News of the Church


Tabernacle Choir and Other Church Members Participate in U.S. Presidential Inauguration

More than five hundred Church members, including the Tabernacle Choir, were part of the inauguration of United States President George Bush on January 20.

President Ezra Taft Benson and his Second Counselor, President Thomas S. Monson, attended the ceremony.

McLean Virginia Stake president Stephen M. Studdert, executive director of the inaugural committee, invited the choir to perform. The group was frequently referred to during the inaugural as “the nation’s choir,” he said. “They represent more than just Utah or the Church. They represent the values of America.”

Highlights for the choir included performances at the inaugural gala; in a prelude program at the U.S. Capitol Building; on the last float in the inaugural parade, which stopped at the presidential viewing stand as the choir sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic”; and in “An American Tribute to Democracy” with the U.S. Air Force Band, which is headed by Church member Lt. Col. James M. Bankhead.

“The choir is fabulous,” Brother Bankhead said. “There’s none like it. The spirit of the music, the beauty of the music, the power of their message is unsurpassed.”

The choir’s performance at the gala, seen on national television by millions, included “So Many Voices Sing America’s Song,” a patriotic anthem written by LDS composer Robert Brunner and sung by operatic tenor White Eagle, a nonmember.

“The Tabernacle Choir appeared more times, at more events, than any other group or individual except for President and Mrs. Bush,” President Studdert said.

Fred Volcansek of Farmington, Utah, who was managing director of events, had the responsibility of coordinating and establishing all of the activities for the choir as well as overseeing events for the governors’ and congressional areas. Brother Volcansek was assisted by staff member Patti Cannon, the local coordinator for choir events. Gene Morlan, director of the Mormon Choir of Washington, D.C., was the official host for the Tabernacle Choir. He organized the one hundred volunteers who served as guides, ushers, office staff, and porters and helped Tabernacle Choir members load and unload more than eight hundred pieces of luggage. Laurie Snow Turner, director of communications for the inauguration, prepared credentials for the seven thousand media representatives covering various events. She also produced a media handbook listing story ideas and inauguration details.

Greg Hopkins of Salt Lake City, former executive director of the Utah Republican Party, assisted Sister Turner, primarily as a writer, and many congressional staffers volunteered their personal time as well.

Virginia Schmidt, from West Jordan, Utah, was brought to Washington to write and help produce the first-ever children’s inaugural event, “From George to George.” Sister Turner commented that this “was acclaimed as one of the most popular and creative events.”

Many others took roles that were low profile but important—people like the Brent Clark family, who stuffed envelopes and counted fliers, and Wayne and Ann Scott and Dan and Connie Jones, who served as stand-ins for President Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle and their wives during rehearsals for the opening event at the Lincoln Memorial.

The Tabernacle Choir closed its busy schedule in Washington, D.C., with its regular national broadcast, which originated from historic Constitution Hall on January 22, the National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving. Elder John K. Carmack of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Area President of the North America Northeast Area, praised the choir for its impact during the five-day event. He said that Church members could “burst our buttons with pride at what you’ve done, how well you’ve represented us.”

At a sacrament meeting for Tabernacle Choir members on Sunday night, the ninety-voice Mormon Choir of Washington, D.C., provided music. Tabernacle Choir director Jerold Ottley commented, to the delight of the Washington choir members, that “this experience [the sacrament meeting] has been an extremely high point for us spiritually. We’ve had some tough going, with a lot of high points along the way, but this has capped it.”

Correspondent: Jane Dumont, assistant public communications director, Washington D.C. Stake.

[photo] The Tabernacle Choir provided prelude music before George Bush was sworn in as president of the United States. (Photo by Tom Smart, Deseret News.)

Update on Temples

There were forty-one dedicated LDS temples around the world at the beginning of 1989. The number has remained the same since late 1987, but four new ones are currently under construction—in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; and Las Vegas, Nevada. The temples in Portland and Las Vegas are nearing completion. The temples in Cardston, Alberta, and Oakland, California, are currently closed for renovation.

Number of Temples

1985: 37

1986: 40

1987: 41

1988: 41

1989: 41

New Family History Research Outlines Available for U.S.

The Church’s Family History Library has recently published a series of reference outlines to help with family history research in the United States.

There is a reference outline booklet for the country as a whole, for Washington, D.C., and for each of the states except New York, which is not yet completed.

The outlines cover twenty-six categories that can provide information about ancestors, ranging from archives and libraries through naturalization, citizenship, and vital records.

The United States Research Outline is a 52-page guide to U.S. sources. It focuses in particular on federal records.

The state and Washington, D.C., booklets, eight to twenty pages in length, review the following facts and sources: (1) what records exist; (2) who has the original records; (3) whether a statewide or districtwide index exists; (4) whether the Family History Library has copies; and (5) how to find the records listed in the Family History Library catalog.

Single copies may be purchased through the Correspondence Unit, Family History Library, 35 North West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. The United States Research Outline costs $. 75. State outlines may be ordered in sets of four for $1.00. A complete set of the United States Research Outline, the District of Columbia Research Outline, and the forty-nine available state outlines is $12.50.

