News of the Church

Renovated Carthage Jail Dedicated

One hundred forty-five years after the Prophet Joseph Smith died with his brother Hyrum at the jail in Carthage, Illinois, the site was dedicated as a memorial to him and to what he accomplished.

More than four thousand people gathered at the dedication of the newly renovated Carthage Jail complex on June 27. They rose to their feet and sang, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,” as President Ezra Taft Benson took his place on the stand for the dedicatory service. He was accompanied by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, who offered the dedicatory address and prayer.

President Hinckley dedicated the Carthage Jail complex “as a place hallowed and sacred to which people of all faiths may come and learn, may ponder and reflect, may meditate and pray while thinking upon the lives and works of those who died here.”

In his remarks, he referred to the persecution of Latter-day Saints during the Church’s early days, then expressed gratitude to “God our Eternal Father for a more tolerant day and greater understanding.” Acknowledging the presence of Jayne Thompson, wife of Illinois Governor James R. Thompson, President Hinckley added, “The presence here of Mrs. Thompson today says more than mere words can say. It is a new era, a wonderful season.”

Mrs. Thompson spoke in the absence of her husband, who was attending the state legislature. She said the Carthage Jail complex will surely remind visitors of the contributions of Latter-day Saints. She said it should also foster the growth of religious, political, and social tolerance, which is “part of the fabric not only of Illinois but of America.”

During the ceremonies, President Benson presented Mrs. Thompson with a copy of her husband’s genealogy.

Elder Loren C. Dunn of the First Quorum of the Seventy, President of the North America Central Area, conducted the dedicatory service. His counselors in the Area Presidency, Elder Jacob de Jager of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Elder John Sonnenberg of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, also attended.

Elder Dunn said that the message of the restored Carthage Jail complex is “one of healing and reconciliation.” He noted the presence of many special guests, including state senator Laura Kent Donahue; Verne Hagstrom, mayor of Quincy, Illinois; Garth Treatch, mayor of Warsaw, Illinois; and alderman Verlyn Bethard of Carthage. David M. Kennedy, former U. S. secretary of the treasury, and J. LeRoy Kimball, former president of Nauvoo Restoration, Inc., were also among the guests. So were descendants of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

Elder Dunn pointed out that President Benson and President Hinckley both have an Illinois connection in their background. President Benson’s great-great-grandfather, Ezra T. Benson, who eventually became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, was converted in Quincy in 1840. And Bryant S. Hinckley, President Hinckley’s father, served as president of the Church’s Northern States Mission. In that position, he was in charge of a two-year effort that culminated in 1939 with a celebration of the centennial of LDS settlement in Nauvoo. This effort included a refurbishing of the Carthage Jail.

Today’s newly renovated Carthage Jail was restored as nearly as possible to the 1844 standard. The complex now includes an expanded visitors’ center, with a theater showing a nineteen-minute film on the life of Joseph Smith. Nearby, there are six commemorative monuments containing selected quotations from Joseph and Hyrum Smith, as well as a statue of Joseph and Hyrum by sculptor Dee Jay Bawden.

Visitors to the jail complex were impressed with the park-like atmosphere of the grounds. Orville Hale, a local resident, commented: “I played on this block as a youngster. I never thought it could be this beautiful.”

Music for the dedicatory services was provided by the Nauvoo and Carthage Area Choir, under the direction of Maughan McMurdie, a professor of music at Western Illinois University. Brother McMurdie also sang “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” the song sung by Elder John Taylor in the Carthage Jail on the afternoon Joseph and Hyrum died.

Correspondent: Mike Trapp, first counselor in the Sunday School presidency, Nauvoo Illinois Stake.

[photos] (1) A large crowd gathered early for the dedication. (2) The restored Carthage Jail is complemented by the expanded visitors’ center and a life-size sculpture of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. (3) This staircase leads up to where prisoners were held. (4) Sculptor Dee Jay Bawden depicted the Prophet and his brother sharing the closeness they enjoyed in life. (5) President Ezra Taft Benson greeted those at the dedication. (6) The visitors’ center focuses on Joseph and Hyrum’s lives. (7) It also offers space to relax and meditate. (8) John Taylor’s watch stopped a bullet, saving his life as the mob killed Joseph and Hyrum. (Photography by Craig Dimond.)

