News of the Church


President Benson Addresses Puerto Rican Saints

President Ezra Taft Benson testified of the divine origin of the Book of Mormon in San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 12. He spoke in two general sessions to members gathered from the country’s four stakes.

The gathering was held in a stadium during a day-long rainstorm, during which President Benson addressed the conference from under the cover of an umbrella.

Other speakers included Sister Flora Benson; Elder Rex D. Pinegar, of the First Quorum of the Seventy; Sister Bonnie Pinegar; Bruce E. Belnap, regional representative; and Sister Phyllis Belnap. The presidents of the four Puerto Rican stakes also spoke.

President Benson quoted from the eighth article of faith: “‘We … believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.’” [A of F 1:8] He said that “God has so declared it, so have its writers, and so do all those who have read it and received a personal revelation from God as to its truthfulness.”

He pointed out that the Book of Mormon was abridged by the prophet Mormon from records kept by his people for centuries. In making his abridgment, Mormon received guidance from the Lord about what to include for readers today. President Benson noted that the book testifies of the divinity of Christ and his gospel and “confounds false doctrines. …

“We are to use the Book of Mormon as the basis for our teaching,” he said, adding that we have the task of declaring the gospel effectively.

President Benson warned that families may be corrupted by worldly influences if the Book of Mormon isn’t studied regularly in the home. He stressed that every Latter-day Saint should diligently study the Book of Mormon throughout his or her lifetime.

During the meetings, President Benson told the congregation that Puerto Rico held special memories for him because he had created the San Juan stake when he visited there in December 1980.

[photo] President Ezra Taft Benson, right, addresses members in San Juan, Puerto Rico, during rainstorm. Interpreter is at left. (Photo by Gerry Avant, Church News.)

Twelve New Missions Formed

Between the end of 1986 and July 1987, twelve new missions will have been approved in nine different countries, bringing the total number of missions worldwide to 205.

The new missions in the United States, formed from existing missions, are New Hampshire Manchester, New Jersey Morristown, and Florida Jacksonville.

In Mexico, the new missions are Mexico Mexico City East, which is already in operation, and Mexico Mazatlan. Other new missions include Brazil Fortaleza, Dominican Republic Santiago, Portugal Porto, Philippines Cebu East, Spain Bilbao, Zaire Kinshasa, and Zimbabwe Harare. The eleven new missions not yet in operation will begin operating 1 July 1987.

While announcing the creation of the twelve new missions, the Missionary Department also said the Nauvoo Illinois Mission will be discontinued as of June 1; the missionaries serving there will continue to serve at Nauvoo but under the administration of the Illinois Peoria Mission.

The 205 missions which will be operating as of July 1 include the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.

Membership Increases 19.5 Percent in 5 Years

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to grow at an ever-increasing pace. At the end of April 1986, worldwide membership passed the six million mark. In the five-year period ending December 1986, the number of members rose from 5,162,619 to 6,170,000, an increase of 19.5 percent.

Year

Number of Members

1982

5,162,619

1983

5,351,724

1984

5,641,054

1985

5,920,629

1986

6,170,000

BYU’s Jerusalem Center Opens

Brigham Young University students studying in Israel were able to move from their former lodging at Kibbutz Ramat Rachel March 8 to new quarters at BYU’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. The center is still under construction on Mt. Scopus, but the dormitory levels have been completed and the necessary occupancy permits have been obtained.

Dr. David B. Galbraith, director of the center, said that he expects construction to be complete by September of this year. Representatives of the center were working with Israeli government representatives to negotiate the text of a commitment that the university had earlier made to refrain from any missionary activities in Israel.

Although the center had initially been a subject of controversy among some groups in Israel, there was no opposition when the eighty-one BYU students became the first student group to occupy the new building. “Few newspapers picked up the news release relating to the move,” said Robert C. Taylor, assistant to the president of BYU for the Jerusalem Center and BYU director of Travel Study.

The lower four levels of the building that are now complete include classrooms and a library, as well as student housing. Students are taking their meals at a nearby hotel until the center’s dining area is ready for use.

The center, which is expected to be in full operation by fall semester, will have the capacity to house 160 students, with additional quarters for faculty.

Most of the students using the new facility will be those studying under the Study Abroad program, although BYU Travel Study groups will also use the center.

The university has conducted Near Eastern study projects in Israel for the past seventeen years. Construction of the new Jerusalem Center began in 1984.

[photo] Brigham Young University’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies opened its doors to students March 8. The center will be in full operation by fall semester.

LDS Scene

More than six thousand members from eight stakes attended the first regional conference held in Jacksonville, Florida, recently. President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, presided, assisted by Elder Marvin J. Ashton, of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Elder Rex D. Pinegar, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Area President.

Members of the 100 Mile House Branch of the Canada Vancouver Mission in British Columbia hosted a meeting for more than fifty people of six denominations to observe the World Day of Prayer. Branch members provided food and music. Members of the Pass Branch in Ft. Macleod Alberta stake also observed the day with a group that totaled more than a hundred from different denominations.

