Elder Marion D. Hanks
One of Elder Marion D. Hanks’ first duties as a newly sustained member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy was to meet with the three men who had just been added to the quorum October 6, during the first session of the Church’s 154th semiannual general conference.
At that meeting, members of the quorum presidency—Elders J. Thomas Fyans, Carlos E. Asay, M. Russell Ballard, Dean L. Larsen, G. Homer Durham, Richard G. Scott, and Marion D. Hanks—expressed to their new colleagues feelings about the work in which they are engaged. What Elder Hanks told them is indicative of the way he handles his calling, and his life.
“My approach has always been that, with whatever talents and whatever limitations I may have, my purpose was to try to serve the Lord and be helpful to his work and to those who carried the burden of it. So I have tried to share, and encourage, and strengthen, and lift to the extent I could.”
For half of his sixty-two years he has served as a General Authority. This is the second time since its organization in 1976 that he has served in the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Newspaper reports of his October 1953 call to the First Council of the Seventy at age 31 (born 13 October 1921) record that he had served a full-time mission, had served in the U. S. Navy (part of it as acting chaplain aboard his ship, even though he was an enlisted man), and had received a law degree from the University of Utah. He also had been active in community service and amateur athletics.
For a time after his 1953 calling as a General Authority, Elder Hanks continued as assistant director of the Bureau of Information on Temple Square. He also continued his involvement with teaching, as principal of the West High Seminary in Salt Lake City. “I love to teach, and have former students literally all over the world who are kind enough to communicate with me still,” he explains.
Commenting on his appointment to the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Hanks notes that he could not have functioned as a General Authority without the support of his wife, Maxine, particularly when their five children were small. She has supported him, he says, “in such a remarkable way that any tribute paid to her would be inadequate and couldn’t be overblown.” His callings, he observes, have been learning experiences for both of them.
Currently Elder and Sister Hanks are serving as president and matron of the Salt Lake Temple. That calling “crowned, in a sense,” years of opportunities for association and service on Temple Square, he says. Even as a boy living nearby, he felt a reverence and love for the temple. During his years with the Bureau of Information, he taught “tens of thousands of people on these grounds” through guided tours and lectures. As a General Authority, he was instrumental in initiating plans for the North Visitors’ Center, and for acquisition of its Christus statue.
His service opportunities have been diverse. He has been a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (receiving its Distinguished Service Award), and the President’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Children and Youth. He has also been a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, serving on numerous committees and receiving Scouting’s highest awards.
Elder Hanks has served on the Church Board of Education and on the governing boards of several Utah colleges and universities, including Brigham Young University. He is a past president of the Salt Lake City Rotary Club and a former district governor for Rotary International.
He brings to his calling the perspective of one who has served the Church in assignments around the world. His opportunities have included helping prepare England and the Philippines for the organization and growth of stakes there, and initiating charitable efforts for the Church among refugees in Asia.
And yet, he says, his perspective on the gospel has not changed since he was a boy, watching a faithful widowed mother diligently serve.
“My view of the Church was that it offered the standard around which one rallied, and the center about which one constructed a life.
“The Church provides a vision that centers in what one may do, and become, and give.”
Elder John Sonnenberg
There will be unhappy dental patients in Elmhurst, Illinois, when they get word that John Sonnenberg is leaving his practice and accepting a new job. After thirty-seven years, he had established a reputation not only as a skilled and careful dentist, but also as a warm, caring man, the kind that people love and trust.
These trademarks—concern for others and dedication to skillful service—will continue to bless the lives of many as Elder John Sonnenberg serves as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
His sensitivity and hard work, he says, are in part a result of his early experiences. John Sonnenberg was born 11 April 1922 in Schneidemuhle, Germany. (“I was in college before I learned to spell it,” he laughs.) His parents, Otto and Lucille Mielke Sonnenberg, had joined the Church a few months earlier, and when John was about five years old they decided to immigrate to America.
Otto made the trip alone in 1928. At first glance, the “land of promise” didn’t look so promising—he found himself in Chicago at the beginning of the Great Depression. When the family arrived a year later, Otto hadn’t learned the language well yet, and times were hard. Young John Sonnenberg had to learn quickly to cope with prejudice and poverty.
He worked his way through college as a lifeguard and graduated with bachelor of science and arts degrees. In 1942 he enlisted in the navy and was sent to the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, where he graduated as a doctor of dental medicine in 1947.
Louisville was a crucial turning point; that’s where he met Graham H. Doxey, president of the mission, and Narvel Scherzinger, his branch president, who helped rekindle his love for the gospel. “I had been somewhat inactive. President Scherzinger saw that I was lonesome and that I needed the Church. Putting a kind arm around me, he let me know I was wanted.” He invited the young dental student to serve as a Sunday School teacher. Now Elder Sonnenberg sees service as a key to testimony: “Any man can know for himself that this gospel is true by giving service. When you serve the Savior, you grow in light and knowledge and intelligence. And as you get to know the people and see the magnitude of their souls, your testimony grows.”
After moving to Chicago, he enjoyed the spiritual influence of John K. Edmunds, Stake president, and continued to grow in the gospel. He served as a stake missionary, high councilor, counselor in a stake presidency (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, now of the Quorum of the Twelve, was the other counselor), and stake president (Elder Oaks was his counselor for a year before leaving to become president of BYU). Since 1980 he has served as a Regional Representative and chairman of the Chicago Illinois Temple Committee.
