News of the Church

By Giles H. Florence, Jr.


Tabernacle Choir to Visit USSR during 1991 Tour

Moscow and Leningrad, in the Soviet Union, will be among eleven central and eastern European cities on the Tabernacle Choir’s itinerary as the world-renowned singing group performs during a concert tour next June.

Map of Europe

Plans for the 1991 tour were announced to choir members by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, on June 3 before the group’s weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast.

The thirteen-concert tour will open in Frankfurt, in the Federal Republic of Germany, on June 10 and will conclude in Leningrad, in the Soviet Union, June 27.

Negotiations for the Tabernacle Choir to perform in the Soviet Union were conducted on behalf of the Soviet government by Yuri V. Dubinin, who until recently was his country’s ambassador to the United States.

The group will leave Salt Lake City on June 8 and will return on June 29. The schedule will include performances in:

—Frankfurt, June 10. As part of its concert, the choir plans to tape a weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast to be heard and viewed in Europe as well as in the United States.

—Stuttgart, Federal Republic of Germany, June 11 (tentative).

—Zurich, Switzerland, June 13.

—Budapest, Hungary, June 15. This concert will be broadcast throughout Hungary on national television and will be preceded by a taping of a “Music and the Spoken Word” program. Then, on June 16, the choir will present a special fireside in Budapest for members of the Church and their friends.

—Vienna, Austria, June 17.

—Prague, Czechoslovakia, June 18.

—Dresden, German Democratic Republic, June 19.

—Berlin, east and west sectors, June 20, 21.

—Warsaw, Poland, June 22.

—Moscow, USSR, June 24, 25.

—Leningrad, USSR, June 27.

Jerold Ottley, musical director for the Tabernacle Choir, will be on the podium for the tour, assisted by Donald Ripplinger, associate director. Robert Cundick and John Longhurst, choir organists, will provide musical accompaniment. Spencer Kinard, who delivers the “Spoken Word” portion of the choir’s weekly broadcasts, will also accompany the group on its tour.

The 1991 tour will be the Tabernacle Choir’s first opportunity to sing for audiences in the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Austria. On its Grand European Tour of 1955, the choir performed in Berlin and Zurich, as well as in other major cities of Europe and the United Kingdom. The choir also toured Europe in 1973 and 1982.

Other international concert tours have taken the choir to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, and Korea.

The Tabernacle Choir’s weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” program, on the air for more than six decades now, is the longest continuous network radio program in history.

Church Leaders Comfort Missionary’s Family

The death of a young missionary in Ireland on May 27 was not an end to his life, but a call to serve elsewhere, and his family can yet expect a joyful reunion with him.

Those were the assurances given by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve as they spoke at the funeral of Elder Gale Stanley Critchfield on June 2. Elder Critchfield died in Clondalkin, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, after being stabbed during an apparently unprovoked attack.

“We don’t know why some things happen,” President Hinckley said. “All we know for certain is that death isn’t the end.”

“I’m satisfied that the labors of good missionaries are never concluded,” he said, explaining that there is much work to do beyond the veil of death, and much help needed to do it. He assured those present that “there has been no bitterness” in Stanley Critchfield’s passing, and that Elder Critchfield would surely testify of the goodness of the people among whom he served in Ireland.

President Hinckley placed the Critchfield family among “those good, wonderful, faithful people of the Church” who “accept what comes and get on their knees and pray for strength to go forward. God bless you,” he added.

Elder Maxwell commended the Critchfield family for avoiding bitterness under the circumstances, and added, “The strength of the Church is bound up in people like you.”

He read tributes to Elder Critchfield and condolence messages from both Latter-day Saint and non-Latter-day Saint Irishmen. These included messages from people Elder Critchfield had helped to convert and also a message from the mayor of Dublin.

Elder Maxwell assured the family that Elder Critchfield’s knowledge and good qualities of character “will rise with him in the resurrection.”

“For all of us, because of the marvelous Atonement, death is only a comma, not a period,” Elder Maxwell promised. “Stan is yours forever, and you are his forever.”

Responding to words of comfort from his bishop and stake president, Elder Critchfield’s father, Gale Critchfield, paid tribute to his son and bore a strong testimony.

“This is not the homecoming that my wife and I had hoped for,” he said. But he recalled that they had considered the possible danger when the mission call came and had commended their son “into the hands of the Lord.”

Brother Critchfield spoke of his son’s faithfulness and the joy he had expressed in the Lord’s service, then said that despite the outcome, “I would not roll back the clock and take away from my son the blessing he has received.”

