“Habit is a cable. We weave a thread of it every day, and at last we cannot break it.”
Dancing in Tempe
Five thousand young people in colorful, fluorescent costumes streamed onto the football field in Tempe, Arizona, to form a huge, moving rainbow. It was the grand entrance for a six-region dance festival.
The dance festival, held in the 50,000-seat Arizona State University stadium, included eight large dance numbers taking up the entire football field, interspersed with smaller specialty numbers performed on a central platform. Taking the theme “Escape beyond the Horizon,” the festival was organized with each stake and region practicing on its own and getting together for the final rehearsals on the weekend of the performance. The festival was performed on one evening, complete with special effects and fireworks.
The logistics of putting together a festival with 5,000 participants was boggling, yet under the adept leadership of Murry and Nordessa Coates, the dances were choreographed and taught; hundreds of posters distributed; and the 25,000 yards of fabric, 2,500 zippers, and 100,000 silver spangles sewn into costumes.
When asked about her participation in the festival, ShiRey Kartchner of the Mesa West Stake said, “I was excited. I can remember the last dance festival held in Arizona. I was too young to be in it then, so I was glad for the opportunity.”
As the Arizona sun raised the temperatures during rehearsals, the young dancers relaxed and talked about life in Arizona.
In a word, they described their state as “hot,” yet they were quick to point out that LDS youth were involved in many good activities.
Mike Goodwin explained that as a member of the Church he has to set an example for his friends, and he learned, “you have to draw the line somewhere when your friends ask you to go with them.”
The public was invited to attend the festival free of charge, and missionaries had an opportunity to bring investigators. Many of the youth invited their friends as a way of introducing them to Mutual activities.
As the seats filled in the stadium the night of the performance and the rhythm of a cha-cha and the strains of a waltz filled the clear night, it was easy to see that, as the festival program proclaimed, “we have the power.”
Cory Arnold of the Orangeville Second Ward, Castle Dale Utah Stake, had an opportunity to enjoy his hobby. He was one of 30 high school juniors in the nation selected to participate in a six-week internship at Boston University, where he studied and experimented in physics and chemistry.
A senior at Emery County High School, Cory is involved in music, student government, and seminary council along with his studies. In his ward he serves as priesthood organist.
Going around in circles comes quite naturally for Stacy Hansen of the Taylor Second Ward in Ogden, Utah. She is a member of the United States Platform Tumbling Team and the United States AcroGymnastic Federation Women’s Power Tumbling Team. She is currently the only woman on both the power tumbling and platform tumbling teams.
Stacy says, “The difference between tumbling and gymnastics is that tumbling doesn’t use bars or beams. It is like floor exercise without the dance moves. Tumbling shows off the power of the tricks.”
Stacy holds the world record for tumbling difficulty and is on the United States World Champion Tumbling Team. She returned from the world competition in London with fifth place.
Walk in High Places
The young women of the Mount Vernon Washington Stake held a special Young Women’s conference with the theme “We Have Been Called to Walk in High Places.”
The 150 participants chose among 15 workshops on gospel subjects or self-improvement. Following a luncheon, a fashion show was held. Perhaps the highlight of the afternoon was a panel of four young men from a neighboring stake who agreed to answer questions on boys’ feelings about girls and dating.
That evening a special speaker addressed the theme of walking in high places. She encouraged the girls to “Stand up, stand tall, brush your hair back, and love yourselves.” After an excellent dinner, the stake president gave a brief address, followed by an opportunity for the girls to bear their testimonies.
Martin Harris Letter
A letter signed by Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, has been discovered and made known to the Church.
A private collector, Brent F. Ashworth of Provo, Utah, purchased the letter that was written on January 13, 1873 in Smithfield, Utah, when Martin Harris was 89 years old. The letter reaffirms the testimony of Martin Harris and is significant because it carries his signature.
The letter reads in part: “I now solemnly state that as I was praying unto the Lord that I might behold the ancient record, lo there appeared to view a holy Angel, and before him a table, and upon the table the holy spectacles or Urim and Thummim, and other ancient relics of the Nephites, and lo, the Angel did take up the plates, and turn them over so as we could plainly see the engravings thereon, and Io there came a voice from heaven saying ‘I am the Lord,’ and that the plates were translated by God and not by men, and also that we should bear record of it to all the world.”
