News of the Church


Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve

Elder Richard G. Scott

Twice in his life, people urged Richard Scott to refuse mission assignments—once when he was a young man and later when he was called to be a mission president. In both cases, they warned him that his career as an engineer would be seriously jeopardized. But both times, he chose to accept the call.

“When I was very young,” he says, “I made a covenant with the Lord that I would devote my best energies to his work. I have repeated that covenant throughout the years.”

As Elder Scott has honored that promise, the Lord has blessed him. For example, when he returned home from his first mission, he was selected to be on the immediate staff of U.S. Navy Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, working on the development of nuclear submarines. In accepting the assignment, he found himself in a significantly higher position than his former professor who had urged him not to serve a mission. “It was a powerful testimony to me of how the Lord blessed me as I put my priorities straight,” he says.

More recently, the former nuclear engineer accepted another calling—this time as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He had served as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy since April 1977, and in the Presidency of that Quorum since October 1983.

Just two days before conference, after a meeting of the General Authorities in the Salt Lake Temple, President Benson called him into his office. “With tenderness and love and great understanding that I will never forget,” says Elder Scott, “he extended this call, which would, of course, completely overwhelm anyone. It did me. I couldn’t help crying. And then President Benson very kindly spoke of his own call to give me reassurance. He witnessed how my call had come. I will always remember that thoughtfulness and understanding of the prophet of the Lord.” Elder Scott was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve on 1 October 1988.

Richard G. Scott was born in Pocatello, Idaho, to Kenneth Leroy and Mary Eliza Whittle Scott on 7 November 1928. About four years later, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where Richard spent most of his growing-up years. At that time, his father was not a member of the Church, and his mother was not active. But the lives of the Scott family were deeply influenced by the example of great leaders in the Washington, D.C., area.

“When Ezra Taft Benson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, was serving as U.S. secretary of agriculture, he asked Dad to work as assistant secretary of agriculture, says Elder Scott.” The example of President Benson—his integrity, his devotion, his great ability to defend principle—very deeply touched my father. As that relationship grew, President Benson had a significant influence in Dad’s conversion. When Kenneth Scott was baptized, Elder Ezra Taft Benson confirmed him a member of the Church. Later, Kenneth became a sealer in the Washington Temple; he and his wife served in the temple for over ten years.

Meanwhile, young Richard met and dated Jeanene Watkins, daughter of the late Arthur V. Watkins, United States senator from Utah. They both graduated from George Washington University, he in mechanical engineering, she in sociology—and then they both served missions, he in Uruguay, and she in the northwestern U.S. Of that experience, he observes, “All I cherish in life began to mature in the mission field.” Two weeks after he returned, they were married in the Manti Temple.

For twelve years, Richard Scott worked with Admiral Rickover in the development of nuclear powered systems—not only for military submarines and other naval vessels, but also for the first commercial land-based nuclear power plants. During that time, he completed the equivalent of a doctorate in nuclear engineering at the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology in Tennessee, and he served as president of a seventies quorum and as stake clerk.

Then came the call to serve as president of the Argentina North Mission, from 1965 to 1969. There his love for the Lord deepened and he met treasured friends among the missionaries and members. Upon returning, he worked with former Rickover associates in a private consulting firm specializing in nuclear engineering. At the same time, he served in the Washington D.C. Stake presidency and later as Regional Representative. In 1977, eight years after returning from Argentina, he was called to be a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

As a new General Authority, he served for a year as Managing Director of the Priesthood Department, with responsibilities for the Relief Society and the Melchizedek Priesthood. Then for about six years he served as Executive Administrator in Mexico and Central America; he and his family lived in Mexico City for three of those years. His fluent Spanish, his warm leadership style, and his sincere love for the Latin-American people endeared him to the local Church members and leaders. “They’re wonderful, loving members of the Church who have a desire to serve the Lord and obey his commandments,” he says. “It’s very easy for anyone who works with them to have deep love and high regard for them.”

After returning from Mexico, he became Managing Director of the Family History Department. When called to the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1983, he became Executive Director of the department. A great asset for him in that assignment was the love he and Sister Scott have for family history. Since his father was a convert, there has been a great deal of research to do over the years on his family line, and they, along with his parents, have dedicated much time to it.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with very devoted people at Church headquarters,” he says. “We have been led to some fascinating uses of technology in family history. Following the guidelines established by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, we’ve found ways that will do away with much of the busy work that has been associated with family history research.

“Of course, even with the aid of computers, there is and always will be a requirement for individual involvement in this work,” he says, “so that Church members will have the great spiritual experiences that accompany it, and will feel the spirit of the work.”

The Scotts have seven children, five of whom are living: Mary Lee, who is finishing her doctorate at UCLA; Kenneth W. of Salt Lake City; Linda (Mrs. Monte Mickle) of Houston, Texas; David M., of Salt Lake City; and Michael W., who is studying in Israel. They have three grandchildren. Although all the children have left home now, theirs is a close family, says Sister Scott. “We just have a wonderful time when we get together!”

