September 2005

“Comment,” Ensign, Sept. 2005, 79


The Power of Hymns

Thank you for the article in the April 2005 Ensign about the power of the hymns to communicate our Savior’s love and bring peace to the soul. This article, “And in Thy Presence Rest,” was written by my brother, Scott Swain. He had no idea at the time he submitted it when he might see it in print. But I’m sure it is no coincidence that the April Ensign arrived five days prior to my father’s death. Scott was able to read the article to Dad before he passed away.

After hearing the article, Dad asked us to sing one of his favorite hymns, “Our Savior’s Love” (Hymns, no. 113). As the four of us who were present sang for Dad, the love of our Savior filled the room. The next evening Dad asked us to sing to him again. Over 20 family members crowded into the room and stood around his bed and sang. We sang hymn after hymn, and the Spirit in the room grew stronger and stronger as we sang. After the singing, Mom suggested we have a family prayer and asked Dad whom he would like to have pray. To our surprise, Dad offered the prayer himself. Though in the last stages of brain cancer and so weak he had barely enough strength to speak, Dad offered a long, beautiful prayer, thanking Heavenly Father for his family and praying that we would all accept the Atonement of our Savior and live lives faithful to His gospel. Again the Spirit was incredibly strong.

We count it as one of the tender mercies of the Lord that the article appeared in the Ensign when it did. Thank you for allowing the Spirit to direct you.
Don Swain, Spring Creek Fourth Ward, Springville Utah Spring Creek South Stake

Midshipmen Can Serve Missions

The photo of U.S. Navy midshipmen caught my attention, and I read with great interest the article by Elder Dunn, “Growth through Setbacks” (July 2005). I applaud and second his comments about how what we see as a stumbling block often turns out to be the open door to another highway in life.

However, the article leaves what I believe to be a bit of misinformation in the mind of the reader. While it is true that 30 years ago the Naval Academy did not have a mechanism for LDS midshipmen to go on missions, since about 1986, dozens of LDS midshipmen have successfully completed missions and returned to the academy to serve in leadership roles in the brigade. A former superintendent once commented to our stake president that because of the personal growth of the young men, he wished that he could send all midshipmen on missions.

Unfortunately, every year, many otherwise-qualified LDS candidates do not apply, withdraw their application, or refuse their appointment based on the erroneous supposition that one cannot complete a mission while attending the Naval Academy. While it is difficult, it is indeed possible to go on a mission from Annapolis, and many do every year. We have at least 10 out in the field at this moment.
Royal Connell, Annapolis Ward, Annapolis Maryland Stake

Treasured Advice

Thank you for Sister Tanner’s article, “Strengthening Future Mothers” (June 2005). I read it twice, first by myself, then with my teenage daughter. We had a great discussion. I told my daughter that each day I am inspired by her conscious, determined choice to be a worthy young woman. I told her about my own memories of being a teenage girl and some of the things I learned from my own dear mother.

I shared with my daughter the most treasured and profound advice I have ever received. On my wedding day my mother told me: “Today you became Linda Becker, but before that you were Linda Oakes. Do not forget that woman.”

I have not forgotten. Those simple words have strengthened my faith and increased my determination during times of frustration and happiness. I pray that I can do as well as my own mother did as I prepare my daughter for her future roles as woman, wife, mother, and homemaker.
Linda Becker, Weston Second Ward, Boston Massachusetts Stake