Letters to Missionaries

May I share a few thoughts on a matter of importance.

A tall missionary stood at my mission office door. “President,” he said, “do you know what this is?” He pointed to the envelope poking out of his pocket. “It’s a letter from my dad. Mother writes me every week—she is great—but a letter from my dad is really special.”

Early in our mission, after an interview conference, my wife said to me, “When I go home I want to talk to all the fathers of missionaries and tell them how important they are to their missionary sons and daughters.” The brethren of the Church don’t realize what an important factor they are in the lives of the missionaries.

At an interview, a missionary a year in the field said, “Haven’t heard from home for nearly a month.” And then he hastened to explain, “My mom’s the stake Relief Society president—she’s awfully busy.”

These letters from home are a vital part of a missionary’s experience. It’s the tie that helps him spend part of that precious time on preparation day each week writing that required letter home.

President M. Blaine Peterson
Germany South Mission

April’s Artist

I’ve poured over the April issue. It is beautiful! Especially the cover with John and Mary Magdalene and the other pictures illustrating the article “The Shepherd’s Flock.” However, I cannot find out who the artist is. Can you help me?

Elaine C. Nichols
Salt Lake City, Utah

The artist who rendered the superb pieces illustrating “The Shepherd’s Flock” is Ted Henninger of Salt Lake City. Forgetting to place his name close to his artwork was an oversight on our part that we truly regret. Brother Henninger is a gifted artist whose work we hope to show frequently in the Ensign.

A Family Idea

Gathering a family of 13 around the table at mealtime in an atmosphere slightly short of mass hysteria has always posed quite a challenge for us. Our children range in ages from one to 17. One day we read an article from a Church magazine at the table. We did it after the blessing on the food. Interest at first was slight, but everyone became more interested as the article was read. We now make a point of reading one article or a portion of a long story each day. Afterwards, each member of the family is asked a question about what is read, and a good family discussion takes place. We feel that our family has drawn closer together because of this.

The Eugene Leatty Family
West Yellowstone, Montana

Leadership at Home

I commend you for the beautiful messages in the March issue concerning the home and family. They were most inspiring to me as a mother and wife.

Victoria W. Miller
Des Moines, Iowa

May I say that the leadership section was most valuable to me as a stake president. I have used it already in training sessions with bishoprics and high councilors. This month our high councilor will utilize the material in preparing his high council address.

President Sherman Crump
Butler West Stake
Salt Lake City, Utah

Circulation Department

I recently visited your offices and noted that the editorial department of the Ensign is on the 23rd floor of the new Church Administration Building and that the circulation offices are on the 24th floor. When sending in mail, how do you address something for these departments?

Ralph Floor
Seattle, Washington

Material for the circulation department should be addressed to “Church Magazines” (as indicated on the contents page of the Ensign). Material for the editorial department may simply be addressed to the Ensign, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.

Gospel Doctrine Classes

As the teacher of a Sunday School Gospel Doctrine class, I send the appreciation of our entire class for your worthwhile and informative material on Abraham in your recent issues. In February we were thrilled to see the touching painting by William Whitaker of Abraham and his son on the cover. We have used in class the chart on the blessings of Abraham and have found the map of the journeys useful. In March, the diagram of early family relationships was a good visual review for us, and the pictorial story on dwelling sites of Abraham made place names more meaningful. Certainly, all of us can only voice appreciation and request similar material in future issues to enrich this year’s course of study.

Evva H. Deveraux
Idaho Falls, Idaho

The Ensign plans to continue to supply useful maps, charts, and articles that relate to the scriptures under study in any given year.

The Prayer at Valley Forge

I just felt I had to write and tell you how much I enjoy the Ensign—it really keeps us in tune. Also, as we study in the Gospel Doctrine class, we’re impressed with the Ensign articles on Abraham. It always amazes me how the Church ties things together. This takes real organization—very intelligent organization. But my real purpose in writing is to say that the center insert by Arnold Friberg on “The Prayer at Valley Forge” [February] moved me and my family. Brother Friberg’s testimony on canvas cannot help but stir our hearts. Keep up the excellent work.

Yvonne Rempp
Yerington, Nevada

On a Welsh Hillside

We would like to report an event of some interest. For the past 17 years many missionaries, businessmen, students, professors, servicemen, and others have visited our branch. Some have stayed with us for a long time, others for only a few days. We wish to advise all that we have just completed and paid for a beautiful chapel, which stands on a Welsh hillside and is the subject of much comment and wonder. We are very proud of it and all those who have strengthened us.

