News of the Church


Elder Richard G. Scott Sustained to Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy

Elder Richard G. Scott of the First Quorum of the Seventy was sustained as a member of the Presidency of that quorum at the opening session of the Church’s 153rd semiannual general conference.

Elder Richard G. Scott

His appointment filled a vacancy created when Elder Franklin D. Richards was released as a president of the quorum. Elder Richards has been called to serve as president of the Washington (D. C.) Temple.

Elder Scott joins Elders J. Thomas Fyans, Carlos E. Asay, M. Russell Ballard, Dean L. Larsen, Royden G. Derrick, and G. Homer Durham in the presidency.

Speaking at the closing session of the conference, Elder Scott commented that the new calling had left him “deeply humbled.”

“I have talked to the Lord about it and promised him that I would give everything I have to that service. I have pled with him that he will help me qualify to receive his inspiration and support so that I may do his will and that of his servants.”

Elder Scott was sustained a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on 2 April 1977. Prior to that call to full-time Church service, he had been a Regional Representative in the Washington, D. C., area and had served as president of the Argentina North Mission. He also had been a counselor in the Washington Stake presidency and a seventies group leader. As a young man, he served a thirty-one-month mission to Uruguay.

Currently he is a managing director of the Genealogical Department and Executive Administrator of the Church for southern Mexico and Central America.

Elder Scott graduated from George Washington University in 1950 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He later completed the equivalent of a doctoral degree in nuclear engineering at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

He has used his expertise in mechanical and nuclear engineering as a consultant to utility and power companies weighing the possible use of nuclear reactors.

For twelve years he was on the staff of United States Navy Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, assisting in the development of nuclear submarines. He was instrumental in the establishment of the first peacetime nuclear power plant and is the coeditor of two books related to the construction and use of such plants.

A native of Pocatello, Idaho, he was born 7 November 1928 to Kenneth Leroy and Mary Eliza Whittle Scott. He is married to Janene Watkins, and they have five children.

Elder Richards Appointed Washington Temple President

Elder Franklin D. Richards, released at October general conference as a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, has been appointed by the First Presidency as president of the Washington, D.C., Temple. His wife, Sister Helen Kearnes Richards, will serve as temple matron.

Elder Franklin D. Richards

Elder Richards succeeds President Wendell G. Eames, who had served as temple president since 1978. President Eames and his wife Medra, who had served as matron, were released, along with his counselors, Byron F. Dixon and Clyde E. Black. Elder and Sister Richards are scheduled to assume their new duties in the latter part of October.

The Washington Temple serves more than 200,000 members in eighty-nine stakes spread throughout the eastern United States and two provinces of Canada. The temple district stretches from Maine to Puerto Rico, from New York to Ohio and to parts of Quebec.

Elder Richards has been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy since October 1976. Prior to his call to that quorum, he had served as an Assistant to the Twelve since October 1960. When called as a General Authority, he was serving as president of the Northwestern States Mission, headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

Before accepting the call to full-time Church service, Elder Richards spent eighteen years as Utah director of the Federal Housing Administration and later as national commissioner of the FHA, headquartered in Washington, D. C.

He is a graduate of Weber Academy and the University of Utah, where he received a law degree in 1923. He practiced law in Utah until 1934, when he was appointed to the state FHA position.

He and his wife Helen, married since 1923, are the parents of two sons and two daughters.

Relief Society Counselor Named

Ann Stoddard Reese, a Relief Society General Board member for nearly thirteen years, was sustained as second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency during the opening session of the Church’s 153rd semiannual general conference.

Ann Stoddard Reese

Ann S. Reese

She succeeds Sister Shirley Ann Wilkes Thomas. Sister Thomas is serving with her husband, Robert K. Thomas, who was appointed president of the Australia Melbourne Mission this past summer.

The new counselor said she is looking forward to the rich rewards that come through association with Latter-day Saint women throughout the world. “It is very gratifying to see dedicated women helping their sisters, wherever they may be,” she said. “With the pressures and problems of today, our women need strengthening. We strengthen each other through Relief Society.”

