News of the Church


Temple Announced for Brazil

During the area conference in South America in early March, the First Presidency announced plans to construct a temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Construction is expected to begin before the end of 1975 and will require approximately 18 months. The temple, to be the 17th temple in operation, will be situated on a 1.5-acre section of land which the Church purchased over a year ago. The site is on the north side of Avenida Prof. Francisco Morato in the Butanta section of Sao Paulo.

Eventually the site will also accommodate a stake center, a visitors center, and possibly another multi-purpose building.

In making the announcement, President Spencer W. Kimball said the steady growth of the Church in Brazil and the rest of South America led to the decision to build the temple.

The temple design, which was created by Church architect Emil B. Fetzer, includes a white Italian marble exterior. A tower will rise over the entranceway, topped by a porcelain enamel spire with 24-carat gold fused onto its exterior surface. The 20,000 square-foot building will also feature stained-glass windows with anodized bronze grills.

Inside there will be two rooms for ordinance work, a celestial room, four sealing rooms for marriages, and a baptismal room featuring a font mounted on the backs of 12 marble cast stone oxen. There will also be a reception area, offices, dressing rooms, a kitchen and dining room for temple workers, a laundry, and a nursery.

Landscaping will feature fountains and walks and trees, shrubs, and flowers indigenous to the area.

The temple will serve approximately 140,000 members of the Church in South America, more than 40,000 of whom reside in Brazil. Membership in South America has increased by almost 500 percent in the past decade.

There are 15 missions and 18 stakes in the temple area, including approximately 500 wards and branches, 150 of which are in Brazil.

Additional information about the conference will appear in the May Ensign.

[illustration] Artist’s rendering of newly announced Sao Paulo Brazil Temple.

Elder Simpson Presides over London Mission

Elder Robert L. Simpson

Elder Robert L. Simpson

The First Presidency has assigned Elder Robert L. Simpson, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, to preside temporarily over the England London Mission. He replaces President Milan D. Smith, who was due to be released in July but became ill.

This is Elder Simpson’s second assignment as a mission president. He presided over the New Zealand Mission from 1958 to 1961 and served there earlier as a missionary.

His wife, Jelaire, is accompanying him to England.

The England London Mission is one of seven missions of the Church in the British Isles.

Four New Stakes Formed

Four new stakes have been formed recently, including the first one in Wales, one in Lima, Peru, one in Romford, England, and another in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Council of the Twelve presided over the formation of the Merthyr Tydfil Wales Stake, which was previously part of the England Bristol Mission. Ralph Pulman was named stake president, with counselors Arnold Jones and Haydn David Morgan.

The new stake has 2,816 members and includes the Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Gwent, and Cwmbran wards and the Bridgend, Hereford, Caerphilly, Pontypridd, Llanelli, and Milford Haven branches.

The Lima Peru West Stake, which includes approximately 2,000 members, is presided over by President Manuel Paredes L. His counselors are Isaias Romulo Bravo L. and Juan Jose Joo C.

The new stake includes the Lima Second, Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth wards, the Callao Ward, the Comas First and Second branches, and the Tahuantinsuyo Branch. It is the second stake in Peru.

President Arthur James Turvey has been called to preside over the new Romford England Stake. His counselors are Derek John Peake and John Henry Kitsell.

The new stake includes the Basildon, Ilford, Medway, Romford, and Stratford wards, and the Dartford, Grays, Gravesend, Maidstone, and Orpington branches. It has 2,572 members.

Elder McConkie also presided over the formation of the Newcastle-under-Lyme England Stake. James Kenneth Cork was called as president with Milton Mason and Gordon William Behaarel as counselors.

The stake was formed from branches of the England Birmingham Mission, including Wildwood, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent, Chester, Telford, and Burton-on-Trent wards and Biddulph, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Shrewsbury, and Wrexham branches.

With the addition of the two new stakes in England, there are currently 15 stakes in that country.

Members Rally after Darwin Disaster

Normally Christmas brings high temperatures in the northern territory of Australia where Darwin is located. But last Christmas it was fiercely wet and windy as Cyclone Tracy tore through the city, nearly destroying it and killing at least 50 persons.

Members of the Darwin Branch had just returned from caroling together when the full impact of the storm hit. Some spent the rest of the night with neighbors; others moved from room to room as their homes were torn apart. Several families reported huddling together and singing hymns during the storm.

The next morning, a survey of damage showed that although most members had lost their homes, injuries were minor and the chapel had suffered comparatively little damage. There followed a couple of days of worry for Australia Adelaide Mission President Allen M. Swan, but finally the district leader telegraphed him that all was well. It was later discovered that one young member, 12-year-old Ian Heron, had died.