Those close family ties are a natural extension of the love Elder and Sister Scott have had for each other over the years. “We’ve been in love since the first moment we met!” says Sister Scott. “He’s my best friend.” They enjoy hiking and birding together. And they both love to paint—he watercolors; she uses pastels. “This has been his way to relax,” she says. But, he adds, time precludes dabbling very often these days.

Anyone who has heard Elder Scott speak knows of his intense love for the

Book of Mormon—a friend that has sustained him over the years. He has found particular comfort from this friend since his call to the Quorum of the Twelve. “The changes in our lives because of the call I have received are so profound and so far-reaching that they affect every aspect of our lives and everything we think about and do. During this period since that call came, the Book of Mormon has been a very powerful helpmate.”

He also speaks as one who has felt the Spirit of the Lord often, both in his personal life and in his Church work. “The wonderful, incomprehensible blessing is that everyone can have a very close, personal feeling about the Savior and our Father in Heaven. He doesn’t make that exclusive to individuals who have callings or who have some particular need. These individual experiences are sacred and usually, unless prompted by the Spirit, we do not talk about them. But the wonder is that we can feel close to both our Father in Heaven and the Savior in prayer, in pondering the scriptures, in service to other individuals, and in time of need. Often, when we don’t even recognize there is a need, that feeling of nearness comes.”

As he addressed the Church at conference the day after being sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve, he publicly renewed the covenant he made with the Lord as a young man: “To live to be worthy to know the will of the Lord and to live to have, with his help, the capacity and courage to carry out that will—and to desire nothing else.”

Elder J. Richard Clarke of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy

Elder J. Richard Clarke

“I’m just a plain vanilla sort of guy,” says Elder J. Richard Clarke of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Perhaps. But if that’s true he must be thought of as the kind of vanilla that inevitably stands out for its quality. His character includes a combination of spiritual qualities and administrative skills that he has enjoyed using in Church service for decades.

He has now been called to use them as a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy. On October 1, he was sustained to fill a vacancy left by the call of Elder Richard G. Scott to the Quorum of the Twelve.

What does this fund of experience allow him to bring to his new calling? “I bring a testimony of the gospel, a love of the Savior, and a commitment to the work,” Elder Clarke answers reflectively. “I’ve consecrated everything I have and am to the Lord.”

At one time, in the mid-1970s, he seemed headed for the top in the insurance business. His company was headquartered in New York, but he had been instrumental in building its Boise, Idaho, agency into the firm’s largest. With a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a number of years experience in the field, he was sent by his company to Stanford University in 1974 for advanced executive training.

But his personal spiritual development and his service to the Church as a bishop, stake president, and Regional Representative had prepared him for a different kind of administrative role. In October 1976, he was called to be the Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. He was released in April 1985 and called to the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Following his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1985, he presided over his old mission from 1985 to 1987.

His wife, Barbara, observes that his administrative ability may draw attention away from his spiritual depth. But her husband is a devoted student of the scriptures. “I can walk into his study almost anytime and, no matter what he’s supposed to be doing, he’s studying the scriptures.”

Elder Clarke was born in Rexburg, Idaho, on 4 April 1927 to John R. and Nora Redford Clarke.

After he had returned to Ricks College, in Rexburg from a mission to South Africa, Richard married Barbara Jean Reed, a farm girl from Ririe, Idaho. Then he attended Brigham Young University, graduating in 1952. He began his career with an insurance company in sales, moving to management five years later.

Elder and Sister Clarke are the parents of eight children. One daughter drowned on a family outing several years ago.

Their family has consistently taken precedence over any other concern. While living in Boise, they bought thirteen acres of land and learned how to raise purebred cattle and thoroughbred Arabian horses. The whole family worked together. “We didn’t know anything about the business. I was like the teacher who is one chapter ahead of the class” in teaching his children what to do, Elder Clarke says. But their purpose was to produce responsible children, not prize-winning animals.

Do they still have the farm property? “No, I sold everything that was any fun,” he says, smiling.

As a member of the Presidency of the North America Southeast Area and a Managing Director of the Church’s Missionary Department for the past year, Elder Clarke has enjoyed the opportunity of working directly with Church leaders in a variety of areas. He will miss that.

But he looks forward with excitement to the opportunities in his new calling. “I think we’re in a very interesting period of history,” he says. “I think we’re on the brink of great growth in the Church.”

Elder Monte J. Brough of the First Quorum of the Seventy

Elder Monte J. Brough

Nineteen-year-old Monte Brough was working in a grocery store in Alaska when his nonmember uncle drove up in a new car. The uncle, who owned the chain of stores Monte worked in, offered to give him the car if he would stay in Alaska and work for him instead of going on a mission. “He offered to make me part of his business and promised me that I would be financially successful if I remained in Alaska and worked for him,” Elder Brough recalls.

It wasn’t an easy decision. He spent three uncomfortable days trying to make up his mind—and chose the mission. “I knew that I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon and that a mission had to be the right choice,” he says.

