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Preparing for Parenthood

Paul H. Dunn of the Seventy October 14, 1975 • Devotional
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Your President has always been most gracious and most thoughtful in introducing people. I think my mother puts me in better perspective, however. Learning some time ago that I had written another book, a neighbor brought the fact to my mother’s attention. She said, “I see your son has produced another book.”

Mother, recalling earlier days of my youth when I had had problems in school, said, “Yes, but I doubt if he can read it.”

I appreciate the thoughtful prayer of President Tingey. He’s a great personal friend, and it meant a great deal to me. He’s a great friend of youth; he’s a great friend of the Lamanites. I think it’s fitting this time of the year that he be so recognized. I always appreciate friends praying for friends.

You ought to know something personal about President Tingey. Occasionally when I’m with him I pray for him. He’s a pilot, you see. On occasion I have flown with him, and that’s an experience all by itself. I submit to you that when you have been running down the runway for about ten minutes, it’s time to leave. He’s the only pilot I’ve ever flown with who flies under the wires instead of over.

I am reminded of an experience I had in Polynesia. (Some of you here are from that great part of the world.) I don’t know if you’ve had an opportunity to fly Polynesian Airlines. It’s a thrilling experience. It’s the only airline in the world I’ve been on where the pilot is barefooted. I got on one flight, a forty-five-minute one from America Samoa to Western Samoa, and I was the only passenger. There was no partition between me and the pilot and copilot. I could handle that all right, but after we were in the air for about thirty minutes, we hit a storm, it clouded over, and we dipped down between the clouds on one occasion. The copilot said to the pilot, “Nope, that’s not it,” referring to the airport. I was on that same airline between Samoa and Rarotonga, about a six-hour flight, in a DC 3. Things were going well for the first two or three hours until I noticed an oil leak on my window. It was then I dedicated the Pacific Ocean six times. I think about that a little when I see President Tingey.

I was thrilled last week as I sat with you in your great Centennial Convocation. I think it’s marvelous, and I’d like to take that as something of a theme, recalling the great counsel from our great prophet, President Kimball. He gave a keynote address highlighting the next hundred years. I see in you the fruition of that challenge and charge given to this great University. I’m aware that in this audience—both unseen and seen—are not only students, delightful and wonderful as you are, but parents and educators as well.

I would like to direct my remarks to you young people about your youth, your future children. I think it fitting that I see beyond your faces and eyes of today. I see in your places your children and through them to their families. As I envision this picture before me, I see the incalculable effect of what we are doing now upon the vision of tomorrow. I’d try to imagine what your children might have me say to you this morning if they were blessed with the power of articulation to say it. For just a few moments, may I represent your children to you?

I think as I see you sitting here, recognizing the position of this great University, I would hope and pray that you are preparing yourselves not only physically and mentally, but also spiritually to meet the challenge that lies ahead. James Adams said on one occasion: “There are obviously two kinds of education. One teaches you how to make a living; the other, how to live.” I spend most of my time as a General Authority trying to help people learn how to live. I see in you the answer for the generations yet unborn. There are just four things I’d like to speak about as I represent your children and the generations unborn.

Parenthood and the Infinite Worth of Souls

The first thing I think your children would have me direct to you and would have you remember this morning is the infinite worth of a soul. You’re going to be charged—all of you—with precious souls from our Heavenly Father. No greater institute than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands with its greatest goal as the infinite worth of a soul. The Lord, speaking to a prophet, said, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him” (D&C 18:10–11). And you remember that it was the Prophet Joseph Smith who taught us the true definition of a soul: “The body and the spirit constitute the soul.”

I think there is a tendency in today’s world to put a great emphasis upon the physical and not enough upon the spiritual. The children you will bring into this world will have a great need for spiritual emphasis. As some of you probably know, I’m the father of three daughters, and, of course, I have a wife. It is interesting to note the great emphasis they put upon their physical attraction. I’m not here to denounce that; I think it’s terrific. When my wife leaves the car, she’s made certain that everything is in its proper order. I learned along time ago never to walk by an open bathroom door, with three daughters in there using hairspray. I made that mistake one time and got lacquered to the wall.

Having gone through a little physical challenge last year myself, I’m sensitive to that aspect of my life. In almost every magazine or newspaper I open I see an ad wanting me to donate my body to some health spa, to get into shape and to look proper. That’s fine, but I hope we put an equal if not great emphasis upon the spiritual and the mental. That’s what I see before me today—that great effort.

