News of the Church


Changes in General Authority Assignments

Several changes in General Authority assignments were announced during the opening session of the 163rd Semiannual General Conference.

Elders Dean L. Larsen, James M. Paramore, and J. Richard Clarke were released from the Presidency of the Seventy. Elders Joe J. Christensen, Monte J. Brough, and W. Eugene Hansen were sustained as new Presidents of the Seventy; they join Elders Rex D. Pinegar, Carlos E. Asay, Charles Didier, and L. Aldin Porter in that Presidency. (For further information, see August 1993 Ensign, p. 74.)

In addition, Elder L. Lionel Kendrick of the Seventy, currently serving as president of the Dallas Temple, was released as second counselor in the Young Men general presidency. Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, also of the Seventy, was sustained as second counselor in the Young Men general presidency.

Also, Elders Jacob de Jager, Adney Y. Komatsu, and H. Burke Peterson, all of the First Quorum of the Seventy, were granted emeritus status.

Elder Jacob de Jager

Elder Jacob de Jager

Sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy 3 April 1976, Elder de Jager most recently served as counselor in the North America West Area presidency. Prior to his calling as a General Authority, he served as a regional representative and as a counselor to three mission presidents. He speaks six languages and lived in the Far East for several years while in Church leadership positions.

Elder Adney Y. Komatsu

Elder Adney Y. Komatsu

The first General Authority of Japanese descent, Elder Komatsu has served in many positions. He was sustained an Assistant to the Twelve 4 April 1975 and was sustained a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy 1 October 1976. A former temple and mission president, Elder Komatsu most recently has served as assistant executive director in the Priesthood Department.

Elder H. Burke Peterson

Elder H. Burke Peterson

Most recently serving as president of the North America Central Area and as assistant executive director in the Temple Department, Elder Peterson was sustained as first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric 6 April 1972. He was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy 6 April 1985. He has served as a regional representative, as a stake president, and as a temple president.

Temple Presidents Attend Seminar

Nineteen new temple presidents and matrons received special training at the annual temple presidents seminar held in Salt Lake City.

During the Aug. 17–19 event, the new leaders received instruction in matters related to temple administration. Most of the leaders, whose new assignments were announced earlier in the Ensign, are seasoned in Church administration. The new leaders began serving in September. Temple presidents and matrons generally serve for three years.

Ground Broken for Brazil Missionary Training Center

Ground has been broken for a new missionary training center in Brazil, a project that Elder James E. Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve emphasized will be important for the growth of missionary work in the country, as well as in other South American countries.

Elder Faust presided over the August 27 groundbreaking ceremonies. Also attending the event were Elder L. Aldin Porter of the Seventy, executive director of the Missionary Department; and the Brazil Area presidency, Elders Harold G. Hillam, Helvécio Martins, and Dallas N. Archibald of the Seventy. Other local Church leaders also attended the activity, as did several government and civil authorities.

The current missionary training center in Brazil is located at the Sao Paulo Temple site and accommodates up to 200 missionaries. The Church is growing rapidly in the country, which now has approximately 442,000 members.

Construction on the facility, which will be the second largest missionary training center in the Church, is scheduled to begin later this year. The seven-story building will accommodate about 800 missionaries and include a 1,000-seat assembly room. The facility, located in the Casa Verde district, is scheduled for completion in 1995.

Sunday Meeting Schedule Change

The following announcement from the First Presidency was sent to Church leaders on August 27:

“In the spirit of simplification and with a continuing desire to strengthen all Church members, we announce a change in the Sunday meeting schedule effective January 1, 1994.

“Opening exercises for Sunday School, including the hymn practice, will no longer be held. An opening prayer will be offered in each class.

“The schedule in which Sunday School is held first has been eliminated. Only two Sunday meeting schedules are approved.

Sunday Meeting Schedule(click to view larger)

Sunday Meeting Schedule

“We re-emphasize the importance of Sunday School for teaching and learning the gospel through the study of scriptures. All members are encouraged to attend their Sunday School classes each Sunday.”

Adults in Sunday School; A class for youth; Children in Primary

Policies and Announcements

Institute Opportunities Enhanced for Young People

The First Presidency has released the following announcement:

“Careful study has shown that the opportunities for young people enrolled at institutes of religion are enhanced greatly when larger numbers participate and when they associate together in their social and service activities and religious education.

“To improve this opportunity for our young people, we announce the following modifications to prior instructions:

“1. All non-student young single adults eighteen through thirty who live in the immediate area of an institute of religion are invited to enroll in the institute and to participate with other students in the religious education classes and the social and service activities of this important Church program.

“2. The Latter-day Saint Student Association will now be administered by the Church Educational System.”

Young people benefit from attendng institute classes.

Ground Broken for Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple

In a “day of beginning,” President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, participated in the ground breaking of the Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple.

Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple

An architect’s rendering of the Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple, which is scheduled for completion in approximately two years.

The October 9 ground breaking took place on a cool, crisp Saturday morning with a crowd of more than 16,400 gathered at the 16.5-acre site in American Fork, Utah. In addition to Presidents Hinckley and Monson, Elders David B. Haight, Neal A. Maxwell, Joseph B. Wirthlin, and Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve were also in attendance, as well as several other General Authorities.

Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple groundbreaking

President Gordon B. Hinckley (left), President Thomas S. Monson (center), and Elder David B. Haight participate in ground-breaking ceremonies. (Photo by Phil Shurtleff.)

