News of the Church

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Elder Henry B. Eyring

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Elder Henry B. Eyring

As a young child near baptism age, Henry B. Eyring sat with his legs through the back of his chair while listening to a speaker in church. “I turned around to look at him,” remembers Elder Eyring. “I knew that what he said came from God and that it was true. It burned in my heart.”

Now sixty-one years old, Henry B. Eyring fills the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles created by the reorganization of the First Presidency following the death of President Howard W. Hunter on March 3.

Born 31 May 1933 in Princeton, New Jersey, Henry, or Hal as he was called, was the second of three sons born to Henry and Mildred Bennion Eyring and reared in a home filled with music, intellectual discovery, and spiritual growth. “Religious faith enhanced scientific study in our home,” says Elder Eyring, whose father taught chemistry at Princeton University and whose mother was a gifted teacher and musician. During World War II, Sunday meetings for the small local branch of the Church were held in the Eyring home.

In 1946 the Eyrings moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where Henry Eyring headed the Graduate School at the University of Utah. The Eyring boys—Edward, Henry, and Harden—were no longer the “only Aaronic Priesthood” at church.

“I studied physics because my dad said it was important to get a grasp of the sciences,” says Elder Eyring, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Utah in 1955. Following college, Elder Eyring served two years in the United States Air Force in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Simultaneous with his military service, Lt. Eyring served as a district missionary in the Western States Mission. Working evenings and weekends, he taught the gospel to many.

After his service in the military, Elder Eyring attended Harvard in Boston, Massachusetts, where he graduated with a master’s degree in business administration in 1959 and received a doctoral degree in the same field in 1963.

“The formal education we receive makes up only a small part of what we need to know,” says Elder Eyring of secular learning. “Life is more than a career; life is a mission. Life has a purpose, and its purpose requires learning across a wide spectrum. We should be learners throughout our lives.”

While at Harvard, he met Kathleen Johnson, daughter of Joseph and Laprele Lindsay Johnson of Palo Alto, California. They married in the Logan Temple in 1962, eventually becoming the parents of six children—Henry, Stuart, Matthew, John, Elizabeth, and Mary.

The Eyrings have always valued family life. “Hal has taught the gospel in our home with great clarity and conviction,” says Kathleen. “And, to make it all the clearer for us to understand, he has lived it.”

Saturday morning projects, such as building a bookcase or planting flowers, supplemented family home evenings when the children were young. Intellectual discovery and spiritual growth were fostered, and athletics provided balance. “I have never pursued any sport I couldn’t do with my children,” he says. So tennis, basketball, and swimming became the family activities.

Career choices for Elder Eyring followed his decision to teach and led to a position in 1962 as a professor in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, including a year as a Sloan Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. He also served for four years as bishop of the Stanford First Ward, a student ward in the Palo Alto Stake. “In 1971, after nine years at Stanford, I accepted the opportunity to serve as president of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho,” says Elder Eyring, who during the Idaho Teton Dam disaster helped shovel mud alongside the students. “Six years later, in July 1977, I began eight years of service with the Church Educational System—three as deputy commissioner, and five as commissioner of education.”

Elder Eyring’s Church service includes being a regional representative and a member of the Sunday School General Board. In April 1985 he was called as First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, and in October 1992 he was called to serve in the First Quorum of Seventy. As a Seventy, he again served as commissioner of education.

“What’s really important in Church education is the student and the teacher and what happens between them,” says Elder Eyring. “We don’t want to miss the chance to make a difference.”

On Friday, March 31, when he received his call to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he was also serving as second counselor in the North America West Area presidency.

“When you know something to be true, you should act upon that truth,” he once said. Years ago, truth burned within the heart of young Henry B. Eyring, and now Elder Eyring continues his lifetime of acting upon that truth.

“Jesus Christ lives; he has ‘tied’ himself to us,” says Elder Eyring, using the analogy of mountain climbers. “Only we at great effort can break the tie. I pray with my whole heart that we will understand what it means to be bound to a God who loves us, who will let us climb freely—but is ready, should we slip, to break the fall.”

