Elder Russell M. Nelson

of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Elder Russell M. Nelson

On Thursday, the heart surgeon spent the day at the hospital. On Friday morning, he attended the Regional Representatives seminar in the Church Office Building and, for reasons unknown to him at the time, was summoned that afternoon to President Gordon B. Hinckley’s office. The next morning in general conference, 7 April 1984, he was sustained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Hours afterward, Elder Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Dantzel, paused for a few moments to reflect upon the call, their lives, and their testimonies.

“We didn’t have a lot of time to anguish over the call before it was announced,” he said. But the 59-year-old General Authority has spent years preparing and serving. Twenty years earlier, he had received a call from Elder Spencer W. Kimball to serve as a stake president, after having served in bishoprics and on a high council. In 1971 he became general president of the Sunday School. Then in 1979 he was called as a Regional Representative. Each time a calling came, he reflected upon a commitment he and his wife made when they were married in the temple—to “seek … first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33), confident that the Lord would bless them in their assignments, in his profession, and in their family.

“When Elder Kimball called me and set me apart as stake president in 1964, we were just starting in medicine on the challenge of replacing the aortic valve. Mortality rates were high, and the time commitment to each patient was extremely high—almost one-on-one for many, many hours, sometimes even days. When Elder Kimball called me to be the stake president, he jokingly said, ‘Everybody we’ve interviewed around here says you might be all right, but you don’t have the time. Do you have the time?’

“I replied, ‘I don’t know about that, but I have the faith!’ And then I explained to him the challenges—that getting into the field of aortic valve replacement was a heavy time commitment and that our mortality rates were high. Both problems were of great concern to me.

“In the blessing that he pronounced upon my head that day, he specifically blessed me that our mortality rates with aortic valve surgery in particular would be reduced, and that no longer would the procedure be the drain on my time and energy that it had been in the past. The following year, the time demands of the operation did decrease, and I’ve had the time necessary to serve in that and other callings. In fact, our mortality rates went down to where they are today—at a very low and acceptable, tolerable range. Interestingly enough, that’s the very operation I did for President Kimball eight years later.”

Indeed, President Kimball was himself a recipient of the blessing he pronounced on the head of the new stake president. In 1972, at the age of seventy-seven, President Kimball needed to have a complex heart operation, with replacement of the aortic valve and a coronary artery bypass graft. The day before performing the operation, Dr. Nelson received another blessing, this time at the hands of President Harold B. Lee and President N. Eldon Tanner. “I was promised that the operation would be performed without error, that all would go well, and that I need not fear for my own inadequacies, for I had been raised up by the Lord to perform this operation.”

As he was concluding a flawless operation, Dr. Nelson had an overpowering feeling: “I had a sure witness as I was standing there that the man I had just operated on would become the President of the Church!” At the time, such an impression was surprising: Joseph Fielding Smith was President of the Church, and Harold B. Lee was younger and healthier than Elder Kimball. “So that feeling was quite unexpected,” said Elder Nelson, “but it was real.”

Dr. Nelson was well prepared professionally, as well as spiritually, to operate on President Kimball. He received B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah, then his Ph. D. in 1954 from the University of Minnesota. In 1970, Brigham Young University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

He has worked as research professor of surgery, director of the Thoracic Surgical Residency at the University of Utah, chairman of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, and member and vice-chairman of the board of governors of LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Numerous honors acknowledge his professional service and extensive volunteer work among them the Distinguished Service Award, Utah State Medical Association; Citation, International Service, American Heart Association; and Golden Plate Award, American Academy of Achievement. He has served as president of the Society for Vascular Surgery, and as chairman of the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery for the American Heart Association.

Despite the rigors and demands of heavy Church and professional assignments, the new member of the Twelve feels that his family is his most important priority. “I think the greatest challenge a father has is in his home and in his responsibilities there. The greatest challenge a woman has is with her children.” Elder Nelson and his wife, Dantzel, are the parents of ten children—nine daughters and a son. Eight daughters have been married in the temple. Marjorie, eighteen, and Russell, twelve, still live at home. And the day Elder Nelson was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve, their twenty-second grandchild was born. (See “Call to the Holy Apostleship,” p. 52, this issue.)

Sister Nelson attributes much of their family togetherness to music, an interest they all share. They love to perform together; they all sing and play the piano or another instrument. Elder Nelson studied keyboard harmony and was a member of the A Cappella Choir at the University of Utah, and he continues his interest in both piano and organ. Sister Nelson, who turned down a scholarship to the Julliard School of Music in order to marry, has been a member of the Tabernacle Choir since 1967. She sang with the Choir the morning her husband was sustained to the Twelve.

“The mother is the heart of the home in our house,” Elder Nelson said. “She has had the major responsibility for training and tutoring our ten children. You can imagine how much help she gets from a husband who is a surgeon and is active in the Church! While I was stake president for many years, she had all the responsibility for making my appointments because, with my schedule, I couldn’t have an appointment secretary. She was the only one who could have any idea about the moment-to-moment changes that came into my life as a heart surgeon. In all of our thirty-eight years together, she has been continually supportive.”

Elder Nelson’s experiences in the Church, in his profession, and in his family have contributed to the apostolic witness he now bears as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. “I have a deep and abiding faith in God,” he said. “And I know that salvation can come only through His Son, Jesus Christ. Our irrefutable responsibility is to prepare the world for the Second Coming. This work will fill the earth, and every knee ultimately will bow and every tongue eventually will confess that Jesus is the Christ.

“I know this is going to be a very difficult assignment. By myself, of course, I can do nothing. But I have the faith that the Lord has called me to do the work, and I’ll do it with his help. At the last day I hope to be found worthy of the approbation: ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant.’” (Matt. 25:21.)

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Elder Dallin H. Oaks

It is unusual for a jurist to find himself in the role of witness. But in the case of Elder Dallin Harris Oaks, it is a role he will soon become used to filling.

Sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at general conference April 7, Dallin Oaks is in the process of moving from the Utah Supreme Court bench to a lifelong role as a special witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And how does he feel about the calling? He paused a moment for reflection.

“I feel like a man who stands at the foot of a mountain so tall he can’t see the peak, but he knows he has to climb it.”

His immediate task, in anticipating the beginning of that climb, was to clear away a state supreme court justice’s caseload before his last day on the bench May 1. But looking beyond that comparative foothill the day after he was sustained to his new position, he commented, “I think my great struggles are ahead of me. This calling was so unexpected.”

Indeed, it was the farthest thing from his mind when a telephone call from President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, came to him at a crowded, noisy Tucson, Arizona, restaurant the evening of April 6. Justice Oaks had traveled to Arizona to serve on a panel of judges for a moot court competition; he and some of his academic colleagues were dining with some of the students who had participated. He arranged to return the call from the relative peace of his hotel room.

It was during this second conversation that President Hinckley interviewed and called the newest member of the Twelve. The call stunned him, but there was no question what his answer would be. “I’ve enjoyed my work in the legal profession. It’s been a delight. I have never anticipated that I would do anything outside it,” he said. “But just as service in the Church is never sought, it is not turned down.”

There were two immediate difficulties for Brother Oaks, about which President Hinckley was very understanding. His original travel plans called for him to fly to Chicago from Tucson on Saturday in connection with his responsibility as chairman of the board for the Public Broadcasting Service. For several months, PBS had been looking for a new president, and Chairman Oaks was in charge of the search. He would be interviewing candidates and conferring with the Search Committee, whose members were already en route to Chicago or scheduled to come to this vital final meeting.

Then there was the matter of his responsibilities on the Utah Supreme Court. He had heard arguments and participated in the tentative decisions on cases for which opinions had not yet been issued. If Justice Oaks were to switch immediately to his new Church role, it would seriously disrupt the work of the court in some of those cases. “It would be the equivalent of a death [on the court],” he explained.

And yet he obviously could not continue to function on the bench once he had commenced service as a member of the Council of the Twelve.

It was President Hinckley who suggested the solution to the dilemma. Of course Elder Oaks must carry through with the obligation in Chicago, and he would not commence his service as a member of the Twelve for several weeks, allowing time for him to clear away the most pressing of his court obligations. But he would be sustained at the opening session of conference.

The decision meant he would not take his place in the Tabernacle on Temple Square for Sunday sessions of general conference. Watching those sessions on television, when he wanted to be assuming his duties with his new quorum, was a difficult experience emotionally, he commented.

“Many years ago, Thomas Jefferson coined the metaphor, ‘the wall between church and state.’ I have heard the summons from the other side of the wall. I’m busy making the transition from one side of the wall to the other.”

Talking the calling over with his wife, June, by long distance took far longer than being interviewed by President Hinckley, Elder Oaks recalled, smiling. Their children learned of his new calling only when he was sustained in conference. Like his wife, they were excited, and very supportive. Their five older children—Sharmon (Mrs. Jack Ward), Cheri (Mrs. Louis E. Ringger), Lloyd (married to Natalie Mietus), Dallin Dixon (married to Marleen May), and TruAnn (Mrs. A. Rock Boulter)—are now building their own families. Only daughter Jenny, eight years old, is still at home.

Sister Oaks is awed by the calling extended to her husband. It will be a challenge, she knows, to learn how best to support him.

