“Myths about the Handicapped”

My husband and I have a ten-year-old multi-handicapped daughter, our only child. We were both deeply touched by the article “Myths about the Handicapped” (June 1988) because it put into words our thoughts of the past ten years. Within the last seven years, we both have held major callings in our ward. My husband was in the bishopric, and I am now serving as Relief Society president, a position I have held for nearly two years.

With our daughter ill 80 percent of the time, and with more sleepless nights than nights with sleep, we find it hard to stay on an even spiritual plane. Most of the time one of us has to stay home from church meetings to care for Lindsey, our daughter.

But our ward has welcomed us with open arms. Our daughter has a very special teacher, whom I might add is also stake Young Women president. Also, my mother has been our salvation. She keeps Lindsey about six weekends a year when we take little trips. She also helps many times during the week.

I hope all wards, especially the ward we will soon be moving to, will have a good attitude toward people with special needs.

Shanna Nelams Beaumont, Texas

I am writing in response to the article in the June 1988 issue of the Ensign entitled “Myths about the Handicapped.” My concern is that Church members recognize more openly the fact that mental illness also affects members of the Church. I could relate very closely to the portion of the article wherein the mother of a schizophrenic child was quoted as saying, “Families who have children who become mentally ill lead a lonely life.”

I praise the Ensign for encouraging its readership to more fully recognize the needs of all handicapped people—including the mentally ill. All are part of Heavenly Father’s kingdom, whether they are in their right minds or not. Who knows how they would act if they were in possession of their complete mental faculties? I hope the Ensign looks into publishing more hard-hitting articles on mental illness and members of the Church. “Love one another even as I have loved you” applies to the mentally ill, too. We need more advocacy for this particular segment of the handicapped population.

Lori L. Lakey Alta Loma, California

Nannies

I was born in England, where the job of a nanny is a highly qualified and respected one. It demands a number of years of training in nursing and child care. If a young woman is trained at a proper school, she then wears a uniform that enables her to obtain a good post with a respected family. The vocation demands total selflessness and dedication.

Also, in England it is popular for foreign students to work for a family for a year so they can learn the language and have a place to live in return for baby-sitting and light housework. This is a more risky occupation, and exploitation can arise on both sides.

Then there is the untrained childminder. Like most jobs where little training is required, you take what you get.

May I just say that to be a real nanny is a highly respectable job from which both children and parents benefit. It is like having extended family living with you. Some nannies have gone from generation to generation.

Susan Jessica Dolan Haifa, Israel

Caffeine

I read with interest the recent article on caffeine (June 1988). In this article, there is a statement that may actually be true, but that is misleading. In the table on page 61, which lists the caffeine content of various beverages and foods, each of the caffeine totals is listed for reasonably sized servings. For example, the caffeine content for one cup of coffee and for one twelve-ounce serving of soft drink is listed. This is as it should be. However, when the caffeine content of milk chocolate was listed, an eight-ounce serving was chosen to illustrate the caffeine content. This is misleading, since most people do not look at eight ounces of chocolate (1/2 pound) as a serving. It would have been better to have listed the caffeine content of one ounce of candy, which is a reasonable size for a candy bar.

Larry W. Gibbons, M.D., M.P.H. Dallas, Texas

The Anguish of Divorce

I have very much enjoyed the articles in the Ensign concerning divorced and single-parent families. When I was divorced seven years ago, I desperately sought reading material from LDS bookstores and watched the Church magazines for information that would help me handle my difficult new life-style. I could find nothing.

I felt definitely in the minority and became inactive for a period of time. I needed compassion and fellowship and someone to talk to about my feelings of loneliness and failure, but I was left pretty much alone.

It has been wonderful to see the Church acknowledge that divorced and single-parent families exist. The Relief Society lessons have recently been very helpful in teaching acceptance and compassion for the divorced and focusing on the real-life problems we all face.

Although I have now been remarried in the temple, I still love to read the articles you publish about coping with the single life-style. I can identify with almost everything they say.

Diane Wellman Phoenix, Arizona

Comfort from “No Longer a Husband”

Thank you for “No Longer a Husband” in the February issue. It comforted me to know that there are single men seeking a David O. McKay/Emma McKay type of relationship.

I truly hope that the divorce trend will subside in the Church, but I know that the adversary is hard at work. I spent eight years in an abusive marriage—my LDS ex-husband had a father who had controlled his wife through emotional abuse, and my ex-husband saw that as normal. I had to go to a women’s shelter for several weeks before I could get an apartment away from my husband. In the meantime, his harassment continued until I was able to secure a divorce and move out of state.

I hope the Ensign will do an article on emotional abuse. We don’t talk about it much, but it is a very real problem. I have friends who have gone through worse situations than my own—yet we see little about the problem in print and hear little counsel concerning it over the pulpit.

Name withheld by request

Update

We have received a number of requests for an explanation of the abbreviations that appear on the Kirtland Temple pulpits depicted in the painting by Ted Gorka on the inside back cover of our April issue. The Church Historical Department indicates that the abbreviations stand for the following:

M.P.C.—Melchizedek Presiding Council (representing the First Presidency or the stake presidency).

P.M.H.—Presiding Melchizedek High Priesthood (representing the Quorum of the Twelve or the stake high council).

M.H.P.—Melchizedek High Priesthood (representing the high priests quorum).