“We feel that we would have been lost without our religion,” said Sister Moodie, wife of Robert G. Moodie, then a counselor in the district presidency. “We relied on prayer. The only fear we had was when the wall of our house blew down and I feared for the safety of the children. We feel that we were in the hands of the Lord.” Sister Chris Fejo, a 20-year-old district missionary, agrees. “I have a stronger testimony than ever that I should serve a full-time mission,” she said. “I would like other people to have the same fortification in the face of disaster as I had.”

Many faith-promoting incidents occurred during the disaster. A young member girl left her bed just moments before a tree crashed through the roof and onto the bed. When Sister Battye, wife of Darwin Branch President John Battye, returned to her home, she was relieved to discover that among the few items she could salvage were the family Bible and her genealogy records.

Many of the homeless residents gathered in school buildings that were still intact. Pat Whitnal, a member of the Church from Arizona, took charge of the group at one of these schools, overseeing the welfare of thousands. The Moodie and Fejo families donated supplies from their food storage, which was picked out of the rubble. District President Ken Kerr donated $300 worth of meat he had stored.

Evacuation began almost immediately; half the population of the city had left within only four days after the cyclone. President Battye, who was in Adelaide for the holidays when the cyclone hit, met every evacuation plane from Darwin. Many Church members in other parts of Australia took in the Darwin victims. Australia Adelaide Mission President Swan paid special tribute to the Saints in Alice Springs. Besides meeting planes and befriending evacuees, they sent supplies and scarce items into Darwin, all under the direction of Alice Springs Branch President N. Bruce Pehrson.

The six elders serving in Darwin at the time of the cyclone were transferred almost immediately to other parts of the mission, leaving the work there to the district missionaries until the city is rebuilt. Both the branch and district presidents have made their homes elsewhere, and Robert G. Moodie has been sustained as branch president, with the responsibility of keeping the remaining Saints organized. Meetings have been held regularly since the disaster, but at present there are only 25 attenders left in the city, whereas 125 attended meetings before.

A few weeks after the cyclone, the Saints of Darwin met with President and Sister Swan outside the chapel under the light of the stars, since there was no electricity. President Swan reports that the remaining members “indicated their great desire to stay there and rebuild the Church and the community.”

[photo] Darwin Branch President John Battye’s home after the cyclone.

[photo] The Darwin chapel survived the storm mostly intact. Damage was estimated at $25,000.

New Presidency Announced for Los Angeles Temple

President Spencer W. Kimball announced the calling of a new presidency for the Los Angeles Temple at a special meeting in that temple in early February.

Richard C. Stratford is the new president and his wife, Vera Calder Stratford, will serve as temple matron. Arthur J. Godfrey and Walter Gordon Hendry were called as counselors to President Stratford.

The new presidency and matron succeed President and Sister Myrthus Wesley Evans and William Henry Harless and Harold Edward Lofgreen, counselors. They had served since March 1970 and were honorably released.

President Stratford served a mission to Germany, served as president of the Northern States Mission, and served in the Portland Oregon Stake presidency. He has also been director of development for the Church Educational System and executive director of development at Brigham Young University.

He and Sister Stratford are the parents of five children.

Brother Godfrey has been patriarch of the San Luis Obispo California Stake since 1969. Earlier he served as president of the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Stakes.

Brother Hendry has been patriarch of the Riverside California Stake. He served as stake mission president and 11 years as president of that stake when it was known as the Mt. Rubidoux Stake.

[photo] President Spencer W. Kimball, right, with new Los Angeles Temple President Richard C. Stratford, seated; Sister Stratford, matron; and counselors Arthur J. Godfrey and Walter G. Hendry. (Church News Photograph.)

Elders Quorums Names Changed

The Council of the Twelve has directed that all names of elders quorums in stakes and districts be changed to correspond with the names of the wards and branches.

For example, a quorum in the Oak Hills Fifth Ward, Provo Utah Sharon East Stake, is now designated as the Oak Hills Fifth Quorum of Elders. If more than one quorum functions in one ward or branch, it is designated by general geographical location, such as Oak Hills Fifth North Quorum of Elders and Oak Hills Fifth South Quorum of Elders. This is consistent with the recently announced policy for naming of stakes.

Elders quorums were previously numbered in each stake.

Church to Rededicate Arizona Temple

Ceremonies are scheduled for April 15 and 16 to rededicate the recently renovated Arizona Temple. The temple has been closed for more than a year for extensive remodeling, including the addition of a large new annex.

Preceding the rededication, the temple will be open for public tours every day except Sundays from March 19 through April 3.