Monte James Brough was born on 11 June 1939 in Randolph, Utah, to Richard Muir Brough and Gwendolyn Kearl Brough. Richard died when Monte was a baby, leaving Gwen with four young children to support. But her job paid little, and the children worked at odd jobs to earn extra money.

Monte gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon while he was in Alaska working. “I responded to Moroni’s challenge,” he recalls, “and received my absolute witness.” That experience, his mother’s hopes, and the “missionary tradition” of his Randolph ward led him to decline his uncle’s offer and enter the mission field.

Elder Brough’s mission built his self-confidence. Until then, he had suffered from a poor self-image—the result of a limp caused by a birth defect aggravated by a childhood injury. When he was called to be a special counselor in the mission, he wanted to decline. But the mission president, Grant Thorn, taught him a quote from Henry Ford, which profoundly impressed the young elder: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

After his first mission, in August 1962, Elder Brough married Lanette Barker from Hilliard, Wyoming, in the Idaho Falls Temple. In 1965 he graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in math education. He worked in the computer department of one large company for some time, and then took a job recruiting new employees for another large company. That led to positions in management and sales, and Elder Brough eventually formed his own company, which sold computer services and systems to transport companies.

From 1978 to 1981, he served as president of the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission. Those years made a great impression on the Brough’s seven children. The Brough’s oldest son has served a mission and married in the temple, and their oldest daughter was in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, at the time of her father’s recent call.

Sister Brough feels that one strength her husband brings to his new calling is enthusiasm. “He loves missionary work—not just in the field, but in everyday life,” she says. He has also served as a bishop and a member of the Young Men General Board. He was serving as a Regional Representative at the time of his new call.

Elder Brough is currently finishing a Ph.D. in business management—which he has found to be a challenge. “At times I’d say to myself, ‘Why are you doing this?’” he says. “I think I now know why—because it required me to discipline myself again, in both my use of time and my study habits.”

He is determined to be a good father. “My children are my hobby,” he says. The Broughs enjoy traveling, the outdoors, boating, and waterskiing. Of his other “hobby”—church work—he says, “My testimony is absolute, without doubt. I have a strong, fervent witness that Jesus Christ is he who he claimed to be. With every year and every experience, it grows in depth and in perspective.”

Elder Albert Choules, Jr., of the First Quorum of the Seventy

Elder Albert Choules, Jr.

When Albert Choules, Jr., was called as mission president, he sold his interest in Romney International Hotels and stepped down as president of the corporation. That action characterizes the commitment that this new member of the Quorum of the Seventy feels for the gospel.

Elder Choules has served as a member of two bishoprics, as second counselor in the Scottsdale Arizona Stake presidency and then as stake president, as an officiator and a sealer in the Arizona Temple, and as a Regional Representative. In addition, he has long been active in Scouting, receiving the Silver Beaver award in 1971.

The third child of six, Albert, Jr., was born in Driggs, Idaho, on 15 February 1926 to Albert and Rula Wilson Choules. After his missionary service, he entered LDS Business College, later transferring to Brigham Young University.

He received a B.S. from BYU in 1951. While there, he met Rosemary Phillips, and the two were married in 1952 in the Idaho Falls Temple. In 1953, Brother Choules earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

After graduation, Brother Choules began work as a financial analyst for Union Oil Company in Los Angeles. Brother and Sister Choules’ first child, William, was born in Santa Monica. In 1955, they moved to Arizona, and Brother Choules joined Western Savings and Loan. Their next two children, Robert and Tamara, were born in Phoenix. From 1971 to 1976, Brother Choules worked in jointly owned companies: Western Savings, as senior vice president, and Romney International Hotels, as president. Then, in 1976, he and four business associates bought the hotel chain. He continued as president until his call to the New York New York City Mission.

Although Elder Choules recalls his service as mission president with fondness, the final six weeks of the mission were marked with sorrow. His wife, Rosemary, had surgery for cancer, then began chemotherapy. She continued treatment in Arizona. One year after the end of their mission, on 27 June 1984 she died. “Losing my wife was extremely difficult,” Elder Choules says. “She was a vibrant, successful woman and an outstanding wife and mother.

“But the Lord has given me so much. He brought her into my life. We had thirty-two years of a wonderful marriage. He guided us through the rearing of our children. He helped me through the last year of Rosemary’s life, and then he brought Marilyn into my life,” Elder Choules says.

Brother Choules had met Marilyn Lowry and her five children—Michelle, James, Jonathan, Jena, and Denise—when she moved to Phoenix in 1978. In 1983, Sister Lowry moved to Orem, where Brother Choules was living, and on 8 June 1987, they were married in the Salt Lake Temple. Fifteen months later, the call came for Elder Choules to serve as a General Authority. “I don’t know all the reasons for things happening the way they do in our lives,” says Elder Choules, “but I know that our Father in Heaven gives support and guidance when we need it.”

When asked her feelings about her husband’s call to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy, Sister Choules replied, “I feel humbled and overwhelmed with our recent blessings and opportunities. We are eagerly looking forward to the next five years.”

