Friend to Friend

“Friend to Friend,” Friend, Aug. 1998, 6

Friend to Friend

Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read (Isa. 34:16).

When I was only four years old, I had pneumonia. Although I don’t remember much about that illness, two things are as vivid to me now as they were when they happened all those years ago.

I remember my mother holding me close, bundled up in a blanket, as we drove to the hospital on a very cold, snowy day. I remember the warmth and love that I felt from her.

And I remember my father giving me a priesthood blessing. I don’t remember the words, but I remember the feeling of strength and of assurance that all would be well. That’s where my testimony really started.

I had no idea how sick I was, but later my parents told me how very worried and concerned they had been, for I almost died. After spending two weeks under an oxygen tent in the hospital, however, I got better.

That illness helped me develop a strong faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I learned to have faith that there is a loving Father in Heaven Who cares about us, and faith that through the strength and belief of others, such as our parents, we can come through those kinds of scary times.

Partly because of that awful illness I had as a child, I have a strong testimony of what the scriptures teach about facing problems with faith. When we do, we will feel peace and know that with God’s help we can handle any problems that we may face.

The scriptures have been an important part of my life. When I was seven years old, my father told me, “Son, one of the best things you can do in your life is read the Book of Mormon. I’d sure like to see you do that.”

So I started to read it. At first, my love for the sacred books came from my father. He worked long, hard hours, but I can’t remember many evenings when I didn’t see him reading the scriptures before he went to bed.

As I read the Book of Mormon, I felt good about it, and things happened to me that made scripture-reading a basic part of my testimony.

When I started to read it, I did not understand all the words in it. I have to admit that I read through the Isaiah references fairly quickly. But when I had questions, I went to my father. To this day, when I read certain scriptures, I hear them in my father’s ringing voice.

After college, I taught at Brigham Young University for a few years. Then I started my own business. In my business, it was important for me to know what was going on in the world, so I got in the habit of reading several newspapers. And I always started my day by reading them. Of course, I read my scriptures during the day too.

Recently, however, I began to read the scriptures before I read anything else. What joy and satisfaction has come from reading the scriptures first! It not only begins the day right, but throughout the day I’ll find myself using a scripture or scripture story I read that morning, especially as I talk about the gospel.

Children, the scriptures are easy to understand. You can sense not only their meaning but also the spirit of them. When you read the scriptures, the Holy Ghost will whisper to you that the gospel is true. That knowledge can change your lives!

1. Backpacking in 1955, after his mission

2. When he was twelve, he was given a Merit Card by the Ivory Key Club. The cards were given for scholarship, attendance, hours of practice, memorization, and being on the honor roll.

3. At the beach with his parents when he was about 7 years old

4. Richard played football in high school.

5. With his wife, Jeralie Mae Chandler Wirthlin

6. A family portrait taken when Richard was 6 years old. He is standing next to his mother.

7. On the farm in Murray, Utah, at age 17