Terrestrial—Not Telestial

In President Marion G. Romney’s message in February there is a typographical error. On page 2, where he is quoting from the Doctrine and Covenants 88:23, the article reads: “And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.” It should read: “And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.” The printed version makes sense and could be true, but it is not a correct quote.

Mary Louise Rathjen
Salmon, Idaho

You’re so right.


Just a note to express appreciation for the poems you have been publishing. They are the kind of poems that a man can read and not feel embarrassed. Somehow, a lot of poetry seems like it belongs for dewy-eyed women, rather than for people in the real world. I have heard others voice their approval of your poetry. Some even use it in talks—and I believe that is a new high for Church poetry.

Wilson Farlow
Los Angeles, California

It is the Ensign’s goal to publish poetry that speaks to the heart while ennobling the soul. We hope such poetry is enjoyed by both men and women. To help writers of poetry, we have prepared a poetry guideline sheet that outlines the areas in which we would be pleased to receive poems. Interested writers are encouraged to write for it.

Prayer at Valley Forge

The painting and article “The Prayer at Valley Forge” [February insert] were very interesting and appropriate. There is another story, by B. H. Roberts, about George Washington and the Bible that really deserves retelling. It is found in the Contributor, vol. 10, p. 275:

A PROPHETIC INCIDENT: In the April number of the Century is a well-written and profusely illustrated article on the Inauguration of Washington, by Clarence Winthrop Bowen. Among the illustrations is a facsimile of the page of the Bible on which Washington laid his hand while taking the oath of office, and it is to this that I wish specially to call attention. … The Century article says:

“Secretary Otis of the Senate held before him (Washington) a red velvet cushion, upon which rested the open Bible. … ‘You do solemnly swear,’ said Livingston, ‘that you will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will, to the best of your ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States’. … [Washington repeated the oath.] He then bowed his head and kissed the sacred book, and with the deepest feelings uttered the words, ‘So help me God!’”

The page of the Bible which Washington kissed, and on which his hand rested while taking the oath, is indicated in the Bible of the St. John’s Lodge [from which it was borrowed] by the leaf being turned down. A copper-plate engraving is on the opposite page illustrating the blessings of Zebulun and Issachar as pronounced upon them by the patriarch Jacob in Genesis 49, thirteenth and fourteenth verses respectively. The page on which Washington’s hand rested contains part of chapter forty-nine and also part of the fiftieth chapter down to verse eight inclusive.

The particular thing which struck me as being a remarkable circumstance is that the page indicated contains the blessing of Jacob upon the head of his favorite son Joseph, which reads as follows:

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:

“The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:

“But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)

“Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:

“The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.”

To the Latter-day Saints the blessing of Joseph has a particular significance, for the reason that they, more than any other people, are familiar with his descendants, and the blessing promised them in which also they hope to participate. The Book of Mormon is a history, chiefly, of the descendants of Joseph; and in the mighty nations which have peopled the American continent, the Latter-day Saints see, in part, the fulfillment of the great blessings pronounced upon his head.

The article reviews Book of Mormon passages that refer to the seed of Jacob through Joseph coming to a promised land, including the comments made by the Savior when he visited them after his resurrection. Additional passages are reviewed that discuss the additional blessings pronounced upon Joseph by Moses. The author then says:

But what seems singular in connection with these promises made to Joseph and the account of their partial fulfillment in a portion of his posterity inhabiting America is, that after the nations, composed largely of his descendants, had been destroyed and other peoples from Europe—among whom, however, were also large numbers of the descendants of Joseph through the loins of Ephraim—had taken possession of the land, at the real establishment of that government which is destined to shape the destiny of the great continent of America—the land of Joseph—the very first executive chosen for that nation when being sworn to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of this land which God had inspired men to frame, he placed his hand upon the very page of the Bible containing the blessing pronounced upon the head of Joseph by the patriarch Jacob. …

Will men call this merely coincidence? Strange coincidence indeed it is, if that be all that it is. Observe that the forty-ninth chapter of Genesis is near the very first leaves of the Bible, and in laying the book open upon a velvet cushion for the use of one to be sworn, it would naturally be parted near the middle of the volume and not parted at the first few leaves.

Let others believe all this to be coincidence if they choose, but for my own part there is too much that is significant to assign it to that class of phenomena so conveniently disposed of by calling them coincidents. … —B. H. Roberts.

I enjoy very much the Ensign and read it from cover to cover every month.

J. T. MacNaughton
Park City, Utah