FYI: For Your Information


Four New General Authorities Called

Elders Ronald E. Poelman, Derek A. Cuthbert, Robert L. Backman, and Rex C. Reeve, Sr., have been called to the First Quorum of the Seventy. The calls were announced during April 1978 general conference, bringing the number of members in the quorum to 47.

Elder Poelman has served as a bishop, high councilor, Sunday School teacher, bishop’s counselor, part-time seminary teacher, and counselor in a stake presidency. He fulfilled a mission to the Netherlands previous to graduating from the University of Utah Law School and the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration. Prior to his call he was vice-president, corporate secretary, and a director of Consolidated Freightways, Inc. He and his wife, Claire Stoddard Poelman, lived in Los Altos, California, and have four children.

Elder Cuthbert has served as the mission president of the Scotland Edinburgh Mission and as a Regional Representative, stake president, counselor in a stake presidency, and counselor to four mission presidents. He is a graduate of the University of Nottingham in England and has served in the Royal Air Force. Previous to his call as mission president he was commercial manager for British Celanese Limited. He and his wife, Muriel Olive Mason Cuthbert, have ten children.

Before his call as a General Authority, Elder Backman served as a Regional Representative and a marriage sealer in the Salt Lake Temple. He has been the general president of the Aaronic Priesthood MIA, a member of the YMMIA general board, president of the Northwestern States Mission, counselor in a stake presidency, member of a bishopric, and has completed a mission in the former Northern States Mission. He graduated from the University of Utah Law School and served in the Utah House of Representatives. He and his wife, Virginia Pickett Backman, have seven daughters.

At the time of his call, Elder Reeve was serving as the mission president of the California Anaheim Mission. He also has been a stake patriarch, Regional Representative, stake president, counselor in four different stake presidencies, bishop, ward clerk, and a youth leader. He is a graduate of Snow College and LDS Business College, both in Utah, and has been an executive of Meadow Gold Dairies and on the board of directors of several businesses and organizations. He was awarded the Silver Beaver Award by the Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He and his wife, Phyllis Mae Nielsen Reeve, are the parents of seven children.

“Eagles In Action”

Eagles soar. Not content to stay in one place, they see more, seek more, and accomplish more than is required. Eagle Scouts are the same way—determined, hardworking, and dedicated, they too soar to heights of excellence. This month, the New Era will begin a feature in the FYI section giving recognition to Eagle Scouts throughout the Church. Regularly we will spotlight one or more Eagle Scouts; if you have information which would be appropriate for this column, please send it to “Eagles in Action,” FYI Editor, New Era, 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.

This month’s Eagles in Action include Gary Smith of Spanish Fork, Utah, who was elected a national vice-president of Exploring during the eighth National Explorer President’s Congress held in Washington, D.C., last spring. One of his goals is to increase communication through newsletters and area conferences. Gary is also serving as Exploring chairman of the Boy Scouts of America’s 10-state Western Region.

Serving as Mountain West Area II chairman of the Western Region is Max Meng of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Area II includes Idaho, Utah, and western Wyoming. When Max was nine years old, his father took him on a week-long backpacking trip in the Sawtooth Wilderness area of Idaho, and Max has been a devoted backpacker and hiker ever since.

Three brothers from Rexburg, Idaho, all received their Eagle Awards within a year of each other. Because of the Teton Dam flood, the two oldest boys, Blake and Greg Parkinson, were slowed down in completing their Scout work. Not long after they did receive their Eagle awards, their younger brother, Dwight, also earned his.

A 13-year-old Eagle Scout from Sunnymead, California, designed the community flag and seal as part of his Eagle requirements. Adam Harral submitted the two designs to the Moreno Valley Chamber of Commerce, and after they were accepted, he cut out and put the flag together. When it was completed, he took it with him to the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Pennsylvania where it was posted with the flags from various cities throughout the nation. Upon his return home, Adam carried the flag in the Moreno Valley parade for its official presentation to the community. He was later given a plaque from the Sunnymead Chamber of Commerce in recognition of his community service.

Musical Missionaries

The spicy aroma of teriyaki chicken greeted the members of the Healdsburg Ward, Santa Rosa California Stake, and their nonmember friends as they entered the cultural hall. The promise of a delicious dinner was fulfilled, followed by a song-and-dance program presented by 26 members of the ward who called themselves the “Healdsburg Kids.” It was a missionary dinner where any family who brought a nonmember was invited to eat for free.

“Everyone was pleased with the results of their efforts and were relieved when it was over!” said Elder Brent Mortensen, who was a member of the “Healdsburg Kids” and is currently serving a mission in Montana. “We didn’t realize at the time that it was really the beginning of an even greater missionary activity.”

