LDS Scene
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“LDS Scene,” Ensign, Mar. 1978, 78–80

LDS Scene

President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve told the American Farm Bureau Federation in January that he was “overwhelmed” and “touched” to receive the organization’s most prestigious award. The bureau, which is the largest farm group in the United States, gave President Benson the Distinguished Service Award to American Agriculture at its annual convention at Houston, Texas, January 10. The award recognized President Benson’s service to agriculture as an extension agent, as a leader in the cooperative movement, as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for eight years, and as a member of the Honorary Advisory Board of the Ezra Taft Benson Agriculture and Food Institute.

Construction on a new $650,000 cannery at the Ogden welfare center is under way. Ground was broken for the center in December by President Spencer W. Kimball. The facility, scheduled for completion by this fall, will replace a smaller existing cannery on the site. The existing cannery will be used for storehouse storage.

The ground floor area of the new cannery is 11,000 square feet, not including dock space and two mezzanine floors. The new cannery will be used by Church groups, families, and the community to process fruits, vegetables, and prepared foods such as chili and soup.

The city of Aracatuba, Sao Paulo, Brazil, has renamed a street “Joseph Smith Jr. Street” in honor of the Mormon prophet. The name was changed by official action of the Municipal City Hall of Aracatuba.

The annual Tournament of Roses Parade at Pasadena, California, included a Church-sponsored float for the third consecutive year. This float, seen by millions of television viewers, followed the theme “I Am a Child of God.” Seven children of different nationalities were featured on the flower-laden float as the song “I Am a Child of God,” performed by the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus of Southern California, was broadcast. Technical producer was John Neal of the Woodland Hills Ward.

Ina Jane Ashton Richards, wife of Elder LeGrand Richards of the Council of the Twelve, died December 31 at a Salt Lake City hospital at the age of 91. Funeral services and burial were January 4.

Elder James A. Cullimore of the First Quorum of the Seventy married Florence Prows December 9 in the Salt Lake Temple.

The Hawaii Temple, at Laie, Oahu, will be open to the public during a four-week period in May. The remodeled temple will be open daily except Sunday from May 2 through May 27 before it is rededicated and closed to the public.

When Brigham Young University’s football team went to Japan in December, the players did more than play football. Yes, they beat Japanese teams 61–13 and 71–0. But games aren’t what they remember most, says Coach LaVell Edwards. “It was a tremendous experience from the standpoint of meeting and learning to love new people—and learning more of their customs and ways,” Brother Edwards says.

The players and coaches met with the Saints in Japan for meetings and firesides. “To realize the strength of the Saints and their commitment to the Church was a tremendous experience for all of us.” According to Brother Edwards, some players saw the trip as a missionary experience. They were featured on national television and in newspapers as representatives of a Latter-day Saint school.

A former Buddhist monk and a Thailand branch Relief Society president have become the first known Thai couple to be married in a temple. Mani Seangsuwan and Noodchanadda Lojaya, both students at the BYU—Hawaii Campus, were married last October. Brother Seangsuwan was on a mission to Bangkok, Thailand, when he met and taught his future wife.

New Zealand softball pitcher Brendon Keehan says he may never know if he’s good enough to play on the national team. Since he refuses to compete on Sundays, Brother Keehan misses major tournaments. But he says he has another reward: a strong, happy family. “I would like to reach the New Zealand team, but I will probably never know whether I would be good enough or not,” says the Marlborough, New Zealand, pitcher.

Chief Tabernacle Organist Alexander Schreiner has retired, but he says he’s not going to be idle. Brother Schreiner began service at the Tabernacle Organ on 7 April 1924, and as 1977 ended he closed that chapter in Latter-day Saint musical history.

No other organist has served as long as Brother Schreiner, and few organists in the world have achieved his national and international stature. For years in polls conducted by Musical America editors, Brother Schreiner’s six-minute solos every other Sunday placed him second only to E. Power Biggs, the late Harvard organist, who played a half-hour broadcast every week.

Born in Nuremberg, Germany, on 31 July 1901, Brother Schreiner became the local Church organist when he was only eight. When his family emigrated from Germany three years later, he gave up that position, only to be called to the identical position in his new ward in Salt Lake City on his first Sunday in Utah.

Two of the world’s greatest organists were his teachers: Louis Vierne at Notre Dame and Charles-Marie Widor at Saint Sulpice in Paris.

Now that he’s retired, Brother Schreiner plans to reread all 51 volumes of Harvard Classics, and he anticipates doing more musical compositions and writings.

Reconstruction in Taiwan following devastation from typhoon Thelma last summer is involving members of the Church. Not one Latter-day Saint was killed or seriously injured when winds reaching 120 miles per hour swept across the southern half of the island, but most members in the area suffered property damage.

The home of Sister Yu Lang-Ying-t’ao, a member for many years, is being rebuilt with fast offering funds. Missionaries in the area said that Sister Yu’s neighbor, Sister Li, spent days helping her stricken neighbors. And that was not all. “Whenever we went to check on other members, we always found that Sister Li had been there first. But she wasn’t the only one who did this—the branch president, priesthood holders, and Relief Society members all spent day after day caring as much for others as for themselves.”

The First Presidency was there. So was former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford. So were most of the Church’s General Authorities—and hundreds of business and government leaders from the state of Utah.

The occasion was a banquet honoring J. Willard Marriott and his wife, Alice, who left Utah fifty years ago to begin a saga of hard work leading to success. What the speakers at the banquet most remarked on was the Marriotts’ dedication to service to their Church and their country.

“It’s not because of the money they’ve made or the great number of hotels they’ve built that we respect and admire them,” President N. Eldon Tanner, first counselor in the First Presidency, said. “It is because of the kind of lives they live.”

Dr. Monroe G. McKay, a BYU professor of constitutional law, has been sworn in as judge of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Utah. He was in private practice as a lawyer before joining the BYU teaching staff.

BYU has its fourth Rhodes Scholar in four years. Kenneth R. Beesley, 23, a senior linguistics major from Salt Lake City, is one of 32 U.S. students to receive Rhodes Scholarships to Oxford University in England. He is a former missionary to Brazil.

President Dallin H. Oaks has been appointed to the advisory board of the Center for Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. The center was established at Notre Dame Law School to provide legal research on issues affecting constitutional rights and institutions of higher education.

The BYU Film Production Department has completed filming The Guilty, based on a story told by Elder Marion D. Hanks of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy. A meetinghouse chapel in Springville, Utah, was the setting for the story’s filming. Copies should be available this month. … Another BYU film, John Baker’s Last Race, has been used by the U.S. Olympic Committee at fund-raising dinners across the United States.

Tuition is going up at BYU. In the fall of 1978, tuition for Latter-day Saint undergraduate students will increase from $390 per semester to $420. Tuition also is increasing for graduate students, from $430 to $470 per semester. Law school students will pay $770 per semester. Graduate School of Management students will pay $600.

The College of Education at BYU was rated among the top ten percent of such schools in the United States in a recent study by two researchers at Northwestern University.

Gifford Nielsen, BYU quarterback, signs autographs at Nishinomiya City, Japan.

Tabernacle organist Alexander Schreiner has retired after serving nearly fifty-four years at the Tabernacle organ.