“Let it be understood by all that Jesus Christ stands at the head of this church which bears his sacred name. He is watching over it. He is guiding it.”

—President Gordon B. Hinckley

“There is more treasure in books than all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island … and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”

—Walt Disney

Reading: The Great Summer Escape

by Lisa M. Grover
Editorial Associate

For many people, summer vacation means no school, no tests, and no worries. But as the long hot days stretch out ahead, summer vacation can also mean no fun. Although several weeks without school can provide a needed and well-deserved break, it can also get a little boring. Reading is a great way to expand your mind, entertain yourself, and fill some of those endless hours. Not a big reader, you say? Try the following hints to get started on the adventure of a lifetime.

If you don’t really like to read—

  • Start slowly. If you can’t stomach the thought of reading an entire book, read an article in a magazine or newspaper, even if it’s just a short piece—like this one!

  • Read about things you are interested in. If you love to play basketball, read about how to be a better player, or read the life story of a famous player. If cooking is your thing, read cookbooks and culinary magazines. There are books and magazines suited to almost every imaginable hobby or interest.

  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Setting a goal to finish Moby Dick or Gone with the Wind is admirable, but if you’re not used to the hours it will take, you might get discouraged and give up. Better to stick with something shorter and work your way up.

  • When you read the scriptures, try reading along with a tape, or even compare your scriptures with children’s illustrated versions of the standard works, to help you understand what you’re reading.

If you don’t know what to read—

  • Ask friends what they like to read and which authors they prefer. Be sure to consult with people who have tastes and standards similar to yours.

  • Talk to your local librarian about new books in the library and what he or she likes to read. Also, ask about getting a library card. It can make reading a great source of free or low-cost entertainment.

  • Make sure you remember the scriptures when you think about what to read. Summer is a good time to get into the habit of reading from the scriptures every day.

  • Wander through the bookshelves at your local bookstore or library, and find something that catches your eye. Read the back cover or book jacket to determine if it is wholesome and something you want to read. Sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover.

  • Think about learning a new skill, and then check out books on the subject.

  • Read additional books from authors you’ve enjoyed in the past.

  • Be discriminating. Use your good judgment in deciding which books are appropriate and which are harmful. If you don’t feel good about something you are reading, throw it out or take it back to the library.

If you already love to read—

  • Branch out. Read books that are different from what you’re used to: if you love science fiction, read a classic; if you usually read about people your own age, try reading something about someone older or younger.

  • If a book has had a particular impact on you and the author is still living, write a letter telling the writer about how the book affected you. Send the letter in care of the book’s publisher.

  • Enrich your study of the scriptures by cross-referencing certain chapters of the Book of Mormon. Use the Topical Guide.

  • Share your love of reading with others. Volunteer at a local senior citizens’ center to read to those who can no longer read to themselves.

Celebrating Good Times

The youth of the Brea Second Ward, Fullerton California Stake, had an unusual opportunity. They helped a member of their ward celebrate her 99th birthday! Because Sister Polly Hall is unable to leave her nursing home to attend church, two priests from the ward visit her every Sunday to administer the sacrament.

Through their service, the priests have become friends with Sister Hall, and decided they would give her a birthday party.

Sister Hall was pleased to be the guest of honor at the party, which included games, dancing, music, and presents.

“I just love the youth of the Church,” says Sister Hall. “My testimony is strengthened each week when the boys come to visit me with the sacrament.”

Happy Birthday to Us!

The New Era has a 25th birthday coming up, and we need your help to celebrate. We would like to hear how stories in the New Era have touched you and those around you. Have any of our messages helped you gain a stronger testimony? Have any of the stories inspired you to lengthen your stride? Has a song or poem touched your heart? Do you have a favorite Mormonad?

We’ll be celebrating soon, so send your cards and letters right away to New Era, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150 and tell us your story. Please include your name, address, and phone number so we can contact you. Thanks in advance for many happy returns.

Group Date

After reading an article in the New Era about the merits of group dating, a small group of young Saints in Gerehu, Papua New Guinea, decided to give it a try.

When the big day arrived, the boys picked the girls up at their homes, and they all attended the annual Port Moresby Show (something like a county fair) and ate lunch together.

At the end of the day, the boys gave each girl a small gift to remind her of the occasion.

Although group dating was a new idea for most of the participants, many said they had a great time and plan to do it again soon.

Seminary Superstar

Miguel Arancibia Flores (above), a 17-year-old from Viña del Mar, Chile, had to work fast to become his stake’s scripture-mastery champion. After his baptism, he learned all 40 scriptures in just one week!

Shown here with his seminary teacher, Sister Alvina, and Elder Doug Kerr, a missionary from Lodi, California, Miguel now holds the Aaronic Priesthood and is the president of his seminary class. He enjoys going to church and doing genealogy work. He is eagerly awaiting his 19th birthday and his mission call.

Terrific Testimony

Hi! My name is Kate Fogarty, and I am 15 years old. I’m in year ten at Kepnock High, and I am a member of the Bundaberg Branch, Brisbane Australia Mission.

I’ve just finished my second year of seminary, and I won this award for scripture reading.

I joined the Church with my family seven years ago. The best part of going to church is being able to talk to and relate with people who have the same values as I do.

I know that the Church is true and if we live righteously, we can return to our Heavenly Father’s presence one day. I know there is a living prophet on the earth today and I would not trade the gospel for the world. It means so much to me.

Wish They All Could Be California Girls

Especially if they are like this one! Jamie Macanas of the Penasquitos Third Ward, Penasquitos California Stake, has been the student-body president of her elementary school, middle school, and her high school. Active in both seminary and Young Women, Jamie sees her leadership positions as a way to set an example of how to be happy through living gospel principles.

“Being president gives me the opportunity to share my talents and learn leadership skills,” says Jamie.

Jamie spends her spare time (what little there is) developing her musical and athletic abilities and volunteering at a local hospital.

Fired Up

Wild fires burned out of control in the seaside town of Laguna Beach, California, for two days. When the smoke finally cleared, the young men and young women of the area went to work.

The youth sorted clothing, made thank-you signs and treats for firefighters, planted trees, and prepared meals for families who had lost their homes. When early-fall rains threatened to flood the fire-ravaged landscape, the youth were at it again, this time stacking sandbags to divert water away from the town.

The youth worked hard and helped each other out. Those who were fortunate to have their homes intact helped those who hadn’t been so lucky.

“My family came so close to losing our home, I feel like I should do my part to help others,” said priest Martin Bartholomew, after a long day of sandbagging. “Even though my back aches, I feel happy inside.”

Hard Worker

At one time or another, most teenagers will have some kind of part-time job. But no one better exemplified a strong work ethic than President Howard W. Hunter. Before he was out of high school, President Hunter worked as a golf caddie, soda shop worker, pharmacist’s assistant, newspaper ad salesman, hotel bellboy, switchboard operator, janitor, and art supply salesman. He did all this while he was attending school and participating in Church and Scouting activities. Whew!

Photography by John Luke