• Quote of the Day

    “Surely the reason Christ said, ‘Father, forgive them,’ was because even in that terrible hour He knew that this was the message He had come through all eternity to deliver.”
    —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

The Pipers of Nauvoo—with Video

New Era, June 2008—BagpipersOne of the things the New Era is about is variety. It tries to show LDS teens from a variety of places, exploring a variety of interests, and doing a variety of things. This month’s issue contains a story about a group of teens who volunteer to play the bagpipes at the Nauvoo Pageant for a couple of weeks each summer. As the article, called “The Pipers of Nauvoo,” says, “It’s an opportunity for them to develop their talent, make friends, experience old Nauvoo, learn about early Church history, draw closer as a family, build testimony, and share the gospel.”

It’s unusual, it’s fun, and it has a connection to a deeper spiritual experience for these teens. In other words, it’s a good New Era article. Now, I’m not a pageant sort of person, but I do think this sort of thing is great for getting teens involved in something fun and for showing them that they’re part of something bigger than themselves.

You can view a video of these bagpipers in action at the New Era’s Web site, newera.lds.org.


Small and Simple Things—We’ve Got Mail

 We've Got MailThis may seem like a strange thing to mention in this blog, but I thought I might highlight something interesting from a section of the Church magazines that probably doesn’t get a lot of attention. In this month’s “We’ve Got Mail,” the letters-to-the-editor section of the New Era, there are a couple of comments that made me think.

The first one is from a missionary serving in the West African nation of Sierra Leone. He tells of how a simple, short feature in the New Era helped him and his companion bring a less-active member back to church. In this feature, called “My Favorite Scripture,” a teen simply gives a scripture reference and explains in one or two sentences why he or she likes that scripture. Somehow, a scripture verse and a few words sent to the New Era by a 17-year-old girl from California gave a missionary in Sierra Leone the inspiration needed to help someone feel the Spirit and decide to return to church. I suppose this is another example of small and simple means that bring great things to pass. To me, it’s just remarkable to consider.

The second comment is also about small and simple things, I guess. It is from a young man named Spencer, who explains that he used to read only “The Extra Smile” (the comic strips and jokes in the New Era) but that he eventually started flipping through the New Era and reading the other articles too. This is just a guess, but I would say that this young man’s experience is fairly common. I would also hazard to say that there are grownups in the Church (and at Church headquarters) who dislike seeing such frivolous stuff in a Church magazine for young people, who need to be developing a testimony of the gospel to shore themselves up against the temptations and challenges they will face in the world. Well, to them I would say, look at Spencer’s experience, and then multiply it by several thousand.

Has any small and simple thing in the Church magazines affected your life or the life of someone you know in some way? Please share it with me or, better yet, with the Church magazines.


A Note to the Good Guys, A Note to the Good Girls

A good New Era article is like a good lasagna—meaty with just the right amount of cheese. Or is it cheesy with just the right amount of meat? Anyway, I would turn your attention to an article in this month’s New Era that seems to have the right recipe. It’s made up of two small articles written as anonymous “notes” like those that might get passed around at school. “A Note to the Good Guys, A Note to the Good Girls” contains a list of things that a young woman or young man secretly admires about someone of the opposite sex who is upholding Church standards. (By the way, these particular notes have bylines, so they apparently are real and weren’t made up by the New Era editorial staff.)

I guess the idea behind this article is to strengthen these good guys and good girls so that they know their goodness is being noticed and admired. If it helps just one boy or girl feel better about continuing his or her efforts to keep high standards, it will have been worth it.

Personally, I recall the girls I admired in high school because they quietly did the things they knew were right. I particularly admired the ones who weren’t ever mean to anyone and who didn’t take on worldly or trendy styles and attitudes. And, yes, I really appreciated the ones who dressed, talked, and acted modestly. Of course, many of these things applied equally to LDS and non-LDS girls, but I suppose I had higher expectations of the ones I knew to be LDS. I can only imagine that the girls felt the same way about the guys around them.

After reading these notes, think of the reasons you admired certain people you knew in your teen years, and add to the list.

New Era Cover Boy Gets TV Spotlight

February New EraPorter Ellett, who was featured in a New Era cover story in February, was spotlighted recently in this TV report. Check it out.

Face Trials with Smiles

If you want to get to know one of the most genuinely good guys out there, read “Face Trials with Smiles” in this month’s New Era. It’s about Porter Ellett of Loa, Utah, a young man who lost his right arm in an accident when he was four years old but hasn’t let it slow him down a bit. He is a great athlete and has a great attitude. To see pictures of him in action, read the PDF version of the article.