Another important person John Sonnenberg met in that branch back in Louisville was Sister Joyce Dalton, a missionary from Tooele, Utah. In time they were married in the Salt Lake Temple.
Elder Sonnenberg grins and takes her hand when he talks about his wife: “She’s the greatest joy of my life; the thought of being with her through the eternities is constantly on my mind. She participates with me and supports me in my callings, and she’s been a great architect for our family.”
All seven children—John, Jim, Brent, Joan (Wardell), Dean, Scott, and Clair (Dick)—were married in the temple. “We’ve spent lots of time doing things with them,” says Sister Sonnenberg, “—home evenings, athletic and cultural events, vacations. John played with them and often took them golfing, swimming, fishing, and to ball games.” Even now they often take their twenty-five grandchildren waterskiing.
A life of service and love has taught Elder John Sonnenberg “that the Savior really lives; that the Church is true; that we are led by men of God.”
Elder F. Arthur Kay
At critical times in my life, a door has always opened,” says Elder F. Arthur Kay, a soft-spoken man whose kindly face reflects his compassionate heart and abiding faith.
One of these critical times came early, when eighteen-year-old Arthur (born 15 July 1916) faced the decision of going to college or staying home to support a family in great need. When Arthur was just eleven, both his father (Samuel Arthur Kay) and oldest sister had died, and his mother (Medora Hooper Kay) had suffered a paralyzing stroke. The family farm near Annabella, Utah, was lost as a result of the Great Depression, and Arthur felt a keen responsibility for his mother and four younger sisters. Already, he had taken two years out of high school to earn money for his family by working for the Civilian Conservation Corps.
How could he possibly leave his family to seek an education? Arthur’s mother was an educated woman who encouraged him in that direction. So, with sixty dollars in his pocket, he left for Utah State University. And, indeed, Arthur was able to graduate. During his junior year, Arthur married his high school sweetheart, Eunice D. Nielsen. The first of their six daughters was born two days after Arthur’s graduation.
After teaching school for a year in Elsinore, Utah (“I taught almost everything—except music and dance, for obvious reasons”), Brother Kay took his young family to Salt Lake City, where he worked as a shift supervisor for the Dupont Company. A transfer took the Kays to Hanford, Washington, in 1944.
Then, as the war began to phase out, Arthur began to look for business opportunities with another company. “We had prayed for a long time,” recalls Elder Kay, “and it was through the power of prayer that I came to the conclusion that I should go to dental school at the University of Oregon.”
After graduating from dental school with honors, another door was opened. Arthur had no money to open his own practice, but a dentist from Renton, Washington, offered to let him take over his practice with no money down. Brother and Sister Kay drove to Renton, determined to stay if the Church was there. After some inquiry, they were directed to the site of a chapel under construction, where members were pouring concrete in the halls and classrooms. Feeling at home, the Kays decided to cast their lot with these good people.
Ever since, Arthur Kay has been an important part of the work of the Lord in the Northwest. He served as a bishop’s counselor, and later as bishop. Then, after a two-year stint in the army in Heidelberg, Germany, he returned to Renton to become a stake high councilor and later a counselor to the stake president. In 1960 he became president of the Seattle Stake, where he served for ten years, until he became a Regional Representative.
Elder Kay has also seen many doors opened in the building of the Seattle Temple. For years, he had watched for promising temple sites in the area, and he was able to be instrumental in acquiring the site in Bellevue where the temple now stands. “The Lord’s hand is in temple work,” testifies Elder Kay. As first president and matron of the Seattle Temple, Brother and Sister Kay enjoyed many marvelous experiences.
The Kays had been released from the temple presidency just three weeks when the call to the First Quorum of the Seventy came.
Elder Kay describes the days since his calling as a time of introspection, a time of wondering what capabilities he might have. Still, the decision to accept was no decision at all. “Whenever I extend my all, help comes from on high. Knowing this has happened in the past and would happen in the future, I dared accept.”
With faith that the Lord will always open a door, Elder F. Arthur Kay stands ready to accept whatever challenges lie ahead.
Elder Keith W. Wilcox
Ogden Temple president Keith W. Wilcox’s first reaction after receiving a phone call from President Gordon B. Hinckley was shock. “I tried not to think about what President Hinckley could want with me the next day, the Friday before general conference.”
His anxiety, however, was short-lived. After attending a temple session with his wife Friday morning at the Ogden Temple, where he has been serving as temple president since 13 July 1980, he felt “calm and able to accept whatever the Lord’s will would be.”
Upon completing a full day at the temple, Elder Wilcox and his wife, Viva May, who serves as matron in the temple, drove to Salt Lake City to meet with President Hinckley who called him to be a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Wilcox is no stranger to Church service. Along with his call as the Ogden Temple president, which he and his wife refer to as “a heavenly call,” he has served as a bishop, a stake president (for fifteen years), twice as a Regional Representative, and as president of the Indiana Indianapolis Mission.
