News of the Church

By JoAnn Jolley


Individual and Family Self-Reliance Featured in Leadership Session

A reaffirmation of basic Church welfare principles was presented Friday evening, April 1, in the Tabernacle during a leadership session of this year’s general conference. In attendance were General Authorities, Regional Representatives, and stake presidents or their counselors from throughout the Church.

The instructions presented urged priesthood leaders to implement modifications designed to increase personal and family self-reliance, spiritual growth, and Christian service. Emphasis was placed upon the increased need for members of the Church to become more independent and self-reliant, in order to meet today’s economic and spiritual challenges.

Priesthood quorums, wards, and stakes were encouraged to focus more effort upon assisting individuals and families in developing financial stability, maintaining a year’s food supply, and developing the capacity for home production.

Priesthood leaders were also asked to reemphasize, by precept and example, the importance of the law of the fast, which includes “generous freewill offerings” to fund assistance for needy members.

Church members have traditionally been encouraged to fast, or abstain from food and drink, for two consecutive meals a month and to contribute to a fund for the needy at least the equivalent cost of the meals, or a much more generous offering, if possible.

The modifications announced by the General Welfare Services Committee, comprised of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, Presiding Bishopric, and the General Presidency of the Relief Society, are:

  1. 1.

    Funding of the welfare program will come from the fast-offering contributions of members, instead of annual cash assignments to local units.

  2. 2.

    The acquisition of new farms or facilities will be paid for with general Church funds.

  3. 3.

    Local welfare funds not needed for the completion of 1983 production project operations are requested to be transferred to the general Church welfare account.

  4. 4.

    Existing production projects will be carefully evaluated to provide greater efficiency. Each project will be studied in light of the ultimate goal of producing those welfare goods needed within the system.

  5. 5.

    Wards and stakes will continue to manage production projects or to provide volunteer service in other welfare facilities.

These modifications are effective immediately and should further encourage individuals, families, priesthood quorums, Relief Societies, and other auxiliary organizations to focus more time and resources on personal and family self-reliance and on rendering Christian service, said speakers at the leadership session.

The modifications were announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. Also speaking on the Church’s welfare principles were Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder J. Thomas Fyans of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Presiding Bishop Victor L. Brown, and Barbara B. Smith, general president of the Relief Society.

The announcement of the modifications were “the most significant and far-reaching” involving welfare services “since 1936 when President Heber J. Grant gave his renowned address of the program’s primary purpose,” said Elder Monson in his remarks.

Even so, “the statement of purpose remains unchanged, undiminished, unaltered,” said Elder Monson. “However, the methods whereby we achieve the purpose are affected by changing times and continued revelation,” he said.

In discussing the range of welfare services provided throughout the history of the Church, Elder Monson said: “In each of the periods, the purpose was to make individuals self-reliant. With a knowledge of the changes that have taken place in the welfare program since the beginning, one can better appreciate that the modifications announced by President Hinckley are part of a continuing chain.”

The welfare program is “God-given and prophet-inspired. It has been such from the beginning. At times we draw from past experiences to meet present needs and to surmount tomorrow’s challenges,” said Elder Monson.

Presiding Bishop Brown said that the announcement represented “another giant step in financing the Church in the Lord’s own way through the tithes and offerings of the members.”

In stressing that members have an obligation to be self-reliant, Bishop Brown said: “We have received reports indicating that the buildup of resources in Church preparedness has resulted in the building of a false sense of security among far too many people.

“It is essential that all clearly understand that the Church institutional resources will provide for a very small percentage of the Church population. They are for the poor and the needy who will always be with us, who cannot take care of themselves—not for those who will not,” he said.

Bishop Brown observed that the reliance upon a generous fast offering by members “may be a good test in determining how close we are in our preparation to live the law of consecration if the Lord were to ask us to do so.”

In his remarks, Elder Fyans said the new announcement is “aimed at encouraging members of the Church to use their own gifts and abilities, their financial and personal resources in becoming temporally self-reliant and then reaching out to help others to gain that same capacity for self-reliance.

“We should strive for self-reliance physically, emotionally, financially, and, most important of all, spiritually,” he said.

Elder Fyans stressed that fathers and heads of homes will learn to practice welfare principles “in his or her individual study of the scriptures, prayer, seeking the Lord’s will in their own families, and also in the priesthood quorums, Relief Society, and other auxiliaries of the Church.”

The concept of priesthood quorums as a “working brotherhood” was then presented by Elder Fyans. Speaking of ways quorum members could help each other, Elder Fyans mentioned four steps he would take were he a local priesthood leader: (1) put on his own “temporal life jacket”; (2) gather a list of the resources of every man in the quorum and assess his abilities; (3) determine the needs of quorum members; and (4) teach and help quorum members to become self-reliant.

In her remarks, Sister Smith said, “Women will play a vital role at both church and home as they support priesthood leaders in bringing about the success of this new phase of the welfare program.

