News of the Church


Big Changes in MIA Programs

This month a new MIA year begins, and due to a number of important changes recently announced, many MIA programs will wear a new face. Aside from several very big changes—such as no more all-Church anything, including sports tournaments and dance festivals,—there are dozens of minor yet significant changes in MIA programs designed to make the 1971–72 season a winner.

To discover these changes, the New Era recruited twenty-three youth reporters who worked throughout the recent June Conference, covering all departments.

Young Men’s Athletic Program

1. No more all-Church tournaments. The Church, now worldwide, wants to emphasize sports on a local basis rather than have teams travel to Salt Lake City.

2. Athletic tournaments will be held on an area basis. An area consists of one or more zones; a zone is comprised of two or more priesthood regions, which are in turn comprised of about three to five stakes. Zone or area tournaments will be held in Great Britain, Europe, and in nine areas in the U.S. and Canada.

3. The emphasis on zone or area sports will allow sports that are popular in different countries or areas to be played.

4. Changes in age limitations. For example, basketball will have three divisions: Aaronic Priesthood-Youth, up to age 19; Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood Youth, 19 to 25; Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood-Adult Senior, 26 and over. Other sports have special age changes also.

Young Women’s Sports and Camp Programs

1. Your basketball, volleyball, and softball games may be a little different this year—an officials training program is underway so that girls and leaders may serve as qualified officials!

2. Track and field meets are added, with competition in all the major events. Girls are classified by age.

3. Jump rope skills, jogging, and other individual sports programs will receive emphasis this year.

4. A Summiteer camping program permits certified Campcrafter girls to plan and execute a major camp trek on their own.

Music

1. A new song book for MIA is out, Sing a New Song, containing fourteen new songs to be sung at your youth-artists choral festival schedules for January.

2. In the spring, each ward or branch will hold a spring sing ensemble—something designed along the lines of old-time vaudeville shows.

Drama

1. Parent and Youth Night will now be known as the Family Evening Theater. This year’s special drama is And Suddenly You’re Older, a great play all about youth (old age becoming) and old age (youth gone by).

2. Spring will feature ward and stake one-act play festivals.

3. A readers theater play of Hi There, Nobody is optional. It is a play of the mind, involving a clash of ideas rather than a visual production.

Dance

1. No more all-Church dance festivals. Instead, area or regional festivals may be held. This gives opportunity for more people to perform.

2. Instructional dance films will be available so you can more easily learn new dance steps and routines and how to dance contemporary dances in keeping with Church standards.

Speech

1. Renewed emphasis on helping all youth to prepare talks—especially through speech workshops, where the topics are how to pick a speech subject, how to organize a speech, and how to deliver a speech.

2. The language of prayer will be stressed this year so that no youth of the Church need feel inadequate when asked to give a prayer in public.

Here’s What Is Ahead for You This Year If You Are a—Deacon-Scout

1. Note the name change. We no longer call the 12- and 13-year-old boys Scouts. Instead, a young man of this age is a deacon-Scout. First and foremost, a boy and man hold the priesthood. Nothing tops that privilege!

2. Scout troops throughout the Church will compete for the top 50 troop awards, a program that will receive strong impetus this year.

Teacher-Venturer

1. Note the name change. Your priesthood designation comes first. A Venturer is you, venturing in the program. Venture-Exploring is the term related to the Boy Scouts.

2. A major push will be made to see that teacher-Venturers work for and attain the rank of Eagle Scout in the U.S. and the Queen’s Venture award in the Commonwealth.

3. You can look forward this year to at least one superactivity, such as a trip down a river or a major mountain expedition.

4. Extra-mile projects, coordinated with the Aaronic Priesthood, will get a boost, and you can plan on really using your priesthood to help someone.

5. Plan on a teacher-Venturer conference where you’ll get together with fellows like yourself and take up fascinating topics and hear well-known personalities.

Priest-Explorer

1. Note the name change. Your priesthood designation comes first.

2. Several major trips and post projects will highlight the year—perhaps the making of a post movie.

3. Citizenship will get strong impetus, in order to prepare you to join the ranks of voters and active community builders.