How much value would you put upon a soul? The Lord said it’s of great worth. Could you attach a dollar-cent price tag to it? When I was back in Boston a few years ago, a very interesting account came to my attention. Most of you are familiar with that old historic site, Boston Harbor, where Paul Revere caught the signal from the Old North Church; where the old wonderful battleship “Ironsides,” U. S. Constitution, is anchored. On the Mystic Bridge just above it there was a gentleman, as the news report gave it to us, walking one March day. It was a cold day but with something of an early spring in the air. He happened to look over the bridge and saw a little dog out on a cake of ice in the harbor. The ice had thawed enough that it had broken up, and the little dog was stranded, yapping and barking. The man, taking note, walked to the other side of the bridge and made a telephone call to the Boston police department. Policemen rallied to the call but surmised quiet early that they did not have the facility to retrieve this dog, so they called the Boston fire department. As things will often happen in communication, some eight ladder companies answered the call. You ought to see a ladder truck trying to get down a Boston street. Well, when they got there, they couldn’t quite figure out how to get this dog, literally floating out to sea, off the cake of ice. So they called for some additional emergency equipment. One enterprising reporter, sizing up the situation, did some fast calculations and surmised that in about a six-hour effort the city of Boston had paid $8,250 of the taxpayers’ money to get one mongrel dog off a cake of ice. Well, I’m not here to debate the value of a dog. My daughter would tell you that it was worth it. We have one.

Question: What is the worth of a soul? Permit one other little “for instance.” This is quite tender to me because I remember it vividly. I was near the scene where it happened, and, more particularly, I had a little girl exactly the same age when it occurred. I’m going to read the story because the reporter says it better than I.

At 4:45 on a Friday afternoon in April 1949, a laughing three-year-old child was playing with her small friends in a grassy vacant lot beside her home. Suddenly she disappeared. She had fallen into a long-abandoned well. Fifteen minutes later her mother called the police and reported that her daughter was wedged in a rusty old shaft. Half an hour later firemen were pumping oxygen into the small opening. At the end of an hour, efforts to raise Kathy with a rope had failed, and at 6:00 power equipment began digging a parallel hole. During this brief time the girl called back bravely to the familiar world above her. She always answered those she loved with courage: “Yes, I’m all right.” She wanted to please. “Will you try to grab hold of the rope, Kathy?”

“I am. I am.” Then her voice ceased, but she had spoken long enough to convince those above her that she was unhurt by her fall.

By the time I reached the lot, it was no longer vacant. Under a blaze of light men and machines began to battle with Mother Earth. Men by the hundreds began to volunteer their help. Circus midgets lived in the vicinity arrived and risked being lowered by their feet into the crumbling old shaft. There were boy scouts, long thin men, acrobats, engineers, firemen, and contractors. They were men with dark skin, with red hair, with fierce accents and waving hands. Some wore patched pants; others, well-cut business suits. All were drawn by the human drama, wanting to help. By daybreak people throughout the world were invisible spectators. Newspapers, radios, and television put aside war and international news to headline the story of a desperate rescue attempt.

Bill Yancy, a thirty-eight-year-old contractor who was one of the nation’s underwater demolition men who often cleared the water of mines in the fortified beaches long before the first troops landed, was on the scene. He was the last man out of the hole. At one stretch he moved back five back-breaking feet of earth in less than half an hour.

An ex-sandhogger and boilermaker left his home in San Fernando Valley the minute he heard of the accident. In spite of the stabbing pain of a hernia this man stayed at his dangerous job beneath the ground until he himself collapsed and was rushed to the hospital.

The father of five children sneaked out of his home to volunteer his help, although he had not done any deep excavation work for a long time. “I didn’t want to worry my wife,” he said, “but I have good reasons at home.” There were so many more.

The parallel hole reached the fifty-seven-foot level early Saturday morning. The parallel hole had been started the night before. By Saturday night a steel casing had been completed in the new shaft, but workers hit a sand pocket and water had flowed into the tunnel. Pumping began desperately. Seldom had so much prayer power been focused on one person or on any one rescue. Exhausted gray-faced men continued their dangerous work around water, sand, and cascades of rock.

And what was happening around the world! Men on a lonely watch on a ship far at sea followed the progress and took up a collection. Hard coalminers in Denver had offered help, a neighbor brought a chocolate cake, the only offering she could think of. One unidentified man brought over seven hundred gallons of coffee and stacks of doughnuts for the workers.

