News of the Church


President Hinckley Maintains Busy Schedule

In a four-day trip that took him to Illinois, New York, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Missouri, President Gordon B. Hinckley visited historical sites, participated in sesquicentennial events, and spoke to members and missionaries about his love for them and the importance of the gospel in their lives. Accompanying President Hinckley throughout the quick trip was Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy, first counselor in the North America Central Area at the time.

Nauvoo and Carthage, Illinois

On 11 July 1996 nearly 3,000 people gathered in Nauvoo, Illinois, for an outdoor fireside. President Hinckley was the main speaker, and he remarked on the importance of Nauvoo in the history of the Church. “Nauvoo always does something for me,” he said. “There is an affinity within me for this soil, for these old homes, for the foundation stones of the temple, and for Carthage, where the Prophet and Hyrum were murdered on June 27, 1844, for their testimony of the truth.”

President Hinckley mentioned his first visit to the area in 1935, when he visited Nauvoo while en route home from his mission to the British Isles. He also talked of his grandfather who worked as a blacksmith at Nauvoo and later headed west with other Church members. He spoke of the history of the city and the suffering of the Saints. “There can be beauty in suffering when there is faith,” he observed. “There is tragedy, yes; there is sorrow, of course. But there is something sublime in suffering for a great cause. There was something magnificent about the way they held up their heads and kept on going notwithstanding the travail through which they passed. But with all of that suffering, there was a certain beauty in the solemnity of it, in the sublimity of their faith, in their resolution to leave Nauvoo behind and re-create it on a grander scale somewhere in the West.”

Palmyra, New York

The next day, President Hinckley arrived in Palmyra, New York, and visited with full-time missionaries serving in the New York Rochester Mission, the president and missionaries of the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center, and the cast and crew of the Hill Cumorah Pageant.

“Every claim that we make concerning divine authority, every truth that we offer concerning the validity of this work, all finds its roots in the First Vision of the boy prophet Joseph Smith,” President Hinckley told the missionaries. “I am grateful to come again and feel the Spirit in the sanctity of the wooded grove.”

While speaking to the 600 participants of the Hill Cumorah Pageant, the Church leader recalled the first time he’d seen the pageant, some 61 years ago. He talked of the power of the production and said: “In behalf of the entire Church, I want to thank you for your efforts. Each in our own time and in our own responsibility become a part of the fabric of this great Church. Each of us becomes a thread, and when woven together there comes to the surface beauty and pattern and purpose.”

President Hinckley also attended the opening night of the pageant and visited the Sacred Grove during his time in upstate New York.

Council Bluffs, Iowa

On 13 July President Hinckley traveled to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he participated in the Grand Encampment honoring the Mormon pioneers, dedicated the reconstructed Kanesville Tabernacle, met with media representatives, and spoke to a large fireside gathering.

During the meeting at the tabernacle, President Hinckley spoke of the pioneer migration from Nauvoo to the Council Bluffs (Kanesville) area. “[The pioneers] longed for the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience and wished to extend that same privilege to all others,” he said. “They did what they did because of what they believed.”

While searching for a place where they could enjoy religious freedom, the pioneers settled briefly in this area. A large group gathered for a Church conference on 3–4 December 1847 to sustain the newly organized First Presidency, with President Brigham Young at its head. But the building was so crowded that President Young adjourned the meeting until a larger facility could be built.

In just three weeks, the Kanesville Tabernacle was constructed, and it was in the 60- by 40-foot building that 1,000 members met on 27 December to sustain their new leader.

President Hinckley referred to the old log tabernacle as being composed of “walls and a roof of cottonwood logs, which is a soft wood and rather easy to tool. But it still represented a Herculean task in the circumstances in which they found themselves.”

Later the same evening President Hinckley addressed more than 12,000 people, about a third of whom were estimated to be members of other faiths, during an outdoor fireside on the campus of the Iowa School for the Deaf. The site was where the pioneers gathered during the summer of 1846 before journeying to the Salt Lake Valley the next year.

“This is historic ground,” said President Hinckley. “This is hallowed ground. This is ground where our forebears lived for a season.”

