My Mother’s Prayers

My mother, Annie Chipman Hindley, was a woman of great faith devoted to her family, to her church, and to her friends and neighbors.

It was the custom in our home to have family prayers, both night and morning, and mother’s prayers were vocalizations of her devotion. As a child I was fascinated with her prayers. As I matured, I slowly began to understand what she taught us as she prayed. When she prayed at the close of the day, she would thank the Lord “for the labors of the day.” To my childlike mind, hard work was a peculiar thing to be thankful for.

Another of the blessings she petitioned the Lord for was to “bless us in our basket and store.” Later in my life, I read where Moses, in blessing the children of Israel, invoked, “Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.” (Deut. 28:5.) The basket carried the bread, and the store was the place where the bread was made or mixed.

Mother didn’t just pray for the sick and the afflicted, the poor and the needy. She felt that we should help lift that burden from the Lord. Didn’t James 1:27 say that “pure religion and undefiled before God is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction”? Countless people in need were blessed by her love and charity. She visited and cared for the sick, the poor, and the needy. Before the days of mortuaries, the Relief Society prepared the dead for burial, and Mother often assisted in this duty.

Her closing request in her petition to the Lord was scripture to us children: “Hasten the day when Jesus will again come to earth to reign as King and Lord and peace shall cover the earth as the waters cover the mighty deep.”

Mother taught her children to pray, to be kind, and to be charitable. The inscription on her gravestone sums up her life: “She went about doing good.” Anna Hindley Curtis, American Fork, Utah

[photo] Photography by Michael McConkie

Discerning My Own Heart

My son taught me an important lesson when he was five years old. Those were lean years on our isolated ranch, and I was starved for reading material and good conversation. A few miles distant lived a teacher, a worldly woman who could afford to purchase magazines and books and who would often ride over to our ranch to bring me an armful and stay for lunch. Her chatter was enjoyable until I realized that much of it was malicious gossip. In her graphic and witty way she ridiculed and belittled everyone in the countryside, especially those of my faith.

One day as she rode away, I fumed, “I hope she never comes again! I feel like washing out my ears when she has been here! She said something hateful about everyone I know!”

Five-year-old Wayne gazed up at me, his big brown eyes searching my face. “Mother,” he asked in a sad bewilderment, “Do I love Mrs. M______, or do I hate her?”

I knew he was remembering my effusive greeting and the joy with which I accepted the reading matter. But my angry denunciation had utterly confused him.

Humbled, I understood at once that a child’s very innocence makes him an accurate judge of genuineness. He cannot comprehend hypocrisy. My young son had taught me, quite unconsciously, to look with discernment upon the workings of my own heart. Estelle W. Thomas, Pinedale, Arizona