In Relief Society today for our lesson we discussed President Monson's talk in the Priesthood Session in October. I had not yet read it. This morning I read it prior to our meeting. Wow. I love President Monson, the way he simplifies everything to make it work for everyone. He just has a knack for doing that, and as far as I can remember (literally) he always has.
As a young girl I remember how excited I would be when he spoke because his stories hit home. I especially loved the Christmas one about his sharing his toy/gift (a train, I believe) with a little boy less fortunate than him. How I loved that story.
Well, here we are, 49 years later (from when he was called as an Apostle) and I continue to be in awe and learn from him. I love that our grandchildren love him, that James thinks he is funny (because, frankly, sometimes he just is!).
However, today, as I read his talk a certain part really struck a chord with me. He shared a story from President Tanner who had just returned from presiding over the missions in Great Britain and Europe, about a missionary that Brother Tanner had interviewed. This particular missionary had great success, and Brother Tanner asked him what was the secret to his success...was it through referrals? The young missionary said in fact that those they baptized they had come in contact with while tracting. (knocking on doors) Brother Tanner asked him why this approach worked for him. The young elder said that if a man came to the door, smoking a cigar and dressed in old clothes and seemed uninterested in anything - particularly religion -the young missionary would picture in his own mind what that man would look like in a different set of circumstances. In his mind he would look at him as clean-shaven, wearing a white shirt, and white trousers. And the missionary could see himself leading him into the waters of baptism. Then he said, "When I look at someone that way, I have the capacity to bear my testimony to him in a way that can touch his heart."
Then President Monson said that we have the responsibility to look at others that way.
So, why am I grateful for this? That missionary could have been talking about my parents. Our missionaries knocked on our door when I was a few months old, my parents listened. My dad, who was an alcoholic, and smoked, turned completely away from that lifestyle and toward the gospel of Jesus Christ. My mom, who smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes daily for fourteen years, quit. Period. They found the truth, they embraced it, repented, and changed for the good.
My father served as Bishop, in several bishoprics, as various presidents of organizations, on the High Council, and as a Seminary teacher. He influenced many for good. My mom, she served as President of each Auxiliary, and served in the Stake Primary Presidency, and she influenced many for good. Mostly, they influenced me, and our family, for good. I will ever be indebted to Elder McNeal Magleby for finding my parents and loving them, and seeing what they could become.