News of the Church


New Mission Organized in Utah

Three missions have been operating in Utah since the beginning of the year—Utah Ogden, Utah Salt Lake City, and Utah Provo. Their boundaries correspond with the Church’s Utah North, Utah Central, and Utah South areas, created in 1988.

The Utah Provo Mission was formed from the old Utah Salt Lake City South Mission, now called the Utah Salt Lake City Mission. The Utah Provo Mission includes Utah, Duchesne, and Uintah counties, a part of Daggett County, all of the counties south of these in Utah (except for the lower half of San Juan County), and small parts of Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado. George E. Magnusson, a retired educator from Torrance, California, is serving as mission president.

V. Dallas Merrell continues as president of the Utah Salt Lake City Mission. The boundaries of this mission enclose an area that includes the Great Salt Lake Desert, part of the Uintah Mountains and northeastern Utah, the Tooele Valley, and the Salt Lake Valley.

E. Widtsoe Shumway, who had been presiding over the Utah Salt Lake City North Mission, continues as president in the renamed Utah Ogden Mission. The mission’s headquarters have been moved from Salt Lake City to Ogden. The mission covers most of northern Utah, the southeastern corner of Idaho, and the southwestern corner of Wyoming.

Flood of Help Follows Disaster in Southern Utah

The new year began in heartache for some residents of the St. George, Utah, area as a twelve-foot wall of water came out of the night to inundate their homes and apartments near the Virgin River.

But thanks to early warnings, no one was injured, and before New Year’s Day was over, many of those affected were expressing gratitude for neighbors and friends who had pitched in to help with the cleanup.

A dike broke at the Quail Creek Reservoir upstream, sending some 30,000 acre-feet of water rolling down the river very early on New Year’s Day. Two bridges were washed out, and three others were damaged. Livestock, farm buildings, and equipment were also carried away.

As the waters passed through St. George and Bloomington, about fourteen miles downstream, some fifty to sixty homes were flooded, as well as a large apartment complex. Flooding damaged members’ homes as far south as Littlefield, Arizona, said President Steven Peterson of the Bloomington Utah Stake.

Residents had been evacuated earlier when it became evident that the leaking dike would give way. LDS wards in St. George, working with the Red Cross, opened their meetinghouses to the evacuees, and Dixie College also opened its doors. But the next morning, as residents began to return to areas adjacent to the Virgin River, they found some homes completely gutted and others filled with tons of mud and gravel, their furnishings swept away. Some houses suffered only light water damage but lost thousands of dollars’ worth of exterior improvements or landscaping.

Even before Utah Governor Norman Bangerter could declare Washington County a disaster area, some two hundred area residents were walking across the bridge into Bloomington that Sunday morning, carrying shovels and buckets. Elsewhere, volunteers from the St. George Twenty-first Ward arrived at the damaged apartment complex before 7:00 A.M. to help clean up; many stayed on through the night. Some wards canceled meetings so members could help those in need.

The Bloomington Second Ward was the hardest hit. The home of Bishop Bill Lamb, which was not damaged, became a center for coordinating cleanup efforts. Work crews arriving from wards and stakes throughout the area were assigned wherever there was a need, and homes of non–Latter-day Saints were included in the cleanup. Non–Latter-day Saint residents of the area toiled beside their LDS neighbors in helping those whose homes had been damaged.

The cleanup was truly a community effort. Several local businesses furnished food to home owners and those who were assisting them. For a week after the disaster, LDS wards and groups continued to furnish meals to members and nonmembers in need.

It was estimated that in the initial coordinated effort, more than ten thousand service hours were donated by members of the St. George Utah, St. George Utah West, St. George Utah East, Bloomington Hills Utah, and Santa Clara Utah stakes. Help and equipment were also provided by the St. George Fire Department and local U.S. Bureau of Land Management personnel.

Bishop Wayne Everett of the St. George Thirteenth Ward was one of the volunteer workers. “We were taken aback by the amount of mud, and at first it seemed impossible to clean out the homes. Now I can’t believe how much work was done in just two days.”