Sister Reese has served on the Relief Society General Board under former general president Belle S. Spafford and under Sister Smith. She is the daughter of Blanche Stoddard, who earlier served on the Relief Society General Board for twenty-four years.

Sister Reese was chairman of the general board’s Visiting Teachers committee when she was called to her new position. She had previously served for several years as a member of the Mother Education committee.

She was born in LeGrande, Oregon, where her father, A. Lester Stoddard and his family were in the lumber business. While she was a girl, the family mill burned and her father moved to Utah, where he started a lumber business in the Uinta Mountains. The family lived in Salt Lake City and Sister Reese attended the University of Utah before marrying Lester G. Reese. The Reeses have three married children and nine grandchildren.

First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Statement on Home Teaching and Reactivation

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have released a statement dealing with priesthood home teaching and reactivation efforts in wards and branches of the Church.

Some of the matters addressed in the statement, read by Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve during general conference (see page 39), are: (1) the assignment of home teachers to inactive Melchizedek Priesthood bearers and prospective elders and their families, and (2) procedures for making such assignments.

The statement is as follows:

“The Lord gave instruction in the revelations that holders of the priesthood should be organized by quorums. The presidency of the quorum is responsible for the activity of each quorum member. Home teaching, wherein quorum members ‘visit the house of each member’ (D&C 20:51), is one of the most effective means by which the members of the quorum are cared for and strengthened.

“The bishop, as presiding high priest and chairman of the ward priesthood executive committee, which is the home teaching committee, in consultation with Melchizedek Priesthood quorum presidents and group leaders, should assign families for home teaching purposes to quorums and groups. Generally, members will receive home teachers from their own quorums. However, where there is a special need, inactive Melchizedek Priesthood bearers and prospective elders and their families may be assigned to the quorum or group that can provide the most effective fellowshipping and teaching. Home teachers will report to their own quorum presidencies or group leaders.

“Brethren who have special talents in teaching the inactive should be assigned by the bishop as home teachers to selected inactive families. When those families are brought into activity, the teachers may then be assigned to work with other inactive families.

“When an inactive elder or prospective elder who has been assigned to the high priests is brought to priesthood meeting by his home teacher, he may attend the high priests or seventies groups or the elders quorum, depending upon his needs. The bishop makes this decision in consultation with the Melchizedek Priesthood quorum and group leaders.

“When it is appropriate for a prospective elder to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, he should be ordained an elder and then become a member of the elders quorum. Age is not the determining factor for Melchizedek Priesthood ordinations for these brethren. Men are ordained to offices of the priesthood when their calling requires it and by inspiration and according to their worthiness.”

Special Fireside Scheduled

A special friendshipping-fellowshipping fireside, to be broadcast from the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, has been scheduled for Sunday, October 30. All members who are involved in friendshipping activities are invited to attend and bring with them their nonmember friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve and Elder Carlos E. Asay, a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Church’s Missionary Department, are scheduled to talk about the life and mission of the Savior. A new film titled Come Follow Me will be shown, and the Tabernacle Choir will provide music. The broadcast will last one hour.

The fireside will be broadcast simultaneously over the Church satellite network to all stake centers in the United States and Canada which have receiving stations. It will also be broadcast simultaneously over KBYU-TV (channel 11) in Provo, Utah. Stakes within the KBYU-TV broadcast area are instructed to make arrangements to receive the broadcast in their stake centers.

The broadcast from the Tabernacle will begin at 6:30 P.M. Mountain Standard Time. Preceding the broadcast, meetings will convene in each stake center at 6 P.M. Mountain Standard Time. A local program will be presented until the broadcast begins.

Stakes where satellite reception is not available may request videotapes from the Church distribution center that serves their area. The videotapes will be available by November 20.

Temple Dedicated in Santiago, Chile

“This is a marvelous day for the Saints in Chile, a wonderful day, something that we’ve dreamed of for many years,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, September 15, at the first of ten dedicatory services for the Santiago Temple.

