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Looking Up to the Brethren

My family was on Temple Square during a visit with Utah relatives, when suddenly, my mother grabbed me by the shoulders, and propelled me with alarming urgency towards the Tabernacle. An old man was moving away from an open door there and people were gathering around him. With a degree of determination and boldness uncharacteristic of my mother, she shoved through the crowd until I was standing at his feet.

He looked down at me. His gentle eyes never left mine as my mother panted, “President Tanner, THIS is my daughter, Ramona.” It was certain that I had never heard that kind of awe and pride in her voice.

I was so young, I don’t remember then if he said anything. I don’t remember if I said anything. What I remember most, is how important it was to my mother.

Why she hustled me into that opportunity -- just so completely unlike her to be aggressive or assertive in any situation – baffled me for years. Sifting again and again through the details, I find it stirring that she presented me – not herself – to this Apostle of the Lord. He never heard her name or shook her hand.
Years later, my father was cooking a meal for a party of stake leaders and visiting authorities in-between sessions of stake conference. Someone (probably me) came up with the idea of the Beehive class acting as servers at the sit-down affair.

My best friend and I assigned ourselves to the “head” table. Sometime during the course of our labors, President Ezra Taft Benson noticed my name tag. He took me by the hand and surprised everyone as he began to sing the old ballad:

Ramona, when day is done I hear you call -
Ramona, I see you by the waterfall...

My dad came out of the kitchen for the first time that day. It was certain I had never seen that kind of awe and pride in his face.

I don’t remember now if President Benson sang the whole song, or only a few lines. I don’t remember if I blushed or giggled. What I remember most is how important it was to my father. Why he stood in that doorway and made no move to insert himself into the situation – just so completely unlike him to remain in the background in any situation - has baffled me for years. Sifting through the details, I am touched that he allowed me – not himself – to receive attention from the prophet of the Lord.

Elder Neal A. Anderson once gave an address called “Teaching Our Children to Love the Prophets” in which he recalls standing with his parents in a long line, awaiting the chance to shake an apostle’s hand. “I have never forgotten the feelings I had," he said, "as I met the Lord’s servants.” 

I also treasure my youthful ‘close encounters’ with the prophets, but even more impressive to me as a child was how my PARENTS looked up to the Brethren.

Mona shares and teaches romance at Mona's Musings with a Hint of Romance. She is the mother of four plus three and grandmother of two and the award-winning author or With Mine Own Hand: The Musical Account of Nephi. For a daily Hint of Romance (every wife needs one) go to Mona's Musings on Facebook.

Photos from Dreamstime

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