Appointments

Regional Representatives

Huntsville Alabama and Macon Georgia regions, Frank Willard Riggs III, attorney, former stake president and counselor in a mission presidency.

Brisbane Australia Region, John Raymond Gibson, Church Educational System coordinator, former stake president.

Sydney Australia, Melbourne Australia, Hobart Australia regions, John Douglas Jeffrey, Church Educational System area director, former mission president and stake president.

Auckland New Zealand, North Auckland New Zealand, Hamilton New Zealand regions, Alan Robert Patterson, manager of the Church’s New Zealand Distribution Center, former stake president.

Recife Brazil Region, Jose Francisco Barbosa, attorney, former stake president.

Payson Utah, Spanish Fork Utah regions, Donald B. Jessee, manager of missionary training for the Church’s Family History Department, former mission president and stake president.

Columbia South Carolina, Charleston South Carolina, Atlanta Georgia regions, L. Andrew Goad, dentist, former stake president.

Mission Presidents

Six new presidents have been called to preside over missionary training centers in South America, Japan, and Samoa.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, training center, Vernon A. Bingham, retired schoolteacher, Liberty, Idaho, succeeding Rex N. Terry.

São Paulo, Brazil, Elmo Turner, retired educator, South Jordan, Utah, succeeding Melvin H. Morris.

Santiago, Chile, Wendell Hall, retired BYU Spanish professor, Orem, Utah, succeeding John A. Davis.

Lima, Peru, Bruce Gibson, retired school superintendent, St. David, Arizona, succeeding Leon R. Walker.

Tokyo, Japan, N. Ralph Shino, retired banker, Salt Lake City, Utah, succeeding Roy I. Tsuya.

Apia, Samoa, Eldon Puckett, professor at BYU—Hawaii, Laie, Hawaii, succeeding Ralph L. Sharp.

LDS Scene

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The United States 101st Congress includes a total of eleven Latter-day Saints.

Of one hundred senators, Jake Garn, R-Utah, Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Harry Reid, D-Nev., are members of the Church.

Eight of the 433 representatives in the House are LDS: Jim Hansen, R-Utah; Wally Herger, R-Calif.; Howard Neilson, R-Utah; Wayne Owens, D-Utah; Ron Packard, R-Calif.; Norman D. Shumway, R-Calif.; Richard H. Stallings, D-Idaho; and Morris K. Udall, D-Ariz.

There’s Wealth in Tulsa—the Spiritual Kind

Tulsa, Oklahoma, was first a village in the center of the Creek Nation in Indian Territory, then a cow town on the Arkansas River. But its real growth began after oil was discovered nearby in 1901. Now Tulsa is a major center of oil and oil-related businesses, as well as manufacturing.

During the 1800s, LDS missionaries (including Henry Eyring, an ancestor of Bishop Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, and Andrew Kimball, father of President Spencer W. Kimball) gained converts among Indians and non-Indians in the Church’s Indian Territory Mission. But the first enduring branch in the area was not formed until well after 1907, when Oklahoma achieved statehood.

In January 1933, thirty-one members and six nonmembers met for the organization of the first LDS branch in Tulsa. Today the area has more than five thousand members in two stakes (Tulsa Oklahoma and Tulsa Oklahoma East), and Church membership is as diverse as the area’s history.

Abbie Sellers, granddaughter of a Cherokee Indian princess, remembers when early Latter-day Saint meetings were held in her parents’ home. Her father was called to preside over the Tulsa Branch in 1935. His years of faithful service in a variety of callings started a tradition that Abbie and her husband, Alden, continued until Alden’s death. Sister Sellers remains outgoing and active; she is currently a visiting teaching coordinator for her ward’s Relief Society.

Abbie’s kind of devotion to service is not uncommon in Tulsa. “The dedication members show is tremendous,” says President Michael L. Southward of the Tulsa Oklahoma Stake. A softening of Tulsa’s oil-based economy has motivated some Latter-day Saints to move away in recent years, but membership figures have held fairly steady because of new conversions, he explains. Many of those conversions have come because of the examples of faithful members.

One of those members is Bonnie Blamires of the Tulsa Third Ward. Sister Blamires first learned of the Church at sixteen, when someone threw an LDS tract in her wastebasket at work. Baptized at eighteen, she met her husband, Jim, when he was stationed nearby during World War II and attending Church meetings in Tulsa. She has served in the Young Women program for a total of twenty-five years, in the Relief Society for a total of ten years (including three in the stake Relief Society presidency), and in the Sunday School for forty years. She has also served as a district missionary, a stake missionary, and, with her husband, twice as a missionary at the Nauvoo Visitors’ Center.

Joel and Dee Ann Dickerson represent a newer generation in the Church in the Tulsa area, but their spirit of dedication is the same. They attended high school together in Bartlesville, but she was not a member then. Joining Ballet West in Salt Lake City after graduating from college, she was converted through an LDS friend. Her scheduled baptism was a pleasant surprise to Joel when he called on her in Salt Lake after his mission. A year later, they were married in the temple, and within two more years they had returned to Bartlesville to rear their family.