President Hinckley spoke of the sacrifices made by pioneer ancestors and explained the circumstances under which William Clayton wrote the words to “Come, Come, Ye Saints” (Hymns, no. 30). That hymn, President Hinckley observed, “became the theme song of our people crossing the plains, of the tens of thousands who moved through here, this place of grand encampment, this very soil on which you sit this evening. And I tell you it is a reminder of greatness. It is a reminder of faith. It is a reminder of loyalty to one another and to God. It is a reminder of fidelity to a great purpose. It is a reminder of covenants made concerning our relationship to God our Eternal Father and our beloved Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

President Hinckley also read and commented on D&C 136, a revelation received by President Brigham Young in 1847 across the river from Council Bluffs.

The section focuses primarily on the gathering of the Saints and the journey westward.

“May I remind you,” President Hinckley said, “that we are still pioneers in this Church. We are reaching out across the world. We are now established in more than 150 nations with a membership of 9,700,000. We are pioneering still. Let us in our efforts go forward with a … promise to keep all the commandments and statutes of the Lord our God.”

Tulsa, Oklahoma

After participating in Grand Encampment activities, President Hinckley traveled to Oklahoma, where on 14 July he and his party met with almost 2,000 youth and leaders from the Tulsa Oklahoma and Tulsa East Oklahoma Stakes and the Fort Smith Arkansas and Rogers Arkansas Stakes in an early afternoon meeting. The youth were gathered for a youth conference, and President Hinckley’s address was a high point of the three-day activity.

He counseled the young people to be smart, be clean, be true, and be humble. “You know this gospel is true,” he said. “I know this gospel is true. …

“We are not a small Church anymore. We are a big, moving Church,” he continued. “For some of you it does not seem so because you are the only member of the Church in your high school. But actually you are part of a great, throbbing, wonderful organization that reaches across the earth and encompasses people in many, many lands. … I’m so proud of the youth of this Church. Be the best there is at what you want to be.”

Kansas City, Missouri

Just a few hours later in a 14 July evening meeting, President Hinckley was in Kansas City, Missouri, with about 2,800 youth and leaders. In this gathering, the Church leader spoke of the rising generation and the importance of future missionary service. “I hope every young man here has a mission on his list of goals,” he said. “Don’t let anything get in the way of this. The Lord needs you. He needs your voice.”

President Hinckley also spoke to the young women, telling them they were “the future mothers of children yet to come. … You will carry on with great responsibilities in the years to come. I hope there is not a young woman who does not feel she cannot stand equal with her male friends. … You’re very precious to me,” he said in conclusion. “And you’re very important in the plan of the Lord. Live up to your high possibilities.”

After the whirlwind trip, President Hinckley returned to Salt Lake City.

Ensign Peak

On 26 July 1847, President Brigham Young climbed a small hill in the Salt Lake Valley that he’d seen in a vision and named it Ensign Peak. Exactly 149 years later, President Hinckley dedicated a newly completed park and improved trail to the same place.

“I’m glad to see that things are as they should be, in my judgment, with reference to the peak,” observed President Hinckley in remarks during the 26 July program, “a nature park, a place to which people may go leisurely, learning as they climb, and when they reach the summit, of pondering and thinking and reflecting as they look across this great valley, which has become a metropolis in the mountains.” Accompanying President Hinckley at the dedication ceremonies were his wife, Marjorie; President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Frances; President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Ruth; and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, and his wife, Barbara.

“Through the efforts of many good people, the monument on Ensign Peak has been refurbished and its surroundings beautified,” President Hinckley said during the dedicatory prayer. “Leading to it is a plaza from which a trail goes where the visitor may make his or her leisurely ascent, learning from the appropriate plaques placed along the way. We pray that through the years to come, many thousands of people of all faiths and all denominations, people of this nation and of other nations, may come here to reflect on the history and the efforts of those who pioneered this area. May this be a place of pondering, a place of remembrance, a place of thoughtful gratitude, a place of purposeful resolution.”

