President Benson Visits Church Historical Sites in New York

President Ezra Taft Benson visited three key Church historical sites in upstate New York August 2–3, then celebrated his eighty-seventh birthday August 4 in the Washington, D.C., area with family members.

His visit included a trip to the Sacred Grove, where he addressed a gathering of missionaries serving in the New York Rochester Mission. President Benson told the missionaries that they stood where “the greatest demonstration of the power of God took place.” He pointed out that it was in this area that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared. “There is no other revelation in all the world that can compare in power with this, but this was just the beginning,” he said.

President Benson also visited the Hill Cumorah, where the Prophet Joseph Smith unearthed the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. President Benson attended the final performance of the 1986 Hill Cumorah Pageant August 2, and on Sunday morning, August 3, addressed a gathering estimated at more than fifteen thousand.

President Benson declared that “the Book of Mormon was written for us today” and said that God expects people to read it, ponder it, and use it as the basis for preaching the gospel. He noted, “We have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong as they could be unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ.” He also said every Latter-day Saint should make the study of the Book of Mormon a lifetime pursuit. Otherwise, “he is neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life.”

That afternoon, President Benson and his wife, Flora, along with other family members and guests, were served lunch in the visitors’ center of the Peter Whitmer Farm. While there, he inspected the nearby Peter Whitmer cabin, which has been restored and is open for tours. The Peter Whitmer farm is where much of the Book of Mormon was translated; it is also where the Church was organized on 6 April 1830.

[photos] Thousands hear President Benson speak at Hill Cumorah the morning of August 3. (Inset) President and Sister Ezra Taft Benson join the congregation in a song. (Church News photos by Gerry Avant.)

Church Donates Hay to Drought-Plagued Farmers

The Church has contributed more than six hundred tons of hay to help drought-stricken farmers in the southeastern United States feed their stock. The hay was gleaned from a number of Church welfare farms in Utah and southern Idaho.

The welfare farms normally provide assistance to needy members, but resources are sometimes used for wider assistance in the wake of natural disasters. Last year members contributed several million dollars for hunger relief in Ethiopia and other African nations. In past years, the Church has donated money, food, medical supplies, and other materials after earthquakes, floods, and droughts in a number of areas of the world. Latter-day Saints in the midst of the drought haven’t yet had to draw heavily on Church welfare resources.

“So far, we haven’t seen any significant change in normal distribution patterns from the storehouse,” said Charles B. Wiggens, area storehouse manager at the Church Welfare Services complex in Tucker, Georgia. “This is being called the worst agricultural disaster in the area in the last one hundred years,” he added. “There are many Church members living in the affected area, but it appears that they are relying on personal and family resources to see them through.”

Chilean Saints Show Self-Reliance During Flood

Church members in Chile rallied to provide aid to victims of the heavy flooding that hit central Chile in June. A series of torrential rainstorms caused the Mapocho, the Tinguiririca, and other rivers in the central zone to sweep over their banks.

Many members in central Chile living near rivers or low-lying areas lost their homes and all their worldly possessions. Others were displaced while waiting for the waters to recede.

Walls of mud and trees blocked rivers and caused extensive damage to bridges, isolating many areas for days. A section of the Pan-American Highway was washed out south of Santiago, leaving travelers stranded and making relief efforts nearly impossible. Because telephones and roads to Santiago were cut off, it was difficult for flood victims to communicate their needs to those outside the stricken area.

On June 19, Bishop Miguel Soza of the Molina Ward, Chile Curico Stake, was able to contact Church administrative offices and report the critical situation there. Conditions were especially bad in Lontue, a small town lying almost entirely under three feet of water. Some members and nonmembers were temporarily finding shelter on the second floor of a recently completed chapel there.

After three attempts to reach flood victims by airplane had failed, a helicopter provided by the Chilean armed forces was able to land June 20 with emergency medical supplies and food rations. President Jose Luis Ferreira of the Curico stake accompanied the supplies.

President Ferreira had been trying for several days to reach Lontue. “I honestly didn’t understand the gravity of the situation until I got there,” he said. “We live in an area where rivers often leave their banks, but the Tinguiririca (River) looked like five rivers combined. You couldn’t believe it until you saw it.” He estimated that every home in Lontue had at least two feet of water in it, and that the property of 80 percent of the members there had suffered extensive damage.

