BYU Law Library Dedicated
All three members of the First Presidency spoke at the dedication of Brigham Young University’s Howard W. Hunter Law Library on 21 March.
“What a great soul he was,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley of President Hunter. “A student, yes. A scholar, yes. A hard worker, yes. But above all, a man of great kindness and love and respect and care and thoughtfulness and consideration. It was not his brilliance in law that came through as you knew him. It was his love for humanity which made the big difference in his life.”
President Hinckley attended the ceremony with his wife, Marjorie. Also in attendance were President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Frances; President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; several other General Authorities; President Hunter’s widow, Inis Hunter; donors to the project; and law school faculty, staff, and students.
In his remarks, President Monson observed that as generations attend the law school, they will reflect on the man for whom the library was named. He spoke of several of President Hunter’s strengths—humility, deliberateness, love, loyalty—and concluded by asking all who enter the library to “carry the virtues of Howard W. Hunter.”
President Faust spoke of the library as a fitting tribute to a great man. “With this Howard W. Hunter Law Library, which houses thousands and thousands of books explaining the laws of man, I hope that there will be a compensatory study of the laws of God.”
The new library is a 60,000-square-foot addition to the older 40,000-square-foot library of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU. The facility houses more than 400,000 volumes and volume equivalents and is designed to handle more than 20 years of growth. One of the largest law libraries in the United States, it has 476 student carrels, 24 study rooms, and three computer labs.
Missionaries Evacuated from Albania
Albania mission president Laurel L. Holman; his wife, Louise Holman; and 33 other missionaries are safe after being evacuated from Albania during recent civil unrest.
The missionaries were among numerous refugees airlifted out of the country when order in the capital, Tiranë, collapsed after weeks of violence sparked by high-risk investment schemes that caused many citizens to lose money.
On Friday, 14 March, the missionaries left the mission home, later boarding a bus and then a helicopter. The missionaries flew to Brindisi, Italy, 50 miles across the Adriatic Sea.
Elders Neil L. Andersen and F. Enzio Busche of the Seventy, counselors in the Europe West and East Areas, traveled to Italy to meet with the missionaries.
The next day, the General Authorities met with each missionary to discuss the experience. “This was an emotional debriefing,” said Elder Busche. “We weren’t looking for facts and numbers. We wanted to know where their hearts were, how they felt about what had happened, what their own personal situation was.”
They found 33 missionaries who had a “tremendous level of trust in the Lord,” Elder Busche said. “They demonstrated no fear, no panic. There was a reluctance to leave the country because they love the people so much.”
On Sunday, 16 March, the group held a testimony meeting; on Monday, the missionaries were taken to Rome, where some received new mission assignments that day. Others waited a bit longer before being reassigned to other areas in Europe and the British Isles.
President Holman said the “love, concern, and prayers of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and other General Authorities, and of the families and friends of the missionaries” enabled the group to escape unharmed. “I know we had the protection of angels.”
Church Delegates Attend World Congress of Families
“As the year 2000 approaches, the decay of the family throughout the world is accelerating,” wrote organizers of the recent World Congress of Families held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 19–22 March 1997. “Yet signs of hope are also emerging. At this critical moment in human history, we must come together to point the way toward the restoration of the family as the center of civilization in all places.”
Official representatives of the Church were among 600 people from 41 nations who participated in the gathering. Elder Charles Didier of the Seventy, President of the Europe East Area, was accompanied by Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy, a counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency, and Sister Elaine L. Jack, at the time general president of the Relief Society but recently released. Elder Hafen spoke in a congress session, and Brigham Young University law professors Lynn Wardle and Richard Wilkins also spoke. Copies of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” issued by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (see Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102), were available in 15 languages.
According to congress organizers, “The family is a man and a woman bound in a lifelong covenant of marriage for the purposes of: the continuation of the human species, the rearing of children, the regulation of sexuality, the provision of mutual support and protection, the creation of an altruistic domestic economy, and the maintenance of bonds between the generations.” The three goals of the gathering were to “explore common sources of family decay, develop and issue a declaration from the families of the nations to the governments of the globe explaining the proper relationship between the family and the state, and define those social and economic settings which most encourage the flourishing of family life.”
Elder Didier commented that “trends presented daily in the media represent an intellectual and political ideology hostile to the family structure and to family values. Those trends, if not changed, will destroy our civilization. This was the first time we witnessed a silent international majority expressing concerns about the attacks against the family. Speakers reaffirmed the God-given laws that make the family succeed in life.”