Meanwhile, sitting side by side in a parked car during most of these frantic operations were the girl’s white-faced mother and father. Beneath the giant machines and rigging, bright lights, and microphones booming directions lay a tiny figure whom none of these gallant rescuers had ever seen. Was all well with her? Was there water where she lay? Did she know moments of consciousness and fear?

Fifty-three hours later, after a total expenditure of a half-million dollars, Bill Yancy was lowered into the rescue shaft on a bucket fastened to the end of a cable. The trapped girl’s own doctor, clad in a blue jacket, aviator’s cap, and dungaree trousers, began his descent while the world waited above. Then the answer came up. Men had lost. Kathy Fiscus, the little girl whom the whole world had come to know, was dead. She had gone shortly after she had last spoken.

And that was all the facts I had to report but not the end of the story. I knew there was something to explain the frantic, futile fight. I looked around the city room. There were the usual reports—wars, strikes, famine, family in trouble, racial problems—and suddenly I saw the contrast. There on the vacant lot in San Marino, California, the whole world had united for a few hours over the life of one little child. Men had not lost. The little girl had got people loving one another. No distinction of color, race or creed, rich or poor rose to mar the efforts of men and women who fought to save one who was made in His image. That was the story, that was the miracle, of little Kathy Fiscus.

Let me ask you another question. Was that effort worth it? What price would you place upon the physical well-being of a soul? Well, I don’t think we’d argue the case in point. I suppose the parallel question is what price would you place upon the spiritual soul of an individual. I am representing your children, remember, and I would like to ask you this question. Are you preparing spiritually to teach me, the whole person, when I come into your care and keeping? I remember the incident in the life of Horace Mann, the great educator. He was speaking, as I recall, to a dedicatory service for a new school. In the course of his remarks he said, “The great investment we have made together [and it was in the multi-thousands of dollars in those days] for this building will be worth it all, if we save but one child.” Following his address he was approached by one who challenged him: “Didn’t you overstate that just a trifle?”

“Not if that one child were mine,” he replied.

Spiritual Nourishment

Second, would you remember that I have needs to be met and a soul to be nourished? There’s a tendency of parents and educators to forget what it is that they are about and to concentrate upon their own needs. I see in you the great challenge to refocus that attention on the lives of the young people who you will influence.

I’m reminded of the experience a teacher had who had taken a few history classes at the university and then brought back his cynicism into the junior high school by debunking the religious faiths of his students. One mother went to the teacher and reminded him of his responsibilities. She said, “Remember, we hired you to teach our boys skills, not to undermine their faith.” Oh, how educators, parents, and you young college people need to have burned into your souls the words of Edward Markham. Let me quote his poem:

We are all blind until we see
That in the human plan
Nothing is worth the making
If it does not make the man.

Why build these cities glorious
If man unbuilded goes?
In vain we built the world 
Unless the builder also grows.

Let me just make a couple of suggestions. As you leave this great University, this year or next or the following years, you have a tremendous opportunity not only to put your own houses in order and train up the young people that will be sent to you, but also to take active involvement in community and church affairs. What we need today is a group of delightful young leaders like you who can set society correct.

I was impressed by a young Texas housewife. Let me share her little story showing what one person involved in proper values can do. More than ten years ago Mrs. Gabler decided that something was wrong with some of the books used in Texas schools when one of her sons asked some question about the Constitution of the United States. “It seemed to me that my children were not learning as they ought to,” Mrs. Gabler said, “What really bugged me was that the textbooks seemed to divide the children from their parents.” Mrs. Gabler questioned eight paperback civil government books from a noted publisher. For fourteen-year-old pupils, the books take up a large amount of space on how to apply for welfare. This series cannot do as it claims—motivates children for citizenship—because the texts are based on a false premise. They are almost completely negative in that they explain the bad and emphasize it. They had nothing of beauty or encouragement to challenge students to become better men and women.

Mrs. Gabler said she and her husband, with the help of mothers (and she was the rallying effort), caused the state of Texas to reject the education commission recommendation on such books, to reject the fifth-grade history that had a sentence or two on each of five different pages about George Washington but a six-page spread about Marilyn Monroe. She also objected to passages in the text which she claimed separated the young people from a religious way of life. One placed a farm leader, Cesar Chavez, and the late Martin Luther King on a par with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

