Elder M. Russell Ballard

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Elder M. Russell Ballard

On the window ledge in the office of Elder M. Russell Ballard sits a nearly life-sized bust of President Joseph F. Smith, his great-grandfather. Beside it sit two other busts, of Hyrum Smith, Elder Ballard’s great-great-grandfather, and the Prophet Joseph Smith, his great-great-uncle.

On the wall opposite his desk are portraits of his two grandfathers, Elder Hyrum M. Smith and Elder Melvin J. Ballard, both former members of the Quorum of the Twelve.

There have been times when those portraits of his grandfathers have provided needed encouragement to persevere in his callings, Elder Ballard says. Now, “realizing that I have been invited to sit in the same circle they sat in during their lifetimes, there have come some special feelings.”

He alluded to those feelings during the closing session of general conference October 6, when he responded to the call to be the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve.

“I would like also to bear witness that in my particular case the veil between here and the hereafter is rather thin. I acknowledge that it’s been a great blessing in my life to be born of goodly parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents who have given everything they have been asked to give to the building of the kingdom of God on the earth.”

“I understand the source of the call,” he said. “This is our Heavenly Father’s Church. … I know, as I know I stand before you, that Jesus is the Christ, that he lives. He is very close to this work, and very close to all of us who are asked to perform the work throughout the earth in his name.”

Nine and one-half years as a General Authority have helped prepare him spiritually for his new calling, but it was not something for which he was mentally prepared that Sunday morning. As at certain other times, there had been “promptings, little nudgings” that some change might be coming in his life; he expected, however, that it might be a change in his assignment in the First Quorum of the Seventy.

The calling that did come will not change Elder Ballard’s approach to Church service. “I am deeply humbled at the confidence of the Lord and my brethren and pledge to you that I will do the very best I know how,” he said in his remarks during conference. This spirit—doing “the best I know how”—has marked his life.

A native of Salt Lake City, he was born 8 October 1928 to Melvin R. and Geraldine Smith Ballard. He has described his father as a “brilliant” man who taught him the value of hard work, and his mother as a “very soft, sweet, tender-hearted person. … During my growing-up years, she was probably my best friend.” (Friend, Feb. 1983, pp. 6–7.)

Young Russell Ballard was a leader among his peers at East High School (where he served as seminary president his senior year) and at the University of Utah. Then, as a 21-year-old missionary, he was called in 1949 as first counselor in the presidency of the British Mission.

After his mission, he went to work at his father’s car dealership. It was the beginning of a varied business career that included mining, the automotive business, and activity in real estate and investments. Professional and community service have always been a part of his life. He made time for leadership positions in professional organizations and in the Chamber of Commerce. Currently he is a member of the board of directors of Deseret Book Company and the Salt Palace Advisory Board.

When he accepted a call as president of the Canada Toronto Mission in 1974, he could not know how profoundly that decision would affect his life. But two years later, on 3 April 1976, his call to full-time Church service became permanent when he was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He was called to the presidency of that quorum on 21 February 1980.

He was Executive Director of the Church’s Missionary Department prior to his call to the Twelve and had previously directed the Curriculum and Correlation departments.

Elder Ballard married Barbara Bowen in the Salt Lake Temple; they have seven children (five married) and eighteen grandchildren.

He speaks of his wife lovingly as a “joy, a great lady” who has been “totally and completely supportive” through his business years, his years as a mission president, and as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

This new calling, Elder Ballard says, will be a challenge. As he reflects on the spiritual power, the experience, the education of his associates in the Quorum of the Twelve, he wonders how well he will be able to contribute. But he is determined to fulfill “each assignment that is given to me with the very best of my knowledge and experience.”

“You can’t help but feel your dependence on the Lord” for direction, he says, in trying to build His kingdom. One proceeds with that building “by just doing the right things the best way you know how every day.”

Elder Jack H Goaslind, Elder Robert L. Backman

of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy

Elder Jack H Goaslind, Jr., and Elder Robert L. Backman of the First Quorum of the Seventy were called to the presidency of that quorum October 6 at the closing session of general conference.

They filled vacancies in the presidency occasioned by the call of Elder M. Russell Ballard to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and of Elder J. Thomas Fyans to be President of the South America South Area.

Elder Goaslind and Elder Backman have many years of Church leadership experience and have filled administrative roles through their General Authority assignments for the past several years. In the past, both have served in the general presidency of the Church’s Young Men organization.

The two men talked with the Ensign about their new callings and their backgrounds.

Elder Jack H Goaslind

Elder Jack H Goaslind

On the Friday before general conference, Elder Jack H Goaslind, Jr., told his wife, Gwen, that his secretary had just informed him she was moving and would have to quit. To a man who develops close ties with those he works with, the news was indeed unwelcome.

But general conference brought even greater changes in his life than he had anticipated. He was called as one of the seven presidents of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

At the time of the call, Elder Goaslind was president of the Church’s North America Northwest Area and a managing director of the Priesthood Department. Prior to that, he served as a member of the Asia Area Presidency, as a Managing Director of the Missionary Department, and as a regional representative.

In 1972, Elder Goaslind was called to serve as a counselor in the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood Mutual Improvement Association. He and his wife, the former Gwen Bradford, were then called to preside over the Arizona Tempe Mission. And in September 1978, he was called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Before being called to full-time Church service, Elder Goaslind was vice-president of Affiliated Metals, Inc.

Elder Goaslind was born 18 April 1928, to Jack H. and Anita Jack Goaslind. Following a mission, he graduated from the University of Utah, where he met his future wife. A native of Salt Lake City, Elder Goaslind is an avid skier and loves doing things with his family. He and Sister Goaslind are the parents of three sons and three daughters and are expecting their ninth grandchild.

His father has always been an inspiration to him. One of the memorable experiences of his life was serving first as bishop, then as stake president at the same time his father was serving in both those assignments in the neighboring stake. He felt it was an honor to be associated with his father in that service. “I will be eternally grateful,” he said of his parents, “for their love and its profound influence on my life.”

Since his visit with President Kimball when he was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy, “things have not been the same. More than ever before,” he testifies, “I feel my total dependence on the Lord and pray earnestly for his Spirit to attend me.”

