News of the Church

By Lisa Ann Jackson


Twelve Seventies Sustained in New Callings

The calling of 12 brethren to serve in the Quorums of the Seventy was sustained during the Saturday afternoon, 6 April session of the 166th Annual General Conference.

Elder Merrill J. Bateman’s call to the First Quorum of the Seventy was announced last November at the same time as his appointment to become president of Brigham Young University, but that call was sustained during conference. Also called to the First Quorum of the Seventy were Elder Dallas N. Archibald and Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, both of whom have been serving in the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

In addition, Elder Bruce C. Hafen was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy (see adjacent story).

New members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy sustained Saturday were Elder L. Edward Brown, Elder Sheldon F. Child, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder Wm. Rolfe Kerr, Elder Dennis E. Simmons, Elder Jerald L. Taylor, Elder Francisco J. Viñas, and Elder Richard B. Wirthlin (see adjacent stories).

Elder Merrill J. Bateman

Elder Merrill J. Bateman

Elder Bateman, 59, was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in June 1992, then called as Presiding Bishop in April 1994. In November 1995 he was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy and appointed BYU president. He began his presidency there on 1 January 1996.

Elder Dallas N. Archibald

Elder Dallas N. Archibald

Elder Archibald, 57, was named a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy in June 1992 and is currently serving as president of the Brazil Area. Elder Uchtdorf, 55, has been serving in the Second Quorum of the Seventy since April 1994 and is serving as second counselor in the Europe West Area Presidency.

New Church Headquarters Meeting Hall Announced

Twice during general conference sessions President Gordon B. Hinckley referred to the construction of a new meeting place currently being considered by Church leaders.

“I am pleased to announce that we have had our architects and engineers working on the design of a hall which will seat three or four times as many for conference and which will serve other Church purposes as well as possibly some community cultural events,” said President Hinckley during the Saturday morning, 6 April session.

On Sunday morning, 7 April, President Hinckley said: “My heart reaches out to those who wish to get in [to general conference] and could not be accommodated. About a year ago I suggested to the Brethren that perhaps the time has come when we should study the feasibility of constructing another dedicated house of worship on a much larger scale that would accommodate three or four times the number who can be seated in this building. …

“The structure we envision will not be a sports arena. It will be a dedicated house of worship, and that will be its primary purpose. It will be fashioned in such a way that only a portion or the entire hall may be used, according to need. It will accommodate not only religious services, but will serve other Church purposes, such as the presentation of sacred pageants and things of that kind. It will also accommodate some community cultural events that will be in harmony with its purpose.

“The architectural and engineering studies have not gone far enough for us to make a detailed announcement, but the results thus far are encouraging.”

Elder Bruce C. Hafen

Of the Seventy
Elder Bruce C. Hafen

A nationally recognized scholar on family relationships, children, and education, Elder Bruce C. Hafen is convinced that “the Church’s voice needs to be heard in today’s world.”

For the past 25 years, Elder Hafen, who earned a juris doctorate from the University of Utah and is a former dean of Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, has taught and written about family law and education. “Gospel perspectives on family life are desperately needed today,” he says, “in courtrooms, classrooms, and family rooms all over the world.”

Elder Hafen’s convictions are formed by rich experiences. He has served in a bishopric and stake presidency and is a former regional representative. In 1973 he helped establish BYU’s law school, teaching on the school’s first faculty. From 1978 to 1985, he was president of Ricks College, always teaching one class each semester. In 1989 he became provost at BYU, the number-two administrator at the university.

During these years, he has always been a teacher-scholar, drawing increasingly on religious foundations for his scholarly and professional activities.

Born on 30 October 1940, Elder Hafen, 55, grew up in St. George, Utah. After graduating from Dixie College in 1960, he served in the West German Mission, then attended Brigham Young University. While attending a religion class, he noticed a classmate, Marie Kartchner. The two married on 2 June 1964 in the St. George Temple and have seven children and 10 grandchildren (one deceased).

“Two subjects have most shaped my attitudes,” Elder Hafen says. “One subject is family relationships, especially child rearing and marriage. The other is the mission and Atonement of the Savior. I’m sure my commitment to both subjects will continue to grow through my new calling.”

Elder L. Edward Brown

Of the Seventy
Elder L. Edward Brown

When L. Edward Brown, who was born in Preston, Idaho, 18 June 1937, was 14, he and his father were busy filling a coal hopper one evening in Dubois, Idaho, where the family lived. His father stopped, looked at Edward, and said, “I think I need to go home.” Once home, his father put on a suit and waited. A few minutes later the phone rang. Edward’s mother had been involved in a terrible auto accident.

“I remember that evening kneeling, pleading with Father in Heaven to save my mother’s life,” recalls Elder Brown. His mother did live, though impaired. From that time on, turning to Father in Heaven became a pattern for his life.

Later, as a young man, his love for his Father in Heaven deepened during his mission in Korea, which was then part of the Northern Far East Mission. Later, at age 34, after marrying Carol Ewer (3 August 1960 in the Logan Temple), the couple returned to Korea, along with five young children (they eventually had eight), where Edward served as mission president.

