News of the Church

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First Presidency Easter Message

The First Presidency released the following message at Easter:

“During this Easter season we again rejoice with all of Christendom and gratefully commemorate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Words cannot fully describe the magnitude of the miracle that took place within the Garden Tomb that long-ago morning, but the angelic messenger captured its essence when he said, ‘He is not here: for he is risen.’ (Matt. 28:6.)

“It was an event long heralded by the prophets, long looked for among the Saints of God, long awaited by those in the world of spirits, yet little understood in the world at large, for none before had overcome the grave.

“The Lord’s resurrection completed the process of the Atonement that included His sinless life, His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His death on the cross. The Resurrection assured immortality for all, and the blessed Atonement provided a pathway to exaltation for those who will adhere to His gospel principles.

“At this sacred season, we solemnly testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of all the world. We know that He lives! We know that because He lives, we too shall live again.

“With the Apostle Paul we exult: ‘But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (1 Cor. 15:57.)”

The Doubtful Thomas, by Carl Heinrich Bloch; original at the Chapel of Fredericksborg Castle, Denmark. Used by permission of the Frederiksborgmuseum.

Five Seventies Added to First Quorum

The calling of five new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy was announced by the First Presidency during the opening day of the 163rd Annual General Conference.

Elders F. Melvin Hammond, Kenneth Johnson, and Lynn A. Mickelsen, all members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, were sustained as members of the First Quorum of the Seventy. In addition, Neil L. Andersen of Tampa, Florida, and D. Todd Christofferson of Charlotte, North Carolina, were called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Hammond, 59, had served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy since April 1989. He is currently serving as first counselor in the presidency of the Mexico South Area, having previously served as a counselor in the Mexico Area presidency. Prior to his call as a General Authority, he had been president of the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission. He has also served as a stake president, bishop, temple worker, and Sunday School teacher.

Elder F. Melvin Hammond

Elder F. Melvin Hammond

At the time of his call to be a General Authority, he was a professor of religion at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. He served eight terms in the Idaho State Legislature and was minority leader for three terms. He is married to the former Bonnie Sellers, and they have six children.

Elder Kenneth Johnson, 52, was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in March 1990. He is serving in the presidency of the Europe North Area. He earlier served the Church as a regional representative, stake president, counselor in a stake presidency, counselor in a bishopric, district missionary, and Sunday School teacher.

Elder Kenneth Johnson

Elder Kenneth Johnson

Elder Johnson is a native of Norwich, England, and a graduate of Norwich City College. He did graduate work with the City and Guilds of London Institute of Printing, after which he became a college instructor. From 1964 to 1990, he worked with a British insurance brokerage firm and was a partner in the business at the time of his calling to full-time Church service. He and his wife, Pamela Wilson Johnson, have one child.

Elder Mickelsen, 57, was called to serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy in March 1990. He is now serving as president of the South America South Area. Prior to his call to be a General Authority, he served as president of the Colombia Cali Mission, as a regional representative, as a stake president, and as a bishop.

Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen

Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen

Born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, he attended Ricks College and is a Brigham Young University graduate. He was an independent farmer and potato shipper in Idaho prior to his calling as a General Authority. He also served on a hospital board and in several farm associations. He and his wife, Jeanine Andersen Mickelsen, are parents of nine children.

Update: Church Membership

Church membership continued to grow during 1992. There were 8,406,895 Latter-day Saints at the end of last year, up from 6,720,000 in December 1988. According to statistics released during general conference, almost 275,000 of those baptisms were converts. The remaining were eight-year-old children of record.

1988

6,720,000

1989

7,300,000

1990

7,760,000

1991

8,120,000

1992

8,406,895

Elder Neil L. Andersen

Of the Seventy
Elder Neil L. Andersen

Three years ago, Neil L. Andersen, his wife, Kathy, and their four children were watching videotapes of general conference. They were impressed by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve’s address that suggested members read the preface of the new hymnbook and then counseled members not to neglect the hymns, recalls Elder Andersen, a newly called member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Then serving as mission president of the France Bordeaux Mission, Elder Andersen took the counsel to heart, as did his family. “We instituted an almost daily program to learn the hymns,” he said. “We have realized in great abundance the promises outlined in the preface written by the First Presidency.”

“We don’t realize the enormous blessings available to us unless we actively pursue a course that follows the teachings of the prophets and Apostles,” observes Elder Andersen. “Our family has seen it work over and over again.”

Born 9 August 1951 and reared in Pocatello, Idaho, Elder Andersen served a mission to France and married Kathy Sue Williams on 20 March 1975 in the Salt Lake Temple. He graduated from Brigham Young University and earned a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University. He and Kathy then moved to Tampa, Florida, her hometown, where he worked as an advertising executive and later as a vice president of Morton Plant Health System. In addition to his service as mission president, he has served as a stake president, as a counselor in a stake presidency, and as a high councilor.

“Some of our happiest memories are of serving a mission,” notes Elder Andersen. “It is while serving others that the Lord increases and builds our capacities. On so many occasions, as I have felt inadequate in the calling before me, I have felt the Lord’s generosity in lifting and strengthening me. It is that knowledge that sustains me now as I contemplate this new and humbling opportunity.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Of the Seventy
Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Todd Christofferson was fifteen years old when his family moved to New Jersey. Born on 24 January 1945 and raised in Pleasant Grove and Lindon, Utah, Todd found experiences and people in his new East Coast location that created some favorite memories.

“It was during that time that my faith matured into a full-blown testimony,” recalls Elder Christofferson, one of the newly called members of the First Quorum of the Seventy. “I grew up with faith among family and friends and others who influenced my life; I don’t recall a time when I didn’t have that belief that the gospel was true. But in New Jersey I became conscious of knowing that it was true and that it mattered.”

