News of the Church


Elder Mark E. Petersen Eulogized at Funeral

“I know that God lives,” said Elder Mark E. Petersen in his first conference address as a member of the Council of the Twelve in 1944. “I know that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God. I know it as well as if I had seen him, and I shall take great pleasure in declaring his word for the remainder of my life.”

And that is what he did, with remarkable energy, loyalty, and faith, said long time associates at his funeral on 16 January 1984. The funeral, in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, saw the full First Presidency in attendance, along with Elder Petersen’s fellow members of the Twelve, other General Authorities, and members of Elder Petersen’s family. (For a review of Elder Petersen’s life, see the article by Elder Thomas S. Monson on page 6.)

“Brother Petersen was a man of tremendous industry, of great loyalty, and of unshakable faith,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, who conducted the funeral. “I have known him for a long time, for more than sixty years.

“In fact, he was my teacher for a time when I was an Aaronic Priesthood boy. Even then, sixty years ago, he bore testimony and witness of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not remember the details of the lessons he taught, but I do remember the spirit and the enthusiasm which he radiated.”

Elder Petersen was well-known as a newspaperman, having been associated with the Deseret News in Salt Lake City for much of his adult life.

“Mark was a man of great faith. He loved this work. He believed in it. He knew it to be true. He testified of it. And he did so with such power that others were quickened in their faith to a point where they were willing and anxious to enter the waters of baptism and devote their lives to the work of the Lord,” President Hinckley said.

He recalled an instance during a meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve a few years ago when Elder Petersen served as voice in offering a prayer on President Kimball’s behalf while the President was hospitalized. “There was nothing lofty in his speech. The words were simple, the sentences short. But he spoke of faith. He spoke of the Almighty as the giver of life. He spoke for each of us assembled together, rallying our faith as he pleaded with God in behalf of our friend and leader, the President of the Church, him whom we sustained as our prophet.

“As he spoke in prayer, it seemed to me that there was a conduit opened to the heavens from that little group in the temple to him who sits on high, the God and Father of us all. Tears welled in my closed eyes and ran down my cheeks. Every man there was touched in his heart.

“The Lord heard that prayer uttered by a man of faith. President Kimball recovered, and years have since passed during which his presence has blessed the lives of all of us,” President Hinckley said.

President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve praised Elder Petersen as a “fearless defender of the truth,” a man “completely devoted to the cause of Christ.”

“Few men have enjoyed the choice and almost perfect union with a companion as did Mark,” he commented. “How he missed her!” (She died in 1975.) “And what a glorious reunion he must have over there now with his beloved Emma Marr—a reunion which he fully appreciated, anticipated, and bore testimony would be a reality.

“Mark was a wonderful combination of Christlike virtues and gentlemanly qualities,” President Benson said. “He was one of the most kind, considerate, and gracious men I have known.”

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve talked of the pain that Elder Petersen fought the last ten years of his life. His was a constant battle with physical problems, including cancer. Then when he lost his wife, pain of another kind became a constant companion. “Sometime later, he was assigned to a seminar for mission presidents and their wives,” Elder Packer said. “The first day, being without his wife, his loneliness was so overwhelming he thought he could not bear it. Then, something happened. He became aware that she was with him, there by his side. And she stayed with him for days. And he was greatly comforted.”

Elder Petersen was a man to whom such spiritual experiences were familiar. Elder Packer told of a dream Elder Petersen experienced early in 1944. In it, he saw a newspaper headline announcing his call to the Council of the Twelve. Weeks later, it occurred.

Elder Packer spoke of “the last journey of the Apostle Mark,” an assigned trip to the Holy Land which Elder Petersen completed late in 1983. After quoting from some of the sermons Elder Petersen delivered during this assignment, Elder Packer said: “And so ends the last assignment, the last journey of the Apostle Mark. It does not rob Paul to compare him to Mark, who was a man of great spiritual faith and power.”

Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve praised Elder Petersen as “a giant among men.” He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to pay tribute to “a man of modesty, a man of ability, a man of love, a man of God.”

He spoke of Elder Petersen’s successes in newspapering and noted that many friends from the newspaper business had expressed their condolences and recalled Elder Petersen’s great ability and great love for those with whom he had worked.

“I admired Mark Petersen. I respected Mark Petersen. I loved Mark Petersen.” And since, Elder Monson added, all that he admired, respected, and loved about his friend and colleague still lives, “I say to Mark, ‘Farewell, Mark, until tomorrow, when we meet again.’”

Music for the funeral was furnished by the Tabernacle Choir, and the opening and closing prayers were offered by Elder Howard W. Hunter and Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve.

Elder Petersen was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Elder James E. Faust of the Council of the Twelve dedicated the grave.

The funeral of Elder Mark E. Petersen

The First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve, family members, and friends filled the Tabernacle for the funeral of Elder Mark E. Petersen. (Photography by Eldon Linschoten.)

Activities Committee Offers Workshops, Demonstrations before General Conference

The General Activities Committee has scheduled a day full of workshops and demonstrations for stake and ward activities committee personnel Friday, April 6, in Salt Lake City.

