This week’s lesson
It was in the summer of 2005 or 2006 in Temple Square when two sister missionaries from Italy explained the gospel to an Italian man and his wife. They showed the couple the grounds around the Salt Lake Temple. All too soon, the man and his wife had to leave.
At this time, we don’t know who those sisters were. They were, however, doing the happy work that all missionaries do, discussing the gospel of Jesus Christ with all willing to hear, comporting themselves with dignity and honor and joy. These sisters didn’t know then the huge impact their interaction would have.
A Friendship Born in DC
I heard about the sisters from Elder Gordon H. Smith, who is spending the weekend presiding over the Stake Conference in Annandale, Virginia. Though Elder Smith claims to have repented of his political past, he was a U.S. Senator from January 1997 to January 2009.
One day then-Senator Smith received a call from Salt Lake City. A General Authority from Europe would be in the DC area to assist in reorganizing a stake. Would Senator Smith be willing to give this General Authority a tour of the capitol?
The General Authority was a fellow named Dieter Uchtdorf. Senator Smith thoroughly enjoyed the hours they spent, impressed by the enthusiasm Elder Uchtdorf had for history and other aspects of the United States.
Can You Help?
In 2006, a few years later, Senator Smith’s assistant poked her head into his office. She explained there was a fellow on the phone from Salt Lake. But she didn’t think the Senator wanted to take this call.
“What’s the fellow’s name?” Senator Smith asked.
“Something German. Dieter Uchtdorf, I believe.”Continue reading
Here is the link to my latest blog on the CFM New Testament lessons:
I live far from Utah, but Joy Jones (current General Primary President) is sister to my sister-in-law. In this time of transition, some small glimpses of inner machinations have become apparent, despite the appropriate caution and probity exercised by anyone in such a rarified position.
My husband visited in Utah this past week due to family health concerns. While there, my beloved had dinner with Joy’s sister, who is married to a Stout.
Joy’s sister loves Joy, and had eagerly anticipated Joy’s release from one of the General Boards. The sister was very upset when Joy became a member of a General Presidency, because where others see prestige and access, this sister knew that her sister would become even more tasked in ways that would preclude many family activities.
It’s been good to hear that this family sacrifice has been “worth it.”
Someone who presumed women in Church leadership are mere token participants asked if Joy and her female colleagues ever meet with the First Presidency. Joy’s reported answer?
In another anecdote, Joy was told that President Nelson wished her to participate in a committee.
When Joy arrived, the four individuals in the room (all male), were surprised and wondered aloud if Joy was in the right place. She assured them she had been assigned to participate in the committee. Shortly thereafter, President Nelson arrived. He affirmed Joy was there at his request and acknowledged the other committee members had not received prior notice of this addition.
Then President Nelson said, “I’m going to do a Moses…” He asked the four men to shift so that Joy could sit in their midst. Then President Nelson addressed Joy, letting her know that he expected to hear her opinions on all the matters they would be addressing. If she didn’t offer an opinion, President Nelson assured her he would be asking for her opinion.
Now, I’m telling you these things as they were related by my husband, who heard the incident recounted by Joy’s sister and brother-in-law. I missed the family gathering where my husband met Joy, so she hasn’t ever met me. Yet history is often not reported real time by those who are direct participants. Time that could be used for such real time reporting is more appropriately spent with family over good food amidst discussion of family-specific concerns.
I look forward to a time when those involved with recent decisions might have a chance to explain the inspirations and processes involved. Until then, these tales delighted me, and I felt others might find delight and inspiration therein as well.