These are real influences in our life. Consider the Idaho community where young people like you got together because the parents of your generation would not close down an X-rated theater. I’m always reminded of the simple lesson that President Kimball so often teaches just by his very presence. He was relating to us a little experience that occurred to him one day at the hospital. He was going in for a very close check, perhaps an operation on his throat. We were aware of that and were quite concerned. Being somewhat medicated in preparation for surgery, he was being wheeled down the hospital aisle by an orderly on one of those tables that you are familiar with from Medical Center if you haven’t been there yourself. In trying to maneuver the table with our President on it to the elevator, the orderly caught his finger between the table and the elevator door. He let out a string of words among which he took the Lord’s name in vain. Let me just ask you a question. What would you have done? Just passed it by because that’s what people do? The President of our Church, sick as he was and partly medicated, raised his head and said to the young orderly, who was perhaps even a member of the Church, “Please, please, young man, don’t talk that way about my best friend.” Well, you can imagine the lesson that was taught to the young boy by the Prophet of the Lord.

Now you go into the locker room or in the dressing room; you are even around Latter-day Saints who sometimes forget their standards and quality. Can you be counted on to stand up and gently and lovingly set society in order? That’s what will be needed as you take your places as parents and future leaders in our great society. As you consider the needs of your young people, would you also not forget to educate the spirit along with the body? Do you remember what Theodore Roosevelt said on one occasion? “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” John Dickey put it this way: “The end of education is to see man made whole both in competence and conscience, for to create the power of competence without creating a corresponding direction to guide the use of that power is bad education; furthermore, competence will finally disintegrate apart from conscience.”

Inspiration for Achievement

Third, would you remember (and I am now speaking for your children) how to keep me inspired and reminded about my worth, my responsibility, my potential? The home plays a vital role here, and I think so vital. Understanding, as you and I know, is perhaps one of the greatest of all ingredients in God’s wonderful plan.

Permit one other little story in this connection. A man was putting up a sign in a window: “Puppies for Sale.” Before he had driven the last nail there was a small boy standing at his side. That kind of sign seems to attract small boys. The youngster wanted to know how much the puppies were going to cost. The man told him that they were very good dogs and that he did not expect to let any of them go for less than thirty-five to fifty dollars. There was a look of disappointment and then a question, “I got $2.37. Could I look at them?” The man whistled and called, “Lady.” Out of the kennel and down the runway came Lady, followed by four or five little balls of fur and one lagging considerably behind. The boy spotted the lagger and, pointing, asked, “What’s wrong with him?” The reply was that the veterinarian had said that there was no hip socket in the right hip and that the dog would always be lame. The boy’s immediate rejoinder was “That’s the one I want to buy. I’ll give you $2.37 and 50¢ a month until I get him paid for.” The man smiled and shook his head. “That’s not the dog you want. That dog will never be able to run, jump, and play with you.” The boy very matter-of-factly pulled up his little trouser leg and revealed a brace running down both sides of his badly twisted leg and under the foot, with a leather cap coupled over the knee. “I don’t run so well myself,” he said, “and he’ll need somebody that understands.”

I don’t suppose there’s any greater attribute you can take into marriage and into parenthood than real understanding. Mrs. James Parker, president of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, made this statement: “Boys and girls are not delivered as raw material to the school door; they are products of four or five or six year of processing in their homes. More and more we can realize what the school can do is to develop a child’s potential, but it’s limited by what the home has already done and is doing for him or her.” What can the home do? Well, I think that this audience, of all audiences, knows; for that has been our theme in the Church since the restoration of the gospel. The home provides the child’s positive or negative self-concept, the child’s propensity to work or just get by, the attitudes toward community and church leaders, and goals to achieve such as church service, missions, happy marriage, and worthwhile, contributing operations and occupations.

How are these attitudes learned? Well, I remember what my father-in-law taught me many years ago. He wasn’t even a member of the Church. He said, “Paul, will you remember, remember, that you don’t teach anybody anything: you help them find it within themselves.” And then he made this very distinct statement: “Religion is caught, not taught.” And I’ve never forgotten it. You and I catch a lot of truths by what we are and what we are trained up to be. In my experience there is no such things as an identity crisis or a poor self-image to the youth. There is no such thing; I just don’t believe it. I think every young person knows from instinct that he is a child of God, and you and I need to reinforce that as parents in the home.

May I just say a word about our collective self-image, the weight of Watergate, and the tragedy of Southeast Asia. We are engaged today in a national self-assessment, and we don’t like what we see. We have become our own self-accusers. We have seen our prestige slip, and we are starting to believe what others are writing and saying about us—that we are second-rate. What a wonderful opportunity for you as leaders of this country, as parents in your homes, to reassess that thinking and redirect it in the lives of young people who will come under your influence.

