A Lesson in Love

My husband and I were much saddened by the article “A Lesson in Love” [August 1983, p. 28]. We think it is not so much a lesson in love as it is a lesson in defeat—giving up and allowing a young life to be wasted.

Some of my relatives had a very similar experience with a son. Like the author of this article, the family “accepted” his drug addiction. They decided to do nothing, not wanting to “interfere” with his agency. They hoped that he would quit on his own one day. Today they are very sorry they did that. He never found his way out. When he went home for rare visits, his family “accepted” his addiction and even “accepted” his “friends” who were destroying him. With all this acceptance, he fell deeper into addiction and crime.

What they failed to realize then is that when drugs are involved, we are not dealing with the principle of free agency uncomplicated and in the abstract, we are dealing with an artificial substance that leaves the user out of control. Allowing a young life to be destroyed by drugs is not doing what is right. Our children are too important to us, and we should let them know that we will do whatever is necessary, whatever it takes, to stop them from self-destruction.

Several years ago, a person dear to me fell under the influence of “friends” who were determined to get him out of the Church. One day as I saw him getting ready to go with these “friends” of his, I heard something inside me telling me not to let him out of the house. How could I stop him? He was six-foot-four and weighed 200 pounds; I am four-foot-eleven and weigh 110 pounds. But when he went to the front door, I did the only thing I could think of—I jumped at him and hugged him with all my strength. He tried to push me away, but I hugged him tighter and tighter, telling him that he shouldn’t and mustn’t go, and crying all the while. My mother, who was at work, had a feeling that something was wrong, so she rushed home, and she and my husband both joined in, trying to persuade him that he must not go.

Finally he realized that the Church and his family were more important than his “friends” and what they had in mind for him that night. He stayed home and stayed in the Church. Later he went on a mission, where he baptized sixty-three people. He was also married in the Washington Temple and is now first counselor in a branch presidency.

If parents were to see one of their children aiming a gun at his head ready to kill himself, they would take the gun away by any means possible. A situation like this puts the false notion of “interfering” with another’s free agency right into perspective.

Mrs. J. B. MacDonald Leisure City, Florida

Old Yet Fresh

Recently a missionary companion of mine, a native of Peru, showed me several older copies of the Ensign. He told me he was using them to learn English. I began to leaf through them and eventually ended up reading them cover to cover—all of them.

I remember seeing the same issues in my home in Ogden, Utah, before my mission, but I never gave them much notice then. Here in Peru they seemed to be so fresh and full of information that I couldn’t put them down. I now realize that the gospel doesn’t change, people do.

Thank you for publishing this magazine. Sometimes in the harder moments of missionary work, a boost from the Ensign is all one needs to go out and get started again. The Spanish equivalent, La Liahona, is also an inspired magazine. I use it to learn my Spanish.

Elder Ronald Robson Smout II Peru Lima South Mission

We Who Are Handicapped

The January 1984 Ensign was really helpful to me—especially the story about the couple who were in wheelchairs but were able to get married and live on their own. [“They Said It Couldn’t Be Done,” pp. 42–45.] It’s great that they could be independent in that way.

Stories like this help me understand that we who are handicapped can do many things like anyone else and that we, too, are children of God. Thank you for the encouragement.

Alecia Colburn Gowanda, New York

The Water Master

As a child I trudged along irrigation ditches watching my grandfather opening the sluices to send life-giving water to his crops. Yet until I saw the layout on page 54 of the March 1984 Ensign, where Mark Parker’s drawing of the Savior is placed next to Anita Tanner’s poem “Water Master,” I never considered how the Savior has opened the floodgates of salvation for us through his suffering and resurrection.

Thank you. I consider it an Easter gift from your staff.

Judy DalPonte Acton, Massachusetts

A Matter of Decision

We appreciated the article in the April 1984 Ensign entitled “Obscenity: How It Affects Us, How We Can Deal with It,” by Victor B. Cline [p. 32]. This is a topic of great concern these days, and we are grateful for your efforts to deal with it.

We are concerned, however, with the impression some may draw from this article that cable television is the primary source of pornography and other material that makes immorality seem acceptable. We subscribe to cable TV, and we use it to provide our family with quality viewing options. Certainly there is some material on cable TV that is unacceptable for the family, and we screen that material carefully. But we feel there are many programs whose quality is vastly superior to those available on network television. These kinds of programs are very beneficial to our family, and we are glad to have them available to us.

We would like to suggest that the Ensign print more articles about the important process of selecting TV programs to watch. A good example is the October 1981 “I Have a Question” article by Bruce L. Christensen [p. 24]. Such articles help families make good viewing decisions—and such decisions are vital whether you’re watching network or cable TV.

Frank and Pam Rigby Twin Falls, Idaho

Minus Rough Edges

Today the February issue of your magazine was handed to me by a friend. It has so many good things in it that I hate to part with it, but my friend needs it back.

I enjoy reading the periodicals of various churches. They all have worthwhile items. But yours is outstanding. Not only is it scripture-oriented, it has human interest and it is helpful, inspiring, and easy to read—so much so that I want to subscribe.

The photo of the lady with furrows of age and experience in her face, and the article “Well Worn, Minus Rough Edges” are so human and appealing to me. I am well into my seventy-fourth year, not so far from my eighties, which is this dear lady’s age. How inspiring to have a young inner self to keep one from giving in to “old age.” What a precious concept.

Mrs. Elena Fryer Monetville, Ontario, Canada

Update

January 1984. The scripture quoted in the caption at the bottom of page 29 should have been included with the caption on page 30.