Stories from the General Authorities: ‘In Eden’s Garden While I Dreamed’

    “Stories from the General Authorities: ‘In Eden’s Garden While I Dreamed’” New Era, Dec. 1973, 31

    Stories from the General Authorities:

    “In Eden’s Garden While I Dreamed”

    I have a son who is on a mission. He wrote home recently and sent a picture of a woman dressed in a heavy wool skirt, a blouse with a sweatshirt over it, men’s high shoes, and a pair of long wool stockings. In the letter he wrote, “Dad, this woman didn’t have any food, so we bought her some; and she didn’t have any money, so we left her a little; and then we stayed and helped her for a couple of hours.” And then he said this: “We were the first visitors this woman has had in six years.” No fragment of humanity ought to go six years without contact with some other human soul. And my heart went back to the little verse in a favorite hymn:

    “Once, when my scanty meal was spread,

    He entered, not a word he spake;

    Just perishing for want of bread,

    I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,

    And ate, but gave me part again;

    Mine was an angel’s portion then,

    For while I fed with eager haste,

    The crust was manna to my taste.”

    (“A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” Hymns, no. 153.)

    And then I thought once again of an experience I had recently. I had just arrived at the Joseph Smith memorial birthplace. I walked over to Sister Kempton, who is one of the caretakers, and as I shook hands with her I said, “Sister Kempton, would you like a special blessing?” And then she began to weep, and she said, “I have prayed this whole week that I would have enough courage to ask.” We gave her a special blessing. She apparently had a sickness that had been prolonged for ten days, with a terrible pain at the back of her head. As we prepared to retire that night, she said, “You take our room.” And I said, “How can I do this? How can I take your room? If the Lord is going to help, you had better sleep in your bed. Let me sleep on the cot you have rolled out for your husband and yourself.”

    They would not let me do that, however, and so I ended up in their bed. That night as I knelt down to pray, I think my words were somewhat similar to those once uttered by President Lorenzo Snow.

    I said, “Heavenly Father, please vindicate the blessing given by thy servant. This woman has given all. She has withheld nothing. Please give her the blessing.”

    I didn’t sleep very well that night. The next morning when I wakened I went out for a walk around those beautiful grounds. Later, as I returned to the home, her husband came out. I asked, “How is your wife?” And he answered, “She woke this morning without any problems. She said it was the first time in ten days she hasn’t had that terrible pain at the back of her head. And I said to her, ‘What did you expect?’”

    Then I thought of another verse of that hymn:

    “ ’Twas night; the floods were out; it blew

    A winter hurricane aloof;

    I heard his voice abroad and flew

    To bid him welcome to my roof.

    I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest

    And laid him on my couch to rest,

    Then made the earth my bed, and seemed

    In Eden’s garden while I dreamed.”