No Missionaries, Please!
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“No Missionaries, Please!” Ensign, Feb. 1997, 71

No Missionaries, Please!

The name in the obituary column jumped out at me. A good friend, Herschel Bush, had died suddenly of a heart attack. I had often thought of him, but I had not seen him for more than a dozen years. I noted that he had been a high priest and that he had held many Church positions, including that of temple worker. I could see that the Lord had called home a faithful servant.

I remembered the first time I ever met Herschel Bush. My stake missionary companion, Dale T. Anderson, and I had been out visiting homes on a certain street in Salt Lake City. We had heard that there was one place where the man of the house did not appreciate being visited by Latter-day Saint missionaries. So when we came to the house, we considered skipping it.

As my companion and I talked it over, however, we decided that we had no right to deprive anyone of the message of the gospel. So we timidly knocked on the door.

A man responded and, through the screen door, gave us an angry stare. Unnerved, I nevertheless presented my message. He did not say anything but continued to stare at me for what felt like an eternity. All I could think of was to look back at him. My frightened face must have betrayed my inner fears.

Just as I was ready to break eye contact with his menacing stare, I saw the face on the other side of the screen break into a big smile. The man opened the screen door, stretched out one arm, and said, “Come in! You are the first pair of missionaries I haven’t thrown off my front porch!”

We taught and baptized Herschel Bush. Later he told us that when he opened the door that day, he’d had no intention of letting us in. Then, suddenly, he was touched by a strange feeling that caused him to change his mind.

I looked at the obituary again and wondered how it might have read if Brother Anderson and I had skipped his door that day out of fear. Instead, love and concern had opened our hearts to be guided by the Spirit, and my friend Herschel Bush had become a dedicated and faithful member of the Church.

Illustrated by Robert McKay