A father’s blessing

Glancing through my July magazine, I saw a story by Jack Weyland titled “Last Camp Along the Way.” Since I’m such a big fan of camping, I decided to read the article. I began crying when Tracy asked his father for a blessing, and I sobbed for an hour. My father has never given me a father’s blessing, and this story inspired me to ask him for one. Thank you for every New Era I have received in the last three years.

Merrilyn Gurr Salina, Utah

Miss from Mo.

I am writing to correct a mistake that was made in the August 1980 New Era contest issue. The third-place article winner appears as Shirley Ellen Pullen, Poplarville, Missouri. My hometown is really Poplarville, Mississippi. I live in the land of Dixie, almost 400 miles south of Missouri.

Shirley Pullen Poplarville, Mississippi

My first experience

I am a recent convert to the Church, and I have just finished reading the May edition of the New Era. This was my first experience in reading the New Era, and I found it to be a truly beautiful and interesting magazine. I felt as soon as I had read the letters to the editor that it was going to be a really great magazine. After reading the whole issue I found this to be true. I especially enjoyed the article “Scout Camp and Two Chaplains Named Elder” by David McDonough, as the young man’s experience is similar to my own conversion story. I’ll always be grateful to two great missionaries who brought something precious into my life. I live in a family of nonmembers, and since I’m the youngest in the family and the only girl, it’s really hard at times. I really rely on the strength of the members of the Church, who, I find, are always there. I also have a great trust in my Heavenly Father. The articles in the New Era help to increase this trust. Thank you for a magazine that helps young converts like me learn more about the gospel.

Dale Dimmock Toronto, New South Wales, Australia

Every article

The New Era is the greatest religious magazine I have ever read. Every article in every issue has a very special meaning for me. I want to comment on two very special articles. Louise Plummer did an excellent job in the story “Buster” in the July 1979 issue. I read that over and over. “Now I Have a Friend” by Richard M. Romney in the same issue reminded me of my great-grandmother (now deceased) who lived in a rest home.

Allyson Peay Springville, Utah

It started kind of crummy

I just had to write and tell you how much I love the New Era. It is just so beautiful! Today my day started kind of crummy. Then at 1:00 my New Era came. I didn’t feel like reading it, so I thought I’d just glance through it. The very first article I came to was “A Prophet Cares” by Elder Marvin J. Ashton. It was so neat! Now when I think of President Kimball I feel so much closer to him, even though I’ve never met him. He seems more like a person instead of just someone you read about. The next story I read was “Last Camp Along the Way” by Jack Weyland. That, too, really touched me. When I got to the part where the son asks his father for a blessing, tears just came down my face. Thanks so much for making my day turn out right. I know that the New Era was meant just for me.

Sandy Wright Renton, Washington

It was beautiful of them

Recently I was hospitalized to have open-heart surgery. I shared a room with a young lady who was blind due to diabetes and was to have surgery to renew her eyesight. I spoke briefly to her parents who told me that her last surgery had not been successful. They were praying very hard for her, and they promised to pray for me that night as well. I thought it was beautiful of them to even care. That evening the girl’s family came from many different states to visit her before her surgery the next morning. I couldn’t believe it—seven brothers and a great set of parents! It was such a beautiful picture. To this day I don’t know how they made it past the nurses’ station. We were only allowed two visitors at a time. After they left, Rhena asked me to pray with her, and I did. The next morning we both were frightened, but as we talked, she said to me, “Mrs. McDonald, we don’t need to be frightened because Heavenly Father is watching over us.” We prayed again, and as we prayed I felt the Spirit. Then the anesthesiologist came in and gave Rhena her medication for surgery.

I didn’t see her afterwards because she was in intensive care for about a week. During that week her folks visited me, introduced me to the missionaries, and left me a copy of the Book of Mormon. I began to read it and prayed to know of its truthfulness. I was to leave the hospital that Saturday, and Brother DeVito offered me his home, and he and his wife took care of me until I was able to return home to California. That following Saturday their daughter was released from the hospital, and thanks to everyone’s prayers, that beautiful young girl can see. I was really impressed with them as a family and just love them for showing me the gospel. Recently I found a March 1979 issue of the New Era and read an article called “A Blind Man Helped Me See.” I can relate very well to that because I have joined the Church and so have 23 members of my family.

Joyce McDonald San Diego, California

Walk tall

I am writing to thank you so much for the April 1979 song “Walk Tall, You’re a Daughter of God.” It came out at a time when I was having difficulties realizing who I am and what my mission on this earth is. It truly inspired me and brought light to my eyes. It taught me that I (along with every other young woman) am a special creation of our Father in Heaven. This song has become a favorite in the Kinston North Carolina Stake. It has brightened my days and strengthened my testimony.

Joanne Hawes Goldsboro, North Carolina

The very young man

It was amusing to read, in a story in the September New Era (“A Bishop, a Dad, a Sailboat”), about the very young man who thought he was too old for a mission because he was 22 years old. My mission started when I was 28, and it is about to end and I am 30. Last year another elder went home from this mission, also at 30. These two years I have worked happily with companions, district leaders, and zone leaders who were deacons and Scouts when I graduated from BYU. So let no man claim he is too old for a full-time mission. Remember also that the original meaning of the word elder is “old man.” Also, don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t go on a mission because you are from New York instead of Utah or from Australia instead of America. The Lord wants his servants to come to the harvest from all the ends of the earth.

Elder Benjamin Urrutia New York New York City Mission

A winner

I had been eagerly waiting for the New Era contest issue for many months. Finally it arrived. My main motive was to criticize the winners and examine their entries to find out what my entries lacked. You see, I had participated in the contest but hadn’t won anything. But as I read the magazine, a beautiful spirit touched me and I forgot my critical attitude. I no longer had the desire to tear apart the winners’ ideas. I felt like reading more and feeling the beautiful spirit that was illustrated so many times. I wish to say a big CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners of the 1980 contest. I read every New Era from cover to cover, and I thoroughly enjoy all the stories and information. All the articles are touching and really help strengthen my testimony. It is neat to read the views and feelings that other Mormons have. New Era, you’re a winner!

Shelley Scott Payette, Idaho

A shining beacon

I’ve always greatly enjoyed the articles in the New Era, but “A Celestial Missionary” (August issue) really touched my heart. A three-year convert to the Church and a full-time missionary, I often find myself thinking mostly about me and what I can get out of something rather than what I can do to help another. Elder Tolman’s love and service for others is a shining beacon for me and, I’m sure, every missionary who reads the article. Example is one of the world’s best teachers. Thank you for a truly beautiful portrait of what I would like to become.

Elder John G. Smith Iowa Des Moines Mission