News of the Church


Radio, TV Programs Look at Social Ills in Gospel Light

A well-accepted series of public affairs radio programs and a videotaped program on the war against tobacco are helping win support for gospel-based approaches to solving social problems.

Both the radio programs and the videotaped documentary have been produced by the Church’s Public Communications/Special Affairs Department largely for non-LDS audiences whose values are compatible with those espoused by the Church.

Several of the thirteen “Times and Seasons” radio programs have already been used by dozens of radio stations across the United States. Two of the programs earned the Silver Angel award from the Los Angeles-based Religion in Media Foundation.

The radio series includes programs on religion and marriage, the influence of pornography on society and the family, gambling and lotteries, sex and morality, community service, alcohol, tobacco, religious tolerance, family violence, and drug abuse.

The “Times and Seasons” programs are produced in a documentary style and look at these issues in the context of traditional values. The way they are produced allows the programs to be broadcast as public affairs programming. Public affairs programs deal with issues of public concern but do not promote one particular religious denomination. They can, however, have a “point of view.”

The radio programs will receive nationwide distribution in the United States beginning in January.

The other Church-produced program—“Tobacco: The Winnable War”—is a 28-minute videotaped documentary featuring health experts from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Britain. It has been produced in formats that will permit use by community organizations, medical and health associations, and cable or commercial television outlets throughout the U.S. Special versions have been produced for the British Isles, Australia, and Canada as well.

The documentary takes the position that while tobacco usage is a major health problem, the fight against it can be won. It includes commentary from a dozen noted health authorities, ranging from the surgeon general of the United States to the secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Health in Australia. Included is Elder Alexander B. Morrison of Canada, who, as a widely known Canadian medical scientist, was an adviser to the World Health Organization prior to his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Dr. C. Everett Koop, the U.S. surgeon general, notes that AIDS has been receiving much attention in society because of its deadly potential. But, he points out, tobacco kills as many Americans each month as AIDS has killed in seven years.

The group of experts discuss the physical, economic, and social factors that make tobacco usage a difficult problem to solve. They speak also of ways the habit can be overcome. One positive comment is made by Dr. Kenneth E. Warner, chairman of the Department of Public Health Policy and Administration at the University of Michigan. “In the developed world,” he says, “tobacco is on its way out. It’s going slowly. It’s going kicking and screaming, and it will be with us for a lot of years, but it is going.”

Update

Year

Number of Stakes

1984

1,485

1985

1,543

1986

1,603

1987

1,656

1988

1,698

The Church had 1,698 stakes on 3 October 1988, an increase of 42 over the same date last year. That represents a 2.5-percent increase during the 12-month period and a 14.3-percent increase since 1984.

Tabernacle Choir to Perform at EPCOT Center

In March 1989, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform for the first time in Florida, with concerts and a nationwide broadcast from the EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

On Saturday, March 18, four outdoor mini-concerts will be held at the American Gardens Theater at the EPCOT Center. The thirty-minute presentations will feature patriotic numbers and popular tunes from the Disney musical repertoire. Portions of the concerts will be videotaped and will be featured on the nationally televised Walt Disney World Easter Parade on Sunday, March 26.

On Palm Sunday, March 19, the Tabernacle Choir’s weekly television and radio broadcast, “Music and the Spoken Word,” will originate from the EPCOT Center via satellite.

Following the weekend performances, the choir will perform in formal concert Tuesday, March 21, for the national convention of the American Society of Neuroradiology at the Peabody Hotel, Orlando.

The Walt Disney World performances will continue a tradition dating back to 1893, when the Tabernacle Choir completed its first concert tour with performances at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Temple Square Gives Visitors a Gospel Overview

Temple Square in Salt Lake City has long been known as a focal point for visitors interested in learning more about the Church. To learn about its effect on missionary work, the Ensign visited with Joseph Horne, director of Temple Square.

Q.: Temple Square always seems to be busy. How many people visit it each year?

A.: Temple Square is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in the western United States. In 1987, more than 3.4 million people came. By comparison, Yellowstone National Park drew 1.2 million visitors last year. This year, we anticipate that between 3.6 and 4 million people will visit Temple Square.

Q.: What draws so many people?

A.: Many come to learn about the Latter-day Saints and their beliefs. Others enjoy the peaceful feeling and spiritual uplift that is so prevalent on the square.

Q.: What purpose does Temple Square serve?

