News of the Church

By Linnie M. Findlay


New Missionary Gospel Study Program Approved

A new gospel study program for use by full-time missionaries has been approved by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve. The new study guide is “to replace any study guides presently being used” and is to become “an integral part of the training program” in each mission, said the First Presidency in a letter to church leaders.

Titled Missionary Gospel Study Program, the new study guide provides both a schedule for reading the standard works and a guide to studying the doctrines of the Church by topic. This program is keyed to the new Latter-day Saint editions of the scriptures (which contain the topical guide and other study helps) and the standard missionary library (Gospel Principles, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, The Articles of Faith, Jesus the Christ, and Truth Restored).

The new study program will “greatly improve the missionaries’ study of the gospel, both in quantity and quality, thus laying the foundation for an even greater abundance of blessings both during their missions and in their later lives,” the First Presidency said.

The uniform study guide is divided into fifty-two units of consecutive study, one for each week of the year. The study guide (PBMI8348; $.25) is also available to all other interested members of the Church for use in husband-wife, family, and individual study programs. The guide can be obtained through the Salt Lake City Distribution Center (1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104) or through other Church distribution centers worldwide.

New Guides for General and Stake Missionaries

Replacing the General Missionary Handbook are two new instructional documents for general and stake missionaries throughout the Church—General Missionary Guidelines and Stake Mission Handbook.

The guidelines and handbook are designed “to strengthen missionary work in the stakes” so “that each of us might become more effective in sharing the gospel with our Father’s children,” the First Presidency said in a letter of 18 May to Church leaders.

General Missionary Guidelines (PXMI081A) is written for all priesthood leaders, including stake presidencies, high councils, bishoprics, and quorum leaders. The Stake Mission Handbook (PBMI4438) is intended specifically for all who are responsible for the stake mission. Both documents are available at no cost from Church distribution centers.

Guidelines includes basic goals and principles of missionary work. In addition, a description of organizational responsibilities provides help for priesthood leaders, the stake Melchizedek Priesthood Committee, the seventies quorum and stake mission, and the ward mission leader. A definition of the missionary program follows, with its four phases—finding, teaching, baptising, and fellowshipping—along with guidance on who is directly responsible for the processes involved in each phase.

Directives are also provided on full-time missionary work, with emphasis on the proper preparation of missionaries, older couples as well as single young men and women. Brief guidance is given to missionaries with additional assignments and on proselyting among minorities.

The Handbook “explains the organization and work of seventies quorums and stake missions” (p. ii). In their letter, the First Presidency calls attention in particular to one change in procedure: “Seventies can now be ordained ‘by or under the direction of the stake president’ (p. 16).”

Included in this handbook is an overview of the missionary program focusing on its purpose, basic principles, and goals, which are the same as those defined in General Missionary Guidelines.

The section on organization includes guidance on the role of the seventy, other stake missionaries, the seventies quorum, the senior president of the seventies quorum, and the ward mission leader. Complete cooperation between stake and full-time missions is called for in the section titled “Working with the Full-time Missionaries,” which provides specific information on the role of the missionary team and the missionary correlation meeting.

In the section on finding people to teach, guidance is given on friendshipping; referrals from members; leaders as examples; new move-in activities; part-time families; “lost and unknown” members; finding through nonmembers; baptismal services as finding opportunities; open houses, seminars, and workshops; using the Book of Mormon; using other Church publications; and visitors’ centers.

Also included in the Handbook are two appendices. Appendix A is a chart listing procedures for appointing members to specific offices. Appendix B is a convert baptism checklist for ward mission leaders and elders quorum presidents.

The Mormon Miracle at Manti

It began with miraculous protection from a storm—and each year since its beginning, those who work with The Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Utah, are blessed abundantly for their efforts.

Pageant director Macksene Rux, who travels from Salt Lake City to live in Manti each summer during pageant rehearsals and performances, told the pageant committee in 1981: “It’s a big thrill to come down here and see what happens, and to work with a wonderful group of young people. But the thing that makes the pageant a success is the Spirit of the Lord. We could not do it without his help.”

The pageant is held on the south slope of the Manti Temple Hill, and a professional sound tape supports the actors. But it is the great spirit accompanying each presentation, a sense of peace and love and brotherhood, to which people respond. Over 100,000 people attend the event yearly.

The story told by the pageant begins in 1820, at the dawn of Church history, and then goes back into Book of Mormon times. The pageant reviews the promises made by the Lord to the people of America, and the bitter consequences of turning away from him. It also depicts the troubled period of the fledgling Church in New England and in the American heartland, and the long and arduous trek to the mountain valleys of the western United States.

