News of the Church


Four Seventies Released

Four members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy were released October 5, after five and one-half years of faithful service, and new counselors in the general presidencies of the Young Men and Sunday School were sustained.

The changes came during the Saturday afternoon session of the Church’s 161st semiannual general conference.

Elders H. Verlan Andersen, George I. Cannon, Francis M. Gibbons, and Gardner H. Russell of the Second Quorum of the Seventy were released.

All four brethren were sustained to the Seventy on 6 April 1986.

Born in Logan, Utah, Elder H. Verlan Andersen received a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, a law degree from Stanford University, and a master of law degree from Harvard University. He was a certified public accountant and a professor of accounting at BYU. While in the Seventy, he served as a counselor in the Sunday School general presidency and in the Utah Central Area presidency.

Elder H. Verlan Andersen

Elder H. Verlan Andersen

A Salt Lake City native, Elder George I. Cannon graduated from Brigham Young University and was vice president of a life insurance company. Prior to his calling to the Seventy, he had served as a mission president, a regional representative, a stake president, and a patriarch. After being called to the Seventy, he served as president of the Philippines/Micronesia Area and the North America Southwest Area.

Elder George I. Cannon

Elder George I. Cannon

Elder Francis M. Gibbons was born in St. Johns, Arizona. He graduated from Stanford University and received a juris doctorate from the University of Utah. Elder Gibbons worked as an attorney and then served as secretary to the First Presidency for sixteen years. While in the Seventy, he served as president of the Brazil Area and as counselor in the North America Southwest Area presidency.

Elder Francis M. Gibbons

Elder Francis M. Gibbons

Born in Salt Lake City, Elder Gardner H. Russell graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and became a manufacturer and financial consultant. He served as a mission president; a regional representative, and a district president. As a Seventy, he served as a counselor in the North America Southeast Area presidency and in the Central America Area presidency.

Elder Gardner H. Russell

Elder Gardner H. Russell

In other action at conference, Elders LeGrand R. Curtis and Robert K. Dellenbach were released as first and second counselor, respectively, in the Young Men general presidency. Elder Dellenbach was then sustained as first counselor and Elder Stephen D. Nadauld was sustained as second counselor of that organization.

In the Sunday School general presidency, Elder H. Verlan Andersen was released as first counselor, and Elder Rulon G. Craven was released as second counselor. Sustained were Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., as first counselor and Elder Clinton L. Cutler as second counselor in the presidency.

President and Sister Benson Celebrate 65th Anniversary

President Ezra Taft Benson and his wife, Flora, celebrated their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary on September 10 with family and friends.

President and Sister Benson have two sons and four daughters, thirty-four grandchildren, and forty-five great-grandchildren.

Ezra Taft Benson and Flora Smith Amussen were married on 10 September 1926 in the Salt Lake Temple.

President and Sister Benson met at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. They began courting before he was called on a mission to Great Britain, and they resumed after he returned. Flora served a mission in the Hawaiian Islands while President Benson finished his undergraduate work at Brigham Young University, and they were married when she returned home following her mission.

Several years ago a representative from Church Public Communications asked President Benson the secret to his long, happy life. Sister Benson answered for him, saying teasingly but with meaning, “He has a good wife.” President Benson has sometimes referred to their wedding day as “the day life began.” (See Sheri L. Dew, Ezra Taft Benson, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987, p. 502.)

Two New Areas Created, Presidencies Assigned

The First Presidency has announced the organization of two new areas and the calling of presidencies for them, along with area presidency assignments worldwide, effective 1 October 1991.

The new areas are the Europe/Mediterranean Area and the Asia North Area, bringing the total number of Church administrative areas to twenty-two.

The Europe/Mediterranean Area includes northern Africa and European countries bordering the Mediterranean, as well as countries in the Mideast. It also includes the French-speaking parts of Belgium and Switzerland. Headquarters for the new area is in Thoiry, France, on the Swiss border near Lake Geneva. Within the boundaries of the area are eighty-one thousand members in eighteen stakes and eighteen missions.

