If You Still Believe in God

The young man has been in the mission field for slightly more than two weeks. He has learned how to talk to people at doors and in the street. He has helped teach a handful of lessons, and he is progressing in the missionary study program. It is a mild day in November in Whittier,Continue reading “If You Still Believe in God”

We Should Not Have Come Here

They have been tracting for a couple of hours in Armenian apartments in Glendale, CA. Mostly, they have heard, “No speak English,” or “We are first Christian. We know the God. We know the Jesus. We know everything.” They are close to lunch when they knock a door that probably has no one home–the shadesContinue reading “We Should Not Have Come Here”

His Reason for Fasting

All his life, the young man’s mother referred to a story of a couple she knew. The man had gone on a mission, and partway through his mission, he developed a crush on a girl in one of the wards. He started writing to her. This was against the rules: missionaries cannot write to someoneContinue reading “His Reason for Fasting”

That’s What They Expect You to Do in the Church

The young man has been fasting today. He wants to confirm that he should marry Lauren Elliott of Massachusetts, a sister he knew from his mission and has been dating since coming home. The day has not gone as he expected. He and Lauren got in an argument at church. He has had a splittingContinue reading “That’s What They Expect You to Do in the Church”

Your Life Is a Mission

The stake president has released him from his mission. He removes his tag and tucks it in his pocket. “Could I have my dad give me a blessing?” “Sure,” says President Grande. His dad stands and places hands on his head. “Gordon Derby Laws, Jr., by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, I lay myContinue reading “Your Life Is a Mission”

I Have Killed Many Men

The missionaries are in a well-kept home in Alta Dena at the request of the mission president. He had called the young man to tell him that Kevin’s wife had asked for her husband to be taught, but he should not be pushed. The mission president had said, “It’s a delicate situation. Her husband isContinue reading “I Have Killed Many Men”

The Neighborhood Dealer with the Uzi

The door swings open. An Armenian man in his mid-40s smiles and lets them in without a word. He is wearing alligator skin loafers, white jeans, and a black silk button-down shirt. A pair of sunglasses sits on the top of his head. The young man and Elder Judd sit on a plush couch. “I’mContinue reading “The Neighborhood Dealer with the Uzi”

Get Off the Idiot Box

Lucille Hill, his grandmother, is stooped over with arthritis, probably not even 5’3″. Her fingers are crooked, and her back hurts constantly. She frequently has him, his mother, or his brother use a vibrating massager to rub it out at night. She is a direct descendant of many different Mormon pioneers, Clara Mellor of MartinContinue reading “Get Off the Idiot Box”

Smite Their Enemies, Lord Jesus

They were asked into the house with barely an introduction. It is a black family with two parents and at least six kids. They are faithful people who believe the scriptures ardently, respect what the elders are doing, but are satisfied to continue with their church and not learn about the Book of Mormon. ElderContinue reading “Smite Their Enemies, Lord Jesus”

The Night Before Christmas

The boy’s father is wearing a Santa Claus suit, beard, and hat. The boy and Stephen are walking up the sidewalk to the small stucco home in the old neighborhood of Corpus Christi. Their father carries presents in a red sack, and the boy and Stephen each carry an armful of presents. It is ChristmasContinue reading “The Night Before Christmas”