Members and leaders of other stakes in Chile unaffected by the flooding were very much concerned with the tragic situation. President Emilio Diaz of the Chile Talca Stake, while watching a television report, felt moved to invite the members of his stake to hold a special fast. He wanted to “put the gospel in action to unite his members and obtain relief for the members in Lontue.”

Members contributed approximately one hundred thousand pesos (five hundred American dollars) to aid the members in Curico. “Some members said to me that now they could see the Church is not passive, but active,” said President Diaz. Bishop Osvaldo Munoz of the Los Platanos Ward reported that after the fast, members in his ward rejoiced in their efforts and in the good feelings it gave them.

President Oscar Figueroa of the Santiago San Bernardo Stake said that Wilfredo Lopez, his regional representative, called him and asked, “‘President, how is the faith in your stake?’ I told him that it was progressing. He then said, ‘How would you like to accept a challenge?’ He called for a special fast. ‘I believe that my stake is willing to do all the leaders ask of us,’ I replied.”

Oscar Mauricio Oyarzo, a ten-year-old boy living in the ward, said that “after the sacrament meeting when the stake president spoke, I felt the Spirit of the Lord and knew what I should do. My parents weren’t in agreement because they are not members. But I felt in my heart that if something belongs to me, I should give it away to someone in need.”

President Gustavo Barrios of the Santiago Nunoa Stake organized a stake-wide effort to gather clothing to send to the flood victims. “One bishop noticed a pair of pants that he knew belonged to a young man in his ward who didn’t have any other Sunday-best pants,” he related.

In Santiago, the greatest damage was suffered by members of the Lo Barnechea Ward in the Santiago Las Condes Stake. There, several families lost their homes to the flooded Mapocho River. Approximately one hundred members and nonmembers lived in the LDS chapel for several days until other arrangements could be made. It was reported that everyone showed great respect for the chapel and helped keep it clean.

Although short-term financial aid from the area office was needed by the stake president for the Lo Barnechea Ward, members of other wards in the stake who were unaffected by the flooding donated enough money that the president returned all of the emergency funds to the area office within a week.

Stakes from as far away as Punta Arenas (fifteen hundred miles distant) and Puerto Montt in the south, and Calama (nine hundred miles away) in the north, helped their needy brothers. Clothing and household goods worth nearly two million pesos and more than a half million pesos in cash were donated by Chilean Saints.

Captain Clima of the armed forces, a nonmember who flew the first helicopter into Lontue, was very impressed by the efforts of the Church. He told President Ferreira, “It was incredible to see the organization of the Church in action. It was particularly wonderful to see the huge box of medical supplies that was given to the Red Cross in Lontue, which permitted many to receive medical attention.”

On July 4, a caravan of eight vehicles took the donated clothing and household goods to the cities of Lontue and Rengo. The supplies were placed in the hands of priesthood leaders and their respective welfare committees to distribute according to need.

Municipal government officials have expressed thanks to the Church for permitting temporary use of buildings in Lontue, Rengo, Nancagua, and Lo Barnechea to provide shelter for flood victims.

Correspondent: Craig Hill, area controller, Santiago Chile Church administrative office.

[photo] Rural highway bridge near Lontue that was destroyed by flood waters which partially submerged the town.

[photo] Supplies for flood victims are loaded on an airplane. Chilean Saints donated both money and goods to the relief effort.

Fine Art Competition Announced by Church Museum

A fine-art competition and exhibition to encourage the creation of quality art by Latter-day Saints will be sponsored by the Museum of Church History and Art.

“The invitation to participate is extended to artists worldwide,” said Elder Dean L. Larsen of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Church Historical Department.

“Prizes and purchase awards will recognize the best of recent work by Church members,” he said. “The emphasis in the juried competition will be on Latter-day Saint themes executed with excellence.”

Elder Larsen said the competition and subsequent exhibit of selected works has been set up to encourage Latter-day Saint artists to express spiritual and historical themes through art.

“The jurors will be looking particularly for works of aesthetic excellence that reflect Latter-day Saint history, beliefs, scriptural themes, culture, life-style, and sense of place,” he said.

