03177_000_016Questions of general gospel interest answered for guidance, not as official statements of Church policy
In what languages are Church magazines printed, and how can I subscribe to them? How can people in non-English areas subscribe to the English magazines?
In a revelation given to the Prophet , assistant managing director, Curriculum Department; business manager, Church Magazines.Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Ohio, in 1833, the Lord said:
“It shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (D&C 90:11.)
In a later revelation given to Thomas B. Marsh in 1837, the Lord said:
“Let thy heart be of good cheer before my face; and thou shalt bear record of my name, not only unto the Gentiles, but also unto the Jews; and thou shalt send forth my word unto the ends of the earth.” (D&C 112:4; italics added.)
We see these prophecies being fulfilled through the translation of Latter-day Saint scriptures and instructional materials into many languages, and through the thousands of missionaries the Church continues to send to much of the world. Another way the gospel message is being given to people in their own language is through Church magazines.
Our current English language magazines, the Ensign, New Era, and Friend, are available to all English-speaking members and people throughout the world. Using material from these three magazines, the Church also publishes additional magazines, each with their own distinctive names, in sixteen other languages. (As a group, they are called the International Magazine.) The accompanying chart lists the languages other than English in which Church magazines are printed, the names of the magazines, their addresses, and their subscription prices.
The price of a year’s subscription for each of the non-English editions is listed in U.S. dollars. U.S. currency can be converted into the appropriate amount of non-U.S. currency by a bank—or the dollars can be sent to the non-English distribution centers, where currency conversion can be arranged for locally. However, never send cash through the mails.
People in non-English areas who wish to receive the English-language magazines should write to Church Magazines, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. (Ensign, $9.00; New Era, $7.00; Friend, $7.00.) Subscribers should send the appropriate amount of money in local currency, which can be converted to dollars in Salt Lake City. Or, if the foreign bank account is in dollars, the correct amount may be sent without any currency exchange involved. Again, never mail cash.
Total circulation of the Ensign is about 500,000 monthly, with the New Era approaching 175,000 and the Friend some 195,000. Paid subscriptions of the non-English magazines total nearly 100,000. There will, perhaps, be more non-English editions of the magazines in the future, and it is expected that circulation of all the magazines will continue to grow.
We hope more and more members will read and use Church magazines. The magazines help us increase our knowledge, strengthen our spirituality, and combat the flood of objectionable printed and visual materials that threaten to engulf every home. They are also powerful missionary tools when given to other fine people who are seeking answers to some of life’s most perplexing problems.
Indeed, Church magazines are a valuable way of sending forth current inspired “words” of the gospel “unto the ends of the earth.”03177_000_018
Let’s look more closely at Alma’s wording: “He shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers.” ( , associate director, The Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.Alma 7:10.) Notice two points: first, Jerusalem is referred to as a land rather than as a city. Second, Jesus’ birth would occur at Jerusalem.
The Land of Jerusalem. Towns and villages which surrounded larger demographic or political centers were regarded in ancient times as belonging to those larger centers. For a major city center such as Jerusalem to be called not only a city but also a land was standard practice.
El Amarna letter #287, an ancient Near Eastern text, mentions the “land of Jerusalem” several times. 1 And—like Alma—the ancient writer of El Amarna letter #290 even refers to Bethlehem as part of the land of Jerusalem: In this letter is recorded the complaint of Abdu-Kheba of Jerusalem to Pharaoh Akhenaton that “the land of the king went over to the Apiru people. But now even a town of the land of Jerusalem, Bit-Lahmi [Bethlehem] by name, a town belonging to the king, has gone over to the side of the people of Keilah.” 2 Hebron, almost twenty miles south of Bethlehem, was also considered part of the “land of Jerusalem.” 3
The Book of Mormon is internally consistent in using the wording “the land of Jerusalem” to refer to the place from which Lehi and his family had left, where the Savior would appear as a mortal, and to which the people of Judah would eventually return. 4
Modern revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith perpetuates the expression and its ancient meaning. In Doctrine and Covenants 133:24, we read that when the continents are reassembled and again become one land mass, “the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place.”
