“FYI: For Your Information,” New Era, Feb. 1978, 38–40
In the Atwater Ward (Merced California Stake) the youth decided to go floating. It all began when they entered a float in the annual Atwater Fourth of July parade. Bonnie Regan, a Beehive girl, was chairman of the float committee. John Howe from the teachers quorum, and Sister Terry Latey, the Young Women secretary, worked with Bonnie. They decided to hold a contest for the design of the float, and a vote was held during activity night to determine which one the young people liked the best.
The theme for the parade was “America’s Bright Horizons,” so the young people inscribed on their float: “The family is the future of America. Loving families will produce good citizens. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the family is the basic strength of society and that members of families can become strong and united through unselfishness, love, and service.” A backdrop across the float read, “America’s Future: the Family.” The back of the float was covered with an original painting of the Oakland Temple done by Sister Lois Moore, the Laurel adviser. Beneath the temple were the words “A Family Can Be Forever.”
The float committee organized bake sales to earn the money to build the float. Priests and teachers were assigned to build the frame using materials from a prop that had been used by the stake in the regional dance festival the previous week. The ingenious Beehive girls were in charge of covering the float with white paper napkins. Their problem was finding enough napkins and still staying within the budget. A couple of large bags full of wrinkled napkins had been left from the dance festival, and someone came up with the idea of ironing the used napkins. The Beehive girls set up a production line, with some young women spraying the paper napkins with water and other young women ironing them.
The Mia Maids were assigned to make the paper flowers. It took a lot of time and a lot of young women to make the 53 large paper flowers for the float and the 20 small flowers for the wedding bouquet. The girls thought it would be a fun activity for nonmembers, too, and invited their nonmember friends to help. The Laurels and deacons were in charge of making the letters. Everyone pitched in to draw, cut, and glitter the letters.
The Mutual held the week before the parade was called “Make a Float, Have a Float,” and of course, root beer floats were served to the hardworking float builders. Work began at 1:00 P.M. and lasted all afternoon and evening. Several adults and Primary children from the ward joined in the work also.
The float committee especially wanted the float to be useful in helping people learn more about the gospel, so permission was received for the full-time missionaries working in Atwater to hand out pamphlets about the family to the parade spectators. They circulated among an estimated 10,000 people who were viewing the parade.
From among 98 units entered in the parade, the Atwater Ward float won first prize in the youth division.
Following the recommendation of the Council of the Twelve to feature cultural programs in conjunction with June regional meetings, the Payson (Utah) Region youth got together last summer for a lively, creative dance festival on a local high school football field.
“The Colorful World of Dance” was a treat not only for the audience but for the 360 participants from Payson Utah, Payson Utah East, and Santaquin Utah stakes who kicked up their heels in such numbers as “Devil’s Dream,” “Muskrat Love,” and “Spinning Wheel.” Swedish, Norwegian, and Hungarian folk dances were also featured, and a Lamanite sister rendered “The Lord’s Prayer” in Indian sign language.
Many hours were spent sewing colorful costumes and practicing under the leadership of 16 stake dance directors and two ballroom dancers from BYU. As the group concluded by gathering to sing “I Am a Child of God” with the audience, it was generally agreed that it had all been worth the effort.
It was a busy summer for Matt Morris, a senior at Indio (California) High School. Just before the spring term ended, he was elected student body-president of the 2,500-student school and was also chosen to represent the United States in a series of wrestling tournaments in Japan.
Matt, who was named most outstanding wrestler on his school’s junior varsity team last season and who has also competed on the varsity squad the past two years, was selected for the trip to Japan on the basis of wrestling, scholastic achievement, and citizenship.
“He is a leader and leads by doing things right,” said his wrestling coach, John Rice, upon announcing the selection. “He is very coachable and a real student of wrestling, as well as being outstanding both academically and morally. We tried to choose somebody who would be a good representative of the United States, and with Matt there was just no question.”
The team, made up of wrestlers from the Southern California Section of the Amateur Athletic Union, would take part in as many as ten matches during a 25-day stay in Japan in August.
Matt is an active member of Indio Ward, Palm Springs California Stake, and has served as president of the deacons and teachers quorums and as vice president of his school class.
“I was certainly surprised but also thrilled and honored to be able to represent our country in Japan,” he said. “I know that there are better wrestlers than I am at our school and that other things were involved in the decision. It’s nice to know that doing your best and trying to be good can have its rewards.”
The 16-year-old youth, who has nearly a straight A average, has won awards for his piano-playing ability, breeds pigeons for a hobby, and is quick to acknowledge that support from his family has been important in his busy life.
“The willingness of my family to help me has made it possible for me to put so much time into wrestling and my other activities,” he said.
by Kari Ellertson
At the beginning of the year, our Laurel class started planning an activity for the following summer. We wanted to go to Los Angeles and see some of the sights there. For some reason, we just couldn’t get excited until someone suggested that we make a service project part of our trip. We called Brother Bill Andrew, a member of the Los Angeles Ward for the Deaf, and asked if we could visit his ward and put together a library for them. The church library they usually used was under reconstruction. Teaching most deaf members is very difficult without using many pictures to portray all gospel concepts, so they were in great need.
