Six General Authorities Called, Five Reassigned
Five members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy were sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy during the first session of the 161st Annual General Conference. In addition, six members were added to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
Transferred from the Second Quorum of the Seventy to the First Quorum were Elders Monte J. Brough, Harold G. Hillam, L. Lionel Kendrick, Alexander B. Morrison, and L. Aldin Porter.
Elder Brough, fifty-one, a Randolph, Utah, native, was called in October 1988 and is currently Second Counselor in the Asia Area Presidency. Elder Hillam, fifty-five, from Sugar City, Idaho, was called in March 1990 and is currently First Counselor in the Brazil Area Presidency. Elder Kendrick, fifty-nine, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native, was called in April 1988 and is currently President of the Philippines/Micronesia Area. Elder Morrison, sixty, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was called in April 1987 and currently serves as First Counselor in the North America Southeast Area. Elder Porter, fifty-nine, a Salt Lake City native, was called in April 1987 and is currently serving as President of the Utah South Area and as Assistant Executive Director of the Family History Department.
Also sustained at the conference were Elder Earl C. Tingey as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Elders W. Mack Lawrence and Rulon G. Craven as members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy. The callings of these three brethren were announced in December.
Sustained as new members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy were Elders Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Cree-L Kofford, Joseph C. Muren, Graham W. Doxey, Jorge A. Rojas, and Julio E. Dávila. (See pages 97–102.)
Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander
“I think we have the ability to dream together, and to sacrifice to achieve the things we dream of,” reflects Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander. That ability to see the end result and to enjoy whatever activity they have been involved in has been vital for Elder Neuenschwander and his wife, LeAnn. They will continue to call on those talents as he fulfills his new assignment as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
Born in Salt Lake City 6 October 1939, Dennis was the second of George Henry and Genevieve Bramwell Neuenschwander’s four children. His family later moved to Ogden. In 1959, after six months of active duty in the air force reserves, he accepted a mission call to Finland. Since there was no Missionary Training Center at the time, missionaries went through a language course once they arrived in the country. After eleven months of proselyting, Brother Neuenschwander spent much of the rest of his mission teaching other elders Finnish.
His interest in language continued when he returned home. He studied Russian, receiving an associate degree from Weber State College (1964), a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University (1966), and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University (1974).
In the meantime, Brother Neuenschwander had met LeAnn Clement. When his reserve unit was activated during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he went to be fitted for contact lenses. LeAnn was the optometrist’s assistant. Married 13 June 1963 in the Salt Lake Temple, the Neuenschwanders have four sons—Jeffery, Michael, Bradley, and Stephen.
After graduation, Brother Neuenschwander taught Russian at the University of Utah and at Brigham Young University, then took a job with the Church’s Genealogical Department. His family accompanied him to Frankfurt, Germany, where he began microfilming projects in eastern Europe. Then he returned to Church headquarters as manager of the department’s international area of the Acquisitions Division.
During these years, Brother Neuenschwander served the Church as a Sunday School teacher, ward mission leader, and high councilor. “He has a great love for people,” says his wife. “He’s quiet but strong. He accepts challenges and he works hard—no matter what he’s doing.”
In 1987, Brother Neuenschwander was called to preside over the Austria Vienna East Mission, which included Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Greece, and later Egypt, Turkey, and Cyprus. “We used to joke that other mission presidents had to get permission to leave their missions,” he says, “but we had to get permission to go into ours.”
In that position, he worked closely with Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder Hans B. Ringger to gain recognition for the Church in eastern-bloc countries, and later to place missionaries and organize branches. “It’s been incredible to see how the people have embraced the gospel,” says Elder Neuenschwander. “The decades of atheism could not eradicate what lies at the deepest part of our souls—the desire to believe, to serve, to be happy and productive.”
As the Neuenschwanders’ mission drew to a close, the First Presidency asked them to stay another year and—since four new missions had been created from theirs—direct the work in Bulgaria, Romania, and parts of the USSR, as well as continuing to oversee Yugoslavia.
Years of living far from extended family have helped the Neuenschwanders develop close relationships with each other and with people from many nations. “Our home has always been open,” says Elder Neuenschwander. “It’s been a great education for us and our boys. We’ve tried to use our time and resources on experiences rather than on things.”
At the heart of Elder Neuenschwander’s success is his conviction of the Savior’s divinity and the gospel’s restoration. “I’ve seen it expressed magnificently,” he says. “It changes lives, attitudes, values—all for the best. You can’t be around that kind of power without appreciating its strength.”
Elder Cree-L Kofford
One winter evening in 1951, high school students Cree-L Kofford and Ila Macdonald sat at a kitchen table in Ila’s home and discussed the meaning of life. Ila, the only active member of the Church in her immediate family, bore her testimony to her friend. Cree (as he is commonly known), a less-active member, made up his mind after that talk that he was going to “get serious about what was important in life—namely, the gospel.”
“My conversion to the gospel literally started at Ila’s kitchen table,” says Elder Kofford. “She taught me about righteousness, and then gently led me to thirst for it in my life. My testimony grew gradually. One day, years later, I remember waking up and saying, ‘This is the most important thing in my life.’”
Elder Kofford’s childhood included a wide variety of experiences that prepared him for his new calling. Born in the small Utah town of Santaquin on 11 July 1933, Cree-L was the oldest of three sons born to Cree and Melba Nelson Kofford. The Koffords lived in a number of towns in Nevada, Utah, and California during Cree’s early years, as his father followed construction projects. When he was nine years old, Cree moved with his family to a farm in Fairfield, Utah, where he loved the chance to spend time with his father, since construction jobs in Nevada sometimes kept them apart. “These were World War II years,” remembers Elder Kofford. “We had to use horses and pioneer-vintage plows. It was like stepping back in time one hundred years, and I really learned the value of hard work.”
Three years later, Cree’s father took a full-time job as a construction worker. “I grew up in some pretty tough parts of town,” says Elder Kofford, “and we were totally inactive in the Church.”
But when Cree was fifteen, his family moved to Orem, Utah, where he met Ila Macdonald. Later, two years after their “kitchen table discussion,” Cree and Ila were married on 11 September 1953 in the Manti Temple. Cree earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah in 1956 and taught high school while saving money to attend law school. When the Koffords moved to Los Angeles, Cree attended school at night at the University of Southern California, and also taught high school. He graduated with a juris doctorate degree in 1961. During the early years while Brother Kofford worked to establish his own law practice, he also taught early-morning seminary.
