Our Readers Write

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“Our Readers Write,” Ensign, May 1971, 73

Our Readers Write

Reaching Children


Thank you for the editorial on the subject of selfishness [February, p. 81]. All of us need to be reminded that we could be a little more unselfish, no matter how unselfish we might feel we are. There is always room for us to do better than we have done in the past. So many of us parents actually feel that we have done all we can do to reach our children, but in truth we fail to do the smaller acts of unselfishness. When we parents fail to do these very important smaller acts for our children, this is what makes our children feel unwanted and unloved. The children think to themselves, “They don’t care enough to listen to us” or “We must not be worth much if what we have to say doesn’t mean much to Mommy or Daddy.” I feel Dr. William G. Dyer’s article titled “Interdependence” really hit home to me. I think I understand a little better where I’ve been lacking, as a result of reading this article. Thank you also for the “Parents, Are You Listening” column. Please encourage our younger children to write in too. By the time our children are teenagers it is really a little late in the game to start wondering what they want to say to us.

Bertha Y. Millham
Sandy, Utah

Fiction and Poetry


I’ll go along with all the congratulations you’ve been receiving on the quality of the Ensign, except for one thing. There is not enough fiction. I felt this way about the Era too. We do not have very many clean, decent magazines in this world any more and therefore very little opportunity to read good clean fiction. Please, can’t you do something about this?

Verna Smith
Sacramento, California

A very real attempt is being made to carry significant quality and quantity of fiction and poetry. We hope to be able to print two pieces of fiction in each issue when we have enough quality material to do so.


I miss the serials in the Relief Society Magazine. Do you think you can print them in the Ensign? I would appreciate and enjoy them very much. A friend who is a nonmember always liked to read them in the Relief Society Magazine also. He was disappointed to learn that these have been eliminated. The Ensign is wonderful and spiritual. I think everyone will enjoy it more if you add the serials to it.

Dixie Ann Farnsworth
Portland, Oregon

With limited space for fiction, we have reservations about the use of continuing stories.


I have just read the March issue of the Ensign, which arrived today. As a long-time reader of the Improvement Era, it is a pleasure to find the changes in the formats of the Church publications have made a more readable magazine. I was especially thrilled at the magnificent fiction article “Transformation at Dusk,” by Robert J. Christensen. The imagery created by his writing has the delicacy of a Hiroshige watercolor, yet the story requires the reader to realize the powerful effectiveness of a simple and sincere telling of the gospel message. Again, thank you for such a fine new magazine. It is given first priority on our reading list when it is delivered to our home.

James L. Wright
Long Beach, California


We are very enthusiastic about the new magazines. They are a blessing to our family. However, I have been a little disappointed that there isn’t more poetry. I feel there should be a section in each magazine that has a definite literary challenge to the members of the Church who desire to write poetry or short stories. If this isn’t feasible, then perhaps the Church should publish each month a literary magazine that will be a challenge to members of the Church who may have literary aspirations.

Mark Hart
Preston, Idaho



I have read the January issue of the Ensign and wish to compliment you on a fine magazine. However, there are a few items that I feel are lacking. These are: (1) There are no ads for Deseret Book or Bookcraft, BYU, or other LDS organizations, which I feel should be carried. How will I know what books are available? (2) There are no sections on current events, such as “LDS Scene” or “The Church Moves on.” (3) I assume you will continue to print the addresses at the annual conferences.

There are many positive things about the new magazine, but I felt these points were important.

Walter Rockford
Downsview, Ontario, Canada

Conference addresses will be published in the June and December issues. We hope to give you some help on books and news of the Church.


The Ensign is a special treat for our family, and the recorded message from the First Presidency was truly inspired—both message and method of presentation. The pictures, articles, and everything are so fine that I was really disturbed by the use of the term housewife in both the January and February issues. Please don’t use the term—it just isn’t complimentary, especially to LDS womanhood. Hooray for calling Helen Pearson a homemaker, but the proofreader goofed when he let Margaret R. Munk [January] and Candace Robinson [February] be called that degrading and not factual housewife.

Norene M. Macfarlane
Boise, Idaho


I don’t know how many people who are in the military know how to find the Church wherever they are, but I would like to say how I do. When I go to a new duty station, the best place to go is to the chaplain. He will usually know someone to contact. If he doesn’t, the telephone book, if in English, helps a lot. Another thing that would be nice is if a person would go to the chaplain’s office and leave his name and address where he could be contacted, so that when a new person comes in, he will be able to meet someone to go to Church with. This is really important. I’ve done this, and if it only helps one guy, it will well be worth the effort.

Sp/5 John Wagner


I have had some old folks like myself and some teenage folks tell me that there are some big words that we cannot understand. Is it possible to use more common words so the wonderful messages can be understood by all? We all need them so much at this time with the unrest and problems today. Thank you very much.

