Thanks from Nonmember

I want to thank all you special Mormons. I truly believe you are some of the most priceless people in the world today.

My family was en route from Rhode Island to California to attend my wedding. Two days before their scheduled arrival I received a phone call from Sante Fe, New Mexico. My brother-in-law had suffered a heart attack and had been rushed to a hospital, where he remained in intensive care for three weeks. My sister and her two young daughters were stranded.

A woman, whose son was a patient in the emergency room, witnessed the incident. She comforted my family and took them into her home. When I arrived, I was also welcomed. A week later, when unexpected company arrived at the family’s home, their bishop and his wife took us into their home. They had a spirituality about them that set them apart from others. There was always plenty of food, regardless of how many of us were there. Evening family prayer was a highlight and an inspiration.

Through this experience and through association with my Mormon roommate of the past six years, I have really come to know and love the Mormon people.

Anna M. Lucas Hacienda Heights, California

“Old Dead Book” of Job

I’m grateful for the enlightening article by Rebecca Cornwall (July 1974 Ensign). It not only gave me a greater understanding of the Book of Job, but it brought to light a common mistake of “concerned friends.”

Her lesson about true compassion and sincere concern struck me with force; how many times in an effort to “help” have I misjudged, preached, and advised but not listened? The words compassion and charity now have a new meaning for me.

Wendy J. Ulmer Jacksonville, Florida

“Why Am I So Unhappy?”

I wish I could have Vern Green’s article, “Why Am I So Unhappy?” (June 1974 Ensign), recorded so I could listen to it whenever I start asking those questions when I’m out working. The members here loved it, too. The magazine came just in time for a talk, and those words also ring true in Swedish. Thank you again from an elder who really loves the Ensign.

Elder Don Asp Vaxjö, Sweden

Changing Format

Thank you for publishing an exceptionally fine magazine. I missed the Relief Society Magazine at first, but since your format now includes such departments as Random Sampler, I Have A Question, and Mormon Journal, as well as other enlightening features like the First Presidency Message and the conference addresses that I have long depended upon, I enjoy the Ensign now more than ever.

Diane McFarland Brown Tempe, Arizona

Testimonies Strengthened

I am so grateful for Mormon Journal in the Ensign, especially the stories in the July issue. The testimonies, so simple yet so strong, have strengthened me, especially the one in which Sister Kultorp from Norway explained what was keeping her from attending Church: “That little thing is yourself, struggling in opposition”; and the one in which Sister Rinne from Finland said, “If you love him, why not serve him?” Those two phrases triggered an added strength and hope in me.

Renn Rochelle Reed San Leandro, California

“No-Simmer Summer”

Thank you for “No-Simmer Summer in the Kitchen” (June 1974 Ensign). We tried the popsicles and loved them. New recipes for the summer are just what every housewife needs.

As a Relief Society member, I have missed our own magazine; but when it comes to keeping up on my reading, I’m glad we only have one magazine. I now can read the Ensign from cover to cover each month before the new one comes, and still read my pages from the scriptures.

Ilana Thompson Carlsbad, New Mexico

Iceland Excluded

I enjoyed the section in July’s Ensign on the Church in Scandinavia very much, but I was disappointed to see Iceland excluded and Denmark instead called “Scandinavia’s smallest country.” Although Iceland is not always considered part of Scandinavia, it is politically united with Scandinavia under The Nordic Council.

It has been many years since the Church sent missionaries to Iceland, but early activity there did have an effect. Two Icelanders, Thorarinn Haflidason and Gudmundur Gudmundsson, who joined the Church in Denmark, were sent by Erastus Snow as missionaries to Iceland. Their efforts resulted in the first emigration from Iceland to America in 1855, with families settling in Spanish Fork, Utah—some 20 years before any other Icelanders emigrated.

Eirikur Olafsson a Brunum, a popular writer of travel stories, was converted later in the century. His experiences in searching for the Promised Land, together with Thordur Didriksson’s colorful missionary activities, form the basis of a novel, Paradise Reclaimed, by the Nobel Prize winner, Halldor Laxness.

As for the contributions of immigrants and their descendants, one need look no further than Kate B. Carter’s prolific publications in Our Pioneer Heritage, for which she was awarded Iceland’s Order of the Falcon.

George S. Tate Ithaca, New York

Iranian Update

A note about “We Were the Church in Iran” (April 1974 Ensign). The Church has a branch in Tehran, Iran, where we have about 80 members. A branch has been here for about 20 years, the older members tell me. The author’s article was about a small town in Iran, and she probably was the only member there. Total membership for all of Iran is about 182 persons. We have a few Iranian members, but mostly the branch represents families of civilians and military personnel associated with the U.S. government.

Mrs. Roger Redmond Tehran, Iran

The Living Room Display

We enjoy the Ensign magazine more than you can imagine. It brings us great spiritual uplift, needed advice for us as parents, a welcome gourmet of humor, beautiful photography, helpful hints for the home, and stories to remind us of the service and sacrifices of those living in other parts of the world and those who have gone before. We always leave about eight issues on our table in our living room, and are delighted to have those both in and out of the Church choose one and thumb through it when they visit. You have done a tremendous job to produce a magazine that is both professionally attractive and spiritually enlightening.

Bryan R. Gerritsen Kalamazoo, Michigan

Genealogical Donations

The article “Philanthropy—Not Just for Millionaires” (March 1974 Ensign) is a very useful article, and we can understand why the article could not list every branch of Church affiliation as a potential recipient. Therefore, members of the Church might be interested to know how the situation stands with regard to individual donations for private research on their genealogical lines. Since the closing of the research department of the Church Genealogical Society for custom research in 1963, the Genealogical Society has not accepted such contributions. Following the opening of the Brigham Young University Genealogical Research Center in 1969, now known as BYU Family History Services, this office has accepted such funds, and, in fact, encourages them.

Jerry D. Wells, Manager Brigham Young University Family History Services