News of the Church


New Assignments Announced for Members of First Quorum of the Seventy

The First Presidency has announced changes in assignments for members of the First Quorum of the Seventy. The assignments, which were effective August 15, affect the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy and quorum members serving in Area Presidencies and as Executive Directors and Managing Directors of departments at Church headquarters. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin will become a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Executive Director of the Curriculum Department, and Editor of Church Magazines, the First Presidency said. He will succeed Elder Carlos E. Asay in those assignments.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, newly called to the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, will oversee Church Curriculum and Church Magazines.

Elder Asay will succeed Elder Wirthlin as President of the Europe Area of the Church, with headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.

Elder Dean L. Larsen will become Senior President of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Other members of the Presidency are Elder Richard G. Scott, Elder Marion D. Hanks, Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter, Elder Jack H. Goaslind, Elder Robert L. Backman, and Elder Wirthlin.

The role of the First Quorum of the Seventy in building up the Church in all nations and regulating its affairs has continued to expand as the Church has grown. Church membership totals more than six million, and some 14,500 wards and branches are organized in ninety-six countries and eighteen territories, colonies, and possessions. The Area Presidencies, which supervise the administration of the Church in geographic areas worldwide, are all members of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Currently, there are fifty-six members of the quorum.

The wives of quorum members assigned to Area Presidencies in the international areas outside of North America are called to serve as Area general board representatives for the Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society organizations.

The current assignments are as follows, with new members of the respective presidencies and departments indicated with an asterisk.

International

Asia (Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Philippines): President William R. Bradford, Counselors Jacob de Jager and George I. Cannon * .

Europe (British Isles, Africa, Europe): President Carlos E. Asay * , Counselors Russell C. Taylor and Hans B. Ringger.

Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands): President John Sonnenberg, Counselors Philip T. Sonntag and F. Arthur Kay * .

Mexico/Central America: President Gene R. Cook, Counselors H. Verlan Anderson * and Gardner H. Russell * .

South America North (Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia): President F. Burton Howard, Counselors Helio R. Camargo and Francis M. Gibbons * .

South America South (Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile): President J. Thomas Fyans, Counselors Waldo P. Call and Ted E. Brewerton * .

North America

North America Northeast (Northeast, Midwest, North Central, Canada East, Canada Central): President Loren C. Dunn * , Counselors Derek A. Cuthbert and Keith W. Wilcox * .

North America Northwest (Northern Plains, Northwest, Idaho, Canada British Columbia): President Rex C. Reeve * , Counselors George P. Lee and Robert B. Harbertson.

North America Southeast (South Central, Southeast, Caribbean): President Rex D. Pinegar * , Counselors Robert E. Wells and Hartman Rector, Jr. *

North America Southwest (Southern Plains, Arizona, Nevada): President Charles Didier, Counselors Hugh W. Pinnock * and Ronald E. Poelman * .

North America West (California and Hawaii): President John K. Carmack, Counselors F. Enzio Bushe and John H. Groberg.

Utah North (Northern Utah, Ogden, Salt Lake City): President James M. Paramore, Counselors Yoshihiko Kikuchi and Spencer H. Osborn * .

Utah South (Granger, Murray, Provo, Southern Utah): President Vaughn J. Featherstone * , Counselors Adney Y. Komatsu and Paul H. Dunn.

Headquarters Department Assignments

Missionary Department: Robert L. Backman, Executive Director and President of the International Mission; Charles Didier, Robert B. Harbertson, and Keith W. Wilcox * , Managing Directors.

Priesthood Department: Jack H. Goaslind, Executive Director; A. Theodore Tuttle and Paul H. Dunn * , Managing Directors.

Young Men: President Vaughn J. Featherstone, Counselors Rex D. Pinegar and Hartman Rector, Jr. *

Sunday School: President Robert L. Simpson * , Counselors Adney Y. Komatsu and A. Theodore Tuttle * .

