FYI: For Your Information


No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

—Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

[Andy Winkler]

Andy Winkler could have breezed through the required high school courses of U.S. government and senior English and could have graduated at the top of his class at the usual age of 18. But instead, he not only completed high school graduation requirements, but had 47 college credits on his transcript when he graduated—at the age of 16. From then on it was full steam ahead, as Andy fulfilled requirements for a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Brigham Young University before his 19th birthday. In addition, he completed 30 hours of graduate classes, taught a math class, was a math lab assistant, instructed a linear algebra class for gifted sixth-grade students, and participated on the BYU soccer team and with the International Folk Dancers. Andy is currently serving a Spanish-speaking mission in San Diego and plans to pursue university graduate degrees when he returns.

[Sandra Tolman]

Sandra Tolman of the Bancroft Ward, Soda Springs Idaho Stake, took first place in the one-mile event at the Idaho State Track Meet. A sophomore in high school, Sandra also placed second in the two-mile event. Sandra has other interests besides sports. She works in the Primary nursery, attends seminary, and is sophomore class president.

[Michael Bingham]

Because of his active and enthusiastic participation in school, Church, and community activities, Michael Bingham was awarded the 1980 Youth Citizenship Award by the Lodi, California, Soroptimist Club. Michael, a priest in the Lodi Second Ward, Stockton California East Stake, is the student-body president at Lodi High School; serves as a student representative to the district school board; has been chairman of the education, campus beautification, and ethnic relations committees; developed the present high school examination schedule; was a member of the northern California state championship soccer team in 1979; and received first place in a city-wide essay contest. A straight-A student, Michael has earned his Eagle Award, the Duty to God and On My Honor awards, 44 merit badges, and has fulfilled a two-week youth mission for the Church.

“The Twelve Days of Christmas Mystery” hits Tustin, California

The Twelve Days of Christmas Mystery in Tustin, California, was perplexing many of the townspeople. Ten widows in town opened their doors for 11 nights straight to find gifts left on their doorsteps—but the gift-givers had vanished.

Soon the widows were calling their friends to try to solve the mystery. Who was leaving all the goodies? But nobody knew anything about the presents, except that they kept coming. First it was a “partridge in a pear tree” attached to a can of pears. The next evening it was “two turtle doves” nestled in a braided wreath attached to a jar of jelly. Then “three French hens” made of calico, covering a can of chicken, arrived. And the presents kept coming.

On the 12th night the widows were greeted by the sweet sound of Christmas carols outside their windows—and the mystery was solved! The Young Women of the Tustin Third Ward, Orange California Stake, had been playing pixie for the widows with some delivery help from the Scouts in the ward. The girls presented the widows with final gifts of large poinsettias and handmade drums filled with homemade cookies, and left understanding the mystery of the Christmas spirit a little bit better.

English Saints Write Modern-day Parables

The young members of the Staines England Stake were studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ when their teacher presented a lesson on parables with a new twist: based on experiences in their everyday lives, the students were to write their own parables.

Bishop David S. Baxter of the Kingston-Upon-Thames Ward, the course instructor for the young adults, explained that members of his class followed Christ’s example of looking at life around them and drawing analogies between what they saw and spiritual truths.

Both the students and the teacher were so satisfied with the parables written that they had them printed and stapled together in a booklet. Some of the parables included:

“The Manager and the Firm,” by Ivan Holding of the Addlestone Branch. This tells of a manager who left strict instructions about running the business with his assistants when he left on vacation. The assistants didn’t follow his instructions but tried to do things their own way. When the manager returned, he was angry because his workers hadn’t followed his guidance.

“The Parable of the Musician,” by Tom Smith of the Kingston Ward. Presented in his parable are two music students, one who practiced diligently and one who didn’t. The musician who didn’t practice was eventually dismissed from school.

“Parable of a Little Boy,” by Jill Greenfield of the Slough Ward. Jill wrote of a woman who watched a lady on the other side of the street send her five-year-old son to school alone each day. The woman thought the mother was negligent until she found out the mother was staying home to take care of another child who was an invalid.