Four Called to First Quorum of Seventy, One Called to Second Quorum of Seventy

Following the Saturday, April 1, opening session’s solemn assembly sustaining of President Gordon B. Hinckley, his counselors in the First Presidency, and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as the Lord’s prophets, seers, and revelators, members of the Church then sustained the other General Authorities, as well as the general auxiliary leaders of the Church. Included in this latter sustaining was the calling of four brethren to the First Quorum of the Seventy, one of them a new General Authority, and the calling of one new General Authority to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder John B. Dickson

Elder John B. Dickson

Called to the First Quorum of the Seventy were Elders John B. Dickson, Jay E. Jensen, and David E. Sorensen, each of whom has been serving in the Second Quorum of the Seventy. In addition, a new General Authority, W. Craig Zwick of Salt Lake City, was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy. Called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy as a new General Authority also was Bruce D. Porter of Provo, Utah (see adjacent articles on Elders Zwick and Porter).

Elder Jay E. Jensen

Elder Jay E. Jensen

Elder Dickson, 51, was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in June 1992 and is serving as first counselor in the South America South Area presidency. Elder Jensen, 53, was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in June 1992 and has been serving as president of the South America North Area. Elder Sorensen, 61, was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in June 1992 and has been serving as president of the Asia North Area.

Elder David E. Sorensen

Elder David E. Sorensen

In another Church administrative development, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced in the Saturday evening priesthood session the release of the Church’s regional representatives on August 15 of this year. President Hinckley noted that in 1967, twenty-eight years ago, sixty-nine regional representatives were first called. Today there are 284. “As the work grows across the world it has become necessary to decentralize administrative authority,” he said. President Hinckley then announced “the call of a new local officer to be known as an area authority” to serve in appointed areas under the direction of area presidencies.

The new area authorities will continue their current employment, reside in their homes, and serve on a Church-service basis. Their term of call will be flexible, but will generally be for six years, said President Hinckley.

Elder W. Craig Zwick

of the Seventy
Elder W. Craig Zwick

Craig Zwick first helped build a Church meetinghouse while serving as a missionary in southern Bolivia in 1968. “We had to bring in lumber, concrete, and glass by burro over a mountain pass,” he recalls.

After his mission, Elder Zwick joined his father’s Salt Lake City-based construction company, which he later owned and operated. Besides hospitals and schools, Zwick Construction renovated the Chicago Illinois and Manti Temples and built the Portland Oregon Temple and Salt Lake’s Family History Library, Museum of Church History and Art, and Visitors’ Center South on Temple Square.

“Wonderful growth occurs among members who have developed a solid foundation of personal integrity, strong family values, and temple worthiness,” Elder Zwick observes. “I think we’ll continue to see the Church rise mightily in this generation.”

At the time of his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Zwick was serving as executive director of Utah’s Department of Transportation. Born with a twin sister in Salt Lake City on 30 June 1947, he graduated in business from the University of Utah in 1971. He and Janet Johnson, whom he met in high school, were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 21 November 1969. After working in Oregon and California, the couple settled in Salt Lake City in 1972. Their four children range in age from fifteen to twenty-three, and the family enjoys outdoor recreation such as snow skiing, scuba diving, and mountain biking.

In 1989 Brother Zwick was called to preside over the Chile Santiago South Mission. He has also served on two high councils, three bishoprics, and a stake mission presidency. He has served on the board of directors of the Utah Symphony and of the Associated General Contractors of America and as a member of the Utah Education Foundation and of the Utah Air Travel Council. He is a former vice president of Okland Construction Company.

“My parents taught me to work hard and follow the Spirit, and my wife eclipses me in all meaningful ways,” Elder Zwick says. “I have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and of modern prophets.”

Elder Bruce D. Porter

Of the Seventy
Elder Bruce D. Porter

“When I was a young man,” says Elder Bruce D. Porter, “I often went home teaching with my father. We sometimes had to travel quite a distance, so we had a lot of time to talk. Our conversations about the gospel had a big impact on me.” Elder Porter, who was born 18 September 1952 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, credits his parents for instilling in him the beginnings of his testimony.

