More Comment on December

Without a doubt your December issue was the greatest I’ve ever read. Not only is it extremely interesting, but it is filled with helpful articles. This is one magazine that I want on the shelf—to be used constantly.

Leona Raeuber
Lompoc, California

I want to thank you for the December issue. The articles chosen were very timely and beautifully arranged. Our seminary class is studying the teachings of Christ. All of the pictures and the scriptures of his teachings added to the appreciation and understanding of the students. Our entire class went through the magazine one morning and greatly appreciated it.

Haunani Leong
Honolulu, Hawaii

How on earth do you do it? Each issue gets better and better! It’s such a joy and inspiration (that must be how you do it) to receive the Ensign in our home. Thank you very much.

Nancy Seljestad
Homer, Alaska

I must say that the Ensign is the most useful magazine that I’ve ever heard of. The way it is made makes you think that it is a magazine for eternity.

Joachim R. Golze
Bodenteich, Germany

Just wanted you to know that I have read the entire December issue and received a great blessing from it.

Sarah M. Johnson
Viroqua, Wisconsin

Expressions similar to the above continue to pour into our offices from all parts of the world. We thought readers would appreciate knowing something about the widespread readership of the Ensign. Our circulation figures identify 93 countries into which the Ensign is mailed.

Last of the Chocolate Discussion

I saw the letter in the December Ensign on chocolate. No doubt some well-intentioned Saints will now feel that the Church is against chocolate since the letter appeared in the Ensign. [The information was relayed so that the readership could make of it whatever their individual consciences desired.—Editors]

To my knowledge, our leaders have never made any statements against using chocolate. Certainly chocolate might be harmful when used to excess, but then so could any number of other items, including salt, which is a necessary item in the diet. Perhaps we should take counsel and use “moderation in all things,” rather than allowing ourselves to become overly concerned with such a relatively small part of the gospel.

Mrs Ellen Timmreck
Logan, Utah

May I share a quotation from Patterns for Living [Bookcraft, 1962], a book by Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Council of the Twelve, pages 235–37:

“What are the facts with respect to cocoa, coffee and caffeine?

“For years Good Housekeeping Magazine has maintained a high standard of integrity. Its information is carefully worked out and stated so that all who read may understand.

“In its ‘Question Box’ some time ago, the following appeared:

“‘QUESTION: Does cocoa contain more caffeine than does coffee?

“‘ANSWER: No, though cocoa and chocolate contain theobromine, a stimulant similar to caffeine, as well as some caffeine the total is considerably less than in coffee.

“‘Average strength coffee contains approximately 0.397 grains of caffeine in a fluid ounce (two tablespoons); cocoa, 0.01 grain of caffeine and 0.027 grain of theobromine in a fluid ounce.’

“The facts then completely dispel any notion that cocoa or chocolate is as harmful as coffee. Persons who say that those drinking hot chocolate are breaking the Word of Wisdom as effectively as if they drank coffee do not state the truth.

“The fact is also that in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith ‘hot drinks’ as mentioned in the Word of Wisdom were officially interpreted by the leading brethren of that day to mean tea and coffee.

“At no time has cocoa or chocolate been included in the prohibitions of the Word of Wisdom, and at no time has the Church said that cocoa is as harmful as coffee.

“Those who make these claims do so on their own responsibility, and obviously without knowing the facts of the matter.

“When interviewing for temple recommends, for instance, or for advancement in the priesthood, or for baptism, or for any other purpose, bishops never inquire as to whether a person drinks cocoa or eats chocolate candy. If the use of cocoa and chocolate were against the doctrine of the Church such inquiry would be made, but it is not.

“It is the same with whole wheat or white flour. Persons who say that it is against the Word of Wisdom to eat white flour simply do not know what they are talking about. The same is true with respect to white sugar. The Church has never banned or even raised a question about either one. Only unauthorized persons who speak on their own responsibility try to make Church doctrine out of their private personal views.

“It is true also with respect to meat. Of course the Lord advised eating meat sparingly, but He did not ban it altogether. On the contrary he said in the Bible:

“‘In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry and COMMANDING TO ABSTAIN FROM MEATS WHICH GOD HATH CREATED TO BE RECEIVED WITH THANKSGIVING OF THEM WHICH BELIEVE AND KNOW THE TRUTH.’ (1 Tim. 4:1–4.)

“The whole matter of giving offence to others needs consideration by every individual, whether it be offence to children through neglect, cruelty or a bad example; whether it be to a long-suffering wife, a neighbor, or a person in a business deal.”

Deborah Kay Thornton
Oxnard, California