News of the Church


Four General Authorities Called to First Quorum of Seventy; Fifteen New General Authorities Called to Second Quorum

The First Presidency has announced that fifteen new General Authorities have been called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. In addition, four members of the Second Quorum have been called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Called to serve in the First Quorum are Elders Carlos H. Amado, Ben B. Banks, Spencer J. Condie, and Robert K. Dellenbach.

New members of the Second Quorum are Elders Lino Alvarez, Dallas N. Archibald, Merrill J. Bateman, C. Max Caldwell, Gary J. Coleman, John B. Dickson, John E. Fowler, Jay E. Jensen, Augusto A. Lim, John M. Madsen, V. Dallas Merrell, David Sorensen, F. David Stanley, Kwok Yuen Tai, and Lowell D. Wood.

The First Presidency said that the new General Authorities have been called in anticipation of releases to the five-year members of the Seventy and granting emeritus status to others of the Seventy at the October general conference, thus creating vacancies in area presidencies. In addition, a new area presidency will be needed in Mexico, with a scheduled division of the existing Mexico Area into the Mexico North Area based in Monterrey, and the Mexico South Area with headquarters in Mexico City.

Elder Amado was called to the Seventy on 1 April 1989. Currently serving as first counselor in the Central America Area presidency, Elder Amado graduated from the Technical Vocational Institute of Guatemala City and worked as a technical draftsman before becoming an area director for the Church Educational System.

Elder Carlos H. Amado

Elder Carlos H. Amado

Elder Banks, first counselor in the North America Southeast Area presidency, was also sustained to the Seventy on 1 April 1989. A former owner and president of a lumber company, Elder Banks served as mission president and stake president before becoming a General Authority.

Elder Ben B. Banks

Elder Ben B. Banks

Elder Condie was called to the Seventy on 1 April 1989. Currently serving as president of the Europe Mediterranean Area, Elder Condie is a former mission president and stake president. Prior to his call, he was a professor of sociology and ancient scripture at Brigham Young University.

Elder Spencer J. Condie

Elder Spencer J. Condie

Elder Dellenbach, called to the Seventy on 31 March 1990, currently serves as second counselor in the North America Northeast Area presidency and first counselor in the Young Men general presidency. A former mission president, he also served as president, vice-president, and business manager of various universities.

Elder Robert K. Dellenbach

Elder Robert K. Dellenbach

Elder Alvarez is a native of Mexico and has been serving as director of the Church Educational System in that country. He and his wife, Argelia Villaneuva Alvarez, are parents of three children.

Elder Archibald has been a business executive in São Paulo, Brazil. He and his wife, Linda Ritchie Archibald, are parents of one child.

Elder Bateman, Provo, Utah, is a management consultant. He and his wife, Marilyn Scholes Bateman, have seven children.

Elder Caldwell, Springville, Utah, has been a professor of religion at Brigham Young University. He and his wife, Bonnie Adamson Caldwell, have four children.

Elder Coleman, Pleasant View, Utah, has been serving as associate director of the LDS Institute of Religion adjacent to Weber State University. He and his wife, Judith Renee England Coleman, have six children.

Elder Dickson, Arlington, Washington, has been in the lumber business. He and his wife, Delores Anne Jones Dickson, are the parents of eight children.

Elder Fowler, Sandy, Utah, is a certified public accountant. He and his wife, Marie Spilsbury Fowler, are the parents of six children.

Elder Jensen, Orem, Utah, has been an employee of the Curriculum Department of the Church. He and his wife, Lona Lee Child Jensen, have six children.

Elder Lim most recently served as president of the Philippines Naga Mission and is a lawyer by profession. He and his wife, Myrna Garcia Lim, have eight children.

Elder Madsen, Sandy, Utah, has been a professor at Brigham Young University. He and his wife, Diane Dursteler Madsen, are the parents of six children.

Elder Merrell, Murray, Utah, is a management and research consultant. He and his wife, Karen Dixon Merrell, are the parents of nine children.

