Our Readers Write


First European Female Convert

I just noticed the letter from Sister Scoffield [April, p. 70], on the first female convert in Europe. I’m puzzled, because I have a distinct recollection of a family tradition that Jennetta Richards qualified for that inscription. I remember taking my sister, a fifth-generation descendant of Jennetta, to the River Ribble where Jennetta was baptized August 4, 1839. In Elder Richard L. Evans’s book A Century of Mormonism, page 36, I found allegation that the confirmation of Miss Richards was the first “in the British Isles in this dispensation.”

I have no way of knowing who was first and I am sure it is not too important, but it appears that there may be several “firsts.” Miss Walmsley may have been the first female baptized, although Brother Evans is not very clear on the subject. I think the tombstone inscription is an important footnote to Brother Evans’s work.

William L. Knecht Berkeley, California

The Problem of Pornography

I’m a mother with two school-age children and I see in them a growing ability to read and a desire to be among books. In every store where books are sold suitable for children, close by are racks of magazines and pocketbooks, many of which are filthy and crying out with lurid covers. What can I, a private citizen, do to regulate these displays? I know the law is in a state of flux in this matter and seems helpless to curtail the sale of such works. How can I find out the law in my community, and what can I do?

Nancy Watson Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Here are a few ideas: inform the shopkeeper of your concern; talk with a barrister or attorney in whom you have confidence; talk with other like-minded persons, among whom there might be some fellow Latter-day Saints; ask your bishop or branch president his thoughts on the matter.

Children and Reading

As an educator and a parent, I am glad that such an article as “Black Marks Your Eye Can Pick Off the Page” [April, p. 57] found its way into the Ensign. I have recently become thoroughly convinced that very few parents realize the tremendously beneficial or detrimental effect they can exert on the reading skills of the young souls their Father in heaven has assigned to their care, keeping, and education.

In a local school the principal recently was commissioned to determine why the majority of his students fell further and further behind in reading proficiency from the first to the sixth grades. His findings: an extremely low percentage of the homes in that area subscribed to a newspaper, much less had appropriate reading material for their little ones.

In my experience as a bishop, I became alarmed at the importance of television to the exclusion of reading activities in many Latter-day Saint homes. I’m proud and supportive of the Church’s stress on the family unit but am afraid that many of us will be doing a great disservice unless we follow the counsel of this article.

Gary Brown Claremont, California

Vietnam Mormon Conference

Many Saints might be interested to know of the recent district conference of the Republic of Vietnam Northern District. Over one hundred members serving in the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force attended the one-day conference at Camp Horn. Presiding was President William Bradshaw of the Hong Kong Mission, whose message was: “A lot of people around us have ridiculed the word repentance. But the Church says to its members, and anyone else who will listen, if you really want to make changes in the world, change your life and repent.” Our district is comprised mostly of military members and employees of the Department of Defense.

S/Sgt. Brent Peterson Vietnam

Dried Foods

The recent article on food storage [“The Security of a Food Supply,” April, p. 75] is good as far as it goes. But dried foods can be stored in one-tenth of the space, can be more nutritious (since some processes do not cook the foods at all), and can be stored indefinitely when prepared correctly.

We have found it much easier to keep a six-month or more supply that needs no rotating (including the powdered eggs, shortening, etc.), and then keep the rest of our food in store-bought goods. Frankly, rotating is a pain in the neck. Just an idea for those who feel about it as we do.

Dr. John E. Gambee Salt Lake City

The Question of America

I am a convert to the Church and am proud to be an American and proud to be a Mormon. Certainly American Saints recognize that not all members of the Church are Americans, but we also realize that the U.S. Constitution was inspired and therefore its original intent should be a beacon to all nations. Certainly this concept shouldn’t offend non-American Saints. For example, my family had no part in the pioneering movement, but every time I hear “Come, Come Ye Saints,” I am deeply moved by the Spirit. It helps me to realize how much the pioneers had to endure to save the Church from those who would have destroyed it. It also has great meaning today.

Michael Thompson Rexburg, Idaho

Masagatae Tribes

In April 1972, you printed a letter concerning the Masagatae Tribes [p. 71]. I’d like to point out that though it is questionable whether these tribes were Scythians, they were certainly close neighbors in what is now the Uzbek Province, USSR, and the extreme north portion of modern Afghanistan. (Herodotus: I 204–216, IV 11, 172.) They were certainly not Germans or Teutonics, who are first described in history as occupying the territory from the Rhine on the west, through the modern German, Scandinavian, and Polish states. It is generally conceded that their eastern boundary was the valley of the Vistula (modern Warsaw and vicinity), hundreds of miles north and west from the location of the Masagatae, and far, far from the range of the armies of Cyrus.

Kent M. Crosby Citrus Heights, California

Do You Have An Index?

May I suggest that an index of each volume of the Ensign be printed as part of the December issue of each year.

A. C. Gonzalez, Jr. El Paso, Texas

An index for the complete 1971 volume of the Ensign is now available. Send 25¢ to Ensign 79 South State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111. Although the suggestion to make such an index part of the December issue is a frequent one, it has been determined best not to provide an index in this manner because of deadlines, space, and other considerations.