President Hinckley Dedicates Monticello Temple

Less than one year after President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the Church’s new undertaking of building small temples in places where relatively few members live, the first small temple was dedicated in Monticello, Utah, on Sunday, 26 July, with additional dedicatory sessions held the following day. Monticello is a town of about 2,000 residents located in southeastern Utah.

“Since the beginning of Thy work in this dispensation, Thy people have been commanded to build temples,” said President Hinckley in the dedicatory prayer. “Even in seasons of great poverty, they have struggled to erect these sacred houses. Now Thou hast made Thy will known and blessed us with the means to erect many more temples, smaller in size but complete in their necessary appointments. These will be convenient to Thy faithful Saints and will meet the needs of Thy growing Church throughout the world. This is the first of a new generation of such structures.”

A total of more than 8,000 people attended eight dedicatory sessions, which were held inside the temple and viewed via closed-circuit television by members gathered in two nearby meetinghouses. Before the first dedicatory session on Sunday morning, President Hinckley led a cornerstone-laying ceremony at which a choir of 60 members sang.

Other General Authorities participating in the dedication included President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder W. Eugene Hansen of the Presidency of the Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department; and Elders Ben B. Banks, Dennis B. Neuenschwander, and Neil L. Andersen of the Seventy, who together serve as the Utah South Area Presidency. Also in attendance was the new temple presidency: Lisle G. Adams, temple president; L. Robert Anderson, first counselor and temple recorder; and Edwin D. Hawkins, second counselor and temple engineer.

Preceding the temple dedication, more than 20,000 people viewed the new edifice during an open house held 15–18 July. Less-active members and nonmembers felt inspired by the temple. Robin Ramsay of the Monticello Second Ward, Monticello Utah Stake, reported that after touring the building, one woman said, “I’m going to see what I have to do to get back in the Church.” She made an appointment with her bishop that night.

With less than half the square footage of the adjacent ward meetinghouse, the Monticello temple is topped by a statue of the angel Moroni. The temple has a celestial room, one 50-seat ordinance room, one sealing room, and a baptistry. Attendance at the temple is by appointment. The temple serves nearly 13,000 Latter-day Saints in five stakes: the Blanding Utah, Blanding Utah West, Durango Colorado, Moab Utah, and Monticello Utah Stakes.

“This is a beautiful building,” remarked President Hinckley. “It contains all the features necessary for the work of the Lord to be done in this holy house.”

[photo] With 7,000 square feet, the recently dedicated Monticello Utah Temple is the prototype of the Church’s new small-temple design. (Photo courtesy of Robin Ramsay.)

More Small Temples Announced

The First Presidency has announced plans for 11 more small temples to be located in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Ukraine, and the United States. The total number of new small temples completed, under construction, or announced is 24 as of 28 August 1998.

The small temple in Brisbane, Australia, a subtropical city on the northeast coast, will be Australia’s second temple.

Small temples in Edmonton, Alberta; Montreal, Quebec; and Regina, Saskatchewan, will bring Canada’s total number of temples to five.

With new temples announced for the northwestern city of Hermosillo and Gulf Coast city of Tampico, the nation of Mexico now has one completed temple and five temples in construction or planning stages.

Since the Church was organized in Ukraine six years ago, about 5,000 people have been baptized. The new small temple in Kiev will also serve an additional 10,000 members living in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Russia.

Four small temples have been announced for the United States. The temples will be located in Bismarck, North Dakota, Detroit, Michigan; the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area of Minnesota; and Spokane, Washington.

Pony Express Memorialized

President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated a new statue commemorating the Pony Express in a ceremony held 25 July at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City. “God be thanked for these valiant, wonderful men, many of them from Utah, who gave their service knowing that they might have to give their lives in bringing about this tremendous epic in the history of the West,” remarked President Hinckley before offering the dedicatory prayer.

Passing through Salt Lake City, Pony Express riders delivered mail between Missouri and California from April 1860 to October 1861, ceasing service when the telegraph became available. “They were young men,” President Hinckley said. “They were idealistic. They were courageous. They were brave. They undertook a tremendous thing. They couldn’t weigh more than 120 pounds. They received $25 a month and room and board for the very arduous service which they gave. They were at it constantly, day and night, sunshine and storm. It was a very significant thing, and, while it lasted for only 18 months, a chapter was written in the history of the West.”

[photo] The Pony Express statue at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City is based on a design by late sculptor Avard T. Fairbanks. (Photo by Johanna Workman, Deseret News.)