The realigned Europe Area now includes fifty-seven thousand members in twenty-two stakes and sixteen missions. With headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, the area includes Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, the Flemish speaking part of Belgium, and the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

The former United Kingdom/Ireland Area was also realigned, effective June 1, to include the Nordic countries and was renamed the Europe North Area. It includes the Channel Islands, Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The area headquarters will remain in Solihull, England. There are approximately 172,000 members in forty-seven stakes and twelve missions in the area.

The new Asia North Area, with headquarters in Tokyo, covers Japan and Korea. Approximately 152,000 members reside in its thirty-six stakes and fourteen missions.

The Asia Area will now cover China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. The area headquarters is in Hong Kong, and the area includes fifty-one thousand members in seven stakes and five missions.

All those serving in area presidencies are members of the Quorums of the Seventy. Following are the new area presidency assignments, with the president of the area listed first, then his first and second counselors:

Africa—Elder Richard P. Lindsay, Elder J Ballard Washburn, Elder Earl C. Tingey

Asia—Elder Merlin R. Lybbert, Elder Monte J. Brough, Elder John K. Carmack

Asia North—Elder W. Eugene Hansen, Elder Han In Sang, Elder Sam K. Shimabukuro

Brazil—Elder Joe J. Christensen, Elder Harold G. Hillam, Elder Helvécio Martins

Central America—Elder Ted E. Brewerton, Elder Carlos H. Amado, Elder Jorge A. Rojas

Europe—Elder Hans B. Ringger, Elder Albert Choules, Jr., Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander

Europe North—Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder Gerald E. Melchin, Elder Kenneth Johnson

Europe/Mediterranean—Elder Spencer J. Condie, Elder LeGrand R. Curtis, Elder Joseph C. Muren

Mexico—Elder F. Burton Howard, Elder Horacio A. Tenorio, Elder F. Melvin Hammond

North America Central—Elder H. Burke Peterson, Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., Elder Graham W. Doxey

North America Northeast—Elder F. Enzio Busche, Elder Lynn A. Sorensen, Elder Robert K. Dellenbach

North America Northwest—Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi, Elder Robert E. Wells

North America Southeast—Elder John R. Lasater, Elder Alexander B. Morrison, Elder Stephen D. Nadauld

North America Southwest—Elder Glen L. Rudd, Elder W. Mack Lawrence, Elder Cree-L Kofford

North America West—Elder John H. Groberg, Elder Jack H. Goaslind, Elder Douglas H. Smith

Pacific—Elder Douglas J. Martin, Elder Robert E. Sackley, Elder Rulon G. Craven

Philippines/Micronesia—Elder L. Lionel Kendrick, Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, Elder Durrel A. Woolsey

South America North—Elder William R. Bradford, Elder Gene R. Cook, Elder Julio E. Dávila

South America South—Elder Jacob de Jager, Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen, Elder Eduardo Ayala

Utah Central—Elder Loren C. Dunn, Elder Ben B. Banks, Elder Lloyd P. George

Utah North—Elder Marlin K. Jensen, Elder Malcolm S. Jeppsen, Elder Charles Didier

Utah South—Elder L. Aldin Porter, Elder Angel Abrea, Elder George R. Hill III

Missions and Missionaries

As of 27 September 1991, there were 44,116 missionaries serving throughout the world in 267 missions. Over a five-year period, the number of missions has increased by 62, and the number of missionaries has increased by 9,366. This represents a 30-percent increase in the total number of missions and a 37-percent increase in the number of missionaries serving worldwide.

Missions

1987: 205 1988: 222 1989: 228 1990: 256 1990: 267

Missionaries

1987: 34,750 1988: 36,132 1989: 39,739 1990: 43,679 1991: 44,116

Church Membership Passes Eight Million

Church membership passed the eight-million mark about September 1, according to estimates by the Church Member and Statistical Records Division.

This event occurred less than two years after the seven-million mark was reached in December 1989.

The growth rate equals a daily increase of about 1,500 people, or the equivalent of a stake of 3,800 members every two and a half days.

The Church reached its first million in membership in 1947, its second million in 1963, the third million in 1971, the fourth in 1978, the fifth in 1982, and the sixth in 1986.

