A look back at significant events of 1995

Church members mourned the death of President Howard W. Hunter this year, after he had been in office only nine months. But the call of his successor, President Gordon B. Hinckley and the reorganization of the First Presidency opened a new chapter in Church history. It has already been marked by vigorous activity and continued growth in the number and spirituality of the membership.

Here is a month-by-month chronology of many significant Church events in 1995.


Jan. 8-14: The Bountiful Utah Temple was dedicated in 28 sessions. President Howard W. Hunter offered the dedicatory prayer in the first session. It was the second temple that President Hunter had dedicated. During the week President Hunter attended six sessions and addressed four sessions.

Jan. 21: Plans to build two new temples in South America – in Cochabamba, Bolivia and Recife, Brazil – were announced by the First Presidency.

Jan. 13-14: Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve and six LDS scholars were featured at a BYU seminar on the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. The seminar underscored the validity of the prophet's translation for use by Church members in study and teaching.

Jan. 17: Church leaders and members rallied quickly to aid victims of an earthquake in Kobe, Japan, which killed more than 5,000 people. One Church member was killed, and 35 member families were left homeless after the quake.

Jan. 21: The Church has reached the 9 million mark in membership, it was announced.

Jan. 24: President Thomas S. Monson, then second counselor in the First Presidency, joined other religious leaders and Utah officials in welcoming the Most Rev. George H. Niederauer as the bishop of the Catholic Church's Diocese of Salt Lake City.


Feb. 5: President Thomas S. Monson spoke to more than 23,000 young adults in BYU's Marriott Center and to thousands of others watching a satellite telecast. His message focused on President Howard W. Hunter.

Feb. 15-22: For the first time in 37 years the Tabernacle Choir made a recording of Handel's "Messiah," the complete oratorio. It was conducted by eminent British choral conductor, David Willcocks. The album on compact disc and audio cassette, was released in mid-May.

Feb. 21: President Gordon B. Hinckley, then first counselor in the First Presidency, was honored by the Utah Region of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. At a dinner attended by more than 1,000 people of various religous faiths, he was honored for promoting high moral values and culture.

Feb. 26: A missionary satellite telecast, accompanied by simultaneous open houses in many parts of the Church, featured Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve, who narrated a video presentation about the ministry of the Savior and invited all to "come unto Christ."


March 3: President Howard W. Hunter died at his Salt Lake City home. His was the shortest tenure of any Church president – less than nine months – but he was praised for having an enormous impact on Church members during that time.

March 4: After extensive remodeling, the South Visitors Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City reopened with a new look and a new function as a tour center.

March 12: President Gordon B. Hinckley was ordained and set apart as the 15th president of the Church. Called as first counselor in the First Presidency was President Thomas S. Monson, and as second counselor, President James E. Faust. President Monson was also set apart as president of the Quorum of the Twelve. President Boyd K. Packer was named acting president of that quorum, a position he held under President Howard W. Hunter.

March 12: The first stake in the Republic of Ireland was created under the direction of Elder Graham W. Doxey of the Seventy.

March 25: At the General Young Women Meeting originating from the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, President Gordon B. Hinckley endorsed the year-long emphasis of the organization, "to experiment upon the word" of God.

March 29: In testimony at a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing regarding welfare reform, Presiding Bishop Merrill J. Batemen highlighted Church welfare programs and shared the history, principles and lessons learned while establishing these programs.


April 1-2: For the second time in six months, Church members met in solemn assembly to sustain a new First Presidency of the Church in connection with the 165th Annual General Conference.

Also at the conference:

  • Elder Henry B. Eyring was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.
  • Elders John B. Dickson, Jay E. Jensen, David E. Sorensen and W. Craig Zwick were sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy. (Elders Dickson, Jensen and Sorensen were serving at the time as members of the Second Quorum.) Also, Elder Bruce D. Porter was sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
  • Creation of a new administrative position in the Church, area authority, and the discontinuance of the position of regional representative, effective Aug. 15, was announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

April 8: President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated Tuacahn, an outdoor amphitheater and arts center 10 miles north of St. George in southern Utah. The Tabernacle Choir performed at the dedication, attended by more than 2,000 people.