Fiftieth Year for Eastern Canada’s First Meetinghouse

The first LDS meetinghouse built in eastern Canada is fifty years old this year. President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, was among those who joined in celebrating the anniversary of Toronto’s Ossington Street chapel.

President Monson, who presided over the Canadian Mission from 1959 to 1962, commented that “thousands of investigators and newly baptized members regard the Ossington meetinghouse with a spirit of reverence. Here they were introduced to the truth, here they were baptized, and here they accepted their first responsibilities as members of the Church.”

The building was built in 1938 and dedicated by President Heber J. Grant in 1939. It has since been renovated and remodeled; additions have included a cultural hall and classrooms. The building currently houses the Toronto First and Sixth wards.

Bernie Nellis, first counselor in the bishopric of the Toronto First Ward, said three hundred people attended a homecoming dinner on Saturday, June 24, to celebrate the building’s anniversary. Among them were ninety-three people who attended meetings there when the building was first dedicated.

While he served as mission president, President Monson and his family went to church at the Ossington chapel. During their recent visit to Toronto, he and his wife, Frances, attended the anniversary events—the Saturday dinner and the jubilee sacrament meeting on Sunday.

The history of the Church in eastern Canada goes back to the 1830s, and early converts from the area had a significant impact. For example, on a mission to Canada in the mid-1830s, Elder Parley P. Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve baptized the man who would later be the third president of the Church, John Taylor. Elder Pratt also baptized Mary Fielding, who became the wife of Hyrum Smith, mother of President Joseph F. Smith, and grandmother of President Joseph Fielding Smith. Other early converts from Canada were instrumental in taking the gospel to the British Isles in the late 1830s and 1840s.

Most of the early Canadian converts emigrated to Nauvoo, then to Utah; by the second decade of this century, there were only a handful of Latter-day Saints in the eastern part of Canada. But Church growth came again to eastern Canada in 1919, when the Canadian Mission was reopened. Today there are 88 buildings, 119 Church units, and more than 35,000 members within the boundaries covered by the mission in 1919. Now, 11 buildings, 21 units, and some 8,000 members are within the boundaries of the branch that met in the Ossington chapel in 1939.

Perhaps the greatest sign of this growth, President Monson noted, is the temple that is progressing toward completion at a suburban Toronto site.

Mexico Marks 100-Stake Milestone

With the organization of the Tecalco Mexico Stake under the direction of Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve, Mexico now has one hundred LDS stakes.

The new stake was formed June 25 through a division of the Chalco Mexico Stake. Felipe Hernandez Luis, formerly bishop of the Ozumba Ward, was called as president of the new stake. Tecalco is located near the extinct volcano Popocatepetl.

At the organization of the Tecalco stake, there were 1,717 stakes in the Church.

Speaking in Spanish to the more than 2,500 members at the meeting, Elder Scott told them that he brought the love of President Ezra Taft Benson and the Church President’s thanks for their prayers in his behalf.

Elder Scott also recalled the remarks of President Spencer W. Kimball at the 1977 Area conference in Mexico. President Kimball spoke of a dream in which he said he saw members in Mexico owning farms, ranches, and businesses and serving as doctors, lawyers, engineers, artists, and political leaders. (See Ensign, May 1977, p. 108.)

That dream, Elder Scott said, is now being fulfilled, and he urged the youth to continue to fulfill it. To do so, he said, would require them to “build beautiful lives of service” upon the base of obedience. This, he said, is the strength of the Church.

He urged them not to be “deceived by the customs and traditions that abound. Live the commandments of God in your homes,” he said. “With all my heart, I ask you to live the commandments of the Lord.”