It mattered enough that he served a mission (in Argentina) and resolved ever after to do his best as a member of the Church. He married Katherine Jacob in the Salt Lake Temple on 28 May 1968, and the couple have five children. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a law degree from Duke University and then began working in his field. The family lived in the Washington, D.C. area; Nashville, Tennessee; Herndon, Virginia; and Charlotte, North Carolina. Elder Christofferson served as a regional representative, stake president, bishop, and stake mission president. Through the years Elder Christofferson found that the most significant thing he learned is how to pray effectively.

“It is through prayer that you can learn to maintain perspective and to build stability into your life. You find help through the one source that can truly offer it,” he explains.

Elder Christofferson offers two suggestions for effective prayer: gratitude and solitude. “One of the things that puts us in tune with the Spirit is prayer that is extensive in expressing gratitude for specific blessings,” he observes.

“Beyond that, I think a person needs to find occasions when he or she has unlimited time alone, without fear of interruption, to talk with the Lord. Those hours offer priceless opportunities to grow close to the Lord.”

Temples in Spain and in American Fork, Utah, Announced

Temple work and temples were frequent topics of general conference addresses, primarily because of the 1993 commemoration of the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple a century ago on 6 April 1893. Several General Authorities also referred to the San Diego Temple, scheduled for dedication April 25–30.

In addition, in his Sunday morning address, President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, commented on the Church’s progress in preparing other previously identified sites for temples. He also announced, “A site in American Fork, Utah, which the Church has owned for many years, will become the location for another.” That site is approximately twenty acres at 900 North and 700 East. The land was once part of a Church welfare farm.

“Construction is proceeding on another in Orlando, Florida,” President Hinckley continued. “Hopefully sometime this year we shall break ground for the St. Louis Missouri Temple. A site has been secured in Connecticut, and yet another in northern England,” he continued. Architectural work is proceeding on projected temples in Bogotá, Colombia, Guayaquil, Ecuador, and in Hong Kong, and we are in the process of acquiring property in Spain and at least three other nations.”

Temple Quarry Trail Finished

The United States Forest Service has completed paving the Little Cottonwood Canyon historical trail, a short hike through the granite pits where stone for the Salt Lake Temple was quarried by early settlers of the Salt Lake Valley.

Tourists walking along the quarter-mile-long trail can read about interesting historical and natural sites including the rock-quarrying tent camp that became Granite City and the community of Wasatch.

The project of paving the trail and posting signs has taken about a year to develop and complete, and future possibilities for the short trail are unlimited, said Nancy Krebs, a ranger from the Salt Lake Ranger District. “We are hoping to expand the trail, possibly including living history demonstrations, so that people can learn about the great history of this area and understand the resources found here,” she added.

The completion of the trail coincides with the celebration of the centennial of the Salt Lake Temple. Many of the trail signs talk about the work done and the stone cut in the granite quarries.

The trail opens May 1 for hikers and will stay open until winter weather makes it impassable. Interested hikers can call (801) 943-1794 for trail conditions.

Welsh Festival Honors Early Missionary

In Provo, Utah, a two-day festival of Welsh pioneer heritage recently spotlighted an early missionary sent to Wales and also included an address by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the presentation of a painting commissioned by the Sons of Utah Pioneers.

The March festival, sponsored by the SUP, celebrated the spiritual and cultural contributions early Welsh converts made to the Church.

Many of those converts can link their conversion to missions served by Dan Jones, who was with Joseph Smith in Carthage Jail the night before the Prophet was killed. “The entire Church needs to be told of the stocky little Welshman who, in terms of the number of converts, must certainly be included in the half dozen or so most productive missionaries in the history of the Church,” observed President Hinckley. He spoke at the unveiling of the painting at the Missionary Training Center, as well as at the festival finale in the Marriott Center on the Brigham Young University campus.

“Tens of thousands in this church today, now residing across the land and bearing great responsibilities, are descended from those whom he and his associates taught and baptized. …

“As a shepherd, he brought his people from the valleys of Wales to the valleys of Utah, from the hills of Cambria to the mountains of the West. I add my testimony of the greatness of his contribution and of its everlasting consequences in the lives of generations of our people.”

The painting, done by Wyoming artist Clark Kelley Price and donated to the Church, shows Elder Jones preaching in a Welsh village. The artwork will be kept in the Provo Missionary Training Center lobby to inspire missionaries.

Welsh converts were well known in Utah for their love of and experience with music. John Parry, a Welsh convert who emigrated from Wales to Utah around 1850, was asked by President Brigham Young to organize a choir to sing at a conference. That choir was the nucleus of what would someday become the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which is now known worldwide. The choir performed at the festival finale. Selections included a few solos and verses sung in Welsh.

Elder Dan Jones preaches to a group in Wales. (Painting by Clark Kelley Price.)

[Museum Exhibit]

President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency (second from right); Elder Loren C. Dunn of the Seventy, executive director of the Historical Department (left); and Frances Monson, President Monson’s wife (right), examine a photograph of the Salt Lake Temple. The photo is part of a special exhibit at Salt Lake City’s Museum of Church History and Art. The exhibit, titled “The Mountain of the Lord’s House—Construction of the Salt Lake Temple, 1853–1893,” features a collection of documents, photos, original architectural drawings, artwork, construction tools, and temple furnishings. Open through 21 February 1994, the exhibit features nineteen separate displays, grouped in five main sections. Now in its centennial year, the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated 6 April 1893.

New LDS Radio Network

Radio listeners in the United States, Canada, and parts of Central America can now listen to Church-related programming twenty-four hours a day.

Bonneville International Corporation has launched the new radio network, which can be received in one of three ways: via C-Band satellite dish and tuner, through FM subcarrier signal, or through basic cable.

Programming on the network includes addresses from sessions of past general conferences, rebroadcasts of Brigham Young University devotionals, readings from the Book of Mormon, news of the Church, and LDS worship service. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” is also broadcast. In addition, programming that is not religious in nature but may be of interest to an LDS audience is broadcast; such programs include coverage of some BYU sports events.

