News of the Church

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President Benson Hospitalized, Released

President Ezra Taft Benson spent a week in the hospital recently. The 93-year-old leader was hospitalized on Thursday, December 31, with pneumonia. Although his condition was first listed as serious, his health improved after several days, and his condition was listed as satisfactory. He was released from the hospital on 8 January 1993.

Church Leaders Host Area Clergy

Leaders of a variety of churches throughout the Salt Lake Valley joined together for an evening of fellowship and song during the holiday season.

As guests of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, those in attendance first met at an open house in the Church Administration Building and then enjoyed the Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas concert on Temple Square.

The reason for the evening of fellowship was to provide LDS Church leaders and other religious leaders an opportunity to renew acquaintances and establish friendships. The Church had a similar open house a few years ago.

Guests were greeted by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, as they entered the main lobby of the Church Administration Building. Other general authorities who attended the event, in addition to Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, were the Utah Central Area presidency: Elders Loren C. Dunn, Lloyd P. George, and John E. Fowler of the Seventy. Regional representatives and stake presidents from throughout the area helped host. Approximately 150 people attended the open house.

“I’m delighted to have an opportunity to meet many of my counterparts,” said Dr. Max Glenn of Shared Ministries of Utah. “What delights me is to see the respect and understanding developing among the diverse religious groups in Utah.”

[photo] President Gordon B. Hinckley, right, and President Thomas S. Monson, left, accompanied by their wives, greet area clergy. (Photo by Stuart Johnson.)

Church Reaches Milestone of 20,000 Congregations

Church congregations worldwide now number more than 20,000. The Harvest Park Ward, organized 6 December 1992 in Salt Lake City, was designated as the 20,000th congregation.

Currently there are approximately 8.4 million members of the Church, with congregations in 144 nations and territories all over the world. Some 63 percent of those units are wards, usually consisting of several hundred members. The remainder of the units are branches, the smallest organized congregations.

The Harvest Park Ward was one of two new units created from a realignment of four existing wards in the Salt Lake Granger South Stake. Organization of the new ward was announced at a special meeting presided over by stake president Thomas G. Thomson.

Countries and Territories with Organized Units

In 1988, the number of countries and territories (as defined by the United Nations) with organized wards and branches of the Church reached the 125 mark. It had hovered near that number for five years. Since then, the number has steadily increased.

1988

125

1989

128

1990

130

1991

138

1992

144

Appointments

A professional Scouter, Hart Bullock, has been appointed director of LDS relationships for the Boy Scouts of America. Brother Bullock, a member of the Chase Lane Ward, Centerville Utah North Stake, is currently serving as director of the BSA’s Area 2, an area that includes Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. Brother Bullock, a former bishop and high councilor, has thirty years of experience in Scouting.

Young Women Worldwide “Walk in the Light”

Whether they were serving the homeless, the sick, the poor, or the needy, young women around the world agree that participating in the recent worldwide Young Women celebration brought a light to their lives that they will always remember.

The celebration, which focused on service projects as a major part of the activity, was designed to help young women include compassionate service as a regular part of their lives. Leaders were encouraged to look around their communities for a project in which the young women could participate on November 21, a day of service to others.

“We’re hoping this day will help each young woman better understand the needs of her community and the ways she can make a positive difference,” explained Janette C. Hales, Young Women general president. “We want this kind of service to become a part of her life, not just a one-time occasion.”

In the afternoon or evening following the service projects, most Young Women groups met with their parents and leaders for a program. Those programs included talks, musical numbers, and audiocassette addresses delivered by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Hales.

Following are examples of some of the hundreds of service projects held around the world:

  • In Fort Worth, Texas, young women made more than nine hundred sandwiches for residents of a local shelter for the homeless. In addition, they gathered and donated various items to the people in the shelter. Following their program, the young women formed a large half-circle and held flashlights. When the lights in the room were switched off, the young women turned their flashlights on one by one. Then a spotlight illuminated a large picture of the Savior.

    “You could almost feel the room stop,” said fifteen-year-old Desiree Watkins. “I was filled with love and the Spirit. It pulled me back into focus, wanting to be like Christ.”

