Elder Bruce R. McConkie Dies
These words, from a hymn text written by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, are a powerful reminder to the Latter-day Saints of the testimony of this special witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Friday, 19 April 1985, Elder McConkie, 69, died of cancer in Salt Lake Citv. Less than two weeks earlier, he had risen from his sickbed to bear his final testimony of the Savior in general conference:
“I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son.”
Respected as a scholar and teacher of the scriptures, Elder McConkie spoke almost exclusively on doctrinal subjects as a General Authority. His deep, deliberate voice and clear explanations of the gospel were loved throughout the Church.
Born 29 July 1915 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he spent his boyhood on a farm in Utah. After serving a mission in the eastern United States from 1934 to 1936, he earned a law degree from the University of Utah and served as assistant Salt Lake City attorney and city prosecutor. During World War II, he spent four years as a security and intelligence officer, returning to civilian life with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
After working for less than a year on the editorial staff of the Deseret News, he was called to the First Council of Seventy in 1946 at the age of 31. He was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1972. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Missionary Executive Council, the Scriptures Publication Committee, the Organizational Studies Committee, the General Authority Assignment Committee, the Church Board of Education, and the Board of Trustees of Brigham Young University.
A prolific writer, Elder McConkie was the author of an encyclopedic work of over 1,100 gospel subjects; a three-volume New Testament commentary; and a six-volume series on the life of Christ. He married Amelia Smith in the Salt Lake Temple on 13 October 1937. They have nine children.
Elder McConkie’s death came as this issue was ready for printing; an account of the funeral proceedings will be printed subsequently.
Six New Members, New President of the Seventy; New Presiding Bishopric
The opening session of Saturday’s April 6 general conference was marked by the First Presidency announcement of the calling of Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter of the First Quorum of the Seventy to the Presidency of that Quorum, the release of the Presiding Bishopric—Bishop Victor L. Brown, Bishop H. Burke Peterson, and Bishop J. Richard Clarke—and the calling of the released Presiding Bishopric to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
The First Presidency also announced the calling of three other members to the First Quorum of the Seventy—Elder Hans Benjamin Ringger of Switzerland, Elder Waldo Pratt Call, Sr., of Mexico, and Elder Helio da Rocha Camargo of Brazil—as well as the calling of Elder Robert D. Hales of the First Quorum of the Seventy as Presiding Bishop, with Bishop Henry B. Eyring as First Counselor and Bishop Glenn L. Pace as Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric.
The additions to the First Quorum of the Seventy bring active membership in that quorum to fifty-three. There are also seven General Authorities Emeritus from the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter was called to the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Elder G. Homer Durham on January 10. A member of the quorum since its organization in 1976, Elder Bangerter will be serving in its presidency for the second time.
Prior to his calling, he had been serving as a member of the Church’s North America Northeast Presidency. He continues as Executive Director of the Temple Department.
Elder Bangerter began his service as a General Authority in April 1975 as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve. Since that calling, he has served as President of the International Mission, Managing Director of the Genealogical Department, and Area Supervisor for Brazil, Colorado, and Nevada.
He served a mission to Brazil from 1939 to 1941 and returned there to serve as mission president from 1958 to 1963. In 1974, he was called by the First Presidency to open the Portugal Lisbon Mission. It was from this position as mission president that he was called as a General Authority.
He and his wife, the former Geraldine Hamblin, have five sons and five daughters. Three of the children were born to his first wife, Mildred Lee Schwantes, who died in 1952. Elder Bangerter is from Granger, in the Salt Lake Valley.
Elder Victor L. Brown, who had served as Presiding Bishop since April 1972, has been appointed president of the Salt Lake Temple, effective 1 June 1985. He succeeds Elder Marion D. Hanks, another member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who was recently assigned as Executive Director of the Church’s Correlation Department.
Elder Brown has served as a General Authority since 1961, when he was called as Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. He previously served as a bishop and a counselor in a stake presidency in Denver, Colorado.
As Presiding Bishop, he had responsibility for seven major Church departments. He has also served as a director, trustee, or adviser to several educational, cultural, civic, and business institutions or organizations.
Elder Brown is a native of Calgary, Alberta. He and his wife, Lois Kjar Brown, are the parents of three sons and two daughters.
Elder H. Burke Peterson has been appointed president of the Jordan River Temple, succeeding President Donovan H. Van Dam on June 1.
Elder Peterson had served as a regional representative, stake president, and bishop before his calling as First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric on 6 April 1972. He was a consulting civil engineer in Phoenix, Arizona, at the time of his call.
He is a native of Salt Lake City. He and his wife, Brookie Cardon Peterson, have five daughters.
Elder J. Richard Clarke has been appointed president of the South Africa Cape Town Mission, an area in which he served a mission as a young man. He will begin his service there on July 1.
A General Authority since October of 1976, when he was called as Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, Elder Clarke has served as a bishop, stake mission president, stake president, and regional representative in his native Idaho.
He was an executive for a major insurance company before his calling as a General Authority.
He and his wife, Barbara Jean Reed Clarke, have eight children.
Bishop Robert D. Hales had been serving as president of the Church’s North America Southwest Area and as First Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency at the time of his calling to the Presiding Bishopric. He has been a General Authority since he was sustained an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve in 1975.
He had been a regional representative for five years prior to his call as a General Authority. He had also served as a branch president, bishop, high councilor, and stake president. He was president of the England London Mission from 1978 through 1979.
Prior to his calling as a General Authority, he was vice-president of Chesebrough Ponds’, Inc., and had served in executive positions for the company in the United States and Europe. He and his wife, Mary Elene Crandall Hales, have two sons.
Elder Hans B. Ringger
Elder Hans Benjamin Ringger is no stranger to new Church callings. He served as an elders quorum president, a bishop, a stake president, and a regional representative before receiving his new calling as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Born on 2 November 1925, in Zurich, Switzerland, he has been active in the Church all his life. His grandmother, Elizabeth Zoebeli Ringger, joined the Church in 1896, and his parents, Carl Ringger, Jr., and Maria Reif, were also active members. He is the sixth child in a family of ten children. “I always had good examples,” he says of his family. “I feel activity in the Church is the way to learn how the gospel works and to gain a testimony.”
His wife, Helene Susy Zimmer Ringger, is also a third-generation member of the Church. The couple met at a Sylvesterabend (New Year’s Eve) Church dance in 1949. They were married in 1952, and sealed in the Swiss Temple in 1955 after it was completed. They have four children—a son and three daughters.
The call was a surprise to the Ringgers. They were in Salt Lake City to attend the Regional Representatives’ Seminar and had planned to stay for general conference. Thursday night, Brother Ringger received a telephone call asking if he could meet with President Hinckley. Their children were even more unsuspecting. Sister Ringger and her three daughters were sitting together in the Tabernacle during the Saturday morning session of conference. When they heard their father’s name during the sustaining, all three daughters turned to her at once, saying “Was?” (which means “What?” in German).
Elder Ringger, an electrical engineer by profession, received his degree in 1949. Later, his father-in-law, an architect who had helped build the Swiss Temple, suggested that he study architecture. Brother Ringger returned to school, graduating in 1959 with a degree in architecture from the Technical University of Switzerland in Zurich. He feels that a person is never too old to change or learn. “I have had two professions. … I will start my third profession now.”
As a bishop and a stake president he learned much about responsibility and speaks highly of his experiences as a local Church leader, where “it was the great testimonies of the members that meant most in my assignment.”
