The Spirit Changed the Subject
January 1987

“The Spirit Changed the Subject,” Ensign, Jan. 1987, 45

The Spirit Changed the Subject

While serving my mission in 1941, I was called to be the president of the Scottsbluff District in western Nebraska. On one particular Sunday, I had been asked to speak in sacrament meeting and had prepared a talk on prayer.

As I got into my subject, a feeling came over me that I should instead talk about the gift of the Holy Ghost. I didn’t give in to the impulse immediately, reasoning that I had prepared to talk about prayer and that was what I was going to do. Moments later, the impression came even stronger. Finally, I acknowledged to the audience what was happening and changed my subject.

Immediately I knew why. Sitting about five rows back was the Pitchford family, including their nonmember husband and father, Malcolm Pitchford. When I saw him, I knew in an instant that it was he to whom I must speak, although I didn’t know why.

When the meeting was over, Malcolm hurried over to tell me that he now understood a doctrine that had been troubling him for so many years. He said he was ready to be baptized.

Later that night, Sister Pitchford told me that although Malcolm had always been a good husband and father and had been supportive of her church activities, he had not been ready to join the Church himself. She said that earlier in the afternoon, she had prayed earnestly that Malcolm would go with them to sacrament meeting and that somehow his heart would be touched. Some days later I had the privilege of baptizing Malcolm in the North Platte River and later, when my mission was over, of going with the Pitchford family to the Salt Lake Temple where they were sealed for time and all eternity.

  • Julian C. Lowe is director of the Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center. He and his wife, Nola, live in Mesa, Arizona.

Illustrated by Mark Buehner