News of the Church

By Kerry Griffin Smith


Nauvoo Temple Cornerstones Dedicated

President Gordon B. Hinckley led other priesthood leaders in dedicating the cornerstones of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple in November. It was one of several recent opportunities for members of the First Presidency to teach doctrine and represent the Church before large groups.

President Hinckley conducted the 5 November cornerstone dedication, following the procedure used on 6 April 1841 by the Prophet Joseph Smith at the ceremony for the original Nauvoo Temple. President Hinckley was joined by President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder L. Aldin Porter of the Presidency of the Seventy; Elder Donald L. Staheli of the Seventy, President of the North America Central Area; Bishop H. David Burton of the Presiding Bishopric; and local priesthood leaders.

A crowd of some 4,500 looked on as President Hinckley began at the southeast cornerstone, sharing remarks, dabbing ceremonial mortar on the stone, then offering a dedicatory prayer. “We know that we are standing in a historic place, Father, at the construction site of the Nauvoo Temple, which was built in the 1840s and subsequently destroyed,” he prayed. “It now becomes our great opportunity and privilege to build it … in similitude of the temple that stood here in the 1840s. … We pray that this may become a holy site for Thy people across the world.”

The ceremony then proceeded to the southwest cornerstone, where Bishop Burton was joined in applying mortar by Bishop Merlin L. Reittinger of the Nauvoo Ward and by Hans Smith and Jared Brown, teachers quorum and deacons quorum presidents of the ward. Bishop Burton spoke, and Bishop Reittinger offered a prayer.

At the northwest cornerstone were President Durrell N. Nelson of the Nauvoo Illinois Stake and Arthur Lee Noe, president of the Nauvoo Ward elders quorum. President Nelson spoke, and Brother Noe offered a prayer.

Finally, at the northeast cornerstone, President Packer was joined by Elder Haight, Elder Porter, and Elder Staheli in applying mortar to that stone. “It is so fitting that the temple be rebuilt here,” said President Packer in his remarks. “It was here that the revelation first came for baptism for the dead.” Elder Porter then offered a prayer.

The Nauvoo Illinois Stake Choir and a choir of missionaries from the newly organized Illinois Nauvoo Mission sang hymns from the Church’s first hymnbook.

Address to the Youth

From the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on 12 November, President Hinckley told youth and young single adults of the Church to “be grateful, be smart, be clean, be true, be humble, and be prayerful.” (For President Hinckley’s complete address, see “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 2.) His prophetic counsel was carried live on the Internet and broadcast by satellite or sent by video to stakes worldwide.

Events at BYU

The First Presidency participated in the rededication of Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library on 15 November. The library was rededicated after a new 234,000-square-foot addition was completed. The new wing brings the library’s total square footage to 665,000, adding the capacity for 1.7 million more books, eight technology-enhanced classrooms, a 200-seat auditorium, and facilities for distance education and technology-assisted learning. Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, president of BYU, conducted the dedication.

President Hinckley attended the opening of the Robert W. and Amy T. Barker Gallery at the BYU Museum of Art on 27 October. The gallery’s first exhibit is a collection of early paintings by the late Latter-day Saint artist Minerva Teichert, including a mural that had never before been publicly displayed.

On 19 November, President Hinckley honored retiring BYU football coach LaVell Edwards at the coach’s last home game.

At a pregame ceremony on the stadium field, President Hinckley announced “that the board of trustees and administration of the university, in recognition of this remarkable and wonderful man, have determined to name this the LaVell Edwards Stadium: Home of the BYU Cougars.” The crowd cheered for Brother Edwards, whose 257 victories during his 29-year tenure at BYU have made him the sixth winningest coach in the history of Division I U.S. college football.

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

President Hinckley hosted an Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service on 19 November in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. The service is hosted each year by a different faith located in the Salt Lake Valley. During his remarks, President Hinckley emphasized that all people are children of God. “How very important it is that we constantly do everything that we can to build respect and appreciation and understanding of one another,” he said.

Awards

The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR) honored President Hinckley with their Gold Good Citizenship Award in November. The society gives the award to about six recipients each year in recognition of community service. NSSAR president Bruce Butler said President Hinckley was selected because of his “notable service in behalf of American principles,” and referred to President Hinckley’s book Standing for Something, published last year.

President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, also received an award in November. The Latter-day Saints Public Relations Society presented him with their “Communicator of the Year” award. In accepting the honor, President Monson said, “A testimony from the heart is perhaps the best communication we can extend to others.”