It was to capture this story that author Grace Johnson first embarked on a lecture tour to Rotary-Kiwanis clubs in New England many years ago. “It’s so easy to become complacent and forget about the impact the ‘Mormon Story’ had on the settlement of America,” she said in a recent interview. She reflected that the establishment of the Church with its constant movement westward until it finally settled in what is now Utah “was a factor that completely changed the face of America.” Latter-day Saints “launched a thousand ships of immigration, flooding the New World with divergent cultures, bringing skills, trades, and arts with them to build a unique commonwealth as they worked together to make the barren desert blossom.”

Sister Johnson was requested by Church officials to present her lecture in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City as part of June Conference, 1947, commemorating the centennial anniversary of the arrival of the first Mormon Pioneers in Utah. Published then, and offered for sale by Deseret Book, The Mormon Miracle was sponsored for a tour in six western states, given by Miss Johnson, concluding in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City. Brigham Young University presented it in 1964 with a cast, narrators, and music provided by a 75-voice choir. The production was also offered as a baccalaureate service at the Church College of Hawaii. Sister Rux later adapted the original script into pageant form.

About 400 persons—farmers, businessmen and women, teachers, students, and sometimes entire families—now spend their evenings in rigorous rehearsal for six weeks before the pageant begins. Most come from towns in Sanpete Valley, but some return annually from Salt Lake City, Richfield, other parts of Utah, and some from other states. Hundreds more are involved in production and in maintaining physical facilities, in traffic control, and in providing for the comfort of those who attend.

France Peunzieux, now in her middle seventies, has been in the cast every year. Asked why she continues with the demanding schedule of rehearsals and eight nights of performance, France said that it is her way of spreading the gospel so others may know the joy she has found as a member of the Church.

France was locked out of her home in Switzerland when she joined the Church as a young woman. After five difficult years she met and married her husband, and they became parents of two lovely girls. She later brought her daughters to America, eventually settling in Manti.

Gary Magnusson joined the pageant cast in 1970 and has played the role of Mormon Battalion Captain Allen all but one or two years since. He has also assisted with directing and coaching Book of Mormon “warriors” and flag and armor bearers. A native of Castle Dale, Utah, Gary feels that the pageant fits into his missionary concept of life. He works in a Salt Lake school district and stays with a sister and her husband during the six weeks of rehearsal and production of The Mormon Miracle Pageant.

Although the pageant is an outdoor production and has never been rained out, starting time was delayed by wind and rain on the second Thursday and Friday evenings in 1981. Still, the unsettled weather seemed to exert a unifying influence on members of the cast. The final Saturday performance was flawless, and the warmth and beauty of the night was enjoyed by all.

There were tears shed, together with fond “good-byes” among friends and leaders as each went their separate ways after the final performance. But the farewells are softened as cast members echo, “See you next year!”

Pageant dates for 1982 are July 8, 9, 10, and 13 through 17.

Festival Honors Mormon Arts

The fourteenth annual Mormon Festival of Arts took center stage on the Brigham Young University campus March 4–30, with entries across the spectrum of creative endeavor. Professionals and non-professionals participated in musical performance and composition, theater, visual arts, fiction, and poetry, with contests conducted by many university colleges and departments, under the general sponsorship of the College of Fine Arts and Communications.

Most visual were the paintings, some of which are shown on these pages. Latter-day Saint artists, both students and non-students, submitted some 350 paintings, of which 161 were accepted for display in several galleries of BYU’s Harris Fine Arts Center.

Dr. Lael J. Woodbury, who has recently completed several years as dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, was a moving force behind the festival’s inception fourteen years ago—and he sees a bright future for Latter-day Saint art. “I have such great confidence in the festival,” he said. “It’s something that needs to be done and isn’t done anywhere else—to provide a showcase for Latter-day Saints, to give them a sense of community, to let them see themselves as part of a common culture. I think that it’s achieving its goals in doing that; perhaps the greatest evidence of that fact is that we receive progressively greater numbers of entries each year. And it’s progressing nicely toward becoming an international event.”

The festival is open to both professional and non-professional artists. Additional information is available through BYU’s College of Fine Arts and Communications.

[illustration] “Midway Road,” a watercolor, was painted by Rick Kenateder.

[illustration] Lynn Millman’s entry: an acrylic, titled “Untitled.”

[illustration] Wayne Kimball’s lithograph, “Treeinpotatop Ytimne,” won an award for excellence.

[illustration] Prismacolor/acrylic painting by Kent Goodliffe, titled “The Red Scarf,” was among fourteen winners.

[illustration] “Gutter Reflections” was painted in oil by Dan Baxter.