When summertime came, we made a few more plans, borrowed a ward member’s motor home, and arranged for some chaperons. The morning of June 11, we were off to Los Angeles—nine Laurels, two chaperons, and a ton of excitement all crammed into one motor home. When we arrived, we worked all afternoon finding, cutting, numbering, and filing hundreds of pictures for the library. Our own ward library had donated pictures, cards, and a filing system for us to refer to, but we did all the rest of the work ourselves.
That evening we attended a stake dance in the Glendale Stake. Finally we were home and in bed after an exhausting day. We were so tired that nobody seemed to mind sleeping on the living room floor in Brother Andrews’s home.
The next morning was Sunday, and we were up and ready for stake conference in the Los Angeles California Stake. Afterwards we attended sacrament meeting at the ward for the deaf. It was very interesting to see everything done in sign language. Even though there was such a difference in procedures, the Spirit of the Lord was strong and very much the same as in all ward meetings everywhere. That evening we were taught some sign language by the Andrews family, and we learned “I Am a Child of God” well enough to do it for sacrament meeting in our own ward.
The next morning we woke up late. We had to go, but nobody wanted to be the first to say good-bye. Brother Andrews gave us each a necklace that said “I love you” in sign language on it. We said our good-byes, promised to keep in touch, and then left for home.
On the way home all of us reflected back on our project, how happy we felt, and how strong the spirit of brotherly love can be when we are in the service of our God.
Good news: nine of the Church’s classic reference books are now being offered as a boxed, paperback set at a considerable discount. The complete set costs only $9.95. It includes Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage, Gospel Doctrine by Joseph F. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, by Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball, Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage, and Discourses of Brigham Young compiled by John A. Widtsoe.
The set is a collection of unabridged editions in easy-to-read, convenient-size paperback, and it contains many of the basic gospel precepts and teachings of latter-day apostles and prophets.
Missionaries preparing for full-time callings will find this set an invaluable aid in their studies. Seminary and institute students will want it to supplement their classwork. Anyone seeking further gospel understanding will be informed and inspired by the words of some of the Church’s greatest writers. This comprehensive compilation of Mormon doctrine would be a helpful guide in LDS homes, and it’s now easier than ever to purchase.
Children need to hear the voices of the prophets just as adults do. Through the pages of the new book published by Deseret Book and the Friend magazine, the General Authorities of the Church speak directly to the young about their challenges and their joys. Friend to Friend is a collection of stories and experiences from the lives of General Authorities that show how they overcame childhood problems by listening to parents and living the commandments of their Heavenly Father.
Elder Howard W. Hunter tells how our Father in heaven loves his children wherever they live. Elder Bruce R. McConkie explains how children should learn at an early age to listen to the Spirit’s promptings. And Bishop H. Burke Peterson teaches about the miracle of prayer.
There are 40 brief stories in all. The authors include President Spencer W. Kimball, Elder Boyd K. Packer, Elder Marion D. Hanks, the late President Harold B. Lee, and others.
The book is suitable for gift-giving to children who are learning to read and to parents who want to help their children learn high values.
Nine Scouts and three leaders from the Hobart First and Third Branches (Australia Melbourne Mission) were the only Latter-day Saints to join 60 fellow Scouters in an Easter camp at Maria Island.
To reach the island the boys had to travel one and a half hours by car and one hour by ferry from Triabunna. The island is a national park and wildlife sanctuary that abounds in emus and Cape Barren geese. (Emus, for the non-Australian reader, are flightless birds related to the ostrich.) It was first established as a penal colony, with its own brickworks. Later a company established a cement works and farming, but these eventually failed. Now it is great for camping, hiking, exploring nature and prison ruins, mountain climbing, and swimming.
The Scouts and their leaders made the rough sea crossing and backpacked all the gear and food to a well-watered and protected campsite a mile from the jetty. The boys were kept busy after setting up camp by keeping the emus out of the camp area, cooking meals over the open fire, gathering wood, exploring the ruins, getting footsore on a long hike, playing games, bush walking, and mountain climbing—some of the hardier ones went swimming.
On Sunday afternoon the Church Scouts and a few friends withdrew from the campsite and held a short sacrament and testimony meeting. This was followed by a quiet walk back to camp for the evening meal and then a gathering around the campfire for singing and talks.
The next morning they broke camp after breakfast and cleaned up the campsite. A final game of softball was played, and then the tractor and trailer arrived for the bulky gear. The final parade was held and two boys from the Hobart Third Branch were invested as Scouts.
Finally it was time to carry personal packs to the jetty to await the ferry. The gear was put aboard, and the trip home began, the ferry bucking and rolling through the rough water.
The Scouts had a fine time of fellowship, but possibly more important, more people gained an insight into Latter-day Saint standards because of the Scouts and leaders’ behavior.