News of the Church


Elder LeGrand Richards Is Eulogized

General Authorities, family members, and throngs of his friends, “the Saints,” filled the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Friday, January 14, to honor the memory of Elder LeGrand Richards, who died earlier that week at the age of ninety-six.

President Spencer W. Kimball, in an address read by his personal secretary, D. Arthur Haycock, paid tribute to Elder Richards as “one of the greatest missionaries of our time. He reminded me of a modern-day Apostle Paul. I can think of no one who has borne his testimony to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ with deeper conviction or with greater fervor. With it all, LeGrand Richards was a perennial optimist and his words were a rare combination of wit and humor, comfort, encouragement, and wisdom. He rarely, if ever, delivered a message from a written text. He just spoke from his heart, drawing upon a lifetime of experience, study, and inspiration.”

Speaking in behalf of Elder Richards’ large family, his son, G. LaMont Richards, reflected upon his father’s deep affection for members of the Church. “Father wanted me to tell you, the Saints, how much he truly loved you. ‘I know all of the Saints except their names,’ he often said.”

“Through the eyes of this beloved man,” said Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve, “we have looked back across the history of the Church. When LeGrand Richards was born, President John Taylor presided over the Church. When he was seven years old he attended the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. He remembered President Wilford Woodruff very clearly. …

“From his memory we read between the lines of the whole of the history of the Church. What he did not see himself, he learned from others who saw it back to the very beginning of this dispensation. He lived out his century in close association with the servants of the Lord.”

Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke movingly of Elder Richards’ devotion to his wife, Ina, and their eternal union. “He was one of our most persuasive advocates in teaching the immortality of the soul,” said Elder Petersen. “He knew that immortality is a fact. One reason he was so certain of it was that his wife, Ina, had passed away and was over there in the spirit world, a thing he never doubted.

“He could not think for one moment that she did not live on and on in that eternal world, which was as real to him as the world in which we now live. There was no thought of anything but eternal life—life forever—everlasting life with Ina.”

President Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve affirmed that “without a doubt, LeGrand Richards is one of the noble and great ones shown in vision to our father Abraham. There is no greater example of our religion in action than the life of our faithful brother. … Elder Richards will ever be remembered among his colleagues as one of the purest of souls—never any pretense or guile. His only aim was the promotion of truth. How we appreciated his frankness, unpretentiousness, total and energetic dedication, and sparkling humor.”

“I have often felt,” reflected President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “that [Elder Richards’] parents were inspired when they named him LeGrand. The Le is the French equivalent of the article the in our language. Grand is just what it means in our language. The synonyms for that word are magnificent, imposing, stately, majestic, impressive, wonderful.

“I am confident that the Lord had him marked out for great service when he was named as a child. To all of us who have known him, LeGrand has been The Grand Man. He has been the grand example of eloquence in declaring the word of the Lord. … He spoke with the enthusiasm of a man on fire with a cause. That cause was the gospel of Jesus Christ, and his consuming love for it was contagious with those who heard him. He was Le Grand example of fidelity to the Lord, to the Church, to his friends, to his family, to the great name which he carried.”

Elder Packer had noted earlier the unique spirit of this modern-day Paul in a short description of Elder Richards’ devotion to the gospel, commenting that when one studies the life of Elder LeGrand Richards, he sees the “missionary, the student, the missionary, the young businessman, the missionary, the family man, the missionary, the bishop, the missionary, the stake president, the missionary, the stake president (no, I do not repeat), the missionary, the bishop, the missionary, the Apostle, the missionary.”

[photo] Elder LeGrand Richards’ funeral was held in the Tabernacle.

New Member-Missionary Sunday School Class

“How am I doing as a member-missionary?”

“Am I truly a friend to my nonmember neighbors?”

“Do I know how to begin a gospel conversation?”

“How can I invite my neighbors to listen to the missionary discussions?”

Church members are asking themselves these and other questions in a new class now offered during Sunday School. The “Member-Missionary Class” is a six-week course designed to help members learn the doctrines and principles of missionary work, develop member-missionary skills, and gain commitment and self-confidence.

Weekly discussions and assignments help participants fulfill the three major goals of the course, which are to—

“1. Invite someone into their homes to hear the missionary discussions, if possible, before the end of the class.

“2. Submit one referral for a nonmember who has agreed to accept a visit from the missionaries.

“3. Plan to continue in missionary service.”

Elder Carlos E. Asay, Executive Director of the Missionary Department, says that the class is intended to help Church members “understand not only their responsibilities relating to missionary service, but also how they can fulfill their responsibilities. Many people have fears and they wonder if they can really be missionaries. Hopefully this class will help people overcome those fears and enable them to share the gospel with their friends and neighbors.”

In a letter introducing the new course of study to Church leaders, President Ezra Taft Benson said: “We are confident that members who conscientiously participate in this class will find greater success and joy in fulfilling their missionary responsibilities.”

A fourteen-page instructor’s guide provides class instructions, lesson outlines, and suggested assignments. (Stock no. PBMI8574, $.35 each.) In addition, each participant should have a sixteen-page personal study outline for taking notes during class and completing assignments before and after class. (Stock no. PBMI8585, $.15 each.)

