Think of Your Fellowman

Recently I spent the weekend with my Mother in St. George.    I was reminded of some of the wonderful things that Mormons are doing around the world.  It is a shame that more is not done to recognize and encourage these activities, instead of overindulging in GA profiles and repetitive spiritual messages.

On a Saturday night, my Mother and I had dinner with a retired USU professor and his wife who had recently returned from Lebanon: Paul and Lorna Larsen.  The pair have made many trips to Lebanon, despite all the recent strife, to help restore the apple industry to a country that used to be a breadbasket for the Middle East.  Paul goes to advise the apple growers and Lorna acts as his assistant, keeping him organized.  Their story was recently highlighted in the USU publication “UtahState.”  According to the article, “(Paul) and Lorna have the good will of every cultural and religious (Christians and Muslims) faction as a result of their generous work with all groups of people.”  Paul has also done work in Armenia, Macedonia, and China.

Paul Larsen

Paul Larsen

On my Mother’s end table was a recent publication by another family friend who has retired to southern Nevada:  Sylvan H. Wittwer.  The booklet is titled:  “Vegetable Gardening in Moapa and Virgin Valleys” (southeastern Nevada), published by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.  Although the booklet was written specifically for southern Nevada, many of its basic principles have world-wide application.  In this day and age (higher energy and food prices, and concern over nutrition) the tract is extremely timely.  Sylvan has traveled all over the world and is author of Feeding a Billion:  Frontiers of Chinese Agriculture and Food, Climate, and Carbon  Dioxide.  His garden in Logandale, NV, is certainly an impressive show piece.

Both Paul and Sylvan had important professional careers and have obviously stayed busy in retirement.  Paul was the Vice President for Extension and Continuing Education at USU, and Sylvan was the Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Michigan State University.

R. Gaurth Hansen

R. Gaurth Hansen

My Father, R. Gaurth Hansen, was also active internationally.  He participated in nutrition surveys in Turkey, Thailand, Burma, Ecuador, and elsewhere.  These surveys were very important in identifying the nutritional deficiencies in second and third-world countries.  My Father ended his professional career as Provost at USU and as a faculty member in the Food and Nutrition Department.  All three men have/had exceptional wives and the three couples were together for a time in the 60s in East Lansing at MSU.  Paul and my Father were reunited in Logan.

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6 Responses to Think of Your Fellowman

  1. Roger Hansen says:

    There were four printed letters in the recent “UtahState” magazine about their article on Paul and Lorna Larsen (Winter 2009).

    “How fun it was to see their pictures and to hear the wonderful things they have been doing since leaving USU.” Sharon

    “It was a beautiful account of this Good Samaritan named Paul with his wife Lorna by his side in giving of their time and talents to a grateful people and a hopeful nation with a brighter future ahead.” Linda

    “I really appreciated hearing about the Larsen’s and their work.” Peter

    “As a Lebanese myself, I just have to thank the Larsens for what they have done. Reading about their wonderful efforts made my day.” Moudi

  2. Roger Hansen says:

    SLTrib columnist makes the following comment about his experience working at the Bishop’s Storehouse (Sept 5, 2009):

    “Awful as it sounds, this is where curch makes sense to me most. Lending a hand to complete strangers who need help is what I believe the Lord meant when he said, “Come, follow me.” It’s hard to do that on my butt in Sunday School.”

  3. Roger Hansen says:

    The following appeared in BYU Magazine (Fall 2009):

    “When Amy Antonelli (BA ’03) felt guided to leave he top job at Apple to work in undeveloped India, she wasn’t really surprised.

    Now she reads sotries to children–174 of them–as executive director of the nonprofit organization Rising Star Outreach, which aids members of leprosy colonies in India.

    Antonelli’s life course changed when she visited India just days after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. The devastation and suffering were a shock to her, but more disturbing were the leprosy colonies.

    The visit prompted Antonelli to leave her job as a spokespereson at Aple and move from California to India.

    Since Antonelli’s entrance, the program has grown from a single house with 27 children to a large campus with 174 children, equipped with a medical van and staffed by many volunteers.”

  4. Roger Hansen says:

    The following appeared in Dialogue (42:40, p. 144, by Claudia L. Bushman):

    Bill Cox, the cigar-chomping engineer and insurance man married to our Relief Society president, was a potent force in policing the construction (of a new Mormon church building in Boston). He came every night to see that any slip-shod work was torn out and replaced the next day. Cox reconverted himself to the Church by this building construction and went on to become branch president and later Manti Temple president where he singlehandedly, according to my sources, prevented modernization of that august building. He was one of the category of “Irascible Saint” common in Mormonism.”

  5. Roger Hansen says:

    The following appeared in NG (Feb 2010, p. 46 and 48) about a resident of the FLDS settlement in Hillsdale, UT:

    “Joe Jessop has contributed to (the) explosive growth (in Short Creek) in two very different ways. With the weathered features and spindly gait of a man who has spent his life outdoors and worked his body hard, he is the community’s undisputed “water guy,” a self-taught engineer who helped with the piping of water out of Maxwell Canyon back in the 1940s. He’s had a hand in building the intricate network of waterlines, canals, and reservoirs that has irrigated the arid plateau in the decades since.

    A high respected member of the FLDS, Joe is also the patriarch of a family of 46 children and — at last count — 239 grandchildren. My family came to Short Creek for the same reason as everyone else,” he says, “to obey the law of plural marriage, to build up the Kingdom of God. Despite everything that’s been thrown our way. I’d say we’ve done a pretty good job.”

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