There was work for everyone who cared to help. While some dug mud out of homes, for example, others washed clothing or performed a variety of cleaning chores. “There was a spirit of unity and strength that sustained those whose homes were damaged and those who came to help,” President Peterson said. Members of the community and visiting press representatives alike commented on the love and sacrifice that were evident.

Little acts of kindness stand out in some home owners’ minds. Like everyone else, one family saw fine furnishings and personal possessions from their basement hauled away to the dump. But a few days later, someone returned the family’s large wall clock; a volunteer who felt the item was salvageable had taken it home and carefully cleaned it.

Although cleanup efforts wound down after a week, there is still much repair and rebuilding to be done. But for those families affected by the flood, the task now seems less formidable. Joyce Griffin, a flood victim from the Bloomington Fourth Ward, commented, “This may not be the best way to clean out a basement, but there was a lot more good that came out of this than bad. It sounds strange, but I’m really glad for the experience.”

Correspondent: Wallace Brazzeal, St. George Region public communications director.

[photo] As floodwaters drained away from homes in the Bloomington Ranches area on January 1, residents faced a massive cleanup. (Photo courtesy of Murdock Aerial Photo.)

[photo] Crews from wards and stakes throughout the area helped residents remove muck and ruined furnishings from homes. (Photo by Wallace Brazzeal.)

Members Rebuild after Tornadoes Hit Southeast

Latter-day Saints and their nonmember neighbors helped each other pick up the pieces of their lives and homes after devastating tornadoes swept through Raleigh, North Carolina, late last year. And Church members in Franklin, Tennessee, are rebuilding after another tornado nearly destroyed their stake center.

In North Carolina, the homes of three LDS families in the Raleigh First Ward were destroyed. “One family’s home is being reconstructed, but the other two families have had to start over with nothing,” said Bishop Vern L. Christensen. Homes of ten other families in the First Ward were damaged, but repairs are underway. Homes were also damaged in the Raleigh Second and Fourth wards, but no members were seriously injured.

Church members in Raleigh and in other area stakes offered volunteers, resources, equipment, and financial aid to members and nonmembers whose homes were damaged or destroyed. Latter-day Saints organized work crews to help remove trees and debris from yards, sort through damaged possessions, and repair damaged homes. Bishop Christensen received many notes and cards from nonmembers expressing their thanks. “We also received calls from numerous people asking if they could donate money to the Church to help families” affected by the tornadoes, he said.

In Tennessee, a tornado hit the Franklin Tennessee Stake Center on December 24. President Todd Christofferson reported that the entire roof of the cultural hall collapsed. Salvageable portions of the building include the chapel, stake and bishops’ offices, multipurpose rooms, and children’s rooms. Reconstruction is expected to take eight months.

The Franklin and Brentwood wards are meeting in the Franklin and Brentwood high schools in the Williamson County School District. The school district was “very helpful and made sure we could meet in the schools the week after the tornado,” President Christofferson said. Baptist churches in the area have also let the stake use their facilities for basketball games and practices.

Mauritius, Réunion Dedicated for Missionary Work

The islands of Mauritius and Réunion, in the Mascarene Islands Mission, were dedicated late in 1988 for the preaching of the gospel.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve dedicated the two islands, located off the southeast coast of Africa. He visited Mauritius, an independent nation of 1.1 million, on November 22, and Réunion, an overseas departmént of France with a population of 500,000, on November 23.

In his dedicatory prayer at Quatre Bornes, Mauritius, Elder Ashton said, “We know this land is a link between Western and Eastern cultures. … We dedicate this beautiful island to thy lofty purposes and in accordance with thy present and future plans for not only the growth, but the prosperity and peace that the gospel can bring.” In the dedication of Réunion, Elder Ashton said, “We include in this dedication of Réunion Island those islands that will be opened in this Mascarene Islands Mission in the future, with every blessing that thou can extend to those who are called to lead the way.”

