Dear New Era
January 1996

“Dear New Era,” New Era, Jan. 1996, 15

Special Issue:
Twenty-five Years Young

Dear New Era

Dear New Era,

When I was 17 years old I was struggling in life. I was not happy and I did not know which way to go. Going to church was not a big priority in my life; therefore it was not often that I attended—despite pleadings from my parents.

One day I was waiting for my friend to come pick me up so we could go to the mall. While waiting, I saw the New Era sitting on our desk in the living room. The New Era had been in our home as long as I could remember, but never before had I actually picked it up and read it. Because I had nothing else to do besides wait for my friend, which is not very fun, I picked it up and started to read.

It was the March 1991 issue. I found the shortest article I could, an article titled “Tell Him,” by Ken Barker. It was about a time when he was riding on a ski lift and noticed how beautiful the world is and how much Heavenly Father has given to us. He also wrote about how thankful he was for everything and how we need to thank God always for everything we have been given.

At that time in my life I was not even sure that God existed. This article really got me thinking: “Is there really a God? Where did everything come from? If there really is a God, why has he put us here on this earth?” This led to a deep personal study to find answers to these questions. I am happy to say that I was able to find the answers by studying the scriptures and attending church. I have now served a mission and was recently married and sealed in the temple to the most wonderful young lady, Rebecca.

Shortly before my marriage, I was talking to my father-in-law to be. He asked me about how I developed my testimony of the gospel. I related to him the story about the article “Tell Him,” and he said, “Do you know what, James? I think my cousin wrote that article.”

It turns out that his cousin, Ken Barker, was the author. Wow! This is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened in my life. This whole experience has shown me how much Heavenly Father is watching over me and all of his children. I also developed a deeper understanding of what the Lord meant when he said, “And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33).

How thankful I am for the protecting hand of the Lord in my life.

Thank you, Brother Barker and the New Era, for everything. You have changed my life forever and at the same time affected many other people’s lives. Keep up the great work.


James F. Harvey

Photography by Jed Clark