News of the Church


Leadership Changes Sustained at Conference

During the October 1999 general conference, Elders Joe J. Christensen and Andrew W. Peterson of the First Quorum of the Seventy were given emeritus status, Elder Ben B. Banks was sustained to the Presidency of the Seventy (see Liahona, “News of the Church,” December 1999), four Area Authority Seventies were released, three new Area Authority Seventies were sustained, the Primary general presidency was released, and a new Primary general presidency was sustained.

Elder Christensen was called as a General Authority in April 1989, at which time he was serving as president of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. From 1993 until August 1999 he served in the Presidency of the Seventy. He previously served in the North America Northwest and Brazil Area Presidencies. Prior to his call as a General Authority, Elder Christensen worked in teaching and administrative positions in the Church Educational System for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Barbara, are now serving as president and matron of the San Diego California Temple.

Elder Peterson was called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy in October 1994. Prior to his service as a General Authority, he was a regional representative, stake president, and mission president, and he built a successful dentistry practice in Salt Lake City. He was serving as President of the México North Area when he suffered paralyzing injuries in Utah in September 1997.

The four Brethren released as Area Authority Seventies included Elders Max W. Craner, serving in the North America Northwest Area; César A. Dávila, serving in the South America North Area; P. Bruce Mitchell, serving in the Australia/New Zealand Area; and J. Kirk Moyes, serving in the Utah North Area. The three new Area Authority Seventies and their assignments are Elders J. Devn Cornish, North America Southeast Area; Manfred H. Schütze, Europe East Area; and Johann A. Wondra, Europe East Area.

Released were the Primary general presidency: Patricia P. Pinegar, president; Anne G. Wirthlin, first counselor; and Susan L. Warner, second counselor. Called to the Primary presidency were Coleen K. Menlove, president; Sydney S. Reynolds, first counselor; and Gayle M. Clegg, second counselor.

Conference Broadcast on the Internet

The October 1999 general conference marked the first time live audio and video broadcasts of sessions were widely available worldwide via the Internet. Audio was available in numerous languages through LDSWorld.com, a Web service operated by Millennial Star Network, Inc. Video was available through Brigham Young University’s NewsNet service, which helped pioneer audio broadcasts of previous general conferences on a limited scale. In total, an estimated 100,000 members worldwide participated in the Internet general conference broadcast.

“With the Church growing throughout the world, Internet technology offers us yet another means of communicating with Latter-day Saints wherever they may be,” said Church spokesman Dale Bills. “In areas where there is no satellite coverage, Church members have to wait several weeks to receive conference messages. The possibility of hearing President Hinckley and other Church leaders live is a great blessing.”

Millennial Star Network is a new, Church-owned enterprise working to “colonize an electronic global community of members and friends of the Church,” according to company president Franklin Lewis. Audio archives of October 1999 conference addresses are available at www.generalconference.com in Cambodian, Cantonese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Mandarin, Navajo, Portuguese, Samoan, Spanish, and Tongan.

In other Internet-related news, the Church recently redesigned its official Web site. Located at www.lds.org, the site offers information for members, media representatives, and interested visitors. Printed versions of conference are currently available at this Web site in the following languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Swedish, Tongan, and Ukrainian.

Coleen K. Menlove

Primary General President
Coleen K. Menlove

“It’s a little bit like vegetable soup,” says Sister Coleen Kent Menlove, describing how life experiences have prepared her for her new calling as Primary general president. “Each part and piece brings flavor and dimension to the work. A variety of people and experiences have brought so much depth to my life.”

Born 1 July 1943 and reared in Salt Lake City, Coleen married Dean W. Menlove in 1964 in the Salt Lake Temple. “My husband has been a great influence as we’ve stood by each other’s side,” she says. Brother and Sister Menlove have seven children and six grandchildren.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Utah, Sister Menlove worked for a time in the Salt Lake School District before becoming a full-time homemaker. During her years rearing children, she completed a master’s degree in elementary curriculum at Brigham Young University. For the past 14 years, she has taught part time in an elementary school.

