“Comment,” Ensign, June 1989, 80
Ngalula, a tiny Zairian lady with a beautiful smile, came to our home one Sunday night about 7:00 P.M. She had asked earlier that day if I would be home so she could visit teach me. She had walked with her ten-year-old son, in the dark, over the sandy ridges and trails to come to visit. The only light came from the few stars that peeked through the cloudy sky. Her bravery and devotion to her calling were touching.
By the time she had finished her beautiful prayer in Lingala, which was translated by our guard into French for me, my heart was full. She then expressed the joy she felt in making this visit, even though it was dark and far to travel.
I am thankful for the spirit of sisterhood that exists wherever there are members of the Church. I have felt this spirit in the many places I have lived, but never stronger than here in Kinshasa, Zaire, in the middle of Africa.
The addresses of two mental health associations, printed in connection with “Mental Illness: In Search of Understanding and Hope,” in the February 1989 Ensign, have been changed. The new addresses are:
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
2101 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201
The National Mental Health Association
1021 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-2971
The Ensign has received many letters about the article. The following are representative.
This letter is to express my deep gratitude to you and others who contributed to the research and preparation of “Mental Illness: In Search of Understanding and Hope.” It could not have been easy to prepare so much information with such accuracy and empathy. I find it to be the best I have ever read.
Our young-adult son has a serious affective disorder, diagnosed as a problem in his actual brain structure. Medication, therefore, is of little help. His many symptoms cause much suffering and handicap him a great deal. Among people in the community and ward, lack of knowledge, fear, and a tendency to oversimplify causes and cures have added to the stress of the situation.
What patients and families need most from fellow ward members is simply to be accepted and loved. Part of casting aside fear and developing the ability to love as the Savior would have us love is to gain understanding. Articles such as yours go a long way in helping to reach that goal.
As President of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists (AMCAP), I want to compliment you for publishing the excellent article entitled “Mental Illness: In Search of Understanding and Hope,” which appeared in the February issue of the Ensign.
As a therapist treating many LDS clients, I have become increasingly aware of the pain experienced by individuals and families when mental or emotional illness is present. The fact that many of these people are active in the Church, hold responsible positions, and are living admirable, moral lives often adds to their pain, or at least to their confusion.
The issue of mental illness is not without controversy, both within the mental health profession and the religious community, but accurate information will reduce the fear, prejudice, and ignorance that often exists. The gap that has tended to separate science and religion will also be reduced, to the benefit of those experiencing the condition and those attempting to help and understand them.
S. Brent Scharman, Ph.D.
I am sure you have received many letters about the article by Sister Ardeth Kapp (“Just the Two of Us—For Now,” February 1989). I want to add my thanks and appreciation for her words. I have waited for this article for a long time. When you are childless, sometimes you feel you are so alone, that no one in the Church really understands.
My husband and I know that it is not because we are not worthy that we do not have children. In a blessing I received three years ago after a miscarriage, I was told that this child would come in his own time. That is the great comfort to us.
I have seen many articles in the Ensign that talk about the trials we all face in this life, and I have prayed for an article for those of us who face this challenge.
Thank you again!
Cliff and Charmaine Peterson
Next year, will you please give us more time for your writing contests? Three months is not long enough to write a “well researched” paper on the Old Testament. Those of us who live outside of the states get our Ensign late and don’t even have the meager three months.
Readers who want to enter the scripture article contest actually have a year and three months to prepare. The July 1989 issue will announce the contest not only for 1990 (the New Testament) but also for 1991 (the Book of Mormon). In fact, since each scripture article contest is tied to the following year’s adult curriculum, readers can start as far in advance as they want. The contest for 1992, for example, will ask for Doctrine and Covenants and Church history articles, and the 1993 contest will start over again with the Old Testament.
What a week to receive the Ensign! Work was not going well, financial difficulties loomed at every turn, and a dear friend in the gospel chose another route besides with Christ. What a joy to receive the words of general conference at a time when they were most needed!
Thank you for publishing the words of God. In a day when other magazines fail to uplift the soul, it’s a sweet pleasure to know you can turn to the Ensign for inspiration and guidance.
The date in the first column on page 54 of the December 1988 issue should read 1899 instead of 1889.
The inside front cover copy of the January 1989 issue reads, “Martin Harris Home, ca. 1829.” This is inaccurate. According to Larry Porter of Brigham Young University, Martin and Lucy Harris never lived in the home depicted in the painting; they lived in a two-story white frame home that burned down in 1849. William Chapman had this cobblestone house—which is still standing—built on the same site in 1849–50.