I grew up in Virginia, far from any LDS Church building. All the church attendance I had for 18 years was in our Adams home Sunday School. When I was in my teens, the nearest branch was far away. We had no car. But, I remember vividly the one time in my teen years when the Prophet George Albert Smith came to our mission area.
I did not get to see him, hear him, or shake his hand, but I felt the overwhelming, vivid love of a prophet for the far away scattered members. That memory of that love lingered in my life and helped build my testimony of prophets.
My parents had fifteen children and all were baptized by eight years old by elders serving there, except for # 15. My father was worthy by then and held the prieshood of God and baptized her. I am very grateful for that feeling of love from my father, and the prophet and the love of a branch president who visited our home quarterly on a regular basis. He filled in that love for us and our family. He was a dedicated man of God. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life..
Gladys Adams Borup
(77 years old)
My story is a bit different from those I’ve read today, and I’ve loved every one. My mother, (born in 1892) told me many times as I was growing up that when she was a little girl her mother took her up to shake hands with President Lorenzo Snow. This would have been at a stake conference in the old tabernacle in Paris, Idaho. This has impressed me with a special love for Pres. Snow, and three years ago my dream was realized of visiting that same beautiful old tabernacle. The kind sister who was our guide even allowed my daughter to play the pipe organ there. The strains of “O Ye Mountains High” permeated my whole being! “Sacred home of the prophets of God.”
While a teenager, I, too, shook hands with a prophet, President George Albert Smith, in the Logan Tabernacle. And as a missionary in Merced, California, I took a picture of Pres. David O. McKay and Sister McKay when he was there to dedicate a chapel. I have been in meetings with others of the Prophets on various occasions.
I would urge all young people to record in their journals the meetings and feelings with ANY of the General Authorities; possible future Presidents of the Church.
DeNiece (Pitcher ) Spencer
1706 N “R” Rd.
Aurora, NE 68818
My wife and I have been blessed to have several personal meetings with some of the prophets.
We were part of the group that produced the dedication banquet for the Seattle Temple. President Kimball gave us a thank you hug after the dinner. Another time, we were part of a small group where a dinner was held following a regional Solemn Assembly. All three members of the First Presidency hugged us, but the hug from President Kimball was like receiving an electric shock, it was so thrilling; and to hear him tell us he loved us was almost too much.
I also was invited to a dinner during stake conference, when (then) Elder Hinckley was our visitor (before he became the prophet), and what a stimulating conversation we had with him. I just knew he was a special servant of the Lord.
We don’t need these personal contacts to know that these men are our prophets, but it certainly is a wonderful way of adding to our testimonies.
C. Russell & Virginia Nickel
Lacey 6th Ward
Lacey Washington Stake
In my genealogy, my Aunt, Paloma Meyers, told this story:
“The day my husband was set apart as a sealer for the Los Angeles temple I happened to be crushed next to President Spencer W Kimball in the crowded elevator. Although he knew my parents well, I felt very humble and at a loss for words around him. A number of comments were made pertaining to the crowded situation, and then I blurted out, ‘Well, there’s no one I’d rather be closer to than the Prophet!’ Immediately, President Kimball turned and said to me; ‘Oh, yes there is–your husband.’ Momentarily, I was embarrassed, but upon reflection have been grateful that he made the effort to teach an eternal and correct principle – that no one should be closer to you than your eternal mate, not a bishop, a stake president, not even a prophet. Your mate should not be compared to anyone else, only supported, sustained and strengthened by the loyalty and devotion of a true companion.”
I was privileged to attend a regional conference in San Diego where Pres. Ezra Taft Benson was to speak. Prior to the start of the service, I was standing in the back of the room talking with someone who was not a member of the Church. Suddenly, tears just started pouring down my face. “What’s the matter?” my startled friend asked. Looking up toward
the front of the hall, I saw that Pres. Benson had walked onto the stage. Even without my knowing it or yet seeing him, the Spirit had borne witness to my spirit that I was in the presence of the Lord’s anointed. What a blessing and an unforgettable experience!
I was a student at BYU, but went home to Salt Lake City for Christmas vacation in 1952. Our Stake Young Men-Gleaner group’s holiday activity was a caroling party. As a last-minute decision, we decided to go to President David O. McKay’s house and carol to him and his wife. We were delighted when both he and Emma, came out onto the porch to listen to us.