Now, I get pretty tender on this point. I served as a lonely soldier in a great conflict some years ago. I just think somehow you and I and your children have got to get the lump back in the throat when we see the flag, when we hear our national anthem, when we read about our history and review the great contributions of this country and its preparation by the Lord himself. I mentioned this briefly in my conference talk last week. The situation is still very forcefully upon my mind. I recall helping to shoot a lock off a concentration camp on an island in the Pacific. Because we are in devotional and have ladies present I won’t attempt to describe the filth and the misery, the pain and the muck I saw there. Three thousand people had been incarcerated for over three years. Over thirty babies had been born that year alone—all with terrible malnutrition and disease. As I was helping to evacuate these natives back to a safe part of the beach where medical aid and comfort could be given, I was interrupted by a thump on my boot. I looked down, and wallowing in the mud was a human being. I later learned he was a sixty-seven-year-old Protestant minister who had been trapped on the island during the invasion. He was 6′1″ and weighed 85 pounds. We got him on a stretcher and cleaned the mud off his face, and I asked what I could do to help. As we were preparing for evacuation (I’ll never forget this lesson in American history), he said, “Soldier, do you have a flag?”

I said, “I don’t have one on me, but I can secure one.” We secured one from a local jeep, I handed it to him, and he held it on his bosom and welled up with tears. He said to me (I was nineteen years old at the time), “Thank God you came.” I have often thought, as I looked through my daughter’s history book, “Where is that kind of feeling—that ‘Thank God you came’?” I saw one battle in which I took part described in a U.S. history book for eleventh grade, and it gave us two lines. That kind of hurts my feelings—not because I was so important out there, but I saw the price that some of my buddies paid for those two lines in your history book. I hope you have the sense to instill in your youth, your children, the desire for patriotism in defense of this country and love of God with it, because it’s important. I think your precept here will be important, and how you do it and the way you do it will make the difference in the outcome of this great nation of ours.

Please, my beloved young people, make your home a gospel-centered home. I hope you are taking time in your classes now to prepare to give for the future. I know school is school, and sometimes you have to (all due respect to your wonderful teachers) sift through this chaff to get the grain. You may wonder, but it’s in there. I challenge you to find it and prepare. Don’t waste a minute in these vital years in your education.

I was touched by a little poem that came to my attention some years ago. As a teacher I try to collect these. Louise Strobeck put it this way:

As I pass up the aisle between the rows of desks,
Sometimes a little hand creeps out to touch my dress,
Not because the fabric is rich or fine,
But just because it happens to be mine.
There was another garment long ago,
And other hands reached out to touch His hem—
A gesture of reverence and love and gratitude
For tender thoughts of him
Makes me very humble, and I see
A little hand reach out to touch me.

Now, there are thousands of little hands that will reach out to touch you, and I hope and pray that you will have the courage and the strength and the preparation to reach back in a way that the Lord would have you do.

Enthusiasm

Finally and in conclusion, you’ve heard me say this from this pulpit many times before: For heaven’s sakes, as you go through life in preparation for these great honors that will be bestowed upon you, be enthused! Get excited about what this life is and what this Church offers. If I have one concern as I travel around the world, it’s in seeing a Latter-day Saint who doesn’t have that vision. We ought to bounce through life. My dad taught me a great lesson many years ago. He said, “Paul, when you grow up, if you aren’t careful, you’ll be a little disappointed. You’ll look around the Church, and you’ll see a lot of Latter-day Saints who have gone to seed. That isn’t everybody, and I don’t want you to do it. Remember life is a journey process; too many Mormons are camping. You move, boy and move fast.” I have been trying to move ever since. Life is a journey, not a camp. You and I have got to break camp. We’ve got to do it enthusiastically.

I see these wonderful missionaries sitting here in their white shirts. You don’t have to look very far to see who they are. That’s terrific. Let me just close with a little experience I had with one of them, and I challenge them to go out and do the same thing. I think they will. But I want to be on all of you. You know, when you travel around this Church you see Mormons everywhere. You can’t get on a plane without being with one or two of them. I got on a plane the other day in San Francisco going home. The stewardess brought me a cup of coffee and said, “Here you are, sir.”

I said, “Good heavens, you’ve got me confused with somebody else! I didn’t order that.”

“I know,” she said, “but I’m just testing you, Elder Dunn.”

