“FYI: For Your Information,” New Era, Feb. 1974, 44–46
Eighteen-year-old Stephanie Benson, first-place winner in the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Young Artists Festival competition, is willing to sacrifice for her talent. A few months ago she determined to leave her family (her father is currently serving as president of the Indiana-Michigan Mission) and return to their home city of Dallas, Texas, where she could continue to study piano with her talented teacher. Stephanie reports that the first month was the hardest since she hadn’t ever been separated for long periods from her parents and five brothers and sisters. “But then,” says Stephanie, “they sent me a picture of the family, and that made a difference.” Stephanie finished high school in the middle of her senior year and practiced the piano six hours a day besides earning money to pay for her lessons by accompanying local soloists.
Stephanie is currently a freshman at Brigham Young University where she teaches Sunday School.
In addition to serving as studentbody president of Saddleback High School in Santa Ana, California, Matthew R. Crum organized an October conference trip for 32 youths and 6 adult ward members. Matt, who is the priests quorum group leader for the Santa Ana Third Ward, feels his Church responsibilities far exceed his school ones. Says Matt, “Even though there are a lot more kids at school, I don’t have the individual responsibility for each one.”
The conference excursion group drove 12 hours on a chartered bus and spent their time in Utah attending sessions in the Tabernacle, touring the Salt Lake City area, and visiting BYU.
Kathy Hart, fifteen-year-old Latter-day Saint from Albuquerque, New Mexico, has a fabulous goal for the future, and she could very well reach it. Kathy wants to represent the United States in the 1976 Olympics—her skill, track and field. Kathy first began to excel in track and field in the sixth grade. She now takes part in many meets each year, participating in relays, hurdles, the 220 yard dash, the high jump and long jump, and the pentathlon. Kathy has a long list of accomplishments to her credit by now, including the third best long jump-high jump combination in women’s track and field history in 1971 and ninth over all in the national high jump finals where she equaled the winning jump of five feet, four inches.
In 1972 Kathy participated in the Girl’s National and Women’s National track meets in Canton, Ohio, jumping five feet, five inches in both meets. This qualified her to compete in the Olympic trials in the women’s high jump in Frederick, Maryland. At the trials she once again jumped five feet, five inches and placed seventh among the women high jumpers. Kathy was the youngest woman high jumper at the Olympic trials and one of three fifteen-year-old girls participating in the whole women’s division of the trials. Since that time Kathy has jumped five feet, six inches in a regional track meet held in El Paso, Texas. She has jumped higher than any other woman in track and field from the state of New Mexico and has held the thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old state high jump records.
Eagle Scout Allen E. Wyatt, president of the teachers quorum in his Ohio ward, brought honor to the youth of the Church when he won the Dan Beard Council speech contest and then went on to win the area contest held in Columbus, Ohio. Next came the east-central region run-off where he placed fourth and received an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. In Washington Allen attended a congressional breakfast with congressmen and senators and observed the national finals of the contest at the national Scout office.
Allen is active in the Church and since his conversion four years ago has been instrumental in bringing his family into the Church. Among other honors, Allen was a winner in the Optimists Speech Contest and the PTA poster contest in Hamilton, Ohio.
by Beatrice Bullen
Memorize the second verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Tie dye your sheets.
Read the Boy Scout Fieldbook.
Buy an ant colony.
Imagine Donny Osmond as an old man.
Send away for something free.
Learn to dance the schottische.
Cut your hair.
Write a script for Sesame Street.
Join the ward choir.
Turn your clock ahead three hours.
Think of the perfect date for your brother.
Learn to hula.
Do a genealogy chart of the Smiths (Joseph Jr.).
Reread the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew.
Memorize the constellations.
Write a letter backwards to be read in a mirror and mail it to a friend.
Give buttermilk another chance.
Rename the current rock groups.
Finish reading War and Peace.
Revive Pig Latin.
Make a pair of stilts.
Find out what Carrie Nation looked like.
Clean your room.
Name all of the Supreme Court justices.
Write a sequel to Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Recite all fifty state capitals.
Pretend you’re famous.
Think of a nickname for Yevgeny Yevtushenko.
Write a cinquain.
Make your own catsup.
Apply for a patent.
Find out what William Henry Harrison looked like.
Play jacks with your little sister.
Review the Driver’s Handbook.
Make a puppet.
Remember what it was like to have chicken pox.
Write in this space.
Think of a happy ending for Hamlet.
Give spinach another chance.
Learn to play the sitar.
Think of ten nice things to say about homework.
Revive big breakfasts.
Pretend you’re invisible.
Enter an original recipe using wheat germ in a recipe contest.
Make up a pseudonym.
Rename the Seven Dwarfs.
Write a list of fifty things to do when you’re bored.
If conducting a meeting, giving a talk, or meeting important people doesn’t make you nervous, then stop reading now; this article is not for you. But if your palms perspire, your mind occasionally goes blank, or your voice cracks when you are facing a large audience, join the crowd, because you are part of the 93.5 percent of all students who in some degree suffer from stage fright.
What is stage fright?
Stage fright is essentially a fear of being observed and judged. This is not a natural instinctive fear; you have to learn it. And the teen years are when most people develop this self-consciousness.
Most of the physical manifestations of stage fright are caused by an increase in adrenalin, a hormone that supplies extra energy for emergency situations. You get up to speak—a perfectly civilized social situation—and your body wants you to fight for your life. Consequently your knees bang together, your voice doesn’t sound natural, and you pant as if you had just finished the ten decathlon events.
Why is it bad?
Besides being uncomfortable, stage fright is bad because it limits you and your development. It makes followers out of potential leaders. It directs its victims away from professions involving contact with people. And worst of all, it prohibits the spread of ideas and stifles your ability to express yourself. Hence your ambition suffers.
