Our Readers Write

“Our Readers Write,” Ensign, Apr. 1972, 70

Our Readers Write

Population Explosion


Mr. Philip F. Low in “Realities of the Population Explosion” [May, p. 18] quotes me correctly when he implies that nuclear energy provides an all-but-infinite source of clean energy for the billions who will come to inhabit the earth after us, and that with this energy source we shall be able to produce many of the material essentials of civilization—water, metals, portable fuel, food.

Yet I must object to Mr. Low’s using my views as a justification for not dealing in the most serious way with the catastrophe of gross overpopulation. That nuclear energy might provide enough energy for 20 billion people does not mean that a world population of 20 billion could be anything but a dismal disaster. I say this for two reasons:

From the material standpoint, there is one element, phosphorus, that is absolutely essential for growing food, and yet it is in relatively short supply. Until we see some way of using very low-grade phosphorus for fertilizer far more efficiently than we now do, the resource of phosphorus will limit the number of persons the world can feed.

From the psychological and moral standpoint, I shudder to think of large parts of the world becoming huge Calcuttas; yet at a level of 20 billion, this seems to me to be inevitable. Human misery reaches its depth in the overcrowded squalor of large cities. I hope your readers will understand that I do not suggest, in any respect, that man’s numbers ought to rise to 20 billion. What I was trying to say was that nuclear energy could mitigate some of the consequences of the catastrophe that 20 billion people would mean for mankind.

Alvin M. Weinberg, Director
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Testimony Builder


I want to take this opportunity to say congratulations on your excellent magazine, the Ensign, and especially to all the hard-working people who have done so well.

Bernadette D. Tizo
Makati Branch, Philippines

Name Correction


May I correct one slight error in your article on Ogden in the January Ensign [p. 23]? You mention Norton Jacobs as a member of Brigham Young’s advance party. My great-great-grandfather’s name had no s; thus, Norton Jacob.

Brent R. Jacob
Iowa City, Iowa

Cover to Cover


In 1971 the Ensign magazine was published for the first time, which to me is of great importance. Four copies of each issue come to my home, two for myself and two as gifts for neighbors, which I hope they read and enjoy from cover to cover.

The Ensign means a golden opportunity. As a Sunday School teacher in the Weston Ward, Boston Stake, I feel that each month each article should be read by me in preparation for entering my classroom. Only through prayer, proper preparation, and the help of our Heavenly Father can I teach the thirty-one eight- and nine-year-old students in my class. I pray that it may be done as the Lord wishes for me to express myself to them.

Each month when the Ensign is found in my mailbox, there is joy in my heart; years ago, I, for one, had misgivings of what one magazine could and would do, and I missed our valued Relief Society Magazine. It is ever so much better to have one magazine with its variety of articles for men and women and with no advertisements.

Each article on religion is much more informative than some books on religion, and it certainly sparks the appetite for further study. However, there is one suggestion I would like to make. When words cannot be found in the current dictionary, it certainly would help if you would state how they should be pronounced. For instance, in the article on Zoroastrianism in the November 1971 issue, there are about ten words that I would like to know the pronunciation of in case the opportunity should arise for me to discuss this particular article on religion with my students.

The Ensign is brought into my classroom, and often my young students read therein; as a result they are able to look up Bible references as quickly as do their parents. How grateful I am to the Ensign for the help it gives me to lead, teach, and guide these young people.

Zelma Schwartz
Natick, Massachusetts

First Female Convert in Europe


Enclosed is a picture I thought you might be interested in. After reading the article “History of the Church in Great Britain,” by Elder Richard L. Evans [September, page 26], I remembered this picture of the grave of the first woman baptized in our Church in England.

A few years ago my husband and I were hunting for a relative’s grave in the cemetery in Bloomington, Idaho. I was also copying epitaphs when I came upon this black and white tombstone. It caught my eye, for the lettering was in gold. It reads:

Ann Elizabeth Walmsley

Aug. 24, 1806 Nov. 16, 1888

The first female convert to the LDS Church in Europe

Baptized by Heber C. Kimball July 30, 1837

At the time she was ill and a cripple, unable to walk. She was healed by the Power of the Priesthood.

Will there be a reprint of the book A Century of Mormonism in Great Britain by Elder Evans? I certainly hope so. Oh, how we shall miss him!

Louisa T. Scoffield
Ogden, Utah

A Century of Mormonism in Great Britain is now out of print, and Deseret Book Company, the publisher, has no plans at present for reprinting it.

Xerxes or Artaxerxes?


On page 62 of the October Ensign Dr. Cyrus Gordon said that it was Xerxes, the Medo-Persian King, who married Esther, referring to the book of Esther in which Ahasuerus was the king who married Esther. Was it not Artaxerxes as mentioned in Josephus who married Esther? W. Cleon Skousen also calls Ahasuerus “Xerxes.”

Josephus copied his account of Esther and Artaxerxes from the library temple records at Jerusalem and was most accurate. Now the question arises: Where did Dr. Gordon get the information that Esther married Xerxes? Some clarification is needed because the book of Esther is history and not scripture.

Skousen, on page 773 of his Fourth Thousand Years, has said that Cyrus was killed in battle with the Scythians, but Herodotus says that Cyrus was killed in battle with Queen Tomyris, Queen of the Masagatae tribes. These tribes were Germanic in origin and not Scythic. These are the discrepancies.

E. R. Pierce
Ozark, Arkansas

Dr. Gordon replies: “For the historic setting of the book of Esther, in strict conformity with the scriptural evidence, see my Ancient Near East (New York: W. W. Norton Company, 1965). The king in the book of Esther is Ahasuerus (in Hebrew, Ahashwerisg). This name corresponds exactly to the Old Persian name, Xerxes. Artaxerxes in Hebrew is Artahshast. To summarize, the king’s name in the book of Esther can only be Xerxes and definitely not Artaxerxes. This is a matter of phonetics, not of interpretation.”

Something from Home


Having only recently moved to California, I had a hard time adjusting to new situations, friends, and a different way of life. The only thing that is the same is the Church. How wonderful it is to know that wherever you are you can find people who think and feel as you do, with a similar purpose and a common goal. When my copy of the Ensign arrives, I devour the contents. It is so good to feel as though I am receiving “something from home.”

Earline Alexander
Long Beach, California