LDS Scene
May 1978

“LDS Scene,” Ensign, May 1978, 112

LDS Scene

Former Brigham Young University President Ernest L. Wilkinson, 78, died April 5 at his Salt Lake City home following a heart attack.

He was president of BYU for twenty years a time of unprecedented growth for the university. “The remarkable and relentless leadership of Ernest L. Wilkinson more than any other single cause is the key to the present stature of [BYU],” said his successor, Dallin H. Oaks, in a prepared statement following President Wilkinson’s death.

The First Presidency issued this statement: “Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson was a man of courage, faith, foresight, and energy. His contributions to education, to the law, to the understanding of our nation’s system of government will bless and inspire countless generations in this and other lands.”

President Wilkinson was born in Ogden, Utah, on May 4, 1899. He married Alice Ludlow on August 15, 1923, and they had three sons and two daughters. He established a career and national reputation as an attorney before being named BYU president in 1951. During his administration, wards and stakes of the Church were organized on the campus, and more than eighty permanent buildings were constructed.

The Justice Department says it’s a matter of legality and BYU says it’s a matter of morality. What’s in question is a threatened U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit claiming that BYU’s housing regulations violate the Fair Housing Act.

As a result of an April 5 meeting of University and Justice Department officials, both parties are optimistic that further discussions will result in a mutually satisfactory resolution. The Department of Justice has indicated its intention not to take any legal action pending the outcome of further talks.

This year some 20,000 New Zealanders attended the first major pageant presented by the Church outside of the continental United States.

Hear Him, a production by Charles L. Metten and Robert Manookin, both of Brigham Young University, was performed for three nights in January on the slopes of the New Zealand Temple grounds. About seven hundred members of the island nation’s eight stakes and three missions staged the production. Hazel Stroud was the pageant director.

Even nature cooperated in the pageant’s success. The weather was clear, and the small, sharp lawn burrs that had prevented Maori performers from going barefoot disappeared four days before the pageant.

Three prophecies of former Maori Tohungas, native leaders who were regarded as priests and respected for their wisdom, were incorporated into the pageant.

Nonmembers in Ames, Iowa, are becoming interested in Relief Society by leaps and bounds. Literally.

The nonmembers outnumber the members participating in a Relief Society exercise program in the Ames Ward. Some twenty-nine nonmember women join with twenty members and forty-four children in attending the four exercise classes. They do aerobics, with the adults exercising in a circle around the children.

Rae Okiishi, the ward’s Relief Society recreation leader, frequently is asked to explain the program to women’s clubs and interest groups in the Ames area. “We can come and have fun, but we work hard and feel physically fit,” she says. Some women have lost a whole dress size in seven weeks of the class.

A recording of Leroy J. Robertson’s Oratorio from the Book of Mormon will be made this spring. The Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Utah Symphony Orchestra will perform and record concerts of the oratorio.