“This is the beginning”

I have always wondered whether I should go on a mission. I’ve asked myself how can I prepare to do the Lord’s work? What must I do? Who can give me this vital information? When I picked up the June 1973 issue of the New Era, my questions were answered. It helped me to strengthen both myself and my testimony of missionary work. It gives me a good feeling whenever I read any of the stories. I feel as if I want to go out and tell the world of the beautiful organization that God has given us. I can’t go on a mission right now for several reasons, mainly because my parents who are nonmembers can’t see or feel what I have in my heart. But maybe my mission will be to convert my whole family (13 in all). I have ordered a year’s subscription to the New Era for my parents. This is the beginning of a mission for me.

Hiram S. Kaoo Hawi, Hawaii

Spiritual uplift

I really like the New Era. It’s a spiritual uplift to me as I take time to read it each month out here on my mission. I never really read it before. I enjoyed the December issue on the life of Joseph Smith. The restoration of the gospel is the most important message anyone could take to the people, and we appreciate your help.

Elder Rich Arizona Mission

Romanticized religion?

The New Era is pretty good, but it needs something more for the youth who aren’t into romanticized religion. Your artwork is really great though.

All of us Norwalk, California

Why?

I really love the stories and articles in the New Era, but I have one complaint. I feel you discriminate against Californians. I always see things about the Saints in Utah, Idaho, and foreign countries, but hardly ever anything about the California Saints.

This last summer, on July 28, there was a huge Aaronic Priesthood MIA dance festival held in the Rose Bowl, involving over 6,000 dancers from all over southern California and parts of Arizona. It was said to be the largest dance festival in the history of the Church, ten times larger than the one held in Salt Lake. There were five General Authorities in attendance. We were featured on three prominent television news shows, and the Presiding Bishop was interviewed on a talk show about the festival and the Aaronic Priesthood MIA. The festival involved a lot of time, effort, and money on the part of thousands of dancers, parents, and coordinators, and was attended by thousands. I went through the New Era cover to cover for the next three months, expecting if not an article at least a picture and paragraph in FYI about it, but nothing was mentioned. Why?

Lori Baker Riverside, California

The New Era loves to hear about events before they happen so that we can cover them in the magazine, although with some 6,000 wards and branches in the Church we can’t cover everything. Please let us know well in advance whenever you have something exciting coming up in your area so that we can consider it. If you forget to send us the news beforehand, at least write us a note after the fact.

Waiting for the light

We love the magazine and wouldn’t ever be without it, but oh I had a hard time reading “Of Goodly Parents” in the December issue. My eyesight is perfect, and I don’t wear glasses or need them, but the colored print really made it hard for me to read. I can hardly wait for the magazine to come, and I read every word; so it’s a real disappointment to have to put it away in the evening and wait until there is bright sunlight coming through the window in the daytime to be able to read something I am so eager to read.

Gloria Wright Kaysville, Utah

“I thought of giving up”

It took me a lot of years to reach rock bottom, and having arrived, seeing only loneliness, feeling only emptiness, I thought in despair of giving up. Then my mother came to visit me and asked if I would like to receive the New Era. I used to find them lying around the house and read them from time to time, and I recalled how much I enjoyed the stories, so I told her to order a subscription for me. I received my first issue in January, have just finished reading February, and am looking forward to next month. The articles introduce me to Latter-day Saints with strong testimonies and reflect such courage, faith, and hope that I find I no longer despair. I no longer see only loneliness or feel only emptiness. I find that I have taken heart, drawing strength from the words of the leaders of the Church.

I soon found myself talking about the Church to my cell partner, reading interesting passages from the New Era out loud and answering his more and more frequent questions until he finally picked up the January issue, which led to more discussions, more questions. Today when the guard brought me my February issue of the New Era, my cell partner took it and read it before I did. Afterward we spent a couple of hours discussing what we had read, getting farther into Mormon beliefs and history. He asked me if I’d get him a Book of Mormon and help him to become a member. I can’t tell you how that made me feel. I haven’t led an exemplary life, but I have never passed up an opportunity to proclaim that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of God. The New Era has provided me with an opportunity to do so again and to present the gospel to another and see him embrace it. For this, and for the many hours of reading enjoyment, I want to thank you.

Name Withheld Nebraska State Penal Complex

Too good to be true

As you can see from the photo I am enclosing, almost everyone in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, takes the New Era. Of course, that just happens to be the name of the local newspaper also.

Elder Robert Schow Kentucky-Tennessee Mission

Eating it up

I just read the latest New Era, and I think that the magazine is getting better with every issue. I only wish it could be bigger and have more fiction like “Home Cooking” in the January issue. We missionaries eat that kind of stuff right up and are hungry for more.

Elder Riley Peeples Alaska-British Columbia Mission

Daniel’s diggings

There’s only one thing I’ve got to say about Jack Weyland’s short story “Home Cooking” in the January issue—I dug it!

Daniel Bammes Orem, Utah

Looking forward

I just received my first issue of the New Era, a baptismal gift from dear friends. You see, I joined the Church just last November. This wonderful monthly is just what I need! So much is so new to me, and I’m both thrilled and humbled to learn from great leaders through the printed word. I’m in college, and a lot of what I’ve read is atheistic. Now at least I know one thing worth reading! What really fascinated me about the January issue were the articles on Mormon history. I’d love to know more! The story about Brad Cordery was also valuable inasmuch as I have cerebral palsy (balance only) and have crutches. Reading this story made me think twice about my own problems. As I’m just 21, I’m looking forward to a long, happy, and useful life in the Church. I’ve been blessed with terrific teachers and friends, and I just can’t be thankful enough!

Mary Jane Weber San Jose, California