New Book on Tabernacle Organ

Barbara Owen, internationally known organ historian, has compiled a definitive history of the organ in the Tabernacle on Temple Square.

The Mormon Tabernacle Organ: An American Classic is available from the Organ Historical Society, Box 26811, Richmond, VA 23261; Deseret Book stores; and the Museum of Church History and Art.

“The story is all here—the builders, the musicians, and the history—captured in words as well as in outstanding photographs,” says Robert Cundick, Tabernacle organist since 1965.

Author Barbara Owen, director of Church Music at the First Religious Society (Unitarian) of Newburyport, Massachusetts, since 1963, is also a teacher, lecturer, and recitalist. She often serves as a consultant to churches, educational institutions, and museums on matters pertaining to the organ.

The story of Joseph Ridges, the builder of the original Tabernacle organ, begins the organ history. As a boy, Joseph Ridges lived across the street from an organ factory in London and dreamed of understanding the mysteries of organ building. Eventually, he traveled to Australia, where he developed his craft. He then emigrated to Salt Lake City with his first precious pipe organ.

In 1883, Niels Johnson was commissioned to enlarge the Tabernacle organ. In August, ten crates of “Organ Ware” weighing almost 6,000 pounds arrived in Salt Lake City. Nearly 1,200 pipes were eventually added to the organ, and the interior parts were almost entirely reconstructed.

The next major rebuilding of the organ took place between 1900 and 1901. The Kimball Company of Chicago made the changes using new pipes, windchests, actions, console, framework, and other parts. Fourteen years later, however, the Kimball organ had deteriorated in Utah’s dry climate. Between 1914 and 1916, the organ was once again rebuilt and enlarged, this time by the Austin Organ Company. During this period, the organ’s fame became firmly established in musical circles throughout America. Details of all the changes made by Kimball and Austin are contained in this history.

Following World War II, major changes were again made to the organ. Firsthand accounts by G. Donald Harrison and Alexander Schreiner tell how they collaborated to produce the unique Æolian-Skinner organ of 1948. It was declared “an artistic as well as a mechanical masterpiece.” Between 1984 and 1988, state-of-the-art technology was added to the organ. These additions are fully documented in the first appendix.

Photographs include early black-and-white ones of the organ at different stages of its development and photographs of the organists, past and present. Magnificent present-day color photographs of the Tabernacle organ add to the beauty of this book.

Six appendixes provide more details, such as an annotated stoplist; a list of the Tabernacle organists; a selected discography of recordings by Tabernacle organists; and a general bibliography.

[photo] The history of the Tabernacle organ and its technical features are covered in the new book. (Photography by Jed Clark.)

How Member-Missionary Efforts Look to Our Friends

If you’ve ever wondered how your friends feel when you attempt to share the gospel with them, you’ll be interested in a recent study conducted in the U.S. and Canada by the Church. Researchers have discovered some news that should be encouraging to Church members.

In the first phase of a four-part study done for the Church’s Missionary Executive Council by the Correlation Department’s Research Division, interviews were conducted with friends of Church members. Those interviewed had all been invited by a member to meet with the missionaries. The study attempted to discover the reactions these people had when invited.

The research sheds important light on a variety of misconceptions held by members about member-missionary work and makes several encouraging recommendations.

Results of Members’ Invitations to Friends

According to the study, member-missionary efforts with friends usually result in positive outcomes. For example, approximately half of the time that members invite their friends to meet with the missionaries, the friends accept the invitation. And even among the 50 percent who decline, about four out of five report they might respond favorably if invited to other activities, like social events, informal discussions, or even Church services. Furthermore, members can take courage from the knowledge that whether or not their friends, relatives, or acquaintances agree to meet with missionaries, they are likely to have either the same or even more positive attitudes toward the member after such an invitation. Negative outcomes occur rarely—usually only when a member is insensitive, manipulative, or preachy.

Sharing the gospel has always been an important part of being a member of the Church. Because the gospel is central to Church members’ lives and because it has helped members in meaningful ways, members want their friends to enjoy its blessings. Yet because members don’t want to offend by being pushy or aggressive, they often see themselves in a dilemma.

The good news is that the chances of offending friends are slight, as long as invitations are extended sincerely, out of a genuine interest in the friend.