Would his mother be happy? Elder Oaks feels she is; she died four years ago. Stella Harris Oaks never remarried after her husband, Dr. Lloyd E. Oaks, died when Dallin was just eight. Sister Oaks was an exemplary mother to her three children, as well as prominent in Church and community service in Provo, Utah, where she was widely known as an influence for good.

The name Dallin Oaks has also become widely known as an influence for good, in a variety of Church, educational, and civic service. Of course, there were his nine landmark years (1971–80) as president of Brigham Young University. He became prominent not only as an educator who insisted on academic excellence, but also as a defender of religious liberty, via efforts to prevent what he saw as unconstitutional or unwarranted federal interference in private university affairs.

He has also served for several years in executive positions with PBS. He has been an officer or director of a number of prestigious educational or legal organizations.

He was an outstanding law student and later a noted professor of law at the University of Chicago; after law school, he served as clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States Supreme Court. He played an important role in writing the Bill of Rights for the new constitution Illinois voters adopted in 1970.

He is also an author, scholar, and accomplished teacher. The list of personal achievements is long.

Church service has not been neglected in his life. In Chicago, he served as stake mission president and as a member of the Chicago South Stake presidency. During the years at BYU, he served as a Regional Representative.

His secretary during those years, Janet Calder, remarked that Elder Oaks should fit well in the Quorum of the Twelve. “He doesn’t have to change his life. He didn’t have to change his life to become president of BYU.”

But Elder Oaks feels a deep sense of humility when he looks at his own Church service and then at the service of those in the quorum he will be joining. Then the mountain he knows he has to climb seems to grow even taller.

“I start way behind every one of the General Authorities in Church experience. I have so much to learn in the ecclesiastical work of the kingdom. And that is an overpowering responsibility.”

He will probably approach it in the manner that has served him well before. He outlined it in a 1981 Ensign article.

“I would be scared to death to try and undertake something without asking for the Lord’s help, so I always pray for that help, and I’ve never failed to get it. Personal revelation is part of my faith and part of my approach to life. All my adult life I’ve had responsibilities for which I’ve needed a lot of extra help, but when I’ve had the assurance of the Lord’s help, I’ve never been afraid to go ahead.” (April, p. 32.)

Elder John K. Carmack

of the First Quorum of the Seventy
Elder John K. Carmack

As a five-year-old boy in Winslow, Arizona, John K. Carmack received a knife as a Christmas present. Somehow he misplaced the knife, and he was heartsick. “So I got down and prayed, and immediately I was able to find it,” he explained. That act of faith left an indelible impression. “I’ve had a testimony of the gospel from the days of my youth,” Elder Carmack said as he rested in his hotel room following the closing session of general conference.

His conversation was interrupted by the phone ringing, as it had been all evening. Friends and relatives, returned missionaries who had served under his direction, acquaintances from the BYU Alumni Association, and partners in his law firm had been telephoning good wishes ever since the Saturday morning announcement that Elder Carmack had been called to the First Quorum of the Seventy.

This time the caller was his 21-year-old son Stan, an engineering student at Stanford University in California. He wanted to know what it was like to speak in the Tabernacle.

“Well,” Elder Carmack replied, “it’s not as bad as arguing a case before the state supreme court. Here nobody throws questions back at you.”

Then he became serious. “What makes it possible to speak,” he said, “is that you feel so much love coming from the audience. You know quite literally that everyone out there is your friend. And I have never experienced more love and support than I have from the General Authorities. My greatest concern is living worthy of and magnifying this calling.”

John K. Carmack, fifty-two, of Los Angeles, California, brings a lifetime of service to his new calling. He has been president of the Idaho Boise Mission since July 1981, a Regional Representative, president of the Los Angeles California Stake, counselor in stake presidencies for seven years, member of the stake high council, member of the Westwood Second Ward bishopric, and a public communications council chairman.

He has also served as chairman of the board of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, president of the Westwood Bar Association, a member of the Los Angeles executive council for the Boy Scouts of America, and was president-elect of the BYU Alumni Association when he received his call as mission president.

He served a West Central States mission from 1951–53, then graduated from BYU in 1955. As leader of the Seoul, Korea, LDS military group, he was there to greet the first two full-time missionaries to arrive in that area. After returning home, he earned a J.D. degree at the University of California at Los Angeles. He is married to Shirley Fay Allen Carmack, who was doing graduate work in nutrition when they met. They have five children.

“We had been planning to return home in July,” Sister Carmack said. “But now the service will continue. The blessings always outweigh the sacrifices.”

“I have a deep and abiding testimony of Jesus the Christ,” Elder Carmack said. “And a long-standing series of personal experiences with the comfort that comes from being close to his work. Through his Church and through his priesthood, we can watch quiet miracles taking place daily throughout the world.”

Elder Russell C. Taylor

of the First Quorum of the Seventy
Elder Russell C. Taylor

Elder Russell C. Taylor was enjoying a meeting with other Regional Representatives on Friday, April 6, when he was called out to see President Gordon B. Hinckley. “I’m chairman of the Denver Temple Committee, and I expected that President Hinckley wanted to talk about that.” Instead, he called Elder Taylor to be one of six new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

“I was overwhelmed! A person never expects that type of thing to happen to him. But a beautiful, confirming spirit let me know it was the will of the Lord.”

Service has long been a hallmark of Elder Taylor’s heritage. Both of his grandfathers were stake patriarchs. His father was called to be a bishop as a young, unmarried man of nineteen. The General Authority issuing the call also gave him a very important instruction: get married. The new bishop accepted the challenge, marrying his childhood sweetheart. They eventually had nine children, including a son they named Russell.

Young Russell Taylor soon proved his willingness to serve. After one and one-half years of college and two and one-half years of military service (during World War II), he had the feeling that a mission had passed him by. But his bishop thought otherwise. “How would you feel about a mission call?” he asked soon after Russell returned home.

“As soon as he said those words,” Elder Taylor recalls, “I had the warmest feeling. And I’ve felt since that that call was the Lord’s way of saying, ‘I want you to prepare your life, and a mission is the way to begin.’”

He had been home from his mission for only three days when he received a telephone call. “This is Sterling W. Sill,” the voice said. “I’ve heard that you’re the kind of young man I want to have working with me. I have two silver dollars on my desk. They will pay for your gas if you will drive up and talk to me.” Elder Sill at that time was the head of the Salt Lake agency for a life insurance company. That drive set Brother Taylor on the path of his insurance career; he eventually became a partner in an insurance business in Denver, Colorado. Last September he resigned to pursue personal business interests.

While working in insurance, Brother Taylor attended Brigham Young University. After graduation—and marriage to Joyce Elaine Mortensen—he lived briefly in Kansas City, Missouri, then moved to Butte, Montana. His Church service continued. In Butte, while serving as a counselor in his branch Sunday School presidency, he was called to be a member of a new stake presidency. He had been married for one and one-half years. Since then he has served nine years as a counselor in stake presidencies, nine years as a stake president in Denver, three years as a mission president, and seven years as a Regional Representative.

“My wife has always helped me and supported me in all I’ve done,” Elder Taylor says. They are the parents of six children and have nine grandchildren. “I don’t know how I would have raised my family without the gospel.

“I don’t recall a time when I didn’t have a testimony,” Elder Taylor says. “But the more I have served, the happier I’ve been and the closer I’ve been to the Lord.”

Elder Robert B. Harbertson

of the First Quorum of the Seventy
Elder Robert B. Harbertson

Elder Robert B. Harbertson, newly called member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, grew up without many material blessings. “We never had much money,” he says. “But I never knew we were poor until I got older.”

But his parents more than made up for temporal lack by acquiring spiritual treasures. “As I talk to Heavenly Father about my blessings, I mention quite often how grateful I am for parents who taught me to be obedient, to be honest, to make my word as good as my bond. That has brought me a great deal of happiness.”

Robert Harbertson was born in South Ogden, Utah, in 1932. Three older sisters preceded him; a younger brother came later. Together they were taught “the most important things that one needs to know as a child.” It was while in that home that Robert began to discover the joys of the gospel. “My parents’ lives were centered around the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he remembers. “I grew up knowing nothing else.” Over the years that budding testimony was strengthened again and again. “I have never doubted its truthfulness.”

“The thing that strengthens my testimony most,” he says, “is my prayers and communication with my Father in Heaven. I would not dare leave my home in the morning or retire to my bed at night without talking to him. Knowing I can talk to my Father in Heaven is a great comfort in my life.”

Elder Harbertson has another sustaining influence that he is quick to name: his wife, Norma Creer. “She is about as perfect a wife as I could ever hope to have,” he says. “She is always positive and happy and concerned for other people.” Married in 1953, they are the parents of five children and now have four grandchildren.

In the fifties Brother Harbertson graduated from Utah State University, served a two-year stint in the army, and began his career. His latest position was as an executive for a large Salt Lake City hardware supplier.

Over the years Elder Harbertson has also been busy in Church service. He has served as a bishop, a member of the General Aaronic Priesthood Committee, and mission president (California Fresno Mission). Since 1978, he has served as a Regional Representative of the Twelve.

“My wife has always supported me in my Church callings 100 percent. There has never been one negative word. But when she thinks I can do better, she lets me know. She’s my greatest critic—always in a very sweet way. She’s a tremendous woman.”

