News of the Church

By DeLynn Decker


Elder O. Leslie Stone Eulogized

“I have received the sweet and comforting assurance that there is no untimely passing of a General Authority. Elder Stone’s earthly service is finished. He has been called to further important service in the great program of the Lord, which moves forward on both sides of the veil.”

So spoke President Ezra Taft Benson in memorializing Elder O. Leslie Stone of the First Quorum of the Seventy April 30 at funeral services in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. President Benson also praised Elder Stone as a man of “deep spiritual insight, with Christlike attributes.”

Elder O. Leslie Stone

President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, also spoke, pointing out that as a successful businessman, Elder Stone nevertheless followed the Savior’s admonition to focus his greatest efforts in life on things that were heavenly, not earthly, treasures. Among these treasures were his wife, Dorothy, and his sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. Another of Elder Stone’s treasures was the testimony he so frequently bore.

In a family tribute, Elder Stone’s son Ronald, bishop of the Modesto Fifth Ward, Modesto California North Stake, recalled his father’s loving service to his brothers and sisters, his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. Speaking for family members, Bishop Stone expressed gratitude to his departed father: “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for a beautiful life, for a heritage of solid teachings.”

President Lorenzo Hoopes of the Oakland Temple, a long-time friend of Elder Stone, read a biographical sketch.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the funeral service. Elder David B. Haight and Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve gave the invocation and benediction, respectively, and Elder James E. Faust, also of the Twelve, dedicated the grave before the burial in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Elder Stone, eighty-two, had been in failing health. He died at his Salt Lake City home 26 April 1986 of natural causes. He had been an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy since 1980, having been a member of that quorum since its organization in 1976. He had served as an Assistant to the Twelve since October of 1972, and also as president of the Salt Lake Temple for four years before his calling as a General Authority.

O. Leslie Stone was born 28 May 1903 in Chapin, Idaho, a Son of Frank J. and Mabel Crandall Stone. Following his public school education, he attended Brigham Young University for a time before going into the grocery business with his father and a brother. Eventually, they operated seventy Stone’s Cash Stores in Idaho. In the 1920s, their stores were sold to M.B. Skaggs, organizer of the Safeway Stores. Leslie Stone joined the Safeway organization as personnel director and worked his way up to executive vice-president before he and his employer formed Skaggs-Stone Wholesale, a general merchandising company, in 1946.

In addition to his callings as temple president and as a General Authority, he had served as a bishop, president of the Oakland-Berkeley Stake, chairman of the Oakland Temple District during planning and construction of the temple, and as a regional representative.

Elder Stone served for several years as Executive Director of the Church’s Temple Department before being named to emeritus status in his quorum.

O. Leslie Stone married Dorothy Cobbley of Blackfoot, Idaho, 23 April 1924 in the Salt Lake Temple. She passed away last September. Their sons James Reed Stone and Douglas Leslie Stone also preceded him in death. Sons Ronald V. and Thomas R. both live in Modesto, California. The Stones have seventeen grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.

Be Firm in Faith, President Benson Tells BYU Graduates

Speaking at commencement exercises April 18, President Ezra Taft Benson told Brigham Young University graduates—“the future of the Church, the coming leaders”—that they must “stand firm in the faith, unwavering in the face of evil.”

President Benson presided at the exercises, which were conducted by President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. Some 2,726 graduate and undergraduate students received their degrees at the April commencement exercises; added to the 1,333 December 1985 graduates who were invited to attend the exercises, 4,059 students were awarded degrees.

“We hope you will be happy,” President Benson said, reminding them that “there is no happiness in wickedness. You cannot do wrong and feel right. It is impossible!”

In order to live the “full, wholesome, joyful life” the Lord expects men and women to have, he continued, “you must have a testimony of the truth. I have seen so much evidence of the strength of testimony under the most adverse economic and social conditions that I have reached the conclusion in my own mind that men and women can endure anything and keep their spirits sweet and wholesome provided they have a testimony of the divinity of this great work—the greatest work in all the world.

