News of the Church

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New Presiding Bishop, Counselors Called

The First Presidency has called Bishop H. David Burton as Presiding Bishop, replacing former Presiding Bishop Merrill J. Bateman, who began his term as president of Brigham Young University on 1 January 1996. Called to serve with Bishop Burton are Bishop Richard C. Edgley as first counselor and Bishop Keith B. McMullin as second counselor.

Bishop Burton and Bishop Edgley had been serving as first and second counselors, respectively, to Bishop Bateman. Bishop McMullin was managing director of the Welfare Services Department at the time of his call.

Bishop Burton, 57, has served in the Presiding Bishopric since October 1992. Prior to that call, he worked with the Bishopric as its executive secretary and spent a year as the assistant Church budget officer. He has also worked for Kennecott Copper and the Utah State Tax Commission.

A Salt Lake City native, Bishop Burton attended the University of Utah, receiving a degree in economics. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan.

Bishop Burton’s previous Church callings include bishop, bishop’s counselor, stake president, and stake high councilor. He served a mission in Australia. He and his wife, Barbara Matheson Burton, have five children.

Bishop Edgley, 59, has also served in the Presiding Bishopric since October 1992. He served as second counselor to both Bishop Bateman and Bishop Robert D. Hales.

Prior to his call to the Presiding Bishopric, Bishop Edgley was managing director of the Church’s Finance and Records Department. He formerly worked at General Mills in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Bishop Edgley, a native of Preston, Idaho, graduated from Brigham Young University and earned a master’s degree in business administration from Indiana University. He has served as a bishop, stake president, and counselor to a stake president. He served a mission in the eastern United States, and he and his wife, Pauline Nielson Edgley, are the parents of six children.

Bishop McMullin, 54, leaves 20 years of working with the Welfare Services Department to serve in the Presiding Bishopric. He has also managed several small and family businesses and worked with Ford Motor Company as an investment and performance/cost analyst.

A native of Utah—St. George, Leeds, and Salt Lake City—Bishop McMullin attended the University of Utah and received a degree in banking and financing. His Church callings include both missionary and later mission president in Germany, bishop, stake president, and ward Young Men president. He and his wife, Carolyn Jean Gibbs McMullin, have eight children.

Bishop Richard C. Edgley Bishop H. David Burton Bishop Keith B. McMullin

Bishop Richard C. Edgley, First Counselor; Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop; Bishop Keith B. McMullin, Second Counselor

Temple Announced for Monterrey, Mexico

The First Presidency has announced plans to build a temple in Monterrey, Mexico. To be located in northern Mexico, the new temple will be the country’s second and, along with the Mexico City Temple, will serve more than 700,000 members in Mexico. Approximately 200,000 of those members, living in 49 stakes and 20 mission districts, live in the Monterrey temple district.

Missionaries first arrived in the Monterrey area in 1920. The first branch was organized there in 1922 with 35 members. Church growth was initially slow; only four branches had been established by 1962. However, within 14 years, each of those four branches had become a stake. Today Monterrey is home to some 30,000 members living in nine stakes.

Members in the Monterrey area have been dedicated to attending the temple. In 1947 they began making annual trips to the Arizona Temple in Mesa. In 1983 the Mexico City Temple was dedicated, and members began attending there.

Currently, the Church has 47 operating temples worldwide, and 15 additional temples are in the planning and building stages. It is estimated that completion of the Monterrey Mexico Temple will take two years.

President Hinckley Encourages Texas Saints

The world has been given the Book of Mormon so that all may read it and gain an unshakable conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, President Gordon B. Hinckley told members gathered January 7 for a regional conference in southern Texas.

“That is the purpose of this remarkable and wonderful book,” said President Hinckley, holding up the Book of Mormon as he spoke. He urged the estimated 3,600 attending the conference at the University of Texas-Pan American field house in Edinburg, Texas, to read the Book of Mormon this year. “There is no other book like it,” he said.

President Hinckley said a thorough study of the Book of Mormon, its references to Jesus Christ, and its teachings about the Savior will bring readers a conviction that the book, as its title page states, is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder F. Enzio Busche of the Seventy, a member of the North America Southwest Area presidency, also spoke at the conference. President Hinckley and Elders Holland and Busche were accompanied by their wives, who spoke as well.

Elders Holland and Busche testified of the gospel’s truthfulness and joined President Hinckley in stressing the importance of reading and studying the Book of Mormon. Elder Holland, noting the presence at the conference of members of other faiths, testified of the truthfulness of the restored Church and its divine guidance.

