Getting rid of the Ensign, New Era, and Friend!

So, the Church magazines have had their present names since 1971. That’s going on 50 years. “Ensign” is ok, has some scriptural backing I guess. New Era is clearly borrowed from the old Improvement Era, and the Friend inherited its name from its predecessor, The Children’s Friend (which stole the name of some other rag, I think). Liahona came from the old Liahona The Elders’ Journal. So now you’re faced with a problem. What about new magazines? Should there be hard copy mags? How many? One for all adults world-wide? Or ten or fifteen regional mags? BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE HAVE TO GIVE THEM NEW AND BETTER NAMES! Get with it and tell me what to do.


  1. The Family Defender.

  2. Fake News!

  3. Mary Lythgoe Bradfford says:

    I understand that Mags are going out–everything is online

  4. I wonder how many people still get the magazines? If they do, how many actually read them?

  5. Prayboy

  6. The Millennials’ Star

  7. QBCC conscience bgt ghk says:

    Defense against the liberal dark arts of mormonism…
    For adults
    And children….

  8. ReTx, we still get the Ensign & the Swedish Liahona. Our oldest daughter gets the Ensign & the New Era, but until her children all graduated from Primary, they had the Friend as well. Our middle daughter gets the Friend for her two year old, who loves getting her own magazine. Only our youngest daughter reads it online. We all like the feel of the magazine in our hands, like a book, & both of our daughters with children feel it is important for their children to have experience reading, with actually turning physical pages.

    But then, I like the current names of the magazines, too, & I am old enough to remember the Improvement Era.

  9. Primary

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    We stopped subscribing years ago. The only time I see a physical copy is when I go home teaching and my elderly companion brings his copy.

  11. The Watchtower. Oh, wait. Already taken. Nevermind.

  12. We had been contemplating “cutting the cord” for a few years. After the November 5 policy change, we finally cancelled our subscriptions. I refuse to send one more dime to the church office building until they change this awful, unchristian policy.

    As for new names, I am ok with the Friend and New Era. I vote for the Ensign to be renamed Times and Seasons. It’s retro!

  13. Aaron Brown says:

    Doctrine, Culture and Policy.

    I win.

    Aaron B

  14. As a child in the 70’s I remember hearing my mom joke about her feminist cred saying, “Well, I subscribe to a magazine called the New E.R.A.!”

  15. The “Friend” could be changed to “Gospel Highlights for Children.”

  16. @Aaron B, the trouble with this naming scheme, whichever magazine is named Doctrine could only be so named for a few months. It would then have to be renamed Policy.

    Instead we could call the youth magazine “Milk” and the adult magazine “Meat”. The trouble with this is obvious though as the magazines rarely have doctrinal substance any thinking person would mistake for meat. How about “Formula” for the Friend, “Milk toast” for the New Era, and “Marshmallow Fluff” for the Ensign?

  17. Three magazines:

  18. Not a Cougar says:

    I thought Church magazines were designed to serve as a sturdy base for the pile of mail and other detritus slowly collecting on the kitchen counter. I had no idea people actually read them. If so, then what do you do with your Gospel Library app?

  19. A Turtle Named Mack says:


  20. Loursat’s suggestions are admirably aspirational, but they might be misleading as to content and cause faith crises for those who first think them descriptive and then feel lied to. MTodd’s latest suggestions are descriptive of the current magazines, but might detract from the personal stories that are more inspirational than most of what I hear in Testimony Meeting. For that reason, I’ve rejected my first contemplated proposal — Church Babble (for Kids, for Teens, and for Children [of God]) — and settled on Church Chat [I, II, and III]. Sorry, Aaron B. I win. The changes may be announced in general conference.

    Not a Cougar, What’s that word “slowly” doing in your comment? You must live in a different universe! But instead of the kitchen counter, the current Ensign, left lying around the living room, announces one’s Mormon righteousness to visitors — works best if you turn down the corners of selected pages and make it look used.

    Michael Austin, I like “Prayboy” but my current prayboy is David Marno’s “Death Be Not Proud”, U of Chicago Press, 2016 — a literary approach to the subject of giving “holy attention” to prayer. (Of course, a review/condensed version from you might be more my speed.) I don’t even try to hide such books (or others like Harry Potter) inside the Ensign at church anymore.

  21. Paul Ritchey says:

    Pressing those oh-so-lovable conference-isms into service:

    The Good Ship Zion (a mag for nautically-inclined boys)
    Clarion Call
    Called to the Work
    Our Beloved Prophet, Even _____________ (fill in appropriate name)
    Dear Sisters (a women’s issues mag (or column?) written by men)
    Stop It!

