Area Presidencies Called as Church Modifies Geographical Administration
The First Presidency has announced an important change in the administration of major geographic areas of the Church. The change is the appointment of Area Presidencies—consisting of a president and two counselors—to serve in thirteen geographic areas: seven in the United States and Canada, and six in other parts of the world.
Members of the First Quorum of the Seventy will serve as members of the Area Presidencies. For the past several years, members of the First Quorum of the Seventy have been assigned as Executive Administrators in various areas, at times residing in various countries, but most recently residing in Salt Lake City. The Area Presidencies replace the Executive Administrators.
Initially, members of only three of the Area Presidencies will reside outside of Salt Lake City: the presidency for Europe—Europe, the British Isles, and Africa—will reside in Frankfurt, Germany; for the Pacific—Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands—in Sydney, Australia; and for South America South Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay—in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Members of other presidencies will reside for the present in Salt Lake City.
The new administrative change and attendant procedures will be constantly evaluated and modified as appropriate to meet the needs of individual Church members explained President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency.
President Hinckley emphasized that the Church’s growth requires flexibility in administration as the Church pursues its unchanging divine mandate to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world, perfect individuals by preparing them to receive the ordinances of the gospel, and redeem the dead by performing vicarious ordinances for those who have lived on the earth.
This administrative change follows a general pattern of Church government, lends strength to administration, brings a combined wisdom to decisions, and provides flexibility in meeting challenges of growth, President Hinckley said.
The Area Presidencies will be accountable to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve for building up the Church and regulating its affairs in their respective areas, and as in other presidencies, there will be periodic rotation of assignments, President Hinckley noted.
The six areas outside the United States and Canada, and their presidencies, are as follows:
—Europe (Europe, British Isles, Africa): President Joseph B. Wirthlin; counselors, Derek A. Cuthbert and Russell C. Taylor.
—Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Hawaii): President Robert L. Simpson; counselors, Devere Harris and Philip T. Sonntag.
—Asia (Japan, Philippines, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Thailand, India, Indonesia): President William R. Bradford; counselors, Jack H. Goaslind and Robert B. Harbertson.
—Mexico and Central America (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua): President Gene R. Cook; counselors, Ted E. Brewerton and Angel Abrea.
—South America North (Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia): President Charles Didier; counselors, Robert E. Wells and F. Burton Howard.
—South America South (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay): President A. Theodore Tuttle; counselors, Jacob de Jager and Spencer H. Osborn.
The seven areas in the United States and Canada, and their presidencies, are as follows:
—North America Northeast (Northeast, Canada East, Midwest, Canada Central, North Central): President Rex C. Reeve; counselor, W. Grant Bangerter; one counselor to be named.
—North America Southeast (South Central, Caribbean, Southeast): President Vaughn J. Featherstone; counselor, Ronald E. Poelman; one counselor to be named.
—North American Northwest (Northern Plains, Northwest, Idaho, British Columbia, Alberta): President Loren C. Dunn; counselors, F. Enzio Busche and George P. Lee.
—Salt Lake City North (Northern Utah, Ogden, Salt Lake City): President James M. Paramore; counselor, Yoshihiko Kikuchi; one counselor to be named.
—Salt Lake City South (Granger, Murray, Provo): President Hugh W. Pinnock; counselor, John H. Groberg; one counselor to be named.
—North America Southwest (Southern Plains, Arizona, Nevada, Southern Utah): President Robert D. Hales; counselors, Rex D. Pinegar and Hartman Rector, Jr.
—North America West (Southern California, Northern California): President Robert L. Backman; counselors, Paul H. Dunn and John K. Carmack.
Boise Temple Dedicated
“These days are days that will be remembered forever,” President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, told 1,120 Saints gathered in the Boise Idaho Temple May 25 for the first of twenty-four dedicatory services.
He assured them that the events of the day were being celebrated both on earth and in heavenly spheres.
As he offered the dedicatory prayer on the sacred edifice, President Hinckley said:
“We lift our voices in thanksgiving for thy marvelous blessings upon thy people. Surely thou hast favored us in a remarkable and wonderful way. We have been made partakers of thine ancient covenant and become heirs to the great, eternal promises given of old. Thou hast restored thy work and thine authority in this the dispensation of the fulness of times. Ours is a day of prophecy fulfilled.”
