News of the Church


Feast of Music Inaugurates New Organ at Ricks

It was a four-day feast of organ and choral performances to delight the aural palate. There were two concerts and a recital on an imposing new organ, as well as three performances by one of the world’s leading choral groups.

The occasion was the dedication, during the first week in November, of the Keith Martindale Stefan Memorial Organ in the Eliza R. Snow Center for the Performing Arts at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. The organ is already acclaimed as one of the great musical treasures of the Church.

The organ was dedicated Sunday, November 6, by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Council of the Twelve immediately after the Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir presented its weekly nationwide radio broadcast from the Snow Center’s Barrus Concert Hall.

In the dedicatory prayer, Elder L. Tom Perry invoked a blessing on the organ, an impressive new teaching tool for the college, that it might be “played to increase our talents as sons and daughters of God.”

“May the sounds of this organ touch hearts and souls,” he prayed, so that those who hear its music might understand and enjoy “the finer things of life” and know that “these finer things will endure, that they are the thread of life eternal.”

“Music has a special place in all of our hearts,” Elder Perry said in comments during the dedication service. “The quality and quantity of good music that will come to the Church and the world as a result of this organ make it truly worth the sacrifices that have been made to obtain it.”

The eighty-rank, four-keyboard organ was purchased entirely through donations from music lovers who wanted it built, said Darwin Wolford, organist, composer, and Ricks College professor of music. He was one of several persons who energetically bent their efforts to raising and obtaining funds for the organ. One observer commented that the instrument was “loved into existence.”

A major portion of the cost was contributed by George and Lilas Stefan of Los Angeles, along with their son Vance, in memory of a younger son, Keith, a promising young LDS musician and returned missionary who died of Hodgkins’ Disease in 1977. But there were scores of other donors who gave amounts ranging from a few dollars to substantial sums.

Brother Wolford was the organist Thursday, November 3, in a dedicatory concert that also featured the Ricks College A Cappella Choir and Concert Chorale. Internationally known organist Ted Alan Worth of San Francisco played in an Inaugural Concert on Friday evening, and the Tabernacle Choir performed in two public concerts Saturday evening. Sunday evening, after the weekly choir broadcast and dedicatory service, Ricks student Heidi Hales performed in a recital as the first representative of many students who will receive training on the organ.

The organ provided accompaniment for the Tabernacle Choir during its broadcast. Tabernacle organist John Longworth praised its distinctive sound, a result, he said, of both the tonal philosophy of the builder and the “ingenious blending of pipes and electronically generated tones.”

The organ was custom crafted by the Fratelli Ruffatti company of Padua, Italy. Unlike many modern organs, the Ruffatti is capable of doing justice to modern, Baroque, and Romantic organ literature, Brother Wolford said. The instrument’s “unique combination of delicacy and brilliance, lyricism and strength,” he commented, “characterizes every instrument built by this family of artisans.”

[photo] The Tabernacle Choir performed its weekly radio broadcast from the Ricks College Center for the Performing Arts prior to the November dedication of the college’s new organ. (Photography by Rod Boam.)

Ground Shakes, but Faith Firm after Quake

Following the strongest earthquake to strike the forty-eight contiguous United States in nearly a quarter of a century, members of the Church in central Idaho assessed the damage and then gave thanks that it hadn’t been worse.

In a spirit of concern for others, members in the town that was hardest hit remarked that it was fortunate the quake took place in their rural area and not in some population center. “We’re just glad that it happened here, where almost nobody was injured,” commented Bishop Herschel Lyle Ivie of the Mackay Idaho Ward.

Although damage from the quake was heaviest in Mackay, nearly one hundred miles northwest of Idaho Falls, the only loss of life occurred in Challis, some fifty miles beyond. Two young children walking to school were buried under stones that fell from an abandoned building.

One of them, six-year-old Travis Franck, was the son of Church member Truman Franck. The other child, seven-year-old Tara Leadon, was a member of the Roman Catholic church. But in the small Idaho town, members and nonmembers alike mourned for the two children. Their death was felt keenly by Challis Ward Bishop Robert Lisonbee, who worked with both youngsters at the elementary school where he is principal.

Bishop Lisonbee reported that two other children who ordinarily walked to school with Travis and Tara missed being crushed under the falling stones because they had not yet joined their schoolmates when the earthquake struck at 8:06 A.M. on the morning of October 28.

The magnitude of the quake was measured at 6.9 on the Richter scale. It opened a twelve-mile-long rift in the earth, pushed Mt. Borah, Idaho’s tallest peak, several feet higher; and opened up or closed off water sources. It did an estimated twelve and a half million dollars damage in the state. Among the buildings that had to be condemned were a junior high school and part of the state School for the Deaf and Blind. Schools in Mackay were closed for a time while damage was assessed and safety was assured.

