by Lisa M. Grover
The New Era is 25 years old this month, and to celebrate, we’re sharing some of our favorite ideas about how to use the magazine creatively. We hope the ideas on the next few pages will help you have another 25 years of happy reading!
The New Era at Mutual
Read about service projects or activities done by youth in other areas to get ideas for planning your own.
Divide into groups and make up short skits based on an idea presented in a Mormonad, sort of like a television commercial. This activity could be done in place of road shows.
Have a New Era Bowl—divide into two or three teams, and then ask questions about an assigned article or group of articles.
Have your class or quorum design a Mormonad. Be creative!
Ask your bishop if you can sing at a fireside, and then prepare a song published in the New Era. Who knows? Maybe your ward will be inspired to start a youth choir (find out how in our December ’94 issue, page 31).
If you are in the Young Women program, find a short article that illustrates a Young Women value. Share the story after your group recites the theme.
The New Era at Home
Volunteer to give a family home evening lesson based on an idea from a New Era article or short story. Tell the story in your own words and then discuss it with your family.
Want more love at home? Look up topics like love and family relationships in the yearly index (the index is always published in the December issue). Read the articles and try to apply the same ideas to your own life.
If you have younger siblings, read them a story from the New Era; then draw pictures together to illustrate the story.
Look up past holiday issues for ideas on family traditions as well as gift, service, and food suggestions your whole family can enjoy.
Look through several issues of the magazine with your family. Look up story locations on a map and talk about the significance of being a member of a worldwide church.
Read the General Authority Message at the beginning of each issue. Write down a quotation that summarizes the main idea and put it on the bathroom mirror or the refrigerator so the whole family can read it and think about it.
The New Era at Seminary
Use a theme from a Mormonad as a devotional.
Using the yearly index in the New Era, find stories that illustrate the concepts you choose to study in your personal scripture reading. Share your thoughts with your family or classmates.
If a member of your class is sick or has been away for a while, send them a homemade card using a copy of a Mormonism on the front to brighten their day.
Pool your resources with other class members and buy a subscription for a nonmember friend. (A yearly subscription costs $8.)
Look up the scriptural references given in the answer to a Q&A question. Discuss the application of the scriptures in your life and the lives of your classmates.
Organize a campaign in your ward or branch (with the permission of leaders) to make sure all the youth subscribe to the New Era.
—Lynn Allred, of Gilbert, Arizona, contributed to this list.
Dear New Era
Dear New Era:
Thank you for the special issue on the scriptures. It helped me realize the importance of the scriptures in my life. Since then I’ve been reading the Book of Mormon and I’ve really enjoyed it. I also have a stronger testimony.
Port Royal, South Carolina
Dear New Era:
Some of the stories and messages in the magazine have helped me gain a testimony. One article even helped me resolve a problem with a friend.
Dear New Era:
I have always been touched by the stories in the New Era, but over the past year it has been a backbone in my life. Last year, I applied to be a foreign exchange student in Germany. The month before my final interviews, the New Era had two stories about foreign exchange students! I have been chosen to go to Germany, and I am looking forward to seeing how the New Era will help me while I’m there.
Dear New Era:
After reading about keeping a journal in the FYI section, I decided to make writing in my journal every day a goal. I started out slow but steady, and within a few weeks it became a habit. And do you know what? Just yesterday, I filled the last page in my journal. If it wasn’t for the magazine, my journal would still be full of empty pages. I can’t wait to start my next journal.
Thanks so much!
Dear New Era:
A story called “Pray for Her” in the October 1994 issue helped me understand that we should love our enemies. It really has helped me a lot in my life.
Thanks for such a great magazine.
Putting together a Mormonad is a great way to spend an activity night with your class or quorum or your entire Mutual group. Here are some pointers for winning ideas:
Work in small groups instead of on your own. That way everyone can contribute in the areas where they have the most strength.
Talk about your idea before you put pen to paper. Have a brainstorming session and give every idea a chance before you decide what you’re going to do.
Don’t worry about elaborate art; just make sure that the person or object in the picture is clear and easy to understand.
After you are through, post the Mormonads in a place where others can enjoy them—classrooms, the seminary room, etc.
If you think you have a particularly good idea, send it to the New Era—we might buy it from you! However, even if we don’t buy your idea (we often get duplicate ideas, or ideas that won’t work for our format) keep trying. Making a Mormonad is a great way to think about gospel basics and what makes them important.
Beehives from the Rochedale Ward, Brisbane Australia Stake, decided to try their hand at re-creating a Mormonad poster. The back of the poster served as a thank-you card for their Young Women president after she was released to go on a mission.
This is one instance where copying the work of others has real artistic merit.
The Church publishes international editions of the magazines in many parts of the world. Translations of New Era articles appear in 23 languages, including Japanese, Spanish, German, Samoan, French, and Russian. The international magazines are a combination of articles from the Friend, New Era, and Ensign, plus original articles by members worldwide.
Ward libraries often throw out old copies of the Church magazines. Ask your ward librarian about where to get old issues that you can use as a reference.
When the New Era began, it was originally targeted at youth of ages 12–26. By the mid-’70s the focus of the magazine had changed to concentrate only on Young Men and Young Women (ages 12–18).
Have you ever had a great experience and then thought, I should write that up for the New Era? Well, you’re right—you should! We’re ready and waiting to hear from you.
But before you sit down to write, make sure you read a few issues of the magazine. Notice the conversational writing style, vivid descriptions, and the kinds of photos we use.
Each person has a unique style, which is what makes reader submissions so interesting. Make sure your style shines through when you write. One thing that should remain the same throughout every article in the magazine, however, is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ask yourself when you write: “How will this demonstrate a gospel message?”
The main focus of the New Era is to share gospel insights and bring youth to Jesus Christ. Make sure your story does that in some way. Also remember that the New Era is for young men and young women ages 12 to 18, so try having other teenagers read your work to see if it appeals to them.
The most important thing you can do when you write for the New Era is to put your heart into it. Don’t worry too much about grammar, spelling, or length (although we do prefer manuscripts shorter than War and Peace). Just get your ideas down on paper and send them in!
Here’s our address: New Era Magazine, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150.
Sorry! We are unable to give out pen pal addresses to our readers, so we suggest that you talk to your ward leaders and find pen pals through returned missionaries that have lived in other countries or states, and through your own relatives who may live in other areas. If you have a funny, touching, or silly pen pal story, write to us about it! We’d love to hear from you.
Young Women in the Warner Robins First Ward, Macon Georgia Stake, had their last standards night at the beach. Well, okay, not exactly—but they did come with their beach towels and sunscreen, ready to learn and have a great time. The “beach” was actually a room at the meetinghouse where talks about how to stay in spiritually “safe water” were given by “lifeguards” who were actually their parents and leaders.
The standards night was based on an article in the October 1994 issue called “Swim between the Flags.” Each leader-lifeguard had a flag that represented a standard; principles like honesty, modesty, and chastity were discussed.
“It was a very positive night, and I received answers to some questions that I had,” says Mia Maid Sarah Harden.
Beehive Stefanie Papenfuss agrees, “The leaders talked about some things that I had never thought about, like making the right kinds of friends to help you keep your standards strong. The whole night was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot.”