  • Young women in the Irvine California Stake spent the morning making bibs for an Orangewood home for abused children. “When our Young Women president told us the home uses about 350 bibs per day, I thought, ‘Wow, that service project really did make a difference,’” said Katheryn Clayton.

  • In New York, members of the Manhattan (Spanish) Ward decorated hand towels and worked at a crafts fair to benefit a local charity. In addition, the young women passed out flyers advertising the fair.

    Young women from the Bronx Second Branch spent the day visiting patients in a local hospital. “It’s great knowing that sisters all over the world are performing a service project today,” said Christina Garcia, a Laurel. “We’re doing Heavenly Father’s work, and we’re not alone.”

  • Young women in the Paisley Scotland Stake battled snowstorms to participate in their “Walk in the Light” programs. One group collected household equipment and donated the goods to a local women’s center while another group staged a concert for a local nursing home. The young women also decorated a Christmas tree with bows representing service projects in which they had participated. “We will not see more meaningful Christmas decorations this season,” observed Dorrie Fulton, second counselor in the stake Young Women presidency.

  • Bad weather didn’t bother the young women in the Iowa City Ward, either. Despite a cold, gray morning, young women gathered to prepare a home for new occupants. The house was made available for a homeless family through a community program that provides affordable housing and counseling to the homeless. The young women washed dishes, scrubbed walls, wiped out cupboards, and cleaned windows.

  • In Vernon, British Columbia, leaders decided to focus their service on missionary work. Each young woman was asked to serve for nine weeks in friendshipping those of other faiths.

    “During the program that followed our project, we had one young woman from each ward report,” said Joyce Findlay, Young Women president of the Vernon British Columbia Stake. “They shared exciting experiences like working with the hearing impaired, friendshipping new girls at school, and preparing an investigator for baptism.”

  • In the Woodstock Ward, Marietta Georgia East Stake, young women prepared a Thanksgiving feast for a mother and four children who had recently left a women’s center and moved into a small apartment. They delivered the meal early when they heard the family might be going hungry.

  • In the Ashington Branch, Sunderland England Stake, young women prepared an afternoon social for senior citizens in the community. The young women also performed a program. “We wanted to show them how much they are appreciated for all their hard work,” observed Rachel Woodward.

  • Children in two Fort Smith, Arkansas, hospitals received visits from the young women in the area. The youth read stories, sang songs, played games, and rocked toddlers. One ward presented a puppet show for the children’s entertainment. “Some of the young women were so engrossed in visiting that we literally had to go get them and lead them out,” said Ginger Tucker, Fort Smith Arkansas Stake Young Women president. “Especially heart-wrenching was the toddler who followed one young woman into the hall and cried when she left.”

  • Young women in Quebec, Canada, visited senior citizens who reside in a local hospital. Each young woman spent an hour with a patient. Most had been selected because they received few if any visitors.

    The young women gave gifts to the patients as well. Before going to the hospital, many expressed anxiety as they thought about spending an hour with an older person they knew nothing about. However, by the time the visits were complete, most of the young women had already made plans to return to visit their newfound friends.

The theme for the worldwide day of service came from Isaiah 2:5: “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.” [Isa. 2:5] The Young Women logo, a torch, was the symbol for the celebration. The November 21 day of service began a year-long Young Women emphasis on serving others.

[photo] Young women in the West Palm Beach Florida Stake help prepare items for a Red Cross Christmas store offering various items to more than one thousand needy families in the area. (Photo by Judy Norton.)

[photo] In Denver, a young woman cleans a child’s toy. (Photo by Jan Allred.)

[photo] In Manhattan, New York, young women volunteer at a crafts festival to benefit the Iris House. (Photo by Brent Peterson.)

[photo] Young women in Marietta, Georgia, are joined by their parents and leaders for a luncheon following a morning of visiting the sick and helping the homeless. (Photo by Lisa Johnson.)

[photo] Young women in Arkansas perform a puppet show for patients in a care center. (Photo courtesy of Muskogee [Arkansas] Ward.)

Fresno Saints: Laboring in the Lord’s Vineyard

During the hot summers, central California’s San Joaquin Valley is lush with vast vineyards of ripening grapes. Fresno County is known as the “Raisin Capital of the World.” It’s no surprise, then, that to the area’s Latter-day Saints, laboring in the Lord’s vineyard is a way of life.

map of the San Joaquin Valley

Sometimes that labor is physically demanding: pruning grapes in winter and harvesting them in summer on the Church’s eighty-acre welfare farm. The call for help is answered by members throughout the valley.

