Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Humbled

Back in November, during our stake conference, we had the awesome opportunity of having a visiting apostle and member of the quorum of the twelve...Elder Richard G. Scott. Rob and I were very excited for this rare visit with one of the Lord's special witnesses.


We have actually had the opportunity to meet him previous to this occasion in Navuoo while on a LDS church history tour with my parents. He spoke at a sacrament meeting that we attended. Although I don't remember the specifics of his sermon, the testimony that he bore that day had a profound impact upon my heart and mind. He bore witness that he knew without doubt and with complete assurity that Jesus lives. That He is our Savior and that He loves each and everyone of us with a complete, unconditional love. I had the distinct impression that perhaps he has been in the presence of the Savior. His witness that day was powerful, and my love and admiration for him grew with that experience.

Then, almost three and a half years later we were blessed to hear him speak again, this time directly to our stake. We attended the Saturday evening session where he shared some personal insights on trials, on marriage, on faith, on courage, and on what it means to endure. It was a rare opportunity to hear an apostle of the Lord speak so personally and share some of his personal thoughts and feelings about life, the gospel, and his love for the Savior. The next day, at the general session, he spoke about the importance of families...and the importance of doing the "little things" with our children. He bore testimony that these "little things" are the things that make the biggest difference in the end. I specifically remember him addressing family prayer, family scripture study, and family home evening. I left that session with a renewed determination to live these principles more fully.

Shortly after the general session, we had an incredibly touching, sacred experience. Rob was asked by a close friend to stand in on a priesthood blessing that Elder Scott would be performing. This young friend was fighting a battle with cancer and had the faith to ask for this special blessing.

A small group of us gathered in the Stake President's office and waited while Elder Scott shook hands and greeted hundreds of other people. We talked about how busy he is, how much he had done in the last three days, and what a special experience is was to be able to spend some time with him. A while later, Elder Scott came into the small office, and instantly a special spirit filled the room. He greeted each person individually, asked their name, and how they new our young friend. I was so touched by his genuine interest, by his radiating love, and by his warm smile.

As he came to our friend, he got down on one knee and looked straight into his eyes. I will never forget the feeling that overcame me at that moment. He asked this young man if he had faith that Christ could heal his body, and explained that it would be this faith of his, combined with the power of the priesthood that could cause this healing to occur.

As Rob gathered with this small group, in a circle around this young man, I was impressed again by the love that emanated from each of them. The blessing was special, beautiful, and very personal.

After the blessing, Elder Scott again went around the room to shake each hand, and offer his love to each of us. As I waited for my turn, I kept thinking over and over that I too wanted a blessing from this incredible man. A blessing that would tell me Branson was okay, that I was going to be okay, and that someday we would have children upon this Earth. However, ever so gently, the spirit reminded me that my husband posesses the same priesthood as this apostle of the Lord, and that he is worthy at anytime to give me a blessing such as this.

This time as he took my hand, we paused and he looked straight into my eyes. Time stood still for a few moments. I told Rob later, that it was as if he was looking through my eyes into my soul. I didn't know how, but it felt like he understood some of the burdens I was carrying at that time with the passing of our son. No words were exchanged, but it seemed as if we shared something special.

Each encounter with Elder Scott has left me filled with more love and admiration for him than I previously had.

Now fast forward to this April General Conference of the Church....

Elder Scott spoke on the blessings of the temple (I am paraphrasing here). He taught so much about why the things that happen within the walls of this sacred place are so important to us as mortals in this life and as immortals in the life to come. Near the end of his talk, he said that he desired to share why these temple covenants, that bind our families together forever...even beyond the grave, are so special to him personally.

He first talked about the love that he has for his wife that passed away some thirteen years ago. He talked of the joy that has come to his life with the knowledge that they are a family unit for the eternities to come, and that although she is gone for now, that he looks forward to the day they will be reunited. He bore testimony that he knew the Lord had taken her for a wise purpose and that he believes she carries on this work on the other side of the veil.

Next, he shared that he and his wife had always desired to have a family. They welcomed three children into their home...a daughter, a son, and then a third (I think another daughter). However, he shared that this third child had died only minutes after birth....what? I was totally caught off guard, and the tears began to fall. He shared of the sadness they felt at the passing of this little one, but he also expressed the peace they felt through the knowledge that their family would one day be whole and complete again. Then, just six months later their second child, a son, needed to have a heart surgery. The surgery, if successful, would prolong the life of this child. They went ahead with the surgery. The doctor came out and told them that the surgery had been successful...that their son would be okay.

Elder Scott shared that he and his wife had just gotten on their knees to offer thanks to the Lord, when not ten minutes later, the doctor returned to deliver the devastating news that their son in fact had passed away, that his body was too weak to endure.

There I sat....tears streaming down my face as I thought about this incredible burden that Elder Scott and his wife had carried.

