Learning to Read
September 2012

“Learning to Read,” Friend, Sept. 2012, 23

Friend to Friend

Learning to Read

From an interview with Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Seventy

Having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father (1 Nephi 1:1).

Elder Larry R. Lawrence

When I was six years old, I struggled to learn to read. My teacher said I would need to repeat the first grade. My father was concerned when he heard this. So every night after dinner, he practiced reading with me. Dad made a game out of it so I would stay interested. Soon I was recognizing words when I saw them, and Dad rewarded me with praise and encouragement. We spent hours reading together, and my ability improved.

My teacher decided to promote me to the second grade. Dad was proud of me. He was always interested in my progress at school. For Christmas he bought me books he knew I would enjoy.

A few months after I completed high school, my father died of cancer. He didn’t live to see me graduate from college or medical school, but he did live long enough to know that I had learned to love to read. That gave him great satisfaction.

My family and I were not members of the Church. One day while I was in medical school, I checked out a book from the library called A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. It was written by an Apostle named Elder LeGrand Richards. The book was all about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I read the book over and over. I studied and prayed about it. The book prepared me to join the Church a few months later.

After I was baptized, I learned that I could go to the temple and be baptized for my father. He had made a huge difference in my life. Finally I could do something special to thank him for all he had done for me.

I still love to read. The gift my father gave blesses my life every day as I read the scriptures and the words of the prophets.

Illustration by Jared Beckstrand