When Elder Harbertson is asked to name the greatest lessons he’s learned over the years, he has a ready answer. “I believe that to be obedient is one of the greatest characteristics of a follower of Christ. I have yet to find an obedient person who is not happy and is not being blessed and growing as an individual. That doesn’t mean he won’t have problems or trials or temptations—those are a part of life. But when we’re obedient, we save ourselves so much torment, so many problems—and we find ourselves growing closer to the Spirit.”

Undergirding that obedience must be a testimony of the divinity of Christ. That testimony is part and parcel of Elder Harbertson’s approach to life.”

Elder Devere Harris

of the First Quorum of the Seventy
Elder Devere Harris

When Devere Harris, president of the Idaho Falls Temple, walked into President Gordon B. Hinckley’s office, he had no idea what was coming. Maybe he was doing something that needed changing in his temple assignment.

“Are you tired of the temple?” President Hinckley asked. President Harris’s answer was quick and sure.

“No! I want to stay there!”

It was not to be. But President Harris would bring to his new calling a deep love for the House of the Lord.

“Serving in the temple for these past four years was the greatest thing that ever happened to us. Things have happened there that are too sacred to relate.”

Elder Harris, who is now sixty- seven years of age, grew up in the little town of Portage, Utah, near the Idaho border. At Bear River High School he starred in both basketball and track. After graduating, he attended business college in Salt Lake. He later became a salesman for an insurance company, rising to the position of manager of three states. In 1930 he married Velda Gibbs, also of Portage, in the Logan Temple.

Elder Harris was kept busy in the Church. Among other callings, he served as elders quorum president, stake mission president, and high councilor. At the same time, he was traveling sixty to eighty thousand miles a year for his company and supervising some forty men. Then he was called to be bishop of the Portage Ward. When Elder Harris was set apart, Elder Boyd K. Packer promised him that as long as he did the Lord’s work, his business would prosper.

And that’s exactly what happened.

“I have never hesitated since that day to ask people to serve the Lord, in any capacity. I’ve never thought I could put a hardship on anybody that way—never.”

With so many demands on his time, Elder Harris learned to give quality time to his family, even when time was scarce. “One summer,” he recalls, “we took our children on a trip to Canada, Mexico, and about twenty-four states. Later someone asked my son what he considered the most exciting thing he’d done all summer. My chest kind of stuck out a little, and I thought, ‘Well, he’s got plenty to choose from,’ but he said, ‘The most fun I’ve had this summer is the night I lay out on the lawn with my dad and watched the Milky Way and made up poetry.’”

The Harris’s son and four daughters have all been married in the temple and have provided a proud grandpa and grandma with twenty grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Of his new calling, Elder Harris says, “I feel inadequate, of course, but I’m thrilled with the call, and I’m willing to give it everything I’ve got. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that if I get myself in a condition to serve the Lord, that he will sustain me.”

Elder Harris’s assurance comes from a deep faith. “I’ve had a witness borne to me of the Spirit that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, that the Church is true, that God lives. I have enjoyed some beautiful manifestations of the Spirit. But I don’t believe that a man’s testimony can be built on beautiful manifestations. I think it’s more important to hear the whisper of the still small voice that gives assurance, day after day and year after year, that the gospel is true. I have heard that whisper.”

Elder Spencer H. Osborn

of the First Quorum of the Seventy
Elder Spencer H. Osborn

Elder Spencer H. Osborn, sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on 7 April 1984, sat in his office at the Salt Lake Temple where he has been serving in the temple presidency. On his desk was a picture of his wife and seven children. Through the window could be seen the falling flakes of a spring snow storm.

“I will miss working here,” he said a little wistfully. “But I am delighted to be of service. I feel this new plan of short-term general authorities is inspired.”

“We received a call asking us to come for an interview with President Hinckley the next morning,” Elder Osborn said. “It was not a restful night.” Then when he issued the call “we were dumbfounded and numb.” But, as always, the Osborns had their answer ready. They were ready to accept the call.

Church service and heavy responsibility are not new to Elder Osborn and his wife, Avanelle. When they were married, they agreed to serve the Lord regardless of their situation and circumstance. As a young couple, they lived in Los Angeles, California, while Elder Osborn attended UCLA. At the young age of twenty-four, he was called to serve in a bishopric. Since that time he has served twenty-two years in the Granite Stake presidency—ten years as president; as mission president in the Florida Tallahassee Mission; as a counselor in the Salt Lake Mission Home; and as a full-time Regional Representative in the Philippines.

Elder Osborn recalls his work in the Philippines with fondness. “We saw a great work there,” he said. “During the sixteen months that we served there, we organized twelve stakes. The growth in the size of the Church and in the spirituality of the members was a real blessing.”

Through it all, Elder Osborn has received great strength and support from his wife and children. Sister Osborn has been by his side through many Church assignments and through the struggling first years of the now thriving Osborn Apparel Manufacturing Company, which he started with his brother. “If you ask me about my wife,” Elder Osborn says, “I will become misty-eyed. She is a great woman, full of dedication; she has always been totally supportive. She is talented and efficient as a homemaker.”

Sister Osborn, a lively woman with a smile on her face, says supporting her husband has been a joy. “When Spencer was in the stake presidency, we had seven children under the age of ten. It was not always easy, but it didn’t seem a burden to me. We just enjoyed the blessings that were ours.”

“She would have family home evening several times a week,” adds Elder Osborn. “I’d come home from a meeting, and they’d be singing around the piano or having a gospel discussion. It was a happy sight. I have always been grateful for such support.”

The Osborn’s seven children—David, Richard, Judith, Joseph, Mark, Patricia, and Camille—are also supportive of their father’s new call.

“I am committed to this great work of the restored gospel,” Elder Osborn concludes. “I know that God lives, and I know of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am grateful for this call, for the opportunity to be of further service in the kingdom of our Father.”

Elder Philip T. Sonntag

of the First Quorum of the Seventy
Elder Philip T. Sonntag

In a drought-stricken area of the Philippines, a district Relief Society president stood to conduct a meeting. “You know we’ve all been fasting and praying for rain,” she began. “Well, the Lord hasn’t sent us rain. But he has sent us the Sonntags. And that’s better than rain, sisters.” For the past year, Regional Representative Philip Sonntag and his wife, Valoy, have been bringing nourishment in the form of basic gospel teachings, leadership principles, and lesson manuals—to Church leaders in the fast-growing stakes and districts of the Philippines.

The calling as a full-time Regional Representative came on the very day Brother Sonntag was released as director of Temple Square, which followed an almost continuous succession of callings as president of the New Zealand Christchurch Mission, stake president, and bishop.

Now a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, this good-hearted man firmly insists that he is not unusual. “We’re just ordinary Latter-day Saints who have found that living the gospel is the only way to true happiness.”

“I knew when I married him that he was completely dedicated to the Lord,” said Sister Sonntag. This is a dedication she has always shared. They married forty years ago, after both returned from missions—he from the Western Canadian Mission, she from the Northern States Mission. In fact, they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple only ten days after Philip returned, with only twenty dollars between them—a gift from Valoy’s mother.

Elder Sonntag grew up in Salt Lake City, Sister Sonntag in Cleveland, Idaho. They have spent most of their married lives in Salt Lake, although several years in the Navy and many Church callings have taken them to the far corners of the earth.

Despite the heavy demands of a family jewelry business and Church callings, family has always been a priority for them. When life got especially busy, Sister Sonntag would pack up the children and a picnic dinner and pick up her husband from work. Then, after an hour of playing and eating in the park, he would be off to a meeting. The whole family still enjoys holidays and special occasions together.

Sister Sonntag describes her husband as at once very spiritual and very practical. “I think I was born with a testimony,” he reflects. When as a young father and bishop he lay near death after a serious automobile accident, he reminded the Lord that he had responsibilities at home—to his sweetheart and children, and to the members of his ward. An unmistakable voice told him that because he had always lived the Word of Wisdom he would “run and not be weary, and walk and not faint,” and that he would be given a special blessing. When Sister Sonntag arrived at his side and found him barely breathing, she took his hand. Then, receiving the same witness, she explained to her worried parents that all would be well.

“I’ve never had a question about whether the gospel of Jesus Christ was true, or whether Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. The only question I’ve had was whether I would be able to live the gospel as I ought to.”

Elder Philip Sonntag is well on his way to affirmatively answering that question.

Barbara W. Winder

Relief Society General President
Barbara W. Winder

“Accepting responsibility, even when I had no idea how I could do it, and then trying hard to learn what the Lord would have me do—this is what has prepared me,” said Barbara Ann Woodhead Winder, sustained on 7 April 1984 as eleventh general president of the Relief Society.

Indeed, a pattern of continual striving to serve the Lord has marked Sister Winder’s life. An early example was a calling as assistant Sunday School chorister. “I had had no musical training whatsoever,” she recalls, “and it was a very painful experience.” With time and persistence, however, she was able to teach herself basic music and was later able to serve in a stake Primary music calling. Her first Relief Society experience, too, was with music.

So it is with a feeling of peace born of experience that Sister Winder approaches her assignment to lead the 1.6-million member women’s organization. “I know the Spirit of the Lord will be there with us,” she explains. “I have developed a real testimony of priesthood calls.”

This particular call came long-distance to the mission home of the California San Diego Mission, where Sister Winder has been serving with her husband, President Richard W. Winder, for almost two years. The Winders had returned home from a day of interviewing missionaries when President Gordon B. Hinckley called. “He didn’t ask if I would accept,” recalls Sister Winder. “His only question was, ‘Are you worthy?’”