“This is the greatest era in the history of the world in the building of temples,” noted Presidency Hinckley, who conducted the service and also dedicated the site. “There has never been another season like this in the construction of the houses of the Lord. Of the forty-five operating temples which we now have, more than half have been constructed and dedicated in the past twelve years. We are moving across the world to extend the blessings and privileges of temple service to the faithful Saints of this church wherever they may be found. And this is a part of that great process.”

In his address, President Hinckley said, “We commend most warmly the faithful Saints on their temple attendance and the work which they are doing. Surely your lives are being blessed as you are blessing the eternal lives of those beyond the veil of death,” he said.

“We dedicate and consecrate and set apart this ground as the site for the Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple,” said President Hinckley during the dedicatory prayer. “We pray that Thy Spirit may hover over this ground and hallow it and sanctify it for the purposes for which it is now set apart. We pray that construction, once begun, will go forward without hindrance and delay. …

“We pray that each of those laboring here may be touched by Thy Holy Spirit and realize that this house on which he or she labors is a unique and special building, a house of God, which will be dedicated to Thy Eternal purposes for the blessing of Thy sons and daughters of all generations. …

“We pray that this may become a place of peace, a sacred structure to look upon with reverence and respect and appreciation for Thy eternal purposes.”

President Monson shared a letter that he had received from Samuel Barnes, a boy living in American Fork. In part, the letter read, “I’m so excited to have a temple in our city. … Primary taught me that Primary boys and girls helped with the temples. I want to help with the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. I hope I can help and that you will tell me how at the ground-breaking services.”

“So, Samuel, I thought today I would try to tell you how you can help with the Mt. Timpanogos temple,” said President Monson.

First, he counseled, he would get a picture of the temple and hang it on a bedroom wall “where I could look at it every morning and every night when I say my prayers, and I’d have within my heart a desire to attend the dedication of the temple and to then attend the temple and do vicarious baptism work as a boy. And then later I’d desire to have my endowments prior to my mission and then to kneel at a sacred altar with a sweet child of our Heavenly Father, an eternal companion.

Next, President Monson suggested that “you contribute something financially, some type of sacrifice for the building of the temple. … Any contribution any boy or girl or any man or woman makes toward this temple, financially or otherwise, will be to his or her eternal benefit.”

And finally, President Monson reminded Samuel and the rest of the audience that “we ourselves are temples of God.

“‘Organize yourselves,’” he said, quoting D&C 88:119. “‘Prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.’

“That is our blueprint for the houses we’ll build and for the temple which will grace this particular site,” he concluded.

Elder Wirthlin also spoke at the dedication ceremonies, noting that the site of the future temple was hallowed. “At one time it was a farm for the welfare program and served the temporal needs of our Saints. Today we break ground for the spiritual welfare of all of us. … This will be a great event as the beautiful temple is erected.”

The new temple, which will take approximately two years to complete, is similar in design to the Bountiful Utah Temple, now under construction. The white stone exterior of the Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple exterior will feature a 187-foot tower topped by the angel Moroni.

More than 16,000 people attended the ground breaking. (Photo by Phil Shurtleff.)

Russian Members Receive, Distribute Clothing, Shoes

Approximately sixteen tons of clothing and shoes have been shipped to St. Petersburg, Russia, and are now being distributed in an effort that could possibly involve every member of the Church in that country.

The supplies—hundred-pound bales of sweaters, hats, jackets, coats, gloves, and other winter clothing—were hauled up two flights of stairs by priesthood leaders, who stored the donated items in an apartment.

Vyacheslav I. Efimov, district president, said the clothing would be distributed according to need to members in the Church’s ten St. Petersburg branches and the two branches in Vyborg.

“In addition, members of the Church will contact government authorities to locate needy individuals and families, including the elderly, those with illnesses, and families with children,” President Efimov said. “Our members will take clothing and shoes directly to their homes. We will try to involve every member of the Church in these efforts. The missionaries will also participate.”

In a country where winters are cold and inflation is climbing almost every week, the clothing was a welcome gift. “Last year, the exchange rate was 30 rubles to the dollar; today it is 1,100,” noted Tatiana Akimova, Gospel Doctrine teacher in the St. Petersburg Nevsky Branch. “Last year’s winter coat for an adult cost 4,000 rubles. Today it is more than 40,000 rubles, an increase tenfold. We appreciate the support of Church members. When we receive these things, we truly feel that they are our brothers and sisters in the gospel.”

The shipment sent to St. Petersburg is part of the Church’s ongoing humanitarian efforts to provide assistance to those in need, explained Isaac C. Ferguson, the Church’s director of International Welfare/Humanitarian Service.

“For several years the Church has asked Deseret Industries to collect surplus clothing from all its stores. Virtually all of this clothing is used for charitable purposes,” he said.

During 1993, more than six million pounds of goods were sent by the Church to fifty-five countries in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Brother Ferguson said the Church will contribute more than six million pounds of goods in 1993.

“We work with dozens of private organizations doing relief and development work throughout the world. The Church provides these goods as a charitable contribution.”

In addition to clothing and shoes, Brother Ferguson said the Church provides medical equipment, supplies, and educational materials. Food is also provided on a selected basis and is shipped from the Church storehouses to crisis situations worldwide.