He saw his testimony deepen as a missionary in the Germany Duesseldorf Mission. “Both of my mission presidents served in the German army during World War II,” explains Elder Porter. “One was a prisoner of war in Russia. I was so impressed by their experiences that I decided to study Russian affairs when I returned home.”

Home at that time was Brigham Young University, where he attended as a presidential scholar. There, in a religion class, he met Susan Elizabeth Holland. The two were married in the Washington Temple 2 February 1977.

“From the day we were married,” says Sister Porter, “I was his first priority in life, after the Lord, and because of that we enjoy a close companionship and friendship.”

His commitment to the Lord became clear during his years of Church service as a branch president in Germany, a bishop in Virginia, and, until recently, as a counselor in a stake presidency at BYU.

After spending a summer living in Russia as an exchange student, Brother Porter attended Harvard University, where he received a doctoral degree in political science emphasizing Russian affairs. He has worked for the federal government on the United States Senate Armed Services Committee and as executive director of the Board for International Broadcasting.

He and his wife recently moved with their four children to Provo, Utah, where he accepted a position at BYU as an associate professor specializing in Russian politics.

Reflecting on his call to bear record of the Lord’s name in all the world, Elder Porter says, “The very heart of my testimony is the knowledge I have that Jesus Christ lives and is our Savior.”

Christians, Jews Honor President Hinckley

The Utah Region of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, an organization whose purpose is to promote understanding and respect among all races, religions, and cultures, recently honored President Gordon B. Hinckley, then First Counselor in the First Presidency, for his powerful example.

“In his role as a world leader in his church, President Hinckley through the decades has quietly but powerfully been a force in giving to Utah—and the Salt Lake City area particularly—a high level of moral values and practices,” said Nick S. Vidalakis, presiding cochairman of the Utah Region. “He has also been a great strength in lifting culture in the Beehive State in his noteworthy support of music, both vocal and instrumental, and the visual arts.”

In receiving the honor and an olive-wood statuette of Moses, which was made especially for the occasion, President Hinckley said, “I’ve tried to do only that which every man ought to do without any thought of recognition, be he Christian, Jew, Muslim, or of any other persuasion.”

During his remarks at the February 21 meeting, President Hinckley talked about the five men who founded the Utah Region of the conference and observed: “The work of this organization is so urgently needed in a world that is weary of strife and hatred. How very heavy is the burden of human suffering, the suffering that comes of war; of so-called ethnic cleansing; of conflict in the name of religion; of foolish ideas of racial superiority; of intolerance, bigotry, and egotism.”

During his address, President Hinckley shared a statement that the Prophet Joseph Smith made in 1843: “It has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a ‘Mormon.’ I am bold enough to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination” (History of the Church, 5:498).

“This,” President Hinckley continued, “I hope, has been and will continue to be my standard.”

Accompanying President Hinckley to the dinner and also receiving a medallion was Marjorie P. Hinckley, President Hinckley’s wife. Also attending the gather-ing with their wives were President Thomas S. Monson, then Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and eight members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: Elders L. Tom Perry, David B. Haight, James E. Faust, M. Russell Ballard, Joseph B. Wirthlin, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, and Jeffrey R. Holland. Other General Authorities were also in attendance, as well as various government and community leaders.

Throughout the evening many tributes were paid to President Hinckley, including remarks by Malcolm S. Forbes Jr., editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine and the featured speaker. “[His] life is a model and an inspiration in a secular age for people and for all of us who yearn for spiritual guidance,” he said. “He is a human hero and a genuine hero.”

With his wife, Marjorie, at his side, President Gordon B. Hinckley accepts award from Nick W. Vidalakis, regional cochairman of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. (Photo by Gary Mickellar/Deseret News.)

Appointments

The First Presidency has called a new temple president and matron: Harold Riley Johnson, president of the Apia Samoa Temple, and his wife, Lola Ann Heaps Johnson, matron.

The First Presidency also called ten new directors of Church visitors’ centers.

