News of the Church

Leadership Changes Sustained at Conference

During the recent general conference, Elders Joe J. Christensen and Andrew W. Peterson of the First Quorum of the Seventy were given emeritus status, Elder Ben B. Banks was sustained to the Presidency of the Seventy (see Ensign, Oct. 1999, 74), four Area Authority Seventies were released, three new Area Authority Seventies were sustained, the Primary general presidency was released, and a new Primary general presidency was sustained.

Elder Christensen was called as a General Authority in April 1989, at which time he was serving as president of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. From 1993 until August 1999 he served in the Presidency of the Seventy, and he previously served in the North America Northwest and Brazil Area Presidencies. Prior to his call as a General Authority, Elder Christensen served as a mission president in Mexico and as president of the Provo Missionary Training Center. He worked in teaching and administrative positions in the Church Educational System for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Barbara, are now serving as president and matron of the San Diego California Temple.

Elder Peterson was called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy in October 1994. Prior to his service as a General Authority, he was a regional representative and stake president. He served as president of the Mexico Mérida Mission from 1981 to 1984. For 20 years he ran a successful dentistry practice in Salt Lake City. He was serving as president of the Mexico North Area when he suffered paralyzing injuries in Utah in September 1997.

The four Brethren released as Area Authority Seventies included Elders Max W. Craner, serving in the North America Northwest Area; César A. Dávila, serving in the South America North Area; P. Bruce Mitchell, serving in the Australia/New Zealand Area; and J. Kirk Moyes, serving in the Utah North Area. The three new Area Authority Seventies and their assignments are Elders J. Devn Cornish, North America Southeast Area; Manfred H. Schütze, Europe East Area; and Johann A. Wondra, Europe East Area.

Released were Primary general presidency members Patricia P. Pinegar, president; Anne G. Wirthlin, first counselor; and Susan L. Warner, second counselor. New members of the presidency are Coleen K. Menlove, president; Sydney S. Reynolds, first counselor; and Gayle M. Clegg, second counselor.

Coleen K. Menlove

Primary General President
Coleen K. Menlove

“It’s a little bit like vegetable soup,” says Sister Coleen Kent Menlove, describing how life experiences have prepared her for her new calling as Primary general president. “Each part and piece brings flavor and dimension to the work. A variety of people and experiences have brought so much depth to my life.”

Born 1 July 1943 and reared in Salt Lake City, Coleen married Dean W. Menlove in 1964 in the Salt Lake Temple. “My husband has been a great influence as we’ve stood by each other’s side,” she says. The couple have seven children and six grandchildren.

After earning a B.S. degree in elementary education from the University of Utah, Sister Menlove worked for a time in the Salt Lake School District before becoming a full-time homemaker. During her years rearing children, she completed a master’s degree in elementary curriculum at Brigham Young University. For the past 14 years, she has taught part time in an elementary school.

Speaking about her hobby of gardening, Sister Menlove says: “I love to put my hands in the soil. It’s very relaxing, and I love working with the colors of flowers.” She enjoys spending time with grandchildren, and she says that doing creative things with her students has been a “real joy.” She also fondly recalls family vacations in the mountains and at lakes and reservoirs.

Sister Menlove has served on the Young Women General Board, on Church writing committees, and in stake and ward Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary callings. “I’ve learned the importance of inspiration and of working in councils,” she says. “It takes all of us cooperating to strengthen our youth and children.”

Sister Menlove says she has always known the Church is true. But recently, she says, “I feel like I’ve been tutored by the Spirit in new ways with greater understanding. I’ve learned that when work needs to be done, we receive spiritual help to do the Lord’s will. Heavenly Father loves each one of us, and we have a divine spark inside each of us. The Holy Ghost will direct and guide our lives.”

Sydney S. Reynolds

First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency
Sydney S. Reynolds

Mother of 11 children and grandmother of 6, Sydney S. Reynolds is a strong supporter of women who obtain their education and then use that knowledge in the home as full-time mothers.

“I feel the most important contribution we can make is in the home,” she says. “A focus on the home will bless us in the long run and help our children to be a blessing to the world.”

Sister Reynolds was born on 22 October 1943 and grew up in Burbank, California. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in political science and obtained a teaching certificate in secondary education from Brigham Young University. In 1965 she married Noel B. Reynolds in the Los Angeles Temple. The Reynolds family reside in Orem, Utah, and have also enjoyed living in Boston, Massachusetts; Edinburgh, Scotland; and Jerusalem.

The experience of living abroad benefited the family in many ways. “It’s a time when your family really can pull together,” Sister Reynolds says. “You’re in a brand-new situation, and you don’t have all your friends nearby, so the resource is each other.”