The history of the Church in Mexico goes back to 1875, when Daniel Jones led a small group of missionaries to Mexico City and distributed tracts to Mexican leaders. One of these tracts came into the hands of Plotino Rhodocanaty, an instructor of Greek.

In 1878, Plotino requested more information about the Church, and one year later a second group of missionaries came, this time headed by Elder Moses Thatcher of the Quorum of the Twelve. They arrived late in 1879 and soon baptized Brother Rhodocanaty and a group studying with him. The Mexico City Branch was organized one week later.

It was only five years afterward that Latter-day Saint colonists came to Mexico from Utah; the first stake in Mexico, centered in Colonia Juarez, was organized among the colonists in 1895. The country’s second stake, in the Mexico City area, was not organized until 3 December 1961. But in the twenty-eight years since then, ninety-eight stakes have been organized in Mexico. The country now has more than half a million Latter-day Saints.

[photo] Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve greets members at the organization of the one-hundredth Mexican stake.

Ground Broken for Chapel in Poland

Some two hundred people attended a ground-breaking ceremony in Warsaw on June 15 for the first LDS meetinghouse to be constructed in Poland.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve presided over the ceremonies, which were conducted by the president of the Warsaw Branch. Elder Hans B. Ringger of the First Quorum of the Seventy, a Counselor in the Europe Area Presidency, also spoke. Also speaking on the program were the mayor of Warsaw’s Wola District, Andrzej Ostrowski; Poland’s director for non-Catholic religious affairs, Grzegorz Rydlewski; and the man who preceded Mr. Rydlewski in that position, Tadeusz Duskik.

Elder Nelson called the ground-breaking “a very significant and historical event,” particularly because the Church has been given the opportunity to build a meetinghouse in Poland when it has been organized in the country such a short time.

Plans for the building had to be approved not only by Church leaders in Salt Lake City, but also by local leaders in Warsaw and by national leaders. Elder Nelson and other Church leaders were greeted warmly by government officials. The mayor presented to Elder Nelson the contract granting approval for the building and the deed for the land on which it stands.

One day after the ground-breaking, Elder Nelson and other Church leaders visited with Wladyslaw Loranc, the nation’s minister of all religious affairs. He showed them copies of a new law guaranteeing freedom of conscience and belief in Poland.

The Church’s relationship with the leaders of Poland is “excellent,” Elder Nelson said, noting that the leaders are “sympathetic” to the Church’s desire to build strength among members in their country.

Elder Nelson and Elder Ringger also met with LDS missionaries in Poland. Poland is part of the Austria Vienna East Mission. There are three missionary couples and four young elders serving in the country.

Church Reassigns Missionaries in Bolivia, Peru

In view of unsettled conditions in some areas, the Church reassigned some of the missionaries in Bolivia and Peru in July. The changes brought into balance the number of local missionaries with those from other countries.

In order to avoid unnecessary expense involved in transfers to other missions, some missionaries with one to three months of service remaining were released early from their assignments.

Tornado Kills One, Injures Two at Girls’ Camp

A twelve-year-old Beehive girl was killed on July 10 at a stake girls’ camp in Connecticut when a tree knocked over by a tornado fell across the tent in which she was staying. Her sister and another girl who was in the tent are currently being treated for their injuries.

Jennifer Bike of the Trumbull Third Ward, New Haven Connecticut Stake, died instantly. Melanie Bike, sixteen, suffered a broken neck and underwent surgery in an effort to relieve the effects of the accident, which left her paralyzed from the neck down. Sarah Sancher, fifteen, is undergoing treatment for a crushed disc.

Stake president A. Sterling Lichfield, Jr., said Sarah’s life was probably spared because the forks of the tree crashed down on each side of her.

Members of the stake have rallied around the families of the girls to offer their sympathy and support.


Mission President

Marco Alberto Flores M., of Mexico City, Mexico, owner of a publishing company, has been called to preside over the Mexico Chihuahua Mission. He and his wife, Elvia De Hoyos Flores, have one son.

