“Together We Can Make a Difference”

While Dolina Smith was serving as Young Women president in the Toronto Ontario Stake in 1986, she asked an expert to speak at a fireside about the growing problem of pornography. Later she became involved with a nationwide group called Canadians for Decency, which mobilizes thousands of anti-pornography Canadians to contact their elected officials as specific concerns about pornography arise.

Eight years ago Sister Smith directed the group’s White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) week, during which white ribbons and statements of concern about pornography were sent to members of parliament. In 1990 her involvement increased when she was named chairperson of Canadians for Decency. In this new role she has given numerous presentations before the provincial and federal governing bodies that make and change pornography laws. She has also spoken to many groups of citizens who work with local governments to clamp down on the spread of pornography in their communities.

“Together we can make a difference,” Sister Smith told six hundred Catholic women in Sarnia, Ontario, in May 1995.Donald S. Conkey, Willowdale, Ontario

Bread upon the Waters

In September 1977, nineteen-year-old Gamaliel Alcides Vásquez noticed a piece of paper floating down a stream as he walked to his apartment in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, where he was studying to become a schoolteacher. When he picked up the paper, he saw that it was a pamphlet titled The Church As Organized by Jesus Christ.

Somehow he knew that the church identified in the pamphlet was true. He got up early one Sunday and began asking passersby if they knew where a Latter-day Saint church was located. When he finally found the meetinghouse after three hours of searching, he ran toward it. During his third Sunday in attendance—just when he was wondering if he should ever come back, because he seemed to be unnoticed—a missionary found him.

Despite challenges from family members and fellow students, Gamaliel joined the Church. Later, he returned to his hometown of Rio Blanco, where he was the only Church member. He started telling friends and family members about the gospel, and soon he had eight people who wanted to join the Church. Before long he was called to serve a full-time mission.

Although his father has died, Gamaliel’s mother and all but two of his fourteen living siblings are Church members. He served as a branch president in Rio Blanco, married his wife in the Guatemala City Temple in 1986, and in 1990 was called as bishop when the branch became a ward. “While the rest of the world is struggling for power and riches, I have found peace, security, and happiness,” Gamaliel says. All this from a pamphlet floating on the water!

“Where the Action Is”

Though her rheumatoid arthritis rarely allows her to venture outside her home, 79-year-old Mable Koester has helped bring about hundreds of baptisms, endowments, and sealings. Propped against a backrest on her hospital bed in the living room—“where the action is,” she says—Mable inputs family history information on a computer mounted on a custom-built desk.

Not only does Mable submit the names of her ancestors for temple work, she has also prepared two family histories of a hundred pages or more that include pictures, pedigree charts, recollections, personal stories, and even a family crossword puzzle.

For years Mable has been her ward’s magazine representative, and at one point she taught home Primary to her young niece who was ill from the effects of chemotherapy for treatment of leukemia. She studies scriptures and takes turns giving family home evening lessons with her sister, Bernice Wright, with whom she lives. When the family gets together, toddlers and preschoolers always seem to gather on Aunt Mable’s bed to read books, work puzzles, play educational computer games, or just visit.

With the help of friends and family members, Mable is sometimes able to attend Church meetings. Recently Mable’s friends packed her wheelchair into a van and drove her to the Chicago Illinois Temple, where she had the satisfaction of doing ordinance work for her ancestors herself. She is a member of the Farmington Ward, Cape Girardeau Missouri Stake.Denise Wright, Farmington, Missouri

Soaring like an Eagle

The day he turned twelve, James Doman joined the fledgling Boy Scout program in his boyhood Idaho town. He became an Eagle Scout in 1927 at the age of seventeen, earning twenty-one more merit badges than required. His older brother, Rulon, was one of the first Eagle Scouts in the state of Idaho, and his sons both earned their Eagle awards, as have several of his grandsons.

But earning his Eagle Scout award was only the beginning of Brother Doman’s participation in Scouting. He served for thirty-six years in the Denver area in positions ranging from Scoutmaster to assistant district commissioner. In 1974 he received the Silver Beaver Award from the Denver Boy Scout council for “distinguished service to boyhood.” More than a hundred boys directly influenced by him have earned their Eagle awards.

Now a patriarch in the Greeley Colorado Stake, Brother Doman has spoken at dozens of Eagle courts of honor. He still echoes the words spoken at his own Eagle court of honor, when his father said essentially, “Scouting provides many things in life that I want my kids to know about.”

Help for a Hospital

When Trudy Appleby heard of the birth of quintuplets at the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) in West Yorkshire, England, she was impressed to call the facility. Though four months pregnant herself, Sister Appleby wondered if there was anything she could do to help.

A neonatal specialist mentioned to Sister Appleby, a member of the Leeds Second Ward, Leeds England Stake, that LGI needed two pulse oximeters, machines that take blood measurements and measure other vital signs. Sister Appleby set a goal to raise money for the equipment.

First she talked with ward members, many of whom volunteered their help. With this support, Sister Appleby began organizing several fund-raising events. There was a swimming gala, a canoe race, and other activities. But the culminating event was the Charity Gala Day held at Roundhay Park in Leeds.

The gala lasted all day, and several special guests attended, including the Lord and Lady Mayoress of Leeds, members of parliament, members of the infirmary staff, and several well-known sports figures. There were contests, a “fun run,” entertainment, and other booths. More than half the money needed for the monitoring equipment was raised during the activity.

“This experience really did teach me that one person who is prepared to stand up and take action can make a difference. I’m so grateful that what we’ve done will be able to bless future babies born in the Leeds area,” says Sister Appleby.Elizabeth Clark, Leeds, England

In the Spotlight

  • Richard P. Halverson of St. Paul, Minnesota, has been honored for his professional leadership by the Association for Investment Management and Research. He has served as chairperson of the association’s Professional Conduct Committee and as a member of the Professional Ethics and Responsibility Committee. He is president of the St. Paul Minnesota Stake.

  • High school English teacher Bonnie Fullmer was one of fourteen distinguished teachers honored during a weeklong celebration in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. She is a member of the Middleton Second Ward, Caldwell Idaho North Stake.

  • Former Brigham Young University athletic director Glen Tuckett has been named interim athletic director at the University of Alabama. He expects to live in Tuscaloosa for about a year, where he is a member of the Tuscaloosa Ward, Bessemer Alabama Stake.

  • L. Gary Hart received the National Rural Health Association’s 1995 Distinguished Research Award. A member of the Shorecrest Ward, Seattle Washington Shoreline Stake, he is an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Washington and also leads the WAMI (Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) Rural Health Research Center.