Correlation Department: Marion D. Hanks, Executive Director; Robert E. Wells and George P. Lee * , Managing Directors.

Curriculum Department: Joseph B. Wirthlin * , Executive Director, and Editor of Church magazines; Hugh W. Pinnock * , John H. Groberg * , and James M. Paramore, Managing Directors.

Genealogy Department: Richard G. Scott, Executive Director; Loren C. Dunn * and Spencer H. Osborn * , Managing Directors.

Historical Department: Dean L. Larsen, Executive Director, Historian, and Recorder; John K. Carmack * , Managing Director.

Temple Department: Wm. Grant Bangerter, Executive Director; Yoshihiko Kikuchi, Robert L. Simpson, and Devere Harris * , Managing Directors.

Area General Board Assignments

Asia: Mary Ann Bird Bradford, Bea Lim de Jager, and Isabel Hales Cannon * .

Europe: Colleen Webb Asay * , Joyce Elaine Mortensen Taylor, and Helene Suzy Zimmer Ringger.

Pacific: Joyce Dalton Sonnenberg, Valoy Andreason Sonntag, and Eunice Nielsen Kay * .

Mexico/Central America: Janelle Schlink Cook, Shirley Hoyt Andersen * , and Dorothy Richardson Russell * .

South America North: Caroline Heise Howard, Nair Belmira de Gouvea Camargo, and Helen Bay Gibbons * .

South America South: Helen Cook Fyans, Beverly Johnson Call, and Dorothy Hall Brewerton * .

Four members of the First Quorum of the Seventy are now serving as temple presidents: Royden G. Derrick, Seattle; Angel Abrea, Buenos Aires; Victor L. Brown, Salt Lake; and H. Burke Peterson, Jordan River. J. Richard Clarke is president of the South Africa Cape Town Mission.

  1.   *

    New members of the respective presidencies and departments.

President Benson Counsels New Mission Presidents in Annual Seminar

President Ezra Taft Benson spoke to sixty-eight new mission presidents and their wives at the annual seminar for mission presidents held June 25, 26, and 27 at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. He challenged them to accelerate member-missionary work and to make greater use of the Book of Mormon in their efforts.

President Benson advised leaders to use the Book of Mormon as “the center of our personal study, our preaching and missionary work. We are not yet doing all that the Lord would have us do. Of this we must repent.

“The Book of Mormon must be the heart of our missionary work in every mission of the Church.”

President Benson noted that more people are now being baptized—a direct result of an increased use of the Book of Mormon during the past year. “I promise you that you will have more and better converts in every mission of the Church if you will teach and inspire your missionaries to effectively use the Book of Mormon as the great converter,” he said.

President Benson instructed the mission presidents to “let members know that the Lord will sustain them in their missionary responsibilities if they just have the faith to try.” He also told them to “share with the members the joy they will experience by finding and fellowshipping friends and neighbors for your missionaries to teach.”

President Benson encouraged the new presidents to love the work and work hard because “it is a time for harvest, not a time of gleaning.” He also underscored the importance of faith on the part of the missionaries. Developing faith will give missionaries the “absolute, unquestioning assurance that this is the work of God, that it is true, that it is a work of power, a work of miracles, a work of wonder,” he said.

In his address, President Benson urged mission leaders to “exemplify faith in their own lives” in order to help build faith in their missionaries. He advised them to “do good and wonderful and significant things as those who have been called by the spirit of revelation and prophecy and set apart by the laying on of hands.” He promised the mission presidents that if they would do this, they would have a tremendous impact on lives ever afterward.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and members of the Quorum of the Twelve and First Quorum of the Seventy also attended the seminar. President Hinckley and President Monson addressed the mission presidents, as did other General Authorities.

[photo] The First Presidency, members of the Council of the Twelve, and other General Authorities at the annual June seminar for mission presidents at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. (Photo Courtesy of Church News.)