A.: There are really five purposes: (1) To prepare nonmembers for the missionaries by helping them have a spiritual experience; (2) To obtain self-referrals from people who would like to have the missionaries teach them more about the Church; (3) To strengthen members’ testimonies; (4) To help members fulfill their missionary responsibilities; (5) To build a positive image for the Church.

Q.: How many people ask to learn more about the Church?

A.: Last year we had five thousand self-referrals.

Temple Square also is an excellent place for members to bring non-LDS friends for an introduction to the gospel. Many nonmembers become interested in the Church after such a visit.

Q.: What do you do to ensure that visitors have a positive experience?

A.: We offer seven different guided tours of Temple Square. Five focus on Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, the purpose of temples, and other scriptural themes. The other two tours are historical, focusing on the pioneers or on the Tabernacle. We also have a variety of films and exhibits.

Our guides are encouraged to respect visitors’ beliefs and not to pressure them about the gospel. Rather, they invite visitors to learn more if they wish. We honor requests for guided tours with no proselyting involved. We also teach our guides to respect the time limitations of those who are here on tightly scheduled tours.

Q.: Do many tour groups visit?

A.: This year, we expect that people on four thousand motor-coach tours will visit Temple Square. Quite a few visitors come from abroad. Many come from Europe; this summer, we also had a Chinese tour scheduled every day. Many of our visitors from abroad know about Temple Square because they have listened to Tabernacle Choir broadcasts or recordings or they have heard about it from friends. Frequently, our visitors from overseas have made Temple Square a “must-see” priority when they planned their trip to the United States.

Q.: What if they don’t speak English?

A.: We have 350 multilingual guides who speak a total of nineteen languages.

Q.: How many guides work on Temple Square?

A.: There are 1,350 people—all recommended by their bishops—who work here on different shifts during the week.

Q.: Can the approaches to missionary work that are used on Temple Square be applied by mission leaders and members in other areas?

A.: Certainly. There are many special or historic occasions that members can use for local missionary opportunities. A special program could be presented, to which nonmembers could be invited. Showing a Church audiovisual presentation like Our Heavenly Father’s Plan or Together Forever can often culminate the program.

Church historic sites can also provide fine settings for special events. In some areas, local media outlets have printed or broadcast material about the Church that has provided opportunities for missionary work. In Tallahassee, Florida, for example, a Christmas lighting display at the stake center drew media attention, and thousands drove by to see it. The display focused attention on our belief in Christ.

Organizers of local missionary programs have access to most of the same Church audiovisual and printed materials that we have. For example, some local leaders have shown the film Together Forever and have received all the missionary referrals they could handle. We could all have greater missionary success if we use all the tools available.

[photo] Joseph Horne, director of Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

Channel Island Saints

“Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.” (D&C 1:1.)

This verse has special significance for Latter-day Saints living on the Channel Islands just off the coast of France. In spite of problems peculiar to these isolated islands, the people there are not only listening to the gospel message, but many are accepting and living it.

The Channel Islands consist of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Herm, plus two very small islands—Brecqhou and Jethou. Jersey is the largest—approximately ten miles long by six wide. Although they are a long way from England, the islands belong to the British Crown.

Everyone on the islands speaks English, but on both Jersey and Guernsey a patois, or dialect, is spoken that scholars identify as very similar to early Norman French. Efforts are being made to prevent the patois from dying out, and evening classes are held to teach the language.

Latter-day Saints currently meet on only two of the islands—Jersey and Guernsey. There is a ward in St. Helier on Jersey and a branch on Guernsey. Jersey has a population of around eighty thousand; its capital is St. Helier. Guernsey’s capital is St. Peter Port; the island’s population is fifty-five thousand.

Although the Church in the British Isles celebrated its 150th anniversary last year, missionary work didn’t start in the Channel Islands until 1848. One of the first missionaries on Jersey, Elder William C. Dunbar, wrote to the Millennial Star on 24 April 1849: “I came to this island December 6th, 1848 and found about 44 faithful Saints. I labour under many difficulties here in St. Helier’s. I have baptised sixty old and young. The Saints rejoice, the people wonder and cry delusion. I believe this to be an important place, and that much is to be done.”

There were then five branches of the Church in Jersey, two in Guernsey, and one in Alderney. Convert migration caused membership to dwindle, however, as many families emigrated. By 1883 there were only seven members left in Jersey.

