Brother Dean L. Larsen is the new Editor of Church Magazines. He has a history of Church experience, including work with written materials used in the Church. He was born in Hyrum, Utah, attended the University of Utah, and graduated from Utah State University. At the end of World War II, he served in the navy as a seaman aboard the aircraft carrier Saratoga.
Brother Larsen is interested in young people. He was a high school teacher in Wyoming where he also coached the track and basketball teams. During the 1952–53 school year he was voted Wyoming High School Coach of the Year.
In 1960 Brother Larsen joined the seminary program of the Church and taught at the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah. Later he became the assistant coordinator of the Lamanite seminaries.
Brother Larsen has served as president of the Texas South Mission (now the Texas San Antonio Mission). In 1972 Brother Dean Larsen became coordinator of Curriculum Planning for the Church. Later he was appointed director of Instructional Materials.
Brother Larsen has four daughters and one son. If you need to see him on any given weekend, you will probably find him on his way to hike the mountains behind his home in Kaysville, Utah, with one of his daughters. And if you can catch him, he will probably sit you down and tell you about one of the great fishing trips he remembers.
“They even showed us their new lime-green fire engine,” recalled Andrea Owens, Laurel class president.
The Laurels in the Wichita Kansas First Ward thought it would be a good idea to get to know the firemen in the area near the ward house. Because they know firemen spend a lot of time in the station, they chose to prepare a “goodie box” for the men.
The girls called ward members and asked them for copies of the Ensign, New Era, Book of Mormon, and other magazines or books that they might have on hand. Each girl contributed a batch of her favorite cookies. The magazines and cookies were delivered in a gaily decorated box.
Six members of the class and their adviser walked to the station during activity night. Andrea explained a little about the Church and the Young Women program. The firemen returned the favor by giving the girls a tour of the station and their equipment.
“The firemen were happy to see us,” added Andrea. “They asked us to come back any time. And we asked them to come quickly if there was ever a fire at the church!”
Jeff Holt doesn’t believe in going against the grain. The 17-year-old Indio, California, priest was recently honored for his statewide, first-place woodwork project—a pool table. Jeff was a guest of the California Department of Education in Sacramento where he toured government buildings, watched the legislature in session, and was guest at a banquet.
The pool table, weighing well over a thousand pounds, was completely hand-fashioned and valued at $1,000. Surprisingly, it was Jeff’s first real woodworking project.
“As I got into it, the work went very slowly at first,” he recalls. “It turned out to be a lot more work than I thought—not only the design and planning and woodwork, but the sewing and upholstery and felt work involved.”
The four-month endeavor also became a family project as Jeff, his parents, and his three sisters embarked on all-day trips to Los Angeles for specially selected materials. The 24-hour marathon completion involved lots of sandwich-making by family members, as well as Jeff’s final perfectionist touches to the felt and the polished Philippine mahogany.
The ten men it took to lift the table and the thousands who saw it in California aren’t about to forget Jeff’s effort.
Back home there’s not a room large enough in the Holts’ home for the table, so Jeff has to be content with keeping it in the garage. With the table finished, he’s also had a chance to work on a few new projects, including a stereo console and a dinette set. He’s also taken a junior college class in upholstery while finishing high school.
Jeff holds down a part-time job to save money for a mission. After his mission he plans on studying to become an industrial education teacher or furniture maker.
More than 120 youths from the Monticello Utah Stake undertook cleanup operations at their stake farm that will one day include a recreation-park area for Scouts and a girls’ camp. A stake committee is working on a master plan for the campground, and the project will involve several years’ work.
Some of the day’s work included cleaning out the old spring, tearing off old roofs, cleaning out the solidly built root cellar, and hauling trash to the ravine for burial.
The farm, complete with log cabins still very much intact, will someday serve recreational needs for generations.
After the work was done the young people organized games, and a delicious Dutch-oven supper was served.
Hiking 50 miles in 8-degree weather isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. And there were moments when Marlene Clark of Provo, Utah, was sure the 18-hour ordeal wasn’t going on her next not-to-be-missed list.
Marlene, a Mia Maid in the Edgemont Tenth Ward, was the only girl to finish the hike that included walking back roads, mountain trails, lake shores, and through the center of Provo.
Marlene and 71 other enthusiastic hikers started the 50-miles-in-20-hours Presidential hike on Friday at 6:15 P.M., and by 2:00 P.M. Saturday there were lots of tired feet and sore muscles—and only 30 hikers.
“It was all we could do to stay awake. Everytime you’d sit down, you’d almost fall asleep,” says Marlene. “Sitting down would also make my muscles relax. When I’d stand, they would get tight and bend. Then I’d be bent over trying to walk to stay warm.”
The group started out going three or four miles an hour; by the end of the hike they were down to barely one an hour. Marlene got blisters on her feet, but by the time she’d finished the hike, they’d popped. When she went to Sunday School the next day, she wore her dad’s slippers under a long dress.
Outdoor activities aren’t new to Marlene. Every year the girls in her ward go on “Puff’n Huff,” a 50-mile hike (but not in a 20-hour deadline) in the high Uintas. Last year as chairman, Marlene worked on collecting maps, raising money for tents, and suggesting pack equipment. The week-long outing ended with a 21-mile hike in the rain to reach cars and head for home.
