Prelude music was played by Sylvia Walker at the piano on Thursday, 18 January 2018 at 6:30 P.M. in the Senior Citizen Center when we held our monthly membership meeting.
President Ken Hart welcomed fifty-nine members and guests and introduced his wife, Francine. and guests. Opening prayer was offered by Steve Parkinson and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Gordon Timothy.
Musical numbers “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” and “I Often Go Walking” played by Joe Van Durren (cello), Crystal Van Duren (flute) and Alex Watson (Piano) added much to the evening.
We then enjoyed a delicious meal provided by Martell & Carlene Grover and the Food Committee. It consisted of Chicken pot pie, bread and butter, tossed salad and lots of cookies. During the meal Doug Ladle recognized those with birthdays and anniversaries.
Louis Clements gave a short historical minute. During which he told about the Evans Ice Company. It started in 1940 and by 1941 they were taking 500 tons of ice a year from the Teton River where the ice was up to two feet thick. They had a seven man crew who cut blocks of ice, some weighing 575 pounds each. It required them to remove three blocks before they could use a chute and horses to pull the rest from the river and put them on wagons. The crew took the ice to town where they stored it in the two buildings, used for that purpose, and covered it with saw dust, which kept the ice from melting and allowed them to have ice for the whole summer. At that time people had ice boxes which required ice. The Ice Company people would make daily deliveries to those who needed it. When the time came that refrigerators became common and the need for ice had diminished, the company opened up a successful ice cream business on the corner of Second East and Ricks Avenue.
F. Martell Grover reviewed what had been accomplished during the past year while he was President of the Chapter. Some of those mentioned were: (1) The seven monuments and memorials were updated and maintained under the supervision of the Chapter. (2) The assigned Committee Chairmen all accomplished their responsibilities in an excellent manner. (3) Birthdays and Anniversaries were recognized. (4) Doug Ladle planned and directed an excellent program for the 24th of July Fireside, which recognized local Educators. (5) Alton Wilde, Food Chairman, and his Food Committee had well prepared and delicious meals. (6) In April the National President, Keith Van Roosedaal, attended our Chapter membership meeting and commended the Chapter on how well it was doing. (7) Lynn Smith, one of the stalwarts of the Chapter, moved to Salt Lake City, Utah for health reasons. (8) Door prizes were started and the first door prize was a box of Florence Manwaring’s chocolates. (9) In October Louis Clements began presenting a short Historical Moment during the meal time at each monthly membership meeting. (10) In November the Veteran’s were honored by having the BYU-I ROTC cadets present a membership meeting program on the history of the American Flag. (11) Planned and carried out treks to the Potato museum in Pocatello and the Fort Hall Replica in Pocatello . (12) There were five new members added to the Chapter membership during the year. (13) A Chapter Web Site with the address of PioneersRexburg.org was begun.
Area Vice President Grover then presented gifts of a 5”x7”pencil drawing of the “Old West” to Doug Ladle, Ron Gibb, Alton Wilde and Max W. Brown for their help to him during 2017.
President Hart outlined some of the things he anticipated doing during the coming year as the new President of the Chapter for 2018. For example; continued good food, a directory on the web site if wanted by the membership, local treks, and a quality 24th of July Fireside. He then reviewed the Chapter committee chairmen and the members of each committee.
Area Vice President Lynn Bradshaw conducted the oath of office ceremony for the new Chapter officers who will serve during the year 2018.
In the picture from left to right and sworn in are Kenneth Hart, President, F. Martell Grover, Past President, Lynn Bradshaw, Area Vice President from 2015-2017, Douglas Ladle, President Elect, Ron Gibb, Treasurer and Max W. Brown, Secretary. Lynn Bradshaw also announced F. Martell Grover to be the new Area Vice President for 2018.
This was the last official function of Brother Bradshaw, who was accompanied by his wife, Linda, as he will be replaced by
F. Martell Grover for 2018. He has been with us for the last three years and we have grown to love and appreciate him for his support and all he has done for our Chapter.
President Hart introduced the speakers for the evening;
J.D. Hancock and his wife, Ann, who spoke on “The Past, Present and future status of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Russia.” They just returned as Member Leadership Support Volunteers in Russia.