Elder Hafen quoted Alma 38:12 in his address: “Bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.” He observed that “family law traditionally acts as a bridle on human passions, stating expectations and steering us toward long-term relationships of loving commitments. Without that bridle, our passions and our principles run wild, harming both individuals and society.”
Referring to worldwide trends emphasizing the personal autonomy of children, Elder Hafen noted that while “abandoning children to their rights” sometimes lightens parents’ responsibilities, it is actually a “profound form of child neglect.” Speaking of society’s tolerance of homosexual behavior and yet the majority’s opposition to same-sex marriage, he said, “Most people intuitively recognize that if the law endorses everything it tolerates, we will eventually tolerate everything and endorse nothing—except tolerance.”
Elder Hafen concluded his address by saying, “Bridled love passionately nourishes families, while unbridled passion destroys families.”
In his address, Lynn Wardle discussed how “there is strong support for same-sex marriage in certain subgroups of society,” particularly the entertainment media and academic communities. In contrast, Brother Wardle observed, “Heterosexual marriages have been given special legal preference because they make uniquely valuable contributions to the state, to society, and to individuals. Heterosexual marriages have been singled out … for preferred status because they are so important and valuable to society and to the stability and continuity of the state. … Claims for same-sex marriage challenge us and our entire generation to reexamine the importance of the institution of marriage.”
Sister Jack expressed that “it was heartening for us to find so many organizations promoting family values. There is great strength in banding together and reinforcing each other. I particularly appreciated ideas expressed by Nicaragua’s minister of education: promoting a love for truth opens to students a means to morality and happiness, and we need to teach with joy because sad parents and teachers cannot teach values.”
Dates Set for Vernal Temple Open House, Dedication
The Vernal Utah Temple will open its doors to the public in an open house to be held 11–25 October 1997. The temple is the Church’s first to be adapted from an existing structure, emerging from a remodeling of the old Uintah Stake Tabernacle.
After the open house, the temple will be closed and prepared for formal dedicatory services. Following the cornerstone ceremony, the Vernal temple will be dedicated on 2 November under the direction of the First Presidency. Ten other dedicatory services will follow, from 2 to 4 November, in order to accommodate the more than 36,000 members of the Church in the temple district, which includes 12 stakes of the Church: 4 in Vernal and 3 in Roosevelt, Utah; and 1 each in Duchesne and Altamont, Utah; Green River and Rock Springs, Wyoming; and Meeker, Colorado.
The Vernal Utah Temple will be the Church’s 51st operating temple and is one of 27 in the United States. The others are spread over 22 nations.
Plans for the temple were announced in February 1994 and the groundbreaking was in June 1996.
“Standing All Amazed” in Ukraine
“Earlier in my life the word pioneer was connected with communist ideology,” says Alla Bondarenko of the Voskresensky Branch, Kiev Ukraine Left Bank District. “I never expected I could become a pioneer in a different sense. But it turned out a new world still existed for me.”
Sister Bondarenko is among more than 4,000 people who have joined the Church in Ukraine. She recently completed a mission in Siberia, Russia, and today she serves as a stake missionary and as a counselor in the Primary presidency in her branch.
“I was astonished with the gospel’s beauty and purity,” Sister Bondarenko says. “This Church is where pure-hearted people are, where there is justice and charity. Latter-day Saint pioneers from Ukraine need not overcome rapid rivers, rocky mountains, and deserts. Here we have different obstacles. The gospel helps us overcome them.”
The second-largest country in Europe, Ukraine has been called the breadbasket of Europe because of its many fertile farms. Christianity was introduced in A.D. 988, and about 80 percent of today’s 53 million Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians. As a result of gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine is now governed democratically and is enjoying a renaissance of Ukrainian culture and language.
The Church has gained a foothold quickly in Ukraine. The first Ukrainian baptisms took place in late 1990. The Kiev Branch was formed in June 1991, with members initially meeting just opposite a building recently vacated by the Communist Party’s central committee. Elders Boyd K. Packer and Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated Ukraine on 12 September 1991 for the preaching of the gospel. Missionary work officially began in October 1991, and the Ukraine Kiev Mission was created on 3 February 1992.
Just six years after missionary work began, the Kiev mission has 23 branches divided into 3 districts. A newer mission headquartered in Donetsk and presided over by Ukrainian citizen Alexander Manzhos has 19 branches organized into 2 districts. Ukrainian members have made numerous trips to the Freiberg Germany Temple, where some 900 members have been endowed and 40 families sealed. More than 60 Ukrainian members have served full-time missions throughout the world, and last year 262 students were registered in 32 seminary and institute classes throughout Ukraine.
