Where is Kumagaya?

At a recent summer festival held here in Kumagaya, Japan, we had many people fill out questionnaires about the family and happiness. We realize that the family is the most important unit in the kingdom of God. We are indeed thankful for the opportunity to serve the Lord here in the Japan Tokyo Mission and watch the Church grow.

Elders Coleman, Sowards, Faux, and Hundley Japan Tokyo Mission

Thanks for Samuel D. Chambers

There was an article recently that especially interested me. The name of the article was “Samuel D. Chambers” [June 1974, p. 46]. You see, I am black, and I rarely see articles concerning me (in a sense). I’d very much like to see more articles on black people in the Church; my testimony grew from the experience. Thank you very much.

Stephanie Burton Detroit, Michigan

Sometimes … ugly is beautiful

I think it is about time I wrote and congratulated the New Era staff for its excellent magazine. I have read the New Era wherever and whenever I could find a copy. The ones issued to us in San Diego were highly prized indeed. They certainly provided a warm and loving contrast to the otherwise cold and rough world of our boot camp. Although it was not on the agenda, the most important thing I learned was that being a member of the United States Marine Corps is not nearly as important to me as being a Latter-day Saint elder.

While I’m writing to you, I’d like to point out a small but common error made by Arthur Henry King in his article “Language in a World Church.” He referred to the book The Ugly American. To quote his reference: “Somebody once wrote a book called The Ugly American: it seemed wrongly to ignore the fact that all cultures and all nations produce ugly types of this kind.” (August, p. 11.) He meant, I gathered, that all nations produce bigoted persons who make no attempt to understand any culture other than their own country’s. First, the book was not written by someone but by two people, William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick. Second, unlike the movie of the same name, the book is not a story but a group of stories, loosely related, giving only slightly fictional versions of American blunders and successes in various Southeast Asian countries. The book gets its name from one of the success stories. This story’s heroes are Homer Atkins and his wife, Emma, both of whom are physically ugly but otherwise very beautiful in the areas of concern and understanding of others. I hope this will help to clear up many people’s misconceptions of a very good book. We should all strive to be “ugly” Americans.

Elder Sam Bishop L/Cpl USMC Twenty-Nine Palms, California

It’s inspired

I want to commend you on a beautiful work of photography, spirituality, love, and art. I feel very strongly that the New Era is more than just a wonderful Church magazine. I feel it’s inspired. As an elder of Israel in these latter days, I often experience times of difficulty and discouragement. I can’t count the number of times that 15 minutes with the New Era has changed my negative attitudes and prepared me to go out and serve with a new spirit. Being almost exactly on the opposite side of the world from my home in St. George, Utah, where the Church is so well-established, I sometimes feel alone and forgotten. The New Era is a great remedy for such feelings. Congratulations on a great work and service.

Elder Russell Snow Bogor, Indonesia

Where is Alberta?

I thoroughly enjoy the New Era but have one suggestion that I would like to pass on. In your Mormonisms section if the item is sent in from the United States, the person’s name, city, and state are listed. However, it would appear that if the item is from another country, the sender’s name, province or state, and country are printed. In all fairness to members everywhere, don’t you think the hometown of the contributor should be listed? (For example, Alberta, Canada, covers 255,285 square miles, while California, USA, covers 158,693 square miles. I realize the difference in population would be reversed.)

Vila Troyan Incline Village, Nevada

President Kimball on repentance

I have just read President Kimball’s article “What Is True Repentance?” in the May 1974 issue. I now have a fuller knowledge of what true repentance really is. Thank you for sharing his message with me through the New Era.

Carolyn Christensen Endwell, New York

Happy days

I look forward to the arrival of the New Era every month. The arrival of it really makes my day extra happy. I take it to school to read during my spare time, and my friends (nonmembers) often look through it also and ask questions. I love the New Era; each issue is so interesting and inspiring. My love goes to the person who wrote into Feedback in the April issue of the New Era under the heading “I thought of giving up.” How strong the Spirit can be to those who believe. How proud his mother must be that he still has a testimony and is sharing it. I’d like to thank that person for reminding me that no matter what happens to us, the Lord still loves us and is always watching over us. Thank you for the satisfaction and spiritual uplift that I receive from the New Era.

Joanne Driessen Victoria, Australia

The New Era is burning

When I left for my mission, I brought along the June 1973 New Era, the missionary issue. It has been a great source of motivation throughout my entire mission. Today I reread the magazine, and once again it brought some much-needed encouragement. Not only do the articles contain helps for missionary life, they also contain helps for eternal life. This only goes to show that while the dim lights in other magazines go out soon after they are printed, the helps and truths printed in the New Era burn ever brighter.

Elder Bradley R. Sheppard Florida-Tallahassee Mission

Charly Again

I suppose the last thing you need is one more letter about “Charly,” but here are my impressions: I guess Jack Weyland will be submitting more of his work, and I propose he write a sequel wherein Charly is disinherited because of her Church membership, and she marries a boy who’s having a tough time of it, so there are no more swims at the “country club pool” nor dinners out “at the club.” Then Weyland could turn his attention to Charly as she mingles with the members and maintains her individuality. Question: If Charly continued to be her own self, would the majority (or even 25 percent) of the Church members welcome her or be amused by her outgoing ways? No way!

Lorna M. Schofield Mountlake Terrace, Washington

In respect to your article entitled “Charly” in the June 1974 issue: It would take a bit more than a sugary-sweet Ferris wheel ride to convince me that a girl who is spiritually unstable enough to be within inches of marrying a nonmember would be worthy to be my wife.

Elder Randall Edwards Brazil Sao Paulo South Mission