News of the Church


General and Area Authorities, Relief Society General Presidency Called

Newly called General Authorities, Area Authority Seventies, and members of the Relief Society general presidency were sustained on 6 April during the 172nd Annual General Conference.

Elder Gerald N. Lund and Elder William R. Walker were called to serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Bonnie D. Parkin was called as general president of the Relief Society, with Kathleen H. Hughes as first counselor and Anne C. Pingree as second counselor.

Thirty new Area Authority Seventies were also called—13 from the United States, two from Brazil, two from Japan, and one each from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

In his opening remarks during Saturday morning’s session, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of the continued growth of the Church. He referred to the positive impressions of the Church received by hundreds of thousands of visitors, government leaders, and media when they visited Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympic Games. He also spoke of the success of the growing Perpetual Education Fund announced last April, which is now helping some 2,400 young Latter-day Saints in developing nations to gain an education.

During the priesthood session, President Hinckley also spoke out strongly against abuse of spouses, the elderly, and children. “It is something that cannot be countenanced or tolerated,” he said.

Church members raise their hands to sustain new leaders during Saturday afternoon’s conference session.

Elder Gerald N. Lund

Of the Seventy
Elder Gerald N. Lund

“‘God cheats no one and no one cheats God,’ my father always used to say. He also often told us, ‘God is a rich paymaster,’” says Elder Gerald N. Lund, a newly called member of the Seventy.

“We were raised on this philosophy,” he continues, “and it still defines the way I feel about service. The more I try to thank God, the more He seems to bless me, which in turn puts me deeper in His debt.”

When Gerald Lund returned from his missionary service, he had determined that he would rather work than go to college.

“I went to work in the construction business,” he explains. “After spending one week cleaning cement forms with a power brush, I realized this was not how I wanted to spend my life.”

He promptly enrolled in Brigham Young University, where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. His decision to go to college not only changed his life but also resulted in many years of teaching the gospel.

Gerald Lund started teaching seminary in Salt Lake City in 1965, beginning a 34-year career with the Church Educational System. In addition to his early years teaching seminary, he taught institute, served as an institute director, worked as a curriculum writer, and fulfilled a number of administrative assignments. He is also the author of many popular books and articles.

Elder Lund was born in Fountain Green, Sanpete County, Utah, to Jewell and Evelyn Lund on 12 September 1939. The family moved to Salt Lake City when he was a year old and later to Murray, Utah, where he spent most of his growing-up years.

In 1963 he married Retta Lynn Stanard, from Great Falls, Montana. They have 7 children and 17 grandchildren. Sister Lund is an accomplished musician and has published many of her arrangements.

Elder Lund has served as branch president, bishop, and bishop’s counselor. At the time of his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Lund was serving as president of the Brigham Young University 14th Stake.

Elder William R. Walker

Of the Seventy
Elder William R. Walker

As a young boy in the small Latter-day Saint community of Raymond, Alberta, Canada, William Walker often visited the nearby home of his grandparents. There, hanging on the wall, was a picture of the First Presidency. “I can still remember that image. It had a profound influence on me during those early years. I grew up loving the leaders of the Church,” he says.

Elder William R. Walker was born on 25 May 1944 to J. Harris and Beth Russell Walker. After completing a full-time mission to Japan, he attended Brigham Young University, where he met his wife, Vicki Van Wagenen. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 10 June 1968 and are the parents of five children.

Following his graduation, the Walker family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where he began his career in the investment business as a stockbroker. The Walkers lived in Salt Lake City; Concord, California; Dunwoody, Georgia; and Kenilworth, Illinois, before returning to Utah in 1988. He was president of a subsidiary of American Express and later held executive positions at two of the world’s largest banks, Citibank and Barclays Bank.

Elder Walker loves to tend the flowers and fruit trees in his yard. He and his wife have also had many opportunities to cultivate in the gardens of the Lord. They were called to preside over the Japan Tokyo South Mission in 1990, and he was serving as president of the Sandy Utah Cottonwood Creek Stake at the time of his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. He has been a bishop twice, a high councilor, and a regional welfare agent.

“A big part of my life was my mission as a young man,” Elder Walker says. “President Hinckley visited Japan three times while I was there. On one of those visits to the mission home, he told my companion and me to prepare to be bishops and stake presidents. This really surprised us. But I have been blessed to see the fulfillment of that wonderful encouragement from a prophet of God.”