4. Group socials on a ward and stake basis will acquaint you with the Laurels of the area.

Beehive

1. If you are a new Beehive girl, you will attend a program with your parents and see the film And Everything Nice, which explains your new role in the MIA.

2. During the year another choice experience with your parents will be held—a standards night program called “For Such a Time as This.”

3. In your classes you will learn how to build a fire, how to build your personality, how to apply makeup or to make up with a friend, and how to set and accomplish your goals.

Mia Maid

1. Four joint Mia Maid and teacher-Venturer programs have been planned. The first evening will be on health tips.

2. “Fondue Fun” will highlight the traditional Kitchen Karnival.

3. A Summeree will close out the MIA year. It is a special summer party with the teacher-Venturers.

Laurel

1. You can look forward to a stakewide Laurel conference—giving you opportunities for participation and leadership.

2. Plan on some fun activities with the priest-Explorers built around the idea of “Show Me”—priest-Explorers show Laurels how to change a tire, fix a faucet; and Laurels show priest-Explorers how to wash clothes, prepare meals, iron shirts, and so forth.

3. Suggested plans call for a formal party, fashion show, mother-daughter camp-out, as well as panel discussions with the priest-Explorers on dating.

M Men and Gleaners

1. The big goal is to encourage you to become a Master M Man or a Golden Gleaner. This traditional achievement program will be emphasized throughout the Church.

2. Service projects—meaningful Christianity—will be implemented, ranging from servicemen projects to big brother and sister programs.

3. Flexibility is the keyword. Your group can literally plan and accomplish just about anything it wants, from in-depth gospel symposiums to scheduling a trip to a distant Church site.

4. For Gleaners, an all-day event on the specialness of being a woman will be held.

What’s Ahead in Seminary and Institute

For many thousands of New Era readers, a new school year begins this month when they return to secondary school and college classrooms. Many of you will make the wise decision that your spiritual education is equally as important as your secular education, and you will voluntarily enroll for seminary or institute. Perhaps others will wish to make the same decision after reviewing what’s ahead in the coming year.

Home Study Seminary

This program is really unknown to many young people in the Church. It is applicable where there are insufficient numbers of Mormon youths to hold either early-morning or released-time seminary. It is expected that almost 15,000 Latter-day Saint young people will be part of this year’s program, which is widely used in the middle and eastern United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, and is being implemented in South America, Japan, Korea, Germany, and other locales this year.

If home study seminary applies to you, here’s what this year will be like:

1. Plan on spending about thirty minutes daily in your personal workbook and in reading this year’s course of study, the Book of Mormon. You will read, answer questions, and do some fun workbook projects.

2. One hour a week you will meet with from two to ten other students in your ward or branch; and with a teacher, you will discuss the meaning of what you have studied.

3. One Saturday a month you will meet with perhaps a hundred other youths in your region, and for several hours you will have discussion and instruction, followed by group activities and socials.

4. A big thing in this year’s course is the Book of Mormon Chronology Wheel. Once you’ve learned about it, the history and patterns of the Book of Mormon will likely never confuse you again.

Early-Morning Seminary

Throughout the United States, Canada, and in various areas of Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, some locales in South America and other places, about 50,000 young Latter-day Saints meet before school for an hour in what is called early-morning seminary. Classes may begin anywhere from 6 to 7:30 A.M.

If this applies to you, here’s what this year will be like:

1. The course is the Old Testament.

2. Plan on learning all about Scripture Chase, a tremendously successful way to have fun and make the scriptures come alive in your life.

3. Plan on enjoying a youth convocation at least once this year, where 200 to 500 young Mormons from your area will meet for an all-day event of workshops, stimulating speakers, and social activities.

Released-Time Seminary

Primarily applicable only in the Rocky Mountain areas, this program operates where there are many Latter-day Saints attending a school and who may receive permission to study the gospel during one class period during the day. About 80,000 young people are enrolled in this program.

1. As usual, all four courses of study will be taught—Book of Mormon, New Testament, Church History, Old Testament.

2. Strong emphasis on youth leadership will be given in all seminaries. You will be deeply involved in preparing devotionals, socials, and regional seminary conferences.

