FYI: For Your Information


From Flin Flon to Winnipeg

Mention the Echo Valley Recreation Centre, nestled in the hills of the beautiful Qu’Appelle Valley near Regina, Saskatchewan, to 200 Canadians and be ready for a flood of smiles, laughter, and excited recounting of memories. You will hear tales of traveling as far as 800 miles, practicing hours and hours to perfect an original skit or musical number, participating in workshops, listening to inspiring speakers, and sharing testimonies—all part of last summer’s Canada Winnipeg Mission youth conference.

Cars began arriving Friday evening from such diverse places as Thunder Bay and Fort Francis, Ontario; Flin Flon, Manitoba; and from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. The theme for the weekend, “Come Follow Me,” was introduced with a dramatic presentation by the youth conference committee, followed by original skits or musical numbers from each branch.

The weekend continued at a high level of excitement and activity as young Latter-day Saints discovered that friendships needn’t be confined to branch boundaries. A highlight of the conference was a visit from President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve. After addressing the youth at a special meeting, President Benson met and shook hands with as many young people as possible, adding more special memories to an already long-to-be-remembered weekend.

Jerusalem Park to Include Orson Hyde Gardens

Trees, plants, and shrubbery compatible with Jerusalem’s native climate will line the paths wandering through a verdant 5 1/4-acre garden soon to be built on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. The area will be known as the Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens in honor of the Latter-day Saint apostle who on October 24, 1841, offered a prayer dedicating Israel for the gathering of the Jews. A large plaque to be mounted in a grotto amphitheater inside the gardens will be written in Arabic, English, and Hebrew and will feature excerpts from Elder Hyde’s dedicatory prayer.

The Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens will be the largest single plot of land among other memorials and gardens composing a 600-acre “green belt” national park encircling Old Jerusalem. The park is being sponsored by the government of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. The two governments have agreed to provide care for the gardens in the park for 999 years, and they retain the rights to the land.

The Hyde Gardens are being financed by the Orson Hyde Foundation, which is raising its own funds under the direction of Elder LeGrand Richards, president of the foundation and a member of the Council of the Twelve. Other projects in the park are being built by various international organizations and religious groups.

The Wealth of Wisdom by Sterling W. Sill Deseret Book Company, $5.95, pp. 220

“To love wisdom is to have the ability to judge soundly and deal sagaciously with facts, especially as they relate to the lives and conduct of people.” Such is the feeling of Elder Sterling W. Sill, who has written a new book on the wealth of wisdom that exists in this world—and what a wealth there is if one would only want it enough to work for it. Brother Sill has outlined four major areas for gaining and using the abundance of wisdom around us.

First, “Learning Wisdom from Others.” Of course, the greatest man to learn from in all history is Jesus Christ, and he is held up as the greatest example of teaching in Brother Sill’s book. But there are others, also, from whose lives we can glean guidance and wisdom. Such people include Job, known for his patience and faith; Solomon, who sought to be of service and who valued wisdom greatly; and Socrates, who loved to reason and seek understanding. There are great places of learning such as the colleges and universities, libraries, and museums.

Second, “Developing Our Personalities with Wisdom.” Solomon said, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Prov. 4:7.) Elder Sill reflects, “Try to imagine what a society we would have if each of us always exercised good judgment, if we were always wise in our choices, if we thoroughly understood each situation so that our wisdom could be fully depended upon.”

Third, “Using Wisdom in Our Actions.” Of what use is all this gathering and developing if it does not bear fruit in our actions, if it does not change for better the lives of men? It is true that where the Lord has blessed us with much wisdom, he expects us to use that wisdom to benefit his other children. And in turn such service brings us fulfillment.

Fourth, “Building Wisdom into Our Souls.” Elder Sill states: “Success might be described as two things: (1) the ability to accept or set for ourselves the proper goals and objectives; (2) the power to bring them about.” The soul of man will last through the eternities, so it is important that the soul have built into it all the characteristics that are of enduring value. Among the greatest of those characteristics is wisdom.

The main tenet of Elder Sill’s book is “man’s wisdom is an offshoot of that wisdom which emanates from God.”