Cash awards in the competition will come from a generous grant of forty-thousand dollars from a museum patron. Prizes totaling $8,500 will be given to first, second, and third place winners and five merit award winners, with the balance of the grant available for the purchase of works for the Museum’s permanent collection.

Artists may submit one or two pieces from the best of their recent work. The competition is open to all Latter-day Saint artists working in all styles of painting, printmaking, and sculpture. There is no entrance fee.

The selection committee will include museum director Glen M. Leonard; Mary Lois Wheatley, an artist; Warren F. Luch, former art director for Church graphic design; Richard G. Oman, curator of museum acquisitions; and Robert O. Davis, a museum art curator.

Judging will take place in two steps. The committee will review slides or prints of works first, then notify artists of the pieces accepted for the second-round jurying.

Photographs of art works to be submitted are due at the museum no later than 31 July 1987. Second-round jurying will begin 8 October 1987, and prize winners and purchase awards will be announced at a reception to be held 6 November 1987.

Cash awards include a three-thousand-dollar first prize, a two-thousand, dollar second prize, a one-thousand-dollar third prize, five merit awards of five hundred dollars each, and two or more purchase awards.

Winning pieces and other works accepted for display will be exhibited at the museum through 15 February 1988.

Further information and entry forms are available at the Museum of Church History and Art, 45 North West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150, or phone (801) 531-2299.

British Saints to Celebrate 150 Years of the Church in Britain

The year 1987 is the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first party of missionaries to the British Isles. The First Presidency has approved plans for a series of projects and events designed to celebrate that auspicious event.

Because many Church members trace their ancestry back to the British Isles, it is anticipated that there will be much interest and involvement in the celebrations from people in many parts of the world. Following are some of the activities planned for the commemoration.

• The central celebration will be a series of six conferences held in key population centers on Sunday, 26 July 1987. General Authorities will preside at conferences in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow, and London.

• A history of the Church in the British Isles, Truth Will Prevail, is currently being written and will be published in Britain. A musical with the same title will depict the story of the Church in the British Isles. Regions and stakes are being encouraged to stage this musical in the autumn of 1987.

• Research is underway to gather additional information on Church historical sites.

• An inexpensive guidebook and map is being produced to guide visitors to historical sites, and the possibility of erecting plaques or some other form of marker at key locations is being investigated.

• One issue of the Ensign in 1987 will focus on the anniversary, and one edition of BYU Studies will focus on the history of the Church in the British Isles.

• David Cook, area coordinator for the Church Educational System, is heading an oral history project. Richard Jensen, an oral history expert from Brigham Young University, is scheduled to visit Britain to conduct training workshops. The intention is to involve as many seminary and institute students as possible in recording the recollections of some older members of the Church.

• During a seven-week period in 1987, commemorative postal slogans will be used on envelopes going out of selected towns to draw attention to the anniversary. A set of dies will be given to each stake, and will be used to stamp the slogan on outgoing mail.

• A new video telling the story of the Church in the British Isles will be made in Britain.

Because the Area Presidency desires to retain an effective overview of all anniversary activities, they have asked to be kept informed of any family association or group activities planned for the anniversary year in the British Isles. Details should be sent to:

Area Presidency Porthstrasse 5–7 Postfach 501070 D-6000 Frankfurt-am-Main West Germany

A regular newsletter will be published detailing the various regional, stake, ward, and branch activities held throughout the year.

Gadfield Elm: The Oldest LDS Chapel in Europe

Seven miles southwest of Ledbury, England, stand the gaunt grey walls of a ruined and deserted building. The thousands of motorists who pass Junction 2 on the M50, just two miles to the northwest, are totally unaware of its presence. For Gadfield Elm chapel appears on no map and is listed in no guidebook.

In 1840 and 1841, Wilford Woodruff concentrated most of his missionary labors in the Herefordshire area. His greatest success came when he was led by the Spirit to Hill Farm, Castle Frome, and there met John Ben-bow, the tenant of the 300-acre farm. Through him, he met Thomas King-ton, the leader of the “United Brethren,” a sect formed in the 1830s after the group broke away from the Methodists.