Sister Reynolds has been involved in community and educational endeavors as a PTA president, a member of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival organizing committee, and a member of the BYU women’s conference steering committee. Her Church callings have included early-morning seminary teacher, ward Relief Society president, ward and stake Young Women president, Primary General Board member, and teacher in all the auxiliaries.

Sister Reynolds says the training children receive in their formative years is crucial. “Even small children can understand that the Lord loves them and wants them to return to Him, but there needs to be someone to teach that to them,” she says. “That happens first of all in the home, and Primary supports the home. Primary can be a great resource to the families of the Church in helping children learn about the Savior.”

Gayle M. Clegg

Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency
Gayle M. Clegg

“I’ve always loved children. Raising my own was the most pleasurable thing I’ve ever done,” says Gayle M. Clegg, mother of five, grandmother of nine, and former elementary school teacher in Utah, Brazil, and Argentina. “I’m grateful the Lord is allowing me to continue working with the children of this world.”

Sister Clegg was born on 23 June 1942 in Glendale, California, the first of five children born to Grant and Lillie Tidwell Muhlestein. Raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, she graduated with a B.A. in history from the University of Utah. There she met Calvin C. Clegg, and they married on 14 August 1964 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Over the next 16 years, the family lived in Florida; Arizona; Washington, D.C.; New Jersey; Brazil; and Argentina and enjoyed opportunities for Church service and spiritual growth.

“My Primary experience began in Short Hills, New Jersey,” says Sister Clegg. “As a young president, I learned that Primary is a loving place where working with children strengthens your testimony. Several years later in Brazil, I taught Primary. Since I didn’t know the language, I literally memorized the lessons each week. As a result, I learned to speak Portuguese.”

The Cleggs lived for two years in Brazil and then moved to Argentina. “For three and a half years, our home was the center of many ward activities,” says Sister Clegg. “It was wonderful working in a young, developing Church setting.”

In 1980 the Cleggs returned to Salt Lake City.

“We’re an outdoor family who love to hike, talk, and tell stories,” she says. “Music is important to us. All of my daughters play the piano, and everyone loves to sing. Primary songs are our favorites.”

Sister Clegg taught elementary school from 1982 until 1996, when Brother Clegg was called to serve as president of the Portugal Lisbon North Mission.

Of her new calling, Sister Clegg says: “I take confidence in the knowledge that who the Lord calls, He qualifies. I believe this will be an opportunity to show my appreciation to the Savior for all He has done for me.”

Conference Broadcast on the Internet

The October 1999 general conference marked the first time that live audio and video broadcasts of sessions were widely available worldwide via the Internet. Audio was available in numerous languages through, a Web service operated by Millennial Star Network, Inc., and through other Church-owned media entities. Video was available through Brigham Young University’s NewsNet service, which helped pioneer audio broadcasts of previous general conferences on a limited scale. In total, an estimated 100,000 members worldwide participated in the Internet general conference broadcast.

Millennial Star Network is a new, Church-owned enterprise working to “colonize an electronic global community of members and friends of the Church,” according to company president Franklin Lewis. Audio archives of October 1999 conference addresses in several languages are available at

In other Internet-related news, the Church recently redesigned its official Web site. Located at, the site offers information for members, media representatives, and interested visitors.

Three Temples Dedicated in United States

Spokane Washington Temple

In Spokane, Washington, on 21 August, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Church’s 59th operating temple. Also participating were Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder John M. Madsen of the Seventy, First Counselor in the North America Northwest Area Presidency.

“We bow in reverent wonder before Thee at the great and eternal plan Thou hast provided for Thy sons and daughters of all generations,” President Hinckley said in his dedicatory prayer. “Touch the hearts of the people in this temple district that the spirit of Elijah may rest upon them, that their hearts may turn to their fathers, and that they may be motivated to search out their forebears and do a great vicarious work on their behalf.”

A total of more than 16,000 members attended 11 dedicatory sessions, and earlier in August about 52,000 people toured the temple during a public open house. Before the first dedicatory session, about 200 people gathered outside at the temple’s southeast corner to watch President Hinckley and others perform the ceremonial sealing of the cornerstone.

In a media interview about the new smaller temples, President Hinckley said: “They are very well built of the finest materials. We’re very happy with them, and I think the people are very happy with them. They’re just a wonderful way of making it possible for people in many areas of the world to have within a reasonable distance of where they live a temple in which they can work.”

Located in the Spokane suburb of Opportunity next to the Spokane Washington East Stake Center and a Church-owned recreational complex, the temple has 10,700 square feet. The temple district includes members living in eastern Washington and parts of northern Idaho and western Montana.