“You must seek for it, pray for it, live for it. Be assured it will come—I bear you my witness that I know it will come—because the God of heaven wants every one of his children to know that He lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. You may each know that if you live for it. I’m sure of it.”

President Benson emphasized that the Lord intends Church members to be a light to the world.

“Remember, my beloved brothers and sisters, you will never have any occasion to be embarrassed among people who count—real men and women—if you live according to the standards, teachings, and ideals of the Church. I know that’s true.

“Sometimes in our attempts to mimic the world, contrary to counsel, we run after the world’s false standards. New worldly standards take over, but God’s righteous children should be living up to the highest personal standards, preparing for and awaiting a better day which surely must come.

“We do not wish you a life of ease. You will have your problems, your disappointments, your heartaches. It is not on the pinnacle of success where men and women grow most. It is often down in the valley of heartache and disappointment and reverses where men and women grow strong characters. But God intended that this life be essentially a satisfying and joyous life,” President Benson commented.

We may achieve the happiness God intended, he said, if we hold to the iron rod, are true to the faith, maintain the standards the Lord has set, and “follow a course that is safe so that we may be exalted.”

In his remarks to the graduates, BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland urged them to represent BYU well as they go out into the world. He reminded them that people will not be able to visit the campus “to measure us,” so they will judge BYU, and to some extent the Church, by the graduates who come from the university.

Arthur Henry King, a professor of English, was the commencement speaker. He spoke of the nature of love and how it spreads through the human family. He told the graduates to seek education for the right reason—to be able to offer themselves, thus improved, to the Lord in loving service to others and to him.

[photo] President Benson visits with BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland before the university’s commencement exercises. (Photo by Mark Philbrick, BYU Public Communications.)

Mission Presidents

The First Presidency has announced the assignments of new mission presidents. The mission leaders will assume their new responsibilities July 1.

Mission

New President

Alabama Birmingham

M. Dalton Cannon, Jr.

Argentina Bahia Blanca

Agricol Lozano

Argentina Buenos Aires North

Paul R. (Hap) Green

Australia Adelaide

Wallace F. Gray

Australia Brisbane

Robert G. West

Australia Melbourne

Aldon J. Anderson

Australia Perth

William Campbell

Brazil Campinas

Sheldon R. Murphy

Brazil Curitiba

Robert P. Swensen

Brazil Recife

Franklin L. McKean

California San Bernardino

Melvin E. Gourdin

Canada Toronto

John W. Hardy

Canada Vancouver

Donald L. Hoskin

Chile Concepcion

Robert H Lemmon

Chile Santiago South

Jerald Lynn Taylor

Colombia Bogota

Frank E. Berrett

Denmark Copenhagen

Dee V. Jacobs

Dominican Republic Santo Domingo

Michael D. Stirling

Ecuador Guayaquil

J. Lynn Shawcroft

Germany Frankfurt

Christian Vikari

Haiti Port-au-Prince

David S. King

Hong Kong

Charles W. H. Goo

Illinois Chicago

William C. Tanner, Jr.

Illinois Peoria

H. Hal Visick

Indiana Indianapolis

Mardon C. Lamb

Ireland Dublin

Don S. Gull

Italy Milan

Frank Lombardo

Italy Rome

Dwight B. Williams *

Italy Catania

Vincenzo Conforte

Japan Kobe

Morris R. Sterrett

Japan Osaka

Shigeki Moriyama

Korea Tae Chon

Moo Kwang Hong

Korea Seoul West

Gil Whe Do

Louisiana Baton Rouge

L. Aldin Porter

Mexico Merida

Aurelio Valdespino

Mexico Monterrey

Efrain Villalobos

Micronesia Guam

David J. Rollins

Missouri St. Louis

D. D. Rydalch

New Mexico Albuquerque

M. Darrell Nilson

New York New York

Willard B. Barton

New Zealand Christchurch

Dean D. Baxter

Nigeria Lagos

Robert E. Sackley

North Carolina Raleigh

Neal E. Lambert

Norway Oslo

Jay Ross Hyer

Ohio Akron

T. Kay Edmunds

Oklahoma Tulsa

Samuel O. Thompson

Oregon Portland

J. Samuel Park

Paraguay Asuncion

John J. Whetten

Pennsylvania Philadelphia

Keith A. Poelman

Pennsylvania Pittsburgh

Douglas F. Prince

Peru Arequipa

James R. Young

Peru Lima North

Martin H. Durrant

Philippines Manila

E. William Jackson

Philippines Quezon City

Joel E. Leetham

Provo M.T.C.

