs.

    “And upon this place the glory of the Lord will rest to bless the Saints who believe in him and keep his commandments.” (Quoted in Reuben D. Law, The Founding and Early Development of the Church College of Hawaii, St. George, Utah: Dixie College Press, 1972, pp. 23–24.)

    Within a few years artesian wells were discovered near the mountains, and the area of Laie has enjoyed plentiful supplies of water since.

    President Smith returned to Laie in 1916 to dedicate a site for the first temple to be built outside the United States. It was completed in 1919.

    Elder David O. McKay, while on a world tour of missions in 1921, stopped over at Laie and attended a flag-raising ceremony at the Laie school. He was deeply stirred as he watched children of many races salute the flag, and he envisioned a school of higher learning for that small community to complement the recently dedicated temple, making Laie the educational and spiritual center for the Saints in the Pacific.

    That vision was fulfilled under President McKay’s direction in 1955 when the Church College of Hawaii opened its doors with 153 students enrolled. Four years later the college began offering a four-year curriculum, and in 1974 it became affiliated with Brigham Young University as its Hawaii campus. Today it has grown to accommodate 2,000 students from Hawaii, the United States mainland, and some thirty other countries. It is, according to Dr. J. Elliot Cameron, president of the Hawaii campus, “perhaps the most universal student body in the world.”

    With this unique blend of international students came a special need to find employment for them in the rural community. It was this need, plus the influence of Elder Matthew Cowley, which led to the decision to build the Polynesian Cultural Center.

    Elder Cowley knew of the sacrifices made by island people to come to Hawaii to do temple work. He had served as a missionary and mission president in New Zealand, and later, as an Apostle, was president of the Pacific Island missions. In conversations with Edward Clissold, president of the Hawaiian Mission, he said he hoped to see the day “when my Maori people will have a little village there at Laie with a beautiful carved house. The Tongans will have a little village, too, and the Tahitians and Samoans … all those islanders of the sea.” (Quoted in David W. Cummings, Polynesia in a Day! Laie, Hawaii: Polynesian Cultural Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1966, p. 7.)

    Although Elder Cowley did not live to see his dream fulfilled, his vision was planted in the hearts of others who nurtured it to reality. Work started in 1962 with the same labor missionary support that had built the Church college, and in November 1963 the cultural center opened amid skepticism that it would not be successful. Critics pointed out that it was too far away from Waikiki, where Hawaii’s infant tourist industry was centered.

    But already busloads of tourists were making their way around the island of Oahu to see the majestic cliffs of the Pali lookout, the scenic beaches of the north shore, and the Mormon Temple, known as the “Taj Mahal” of the Pacific.

    As the first buses stopped by the cultural center, a warm welcome greeted the tourists. Then, in true Polynesian tradition, they were educated, entertained, and given a feast.

    By 1972 the jumbo jets were beginning to arrive in Hawaii, and demand for tickets to the center outgrew the supply. From a twelve-acre original site, the villages and theater complex grew to forty-two acres and the amphitheater increased its capacity to 2,770.

    Tropical foliage surrounds this spectacular amphitheater, and an artificial sixty-foot thundering volcano adds impact to the evening show. This show—“Invitation to Paradise”—is the highlight of the center’s activities. A cast of 150 singers, dancers, and musicians takes the audience on a musical journey through time, bringing history and legends to life with power and grace.

    Early in the day, guests tour authentically recreated villages of Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Tahiti/Marquesas, and Tonga, participating in craft demonstrations and dances, listening to music, and observing the unique and common characteristics of each Polynesian culture.

    A matinee program, “Music of Polynesia,” traces the history of music and instruments as they were introduced to the islands. Later in the afternoon the Pageant of Long Canoes features a festival of fashions, songs, and dances aboard double-hulled canoes gliding along a winding lagoon.

    A Polynesian band concert follows at dusk with tunes from John Philip Souza, the Benny Goodman big-band era, and other specially arranged Polynesian numbers.

    There is also an opportunity for visitors to the cultural center to take a one-hour tour of the Hawaii Temple grounds and visitors’ center. Each day a motorized trolley leaves the center every half hour and a student guide gives a historical review of the Laie community, passing by the BYU—Hawaii campus and making the stop at the temple. (Further information may be obtained by dialing this toll free telephone number: 800-367-7060.)

    The success of this tour has caused the Temple visitors’ center to expand its facilities; it now receives up to 1,000 visitors a day.

    “We provide missionary referrals to missions throughout the United States and as far away as South America, Germany, England, and the Orient,” said President Robert J. Martin of the Honolulu, Hawaii Mission. “We know of many families that have joined the Church because of impressions received during their visit to Laie.”

    [photos] Photos courtesy Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, Hawaii

    [photo] Visitors to the Center, with guidance from Fiji performers, try their hand at playing the bamboo pipe organ.

    [photo] Performers recreate authentic Polynesian dances, traditions.