New Seventies, Primary Presidency, and Young Women Counselor Called
During the solemn assembly held Saturday, October 1, in the opening session of the 164th Semiannual General Conference, President Howard W. Hunter, his Counselors in the First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other General Authorities, as well as the general auxiliary leaders of the Church, were sustained by Church membership.
Included in this sustaining was the calling of three new members to the First Quorum of the Seventy; the granting of emeritus status to a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy; the release of seven Brethren from the Second Quorum of the Seventy; the calling of a new Sunday School general presidency; the calling of a new Primary general presidency; and the calling of a new counselor in the Young Women general presidency.
Called to the First Quorum of the Seventy were Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Andrew Wayne Peterson, and Cecil Osborn Samuelson, Jr. Elder Neuenschwander had been a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy since April 1991 and is serving as president of the Europe Area. Biographical information on Elders Peterson and Samuelson, both from Salt Lake City, is on page 105.
Granted General Authority emeritus status was Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., who had served in the First Quorum of the Seventy since 1975. He had earlier served as a member of the First Council of the Seventy since 1968. Elder Rector joined the Church in 1952 while serving in the U.S. Navy. After serving as a naval aviator for twenty-six years, he retired with the rank of captain. Born and reared in Missouri, Elder Rector attended school at the University of Georgia and the University of Southern California. He also served as president of the California San Diego and Alabama-Florida Missions.
Released from the Second Quorum of the Seventy were Elders Albert Choules, Jr., Lloyd P. George, Malcolm S. Jeppsen, Richard P. Lindsay, Merlin R. Lybbert, Gerald E. Melchin, and Horacio A. Tenorio.
Elder Choules was called to the Seventy in October 1988. While in the Seventy he served as counselor in the Utah Central, Europe, and Utah South Areas. He will continue to reside in Salt Lake City.
Elder George had been a member of the Seventy since October 1988. He served as counselor in the North America Southeast, North America Central, Pacific, and Utah Central Areas. He will live in Orem, Utah.
Called to the Seventy in April 1989, Elder Jeppsen served as first and second counselor in the Utah North Area and as president in the Utah South Area. He will resume his work as a physician in a Salt Lake City practice.
Elder Lindsay was called to the Seventy in April 1989. A native of Salt Lake City, he served as counselor in the Utah North and Africa Areas and as president of the Africa Area. He will remain in Salt Lake City.
Called to the Seventy in April 1989, Elder Lybbert served as counselor and president in the Asia and North America Northwest Areas. Currently he is serving as president of the Cardston Alberta Temple. He will continue serving in that capacity.
Elder Melchin had been a member of the Seventy since October 1988. He served as counselor in the Utah North, Utah South, Europe North, and North America Southwest Areas. He is now president of the Toronto Ontario Temple and will continue in that calling.
Elder Tenorio was called as a Seventy in April 1989. A native of Mexico City, Mexico, he served as counselor in the Mexico/Central America, Mexico, and South America South Areas. He will live in Mexico City.
A new Sunday School general presidency was also called during the opening session of conference: Elder Charles Didier of the Presidency of the Seventy will serve as president, with Elders J Ballard Washburn and F. Burton Howard of the Seventy as first and second counselor, respectively. The new Sunday School general presidency replaces Elders Merlin R. Lybbert, Clinton L. Cutler (who died April 9 of this year), and Ronald L. Poelman.
The Primary general presidency was also reorganized. Patricia P. Pinegar was called as the general president of the auxiliary for children, with Anne G. Wirthlin as first counselor and Susan Lillywhite Warner as second counselor.
Released after six and a half years in the Primary general presidency were President Michaelene P. Grassli and her counselors: Betty Jo N. Jepsen, first counselor; and Ruth B. Wright, second counselor.
Sister Grassli has served on the National Cub Scout Committee, the National Advisory Board of the Boy Scouts of America, and on the board of the Primary Children’s Medical Center. Prior to her call as Primary general president, she served for eight years as second counselor in the Primary general presidency and for five years as a member of the Primary general board.
Sister Jepsen is a member of the National Boy Scout Committee, and her responsibilities in the Primary general presidency included curriculum, music, and children’s sacrament meeting presentations.
Sister Wright has served on the National Cub Scout Committee. During her tenure in the Primary general presidency, she was responsible for Sharing Time, teacher training, and audiovisual materials.
