“A Light in the Blizzard,” Ensign, Jan. 1991, 58–59
The blizzard in rural Wales, Utah, had begun that January morning in 1927 and had continued throughout the day.
As darkness approached, I hurriedly did the farm chores after school. I was fourteen, and the death of my father the year before had left his sons with heavy responsibilities that even a blizzard couldn’t change.
When I had finished my chores, my mother called to me. She was deeply concerned that evening about the safety of my younger brother, Lawrence, who was herding sheep and was camped in a sheepherder’s wagon three miles from town. I offered to check on him, but Mom was reluctant, fearing that I would get lost in the blizzard.
I argued that I could make the trip safely. There was a lane with a fence on both sides for nearly half the distance to Lawrence’s camp. Then, even though the lane opened up into a 640-acre field of brushland, I could find my way by staying close to the fence line and traveling north. This would bring me to the approximate location of the camp.
With considerable anxiety and apprehension, mother agreed that I should check on my brother.
Because of the deep drifts, my progress through the lane was slow, and my face became numb from the wind. When the lane ended, I decided to walk twenty or thirty feet parallel to the fence line, where the snow was not so deep.
I frequently stopped to make sure I could see the fence. Each time I had reasonable assurance that it was there, but in the darkness, it is easy to think you see something that isn’t there. To be completely sure, finally turned at a right angle, toward where I thought the fence was, and traveled in that direction. But I could not find the fence.
I was completely lost. Even though I thought I knew the area well, I could identify no landmarks. As I kept walking I became confused and frightened, and I fell down many times in the blizzard. Finally, while on my knees, I talked with the Lord and asked in all humility for him to show me the way. My troubles didn’t end suddenly, but I felt my prayers had been heard.
As I resumed walking, I noticed that all the brush had disappeared, and it was very slick under my feet. I knew that there was only one opening in the fence, located in a corner of the open field. The opening led to the edge of the Wales reservoir, and somehow I had passed through this small open space. I was walking on the frozen reservoir!
Fear struck me harder than before. How thick was the ice? Would it support me? Fortunately, the ice held, and I quickly got off of it. But how could I find my way?
And then I saw it—a most beautiful bright light in the distance. While I made my way toward the light, its steady brilliance didn’t change. I later learned that the light was the small kerosene lamp inside Lawrence’s camp wagon.
I soon arrived at my brother’s camp. Lawrence had a warm fire going in the stove, and he was comfortable. I asked him why he had left the wagon door open on such a terribly stormy night. He said he didn’t know why. But I did.