Martin Harris had been interviewed several times about his testimony printed in the Book of Mormon, but this letter is the only known statement that carries his signature.
Say It in Esperanto
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to speak to people in other countries without having to learn dozens of languages? Many people have thought so and have learned an international language called Esperanto.
The language, created by a Polish physician in 1887, uses just 16 grammar rules with no exceptions. Spelling is simplified, and pronunciation has assigned each letter only one sound. The Book of Mormon has been translated but has yet to be printed for general distribution. In the Esperanto version, the scripture in 2 Nephi 2:25 would read, “Adam falis, tial ke la homo ekzistu; la homo ekzistas tial ke li havu gojon.”
In the interest of missionary work, a group of Mormons who have learned the Esperanto language have formed an organization to translate and distribute LDS literature in Esperanto to anyone interested. The organization, called Por-Esperanta Mormonaro, received inquiries about the Church as a result of the literature printed in Esperanto and has referred more than 200 names to the appropriate missions.
The Por-Esperanta Mormonaro organization can be contacted at Box 7222 University Station, Provo, Utah 84602. Please enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply.
New BYU Admissions Policy
High school is important!
Classes in foreign languages, mathematics, communication skills, social studies, and laboratory sciences should be stressed in high school if a student wants to attend Brigham Young University.
The Brigham Young University Board of Trustees has approved a new admissions policy to encourage better preparation by prospective BYU students while they are still in high school.
BYU president Jeffrey R. Holland says that under the new program, completion of strong basic subjects in high school will matter more in BYU admissions and scholarship evaluations than traditional grade point averages and ACT scores, although the latter will still be factors in the admissions and scholarship formulas.
“High school courses taken in college preparatory and advanced placement subjects will be given greater weight than the sometimes superficial attaining of high grades in less-than-substantial courses,” the president explained. “We want to reward the serious students who have best prepared themselves to make the BYU experience count.”
He said particular emphasis will be placed on preparation in the two basic symbol systems—language and numbers—which are necessary in the communication of ideas. In language, BYU strongly recommends four units of English. In numbers, the recommendation is at least two units of mathematics beyond basic algebra—preferably in geometry and intermediate algebra.
In addition, strong courses in social science, laboratory science, foreign language, and other college preparatory subjects will give applicants a definite admissions advantage.
“With this new emphasis,” Holland said, “we want to counter the attitude of some college hopefuls who say, ‘I can’t jeopardize my academic future by taking tough courses. I’ll float and keep my GPA high.’ To these students we are saying that we will be far more impressed with a B in a college preparatory class than an A in something else.”
The president emphasized that the program is based on “strong recommendations” rather than requirements, and flexibility will be a key factor in admissions considerations.
“For example, prospective students who have not fulfilled all of BYU’s recommendations but have done well in ACT scores and grade point averages will still receive the fairest of reviews,” Holland said. “We strongly encourage such students to apply.”
Because BYU is sponsored by the LDS church, the new admissions program has been structured to serve a broad spectrum of prospective students. Of course, moral worthiness and adherence to LDS standards will still be paramount. As President Holland put it, “We will make no compromises here. A bishop’s confidential recommendation will still be basic to our admission procedure.”
BYU admissions officers will continue to recognize special talents, exceptional creativity, and other unusual preparation for university study not otherwise revealed in standard admission data.
“Furthermore, a student’s record will be evaluated based on the curriculum available at the high school attended,” the president stated. “We certainly will not discriminate against students from schools where the curriculum may be limited.
“What we are saying to prospective BYU students is that their high school years are very important and that they can have fine, strong learning experiences in secondary school,” Holland said. “The responsibility for preparation is placed squarely on their shoulders and, by extension, the shoulders of their parents.
“We hope our new policy will give senior high and even junior high school students additional incentive to enroll in challenging and advanced courses without fear of jeopardizing their admissions because of possible lower grades.”
