Ensign Review

September 30, 2004 | one comment

The newest Ensign is pretty simple. It’s plain stories and conventional exhortation. I like that.

Let me draw your attention to two different articles:

The Only Survivor:
A saint from the Pacific—Joeli Kalougata—tells about his journey to the Church. When he was twelve his family lived on a remote Fijian island. They heard about the Church, corresponded with the mission president, and decided to sail to the central Fijian island to meet the missionaries and get baptized. On their way the boat sank. The boy’s family all died except him. The mission president heard that the boy had survived. He asked his missionaries to try and find the boy as they went about their work. Twelve years later a couple missionary asked a man if he knew a Joeli Kalougata. The man was Joeli. He was baptized.
In conclusion, Joeli Kalougata does not attempt to draw a moral or a lesson from his story. He only says that he is happy to have found the Church at last.
Because the tale is so simply told, some passages have more power and meaning than if they were elaborated, the way black on white can form letters and words. Joeli Kalougata tells that after the boat capsized he found a bag of coconuts to cling to. “Minutes passed, and suddenly I spotted my mother. Seeing me as well, she swam over and we embraced. With words I will never forget, she told me to hold on to that bag no matter what, for it would save my life. Then, after kissing my cheek, she left me to search for my brother and my sisters. That was the last I ever saw of my mother.�

Mathew Cowley on Miracles:
The talk is full of personality. It reads like the talk Elder Haight would have given if he had spent his impressionable years among the Maori saints. Here are a few highlights:

- “Now, except [you] believe as a little child, you can’t receive these blessings. [You] have to have the faith of a child in order to believe in these things, especially when you reach college age and your minds are so full of skepticism and doubt.� I laughed when I read this and thought of me and you. Does arguing like a child count?

- A woman is dying in the hospital. Cowley goes to visit her. “She was having her farewell party. Ah, that’s one thing I like about the [Maori’s]. When you go, they give you a farewell party. They all gather around. They send messages over to the other side. ‘When you go over there tell my mother I’m trying to do my best; I’m not so good, but I’m trying.’ ‘Tell her to have a good room fixed for me when I get over there and plenty of fish, good meals.’ My, it’s wonderful how they send you off.� It’s hard not to think, like Cowley, that farewells like that is wonderful. They’re so human. A little bit self-absorbed and a little bit of irreverence, a little bit sad and a little bit of faith.

I have some unkind things to say about this Ensign’s missionary art show in this post. Forgive me.


One Response to Ensign Review

  1. [...] th the bathwater. Postscript : I have better things to say about this issue of the Ensign here.
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