Sister Winder grew up in the East Millcreek area of the Salt Lake Valley and attended the University of Utah for several years before her marriage. But her understanding of people and the problems of the world has broadened with her travels during five years on the Relief Society General Board, as well as with the opportunity to serve people of many cultures in the San Diego Mission.

And she has come to see an important role for Latter-day Saint women. “I see so much sadness in the world,” she comments. “But I have also seen women all over the world doing beautiful things for each other and for their families. We women of the Church must refine ourselves so that we can radiate a goodness to others, and draw them to us.”

Richard Winder sees his wife’s ability to draw others to her through her warm nature as an asset in her new calling. “Wherever we go,” he observes, “people seem to feel an immediate closeness with her.” “It has always been a privilege to support Richard,” smiles Sister Winder, “as a bishop, stake president, or temple sealer. But our mission call has probably been our sweetest experience, because we have worked so closely together.” The mutual support will continue, says President Winder, although the mission will end as soon as they can be replaced.

The Winder’s four children—Richard, Jr. (and wife, Debi Buchanan), Susan (and husband, John Tanner), George (and wife, Nancy Parker), and Robert have also been a great source of support. All four, along with the Winder’s nine grandchildren, live in the Salt Lake area. In typical fashion, the family has rallied together in love and unity at their mother’s new call.

Sister Winder calls those just released from the presidency and the general board “my great teachers.” Sister Barbara Bradshaw Smith served as president for almost ten years, traveling throughout the world to teach, inspire, and advance the cause of Relief Society. Sister Marian R. Boyer had served as her first counselor since November 1978, and Sister Ann S. Reese as second counselor since October 1983.

“The women of the Church are the finest women in the world,” says Sister Winder, “and each has different gifts to give. All of us must have our own testimonies—and testimony comes through studying the scriptures and serving others.” She continues, “My great desire is that we as women be unified with the priesthood in spreading the gospel to those in need.”

A lifetime of service has prepared Sister Barbara Winder to lead the women of the Church in this great purpose.

Ardeth Greene Kapp

Young Women General President
Ardeth Greene Kapp

“She has a readiness and a willingness, even an anxiousness, to serve,” said Heber B. Kapp of his wife, Ardeth Greene Kapp. Sister Kapp was sustained 7 April 1984 as the Young Women general president. She follows Sister Elaine A. Cannon in this calling as head of an organization of 250,000 young women from the ages of twelve to eighteen.

Of her new call, Sister Kapp says: “I am humbly grateful for the sacred trust extended to me. I desire to live so as to be directed by the Spirit in fulfilling the Lord’s purpose through the direction of priesthood leadership. And I feel deep gratitude for a companion who is committed to encouraging my total dedication.”

A native of Glenwood, Alberta, Canada, Sister Kapp grew up in a small farming community. “I was raised in a family which placed a high priority on obedience,” she says. “I feel comfortable taking counsel from and following Church leaders.” As a small girl, she learned not only obedience, but love. Working in a country grocery store which her family owned and operated gave her the opportunity to associate with and to appreciate all kinds of people. She was called to teach in Primary at an early age and has held many administrative and teaching positions since that time.

Sister Kapp feels that one of the most important lessons of her life has been learning to rely on our Heavenly Father. “I have had many challenges,” she says, “which have taught me to call on the Lord and to receive strength from him. I have learned how important it is to be submissive to the will of the Lord and to always follow his leaders. I have learned that when I want an answer, if I am patient and follow his leaders, the answer will come.”

Because Brother and Sister Kapp have no children, they have been committed to reaching out and touching the lives of others. Both remember the words of President David O. McKay, who said that “the noblest aim in life is to strive to make other lives better and happier.” (Pathways to Happiness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1957, p. 280.)

Sister Kapp has an understanding of the purposes of the Young Women program and feels a great love for the youth she now serves. “The program is in place,” she says. “The principles are sound; personal progress is an eternal principle.

“I see a need to continue to provide rich experiences for our youth that will help them develop a strong testimony. They need a strong testimony to meet the challenges and to resist the temptations of these days.

“I think we have all learned that ‘fun and games’ has little if any lasting impact when compared to the lasting joy of happy times in service and in meaningful associations.”

When speaking of young women, Sister Kapp’s eyes sparkle. “Theirs is a time of refreshing discovery and joyfulness in the beauties of life,” she says. “They possess an eagerness for adventure and excitement. These natural inclinations need to be nurtured and strengthened to lead to the real and lasting excitement found only in living the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Sister Kapp replaces Sister Elaine A. Cannon who with her counselors, Arlene B. Darger and Norma B. Smith, have served as the Young Women general presidency since July 1978.

Sister Kapp has been serving as Young Adult Sunday School teacher in her Bountiful Utah Central Stake. From 1972 to 1978 she served in the Young Women general presidency. She has also served on the Youth Correlation and General Curriculum committees of the Church.

She received a B.S. degree from the University of Utah and an M.S. degree in Curriculum Development from Brigham Young University. She taught in the Davis County School District in Utah, supervised student teachers in BYU’s College of Education, coordinated the Student Leadership Development program at BYU, and wrote and instructed a series of TV programs for the Utah Network of Instructional Television.

Sister Kapp has authored five books, as well as many articles for Church publications, educational brochures, and study guides.

Missionary Service, Activation, Temple Work Emphasized in Conference Leadership Meetings

Regional Representatives in a Friday, April 6, all-day seminar, and Regional Representatives and stake presidents in a Friday, April 6, evening leadership meeting received similar counsel from General Authorities—forceful encouragement to accelerate the Church’s missionary work, increase their labors in activation, and motivate Church members to participate more often in the blessings of temple attendance.

But as leaders work with the Saints, “there is much more to be achieved than statistical improvement,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley in his morning address to Regional Representatives.

“Such improvement is, of course, desirable, and must be worked for. But, more importantly, we should be concerned with the spiritual dimension of our people and the enlargement of this dimension. There is a tendency in all of us to ask for better statistical performance. There is a tendency to impose quotas, behind which usually lies imposition of pressure to achieve improved statistics. In the work of the Lord there is a more appropriate motivation than pressure. There is the motivation that comes of true conversion.

“When there throbs in the heart of an individual Latter-day Saint a great and vital testimony of the truth of this work, he will be found doing his duty in the Church. He will be found in his sacrament meetings. He will be found in his priesthood meetings. He will be found paying his honest tithes and offerings. He will be doing his home teaching. He will be found in attendance at the temple as frequently as his circumstances will permit. He will have within him a great desire to share the gospel with others. He will be found strengthening and lifting his brethren and sisters. It is conversion that makes the difference,” said President Hinckley.

“In all that we do we must cultivate faith. Increased faith is the touchstone to improved church performance,” he said.

Concerning missionary work, President Hinckley said that our need “entails an enlarged missionary force and a greater awareness of missionary opportunity on the part of our people generally.”

Missionary service “not only yields converts to the restored gospel,” he said, “but it also brings blessings of inestimable worth into the lives of those who give such service.

“As the missionary teaches the doctrine of salvation to others, he blesses his own life,” said President Hinckley.

Concerning activation, he said: “I want to assure you first that the work is growing stronger. There never was a time in my life, and that now spans almost three quarters of a century, when there has been such evidence of faith on the part of our people. Things are getting better. But there is so very much yet to be done. We still have substantial numbers of men and women who fail to partake of the great and marvelous blessings of activity in the Church. I am convinced that they deny themselves these blessings simply because they are not converted to the truth of the gospel. It is important that we share with these Church members those same great moving truths of conversion that we share with those who are not members of the Church.”

Concerning temple work, President Hinckley said: “We are building temples on a scale never before experienced in all of the history of the Church. I know that the power of the Lord was acting upon President Kimball when he moved so affirmatively in the direction of constructing new temples. Over a period of three years we will have dedicated eighteen new Houses of the Lord. What a tremendous thing that is! These are smaller temples than were built in earlier years, but they are much more efficient in the use of space to accomplish the ordinance work that takes place therein. They are not monuments of grandeur; they are, rather, sacred houses of God in which his eternal work may be performed as efficaciously and as beneficially as that done in any temple built at any time.

“These sacred buildings have great capacity. More and more they are being conveniently located so that the people may use them.

“The duty of temple work has been laid upon this people. But it is more than a duty. It is a blessing. I am satisfied that if our people would attend the temple more, there would be less selfishness in their lives. There would be less absence of love in their relationships. There would be more fidelity on the part of husbands and wives. There would be more love and peace and happiness in the homes of our people. There would come into the minds of the Latter-day Saints an increased awareness of their relationship to God our Eternal Father and of the need to work a little harder at the matter of living as sons and daughters of God.

While the temples are generally busy, there is not a temple in the entire Church that cannot accommodate many more than are now using these beautiful and dedicated facilities.

“People should go to the temple for the right reason, and that reason comes of conversion to the gospel and an acceptance of their responsibility to assist our Father in Heaven in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of his sons and daughters,” said President Hinckley.

Also speaking to the Regional Representatives was President Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve.

President Benson said: “We need more prepared missionaries. We desire every family to be prepared for emergencies. We want to see more of our brethren receive the blessings of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the temple.