Marlene has some great memories of camping with her ward. Like the trip when the girls had to borrow tents from the Scouts and then used bandaids to try and stop the water coming in through the holes. And leaving notes in a pitch-black, moss-covered cave for the Scouts who had discovered the cave the year before and who might return in the future. Her most vivid recollections involve a camping trip to Robber’s Roost Canyon in southern Utah. The group experienced desert flash floods and had to rappel off ten cliffs, some with 30-foot drops. They made it and had the rope burns to prove it.
It was Marlene’s Beehive adviser, Carolyn Rasmus, an associate professor in physical education at BYU, who got her interested in physical fitness. The Scouts had camped out nearly every weekend, including igloo camping in the winter. The Young Women decided that they wanted some of the fun, so they increased their activities to match.
A ninth grader, Marlene enjoys vaulting, skiing, and track events, as well as hiking. She enjoys individual sports because “you can blame yourself for failure.” And no matter how grueling the activity is at the time, “once you’re finished with it, it’s fun. It’s just when you’re there that it’s awful, and you only hope you will live through it.”
by Elder Craig Barr
Ohio Columbus Mission
Every year there is a big celebration down in Elkins, West Virginia, called the Forest Festival. To take part in the festival missionaries in the past have set up a display about some aspect of the Church. This year we decided to really do a good job.
Our display consisted of a giant painting of the Washington D.C. Temple. In fact, it was 8-by-12 feet and was painted by an artist in the branch in Elkins. To go with the painting, we obtained a tent 20-by-40 feet from the Army Reserve Depot at Charleston, West Virginia. We set up the tent behind the painting and showed movies to festival visitors. We ran Man’s Search for Happiness, Meet the Mormons, and The New Landmark, a film on the Washington D.C. Temple. On each side of the entrance we placed a display board and pamphlets. These were centered on the family, the family home evening program, and temple work. Floodlights were also set up. There was a blue light in front of the painting to enhance the beauty of the temple and white lights on the side to offset the color and light the display boards. The title of our booth was Why Families and Why Temples?
For four days we had from two to four missionaries at the booth. The response that we received was tremendous. We were kept busy day and night. Many people stopped and commented on the painting, and many others asked for pamphlets and wanted to see the movies. Others requested to hear the missionary lessons or signed our guest register and asked us to come and see them after the festival was over.
The last day there was a parade, and the special guest was President Gerald R. Ford. He stopped and waved to us when he saw the painting of the temple.
We closed down the booth that same evening. When we reflected back over those hurried days, we could see what a great success the booth had been. We had received over 40 referrals and many other verbal referrals. We had come in contact with people who requested that the missionaries come to their homes. Now we are busy teaching and are very grateful for the response that we had. We are especially grateful to those who donated time and talents to help make the display a success.
by Ugo Libardo, Brindisi [Italy] Branch
and Stefania Zitelli, Rome West Branch
There we were—150 young Latter-day Saints from the Italy Rome Mission—invading Paestum, a beautiful town along the shores of the famous “Costa Amalfitania,” to hold our fourth annual conference.
A clear sky, bright sunshine, and a calm and limpid sea formed the scene at Paestum, an ancient town to the south of Naples. Young Latter-day Saints had come from 18 branches in the Italy Rome Mission to gather for their conference. Finally, an occasion to meet each other, a time to enjoy the pleasures ot each other’s company, to feel united in the same joy and cheerfulness!
With the help of an efficient planning committee, young Italian Latter-day Saints were able to spend three full days in activities, games, swimming competitions, and social seminars. Special programs, roadshows, talents, folk dances, and sketches all created enthusiasm. Seminary, institute, temple marriage, and personal development were a few of the themes that leaders stressed. Talent evenings and dances concluded each busy day. Many prizes were awarded for winning musical talents such as guitar, flute, and singing, both native and foreign songs.
And what a beautiful opportunity to visit the ancient grounds where our ancestors lived! Paestum hides within itself the secrets of a great and old civilization. Ancient temples, streets, and ruins testify to its splendor and art. What a cultural and unforgettable experience!
From the very day of our arrival there was an atmosphere of friendship and cordiality. We were also blessed, as an answer to our prayers, with a warm sun that enabled us to fully enjoy the time and the activities prepared by the conference planning committee.
It seems like everything contributed to the success of the assembly: the comfortable hotel; nice swimming pool; green, relaxing meadow in the back of the hotel; interesting ruins of the Greek temples nearby, and, most of all, the special spirits of the young people gathered there.
Almost all the branches of the mission were represented, and each of them had something to contribute with a striking abundance and variety of talents. Very few missed the sports contests, and no one skipped the long-awaited Saturday night dance.
Our last day together was Sunday—a day to be near to our Heavenly Father. After two separate sessions, one for young women and one for young men, a final and touching testimony meeting was held.
The conference was a great help for both members and nonmembers. One youth said, “Before coming to Paestum, I had no idea that Mormons were so talented and such a special people.” When parting time came, many of these special Saints were already wondering about next year’s youth conference. And with gentle thoughts in their minds, all the young men and young women went back to their home cities and branches thankful for the memorable experience.