As Wilford Woodruff recorded: “On the 21st day of March [1840] I baptized Elder Thomas Kington. He was superintendent of both preachers and members of the United Brethren. The first thirty days after my arrival in Herefordshire, I had baptized forty-five preachers and one hundred and sixty members of the United Brethren, who put into my hands one chapel and forty-five houses, which were licensed according to law to preach in.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1833–1898, ed. Scott G. Kennedy, 9 vols., Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 1983, 1:426; original spelling here and throughout has been retained.)

The chapel referred to was Gadfield Elm, which subsequently formed the hub of LDS church activities in the area.

The challenges Elder Woodruff faced were immense. On April 3, he wrote to Willard Richards, expressing his yearning for the rest of the Twelve to come from America.

A few days later they did arrive, and Brigham Young called Elders Woodruff and Richards to Preston for quorum meetings and general conference. At the first meeting, Willard Richards was ordained an Apostle, bringing the number of members of the Council of the Twelve in Britain at that time to eight. By unanimous vote, Brigham Young was confirmed as “Standing President of the Twelve.”

Brigham Young assigned the new Apostle to assist Wilford Woodruff in Herefordshire, then went there himself to witness the growth of the work and do some preaching. Wilford Woodruff records:

“June 3. A notable miracle was wrought by faith and the power of God in the person of Sister Mary Pitt at Dymok. She had been confined 6 years to her bed … and had not walked for 11 years, ownly with the use of crutches. Elders Young, Richards and Woodruff lade hands upon her and rebuked her infirmity and her ancle bones received strength and she now walks without the aid of crutch or staff.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1:449.)

Gadfield Elm chapel was built by the United Brethren in 1836. Here a number of key conferences were held. Brigham Young played a major part in helping the main body of the United Brethren make the transition fully into the Church. On May 18 he assisted in a tactful transformation of one fine United Brethren custom into an LDS one:

“Elder Kington made a feast for the Saints which had been a custom among the United Brethren. But as they now were all receiving the fulness of the gospel they had become saints. The Saints began to collect at 2 o’clock … we truly had an interesting time. Elder Young addressed the Saints clothed with the power of god. And then asked a blessing upon the food prepared. We then sat down to the table and eat and drank with nearly 100 saints.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1:450–51.)

Shortly after Elder Young’s first visit, a conference was convened at Gadfield Elm. Thomas Kington, now an elder, moved that the meeting “be hereafter known by the name of the Bran Green and Gadfield Elm Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1:458.)

For the next few months Gadfield Elm chapel hosted an increasing number of converts to the Church. But in those days, the call was to gather to America, and on 15 March 1841 Wilford Woodruff held his last conference at Gadfield Elm.

“After conference close a scene followed not easily described,” he wrote. “I never saw a time when I needed more wisdom in order to council in wrighteousness than on this occasion … for the Saints … are anxious to gather with the Saints in Nauvoo as soon as possible. But many are vary poor and see no door open as yet.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1:462–63.)

Brigham Young’s counsel was to sell the Gadfield Elm chapel building and use the proceeds to help finance the emigration to America. The chapel’s purpose had been served.

Today, one hundred and fifty years after it was built, only the walls remain of the oldest Church-owned chapel in Europe. But the Spirit remains, bearing strong and stirring testimony to those brave English pioneers and to the rich heritage they left behind.

[photo] After 150 years, only the walls remain of the Gadfield Elm chapel near Ledbury, England. (Photo by Bryan J. Grant.)

Symposium for LDS Deaf Held in Salt Lake City

From July 18 to 21, deaf members of the Church from throughout the United States, Canada, England, New Zealand, Ireland, and Norway were in Salt Lake City attending the Church’s first symposium for the deaf. The symposium was designed for Latter-day Saints whose hearing is severely impaired and for their Church leaders.

Sessions were conducted at the LDS Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah campus, and in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. Classes and workshops focused on studying the scriptures, building a testimony, strengthening marriage and family, and functioning within Church programs.

Elder Rex D. Pinegar, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and adviser to the Church’s special curriculum department, spoke to some five hundred people at a fireside. Speaking through a signing interpreter, Elder Pinegar noted that members need no voice to speak or ears to hear to communicate with their Heavenly Father. He assured his audience that “there are no barriers between us and Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Their communication can come clearly and fully and surely.”