Born on 15 May 1921 in Hyrum, Utah, Elder Wilcox credits two early influences as having a great impact on the development of his testimony and his desire to serve. “Like Nephi,” he says, “I was born of ‘goodly parents.’ They have been a guide and an inspiration to me all my life.” His patriarchal blessing, too, has been a guide. With each new call, he reviews the privileges and responsibilities promised him through a patriarch many years ago. “Always I find something new to give me needed direction and encouragement.”
A turning point in his life occurred in his sophomore year at Granite High School. “After much pondering, I decided to take seminary instead of art, though I loved art dearly. The six months spent under William E. Berrett, my teacher, were most influential in building my testimony and especially in my accepting the ten commandments as basic principles for my life. Though our family moved to Ogden in the spring of 1937, the influence of that class remained with me from that time to this.”
As a young man awaiting his navy commission, he worked for Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “In the real world for the first time, I experienced an overpowering conviction that the Church had to be my first priority in life. It was there that I learned to say ‘yes’ to the Lord and ‘no’ to the world, a practice I have continued throughout my life.”
It was after returning from Pittsburgh that Elder Wilcox decided to ask Viva May Gammell, a young woman from his home town to be his eternal companion. “My mother had always told me that Viva May brought out the best in me, and indeed she does.” They were married on 17 July 1945 in the Logan Temple and are the parents of six daughters, Rona Lee Maughan, Stephanie Pickett, Christine Ritchie, Pauline Flitton, Sharon Christiansen and Carole Terry. They now have fourteen grandchildren.
Sister Wilcox recalls the many happy hours they have spent together as a family. “We love to sing and play the piano and organ,” she says. “And now that all the girls are married, our favorite pastime is to gather around the table and just talk.”
A graduate of the University of Utah in mechanical engineering with a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Oregon, Elder Wilcox practiced professional architecture from 1954 to 1974 when called as a mission president. He was instrumental in the design of both the Washington D.C. Temple and the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. He also served as a member of the Utah House of Representatives for two years and as a member and chairman of the Weber County Planning Commission for ten years.
Among Australian Landmarks, a House of the Lord
“This is a great occasion. There will never be another one like it in all of the history of Australia,” President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, told Saints gathered in Sydney September 20 at the dedication of the first temple in their country.
“There will be other temples here as the Church grows in this vast land,” he told members attending the first of fourteen dedicatory services for the Sydney Australia Temple.
“As we assemble here, a large audience of unseen eyes is witnessing. I believe the God of Heaven smiles on us this day. This temple is part of his plan,” President Hinckley continued. “I am satisfied that the Prophet Joseph smiles on us.” He mentioned also Elder Parley P. Pratt, one of the first members of the Quorum of the Twelve in this dispensation and once president of the South Pacific Mission, though he did not visit Australia. President Hinckley quoted from Elder Pratt’s hymn, “The Morning Breaks, the Shadows Flee.”
Then he continued, “This marks the dawning of a brighter day for the Saints of Australia, those present and those yet to be.
In the unseen audience, it is a day of rejoicing. That audience includes missionaries who have served here, those who accepted the gospel wholeheartedly, and men and women of Australia who didn’t ever have the opportunity. …
They will rejoice with us over the prospects of having their work done, that the prison doors in another sphere will be opened to them, that they may go forth and enter into immortality and eternal life.”
In the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley spoke of “hearts filled with thanksgiving on this day when we dedicate thy holy house.
“We praise thy name. We worship thee in spirit and in truth. We love thee, Father. We love thy Son. We thank thee for his matchless life.”
President Hinckley expressed thanks for the Atonement, the Restoration, which brought back priesthood power to the earth, and for prophets, seers, and revelators. Then he continued:
“We thank thee for the strength of thy work in this great nation of Australia, for the hospitality accorded thy servants who have come here over a century of time to teach thine everlasting gospel, for all who have received it, and for the confirming witness of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.
“Father, bless the land and the citizens of Australia. May this choice nation remain free from bondage, and may its people enjoy liberty and prosperity, now and in the generations to come. May they so live as to merit thy divine favor. May thy work grow among them, touching for everlasting good the hearts of an ever-increasing number of truth-seekers. May the people of thy Church be recognized as men and women of integrity, of industry, and of faith. May the example of their lives lead others to seek thy divine truth, and may thy work roll on in majesty and power in this land and among this people.”
He asked that the temple be accepted “as the gift of thy thankful sons and daughters. … May it be used with reverence and love by thy covenant children in accomplishing the sacred work for which it has been constructed. May it be as a beacon to thy Saints throughout the land. May it be as an anchor when the storms of life beat about them. May it be a place of holiness to which they may come, a house of sanctification, a house of prayer, a house of covenants.”
Other speakers at the dedication included members of the Quorum of the Twelve and D. Arthur Haycock, secretary to President Spencer W. Kimball.
Brother Haycock told the assembled Saints he had met with the president shortly before leaving for the airport to fly to Australia, and President Kimball gave him a message to convey: “I want President Hinckley to take to those people in far-off Australia my love and blessings.” And, for the youth, “President Kimball had three things he asked of young people: he would like them to prepare to serve a mission, get a good education, and marry in the temple.”
Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve also spoke at the dedication. He reflected on two thoughts which, he said, had stayed in his mind during the flight to Australia. The first was appreciation. He referred to modern commandments to be appreciative to God (see D&C 59:7, 21), expressing thanks for Church leaders who implemented the decision to build a temple in Australia, and “to you in this land for what you have done to make this day possible.”