Teaching the gospel became Elder Brown’s career focus. After graduating from Utah State University, he went to work for the Church Educational System (CES). He earned both master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Kansas. During his 33 years with CES, he worked first as a seminary teacher and institute director, then as area director in eastern Idaho.

During his years in Pocatello, Idaho, he served as bishop and as stake president. His civic roles have included Pocatello mayor, city councilman, and representative for three terms in the Idaho House of Representatives.

In 1995 Elder Brown was called as an Area Authority in the North American Northwest Area. “I am grateful for that training,” he explains. “I love the Savior. He is our hope—the hope of the world.”

Elder Sheldon F. Child

Of the Seventy
Elder Sheldon F. Child

Sheldon Child learned early the value of hard work. Born 8 May 1938, he spent his childhood helping on the family’s 20-acre farm located in Syracuse, Utah, a small town near the Great Salt Lake. When Sheldon was eight years old, his parents gave him a calf to raise. When the calf was sold, Sheldon carefully counted out money for tithing and took it to the bishop. Counting the money again, Sheldon realized he had brought more money than he actually owed, but he gave it to the bishop anyway. Even then, Sheldon was generous with things pertaining to the Lord, a pattern that would continue throughout his life.

He attended Utah State University and the University of Utah. In 1957 he married Joan Haacke in the Salt Lake Temple. He went to work with his brother Bill at the R. C. Willey store, then a two-man appliance shop. Over the years the two brothers built the small business into a seven-store home furnishings chain.

During those years of hard work, Church callings took priority in Brother Child’s life. In the Syracuse Second Ward, he served as elders quorum president, then as bishop. Later he was called as president of the Syracuse Utah Stake. These years, rich with Church experience, were also spent in community service and in raising the couple’s six children. His greatest joys come from his family, he says.

One of his highlights in Church service came with a call to serve as president of the New York New York Mission. Upon their return, the family moved to Salt Lake City to be nearer to his work. It wasn’t long after his return that he accepted a call to serve as an Area Authority for the Utah North Area.

Of his recent call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Child says: “I love the Lord and have a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I always want to be found doing the things the Lord would have me do.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook

Of the Seventy
Elder Quentin L. Cook

“I can’t remember when I didn’t believe in the gospel,” says Quentin L. Cook, who believes that, paraphrasing Harry Emerson Fosdick, “when you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other end also.” Early in his life, he took hold of the gospel, and his testimony has driven his life’s commitments ever since.

Born in Logan, Utah, on 8 September 1940, Quentin was one of three children born to Bernice and J. Vernon Cook.

At 15, Quentin joined in his brother’s struggle to decide between medical school and a mission. “We reasoned together,” says Elder Cook. “Was a mission just a good thing, or was it something to do because the gospel is true? My brother chose a mission, and that thought process became a changing event in my life.”

After Quentin’s mission to England from 1960 to 1962, he married his high school sweetheart, Mary Gaddie, in the Logan Temple on 30 November 1962. He graduated from Utah State University in 1963 and from Stanford Law School in 1966.

As residents of Hillsborough, California, and the parents of three children, the Cooks immersed themselves in family, church, career, and community. For Elder Cook, commitment to career resulted in 27 years as a business lawyer and three years as president of California Healthcare Systems. Commitment to community led to 14 years of volunteer service as a city attorney. Commitment to church resulted in 15 years in the San Francisco Stake presidency and service as a regional representative and later as an Area Authority in the North American West Area.

“In my life, picking up one end of the stick has meant commitment to picking up the other end also,” says Elder Cook, whose early but firm grasp of the gospel of Jesus Christ has resulted in a life of good works and a commitment to future service as a Seventy.

Elder Wm. Rolfe Kerr

Of the Seventy
Elder Wm. Rolfe Kerr

Involvement in service comes naturally for Elder Wm. Rolfe Kerr. Service to the Church and community is something he learned from deeply committed parents, he explains, and the desire to serve is a legacy he would like to leave to his children.

“My nature is to be very involved,” he says. But in considering the import and challenges of his new calling, he turns to the word overwhelmed—and then repeats it: “I am overwhelmed with the respect that I have for the Brethren and aware of so much that I have to learn.”

He made his career in the field of learning, in administrative positions at Utah State University (USU), Weber State College (now a university), the University of Utah, Dixie College (he was president), and Brigham Young University. He was Utah’s commissioner of higher education when called as a mission president in 1993. He will continue as president of the Texas Dallas Mission until July.

Born in Tremonton, Utah, 29 June 1935, Rolfe Kerr grew up on a farm. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from USU, intending to spend his life farming—until he was offered a position as coordinator of student activities at USU after his military service. He later received a master’s degree in marriage and family relations and a doctorate in education.

After serving in the British Mission, he met Janeil Raybold at USU. They were married 15 September 1960 in the Logan Temple. The Kerrs have six children.

Elder Kerr has been a stake president and has also served in bishoprics and on the Sunday School General Board. For two years in the 1960s, he was involved in helping organize the Latter-day Saint Student Association.