Promised Valley Playhouse to Be Home of Stake, Ward Productions

Beginning September 15, the Promised Valley Playhouse in Salt Lake City will be made available primarily to the wards and stakes in the immediate area for the presentation of plays, musicals, and other performing arts events.

The planned 1986–87 performing season has been canceled, according to an announcement issued by the playhouse board of directors. Refunds will be made to those who have already purchased tickets for those events.

“The new emphasis will permit the local development of productions which will be performed in a first-rate facility with appropriate stage, sound, technical, and acoustical support,” the announcement said. “We desire to foster composing and writing as well as performing, all in order that some of the productions might later be made available for use throughout the Church.”

A Conversation about the Church’s Visitors’ Centers

During the past year changes have been made in the Church’s visitors’ centers that will enable them to more effectively introduce the Church and its message to those who tour them. The Ensign talked with V. Ross Ekins of the Church’s Missionary Department to learn more about visitors’ centers and how they serve members and nonmembers alike.

Q: To begin, what are the Church’s goals for visitors’ centers?

A: The visitors’ centers have three main purposes. First, we want them to teach that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Second, we hope to provide visitors with a pleasant and informative experience. Finally, we want to provide an opportunity for people to learn more about the Church and its teachings.

Q: How many visitors’ centers are operated by the Church?

A: The Church has three different types of information centers. Visitors’centers are the largest of these and are usually located at temple sites. These large centers are typically staffed by from twelve to twenty-four full-time missionaries—usually missionary couples. There are thirteen large visitors’ centers, including one at the Mexico City Temple.

In addition, the Church operates ten information centers in the United States, England, New Zealand, and Iceland. These are smaller facilities with fewer missionaries. Sometimes only one missionary couple will staff such a center.

Then there are thirty-five Church historical sites, including twenty-one at Nauvoo, staffed by full-time missionary couples.

Q: Are these centers accomplishing their purposes?

A: Recently, we’ve been simplifying both the messages and the exhibits themselves. We have tried to design exhibits that meet the expectations of the visitors, such as exhibits about Church history and about the temples. We also present information about the ministry of Christ, the plan of salvation, and other basic doctrines of the Church. The Book of Mormon is featured at most centers.

Regular tours last no more than thirty minutes, with additional supplementary tours available to those who are interested. We structure the tours so there is time to answer questions at the end. A survey conducted among nonmember visitors indicated that the thing that impressed them most was the missionaries. The centers, which give some people their first opportunity to meet a Latter-day Saint, now give visitors more opportunities to talk to the missionaries and have their questions answered.

We’ve also changed our procedure a bit. Years ago, any visitor who filled out a referral card would later be contacted by a full-time proselyting missionary. Now we send referrals to the missionaries only when a visitor has checked a box on the card to indicate a desire to have the missionaries visit them.

Q: Many members apparently regard the visitors’ centers as a missionary tool directed at nonmembers only. Can members use these centers?

A: Visitors’ centers can be used by members in many different ways. First, these centers provide an ideal way to friendship nonmember friends. An informal visit to a nearby center offers a very low-key way to expose friends to the gospel. Inviting a nonmember to visit a center with you lets you introduce someone to the Church without worrying about offending him or her.

In fact, of all the referrals we get in visitors’ centers, the ones that most often result in baptisms are from nonmembers brought to the center by their LDS friends.

Visitors’ centers can also be used as the focus for a memorable family home evening. The exhibits are great teaching tools for members of all ages. Actually, there’s no one in the Church who wouldn’t enjoy touring any of our centers.

By the same token, home teachers could tour a visitors’ center with assigned families when appropriate. This might be particularly useful when attempting to reactivate less active members.

A filmstrip titled How to Use the Visitors’ Center (VVOF1351) gives more information about how members can best make use of these facilities. This should be available from most ward libraries, or it can be ordered from the Salt Lake Distribution Center for $2.50.