He acknowledged the challenges faced by deaf members, but said, “We cannot permit circumstances, difficulties, or moods to conquer us and make us feel defeated. We need to develop the faith, courage, and confidence to overcome the obstacles presented in daily life.”

During the symposium, Church leaders and teachers were introduced to various methods and resources for working with those whose hearing is impaired. Other events included a priesthood meeting for leaders and presentations by deaf groups from different locations throughout the United States.

[photo] Elder Rex D. Pinegar, left, addresses deaf members at symposium fireside while interpreter signs. (Church News photo by Gerald Silver.)

A Conversation about the Church’s Distribution Centers

The Ensign spoke recently with Kay Briggs, managing director of the Materials Management Department, about the Church’s distribution centers and how members can make better use of them.

Q: The Ensign frequently announces new materials available at the Salt Lake Distribution Center. How does an individual, particularly one who does not live near a distribution center, obtain these materials?

A: If a member doesn’t live near a center, he can mail his order to the nearest distribution center, along with a check or money order for the appropriate amount; catalogs and order forms should be available in meetinghouse libraries. At least twice during the year, the Ensign includes an order form members can use to order selected items from the Salt Lake Distribution Center.

While we do our best to process individual orders quickly, we encourage members to place their order with their ward or branch. The material ordered is then sent directly to the bishop for local distribution. Materials ordered this way can actually arrive faster than when ordered by an individual, because orders from the ward can be telephoned in and the materials mailed out quickly.

Q: How quickly?

A: Most items can be sent virtually anywhere within the United States or Canada within a week. We’ve been improving our efficiency, and we do our best to ship orders as soon as possible.

Recently, Church headquarters and the Salt Lake Distribution Center have made a major effort to see that the Saints have their instructional materials on time. As you know, most new manuals are introduced at the beginning of the year. We’ve had the supplies for 1987 ready since 1 July 1986, and the Church is now working on materials for 1988, 1989, and 1990.

Q: What are the most common mistakes members make when ordering supplies?

A: The most common mistakes are failing to indicate the quantity desired and sending checks made out for the wrong amount.

Q: What kinds of materials are distributed through the distribution centers?

A: We distribute everything from scriptures for missionaries to every kind of instructional material produced by the Church, but our stock isn’t limited to published materials. We supply materials like Duty to God pins, filmstrips and videocassettes, and specialized computer software for genealogical work. We also have a hundred garment distribution centers to supply garments and temple clothing to members.

In some areas of the world where obtaining certain supplies from local vendors is difficult or time consuming, distribution centers stock chairs, carpet, doors, blackboards, and other materials for furnishing classrooms or Church offices.

Q: How many distribution centers does the Church operate, and where are they located?

A: The Church maintains distribution centers in thirty-six different countries. These centers range in size from the small one-room facility in Iceland to supercenters like those in Mexico, the United States, and West Germany. These supercenters have both printing and distributing capabilities. The Salt Lake Distribution Center currently covers 200,000 square feet, and when its new printing facility is completed in October 1987, the combined facility will have 400,000 square feet of floor space.

Q: How much material do the centers distribute?

A: The amount of materials handled by our centers is staggering. In 1985, for instance, more than 820,000 Relief Society manuals were distributed worldwide. Some 565,000 Melchizedek Priesthood study guides were shipped, and 1,200,000 copies of the hymnbook were sold last year.

We’re now distributing materials for the Church in 96 different languages. We will soon be handling materials in 146 languages, and by the end of 1989 we hope to be stocking materials in the major language of every country on earth.

Q: What are the goals of the Church’s distribution centers, and how well are they being met?

A: The basic mission of the distribution centers is to provide for individual members and organizations the Church materials and supplies they need, on time and at reasonable cost.

As I’ve already pointed out, we’re now handling thousands of different items, many of them in vast quantities. Our delivery time has been greatly improved in recent years, although we continue to work toward being even more efficient.

We’ve also been able to control costs well. Most manuals are of high quality, yet they sell in the $1.00 to $3.00 range. Manuals of comparable quality produced commercially would be priced from $10.00 to $20.00. Our manuals are priced just high enough to cover costs; our operations aren’t designed to make a profit.