Several other scriptural cities are also labeled at times as lands. Ammonihah was a city (see Alma 8:6), but it was also a land (see Alma 14:23). The area surrounding the city of Ur was also known as Ur. We read that an idolatrous shrine stood by Potiphar’s Hill, which “was in the land of Ur, of Chaldea.” (Abr. 1:20.) And in Abraham 2:4, we learn that Abraham and his family left “the land of Ur, of the Chaldees” and transferred to the “land” of Haran. The Damascus Rule (also known as the Zadokite Document—part of the Dead Sea Scrolls) twice refers to the “land of Damascus.” 5
At Jerusalem. Alma stated that Jesus would be born of Mary not in Jerusalem, but at Jerusalem. Dictionary definitions of at include the words close by and near. Certainly “at Jerusalem” could be interpreted “near Jerusalem.”
There is another example in the Book of Mormon in which the word at may mean “near.” The record does not say that Lehi and his family lived in Jerusalem, but at Jerusalem: “My father, Lehi, … dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days” (1 Ne. 1:4); “he returned to his own house at Jerusalem” (1 Ne. 1:7.); and “I, Nephi, have … dwelt at Jerusalem” (2 Ne. 25:6). That Lehi and his family may indeed have lived outside of Jerusalem proper is evidenced in the account of the sons’ attempt to secure the brass plates with their abandoned wealth: “We went down to the land of our inheritance, and we did gather together our gold, and our silver, and our precious things. And after we had gathered these things together, we went up again unto the house of Laban.” (1 Ne. 3:22–23; italics added.) Lehi could have lived several miles away and still lived at Jerusalem—just as Jesus could be born several miles away in Bethlehem but still be born at Jerusalem.
Joseph Smith, of course, knew well that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. If he had been the author of the Book of Mormon he would have so stated the fact, since any deviation from the well-known setting would certainly draw objection and accusation. However, Joseph Smith was merely translating a geographical note from an ancient writer—a note which in itself is another evidence that the Book of Mormon derives from a Semitic background.
Thus, Alma’s prophetic preview of the setting of the Savior’s birth is not erroneous or contradictory. It is compatible with similar biblical and extra-biblical figures of speech—evidence, in fact, of the passage’s authentic ancient origin.
See James B. Pritchard, ed. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3d ed. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1969), p. 488.
Ibid., p. 489, italics added. Translation by W. F. Albright and George E. Mendenhall. See also Yohanan Aharoni and Michael Avi-Yonah, The Macmillan Bible Atlas (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974), map #39.
See Yohanan Aharoni, The Land of the Bible—A Historical Geography (London: Burns and Oates, 1974), p. 195.
It is recorded at least thirty-three times throughout the Book of Mormon that Lehi and Nephi went out from “the land of Jerusalem” (1 Ne. 2:11; 1 Ne. 3:9, 10; 1 Ne. 5:6; 1 Ne. 7:2, 7; 1 Ne. 16:35; 1 Ne. 17:14, 20, 22; 1 Ne. 18:24; 2 Ne. 1:1, 3, 9, 30; Jacob 2:25, 31, 32; Omni 1:6; Mosiah 1:11; Mosiah 2:4; Mosiah 7:20; Mosiah 10:12; Alma 3:11; Alma 9:22; Alma 10:3; Alma 22:9; Alma 36:29; Hel. 5:6; Alma 7:7; Alma 8:21; 3 Ne. 5:20; Ether 13:7). The scene of significant events in the Savior’s ministry is referred to four times as “the land of Jerusalem” (Hel. 16:19; 3 Ne. 16:1; Morm. 3:18, 19). The place to which the people of Judah would return and which they would receive as an inheritance is four times identified as “the land of Jerusalem” (2 Ne. 25:11; 3 Ne. 20:29, 33, 46).
Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, 2d ed. (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books Ltd., 1975), 6:102–3; italics added.