News of the Church

By Andrea Morgan Densley


Four Restored Nauvoo Projects Dedicated

The final four restoration projects completed by the Church as part of the Nauvoo sesquicentennial celebrations were dedicated October 7 during ceremonies at the Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder Loren C. Dunn of the First Quorum of the Seventy were among the speakers at the dedication. Elder Dunn, President of the Church’s North America Central Area, conducted the program.

Dedication of the burial grounds, the Stoddard Tinsmith Shop, the Riser Boot and Shoemaker Shop, and the two-story barn completed current Church plans for restoration projects in Nauvoo. Earlier this year, the restored jail complex was dedicated at nearby Carthage, where Joseph and Hyrum Smith died. Two new videos have also been put into use this year at the Nauvoo and Carthage visitors’ centers; the Carthage film memorializes Joseph and Hyrum, and the Nauvoo film pays tribute to what the Latter-day Saints accomplished in building the city.

The boot and shoemaker shop

The boot and shoemaker shop was among the projects dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency. (Photo by Mike Trapp.)

“A port in a storm is always beautiful. Nauvoo was a port in a storm,” President Hinckley said during the dedicatory service. The city was a haven for Latter-day Saints pursued by their enemies.

He quoted Heber C. Kimball, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve while the Saints lived in Nauvoo and who became First Counselor to President Brigham Young not long after the Latter-day Saint exodus. Elder Kimball commented that the city, with its many fine houses, temple, and other structures, was “a very pretty place, but not a long-abiding place.”

President Hinckley noted that returning to the city was “a rather touching thing” for him because one of his ancestors had fled from Nauvoo with the Saints, left a young wife buried on the plains, and continued on to the Salt Lake Valley with an infant child.

President Hinckley paid tribute to Dr. J. Leroy Kimball, who was present at the October 7 dedication, for “a dream you had after buying the Heber C. Kimball home, to build memories for those yet to come here to Nauvoo.” Dr. Kimball’s efforts several years ago led to many of the Church restoration projects in the area. He was honored recently by the Nauvoo Historical Society for his restoration work.

Elder Dunn praised the efforts of the many individuals who have contributed to the restoration, particularly those who gathered the records of individuals buried in the restored cemetery. He also expressed gratitude for the cooperation of leaders of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. “I’m pleased to say we enjoy a cordial and harmonious relationship,” Elder Dunn said.

Representatives of the RLDS Church were present at the dedication, along with mission, region, and local LDS Church officials, representatives of the local ministerial association, Nauvoo city officials and other local government leaders, and interested citizens. Nearly five hundred people attended.

The Old Nauvoo Burial Ground, resting place of many of the Nauvoo Saints, has also been restored. It and the restored tinsmith shop, boot and shoemaker shop, and barn help give visitors a historical context for understanding Nauvoo as it was during the early 1840s.

Correspondent: Mike Trapp.

Chicago Temple Reopens after Remodeling

The Chicago Illinois Temple reopened on October 10 after rededication ceremonies on Sunday, October 8, marked the end of its remodeling.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, presided over the rededication ceremonies, which were attended by invited leaders and guests. Only those parts of the temple affected by the remodeling were rededicated.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Loren C. Dunn of the First Quorum of the Seventy also attended the rededication. Elder Dunn is President of the North America Central Area.

The remodeling more than doubled the size of the temple. Originally dedicated in August 1985, it had been closed since September 1988 for the renovation. The temple’s administrative area was expanded, a sealing room and a cafeteria were added, and the baptistry was relocated and beautified.

Chicago temple

The size of the Chicago temple was more than doubled during the recent remodeling project. (Photo by Judy Tiberius.)

Similar improvements have been completed on the temples in Boise, Idaho, and Dallas, Texas, which were built on the same plan.

The Chicago temple serves members from stakes in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Correspondent: Linda Hoffman Kimball.