“By teaching in Relief Society and in family settings, women can promote mastery of some fundamental principles that provide the base for charitable living. Women want to do their part in this wonderful work,” she said.

Following the presentation and discussion of these welfare matters, Elder Maxwell focused on how priesthood leaders could be “mighty men in the faith of the Lord.”

“In your teaching and leading,” he said, “take the time needed to explain to members what is wanted. To help our members to understand how the fundamental purposes of the work of the Lord are linked with daily living is a great need among our people now.”

“The simplicity in the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ should be matched by simplicity in our church administration and programs,” he said.

Elder Maxwell encouraged leaders to delegate responsibilities, “not only for your sake, but for the sake of the people—lest they wear away, too.” He encouraged leaders to find time for rest, renewal, solitude, and pondering.

Elder Maxwell further stressed the principle of love as a primary priesthood guideline. “The lessons of history tell us that long-suffering, persuasion, love, gentleness, and kindness are the only ways in which human behavior can be changed both freely and irrevocably,” he said.

Earlier in the day the Regional Representatives Seminar was held in the Church Office Building. Conducting the seminar proceedings was President Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve.

President Gordon B. Hinckley was the keynote speaker. In his keynote address, President Hinckley discussed the growing trend toward governmental legalization of gambling and said, “The sophistry of the promoters of gambling, like the sophistry of the promoters of other immoral vices, is specious and badly flawed.”

President Hinckley observed how gambling had proved to be an inefficient way to raise money, in addition to being immoral.

President Hinckley noted that he was speaking in the place of President Spencer W. Kimball, due to the President’s ill health, and were President Kimball able to attend conference, “he would urge us to intensify and broaden the missionary work of the Church.” In terms of opening the doors to other lands, President Hinckley said, “I am confident the Lord will open the way when we are prepared to take advantage of it.”

He stressed the need for more missionaries, the blessings of missionary work, and that what might be seen as a sacrifice to go on a mission turns out to be seen as an investment that yields a lifetime of remarkable dividends, stretching even into the eternities.

“The work of a missionary is everlasting in its consequences. Acceptance of the gospel at the hands of a true and dedicated teacher affects not only the recipient, but also generations who come after the recipient,” he said.

President Hinckley also discussed temple work and noted that in the coming months five temples will be dedicated, thus blessing the lives of many people.

In discussing the needs of leaders, President Hinckley said, “I suppose the most important attribute of leadership is attitude.” He said leaders must have a willingness to learn and seek a knowledge of what is expected. He said leaders should cultivate qualities that give confidence.

Leadership “involves also a personal and sincere interest in the problems and concerns of those who are being led and, most importantly, a willingness to get on one’s knees and seek for greater power than that which one naturally possesses.”

President Hinckley said that Church leaders need to teach people to obey the commandments of the Lord so that they may be worthy to receive the blessings that will flow from such obedience.

“Their lives will be enriched, and they will be happy as they walk in light and truth,” he said.

President Hinckley discussed a statement of President Heber J. Grant in October 1939. “He spoke as a prophet, and I hear him as a prophet when I read these words. ‘I promise you, as a servant of the living God, that every man and woman who obeys the commandments of God shall prosper, that every promise made of God shall be fulfilled upon their heads, and that they will grow and increase in wisdom, light, knowledge, intelligence, and, above all, in the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. May God help each and every one of us who has a knowledge of the gospel to live it, that our lives may preach its truths.’”

Following President Hinckley’s keynote address, Elder Carlos Asay and Elder Dean L. Larsen of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy gave a presentation on “Preparing Youth for Church Service.” The presentation stressed the vital roles of family and individual prayers, family home evening, and scripture study as supplying strength in the face of today’s challenges.

Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve then discussed activation of Church members, and Elder L. Tom Perry discussed Church councils.

Priesthood leaders hear a presentation on welfare matters. (Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten.)

Policies and Announcements

First Presidency Endorses “Year of the Bible.” The First Presidency has issued the following statement in support of United States President Ronald Reagan’s proclamation designating 1983 as the “Year of the Bible”:

“We commend to all people everywhere the daily reading, pondering and heeding of the divine truths of the Holy Bible and heartily endorse the presidential proclamation designating 1983 as the ‘Year of the Bible.’

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts the Holy Bible as essential to faith and doctrine, and demonstrated its longstanding commitment to Bible reading and Bible scholarship by recently publishing a new edition of the Authorized King James Version. A new and innovative footnoting and cross-referencing system, coupled with an extensive topical guide, further enhance the potential for enrichment of our lives by this majestic book of holy writ. Moreover, the Holy Bible is the textbook for adult, youth, and children’s classes throughout the Church each year.

“When it is read reverently and prayerfully, the Holy Bible becomes a priceless volume, converting the soul to righteousness. Principal among its virtues is the declaration that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, through whom eternal salvation may come to all.