Branch Presidency and Members
Swansea Branch, Wales

Priesthood and Motherhood

In May, the Church commemorates the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. Latter-day Saints in America also commemorate Mother’s Day. In June, the Church commemorates the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Underlying the tributes given to both mothers and the priesthood should be this sobering thought: Without the priesthood there would be no motherhood; without motherhood there would be no perpetuation of the priesthood upon the earth.

It seems important in these days of contemporary international discussions on the role of women that we not concern ourselves as to why mothers may not hold the priesthood or why priesthood bearers cannot be mothers, or which is more important. But let us be concerned that high standards of motherhood be maintained so that worthy priesthood bearers may continue to exist, and that priesthood bearers be faithful in their responsibilities so that honorable motherhood may continue. In our efforts toward the accomplishment of these two purposes we will indeed have paid tribute to both mothers and the priesthood of God.

Earl E. Bagley
Salt Lake City, Utah

Missionaries and Cookies

Just received our December issue and read “Dear Mom: Send Cookies” [p. 44]. Parents may wish to know that it is illegal to import cookies, candy, film, and clothing into Peru. Thus, it is not wise to send such things to missionaries in Peru. However, letters do arrive!

Elder Purnell
Andes-Peru Mission

The Managuan Saints

I appreciated your report on Managua’s earthquake (February, March, and April, “News of the Church”). What a faith-promoting story! Thank you again.

Virginia Quellin
Prescott, Arizona

A Boston Saint

I thoroughly enjoyed your article on “The Boston Saints” [February, p. 12]. For me it’s a personal blessing to be one of the 600 converts in 1972 that President John L. Clarke referred to in the article. The past year has been the happiest and most rewarding of my life, thanks to the example set by the Latter-day Saints of New England. The Ensign has helped me to grow in faith and knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I look forward to the magazine every month.

Carleen J. Tarpinian
Portland, Maine

Whom Could You Help?

Each week the Ensign receives dozens of letters, many of them containing some very heartwarming stories. Particularly are we moved when we hear how the magazine blesses the lives of Saints who live alone or are the only members of the Church in their respective families, or how it helps interested nonmember friends or persons isolated from other Saints due to war or other circumstances. The following letters of the past few weeks may suggest a gift for someone close to you:

I am in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Korea. Where I am located I am the only LDS member and work rotating shifts under which there is no opportunity to travel to one of the larger installations where Sunday meetings are held. Temptations surround, as does loneliness, and it would be easy to become greatly discouraged. What I am getting around to saying is that my wife has taken out a subscription to the Ensign for me. It is truly a wonderful publication. I have my standard works here, and the Ensign provides wonderful incentive to keep studying. I usually leave the Ensign in the day room after I am finished, and I have found this an excellent way to open up a discussion on the Church. I am sure that many servicemen receive the Ensign and I know they feel the same as I do. For all of us, thanks.

Allen P. West

I want to write you and express appreciation for the Ensign. I am delighted with it! I am not a member of your church. I have been much opposed to your church. But since beginning to take your magazine (I have all issues except the first six), I have changed my views greatly.

For one who was formerly opposed and whose mind was already made up, so to speak, to have my present views is, I can appreciate, quite a change. I just felt I should write and let you know of my feelings about your magazine. I believe that for content and appearance it cannot be surpassed by any I have seen of any other church.

Edward Householder
Pollard, Arkansas

The Vietnam cease-fire is now signed, and my husband will be returning. The hours and days of our separation were long and lonely. However, the strength that my husband said he received from the Ensign is immeasurable. I know the magazine is inspired by the Lord, and my husband and I are so thankful for the strength it gave us, for supporting him, for assuring him of the sacredness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, for strengthening me in my role as a homemaker and mother, for helping us both to cherish the covenants we have made in the temple. I bear testimony that I have heard from many that the magazine is an inspiration to all who come in contact with it.

Susan E. Manning
San Diego, California

I recently composed a small booklet of clippings from past editions of the Ensign to explain to a French university class who the Mormons are and what kind of influence we have on people. The colorful illustrations found so abundantly and in good taste in the magazine added a wonderful visual background to our presentation. If only Saints everywhere realized how useful the magazines are to share the gospel with others!

Elder Bryan Critchfield
France-Switzerland Mission

I have a testimony of how the Ensign helps inactive members. I have lent my magazines to inactive sisters on my visiting teaching rounds, and many nonmembers love to look at and read it. I have seen one particular sister grow closer to the Church again because of the Ensign. I thank the Church for this great tool. It helps the active, the inactive, the nonmembers. In many ways, it’s our best foot forward.

Ruth H. Tate
Tasmania, Australia