Elder Robert L. Backman

Elder Robert L. Backman

Elder Backman, too, recognizes a great dependence on the Lord. “I have often felt the Lord’s hand leading and guiding and protecting me,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed such rich experiences as I’ve grown up.”

Born 22 March 1922 in Salt Lake City to LeGrand P. and Edith Price Backman, Robert LeGrand Backman spent part of his boyhood in South Africa, where his father was serving as a mission president. When he was in his teens, the family returned to Salt Lake City, where he completed his senior year of high school. Having attended an all-boys’ school in South Africa, he was painfully shy. He says it was his call to the Northern States Mission that transformed his life and converted him to the principle of service.

“As a boy, I sought happiness as the world measures it,” says Elder Backman. “It was not until I was called on a mission that I discovered that happiness is really a by-product of service.”

Service has been important to Elder Backman ever since. He has served in the Utah State Legislature and in many Church callings, including time as a member of the bishopric and stake presidency, and as general president, counselor, and board member of the Young Men; regional representative; and mission president. He is also a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America and a member of the United States Foundation for International Scouting.

After serving in the army during World War II, he returned to Salt Lake City to study law. His intent was to concentrate solely on his studies, but the principle of service won out. The first day in the city, he met the bishop of his ward on the bus, and he was called as the deacons quorum adviser before he left the bus.

In 1941 he married Virginia Pickett, whom he met in high school. In the years that followed, they were blessed with seven daughters.

He graduated from the University of Utah Law School in 1949, and in 1966 was called to serve as president of the Northwestern States Mission—an opportunity he and his wife enjoyed very much. They were, as they put it, hoping for another mission call when Elder Backman “received another one of those phone calls”—and was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy on 1 April 1978.

At the recent October general conference, he was called to the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy. His new calling will provide even more opportunities for service. “A life can never be happy that is focused inward,” he says. “If you are miserable now, forget your troubles. March right out your door and find someone who needs you.” His life exemplifies that philosophy.

Johannesburg Temple Dedicated

With a prayer of gratitude for the faithful Saints in South Africa, President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the Johannesburg South Africa Temple August 24 and petitioned our Father in Heaven to whisper peace to the hearts of Saints as they seek him out, and to bring peace to their nation.

Prepared under the direction of President Spencer W. Kimball, the prayer was offered in the first of four dedicatory sessions held August 24 and 25. In the prayer, President Hinckley expressed gratitude for the growth of the Church throughout the earth and asked that obstacles might continue to be removed from the path of those “sent to bear witness and testimony of the restoration of thy kingdom.”

Then he continued: “We thank thee for the dimensions of thy Church in this nation of South Africa. We thank thee for men and women of great strength who constitute its membership, for the goodness of their lives, for the manner in which thou hast enlightened their minds and quickened their understanding of thy ways and thy purposes.”

President Hinckley pronounced a dedication upon the temple and its facilities, then petitioned: “Wilt thou whisper peace to thy people by the power of thy Spirit when they come here with burdened hearts to seek direction in their perplexities. Wilt thou comfort and sustain them when they come in times of sorrow. Wilt thou give them courage, faith, and direction when they gather, as to a refuge, from the turmoil of the world. …

“Almighty God, wilt thou overrule for the blessing and safety of thy faithful Saints. We pray for peace in this troubled land. Bless this nation which has befriended thy servants. May those who rule in the offices of government be inspired to find a basis for reconciliation among those who now are in conflict one with another. May the presence of thy house on the soil of this nation bring blessings to the entire nation.

“May guardian angels stand watch over this holy house. …”

Speaking before the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the temple, President Hinckley commended the members for their goodness and the fellowship he felt among them. “Our witness to you about the temple is that the Lord wanted it built because of the faith of the Saints of South Africa and Zimbabwe. Treasure the blessings of the temple! It houses all of the facilities to do the work required for salvation. God placed you in this land. God bless you, my beloved associates, in this great and wonderful work.”

In his remarks before the laying of the cornerstone, Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve spoke also of the significance of the temple. “When the stone is put in place, we have in Africa a house of Christ. We establish a statement to the world about the justice and mercy of God here.”

He referred to the famous pyramids far northward in Egypt, and added: “Families sealed in this temple in South Africa will still be sealed when the pyramids in northern Africa have become nothing but shifting sands.”

For the cornerstone-laying, General Authorities and priesthood leaders troweled mortar into the space above the marble plaque proclaiming the year in which the temple was dedicated. Then President Hinckley called two surprised youngsters—Samantha and Jason Wrench, children of President Ian S. Wrench, first counselor in the presidency of the Sandton South Africa Stake—to add some mortar as well. “Now,” he told them, “you will be able to say you helped lay the foundation stone of the South Africa Temple.”

Afterward, as those present seated themselves in the Celestial Room for the dedication service, President Hinckley said: “We welcome you to the House of the Lord.” He pointed out that the Church now has a temple on every continent but Antarctica.

“Never forget the feeling here today, and do what is necessary to come back. This house,” he said, “is witness that the Latter-day Saints have the conviction of the immortality of the soul—that we shall live forever.”

Several other General Authorities spoke or participated during the dedicatory services. They included Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the First Quorum of the Seventy, President of the Church’s Europe Area; Elder Russell C. Taylor of the First Quorum of the Seventy, First Counselor in the Europe Area Presidency; Elder J. Richard Clarke of the First Quorum of the Seventy, President of the South Africa Cape Town Mission; and Elder Robert L. Backman of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Nearly thirty-five hundred members attended dedicatory services at the temple on Jubilee Road, a tree-lined avenue on Parktown Ridge north of Johannesburg’s city center.

The temple rises above a screen of jacaranda trees, its light brickwork aligned in perfect symmetry. Originally a select, out-of-town residential area where gold-mining magnates and financiers built mansions around the turn of the century, the locality is now composed largely of hospitals, office parks, and educational institutions, often incorporating surviving mansions. The University of the Witwatersrand’s Center for Continuing Education occupies the properties on either side of the temple. Opposite the temple are the Johannesburg College of Education’s athletics fields.