For more information, call (801) 575-7663.

Site of Joseph Smith’s 1839 Philadelphia Sermon Identified

A faded line of quill pen ink in a 177-year-old ledger book of the Universalist Church has finally identified a significant site in the history of the Church in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area.

It reads as follows:

“1840 January 14 For use of the Church from Rev. J. Smith by G. H. McCully $13.63.”

“Rev. J. Smith” was, of course, the Prophet Joseph Smith. The church was the First Independent Church of Christ, located at 412 Lombard Street in Philadelphia. And the occasion was one familiar to anyone who has read the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt—the day in the last week of December 1839 when “a very large church was opened for [Joseph Smith] to preach in, and about three thousand people assembled to hear him.” (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979, p. 298.)

This landmark sermon in Philadelphia has, over the ensuing 153 years, become renowned for the power of the Prophet’s message and for the mystery surrounding the location. Elder Pratt recorded that the audience that day was “astounded” and “electrified” as the Prophet spoke. (See Ensign, Dec. 1992, p. 8.)

Thanks to the drive of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission president Richard H. Morley and the efforts of researchers in Philadelphia and Salt Lake City, the building has now been identified. An Orthodox Jewish congregation purchased the building from the Universalist Church in 1888, and it is still used for Jewish worship. Original pulpit, railings, pews, floor, and balcony are still in existence.

On a cold Philadelphia winter day, approximately 153 years and one month after the Prophet “arose like a lion about to roar; and being full of the Holy Ghost, spoke in great power, bearing testimony of the visions he had seen, the ministering of angels which he had enjoyed; and how he had found the plates of the Book of Mormon, and translated them by the gift and power of God” (ibid.), President Morley stood on that same stage and said, “This is the place.”

The story of the Prophet’s mission to Philadelphia, which included founding the Philadelphia Branch on his thirty-fourth birthday (23 December 1839) and presiding over the first Philadelphia conference (13 January 1840), began on 29 October 1839 when he left Nauvoo, Illinois, accompanied by Sidney Rigdon, Elias Higbee, and Orrin Porter Rockwell. They initially traveled by carriage to Washington, D.C., to lay before Congress the grievances of Mormons suffering in Missouri. (See History of the Church, 4:19.)

The Prophet also visited Philadelphia to help orchestrate the preaching of the gospel in southeastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey. Dr. Robert E. Foster eventually joined the Prophet’s group and helped care for Elder Rigdon, who was sick much of the time. (Ibid., 4:48.)

The Prophet also assigned Dr. Foster the additional task of keeping an accurate record of his perceptions of the mission. When the mission ended on 4 March 1840, the Prophet wrote in disappointment, “I depended on Dr. Foster to keep my daily journal during this journey, but he has failed me.” (Ibid., 4:89.)

As a result, the whereabouts of some significant Church history landmarks in Philadelphia were lost until James L. Kimball, Jr., senior librarian for the Church Historical Department, found the key that unlocked the door to Elder Pratt’s “lost” Philadelphia church.

Brother Kimball, with the help of fellow senior librarian Mary Gifford, was following up on work done in Philadelphia by President Morley, Dan Rolph of the Jarrettown Ward, Philadelphia Pennsylvania Stake, and researcher Sidney Weitzman.

The key proved to be in the Journal of History, a publication of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The July 1918 and January 1919 issues included a history of the Church in Philadelphia, written by Walter W. Smith.

One hundred and fifty-three years to the day after the Universalists received payment for use of their hall, Brother Kimball found the entry that identified the site of the Prophet’s sermon.

“Elder Joseph Smith, [Jr.], president of the whole church, arrived in Philadelphia on Saturday, December 21, and Elders Elias Higbee and Orrin P. Rockwell a few days later. President Smith addressed large audiences at the hall, corner of Seventh and Callowhill streets, at the Universalist Church, Fourth and Lombard streets, and at other places.” (Journal of History, vol. 11, no. 3, July 1918, LDS Church Archives.)

Further evidence contained in the Journal of History allowed researchers to pinpoint the Universalist Church as the place where the sermon recorded by Elder Pratt actually took place. While several additional Church meeting sites are specifically noted in the history journal, they are all clearly identified as commercial buildings. The Universalist Church is the only religious hall mentioned and the only place that fits Elder Pratt’s record.

Once that fact was known, the next step was to find the Universalist Church archives, and that one line of ink in the 1816–1896 treasurer’s book, stating that the Latter-day Saints had paid $13.63 for rental of the hall.

Although the exact date of the Prophet’s sermon has not been identified, research is continuing as part of a joint effort of the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission and the Philadelphia stake public affairs council.

The issues of Journal of History also contain more information about the Church’s early days in Philadelphia, including the site of the first meeting and the first conference—the aforementioned public meeting hall at Seventh and Callowhill streets. Unfortunately, this building and most of the other significant LDS Church sites mentioned in the Journal of History are no longer standing.

This church, located at 412 Lombard Street in Philadelphia, has been identified as the site of a stirring sermon preached by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the winter of 1839–40. The building, currently owned by a Jewish congregation, was rented 153 years ago to the Prophet. (Photography by Sidney Weitzman.)

Much of the interior of the Philadelphia church where Joseph Smith spoke a century and a half ago is original. The pulpit where the Prophet stood, the railings, pews, floor, and balcony are still in existence.

John Shiffert is the public affairs specialist of the Jarrettown Ward, Philadelphia Pennsylvania Stake.

Policies and Announcements

Church Supports Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993

Supporters of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act held a news conference in Washington, D.C., to announce the introduction in the U.S. Congress of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Church is a member of the Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion, which encouraged introduction of the legislation.