George D. Durrant

Puerto Rico San Juan

Wilford M. Farnsworth, Jr.

Spain Barcelona

J. Boyd Fenn

Switzerland Zurich

Richard H. Cracroft

Taiwan Taichung

Gary S. Williams

Texas Lubbock

Lyle L. Wasden

Texas San Antonio

Dale J. Huntsman

Tonga Nuku‘alofa

Eric B. Shumway

Utah Salt Lake City South

V. Dallas Merrell

Virginia Roanoke

James W. Ritchie

Washington D.C. North

Dennis E. Simmons

Washington D.C. South

John L. Ward

Washington Spokane

Bruce A. Lloyd

Wisconsin Milwaukee

William B. Green

  1.   *

    Transferred from Italy Catania Mission

Appointments

Stake Presidents

Grantsville Utah Stake, LaDell Guy Brown; Cheyenne Wyoming Stake, Wallace LaVon Stock; Sandy Utah Crescent West Stake, Robert Lewis Roylance.

Kingwood Texas Stake, Raymond Douglas Stewart; Munoz Philippines Stake, Juanito Wytangcoy Tanedo; Hayward California Stake, Mark Ralph Sylvester; Alexandria Louisiana Stake, Bremen Wayne Baker; Guayana Venezuela Stake, Luis Antonio Aguilar Guevara; Farmington New Mexico Stake, Major Wallis Graham; Orem Utah Stake, Willard Eugene Gibbons; Jalapa Mexico Stake (new), Jorge Sanchez; Edinburgh Scotland Stake, Richard Van Hagen; Durban South Africa Stake, Colin H. Bricknell.

Salt Lake Jordan North Stake, Dennis J. Nordfelt; Spanish Fork Utah South Stake, Jerald Blaine Swenson; BYU—Hawaii First Stake, Lloyd M. Munson; Lake City Florida Stake (new, from a division of the Tallahassee Florida, Gainesville Florida, and Jacksonville Florida West Stakes), Ernest R. Peacock; Tijuana Mexico Stake, Jose de Jesus Gallardo Lopez; La Mesa Mexico Stake (new, from a division of the Tijuana Mexico Stake), Angel Luevano Cordova; Colonia Juarez Mexico Stake, John Brentnell Robinson III; BYU Tenth Stake, John Bailey Stohlton; South Jordan Utah East Stake, Frank Val Davis; Menan Idaho Stake, Lyle Dean Taylor; Chandler Arizona Stake, Martin D. Kempton; Yokohama Japan Stake, Seiya Tanaka.

A Conversation about Helping the Handicapped in Local Units

The Ensign recently spoke with Douglas L. Hind, manager of Special Curriculum, about the help available to members of the Church with handicaps.

Q: Does the Church have any special resources to help those with handicaps?

A: Yes. The Church has a number of printed and audiovisual resources available to local leaders, who are encouraged to find ways to best use these resources and those available in their communities to serve their own members. There are stakes in the Church that hold special midweek Young Men and Young Women meetings for the mentally retarded and learning disabled. Other areas have special area conferences for those who are handicapped, their families, and leaders.

Many of these needs can best be met at an Area level, under direction of the Area Presidencies. Some needs and problems can be solved at the stake level, with a high councilor having the responsibility for those with special needs. Other problems can best be handled on the ward or branch level.

One of the best things members can do is to take an interest in handicapped individuals and include them and their families in family and Church activities.

Q: What are the resources available through the Church? For example, for the blind?

A: We offer the Ensign Talking Book on half-speed cassettes. We produce all the basic Church manuals on cassette and some in braille. Some items are produced in large print. Upon request—and as our resources allow—we can put Church materials on cassette or in braille. For example, if a blind member in North Dakota gets called to be the new Scoutmaster and makes a request, we can record the Scout handbook or other related materials.