Growth of the Church membership locally means that non–Latter-day Saints know we are here, Joel says. “Much of the information they hear about us is positive, and more important, they know our families. They know the standards we profess to believe.” It’s a challenge to be an example, he adds.

Some of the strongest challenges come to the youth, according to President Terry Nisson of the Tulsa Oklahoma East Stake. But despite some anti-LDS activity among parents and youth around them, they are “especially strong. Probably one of the greatest missionary forces in the area is our youth,” he says.

The willingness of local Latter-day Saints to sacrifice in improving their community and in helping others is also an important factor in the strength and growth of the Church, President Nisson says. He recalls, for example, the favorable impression made during flooding in Tulsa two years ago when many Latter-day Saints sought out opportunities to help others.

Former stake president Walter Bowers, who came to Tulsa in 1947, remembers the warm welcome he received from Saints meeting in their little white chapel on Quincy Street. Today, there are satellite dishes at the stake centers to capture conference sessions from Salt Lake City. There are strong seminary and institute programs, and there is a temple only six hours away in Dallas. But “today we are just as eager and happy to welcome new families and new members,” he says. Latter-day Saints in the Tulsa area still have “that same great spirit.”

Correspondent: Carolyn Downing, Tulsa Oklahoma Region public communications director.

[photos] Modern, metropolitan Tulsa is an oil and industrial center with a diverse population that is reflected in Church membership. Alice Hickok (inset) grew up in California, but moved here after marrying Boyd, an Oklahoman.

[photo] Abbie Sellers has seen the Church grow from a handful of members in the 1930s to two stakes today.

[photo] Arlana Kneib assists David McDonough in the library of the Owasso Ward Building, Tulsa Oklahoma East Stake.

A Conversation about Finding a Job

The Church has recently made available a new videotape and workbook set titled JobSearch: The Inside Track. The materials are designed to help members find the job they need. To learn how they might be used, the Ensign talked with Larry Stevenson, field manager of LDS Employment Services.

Q.: How well does JobSearch work?

A.: With somebody helping as a “coach,” it works very well. Studies have shown that people who go through an employment program like this with a coach will get a job that is better suited to them in one-half the time and at one-third higher pay than those who try it without a coach.

Q.: A “coach” sounds like some sort of trainer. Who can be a coach, and what does he or she do?

A.: A coach is someone to help you develop the skills for the job search, someone to stimulate your thinking about what you can do on your own.

Anyone who is willing to receive some orientation, then go through the JobSearch program personally, can be a coach; it can be a home teacher, a parent, a priesthood or Relief Society leader, or a ward employment specialist. But it’s important that the person go through the program’s videotapes and workbooks before trying to help someone else through it.

We are seeing some innovative and creative approaches to using these materials. The British Isles stakes have called employment specialists who coach job-seekers through the program. Then, when some of those job-seekers have found employment, they in turn become coaches. In the Boise, Idaho, area, some elders quorum and Relief Society presidents have been assigned to coach people through the first level of JobSearch so these leaders will be aware of how the job-hunter’s search is progressing. In another area, members seeking employment have formed a “job club” to encourage each other.

The principles are excellent for teenagers. When one father coached his son through the program, the young man got an after-school job with an engineering firm—the field in which he’d like to work someday.

Q.: How was JobSearch developed?

A.: It was developed by a firm that specializes in helping companies place employees in other jobs when a cutback is necessary. Church personnel worked closely with the JobSearch developer to incorporate ideas and practices critical to finding the right kind of employment.

While the JobSearch materials deal primarily with the specific tasks of finding a job, we strongly urge people to make their search for employment a matter of constant prayer.

Q.: What should people expect from the program?

A.: First, they should understand that it usually takes about six or eight weeks to get just the right job. The program can be used either by those who are unemployed or by those who want to change their field of employment or move up within their field. One man, for example, was successful at sales in his field, but he had a goal to be a factory sales representative for a completely unrelated kind of product. He pinpointed the type of job he wanted and found it.

Primarily, JobSearch allows a person to understand how he is in control, how he can use Church and community resources to find employment. The program isn’t meant to replace personal effort. An individual has to take the initiative and work hard to find the job he wants. But the program helps him pinpoint what that job is, helps him learn the right skills to obtain it, then helps him focus and organize his efforts and carry them through.

Q.: The videotapes and workbooks seem to cover the same ground. Why are both necessary?

A.: They complement each other. The videotapes “model” certain techniques and behaviors, showing how it’s done. But the workbooks help in planning and organizing. The information and records gathered by the job-seeker in the workbooks will be invaluable.

Q.: Where can people find the JobSearch videotape and workbook set?

A.: Many people should be able to check out the sets from their stake library. The Church initially sent one set to each stake in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. But the program has proved so popular that many stakes are buying extra copies. We produced what we thought would be a three-year supply of the videotapes, but since May of last year, 80 percent of that supply has been sold. More will be made available, however, according to demand.

The sets can be ordered through distribution centers. The six videotapes cost $36.00. Their stock number is VNVV3621. The six workbooks cost $3.25; their number is PEWE0358.

[photo] Larry Stevenson, field manager, LDS Employment Services