President Hinckley Addresses Regional Conferences

Continuing his efforts to minister among members, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to several groups in Utah in January and February. He addressed regional conferences of members from Woods Cross, Sandy, and Holladay, Utah, all of whom gathered in the Tabernacle on Temple Square. President Hinckley also addressed the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Installation and Awards Banquet at the Dixie Center in St. George, Utah.

Regional Conferences

Speaking on Sunday, 11 January, to about 7,200 members from stakes in Woods Cross and North Salt Lake, Utah, President Hinckley said: “What does the Lord expect of us as members of His divine Church? He expects us, as those who have taken upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, to walk in His ways, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, to go the second mile, to learn and observe the lesson of the prodigal son and all of the other wonderful parables of the Bible, which stand as great lessons to us. He expects us as His children to reach out to those around us, not only members of the Church but others. … As sure and as certain as the sunrise in the morning, we Latter-day Saints and members of this great Church of the Lord should reach out in a spirit of neighborliness and helpfulness.”

Speaking on 25 January in morning and afternoon sessions to nearly 11,000 members gathered from seven Sandy, Utah, stakes, President Hinckley said: “Do you ever get on your knees and thank the Lord with great depth of gratitude that He has permitted you to come to earth in this day and time as a part of this great chosen generation? What a wonderful time it is to be alive. I know you have problems. … You worry about your children. You worry about your health. You worry about all of these things, I know. But, oh, what a marvelous time it is to be alive, in this the dispensation of the fulness of times, when the God of heaven has revealed Himself, with His Beloved Son.”

Discussing how members treat each other, President Hinckley said: “May you have peace in your homes and love in your homes and kindness in your homes and respect for one another in your homes, looking out for each other as brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers, being kind under all circumstances. It isn’t the big things, the big doctrinal things that we fail in so much as the little things in our manner toward one another. … I hope there will be nothing of self-righteousness among us. I hope there will be nothing of arrogance among us. I hope there will be nothing of egotism among us. I hope, rather, that we will be looked upon as a good and a kind and a generous and wonderful people because that is what we must be if we are true Latter-day Saints.”

President Hinckley addressed nearly 7,000 members from the Holladay, Utah, region on 8 February. He reemphasized the need to avoid the sins of our time—such sins as sexual immorality, drugs, pornography, profanity, and abuse of spouse or children. He highlighted the blessings, opportunities, and responsibilities of marriage and parenthood and reiterated the basic principles of paying tithing, holding family home evening, keeping the Sabbath day holy, and living the Word of Wisdom. He also reminded members about the Church’s new emphasis on reaching out to new converts and helping them stay active and involved.

St. George Area Chamber of Commerce

Addressing about 750 people on 20 January at the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Installation and Awards Banquet, President Hinckley elaborated on several statements about the impact of gospel teachings in his life: “I believe in the wonders of the human body and the miracle of the human mind.” “I believe in beauty.” “I believe in the necessity of work.” “I believe that honesty is still the best policy.” “I believe in the obligation and blessing of service.” “I believe the family to be the basic and most important unit of society.” “I believe in the principle of thrift.” “I believe in my capacity and in your capacity to do good.” “I believe in God, my Eternal Father, and in Jesus Christ, my Lord.”

Paying tribute to the pioneer forefathers of the St. George area, President Hinckley said: “I hope you can continue to cultivate the great spirit of volunteerism which has characterized this community from its pioneer beginnings. Those who laid the foundations of St. George and its sister communities knew that if they were to eat they had to grow it. If their farms were to produce, they had to work together to dam the Virgin River and build canals. No man could do it alone. They had to work unitedly if they were to survive.”

[photo] President Hinckley is greeted at the podium during a Chamber of Commerce banquet in St. George, Utah. (Photo by Frank H. Carter.)

Thirteen New Missions Created

The First Presidency has announced the creation of 13 new missions, bringing the Church’s worldwide total to 331 missions. The new missions are planned to be organized by about 1 July 1998.

  1. 1.

    The Australia Melbourne West Mission is created from a division of the Australia Melbourne Mission. The new mission will serve approximately 2.2 million people, with about 7,800 members organized into four stakes.