Monument Marks Former Utah Haven for Hawaiians

One hundred years ago, a group of Latter-day Saints from tropical Hawaii founded a settlement in the barren desert southwest of Salt Lake City. They named it Iosepa (Hawaiian for Joseph) after Joseph F. Smith, beloved for his missionary work in the islands.

Today, all that remains of once-thriving Iosepa is its cemetery—and a new marker memorializing the work and the spirit of the Hawaiian pioneers who made their town a standout among LDS settlements in its day. The new marker was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, on August 28—one hundred years to the day after Iosepa was founded. He was among a number of speakers who talked about the spread of the gospel among Polynesians and of their strength and faith. The dedication was part of a week of centennial activities that included a fireside in the Tabernacle on Temple Square Sunday, August 27. The activities were sponsored by the Iosepa Historical Association, headquartered in Sandy, Utah, and the Iosepa Historical Society, of Laie, Hawaii.

In dedicating the monument at Iosepa, President Hinckley commented: “This memorial will stand as a fitting tribute to those who lived and died here and gave their lives as an expression of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Scanning the barrenness of western Utah’s Skull Valley, he said, “This was not the desert we see today. This was once a beautiful community and a part of a large mosaic of communities that our people established all over the West.” Iosepa, he said, stood among those communities as “a gem, a paradise.” During the August 27 fireside, President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke also of the spiritual strength of Polynesian members, recalling incidents that he and other Church leaders had witnessed.

In addition to President Hinckley, Elder William R. Bradford and Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the First Quorum of the Seventy attended the program on August 28 in Iosepa and spoke briefly.

Originally, the Hawaiian settlers of Iosepa had come to Utah to gather with other Saints and to be near a temple where they could take part in its sacred ordinances. Despite struggles with disease and the elements, they built Iosepa into an oasis that survived on water channeled from mountain canyons.

But the town’s future was decided in 1917 when President Joseph F. Smith announced that a temple would be constructed in Laie, Hawaii. Most of the residents of Iosepa decided to return to Hawaii to help in its construction.

A new monument stands to many Iosepa pioneer

A new monument stands at the final resting place of many Iosepa pioneers. (Photography by Jed Clark.)

Las Vegas: Also an Oasis of Faith

Those familiar with Las Vegas recognize it as a residential city rich in history and strong in civic pride. Latter-day Saints played a key role in settling the area and actively serve today in city government and community organizations. For Latter-day Saints in the area, the community is more than the tourist center and parched desert many people think it to be—it is an oasis of faith.

And now local members are being refreshed by an event they have anticipated since 1984: the December dedication of the Las Vegas Nevada Temple. The dedication is but one more chapter in a Las Vegas Latter-day Saint history that began after Rafael Rivera, a young Mexican scout searching for a faster trade route from Sante Fe to Los Angeles in 1829, stumbled upon a lush valley nestled near a snow-capped mountain. This oasis was named Las Vegas by the Spanish, meaning “the meadows.”

In 1855, President Brigham Young announced the colonization of the heart of the desert between Cedar City and San Bernardino. He selected Las Vegas because of its healthy water, soil, and climate, and sent William Bringhurst to lead a thirty-man party to settle there. As members of the Las Vegas Mission, they were to build a fort, make a treaty with the Paiute Indians, and teach them the gospel.

Settling operations and the mission itself were hindered by dissent over leadership, problems with the Indians, and lack of sufficient food and water. Church leaders finally closed the Las Vegas Mission in 1857. But in 1865, Utahn Octavius D. Gass and a small group of hardy settlers rebuilt the Mormon fort and began the settling process again, this time successfully. The settlement blossomed into a flourishing town with the coming of the railroad in 1905.

Today the city of Las Vegas is a national leader in the number of churches per capita. Of more than fifty-five different denominations in Las Vegas, the LDS Church is ranked third according to membership size. About fifty-five thousand members are currently organized into thirteen stakes in the Las Vegas area.

