I Have a Question


Questions of general interest answered for guidance, not as official statements of Church policy

Are reverence classes appropriate in Primary?

Betty Jo Jepsen, first counselor, Primary General Presidency. Neither a reverence class nor a special class for children who misbehave is appropriate.

Reverence in Primary should be associated with feelings, not with behavior or noise level. A child may be very quiet and sitting still yet not feel reverent. On the other hand, a child may vigorously participate in an activity and feel the Spirit as he becomes involved. Judging reverence on outward appearances, then, can be deceiving.

In Primary, variety and involvement, rather than the threat of punishment, will keep the children’s attention. Children naturally respond to loving guidance. For example, teachers can help little ones identify reverent feelings by calling the children’s attention to the special feelings they get when the Spirit is present. Music and personal testimony can also be powerful tools in creating an atmosphere in which children feel reverent.

Most children should respond to such efforts. There are, however, a small number of children who suffer behavioral dysfunction. These children require special attention. The parents and school teachers of these children are valuable resources Primary teachers and leaders can tap when making plans to meet their needs.

Reverence rarely “happens.” Children must be taught about reverence in such a way that they can understand it. Primary in-service lessons help teachers and leaders use creative preparation and child development principles to teach children appropriate behavior in a gospel setting. The How Book for Teaching Children (stock no. PBIC0223) discusses what can be expected from children in their various developmental stages.

Artists James T. Harwood, Gutzon and Solon Borglum, and Cyrus Dallin are said by some to be associated with the Church. Were they members?

Orvill Paller, genealogist, relative of the Borglum family, and member of the Center Ward, Salt Lake Rose Park Stake. Artist James Harwood and sculptors Gutzon and Solon Borglum and Cyrus Dallin were not members of the Church. However, as children of Latter-day Saint pioneer parents, they had a relationship with the Church that, to some extent, influenced their work.

James Taylor Harwood

Born 8 April 1860 to James and Sarah Jane Taylor Harwood in Lehi, Utah, artist James Taylor Harwood is well known among Latter-day Saints for his paintings of Christ. Adoration of the Ages, an oil painted in 1903, features many people worshipping Jesus throughout the ages. Another oil painting, Come Follow Me, was commissioned by the Sunday School organization of the Church and features Christ beckoning from the shore to two men in a boat.

James Harwood received a name and a blessing at his birth, and while three of his sisters joined the Church, he was never baptized a member of the Church or belonged to any other church except for what he referred to as his “church of one.” Yet he always seemed to have some affection for the Latter-day Saints. In his autobiography, A Basket of Chips, he describes President Heber J. Grant as “a good, kind, appreciative man, [who] was instrumental in the purchase of the rather large oil The Wasatch Range to represent me in the Salt Lake Temple.” He also entitled two of his etchings Eighteenth Ward Chapel by Moonlight and Temple, Tabernacle, and Assembly Hall.

During James Harwood’s teenage years, a fascination with the life of Christ led him to a friendship and apprenticeship with some of Utah’s pioneer artists, including Alfred Lambourne and Dan Weggeland. He furthered his art education in California and in Europe, married Harriet Richards, and had five children. James and Harriet traveled extensively before she died in 1922, after which James returned to Utah to become head of the Art Department at the University of Utah. He later married Ione Godwin, and they had two children.

James Harwood died 16 October 1940 at the age of eighty, leaving a legacy of paintings that Latter-day Saints have found uplifting and inspirational.

Gutzon and Solon Borglum

The sons of Jens Moller Haugaard Borglum and Christina Mikkelsen Borglum, Gutzon and Solon Borglum followed the traditions of their Danish woodcutter father in becoming sculptors. Gutzon was born on 25 March 1867 in Ovid, Bear Lake, Idaho, and is best known for his immortal Mount Rushmore memorial to United States presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt, which Gutzon worked on until his death in 1941. His other famous works include the giant bust of Lincoln found in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C., and a statue of General Philip Sheridan.

Solon Borglum, born 22 December 1868 in Ogden, Utah, achieved eminence with his bronze monument of Confederate General John B. Gordon, unveiled in Atlanta in May 1907, and the bronze memorial Rough Rider, located in Prescott, Arizona, for which he received congratulations from President Teddy Roosevelt. Solon completed more than 135 works of sculpture before his death in 1922.

Although their parents were sealed to each other in the Salt Lake Endowment House on 25 November 1865, the Borglum children never became members of the Church. The family moved from Utah to Nebraska sometime in 1869, and in 1871 Christina’s marriage to Jens was dissolved, after which the family apparently no longer affiliated with the Church.

Gutzon Borglum left home at age fifteen to pursue art studies in Los Angeles and later married one of his art instructors, Elizabeth Jaynes Putnam. They lived abroad while Gutzon studied in Paris and became acquainted with sculptors Rodin and Mercie before returning to California. Gutzon later dissolved his marriage to Elizabeth Putnam and in 1909 married Mary Montgomery, with whom he had three children. He died in Chicago on 6 March 1941, leaving the completion of Mount Rushmore to his son, Lincoln.