The Ringgers enjoy skiing, biking, and music. Elder Ringger is the only member of the family who doesn’t play a musical instrument. “He is a good listener,” says Sister Ringger. “I play the radio,” he laughs. They enjoy singing—especially old Church songs that are not sung much in meetings any more.
Elder Ringger also loves to read. Once, when asked in a family home evening to describe her father’s hobbies, daughter Regula said that her father read “only holy things.” He especially likes the scriptures and history. “For me, the scriptures are history,” says Elder Ringger. “To understand people is only possible when you know their background. … When you know why they are how they are, where they are, and what they did in the last centuries, you can understand the people.” He collects first editions of the Book of Mormon in different languages and has a copy in every language except Spanish and Norwegian.
Active in politics and in many professional committees in Switzerland, Elder Ringger says that to be happy, we must go the second mile. “Life is a time to grow—to get experience and to get strength. And you can only get them when you go the second mile. For me, the second mile is a part of the law of consecration. With the law of consecration, we have no limits.”
Elder Waldo P. Call
Following their upcoming, July 1, release from the Uruguay Montevideo Mission, where he has been serving as president, Waldo and Beverly Call had planned to return home to Colonia Juarez. There they hoped to put the affairs of their farm in order, leave it in the hands of their sons, and then find a temporary home near a temple, where they could serve by doing temple work.
Things won’t turn out quite that way. They will realize their desire to continue serving—but it will be through Elder Call’s new assignment in the First Quorum of the Seventy. It was not something either of them had expected. “This will change our life-style completely, of course,” he reflects.
“He always wanted to be of service more than anything else,” Sister Call adds. “It doesn’t make a bit of difference what he’s asked to do in the Church, he’s ready.”
Life has always been that way for Waldo Pratt Call—when he was called as regional representative over a wide area in Mexico, as president of the Colonia Juarez Stake, as a high councilor, bishop’s counselor, and Scoutmaster. He has been serving in Church callings almost continuously since he became a member of his deacons quorum presidency as a boy.
In this service, his love for people has always come to the fore. As a mission president, he has stressed that a missionary’s first concern must not be filling quotas, but finding families who have not yet heard the gospel and giving them the opportunity.
In his new calling, he says, “I feel very humble and very weak. But I feel that we (he often includes his wife in his references) can love the people. And we can teach them common sense in the gospel—basic gospel principles of faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, honesty, patience, and love.”
And how will the calling affect Sister Call? It will be an opportunity “to be with him, to share the ups and downs,” she replies.
Sister Call says her husband brings many strengths to his new calling. Perhaps the greatest is obedience. “He is totally obedient—to the Brethren, to the doctrines of the Church, and to the Lord, and he always has been.”
Their son Pratt points out that his father has learned leadership through Church experience. In addition, people trust him because they know his honesty, and he has an admirable “capacity for hard work. He’s never been afraid of it.”
Waldo Pratt Call was born in Colonia Juarez on 5 February 1928. He and his wife were high school sweethearts; they met at the Juarez Stake Academy. They have seven children: Sandra (Mrs. John Hatch); Rebecca; W. Pratt Call, Jr.; Robert David; Mark Anson; Nancy; and Jon Dana. They have eighteen grandchildren.
Elder Call says he learned hard work and service from his parents, Charles Helaman and Hannah Skousen Call. (Charles Helaman Call was a grandson of Helaman Pratt, the son of Elder Parley P. Pratt of the Council of the Twelve.) Charles and Hannah Call taught their thirteen children to work, and they set an example of Church service. When the children were old enough to receive Church assignments, those assignments took precedence over chores at home.
Elder Call graduated from Brigham Young University in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy and horticulture. In addition to managing his orchards (apples, peaches, pears) and farm, he taught for nine years at the Juarez Stake Academy, in subjects ranging from music to math and anatomy.
With such a rich background of interests and devotion to the gospel, Elder Call now readies himself for this important service in the Lord’s kingdom.
Elder Helio R. Camargo
The Camargos had been members of the Church for a little over a year when they started noticing something was wrong with their baby. One-year-old Milton couldn’t sit or stand up; any pressure on his legs was extremely painful. Doctors suspected polio.
Since Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Quorum of the Twelve was coming to Rio de Janeiro for conference, would it be possible, they wondered, for him to give their baby a blessing? (At the time, Brother Camargo hadn’t yet received the Melchizedek Priesthood.) Elder Kimball and mission president Wm. Grant Bangerter were happy to respond.
When Brother Camargo came home for lunch the next afternoon, he found the baby playing in the crib. To his surprise, the little boy pulled himself up into a kneeling position, and then, holding onto the rails of the crib, stood up for the first time! The child was smiling—the pain and problems had disappeared.
“President Kimball is very special to our family,” says Elder Helio da Rocha Camargo, recently sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. “I know he is a prophet of God.”
There was a time earlier in his life, however, when he didn’t know anything about living prophets. Young Helio had graduated from Academia Militar de Agulhas Negras (the Brazilian equivalent of West Point), had been an officer in the army, had studied business administration, and had worked in a bank. In 1956, while he was studying in a Methodist seminary and serving as pastor, he and other theological students became interested in knowing more about other religions. Brother Camargo looked up a number in the phone book and called the LDS mission president, asking if a representative could come and speak to the group. The two young missionaries who came gave an excellent presentation, concluding with a baptismal challenge. “No one accepted the challenge at the time,” he remembers, smiling. They also left copies of the Book of Mormon and A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. Months later, when Pastor Camargo experienced a crisis in his faith, he turned to the books the missionaries had left and found the answers and the peace he was searching for.
Since their baptisms in 1957, Elder Camargo and his wife, Nair, have given years of service to the Church. Sister Camargo has served as a teacher and as Relief Society and Primary president. Elder Camargo has served as a teacher, bishop, counselor to two mission presidents, stake president, mission president, and regional representative. Both have sung in the choir for many years.
“I believe every calling is important,” he says. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a deacon, a home teacher, or a General Authority. I would love to be a Sunday School teacher again.” But he senses the immense responsibility associated with his new calling: “It will be a wonderful opportunity to meet with the Saints, to work hard, and to serve the Lord.”
Of great joy to them is their family—twelve grandchildren and five living children. All of their children have been married in the temple and are working actively in the Church. They love to get together at the family “farm,” a picturesque mountain setting located between Rio and Sao Paulo. As a family, they love to swim and play games, study together, and sing and play the piano.
“When President Hinckley asked me if I would accept this calling,” says Elder Camargo, “I told him I would because I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ and He is in charge. I know that with the Lord’s help, I can do this work—even with my limitations. I don’t have any doubts that He is in charge.”
Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric
“Are you sure you’re doing the right thing with your life?” asked his wife, Kathleen Johnson Eyring.
The question had caught Professor Henry Bennion Eyring short. He was at the peak of a successful career enjoying teaching in the graduate school at one of the nation’s leading universities. He delighted in the nearness of his wife’s family, the natural beauty of Palo Alto, and the general physical and spiritual setting of their life.
For a man trained in physics and business, serving as bishop with a growing family, the logical answer was obvious. But like his wife, Kathleen, Bishop Eyring had learned that the voice of the Spirit often transcends logic. So, the only certain answer to this surprising question was to come through prayer.
“Within a month of that prayer, I was asked to be president of Ricks College,” recalls Bishop Eyring.
As a boy he had learned from his father, renowned scientist Henry Eyring, never to worry about the future. “Just do your homework, and we’ll see how the test goes tomorrow,” his father would say. Throughout his life, this simple statement has helped Henry B. Eyring to be prepared to do his very best—as a student, then as a missionary while stationed on the Sandia Air Force Base, then in the Cambridge Massachusetts District presidency during graduate school, as bishop at Stanford, as president of Ricks College, as Church Commissioner of Education, and now as a member of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church.