Elder Sorensen, Las Vegas, Nevada, owns a cattle ranch and other enterprises. He and his wife, Verla Anderson Sorensen, have two children.

Elder Stanley, Salt Lake City, most recently served as president of the Boise Idaho Mission. He and his wife, Annette Shewell Stanley, have eight children.

Elder Tai most recently served as president of the Hong Kong Mission. He and his wife, Lai Wai Wah Tai, are the parents of three children.

Elder Wood has been director of temporal affairs for the Church in Manila, Philippines. He and his wife, Lorna Cox Woods, are the parents of five children.

Following are brief biographical sketches of eight of the new General Authorities. Biographical sketches of the remaining seven new General Authorities will be printed in next month’s Ensign (September 1992).

Appointments

The First Presidency has called the following brethren to serve as new temple presidents.

Arthur S. Anderson of Salt Lake City will preside over the Provo Temple.

David Gleave Clark of Salt Lake City will preside over the Santiago Chile Temple.

Samuel Mason Davis of Las Vegas, Nevada, will serve in the Las Vegas Nevada Temple.

J. Thomas Fyans of Salt Lake City will serve in the St. George Temple.

Albert Young Gun Ho of Honolulu, Hawaii, will preside over the Hawaii Temple.

Forrest J. Jensen of Littleton, Colorado, will serve in the Denver Colorado Temple.

Elder Douglas J. Martin of the Seventy will preside over the New Zealand Temple.

Brent I. Nash of Coupeville, Washington, will preside over the Seattle Temple.

Floyd L. Packard of San Diego, California, will serve as first president of the San Diego California Temple, which is nearing completion.

H. Von Packard of Carlsbad, California, will serve in the Los Angeles Temple.

Reed J. Webster of Salt Lake City will preside over the Johannesburg South Africa Temple.

Chorus President

G. Robert Ruff, a high councilor in the Salt Lake Ensign Stake and president emeritus of Evans Communications, has been named president of the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus.

His responsibilities include overseeing the organization, interviewing members, and working with the concert series and promoting public appearances. Brother Ruff succeeds William E. Zwick, who was released in February.

Elder Merrill J. Bateman

Of the Seventy
Elder Merrill J. Bateman

There have been several times in Elder Merrill J. Bateman’s life when developments that seemed rather ordinary led to later opportunities for service.

Some years ago, the Batemans were among several families that moved into a small English branch and lived there just long enough to help construct a new building and strengthen the branch through missionary and reactivation work. Earlier in his business career, there was a series of trips to Africa; these experiences proved useful after the revelation on the priesthood in 1978, when he was able to help with Church planning for growth in countries he had visited.

This time, however, the call he received was unmistakably clear.

While his extensive experience in international management could be helpful, he says the most important things he will need are faith in the Lord and commitment to his service. Those things Merrill Bateman offers without reservation.

“He’s an extremely dedicated person in whatever he’s doing,” says his wife, Marilyn.

His dedication to Church service has been lifelong. Since his marriage, he has served on seven high councils in different parts of the world. He has been a bishop, a member of a district presidency, president of a Brigham Young University stake, and president of the Provo Utah Sharon East Stake. He was serving as a regional representative at the time of his call as a General Authority.

A management consultant, he was also president of two different companies. Previously, he had served in several different executive positions for the Mars candy company and as dean of the school of management at BYU. He had taught economics at both BYU and the United States Air Force Academy.

He was born in Lehi, Utah, on 19 June 1936 and grew up largely in American Fork, Utah. He married Marilyn Scholes on 23 March 1959 in the Salt Lake Temple. They have seven children and eleven grandchildren.

Elder C. Max Caldwell

Of the Seventy
Elder C. Max Caldwell

As a boy growing up in Vernal, Utah, C. Max Caldwell loved to camp and fish in the nearby mountains, but the mountains were not his only love. “I remember that when I was ten years old,” says Elder Caldwell, “the feeling that the gospel was true came forcibly to me during a testimony meeting. I stood and expressed it and wept.”