A new second counselor in the Young Women general presidency also was called to replace Sister Patricia Pinegar, who had been serving in that capacity. Sister Bonnie Dansie Parkin was sustained as second counselor to President Janette C. Hales, Young Women general president. Biographical information on these newly called sisters is found on pages 106–7.
Elder Andrew W. Peterson
Elder Andrew W. Peterson fondly remembers his service as a stake mission president while attending dental school in San Francisco. Evenings of teaching the gospel often followed full days of studying.
Despite his busy missionary schedule, Elder Peterson graduated with honors. “I gained a testimony that the Lord can truly help us in our studies,” he recalls.
Elder Peterson’s calling as a stake missionary helped prepare him for his call to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy. He served a mission to northern Argentina and southern Bolivia from 1966 to 1968; as president of the Mexico Merida Mission from 1981 to 1984; as a counselor in the Salt Lake University Third Stake presidency from 1984 to 1988; then as stake president from 1988 to 1992; and as a regional representative. Elder Peterson also enjoyed serving as a Primary teacher upon being released as stake president. “The children taught me many valuable lessons,” he says.
Andrew Peterson was born 8 June 1947 in San Francisco. Three years later, his family moved to Utah, where his father set up dental practice—first in Payson and then in Salt Lake City, where Andrew spent the remainder of his childhood and where he began practicing dentistry following his graduation from dental school in 1974.
Elder Peterson’s love for the Church and its leaders began when he was a child. His grandfather, a stake president in the Salt Lake Hillside Stake, often introduced him to visiting General Authorities following stake conference. When he was sixteen, Andrew was greatly influenced by participating in the Hill Cumorah Pageant in New York and by attending a testimony meeting in the Sacred Grove.
On 20 June 1969, he married Christine Ann Swensen in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of eight children, with whom they enjoy spending as much time as possible.
The Petersons have been active in local and international community service. Through their involvement with the Partners of the Americas—a national people-to-people program—they were able to assist Bolivian school children.
Elder Peterson, who believes that Heavenly Father exercises a guiding hand in our lives, looks forward to giving full-time service to the Church. “I feel very blessed,” he says. “I have a firm testimony of the importance of this work.”
Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, Jr.
As he adjusts to his new calling as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, Jr., is sustained by two major influences in his life: his wife and his testimony.
“I’ve known the gospel is true all my life,” he says, pausing from cleaning out his desk at Intermountain Health Care, where he was a senior vice president. “While in the military, I prayed for a confirmation about the Prophet Joseph and the Book of Mormon. I received an impression as vivid as a sound or picture: Why do you pray for an answer to something you already know is true?”
Of his wife, the former Sharon Giauque, whom he married in the Salt Lake Temple on 25 November 1964, Elder Samuelson says: “My wife is my best and most honest critic. She has always embraced any call that has come our way. Her support of me is absolute.”
Born 1 August 1941 and raised in Salt Lake City, Elder Samuelson interrupted his studies at the University of Utah to serve a mission to Scotland. After earning a master’s degree in educational psychology and a medical degree, he completed his internship and residency at Duke University in North Carolina. He spent the next seventeen years practicing rheumatology and serving on the University of Utah medical faculty, including working as the university’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the school of medicine. Four years ago, he accepted his position at IHC.
Elder Samuelson’s Church experience has included serving as elders quorum president, high councilor, and president of a University of Utah stake from 1977 to 1982. More recently, he has served as a regional representative. At the time of his call to the Seventy, he was serving as high priests group leader in the Holladay Eighteenth Ward, Salt Lake Holladay South Stake.
An avid reader, Elder Samuelson favors history and current events. With his wife and their five children, who range in age from twelve to twenty-six, he enjoys boating on Lake Powell and watching sporting events. He plays a little tennis and has grown to love walks of solitude.
Of his work experience, Elder Samuelson says, “Medicine is fundamentally a mission of service, and service is what Jesus wants us all to be doing. I’m more and more convinced that everything good we do in life is somehow connected to the gospel.”
Newly Called Sisters Love Youth and the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Although the new counselor in the Young Women general presidency and the members of the new Primary general presidency are different in many ways, they do have two things in common—a great love for youth and an enthusiasm for their new callings.
