Changes in General Authority Assignments Made
Changes in the status of seven members of the Quorums of the Seventy and a reorganization of the general presidency of the Sunday School were announced during the Saturday afternoon session of the 165th Semiannual General Conference. In addition, new members of the Presidency of the Seventy were sustained in their callings, which were announced earlier (see Ensign, Sept. 1995, p. 74).
Elder Jack H Goaslind and Elder Harold G. Hillam were sustained as members of the Presidency of the Seventy, replacing Elder Rex D. Pinegar and Elder Charles Didier, who have received area presidency assignments.
Given General Authority emeritus status was Elder Ted E. Brewerton, who was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1978. He has served in a variety of assignments over the years, including, most recently, president of the North America Northwest Area.
Also granted emeritus status was Elder Hans B. Ringger, who served in the First Quorum of the Seventy since 1985. A native of Switzerland, Elder Ringger most recently has served as first counselor in the Europe/Mediterranean Area presidency.
Released from the Second Quorum of the Seventy after completion of five years of service were Elders Eduardo Ayala, LeGrand R. Curtis, Helvécio Martins, J Ballard Washburn, and Durrel A. Woolsey. All five were called to the Seventy on 31 March 1990.
A native of Chile, Elder Ayala has served as a counselor in the South America South Area and South America North Area. Currently he is serving as president of the Santiago Chile Temple.
Elder Curtis has served as a counselor in the North America Southeast, Europe/ Mediterranean, and North America Northwest Areas. He served in the general presidency of the Young Men organization.
Elder Martins is a native of Brazil and has spent his five years as a Seventy in that country. He served as first and second counselor in the Brazil Area presidency.
Elder Washburn served as counselor in the Utah North, Africa, and Utah Central Areas and in the general presidency of the Sunday School. He is currently serving as the president of the Las Vegas Nevada Temple.
Elder Woolsey has served in the presidency of the Philippines/Micronesia, North America Northeast, and Utah Central Areas. His most recent assignment was in the presidency of the Pacific Area.
Also sustained were Elder Harold G. Hillam, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, as general president of the Sunday School, with Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy as first counselor and Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Seventy as second counselor. Released were Elder Charles Didier as president, Elder J Ballard Washburn as first counselor, and Elder F. Burton Howard as second counselor.
Temple Sites Announced
During the priesthood session of the Church’s 165th Semiannual General Conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced plans to build two more temples, in Boston, Massachusetts, and White Plains, New York.
“After working for years to acquire a suitable site in the Hartford [Connecticut] area, during which time the Church has grown appreciably in areas to the north and south, we have determined that we will not at this time build a temple in the immediate area of Hartford, but rather we will build one in the area of Boston … and White Plains. …
“We apologize to our faithful Saints in the Hartford area,” President Hinckley said. “[But] we are satisfied that we have been led to the present decision and that temples will be located in such areas that those of you who reside in the Hartford area will not have too far to drive.”
In addition, President Hinckley announced that leaders were working on the possibility of a temple in Venezuela and six more in six other sites. “I have a burning desire that a temple be located within reasonable access to Latter-Day Saints throughout the world,” he said. “We can proceed only so fast.”
Currently there are forty-seven working temples throughout the world. Six temples are currently under construction, and plans for six more had been announced previously.
English, Irish Members Greet President Hinckley
In a whirlwind, eight-day trip in August and September to the land where he served as a missionary, President Gordon B. Hinckley created a new stake, reorganized two other stakes, spoke at five firesides, addressed half the missionary force in the British Isles, visited four of eight missions, rededicated the Hyde Park Chapel in London, toured Church farms in East Anglia and the Preston temple site in Lancashire, set apart new temple workers at the London Temple near Lingfield, Surrey, and spoke with missionaries and members in Ireland.
Arriving at London on Friday, August 25, President Hinckley and Sister Marjorie Hinckley were greeted by Elder Graham W. Doxey of the Seventy, president of the Europe North Area. The Hinckleys spent the afternoon visiting Canterbury Cathedral and Sandwich, Kent, from where President Hinckley’s early ancestors departed for America.
August 26 began with an interview with Suzanne Evans from BBC Radio 4’s Sunday program; this interview aired nationally the following day. The interview was followed by a meeting with missionaries from the England London South Mission, and that evening President Hinckley spoke at a fireside for adult members in the Crawley, Romford, and Maidstone stakes; approximately eleven hundred members were in attendance.
Nearly one thousand members attended a Sunday morning meeting where the London England Wandsworth Stake was reorganized. That afternoon some fifteen hundred members were in attendance at the creation of a new stake in Canterbury.
“Service—that’s what rolls the work along,” said President Hinckley during the meeting. The testimony of eternal truth is what makes this church distinctive, he observed. “That is the real strength of the Church—not the buildings, not even Temple Square—but this testimony of truth that is found in the hearts of the people all over the world. People who can say, ‘It is true,’ and who say, ‘I’ll go where you want me to go; I’ll do what you want me to do.’ This is not an American church. This is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with a message for the whole world. This is a world church with a world message.”