Elder Kerr says he is grateful for experiences that have brought “a love of the Savior and an abiding testimony of the gospel. These will be at the base of anything I am able to do in the future.”

Elder Dennis E. Simmons

Of the Seventy
Elder Dennis E. Simmons

“The Lord has opened every door of any importance in my life,” says Elder Dennis E. Simmons. “Every professional pursuit, every meaningful activity, everything good in my life has been influenced by my gospel training and my testimony.”

Born at home on 27 June 1934 in Beaver Dam, Utah, 13 miles west of Logan, Elder Simmons married Carolyn Thorpe in the Logan Temple on 15 October 1953. After earning a music education degree at Utah State University, he spent two years as athletic officer at an air force base near Livermore, California, and subsequently taught school for two years in Tremonton, Utah. He and his family then moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he worked at the Nevada Test Site. In 1965 the family moved to Washington, D.C., where Elder Simmons earned a law degree at George Washington University and worked as a legislative assistant.

Soon after his return to Las Vegas to practice law, Dennis Simmons was called as a bishop, and in 1977 he was called as a stake president. In 1986 he and his wife returned to Washington, D.C., where Elder Simmons served as the first president of the newly created Washington DC North Mission. “Our mission was the greatest experience of our lives,” he says.

Elder Simmons enjoys vocal music and has led several youth and stake choirs. He is an avid cyclist, on one occasion having pedaled from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas with his son and a Scout group. He and his wife have six children and eight grandchildren.

At the time of his call to the Seventy, Elder Simmons was serving as an Area Authority. “I know that Jesus is the Christ,” he says. “He is aware of us, and he cares for us. I have a sure testimony that President Hinckley is the divinely appointed representative of the Lord on the earth.”

Elder Jerald L. Taylor

Of the Seventy
Elder Jerald L. Taylor

“As farmers and ranchers, we had to depend on the Lord,” says Elder Jerald L. Taylor, who grew up in the Latter-day Saint colony of Colonia Dublan in Chihuahua, Mexico. “We had no deep wells for irrigation, so we relied on man-made lakes. If rain didn’t fill them, we had no water. I remember many family and ward fasts that resulted in some wonderful blessings.”

Elder Taylor’s great-grandfather drove a wagon into Salt Lake Valley after Brigham Young’s, and his grandfather helped settle Colonia Juarez in Mexico. Elder Taylor was born in Colonia Dublan on 22 March 1937 and has lived there all his life except during college and missions. His mother passed away when he was three, and later his father married a widow who had nine children, making a total of 15 children.

Jerald Taylor took time off from attending Brigham Young University to serve a mission to Argentina. Then he met his wife, Sharon Willis, a few months before he graduated from BYU with a degree in animal husbandry. Married in the Manti Temple on 5 July 1963, the Taylors have six children and four grandchildren. Elder Taylor has earned his living raising beef cattle and growing apples.

His Church experience has included serving as a branch president, stake mission president, stake executive secretary, and stake president. In 1986 he was called to preside over the Chile Santiago South Mission. Upon his return to Mexico, he was called as a bishop and later as a regional representative. He was serving as an Area Authority at the time of his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

“I’m grateful for my heritage,” Elder Taylor says. “The people of the colonies have shown me what sacrifice and obedience mean. The Church has been everything in my life. I’m grateful for the gospel.”

Elder Francisco J. Viñas

Of the Seventy
Elder Francisco J. Viñas

Service lies at the heart of knowing our Heavenly Father and loving his children, says Francisco J. Viñas.

“Everything important that my wife and I have learned in life has come through service,” he says. “In fact, a large part of our testimonies has come through serving the Lord.”

Elder Viñas is grateful that the gospel has provided him with opportunities to share that testimony as he has ministered to others. He has been an Area Authority, regional representative three times, stake president, bishop, and mission president in Argentina.

In Spain, where Francisco was born in Seville on 28 December 1946, he has been serving as country director of the Church Educational System (CES) since 1993. His assignment there represents a homecoming of sorts for Elder Viñas, whose parents immigrated to Paraguay in 1948. Before settling in Montevideo, Uruguay, two years later, they were baptized into the Church.

While growing up in Montevideo, Elder Viñas developed a love of basketball and eventually played in his country’s professional basketball league while simultaneously serving as bishop.

Before working in CES in 1977 as an institute director in Montevideo, Elder Viñas was a production cost supervisor for the Bayer Company and then worked in the Church’s finance department in Uruguay. He later became CES system coordinator in Uruguay.

On 30 December 1966, Elder Viñas married Cristina Gaminara in Montevideo. They were sealed in 1974 in the Salt Lake Temple. Because of his demanding work and Church service, Elder Viñas and his wife make the most of their family time together with their three children.

“All my callings have helped prepare me for this new opportunity to serve, but I am especially grateful for the influence and tutoring of the General Authorities,” he says. “They are men of God.”

