“Don’t Be Afraid,” New Era, Oct. 2005, 11
Since childhood it has been very easy for me to believe in the reality of the visions of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
When a very young child in the home of my youth, I was fearful at night. I traced it back to a vivid dream when two [Native Americans] came into the yard. I ran to the house for protection, and one of them shot an arrow and hit me in the back. Only a dream, but I felt that blow, and I was very much frightened, for in the dream they entered the house and frightened Mother.
I never got over it. Adding to that were the fears of Mother, for when Father was away, Mother would never go to bed without looking under the bed; so burglars were real to me, or wicked men who could come in and try to take advantage of Mother and the young children.
One night I could not sleep. I was only a boy, and I fancied I heard noises around the house. Mother was away in another room. My brother Thomas by my side was sleeping soundly. I could not sleep, and I became terribly fearful, and I decided that I would do as my parents had taught me to do—pray.
I thought I could not pray without getting out of bed and kneeling, and that was a terrible test. But I finally did bring myself to get out of bed and kneel and pray to God to protect Mother and the family. And a voice as clearly to me as mine is to you said, “Don’t be afraid. Nothing will hurt you.” Where it came from, what it was, I am not saying. You may judge. To me it was a direct answer, and there came an assurance that I should never be hurt in bed at night.
I say it has been easy for me to understand and believe the reality of the visions of the Prophet Joseph. It was easy for me in youth to accept his vision—the appearance of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, to the boy praying. I could not think otherwise—the vision is a reality. It was easy for me to believe that Moroni came to Joseph there in his room. Heavenly beings were real from my childhood on, and as years came those impressions were strengthened by reason and strengthened by the inspiration of God directly to my soul.
I know that those visions were real, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. This being true, it follows that Jesus lives, that Christ is our Redeemer, that this is His Church. We are merely His representatives, and when we acknowledge that this is His Church, the reality of God the Father, the Father of our spirits, is very easy to accept.
These things being real, we cannot do anything else but try our utmost to do what Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, asks us to do, for He has given us the gospel that bears His name, and in the words of Peter, “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
David O. McKay was raised on the family farm in Huntsville, Utah. When he was eight, his father was called on a mission, and David was left to help his mother care for the farm and his younger brothers and sisters.
When David turned 24, he was called to serve a mission in the same place his father had served—Scotland.
He was sustained as the ninth President of the Church in 1951. As President, he worked hard to strengthen the missionary program. One of his most well-known sayings is “every member a missionary.”