Representing the Church at the news conference was T. LaMar Sleight, president of the Oakton Virginia Stake. He read the following statement at the news conference:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports the principles expressed in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and urges its passage. We commend the sponsors of this legislation for their recognition of the importance of the free exercise of religion to the freedom and well-being of our pluralistic society. Although we would prefer that the Supreme Court reverse the Smith case and restore the full constitutional dimensions of the First Amendment protection of freedom of religion, we believe that this statutory restoration of the ‘compelling governmental interest’ standard is both a legitimate and a necessary response by the legislative branch to the degradation of religious freedom resulting from the Smith case. For Mormons, this legislation implements into federal law a vital principle of general application embodied in our Church’s eleventh Article of Faith, written in 1842: ‘We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.’”

Elder Marlin K. Jensen

A Conversation on Preparing Ourselves for the Temple

The building of temples worldwide has enabled more and more Latter-day Saints to partake of temple blessings. To learn how members may gain even greater growth through their experiences in the temple, the Ensign talked with Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy, assistant executive director of the Church’s Priesthood Department.

Elder Marlin K. Jensen

Elder Marlin K. Jensen

Question: How may members be better prepared to enjoy spiritual experiences when they go to the temple?

Answer: There are a number of things that can be done, both by ourselves and by our priesthood leaders, to prepare us for one of life’s choicest experiences.

Bishops and stake presidents have a privilege and obligation to work with members who are going through the temple for the first time, counseling and teaching them about the significance and blessings of temple covenants. Church-produced materials that offer practical information are available to help, both in temple preparation classes and in one-on-one instruction. These include the booklet Come unto Christ through Temple Ordinances and the temple media kit available to stake presidents.

Beyond that, the same things that generally raise our level of spirituality are ideal preparation for the temple: offering sincere, regular prayers; trying to listen closely to the voice of the Spirit; and studying the scriptures, particularly the parts that apply to temples.

Q.: What counsel would you give to members who are going to the temple for the first time?

A.: I would tell them to expect a wonderful, uplifting, edifying experience. But they may not comprehend the broad sweep, the symbolism, and the doctrinal completeness of what is taught in the temple all at once. It may take a lifetime. I am still learning each time I go. I hope they will be motivated to go back frequently.

I would also tell them to look for the central role that the Savior plays in the plan of salvation and in our lives. I would tell them to remember what we promise God there and what He promises us in return.

Q.: Then, among other things, you would encourage members to look to the temple as a place of learning?

A.: It is a blessing to us to have the schooling experience that the temple represents. We are taught in the scriptures that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, “received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness.” (D&C 93:13.) We have a similar privilege of receiving more and more of all that our Heavenly Father has to offer as we grow in our understanding of temple ordinances and covenants. It is a part of our quest for perfection that extends into the next life, too.

Q.: How can those who have been to the temple many times prepare themselves to enjoy a spiritual feast each time they go?

A.: It would help to remember that the temple is a place where, in the love of God and their fellowmen, they offer a service that has eternal consequences for others. It is a great unselfish act to take that time and go to the temple to do something for someone else.

It would also help if they went with some specific spiritual purpose in mind, remembering that the temple is a place of revelation. Often when we go there seeking help with the questions, challenges, or concerns of our lives, we may receive inspiration or a new clarity of thought from the Lord.

It would also be helpful if they went looking for ways to fortify themselves against the evils of the world. The men and women I know who have achieved the greatest spiritual maturity are regular temple worshippers. There’s a commitment about them, a tranquility, and a love of service that are noticeable. Not long ago, a stake president was telling me that he felt uncomfortable without an institutionalized system of reporting temple attendance in his stake. He said, “I want to know which members are going,” and I answered, “President, can’t you tell?”

Ultimately, if the temple isn’t making a noticeable difference in our lives, then we’re not going enough, or we’re not going for the right reasons. All of us need to go back to spiritual basics to help us appreciate the eternal significance of that which we experience in the temple.

At the center of the temple experience is our Savior; the temple’s focus is on his teachings and his way of life—the way our Father wants us to follow. Each time we come from the temple, we should be kinder people and more consecrated members of the Church.

The Las Vegas Nevada Temple, one of forty-five operating temples throughout the world.

Seventeen New Missions Created

The First Presidency has announced the creation of seventeen new missions:

Brazil Florianopolis Mission, created from the Brazil Curitiba Mission, has a population of 1.3 million and serves 4,839 members in two stakes and two districts.

Brazil Recife South Mission, created from the Brazil Recife Mission, has a population of 6.5 million and serves 17,000 members in five stakes and two districts.

Brazil Ribeirao Preto Mission, created from the Brazil Campinas Mission, opened February 1 and includes four stakes and 9,693 members.

Brazil Rio de Janeiro North Mission, created from the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission, also opened February 1 and includes three stakes and 9,867 members.

California Carlsbad Mission, created from the California San Diego Mission, has a population of 2 million and serves 32,798 members in eleven stakes.

California Roseville Mission, created from the California Sacramento Mission, has a population of 1.2 million and serves 37,862 members in eleven stakes.

Canada Toronto West Mission, created from the Canada Toronto Mission, has a population of 4.3 million and serves 11,924 members in five stakes.

Colorado Denver North Mission, created from the Colorado Denver Mission, has a population of 1.6 million and serves 40,000 members in thirteen stakes.

Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission, Guatemala’s fourth mission, includes eastern Belize and serves five stakes and 24,723 members.

Latvia Riga Mission, created from the Russia St. Petersburg Mission, has a population of 8.1 million and serves 156 members.

Nebraska Omaha Mission, created from the Missouri Independence Mission, has a population of 1.9 million and serves 12,532 members in four stakes and one district.

New York New York South Mission, created from the New York New York Mission, has a population of 7.3 million and serves 6,453 members in one stake and one district.

Peru Chiclayo Mission, Peru’s sixth mission, encompasses the northeastern corner of Peru and serves 14,460 members in four stakes.

Romania Bucharest Mission, the first mission in this nation of more than 23 million people, serves approximately 100 members in the country’s one branch.

