Saints in Europe

During the past two nights I have read the August Ensign cover to cover and loved every minute of it. Many times my heart quickened and tears laced my eyes as I could see the gospel influencing the lives of others. The timing was beautiful—we had just come home from a trip to an empty house, and it was such a pleasant surprise to find the magazine in the mailbox. Our spirits were greatly lifted.

O. Kumen Meservy Mesa, Arizona

Two minor discrepancies in your excellent August issue: Top pictures on page 34 is the Bell Tower in Luzern, not in Bern. On page 29, one receives the impression that the first native Italian to be called to a foreign mission will be this year. While serving in the Swiss Mission in August 1968, my companion was Elder Hermes Michelini from Padua, Italy, a native Italian. He told me that he was the second missionary to be called from Italy, the first having served in one of the French-speaking missions.

David B. Bylund Davis, California

Correct.

We were thrilled with the August issue. Our people will be very excited to see mention of their activities. Such a worthwhile publication!

President Dan C. Jorgensen Italy North Mission

This issue will do a great deal to reinforce the feelings of the members of the Church that we have a going organization in Europe. You did a tremendous job!

President James C. Ellsworth Germany West Mission

Dr. Porter’s TV Debate

In the July issue you mentioned Dr. Blaine R. Porter’s appearance on the American television debate, “The Advocate.” Brother Porter is a world-famous Latter-day Saint scholar at Brigham Young University. I believe that Saints would appreciate two of the responses by Brother Porter:

Q: Are you in favor of sex education in the schools?

A: (Dr. Porter): I believe the most appropriate place for sex education is in the home, and what we need most is sex education for parents.

Q: What do you feel should be done to deal with the problems that exist (unwanted pregnancies, abortions, lack of parental concern), and do you believe government has any part to play in it?

A: (Dr. Porter): I believe that the family should have the primary responsibility, not a government agency. And we have failed to talk about some of the other alternatives that are available; one of them, I believe, would be to help the teenagers to be less sexually active. I know thousands of teenagers in this country who are not participating in premarital sex relations. And do you know, it’s interesting that not one of them has a problem with venereal disease, an unwanted pregnancy, an abortion, or getting birth control information.

Parents might be interested in obtaining a transcript of the debate by sending $2.00 to The Advocates, WGBH Educational Foundation, 125 Western Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02134. Be sure to indicate the entire debate question, “Should the law allow birth control treatment for teenagers without their parents’ consent?”

Linda Kay Isom Las Vegas, Nevada

Campeche

On page 71 in the August issue you mention the ruins at Edzna are about 30 miles west of Campeche, Mexico. Campeche is on the western shores of the Yucatan Peninsula. So to say that Edzna is west of Campeche would be to say it is in the bay. Edzna is southeast of Campeche, not west.

Venice Priddis San Lorenzo, California

Correct.

Red Sea Baptism

We are a young family, and I have been prone on occasion to periods of frustration. I have found that if I take a few moments and read an article in the Ensign that I’m at peace again. We are converts of two and a half years, and joined the Church while in Ethiopia. The Army post where we were stationed was a small one but the branch was large in spirit. We were converted and baptized in the Red Sea one beautiful Sunday morning as the sun rose. We enjoy donating our past issues of the magazine to the local township library, as they will be able to bless the lives of countless others. It’s nice to know that so much peace of mind can come from such a little thing.

Susan L. Stigliano Mt. Arlington, New Jersey

The Hindu Family

My companion and I would like to share an experience. Two weeks ago we tracted out a Hindu family from India. On our second visit we left two issues of the Ensign with them. When we returned in a few days, the mother told us how much she loved the magazines and how well they were put together. She wants to subscribe immediately. From our discussion, we are convinced of the value of Church magazines in missionary work. It’s an easy way to introduce friends to the gospel. How about it? Can’t members throughout the Church begin to do this themselves?

Elder Douglas Kowallis Minnesota-Wisconsin Mission

From Behind Prison Bars

I have received a copy of your July issue and have come across the letter that you published entitled “Prison Walls.”

I think that it is wonderful that you have taken the space to publish a letter to encourage support and understanding for men and women behind prison walls.

I am incarcerated in a federal prison in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and being an American, I felt like I was alone in the world, and that there was just no one in the world that cared what became of me or my family. After a couple of years here, watching my family situation deteriorate to where it seemed that the entire world seemed to crumble around me, I could not turn to the church that I was a member of because I didn’t feel that that church was really a church of Jesus Christ.

It was at that point that I felt there was just no way to turn and that our Father must be dead or had turned his face from us. About three months ago the chaplain here told me that he was going to have some Mormons speak at our service. That Sunday, for the first time in years, I went to church. When I heard about the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon I said to myself that either this is a group of fools or they have knowledge of something that I don’t have that gives them the faith and strength such as I have never seen before. The first time that I was able to sit down with these young elders I could tell that these young men were not fools.

They started to come to the prison to see me weekly and to instruct me in the message of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I started to study the Book of Mormon and found that my whole outlook on life had begun to change. For the first time in years I got down on my knees and prayed. I asked that Christ please let me know if these things that I had learned were true, and if Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of the Lord.

The Lord that I thought was dead answered my prayers in the most wonderful way that left no doubt in my mind that there is a loving God in heaven and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly the church of Christ.

I am to be released in another couple of months and plan to be baptized as soon as possible. I wish that I could somehow put into words the gratitude that I have for the wonderful work of your missionaries.

Name Withheld