Q: You mentioned a statistic on conversion when visitors are brought by an LDS friend. Do we know the effect visitors’ centers have on missionary work overall?

A: We cannot measure the total benefits of visitors’ centers solely by the number of referrals generated, but we know that these centers have helped introduce the gospel to many thousands of people. Full-time proselyting missionaries have found it very helpful to bring investigators to the centers. Visitors are exposed to the wonderful missionary couples serving there, and the maturity of these couples add credibility to their message. And, of course, large numbers of people who visit these centers do request additional missionary contacts as a result of their experience.

In 1985, 4,627,585 individuals toured our visitors’ centers, and we expect that number to increase substantially this year. Many of these people have had no contact with the Church before. If we can introduce these visitors to the Church, help them learn something about the Latter-day Saints, and extend an invitation to learn more, we’re meeting our goals. Above all, we try to make the experience a pleasant one. The visitor is more important than the tour.

Q: What kind of people are called to serve as visitors’ center missionaries?

A: These are usually couples aged fifty-five or older; most are retired, although some do take leaves of absence from their careers to fill a Church mission. We need couples who have the ability to feel and show love for others. You have to be able to communicate that love to be truly effective in this work. We have a great need at some centers for English-speaking missionaries who also have language skills in Spanish, Japanese, and other languages. It is a choice opportunity to serve at any of the information centers the Church operates.

[photo] V. Ross Ekins, manager of Visitor Centers Services. (Photography by Michael M. McConkie)

Church’s International Language Magazines Now Available to All Members

Beginning in January 1987, the Church’s international magazines will be upgraded and will begin publication on a regular monthly basis. Also beginning in January, the magazines can be ordered by members anywhere in the world.

For the past two years, these magazines have been published eight times a year, including the conference issues. Some editions were published in black and white only. Now all of the regular magazines in the international group will feature color illustrations. “In addition, material intended especially for youth will be more clearly identified,” noted managing editor Larry Hiller.

As part of the change, the Church has adopted a unified pricing policy. Members anywhere in the world can subscribe to any of the international magazines for nine dollars a year. This means that readers in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, or any other English-speaking country can obtain Chinese, Finnish, Dutch, or any other available language edition to maintain their foreign language skills. International magazines editions can also be ordered as gifts and sent to any country.

The Church’s international magazines are currently published in eighteen different languages. These include Chinese (Shentao che Sheng, “Voice of the Saints”), Danish (Stjernen, “Star”), Dutch (de Ster, “The Star”), Finnish (Valkeus, “The Light”), French (l’Etoile, “The Star”), German (Der Stern, “The Star”), Italian (la Stella, “The Star”), Japanese (Seito No Michi, “The Path of the Saints”), Korean (Songdo Wi Bot, “The Friend of the Saints”), Norwegian (Lys over Norge, “Light over Norway”), Philippines (Tambuli, a Tagalog name for a horn used to signal village gatherings), Portuguese (A Liahona), Samoan (O le Liahona), Spanish (Liahona), Swedish (Norstjarnen, “North Star”) and Tongan (Tuhulu, “The Torch”). The Tahitian (Te Tiarama, “The Star”) and Thai (Rom Zion, “Shadow of Zion”) editions are introductory magazines of reduced size.

While most of the material published in the International Magazines is reprinted from the Church’s English-language publications, some of the articles are locally generated. “There are eight pages of news in each issue,” Brother Hiller said. “Much of this news comes directly from the language area involved. We’re also trying to develop local authors and photographers.

“More than ever before,” he added, “we are seeking magazine articles from all over the world. Readers have always been welcome to submit manuscripts for consideration, but now we will be much more able to publish articles from all the areas we serve.”

The international magazines provide a line of communication from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to the Church membership not served by the English magazines of the Church. Like the English publications, the international magazines are intended to strengthen the faith of members; to promulgate the truths of the restored gospel; to keep members informed of current and vital Church policies, programs and events; and to entertain and enrich the lives of Church members.