Bonnie D. Parkin

Relief Society General President
Bonnie D. Parkin

“So many of the things that are good in my life happened because of Relief Society,” says Bonnie D. Parkin. “I believe in the goodness of women to look out for each other in ways that cheer each other on.”

Born on 4 August 1940 to Jesse H. and Ruth Butikofer Dansie, Sister Parkin is the third in a family of five children. She was reared in Herriman, Utah, in the southwest part of the Salt Lake Valley, which had been settled by her father’s grandfather at the direction of President Brigham Young. Her mother’s parents were Swiss converts who settled near Idaho Falls, Idaho.

In 1962 Sister Parkin graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and soon after began teaching third grade in Bountiful, Utah. In February 1963 she met James L. Parkin, who was in his first year of medical school at the University of Utah. They were married on 1 July 1963 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Now the parents of 4 and grandparents of 14, the Parkins enjoy family vacations at Lake Powell and skiing in the mountains. Sister Parkin also loves gardening, tennis, and early-morning walks.

“As I look at my life, every calling has strengthened me,” she says. “Being called to serve as Relief Society president when I was one of the youngest mothers in my ward was a challenge, but sweet peace came as the women of the ward accepted me. That calling blessed my life and helped me grow.”

Sister Parkin served on the Relief Society general board from 1990 until 1994, when she was called as second counselor in the Young Women general presidency. Then, in 1997, her husband was called to serve for three years as president of the England London South Mission.

“The blessing of serving a mission with my husband greatly strengthened me,” she says. “We loved the British Saints, as well as our elders and sister missionaries, and learned so much from them.”

Eager to encourage young women to discover the joys of Relief Society and for Relief Society sisters to reach out to young women, Sister Parkin says, “For all sisters, Relief Society is a place that can help us come unto Christ.”

Kathleen H. Hughes

First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Kathleen H. Hughes

“Heavenly Father has endowed women with so many wonderful gifts and abilities and qualities,” says Kathleen H. Hughes, newly called first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency. “With His help, and with help from each other, we can’t fail.”

Sister Hughes says that the words of the scriptures, together with her knowledge that she is a daughter of God, have anchored her and helped her find peace, even during the difficult periods of her life. Once, for example, while she was struggling with what may have been postpartum depression, she and her husband visited Liberty Jail in Missouri. They reviewed the Prophet Joseph Smith’s experience there and read the revelation he received, which is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 121 [D&C 121]. Sister Hughes realized that just as the Lord had sustained Joseph Smith, He would help her endure her own trials. “It was one of those times you remember—a defining moment when I sensed the presence of the Lord in my life and realized what the scriptures can do to bring comfort and peace,” she says.

Kathleen Hughes was born on 19 October 1944 in Tooele, Utah, to William Daly and Emma Johanson Hurst. She married writer Dean T. Hughes on 23 November 1966 in the Salt Lake Temple; they now have three children and five grandchildren.

Sister Hughes earned a bachelor’s degree in English education at Weber State College in 1966, and she earned a master’s degree in special education at Central Missouri State University in 1974. She taught school for many years and has been working as an administrator in the Provo (Utah) School District since 1985.

Most recently Sister Hughes has served as the ward Young Women president. She has also had callings in the Relief Society, Primary, and Sunday School and has served on the Young Women general board.

“The purpose of Relief Society is to help the sisters and their families, with the help of the priesthood, come to Christ,” she says. “I feel such peace about this calling and know it will be a wonderful opportunity to work with these great women in the presidency.”

Anne C. Pingree

Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Anne C. Pingree

Anne C. Pingree loves to read. But even more, she loves to help others learn to read.

While serving with her husband, George C. Pingree, as he presided over the Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission, Sister Pingree focused some of her efforts on promoting literacy, especially among auxiliary leaders. “I’ll never forget how joyful the sisters were when they learned to read. When they stood up in training meetings and read simple sentences about their leadership responsibility, the other women there would clap for them, they were so happy,” says Sister Pingree. “It opened up a whole new world.”

With a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Utah, Sister Pingree has been a literacy volunteer for Spanish-speaking elementary school children through the “I Can Read Program” and an English tutor for Laotian immigrants through Literacy Volunteers of America.

