President Lee

I think you would be interested to know what the London Times printed concerning President Lee at his death. It reads in part, “Lord Thomson of Fleet writes: ‘I have lost a warm friend and the world has lost one of its great leaders in the passing of President Harold B. Lee. He was an inspiration to all who came in contact with him. The work he has accomplished has been a great blessing, not only to members of his church but to all mankind.

“‘While I am not a member of their church, I have great respect for their teaching and for the type of family life they stand for, and for which they give an example to the world.’”

Albert Synkins London, England

May I share with the Church an experience I had as a missionary in 1958 in Minneapolis at a missionary conference President Harold B. Lee attended. The morning session was a spiritual feast. Several times during his talk, President Lee appeared ready to conclude, and I would feel a pang of disappointment. Then he would say something like, “I feel impressed to speak somewhat concerning …” and he would begin talking on another subject, lifting us to new heights. Too soon the meeting was over and when the opportunity presented itself I said to him, “Brother Lee, that was a marvelous talk!” He replied only, “The Spirit was very strong here today.” He did not attempt to lay claim to credit, but ascribed it to the Lord. This has been as equally impressive to me as the experience itself.

Gary L. Davis Sunland Ward, California

December Issue

Thanks so much for “A Child Is Born,” the family readers theater. I had the opportunity to see it done four times, each differently: first, at our Primary party—all parts were read by one person, and it was beautifully done; second, at our family party—this time the part of Mary was extra special as a new spirit had joined our family in November; next it was done as a part of Worship Through Music in Sunday School by experienced readers; finally, at the early morning singles Relief Society, where the girls really did well, some even having their parts memorized. One script, each differently done, each beautiful and effective! We need more programs like this.

Mildred S. Ihey Gardena Second Ward Torrance California North Stake

Just had to drop you a note to thank you for making our Christmas party so successful. Most of our relatives and friends are not Latter-day Saint but we used the family theater, “A Child Is Born,” and sang the four new carols, all printed in the December Ensign. Everyone thought they were beautiful. The little play and the carols added a great deal. Our Church magazines seem to get better all the time and we do thank you for the constant inspiration we get from them.

Joan Garrard Walnut Creek, California

We are thrilled that you have offered such a tasteful work of art as Gethsemane. And a special thanks for the newly penned Christmas carols. We appreciate your sensitivity to this vital area in Latter-day Saint homes.

Brother and Sister Raymond D. Robertson Bluffton, Indiana

“I Now Say Yes to Life”

I am an avid reader of the Ensign. One can say that in both contents and layout, it is simply the best in journalism. Please keep up the style, layout, and subjects, for they are the cause of the success of the magazine. We can with good conscience recommend this magazine to others. I am happy and proud that I have belonged to this church for so many years and have received immeasurable happiness through the programs of the Church. This church, with its great prophets, scholars, and wonderful congregations, taught me to say yes to life. Many years ago the Church opened my unseeing eyes, and showed me the condition of my faith and life in general.

I am no scholar, but am a man with a hunger to learn and a hunger to help others to learn. Professionally, I am a hotel chef or gourmet cook, and I have made an intensive study of the Book of Mormon, using sociology, socioanthropology, genetic-anthropology, humanities, etc. It is magnificent that the Church has given me the interest in all these aspects of life. Thank you again for the Ensign.

Hans E. Bruehl Straubing, Germany

After reading Carol Lynn Pearson’s “The Gift That Never Wore Out” in the December issue I felt excited to tell everyone how her mother’s letter had helped me two years ago.

I lived in the Bonneville Ward then, and Carol Lynn was the Sunday School teacher of the class I attended. I remember her bringing her mother’s letter to class and reading it to us. As she read it, tears came to my eyes. I thought of my own mother who had passed away when I was seven. My mother did not leave us a letter, but the thought kept passing through my mind that she too would want her children to know that she loved them, and she would want her children to love each other.

During the class we talked about giving presents at Christmastime. What gifts would last the longest? At the close of the class Carol Lynn challenged us, for a Christmas gift, to tell our brothers and sisters and other members of our families that we loved them.

It would be easy for me to tell my husband and children I loved them, but the thought of telling my brothers and sisters frightened me. In growing up we had never used the words “I love you.” In one way it seemed silly and yet in another way it seemed the most wonderful gift I could possibly give. I felt love for them, so before I left the class I had promised myself I would tell them at that Yule season.

I called each brother and sister on the telephone, five altogether. My voice was shaky as I heard myself say, “I want to give you a gift this Christmas—I want you to know that I love you.”

After I hung up from each call, tears of peace and gladness poured down my cheeks. I felt free. I had accomplished something that I had wanted to do for years but just didn’t have the courage to do. I felt the presence of Mom and Dad that day smiling through the veil.

Not long ago my one sister said to me, “Do you know the best Christmas gift you ever gave me?”

“What?” I answered.

“When you told me you loved me. That gift helped me on my mission, too. When I would get low I would think of that gift and it would keep me going.”

Thanks to Carol Lynn for sharing her mother’s letter. If she hadn’t, it might have been years more until I would have said those words to my brothers and sisters. Words that really could be a very natural part of anyone’s life.

My husband and I try to use these words in our home with our children every day, so when they get our age it won’t seem like such an ordeal. And you can be sure that every Christmas I make five telephone calls.

LaVerde Clayson Provo, Utah

“Fair-Dinkum” Literature

May I thank you on behalf of my wife and young family for the fine contribution which you are making to the community by providing such a magnificent magazine. I have been called by my bishop to promote the Church magazines and it is giving me a thrill to expound the high moral code which these magazines are designed to encourage.

We wanted you to know that this Aussie family looks forward to good “fair-dinkum” literature and eagerly awaits each issue of the Ensign.

Kevin B. Wall Campbelltown, Australia