FYI: For Your Information

Computer Builder

David Smith of Spokane, Washington, thinks with his hands and keeps on tinkering with wires, lights, and component parts until he figures out anything from a coin-tossing game to a completely new kind of computer. Dave estimates that his award-winning computer design can solve problems twice as fast as current computers. It is in the process of being patented. His “Tract-Computer,” cited by the U.S. Defense and Space Departments, cost Dave 4,500 hours and $1,200. He built it all from scratch and all on his own. Dave is the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Smith and is quick to claim the blessing of Church membership, because it keeps him “alert and in touch with inspiration.” He’s earned his Duty to God award and has been a cross-country track man for his high school.

Japanese Jamboree

Kurt Reintjes has gone far in Scouting—clear to Japan and back, in fact. One of very few Mormons who attended the World Jamboree there, Kurt had a great time explaining the gospel to friends. He also enjoyed visiting a Japanese member family. “Even though I couldn’t understand what they were saying, when they prayed, I knew it was a prayer. It was wonderful.” Kurt brought back greetings from Kyoto’s leaders to the mayor of La Habra, California.

A Hair-raising Experience

Boys everywhere who have been letting their hair down in past seasons have discovered a long list of reasons for cutting it: They’re sick of sitting under hair driers for twenty minutes after a shower. They’re weary of eating it along with their meals. They question the nuisance of headbands when playing ball. They’re not happy with the implications of hair styles associated with the rebellious element. One student admitted that he cut his hair for graduation photos. “I don’t want my grandkids to think I was a girl,” he explained. Another reason given is that barber shops are finally getting with it and styling men’s hair instead of scalping them. In fact, the avant-garde group claims that short hair is the only attention-getter these days. They’re cutting their hair because everyone else has his long. Collar-scraping necklines are not Church mission standard or army regulation, and as one fellow said, “I cut mine because I figured why get involved in a life-style you can’t keep up with?” Whatever the reason, girls agree it’s nice not having to compete with a boy’s hair. Other girls are bad enough.

Born a Poet; Born to Write of Life

When Ruth Bay Gibbons had just learned to read and write, her family was on a vacation in colorful canyon country. Such beauty might inspire some young person to ask for a crayon and paper to draw a picture. Ruth asked for a pencil and paper to write a poem describing her deep feelings about such natural beauty.

It was a time of beginning. From then until now, at seventeen, she has penned countless verses, plays, songs, poetic expressions of mood and memorable moments. She has even made little booklets with descriptive phrases and drawings for birthday gifts for friends. Many girls write poetry and some may compose a song, but how many are honored by having one of their own compositions sung before large and important audiences by the famed East High School a capella choir of Salt Lake City? Ruth has. It’s called “Tell Me” and is counted one of the loveliest songs in the group’s repertoire. “Tell me what you know of silence … or rain upon April songs … of beggars and kings … of people in the park who sit alone … tell me of falling stars, of dreams that die so still …”

An active Church member, Ruth is also a guitarist in a girls’ singing group that recently won a statewide competition.

[Young Mormons Making News]

It’s happening around your branch and their ward, that school and this stake … young Mormons making news … whole groups getting in on some good act.

Ellensburg, Washington—the college branch students planned, presented, and won praises and baptisms for a miniature visitor’s center. Seven thousand six hundred students of the Central Washington State College campus browsed through the exhibit geared to interest young adults in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Films, pamphlets, posters, and guides to answer questions proved fascinating to the crowds pouring through this area in the student union building. “Everybody benefited,” said Ron Swalling, “the students who set it up and the faculty and visitors who learned about ‘Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?’” In addition there were announcements and invitations to those interested in joining in M-Man and Gleaner socials and the firesides presented by the institute.

Keith Russell scored another victory when he won top honors in two international swim meets held in South Africa. Formerly a missionary, this native Arizonian is a premier diver for BYU and took part in this trip as preparation for rigorous Olympic competition in Munich.

Margaret J. Ellis of Montreal, Quebec, was chosen Miss Canada BYU to reign over Canadian week. Margaret won the Lambda Delta Sigma scholarship and served as an intern with the New Era last summer. Attendants were Wendy Lamb and Brenda Lee Cahoon from Alberta, Canada.

Kids from Cairns, Townsville, Charters Towers, and Mackay in Australia flocked to the famous Harbour as part of a big youth conference held recently.

