No Father Scouters

We are having a problem in our ward and stake about Boy Scouting. The parents do not support their boys in their Scouting activities.

My husband has been Scoutmaster for two years, and assistant Scoutmaster for three years, and holds a training award.

The parents will not drive on camp-outs nor stay overnight. Few, if any, fathers have ever taken a day off to go with the Scouts on a summer hike. This year the boys are going to Scout camp for one week. No parents are available to accompany the boys—not even for one day—or to drive.

I was wondering if you could write a stirring article on Scouting in the Church and parents’ responsibility. My husband, with no son in Scouting, has donated one week of his two-week vacation to fifty-mile hikes for the past five years.

Frances Hood Renton, Washington

The Articles on Divorce

To you, and all who are responsible for making the Ensign such an outstanding magazine, I thank you. Especially I would like to express my gratitude for the articles in the June Ensign on divorce. The authors’ comments were so uplifting and encouraging to those of us who have shared similar experiences.

Linda Smith Martin, Tennessee

Florida Update

The article in the June 1975 issue entitled “The Saints in Florida” was excellent. Having served twelve months of my mission in Florida, I can identify with many of the people and places mentioned.

I have a piece of information that will update what was written concerning who the first General Authorities to visit Florida were. Thirteen years before Elder Francis M. Lyman and President J. Golden Kimball visited Florida in 1898, President John Morgan of the First Council of the Seventy visited various points in Florida, including St. Augustine and Tallahassee. This visit was made in January and February of 1885, when President Morgan was also president of the Southern States Mission. President Morgan had been set apart as a member of the First Council of the Seventy a few months before, on October 5, 1884. (See The Life and Ministry of John Morgan by Arthur M. Richardson; pub. by Nicholas G. Morgan, Sr., 1965, p. 401.)

Ensign as a Teaching Aid

We are sister missionaries in Germany. Right now where we are working we have a small branch. It is necessary for us to teach Primary and APMIA. With no large funds for pictures and kits, we were without teaching aids. It only took one time looking through the Ensign, New Era, and Friend, though, to find a wealth of pictures, charts, and maps. We now have a flourishing library.

Thank you for the quality of our Church magazines. They’re great!

Teaching aids are important in teaching our youth. We certainly appreciate your efforts in the Church publications.

Sisters Mary Anderson and Linda Stott

A Larger Month

I find that at times the date on the cover of the Ensign—month and year—is small and difficult to read. Could it be possible to make this larger without distracting from the quality of the magazine or the beauty of the cover?

Walter Zegray Montreal, Canada

We have repented. The date on the present and future issues will be larger.

Curriculum Correlated Conference

Thank you so much for correlating the General Conference addresses to the curriculum year. Our teachers are truly amazed at how easy it is to be effective using these correlated guides and the conference cassettes. As a teacher in our high priests group, I personal extremity” ly appreciate this approach.

Stake Director of Libraries St. Louis Missouri Stake

Bear River

Last October I made a trip to Washington, D.C., to view your new Mormon temple. From this visit I became acquainted with several elders stationed nearby. These gentlemen presented me with the Book of Mormon, a gift of Phil Nielson of Hunter, Utah. Through his kindness I also have a subscription to the Ensign. In the July issue I read the article on the Saints in Bear Lake Valley and found extreme interest and enjoyment in reading the article. We in the East don’t hear too much of localities such as Bear Lake, and so geographically speaking, it held much for me.

Incidentally, I had read the story of the Mormons years ago. My father’s name was Joseph L. Smith, now interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Spanish War Section. Thank you for such a fine magazine.

Grant B. Smith Colonial Beach, Virginia

Your cover article “The Church in Bear Lake Valley” presented an interesting view of family life in this intermountain area. However, the setting and cause of a shifting environment were not accurately focused. Bear Lake Valley is serviced by Highway 89, which passes through Logan Canyon. Described as “treacherous in winter,” this road is credited with isolating the Bear Lake Valley from the outside. However, for intermountain residents adept at ice and snow driving, Logan Canyon poses no greater threat than a typical city street. The canyon is cleared and cared for all year long by a highway crew stationed permanently in the canyon. This stretch is a major truck route and connector to southeastern Idaho.

As for references to a “concrete and condominium facility” that has purchased “most” of the lakefront property, actual figures show that Sweetwater (the condominium recreational community) owns less than one percent of the beachfront property of Bear Lake. The incredible price supposedly paid for this land is, if anything, incredibly low.

The conclusion is inaccurate that this recreational development has skyrocketed land prices, placing property expansion out of the reach of most residents and their families. Much of the Bear Lake area is farm land that has been parceled out to families for five generations, and there just isn’t any more land. Most agrarian societies face this same problem; original homesteads can no longer support increasing family numbers. Recreational development in the Bear Lake Valley, for the most part, is being done on land not suited to farming and at the opposite end of the farming community. Hence, the effect on agricultural pieces of land is minimal.

Brian C. Swinton President, Sweetwater Diversified, Inc. Salt Lake City, Utah

Oleander Update

As I belatedly picked up the June Ensign I read the excellent article “Summer of My Content,” but was shocked to read “… and we could get cool sliding our tongues along the slick, slender shoots [of the oleander].”

Almost twenty-five years ago when we moved with our two small children from Utah to California, we had our first warning about the danger of oleanders. They grow profusely here and make a beautiful hedge, but they can be dangerous to people. Because sometimes we try the things we read about, I am enclosing a press release sent recently to California newspapers warning of the hazards of the oleander. A release similar to this goes out each year. The information is a result of the research done at the University of California.

Look out for Oleander: This is the time of year when outdoor cooking is at its peak. While outdoor cooking is usually done with prepared charcoal, frequently sharp sticks are used to cook weiners. This is where oleander comes in.

Death of livestock is not uncommon in California where they occasionally eat dry oleander leaves when they become mixed with hay or other dry feed. The poison effects of oleander are similar to digitalis and if enough of the plant is eaten the animal will die. From 15 to 20 grams of green oleander leaves are required to kill a horse and from 10 to 12 grams to kill a cow.

It is extremely dangerous to use oleander sticks to barbecue. In fact, they should never be used. Using peeled stems as spits to roast meat was the cause of the deaths of two soldiers a few years ago at Schofield Barracks. Even the fumes from the burning wood may be dangerous.

Many poisonous chemicals and plants are commonly used in our gardens and farms. It is only because we handle them knowingly that they are safely used, according to the farm advisor.”

Doris Ann J. Bishop Riverside, California