“Oh, how I love children!” said Sister Patricia P. Pinegar shortly after her new calling as Primary general president was announced. “What an opportunity to be part of this organization.”
Sister Pinegar, who has served as second counselor in the Young Women general presidency for the past two years, recalls serving as a Primary organist when she was a preteen.
“I’m sure I was a terrible organist,” she remembers now. “But I knew the Primary leaders loved and trusted me. And I knew that if they felt that way, then my Heavenly Father must love and trust me, too. What an important thing to learn at a young age.”
Sister Pinegar was born on 3 February 1937. Her father “liked to experience life and new things,” observed Sister Pinegar, and the family moved several times. Patricia spent time in Utah, Hawaii, and California. “Some of my best childhood memories are of the time spent in Hawaii,” she says.
After graduating from Glendale (California) High School, she headed to Brigham Young University, where she met her future husband, Ed, at freshman orientation. “Our eyes caught, and that was it,” she says.
They married in the Salt Lake Temple on 28 March 1956, and Sister Pinegar later embarked on her favorite career, that of a mother. “My greatest joy and happiness is my family—my children and my husband. And now I have seventeen grandchildren,” she adds. “Most of them are Primary or pre-Primary age. They’ll help me in this new calling.”
The Primary program is well established. A great amount of work has recently been done on new Primary manuals, Sister Pinegar observed. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to help children learn and live the principles of the gospel.”
As first counselor in the Primary general presidency, Anne Goalen Wirthlin feels like she is “home again.”
“Children have always been the favorite involvement of my life,” she says. She earned a degree in elementary education, and her callings in Primary were some of her favorite responsibilities.
Born 26 April 1939, Anne Goalen grew up in Salt Lake City and attended the nearby University of Utah. She married David Wirthlin in the Salt Lake Temple on 25 April 1961. After spending a year each in Minneapolis and Albuquerque and three years in Idaho Falls, the Wirthlins returned to Salt Lake, where they brought up their six children.
“We did leave for three years when David was called as president of the Germany Frankfurt Mission,” she says. “And those were some of the happiest years of my life. I felt insecure in my capabilities as a mission president’s wife, and I didn’t think I could do all that I’d need to do. But I came to understand how the Lord makes you capable of fulfilling whatever he asks you to do. That’s how I feel about this new calling.”
As a grandmother of three, Sister Wirthlin wants to help young children gain their own testimony. “When I attended Primary as a young child, I can remember entering the chapel and feeling reverent. My Primary teachers were so wonderful and loving. Primary was a nice, warm, safe place, a place where I could go and feel loved—by teachers and by Heavenly Father. I want Primary children all over the world to know those feelings.”
As second counselor in the new Primary general presidency, Susan Lillywhite Warner has a strong conviction that the gospel can change lives. She has seen it happen.
“I grew up in Anaheim, in southern California,” she explains. “Most of my Primary teachers were converts, so we learned the gospel together. I can remember watching the gospel change their lives. It was almost a physical change; it was so real to me.”
That early exposure to the power of the gospel stayed with Susan and was reinforced as she continued to experience the Spirit. As a young girl, she attended general conference with her family and clearly remembers President David O. McKay giving a blessing to the congregation. “At the time, I thought it felt like heaven,” she recalls. “I would like all children to have an opportunity to feel that same Spirit.”
Born 19 January 1940, Susan graduated from Anaheim High School and studied at BYU, where she earned degrees in elementary education and psychology. She taught school for a year in Provo before marrying Terry Warner in the Los Angeles Temple. The couple spent four years in New Haven, Connecticut, and then returned to Provo. There they reared their ten children who, together with their six grandchildren, are the delight and joy of their lives.
“I love children. I’m thrilled to be working with people who love children,” she observed. “It strengthens my testimony when I meet wonderful, devoted Saints who sacrifice to serve in the kingdom.”
As the mother of four sons, Sister Bonnie Dansie Parkin feels that, in a sense, she has just added thousands of daughters to her family with her calling to serve as the second counselor in the Young Women general presidency.
“I look forward to having conversations with young women about their lives, what’s making life good for them, what they’re having a difficult time with. In many ways, being a youth today is so hard. Adults must be a resource for young people,” said Sister Parkin.