Little work was done from 1900 until 1965, when Brother Thomas W. Wills, who had been converted to the Church in New Zealand, returned to Jersey with his wife, Judy. Finding no branch of the Church on the island, Brother Wills contacted the Southwest British Mission. In response, two missionaries were sent.

In the meantime, Brother Alexander Mackenzie, along with his wife and family, moved to Jersey from Hyde in Cheshire, England, where they had been baptized in 1961.

Since then, the Church has grown in Jersey until the St. Helier Ward was organized a few years ago. Among the members of the ward are Bishop Peter Searle and his family, who live in the village of St. Aubin. He and John Fuller, along with their wives, used to fly to the dependent branch on Guernsey in a borrowed airplane piloted by Brother Fuller. There, the two did their home teaching while their wives did their visiting teaching. For two years, Bishop Searle also went to Guernsey every Sunday to conduct meetings there.

Among the earliest converts in this century on Jersey were Eileen Bundy and her son, Norman. They were baptized in November 1965.

Norman, a fireman for the States of Jersey Fire Service, is now first counselor in the St. Helier Ward bishopric. He and his wife, Sue, whom he met at a Church function, have five children. Sue is the Relief Society president and is also a youth leader at the St. Ouen’s Youth Club.

A radio broadcast led another Jersey family to the Church. When Stanley and Phyliss Barnard heard a program about the Church on the radio, Phyliss commented, “That sounds right to me.” Stanley agreed. Four weeks later two young missionaries knocked on their door, and shortly afterward the Barnards were baptized. They have been stalwart members now for more than twenty years.

Alex Mackenzie and his family have been members of the Church even longer—perhaps longer than anyone else on the island. Brother Mackenzie’s wife died in 1969, and since then he has done his best to keep his three sons and three daughters as close to the Church as possible.

“To me the Church is like a big family,” he says. “So long as we stay close and love one another, we can’t go wrong.”

Jersey attracts many people of different nationalities to its shores. Two of these immigrants stayed to make their marks on the Church community. The first, Seigfried Rudolph Schenk, was born in Germany. His wife, Bonna, is English. They have six children.

Brother Schenk has served as a branch president and as a bishop. He brings the same meticulous attention to his Church callings as he does to his job as head chef at a local luxury hotel.

Another immigrant, Leon Rodziewicz, was recently sealed to his wife, the former Ann Howlett, in the London Temple. The couple met last year at a Church function celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Church in the British Isles.

Leon feels that Jersey’s isolated position is a challenge for the Latter-day Saints there. “Jersey is far from the stake center, and it is expensive and time-consuming to fly or take a boat to the mainland.” This means that members rarely join in any stake activities. “We have to be very self-supporting,” he says.

The St. Helier Ward has grown tremendously in recent years. There is a feeling among the members that the Lord has prepared people on the island to hear the gospel and that it is up to the members and the missionaries to find them.

This was the case with Ted and Vanessa Harris, who were living the Word of Wisdom even before they learned of the Church. Ted met a Latter-day Saint when he was lecturing at Highlands College, and they began to talk about the Church. The Harrises were baptized a few months later.

“We felt as if we had always been part of the Church,” Brother Harris says. “We had been searching for years for something of a spiritual nature. A lot of it was instant recognition.”

Every week in Jersey there are new people at the chapel. Some are investigators, some are new members, and some are visiting on holiday. The St. Helier Ward welcomes them all.

The ward youth are always glad for an opportunity to mix with others of their own age. Because of their isolation, they have little chance to join in extended Church programs, to attend dances and stage shows, or even to date other Latter-day Saints.

Perhaps because of the isolation, there is a strong sense of community among Jersey Latter-day Saints. They also feel strong ties to their neighbors, and the Church is gaining more and more acceptance in the community.

Guernsey’s Saints are even more isolated. Only eighteen members meet each week in Guernsey, three of whom are priesthood holders. They are in the same situation as were Jersey members twenty years ago.

In both Jersey and Guernsey, the faith and prayers of the Saints and the care and concern that Heavenly Father has for them will ensure that the Church in the Channel Islands will continue to grow.

Correspondent: Yvonne Ashton is institute teacher and Relief Society Spiritual Living teacher in the St. Helier Jersey Ward, Southampton stake.

[photos] Photography by John Olley and John Watkins

[photos] Modern fishing boats and a medieval castle come together on Guernsey’s coast (backdrop). Jersey members Eileen Bundy (left) and Pauline Mauro.