  • Don L. Christensen, director of the Washington Temple Visitors’ Center, and his wife, Marva Sorenson Christensen.

  • Richard Keith Grover, director of the Hawaii Visitors’ Center, and his wife, Patricia Rae Pace Grover.

  • Reed V. Harding, director of the Joseph Smith Memorial Visitors’ Center, and his wife, Norma Joyce Bateman Harding.

  • Sherman Bitner Hinckley, director of the Cove Fort Visitors’ Center, and his wife, Eileen Ellis Hinckley.

  • Clayton James Kearl, director of the San Diego Mormon Battalion Visitors’ Center, and his wife, Betty Loraine Ford Kearl.

  • Reed Miller Merrill, director of the Kirtland Visitors’ Center, and his wife, Joan Whittle Merrill.

  • Robert Hal Parker, director of the Independence Visitors’ Center, and his wife, Colleen Anderson Parker.

  • Mark George Ricks, director of the Nauvoo Visitors’ Center, and his wife, Evelyn Tonks Ricks.

  • Robert Leatham Simpson, director of the St. George Temple Visitors’ Center, and his wife, Jelaire Kathryn Chandler Simpson.

  • Robert Charles Witt, director of the Salt Lake Temple Square Visitors’ Center, and his wife, Marilyn Ruth Gardner Witt.

Thousands Watch Church Satellite Broadcast

For the fifth year, the Church has produced and broadcast a presentation aimed at introducing the gospel to nonmembers and less-active members in a powerful, friendly way. Thousands watched the presentation in live open houses or taped-delay presentations organized by local Church units.

“It appears to have been a very successful satellite broadcast, with many members and nonmembers attending and participating,” said Sherman M. Crump, managing director of the Missionary Department. “Many local leaders have called with positive feedback, and they see ways to use the video portion, which they recorded, in further member-missionary and activation activities.”

“It’s the best turnout we’ve ever had, and the best presentation as well,” observed Steve Earl, stake mission president in the Tempe Arizona West Stake. “We had about 250 people attend, and about 50 or 60 of those were not members of the Church.”

President Earl attributed the high turnout to the commitment of stake leaders to the broadcast. “In the past we’ve distributed flyers, advertised in the paper, hung a banner on the meetinghouse,” he said. “This year we wanted to be even more effective, so the members of the stake presidency, the high councilors, the bishops, the stake mission presidency, and the ward mission leaders all personally committed to invite and bring at least one individual.”

That example infused the stake, and the result was outstanding, President Earl reported. “We had fifteen or twenty of those in attendance fill out referral cards,” he said. “But we’ve been able to follow up on every single nonmember in attendance because, even if they didn’t fill out a card, they were there with a member. So far six people, a family of four and two individuals, who attended the fireside have committed to baptism.”

In addition, copies of the presentation have been given to full-time missionaries in the area to use in their teaching, to member families to use when they invite nonmember or less-active friends and family members to their homes, and to local wards to present in Relief Society and quorum meetings.

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience during the broadcast,” President Earl concluded. “It was an emotionally and spiritually moving production, and we want all the members in our stake to see it.”

Other leaders are reporting similar results. Attendance at the West Jordan Utah East Stake open house was also the highest it has ever been. Stake missionary leaders approached each ward and asked ward leaders to identify in ward council meeting specific individuals they wanted to attend. “They made a list of the people in their ward who might be interested, both nonmembers and less-active people,” explained Kent Mabey, stake mission president. “Then specific people were assigned to contact those individuals, inform them about the activity, and offer to pick them up.”

After the presentation, the stake had five different areas organized where those in attendance could go for further activities. Members stayed in the chapel where they watched another Church video presentation, “but nonmembers and less-active members went to other areas where we could have one-on-one contact with them, answering their questions and supplying further information about the gospel,” President Mabey continued. “That way we didn’t lose those people in the crowd; we were able to follow up better with them and make sure they had contact with stake or full-time missionaries.”

The satellite broadcast was telecast from Salt Lake City to some three thousand locations in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. For the first time, the broadcast was also telecast in Spanish and French.