Elder Choules adds, “It’s overwhelming to realize that the Lord and the Brethren have such confidence in us. The Church has been our focal point because of its teachings, programs, and ordinances for the here and hereafter. All that we do in the Church points us toward eternity.”

Elder Lloyd P. George of the First Quorum of the Seventy

Elder Lloyd P. George

“I’ve been mightily blessed by the Lord,” says Elder Lloyd P. George, who, at age sixty-eight, was sustained in October general conference as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

“I stammered and stuttered terribly in my youth,” he said. “Up until the time I went on my mission I had never given a talk. I couldn’t participate when called upon in school. People would ask my name, and I couldn’t answer.

His parents, Preal and Artimissia, sent him to speech teachers and therapists, but they couldn’t help him. Then, when he was eleven years old, he was given a patriarchal blessing in the hope that it would provide him encouragement.

“My patriarchal blessing noted my problem and said, ‘Know this, that the Lord loves you and wants you to be happy.’ The patriarch then said, ‘I rebuke this condition and say unto you that you will go out into the world and preach the gospel with force to a waiting world.’”

In time, Elder George accepted a call to the Southern States Mission. Still suffering from his affliction, he couldn’t speak when he tried to present the gospel. His companion had to take over for him. His mission president later admitted that he’d thought, “Unless the Lord comes to the rescue of that young man, he won’t be any good to me, and I’ll have to send him home.”

After a month of being unable to communicate with those he visited, he prayed, “Lord, it’s now or never. Help me now, or I go back home.” Then he fasted.

His speech began to improve. “We had been holding weekly cottage meetings with five elderly women,” Elder George said. “At the next meeting I was able to speak fairly well. Afterward my companion said, ‘What happened to you tonight? Ordinarily I couldn’t turn you on, and tonight I couldn’t turn you off.’

“Those were the greatest words I’d heard in my life,” he said.

“I was transferred out of the area, and about six months later when I could really speak and preach, I went back and visited those five elderly investigators at another cottage meeting,” he recalled. “They sat through that meeting and just cried and cried.”

He returned from a successful mission to find World War II waiting for him. “I went into the service and trained as a pilot,” he said. “My patriarchal blessing also said I’d live to a ripe old age, so I wasn’t afraid.”

Elder George was born 17 September 1920 in Kanosh, Millard County, Utah. He married Leola Stott in the Salt Lake Temple on 8 January 1943. They have two daughters, Mrs. JoAnn Red and Mrs. Janet Finlinson; a son, Richard L. George; and twenty grandchildren.

After the war, the Georges bought a corner grocery store in Kanosh, and from that built a merchantile business that Sister George managed while her husband developed a cattle enterprise. Thirty years later they sold their businesses. They eventually moved to Orem, Utah, where Elder George became a real estate broker.

Elder George served as bishop of the Kanosh Ward for ten years, and as president of the Fillmore stake for nine years. He has also served as a Regional Representative and as president of the Arizona Tempe Mission.

Asked for her feelings about her husband’s new calling, Sister George replied, “I feel very good about it. He is truly a worthy servant of our Father in Heaven.”

“We’re looking forward to the coming years with anticipation, and with much joy and happiness in feeling that the Lord wants us,” Elder George said. “I’ve always had a testimony, and we’re certainly willing to serve.”

Elder Gerald E. Melchin of the First Quorum of the Seventy

Elder Gerald E. Melchin

The turning point in Gerald E. Melchin’s spiritual life was a special priesthood blessing, which led him to promise to serve the Lord in any way he could. “I had returned from my mission, was married, and the success of my auto transport business was being threatened,” Elder Melchin explains, “yet my patriarchal blessing gave me complete confidence that the Lord would protect me if I would put the Lord’s work first and tithe fully. So I continued to serve as a stake missionary, able to sleep well without fearing for my business.” His unflinching devotion to the Lord has continued since, in every aspect of his life.

Gerald Elden Melchin was born to Arthur and Rosetta Melchin on 14 May 1921. He grew up in Raymond, Alberta, where he was living when called to serve a full-time mission.

Missionary work has been an important part of Elder Melchin’s life. In fact, Gerald Melchin and Evelyn Knowles first met while they were missionaries in the East Canada Mission. “My period of service in the mission ended before Evelyn’s,” recalls Elder Melchin, “so, since the war was still on in 1944, I entered the Royal Canadian Air Force, becoming a pilot officer shortly before the end of World War II. Evelyn and I continued writing each other.”

Once he was discharged, Brother Melchin was eager to visit the Knowles family in Ogden, Utah, to ask for Evelyn’s hand in marriage. Her parents had already been impressed with Gerald because of a letter from the mission president’s wife, saying, “I would willingly line up my daughters, and Gerald Melchin could take his pick of them.”

With such endorsement, it didn’t take long to arrange a wedding in the Logan Temple. Looking back on their years together, Sister Melchin says, “My husband is the kindest man I know.”