  2. 2.

    he Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission is created from a division of the Bolivia Cochabamba and Bolivia La Paz Missions. The new mission will serve approximately 2 million people, with about 21,000 members organized into five stakes, three districts, and three mission branches.

  3. 3.

    The Brazil Goiania Mission is created from a division of the Brazil Belo Horizonte, Brazil Brasilia, and Brazil Ribeirão Prêto Missions. The new mission will serve approximately 4.5 million people, with about 13,000 members organized into four stakes.

  4. 4.

    The Brazil João Pessoa Mission is created from a division of the Brazil Recife and Brazil Recife South Missions. The new mission will serve approximately 6 million people, with about 17,000 members organized into five stakes.

  5. 5.

    The Brazil Santa Maria Mission is created from a division of the Brazil Pôrto Alegre North and Brazil Pôrto Alegre South Missions. The new mission will serve approximately 2.5 million people, with about 17,800 members organized into five stakes and four districts.

  6. 6.

    The California Long Beach Mission is created from a division of the California Los Angeles, California Arcadia, and California Anaheim Missions. The new mission will serve approximately 1.5 million people, with about 24,000 members organized into seven stakes.

  7. 7.

    The Canada Edmonton Mission is created from a division of the Canada Calgary Mission. The new mission will serve approximately 1.6 million people, with about 22,000 members organized into seven stakes, a district, and a mission branch.

  8. 8.

    The Florida Orlando Mission is created from a division of the Florida Ft. Lauderdale and Florida Tampa Missions. The new mission will serve approximately 2.5 million people, with about 15,500 members organized into five stakes.

  9. 9.

    The Madagascar Antananarivo Mission is created from a division of the South Africa Durban and South Africa Johannesburg Missions. The new mission will serve approximately 15 million people, with about 1,400 members organized into two districts.

  10. 10.

    The Ohio Cincinnati Mission is created from a division of the Kentucky Louisville Mission. The new mission will serve approximately 2.5 million people, with about 9,700 members organized into three stakes.

  11. 11.

    The Paraguay Asunción North Mission is created from a division of the Paraguay Asunción Mission. The new mission will serve approximately 2.6 million people, with about 16,000 members organized into three stakes, five districts, and three mission branches.

  12. 12.

    The Taiwan Kaohsiung Mission is created from a division of the Taiwan Taipei and Taiwan Taichung Missions. The new mission will serve approximately 6 million people, with about 4,700 members organized into two stakes and one district.

  13. 13.

    The Utah Salt Lake City South Mission is created from a division of the Utah Salt Lake City Mission. The new mission will serve approximately 410,000 people, with about 298,000 members organized into 87 stakes.

New MTC Presidents Instructed

“Make giants out of all the missionaries,” said Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to eight presidents and their wives newly called to lead half the Church’s total of 16 worldwide missionary training centers. “Try to save every one. Teach them well to testify to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.”

Elder Haight’s 16 January address concluded a five-day seminar held for the new MTC presidents and their wives at the Provo Missionary Training Center. Elder Haight serves as chairman of the Missionary Executive Council. He was accompanied by Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Presidency of the Seventy, executive director of the Missionary Department, who also spoke during the seminar.

“Young hearts and souls will come under your influence, and they’ll be affected by you,” remarked Elder Haight. “They’ll watch you to see what you do and what you say and how you treat each other as husband and wife, because you will be representing the Church. They will rise to heights we know not of as a result of being in your care.”

Encouraging the new MTC presidents and their wives to serve with love, Elder Haight said: “That loving ingredient in the Church is difficult to really explain. It is that feeling that we have toward one and another, the feeling the Savior talked about: ‘Love one another’ [John 13:34]. Loving one another [means] hoping we can communicate properly, that we can convey to someone else that which is in our heart and mind. There’s a love about this work, about the scriptures, about the teachings, about the way we say it, the way we shake hands and when we look at people. There is something about it that draws us together. There is a bonding of our hearts and our souls.”

In his remarks, Elder Tingey said: “President Hinckley is redefining the retention of converts in activity to the entire Church. We do not have to reduce the number of converts to retain converts. … They must have new friends in the Church.”