The second of his themes was prayer. He admonished the Saints to pray constantly, telling them that they cannot pray too often.
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve also spoke, reviewing the history of temples and their importance to the Lord’s covenant people. He reminded those present that Saints must receive a recommend from their priesthood leaders. That opportunity “will be a blessing to you according to your worthiness, and a joy and satisfaction according to your obedience.”
Also speaking at the services were Bishop H. Burke Peterson, of the Presiding Bishopric, and Elders Wm. Grant Bangerter, Devere Harris, and Philip T. Sonntag of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
The temple is located in Carlingsford, nineteen kilometers (almost twelve miles) northwest of Sydney’s center, on the same site as the Church offices in Australia. Behind the temple, to the west, the land drops away to lush, green playing fields and plains, with the beautiful Blue Mountains about forty kilometers (nearly twenty-five miles) away. There are huge eucalyptus trees in the distance, and several on the site.
Thousands of Australians were drawn to tour the temple during the open house period before its dedication. Hundreds requested more information about the Church. Many were affected by the temple’s beauty and the spirit of peace and reverence they found there.
Most of the workers on the project were non-LDS, and many were curious about the temple. They turned to Brother Frank Hewstone, the Church’s project representative, for answers; frequently when he attempted to answer a worker’s question, there would be a group around before he was finished.
If the temple was impressive to those outside the Church before its completion, it was even more so when it was finished. Visitors seemed not only to feel the spirit of peace that was there, but to be moved to action. One young couple in their twenties approached a guide after touring the temple and asked where they could join the Church. A Seventh-day Adventist minister who took the tour seemed very friendly, asking “a million questions,” the guide recalled. Then the minister explained that he had been interested in genealogy for many years and had collected some three thousand names of members of his family. Would the LDS Church be interested in them?
Those who will feel the impact of the temple most immediately are members, of course. Its two ordinance rooms and three sealing rooms offer them the opportunity to make eternal covenants at last without an overseas trip. Elder Robert L. Simpson of the First Quorum of the Seventy, president of the Church’s Pacific Area, commented that the beneficial influences of the thousands of eternal marriages expected to be performed in the temple will “provide a blessing not only for the individuals involved, but for all Australia.”
Temple Dedication Rewards Faith of Filipino Saints
Despite typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and an earthquake in the islands during the days preceding its dedication, the Manila Philippines Temple stood unaffected, serene and beautiful, for the events of September 25–27 which made it the Church’s twenty-ninth operating temple.
In the dedicatory prayer, President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, expressed gratitude to “our Eternal Father in Heaven” for “this sacred building. Its completion brings to full fruition the marvelous and wonderful work of establishing thine eternal ordinances in this nation. Now thy sons and daughters of the Philippines have available every gift and blessing, every act and ordinance pertaining to the dispensation of the fulness of times.”
He also expressed gratitude for the restoration of the gospel, and for “the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as another witness of the reality and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank thee for the promise found therein that in the latter days thou wouldst remember thy children on the isles of the sea.
“This nation of the Philippines is a nation of many islands whose people love freedom and truth, whose hearts are sensitive to the testimony of thy servants, and who are responsive to the message of the eternal gospel. We thank thee for their faith. We thank thee for their spirit of sacrifice. We thank thee for the miracle of the progress of thy work in this land.”
President Hinckley asked the Lord, “preserve by thy mighty power peace and freedom in the land. Lift the blight of poverty from which so many suffer. Particularly bless thy faithful Saints who live honestly with thee in the payment of their tithes and offerings.”
He requested spiritual and temporal blessings for the Saints everywhere, and then for the leader of the Church on earth.
“O Father, we pray for thy prophet, President Spencer W. Kimball, whom we love and honor. He is now old in years, his body worn from service to thy children. Sustain him by thy power, and comfort and bless him.”
He expressed love and gratitude for the generous blessings of a Father in Heaven and a divine Redeemer. “We thank thee for this beautiful edifice and for all who have worked to make it possible. May it stand as a pillar of truth and as an invitation for all who look upon it to learn of the purposes for which it has been created,” he continued.
In his remarks prior to the dedication, President Hinckley had praised the Philippines as a “nation of heroes” who stood for what they believed in, and pointed out that a boy or girl of twelve could take the role of just such a hero by being baptized for his or her kindred dead.
D. Arthur Haycock, personal secretary to President Kimball, brought the Filipino Saints a message of love from the President during the dedicatory services, and he reminded the youth of Spencer Kimball’s determination as a deacon that he would never waver from the gospel standards of honesty and morality he had been taught. He said President Kimball asked that the young boys of the Philippines keep in their homes a picture of the temple in Manila as a reminder that they would go there prior to leaving on a mission, be married there, and be baptized for the dead.
Other General Authorities, Filipino Church leaders, and members of the temple presidency spoke at the dedication, reminding members of the holiness of the temple and its purposes, and of the need to be worthy to enter there. Among the speakers were Elder Robert B. Harbertson, Bishop H. Burke Peterson, and Ruben M. Lacanienta, first Filipino district president called (in 1968), and now first counselor to temple President Garth Andros. President Lacanienta reflected on the many sacrifices made by members in the Philippines so the temple could be built, then urged the Saints to order their lives to be worthy of its blessings, for the scriptures promise, “Righteousness exalteth a nation.” (Prov. 14:34.)