“This is the Church of Jesus Christ. This is the truth,” he said. Elder Holland testified that the gospel of Jesus Christ can lift people out of gloom and despondency with its message of faith and hope.

President Hinckley and Elders Holland and Busche began their two-day visit to the Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas on January 6 by meeting with priesthood leaders from the Laredo Texas District and the McAllen Texas, Corpus Christi Texas, and Harlingen Texas Stakes at a leadership meeting in the McAllen Texas Stake Center.

In his conference remarks, President Hinckley told those filling the university field house, some of whom had traveled more than 150 miles to attend, that the gospel of Jesus Christ generates a common bond of brotherhood and sisterhood. He cited examples of the gospel’s power in the lives of Heavenly Father’s children, adding that the gospel increases our willingness to “forget ourselves and serve others. I feel it here this morning among you wonderful people.”

Speaking through an interpreter to the predominantly Spanish-speaking audience, many from northern Mexico, President Hinckley said Spanish has become for the present the Church’s second language. He noted the great faith of many Spanish-speaking people and discussed recently announced plans to construct a temple in Monterrey, Mexico, about 150 miles south of the Texas-Mexico border’s southernmost tip. The temple nearest to Church members living in the tri-stake area of southern Texas is the Dallas Texas Temple, 600 miles to the north.

President Hinckley related the challenges in finding five acres for a temple site in the middle of Monterrey but added that a site has been secured and architects are at work.

[photo] President Gordon B. Hinckley encouraged Latter-day Saints attending a regional conference in southern Texas to read the Book of Mormon this year. (Photo by Jim Brunson.)

[photo] Choir members from three Texas stakes and one district provided music during the January 7 regional conference.

June Brann is a member of the Mission Second Ward, McAllen Texas Stake.

More Members Now outside U.S. Than in U.S.

On Sunday, February 25, 1996, the Church crossed a twentieth-century historic membership mark when, according to estimates by Church statisticians, there were more Church members that day living outside the United States than there were members living in the United States, the host nation where the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored nearly 166 years ago.

Anticipating this remarkable fact, President Gordon B. Hinckley said in last fall’s October general conference, “Our statisticians tell me that if the present trend continues, then some time in February of 1996, just a few months from now, there will be more members of the Church outside the United States than in the United States” (Ensign Nov. 1995, p. 70).

“We can only estimate from annual Church growth rates that are based on each year’s reports which come in from throughout the Church,” said W. Larry Elkington, manager of the Church’s management information center. “These annual reports show a recent growth rate outside the U.S. of about 6 percent annually and a growth rate inside the U.S. of about 2 percent. The reports and conclusions inherent from them give rise to the general Church statistical report read at April general conferences. But based on all that data, it is estimated that on 24 February 1996 there was a Church population of 4,719,000 members outside the U.S. and the same number inside the U.S. for a total estimated Church population that day of 9,438,000,” he said. “By the next day, of course, the faster growing membership outside the U.S. crossed the equilibrium level of the previous day.”

These population figures, marking more members outside the U.S. than within the U.S., in reality represent a great twentieth-century success story. It is true, however, that in the nineteenth century there was about a five-year period when there were more Church members outside the U.S. than within, such as in 1850 when in the British Isles alone there were 30,747 members and 26,911 members in the United States. But immigration to Zion by many of those members soon reestablished membership majority in the U.S. that began with the Church’s formal organization of six members on 6 April 1830. That Church organization date had been set by the Lord through revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 20 headnote and D&C 20:1). And though the Prophet Joseph Smith and those associated with him in the preparatory work shared with a number of people the good news that a “great and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men” (D&C 12:1), and though some were stirred by the incipient work even to going out with early printed pages of the Book of Mormon to tell of that which was unfolding, it was not until after the Church’s formal organization that the Lord gave the revelation for the Church’s public missionary work to begin. It was to Oliver Cowdery, he who had received angelic visitors with Joseph Smith and who had been described by the Lord as “an apostle of Jesus Christ, … the second elder of this church” (D&C 20:3), that the Lord now called to “make known thy calling unto the church, and also before the world, and thy heart shall be opened to preach the truth from henceforth and forever” (D&C 23:2; emphasis added).

Consequently, in Fayette, New York, “on Sunday, April 11th, 1830, Oliver Cowdery preached the first public discourse that was delivered by any of our number,” said the Prophet Joseph Smith (History of the Church, 1:81). And thus began the official public missionary work of the newly organized Church of Jesus Christ of taking the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. It was a work destined to eventually result in more members in other nations and in other tongues than in English-speaking United States, the nation whose constitutional government prepared the way for the gospel’s restoration.