Russia Samara Mission, Russia’s third mission, has a population of 5.5 million people, most of whom live near the Volga River.

Tennessee Knoxville Mission, created from the Tennessee Nashville Mission, has a population of 2.7 million and serves 8,599 members in three stakes.

Ukraine Donetsk Mission, created from the Ukraine Kiev Mission, has a population of 19.5 million and includes the southern part of the country, near the Black Sea.

These new missions bring the total number of missions in the world to 295.

San Diego Temple Open House Attracts Thousands

On the opening day of the public tours at the San Diego Temple, a beautiful rainbow broke through the clouds, indicative of the bright and hopeful attitudes of the thousands who toured the temple that day. According to Clyde Romney, chairman of the open house committee, approximately 21,000 people toured the temple on February 20, the opening day. Hundreds of people waited in line to tour the building, some arriving more than an hour before the open house began. More than 720,000 people toured the building during the six-week open house.

San Diego Temple

During the open house, more than 720,000 people toured the temple. (Photography by Quentin Gardner, Jr.)

Prior to the open house, two days of preview tours were held for the news media, community leaders, the clergy, and other specially invited guests. Some 7,500 people toured the facility during those two days.

An aerial view of the San Diego California Temple

An aerial view of the San Diego California Temple shows surrounding area.

The open house concluded April 3, and the temple was closed in preparation for dedication ceremonies, scheduled April 25–30. (See July 1993 Ensign for complete coverage on the open house and dedication ceremonies.)

New Young Women Camp Manual Produced

To make a camping experience feasible for young women all over the world, a new camp manual for Young Women has been produced for the Church. The new manual is written to meet today’s needs, according to the Young Women general presidency.

The manual, based on the scriptures and gospel principles, is “exactly what we need,” said Janette C. Hales, Young Women general president. “Camp has many purposes, but having young women draw closer to Heavenly Father and love him more is the most important. Camp is a wonderful place for youth to gain a greater appreciation for Heavenly Father’s creations.”

The following is a list of changes in the new manual:

International flavor. Certification requirements have been written to apply in every setting, regardless of climate or terrain. Nature insights from around the world are included.

  • Certification now reflects the values of the current Young Women program.

  • Adult leaders are encouraged to complete the new requirements, but they are not required to do so before they conduct a Young Women camp or certify other campers.

  • Young women may work on the same certification level as others their same age. Those who want to certify for past levels are allowed to do so, however, and individuals may work on more than one level of certification at one time.

  • A Youth Camp Leader program for young women ages sixteen and seventeen has been included. Young women can serve as youth camp leaders without previous camp experience.

  • Campers will receive a certificate as they complete each level, with the option of receiving the camper award upon completion of four years’ certification.

There are other sections new to the manual that focus on problem solving, nature awareness, food and nutrition, friendship activities and games, and guidelines for involving campers with disabilities.

The new manual replaces the Camp Manual and the Young Women Campcrafter Certification Manual and can be ordered through Church distribution centers.

“Southern Cross” Saints in Chile: On Top of the World

The region of Aysén in southern Chile is sparsely settled for good reason. The area is remote, and its harsh winters and rugged landscape pose formidable obstacles to even the most hardy souls. That fact gave rise to the saying among Latter-day Saints living there that “one must be two times Mormon to live here.”

Indeed, the one thousand members living in this austere but scenic region of glacial lakes and pristine forests are a pioneering generation. With pluck and prayers, they are helping turn a foothold of faith into a stronghold of Saints.

In 1978 Elder Gregory Aiken, a full-time missionary, and President Fernando Caballero of the Chile Osorno Mission traveled 350 difficult miles to Coyhaique, the regional capital with a present population of twenty-five thousand. The purpose of the visit was to explore the possibility of organizing a branch there. Their hopes became reality with the creation of the six-member Coyhaique District, with Juvenal Cárcamo Larenas, one of the first converts in the area, called as district president.

Five members of the Vidal family were other early converts. They and four others were baptized in late December 1978 in a river several miles from town. At church the next day, the family was surprised to be among thirty investigators.

Elders Muñoz and Callahan found the Vidal family while tracting. “They prayed, and ours was the first home they were inspired to visit,” daughter Adela happily recalls. “We accepted the gospel immediately.” She tells how her family helped the missionaries build a makeshift wooden baptismal font sealed with tar and straw. “It wasn’t of much use because water would leak out within ten minutes. But our intentions and efforts were still worth it.”

Luis Vidal, father of the family, was called to serve as a counselor in the branch presidency in 1979. Some ten years later, when the branch was divided, he became branch president. Today he is elders quorum president and is well respected in the community for his devotion to high principles.

The branch’s first meetings were held in an open-air shed so small that priesthood and Relief Society meetings were held jointly. The sanctuary was scoured every Saturday by the missionaries and the members in preparation for Sabbath meetings.

The first native branch president was Ricardo Burgos. Under his leadership, the members reaped a great blessing: joining hearts and hands, they built a new chapel. The majority of townspeople as well as some local dignitaries attended the dedication in late 1984.

Another memorable event took place a year later, when seven families from Coyhaique journeyed more than eight hundred miles at great personal sacrifice to be sealed in the Santiago Chile Temple.

Such faith and blessings are evident in the rising generation as well. Many youth have served missions, and more are being prepared. Adela Vidal recalls attending early-morning seminary with eight other enthusiastic youth, even on frigid days of subzero cold. “Because of the seminary program, we all have stayed faithful in the Church,” she says. She, too, is passing her faith on. She has taught seminary herself, instilling in her students the need to build strong testimonies.

The youth study in technical schools or hope to enroll at one of the expensive universities in faraway Santiago, Concepción, Temuco, or Valdivia. But economic realities are limiting factors. Aside from potatoes and oats, many vegetables and some fruits are cultivated primarily for exportation, driving up costs at local markets. Other industries such as mining, cattle ranching, and fishing continue to be developed.