[illustration] Still life in oil, titled “Potatoe Series #2,” painted by Tom Oxborrow.

Policies and Announcements

The following letters, dated April 9 and April 20, 1982, respectively and signed by the First Presidency, were addressed to Church leaders.

“Contributions to the General Missionary Fund. An increasing number of young men and women living outside the United States and Canada are being called to serve full-time missions. These missionaries bring many converts into the Church and, upon returning to their homes, strengthen the leadership and spirituality in their countries.

“Many of these missionaries could not serve without partial assistance provided from the General Missionary Fund.

“Individuals, family organizations, and priesthood quorums are encouraged to send contributions to: General Missionary Fund, Financial Department, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. Also, priesthood leaders should see that quorum funds are not left idle. Funds not needed for current or planned operations should be sent to the General Missionary Fund.

“Stake high priests quorums and seventies quorums are especially invited to support this aspect of the worldwide missionary effort. Elders quorums also may participate. In no instance should quorum presidencies establish quotas or assessments. Rather, they should encourage each quorum member to give as liberally as his circumstances permit. Any surplus funds currently in a ward or quorum missionary fund also could be transferred to the General Missionary Fund.”

Adoption and Foster Care Placements. Some members occasionally involve themselves in illegal or improper adoption and foster care placements that result in heartache and disappointment. Nearly every case of heartache results from either intentional or inadvertent avoidance of proper legal safeguards.

“The actions of individual members often are viewed as being sanctioned by the Church. If Church members or leaders become involved in illegal child placements that violate laws of the United States or other countries, their actions may cause embarrassment to the Church and may jeopardize missionary work and other Church programs.

“The needs of the child must be a paramount concern in adoption and foster care placements. Ensuring that the child’s needs are met may require specialized professional knowledge. We remind you that the LDS Social Services is the official Church agency to assist members in matters of adoption.

“We urge members of the Church seeking to adopt children through other agencies to observe strictly all legal requirements of the country or countries involved in the adoption.”

An updated edition of the Directory of Church Organizations, Facilities, and Services for Hearing Impaired Members is now available. The 1982 edition contains 140 listings in the United States and 36 for other areas of the world. Included are listings for wards and branches for the deaf hosted by hearing wards; information on temple sessions for the deaf; missions with missionaries assigned to work with deaf investigators; visitors’ centers with captioned materials and guided tours for the deaf; information for deaf leaders and members desiring to communicate with Church headquarters; information on seminaries and institutes providing signed or interpreted instruction; and other information of value both to deaf members and to leaders working with deaf members.

Copies are available for $1.10 each from the Salt Lake Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84105.

The following items appeared in the May 1982 Bulletin.

Activities Exchange: Serving Those with Special Needs. The activities committee in the Goldsboro First Ward, Kinston North Carolina Stake, became concerned about three handicapped members and arranged a program called “Our Special Group.” Each month the group holds a weekday activity, such as a luncheon, a dinner, or light refreshments followed by a dance or games. Now, thirty or more members, ranging in age from fourteen to forty, attend these activities. The bishop writes, “We appreciate our activities committee and the effort they have made to make these special people feel loved and wanted.”

School Team Players. A person who is a member of a school varsity team (high school, technical or junior college, college or university; male or female) is not eligible to participate in the same sport in the Church sports program during the same season. However, members of junior high school or junior varsity teams are eligible to participate. This rule may need to be adjusted to meet local conditions in some multiregions or areas. Any such adjustments should apply to the entire multiregion or area.

Local leaders should involve the youth who are on the school teams in the Church program as officials and coaches where possible.

Ward Genealogical Consultants. The role of genealogical-forms examiners in wards and branches has been expanded, and their title has been changed to ward genealogical consultant (see Ensign, Oct. 1981, p. 75).

The bishop is to ensure that families and individuals in the ward are instructed in the principles, responsibilities, and blessings associated with temple and genealogical work. The high priests group leader (the genealogical adviser in branches), who is the ward adviser on temple work and genealogical research, assists the bishop. The ward genealogical consultants assist the high priests group leader. They may suggest ways to stimulate interest and activity in temple work and genealogical research. Under his direction they may—

1. Help members organize their families for genealogical research and temple work.

2. Help members find the resources they need to research their ancestral lines.

3. Teach members how to complete the forms required to have temple ordinances performed for their kindred dead and others, following the standards in From You to Your Ancestors, second edition (PBGS0683), chapter 8 and appendixes C and D. (They no longer need to approve or initial the forms.)

4. Determine which families in the ward have not submitted four-generation records to the Ancestral File and offer to assist them.