Shortly after the dinner, Sister Kaye Davis suggested that the ward present its dinner show at the recently completed Historical Society Museum in Healdsburg. The members of the Church would decorate, provide the food and entertainment, cook, serve, and clean up, with all proceeds going to the museum.

The Society, after being assured that all they would have to do would be sell tickets, accepted the offer. The “Healdsburg Kids,” who had begun performing together five years before with seven members, eagerly accepted the challenge of three rehearsals a week for the next month. A special fast was held, and concluded with prayer, followed by a cast dinner and another rehearsal. The night of the dinner arrived, and the cast was excited! “We wanted to show the non-Mormons what the Church does for the youth, that it is a family-centered Church,” said Elder Mortensen.

Highlights of the evening included “An American Trilogy” (a medley comprised of old-time favorites) and a medley called “America’s Music Through the Years.” The program concluded with “Love at Home.” “We could feel the Spirit of the Lord,” said Elder Mortensen.

“It was a big job to prepare, both physically and spiritually, but it was fun and well-worth the effort! The seventies have been able to teach several people who first became interested in the Church after seeing the program. We discovered that a small ward can have success in missionary work. At one time all the wards in the Church were small. The Church is true in all parts of the world, and it’s our responsibility to make sure our neighbors know about it!” he added.

New Verse Added to “I Am a Child of God”

As the pioneers crossed the plains, they would often raise their voices in song. They sang in thankfulness for escaping from their enemies, for belonging to loving families, and for having the blessings of the gospel brought into their lives; they also sang when the wagon wheels got stuck, the food ran low, and the snow came early. Since those early days, music has played an important role in strengthening the faith, determination, and courage of the Latter-day Saints. We are taught to sing when we’re happy, to sing when we feel tempted, to sing when we’re weary. We all have our favorites—those we choose when it’s our turn to lead the singing at family home evening or when we are sitting with friends around a campfire in the mountains—but one that seems to be loved by all is “I Am a Child of God.” At April 1978 conference a new verse was introduced, written by Naomi W. Randall, author of the original three verses. The words to the entire song follow:

I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
Chorus: Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.
I am a child of God,
And so my needs are great;
Help me to understand his words,
Before it grows too late.
I am a child of God,
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will
I’ll live with him once more.
I am a child of God;
His promises are sure.
Celestial glory shall be mine
If I can but endure.

[Lisa Frei, Student-body President]

A “Grand” Visit

by Revell Butler

The sunburns and callouses have faded away, but the memories of our visit last summer to the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon still fill a special place in the hearts of the Young Women from the Sacramento Fourth Ward, Sacramento California Stake.

Eighteen girls and six chaperons participated in the unforgettable trip that took almost an entire year to plan and prepare. Participation in fund-raising projects, committee work, and faithful attendance at sacrament meetings were requirements, and by the time the morning for the trip to begin arrived, we were excited and eager to go.

We spent the first night at the rim of the Grand Canyon and early the next morning hiked down into it, arriving at the Indian village right before lunchtime. We were welcomed by Brother and Sister Bigler, stake missionaries on the reservation. After leaving them, we hiked to Fifty Foot Falls and made camp. It was only about a two-mile walk, but in the 120-degree heat even three feet seemed like quite a journey. After an afternoon of swimming, we spent the evening singing song after song around the campfire. It was sprinkling a little, which was a refreshing treat after all the hot, dusty hiking of the afternoon.

The next day was Sunday, and as we walked into the village, our sandals filled with the soft, powder-like dirt that lined the streets of the village. Our dresses were slightly wrinkled from being in our backpacks, and we received a few curious glances as we walked toward the church.

After the warm, friendly service and a luscious dinner with the Biglers, Doug Butler (a chaperon) announced that he had spoken with the bishop and was going to be baptized the next morning in the river near where we camped. The girls were delighted and all agreed that this was the perfect ending to a spiritual and memorable afternoon.

The next two mornings were devoted to a playschool the girls had planned for the Indian children. Kathy Epling was in charge and had arranged for books, small crafts, crayons, and coloring books to be given to the children. She had planned activities that included reading stories to the children, showing them a missionary filmstrip, and helping them to plant poppy seeds in paper cups as a remembrance of the visit.

Tuesday evening the girls presented a musical program at the community center. They sang songs (mostly camp favorites) for an hour and a half before the spectators would let them stop. The next morning we started for home, stopping at Boulder Dam and swimming in the ice-cold Colorado River in the afternoon. Glacier Point and Yosemite Village were our final stops before arriving home.