[photo] Kay Briggs, managing director, Materials Management Department. (Photography by Michael M. McConkie.)

Denver Colorado Temple to be Dedicated

An open house for the general public to visit the newly completed Denver Colorado Temple is scheduled for September 8–27, excluding Sundays, according to the First Presidency.

Following the open house, the temple will be closed to the public and prepared for a series of private dedicatory services set for October 24–28. The first dedicatory service is scheduled for Friday, October 24, at 9 A.M., and there will be eighteen subsequent services over the five-day period to accommodate as many members of the Church as possible.

The 27,000-square-foot structure, situated south of Denver in Arapahoe County, will be the Church’s fortieth operating temple after its dedication. Plans for the temple were announced in the spring of 1982, and construction began in late 1984. Temple President Raymond A. Kimball will preside over the new facility.

The Denver temple will serve approximately eighty-five thousand members of the Church in Colorado and parts of South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

Single Adults Find Learning, Growth at BYU Conference

Several thousand Latter-day Saints found faith-promoting meetings, valuable learning experiences, and friendship at the annual Single Adult Conference at Brigham Young University July 24–27.

More than five thousand single adults heard Elder F. Enzio Busche of the First Quorum of the Seventy talk about the blessings that can come to those who make covenants with the Lord and live up to them.

Elder Busche talked of gospel principles that can guide members who want to become the kind of disciple Christ called for in Luke 14:33: “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”

Sister Barbara W. Winder, Relief Society general president, also spoke to the group. She urged those attending to be obedient to the teachings of the Savior, avoid covetousness, and cultivate charity in their pursuit of perfection. Our Heavenly Father, she said, loves us and will strengthen us as we seek him.

The conference included a wide variety of workshops designed to provide gospel insights and strengthen individuals. It was sponsored by the Utah Valley Program for Single Adults. Among those attending were Saints from Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

Tabernacle Choir Performs at Vancouver Expo

The Tabernacle Choir presented four concerts August 7–8 at the Expo ’86 world fair in Vancouver, British Columbia. En route to Vancouver, the 293 members of the choir stopped in Seattle, Washington, the evening of August 5 and performed at the Seattle Center.

The group toured Vancouver Island and Victoria, B.C., August 6 before arriving in Vancouver. Following the Expo ’86 performances, the Choir’s regular “Music and the Spoken Word” nationwide CBS radio program was broadcast live on Sunday, August 10, from Vancouver’s Orpheum Theater.

Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus Tour San Diego

The Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus recently completed a five-day concert tour of the San Diego Area. The tour, from July 23 to July 28, included two performances at the San Diego Civic Theatre for the Performing Arts and a concert on the U.S.S. Ranger, an aircraft carrier. The Chorus also performed at Sea World, where they presented a twenty-three minute program.

At the Civic Theatre, the symphony and chorus performed before 4,800 people, receiving standing ovations both nights.

The concert aboard the aircraft carrier was attended by approximately 1,500 Navy and Marine Corps personnel and their families. Backed by a large American flag and surrounded with ship signal flags, the symphony and chorus presented a program of classical, popular, and patriotic music. The audience rose to their feet during the last number, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and enthusiastically responded to the encore, “Anchors Aweigh.”

The performance on the aircraft carrier was a highlight of the tour. “Our response from the Navy was tremendous,” said Robert C. Bowden, the group’s conductor.

While in San Diego, the symphony and chorus also performed sacred and patriotic numbers at a regional fireside featuring Elder Paul H. Dunn of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Members of the one-hundred-piece symphony orchestra and three-hundred-voice chorus range in age from sixteen to thirty. They perform some thirty concerts a year, including their Summer Pops Concert series in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

Upon their return to Salt Lake City, at their first performance following the San Diego tour, the group was presented with a 20′ by 38′ American garrison flag by the Utah Chapter of American Veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam (AMVETS). The flag, presented for “significant patriotic contributions to the Nation,” is the fourth to be presented in Utah.

The symphony and chorus have performed on national television and at such concert halls as the Hollywood Bowl and the Space Mountain Amphitheater at Disneyland. In 1980, they received an Emmy Award for a sixty-minute television special, “Christmas World,” which was shown in the U.S. and later broadcast in more than thirty-five countries.


