Worldwide “Experiment upon the Word” Commemorated

Young women and Young Women leaders all over the world have focused this year on reading the scriptures in a year-long challenge from the Young Women General Presidency to “Experiment upon the Word.”

“The worldwide celebration for young women is a focus on experimenting on the word, or scriptures,” explained Sister Janette Hales Beckham, general president of the Young Women. “We’ve seen that their commitment to regular scripture study has brought to young women not only spiritual insights, but a new determination to make scripture study an important part of their lives.

“By making the scriptures a year-long focus,” she continued, “I believe many young women and their leaders have gained a new understanding of the scriptures as a resource in meeting daily challenges.”

Dozens of letters that have arrived at the Young Women office in Salt Lake City share ideas, experiences, and testimonies about the “Experiment upon the Word” celebration.

In the Independence Missouri Stake, young women received a special booklet to help them record their daily scripture reading. In addition, knowing that young women like to shop, leaders designed a “mall” for one particular activity. When the young women entered the stores, however, instead of finding things to purchase, they found workshops and service projects.

“We have been thrilled as we’ve joined with other young women worldwide to experiment on the word,” reports Carol LeMon, stake Young Women president.

Young women in the Logan Utah East Stake first heard about the year-long program at a special fireside in January. During the fireside, they planted seeds in flowerpots and signed pledge sheets to nurture the seeds of their testimony by regular scripture reading. “The wards each followed up with their own firesides,” says Linda Hanes, stake Young Women president. “They’re also using the scriptures more in Sunday lessons and finding ways to incorporate the scriptures in their activities as well.”

The stake Young Women presidency in the Sydney Australia Hebersham Stake took two months to prepare for their stake fireside where the program was announced. At the program, they gave each young woman a calendar-diary.

“Each month focused on a specific principle or character from the scriptures,” explains Joy Fitton, stake Young Women president. “Each month had questions to be answered and a challenge to be accepted or ‘experimented’ on. As a presidency, we had a special experience as we prepared these for the young women. We know that the lessons and stories in the scriptures need to live in these young people’s minds. This has helped do that.”

For the past two years, the young women and young men in the New York Queens District have focused on making goals and “growing together with their own individual plans,” says Iris Zamora, district Young Women president. When forty-two young women signed a golden scroll committing to “study, apply, and nurture the word of God throughout our lives,” the district’s young men were interested as well.

“As they put into practice these things they study in the scriptures, they are gaining spirituality,” Sister Zamora continues. “Our district theme for this year has been ‘The Rising Generation Fulfilling God’s Plan.’ They are truly rising as they read and study the scriptures and learn the plan Heavenly Father created for them.”

Young women in the Edgemont Second Ward in Provo, Utah, planted lavender seeds as they started their “experiment upon the word” project. They also received handmade bookmarks as reminders about their commitment to read. And at the beginning of class every week, the young women share scriptures that have impressed or touched them during the week.

“We want to be doers of the word and not hearers only,” said Kay Garner, ward Young Women president, “so the first week of every month we’ve had special service projects, too.”

“The Young Women office has received countless reports of group activities, beautiful new music, special firesides, and service projects,” said Sister Beckham. “But most important are the stories of growing personal testimony of the Savior’s love and how the gospel is working in daily lives.

“Most young women, and many others for that matter, are searching for direction and identity,” she continued. “As young women better understand our Heavenly Father and his plan, it strengthens their identity as daughters of God and helps them understand his willingness to give individual guidance to each of us. This is what we wanted to happen when we invited young women to participate in this celebration.”

[photo] Young women of Corvallis Fourth Ward, Corvallis Oregon Stake, enjoyed their acceptance of the challenge.

[photo] Brianne Eagar, Moses Lake Washington Stake, participates in service project.

Policies and Announcements

The following is from the Church Bulletin, 1995–1:

Use of Hymns in Church Meetings

Numerous calls have been received at Church headquarters inquiring whether music for Church meetings should be restricted to selections from the Church-published Hymns, the Children’s Songbook, or The Choirbook. Although most musical selections for sacrament meetings and other Church meetings should come from these approved resources, other appropriate music that is in keeping with the spirit of the hymns of the Church may occasionally be used.