President Hinckley told members approval had been given by the Church to purchase the temple site many years ago, when a school was planned there. But now, “September 15, 1983, will be remembered by the Latter-day Saints in Chile” as the day a holy house of the Lord was dedicated on that spot.

It was a day the rapidly growing body of Chilean Church members had long awaited, and some 1,700 of them flocked to the first dedicatory service.

“We thank thee for the magnificent flowering of thy work in this part of the earth and for the stature to which it has grown,” President Hinckley said in his prayer dedicating the edifice. “We thank thee for the faith and loyalty of thy Saints here and throughout the world. Bless them, Father. Shield them from the darts of the adversary and fortify them against the storms that may threaten.

“As we contemplate the marvelous blessings which will come through the exercise of thy holy priesthood in this thy house, our hearts are filled with gratitude unto thee. The ordinances to be performed herein will bless thy sons and daughters forever.”

He also asked God’s protection on the temple. “Wilt thou watch over it and by the power of thy might preserve it from any who would defile it or seek to damage or destroy it. Rebuke the elements that it may be protected against any catastrophe of nature, and frustrate the evil designs of the wicked and ungodly who would mock the sacred purposes for which it was constructed.”

He asked God’s blessings upon President Spencer W. Kimball, and then referred to the growth of the Church in Chile and asked that it be augmented.

“Bless thy work upon this great continent of South America, which is part of the land of Zion. Bless thy work in this nation of Chile. May all that has been done in the past be but a prologue to a far greater work in the future. May there be an ever-growing number of wards and stakes. May thy people be recognized for the virtue of their lives. Bless the land with peace and righteousness, and bless all who govern that thy sons and daughters may rejoice in the nation of which they are a part.

“Now, Almighty God, we pray that thy Saints may find favor in thy sight, that faith shall grow in the hearts of thy people, that love shall abound in their homes, that the spirit of Zion may be found among them and that they shall be a blessed and happy people. Prosper them in their labors. Open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings upon the faithful that there shall not be room enough to receive them.

“May the hearts of the fathers be turned to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers in a great labor of salvation reaching from mortal life and beyond the veil through the eternities to come.”

The ten dedicatory services for the temple were spread over three days—Thursday, September 15, through Saturday, September 17.

Other General Authorities who attended the dedication of the temple in addition to President Hinckley included Elder Boyd K. Packer and Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Council of the Twelve; Elder Gene R. Cook and Elder Angel Abrea of the First Quorum of the Seventy; and Bishop J. Richard Clarke of the Presiding Bishopric.

The eighteen-day open house period before the dedication drew extensive favorable coverage from news media, and visitors included government officials and business leaders. A number of government visitors requested literature or visits from missionaries so they could learn more about the Church.

Many nonmembers joined LDS friends in long bus rides to visit the temple. Some Chilean members must travel great distances to reach it. Santiago is located in the more heavily populated central part of Chile; the nation stretches nearly three thousand miles down the west coast of South America. But despite distance and cost, on Saturday, September 3, some fifty-five busloads of travelers arrived in Santiago for the open house.

Lauro de Santiago, Church public communications director for Chile, said members who toured the temple reported feeling strong manifestations of peace, reverence, spirituality, and the spirit of the gathering of Israel. They were deeply touched. “They could feel the Spirit in the celestial room. It’s one thing to see a photo of the room, but it’s another to be in it.”

Ricardo Garcia, a member of the Church for more than twenty-five years, wept when he entered the building and saw the temple presidency dressed in white. “I never thought this could happen,” he said. “In the beginning, we wondered if the Church would ever get started. Now we have a temple.”

From its beginnings in 1957, the Church in Chile has grown to about 140,000 members, and 20,000 new members, on an average, are currently being baptized every year, said Elder Cook, who is the Church’s Executive Administrator for Chile.

Construction of the temple began on 4 July 1982, and it was completed May 30 this year.

Church News Photo

Members Safe, Some Lose Homes in Arizona Floods

Early reports from southeastern Arizona indicated that more than three dozen member families lost their homes or saw them heavily damaged during flooding that hit the region the first week of October. No Church members were killed or injured.

