Friend to Friend

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“Friend to Friend,” Friend, Jan. 1985, 6

Friend to Friend

Bishop Victor L. Brown

Reminiscing about his childhood, Bishop Brown said, “I was born a long time ago in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. Our home had no central heating, only a wooden cookstove. I remember when we dug a basement under the house and installed a furnace. It had no heat ducts, just a floor radiator in the middle of one room. We tried to heat the whole house from that one room, and I remember how wonderful it was to stand over that single register on cold winter days.

“As soon as I was old enough to milk a cow, that became one of my chores. I didn’t particularly enjoy that job, but it was a very good lesson in responsibility. We always had a cow, and I milked it every night and morning. I can remember milking it when the temperature was forty degrees below zero. When it was that cold, you could hear the crunch of the snow for a long distance when somebody walked on it. If you touched a piece of metal with your bare fingers, your skin would stick to the metal. You only did that once.”

The greatest joy of his childhood, Bishop Brown recalled, was his horse. “I always had a horse from the time I was quite small. I was the oldest of three boys in our family, and we had lots of fun together. One day the three of us rode to town bareback on my horse. My father had given each of us some cap pistols, and on the way home the horse stepped on an old wagon rim while crossing a stream. The rim flipped up and hit the horse. He reared up, and we all slid of his back into the water. Our pistol caps were ruined. The horse walked out and waited quietly for us on the bank.”

Bishop Brown’s interest in and love for horses has continued throughout his life. “When I became a member of the Presiding Bishopric,” he said, “I bought a horse, even though I didn’t have a place in town to keep her. Over the years she has had several colts that I have given away. The last colt has been trained by a lovely fifteen-year-old girl and has become a prizewinner. I had not given him an official name, so she picked the name ‘Your Eminence the Bishop.’

“My father was a man of absolute integrity, and his reputation was unsullied. He was a very hard worker, and I remember him as being quite serious. My mother was a very thoughtful, considerate woman, loved by all the neighbors. She liked to do things for people, and she was a happy person.”

After a recent trip to Cardston, Bishop Brown said, “I attended sacrament meeting there in the old ward building of my childhood for the first time in over fifty years. There were two or three people still in that ward who had lived there when I was growing up. I remember sitting down on the front row in that chapel when I was a deacon. “The Church has always had a profound influence on me. I remember being sealed to my parents in the temple as if it were yesterday. It was one of the highlights of my childhood. The Alberta Temple was built when I was still a boy, and I think that my parents, my brother, and I were some of the first to be sealed there. I worried as a child that my parents might die whenever they went on a long trip and that we wouldn’t have the opportunity to be sealed together. I can remember standing in front of my grandmother’s bay window, crying when my parents left on a trip. When the sealing took place, I was very relieved and felt at peace. I also remember being baptized in a river.

“Sister Brown and I have been blessed with five children, and with twenty-two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren who range in age from three months to twenty-two years. We love them very much and want them to be happy, just as we want children everywhere to be happy.

“One of the first and most important things for children to learn so that they can be happy is how to pray to Heavenly Father. Prayer will help them to understand that He is our spiritual Father, and that He loves us very much. In the Bible, Jesus said: ‘Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt. 19:14). To me this shows the love Heavenly Father and Jesus have for all children. The Savior wanted to be with them and bless them.

“Heavenly Father has permitted us to come to this earth so that we can grow. As we grow and learn from our parents, our brothers and sisters, our teachers, and others, we can learn how to be kind and thoughtful to those around us. By helping them to be happy, we become happy ourselves.

“As we grow older and learn the difference between right and wrong, Heavenly Father has given us the wonderful blessings of baptism and confirmation into His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After our baptism we are responsible for all of our actions. It is very important for us to understand this, if we are to be happy.

“I pray that as each of you is taught the gospel, you will have a feeling of love in your heart for Jesus and for Heavenly Father and that you will live worthily to return to Them one day.”