LDSSA Director

Rex W. Williams, Salt Lake City, has been called as director of the Latter-day Saint Student Association, under the direction of the Priesthood Department. Brother Williams has served as a mission president, a counselor in a stake presidency, and a bishop.

Sunday School General Board

F. Wayne Chamberlain of Salt Lake City, president and chief executive officer of a travel agency, has served previously as a regional representative and a mission president.

Regional Representatives

Granger Utah Region, Donald B. Doty, surgeon, former stake president and bishop.

Dagupan Philippines Region, Godofredo Hilario Esguerra, manager of a Church distribution center, former stake president and bishop.

A Conversation about Changes in the Relief Society Personal Study Guide

The new Relief Society personal study guide has some new features compared with those of previous years. The Relief Society General Presidency discussed the changes in a recent interview with the Ensign.

The Relief Society General Presidency

The Relief Society General Presidency: Joy F. Evans, first counselor; Barbara W. Winder, president; Joanne B. Doxey, second counselor. (Photo by Philip S. Shurtleff.)

Q.: How have you modified the new personal study guide?

President Winder: This is the first in a series of four guides. Sisters worldwide will study one of these guides each year during the next four years, then will begin again with number one—just as Melchizedek Priesthood holders do with their study guides.

Sister Doxey: This first guide is called Remember Me. It’s based on the Old Testament, and its lessons center on remembering the Lord and the covenants we have made with him.

The manual contains thirty-eight Sunday lessons instead of the fifty we’ve had in the past. The General Authority talks have been deleted. Ward presidencies will now have the opportunity to choose talks from the most recent conference issues of the Ensign and the Church’s international magazines to address specific needs of the sisters in their wards. Two home management lessons have also been deleted. In their place, teachers will prepare lessons on personal and family preparedness using Church and local community information, such as county extension services. The three Hold to the Rod lessons with videotapes are scheduled as regular lessons, rather than supplemental lessons on the fifth Sundays.

President Winder: It sounds as if a lot of material has been taken out of the manual, but if a ward has four Sunday teachers and a home management teacher, each person will have to prepare only two lessons on her own. If a unit has fewer teachers, these lessons are scheduled at least six weeks apart, so there will be ample time to prepare.

Q.: Why did you make these changes?

Sister Doxey: To reduce and simplify so that the Church translation, production, and printing departments are more free to help “flood the earth with copies of the Book of Mormon,” as President Ezra Taft Benson has asked. As Relief Society sisters, we’re delighted to join with other Church departments to be a part of that effort.

President Winder: Also, since we believe in continual revelation, we need to study current messages from current General Authorities. This will be especially important now that we will not be printing new manuals each year.

Sister Evans: This plan gives local leaders more flexibility. If a situation comes up in their ward, even at the last minute, and there’s a wonderful talk that deals with that particular topic, they can use it as a lesson.

Q.: How should leaders choose which talks to use as lessons?

President Winder: First of all, they should be mindful of the needs of their members. The Relief Society president can discuss these with the bishop and the ward council.

Sister Doxey: Another way to assess needs is through visiting teaching quarterly interviews.

Sister Evans: It would be hard to go wrong, no matter which talks you chose.

Q.: How can teachers prepare a lesson from a talk?

Sister Doxey: The introduction to the study guide includes several teaching methods. It also gives a lesson plan based on the format that Relief Society curriculum writers have used in the past. Teachers look for the talk’s main gospel principle and then build their lesson by answering such questions as, What do the scriptures say about this principle? What do the prophets say about it? How can living this principle help us solve our problems?

If teachers need more help, they can go to their in-service board member or ward education counselor, as well as to the stake education counselor. This program has a built-in support team.

Sister Evans: Teachers can also share ideas at monthly ward board meetings.

Sister Doxey: This is not going to be an easy thing for some sisters—we’re well aware of that. But they will be blessed as they seek spiritual guidance. Heavenly Father knows their needs and will make them equal to the task.

Q.: Which lessons should leaders schedule on the fifth Sundays of the year?