We also have on cassette the scripture readers—Book of Mormon, Old and New Testament—many of the Primary manuals, and the Family Home Evening Resource Book.

The Church has recently obtained a braille computer, and we are gradually producing more and more items in braille.

Q: What materials are available to help deaf members?

A: We have just put on videocassette the Book of Mormon and the Old and New Testament scripture readers. These videos use the same pictures from the books and filmstrips, but the text is given in sign language. Many of the regular videos available through the Salt Lake Distribution Center are also available through our department with either signing or closed captions.

Last year we completed a video, And They Shall Have Joy. This video, explaining the plan of salvation, was produced with an all-deaf cast using sign language. Another videocassette presents all the priesthood ordinances performed in sign language and explains how the ordinances can be performed either by deaf priesthood holders or for the deaf.

A new development is our ability to broadcast closed captions over the Church’s satellite system and other Church media. The general conferences, satellite broadcasts, and other selected firesides and programs will be closed captioned.

This year the National Association for the Deaf is having their annual conference in Salt Lake City. In conjunction with this, the Church will hold a Deaf Symposium on 18–21 July 1986. This is for local leaders, parents, and deaf members and will feature workshops, a play with deaf actors, a special fireside, and a testimony meeting.

Q: What are the special helps for the mentally retarded and those with learning disabilities ?

A: All of the scripture story readers are excellent for the mentally retarded. They are most effective when the readers and audiocassettes are used together so the individual can hear the words and view the illustrations simultaneously. For the same reason, the mentally retarded would find useful our captioned filmstrips on Church history, the Book of Mormon, and the Old Testament.

We have also prepared Guidelines for Parents and Guardians of Handicapped Children (PBIC0449; $2.95) and Teaching the Handicapped (PBIC0187, $5.00), which may be very helpful to those who work with the handicapped. Lists of these and materials useful to those with other handicaps are available through our office. Anyone interested in copies of these listings may write to Special Curriculum, 24th Floor, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.

[photo] Douglas Hind, manager of Special Curriculum. (Photography by Jed A. Clark.)

’85 Mexico Quake: Ruins Then, Greater Faith Today

When disaster struck Mexico City in the form of a devastating earthquake at 7:19 A.M. on 19 September 1985, a number of Latter-day Saints suffered the effects of the quake at very close range. Ten of them were killed. Many others found good reason to thank Heavenly Father for protection from death. And for one, finding life beneath the tons of rubble that had been a hospital was a reaffirmation of the importance of every soul. Following are the stories of four affected by the disaster.

“It’s papa! It’s papa, and he’s alive!” the Ramos children shouted when the taxi stopped in front of their house in Merida, Yucatan.

The shouts brought their mother running to greet her husband. Having him return seemed like a wonderful gift, for news accounts from Mexico City following the earthquake had made them fear he was dead.

“There are no words to express what I felt in those moments [of reunion], loving my family as I did, and having them confirm their love for me by their tears and affection,” says Teodulo Ramos.

He had bade them goodbye on September 16 to fly to Mexico City for a job interview. Maria Esthela Rosales de Ramos knew it was her husband’s habit to stay in the Hotel Regis when he visited Mexico City on business, and he made no exception on this trip.

After his interview on the seventeenth, Brother Ramos was told that he would be appointed a regional construction supervisor for the Church in the southeastern part of Mexico. His new responsibilities would make it necessary to move to Mexico City, and he recalls that on the following day, September 18, finding a house to rent for his family kept him away from his hotel room until about 9:00 P.M.

He did not feel sleepy, so he considered going out to a play or a movie. But he chose instead to go to bed around 10:00 P.M.

“About 1:30 in the morning, I woke up thinking about the pressures of my new assignment, about my family, about the new house, and I lay that way until morning. I felt a restlessness—something strange, an uncertainty.”

“I know that in those moments when I awoke, the Spirit was with me. It was whispering to me that something was going to happen,” he reflects. Had he stayed out late the night before, he almost certainly would not have awakened, or at least would have arisen later, “and perhaps I would not be telling this.”

