Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hands Across History

H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Presiding Bishop H. David Burton spoke at our Stake Conference today. He reviewed a little of last General Conference giving hints of stories or themes and allowing us to guess who the speaker was. I did pretty well from my practice with Ardis's Conference Wordles. I was only reverently whispering them out to my wife and boys but loud enough so the people in the row ahead of us would know that I remembered conference [My wife told me to edit that out]. (Oh, yeah, and I've been reading the Liahona conference edition em português on the bus.)

He said that he has some unofficial "bibles" such as the "Monson Bible" and the "Hinckley Bible" which are a collection of all the General Conference talks that President of the church gave when they were President. He said those were the most important things to understand from a Prophet. (Which sort of shores me up with my analysis of President Benson's political teachings.)

The really cool story he told was about meeting President David O. McKay when he was a boy. Bishop Burton was playing street football with a bunch of friends, maybe even his cousin, my dad-in-law, when his father who was the local ward bishop at the time called him to get dressed and go on some ward visits with him. They went to the home of a sick young woman and just after they arrived another car drove up and President McKay got out to visit with the woman as well. Bishop Burton's dad and President McKay gave her a blessing. Young David went out to wait on the porch steps glumly thinking out his missed football game. President McKay came out and sat by him to talk and visit.

President David O. McKay (b. 1873 - d. 1970)
President McKay, sitting on the steps of that porch, asked the young David Burton a few questions then told him about meeting President John Taylor. The McKay boys had wanted to travel to Salt Lake City to attend General Conference but it wasn't until young David McKay was 13 that his father was able to have the farm situation under control that they could spend the four-days of conference in the city. His father took him and his brothers to the front of the Tabernacle where they met President Taylor. (This would have had to have been no later than 1885 before President Taylor went into hiding from federal officials. So maybe David was only 11 or 12). The Prophet invited the boys to sit down with him on the front bench of the Tabernacle and rolled up his sleeve to show them the scars he had from his presence at the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1844.

President John Taylor (b. 1803 - d. 1887)
Bishop Burton then bore witness of his testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

I like testimonies like that--based in personal experience and connected through the generations--even connected to relatives of mine, at least by marriage.

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