Nearly 1,000 people attended the program, during which the Ensign Peak Foundation presented the new park to the city of Salt Lake. The foundation has spent the last seven years raising money for work on the area, which includes a new Ensign Peak Historic Site and Nature Park.

The new park includes an entrance plaza; a vista mound providing an excellent view of Salt Lake Valley for visitors not wanting to make the entire half-mile hike; a trail with resting spots and plaques with various explanations about the peak’s geology, area history, and plants and animals native to the area; a monument and plaza at the top; and an amphitheater near the trail but hidden from the view of passing hikers.

In addition to President Hinckley’s remarks and prayer, the dedication program included several musical numbers, as well as three historical tableaus: one honoring the Native American residents of the area who predated the pioneers; a second showing President Young’s encounter with mountain man Jim Bridger, who shared disheartening comments about the Salt Lake Valley’s fertility; and a third portraying the hike by President Young and eight other men to the top of the peak on 26 July 1847.

Provo, Utah

On 4 August, President Hinckley was the featured speaker at the Provo City Community Centennial Service held at the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University. During his remarks, President Hinckley spoke of the secularizing of America. He observed that some are questioning whether the words “In God We Trust” should remain on U.S. currency, that New Jersey recently passed a law banning use of the term God from state courtroom oaths, and that the Boy Scouts of America have been attacked for language in the Boy Scout oath that spoke of duty to God.

“It is acknowledgement of the Almighty that gives civility and refinement to our actions,” President Hinckley said. “It is accountability to Him that brings discipline to our lives. It is gratitude for His gracious favors that takes from us the arrogance to which we are so prone.”

President Hinckley mentioned some things that weaken society, including the lack of family prayer and the disregard for marriage. The Church leader spoke of the nation’s children, many of whom are being raised in single-parent homes, and he spoke of the ills of abortion and welfare.

However, “lest you think I am only a man of gloom and doom,” President Hinckley continued, “let me assure you that there is still so much of strength in America. There is so much of goodness in so many of her people. We live under a Constitution that after more than two centuries stands as the greatest bulwark of human freedom to be found anywhere on earth. …

“My great concern, my great interest, is that we preserve for the generations to come those wondrous elements of our society and manner of living that will bequeath to them the strengths and the goodness of which we have been the beneficiaries.”

[photo] President Hinckley speaks during dedicatory ceremonies in the reconstructed Kanesville Tabernacle, the site where President Brigham Young was sustained as the second President of the Church in December 1847. (Photo by Garry Bryant.)

[photo] During an outdoor fireside in Council Bluffs, Iowa, President Hinckley addresses crowd of more than 12,000. Events of the meeting were broadcast on stadium-size screen at right. (Photo by Dell Van Orden; courtesy of Church News.)

[photo] Hundreds gather for dedication of new park and improved trail at Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Welden Andersen.)

[photo] Group on Ensign Peak trail pauses for view. (Photo by Welden Andersen.)

Grand Encampment Celebrates Historical Events

Church history, state history, and local history came together 12–13 July 1996 at Council Bluffs, Iowa, while Church members and local citizens celebrated 150-year-old events that resulted in the Mormon Trail, Iowa statehood, and the founding of Council Bluffs.

Thousands of people gathered for the two-day Grand Encampment held on the campus of the Iowa School for the Deaf, the site where the LDS pioneers camped as they reached the Missouri River on their journey west. The event was named after the Grand Encampment of the summer of 1846, when more than 13,000 pioneers set up camp, stretching over a nine-mile area.

Events held during the Grand Encampment included a reenactment of the mustering of the Mormon Battalion and a modern-day cotillion, as well as visits by President Gordon B. Hinckley. (For further coverage of President Hinckley’s activities, refer to preceding story.) On 13 July, five companies paraded for review in front of some 9,500 onlookers during Mormon Battalion reenactment activities. A brass band played during the march of the 500 men, who were descendants of original Battalion members and dressed in period clothing. Another group of about 80 women and children marched, representing a similar group that accompanied the actual Mormon Battalion. (A sixth company of full-time missionaries from the Nebraska Omaha Mission also marched, receiving loud applause from the crowd.)

Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy spoke during the activities, summarizing the history of the Mormon Battalion. Speaking to the men who were portraying their dedicated ancestors, Elder Pinnock said: “Thank you for your courage. We salute you, we wish you well. Our prayers, thoughts, and dreams go with you.”

Also participating during the reenactment were Dr. Larry C. Porter, a Brigham Young University professor; Ann Stoddard Reese, who spoke from a descendant’s point of view; Council Bluffs mayor Tom Hanafan; and Steve Young, a football player for the San Francisco 49ers and a great-great-great-grandson of President Brigham Young. He gave the mustering speech during the reenactment, playing the part of his ancestor.

Later that evening, more than 1,000 participated in a cotillion, dancing on the parade field for two hours to music from the 1840s, much as the pioneers might have done a century and a half earlier.

The Grand Encampment was one of numerous events held throughout Iowa to celebrate its statehood; many of those events have also commemorated Church historical events because the LDS pioneers made a great impact on development of the area. Those events have included a February reenactment of the beginning of the pioneer trek in Nauvoo (see Ensign, June 1996, 77) and an Iowa Mormon Trail Historical Symposium. In addition, two different groups re-created the wagon trek across Iowa.

[photo] Participants drive wagons and ride horses to re-create parts of the pioneer trek during Grand Encampment activities at Council Bluffs, Iowa. (Photo by Garry Bryant.)

[photo] During reenactment of mustering of Mormon Battalion, a stand-in for Captain Jefferson Hunt takes oath of allegiance. (Photo by Garry Bryant.)

Tabernacle Choir Celebrates Arrival of Saints in California

In celebration of the first Latter-day Saints arriving in the area 150 years ago, members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed in two sold-out concerts in San Francisco.

Choir members traveled to California to participate in sesquicentennial events celebrating the arrival of the ship Brooklyn, which docked in Yerba Buena (later renamed San Francisco) on 31 July 1846. More than 2,000 people attended the 29 July and 30 July concerts held in Davies Symphony Hall.

The performances followed the “Spoken Word” format, with announcer Lloyd Newell providing a spoken message that tied in with the theme of the celebration, honoring the 238 men, women, and children who sailed the Atlantic and Pacific for six months, a 24,000-mile journey that began on the East Coast and ended on the West Coast. At the end of the performances, audiences both evenings clapped until the choir performed an encore—a “Golden Gate” medley of songs, including “San Francisco,” “California, Here I Come,” and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

The choir performances were part of a “Festival of History Week,” a week of activities commemorating the effect Church members have had on the San Francisco area. Other events included an exhibit on the voyage of the Brooklyn in the San Francisco Maritime Museum, a historical lecture series on “Communities of Faith in the Early Days of San Francisco,” two ceremonies noting the placement of bronze plaques (one at the location of the arrival of the Brooklyn and the other on Oakland’s “Temple Hill”), a family pioneer day, and a readers’ theater production.

When the LDS pioneers arrived in Yerba Buena, there were fewer than 30 structures in the tiny village. According to California historian Hubert Bancroft, for the next two years San Francisco was largely a Mormon town. The pioneers built more than 100 permanent structures during the first year. They published the city’s first newspaper, conducted its first English-speaking school, and erected its first school building.

Today California’s LDS population is nearly 750,000, the state’s second largest denomination and the largest concentration of Church members in any state or country outside of Utah.

Attending some of the events, including one of the Tabernacle Choir’s performances, were Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Loren C. Dunn of the Seventy, president of the North America West Area. “We have played the wagon exodus with such vigor and enthusiasm in songs and in every way that you could imagine,” said Elder Haight during the week of commemorative events. “But that courageous trip by water is virtually unknown” by many members of the Church, he added.

[photos] A ship sails into the harbor as part of sesquicentennial activities celebrating the arrival of the ship Brooklyn, which carried 238 Church members to Yerba Buena 150 years ago. Inset: Members dressed in period clothing participate in reenactment festivities. (Photos by Peggy Jellinghausen.)

[photo] Members of Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform in one of two concerts during sesquicentennial activities commemorating arrival of Latter-day Saints to San Francisco area. (Photo by Peggy Jellinghausen.)