After thirteen years, they left Raymond for Calgary, where Brother Melchin remembers the great challenge—which now seems more humorous than difficult—of being called by stake president N. Eldon Tanner to be the stake dance director. Elder Melchin recalls: “I really did not want to do it. I didn’t dance—didn’t like to dance. But I had promised the Lord that I would do what he asked.” President Tanner said later that he knew just what kind of man Gerald Melchin was when he accepted that call.

Calgary was also where Elder Melchin served as bishop and later as stake president, Sister Melchin served in the Young Women organization and as ward and then stake Relief Society president. She also shared her rich soprano voice by singing solos and directing choirs.

When Gerald was called to preside over the California Arcadia Mission in 1972, he and Evelyn sold the business they owned with his brother Howard, which had become the largest auto transport business in western Canada.

Four years ago, Brother Melchin was called to be a Regional Representative.

Well acquainted with service in the Church, the Melchins have now accepted a full-time call that requires leaving their seven children and twenty-six grandchildren. “Leaving them is the greatest sacrifice,” they agree. Missing an important part of the development and growth of grandchildren and the events of their young lives requires devotion to the gospel and an eternal perspective of family relations. “We have faith that the Lord will be with them,” Elder Melchin adds.

President N. Eldon Tanner’s words come to mind again, only this time applied to both Elder and Sister Melchin: one can easily see what kind of people would accept such a call.

Sunday Meeting Schedule Modified

Sunday meeting schedules have been modified to include a ten-minute opening exercise period for Sunday School. This period includes time for learning and singing hymns.

The change was announced by the First Presidency in the following letter, dated 3 October 1988, sent to priesthood leaders.

Sunday Consolidated Meeting Schedule

The Sunday consolidated meeting schedule has been in effect for the past eight years. It has blessed our members and also made time available for families to be together on Sunday in spiritual and family activities. It has also helped in economizing travel and energy costs for families and the Church and has made it possible to better utilize our chapels.

We now announce minor modifications in order to have these meeting schedules serve our members even better. Sunday School opening exercises for ten minutes, which includes a hymn-singing period, will be conducted by the Sunday School presidency. Time for class periods will remain the same; only the break periods will be shortened. These changes should permit most of our members to begin and end Sunday services together.

Under separate cover, you will be receiving several Sunday meeting schedule plans for use by units of the Church. Stake presidents will need to confer with bishoprics to determine which of the alternative schedules is appropriate for local circumstances. Also included will be some guidelines for the hymn-singing period to be used in the Sunday School opening exercises. [These guidelines appear below.]

We are confident that these changes will enhance our worship services and the spirit in our meetings and bless our members.

Guidelines for Sunday School Opening Exercises

Leadership. Both the bishopric and the Sunday School presidency sit on the stand. The bishopric presides; the Sunday School presidency conducts.

Agenda. The ten-minute opening exercises consist of a welcome from a member of the Sunday School presidency, an opening hymn, a prayer, and a hymn-singing period. Dismissal to classes follows. Although the exact timing of sessions and breaks is flexible according to local needs, care should be taken to stay within the time allotted by the bishopric so that teachers will have the time that is reserved for classes.

Announcements. The member of the Sunday School presidency who is conducting may make brief announcements about Sunday School classes. However, general ward announcements should be printed in a ward program or bulletin, or made by the bishopric in sacrament meeting.

Sunday School music personnel. A ward Sunday School chorister and organist should be called to prepare and present music for the Sunday School opening exercises. A stake Sunday School music leader may be called to serve as a resource to ward Sunday School music personnel and to present a music session in the semiannual stake teaching workshops.

Guidelines for the Hymn-Singing Period

The purpose of the hymn-singing period is to teach the gospel through hymns—to help members learn the hymns, ponder their messages, and partake of the spirit they bring.

How to prepare. The bishopric may outline topics to suit local programs and needs. (There will be no list of recommendations from Church headquarters.) With a prayer for inspiration and guidance, the Sunday School chorister should select the hymns, study their messages, study scripture references, note the mood and tempo markings, and think of ways to present the hymns effectively. Be well prepared.

Some ideas for a hymn-singing presentation:

  1. 1.

    Learn new and less well-known hymns, as well as favorites.

  2. 2.

    Spend most of the time singing. The best way to learn a hymn is to sing it over and over. Do not constantly stop and start.

  3. 3.

    Focus on the hymn’s spirit and message rather than on technical aspects. Read the scripture references, paraphrase the message in simple terms, and explain unclear words and phrases.

  4. 4.

    Encourage all to sing, especially those who normally do not. Remind the congregation that the song of the righteous is a prayer. (See D&C 25:12.)

  5. 5.

    Encourage memorization. Try singing the hymn with the books closed.

  6. 6.

    Tell a story of how a hymn has blessed someone’s life. Ask ward members to share experiences.

  7. 7.

    Give brief background information on the hymn or its author or composer.

  8. 8.

    Involve children and youth. Ask a teenager in advance to conduct or play the hymn. Or invite groups of children or youth to sing it or to help present it by holding up visual aids from the meetinghouse library.

  9. 9.

    Ask a group to present the hymn—such as the ward choir, a quartet, a family, a soloist, etc.