Brother Ramos rose at 5:00, got ready to go to his new job, and left the hotel by 6:00 A.M. He took the subway and had already arrived at the Church offices when the earthquake hit. There was no significant damage at the Church offices; the heaviest destruction was confined to an area in the center of the capital, with major damage in scattered areas of the city. Many large buildings fell, including, Brother Ramos learned on a radio broadcast later, the Hotel Regis. Thousands of Mexicans died in the earthquake, which measured 8.1 on the Richter scale. Approximately thirty thousand were injured, and fifty thousand were left homeless. A major aftershock one day later added little to the death toll, but brought down more of the damaged structures.

Knowing his wife had probably heard news reports of the destruction of his hotel, Brother Ramos tried every means of contacting her. Unable to make contact on the nineteenth, he went to the city of Tulancingo, in the adjoining state of Hidalgo, and tried without success to call her from there. He went on to his brother’s home in Poza Rica, Veracruz, but was still unable to contact his wife. So he returned to Mexico City and took a flight home to that joyful reunion with his family, three days after the earthquake.

He never returned to the Hotel Regis to try to reclaim his luggage. He knew it was buried under tons of debris. “I can replace it. But life cannot be replaced,” Brother Ramos says. “I give thanks to the Lord that I am alive.”

At 7:00 A.M. that Thursday morning, Bertha Reyes Valdez de Tellez, a counselor in the presidency of the Relief Society of the Aragon Second Ward, Mexico City Mexico Aragon Stake, was at her post on the third floor of the San Juan telephone center. Her floor held three rooms full of switching devices. Six to eight women usually worked in a small long distance department office there, and by that hour, five of them were to be at work.

One of them was late in arriving, so Sister Tellez went to look for her. As the latecomer entered the office, Sister Tellez felt the building begin to sway. Realizing what was happening, they murmured a few words of comfort to each other as they positioned themselves in the door frame. The other women in the room clustered there too.

“At first I was not worried,” Sister Tellez recalls, “but then I felt the intensity [of the earthquake] increasing.” Panes of glass fell out of the windows, ceiling panels dropped, water ran from broken pipes in some walls, and chunks of building materials fell from the walls, shattering the glass on top of desks.

“Really, I wasn’t frightened or panicky; I was resigned that this was the end. I closed my eyes to pray,” she remembers. She tried to shut out the wailing of coworkers. When she opened her eyes after her short prayer, the shaking had stopped, but she was covered with fine debris and the air was full of dust. She could hear her companions making their way down the stairs.

Her route out of the office took her past the only telephone that appeared intact. She tried it, and to her surprise, it worked! She called her home to assure herself of her family’s safety. Others returned to use the telephone, until some of their supervisors cautioned that they might be endangering themselves by remaining in the building. Sister Tellez and the others picked their way down the stairs, which were almost without support from the crumbling walls.

In the street, Sister Tellez could tell that the adjacent annex building with its microwave tower had also been badly damaged. It was “incredible to see that all the telephonic advances accomplished during fifty years had been wiped out in less than two minutes.”

Looking back on the experience, she was struck by the contrast between the peace she felt as she prayed during the quake and the crying and wailing of her companions around her. She was confident she was addressing a loving Heavenly Father who was watching over her, regardless of whether that particular moment brought the end of her mortal life.

The close brush with death has helped her understand, Sister Tellez explains, that for those who live as our Heavenly Father has directed, “it will be marvelous to stand one day in his presence with complete confidence and without fear.”

Because his flight did not depart until 11:30 P.M., Lino Alvarez, associate director of the Church Educational System in northeastern Mexico, arrived in the capital city after midnight on the morning of September 19. He had arranged to attend meetings the next morning with two other CES associate directors, Alfonso Flores and Filemon Flores. They were to review 1986–87 budgets with the CES area director and zone administrator.

All three are Church leaders in northern Mexico. Brother Alvarez, a former mission president in the southern part of the country, is regional representative for the Monterrey Mexico, Monterrey Mexico Libertad, and Saltillo Mexico regions. Jose Alfonso Flores is president of the Chihuahua Mexico Stake, and Filemon Flores is president of the Chalco Mexico Stake.