Sister Parkin was blessed with many adult resources in her childhood. Born on 4 August 1940, Sister Parkin recalls that her parents were pillars of strength in her young life. In addition, she has treasured memories of a loving youth leader who also touched her life.
“Our ward in Herriman was small,” Sister Parkin explains. “And this lady really took each one of us under her wing. She talked to us about the gospel and shared things with us. You really knew she cared about you. I’ve thought often of things she shared with us.”
After graduating from Utah State University in elementary education and early childhood development, Bonnie taught school for a year and then married University of Utah medical school student James Parkin in the Salt Lake Temple on 1 July 1963.
Her testimony took a giant leap forward when the family traveled to Seattle, Washington, where Brother Parkin completed his internship and residency. “That was when my own quest for gospel knowledge truly began,” Sister Parkin remembers. Now she hopes to continue sharing her testimony with the young women of the Church.
President Hunter Visits Swiss Saints
On his first trip outside the United States since becoming President of the Church, President Howard W. Hunter spent eight days in Switzerland.
Accompanying President Hunter during portions of the August 8–16 trip was his wife, Inis Hunter; President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve, and his wife, Donna; Presiding Bishop Merrill J. Bateman and his wife, Marilyn; and Bishop H. David Burton of the Presiding Bishopric and his wife, Barbara.
While in Switzerland, President Hunter attended meetings at the Lausanne Ward in the Geneva Switzerland Stake. He spent a day at the Swiss Temple in Zollikofen, meeting with the temple leaders and speaking with the temple missionaries serving there. Also, he spoke at a fireside in the Lausanne Palace Hotel.
The chapel at the Lausanne Ward was filled for President Hunter’s August 14 visit.
“As I have been sitting here today, I have been thinking of those mission presidents with whom I worked when this was just a small mission, not very large but consisting of people who were faithful,” he told the 287 people in attendance. “I have seen some of you here who have been strong and giving of yourselves for the benefit of others. It makes me feel proud to know that you have been involved very much in helping the gospel to grow and spread as it has in Switzerland and other places in Europe.”
President Hunter remarked on his experiences visiting western Europe as a General Authority. “How grateful I am to see the growth that has taken place, and I know that you feel the same way about what has happened here in this part of the world,” he remarked.
After the sacrament meeting, President Hunter took the time to meet with everyone who had attended. He also posed for a picture with the Primary children in the ward.
At the fireside later that night, President Hunter again spoke of the growth of the Church in Switzerland, a relatively small country of only 15,941 square miles in area, with an estimated population of 6.7 million people. Currently, approximately 7,000 members live in three stakes and two missions within the country.
“How thankful we are to be here in this land of peace and goodwill,” he said. “On this day, our hearts are turned to the Prince of Peace, our Lord and Master.”
While in Switzerland, President and Sister Hunter also had the opportunity to visit several points of interest, including the Swiss Alps.
Arizona Saints Challenged to Live Gospel Fully
Enthusiastic Church members in two Tucson, Arizona, regions were reminded of the blueprint for achieving happiness and eternal life when President Howard W. Hunter visited for their recent biregional conference. The counsel was clear and the Spirit moving. The message from President Hunter was exhilarating: he encouraged listeners to leave the conference “committed to more fully live the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
President Hunter and his wife, Inis, were accompanied by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Elisa; and Elder W. Mack Lawrence of the Seventy, president of the North America Southwest Area, and his wife, Jacqueline.
“How critical it is for each of us to be more fully converted, strengthened, and fortified in the gospel,” President Hunter said in his first address at a regional conference since becoming President of the Church.
In the spirit of that great message and in his warm greetings, President Hunter encouraged the nearly fourteen thousand people assembled in the University of Arizona’s McKale Center to “live in such a way as to be an example of the teachings of the Savior.”
“You have noticed, I am sure, that those members of the Church who become involved in prominent activities that are not consistent with our standards are sometimes widely reported on in the public press,” he noted. “Specific note is usually made that they are members of the Church. I suppose others expect more of us because of our beliefs.”
President Hunter, who presided over all sessions of the September 17–18 conference, urged those who attended from six stakes in the Tucson Arizona and Tucson Arizona East regions to consider seven specific suggestions in “efforts to be examples of the Lord’s restored gospel”:
Pay a full and honest tithing.
Avoid coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, or “any substance that contains illegal drugs or harmful or habit-forming ingredients, or similar products which give the ‘appearance of evil.’”