“One year ago this April we introduced to you a program for activating elders and prospective elders. We have undertaken a mission to reclaim our brethren who have temporarily lost sight of their eternal goals. Our primary goal is to save souls,” he said.

“When we bring fathers back into activity, we bring them and their families happiness in this life, to say nothing about the eternal blessings that are opened up to them. My heart goes out to those men, heads of families, who are inactive, prospective elders.

“Brethren,” said President Benson to the Regional Representatives, “our hope and prayer is that you will see this activation effort as more than just a temporary program. We hope that when this period of our Church history is recorded, it will be said that this marked a time when many wandering and lost souls were reclaimed by the Church of God.”

Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve discussed the challenges facing Aaronic Priesthood leaders and youth. He then reviewed steps for successfully working with Aaronic Priesthood-age youth.

“We need to do a better job of letting our youth know we care,” he said. “We’re not talking about boys, we’re talking about future husbands, fathers, grandfathers, patriarchs to their own families. Let’s put a good foundation beneath our young people,” said Elder Monson.

“The floodwaters of immorality and irresponsibility and dishonesty lap at the very moorings of our individual lives, and if we do not safeguard those moorings, and if we don’t have deeply entrenched foundations to withstand these eroding influences, we are going to be in difficulty,” he counseled.

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke on principles of priesthood government with reference to the calling of missionaries.

“If there is any best way for a young member of the Church to gain an in-depth knowledge of the gospel, it is to serve a mission. A mission is a near-perfect combination of study and application of the principles of the gospel as one learns them. Nothing can compare with it,” said Elder Packer.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke “of the obligation the Lord has laid upon us” to preach the gospel “to every creature upon the face of the whole earth.”

He said that “underlying this divine commission are certain eternal verities. The chief among them” are that “salvation is in Christ,” that “the Lord has in these last days restored the fulness of his everlasting gospel, through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith, Jr.,” and that the Lord “has set up upon the earth, for the last time, his church and kingdom, the Church that administers the gospel and thereby makes salvation available” to all mankind.

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke on perfecting the Saints through self-reliance and service to others. He discussed assignments to the Regional Representatives regarding this important topic.

Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke on member activation. He summarized some of the guiding principles of activation:

“First, priesthood and auxiliary leaders must have a determination to set activation guidelines in motion.

“Second, they must have faith that the activation of men and women and families is possible.

“Third, the individual or family must be taught the gospel, either in their own homes or by attending a temple preparation seminar.

“Fourth, and most importantly, leaders [and members involved] need to qualify themselves to obtain the companionship of the Holy Ghost to assist them in touching the lives of the inactive members,” said Elder Haight.

Elder James E. Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke on strengthening seventies quorums. “The seventies quorums provide leadership in reaching out to our nonmember neighbors. An effective seventies quorum can strengthen the elders quorum and the entire ward by providing a continual flow of new converts, who provide new sparkle and, with proper fellowshipping, become the future priesthood leaders. Indeed, as President Kimball once said, ‘If there were no converts, the Church would shrivel and die on the vine.’” (Ensign, Oct. 1974, p. 4.)

In the evening leadership meeting that was attended by both Regional Representatives and stake presidents, Church leaders heard again counsel on these important emphases.

President Gordon B. Hinckley noted that “every man and woman in the Church, especially every man and every woman who has been to the House of the Lord, has a sacred and compelling responsibility for the growth and the success of the Church, as much so, in his or her sphere of activity, as do the General Authorities in their sphere of activity.

“Each of us is a watchman on the tower. The Church will be the stronger or the weaker according to the strength or weakness of its individual members. That is why it is so important that we move forward those programs which come of inspiration and which are designed to strengthen the faith, the testimony, and the manner of living of the individual members of the Church.

The Church will not fail, although some of its members may fail. It has been established in this dispensation for the last time, and it will never fail. As it touches for good the lives of its people, and as they embrace its truths and apply them in their everyday living, the cause will be strengthened and the people will be blessed,” said President Hinckley.

Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke on the welfare program, its principles and purposes. “All of us throughout the Church have caught the spirit of President Spencer W. Kimball’s counsel when he emphasized the importance of our giving a generous fast offering,” said Elder Monson.

“We have a keen responsibility to care for the poor and the needy. Welfare is not restricted to a farm. Welfare is only encompassed or restricted by our vision and by our understanding and by our inspiration,” he said.

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve called for Church leaders to find time to study the gospel. “It is so important that every member, particularly every leader, know the gospel. Now, while it is not easy to find time to study the gospel, it is necessary and it is possible,” he said.

“What we need is a revival of the basic principles in the lives of all Latter-day Saints. The true essence of priesthood administration is not in procedure, it is in principles and doctrines,” he said.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of the “rising generation of Church members and the need for them to obtain their full conversion.

“If we wish to help the youth of the Church,” he said, “the best thing we can do is to help their parents. This is why the challenges of activation of more of our adults and preparing more of our youth are so tightly intertwined.

“This rising generation is the first generation to be reared in a time when society’s other institutions, previously supportive of certain moral standards, have largely been neutralized, or worse, secularized. This rising generation, basically shorn of such external support systems, must therefore believe because of the Word and behave because they believe.

“As we all know, current film, music, art, and theatre too often promote drugs, alcohol, pornography, and promiscuity. Now, Brethren, this is not simply a temporary tidal wave which, ere long, will pass. It is the wave-tossed secular sea itself, and it will not subside until He comes and all the winds and waves once again obey His will. Hence, this is not a time for busy or preoccupied parents to leave our youth unloved, unattended, or untaught,” said Elder Maxwell.

Bishop Victor L. Brown, Presiding Bishop of the Church, discussed the law of the fast and fast offerings. “Fast offerings,” he said, “become the financial base for caring for the poor.

“I think when we are as affluent as many are, we ought to be very generous in our fast offerings.

“This method of caring for the poor is the Lord’s way. The faithfulness of the members in paying generous fast offerings will accomplish His purposes in this important phase of the work,” said Bishop Brown.

At the morning Regional Representatives Seminar was announced the calling of the following brethren to serve as Regional Representatives: Dallas N. Archibald of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Melvin T. Bowler of St. George, Utah; E. Eugene Callens of Ruston, Louisiana; Clinton D. Davis of San Diego, California; Leroy A. Drechsel of Salt Lake City, Utah; Clayter F. Forsgren of Rexburg, Idaho; Eduardo A. Lamartine of Villa Alemana, Chile; John M. Madsen of Sandy, Utah; Richard H. Madsen of Salt Lake City, Utah; O. Don Ostler of Salt Lake City, Utah; Harold W. Richmond of Plano, Texas; Lowell Sherratt, Jr., of Brigham City, Utah; Max L. Willis of Mesa, Arizona; and Patrick Chung Hei of Hong Kong.

Missionary couples at the MTC.

Church Announces Five New Temples

At a Saturday morning meeting preceding the first session of the Church’s 154th Annual General Conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, announced plans for construction of five new temples—three in the United States, one in Canada, and one in Colombia.

The temples will be built in San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Bogota, Colombia.

Members of the Council of the Twelve, Regional Representatives, and stake presidents from the areas involved were invited to the meeting for the announcement. Regional Representatives from the new temple areas expressed gratitude for the blessings the sacred edifices will offer to the members in the temple districts.

The announcement brings to forty-seven the number of latter-day temples operating, under construction, or in planning stages.

No information was yet available on the sites for the new temples within their communities, but President Hinckley indicated that Church representatives will work closely with local government and community leaders to ensure that the edifices are assets to their areas.

He prefaced the announcement of the temples by commenting that to “every faithful Latter-day Saint, a temple occupies a position of special affection and offers special blessings that can be obtained in no other place. Temples, and that which occurs within them, are the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The work that goes on in these sacred houses is, for the most part, concerned with eternity, and the things of eternity. And the great selfless labors carried on by the Saints wherever these Houses of the Lord are found represent, in my judgment, more nearly the spirit of the Son of God, who gave his life as a vicarious sacrifice for all of us, than any other work which I know.

“We are living now in a great temple-building era of the Church,” he continued, noting that six temples were dedicated in 1983, six are scheduled for dedication this year, and six more are scheduled for completion and dedication in 1985. “This will mean that within a period of three years we will have dedicated as many temples as were built and dedicated in all the previous history of the Church.

“To carry on the great mandate given by President Spencer W. Kimball, we go forward with this work of taking the temples to the people of the Church, building smaller temples, and more of them, so that the Latter-day Saints will not have to travel so far to take advantage of the great blessings offered in these Houses of the Lord,” he commented.

President Hinckley explained that there will be opportunity for financial sacrifice by members in the areas affected, for while the major portion of building costs will come from the general funds of the Church, “it will be necessary for those who will be beneficiaries of these temples” to contribute toward their construction. Then he invited Regional Representatives from communities where the temples will be located to respond.

Donald Rex McArthur, representing members in the San Diego area, commented that “there surely [would] be a silent hosanna break forth from the hearts of all the Saints there that [would] pierce the heavens because of the joy that will come.”

He spoke of the great blessings that will come not only to active members, but also to the inactive and nonmembers as they prepare themselves for the temple or are attracted to the Church by the spirit they feel in the community as the temple fills a visible place there. Then, on behalf of Saints in his area, he expressed gratitude to Church leaders for their confidence in the members and pledged their “total commitment,” not only financially, but spiritually as well.