Visiting teaching requires special effort and planning on the part of Cheryl Linder and Jenny Mahoney of the Elizabeth Ward, Modbury Australia stake. It takes the pair nine hours to travel the two hundred miles necessary to teach the six sisters they visit each month.

Display cards that encourage riders to “Take Time for Your Marriage” and to become involved in caring and sharing are being displayed in some 250 Indianapolis Indiana Metro Transit System buses. The messages were placed by public communications directors C. Lowell Hedrick of the Indianapolis Region and Sue Pierce of the Cumberland Ward.

A time capsule containing the names of 1,140 members of the Orem Utah Timpview Stake and a copy of the Book of Mormon were buried adjacent to the stake center March 28. All stake members on the list had read the Book of Mormon during a recent eight-month reading program. The capsule was buried during an early morning fireside addressed by Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Church Magazines Pass 1 Million Circulation

With the publication of the May 1987 issues, the combined circulation of Church magazines for the first time passed the one million mark. The circulation of the Ensign alone exceeded 500,000 in January, and more than 520,000 copies of the May issue will go to subscribers.

While the Ensign circulation increased by 43,000 from May 1986 to May 1987, the number of New Era issues published each month rose from 155,000 to 170,000. During that same time period, the number of Friend copies printed monthly increased from 183,000 to 203,000. The international magazines have also shown gratifying growth.

The Church has been involved in publishing periodicals for its members since June 1832, when the first issue of the Evening and Morning Star came off the press at Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. This newspaper was followed by the LDS Messenger and Advocate published in Kirtland, Ohio from 1834 to 1837. Other Church newspapers were also begun, and in 1850 the Deseret News was founded in Salt Lake City.

In the 1840s, Latter-day Saint periodicals were begun in England, Wales, New York City, and California. A decade later, Church publications were established in Denmark, Germany, France, Australia, Switzerland, and India.

Later publications included the Juvenile Instructor, begun in 1866 and changed to the Instructor in 1930; the Women’s Exponent, founded in 1872, which became the Relief Society Magazine in 1915; the Contributor, which was first published in 1879 and replaced by the Improvement Era in 1897; and the Children’s Friend, begun in 1902.

In 1970, Church leaders ceased publishing the above-named magazines, as well as the Millennial Star, and replaced them with a series of new Church periodicals.

The new magazines began publication with the January 1971 issues. The Ensign is designed for the reading audience of adult members, the New Era focuses on the Church’s youth, while the Friend is intended to entertain and instruct children aged three to eleven. The non-English publications print condensed versions of many of the articles appearing in the English magazines, as well as stories relating to the countries they are sent to.

In a letter dated 21 July 1970 and sent to Church leaders in the stakes and missions, the First Presidency outlined the following goals for the new magazines: “(1) to provide wholesome literature for the various age levels; (2) to furnish reading material that will help Church members increase their faith and develop strong testimonies; (3) to give insights into the workings of the Church, its policies, and its progress; (4) to explain the principles of the restored gospel; (5) to help members apply gospel principles to everyday living; (6) to teach everlasting truths, such as virtue, honesty, integrity, and loyalty; (7) to represent the Church to nonmember friends and investigators in an impressive way; (8) to answer questions and give guidance concerning current topics of concern to all.”

The goal of the Church is to have Church magazines in the home of every member, so they can be used to strengthen faith and build testimonies. In working toward that goal, the Ensign, New Era, and Friend, as well as the international magazines, have continually been upgraded with improved graphics and helpful editorial content. Response from readers has been overwhelmingly positive, and readership continues to climb.

[photo] Workers stitch copies of the May conference issue of the Ensign, final step before magazines are shipped. (Photography by Marty Mayo.)

Church Welfare Program Is “Worthy of Imitation,” Congressional Committee Told

The promotion of work and self-reliance and the elimination of idleness and the dole—the goals of the Church’s welfare program—are “worthy of imitation,” a U.S. Congressional subcommittee was told March 11.

In testimony before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Assistance, Keith B. McMullin, managing director of Welfare Services for the Church, said the program focuses on prevention, temporary assistance, and rehabilitation in striving toward those goals.

“We strive to promote self-reliance, to enthrone work, and to eliminate the curse of idleness and the evils of a dole,” he said.

The purpose of the subcommittee’s hearings is to seek ways in which government welfare might be improved. While Brother McMullin stressed that the Church’s program is based upon religious principles and operates independently of local, state, and national government, he added that “much of what we do can be copied and is worthy of imitation.

“Where community resources are available that are compatible with our approach,” he said, “we are happy to use them. Our overarching aim, however, is always to help people help themselves.”

He said greater emphasis is placed on prevention than on other aspects of the Church’s welfare program. “Through teaching and admonition, we seek first and foremost to foster self-reliance and provident living,” he said. He added that members are urged to acquire needed literacy skills, to select suitable employment, and to manage their financial resources “so as to avoid unnecessary debt and to live within their means.”

Latter-day Saints are encouraged to store adequate reserves of food and clothing, to follow sound health practices, and to cultivate “habits that ensure social, emotional, and spiritual well being,” Brother McMullin said.