Elder Richard B. Wirthlin

Of the Seventy
Elder Richard B. Wirthlin

Measuring public attitudes and opinions for nearly three decades has reinforced Elder Richard B. Wirthlin’s conviction that solutions to the world’s problems are found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Consulting and strategic opinion research reveal the amount of confusion, despair, and discouragement many people feel,” says Elder Wirthlin, chairman and chief executive officer of Wirthlin Worldwide. “The only thing that will bring true peace is an acceptance of the principles and practices of the gospel.”

Elder Wirthlin, brother to Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has served in two stake presidencies, as a high councilor and bishop, and most recently as a regional representative.

He was born 15 March 1931 in Salt Lake City and served a mission to Switzerland and Austria from 1951 to 1953. Afterward, he served in the U.S. armed forces, then earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in economics and statistics from the University of Utah. He later earned a doctorate in economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

On 23 November 1956, Elder Wirthlin married Jeralie Mae Chandler in the Salt Lake Temple. He says Sister Wirthlin’s devotion to him and their eight children has greatly blessed his family.

In 1969 Richard Wirthlin founded his own survey research firm in Los Angeles. Later, he and his family moved to Washington, D.C. A desire to be closer to more family members and a fondness for the outdoors brought Richard Wirthlin and his family back to Utah in 1995 after 14 years in the nation’s capital.

Elder Wirthlin looks forward to increased opportunities of sharing the gospel. “It is a message of real joy and peace that is so needed today.”

Elder Victor L. Brown Dies at 81

Elder Victor L. Brown, 81, an emeritus General Authority, died 26 March 1996 of a lingering illness.

Elder Brown was the 10th Presiding Bishop of the Church and had served as an active General Authority from 1961 until 1989, when he was given emeritus status. He served more than four years as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy after having served 24 years in the Presiding Bishopric of the Church, 13 of those years as Presiding Bishop. While a member of the Seventy, he also served for two years as president of the Salt Lake Temple.

Victor Lee Brown was born 31 July 1914 in Cardston, Alberta, Canada, to Gerald S. and Maggie Lee Brown. On 13 November 1936 he married Lois Ashton Kjar in the Salt Lake Temple. She preceded him in death. Elder Brown is survived by his five children.

In 1940 Victor Brown began working as a reservation agent in Salt Lake City for United Airlines. He later held positions in Washington, D.C., and Denver, Colorado, and was an executive at the firm’s Chicago headquarters.

Elder Brown later served on the board of directors of Western Airlines and recently had been honored as a Utah Pioneer of Flight.

Funeral services for Elder Brown were held on 30 March 1996.

New Area Authorities

The First Presidency has announced the calling of seven new Area Authorities to assist various Area Presidencies, bringing the total of Area Authorities to 118.

Following are the areas where new Area Authorities were called: Europe West Area, Mexico North Area, North America Northwest Area, North America Southwest Area, North America West Area, South America North Area, and Utah North Area.

Inasmuch as Area Authorities serve in specific ecclesiastical and different language areas of the Church, Church magazines that serve members in each specific area announce the names of the Area Authorities who serve their areas. Below are Area Authorities called to serve in areas served by the Ensign:

Norman C. Boehm of Fair Oaks, California, called to serve in the North America West Area; Duane B. Gerrard of Kaysville, Utah, called to serve in the Utah North Area; James S. Olson of Huntsville, Texas, called to serve in the North America Southwest Area; and Michael T. Robinson of Central Point, Oregon, called to serve in the North America Northwest Area.

President Hinckley Maintains Busy Schedule

In a schedule that includes visits with Saints in widely spread areas, President Gordon B. Hinckley continues to spend many weekends encouraging members to live the gospel and become better people. In the past two months, he has traveled to Hawaii, North Carolina, Texas, California, and Provo, Utah.

Laie, Hawaii

“Take a stand for righteousness,” he counseled members who assembled on the campus of Brigham Young University—Hawaii on Sunday, 18 February. “Rally yourself with others to stand up for what is right, true, moral, and good,” President Hinckley told the nearly 7,200 members from five Oahu stakes attending the morning regional conference.

Church members from throughout Oahu traveled to Laie to attend one of two regional conferences held on the campus. Overflow crowds for both conferences gathered in a nearby gymnasium and on the grounds outside.

After acknowledging the many challenges in today’s society, President Hinckley reminded members of the great blessings that are available because of the restoration of the fulness of the gospel.

“The gospel is the answer to life’s problems,” he said. “I don’t think there is one problem that is not solved by living the gospel.” He went on to discuss specific challenges such as financial hardship, depression, selfishness, and domestic and family difficulties. He used the scriptures, personal stories, and anecdotes to illustrate how the gospel solves or alleviates these problems.

Also attending the meetings were Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Loren C. Dunn of the Seventy, President of the North America West Area.

More than 6,000 members from four stakes attended the afternoon conference session. Included in this gathering were many from the single and married university wards, so President Hinckley counseled the students that since he hoped their professors would be giving them straight A’s, he planned to give them five B’s. He then proceeded to encourage all in attendance to be grateful, be smart, be true, be clean, and be humble.

In closing, President Hinckley said, “I don’t hesitate to promise you that if you will establish and cultivate your lives on these premises, they will be fruitful, of great good, and you will know very much of happiness and accomplishment and achievement.”