[photos] High Street in St. Peter Port, Guernsey’s capital (top). Jersey’s St. Helier Ward meets in this chapel (center). The Peter D‘Orleans family (bottom) are among Jersey’s Latter-day Saints.

Acts of Kindness amid California Ashes

As members of the Auburn California Stake assessed the damage from September’s disastrous “‘49er Fire” in California’s historic Gold Rush country, they talked about the positive side, too.

Out of chaos and heartbreak came acts of kindness. Latter-day Saints reached out to other members in need, and they touched the lives of nonmembers as well.

The fire left a blackened waste of 33,500 acres of forest and ranch country. Piles of ashes and twisted metal debris are pathetic reminders of the 190 homes that stood in the path of the inferno. Three of those homes belonged to members of the Church.

Damage ran into millions of dollars in and around Penn Valley, Lake Wildwood, and Rough And Ready, California, near the Sierra Nevada mountains north of Sacramento.

The wind-whipped blaze began on a Sunday morning when a trash fire got out of control. No one could foresee the devastation that would take place over the next few days, but by that Sunday evening a communication center had been established at the Nevada City LDS meetinghouse. Workers there kept in touch with members whose homes were threatened. As many of these people evacuated their homes, other members stood by, offering food and lodging but helpless to do more for the moment.

For several days no one could enter the fire area because of the danger, but on Saturday, some two hundred Church members gathered at a park near the damaged area, bringing rakes, shovels, picks, chain saws, wheelbarrows, and pickup trucks. John Klein, a member of the stake high council, organized the workers into teams with captains, following the procedure practiced in early Church history.

Throughout the day, they worked at fifteen sites in the fire-blackened area. Many cleared away burned shrubs and debris, while others dug drainage ditches behind the homes on burned hillsides to prevent erosion. Some crews worked all day, replacing water pipes to restore plumbing systems for two families.

Many nonmember fire victims appreciated the unexpected help of LDS volunteers.

One crew didn’t realize it, but they were an answer to prayer, according to a story heard later by another member.

A family in Penn Valley returned to the area to find their ranch badly damaged by the fire. They had lost their barn, outbuildings, and fences, and their animals were scattered. Surveying the damage, the woman exclaimed, “O God, help us!” Her husband responded: “God will have to help us get through this.” When a man knocked on their door early that Saturday morning and announced that he had brought a crew from the LDS Church to help them, the wondering woman gratefully accepted. As the crew members went to work, she called to her still-sleeping husband, “Get up! God is at the door.”

At one site, while workers sifted through ashes, a woman asked, “Who are you people?” After Bishop Ronald Coleman of the Auburn Third Ward explained, she asked two members of the teachers quorum to sift carefully in the area where her jewelry box should have been. Everyone rejoiced when they managed to recover her diamond wedding ring.

As this crew of twenty-three finished up at their last home site, a Sacramento television news team showed up. The workers found themselves on the 6:00 P.M. news that night.

Back at the park where the volunteers gathered, the stake Relief Society served a meal to the tired workers. The stories they exchanged made it clear that the Church’s immediate response had lifted the spirits of those in need and had provided important physical help.

Under the direction of stake president Donald K. McCauley, stake members continued to provide assistance in the days that followed, giving members ample opportunity for compassionate service in the wake of disaster.

Correspondent: Dorothy Varney, Auburn stake public communications director, assisted by Laurel Paul.

Tuition To Increase at BYU

Attending Brigham Young University will cost more for the 1989–90 school year. Tuition will rise to $900 per semester for LDS undergraduates. Tuition for advanced-standing students will increase from $995 to $1,050 per semester. Tuition for students in the J. Reuben Clark Law School and the Graduate School of Management will rise from $1,610 to $1,690.

Tuition for nonmembers is one and one-half times that for LDS students.

Appointments

Temple President

Ralph Pulman of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, has been called to preside over the London Temple. His wife, Retta Wynder Crapo Pulman, will serve as temple matron. President Pulman has served as a regional representative and as a mission, stake, and district president.

Regional Representatives

Concepcion Chile Region, Florencio Castro, supervisor of mechanical maintenance, former stake president.

Ben Lomond Utah, Mount Lewis Utah, and Ogden Utah regions, Stanley M. Smoot, business and real estate developer, former stake and mission president.

Rio de Janeiro Brazil Region, Demar Staniscia, public communications director, former stake and mission president.