These members are an active and respected part of the Las Vegas community. Among LDS leaders who are active in their professions and civic affairs are the city managers of both Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, four county commissioners, and United States Senator Harry Reid. James K. Seastrand, the mayor of North Las Vegas, served as the first chairman of the Las Vegas temple committee, and now serves as its vice chairman under the direction of Elder H. Burke Peterson. The temple has proved to be a unifying factor for Las Vegas members and nonmembers alike. “Many nonmembers see it as a spiritual image-builder for the city of Las Vegas,” says Brother Seastrand, “and it’s been well received by the nonmember community.”

The temple dedication has been a big boon to the 170 full-time missionaries who serve in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission. Mission president Gerald L. Scott says that there is a high degree of cooperation among full-time and stake missionaries, members, and investigators in Las Vegas.

Recently, this cooperation was evidenced when the Church video What Is Real was to be aired on a local TV station. Eighty-five thousand printed invitations to view the program were distributed. The other side of the invitation contained additional information encouraging attendance at the public open house of the Las Vegas Temple. According to President Scott, the positive response was overwhelming.

For members, of course, the temple has brought a rush of spiritual exhilaration. The decision to build a temple in Las Vegas was first announced on 7 April 1984. Regarding that decision, Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve said, “The temple coming to Las Vegas may seem unusual unless you really know Las Vegas, for we have counted some of the strongest members of the Church as being here, the firmest in their determination to live all the standards of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The ground-breaking ceremony for the temple took place on 30 November 1985. More than six thousand Church members and guests assembled to watch a videotape of the ceremony later in the day. Presiding over the assembly was President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, with Elder Packer and Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., of the First Quorum of the Seventy, attending.

Many local government and religious leaders were also present, among them Richard Bryan, then governor of Nevada. Although not a member of the Church, he commented that “the decision to build a temple in Las Vegas pays great honor to this community. By the construction of this marvelous religious edifice, the word goes out … to friend and to critic alike about the wholesome values that we cherish in this community.”

The desert surrounding the community where the temple now stands has changed little since William Bringhurst and his companions arrived at this oasis. But his sacrifices, and the struggles of those who followed, have surely changed the spirit of the verdant valley. In paying tribute to those early pioneers Elder Packer said, “We harvest where others have planted.”

Whether as full-time missionaries, public servants, or as cooperative neighbors, thousands of Las Vegas Latter-day Saints are helping this part of the Lord’s “desert vineyard” to blossom.

Correspondent: Andrea Morgan Densley is a former Las Vegas resident who now resides in the Montrose First Ward, Montrose Colorado Stake.

[photo] The Las Vegas Nevada Temple overlooks the valley colonized by LDS pioneers as a way station en route to California. (Photo by Ralph S. Burton.)

Old Testament Audiotapes Available

A complete recording of the Old Testament on audiotape is available at Church distribution centers.

The tapes were put together largely from recordings made by the late Alexander Scourby, whose recording of the Bible has been recognized as one of the best in the world. For Latter-day Saints, chapter headings found in the LDS edition of the scriptures have been recorded and inserted.

The tapes come in two volumes of twenty-four cassettes each, sold only as a set. The two-volume Old Testament set (stock number VVOT2138) costs $47.75.

The recordings may be especially useful during 1990, when Sunday School Gospel Doctrine classes will be studying the Old Testament.

Three other recorded volumes of LDS scriptures are also available: The New Testament ($16.50, stock number VVOT2149), the Book of Mormon ($18.50, VVOT0471), and the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price ($12.50, VVOT2127).

Orders should be accompanied by a check, money order, or VISA or Mastercard number. Creditcard orders can be taken by telephone. In the Salt Lake City area, purchasers can call 240-1805. From the rest of Utah and from other states, they can call, toll free, 1-800-537-5949.

The following states require that sales tax be paid, at the home-state rate, on out-of-state orders: Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

[photo] Old Testament audiotapes complete the recording of LDS standard works. (Photo by Peggy Jellinghausen.)

TV Special for U. S. Holiday Airing

A new Church-produced Christmas special will be broadcast on television throughout the United States during the holiday season.