Sister Doxey: They should first use lessons they omitted from the regular schedule because of local conferences. If they need more, they can use extra lessons from past manuals or lessons from Gospel Principles or The Latter-day Saint Woman, parts A and B.

Q.: What are the advantages of the changes?

President Winder: We are going to learn how to prepare ourselves. We will learn to formulate a lesson using a step-by-step procedure—knowledge that can be transferred into other areas, such as talk preparation. But more important, this new program will teach us to depend on the Lord.

Sister Doxey: Another wonderful by-product is that we’re going to have to turn more to the scriptures. Both President Spencer W. Kimball and President Ezra Taft Benson have wanted sister scriptorians, and these lessons—in which the standard works will be our major resource—will encourage that to happen.

Q.: How will the changes help those who listen to the lessons?

President Winder: When a teacher seeks the Spirit and is concerned about her students, she is able to understand their needs. The sisters will feel that and, as a result, will be better able to apply the messages in their own lives. But teachers will have to be much more prayerful and will have to prepare their lives so that they can be directed.

Sister Evans: The sisters, too, have a responsibility as well as an opportunity to come to Relief Society in a spirit of being willing to learn—and to learn from each other.

Sister Doxey: We hope that class members will come having read the lessons and talks and having prayed for the teacher, so that they will all be of one mind. This unity will bring them closer to Heavenly Father.

President Winder: I feel pleased with the opportunity this study guide gives us to develop the self-reliance we need to achieve greater spiritual growth.

Church Media-Member Campaign Encourages Growth in Europe

A Direct Gospel Message campaign conducted recently in three European locations continues to bring missionary referrals months after it ended. But the campaign may be even more significant because of the blessings it has brought to Church members.

Michael Obst, Direct Gospel Message project manager, coordinated the program under the direction of the Europe Area presidency. He said it had three goals: to increase convert baptisms; to bring the Church “forth out of obscurity” in Europe (see D&C 1:30); and to increase missionary awareness and involvement among Church members.

Thousands of referrals have come as a result of a media campaign conducted in Frankfurt, Paris, and Madrid, Brother Obst said. Many investigators have been taught and baptized, and members have become enthusiastic participants in missionary work as they have had spiritual experiences with friends and acquaintances.

Harold Frome, director of public communications for the Europe Area, said the program succeeded well because it was not seen as a missionary program aided by members, but a member program aided by missionaries.

Efforts associated with the current Direct Gospel Message project will continue into August, but some members already want to know how soon another such project can be scheduled. Members in cities where the program was not carried out have been asking about scheduling it in their own communities.

The program has two parts: a media ad campaign and a concurrent effort by members to make new missionary contacts among friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. Full-time missionaries are asked to aid in efforts organized at the stake level. The ad campaign is followed in each stake by firesides, socials, and other opportunities to fellowship new contacts.

The Direct Gospel Message campaign began earlier this year with a series of advertisements printed in publications in Frankfurt, Paris, and Madrid. The ads offered respondents a copy of the audiocassette tape, Our Heavenly Father’s Plan. In Frankfurt, the ads were printed in three newspapers and one magazine. In Paris, they were printed in five publications. In Madrid, they not only appeared in newspapers, but were also coupled with radio spots broadcast twice a day for four weeks on eight different stations.

The magazine ads were placed in highly read television program guides, making it possible to reach television audiences without the comparatively high cost of television advertising.

The ads ran for four-week periods in each of the three cities during February, March, and April. The high-quality, highly visible advertisements provided a psychological boost for European members who are used to the Church being perceived as a small, somewhat backward group. The quality and message of the ads opened doors to the media and to other groups that have never been receptive to the Church or its representatives before, Brother Obst reported.

Alain Marie, the Church’s public communications director in France and Spain, estimated that about five million people in Germany, France, and Spain saw the ads. Thousands of fliers telling about the tape were also distributed, Brother Marie said.

At the same time the ads were running, members began a person-to-person missionary effort. They were asked to place copies of the audiocassette tape, Our Heavenly Father’s Plan, with friends.

