“Comment,” Ensign, Mar. 2003, 78–79


    Our New Look

    From the Editors:

    Many readers have wondered about the change in the format of Church magazines beginning with the January 2003 issue. The change reflects an effort to better serve readers throughout the world.

    The changes in design allow Church magazines to bring the same spiritually uplifting material to readers in 51 different languages at the same time. In past years, the Liahona, Ensign, New Era, and Friend were published on separate editorial schedules. For instance, while the conference edition of the Ensign was published a month after conference, members who speak languages other than English had to wait three months to receive the general conference Liahona. Articles in other issues of the English magazines were also published in a different month in the Liahona.

    Beginning in January, all articles in the Liahona—which serves adults, youth, and children—are published concurrently in the Ensign, New Era, and Friend, respectively. This change allows all readers of Church magazines to receive them at the same time. In addition, this past October, translation and production processes were streamlined so readers of the Ensign and Liahona worldwide received the same conference issue in November, regardless of the language. The general conference magazines will continue to be published concurrently.

    “It is a blessing for members, and for the Church in general, that readers who speak many different languages now receive the words of the latter-day prophets all in the same month,” explained Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander of the Presidency of the Seventy, editor of Church magazines.

    The change in format of the magazines was necessary to accommodate the varying length of the text as it is translated into different languages. That text gain might be small in some languages—Spanish or Italian, for example—and quite large in others, notably Tongan and Finnish. Pages of the English-language magazines are now designed with extra white space between lines and surrounding text on the page. This makes it possible to accommodate all 51 languages while keeping the same page layouts for every language. The typeface was also standardized to help with efficiency in production.

    About That New Format …

    Please change the format/layout of the Ensign back to what it has been in the past. I find the wide margins at the tops of the pages, the titles of the articles in extra large fonts, and especially the double-spacing between lines to be quite distracting—as if we are now reading a children’s book instead of a magazine for adults. The fonts used on the cover of the magazine are not as attractive as they were previously.

    I have always found the artwork in the Ensign to be tasteful and beautiful. Recently, however, it seems excessive and more like a picture book. My husband and I love reading the words of our leaders and have always found the Ensign to be an inspiration, but please return to the tasteful format used previously.
    Becky Fowkes
    Knoxville, Tennessee

    Thanks for the Lift

    I have so enjoyed the January 2003 issue of the Ensign. How beautiful it is! I love its new look.

    The article “Two People Building for Eternity” touched my heart. I have a disability that prevents me from walking well. I do not have an eternal companion, but the words of the Hiatt family have given me hope that someday it will come to pass if I have faith and keep my thoughts positive and trust the Lord.
    Marie W. Stealey
    Paradise, California

    Touching Painting

    Thanks so much for showing the picture of Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus on page 2 of the December Ensign. That painting by Walter Rane is new to me, and it is so wonderfully natural. As I looked at that picture and pondered the significance of the scene, I was brought to tears—tears of gratitude not only for what Mary and Joseph endured but also for the tremendous gift Jesus gave. Being a mother and a grandmother myself, I tearfully reflected on the birth process and what Mary went through for us. I am really grateful for the tenderness expressed in the painting.
    Barbara Ashley
    Marysville, Washington

    A Cloud of Witnesses

    As I was sitting in the dentist’s chair waiting for the shots to deaden my mouth, I started reading “A Cloud of Witnesses” in the December 2002 Ensign. It gave account after account of testimonies of Christ. As I read, the witness came to me strongly that these accounts were true, and tears started running down my cheeks. The Spirit can testify to us in the most unusual places—even in a dentist’s chair.
    Nancy Goddard
    Little Rock, Arkansas