He expressed gratitude for Joseph Smith and other modern prophets, through whom knowledge has been added “line upon line and precept upon precept. We thank thee for thy prophet in this day, even thy chosen servant Spencer W. Kimball, and unite ourselves in prayer that he may be comforted and sustained and blessed of thee.”
Asking for blessings upon the faithful who are advancing the Kingdom of God, he continued, “Father, the little stone which thou didst cut from the mountain without hands is rolling forth to fill the earth. Guide and strengthen the messengers of truth. Touch the hearts of the leaders of nations that thy work may move forth over the earth, ever increasing in strength and vitality, touching for everlasting good the hearts of thy sons and daughters in many nations and principalities.”
He petitioned for a blessing of strength to help Church members “walk in faith” and “live above our weaknesses.” He asked that nonmembers who had visited the temple during its open house might feel reverence and appreciation for it, and that the efforts of the enemies of the gospel might “come to naught. Touch them by thy Spirit that they may see the error of their ways.”
Then he invoked the blessings of the Lord on the temple and its facilities, and asked that they be accepted as “the gift of thy thankful children. Wilt thou hallow it. Wilt thou and thy Son honor it with thy presence, and may the Holy Spirit be felt here at all times by all who enter its portals.
“We dedicate it for the sacred work thou hast revealed for the blessing of thy children, both the living and the dead. May the ordinances which will be performed herein be received with thankful and reverent hearts, and may those beyond the veil of death rejoice because of the work done here in their behalf.”
President Hinckley told the young Saints who attended dedicatory services “this temple has been built for you.” Many of them missed school for the event. “School will be there next week and next year, but there will never be another occasion quite like this for you.”
In public remarks before the dedication, he had spoken of the sanctity of temples for members of the Church.
“Each temple stands as a witness to the faith of the Latter-day Saints that life is eternal, that death is not the end, that the soul of man lives on, and that we shall continue to live and function as individuals when we pass through the veil of death. Each of these buildings bears witness to our conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the living Son of the living God, and that all are beneficiaries of his redeeming sacrifice, that his resurrection was a reality, and that all may partake of the resurrection made possible through him.”
In addition to President Hinckley, twenty-nine other General Authorities visited Boise during the temple dedication period.
President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve told Saints attending the first dedicatory session that since 1939 he has known there would eventually be a temple in Boise. He was in the presidency of the Boise Stake when the First Presidency announced plans to build the first temple in Idaho, more than four decades ago. He invited Church President Heber J. Grant to visit the Idaho capital. During that visit, fifteen prominent local businessmen met with President Grant and offered to give the Church any available site in Boise if a temple were built there. But more Church members were concentrated in southeastern Idaho at the time, and Idaho Falls was selected as the temple site. President Grant told the group of businessmen, however, that when the membership increased in the Boise Area there would be a temple there.
“Today, we are witnessing the fulfilling of that prophecy made forty-five years ago,” President Benson noted. He went on to explain that the temple will serve as a beacon to both members and nonmembers. “It will be an ever-present reminder that God intends families to be eternal.” Temples are a place where the Saints can get away from the wickedness of the world and learn the order of heaven, he said. “I testify to you today that temples are a place of revelation.”
The temple dedication was a time of unprecedented rejoicing among Boise-area Saints, many of whom told temple president Seth D. Redford that it was the highlight of their lives.
A maximum of 25,000 people was expected for the dedicatory services. The attendance totaled nearly 28,000. Attendance figures were equally gratifying for the nineteen-day public open house that preceded the dedication. About 70,000 visitors were expected to tour the temple. The actual response was 128,716.
Idaho Governor John Evans, Lieutenant Governor David Leroy, Secretary of State Pete Cenarusa, and many other state officials, along with civic and business leaders, took part in one special tour during the open house. Also among the group were 246 ministers of other faiths and members of their families.
Because of the open house, interest in the Church among nonmembers has soared. Thirty people—more than double the usual monthly figure—joined the Church in the Boise and Meridian areas in the month following the open house. “We’ve had people call us here at the office and ask how they could get their families baptized,” said Elder Adam Titus, a spokesman for the Idaho Boise Mission. “They were very impressed with the temple.”