In all three countries, the Church is harvesting the results of members’ involvement, Brother Obst said. It is evident that the Direct Gospel Message campaign “has really helped to bring the Church out of obscurity in Europe,” he added. By the end of May, the ad campaign had resulted in 3,000 requests for Our Heavenly Father’s Plan in Germany, 2,000 requests in Spain, and 1,700 in France.

Initially, a telemarketing firm handled calls requesting the tape of Our Heavenly Father’s Plan. Now, though the ads ended in April, letters requesting copies of the tape continue to come in, sometimes at the rate of one hundred per day. In France and Germany, many people have ordered the tape using direct-response electronic devices connected to their television sets. Some who have home computers have used electronic mail to make a request through one of the Church’s computers.

In France and Spain, about 30 percent of the people who asked for the audiocassette tape also agreed to a visit from missionaries or other Church members. In Germany, the rate was about 20 percent.

Ninety-five percent of responses to the ad campaign have been “very positive,” Brother Obst says. “We have felt many doors are open” now where they were not before, he adds—even with people who have not made direct contact with the Church. It is hoped that they will be inclined to listen when contacted by missionaries in the future.

The Direct Gospel Message project was originally planned to last for six months, including member-missionary efforts and follow-up, Brother Obst said. After the project ends in August, its effects will be evaluated, and its successful techniques will be applied to possible future campaigns.

Impetus for the Direct Gospel Message program came from the Church’s Missionary Department. Bonneville Media Communications produced the tapes and helped produce the ads used in the campaign.

[photo] Newspaper and magazine ads helped introduce European readers to the Latter-day Saints and their beliefs.

Update: Stakes in the Church

As of 30 June 1989, there were 1,729 stakes in the Church, an increase of 32 stakes since the end of June 1988. Over a five-year period, the number of stakes has increased by 186, or 12.05 percent.











Tabernacle Choir Celebrates 60 Years of Weekly Broadcasts

The broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word” on Sunday, July 16, included tributes by United States President George Bush and other dignitaries as the Tabernacle Choir celebrated the completion of sixty years in radio broadcasting.

During a special tribute broadcast in Utah after the choir’s regular weekly radio and television show, President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, was among those who looked back at some of the choir’s accomplishments since its organization in the 1800s.

The choir’s weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” is the longest-running network program in the history of American radio.

Some four hundred former members of the Tabernacle Choir were present to be honored at the celebration. They included fifteen who sang in the first broadcast in July 1929 and three others who had joined the choir earlier but were on maternity leave in 1929.

The traditional broadcast of the “Spoken Word” was replaced on July 16 by brief messages from President Bush; his predecessor, Ronald Reagan; celebrated operatic soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa; ITT Corporation Chairman Rand V. Araskog; stage and screen star Hal Linden; and CBS Radio president Nancy Widmann.

In his remarks during the network broadcast, President Bush told the choir, “I’ll never forget your glorious music at the end of the inaugural parade. Millions worldwide have been inspired by the joy of your music. You are one of America’s greatest treasures.”

Ms. Widmann observed that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir emanates “a fervent faith and magnificent music on behalf of every human being. [It] represents the finest of inspirational programming today, as it has for these past six decades.”

Immediately following the choir’s network show, KSL radio and television broadcast a live commemorative tribute in the Salt Lake City area. President Hinckley spoke during this half hour, recounting some of the Tabernacle Choir’s accomplishments from its pioneer inception down to the present. “May God continue to bless this wonderful body of musicians and all who assist them,” he said. Composer Natalie Sleeth and arranger Arthur Harris, both of whom have long been associated with the choir, also spoke.

Included in the two broadcasts were selections that have come to be favorites with millions of listeners worldwide. These ranged from stirring arrangements of hymns and anthems to great classics, interspersed with familiar tunes from popular musicals.

“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” a fifteenth-century hymn, opened the weekly CBS broadcast, and a twentieth-century arrangement of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” closed it.