The earthquake was felt over a wide area, shaking homes and buildings as far south as Salt Lake City. One observer in Rexburg, about one hundred miles east, reported that the initial quake lasted some forty seconds. Aftershocks were felt periodically for several weeks. Roads were cut in some areas, stranding hunters.

In Mackay five old buildings on Main Street had to be pulled down. Many homes with brick fireplaces and chimneys were damaged.

“Almost every ward member had some loss,” Bishop Ivie reported. In some cases, it was major; part of one home was crushed, houses were moved on their foundations, and a support holding up a fuel tank on one member’s property gave way, dropping the tank to the ground and spilling three hundred gallons of diesel fuel. In other homes, the damage was less severe but still emotionally painful. Part of a season’s harvest was lost as bottles of fruits and vegetables were shattered, along with dishes and other treasured items.

Concern for others extended to everyone; neighbors helped buoy each other up in their losses.

On the ward level, leaders of the priesthood quorums took charge of organizing repair work. Visiting teachers helped ward leaders assess needs of members.

Help was offered by every ward in the Moore Idaho Stake, and some from outside as well, Bishop Ivie said. There were also offers of food and other necessities through the Church welfare system and the Red Cross, but members were able to meet their own needs within the area.

Much of the required repair work has been done, the bishop reported, but work is still underway to repair brick fireplaces and chimneys.

“The attitude of the people is good,” he said, considering the magnitude of the quake. “They’re just happy that it hasn’t been worse.”

Emotionally, though, many central Idaho residents were “pretty jumpy, pretty edgy,” Bishop Lisonbee said. A handful of citizens left Mackay for a few days to live with family members elsewhere, but they returned later. In Challis, Bishop Lisonbee noted many children were fearful of entering the school building for several days.

The ward chapel at Leslie, near Mackay, was among buildings damaged by the earthquake; bricks were knocked off or loosened on a seventy-foot section of wall. But the structure remained sound, and preparation for repairs is in progress.

[photo] This was the scene in Mackay Ward member Don Ivie’s grocery store after a killer earthquake jolted central Idaho October 28. (©1983 Custer Publishing, Inc.)

[photo] The Idaho earthquake caused rifts in the earth that ran for miles. (©1983 Custer Publishing, Inc.)

Church Publishes New Theater Manual

Whether you are interested in producing a full-length play, a melodrama, a roadshow, a pantomime, puppetry, or a skit, the new Theater Manual (PBAC0089) may be just what you need.

The new step-by-step manual, produced by the General Activities Committee, gives excellent guidance for theatrical success for groups and individuals planning theatrical productions.

The manual (available from Church distribution centers for seventy-five cents) is a resource guide for drama directors. It gives guidelines for selecting, writing, planning, and producing all types of theater, from large productions involving many people to simple formats adaptable to classroom or individual use.

The manual also offers help with details that make any type of production more professional—reading stage directions, blocking out a scene, curtain calls, ad libbing, scenery, stage and hand props, costumes, makeup, sound, lights, and publicity.

Each section includes drawings illustrating the concepts.

Print Messages Lend Support to Family Week

The Church has launched its own print media campaign to promote family life. The Church campaign coincided with the U.S. National Family Week, November 20–26.

“Love isn’t something you fall into. It’s something you grow. Take time for your marriage,” proclaimed one of the messages. “You’re in the house. But are you really home?” asked another, depicting a child interrupting her father’s newspaper reading.

“If you can’t stand your problems, try kneeling,” suggested another of the messages.

A booklet containing reproducible copies of the messages and illustrations, in various sizes, was mailed to newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. It featured six different messages. Others were: “Take time to undo the knots in your family ties”; “It’s amazing how good others look when you look for the good in others”; and, under a broken heart patched together with a small bandage, “Prevention is better than cure. Take time for your marriage.”

1984 Primary Songs for Home Use Also

Parents seeking to bring musical fun into family home evenings can do so by helping their family become familiar with the songs to be taught in Primary next year. The principles expressed in the songs can also provide topics for gospel discussions.

Following are the Primary songs for 1984.

“God of Our Father, We Come Unto Thee,” Hymns, no. 50.

“Dare To Do Right,” Sing with Me, B-81.

“I Want to Live the Gospel,” Sing with Me, B-65.

“I Am Like a Star,” Supplement to More Songs for Children, p. 8, and Star Manual, p. 174.

“There Is Beauty All Around,” Hymns, no. 16.

“Faith,” More Songs for Children, p. 2.

“My Heavenly Father Loves Me,” Sing with Me, B-59.

“Can a Little Child Like Me,” Sing with Me, B-86.

“Children All Over the World,” More Songs for Children, p. 23.

“Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” Sing with Me, B-45.

“Keep the Commandments,” More Songs for Children, p. 14.