First Presidency Christmas Devotional

Members of the First Presidency spoke about the meaning of Christmas during the annual First Presidency Christmas devotional on 3 December (see page 70 for the full text of President Hinckley’s address and excerpts of the addresses of President Monson and President Faust).

This was the first Christmas devotional held in the Conference Center and the first Christmas devotional at which the Orchestra at Temple Square provided accompaniment for the Tabernacle Choir and the audience.

[photo] A crowd of 4,500 gathered for the dedication of the Nauvoo temple cornerstones. (Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.)

[photo] President Gordon B. Hinckley followed the procedure used at the original Nauvoo cornerstone dedication. (Photo by Jed Clark.)

[photo] Elder David B. Haight looks on as President Boyd K. Packer applies mortar to the northeast cornerstone of the Nauvoo Temple. (Photo by Jed Clark.)

Tabernacle Choir to Tour Southern States

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform in concert halls of eight southern U.S. cities from 15–27 June.

“There is a mission behind the tour,” said Mac Christensen, newly appointed president of the choir. “We want to establish in the minds of people that Jesus Christ indeed is central to our faith.”

The program will include well-known choir numbers focusing on the life of Christ, a broad spectrum of classical favorites, and Americana musical selections.

Seventeen musicians from the Orchestra at Temple Square will accompany the 330-voice choir.

Ticket inquiries should be directed to the performance halls in each city: Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, Houston, 15 June; Bass Auditorium, Fort Worth, Texas, 16 June; Saenger Theater, New Orleans, 18 June; Jefferson Civic Center Concert Hall, Birmingham, 20 June; Fox Theater, Atlanta, 21 June; Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa, 23 June; Bob Carr Performing Arts Center, Orlando, 25 June; Knight Performing Arts Center, Miami, 27 June.

New Drama Inaugurates Conference Center Theater

A two-act musical drama, Savior of the World: His Birth and Resurrection, inaugurated the new Conference Center Theater from 28 November through 30 December.

Six Church members from throughout the United States were called to write and compose the production about Jesus Christ. The drama is the first of what is expected to be many cultural presentations to be performed in the new 900-seat theater.

The production focuses on the birth and resurrection of the Savior as told by those who knew Him, according to scriptural accounts. The drama includes testimonies of Jesus Christ by Old Testament, Book of Mormon, and Latter-day prophets, including Isaiah, Nephi, and Joseph Smith.

The cast of 65 included 10 families. The Orchestra at Temple Square provided orchestral accompaniment. A soundtrack is available on compact disc (item no. 50103, U.S. $8.75) from Church distribution centers.

The production will be brought back during the Easter season. For more information on Conference Center Theater events, see the official Church web site at www.lds.org, or call 801-240-0080.

[photo] Savior of the World was the first production to take the stage at the new Conference Center Theater. The musical drama focused on the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as told by those who knew Him. (Photography by John Luke.)

[photo] Elisabeth and Mary rejoice in the forthcoming births of their sons. (Photography by John Luke.)

Additional Christmas Features Adorn Temple Square

Several new Christmas features focusing on the life of the Savior were added to displays on Temple Square in Salt Lake City this past Christmas.

Set just north of the Tabernacle, a new life-sized nativity scene replaced the one that had been used since 1965. The new display gives a more realistic portrayal of life in Bethlehem at the time of Christ.

Church designers developed highly detailed, strikingly lifelike figures, incorporating research to enhance authenticity. The mannequins are representative of the peoples of the Middle East at the time of Christ, and their clothing reflects period styles.

The nativity scene has shepherds of all ages and a variety of animals. The figures are placed on a cavelike, stone backdrop representing the innkeeper’s stable. A narration of the nativity, broadcast from a nearby sound system, concludes with President Gordon B. Hinckley’s testimony of the living Christ.

A similar lifelike representation, a new diorama based on Harry Anderson’s painting Christ and the Children, was on display east of the temple. Also on display were four smaller nativity scenes, designed to reflect cultures from “the four corners of the earth,” and 1,000 hand-crafted lights floating on the reflecting pool in front of the temple.

The Conference Center was decorated for Christmas for the first time, its trees blazing with thousands of tiny lights. Hundreds of new luminarias, lanterns with backlighted silhouettes depicting scenes from the Savior’s life, were added to the Church Office Building Plaza.

