The happiest holiday

I have been putting off this letter for almost a year now, and I feel it is time for me to finally write and tell you the feelings I have for the Church and the New Era. I first met a member of the Church a year ago. Before then I had never heard of the Church. In his own silent way, mostly through his example, this brother brought me to a better understanding of myself. It was all too soon (about two weeks after we met) that I left him and Cape Town to go on a holiday.

I asked my friend to give me something to read on my two-day train ride. He arrived at the station with a whole folder of New Eras, pamphlets, and a copy of the Book of Mormon. For two days on the train I read the New Era. I read every one (there were about 12) from cover to cover, and then read the pamphlets. Something very exciting was being opened up to me, and I could feel it. I spent that whole three-week holiday in constant prayer and reading. Let’s not forget the crying and laughing either. Before the holiday was over, I knew without a doubt that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of God.

Unfortunately, my parents aren’t as enthusiastic as I am, so I still have to wait six months to be baptized. But I couldn’t be happier than I am, just having the knowledge that I do. It is so refreshing and filling.

I think the New Era is the greatest magazine ever published. I find it the most comforting and most spiritually moving work of art in the world today. Thank you, New Era, for giving me the beginning of the most precious eternal gift of truth, and also for filling my life with such precious, beautiful words I could ask for nothing more. I am studying at a university where I am the only Latter-day Saint, and I can truly say, New Era, you are my best friend.

Annie Grobler Cape Town Republic of South Africa

A wise decision

Thank you for printing “The Joy Is in Becoming” in the June New Era. The message is truly inspired, and I believe it with all my heart. One thought the article expressed that I feel is really important is that we never know when we are going to run into a nonmember. When we do, it might be the only contact that person has ever had with a Latter-day Saint. It is so important that we always be prepared (dressed modestly and neatly) to represent the Church.

While in California a month ago, my girlfriend and I went to Disneyland. Not being used to such hot weather, we were very tempted to wear shorts and tank tops. But we talked to my friend’s father and decided that it was better to be hot than to disobey a commandment. We soon became very grateful for that decision.

While we were there we met two guys from Norway. We were the first Mormons they had met, and we were able to do some missionary work. I know we couldn’t have done it if we were dressed improperly. We knew we had made a wise decision when they said, “Mormons are very decent people.”

Kathy Barlow Salt Lake City, Utah

Clattering and crying

Yesterday was my 18th birthday, and through the letterbox clattered my June New Era. I rushed upstairs and read it through. The story “Mrs. Brant” brought tears to my eyes. I felt so close to the Lord that day. Thank you for such a wonderful birthday present. I want the whole world to know that I’m proud to be a member of the High Wycombe Ward, Staines England Stake. The youth especially are great. I’m sure I speak on behalf of them and all the young people in England when I say thanks, New Era, for bringing us so much happiness.

Jacqueline Prichard Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England

Consider it popped

I have been in the Church for the past three and a half years, and I often read the New Era. I do enjoy it very much. I have noticed that not many English Saints actually write in, and I feel that all the Saints all over the world should make an effort to send something to the magazine that may uplift and inspire other Saints.

I do enjoy reading poetry and try to write some myself from time to time. Here is a small thought from me, and one never knows, it may inspire another Saint who is feeling down.

You may not be a beauty;
You may not be the best.
But if you stay clean and pure,
You will be a cut above the rest.

I know it’s not an absolutely fantastic piece of poetry, but if there is a tiny, tiny space, I would be delighted if you could pop it in!

Jacqueline Warner Hyde, Cheshire, England

A present from the past for the present

I really appreciate the New Era and look forward to it each month. I’m not quite 13 years old now, and I received a birthday subscription from a friend on my 12th birthday. I really want to thank her, because it means so much to me. My favorite author is Jack Weyland. He writes such beautiful and uplifting stories.

Kandilyn Harris Burbank, California

A first

This is a first for me. I have always wanted to congratulate you on a wonderful magazine, but never had the courage. Well, now I have it, and I want to thank you greatly. I also want to thank Eric Stephan and Gail S. Grover for the outstanding guideline article “Giving Speeches That Inspire.” It gave me all the answers I needed in order to give a speech in Sunday School. Keep those issues coming!

Scott Van Sickle P.F.C., U.S.M.C. Twenty-nine Palms, California

Song searcher

I love the New Era more than any other magazine I’ve ever seen, but I do have a small complaint. There should be a song in every issue. Whenever the New Era comes, the first thing I look for is a song. Most of the time I’m disappointed, but when I do find one, I play it on the piano immediately.

I didn’t really write to complain but to express my appreciation for the many wonderful stories and songs you put out.

Vicky Ellis Alpine, Texas

Beautiful butterflies

We want to thank Jack Weyland for “The Emergence of Butterflies” in the April New Era. It was a beautifully well-done story showing the progression of our dating maturity and the problems that may come up as we are transformed from awkward caterpillars into beautiful butterflies with wings spread. We at the Pocatello seminary created a play from the story. We put it on each hour for the students and also shared it with another seminary. It turned out to be a tremendous success. The characters were all portrayed just as we felt Brother Weyland meant them to be. We had fun with each scene, and the play really turned out to be quite a comedy. But best of all, the message of the story rang clear to everyone who watched and listened.

The day we put it on, a man came by the seminary passing out anti-Mormon literature. We lovingly invited him in to watch our play, and he came. We haven’t seen him since, but we surely hope he enjoyed it. Thank you again for the story. For us it has been a heartwarming experience.

Pocatello Seminary Students (Pocatello High School) Pocatello, Idaho

Amazed by the caliber

This year’s contest issue of the New Era was just beautiful, one of the very best I have ever laid eyes on. The New Era is getting better all the time! I was so impressed last year with the contest issue (and the year before, and the year before, and so on). I was thrilled not only to see one of my hymns in print but to see the great works of all the young people in the Church. I’m amazed more and more by the caliber of people we have in our ranks. If I had the time and the addresses of all of the contest winners, I would congratulate each of them. This year’s issue is really wonderful. I was especially impressed with Warren Luch’s calligraphy.

Dan Carter Caldwell, Idaho

Sprouting in Thule

The New Era is the most wonderful magazine I’ve ever read. It has helped me so much to appreciate the Saints in other countries. It has also helped me to nurture the good seed that certain Saints in “Thule” planted in my heart. I want to give special thanks to Brad Adams for giving me my first subscription. Now, as a district missionary, I really need the inspiration the New Era provides. I especially like the fiction, and I would like to thank Jack Weyland for writing the short story “First Day of Forever.” I loved it so much. It is undoubtedly the best story I ever read.

Gerhard Gudnason Hafnarfjördur, Iceland