Debra Croucher reports they played volleyball and softball and barbecued burgers on the beach. Then the groups gathered around a fire for a sing-along under the stars. Next day they bussed to Eungella National Park and had workshop discussion groups, a dance, and competitive sports events. Sunday’s testimony meeting put a memorable touch on a great gathering.

San Diego young adults are still telling Brother Gary Roylance how great the leadership weekend was—frisbee on the beach, nonmembers bearing testimony of the truthfulness of the Church and urging young leaders to appreciate the great blessings of the Holy Ghost, Sigma Gamma Chi men presenting roses to the visiting dignitary, Tom Williams and his Student Association crew thanking committee people with tears and smiles on all sides. It was a time!

John Dennis started the meeting off bearing his own testimony when San Mateo Stake Seminary guys and girls met for a special gathering at dawn by the breakers. Ruth Champneys said the best thing about having their church close to the ocean is the convenience of such special experiences.

What’s It Like to be Young in Spain?

Teri and Karen Blain are Americans who were born in England and are living in Spain. Their cosmopolitan life affords them some comparative views on Spain and America. Cynthia Hilton interviewed them for the New Era.

Cynthia: Do you like living in Spain?

Teri: It’s great—even when you are a Mormon.

Cynthia: What fascinates you about this country?

Karen: I like the magnificent old buildings that are still in use, even though many of them were built before America was discovered. It gives young people a tremendous sense of history.

Teri: You know, in the states you can buy most anything in one supermarket. In Spain there are separate little shops for each commodity. And they are charming!

Cynthia: What else?

Teri: The bullfights. You just have to see one to realize the color and drama. Karen: The fiestas are a national custom that each village promotes in its own way. They are lively events running all through the year; everybody participates in them. What fun!

Cynthia: What do young Spaniards do on dates?

Teri: They don’t date as we do in America. Very few of them have cars or money to go anyplace. They mostly go for walks or long bus rides. Sometimes they go to a discotheque that features American music.

Karen: Most Spanish teens are very well behaved. The Spanish family is closely knit and the young people try to conform to their parents’ wishes. Naturally this affects the way they act when they are out together.

Cynthia: Your father is the branch president in Madrid; is it hard to live the gospel standards around your friends?

Teri: No social pressure anymore! They all know what we’re like now, and they respect us.

Karen: We’ve grown up with strong Church convictions. Our decisions in social settings or at school are based on Church standards and teachings. Actually it’s the best way to do missionary work—live up to what you’re taught and be friendly and appreciative of others’ viewpoints.

Announcements from the First Presidency

J. Spencer Kinard has been named to replace the late Elder Richard L. Evans as voice in the famed “Spoken Word” portion of the nationwide weekly broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Brother Kinard won the one-year CBS scholarship to Columbia University and worked there for a time before returning to Salt Lake and KSL as a staff announcer.

The Promised Valley Playhouse is the new name being given to the old Lyric theater in Salt Lake. Constructed shortly after the turn of the century, the building has many distinctive features that are being restored and renovated. It will be the new home for the popular summer tourist attraction of “Promised Valley” since the outside theater where it has been presented in the past was demolished to make room for landscaping surrounding the new Church office skyscraper. It will also house all kinds of Church-sponsored dramatic events through the year.

Dr. Leonard J. Arrington has been named as the new Church Historian who will operate under the managing directorship of Elder Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve. Dr. Arrington is a historian’s historian with many university posts and professional association honors to his credit. This reorganization is in keeping with the Church’s new policy to relieve members of the Council of the Twelve from some of their detailed administrative responsibilities.

Party Starters and Quiet Games by Alma Heaton, Bookcraft, 68 pp., $1.25

Have you ever struggled to get a party going? Or wondered about a novel way to introduce your guests to each other? Well, someone has finally recognized these problems of party planning and done something about it. This is a book of icebreakers and get-acquainted activities that should get any party off to a good start.

The book is divided into two main parts, active get-acquainted games and quiet preopener games. As you read them, some may seem corny, but they can be fun and can fulfill the useful function of getting people to know each other in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. For instance, how about starting your next party with a famous characters receiving line:

“This game is a good one for all occasions when guests arrive at the same time. Each guest is assigned the name of a historical character which he uses throughout the introductions instead of his own name. The leader stands at the head of the line with a card on which he has jotted down possible names. No warning is given a guest as he arrives, and he is greeted by the leader with the name he is to carry for the evening.