More than a million people visit Temple Square each Christmas season.

[photo] Trees surrounding the Conference Center were decorated in lights. (Photo by Craig Dimond.)

[photos] A new nativity scene (above; photo by Don L. Searle) was placed north of the Tabernacle. The reflecting pool in front of the temple (right; photo by Craig Dimond) was surrounded by smaller nativities.

Elder Hugh W. Pinnock Dies

Elder Hugh W. Pinnock

Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, 66, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy since 1 October 1977, passed away on 15 December 2000 following a brief illness. At the time of his death, he was Second Counselor in the North America Southwest Area Presidency.

The First Presidency paid tribute to Elder Pinnock, calling him an exemplary leader who will be greatly missed.

Elder Pinnock served as a missionary in the Western States Mission, stake high councilor, bishop, mission president, regional representative, and on Church committees, including the Priesthood Leadership Committee and as coordinator of the Hymnbook Committee. He served as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, twice as general president of the Sunday School, as Executive Director of the Curriculum Department, and as Editor of Church magazines.

He married Anne Hawkins in the Salt Lake Temple on 13 October 1958.

New Four-Year Programs Part of Transition at Ricks College

What will it mean to have another baccalaureate university added to the Church Educational System? Which bachelor’s degrees will be offered when Ricks College becomes Brigham Young University—Idaho? Will two-year programs still be offered? What other changes will take place?

Questions such as these surfaced after President Gordon B. Hinckley announced last June that Ricks College would become a baccalaureate university and be renamed BYU—Idaho.

Ricks College president David A. Bednar recently answered some of these questions when he announced a proposed list of baccalaureate and associate degrees to be offered at the school.

Beginning fall semester 2001, students will be able to take upper-division courses (at the junior-year level) toward bachelor’s degrees in accounting, business management, elementary education, English, history, interior design, nursing, and recreation education, President Bednar said. Additional bachelor’s degrees will be added beginning in 2002 (see below).

BYU—Idaho will offer both integrated and specialized bachelor’s degrees. Integrated degrees will require a maximum of 45 hours in the primary area of study, while specialized degrees will require a maximum of 70 hours. Integrated degrees will allow students to obtain a more broad-based education.

The associate degrees offered by BYU—Idaho will include agricultural systems, architectural technology, automotive technology, beef production, computer systems technology, criminal justice, culinary arts, electronic engineering technology, engineering technology, floral design, landscape horticulture, nursing, paramedicine, photography, preschool education, and welding technology.

President Bednar stressed that this proposed list of degrees may be adjusted, depending on a comprehensive accreditation evaluation of the school’s transition plan this spring by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NASC). The list may also be refined as school officials see more ways to meet students’ needs.

Twenty-five new faculty members will be hired by this fall, mainly to teach classes in the new programs.

If the NASC approves the transition plan, Ricks College will receive “candidacy status,” a classification that will allow the school to begin using the name BYU—Idaho and proceed with implementing the plan. The board of trustees, composed of the First Presidency and other Church leaders, chose that name in order to give the school the international recognition associated with BYU.

Until that name change, the transition for students at Ricks continues: those who plan to transfer to other schools will be able to complete their associate degrees; year-round schooling is already under way to accommodate more students; and those who want to pursue the newly offered baccalaureate programs will be able to go on without transferring. Michelle Hammond, a sophomore accounting major from Rigby, Idaho, says, “They’re really well organized. They have the list of all the classes we’ll need to take [for a four-year degree]. Junior-level courses will be offered in the fall, so we can just continue.”

The changes announced last June included phasing out the school’s intercollegiate athletic program. But the change doesn’t mean an end to sports on campus, President Bednar explained.

Every student on campus will have the opportunity to participate in numerous sports and other activity programs. “Instead of a school where you buy a ticket and are merely a spectator,” explained President Bednar, “you’ll be attending a school where, if you choose, you can be on the baseball field, the basketball court, or the stage participating.”

When the change in the sports program was announced, Trisha Roberts, an elementary education major from Weiser, Idaho, felt disappointed. But after learning about the new plan for student activities, she says, “I don’t think we’ll lose the school spirit. I think the change will be good.”

To make the transition as smooth as possible, President Bednar encourages students and parents to do their homework and to become aware of the progress at Ricks. Staff members at the school are ready to answer questions, and current information is available at www.ricks.edu.