The Mascarene Islands Mission was formed on 1 July 1988 from the South Africa Johannesburg Mission. There are about four hundred members in the mission, with two branches on Mauritius and three on Réunion. President Gerard Giraud-Carrier of the Mascarene Islands Mission, President R. J. Snow of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission, and their wives accompanied Elder Ashton and his wife, Norma, to the islands.

Map of the Indian Ocean

Both Mauritius and Réunion are subtropical volcanic islands whose principal industry is producing sugar.

Bells Will Mark Young Women Anniversary in November

Local LDS Church leaders all over the world will ring bells on Saturday, 18 November 1989, to mark the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Young Women organization.

Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women general president, announced that the worldwide celebration will commemorate President Brigham Young’s ringing of the prayer bell to call his daughters together at the Lion House on 28 November 1869. At that time he challenged them to set aside the things of the world and improve in everything that is good and beautiful.

The Young Ladies Retrenchment Society, now called the Young Women, was thus organized. Today, nearly 350,000 teenage girls in ninety-six countries belong to Young Women.

On November 18, young women will gather at sunrise in their local areas for the symbolic bell ringing and will hear a message by President Ezra Taft Benson.

Young Women of the Church have committed to live by seven values that can guide their lives, and each of the values has been assigned a color. As a “living monument to young women” and a reminder of the Young Women’s values, flowers in the value colors have been planted this year at the Lion House in Salt Lake City, Sister Kapp said.

A Conversation about Personal Progress and Young Women

The Ensign spoke recently with Sister Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women general president, to learn about recent changes in the Young Women Personal Progress Program.

Ardeth G. Kapp

Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women general president. (Photo by Philip S. Shurtleff.)

Q.: What is the purpose of Personal Progress?

A.: It is to help young women grow spiritually and come unto Christ. Participation in Personal Progress helps young women develop private religious behavior such as personal prayer and scripture study. It also provides opportunities for parents and their daughters to plan and work together and fosters positive, trusting relationships among young women and their leaders. In addition, it provides ways to practice gospel principles learned at home and in Sunday lessons; promotes a variety of spiritually based experiences that provide opportunities for cultural development, leadership, service, and growth; helps young women evaluate their personal progress as they prepare to make and keep sacred covenants; and provides recognition that helps young women appreciate their identity as daughters of God in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The spiritual growth and progress of each young woman is the most important aspect of Personal Progress.

Q.: What kind of recognition do the young women receive in the Personal Progress program?

A.: A Report of Progress will be given to each girl each year. Then, at the end of the Beehive, Mia Maid, and Laurel years, jewelry shaped like the age-group symbols will be available to those who qualify. The Young Womanhood medallion will continue to be the culminating honor in the Young Women program.

Q.: Why was the Personal Progress program revised?

A.: There is a great need to involve young women in meaningful, gospel-centered experiences that will bring them closer to the Lord and help them understand his teachings. Personal Progress is an essential element of the Young Women program. Basing this program on the Young Women theme, values, and motto can help give direction to a young woman’s life and strengthen her testimony of the gospel.

Q.: In what ways has the program been revised or strengthened?

A.: First, as the new Personal Progress booklet explains, Beehives, Mia Maids, and Laurels now have specific age-group responsibilities that help define their roles. These responsibilities support the mission statements and symbols for each age group as well as the Young Women theme.

Second, one of the age-group responsibilities for both the Beehives and Mia Maids includes completing fourteen value experiences each year. Since the needs, interests, and development of young women change as they grow and mature, value experiences were prepared for both the first- and second-year Beehives and the first- and second-year Mia Maids. These experiences are very broad; they should appeal to young women who enjoy a wide range of activities. The experiences were carefully selected with a worldwide Church and international application in mind. In addition, careful thought was given to a program in which all might succeed if they put forth the effort.

Third, the age-group responsibilities for the Laurels do not include completing value experiences. Instead, Laurels develop, plan, and complete two projects each year, requiring a minimum of fifteen to thirty hours each.

