Quote of the Week

"I assure you that if you have to wait even until the next life to be blessed with a choice companion, God will surely compensate you."
President Ezra T. Benson, To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church, 1988.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Meeting Elder Perry



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.

2 comments:

  1. I read your article in the DN , then read your blog entries, to try to understand more about you. I didn't want to get involved with the comment section of the Dn.
    I truly feel for the experiences and disappointments that you have had to go through.
    A short story:
    My sister was an English major in college. She then worked at the DN, then Cornell University in New York, and came back to work for the Church Magazines, and finally for Deseret Book. She worked her way up until she was made vice-president. She hired Sheri Dew (who was like her in many ways) to replace her and then she retired
    She was very intelligent and few men were her equal intellectually. She was single until she was age 75, when she married a longtime male friend in the Bountiful Temple that she had known for 45 years.
    At that time, she had beginning stages of Alzheimers, and had to be taken care of in a nursing home. Her husband came every day to visit and have lunch and dinner with her, even though she quickly lost the ability to remember or communicate. She died about 2 ½ years later.
    I know that this is not how she planned or wanted her life to be, even as few people knew what she felt. She had her more than her share of trials with all of it, but she persevered and happiness came when she least expected it.
    I just have to let you know that that more people count on and look up to you in your sphere than you know. We all have unthoughtful people cross our paths, and family that have done and said things that hurt badly, but that does not have to define you. The Savior's atonement does not just cover sins. He is there for all our hurts and disappointments as well and will help heal them. He understands them like no one else ever could and is there for all of us who come to Him.
    I appreciate you reminding all of us that we seldom understand each others histories and hope you will continue to use your talents, education and experience to bless others, and to find your true path in the mists of this world.

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  2. I am nearly 65, and I am a single, life-long Mormon. I have two degrees from BYU and I taught high school English for 30 years. I have been retired for over 11 years, and I guess I should be more grateful than I am for a pension and social security that keep me afloat. I have had some amazing adventures in life, but there have been some terrible trials too, like there are for everyone. I have had my heart ripped out and broken by a few men. One near-miss decided I wasn't good enough for him, then proceeded to get married, have five children, then decided he was gay and he walked out on his wife. I should be happy that I avoided THAT marriage. (Gay men seem to be a theme of my dating life, which has ended.)

    You have expressed many of the feelings and thoughts that I have had--like why can't I just get to the next life and meet the man the prophets have promised? If God can do anything, why can't he provide temple marriage opportunities in this life for those of us who yearn for one?

    About now, I should be telling you to tie a knot at the end of your rope and hang on, but it IS possible to do so. I made it to the social security/Medicare age without a spouse and if I lived to tell about it, you can too. I truly understand the pain of watching younger siblings marry and have children, then see those children have children.

    I skipped a cousin's son's wedding reception tonight because I just couldn't do it to myself (although I sent a gift.) 25 years ago, I went to my cousin's wedding in the temple and it was VERY painful. Now his son got married! Another cousin's husband tells me to cheer up, I will have a wedding in the next life. I'm dying to ask him if he wanted to live this long without the blessings of wife, children, grandchildren, etc. After the last temple wedding I attended (a nephew), I swore off weddings and receptions and gave notice to a well-meaning sister-in-law who said something about how she is so glad I am around for her teenagers' future weddings.

    I am rambling (you'd never knew I taught writing), but I am hanging onto the promises of the prophets and the Savior's atonement to soothe the pain we older singles face in this fallen world. I'll follow your blog. Maybe I'll start my own and try to be cheerful!

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