The temple attracted more than 19,000 visitors during the July 30 to August 10 open house period, including numerous civic and business leaders and government representatives. Many visitors were visibly moved. Verbal comments and those written in guest books applied a wide range of superlatives to the temple: “magnificent,” “spiritually touching,” “serenity itself,” “truly the house of God.”

But even before its completion, the spiritual influence of the temple had been felt. The Portuguese foreman on the construction crew caught the spirit of the project, referring to the temple as “God’s house,” and those under his supervision followed his lead, putting their best into the work.

The more than 12,000 Latter-day Saints in southern Africa who will be served by the temple in Johannesburg know whose house it is. And they know the opportunities it brings.

Allan P. Milne, a high councilor in the Johannesburg South Africa Stake, mirrors the feelings of many Saints in his country: “The presence of a temple in our country is exciting to our family. The chances for spiritual growth are many.”

Correspondent: Marjorie E. Woods, Sandton First Ward, Sandton South Africa Stake

Majesty and peacefulness distinguish the Johannesburg Temple and its grounds. (Photography by Marjorie E. Woods.)

Spires of the Johannesburg Temple, reaching heavenward, suggest its purpose. (Photography by Marjorie E. Woods.)

November Program Scheduled for Young Women

A program for the Young Women of the Church, their parents, and leaders will be televised via satellite on Sunday, November 10.

The Young Women theme for 1986 will be introduced at the meeting.

The program will be broadcast in English, Spanish, and French to satellite receiver-equipped meetinghouses in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It will be aired first at 6 P.M. Mountain Standard Time and rebroadcast at 8 P.M. Church units may choose the viewing time best suited to their circumstances.

Videotapes will be available later for stakes unable to receive the broadcast.

All LDS young women between twelve and eighteen are invited to the meeting, along with their parents and stake or ward leaders.

Stakes were instructed in the Church’s September Bulletin to disregard section 1, item 5, of stake auxiliary training meeting materials for the Young Women if they were planning to hold their 1985 auxiliary training meeting before November 10. Stakes planning to hold the meeting after that date should insert a reference to the 1986 theme in section 1, item 5.

The 1986 Young Women theme also appears in the November issue of the New Era—a special Young Women issue—and in the December Bulletin.

Disasters Test Saints in Mexico, United States

Seven Latter-day Saints are dead and three more are missing following two massive earthquakes that struck Mexico City late in September.

In eastern and southern coastal areas of the United States, Church members weathered two September hurricanes without injury, although several families were forced to evacuate their homes until emergency repairs could be made.

Seismologists rated the earthquake that struck Mexico City September 19 at 8.1 on the Richter Scale. It was followed by a major aftershock the next day as rescue workers were trying to dig out victims of the earlier quake. A five- to ten-square-mile area in the center of the city bore the brunt of the devastation.

The death toll in those quakes approached 6,000. Seven of the known dead were Church members, and at Ensign news deadline three more Latter-day Saints were still listed as missing. None of the Church’s missionaries was injured, and no Church buildings were seriously damaged.

The death toll among Church members might have been far higher. Mexico has some 385,000 Latter-day Saints, and about 50,000 of them live in the areas most seriously affected by the quakes. Many Church members expressed gratitude for life and testified of the protection they received.

The day after the first earthquake, the First Presidency issued a statement expressing sympathy for the loss of Mexican life and pledging assistance. “We are saddened by the accounts of suffering and loss of life in cities and villages across [Mexico],” the statement said, “but we are heartened by the evidence of stricken people working together to lift each other’s burdens and to begin life anew under changed and challenged circumstances.”

Mexican Saints needed comparatively little help from outside in the aftermath of the quakes.

“The needs of our Church members in the areas affected by the earthquakes are few and are being handled nicely by their fellow Latter-day Saints under the overall direction of the Area Presidency and local leaders,” reported Elder Gene R. Cook of the First Quorum of the Seventy, president of the Church’s Mexico/Central America Area. Mexican Saints eagerly shared their stored food, bedding, and medical supplies with their neighbors.

Because of the danger of disease, however, the Church did send 15,000 units of typhoid serum, 15,000 syringes, 3.5 million water purification tablets, and 30 chlorinators to Mexico. A radio operator and radio equipment were requested and sent.

Three homes belonging to members were destroyed, and sixty-seven more dwellings were damaged. But the families in need were immediately taken in by other members.

In his report to Church headquarters, four days after the first quake, Elder Cook commented: “Members from all over the country are responding magnificently with food, clothing, water, medicine, and work brigades, in a great spirit of devotion. Please be assured of our well-being and of the blessings the Lord is providing us during these days.”

Members on the Gulf Coast and East Coast of the United States also felt the Lord was watching over them when Hurricane Elena and Hurricane Gloria struck those areas. The homes of many members were damaged, but there were no major injuries. Welfare Services personnel who were standing by to provide aid as needed praised the preparedness plans of local stakes, which went into action immediately to meet the needs of members and, in many cases, nonmembers as well. Little assistance was needed above the local level.

Hurricane Elena kept Gulf Coast residents guessing about where she would head inland. The storm ended up buffeting areas from Louisiana to north central Florida.

A number of members’ homes were damaged in the Gulfport and Pascagoula, Mississippi, areas (in the Gulfport Mississippi and Mobile Alabama stakes, respectively) September 2 as Elena’s winds raked them. Several families had to move out of their homes while repairs were made.

Five families of the Chiefland Ward, Gainesville Florida Stake, were forced to evacuate their homes on Cedar Key, just off Florida’s west coast, as Hurricane Elena turned her winds in their direction. Four of the homes were damaged by floodwaters from the gulf.

Hurricane Gloria had promised to be one of the most severe storms to hit the Atlantic Coast of the United States in the past half century. The storm spun its way up the coast September 27, and though the damages it caused ran into tens of millions of dollars, it was not nearly as severe as had been expected. Nine people died as a result of the hurricane; no Church members were seriously injured.

“I really think the Lord heard the prayers in our behalf,” said Gary Winters, area Welfare Services director for the Church’s Northeast Area. “I think we were really blessed in the fact that it did as little damage as it did.”