Besides Christmas songs, we asked what his favorite hymn was, and then we sang it to him: “O Say, What Is Truth.” Several years after my graduation, I worked for a time in the old Church Office Building on South Temple, and it was my privilege, on occasion, to walk in the door from the parking lot with President McKay. What a privilege that was, when he held the door open so I could go in first!
Once again, a Meridian post triggered something inside that I wanted to share. I was reading one of the experiences someone had at a BYU devotional with Spencer W. Kimball when the entire Marriott Center stood and went silent. The person couldn’t see the prophet, but they knew that he was in the room and they could feel it.
That is probably one of my very favorite things in life – the moment when the prophet or apostle walks in and you hear a silence and a pervasive hush falls upon the entire audience, be it a few hundred or (like I saw this weekend) 20,000. I love that feeling and I love that (at least in our church) this type of respect still exists in the world. Where else can you think of this respect being present? I remember feeling this at least in part at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I felt it at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and when I saw Muslims stopping from speeds of 65 MPH on a Jordanian highway to pull out their prayer-rug and pray as the sun went down over Amman.
This reminded me of one of the most powerful speeches that has been given.
It was President Gordon B. Hinckley in a speech called “Stand Up For Truth” given in 1996. He said:
I recently reread a statement given on this campus years ago by Charles H. Malik, then secretary general of the United Nations. He said:
I respect all men, and it is from disrespect for none that I say there are no great leaders in the world today. In fact, greatness itself is laughed to scorn. You should not be great today–you should sink yourself into the herd, you should not be distinguished from the crowd, you should simply be one of the many.
The commanding voice is lacking. The voice which speaks little, but which when it speaks, speaks with compelling moral authority–this kind of voice is not congenial to this age. The age flattens and levels down every distinction into drab uniformity. Respect for the high, the noble, the great, the rare, the specimen that appears once every hundred or every thousand years, is gone. Respect at all is gone! If you ask whom and what people do respect, the answer is literally nobody and nothing. This is simply an unrespecting age–it is the age of utter mediocrity. To become a leader today, even a mediocre leader, is a most uphill struggle. You are constantly and in every way and from every side pulled down. One wonders who of those living today will be remembered a thousand years from now–the way we remember with such profound respect Plato, and Aristotle, and Christ, and Paul, and Augustine, and Aquinas.
If you believe in prayer, my friends, and I know you do, then pray that God send great leaders, especially great leaders of the spirit. [Charles H. Malik, “Forum Address” (18 November 1975), BYU Studies 16, no. 4 (Summer 1976): 543 44]”
Our family got the rare and special honor to meet both Pres. & Sister Hinckley on Nov 18 of 2001, when Pres. Hinckley dedicated the Columbia River Temple in our area.
Background: As teens in the 70’s my wife to be and I had to travel ten hours to the Cardston AB temple; then in the 80’s it was four hours to the Seattle WA temple, then in the late 90’s it was two hours to the Spokane WA temple, now the Columbia River WA Temple would be within 20 minutes of our home. We have never dreamed we would be so close to a temple.
As they got off the Huntsman jet, and walked over the airport tarmac that cold, frosty Nov. morning, Pres. Hinckley, ever the gentlemen, first helped Sister Hinckley into one of the waiting cars. My wife got an extra treat and got to give sweet Sister Hinckley a hug as well.
We shook hands, and then President Hinckley took the time to personally greet and shake hands with every one of our 5 sons. We visited briefly and I thanked President Hinckley for deciding building a temple so close to our home, which would be the 3rd temple in WA state.
Pres. Hinckley smiled at me and said something I will never forget. He said: “Your thanks will be measured with the frequency of which you attend.” As he looked into my eyes, it was like looking into eternity.
At that moment, I made it a goal to attend the temple weekly. In the 8 years since the Columbia River temple was dedicated, and even with the demands on my time as a husband and father with five active sons, a busy career, and having various church callings at the ward and stake level thru the years, a local school board member, somehow I have been able to consistently attend the temple, nearly always every week.
What a blessing that weekly temple attendance has been in my life and in the life of our family.
I will be forever grateful to President Hinckley for talking that moment to minister to the one that cold frosty morning in November of 2001.