Rendering of Bogotá Colombia Temple

An architect’s rendering of the Bogotá Colombia Temple has been released. The temple will be a modern classical design with a light-colored natural Colombian stone exterior. Three levels inside the temple will comprise forty-five thousand square feet, including four ordinance rooms and three sealing rooms. A statue of the angel Moroni will rest atop the temple’s single spire.

Plans for the 2.6-acre temple site include housing for patrons traveling long distances, a Beehive Clothing outlet, and a family history center.

Ground for the temple has been broken, and construction is under way.

1997 Art Competition to Focus on LDS Pioneering

Latter-day Saint artists around the world are invited to celebrate “150 Years of Pioneering” in the Church by submitting entries for the Fourth International Art Competition sponsored by the Museum of Church History and Art.

Entry forms have been mailed to hundreds of Latter-day Saint artists. Those whose names are not on the mailing list may request an entry form and copy of the announcement by writing to the museum at 45 N. West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. Entries are due by November 1996.

The exhibition opens 28 March 1997. Works will be shown during spring and summer of 1997, which is the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley.

Museum director Glen M. Leonard said the art submitted should depict or reflect a theme, value, concept, or image drawn from Latter-day Saint pioneer past or present. Artists are encouraged to submit works celebrating pioneering in the twentieth century in all parts of the world.

Noting that Latter-day Saints live in many lands, art curator Robert O. Davis said, “We hope to see themes that reflect what it means to meet the challenges of today’s world as well as of the nineteenth century.”

He explained that artists may memorialize the early pioneers or express how the pioneering spirit infuses the collective lives of members of the Church.

BYU Projects Aid Dead Sea Scrolls Studies

Scholars at Brigham Young University are receiving attention and accolades for their multiple roles in aiding research on the Dead Sea Scrolls and in helping to make the scrolls’ contents available to a worldwide audience.

1. In conjunction with the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation of Jerusalem, Brigham Young University and the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (F.A.R.M.S.) at BYU recently unveiled a working version of a comprehensive CD-ROM database of the scrolls at the Judaean Desert Scrolls Conference held at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. The conference featured research papers by several prominent Dead Sea Scroll scholars, including Emmanuel Tov, head of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project in Jerusalem, and BYU professors Dana M. Pike, David R. Seely, and Donald W. Parry, who have been translating portions of the scrolls since last year.

“The scholars at the conference were quite supportive of our efforts,” says Brother Parry, who demonstrated the database at the conference along with Steven W. Booras, director of special projects for F.A.R.M.S., a nonprofit education corporation headquartered at BYU and dedicated to the study of ancient scripture. “They are very happy that they will have at their fingertips materials which before were available only by thumbing through dozens of volumes of texts.”

The Dead Sea Scrolls database, which BYU and F.A.R.M.S. have been working on since 1993 and hope to make available to scholars and the public within a year, allows users to display graphic images of scrolls and scroll fragments, to simultaneously access Hebrew texts and accompanying translations, and to magnify scroll writings. The database also allows users to enhance the resolution of pictures of scrolls and scroll fragments, which number in the hundreds and thousands, respectively, and to conduct almost instantaneous word comparisons and searches.

The database, which will be demonstrated again this November at an American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature conference in Philadelphia, contains commentaries, journal articles, bibliographies, a concordance of scholarly works on the scrolls, and comprehensive concordance of the scrolls in Hebrew, Aramaic, and English.

Other materials that may be included on the finished database include Greek and Hebrew versions of the Old Testament, the Greek New Testament, apocryphal and rabbinic writings, and the writings of hellenized Jewry.

2. In a separate but related project, a BYU research team in Jerusalem is using DNA analysis to reassemble fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were written on animal skins and parchment.

Handwriting analysis, previously the most useful technique in reassembling the scrolls, only shows which fragments were written by the same scribe. But DNA analysis allows researchers to match scroll fragments using the genetic fingerprints of the animal skins on which the scrolls were written, says Scott Woodward, a BYU associate professor of microbiology who specializes in DNA studies. By determining which scrolls and scroll pieces are from the skins of related animals, researchers also may be able to discover which scrolls are from different herds or geographic areas.