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 4 December 1933, Max loved growing up in Vernal. During his high school years, he played basketball, football, baseball, and track. He attended the University of Utah, where he studied business administration and received his B.S. On September 1952, he married his high school sweetheart, Bonnie Lee Adamson, in the Salt Lake Temple. They became the parents of five children.

Brother Caldwell served a mission to the North Central States from 1953 to 1955. Then, after serving on active duty in Korea as an Army pilot from 1958 to 1961, he returned to graduate school at Brigham Young University, where he earned an M.A. in Church history and doctrine.

“After I began to teach in the Church Educational System and really search the scriptures,” says Elder Caldwell, who taught seminary in Salt Lake City and institute adjacent to Utah State University, “the Savior became a very meaningful person to me. I always knew he was there, but I added to my testimony of the Church a testimony of Christ.”

At the time of his call to the Seventy, he was a professor at Brigham Young University. He was also serving as a regional representative in the Utah South Area, having previously served as president of the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission from 1983 to 1986.

“David O. McKay made the following statement in April 1951 general conference,” says Elder Caldwell: “‘What you sincerely in your heart think of Christ determines what you are, and will largely determine what your acts will be.’ No statement outside of holy writ has had more impact on my life than that.”

Elder Gary J. Coleman

Of the Seventy
Elder Gary J. Coleman

Elder Gary Jerome Coleman has the distinction of having been baptized by another called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy at the same time—Elder John Madsen.

“I’m a convert to the Church,” Elder Coleman says. “My parents named me after Jerome, the Catholic saint who translated the Bible, and as a child I wanted to be a priest. From the time I was nine years old, I served mass almost every Sunday.” That changed in 1962 when John Madsen, a fellow student at Washington State University, invited Gary to attend an early-morning seminary class he was teaching.

A few months later, in November 1962, Gary joined the Church. “I applied Moroni’s promise,” Elder Coleman says. “I received a witness, and it has been building ever since.”

Nearly eight months after his baptism, Gary married another Latter-day Saint he had met at school—Judith Renee England. Today they are the parents of six children and live in Pleasant View, Utah, near Weber State University, where Brother Coleman has been the associate director of the institute of religion.

Born on 18 September 1941 at Wenatchee, Washington, Gary grew up on a farm in Bridgeport, Washington. He graduated from Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree, and later from Brigham Young University with master’s and doctorate degrees. For twenty-eight years, he has taught in the Church Educational System.

Elder Coleman comes to the Seventy with long experience in missionary work. He has been in five full-time mission presidencies and has served as president of the California Arcadia Mission.

“I have been fortunate to have been taught by good men and women,” Elder Coleman says. “Through study, undeniable revelation, and personal experience, I know the Church is true. It’s a wonderful blessing to be a member of the Lord’s church.”

Elder John B. Dickson

Of the Seventy
Elder John B. Dickson

The only way we can return to our heavenly home and ultimately reach perfection is in “total companionship with the Savior,” says Elder John Baird Dickson. “My great longing is to help others know him and come unto him.”

Born in Tacoma, Washington, to John H. Dickson and Helen Baird on 12 July 1943, Elder Dickson moved with his family several years later to nearby Arlington, where his father worked in the timber industry and young John grew to appreciate hard work and nature.

After receiving a mission call to Mexico in 1962, he learned he had bone cancer in his right arm. Doctors did not expect him to live more than a month.

Strong family support and the comforting words his father gave him in a blessing sustained him. Ten months later, he left for his mission grateful that his life had been spared, though his arm had been amputated.

What some may consider to be a handicap has never bothered him. “Losing my arm has proved to be one of the greater blessings in my life. I am more patient with other people because I have had to be patient with myself.”

After his mission, he married Delores Jones in the Oakland Temple in 1966. Two years later, he graduated from Brigham Young University and joined a family sawmill operation in Washington.

