“Not for Everyone”

We were pleased to see the Ensign article about controlling the effects of the media in our children’s lives. Years ago our family chose to control the effects of television by not having one in our home. It is one of the best decisions we ever made.

There are wonderful young people who grow up in homes with TV, but we suspect their parents have to work harder at keeping the world out of their homes than we have. We frequently have gospel discussions, as well as conversations about moral issues, politics, sports, and other topics of interest. These conversations happen, I am sure, because the television isn’t there competing for their attention.

Perhaps because they don’t have TV as a distraction, our children seem to mature spiritually at an earlier age than most do. Without our prompting, our youngest read the Book of Mormon twice before the age of eight—and understood most of what it said. We frequently get comments from teachers and other adults on how kind and Christlike another of our children is. Although all of them aren’t straight-A students, teachers have commented on how articulate and well-read our children are.

On one occasion we rented a television set for a month to see how we felt about having one back in our home. Near the end of the month, one of the younger children mentioned how reading didn’t seem as much fun anymore. We decided that if such a good and previously enthusiastic reader could be so affected by a month of television, we could get along without it.

Getting rid of the TV may not be for everyone, and it certainly isn’t a cure-all, but we feel the absence of television has been a great boon for our family.

Name withheld upon request

“Just Like Heaven!”

“Helping Children Understand the Media’s Influence” (January 1987) was an answer to prayer. Our family has now agreed to watch television only on weekends, and for the first time in twenty years I have hope for my marriage. Because our evenings together were usually spent in front of the TV, my husband and I had become strangers over the years. Now that our weekdays and evenings are TV-free, we are actually talking again!

The children, too, are benefiting. They now spend time at night reading, doing homework, practicing the piano, and talking with their parents. My husband is a more effective father and husband, and I’m a more effective mother and wife. It’s just like heaven!

Name withheld upon request

Thanks for “Criticism”

Thank you for the “Speaking Today” section in the Ensign. I have a great love for the General Authorities, and I hunger to learn what they have to say. I cherish the talks you print and look forward to each issue of the magazine so I can read “Speaking Today” again.

I am most recently grateful for Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ talk on criticism. It has answered my prayers. I have sometimes wondered how to voice my opinions in a way pleasing to God and to my priesthood leaders. Thanks to this article, I know how. What a comfort!

Marion J. Nichalls Orlando, Florida

A Primary Story

As a missionary in Colombia, I often get issues of the Ensign that are eight or nine months late. One of the more “recent” issues was the March 1986 magazine with the section titled “Teacher, Do You Love Me?” It reminded me of an experience I had a few years ago as a Primary teacher.

I had graduated from the teacher development course and had been called as a substitute Primary teacher for the two months that remained before I left for college. I was only eighteen, but I looked forward to the opportunity.

I prepared and presented the first lesson, then the second, with no trouble. But while I was presenting the third lesson, one of the students said, “We’ve heard this before. It’s boring!” Several others agreed.

My heart sank! For the next few weeks I studied the scriptures and the lesson manual and prayed fervently, looking for ways to better teach my class. Before I left, I had finally found a way to help the children relate the gospel principles I was teaching to their lives. At the end of my last lesson, Maya, a very shy little Mexican girl who had never said a word in class came up to me and with a tentative smile and watery eyes said, “Thanks, Teacher.”

That was one of the highlights of my life, and it was brought back to me by the Ensign. I give thanks to the Lord for the Primary organization and for the simple truths about service and love that I learned while teaching Primary.

Elder Whitehead Colombia

The Harvest Continues

Thank you so much for the article in the January 1987 issue about Wilford Woodruff in England entitled “Harvest in Herefordshire.” Elder Woodruff baptized my paternal great-grandfather, Thomas Oakey, in the pond on the Benbow farm. Great-grandfather was a minister of a congregation of United Brethren, almost all of whom were baptized.

It was my grandfather who asked the sheriff to force Elder Woodruff and Alfred Cordon to leave the area. But, as you know, when the sheriff went to one of their meetings, he was converted instead. Great-grandfather himself was baptized shortly afterward, along with his wife, Ann Collett. Their eight living children were baptized later.

The family came to America and crossed the plains in the Willey Handcart Company. Later, they were among those called to settle the Bear Lake country in southern Idaho.

I am sure that many, many people owe their membership in the church of Jesus Christ to those two great missionaries.

Nora Oakey Caldwell Corvallis, Montana

Waterlogged Pages

I work as a secretary at one of the most exclusive country clubs in Sacramento, California. Because my work often involves long periods of waiting for a batch of letters to print, I have time to read; and one of my favorite reading materials is the Ensign. In between pushing the “print” key and removing the letters from the printer, I devour one of this world’s choicest magazines.

Unfortunately, I can’t do this without a box of tissue at hand, and I often wonder what to say when someone comes to the office and finds me teary-eyed. I try to choose “safe-looking” articles—but it seems all the pages are meant to be read with watery vision.

My deepest gratitude to all who produce and contribute to the Ensign, past, present, and future. If you’ll keep printing, I’ll keep reading—waterlogged pages or not.

Sue Bailey Citrus Heights, California

Wouldn’t Be without It

My son, a member of the LDS Church, recently gave me a subscription to the Ensign. I wouldn’t be without it now! Receiving the Ensign has been a wonderful experience; I only wish I had received it fifty years sooner.

Horton F. Ide Concord, New Hampshire