That evening President Hinckley rededicated the newly refurbished Hyde Park meetinghouse. In addition to President Doxey, the two counselors in the area presidency, Elders John E. Fowler and Cecil O. Samuelson, Jr., of the Seventy, attended this meeting, where eight hundred people were gathered.
During the meeting, President Hinckley spoke with great warmth of his love for the British Isles. “It’s wonderful to be here again,” he said. Of London, he observed, “I have lived here longer than any other place except Salt Lake City. … The hand of the Lord has been over this nation, bringing peace, order, and law to the peoples of the earth,” he declared. “There is a little of England in me.”
President Hinckley reminded those in attendance that the original dedication of the meetinghouse had occurred on 26 February 1961 by President David O. McKay. “This is the key chapel in England,” he said. “We may have larger, but this is our flagship chapel. … This is a sort of companion piece to the [London] temple,” he observed. “One is in the world; one is a threshold to the eternities.”
With the British Isles in the grip of a record-breaking hot spell, President Hinckley asked during the dedicatory prayer “that this land will be blessed, that water will come upon this thirsty land.”
In his travels the preceding days, the President had been dismayed to see the fabled fields of England turned brown. The drought had broken all previous records, and gardens and fields wilted in the unrelenting sunshine. Hours after the rededication, the dry spell was broken with much-needed rain.
Serious as this situation is, though, President Hinckley warned of a more serious drought. “There is a terrible spiritual drought in this land,” he said, counseling those present to stay close to the Lord and to live the commandments.
The President spent Monday morning meeting with and setting apart temple workers in the London Temple. That afternoon President Hinckley met with two more media reporters: Trevor Barnes of the BBC World Service and Laurence Spicer of London News Radio. It was reported that up to thirty million people heard these interviews.
Afterward, President Hinckley met with missionaries from the England London Mission. Ben Fox and a crew from BBC TV’s Everyman program filmed portions of that meeting as part of a national documentary being prepared on the lifestyle of Latter-day Saint missionaries.
“Live the rules,” President Hinckley counseled the missionaries. That counsel he emphasized two more times in his address. “This is the time to give all your time to the Lord,” he continued. “Don’t waste it; use it wisely; do good. Think on the things of the Lord and be concerned about His work. Then, gone will be the darkness of sin and laziness, and your whole body will be filled with light.”
Following that missionary meeting, President and Sister Hinckley drove to Woodwalton Farm in Cambridgeshire, one of the Church’s newly acquired farms in Britain.
Tuesday morning President and Sister Hinckley toured the farms and then spent time in the Church’s area offices. That afternoon, President Hinckley spoke to missionaries in the England Birmingham Mission, and that evening Church members in the area attended a fireside where he spoke.
During his address, President Hinckley spoke of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who was “blessed with a vision beyond anything of consequence in modern history.” He urged the members to keep the Sabbath day holy and concluded by reminding members to “love one another, work at peace in the home, and remember that anger is corrosive.”
On Wednesday evening, the President addressed more than 750 Church members in Nottingham. Again, he stressed the sanctity of the Sabbath and the need to put families first. The Church in the British Isles “has come of age,” he declared. “The full program of the Church is here in this land.” His message emphasized the need for love and the need to stand together against the adversary.
Thursday President Hinckley returned to Preston, the area where he’d served as a young missionary more than sixty years ago. He toured the Preston England Temple site in Chorley. Preston is the location of the oldest continuous branch of the Church anywhere in the world, dating back to 1837. That evening, President Hinckley spoke to members of the Church in the Liverpool area.
During the address, he described a visit he had made earlier to a house in Preston where, as a young man, he had made a decision that would shape his life. It was a difficult time for him as a missionary, he explained. He had found little success and was discouraged. He wrote to his father, telling him that he felt he was wasting his time.
“Forget yourself and go to work,” his father wrote back.
This counsel reminded the young missionary of the scripture found in Matthew 16:25 [Matt. 16:25]: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” In that little bedroom, a young Elder Hinckley promised Heavenly Father that he would do just that. “Everything that has happened to me since, that’s been good, I can trace to that decision made in that little house,” President Hinckley said.
Friday morning, President and Sister Hinckley visited Albert Docks, Liverpool. Hundreds of thousands of emigrants left for the New World from the docks from the 1700s until the mid-1900s—including many converts to the Church—on the way to a new life in pioneer America. The Liverpool Daily Post had a reporter there covering President Hinckley’s visit, which was carried in a prominent story in the paper.
That afternoon President Hinckley left for Dublin, where he met with missionaries who serve in the Ireland Dublin Mission. Members from throughout Ireland attended a fireside held that Friday evening. This was the first visit by a President of the Church to Ireland in forty-two years—the last being President David O. McKay, who visited in 1953.
“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly” (D&C 121:45) was the message President Hinckley delivered, drawing upon the Prophet Joseph Smith’s Liberty Jail experience. Citing the life and example of King Benjamin, he encouraged those in attendance to “have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). Do so, he observed, “and the Church will be a great force for good in this land.”
On Saturday, September 2, President and Sister Hinckley flew home to Salt Lake City. British and Irish Saints alike felt that sitting at the feet of a living prophet and receiving his counsel had been a great spiritual experience.