Valentina Chemezova and her two sons were baptized in 1992 by her husband, Serhiy. “Everything in the Church is important,” she says. “Sacrament meeting, temple recommends, family home evening, seminary and institute classes, home teaching, singing hymns—the list goes on. These things help us be confident and quiet, merciful and attentive. They help us develop our talents and receive answers to the eternal questions at the center of all philosophical searches.” Sister Chemezova took part in the Ukrainian translation of the Book of Mormon and today serves as a Church Educational System district coordinator.
“My life used to be a strange mixture of cynicism, sentimentality, good desires, dishonesty, slothfulness, glimpses of industry, and many other contradictory things,” says Vadim Malishkevich, president of the Obolonsky Branch, Kiev Central district. “Before I met the missionaries, I asserted that life was a pool of hopeless boredom and hardships where people tried to entertain themselves as they could. On 8 March 1992, the person I used to be was happily changed. Looking back, I can’t help standing all amazed at the love the Lord has offered me.”
From any vantage point, the growth of the gospel in Ukraine is remarkable.
Conversation: Church Museum Strengthens Members and Visitors
Located across the street west of Temple Square in Salt Lake City, the Museum of Church History and Art strengthens members and visitors of other faiths. Museum replicas and artifacts help patrons better appreciate Latter-day Saint history, and museum artwork encourages patrons to create and enjoy culturally diverse responses to the gospel. To find out more about the museum’s significance to the worldwide Church, the Ensign spoke with Elder of the Seventy, executive director of the Church’s Historical Department, and with Elder of the Seventy, assistant executive director of the Historical Department.
Question: Will you tell us the role a museum serves in the Church?
Answer: When President Spencer W. Kimball announced the new museum in an address delivered on 12 August 1980, he said: “We are connected with our past and we can fashion a better future if we draw upon the inspiration of the past and the lessons of history, both as a people and individually. … When there is proper regard for the past and its people, we enrich the present as well as the future” (“Remarks by President Spencer W. Kimball,” in Proceedings of the 1980 World Conference on Records, 1:1–2, LDS Church Archives).
The Church museum is perhaps the most tangible way of accomplishing what President Kimball described. The museum gives visitors the opportunity to experience history through the senses of sight, hearing, touch, and even smell, as in a recent exhibit on Mormon pine furniture, which included simulated smells of turpentine and freshly cut pinewood. The museum does in one place what Church history sites do in a more scattered fashion—gives context to our history. We can believe deeply in something, but when it is put into context by witnessing the stories and artifacts, it becomes more powerful and real.
The idea of remembering is doctrinally important. The words memorial, memory, remember, and remembrance appear in the scriptures numerous times. In the Book of Mormon, Alma asks: “Have you sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers?” (Alma 5:6). Alma was pointing the people toward their dynamic history. He realized it is harder to appreciate where we are and where we should go without remembering where we have been.
In addition to being a repository of Church history, the museum is a showcase of Latter-day Saint art. “Spiritually successful artists have the unique opportunity to present their feelings, opinions, ideas, and perspectives of eternity in visual and sound symbols that are universally understood,” wrote Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Great art touches the soul in unique and uncommon ways. Divinely inspired art speaks in the language of eternity, teaching things to the heart that the eyes and ears can never understand” (“Filling the World with Goodness and Truth,” Ensign, July 1996, 10).
Art has much power for good, but particularly in modern times it has also been employed as a tool of evil. The museum provides a significant, unique opportunity for presenting the good, the moral, and the noble in art. The museum’s influence—particularly the occasional international art competitions the museum sponsors—motivates Latter-day Saints worldwide to express themselves artistically.
Visitors from near and far often comment about how exceptional and impressive the museum is. It is important to remember that the overriding purpose of the museum’s exhibits and collections is to invite all to come unto Christ.
Q: What are some of the museum’s features?
A: One of the most important exhibits in the museum, which is especially appropriate during this sesquicentennial pioneering year, is a permanent exhibit on the main floor titled “A Covenant Restored.” This remarkable exhibit portrays the history of the Church from its beginnings in upstate New York to the present day. Visitors can look into a covered wagon, climb into an immigrant ship’s bunk, and relive Brigham Young’s 1847 pioneer trek. The exhibit is built around the sacred ordinances of the gospel. Without the restoration of the covenant between God and man, the Latter-day Saints would not have performed such historically important feats. Taken as a whole, the exhibit has a very meaningful religious significance.