President Faust Leads Pioneer Day Parade

President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, served as grand marshal of this year’s Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City on 24 July. One of the largest parades in the United States, the annual event commemorates the arrival of Latter-day Saint pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.

Following the theme of “Pioneers: A Legacy of Courage and Faith,” members of 19 stakes created floats that were paraded among 104 total entries.

[photo] “Each earthly family is pioneer to an eternal family” was a theme of the Salt Lake Eagle Gate Stake’s award-winning float. Inset: President Faust served as grand marshal of the parade. (Photo by Robert Buhr; inset photo by Don Grayston, Deseret News.)

New Camp Facilities at Joseph Smith Birthplace

Newly constructed camping facilities at the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith in Sharon, Vermont, were dedicated on 27 June by Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy, then serving as President of the North America Northeast Area. Named Camp Joseph, the site includes a log lodge, a covered pavilion, 15 log cabins named for Book of Mormon prophets, rest rooms, an athletic field, an archery range, and a swimming pond.

“There is such a strong spirit on this beautiful site,” said Montpelier Vermont Stake president Richard A. Baldwin Jr. “We wanted to draw people to the area to feel that spirit and increase their testimonies of the Prophet and the Restoration.”

Much of the camp’s labor and materials were donated. “More than 1,000 people have come here to do the work so far this year,” said full-time missionary Beth Lords. “Some people took their vacations, some brought their families. Scout troops, youth groups, Church organizations, wards, branches, and stakes have come.”

Construction coordinator Mark O. Lords, first counselor in the Montpelier Vermont Stake presidency, said, “People come here, and they feel something. It changes feelings, and it changes their lives. Now with Camp Joseph, we can offer them a place to stay.”

In addition to camping, Camp Joseph is intended for use by stakes from surrounding New England and eastern Canada for priesthood leadership meetings, ward and stake activities, youth conferences and camps, and ward socials.

Ukraine’s First Meetinghouse Completed

On Sunday, 28 June, almost 500 people crowded into Ukraine’s first Church-built meetinghouse to participate in dedicatory services led by Elder Wayne M. Hancock of the Seventy, Second Counselor in the Europe East Area Presidency.

Prior to the dedication, three days of open houses and musical concerts attracted reporters, government officials, educators, and other guests from Donetsk, Ukraine, where the Church has six branches. Sister Alla Shushkevich, a civil engineer who has translated 44 hymns into Russian, organized the concerts, which featured narration, classical vocal and organ solos, violin duets, hymns sung by choruses of missionaries and members, Primary songs sung by young women and children, and a patriotic reading about Ukraine. Sister Shushkevich invited friends of other faiths to perform, and several said they wanted to learn more about the Church.

“From the very beginning when I was baptized six years ago, I always wished there would be a meetinghouse like this,” said 70-year-old Nina Eelyenko. “Even though the Church rented places to hold meetings, most of them had no heat and often we were kicked out. We have prayed to the Lord for our own building, and now He has brought us this.”

Aleksandr N. Manzhos, president of the Ukraine Donetsk Mission, said, “I think that opening this meetinghouse is a big step for the Church in Ukraine and a blessing for all the people who live here.” He quoted a government official who commented, “We’ve always known you were a people who will help others, but now we know you are a people with a high level of spirituality.”

The Kievsky Branch will initially occupy the meetinghouse. Branch president Vladimir Dmiterko said that members worked tirelessly to clean windows and floors, move furniture, and make the grounds beautiful for the dedication. “All the members of our branch know this building is a great blessing for them and have treated it as a gift from the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.

“We have many places of learning which teach people to be good plumbers or good electricians, but no place teaches us to be good fathers and mothers,” said Vjacheslav Shushkevich, whose family was among the first six families from Donetsk to be sealed in the Freiburg Germany Temple in 1995. “The doors of this building will be open to all people who want to strengthen families.”

Soon after he was baptized, 17-year-old Yuri Yurievich Martinenko was hired by the meetinghouse’s Turkish builder. Mixing cement all day long, he would pray for strength to continue working because it was a building for the Lord. The Turkish workers gave him the nickname of Little Mormon because he was small in stature and always blessed his food. “I am really happy to be here because there are drops of my sweat and tears in this building,” he said.

The meetinghouse “will be as a beacon light drawing the honest seeker of truth to inquire about its purposes so that they can enter the doorway to receive answers of eternal consequence and value,” said Elder Hancock in his dedicatory prayer. “This initial edifice will be replicated across this vast and beautiful Ukrainian nation as other meetinghouses dot the landscape and provide spiritual havens for Heavenly Father’s spiritual offspring.”