“I think the Lord gives you experiences in your life that prepare you for things that are coming in the future,” says Sister Pingree, who credits her literacy experiences with helping to prepare her for her new calling. As second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, she hopes to continue to promote literacy as an ongoing emphasis of the Relief Society.

Sister Pingree adds that working with people from other countries has also prepared her in additional ways. “My perspective, my insight, and my understanding of worldwide women have increased. They taught me more about faith and testimony than I ever taught them,” she says.

Prior service as a Relief Society general board member, a stake and ward Relief Society president, a counselor in the stake Young Women presidency, and a ward Primary president have also given Sister Pingree a great love and appreciation for the women of the Church. “I hope to reach every woman and help her feel she is important in the Lord’s eyes. Prophets have told us that we, as covenant women, have a significant contribution to make in building the kingdom in these latter-days. Our righteous influence can make a difference in this world,” she says.

Sister Pingree was born in Salt Lake City on 11 June 1941 to Ezra T. and Maude Erickson Clark. She and her husband were married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1963. They have five children and four grandchildren.

Elder Oaks and Elder Holland to Serve among Local Saints

Beginning in August, Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will serve in assignments outside the United States for a period of one year. Elder Oaks will serve as Area President in the Philippines, and Elder Holland will serve as Area President in Chile.

The appointments mark the first time in decades that a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has lived and presided outside the United States. Elder Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) and Elder Mark E. Petersen (1900–84) presided as Apostles over the European and West European Missions respectively. Elder David O. McKay (1873–1970) also served as a mission president while a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presiding over the British Mission in the early 1920s.

The appointment of Elder Oaks and Elder Holland as Area Presidents is aimed at meeting a challenge the Church has faced for years in developing areas: rapid growth. “Growth has been our greatest problem,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley in an interview with the Deseret News. “And a wonderful problem it is.”

In their new assignments, Elder Oaks and Elder Holland will assist in training new Church leadership and in helping new members assimilate into the Church and attend the temple. The new assignments will also enable members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to gain additional experience in meeting such needs.

Chile and the Philippines have experienced rapid Church growth in recent years. In the Philippines, Church membership has grown to nearly half a million, with much of the growth occurring in the past decade. Membership in the Philippines in 1984 was 76,000, in 1990 it was 237,000, and today it is approximately 496,000. More than 1,200 congregations, organized in 80 stakes and 13 missions, now exist in this nation. The Manila Philippines Temple was dedicated in 1984.

Today Chile has more than 520,000 Latter-day Saints. When the Santiago Chile Temple was dedicated in 1983, the country had some 140,000 members. In 1988 Chile became the fourth nation in the world to reach 50 stakes. Between 1983 and 1993, the number of Chilean members and stakes doubled, making Chile the country with the fastest-growing Church membership in South America. Continued growth, including the creation of 26 new stakes between 1994 and 1996, led to the creation of the Chile Area in 1996.

April Conference Available on DVD

April general conference is now available in 16 languages on a single DVD. With just a click, members can watch conference and hear it in Cantonese, Cebuano, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog, Tahitian, or Tongan.

Because this DVD is compatible with NTSC, PAL, and SECAM formats, it can be watched using DVD players and television sets throughout the world. The DVD set (item no. 22057090; U.S. $14.25) became available from Church distribution centers in June.

President Hinckley Dedicates Snowflake Arizona Temple

President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Snowflake temple—Arizona’s second and the Church’s 108th—in four sessions on 3 March.

“We are thankful for those who laid the foundations of this and other nearby communities,” said President Hinckley in his dedicatory prayer, referring to early Latter-day Saint settlers who came to the Snowflake area in 1878 as requested by President Brigham Young. “They struggled so desperately for so long against adversities of many kinds. Now their posterity enjoy the sweet fruits of their efforts, and crowning all is this magnificent and beautiful temple.”

Accompanying President Hinckley were Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Dale E. Miller of the Seventy, Second Counselor in the North America Southwest Area Presidency.

The new temple will serve Church members in northeastern Arizona and a small portion of western New Mexico. The temple district also includes members who live on Apache, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni Native American reservations. Many Native American designs and furnishings have been included in the temple interior, items such as handcrafted rugs, baskets, and pottery.