[photo] Elder David B. Haight shakes hands with a new mission president and his wife. (Photo by John L. Hart, Church News.)

First Presidency Urges Citizen Participation

The First Presidency asked that the following letter, dated 15 January 1998, be read in sacrament meetings in the United States.

“We wish to reiterate the divine counsel that members ‘should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness’ (D&C 58:27) while using gospel principles as a guide and while cooperating with other like-minded individuals.

“Through such wise participation as citizens, we are then in better compliance with this scripture: ‘Governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and … he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them’ (D&C 134:1).

“Therefore, as in the past, we urge members of the Church to be full participants in political, governmental, and community affairs. Members of the Church are under special obligations to seek out and then uphold those leaders who are wise, good, and honest (see D&C 98:10).

“Thus, we strongly urge men and women to be willing to serve on school boards, city and county councils and commissions, state legislatures, and other high offices of either election or appointment, including involvement in the political party of their choice.

“While the Church does not endorse political candidates, platforms, or parties, members are counseled to study the candidates carefully and vote for those individuals they believe will act with integrity and in ways conducive to good communities and good government. Hence, political candidates are asked not to imply that their candidacy is endorsed by the Church or its leaders.

“As always, Church facilities may not be used for political purposes, nor Church directories or mailing lists.”

[photo] Church members are urged to be “full participants in political, governmental, and community affairs.” (Photo © Uniphoto.)

Not Alone on the Isle of Graciosa

Located some 800 miles off the coast of Portugal, the isle of Graciosa is the third smallest in a chain of islands called the Azorean Archipelago. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Graciosa is comparable in size to Utah’s Provo-Orem area and has a total population of just over 5,000. Among these residents are Antonio and Felismina Melo and their two children, Patricia and Hugo; they are currently the only four members of the Church on the island.

“I look at it as a challenge and an opportunity that the Lord has given us,” Brother Melo told missionaries who were visiting the island for a week. “Sometimes the things that are most difficult in life are the things that give us the most happiness.”

Introduced to the gospel in Lisbon, Portugal, by a close friend, the Melo family was baptized on 22 November 1987. “It was beautiful to see the whole family dressed in white. I felt we had started a new life, with a new hope, and a new way to view the world,” said Brother Melo.

The next two years in Lisbon, Brother Melo grew as he served as second counselor in the Amadora Ward bishopric. The family planted its roots firmly in the gospel. During this time a job opportunity came to Brother Melo to go back to the land of his birth and become the director of the local school in Praia, Graciosa.

The reality of moving to an island where only one religion existed and leaving the security of a well-established ward weighed heavily on the family, but placing their trust in the Lord, they accepted the position at the school. “I think that there was a reason for us coming, maybe more than a professional job,” Brother Melo said.

The move to the island did not go without notice. Word spread quickly of the Melo family’s religious beliefs. Cold shoulders and vocal neighbors were commonplace for a while as the family was trying to settle into the community. Loneliness and the spread of false information seemed to be the greatest challenges during the first months. The Melos’ home became their chapel and sanctuary.

“Church meetings have a great impact on us,” Brother Melo said, “especially in our own home. Sunday mornings we wake up knowing the day will be different. We always prepare as if we are in a chapel in the city.”

For the last eight years the Melo family has faithfully held the standard Sunday meeting schedule. Opening exercises start at 10:30 A.M., after which the family separates for priesthood and Relief Society classes. The past few years the children have been away at college in Lisbon, leaving the parents to conduct the lessons and meetings alone. Generally, Sister Melo holds Relief Society upstairs while Brother Melo stays downstairs, each studying directly from the lesson manuals.

“Every fast Sunday we fast together,” Brother Melo explained. “Every talk, testimony, hymn, and prayer has been recorded in a journal the last eight years. Sunday is a day to renew our baptismal covenants and to forget the problems of the world. If I can’t be here with a hundred, then I’ll be here with just two. It is my duty and my privilege.”

Gradually, acceptance and respect came from the community as the Melo family practiced consistent, quiet acts of kindness. Today, theirs is a trusted name on the island. Greater understanding has come through a weekly religious radio program conducted by Brother Melo every Tuesday. Words of the prophets and hymns of the Restoration are heard over the air waves.