The twenty-five-minute video presentation featured Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and included video clips from scenes portraying the ministry of the Savior in the Holy Land and on the American continent. In addition, local areas were encouraged to organize open house presentations that included short presentations about the Savior, the Book of Mormon, the family, and the plan of salvation.

Women at Vicksburg, Mississippi, open house admire craftsmanship of a statuette of Christ.

Participants enjoy Relief Society display at open house in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Promoting Understanding in Our Communities

The Church’s public affairs efforts help people worldwide recognize the Church as an influence for good in their communities. To find out more about the Church’s public affairs activities, the Ensign spoke with Michael R. Otterson, director of area relations for the Church’s Public Affairs Department.

Question: Can you give us some background on the public affairs program throughout the stakes and regions of the Church?

Answer: The Church’s public affairs thrust in stakes and regions has grown rapidly in recent years and is increasingly recognized as a helpful tool for local priesthood leaders. It is well organized in most of North America, Europe, and the Pacific and is becoming better organized in Central America and South America. Progress also has been made in Asia. The most significant international development of public affairs has come in the past few years as area presidencies have become more directly involved. Each area now has a five-year public affairs plan that keeps public affairs focused and under priesthood direction.

The primary goal of public affairs efforts is to help people understand the Church better. When the Church is properly understood, its work is generally more effective. This applies to a missionary tracting in a rural area, to a representative of the Church seeking approval to build a chapel in a large city, to those seeking permission to microfilm genealogical records, or to those seeking official recognition for the Church to operate in a given area. When people have accurate information, they are less likely to be influenced by those who like to talk about what the Church is not.

Q: How is this aspect of the Church organized?

A: In almost all twenty-two geographical areas of the Church there is an area director of public affairs who is directly answerable to the area presidency. Most of these area directors are Church service workers, though a small number of them in major international media centers or key locations work full time for the Church.

They have two primary areas of responsibility. First, they are the Church’s liaison with the national and international media in their areas. They may also work to improve relationships with prominent government and community leaders. Second, they help train the public affairs directors at regional and stake levels in media and community relations.

Public affairs directors are trained to respond to media inquiries and to initiate media coverage of Church activities. Experience shows that the Church stands a much better chance of being accurately portrayed when it takes the initiative.

In regard to community relations, public affairs efforts often center on service. For all members, working side by side with members of other faiths in community service projects is a wonderful way to build bridges of understanding. Literally thousands of these activities take place every year throughout the Church. Members frequently report how their own sense of Christlike living has been enhanced by these service opportunities.

Q: What are the essential goals of the five-year plans?

A: All public affairs area plans aim to help people outside the Church understand the Church better, ensure that publicity is fair and accurate, and help build strong community relationships. Needs vary from area to area. What public affairs does in the western United States will not necessarily fit in Africa or Asia. Some area plans may focus on mass media while other plans may emphasize community relations. A plan tailored to an individual area’s needs allows adaption and keeps the efforts going in the direction an area presidency desires.

Q: Can you give examples of successful public affairs efforts?

A: One example that comes to mind arose from contacts with a Baptist pastor in Hollister, California. His ministry focuses on serving the homeless; hundreds of homeless people eat and sleep in his church building. When he appealed to local churches for help, Latter-day Saints were among those who responded. Local members still provide help in a variety of ways. The pastor, a fine man, admits he previously had negative impressions of Latter-day Saints. He now defends the Church simply because he came to know some of its members individually.

Q: How do public affairs people help generate positive publicity?

A: Public affairs workers are encouraged to recognize opportunities to publicize positive activities and events associated with the Church. Some workers come from a background in journalism or communications. In other cases, skills have to be taught. The media are generally quite receptive to public affairs efforts.

When articles appear that are inaccurate or otherwise unfavorable to the Church, it is usually because there has been little contact with the Church. But even negative stories can be turned into something positive. In Britain last year one of the London tabloids ran a sensational article about the Church’s family history work. The area director of public affairs wrote to the Press Complaints Commission, which decided that the newspaper would have to print a retraction. However, in consultation with the area presidency, the public affairs director wrote to the newspaper and indicated that a retraction was not required. Rather, we were interested in developing a better and closer relationship with the newspaper. A pleasant response from the editor was encouraging, with good prospects for the future.