The new San Diego temple will serve more than fifty thousand members in the greater San Diego area; the Yuma, Arizona, area; and the Mexicali and Tijuana, Mexico, areas.

Ronald Swapp Jolley, a Regional Representative from the Portland area, spoke for Church leaders and members there when he said, “We’re humble, we’re grateful, and we pledge our loyalty, and our faith, and our sacrifice to this great endeavor.

“The fires of faith in the Portland, Oregon, area burn brightly, and I’m sure as the temple is erected, we will have tremendous response. We have a temple-going people. We look forward to that time when we can enter the house of the Lord there and perform those soul-saving ordinances,” he said.

The Portland Temple will serve more than eighty-two thousand members in Oregon and the southwest corner of Washington state.

James Kent Seastrand, a Regional Representative from the Las Vegas area, said that through the announcement of the temple there, “we are sending a signal not only to that valley and the people there, but to the world, that our Savior loves every soul.”

He expressed gratitude to the Church leaders, on behalf of stake presidents he represented, for the opportunities a temple will bring. Then he pledged that Church leaders in the area would “put foremost in our minds” service to “our Savior, Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father, and that we truly will be a light to those around us in that great valley.”

The Las Vegas Temple will serve more than forty-three thousand Saints.

Bryant W. Rossiter, a Regional Representative from the Toronto area, noted that he spoke not just for himself, but for “eight wonderful stake presidents” from eastern Canada who were attending the meeting, as well as for members at home who would soon hear the news. “I can tell you with all my heart that they will rejoice in this announcement, and I can tell you also that they will support the activities that will be necessary to fulfill the purpose of establishing a temple in Toronto. It will bring great unity, I think, among the Canadian people in eastern Canada.” That unity will come not only in terms of temple work, but also in other spiritual activities, he affirmed.

The Toronto Temple will serve approximately fifty-six thousand members in the Toronto, Quebec, Halifax, and Montreal areas of Canada, as well as in northern Vermont, New York, and Ohio, and eastern Michigan.

“I am still trembling with emotion from listening to the announcement of a temple in Bogota,” said Alejandro Portal, a Regional Representative from Colombia, speaking through an interpreter. “I have been trying to speak English all of the time that I have been here in Salt Lake City, but now I do not even have the words in Spanish” to respond. He voiced gratitude “to our Heavenly Father and to the authorities of the Church” for their confidence in the Saints in the proposed temple district. Speaking in behalf of the Colombians and Venezuelans who will use the temple, Brother Portal promised, “We are ready to put all our heart into this work. I have a great testimony of the Church. It is my life. And I am prepared to go forth,” he concluded.

The Bogota Temple will serve some fifty-five thousand members in Colombia and Venezuela.

President Hinckley responded to the comments of the Regional Representatives. “I never look upon the Salt Lake Temple, which I regard as the most magnificent piece of architecture with which I’m familiar—and I’ve traveled pretty well over the world—that I do not reflect on the miracle and the wonder of it all, that a handful of people in this valley grubbing sagebrush and trying to wrest a living from the desert soil, could build so magnificent a structure as a witness and testimony of their faith in the living God and the Redeemer of Mankind. When they did so much while having so little, we certainly can do a little when we have so much.”

Then he invited President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve to comment on behalf of that quorum.

President Benson spoke of the great spiritual blessings that will come to members as a result of the building of these temples. He recalled seeing his mother, in his boyhood farm home, ironing temple clothing so she and his father could be prepared for a visit to the temple the following day. She stopped her ironing, drew a chair next to his, and told how much the temple meant to her. Then she expressed the fervent hope that all her children would value the temple as she did and take part in its ordinances, that “we can all be together over there.”

“I’ve never forgotten it. That’s our hope with our family today,” he said. “I can’t think of anything that will bring greater increase in spirituality, and greater gratitude to people, than to have a temple where they can go and have these sacred ordinances performed, not only for this life, but for eternity.

“I thank the Lord on behalf of my brethren of the Twelve—all of whom support wholeheartedly this great increase, under the inspiration of President Kimball, in temple building. May God bless us as we move forward in this great and eternal program,” President Benson said.

The new temples in San Diego, Portland, and Las Vegas will bring the number of temples in the United States to twenty-two. Temples are now operating or are under construction in Utah (seven), California (two), Idaho (two), Hawaii, Washington state, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, and the Washington, D.C., area (Maryland).

The Toronto Temple will be the second temple in Canada. The other Canadian temple is located at Calgary, Alberta.

In addition to the Bogota Temple, there are five others in operation or under construction in South America: in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador.

The five new temples, President Hinckley noted, will not be as large as the older temples the Church originally built in Utah, “but they will be beautiful. And they will be built with the finest materials, on the principle that nothing is too good for the Lord, and that each will be his holy house.”

Map of North and South America

Location of five newly announced temples

New Church Museum Dedicated

The new Museum of Church History and Art was dedicated April 4 with a prayer by President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, that it might be “a house of thine, designed to present before us and future generations beautiful expressions of the hands and minds and hearts of thy sons and daughters who have magnified those talents which have come from thee.”

The dedicatory prayer was the culmination of ceremonies marking the opening of the new museum, across the street from Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The 63,500-square-foot building houses exhibits tied to the history of the Church, along with works of art by Latter-day Saint artists of the past and present.

The new building is part of a complex that will eventually include a genealogical research library, now under construction immediately to the south.

In remarks preceding the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley explained that the museum is designed to help visitors appreciate the good that others have created, as well as the potential within themselves.

“Unnumbered multitudes of people will visit this museum in the years to come. Their appreciation for the builders of the past will be enhanced. There will be stirred within them a desire to seek for the good and the beautiful, and to preserve it for the future. They will be motivated to cultivate their own talents,” he said.

In the dedicatory prayer following his remarks, President Hinckley expressed thanks for those who had roles in the museum’s planning, design, construction, and furnishing, and then asked for the blessings of God on those who will now run it. He prayed for the protection and preservation of the building, and then continued:

“We look upon this structure as a significant addition to the magnificent buildings erected on the square to the east of us—thy holy house, the temple of God, the great Tabernacle, and the restored Assembly Hall with all of their surroundings. We pray that this building, added to those on Temple Square, may become an attraction to great numbers of people, not only to members of the Church, but to legions of others in this community and visitors from far and near, and that out of their experiences within these walls will come an increased appreciation for thy work and those who have sought to advance it, and a greater love for thee and thy Beloved Son.”

President Hinckley was the concluding speaker on a program that began with remarks by President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve. President Benson noted that the museum will help visitors “better understand the vision of our forebears, which is the basis of our sacred heritage.”

He explained that “as a Church, we do not ordinarily build monuments to memorialize our progenitors. We build to lift the spirit of mankind. We build to give people an opportunity to reflect on the purpose of life, to teach, to meditate. We build to provide a moment of respite from a world of discontent, and to hopefully add a beneficial influence to the communities in which we live,” he said.

“I can see in my mind’s eye myriads of people—the curious and the critics, the young and the old, the sophisticated and the humble—passing through the doors of this edifice.

“They will pause and contemplate the manner of religion that brought this Church from obscurity to recognition.

“They will sense the kind of people Mormonism has produced.

“They will see that the Church draws from cultures throughout the world, yet unifies them by a common theology.

“They will sense that it is the doctrine of the Church that provides inspiration to their artistic works and endeavors.

“They will also sense that our faith permeates everything we do: our work ethic, our sense of beauty, and our outlook on life,” he said.

“Above all, we hope all will sense that we as a people are truly dedicated to the proposition that ‘if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.’” (A of F 1:13.)

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve also spoke at the dedicatory services, recalling: “Someone has said that from the altars of the past we should take the flame and not the ashes. There are those who stir in the ashes and find themselves covered with soot and grime. They get cinders in their eyes, and no longer see by the light of faith. They miss the purpose of it all.

“This museum is dedicated to a little spark of faith that was kindled more than 150 years ago. It ignited a light that now burns across the world and will spread to every nation.

“Interesting, is it not, that faith burns the brightest in very ordinary places. In the museum, you will find a piece of plaster from the Logan Temple. When it was wet, a worker had etched into it this message: ‘We are here several nationalities with the best of feeling to all men.’”

He described another artifact in the museum which bespeaks the faith of the early Saints—a small wooden box which once held money women of the Church contributed to the building of the Nauvoo Temple. They gave a penny a week, he noted, “at great sacrifice.”

“The box came west with one of them in 1847. They had lost the temple, but they kept the faith.”

Those forebears whom we honor in the museum are not only a part of our past, he explained, but also a part of our future, for the gospel teaches that we will meet them again. “God grant that we may be worthy to join the faithful of the past, to see them and to know them, and have a place with them, and that we may come to see and know him who is our Lord and our Redeemer,” he said.

“We shall be very glad that we built this museum. For then our children will know that from the altars of the past we kept the flame, not the ashes. They shall know that we kept the faith.”

Elder G. Homer Durham of the First Quorum of the Seventy, managing director of the Historical Department, noted that “the Museum of Church History and Art has long and tender roots. They lie deep in the aspirations and labors of our people.” He cited several examples of exhibits which represent the best aspirations of Latter-day Saints.

“Now may this museum, incorporating evidence of Church history past, inspire present and future generations to move further towards the higher ground and ideals” embodied in the revealed knowledge that “the glory of God is intelligence, or … light and truth (D&C 93:36),” he said.