Solon Borglum became a cowboy rancher, but he pursued sculpting at Gutzon’s encouragement. The two tried working together in an art studio in California’s Sierra Madres, but Solon eventually left for Los Angeles and, later, in 1895, for the Cincinnati Art Academy in Ohio. Further studies in Paris brought him into contact with Cyrus Dallin, with whom he became good friends, as well as with Emma Vignal, whom he married. The two had three children. Solon Borglum died in 1922 after achieving success in the United States that prompted writer Selen Ayer Armstrong to compare his sculpture to Walt Whitman’s literature.

Cyrus Dallin

Born to Thomas and Jane Hamer Allen Dallin in Springville, Utah, on 22 November 1861, Cyrus Dallin was the second of nine children. His sculptures are well known by Latter-day Saints. They include the statue of angel Moroni that stands on top of the Salt Lake Temple and the statue of Brigham Young currently located at the intersections of South Temple and Main streets in Salt Lake City. He also sculpted a statue of Massasoit for the state of Massachusetts, copies of which are found on the Utah State Capitol grounds and at Brigham Young University.

The Dallin family apparently left the Church, and none of the seven Dallin children who lived to adulthood became members, although some of their descendants have joined. But Cyrus Dallin seems to have had a good relationship with the Church. His talent took him to Boston for art studies, and later to Paris. After marrying Vittoria Collona Murray of Massachusetts in 1891, he returned to Salt Lake City, where he stayed until 1894, completing the angel Moroni statue and the Brigham Young monument, among others. He and Vittoria had three sons.

Cyrus Dallin once stated, “I have received two college degrees: Master of Art, and Doctor of Art, besides medals galore, but my greatest honor of all is, ‘I came from Springville, Utah.’” On another occasion, while visiting Salt Lake City in the 1920s, Cyrus stopped at Temple Square, where President Levi Edgar Young of the First Council of the Seventy talked with him. Cyrus said to President Young, “I consider that my Angel Moroni brought me nearer to God than anything else I ever did. It seemed to me that I came to know what it means to commune with angels from heaven.”

Cyrus Dallin died in Arlington, Massachusetts, on 14 November 1944. Like artists Harwood and the Borglum brothers, he left works of art that revere and uphold a monumental past Latter-day Saints and many others cherish.

What callings are open to single members of the Church?

Robert L. Leake, administrative assistant, Melchizedek Priesthood Department. Church callings are predicated upon an individual’s worthiness, ability, and willingness to serve, not upon his or her marital status. Single members serve in the church today in a wide array of callings that include positions in Relief Society presidencies, Young Women presidencies, Primary presidencies, bishoprics, elders quorum presidencies, and high priests group leaderships. They serve as Sunday School and Primary teachers, as Young Men and Young Women advisers, and as secretaries, home teachers, and visiting teachers.

In an average ward, approximately 330 Church callings need to be filled. Generally, all are open to be filled by worthy and faithful single members. With few exceptions, bishops are called from the ranks of the faithful married brethren.

In an average stake, approximately 80 Church callings need to be filled. Generally, most all are open to worthy single members. Tradition and practice suggest, however, that a stake president be married.

On occasion, some stake presidents and bishops, upon becoming widowers, have been released from serving. But others, as with General Authorities who lose their wives, have continued to serve for lengthy periods of time. Whether they continue serving as a bishop or stake president depends on their family responsibilities, time constraints, and the stress they feel as they struggle to adjust to the challenges of being newly single.

Of course, individual and family circumstances must always be taken into account when considering a specific person to serve in a Church position. And a certain calling might be more appropriate at one point in a member’s life than at another; as stated in Ecclesiastes, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Eccl. 3:1.) But to artificially separate worthy individuals into categories of those who may or may not be called to Church positions is just that: artificial.

Counsel given in the Melchizedek Priesthood Leadership Handbook calls for bishops and other leaders to “involve all single members in ward, quorum, group, or Relief Society activities, callings, and assignments.” Unfortunately some, including those in leadership positions, might be tempted to categorize individuals—a very counterproductive practice. Single members of the Church, even those who are less active, represent an enormous reservoir of talent and potential service.

This is particularly true of single returned missionaries. Many of these young men and women have held remarkable responsibilities in their roles as teachers, leaders, counselors, and interviewers. When these valiant servants return home, they are more than able to fulfill responsible Church assignments in their wards and stakes.

Similarly, many other single members, whether they are young or old, have coped with challenges in life that have prepared them to render service.

The Church units we call student and young single adult wards or branches allow single members to serve in callings that encompass almost the entire spectrum of ward officers and teachers. Many single members are very appreciative of the opportunity to attend and serve in these wards. Others prefer attending a conventional family-centered ward. In either instance, leaders should recognize the significant service that single members can perform. They are a great reservoir of talent that can be put to work in building the kingdom of God.