Much of the growth has come in countries other than the United States. Church members now live in about 135 countries and speak more than 165 languages.

On 5 April 1987 in general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley, speaking about the growth of the Church, said, “To some, [the annual statistical report of the Church] may have seemed as a dull exercise in numbers. To me, the information given represents a miracle. … What a miraculous and remarkable flowering from that small seed planted April 6, 1830, in the log home of Peter Whitmer where six men formally organized the Church.”

President Hinckley said, “I am thankful that I am alive to see this day of prophecy fulfilled in the mighty work of the Lord. There was never a brighter day than today in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There was never a season when the work of the Lord prospered as it now prospers.” (Ensign, May 1987, p. 52.)

Over the last fifty years, Church membership has grown by approximately seven million.

1941: 892,080 1951: 1,147,157 1961: 1,823,661 1971: 3,090,953 1981: 4,920,449 1991: * 8,040,000

Figures for 1941–1981 are as of December 31 in that year.

  1.   *

    Estimate for 1 October 1991.

Statement on Symposia

The Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has issued the following statement:

“Recent symposia sponsored and attended by some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have included some presentations relating to the House of the Lord, the holy temples, that are offensive. We deplore the bad taste and insensitivity of these public discussions of things we hold sacred. We are especially saddened at the participation of our own members, especially those who hold Church or other positions that give them stature among Latter-day Saints and who have allowed their stature to be used to promote such presentations.

“We have a different concern about some of the other topics at these symposia. Some of the presentations by persons whom we believe to be faithful members of the Church have included matters that were seized upon and publicized in such a way as to injure the Church or its members or to jeopardize the effectiveness or safety of our missionaries. We appreciate the search for knowledge and the discussion of gospel subjects. However, we believe that Latter-day Saints who are committed to the mission of their church and the well-being of their fellow members will strive to be sensitive to those matters that are more appropriate for private conferring and correction than for public debate. Jesus taught that when a person has trespassed against us, we should ‘go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone,’ and if he will ‘neglect to hear’ this private communication we should ‘tell it unto the church’ (Matt. 18:15, 17). Modern revelation tells us that this last step ‘shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world’ (D&C 42:89). There are times when public discussion of sacred or personal matters is inappropriate.

“Some of our faithful members have doubtless participated in these symposia because they were invited to state or to defend the Church’s position on a particular topic. There are times when it is better to have the Church without representation than to have implications of Church participation used to promote a program that contains some (though admittedly not all) presentations that result in ridiculing sacred things or injuring The Church of Jesus Christ, detracting from its mission, or jeopardizing the well-being of its members.”

Tonga Marks LDS Centennial with Nationwide Celebrations

Latter-day Saints and their neighbors of other faiths in Tonga celebrated the centennial of the Church in their country with a variety of special ceremonies and festivities during the latter part of August.

Three General Authorities represented the Church during the celebrations, which were held throughout the island kingdom. In honor of the centennial, Tonga issued two commemorative stamps bearing photos of the temple in Nuku‘alofa, and August 19 was declared a national holiday.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve; Elder John H. Groberg of the Seventy, a former mission president in Tonga; and Elder Douglas J. Martin of the Seventy, president of the Pacific Area, visited Tonga for the activities. Princess Fusipala, a niece of Tonga’s king and a member of the Church, also participated in commemorative activities.

Celebrations took place in each of Tonga’s three major island groups. The activities included not only meetings with government officials, but also feasting, singing, and dancing. A dance festival on Tongatapu featured 2,700 Latter-day Saint youth; the youth were introduced to the king and queen as “the future of Tonga,” and the royal pair seemed impressed by what they witnessed, Elder Groberg recalled.

Elder Nelson represented the Church in presenting a major gift to the people of Tonga—hospital equipment and supplies (from infant cribs to antibiotics) that will benefit anyone who is ill, regardless of his or her religious affiliation.

“I was very favorably impressed with the spirit of religious tolerance and the importance of religious plurality in the Kingdom of Tonga,” Elder Nelson said. He noted that when centennial events were being planned, leaders of other churches came to LDS leaders and said, “This is our celebration, too. We want to participate.” They took part in preparations and in the events themselves, even providing part of the food for some of the feasts.