Several families had to be housed with other members; airplanes were being used for deliveries into the area, which was cut off by flood waters. In addition to members’ property, Church buildings and farms were damaged in some areas, but no estimate of the total cost is yet available.

The flooding, described by some as the worst disaster of the century in Arizona, took eleven lives and left four other Arizonans missing during that week. Estimates of property damage topped three hundred million dollars.

Church property and members’ private property were destroyed or damaged by the floodwaters in a number of southeastern Arizona cities and towns, among them Clifton, Marana, Winkelman, Maricopa, and Safford, the town where President Spencer W. Kimball was serving as stake president when he was called into the Quorum of the Twelve.

Priesthood leaders checked to be sure members were housed and secure, then turned to the task of organizing cleanup efforts. Commodities from bishops’ storehouses and Deseret Industries were distributed in Clifton, Maricopa, and Winkelman. A temporary emergency command post was set up in the stake center in Safford until the need was past. In Kearney, the meetinghouse was used as an evacuation center, in cooperation with the Red Cross.

Highways or bridges had been washed away or damaged in a wide area; the cost of damage to roads and highways alone was estimated at ten to twelve million dollars.

Heavy rains had caused the San Francisco River to overflow, forcing evacuation of more than one hundred families from the Phelps-Dodge company mining town of Clifton; more than half the town was washed away. The Santa Cruz River washed through Marana. Flooding from the Gila River affected Safford.

Destruction was so extensive that President Ronald Reagan declared seven counties—Greenlee, Pima, Santa Cruz, Graham, Pinal, Gila, and Yavapai—disaster areas. American Red Cross surveys showed approximately 3,800 homes, mobile homes, apartment units, and small businesses had been destroyed or damaged.

As soon as information was available, Brother Arthur W. Elrey, Regional Representative of the Thatcher and Tucson regions, relayed it to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City.

The overflowing San Francisco River turned Arizona streets and yards into lakes. Part of Clifton, shown here, was washed away. (Photo courtesy of the Eastern Arizona Courier.)

Mike Burraston and Joe McCaleb of the Tucson 16th Ward shovel silt out of nonmember’s garage. (Photo by Manuel Miera.)

Strengthen Family to Strengthen Society, U.S. Senate Subcommittee Hears

“Our family life is perhaps our most precious asset,” Richard P. Lindsay, director of Public Communications and executive secretary of Special Affairs for the Church, said in testifying before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Family and Human Services.

“Marriage can be a beautiful and fulfilling experience,” and “the responsible exercise of parenthood is a joyful task as well as a challenging human obligation,” he said.

Brother Lindsay was one of four representatives of religious organizations invited to testify at the subcommittee’s hearings in late September. The other three represented Catholic, Jewish, and evangelical organizations.

Brother Lindsay is a former legislator and director of Utah’s Department of Social Services.

Messages and attitudes of many in modern society tell men and women that they are foolish to put the needs of children or spouse above their own, he said. “Marriage is pictured as a form of imprisonment, oppression, boredom, and chafing hindrance,” Brother Lindsay noted. And while dire predictions that the family is going to disappear may be exaggerated, “to any thoughtful contemporary observer, the tearing at the fabric of family life and the relationships of family members are self-evident.”

Brother Lindsay quoted Dr. Arthur Norton, assistant chief of the Population Division of the United States Census Bureau, who has reported that fifty-nine of every one hundred children born in the nation during 1983 will live with only one parent before they reach eighteen years of age. Twelve will be born to unwed mothers; forty will have parents who divorce; five will have parents who separate but do not divorce; and two will have one parent die. These figures suggest that single-parent homes are becoming the norm.

  1. developing children need stability and continuity in their lives;

  2. the family teaches to young citizens “public virtue,” or responsibility and duty and correct attitudes toward authority;

  3. the teaching of basic values underlying the nation’s democratic system of limited government should be kept within the home, instead of being forced on some outside agency;

  4. continuity in marriage and family ties is essential to the national system of jurisprudence;

  5. a reduction in divorce rates would cut the number of women and children living in poverty, and bring a corresponding cut in the size and cost of government programs serving them.