Even so, “the Church has brought great blessings and satisfaction to my life,” says Gerardo Godoy, who joined the Church with his family in 1980. “With the gospel in our lives, our way of life changed.”

Blessings followed obedience and sacrifice: the family was sealed in the Santiago temple several years ago, and daughter Lilian has fulfilled a mission to Argentina. “What greater blessing can exist than to have a son or daughter serve in the mission field?” says Brother Godoy.

The Donoso family is similarly grateful for their membership in the Church. Their joy in the gospel eclipses any hardship that might befall them. “We have the opportunity to improve and progress in the church of Christ, and we are achieving it!” Brother Donoso says. “We can be in the service of others.”

The buoyant spirit of these southern Saints does not go unnoticed; this spirit encourages future growth of the Church in the area. “If all Latter-day Saints are like my [LDS] secretary in responsibility and human values,” says Ricardo Altamirano, a member of another faith who is employed at the ministry of education, “then it is sure that I would be one.”

Another nonmember, Miriam Lopez, is equally impressed with the Coyhaiquino Saints. “I see them with a solid doctrine and well-defined values. They practice tolerance and respect for their neighbor. The missionaries are very neat and impeccable. I would like to get to know them better.”

From six members in 1978, the area membership has grown to one thousand. The district president and two of the four branch presidents are returned missionaries. Twelve district missionaries, most of whom have served full-time missions, and many other members are laboring to fulfill their dream of a stake of Zion in their midst.

Though these “Southern Cross” Saints (so named because a stellar constellation, the Southern Cross, is visible in that hemisphere) are at the bottom of the world, in another sense they are on top of it—happy beyond expression to be numbered among the Lord’s flock.

Background: An inviting and accessible locale near Coyhaique. (Photography courtesy of Karla Morales Sandoval.)

The Lema family. (Photography courtesy of Karla Morales Sandoval.)

Youth outings are always occasions for fun, adventure, and camaraderie.

LDS meetinghouse in Coyhaique

Branch members’ spirits soared during the construction of their first chapel.

Young women, left to right: Andrea, Ana María, Sandra, and Karla.

The Donoso family

Karla Morales Sandoval is the Church magazine representative in the Coyhaique Norte Branch, Coyhaique Chile District.

Three Members Lose Lives in Storm of Century

Three members of the Church lost their lives in a massive storm that spread across the eastern United States and Canada on March 12–13.

Levy Sapp, Jr., and his two children, five-year-old Levy and twenty-month-old Anissa, drowned in flooding at Dekle Beach, about twenty miles southwest of Perry, Florida. The Sapps, members of the Lake City (Florida) First Ward, were attending a family gathering with relatives of Brother Sapp’s wife, Melinda. Sister Sapp was one of only four survivors of the ten people in the beach house. She also lost her mother and brother in the storm.

According to Terrell H. McRae, the Sapps’ bishop, the family had been hoping to ride out the storm. By 1:00 A.M. on March 13, they tried to get out of the house, which was built on fifteen-foot pilings. Unfortunately, water had risen to about two feet underneath the floor, and the family was stranded. Sister Sapp survived because she clutched a floating board.

Funeral services for the family were held March 18 at the Lake City First Ward. At the family’s request, the other deceased family members were also eulogized in the funeral, although they were not members of the Church.

Elsewhere, members assessed the damage as ward home teachers helped Church leaders check on members who lived in the storm’s path of snow, winds, and tornadoes. The storm has been called one of the worst in this century.

Limited damage was reported to the meetinghouse in Homestead, Florida, but the damage has already been repaired by the contractor, who was already working on the building to repair damage sustained during Hurricane Andrew.

Church meetings were canceled in many areas hit by the storm, although in places where members used the subway for travel, meetings were still held. Many members were without power for a significant period of time.

The storm caused more than two hundred deaths and buried much of the eastern United States in up to three feet of snow.

Residents shovel snow during massive East Coast storm. (Photo by Associated Press.)

Missionary Training Center Presidents Named

The First Presidency has appointed six couples to preside over missionary training centers.

New training center presidents, their wives, and the locations of their assignments are:

J. Weston and Beverly Daw, Murray, Utah, to serve in the Philippines.

William N. and Eleanor Medora Jones, Salt Lake City, to serve in Mexico City.

Craig K. and Elaine Mayfield, Provo, Utah, to serve in Colombia.

Gail C. and Doris Sanders, Morgan, Utah, to serve in England.

Ronald V. “Bud” and Patricia Stone, Modesto, California, to serve in Argentina.

Won and Young Seo, Pusan, Korea, to serve in Korea.

President Daw, 68, has served the Church as a mission president, stake counselor in a stake presidency, and Young Men president.

President Jones, 66, has served as a mission president, regional representative, and bishop.

President Mayfield, 65, is a former bishop and counselor in a stake presidency. He is currently serving a mission in Argentina with his wife.

President Sanders, 66, has served the Church as a mission president, counselor in a stake presidency, and bishop.

President Stone, 65, has served as a mission president, regional representative, and bishop.

President Seo, 51, has served as a stake president, stake mission president, and bishop.

Missionary training center in Provo, Utah.

Missionaries practice teaching the discussions.

Of Good Report

“Good Place to Spend a Saturday”

Recently, when a storm swept through western Washington state, members of the Centralia (Washington) Ward decided to pitch in on a community cleanup project.

“I approached the city with the idea, and they said [Fort Borst Park] was the hardest hit,” said Bishop Jim Moss. “We decided this would be a good place to spend a Saturday.”

About fifty ward members, young and old, showed up to rake, clean up, and throw away debris. The ward’s efforts earned them mention in the local newspaper as well as recognition from community officials.

