Missionary Moment: Crossing Paths with the Elder Who Baptized Me
Contributed By Richard H. Bennett Jr., Church News contributor
- By sharing the gospel, we can bless the lives of others—sometimes for generations to come.
In the mid-1980s I’d just been called as the stake mission president in the California San Jose East Stake. During one of my personal priesthood interviews with a ward mission leader in Milpitas, California, we got to chatting about our lives in the Church. I shared that I’d been baptized in Walla Walla, Washington. He perked up, said he’d served in Washington, and asked when I’d joined. I said April 23, 1966. He then asked who baptized me, and I confessed that I didn’t remember.
When I got home that Sunday afternoon, there was an email waiting for me, with a scanned photo of me and my ward mission leader at my baptism. The young elder, Ken Crane, had baptized me 20 years before.
Our lives have crossed several times over the years. In about 1995 as an ordinance worker in the Jordan River Temple, I ran into Ken in the locker room and introduced him to my coworkers as the man who baptized me into the Church.
But my most spectacular introduction of Ken Crane was on Sunday, December 20, 2015, in Draper, Utah. I taught the high priests lesson on the third Sunday of each month and tracked down Ken Crane. He and his wife had just gotten off a Church-service mission and, miraculously, also lived in Utah. I obtained permission from my bishop and our stake president to have Ken visit me during my lesson on missionary work.
With great pleasure, I introduced the elder who’d baptized me nearly 50 years earlier to my high priests group. And I shared with the group that all four of my children had served missions (Alaska, Belgium, Chile, and Italy) and that we had 19 grandchildren, 10 of whom were either on or had served missions. Literally thousands of people’s lives had been changed because Ken baptized me those many years ago. After church, we had Ken over for Sunday dinner.
I am now the ward mission leader in the Eagle Crest 2nd Ward in the Draper Utah Suncrest Stake. Ken lives in the Cobble Creek 1st Ward, and his bishop in 2015 was Hal Lewis. My gratitude to Ken Crane is eternal. I’m now an ordinance worker in the Draper Temple and more than once have reflected on how my life might have turned out had I not met Elder Crane back in 1966. The rest of my life—my profession, my hobbies, my accumulation of mere things—pales to insignificance when compared to an eternal family tradition that began over 51 years ago.
—Richard H. Bennett is from the Eagle Crest 2nd Ward, Draper Utah Suncrest Stake.