Damages suffered by members were largely to their property and trees. Like their neighbors, many Latter-day Saints were without power for several days; some found they could not cook food they had stored.

Ed Jespersen, president of the Plainview New York Stake, opened the stake center on Long Island to members and nonmembers who needed a place to go. Some members from the south shore of Long Island used it as a refuge when their homes were flooded. Members of the Yorktown New York Stake living in the New Canaan, Connecticut, area were evacuated from their homes. Stake President Rodney Hawes opened stake meetinghouses to the community, but they were not needed.

Church members aided in the clean-up following severe Mexico City earthquakes. (Photography by John L. Hart, Church News.)

Celebrating the New Hymnbook

They came to sing hymns—and they sang with all their hearts, filling the Assembly Hall on Temple Square with the sound of praise and thanksgiving. As they rejoiced, Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985 was officially launched, and a new period of LDS music was ushered in.

Six hundred invited Saints from several states attended the celebration on 3 September 1985, representing the many people who had participated in the hymnbook project: General Authorities, hymnbook committee members and their families, authors and composers, editors, designers, typesetters, production staff, printers, and their guests.

The meeting had the flavor of a hymn festival. Directed by Vanja Y. Watkins and accompanied on the Assembly Hall organ by Bonnie L. Goodliffe, the congregation sang fourteen hymns from the new book.

Calling the hymnbook “a tremendous milestone,” President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, quoted the Lord’s promise that the song of the righteous is a prayer that will be answered with a blessing. (See D&C 25:12.) He expressed the hope that the new hymnbook will “motivate our people to sing the songs of Zion, that they may be worthy of the blessing the Lord promised through revelation.”

Later in his address, President Hinckley noted that “The Spirit of God” has been sung at every temple dedication in our dispensation, joining through music each of those great events in Church history.

Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve said, “My prayer is that we will learn once again in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to really sing. We simply must do something with our congregational singing to bring out the spirit of music in the heart and soul of every boy, every girl, every man, and every woman.”

Noting that many congregations do enjoy that spirit, he told of visiting the Saints in the German Democratic Republic. When it was time to interview priesthood leaders, he noticed about thirty brethren singing in beautiful harmony from the hymnbook. “Do these brethren represent a priesthood choir for the meeting?” he asked. “Oh, no,” he was told. “They’re the brethren we’re going to interview this afternoon. They would prefer singing to chatting.” The group sang for four hours. “If you love the Lord, if you love his doctrine,” said Elder Monson, “you’ll love the hymns. And when you love them, you sing them. This is the spirit I would hope we could inculcate in the heart of every person.”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve recalled an experience he had forty years ago when he and other war-weary infantrymen assembled on a hill in Okinawa for an LDS service. As they sang “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” they watched carefully to see who would come, knowing that the absent ones had been killed or wounded. “I don’t remember a thing that was said at that meeting, but I remember what we sang.”

Speaking “as one who spends most of his time in the world of words,” Elder Maxwell said he is continually impressed with the power of music to comfort and counsel in a way that often exceeds the power of the spoken word. “This [new hymnbook] is not alone a gathering of hymns for us to sing in our meetings—which is reason enough, but it is the means by which the rising generation will be able to learn the hymns of Zion and carry them in their minds and in their hearts whithersoever they will go.”

Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and adviser to the Hymnbook Committee, recalled the words Elder Monson told the committee early in the hymnbook’s development: “‘We want a hymnbook filled with songs the Saints will sing.’ That became our slogan,” said Elder Pinnock, “—to create a hymnal that would be utilized in our homes and in our meetings and in our conferences, that we would hum and sing wherever we might be.”

Speaking for the music committee, Karen Lynn Davidson encouraged Church members to “be open to the entire book” rather than rotating a few favorite hymns and allowing the rest of the hymnal to be a sealed book. “Our goal for the new hymnal is to have no sleepers—no dormant pages. It’s not true that the only good hymns are hymns you already know.

Tabernacle Choir, Japanese Saints Share Gospel Joy through Music

Many Tabernacle Choir members feel they reaped as much as they sowed during their recent concert tour of Japan.

While choir appearances gave a boost to missionary work in that country, choir members basked in the appreciation and kindness of the Japanese.

During the tour, August 15 to 28, the choir performed concerts in Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo, and at the Tsukuba Science Expo ’85. Choir president Wendell Smoot said some thirty thousand people attended the concerts. Millions more had the opportunity to hear the choir sing as part of a nationwide telethon benefit that raised approximately $6 million to aid victims of famine in Ethiopia.

The Tabernacle Choir tour was sponsored by the Chukyo TV Broadcasting Co., which had also sponsored the choir’s last Japanese visit, in 1979.

It was obvious that Japanese audiences were impressed by the choir. But choir members were equally impressed by the Japanese. Brother Smoot recalls, for example, the love expressed by members in Osaka, who had waited hours at the airport, despite a flight delay, to greet the choir. He recalls the thousands who sat patiently in oppressive midday heat to hear the choir at the Expo concert. Everywhere, the choir’s hosts showed exemplary graciousness. Then there was the outpouring of love when, “after every concert, Japanese members came up to us and told us how much they enjoyed our music.”

Despite the language barrier, communication took place.

Spencer Kinard, announcer for “Music and the Spoken Word,” had a written Japanese narration that briefly explained the Church’s pioneer heritage and led into the choir’s rendition of “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” He asked choir member Yoshie Walbeck, a native of Kobe, Japan, to tape it for him so he could memorize the pronunciation.

Audiences were especially appreciative of three numbers the choir sang in Japanese, including solos by JoAnn Ottley and by Sister Walbeck, Brother Smoot recalled.

“I think the biggest influence the choir had was on the members of the Church. I think they were uplifted,” Sister Walbeck commented. “When they see the world-renowned Tabernacle Choir come to Japan to sing and to mingle with them, they feel more than ever the blessing of belonging” to the Church.

Japanese audiences were very complimentary of the choir’s use of their language in song, she said. They were also impressed with the personal qualities of choir members.