“We should be able to group scrolls or pieces of parchment together as coming from the same location in ancient Israel,” says Brother Woodward, who presented his DNA research on the scrolls at the Judaean Desert Scrolls Conference. “That will give us an idea of how widespread the religious thought presented in the scroll material was at the time.”

3. Dead Sea Scrolls researchers are receiving further help from BYU thanks to the university’s development of “synthetic aperture radar,” which can penetrate the ground up to thirty feet. Noel B. Reynolds, BYU political science professor and president of F.A.R.M.S., has received permission from Israeli antiquities officials for F.A.R.M.S. to use the radar in low-flying aircraft to search for undiscovered caves surrounding the Dead Sea that may be repositories of additional scrolls.

The contributions BYU and F.A.R.M.S. are making toward Dead Sea Scrolls research have sparked interest among biblical scholars and strengthened the university’s scholastic reputation. BYU is scheduled to host an international conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1997.

The scrolls, discovered in 1947 in caves just northwest of the Dead Sea, contain the oldest known manuscripts of the Old Testament, as well as apocryphal and sectarian writings. Scholars believe the scrolls were written between 200 B.C. and A.D. 70 by Jews living in a settlement known as Qumran.

4. Donald W. Parry, BYU assistant professor of Hebrew, said the scrolls provide new insights into early Judaism and early Christianity. He says Latter-day Saints will find some of those insights especially interesting.

“The Qumran community, for example, had an abiding interest in the temple,” Brother Parry says. “The Dead Sea Scrolls also offer an expanded view of a Messiah who is affiliated with the last days, and they feature texts dealing with Moses, Enoch, and Melchizedek. In addition, they discuss such topics as the New Jerusalem, blessings and cursings, purification rules, and warfare between ‘the sons of light and the sons of darkness.’”

Brother Parry, who is translating the scrolls’ version of 1 and 2 Samuel, says translation of the scrolls sometimes vary from corresponding books in the Old Testament.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls text of 1 and 2 Samuel, which is a thousand years older than previously known Hebrew copies of Samuel, “the divine name Jehovah, or in Hebrew, Yahweh, is found a number of times. But on several occasions in the Hebrew Bible from which our Old Testament English Bible came, Yahweh has been changed to Elohim or deleted from the text of Samuel,” Brother Parry says.

“That is significant, given that the Book of Samuel found among the Dead Sea Scrolls is only a small portion of the Book of Samuel in our Bible. Sometimes the text in the Bible, compared with the Dead Sea Scrolls, appears to have been altered intentionally, perhaps for theological reasons; other times the alterations appear unintentional.”

[photo] BYU scholar Donald W. Parry, left, is one of the scroll translators. Emmanuel Tov is head of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project in Jerusalem.

[photo] Ruins at Qumran, a short distance from caves where Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

[photo] A view from the mouth of Qumran Cave 11.

New Book on the Story of Church Welfare

Pure Religion: The Story of Church Welfare since 1930, a book written under the direction of the First Presidency, is now available for Church members.

“The first eight chapters are historical,” explains author Glen L. Rudd, a former member of the Seventy. “Then there are chapters that explain how the welfare program works today and how welfare principles work. There’s a chapter on responding to worldwide disasters, a chapter of prophetic quotations about welfare from the Brethren, and a chapter that shares stories of people whose lives have been changed by the Church welfare program.”

Brother Rudd, who served as the manager of the Salt Lake Regional Bishops’ Storehouse (Welfare Square) for twenty-five years and worked on the General Welfare Committee, received a letter from the First Presidency asking him to accumulate significant information relevant to the Church Welfare System prior to his being released as a member of the Seventy in October 1992. He’s spent the last three years organizing information he’d gathered through years of experience. “This book is the result,” he says.

“The book informs members of the progress we’ve made as a church,” Brother Rudd continues. “We started [the welfare program] humbly in the 1930s, and through the years we’ve grown until we have resources today to extend out beyond our own needs.”

The foreword, written by President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, reads in part: “At long last the epic history of the Welfare Program has been compiled and written. … Pure Religion will be fascinating reading for all Church leaders and members and will be a treasured addition to every personal library. It will also inspire the thinking and efforts of Latter-day Saints around the world as they consider the admonition from the Apostle James: ‘Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world’ (James 1:27).”