My first experience of meeting the prophet was the summer of 1947 in Bridger Valley, Wyoming. We were celebrating the 24th of July and President George Albert Smith and others were traveling the pioneer trail and stopped to visit our celebration.
He spoke at a meeting in the Lyman, Wyoming chapel and after the meeting he had all the primary children line up to shake hands with him. I was eight-years old and just baptized. I will never forget this tall thin man with a white beard bending over and holding my hands with both of his and looking me in the eyes with his piercing blue eyes and asking me questions. His image is still very real in my mind.
My second moving experience was singing with the combined choirs of BYU at General Conference. I sat on the front row of the alto section and when President David O. McKay came and sat down, he sat directly in front of me. I was afraid to sing at first but finally relaxed and let the music take over. After our first number, President McKay turned and smiled and made eye contact with all as he scanned the choir and said “Thank you, It was beautiful”. I knew instantly that he loved me and that he was a Prophet.
In 1960, my husband and I knelt across the altar in the Salt Lake Temple and we were sealed for time and eternity by Harold B. Lee. It has been a blessing for 50 years and I can still read his signature on our wedding certificate along with my father and father-in-law as witnesses. I have met all the Prophets since President George Albert Smith and have had my testimony of the gospel and of prophets grow from every experience. I know the gospel is true and it was restored by a prophet and that Thomas S Monson is a prophet leading the church today
Louise from southwest Wyoming
As a teenage convert in Arcata, California in the early to mid 1970’s, I participated in dance festivals (great times!). At the end of a regional festival held in Portland, Oregon, while all the dancers were still in formation, President Kimball walked onto the floor and stood just two rows from me. I remember how powerfully the Spirit witnessed to me of the divinity of his calling. I don’t remember anything he said, only the power of the Spirit. I was overcome with emotion, shown in profuse tears.
My name is Norberto Zanin da Silva (from Brazil). My brother was baptized in the Mormon Church and I was pretty upset. Being active as a Catholic, I decided to collect as much evidence as I could to convince him to come back to the Catholic Church. I contact the LDS sister missionaries with an excuse of being interested in the doctrine. I didn’t have an open heart or any intention of changing religions. In my mind I was in the true church. It was pretty hard to accept the veracity of the LDS church, but I ended up developing a strong testimony and was baptized in July of 1977.
After my mission, my ward was just by the Sao Paulo Temple (Ala do Caxingui) . One Sunday, just after the meetings, we heard that Pres. Kimball was on a special meeting in the temple and he was going to pass by the parking lot towards the church offices.
I thought to myself, “It will be cool to see the prophet.” There was not too many people there, but we were warned not to shake hands with him because he was ill. I didn’t mind following the recommendation. I just wanted to see him.
To my surprise when he showed up, he started shaking everyone’s hand. I thought, “Cool I’m going to shake the prophets hand.” I already had a testimony of the veracity of him being a prophet of God, and had not many expectations. To my surprise, when he shook my hand, I was filled with so much light and peace that it is hard to describe. I wasn’t prepared for that. That brief moment was choking, and I started to cry like a baby. A short inventory of my life came to my mind in a matter of fraction of seconds that urged me to step a little higher on a much faster speed. I know that he was a prophet, but I didn’t know that simple action could be so uplifting and strengthen my testimony.
Norberto Zanin da Silva
I had occasion to meet Pres. Henry B. Eyring in 1995, shortly before I decided to be baptized into the Church. A friend met my flight in the Salt Lake City airport and hustled me along the corridor, saying, “Hurry! There’s someone I’d like you to meet!” At the foot of the stairs, we met Pres. Eyring, who was coming down those stairs. My friend introduced me. The power of the spirit emanating from Pres. Eyring was so strong that I nearly sank to my knees. I will always treasure that experience.
Sugar Hill, GA
Last November my husband’s grandfather died at the age of 90. President Monson had served with Grandpa on a high council 50 years previously and so Pres. Monson came to the family viewing and funeral. He talked personally with so many family members; he was sweet and personable. He was standing up by the casket and the great-grandsons flocked to where he was. He stood there for several minutes talking and laughing with them. He acted like he had all the time in the world for these ten or so boys. He told them funny stories about Grandpa Layton and was so interactive. My favorite part was when he committed each of them to serve a mission and “high fived” them to seal the deal. I have two sons ages 9 and 11 and they were standing literally face to face with the prophet of God. It was an experience they will never forget!