[photos] Photography courtesy of Frankfurt Public Affairs Office

[photo] The Church’s first meetinghouse in Ukraine was recently constructed in the city of Donetsk.

[photo] “We are very happy to have this beautiful building,” said Donetsk Central Branch president Alexander Diloyan, second from right, pictured here with his family.

Church Members Honor Tonga’s King

To celebrate the 80th birthday of Tonga’s King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV, hundreds of members from six Tongan stakes donated a total of 4,500 hours in community service on 13 June. Armed with brooms, hoes, bush knives, and garbage bags, members planted Church-donated flowers at the king’s palace in Nuku‘alofa and cleaned up a home for the disabled, cemeteries, roadsides, a police station, a village clinic, and government primary schools.

“The morning was a little cold,” said member Rima Sika, “but it seemed like no one felt it because they were filled with the spirit of service and love.”

A few days after the service projects, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy, First Counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency, visited the king on 19 June and presented him with a copy of the proclamation on the family, a statue titled The Sea Gull, birthday greetings from the First Presidency, and several photos of the service projects. During his trip to Tonga, Elder Perry visited a Church-owned school and presided over a regional conference.

One member commented that participating in the service projects seemed more like a game than hard work. “What I enjoyed the most was to look back and admire my finished work,” another member said.

“The members worked side by side, enjoying every minute,” said Sister Sika. “Their faith and obedience shone from their faces.” Since missionaries first started preaching the gospel in Tonga in 1891, more than a third of the nation’s 106,000 residents have joined the Church.

[photos] Photography courtesy of Rima Sika

[photo] Left to right: Elder L. Tom Perry and his wife, Barbara; King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV; Elder Bruce C. Hafen and his wife, Marie.

[photo] At the King’s palace, members of three stakes gather to beautify the grounds.

[photo] Members of the Hoi Branch, Nuku‘alofa Tonga East Stake, clean up a roadside in their village.

Sharing Family Home Evening in Harlem

In cooperation with the Church, New York City’s Columbia University recently adapted the family home evening program for use by inner-city families of other faiths. In a pilot program that began last year, member families were asked to become mentors to families in Manhattan’s Harlem district and share the family home evening program with them.

“We weren’t sure in the beginning if it would work,” says Dr. Mindy Fullilove, a Columbia University physician and family therapist. “Now we know it helps people get closer. We often see families becoming warmer and children participating more. Family home evening helps families develop problem-solving techniques.”

Dr. Fullilove first heard about family home evening while providing academic support to Columbia University medical students. “I kept getting sound advice from another physician who was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said Dr. Fullilove. “Not infrequently, he mentioned family home evening as the source of much of his insight.”

The more Dr. Fullilove investigated the family home evening program, the more convinced she became that the program could work with families in Harlem. Leslie Green, a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, modified lessons from the Church’s Family Home Evening Resource Book to more closely fit the needs of Harlem families. The resulting Family-to-Family Program has been supported by a Church humanitarian grant.

“Working with the LDS Church has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my professional career,” said Leslie Green. “The family home evening program supplied a solution that fit the problems inner-city families face like a missing piece of a puzzle.”

Members Safe after Fires, Quakes

Brushfires in northern Florida burned some 500,000 acres during June and July and forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 people, including all 420 members of the Bunnell Ward, Lake Mary Florida Stake. All members and missionaries were reported safe.

Bunnell Ward bishop Rick Singler reported that a ward family who lost their home was living in a house that had been loaned to them until insurance proceeds came through. “They’re suffering the strain of losing everything they owned,” he said.

According to James C. Watkins, president of the stake, one Church building was filled with smoke, and air-conditioning and air-purification systems were used to circulate it out. No other Church buildings were damaged, and meetings and activities have proceeded as usual. However, at least 2,000 acres of Church-owned Deseret Ranches of Florida were burned.

Firefighters from 48 states were sent to Florida, many of them arriving with no change of clothes. President Watkins said that fast-offering funds were used to provide firefighters with bottled water and new underwear and socks. “We did it without fanfare, and I’m not sure the firefighters even know where it came from,” he said.

Elsewhere in the world, on 17 July a 23-foot wall of water struck the northern coast of Papua New Guinea. No members were killed, and no missionaries were serving in the 20-mile disaster area. The tsunami resulted from an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale that struck about 12 miles off the coast. Several international agencies and the Australian government have been involved in providing humanitarian aid, and Church authorities approved the use of some Church funds for assistance.

An earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale struck Taiwan in July, but damage and casualties were limited and all members and missionaries were safe. Minor damage to one Church meetinghouse was reported.