Fourth, there is a section in the booklet with specific instructions to help leaders implement the Personal Progress program. This section also makes the information available to young women in isolated areas. This allows them to work on Personal Progress without the assistance of a Young Women leader.

Q.: How can parents help their daughters succeed in this program?

A.: President Benson once said to a group of youth, “The heavenly grandstands are cheering you on.” We need earthly grandstands filled with parents and adult leaders who will also cheer them on. We believe that as parents work with their daughters on Personal Progress, they will build closer relationships and have opportunities to support and encourage them.

Q.: When will the young women receive their revised Personal Progress books?

A.: As this revised Personal Progress program is introduced locally, young women will receive a new book from their Young Women leaders. The books (stock no. PEYW4125) may be ordered through Church distribution centers.

Twin Cities Provide Good Soil for Faith

Minneapolis and Saint Paul are such unique urban centers that they defy the image created by the term “Twin Cities.”

Saint Paul is said to be second in the United States only to New York City in number and variety of cultural events and performing arts attractions. Typical is the annual ice festival in February, featuring elaborate ice carvings and ice castles. The spirit of winter fun still lives in the Nordic descendants who live there.

Minneapolis, just across the Mississippi River, is the home of the four largest milling companies in the world. It is also a major center for electronics instrument manufacturing and graphic arts, and the home of several nationally known medical schools.

The earliest LDS arrivals in the area were “logging missionaries” sent there in 1841 to gather timber for the Nauvoo Temple from forests near the Black River in Wisconsin; the logs were floated down the Black River to the Mississippi. Saint Paul was just a village on the river then, and Minneapolis did not yet exist. In the 1850s, converts were baptized in what is now the Twin Cities area, and branches of the Church were formed, then disbanded later.

The first permanent branch of the Church organized here was in Saint Paul in 1909. Another was organized in Minneapolis in 1914. With fewer than three hundred total members, these two branches became the nucleus of what was then the North Central States Mission.

People like Vern Peterson, who came to Saint Paul in 1926, recall the changes over the years. “Growth has been slow and steady,” he says. “But it surprises you when you wake up one day and see how big the Church has become here.” He recalls that there was a growth spurt after World War II. The University of Minnesota and the area’s business climate have also helped draw many members here.

Jack O‘Keefe came to the Saint Paul area in 1953 from Montana. “They made me branch clerk right away, and I didn’t know a soul. I sat with the branch president’s wife because she knew everyone,” he recalls. That way she could tell him the names of people who participated in meetings.

His job would be considerably more difficult today. There are approximately ten thousand members in the three stakes of the greater Twin Cities area: the Minneapolis Minnesota, Saint Paul Minnesota, and Anoka Minnesota stakes, The first stake in the area was organized in Minneapolis in 1960, and the second in Saint Paul in 1976.

The Minnesota Minneapolis Mission made significant gains in baptisms last year, stake president Gerald Thompson says. He believes the Church is prepared to mushroom here as it has in many other areas in recent decades.

The diversity of members in the Twin Cities area typifies the bond that occurs as people discover the gospel. There are doctors, lawyers, mechanics, and executives of Fortune 500 companies. For example, Mark Willis, recently released as president of the Minneapolis Minnesota Stake, is president of General Mills. But regardless of their occupation or status, many of these members share great strength of testimony. President Willis’s wife, Fayonne, recalls that when they moved to the area eleven years ago, “We sensed a tremendous depth of commitment to the gospel” among the members.

Cathryn Kirkham, who moved to the area with her family in 1967, points out that in an area where Church members are in the minority, children “have to form a commitment to the gospel early in life. They learn a tolerance for people of other faiths.”

Richard Kirkham, Cathryn’s husband, reflects that traditional values are very strong among the people of the upper Midwest. President Richard Halverson of the Saint Paul stake would probably say that this strength of tradition is one of the assets of the Twin Cities area. “The Church will always flourish in an area that embraces good values,” he says.