The three men were staying at the Hotel Principado. Despite the early hour at which Brother Alvarez had checked in, he awoke well before his 6:00 A.M. wake-up call. He had said his prayers and was preparing for the day when the call came. He felt some sense of urgency in being about the day’s business, so he called his two companions, and they agreed to meet him in the lobby at 7:00. Their first meeting, they thought, was at 8:00. (Later they learned it actually had been scheduled for 9:30.)

From the hotel lobby, the three men descended to the garage to get Filemon Flores’ car. They discussed eating breakfast at the hotel, but decided to leave immediately instead and eat at the Church’s Benemerito School, where their meetings were scheduled. Should they go back to their rooms and take their suitcases with them? No, they decided, they would be returning to the hotel that night to sleep.

They were at a street corner about four miles from the hotel when the earthquake hit. They felt a strange vibration of the car, noticed that a man trying to step up onto a nearby curb was having trouble doing it, and then realized that everything around them was in motion. They had a good shaking, but continued on to their meetings when it stopped.

At the school, they learned how serious the disaster had been. They heard on a radio broadcast later in the morning that their hotel had collapsed and that more than one hundred people had died there.

In the afternoon, they went back downtown, half hoping things would not be as the radio had said. But they were shocked by the sight of what had been a hotel of seven or eight floors reduced to a pile of iron bars and concrete.

“We felt that the Lord took us out of that hotel, and that he was the source of our feeling of urgency about leaving that morning.”

The experience left Lino Alvarez with rekindled humility and gratitude, and with renewed resolve to serve the Lord during the time granted him on earth. “Now the words that I always use when praying have a special and different significance for me: ‘I thank thee for life.’”

Marco Antonio Soriano was at his work as a microfilm laboratory technician when the earthquake shook the city. Learning from a radio broadcast about the destruction elsewhere, he hurried home, concerned because his wife was alone with their week-old baby.

His wife, Irma, is a nurse who worked the 7:00 A.M. shift in the gynecology and obstetrics building at Mexico City’s General Hospital. Had her doctor’s forecast been correct, her baby would have been born on the day of the earthquake or the following day; she had planned to give birth in the building where she worked.

It was a double shock, then, when she learned the building had collapsed in the earthquake.

Seeing his wife so upset, Brother Soriano promised to go to the building and learn the fate of her colleagues, after first checking on the welfare of some of the families in their ward (Estrella Ward, Mexico City Mexico Churubusco Stake). At the hospital, he learned that the morning-shift nurses on his wife’s floor were all listed as missing, including her dear friend Sabina.

Suddenly there was a shout that rescuers were needed, and Brother Soriano went to help. “We had no equipment, only our hands and our strength. There were about three hundred men, and before us a six-floor building that had been converted into a heap of debris.” They formed a human chain, moving rocks with their hands until tools and more help began to arrive.

While others worked around the edges of the building, Brother Soriano, who knew its layout, began to break a hole in what had been its roof. He made an opening through which he, the smallest of the rescuers, could enter what was left of the sixth floor. Dragging himself through the wreckage to the area that had been the newborn nursery, he discovered a dead infant in an incubator. Sadly, he crawled back out. He had been working amid the debris for eight emotional hours.

As he left to go home, he encountered one of his wife’s nursing colleagues near the wrecked building. She told him that for one reason or another all but two of his wife’s friends on the morning shift had been out of the building when the earthquake struck and were safe. But Sabina was one of the two missing.

Two days later, on Saturday, Brother Soriano returned to the hospital for another day of volunteer work. This time he broke through the ceiling of the fifth floor. Around him, other volunteers continued removing bodies of infants, nurses, and doctors. Descending through the hole he had made, he dragged himself toward an incubator he had spotted. Brushing off the plastic top, he peeked at the small form inside—and it moved! “There’s a live baby here!” he called. Crawling out to obtain a saw, he reentered and soon had cut through the plastic top of the incubator. When he had the baby in his arms, he cried. “Two lays buried, and alive!” he thought to himself. The child still wore the hospital wristband that bore his name—Javier Contreras. Workers had clustered around Brother Soriano’s small entranceway, and when he handed the baby out of the hole, there were jubilant shouts. Many wept.

