Varieties of Religious Experience

Craig is awakened by the presence of men standing near his bed. He cracks his eyes and blinks to clear the sleep and blur. Finally, he recognizes Thomas S. Monson and Boyd K. Packer standing shoulder to shoulder at his bedside. At the foot of his bed stands his father. “Um, hello,” Craig stammers. “WeContinue reading “Varieties of Religious Experience”

Upon This Rock

The day begins with Elder Stone’s mirror routine. After starching and ironing his shirt, he stands in front of the mirror in the front room, puts his belt on, then his shirt, and then spends a couple of minutes fluffing the shirt around the waist to get it just so. When he’s finished fluffing it,Continue reading “Upon This Rock”

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”

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”

We Don’t Know What the Next World Will Be Like

It is early afternoon. The man sits on a kitchen chair next to his father. His father pushes a button, and the train begins to run around the long oval track. “I love trains. Your mother got this for me as a very early Christmas present so I could enjoy it longer.” It has beenContinue reading “We Don’t Know What the Next World Will Be Like”

Alone in Everett on a Hot Summer Day

Knowing how to receive revelation does not make it easy. He is home by himself in the third-floor, two-bedroom apartment on Union Street in Everett. A hospital is over the hill. There are no woods to flee to where he could find quiet. Lauren has taken Grant, age six weeks, to California to see herContinue reading “Alone in Everett on a Hot Summer Day”