“As we read the scriptures, we avail ourselves of the better part of this world’s literature. During the Year of the Bible, let us go to the fountain of truth, searching the scriptures, reading them in our homes, and teaching our families what the Lord has said through the inspired and inspiring passages of the Holy Bible.”

The following item appeared in the March 1983 Bulletin.

Importance of Personal Study of the Scriptures. Once again encouragement is given to all members, including those in leadership positions, to commit themselves to a program of regular study of the gospel and the scriptures. Members should take advantage of the opportunity to attend the classes provided for gospel study in the various organizations of the Church. Members of stake presidencies, bishoprics, and other priesthood and auxiliary leaders should attend these classes whenever it is possible for them to do so. In those classes where the scriptures are designated as texts, instructors and class members should not replace the scriptures with other texts and study guides that have not been approved for the class. The occasional use of supplementary material may be appropriate, but the scriptures should remain the focus of attention.

Assembly Hall Is Rededicated

A “Sacred Memento of the Past, with Great Utility for the Present, Future”

While heavy spring snows blanketed Temple Square, the mood inside the Assembly Hall was warm and reminiscent on the evening of Sunday, April 3, as several hundred invited guests gathered for a rededication of the century-old building. The three-year renovation project had come to an end only days earlier when installation of the building’s magnificent new 3,500-pipe organ was declared complete.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the services and offered the dedicatory prayer. Speakers included President Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve; Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve; and Elder G. Homer Durham, a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy and current Church Historian. Music for the occasion was furnished by the Mormon Youth Chorus under the direction of Robert C. Bowden, with Tabernacle organist Roy M. Darley at the organ.

Midway through the meeting, Tabernacle organist Robert Cundick performed a specially arranged medley of hymns (“Oh, How Lovely Was the Morning,” “An Angel from on High,” “The Morning Breaks, the Shadows Flee,” “Praise to the Man”) on the new organ, demonstrating the instrument’s remarkable range of tone and intensity. Organ designer/builder Robert L. Sipe and his wife Susan were honored guests at the rededication.

Before offering the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley voiced his admiration for the work done on the building during its restoration. He expressed appreciation “to those who have been so thorough in strengthening the building for the future while preserving the integrity of the design of the past.”

His prayer acknowledged that “for many years this has been a house of worship, a place of assembly, a hall to accommodate the expression of the arts. Now it has been restored and renovated. … We thank thee for the means made available by the faithful Saints to do this work of restoration. We thank thee that it has been so well accomplished. It is beautiful to behold, and will serve great purposes.

“Wilt thou, holy Father, accept of it in its renewed condition. We pray that thy holy Spirit may abide here, that all who enter may recognize it as a sacred place. May it again serve as a house of worship, where faith will be taught and strengthened, where thy word will be declared with persuasive conviction, and where thy name and the name of thy Son will be honored and glorified, and testimony borne of thee and of thy beloved Son, our Redeemer.

“May this building provide a fitting hall for the finest expression of musical arts. May it serve every other beneficent use to which it may be put, always in a spirit of reverence and respect, for we dedicate it to thee as the abode of thy holy Spirit.”

A call to personal rededication was issued by President Benson. After giving a brief history of the site where the Assembly Hall now stands—the construction of one of the old boweries “where the early Saints met to worship and hear the word of the Lord,” later replaced by the tabernacle, where President Brigham Young and other General Authorities “addressed the Saints and raised their voices in testimony”—President Benson spoke of an address delivered in the hall by Heber C. Kimball. In his sermon, Elder Kimball compared mankind to clay in the hands of the Master Potter, who shapes and molds every willing man and woman until they are fashioned in the likeness of the Son of God. “We all stand in need of change and reformation,” said President Benson. “I’ve thought of that as we rededicate this glorious building.”

Elder Petersen reflected that “this building has been a part of my life for virtually all my life.” He recalled having heard many of the Church’s “greats” speak from the Assembly Hall’s pulpit—Elders Reed Smoot, James E. Talmage, Melvin J. Ballard, Anthony W. Ivins, and John A. Widtsoe, and Presidents Joseph Fielding Smith and George Albert Smith, among others. “I heard these brethren testify as to the truth of the work,” he said, and commented that he still feels the strength of their testimonies when he comes to the hall.

He spoke fondly of the organ installed in the hall in 1913. Many great organists, he recalled, played that organ.

Elder Durham reviewed the Assembly Hall’s distinguished history from its groundbreaking in 1877 and dedication in January 1882 to the present day. But “above and beyond all these historic details,” he said, “is the spirit of this great building.” He said the building was originally built as a place for the Salt Lake Stake to meet for stake conference and other gatherings. Elder Durham noted that the building has been used for such community and Church functions as funerals, educational and cultural affairs, organ recitals, and symphony and choral concerts. Among the lectures given in the building were a series of lectures by Elder James E. Talmage which became his book The Articles of Faith, Elder Durham said. The Assembly Hall “has been a place for worship, for instruction, for the general edification of all those who have entered its doors,” commented Elder Durham. “And it now serves an expanding future; its destiny and service lie ahead.”