What happened in Tonga could be a “marvelous example” for societies in other parts of the world “where they tend to divide communities because of religious or political differences,” Elder Nelson said. “I was really pleased to see this model of tolerance and mutual cooperation in Tonga.”

The celebrations in Tonga began on August 13 and continued through August 27. They culminated what had begun earlier with celebrations in areas outside of Tonga. In the United States, those earlier activities also drew both Latter-day Saint participants and those of other faiths from Tongan communities. (See Ensign, Oct. 1991, p. 77.)

On August 26 and 27, Elder Groberg dedicated new chapels in Tonga. Elder Nelson dedicated a new chapel on August 18. About thirty-one thousand of the island nation’s one hundred thousand-plus population are Latter-day Saints.

The first Latter-day Saint missionaries arrived in Tonga in July 1891. Progress of missionary work was slow, Elder Groberg said, and the mission was closed for a time. When it was reopened after the turn of the century, missionary work was more successful because of the establishment of Latter-day Saint schools, some of which are still in operation. Though there was prejudice against the Church earlier, in the past three decades it has been replaced by a warm spirit of cooperation. This cooperation was manifest in the nationwide celebration of the Church’s centennial.

Today it is not unusual in Tonga to see Church members who are prominent in government service, business, or agriculture, Elder Groberg commented.

Elder Russell M. Nelson greets members during Tongan festivities. (Photo by John Hart, Church News.)

Many musicians performed at centennial ceremonies. (Photo by John Hart, Church News.)

Thousands attended centennial activities. (Photo by John Hart, Church News.) The Nuku‘Alofa Tonga Temple adorns two postage stamps issued in commemoration of the centennial. (Photo by Phil Shurtleff.)

Policies and Announcements

The following items were among those appearing in the 1991-2 Bulletin:

Reuse of Manuals

Adult members should be aware that current study guides for the Relief Society and the Melchizedek Priesthood are scheduled for reuse and are coordinated with the scripture study in the Sunday School Gospel Doctrine classes. Members may wish to retain these manuals for reference books and for future reuse.

No.

Title

Emphasis

Year

Reuse

 

(Melchizedek Priesthood)

     

1

Lay Hold upon the Word of God

Old Testament

1990

1994

2

To Make Thee a Minister and a Witness

New Testament

1991

1995

3

Come unto the Father in the Name of Jesus

Book of Mormon

1992

1996

4

Strengthen Thy Brethren

Doctrine and Covenants

1993

1997

 

(Relief Society)

     

1

Remember Me

Old Testament

1990

1994

2

Learn of Me

New Testament

1991

1995

3

Come unto Me

Book of Mormon

1992

1996

4

Follow Me

Doctrine and Covenants

1993

1997

Dress for Those Attending Temple Marriages

Members of the Church being married in the temple should not request that all their wedding guests be dressed in white. Those who come to a wedding directly from an endowment session may wear their ordinance clothing, and white clothing must be worn in cases where the sealing room must be entered from the celestial room.

A Conversation about Mutual

A recent item in the Bulletin, sent to priesthood leaders, gave guidelines for the Mutual program of weekly activities for young men and young women. The Ensign asked Elder Jack H. Goaslind of the Seventy, Young Men general president, and President Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women general president, for their perspectives on the program.

Elder Jack H. Goaslind President Ardeth G. Kapp

Elder Jack H. Goaslind of the President Ardeth G. Kapp, Seventy, Young Men general president. Young Women general president. (Photos by Phil Shurtleff.)

Ensign: Does this recent announcement represent a new direction, or a reemphasis on weekday activities?

Sister Kapp: It is a reemphasis, but there is really an added emphasis on shared experiences in which young men and young women learn mutual respect and everyone benefits from the activities.

The term Mutual will be familiar to many parents from their youth. Our weeknight activities will be an opportunity to bring back some things that were available in Church youth programs in the past. But we’re not going back to where we were, trying to recapture a social structure that youth once had. We’re going forward to meet the challenges of our day. Mutual is the laboratory or the setting in which we respond to the needs of youth, rather than trying to make them fit the program.