Poverty in the United States is rapidly being feminized, he noted. “More than 50 percent of the children in families headed by a female live in poverty, compared with only 8 percent in husband-wife families.”

Brother Lindsay told the subcommittee that anti-family trends, including abortion, pornography, and homosexuality, will have “disastrous” long-term social consequences.

“America’s public policy must be shifted to one which supports rather than denigrates families,” he commented.

He called for emphasis on “the sanctity of family life and all human life” in policy decisions; for careful review of welfare or tax policies which encourage the breakup of families so members can receive greater monetary benefits; and for an end to counseling and prescribing of birth control drugs or devices for minors without the knowledge of parents. Since the federal government became involved in family planning and contraceptive programs, he noted, the problems intended to be eliminated by these programs—teenage pregnancy, venereal disease, illegitimacy, and rising welfare costs—have all become worse.

Assaults on the family, especially since the 1960s, have made life-styles that used to be called deviant acceptable to many, but experts have warned that there is no substitute for the normal family, Brother Lindsay commented.

“It is deplorable that a great nation like ours has watched marriages collapse on a scale quite unprecedented, and stood by with apparent indifference.”

He called on committee members and other national leaders to set an example and speak out for family life, marriage, and responsible parenthood.

“A better tomorrow begins with the training of a better generation. This places upon us as parents the responsibility to do more effective work in rearing and guiding our children. The home is the place where character is best formed and habits established. When parents recognize this role, the family and nation move forward. When it is ignored, families and nations perish,” he said.

Tabernacle Choir Performs at the Grand Teton Music Festival

“They sang as with one heart and one voice,” Maestro Ling Tung, Grand Teton Music Festival director, said of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s performance. “They achieved the kind of excellence we are seeking—the kind of excellence musicians are always seeking.”

It was the choir’s second performance at the festival in the past four years, and the more-than-capacity crowds who filled the 800-seat Festival Music Hall echoed the maestro’s appraisal. The audience burst into applause with shouts of “Bravo!” at the end of both choir performances of Verdi’s “Requiem.”

Three years ago the choir performed Brahms’s “Requiem” at the late summer music festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

This year’s performances featured soloists JoAnn Ottley, Alyce Rogers, Waldie Anderson, and Neil Wilson.

“We consider it an honor to be invited,” said Oakley S. Evans, Tabernacle Choir president. “It means that a highly respected festival acknowledges the choir’s ability to perform demanding, technical music.” He added that the festival gave the choir “an opportunity to do some special music, and to perform with the magnificent orchestra that is assembled here each summer.”

The choir repeated its performance of the Verdi “Requiem” at a concert with the Utah Symphony in Salt Lake City in September.

LDS Scene

Clara May Jeffs Hunter, wife of Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Quorum of the Twelve, died October 9 after a lingering illness. She was eighty-one. In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sons (a third son died in infancy), eighteen grandchildren, and a sister. Sister Hunter was an active Church worker and a business executive in Southern California before her marriage in 1931. Funeral services were held October 12 in Salt Lake City.

Elaine A. Cannon, General President of the Young Women, received the annual Outstanding Youth Leadership Award in Washington, D.C., October 10 from Religious Heritage of America, a national interfaith organization dedicated to strengthening and perpetuating the religious heritage of the United States. Previous recipients include President Spencer W. Kimball, former Michigan Governor George Romney, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, businessman J. C. Penny, and filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille.

Dr. James O. Mason, executive director of the Utah State Health Department, is the new head of the United States’ Communicable Disease Centers in Atlanta, Georgia. He will head a complex of several centers concerned with health promotion and education, disease control, and other aspects of health. Dr. Mason was formerly head of the Church’s Health Services Corporation.

Wendell M. Smoot, Jr., of Salt Lake City, has been appointed vice-president of the Tabernacle Choir. He will assist Oakley S. Evans, choir president, with planning, fund-raising, and other administrative duties.