As the new home of the Temple Square Concert Series, the Assembly Hall will host two gala inaugural concerts on May 20 and 21. Subsequently, concerts will be presented weekly featuring outstanding Latter-day Saint musicians.

General Authorities and congregation sing a hymn during rededication of Assembly Hall. Note new organ. (Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten.)

Assembly Hall in snowstorm. (Photography by Jed A. Clark.)

Atlanta Temple Open House, Dedication Set

The First Presidency has announced that June 1 will be the dedication date for the Atlanta (Georgia) Temple. Now nearing completion in Sandy Springs, a suburban section of Atlanta, it will be the twenty-first temple to be dedicated by the Church.

An open house and tours for the public will be held for three weeks prior to the dedication, beginning Tuesday, May 3, and concluding Saturday, May 21, except Sundays. Following the open house and tours, the temple will be prepared for formal dedicatory services on Wednesday, June 1, at 1:00 P.M. A cornerstone-laying ceremony will precede the dedicatory services at 10:00 A.M. the same day.

Proceedings of the dedication will be repeated in ten subsequent sessions on June 1, 2, 3, and 4. This will allow as many as possible in the temple district to attend. The district includes Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, and parts of North Carolina and Louisiana. Some 145,000 members reside within district boundaries.

All sessions, conducted under the direction of the First Presidency, will be carried by closed-circuit television to overflow seating in a nearby meetinghouse. The First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, First Quorum of the Seventy, and Presiding Bishopric will be represented at each session.

Tickets are required for all dedicatory sessions and will be reserved for Church members within the district. They will be available through ward bishops.

Atlanta Temple

A three-week open house will allow the public to tour temple rooms prior to the building’s dedication. (Photography by Michael McConkie.)

Celestial room of the Atlanta Temple

Celestial room of the Atlanta Temple is richly furnished, provides atmosphere of peace and meditation. (Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten.)

Sealing room

Sealing room is one of five sealing rooms in the 26,000-square-foot Temple. There are also four ordinance rooms, each seating 40 persons. The Atlanta Temple is one of the smaller new-generation temples to be built throughout the world. (Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten.)

BYU Establishes David M. Kennedy Center for International and Area Studies

Brigham Young University has expanded its Center for International and Area Studies and named it in honor of David M. Kennedy “in recognition of distinguished contributions in finance, trade, diplomacy, and government affairs,” according to BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland.

“David Matthew Kennedy has served with distinction as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Europe, Ambassador-at-Large for the United States, and is currently Ambassador-at-Large for the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said President Holland. “The Board of Trustees and Brigham Young University are pleased to honor a man of David M. Kennedy’s accomplishments in this way.”

The functions of BYU’s existing center will become part of the new David M. Kennedy Center for International and Area Studies to launch a comprehensive program in teaching and research. “This new move,” said President Holland, “constitutes a major new emphasis on and significant contribution to the better understanding of peoples, cultures, governments, and the increasing complexities of world affairs.” He noted that the academic teaching functions of the Center already involve some five hundred students, making it one of the largest organizations of its kind in the United States. The newly established research, publications, and special projects functions will permit the center to become one of the finest of its kind in the nation.

According to Dr. Stanley A. Taylor, newly appointed director of the David M. Kennedy Center, the center will establish a visiting scholar/diplomat program “to bring to campus people like David M. Kennedy who have made significant contributions in both public and private international affairs.” The Center will also establish research and publications programs, sponsor symposia, establish the annual David M. Kennedy Faculty Fellowship, present the annual Kennedy International Service Award, and conduct special research projects. A designation of one million dollars from the Glenn and Olive Nielsen Trust will support research and scholarly activities of the center.

As part of these activities, the center will make the David M. Kennedy papers available for scholarly research. The center will also publish a series of books and monographic studies dealing with international topics.

President Holland was warm in his praise for the man in whose honor the center has been named. “David M. Kennedy,” he said, “exemplifies, both as a public servant and as an individual Latter-day Saint, those sterling qualities of character and intellect which all associated with the David M. Kennedy Center for International and Area Studies can seek gladly to emulate.”

Relief Society Turns 141

Leaders—Past and Present—Honored

“When Joseph Smith turned the keys in behalf of women in Nauvoo,” said Barbara B. Smith, general Relief Society president, “there was a door of great significance opened for womankind. Light and knowledge from heaven began to flow down upon women not only in the Church, but everywhere; and the wheels of progress provided women with more and more opportunities to take the responsibility for their own lives, and thus work out their own salvation and make contributions to the work of society.”

The occasion for her remarks was a March 16 presentation commemorating the 141st anniversary of the Relief Society. The Relief Society was formally organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith on 17 March 1842, with eighteen members present. Today, some 1,600,000 Latter-day Saint women attend Relief Society in eighty-two countries of the world.