In addition to the regional conferences on Sunday, President Hinckley held a four-hour leadership training meeting on Saturday afternoon, met with more than 100 missionaries from the Hawaii Honolulu Mission on Saturday evening, and visited the Polynesian Cultural Center on Monday. President Hinckley also met with Catholic leaders Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of the Honolulu Catholic Diocese and Father Marc Alexander on Monday morning, thanking them for the work being accomplished by a coalition opposing same-gender marriages, prostitution, and casino gambling.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Members from North Carolina listened intently as President Hinckley urged them to develop a love of the scriptures. He spoke during a regional conference held in Charlotte on 25 February.

“What a wonderful morning this is,” President Hinckley observed. “Something wonderful is happening to this Church. We’re blooming out across the world. And as the Church grows, our message is always the same: Come unto Christ. Bring the power of God into your lives by reading the Book of Mormon.”

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy, a counselor in the North America Southeast Area Presidency, also spoke at the conference.

On Saturday, 24 February, President Hinckley met with approximately 800 priesthood brethren from six stakes in the region for a training meeting, instructing them on improving their leadership abilities.

“This can be accomplished by practicing a conservation of time, by having our eyes firmly set on the objective, by building on strengths through embracing change, and by starving problems while feeding opportunities.” He also admonished his listeners not to shop on Sunday and warned against drugs, pornography, and immorality. He urged those in attendance to pay their tithing, honor their temple covenants, and sanctify themselves.

Fort Worth and Plano, Texas

President Hinckley presided over two conferences held the weekend of 16–17 March. During the March conference, which included almost 8,000 members from four stakes in the Fort Worth Texas Region, President Hinckley talked about the growth of the Church.

“The Church is on the move,” he said. “It is moving across the earth. What a glorious time to be alive. … Fifty years ago, 55 percent of the membership of the Church lived in Utah. Now, only 17 percent live there, with more Latter-day Saints in Utah than ever before. We are growing elsewhere, and we are growing in Texas. … This is a wonderful time to be part of an organization that is doing something, that is changing lives.”

President Hinckley then shared a letter from a man who had been extremely worried about his family. However, the man had received a Book of Mormon and started reading it and then listened to the missionary discussions. After only a few weeks, he was baptized. His wife and children soon followed. “The changes have been almost miraculous,” the letter stated. “I can’t believe what has happened to us.”

Also speaking during the regional conference were Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen of the Seventy, a counselor in the North America Southwest Area Presidency.

That same afternoon, President Hinckley presided over a regional conference for members from the four stakes in the Plano Texas Region. Also attending and speaking at this conference were Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder W. Mack Lawrence of the Seventy, President of the North America Southwest Area. During his remarks in that meeting, President Hinckley recalled an incident when he was a young man and a General Authority told him that the gospel had the answer to life’s problems. “I have discovered that this is true,” testified President Hinckley. “Brothers and sisters, it is true!”

He then talked of the importance of tithing. “Do you have financial problems?” he asked. “Do you worry about money? Of course you do. Pay your tithing. That doesn’t mean you will all get rich. … But you will have enough to be happy.”

The gospel has answers for other challenges, as well, he continued, including family difficulties, health problems, and even death. “How grateful I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he concluded. “Whatever the problem is, I have become satisfied that there is an answer in the gospel. As you apply the principles, you will learn to know the truth of it and the divine origin of it. God help us to be true and faithful to the great gifts that will come to us through this wonderful thing which we call the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

In addition to speaking at the regional conference, President Hinckley conducted priesthood training meetings for members in both regions and met with about 300 missionaries of the Texas Dallas and Texas Forth Worth Missions.

San Diego, California

During the weekend of 23–24 March, President Hinckley spoke at two firesides for youth (held on Saturday) and one fireside for young adults (held on Sunday) from the 14 stakes and two districts in San Diego County.

To the young adults, President Hinckley recounted the scriptural story of Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples who would not believe Christ had been resurrected. Finally Christ appeared to Thomas and counseled him to “be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27).

Repeating this admonition several times, President Hinckley urged those in attendance to “believe in yourselves. Believe in your capacity to do some good in this world. God sent us here for a purpose.” One of those purposes, he indicated, is to “educate our minds and hands.”

President Hinckley acknowledged the many problems young people face, including school, careers, marriage, and money, but he urged the young members to believe in the Church. “Believe in God, your Eternal Father in Heaven. He will answer your prayers, … maybe not the way you would wish Him to, but He will answer them.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. We wouldn’t be here tonight if it weren’t for Him. He is the cornerstone of our faith.”

In his remarks to the youth, President Hinckley spoke of adhering to honesty, chastity, and clean language, and of avoiding drugs. He also provided the youth with a formula for happy living.

“This is the time you’re setting the course of your lives,” he said. “Junior and senior high school is a great season. … Our Heavenly Father wants us to learn, to grow, to be happy. Our lives will be richer, fuller if we seek to walk in the path he set.”

