Surrounded by Swearing
October 2001

“Surrounded by Swearing,” Ensign, Oct. 2001, 65–66

Surrounded by Swearing

My wife and I were relieved when the call came to board the bus. We were on our way home to Canada, and while waiting in the bus station we had endured overhearing all kinds of foul language from people around us. After being seated on board, we felt happy to be leaving behind the scene of swearing.

As the bus pulled away, however, disappointment fell heavy on our hearts. From the seats behind us came many of the same words we had heard in the bus station. The filthy comments seemed to pound on my ears. I was getting frustrated and wasn’t sure what to do.

Finally, I closed my eyes and said a prayer in my heart.

Just as I finished my prayer, my wife turned to me and surprised me with the following question: “How do you recognize the promptings of the Spirit?”

We began to discuss ways that the Spirit of the Lord spoke to us personally. This soon led to our talking about examples from the scriptures of how the Spirit had touched others. As we discussed these things, I could feel the Spirit there with us, and it was wonderful!

Then something interesting happened. The gentleman sitting in front of us stood and turned around. He was rather tall and had the appearance of a businessman returning from a long trip. I worried that perhaps our conversation had spurred him to challenge us and our beliefs.

But the challenge did not come. Instead he introduced himself and apologized for interrupting us. Then he asked us, “What religion are you?”

When we told him, he said, “I thought so.” He explained that he had met some members of the Church before and was quite impressed. “Why are you the way you are? The members of your church always seem to be so excited to go to church. What makes you so excited to live as you do?”

Recognizing a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel, my wife and I spoke to him of the Restoration and soon gave him a Book of Mormon. We expressed our love for the book, explained the Prophet Joseph Smith’s calling, and spoke of the Savior’s divine mission. Then we told him about Moroni’s promise found near the end of the Book of Mormon.

It was exciting to see his interest grow. He was enthusiastic and sincere about reading the book. We invited him to pray about it, and he said he would. Again I felt the strong presence of the Spirit. Telling our new friend about the missionaries, we encouraged him to meet with them.

Before long we reached our friend’s stop. He was going home to his family. We bid him farewell and promised to keep in touch.

After our conversation ended, I sat for a moment and then realized something: the swearing around us had stopped. In fact, everything around us was silent.

The power of prayer and the influence of the Holy Spirit had transformed a distressing situation into one in which the gospel could be shared. I am thankful that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers and that He is willing to bless us with His Spirit to guide, strengthen, and comfort us.

  • Douglas J. Vermeeren is a member of the Calgary 14th Ward, Calgary Alberta Stake.