“We will be as forthcoming and helpful in responding to requests for their information as we can possibly be,” President Bednar says. Though many changes may occur, “we are essentially unchanged in terms of who we are as an institution, what we are about, and the mission we will pursue.”

The goal, he says, is to maintain a wholesome academic environment where students may further their educational and employment opportunities as they build their testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Proposed Four-Year Degrees

2001 Integrated degrees in accounting, English, history, and recreation education; specialized degrees in business management, elementary education, interior design, and nursing

2002 Secondary education programs for biology, English, foreign language, history, math, music, physical science, social studies, and theater

2003 Integrated degrees in agronomy, animal science, art, communications, landscape horticulture, and information systems; specialized degrees in biology, computer engineering, computer science, construction management, graphic arts, and mechanical engineering

2004 and 2005 Integrated degrees in chemistry, economics, family science, geology, health science, home and family living, physics, psychology, sociology, and technology management; specialized degrees in early childhood/special education and social work

[photo] This fall Ricks College will begin offering classes in baccalaureate programs. The name of the college may change this spring to BYU—Idaho. (Photo by Michael Lewis, Ricks College.)

Church Distribution Materials Available On-line

Church distribution center materials may now be purchased on-line from the official Church Web site, www.lds.org, or at www.ldscatalog.com.

Ordering Church materials via the Internet is much faster and easier than calling the distribution center, says Kris T. Christensen, director of distribution services. “There is no wait time on the Internet,” he says, “while there can be long wait times on the phone line due to the high volume of calls.”

As is the case with phone orders, Internet orders are shipped within two days of ordering, and no shipping costs apply in the U.S. and Canada. Members outside the U.S. and Canada may call their local distribution center, rather than using the Internet, to avoid shipping costs.

LDS Scene

Book of Mormon Linked to Site in Yemen

A group of Latter-day Saint researchers recently found evidence linking a site in Yemen, on the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula, to a name associated with Lehi’s journey as recorded in the Book of Mormon.

Warren Aston, Lynn Hilton, and Gregory Witt located a stone altar that professional archaeologists dated to at least 700 B.C. This altar contains an inscription confirming “Nahom” as an actual place that existed in the peninsula before the time of Lehi. The Book of Mormon mentions that “Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom” (1 Ne. 16:34).

This is the first archaeological find that supports a Book of Mormon place-name other than Jerusalem or the Red Sea, says Brother Witt.

Ricks Cross-Country Wins National Championship

In November both the women’s and men’s cross-country teams of Ricks College won the National Junior College Athletic Association championship.

This was the sixth consecutive national title for the Ricks women. The team also produced the national individual champion, Kristen Ogden.

The men’s team scored their second consecutive title and also had the men’s national individual champion, Jeff Davidson.

The two team wins, combined with the two individual championships, mark the first time in NJCAA history that a college placed first in all four categories.

[photo] On this ancient altar is written the word Nahom. (Photo courtesy of Lehi’s Trail Foundation.)

Appointments

Mac Christensen, Woodland Hills Ward, Bountiful Utah Central Stake, has been called as president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Following are presidents and their spouses recently called to Missionary Training Centers in areas served by the Ensign (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand):

Blaine Parley Jensen, Pleasant View Fifth Ward, Provo Utah Sharon East Stake, has been called as president of the Missionary Training Center in Preston, England. His wife, Clarice Talbot Jensen, has been called to serve as his companion.

David B. Wirthlin, Monument Park 17th Ward, Salt Lake Monument Park North Stake, has been called as president of the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. His wife, Anne Goalen Wirthlin, has been called to serve as his companion.

Comment

Invaluable

The June 1999 issue was a masterpiece—an heirloom and a necessity for any library. “Preparing for the Restoration” and its marvelous illustrations are invaluable.

Judith Jardine Moscow, Russia

Longing to Be a Mother

Thank you for the wonderful article “I Longed to Be a Mother” (Aug. 2000). My husband and I have also struggled with infertility for several years. Like the author, I have struggled with despair, anger, and maintaining self-worth.

My change of heart came on a day when I was crying after learning once again that I was not pregnant. My husband said to me, “You cannot continue to do this to yourself month after month. Having a baby is not going to automatically make you happy.”

At first I was upset, but soon I realized that what he said was true. I had to find happiness within myself, to make the decision to be happy no matter what trials I was experiencing.

We haven’t yet found the answer, but I do have peace in my heart.

Sara Gardner Arlington, Texas