Sister Walbeck noted that many Japanese members used the choir concerts as missionary tools. When one member family first learned of the coming tour, they started a Tabernacle Choir fund to buy concert tickets so they could take nonmember friends to hear the choir.

“The choir had a great uplifting influence.” Brother Smoot said. “It made them feel they are indeed ambassadors of the Church.”

Part of that influence undoubtedly came through choir members’ individual missionary efforts. Though they could not speak the language, they found a way to tell the Japanese they met about the gospel. They gave away 1,039 Japanese Books of Mormon with personal testimonies and pictures of their families inside. They also gave away 4,000 brochures about the Church, and 3,200 Articles of Faith cards carrying the picture of the choir.

Combined, the concerts, the appearance on the telethon to aid others in need, and the individual missionary efforts provided the choir a great opportunity to be “a reflection of what the Church stands for,” Brother Smoot said.

The Tabernacle Choir performs at the Tsukuba Science Expo during its Japanese tour. (Photography by Eldon Linschoten.)

South Korea Temple Opens a New Era for Saints

Korea has been the target of invasion many times throughout its history, but it has always rebounded, says Rhee, Ho Nam, regional representative in the Seoul Korea Region.

Now, it is on the verge of a new era of spiritual progress.

“When the Korean War, which lasted three years, was over in 1953, there was little left except ruins,” Brother Rhee says. “Most buildings and facilities had been destroyed.”

But with the help of friendly nations, the industrious Korean people rebuilt both their cities and their economy. Today, Seoul, a city of ten million, is a center of international business, industry, and other activities.

For Latter-day Saints, the most important building in Seoul is located about five kilometers (three miles) northwest of the city’s center in Shinchon, an area of fine residences and colleges. The Seoul Korea Temple stands on a hill there, its angel Moroni statue heralding the dawn of a new day in Korea.

Spencer J. Palmer was the mission president who arranged the purchase of the site in 1965, after Church leaders in Salt Lake City approved the recommendation to buy it. A number of things have convinced him, he says in retrospect, that the site did not come to his attention by accident—among them the fact that when the Seoul subway system was laid out years later, one of its main trunk lines ended at the base of the hill where the temple now stands.

“The subway,” Brother Rhee says, “has become a main transportation facility for the citizens.” For a moderate fare, Saints from throughout the area will be able to travel to the temple.

Much of South Korea still lay in ruins when Elder Joseph Fielding Smith of the Council of the Twelve dedicated the land for missionary work on 2 August 1955.

Though a few Koreans had already heard the gospel from LDS servicemen, full-time proselyting began with the arrival of missionaries in April of 1956. Their entry into the country was eased by Kim, Ho Jik, a government official who had joined the Church while studying at Cornell University in New York before the Korean War.

Life was hard for the Koreans in the mid-1950s because of the physical and economic devastation that surrounded them. Food and other commodities were sometimes scarce. That meant life was also difficult for the young missionaries, recalls Paul C. Andrus, who served as president of the Northern Far East Mission for seven years. But the missionaries’ testimonies were strong, and they persevered.

Their efforts were rewarded. In 1962, acting under the direction of the First Presidency, Brother Andrus organized the Korea Mission. Its first president was Gail E. Carr, who had served as a missionary in Korea under President Andrus shortly after proselyting began there. The new mission had seven branches—in Seoul, Pusan, and Taegu.

Eleven years later, in 1973, the first stake in Korea was organized. Now Korea has thirteen stakes, three missions, and nearly 41,000 Latter-day Saints.

Thousands of them are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to enter the temple, particularly because so many Koreans feel a strong bond with those who have gone before them in this life.

Lee, In Soon, a member of the Moraenae Branch, Seoul Korea North Stake, says that with the help of her father and brother, she has compiled records of her forebears back thirty generations. “I am very grateful to our Father in Heaven that I can prepare for work in the Seoul Temple for our deceased ancestors.”

Some who longed for the coming of the temple will not be present for the dedication. Saints remember the dedication of Cho, In Shik, Korea’s first genealogy missionary. Despite advancing age Brother Cho, then seventy-three years old, visited all the stakes and districts in the country in connection with his calling, motivated by a strong desire to help members prepare for the vicarious work to be performed in the House of the Lord. But he died before he could enter the Seoul Korea Temple.

Missionaries of the 1950s and 60s may lovingly recall “Mother Kim.” In her later years, illness forced Sister Kim, Do Pil, to attend meetings in the Chung Woon Ward, Seoul Korea Stake, in a wheelchair. Her medical treatment was very expensive, so it was a surprise to her bishop when she came to him with 300,000 Korean won (more than $300 in United States currency), “a little money” for the temple fund, she said. The bishop knew it was nearly all she had. She, too, is gone from this life.

On 1 April 1981, Brother Rhee says, after President Spencer W. Kimball’s announcement of a temple in South Korea hit home, members were asking themselves: “What does the Lord want us to do regarding the temple?” Like Sister Kim and Brother Cho, thousands of Saints have found the answer to that question, and they have been setting their lives in order so their service in the temple can begin.

Devoted Korean Saints eagerly await dedication of the temple in Seoul.

Genealogical Society Holds Conference in Salt Lake City

The National Genealogical Society had the largest attendance ever at its national conference when the group met in Salt Lake City in August. An officer of the group says the Church’s Genealogical Library was part of the reason.

Kip Sperry, who served as NGS national conference chairman for 1984–85, says the quality of the program and of the convention facilities—Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace—also contributed to the success of the convention. But, he said, the LDS Church headquarters is thought of as “the international center for genealogy,” because of the library and the Church’s emphasis on genealogy. Many of those attending the conference came early or stayed afterward to take advantage of the opportunity to work in the Church library.

Brother Sperry, a collection development specialist for the United States and Canada in the Church’s Genealogical Library and the only LDS member of the NGS governing council, said more than 2,300 people came to the August 6–9 conference. That was double the attendance at any previous national conference since the 82-year-old NGS began holding them in 1981.

Friend, New Era Now 12 Issues Yearly

The New Era and the Friend, the Church’s magazines for youth and for children, will each publish twelve issues per year in 1986.

The change was announced in a letter to priesthood leaders from President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve.

In recent years, the two magazines have been publishing eleven issues annually.

