Parents Counseled in Fireside

President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, gave parents at a January 27 satellite fireside four guidelines for building a strong, happy home environment: “Let your children grow in a home where there is (1) a spirit of service, (2) an atmosphere of growth, (3) the discipline of love, and (4) the practice of prayer.”

The Sunday evening fireside, themed “Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” was broadcast via satellite from the Salt Lake Tabernacle to more than nine hundred locations throughout the United States and Canada. Speakers included President Hinckley, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Council of the Twelve, and Sister Patricia T. Holland, first counselor in the Young Women General Presidency. The Maynard Sorenson family performed three musical numbers. A special video presentation was also part of the program.

Complete texts of the fireside talks will be printed in the June issue of the Ensign.

Elaborating on his four guidelines, President Hinckley said, “Selfishness is a destructive, gnawing, corrosive element in the lives of most of us. It lies at the root of much of the tension between parents and children. … The antidote of selfishness is service, a reaching out to those about us, those in the home, and those beyond the walls of the home.”

He spoke of the power of parents’ examples in teaching their children: “A child who sees his father and mother forgo comforts for themselves as they reach out to those in distress will likely follow the same pattern when he or she grows to maturity. … Would you have your children grow in a spirit of unselfishness? Indulgence of selfish desires will not do it. Rather, let them come to see in their own homes, and in their most intimate family associations, the truth of the great principle set forth by the Lord: ‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.’” (Mark 8:35.)

President Hinckley cited his own parents’ example in providing their children with good books and magazines, and counseled parents to create an atmosphere of growth in their homes. “Let your children be exposed to great minds, great ideas, everlasting truth, and those things which will build and motivate for good,” he said.

Of discipline, he commented, “Discipline with severity, discipline with cruelty, inevitably leads not to correction, but rather to resentment and bitterness. It cures nothing. It only aggravates the problem. It is self-defeating. … There is no discipline in all the world like the discipline of love.”

He encouraged parents to pray with their children. “I know of no better way to develop a spirit of appreciation in children than for all of the members of the family to kneel together in prayer to thank the Lord for His blessings. Let prayer, night and morning, as a family and as individuals, become a practice in which children grow while yet young. It will bless their lives forever. No parent in this Church can afford to neglect it.”

Elder Oaks spoke of parental leadership in the family. “Our theology begins with Heavenly Parents,” he said. “We may truly say that the gospel plan originated in the council of an eternal family, it is implemented through our earthly families, and it has its destiny in our eternal families.”

“Families unite when they do meaningful things together,” he said. He encouraged parents to hold family home evenings and other family activities, and to “turn their family on” by turning their television sets off. “The family circle,” he said, “is the ideal place to demonstrate and learn kindness, forgiveness, faith in God, and every other practicing virtue of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Oaks also told parents that they should make use of the Family Home Evening Resource Book in planning their family home evening activities. “It is not a book just to own or to store on a shelf,” he said. “It is a book to be used. Make sure you have it in your home. Use it. It will bless your lives and the lives of your children.”

Sister Holland discussed the growth needed in parenthood. “For parents to take a newborn infant, who is then only a bundle of potentialities, and love and guide and develop that child until a fully functional human being emerges, is the grandest miracle of science and the greatest of all arts!”

Relating lessons she had learned from her own children, Sister Holland acknowledged that both parents and children make mistakes. “Every child has to practice on his mother, and, in a more important way, every mother has to practice on her child.”

[photos] Photography by Eldon Linschoten

[photo] President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, counsels parents about home environment.

[photo] Teach children in the family circle, said Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Council of the Twelve.

Fireside Marks Boy Scouts of America’s 75th Birthday

Church leaders and the national president of the Boy Scouts of America commemorated that organization’s seventy-fifth birthday February 10 in a special fireside originating from the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square. The program was broadcast via satellite to more than nine hundred stake centers in the United States and came just two days after the official anniversary of the BSA’s organization.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, noted that the Church officially adopted the Scouting program in March 1913, becoming the first religious organization to do so. “Who today can gauge the vast good that has come into the lives of hundreds of thousands of boys over a period of more than seventy years?”

He noted that two of the simplest but most important verbs of the English language are part of the Boy Scout motto and slogan—“Be Prepared,” and “Do a good turn daily.”

Referring to the Scout motto, he said, “There is no more significant work in this world than the preparation of boys to become men of capacity, of strength, of integrity, who are qualified to live productive and meaningful lives.”

Preparation, he said, is not necessary only to meet crisis. “I think the framers of that motto also had in mind preparation for the entire business of living. For the young men of this Church, that includes preparation for a mission, to go out into the world to declare the gospel of peace; preparation through education to qualify to earn a living and contribute to the society of which they will be a part; preparation for marriage and wholesome family life through cultivation of the great ideals set forth in the Scout law.”

The Scout slogan, “Do a good turn daily,” suggests that boys should seek opportunities to help others without expectation of reward. “This is not only the true spirit of Scouting, it is the essence of Christianity.”

President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve greeted those attending the program, saying, “I love Scouting. I have been associated with it for almost seventy years.”

“We urge young men of Scout age in America to seek the benefits and blessings of this great Scout program. It is truly a builder of character, not only in young men, but also in the men who provide the leadership.”

“The Lord wants you to be successful. You bear his priesthood,” he told the young men present. “Scouting is an inspired program that will help you achieve the blessings of happiness, success, good citizenship, morality, and leadership.”

Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve also spoke.

“When we think of our responsibilities toward boys,” he told Scout leaders, “let us remember that our task is larger than ourselves, our influence more lasting than our lives.”

Addressing the leaders, he said many may be experts in their profession, but that each was also engaged in the “building trade”—building boys’ character and skills.