April 15-16: President Gordon B. Hinckley participated in his first regional conference since becoming Church president. He spoke to more than 7,000 members of the St. Louis Missouri Region.

April 22-23: President Gordon B. Hinckley attended the Boston Massachusetts Regional Conference and spoke to 7,500 Church members.


May 1: Ground was broken on the BYU campus for a law library to be named in honor of the late President Howard W. Hunter. President Gordon B. Hinckley presided at the ceremony, in which all three members of the First Presidency participated.

May 13: President Gordon B. Hinckley broke ground at the Uintah Stake Tabernacle in Vernal, Utah, to signal remodeling that will turn the pioneer building into the new Vernal Utah Temple. President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, also participated in the groundbreaking.

May 20-21: President Gordon B. Hinckley addressed some 13,000 members at a regional conference in the Santa Rosa/Vacaville, Calif., area.


June 16: Rex E. Lee, president of BYU for six years, announced that he had been granted a release from his post due to health considerations.

June 16: The International Olympic Committee announced that Salt Lake City had been selected as the site for the Winter Olympics in 2002. The announcement was cheered at a celebration featuring the Tabernacle Choir. Later in the day, the First Presidency stated that the Church would cooperate with state and city officials in their effort to be hospitable hosts for the games.

June 17-23: In the first visit of a Church president to Alaska, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to 7,700 people at a regional conference in Anchorage.

June 21-24: Ninety new mission presidents and their wives underwent four days of training at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.

June 22: A new musical production commemorating the 1996 Utah Centennial premiered at the Church's Promised Valley Playhouse. It was titled "Unspoken Song – a Celebration of 100 Years of Utah Spirit."

June 24: Major exterior preservation projects at the Logan and Manti Temples were announced by the First Presidency. They will include replacement or restoration of deteriorating stone, mortar joints and window woodwork.

June 29: Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve broke ground for the new John Taylor Religion Building at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho.


July 1: The First Presidency announced changes in the Presidency of the Seventy, effective Aug. 15. Elder Jack H Goaslind and Elder Harold G. Hillam have been called to the presidency, while Elder Rex D. Pinegar and Elder Charles Didier will be released.

July 16: President Gordon B. Hinckley addressed 1,176 Church members in a combined sacrament meeting of three wards in Jackson, Wyo.

July 17: A milestone in progress in the construction of the Mount Timpanogos Temple was reached with the placement of a statue of the Angel Moroni atop the temple's 190-foot spire.

July 22-26: Pioneer Day observances in Utah included dedication of the restored Miles Goodyear cabin in Ogden, and parades, a sunrise service, marathon race, and a hike up Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City.


Aug. 4-5; 8-9: In performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the Tabernacle choir premiered "An American Requiem" by James DeMars. The choir also performed in New York City in the famed Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the sixth largest cathedral in the world.

Aug. 20: President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to 17,328 Church members at a regional conference in Tacoma, Wash.

Aug. 23: President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Frances, helped welcome the king and queen of Sweden to the grounds of the Stockholm Sweden Temple. The king and queen visited the temple site in a revival of a tradition dating back to the 13th century in which the king traveled through the country to be met by its citizens. President and Sister Monson also visited sites of significance to the Church in Germany, where President Monson dedicated a meetinghouse in Goerlitz on Aug. 27, fulfilling a 27-year-old promise that the Saints would receive all the blessings any other member of the Church would receive.

Aug. 24-Sept. 2: In a whirlwind 10-day tour of England and Ireland, President Gordon B. Hinckley, accompanied by his wife, Marjorie, created a stake in Canterbury, England; rededicated the Hyde Park Chapel in London; visited significanct Church history sites; and spoke at many member firesides and meetings with missionaries.


Sept. 16: The Alberta Temple was named a Canadian Historic Site by government representatives at a ceremony in Cardston.

Sept. 17: Church members in Idaho Falls, Idaho, observed the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Idaho Falls Temple at a special service, which was addressed by Elder W. Eugene Hansen of the Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department.

