An island

The New Era has been a spiritual gold mine to me. I am at a time in my life when I often feel that everything around me is in a never-ending state of transition, and I find myself wanting to cling to something solid, permanent, timeless, and unaltered by change. I have only recently come to realize that the gospel is such a thing, an immutable island in a churning sea of change. In this life which consists of the moment and of things fleeting, it is reassuring for me to know that I have something that is timeless.

Cathy Hunn Crystal Lake, Illinois

Good blues news

I’ve learned by now that depression isn’t good for the soul. Fortunately, I’ve discovered a cure. Take one New Era and read it from cover to cover, then pray and reread your favorite parts. As a freshman in college I’ve found many reasons to be depressed, and this cure hasn’t failed me yet. The only problem is, I only get one magazine a month.

Kathy Nelson Corvallis, Oregon

True meaning of Christmas

Thank you for the beautiful cover on the December New Era. The day it came I was listening to Christmas music, and when I saw the picture, I started crying. The look in that sweet baby’s eyes as he looks at his mother is precious. Thanks for bringing the true meaning of Christmas into our home so beautifully.

Vera Jean Kinkade Orem, Utah

The cover of the December New Era is the most beautiful picture of the nativity I’ve ever seen. Each time I look at it I’m filled with awe. The faces of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus express so fully the sacredness and holiness of that event. The look on Mary’s face shows how she must have felt knowing she was the mother of the Son of God. Joseph looks so kind and majestic, and the baby is so beautiful. Henninger is truly an inspired artist to capture the awe and wonderment of that choice event so well in a painting. I’m sure it will help me in raising my future children. I want to pattern my life after Mary’s and be the kind of heavenlike mother she was.

Julie Osborn Mesa, Arizona

What better message?

Thank you for “Jesus of Nazareth, Savior and King” and “The Prophet’s Last Christmas” in the December New Era. I found both articles highly moving. What better Christmas messages could there be than ones concerning the head of our Church, Jesus the Christ, and his Prophet of the restoration? Thanks for making my Christmas in the mission field a little more meaningful.

Elder Glenn L. Smith New York New York City Mission

To return

I would like to thank you for the excellent article by Elder Robert L. Simpson in the January 1977 New Era. Elder Simpson treats the subject of excommunication as it should be treated—as a means for the sinner to return to Heavenly Father and be completely forgiven. As I was excommunicated from the Church a year ago, I can truly testify that the bishop’s court is a court of love. It helped me to realize how important it is to repent and return to my Heavenly Father. Although the road back is a difficult one, it can be done. I hope to be baptized soon and again enjoy true fellowship in God’s church. I would urge all those who have transgressed the commandments to seek the counsel of their bishops. The celestial kingdom is too good to miss out on.

Name Withheld

“Most Edifying Letters to a Missionary Award”

“The Way to a Missionary’s Mailbox” in the December New Era was an excellent article. I hope that the many girls who are writing to missionaries will read it and apply the wonderful and appropriate suggestions given therein. I have a strong personal testimony of what the right kind of letters can do for a missionary because I received many such letters during my recently completed mission to France and Switzerland. I cannot remember a single instance in which my friend wrote a letter that was in any way selfish or distracting. There was, of course, news from home, but the majority of the space was used to write thoughts, feelings, insights, and testimony that could only encourage and uplift me. Instead of feeling homesick or full of self-pity after reading her letters, I felt grateful and desirous to work all the more diligently for the Savior. The article spoke of building self-esteem in elders. The friend who wrote to me understood this well and often expressed her respect, her confidence, and her belief in me as a servant of the Lord. This can work miracles and was especially important to me during a very difficult period of my mission. I know that her support played a large part in helping me overcome the difficulties I faced during those months. My friend even earned, at one point, the “Most Edifying Letters to a Missionary Award” presented by the special awards committee of the Switzerland Geneva Mission. I was the committee. I will never cease to be grateful to the Lord for the blessing this sister was to me during my mission.

Walter Lenel Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Uplift

Thanks for the great article “Joseph Smith and the Lighter View” in the August New Era. We had just finished a special zone conference on the Prophet Joseph when I read it. It has helped my testimony of the Prophet grow. The missionary article “I’m a Mormon” in the same issue was also great. It was just what we missionaries need sometimes to keep us going. Thank you for such uplift every month.

Elder Donald Stoker North Carolina Greensboro Mission

Making sense with humor

I enjoy reading the New Era from cover to cover every month. The articles are surely inspired. They have moved me to tears and have strengthened my testimony and made me a better member of the Church. I particularly love the Mormonisms. It’s wonderful to know that a lot of Mormons have a good sense of humor conformable to Church standards.

Rogelio R. Gamao Bacolod City, Philippines

Down with leafing

I never leaf through the New Era. I just start at the beginning and read. I thoroughly enjoyed “Receive All Things with Thankfulness,” “The Financier and Bishop Bunker,” “Barrels, Buckets, and Cardboard Boxes,” and “For a Greater Purpose” in the November issue. But when I turned the page and read “Friends in Philadelphia” and saw the pictures of the young people, I realized that the title had special meaning to me. I was once a member of the Allentown Ward of the Philadelphia Stake, so the faces and names were familiar to me. I thank them for the brief tour of that wonderful city and the memories they have brought back to me.

Manetta K. Warner Woodlawn, Tennessee

Pleasure to the soul

I just received my August copy of the New Era, and I want to tell you how much I enjoyed reading it. I especially liked the winning entries in the writing, art, and photography contest. I thoroughly enjoyed “Heartthrob Catastrophe” by Kristin Hardy. We as Mormons should be proud of the talent we have in our church throughout the world. I want to congratulate Kevin Merrell and Robert D. Ridoutt for their fine contribution to the poetry section. I was especially touched by Robert Ridoutt’s lines, “I write not from the poet within, but the one that occasionally passes through.” That is exactly how I feel about my own poetry. One last word about Marvin Payne’s “Some Thoughts on Songwriting”—how wonderful to know that there is music in this world that we would not be ashamed to hear, that would give pleasure to the soul!

Mrs. Marilyn Fowler Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

He was so right

My wife and I became members of the Church on June 17, 1976. I am a hemiplegic. My home teachers brought me a photocopy of “Making Tracks While the Sun Shines” from the September New Era. They felt that because we have some things in common, I would be interested in Arlene Carter’s testimony. He was so right. I am more than impressed with Arlene’s pluck, courage, drive, and inspiration from our Heavenly Father.

Donald B. Peck Bloomfield, Connecticut

These beautiful principles

While serving a full-time mission for the Lord Jesus Christ, I’ve come to understand a little better than before the beauty that surrounds the basic principles of the gospel and the reality of the blessings that are ours as we obey these beautiful principles. I appreciate the Church magazines. The New Era not only gives us encouragement to live a full and happy life free from sin, but it can and will prepare our young people to respond to the great missionary call that the Lord has given to us through his living prophet Spencer W. Kimball.

Elder Terry D. Underwood Washington Seattle Mission