With couples like the Eyrings it is always impossible to know which of the two is right when each credits the other with being the spiritual strength of the home. The two have become one in purpose.
“Once while camping,” Sister Eyring confides, “a strong wind required that Hal hold the tent pole in the sand all night. For the last twenty-two years of our married life, he has been ‘holding up the tent’ in both calm and storm.”
She adds that during the Teton Dam disaster, he was in there “mucking out” and scrubbing walls, as well as organizing massive meals at the college and the distribution of supplies and resources. “His capacity to be both methodical and creative, strong yet submissive, have enriched my life immeasurably,” says the slim, soft-spoken mother of six, who doesn’t look as though she could have beaten him at tennis on their first date.
Modestly, he insists that it was his wife who set the example in Rexburg. And he attributes any good he was able to do there to her.
Often, no matter how early Sister Eyring awakens in the morning, her husband has been up, set the table, and prepared a wonderful breakfast. Whether waffles or biscuits, “the main course is always the scriptures.”
“He has taught the gospel in our home with great clarity and conviction, and, to make it all the clearer for us to understand,” she assures, “he has lived it.”
His love of watercolor, for instance, finds expression as he creates elaborate and colorful family home evening teaching materials, exemplifying his motto, “Be the best you can.”
Sister Eyring’s father recently officiated at the marriage of their oldest son, Henry, to Kelly Ann Child, in the Salt Lake Temple. Stuart is serving a mission in Japan, where Henry had served. Matthew and John are serving in their Aaronic Priesthood quorums preparing for missions. The Eyrings have two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary Kathleen.
Glenn L. Pace, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric
Some twelve years ago, Glenn Pace began to evaluate his life’s goals—and he found them wanting. In his mid-thirties, he had completed a master’s degree, worked for two “Big Eight” accounting firms, and acted as chief financial officer for a land development company.
But he also felt deeply unfulfilled and uncertain. “I had been trying to hold to both the iron rod and the ‘golden rod’ at the same time,” reflects Bishop Pace. “When I decided to surrender my will to the Lord, almost overnight the clouds dispersed and I saw a new direction.”
His shift in orientation moved him to apply for a position as manager of accounting in the Church Welfare Department. He wasn’t hired for four months. But he felt so strongly that he would be working for the Church that in the interim he traded his luxury car for a Volkswagen to accommodate a change in life-style. He emerged from this time of transition determined to give whatever the Lord required. On April 6, the Lord required his full-time service when he was sustained as Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric.
As a teenager, Glenn Pace had already learned much about the intangibles of serving the Lord from watching the service of his own father. Kenneth Pace was the kind of bishop whose radiating goodness won him the love and loyalty of people both within and outside the faith. When Glenn began dating a girl in his neighborhood, Jolene Clayson, her grandfather advised her, “You be sure to wait for Glenn while he’s on his mission because you’ll never find anyone as good as Bishop Pace’s son.”
Jolene did wait, and the Paces were married in the Salt Lake Temple after Glenn returned from the New England States Mission—where he came to appreciate diversity as he taught people from all kinds of backgrounds and educational levels. Bishop and Sister Pace now have four sons and two daughters—the oldest serving a mission in the Cook Islands.
In his work in the Welfare Department, Brother Pace found the mix that perfectly satisfied both his business aptitude and his humanitarian instincts. After working in the financial section for five years, he became a zone director and then director of field administration. In July 1981, he became managing director.
His vision of welfare principles was refined in weekly Friday afternoon meetings with President Marion G. Romney, who would often read to him from the scriptures and from President J. Reuben Clark’s welfare talks. “He would reminisce and talk about very basic principles. Always he tried to get me to see beyond the welfare farm, beyond the storehouse, to why they were set up—to help people help themselves.” On a bookshelf in Bishop Pace’s office sit seven looseleaf notebooks containing all the talks on welfare principles he has researched. These have guided him in “the great challenge to separate principles from traditions, objectives from programs.”
Just a year ago, Brother Pace toured underdeveloped countries, specifically to see Church members on the lower half of the economic scale. “When the gospel enters people’s lives, they become susceptible to temporal teachings, as well as spiritual teachings. This experience made me feel that we can do more to save our people temporally.” His sensitivity to need in the world deepened again with his recent visit to Ethiopia, where he and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy directed the disbursement of Church contributions to famine relief.
These experiences have given Bishop Pace a vision precisely suited to helping direct the temporal affairs of the Church.
Leadership Meetings Focus on Missionary Work, Activation, and Strengthening Members
Leadership meetings for all regional representatives, mission presidents, and stake presidents from throughout the world were among the highlights of the recently completed 155th Annual General Conference of the Church.
In addition to the two-day (April 6–7) conference sessions for members of the Church, three other significant gatherings occurred before and after conference—a Mission Presidents’ Conference—held on Wednesday and Thursday, April 3–4, prior to general conference, and on Monday, April 8, following general conference—a Regional Representatives’ Seminar held on Friday, April 5, and a Friday evening leadership meeting for all regional representatives, mission presidents, and stake presidents.
Themes of the sessions focused on missionary work and activating and strengthening members.
Attending the Mission Presidents’ Conference were the mission presidents of the Church’s 180 proselyting missions. Also in attendance were the mission presidents’ wives and other invited guests. The gathering of mission presidents at general conference was the first such gathering since 1961.
Speakers at the Wednesday opening session held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square were President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; President Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve; Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve; Elder M. Russell Ballard, Executive Director of the Church’s Missionary Department; and Bishop J. Richard Clarke, a member at that time of the Presiding Bishopric.
“The Church is moving forward in a marvelous way,” said President Hinckley to the mission presidents. “Our people, generally through the goodness of their lives, have brought lustre to the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said as he encouraged mission presidents in their work.
President Ezra Taft Benson reviewed four areas of missionary emphasis as taught by President Spencer W. Kimball: the sacredness of bringing souls unto our Father in Heaven; the necessity of increasing our own personal faith to influence missionary work in a dramatic way; the importance of missionaries prayerfully setting personal missionary goals; and the urgency of members of the Church to be actively and productively engaged in member-missionary work.
Elder Boyd K. Packer focused his discussion on the theme of the Mission Presidents’ Conference: “He that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth.” (D&C 50:21.) Elder Packer instructed mission presidents to re-emphasize gospel principles in their activities.
Elder M. Russell Ballard noted that one purpose of the conference was to help mission presidents “develop mature, capable, responsive missionaries who will teach by the Spirit” as they teach the gospel to investigators throughout the world.
Bishop J. Richard Clarke spoke about the Book of Mormon, saying, “The Book of Mormon has been the means of converting more people to the gospel than all other instruments combined since the Restoration. Our mandate is to declare the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, validated by the power of the Spirit.”
On Thursday, April 4, the mission presidents and their companions journeyed to Provo to the Missionary Training Center for instruction and training on presenting the gospel to investigators.
Opening the Friday, April 5, Regional Representatives’ Seminar was President Gordon B. Hinckley. In his address he noted that “we now have 1,525 stakes of Zion across the world where many languages are spoken. We soon will have Area Presidencies in places throughout the world. There is not an area of the Church that does not have a presidency of three General Authorities (either as an Area Presidency or as the Presidency of the International Mission), members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who are accountable for most of the activities in their respective areas. I am confident that it is an inspired and great step forward that we have taken in these last few months. I am confident that the frequent presence of these good men in your midst gives you great reassurance. These Brethren are in effect tying the whole body of the Church together,” said President Hinckley.