“To help cover increases in paper, postage, and printing costs and the expense of the additional issues, the annual subscription rate will increase from $7.00 to $8.00,” the letter said.

“The addition of one more issue per year will help these two magazines to perform better their role of strengthening Latter-day Saints of all ages,” said Elder Carlos E. Asay of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Editor of Church magazines.

Probably the most important thing about the change, commented Brian Kelly, managing editor of the New Era, “is that it keeps the continuity; it keeps readers in touch with the Brethren and Church headquarters on an unbroken, monthly basis.”

Vivian Paulsen, Friend managing editor, said continuity in the flow of magazines will keep children from missing features they enjoy, especially during a period of the year when most readers are just returning to school.

The increase in subscription cost for the two magazines took effect September 1. Those who have paid subscriptions in advance, however, will not need to pay any additional cost until it is time to renew their subscriptions.

Policies and Announcements

The following letter from the First Presidency concerning the new Church hymnbook has been sent to priesthood leaders in English-speaking units throughout the Church.

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new Church hymnbook. We are confident that it will increase interest and participation in music in the Church.

The new hymnbook is now available from the Salt Lake Distribution Center. It will be available to overseas areas at a later date. This exciting event commemorates the publication of the Church’s first hymnbook in 1835, 150 years ago.

Old hymnbooks will become obsolete; you may sell them at a nominal cost to members for use in their homes. You may wish to retain a selected number of old hymnbooks for possible use by your choir.

You may order the new Church hymnbook from your distribution center. We encourage all units to purchase it as soon as practical.

When the Lord instructed Emma Smith to compile our first hymnbook, he indicated that “sacred hymns” are “pleasing unto me. … For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” (D&C 25:11–12.) Hymns play an important role in blessing the lives of Church members. We encourage local leaders to—

  1. 1.

    Urge members to participate actively in congregational singing. Occasionally, assign sacrament meeting speakers to talk about the importance of worthy music and the value of singing hymns. (See the preface of the new hymnbook.) Encourage everyone, whether musically inclined or not, to participate in singing.

  2. 2.

    Encourage the use of the hymns. Find opportunities, such as firesides, programs, and other special occasions, to help members become acquainted with the new hymns. See that ward members become familiar with the features of the new hymnbook, such as the new topical index, the scripture references, and the “Using the Hymnbook” section. Encourage the use of hymns in priesthood and auxiliary opening exercises, classes, leadership meetings, youth meetings, and other Church gatherings. Urge organists and pianists to play the hymns and other appropriate selections as prelude and postlude music to enhance the reverence of our meetings. Encourage members to use hymns as musical numbers in sacrament meeting.

  3. 3.

    Promote a choir in every ward and branch. The choir is an excellent resource to help acquaint members with the new hymns. Encourage the choir to sing in sacrament meeting at least twice each month throughout the year and to use the hymnbook as their basic resource. Find a convenient time for the choir to rehearse without conflicts in ward and stake schedules. Involve youth in the choir. Invite Relief Society, priesthood, youth, and children’s choirs from the ward to perform the hymns in sacrament meeting.

  4. 4.

    Encourage parents to provide uplifting music in their homes and to sing the hymns with their families. Urge families to have a copy of the new hymnbook in their homes. Perhaps families could occasionally sing their favorite hymn as a musical number in sacrament meeting.

  5. 5.

    Encourage members to memorize their favorite hymns as a source of personal strength and increased spirituality.

We appreciate your support of increased hymn singing in the Church.

The following items are from the September 1985 Bulletin.

Book of Mormon Placements. The Book of Mormon has great converting power. All members of the Church should be anxious to participate in selling at cost or placing the book with those who are not yet members of the Church. Priesthood leaders and members are encouraged to distribute the Book of Mormon through every honorable means so that more nonmembers can be exposed to this sacred volume of scripture. Members have been very resourceful in developing their own means to place the Book of Mormon and should be encouraged to do so. Some of the more common means of distribution are—

  1. 1.

    Direct gifts from a member to a nonmember friend (perhaps for a birthday, anniversary, holiday, graduation, or other special occasion)

  2. 2.

    The family-to-family Book of Mormon program

  3. 3.

    Placement in libraries

  4. 4.

    Display at fairs, exhibits, visitors’ centers, firesides, and other hosted events

  5. 5.

    Placement in hotels, motels, professional offices, commercial book stores, transportation centers (bus, train, or airline terminals), or other public places. All such placements should be with the permission of the owner or proprietor.

Seventies quorums and stake missions may be assigned to supervise and promote the distribution of the Book of Mormon in their area.

Using Hymns. The use of hymns for prelude music and for basic repertoire for choirs, as well as for congregational singing, is encouraged. Attention is called to these statements: “Hymns are appropriate as prelude music, and may be used in addition to other suitable repertoire” (Guidebook for Organists, p. 6); “Every ward and branch in the Church should have a choir that performs regularly. We encourage choirs to use the hymnbook as their basic resource” (“First Presidency Preface,” Hymns, 1985, p. x.) Members of the Church are also encouraged to use hymns to bless their personal lives and their homes.

The “First Presidency Preface” includes the following statement concerning music in the home: “Music has boundless powers for moving families toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel. Latter-day Saints should fill their homes with the sound of worthy music” (p. x.)

Bishop Pace Tells U.S. Senate Panel How Saints Aided in Famine Relief

Bishop Glenn L. Pace, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, was among those testifying in favor of a national day of fasting during hearings of a United States Senate committee recently.

Bishop Pace was invited to testify before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, which endorsed a proposal by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch that U.S. residents be urged to fast on the Sunday before their Thanksgiving holiday. They would then contribute the money they save on food toward helping victims of famine in Africa.

Such an effort would be similar to what was accomplished on January 27 this year when, at the invitation of the First Presidency, some three million Church members in the United States and Canada donated $6.4 million in fast offerings toward famine relief.

Bishop Pace explained to the committee that Latter-day Saints fast regularly, believing fasting can increase spirituality. Church members then have the opportunity to contribute the money thus saved on food to the support of the needy.