The activities are scheduled from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. at the Rose Park North Stake Center, 1155 North 1200 West. They are geared for activities committee chairmen, cultural arts specialists (including dance, drama, music, and speech directors), physical activities specialists (including camp, sports, physical fitness, and family recreation directors), priesthood leaders, auxiliary leaders, and other interested persons. Conference visitors are especially invited. A special session for area and region sports directors and priesthood leaders is scheduled from 7 to 8:30 A.M.

Workshops covering physical activities, cultural arts, and executive training for activities committees will be presented following the general session which will open the day’s activities.

Bus transportation will be available from the Church Office Building, 50 East North Temple, to and from the workshops. For further information contact the Activities Committee, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. Telephone 801–531–3318.

Chinese Premier Visits BYU—Hawaii Campus, Polynesian Cultural Center

Church members were among the first people to host Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang when he visited the United States in January for meetings with President Ronald Reagan. En route to Washington, D.C., from China, he stopped in Hawaii, where he visited the Brigham Young University—Hawaii campus at Laie and the adjacent Polynesian Cultural Center.

The Chinese premier and his entourage arrived at the BYU—Hawaii campus by U.S. Marine helicopter. Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve, who is chairman of the board for the Polynesian Cultural Center, led the party which formally greeted the premier. He was accompanied by BYU—Hawaii President J. Elliot Cameron and Ralph Rodgers, president and general manager of the Polynesian Cultural Center.

After formal greetings, the Chinese were given the traditional flower leis prepared for visitors, then took a walking tour of the Polynesian Center villages, which portray various island cultures. At the Tahitian village, the premier pointed out that several of the dancers appeared to be Chinese. His observation proved correct when one of them, a Chinese student from Malaysia, approached and gave him the traditional lei.

After touring the villages, the premier and his party went to the Cultural Center’s main theater for a special version of its regular evening show, “This Is Polynesia.” At its end, Brother Rodgers gave the premier a carved wood bowl and other gifts. The premier presented gifts in return—records and tapes of traditional Chinese music, and a red porcelain vase. Through his interpreter, the premier expressed the good wishes of China for the Polynesian area and its people. He had expressed surprise at learning the performers were students, not professionals, and he complimented them highly.

Following the performance at the Cultural Center, the Chinese party returned to BYU—Hawaii’s David O. McKay Building for a luncheon. Students on the serving staff represented twenty nations; in addition to serving, they fielded questions from the Chinese guests about the food and the school.

After the luncheon, there was another exchange of gifts. Elder Ashton presented the premier with a small bronze sculpture, “Learning with Love,” which depicts a mother teaching her daughter to play the violin. “I know the premier is a family man, with three children and several grandchildren,” Elder Ashton remarked.

Premier Zhao gave his hosts an elaborate porcelain vase in return and expressed his thanks for the enjoyable experience. Elder Ashton reported later that the Chinese leader remarked on the high moral values of BYU performing groups from the Provo campus who have toured his country.

During his visit to the BYU—Hawaii campus, the premier was introduced to a handful of the students from China enrolled at BYU—Hawaii.

Some three thousand Oahu residents, many of them Church members, were on hand to greet Premier Zhao when he arrived. He seemed impressed by the warmth of those who greeted him, observers said.

Premier Zhao’s visit to the campus offered hope for long-lasting benefits to the two countries involved, university officials and members of the community commented. “It was the only cultural event that was planned for the premier’s entire visit to the U.S., and it was the single longest activity on the Chinese delegation’s entire itinerary. This was a real honor for the university and for the Church,” President Cameron said.

[photo] Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang greets Polynesian Cultural Center performers and personnel after a program in his honor. (Photography by Steve Tippetts.)

[photo] Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of Twelve, left, greeted Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang. (Photography by Kent Diamond.)

Keeping Pace

The last in the series of children s beginning scripture readers, Doctrine and Covenants Stories (PBIC037A), is now available at the Salt Lake Distribution Center for $3.25.

This visually rich, simply written book covers principles taught in the Doctrine and Covenants and stories from Church history. It includes maps, pictures of historic events and places, and simple dictionaries of words, places, and people.

This series of children’s readers includes Old Testament Stories (PBIC0336), New Testament Stories (PBIC0347), and Book of Mormon Stories (PBIC0325), also available at Church distribution centers. Each of these three books is now also available in filmstrip form; six film-strips and an accompanying taped narration cover the content of a single book. At a cost of $16.50 per set, the filmstrips can be ordered from the distribution center under the following stock numbers: Old Testament Stories (VVOF4054), New Testament Stories (VVOF4043), and Book of Mormon Stories (VVOF4032).

New Aaronic Priesthood manuals are now available at Church distribution centers.

The manuals contain lessons dealing with spiritual and social development, relationships with fellowmen, family responsibilities, and doctrinal principles. Filled with a variety of lesson approaches, the manuals also include color pictures and ditto masters for reproducing materials used in teaching.