Adopt a Grandparent
When the teenagers of the Bountiful 29th Ward speak of their grandparents, the listener could get confused. True, they might be referring to their mother’s parents or their father’s parents, but they might also be talking about their “adopted” grandparents.
The bishopric youth committee of the ward decided to embark on what has turned out to be an exciting service project. Near the ward are two care centers where a large number of aging patients reside. Some of the patients have no family, or if they do, the family lives some distance away from the care center and is unable to visit often. It was decided that if every young person in the ward were to adopt one of the patients as a “grandparent,” the young people could provide some much-needed companionship for the lonely patients.
Youth in the ward try to visit their “grandparents” at least once a week. Sometimes they play chess with them or read to them. Often they just talk. The grandparents love to reminisce, and they are happy for the new friends. When Kim Bailey and Julie Bradford were visiting with Billy, a semiretarded patient at the care center, he looked up at them and said simply, “Do you mind if I like you?” Julie and Kim found that it was easy to be friends.
Members of the Beehive class and several of the other girls have quilted lap blankets for their grandparents. Shelley Moss took the quilt to her grandmother for a Christmas present. “When she received it we all cried, and it made the whole adopt-a-grandparent program worthwhile. Now every time I go to Della, my quilt is folded nicely on the edge of the bed.”
Kathleen Kirkham, president of the Mia Maid class, explained that “many of our class members are at the point where they don’t have to go to visit their grandparents, but they want to go.”
Tuevo Jones, a priest, said that “although it may seem a bit of a bother, I always walk out of the care center with a better feeling than when I went in.”
The Right Type
Renae Bake and Tammi Lyn Wilbur took first and second places in a national typing contest. The contest, with 2,600 entrants, took place in Nashville, Tennessee.
Renae was also named outstanding student from her high school. She is the student body secretary and participates in varsity volleyball and softball. She is a member of the Parma Idaho Ward, Nyssa Oregon Stake.
Tammi is the pep club president and an honor student at her high school. She is the Laurel president and teaches the three-year-old children in the Caldwell Third Ward, Caldwell Idaho Stake.
Twelve-year-old Josephine Pine is a leader in both school and church. Josephine leads the singing in the Libmanan Branch, Philippines Manila Mission, and in school, she is president of student government.
Besides her church position as chorister, Josephine is interested in singing and plays the guitar. She recently received an award for being the most active Girl Scout in Libmanan province.
Jill Holiday, 17, of the Broomfield Second Ward, Boulder Colorado Stake, has received recognition for her achievements in three sports: track, basketball, and cross-country. She received the Ruby Miller Outstanding Athlete award for the Skyline League. Jill set a state high school record for the 800-meter run, took fourth place in state cross-country competition, and was selected all-district, all-conference in basketball.
Jill plays the piano in her ward and is one of the counselors in her Laurel class presidency.
Red Carpet Evening
The enthusiastic young people of the Cleveland First Ward, Huntington Utah Stake treated the senior citizens in their ward to a Red Carpet Honor Night. The Young Men, dressed in suits and ties, first delivered an invitation to each home. Then on the night of the activity, they served as chauffeurs and escorts; they drove to each home, rolled out the red carpet, and escorted their guests to the meetinghouse. There they seated the elderly members of their ward and served them a delicious meal prepared by the Young Women.
After dinner, the senior ward members were seated in a semicircle at the front of the auditorium. They were each given an opportunity to tell how they arrived in the community, what life was like when they were growing up, and how they met their companions. They also answered questions from the audience, offered several good words of advice to the youth, and thanked them for a wonderful evening.
Southern central Pennsylvania may never be the same. Four youth conferences with 900 LDS youth participants from four states and the District of Columbia met in Pennsylvania to learn to reach out to members and nonmembers alike.
As part of the programs held on three of Pennsylvania’s most historic college campuses at York, Wilson, and Shippensburg State, the young people and their leaders presented officials with copies of the Book of Mormon or other tokens of appreciation.
Not only did the Mormon youth extend themselves to each other at workshops, seminars, sporting events, dances, and testimony meetings, they also took part in service projects and became involved in community clean-up campaigns.
The four conferences included youth from Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.