Dear January Ensign,
Thank you for coming mid-December. Your punctuality is an inspiration to the secular periodicals in our home, for which I am eternally grateful. As usual, your shrink-wrapping still permitted the mailman to gaze at the cover, in hopes that someday postal service employees will come to Christ. The image of young Joseph Smith wandering midst the Grove is a nice portrait, a refreshing change from the Kinkade-style Jesus portraits that seem to have plagued you lately. Good to see that you are branching out.
If I may be so bold, may I make a few recommendations?
I’ve noticed that you changed last year to have a consistent internationalized format. Viva la correlacion! But may I point out that your new fonts are all over the map? I think you might be better off with a little more consistency. You’re the Ensign, after all, not Redbook or even the Friend — do you really need five different fonts for the First Presidency message?
I enjoyed the depictions of the First Vision, particularly the international submissions; any way we can see more of those? Maybe you should get your friends at LDS.org to provide multimedia content specifically tailored to your current articles! That would be fun, wouldn’t it? Oh, and maybe also talk about how Joseph’s description of the First Vision changed over time. But that’s just the naysayer in me talking.
May I ask you why we get the "Gospel Classics" column? Aren’t there contemporary authors that could give current research insights? I love the classics too, but people have got to be dying to hear something more recent…
Okay, enough beating around the bush… I have some real beefs. You know I love you, January Ensign, but you need to change. Here’s how:
1. the "Falling out of love…and falling back in" story was a mess. What are you trying to teach people? Are you telling me it’s okay to fall out of love, so long as I fall back in? Can I get divorced instead? I’m confused, Ensign.
2. pages on the Deacon’s Quorum?? You’re a friendly magazine, but you’re not The Friend. Come on, now, Ensign. Treat us like grownups. Maybe tell us instead why when adults receive the Aaronic Priesthood they go straight to the office of Priest? Now THAT would be fun!
3. you seem disorganized, January Ensign. You do great until the "Gratitude" story, then your whole back half is a jumble, like the real planning and preparation went into the G.A.-penned sections, with the rest thrown together. Do you think we only like your front? January Ensign, please put more thought into the R.S.-related sections and give them the same respect as you would your G.A.’s car story — it’s worth it. Maybe you could move some of your G.A. talks towards the back, so that you’re not all front-loaded? I’m grasping at ideas, here, Ensign, but as it stands no one need read half of you!
4. The big one: bring back "I Have A Question." It is sorely needed. Are you afraid that people will take you too seriously, Ensign? Are you afraid that people will take these answers too much to heart? You’re probably right — they will. But we deserve a good Q&A column. We have some good questions! Please help.
Please know, dear Ensign, that I will probably keep on subscribing to you, even though there is no reason on Earth I should do so, since you’re now on the Internet for free in all of your typeset majesty. Such is my devotion! Maybe you could throw in something for me, just to show you care? A bookmark?