The rescuers continued working and later brought out a nurse who was still alive. But as the days blurred into a series of exhausting 4:30 P.M.-to-midnight shifts for Brother Soriano, hope of finding any other survivors waned. On the twelfth day after the earthquake, he encountered a ventilation duct. With a rope tied around him, he squeezed his way down it to the rubble that had been the first floor. He encountered only corpses; there were no responses to his calls, no more noises from among the heaps of stone and concrete. He climbed out of the rubble to go home about midnight. Twenty minutes later, workers discovered the body of his wife’s friend, Sabina.

Throughout his involvement in the rescue efforts, Brother Soriano says, “there were disagreeable experiences, experiences that hurt, and then others that brought us so much joy we shed tears of happiness. It was marvelous to see a child come out from under the debris, knowing that if the Lord protected him, it is because he still has something to do in this life.”

His thanks, Brother Soriano says, goes to the Lord “for protecting me and my family” and for giving him the opportunity and the courage to rescue that baby.

[photo] Mexicans faced a massive cleanup after an earthquake turned scores of structures into rubble. (Photo by John L. Hart, Church News.)

[photo] Stricken relatives mourned thousands of dead after the quake. (Photo by Eric Luse, for the San Francisco Chronicle.)

[photo] London fire brigade members helped recover victims. (UPI Photo.)

Mormon Battalion Visitors’ Center Reopens after Renovation

After being closed for four and one-half months of renovation, the San Diego Mormon Battalion Visitors’ Center reopened on April 14.

Under the direction of Church Exhibits Department personnel, the Center’s physical facilities and focus have been changed.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said California San Diego Mission President Clair E. Rosenberg.

While the new Mormon Battalion diorama and soldier statue are “very impressive,” the center’s real impact will come when visitors see its religious presentations, he said.

Referring to the room in which the Second Coming of Christ is depicted, he commented, “I don’t see how anyone could go through there without feeling a special spirit and wanting to know more.”

All the improvements in the center, President Rosenberg explained, are designed to teach gospel principles to nonmembers, refresh the knowledge of less active Church members, and strengthen the testimonies of active members.

Changes include expansion of the Mormon Battalion segment of the tour, which now offers a new theater and much-improved diorama showing the battalion on the march. A new script has been developed to cover the important details of the march, and a film gives the viewer a musical, pictorial, and verbal insight into that segment of Church history. In addition, films, plaques, and audio presentations in the center are available in both Spanish and English.

A second theater has been added for the presentation of the film Neighbors, which depicts a conversion story and answers the questions, “Who am I?” “Where did I come from?” “Why am I here?” and “Where will I go after death?”

The room focusing on the Savior contains five large pictures that show his baptism, the calling of Apostles, the Sermon on the Mount, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. It also contains the original painting of the Second Coming by Harry Anderson. Events shown in this room are explained by both the guide and an audio presentation.

The Restoration room offers pictures and audio presentations covering the main events in the restoration of the gospel. A replica of the gold plates is exhibited, and three pictorial displays compare the ancient Church with the restored Church of 1830 and the Church as it is today.

In the center’s original theater, where a variety of films used to be shown on request, two films are now the standard fare: If You Love ’em, Tell ’em, a selection of the best of the “Homefront” radio and television public service announcements, and Ancient America Speaks, which offers archaeological support for the Book of Mormon. Projection equipment in the theaters has been updated from 16 mm to automatic 35 mm systems.

In addition to the rooms visited on the tour, there is a new “teaching room” available to missionaries. There they may meet with investigators and show key missionary films as they give discussions. The room will also allow the center’s guides to do on-the-spot teaching of visitors in a private setting if the Spirit so dictates.