“Nora’s Christmas Gift” stars award-winning actresses Celeste Holm and Elizabeth Wilson. The one-hour production is the story of how one independent, longtime giver learns the importance of receiving service from others when she is robbed of her ability to do all the things she has always done.

“Nora’s Christmas Gift” was adapted from a story by Michael McLean, who also directed the production. Celeste Holm won an Oscar as best supporting actress in 1947. Elizabeth Wilson won a Tony award for her performance on Broadway in Sticks and Bones.

“Nora’s Christmas Gift” was produced by Bonneville Media Communications under the direction of the Church’s Missionary Department. It was shot at the Brigham Young University motion picture studio and on location at Temple Square and other sites.

What Is Real Broadcast in U.S., Canada

A Church-sponsored television special entitled What Is Real was broadcast in August and September during prime time on television stations throughout the U. S. and Canada.

The half-hour program portrays a young father compelled to search for answers to tough questions posed by his confused teenage daughter. It addresses the vital issues that face young people today—choosing between right and wrong, finding lasting happiness, and facing the temptations posed by drugs, immorality, and worldly company.

Elder Robert L. Backman, Executive Director of the Missionary Department, describes What Is Real as “a warm, thought-provoking story that will lead many people to ask themselves important questions. We anticipate that this new direct gospel message will build on our previous productions, providing our missionaries with many teaching opportunities kindled by its delightful story.”

Shown on prime-time television in more than sixty major cities throughout North America, specifically those that have an LDS mission headquarters, the program had a potential audience of 250 million viewers. In all areas outside Utah, viewers were offered a free audiotape of a gospel message broadcast earlier if they would respond to a televised number. Viewers in Utah were told that representatives of the Church would be willing to visit if they would like further information.

Members of the Church were encouraged to invite friends into their homes on the Monday evenings when the programs were shown in their area. “These video programs are a means of using the powerful medium of television to spread the gospel message to the world,” explains Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve. “Mission presidents around the world are reporting that members and missionaries alike enjoy sharing these fine productions with their friends and contacts.”

The Church has sponsored three programs to present a single theme: Through Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father has provided the plan for families and individuals to find peace and happiness. The first production, Our Heavenly Father’s Plan (stock number VNVV4033), was aired a year ago; the second, Together Forever (stock number VNVV4112), was broadcast early in 1989; and now What Is Real (stock number VNVV4166) has been televised. Each program takes a different approach to dramatize the importance of the gospel in people’s lives. Each of the programs is available through Church distribution centers for $6.00. Audiotapes of Our Heavenly Father’s Plan (stock number VVOT4155) and Together Forever (VVOT4257) are available for $1.00. According to Elder Backman, more such productions are being planned.

[photo] A film crew shoots a scene from What Is Real. The video production has been broadcast throughout the United States and Canada. (Photo by John Bigler.)

Central American Family History Librarians Meet for Training

Librarians from four different countries met in Guatemala this fall for the first family history librarians’ training seminar to be held in Central America. Forty-nine library personnel from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica were instructed on names submission and the names extraction program. They learned about using the International Genealogical Index and the Family History Library Catalog, as well as about maintaining and repairing machines in the libraries. The instruction covered “everything to help them give better service to the members,” said Poloski Cordon, names processing supervisor at the Guatemala City Temple.

Brother Cordon, who manages the Church’s branch libraries in Central America, conducted the seminar. Other instructors included Nery Bonilla and Leonel Reyes, “two of the pioneers of family history research in Guatemala,” Brother Cordon said. The two were among the first to take advantage of microfilmed records when they became available in Guatemala, Brother Cordon explained, and each man has submitted more than two thousand family names to the temple. Both men are directors of libraries in their stakes.

The Church has ten family history libraries in Central America: three in Guatemala City, two in Quezaltenango, and one in Retalhuleu, Guatemala; one in Tegucigalpa and one in San Pedro Sula, Honduras; one in San Salvador, El Salvador; and one in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Brother Cordon said plans call for an annual Central American training seminar in Guatemala, with smaller seminars to be held more frequently in the individual countries.

