It was with profound interest that I read your August 1983 article “A Lesson in Love: My Change of Heart toward My Wayward Son” [p. 28], since we have experienced the same problems with our eldest daughter. Knowing what a difficult thing it is to feel helpless as the parent of a child with drug problems, I hesitate to express dissatisfaction with the article’s conclusions. But I feel that it is not enough to develop a feeling of unconditional love, patience, and hope that a wayward child will one day overcome the problem; it is equally important to take definite, constructive steps to help them solve their problems.
My wife and I went through the very same emotions that the author expressed. In our daughter’s difficulties, we too saw the magnification of our own personal problems. We prayed often for help from the very beginning. But perhaps the best thing we did was seek counsel from our bishop and stake presidency early. At first it was hard to go to them, because in doing so we seemed to acknowledge that we had somehow failed as parents. However, they advised us well, counseling us to focus on our daughter’s problem—that it was counterproductive to lay the blame for it on ourselves. They pointed out that the problem had arisen in her life because of her choices, and that it was important that she understand that—soon.
Since our daughter with the problem was the eldest of seven children, we were counseled to establish basic rules of conduct for the whole family. For each rule, my wife and I agreed on a specific and appropriate consequence if it were disobeyed. These were written down and reviewed with each of the older children. After the rules were clearly stated to our daughter, the consequences were applied. Thus, the consequences were no longer the haphazard and arbitrary decisions of her parents, but the results of her own free-will choices.
Much like the experience of the author, our daughter chose to live elsewhere for a time because she didn’t want to live by the rules we had established for our family. Many of her experiences during that time were heartbreaking for her and for us. However, we took every opportunity to express our love for her and explained to her that regardless of her decision not to live by the rules we’d established, our love for her would not change.
It was not long before she did choose differently, accepting the principle that much sorrow can be avoided when we take the responsibility for making our own choices.
In time, it was a thrill for us to kneel with her in our home the evening before her marriage in the Washington Temple. We truly thanked the Lord for her and expressed our assurance that we loved her deeply. Can you imagine our respect for her!
Thank God for our leaders, who counseled us to match our love and hope for our daughter with specific, constructive steps to help her solve her problem.
Your article in the October 1983 issue [p. 72] entitled “Sharing the Blessings of Church Magazines—How Some Stakes Are Doing It” really caught my eye, and I read it with much interest.
I served as a ward magazine representative for several years and acted as stake representative at the same time, and I have never found a job in the Church that was more rewarding or that I enjoyed more.
As ward magazine representative, I always visited the families who were not taking the magazines after the ward campaign each fall. Most of them had simply been missed in the drive, and when visited, almost all of them did subscribe. Some who could not afford the cost were given the subscription by other members of the ward.
I also visited new families as soon as they moved into the ward—and every family that was moving out too, just to be sure their magazines would follow them to their new home. Visiting the families as they came into the ward was probably the greatest joy of this work. The bishopric used to say that I knew the people coming into the ward before they did, and that the people simply did not have a chance not to have the magazines. In nearly every case they would express their thanks that I came. I never had to pressure anyone at all. It was merely a matter of showing them the magazines and telling them of my pleasure in reading them, and then giving these new families a chance to subscribe right then and there. I suppose that about 95 percent of them did.
Arland A. Larsen
In the December 1983 issue of the Ensign, page 49, you have referred to the church where Solomon Chamberlain preached as the “Tree Hill Baptist Church.” If you will look carefully at the copy of the old journal on the opposite page, I think you will see that it should read “Free Will Baptist Church.” I live in the area of the General Baptist World Headquarters, and the Free Will Baptist Church is still in existence.
Betty R. Hanks
Poplar Bluff, Missouri
At the beginning of this new year I was thinking of my blessings and how grateful I was for so many things. The Ensign was high on my list of things to be grateful for. The articles are always excellent and the artwork is so colorful and beautiful.
Thank you for a magazine that is so inspirational and exceptional in every way.
Judy L. Macy
Lake Oswego, Oregon
I appreciate all the articles you have published concerning the LDS editions of the scriptures. The article by Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr., in the October 1983 Ensign [p. 54], gave a thorough description of these new tools that have been created for our study and use.
As a novice student of the scriptures, I find the new editions much easier to cross-reference and to search. There is also a spirit that attends the study of these books. I find that my understanding and love for our Savior are stronger with each reading. I know that we are blessed with extra comprehension and knowledge when we are obedient to the counsel of our prophet to “Study the new editions of the scriptures.”
Linda Wade Hilliard
St. Anthony, Idaho
Being so far from home, we sometimes find it easy to forget the strength of the Church outside of the small ward or branch where we are serving. We have our own excellent study program, yet each month it is such a joy to receive the Ensign. Throughout my mission the Ensign has given me enlightenment and strength in remembering the continual worldwide growth and unity of the Church, along with constant encouragement to improve my life and become more like the Lord Jesus Christ.
Each month the Ensign has given me an extra assurance that this is Christ’s church. It has given me an added desire to continue testifying and searching for those who are prepared to accept the gospel.
Thank you for your constant uplift and guidance.
Sister Suzanne Wilson
Brazil Curitiba Mission