In the 64th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 34, we are told, “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind. …” There are many such people, both on a church-service basis and some giving their full time, who are responding to the challenge of getting the materials to you on time.
Under the direction of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, a Department of Internal Communications has been organized. Three members of the Council of the Twelve are advisers to this organization. They are Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, Elder Thomas S. Monson, and Elder Boyd K. Packer. We are grateful to them for their continuous inspiration.
The Department of Internal Communications has assignments in four major areas: instructional materials, magazines, administrative services, and distribution and translation.
The director of instructional materials, Daniel H. Ludlow, and all who work at his side have the responsibility to coordinate curriculum planning, to supervise the writing of curriculum materials, and to direct the correlation of these materials. Meetings are held with representatives of all of the priesthood committees and the executives of the auxiliary organizations that influence the lives of the members of the Church. These are top-level planning meetings, and there are beyond these meetings innumerable hours, days, weeks, months spent in the actual creation and correlation of these materials that are produced under the direction of these committees and organizations.
The director of magazines, Doyle L. Green, and those who assist him have the responsibility to supervise the publication of the Ensign, the New Era, the Friend, and the non-English magazines.
Let us look within the covers of the April Ensign and accompany President Harold B. Lee as he “walked today where Jesus walked.” He begins by saying, “For three glorious days we walked on sacred ground and felt the influence of the greatest person who ever lived upon this earth, Jesus the Christ, the very Son of the living God.”
May we visit with President Lee the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and hear him tell us, “There seemed to be in this place a kind of spiritual assurance that this was indeed a hallowed spot.”
May we just pick up his final paragraph: “I came away from some of these experiences never to feel the same again about the mission of our Lord and Savior. I had impressed upon me, as I have never had it impressed before, what it means to be a special witness. I say, with all the conviction of my soul, I know that Jesus lives. I know that he was the very Son of God. And I know that in this church and in the gospel of Jesus Christ is to be found the way to salvation.”
This we find within the covers of the April issue of the Ensign. What a tool for the use of the home teachers or to be shared in family home evening!
The magazines will become more and more vital because they will be interwoven into the curriculum of the Church. There will be a discernible move of the magazines into a role of aiding the family in family home evenings.
The director of administrative services, James M. Paramore, and his associates supervise the budgeting within our organization. Their responsibility is to assure that we utilize these sacred funds with the deference they are due. They are charged with production coordination as well and will keep us informed of any item that is falling behind the predetermined schedule so that corrective action can be taken immediately.
The first publication of this dispensation was the Book of Mormon, the result of a translation of ancient records given to Joseph Smith by Moroni, who had hid them for the coming forth in our day. The first distribution—namely, the Book of Mormon—was when the Prophet Joseph Smith’s brother Samuel went forth to declare that the Lord had spoken again and that the book he had was the evidence of the fulfillment of prophecy. This was prior to the organization of the Church just 142 years ago this past Thursday.
The translation and distribution in our day are directed by John E. Carr. He and his able assistants have charge of warehousing and distributing all of the English materials as well as having the responsibility of translating, printing, warehousing, and distributing the non-English materials of the Church throughout the world. To accomplish this task of bringing these hundreds of items to those who require them, members of the Church are working in twenty-eight languages that reach sixty countries.
By tonight catalogs of the 1972–73 materials together with pre-printed order forms have been mailed to you who are in the United States and Canada. A similar procedure is being followed by the distribution centers in all parts of the world.
May we give you a report of the present status of the materials for use beginning in September. We have in the warehouse as of tonight 55 percent of the materials that will be used by you beginning September 1. Additional materials are arriving daily. Dozens of printers are working vigorously to complete the balance by early May.
It is our intent to begin shipping to Canada and the eastern part of the United States on Monday, May 15; to the Midwest beginning June 1; to the West Coast the last two weeks in June; to the intermountain states July 1; and the last two weeks of July to the Wasatch Front. This schedule will place these materials in the hands of the units of the Church by the first part of August, so that you will have approximately thirty days for local orientation with the materials prior to the beginning of the curriculum year on September 1.
We have a goal, and hopefully it includes you, and it is: “to provide for the members and organizations of the Church approved material and literature of high quality and sufficient quantity on time and at the most reasonable cost.” Our major emphasis this year will be on time.
You can be instrumental in achieving this goal by returning your preprinted purchase orders, properly filled out, by the date suggested in the letter of transmittal that is on the way to you bishops, stake presidents, mission presidents, and branch presidents tonight.
The distribution department processes hundreds of orders each day. Their goal is to process these orders within twenty-four hours. We want to maintain this kind of service with the normal flow of orders along with this major general shipment, the dates of which I have just announced.
Let me indicate to you the magnitude of handling just one item. The Family Home Evening Manual requires thirteen carloads of paper. If we placed the pages of the Family Home Evening Manual end to end in a roll and attached the end of the roll at the Salt Lake Airport to a jet as it takes off to the east, the jet could fly to Denver, Colorado, and still have paper left in the roll at the Salt Lake Airport. The jet could continue on to Chicago, and then to New York and to London, then to the Holy Land, across India to Bangkok, to Saigon, to Hong Kong, to Tokyo, to San Francisco, and back to Salt Lake City. We could then cut the paper and attach the two ends together to form a ribbon around the entire circumference of the world. The hundreds of miles of paper that would be left over in the roll might be used to tie a bow.
This is just one item, brethren, of the hundreds of items in the catalog. For weeks we will be shipping many truckloads of material every day.
Within moments of the public announcement of this organization on January 3 of this year, President Harold B. Lee was giving me counsel. His first words penetrated to the very core. You judge their motivational impact. These words were, “Tom, are you prepared to be shot at sunrise?”
We have learned that this execution date is at daybreak Friday, September 1, 1972. As we have distributed this message to our organization throughout the world, one small three-letter word has been added. “Are you prepared NOT to be shot at sunrise?” This is our international slogan.
From the status report, you recognize that many people have been and are “anxiously engaged in a good cause.” We hope that each of you on that September morning at daybreak can rest peacefully knowing that you have the materials and that on Sunday, September 3, the beginning of the correlated year in the Northern Hemisphere, these materials will be utilized.
In the 90th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 11, we read: “For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language.”
The inspiration of the First Presidency in bringing together in one organization the responsibilities of internal communications has made possible the progress reported tonight and an important move toward the fulfillment of this scripture.
I sustain the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve with all my heart—and bear witness that they are in very deed prophets, seers, and revelators, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.