“Ellen Ditty of Belfast,” Ensign, Mar. 1973, 68–69
Ellen Ditty of Belfast
“I didn’t get the money by running here and there for collections, because I didn’t believe in that. But I do believe that if you have it to give, you just give it.”
And give, she did. Sister Ellen Ditty made the extraordinary contribution of 250 pounds (approximately $600) to the building fund of the Cavehill Ward in Ireland. This was as much as or more than that of any other single contributor.
She began by collecting various items from members and nonmembers of the Church and then selling them for a small profit to whoever would buy.
“I would just let them have whatever they wanted at reasonable cost,” she says, “and I put all the money I got in bottles.” When she had collected 250 pounds, she donated it to the building fund.
In the following paragraphs, Ellen tells the story of her conversion to the Church over fifty years ago:
“I’ve lived in Belfast all my life and have been a member of the Church for fifty-three years. Years ago, a cousin who lived on Old Park Road was trying to get my sister to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Then there was another Latter-day Saint cousin who used to run about with us. Well, this cousin sent my sister tracts, and my sister was giving me tracts.
“Two years after Mother died, my sister accepted the gospel. My sister was a great member of the Church. She was very faithful, and she took charge of the five of us children. That was in 1910.
“What our townspeople thought of the Latter-day Saints back then was very, very bad. In fact, if you were a Mormon, people avoided you.
“In 1918 I was baptized. Elder Stephen L Richards of the Council of the Twelve was visiting for conference. He lifted me up in his arms and said to my sister, ‘This little girl will have to be administered to, because she has very bad sight.’
“I want to tell you, I had bad sight. But Elder Richards hadn’t been told anything about it. He was just inspired. So I was blessed. My sight was restored, and I am a great believer.
“Personally, I have a mind of me own. There’s nobody can force the issue on me. My sister didn’t try, for she knew she couldn’t do it. So I didn’t go to church for a few years. But I had another healing.
“I had tuberculosis. I had been ill for six years. In fact, I wasn’t allowed out until I was fourteen years old. A doctor took me to get the free treatment for tuberculosis patients. Then he told my sister to take me home and to be good to me, for, he said, ‘You’ll not have her very long.’
“One night at home I was really tired and in great pain. It was an MIA night, but I hadn’t been attending church. This was when I was eighteen years old.
“I said to my sister, ‘I’m going to MIA tonight; I’m going to get a blessing.’ She said, ‘If that’s your wish, you can go ahead.’
“Well, strange as it may seem, I got worse instead of better. So I asked for another blessing; it was still the same.
“My sister told me to do as the leper man in the Bible, who was told to go and cleanse himself seven times in the water. He went down six, but it wasn’t any good. Then he went down the seventh time, and he was all right. My sister told me that my faith was being tried to see if it was strong. Well, I was blessed again—and I was healed. I have been well from that time to this. The doctor sent for me to see why I didn’t come back for treatments. And I said, ‘I’m all right; there’s nothing wrong with me.’
“He examined me and said, ‘There’s not a sign or trace of tuberculosis in you. All you want now is to go home and get a good hardy day’s work to do.’
“And I worked for thirty-five years.
“The Savior had a purpose in sparing my life. And my testimony is so strong that I can’t lose it.”