BYU Publishes Islamic Texts

Brigham Young University is spearheading the translation and publication of Islamic philosophical works in a groundbreaking project called the Islamic Translation Series: Philosophy, Theology, and Mysticism. Managing editor Daniel C. Peterson says the series is furthering BYU’s understanding of and friendship with the Muslim world.

The Arabic works are being translated by scholars from around the world and produced and printed at BYU.

Written by al-Ghazali, a law professor living in the 12th century, the first published volume in the series is The Incoherence of the Philosophers. Two receptions were held earlier this year at which copies of the volume were presented to Muslim dignitaries and community leaders. Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles joined Brother Peterson at a Washington, D.C., function attended by several diplomats and U.S. congressmen. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles accompanied Brother Peterson at a reception in Los Angeles.

“We want more people to be able to take advantage of this reservoir of knowledge and to expose them to a cultural perspective that was previously unavailable,” said Brother Peterson, an associate professor of Asian and Near Eastern languages at BYU. “Studies of philosophy generally omit Islamic contributions because their authors and editors can’t read Arabic.”

William Graham, chair of Harvard University’s department of Near Eastern languages and civilizations, says BYU’s translation series is welcomed as an addition to resources for teaching Islamic civilization. “It is a commendable thing when a university associated with one religious tradition branches out into a translation effort involving another religious tradition,” he said.

“There is something on the order of a billion Muslims in the world and several million Muslims in North America, yet knowledge about Islam is very limited among Westerners,” said Brother Peterson. “Much of what is known about Islam in the West isn’t true. Among the things most needed to increase Western appreciation and understanding of Islam are competent, trustworthy, readily available translations of Islamic texts.”

[photo] BYU President Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy views a translation with Jordan ambassador Marwan Muasher. (Photo by Mark Philbrick.)

Catherine Langford serves as a temple coordinator in the Brighton Ninth Ward, Salt Lake Brighton Stake.

Conversation: The Church in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay

With a total population of about 45 million people, the South American countries of Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay together have about 394,000 members of the Church. To learn about the progress of the Church in the South America South Area, the Ensign spoke with Elder Carlos H. Amado of the Seventy, President of the South America South Area, and his counselors, Elder Richard D. Allred of the Seventy and Elder Hugo A. Catrón, an Area Authority Seventy.

Question: Please give an overview of the Church in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Response: In December 1925 Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles established a mission in South America, with headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Elder Ballard predicted: “The work of the Lord will grow slowly for a time here just as an oak grows slowly from an acorn. It will not shoot up in a day as does the sunflower that grows quickly and then dies. But thousands will join the Church here. … The South American Mission will be a power in the Church” (quoted in Melvin J. Ballard: Crusader for Righteousness [1966], 84).

In accordance with that prophetic statement, during the early years the work went slowly in this area, but in recent years baptisms have accelerated. The Church in Argentina has grown from 800 members in 1946 to 40,000 members in 1978 to 171,000 members in 1990. With a total population of about 35 million people, Argentina today has 282,273 members organized into 63 stakes, 386 wards, 430 branches, 10 missions, and 39 districts. The South America South Area offices are based in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, and a temple was dedicated in Buenos Aires in 1986.

Landlocked in the center of South America, Paraguay is populated by about 5.4 million people, most of whom are descendants of Guaraní Indians and Spanish settlers and who speak both Guaraní and Spanish. Full-time missionaries reached Paraguay in 1950, and the Paraguay Asunción Mission was established in 1977. Membership has grown from 2,000 members in 1977 to 12,000 members in 1990 to 40,037 members today. The Church is well established in Asunción and other population centers, and recent increases in membership have resulted from missionary work in the rural interior. The Church currently has 6 stakes, 34 wards, 94 branches, and 2 missions in Paraguay.

Judging by the number of members as a percentage of total population, the Church has been most successful in Uruguay, which has a population of about 3.3 million people. Most of the nation’s citizens live in cities along the Atlantic Coast. The Uruguay Mission was opened in 1947, and membership has grown from 15,000 members in 1967 to 26,000 members in 1979, to 52,000 members in 1990, to 71,752 members today. The Church in Uruguay has 15 stakes, 91 wards, 88 branches, 2 missions, and 6 districts.

Q: What are some areas of gospel effort and progress in these nations?

R: The Church is strongest and runs most smoothly in places where there are mission headquarters or more than one stake, as opposed to places that have only districts or isolated stakes. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay, most Church leaders are second-generation or third-generation members who are well prepared and well trained, who understand and know the gospel and how to manage Church programs. Because of the gospel’s influence, such members learn the importance of education and make a constant effort to grow and be well educated, with better vocational opportunities and higher salaries.