Plans Underway for Temple in Samoa

Saints in the southwest Pacific area will soon have a much shorter distance to travel to a temple. Plans for a temple in American Samoa, to be completed in 1980, were recently announced by the First Presidency. The temple will serve approximately 50,000 members in Samoa, Tonga, French Polynesia (Tahiti), and Fiji.

The Samoa Temple lengthens the list of new temples in the planning stages or already under construction. A temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is nearing completion. Others are planned in Mexico City, Mexico; Tokyo, Japan; and Seattle, Washington.

The First Presidency said the temple in Samoa will help alleviate lengthy and expensive travel for members in the islands, who now journey from 1,246 miles (Tonga) to 2,544 miles (Tahiti) to the temple in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Because of heavy rainfall in Samoa, the temple roof will be designed to function “as a giant umbrella for drainage efficiency,” according to Church Architect Emil B. Fetzer.

He said the building will be a one-level structure, situated on an elevated area for flood protection. The roof will “be made as soundproof as possible,” he noted, once again as a measure against the heavy Samoan downpours.

Construction materials will be chosen from local resources, Brother Fetzer added, “probably lava-type stone and some of the many fine hardwoods available in the area. Architecturally, we want the temple to fit comfortably into the islands, to blend in with the country and the culture.”

The building will also be designed so that a future addition, when needed, will double its capacity.

Two Ohio Stakes Unite in Youth Conference

Two hundred and fifty young people from the Cleveland and Akron stakes in Ohio spent three days last summer sharing talents, feelings and good times as they sought to discover the answer to the question, “Who Is Your Brother?”

“Who Is Your Brother?” was the theme for a youth conference the young Ohioans participated in at Wooster College. Orientation set the mood with Cleveland First Ward members singing, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” Speakers Kathy Thompson and Mark Brooks then reminded those present of the bonds of brotherhood they all share as children of God. The excitement of the orientation meeting continued into the afternoon and throughout the conference as participants joined in various competitions and activities. Classes and workshops were held Friday morning and dances on both Thursday and Friday evenings kept the pace lively.

The young Latter-day Saints were easily recognizable by a special pendant they wore, which also served as a meal ticket. On one side were the words “Who Is Your Brother?” and a picture depicting the angel Moroni. On the other side was an imprint of the Washington D.C. Temple.

On Saturday morning the young women and young men shared a two-hour testimony meeting. Perhaps one member best summed up the success of the summer conference and the feelings of those present, when she said, “In only three days I’ve come to love you all.”

Abraham: An Example to Fathers by President Spencer W. Kimball Deseret Book Company, $.95, pp. 8

It is often said that good things come in small packages. In this case, a powerful message has been brought forth in a slim but artfully rendered volume that will enlighten not only fathers, but every person who reads it.

Does Abraham seem very different from you? Do you “inwardly suspect that Abraham was given a little extra help by the Lord so that he could become a great and righteous man, or do you feel we can all become as Abraham as we learn to put God first in our lives?” We are asked to examine our feelings by President Kimball, and he makes it very clear which statement he adheres to.

This book is a thought-provoking commentary that outlines ways we can become like Abraham. President Kimball assures us that “if parents would seek the blessings Abraham sought, they would also receive such revelation, covenants, promises, and eternal rewards as Abraham received.” What an exciting thought!

Fathers especially will appreciate the emphasis placed on being a worthy priesthood holder and patriarch in the home, and every member of the family will benefit by reading the prophet’s counsel in areas such as keeping the commandments, magnifying your calling, and doing missionary work.

Representative of the wise counsel contained in this book is the prophet’s discussion of Abraham’s willingness to not only do the will of the Lord, but to do it without procrastination. Addressing today’s Church members, President Kimball asks, “How often do Church members arise early in the morning to do the will of the Lord? How often do we say, ‘Yes, I will have family home evening with my family, but the children are so young now; I will start when they are older’? How often do we say, ‘Yes, I will obey the commandment to store food and to help others, but just now I have neither the time nor the money to spare; I will obey later’? Oh, foolish people! While we procrastinate, the harvest will be over, and we will not be saved. Now is the time to follow Abraham’s example. Now is the time to repent. Now is the time for prompt obedience to God’s will.”