We shared many things during the nine days we lived together—food, shampoo, towels—but the most meaningful things we shared weren’t tangible. We shared hard work and often unbearable weather. We shared special experiences that will never leave any of us quite the same again. We laughed together and cried together, and drew closer together because of it. We all came to know each other a little better as we gave of ourselves to others and shared in the special joy that comes from giving.

“Monument to Women” Completed at Nauvoo

“A beautiful, modest, gracious woman,” said President David O. McKay, “is creation’s masterpiece. When to these virtues a woman [adds] … righteousness and godliness and an irresistible impulse and desire to make others happy, no one will question if she be classed among those who are truly great.” (Gospel Ideals, Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1953, p. 449.)

More and more, forces in society seem to be seeking to destroy the divine concept of womanhood expressed by President McKay. Yet, it is just as important and just as possible today for young women to endeavor to become “beautiful, modest, and gracious” women as it has ever been. In honor of strong, faithful women who are committed to high ideals and principles, the Relief Society has erected a “Monument to Women” at Nauvoo, Illinois. The monument is a park consisting of 13 life-size sculptures of women participating in different activities that depict the areas of a woman’s influence in home, Church, and community.

“This monument is a statement of faith in God and faith in self,” said Relief Society general president Barbara B. Smith. “It expresses our hope for the future, inspires courage to meet adversity, and offers direction that will lead us to do much good.

“We hope that every woman seeing these bronze figures will see herself stepping into the future, confidently, with her head held high, knowing that there is within her the capacity for eternal progression and the strength to meet whatever life has to offer.”

The park, which was dedicated in June, was financed in part by contributions from the 1.2 million members of the Relief Society in more than 65 nations.

A Sign of Love

A private code would keep their secrets safe! She wanted something the other sixth graders wouldn’t be able to figure out, so 11-year-old Michelle Hansen decided to learn sign language. After memorizing the alphabet, she taught it to her friends, and for the rest of the year they had fun quietly communicating their thoughts, dreams, and plans.

When Michelle and her family later moved to Puyallup, Washington, the old gang was broken up, but Michelle retained her skill in sign language, never suspecting that this talent would someday help unite a class of nine-year-old Targeteers.

Michelle’s mother was called to teach the Targeteer A class in Primary, which included a deaf child named Kim Hunt. Sister Hansen was talking to her family about the situation, wondering what she could do to help Kim feel more a part of the group. Michelle, then 16, told her mother she knew some sign language and volunteered to accompany her to Primary and translate the lesson for Kim.

Beginning the second week, Michelle took five minutes each class period to teach the rest of the girls to say hello and to tell Kim their names. She gave them each a copy of the alphabet and continues to teach them as much as possible. Her younger sister, Hope, is also in the class and helps Michelle teach the signs.

Michelle has since taken two classes in sign language and has volunteered in the Seattle Washington Stake to interpret conferences and other meetings for the deaf. Because of her willingness and desire to share her talent to help others, Michelle has seen a little girl who was once only a silent observer at Primary become an eager, happy listener.

Leadership, Volume Three by Sterling W. Sill Bookcraft Publishers, $5.95, pp. 340

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, every member is a leader. Sometimes leadership opportunities come in the form of a calling to serve in a quorum or class presidency, as a teacher, or maybe a chorister. Other types of leadership include encouraging your family to have home evening together, helping a younger brother or sister understand the principle of honesty, setting a good example for classmates and neighbors, listening and offering encouragement to a friend who is losing faith in himself or his abilities. In his latest book, Leadership (volume three), Elder Sterling W. Sill offers insight into all types of leadership situations, presenting principles that are not only important as we serve in official capacities but also in our everyday relationships with other people.

Elder Sill uses stories, scriptures, poetry, and personal experiences to make the principles of leadership understandable and exciting. He gives the example of Mohandas Gandhi, a great leader in India, a “self-remade man.” In his youth Gandhi had considered himself a coward, a man of low self-control with a bad temper, but through determination and commitment he was able to master these weaknesses. He believed strongly in the importance of commitment to principle. Because his mother felt that eating meat was wrong, he made a pledge to her to remain a vegetarian all his life. Many years after his mother had died, when Gandhi became very ill, the doctors tried to persuade him that if he would drink a little beef broth it might save his life. But Gandhi refused, saying, “Even for life itself we may not do certain things. There is only one course open to me—to die, but never to break my pledge.”

Elder Sill comments, “Just think what would happen to the Church if every one of us had that kind of integrity and self-control. Since the development of strength in one area quickly extends itself into other areas, by a practice of this kind of self-discipline we could make ourselves stronger than anything that can happen to us.” (P. 167.)