Ensign: Will the program be able to meet the needs of youth throughout the Church?

Elder Goaslind: There’s wide flexibility in the guidelines. We hope priesthood leaders will say, “What’s really best for the young men and young women in our area?” Then we hope they will meet those needs through the weekly activity.

The definition of activity is not just fun and games.

Sister Kapp: Some youth say, “Can’t we just have fun?” But fun is an attitude—not an activity. Often a service project will turn out to be more fun than anything else they’ve done.

Elder Goaslind: The activities should instill in the hearts of young men and young women greater understanding of the principles they’re learning on the Sabbath. The Mutual program is more than just volleyball and basketball, even though those things may be important.

Ensign: If you were Young Men president on a ward level, how would you plan the right kind of activities?

Elder Goaslind: The key would be the bishopric youth committee. We hope the bishops, the presidents of the Young Men and Young Women organizations, and the youth leaders will meet together and unitedly plan activities that will be most meaningful to the youth.

I think the bishop and the presidents of the Young Men and Young Women organizations need listening ears to learn what the youth see as their needs. And I think those leaders also need the sensitivity to listen to the Spirit and be able to direct the youth with its guidance.

Sister Kapp: Maybe the activity isn’t as critical as the opportunity for youth to make decisions. The process may be far more important than the activity in helping the youth grow into leadership—the kinds of things they’ll be doing as adults in the Church. We underestimate the resources of the Church if we’re not using young people as the leaders they’re capable of being.

Elder Goaslind: They’re great leaders. If we doubt the leadership of these young people, we’re kidding ourselves.

As Young Men and Young Women presidencies, we love the youth, and we want to see them succeed. We want to help them. We know that the Church must be a resource to parents in strengthening young people, and we want all the programs we plan here to assist parents and leaders.

“Fun is an attitude”: A Mutual group finding joy in service. (Photo by Richard M. Romney.)

Smith Family Cemetery Dedicated

The Smith Family Cemetery in Nauvoo, Illinois, where the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum are buried, has been renovated and dedicated through the efforts of descendants of Joseph Smith, Sr., and Lucy Mack Smith.

Speaking at the August 4 dedication, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve commented: “It’s a great privilege for family members to honor their forefathers and to prepare a garden spot for them to rise in the resurrection.” He called the renovation a “crowning accomplishment.”

Elder Ballard, who is a great-great-grandson of Hyrum Smith, continued: “I have a feeling, brothers and sisters, that our Heavenly Father and His beloved Son, our Savior and Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, are smiling upon us at this moment.”

The Prophet Joseph Smith; his wife Emma; his parents, Joseph Smith, Sr., and Lucy Mack Smith; his brothers Hyrum, Don Carlos, and Samuel; and seventeen other relatives and friends are buried in this cemetery on the banks of the Mississippi River. One large granite headstone marks the graves of Joseph, Emma, and Hyrum.

Trees, flowers, and grass were planted, and benches and a lighting system were installed. A fence was built around the graveyard site, which is located west of the log home where Joseph and Emma lived before moving into the Mansion House.

In 1867, Emma wrote to her son Joseph III about the family cemetery: “I have always felt sad about the neglected condition of that place. … I have got twenty-five dollars that no one has any right to but myself. … I feel anxious to apply that money on the graveyard.”

This letter and the limited accessibility of the cemetery provided impetus for the renovation project. The Joseph and Hyrum Smith Family Foundation was organized in 1990 to raise money for the renovation. Elder Ballard commented that a new bond has developed among the Smiths’ extended family because of this common effort.

Elder Ballard reflected that the Prophet Joseph always demonstrated a deep love for his family. He quoted Joseph: “I will tell you what I want. If tomorrow I shall be called to lie in yonder tomb, in the morning of the resurrection, let me strike hands with my father, and cry, ‘My father,’ and he will say, ‘My son, my son,’ as soon as the rock rends and before we come out of our graves. … And when the voice calls for the dead to arise, suppose I am laid by the side of my father, what would be the first joy of my heart? To meet my father, my mother, my brother, my sister; and when they are by my side, I embrace them and they me.”