“You’re so very important,” said President Hinckley to the youth. “On your shoulders rests the future of the Church in a few years. All that some people will know of this Church will be what you tell them.”

Accompanying President Hinckley to all three firesides was Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Provo, Utah

President Hinckley spoke in Provo, Utah, twice recently, first at a regional conference for five BYU married student stakes and then at a major fund-raising event for BYU.

During the regional conference on 10 February, President Hinckley offered four cornerstones on which to build homes: mutual respect, the soft answer, financial honesty with the Lord, and prayer.

“Respect one another,” he said. “[Have] that respect which comes of the knowledge that she is a daughter of God and that I am a son of God, that we are children of God, that God loves us. … Respect her and live with honor together and there will be happiness in your lives.”

Referring to Proverbs 15:1 [Prov. 15:1], President Hinckley urged the approximately 6,000 young married members in attendance to “learn to speak quietly in the house. When we speak quietly one to another, things somehow get settled. … That is the way the Lord speaks to us. That is the way we ought to speak one to another. Quiet speech is the speech of harmony. Quiet speech is the speech of love. Keep your voices down.”

President Hinckley urged the students to pay honest tithes and offerings. “You are young and struggling and there is not enough money. … If you want to get ahead in life, live honestly with the Lord and then you will be more inclined to live honestly with others, including honestly one with another.”

President Hinckley spoke of family prayer, of “getting on your knees together, husband and wife, taking your turns thanking the Lord for one another and invoking His blessings upon your dreams, your hopes, your ambitions, your lives, and your children as they come, living close to the Lord, speaking with Him in prayer with love and honor and respect. …

“I do not hesitate to promise that if you will go to your homes and cultivate and nurture … these four cornerstones, your lives will be happy and fruitful of great good. I am satisfied that the Lord will bless you.”

Also attending the regional conference were Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder James M. Paramore of the Seventy. Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, president of BYU, joined them for a Sunday session.

On 4 April, President and Sister Hinckley attended the public announcement of BYU’s multi-year capital fund-raising campaign, a drive to generate private donations for both the Provo and Hawaii university campuses to pay for, among other things, new scholarships and additional professors.

“I’m just a little troubled about one thing,” said President Hinckley after campaign organizers outlined the $250-million goal, $140 million of which is already pledged. “You say it’s going to take six years. I’m nearly 86. I don’t know if I’m going to be around that long.”

President Hinckley told the 800 potential donors in attendance that “every dollar spent is an investment that will bear dividends for years to come and across the world.”

The following individuals contributed to this story: Duff Tittle in Laie, Hawaii; A. Arthur Washington in Charlotte, North Carolina; Shirley Fowkes in Forth Worth, Texas; Ken Hudson in Plano, Texas, and Helen Read in San Diego, California.

President Gordon B. Hinckley greets members during a weekend trip to Laie, Hawaii, where he spoke at two multistake conferences. (Photo by Brian Perkes.)

Thousands of members gather during a multistake conference in Laie, Hawaii. (Photo by Brian Perkes.)

President Hinckley and others join in song with choir and congregation during a multistake conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by A. Arthur Washington.)

President Hinckley greets a local Church leader in San Diego, California. (Photo by Helen Read.)

In Fort Worth, President Hinckley spoke to approximately 8,000 members during a multistake conference attended by members from four stakes in the area. (Photo by Shirley Fowkes.)

A choir presents a special number for the conference held in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Shirley Fowkes.)

President Hinckley on TV Program

On 7 April CBS’s 60 Minutes featured a presentation about the Church that had been previously recorded from interviews by TV journalist Mike Wallace with President Gordon B. Hinckley.

President Hinckley “felt the program was done with balance and integrity,” reported Bruce Olsen, managing director of the Church Public Affairs Department, relative to the 14 1/2-minute segment of the one-hour news show.

During the program, Mr. Wallace spoke with President Hinckley about the First Vision, the priesthood, the Word of Wisdom, and other gospel principles. Mr. Wallace also interviewed businessman Bill Marriott, Utah senator Orrin Hatch, and Steve Young, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers football team.

The purpose behind the segment was to inform viewers about Church members. “Surveys show that 70 percent or more of Americans don’t know much at all about Mormons—even if they’re Christian or not,” explained Robert Anderson Jr., a producer of the show. “We felt it would serve our viewers to know a little of what the Mormons are all about.”

[Margaret Thatcher Visit]

President Gordon B. Hinckley greets former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher during an 8 March First Presidency luncheon at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. While visiting Utah, Lady Thatcher and her husband, Sir Denis Thatcher, toured Temple Square and attended a weekly broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The choir’s program consisted entirely of songs written by British composers. In addition, Lady Thatcher received an honorary doctor of public service degree from Brigham Young University during a special convocation presided over by President Hinckley. Lady Thatcher, who served as British Prime Minister from 1979 through 1990, was in Utah for the state’s UK-Utah Festival celebrating the historic links between the two geographic locations. (Photo courtesy of Deseret News.)

Church Officials Visit U.S. Vice President

Elder Neal A. Maxwell and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met with U.S. vice president Al Gore, presenting him with copies of his family history.

