Monday, June 1, 2015
As our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this good man who touched so many lives, I consider myself blessed to have been one of those people who walked away a better person after my own brief encounter with an apostle of the Lord.
I've been keeping a journal since I was thirteen. On May 3, 1997, I was twenty-two years old, living in Cedar City with no car, working part time at Arby's, going to school at Southern Utah University and preparing to put in my mission papers. I was struggling with the decision since I'd much rather be preparing for a temple wedding, anticipating creating an eternal family of my very own, with kids and everything, but with no prospects in sight, what's a sister to do?
I was also struggling with the wound in my heart after being sexually molested in 1995.
My stepfather, whom I refer to as "Dad" in my journal, is a good man and I'm grateful to have him in my life, but too often I find myself missing the father who gave up his own eternal family and yearning for a priesthood holder of my own; determined to break the Llewellyn cycle of divorce.
In 1997, as the oldest of five kids, I was the first one to leave the proverbial "nest" in La Verkin. The shock of leaving that comfortable home life was just plain HARD. I'm a homebody by nature and I missed hanging out with my siblings, eating dinner together, passing notes during sacrament meeting; just having people around who really knew me and cared about me.
I would like to share this excerpt from my journal about that special day when I was privileged to shake the hand of a general authority. (I'll never wash this hand again!)
May 12, 1997
Time can eventually heal most wounds, or at least scab them over so they're less noticeable. Wonderful things don't always happen, but, sometimes, the Lord does see fit to send somewhat moderate events into my life to let me know He hasn't completely forsaken me.
Going home and spending a nice, long, three day weekend among my family helped tremendously. I left early Thursday afternoon with Amy Picklesimer with whom I also returned with Sunday night.
During my stay, I went to St. George twice, saw Stacy (Stacy Snider was my roommate at Dixie in 1995) and went to church with my family.
I also attended the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert at the Dixie Center with Mom, Dad and Grandma. We gave them three standing ovations until the choir finally sang Battle Hymn of the Republic and it was wonderful. One day, I too will be among the members of that choir.
After the concert, Dad and I went down to the stage. Dad knew one of the artistic directors and Elder L. Tom Perry of the "Big 12" was also accompanying the choir on their bicentennial tour through Utah and some of us got to shake his hand! I was SO psyched. I was on cloud nine the whole way home and for several days afterward. I mean, this was my first time meeting any of the BIG CHURCH LEADERS.
He was awesome. Elder Perry even said he liked my necklace. (I just happened to be wearing my medallion that night!) He was very tall, too, just like in that picture where he's standing with all the other members of the twelve.
I actually got to shake his hand twice. After I returned back to where Dad was standing, to gloat about my thrilling meeting, he said he also wanted to talk to Elder Perry. As it turns out, Dad knew one of his sons when he lived and worked in the Salt Lake area before he married Mom.
Dad knows everybody!
Since I happened to be standing there, Elder Perry shook my hand and spoke to me AGAIN!
Whatever may befall me in this life, I will never turn my back on the gospel. I love being a member of this church. I love the gospel. I have to. I am, after all, a fifth generation Mormon with pioneer "Faith In Every Footstep" ancestors behind me.
I can't disappoint them.