“It is a Mormon radio program. At one time the people didn’t want to talk about the gospel on an individual level. I started talking about things like honesty, work, faith, et cetera. Today I speak of everything without any problems over the radio,” explained Brother Melo. The radio program draws a large audience. Now, Graciosa embraces the Melos.

The nearest organized branch of the Church is on the island of Terceira, 50 miles away, where the Melos are considered active members of the Angra Branch. Caring leaders from Terceira have always kept in close connection with the family. Over the past eight years missionaries have occasionally visited the Melo family. These visits have been a spiritual support, edifying both the missionaries and the Melos. The family hopes someday missionaries will be working permanently on Graciosa.

“This is a worldwide church,” said Brother Melo. “It is the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church is here just as it is in America. We may not have a chapel, but we have our home. We have a strong testimony. We do not have any doubt that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that President Gordon B. Hinckley is today’s prophet. We are on the smallest of the Azorean islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but we know these things. It is our wish that someday more people in Graciosa will be able to say the same things that we are saying today.”

[photo] The Melo family poses in their home. From left to right: daughter Patricia, son Hugo, Antonio’s mother, Felismina, and Antonio.

Calvin C. Clegg is serving as president of the Portugal Lisbon North Mission.

Hawaii Tabernacle: A “Spiritual Refuge” Rededicated

Calling the remodeled historic Honolulu Hawaii Stake Tabernacle a “sacred edifice for many men and women in the armed forces who have taken spiritual refuge in the building over the years,” Elder David E. Sorensen of the Seventy, President of the North America West Area, rededicated the tabernacle on 18 January 1998.

In the original dedicatory prayer given after the tabernacle’s completion in 1941, Elder David O. McKay, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, blessed the tabernacle that it would not suffer any war-related damage. “There was extensive bombing all around the area, and there is a large light on the tabernacle,” said Elder Sorensen. “At that time it was the second tallest steeple in Honolulu. Yet the building was never targeted or damaged in any way.”

Prior to the tabernacle’s rededication, several hundred people took tours led by stake and full-time missionaries during a public open house. About 1,000 people attended the rededication ceremony. Renovations to the 47,000-square-foot building included improving the landscaping, adding air-conditioning, and enlarging and modernizing the tabernacle’s family history center, which is under the direction of Elder Adney Y. Komatsu, an emeritus General Authority, and his wife, Judy Komatsu.

[photo] A view of the newly remodeled historic Honolulu Hawaii Stake Tabernacle. (Photo by Thomas E. Daniels.)

Open House, Dedication for Preston England Temple

The First Presidency has announced that the public open house for the almost-completed Preston England Temple has been scheduled for 16–30 May 1998. Tours will be conducted Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9:00 A.M. until 9:00 P.M. and Mondays from 9:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M.

Temple dedicatory services are set for 7–10 June 1998, with 15 separate services scheduled so that as many members of the temple district as possible may participate. The temple district includes 21 stakes in Scotland, Ireland, northern Wales, and central and northern England. With four ordinance rooms, four sealing rooms, and a baptistry, the new temple is part of a complex that also includes a stake center, missionary training center, distribution center, and patron and missionary housing.

1998 Church Pageant Schedule

Following are the 1998 performance dates and locations of Church pageants.

4, 7–11 April, Mesa, Arizona—Jesus the Christ, Arizona Temple grounds.

18–20, 23–27 June, Manti, Utah—Mormon Miracle, Manti Temple grounds.

21–25, 28–31 July; 1 August, Oakland, California—And It Came to Pass, Oakland Temple interstake center.

10–11, 14–18 July, Palmyra, New York—America’s Witness for Christ, Hill Cumorah.

30–31 July; 1, 4–8 August, Castle Dale, Utah—Castle Valley Pageant, Mountain Amphitheater.

31 July; 1, 4–8 August, Nauvoo, Illinois—City of Joseph, hillside adjacent to Nauvoo Visitors’ Center.

14–15, 18–22, 25–29 August, Clarkston, Utah—Martin Harris, the Man Who Knew, amphitheater adjacent to the Clarkston Cemetery. Tickets are required and can be obtained free of charge by writing to P.O. Box 151, Clarkston, UT 84305.