For more than thirty years, the Koffords lived in Monrovia and Arcadia, California, where they reared their five children—Sandy (Kim Chang), Jane (Ford), Bradley, Quinn, and Tracy. Always willing to serve in the Church, Elder Kofford has combined family and career with his service as bishop of the Monrovia Ward, as stake president (twice), and as regional representative. Good literature and Tennessee walking horses have provided diversions for him.
“Sometimes Cree would come home so tired after work,” says Ila. “But he would just put on his Levi’s, boots, and cowboy hat and go for a ride in the hills. When he came back after an hour on horseback, he was a different man.”
Currently serving as president of the New York New York Mission, Elder Kofford is filled with a testimony that the gospel can help Church members meet the challenges of inner-city life. “We have eight and a half million people in our mission,” says Elder Kofford, “and I continually witness dramatic changes in the lives of the more than one hundred new members that our missionaries baptize each month.”
“I think missionary work is the ultimate in Church service,” says Sister Kofford. “It is difficult to describe the power of a sacrament meeting in Queens as ward members from a variety of cultures sing ‘I Believe in Christ’—each in their native language.”
Because of his willingness to serve, Elder Kofford’s testimony has come a long way since that March evening in 1950. “I’ll do anything you ask,” says Elder Kofford, “but if I have a choice, I want the hardest job you can give me. Then I know I’ll have to pull out the best that I have to give in order to meet the challenge.”
Elder Joseph C. Muren
Joseph C. Muren and his wife, Gladys, are first-generation members of the Church. “Without growing up in the Church, we have often found ourselves asking each other, ‘Are we doing this right?’” Joseph Muren says with a grin, adding that he thought that being a convert to the Church probably would be useful in relating to other converts, especially now that four times more people join the Church each year than are born into it.
Born in Richmond, California, on 5 February 1936, Joseph grew up in a Catholic home with a mother of Italian descent and a father of Yugoslavian descent. Sister Muren, formerly Gladys Smith, was brought up a Methodist, in Colusa, California.
Joseph attended San Jose State University, where a roommate invited him to institute classes. “I became interested enough to take the discussions, but I promised my parents that I would wait until I was twenty-one to be baptized,” he explains.
An avid reader, Joseph devoured every book or pamphlet the missionaries gave him. Near his twenty-first birthday, he was baptized, not only giving up any hope of inheriting his father’s business but also creating strained relations with his family, who felt that to leave the Catholic church was to leave the family.
As a young man, Joseph had given thought to becoming a priest. “I wanted to serve God with my life, but I also wanted a family,” explains Elder Muren.
Within a year of his baptism, he served a mission in Argentina, adding to his Italian a knowledge of Spanish. Following his mission, he taught high school math and language while earning a master’s degree at San Jose. About this time, Gladys started attending institute classes with her roommate and was soon baptized. The Murens were married in 1963 in the Los Angeles Temple. The next year, Brother Muren began doctoral work at the University of Southern California, which he completed in 1969.
“It was at El Camino College that I began teaching in the institute program,” he remembers. A fourteen-year career with the Church Educational System followed, leading the growing Muren family from Long Beach State to Stanford to Weber State College. They lived in Costa Rica from 1977 until 1980, while Joseph served as mission president there, and where the Murens’ sixth child, Natasha, was born. The family then moved to South America, where Joseph served as director for temporal affairs (DTA) for the Church in Peru, then in Argentina, then in Sydney, Australia. A DTA works under the direction of Area Presidencies, administering the temporal aspects of the Church in the area.
The Murens’ five other children include Cynthia (Bassett) of Houston, Texas; Michael, age twenty-two; Michelle, age twenty; Tricia, age nineteen; and Marshawn, seventeen. Marshawn and Natasha live in England with Brother and Sister Muren, where Elder Muren has been serving as a DTA since 1989.
To those close to him, Elder Muren’s qualifications to serve and lead are quite separate from either his DTA work or being a convert.
“He is a man of great faith who has taught us how important it is to rely entirely on the Lord,” Sister Muren says. “And as I’ve watched him give counsel—as a father, a bishop, or a teacher—I realize he has an uncommon gift.”
“Dad is quite intense and leaves an impression on you when he talks to you,” adds Michelle. “He is the most understanding man I’ve ever talked to.” She describes the family dinner hour as “long and wonderful. All of us learned more in those discussions, probably, than in all the classes we ever attended.
“Everything from world events to personal feelings would come up. What an influence he’s been on our lives and on the lives of many other people!”
Beginning at the family dinner table, continuing outward as he taught institute and Education Week classes and then managed temporal affairs, Joseph C. Muren has shared his witness of Jesus Christ. Now that he is a member of the Seventy, that influence will continue to be felt throughout the Church.
Elder Graham W. Doxey
Graham W. Doxey’s grandfather joined the Church in England and migrated to Utah. Alone for most of his growing-up years, he determined to make his family a top priority. Two generations later, Elder Doxey has inherited that determination.
“Family is really the only association that is eternal,” explains Elder Doxey, newly called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. “Other relationships in life come and go, so why not concentrate on the one unit that is going to endure?”
That commitment to family is shared by Elder Doxey’s wife, Mary Lou Young Doxey, whose lifelong dream to have a dozen children was fulfilled in 1974 when Mary Kim was born. At the time, Brother Doxey was taking a three-year break from working in the real estate management firm he owns with his two brothers to serve as mission president in the Missouri Independence Mission.
Besides Mary, the others of the Doxey dozen are Diane (Jones), Carol (Richards), Marilee (Page), Graham, Robert, Lisa (Patch), Scott, Meg (Boud), Amy, who died as an infant, Becky (Schettler), and Sarah.
The Doxeys have always enjoyed traveling together and look back on their three years in Missouri as wonderful bonding years. Recently, adult members of the family have also enjoyed three-day “family conferences.”
“If it’s good for the Church to have conferences, it ought to be good for us,” Elder Doxey says. The Doxey conferences have convened in Missouri, Illinois, and Utah.
But those conferences are only an extension of a tradition begun years ago. Sunday afternoons were often devoted to family teaching sessions when Brother Doxey would gather the children around the dinner table or on a blanket outside under the trees.
“He would teach them, using the scriptures or a story, about an eternal principle or perspective,” recalls Sister Doxey. “His great love is teaching the children to appreciate the gospel and the world around them.”
Elder Doxey learned to appreciate those things while growing up in Salt Lake City. Born 30 March 1927, Graham was the second child of Graham H. and Leone Watson Doxey. When Graham was sixteen, the Doxey family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where his father served as mission president. After graduating from high school and spending a year at the University of Louisville and an eighteen-month stint in the navy, Graham returned to Salt Lake City.