The center has a library of Mormon Battalion historical sources that includes biographies, journals, and books. For the past two years, San Diego city schools have included the Mormon Battalion Visitors’ Center in their Old Town Historical/Cultural Program. Almost every day during the school year, four groups of twelve to fifteen children visit the center as part of the program. Often the children will come back later, bringing their parents.

With the changes in the center’s structure and focus, and two opportunities to fill out referral cards during the tour, President Rosenberg believes many more people may be introduced to the gospel through the center. In 1984, some 54,177 people toured it, including 16,827 nonmembers.

[photo] A visitors’ center guide tells a school group about the battalion’s trek. (Photo by Quentin Gardner, Jr.)

Paintings Exhibited

Twenty-nine paintings depicting LDS religious or historical themes are currently on display in the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City.

The exhibit—“Paintings from the Permanent Collection: Landscapes, Portraits, Religious Themes”—will be on display through September 14.

The museum, immediately west of Temple Square, is open seven days a week. Its weekday hours are 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., and its weekend hours are 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.

Musical on Karl G. Maeser Available for Local Production

The Brothers, a musical play that depicts the life of early Latter-day Saint educator Karl G. Maeser, premiered at the North Visitors’ Center on Temple Square April 2–13.

The production was designed to demonstrate the type of play that could be easily staged in local units of the Church. It had minimal scenery, few props, and a variety of production aids that are being offered through Church distribution centers.

Karl Maeser was the educator largely responsible for making tiny Brigham Young Academy into a viable institution that would become Brigham Young University.

The play focuses on the efforts of Brother Maeser, who had been a professor in his native Germany before joining the Church in the 1850s, to travel to Utah and establish a school of his own.

The production was directed by Keith Engar, author of both the play and the lyrics for its songs. Brother Engar is dean of the College of Fine Arts and previously served as chairman of the Theatre Department at the University of Utah. He was formerly chairman of the Church’s General Activities Committee. Music for The Brothers was composed by Robert Cundick, one of the Church’s Tabernacle organists. It was arranged by Galen Hatton, a professor of music at BYU.

The Temple Square production used a taped orchestral score. The tape was recorded by volunteer musicians, many of them professionals. The orchestra was conducted by Ralph Laycock, a retired professor of music from BYU.

The script (stock number PXAC1362) and the piano-vocal score (stock number PXAC1373) are both available through the Salt Lake Distribution Center. Several other production aids are also available: taped orchestral accompaniment for the production, on audiocassette (stock number VVOT2998); and the taped orchestral-solo-choral music, on audiocassette (stock number VVOT3006).

LDS Scene

A missionary who was shot by a burglar in an Argentine boarding house is now in a Salt Lake City hospital undergoing rehabilitation. Elder Bradley Hall of Hibbard, Idaho, was shot in the back March 9 when he and his companion surprised two burglars who were sneaking into their room. The bullet lodged between two vertebrae, paralyzing the twenty-year-old elder from the waist down. The bullet was removed in Argentina, and Elder Hall was flown back to the United States for treatment. Three weeks later, he was still paralyzed, but undergoing rehabilitation and in good spirits, said his mother. The young elder is one of twelve children of Ronald and Helen Hall, and the fifth in his family to serve a mission.

Latter-day Saint newsman Lee Roderick has been elected chairman of the board of the National Press Club, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Brother Roderick is Washington bureau chief for Scripps League newspapers. He is a member of the Potomac South Ward, Washington D.C. Stake.

The director of the Church’s Independence Missouri Visitors’ Center and his wife were recently honored as “Good Neighbors of the Year” in the community. The president of the Citywide Neighboring Committee spoke of Elder Phillip V. and Sister Gwen J. Christensen as “special people whose lifestyle includes doing good things for those who live around you.” They have been active in neighborhood councils, the local chamber of commerce, the tourist bureau, and similar organizations.

The Mormon Handicraft shop in Salt Lake City, which was to have been closed, has a new lease on life. Earlier, it was announced that the store would close March 15. But because of demand for its service and products, responsibility for the store’s operation was instead transferred to Deseret Book Company. The store will temporarily continue in operation at the same site. In addition, a smaller outlet will be opened in the Deseret Book store in a nearby shopping mall.