“I am grateful that on the day of the resurrection they will rise up and have no question as to whether or not their posterity loved them,” Elder Ballard continued. “I think we have demonstrated by our combined efforts our deep love and affection for those whom we honor by the improvement of this cemetery.”

President Wallace B. Smith, president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, offered the dedicatory prayer and said, “It is felt that this [cemetery] will perhaps finally constitute a fitting memorial to those principal figures of the Restoration and provide an appropriate setting for their repose.

“As we gather here today to pay tribute to the courage of these early saints and to dedicate this cemetery to their memory, may we gain strength from their example.”

The Smith homestead, where the renovated graves are located. (Photos by C. Michael Trapp.)

Left to right: Wallace B. Smith, president of the RLDS Church, and Elder M. Russell Ballard at dedication ceremonies.

Saints Clean Up After Northern Utah Flooding

Only a week after heavy rains and a mud slide hit North Ogden, Utah, in September, Bishop Larry G. Florence walked through his ward and pointed to a place where the street, now clean, had previously been covered by six to eight feet of mud and debris.

Bishop Florence, of the Ben Lomond Eighth Ward, North Ogden Utah Ben Lomond Stake, says he had not walked far down the street after the flooding before a man with a rake and a shovel stopped him to ask where volunteers were needed for the continuing cleanup. The bishop directed him to a house on the corner. “And take that man standing by the tree with you. He looks like he needs somewhere to go,” the bishop added.

These volunteers were just two of the more than sixty-one hundred people who helped clean up in the wake of severe flooding and a mud slide, said Nicholas Welch, volunteer coordinator for the city of North Ogden. Within a week, the volunteers put in more than 23,892 hours.

No one was injured in the disaster in this predominantly Latter-day Saint community, although there was extensive property damage.

The destruction began with heavy thunderstorms and flooding on Saturday, September 7. That evening a wall of mud and rocks roared down a canyon and into a North Ogden residential neighborhood, twisting one home completely off its foundation and filling others with mud.

By Sunday, a record 8.4 inches of rain had drenched the area, including the nearby town of Harrisville. Within the next few days, North Ogden had received more than half its average total yearly rainfall, said Richard Myers, the Church’s multiregion public affairs director for the Weber, Morgan, and North Davis county areas of Utah.

Pat Sheehan, public affairs officer for the Red Cross, said 2 homes were completely destroyed, 41 suffered major damage, and 599 sustained minor damage.

Civic and religious groups contributed to the cleanup, including the Red Cross, inmates from the county jail, and Job Corps personnel. Brother Welch estimated that 75 percent of the volunteers were Latter-day Saints. Although many volunteers were called through LDS stakes and wards, some just drove to the disaster area and began helping, Brother Myers said.

After the people finished cleaning one house, they would go to the house next door and continue working. There was “a lot of really spontaneous help,” he said.

The spirit of cooperation among all the parties has been exemplary,” Mr. Sheehan said.

North Ogden Mayor Bruce Dursteler explained that following flooding in 1983, the city put together an emergency response plan patterned after the Church’s organization in stakes, wards, and neighborhoods. Every house received a booklet explaining the city’s emergency procedures. When this disaster occurred, the plan unfolded almost flawlessly, he said.

“The volunteer effort has been tremendous,” said President Marion Brent Chugg of the North Ogden Utah Ben Lomond Stake. He received a telephone call at 1:20 A.M. Sunday asking for volunteers to fill sandbags; he made a few calls to bishops, and within half an hour there were about two hundred people at the gravel pit.

Brother Myers, the public affairs director, said the response attested to the effectiveness of home teachers and visiting teachers, who checked on their assigned families, found out what needed to be done, and coordinated efforts to see that it happened.

“I have never seen so many volunteers—and they all work,” said Chuck Sokolik, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander who helped with the cleanup. “They’re mighty fine people here.”

Brother Myers pointed out one of the major problems faced by the cleanup crews: “Water you can pump out. But mud you have to carry out in a bucket.”

