“People and Places,” New Era, July 1971, 46
Provo, Utah—After you read the following almost unbelievable list of school, civic, and Church service positions and accomplishments of eighteen-year-old Linda Bussio, you may agree that she should have something interesting to say. She does—and you’re in for a few surprises.
At Provo High School she was on the legislative council, was chairman of the freedom assembly, wrote scripts for two school assemblies, was a student director and took major roles in important school plays, received a number of debating awards as her team was undefeated in state competition, was a member of Quill and Scroll, feature editor of the school paper, guest editorialist for the Provo Herald, and co-chairman of the junior prom, was one of the top twelve winners chosen from Utah’s 21,000 high school seniors in the annual Sterling Scholar competition, is a member of the National Honor society, was a delegate to Utah Girls’ State, was a senator to Girls’ Nation and keynote speaker at the party convention, is vice-president of the Provo chapter of the National Forensics League, is chairman of the Teen Action Committee of the Community Action Program, and is the Utah County teen chairman for the March of Dimes. She was recently the 1971 Utah Junior Miss, and in national competition in Mobile, Alabama, she won $1,000 for scholastic achievement; this award is one of three scholarships she has won. She is active and dedicated in Church service, youth committees, councils, and activities. And in between all these opportunities, Linda finds time for skating, swimming, sewing, cooking, decorating, handicrafts, and singing.
There’s something else special about Linda. She was born to deaf parents—her father is presiding elder in the deaf branch of the Church in Provo and her mother is deceased—and Linda notes with emphasis her belief that “better communication is the basis for understanding others and is one of the most essential elements for the civilized world if we are to grow as brothers under the fatherhood of God.”
Following are some of Linda’s candid thoughts:
Beauty pageants: “Winning the state’s Junior Miss title has been a thrill and an honor, but I am not interested in going on into a career of being in beauty contests. There’s a tone about some of them that seems out of place with the gospel. For example, the only time I wish to appear in a bathing suit is when I go swimming. Certain contests accentuate the physical aspect beyond the bounds of propriety.”
Women’s liberation: “In some areas the movement is justified—where a woman is doing a job equal to a man’s, she should have equal pay. But a woman’s main role is in the home. As a homemaker, she doesn’t have to be locked in, become one-sided or dull. She can excel, achieve, and have a variety of interests that will benefit herself, her community, and the Church. As for other elements of the movement, I think femininity is priceless, and I hope the aura of it can endure. It’s something that can make a woman happy and make a man happy also.”
Movie career: “People often ask, ‘Well, since you’ve won dramatic awards, do you hope, even secretly, for a movie career?’ My answer is a quick no. I’ve yet to learn anything about the film industry and its peculiar type of life-style that promotes a truly happy and regular home life. My interest in speech and drama lies in teaching others in the classroom, in teaching private speech therapy, and in enjoying good drama and dramatic literature.”
Contemporary youth scene: “Some feel there is no hope for the future, but I’m not caught up in the pessimism of our times. Understanding a little divine prophecy has helped me. I don’t worry about the population explosion or the end of the world. God has set up the timetable for these things, and we know what the ultimate end will be—it’s all there in the Doctrine and Covenants. We should do as the Lord directs, enjoy the exciting times we live in, helping where we can, and not worry. Of course there are a lot of problems! But I don’t think we need to go outside the system to correct them. I still have faith in democratic procedures.”
Ecology: “It’s an easy issue to get emotional about—even I do. But it’s more difficult to determine precisely what should be done and who should do it. We are the consumers who have demanded the products that have caused pollution. The solutions lie in better citizenship and individual responsibility.”
Generation gap: “That’s just a term people use as an excuse for not communicating. Where communication is effective, there doesn’t seem to be much of a gap. Of course, there are always problems in any family. But they haven’t made me turn to drugs or rebellion. However, I am lucky; I am a Latter-day Saint. My basic training, even as a child, has enabled me to respect my elders and understand their values and efforts. I have a valid religion to hang on to. A lot of kids who go out and dope it up don’t seem to have anything to cling to, no sure religion and no secure home life. They can’t communicate or understand others and won’t allow others to understand them, and they turn on society out of sheer desperation, often out of boredom, or for kicks.”
Family: “Some people think I’ve had it hard—and maybe I have in some ways. But I’ll tell you, I’ve been blessed and my parents have blessed me, and I love my family more dearly than I can ever express. To me, my father is a great man! I’ve had some wonderful examples to pattern my life after—even wonderful neighbors. Anyone can be a help to us, or we to them. I get emotional when I talk about how our neighbors helped when my mother died, how my stepmother has helped me, how my mother’s sisters have helped me and my four brothers and sisters, and how close I’ve been to my dear Italian grandparents. The family is the only thing that can really take care of people and people problems.”
