The Book of Lehi

I was most interested to read Stan Larson’s article, “A Most Sacred Possession,” in the September 1977 issue.

On page 87, he writes of the 116 manuscript pages “from the book of Lehi” that were lost, and again, “after the translated pages of the book of Lehi had been lost.”

I have searched all my references and it is my understanding that the 116 manuscript pages that were lost were translated from the Large Plates of Nephi, and that after they were lost the Prophet Joseph Smith did not retranslate the plates, but instead translated the Small Plates of Nephi.

Glenn O. Pollard Ogden, Utah

Brother Stan Larson replies: The 116 pages that were lost, mentioned in my article, were from the first section of the plates of Mormon, and that first book was called the book of Lehi. Support for this is found in the preface to the first edition of the Book of Mormon: “I [Joseph Smith] translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon.” Also in the heading to chapter II of the Book of Commandments of 1833, now section 3 of the Doctrine and Covenants, we read: “after Martin [Harris] had lost the Manuscript of the forepart of the book of Mormon, translated from the book of Lehi, which was abridged by the hand of Mormon. …”

Trade Winds to Hawaii

I thought Ensign readers might be interested in a tale of adventure told by Sister Naomi Sanchez, who recently stopped by the Hawaii Temple Visitors Center. In discussing the Book of Mormon and Polynesian heritage, Sister Sanchez said she knew it was possible to easily sail from Central America to Hawaii—she had done it.

In April 1975, she, with a friend, had sailed from Los Angeles, California, to Ensenada, Mexico. Their twenty-eight-foot sailboat made the trip in two days. Then, although they had never before sailed any great distance, they decided to head for Hawaii.

After loading provisions to last for four to six weeks, and waiting for favorable winds, they set sail for Maui, Hawaii, on 9 June 1975. They set a due west course, although they later discovered that most ships first take a course north or south before curving to the west.

Seven days later they caught the trade winds that propelled them on their set course for five to seven days. Once in the trade winds they hardly touched the helm of their little boat except when they were blown slightly off course a couple of times by winds coming from nearby storms.

Without a radio they had no contact with anyone else, nor did they sight any other vessels. They used the sun and their compass to navigate.

They discovered that they didn’t need to fish: flying fish would land on their deck and they would keep the larger ones to eat.

Twenty-eight uneventful days from the time they set out from Ensenada, they docked at Kahalui Harbor, Maui. No one knew they were coming, and there was no publicity. Sister Sanchez telephoned her sister, who was surprised that they had actually made the trip, but she didn’t feel that it was particularly significant. The two sailors celebrated the success of their venture with ice cream and pizza.

President William W. Cannon Hawaii Honolulu Mission

October Missionary Issue

I have been reading Church magazines since my Primary days and I want to tell you that the October 1977 issue with its missionary theme is fantastic. It is the best Church magazine issue ever published.

When I arrived home from work at 11:30 P.M. I stayed up to 3:00 A.M. trying to absorb it all. Some of the articles brought back memories of my own missionary days, others gave me fresh ideas for new missionary efforts on my part, and still others brought tears to my eyes.

I felt my testimony and recommitment to the gospel become stronger than ever. I never realized what a powerful tool a Church magazine could be.

Jack Powell Troutdale, Oregon

Missionary Example

After reading your fabulous October 1977 issue, I felt that I just had to write this letter. It has been in my heart and on my mind for eighteen years.

In the summer of 1953 I was a sixteen-year-old apprentice actress at Barter Theatre, Abingdon, Virginia. Our lead actress was a pretty red-haired girl who had won the lead role in a competition (so I understood) in New York. Her name was June Moncur, although that may only have been her stage name. She and I shared a suite of rooms, and every morning when I woke up I saw June sitting on her bed reading. I awoke to that sight, no matter what the hour, for four months.

The news quickly spread that she was a Mormon, and in an environment where morals simply did not exist, she was as pure as snow. No drinking, no smoking, not even in plays, and no men in her room. She loved everyone, and she was so gentle and friendly even though she was the “star.” And always in the morning she was reading and reading, not her scripts, but some other books and magazines that she had brought with her.

She never talked to me about her religion, and I never asked her. But I never forgot her.

Many years later, after I had married and already had two children, my husband and I became dissatisfied with our spiritual lives. We took religion courses and went to all kinds of churches, but we still were not satisfied.

Then I remembered June. She had been, they said, a Mormon. We had no idea what a Mormon was, and I didn’t remember even talking about them in school history. So I went to the public library in the little Alabama town of Opelika, and checked out the only thing I could find: “Mormon, the book of.” In the back was a list of mission homes and I wrote to the nearest one, which was in Georgia, and asked if they accepted converts. The rest is part of our family history.

I’ve never been able to find that young lady to tell her that, because she lived her religion in a way that I could not forget, thirty-seven people on both sides of our families are members of the Church. Countless others in the spirit world also have been given the opportunity.

We never know, we just never know, who is watching us, and what they are learning from us.

Ann Fowler Lehne Foss, Oklahoma

Editor’s note: It is not our policy to track down “missing persons,” but Sister Lehne’s letter motivated us in this instance to search for Sister Moncur, who we discovered is now Sister June Moncur Waite, living with her family in Hacienda Heights, California, where she recently served as stake Relief Society president of the El Monte California Stake. “I have done no professional acting since my New York experience and subsequent postgraduate work at the University of Southern California,” says Sister Waite. “But I have often directed ward plays and roadshows. Once I got involved in professional theater I realized that for the most part it represented a life-style that I found incompatible with the way I wanted to live. It also lacked the fulfillment I expected of it. But to know that during my brief career I created an impression for good is thrilling to hear. It’s funny, but sometimes when I have made a conscious effort at missionary work, I have not been successful.”