Lesson 1 gives an overview of the member’s role in the conversion process and of the blessings of missionary service. Class members identify nonmember friends and assess their relationships with them.

During lesson 2, class members discuss ways to be good examples of LDS principles, build genuine friendships with nonmember acquaintances, and introduce them to other Church members.

The third lesson discusses how to introduce nonmember friends, neighbors, and relatives to the gospel—how to know when they are ready, how to begin a gospel conversation, and how to invite them to hear the missionary discussions.

Lesson 4 gives ideas on how to introduce casual acquaintances or strangers to the gospel—how to meet nonmembers, how to guide conversations comfortably toward gospel topics, how to invite acquaintances to listen to the missionaries, and how to submit referrals.

The objective of the fifth lesson is to learn how to strengthen nonmember friends while they are being taught the gospel, and how to encourage new converts after baptism.

During the final lesson, participants review the principles and skills taught in the class, share missionary experiences they’ve had as a result of the lessons, and discuss ways to continue their friendshipping and missionary efforts.

Six to ten ward members—selected and called by the bishop—are invited to attend each six-week series of classes. Anyone with a desire to do missionary work may be invited to attend—especially families with children actively preparing for missions, families who have close nonmember friends or relatives, prospective missionaries, and new converts.

The six-week course is hosted by the Sunday School and is taught by a member of the Sunday School faculty. It may rotate during the year with the Genealogy and Family Relations classes, which are also offered during Sunday School time.

The Sunday School now offers classes on all three parts of the threefold mission of the Church. The new Member-Missionary class helps members fulfill their duty to “proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.” The Genealogy class prepares them to “redeem the dead by performing vicarious ordinances of the gospel for those who have lived on the earth.” Other classes such as Family Relations and Gospel Essentials help “perfect the Saints by preparing them to receive the ordinances of the gospel and by instruction and discipline to gain exaltation.” (The threefold mission of the Church is listed by President Spencer W. Kimball in Ensign, May 1981, p. 5.)

[photo] New course will teach members missionary principles.

A Change in Missionary Referral System

In order to achieve greater success in the missionary referral system and to encourage members to participate, the Church has modified existing policies and procedures for handling missionary referrals.

All new referral cards will now ask whether the nonmember has specifically expressed a desire or a willingness to be visited. If that question is not answered yes, the member will be asked to friendship the nonmember further (until the nonmember does agree to a visit) before submitting the referral. If the nonmember has not specifically agreed to a visit, the referral will not be sent to the missionaries.

Extensive research has shown that an important factor in the success of any referral is the nonmember’s acceptance of an invitation to have the missionaries visit. When the nonmember has not specifically expressed a willingness to be visited, the missionaries are rarely able to begin teaching the gospel, and the nonmember is sometimes offended. But if members prepare their friends for the missionaries and then ask in advance whether they would like to be visited, those friends are much more likely to eventually embrace the gospel.

To help members better understand the concept and process of friendshipping, the Church has prepared the filmstrip How Great Shall Be Your Joy (VVOF3357, $3.00), the new Sunday School member-missionary class, and the pamphlet I Need a Friend (PTMI2937).

Ground Is Broken for Boise Temple

December 18 was a chilly day, but the hearts of nearly 5,000 Saints were warmed as they attended groundbreaking ceremonies for a new temple to be built in Boise, Idaho. It was the eighth temple groundbreaking within four months.

The temple is to built on a five-acre lot adjacent to a ward meetinghouse on the west side of the city. Steven S. Mortensen, Regional Representative and chairman of the temple committee, explained that the site is convenient to all members of the temple district—a factor that was foremost in consideration.

Nearly 100,000 members in twenty-nine stakes reside in the temple district, which stretches from the Canadian border on the north to the Idaho-Nevada state line on the south and from Pendleton, Oregon, on the west to Burley, Idaho, on the east. Members in the Boise area have been a part of the Idaho Falls Temple district, a traveling distance of 257 miles.

Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve presided at the ceremonies. “You are among the strong people of the Church and we are indeed grateful for you,” he said to those gathered at the groundbreaking. “We hope and pray that you will make the temple a great place of salvation for you and your ancestors. Use it; do not let it stand idle.”

He reminded members that after they have obtained their own endowments, they are “under solemn obligation to perform ordinances on behalf of our ancestors who have gone to the other side. There is an urgency to receive your own ordinances and an urgency to help the dead who have gone beyond. That is the reason we are here today.”

Raised flower gardens, a fountain, and two hundred trees will enhance the grounds around the Boise Temple. The building’s 112-foot tower will be topped by a statue of the Angel Moroni. Brother Mortensen described the temple as a building “we can be proud of, a building that will be an asset to the city of Boise. Those who enter this fair city must be impressed by its beauty.” The temple is scheduled for completion sometime after 1983.

[illustration] Boise Idaho Temple.

Salt Lake Temple Reopens

After six months of renovation and refurbishing, the historic Salt Lake Temple reopened and began normal operations on 3 January 1983.