[photo] Clockwise from left, Liahona (Spanish), Der Stern (German), L’Etoile (French), Seito No Michi (Japanese), and, Tambuli (Philippines) are a sampling of the Church’s eighteen different international magazines.

Ensign Subscription Rates to Rise

Beginning September 1, subscription rates for the Ensign will increase from the current price of $9.00 a year to $10.00. These prices will affect individual subscribers as existing subscriptions are renewed. Prices for the New Era and the Friend remain unchanged.

The rate increase was made necessary by escalating costs for paper, printing, and postage.

The Ensign, the New Era, and the Friend are all self-sustaining, with all costs covered by subscription income.

44 New Filmstrips Help Teach Gospel Basics

A series of forty-four new filmstrips for teaching gospel principles will be available this fall through the Church Educational System.

The filmstrips can be shown by themselves or used with a new teacher manual to teach different principles in a classroom situation. The filmstrips are also suitable for use during family home evenings. The manual, Teaching the Topics and Themes (stock no. PBSI1099), is part of the Church Educational System Beginning Course, which offers an elementary approach to teaching the gospel.

The filmstrip series will be available as a package of two videocassettes (stock no. VNVV1783) priced at about $16.00, or as a package of forty-four filmstrips (stock no. PBSI1102) at around $40.00. Initially, the videocassettes will be offered in VHS format only, with Beta-format cassettes available later.

Each filmstrip teaches only one basic idea or gospel theme, such as baptism by immersion, or honoring and obeying parents.

The filmstrips were developed by the Specialized Curriculum department of the Church Educational System to meet the needs of beginning students or handicapped students. The materials will soon be available with captions for the hearing-impaired and for beginning readers.

Either the filmstrips or the videocassettes can be ordered through local Church distribution centers, or by writing the Salt Lake Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104.

Update: Church Adds 1,600th Stake

Church Adds 1,600th Stake

The Kitchener Ontario Stake—number 1,600 for the Church—was formed in Toronto, Ontario, June 22.

President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve presided over two multi-stake conference sessions at Toronto’s Etobicoke Olympium, during which the stake formation took place.

Both President Monson and Elder Ballard have served as mission presidents in eastern Canada.

The Kitchener Ontario Stake was organized from existing units of the Hamilton, London, and Brampton Ontario stakes. It became the Church’s thirty-third stake in Canada, six of which are in Ontario. Toronto was also the site of the creation of the 300th stake of the Church and the first in eastern Canada; that stake was formed in 1960. The first Canadian stake was organized in Cardston, Alberta, in 1895.

President Monson also reported that the Toronto Ontario Temple would be built on a 13.4-acre site in Brampton, some 33 kilometers (21 miles) west of Toronto. Brampton has a population of 195,000.

In other parts of the world, two other stakes were created that same day. The La Lima Honduras Stake, formed by Elder Gene R. Cook of the First Quorum of the Seventy, became the 1,601st stake of the Church, while the Fontana California Stake, formed by Elder James E. Faust of the Council of the Twelve, became the 1,602d stake.

In the last nine years the number of stakes in the Church has doubled.

LDS Scene

Flora Benson, wife of President Ezra Taft Benson, observed her 85th birthday July 1. A dinner to celebrate the event was held at the home of a son, Mark, and his wife, Lela. President and Sister Benson later attended a Utah Symphony concert featuring a barbershop chorus.

The first regional conference in Alaska was held at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage recently. More than six thousand Church members attended, many of them flying from outlying areas since there are no roads connecting Anchorage to some communities. President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve, and Elder A. Theodore Tuttle of the First Quorum of the Seventy and President of the North American Northwest Area spoke at the conference.

The Pacific island of Tarawa, Kiribati, hosted its first Young Adult conference recently on the Moroni High School campus at Eita. More than five hundred young people attended the two-day event. Micronesia Guam Mission president Joseph B. Keeler gave the opening address.