In discussing the need for more young men as missionaries, President Hinckley said, “The young man who goes into the world preaching the gospel of peace loses himself and saves himself. Missionary work is one of the great miracles of our time. A transformation comes into the lives of boys. Under the leadership of good mission presidents, they subject themselves to the discipline of the mission field, and that in itself becomes a remarkable blessing. They establish habits of work. They discover the values of life that are most important. They develop in their hearts a fervent testimony that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. They develop a new and wonderful sense of the meaning of the priesthood. The future of the Church will be so much the stronger by reason of the missionary service of our young men because of the tremendous strength with which they will return to carry out their activities in life, including service in the Church. A mission is not an expense. It is a great investment.”
Elder Boyd K. Packer, vice-chairman of the Church’s Missionary Executive Council, said, “At first the word of the gospel passed [in the latter-days] from friend to friend and from family to family. Copies of the Book of Mormon had a way of getting from one person to another. This is the way most of the early families heard the gospel. The Book of Mormon has great converting power.” Elder Packer encouraged renewed efforts in using and placing the Book of Mormon throughout the world.
Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve discussed principles of activating members of the Church. “Successful activation of others involves the recognition of need and of our becoming personally involved. It requires efforts beyond concern for one’s own comfort,” he said. To illustrate the successful efforts of others in activating members of the Church, Elder Haight invited President Charles T. Graff of the Federal Way Washington Stake to report on the activities of his stake in activating 322 brethren and 1,182 other members of their immediate families.
Elder James E. Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve stressed the need to coordinate member-missionary work. “Missionary work begins with each of us at home,” he said. “It ought to be motivated more by fresh faith and conviction than obligation. It involves quiet living. Missionary work is a natural manifestation of the pure love of Christ,” he said.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve focused his counsel on how to strengthen members of the Church, encouraging leaders to water the roots of friendship with their members, to motivate them to have personal experiences with gospel principles, and to help them gain an understanding of gospel truths that will sustain them in their Church activity.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke on how to present the message of the Restoration. “We feel a renewed sense of urgency about our missionary responsibility to carry the gospel to all the world,” he said. “We are determined that these meetings will move each of us—and through us the entire membership of the Church—to higher levels of performance in our sacred duty to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in all the world,” he said.
Area Executive Council Meetings with regional representatives and mission presidents were held in the afternoon.
Speakers at the Friday evening leadership meeting, held in the Tabernacle to accommodate all stake presidents from throughout the Church, stressed similar themes as those treated in the morning session of the Regional Representatives’ Seminar. Speakers were President Gordon B. Hinckley and Elders Boyd K. Packer, David B. Haight, James E. Faust, and Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve.
In his remarks at the conclusion of the meeting, President Hinckley said, “As a people we have problems, yes. We’re not doing all that we ought to be doing, that’s true. Yet I want to say to you that this is the greatest success story on the face of the earth—the story of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is no other story in all the world quite like it. You leaders gathered from more than ninety nations of the world, speaking numerous languages, all testify to the great power and strength of the work of God.”
Last year, said President Hinckley, more than 192,000 convert baptisms were performed, “the equivalent of sixty-four new stakes of Zion in one year. It is a success story. Think of the success of a boy from your ward who is called by the authority of the priesthood and leaves home with the prayers of his father, mother, brothers, and sisters and goes into the world. Soon he writes to his family that this is the first time ‘I’ve really come to know what it means to be alive with the Spirit of the Lord.’ That is success—the greatest success story in the world. I never get over the miracle of it. I thank the Lord for it.”
On Monday, April 8, following general conference, the mission presidents again met for summary counsel, review, and the sharing of testimonies.
Changes Announced in Area Presidencies
Following the 155th Annual General Conference, the First Presidency announced a number of changes in the Church’s thirteen Area Presidencies.
The changes will take effect 1 July 1985. They were occasioned in part by rotation in assignments for members of the First Quorum of the Seventy and by the addition of six new members to that quorum.
In addition, three more of the presidencies—those for Asia, Mexico/Central America, and South America North—have been assigned to live in the areas over which they preside. When the Area Presidencies were first called in 1984, it was announced that members of three of them—for Europe, the Pacific, and South America South—would live within their areas. They are based in Frankfurt, Germany; Sydney, Australia; and Buenos Aires, Argentina, respectively.
Headquarters cities for the Asia, Mexico/Central America, and South America North presidencies were not immediately announced.
Below, Area Presidents are followed by their first and second counselors.
North America Northeast
Current Presidency: Elder Rex C. Reeve; Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter; Elder Derek A. Cuthbert
New Presidency: Elder Rex C. Reeve; Elder Derek A. Cuthbert; Elder Robert L. Simpson
North America Northwest
Current Presidency: Elder Loren C. Dunn; Elder F. Enzio Busche; Elder George P. Lee
New Presidency: Elder Jack H. Goaslind; Elder George P. Lee; Elder Robert B. Harbertson
North America Southeast
Current Presidency: Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone; Elder Ronald E. Poelman; Elder Keith W. Wilcox
New Presidency: Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone; Elder Ronald E. Poelman; Elder Robert E. Wells
North America Southwest
Current Presidency: Elder Robert D. Hales; Elder Rex D. Pinegar; Elder Hartman Rector, Jr.
New Presidency: Elder Charles A. Didier; Elder Rex D. Pinegar; Elder Hartman Rector, Jr.
North America West
Current Presidency: Elder Robert L. Backman; Elder Paul H. Dunn; Elder John K. Carmack
New Presidency: Elder Robert L. Backman; Elder John K. Carmack; Elder F. Enzio Busche
Current Presidency: Elder Hugh W. Pinnock; Elder John H. Groberg; Elder Adney Y. Komatsu
New Presidency: Elder Hugh W. Pinnock; Elder Adney Y. Komatsu; Elder Paul H. Dunn
Salt Lake City
Current Presidency: Elder James M. Paramore; Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi; Elder F. Arthur Kay
New Presidency: Elder James M. Paramore; Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi; Elder John H. Groberg
Current Presidency: Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin; Elder Russell C. Taylor; Elder John Sonnenberg
New Presidency: Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin; Elder Russell C. Taylor; Elder Hans B. Ringger
Current Presidency: Elder Robert L. Simpson; Elder Devere Harris; Elder Philip T. Sonntag
New Presidency: Elder John Sonnenberg; Elder Devere Harris; Elder Philip T. Sonntag
Southeast Asia Philippines
Current Presidency: Elder William R. Bradford; Elder Jack H. Goaslind; Elder Robert B. Harbertson
New Presidency: Elder William R. Bradford; Elder Jacob de Jager; Elder Keith W. Wilcox
Current Presidency: Elder Gene R. Cook; Elder Ted E. Brewerton; Elder Angel Abrea
New Presidency: Elder Gene R. Cook; Elder Ted E. Brewerton; Elder F. Arthur Kay
South America North
Current Presidency: Elder Charles Didier; Elder Robert E. Wells; Elder F. Burton Howard
New Presidency: Elder F. Burton Howard; Elder Loren C. Dunn; Elder Helio R. Camargo
South America South
Current Presidency: Elder A. Theodore Tuttle; Elder Jacob de Jager; Elder Spencer H. Osborn
New Presidency: Elder A. Theodore Tuttle; Elder Spencer H. Osborn; Elder Waldo P. Call
Ninety Years, and Many Good Wishes, for President Kimball
General Authorities, family members, and friends helped President Spencer W. Kimball celebrate his ninetieth birthday with a day of work and festivities on March 28.
