The Best Thing in Print

Elder James E. Faust’s article in the September 1986 issue was the best thing I’ve ever seen you print about women. It was not condescending. It did not try to glorify or idealize a woman’s role. It did not pretend to have all the answers. Rather, it was straightforward, well written, and true. I appreciated it immensely.

Gail Newbold Bountiful, Utah

Very Up-front

My parents have had the Church magazines in their home for as long as I can remember. When I moved away from home to pursue my own career, I naturally subscribed to the Ensign, a magazine that had been one of my favorites for years.

I was absolutely thrilled to read the September 1986 issue. As a single woman, I found several articles very useful. I found topics in this issue I haven’t even seen in national magazines! And the ways in which you presented such fragile topics as PMS (p. 66), intimacy (p. 49), and the role of women in general were very up-front and informative.

As an educator, I actually felt “tingles” as I read the article about homework (p. 65). The article put much faith in today’s teachers, something we see too little of. If every parent would follow the suggestions in that article, every student would achieve his or her aspirations!

Sherrin Benson Panaca, Nevada

On Intimacy in Marriage

Thank you for printing the very helpful and informative article by Brent Barlow on intimacy in marriage (September issue). My husband and I have been trying to work out a lot of problems, most of which stem from this area of our relationship. Brother Barlow mentioned many of the things troubling us and has shown us a way to work things out in harmony with gospel teachings.

Name withheld upon request

PS: PMS

As one of millions of women in the world who suffer from PMS, thank you for the September article on the subject of Premenstrual Syndrome. I was especially appreciative of the insights into the spiritual feelings of PMS sufferers. It was nice to be reminded that the Lord is mindful of us all as individuals—every single day of the month.

Dee Ann Jackson Boonton, New Jersey

A Family Order

I like the idea of including a Family Resource Order Form in the Ensign periodically. I hope that you continue to do so. It helps to have the Church distribute items that are useful to members but not readily available through regular commercial outlets.

Larry A. Peterson Lakewood, Colorado

Update

In September’s “Israel under Siege,” photo 5 on page 34 and photo 16 on page 38 should be switched.

Breaking the Chain

Thank you for the August 1986 issue. “A Choice Seer,” by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, and “I Stand All Amazed,” by Jeffrey R. Holland, both affected me deeply. I felt such love for Heavenly Father and the Savior after studying those articles!

But my heart responded most to the article by Carlfred Broderick on abused children. As one who had been abused as a child, I have never been able to completely shake off the memories of the pain and humiliation I suffered. It took years of soul-searching and prayer and effort before I felt I was a person of worth. During that time, I found another sister in the Lord’s true church who had also suffered as I had. Together, we were able to find the strength to release the pain and finally feel God’s love and wonderful peace in our hearts.

Thank you, Brother Broderick, for writing so truly, so encouragingly, and so lovingly. I know that the chain of destructiveness can be broken, that we can forgo the bitterness and go on trusting in our Savior’s love and example.

A grateful reader Australia

Over the past four years, I have been the victim of chronic stress, chronic pain, and clinical and chemical depression. During the course of counseling, it became apparent that I have been affected by the physical and emotional neglect of my parents. I was never told that I was loved, and my parents were not close enough to me to be aware that I was being sexually abused by my grandfather.

When I happened on the article by Carlfred Broderick in the August issue, I found a meaning to my experience. I have always wanted my children to have what I did not have, but until reading this article, I had not considered that the strength I may gain by overcoming the effects of my past pain could be passed on as emotional strength to my children.

I have worn out those pages in the Ensign. Nothing could have hit home more than this article. We are out here, those of us who suffer, to change life for the better for future generations. Thank you for helping define my calling in life.

Name withheld

A Matter of Prayer

I read with mild interest the article “A Matter of Prayer” in the August issue. I understand well the pressures in these last days for couples to have few children. There is indeed a need for parents to accept as many children as they can from our Father in Heaven. But I also understand well the pressure for LDS couples to have more children than they are able.

My husband and I spent over a year in repeated fasting and prayer over the very question addressed in this particular article. We repeated the process over and over because, to my bewilderment, the answer we were receiving was different from what we thought was the only answer to the question “Should we have more children?” I imagine that our case is the exception to the rule, but it is still difficult to see only one side of the story told. There are other answers, for other situations.