On his first Sunday home, he noticed his future wife. Although they had grown up in the same ward, she was three years younger than he was. “I’d never paid attention to her before,” Elder Doxey notes. The two went on only a few dates before Graham left to serve in the Central Atlantic States Mission.
However, during the next two years, the couple corresponded frequently. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 22 June 1950 and settled in the Salt Lake Valley.
It was on his mission that Brother Doxey first read the Book of Mormon completely. “I’ll never forget how I felt as I was sitting up in bed reading one night,” he recalls. “I wasn’t anywhere near Moroni’s promise in my reading, but its truthfulness settled over me like a blanket. I tingled with the excitement.
“When I came home from my mission, I knew the gospel was true because I thought I could prove it through the scriptures,” he continues. “But after a while, the gospel wasn’t only true because of the scriptures; it was true because I could see it working in the lives of people.”
Service in the Church has been a big part of Elder Doxey’s life. In addition to being a mission president, he has served as a bishop, a stake president, a temple sealer, and a counselor in the Young Men General Presidency.
“Every opportunity to serve in the Church just helps you refine your testimony. I know the Lord lives, and it will be a wonderful thrill to bear that testimony to people of the world,” he says.
“This new opportunity is overwhelming and humbling, but I keep thinking of newborn lambs or foals trying to get their feet under them. I’m trying to get my feet under me. But I’ll do it and give the Lord all that I have.”
Elder Jorge A. Rojas
Young Jorge Rojas was determined to learn English, even if he had to study from Latter-day Saint books and go to LDS meetings. The lessons he learned in the process led to a life of Church service for Elder Rojas, who was sustained as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy April 6.
The natural response to this call, he says, is to ask yourself, “What can I do? How can I serve?”
His answer: “The most important thing for me now is to find out what the Lord wants me to do, and then have the faith and courage to do it.”
Jorge Alfonso Rojas was born to Rodolfo and Hilaria Ornelas Rojas on 27 September 1940 in Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico. His younger years were spent in Chihuahua City, capital of the northern Mexican state. It was there that an impatient schoolteacher told him he would never learn English. Determined to do it, Jorge persuaded his father to send him to the bilingual Juarez Academy, a Church-owned school in Colonia Juarez.
Jorge’s father sent him to live with Bertha and Willard Shupe, an LDS couple whom Jorge would come to think of as second parents. Sister Shupe was principal of the elementary school associated with the academy. She gave him Church books to study and insisted that he would learn English faster if he attended ward meetings.
Through the teaching he received from the Shupes and in seminary, Jorge gained a testimony of the gospel and was baptized at age nineteen.
By taking classes day and night, Jorge graduated from the University of Chihuahua with degrees in education and physical education. He won a scholarship for study at New Mexico State University. While there, he received a call inviting him to teach at the Church-owned Benemerito School in Mexico City when it opened in 1964.
He had met Marcela Burgos earlier in Colonia Juarez, but it was while she attended Benemerito that they really came to know each other. She graduated as a teacher in 1969, and they were married in the Arizona Temple on August 22, a few days later.
Brother Rojas worked for the Church, first in its educational system and then in its administrative offices, until the mid-1980s, when the family moved back to Chihuahua, where he pursued business interests. In 1988, he and his wife established a business translating technical manuals for U.S. companies with plants in Mexico.
He was called as stake Young Men program superintendent the day after arriving in Mexico City in 1964. He has served since then as a branch president, a high councilor, a counselor in a stake presidency, a stake president (twice), a regional representative (twice), and a mission president.
Of their five children, their oldest son, Jorge, twenty, is serving in the Michigan Lansing Mission; and Marcela, seventeen, Guillermo, sixteen, Ivy, thirteen, and Samuel, ten, are still at home.
Sister Rojas has also served in a variety of Church callings, most recently in the stake Relief Society presidency and as ward Gospel Doctrine teacher. But she says her family is her first priority. Elder Rojas calls her “an excellent mother with a very strong testimony” and says she is his greatest earthly support.
She says that “he depends completely on the Lord” in his Church service and daily work. He is “very positive. For him, the word impossible doesn’t exist.”
A strong focus on teaching from the Book of Mormon became part of his life while he was president of the Mexico Guadalajara Mission. Struggling to resolve some problems in the mission, he felt the clear impression to “use the Book of Mormon.
“The Book of Mormon teaches us to put on our working clothes, put up our sleeves, and join the army of priesthood holders and valiant sisters preparing for the second coming of the Lord,” he says.
Elder Rojas expects that his part of the work will require much of him. But he feels a peaceful assurance that his call has come from the Lord, and that “He will help me.”
Elder Julio E. Dávila
When Julio Dávila first met LDS missionaries in 1968, he resisted becoming involved with the Church.
But no one in his native Colombia who knows Elder Julio Dávila today would doubt his commitment to the gospel. When he was sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy on 6 April 1991, he saw the call as simply extending his responsibility to share the gospel over a wider area.
In the beginning, he was annoyed when missionaries pressed him to study the gospel. But he could not bring himself to refuse their visits because of the spirit he felt when they were present.
Then there was tithing. He told his wife his salary would not stretch to cover it. But he knew the gospel was true. He and his wife talked off and on for most of one sleepless night about whether they should be baptized. Finally, early in the morning, they knelt and prayed about it. Then he was able to fall asleep. But he had a dream in which he saw a hand writing figures on a blackboard—his salary, then the cost of unnecessary expenses. What he could eliminate added up to more than one-tenth of his income.
He told the missionaries that after his baptism, he would not be called “Brother,” would not take part in missionary work, and would not accept a calling. But then a suggestion he made brought him responsibility in the branch even before his baptism, and soon “Brother Dávila” was enthusiastically sharing the gospel with others. He has since helped bring many people into the Church.
His sense of humor helps break the ice with others, says his wife, Mary. “He is very spiritual,” and very sensitive to others’ needs, she adds.
Julio Enrique Dávila was born a son of Julio Dávila and Ana Rita Penaloza on 23 May 1932 in Bucaramanga, Colombia, but grew up in Cartagena. He graduated from college and then moved to Bogotá, where he worked for the next several years in the publishing industry. At one time, he had a printing/public relations/advertising business.
In Bogotá, he became acquainted with a neighbor, Mary Zapata, whom he considered especially attractive. They were married on 23 May 1958.
