“Jessica, Brother Law, and the Book of Mormon,” Friend, Oct. 1996, 18–19
Brother Law has lived in our community for thirty-six years. For the past thirteen years, after his wife passed away, he has lived alone. He is a kind gentleman and a good neighbor, but just as his large garden and row of wild yellow rose bushes shield his house, there has been an unseen barrier between him and his neighbors.
The hand of fellowship, and an offer to include him in Church activities, has often been extended, but he has always politely but firmly refused.
The neighborhood children have always loved him, but a few months ago a special friendship grew between him and nine-year-old Jessica, who lives across the street.
Worried about his being lonesome, she often went to pay a visit. One day she noticed a Book of Mormon on his shelf. It was one left years ago by the missionaries. Jessica picked it up and announced that she was going to read to him some of her favorite scriptures.
Amused at first, Brother Law listened only to be nice to Jessica. Then the spirit of that great book began to warm his heart. He started looking forward to her reading it to him.
In the past when missionaries had come to his door, he had politely told them that he was not interested. But one day after Jessica had begun reading to him, the missionaries came again and he listened to them!
Jessica’s friend, Kristen, invited him to go to church with her family. As Sunday approached, however, he told her that he had nothing to wear and that he didn’t feel very well.
The following Sunday, Jessica invited him to join her family at church. When he again tried the excuse of nothing to wear, Jessica told him, “You can wear one of Daddy’s shirts.”
Brother Law chuckled—Jessica’s father’s shirts were several sizes larger than his.
Not one to give up, Jessica told her mom the problem, and the next week he was presented with an early Christmas present, a new white shirt. By this time he was running out of excuses, but he tried once more by telling Jessica he had no pants. She simply replied, “Oh, you can wear most any pants—just make sure they don’t have paint on them.”
He didn’t have a tie, either, but one of Dad’s was promptly produced, and they headed for the chapel. After seventy-one years of not going to church, Brother Law was very nervous. Once he was in the chapel, though, he felt warm and comfortable.
The next hurdle came when the missionaries approached him about baptism. He had decided the Church was a family church and so it was really no place for him.
The following Sunday one of the Relief Society sisters gave a talk at ward conference on how we are all brothers and sisters in the gospel. As she talked, the Spirit touched his heart and he realized that he really could be a part of the ward “family.” Besides, he recalled, all the children in the neighborhood were already calling him Grandpa or Brother Law.
This story has a wonderful ending, or should I say beginning. Today when you look at Brother Law, he literally glows with the Spirit. On April 10, 1994, he was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.