During the morning, he attended the weekly meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple. Then he lunched in his Westin Hotel Utah apartment, next to the Church Administration Building, with a small group of family and staff members. During the afternoon, he attended a reception held in his honor in the Church Administration Building. And in the evening he went to his daughter’s home for a dinner with his children and grandchildren.
“It all turned out beautifully. He was very pleased to get back to the office and see all those people,” said D. Arthur Haycock, President Kimball’s personal secretary. The next morning, the President spoke of how much he had enjoyed the outings with family and friends, Brother Haycock said.
While President Kimball traveled extensively and kept a rigorous office schedule earlier in his administration, health problems have forced a curtailment of most of his activities in recent years. But he still keeps close contact with Church matters through the daily visits—often several times a day—of Brother Haycock, and through First Presidency and General Authority meetings.
Most of the General Authorities were able to be present for the 1:00 P.M. reception in the First Presidency council room of the Church Administration Building. They serenaded him with the traditional “Happy Birthday” as he came to the reception. Later, they sang “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.” As the event ended, the General Authorities sang “God Be With You.”
They brought him greetings from Church leaders and Saints in the areas of their worldwide assignments. President Kimball also received “dozens” of floral pieces, and “hundreds and hundreds” of cards and greetings, many lovingly made by “Primary children all over the world,” Brother Haycock said. Many of these were on display at the reception.
His birthday was not forgotten elsewhere, either. Forty-five miles south at Brigham Young University, for example, ninety balloons fluttered in the breeze above the upper deck of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower, and a banner hanging from the top of the building proclaimed, “Happy 90th, Pres. Kimball.” BYU students also sent him four twelve-foot birthday cards filled with greetings from campus well-wishers.
President Kimball enjoyed a visit with President Marion G. Romney, First Counselor in the First Presidency, who was able to attend the reception despite his own health problems. Many of the General Authorities had brief personal chats with the prophet.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, asked President Kimball at the end of the reception if his friends might plan another such event in ten more years, when he would be one hundred. “Yes,” the President replied.
President Hinckley drew a laugh from President Kimball when he referred to those removing the President’s wheelchair from the room as “charioteers.”
At one point, President Hinckley commented to President Kimball, “It’s good to be ninety years old.”
“That’s right,” President Kimball replied. “But a hundred years of service would be better.”
His leadership has been evident in many milestones of the Church since he began serving as President on 30 December 1973. His ordination followed thirty years of service as a member of the Council of the Twelve.
During President Kimball’s years as President, the number of missionaries serving in the field has grown greatly in response to his pleas that we “lengthen our stride” in service. The number of stakes in the Church has more than doubled, and Church membership has increased by more than two million. The revelation came giving the priesthood to all worthy male members, and two additional revelations have been added to modern scriptures.
Thirty-one new temples have been announced since 1974, and eighty new missions have been created. The First Quorum of the Seventy was reorganized, with both lifetime and non-lifetime members. In 1984, Area Presidencies were called from among the General Authorities to preside over Church affairs in geographical areas throughout the world.
As he enters his ninety-first year, President Kimball’s leadership and spirit of love continue to give guidance and strength to the Church.
Satellite Fireside Focuses on New Editions of Scriptures
“Any tools which assist in the reading and study of the scriptures are useful and are likely to promote the reading and study of these sacred volumes. Such activity invariably will lead to an increase not only of knowledge, but also of faith,” President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said in a televised fireside May 10.
The prerecorded program on the new LDS editions of the scriptures was broadcast via satellite to stake centers throughout the United States and Canada. It featured talks by President Hinckley and by Elder Thomas S. Monson, Elder Boyd K. Packer, and Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve.
President Hinckley spoke of his love for the scriptures. “As I read these sacred volumes,” he said, “I marvel at the wonder and the majesty of the Almighty God and his Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. All of the writers of these testaments sing the praises of God our Father and of our Redeemer. They testify of the Father and of the Son. They speak of their majesty and wonder. They invite all to come unto them and to find peace and strength in that union between God and man.”
He urged members of the Church to become familiar with the Topical Guide, the Index, and the Dictionary included in the new editions of the scriptures, and to use these new features as tools in studying the gospel. “I urge our people everywhere to read the scriptures more, to study all of them together for a harmony of understanding, to bring their precepts into our lives,” he said.
Elder Monson also spoke of the importance of the scriptures in our lives. “It was through reading the Bible that Joseph Smith went to the grove made sacred and received the first vision. There were visitations from Moroni, an angel, who taught the young prophet Joseph about the golden plates from which were translated the Book of Mormon,” he said.
“The work of publishing the scriptures has been central to the mission of the Church since the time of Joseph Smith,” he continued. “However, it has only been in the last decade that a concerted effort has been made to tie together the four standard works by correlated cross-references and to provide from our current reservoir of knowledge the aids and helps which make the scriptures more easily understood.
“The Lord opened many doors at various times of need as the work progressed, and quiet miracles occurred to keep the work moving,” Elder Monson pointed out. “The miracles of publishing, however, are of no value to you unless you begin to search these new editions.”
Relating his experiences as a seminary teacher in helping others learn to teach from the scriptures, Elder Packer compared the scriptures to a library. Because of such features as footnotes, the Topical Guide, and the Index, he said, “the scriptures are opened to you. As you read from beginning to end of a book or as you follow through a subject, you will gain something of a testimony of the value of this work.”
He spoke of the new editions of the scriptures as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Ezekiel that the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph would “become one”: “The stick of, or record of, Judah, the Bible, and the stick or record of Ephraim, the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, are now woven together in such a way that as you read one, you are drawn to the other; as you learn from one you are enlightened by the other. They are indeed one in our hands.”
From the background of a replica of the restored Peter Whitmer home, Elder Bruce R. McConkie spoke about modern-day scriptures. “How precious is the divine word, revealed anew to modern men, to meet modern needs, to guide us in all the circumstances, unknown to our ancestors, that now exist in the last days. What great rewards await us if we learn that which has come forth in our day and if we live as therein decreed,” he said.
Speaking in turn of each of the latter-day scriptures—the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price—Elder McConkie pointed out the new features in the new editions. We need modern scripture, he said, because of the “many plain and precious portions, and many covenants of the Lord” that have been lost through translations of the Bible.
He then spoke of the importance of the scriptures in each of our lives. “It is the study of the scriptures that enables men to gain revelations for themselves. Those who read the Book of Mormon in the way Moroni specifies gain a testimony of its truth and divinity, of the divine Sonship of Christ, and of the prophetic call of Joseph Smith.”
There are many ways to receive revelation for our own lives, said Elder McConkie. The scriptures “should be our first approach in seeking revelation. … If the Spirit bears witness to us of the truth of the scriptures, then we are receiving the doctrines in them as though they had come to us directly. Thus, we can testify that we have heard his voice and know his words.”
Policies and Announcements
The First Presidency issued the following message for Easter 1985.
“We rejoice this Easter season at the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the promise of everlasting life He has given to all humankind. Just as the earth blossoms anew each spring after the dead of winter, so the Savior of the world, through his great atoning sacrifice, assured us new life after our earthly death.
“We encourage men and women throughout the world to contemplate the life and example of the Savior, to incorporate His teachings into their lives, and to teach their families about Him. Within His teachings and His life lie the answers to every problem which confronts humankind. War, hunger, family strife, despair, and sorrow could be remedied if the world would turn to His example. Only as we look to the Prince of Peace will we find true peace as individuals, as families, and as members of the world community.