There were nine dedicatory services during the September 25–27 period, attended by some 6,500 Saints representing sixteen stakes and twenty-two districts in the Pacific Area, presided over by Area President William R. Bradford with his counselors, Elders Jack H. Goaslind and Robert B. Harbertson.
Prior to that first service, the cornerstone of the temple was sealed by President Hinckley, assisted by Elder Marvin J. Ashton and Elder L. Tom Perry of the Council of the Twelve; and Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter, Elder William R. Bradford, and Elder Jack H. Goaslind, Jr., of the First Quorum of the Seventy. During the cornerstone ceremony, President Hinckley commented on the beauty of the temple and praised the craftsmanship that went into building it.
His feelings had been echoed by many of the nearly 27,000 members and nonmembers who toured the temple before its dedication. They came despite two typhoons that had ripped through the Philippine Islands, some forty-eight hours apart, a few days before the open house was to begin. Saints from distant provinces arrived via minibus, very weary, but buoyant. In many cases they had been forced to take circuitous routes to Manila because roads had been flooded and bridges damaged by strong currents in overflowing rivers.
Nature had, in fact, been putting on an impressive show in the days preceding the temple dedication. As a follow-up to the typhoons, Mayon volcano in the Bicol Peninsula erupted, spewing ash and flames up to eight miles high, midway through the temple’s open house period. Then, two days before the dedication, a strong temblor rocked northern Luzon. Members of the Church were largely unaffected by the destruction from these natural catastrophes.
The 13,800-square-foot temple is situated on a five-acre hilltop plot along a street recently renamed Temple Drive, overlooking the Marikina Valley. Visitors who toured the edifice seemed to appreciate its physical beauty; many were moved by the spirit they felt.
Writer Celson Carunungan commented on “a feeling of holiness, that when you get inside you are going to confront your Creator.”
Colonel Bienvenido Castillo, chief chaplain of the Philippine Constabulary, called the temple “a place where you can contemplate heavenly things because you are in such an environment.” Two nuns agreed on their feelings: “This is truly a house of the Lord.”
Eva Estrada-Kalaw, a member of parliament in the Philippines, told guides during her tour, “I wish you would build more temples here.”
The temple’s four ordinance rooms and three sealing rooms can now offer eternal blessings to Saints in a temple district that includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. For most of the individual members involved as volunteers in the dedicatory activities, the opportunity to enjoy temple blessings is the answer to many prayers.
Taiwan Saints Eager for Temple Blessings
Taiwan was once called Formosa, the Beautiful Island, by the Portuguese. Descendants of the Chinese who migrated there still think of it that way. But for Taiwanese Latter-day Saints, its beauty is about to be increased many-fold, in both the physical and spiritual dimensions, with the dedication of the new Taipei Taiwan Temple this month.
At last they will be able to enjoy all the blessings of the gospel. In the past, most Taiwanese have not been able to attend the temple due to the cost and difficulty of traveling to Hawaii or Tokyo.
The Church was introduced to Taiwan a little less than three decades ago. The first Latter-day Saints to arrive were American servicemen stationed there during the mid-1950s. One LDS serviceman sought out others, and eventually group meetings began. A branch was organized among them in 1956.
At that time, the Southern Far East Mission included Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, and all of Southeast Asia. In 1955, missionaries arriving at the mission headquarters in Hong Kong began learning either Cantonese, which was spoken there, or Mandarin, spoken on Taiwan. In early June of 1956, four missionaries were sent to Taiwan, and in October, because of some initial successes, four more.
Growth of the Church on the island was slow at first, but later it mushroomed. By the end of 1957, there were about fifty members. In 1958, there were about eighty active members and thirty-one proselyting missionaries. By 1959, there were eight branches in Taiwan, and local members were augmenting the efforts of proselyting missionaries. On June 1 that year, Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Council of the Twelve dedicated the island for the preaching of the gospel.
In August 1960, the Taipei Branch, bulging with more than two hundred members, was divided into North and South Taipei Branches. Less than a year later, another branch was created by a division of the South Branch.
Local members were moving into leadership roles, the Church was growing, and it was evident that larger facilities were badly needed. When the opportunity came to build a district center in Taipei, using labor missionaries, so many eager members volunteered that it was possible to use only one-fourth of them.
A significant milestone was the printing of the Book of Mormon in Chinese, which began coming off the press in December of 1965. Some members had been waiting years to read the book in their own language. The translation serves members in both Hong Kong and Taiwan because, though there are differences between the two major dialects they speak, they share a common written language.
Plans for an excursion to the Hawaii Temple for members in Taiwan were kept alive by hope in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but the excursion did not come about. The major difficulty was the high cost of travel. A one-way airline ticket for the flight costs hundreds of dollars.
But in 1971, shortly after the Taiwan Mission was created by a division of the Hong Kong-Taiwan Mission, President Harold B. Lee, then First Counselor in the First Presidency, visited the island. Mission records report that he challenged members “to prepare themselves, that they might be able to receive the greater blessings of the Lord.”