In 1978 Elder Dickson returned to Mexico to preside over the newly created Mexico City North Mission. For the last eight years, he has been president of the Mt. Vernon Washington Stake.

His “most significant calling” is that of father to eight children (seven girls) and husband to “an angel from heaven.” He also places great importance on being an effective home teacher.

Although he has helped point many souls to Christ, his longing to share the gospel is insatiable, his wife, Delores, says. “He loves everyone.”

Elder Dickson calls himself “extremely ordinary,” but his capacity to love and serve is, by all accounts, extraordinary.

Elder John E. Fowler

Of the Seventy
Elder John E. Fowler

Endurance running has been an important part of John Fowler’s life. He has even run in marathons. Of far greater importance in his life, however, has been what might be called endurance living.

As a new member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Elder John E. Fowler describes the values that have guided him and his wife, the former Marie Spilsbury: “Marie and I agreed early in our marriage that the high standards of the gospel would be the central focus of our life together, and that has put everything else in perspective for us. Our mutual love for Jesus Christ has deepened our love for each other, so our family, our church and community service, and my profession each takes its proper place.”

Elder and Sister Fowler now have six children, all of whom enjoy participating in sports and music.

John Fowler was born in Redding, California, on 10 November 1944, and graduated from high school in Denver, Colorado. He attended Brigham Young University, earning a B.S. in 1968 and a master’s degree in accounting in 1969. For the next two decades, as a C.P.A. with a major accounting firm, Brother Fowler served first in Denver and then in New Orleans in various stake positions—high councilor, counselor in a stake presidency, stake president, and regional representative. He also taught early-morning seminary and in New Orleans taught institute at Tulane University. From 1988 until 1991, he and Sister Fowler presided over the Georgia Atlanta Mission. Upon their release, they moved to Sandy, Utah.

Good endurance racers know the terrain of the race course, so they conserve strength for hills and obstacles. “In life, I have relied on the prophets and Apostles,” he says. “Following them is the surest way.

“Enduring to the end is a matter of small daily things that bring us closer to the Lord—prayer, scriptures, doing good.” Like endurance running, endurance living is done step by step.

Elder Jay E. Jensen

Of the Seventy
Elder Jay E. Jensen

“One of my earliest memories is of my father reading the Book of Mormon to us at home,” says Elder Jay E. Jensen. Combined with his mother’s love of books in general, this home atmosphere pointed him toward the work he loves so well: teaching the scriptures.

“Of all callings in the Church, I am most at home in front of a class with the scriptures in my hand.”

Elder Jensen was the Church’s director of Scriptures Coordination at the time of his call to the Seventy; he handled the details of scripture authorizations, translation, publication, and distribution worldwide, under the direction of the General Authorities.

Elder Jensen says his feelings about serving among the General Authorities echo sentiments once expressed by Elder A. Theodore Tuttle, now deceased, of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Then-President Jay Jensen of the Cali Colombia Mission listened while Elder Tuttle reflected on the deep love and respect he felt for the General Authorities. “You know,” Elder Tuttle said, “I have to pinch myself sometimes to remind myself that I’m one of them.”

Elder Jensen was bishop of the Suncrest Third Ward, Orem Utah Suncrest Stake, at the time of his call. In addition to being a mission president, he has been a counselor in a stake presidency, a stake executive secretary, a high councilor, a counselor in a bishopric, a branch president at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, and a counselor in the presidency there.

He has worked for many years in the Church Educational System, the Missionary Department, and the Curriculum Department. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and history, a master’s in Church history and doctrine, and a doctor of education degree from Brigham Young University.

Born 5 February 1942, he grew up in Mapleton, Utah. He married Lona Lee Child on 1 November 1963 in the Manti Temple. They have six children and three grandchildren.

Elder John M. Madsen

Of the Seventy
Elder John M. Madsen

Four-year-old John M. Madsen was lying at death’s door when his mother, Edith Louis Gundersen, promised Heavenly Father that if her son was saved, she would do all she could to see that he served the Lord.

