March Cover

Thank you for a beautiful March cover, but can you tell us more about what it represents?

Mrs. W. T. Patrick Salt Lake City, Utah

This work, Emma Smith, the Elect Lady, is by Theodore Gorka, a convert to the Church living in South Carolina. The story it describes is as follows:

In July and August of 1839, the town of Commerce (later Nauvoo), Illinois, was besieged by a malaria epidemic. High fever, chills, and a yellowish complexion accompanied this sickness. To add to this condition, the newly arriving Saints were homeless, living in tents, wagons, or outdoors. The painting depicts Emma Smith—in the center—and Joseph Smith—in the left background—helping the sick. Two Smith children stand at the tent’s entrance; one, seven-year-old Joseph Smith III, holds a bucket of water. As he later recorded: “Many were ill. I remember that Mother filled her house with the sick who were brought to her from near and far, giving them shelter, treatment, and nursing care.” (Joseph Smith III and the Restoration, Independence: Herald House, 1952, p. 20.) As the sickness increased, the Smiths temporarily moved from their home (in the upper left-hand corner) to make more room for the ill.

The artist, emphasizing Emma’s love for others, has placed her head at the hub of the wheel. Emma herself is at the center of a circle of malaria victims, giving comfort to all those around her. Despite the many trials that have already assailed her, Emma is nevertheless patient in this new trial. Lucy Mack Smith, mother of the Prophet Joseph, who spent her final years under Emma’s care, wrote of her: “I have never seen a woman in my life, who would endure every species of fatigue and hardship, from month to month, and from year to year, with that unflinching courage, zeal, and patience, which she has ever done.” (Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet and His Progenitors for Many Generations, Liverpool, England: 1853, p. 169.)

Interested readers may turn to the History of the Church, volume IV, pages 3–5, for a most impressive account of how the Prophet Joseph Smith himself responded to this condition. As described by Wilford Woodruff, “Joseph had filled his house and tent with [the sick], and through constantly attending to their wants, he soon fell sick himself. After being confined to his house several days, and while meditating upon his situation, he had a great desire to attend to the duties of his office.” Thereafter, Brother Woodruff describes the miraculous ministrations that took place under the hand and direction of the Prophet of God—including commanding the sick “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to arise and be made whole; and the sick were healed upon every side of him.” These proceedings continued all along the river front, including the healing of several who were “nigh unto death.” The Prophet then crossed the river and healed a number of the Twelve and all the believers in the town of Montrose who were ill, at least one of whom was near death. However, there were so many ill that the Prophet could not visit them all—so he sent the Twelve to “go and visit and heal them, and many were healed under their hands.” Turning to Brother Woodruff, he handed him a handkerchief, telling him to ‘wipe the faces of the children with it, and they should be healed …’ Elder Woodruff did as he was commanded, and the children were healed.”

Ensign Circulation Nears Half Million

I recently heard that the Ensign had a circulation of 200,000. I thought it was much more than that. Am I correct?

Theron J. Samuelson Phoenix, Arizona

You are correct. Ensign circulation is 465,000, making it what is thought to be the fourth-largest denominational magazine in circulation in the world.

Help with a Major Problem

I want to express my gratitude for the October 1981 Ensign and the articles on rape.

I was assaulted at the age of fourteen. Now, five and a half years later, I have to admit to myself that I haven’t overcome the effects. I know I’m still fearful of men. So I finally decided to confide in my home teacher. He referred me to the bishop. I felt so relieved after talking with these men! Then, about two weeks later, I received the October Ensign. It simply amazes me! I’m grateful that you were inspired to print these articles at this time. I felt that you and the Lord helped me with a major problem.

Name withheld

Don’t Use Rubber Cement!

Your article on “Restoring Family Photos” (January 1982, p. 61) has caused me a great deal of concern. While dry mounting (not laminating) an old photo is a good way to display it, rubber cement is the worst thing you can use to mount photos. After about ten years it will leach through to the surface of the glued article and present you with a gooey mess that cannot be cleaned. I have several scrapbooks that were assembled by a well-meaning mother, but now are a sticky mess.

To properly mount a photo, first place it in the press for 20–25 seconds to completely dry it of any moisture it may contain (even in nonhumid areas). This will also take out any curl the paper may have. Then mount your photo on a piece of heavy mount-board, using dry-mount tissue. It will last a lifetime.

Rick Davis Rexburg, Idaho

Hungering for 18 years

This writer is most grateful for the card that arrived this morning announcing a fine gift of the Ensign, to which I eagerly look forward. As I recently said to the bishop and some others, “I have had a great hungering for a church connection for about eighteen years, but with my January 17 baptism, I’m not hungry any morel”

Henry B. Wall Santa Ana, California