Many Taiwanese Saints carry etched in memory the words of President Spencer W. Kimball just four years later as he spoke in the first Area Conference in Taipei. He explained the purposes of the temple that was to be built in Japan and promised, “You, too, can have one.” He went on to call them to greater service, then closed, “We leave the blessings of the Lord upon you, upon your posterity, and upon this land.” A prophet had pronounced a blessing upon them!
The next year, in 1976, Taiwan had its first stake, and a second mission was created on the island.
Growth has continued steadily. Now there are three stakes. The temple district, which also includes the two stakes and one mission in Hong Kong, has more than twenty thousand members.
The temple itself is opening many missionary doors in Taiwan, said Pan Kuang I, first counselor in the Taipei West Stake presidency and a Church member since 1961. Many Taiwanese, noting the care and quality that are going into the building, have become curious about its purposes. “Everyone is asking, ‘What is this building for?’ And when it is opened (for the public open house), everyone will want to go in.”
To members in Taiwan, he said, the temple is a constant reminder that their Father in Heaven and his prophet are concerned about them. “That is really encouraging to the people.”
Dedication of the temple will be “the greatest event in our Taiwanese LDS history,” President Pan said. “Everybody is so proud of it.”
Members are trying very hard not only to prepare the House of the Lord properly, but to prepare themselves properly to enter it. Many are attending temple preparation classes.
Spirituality has increased too. “We can just feel that warmth. Quite a lot of people are beginning to apply for their temple recommends,” said David C. H. Liu, a long-time member and local Church leader who will be the recorder for the new Taipei Temple.
He commented that the Lord must have carefully prepared the Taiwanese people and their ancestors over a period of centuries for the preaching of his gospel. “They love their families and have a good tradition of keeping the family genealogy,” he said.
Some twelve thousand names have already been submitted to the Genealogy Service Center in Taipei by members—nine thousand of them by just one individual. Sister Hu Chou Yueh Ying and her husband accepted a call last year to be genealogy missionaries serving in the Taipei West Stake library. After they returned from training sessions in Salt Lake City, Sister Hu found in a catalog a microfilm she thought might contain records of some of her own ancestors. She ordered it, and discovered it contained a treasure trove of information about her family.
Though their success might not be so spectacular, many other faithful members have been spurred to work on their own genealogy by the building of the temple, President Pan emphasized. One day soon, perhaps many more records will be available, he said, noting that members of his family who are not yet LDS have “genealogy books going back one thousand to two thousand years.”
The setting of the Taipei Temple is not typical of what many members elsewhere might expect. It is not on some hilltop prominence, or isolated from its surroundings by green acreage. A building belonging to another church, two colleges, and the building that houses LDS offices in Taiwan surround it. But the temple stands out because of its elegance, attracting the attention of passersby.
Douglas H. Powelson, president of the Taiwan Taipei Mission from 1979 to 1982, reflects that the mission home once stood on the temple site, next to the stake center. The mission home is gone now. But in its place the temple is strategically located where members can reach it easily and inexpensively so they will be able to visit it frequently.
“It’s the right place,” President Powelson affirms.
Reporters: David C. H. Liu, recorder, Taipei Taiwan Temple; Richard L. Jensen, Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History, Brigham Young University.
For Miss America, It’s a Busy Life … and a Missionary Opportunity
She knew Miss America was always busy, but Sharlene Wells didn’t know it was going to be quite like this. “I’m going from morning till night,” said the twenty-year-old Salt Lake City woman, crowned Miss America 1985 at the culmination of the annual U.S. pageant September 15.
That first week was an eye-opener, she said, reflecting on her activities. “All week in New York City, I was in TV interviews, press conferences, photo sessions, and shopping trips,” she recalled. Then there was the whirlwind weekend trip to Portland, Maine.
Her schedule will be just as crowded throughout her year-long reign. At a press conference in Salt Lake City the Monday after she was crowned, her parents—Elder Robert E. Wells of the First Quorum of the Seventy and his wife Helen—explained that their daughter will be able to come home during the year for only two weeks at Christmas and one at Easter. “I’m already lonesome,” her mother said.
“Personally, I look on it as any parent sending a missionary into the mission field,” Elder Wells commented.
Sharlene Wells believes she will have ample opportunity to discuss gospel-related standards. “Wherever I go,” she explained in an interview for the Ensign, “people say, ‘Now tell me about this aspect of your Church, because I’m a little confused …’” Those direct questions allow her to share the gospel one-on-one.
But Miss America can also “influence thousands, even millions, of people” by example, she noted. Many will be among her peers—college students and young adults—and she said she hopes to show them it is easy to enjoy life without engaging in immoral activities on dates or finding excitement through mood-altering substances.
“I’m really happy about the opportunity to share my life-style. I have been stopped by many people on the street, even in New York City,” she said, who tell her they are “thrilled” that she is representing basic moral principles on which the United States and many other nations are founded.
As her reign began, she faced what her father called “tough questions” from the press. Miss America 1985 handled them with aplomb. As expected, the moral views of the young woman selected to wear the crown this year were very much a public issue. Reporters for national media examined her closely on her beliefs. In answer to their questions, she reaffirmed that she does not smoke, drink, or take drugs, nor does she believe in premarital sex.
“I represent the traditional woman, because of my values, but also the woman of the ’80s,” she told reporters, explaining that one of her goals is to be a role model, showing young women they can hold to values similar to hers and still live in society.
