I am a recent convert to the Church and the Ensign has been a great help to me. Many magazines have a corner where people can advertise for pen friends. I wonder if there is any special reason why the Ensign does not.
Kathleen C. MacDuff
Although such a department would greatly interest some people, like yourself, the amount of correspondence would be unwieldy for us to process. We have therefore decided not to begin a pen-pal department. Sorry.
I am a member of the United Church of Christ, and I want you to know how much we appreciate being able to receive your excellent Church magazines in our home. They are read, reread, and filed for future reference. We feel no common ground with our own church’s publications. Your church, with its great faith and message, is teaching us some good lessons.
Mrs. Robert Thayer
I am an English Shia Moslem, and I read “Islam and Mormonism” in the March issue [p. 55], given to me by two of your missionaries. May I say that apart from particular religious and spiritual values, the Holy Koran contains about 400 laws that are still in practice in some degree today in a material form.
To Moslems, all things, whether it be faith, materialistic ways, social customs, or politics, belong to God, stem from God, return to God. In a similar way, the Book of Mormon unfolds a way of life to be lived from day to day and contains within it all aspects that are part of God, in that they are from God.
One other point that might be considered in connection with our belief that there are no more prophets after Muhammad is that in general terms we believe there have been no more prophets in the area where God’s laws began. But that does not exclude a prophet or prophets in a land and with a background such as is included in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which would have been fantasy to the ancient races of the East.
Hussain Ali Al-Maghrebi
Sutton, Surrey, England
In reference to your June cover:
Lift your heads,
You weary Saints.
Here comes the band,
Fluting and tooting, with
Clarinet and horn
Shrilling and thrilling.
What if they miss a note?
Music blares forth
And lifts the prostrate
Saints to stand again
With spirits high!
Is it to dance?
Here we go with a di-de-di,
Form fours, lift and swing it high!
Or is it to lift the spirits low?
The work is done with a yo heave ho!
The camp is mired in mud and rain.
The band swings past with might and main,
And wagons are lifted from the mire
And roll again.
The band plans for the countryside.
And how will you take your pay?
It matters not, we’ll play for cash
Or bushels of corn today.
They play to lift discouraged Saints.
They play to feed the soul.
They play the dirges for the dead,
The solemn music for the dead,
Boom! da da da da … Boom! da da da da
Boom! da da da da.
President S. Dilworth Young
of the First Council of the Seventy
An interesting footnote to the fine Holy Land issue [May] is the fact that there have been at least two other dedications of the Holy Land in addition to that performed by Elder Orson Hyde in 1841.
In March 1873, a party headed by President George A. Smith, counselor to Brigham Young, journeyed to the Mount of Olives. There President Smith dedicated the land, “praying that it might become fertile and the early and late rains descend upon it, and the prophecies and promises unto Abraham and the prophets be fulfilled here in the own due time of the Lord.” (Journal of George A. Smith, March 2, 1873.)
Eliza R. Snow was among that party which “united in service in the order of the Holy Priesthood, President Smith leading in humble, fervent supplication, dedicating the land of Palestine for the gathering of the Jews and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.” (Journal History, March 2, 1873.)
Early in March 1902, President Francis M. Lyman of the Council of the Twelve led a similar group to Jerusalem. Kneeling on a heavy Irish rug, he and others faced the city: “Heaven and earth seemed to be in profound silence for one half an hour. Not a movement to break the stillness of the occasion. We were enveloped in the power of the Holy Ghost.”
During that thirty minutes, “in all solemnity and earnestness we did plead with the Lord for the redemption of Judah and Jerusalem. … We besought the blessings of the Lord upon the whole land and upon the posterity of Abraham. We blessed the earth that it may become fruitful as of old. We blessed the people that they may be redeemed from their superstition. …” (Journal History, March 16, 1902.)
Church Historian’s Office
Allow me this means to express to you my commendation on your very excellent Holy Land issue. Not only were the articles informative and creatively presented, but I believe that the issue itself went a long way toward contributing to the fund of common understanding between all peoples who see in Israel the hopes, frustration, and dreams of all mankind.
Rabbi Abner L. Bergman
Salt Lake City
We have learned more from this one issue than if we had taken a class about Jews. It has given us great love for the Jewish people. The illustrations were just beautiful.
A. C. Shurtliff
The pictures and articles made me enthusiastic about the Holy Land. I would like now to study deeper into the customs and social habits of the Jews. I think I shall invest some time and energy in the remote possibility of there being Jews in our small town. Thank you.
Alice S. Hunt
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada