Overcoming profanity

I was greatly impressed with President Kimball’s message on profanity (February 1981, p. 3). It struck a special note with me because it is a problem I had a particular wrestle with many years ago.

In the summer of 1939, two friends and myself, all of us teachers in the Aaronic Priesthood, were hired at a packing shed in Mesa, Arizona. As we worked we talked and laughed a great deal; but, sad to say, the language was usually rough and the jokes unwholesome. There was a fourth young man on our crew, though, who did not join in the swearing and the jokes, and during a breakdown on the conveyor, I asked him why. His answer was like a hit between the eyes. He said, “I belong to the Pentecostal Church. We don’t believe it’s right to do those things.”

The rest of the morning was rather quiet, and at lunch time three ashamed Mormon boys sought a quiet place apart from the others. The general feeling was, “Here we are, holders of the priesthood of God, and it takes someone else to set a good example for us. What are we going to do about it?” We agreed then and there that if any one of us used a bad word, the other two would punch him on the arm.

There were three young teachers with sore arms for a while, but we did succeed in helping each other whip this bad habit. I have always been grateful for that, and I can bear testimony to the validity of President Kimball’s message. Profanity is a curse in every sense of the word.

Richard T. Harris Parowan, Utah

Artistic faux pas

In an article entitled “Save the Youth of Zion” (Improvement Era, September 1965, p. 760), Elder Spencer W. Kimball stated that a young woman should be encouraged to use “her kindness, thoughtfulness, her grades and her brilliance, her personality and her inner charm” to attract others to her.

Too bad that the illustration accompanying Val Christensen’s article “Bringing Out the Best in Marriage” (February 1981, p. 9) does not reflect a similar set of qualities. Leading the checklist of qualities women like in their husbands was “intelligence.” And the qualities men like in their wives? “Intelligence” doesn’t make the list.

Kathleen Slaugh Provo, Utah

Homemade Index

I made my own ten-year index to the Ensign by cutting out the index pages in each December issue and inserting them in a folder with fasteners. An index in a magazine [or bound volume] on the shelf was no good to me. I really appreciate this addition to the Ensign.

Nellie Ray Toone Ephraim, Utah

Birth Statistics Questioned

I would like to comment on the statement in the April 1981 Ensign, p. 80, that several European countries have perinatal death rates much lower than the United States.

In the United States virtually all babies are delivered in hospitals, and the law requires all births and deaths to be recorded. Therefore, in this country, perinatal mortality statistics are quite accurate. Fetal death is a death in utero of a fetus weighing 500 gm. or more, or of any fetus at or beyond 20 weeks’ gestation. Death of an infant within the first 28 days of life is recorded as neonatal.

Almost every other country in the world defines perinatal mortality as the death of a fetus weighing 1,000 gm. or more, or at 28 weeks’ gestation, or the death of a newborn up to 7 days old. By this definition, the perinatal period is considerably shorter and the mortality automatically lower. Also, in those countries where many births occur outside hospitals, the possibility is strong that reporting, and thus the statistics, may be inaccurate.

F. G. Cummins, M.D. Long Beach, California

By Grace or Works?

As elders quorum instructor, I was delighted to read Gerald N. Lund’s article, “Salvation: By Grace or by Works?” (Ensign, April 1981, p. 17.) It is one of the finest doctrinal expositions I have ever read, and I look forward to using it in class. A sorely needed article!

Anthonie H. Woller Lake Oswego, Oregon

Elder Callis

How appropriate to include in your April issue Richard E. Bennett’s biography of the dynamic and beloved Charles A. Callis. He is well remembered by the South’s older Saints, not only from personal association but also in the lives of the children they named after him. Among the Saints of that era, “C” is not an uncommon middle initial.

Deborah L. Kimball Sandy Springs, Georgia

“I was in prison …”

I have been intimately acquainted with the gospel for well over a year now. Unfortunately, as an inmate of a state correctional institution, I am a living testimony to what happens when you learn the truth and reject it. Recently I have dedicated myself to be obedient to the gospel.

Although I have the standard works, books, and friends in the Church, I often feel lonely. I want to thank the editors of the Ensign for making the gospel “live” for me. Messages from the First Presidency, articles, and stories are well blended with Church events to make a very interesting magazine.

Name Withheld

Death of a child

I have read several articles in the Ensign over the past ten years about how parents accepted the death of a child in a way that made them stronger or increased their faith in the promise of an eternal family (for example, Donna Lawyer’s “Monday Was a Beautiful Day,” January 1981, p. 45). Always I read with a chill of fear and an onlooker’s relief that that most terrible calamity, the death of a child, had not happened to me. It’s all right to have your faith tested, I thought—but not that much!

Then we were told that our fifth child, our baby girl, would not live. I was no longer a spectator at someone else’s trial of faith. Unknown to me, the words of testimony in those Ensign articles had sunk deeply into my heart, and seeds of faith had been planted in preparation for my time of need. The New Testament says that “faith cometh by hearing” (Rom. 10:17)—or in my case, by reading. I wanted to accept my daughter’s impending death with this attitude of faith, and not yield to the despair that I could feel hovering over me.

When my daughter died at the age of six months, those seeds had grown and had begun to bear fruit. A year later, I now find that I, too, am happy. My burden is light, for my family will yet be complete, and I feel the great love our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, have for us.

Lalita Hansen Rock Springs, Wyoming

Reading Challenge

As part of our Relief Society program this year, we’ve challenged the sisters in our ward to read the Ensign from cover to cover for six months, including the conference edition.

I can honestly say that every single article in every Ensign has been of worth to me. From now on I won’t limit my reading to what looks interesting at first glance.

Kathy M. Smith University Village, Salt Lake City