We discussed the Ensign in ward council and several of us had the same feeling: we just don’t receive the same spiritual feeling from the new magazine as we did the Improvement Era. I think the layouts are beautiful and the pictures inside and out have been tremendous, but the content just doesn’t give me what the Improvement Era did. I think the biggest problem is that there are too many contemporary articles. If I wanted to read this type of information, I would buy Time, Newsweek, or any newspaper. The whole magazine seems to have taken on too much “mod.” I’m only thirty-two, so I’m not over the hill yet, but I liked the simplicity of the old Improvement Era. It was different from the ordinary magazine, and the Ensign seems too much like the rest of the world’s reading material.
After reading every issue of the Ensign to date, I must say I can’t help but be disappointed. Not only does the Ensign not begin to compare with the old Relief Society Magazine or the Improvement Era, but two to four pages are also always wasted on the “letters to the editor” section—space that could be put to a lot better use than praising the magazine. A question-and-answer page might be a lot more informative and give readers a chance to ask the General Authorities questions of doctrine. So much false doctrine has been passed off as being genuine that it is difficult for those having questions to get accurate answers. We women would certainly benefit from an enlarged women’s section.
L. J. Downing
The new issues of the three Church publications have been rewarding, inspirational, and informative. One suggestion with “Policies and Procedures”—could you perforate the page so it can be easily pulled out and filed in a plastic looseleaf book?
Philip E. Sloan
Congratulations on three fine magazines. The Ensign is particularly useful to me as a wife, mother, and teacher in the Church. Almost every article is of unusual interest. I have two requests that I hope you will consider for future issues. First, I would surely appreciate the inclusion of pictures that could be easily removed from the magazine to use as visual aids in auxiliary teaching and family home evenings. Especially useful would be pictures of scriptural characters and events and also persons and places significant in Church history. Second, I would enjoy articles featuring the wives of the General Authorities. I am certain all mothers in the Church would be interested in the way these sisters handle problems of child-raising, family unity, and husbands frequently occupied with Church responsibilities. I am particularly interested in how these sisters manage large young families.
Bonnie L. Goodliffe
San Francisco, California
The article on the Church in Poland [April, page 30] must have been of great interest to those members who had to leave the former German areas now in Poland and Russia. It was of interest to me because in 1964–65 I studied in Warsaw and was able to visit many of those areas and to visit the Selbongen Branch, which Brother Gilbert Scharffs described.
Salt Lake City, Utah
I don’t usually take the time to write letters to editors, but I couldn’t resist this one. I just wanted you to know that I, for one, am not offended by the term housewife. [See “Our Readers Write,” May, page 73.]
Any term that refers to my calling, whether it be wife, mother, homemaker, housekeeper, chauffeur, maid, scrubwoman, referee, seamstress, or even slave to a husband and ten beautiful children, is all right with me. It is what I have always dreamed of being, and I am glad I am a housewife.
Some of the implications in the article “And When They Are Good” [May, page 43] were troubling. Is it true that our youth are either very, very good or they are “horrids,” as the article called them? This seems contradictory to our understanding of the nature of man and the plan of salvation. Indeed, we perform a disservice to youth when we attach such labels or stereotypes. What would we do if a “horrid” came to Sunday School or MIA, for example? Shut the door before he entered, or send him home for a haircut?
The article says that people are “wagging their heads, clucking their tongues, and locking their doors and their lives against the young.” It is not made clear, however, that these are improper and ineffective behaviors for dealing with the problem. In a later paragraph the article says, “The horrids throng our streets and parks and get under our feet and destroy what they touch. They get in our newspapers and in our hair.”
Contrast these attitudes with President Harold B. Lee’s advice for dealing with youth and others, as reported in your March issue: “We must be wise, not naive. We must love even those who abuse us and misuse us. We must be uncompromising as to principle, but quick to love and to forget.”
“Horrids” need help, not nicknames; they need counseling, not clucking; and they need love, not locked doors and locked minds. As the thinking reader will notice in this article, young people are not the only ones with problems. Some seriously unhealthy attitudes also exist among the critics of youth.
Michael M. Norton
A friend and neighbor gave me the April issue of the Ensign. As a baptized Catholic, I found the article on Catholicism [page 45] especially interesting and factual. I’ve a special fondness for the truth and Mr. A. Burt Horsley really tells it like it is. Suffice to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the Ensign and am looking forward to the next issue.
James V. Wallace
We have enjoyed the Ensign since its inception. May we now send a special thank you for your April issue. The cover picture and the one of the crucifixion left marked impressions on our children’s minds. The scriptures included went along with our family home evening presentation on the meaning of Easter.
