Church must work to `shine forth as sun'

Public affairs is far more than a Church department or a committee - it is a generic description of the dynamic interaction between the Church and the world, said Elder Lance B. Wickman.

Offering closing remarks at the eighth annual BYU International Society Conference Aug. 18, Elder Wickman of the Seventy called public affairs a joint activity in which all Church members are engaged."We begin with our prophet leader, President Gordon B. Hinckley. . . . He is our preeminent spokesman. He is our preeminent ambassador to the world."

President Hinckley is aided in this effort by his counselors, members of the Quorum of the Twelve and area presidencies, explained Elder Wickman.

"We have had reference today, of course, to the wonderful work of the Public Affairs Department, Brigham Young University, the Office of Legal Services, and all of us as members of the Church," he added.

Elder Wickman explained that public relations is a dynamic process that ebbs and flows - much like a swinging pendulum. The Church, he said, will still face challenges regarding public opinion.

Referring to recent positive news media coverage, Elder Wickman emphasized that Church members need to be grateful, but not rest on the past. "What happens today and tomorrow is what really counts," he said.

The Church needs to work to gain respectability among officials at all levels of government throughout the world, he said. Then missionaries will be able to teach the gospel among the people.

"Everywhere the quest for religious freedom and an understanding of the Church's good faith is an endeavor in which we are all engaged. For good and ill, we are now out of obscurity.

". . . I pray that we may each shine forth in our respective spheres of influence that truly the Church and its divine message may be seen clear as the moon and fair as the sun."

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