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Cover image via LDS.org.
By now most members have had the opportunity to receive the May Ensign magazine, along with a beautiful supplement about our new Prophet and President Russell M. Nelson. Did he hit the ground running or what? I’ve never had the honor of meeting him, but I would fully expect to see skid marks on the ground wherever he has gone (and it seems no one can keep up with him).
Once again, the May issue is comprised of the April General Conference talks, a magazine we’ve been advised to study for the next six months, as we prepare to hear once again from our leaders. And there is so much wisdom in there that you could prepare a college curriculum from it.
But something else caught my eye this time, as I glanced through the familiar talks and groundbreaking changes which were announced. It was the photos. On page after page I saw pure jubilation. People on the grounds, coming and going from this spiritual feast, were absolutely glowing. Their joy was captured in candid photos that perfectly illustrate the excitement of belonging to Christ’s restored church.
We’ve often had nonmembers comment on “that special something” in the eyes of Latter-day Saints, a certain look, a radiating happiness. And we see it across a crowded mall or airport terminal, in a stadium or on a busy street. “That person looks LDS,” we’ll say. It’s just something we notice in their countenance.
This is just one reason why I love having the physical magazine delivered to my home. Yes, you can read the talks online. But you’ll miss the photos that touch our hearts in yet another way. Here are just a few examples:
Page 23: Two men are meeting, clasping hands and about to embrace. You can literally feel the love they have for one another.
Page 25: President Nelson holds his 118th grandchild. But on that same page, a mother and father beam at their little child, reminding us all of the importance of family. On the very next page, 27, a grandmother holds her grandson close, both of them lit up with joy.
Page 81: A family rides up the escalator, every one of them beaming.
Page 91: A mother swings her daughter around, like subjects in a fanciful painting—except this is real, and their gladness is almost bigger than life.
Page 112: A father and son pose with so much joy you want to climb into the picture and hug them.
(And don’t miss the excitement on Page 13 of the supplement about President Nelson.)
Page after page, families, friends, brothers and sisters from around the world, all ages and sizes—are gathered together to learn what God wants them to know. Even if you couldn’t read and all you could do was look at the pictures, there is an unmistakable message here of hope and elation. Who wouldn’t want to belong to a church that delivers such solid peace and contentment?
I urge you to take a few minutes with the May Ensign, and just study the pictures. It’s a photo essay that shouts our joy, teaches the Savior’s messages, and tells the world what we believe. I’m grateful for every photographer who used his or her talents to deliver such poignant views of our faith. I have no doubt there are enlargements of these shots in the homes of those depicted, heirlooms that will be treasured for generations.
When our leaders tell us they’re optimistic about the future, and that we should have great hope, I think this is one reason why: Our joy cannot be contained. It overflows its container and spreads to all the world.
Hilton’s LDS novel, Golden, is available in paperback and on Kindle. All her books and YouTubeMom videos can be found on her website. She currently serves as an Interfaith Specialist for Public Affairs.