“Because the renovation and restructuring of the temple’s interior almost creates a new building, at least inside, it has been deemed appropriate to reopen the temple to the public and to rededicate the edifice,” said C. Bryant Whiting, temple president.

The temple was closed February 2, 1974, and during the past year the interior has been completely remodeled, adapting it to film presentations. A new entranceway has been added, as well as a one-story, 114 by 148 foot annex to the south. The architecture of the temple is a variation on classic style, with a facade of glazed terra cotta.

The Arizona Temple was originally dedicated in 1927 by President Heber J. Grant. It serves Saints in the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America. In Arizona alone, there are approximately 115,000 members of the Church.

New Missions Created in Mexico, Belgium

The First Presidency has announced the creation of three new missions, two in Mexico and one in Belgium, bringing the total number of missions in the Church to 116. They are the Mexico Guadalajara Mission, the Mexico Villahermosa Mission, and the Belgium Antwerp Mission.

The Mexico Guadalajara Mission was formed from a division of missions headquartered in Mexico City, Torreon, and Hermosillo. It will be headquartered in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second most populous city with 1.5 million inhabitants. The mission will include all of the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacan, Queretaro, Aquascalientes, plus parts of the states of Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosi. Approximately 15 million people live in this area.

The Mexico Villahermosa Mission was formed from a division of the Mexico Veracruz Mission. It is one of the fastest growing areas of Mexico and the population of Villahermosa, now 150,000, is expected to double in the next five years. The mission includes all of the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Tabasco, Yucatan, the territory of Quintana Roo, and the eastern tips of the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz. The state of Tabasco is the center of a new oil discovery, the biggest in Mexico.

The two new missions bring the total number in Mexico to seven. There are also 14 stakes in the country.

The Belgium Antwerp Mission will include about half of the nation and nearly six million people in 28 cities. It has been formed from a division of the Belgium Brussels and Netherlands Amsterdam Missions to include areas where Flemish is spoken. Its headquarters, Antwerp, is the second largest city in Belgium, a principal seaport, and has a population of nearly one million. Missionaries have been laboring in the area for about the last year.

LDS Scene

Genealogy Seminar July 28–August 1

The Priesthood Genealogy Committee has announced its annual seminar to be held Monday through Friday, July 28 through August 1, at Brigham Young University.

Classes have been designed for priesthood leaders at all levels who have responsibility for genealogy and temple work, as well as other members who are interested in learning more about genealogy. Areas include priesthood genealogy leadership, basic genealogy classes, branch genealogical libraries, family organizations and histories, and youth research.

Advance registration is necessary. Further information can be obtained by writing to Church Continuing Education, Tenth Annual Priesthood Genealogy Seminar, Box 7164, University Station, Provo, Utah 84602. The registration fee is $16, and the deadline for payment is July 4.

Counselors Named to Temple Square Director

The First Presidency has named two former mission presidents as counselors to Keith E. Garner, the director of Temple Square.

They are Gerald G. Smith, former Eastern States Mission president, and Clyde J. Summerhays, former president of the Ireland Belfast Mission.

The director and his counselors are in charge of a group of volunteer guides who provide free tours of the Square in downtown Salt Lake City. Last year the Square drew 2,136,402 visitors. Attractions include a visitors center, information bureau, Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, and several monuments.

Freedoms Foundation Awards Presented

A member of the Church in Seattle, Washington, has received one of 20 top awards of the National Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and two Church-related groups have been awarded certificates.

Lloyd E. Cooney, president of KIRO Radio and Television, Inc., Seattle, received the top award in the public address category for a speech entitled, “These Are Our Roots.” He is a member of the Bellevue First Ward, Bellevue Washington Stake.

Bonneville International Corporation, a Church-owned media consortium, was given the Valley Forge Honor Certificate Award in the Americana Category for its Homefront II radio and television campaign. Homefront II is a listening campaign for which the corporation produced 30- and 60-second “spots” suggesting that family members take time to listen to each other. The spots are presented by many television and radio stations as a public service. They each end with a reference to the fact that they are presented by the Church.

The Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus were presented a George Washington Certificate Award in the Americana Category for its American Festival of Music. This concert was presented September 21 in Salt Lake City with the objective of acquainting listeners with American composers. The group includes a 300-voice chorus and 100-piece symphony, sponsored by the Music Committee Of the Church. Director is Robert C. Bowden; organist is Roy M. Darley.

For the past 26 years, the Freedoms Foundation has presented such awards “for constructive words and deeds which support America, suggest solutions to basic problems besetting the nation, contribute to responsible citizenship, and inspire love of country.”