“Save Kathy,” Ensign, July 2010, 50–51
In January 1976, I received a telephone call from a friend who worked for social services. He asked if my wife and I would be willing to take in a foster child. At the time we had two young children of our own, but we agreed to open up our home to 17-year-old Kathy.
Soon after arriving in our home, Kathy asked if she could attend church with us. Of course we said yes, and soon Kathy was attending church regularly. Many of Kathy’s friends from her former congregation noticed her absence, and they were unhappy to find out that she was attending the LDS Church.
One day after school, Kathy told us that her former church was planning to stage a “Save Kathy” night for their youth ministry meeting. Kathy asked if I would accompany her to that meeting and help her defend the Church. I reluctantly agreed because although I didn’t want to argue with her friends about doctrinal differences, I knew that she didn’t yet know enough about the Church to defend it. I decided to bring another guest, Richard Jones, who had just returned from his mission.
The day of “Save Kathy” night was a day of fasting and prayer for all of us. I prayed that the Spirit would be present at the meeting and that there would be no contention.
When we arrived at the church that evening, we sensed some animosity, but the youth minister welcomed us warmly and invited us to tell the group about the Church and our beliefs. As Richard shared what was then the first missionary discussion and taught about the Restoration, the 15 or so young people in the room listened carefully. Even the youth minister was captivated.
We then spent the rest of the evening answering questions and having a wonderful discussion about the gospel. The animosity we had felt at first quickly subsided as we calmly explained our beliefs. There was respect on both sides. The Holy Ghost filled the room as we shared our testimonies and responded to questions.
At the end of the discussion, the minister thanked us for coming. Then, as we turned to leave, a young woman rose and said she wanted to tell us something. She said that before we came, she didn’t think Mormons were Christians, but now she believed we might have been better Christians than she was.
We could not have scripted a better ending to our discussion. I know the meeting would never have gone so well if we had not fasted and prayed, pleaded for the Spirit to be present, and petitioned the Lord that there be no contention. Only with the Holy Spirit present can we be effective in sharing the gospel message.