“We testify that Jesus the Christ is indeed the Son of God, the Savior of mankind. It is our prayer that His teachings and life will bring peace to a troubled world.”
The following statement was issued on behalf of the Church by the Public Communications Department, 28 February 1985:
The Church does not have reason to believe there exists any organized discrimination on the part of the Internal Revenue Service against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Brigham Young University and their officers are not parties to the suit filed against the Internal Revenue Service for The Coalition for Tax Justice and have not encouraged directly or indirectly any parties to join the suit. Any representation to the contrary is a misstatement of the facts.
The following items are from the February 1985 Bulletin:
Adult Scripture Reading Assignments. All priesthood and auxiliary leaders are reminded that there is an established scripture study schedule for all adult members of the Church. When conflicting adult reading schedules are suggested by priesthood or auxiliary leaders, members become confused. All leaders should encourage adult members to follow the established scripture study plan as used in the gospel doctrine class.
At the present time, each of the four standard works is studied in rotating order every four years. The courses and years they will be studied are:
The text for the Sunday School Gospel Doctrine class in a given year is the particular book of scripture studied by adults for that year.
In addition to the annual study of the scriptures in their historical and chronological setting, adult members should be encouraged to study the principles and doctrines of the gospel as they are set forth in the Relief Society Courses of Study and the Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide.
Strengthening the Aaronic Priesthood. Important information on how priesthood leaders might assist Aaronic Priesthood-age young men in their spiritual and temporal progress is included in an article published in the December 1984 Ensign, pp. 66–68: “Key to Strong Young Men: Gospel Commitment in the Home.” The article summarizes the findings of a two-year study of the young men of the Church conducted by the Evaluation Division of the Correlation Department. Priesthood leaders are encouraged to study and use the article as a guide in strengthening Aaronic Priesthood-age young men.
Young Women Medallion. A young woman who has turned eighteen and has not received the Young Womanhood Recognition medallion and certificate may continue to work on the requirements, with the approval of her bishop and Young Women leader. After completion of the work, she may apply for the medallion and certificate, even though she may not have participated in the program for a few months. This can occur only if the young woman has made a previous commitment while still involved in her Laurel class and fulfills for one full year the necessary requirement to obtain the medallion and certificate.
A leader may receive the Young Womanhood Recognition medallion and certificate after completing one year in the program, setting two goals in each area of focus, attending her appropriate meetings (which do not include seminary), and fulfilling all other requirements. The bishop of the ward in which she resides certifies completion of the requirements for the award, whether the leader is serving in a ward or stake position.
Tabernacle Organ Renovation Under Way
The renowned pipe organ in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square is currently being renovated, says Robert Cundick, Tabernacle organist. But the work will not silence the instrument’s voice.
The renovation will include tonal regulation, console rebuilding, cleaning, and other mechanical work. It will also include installation of additional ranks of pipes and of electronic equipment.
The original Tabernacle organ of the 1860s has undergone numerous changes through the years. The current Aeolian-Skinner instrument was installed in 1948, and the present renovation is planned for completion in 1988, the fortieth anniversary of that installation. The refurbishing work is under the direction of Schoenstein & Co. of San Francisco.
The organ will continue to be used for daily recitals and for weekly Tabernacle Choir broadcasts during the renovation, Brother Cundick said. The well-known tonal structure of the instrument will not be altered.
“The pipe scaling and overall quality of the instrument are first-rate, and its effect in this magnificent acoustical setting has been marvelous,” said Jack Bethards, president of Schoenstein, “but some refinement in detail is indicated. And, of course, after thirty-seven years, minute influences such as dust and countless temperature changes may have caused the original setting of many of the 10,857 pipes to change.”
Tabernacle Choir to Tour Japan
The Tabernacle Choir will perform ten concerts in Japan during a tour August 15 to 28, the First Presidency has announced.
The choir will perform in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, and at the Tsukuba Science Expo ’85 in a new science center forty miles north of Tokyo.
The choir’s host and tour sponsor will be the Chukyo TV Broadcasting Co., Limited, which will broadcast one of the concerts nationwide. Chukyo TV is a major Japanese network and maintains a sister station relationship with Bonneville International Corporation and KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. The choir’s weekly international broadcasts originate through KSL-TV and KSL Radio.
The choir will also videotape a benefit program for later broadcast by the Chukyo network.
Tabernacle Choir President Wendell M. Smoot, Jr., said the concerts are scheduled in Osaka Saturday, August 17, and Monday, August 19; in Nagoya Tuesday, August 20; in Tokyo Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, August 21 to 23; at the Tsukuba Expo (two concerts) Saturday, August 24; and in Tokyo Monday and Tuesday, August 26 and 27.
“The choir is thrilled to return to Japan,” Brother Smoot said. “We remember the warm reception we received in 1979 and look forward to renewing and extending our friendships.” During its first visit to the Far East in 1979, the Tabernacle Choir performed in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Kyoto, Japan, and in Seoul, Korea.
Since that tour, the choir has also performed in locations from Jackson, Wyoming, to Brazil, Sweden, Finland, and Canada. The group traveled to Washington, D.C., in 1981 for the inauguration of United States President Ronald Reagan.
Jerold Ottley, Tabernacle Choir director, will conduct the concerts. Organ and piano accompaniment will be provided by Robert Cundick and John Longhurst, Tabernacle organists.
Some 325 choir members, plus staff members and guests, will make the tour.
Scholars Look at the New Testament Gospels
Texts, translations, and testimonies. These themes brought Bible scholars and students together February 22–23 for Brigham Young University’s symposium on the New Testament Gospels.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve encouraged LDS study of the Bible: “Occasionally, a few in the Church let the justified caveat about the Bible—‘as far as it is translated correctly’—diminish our exultation over the New Testament,” he said. “Inaccuracy as to some translating must not, however, diminish our appreciation for the powerful testimony and ample historicity of the New Testament.”
He expressed gratitude for its uniqueness. “It, and it alone, gives us so many events and useful chronologies of Jesus’ earthly ministry,” he said. “Only a narrow strip of land comprised the small stage on which Jesus’ life and mortal Messiahship were played out. But it was a drama which was to be an enormous benefit [to] billions upon billions. Jesus marked a holy way of life, and, by and through his atonement, brought to pass the immortality and the possibility of the eternal life of mankind!”
A major theme of the symposium was the authenticity of the New Testament text. C. Wilfred Griggs, director of Ancient Studies at BYU, indicated (in a paper read by his wife) that “the New Testament text is well established”—that it has an enviable position of reliability when compared with other ancient texts. For most literature of antiquity, he said, there are relatively few manuscript fragments upon which to base the text—only one for some, ten to fifty for most. The classical author Homer is an exception, with over 2,000 ancient manuscript copies available. But “the New Testament writings eclipse even Homer, with more than 8,000 manuscripts in various languages.” Although no ancient text is free from error, he said, and no two manuscripts of the same work agree in every detail, “no text is better attested in both quality and quantity of readings than the New Testament writings.”
Thomas W. Mackay, professor of Greek and Latin at BYU, agreed. “We have essentially what the four Gospel writers wrote,” he said, “and it has been transmitted basically intact. Most textual questions debated by scholars are just a matter of “fine tuning.” This theme continued as a panel of conference participants discussed the many variations in individual manuscripts.
