News of the Church


Rex E. Lee New BYU President

Rex E. Lee has been named the tenth president of Brigham Young University, effective July 1.

He succeeds Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, called in April to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Brother Lee accepted his appointment with “eagerness and anticipation.” He said his love for BYU goes back to 1953, when he entered as a freshman. Today, he commented, “a very large share of what I am”—hopes, aspirations, and accomplishments—“is tied to this university.”

BYU has an important educational mission, the new president said. “If we ever compromise our standards as a university, then nothing else will matter very much.” But he remarked that BYU’s mission is broader than being just a university. It is a place where not only the intellect is nourished, but the whole soul—“a community of scholars, yes, but also a community of Saints.”

Brother Lee, fifty-four, was the founding dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU, serving from 1972 to 1981. He then served the United States as solicitor general from 1981 to 1985. Earlier, during his tenure as dean of the law school, Brother Lee took a leave of absence to serve as assistant U. S. attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. Since 1985, he has been in private practice in Washington, D.C., and has taught law courses at BYU.

A native of Arizona, Brother Lee graduated as valedictorian of his BYU class in 1960, having served as student-body president during the 1959–60 school year. He earned a juris doctorate degree from the University of Chicago law school in 1963, graduating first in his class. He served as law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White and then practiced with a Phoenix law firm from 1964 to 1972.

Brother Lee served a mission in Mexico, where he was second counselor to the mission president. He served as a member of the Church’s Young Men General Board from 1958 to 1960. He has served as a bishop, a high councilor, and a stake president.

The son of Rex E. and Mabel Whiting Lee, Brother Lee married Janet Griffin on 7 July 1958 in the Arizona Temple. They have seven children and two grandchildren.

In July 1987, Brother Lee was treated for lymphatic cancer at the Clinical Center for the National Cancer Institute in Washington, D. C. His cancer was declared in remission in September 1987.

[photo] Photo by Mark A. Philbrick

Steven D. Bennion New Ricks President

Steven D. Bennion, president of state-owned Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, has been named the thirteenth president of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho.

He succeeds Elder Joe J. Christensen, sustained April 1 as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Brother Bennion, forty-seven, has served as president of Snow College since 1982. He will leave that position on July 1.

“It will be a challenge to build on the great work that has been done before” by the previous presidents, says Brother Bennion, but it is a challenge he welcomes.

He says the Ricks assignment appeals to him because of the Church school’s personalized learning environment, its range of extracurricular activities, and the religious experiences and training it offers students. “I’m excited about the great people there, the worldwide student body, and the learning environment that provides balanced development,” he says.

A junior college with approximately 7,500 students, Ricks is the largest privately owned two-year college in the United States.

Previous to his appointment at Snow College, Brother Bennion worked from 1967 to 1979 in educational and budget planning for the University of Wisconsin System of Higher Education. Then, from 1979 to 1981, he served as manager of program development and training in the Church’s Welfare Services Department.

At the time of his appointment as president of Snow College, he was associate commissioner for planning in the Utah System of Higher Education.

The new Ricks president received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Utah, his master of public administration degree from Cornell University, and his doctor of philosophy degree in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin. He was a Fulbright Scholar to the Pacific Islands in the summer of 1987.

As a young man, he served a mission in Scotland. He has since served as a counselor in two stake presidencies, a member of three stake high councils, and a bishop.

Brother Bennion married Marjorie Hopkins in 1963; they are the parents of four sons (one deceased), and a daughter. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lowell L. Bennion of Salt Lake City.

Program to Note President Benson’s Birthday

Church members throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico will be able to join in a ninetieth birthday tribute to President Ezra Taft Benson on Sunday, 30 July 1989.

He will be ninety on Friday, August 4.

The program honoring his birthday will be broadcast from the Tabernacle on Temple Square via satellite to stake centers equipped with satellite receivers. It will air at 6:00 P.M. Mountain Daylight Time and will be rebroadcast by KBYU-TV in Provo, Utah, at 8:00 P.M.