Neighbors and Friends

For years, members in the Mudgeeraba Ward, Brisbane Australia South Stake, have met next door to the Liberal Jewish Congregation of the Temple Shalom. In a general effort to become more visible in their community and to associate with members of other faiths, the Saints recently organized an evening of sharing with their Jewish neighbors. “Friendship through Understanding” was the theme as approximately eighty members of both faiths met together.

The evening began in the LDS meetinghouse, where Bishop Mark Fell addressed the congregation. The Jewish rabbi then talked to the group, and after general questions, the groups separated. Members of the Church were guided through the Jewish synagogue, and the Jews toured the LDS meetinghouse.

“Great interest was expressed in our family history center, particularly in the microfilm records we have from Israel,” reported Stephen G. Smith, ward Sunday School president. “There was a warmth that flowed between us and increased as the evening progressed.”

At the conclusion of the tours, the two groups met in the synagogue, where the evening was brought to a close. “Everyone went home a little more familiar with each other’s buildings, beliefs, and members,” added Brother Smith.

Increasing Talents, Self-Esteem

The list of hobbies and talents in the Nibley Park (Utah) Ward is long and varied: pigeon racing, gardening, magic tricks, ballet, impersonations, singing, writing, and candle decorating to name a few. And members of the ward have a unique way of sharing their skills with others.

Almost three years ago, under the direction of Bishop Jerry Wells, the ward began a monthly “Spotlight on Excellence” night. Three members are featured every month; each member shares his or her talent in a twenty-minute presentation. The presentation includes a performance if the talent is performable. Otherwise, the presentation includes an explanation of how the talent was developed, the blessing it has been in the member’s life, and information about developing the talent.

Ninety-two-year-old Gwen Summerhays Todd is only one of the more than fifty members who have participated in the program. Ward organist for sixty-seven years, Sister Todd performed an organ solo during her presentation. Other members find that the program has helped them to increase their talents and self-esteem, as well as get better acquainted with members of their ward.

The “Heaven Ward” Project

In response to their stake president’s challenge to plan activities far beyond the immediate objective, members in the Crystal First Ward, Minneapolis Minnesota Stake, adopted the idea of creating a “ward in heaven” by performing enough temple ordinances for enough ancestors—529—to equal the number of living members in the ward.

Ultimately, ward members were so enthusiastic about their goal that they submitted 1,441 names for temple ordinances, nearly tripling their original goal. Some 159 members traveled to the Chicago Illinois Temple for a three-day visit. In those three days, ward members completed temple work equivalent to one person’s serving eight-hour days for six months!

Since then, the Minneapolis stake’s Bloomington and Crystal Second wards have been involved in similar efforts, and wards from other areas, hearing about the idea, have also picked it up.

The Crystal First Ward’s project was divided into two parts: gathering and submitting names, which took place over a period of several months, and the temple excursion.

Patsy Barney’s ballet performance.

Bart Robbins played his guitar and sang.

Children were part of the Nibley Park Ward talent night.

Making dolls is the talent that Ruby Henderson, of the Nibley Park (Utah) Ward, chose to share.

Reviewers Praise Encyclopedia of Mormonism

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, a four-volume, 1,848-page reference set, has been on the market for more than a year now—long enough for national experts on reference materials to evaluate the project, which took several years to complete and involved more than seven hundred authors.

In the Library Journal, reviewer Craig W. Beard of the University of Alabama at Birmingham rated the encyclopedia exceptional.

His review, in part, read: “Although the Church … is one of the largest indigenous religious groups in the United States, many people know little more of the Mormons than their family-oriented television commercials, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or Brigham Young University. … This work is, in part, an attempt to fill this knowledge gap. … The first four volumes contain about 1,500 articles on every aspect of Mormon history, doctrine, culture, lifestyle, and more. … [The encyclopedia] is outstanding in form and substance, and demands a place in public and academic collections.”

A review in the Wilson Library Bulletin states, in part, that the encyclopedia’s authors “consistently adopt a sympathetic, sometimes reverential, tone in their discussion of Mormon beliefs, practices, history, and leaders. … Whether or not one shares the authors’ collective sympathetic view of the Mormon church and its doctrines, one cannot deny that this is a rich source of information on a significant, enduring American religious body whose influence increasingly extends to other parts of the world.”

In Choice, J. R. Kennedy, Jr., of Earlham College writes that “this work is appropriate for theological libraries and others wanting a wide-ranging and readable treatment of Mormonism by Mormons.” And Davis Bitton, a history professor at the University of Utah, reviewed the books for BYU Studies. “The fact remains that the Encyclopedia of Mormonism is a genuine landmark in publication and scholarship about the Church. As a standard reference source for basic information, and a point of departure for further discussion and research, it will serve us well.”

LDS Scene

LAIE, HAWAII—The BYU-Hawaii women’s volleyball team successfully defended its title as the NAIA national champion. The team won a twenty-team tournament without losing a single set. The tournament, held in San Diego, California, capped a two-year record of fifty-six wins and back-to-back national championships. After returning to Laie after the tournament, most of the team members attended the baptism of outside hitter Sheena Shen, a sophomore from China.

SAN FRANCISCO—Former Brigham Young University quarterback Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers was named the 1992 National Football League Most Valuable Player by the Associated Press. He was also named the AP Offensive Player of the Year. Young, noted for his running and passing skills, led the 49ers to the best record in the league at 14–2.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—LDS Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., has been elected president of the Republican freshman class. Brother McKeon is a member of the Solemint Ward, Los Angeles California Santa Clarita Stake.

TYLER, TEXAS—The Ricks College Lady Vikings basketball team placed third in the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament. The team, Region 18 champions, played four games in five days against top-ranked teams in the country. They won three of those games. This was the first time a Region 18 team competed beyond the first round of competition.

New Buildings Approved for Ricks College

Ricks College’s board of trustees has approved additional physical facilities on the two-year college campus in Rexburg, Idaho, with initial planning of a new religion building to begin immediately. Planning for two additional buildings will follow.