How Members’ Efforts Are Perceived by Others

According to the report, a common problem with member-missionary invitations is that they are often not explicit enough. Too often, the invitations sound like an offhand suggestion, not an actual invitation deserving a considered response. For example, according to the study, 25 percent of those invited to meet with the missionaries did not understand that they had actually even been invited. And of those who did recognize that they were being invited to meet with the missionaries, most did not understand what the meeting would be like. Without having seen or met the missionaries, they sometimes had false impressions, such as thinking that the missionaries would be argumentative or ask for donations or that the experience would be unpleasant in some other way. Others thought the meeting was merely a social invitation, or an opportunity to have a particular question answered.

An important implication of the study, then, is that more friends would probably agree to meet with the missionaries if they had a chance to meet them informally first—for example, at a Church social. And if members could explain more clearly how meeting with the missionaries is a pleasant, informative experience, their missionary efforts might be more effective.

Some Reasons Friends Decline

Researchers found that when invitations are declined, it does not mean that the friend is necessarily opposed to continued member-missionary efforts. “However,” their report says, “members often failed to follow up with continued friendshipping efforts.”

In fact, the study showed that when invitations to meet with missionaries were turned down, “members did not try to understand why their friends had declined nor did they seem to know how to respond when the friend declined.” Instead, members sometimes became embarrassed or seemed quick to assume that when an invitation was declined, the person had rejected being approached about the Church and would have no further interest in it. This sometimes-false assumption, the report advises, can be recognized easily if members will consider the most common reasons for declining invitations, specifically:

  1. 1.

    The person invited had unrealistic expectations about the meeting, perhaps thinking he or she might be asked difficult theological questions or be put on the spot in some way.

  2. 2.

    The person invited felt opposition from family members or close friends.

  3. 3.

    The person was actively involved in another church.

  4. 4.

    The circumstances—such as major illness, time pressures, or other temporary concerns—prevented their accepting.

The report suggests that if members knew that these are among the most likely reasons for their invitation being declined, they could be more understanding and at the same time be less timid about inviting friends to meet with missionaries. It is important for members to realize how circumstantial a declined invitation can be. These findings may even give members more confidence in discerning just what kind of activity to invite their friends to—be it a special event, a missionary discussion, a conference, or a sacrament meeting. One declined invitation should not make members reluctant to extend an invitation on another occasion.

What Appeals to Others Most about the Church

Perhaps the most common misconception the study clears up is the idea that most people are looking for “the true church.” According to the study, “the desire to find a church or ‘find the truth’ is not the main motivation for many people who agree to meet with the missionaries when invited.” On the contrary, doctrines often have little to do with a person’s initial interest in learning more about the Church. Rather, the greatest single motivation is the quality of the relationship with the member and the example set by the member’s life.

Since meaningful relationships seem to appeal to people more than the idea of finding the true church, the research findings should encourage members to share how the gospel has influenced them personally and helped them with the challenges of life. According to the study, friends of members feel more comfortable sharing personal feelings, values, and experiences than talking about points of doctrine.

What Could Help Member-Missionaries Most

Church members who understand their friends’ real concerns feel less timid in the member-missionary effort and, at the same time, are more sensitive to their friends’ needs. Here, the study offers some of its most important insights.

Implications of the research suggest that, as member missionaries, we would do well to—

  1. 1.

    Be more willing to listen for understanding and not so eager to talk, explain, and inform.

  2. 2.

    Be in less of a hurry to bring conversations to a conclusion, less inclined to force interpretations of ideas, and be more warm and relaxed, enjoying the exchange and being willing to learn and share discoveries as well as to teach.

  3. 3.

    Be more concerned with what we have in common with others than with our differences.

  4. 4.

    Be primarily concerned with the sincerity of our relationships with our friends, not the outcome of any one specific invitation.

  5. 5.

    Be aware that friends often have only a passive interest in theology and doctrine.

  6. 6.

    Be more active in following up with a variety of member-missionary efforts, whether or not the friend seems interested in meeting with the missionaries.

The research shows that members who enjoy sharing the gospel have a common strength—their awareness of the interests, concerns, and needs of friends and acquaintances. This strength enables them to deal lovingly and understandingly with their friends’ feelings about the gospel, and it seems to be part of the reason they enjoy their missionary efforts.

As mistaken notions are discarded, Church members will surely become both more effective as missionaries and more capable of being caring friends to others.

How Friends Respond to Invitations to Meet with the Missionaries “Yes” 50% “No” 50%

But of Those Who Said “No” … Four out of five [80%] still seemed willing to participate in Church activities, talk about the gospel, or even meet with the missionaries at a later time.