Q: How can members help the Church’s public affairs efforts?

A: Recent surveys indicate the obscurity the Church continues to face in most places in the world. For example, only a third of the people in the United States, 12 percent of the people in France, and 47 percent of the people in England have ever been approached by Latter-day Saint missionaries. Only 13 percent of Americans say they know a fair amount about the Church, compared to 6 percent in England and only 4 percent in France.

The Lord told Joseph Smith in 1831, “Those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to … bring [the Church] forth out of obscurity and out of darkness” (D&C 1:30). All members of the Church are involved in that work; every member is a public relations representative of the Church. The way we act in public with our neighbors, friends, and anyone outside the Church will affect their attitude toward the Church and the restored gospel. The good we do in our communities can be quickly undone by the publicized missteps of even one member of the Church. Conversely, the good we are trying to do is reinforced tremendously if the community sees that Latter-day Saints live what they preach.

Michael R. Otterson

Community relief efforts by Church members, such as flood relief, aid the Church’s public relations.

Associate Conductor for Tabernacle Choir

The First Presidency has announced the appointment of Lt. Col. Craig D. Jessop as an associate conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The appointment will be effective 1 June 1995, upon Col. Jessop’s retirement from the U.S. Air Force. He is currently serving as commander and conductor of the Air Combat Command Heartland of America Band, based at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. He is also music director and conductor of the Omaha Symphonic Chorus.

Col. Jessop joins Donald Ripplinger as an associate of Tabernacle Choir music director Jerold D. Ottley.

First Stake Created in Emerald Isle

At a historic and inspirational conference, the first stake in the Republic of Ireland has been created. Elder Graham W. Doxey of the Seventy, a counselor in the Europe North Area presidency, presided over the organization of the Dublin Ireland Stake, which will serve seventeen hundred members of the Church in Ireland. (An additional six hundred members reside in the Cork Ireland District.)

The organization of the stake represents “an evidence of faith and faithfulness,” remarked Elder Doxey. He reminded the members in attendance that the creation of the stake was a beginning, not an end, and said the day signaled “the dawning of a new era.”

Elder Doxey urged members to avoid the destructive flood of pornography that destroys faith and happiness, to observe better the Word of Wisdom, to more fully keep the Sabbath Day holy by turning off the television and studying the scriptures, and to pay their tithes and offerings honestly.

Many in attendance were thrilled. “I would not have missed this for anything,” commented Bob Lynn, who joined the Church in 1946 and served as president of the Dublin Branch for more than twenty years. Although Brother Lynn currently lives in the United States, he flew over to Ireland to attend the meeting. “This has to be one of the very best days in my entire life. I have waited for nearly half a century for this great blessing.

“To be here today and to look around and see what has happened and what can now be accomplished, it’s a little miracle!”

Sharing Brother Lynn’s excitement was Rosaleen Slattery, who joined the Church in 1968. Her husband, Bill, served as branch president after Brother Lynn.

“I think it’s very befitting that our stake is being organized in the week of our national holiday [St. Patrick’s Day], which is a time when I particularly enjoy being Irish. The organization of the stake will be wonderful for our people.”

The formation of the stake comes nearly 155 years after the first missionaries came to Ireland. Among the first missionaries to the country was John Taylor, who would later become the third President of the Church. He baptized the first member of the Church in Ireland, Thomas Tate, in Loughbrickland. It was in that same area, in October 1985, that Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles pronounced a prayer dedicating the land of Ireland to missionary work.

The first branch in Ireland was organized in 1840, and in 1865 Charles Callis was born in Dublin. He would later serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve from 1933 to 1947.

Through the years the growth of the Church in Ireland has been slow but steady. Nearly a decade ago when Elder Maxwell uttered the dedicatory prayer, he prayed for peace, “and if not total peace, then enough peace for [the Lord’s] cause to move forward as never before.”