I have a very special memory from my mission. It was April, 1974 and I was in Hawaii at the former Church College of Hawaii (now BYU-Hawaii) at the Language Training Mission that was there at the time. I was learning to speak Japanese. It was the week after General Conference and the new prophet, Spencer W. Kimball was to speak at the Laie, Hawaii stake conference. As missionaries we were able to attend the conference to hear the prophet speak.
After the conference, several of us were walking back to the LTM and were approaching the Aloha Center as a large car drove up. From a short distance we were able to see the people exiting the car and one of them was Spencer W. Kimball. The six of us ran over to meet him and to shake his hand. I remember that he shook my hand and then put his left arm around me as he shook the hands of the rest of the group. I remember that he only came to just above my shoulder but you could tell that he was truly a spiritual giant.
St. David, AZ
During the spring of 1953, just after the coronation of the current Queen Elizabeth of England, my mother gave birth to me on a USAF Air Base in Ruislip, England. At the time, the new British temple was about to be dedicated by then President David O. McKay. As a higher ranking officer in the USAF based in England, my father arranged for President McKay to have an audience with the Queen. (We always thought it was really arranging for her to have an audience with President McKay.)
As a result, President McKay asked what he could do for our family in return. My mother asked if he could give me my name and blessing before the temple dedication over which he was presiding. He gladly and graciously acquiesced. Before the dedication, the then temple president, President Reiser, arranged for some of the British people to meet David O. McKay. One of the little girls in the line to meet him was my sister, Rosanne (who went on to be first runner-up to Miss America in 1964). She waited patiently in line along with the rest of the children, and just as she got up to the front of the line, the brethren whisked President McKay away stating that he had a baby to bless before the temple dedication (me).
As President Reiser tells the story, President McKay was unusually quiet during the ride to the temple and seemed to be concerned about something. When asked about this, he replied, “I am afraid that I have disappointed a little English girl who waited patiently in line to shake my hand.” After reaching the temple grounds, still somewhat troubled, President McKay alighted from the car and immediately saw my sister, who ran to him to continue their association. He enfolded her in his arms and said, “There you are”! A few minutes later, I was privileged to have my name and blessing given to me by our dear Prophet, David O. McKay. I have enjoyed good health and innumerable blessings in my lifetime and find the words that he uttered that day as a constant comfort to me and my family.
Sharman Tueller, M.Ed.
Elder Thomas S. Monson wasn’t a prophet at the time but was serving in the Canada area and was just called as an apostle.
Our family lived in a small branch in Penticton, B.C. Canada. My dad was the branch president at the time. I was five-years old. It was at the time when we came back to church for sacrament meeting. President Monson came to our home for dinner between meetings. I drew a picture of a house and in sacrament meeting that afternoon, he talked about my drawing.
Quite a few years later, I saw him and talked with him and asked if he remembered my parents. He did. So sweet.
I was relatively a new convert when Pres. Kimball presided over an Area General Conference in the Philippines in 1977. It was held in the great 25,000-seat capacity Araneta Coliseum filled to the rafters by members and investigators.
As an usher during the conference, I sat on the aisle and offered a sincere prayer as Pres. Kimball gave his concluding remarks. I asked our Father in Heaven, “My Father, this is the first time in my life that I am privileged to see and listen to a man called a prophet. Is he really Thy prophet that Thou hath called in these latter-days?”
Suddenly I felt a burning sensation in my bosom; my view of the prophet was blurred by a well of tears that cascaded through my face, and my heart was shouting for joy praising God for this manifestation of the Spirit.
Through more than 35 years of being a member of this Church, my wife and I have always been active. And yet every time I share this story, I cannot help but cry as the same familiar Spirit bears testimony to my soul again, and again. God has restored His true church, through His prophets in these latter-days.
Flint River Ward
In spring of 1997, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to five missions in Southern California at the Glendale Stake Centre. In spring of 1997 I was preparing for my mission so I was at home. In August of 1998, I was on my mission in Southern California and guess where I served 9 months of my mission? Glendale. Guess who was in Winnipeg in August of 1998? President Gordon B. Hinckley! So I missed hearing and seeing him twice! No other Presidents of the Church have ever been to Winnipeg while serving as a President of the Church.