Sept. 23: The First Presidency issued a proclamation to the Church and to the world reaffirming gospel standards, doctrines and practices relative to the family. The proclamation was presented by President Gordon B. Hinckley at the General Relief Society meeting.

Sept. 30-Oct. 1: At the 165th semi-annual general conference:

  • Two new temples were announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley, one in Boston, Mass.; and the other in White Plains, N.Y. The possibility of one in Venezuela was also announced. President Hinckley said the two new temples are to be built instead of one previously announced for Hartford, Conn. President Hinckley also said the Church is working on sites in six more areas.
  • A new Sunday School general presidency was sustained, consisting of Elder Harold G. Hillam as president and Elders F. Burton Howard and Glenn L. Pace as counselors. They succeeded Elders Charles A. Didier, J Ballard Washburn and F. Burton Howard in the respective positions in the presidency.
  • Elders Ted E. Brewerton and Hans B. Ringger of the First Quorum of the Seventy were granted emeritus status.
  • Released from the Second Quorum of the Seventy were Elders Eduardo Ayala, LeGrand R. Curtis, Helvecio Martins, J Ballard Washburn and Durrel A. Woolsey.


Oct. 2: Two new adjoining parks in Salt Lake City – one constructed by the city and the other by the Church – were dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley on property once belonging to President Brigham Young. The Brigham Young Historic Park, built by the Church, memorializes the work of the Latter-day Saint settlers of the Salt Lake Valley. City Creek Park complements the Church park.

Oct. 17: President Gordon B. Hinckley honored outgoing BYU Pres. Rex E. Lee in his address at the BYU Devotional Assembly.

Oct. 18: President James E. Faust rededicated the Church-owned cannery in Murray, Utah.

Oct. 20: The new Ezra Taft Benson Science Building at BYU was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley in a service attended by all three members of the First Presidency.

Oct. 22: The first stake in Papua New Guinea was created under the direction of Elder V. Dallas Merrell of the Seventy.

Oct. 29: President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to nearly 10,000 people at a regional conference of the five Ricks College stakes in Rexburg, Idaho.


Nov. 2: Presiding Bishop Merrill J. Bateman was named the 11th president of BYU, effective Jan. 1, 1996. President Gordon B. Hinckley who made the announcement at a media conference in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building said that Bishop Bateman has also been called to the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Nov. 13: President Gordon B. Hinckley met with U.S. President Bill Clinton at the White House in Washington, D.C. at the request of the chief executive. The two conversed on the importance of strong families. While in the eastern United States, President Hinckley also met with corporate executives, representatives of the national media and heads of charitable organizations at a reception and luncheon in New York City.

Nov. 18: The Young Women Worldwide Celebration culminated a year-long emphasis on the admonition and promises in Alma 32, to "experiment upon the word." Various activities were held in wards and stakes.

Nov. 24: The Christmas season began on Temple Square as Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve closed a switch illuminating more than 300,000 lights.

Nov. 25: Ambassadors from about 50 nations and 12 members of U.S. congress attended a ceremony to turn on 300,000 Christmas lights at the Washington D.C. Temple, where Ambassador Siddhartha Shankar Ray of India displayed a remarkable knowledge of Church history and doctrine before turning on the lights.

Nov. 29: President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust of the First Presidency hosted Catholic leaders in Utah on a special tour of the Church's Deseret Industries Sort Center and Welfare Square.


Dec. 3: At the First Presidency Christmas Devotional broadcast by satellite from the Tabernacle on Temple Square, President Gordon B. Hinckley, President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust spoke movingly and powerfully of the focus of the season, Jesus Christ.

Dec. 18: President Gordon B. Hinckley was interviewed by CBS Television Network's Mike Wallace for the popular weekly program "60 Minutes." The segment will be shown in February.

Dec. 20: A new logo design for the name of the Church, focusing on the name of the Savior, was announced by the First Presidency.

Dec. 27: The First Presidency announced a new Presiding Bishopric, consisting of Presiding Bishop H. David Burton and his counselors, Bishop Richard C. Edgley and Bishop Keith B. McMullin.(Please see page 3.)

The First Presidency announced plans for a new temple in Monterrey, Mexico. (Please see page 3.)