LDS Scene
September 1978

“LDS Scene,” Ensign, Sept. 1978, 80

LDS Scene

President Ezra Taft Benson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, is recuperating from a broken hip. President Benson, 79, suffered the injury July 12 when he was bumped by a horse at his Midway, Utah, ranch. He underwent surgery at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City and within twenty-four hours was sitting up in bed. His physicians say he will be assisted by a walker or crutches for several months.

A Palo Alto, California, woman with an education and business background has been named director of the new Women’s Research Institute at BYU. Ida Smith, who assumes duties August 31, managed personnel and did research at the western regional office of the National Association of Manufacturers.

The institute will evaluate information on issues of concern to women and will serve as a resource to Church leaders.

BYU is trying to make “the golden years” even better. It has established a Resource Center on Adult Development and Aging.

Dr. Phileon B. Robinson, Jr., assistant dean of the Division of Continuing Education at BYU has been named to direct the center, which will train students and volunteers to work with the aged. The center also will be a resource for community and church programs.

Some ten percent of the population of the United States is age sixty-five or older. The resource center will attempt to minimize the dependency and maximize the potential of older persons, Dr. Robinson says.

A Salt Lake City organist, Beverly Decker Adams, has been named first in a series of guest organists at the Salt Lake City Tabernacle. She is one of a few women who have earned fellowship status in the American Guild of Organists. She is playing thirty-five recitals that began in May and end in September.

Missionary work can be a gritty job. Just ask some twenty missionaries in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission who helped townspeople near Rochester, Minnesota, brace against July floods.

The missionaries sandbagged houses, cleaned flooded basements, and helped families move to higher ground. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms devastated some homes and caused creeks and rivers to rise rapidly. Eight people in Minnesota and North Dakota were killed by the storms, which dropped more than nine inches of rain in less than twenty-four hours.

Such work was old-hat to one of the missionaries, says Monte J. Brough, president of the mission. The missionary was in the Rexburg, Idaho, area when the Teton Dam broke in 1976, flooding the area.

The Los Angeles, California, area seems to have a lot of “good Samaritans.” To honor them, the area Public Communications Council of the Church gives Good Samaritan awards to individuals or groups. This year, two members of the Church were among award winners.

Ettie Lee Homes, Inc., founded by a Church member, received the top honor for assisting more than 3,800 boys in academic, vocational, and spiritual training. Church members given recognition were Elsie Leach, a member of the Hermosa Beach Ward, for working with community musical shows; and George F. Chamberlain, 88, a member of the Baldwin Park First Ward, for supporting missionary work by collecting and selling old newspapers.

The oldest art club in the United States is including a Church member’s pastel drawing in a historic exhibition. The Salmangundi Club in New York City, has included work by Jim Spada of Ithaca, New York, in its first juried exhibition of works by artists not belonging to the club. Brother Spada is a member of the Ithaca New York Ward, and is a research technician at Cornell University at Ithaca.

A fossil-gathering team led by a BYU paleontologist may have unearthed some of the ancient history of Baja California. The team, led by Dr. Wade E. Miller, found fossils suggesting that Baja California was once part of mainland Mexico and was probably covered with lush vegetation. Baja now stands, scorched and desolate, apart from mainland Mexico.

Many scientists believe that the peninsula was once part of the mainland and was ripped away by movement of two of the giant plates on which the earth’s continents ride. The fossil evidence collected by the team supports that belief. The group found remains of a boa constrictor, a frog, a fresh-water, plant-eating mastodon and to Dr. Miller’s surprise—a fresh-water dolphin. “I didn’t want to believe it when I first saw it,” he says. “There has been no evidence of dolphins before in North American fresh-water deposits.”

Excitement hit the quarry crew at Moab, Utah, when they found it—a hollow upper rear leg bone from a prehistoric creature. The upper leg bone appears to fit a lower leg bone—which means to Dr. James Jensen, famed BYU paleontologist, that BYU’s crew has found a dinosaur that hopped. The same quarry operation has unearthed a dinosaur with a fin on its back.

The research is part of a program investigating the development of dinosaurs. During the first month of digging, the crew uncovered parts of more than one dozen unknown dinosaurs. The quarry was opened this spring because of the pressure of vandalism by illegal collectors who already have destroyed some two tons of fossil material at the site.