Since then, there have followed many important milestones on the restored Church’s journey to reaching the present joyful condition of having more members among other nations and peoples than exist in the land in which the Church is headquartered.

• In addition to his role in the first public preaching of the newly organized Church to English-speaking U.S. residents, Oliver Cowdery was the key figure in the first known preaching of the restored Church into a non-English language within the U.S. In September 1830 the Lord instructed Oliver Cowdery that “you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them” (D&C 28:8). Thus, Oliver Cowdery, with his companions, Peter Whitmer Jr., Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, and Frederick G. Williams, in early October headed through sparsely settled land to a goal 1,500 miles distant in present-day Kansas. En route, near Buffalo, New York, they visited a tribe of Cattaraugus Indians, had difficulty making themselves understood, but left two copies of the Book of Mormon. After spending considerable time in Kirtland, Ohio, they journeyed to Upper Sandusky, Wyandot County, Ohio, where they stayed with Wyandot Indians for several days and then made their truly heroic trek during the famous “winter of the deep snow” to Independence, Missouri. In early February 1831 they went into Indian territory and, through an interpreter, preached to the Shawnee and subsequently to the Delaware Indians (see Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, sixth ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964, pp. 47–58). Of interest, within the United States at that time were many persons who had migrated from other lands and who spoke a language other than English, especially in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York where there were Church member families, some of whose members spoke German. As early as 7 December 1843, a brother was assigned to preside in Nauvoo over the German brethren who were “organized to have preaching in their native language” (History of the Church, 6:103).

• The first nation outside the United States to receive emissaries of the newly organized Church was Canada, or British North America, as it was titled in 1830. In August 1830 the Prophet’s father, Joseph Smith Sr., and the Prophet’s brother Don Carlos set out on a journey from Palmyra to towns north of the St. Lawrence River and preached the gospel.

• To date, the first known entry of the restored Church into a non-English-speaking nation was by Elder Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who on his epic assignment to the Jews and to dedicate Jerusalem (which he did 24 October 1841) arrived in Rotterdam, Netherlands, 22 June 1840. There he had translated into Dutch a pamphlet he wrote. Following his Jerusalem visit he went to Regensburg, Germany, in January 1842 and while there he published an important work in German, but many particulars of his work there are unknown.

More is known about the work of Noah Rogers, Addison Pratt, Benjamin F. Grouard, and Knowlton F. Hanks, who arrived in the Tahitian-speaking Society Islands mission 30 April 1844, perhaps making it the first non-English-speaking nation where converts were made.

• Some other known-to-date milestones in taking the restored Church and its teachings into the native language used by native peoples on the major continents or major portions of earth’s continents and to some islands of the sea are the following:

Europe: Great Britain, 19 July 1837, at Liverpool, England, by Elder Heber C. Kimball of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Australia: November 1840, at Adelaide, Australia, by William Barratt.

Africa: 19 April 1853, Cape Town, South Africa, by Jesse Haven.

Middle East: 31 December 1884, Constantinople, Turkey, by Jacob Spori.

Asia: 12 August 1901, Yokohama, Japan, by Elder Heber J. Grant of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

South America: 6 December 1925, Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

In addition, the first translation of the Book of Mormon into a tongue other than English was a Danish language edition prepared in 1851 under the direction of Elder Erastus Snow of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Also, the first known language training of missionaries took place in Salt Lake City in the winter of 1848–49, when Addison Pratt taught Tahitian three nights a week to 21 members who had been called as missionaries.

Thus, from the Church’s 11 April 1830 first public discourse in Fayette, New York, to its now more than 2,100 stakes, 700 districts, 300 missions, 22,500 wards and branches dotting 156 different nations or territories, the Church is divinely destined to become ever more international. Church statisticians estimate that in 1999 there will be more non-English-speaking members in the Church than there will be English-speaking members. In addition, the Church is approaching the day—estimated to be sometime in 2012, 16 years from now, when Spanish is expected to be the native language spoken by more members than those who speak English, the present tongue with the largest number of members.

In the meantime, the Lord’s call through his prophets continues to be for every member to be a missionary, that the Lord’s purposes will not be “wasted at his coming” (D&C 2:3). Much remains to be done to take the restored gospel to all who would desire gospel light.

[photo] Member families worldwide are blessed by Church programs such as family home evening.

[photo] Church population figures marking more members outside the U.S. than within the U.S. represent a great twentieth-century success story.