Central to Sister Smith’s theme were the love and service which have characterized Relief Society sisters through the years. “It is fitting,” she said, “that the Relief Society should primarily be a story of love, written on many pages by many people because the Savior said, ‘By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another.’ (John 13:35.)

“No birthday party is complete,” observed Sister Smith, “without a guest of honor.” There were several such guests—former and continuing Relief Society leaders. Each of those honored spoke briefly—and each, without exception, from Vera White Pohlman, who first began her Relief Society work when Emmeline B. Wells was general president (1910–1921), to the counselors in today’s presidency, expressed her love for the sisterhood of the Church.

Marianne C. Sharp, first counselor to President Belle S. Spafford during all 29 1/2 years of her administration, reminisced about “our wonderful Relief Society building. … I was always impressed by the goodness of the Brethren as we worked toward our goals.”

Verla Simonsen, a second counselor to President Spafford for ten years, reflected that “I have never known a place where I have experienced such an abundance of love as I have in the Relief Society.” Louise W. Madsen, also a counselor to Sister Spafford, was an accomplished and popular speaker in the Church; she recalled that “I think the thing I remember most is the fact that we all grew so greatly—that we grew much farther and better than we ever thought we could; that we discovered talents and abilities, and great love that we didn’t even know was in our being.”

Sister Hulda Parker Young served for twelve years as Relief Society general secretary-treasurer during a period of rapid worldwide expansion for the Church. “When you talk about love,” she said, “I think there is nothing that makes you realize the worldwide sisterhood aspect of Relief Society like traveling into many lands. You meet a sister in an entirely different culture; maybe she doesn’t speak your language; but she is a member of the Church and the Relief Society, and you love her—and you both feel that love.”

Janath Cannon served as first counselor to Sister Smith until she and her husband were called to help open Africa for missionary work; she is currently a member of the general board. “I want you sisters to know,” she said, “that we do have sisters all over the world. Some of them are not even yet members of the Church; and yet, knowing the Church, some of them did call themselves ‘Relief Societies’ before they were even baptized. And they are truly our sisters.”

Sister Marian R. Boyer, who has been a counselor to Sister Smith since 1974, added her testimony of the bonds of sisterhood: “I think that the special part of this work is the great love that we have felt—not only with those in the building, but from every sister in the Church. We don’t have an assignment any place without feeling this love; and even if we don’t do very well, we still are loved, no matter where we go. We love the same things, we have the same desires, we’re struggling for the same blessings, and so indeed we are sisters in the gospel.”

Shirley W. Thomas, who has been a counselor to Sister Smith, spoke of her love for the Lord and her admiration for Sister Smith: “Sister Smith has taught me that you never do anything in an ordinary manner. This is a manifestation of her magnificence, but also of the Lord’s love for you, he having chosen one who serves so well.” Sister Thomas was recently called to serve with her husband, Robert K. Thomas, who has accepted the call to be a mission president.

Also honored were Sister Camilla E. Kimball, wife of President Spencer W. Kimball, and Sister Sara Tanner, widow of the late President N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor to President Kimball. Sister Kimball, still recovering from hip surgery, stood and assured those present that “I love all of the sweet sisters of Relief Society around the world. I feel that that has been my greatest privilege—to meet so many of them in their home environments, and to realize that we all have the same responsibility and the same anxiety to fulfill the will of our Heavenly Father.”

Sister Tanner said that “I’ve never met a woman yet that I didn’t love.”

Sister Smith concluded her remarks with her hope that “we, as daughters of our Heavenly Father, go forth with his power and with his name upon our lips and his glory round about us.”

General Relief Society President Barbara B. Smith speaks at festivities honoring Relief Society. (Photography by Eldon K. Linschoten.)

Sister Barbara B. Smith greets Sister Camilla Kimball at anniversary celebration.

Mission Presidents, Assignments Announced

The following brethren have been called as mission presidents for the Church. They will begin their assignments in July.

Mission

President

Argentina Bahia Blanca

Hugo N. Salvioli

Argentina Buenos Aires So.

Grant C. Fausett

Australia Adelaide

Richard W. Wells

Australia Brisbane

Leon T. Ballard

Australia Melbourne

Robert K. Thomas

Australia Perth

Jerold N. Johnson

Belgium Brussels

Morris D. Gardner

Brazil Curitiba

Jerry F. Twitchell

California Oakland

O. Ken Earl (began Feb. 1983)

California San Bernardino

Kenneth A. Nessen

Canada Toronto

Carl W. Bacon

Canada Vancouver

Ralph Pulman

Chile Concepcion

Roland L. Hamblin

Chile Santiago South

Donald E. Jacobson

Colombia Bogota

David H. Pratt

Costa Rica San Jose

R. Kay Holmstead

Dominican Republic Santo Domingo

Arthur F. Coombs, Jr.