Another popular permanent exhibit is titled “Presidents of the Church.” Visitors learn about the lives and times of the men who have served as Presidents of the Church through viewing personal belongings and artifacts that help explain each man’s contributions to the Church. Voice recordings of many of the more recent Presidents allow patrons to hear their testimonies in their own voices. It touches people powerfully to see, for example, something Brigham Young kept in his pocket and tools he used as a carpenter. Near this exhibit is a portrait gallery of early and current members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Also on the second level of the museum, an impressive gallery contains a permanent exhibit of 19th-century and early-20th-century Latter-day Saint artistic masterpieces. In addition, the museum stages art exhibits that change every six to eight months. Currently a large exhibit titled “150 Years of Pioneering” is showing 150 works of art selected from among nearly 600 pieces submitted to the museum’s Fourth International Art Competition. Members from 38 U.S. states and 31 countries worldwide participated in this event.
Q: How can members get the most out of the museum?
A: The museum is a dynamic place. Exhibits rotate with some regularity, and patrons can learn about Church history and art not only through reading museum brochures and educational signs and labels but also through using interactive stations, viewing films, taking guided tours, and participating in other museum programs. For the “Covenant Restored” exhibit, a free 40-minute recorded tour is available in English and Spanish. Visitors can take home a piece of Church history and art by visiting the museum store, where exhibit catalogs, postcards, posters, prints, notecards, and gifts are available. The museum is a good place for families to visit because many exhibits appeal to children, particularly exhibits that are hands-on and interactive. The museum is user-friendly for all age-groups.
The museum hosts about 300,000 visitors a year. A good percentage of those are Church members; the museum touches them and helps deepen their gospel roots. But the museum also fills a missionary purpose. People who visit Temple Square can learn much about the gospel at the visitors’ centers, but many also like to see real artifacts related to the gospel, such as actual pages from the original Book of Mormon manuscript. By making a smorgasbord of exhibits available, the museum represents and reaches out to a wide variety of people. Whether or not they have an opportunity to visit the museum in person, Latter-day Saints from all nations can feel good about the fact that the worldwide Church is celebrated there.
A Rainbow of Helpers Appears after Storms
Members and missionaries were among the first to respond to those in need after a series of tornadoes cut a 260-mile path across the state of Arkansas on 1 March, resulting in 33 deaths and more than 200 injured. The storm, which destroyed homes and downed trees, caused flooding and damage in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Mississippi. No Latter-day Saints were killed, but eight members were injured—two seriously—and six homes of members were destroyed by tornadoes.
The Little Rock Arkansas Stake sustained some of the worse damage, and members quickly rallied to help those in need. With power and communication systems down, members made their way through rubble-blocked streets to check on fellow members. One Latter-day Saint, Carolyn Bock of the Arkadelphia Branch, was buried under debris in her backyard. Two full-time missionaries, along with other community volunteers, scrambled over fallen trees to reach her home, which was completely destroyed. When the missionaries found her, they gave her a blessing, helped place her on a fallen door, and carried her to a waiting ambulance.
Another member, Tammy Benefield, a 21-year-old college student, was thrown from her trailer during the tornado. A man she did not know carried her more than a mile to a waiting ambulance; she never learned the name of her benefactor.
The same storm system, which set an all-time record of 12 inches of rain in 24 hours in Louisville, Kentucky, brought flooding to many areas along the Ohio River and nearby tributaries, forcing thousands of people from their homes. Rising water destroyed 3 homes of Church members and damaged 26 more. “We were very fortunate,” said Neil Hahl, Cincinnati Ohio North Stake president, who explained that many members as well as the full-time missionaries helped in the cleanup effort.
Fifty missionaries from the Kentucky Louisville Mission aided the local Red Cross in giving help throughout the community. “Their efforts made a big impact,” explained President Hahl. “There have been many favorable comments from nonmembers about the willing help of these young missionaries. Their efforts have been a positive influence here.”
In the New Albany Indiana Stake, which was hit hard with flooding, members responded quickly to help one another. “We tried to see if we could handle the needs within the wards and branches,” said stake president John Crawford. “The Relief Society, young men and young women, and priesthood quorums within the branches and wards affected were the first people to go out and help. They took care of 90 percent of our needs.”
The following week the stake changed a planned service project and sent 54 youth and 15 youth leaders to help member and nonmember neighbors dig out from the flood. “This was an experience they will never forget,” said President Crawford. “They truly were helping and were appreciated.”
