“FYI: For Your Information,” New Era, Oct. 1971, 48
Everyone likes to hear about and see the gospel in action, especially when an activity or project suggests something that others—either as individuals or as groups—could adapt to advantage in their own areas. If you wish to report your group’s service project, send details on what you did and how you did it.
Something for the Teacher
All of us have dreams—things we’d like to do—but how often do you hear about people helping each other achieve their own individual dreams? That’s why the actions of the Laurel class of the Smithfield (Utah) Ward are so heartwarming. Said their teacher, Patricia Cannell: “Ever since I was a child I have loved to draw and paint. Now that I’m married, we have no room for my hobby in the house. Sometime during the MIA year when we were sharing dreams, I mentioned my desire to buy an old train caboose and make it into an art studio.”
That’s when the girls took over. A caboose was found. The cost to move it was $106. Unbeknown to the teacher, the girls sold window-cleaning fluid door-to-door at 35¢ a pint. At a recent birthday party for the teacher, guess what she received as a present from her Laurels?
Now … about those dreams of your own brothers and sisters, parents, friends, and other acquaintances …
October: Get-together Time
October is the right time to remind ourselves that getting together is a great way to strengthen old friendships and make new ones, to show appreciation and spread a little joy, to stir up some creativity while having a wonderful time. And in the midst of it all, you just might do a little good while you are at it.
1. Get people together who haven’t gotten together before:
New members of the Church
New neighbors (in the dorm or in the ward or branch)
New officers of the class
2. Get people together who are together all the time, but get them to do something they haven’t done before, like—
Staging a “sneak” on the bishopric or branch presidency by surprising them during their weekly meeting with cookies and chilled milk.
Making thank-you cards of gigantic proportions for the ward MIA and Sunday School leaders.
Going welfare working—at the farm, the cannery, the mill.
Holding an open house for the ward or branch athletic team.
Taking the class for a walk through the countryside for autumn leaf gathering, nut gathering, “maple syruping,” or pumpkin picking. (In the Southern Hemisphere it’s spring and a perfect time to locate wild flowers or to count the nests of all the different varieties of birds.)
The idea was to find something to help build a bridge between Mormons and their non-Mormon friends. And what could be better than an evening of dramatic hilarity, asked the fun-loving youth of the Brisbane Stake in Australia. Of course, with the Australian bush country only miles away and with many tales of derring-do among men of the bush being heard every day, it did come as a bit of a surprise that the youth chose to put on a musical on the life of that fearless American damsel, Annie, in Annie Get Your Gun.
Perhaps it was because it gave the Brisbane Scouts, Venturers, and Explorers a chance to whoop and holler as they mimicked Buffalo Bill, Chief Sitting Bull, and others. The result: a show that ran a full week, played before 1,700 patrons, received newspaper and TV coverage, and attracted at least 600 nonmember friends. One of these, a prominent bank official, said, “Thank you for the opportunity of not only enjoying this show but of making some Mormon friends.”
It was the girls themselves who decided that Mormons ought to be involved in doing something for people in underdeveloped lands. So after discussing it with their MIA teacher, the girls of San Jose (California) Ward wrote to a nonprofit foundation that specializes in collecting medical discards, packaging them, and sending them all over the world. The girls decided to make Johnny coats (hospital gowns) and torn-sheet bandages, and to gather soap to send to those in need. They asked two motels in their area to save soap for them. One motel also volunteered to save old sheets from which the girls could make bandages. The first load of soap from one motel weighed 500 pounds. Then one Saturday nineteen girls got together and knitted, made bandages, and boxed soap. Their own ward Relief Society donated dozens of men’s shirts for Johnny coats. Now they want to learn how to make leper bandages …
“We were so scared. We didn’t know if you’d like us,” said an anglo leader.
“I’ve never known a lot of Lamanites before, and I am proud to be one,” said a Lamanite participant.
The thoughts were being voiced at a testimony meeting concluding a five-day girls camp for Lamanite girls from the Southwest Indian Mission. Also participating were Anglo girls and leaders.
“Sometimes brownskins and whiteskins in our area don’t have the nicest of feelings toward each other,” said a participant, “so we looked forward to this camp so that we could make sure bad feelings didn’t happen in the Church, where we have a real commitment to respect and love each other.”
Besides spirits’ being lifted—many Lamanite girls thrilled at being among the tall fir trees, mountain peaks, and cold streams outside of Farmington, New Mexico—some conversions occurred, and friendships flowered all over the place. It was a worthy goal—elimination of prejudice—and in this instance, a superb way to accomplish it.
The problem has been duplicated many times in many places and in many different forms, but it is the response that makes this instance worthy of imitation. The chronological events tell the story:
1. Spring 1970—The associate student senate at California State College at Fullerton voted to cancel funds for the college-sponsored baseball tournament in which Brigham Young University had been invited to participate.
2. Shortly thereafter, Brent Romney, regional president of the Santa Ana region of the LDS Student Association, wrote an article to the student newspaper. He encouraged Mormon youth to write letters. He addressed the senate. The senate reversed its decision.
3. March 1970—A special election was held for the office of senator from the science and education area. Brent ran and won. Then it was decided that a mistake had been made and no senatorial seat was available for Brent.
4. May 1970—Regular elections were held. Brent ran for senator and won again. At the first meeting he was nominated for speaker of the senate. The race narrowed to two persons. Brent lost.
5. November 1970—Speaker of the senate quit. Brent ran for the office. After two weeks of deadlocked balloting, he won office and held it for the remainder of the year.
6. May 1971—Along with seven others, Brent ran for studentbody president. He placed second highest and in a run-off won by twenty-one votes. Black students report that it is their vote that won it for Brent—75 percent of the black vote went to the Mormon whom they had learned to trust.—JMT