Yielding two hundred varieties of commercial crops each year, Fresno County is the number one agricultural producer in the nation. For years the farm work here has lured Hispanics to the valley. They now account for about 35 percent of the county’s 660,000 residents and are served by seven Spanish-speaking branches.

Luzy Carrillo, a counselor in the Caruthers Ward Relief Society presidency, joined the Church in 1952. Her late father-in-law, Frank Carrillo, was president of the first Spanish branch in Fresno. He died several years ago at age 102; a few weeks later, his son (Sister Carrillo’s husband, Augustine) passed away as well. Family members were instrumental in bringing into the Church many Hispanic laborers who worked in their vineyards.

But Southeast Asians have constituted the largest influx of people to settle in Fresno in recent years. An impressive number of the 30,000 Hmong, 11,500 Laotian, 5,300 Cambodian, 2,000 Vietnamese, and 2,000 Thai residents of the area have joined the Church, largely through the efforts of two hundred full-time missionaries. Older missionary couples and members are called to teach and lead the many non-English-speaking branches that join with English-speaking wards to make up the four Fresno stakes.

The large numbers of Saints in Fresno today are a marked contrast to the Church’s small membership there in earlier times. Most Church members moving to California from 1846 through 1849 settled in the San Francisco Bay area northward or in San Bernardino southward. After California gained statehood in 1850, those populous areas became the focus of LDS missionary efforts. During that time, the San Joaquin Valley had few members.

In 1920 Clarence L. Fancher moved from Wyoming to Merced (about ninety miles north of Fresno) to help his father, who was a farmer. That year Clarence became the first branch president in Fresno. He drove great distances in his Model T Ford to visit members who moved into the area, says his granddaughter, Doreen Garn, of the Clovis First Ward, Fresno California North Stake.

A few years before, missionaries had organized a Sunday School in the home of Arvin and Ina Hamlin. Their daughter, Elizabeth Hamlin Cottrell Lynch, recorded the event in her diary: “On a rainy afternoon in 1914, two missionaries came to our door. It was hard to tell who was happier, the missionaries or Mother.” A few days later, to the delight of the Hamlins, the missionaries reported that they had located another LDS family. Those families became the nucleus of the Fresno Branch.

The first LDS meetinghouse in Fresno was dedicated by President Heber J. Grant in 1927. The Fresno Stake was organized in 1951, and a stake center was built in 1963, completed a few weeks after President Fancher’s death. Today, Fresno’s four stakes serve about twenty thousand members.

Lydia McCauley began helping members with their family history research in 1938. Interest became so keen that she opened her well-stocked genealogical library to the public in 1945. Before she died, she donated her 4,000-volume library to the Church in 1964, thus helping establish the first official LDS branch genealogical library in the area. A Relief Society president for many years, she helped organize similar libraries elsewhere.

Fresno’s young adults are strengthened by institute classes offered to students at Fresno City College and at California State University Fresno. And attendance is high in the 200-strong university ward, where married and unmarried students blend to create a rich, dynamic stability, says Bishop Garth L. Rasmussen.

A decade-long effort of LDS youth to raise money to assist a children’s hospital is well recognized in the community. “I’m so impressed with the youth of the LDS Church—the only youth group that has a room dedicated to them,” says John Bakkas, president of the hospital’s fund-raising arm.

Cheryl and Gary R. Fogg moved from Utah to Fresno in 1967. “People here are very supportive of each other, and you don’t know how important that is until you need it,” Sister Fogg says. The Foggs were touched by an outpouring of loving support when one of their seven children died of leukemia several years ago.

“When you serve, you grow,” says President Fogg, who presides over the Fresno California West Stake. “And there are many opportunities to grow, especially in the Fresno area.” He enjoys helping develop leadership skills among the stake’s Laotian membership.

The Inmany family are recent converts to the Church in Fresno. In 1982 Saenalai Inmany and his wife, Pang, came to the United States after escaping from the Communist regime in Laos. Their three children speak English and are honor students in their schools.

