“Without purse or scrip”

I read with interest Pat Perkins’ comment in the December Ensign, p. 56, regarding the word scrip. There are many references to scrip in the Bible: 1 Sam. 17:40, Matt. 10:10, Mark 6:8, Luke 9:3, Luke 10:4, Luke 22:35–36.

Without exception these references are to a bag used to carry provisions, a sack in which clothing and/or food was carried. In no case do they refer to money. The “purse” in these scriptures is a money bag. The reference in Mark clearly distinguishes between “money in their purse” and “scrip,” neither of which was to be taken by missionaries.

William Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible clarifies that “scrip” was a bag in which Palestinian shepherds “carried their food or other necessities. The connotation here is a stronger injunction than “don’t take money.” The Savior required that more faith be exercised: do not take money or food or extra clothing. Trust in God to provide all that you need, through the kindness of those whom you meet.

Three references in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 24:18, D&C 84:78, 86) suggest that those who go out to preach the gospel leave money, extra clothing, food, and luggage behind. The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary discusses scrip as a knapsack or satchel (p. 171).

The phrase “without purse or scrip” takes on special meaning to those who receive the priesthood call to so go. Scholarly definitions pale next to the legitimate experience of relying on the Lord for physical as well as spiritual sustenance.

Blaine Lee Provo, Utah

More Berlin miracles?

Having my article “Berlin Miracle” published in the October 1978 Ensign has brought terrific results. The wife of a stake president called and said her parents and brothers and sisters often sent CARE packages to the Hilberts after the war. Brother Hilbert painted a lovely picture and sent it to them to say thank you. A man who was converted to the Church in a POW camp, and through a mutual friend wrote letters to Ursula, wrote me saying he wanted to get in touch with her again.

Karola called me from Delta, Utah, to say she has been asked to speak in schools, seminaries, firesides, and sacrament meetings and feels she has been able to build faith through her story. When I said, “I’m still waiting for the major to get in touch with you,” as the family had lost touch and wondered if he stayed close to the Church, she replied, “You don’t need to wonder any longer. His sister lives in my ward. He lives in Washington, D.C., and has stayed active to this day.” What a fulfilling experience!

Dora Flack Bountiful, Utah

Pronouncing Ensign

How do you pronounce Ensign?

Patricia Robbins Gulfport, Mississippi

It is pronounced En’ sine. Although most dictionaries acknowledge either en’ sun or en’ sine as acceptable, some dictionaries (and common usage) seem to reserve en’ sun for the military rank and en’ sine for the banner or emblem. “And she (Zion) shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven” (D&C 64:42).

Using holidays to teach

Thank you so much for your excellent articles on how to turn the world’s celebration of Christmas into a holiday of meaning, joy, and family traditions that bind and teach. This raises a question for me: Isn’t there some better way we can celebrate Easter, this greatest day of all? Couldn’t Latter-day Saints throughout the world start their own traditions? I have often thought of the scriptural phrase, “I despise your feast days” (Amos 5:21), when I think of the worldly traditions of bunnies, painted eggs, gorging on candy, etc. For my part, I would like to see food step back a little and good experiences step forward. It seems that sooner or later merchandising turns all holidays into money feasts. It would seem in a worldwide Church, with many different kinds of holidays being celebrated in many different lands, that Latter-day Saints do need counsel on how to celebrate holidays, or how to make the most of the world’s holidays.

Sister Gayle Beane Springville, Utah

More on reverence

I was saddened to read the “Name withheld” letter in the April issue. I’m sorry she saw irreverence, but I hope she can gain a testimony of the gospel and overlook our faults. Before I joined the Church I saw faults and was appalled that the Latter-day Saints weren’t all Saints. But I resolved to concentrate on the good I saw, and it out-weighed the bad.

I think part of the problem is that we all love and know each other—we are naturally a very friendly church—whereas some churches are a “Sunday only” church and the members don’t know each other so they keep to themselves.

As a counselor in Primary I felt a need to set an example for the children, so I warded off potential talkers by reading the scriptures before the service began. Not only was I trying to be reverent, but I enjoyed that time to myself.

Anita Hahn Delta, Colorado

The gospel in action

I want to express my feelings toward my calling as a Welfare Services missionary here in the Chile Osorno Mission. I find, just as President Kimball has said, that “it is the essence of the gospel. It is the gospel in action.”

Since I have come to Chile and am living among the people and learning to love them, working with them to establish gospel principles and programs in their daily lives, I am increasingly grateful to be here, to be serving as a Welfare Services missionary. I only hope I can give these people a part of what they are giving me. I have found some of the choicest sons and daughters of God.

This work is so different from proselyting and baptizing, but it is true, needed, and inspired. This kind of work is still in its infancy, but it is worth all the effort.

Dalene Perdue Chile Osorno Mission

A senior Saint wants to serve

The article in the March issue (“Serving a Mission Together”) was timely inasmuch as I have asked for a stake mission. I am eighty-eight years old, in good health, and I couldn’t think of twiddling my thumbs for the next ten years or more. The Church of Jesus Christ is “a marvelous work and a wonder.”

Esta E. Call Mesa, Arizona