Setting the Example in the Home


Bishop H. Burke Peterson

Last Thursday evening I had just come home from the office. There was a long distance phone call awaiting me. The voice on the other end of the line introduced herself as “This is the secretary to President Lee. He and President Tanner would like to speak with you, but they aren’t available right now. I am wondering where you will be this evening that they might call you back.”

All of a sudden everything I was going to do that evening became insignificant, and I said, “I will be here.” And then for the next thirty longest minutes of my life, I did many unimportant things, trying to keep busy.

The call came, and President Lee and President Tanner told me of this assignment from the Lord. I must apologize to them for not doing my part in carrying on the conversation that continued. All I was able to say for a while was “Thank you.” It seems that my voice box and tear ducts did not know whose turn it was.

Finally President Lee said to me, “Brother Peterson, we want you to know that we have had a confirmation from the Lord that this is what he would have you do.” It seemed when he said this that I too received that feeling. It seemed then that even though I didn’t know how, and I still don’t know how, I knew that everything would work out as the Lord would have it work out.

I am thankful to him for having called a prophet in this day. I am thankful to him for having called noble men to stand at the prophet’s side. I appreciate their confidence.

I appreciate the confidence of Bishop Brown. I am thankful that the Lord directed him in the selection of his counselors. I will do everything I can to make this an enjoyable and profitable experience for him as he works with me.

After the phone call, I called in my wife, and I told her what had happened. We sat and visited for a while about how this would affect our lives, our five daughters, our business, our home that we just bought. And then it seemed that almost automatically we knelt together and thanked our Father in heaven for his confidence, for his love, and for the things that he has done for us. We thanked him for our children and for their love for their Father in heaven. And I thanked him for her, this eternal sweetheart of mine. I thanked him for allowing her to remain on the earth for another season. I thanked him for her faithfulness in all the calls that have come into our home.

Since the call last Thursday evening, I have had many things go through my mind—just why, just how this ever happened. I have thought and remembered back on my boyhood days, and I thanked him for parents who, by very simple means and very common undertakings, instilled in their sons a love for them and a love for their Father in heaven.

I remember many times, it seemed like almost every week, that four little towheaded boys would stand with their faces against the windowpane or against the screen door and wave goodbye to their mother and dad as they would get in the car and go to the temple in Mesa.

We didn’t know much about the temple, and we didn’t know much about what went on in the temple, but we had been taught without any reservation that Mother and Dad loved us and that they would do anything for us. So, as we stood there and watched them go, we knew that something important must go on in that temple, to have these two people who loved us more than anything leave us as often as they did to go there. We gained an understanding in those tender years of the importance of the temple.

While we were growing up, our father was a ward clerk for fifteen years, and I remember that every Sunday evening he would come home after meeting and go into the dining room. He would pull down the blind and on the oak table he would put the money that he had gathered that day for the bishop—the tithes and offerings.

He would count it and account for it and put the ones and the fives and the tens in a pile; and then he would get the ironing board and an iron and a wet rag, and then our dad would take each of these paper bills and iron it smooth.

Now you would wonder what four little boys would recognize about this. The one thing they got from it was that whatever you do for the Lord, you do the very best that you know how. There is nothing that is too good for the Lord.

This humble man and his wife, who didn’t have much of the world’s goods, by some very simple experiences implanted in their sons a love for the Lord. And it is because of these experiences, and others like them, that I can stand here this morning and tell you that I know that God lives; that I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that I know that this is his church and that he organized it for the salvation of his children.

I know these things are true, and I testify of them in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.