“The Office Is Ordinary—The Teacher Isn’t,” Ensign, Jan. 1975, 65
It looks like a fairly ordinary institute office—filing cabinets, stacks of papers, well-thumbed scriptures with colorful underlinings and a jungle of marginal notations. But the teacher sitting behind the desk is Phyllis A. Roundy, trim and energetic, and the only woman teaching institute full time in the Church.
She came to the institute at the LDS Business College in 1970 after seven busy years in the seminary program at Salt Lake City’s Skyline High School. The phone call offering her the job came as a shock, only a week before she was supposed to go to New Zealand on an MIA General Board assignment, and she went to a colleague for advice. He grinned. “If you don’t want any growth or any challenges or any new experiences, tell them I’ll take it.”
Sister Roundy, currently serving on the Instructional Development Committee of the Church, has never married and thus has a particularly strong message for girls who are worried about finding their eternal companions.
A generous and affectionate woman who loves children, she has not found being single an easy life, but “I have done a lot of reading and studying about this and realize that no blessing will be withheld from any righteous single woman. I have prayed a lot, gone to the temple often, and read my patriarchal blessing, and now I’ve lost the anxiety. I am trying to prepare myself the best I can so that the Lord can place me anywhere he wants in his kingdom. Most of us do not get the Lord’s perspective of what is in store for us.”
Sister Roundy’s trust in the Lord has been demonstrated over the course of her life where she has seen herself prepared each time just “one step ahead” for her next mission.
Some of this preparation has included going on a mission, working her way through school, discovering while she was teaching physical education that her girls needed more than bodily exercise, taking seminary teacher classes even though there seemed to be no opportunity to teach, and writing her master’s thesis in one month, even though she was ill.
“I tell my students that if you let the Lord direct you, he won’t come a minute too late or a second too soon,” she said, telling how many of these decisions had been made with no knowledge of why she was being guided in the directions she was taking. “My testimony is that whenever you put the Lord first, everything else will fall into, place.” Lavina Fielding, Associate Editor