  10. 10.

    Ask a member to choose a favorite hymn and tell why it is special to him.

  11. 11.

    Be creative. Ask questions, use humor, be cheerful, do something different. Make the hymn-singing period one of the most exciting and rewarding moments of the meeting schedule.

Resources:

  1. 1.

    The hymnbook. In addition to information provided with the hymn itself, see the First Presidency Preface, “Using the Hymnbook,” and the indexes.

  2. 2.

    The standard works. There are many additional scripture references and a wealth of information available through the Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, and Index.

  3. 3.

    Church magazines. Articles frequently appear in which Church members express how the hymns have blessed their lives. See also “The New Hymnbook: The Saints Are Singing!” (Ensign, Sept. 1985, p. 7); “Celebrating the New Hymnbook” (Ensign, Nov. 1985, p. 105); and “Policies and Announcements” (Ensign, Nov. 1985, p. 108).

Policies and Announcements

Performance of Temple Marriages by General Authorities

The following letter, dated 20 September 1988, was sent to priesthood leaders in Utah to be read in sacrament meeting. It was signed by the First Presidency.

The General Authorities are experiencing an increase in the number of requests made by families and couples for them to perform temple marriages. The Brethren are reluctant to decline these requests, but because of their many responsibilities and demands on their time, we have asked them to limit acceptance of such requests to members of their own family and to close personal friends.

In counseling with those planning temple marriages, bishops and stake presidents are requested to encourage families and couples to utilize the temple sealers, who have been called to officiate in this sacred ordinance.

Church Helps Form Cable TV Network

The Church and seventeen other religious organizations in the United States have agreed to sponsor an interfaith cable television network designed to provide “values-oriented” programming. Broadcasting began on Monday, September 19.

The new Vision Interfaith Satellite Network (VISN) offers a wide variety of wholesome, high-quality programs from a broad range of religious groups to audiences throughout the United States.

VISN is operated by the nonprofit National Interfaith Cable Coalition, with headquarters in New York City. While The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a member of the coalition, it will be a major programmer. Programs will also be provided by Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant groups.

Each of these groups, including the Church, will be allotted specific time blocks for the airing of denominational programs on VISN. The new cable channel will also provide viewers a variety of nondenominational films and video presentations.

“VISN offers top-quality, values-oriented programming,” says Richard P. Lindsay, the Church’s managing director of public communications and special affairs.

“The programming has been prepared for a broad spectrum of viewers,” Brother Lindsay says, adding that “persons of faith who have not been attracted to currently available religion-oriented television will be drawn to VISN’s rich mix of appropriate entertainment, music, drama, and documentaries.

“The emphasis will be on faith in God and moral values.”

VISN will be distinguished from many other religious cable television networks now broadcasting in that its programs will contain no fund-raising appeals, no criticism of other faiths, and no direct proselyting.

Funding to support the programming will be provided by grants, corporate underwriting, and paid national advertising.

At one time, cable television was dominated by programming many people found objectionable. But, as Brother Lindsay points out, today cable television offers a wide variety of excellent programming. There are channels devoted to news, music, sports, science, and other areas of interest. Cable networks are able to focus on specific audiences and offer greater individualism than the major networks do.

VISN will provide a means for the Church to reach a large, national audience with its messages about family life, homelessness, drugs, and other vital issues. The new cable channel also offers a way by which the Church can improve public perception of the Church and strengthen the work of stakes and wards.

“The Church’s entry into cable television broadcasting does not mean that the Church is promoting cable TV,” Brother Lindsay said. “The Church is not encouraging members to make any special effort to subscribe to cable television. The new programming is simply being made available to the viewing public.

“VISN initially provides the Church an opportunity to disseminate to millions of viewers—both members and nonmembers—many of the programs the Church has produced over the years,” he pointed out. “It will help those of other faiths understand our strong moral and family values.”

While the new interfaith cable network is not now available for viewing in all areas of the United States, nationwide cable channel coverage is planned within a year.

During the initial period, programming will be carried from 1:00 to 6:00 P.M. (Eastern time) Monday through Friday, from 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Saturdays, and from 6:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Sundays. Plans are being made to expand the schedule.

Latter-day Saint programs during the initial period will include “Love at Home,” appearing Tuesdays at 3:00 P.M. (Eastern) and repeated on Wednesdays at 5:30 P.M.; and “Worth of Souls,” appearing Fridays at 1:30 P.M. and repeated at 4:00 P.M. on Mondays.

“Love at Home” is a half-hour segment devoted to the subject of families and the challenges they face, and “Worth of Souls” includes dramatic presentations with broad appeal, according to Brother Lindsay.

Cable subscribers interested in VISN should check with their local cable systems for specific programming details.

LDS Volunteers Help Save West Yellowstone

When the out-of-control forest fire that destroyed more than a million acres in Yellowstone National Park last summer roared to within a mile of West Yellowstone, Montana, Church volunteers from Idaho and Montana installed a sprinkler system to protect the town.