The music resources listed here can be purchased through the Church distribution centers. Primary leaders might make copies of the songs for parents. Music published by the Church may be copied without permission provided the copyright notice appears on each copy made.

Keeping Pace

Culturgrams Offer Tips on Other Cultures

Planning to travel or live abroad, but worried about adapting to another culture? You can begin preparing for the experience by studying one of the “Culturgrams” available through the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies at Brigham Young University.

The four-page Culturgrams provide short informational summaries on subjects ranging from customs and courtesies to history and government of the nations they cover, as well as a short list of useful words and phrases and of additional resource materials. There are now eighty-one Culturgrams available, for nations from Argentina to Zimbabwe.

The Culturgrams were developed several years ago for Church leaders attending conferences in various parts of the world, but as others learned about the research, BYU received a growing number of requests for them. V. Lynn Tyler, administrator of International/ Intercultural Resource Services for the center, said the Culturgrams are now widely used by educational institutions, military and civil government officers, businesses, libraries, travel agencies, and LDS and non-LDS religious groups. Some 150,000 Culturgrams have been sent out during the past year, said Deborah L. Coon, publications manager for the center.

Brother Tyler said the Culturgrams deal with whole nations or, in a few cases, regions within a nation. If it were possible, they would deal with each distinct culture, but there are approximately 25,000 identifiable cultures in the world, too many to treat individually.

The Culturgrams are revised periodically so they will not become outdated. They have all been updated since the summer of 1982, and several new ones have been added.

The center is also offering a new series of Infograms—briefings on international or intercultural topics of general interest. They include such titles as “The International Family: Successfully Meeting the Challenge” and “Coming Home Again: Absorbing Return Shock.”

Brother Tyler said the Culturgrams and Infograms are intended as a service rather than a profit-making enterprise, but those ordering them must pay postage and a small charge to defray expenses. They may be ordered through the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, Publication Services, Box 61-P, Faculty Office Building, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 84602. The Center’s telephone number is (801) 378-6528. A complimentary sample and list of available Culturgrams will be mailed to those who send a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Policies and Announcements

The following letter from President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve, about the implementation of the Varsity Scouting program, has been sent to General Authorities; Regional Representatives; stake, mission, and district presidents; and bishops and branch presidents in the United States.

Varsity Scouting is a program developed by the Boy Scouts of America for young men age 14–15. Certain councils conducted a “pilot” program and as a result of the positive success, Varsity Scouting has become an official program of the Boy Scouts of America. It has now been determined by the Church that Varsity Scouting will be the Scouting program for our teacher-age young men. Varsity Scouting will replace Venturing Scouting which has been the program for these young men. Following the implementation schedule correlated with Boy Scouts of America, all wards will be expected to sponsor a Varsity team for teacher-age young men unless they have a fully developed program that better meets the needs of their young men and is approved by the stake presidency.

Purposes and objectives of the Varsity program have the same strong traditional principles of the past. These include spirituality, self-reliance, love of family, service in the community, and loyalty to country. These principles are reaffirmed in the Scout oath, Scout law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan. Varsity Scouting will be a great new resource to strengthen the young men of the teacher quorum age. It is intended that as these young men participate in Varsity Scouting they will continue toward achievement of the rank of Eagle Scout.

Because Boy Scouts of America will be training its professional staff during the first few months of 1984, the program may not be available in your local Scout council until later in the year. Boy Scouts of America plans to complete training and implementation across the country by September 1984.

Please work closely with your local council and implement Varsity Scouting in the wards in your stake as soon as it is available.

We pray for continued blessings as you prepare the young men of your stake for missionary service, temple marriage, and a lifetime of service in the Melchizedek Priesthood. May you be strengthened and inspired to this end.

LDS Scene

President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve was honored by Utah farmers and Salt Lake City area businessmen November 18 for his years of service to them, to the Church, and to his country. He was in the spotlight at a banquet sponsored by the Utah Farm Bureau Federation and the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Church has acquired the major portion of the Deseret Livestock Ranch, located in the northeastern corner of Utah and in an adjacent part of Wyoming. For the present, the ranch is being operated as a tax-paying ranching enterprise, but its purchase will ensure the long-term availability of land for various Church programs.

A series of radio dramas produced at Brigham Young University will be broadcast on U.S. National Public Radio stations beginning in April. The thirteen dramas, based on stories by noted science fiction author Ray Bradbury, were produced by Mike McDonough, a sound track producer at the BYU Movie Studio. “Bradbury 13” will be hosted by Mr. Bradbury. Tapes of the dramas have already won fourteen awards from prestigious broadcasting and artistic organizations.

The First Presidency has called Seth D. Redford and Thelma Redford of Idaho Falls, Idaho, to serve as president and matron of the new Boise Idaho Temple, now under construction. President Redford is a former counselor in the Idaho Falls Temple presidency and has also served the Church as a Regional Representative and mission president.