Outside of well-established areas, leaders are generally much newer in the Church, so the main challenge is to teach them constantly by example. Besides the annual area training held with a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the area presidency conducts other training meetings during the year about how to apply the programs of the Church, with particular emphasis on retaining new converts. Other topics have included how to plan and conduct sacrament meetings, how to hold appropriate interviews, and how to help members live worthy to receive temple recommends.

With ongoing economic changes of globalization and privatization, many people throughout the area are finding it difficult to secure employment. But because of the welfare program of the Church and the application of principles of the gospel, members generally have a good attitude about their economic situation. The gospel not only strengthens families but helps individuals establish habits and principles that make them stronger. Church members are helping each other improve education and employment through five employment-resource centers that recently have been organized throughout the area.

Members in the area are better understanding the meaning and blessings of the temple. In January 1998 the Buenos Aires temple reached the highest number of endowments performed monthly since the temple was dedicated. That peak was reached with fewer full-time temple workers and a new temple presidency. Elder Amado recently visited the Melo Uruguay Stake, located near the border of Brazil. He was impressed that in a stake of mostly farmers who do not possess much financially, trips were organized to the Buenos Aires temple two times a year. The San Luis and Mercedes Districts in the Argentina Mendoza Mission are two more examples of members’ dedication to visit the temple. Trips are organized every two months though members live some 835 kilometers from the temple.

The youth of the area are a chosen generation. They face problems and challenges, of course, but the majority are obedient. Recently, with only two weeks of advance notice, 900 excited youth congregated in Buenos Aires to listen to Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The area’s high number of local mission calls demonstrates how well the youth are doing. More than 1,000 native missionaries from the South America South Area are now serving around the world, and parents are participating more in supporting their missionary sons and daughters. Many full-time missionaries called from the area have been members of the Church for only one or two years.

These nations are full of wonderful examples of faith. For instance, recently northern Argentina was flooded when rivers overflowed, and many people had to abandon their houses. It was inspiring to witness the faith of the Latter-day Saints. One member said, “I lost my home, my clothes, my personal belongings, but I found my real family, all the members of the Church who helped me. Even though I lost all my physical things, I have all my spiritual possessions.”

[photos] Elder Richard D. Allred; Elder Carlos H. Amado; Elder Hugo A Catrón

[photo] Members and full-time missionaries gather outside a Church meetinghouse after proselyting together in San Lorenzo, Paraguay. (Photo courtesy of Kerry Griffin.)


“Light in Darkness”

Thank you for publishing the article “Light in Darkness.” Mental health issues are too often ignored, buried, and denied.

My own experiences with treatment-resistant depression, coming after a disastrous divorce and subsequent disintegration of our children’s lives and family structure, have taught me that reaching out to others for help and assistance is the most valuable lesson. My route to overcoming the severe and pervasive negativity of clinical depression has been to gather a team of professionals, Church members, priesthood leaders, friends, and family and inform them of my condition and ask them for help. This may be a difficult process when one is confused and hurting, but it was my lifesaver and continues today to be my anchor.

Neither my psychologist nor my psychiatrist is LDS, yet we have incorporated Christian values and specific LDS treasures in my therapy. My wonderful former bishop and stake president met several times with my therapist to gain a better picture of how he as my priesthood leader could help me and my family. Family therapy and medication for depression have been side-by-side treatments that have been crucial to my healing process.

Church leaders need to realize that the darkness that comes with mental illness can be soul searing and very frightening and may take years to overcome. Spiritual awareness and peace in the gospel may come as a part of the process of healing at different times for different people. The spiritual dimensions of my life have been given rebirth and increased importance in my healing as I have gained inner strength and confidence.

Karen S. Freeman Silver Spring, Maryland

Standing Up for Standards

I was pleased to read “‘Great … Except for That One Part’” by Anya Bateman in the June 1998 Ensign. As the general manager for a cable TV company, I can assure you that comments from customers carry a lot of weight and do have an effect on programming decisions. I have been saddened that good people stand by while pornography, excessive violence, and other mind pollution drift quietly through our communities.

I was also appreciative that Sister Bateman mentioned the importance of making positive comments. I have seen several cable systems and TV stations that have begun or continued broadcasting general conference and other LDS programming due to viewer requests.

If we fail to speak out for or against certain types of media, we are not fulfilling our responsibility to stand up for our standards.

G. Scott Flake Parker, Arizona