Columbus Ohio Temple

About 160 miles from the Church’s first temple in Kirtland, Ohio, President Hinckley dedicated the new Columbus Ohio Temple on 4 September. “Much has changed in the 163 years since the Kirtland Temple was dedicated,” said President Hinckley. “Our people are more accepted now. It is a new day of opportunity. The struggles of Kirtland are past.”

About 11,000 members from the 10 stakes of the temple district attended six dedicatory sessions held over two days. Also in attendance were Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Loren C. Dunn of the Seventy, President of the North America East Area. A few weeks before the dedication, about 30,000 people attended a public open house.

In the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley quoted several verses from Doctrine and Covenants 109 [D&C 109], which contains the Prophet Joseph Smith’s dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple. President Hinckley quoted part of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s prayer “‘that thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners; and be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens’” (D&C 109:73–74).

President Hinckley also said: “We pray for Thy cause in all the earth. Bless the faithful tithe payers throughout the Church whose consecrated offerings have made this structure possible. Shower blessings upon them, and increase their faith as they give of their means to the building of Thy kingdom.”

Located on the western side of Columbus on property adjacent to the Columbus Ohio Stake Center, the smaller-sized temple has 11,700 square feet. The temple district takes in most of Ohio and the western part of West Virginia.

Bismarck North Dakota Temple

“We thank Thee for the faith of Thy sons and daughters in the vast area of this temple district, men and women who love Thee and love their Redeemer and have stood steadfast as Thy people,” said President Hinckley on 19 September in his dedicatory prayer for the Bismarck North Dakota Temple, which serves about 9,000 members living in an area of about 200,000 square miles. “They have felt much alone. They are out on the frontier of the Church. Their numbers are still not large. But they are entitled to every blessing which the Church has to offer, including the ordinances here administered.”

Also participating were Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the Seventy, First Counselor in the North America Central Area Presidency. About 3,000 members attended three dedicatory sessions, and about 10,300 people toured the temple during an earlier open house. Before the first dedication session, a youth choir sang at the cornerstone sealing ceremony.

“May they come here frequently,” President Hinckley said in the dedicatory prayer. “Wilt Thou bless them for their efforts and reward them for their faith. Watch over them and keep them from harm and trouble in the long distances many will still travel. Bless Thy Church and kingdom. Bless all who serve therein. Touch the hearts of those who have become indifferent and careless, that they may be stirred to return to activity and participate in the blessings of this Thy house.”

The temple district includes four stakes and one district in North Dakota, South Dakota, western Minnesota, and northern Nebraska. The 10,352-square-foot Bismarck temple is the Church’s 61st operating temple, the sixth completed smaller temple, and the eighth temple dedicated this year. The Church still has 54 temples in planning or construction phases, for a total of 115 temples.

Some 16,000 members attended 11 dedicatory sessions for the Spokane Washington Temple, which serves members in parts of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. (Photo by Julie A. Dockstader/Church News.)

President Gordon B. Hinckley led the cornerstone ceremony at the Columbus Ohio Temple. Directly behind him are Elders L. Tom Perry and Loren C. Dunn. (Photo by Shaun D. Stahle/Church News.)

Located next to a stake center about 160 miles from historic Kirtland, the Columbus Ohio Temple serves members living in parts of Ohio and West Virginia. (Photo by Shaun D. Stahle/Church News.)

The Bismarck North Dakota Temple serves about 9,000 members in a temple district that covers parts of four states and about 200,000 square miles. (Photo by Janet Kruckenberg.)

President Hinckley Dedicates Mountain Meadows Monument

In addition to dedicating three temples during August and September, President Hinckley dedicated a newly rebuilt monument at Mountain Meadows, Utah; spoke at a youth fireside in Spokane, Washington; dedicated a new building at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho; and participated in commencement and a fund-raising celebration at BYU in Provo, Utah.

Mountain Meadows Monument

“Let the book of the past be closed,” said President Hinckley to about 1,000 people gathered on 11 September at the site of the 1857 massacre of more than 80 emigrants on their way to California. “Let peace come into our hearts. Let friendship and love be extended. May the peace of heaven be felt over this hallowed ground.”

To memorialize the slain emigrants, the Church recently rebuilt a cairn that was originally erected in 1859 and subsequently rebuilt several times, including once in 1932 by the Church. The tall pile of rocks is now surrounded by a low, flower-adorned stone wall and a taller iron fence. President Hinckley said that the Church “will be here as long as the earth lasts, and it will take care of this place.”

Relayed by satellite transmission to meetinghouses in Arkansas, southern Utah, the Salt Lake area, and Idaho, the service was viewed by descendants of those involved in the tragedy. To prepare the site and assist in construction, about 1,000 local members and friends donated nearly 4,000 hours of labor. The monument is located about 30 miles northwest of St. George, Utah.