Ecuador Guayaquil

John S. Berge

Germany Frankfurt

Victor L. Ludlow

Guatemala Quetzaltenango

Jorge H. Perez

Hong Kong

Brent R. Armstrong

Illinois Chicago North

W. Gerald Simmons

Illinois Peoria

Brent R. Rigtrup

Indiana Indianapolis

Gail C. Sanders

Ireland Dublin

Vernon J. Tipton

Italy Milan

Christian Euvrard

Italy Rome

Craig A. Cardon

Japan Kobe

Barlow L. Packer

Japan Osaka

Merrill L. Blalock

Korea Seoul West

Edwin H. Jenson

Louisiana Baton Rouge

C. Max Caldwell

Mexico Hermosillo

Richard E. Turley

Mexico Monterrey

John B. Keeler

Micronesia Guam

Joseph B. Keeler

Missouri St. Louis

Charles D. Tate, Jr.

Netherlands Amsterdam

Marvin R. Van Dam (began Feb. 1983)

New Mexico Albuquerque

Donald G. Whitney

New York New York

W. Boyd Christensen

New Zealand Christchurch

Grant L. Spackman

North Carolina Raleigh

Deloris L. Stokes

Norway Oslo

Richard P. Broberg

Ohio Columbus

Stanley M. Smoot

Oklahoma Tulsa

Tom L. Bird

Oregon Portland

John A. Larsen

Pennsylvania Philadelphia

Dennis E. Flynn

Peru Arequipa

Romulo J. Casos

Peru Lima North

Harvard A. Bitter

Philippines Davao

Melvin M. Hall

Philippines Manila

Joseph A. Kjar

Puerto Rico San Juan

Enoc Q. Flores

Switzerland Zurich

Clayton R. Hurst

Taiwan Kaohsiung

Monte B. Carlson

Texas San Antonio

Thomas L. Tyler

Tonga Nuku’alofa

Melvin B. Butler

Utah Salt Lake City South

Van Lorin MacCabe

Virginia Roanoke

Errol S. Phippen

Washington D.C.

Brian C. Swinton

Washington Spokane

J. Roger Fluhman

West Virginia Charleston

Garth G. Eames

Missionary Training Center (Provo)

Joseph L. Bishop, Jr.

Women Gather at BYU

Counsel Is to Cultivate “Deep Roots”
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost,
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

(J. R. R. Tolkien, from The Fellowship of the Ring.)

Tolkien’s observation that “deep roots are not reached by the frost” was the theme of this year’s annual Brigham Young University women’s conference held February 17–19. The theme was addressed thoughtfully and creatively by students, educators, and General Authorities alike in a wide variety of addresses, workshops, and opportunities for learning attended by over two thousand participants. “Each of us,” read the conference program, “needs to understand the significance of roots in our lives—our historical beginnings, our ties with family and all human beings, and the foundations created by the choices we make every day. If we ignore them, leave them to affect us by chance, or cut ourselves off from them, we will die a death of some kind. If we attend to them and understand them, we are benefited and blessed.”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one of the conference’s speakers, expanded the theme’s message. “Your Tolkien theme, ‘Deep roots are not reached by the frost,’ might well have had added to it, ‘nor are they scorched by the sun.’ Jesus described the realities of that scorching sun when he talked in these terms: ‘And some fell upon the stony places, where they had not much earth, and forthwith they sprung up because they had no deepness of earth. And when the sun was up, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away.’ (Matt. 13:5–6.)”

“In our own lives,” said Elder Maxwell, “the heat will come—not alone in the rigors of daily life, but also in the special summer of circumstance at that point in history when the leaves of the fig trees sprout. The anticipated summer is upon us, and only those who are (to cite Peter and Paul’s adjectives) ‘grounded, rooted, established and settled’ will survive spiritually. (See Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:23; Col. 2:7.)”

He urged the development of Christlike attributes—love, mercy, meekness, patience, submissiveness. “Likewise, there is opportunity in even the most seemingly ordinary life to develop and to sharpen the everlasting skills—how to communicate, how to motivate, how to delegate, how to manage our time and our talents and our thoughts. They are developed by doing what Jesus said: take up the cross daily. It will be these skills and attributes that will rise with us in the resurrection, and precious little else. When you and I are ‘grounded and rooted,’ we will understand how utilizing the seemingly ordinary experiences of our life and how keeping the commandments are true tests of our performance in this second estate. A botched performance here means less chance to serve there.” Faithful sisters, he added, “may need to forego the praise of women, and of some in the feminine establishment, in order to pursue true and deep discipleship.”

Elder Maxwell spoke movingly of promised blessings to those who have not yet married: “One day, those who are now anguished because they are unmarried will, if they are faithful, know the joys of being in the midst of a vast convocation of their posterity. The seeming deprivation which occurs in the life of a deserving single woman who feels she has no prospects of immediate marriage and motherhood, properly endured, foretells a delayed blessing. Some deprivation, therefore, is an excavation; it is the readying of a reservoir into which a generous God will later pour all that he hath.”

