February 1981

“Comment,” Ensign, Feb. 1981, 61


The Index Question

Recently I went through earlier issues of the Ensign and have been impressed by the number of quality articles that I had completely forgotten about. I know you publish a yearly index in each December issue, but have you thought of publishing a ten-year index at the end of 1980? I feel that many Church members would find such an index a welcome and quick aid to study, research, preparing talks, etc.

Ross Gedds
Mansfield, Australia

There are no plans to publish a ten-year index for the Ensign, but a new and comprehensive five-year index to Church periodicals (including the Ensign, New Era, Friend, Church News, and Conference Reports) for 1976 through 1980 is scheduled to be off the press before April 1981 general conference. In addition, an earlier five-year index for 1971 through 1975 is currently in stock at the Salt Lake City Distribution Center, 1999 W. 1700 S., Salt Lake City, Utah 84104, USA (cost for this volume is $5.00). These indexes are printed primarily for use in meetinghouse libraries but are also available for purchase by individuals.

Also available are single-year indexes for 1976 (cost, 90¢), 1977 ($1.90), and 1978 ($2.25). These indexes also include references to Brigham Young University Studies.

And finally, a two-volume index for the decade 1961 through 1970 is still in print and may be obtained for $9.10. Included are complete references to the Improvement Era, the Relief Society Magazine, The Children’s Friend, The Instructor, the Church News, and Conference Reports.

Gustave Dore

You have used a number of woodcut illustrations by Gustave Dore, with the credit line “Engraving by Gustave Dore.” This is not technically correct. Dore was not an engraver; he was an artist whose specialty was drawing for book illustrations.

It was the custom in the heyday of wood engraving for the artist to draw his illustrations directly on polished wood blocks. The blocks would then be engraved by skilled engravers.

In most of Gustave Dore’s major illustrations, you will find two signatures. At the bottom left is Dore’s and in the bottom right corner will sometimes appear the mark of the engraver. In a volume I have of Dore’s work, there are signatures of sixteen such engravers.

I submit this in the interest of preventing any misconceptions that may arise.

William D. Loveless
Salt Lake City, Utah

Self-Sustaining Magazines

I read in the August Ensign that subscription prices have gone up for all three Church publications. The information that the magazines are financially self-sustaining was news to me—I thought the subscription price probably just paid for part of the publishing costs. My husband and I have a small printing business, so we know a bit about the time and effort and expense that goes into publishing these magazines every month.

We’re both tremendously impressed by the quality of the articles, the layout and design, even the typesetting. Your graphics are absolutely beautiful. Most of the illustrations in the three publications are worthy of framing. I’ve seen prizewinning work in art magazines that can’t hold a candle to some of the work produced for the Friend.

Thanks for these beautiful magazines. They truly are inspired.

Narda Weber
Rio Linda, California

Hymn defined

In “I Have a Question” on hymns (October 1980, p. 35), a “true hymn” is defined as a “prayer addressed to God.” From the point of view of academic musicology, this is not quite correct. Technically, a hymn is defined as a “song of praise or adoration of God.”

The designation “prayer” takes into account the intent of the text. But the technical, academic distinctions are made according to text sources and musical form, not the intent of the text. Hymns are distinguished from other types of sacred songs (such as psalms and canticles) textually by being non-scriptural, and musically by being strophic, metrical, and of a simple enough nature to be congregational (as opposed, for example, to the anthem for choir).

Thus, while it is true that a prayer set to music may be a hymn, not all true hymns are prayers set to music.

Ellen E. Knight
Arlington, Massachusetts

The Answer

Some years ago I was called to be director of the annual magazine subscription drive in our ward. Being a convert to the Church, I was personally very enthusiastic about this calling and anticipated that everyone in the ward would want to subscribe.

Although I had not yet been set apart for this calling, I was asked to give a talk in sacrament meeting to introduce the subscription drive. Afterward, I approached an active member of the ward, who was also a rather prominent businessman in the area, and asked him to subscribe to the Improvement Era. He firmly refused, and his comments about the magazine surprised and disappointed me.

Later that evening a number of us met in the bishop’s office to be set apart for various positions. I was petrified when I saw in the room the man with whom I had had the unpleasant experience. I immediately began to pray that the bishop would not ask him to set me apart. But it happened. I was the last one to be set apart, and that man was called upon to perform it. As he laid his hands upon my head, the Spirit melted both of our feelings, and I received a beautiful blessing.

As I walked out of the bishop’s office, that brother was standing in the doorway with the subscription money in his hand and he said, “Sister, I guess that was the answer.”

Olive Wagner Harris
Clearfield, Utah

Do it now

“Do it. Do it now!” How many times have we been inspired to do just that?

Recently I was inspired to submit a “Sharing” article to the Ensign. Little did I know that in doing so I would be answering another sister’s prayers a continent away. She had been doing genealogical research, but was unaware of other family members in the Church. Her maiden name was the same as my married name; and when she saw my name in the Ensign, she contacted me and I was able to send her information on our family lines. She now has a place to start looking and the names of other people to contact.

So when you are inspired to “Do it now”—don’t hesitate!

Janice K. Aubrey
Salt Lake City, Utah

Las Vegas Saints

Relative to the June article on “Loneliness: A Medical Problem,” we would like readers to know of the good things of the Nevadan lifestyle. The Las Vegas-Henderson area has a metropolitan resident population of about 200,000 people; of that number nearly 35,000 are Church members whose level of activity rivals that of Saints anywhere. Like all communities, Las Vegas has a large number of upstanding non-LDS residents who are devoted to their particular Christian faith. My wife and I have found the quality of life in Nevada to be most desirable.

Kerry Miller
Las Vegas, Nevada