“It was at that tender age that I received a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel,” recalls Elder Madsen, one of the newest members of the Seventy. “I had been in a coma for two days, and the moment my father put his hands on my head to give me a blessing, I became conscious.”

Two additional significant spiritual developments occurred years later when early-morning seminary was introduced in Pullman, Washington, where the Madsen family was living.

A young Ogden girl attended the seminary class while visiting her cousin. Eight years later that young girl, Diane Dursteler, married John Madsen.

“It was also while attending seminary that my personal testimony deepened and I determined that I was going to serve a mission, marry in the temple, and serve the Lord throughout my life,” Elder Madsen notes.

And that’s exactly what has occurred. Born 24 April 1939, Elder Madsen served a mission in the North Central States from 1959–61. He married in 1963 and has five living children. (One son died at birth.)

Elder Madsen graduated from Washington State University with a major in zoology and a minor in chemistry. Originally, the Madsens planned to head for dental school. “But I was invited to teach full-time seminary, so we changed plans,” he explains.

In addition to teaching seminary and institute for the last thirty years, Elder Madsen has served as a regional representative, mission president and bishop.

“This new calling is overwhelming, humbling,” says Elder Madsen. “Anyone facing such responsibility knows that they cannot do it alone. But I have a love of the Lord’s word and his work and I am committed to build up his kingdom.”

Elder V. Dallas Merrell

Of the Seventy
Elder V. Dallas Merrell

It was as the oldest son of nine children growing up on a farm that V. Dallas Merrell learned the importance of hard work. “Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel” is his favorite hymn, and he has spent a lifetime trying to help move the work along and help others.

This song seems particularly representative of the life of Elder Merrell, newly called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Born in Basalt, Idaho, on 25 January 1936, Elder Merrell learned early that “we all had to contribute effectively in order for us to survive.”

Elder Merrell’s commitment to the gospel and to service was magnified in his professional life. Until 1986, he ran a Washington D.C.-based consulting firm that helped organizations identify high potential talent and develop potential leaders and managers.

Elder Merrell sees this as an extension of the gospel. “As people come to Christ, they develop their full potential. Each of us grows as we find out the talents and gifts that we have and then learns to submit to the Father’s will about how to use those during our sojourn on earth.”

In 1980, he campaigned in Maryland for the United States Senate. Although his bid was unsuccessful, Brother Merrell’s reputation for service became widely known.

From 1956 to 1958, Elder Merrell served a mission in the Great Lakes Mission. In 1959, he married Karen Dixon, whom he had met at BYU before his mission. They are the parents of nine children, eight of whom are living.

Although he entered BYU intending to be a farmer, Dallas graduated in economics and sociology. He continued his studies at BYU, earning a master’s degree in social psychology. He also received a master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Southern California.

Elder Merrell served as mission president of the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission (which later became the Utah Salt Lake City Mission). He has also served as regional representative, stake president’s counselor, bishop, and stake missionary.

Elder John H. Vandenberg Eulogized

Elder John H. Vandenberg

Elder John Henry Vandenberg, an Emeritus General Authority who served as Presiding Bishop for eleven years, died 3 June 1992 of natural causes.

Elder Vandenberg, eighty-seven, began his service as Presiding Bishop in 1961. He was named an Assistant to the Twelve in 1972 and was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976. He received emeritus status two years later.

Born in Ogden, Utah, on 18 December 1904, Elder Vandenberg was the fifth child of Dirk and Maria Alkema Vandenberg, a Dutch immigrant couple.

He graduated from Weber Academy (now Weber State University) in 1923 and worked as an accountant with John Clyde and Co., livestock commission agents at Ogden Stockyards. In 1925, Elder Vandenberg was called to serve a mission in the Netherlands, where he served a portion of his time as mission secretary.

It was on his mission that Elder Vandenberg met his future wife, a young convert named Ariena Stok. She immigrated to Utah some time after Elder Vandenberg returned home. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 10 June 1930. They had two daughters, Lenore V. Mendenhall of Alpine, Utah, and Norine V. Francis of Sandy, Utah. (Sister Vandenberg died on 13 June 1992.)