During the 20-minute visit, Elder Maxwell and Elder Ballard thanked Vice President Gore for the work he and U.S. president Bill Clinton had done for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The two Church leaders also shared highlights with the vice president from his family history, including the story of an early Quaker ancestor who was imprisoned for standing up for his religious rights.

While they were in Washington, D.C., Elder Maxwell and Elder Ballard visited with media, national family-oriented groups, and other government officials.

“Many people are unaware of our resources, so we are just reaching out and informing them,” explained Elder Maxwell, who serves as chairman of the Church’s Public Affairs Committee. Elder Ballard also serves on the committee.

President Monson Counsels Young Adults

Some 23,000 college-age young adults in the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University, as well as thousands more in meetinghouses throughout North America, received five points of reference for their journey through life from President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency.

During the 4 February Church Educational System fireside, President Monson compared mortality to an airline flight: “We have left our heavenly home; we have begun our mortal flight. … A plan has been made known, safeguards given, and training provided to assure a safe flight and an on-time arrival at our destination, even the celestial kingdom of our Heavenly Father.”

Honor Your Heritage

Quoting Tevye from the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, President Monson said: “‘Remember, my dear ones, in Anatevka each one of you knows who [you are] and what God expects [you] to become.’ …

“We are reminded of family ties, personal sacrifice, living examples, lessons learned, and love shown,” he added.

Know Who You Are

“Sacred writ and prophetic revelations provide us knowledge of who we are, from whence we came, and where we shall go when we depart mortality,” President Monson continued. “Baptism, confirmation, priesthood, mission, marriage, and family are more than mere words. To you and me they are God-given directions for our safe flight.”

Prepare for Your Flight

“You can’t simply wish upon a star and have your dream come true,” said President Monson. “Personal effort is required, and at times grueling, concentrated labor will be necessary. There are no shortcuts. … Learn how to study, how to retain what you hear and what you read, and how to apply that knowledge. Learn to meet your challenges one day at a time. And make time serve you. Don’t just spend time; utilize it.”

Fly on Course

“Check in with Heavenly Father,” President Monson told those listening. “He is ever ready to guide and to inspire you. Unlike modern airports, He never shuts down or is hampered by weather.

“The channel of prayer is ever open. It is your reference point to enable you to fly safely through the calm and the turbulence of life’s flight. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Once excellence has been viewed, one will never be content with mediocrity.”

Arrive Safely

“Maturity brings a refinement to the human soul,” President Monson observed. “Thought precedes action, caution replaces daring, and judgment overcomes rashness. President Joseph Fielding Smith, even in his advanced years, always prayed, ‘May we be true and faithful to the end.’ And that noble prophet was.”

President Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency speaks to thousands of college-age adults during a Church Educational System fireside. (Photo courtesy of Deseret News.)

Recently Released BYU President Dies

Rex E. Lee, former president of Brigham Young University, passed away on 11 March 1996 after a nine-year battle with cancer.

“He was a man among men, unusual and remarkable,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley at the funeral service. Brother Lee worked closely with the First Presidency during his six and a half years as BYU’s president, a position he resigned from in December 1995 because of increasing health problems. He was also the founding dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU from 1971 to 1981 and served as United States Solicitor General from 1981 to 1985. He was preparing to argue his 60th case before the Supreme Court at the time of his death.

Brother Lee was born on 27 February 1935 in California. His family moved to St. Johns, Arizona, where he was raised until he left to attend BYU. There he served as student body president and met his future wife, Janet Griffin.

In 1987 he was diagnosed with T-cell immunoblastic lymphoma, a form of cancer. Less than two years later Brother Lee was called to be the 10th president of BYU. He passed away less than three months after resigning.

Missionary Open Houses Share Gospel Message

Stakes across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico recently hosted missionary open houses featuring the missionary broadcast aired on 25 February 1996 with Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Local leaders reported that the combined broadcast and open house presentations strengthened members’ missionary efforts and introduced many nonmembers to the blessings of the Restoration.

Those who attended the broadcast and open houses caught a glimpse of the blessings that come through living the gospel, and many commented on what they felt. “You speak of Jesus Christ not as an abstract being about whom you’ve read but as someone whom you’ve visited,” remarked an investigator who attended an open house held by the Hammond Ward, Albany Ward, and Amite Branch in Louisiana. “We felt a very strong, good feeling and would do anything to get this feeling back,” said a couple at the open house. Another investigator added, “I felt communication—not just from mouth to ear but from heart to heart.”

To introduce nonmembers to the blessings of the gospel, stakes tailored their open house presentations to meet the individual needs of their areas. The Casper Wyoming Stake had displays by different organizations, including Young Men, Young Women, Primary, the priesthood, and Relief Society, that explained how the organization helps its members come to Christ. Stake mission president Millard Smathers invited a nonmember friend from work to come to the broadcast and open house. After viewing the broadcast, he accompanied her to view the displays. At the end of the evening, President Smathers simply asked her how she felt about what she had seen and heard. When she said she felt good, he invited her to hear the missionary discussions, and she accepted.