Utah Centennial Celebration

Utah celebrated its centennial anniversary on 4 January 1996, and President Gordon B. Hinckley participated in those activities, speaking during a reenactment of the statehood announcement and attending an evening gala celebration.

“Today we begin a new century building on the solid foundation laid by those who have gone before,” President Hinckley told a capacity crowd gathered at the Tabernacle on Temple Square for the inaugural reenactment. “They planned wisely and built well. This remarkable edifice in which we meet is an example of their work. …

“As we move into another century we must resolve to live together in a society of men and women of diverse backgrounds, interests, and cultures. We must live with respect and tolerance and understanding for one another. We can and should retain our individuality and respect [the individuality] of others, while nurturing together a great society dedicated to the blessing of all who reside here.”

[photo] Thousands gather at the Tabernacle to celebrate Utah’s centennial. (Photo by Welden Andersen.)

Humanitarian Service Projects Update, 1985–1995

The Church has been involved in helping members and others since its April 1830 organization. However, as Church membership and resources have grown, greater assistance has been available for peoples all over the world. The accompanying map shows countries receiving aid at some time between 1985 and 1995 from the Church’s Humanitarian Service Committee as distributed through international charity organizations.

Humanitarian Service Projects Update(click to view larger)

1994 Relief Assistance Projects, Current Self-Reliance Projects, Humanitarian Projects since 1985

Elder Augusto A. Lim

Conversation on The Philippines/Micronesia Area

The Church is flourishing in Micronesia, which spreads over an expanse of the Pacific Ocean larger than Europe in size, although the combined land mass of its 2,200 islands equals only about the land area of Luxembourg. Growth continues also in the Philippines, where public affairs efforts are helping the Church influence people that have not been effectively reached before. For an update on how the Church is doing in the area, the Ensign spoke with Elder Ben B. Banks of the Seventy, president of the Philippines/Micronesia Area, and his counselors, Elders Augusto A. Lim and Kenneth Johnson, both also of the Seventy.

Elder Augusto A. Lim Elder Ben B. Banks Elder Kenneth Johnson

Elder Augusto A. Lim Elder Ben B. Banks Elder Kenneth Johnson

Question: What kind of growth is the Church experiencing in Micronesia?

Answer: The gospel’s influence is growing at an ever increasing rate in the different island groups, which include the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and various individual islands possessed by other nations. We have nine districts and 40 branches spread throughout the islands, and total membership is approaching 8,000. The Church is well known on many of the islands, and more and more branches are reaching a point in their growth where they are able to arrange for the building of meetinghouses. The missionaries of the Micronesia Guam Mission do wonderfully at the task of proselyting to the many cultures and languages that make up these far-flung island peoples.

Q: What obstacles does the Church face as it continues to grow?

A: We do have challenges in Micronesia. Church members often meet an unusual degree of opposition from members of other faiths, but this opposition can actually serve to strengthen our members’ testimonies. As is true elsewhere in the world, keeping the Word of Wisdom is a continual challenge for many of the people of Micronesia, particularly because of alcohol and tobacco. Retention of new converts is an ongoing challenge, as is the training of leaders to keep pace with growth. For the most part, however, the island cultures dovetail extremely well with the principles of the gospel, as in the emphasis both place on strong families. Overall, Micronesians have great faith, and they respect and follow their leaders. It is a pleasure to work among them.

Q: How is the Church progressing in the Philippines?

A: In the past year, we’ve made some exciting breakthroughs in the area of public affairs. Our first public affairs missionary couple was so successful that the Church now has a full public affairs office in the Philippines. Two national newspapers carry weekly family-oriented columns written by public affairs missionaries, and the Church supplies three hours of prime-time programming each Sunday to a major radio station. Some 216 cable television stations also provide Church programs to their viewers. The Church has become a major participant in a national family unity week held each September; in fact, we participate in the steering committee.

We have family history and health displays that have generated tremendous response. One shopping center requested our family history display because they heard that we had set it up in another mall across town. Elsewhere, a city’s entire police force came to a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse to be trained in CPR by couple missionaries. Recently, public affairs missionaries showed Church radio and television productions to about 80 journalists. The group seemed fairly cynical and skeptical at first, but afterward tears could be seen in the eyes of many and several positive comments were received, such as, “The values of the Church are exactly what this country needs right now.”

Q: What have been some results of these public affairs successes?