His final plea was for careful and diligent study of the scriptures. “Beloved sisters,” he said, “you will never come away from the pages of the scriptures, when they are searched, malnourished or disappointed. But no one can partake for us. We must try the virtue of the word of God ourselves—and it must be a regular feasting, not an occasional nibbling.”

Earlier in the week, Dwan J. Young, general president of the Primary, delivered a devotional address as a prelude to conference activities. “Let me urge you to realize,” she said, “that your first task to prevent the frost from killing your roots is to fill up with faith and testimony; to develop deep and complex root systems which make you sensitive and thoughtful of others. These two principles will give you strength and magnificence. We must seek the Lord, and we must become sensitive to the needs of others. Then we must give service to one another. Service is the life-giving water which renews our souls and lets us continue in our growth.”

Other conference speakers echoed her counsel. Mary Anne Q. Wood, a professor at BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School and recent White House Fellow, drew on the promise of Christ’s loving declaration: “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10.) “Like the tree,” she observed, “drawing sustenance from the entire hillside, and growing branches which reach broadly, our goal is the abundant life. Our ability to lead the abundant life, and to have the branches of our lives grow until they are a source of joy and support to ourselves and others, is to a large measure dependent on our ability to develop a firm supporting root structure.”

Using the life of her great-grandmother as an example, Sister Wood cited “three character attributes which I believe are partial clues to the abundant life. First, she valued education in its broadest sense, and she took advantage of every opportunity she had to learn. Second, she valued time and made good use of it. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, she learned to love and serve others.

“If we have an eternal perspective, we will hopefully realize that all of us will not have all the opportunities to see all of our desires and expectations fulfilled in this life. It may require occasionally reminding ourselves that there is another time and another place, and that ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’ (1 Cor. 2:9.)

“My great-grandmother exemplified the capacity to forget oneself in love and service for others. That is not to say that to be happy we must devalue ourselves and totally sacrifice our independent existence and identity; but is only to acknowledge that true happiness often comes in large measure from our ability to put the needs of others ahead of our own, and to lose ourselves in the service of others. The Savior taught this principle over and over again; it is one that has been too often overlooked in the recent debates attempting to define a better place for women in our society.”

As the final conference speaker, Patricia T. Holland, wife of BYU’s president Jeffrey R. Holland, stressed the importance of developing strength and peace through Christlike love. “It is obvious,” she observed, “that we need extremely firm foundations for our faith and our future challenges. Some kind of frost will always be with us, and we live in a time when that chill can be a threatening chill indeed.”

The “chill,” said Sister Holland, can be tempered by love. She suggested three “basic exercises for the practice of love”—forgiveness, accepting others unconditionally, and giving without any thought of getting. “As women,” Sister Holland said, “we have the choice and privilege to connect ourselves to God in a way that we draw his nourishing love down to our very roots. And that peace and power we can extend to another. … Like the cycles of trees and roots and branches we’ve been using in our theme, a woman’s love can be one eternal round. When we love the Lord, we love each other; and when we love each other, we love our own selves. Then the harvest is indeed the fruit of peace.”

Cynthia Sorensen, a senior student leader, addressed the opening assembly. Relating the “roots” theme to personal experience, she observed that within the circle of her own family, “I have experienced both pain and joy, tolerance and intolerance, sin and innocence, pride and humility, and have had almost every kind of opportunity for temptation, understanding, forgiveness, and repentance. Among the members of my family, I have been required to summon more strength to do what is right, yet invited to be humble and obedient more than among any other group of people. It seems to me that within that intimate circle of relationships exists a microcosm of the most important things in the world. I think if each of us looks long and hard enough, we will find our families at the deepest part of our hearts.”

Throughout the three-day conference, workshop speakers reinforced concepts of self-reliance, obedience to God and his commandments, and supportive, meaningful relationships with others.

President Joe J. Christensen, of the Church’s Missionary Training Center in Provo, spoke warmly of the positive influence of women on the missionary program—whether they serve as missionaries themselves, as mothers of missionaries, or as girlfriends at home supporting and encouraging elders in the field. “The messages of the Restoration, Latter-day Saint women, and missionary work are inseparably interrelated,” he said, “and it will always be that way as long as the roots of faith run deep and escape the frosts of adversity.”

He noted that about one in five missionaries at the Missionary Training Center is a woman; “this means that there would be from three hundred to four hundred lady missionaries in training at any one time—more than there were in the entire Church’s history during the first seventy years between 1830 and 1900. The average age in the last while has gone down to near twenty-two or twenty-three, and the overall ratio of lady missionaries to the total has increased from about one in ten in the past to about one in five today.” He added that sister missionaries are “sharp, attractive, mature, and very committed. They know why they are serving. Many have planned for years to go on a mission.”