In the Carl Gilbert house, for example, mud poured into an unfinished basement from the back, filled it to the ceiling, and spilled out the lower windows at the front of the house. Volunteers formed bucket brigades to dig out the mud; at one time there were about 150 people around the house. Within three days the basement was emptied, and by the end of the week it was scrubbed spotless.

One night, it was estimated that half of the volunteers were young men and women, Brother Myers said. “I have a real respect for the youth,” he added.

Terry Fullwiley, whose home was destroyed by the mud slide, was surprised to see the number of volunteers. “It was just tremendous, you know. It was a good thing the Mormon church came through for us.”

Mr. Fullwiley received equal praise from his LDS neighbors. Shelia Hadley, at home with her four children, including a baby delivered by cesarean section only a week before, was unaware of the mud slide until someone knocked on her door. Mr. Fullwiley and another neighbor, Douglas Stewart, helped the family to safety.

“We heard Terry went from house to house, neighbor to neighbor, to help people all night,” Sister Hadley said. “I owe him my life and I owe him my kids. … I was totally helpless, and he was an answer to my prayers.”

The Red Cross, working with the Church, provided 4,057 meals during the week of the flooding, Mr. Sheehan said. The Relief Society prepared 90 percent of the meals from food items provided by the Red Cross and donations, Brother Myers said.

Robert Schwitzer said the help was “fabulous.” His wife, Nell, agreed, saying, “We could never in this world have expected it, since we weren’t LDS. We can’t believe they are so gracious. There are not words to express the gratitude we feel.”

One neighbor woman came into the Schwitzers’ house, gathered all the clothes that had been soiled by water and mud, cleaned them, and brought them back, Nell Schwitzer said.

What happened to their home was “a catastrophe. But it makes it so much easier to take when people are around to help,” she said.

Youth dig in during cleanup efforts following flooding and mud slide. (Photo by Richard Myers.)

Poland Expresses Thanks for Medical Supplies

Andrezej Kozakiewicz, assistant to President Lech Walesa of Poland, has sent a letter to the general Relief Society headquarters offering his country’s thanks for donations to the Polish people.

The Relief Society’s contributions were part of a shipment of textiles and medical supplies sent to Poland earlier this year through an international effort known as the Medical Aid for Poland Fund.

The Relief Society donated quilts, blankets, and clothing. These and other donations in Utah were coordinated through Intermountain Health Care and were sent to the city of Katowice in southern Poland, which is the distribution center for medical supplies.

Mr. Kozakiewicz expressed “heartfelt gratitude” and wrote that the relief effort had “scored a ‘home run’ in supplying much-needed health-care assistance to our people.”

Humanitarian Projects in Africa Bearing Fruit

The money donated by Church members who participated in two special fasts in 1985 is still working to relieve hunger and suffering in Africa.

Church welfare officials visited Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Kenya in late May to check progress on many of the Church’s initiatives. They found that though the development of relief programs takes time, the benefits are apparent and often extend much further than the initial investment, says Keith McMullin, managing director of Welfare Services for the Church.

In Kenya, thirty-five miles of piping and other materials paid for by the Church were used in constructing the Ngorika water project. Eventually, the project will carry water to about eleven hundred families. More than four hundred families have already joined the small utility cooperative organized by water users.

Asked how the water project had helped his family, one man replied, “Our children aren’t so tired anymore. They don’t fall asleep during the day.” Before the project (which includes pipes, holding tanks, and cattle “dips”) was constructed, the children had to carry all the families’ water from as much as five miles away.

Dairy cattle in the area are now producing more milk since they no longer have to travel so far to find water. The government has approved a one-million-shilling loan (equivalent to approximately $37,000 in U.S. money) to develop the area’s dairy industry.

What is remarkable, Brother McMullin says, is that the project has “inspired and motivated members of the community to solve other problems.” After seeing the success of the water project, the community is making plans to bring in electricity, construct better roads, and build a school.

In southeastern Nigeria, some of the Church’s humanitarian funds were allocated to the private nonprofit development organization Africare in 1987 to help in carrying out a water and agriculture project. Two deep wells have been drilled within the Aba Nigeria Stake; they serve five hundred to six hundred LDS and non-LDS families. A third well is planned.

