“Primary Changed Our Lives,” Ensign, Mar. 1986, 46
Primary has changed my life. It has changed my marriage, and it has changed my family.
Although my family roots go back to the early days of the Church, I didn’t have a testimony at the time I married and chose to marry a nonmember. It wasn’t until our daughter was born that I began to realize the importance of religion. But when I approached my husband about giving the children some religious training, I discovered that he was bitter toward the Church. He informed me that the children could be baptized in any church but mine.
A few years passed, and though I yearned to take the children to church I held off to prevent problems at home. Finally, when the children reached Primary age, I decided to attend church with them. We found that my husband could accept the children attending Primary meeting during the week, but sacrament meetings were off limits.
Then I was called to be a Primary teacher. Feeling the need to be a good example to the children I taught, I determined to attend sacrament meeting regularly. This, and the truths I learned as I prepared my Primary lessons, sparked the beginning of my testimony. I began to read the scriptures, and prayer became a part of my life.
When it came time for our children to be baptized, my testimony had grown enough to give me the courage to approach my husband about letting the children be baptized into the Church. He would not have given permission, but by then the children wanted to join the Church as much as I wanted them to, and he gave in.
After that my heart would break as I watched Cindy and Jeff yearning to share their spiritual experiences with their father. But he didn’t want to hear the Church mentioned in his presence. The children and I had to reserve our gospel discussion for those times when we were alone.
Twenty years passed. Our Cindy married in the temple. Our son Jeff prepared to go on a mission. And nine-year-old Katy was in Primary with me. My husband, Lyle, still had the same outspoken sentiments for the Church.
One day the missionaries called at our home and asked to see my husband. I told them where he was, and then left for a Primary meeting. I was half an hour early to the meeting, but I didn’t want to stay around for the fireworks at home.
As it turned out, there were fireworks—but of a different sort than I had anticipated. My husband was touched by the Spirit, and on 19 April 1979 our son Jeff baptized him and conferred upon him the Aaronic Priesthood. A short time later, Lyle received the Melchizedek Priesthood and was able to ordain Jeff an elder. On 19 April 1980, we went to the Idaho Falls Temple and were sealed as a family for all eternity.
My husband has taught the Gospel Doctrine class in our ward and is now the first counselor in our bishopric. Each Tuesday morning he awakens at 4:30 and takes me to the temple, where he serves as a veil worker. In all those years I yearned to go to the temple I never dreamed I would be one of those privileged few who could attend the temple regularly. Jeff has served a mission in Australia, and Cindy—a beautiful homemaker, mother, and wife—is active in her ward. Katy, fifteen, now reaps the benefit of an active, spiritual father.
I know that I would not be experiencing the joy I now feel if it hadn’t been for Primary. My Primary service was a crutch to lean on while I learned the gospel and gained the strength to stand on my own. For all eternity I’ll be thankful for the Primary organization and for the sisters who taught me, who had patience with me when I was weak, and who were always there as an example for me to look up to.