They were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in 1973. The Dávilas’ trip to Utah was a gift from a friend of a friend in the travel industry; the donor, who did not know them, stipulated that the couple must tell no one and have no contact with him. Years later, however, Brother Dávila spent some time with the man in a business setting. The man asked President Dávila repeatedly, “Who are you? I feel I’m so much better when I’m with you.” Finally, President Dávila explained how much the trip had meant to him and his wife. The man, who felt he had not done enough good in his life, was deeply touched that God would use Brother Dávila to remind him of his own generosity.
Later, the Dávilas were sealed to their two daughters. The eldest, Liana, lives in Bogotá, and the youngest, Maritza (McKee), lives in Bountiful, Utah. The Dávilas have two grandchildren.
Beginning in 1972, Brother Dávila worked as a volunteer and then as a part-time employee for the Church Educational System until he accepted a full-time position in 1973. Except for three years when he presided over the Colombia Cali Mission (1981–84), he has been involved in CES administration in South America since that time.
He has also been a branch president, a counselor in a district presidency, a district president, a stake president, and a regional representative (twice).
He says his wife has been a great strength to him because of her intelligence and wisdom. Whenever it is possible, he asks her counsel. “When I don’t,” he adds, smiling, “I go wrong. But she never says, ‘I told you so!’”
Does he feel ready for added responsibility in his new calling?
“I have felt a great responsibility in all of my callings,” Elder Dávila replies. “The level isn’t important.” Receiving a new Church assignment, he says, is not a signal that one has arrived at some new spiritual stature, but a call to get to work. For that, he is ready.
Elder Derek A. Cuthbert Eulogized
“I’m grateful for such men as Derek Cuthbert. There’s never any question about where they stand. Nobody can question their integrity. No one can question their faith. No one can question their sense of duty.”
Those qualities “flowered in his tremendous work as a General Authority,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency. “God be thanked for him and his kind!”
His tribute came at the April 11 funeral for Elder Derek Alfred Cuthbert of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who died April 7.
President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, also spoke, praising Elder Cuthbert as one who never shunned difficult assignments and was eager to get back into full-time Church service even as he fought the illness that took his life.
President Monson testified to members of Elder Cuthbert’s family that “all you knew and loved and appreciated in your husband and father still lives.”
President Howard W. Hunter of the Quorum of the Twelve, members of the Twelve, and many of Elder Cuthbert’s colleagues among the Seventy attended the funeral.
Elder George I. Cannon of the Seventy read a message from the Quorums of the Seventy that praised their colleague as a “man of vision, great faith, and wisdom.”
Other speakers were Bishop Charles W. Hillier of the Murray Twenty-third Ward, Murray Utah Stake, and Elder Cuthbert’s son, Jonathan, who said, “Dad loved the gospel. He bore his testimony at every opportunity.” Just two weeks ago, when he could hardly lift his head from a pillow, Elder Cuthbert bore his testimony to the two sons who prepared and blessed the sacrament for him, then paid tribute to their mother.
The importance of Elder Cuthbert’s family in his life was spoken of. He and his wife, Muriel, have ten children: Janis (Croft), Maureen (Ludlow), Sheila (Young), David, Rosalind (Jamieson), Jonathan, Hazel (Dunsmore), Andrew, Paul, and Jenny. There are twenty-nine Cuthbert grandchildren.
Elder Cuthbert and his wife, Muriel Olive Mason, had been married since 1945.
A son of Harry Cuthbert and Hilda May Freck, Derek was born 5 October 1926 in Nottingham, England. He served in the air force during and after World War II, then studied at the University of Nottingham. After graduation, he worked for British Celanese, eventually rising to high executive positions within the company.
The Cuthberts were baptized in January 1951 and sealed in the London Temple after its dedication in 1958.
Elder Cuthbert once reflected, “Before we were baptized, we vowed that the Church would be our life. We have never had one doubt, nor one regret.” (Ensign, Sept. 1984, p. 20.) Their vow was backed by dedication.
He served as president of the Nottingham Branch and the Leicester District. When the district was made the third stake in the British Isles, he was called as the first British president of a stake in his country. He later served as stake president in Birmingham and as a counselor in the presidency of the London Stake. He served four stake and district missions and was a counselor to four mission presidents.
He was a regional representative in 1975 when he received a call to full-time Church service as president of the Scotland Edinburgh Mission. In March 1978, he was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy. Since then, he has filled assignments in the British Isles, Africa, Europe, South America, and various areas of the United States. His assignments at Church headquarters have included service in the general Sunday School presidency, in the Correlation, Temple, Priesthood, and Curriculum departments, and on the Boundary and Leadership Change Committee.
After service in so many areas of the world, Elder Cuthbert came to feel at home wherever the Lord called him. He once said that he hoped he did not sound presumptuous, “but our home is in heaven, we trust.” (Ensign, Sept. 1984, p. 19.)
Eleven New Missions Open
The First Presidency has announced the creation of eleven new missions. As missionary work continues to expand in different parts of the world, the Church forms new missions to meet its needs.
The adjacent map designates the eleven new missions that will open as of July 1991. The new missions represent either divisions or expansion of missionary work in previous mission areas.
Brazil Pôrto Alegre North Mission
France Marseille Mission
Brazil São Paulo East Mission
Germany Berlin Mission
Brazil São Paulo Interlagos Mission
Idaho Pocatello Mission
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission
Kenya Nairobi Mission
Ecuador Guayaquil East Mission
Trinidad Tobago Mission
Venezuela Caracas West Mission
Update: Church Membership
Church membership continued to grow during 1991. There were 7,760,000 Latter-day Saints at the end of 1990, an increase of 1,590,000 since December 1986.
1986: 6.17 million
1987: 6.44 million
1988: 6.72 million
1989: 7.30 million
1990: 7.76 million
Elder Oaks Talks about China and the Gospel
By Western standards, things sometimes happen slowly in the People’s Republic of China. Nevertheless, the gospel is gradually finding its way into this nation of 1.1 billion people—even though missionaries do not at present bring it to them, says Elder Dallin H. Oaks.
In a devotional address at Brigham Young University, he told students that the doors to China are slowly being opened through tours by BYU performing groups, Chinese exchange students’ learning about the gospel, and the help of LDS individuals on a personal level.
“Two great realities of mortal life over-arch all difficulties—” said Elder Oaks, “the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God. The Lord has promised us that he will ‘provide means whereby [we] can accomplish the thing which he has commanded [us].’ (1 Ne. 17:3.)”