Ann Hancock spoke first and reviewed the history of the Russian Orthodox Church. It began when the Roman Emperor, Constantine, in conjunction with the Nicaea Council, which was made up of Catholic Bishops, formed a creed for the Christian Church which was then made the State Church. This was done in approximately 325 A.D. In about 1,000 A.D. there was a division of the State Church to form several. Two were the Catholic Church in Rome called the Western Church and Greek Orthodox Church called the Eastern Church. From the latter the Russian Orthodox Church was formed in Kiev, Ukraine, which was made the State Church in Russia and still exists today.
In 1903 a Dedicatory Prayer was offered by Orson Hyde in Moscow, Russia. In 1930, Melvin Ballard said that there were thousands of the House of Israel in Russia and Elder Benson preached in a Baptist Church in Russia. In 1981, the Book of Mormon was published in Russian. In October 1993, President Benson sent Elder Nelsen and Elder Meacom to St Petersburg to dedicate the land of Russia for missionary work. They planned to do this in a park but when they arrived at the entrance the guards wouldn’t let them in. As they were about to leave one of the guards stopped them and said, “You touched me!” When Elder Nelsen said he was sorry the guard said, “When you touched me I felt something special!” Then he led them to a secret entrance and they were able to go to the spot where the dedicatory prayer was to be offered. After the prayer they looked at a statue that was nearby which had two women displayed. The names of the two women were Camilla and Flora. What a coincidence that the name of President Kimball’s wife was Camilla and Elder Benson’s wife was Flora – hmmm!
In 1991 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed in Moscow and the Russian Leaders were so impressed that on the 28th of May 1991 they gave the Church official recognition in Russia. A major problem in doing missionary work in Russia was the fact that the Russian people were under Communist rule from 1917 until 1991, when the USSR was dissolved. During that time religion was very much minimized and God was not part of the culture, which made it difficult to talk to the people about God because they knew very little about Him.
From 1989 until 2013 the Church went from 20 members to 21,888 members and only added 1,292 members from 2013 until 2017. The primary reason for that slowing down of conversions was that the government changed the rules and said that no proselyting could be done outside of the Church’s buildings but they could have bibles and the Book of Mormon in their possession. The KGB is still very active and people, as a result, are very reluctant to be involved with the Church for fear of the complications.
J. D. Hancock Talked about the growth of the Church in Russia and the Ukraine. He indicated that his and his wife’s purpose for being in Russia was to build up the non-Mormon poor and needy. On 5 June 2011 the first stake was formed … Moscow Russia Stake … then in 2012 the St Petersburg Russia Stake and 2015 a third Stake was organized. He explained that over half of the members of the Church in Moscow come from other parts of the country. The reason is because of the better economic and living conditions there.
He said that the Ukraine was doing so much better than Russia; mainly because of the restrictions put on the Church in Russia by Putin and the Ukraine doesn’t have them. Putin wants all 15 of the nations back that were part of the original USSR before the breakup in 1991. He said that the native missionaries are as limited as the American. Also, currently about 80% of the missionary force is American and 50% of that is Sister missionaries, who do much better than the Elders.
He indicated that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was in Russia after the October 2017 General Conference and that he told the members they were going to have to be responsible to spread the Gospel because at sometime there will be no foreign missionaries in Russia. Brother Hancock said that the Native Russian missionaries go to the Missionary Training Center in Madrid, Spain. He said that foreign missionaries must leave the country every three months to renew their visas which costs about $400 per visa to do so. Since then, Elder Todd Christopherson has said that the Lord’s spirit is over the Russian area and things will happen that you would never expect. He asked us to remember about the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany.
Following their presentations a “Certificate of Appreciation” was presented to Brother and Sister Hancock by President Hart.
President Hart conducted the drawing for the door prize, Volume one of “Voices of the Past” compiled by Louis Clements, won by Dan Porter.
The Closing Prayer was offered by Janet Timothy
NOTE: Our next Chapter Membership meeting will be held on Thursday, 15 February 2018 at 6:30 P.M. at the Rexburg Senior Citizen Center. Our guest speaker for that evening will be Rob Eaton, Associate Vice President of Academics, at BYU-I, who will discuss the topic “Helping Innoculate Loved Ones Against Apostasy”.
Max W. Brown, Secretary