Stan Larson, scripture researcher from the LDS Translation Department, examined “scribal scars” on the scriptures, using textual criticism to differentiate between copying errors and possible intentional variations. Catherine Thomas, lecturer in Ancient Scripture at BYU, examined the often-disputed last twelve verses in the Gospel of Mark. Using internal evidence (vocabulary, theme, and structure) and external evidence found on the manuscripts, she concluded that these verses are, indeed, authentic to Mark.
Randall Stewart, lecturer in classics at the University of Illinois, reviewed the importance of the second-century Bodmer Papyri of Luke and John, the earliest full copies of the Gospels in existence. “Although older texts aren’t necessarily the most correct,” he said, these two valuable papyri are important external evidences of the authenticity of the Gospels of Luke and John.
Stephen E. Robinson, associate professor of religion at Lycoming College, Pennsylvania, looked at apocryphal sayings of Jesus—dismissing many as obvious inventions, and warning against using them to substantiate points of doctrine. “Here and there,” he said, “amid a mass of worthless rubbish, we do find a jewel” that can withstand careful scrutiny and that has received tentative endorsement by some scholars.
Several symposium speakers referred to the accuracy of the King James Version. “One of its greatest strengths,” said J. Philip Schaelling, institute instructor at Edmonton, Alberta, “is that it is such a literal translation. Although in some cases it may be too literal for easy reading, we don’t have to depend on someone else’s interpretation—a problem with freer translations.” There are, however, some recent translations that may be helpful as study aids, he concluded, because they benefit from manuscripts not available earlier. However, “the vast majority of variants aren’t of great doctrinal significance.”
One recent Bible version spoken highly of by several during the symposium is the “New King James Version.” Special guest, Dr. Arthur L. Farstad, executive editor of the new version, explained the purposes and procedures behind its publication. While preserving the basic work of the original King James scholars, the editors updated archaic and obsolete words and modernized punctuation and format. Basic to their work were the traditional Hebrew and Greek texts. The goal, he said, was to help preserve the King James Version “for the next generation, which is beginning to lay it aside” due to its archaic language.
The LDS edition of the King James Version received special attention by Robert J. Matthews, dean of Religious Education at BYU. The Joseph Smith Translation “brought together in the LDS edition of the Bible the best of two worlds,” he said. “It combines some of the best source material available today from both secular scholarship and Latter-day revelation. It is not an either/or situation—we can have both. … The hand of the Lord and the Spirit of the Lord were present in the production of the 1979 edition of the Bible,” he declared.
Richard L. Anderson, director of Bible Studies at BYU, summarized some of the conclusions of previous speakers: The New Testament texts are in a superior position historically over any ancient history or author, and the King James Version is “incredibly close” to the original texts. He compared the writing of the Gospels to the preparation of family histories. “I’m trying to reconstruct the histories right now of my grandparents,” he said, “and I can talk to my mother, I can go and talk to other people who actually met them. … That’s the period that the Gospels were written in”—when accurate information and eyewitnesses were available.
The important question, however, said Brother Anderson, is whether or not the reading of the Gospels will increase our own spirituality. “This chain is only as good as its last link. ‘God so loved the world’ is the first link; Jesus teaching the gospel is the second link; the writing down of it, the transmission, and the translation are other links. But all of that is broken if the last link—our reading it and living it—is not there.”
Members Rebuilding after Chilean Earthquake
Church members affected by the earthquake in Chile have been busy rebuilding or helping others rebuild ever since the disaster struck on March 3. But along the way they have laid the foundation for future missionary work, according to reports from the area.
Though one Latter-day Saint was injured, Church members and missionaries were fortunate in that none lost their lives. Approximately 150 Chileans were killed and nearly 2,000 injured in the quake. It was estimated shortly afterward that more than 165,000 Chileans were homeless; a number of Latter-day Saints were among them.
Priesthood leaders had quorums checking on members and offering help almost immediately. Members volunteered freely and responded generously to calls for community service. Four Church buildings were used as temporary hospitals; one, in the coastal city of San Antonio, may be used for up to a year.
A national television station broadcast a story very favorable to the Church after visiting the chapel-turned-hospital in San Antonio. Maternity and intensive care wards and operating rooms are inside the branch building. The government has set up additional field hospital facilities in tents outside. Members hold their Sunday meetings in a school across the street, loaned to them by the government.
Coastal areas west of Santiago, the nation’s capital, were hardest hit, along with the central part of Chile. Jeff Allred, director of temporal affairs in the Presiding Bishopric’s Santiago office, said that a number of members were left homeless in the town of Machali; about 95 percent of the dwellings there and in surrounding smaller towns were knocked down by the quake. About thirty member families in Machali will receive, through the Church, small shed-like structures to serve as temporary shelters; some other members will receive building materials to repair their houses. Some families were furnished Church-purchased tents as temporary housing.
Brother Allred estimated the earthquake, which measured 7.4 on the Richter Scale, lasted perhaps two minutes. “Of course, it seemed like an eternity.” The quake built to its most severe shock toward the end, giving people time to get outdoors, and possibly saving many lives.
It was thought at first that a few LDS chapels might have to be demolished because of earthquake damage. But reexamination showed the damage was not that severe. It appears now that there will be “five or six major repair jobs, and then some other cosmetic things,” Brother Allred said. For example, suspended ceilings fell in some chapels and will need to be replaced. But some of the original materials can be salvaged and reused.
He pointed out that there are nearly two hundred Church buildings in the affected area. Metropolitan Santiago alone, with a population of approximately four million, has seventeen stakes.
That is one reason members’ needs were met so well, he explained. It has been “relatively simple” to provide help for the Saints because “the organization is so close to the people.”
Saints Help Special Olympics’ Flame Burn Brightly
When athletes performing in the Winter Games of the International Special Olympics March 24 to 29 took their marks or crossed the finish line, chances are they were sent off or met by a Latter-day Saint.
The games were held in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, and approximately three thousand Church members were involved in planning and support roles—with emphasis on support.
Special Olympics is an international organization created by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Foundation. Its competitions allow handicapped athletes to feel the accomplishment of competing in a variety of sports. More than eight hundred athletes, from all fifty of the United States, the District of Columbia, and fourteen other countries (including Canada and the United Kingdom), participated in the four events of the Winter Games. The events were alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, and speed skating.
Jim Murphy, executive director of the International Special Olympics Winter Games, said the Church was an important contributor to the success of the enterprise. Other organizations, including universities and civic clubs, furnished both material and people, and there were also many individuals who volunteered to help with the games. Several hundred volunteers came from Hill Air Force Base, north of Salt Lake City.
After the games, Special Olympics President R. Sargent Shriver told volunteers they had witnessed the best International Special Olympics winter event yet staged, Brother Murphy said.
Craig Fisher, assistant director of Utah Special Olympics, handled media relations for the International Winter Games this year. He noted that the Church’s role was not a highly visible one. Given the number of commercial organizations that want to support the games in return for publicity, he commented, “It’s nice to have someone make that commitment without expecting visible pats on the back.”
In addition to the large number of Latter-day Saint volunteers, the Church hosted a closing-night banquet for nearly eight hundred members of the Special Olympians’ families.
Stakes in Park City and Kamas, Utah, provided housing and related services for many of the athletes’ families. The Church helped supply volunteers from eighty Salt Lake-area stakes.
Brigham Young University provided much of the entertainment for opening and closing ceremonies and coordinated translation services for the non-English-speaking delegations. The Tabernacle Choir sang at the closing ceremonies and their performance was one of many highlights for the visitors to the Olympics.