There I sat....humbled that this servant of the Lord had endured...with faith and complete trust...a trial similar to mine.

There I sat...with an increasing love and respect.

There I sat...with admiration of the person he's become...even though it was very tough along the way.

There I sat...in awe of this man as he expressed the joy he felt as he knew his wife was with these two children, and that he knew someday he would join them.

Was it this knowledge I knew nothing about that spoke to my soul that day after the blessing? I don't know, and perhaps I never will. What I do know is that the Lord softened my heart, increased my understanding, spoke peace to my mind, and has put extra courage in my steps as I move forward continually. I am thankful that Elder Scott shared this personal testimony with us. It gives me hope.

To find out more about our church, or this apostle of the Lord, visit the official church website at www.lds.org

11 comments:

Lindsey said...

What a beautiful experience. Thanks so much for sharing

Brittanie said...

THAT'S who it was! I've been trying to remember who gave that talk all week. I got online and listened to several of the talks from the video archives, which was great, but still not the one I was looking for.

That's so cool that you had that experience. I've never gotten to meet an apostle. It's amazing that the Spirit can speak understanding even when you don't know their experiences.

That was a beautiful talk. I'm going to go listen to it again first thing tomorrow morning (since I'm on my way to bed right now).

(hugs)

Gordon said...

Dear Natalie,
Oh how I have prayed for this day. I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father has heard our prayers. I am so grateful to know that your experiences with Elder Scott have strenthened your faith and given you courage to move forward with a greater measure of understanding...with all my heart I knew he would...I just didn't know when. Tonight my heart swells with love to Heavenly Father for his goodness to you and Rob. Some how...I don't know how but I feel closer to Branson tonight than I think I ever have. I know he lives that he is aware of you and Rob and that he is helping and blessing you more than you know. I know that in a coming day...closer than we might know we will see him,know him and love him even more than we do now.
I had the opportunity to go to the Manti Temple this morning and do some initiatory work. One of the blessings promised to us if we strive to be faithful is that we will have joy and rejoicing in our posterity. Tonight have experienced that blessing first hand. I want you and Rob to know how deeply I love you and how earnestly I pray for you.
Thanks for this entry, I pray that the Lords choicest blessings will continue to flow to you both.
Love with all my heart,
Dad

Memmott Family said...

Thank you for sharing those experiences with us. I know they are sacred to you. Those were great talks. Can't wait for the next general conference!

April said...

I too was crying my eyes out when he spoke. How humbling indeed to see a General Authority with such faith, a strong testimony go through so many heart wrenching situations. Thank you so much for sharing. How neat to have gotten to meet with him and hear from him so many times.

Michelle said...

Beautifully written, Natalie! Thank you for sharing those personal experiences--they truly uplifted me today.
I'm glad you put into words so many of my own feelings about Elder Scott's talk! :) It was a very humbling talk for me, as well. Isn't it amazing how Heavenly Father speaks straight to our hearts through His prophets?

Kandie and Steve said...

Natalie,
Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am very sorry that you have to go through so much grief, but I am thankful that you are so open because I have learned so much from your thoughts. I know you are a choice daughter of God, and He has some serious blessings in store for you. Lots of love.

Loretta Valenta said...

Dear Natalie & Rob,
Both Tim and I thought of you during Elder Scott's talk when he talked of the loss of not one, but two of his children.
I want to tell you that the time from when Elder and Sister Scott had lost their third child (a daughter) and losing their son was 6 WEEKS..not 6 months. I thought I had heard that wrong when he said it but I have since looked at the text of his talk and it is indeed six weeks. Not that the time frame changes the events but it makes me even *more* in awe of him! How incredibly difficult those days had to be for that family. And you, more than I, know of that.

I am in awe at the strength of this man who has gone through so much loss! He is so inspiring to me and so are you and Rob as you have stood firm during this trial. The winds have blown with hurricane force for you and yet you are firm in testimony and faith. Thank you so much for your example of standing as a witness for Christ in all things and in all places.
P.S. I love your dad's words to you. I don't even know him but think he must be a wonderful man just by the love with which he writes to you.

The Hammonds said...

I am so glad you had a good experience. It sounds like he is a gifted speaker and a true man of the Lord. Thank the Lord for sending us those people just when we need them

Kim Call said...

Again, I smile as I read the thoughts you share. My heart is full of joy for the kindness of the Lord to you and all of us. When myself and others who love you so dearly don't know how to comfort you, I have always had the sweet assurance that He does and will always provide what you need when you need it. That knowledge gives me "permission" to be happy and go forward with life. I love you so much - I look forward to the opportunity to thank Branson for the influence he is in our family. Thank you for yours....love mom

Kim Call said...

P.S. I, like your friends, thought of you as Elder Scott spoke. What a miracle to be addressed so personally by the Saviour's representative! I'm so happy for you. Love mom