Florence S. Jacobsen, director of the Church’s Arts and Sites Division, expressed thanks for the Church leaders who gave support and direction to the museum project, to stake historical arts correspondents who have helped fill it, to volunteers “who have given countless hours of devoted service,” and to the museum director, Glen Leonard, and staff. Without their dedication to make “a personal achievement of quality, the museum would be only a building instead of a home to house our heritage,” she said.

The dedicatory services were held in the museum’s 178-seat auditorium, immediately following outdoor ceremonies at which the cornerstone was sealed, with President Hinckley and President Benson applying the first mortar to the stone. A polished copper box containing copies of the standard works, Church periodicals, newspapers, and other items that will be artifacts of our times was sealed inside the cornerstone.

As the museum opened, it included a number of “first-phase” exhibits, some “permanent”—designed for long-term display—and others, designated as “temporary,” designed so they can be easily changed after intervals ranging from a few weeks to several months. The permanent exhibits include “Presidents of the Church,” with oil portraits, artifacts, documents, and photographs pertaining to each president’s life; “Leaders of the Church,” a collection of oil portraits of members of the Council of the Twelve from its beginnings to the present; and “Masterworks,” a selection of art treasures from the Church collection of paintings and sculpture by LDS artists.

Among the temporary exhibits were: “C. C. A. Christensen,” a collection of works, including the artist’s twenty-two historic paintings titled “Mormon Panorama”; “Western Americana,” art and artifacts reflecting history and culture of the western United States; and “Paintings and Prints by Contemporary Latter-day Saint Artists,” a selection from the Church collection and the first in a series of changing exhibits on art and photography.

The “Presidents of the Church” and “C. C. A. Christensen” exhibits were previewed during the week of general conference, then closed for completion. They will be formally opened later.

Behind the exhibits are a number of facilities for staff work and research, as well as public service. There is a small reference library, design studio, storage rooms and vault, conservation laboratory, cataloging room, exhibits fabrication shop, and store.

In addition to its exhibits, the museum will offer structured educational experiences to the public periodically. These will include lectures, demonstrations, and other programs.

The facility also provides opportunities for approximately three hundred Salt Lake-area Saints to give voluntary Church service. They meet the public as guides and in other roles, or assist the professional staff behind the scenes.

In order to serve the needs of a wide variety of visitors, the museum will be open seven days a week, except on Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day. Its hours are 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. weekdays and 10 A.M. to 7 P.M. on holidays during the summer, fall, and spring. From January through March, it will be open from 10 A.M. to 9 P.M. on Mondays and Thursdays, and from 10 A.M. to 7 P.M. on all other days. Admission is free.

President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency addresses guests at the dedicatory services for the new Museum of Church History and Art.

A portion of the display of contemporary LDS art located in a hallway in the lower level of the Church museum.

The Museum Store, which sells books, postcards, prints of LDS paintings, maps, and a variety of other items relating to Church history and art. The chairs are modeled after ones Brigham Young built as a craftsman.

Elder G. Homer Durham, left, managing director of the Church Historical Department (CHD), Florence S. Jacobsen, director of Arts and Sites of CHD, and Glen M. Leonard, director of the new museum. Behind them is the stone facing of the new Museum of Church History and Art.

Tabernacle Choir Sets Performances for Canada and Five U.S. States

The Tabernacle Choir will set a marathon pace this summer with a ten-day tour in Canada and the United States, followed by two other whirlwind trips.

First, the choir will perform in nine concerts and broadcast two of its weekly radio programs during a six-city tour June 22 through July 1.

The internationally known choral group is scheduled to perform in Toronto, capital of the province of Ontario, June 23 at Maple Leaf Gardens and June 24 at Roy Thomson Hall; the performances will be part of the city’s month-long International Festival commemorating its 150th birthday. The choir’s weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast will also originate from Thomson Hall on June 24.

June 25, the choir will perform for the first time in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. The performance will be in the National Arts Center.

The choir will sing in the Ford Auditorium at Detroit, Michigan, on June 26, then at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago on June 27 and 28. On June 29, the 325-member group will perform two concerts in the Kansas City (Missouri) Music Hall.

The tour will conclude with three performances in Denver, including a concert June 30 in the Red Rocks Amphitheater. The choir’s weekly radio broadcast, followed by a miniconcert, will be held July 1 in the same location.

Jerold Ottley, Tabernacle Choir director, will be on the podium for the series of concerts. Robert Cundick and John Longhurst, Tabernacle organists, will provide organ and piano accompaniment. J. Spencer Kinard will provide commentary and the “Spoken Word” portions of the Sunday broadcasts, as he does each week.

The choir will resume its marathon pace July 25 when it flies to Los Angeles to spend a long day taping opening and closing numbers for a television special having to do with the Los Angeles Summer Olympics. The two-hour Olympic Gala is scheduled to be broadcast July 26, preceding the opening of the Summer Olympic Games. The show is being produced by Intercontinental Broadcasting Systems for airing by the ABC television network.

The choir will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” to open the program, and “America, the Beautiful” to close it.

Choir members will fly to Los Angeles in the morning, take part in rehearsals through the afternoon, perform for the taping, then fly back to Salt Lake City that night after their work is finished.

On August 12, the choir will follow a similar schedule for another performance in Colorado. After its regular weekly radio broadcast, the group will fly immediately to Denver for a performance in Boettcher Concert Hall before 3,500 professional hospital administrators attending the convention of the American Hospital Supply Corporation.

The choir will return to Salt Lake City following the concert and a reception.

Boise Saints Prepare for Temple Dedication

The Boise Temple has already brought many blessings to the lives of the Saints in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon, even before its scheduled dedication May 25.

Local Church leaders have observed an increase in spirituality among the members, increased missionary activity, and heightened interest in genealogy. But there has also been a certain excitement and anticipation of the blessings of having a temple close by.

“I’ve been in this area since 1939. I’ve been in most positions in the Church, and I have never yet seen the excitement that there is at the present time among the LDS population,” says President Seth D. Redford, who served in the presidency of the Idaho Falls Temple before being called to preside over the Boise Temple. The Saints are “very anxious for the temple to open.”

It was not always so. When the first LDS missionaries came into the Northwest in the 1850s, missionary work went slowly. The Northwestern States Mission was formally organized in 1897. It included Oregon, Washington, and Idaho; Montana was added later. On 31 December 1900, the mission, not including the Cassia Stake, counted only 935 baptized members.

LDS settlers had originally been sent to north-central Utah and south-central Idaho from areas in western Utah. The settlers had found southern Idaho to their liking, the Church had grown there, and the Cassia Stake had been organized in 1887. This stake—which originally included the Oakley, Marion, Spring Basin, Albion, Elba, and Almo wards—was the forerunner of all the others in south-central Idaho.

Missionaries first began their work in Boise in 1897, distributing 8,000 tracts there that year. The Manuscript History of the Boise Ward notes that in 1899 “every house in Boise was tracted twice.”

The need for a permanent Church organizational structure in Boise developed as LDS legislators from other areas of the state came to the capital city because of state government service. A group of these men sent a letter to Church headquarters in January of 1903 to ask that missionaries be sent to Boise. In response, Elder Joshua H. Paul, a professor of botany at the University of Utah, and Elder Melvin J. Ballard, then president of the Northwestern States Mission, were sent to Boise.

In February 1903, a branch was organized. Ten years later, growth of the Church warranted creation of the Boise Stake, including the Boise, Bramwell, Carey, Emmett, Heyburn, Manard, Nampa, Rupert, and Weiser wards, and the Bliss Branch. Stake boundaries extended some three hundred fifty miles, from Oregon to Minidoka; it included 3,000 Saints in twelve counties.

Church membership in the area continued to grow, but the boundaries of the original Boise Stake were pared down through the years as other stakes sprang from it. There were many milestones, but at least one of those historical footnotes has Church-wide interest. In 1938, an agricultural economist in his late thirties became president of the Boise Stake. But he was released in 1939 when he moved to Washington, D.C., as executive secretary of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. He was ordained an Apostle on 7 October 1943, the same day as Spencer W. Kimball, and is now President of the Council of the Twelve—President Ezra Taft Benson.

Growth of the Church in south-central and southwestern Idaho and in eastern Oregon continued through the years. Consequently, the new Boise Temple will serve over one hundred thousand members in thirty-three stakes and one mission. Some four hundred members have been called as ordinance workers. The temple district ranges from Lewiston on the north to the Twin Falls, Burley, and Jerome regions on the south, from the LaGrande and Nyssa, Oregon, stakes on the west to the Carey and Declo, Idaho, stakes on the east.

Church leaders in the area have found that many members are putting their lives in order so they can qualify for recommends and enjoy the ordinances available in the temple. Interest in genealogical research has also increased. “Since the announcement of the temple, we have seen a larger number of people coming into the library. I have had a number of people who have called and asked how soon they can reserve names for the Boise Temple,” reports Freida March, genealogical librarian for the Boise Region.

Missionary work has benefited too. “The temple is opening many doors. There is a lot of interest, a lot of curiosity,” says Elder John K. Carmack, president of the Idaho Boise Mission.