Among the volunteers, the greatest rewards probably came to those who served on an individual basis—as translators, as guides, as “huggers” for the athletes after they had competed, as live-in hosts and hostesses. There were about 125 live-in hosts “who volunteered a full week of their time,” Brother Fisher noted. Most, like recent graduate Michelle Lewis, were associated with BYU.
Sister Lewis, a member of the Bountiful Fifty-fifth Ward, Bountiful Utah East Stake, was a live-in hostess for fifteen athletes, ranging in age from thirteen to thirty-two, of the New Jersey delegation. She helped get them up in the morning and off to their events, went to cheer for them, and sometimes was “just someone they could talk with.”
“You always hear that the ‘special athletes’ are so innocent, and it’s true,” she comments. They are also very loving. “They get up in the morning, and they give you a hug. They leave for their events, and they give you a hug.” And so it went throughout the day. They were also very selfless. They cheered enthusiastically for competitors. One young skier took it upon himself to clean everyone’s skis after they returned to their lodgings each day.
The spirit of volunteerism in connection with the games was infectious. There was a cheering section at the Salt Palace as ice skaters competed on the final day, Brother Fisher recalled. “The athletes had big grins on their faces because there was someone out there caring.” The cheering section turned out to be a youth group from a Bountiful, Utah, stake.
There were many tearful farewells for the live-in hosts and host families when the special athletes departed for home, possibly because the bonds of caring had grown strong during the week of the games. Most of the volunteers said they received far more than they were able to give the athletes.
At the closing night dinner, Mr. Shriver expressed generous thanks to the Church and all its individual volunteers for their help. “Our concern is for the welfare of people,” responded Elder David B. Haight of the Council of the Twelve. There are great opportunities, great blessings that come to individuals, he said, “when we have an opportunity to … do something for someone else.”
Church Pageants Offer Variety
Frequently LDS families like to visit one of the Church-oriented pageants during the year. Although two of those have already completed their run this year—the pageant at the New Zealand Temple, “Hear Him” (January 17 to 19), and the Mesa, Arizona, pageant (April 1 to 6)—there are eight more yet to come. Following is a listing of the pageants scheduled for the remainder of 1985.
Gerald Harris 11601 East 39th Street Independence, MO 64052 (816) 252-9207
“Mormon Miracle,” Manti Temple hill, Manti, Utah
July 11–13, 16–20
Morgan Dyreng 202 South Main Manti, UT 84642 (801) 835–2333
“And It Came to Pass,” DeAuza College Flint Center, Cupertino, California
July 16–20, 23–27
Kenneth D. Foulger 1212 Chateau Drive San Jose, CA 95120 (408) 268–5548
“America’s Witness for Christ,” Hill Cumorah, Palmyra, New York
July 26, 27, 30, 31; August 1–3
Jack S. Dawson 1505 San Felipe Rancho Santa Fe Boulder City, NV 89005 (702) 293–5141
“City of Joseph,” Nauvoo, Illinois, adjacent to visitors’ center
Nauvoo Visitors’ Center P.O. Box 215 Nauvoo, IL 62354 (217) 453–2237
“Nativity Pageant,” Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Del Ockey c/o Cardell Construction 80 Willow Park Green S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2J 3L1 Canada (403) 271–5084
The Church is also offering assistance to two other pageants:
Castle Valley Mountain Amphitheater, Castle Dale, Utah
Montell Seely Box 943 Castle Dale, UT 84513 (801) 381–2195
“Martin Harris, the Man Who Knew,” Clarkston, Utah
Rhett James 600 Darwin Avenue Logan, UT 84321 (801) 752–4265
Temples Spread Worldwide
As Church membership grows worldwide, members around the globe have longed to enjoy all of the blessings offered by the gospel. The building of temples in many new areas is affording them the opportunity.
There are thirty-two operating temples, including the one in Manti, Utah, which is currently being renovated. Eight more are under construction, and another seven have been announced. The locations of these temples are pinpointed on the accompanying map.
LDS Young Men Help Win National Junior College Championship
“Yes, there’s great talent on this team, but probably more important than the talent is the character. This is a team that just wouldn’t be beat,” says Coach Neil Roberts of his Dixie College basketball team.
The Dixie Rebels won the National Junior College Athletic Association championship in Hutchinson, Kansas, March 23, beating Kankakee (Illinois) Community College 57–55.
“As soon as the game was over, I watched the guys on the floor, and I thought, ‘You know, they really deserve it,’” Brother Roberts recalled.
Seven of the twelve players on his Dixie squad are returned missionaries, and two more are preparing to go on missions. The two non-LDS players on his team are also examples of morality and good character, Brother Roberts says. There has not been a discipline problem all year long.
The Church and missionary experiences of so many team members have helped draw them together, the coach commented. In addition, they know how to sacrifice personal reward for the good of the team.
It was the third time in six years that Brother Roberts, a BYU basketball player in the 1960s and now a member of the Bloomington Fourth Ward, St. George Stake, had taken his team to the national tournament. In 1979, the Rebels won third; in 1982, they placed sixth. Averian Parrish, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, put the game away for Dixie with a basket forty-five seconds before the buzzer. Brother Roberts was also chosen as “Coach of the Year” for the tournament.
Dixie College, once an LDS Church school, is located in St. George, in the warm southwest corner of Utah’s “Dixie.” It is a small school, but the coach says he has no trouble recruiting good players because of the school’s basketball tradition, lively community support, and pleasant location.
He has high praise for his players. “The coach who gets these guys will be very fortunate.” A number of different four-year schools are recruiting the graduating Rebels.
Returned missionaries among the Dixie starters included center Brent Stephenson, a 4.0 premed student who, along with Parrish, was named to the NJCAA all-tournament team; Robert Maxwell, who won the sportsmanship award; and Dan Bell. Returned missionaries Brent Wade (son of the Dixie College president), Lyndon DeYoung, Josh Burgon, and Rob Gentry came off the bench for the Rebels.
Four programs produced for the Church were among winners in the eighth annual Angel Awards competition sponsored by Religion in Media, a Los Angeles-based organization which promotes religious values and themes. They were: “Times & Seasons: Religion and Marriage,” produced by the Church’s Public Communications Department; “Carnival of the Animals,” a half-hour television musical special produced by Bonneville Media Communications; “The Good Samaritan,” a public service television announcement also produced by Bonneville Media; and “The Last Leaf—A Parable for Easter,” a television drama based on an O. Henry short story and also produced by Bonneville Media.
Earl J. Roueche, president of the McLean Virginia Stake has been appointed assistant secretary for management in the Organization of American States. He is the first career OAS employee to be named to that position, President Roueche has worked for the OAS for twenty-six years.
Earl W. Bascom was recently inducted into the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame. Now patriarch of the Victorville California Stake, Brother Bascom was a champion cowboy and the inventor of a one-handed bareback rigging still used in professional rodeos. He was the twelfth inductee for the Hall of Fame and the second LDS cowboy, after Ray Knight.
Jean Dobashi, an English teacher at Kauai High and Intermediate School, has been honored as one of the fifty finest teachers in the United States. The honor was part of the first annual “In Honor of Excellence” program, sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The program honored one teacher and school principal selected as the best from each state. Sister Dobashi is a member of the Lihue Ward, Kauai Stake. She has been teaching for sixteen years and was honored as Hawaii’s Teacher of the Year in 1983.
Ted Chidester, athletic director and head basketball coach at BYU—Hawaii, was named January “Sportsman of the Month” by the Honolulu Quarterback Club. In his sixth year at the college, the coach has seen his Seasiders team improve each year. Brother Chidester is a high councilor in the BYU—Hawaii Campus Stake.