Read and study the scriptures and conference reports as individuals and as families.
Strive to build a personal testimony of Jesus Christ and the Atonement.
Practice morning and evening prayers privately and as families.
Qualify for and remain worthy of a current temple recommend.
Make family life a “prominent focus,” and hold family home evening.
Elder Wirthlin spoke of the Lord’s admonition to prepare ourselves to return to his presence. “The Savior’s atonement was the greatest gift he gave us. Through his atoning sacrifice, all mankind might be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”
He also emphasized the importance of temple work. “Our Savior has provided a way for us to sanctify ourselves in the holy temples, where we may go to learn more about being perfected.
“In the holy temples, the Saints receive strength and power in five ways: (1) from the promises made in the covenants; (2) in overcoming evil; (3) in doing work for those who have lived before us; (4) from the enhancement of spirituality, and (5) because attending the temple is a retreat from the cares and troubles of the world.”
Sister Inis Hunter also spoke during the Sunday conference session, discussing the importance of reading the Book of Mormon and other scriptures to find answers and receive help in understanding our purpose on earth and in overcoming the great wickedness in the world.
She also reached out to those who are single and alone. “Don’t despair,” she urged. “Learn how to pray, not just to speak idle words but to talk with the Lord. We should pour out our hearts and let him know our needs, and he will help us.”
Messages in a four-hour priesthood meeting on Saturday afternoon echoed familiar and critical themes: pay attention to and renew efforts to bring back those who have left the Church (President Hunter urged listeners to “read and reread over and over the parable of the lost sheep”); take the necessary steps to ensure temple worthiness; instruct youth and thoughtfully prepare and influence youth activities; teach youth to rely on the Spirit; and stress dress that is consistent with Church standards. Priesthood brethren were also strongly encouraged to make home teaching meaningful and to remember the keys to effective home teaching: preparation, prayer, and persistence.
President Hinckley Speaks to Ricks Students
Students at Ricks College received their first report card of the semester, complete with five Bs, from President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency.
In the August 28 five-stake fireside, President Hinckley counseled more than 5,500 students regarding the five Bs: be grateful, be smart, be clean, be true, and be humble.
“These [grades] won’t go on your transcripts,” he said, “but if you observe them they will bless your lives in a wonderful way.”
In his remarks, President Hinckley expounded on each of the five topics:
Be grateful. “How thankful we ought to be to our Father in Heaven. Of all the billions of people in the world, we are so richly favored. What a wonderful thing it is to be born in this time.”
Be smart. “Knowledge is an eternal thing. Grasp it. You only have two years here. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and feast from the dedicated faculty.”
Be clean. “Pornography is all around us. It’s the devil’s work. It’s not your work. Stay away from it.” President Hinckley encouraged students to be clean in their manners, in their dress, in their apartments, and in their thoughts.
Be true. “Be true to your inheritance. Be true to the gospel, which has hopefully become a part of your life. Be true to the covenants you made at baptism. … If we will be true, if we will be faithful, the Lord will bless us to accomplish that which is asked of us.”
Be humble. “Go to the Lord in humility, and he will give thee answer to thy prayers and lead thee by the hand (see D&C 112:10). If you will walk in faith and faithfulness, your days will be fruitful and your lives will be filled with happiness.”
President Hinckley’s wife, Marjorie, also spoke at the fireside, urging students to put Christ in the center of their lives. “I hope you will keep the faith,” she said. “It pays big dividends. … Stand firm and take Christ into your lives and keep him there. You will have a better life if you become close to him.”
First Presidency Emphasizes Temple Worthiness, Family Home Evening
The following letters from the First Presidency have been read to members in sacrament meetings.
Temple Worthiness and Temple Attendance
“We desire that more members of the Church do whatever is necessary to receive or renew their temple covenants and blessings.
“Many of our adult brethren and sisters have not yet been endowed. Still others have been endowed but have not returned to the House of the Lord for many years. Some of our otherwise active members are lax in their attendance at the temple.
“The restored gospel focuses on the ordinances of the Holy Temple as an essential step toward eternal life. As more members of the Church attend the temple, they and their families will enjoy needed blessings.
“We request that stake and mission presidents, bishops, and branch presidents urge all adult members to qualify for a temple recommend even if no temple is immediately available to them.”