The manuals can be purchased for $2.50 each. Stock numbers: Deacons—Course A, PCAP24H1; Teachers—Course A, PCAP28H9; Priests—Course A, PCAP32H0.

New Family Registry to Eliminate Duplication

The Church’s Genealogical Department is offering a new no-cost Family Registry service to help genealogists coordinate their efforts.

The Family Registry is a way for genealogists to find out what others are doing and to let others know about their own research. Those who are working in the same research areas can share information and coordinate their work, thus saving time and expense and helping each other gather more accurate information.

Not everyone should register—only those who are actively doing genealogical research and are willing to share information. If you register, you are expected to respond to others who wish to coordinate their research with you.

Family organizations may also register. If your organization is planned but not formed, the registry will help you locate others who may be interested in joining with you.

Registration forms are available at the main library in Salt Lake City and at branch genealogical libraries in the United States and Canada. They may also be obtained by writing to: Genealogical Department Family Registry; Fourth Floor, West Wing; 50 E. North Temple Street; Salt Lake City, Utah 84150; USA.

The completed forms will be microfilmed. Then, when enough information has been submitted to make the registry a useful research tool (probably by mid-1984), microfiche copies of these forms and an index of the registry will be made available at branch libraries. Individual requests for information sent to the main library in Salt Lake City will also be accepted.

Both registration and inquiry services are free of charge.

The Family Registry is an interim service whose functions will eventually be absorbed into the department’s Ancestral File when that file becomes available. The Ancestral File is a large and complex computerized system being developed to handle all data from pedigree charts and family group records submitted since 1978, when new emphasis was placed on accuracy in genealogical record-keeping.

Policies and Announcements

The following item is from the December 1983 Bulletin.

Curriculum. The curriculum of the Church has been revised in recent years to center on the scriptures. A major purpose of teachers’ manuals or student supplements should be to lead the members of the Church into the scriptures. Priesthood leaders, auxiliary presidencies, and teachers should encourage all Latter-day Saints to bring their scriptures with them to church and to use them both in the classroom and in their personal study at home.

The following items are from the January 1984 Bulletin.

Home Teaching Interviews. Effective 1 January 1984, the frequency of interviews between home teachers and Melchizedek Priesthood quorum and group leaders and between quorum leaders and the bishop may be monthly rather than quarterly. Interviews should be brief so that priesthood leaders and home teachers are not unduly separated from their own families.

Youth Conferences and Encampments. Conferences and encampments for young men and young women should not be planned on a multiregional basis where extensive travel and unreasonable expense are required. Activities are generally more effective if they are held on a local basis and if unusually large numbers of young people are not involved. Local activities, well planned and administered, meet the needs of youth better than activities carried out on an occasional basis on a larger scale.

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 some 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).

Distribution of Non-Church Publications on Church Premises. Distribution of private publications, including newspapers, should not be permitted in Church buildings or on Church premises.

The New Editions of the Scriptures for All Members. To make the new editions of the scriptures easily available to members of the Church, the Salt Lake Distribution Center continues to sell the scriptures bound in imitation leather (Style C) at reasonable prices.

Description

Stock No.

Price

Bible:

Regular print, black Regular print, brown Large print, black Large print, brown

PBCS0073 PBCS0084 PBCS0051 PBCS0062

$8.50 $8.50 $13.50 $13.50

Triple Combination:

Regular print, black Regular print, brown Large print, black Large print, brown

PBCS0186 PBCS0197 PBCS0164 PBCS0175

$5.50 $5.50 $8.25 $8.25

These scriptures may be ordered from the Salt Lake Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104. A check made payable to “Corporation of the President” should accompany all personal orders, or orders may be charged to Church units when signed by the presiding officer. All orders will be sent postage paid.

LDS Scene

All missionaries and members of the Church in Nigeria were unharmed during the recent coup which ousted the government in that country, the Africa West Mission president reported. Sylvester Cooper, Jr., contacted Church headquarters from Lagos, the capital city, as soon as possible to report on conditions there. The Church has nine missionary couples and more than two thousand members in Nigeria.

Two Idaho men have been called to serve as counselors in the presidency of the Idaho Falls Temple. Robert M. Kerr, Jr., of Blackfoot was called to serve as first counselor to President DeVere Harris. President Kerr succeeds Seth D. Redford, who has been named president of the new Boise Temple, now under construction. President Kerr previously served as second counselor in the temple presidency. Hal R. Johnson has been called to serve as second counselor in the temple presidency.

The National Safety Council, an organization which spotlights safety concerns throughout the United States, honored the Church recently for its “outstanding defensive driving training performance.” The council noted that while teen drivers are a high-risk group, LDS missionaries, primarily ages 19 to 21, have a driving record which compares favorably with that of less accident-prone middle-aged drivers.

A sixteen-year-old California Laurel, Becky Hollingsworth, recently was crowned Miss American Teenager. A member of the Grass Valley 2nd Ward, Auburn California Stake, she had earlier won the title of Miss California Teenager.