“The Home Teachers Who Wouldn’t Quit,” Liahona, Sept. 2002, 36–37
A year after my wife, Anthea, and I joined the Church in 1965, we were sealed with our two small daughters in the London England Temple.
At that time the Church in Britain had only one stake. Because there was a great need for priesthood leadership, I was soon called to serve as a branch president in a town 15 miles (25 kilometers) away from my home branch. I welcomed the challenge this new calling brought and eventually served in the district presidency and then in the bishopric when our branch became a ward.
As our family grew in the gospel, the sales management position I held became more and more demanding, often requiring me to be away from home two or three nights a week. I also had found some new friends not of our faith who caused me to start to have doubts about some aspects of Church doctrine.
I enjoyed discussions with these new intellectual friends. They tried to use the scriptures to prove that the Church was not following some basic concepts given as commandments since the time of Adam. I should have borne testimony of the restored gospel and turned away. Instead, I began to listen to them, and my little doubts about doctrine started to grow. Soon I stopped paying tithing and going to the temple. When I stopped attending church, my wife protested, as did our daughters when we ceased holding family home evening.
During this time, two people from the Church never gave up on me. Our home teachers invited me to church every Sunday, sometimes in person and other times by a phone call. They visited our home at least once and sometimes twice each month. They even knew when we needed something. I especially remember the time I ordered a garden shed that was delivered unassembled during my absence. Upon returning home, I found our home teachers had already assembled the shed.
I particularly admired our senior home teacher, Des Gorman, an Irish Canadian. He was a genuine person who truly cared for people. To me he represented the Church, and I felt the Church must be a good organization, even if I wasn’t attending.
Eventually we were blessed with a baby boy. Our home teachers reminded me that it is a priesthood practice to name and bless a baby at fast and testimony meeting. I did not want to participate, though I finally agreed to allow our baby to be blessed by others.
Brother Gorman stood in my place and was the mouthpiece for a beautiful blessing on our son, Ronan. As I listened I received a powerful witness from the Spirit. I had been proud. I had made some big mistakes. I had nearly lost my testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. I still had my family, but I had almost lost the sweet peace the gospel brings. Many tears flowed while my wife, Brother Gorman, and the bishopric supported me as I repented.
From that time on I have been active in the Church. Our home teachers have continued to support me. Our baby boy is now a returned missionary, married in the temple, and raising a family of his own. I feel his life is a tribute to the man who gave him a name and a blessing.
I shall ever be grateful to two dedicated home teachers who took their assignment seriously. Although Brother Gorman has been deceased for some years, I know I won’t forget him or his patient consistency in inviting me back. He never gave up.
Today I seek to emulate his quiet and loving persistence in my own home teaching and other Church callings.