And the Password Is …
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“And the Password Is …” Tambuli, Jan. 1982, 21

“And the Password Is …”

It was the time of the Korean conflict. A recently returned missionary, I was serving with the Army Signal Corps in Georgia at Camp Gordon. Suffering through basic training with me were fifty other Latter-day Saints, including nine returned missionaries. We promptly requested permission to use the company dayroom for sacrament meeting services; and the captain, once he got over his initial astonishment, not only gave us permission but had the room cleaned and arranged and let us use cups and bread from the army cafeteria for the sacrament.

Between the sand fleas, lack of sleep, assisting with kitchen work, guard duty, and stream of orders, the hour of serenity and spirituality each Sunday was a real pleasure. One Sunday, though, that calm was disturbed a little by the presence of a gruff, non-member sergeant. He had marched a group of LDS recruits over from his barracks and sat down in a chair to wait till the end of the meeting. I can’t say that he paid much attention to the speakers, but he sat stoically through the meeting until he could gather his trainees again. The recruits came by themselves after that.

Soon most of us had forgotten the incident, as within a few weeks we were facing our “graduation” test—three days of field duty and war games. On the second day, the “enemy” attacked our company and captured some of the men. The sergeant who had attended our meeting was reported missing but not captured.

That night, as we were sitting around a small campfire eating our rations, a faint noise alerted us. We dropped the food, grabbed our rifles, and prepared to defend ourselves.

Suddenly a voice beyond the perimeter called, “Do any of you guys know who Joseph Smith was?” We all exchanged looks: the Latter-day Saints didn’t know whether it was a trick or not. The nonmembers didn’t even know what it was. Finally one courageous man yelled back, “we sure do. He was a prophet of God!”

The voice beyond the perimeter yelled exuberantly, “I’m home!” and the sergeant walked out of the darkness to rejoin his outfit.