College officials will spend the next few months determining the final plans for the religion building before contacting an architect. Ground breaking will not take place until at least April 1994.

The other physical facilities approved in concept include a new administration building and an addition to the Eliza R. Snow Center for the Performing Arts. The current administration building will be converted to library usage and will increase the school’s library facilities by more than one-third. The addition to the Snow Building will include storage and rehearsal areas and a modest-sized secured art gallery. Instructional and rehearsal space in the Snow Building has been so crowded that the college recently began using the LDS meetinghouse across the street from the campus for many of its music classes.

College president Steven D. Bennion said these “other facilities will be planned and constructed on a phased basis over the next six years through 1998.”

The new religion and administration buildings will be located south of the Manwaring Center. The addition to the Snow Building is planned for the south side of the current facility.

President Bennion emphasized that the facilities requested and approved were “to serve a student body the size of our current enrollment ceiling of 7,500 students. We do not anticipate any expansion of this ceiling.”

Ricks College students will benefit from new buildings.

Comment

Israel and the West Bank

The simplified map featured on page 41 of the article “One Voice” (Apr. 1993), a report of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s December 1992–January 1993 tour to the Holy Land, did not outline the West Bank and the Gaza Strip area.

Map of Isreal and the West Bank

The choir performed in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and in West Jerusalem and did film recording at the Sea of Galilee. The choir also performed in Bethlehem at Shepherds’ Field and in East Jerusalem at the BYU Jerusalem Center, the Garden Tomb, and Dominus Flevit—a site on the Mount of Olives.

Favorable reports of the choir’s tour continue to pour in. Said a dean of Haifa University in Haifa, “This was a signal event in our history as a city and as a university.” Said a Palestinian concert-goer following the BYU Jerusalem Center concert: “This is a land of struggles, but we are all craving peace. With your choir and your music, you are bringing us a little bit of peace. It is welcome.” Referring to the previous controversy surrounding the construction of the BYU Jerusalem Center, a long-time Jerusalem civic leader wrote, “We have met the enemy and they have become our friends.”

Saving the Words

In the October 1992 general conference, Elder John E. Fowler of the Seventy told members to read and heed the counsel of Church leaders.

When on my mission in England (1965–67), I would often go door to door tracting, telling people that there was a living prophet on the earth today. One day, a man asked my companion and me, “If there is a prophet of God on the earth today, as you say, what has he told you lately?”

At the time, we were hard pressed for an answer. We returned to our apartment and searched for the most recent copy of the Church publications. Since returning from my mission, I have saved the words of the Brethren in the Improvement Era and the Ensign, and I refer to them often for counsel and advice. We are indeed blessed to have the words of the Brethren to guide us in these latter days.

Melvin Grant Koford Riverside, California

“That Is My Revelation”

I’d like to add the following incident to the stories the Ensign printed in the March issue highlighting the Salt Lake Temple:

Some years after the foundation of the Salt Lake Temple was laid, it was discovered that it was not solid enough for the immense building. President Brigham Young had dismissed the workmen and was sitting on the foundation contemplating the problem when Archibald Gardner, my ancestor, came into view.

The following account is taken from his life history, recounted by his son, Clarence.

“President Young motioned [Archibald] to come to him. ‘Bishop, sit down,’ he said and then he told him of his perplexing problem.

“Together they went carefully over the matter in hand. They examined the foundation, the materials, the manner in which it had been put together. Then President Young said, ‘Bishop, can you tell me what do to?’

“‘Yes, President Young, the trouble has arisen through the use of too much mortar. The resultant settling has caused the walls to crack. It will be necessary for you to tear out the entire foundation and start over again. This time instead of using mortar, have each and all of the stones in the entire building cut to exact measurement and place stone upon stone with precise fittings. This will prevent cracking, settling or spreading in any way.’ President Young brought his hand down on father’s shoulder and said, ‘Brother Gardner, you are right. That is my revelation.’

“He had the workmen return. The entire foundation was torn out and rebuilt. … [Father] had spent his life working out problems along practical lines. His past experiences made him equal to the occasion.”

Ballard Gardner Orem, Utah

Peace and Friendship

On our way home from district conference, we stopped at the post office to collect our mail. What a delight it was to find that the February Ensign had an article on the Church in South Africa. I had just recently had a chat with one of the elders featured on the cover.

As I was speaking at the district conference, I sat in front and had an opportunity to look over the congregation of about 270 people, 50 percent black and 50 percent white. I was strongly impressed by the feeling of peace and friendship among the members present and again had the assurance that the gospel is the only way to bring unity to this troubled country of ours. The gospel is a unifying factor, and it is a real privilege to belong to this church.

Jane S. Sommer Rustenburg, South Africa

Avoiding Unrighteous Judgment

In the January 1992 “I Have a Question” section, Glenn Jorgenson answers a question about shunning youth because of their appearance. As the membership records clerk in my ward, I am acutely aware of the number of less-active members who have become that way because of the unrighteous judgment of fellow Church members. The principles Brother Jorgenson outlines for righteous judgment are universal and applicable to all of us. If each one of us would apply these principles of looking for the good in people and complimenting them for it, there would be fewer less-active members in our midst. In addition to offending others, unrighteous judgment affects the one rendering the judgment as well.

Tim Heavrin Sedgwick, Maine

The Arrival of Two Friends

I regularly read and study the scriptures but am always happy every month when two friends arrive to help me with my gospel study. I am always engrossed in what my two friends have to say, and as they expound on different aspects of the gospel, I am educated and entertained by their viewpoints on myriad topics.

Often my two friends speak about problems I have been facing their viewpoints allow me to see a different approach to a problem that has been a stumbling block to me.

When they are through expounding on the gospel topics, I am left with a wealth of ideas to ponder and study until their next visit.

Who are these two friends? The Ensign and New Era.

Robert Ranes Tucson, Arizona