Sharing thoughts about her hobby of gardening, Sister Menlove says: “I love to put my hands in the soil. It’s very relaxing, and I love working with the colors of flowers.” She enjoys spending time with grandchildren, and she says that doing creative things with her students has been a “real joy.” She also fondly recalls family vacations in the mountains and at lakes and reservoirs.

Sister Menlove has served on the Young Women General Board, on Church writing committees, and in stake and ward Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary callings. “I’ve learned the importance of inspiration and of working in councils,” she says. “It takes all of us cooperating to strengthen our youth and children.”

Sister Menlove says she has always known the Church is true. But recently, she says, “I feel like I’ve been tutored by the Spirit in new ways with greater understanding. I’ve learned that when work needs to be done, we receive spiritual help to do the Lord’s will. Heavenly Father loves each one of us, and we have a divine spark inside each of us. The Holy Ghost will direct and guide our lives.”

Sydney S. Reynolds

First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency
Sydney S. Reynolds

Mother of 11 children and grandmother of 6, Sydney S. Reynolds is a strong supporter of women who obtain their education and then use that knowledge in the home as full-time mothers.

“I feel the most important contribution we can make is in the home,” she says. “A focus on the home will bless us in the long run and help our children to be a blessing to the world.”

Sister Reynolds was born on 22 October 1943 and grew up in Burbank, California. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in political science and obtained a teaching certificate in secondary education from Brigham Young University. In 1965 she married Noel B. Reynolds in the Los Angeles Temple. The Reynolds family resides in Orem, Utah, and has also enjoyed living in Boston, Massachusetts; Edinburgh, Scotland; and Jerusalem.

The experience of living abroad benefited the family in many ways. “It’s a time when your family really can pull together,” Sister Reynolds says. “You’re in a brand-new situation, and you don’t have all your friends nearby, so the resource is each other.”

Sister Reynolds has been involved in community and educational endeavors as a PTA president, a member of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival organizing committee, and a member of the BYU women’s conference steering committee. Her Church callings have included early-morning seminary teacher, ward Relief Society president, ward and stake Young Women president, Primary General Board member, and teacher in all the auxiliaries.

Sister Reynolds says the training children receive in their formative years is crucial. “Even small children can understand that the Lord loves them and wants them to return to Him, but there needs to be someone to teach that to them,” she says. “That happens first of all in the home, and Primary supports the home. Primary can be a great resource to the families of the Church in helping children learn about the Savior.”

Gayle M. Clegg

Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency
Gayle M. Clegg

“I’ve always loved children. Raising my own was the most pleasurable thing I’ve ever done,” says Gayle M. Clegg, mother of five, grandmother of nine, and former elementary school teacher in Utah, Brazil, and Argentina. “I’m grateful the Lord is allowing me to continue working with the children of this world.”

Sister Clegg was born on 23 June 1942 in Glendale, California, the first of five children born to Grant and Lillie Tidwell Muhlestein. Raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Utah. There she met Calvin C. Clegg, and they married on 14 August 1964 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Over the next 16 years, the family lived in Florida; Arizona; Washington, D.C.; New Jersey; Brazil; and Argentina. In each place they enjoyed many opportunities for Church service and spiritual growth.

“My Primary experience began in New Jersey,” says Sister Clegg. “As a young president, I learned that Primary is a loving place where working with children strengthens your testimony. Several years later in Brazil, I taught Primary. Since I didn’t know the language, I literally memorized the lessons each week. As a result, I learned to speak Portuguese.”

The Cleggs lived for two years in Brazil and then moved to Argentina. “For three and a half years, our home was the center of many ward activities,” says Sister Clegg. In 1980 the Cleggs returned to Salt Lake City.

“We’re an outdoor family who love to hike, talk, and tell stories,” she says. “Music is important to us. All of my daughters play the piano, and everyone loves to sing. Primary songs are our favorites.”

Sister Clegg taught elementary school from 1982 until 1996, when Brother Clegg was called to serve as president of the Portugal Lisbon North Mission.

Of her new calling, Sister Clegg says: “I take confidence in the knowledge that who the Lord calls, He qualifies. I believe this will be an opportunity to show my appreciation to the Savior for all He has done for me.”