Commenting on the numbers of Saints who will be served by the temple, Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve, a native of Boise, noted that he was present at the organization of the first stake there, in 1913. At that time, “There was no inkling that this valley would be blanketed by wards and stakes,” he said.
Members of many of those wards and stakes helped in volunteer capacities during the open house and dedicatory services. For the first dedicatory session, a special multiregion choir provided music. Stake choirs sang for the other sessions.
The temple will serve more than one hundred thousand members in thirty-three stakes and one mission. Some four hundred members have been called as temple workers. The temple district covers southwestern Idaho and part of eastern Oregon.
LDS Volunteers Helping at the Olympics
In the competitive atmosphere of the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles, members of the Church are winning something more valuable than gold medals—friends—as they help behind the scenes.
Howard Cardon, chairman of the volunteer effort for the Church’s area public communications council, estimated that there are about twenty-five hundred LDS volunteers helping at the games, many of them using their missionary language skills to serve as translators.
“It is difficult to come to an exact figure,” he said. “But at least fifteen hundred of the volunteers are in the language area. The rest are in other capacities.”
Lew Cramer, LDS recruiter for the Olympics, said the effort to recruit Church members to help with the games began four years ago.
“The senior partner in my law firm, John Argue, was the founding chairman of the Olympic Committee. He had a long history of association with Latter-day Saints and knew of the linguistic skills of our young missionaries. He liked their maturity and clean-cut look. He knew that these were the kind of people the Olympic Committee would want representing Los Angeles and the United States at the games. He asked me to be responsible for recruiting Latter-day Saints as interpreters for the Olympics.”
The same idea had been germinating in the mind of Howard Cardon, and the subject had been discussed at an area meeting prior to Brother Cramer’s suggestion.
“I was excited,” said Jack Adamson, area director of public communications for Southern California. “Where would we ever get such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity again? People from all over the world would be involved in the games and in need of our special skills.”
After a planning meeting in the fall of 1983, Brother Adamson was given approval to send a letter to all stake presidents, bishops, branch presidents, and institute directors in the Southern California area telling them of the volunteer opportunity.
The letter asked that applicants be sixteen years of age or older and be willing to attend an orientation meeting before the games. They also should be available for the entire period of the games—July 24 to August 12—and, in some cases, for two to three weeks prior to the games.
Meetings were set up in six locations during a two-week period in February and March this year so members of the Olympic Committee could interview and orient prospective volunteers.
“The response was tremendous,” Brother Cardon said. “We had one thousand language volunteers by the first of April. We have volunteers coming all the way from Arizona and Nevada for the games. Along with the volunteers we recruited at the meetings, we received over four hundred applications as a result of our notices in the Daily Universe at Brigham Young University.”
“We had many Latter-day Saints come into our volunteer centers on their own,” Callene Wiens of the Olympic Committee said.
A professional linguist specializing in Japanese commented that LDS volunteers speak the language better than volunteers from any other English-speaking group.
The interpreters are driving buses and cars, interpreting for foreign newsmen, and escorting athletes and dignitaries to Olympic events, Brother Cramer said. They are also working at the Olympic villages and driving foreign visitors to tourist attractions.
The highest ranking Latter-day Saint on the Olympic Committee is Scott Letellier. He gave up a law practice three years ago to become a member of the Olympic Committee. He was assistant vice-president in charge of sports for two years, and organized the soccer, equestrian, and baseball teams. He is now the legal counsel to the Olympics and manager of the baseball team.
An avid sportsman, he says, “I can practice law for the rest of my life, but when would I ever get the opportunity to be involved in such an Olympian event?
“Volunteerism is part of our Latter-day Saint heritage,” he commented. “We are going to see our Olympic volunteers perform in a most conscientious and exemplary way. It is part of our Latter-day Saint tradition. They will have tough assignments. They will work under adverse circumstances at times. But we will find that they will ‘endure to the end.’ That is what they have been taught in the Church all their lives.”
“The essence of the Olympic games is brotherhood,” said Bert Lynn, a volunteer at the press accreditation desk at the Coliseum, where eight thousand newsmen are expected. The Olympic Committee considers it “the largest gathering of news people in the history of the world,” said Brother Lynn.
