“Editorial,” Ensign, Jan. 1971, 97
In the clamor, confusion, and strife of the modern world, there is nothing more stabilizing or reassuring for an individual than the teachings of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, people in the world generally, whether Christian or non-Christian, are not entirely committed to the principles taught by Jesus of Nazareth. There is evidence to suggest that among some individuals greed, selfishness, violence, cruelty, envy, and hate may be more natural than love.
This evil in the world cannot be blamed on governments, or corporations, or institutions. Human beings are the ones who create the problems, practice the evil, and bring about misery for millions of their fellow human beings. The key to binding the forces of evil rests with changing the hearts of men.
The single most important organized force in the world today dedicated to changing the hearts of men is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Church certainly does not stand alone in the defense of righteousness, but it does stand alone as God’s authorized representative on the earth to bring about the salvation of all those who would hear and turn to the teachings of Jesus.
Such an assertion is made in soberness and with a full realization of its implications. To those who are not affiliated with the Church or to those who may be members in name but not in spirit, this may have a harsh ring. It may sound exclusive, or snobbish, or even fanatical, but it is in fact the motivating belief of upwards of three million persons throughout the world. That in itself, of course, does not make it true. Its truth lies in the reality of God’s visit to the boy-prophet Joseph Smith in 1820. Its truth rests with the additional revelations God gave to those he called to direct his church. And its truth is attested to by the fact that in this day and in this time God continues to reveal his mind and will to the prophets and apostles he has appointed to act for him.
The magazine you are now reading, The Ensign of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was established for the primary purpose of bearing witness to the divine mission of Jesus Christ and proclaiming to the Church and the world that his gospel in its pristine purity has been restored.
This magazine will unfurl the banner, sound a battle cry, serve as a watchword, and teach all those who are willing to listen that there is a better way. Isaiah looked forward to the days of the restoration when he said, “All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, while he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye.” (Isa. 18:3. Italics added.)
What about the more specific goals of the Ensign? How will it really serve the members of the Church? Does it promise anything for those who may not be members of the Church?
An answer to these questions was offered by the Lord in 1832 when he commanded his servants thusly:
“And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.
“Teach ye diligently … in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
“Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms.” (D&C 88:77–79.)
You can anticipate, then, that the new “voice of the Church” will attempt to bring you truth and light as it pertains to your total experience in life. And this will be done from a worldwide point of view.
For members of Christ’s church to be “in the world, yet not of it” requires great knowledge, wisdom, and faith in the teachings of the Savior. The Ensign will be part of the dynamic force moving in the Lord’s church to bring about the “perfection of the Saints.”
This first issue is not the final word. New features will be added, changes will be made, and different approaches will be attempted. We invite an open mind of those who may be clinging to what has passed away in Church publications. We invite your constructive responses to our efforts. But most of all we invite your use of this magazine to assist you in gaining knowledge. “And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” (D&C 130:19.)