Reporters: Bryan Grant, director of public affairs in the Europe North Area; assisted by Becky McLaverty of Shirley, Solihull; Shaun Elder of Limerick, Ireland; Audry Guest of Blackrod, Bolton; and Ken Goddard of Grantham, Lincolnshire.
President Hinckley Visits Tacoma, Washington
Calling the gospel the “greatest investment I know,” President Gordon B. Hinckley addressed an audience of more than seventeen thousand people gathered at a Tacoma, Washington, regional conference.
“It is not a sacrifice to live the gospel of Jesus Christ,” President Hinckley said. “It is never a sacrifice when you get back more than you give. It is an investment. It is the greatest investment I know because the dividends are everlasting.”
Speaking to those who had gathered from throughout the Tacoma region, which covers much of the southwestern portion of Washington state, President Hinckley also reminded members to observe the Sabbath day, live the Word of Wisdom, become more enthusiastic about temple and missionary work, and live the gospel.
Joining President Hinckley at the conference were Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Seventy, and their wives, who also spoke at the Sunday morning meeting.
President Hinckley urged members to refrain from such Sabbath-breaking activities as attending sporting events and other commercial activities and shopping. He urged members to focus on strengthening their families and following the words of the prophets.
While in Tacoma, President Hinckley conducted a leadership session. “You and I are part of a great and divine eternal plan,” President Hinckley told more than fourteen hundred priesthood leaders from the eleven-stake region. “Think about it. Pray about it. Ponder it. Meditate on your calling, your service, and the immense responsibility you have.”
President Hinckley also met with missionaries from the Washington Tacoma Mission and the temple presidency of the Seattle Temple.
President Monson Visits Sweden and Germany
In a week of activities that included meeting the king and queen of Sweden, President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Frances Johnson Monson, were welcomed “home.” The two both have Swedish ancestry.
President Monson greeted the king and queen of Sweden during Their Majesties’ first visit to the grounds of the Stockholm Sweden Temple on Wednesday, August 23. President and Sister Monson were joined by several thousand people who welcomed the royalty, who were visiting various sites in Haninge, located about twenty miles south of Stockholm.
A group of Primary children sang “I Am a Child of God” (Hymns, 1985, no. 306), then an adult chorus sang a hymn. President Monson presented the queen with an extensive history of her family on behalf of the Church. The history was gathered from the Church’s archives.
Then President Monson turned to the king and expressed his appreciation for His Majesty’s strong support of Scouting. He also mentioned the royal couple’s interest in families. As he spoke, two Boy Scouts presented a bronze casting of Dennis Smith’s sculpture, The First Step, showing a mother helping a young daughter take her first step toward her father.
Several days earlier, President Monson created the third stake in Sweden and the second stake in Stockholm. The next day President and Sister Monson spoke at a meeting held for members in the area. President Monson noted that he loved all countries. “However,” he added, “there is something about coming home, something about coming to this land of the North that has been touched with the finger of beauty and where the gospel has been taught for so long a time.”
President Monson talked of historic moments in Church history in Sweden he had witnessed personally, including creating the first stake in Stockholm twenty years before. He talked of the temple ground breaking, the temple dedication, and the dedication of the country for preaching the gospel. Also attending was Elder John E. Fowler of the Seventy, first counselor in the Europe North Area presidency.
On Monday, August 21, President Monson’s sixty-eighth birthday, the couple met with missionaries in the Sweden Stockholm Mission.
After their visit to Sweden, President and Sister Monson traveled to Germany, where they visited several Church historical sites and where President Monson dedicated a meetinghouse in fulfillment of a promise made twenty-seven years ago.
In 1968 President Monson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, visited with members of the Church in Görlitz, Germany. “Under the inspiration of the Lord, I promised those worthy Saints who had nothing—nothing—that if they were faithful to the Lord, He, in His kindness and fairness, would provide them with all the blessings any other member of the Church in a free country received,” he said.
On August 27 President Monson returned to Görlitz to dedicate a meetinghouse. At the dedication, he reflected upon his earlier visit in 1968. “I looked at the condition under which the church met in those days,” he said. “They had no ability to get Church materials, no visitors from Church headquarters, no patriarchs to give patriarchal blessings, no permission to hold a youth conference, no temple, no missionaries.”
But the members were faithful. “Here were a relatively small number of our Church members, but completely unified. I remembered that the Lord said where two or more are gathered in my name, there will I [the Lord] be also” (see D&C 6:32).
Through the years, patriarchs have been called, missionaries have preached the gospel, stakes in eastern Germany have been created, members have received permission to attend conferences in Salt Lake City, and a temple has been built. “Every promise came true but one,” President Monson observed. “We had nice buildings in Leipzig, in Dresden, and in other places, but not in little Görlitz, where the promise was made. … I am [here] fulfilling that one unfulfilled element of the promise.”
President and Sister Monson also visited the grave site of Joseph A. Ott, a missionary who died in 1896 shortly after he arrived in Dresden. The Monsons then visited a hillside overlooking Dresden where, in April 1975, President Monson offered a dedicatory prayer on the people in the German Democratic Republic.