How do I get over it?
First, remember that people are not interested in your looks or actions but in what you have to say. Now find out why you are frightened—what situations scare you and why.
Next build your confidence and improve your speaking habits by (1) being sincere and enthusiastic about what you are going to say; (2) discovering any nervous mannerisms such as button-twisting or wristwatch-turning, and stopping them; and (3) developing new and special habits of speech.
If you are interested in and sincere about your topic, this enthusiasm will spread to your audience. Look specific individuals in the audience straight in the eye and sincerely give them the message, and the whole attentive audience will know you are speaking personally to them.
Respect your audience. Pause before you begin so they will have time to be ready to hear you. And smile before you start to speak. Smiles are catching, and this will put both you and the audience more at ease.
Take deep, slow, steady breaths. This will help you to appear and feel relaxed.
If you feel you are not aware of your own nervous habits, have someone else point them out. Once you are aware that your feet do shuffle or that you are twisting a button, it will be much easier to stop.
Practice. This will build your confidence. Practice speaking in front of a mirror so you can see and evaluate yourself. It will help you to keep your mind on your speech when you are looking at an audience, and it will also help to make your gestures more natural and relaxed. Take advantage of every speaking opportunity you can so that you will become accustomed to facing people and expressing your ideas to them.
Remember, you are incidental to your gospel message. Once you have mastered the basic speaking techniques in practice and it is time for you to speak, forget yourself. Concentrate on giving the audience the truth and value of your message, and everyone’s testimony will grow.
What do you tell a friend who is disillusioned with life and antagonistic toward the Church? Gay Blanchard faces that problem in this little book. Saddened by the many sincere and intelligent young people who turn to drugs, immorality, cynicism, and atheism in the face of what seems to them an absurd and pointless world, she went to some of them and talked, friend to friend. Time after time she heard from them the same excuses, challenges, and complaints. In this book she attempts to answer those challenges, basing the answers on her understanding of gospel doctrine and her personal experiences.
Some of the chapters are “Don’t Blame Me for What I Am, I Didn’t Ask to Be Born,” “God Is Dead. The Devil Is a Myth,” “What Choice Do I Have,” “I Demand the Right to Do My Own Thing,” “Why Marriage,” “There’s No Purpose in Life,” and “There Is No Such Thing As Truth.”
In the chapter “I Demand the Right to Do My Own Thing” she says:
“That’s all right. God allows you to do your own thing. He defends your free agency to the end. But don’t try to counsel God by demanding that He do your own thing. You can’t negotiate His purposes. You can’t compromise His truth, diminish His light, or degrade His love. God, who is all ultimate Truth, Light, Love, does not change. He is dependably always the same. He does His own thing.”
In “There’s No Purpose in Life,” she says:
“Another common mistake of people is to blame their parents, their teachers, their employers, the establishment, the Church, the society, etc. because they are unhappy. Often these external forces are only cages, traps, and excuses which defeat your true potential. When you learn to put these influences in the proper perspective, you can free your spirit-intelligence to operate on a higher level. Then, honestly accepting the consequences of your own choices, you will make better choices. When you achieve this kind of maturity, the rest of the world becomes a challenge and a tool for growth rather than an excuse for mediocrity. You become a contributor rather than a complainer. You live in hope instead of fear. The kingdom of God is within YOU. Let it out.”
In short, it’s a very personal little book, filled with the author’s very intimate feelings about herself, her God, and her fellowman. The reader may not agree with everything she says, but he can’t help feeling her love of the gospel and her love of youth.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie has made some great and lasting contributions to doctrinal scholarship in the Church. His Mormon Doctrine is one of the most popular and widely used reference books in Mormondom. Now, with the release of volume 3 of his Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, he has completed a monumental contribution to our understanding of the New Testament.
In the preface to the third volume Elder McConkie tells of Peter’s counsel to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you,” and suggests to us that many of the answers and much of the inspired reasoning needed by the Saints to comply with this advice is found in the New Testament.
Elder McConkie, in his own very straightforward style, takes us through the New Testament chapter by chapter and verse by verse, explaining and clarifying the scripture in light of modern-day revelation.
The New Testament is a most important part of our Latter-day Saint scripture; it was written for all members of the Church, ancient and modern, who desire to know the doctrines and teachings of the Church, and in particular, to know of the great example of the man who stands at the head of our church, Jesus Christ.
The three volumes of this commentary cover (1) the Gospels, (2) Acts through Philippians, and (3) Colossians through Revelation. The Doctrinal New Testament Commentary can be a meaningful aid in better understanding the New Testament for young Latter-day Saints.
If all the other books on the subject were lost, most of the important concepts and techniques of teaching would survive in the pages of this book. A treasure house for teachers, it is full of both general guiding principles and the most minute details of their application.
Brother Hobbs divides the act of teaching into four parts: the teacher, the student, the subject matter, and teaching materials; and he divides his book accordingly. He also emphasizes, however, that the Holy Ghost is necessary to make gospel teaching happen.
Love, says Hobbs, is the most important quality of a successful teacher. He also recommends knowledge, humility, enthusiasm, and flexibility, and gives examples of how they can be obtained and applied.
The reader will find specific advice on such topics as how to use the eyes and a smile, when and how to use humor, how to maintain classroom control, how to involve parents in teaching, and even how to help students teach their parents. The book also offers pointers on storytelling, suggestions for preparing lesson plans, recommendations on seating arrangements, an extensive section on instructional materials including visual aids, and a final section full of detailed teaching methods.
And a lot more.
There will always be a gap between mere knowledge of teaching methods and real teaching that only the personality of a teacher can bridge, but a would-be teacher with Hobbs’ book in hand is likely to find that gap less ominous.