When the January 27 fast was called, he said, “Our members were informed that all of the contributions would go directly to the relief agencies without a penny being spent on overhead in the Church. This commitment we have kept without reservation.”

He explained that Church leaders carefully evaluated relief agencies before committing the funds donated by members. Thus far, he said, these funds have been committed to the following groups: League of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Committee of the Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, CARE, and Africare.

Geographically, the funds have gone for relief efforts in Ethiopia, Sudan, Mali, Chad, and Mauritania.

He said approximately two-thirds of the funds went into emergency relief and one-third into development projects.

Bishop Pace said the Church is “proud to be associated with all agencies trying to relieve pain and suffering which has become a part of the everyday life of millions of people living in these troubled lands.

“Some few within and without the Church have criticized us for extending aid to those who are victims of the policies, politics, or mismanagement of their governments,” he told the Senate committee. “The response given by President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, has been: ‘Where there is stark hunger, regardless of the cause, [we should] not let political considerations dull [our] sense of mercy or thwart [our] responsibility to the sons and daughters of God, wherever they may be or whatever their circumstances.’” (Ensign, May 1985, p. 54.)

On the “Homefront,” Response Is Good, Outlook Positive

He’s blond, irresistibly cute, and the picture of concentration as he slices sausage and prepares to toss a ring of green pepper at the pizza he and his two sisters are making. “Share a little bit of yourself …” echoes on the soundtrack in the background while these three engaging children prepare and present their offering of love to an older shut-in friend.

A man who has been beaten and robbed crawls out of an alley onto a rainy inner city sidewalk and begs for help. Passersby carefully walk around him until one, driving down the opposite side of the street, sees the pitiful figure and stops to rescue him.

Father and Mother surprise their children in a water fight around the farm’s equipment shed. “Don’t anybody move,” Father says sternly to the muddy kids—then returns with the camera to snap their picture for the family album. To the tune of the catchy soundtrack, “Don’t Let the Magic Pass You By,” Mother douses Father with the hose and puts him into the middle of the flay.

Do these scenes sound familiar?

They probably should. At the end, they carry this identifier: “From the Mormons, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Millions of television viewers in North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and Italy have been exposed to these and similar messages during the past fourteen years.

They are part of the Church’s much-honored series of “Homefront” radio and television public service messages. Since the first campaign was aired in 1971, “Homefront” messages have won more than three hundred awards because of their quality and content.

But the honors they have won are not the most important thing about these radio and television “spots.”

“The (‘Homefront’) message is to families and children,” says Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve. The intent is “to make people better people and draw them closer to Heavenly Father.”

With “Homefront,” he says, “We think we’re rendering a public service. We’re offering new perspectives on the way people ought to relate to each other.”

Most of the people who decide whether “Homefront” spots get on the air—television and radio station public service/public affairs directors—seem to agree that the announcements really do offer a public service. Wrote one radio station executive: “I have often found your spots to be both helpful and informative, and they have aided me in my personal life. … They are always entertaining and thought-provoking, as well as having excellent production and writing quality.”

That last sentence holds the key to the success of the twenty-four “Homefront” campaigns, says Richard D. Alsop, president of Bonneville Media Communications and the man who originally developed the “Homefront” idea. Broadcast stations want a good product to serve their audience, he explains. Poor quality public service announcements aren’t used, but good ones get plenty of air time.

The first “Homefront” campaign “exceeded our wildest expectations” in terms of placement on broadcast stations, he recalls. And placement has improved since then. “Homefront” spots are broadcast by 5,429 radio stations and 788 television stations in the United States and Canada, by 6,001 radio stations and 752 television stations in Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking areas, by 76 radio and 30 television stations in Australia, by the national radio and television network in New Zealand, and by 473 radio and 63 television stations in Italy.

In producing “Homefront” campaigns, Brother Alsop explains, “our objective has been to promote family solidarity and identify the name of the Church.” Great care is taken to be sure the messages have substance. “We identify that there’s a need, but we try to incorporate also a solution—something someone could go home and apply that night with the family.”

The effort to use the full name of the Church in the “Homefront” announcements has had its effect. Some non-LDS viewers and listeners have written to say that they did not know Mormons believed in Christ until they heard the Church’s formal name. Others have said the spirit of love, warmth, and joy they feel through “Homefront” communicates the love of Christ, countering claims of critics that Latter-day Saints aren’t Christians.

The spots are “transculturized,” Brother Alsop says, “if we have an idea that has international relevance.” Sometimes dialogue is simply “looped in” in Australian or Spanish voices. Or a spot may be originated or reshot to fit a local culture. In 1984, for example, Bonneville Media Communications simply dubbed in Australian voices for the dialogue in one campaign, but filmed another spot especially for Australia, dealing with drug problems prevalent there.

The Church has run four “Homefront” campaigns that requested audience responses, noted Stephen B. Allen, director of the Missionary Department’s Media Division. The campaigns drew letters “by the thousands.”

One, “Bridges and Gaps,” offered a game parents and teenagers could play to help enhance communication. Many of those who wrote to request the game expressed their feelings about what they hoped it could do for them. One man, for example, told of a painful, distant relationship with his father, and of a desire to express his love. “Maybe your challenging word game can bring us together and help me find a way to tell him.”

Another person wrote: “My daughter left the enclosed note. … She says they have a terrific game parents are supposed to play with their kids. … I guess our family needs it, if it means so much that my daughter would write me a note about it.”

Even when no responses are solicited, audiences write. One young man responded to a spot on loneliness, closing: “Although I now find it harder each day to face the sun, it is wonderful to know that somewhere, someone cares.”

Not long ago, the Church began a new series of spots aimed at children and teens, “Homefront Jr.” It “has been the best-accepted campaign we’ve ever done,” Brother Allen says. “Homefront Jr.” spots—the “Share a Little” vignette with the children making pizza, for example—have been used by 98 percent of the 958 television stations that received them. One of the commercial television networks in the United States reversed a long-standing policy against accepting PSA’s from religious organizations; it chose to run the “Homefront Jr.” spots because of their message and their quality.

