“Real” studying

You can’t believe how grateful I am to you for printing “But It Was in Amos Last Time I Looked!” by Richard G. Wilkins in the November 1975 New Era. I guess I knew all along I should get down and do some real studying of the scriptures, but that article was what I needed. I’m 16 and not a member yet (my folks are nonmembers and I have to wait until I’m 18), but the happiness I feel in studying the scriptures keeps me from curling up in a corner and crying because I can’t be baptized yet. The New Era is certainly an extra blessing. Thanks for making my life a little happier!

Peter E. Lipkowski
Copake Falls, New York

Bye bye birdie

I don’t think Nolan Taylor gave studio photography a chance. I’m a photographer with a company that specializes exclusively in children’s portrait photography. We don’t use the word cheese or say “look at the birdie.” Our photographers play with the children, help them to feel at ease, and try to avoid the “posed look” Brother Taylor was speaking of. If a photographer is well trained and loves children and his work, a studio shot will be just as priceless as a candid one.

Marilyn Calkins
Las Vegas, Nevada

We’re number two

We’ve been through the unpleasant experience of a nationwide mail strike here in Canada for the past six weeks. It surely is great to read and reread past issues of the New Era. It gives me the support that I need when those letters from home are scarce. Although some of the magazines may be up to three years old, the advice is still valid and the messages and stories still inspirational. However, no matter how good the magazine may be, you’ll never be able to steal the show from a letter from home. Sorry.

Elder Pete Kuettel
Canada Vancouver Mission

A story about myself

I look forward to receiving the New Era each month, but when I received the December issue, I never dreamed I’d read a story about myself. I’m referring to “Fred Harris on Dating.” I say that I was reading about myself because I’m one of those thousands of teenage boys who have trouble asking girls for dates, and I could see myself in Fred Harris.

I really enjoyed the part where Paul and Fred were talking about getting a gift for Betty to wrap so Fred could talk to her. That’s where I really started laughing. I felt it could have been me instead of Fred. I’ve done some of those really dumb things myself. The truth is, I don’t date very much because of the problem I have asking girls and because I’m just one of those guys who believes the girls I would most like to ask won’t go with me. If only more girls were like Julie.

L. Wes Sanderson
Cedar City, Utah


I learned a lot from “It’s a Challenge, I Guess” in the November issue of the New Era. I learned that falling 80 feet or falling 35 feet and breaking an arm is not serious. I always thought that any unplanned fall was serious in that it indicated a failure in judgment. I don’t see how any responsible person can minimize the implications of incurring a failure in judgment. I also learned that getting lost on a 13,770-foot mountain is “a comedy of errors.” Having climbed the Grand Teton myself, I thought that it would be a serious proposition. I know of at least one case where a potentially dangerous situation was incurred as a result of becoming lost on the Grand Teton.

I learned a lot more from the article, but what I really need to talk about is what I already know. I know that whenever anything is portrayed as exciting and adventurous, people will try to duplicate the feat. I know that after watching a basketball game, people go out and play basketball, that many kids have crashed like Evel Knievel while trying to jump their own version of the Snake River, and that when the youth of the Church read “It’s a Challenge, I Guess,” they will be inspired to act. When I see visions of crampons and other climbing gear being fashioned in home workshops from “pocket knives and other odds and ends,” my stomach turns over, and I must speak out. In short, I think the publication of this article was irresponsible.

Arnold J. Amenda
Austin, Texas

We appreciate Brother Amenda’s concern. The New Era cautions its readers to attempt rock or snow climbing only with the proper equipment and after adequate expert instruction. It should be pointed out that Kevin and Bennett used such things as pocket knives only before they were properly trained, and they would never advocate the use of such equipment. The homemade equipment they presently use is the result of their hard-won competence as metal-workers and is equal or superior to commercially available equipment.


Filled with Christmas

The December 1975 New Era is delightfully filled with the spirit of Christmas: Bishop Featherstone’s beautiful article, the superb photography, two (not just one, two!) excellent fiction stories, and a lovely Christmas poem. I have heard some people say that they no longer have time for fiction, but I feel that well-done fiction reveals more truth about human feeling and motivation than does many a factual article. And a poem, which can be read in just a snatch of seconds and which can set one’s mood while pursuing simple tasks, is a joy indeed. Thank you for a memorable Christmas issue.

Iris W. Schow
Brigham City, Utah

I’m going back

I just have to write and tell you what a good magazine the New Era is. I’ve gotten it for one year, and it really is enjoyable. I am a 14-year-old member of the Church, but when I was six, my father was killed, and my family just stopped going to Church. I always went to Primary, though, and now I go to activity night, and love it. Well, we’ve really thought it over, and I’m going back to church because I’ve realized that I will never be able to return to my Heavenly Father if I don’t. I’ve read all your articles, and they all helped me to understand the Church better. Thank you so much.

Lynette Cook
Idaho Falls, Idaho

I can’t believe how sorry

I didn’t take the opportunity to read the Church publications before I left on my mission, but now I have read every one of the many old New Eras in our apartment, and I can’t believe how sorry I am when I reach the last page. I am very eager to receive each new issue. The New Era has really helped me and strengthened my testimony.

Elder Lawrence N. Camp
Arizona Holbrook Mission

Appreciating the East

I enjoyed the article by R. Lanier Britsch on the LDS attitude toward eastern religions in the October New Era. Since I’ve been in Iran over two months now, the world of Islam has become a very real part of my life, and an understanding of it is essential in my relationships with people. The same thing was true, although perhaps to a lesser degree, in regards to Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan during the three years I was there. So Brother Britsch’s thoughts were very meaningful to me and (perhaps even more importantly) to the two nonmembers I live with, both of whom are Americans with an interest in the East. They were quite impressed with such a rational attitude in a Church magazine. They’re beginning to understand more about Mormons. With such rapid growth of Church membership in the Far East and the opening of missionary work in the Mideast, I was happy to see this emphasis on appreciation and respect toward other religions of the world.

Roger Whitmore
Tehran, Iran