The book, item #35247, costs seven U.S. dollars at the Salt Lake Distribution Center.

Alberta Temple, Village of Stirling Receive Historic Designation

The Alberta Temple, the first Latter-day Saint temple built outside the United States, has been named a Canadian national historic site. The temple is the first of two LDS sites honored by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. The village of Stirling was also honored.

Alberta Temple

Built in 1923, the Alberta Temple has long been a landmark in western Canada.

During the ceremony, Elder Ted E. Brewerton of the Seventy observed that “this sacred edifice was erected [in 1923] with great love, sacrifice, and ingenuity. It was done to glorify God and to permit others to partake of unchanging, sacred ordinances that have eternal significance.”

Elder Brewerton said that the Alberta Temple is one of forty-seven temples now functioning throughout the world; ten more temples are under construction.

Trudy Cowan, vice president of the Canadian Historic Sites board, conducted the ceremony; she was instrumental in getting the Alberta Temple designated as a historic site. While on vacation in 1989, she saw “this magnificent building on a hill.” When she discovered it wasn’t a historic site but that it fit criteria to become one, she began the proceedings.

The designation of the village of Stirling as a place of national historic significance to Canada has also been in the making since 1989. Many areas across the prairies were examined for evidence of distinctive settlement patterns, and three were chosen for the designation—a Ukrainian settlement in Gardenton, Manitoba; a Mennonite settlement in New Bergthal, Manitoba; and a dryland LDS settlement in Stirling.

Many Alberta towns were considered, explained Stirling village administrator Scott Barton, but Stirling was the best preserved of Alberta’s Latter-day Saint agricultural villages. The village is organized closely following the organizational model of LDS villages known as the “Plat of Zion,” which is characterized by wide streets, large lots, and farmhouses and yards facing the street.

Georgia G. Fooks is director of public affairs for the Lethbridge Alberta Region.

Digital Recording of Book of Mormon Now Available

A new audio recording of the Book of Mormon is now available in Church Distribution Centers. The recording consists of twenty-three audiocassettes and includes the Book of Mormon in its entirety.

The project, which was begun in May 1992, uses digital technology and is the finest sound-quality recording of the Book of Mormon done to date. Each book is recorded using one of two male narrators, who read the text. Book and chapter headings were read by either of two female narrators. The recording is available for $20.00 (U.S. dollars).


Willden Fort Predated Cove Fort

When I received the June 1995 Ensign with Cove Fort on the cover, I was delighted because my ancestors, Charles William Willden and his family, built the original fort on the location and lived there from 1860 to 1865. Yet, upon reading the article, I was disappointed to find no mention of the earlier fort.

Charles and his son Ellott built a home on Cove Creek in the fall of 1860. The adobe house, and later a corral and an eight- to-ten-foot cedar post stockade, were located just northeast of the current Cove Fort. Known as Fort Willden, the complex of structures served as a stopping place between Fillmore and Beaver for a period before the larger Cove Fort was built.

Valerie A. Evensen Mesa, Arizona

Saints in Iceland

I read with interest the article about the Saints in Iceland (July 1995), which noted that missionary activity resumed in 1975. I was a member of the U.S. Navy stationed at the NATO base in Keflavík, Iceland, from November 1964 to November 1966. At this time, we attended the Keflavík Iceland Branch. If I remember correctly, we were part of the British Mission or District. There were approximately thirty members, including four or five families. I served as counselor to two branch presidents while there.

In April 1965, my wife, Jo Ann, and I and our infant son, Jody, were sealed in the temple. We were the first members of the Church from Iceland to be sealed in a temple (the London Temple) since 1945.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity of serving in the “Land of Frost and Fire.” I thoroughly enjoyed the country and the beautiful citizens. I’m happy to see the growth of the Church in Iceland and hope that maybe we helped lay some groundwork there.

Gerald Sedrick Rigby, Idaho

Inside and Back Cover Art

I love the Latter-day Saint art on your inside and back covers. It is beautiful, and I always reflect as I read the lines about the art. It enhances my appreciation of the events that afford me this great heritage.

Kathleen VanDijk American Fork, Utah