“This is an emotional experience for me,” said President Hinckley. “I come as peacemaker. This is not a time for recrimination or the assignment of blame. No one can explain what happened in these meadows 142 years ago. We may speculate, but we do not know. We do not understand it. We cannot comprehend it. We can only say the past is long since gone. It cannot be recalled. It cannot be changed. It is time to leave the entire matter in the hands of God, who deals justly in all things. His is a wisdom far beyond our own.”

President Hinckley continued: “I sit in the chair that Brigham Young occupied as President of the Church at the time of the tragedy. I have read very much of the history of what occurred here. There is no question in my mind that he was opposed to what happened. Had there been a faster means of communication, it never would have happened and history would have been different. That which we have done here must never be construed as an acknowledgment on the part of the Church of any complicity in the occurrences of that fateful and tragic day. But we have an obligation. We have a moral responsibility. We have a Christian duty to honor, respect, and to do all feasible to remember and recognize those who died here.”

The day before the dedication, descendants of the wagon train pioneers held a two-hour memorial service and reinterred the remains of 29 men, women, and children that had been accidentally uncovered during construction of the new monument.

Youth Fireside in Spokane

While in Spokane, Washington, for the temple dedication, President Hinckley spoke to about 12,000 youth, young single adults, and their families in a hockey arena near downtown Spokane on 22 August. Also offering remarks were Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder John M. Madsen of the Seventy, First Counselor in the North America Northwest Area Presidency.

Gratitude, I believe, is the mark of an educated man or woman,” President Hinckley said. “Walk with gratitude in your hearts. Be thankful for the wonderful blessings which you have. You live in the greatest age in the history of the world. And on top of that, you have all of the marvelous blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Haight said: “I know that you can do and accomplish and become what you want, if you really want to do it. If you put your mind to it and do it in an intelligent, thoughtful, prayerful way, the Lord will magnify you and the Lord will bless you and the Lord will answer your prayers and you will be able to do things far beyond your present ability.”

Elder Madsen recalled the words spoken by Heavenly Father when He introduced His Son during the Prophet Joseph Smith’s First Vision. “As you come to understand those few precious words of testimony,” Elder Madsen said, “then and only then can you understand and explain the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has been restored to the earth following the vision, the visit of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, to the boy prophet.”

New Building at Ricks College

On 7 September President Hinckley dedicated the new Spencer W. Kimball Student and Administrative Services Building at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. “He was a man I loved, a man I respected, a man I honored,” said President Hinckley about President Kimball, “who taught the entire Church to lengthen its stride and quicken its pace.”

Also participating was Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who serves as Commissioner of Church Education.

Later in the day, President Hinckley gave a devotional address to about 4,000 Ricks students and via closed-circuit television to another 4,000 students. “Do not become a weak link in the chain of your generations,” he said. “You come to this world with a marvelous heritage. You come of great men and women, of men of bravery and courage, of women of accomplishment and of tremendous faith.” He admonished students to “pass on in unblemished fashion to those who come after you the great virtues of those who have preceded you” and “to continue bright and strong the links of your generations.”

BYU Fund-Raising Celebration

President Hinckley joined about 14,000 people at BYU’s Marriott Center on 24 September to celebrate the university’s successful “Lighting the Way for the 21st Century” fund-raising campaign, which so far has brought in $317 million and another $65 million in pledges to assist both BYU and BYU—Hawaii Campus. “In our Church,” President Hinckley remarked, “the tradition of giving starts young. But there are a great many of our donors who do not share our faith but do share our vision.”

Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, president of BYU, said the campaign’s purpose is “extending the reach of BYU to bless the lives of others around the world. New friends are being made for the Church and the university with these sacred funds.” The funds are helping BYU gradually expand enrollment.

“This is an emotional experience for me,” President Hinckley said during the dedication of a rebuilt Mountain Meadows monument in southern Utah. (Photo by John Hart/Church News.)

PBS to Broadcast Joseph Smith Documentary

A new, two-hour documentary titled American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith will premiere on PBS television stations in the United States on Friday, 26 November, at 9:00 P.M. Eastern standard time (check local listings). The documentary, not Church-sponsored, was produced by Vermont Public Television and the team that made Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail. Narrated by actor Gregory Peck, it features firsthand accounts from 19th-century journals, letters, and newspapers; period photographs, sketches, and artwork; stylized re-creations of selected events from the Prophet Joseph Smith’s story; and observations by President Gordon B. Hinckley, other Church leaders, and numerous historians and scholars. The documentary was filmed in England and in Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Vermont. The project was produced and directed by Lee Groberg and made possible by a grant from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.