Daughter’s Example Reactivates Father after 22 Years
Contributed By The Relief Society General Board
- Sister Nichols always stood as a witness to her family and helped her father into reactivation.
- Brother Johnson came back to the Church after 22 years.
- He now teaches seminary, does family history, and attends the temple.
“I sat holding the phone, with tears rolling down my face as my dad told me that he had contacted his bishop and they were working together to bring him back into full fellowship.” —Victory Nichols, Westview War, Cedar Mill Oregon Stake
Victory Nichols of the Westview Ward, Cedar Mill Oregon Stake, has been a light to her family and a good example of living the gospel. Through her example, she has helped in the process and rejoices in the return of her father to activity in the Church.
When Victory was 14, her mother passed away. After her mother’s death, it was the example and encouragement of good friends and Young Women leaders that helped Victory remain active in the Church, even when the rest of her family gradually stopped attending.
That faithfulness carried on with her as she later served a mission. While serving as a missionary she would write encouraging letters home, to which her father responded, “Stop writing us your testimony all the time.” He did not want to be preached to; rather, he just wanted to hear about her daily activities.
But bearing testimony was what Sister Nichols did every day. She recalled, “As the years passed, I began to believe that if my dad were to come back and my family were to join the Church, perhaps it would happen after this lifetime. I focused my missionary efforts on being a good example and answering their questions lovingly and honestly.”
After she returned home from the mission field, Victory and her father were chatting and he repeated a request that he had made to her many times before.
“After I die someday, I’m counting on you to seal your mom and me in the temple,” he said. Instead of replying as she usually did, that she would see that it was done, she felt prompted to say, “You know, Daddy, if you’re not worthy to be in the temple, it won’t matter what I do after you die.” Then she felt prompted to add, “I want a temple marriage. If you’re not at my temple sealing, you’re going to regret that choice.”
In relating this story Victory explained, “I am not in the habit of being disrespectful to my father. Trusting the Spirit though, I followed the prompting. My dad whispered, ‘I know,’ and the subject was dropped.”
When Victory was married in the Portland Oregon Temple, her father felt uncomfortable with not being able to enter the temple and chose not to come for the wedding. Five years later she received an unexpected phone call from her father.
“Do you remember when you told me if I wasn’t worthy of the temple it wouldn’t matter if I was sealed to your mom?” she remembered him asking her and remembered well the conversation. “I’ve been thinking about that ever since you said it, and I’ve decided I need to come back to the Church,” her father said.
“I sat holding the phone, with tears rolling down my face,” Victory shared, “as my dad told me that he had contacted his bishop and they were working together to bring him back into full fellowship.”
Two years later, Victory sat holding her father’s hand in the Oakland Temple as he made his first visit back following an absence of 22 years. Running through her mind as they sat together were these verses: “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. … And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” (D&C 18:10, 15).
Victory had spent most of her life trying to bring her father back, and the joy of the experience was overwhelming.
“I would gladly ‘labor all [my] days’ to feel this,” she said. Her father now teaches seminary, works diligently at family history, and visits the temple at every opportunity.
“I’m so thankful that Heavenly Father showed me how much He loves my dad, guiding and teaching him through all those years. Now I don’t hesitate to follow missionary promptings, because no matter what happens at the moment, I know that a loving Heavenly Father is active in the lives of the people around me, and ‘the worth of [their] souls is great’ to Him.”
Victory is a great example of the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles when he said, “Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them” (“The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship,” April 2014 general conference).