The Church: “It has been the mainstay of my life—the stabilizing factor. Most of my motivation, I think, is a result of my Church background. The places where I found my first feelings of success were in the Church programs. Now they won’t let me enter the speech contests anymore—I judge them.”
The most important lesson of your life: “I hope this doesn’t sound fake, because it isn’t—I really mean it. I’ve learned to call upon the Lord to help me. He helps me with whatever I undertake to do. I have to prepare and study for things and work for them. Often I don’t do as well as I want or achieve what I want, but I’ve learned that ultimately, with the Lord’s help, I can achieve something that is worthwhile. When I don’t ask the Lord, I get nowhere. When I do, he always helps me.”
Estes Park, Colorado—The White House Conference on Youth recently made big headlines. Several dozen Latter-day Saints attended, one of whom was our reporter, Tom Gunn, who served on the foreign relations task force. With him were students from Harvard, Princeton, University of California at Berkeley, and Johns Hopkins. The adults included the president of ABC News, a counselor from the U.S. State Department, the managing editor of Foreign Affairs Quarterly, and the vice-president of a large mining corporation, Elder Marion D. Hanks, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, and Bishop Glen Rudd. Here is Tom’s report:
“From the entangling bureaucracy of America’s decision makers, a world apart from the warm sands of Miami and Waikiki, fifteen hundred delegates massed for the decennial White House Conference on Youth—baldheads and longhairs gathering in shirt and tie or dungarees and beads to mesh minds and find solutions to the pressing American social issues, many of which are especially youth-oriented.
“It is an impossible task at best to convey to a nonpartisan church what happened at an emotionally charged, politically oriented convention. From its early origins in 1909, under the auspices of President Theodore Roosevelt, the White House Conference on Children and Youth has attempted to solve the social problems of younger people in a non-dogmatic way.
“Since that time every ten years concerned people have been brought together to attempt to solve the difficulties and consequences of child labor, education, medical care, and related issues facing the upcoming generations. For this year’s meeting it was decided to include youth in the planning, preparation, and follow-through stages. After thousands of hours of preparatory arrangements, the conference convened. Composition: one thousand youths (ages fourteen to twenty-four) and five hundred adults (the over-twenty-four set).
“America’s youth are vibrant and alive; they are constantly searching and involving themselves in attempts to find solutions. They commit themselves to the work of the Peace Corps, VISTA, Head Start, and numerous voluntary programs of our day.
“But something is missing in their lives. The 2:00 A.M. discussions in the hallways of the dormitories clearly evidenced this. A young man from New York spoke sincerely of his beliefs: Christ, to him, was a member of a conspiracy. Popularly conveyed as ‘the Passover plot,’ the theme of this story is that Jesus was carefully nurtured and trained by the Romans to ‘fulfill’ the ancient prophecies and ultimately to subvert the Hebrews. Another young man, who had advanced to a prestigious position in his church, said that he believed the philosophy of Christianity was outmoded. For others, drugs have become an escape from the world of corruption surrounding them. Artificial stimuli have become solutions and prevent them from facing the world. Zen Buddhism is practiced by others. Youth certainly appear to be struggling for hope. The solution is to come back to that very old reply of the Master: love. We shouldn’t seek to destroy or alter anyone’s idealism. Rather, we must utilize that hope and guide it—not fight it—into the channels of love for our fellowman and righteousness in the gospel.”
Sacramento, California—Fashion is nearly every girl’s thing. Even so, it’s always nice to hear someone talk who might have some helpful insights. Such a person is Teresa Barry, Latter-day Saint student-body president of the Bauder Fashion College in Sacramento, California. Here are some of her comments from a recent interview:
“I’ve found my studies in fashion exciting because it is important that we help women learn how to be attractive. Still, I have found that fashion for fashion’s sake leaves much to be desired. We have too many followers and not enough leaders.
“I think Latter-day Saint girls need to know enough about fashion that they can dress well enough to feel at home in our times, but they also need to make sure that they are not swept away in certain fashion trends. If a girl does exactly as the fashion industry dictates, there is little chance of her being true to herself. The most important responsibility that Church members have in any cultural area—and dress is an area of culture—is to see that they are good examples.
“Contemporary Latter-day Saint women can be pacesetters and, hopefully, guide others to follow what they have learned about interpreting styles and fashions to their own life styles and to their own standards. Certainly good fashion and good taste are synonymous with modesty. I really believe that every girl in the Church can use her free agency to choose to be attractively, currently, and modestly dressed.”