Elder Sill discusses the need for organization and planning, for recognizing problems and determining solutions, for gaining strength through difficulties, for giving our best efforts in every calling. Careful reading and application of the principles contained within this book can help all of us to become happier and more effective leaders.

[Alan Brown Wins Mathematics Contest]

A Journey Halfway Around the World

Mark Bennett from Camarillo, California, is not only into Russian, but has been into Russia as well. As a priest from the Camarillo First Ward, Camarillo California Stake, Mark was one of three high school students who participated with several college students in a four-week travel study program in Moscow and Kiev in the summer of 1977.

“We studied the language three hours each morning, and spent the afternoons visiting places of interest in Russia,” explained Mark. Because he was the only LDS participant, he conducted his own personal worship services on Sunday.

Mark’s firsthand experiences in the Soviet Union helped him earn the title of champion of the Southern California Regional Olympiad of Spoken Russian last February. A panel of teachers and professors asked contestants questions on everyday life in Russia, literature, culture, geography, and history. Participants were then given a half hour to prepare an oral summary of a story in Russian. After winning the Southern California title, Mark went on to place third in the Olympiad’s Pacific Coast regional competition in Seattle, Washington.

Mark, a 1978 graduate of Camarillo High School, is a freshman at Brigham Young University.

The Unknown God by Elder Mark E. Petersen Bookcraft Publishers, $4.95, pp. 186

Throughout the centuries, young men and women have asked the questions: “Who is God? Does he really exist? Does he love me?” In his new book, The Unknown God, Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Council of the Twelve declares that there is a God, a loving Heavenly Father, and that his Son is Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

Elder Petersen promises that:

“Every one of us can have a personal relationship with God through prayer and righteous living.

“God does answer sincere prayer. Hence he can help you solve your problems—right now.

“If you have sinned seriously, he will still help you to overcome your weaknesses—right now.

“If you feel rejected because of what you may have done, be assured that God will forgive, forget, and help you to rise above the mistakes of life—right now.

“If you think no one cares about you, remember that God is your Father. He loves you and can put you back on the road to happiness.

“He will not free you from temptation, he will not exempt you from suffering, but he will help you to overcome them. He will show you how to cope with mortal life and succeed. His greatest desire is for us to have the best there is.

“But to obtain all of this, we must learn to know him. We must study about him. We must associate ourselves with his Church in an active way, and earn our blessings.” (P. 4.)

In an interesting and clear manner, Elder Petersen analyzes the false concepts and understandings of God that have developed through the ages and shows how misunderstanding and disbelief have kept and continue to keep people from developing a strong and loving relationship with God. He combines scientific and historical evidence with his testimony and the testimony of the scriptures and of great men from all times. The result is a marvelous new witness to the reality of God.

President Kimball to Address Women

President Spencer W. Kimball will present a special “fireside chat” for Mormon women 12 years of age and older in a live broadcast from Temple Square on September 16.

He will speak over closed-circuit radio to hundreds of LDS meetinghouses and other locations in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, and over closed-circuit television to some of the gatherings in the United States. The address will be translated into other major languages, and cassette tape recordings will be mailed to Church leaders in non-English-speaking parts of the world.

The worldwide “gathering” will be similar in nature to the semi-annual Mormon priesthood conferences in the Tabernacle.

“We are excited about the prospect of a personal message from President Kimball to a potential audience of a million and a half women and girls,” said Ruth H. Funk, former general president of the Young Women, which is sponsoring the event.

[photo] Lisa Frei, an active member of the Las Vegas Nevada 39th Ward, Henderson Nevada West Stake, is the first girl to be elected student-body president at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will serve during the 1978–79 school year. Chaparral High enrolls more than 3,000 students, making it the largest high school in the state of Nevada. Lisa has been active in student government since she entered high school, serving as freshman class secretary, sophomore class vice-president, and as a member of the junior class committee.

[photo] Any way you figure it, Alan Brown is not likely to end up with an unbalanced checkbook, and he probably won’t have very many problems deciding if one giant-size can of pork and beans is a better buy than two medium-size cans, either. A member of the Holladay Fourth Ward, Salt Lake Holladay South Stake, Alan recently claimed his fourth consecutive first-place title in the Utah State Mathematics Contest. In addition, he was one of four students in the nation who received a perfect score on the Annual High School Mathematics Examination. A cellist with the Utah Youth Symphony, Alan plans to attend Brigham Young University to prepare for a career in applied mathematics or computer science.