Whether or Not Friends Accept the Invitations, Relationships with Members Tend to Get Better or Remain the Same. Better 55% Same 33% Worse 12%

The Saints in Barcelona: Faithful Converts

The first LDS church services held in Barcelona, Spain, took place in a beauty parlor owned by Josefa Lacuay and her nonmember husband. Josefa had joined the Church in Uruguay in 1963 and came to Barcelona with her family to discover that the Church was not established there. When missionaries from the French Mission came to her suburb in the late 1960s, she could help them find an apartment but not a place for a chapel. So for seven months every Sunday morning, the hair dryers, rollers, and hair sprays in the Lacuays’ shop gave way to a church service attended by the few LDS pioneers in the Barcelona area.

Today, members of the Barcelona stake number almost two thousand, obviously requiring much more than a small shop in which to hold their meetings. But the spirit of the Lacuays’ sacrifice and dedication lives on in the conversion stories of Barcelona Saints.

Their city, the largest Spanish port on the Mediterranean, is the major commercial and cultural center of northeastern Spain. Historical Barcelona dates from pre-Christian times, and the ruins of a Roman city have been excavated beneath its central plazas. During the Middle Ages, it was an important trading port—a link between the Muslim world of spices and exotic fruits and European markets. The natives of Barcelona, the Catalans, gained their reputation as people of commerce, noted for their drive and hard work.

Through the centuries, business and trade have been a way of life for the Catalan population. The city became a network of small family businesses where children grew up working at their parents’ side, knowing that the business would be theirs to carry on. The Barcelonese families of today, mostly of Catalan origin, are still heavily involved in commercial work. The workday is long, and for many there is little time for other activities.

As a result, Church beginnings in Barcelona were slow. A people strongly tied to the religious traditions of the past and concerned about the business of the present had little time to discuss strange new beliefs from America. But some of the conversion stories of these past twenty years show how the Spirit can overcome even such formidable barriers as these.

Josefa Parada is a case in point. She was a former nun who had left the convent to marry. She had no desire to investigate other religions, but when she noticed a definite change in the lives of her neighbors, the Prieto family of the Barcelona suburb of Badalona, she asked them the reason. Their response wasn’t the answer she wanted to hear: “We’ve been baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

The Prietos visited Josefa’s family until her son, Enrique, was baptized. Josefa felt the influence of the Spirit, but she had difficulty contemplating breaking away from her religious traditions. Not until 1979, when her third son was about to be baptized—and by then she was attending LDS meetings and reading the Book of Mormon—did she gain a strong enough conviction to be baptized herself. Her husband, Aurelio, later obtained a testimony through fervent prayer, quit smoking, and also joined the Church two years later. The family has been to the temple six times since then.

Because joining the Church in Spain requires much sacrifice in breaking from established tradition, members are all the more dedicated. After Manuel and Maria Trancosco were visited by two missionaries in 1976, Manuel prayed about their message and studied the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. When a spiritual confirmation came to him while at his job as a mechanic, he ran home to ask the elders to baptize him immediately.

Since the family’s conversion, Manuel has devoted himself to serving in many different callings, despite a work schedule that starts at six in the morning and ends at ten at night. The family also had enough faith to drive their tiny car to the Swiss Temple, some eight hundred miles to the north. Their testimonies were strengthened as they traveled, for each time they stopped to ask directions, they found someone who spoke Spanish. Manuel and Maria were sealed to their four children and have now added four more to their eternal family.

The same allegiance to tradition that makes missionary proselyting difficult also demands ingenuity in doing member-missionary work. About fourteen years ago, in Premia de Mar, a small suburb of Barcelona, Mari Carmen Clavet and Carol B. Rivero began holding home Relief Society. No branch existed in the town. The majority of the twenty-five women who attended were not members of the Church, but they still seemed to enjoy the prayerfully selected lessons prepared each week.

When four baptisms resulted from the Premia sisterhood, missionaries were sent to the small town and established the Premia de Mar Branch, although there were no priesthood holders at the time. For several years missionaries served as branch presidents, until a returned missionary, Javier Garriga—once a Primary student of Sister Rivero—moved to Premia de Mar. He now serves as branch president.

In another suburb, Hospitalet, Ramon and Gloria Arriaga regularly invite nonmember friends and family to their weekly family home evenings. “Sometimes we’ve had as many as ten to twelve visitors,” they say. “We make goals during the week of whom to help or invite, always trying to show love to someone lonely.” Their two children were called at the same time to serve missions in Madrid, Spain’s capital. “You might say we’ve been on a mission through our children,” their mother says. “We lived every minute of their service for the Lord and felt the blessings flow.”

