“The March 2008 Issue: A Report,” Liahona, Oct. 2008, N3–N5
Two years in planning and production.
More than 2.3 million copies distributed in 51 languages.
Two additional printings needed to meet demand.
More than 340,000 visitors to the special Web site.
Respectable as they are, the numbers don’t tell the story. The significance of the March 2008 issue of the Ensign and Liahona magazines, “The Lord Jesus Christ,” only becomes apparent when one sees how lives have been affected.
Invited to share their feelings and experiences with the March 2008 issue, many members wrote to tell simply how it affected their own lives. From the Philippines, Maria Felina Ferrer wrote: “For the first time in 29 years that I have lived speaking and writing about Him, I felt the palpable reality of the Savior in my life. He is not just a topic, not just a story. He is real. … It caused a mighty change in me. Everywhere I go and whatever I do now, I am conscious that the Lord Jesus Christ, in all His power, sees me and is standing by me. That fact makes me want to become a better person.”
Tom Kunz of Magnolia, Texas, USA, said: “I felt so good after I finished reading the magazine, and I wanted to be better in every aspect of my life. … I felt the Savior’s love for me and the magnificence of the Atonement in a very personal way.”
Linda Buysse-Vergauwen, who teaches elementary school in Belgium, was on a study trip with a colleague and gave her a copy of the March issue along with a special note and an invitation to come to hear her speak in church on Easter Sunday. The friend went and had a positive experience. “The special issue of the Liahona gave me the opportunity to put a little seed in the heart of a friend,” Sister Buysse-Vergauwen said.
In California, USA, Lori Larson had her March Ensign with her at the beauty salon and was enthralled with it. She kept thinking of how the articles would be great to share with someone of another faith and how they would clear up misconceptions about the Church. Then her beautician asked about the magazine she was reading. By the time the appointment and the conversation were over, the beautician was asking for the missionaries to visit her.
Telma Chacón of Guatemala City, Guatemala, bought 12 extra copies of the Liahona and used the occasion of Easter to share the magazines and her testimony with her brothers and sisters. Patricia Hegedus of Cardston, Alberta, Canada, sent a copy to a German couple she and her husband had befriended some years earlier. They received it gratefully with a promise to read it. The Allan Harvey family of Krugersdorp, South Africa, bought 12 extra copies and distributed them to the families on their street.
Church units received allotments of free copies of the Ensign or Liahona to use in fellowshipping, activation, and missionary work. In England, the Chorley stake organized a special Easter concert to which friends, neighbors, less-active members, and VIP guests were invited. Each guest received a Book of Mormon and a copy of the March 2008 Ensign.
In Nigeria, Relief Society sisters in the Ile-Ife district, as part of the activities marking the Relief Society anniversary, visited the local prison and distributed copies of the March issue. The Newcastle-Under-Lyme stake in England saw to it that every family in the stake had a copy and an invitation to attend a special sacrament service on Easter Sunday. One result was that a brother who had been less active since shortly after his baptism in the 1980s was touched and now enjoys the blessings of the gospel in his life again.
Many wrote to tell how the issue on the Savior helped clear up misunderstandings about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Barbara Mayes of Flagstaff, Arizona, USA, reported a comment from the woman who comes in to clean her home: “I have noticed many things that point to the idea that you believe in Jesus. How can that be? You two are Mormons. Are you Christians?” Sister Mayes gave her a copy of the March Ensign and they began a conversation. “As she reads, she continues to ask significant questions, and a closed heart has been opened,” said Sister Mayes.
The Mike and Shaz Kramer family of Garwood, New Jersey, USA, held a party earlier this year to which several non–Latter-day Saint families were invited. One family arrived early so the husband could ask a question about the Church. A minister friend of his had indicated that Mormons didn’t believe in Jesus Christ. Brother Kramer said, “I simply reached over and picked up the March Ensign, with Christ’s picture on the cover, and asked, ‘Does this look like a church that doesn’t believe in Jesus?’ ” The man took the magazine with him and met with the missionaries later that week to ask more questions.
The March 2008 issue of the Ensign and Liahona is still available through Church distribution. Its timeless message about the Savior makes it valuable for sharing not only during future Christmas and Easter seasons, but anytime members wish to provide comfort, to teach true doctrine, and to share with others a firm testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. The potential is there for many more lives to be touched.