“For example, as the new arrival approaches, the leader might say, ‘Good evening, Cleopatra, I’m delighted to see you. I am Julius Caesar.’ The leader then pins a card on the guest containing the name Cleopatra. … After everyone is seated, give a prize to the person who can write down and identify the most people by their new names.”

This collection of sixty-two games should keep you in party starters for a long time.

Each Day a Bonus by Louise Lake Deseret Book, 212 pp., $4.95

Reading an autobiography, wandering through this experience and that, can be boring business unless the story is in the hands of an inspired writer or a marvelous human being. Louise Lake is both. Reading about her “twenty-five years on wheels” is fascinating, uplifting, and educational—especially if one moves about on his own power and not in a wheel chair as Louise has had to for many years.

Each Day a Bonus is a record of the adventures that talent, dedication, will, and faith permit. There are delightful details of Louise’s meeting the President of the United States, visiting Congress, making tours for the Polio Foundation with VIP personalities. Any Latter-day Saint will especially enjoy the strong, sacred moments that Sister Lake has shared with Church leaders and her reports of the miracles in her life and of circumstances that were turned to her benefit.

This is a story that, once started, one doesn’t put down. It’s easy reading for its own sake. It can also provide material for talks. R. P. Blackmur once said that no collection or observation ever tells the whole story; “there will always remain, quite untouched, the thing itself.” Sister Lake doesn’t tell the whole story either. She believes in forcing her troubles into a trunk, as she says, closing the lid, sitting on it, and laughing. “It is better to hide your heartaches.” But the heartaches are there, consecrated to her good and ours, and the reader is totally motivated as he suddenly becomes aware of the difference that attitude can make in easing all of our lives.

Making a Better World

Thousands of young people throughout the Church are actively participating in bishop’s youth committees. The film “Making a Better World” was recently produced under the direction of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve to illustrate how a bishop’s youth committee can work to assist people who need help. Here is a mini-version of some scenes from the film.

Nick is pretty well fed up with the establishment. Sometimes he feels like chucking the whole works and joining a commune like his cousin Ron. Nick has been active in the Church all his life, but, as he says to the bishop, “If the Church is where it’s at, then how come we’re not doing more?”

He leaves himself wide open. And the bishop invites him to be a leader on the bishop’s youth committee, which he describes as “a special tool to channel all those energies into making better lives, making a better world.”

Nick thinks it over.

NICK: “Quite a few kids at school are doing dope. Kurt’s one of them. And I can see why—his folks fight all the time; they’re really messed up.”

BISHOP: “There’s your challenge. If you want to do something for the world, why don’t you start with the Robins family? See what you and the bishop’s youth committee can do.”

Nick and the committee accept the challenge. They find Kurt has other problems too.

KURT: “I don’t think I’ve heard my mom and dad ever say they love me. Ever.”

NICK: “Have you ever said it to them?” He’s learning.

A successful cottage meeting in the Robins home brings a heartwarming response from a family who thought no one cared.

Nick’s reaction: “Up until now the Church has been like sort of a play I was watching—really nice, you know, but no big deal. But tonight I’m in the play. I’m part of it.”

This brief synopsis hardly explains why so many youth audiences are in tears at the end of the film. We suggest you see it for yourself.

“Making a Better World,” a twenty-seven-minute color film, may be borrowed from your stake or regional library or purchased from the Department of Motion Picture Production, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84601.

“Price, $79.00, plus $2.00 for shipping parcel post. Enclose check with order.

“Extra for air mail. Check rates for your postal zone.

[photo] Ruth Bay Gibbons, guitarist on the left, composes songs for this award-winning group.

[photo] Students look at literature at mini-center in Washington.

[photo] Margaret J. Ellis, Miss Canada BYU.

[photo] Australian Laurels at the lookout at Eungella.

[photo] Discussion groups were the big thing at San Diego conference. (Photo by Neil Williams.)

[photo] The Blain sisters of Spain are Teri, fourteen, and Karen, thirteen.

[photo] J. Spencer Kinard, new voice for Tabernacle Choir broadcasts.

[illustration] Rendering by Peggy Hawkins of the renovated old theater that will be known as the Promised Valley Playhouse.

[photo] Dr. Arrington.

[photo] Kurt and Nick get a chance to visit while they fix a ward member’s car.