And good values are the cords that bind the people of this area together. The direction here seems clear—the Church is poised to achieve significant growth and to bring new meaning into the lives of many people who already live by its principles.

Correspondent: Michael Rich, Minneapolis Region public communications director.

[photos] Church membership in the Twin Cities area (the Saint Paul skyline is seen) grows steadily, building on a base of faithful Saints. Long-time member Jim Winspear (top) is bishop of the Minneapolis First Ward, Minneapolis Minnesota Stake. Ginger Hamer and her daughter, Carrie, of the Minneapolis stake’s Bloomington Ward, examine family historical records (bottom). (Photos by Galen Erickson.)

[photo] Young members of the Minneapolis Minnesota Stake helped with Special Olympics during their youth conference in 1988.

[photos] Minnesota’s rich farmland (top) was a blessing for settlers. Ron Holm and his son Benjamin, of the Saint Paul Fourth Ward, enjoy the sights at the city’s winter carnival (above). (Photos by Galen Erickson.)

Cassettes Offer Hymnbook Full of Music

If you find yourself singing LDS hymns around the house or on the way to work, you’ll probably enjoy a new set of audiocassette tapes available through the Church distribution centers. They contain recordings of all the sacred music in Hymns, the book used by LDS congregations throughout the English-speaking world.

Entitled simply Hymns, the recordings are offered in either music-only or words-and-music versions. Michael F. Moody, chairman of the Church’s General Music Committee, explained that the tapes are designed to help those who do not read music, as well as the visually handicapped, enjoy the LDS hymns outside of Church. But they may also be used to accompany families, Church groups, or classes when a pianist is not available.

The music-only version of the hymns features a piano with string and instrumental accompaniment. The words-plus-music version adds well-enunciated singing by a small number of singers with strong, clear voices. Musical introductions and all the verses of each hymn are performed on both versions.

Each audio volume of Hymns is a set of eighteen cassettes. Volume 1, the words-plus-music version, is stock number VVOT1758 in distribution centers; volume 2, the music-only version, is stock number VVOT2976. Each volume costs $15.00.

Meetinghouse libraries should stock copies of the recordings.

Update

The rapid growth of the Church continued last year. At the end of 1988, membership was estimated at between 6.6 and 6.7 million. If growth continues at the same rate in 1989, the Church’s membership should be approaching seven million by the end of this year. There were 1,707 stakes at the end of 1988, up from 1,666 at the close of 1987. The number of full-time missionaries had increased from 34,750 to more than 36,000, and the number of missions was up from 205 to 221.

Members: 6,000,000

Stakes: 1,707

Missions: 221

Missionaries: 36,000

Appointments

Regional Representatives

Cache Utah South and Logan Utah regions, Gary E. Elliott, retired Marine officer, former mission president.

Fort Wayne Indiana, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and Charleston West Virginia regions, J. Richard Thorderson, university administrator, former stake president.

Harrisburg Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Pennsylvania regions, Darwin A. John, paper company vice-president, former stake president.

LDS Scene

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Council of the Twelve discussed plans for the Church’s first meetinghouse in Poland with the Polish ambassador to the United States during a visit to Washington, D.C., in December. Elder Nelson said members of the Church in Poland have been meeting in rented facilities, and the new chapel, to be constructed in Warsaw, will be the first built for Latter-day Saints in that country.

The number of visitors to Temple Square in Salt Lake City topped the four million mark in 1988—a 22 percent increase, or more than three-quarters of a million visitors. Temple Square, with its many displays to help introduce visitors to the gospel, now rivals the most popular visitor attractions in the western United States.

Terrel H. Bell, formerly United States Secretary of Education, has been honored by a major publishing company. He was one of three winners of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr., Prize, awarded by the McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. The company announced that the $25,000 prize will be given annually to “people who have made a difference in education.” Brother Bell, a member of the Ensign Peak Ward, Salt Lake Stake, was honored for his service in the cabinet post and for his leadership of the National Commission on Excellence in Education. That commission’s report helped bring about educational reforms.