Ever since BYU’s Young Ambassadors received a standing ovation from an audience of Peking’s artistic elite in 1979, BYU performing groups have led the way in establishing friendly relations with the people of China and their leaders. Accompanied by a member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve on each trip, the Ballroom Dancers, the Lamanite Generation, the Wind Symphony, and the Young Ambassadors have all performed in China. Several Church leaders have had in-depth discussions with senior Chinese leaders. Ten of the fifteen leaders currently serving in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have traveled in China. In turn, Chinese officials have taken a closer look at the Church.
While missionaries are not yet able to preach the gospel in China, each year China sends thousands of its young men and women to study abroad. “They quite naturally meet our missionaries, and many of these Chinese students join the Church,” continued Elder Oaks. “We encourage our Chinese members to return to China. Their country needs them in China, and the Lord needs them in China.”
In addition, the David M. Kennedy Center at BYU has arranged for LDS couples to teach English for one year in China. In connection with the Church, the center has also sent books to Chinese libraries, microfilmed official and family records for them, and assisted victims of a devastating earthquake.
“We must open our minds and our hearts to the people of this ancient realm and this magnificent culture,” concluded Elder Oaks. “We must understand their way of thinking, their aspirations, and their impressive accomplishments. We must observe their laws and follow their example of patience. We must deserve to be their friends.”
MTC in Utah to Expand
The First Presidency has announced plans to expand the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, to accommodate increasing numbers of missionaries.
The expansion will add three new buildings and raise the MTC’s capacity from three thousand to four thousand missionaries.
Included in the expansion plan are:
A new multipurpose building for orientation meetings, devotionals, firesides, conferences, and physical fitness facilities;
A four-story residence hall; and
A four-story classroom building.
The buildings will be constructed south of the administration building in an area that is now devoted to landscaping and parking.
In connection with the expansion, a new entrance to the MTC will also be constructed.
Alberta Temple Open House Scheduled
The First Presidency has announced that the newly renovated Alberta Temple will be open for public tours from June 6 through 15.
The temple will be rededicated in twelve separate sessions June 22 to 24. Members of the Alberta Temple District will be invited to attend. The district includes twenty-two stakes in Alberta, southeastern British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, western Ontario, and northern Montana.
The temple, a landmark in Cardston, Alberta, has been closed since May 1988 while its electrical and mechanical systems were updated and its interior was refurbished. An entryway was also added at the front of the building.
Church Donates Food to Needy in Soviet Union
Food packages provided through the Church helped take the edge off hunger for hundreds of needy people in the Soviet Union late in February.
Some 1,800 packages of food were distributed to Latter-day Saints and others in Leningrad, Vyborg, and Moscow, in the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, as well as in Tallinn, Estonia.
The packages were delivered as part of a project approved by Church leaders in Salt Lake City and directed by the Church’s Europe Area Presidency. The project was a response to a request for aid from the branch president in Leningrad. Members in the other three cities, where there are also branches of the Church, were facing similar needs, said President Gary L. Browning of the Finland Helsinki East Mission.
The Area Welfare Committee called on the Frankfurt Germany Stake and the Frankfurt Germany Servicemen Stake to organize, prepare, and ship the supplies. Peter Zarse, a high councilor in the Frankfurt stake and temple recorder for the Frankfurt Germany Temple, directed the efforts. He called the project a “marvelous” opportunity “to serve our neighbors in Russia.”
Because other humanitarian relief efforts had depleted stocks of packaged goods available, needed items had to be purchased in bulk, then repacked in the required quantities and weights, Brother Zarse explained. A crew of members, including a specially organized group of young single adults from the Frankfurt Germany Stake, spent two days preparing, packing, and loading the food. A severe snowstorm hampered their efforts, “but in the end nothing could stand between these Saints and the accomplishment of this labor of love,” Brother Zarse said.
In all, they handled twenty-three tons of food. Each 12-kilogram (26.5-pound) box of food contained flour, rice, macaroni, cooking oil, cereal grains, powdered milk, dried fruit, and vitamins. Each box represented one month’s ration for one person.
The project was financed largely through donations from European members, with some donations from North America. The powdered milk and vitamins were provided through the Church’s Welfare Services Department.
The packages were sent to the Soviet Union by truck—880 to Leningrad, 400 to Vyborg, 200 to Moscow, and 320 to Tallinn.
In each city, the food boxes were divided evenly among Church members and others. In most cases, branch leaders obtained the names of needy citizens of other faiths from city social welfare offices and delivered packages to the people in person, President Browning reported. Some packages were delivered to children’s funds, schools, hospitals, and senior citizens’ homes.
Viacheslav Efimov, president of the Leningrad First Branch, reported that the food parcels provided “a tremendous uplift” to Church members in Leningrad. They in turn collected money to help others in need, he said.
Both Latter-day Saints and others who received food parcels were invited to donate fast offerings or funds to help the needy if they could. Each food box contained a flyer explaining that the food was free and outlining principles of the Church’s welfare system. A number of recipients made contributions.
In response to the gift, an elderly woman in Vyborg wrote, “I can’t believe that someone cared enough about me to send this package. Thank you, whoever you are!” An individual in Leningrad expressed thanks, adding, “May God save and protect you.”
A young priest who helped distribute the food boxes reported that many LDS recipients commented about “how glad they were that the Savior thinks of them and loves them. During the long years they lived without faith in Jesus Christ, no one thought about them, and now God has sent them help.”
Young Women Leadership Video Completed
With the release of a new leadership training video, all the basic resources for the Young Women program are now complete, according to Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women general president.
The video, explained President Kapp, “is designed to explain, as well as model, the concepts and principles outlined in the Young Women Handbook, the Young Women Leadership Guidebook, and the Personal Progress booklet, which are the other basic resources for the Young Women program.”
The new training video is geared toward training adult leaders of young women, said Jayne B. Malan, first counselor in the Young Women General Presidency.
Effective leadership of youth “is key to the success of our main objective, which is encouraging and inviting young women to come unto Christ,” Sister Malan said. The video’s purpose “is to teach leaders of youth the skills and principles that can increase their effectiveness in achieving this goal,” she added. “We felt that one of the most significant things we could do was to put something in the hands of the adult leaders, along with scriptures and personal revelation, to make them self-reliant.”
The video has been in the making for several years. Young Women leaders have identified, developed, and tested the ideas presented in the video in leadership training sessions throughout the world.
Ideas were refined as Young Women leaders received feedback about what had been presented. “The video contains universal leadership concepts based on basic gospel principles,” explained Janette C. Hales, second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency. “The presentation combines motivational as well as instructional skills. It’s really a self-help training guide.”
