Before 1971 there were numerous magazines being published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its members. This included the Improvements Era, Instructor, and the Relief Society Magazine. Then, in 1971, leaders of the Church thought it would be wise to create one magazine for all of its adult members. This new magazine was called The Ensign of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The magazine is printed with ten regular issues and two issues that contain General Conference addresses. Leaders of the Church express that the Ensign is the link between Church Headquarters and its adult members and should help “strengthen the faith of the members promulgate gospel truths, and keep members up to date on Church policies, programs, and events.
The title of the magazine holds great significance, “The word "ensign" is rich in meaning. The King James Bible translators used it to mean a signal, sign, identifying symbol, standard, or banner. Hence, we read the biblical prophecy that in the last days the Lord would ‘set up an ensign for the nations’ (Isa. 11:12), a standard to which Israel and the righteous of all nations might gather in preparation for the Millennium (Isa. 5:26; 18:3; 31:6-9; 49:22; 62:10; Zech. 9:16). In latter-day scriptures, ‘ensign’ symbolizes such ‘standards’ as the new and everlasting covenant (D&C 45:9), the gospel of salvation (D&C 49:8-9; 2 Ne. 29:2), the latter-day Zion (D&C 64:41-43), and THE CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints (D&C 115:4-6)” (see Guide to the Scriptures).
The magazine contains “a monthly First Presidency message, used also in home teaching; a monthly Relief Society visiting teaching message; articles on scripture, doctrine, and member experiences and testimonies; and support articles for individuals, couples, parents, and local Church leaders and teachers.” Since 1976 the editor for the Ensign has always been a General Authority. This is because it is official curriculum of the Church and needs to be looked over by a General Authority to be so.
A subscription can be ordered online, by going to www.ldscatalog.com and then clicking on the title Subscriptions, Renewals and Gifts. When the next page loads, click on Subscribe. You can also mail a request for a subscription to International Magazines, 50 East North Temple, Floor 25, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3223, USA. You can also get a subscription by talking with you ward or branch magazine representative, executive secretary, clerk, bishop or branch president. You can also subscribe to any of the magazines through any Church distribution center. Gift subscriptions can also be ordered. Any language can be sent to any part of the world. In some areas, magazines can’t be delivered directly to people’s homes. In these cases, the magazines are mailed to the ward or branch for distribution to its members. If you have any other questions about how to get a subscription, you can visit: http://www.ldscatalog.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/LDSMagazinesHelp?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1.