Policies and Announcements

The following items appeared in the 1989–3 Bulletin.

Naming and Blessing Children

“Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name.” (D&C 20:70.) Priesthood leaders are reminded that in conformity with this revelation, only those who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood should participate in the ordinance of naming and blessing children. Leaders are encouraged to inform their members of this policy and to discuss it with the families concerned before each meeting in which children are named and blessed.

Members Soliciting Funds

Some members who have provided their names and addresses in copies of the Book of Mormon donated for missionary purposes have received letters from individuals in developing nations asking for financial assistance. The established programs of the Church provide financial assistance for worthy individuals and appropriate causes. Church assistance is administered by priesthood leaders who are familiar with the circumstances and can prevent duplicate assistance and other abuses. Members who want to respond to persons requesting funds could advise that they have made contributions in their own ward so that funds will be available for assistance according to established principles of Church welfare.

Questionable Self-awareness Groups

Many resources in the community provide effective help for members experiencing social or emotional problems. However, some questionable groups that purport to increase self-awareness, self-esteem, or self-actualization often use methods that may result in added stress, marital discord, and even divorce.

Members should avoid participation in groups that challenge religious and moral values or advocate unwarranted confrontation with spouse or family members in order to reach one’s potential. Beware of groups that meet late into the evening or early morning hours over several days. This approach tends to lower inhibitions and encourage confession and disclosure of personal information in ways that may later be damaging to the individual. It may foster unnecessary physical contact among participants. Groups advocating such techniques are often expensive. They tend to promise quick solutions to problems that normally require time and personal effort to resolve. Although participants may feel some initial relief, they often find their old problems returning.

Members should be reminded that the process of finding one’s self comes through living gospel principles. Members experiencing social or emotional problems may wish to consult with priesthood leaders for guidance in identifying resources that are in harmony with gospel principles. Priesthood leaders should inform members for whom this counsel might be needful or of interest.

Sportsmanship

There is a serious, ongoing need to teach and emphasize sportsmanship in the Church. Participation in competitive sports requires self-control on the part of players, coaches, and spectators. All must apply the teachings of Christ in their participation. Two excellent media aids are available from the Salt Lake Distribution Center to help local leaders improve sportsmanship. They are A Winning Season, a twelve-minute filmstrip with audiocassette (VVOF4112; $3.25 set); and The Church Sports Official, a fourteen-minute videocassette (VNVV0190; $6.00 each). The Physical Fitness, Sports, and Recreation Manual (PBAC0158; $.75 each) has additional helps on sportsmanship.

1990 Relief Society Personal Study Guide

The 1990 Relief Society personal study guide is the first of a series of four manuals to be used by Relief Societies worldwide. It is suggested that sisters keep them, because they will be used again.

The format of this study guide will be changed from that used in previous years. Lessons based on talks given by General Authorities will not be included, in order to allow more current messages to be taught from the general conferences. To replace these lessons, the Relief Society presidency should select subjects from recent conference and general women’s meeting talks that are most timely for the sisters in the local areas.

Helps for preparing a lesson from a talk are contained in the introduction of the manual. Such lessons should be based only on general conference talks found in the Ensign and international magazines, with resources from the scriptures and other approved Church materials.

The home management teacher will also organize and teach two lessons on subjects relating to home and family preparedness applicable to the local areas.

Teachers should work with the in-service leaders and the counselor responsible for education in preparing and presenting the lessons.

Update: Number of Melchizedek Priesthood Holders

By the end of 1988, there were 798,000 men in the Church holding the Melchizedek Priesthood. Since 1984, the number of Melchizedek Priesthood holders has increased by 102,000, or 14.7 percent. Remember that these numbers do not include all adult males in the Church.

1984

696,000

1985

722,000

1986

745,000

1987

772,000

1988

798,000