5. Teach and encourage members to complete and submit additional records to the Ancestral File.

6. Teach members to compile personal and family histories.

7. Help the instructor of the basic genealogical course. (The genealogical instructor may serve as a consultant.)

8. Teach advanced classes in genealogy or genealogical workshops for those who have completed the basic course.

9. Prepare suggestions for the bishop to use in helping home teachers prepare lessons on genealogy and temple work to teach the families they visit.

1981 Index to Periodicals. The Index to Periodicals of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981 (PBLI0658, $3.00) is available from the Salt Lake City Distribution Center. This publication indexes material in the Ensign, the New Era, the Friend, the Church News, and Conference Reports. The index is valuable as a guide to the resource materials available from the Church. Each meetinghouse library should purchase at least one copy. (See the 1982 Salt Lake City Distribution Center Catalog, p. 20, for a list of the indexes available.)

Home Teaching Lessons for New Members. The booklet Home Teaching Lessons for New Members (PBHT5164, $.50 each) has been revised to include two new lessons, for a total of eight. One new lesson is on temple and genealogical work, and the other is on the mission of the Church. Home teachers should teach the lessons in this booklet to all new converts immediately after baptism. You can order supplies of this booklet from your local distribution center.

Keeping Pace

New Primary Handbook Ready. A new edition of the Primary Handbook is now available for stake and ward Primary priesthood advisers and leaders.

The new handbook contains updated information on policies, procedures, programs, and responsibilities. For example, included is a chart of optional ways for dealing with the Sunday meeting schedules. Information on advancing Primary children when they turn twelve is also provided. Helpful as well is a list of responsibilities of stake and ward presidencies.

The new Primary Handbook (PEPR0095) can be ordered through wards and stakes or obtained from the Salt Lake City Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104.

Another Resource for Children’s Music Now Available. Supplement to More Songs for Children (stock no. PBMU0563; $.80) complements the music in Sing with Me, More Songs for Children, and Activity Songs and Verses. The supplement and the other three songbooks can be obtained from the Salt Lake City Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104. Recordings of many of the songs are also available from the Salt Lake City Distribution Center.

Supplement to More Songs for Children features songs of love, home, and family, songs about the Savior, and songs especially for Primary. “Families Can Be Together Forever,” “I Love to See the Temple,” and “When He Comes Again” are among the ten songs included.

Free Genealogy and Family History Classes

For those living in or traveling to Salt Lake City, the Genealogical Library offers free classes on using the library to research your family history. Experienced library professionals teach hour-long classes on such subjects as the International Genealogical Index, LDS Church and Temple records, research in the United States, Canada, British Isles, Scandinavia, Europe, and others. When you visit the library, inquire about classes being taught; printed class schedules can be obtained two weeks in advance. A guided tour of the library is also available.

If you will be visiting with a group of ten or more, please call in advance for special arrangements (801-531-3702), or write to the Genealogical Library, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.

LDS Scene

A Camilla Eyring Kimball Chair in Home and Family Life has been established at Brigham Young University. President Jeffrey R. Holland announced the chair, which is in the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, and cited it as “an expression of love to Sister Kimball from the entire Latter-day Saint community.” Funds contributed to the chair will enable BYU to bring eminent scholars from throughout the world to the university.

An endowed chair in the name of Sister Belle S. Spafford has been established at the University of Utah.

The purpose of the chair is to further research and education in social welfare.

During her decades of service to Church and community, Sister Spafford pioneered many legislative and social reforms. She served as general president of the Relief Society from 1945 until 1974. She died February 3 of this year.

National Young Mother for 1982 is LaDawn Andersen Jacob, 33-year-old mother of nine and member of the Orem Utah 22nd Ward. She was chosen at the 47th Annual Conference of American Mothers Inc., held April 28–May 1 in Salt Lake City.

Thomas L. Steffen, Las Vegas attorney and Church member, has been appointed to the Nevada State Supreme Court—the first Latter-day Saint named among forty-one appointments in the 118-year history of the state’s highest court.

BYU’S Young Ambassadors recently toured India and Sri Lanka for five and one-half weeks. The group of twenty-seven students presented twenty-eight formal and numerous impromptu performances; they also taped television and radio shows to be viewed and heard by more than fifteen million people. A highlight of the tour was a meeting with India’s Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, who expressed her feeling that “the ideas we have in common, which you have so beautifully expressed, in such a melodious way, have helped to build India. My hope is that we may all walk that path of goodwill and brotherhood, both young and old, with hands stretched across the ocean and the continents.”

Jan Bucher, 24, a member of Salt Lake’s Monument Park 17th Ward, won her fourth straight World Ballet Skiing championship in April.