“The Parable of the Centrifuge,” by Caroline Vincent of the Staines Ward. Described here are the difficulties encountered by a technician who tried to service the centrifuge himself instead of having a factory authorized service representative do the work. As a result he voided his warranty. “Anyone could have the (servicing) handbook, but only one company had the authority,” the story said.

Bishop Baxter says he plans to use the parable writing lesson again in the future.

Big Results

A small branch with big ideas can accomplish a lot—and do a lot of good at the same time, too. That’s what the members of the Toukley Branch, Sydney Australia Newcastle Stake, discovered when they pooled their talents to put on a family fun musical that helped strengthen testimonies and introduce nonmembers to the Church.

Twenty parents and 21 youths worked together for five months of rehearsals to perfect the show. The parents helped with make-up, costumes, ticket sales, promotion, and orchestra, and the young people performed on stage.

“It made me feel good to have mum in the production,” said Shelly Benson, one of the performers. “I felt that I could lean on her for encouragement.”

The purposes behind the show were to help the building fund (the branch has land but not a chapel), to commemorate the Sesquicentennial, to serve as a missionary tool, and to create a fun experience for adults and the youth of the branch.

Sister Gayle Shearim wrote the play, weaving in concepts from the plan of salvation. Because the Toukley Branch is small, she invited members from neighboring wards to participate, too. Since the stake boundaries are 150 miles north to south, and 40 miles across, some participants had quite a commute.

But the results made all the hard work worth it, they said. Not only did the show bring the performers closer, two baptisms were reported as a direct result of the play, two inactive members were reactivated, and over 2,000 people were exposed to the gospel in Sydney, Newcastle, Gosford, and Toukley, Australia—big results for a little branch.

The Great Christmas Present Hunt

What to get mom, dad, Aunt Sophronia or sister Susi for Christmas doesn’t need to boggle your mind. A Church book may be just the answer—and some of the new books may be just the present for a relative or friend. A few suggestions may help:

A lively approach to having fun while exploring your family history is found in Fun and Names, or How to Dig Your Family History Without Really Prying, by George D. Durrant and Noel R. Barton, Bookcraft, $4.95. My Home Runneth Over by Gordon T. Allred, Bookcraft, $5.5, gives a humorous look at life with mom, dad, and 11 children. A Mother’s Love by Leon R. Hartshorn, Horizon Publishers, $4.95, takes a look at the influence and calling of mothers.

Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story by Truman G. Madsen, Bookcraft, $9.5, traces the colorful life of Roberts, from the barefoot boy crossing 900 miles of plains to the General Authority elected to Congress and denied his office because of his Church membership. Brother Brigham by Eugene England, Bookcraft, $5.95, uses newly available letters and diaries of Brigham Young to give insight to his life. John D. Whetten’s Living by the Spirit, Bookcraft, $4.95, documents statements about the Holy Ghost by early leaders of the Church.

“Christlike persons I know seem to have a special understanding of charity,” writes Vaughn J. Featherstone in Charity Never Faileth, Deseret Book, $6.95, in which he explores charity through experiences with other people and scriptural examples. Marking the Scriptures by Daniel H. Ludlow, Deseret Book, $2.95, gives suggestions for scripture study and using the new LDS edition of the Bible. To Reach Even Unto You by James E. Faust, Deseret Book, $6.95, provides insight on reaching family members, associates, and oneself. The Family Idea Book by Mina S. Coletti and Roberta Kling Giesea, Deseret Book, $4.95, gives handy tips about family home evening and family traditions.

It’s not too often that a group of young LDS performers tapes a 90-minute special for the People’s Republic of China, but that’s what BYU’s Young Ambassadors did this past summer. China Central Television filmed the performers as they put on a show for a crowd of 1,800 at Peking’s Red Tower Theater. The special was aired across China to an estimated viewing audience of one hundred million.

[photo] Andy Winkler, center, 19-year-old graduate of BYU, helps Tauna Perry and Kevin Kapp with a problem in a linear algebra class he taught at Rock Canyon Elementary School in Provo

[photo] Sandra Tolman

[photo] Michael Bingham

[illustrations] Art by Aldonna Powers