Young members like Ferran Silvestre are representative of the up-and-coming generation of Barcelona Saints. Ferran finally joined the Church at age twenty, although his parents had been baptized when he was twelve. When two missionaries gained Ferran’s trust, he listened to the discussions. Those sessions, along with his study of the Book of Mormon, brought him an undeniable spiritual confirmation of the truth of the gospel.

After spending a year in compulsory military service, Ferran still wanted to go on a mission, although by then he was in his mid-twenties. He has now returned from a mission to Washington, D.C., which he describes as “the experience of my life.”

The conversion of Carlos Rodriguez and his wife, Julia, dates back nearly twenty years. As a young married couple, they struggled to find the truth and finally decided to go to India on a religious quest. While driving through Turkey, they were stranded when their car broke down. They decided to stay there, turning their search to an investigation of Islam. But one day Carlos began reading the Bible, and he realized he was a Christian, with a deep sense of gratitude for Jesus Christ.

The Rodriguezes returned to Spain, convinced that somewhere they would find the truth in a Christian church. In Barcelona, Carlos discovered a copy of the Book of Mormon among the few belongings he had stored there, and he began reading it. He became so absorbed that he read the book nonstop, without eating or sleeping, for forty-eight hours. As soon as he finished, he led Julia to an LDS meeting-place, hoping to find someone to teach him more. Unfortunately, it was Saturday afternoon, and no one was around. Just after Julia gave up and went home—telling him, “We can go to the chapel tomorrow, dear”—two missionaries arrived. A week later, Carlos and Julia were baptized. Carlos now serves as bishop in one of the Barcelona wards.

These members are typical of the growing Church membership in Barcelona. They found the time, the strength, and the desire to accept the restored gospel when the Holy Ghost touched their lives and brought them to baptism. The work-hours are still long. But somehow there is always time for Church meetings, missions, and temple excursions for these pioneer members in Spain, who serve the Lord with enthusiasm and devotion.

[photos] A view of Barcelona and a scene in the city’s Pueblo Espanol section serve as backdrops for local Latter-day Saints: returned missionary David Perez, upper left; members of the Premia de Mar Branch, upper right; pioneer member Josefa Lacuay, center right; and painter Enrique Torres and wife, Virginia, lower right. (Photos by Susana Rivero Baughman, David Doxey, and Betsy VanDenBerghe.)

Carol Baughman Rivero serves as Relief Society president of the newly opened Premia de Mar Branch, Barcelona Spain Stake.

LDS Scene

SALT LAKE CITY—President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, offered the dedicatory prayer for the new Primary Children’s Medical Center on May 17. The new facility had opened on April 23, when its young patients were moved from the old building in Salt Lake’s Avenues area. The new hospital, adjacent to the University Medical Center on the University of Utah campus, will continue to offer medical care for children without regard to race, religion, nationality, or ability to pay. That was the purpose of the old Primary Children’s Medical Center, which was once owned by the Church but was transferred to private ownership in 1975.

DRAPER, UTAH—The Draper Utah Stake Relief Society recently donated 180 handmade quilts and 50 receiving blankets to the new Primary Children’s Medical Center. A “Snuggle Me Warm” quilting party was held in the stake center, at which sisters quilted as they listened to speakers. The Primary Children’s Medical Center traditionally places a soft, colorful handmade quilt on each child’s bed to help make the hospital a less frightening place.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—“Remembering Nauvoo,” a film produced for use at the Nauvoo Visitors’ Center, has received two national awards. The U.S. Industrial Film Festival gave it a first-place award in the history category and selected it from among 1,500 entries as one of ten films in the running for “Best of Festival.” The film also won a Golden Eagle award from the Council on International Non-theatrical Events (CINE), in Washington, D.C.

ANGERS, FRANCE—Members of the Angers Branch made a six-and-one-half-foot-tall Book of Mormon to display in an open market in Mandes, France. More than one thousand people were attracted to the display, which provided the opportunity to place fifty-two “regular-sized” copies of the Book of Mormon in a single day.

Computerized Scriptures Glitch Can Be Fixed

Many people with new, larger home computers are encountering difficulty in running the Computerized Scriptures, but the problem can be remedied.

The problem occurs when users of DOS 4.0 or above make the DOS partition larger than 32 megabytes. The Computerized Scriptures were originally designed to run on DOS 2.1 or above, without such a large partition.

The problem can be cured by entering the command “C:\LDS\ldsview net” when using a drive partition larger than 32 megabytes. The backslash must be used; the word “net” must be written in lowercase letters.

Unfortunately, this command is not included in the documentation for the Computerized Scriptures.