Temple Presidents

Tufuga Samuela Atoa, manager for a Samoan shipping firm, has been called to preside over the Apia Samoa Temple. His wife, Helen Evans Atoa, will serve as matron. President Atoa has served as a regional representative, stake president, counselor in a mission presidency, high councilor, and temple ordinance worker. He is a former chairman of his country’s public service commission. Sister Atoa has been a librarian at the Church College of Western Samoa. She has served a mission to Samoa and has served in the Primary, the Relief Society, and the Young Women organizations.

Regional Representatives

Miami Florida, Orlando Florida regions: Donald Wayne Carson, senior executive in an agribusiness firm, is a former stake president, bishop, Young Men president, and bishop’s counselor.

Burley, Jerome, Rupert, and Twin Falls Idaho regions: Don Watson, an insurance broker, is a former stake president, seventies quorum president, stake missionary, bishop, bishop’s counselor, and Sunday School teacher.

Young Men General Board

Lowell M. Snow, Union Fifteenth Ward, Sandy Utah Willow Creek Stake. Brother Snow, an attorney, served as president of the Mississippi Jackson Mission; he has been a counselor in a stake presidency, a bishop, and an adviser to priests and deacons quorums.

Promised Valley Playhouse

J. Murray Rawson of Orem, Utah, has been named general manager of the Promised Valley Playhouse. Brother Rawson has served on the Playhouse’s board of directors for several years.

LDS Scene

President Ezra Taft Benson was presented the 1985 Service to American Agriculture Award by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) at the association’s national convention July 28 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

President Benson’s service as the secretary of agriculture for eight years under U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was cited by the association when presenting the award. President Benson became the second recipient of the award, which is presented to “a U.S. citizen who has made a major contribution to American/world agriculture and is so recognized by peers and the general public.”

President Ezra Taft Benson and his wife, Flora, both descendants of early Mormon pioneers, rode in the Days of ’47 Parade on July 24 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The annual parade commemorates the arrival of the Latter-day Saint pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. The theme for this year’s parade was “Honoring Pioneer Dreams and Progress.” President and Sister Benson waved to spectators as they were driven along the six-mile parade route. Said to be the third largest parade in the United States, the procession had 179 bands, floats, and other entries.

Ground was broken in Salt Lake City on July 23 for the construction of a new printing center for the Church. President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, together with Presiding Bishop Robert D. Hales and his counselors, Bishops Henry B. Eyring and Glenn L. Pace, dug the first shovels of dirt to begin construction of the 200,000-square-foot facility. The new printing center will house seven presses, including a new web press capable of printing a million impressions a day. President Monson, who began working as a printer’s helper at the age of fourteen, said that he felt the new facility “will be the finest printing plant anywhere in the world.”

Dale G. Johnson, chairman of the Department of Pediatric Surgery at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, was installed as president of the American Pediatric Surgical Association. The association represents pediatric surgeons throughout the United States and Canada. Brother Johnson is a member of the Ensign Sixth Ward in Salt Lake City.

Last year, members of the South Carolina Columbia Mission placed more than ten thousand copies of the Book of Mormon in nonmember’s homes. This represents a 200 percent increase over a similar effort last year. The members purchase the books, inscribe their testimonies in them, and then give them to families interested in learning about the Church. A record of where the books were placed is stored on computers, and printouts are given to the missionaries.

The bones of twenty-two pioneer children and nine adults have been recovered from a Salt Lake City building site. The burial ground, which provided the resting places for some of the first pioneers interred in the Salt Lake Valley, was uncovered July 6 during a construction project.

Construction was halted at the site to allow a team of archaeologists from Brigham Young University to excavate the pioneer cemetery. By August 6, the remains of thirty-one early settlers had been found, with more expected to be discovered. Historical records have made tentative identification of some of the remains, but all remains will be sent to a forensic anthropologist at the University of Wyoming, where they will be tested to determine age, sex, and cause of death. Then they will be interred in Utah.

The same site has also revealed the remains of at least one Fremont Indian, indicating for the first time that the ancient Fremont culture extended as far north as the Great Salt Lake.