“Members are the key to missionary work,” emphasizes Earl Brundage, first counselor in the Ogden Utah Burch Creek Stake missionary presidency. With more than 160 members attending the stake’s open house, the stake mission presidency decided to include a display where members could receive instruction on giving a Book of Mormon to a friend. They also made copies of the Book of Mormon available to help the members get started.

“The Book of Mormon is the most powerful conversion tool,” Brother Brundage said. “At the missionary broadcast the Spirit was so powerful there was not a better time to encourage members to do missionary work. One woman came to the table and said, ‘We need a Book of Mormon because we are going to pray as a family and give one out. We don’t know to whom yet, but we are going to give one out.’” At the open house 46 copies of the Book of Mormon were distributed to members committed to sharing them with their friends.

Other stakes reported similar successes as they involved members in their open houses. The Slidell Louisiana Stake had various programs helping prepare members to invite their friends and families to the broadcast and open houses. They conducted Sunday School classes about being member missionaries, identified designated members as escorts for investigators at the open houses, and met with members to invite them to bring their families and friends.

“We needed training, practice, and action from individuals,” said Slidell stake mission president Dan Shearer. Because of extensive preparation and member support, almost 600 people attended the four open houses held in the stake. More than 50 of them were nonmembers, several of whom have begun taking the missionary discussions as a result. “Success like this goes a long way with the members. They are really excited,” President Shearer said.

To accommodate those wishing to attend the open houses in the Knoxville Tennessee Stake, individual wards and branches taped the broadcast and then held their open houses on different dates. This year almost 500 people, including 55 investigators and several less-active members, attended nine open houses held throughout the stake.

To prepare for the open houses, stake and full-time missionaries distributed printed invitations that members could give to friends. The missionaries also invited current and former investigators, and public affairs representatives advertised the open houses in local newspapers.

“Those attending really enjoyed the testimonies,” said Frank Holland, first counselor in the Knoxville stake mission presidency. “Investigators said they could really feel the humility of the speakers and they could feel the Spirit.”

One couple attended an open house in response to an announcement in a newspaper. Stuart Clark, Knoxville stake mission president, noticed the couple when they came in and introduced himself to them. He escorted them throughout the evening, answering questions and introducing them to the members and full-time missionaries. “When I asked them how they felt about everything, they said, ‘Very good. We are glad you had this open house that we could come to,’” President Clark said. Since the open house, the couple has begun the missionary discussions and has attended Church meetings each Sunday.

“Our message to the world is [that Christ’s] gospel has been restored today through Joseph Smith to help us find happiness,” Elder Ballard told thousands watching the prerecorded broadcast. “The best thing about living a Christ-centered life is how it makes you feel inside. Real and lasting happiness comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

During the broadcast, Elder Ballard discussed the blessings of the Restoration and interviewed prominent members of the Church, including Steve Young, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers; J. Willard Marriott, chairman and president of Marriott International, Inc.; Catherine M. Stokes, health care administrator for the Illinois Department of Public Health; Steven R. Covey, lecturer and best-selling author; Sharlene Wells Hawkes, former Miss America; Ariel Bybee, singer with the Metropolitan Opera; Dale Murphy, retired two-time baseball MVP for the Atlanta Braves; the Osmond Brothers, entertainers; and Jon M. Huntsman, chairman of Huntsman Chemical Corp.

“The broadcast focused on people who are well known, who have had success in their pursuits in life, yet have kept such a simple, wonderful testimony and focus,” said Sherman M. Crump, managing director of the Missionary Department. Each person shared the ways the gospel permeates both personal and professional life.

“As we focus on him and strive to live his commandments,” Elder Ballard emphasized, “Christ becomes the center of our lives and we obtain his promised peace and happiness.” As a result of the broadcast and members’ diligent efforts in hosting open houses, more families and individuals have gained the peace and happiness found in Jesus Christ and his restored gospel.

At an open house in the Slidell Louisiana Stake, visitors examine a pamphlet. (Photo by James W. Thompson.)

Amy and Wally Baker sang at the Casper, Wyoming, open house.

Participants at the missionary broadcast and open house in Casper, Wyoming.

A stake missionary answers questions during an open house in Ogden, Utah. (Photo by Royce Jacobs.)

FamilySearch Release Available

FamilySearch® 2.23, a new release of the Church’s FamilySearch software, is now available. The 2.23 release features the computerized version of the Scottish Old Parochial Records and also includes updates to the Family History Library Catalog™ and U.S. Social Security Death Index, which had been released last year on compact discs.

The Scottish Church Records consist of an index of nearly 10 million names, which were originally listed in parish registers and similar records of the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian). The index also includes records from a few other denominations.

Entries date from the 1500s through 1854, with a few later entries. Information available from the index includes given names; surnames; parents and/or spouse; gender; birth, christening, or marriage date and place; and source information. (The records do not include death and burial records or some Nonconformist church records.)

FamilySearch 2.23 has been released to more than 2,500 family history centers throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, interested members can request the document Scottish Church Records from the Salt Lake Distribution Center (item no. 34951).