In a like manner, we are reminded of Doctrine and Covenants 84:44 [D&C 84:44], which states, “For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.”

“Far more seems to be implied,” writes President Kimball, “in these requirements than token obedience—far more is needed than mere attendance at a few meetings and token fulfillment of assignments. The perfection of body and spirit are implied, and that includes the kind of service that goes far beyond the normal definition of duty.”

Abraham: An Example to Fathers is a book with a striking message. Instead of considering ourselves incapable of the kind of spirituality Abraham achieved, we should use him as a model for practical application toward perfection. “As we follow his example,” concludes President Kimball, “we will confirm upon ourselves and our families joy and fulfillment in this life and for all eternity.”

Aaronic Priesthood by Oscar W. McConkie Deseret Book, $4.95, pp. 134

Brother McConkie tells the story of Reed Smoot, who was the first Latter-day Saint to represent Utah in the United States Senate. During his service he became highly respected by his colleagues and was one of the men selected to help decide who would be nominated as a candidate for president of the United States.

“His party had won the presidency the last several elections, and most observers thought the trend would continue. It was almost conceded that this convention would name the next president of the United States. … During this convention the leaders assembled there said to Senator Smoot, ‘Senator, you may have the nomination if you want it. There is one stipulation: You will have to soft-peddle the fact that you are a Mormon.’ Senator Smoot is reported to have replied, ‘I would rather be a deacon in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than be president of the United States.’” (P. 33.)

What is there about being “a deacon in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” that causes a man to make such a statement? What is the priesthood? What kind of power does it entail? Who can possess it?

For a member of the Church it is important to understand the answers to these questions. It is also important to understand what the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Aaronic Priesthood are and what offices they include. For a young man of Aaronic Priesthood age, it is essential to understand the duties and functions of the offices of deacon, teacher, and priest.

A discussion of these things and many more are presented in Oscar W. McConkie’s Aaronic Priesthood.

He discusses the necessity of repentance and its connection to the duties of the Aaronic Priesthood. He also discusses the ordinance of baptism, general functions of the priesthood (perfection of the Saints, missionary work, and temple work), keys of the ministering of angels, preparation for a mission call, and the receipt of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Brother McConkie’s book is ideal for youth. It presents insights that can help young men respect, magnify, and honor their priesthood. Brother McConkie states: “How is the world blessed through the priesthood? Through the blessings of the gospel. Since the priesthood administers the gospel ordinances, in a very real sense it administers the blessings of salvation to the world.” (P. 115.)

In Search of Lehi’s Trail by Lynn M. and Hope Hilton Deseret Book, $9.95, pp. 148

“And it came to pass that [Lehi] departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.

“And he came down by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea; and he traveled in the wilderness in the borders which are nearer the Red Sea.” (1 Ne. 2:4–5.)

Thus wrote Nephi of the arduous beginnings of a great nation that covered the expanse of the American continents prior to Columbus. The travels that brought Lehi’s family from ancient Jerusalem across years of travel by foot and months in a ship on the Pacific Ocean are the subject of much speculation. In the book by Lynn and Hope Hilton, they share the excitement and great learning experiences they had while trying to follow the route Lehi might have taken through the Arabian peninsula before he and his family entered the ship to cross “Irreantum or many waters.” Included in the book are beautiful, full-color pictures of the area showing what it may have been like when Lehi received the Liahona, when Nephi broke his bow, and when Jacob and Joseph, Nephi’s two youngest brothers, were born in the wilderness.

In Search of Lehi’s Trail was printed originally in the Ensign magazine. The expanded book version has more details about the venture and more pictures of the area. It is an interesting book that can help people gain a better feeling of the circumstances surrounding the beginnings of the Book of Mormon.

[Robert M. Veylupek II, One of the Youngest Eagle Scouts in the United States]

Robert M. Veylupek II, a Latter-day Saint from San Gabriel, California, has earned the distinction of being one of the youngest Eagle Scouts in the United States. When he became a Boy Scout at age 11, Robert set the goal of obtaining the award by his 13th birthday, the youngest age at which the Eagle Scout award may be given. Robert, the senior patrol leader of San Gabriel Troop 268, completed the Eagle Scout requirements by earning his 24th merit badge more than 6 months before he turned 13.