New Church Logo Announced

A stronger emphasis on the name of the Savior is the reason behind a new Church logo design announced by the First Presidency.

“The logo reemphasizes the official name of the Church and the central position of the Savior in its theology,” explained Bruce L. Olsen, managing director of public affairs for the Church. “It stresses our allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ.

“The three-line design reflects the prominence of the Savior in both proportional sizing and position within the name of the Church,” Brother Olsen said. “It not only strengthens the Church’s visual identity but divides the logo into distinct elements which make it easier to read and to identify in the electronic media.”

The official name of the Church was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith. However, the news media, the public, and even members of the Church have often referred to the Church as “the Mormon Church” and its members as “Mormons,” due to the Church’s relationship to the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

“There are millions of people who never associate the official name of the Church with the name ‘Mormon,’” said Brother Olsen. “Hopefully, we will help correct misunderstanding and confusion with this new graphic representation that focuses on the name of him whose Church it is.”

Members Volunteer during Atlanta Olympics

While thousands of athletes flocked to the Atlanta, Georgia, area for the 1996 Summer Olympics, hundreds of Church members worked to welcome the athletes and visitors and to prepare the city for the world’s attention.

Sherman Day, an official on the Atlanta Olympic committee and a member of the Smyrna Ward, Atlanta Georgia Stake, reported that hundreds of Church members helped prepare Atlanta for the Olympic Games. In addition, several wards and stakes, as well as individuals, registered as volunteers to help during the games in any way they might be needed.

Prior to the Olympics, members helped clean up the community. Among the members were more than 140 teenagers from the Roswell Georgia Stake, who cleaned the streets of their city in one day, a task that would have taken Roswell city employees much longer.

Some Church members who speak a second language volunteered as translators for the 17-day event, an assignment that sometimes involved taking time off during the Olympics, as well as spending hours prior to the games for training and preparation.

Boy Scouts from one LDS troop lined up in front of the Atlanta Georgia Temple to watch a runner carrying the Olympic torch. After the torch had passed, the boys cleaned up litter left by the crowd.

Church members participated in “A Gift of Quilts” project, spending more than 700 hours making quilts that were given to Olympic representatives from other nations as a goodwill gesture.

LDS missionaries also became involved, setting up for Olympic visitors a display with the theme “Strong Families Can Hold Our World Together.” The exhibit consisted of a display of photographs used in the book The Mission: Inside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a multi-image presentation of slides from the same book, a display on families, and a Book of Mormon display in 60 languages. During the Olympics, the display was set up at three different sites, and stake missionaries and local members worked alongside full-time missionaries to help with the project.

Many other members worked as security volunteers, distributed information, served as ushers, or assisted in transportation processes during the Summer Games.

“There was something for everyone who was interested,” observed Val H. Markos of the Peachtree Corners Ward, Roswell Georgia Stake, who volunteered at the field hockey venue and also carried the torch as it passed through Columbus, Georgia.

Church Museum Seeks Artwork for Children’s Exhibit

The Museum of Church History and Art is seeking children’s artwork for an international exhibit in January 1997. The theme will focus on “Latter-day Saint Pioneers of the Past, Present, and Future.” Children between the ages of five and 11 are invited to participate.

“The exhibit will be part of the 1997 Sesquicentennial Celebration commemorating 150 years of pioneering since the Latter-day Saints first entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847,” said Marilyn Chris Clark, exhibit organizer. “Pioneering has been an integral part of the history of the Church and its members throughout the world. Gospel principles help develop the faith and courage required to be a pioneer.”

It is hoped children will not feel limited to portraying only wagons and handcarts. “Their artwork can represent what it means to be a Latter-day Saint pioneer in any age,” Sister Clark said.

The museum offers these tips for artists: (1) a Latter-day Saint pioneer is some-one who goes before and prepares the way for others; (2) pioneering requires faith, courage, honesty, strength, and hard work; (3) the drawing can show members of the Church from all walks of life accomplishing all kinds of important things during the past 150 years or imagined in the future; (4) the artwork can show spectacular events in Church history or significant quiet actions; (5) there have been, are, and will be many outstanding pioneers from all countries and nationalities among the members of the Church.