Educated at a Catholic seminary in Laos, Brother Inmany speaks English and French. A mechanic, he met LDS missionaries in Fresno, and they began teaching his family the gospel. “I had not known of Joseph Smith before, but I accepted him. I know he translated the Book of Mormon. I also know that this church has better programs for children, better rules and standards. It is the right church.” Brother Inmany is a counselor in the Fresno Twenty-fourth Branch presidency.

The Inmanys, who help the missionaries learn the Lao language and find contacts, are preparing for a temple sealing. They recently bought their first home and continue to help other Laotians become self-sufficient.

“People sacrificed so much to build the Church in this area,” says Dallas A. Tueller, a longtime Fresno area Church leader who has since moved away. “This is not a wealthy area, and yet every time the Saints were asked to do more, to give more, they did it. The spiritual growth here has been amazing.”

He sums up the hopes of other Fresno Saints: “Wouldn’t the Lord’s vineyard look lovely with a temple in it!”

[photo] The helping hands of Sisters Maralee Palmer, left, and Teresa Barnes, full-time missionaries, work diligently in this part of the Lord’s vineyard. (Photography courtesy of Kathy Barberich.)

[photo] The Inmany family reflect the joy of Fresno’s burgeoning Laotian Latter-day Saint membership.

[photo] Darnell Evans of the university ward

[photo] City college institute luncheon

Kathy Barberich, a newspaper reporter, teaches Sunday School and seminary classes in the Caruthers Ward, Hanford California Stake.

New Temple, Family History Handbook Published

The Church has recently published the Temple and Family History Leadership Handbook. This new handbook replaces three publications: Instructions for Priesthood Leaders on Temple and Family History Work, Providing Temple Ordinances for Our Ancestors, and Guidelines for the Sunday School Family History Course.

In a letter from the First Presidency, local Church leaders are told that “Melchizedek Priesthood leaders have a key role in supporting and directing temple and family history work. To help leaders and others better understand their responsibilities, the handbook provides a clear, simple summary of this work.

“Members of the Church should participate in temple and family history work throughout their lives. Priesthood leaders should use the programs and resources described in the handbook to help members receive temple ordinances for themselves and provide these sacred ordinances for the dead.

“Copies of this new publication are being sent under separate cover to stakes and wards. Priesthood leaders should distribute these copies as described in the handbook. Additional copies are available from Church distribution centers.”

Elder J. Richard Clarke, executive director of the Family History Department, explained that the handbook “provides priesthood leaders with a clear, brief overview of temple and family history work. In just a few pages, they can review the doctrine, members’ individual responsibilities, priesthood leaders’ duties, and the resources available to help members accomplish the work.”

The twenty-page handbook also discusses some of the opportunities members may have for serving in these areas as full-time or part-time missionaries.

In addition, the handbook serves as a guide for stake and ward family history consultants, describing their responsibilities, their work with members, and their relationship with priesthood leaders.

In addition to this handbook, a guide for members provides specific instructions about temple and family history responsibilities and explains how we might fulfill them. This guide, titled Come unto Christ through Temple Ordinances and Covenants, is available through distribution centers.

Tabernacle Ceiling Repainted

For six weeks, visitors to Temple Square were unable to tour the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Beginning 28 December 1992, the ceiling of the historic building was repainted. The Tabernacle was scheduled for reopening on 7 February 1993.

During the painting project, there were no activities held in the Tabernacle. Activities in the building suspended during the project included tours of the building and weekly Sunday morning radio-television broadcasts of the Tabernacle Choir.

The January 3 Tabernacle Choir program, “Music and the Spoken Word,” was videotaped during the choir’s recent tour to Israel. Broadcasts for the following four Sundays featured videotaped highlights from previous programs. Visitors to Temple Square watched the program on a large screen in the Assembly Hall.

During the painting project, visitors continued to enjoy daily organ recitals, normally given on the Tabernacle organ and held instead in the Assembly Hall, also on Temple Square.

Tabernacle manager Roy Ostler said the paint being used for the project is considered the best available for retaining the unique acoustical properties of the building.

The Tabernacle was completed in 1867, just twenty years after the pioneers settled the Great Salt Lake Valley. The most recent painting of the ceiling was in 1965.