Sylvia Hill Ft. Meade, Maryland

Safe Water

Several months ago you ran an article entitled “Safe Water in Emergencies” (February 1986), in which you suggest purchasing iodine crystals from a pharmacy. I have tried to find iodine crystals in the Phoenix metropolitan area, but no drugstore carries them. I have found a scientific supply company that sells a fifty-gram bottle for $16.00. Is it possible to secure a five-gram amount anywhere?

Stan Hovey Tempe, Arizona

In preparing for a Relief Society Homemaking class, another sister and I were assigned to teach a lesson on purifying water. We used the article in the February 1986 issue’s “Random Sampler” section. We hunted around until we found an older pharmacy that had a bottle of iodine crystals, but the pharmacist was very concerned that we would even consider using iodine crystals. He said they are very caustic and dangerous. He said using them around children would be especially dangerous and recommended, instead, iodine tincture.

We felt we had been soundly lectured but were grateful for his concern. We wondered if you have had any other comment on the article.

Mary Lou Fisher Council Bluffs, Iowa

Concerning “Safe Water in Emergencies,” a few points on using iodine crystals need to be mentioned.

I understand from other printed sources that iodine crystals are concentrated enough to be highly poisonous. Accidentally drinking a crystal or two could cause severe illness. Using a laboratory-grade teflon filter will prevent the introduction of the crystals into drinking water, but such filters are expensive.

I also understand that even iodine tablets should not be used by pregnant women.

Name withheld upon request

In reply, the authors, Byron J. Wilson and H. Smith Broadbent of Brigham Young University, add the following:

  1. 1.

    Availability. Many pharmacies do not stock crystalline iodine, as they have little use for it. Chemical suppliers sell it, but usually in one-pound quantities—more than anyone would want to store in the home. Some stock fifty-gram bottles, and we know of at least one supplier of recreation gear who provides seven grams in a special bottle that contains the crystals and a thermometer with a temperature-dosage chart.

  2. 2.

    Safety and Toxicity of Iodine. As indicated in the article, iodine is very corrosive and must be stored away from children, as is the case with many household chemicals such as drain cleaners, medicines, antifreeze, and liquid fuels. Long-term consumption of iodinated water may be unhealthful, but short-term use in emergencies should be far less risky than using improperly treated water.

    Iodine crystals are about five times more dense than water, so they settle readily. Two to three grains of iodine would be toxic, but only gross negligence would result in a problem; with care, we have had no problem pouring off the iodine solution from the crystals.

    It is true that there are compounds available which release iodine in water, but they have a limited shelf life and are considerably more costly.

    A 1981 EPA study from the United States government reported that four chemical compounds were completely effective in destroying Giandia cysts at temperatures above 20 degrees centigrade, though they were not effective at 3 degrees centigrade. These compounds included bleach, Globaline, tincture of iodine, and saturated iodine solution. If the water is ice-cold, therefore, you should warm it up before treating it with any chemical solution.

Christmas Traditions

We have enjoyed recent articles in the Ensign dealing with family traditions and wanted to share one of ours.

On the first Sunday evening in December, we invite two or three families to our home to help us “unwrap Christmas.” It works like this: We bring out a large wicker basket full of small presents wrapped in Christmas paper. There are enough presents for each child. The youngest begins by choosing present number 1. In the package may be the storybook ’Twas the Night before Christmas. An adult will then read the story before we go on to present number 2, which may contain a book of Christmas carols. We all then go to the piano and sing carols together. Present number 3 may be a Book of Mormon, from which an adult reads the Book of Mormon Christmas story. Other presents may include an advent calendar for each family (to be hung in a prominent place in the home) and various Christmas tree ornaments (used by an adult to explain the true meaning of Christmas). Our favorite present is a pretzel. That’s our cue to go to the kitchen and create pretzel ornaments to be hung on our Christmas trees.

The second-to-last present contains a nativity piece representing baby Jesus. This is the time for the children to dress up and enact the manger scene while an adult reads the New Testament account of Christ’s birth.

The final present is a banana. That tells us it’s time to go back to the kitchen for banana splits! Christmas is “unwrapped.”

Alan W. Grose Albuquerque, New Mexico