Needy Church members unable to provide for themselves are often given temporary assistance until they are able to become self-reliant, he said, adding that “permanent dependence on Church or other welfare programs is discouraged except in instances of the very aged or infirm who have no other resources on which to rely.”

He pointed out that resources needed to maintain Church welfare services come from voluntary member donations of time, talents, and money. During 1986, nearly five million hours of compassionate service were donated by members.

Fundamental to the Church’s welfare plan is the principle that recipients work to the extent of their ability for what they receive. “Work engenders independence, thrift, and self-respect,” Brother McMullin said.

He added that members of local Church congregations are encouraged to help fellow members who have lost jobs to locate new employment or to assist them in acquiring improved skills needed in the marketplace. Such efforts helped some forty-two thousand members find gainful employment last year.

Brother McMullin told the subcommittee that the basic moorings of the Church’s welfare system are spiritual and not economic. He quoted the Biblical injunction, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Tim. 5:8.)

Policies and Announcements

The following items appeared in the 1987-3 Bulletin.

Patriarchal Blessings for Missionaries. A person who has received a mission call and has not had a patriarchal blessing and desires to have one should obtain the blessing before entering the Missionary Training Center or arriving in the mission field.

Letters of Appreciation to Radio and Television Stations. Members may appropriately send letters of appreciation to radio and television stations that provide free public service time to broadcast general conference, the Homefront series, and other Church programs. These letters should not be form letters, but personal expressions from the individual writer in his own words.

However, members should not send letters of complaint to stations for broadcasting only one-hour or ninety-minute segments of general conference. Stations are not required to provide such public time for the Church.

We have a far greater opportunity to increase coverage by showing appreciation to the stations for the free service they generously provide than by criticizing them.

Appointments

Mission Presidents

David C. Campbell, a chief of police, is from Bountiful, Utah. He has served as a stake president and Young Men general board member. He will preside over the Tennessee Nashville Mission, accompanied by his wife, Nancy May Rodgers.

Fred W. Nelson, Jr., of Provo, Utah, is a safety officer at Brigham Young University. He has served as a bishop and branch president. Accompanied by his wife, Rose Mary Nelson, he will preside over the Ecuador Quito Mission beginning July 1.

Robert S. Turley, of Bountiful, Utah, is director of operational auditing for the Church. He has served as a bishop and stake president’s counselor. He will preside over the Arkansas Little Rock Mission beginning July 1. He will be accompanied by his wife, Maurine J. Turley, who has just been released as first counselor in the Young Women general presidency.

Regional Representatives

Independence Missouri, Omaha Nebraska, and Wichita Kansas regions, Eugene N. Allred, regional manager of an orthopedic appliance company, former bishop, and counselor in a stake presidency.

Churubusco Mexico Region, Adolfo Avalos (Rico), elementary education teacher, former stake president.

Arica Chile and Antofagasta Chile regions, Gustavo A. Barrios, purchasing manager, Presiding Bishopric’s Office in Chile, former stake president.

San Bernardino California and Palm Springs California regions, Donald Lyle Bigler, pharmacist, former stake president.

Victorville California and Riverside California regions, Douglas Lane Callister, attorney, former mission president and stake president.

Brasilia Brazil and Sao Paulo Brazil Central regions, Antonio Carlos Camargo, former branch president and counselor in a stake presidency.

Campinas Brazil Region, Orlando Alberto Caverni, accountant, former branch president and counselor in a stake presidency.

Rock Springs Wyoming and Centerville Utah regions, David Morris Grant, university professor, former stake president and patriarch.

Tampico Mexico and Tapachula Mexico regions, Horacio Guzman Maldonado, biochemist inspector, former stake president.

Germany Servicemen Region, Thomas Alvin Hawkes, Jr., pediatric orthopedic director, former bishop and counselor in a stake presidency.

Eugene Oregon and Medford Oregon regions, Dee Ray Jensen, retired, former bishop and stake president.

Kaysville Utah and Layton Utah regions, Marlin K. Jensen, attorney, former stake president.

Leeds England, Manchester England, and Sunderland England regions, Kenneth Johnson, insurance brokerage firm partner, former stake president.

Elko Nevada, Reno Nevada North, and Reno Nevada South regions, Kendall E. Jones, dentist, former stake president.

La Paz Bolivia, Cochabamba Bolivia, and Santa Cruz Bolivia regions, Philippe J. Kradolfer, Church materials management employee, former stake president.

Hamburg Germany Region, Magnus R. Meiser, sales training manager, former stake president.

Orizaba Mexico and Puebla Mexico regions, Carlos Merino, photocopy machine salesman, former stake president.

Cordoba Argentina, Mendoza Argentina, and Tucuman Argentina regions, Ricardo Monetti, attorney, former stake president.

Columbia River Washington and Mt. Vernon Washington regions, Brent I. Nash, dentist, former stake president.

Preston Idaho and Tremonton Utah regions, William O. Nelson, administrative assistant, Office of the Council of the Twelve; former bishop and counselor in a stake presidency.

Rosario Argentina, Sante Fe Argentina, and Resistencia Argentina regions, Deolindo Antonio Resek, physician, former stake president.