A few years ago my family and I joined the church after searching for many years. Elder Bednar was to speak at our Stake Conference (Kimball East Stake, Sunny Mesa Ward). On Saturday evening he asked us if we were afraid to look the bishop and his counselors in the eye, fearful that they would know what we were doing wrong.
On Sunday morning I had the honor of saying the opening prayer, as I walked past Elder Bednar, he said two short words, “Thank you”. The power, the energy behind those words carried more weight than anything I had ever heard in my life. It was like being struck with lightning.
As I sat down I realized, I had walked right past him and had NOT looked him in the eyes!
As the session came to an end, it was announced that while he would love to meet us each personally, his flight was leaving shortly after the session and they didn’t want to send him off without lunch. The thought that I hadn’t looked him in the eyes still weighed heavily upon my mind. I’d been asked to sit at the sacrament table, so had a 50/50 chance he would walk past me.
As the closing prayer ended, he stood up and much to my delight turned in my direction. To my even greater delight, he stopped and shook my hand and spoke with my family for a few moments, I couldn’t tell you what was said besides that first “thank you”, but I was blessed to hear a prophet of our Father speak in person, shake his hand and look him straight in the eyes, unafraid.
In February 1996 my husband and I visited friends in Salt Lake City. At the time, my husband was not a member of the Church, but loved to hear President Monson, then First Counselor in the First Presidency, speak at Conference. The mother of the friends we stayed with worked in the mission office at Church Headquarters and arranged for us to meet with President Monson! We were able to sit in his office for about an hour feeling his love, hearing his stories and receiving a promise that he, President Monson, would be honored to perform our sealing when that time came.
The following month, my husband did choose to join the Church, and we also received great news that we were finally expecting our first child! Over the next year, my husband and President Monson corresponded about all the wonderful changes occurring in our lives! Nine months later, Nathan Thomas was born and three more months later, my husband entered the temple to receive his endowments on April 2, 1997. And, sure to his promise, the following month on May 28, 1997 (our 3rd wedding anniversary) we traveled to Salt Lake City, to be sealed as a couple and a family in the Salt Lake Temple by President Monson!
We can testify that President Monson is now and has always been very concerned about “the one”. He is a great man of God.
Tami and Ken Maloney
Huntsville Alabama Stake
Living in Utah gives us many blessings of seeing a prophet and I have been fortunate to have had several encounters. The one that touches me the most happened in 1979. As a new member of the Church I moved to Utah because my family was against the Church and I cannot handle adversity well. It was easier to move 2200 miles away. I moved in with the cousin of a missionary in my ward and it was a blessing to be living in President Kimball’s Ward. I gave my first talk as a member of the Church in front of President Kimball. I literally could feel his presence as he walked in the room. I did not see him come in as I was speaking with several friends who came to hear me speak. I had such a burning in my body I turned around and there he was. When sacrament meeting was over, President Kimball took my hand in his and spoke to me, but I cannot tell you what he said because my heart was beating so hard, I could only hear it. Due to President Kimball’s health, I had many opportunities to see him in the months to follow, however, that first experience will always be very special in my heart.
I was about ten years old and President George Albert Smith was coming to stake conference in Cardston Alberta. I was recovering from a badly burned leg and had not been able to go to school for several weeks. My mother asked if I would like to go to stake conference to see and hear President Smith. I said yes and so we walked the five blocks to the stake centre.
When we arrived all of the seats were taken. My mother explained the my situation to an usher and he found me a seat at the back of the balcony in the old tabernacle. He was not able to find a seat for my mother. I have come close to being in the same room as almost every president since that time.
When the Washington temple was dedicated I had the privilege of sitting on the stand just a short distance from President Kimball.
When the Toronto temple was dedicated, I received a phone call at the end of the first dedicatory day asking my wife and I to be at the temple the next day at 1:00 o’clock, no explanation given. We arrived the next day at the appointed time and the temple secretary said “go on in President Hinckley is waiting for you”. We were totally surprised as we had not been prepared for this. Had we been told the day before who we were gong to meet, I am certain that we would have had a totally sleepless night.
After a few minutes of visiting with us, he interviewed me and set me apart as a sealer in the Toronto temple. It was and experience that I will always cherish.
3201 Corrigan Drive