  22. Paul, You left out “Do it!” But maybe that’s too long ago. Probably shouldn’t use that one for the reincarnation of the New Era.

  23. it's a series of tubes says:

    Dang, Ardis and Aaron B are killing it here. Nicely done.

  24. John Mansfield says:

    Current LDS naming of things gives us titles like “Preach My Gospel,” “Come, Follow Me,” “Teaching in the Savior’s Way,” “Savior of the World.” So, new magazine titles would end up something like “Hear My Words,” “One Heart and One Mind,” or “Despise the Shame of It.” Best to leave the titles as they are.

  25. John Mansfield says:

    Make that: best to leave the magazines titles as they are, and maybe come back to the question in fifteen years.

  26. felixfabulous says:

    Love some of the suggestions. I like the idea of going back to Times and Seasons or Millennial Star, but probably won’t happen with those being established blogs at this point. It is interesting to me that not too long ago Church magazines actually had a little more substance and advertisements for things like garments!

  27. Absolutely keep the ‘hard’ copies of the magazines (at least the Ensign). Older folks may not have a computer or be tech savvy enough to see those on line AND it’s darned difficult (personal experience) to pull up the online copy even if you’ve paid. And why are they (or you or whoever) worrying about the names? Aw, just leave them alone. We do NOT need more fussing with inconsequentials in a world that has a lot more pressing and serious problems just now.

  28. Ah, the old “surely you have better ways to spend your time” argument. Why worry about art or beauty or conversation or community when there are starving children in Africa? I dunno. Maybe it’s to keep our spirits up.

  29. Kevin Barney says:

    Whatever we call it, I have two wishes for The Ensign:

    1. Maintain the integrity of the database of historical issues. My father, Leroy Barney, published at least two pieces in The Ensign, but you’d never know it, as they don’t appear in the historical database at One was “Creativity in the Classroom,” which appeared in the very first issue of The Ensign, but is not located in the archive. (It was later republished in the first edition of Teaching: No Greater Call and in Liahona (April 1978).) He also had a short story published in the Ensign about a lesson he learned as a boy on an Idaho farm when he neglected to milk the cows, came home for dinner, and his mother didn’t put anything at his place, teaching him he needed to take care of the cows first, or something like that. Not in the online archive. I know of other articles that for unknown reasons have mysteriously disappeared from the archive. This isn’t the Soviet Union, it’s a magazine, there’s no need to rewrite publication history.

    2. Go back to allowing a broader base of contributors like in the early days, and allow greater substance. The Ensign of the 70s and 80s was a far superior magazine compared to the thin gruel we get today.

  30. Kevin, if my favorite gem, Monson’s 1971 “The Women’s Movement: Liberation or Deception?” is still available online, I can’t imagine they’d deliberately scrub some Idaho farm wisdom from the archive, but who knows.

  31. stephenchardy says:

    Kevin: I remember the cow story. It was good, and obviously memorable.

    I find myself often puzzled at the church and its ways. It can be so open and generous at times, and then it can be so bizarre or odd at other times. It is impossible to know why such an article or story would be pulled from the historical database. Oversight/accident? Is touching udders something to be avoided now? Was the picture of the cow immodest? Was father at home? Or was he not at home? Could any of these be reasons why some spiritual wonk at headquarters decide to yank an article.

  32. Kevin, take this for what it’s worth, but my understanding is that the online database only goes back to the beginning of correlation (approx 1971) because the committee has not seen fit (or had time?) to retroactively vet materials. The online database will only show correlated materials.

  33. nobody, really says:

    Bring back the ads. I’ve got a Church magazine (somewhere) from 1970 that includes ads for First Security, Beneficial Life, and other such nonsense. If ads are OK for that other magazine of near scriptural importance (the BYU Alumni Magazine) it ought to be fine for the Ensign. Just think, you could advertise Franklin planners, knee-length shorts, Ponderize T-shirts, and the latest John Bytheway novel to those people living out in the mission field. No longer need we feel like rubes and hicks because we don’t have the latest in below-the-knee fashions….

  34. Celestial, Telestial and Terrestrial? Kind of a “choose your adventure” theme to it…

  35. Spiritual Pornography


  36. For adults: Pabulum (most Mormons will think it’s named after a Nephite chief judge)
    For youth: For the Entertainment of Youth
    For children: PAL (acronym for Pictures and Letters)