Others besides Young Women leaders can benefit from the leadership training video, said President Kapp. Priesthood leaders, parents, and the youth themselves are encouraged to view it. “These skills can be used in all aspects of life, not just the Young Women program,” she explained. “In fact, the best place for young women to learn these skills and to see them in action is the home.”
The video, which is an hour and forty-five minutes long, is designed to be viewed in segments, selected according to need and presented one or two at a time. It begins by comparing feeding sheep to training Young Women leaders, then gives a brief overview of the Young Women program, followed by several short segments modeling leadership principles—including working under priesthood direction and helping young women experience the gospel.
The new video will be sent to all Area Presidencies, regional representatives, and stake, district, and mission presidents. Other Young Women leaders can purchase the video through Church distribution centers.
Symposium Focuses on the Missouri Experience
Latter-day Saints’ trials in Missouri in the 1830s had a profound effect on the future of the Church and its members, according to presentations given during a recent Brigham Young University symposium.
The two-day symposium, titled “The Missouri Experience: Past, Present, Future,” was held on March 29–30. Sponsored by the Religious Studies Center and the Department of Church History and Doctrine, it attracted several hundred participants.
Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy opened the symposium by raising two questions: Did any good come out of the Missouri era? And can we reap wisdom and insight from its tragic events?
Elder Carmack answered those questions by outlining numerous benefits the Church and its members gained from this period in its history, including the revelations the Prophet Joseph Smith received while confined in Liberty Jail. Those revelations, now known as Doctrine and Covenants 121, 122, and 123, “may be worth the whole tragic episode,” Elder Carmack commented. “Hardly a day goes by without some Church leader or member referring to or quoting from them.” [D&C 121–123]
Other benefits gleaned from the Missouri era include a clearer understanding of the law of tithing. “It was at Far West, Missouri, on July 8, 1838, that the concept of a standing law to finance the Church by having members ‘pay one-tenth of all their interest annually’ [see D&C 119:4] was revealed through Joseph the Prophet,” Elder Carmack pointed out. “Its strength is its utter simplicity. We have the Missouri era to thank for the principles of tithing. …
“In addition, those authorities who have the power and responsibility for administering the money and property resulting from tithing were also designated on that date,” he continued. “There is still in full operation a Council on the Disposition of Tithing Funds, which makes final decisions on major financial matters for the Church.”
Elder Carmack concluded by saying that the Missouri experience made the Saints “more alert” to “individual and institutional preparation for times of tribulation, more committed to our safety and security.” “[We] have learned to stand up for our rights and not retreat from mobs and injustice,” he added. “We need always, in addition, to state our side of a controversial issue clearly and to accommodate the rights of others, but avoid strident rhetoric.”
The two-day symposium included more than fifteen presentations on various phases of Church history in Missouri. Topics ranged from travel and communication to the Haun’s Mill Massacre. Personal histories recorded by Latter-day Saints living in Missouri were presented, and the Missouri revelations’ significance was also examined. Following are excerpts from a few of the presentations:
Reflections by Early Latter-day Saints
“Two of the best descriptions of cultural differences in western Missouri and some areas of the United States from which some Mormons had emigrated were identified in the writings of Edward Stevenson and Emily Partridge. ‘Everything was different,’ Emily explained. All seemed so strange in our new home, plenty of Indians … , and the white folks were so different in their customs and manner of speaking.
“One of the best descriptions of the Church’s involvement in the settlement of Far West and vicinity was recorded in one of the few Mormon diaries or journals written during the late 1830s. Albert Rockwood observed that much of the land in and near Far West was initially purchased by Church leaders. Some of this land was then leased to Church firms … [and] by uniting members with different skills helped many families obtain homes shortly after arriving in the Missouri frontier.” (“Reflections of Early Latter-day Saints,” Milton V. Backman Jr., professor of Church history and doctrine, Brigham Young University.)
“In portraying Amanda Barnes Smith, biographers have used phrases of description such as ‘remarkable pioneer woman,’ ‘woman of great faith,’ and ‘heroine of the Haun’s Mill Massacre.’ These and many other flattering words of characterization can only provide a glimpse of the woman whom I have come to know as Grandmother Amanda. Through inconceivable trial and tragedy, Amanda Smith stretched the power of faith, and as a result, miracles occurred. While her entire life provided opportunities for the nurturing of such stalwart faith, Amanda’s agonizing experiences in Missouri, especially the massacre at Haun’s Mill [in which she lost her husband and son], illustrate clearly the development of her unwavering confidence in God. With no mortal to whom she could turn, Amanda relied entirely upon God for inspiration, assurance, and comfort.” (“None but God as Our Physician and Help: Amanda Smith at Haun’s Mill,” R. Drew Smith, descendant of Amanda Smith.)
Church Expansion and the New Jerusalem
“Throughout the twentieth century Church leaders have urged the Saints to remain in their own lands, strengthen the Church, and establish stakes of Zion. …
“The General Authorities have continued to urge the Saints to develop the qualities which must characterize those who build Zion. …
“As part of its broadened focus, the Church has increasingly erected temples in many lands. Temple work will accelerate even further during the Millennium. ‘When the Savior comes,’ foresaw Elder Wilford Woodruff, ‘a thousand years will be devoted to this work of redemption; and Temples will appear all over this land of Joseph—North and South America—and also in Europe and elsewhere. …’
“Despite this broader view of the gathering and of temple building, the Saints have continued to show a keen interest in the land of Missouri, the center place, and the future temple to be built there.” (“The Great Temple of the New Jerusalem,” Richard O. Cowan, professor of Church history and doctrine, Brigham Young University.)
Rumor in Richmond
“The Saints rose above the rumors that threatened to bury them in Richmond. They removed to Illinois and created their ‘city beautiful,’ Nauvoo. The persecutions that they underwent in Missouri strengthened their resolve and helped to separate the true believers from those susceptible to the powerful pull of hearsay, conjecture, and rumor. The former Saints who remained in Richmond never attained the spiritual heights of those who endured; instead, the deception they practiced against the Mormons signaled the beginning of fifty years of turmoil in Missouri.” (Susan Easton Black, professor of Church history and doctrine, Brigham Young University.)
Organ Recitals on New Schedule
The schedule for free daily organ recitals in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City has been modified.
Monday through Saturday, the recitals are now held at noon. (A 4:00 p. m. recital on Saturday has been eliminated.) Beginning on June 3 and continuing through the summer tourist season, there will also be recitals Monday through Saturday at 2:00 p. m.
Sunday recitals are now held at 2:00 p. m. instead of 4:00 p. m.