All of the articles were interesting and enlightening—the most enjoyable being “A Rational Approach to Discipline.” In our ward, reading of this article was encouraged by Primary leaders and Relief Society teachers. Since Dr. Allred cannot be everywhere, we hope that more of his ideas and techniques will be presented in the Ensign as a help and guide in working with our most prized possessions—our children.
Mrs. Lyle Topham
Santa Clara, California
Writing, I know, not only for myself but also for the many missionaries in the field, I want to commend you for your great job on the Ensign. For some of us it is a very special assurance that we have the support of the Church back home. Needless to say, the words of the Brethren printed in the Ensign are beyond price to us. They are truly men of God. Once again, thanks for strengthening the testimonies of those who are proclaiming the word.
Robert B. Jones
Düsseldorf, West Germany
Arising early—long before dawn, as my dear companion went to his priesthood assignment and before my family stirred—I have had a marvelous experience. How blessed it is to hear of and be taught by my friends: Joy, Wilma, Wendell, Ellis, and others I consider to be friends. The broad spectrum of the earth’s and heaven’s truths and beauties are contained in this beloved magazine. I am taught and uplifted. I am fed. Thank you for this standard. Thank you for this reminder that the “stone cut out of the mountain” is thundering forward. The positive attitude and truths of your wonderful new magazines will help this come to pass.
Elaine H. Ellis
Since I have been rather critical of some aspects of our internal church literature, I think I should tell you how delighted I am with the Ensign.
As a professional writer, and former senior Aaronic, I have tended to evaluate our internal literature from a viewpoint different from some Church members. While I realized that all church literature must have as its basic purpose to promote the faith, I felt that we tended to place the entire emphasis upon the message and almost none upon the manner of presentation, the literary style and excellence of its telling. In reading it, I always wondered how a senior Aaronic, or a gentile, would receive it. And now I believe the Ensign qualifies as a representative of my church about which I need make no apologies. It has carried articles that could have been published in national magazines. It has attained an adult objectivity, typified by such articles as “Roman Catholicism,” by A. Burt Horsley, in the April issue.
Samuel W. Taylor
Redwood City, California
To the Ensign editors I owe a debt of gratitude for the privilege of subscribing to this great Latter-day Saint magazine. I am always waiting to receive the next month’s copy. It’s a marvelous testimony builder, and it’s sad if all members of the Church, as well as all families the world over, don’t have it sent to their homes to be read from cover to cover. Surely the authorities of our great Church are inspired as always. I am so grateful for the gospel and my testimony of the truthfulness of it.
Los Angeles, California
Recently I was surprised to find a beautiful poem in the Ensign written by someone in my ward. The author has been such a strength and help to me with my problems, yet I didn’t even know this person could write. I wonder how many other persons I know may have similar hidden talents. I hope in the future that I can think less of my own needs and what others can do for me, and think more about getting to know and appreciate others as people.
I have read each of the issues of the Ensign and the New Era from cover to cover. I have thoroughly enjoyed each one and have learned many things. I feel they are truly inspired. I must admit that I will miss the Relief Society Magazine, which had been my companion for as long as I can remember. I thought it was perfect, and like an old friend it will be missed. These new magazines are wonderful and exciting and have become new friends to me. I feel the hand of the Lord is guiding our new prophet and his helpers. Great strides forward are being made in many needed areas.
Your editorial in the April issue of the Ensign, “Be a Missionary,” is most commendable and noteworthy. Since the annual presentation of The Mormon Miracle Pageant, at Manti, Utah, July 12 through 17, ties in with missionary effort, we trust that this additional follow-up material will merit your consideration.
The history of Mormonism has been taught and retaught in limitless ways. The Sanpete South Stake presidency is now making it possible for Church history to come alive in actual historical surroundings with glorious music, light, sound perfection, and intense feeling. The Mormon Miracle story was written by Grace Johnson and has been adapted to pageantry by Macksene Rux.
Since its completion in 1888, the Manti Temple has been a great source of inspiration to all who have visited this lovely valley. Tourists never cease to be captivated, charmed, and awe-stricken by its unique splendor. This heavenly white temple towers lofty and serene on a hill, a spur created by the majestic Rocky mountains behind the temple. This most significant and breathtaking setting provides the background and stage for The Mormon Miracle Pageant.
In support of your editorial “Be a Missionary,” please urge every Latter-day Saint to avail himself of this valuable mission opportunity “to share the joy of gospel truths with others” by inviting a nonmember guest to this pageant. This is an unparalleled missionary opportunity.