A small Church welfare farm in the area has been used to introduce a more productive strain of a staple food, cassava, and farmers have benefited from the improved variety. The results are easily seen because the original participants have freely shared their cassava stock with others, and patches of the improved strain stand taller than the older variety, Brother McMullin says.

Also in Nigeria, catchment cisterns have been built next to several meetinghouses. These store rainwater underground and serve as a source of clean drinking water during the dry season for the people in surrounding villages.

In Zimbabwe, a grant enabled local residents to build two small water reservoirs. The people were able to provide most of the labor and leadership, Brother McMullin says. A grain mill paid for by the Church means that people no longer have to walk ten to fifteen kilometers to have their grain ground into flour. The profit from the mill is being used to operate a primary school.

The first lady of Zimbabwe, Sally Mugabe, met with Church officials and expressed appreciation for the truckloads of clothing the Church is providing to the Child Survival and Development Foundation, which she chairs. The clothing was donated by Church members through Deseret Industries.

The Church also donated funds to the Rotary Foundation’s PolioPlus program to immunize children against polio.

The money has been used in Kenya and the Ivory Coast to pay for the vaccine, to buy refrigerators to keep the vaccines fresh, and to help fund a public awareness program so that more people will be vaccinated. Officials in these two nations say that reported cases of polio have dropped to almost zero.

In Aboh Mbaise, Nigeria, villagers built a 10,000-gallon water-storage tank with funds provided by the Church. (Photo by Isaac C. Ferguson.)

Elder Richard P. Lindsay helps distribute children’s clothing in Zimbabwe. (Photo by Isaac C. Ferguson.)

The Ngorika, Kenya, project brings water to four hundred families. (Photo by Isaac C. Ferguson.)

Choir to Tour U.S., Canada

The Tabernacle Choir has scheduled a tour of the United States and Canada during July 1992 to commemorate the five-hundredth anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas.

Plans for the tour were formally announced at the choir’s weekly rehearsal on September 5, by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency.

Choir president Wendell M. Smoot said the choir has performed in many U.S. cities, but the 1992 tour will mark the first-ever performances in Springfield and Nauvoo, Illinois, and Ames, Iowa.

The two-week concert schedule is as follows:

July 20—Richmond, Va.

July 21—Toronto, Ont.

July 22—Detroit, Mich.

July 23—Columbus, Ohio

July 25—Milwaukee, Wis. (with the Milwaukee Symphony)

July 27—Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minn.

July 28—Ames, Iowa

July 29—Nauvoo, Ill.

July 30—Springfield, Ill.

The choir will leave Salt Lake City by chartered plane on July 19, Brother Smoot said. After the Toronto concert, the singers will travel by bus to Detroit, Columbus, and Milwaukee. Then they will fly via chartered planes to the other concert locations, returning to Salt Lake City on July 30.

On Sunday, July 26, the broadcast of the choir’s weekly program, “Music and the Spoken Word,” will originate in Milwaukee.

Gospel Singers Join Tabernacle Choir in Program

A different style of musical worship filled the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on August 11 as thousands of gospel singers joined with the Tabernacle Choir.

First, the Tabernacle Choir and the Thurston Frazier Memorial Chorale sang together in the weekly Sunday broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word.” Under the baton of chorale director Frank Williams, the two choirs sang “Alleluia,” by Randall Thompson, and the Houston Bright spiritual “I Hear a Voice A-Prayin.’”

After the broadcast, the Tabernacle Choir stayed for an Interfaith Consecration Service. A first-of-its-kind meeting in the Tabernacle, the service was for those attending the twenty-fourth annual convention of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA).

“Come, Come, Ye Saints” was a favorite hymn of the late Dr. James Cleveland, founder of the GMWA, who took the message “All is well” wherever he traveled, said Dr. Kenneth Ulmer, GMWA second vice president. He paid tribute to the Tabernacle Choir, calling it “precision musical machine and ministry.”

Responding, choir president Wendell M. Smoot said, “Like you, we embrace all that music which is uplifting and praiseworthy and that can exalt and inspire mankind to live Christlike lives and ideals.”