The Church’s twelfth Missionary Training Center was opened June 2 in Lima, Peru. The first twenty-six missionaries to enter the new training center, which is in the remodeled offices of the former Lima Peru South Mission home, came from Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. President M. Alvin Romney and his wife, Lucile, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, are leaders of the center. Sessions to train new missionaries will begin every two weeks.

Brigham Young University’s Ballroom Dance Company won the Latin-American formation championship earlier this year at the Blackpool Dance Festival held in Blackpool, England. Dance groups from nearly thirty countries competed. The BYU dancers also captured third place in the ballroom dance division, while Lee and Linda Wakefield, the company’s artistic directors, placed second in an exhibition competition. As winners of the Blackpool festival, the BYU dance company has been invited to compete in the world championships in Germany.

A record 852 students attended the second term of summer school at Ricks College, the Church’s two-year college in Rexburg, Idaho. The previous record for summer school enrollment was 796 students in 1983. The college also reports a substantial increase in the number of students registering for the regular fall term. College officials attribute the increased enrollment to a decrease in tuition and to extensive recruitment efforts this year.

Brent W. Webb, Young Men president of the Purdue Ward, Lafayette Indiana Stake, has received the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Young Investigator Award. He is one of eight in the United States to be presented the award in the field of engineering. Brother Webb is a doctoral student in engineering at Purdue University, and will receive federal grants and matching private funds.

Appointments

Temple Presidents

Raymond A. Kimball of Littleton, Colorado, has been called to preside over the new Denver Temple, which will be dedicated in late fall. Adrus Hansen Kimball, his wife, will serve as matron. President Kimball, a former Denver area businessman and chief executive officer of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, has served as a bishop and stake president. Sister Kimball has served in a variety of Church administrative and teaching positions.

David Gerardo Diaz Pinchot will preside over the Santiago Chile Temple. His wife, Eulalia Henriquez Urzua Diaz, has been called to serve as temple matron. President Diaz is a former maintenance supervisor of public buildings in Santiago and supervisor of construction for the Presiding Bishopric International Offices. He has served as a bishop, counselor in a stake presidency, and counselor to the temple president. Sister Diaz has been serving as a temple ordinance worker.

Arthur J. Sperry of Salt Lake City, Utah, has been called as president of the Provo Temple. Carol J. Sperry, his wife, will serve as matron. President Sperry, a retired teacher and school administrator, is a former mission president, stake high councilor, and bishop. Sister Sperry has held a variety of administrative and teaching positions in the Church.

Jack B. McEwan has been called to serve as president of the Los Angeles Temple. His wife, Betty Clark McEwan, will assist him as temple matron. President McEwan has been an oral surgeon in the Los Angeles area for many years. He has served the Church as a regional representative, patriarch, bishop, stake president’s counselor, and counselor to the temple president. Sister McEwan has been serving as assistant matron in the Los Angeles Temple and has held several other teaching and administrative positions in the Church.

LDS Foundation

D. Ross Dredge of Bountiful, Utah, has been appointed managing director of the LDS Foundation. The LDS Foundation provides funding for the Tabernacle Choir, Church schools, the Ezra Taft Benson Agriculture and Food Institute, and other institutions through the development of charitable gifts.

Service Organizations

Patricia Pingree Romney of Highland, Utah, has been called as national president of Lamba Delta Sigma, the Church-sponsored sorority for college-age women. Sister Romney has been serving as a national vice-president of the organization.

General Boards

Mila M. Mitchell of Salt Lake City has been called to the Relief Society General Board. She is a former teacher in Church auxiliaries and has served in the Spain Barcelona Mission.

Brenda Lee Hales of Midvale, Utah, has been called to the Relief Society General Board. She has served as a teacher in Primary, Sunday School, and Relief Society, as well as in several other callings.