Family Home Evening
“When family home evenings were first introduced as an official program of the Church, the First Presidency said, ‘If the Saints obey this counsel [to hold family home evenings], we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influence and temptations which beset them.’ We reaffirm the promised blessings to those who faithfully hold family home evenings.
“Monday evenings should be reserved for family home evening. Local leaders should ensure that Church buildings and facilities are closed, that no ward or stake activities are planned for Monday evenings, and that other interruptions to family home evenings be avoided.
“The primary emphasis of family home evening should be for families to be together to study the gospel. We remind all that the Lord has admonished parents to teach their children the gospel, to pray, and to observe the Sabbath Day. The scriptures are the most important resource for teaching the gospel. Other resources include the Family Home Evening Resource Book, general conference addresses, Church magazines, the Church News, Church videocassettes, and other appropriate family-oriented material.
“We encourage priesthood and auxiliary leaders to discuss this matter in ward and stake council meetings after this letter has been read in a sacrament meeting.
“May the Lord bless you in attending to this important matter.”
Scouting Leaders from Canada Visit Church Leaders
An 80-year-old relationship between Canadian Scouting and the Church was strengthened during a recent visit when Scouting leaders from Canada came to Salt Lake City.
Officials from Scouts Canada met with President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; Elder Jack H Goaslind of the Seventy, Young Men general president; Elder Ted E. Brewerton of the Seventy, president of the North America Northwest Area; Elder James M. Paramore of the Seventy, president of the North America Central Area; Betty Jo N. Jepsen, then first counselor in the Primary general presidency; and Mark Hurst, administrative assistant to the Young Men general presidency and secretary to the Church’s General Scouting Committee.
“Although 1915 was the ‘official’ year in which LDS groups were affiliated with Scouts Canada, we have evidence in Alberta of Mormons having joined Scouting in Canada as early as 1911,” said John C. Pettifer, Scouts Canada’s chief Scout.
Mr. Pettifer, along with Warren McMeekin, director of volunteers; Leigh Cotterill, president of the Alberta Provincial Council; and Ellis G. Stonehocker, regional representative and the Church’s official liaison with Scouts Canada, visited with Church leaders on August 26.
During the meeting, President Monson spoke of the progress of Scouting in Canada and other nations of the world and mentioned participation in international jamborees and world conferences of the Scouting movement. Participants in the meeting were pleased with the opportunity to become more familiar with how each organization functions and to talk about how to work toward common goals.
Church Membership by Area
By the end of 1993, total Church membership reached approximately 8,687,000. Those members live throughout the world. Following is a graph showing how Church membership (rounded off to the nearest thousand) is divided into major areas.
Miscellaneous Countries (small countries, not identified by name in the statistical report)
Cape Verde Dedicated by Elder Oaks
In a prayer asking for specific blessings on the land and the people, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Republic of Cape Verde, a string of ten islands and islets off the western coast of Africa.
Others at the September 14 dedication included Elder Oaks’s wife, June; Elder Hans B. Ringger of the Seventy, first counselor in the Europe Mediterranean Area presidency; Portugal Lisbon South Mission President W. Robert Coleman and his wife, Marilyn; and almost one hundred local members and missionaries.
“As I visited these islands and met their beautiful and wonderful people, I recalled the Lord’s assurance that he remembers those who are upon the isles of the sea,” said Elder Oaks after he returned from the visit (see 2 Ne. 29:7).
The islands in the republic, which are formed from volcanic rocks, are barren and quite dry. The dedication was held in Fifth of July Park, a park commemorating the date the republic gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. This park is one of the few places on the island with trees, Elder Oaks observed. Fresh water is also scarce in the republic.
In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Oaks asked that the deficiencies of the land might be overcome. He prayed for rain and food and blessed the land that it would provide for the people.
Elder Oaks also prayed for the people of the small republic, especially the members, that they would be helped to remember God’s commandments, that they would be strong in keeping those commandments, and that they might have vision and energy and freedom.
In dedicating the land for the preaching of the gospel, Elder Oaks prayed that the people might have the opportunity to accept the gospel and ordinances of salvation and to make covenants that would open the windows of heaven for unlimited blessings.