She said she could live without fear of embarrassment because of the principles that guide her life, and made it clear she could not separate her religion from the rest of her personality. “I live my values seven days a week.”
Sharlene commented that her views on morality are not very different from those of most of the other contestants in this year’s Miss America pageant. During their week together in Atlantic City, New Jersey, she explained, the young women had ample opportunity to share their feelings and ideas; she found most were “very conservative.”
A junior at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, she had previously been Miss Utah Junior Miss in 1982, winning the overall talent portion of that competition. She was second runner-up to Miss Utah in 1983. Later she won the title of Miss BYU. She was selected as Miss Utah Valley, and then Miss Utah. From there, she went on to Atlantic City.
For her talent performance on nationwide television as one of ten finalists for Miss America, Sharlene played a medley of folk songs on the Paraguayan harp, singing to her own accompaniment. Her victory in the pageant made the front pages in Paraguay; she was born there while her father worked in that country as a banking executive, a number of years before he was called as a General Authority. The fifth of seven children, she lived in South American countries for eleven years while she was growing up. Already, there have been inquiries about having her visit those countries, her father said.
“In a sense,” he added, “she’s a Miss America for the Americas.”
Restored Whitney Store Dedicated in Kirtland
“If New York was the cradle of the Church, then Kirtland represents the school days of the Church. How tremendously significant it is we meet here in this restored building,” President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said at the dedication of the restored Newel K. Whitney store August 25.
Some 2,000 people surrounded the simple yellow-gold frame building in Kirtland, Ohio, for the dedicatory services.
President Hinckley commented that the building is significant not simply for its history, but as a divine setting that will “be maintained over the years.”
Prior to offering the dedicatory prayer on the restored building, President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve elaborated on its significance in the history of the Church. “This store was a hallowed place of glorious revelation,” he said. Joseph Smith received more than twenty revelations while he and his wife Emma lived on the upper floor of the store, including the “Olive Leaf” (D&C 88) and the Word of Wisdom (D&C 89). It was there that the School of the Prophets was first held and many great spiritual manifestations took place. President Benson cited John Murdock’s account of his vision of the Savior during a meeting of the School of the Prophets.
Much of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s inspired revision of the Bible was done in the building, President Benson pointed out, and it served as an early bishops’ storehouse after Newel K. Whitney was called as bishop of Kirtland. It was there, too, that Joseph and Emma Smith’s first son to survive birth, Joseph Smith III, was born.
“We know, our Heavenly Father, that Thou hast promised, ‘I, the Lord, will build up Kirtland. …’ (D&C 124:83.) We have witnessed the fulfillment of this promise in recent years and pray that thou wilt continue to bless thy children in this area,” said President Benson in the dedicatory prayer.
He asked the Lord to protect the historic building, and to continue to use it in missionary work. “We pray that those who visit this store will be taught of its significance in the history of the Church.”
Elder Rex C. Reeve of the First Quorum of the Seventy, president of the Church’s North America Northeast Area, and Elder Eldred G. Smith, patriarch emeritus of the Church, also attended the dedication, and Elder Reeve spoke at the services.
Immediately following the dedicatory services, the Whitney store opened for public tours. Many visitors were enthralled by the exacting reproductions of merchandise from the 1830s artistically arranged in the building.
The opening culminated a year of research and restoration work. Research was made easier because the archives of the Reorganized LDS Church “graciously lent us several original inventory books belonging to the store. These records indicated the kinds and quantities of goods stocked,” said Florence S. Jacobsen, director of the Arts and Sites Division of the Church’s Historical Department.
Gay calicos, quaint handmade shoes, leather-bound books, household implements, and colorful sundries line the wooden shelves of the store. Other parts of the building, including the upper floor room where the fourteen-member School of the Prophets met, have been furnished with period objects acquired by the Historical Department staff.
The dedication of the store climaxed “Kirtland Heritage Days,” a two-day, community-wide celebration inaugurated by the Church. Members of many community groups and churches, including the RLDS church, participated. An estimated 15,000 people attended activities in Kirtland on August 25, as many as usually attend Kirtland’s popular annual three-day Strawberry Festival. Kirtland’s normal population is about 5,500.
Church representatives received proclamations from the city, county, and state expressing appreciation for the Latter-day Saints and their contribution to the community. “The finest feeling of unity was apparent in the Church and community efforts,” Elder Reeve commented.
Those attending the events in Kirtland included Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Parley Pratt—each a descendant of his famous nineteenth century namesake. They were among the many Latter-day Saints living in the area who trace their ancestry to Kirtland settlers, or who traveled from the West to meet with their eastern cousins. Other well-known pioneer names seen on visitors’ identification badges included Angell, Booth, Carter, Cowdery, Gee, Johnson, Kimball, and Mack.
Four generations of Whitney descendants from all over the United States, for example, held a family reunion in connection with Heritage Days. Descendants of John Johnson held a similar meeting at their ancestor’s historic home in nearby Hiram, Ohio. (It was at the Johnson home that the revelation which is now Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants was received.)
Representing Joseph Smith’s family was Mike Kennedy, the first of the Prophet’s descendants to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood; Gracia Jones; and Gracia’s mother, Lorena Normandeau. Sister Jones was the first descendant to receive her temple endowment, and Sister Normandeau is serving a mission in Independence, Missouri.
