How much joy

I just read “A Bit of Heaven Granted” in the November New Era. It was really good. A lot of people think it would be a back-breaking job looking after a retarded child, but let me tell you something. I am lucky enough to have a little mongoloid foster brother, who is a joy to all of us. He is only two years old, but he folds his arms and closes his eyes during the prayer just like the rest of us. I wish people would just realize how much joy such children can bring.

Wendy Lenham Townsville, Queensland, Australia

My dad has it

I just want to tell you that the New Era is fantastic! Every month I try to read it, but usually my dad has it, and he won’t give it to us until he finishes reading it. He says that by the time everybody reads an issue, it looks like it’s been through World War II. But when I finally get my hands on it, I just love every story. In October I loved “Palestine Stew.” I thought it was great. I also liked “Isolation Didn’t Stop Him.” The New Era really lifts me up when I read it, and I need a lot of spiritual uplifting to help me fulfill my callings in the Church.

Gigi Ambruster Gallatin, Tennessee

I thought it didn’t matter

Tonight while preparing a talk, I was reading one of my old New Eras (Feb. 1978). I came across an article called “The Basic Concepts of Honesty” by Elder Howard W. Hunter. I read it and decided to do my talk on honesty.

That article changed my life. I had been cheating on some of my school exams. I thought it really didn’t matter, that it was a little thing. Well, Elder Hunter made me realize that the little things count too. Cheating is not honest. With the Lord’s help I will find the time to really study for my tests.

Name Withheld

Not ashamed

The article “Be Not Ashamed: Facing the Issues” in the November New Era states: “If you have had similar experiences with important current issues in your schools, share them with us.” In response to this request I am writing to tell you of my experience.

As an undergraduate university student, I became more and more irritated at being taught evolution as if it were a fact, not a theory. So for my required essay in Zoology II, I decided to attack the accidental creation aspect of the theory of evolution. Thus began a search through many books in the library. I read each book until a specific term was mentioned. I then looked up the term in a chemistry book to find out the conditions under which the substance or process could be produced. Time and again, the chemical conditions necessary for the reactions to occur did not exist. I explained these problems in my paper and turned it in.

When I received my essay back, I was overjoyed to see a 7/10 mark on the front cover. I was afraid I might get a 0/10. The lecturer had typed two full pages in reply to my essay. He disagreed with my conclusions, but praised me for “being brave enough to contradict the topic after reading a number of pertinent references.”

Later I had a talk with him about both science and religion. He couldn’t understand why I had written the essay because I hadn’t mentioned religion. He said, “If you had religious grounds for your views, I could understand, but the whole text of your essay shows clearly that this is not the case.” Of course, I explained that I had been trying to answer science with science and took the opportunity to explain the gospel to him. We had several conversations and parted amicably, each respecting the other’s views.

About this same time I had several conversations with my physiology teacher. One day he began defending the spontaneous beginning of life, and he led me step by step through my own argument! As he made each point, I had a scientifically valid counterattack ready. When we reached the point at which I had the last word, he changed the subject. I then used this opportunity to tell him about the gospel.

I’m glad I wrote the essay. I’m prepared to admit that parts of it were scientifically flimsy. After all, I had studied very little genetics, and I’m sure it was easy to see the superficiality of my knowledge. The experience did the most good inside me, however, because I stood up for what I believed when it would have been easier to let everyone assume I believed what was being taught. It was also good for me to tell my lecturers about the gospel, and it was good for them to hear it.

This experience will go into my life history as a time when I was willing to speak out. Hopefully, the next time I speak out, I’ll be better armed.

Janice Turner Penrith, New South Wales, Australia

Proud to be Tongan

I read the Message “I Feel Sorry for Him” by Elder John H. Groberg in the December New Era, and I left the pages tear-stained. I’m thankful for Elder Groberg, who takes an interest in the island people. What a special story this is. It makes me realize that I am really here on this mission to help others. It makes me appreciate my own native language (Tongan) and encourages me to continue helping others. It has inspired me to remember Tonga and the way we used to live before we moved to the United States. I feel that this message is truly inspired, and I know that it has helped many people besides me. I am going to try to help others by bringing souls into the kingdom of God. Thank you, Elder Groberg, for sharing this special story with us. I am proud to be a Tongan.

Sister Elma M. Latu New Zealand Auckland Mission

Good marks for “Test Insurance”

The article “Test Insurance” by Mike Berger in the September New Era really helped me to get good marks on my final exams that I wrote a couple of days ago. I also enjoyed the Mormonad “This Is an Apple Pie” in the November issue. “If You Want to Be in Harmony, You’ve Got to Stay in Tune” in the December issue was also excellent. The New Era has helped me to be a better person. I enjoy going to church, and I am thankful that I am a member of the only true church upon the earth.

Ardella Seely Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada

Tree house masterpiece

I enjoyed the article about tree houses in the August New Era. I am enclosing a picture of a different type of tree house. Instead of being built in a tree, it is built out of trees. My companion and I were tracting one day when we came across it. Everything in it except the nails and bolts that hold it together is made out of bamboo, logs, branches, vines, plants, etc. The owner has been planning and collecting materials for this five-level home for 20 years and building it for four. He’s still only about 40 percent finished. Soon it will have a water buffalo-powered elevator. Even the beds, hammocks, and chairs are made from logs and vines. The owner considers it his work of art, his masterpiece. It really is a birdhouse, too, because in addition to five or so monkeys, it houses three eagles and seven hawks (not to mention the fish).

You’ve really got to see it to capture the real magnificence of it, and the most amazing thing of all is that it stands in the very heart of Manila.

Elder Stacy Rencher Philippines Manila Mission

Get it out

I want to say how very grateful I am for the story “First Day of Forever” in the January/February New Era. After reading it I was so moved that all I could do was sit there and cry. In fact, I even got down and prayed to my Heavenly Father that I could have the kind of marriage that Steve and Cathy had, and that my life could influence people as much as that story influenced me. I would also like to suggest to all the people who didn’t read it that they get it out and do so.

Catherine Turner Salem, Oregon