Church Debuts New Children’s Songbook

A chorus of singing children joyfully helped introduce the Church’s new Children’s Songbook to the public during a May 11 program in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, presided, and a number of General Authorities attended. Also invited to the meeting were composers and musicians, Primary and music leaders, illustrators, and others who contributed to the book.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve and Michaelene P. Grassli, Primary general president, spoke. A children’s chorus from the Bountiful Utah Orchard Stake sang selections, providing a musical tour through the new book.

Speaking of the way music can mold children’s lives now and for the future, Elder Nelson referred to “the power of music, which is the language of the spirit. Particularly when sung by children, music melts the hearts of members and nonmembers alike.”

He recalled a visit to a small, isolated Ghanaian village in which visiting Church leaders were greeted by an enthusiastic chorus of LDS children singing Primary songs. The children’s testimony and conviction were felt by many non-Latter-day Saints who witnessed the Church meeting, held that day under a tarp stretched between coconut palms.

President Grassli spoke of the faith and receptiveness of little children and noted that music can be an important tool to “fill the storehouse of their minds forever” with gospel truths. She urged Primary leaders to teach children to sing reverently, not necessarily loudly, listening to the words as they sing. “The whisperings of the Spirit do not come in the midst of boisterous singing, but in the naturally sweet and light voices of children as they sing reverently,” she said.

The new Children’s Songbook is on sale in Church distribution centers for $6.25 in both hardbound (stock number PBMU0643) and spiral-bound (PBMU0507) editions. (For more information, see “The New Children’s Songbook,Ensign, June 1989, p. 14.)

Portland Temple to Be Dedicated

The First Presidency has announced that the new Portland Temple will be dedicated in eleven sessions August 19 through 21. It will be the forty-second LDS temple in operation.

Lorin Edward (Ted) Perry, a former president of the Portland West and Beaverton Oregon stakes, has been called to serve as temple president. His wife, Nelle Hunter Perry, will serve as temple matron.

The open house for the temple is scheduled from June 15 to July 8, except Sundays and July 4.

Appointments

Temple Presidents

Charles R. Canfield of Magna, Utah, has been called to preside over the Johannesburg South Africa Temple. His wife, Frances Lee Dain Canfield, will serve as temple matron. President Canfield has served previously as a stake president, a stake clerk, and a temple worker.

Edwin Q. Cannon, Jr., of Salt Lake City, has been called as president of the Frankfurt Germany Temple. His wife, Janath Russell Cannon, will be temple matron. President Cannon has served as a mission president, a bishop, and director of the Nauvoo Visitors’ Center.

Angel Miguel Fernandez, a native Argentine, has been called as the new president of the Buenos Aires Temple. His wife, Marta Isabel Bertuzzi Fernandez, will serve as matron. President Fernandez has previously served as a regional representative, a mission president, and a counselor to temple and mission presidents.

Victor B. Jex of Pocatello, Idaho, will be the new president of the Hawaii Temple. His wife, Marva Tingey Jex, will serve as temple matron. President Jex is a former stake president, district president, and branch president.

Lorin Edward (Ted) Perry of Beaverton, Oregon, has been called as the first president of the Portland Oregon Temple. His wife, Nelle Hunter Perry, will be temple matron. President Perry has previously served as a stake president, a bishop, and a counselor in a temple presidency.

Burton H. Price of Salt Lake City has been called as president of the Apia Samoa Temple. His wife, Ardis Rast Price, will serve as matron. President Price has served as a mission president, a bishop, and a temple worker.

Wayne A. Reeves of Los Angeles, California, will serve as president of the Los Angeles Temple. His wife, Madge Kemp Reeves, will serve as matron. President Reeves has served as a counselor in a temple presidency, a stake president, and director of the Washington (D.C.) Temple Visitors’ Center.

Boyad M. Tanner of Las Vegas, Nevada, has been called as president of the Las Vegas Temple. His wife, Bette Mortensen Tanner, will serve as matron. President Tanner is a former regional representative, stake president, and bishop.