Elder Robert L. Backman of the First Quorum of the Seventy, president of the Church’s Young Men organization, conducted the program and narrated a special slide presentation on Scouting in the Church.

“Today the Church sponsors more Scouting units and provides more continuity in the program than any other partner [affiliated with the BSA]” he explained. At the end of 1984, the Church had 20,640 Scouting units—6,056 Cub packs, 7,322 Scout troops, 3,338 Varsity Scout teams, and 3,875 Explorer posts—“for a total of 285,873 young men registered, with 94,000 adult leaders.”

He spoke of the benefits of Scouting for young men, then introduced Christopher Rountree, an Audubon, Pennsylvania, Scout who has fought his way through a series of surgeries and physical ailments, a learning disability, hearing problems, and a speech impediment to become an Eagle Scout.

Sanford N. McDonnell, chief executive officer of the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation and president of the Boy Scouts of America, spoke about his “inexpressibly high opinion of the importance of high ethical standards, traditional values, and the building of character in young people. Scouting is a means to all those ends—one of the best means available to our society today.”

[photo] Sanford N. McDonnell, left, president of the Boy Scouts of America, Elder Thomas S. Monson, President Gordon B. Hinckley, President Ezra Taft Benson, and Elder Robert L. Backman follow a Scout in a salute to the flag in the Scouting fireside February 10.

First Presidency Supports Ban on U.S. Alcohol Advertising

The First Presidency recently submitted a statement for a hearing of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse which supports banning or severely limiting media advertising of alcoholic beverages.

The statement reads:

“Many authorities, including the U.S. Public Health Service and the Secretary of Health and Human Services in their most recent reports to the Congress, have recognized that alcohol is the most widely used and abused drug in America. It is ironic that there are restrictions on advertising and marketing of most drugs but none to discourage consumption of alcohol, where in excess of $1 billion is spent annually on advertising heavily directed at youth.

“Since the alcohol and advertising industries have not been able to institute adequate self-regulation, many citizens and organizations are now proposing restrictions on alcohol advertising.

“Our youth, America’s greatest national asset, are the hope and future of this great country. They deserve our best efforts to protect them from drug abuse. Existing scientific evidence of the far-reaching harmful effects of alcohol abuse requires that the public interest be protected by measures to restrict the excessive advertising of this tragically abused drug.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joins with others calling for a ban or stringent curtailment of alcohol advertising on all media.”

The statement, says Richard P. Lindsay, managing director of Public Communications for the Church, reflects the Church’s concern about the growing problem of alcohol abuse among teenagers. A recent Gallup poll reported that 59 percent of U.S. youth ages thirteen to eighteen said they had used alcohol more than once; 17 percent admitted trying alcohol once. Only 23 percent said they had never tried alcohol.

Drunk or drug-impaired driving is the chief cause of death among young people ages fifteen to twenty-four in the United States.

“While national efforts to control drunk driving are commendable, it seems ironic that we place so little emphasis upon efforts to prevent the tragic consequences that are inherent in the rising tide of youth who begin to drink at an ever-earlier age,” Brother Lindsay commented.

First Presidency Expresses Thanks for Famine Aid

The First Presidency recently released the following statement as a follow-up to the request that Church members in the United States and Canada fast for two meals on January 27 and contribute what the meals would have cost to a fund for famine victims in Africa and other parts of the world:

“We acknowledge with appreciation the response of the people to the call made to abstain from two meals in conformity with the established practice, and to contribute the equivalent value or more for the relief of those, regardless of Church membership, who are hungry and destitute.”

The statement was signed by President Spencer W. Kimball and the counselors in the First Presidency, President Marion G. Romney and President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Richard P. Lindsay, managing director of Public Communications for the Church, reported that the response of members to the fast was “heart-warming, and in many instances overwhelming.”

Many members of the Church sent letters along with their contributions. Written on the outside of one envelope were the words “This Valentine donated for the children of Ethiopia.” Inside were a check and a valentine card with a child’s signature: “From Cindy.”

Brother Lindsay said response to the fast was tremendous, and that many who contributed indicated it had been a great blessing in their lives.

LDS Scene

Sam K. Shimabukuro, of Honolulu, Hawaii, has been called by the First Presidency to serve as president of the Tokyo Temple. He succeeds Elder Adney Y. Komatsu of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Prior to his call, President Shimabukuro had been serving as a counselor to Elder Komatsu in the Tokyo Temple presidency.

The First Presidency has called Milton C. and Marjorie White Mecham as president and matron of the Ogden (Utah) Temple. They have succeeded Elder and Sister Keith W. Wilcox. Elder Wilcox was recently called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. A former educator, President Mecham completed an assignment as president of the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission in July of 1984.

Verl F. Scott, formerly business manager for Church magazines and assistant manager of the Church Curriculum Department, has been called by the First Presidency to serve as director of the Missionary Training Center in Manila, Philippines. The Manila MTC is one of several established in regions around the world to train missionaries for service in their native countries.

Actor Jimmy Stewart was recently honored by the Church during a visit to Utah in connection with the donation of his personal papers to Brigham Young University. Mr. Stewart met with President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. “Your work has made a positive contribution to the culture of our nation,” President Hinckley told Mr. Stewart. The noted actor’s gift to BYU includes personal scripts, photographs, correspondence, honorary plaques, movie posters, copies of numerous television shows and documentaries, and prints of twenty-five of his films.

Two Tabernacle Choir albums, “Joy to the World” and “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Sings Christmas Carols,” have achieved “gold record” status. The two records have now sold more than five hundred thousand copies each in the United States alone. The albums join the choir’s other gold records—“The Lord’s Prayer,” “The Messiah,” and “The Joy of Christmas”—as five of only seventeen albums ever to have achieved gold status in the classical category.