Snowflake and the adjoining town of Taylor were settled in 1878 as part of the colonization effort begun by President Brigham Young. In 1880, Elder Wilford Woodruff, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, encouraged the struggling Saints to persevere by speaking of the possibility of a temple in their midst. Later prophetic statements were attributed to Church Presidents John Taylor (1808–87) and Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918). Faithful Saints clung to these promises, passing them from generation to generation.

“The history and legends of Snowflake are rife with these stories,” said temple president Leon T. Ballard, a native of Snowflake. “I have been raised on those things. That’s why I consider this a prophetic temple.”

“This temple is the answer to prophecies that were made,” said Dean Porter, Snowflake Arizona Temple committee coordinator. “It is a tribute not so much to us, but to our pioneer forebears, who were asked to leave their homes in Utah and eke out a living here.”

More than 11,000 members attended the temple’s dedication. Although only 9,000 people reside in the Snowflake area, more than 94,000 attended the open house on 2–16 February. President Ballard said that many thousands of visitors came because of ancestral ties to the area. “And in their enthusiasm, they brought their friends,” he said. This enthusiasm for the new temple has not decreased since its dedication. “We offer 24 sessions a week, and nearly every one of them has been completely full,” commented President Ballard.

Perched on a hill, the Snowflake Arizona Temple is the Church’s 108th operating temple. It stands as the fulfillment of prophecy and a tribute to faithful pioneers. (Photograph by Scott P. Adair, courtesy of Church News.)

Paralympics Round Out Salt Lake’s Winter Games

The spirit of athletic competition continued as Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games on 8–16 March. More than 4,000 volunteers and thousands of spectators cheered the efforts of disabled athletes from around the world as they competed in downhill skiing, hockey, and cross-country skiing.

Passing the Flame

On 7 March, the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stood in front of the Church Administration Building to pass the Paralympic flame. Standing on the steps, the First Presidency welcomed the flame from torchbearer Carrie Snoddy of Park City, Utah. She handed her torch to President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, who handed it to President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, who then passed it to President Gordon B. Hinckley.

President Hinckley raised the torch for spectators to see. “Welcome, welcome, to the Paralympics, to these great athletes who have excelled!” he said. “Go forward! Win the race! Claim the pennant! Be happy, be happy. We’re all with you. We’re all rooting for you. We want you to succeed, and we hope that this will be a great and marvelous and wonderful occasion for everyone who participates. Let everyone be a winner. Hurray!”

President Hinckley than passed the torch to Margaret Stocks of the Brigham City Second Ward, Brigham City Utah Box Elder Stake, who carried it on its way.

Participating Athletes

Among the 1,000 athletes from 36 countries who competed in the Salt Lake 2002 Paralympic Winter Games were two Latter-day Saints. Lacey Heward, a 22-year-old member of the Mount Mahogany Ward, Highland Utah East Stake, skied past personal fears and most of her competitors on 11 and 14 March, winning two bronze medals in the women’s mono-ski division.

Sister Heward was only 18 months old when an accident left her disabled. But a physical disability has not slowed her self-proclaimed drive “to be the best that I can be.”

“I’ve worked so hard just to get to this point,” she said. “It feels so good to finally be here, to finally get the adrenaline going, to get out there and go for it.”

Keith Barney of the Alpine 11th Ward, Alpine Utah Stake, competed in the five-kilometer cross-country race and in the sit-ski division of the men’s biathlon. He is also a cyclist with the U.S. Paralympic team.

Brother Barney lost the use of his legs in an accident when he was 14 years old. Today he works in the rehabilitation center at the University of Utah Medical Center. He teaches the newly disabled how to live rich, productive lives.

Winter Olympics Update

In addition to the Olympic athletes featured in the June 2002 Liahona, Quinn Wheeler, age 28, a member of the Taylorsville 39th Ward, Taylorsville Utah South Stake, represented the U.S. Virgin Islands as a member of their Winter Olympics bobsled team. Brother Wheeler took up bobsledding during college and became acquainted with members of the Virgin Islands team while working in St. Thomas in mid-2000. He joined the team when an unexpected opening developed.

President Gordon B. Hinckley welcomes Paralympics torchbearer Carrie Snoddy with a kiss. President Thomas S. Monson and his wife, Frances, look on. (Photograph by Jeffrey D. Allred, courtesy of Church News.)

Lacey Heward, a Church member from Highland, Utah, won bronze medals in the mono-ski division of the Paralympics. (Photograph by Ravell Call, courtesy of Church News.)