3. Many of you will join a File Club—20 or more persons who share their indexed classroom files with each other.

Institute

About 53,000 Latter-day Saints are enrolled in institutes of religion while attending college or vocational or trade school.

This year they can look forward to—

1. Enrolling in any of up to 35 courses, ranging from marriage preparation, missionary preparation, science and religion, and religions of the world to contemporary religious questions.

2. Becoming involved in campus missionary work in order to let fellow students know what Mormons stand for.

3. Service proiects, which will receive strong emphasis.

4. At least one major social every month.

5. Weekly forums, in which guest speakers face the issues.

6. Latter-day Saint fraternities (Sigma Gamma Chi and Delta Phi) and sorority (Lambda Delta Sigma) and Student Association units, which continue to spread throughout the Church, if you want them on your campus—see your leaders.

These highlights are really only a brief and skimpy outline. The seminary and institute programs are justly famous and beloved throughout the Church. If you’re not a part of them and you wish more information, contact your bishop or branch president immediately.

New Sunday School Superintendency

Beyond question, one of the most interesting facts about the three members of the new Sunday School general superintendency recently called by the First Presidency is that between them they have twenty-six children. Among other things, this suggests that these three men probably understand youth about as well as anyone possibly could.

The new superintendent, Dr. Russell M. Nelson, recently released as president of the Bonneville Stake in Salt Lake City, is the father of nine daughters. First Assistant Superintendent Joseph B. Wirthlin is the father of one son and seven daughters. He was first counselor in the Bonneville Stake presidency. Second Assistant Superintendent Richard L. Warner, who has been president of the University of Utah First Stake, has four sons and five daughters.

Excited about the challenges of their new callings, Superintendent Nelson summed up the superintendency’s thoughts when he said, “It is our feeling that one of the best places for young people to spend their time and energy with their family is in the Sunday School. We can’t have a people who sing ‘We thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet’ and then not study his counsel. We must not have a people who are grateful for the revealed word of the Lord and then don’t know what the revealed word of the Lord is. The Sunday School’s role is simple—to teach the gospel and to provide an opportunity for the family to worship together. Too many young people don’t understand the underlying truths of the gospel and don’t see its implications in their own lives. There is really a knowledge gap in the Church between what the Lord has revealed and what the Church members know about those revelations. If you don’t believe it, start asking questions of your friends. You’ll be amazed. Our mission in the Sunday School is to close that gap. The youth of the Church must not be scripturally illiterate.”

Brother Nelson’s daughters report that their father goes out of his way to look for opportunities to be with them, and they do the same to be with him. Seventeen-year-old Brenda says of her father, a nationally prominent heart surgeon, “Every time he goes to a medical meeting, he takes one of us with him.”

“At home we all sing and play instruments together,” says Sylvia, sixteen. “Dad has perfect pitch and plays the organ by ear. He really fits in. We have some fun family jam sessions.”

Twenty-two-year-old Madeline Wirthlin describes her businessman father as “a hard worker who has taught each of us to work. I’ve really appreciated the fact that Dad saw to it that I had a job and learned to manage my own money.”

Sixteen-year-old Kathy notes, “Dad usually gets up at five in the morning and reads the scriptures. He has taught us not to be just busy but to do something useful. As a family we play a lot of tennis and ride horses and go to sports events together.”

Brother Warner, an automobile dealership owner and former state and intermountain tennis champion, restricts his tennis now to entering tournaments with his children. This year, he and his son Bart, eighteen, won the All-Church Parent-Child title.

“It’s a special kind of fun to see Dad with his brothers and sister when we open the family cabin or water-ski,” said Marjorie, sixteen, who also won a Public Parks Title with her father.

The comment that Richard Warner, nineteen, made about his father in a recent talk given prior to his departure for the mission field sums up the way all of the new superintendency’s children feel about their fathers: “When I think of the example that my father has set in the Church, in business, and on the athletic field—in fact, when I think of what Father really is—I can’t help but picture Helaman in my mind. This is the kind of example my father has always been to me.”

These, in short, are the kind of men called by the First Presidency to lead the Sunday School in helping you discover the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will ably continue the great work of the released superintendency, Superintendent David Lawrence McKay and assistants Lynn S. Richards and Royden G. Derrick.