The emergency effort was so successful that forest and park service officials requested that members install a similar system to protect the Old Faithful power station and a transmission line. The fire burned through the area, but the system prevented the destruction of the power complex.

Regional Representative Clayter Forsgren credits Clyde Seely, a counselor in the Ashton Idaho Stake presidency, with initiating the volunteer effort. President Seely is a West Yellowstone resident.

“When things began looking critical, President Seely called and explained the problem,” Brother Forsgren said. “He suggested asking farmers in the area to temporarily donate the sprinkling systems they use for irrigation, then using these sprinklers to protect the town.”

Brother Forsgren called Elder Rex C. Reeve of the First Quorum of the Seventy and President of the North America Northwest Area to gain approval for the plan. Brother Forsgren then called the stake presidents in his area and other Regional Representatives in surrounding areas to tell them of the need.

When the government supervisor of the fire-fighting area decided the danger to the town had become critical, the Church was ready.

“It was nine o’clock at night when the fire boss contacted President Seely with an emergency request for the sprinkler system,” Brother Forsgren said. “He called me, and together we began notifying other Church leaders. By eight o’clock the next morning there were truckloads of pipes and pumps on the way to West Yellowstone.”

“We could see the fire from the south clear to the north,” said President Seely’s wife, Linda. “There was a line of fire seven or eight miles long. You could see the flames jumping. It was really frightening.”

“We were told by the forest service people that the town could be engulfed in flame the next day if the weather pattern didn’t change,” President Seely recalled.

“The first trucks started to arrive about ten o’clock in the morning,” he said. “A hole was blasted in the river so that we had a reservoir of water available for our pumps. By three o’clock that afternoon, all of the pipes had been put together for the system that was to provide protection for the east side of town.

“When the water started spurting from the sprinkler heads, there was a great sigh of relief,” he said. “It smelled like rain—rain our forest hadn’t had for several months.”

“I was called late at night and asked if I would donate my pump to bring water to these people,” said Layle Cherry, an Ashton, Idaho, farmer who, like many others, volunteered not only his equipment but his time. “I said, ‘You bet!’ At five o’clock the next morning I put the pump I’d been using to water my grain and potatoes on a truck, and five hours later we were putting it into the river at West Yellowstone.”

“With just a few phone calls, they rallied a tremendous amount of material and ready help,” said West Yellowstone City Councilman Calvin Dunbar, speaking of the Church’s effort. “The organizational situation and the speed with which this fell together was very inspiring.”

Like many other nonmembers on the scene, Dunbar was impressed by the unselfish donation of time and farm equipment that was badly needed by the donors themselves.

More than twenty different stakes were involved in the relief effort, and somewhere between fourteen and twenty miles of sprinkler pipe were laid on two sides of the endangered town. The danger finally passed when the wind direction changed, but the emergency sprinkler system was credited with helping to keep the fire at bay.

“A couple of nights later I received another call from the North Fork fire people asking if we could have another system in place by eight o’clock the next morning at Old Faithful,” President Seely said.

The fire was threatening the power line and electrical substation there. If these facilities were destroyed, it would not be possible to repair them before winter, and there would be no power available to the area.

Again, both member and nonmember volunteers rallied, and the deadline was met. The sprinkler system not only wet the ground and flammable materials, but also raised the humidity in the area. This prevented the fire from gaining a foothold, even though the surrounding area burned.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the sprinkler system that was installed around the power line and the substation was the only thing that saved them,” said Dan Johnson, a Montana Power Company foreman. “The flames were burning twice as tall as the treetops.”

President Seely said that after the fire, people walked up to him on the streets of West Yellowstone to pat him on the back and offer thanks. “They were grateful that there was a group of people out there who cared enough to donate time and equipment to come to their aid, even though they didn’t know them,” he said.

“The LDS people provided the leadership, the equipment, and the love of each other and of the community that made this project succeed,” said William M. Witte, a nonmember volunteer from West Yellowstone. “Without that, it would not have worked.”

LDS volunteers from more than twenty stakes rallied when a million-acre forest fire threatened West Yellowstone, Montana.

Volunteers install donated pump and sprinkler pipe to protect town and electrical power substation from Yellowstone blaze.

100 Million Endowments Performed for the Dead

In mid-August, the total number of endowments for the dead that have been performed in this dispensation passed the 100 million mark, according to Temple Department estimates.

Two-thirds of that total were completed during the past eighteen years. This means that the Church is making some important gains in its monumental task of performing vicarious temple work for the dead, said Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Temple Department.

While the 100 million mark is encouraging, the number of males alone who have lived throughout history is estimated at 75 billion. This means, said Elder Bangerter, that members cannot afford to relax in carrying out this responsibility.

At the same time, they need not be discouraged, he said, noting that the next 100 million endowments for the dead might be performed within fifteen years or less as the Church grows and as members become busier in temple work.

Elder Bangerter emphasized that mere numbers never have been the goal of temple work.

“We do temple work because it blesses and benefits those who are to receive it,” he said. “Everyone … must receive the temple ordinances to obtain the promise of eternal life.