Sarah B. Reay
Bear River, Utah

Clear and understandable communication is certainly our goal. We will try to avoid stuffy academic language, but at the same time we would like to challenge our readers’ intellects.


What happened to the series “Research and Review” from the Improvement Era? I understood that the best features of the Era would be incorporated into the Ensign. Certainly that feature met the qualifications. Perhaps the feature would be even more pertinent now that books are no longer advertised in the Ensign. “Research and Review” could contain competent reviews of the more important new publications.

W. Randall Dixon
Provo, Utah

Arms Control


I have just read the article “Arms Control in the 70s” in the March Ensign. In this article Brother Firmage has raised the specter of nuclear war and used it as justification for disarmament. While the mutual destruction of nuclear weapons by the world powers would certainly lessen world tension, we must be sure that the security of the United States is not compromised in the process.

Brother Firmage says that “arms control in the nuclear era should be clearly distinguished from disarmament attempts between the two world wars.” I agree in one respect and that is that we no longer have lead time in which to catch up. Our previous disarmament ventures were not fatal because we were allowed sufficient time for our industrial machine to match existing technology. This is not the case today. Lead times no longer exist, except in constant preparation.

I agree with Brother Firmage that ABM systems will upset the so-called “balance of terror.” I wonder, however, why it does not upset him that the Soviets are presently deploying such a system while the U.S. is arguing whether or not to even build one. If, as he states, “such a weapons system becomes, then, solely a first-strike weapon, possessing no ‘hardened’ characteristics … ,” then why is he not concerned about the Soviet deployment of such a first-strike system?

I too do not relish the thought of a nuclear holocaust. However, I am not a member of the “better red than dead” bunch either. If it is holocaust or loss of freedom, then I will take holocaust. Let’s not allow ourselves to be destroyed under the guise of humanitarianism.

Clinton R. Taylor
Midvale, Utah

Kind Remarks


After reading the January Ensign, I would like to report that it is marvelous. There is something for everyone. I’m impressed with the use of many Mormon writers from many different places; I think this gives a very true picture of the Mormon community. The articles are absorbing and pertinent. It could well replace all other magazines, almost even the news weeklies.

Pamela M. Breitlow
Phoenix, Arizona


This is the first letter to an editor I have ever written, but I did want to thank you for the inspiring magazine, the Ensign. All information seems to be so pertinent to the problems of today as well as informative.

Ruth Crane
Burley, Idaho


Just a note to let you know how valuable, good, interesting, constructive, and full of suggestions for thought are the first three issues of the Ensign magazine. Mrs. Moulin and I read almost every article. They are so good—in fact, the Ensign, so far, is as good as or better than the Reader’s Digest. We surely enjoy it and want to wish you and the fine staff much success and good health.

Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Moulin
Burbank, California


Like many others who viewed the passing of the old Improvement Era with considerable nostalgia, I must write you to express joy and pride in the Ensign. I have just finished reading the March issue, and the quality remains high and the features readable and fascinating.

Lindsay R. Curtis
Ogden, Utah


I am overcome with joy at this new magazine effort. Since slowly becoming an active member of the Church again after many years, I had come to love the Era dearly, but this new work overwhelms me. It moves me so deeply that I cannot finish an issue without getting on my knees to thank our Father in heaven for the blessings he has bestowed on me and my family. I will be eternally grateful for the Ensign.

Richard Hansen
Brigham City, Utah


Through you I wish to thank whoever sent the Ensign to me. I’ve been bitter and angry lately and resent almost everyone because of difficulties I have had. I really thought there was no one in the world who cared for me. Yet now I find there is someone who cared enough to send the Ensign, which is the only thing that seems to reach me right now. Whoever it is, I feel, gave me the first real help (outside of my Relief Society president), and I thank you for it. I still have a ways to go, but this is at least one step. God bless you for it. It makes me want to try again.

A Sister
Portland, Oregon


It was with great delight we received the new Church publications. The most important improvement may go unnoticed by many: the esthetics. The Church is fortunate to again have Warren Luch. It is hoped he and his staff will be given sufficient artistic latitude to influence member education in the visual arts.

Michael G. Harris
Oxnard, California


I have just been reading the new magazine, the Ensign, and wish to congratulate you on this very fine and important beginning. It has seemed to me for some time that the Church should take progressive steps in heralding the truth through all means and forms possible: literature, music, architecture, art, the sciences, social and psychological studies. This is the first, I hope, of a series of steps toward that end. I especially enjoyed the January editorial; I feel that if you are able to keep the spirit of this message, your new publication will be infinitely successful.

Sp/4 Thomas Dale Kerby
APO San Francisco