A: It has been amazing to witness how the Lord has opened so many doors in such a short time. We’ve been pleased to see wards, branches, stakes, and districts all over the Philippines working more in cooperative efforts with local civic leaders and service organizations. Because of the Church’s recent media opportunities, the gospel is now reaching more Filipinos, many of whom were literally inaccessible in the past because they live in heavily guarded subdivisions that missionaries cannot gain access to. We expect to see more converts from among these people, new members who can share additional strengths and leadership skills.

Life is still hard in the Philippines for the majority, however. Natural disasters are so common that often they don’t make headlines in the newspapers. While poverty is widespread throughout Micronesia farther to the east, the people on those islands generally have enough to eat. In contrast, the poverty of the Filipinos is such that a high percentage of people are undernourished. Many members will remember hearing about a major volcanic eruption in the Philippines a few years ago, but they probably do not know that ash is still washing down when it rains and causes much damage. One Filipino member has rebuilt his home three times, even resorting to stilts; he finally gave up because the ash had reached 30 feet in depth.

But the Filipino people are extremely resilient, and their high education and literacy rates demonstrate how hard they try to improve their lives. They are spiritual and receptive to the gospel, and we expect much continued growth there.

BYU Hawaii Seasiders Win U.S. Women’s Volleyball Title

Members of the women’s volleyball team from Brigham Young University—Hawaii set and spiked their way to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) championship, one of the divisions for four-year colleges in the United States. This is the team’s second consecutive year claiming the title and its fourth title in five years.

The Seasiders—who were ranked number one from the beginning of the year—won the title by beating the University of Puget Sound. Three team members were named to the all-tournament team, and senior Anik Valiengo, who played in more winning games than any other starter in the school’s history, was voted the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

While in San Diego, where the team traveled for the tournament, the Seasiders held a fireside for members of the San Diego California Stake. The meeting focused on the team’s theme for the trip, “What would Christ do?”

In addition to singing a medley of songs, team members spoke, sharing feelings of gratitude. “There are more important things than winning championships,” said Coach Wilfred Navalta during the meeting. “The feeling you feel tonight is the Spirit telling you the things you heard are true. The Spirit is more important than anything you can earn on the athletic court. That’s because the Spirit is eternal and testifies of Christ.”

Comment

The Privilege of Staying at Home

I wanted to write regarding “Finding My Happiness at Home” (Oct. 1995). Having had rewarding employment before becoming a “stay-at-home” mom, there were times I missed the positive strokes for work well done. Children can be quite mute when it comes to expressing appreciation for services rendered!

But when I remembered that my mom was always there when I got home and how much I appreciated it (though I never told her), I realized what a blessing it was that I could be at home for my children. My response to “Oh, you’re just a housewife” has become, “Yes, I’m so blessed. Many women don’t have that privilege.”

Jan Dickson Hawthorne, California

Update on Stakes in Ireland

The Belfast Ireland Stake was created in 1974. The Dublin Ireland Stake, the first in the Republic of Ireland, was created in March 1995 (see Ensign, May 1995, p. 111).

Arranging Transportation

My wife, Trudy, and I are both blind and read with interest “Are Persons with Visual Impairments in Your Ward Being Helped?” in the June 1995 Comment section. We are happy to report that our ward has a ride coordinator who arranges transportation for members in our ward who are unable to drive. Trudy and I also have taken buses and taxis to our meetings as well. We have appreciated the support we have received from ward members and leaders; we have also grown personally by making our own transportation arrangements when others were unable to assist us.

Patrick A. Barrett Minneapolis, Minnesota

A Hole-in-the-Rock Memory

It was inspiring to read through the pioneer-epic articles of the October 1995 issue. It is good to be so beautifully reminded of those great people who were so dedicated to the call of the prophets and did so much for us.

One of the most striking articles was the one on Hole-in-the-Rock. For the past 20 years I have taken groups of Scouts and their leaders to that area as a hike director. Each time the wonderment has always been overwhelming to me.

Your article is now cherished and placed in my records as a wonderful addition to my Hole-in-the-Rock memories.

Leon R. Seifert Ogden, Utah

Widespread Support

While traveling to Provo on April 1 to spend the afternoon with my daughter, I listened to the Saturday morning session of general conference. As I listened to the proceedings, the solemn assembly was in progress. At one point the general membership of the Church was asked to sustain the Church leaders. Inside my car I raised my hand.

As I raised my hand in support, I was surprised to see a group of couples riding motorcycles in front of me raise their hands also. As I drove by, I noticed that under their helmets they were all wearing earphones. It brought tears to my eyes.

Lynn Barlow Salt Lake City, Utah