Some 120 nonmember descendants representing twenty-one different pioneer Kirtland families attended the dedicatory services for the store.
A Kirtland Heritage Society was organized to help preserve, restore, and beautify the city. The society prepared brass plaques for noteworthy sites in the area: the Kirtland Temple; the Joseph Smith, Sr., home; the Frederick G. Williams/Sidney Rigdon home; the Johnson home; and a number of other early pioneer dwellings.
In addition to the dedicatory services, speeches, dinners, and programs in connection with the festivities, townspeople put on a health fair, family film festival, five-mile footrace, and a pancake breakfast. There were also puppet shows, a blacksmithing demonstration, a pie-baking contest, and booths for the sale of homespun items.
Sister Andrews is a member of the Westlake First Ward, Cleveland Ohio Stake.
Work Begins on BYU Jerusalem Center
Construction workers have begun preparation on the five-acre site of the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center, BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland has announced.
The 120,000-square-foot complex will house BYU’s Center for Near Eastern Studies and many of the university’s study abroad activities. BYU has been operating a study abroad program in Jerusalem since 1968; it also operates study abroad centers in Vienna and London.
The Jerusalem site is about a quarter mile south of the campus of Hebrew University, located on Mount Scopus.
The BYU Jerusalem Center will contain dormitory and eating facilities for approximately two hundred students and faculty, an auditorium, a library, museum, and classrooms. It is scheduled for completion in about three years. Plans for the site include preservation and enhancement of green areas around the complex.
Two university vice-presidents have been assigned by the board of trustees to supervise construction, said Henry B. Eyring, the Church’s commissioner of education. Fred A. Schwendiman was appointed project director. Robert J. Smith was appointed comptroller.
Church Museum Shows Bible Paintings
Children can look at Bible stories through artists’ eyes during a special exhibit now on display in the Museum of Church History and Art, just west of Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
The paintings, done by six early twentieth-century British artists, have been hung at a child’s eye level, with labels written for youngsters between eight and twelve. The labels retell the story depicted in the painting.
The thirty watercolor paintings, in the Art Noveau style, were painted between 1906 and 1919. They depict both Old and New Testament scenes, beginning with the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and ending with John the Revelator’s vision of the heavenly city.
The watercolors were used as illustrations in various publications, including Bible storybooks.
Artists featured in the exhibit include William Henry Margetson, Frank Adams, Simon Harmon Vedder, Innes Fripp, William George Simmonds, and Arthur A. Dixon. All were British but Vedder; he was American-born, studied in New York and Paris, then settled in London.
The exhibit will continue through January 6. Museum hours are 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. weekdays and 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. weekends and holidays. Admission is free.
Policies and Announcements
The following statement was released by the First Presidency.
Conferences and Encampments for Young Men and Young Women. Conferences and encampments (including Scouting) for young men and young women should not be planned on a multi-regional basis. This same policy applies to activities for single adults. Activities are generally more effective if they are held on a local basis and if unusually large numbers of participants are not involved. Regular local activities, well planned and administered, meet needs better than those carried out on an occasional basis on a larger scale.
Any proposed activities that extend beyond the regional level must be approved by the appropriate Area Presidency, the Executive Council to which the Area Presidency reports, and in the Priesthood Executive Council.
The following item is from the September 1984 Bulletin.
Family Registry Available for Research. The Family Registry is a listing of more than sixty thousand family organizations and active researchers who are willing to coordinate research efforts and share information. This new service is designed to help members coordinate their genealogical research efforts and thereby avoid duplicating efforts and expenses.
This is a valuable new resource that can help members fulfill their genealogical responsibilities. It will help them coordinate research efforts and expenses with other researchers. And, since genealogical research is more easily accomplished within the framework of a family organization, the Family Registry will also help members locate family organizations or those wishing to form them.
The Family Registry is accessible through any branch genealogical library or at the Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City. It is indexed by the name of the deceased ancestor around whom the research or family organization is organized. Library staff can help members search the Family Registry. The Genealogical Department also accepts inquiries.
In addition to searching the file, active researchers and ancestral family organizations are encouraged to register with the Family Registry. There is no fee to register. Registration forms can be obtained from any branch genealogical library or from the Salt Lake Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104.
President Marion G. Romney, First Counselor in the First Presidency, celebrated his 87th birthday September 19 at home with a group of family and friends. President Romney was born in 1897 in Colonia Juarez, Mexico. Sustained as the first Assistant to the Twelve on 6 April 1941, he has been a General Authority longer than any other living person.
A professor at Brigham Young University—Hawaii has found what he calls “a bonanza of records” for those interested in tracing ancestors back to Japan. Dr. Greg Gubler, a recognized authority on Japanese genealogy and methods, found the historical documents in the Japanese government’s Diplomatic Records Office in Tokyo while researching a book. The documents include passport applications dating from the government’s 1885 Convention with the Kingdom of Hawaii, as well as exit permits and records of various emigration companies.
Brigham Young University scored a first this fall with a new computerized registration system that allowed thousands of students to register using only a touch-tone telephone. Students respond to a human-sounding voice that guides them through the procedure of punching class codes using buttons on the telephone. University officials report that the system has cut drastically the number of registration problems usually handled. Schools from throughout the United States have been calling to inquire about the system.