A year ago I was informed that an article I submitted to the church website will be published in the Ensign. The cover letter said that it'll be published in January or so. Since then, the contract's been signed, the check deposited (and spent), and tithing paid. Then I received the email below. The text's been cut down considerably, but good enough for me. It'll be interesting to see what, if any, changes the correlation committee will make.
July 9, 2008
Dear Sister Cabus,
I've received your Random Sampler submission for the Ensign. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us. I hope you will take a few moments now to review the edited version of your piece to verify the facts. Since our layout space is tight, we hope you'll understand that we need to keep your piece at its present length.
The next step is for me to submit your edited article to the Ensign staff. Please let me know ASAP if you approve of the text. I will then send it electronically to a member of our editorial staff. It will be reviewed for content and an approved title will be assigned. Then the copy editor will review it as will the Church's Correlation Committee. After this review process, you will receive a final draft by mail if any significant changes have been suggested.
Presently, your article is tentatively scheduled for the June 2009 issue. That could change, however, depending on layout space constraints. Anything that doesn't fit size-wise will simply be rescheduled for a future issue. When your article has been designed for a particular issue, you will receive notification from the Ensign's publication assistant.
Thank you very much for your submission. If you have any questions that the above information does not address, I'm just an e-mail away.
Gospel Strength Overseas
When I joined the Church shortly before starting a graduate program in international relations, I knew I would have opportunities to serve the Lord in a foreign country. I did not anticipate, however, that there would not be a branch or ward for me to attend during six of the seven years I would live and work in Africa. With some effort, I was able to live gospel principles even though I was largely by myself in my beliefs. In sharing the following ideas from my experience, I hope that other members serving in the military or working abroad might also find strength to stay faithful in the gospel.
o Inform your home ward leadership. As soon as you know that you will be living overseas, inform the bishop of your home ward. He can help you with administrative issues such as keeping your records in the ward, arranging for renewal of your temple recommend the next time you are “home,” and deciding how to pay tithing. In my situation, I was also assigned visiting teachers and home teachers by email.
o Prepare for your time overseas. Once you know the country and city you are going to, visit lds.org. Under the topic “About the Church,” you will find “Meetinghouse Locator.” Use it to find the nearest branch or ward and meeting times. If no information is available, you can also find out what area presidency the country falls under to obtain information for the nearest mission and stake.
o Bring gospel study materials. In addition to the standard works, take study manuals and other materials, if possible. If another language is spoken, challenge yourself to read scriptures in that language.
o Maintain your standards. Being alone is not an excuse to forego gospel principles. It is imperative that you continue to keep the Sabbath holy even in countries where this is not a tradition. Also maintain activities such as fellowshipping, service, and family home evening.
o Look for opportunities to associate with members. It helped me to engage in a long-distance scripture study by email with a dear friend. I also sought the company of visiting Church members. When I lived in Morocco I hosted a steady stream of BYU students and professors. I found similar opportunities in other countries as well.
o Talk about the Church. Where permitted, share your testimony and experience as a Latter-day Saint. Build on common beliefs. Even if others aren’t interested in the Church, they are more likely to inform you if community visitors or new arrivals are Church members. At the very least, you have an opportunity to leave a positive memory.
I guess my detached irony when it comes to the Ensign's tone and style didn't really come through!
I was really surprised too. I mean, I didn't expect anything, since I figured my contribution would fall under the law of consecration or "perfect the saints." I just assumed that if the church had to pay something due to, say, IRS regs, that it'd be a token amount like $25. Not $200! And why not just pay me $180 and be done with it?
I don't see much detached irony in that article, well, unless I'm deliberately being massively cynical and looking for it. But congratulations on being published, even if they didn't get what you were going for. I'm so glad you've found spiritual fulfillment... or at least a spiritual quest that means something to you for your daily life.