Artwork should be on paper no larger than 11 inches by 14 inches (28 cm by 36 cm). It can be a drawing, painting, collage, or other art form using crayons, pastels, charcoal, pencils, oils, or other art mediums.

Clearly indicated on the back of the artwork should be the artist’s name, age, address, ward or branch, and stake or district. Artists should also indicate the names of the pioneers in their pictures, when they lived, and a brief explanation telling why they would be considered pioneers.

Individual entries should be mailed or delivered to the Museum of Church History and Art, 45 North West Temple Street, Salt Lake City UT 84150, USA, and must arrive by 8 November 1996.

Approximately 300 of the creative pieces will be selected for display in the exhibit. The exhibit will open on 18 January 1997 and run through 12 October 1997. All artwork will become the property of the museum and will not be returned to participants.

Comment

An Emotional Malady

Your timely article, “The Invisible Heartbreaker” (June 1996), helped me understand the importance of facing up to our responsibilities to prayerfully discern and act to strengthen and heal those who suffer from this emotional malady.

Larry D. Kump Falling Waters, West Virginia

Cross-Referencing Help

Thank you for the “Gospel Topics” following each article. I have often clipped articles and tried to cross-reference them, but I have ended up in a quandary. Your inclusion of this information will be a great help to me.

Velma Lindsay Salt Lake City, Utah

Compassion for AIDS Victims

The article “Same-Gender Attraction” (Oct. 1995) touched on compassion toward anyone with ill health, including those who are infected with HIV or who are ill with AIDS.

As the bereavement coordinator of Hospice of Charles County in Maryland, I have also become aware of the devastation and pain that families and friends of those who have died of AIDS endure. The stigma that these individuals deal with often leaves them feeling isolated and alone.

I have often put my arms around a wife, husband, mother, father, or child who has survived the death of a loved one from AIDS only to have them begin to cry. I have discovered that their friends and even family are unwilling to touch them, let alone hug them.

I hope we remember these individuals also as we reach out to those who are affected by this disease.

Shirley L. Pauole La Plata, Maryland

Blessings for a Single Mother

I have been widowed for 38 years, and the articles in the March 1996 magazine reminded me of so many happenings during the rearing of my five children. I want you to know that I appreciated those articles. Sometimes articles in Church publications don’t seem to pertain to me as a single, but this time as I read I was reminded of so many blessings I’ve experienced as a single mother; I cried and laughed as I reminisced.

Norma Wilford Roosevelt, Utah

Missionaries in the 20th Century

I would like to add additional information to the article “Chile’s Fruitful Vineyard” (Dec. 1995). The article mentions two missionaries flying from the Argentine Mission into Santiago on 23 June 1956 to begin modern-day missionary work in Chile.

Elder Robert E. Wells of the Seventy mentioned teaching Chilean workers in a logging camp just across the border from Argentina in January 1951:

“At the time, my companion and I, working in southern Argentina, crossed through the Andes by horseback and taught at a logging camp. We were the first missionaries in Chile in the twentieth century” (Ensign, Feb. 1977, 92). My husband, Newell K. Judkins, was Elder Wells’s missionary companion, and I have his missionary letters in which he writes of the experience. It took them seven hours of hard riding to reach Futaleufú, Chile, where they taught at the logging camp.

Joan Judkins Provo, Utah

Ordinary People

I thoroughly enjoy the photographs taken of ordinary people on Temple Square that are printed in the conference issues of the Ensign. Great faces. Peaceful, happy faces.

Lynn Lawson Brigham City, Utah

Caring for Meetinghouses

I certainly appreciate the article “Caring for Our Meetinghouses” (Oct. 1995). I believe that every physical maintenance supervisor will not only welcome the article’s message, but will look forward to the positive impact it will have on individual member’s attitudes and efforts in the future.

I am confident that we will be posting copies of the article on every bulletin board in the buildings within the area I supervise.

Dave Christensen, Chicago North PM Group Supervisor Chicago, Illinois