18–25 December, Calgary, Alberta—Calgary Nativity Pageant, Heritage Park.

[photo] A scene from Jesus the Christ, a pageant held on the Arizona Temple grounds in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Scott P. Adair.)


Kanesville Tabernacle Update

In the September 1997 issue is a reproduction of a drawing that you identified as the Kanesville Tabernacle (p. 50). The original is in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper of 16 October 1858 (p. 15) with the caption “Remains Of The Original Mormon Temple, Crescent City.—From a Sketch By Our Own Correspondent.” Crescent City is about 10 miles north of Council Bluffs (formerly Kanesville). From notations in The Frontier Guardian, published in Kanesville, the Saints built two tabernacles in the Crescent City area: the Big Pigeon Tabernacle and the Benson Mill Tabernacle. The 1858 drawing is obviously of one of them. The Kanesville Tabernacle was dismantled after late 1849, according to the Pottawattamie high council minutes. Also, the Kanesville Tabernacle had many fewer windows than the Crescent City drawing shows. The article that accompanies the original drawing says nothing about the 1858 correspondent visiting Council Bluffs.

Myrtle S. Hyde

Ogden, Utah

Call for Articles

“We must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist [converts] as they find their way,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley. “Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’” (Ensign, May 1997, 47). In preparation for articles on convert retention, the Ensign invites readers to relate accounts such as the following:

  1. 1.

    What specific things did you do to maintain involvement in the Church, or what things did you do to build relationships with other members?

  2. 2.

    What did others do to help you make the transition to active involvement in the Church?

Reports should be 2–5 double-spaced typewritten pages. At the top of the first page, write “Convert Retention.” Send to Ensign Magazine, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3224, U.S.A. Persons wishing their manuscripts returned should enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Random Acts of Kindness

In the July 1997 Ensign, we read with interest both Random Sampler articles on page 68.

Serving as missionaries, we recognize the need for us all to be more actively involved in proclaiming the gospel. We would add to the activities listed in “Teaching the Mission of the Church” the following: share a copy of an appropriate Ensign selection with a nonmember friend or relative.

We will send a copy of “Adopted, Not Different” on the same page to a relative who has adopted a little girl. We know this family will appreciate the insights expressed.

Eileen Starr Germany Frankfurt Mission

Power of the Atonement

In the October 1997 issue you published a Random Sampler titled “Object Lessons that Motivate” (p. 70) that compared someone who has sinned to a sticky, handled piece of candy. While the point of the story, which was apparently to teach the importance of avoiding moral transgression, was well received, the example is more intimidating than motivating.

Even though this example of a dirty piece of candy certainly illustrates the aversion we should have to sin, where does it leave the role of the Atonement should the sinner recognize the error of his or her ways? Jesus Christ has paid the price so that all sinners can be renewed. As Alma recorded, “Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you” (Alma 5:33).

Perhaps a better object lesson would include in some way an illustration of how the power of the Atonement can make that once undesirable piece of candy new again by eradicating from it all traces of sin.

Christine Camille Joshua Kennedy Charleston, South Carolina

When Loved Ones Go Astray

I found “When Our Children Go Astray” (February 1997) helpful in dealing not only with children but also with parents and other loved ones who may have gone astray. Feelings of disappointment, sorrow, and hurt can surface when anyone we love makes unrighteous decisions. When the one who strays is a parent, children may have feelings of anger at being abandoned or betrayed by one who is supposed to provide for and guide them, feelings of unworthiness when honoring parents seems difficult, and a sense of failure when good examples do not have the effect they want.

Thankfully we have been blessed by a loving Heavenly Father with the supportive structure of the Church. The Savior declared that as we do his will, we are adopted into the family of God (see Matt. 12:46–50). Within the sisterhood and brotherhood of the Church, we can find positive role models and loving relationships. While these do not replace relationships we are working on, they help us as we learn to love imperfect parents and honor the positive contributions they have made to our lives.

Name Withheld