Elder Marion D. Hanks, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy and president of the temple, indicated that the Salt Lake Temple will continue its past policy of presenting live endowment sessions.

“The mechanical systems have been completely modernized,” he said. In addition, new carpeting, wall coverings, and draperies have been installed throughout, wheelchair ramps have been added, and the seating in various rooms has been adjusted to provide more space and comfort for temple patrons.

A meticulous inspection of the structure of the temple during the renovation revealed that the building, which was begun in 1853 and completed forty years later, is in good condition.

Policies and Announcements

The following item appeared in the January 1983 Bulletin.

Selective Service Registration (U.S. Only). Bishops in the United States should remind the young men in their wards that all those born after 1 January 1960 are required to register with the Selective Service System at age eighteen. They may register at any post office, and the process requires only a few minutes’ time. The Church teaches us to obey the laws of the land. All young men should comply with this obligation of citizenship.

Missionary work. On October 1, 1982, the First Presidency issued the following statement on missionary work:

“We are commissioned of the Lord ‘to preach the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.’ It is essential that we press forward with missionary zeal to build the Kingdom of God on earth. We feel that this upward step can be achieved:

“1. By centering our lives and work around the Savior. Keep in mind that this is the Church of Jesus Christ; please emphasize that fact in making contacts with others. The Lord revealed that the Church should bear the name THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, ‘for thus shall my Church be called in the last days.’ (D&C 115:4.) We feel that some may be misled by the too frequent use of the term ‘Mormon Church.’ We should talk, rejoice, and preach of Christ; and, we should assist others in understanding the source to which ‘they may look for a remission of their sins.’ (2 Ne. 25:26.) Christian living and service should support our verbal expressions of testimony.

“2. By gathering in a greater harvest of convert baptisms. Please follow approved proselyting policies and programs and strengthen the Church. Move with renewed effort and determination. Several scriptural accounts tell of success in converting large numbers of people who became established firmly in the faith. The adding of worthy men to the Melchizedek Priesthood ranks should receive special emphasis.

“3. By inspiring members to engage in missionary service. Please understand that there is a pressing and continuing need for more worthy full-time missionaries and missionary couples, for more participation of members in friendshipping and fellowshipping activities at home, and for a more vigorous stake mission program.

“Through a renewed emphasis and use of the revealed name of the Church—THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS—it will grow and prosper worldwide. Through added member activity in missionary services, a greater harvest of worthy convert baptisms will be realized.”

(From Member-Missionary Class Instructor’s Guide, p. 2.)

Morality for Youth a Successful Tool

Stakes, wards, and families of the Church are beginning to see positive results as they share the new Church film Morality for Youth with one another.

Dean E. Christensen, president of the Centerville Utah Stake, was among the first to report his stake’s implementation of the film. The stake presidency first viewed the film at a regional training meeting; it was then shown to members of the stake high council. Six copies of the video cassette and twenty-five copies of the film-strip were then obtained for use throughout the stake. Homes in each of the wards were surveyed for availability of equipment to show the film.

A member of the stake presidency then met with each of the ward bishoprics, and plans were made for the film to be seen by the bishopric and parents of youth and young adults.

Introduced by a member of the stake presidency, the film was shown in each ward to parents of youth and young adults along with the bishopric in special sessions of priesthood meeting and Relief Society, the gospel doctrine class, or at a special parents’ fireside. Following the film, the bishop presented to the parents ideas on how they might wish to use the film in the home with their youth and young adult children. Video tapes and cassettes were then distributed to each interested family in the ward on an organized schedule, to be shown later that day (Sunday) or during Monday family home evenings. The equipment was rotated every hour from one family to the next.

It took three weeks to move through all wards of the stake, with 76 percent of the families participating. Additional families continue to show the film in their homes. Each bishop has been instructed to hold a follow-up youth fireside with his ward youth and young adults.

“We taught our youth that moral purity is an exceptionally important principle,” said President Christensen, “and that the Church, stake, and ward leaders wanted them to learn about it first in the home and from their parents. Secondly, we wanted them to know from their priesthood leader (the bishop) the importance of this gospel principle. We wanted them to be able to discuss this principle with their parents and bishop and come to them when they have challenges. Third, we wanted them to know that this is an important principle which the First Presidency of the Church wants all of the youth to understand and practice obediently in their lives. Finally, we wanted them to study this principle individually in their own quiet moments,” he said.

“We have received much feedback from parents and bishops regarding the success of this implementation process. It has opened up discussion between parents and youth on the vital principle of moral purity, in many cases for the first time. In addition, it has enabled bishops to have a quiet, careful discussion with the youth of their wards to strengthen them on this vital subject. We have had no cases where youth have been resistive or offended by the approach. To the contrary, we have had a warm expression of gratitude by parents for the opportunity it has provided for them to discuss principles of morality with their children, and for the approach and helpful information, particularly in the User’s Guide, which naturally moved them into an appropriate discussion with their children following the viewing of the film,” said President Christensen.

[photo] Scene from Morality for Youth.