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Elder Delbert L. Stapley: A Lifetime of Service

When Delbert Leon Stapley of the Council of the Twelve died last August, he concluded a lifetime of devotion and service to his faith, his family, his country, his friends, and all those with whom he associated. But his work continues, said President Spencer W. Kimball: “He has served faithfully and well and now has closed that phase of his life, and every day he will learn more and more—this isn’t a time of rest; this is a time of work for him, and he will be glad to work with all those who have gone before.”

Elder Delbert L. Stapley

Work was a familiar word to Elder Stapley, who died at the age of 81 while walking near his home. He was born and reared in Mesa, Arizona, the second of nine children. As a young man he turned down an invitation to try out with a major league baseball team in order to fulfill a Southern States Mission. During World War I he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and later the Arizona National Guard. He remained a member for nine years, after which he retired as a major. Within the Church he has served as superintendent of a stake YMMIA, as a Scoutmaster, a member of the Maricopa Arizona Stake high council, counselor in the Phoenix Arizona Stake presidency, chairman of the Arizona Region Welfare Program, and was serving as stake president of the Phoenix Stake when called as an apostle 28 years ago.

During all his years of involvement in stake activities and general Church assignments as an apostle, Elder Stapley’s interest in Scouting never wavered. He helped form two councils in Arizona; has been awarded the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, and Silver Buffalo awards; received a 50-year award; and was a member of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. A statement from the First Presidency said of him, “The youth of the world had no greater champion than this rugged but tender man.”

Elder Stapley’s conference addresses often reflected this love of and concern for the youth of today. On one occasion he said: “Be aware … of the subtle workings of Satan, for he never stops trying to lead us astray. … We can see his workings more and more in the movies, television shows, magazines, and in the actions of men and nations.

“Keep in mind that good and evil can never be amalgamated into one. They are at opposite ends. They do not abide in harmony within a person.

“Free agency, if properly and wisely used, can bring opportunities for service in the kingdom of God. It will provide us with many choice heavenly blessings and an eternal celestial life of joy and happiness.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p. 32–33.)

Elder Stapley followed his own advice in every aspect of his life, becoming a respected and successful businessman as well as a dedicated Church member. He became chairman of the board of the O.S. Stapley Co., a family-owned hardware and implement business firm in Arizona, and was a member of the board of directors of several other businesses in Utah and Arizona. He also was active in community affairs, including serving as president of the Phoenix Better Business Bureau and on the Mesa City Council.

Elder Stapley married Ethel Burdette Davis in the Salt Lake Temple, and they are the parents of three children.

[Handmade Christmas Cards from the Philippines]

Christ and the Inner Life by Truman G. Madsen Bookcraft Publishers, $3.95, pp. 54

Following a series of lectures, a young lady waited to talk with Truman G. Madsen, professor of religion and philosophy from Brigham Young University. She knew, she said, that she must overcome her sins and draw nearer to the Savior, but her question was, “How?”

This short book is written in response to that question and answers it through a series of essays and personal experiences that motivate the reader to evaluate his own relationship with the Master. Throughout the writings, Christ is portrayed as he should be—at the center of the universe, in control of all things, and vitally concerned with our lives if we will but reach out to him.

The book is important not only because it shows through specific examples how to build a relationship with the Lord, but also because it leaves the reader with a deep, inner awareness of why he must do so.

Twenty Things to Do to Help Get in the Christmas Spirit

  1. 1.

    Get up half an hour earlier each morning for a week and make breakfast for the rest of the family.

  2. 2.

    Serenade your family with Christmas carols on the piano each morning before you leave for seminary or school.

  3. 3.

    Plan a special Christmas program with your brothers and sisters and present it for your parents and grandparents.

  4. 4.

    Go caroling around your neighborhood and leave a plate of cookies or fudge at each home you visit.

  5. 5.

    Write a Christmas song and sing it at family home evening, dinner, or on Christmas morning.

  6. 6.

    Make a book telling about different Christmas customs around the world and give it to your grandmother, aunt, or favorite teacher.

  7. 7.

    Put on a Christmas play or puppet show for all the children in your ward or neighborhood.