During the early years of his marriage, Elder Vandenberg worked in Salt Lake City for a sheep and wool merchandising firm. He later transferred to Denver, where he continued to work with the same company. While in Denver, he served as stake mission president and counselor in a stake presidency.

While serving as Presiding Bishop, Elder Vandenberg was a member of the Church Expenditures Committee, the General Priesthood Committee, and the Correlation Committee. He also served as chairman of the Church Welfare Committee, presided over the Aaronic Priesthood of the Church, and was chairman of the General Scouting Committee and Health Services Corporation.

While serving as an Assistant to the Twelve, he served as managing director of the Church’s physical facilities department, supervising three major divisions: real estate, building, and maintenance.

First Presidency Statement on the King James Version of the Bible

The First Presidency has released the following letter regarding the King James Version of the Bible.

Since the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has used the King James Version of the Bible for English-speaking members.

The Bible, as it has been transmitted over the centuries, has suffered the loss of many plain and precious parts. ‘We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.’ (A of F 1:8.)

Many versions of the Bible are available today. Unfortunately, no original manuscripts of any portion of the Bible are available for comparison to determine the most accurate version. However, the Lord has revealed clearly the doctrines of the gospel in these latter-days. The most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical passage is not by comparing different texts, but by comparison with the Book of Mormon and modern-day revelations.

While other Bible versions may be easier to read than the King James Version, in doctrinal matters latter-day revelation supports the King James Version in preference to other English translations. All of the Presidents of the Church, beginning with the Prophet Joseph Smith, have supported the King James Version by encouraging its continued use in the Church. In light of all the above, it is the English language Bible used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The LDS edition of the Bible (1979) contains the King James Version supplemented and clarified by footnotes, study aids, and cross-references to the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These four books are the standard works of the Church. We encourage all members to have their own copies of the complete standard works and to use them prayerfully in regular personal and family study, and in Church meetings and assignments.

Sincerely your brethren,

Ezra Taft Benson

Gordon B. Hinckley

Thomas S. Monson

Tabernacle Choir to Sing in Israel

Plans for the Tabernacle Choir’s first tour to the Holy Land have been announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency.

President Hinckley announced approval for the tour, scheduled for 6 December 1992 to 6 January 1993.

The tour will include concerts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa. Precise concert dates and details of the tour will be announced later.

President Hinckley said Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek extended the invitation during a visit to Jerusalem by President Howard W. Hunter and Elder James E. Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve. They were accompanied by Truman G. Madsen, director of the Brigham Young University Center for Near Eastern Studies in Jerusalem.

While in Jerusalem, the choir and director Jerold D. Ottley will appear with the Jerusalem Symphony, conducted by David Shallon. The choir will appear as part of the orchestra’s traditional liturgical series, which is performed December 2 through January 5. It is the only time during the year when the orchestra features Jewish and Christian music.

“This is the first time in 145 years of the choir’s history that it has gone to the Holy Land,” said choir president Wendell M. Smoot, Jr. “It is a great tribute to the choir to be invited by the mayor of Jerusalem. Each year, some well-known organization is invited to perform with the Jerusalem Symphony’s liturgical series.”

President Smoot said plans for the tour include a CBS network broadcast from the Holy Land of the choir’s weekly Sunday program, “Music and the Spoken Word.”

Concerts in Israel will round out a busy year for the choir, already scheduled for a two-week tour of the United States and Canada in July.

The U.S./Canada tour is to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas.

Languages of the Book of Mormon

For twenty years, the Book of Mormon was printed only in English. During the next 127 years, thirty translations were made. That number more than doubled during the 1980s, with either all or part of the Book of Mormon being translated into seventy-nine new languages. By the end of 1991—two years later—the number had grown to ninety.

1830–1850: 1

1850–1978: 32

1979–1989: 79

1990–1991: 90