Policies and Announcements

The following was announced in the 1992-2 Bulletin:

Ecclesiastical Endorsement Policy for Brigham Young University

Beginning with the 1993–94 academic year, Latter-day Saint students applying for admission to Brigham Young University will be required to obtain an ecclesiastical endorsement from a member of their stake or district presidency as well as from their bishop or branch president. (Applicants currently serving missions need only be interviewed by their mission president.) Because faithful Church members support so much of BYU’s operation, and because more and more academically qualified people are applying for admission, the university is placing more emphasis on admitting students of faith, testimony, and moral worthiness. It is hoped that the judgment of a member of the stake presidency will supplement that of the bishop in helping identify those students who would truly benefit from a BYU education. Questions on admission to the BYU should be directed to the BYU Admissions Office at A-153 ASB, Provo, UT 84602, or by telephone to (801) 378-2507.

CES Coordinators to Use Ward MIS Information

Church Educational System coordinators are authorized to collect name, address, and age information about potential seminary and institute students from ward and branch Member Information Systems (MIS) software. This limited information will be used to encourage youth to participate in the Church’s seminary and institute programs.

Coordinators have software that will extract only this approved information from MIS files.

Members to Use Church Administrative Computers

The Church policy statement of April 1992, “Computers in Stakes, Meetinghouses, and Family History Centers, United States and Canada,” contains the following: “The stake president directs the placement and sharing of all Church computers in the stake to obtain the most efficient use of the computers and the space in which they are located.” Under this policy, stake presidents should arrange to make ward and stake administrative computers available for members to use Personal Ancestral File®, FamilySearch®, and the Universal Data Entry software used in family record extraction. These computers are not authorized for other personal uses.

Dating or Get-Acquainted Enterprises Aimed at Single Members

Increasing numbers of private dating and get-acquainted businesses in the United States and Canada are promoting their services to single adult members of the Church. Church policy precludes the use of meetinghouses, classes, or programs for private business ventures. This applies to private dating and get-acquainted businesses or services.

Church leaders are obligated to protect the privacy of members. Church records, reports, lists, directories, and similar materials should never be used for personal, political, or commercial purposes.

Gospel Principles Course

Leaders are reminded that the Gospel Principles course, formerly Gospel Essentials, is a twelve-month class. The manual for both teachers and class members is Gospel Principles (31110). There is no additional supplement for teachers. However, both teachers and class members should use the scriptures regularly in this class. Class members may be investigators, the newly baptized, those returning to activity, and those who may need or desire a stronger understanding of basic gospel principles. This class would be especially helpful for prospective missionaries or other young adults.

Gospel Doctrine Class Member Study Guide for 1993

A new 32-page Gospel Doctrine class member’s study guide is available for this year’s study of the Doctrine and Covenants. This guide provides historical background and helpful insights into each reading assignment. The study guide will enhance personal study of the Doctrine and Covenants and will be very useful in family scripture study. Every member of the Gospel Doctrine classes should have a copy (34516; $.15).

The Gospel Doctrine teacher’s manual for the Doctrine and Covenants has been revised. It includes the material from the class member’s study guide and significant historical visuals (34517; $1.00).

Copying Music

The Church has made every effort to obtain permission for members to get the maximum use of musical works contained in Church publications such as Hymns and the Children’s Songbook. However, the rights of the authors and copyright owners must be respected. Songs that have the notice “© (year) LDS” located near the bottom left corner of the page and songs that have no copyright notice may be copied for noncommercial Church or home use. Songs with copyright notices other than “© (year) LDS,” unless otherwise noted, must not be copied.

Stake and ward meetinghouse libraries must not have or keep any printed or audiotaped music that has been illegally copied or duplicated.

Christmas Decorations inside Meetinghouses

Christmas decorations that are modest, inexpensive, and fireproof or that have been treated with fire retardant may be placed temporarily in the foyer or the cultural hall of a meetinghouse, as approved by the agent bishop. Trees may not be placed in the chapel area of the meetinghouse. Hay, straw, palm fronds, other dehydrated materials, and candles are not to be used. Christmas trees should be artificial or properly flameproofed and displayed without electric lights or candles. Local fire and safety codes and ordinances are to be observed.

Decorations on the exterior of the meetinghouse or on the grounds are discouraged and are not to be paid for from Church funds.