  8. 8.

    Knit a large sock for your father and fill it with things he likes or needs (since Santa Claus usually forgets to fill dad’s stocking!)

  9. 9.

    Help each of the children in your family make one new Christmas decoration for your house.

  10. 10.

    Greet the mailman at the door with a donut and hot chocolate.

  11. 11.

    Check with your friends and find out what their favorite Christmas traditions are and share yours with them.

  12. 12.

    Together with your parents buy a journal or notebook for each family member and begin it by writing a tribute to them on the first page.

  13. 13.

    Work on your genealogy and find at least one name to turn in.

  14. 14.

    After you have found this person and his nationality, find out what Christmas was like in his homeland and incorporate some of these customs into your own celebration.

  15. 15.

    Read Jesus the Christ each morning and your scriptures every night during December.

  16. 16.

    Talk to a good friend about the Church and ask him if he would like to come to your home to hear the missionary discussions.

  17. 17.

    Photograph all your family members and relatives and hang the pictures on your family Christmas tree.

  18. 18.

    Make your own Christmas cards using the pictures from old Christmas cards or your own illustrations.

  19. 19.

    Fill a stocking for the missionaries in your area or from your ward.

  20. 20.

    Read Matt. 1:18–25; Matt. 2:1–23; Luke 2:1–21; and 3 Ne. 1:1–26.

[Shelly Idaho Cochairmen]

History of the Church (Paperback Edition) Deseret Book Company, $12.95, 7 volumes, plus index

The History of the Church, written primarily by the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., (the final book is compiled from the writings of Brigham Young) has long been regarded as a thrilling source for understanding the influence of the restoration of the gospel in the lives of members of the latter-day Church. Its personalized accounts, complete texts of discourses, letters, and petitions lend detail and feeling to the study of Church history.

But it used to be necessary to travel to a library, or borrow the large, hard-bound volumes from someone who owned them, to be able to study them. Thanks to the publication of a paperback edition, this is no longer the case. The reduced costs of this new edition make it possible for most students to purchase the set for individual perusal and for most families to include it in their home library.

What’s more, the volumes, which cover the story of the Church from the childhood of Joseph Smith until the sustaining of Brigham Young as the second president, come packaged in a handy cardboard case that will keep them grouped together for quick reference.

Those searching for depth in their comprehension of the events of the early days of the Restoration would do well to include this inexpensive collection of narratives, facts, and data on their bookshelves.

[Richfield, Utah Nativity Scene]

[photo] Sending handmade Christmas cards always seems to be an extra special way of saying “Merry Christmas”—especially to the members of the Silay Branch in the Philippines. Last year, instead of buying construction paper and glitter at the corner drugstore, they climbed coconut trees and cut some of the burlap-like covering from the leaves. Once back on the ground, the members cut the material into the size and shape of Christmas cards, and then created designs that they later cut out and pasted on the cards. After the cards dried, they were embroidered and the edges sewn down. In addition to being a personal greeting from the islands, the Christmas cards were sold as a branch budget project.

[photo] The cochairmen of last year’s Shelley Idaho Stake youth committee had a lot of other things in common, too. Kent Marshall and Lori Fielding were both voted “Most Likely to Succeed” and “Mr. and Miss Scholar” respectively of their senior class at Shelley High School. In addition, Kent was valedictorian and Lori salutatorian at graduation, and both were members of the yearbook staff and active in other school affairs. They have served in class and quorum presidencies and on the executive seminary council. Kent now attends Brigham Young University and Lori is at Ricks College.

[photo] Fleecy, baaing sheep followed young shepherds under a canopy of bright, twinkly stars as wise men bearing precious gifts reverently entered the tiny stable. Not too far away the caroling voices of angels could be heard, and then the words, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.” The townspeople of Richfield, Utah, watched in thoughtful silence as the story of the First Christmas unfolded before them. They were spectators at last year’s live nativity scene presented by the Young Men and Young Women of the Richfield Third Ward, Richfield Utah Stake. The program, which has become an annual event, is triple cast, and is presented three times in one evening, giving everyone in Mutual the chance to participate.