Noting the great potential of the media for missionary work, Elder Ballard explained that the Church nevertheless must be careful in “Homefront” spots not to compromise the legal and moral responsibility of stations to serve the interests of all their viewers and listeners. The spots must contain messages of benefit to individuals and families of any religious persuasion. Still, the messages are built on values found in the gospel taught by Christ.

“It’s a very difficult, delicate, sensitive balance we’re wrestling with. We think we’re making progress.”

Obviously, the “Homefront” spots are achieving at least part of their objective in that they “help people very much regardless of religious affiliation,” Elder Ballard comments. And they do spark considerable interest in the Church.

But as good as the messages may be now, there are undoubtedly improvements possible which could cause more viewers or listeners to seek additional information about the Church from missionaries or from their LDS neighbors, he says.

The Lord commanded that the gospel be taken to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. (See D&C 42:58.) “Following that mandate, we’re going to do everything we know how with the media, the missionaries, and the members to do what the Lord has told us to do,” Elder Ballard affirms.

Children show they care for an older shut-in friend by giving an unusual gift—a specially prepared pizza with everything, including love. The spot is part of the “Share a Little” campaign.

A spectacular mud fight turns into a cherished family memory in one popular “Homefront” television spot.

LDS Scene

President Marion G. Romney, First Counselor in the First Presidency, celebrated his eighty-eighth birthday September 19. He marked the occasion at a celebration with members of his family. He was born in Colonia Juarez, Mexico, in 1897. President Romney has been a General Authority for more than half his life, since 6 April 1941, when he was called as the first Assistant to the Twelve. He was ordained to the Council of the Twelve 11 October 1951 and called as Second Counselor to President Harold B. Lee 7 July 1972.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Council of the Twelve has been named an honorary professor by Shandong Medical College of Jinan, Shandong Province, People’s Republic of China. The honor came because of his previous work at the college. Elder Nelson, a cardiovascular surgeon, served as a visiting professor at the college in 1981 and again in 1984, shortly after receiving his current calling to the Twelve. Dr. Li Shouxian, one of four physicians from the Chinese college who are working at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City as part of a professional exchange, represented the school’s president in bestowing the honor on Elder Nelson during a luncheon in Salt Lake City September 27. It is the first honorary professorship ever bestowed by the Chinese school.

The first LDS-built meetinghouse in Ghana was dedicated August 18 at Cape Coast by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve. Elder Russell C. Taylor of the First Quorum of the Seventy, First Counselor in the Europe Area Presidency, spoke at the meeting, along with Ghana Accra Mission President Miles Cunningham. The new meetinghouse will house three branches. While there are 800 members in the mission’s Cape Coast District, approximately 1,300 people attended the dedication, including community leaders and village chiefs.

A statue of the angel Moroni was hoisted into place atop the Sydney Australia Temple September 3, after an Australian court overruled a local government decision that had prohibited the statue. The court ruling allowed the statue to be put in place immediately. The statue was hoisted to the top of the tallest spire on the temple by a crane the next day.

The government of South Korea recently honored Brigham Young University professor Spencer J. Palmer for his three decades of research in Korean history, culture, and religion. Brother Palmer, a professor of Church history and doctrine at BYU, is also associate director for BYU’s David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies.

Gladys Dickey of the Omaha Third Ward, Omaha Nebraska Stake, and her four sons were among families given the Great American Family Award by Nancy Reagan, wife of the United States president. They are the only single-parent family ever to win the award, sponsored by the American Family Society.


Temple President

Samuel Boren has been called as president of the Lima Peru Temple. His wife, Clara, will serve as temple matron. President Boren has previously served as president of the Mexico Veracruz, Italy Milan, and Italy Catania missions. Sister Boren is a former member of the Relief Society General Board. Both are natives of Argentina.

Regional Representative

Harrisburg and Philadelphia Pennsylvania regions, Kenneth Wayne Whitt, president of a manufacturing and engineering consulting firm.

Relief Society Board

Jayne B. Malan, Holladay Seventh Ward, Salt Lake Mt. Olympus Stake.

Stake Presidents

Sugar City Idaho Stake, Kenneth Rex Howell, director of public relations for Ricks College; Vienna Austria Stake, Ernst Husz, a comptroller for a newspaper.

La Carlota Philippines Stake (from a division of the Bacolod Philippines Stake), Antonio V. Custodio, an operator in charge of a telecommunications bureau; Legaspi Philippine Stake (new), Jose P. Leveriza, a professor of public administration at Bicol University; Makiling Philippines Stake (new), Jose T. Aguilar, an agribusinessman; Merthyr Tydfil Wales, John Edward Mahoney, manager of a forklift company; Monroe Louisiana Stake (new), John Robert Falk, vice-president/general manager of a paper sack manufacturing firm; Naga Philippines Stake (new), Avelino S. Babia, Sr., a surveyor.

San Pablo Philippines Stake (new), Cleofas S. Canoy, an agricultural research specialist; Sandy Springs Georgia Stake, Paul Anderson Snow, regional manager for a mortgage banking firm; Santiago Chile Puento Alto Stake (from a division of the Santiago Chile La Florida Stake), Jorge Andres Pedrero, a physician; Santiago Chile San Miguel Stake (from a division of the Santiago Chile Republica Stake), Hector Gustavo Carvajal, a businessman.

Birmingham Alabama Stake, Barry Wayne Seidel, an engineer; Caldwell Idaho Stake, Hal Evan Mickelsen, a dentist; Charleston South Carolina Stake, Lynn Holt Blake, research director at the Medical University of South Carolina; Dayton Ohio East Stake, Brent Marvin Strong, a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force; Houston Texas South Stake (from a division of the Houston Texas Stake), Bevan B. Blake, an economic specialist with an oil company; Lima Peru San Juan Stake, Juan Santiago Vergaray, regional supervisor for real estate with the Presiding Bishopric’s office; Lima Peru Villa Maria Stake (from a division of the Lima Peru San Juan Stake), Juan Maguina, a health technician and salesman.

Davao Philippines Buhangin Stake (from a division of the Davao Philippines Stake), Patrick Hartford Morgan Clair, a lumber dealer; Eugene Oregon Stake, Ned Jay Christensen, chairman of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of Oregon.