December 2006

Volume 36, Number 12

Ensign, Dec. 2006
[illustrations] On the cover: Front: Behold the Lamb of God, by Walter Rane, courtesy of the Museum of Church History and Art. Back: Detail from Brother Joseph, by David Lindsley; photograph by Welden C. Andersen.

[illustration] Inside front cover: Determination, by Julie Rogers. Courtesy of Museum of Church History and Art, Seventh International Art Competition; may not be copied. James Kirkwood, age 11, carried his brother Joseph, 4, up the five-mile (8-km) ascent known as Rocky Ridge in Wyoming on October 23, 1856, during a fierce snowstorm. Fifteen members of the Willie handcart company died that night, including James.

[illustration] Inside back cover: Blessed Art Thou among Women, by Walter Rane. May not be copied.



First Presidency Message: Treasured Gifts
President Thomas S. Monson
These gifts from our Father will shape our lives for eternity.

Visiting Teaching Message: Blessings of Belonging to Relief Society

Feature Articles

Taking the Challenge
Members tell of blessings received and testimonies strengthened as they followed President Hinckley's challenge to read the Book of Mormon.

Our First Christmas
Abraham Menes Sagrero
We had nothing-except love for each other and gratitude for the Savior, whose birth we celebrated.

Hero at the Grocery Store
Stephenie Meyer
The woman who couldn't pay for her groceries was holding up everyone else in line. But what could anyone do about her?

This Is the Christ
Words in praise of the Savior, by President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and Jan Pinborough, set to music by Michael F. Moody.

Who Is This King of Glory?
Prophecies of Christ in Psalms-artists depict these Old Testament prophecies about our Lord and Savior.

The Gift That Took Our Breath Away
Brenda Pierson
Our children told us we would like their Christmas gift. But there was nothing under the tree.

Quick to Observe
Elder David A. Bednar
Great blessings result from being quick to notice the spiritual significance of influences and events in our lives and quick to obey commandments and spiritual promptings.

Go and Bring Them In
LaRene Porter Gaunt and Linda Dekker
The rescue of pioneers stranded by the early snows of 1856 is one of the great stories of faith and sacrifice in Latter-day Saint history.

What I Have Learned about Mighty Prayer
Mary Jane Woodger
The counsel I received from a father's blessing helped me communicate better with Heavenly Father.

How the Hong Kong Temple Came to Be
Elder Monte J. Brough and Elder John K. Carmack
Two members of the Seventy saw how inspiration helped a prophet design a temple for a spot where building one seemed all but impossible.


Questions and Answers
What simple Christmas traditions and activities have helped you and your family focus on Christ during the holiday season?

Lessons from the Old Testament

Coming of Age
Kathleen H. Hughes
The beautiful young queen Esther offers a model of how to make spiritually mature decisions under pressure.

My Father's Last Words
Elder Jorge Luis del Castillo
As my father lay dying, he found the strength to teach me.

Latter-day Saint Voices
A gift that was given away, a gift of tamales, a gift for a difficult neighbor, a gift of honesty.

Random Sampler
Finances for children, a Christmas keepsake, precious water, games for family home evening.

Index for 2006

News of the Church

Using This Issue

Ensign, Dec. 2006, 3
Gaining power in prayer. After reading "What I Have Learned about Mighty Prayer," p. 54, are you looking for additional help with prayer? Try searching for "prayer" in Church Magazines under Gospel Library at www.lds.org.

Teaching about tithing. You might share Elder Jorge Luis del Castillo's story, "My Father's Last Words," p. 52, and then testify of how you have been blessed by obedience to the law of tithing.

Feeling the Holy Ghost. Members who followed President Gordon B. Hinckley's challenge to read the Book of Mormon in 2005 ("Taking the Challenge," p. 14) testify that they felt the guidance of the Spirit more often in their lives as a result. Are you reading the Book of Mormon now?

Coming in January

Look for articles on:

* President Spencer W. Kimball, a small but mighty man.

* Learning-really learning-by listening to the Holy Ghost.

* Easing the pain of miscarriage.

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