Of the 350,000 people living in Cape Verde, approximately 2,500 are members of the Church; there are three mission districts in the republic. In January 1989, two missionaries were sent to create a branch. Today, forty-eight full-time missionaries serve in the islands.
Thousands Attend Orlando Temple Open House
More than ninety-three thousand people toured the Orlando Florida Temple during a three-week open house that was “exceptionally well received,” according to Rulon Munns, Orlando Florida Temple open house and dedication committee coordinator.
Throughout the September 10–30 open house, the more than ten thousand Church members who volunteered their time for six-hour shifts kept hearing the same words from visitors—“magnificent” and “inspiring.” Several visitors of other faiths noted that while they were in the temple, they completely forgot about their problems and felt a peace that lingered even after they had left the sacred edifice.
The open house began with two days of tours for community leaders, media representatives, and other invited guests. Volunteer workers were touched by the awe and marked reverence visitors displayed. During the press conference, people listened quietly to Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who gave the opening address. Then they watched an introductory film, walked through an exhibit, and toured the 70,000-square-foot temple, which is built of gleaming white stone. The quiet reverence felt during that first press conference continued throughout the three weeks of the open house.
Many people responded to the spiritual feelings they felt as they toured the new temple. Genean McKinnon, temple open house committee spokesperson, noted that more than eight hundred missionary referrals were expected from the event.
Robert Attipoe is one of many whose life was changed as a result of the open house. Born in western Africa and educated in Great Britain, Robert is currently an intern at an Orlando hospital. Some weeks ago, he was searching for a lost telegram and spoke at length to Rayola McBride, a Western Union customer-service operator working out of Reno, Nevada. Over a period of several days, she helped him locate the telegram. In gratitude, Dr. Attipoe told her to call him if she ever came to Florida.
A few weeks later Rayola and her husband, Cal, both members of the Church, decided to visit Florida. They also decided to take Dr. Attipoe up on his offer. Once they arrived in Orlando, they called him and invited him to spend the day in Disney World with them. However, during breakfast, the McBrides were prompted to take the intern to the open house instead.
Upon entering the pavilion, Robert was moved to tears at the sight of the statue of Christ. As he exited the temple, he told the missionaries he wanted to be baptized. On September 24, Robert was baptized by Brother McBride, who flew to Florida from Nevada with Sister McBride to be a part of this special day. Robert feels he has a great work to do among his African ancestors and is looking forward to visiting the temple again as a member.
Brent Holliday, assistant to Brother Munns, reported that members contributed more than one hundred thousand working hours during the open house. Many members volunteered for extra hours or remained to work a second shift because it was such a wonderful atmosphere to work in.
“From the very beginning, our main objective was quality,” Brother Munns observed. “Creating a positive, informative, and peaceful tour was the focal point of the open house. I think we were very successful in achieving that goal.”
James Tew, Church public affairs director for the North America Southeast Area, and Sister McKinnon both commented on the favorable press coverage of the open house. Local radio and television stations covered the event. A story featuring an interview with Elder Ballard was carried in fifteen papers around the state, “from Key West to Fort Walton Beach, literally from ‘tip to toe’ in Florida,” Sister McKinnon said. The local ABC affiliate televised the weather report live from the temple grounds, and a Tampa Tribune article was picked up by the wire service and distributed nationwide.
Policies and Announcements
The following instructions have been sent to general and local priesthood leaders and stake and ward Primary presidents in English-speaking areas:
Missionaries Speaking in Sacrament Meeting before Their Missions
Leaders and members are reminded of the following statement from the General Handbook of Instructions, page 7-2:
“Bishoprics may honor newly called full-time missionaries by asking them to speak in a sacrament meeting before their departure. The bishopric plans and conducts such meetings and invites those who will participate. Family members of the missionary may offer prayers, present special music, or speak. Talks and music should be worshipful, faith promoting, and gospel oriented. The regular time of the sacrament meeting should not be extended.
“Members and local leaders should avoid practices that may detract from the sacred nature of a mission call or create unnecessary expense, such as holding open houses for missionaries (except for family gatherings), sending [or publishing] formal printed announcements or invitations, printing special programs, or forming reception lines at the meetinghouse after the sacrament meeting.”
Leaders should review these instructions with members in priesthood, Relief Society, and sacrament meetings. Bishops should specifically discuss them with newly called missionaries and their families well before the missionary’s departure date.