“If the Lord is to redeem all his people, … it seems evident that all, when they have repented and accepted the gospel here or in the spirit world, must receive the blessings of baptism.”

Elder Bangerter said that those who have performed temple ordinances for their ancestors “receive great personal satisfaction. And in connection with their service, they renew their covenants and draw near to the Spirit of the Lord. They remember the sacred nature of their membership in the Church and the covenants they’ve made with the Lord Jesus Christ.”

He noted that many prophets have emphasized the urgency of temple work. “The probability is that there are many of those who have died who are anxiously waiting to be baptized and to be sealed to their families,” he said. “These are precious privileges that we have here, and they [the deceased] should certainly be extended the same privileges.”

Beer Called Most Serious Alcohol Problem

Charging that beer is “America’s greatest alcohol problem,” a Church spokesman recently called for tighter controls on the sale of the popular alcoholic drink.

Richard P. Lindsay, managing director of public communications and special affairs for the Church, addressed the problem while speaking at the annual meeting of the American Council on Alcohol Problems (ACAP) held in Midway, Utah, on September 20.

Stiffer regulation of beer sales would “contain the rampant consumption, widespread availability, and epidemic problems” caused by America’s beer consumption, Brother Lindsay said.

“From ball parks to beaches, new laws and rules have slowly been emerging to better control this beverage and its consequences,” he said, citing recent successful efforts to control the sale and consumption of beer.

He mentioned tough beer-control efforts by the San Francisco Giants baseball club, the beach city of Santa Cruz, California, and others.

“Such implementations have proved successful and are slowly becoming more recognized and widespread,” Brother Lindsay said.

While the consumption of wine and distilled spirits cause similar tragedy and heartache, beer accounts for more than half of all alcohol consumed in the United States.

“Beer is not only the main beverage through which alcohol is consumed, but also the alcohol of choice among high school and college-age youth,” Brother Lindsay pointed out. “It is the most promulgated and least regulated of all alcoholic products.”

He noted that 5.8 billion gallons of beer were consumed in the U.S. in 1986, which adds up to more than 24 gallons for every man, woman, and child in the country. “That’s more than the per capita consumption of fruit juices, drink mixes, wine, and distilled spirits combined.”

Even though retail beer sales in 1986 totaled more than $39 billion, that figure pales alongside the estimated $120 billion in alcohol-abuse social costs, Brother Lindsay said. These costs include death, reduced productivity, lost employment, health care, vehicle accidents, crime, and incarceration.

He condemned “the unrelenting flood of beer advertising,” the “virtually unlimited availability and nearly unregulated distribution” of beer, and “the infusion of beer into the very fabric of American culture.”

Decrying the linkage of beer advertising to sports, including college athletics, Brother Lindsay said such promotion has a particularly negative effect on young people. “Our youth are bombarded with beer advertising.” They are “deluged with advertisements for a product they cannot legally purchase or consume.”

In 1987, $847 million was spent to advertise beer in the United States.

In “Myths, Men & Beer,” a recent study sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, researchers observed that “beer commercials promote a particular view of what it means to be a man … that to be a real man in American culture—and accepted among other men—one must drink beer. … In our view, this is a powerful, distorted, and dangerous message to broadcast to young people.”

Brother Lindsay pointed out that beer is much easier to obtain than wines or spirits. Besides the “obvious places such as bars, clubs, and liquor stores,” he said, “beer can be purchased at grocery and convenience stores, mini-markets, and, most shockingly, many gas stations.”

Beer has been infused deeply into the American culture. A recent issue of Sports Illustrated chronicled what has become a “cozy connection” between beer and sports:

“Whatever angle you view it from, beer and sport have come to be as inseparable in the American lexicon as mom and apple pie.”

Brother Lindsay quoted Dr. Jerry Caldwell, director of the Alaska Sports Medicine Clinic, who called the sports-beer connection “‘blatant and apparently acceptable commercial exploitation of our youth by drug merchants.

“‘Lest we forget, alcohol is the no. 1 drug of abuse in the United States,’” Dr. Caldwell had noted, pointing out that “‘there are about 13 million alcoholics in this country and over 3 million of them are in the 14–17 age group.’”

Brother Lindsay went on to decry the recent “higher stature of respectability and social acceptance” of beer, which he said has apparently shed its “blue-collar” image.

He also criticized the “political and economic clout” of the beer and alcohol industries.

“While maximizing coalition and grass-roots support,” he said, “the beer and alcohol industries have become major marketers in political and campaign donations.”

He commended the ACAP members for their “courage and moral character” in seeking ways and means to limit the damage done to society by the sale and consumption of beer and other alcoholic beverages.

Sentinel Not Endorsed by Church

The Church Public Communications Department has issued the following statement:

“We have received various inquiries recently about the sponsorship of The Latter-day Sentinel, a publication dealing with subject matter relating to the Church. The publication is privately owned, and is not sponsored nor endorsed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Any actions by the publication reflect only its own editorial policies and interests. Voters’ guides and surveys sponsored by the publication are in no way endorsed by or advocated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”