A Hundred Years, and 28 Million Ordinances, for the Logan Temple
Stone by carefully dressed stone, beam by lovingly shaped beam, the Logan Temple took shape one hundred years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, recalled. “Those early craftsmen did it all by hand,” he told the young people in his audience. “And they did it for you.”
He spoke at a fireside for youth on “Celestial Saturday,” the first day of a week of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Logan Temple, dedicated 17 May 1884 by President John Taylor.
A month of special commemorative events had kept the temple on the minds of people in the Logan area. But that Saturday, May 12, began a week of activities culminated by a centennial commemoration service May 17 at which President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve spoke, along with several other General Authorities.
At the May 12 Youth Temple Fireside in the Spectrum on the Utah State University campus, President Hinckley spoke to more than nine thousand young people from fourteen to twenty-four years of age. He told them that the struggles the early Saints went through in building the nearby temple “have touched my heart.
“They did it so you could be married at the right time to the right companion in the right place,” he continued.
“The greatest insult you could give those who sacrificed so much in your behalf would be to fail to take advantage of temple blessings. You owe it to them to live for those blessings. Pray for them. Be worthy of them. Accept nothing less than the full blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
He told the youth that there is a “price of personal worthiness” to pay in order to enter the temple; those who are worthy to enter must shun immorality, dishonesty, and abuse of the body, and they must faithfully pay their tithes and support Church leaders. But the price is worth it because “there is no greater gift than that promised those who enter the House of the Lord.”
Elder Robert B. Harbertson, recently called to the First Quorum of the Seventy and formerly a Regional Representative in the Logan area, urged the young people to be 100 percent Latter-day Saints, and not “fifty-fifty” about serving a mission or marrying in the temple. “Stay strong. Don’t let anything stand in your way to being totally committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Speaking to a capacity crowd of adults who attended the centennial commemoration service May 17 in the Spectrum, President Benson said, “I pray you will teach your children the blessings of the House of the Lord.”
He promised that if children are taught about the temple, it will continue to be a symbol of righteousness to them, and a reminder that God intends families to be eternal. He said that many parents hesitate to talk about the temple because of the sacred nature of the ordinances which take place there. He emphasized, however, that parents should teach the importance of the temple ordinances to their children. “Proper understanding will immeasurably help the youth with a desire to go to the temple,” he counseled.
“The fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood is found only in the temple,” he explained, reviewing how the blessings of this fulness descended from Adam, the first to have them. But, because of apostasy, these blessings had to be restored through the ministrations of heavenly messengers to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple. “Now, when our children obey the commandments and enter the temple and are married, they enter into the same order of the priesthood as had Abraham, and it gives them the same blessings.”
He promised those in attendance that as they attend the temple, they will receive the blessings of Elijah and will love their families more than ever. “God bless modern Israel with the desire to receive all blessings in the temple,” he said.
Elder Marion D. Hanks, of the First Quorum of the Seventy and president of the Salt Lake Temple, told the audience they must avoid demeaning, worldly things and seek the spiritual growth that is to be found in the temples. “The temple is a refining, uplifting, and holy influence,” he said, quoting Psalms 65:4: “We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.” [Ps. 65:4]
He told of a recent day in the temple when a young returned missionary was asked to aid an older man. Both grew through the experience. “That is what temples are all about,” Elder Hanks commented. “It’s love.”
Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone of the First Quorum of the Seventy referred to a comment by a stake president to President Harold B. Lee, made after President Lee had gazed at the Manti Temple with its lights reflecting on the winter snow around it: “The temple is never more beautiful than in times of storm,” he had said.
In a time of great trials, Elder Featherstone said, the temple is a haven from the world, a reminder that God is “not an absentee God” and that “we are just a whisper away from heaven.”
Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the First Quorum of the Seventy reviewed some of the “almost unbelievable” events that have taken place on earth in the century since a group of humble Saints saw the Logan Temple dedicated. Through all the advances in space travel, medicine, communication, and computerization, the temple stands as a “silent and dramatic reminder of what really matters—family, God, and how we treat others.”
During the one hundred years of the Logan Temple’s existence, more than twenty-eight million ordinances have been performed there.