Church News Celebrates 60th Anniversary
Sixty years ago—on 4 April 1931—readers of the Church-owned Deseret News opened their newspaper to find a new feature: the LDS Church section, which would later become the Church News.
The Deseret News, founded three years after the pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley, had regularly covered Church events. However, by 1931, the newspaper’s readership was no longer predominantly LDS, and a decision was made to cover LDS Church events in a weekly section.
Through the years, the Church News has kept pace with a growing church. The first Church section had eight pages and contained a drawing depicting the Book of Mormon account of Christ’s visit to the Nephites. A lengthy article by Elder B. H. Roberts of the First Council of the Seventy was also included in that first publication.
Today the Church News is sixteen pages long, with several full-color pages. Included in its weekly coverage are Church-related news stories from all over the world, feature-type motivational and inspirational stories, announcements, and instructional and educational articles.
The publication is available by mail subscription outside Utah and is delivered to almost a quarter of a million households.
“A milestone such as this provides us with the opportunity to look into our past and pay tribute to the many dedicated people who have served on the staff of the Church News through the years,” said Dell Van Orden, Church News editor. “To them we give our thanks and acknowledge the contribution they have made.
The anniversary “also gives us an opportunity to look ahead and reflect on the role we are performing to help build the kingdom of God,” he added. “We hope by informing, instructing and motivating our readers through the pages of the Church News we are helping to strengthen them in their Church membership and, thereby, helping them draw closer to the Savior.”
Policies and Announcements
Subsequent to the 1990-2 Bulletin, a number of inquiries have come regarding marriages performed in a Church building. For clarification, it has been determined that (1) any wedding march would be inappropriate, (2) the location of the ceremony in the chapel should be left to the determination of the one performing the ceremony, and (3) the use of video recorders or cameras in the chapel is not permitted. (See General Handbook of Instructions , p. 6-6.)
Approved Curriculum Materials
Church units are to use approved curriculum materials.
The First Presidency has said: “Church materials always will be conveyed to you (1) directly and personally by your ecclesiastical leaders, (2) in a letter by authorized Church leaders using official Church letterhead stationery, or (3) by announcement in an official Church publication such as the Bulletin. … Only these materials require your attention and action.” (First Presidency letter, 9 Oct. 1984.)
Approved materials can be ordered through Church distribution centers.
In those classes where the scriptures are designated as texts, the scriptures should remain the focus of attention. Instructors and class members should not replace the scriptures with other texts and study guides that have not been approved for the class.
Unavailable Teaching Materials
In order to meet the needs of the ever-growing Church worldwide, it is necessary to reduce and simplify curriculum materials. Leaders should inform their teachers and meetinghouse librarians that some teaching aids called for in lesson manuals and other Church publications are no longer available from Church distribution centers. These include preprinted copies of student handouts and some library pictures, filmstrips, and videocassettes.
Current Church distribution center catalogs list those materials that are still available for purchase.
Church History Exhibit
An inspiring new exhibit on Church history is open to visitors at the Museum of Church History and Art, just west of Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The message of the exhibit reinforces such basic themes of the Restoration as conversion, covenants, and a sense of community among Latter-day Saints, both historically and today.
Members and friends of the Church who see this and other exhibits enjoy faith-promoting and enriching experiences. The museum is open daily at no charge. The exhibits are self-guided for individuals, families, and small groups. Groups may request a special educational tour by calling (801) 240-2299 at least two weeks in advance.
Competitive Sports Participation of Nineteen-Year-Old Young Men
As stated in the General Handbook of Instructions (30943; see p. 4-2), all nineteen-year-old young men should be affiliated with the elders quorum as elders or prospective elders. When young men reach nineteen years of age and have a desire to participate in sports, they are expected to participate in the adult division of Church competitive sports. Upon reaching their nineteenth birthday, they may not continue to play on an Aaronic Priesthood-age young men’s team.
This clarification is effective 1 April 1991.
The Temple Endowment in American Sign Language for the Deaf
All temples in the United States—except Idaho Falls, Salt Lake, and Manti—have the endowment available in the American Sign Language for the Deaf (ASL). The presentation of the endowment includes both sign language and subtitles. Normally, sessions can be held using the ASL translation at any time, but members needing this translation can help temple workers prepare more effectively if they will notify the temple in advance with the specific day and time they will be attending an endowment session.
BYU Reaffirms Honor Code, Dress Standards
After a five-month review and approval by its Board of Trustees, Brigham Young University has reaffirmed both its basic code of honor and its dress and grooming standards.
The newest versions of the honor code (distilled to little more than one hundred words) and the dress and grooming standards were announced to students, faculty, and staff on March 13, by the BYU Student Advisory Council and a sixteen-member ad hoc honor code review committee. Students will now be involved in helping to administer the standards.
R. J. Snow, vice president of Student Life at BYU and chairman of the ad hoc review committee, said that the new honor code and dress and grooming standards are “essentially a reaffirmation of what we have had in the past, based on principles of honesty, cleanliness, modesty and Christian living, and on guidance from the Board of Trustees.”
The Code of Honor, based on principles articulated in the thirteenth article of faith, reads: “Brigham Young University exists to provide a university education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That atmosphere can be preserved through commitment to conduct that reflects those ideals and principles.
“As a matter of personal commitment, students, staff, and faculty of Brigham Young University seek to demonstrate in daily living those moral virtues encompassed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and will: Be honest; live a chaste and virtuous life; obey the law; use clean language; respect others; abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and drug abuse.”
The dress and grooming standards state that students’ dress and grooming should always be “modest, neat, and clean, consistent with the dignity of representing Brigham Young University and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
The standards allow skirts and shorts “knee length or lower,” and bar “sleeveless, strapless, or revealing” clothing. For men, “neatly trimmed” mustaches are allowed, but beards (“except for certified medical reasons”) and earrings are banned.
Hymns Made Easy Available
Hymns Made Easy, a selection of simple piano accompaniments for sixty standard hymns, is now available through Church distribution centers.
Listed as stock number 31249, the new book sells for $2.40. It includes the same hymns found in Selected Hymns (stock number 34160) and on the tapes (stock number 52427) which go with that booklet.
The wire-bound Hymns Made Easy is published in a horizontal format—similar to that of other piano books for beginners. The two- and three-voice arrangements it contains can be used to accompany congregational singing and to help less-experienced pianists develop hymn-playing skills.