Brother Steven S. Mortensen, Regional Representative for the two Boise regions, says the temple open house (which began May 1 for the general public) furnishes a golden opportunity for missionary work. “It’s difficult many times to engage our nonmember friends and neighbors in gospel conversation, but if we can take them to the temple open house, I think that activity will open the door for us to talk to them about what we believe, why we believe it, and what our goals are in life. I think it’s going to be a great missionary tool.”

President Redford says he foresees not only an increase in temple work when the temple is opened, but also an increase in Church attendance and other measures of spirituality.

The presence of the temple will not only benefit the members, but it will also demand more of them, says President Dale Dunn of the Meridian East Stake. It is highly visible, and it has increased awareness of the Church and its standards among nonmembers. “I think this awareness is going to require that members of the Church represent themselves on a higher level of living than they ever have before.”

Religious Freedom Issue Moves Church to File Brief in Court Case

The Church has filed a friend-of-the-court brief before the United States Supreme Court in a case involving the Unification Church.

The brief is one of many filed by religious organizations and other groups. The briefs raise serious questions as to whether U.S. constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion were faithfully observed in the case.

The LDS Church’s brief asks the Supreme Court to review the religious issues raised in the dispute. The brief takes no position on the teachings of the Unification Church, or on the guilt or innocence of those involved in a tax evasion case.

It does argue that the determination of what constitutes a religious activity should be made by a church, not by the state, and that a church’s position may not be ignored during litigation, in the absence of a carefully defined state interest.

Briefs filed by a number of organizations in connection with the case have expressed concern about the constitutional effect of allowing a court decision—in this case, a jury verdict—to determine whether activities of a church or one of its leaders may be regarded as religious.

The LDS Church’s legal counsel said the practice of religion could be hindered if courts can assume “an unguided power to define what is secular and religious, contrary to the good faith belief of the church in question.”

Keeping Pace

A new Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook (PBCT0044) is now available in Church distribution centers and has been mailed to stakes in the Church for distribution.

The handbook is intended for quorum leaders and other priesthood officers. It outlines principles, policies, and procedures to be used in the work of the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums of the Church. The handbook is introduced as “a guide for priesthood leaders, who must rely on inspiration from the Lord to help them in their work.”

Following a brief overview of the Melchizedek Priesthood—its importance and its offices and quorums—the handbook outlines stake and ward organization, lists responsibilities of quorum leaders, and offers direction on quorum administration.

Other topics covered in the manual include home teaching, prospective elders, activation, missionary work, genealogy and temple work, welfare services, single adult activities, training, and quorum funds, records, and reports. A short section near the end offers guidelines on ordinations and performing ordinances.

A new Young Women Handbook (PEYW4078) is now available and can be ordered from Church distribution centers.

The handbook is primarily for the use of stake and ward Young Women presidencies. It includes information on leadership structure, from the Young Women general presidency through stake, ward, and class presidencies. It also includes principles upon which that leadership should operate—love, example, service, decision-making, delegation, and skills.

To help leaders involve inactive young women, the handbook contains suggestions such as planning activities which in some way use the young woman’s interests, and encouraging other class members to be her friend.

The activities section includes guidelines for stake, ward, and combined Young Men and Young Women activities. It also gives ideas for special events such as the New Beginnings program, Sharing night, and standards nights, as well as suggestions for service, the Campcrafter certification program, sports, and physical fitness activities.

Remembering that “the heart of the Young Women program is the girl,” the handbook gives instruction for implementing the Personal Progress program, including its objectives and the process of setting and evaluating goals.

Policies and Announcements

The First Presidency has sent the following letter to Church units throughout the United States. It is to be read in sacrament meetings.

“Once again, in an election year, we emphasize the previously stated policy of the Church of strict political neutrality, and of not endorsing political candidates or parties in elections, and of not using Church facilities for political purposes.

“The Church does not favor one political party over another. The Church has no candidates for political office; we do not undertake to tell people how to vote. The voter should study the issues and the candidates carefully and prayerfully and vote for those he believes will most nearly carry out his views of government and its role.

“It is contrary to our counsel and advice that ward, branch, or stake premises, chapels or other Church facilities be used in any way for political campaign purposes, whether it be for speech-making, distribution of literature, or class discussions. Needless to say, we are unalterably opposed to the use of our sacrament or other Church meetings for any such purposes, and those attempting to use the Church facilities to further their political ambitions are injuring their cause and doing the Church a disservice. Church directories for mailing lists should not be made available to candidates for distribution of campaign literature.

“We appeal to all candidates for public office to take notice of this instruction and to conduct their campaigns to comply strictly with this requirement pertaining to the use of Church facilities. We also call on all political candidates who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints neither to state nor imply the endorsement of their candidacy by the Church or its leaders.

“Finally, we also encourage Church members as citizens to involve themselves in supporting measures on the ballot which will strengthen the community, state, and nation—morally, economically, and culturally. We urge Latter-day Saints everywhere to be actively engaged in worthy causes to improve their communities, and to make them more wholesome places in which to live and to rear families.”

The following items are from the February 1984 Bulletin:

Sunday School and the Consolidated Meeting Schedule. Sunday School is not optional, but should be held each Sunday during the forty-minute period between sacrament meeting and priesthood and auxiliary meetings. Priesthood leaders should follow Option A or Option B as outlined in the general instructions for the Sunday meeting schedule. No pilot programs are approved, and there is no authority for eliminating Sunday School or any of the other meetings provided in the original guidelines.

Approved Curriculum. Only the approved Sunday School classes, using the annual curriculum approved by the First Presidency and the Twelve, are to be conducted during the Sunday School period.

Sunday School and Seminary. Inasmuch as seminary is intended to be a weekday experience, times for weekly home-study seminary classes should be arranged on days other than Sunday.

The following item is from the March 1984 Bulletin:

Administrative Meetings. The Church instituted the consolidated Sunday meeting schedule in 1980 primarily to reemphasize personal and family responsibility to learn, live, and teach gospel principles. This schedule, when used as intended, will permit members to spend more time in personal and family gospel study, Christian service, and home-centered activities.

Stake and ward leaders can help members use their Sunday time as intended by avoiding excessive administrative meetings and other assemblies on the Sabbath that take members from their homes and families.

Local leaders should try to schedule administrative meetings on days other than Sunday and at times that require the least travel and the least time away from home and family. If such meetings are held on Sunday, they should not conflict with the ward Sunday meetings; also, they should be scheduled at times that interfere least with personal and family study, activities, and service. In unusual circumstances, such as when distances from homes to the meetinghouse are very long, local leaders may alter the frequency of administrative meetings to avoid unreasonable demands upon members’ time and resources.

Members should continue to accept calls to Church service gratefully and should serve faithfully as the Lord has commanded (see Mosiah 2:17 and Matt. 25:34–40).

The following items are from the April 1984 Bulletin:

Teacher’s Copy of Manual. To avoid violating copyright protection and permissions agreements, teachers should not remove pictures or the duplicator masters from course manuals. They may make copies from the duplicator master by following the instructions in the manual. Teachers can remove flannel board materials (without damaging the binding) and sound sheets (records) from the manuals and keep them in an envelope with the manual.

Adult Curriculum. Members of the Gospel Doctrine classes are to use the scriptures as their text. Currently this is the Book of Mormon. Many good and worthwhile materials related to the Book of Mormon are available from various sources. Such material may be interesting and helpful for individual study. However, The Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Supplement (PCSS56M6) is the only approved manual for teachers, and the Book of Mormon is the only approved text for both teachers and class members.

Indian Student Placement Policy Changed

Beginning with the 1984–85 school year, the Indian Student Placement Service will be for students in the fifth through twelfth grades (generally those between the ages of eleven and eighteen), the First Presidency has announced.

In the past, students from eight to eighteen have participated.

In announcing the change, the First Presidency explained that younger children who might participate now likely have schools closer to their homes. Most of the 2,639 young people enrolled in the program, which places Indian students with foster parents off the reservation during the school year, are from the Navajo Indian Reservation.

Students already in the program may continue in it regardless of their age, as long as they are eligible and their parents want them to participate.

In the letter to local Church leaders announcing the policy change, the First Presidency said, “We feel it important to reemphasize the program as one to prepare students academically and spiritually for life’s experiences, and to refocus our efforts on developing leadership skills.”

LDS Scene

Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve presided during the March 17 groundbreaking in Haninge, Sweden, for the first temple in Scandinavia. He was accompanied by Elder Robert D. Hales of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Executive Administrator for the Europe Area. Approximately four hundred people attended, including stake and mission presidents from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway; members from the Stockholm area (Haninge is a suburb); and government officials. Elder Monson, who is of Swedish ancestry himself, turned the first shovelful of earth. In remarks during the ceremonies, he noted that having a temple for Nordic members will help to demonstrate that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a “universal Church.”

J. Willard Marriott, Jr., president of the Washington D.C. Stake, and president of the Marriott Corporation, was honored March 28 with the 12th Charles E. Wilson Award for devotion to religion, distinction in his career, and dedication to humanity. The award, given by an organization called Religion in American Life, is awarded to top business and civic leaders of various faiths.

Laura Baxter, seventeen, a member of the Danville First Ward, Walnut Creek California Stake, is Miss Teenage America for 1984. Scholarship, personality, poise, community service, school activities, and special talents are all criteria in the selection process. Laura, an honor student and musician, is active in the Young Women’s program and in Church dance and drama activities.