Last September, after twenty-five long years, paramilitary organizations involved in the civic unrest in Northern Ireland declared a cease-fire. Many of the causes of conflict still remain unsolved, but the cease-fire is holding. Members of the Church have prayed for this day.

In addition, Elder Maxwell pleaded with the Lord to “look with fresh favor upon all of Ireland to the end that this Emerald Isle will know further greening through the fulness of the restored gospel.” Many feel that the creation of the Dublin Ireland Stake is evidence of the gospel greening Elder Maxwell spoke about.

John Connolly is director of the Church’s Irish National Public Affairs Office.

Policies and Announcements

The following instructions have been sent to general and local priesthood leaders:

In order to maintain a uniformity throughout the Church and provide an identity for Primary children, the Primary age-groups will have the following names: ages eighteen months through three years are Sunbeams; ages four through seven are CTR; and ages eight through eleven are Valiant.

Even though all of the classes in the age-group use the same manual, they should not be grouped together for class instruction. There may be circumstances where the needs of students in an individual class of one or two children or the unavailability of classrooms will require combining classes. However, these are the exceptions and should not become the rule.

The following is from the Church Bulletin, 1994–2:

Blessing, Baptism, and Priesthood Ordination Certificates

Priesthood leaders should ensure that members who received the ordinances of the blessing of a child, baptism, and priesthood ordination receive certificates for these ordinances as soon as possible. These certificates are a member’s only Church source for the names of those who performed their blessing and baptism and for determining their priesthood line of authority. The names of those who perform blessings of children and other ordinances are no longer recorded on membership records or kept by the Church. Priesthood leaders should encourage the safekeeping of the certificates and instruct recipients that the certificates may be irreplaceable if lost or destroyed.

Primary age-groups worldwide have standard class names. (Photo by Craig Dimond.)

Presiding Bishop Testifies before U.S. Senate Committee

Bishop Merrill J. Bateman, Presiding Bishop of the Church, recently appeared before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee to give an overview of the Church’s welfare program.

“Fundamental to the Church’s welfare program is the principle that those receiving assistance are expected to work to the extent of their abilities for what they receive,” Bishop Bateman explained during the March 29 appearance.

“Recipients work on welfare production projects, in storehouses, canneries, or in sheltered workshops,” he told committee members. “They also may be given opportunities by their bishops to serve in behalf of others within the community who are in need of assistance. Work engenders independence, thrift, and self-reliance.”

Bishop Bateman pointed out that the Church’s welfare program focuses on three main areas: prevention, temporary assistance, and rehabilitation.

He also explained that permanent dependence on the welfare program was discouraged; exceptions were noted for the aged or infirm who had no other resources. The Church leader said that help is administered at the local level and can include counseling, employment assistance, food, clothing, shelter, or financial aid.

Bishop Bateman also talked of the employment centers, social service agencies, farms, and canneries made available to Church members in many parts of the nation.

He was one of several representatives from various religious organizations who addressed the Senate committee.

Comment

Growth in Guinea

In 1943 I attended Church meetings in Port Moresby, New Guinea, with Jack Milne of Sydney and several other servicemen from the United States. The meetings were held on a Wednesday night and advertised in the daily newspaper, Guinea Gold. There was a group leader, Chaplain Probst, who was acting under the direction of the Church. He is now deceased.

I was most interested to read in the February issue the account of the Church’s status now in Papua New Guinea (“‘One Talk’ in Papua New Guinea,” Feb. 1995). It’s exciting to see the growth.

A. Leon Bartlett Traralgon, Australia

That’s What Mormons Are

My wife and I are serving in the Mexico Guadalajara Mission. One day we were taking a taxi and began a conversation with the driver. We told him that we were missionaries representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He replied that he knew we were Mormons. “You are clean, neat, appear well educated, friendly, and courteous,” he said. “That’s what Mormons are.”

The Church is not that large here and there are not many members, but we are known by the fruits of our members.

Elder Darrell H. and Sister Yvonne Rae Guadalajara, Mexico