Church Announces 1991 Pageant Schedule
The 1991 schedules have been announced for Church-sponsored pageants in locations from Palmyra, New York, to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They are:
“Mormon Miracle”—July 11–13, 16–20, on the Manti Temple grounds in Manti, Utah.
“America’s Witness for Christ”—July 12–13, 16–20, at the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York.
“Castle Valley Pageant”—July 31–Aug. 3, at the Mountain Amphitheater in Castle Dale, Utah.
“City of Joseph”—Aug. 2–3, 6–10, outdoors near the Nauvoo, Illinois, Visitors’ Center.
“Martin Harris: The Man Who Knew”—Aug. 16–17, 20–24, in Clarkston, Utah.
“A Frontier Story—1833”—Aug. 28–31, at the Independence, Missouri, Visitors’ Center.
“Nativity Pageant”—Dec. 16–25, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
The annual pageant, “Jesus the Christ,” was held March 26–30 in Mesa, Arizona, and will be held again during Easter week of 1992.
There is no cost for admission or parking at the pageants. Tickets or reservations are not required—except at the pageant in Clarkston, Utah, for which tickets are free. They may be obtained by calling (801) 563-5148, 563-6309, or 563-6942.
More information about the pageants may be obtained by writing Pageants, 430 West 400 North, Salt Lake City, UT 84103, or calling (801) 240-2767.
Bloch Paintings of Christ
Recently my missionary companion and I were teaching a fifteen-year-old Chinese boy from Taiwan. He had been exposed only to the teachings of Buddhism and was unfamiliar with Jesus Christ. So we showed him the Carl Bloch paintings of Christ’s life in the January 1991 issue. We explained each scene and shared the captions and scriptures. Afterward, our investigator was excited because he finally understood Jesus Christ and what his teachings are all about.
Sister Kimberly Shriver Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission
“Do I Know My Neighbor?”
I would like to commend you for publishing the article “Do I Know My Neighbor?” in the March 1991 issue. As a convert, I have sometimes winced as I watched the faces of other new members when someone makes a well-intentioned but tactless remark about another church.
I know many good Christians and Jews who daily love and serve their fellowmen. And I know some agnostics and atheists who are kinder than some of us Latter-day Saints who are so busy going to meetings that we don’t take time to help our neighbors, get involved in a community project, or donate money to any cause but the Church.
We don’t have to be Latter-day Saints to be good Christians or good people. But if we practice our Christianity, we will be good Latter-day Saints as well.
Barbara Stockwell Springfield, Oregon
Living with Chronic Illness
Thanks for the wonderful article “Living with Chronic Illness” in the March Ensign. Sister Knapp’s testimony touched me deeply, especially since I have been living with chronic illness for two years.
Doctors cannot cure my illness or tell me when it will end. So far, no medical treatment has helped ease my pain and fatigue. God, who could tell me when it will end or heal me, has chosen instead to comfort me, teach me, nurture me, and open my mind and heart to those truths that are sweetest to the soul.
I have learned to walk by faith, for if I did not, despair would claim me. I have learned for myself how powerless man is; I cannot make one hair black or white, much less will my body to be well. By learning to accept my situation without bitterness, I am learning to say, “Not my will, but thine be done.” I love God now, for I have sought after him and will continue to seek after him. He is my hope and strength.
Kara Keatley Woodbridge, New Jersey
I appreciated the article about chronic illness in the March 1991 issue. I would like to share a resource that has been tremendously helpful to me in trying to identify and deal with my own health problems. The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) in the United States keeps a listing and can provide information on hundreds of conditions with which many physicians may not be familiar. For more information, write to NORD at P.O. Box 8923, New Fairfield, CT 06812.
Sheila Gill Montezuma Creek, Utah
Helping the Disabled
I would like to respond to the letter “Interested in the Handicapped” in the Ensign’s March 1991 Comment section.
There are many things people can do to help make things better for disabled people. Even a disabled person can make a difference. I know; my younger brother has Down’s syndrome, and my older brother and I both have multiple sclerosis. Most of the suggestions below take little or no money—only a commitment of time and love.
Mayor’s Committees: Most towns, cities, counties, or states have a mayor’s committee. These organizations have the ability to help change local and state laws as well as to help teach others in the community about the needs of all handicapped people. Even a small organization of fewer than ten working members can affect a state law change; I know this because our group helped with legislation on an issue relating to parking in handicapped spaces.
Special Olympics: This organization can use help in many areas. It needs coaches, board members, people to input information in computers, people to help the athletes make it to their next events, and people to help raise funds.
Sign Language: Learn sign language—you will bring a smile to someone who understands it. And you never know when you might find an individual who needs someone to interpret for him or her.
National and State Organizations: These groups have many projects that require volunteers, from raising funds to performing in a telethon.
Kay Sutton Morehead City, North Carolina
The Model of Herod’s Temple
We have received a number of inquiries about the article “Jesus and the Temple” (Apr. 1991). Photographs used in the article were of a model of ancient Jerusalem that has been reconstructed in Jerusalem. The model was built in the 1960s, under the direction of Michael Avi-Yonah of Hebrew University. His original work continues to be updated by Hebrew University professors who alter the model to fit each new archaeological discovery.
In the model, one-fourth inch equals one foot. At that scale, an average man would be represented as nearly one and a half inches tall. The model is properly oriented to the four points of the compass.
“In Prison, and Ye Came unto Me”
My March 1991 Ensign arrived yesterday, and I want to express gratitude for the article, “In Prison, and Ye Came unto Me.” I hope this article spurs Latter-day Saints to help institute more programs like those that exist in Utah.
Perhaps the most important point the article makes is that those in prison can have great potential. We all tend to view parts of society as all good or all bad—but life is not that simple. We have no right to judge the worth of an incarcerated individual any more than we have the right to judge our neighbor.
In fact, people in prison have one great advantage over those who have grown up with relatively few major problems in life; they know what it feels like to hit “rock bottom,” so they have the power to truly empathize. Some of these people are so grateful for repentance and the chance for a better life that they can be great spiritual examples to the rest of us.
Laura Cleverly Tehachapi, California
I was grateful to find “In Prison, and Ye Came unto Me” in the March 1991 issue. It has helped me feel the Spirit and helped my testimony to grow.
I, too, made a mistake that requires me to spend time in prison. I made the decision a year ago that I would live according to gospel principles. Because of this, I have made many friends who are also searching for a happy heart.
All I can do is plant seeds and realize that the men here are also children of our Father in Heaven. I only hope and pray that when they are released they will seek the blessings of repentance and continue to strive to live lives that will allow them to return to our Father.
Brent Parry Moberly, Missouri