Huntsman For Deputy Secretary of State; A Mercedes-Benz Temple; And More!


Elder Ronald T. Halverson Passes Away

image courtesy of Deseret News

Elder Ronald T. Halverson of the Second Quorum of the Seventy passed away this past Friday, February 24th.

A former plumbing contractor and Utah legislator, Halverson spent eight years as an LDS General Authority. From 1998 to his release in 2006, Halverson served as president in the Pacific Islands Area presidency and as a counselor in the North America East Area presidency.

Born in 1936, Ronald Tomlinson Halverson grew up in Ogden, Utah. Farm-life taught the Halverson boys the virtues of working together and ignited a love for horses within Ron.

Halverson graduated from Weber High School. He later received his associate’s in political science and history, studying at the University of Utah. With his degree in hand, Elder Halverson served in the Utah House of Representatives from 1967 to 1978. Over the years he played the roles of majority whip, majority leader, and chairman for the State Building Board.

Elder Halverson married Linda Jensen in 1960, after spending time in the Army at Fort Ord, California. The couple have five children, 16 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held March 1st at the Weber LDS Stake Center in Ogden, Utah.

Read more at Deseret News.

John Huntsman Jr. Considered For Deputy Secretary of State

The Trump administration is taking another look at LDS politicians. Under consideration this time: former Utah Governor John Huntsman Jr.

Huntsman, along with Mitt Romney, was under consideration for the position of Secretary of State, but the position ended up going to former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Huntsman is now under consideration for the No. 2 spot after President Donald Trump rejected Elliot Abrams for the position, according the Wall Street Journal.

Huntsman served as U.S. Ambassador to China under President Obama, and has served as Ambassador to Singapore and trade Ambassador to Asia. Reports suggest Huntsman is also under consideration for an Ambassadorship to Japan and Russia.

Whether or not Huntsman will accept the position is up for debate. Huntsman’s feelings towards the President elect are chilly at best. Initially, Huntsman endorsed Trump’s candidacy — but after Trump’s “locker-room-leak,” Huntsman called for Trump to drop out of the election.

Huntsman recently told Deseret News that he doesn’t have a position on the Trump and, frankly, doesn’t want one.

Read more at Deseret News.

Temple Distraught Over Possible Street Name

The Atlanta Georgia Temple currently stands on Barfield Road — as it has since its opening in 1983. But with the arrival of the automotive manufacturing giant, Mercedes-Benz, this may change.

The luxury car maker’s headquarters is setting up shop right next door to the Atlanta Georgia Temple, and plans on renaming Barfield Road to Mercedes-Benz Drive. Atlanta Church leaders plan to oppose renaming the street when it goes before City Council on the March 7.

“The Mercedes-Benz brand is known for prestige and luxury and class status and all that sort of thing,” Maycock said. “In the Atlanta Georgia Temple of the Church, we don’t do any of that…It’s not what the Atlanta Temple is. It’s not what the Atlanta Temple teaches its members.”

The City Council originally named Barfield Road in honor of an old farming family from the area — many of whom also stood opposed to renaming the street when first announced in 2015.

Mercedes-Benz has a 40-year history of naming streets around its facilities for the company. The German-based car relies heavily on its prestigious name for marketing, and has already purchased the naming rights to Atlanta’s new football and soccer stadium.

The automotive company met with the Church in order to discuss alternate naming options. The Church proposed placing the Mercedes-Benz name on a private road or giving the street an artificial “Mercedes-Benz Drive” name.

The Church plans on sending a formal letter of opposition to the city council.

Read more at KUTV.

UPDATE: Mercedes-Benz and the LDS Church in Atlanta compromised on re-naming the portion of the street where the new headquarters resides and allowing the LDS Temple to keep its same address.

LDS Mother Who Lost Family In Plane Crash Receives Out-pour of Support

Bishop Randall Wells was flying from Arizona back to his wife and home in Sandy, Utah when his plane went missing; on-board Wells’ Cessna were his two young children: 8-year-old Asher and 3-year-old Sara. Two-days later, their bodies were found in Iron County Utah.

Iron County Sheriff, Mark Gower, weighed in on the crash:

“We have theories, but just based on the weather conditions at the time the conditions the pilot was experiencing with the dark, no moon that night, some squalls moving through the area, that he got in there and realized his elevation was too low. He didn’t have the elevation he needed to come back out.”

Wells is survived by his wife, Kristin, who recently found out she’s 20-weeks pregnant with a baby girl.

Ward members have rushed to Kristin’s aid, hoping to provide support as she grapples with the loss of her whole family. Many members were out helping search for the plane, returning immediately after it was found to begin a 24-hour fast for Kristin and her baby.

Total strangers have banded together for Mrs. Wells, starting a GoFundMe page to help cover the funeral costs.

“My father lost his parents to a plane crash when he was 12 years old, making him an orphan. This touches my heart in ways I can’t express. I am so sorry for your loss. This isn’t fair, but I know, without a doubt, that you will get through this!” one donor wrote on the GoFundMe page.

The GoFundMe is operated by Kristin’s sister, who will be making the funeral arrangements and helping Kristin at this time.

Read more at LDS Living.

Gabriella is a psychology major, Westfalia-dweller, and expert bean-eater. Having spent the majority of her life living in the great Latin-American metropoles of Guatemala and Mexico, Gabriella continues to grapple with the eccentricities of suburban living.