Well, I like to test you. When I get on a plane, and when I find that I’m not recognized, I have a little fun in reverse. Once I was coming back from New York, and then I got on a transfer at Chicago. I had just gotten seated and was strapping myself in the seat. Lo and behold, on the plane comes a returned missionary. We can spot them everywhere. They may not think so, but we can, and I caught his eye and nodded at him. He nodded, but there was not recognition, so he went on back to the other cabin, took his seat, and we got airborne. I thought I would just check him out and see if he really knew, so I walked back and forth two or three times, and it didn’t register. Then I noticed that there were two open seats beside him, and so I thought, “I’m going to really give him the whole test.” I got a magazine and said, “Pardon me, young man, is that seat taken?”

I knew right then what kind of missionary we had because he said, “No, sir, sit down.” And that was all I needed to know. I sat down, opened up my magazine, and got real involved. I watched out of the corner of my eye his approach, and I saw him gird up his loins, fresh courage take. He cleared his voice and said, “Pardon me, sir, what do you know about the Mormons?”

“Oh,” I said, “I know a little bit.”

He said, “Would you like to know more?”

I said, “I believe I would.” Now, that isn’t a lie, is it? Before I could get another word out, he opened up his briefcase, took out one of those portable flannelboards, and put it on the seat between us. Out came his flipcharts, and in the next 2 1/2 hours I got four complete lessons. He was terrific! He was enthused. He was excited. He knew what it was all about. I thought, “Now I’m going to give him the supreme test.” So I asked him every miserable, hard question I have ever been asked. He looked at me and said, “Ah sir, You’re missing the point.”

I said, “How am I missing the point?”

He said, “You’re not listening with your heart; you’re arguing with your head. Now listen,” he said. “I’m going to bear my testimony, and you’ll know what I know.” He bore his testimony. It was sweet and wonderful. I wanted to be rebaptized. Well, he was great. As we finished the fourth lesson, we circled over the Wasatch Range and headed into Salt Lake Valley. All of a sudden without any notice he closed his book and said, “I’ve got to quit.”

“What’s the matter? This is getting good.”

He said, “I’m home.”

I said, “Where’s home?”

“Right here.”

“Well,” I said, “Where have you been?”

“I have been on a mission for the Mormon Church.”

I said, “Was it worth it?”

He teared up and said, “Was it worth it? It was the greatest time of my life.”

I said, “Anybody here to meet you?”

He said, “I think my whole genealogy is here.” The plane landed, taxied over to the runway, and there was a sign that you could see had been made in family home evening—about twenty feet long. “Welcome home, Elder So-and-so.” The plane stopped, the door opened, and he said, “Would you mind if I got out ahead of you?”

I said, “Not at all. I love to watch a successful missionary come home anytime.” What a scene that was! Down the ladder he went. You didn’t have to tell me who his mother was. She had broken security. As she ran over to him, she swept him off the bottom rung of that ladder and spun him around. Behind her came the little five- or six- or seven-year-old brother, proud of his big brother. He grabbed a hold of his brother’s thigh, held on, and all I heard him mumble was “my brother.” Behind him was the sweet little thing who had waited. You elders ought to know that they do once in a while. She wanted to be proper. You could tell she had come from the right kind of environment, so she put out her hand to shake his. That didn’t quite seem to fit, so she pulled it back and then she kind of looked to see if heaven was looking. Finally she let her womanly instincts take over, grabbed that kid and introduced a whole new technique. When that boy came up, he was looking for President Kimball and all the Brethren. Behind her came the Father. You can always tell a father, can’t you? Kind of proud, puffed up, but he doesn’t want to show it. He had his hands in his belt, kind of sauntered over, and his look said, “That’s my boy.” They embraced as dads and sons do, patted each other on the shoulder, and I knew exactly what kind of home that was. So I tried to get out of there, made a right-hand run, but while the dad was patting the son he saw me. “Elder Dunn,” he said, “Were you on that plane?”

And the boy said, “Elder who?” Well, he turned and came over, and I walked back and said, “It’s true, and I just want to say this, Elder: Thank God for young people like you.” And I thank that family.

I thank God this day for young people like you—great, wonderful youth who have a tremendous future and who have so much responsibility and obligation put upon your shoulders. I’m not really worried how you will turn out. You’ve got a few challenges. Who hasn’t? That’s what you and I were sent to this world for. You’ve been blessed by having people placed in your midst to give you that reassurance, to know in assurance that Jesus is the Christ and that God is. May you know this day, that I know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. I have great faith in you—great trust. You’re terrific. Now go out there and show the world how to do it. May the Lord bless you to do that, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Paul H. Dunn was a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this devotional address was given at Brigham Young University on 14 October 1975.

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