The only assistance needed from Church headquarters was a load of canned goods brought in to help stock a Red Cross kitchen. Missionaries volunteered their time to help unload the truck.
Besides the full-time missionaries, seminary and youth groups from surrounding areas also came to help, and Relief Societies gathered blankets, pillows, and cleaning supplies. “It is amazing how many people are willing to help in these situations,” said William Norton, president of the Louisville Kentucky Stake. Calls to offer assistance came from as far away as Idaho and Arizona. Many victims who initially felt shock and disbelief have now “seen an outpouring from everyone. They feel a great love,” added President Norton.
Cyclone Gavin Strikes Fiji
Twenty homes of members were flooded and two seriously damaged when Cyclone Gavin struck the islands of Fiji. Though all members and missionaries were safe, the storm toppled the spire on one chapel and damaged two other chapels.
Tonga Hit by Tropical Storm
Fifty-mile-an-hour winds cut power lines and caused serious damage to banana and coconut crops on Tonga when tropical storm Hina struck the island nation on 25 March. All members and missionaries are reported safe, said Area Authority Pita Hopoate, although a number of families reported damage to roofs of their homes. Three meetinghouses sustained damage estimated at $30,000.
Ricks College Musicians Premiere Sacred Work
The fourth in a series of commissioned sacred music premiered at Ricks College on 9 April. The Church-owned junior college commissioned the work, Immanuel, by K. Newell Dayley, and 240 Ricks College musicians performed it during a two-week, nine-performance tour through Idaho and Utah.
“Words fall short of describing the beautiful experience the premiere was,” said Ricks College president Steven D. Bennion. “Musically and spiritually it was a combination that created inspiring synergy.”
The composition centers on the mission of Jesus Christ and is divided into four parts: His Eternal Purposes, Adam Fell That Man Might Be, God Shall Be with Us, and That Ye Become Holy.
“The text was selected from ancient and modern scriptures,” said Brother Dayley, who is a professor of music at Brigham Young University. After selecting and arranging the scriptural texts, Brother Dayley’s next challenge was to “clothe the scriptures in music compatible to their message. The text was placed in a musical environment with a singular hope that feeling might be bound with knowledge.
Kevin Call, director of the musical production, said of the music education program at Ricks: “We do what other schools do. But, as a parent once said, we also teach the students to worship at the altar with music rather than at the altar of music. In the process, Ricks is becoming an amazing catalyst for creativity in the arts.”
Previous pieces commissioned by Ricks College are Behold, He Cometh! by Darwin Wolford; Visions of Eternity, by Crawford Gates; and Song of Nephi, by Robert Cundick.
“These pieces are available to members in a variety of ways,” Brother Call said. The North Texas Oratorio Society in Dallas performed Visions of Eternity; several Church members in the group suggested the piece. Other organizations have voiced an interest in performing various sections of these commissioned works.
“Our desire is to invite some of the outstanding LDS composers to participate in this adventure,” said President Bennion, noting that Legacy composer Merrill Jenson has been commissioned for a piece in 1999. “We feel we ought to be doing more than performing the great classical works of the masters; we ought also to be doing something to tell the story of the Restoration and its beauty and power. This makes a rich and wonderful contribution not just to Ricks College and our student performers but to the Church.”
Four weeks before the January Ensign arrived, my beloved husband of more than 20 years revealed to me that he was dealing with feelings of same-sex attraction and had been dealing with them his entire life. To say I was stunned and heartbroken is an understatement.
It was with great interest that we read “Becoming Whole Again.” Alas, my husband does not feel the information applies to him. However, I applaud your sensitivity in printing this timely article. As painful as this experience is, I am comforted by knowing that I am not alone.
My testimony of the love of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ has significantly increased during this painful period. Perhaps now, for the first time in my life, I am more able to understand sacrifice and Christlike love—sacrifice of my personal goals relating to an eternal marriage, and Christlike love for an individual, regardless of his choices and actions.
Instructing with Consistency
I’m a fairly consistent reader of news and professional magazines, and I don’t know of any magazine that better accomplishes what I perceive to be its mission or more effectively covers its chosen subject matter than the Ensign does. The articles are well written, and they instruct and inspire with a remarkable degree of consistency. You’ve provided insights on difficult challenges faced in reality by Church members but which are sometimes avoided. I believe our brothers and sisters who are suffering through the heartaches of children with addictions or coping with single parenthood in a family-honoring church or struggling with any of the myriad of vicissitudes of today’s life should receive much help and support from Church publications.
Steven D. Kohlert Salt Lake City, Utah