“They Didn’t Give Up,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, 69
I’m deeply touched by the spirit of this building, by the presence of a prophet of the Lord, by the presence of the members of the General Authorities, and by your presence. I pray that I will find words to express my feelings in this moment.
I’ve had many blessings in my life—spiritual blessings. I had good parents, a good education, material blessings like a good home. I always had enough to eat, always a bed to sleep in, and many, many other blessings. I had the opportunity of working in business capacities, and in this capacity, of seeing the world, seeing many people. I have had many opportunities, but the greatest blessing that has come to me came through humble missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I want to express gratitude for all that I have to these young men that came to our home—not only that they came, but that they had love enough not to give up. I was a very hard case. I had thought that through my education, and through my background, and my history, and my family that I would be superior. I felt pity for the missionaries. I said, “Well, this fine young man, with such a poor message!” They didn’t give up. They came again and again and again. And I felt an authority radiating through them that was stronger and more than all the knowledge that I had in my previous life—the authority of the true love of Christ. I want to give thanks to this generation of missionaries who did not give up and to the mission president who had concern enough not to withdraw the missionaries from me. It was Elder Theodore M. Burton. I will never forget that.
I will tell you that I’m deeply convinced that this is in my life the most important blessing I have ever received. It changed my life totally. I began to realize that a man can know nothing important in this world unless he has knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ restored by his prophet, Joseph Smith, and follow-through by a living prophet, Spencer W. Kimball. Without this message I would not have a family like I have now. I would not have the love for my lovely wife that I have now, and I would not be able to be so proud of my children.
Our oldest son is now another young man serving as a missionary in Manchester, England, and we are so proud of him. And a second boy is preparing to become a missionary next year.
And now this call. It is beyond understanding for a human being. I need all your prayers. I promised the Lord when I went into the baptismal font and later in the temple that he could count on me. And I want to tell President Kimball that he can count on me. I have no other desire than to be a servant of the Lord. In his name, amen.