Our Readers Write


Universality of the Gospel

Editor:

As a Canadian earnestly hoping to take citizenship in Israel, I was pleased to see in the August Ensign (my magazine arrived late) an article entitled “The Universality of the Gospel,” because I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, and not the church of the United States, as many people seem to believe.

On the whole, the article was well-thought-out and clearly expressed, though members of non-United States citizenship would consider that your graph contained too large an overlap of American cultures.

I would, however, like to see a companion article on the aspects of American culture that non-Americans do not have to adopt in order to be good Latter-day Saints. Unfortunately, the example of missionaries organizing a Fourth of July celebration in England is by no means impossible. We, the members of non-United States origin, expect you who are U.S. citizens to be proud of your country and loyal to it, but there are some attitudes we find offensive:

1. “Patriotism” means being loyal to the United States, no matter what one’s nationality.

2. Everybody on earth wants to be an American. (Most of us don’t!)

3. Because the Constitution of the United States was divinely inspired, all other countries should want to adopt it, and all Latter-day Saints should approve of all measures adopted by the United States government. (All American Saints don’t, so why should we?)

Other minor misunderstandings are frequent. American missionaries often find it hard, for example, to realize that “Come, Come, Ye Saints” has little appeal for members whose families had no part in any pioneering movement; that “America the Beautiful” is a beautiful song and not a hymn, and therefore that non-Americans have no reason to sing it; and that people in Idaho, California, and Vermont have no reason to sing “Utah, We Love Thee.”

We, the members of non-United States origin and citizenship, realize that the General Authorities and you, the editor of the Ensign, recognize the truth of what I have written. Unfortunately, all too many, especially Utah-born members, do not. They therefore go about the world—when they can be pried loose from “Zion”—antagonizing people by inferring that we are second-class citizens in the kingdom of God and can only redeem ourselves by moving to Utah.

Believe me, I am not anti-American, nor are most people, Church members or otherwise, outside the United States. Most criticism of America stems from irritation of the “second-class citizen syndrome,” which is why I have tried to explain it to you. I hope you are able to understand it from my explanation, as only by understanding one another can we be united.

I love the gospel and want to see it spread throughout the world.

Margreta C. D. Spencer Safad, Israel

Another Approach

Editor:

Don L. Searle’s article in the October issue was a very good analysis of the pornography and obscenity problems. His solution to fighting this threat is to use legal means. This is fine, but there is yet another approach. We might call it the consumer’s approach. The smut and filthy films that have been in our theaters are now coming into our living rooms via TV. No parent can monitor all the TV his children consume, especially when there are several sets in the home. One must remember that every TV movie, show, and newscast has a sponsor. These people spend millions to please the consumer and sell the product.

If you object to what is on TV, why not write a friendly advice letter to the public relations division of the company that advertises on the show. If a stronger letter is desired, they can be told in no uncertain terms that you don’t appreciate the gutter quality of their show. If you wish, they can be told that you don’t intend to buy their product. You could also write the theater manager and tell him that in the past your family attended twenty-five movies a year (or another number) but now that many obscene films are shown, your patronage will stop. Think of the impact of this.

If your TV newscaster presents a favorable view toward protesting groups who use crime as a vehicle for political change, this should be challenged via the sponsor. Crime should be presented by the news media as crime and not as a great worthy moral movement. When a news event is controversial, both sides of the question should be fairly presented. Selection of what is newsworthy should also be questioned.

If the right people get the message from a sufficient number of writers, the number of mind polluters of our environment can be vastly reduced.

J. D. Baxter San Jose, California

Counsel on Genealogy

Editor:

I am a student at Brigham Young University, from Riverside, California. Recently, while visiting the Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City, I was looking through some books on the history of Orange County, New York. I was checking for information on my great-grandfather, and I just happened to start reading on a certain page and came across one of the most inspiring thoughts I have seen in a long time. It gave me an inspired feeling of what our place is concerning genealogy, and the strength and character of the great men the Lord raised up to found this nation. Might I share it with you:

“In the remarks made by the Honorable Daniel Webster, at the celebration of the New England Society at Washington, on the 22nd of December, 1845, he observed: ‘It is wise for us to recur to the history of our ancestors. Those who are regardless of the history of our ancestors and their posterity—who do not look upon themselves as a link connecting the past with the future, in the transmission of life from their ancestors to their posterity, do not perform their duty to the world. To be faithful to ourselves, we must keep our ancestors and posterity within reach and grasp of our thoughts and affections, living in the memory and retrospect of the past, and hoping with affection and care for those who are to come after us. We are true to ourselves only when we act with becoming pride for the blood we inherit, and which we are to transmit to those who shall fill our places.’” (“Our Ancestors,” History of Orange County, N.Y., pp. 147–48)

Richard L. Bailey Provo, Utah

Editor’s Note

Permission to publish the photograph appearing on page 32 of the November Ensign, in conjunction with the article on Zoroastrianism by Ellis T. Rasmussen, was granted by Miss Betty Zimmerman, assistant director of the Cincinnati Art Museum. The credit line for that photograph was unintentionally left out. The Ensign wishes to acknowledge with sincere appreciation the courtesy of the Cincinnati Art Museum and apologize to Miss Zimmerman for this oversight.