President Christensen offered encouragement to women of all ages and circumstances: “To you who are younger and single, although missionary service is not an obligation in the same sense as with elders, don’t forget the opportunity that is available to expand your world of service and experience by serving a mission. You who are older, with no dependent children still at home, let your bishops know of your availability for one of the richest experiences of your lives. For those in between, who still have family and work responsibilities, plan and prepare for the day when the privilege of missionary service may be yours. Meanwhile, you may be of direct economic help and encouragement to your own parents, your children’s grandparents, so they may serve.”

Other workshop speakers explored basic gospel principles as means of achieving self-reliance. “Love is at the core of what we ought to be,” said Richard Draper, a Church Educational System curriculum writer. “It is through love that we awaken to our own possibilities and potentials. You are worthy of your own self-esteem, your own self-respect, your own love. It is only when we can truly come to love and accept ourselves that we can then forget ourselves. It is only when we come to love and appreciate our own goodness and greatness that we can then climb off the tawdry, tiny theater in which our song must always be played, and in which we must have the center stage at all times, and then walk out into the full light of day in a world full of splendid strangers.”

Part of the process of gaining self-reliance, observed Betty Simons, a management and educational consultant, is learning to deal with one’s roles in the world, in the Church, and in one’s culture. “All of these,” she said, “must be evaluated within the context of truth.”

Other conference workshops dealt with a diversity of subjects—effective use of time and finances; medical concerns of women; kitchen creativity; problem-solving in the home; the importance of scripture study; avoiding investment fraud; international affairs; problems of sexual abuse; community service; and Latter-day Saint women in historical perspectives. Also featured were a showing of artwork done by LDS women and a pictorial display introducing accomplished BYU professors and students from each college on campus.

Photography by Steve Fidel

Building Dedication Honors N. Eldon Tanner

Dedicatory services were held April 5 for Brigham Young University’s recently completed N. Eldon Tanner Building. At the services, the building’s namesake, President N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency until his death last November at age 84, was honored as a man of unquestioned integrity and devoted service.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, characterized President Tanner as “a great teacher, particularly by the power of his example. His was a tremendous odyssey from that Alberta farm to a station in life where he was at home with kings and became a companion to prophets.”

President Hinckley’s dedicatory prayer paid further tribute to the man whose name the building bears. “Nathan Eldon Tanner was our friend and associate,” he said, “and in a much larger measure he was the friend of all who use this campus and of all who are blessed by this institution. Each of us has been and will continue to be the beneficiary of his quick perception, his tremendous foresight, and his exceptional wisdom. … May the influence of his good life be felt by all who study here. May there grow a legend, founded in truth and nurtured with fact, the legend of a man whose principles were unimpeachable and whose industry was unexcelled.”

BYU’s President Jeffrey R. Holland, describing some of the unique facets of the building’s construction, pointed out that despite its impressive beauty and functional design, “the N. Eldon Tanner Building is unique because it is the N. Eldon Tanner Building, and because the Rockville white granite which characterizes it is so much like the man himself.”

“To those,” said President Holland, “who suggest that one must compromise one’s values to succeed in the hard-nosed world of business, I commend the name of N. Eldon Tanner.

“To those who say that ‘connections’ are more important than commitment, I commend the name of N. Eldon Tanner.

“To those who say that they lack the time for family and profession and Church and community, I commend the name of N. Eldon Tanner.”

The N. Eldon Tanner Building, completed in late 1982, houses academic offices and programs of the BYU School of Management, which is comprised of the College of Business and the Graduate School of Management.

N. Eldon Tanner Building, BYU campus.

Keeping Pace

BYU’s Bachelor of Independent Studies Program. Whether you’re looking to complete a high school diploma, thinking about a college degree, or just beginning your four-generation family group sheets, BYU Independent Study may have something for you.

The department offers nearly 350 different courses in a wide variety of disciplines, including basic high school courses, personal enrichment classes, and college-level coursework designed to be completed at a leisurely pace in accordance with the differing demands of the student. Participants have the added advantage of corresponding with professors in their various fields of study, receiving expert advice and help suited to their particular needs.

Initiated in 1921 under the Division of Continuing Education, BYU Independent Study has grown steadily over the years to become the largest program of its kind in the nation, with a total enrollment of over 16,000 in 1981.

High school courses offered by Independent Study include English, math, science, and history, and are accredited in cooperation with a local school district to meet requirements for high school graduation.

Advanced degrees offered by the department require the same number of credit hours that an on-campus degree requires. The Bachelor of Independent Studies is a four-year liberal arts degree with no specific major or minor: Associate or two-year degrees are also available in English, Home and Family Development, Justice Administration, and Family and Local History Studies (genealogy).

Personal Enrichment courses are also available through Independent Study and include nearly fifty offerings on topics such as manuscript writing and preparation, improving family relationships, and genealogy.

BYU Independent Study also offers classes to current high school and college students that may supplement or fill required courses in their particular area of study.

All courses offered through the program are $35 per credit hour and require regular assignments to be completed within one year. For more information about any of the programs offered through Independent Study, write: Department of Independent Study, Brigham Young University, 206 Harman Continuing Education Building, Provo, UT 84602.